“What’s your real name?” Taemin asked staring at IU suspiciously.
She rolled her eyes.
IU had apparently refused to release her real name to him for some strange reason. Taemin had started eating with IU sometimes during lunch, she was nice and he enjoyed her company.
“Why don’t you worry about eating your food, huh?” She said playfully.
“YA! Don’t call me that! We are only a few months apart! Don’t make me feel old.” She pouted. Taemin grinned. He knew she hated that.
“Noona. Noona. Noona.” He chanted. She covered her ears and frowned.
“I’ll stop calling you Noona if you tell me your real name.” He sneered.
He stuck out his pinky waiting for her to do the same.
“Promise?” She asked.
“Promise.” He said. She wrapped her pinky around his.
“It’s Jieun.” She blushed.
“Jieun? That’s a nice name. You should use it more.” He said. He didn’t miss the blush stretching across her face. She looked pretty.
“Only you’re allowed to call me that now.” She said.
“I feel special.” He smiled. They continued small chit chat until half way through the conversation his phone vibrated from a text message.
Short Hyung: Come say hi to your most favorite Hyung~
His eyes widen. Jonghyun was back!
“Ah, Jieun! Jonghyun's back! I have to say hi! Would you like to come?” Taemin said excited. He hadn’t seen Jonghyun since the fight last week. Jonghyun’s suspension felt longer since it happened right before the weekend started as well. Taemin was also grounded for a few days, but his father understood why he did what he did. But it still made his father angry.
“It’s okay! I’ll meet with your friends some other time.” She said waving him off.
He nodded and made his way to the lunch table he and his friends usually sat at. He had some pep in step as he was excited to see Jonghyun again.
Once he spotted his older friend it was no surprise to see Kibum glued to his side, he almost felt bad for pulling Jonghyun away into a hug.
“It’s good to see someone missed me.” Jonghyun said casting a glare towards Minho and Jinki.
“We did miss you! He’s just upset that we didn’t kiss the ground he walked on as soon as we saw him.” Minho deadpanned.
Kibum looked so happy to be by Jonghyun’s side again, and he was happy to see them together. He was happy all five of them were together again.
He was chatting Jonghyun up about how his past week had been without him when he paused taking noticed of how all his Hyung’s were smiling at him happily.
“W-why are you all staring at me like this?” Taemin asked suspiciously.
“Well,” Jinki started. Choosing his words carefully.
“It’s just-it’s nice to see you happy, Taemin.” Jinki said. They all nodded slowly.
"We havn't seen you this chatty in a while." Jonghyun said.
“O-oh…” Taemin had felt in better spirits lately after his fight and making a new friend. He felt rebellious and brave after what he did and he liked talking to Jieun. But he did still feel a sense of loneliness when he went home without the presence his mother. It didn’t help that he now had some tension between him and his father after being suspended. It also didn’t help that he had been skipping class and his grades weren’t the best lately.
They all chatted while Taemin slowly fell back into silence. He knew his friends meant well, but he still couldn’t help but feel like they still pitied him, but they were just happy to see a piece of the old Taemin again.
Lunch ended when the bell rang.
Then the gang all went their separate ways.
Taemin made way to his class when he decided…he actually didn’t feel like going today. Again.
It was his math class. He hated math class, it was hard. He only passed these last couple of years because his mother helped him so much. Now he felt so hopeless without her. He sighed. He changed his path to walk down to the courtyard where he knew those delinquents would be. That’s what he called Kai, Kyungsoo and Sehun.
He often spoke to them after their first encounter. He wouldn’t go as far as to call them his friends, but he entertained them sometimes.
Just like he thought the three were sitting in the courtyard skipping class.
“Look who decided to join us today!” Kai said laughing. “Tired of being a goody-two shoes?” He continued. Taemin scoffed.
“He definitely isn’t a goody-two shoes after that fight he just had.” Sehun said crossing his arms across his chest.
The three laughed.
“Eh, I heard it was a big fight. And it was with that gay kid-“
“His name is Jonghyun,” Taemin interrupted sternly.
“And keep his name out of your mouth.” He said very seriously with a cold expression on his face.
Kai smiled but nodded and raised his hands up as if he was defending himself.
Taemin rolled his eyes at his response.
"So what was that fight about anyways? You never told us.” Kai said being nosey.
“I had my reasons.” Taemin said taking a seat next to Kyungsoo who was always quiet. He felt no need to explain to them why he was in fight, it wasn’t their business anyway.
“Okay, okay. The ever so secretive Taemin.” Kai laughed.
“So what’s the plans for this class skipping day we are doing?” Sehun interrupted.
