Disclaimer: Nichkhun will seem to be getting worse and worse, before it gets -- there's an explanation later. Peace out ^_^

The filming for Knowing Bros turned out to be a more challenging experience than Nichkhun had anticipated. Park Mi-Sun's teasing was playful, but Hodong, known for his stronger approach, chose a more direct and relentless line of questioning. He sensed the vulnerability in Nichkhun, the subtle cracks in his resolve not to disclose the true nature of his relationship with Victoria. Hodong probed, pushing buttons that triggered discomfort in the ex-idol turned actor.

Hodong, with a mischievous glint in his eyes, addressed Victoria, "So, Victoria-ssi, is it true Nichkhun here is just waiting for your answer? He spilled the beans, you know."

Victoria felt cornered, her irritation escalating rapidly. The calls from Nichkhun's mysterious lady/cat friend, coupled with his apparent preoccupation with his phone, added to her frustration. With a poised smile, she deftly deflected Hodong's insistent questions, "Oh, right. The answer is yes, f(x) would like to join 2PM for samgyeopsal [grilled pork belly] for dinner tonight. You know, for old times’ sake. It’s to wish Nichkhun and me luck with our stage performance on Thursday night."

The tension lingered as they proceeded with the show, but Victoria couldn't shake off the discomfort. The unclarified calls and Nichkhun's distracted demeanor during practice fueled her unease. Papa Song's advice echoed in her mind, urging her to be more appreciative and understanding of Nichkhun's expressions of affection. After the practice, Victoria made a quick excuse about feeling tired, intending to seek refuge at Krystal's apartment. Her irritation levels were still high and she didn’t want to reproach Nichkhun directly; instead, she opted for a temporary escape to calm her thoughts.

On Nichkhun's side, he was left grappling with remorse and credited the awkward atmosphere that lingered between him and his Qian to Hodong's relentless questioning that left him to reveal the uncertainty surrounding their relationship. He chided himself for not keeping his private matters under wraps. Why couldn't he keep his trap shut? The only consolations he had so far were that: she seemed to have taken a liking to his new perfume because he caught her sniffing mumbling "nemse chotda! [smells good!]" a few times; and that she also seemed to approve of his new hair that was back to natural dark brown/black and new green-tea smelling wax -- a couple of times he caught her staring at his hair with a smile. He was not going to take another set back so before she could climb up back to the van and escape, he blurted out: “Let’s do that samgyeopsal then. You said yes to that, remember?”

Nichkhun secretly thanked the universe for the serendipitous turn of events, all the people supposed to be joining the samgyeopsal party found themselves in Nichkhun's apartment, including Xiao Li. Even Amber was arriving that same night and joined them straight from the airport. He was hoping that the casual get-together would ease the tension from the Knowing Bros incident and relieve the pressure ahead of their stage performance.
As they sat down to the dinner, Nichkhun's phone buzzed incessantly again, drawing attention from the group. Junho couldn't help but tease, "Ya! Did you borrow money from a loan shark?" Taecyeon, with a more cryptic remark, only quietly remarked, "What goes around, comes around." Only Victoria seemed to hear and sensed an underlying message in Taecyeon's words, though she couldn't quite grasp its meaning just yet.

Nichkhun, as always, sat beside Victoria, who was initially irked but eventually appeared resigned; she couldn’t deny to herself that she missed the closeness. However, when Nichkhun stood up to prepare the samgyeopsal, Victoria noticed his phone on his seat. It must have dropped from his pants’ pocket. Her internal struggle between reason and jealousy reached a tipping point, and she surreptitiously flipped the phone over, turning it on (Nichkhun had switched it off, again). As she did, notifications flooded in, revealing missed calls and messages, not from “Ji-Hye ^_^ yaong” but from a "gwiyeoun Sun-Ah" and "Dana xoxo", who registered a whopping 12 missed calls plus a text message preview that said "Burning for you. Come over? [kiss emoji]". The message was in English but Victoria clearly understood; she awarded it the Daesang [grand award] called Victoria's Jealous Wrath for that night.

She quickly turned off the phone, attempting to suppress the surge of emotions. Her fingers automatically came up to nurse the throbbing she felt starting on her temples, and  Jun K, observant of her discomfort, inquired: "Are you feeling unwell, Victoria-ssi?". Victoria saw Xiao Li turn to her, she didn’t want to bring more attention to her. 
"Just a bit of headache."  She replied with a reassuring smile.
Chansung who was standing behind her, bearing the refreshments for the table, volunteered “I’ll get the medicine kit for you, noona.” Victoria stopped him and when 2PM maknae member told her it was in the bathroom, she declared she was going to collect it herself. Hoping secretly that in the process, she would also be able to collect her wits about her that were drowned by her emotions that were currently running amok.