“Hmm...we could go to the gym and play basketball! No one has gym at this time anyway, the court should be empty!” Kai said excited. They all shrugged not seeing it as a terrible idea. Except Taemin.
“No thanks. I don’t want to be caught.” Taemin usually picked a spot where no teachers, students, or hall monitors would spot him.
“Oh come on. Don’t be so scary!” Kai nagged.
“I said no thanks.” Taemin said agitated. Kai was very annoying sometimes.
“So you can get into a fight, but your scared to get caught playing basketball?” Kai teased.
Not only was Kai annoying, he also liked to push his buttons.
“Ya, leave him alone. He doesn’t want to go.” Kyungsoo said bored barely sparring them a glance.
“He's chicken.” Kai said getting up to get into Taemin’s face smirking. They glared at each other as Sehun watched on amused.
“I bet I could beat your in a game.” Kai taunted.
“And I bet I could beat your .” Taemin responded.
Kai laughed mockingly.
“You may have gotten lucky in that fight, but don’t push your luck with me.” He said lowly. Taemin felt challenged, he couldn’t back down.
“Let’s just go.” Kyungsoo said rolling his eyes while standing up and walking out of the courtyard.
Sehun and Kai made way to follow him. Taemin had his fists balled up and decided to go along with them. He wasn't scared!
“Ah, you grew a pair?” Kai said looking somewhat surprised.
“Just shut up.” Taemin said walking ahead of him in favor of walking near Kyungsoo who was leading the way.
They made their way across the school to get to the basketball court in the gym.
They boys got themselves some balls and started dribbling and shooting the ball at the rim before the decided they wanted to play a quick game. Taemin would be lying if he said he preferred to be in class, because he didn’t. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but oh-well.
Taemin and Kyungsoo were on a team while Sehun and Kai were on the other. He was having fun until Kai started being annoying again and he felt like he was aiming the ball at his head rather than the basket ball rim. But he laughed when he managed to hit Kai in the face with the ball when he missed a shot. The three boys all doubled over and laughed at Kai as he looked on annoyed and embarrassed. But their laughing was so loud that it caused some attention to come to them. They all got quiet when they saw that a teacher spotted them.
“Hey! You boys!” A male teacher yelled.
“. Let’s go!’ Sehun said with wide eyes.
All four boys sprinted off in different directions knowing that the one teacher couldn’t catch them all.
Unfortunately for Taemin the teacher decided to chase down his path.
“!” Taemin breathed.
He ran and ran taking any path that he thought woukd get him further and further away from the teacher. He kept running until he was yanked to the side by an unknown force around a corner.
“Let’s go!” Kai said yanking him forward again. Taemin grinned as the two dashed around the corner looking for another hiding spot as they started to panic once they heard the teachers foot steps sounding like they were coming closer.
“This way!” Kai said making a sharp left. But Taemin ended up running into his back when Kai stopped suddenly. At the end of the hall was another teacher and behind them was the other teacher that had been chasing them.
“.” They both said looking at each other.
They two sat in the principles office waiting for them to receive a lecture or punishment.
Taemin couldn’t believe he was back in the principles office again! His dad was going to kill him!
Kai sat back in his chair with his hands resting behind his head and hummed a happy tune.
“Ya, why are you acting like this? Aren’t you concerned?” Taemin asked confused at his composed demeanor.
“What? I haven’t been caught for anything lately. My punishment may not be as severe. You on the other hand…this is your second visit within two weeks.” Kai shrugged. Taemin moaned.
“Kim Jong-In. We meet again.” The principle said walking into the office. Kai rolled his eyes at the mention of his real name.
“Lee Taemin? I see you couldn’t stay away I see.” He continued. Taemin sunk ins seat.
The principle told them they had after school detention for two days. Taemin sighed a breath of relief at not having a more harsh punishment.
The principle ended up calling his parents to come and get them. The principle left them in his office as he awaited the arrival of their parents.
“You have to admit. It was fun.” Kai said smiling.
Taemin glared at him, but honestly…it was fun. Taemin wasn’t really a trouble maker. He had always prided himself as being the model son. His mother always bragged and gushed about him. But how would she feel about him now?
Kai’s mother ended up showing up first.
Everything happen so sudden, but the moment Kai stood up his mother rushed in and slapped him clean across his face.
“Idiot.” She said coldly.
Taemin watched with wide eyes. He was shocked. His mother would have never laid a hand on him like that. Ever.
For the first time he saw Kai speechless. The arrogance he usually exuded was gone. He didn’t say a word and just hung his head down looking at the floor. She never spared Taemin even as much as a glance as she pushed Kai roughly towards the exit of the office.
Now some things started to make sense…
He heard Kai’s mother cursing at him down the hall until they were gone. How terrible he thought.
He waited for his father’s arrival nervously.
He knew his father would be furious.
It took almost an hour for his father to come, most likely because he was at work. He was sitting hunched over with his head down but looked up slowly when he heard the door creak open. It was father. He wore a blank expression, but he could tell he looked tired.
“I’m going to talk to your principle for a little bit.” His father said with a monotoned voice.
It was about another hour of Taemin sitting there waiting for his father. He sat up straight stiffly when his father came back in.
“Let’s go.” His father said barely sparring him a glance. He followed behind him and gave his principle a bow before continuing his journey home.
The car ride was quiet. And tense.
His father hadn’t said anything since he saw him at the office. But the silence was torturing him.
“Taemin. Don’t speak.” He father interrupted sternly.
“Lee Taemin,” He growled. "Do not speak."
He sunk down in his seat. He rolled his eyes and looked off to the side and stared at the window. His father never listened to what he had to say anymore, granted he had been acting out lately. But he had his reasons!
Once they entered the house his father slammed the door shut. Taemin stood still awkwardly in the middle of the living area. He knew his father was going to lecture him.
“Why?” His father said as he roughly rubbed at his forehead.
“I just didn’t feel like going to class.” Taemin shrugged. That was why.
“Your principle and I talked. Your grades are terrible. You been spotted skipping class more than once, but apparently this is your first time actually getting caught. You were suspended last week because you joined in on a fight. Why, Taemin?”
Taemin huffed. When his father named everything that he had been doing it did sound a lot worse out loud…
He shrugged again unsure how to answer.
“I had to leave work when I was in the middle of an important meeting. Did you even consider how your action affect other people, hmm?” He watched as his father paced back and forth with his arms resting on his hips.
“Sorry.” He whispered.
“Sorry? That’s it? Sorry?!” Taemin’s eyes widen at the fact that his father just raised his voice at him. Something like this was rare, his father hardly got worked up like this. He was used to his mother being the one to scold him the most. Hi father rubbed at his eyes. They looked wet. Was he about to cry?
"You have turned into such a deliquent!"
Taemin huffed, he wasn't like Kai.
“Your mother would be so disappointed.”
Taemin froze. He felt his body go numb and felt anger bubbling in his chest. He balled his fist. How dare his father try to guilt him with the mentioning of his mother?! His father rarely mentioned her since her death and this is how he wanted to bring her up? Taemin was beyond pissed.
He turned his back on his father making his way up the stairs while stomping.
“YA! We are not done talking!” His father yelled.
“Well I am.” Taemin dared to speak back.
“Excuse me?” The older man said shocked.
“I said I’m done talking.” He repeated.
“How dare you talk to me like that! Come back down right now.”
Taemin challenged his father by going up one step slowly without breaking eye contact with him
“You are grounded. I was being lenient with the fight, but you are taking things to far. Grounded, for a week.” He said.
“I don’t care.” He said spinning around and running up the stairs.
“Since when did you get such a smart mouth Lee Taemin?!” He heard his father scream from downstairs. He slammed his door hard. He felt his hands shaking.
He had never been so disrespectful towards either of his parents like that. Ever. He couldn’t believe how he just talked to his father. He felt terrible. He knew he should go back downstairs, apologize, and open up to his father about his actions of lately. His father was understanding so he didn’t know why he didn’t go do it.
He was right, his mother would be disappointed.
Taemin threw his book bag on his bed and walked over to sit at his desk. He didn’t use his desk for school work anymore, instead a small shrine for his mother. On his desk sat his favorite framed picture of his mother along with her favorite candles sitting next to it and a few other things that reminded him of her like her necklace or a hand written not she gave him. Over the last few months he gathered a few of her things and gathered it in his room, unsure where to put it he put them on his desk and arranged it in a way where it looked like a small shrine. He unconsciously stopped using his desk for his school work, instead doing it on the comfort of his own bed. He sat with his head laying on his arms as he stared at the picture of his mother. He sighed. He missed her so much.
She would know what do when he was upset. She would take him down to the store and buy his favorite banana milk drink and sit outside and dote on him until he opened up about what was wrong. She did this even when he had nasty attitudes. She was a sweet and patient woman.
He father was a good parent as well, but he did not know how to handle Taemin when he was like this, granted he never usually acted like this when his mother was alive. He wasn’t a bad or disobedient child. But what about now?
He grabbed the frame picture of his mother to wipe off some dust that collected around the edges.
“I’m sorry Mom.” He whispered.
He wanted to cry, but he couldn’t. He didn’t know why. He still hadn’t cried since the funeral and he didn’t know when he would.
Taemin sat still with the picture in his hands for a while, he wasn’t sure how long but he knew it was for a while. He was lost in his memories with mother that he cherished so much.
He smiled to himself at the happy memories.
He missed when his mom picked him up from school and they came home together. Then he would wait for his brother Taesun to get home from highschool so they could play video games or so he could ignore him while their mother cooked dinner and waited for their father to come home and crack lame jokes and share boring stories about work.
But now his dad came home in low spirits to an empty house.
Now his brother went off to college, barely communicating with him.
And his mother was gone.
He eventually settled the pictured back in it’s rightful place and took himself to his bed where he sat and spread his body across the whole thing staring up at the ceiling. Taemin did this a lot. Just sitting in his room doing nothing. He didn’t even dance anymore like he used to, and he loved dancing. He knew he should be doing his homework, but he didn’t fell like it right now.
He decided to surf around on his phone for a while trying to forget about his troubles and sad thoughts. He was hungry but he refused to go down stairs anywhere near his father right now.
Being on his phone worked for a couple of hours until his phone flashed because of an incoming FaceTime call.
He couldn’t believe it! It was from Taesun! He hadn’t heard from his big brother in almost a month!
He sat up and quickly swiped his thumb across the phone to answer the call.
“Hello?” Taemin answered not even trying to hide his smile.
“Ya, Lee Taemin.” His brother called sternly. Taemin’s smile fell.
“Dad said you got in a fight? And you were suspended, and you were skipping class today? Huh? Don’t even get me started on your school work.” His wanted to laugh at the irritated expression his brother’s face wore, but he knew this wasn’t a playful moment.
“Yea, what of it?” He said back sharply.
His brother raised his eyebrows at Taemin’s snappy remark. Taemin never had a reckless mouth like this before.
“Get your together. Your stressing Dad out. What’s gotten into you? This isn’t like you.”
Taemin didn’t answer, instead he decided to play with his long hair strands in front of his face.
“I’m talking to you, Taemin.”
“I hear you.” He said cutting his eyes at him.
They sat in silence for a couple of moments, he tried to Ignore the glare his brother was giving him.
“How’s college?” Taemin asked quietly.
Taesun sighed. He watched as his big brothers face softened a little. Taesun started his freshman year of college the same time he started his freshman year of highschool.
”It’s good, I’m enjoying my time here. I just feel like I don’t fit in here sometimes, you know?” Taemin understood. He knew his brother was also still sad from their mothers passing. His brother wasn’t the same either. He and Taesun used to be very close, but after what happen his brother distanced himself and became a quiet and reclusive person. They hardly talked since he left, he was lucky if he got a “Hey” through text message once a week. He felt like he lost his brother too.
“Have you made any friends?” He asked.
“A few. How about you? How’s Highschool aside from your obvious delinquent activities.” He said somewhat jokingly.
“Well I’m still friends with Jinki, Jonghyun, Kibum, and Minho. They all take care of me.”
“Good.” His brother smiled. Jinki and Taesun were only a year apart and at times hung out at school or had been in the same social settings. He liked Jinki and knew he would watch over him.
“I made one more friend. Her name is Jieun. She’s really nice.”
Taesun raised an eyebrow.
“Just a friend little brother?”
“Yes, Hyung. Guys and girls can just be friends, you know.” Taemin said a little irritated.
“Whatever you say Tae!” His brother laughed. Taemin smiled, this was nice. He hadn’t talked to him in so long.
“Look, Tae. I have to go now. I have a test to study for. But cut Dad some slack, okay? He’s...trying. Don’t make things harder on him. Okay?” He said seriously. Taemin nodded.
“Do better. Got it?” Taemin nodded again.
“Got it?” He repeated, wanting to hear a verbal answer.
“Yes, Hyung.” He said rolling his eyes playfully.
“W-wait Hyung! When are you coming home to visit…?” He asked in a small voice. Since college started Taesun had not been home, not even once.
Taesun sighed. “I’m not sure Tae. I have to go, I’ll talk to you later.”
They both hung up. Taemin knew he wasn’t going to hear from him again for a while.
But he was happy he spoke to him for a few minutes.
His mood lifted a little more when he smelt food coming from downstairs. He didn’t want to speak to his father…but he didn’t want him to sit by himself and eat alone either.
He made his way downstairs slowly, knowing their would be a tense atmosphere between the two. He was a little shocked when he saw his father sitting down already with a plate across from him with food on the plate ready for him.
He sat down quietly, his father did not spare him a glance but instead added more rice and dumplings to his son’s plate.
They sat quietly eating for the rest of the night, still not speaking to each other, not even before going to sleep.
Smh Poor Taemin, he has got to get it together! What do you guys think of this chapter?? I'm ready to post Jink's, plus i'll be introducing a new character!!! Stay tuned!!