"Nichkhun is a friendly guy. They’re just friends excited to see him. He’s been away for a long time." were the phrases she chanted to calm herself as she opened the cupboards in search of the medicine kit but instead stumbled upon an unexpected discovery. Instead of the medicine kit, she came upon a tray of essential oils that were accompanied by, not just one, but multiple packs of condoms and tubes of lubricant. Shocked, she pulled out one of the packs that were opened and contained a few foils remaining – obviously their contents were being depleted and used! – and found a receipt indicating that Nichkhun had purchased them on his birthday, just a little bit over three months prior. She couldn't help but connect them to the ladies who left missed calls on Nichkhun's phone. Keeping her composure, Victoria chose to focus on the lavender essential oil to calm herself. 

The following day, Wednesday, was devoted solely for practicing their Tango number. Nichkhun was spacing out as he looked at this enigmatic woman before him. He expected Victoria to be cold to him today given that when the gathering last night ended she appeared more distant. He had wanted to kiss her goodnight and even settled for a hug which she deftly dodged, with a veiled disgust on her face, before she left with Xiao Li and the f(x) girls. She wouldn’t even meet his gaze. 

“Nichkhun-ssi!” Victoria waved her hand in front of him as she tried to get his attention, she looked at him as if everything was normal that Nichkhunu almost believed he was just imagining her being mad at him last night. He shook his head and continued to closely observe her, especially as she danced with him. The strictly professional air about her was like an impenetrable fortress, totally unaffected, as they performed the most sensual and intimate steps in the routine while Nichkhun felt every part of his body that was in contact with hers go up in flames. He swore he could even hear every fiber sizzle with the heat. All his eyes could see now were her lips. It seemed years, instead of only a few weeks ago that he last had a taste of them. 

Victoria just kept her focus on the routine, entirely unaware of his raging emotions, actually deliberately ignoring his presence. He knew she was slipping away from him and the prospect of losing her scared him so much that he grew more desperate; maybe he should forget about being patient and go back to the “skinship strategy”? His trail of thought went rushing to that passionate night only about over a month ago, when he made love to her, but it seemed like an eternity. He found himself inching to close that few inches of gap between their faces but Victoria turned her head away. It was there again; that disgusted look. It was only a few fleeting seconds but Nichkhun still saw it.

“We’ve practiced enough. Let’s call it a day.” Nichkhun declared in frustration. They had been at it since early morning and it was now past noon even. They haven’t even eaten lunch yet and still remembered how only a couple of weeks ago, Victoria was looking pale and almost succumbed to over fatigue if they hadn’t gone to Qingdao to rest.

“We haven’t nailed down the story to tell along with the dance yet. We have a long way to go.” Victoria protested.

Nichkhun couldn’t tell her that he was at the limit of his restraint as a man and didn’t want to take advantage of her. “I’ll give it my 1,000% on stage tomorrow. We’ll nail it down, I promise. Trust me.” was all he could say.

“Oh come on, what do you mean trust? You know we aren’t there yet!” referring to the Tango number.

The frustration was rising at an alarming level within Nichkhun as he remembered the old nitpick he can't say he ever liked even a bit about Victoria - her perfectionism. It was such a blow to his ego that he could never get the very woman he wanted to impress to trust him. At that same time, his phone suddenly buzzed. He read the message “I, uh… I need to go downstairs for a bit.” and of he went, a deep frown of worry etched on his forehead.

Victoria suspected it was probably one of those women calling him and although she knew she was being petty now, she still decided to follow him secretly. She was going to get to the bottom of things no matter what it cost and it was no or never. She finally found him near the fire exit doors at the basement entrance, near the parking lot. Victoria hid in a corner out of sight as she heard Nichkhun speak “You can’t just barge in here, Dana..”  So this was “Dana xoxo”, the one who was burning for Victoria’s, uh, non-boyfriend, and the woman was very pretty, very y, and what annoyed Victoria most, was that she appeared to be very young, in her mid-20’s still. Victoria continued to eavesdrop on their conversation and even if it was largely in English, Victoria understood everything; she had become quite fluent over the years. There were bits of Korean sprinkled here and there so Dana was Korean-American apparently. But the most important information Victoria confirmed was that Nichkhun had used up at least one of those condoms with this woman upon hearing the latter's protest to Nichkhun that theirs was “not just a one-night stand” and also how dare he just suddenly stop replying to her messages and calls. Victoria had had enough and left quickly, tears silently flowing down her cheeks.

A few minutes later and after Dana left, Nichkhun returned to an empty practice room. His phone buzzed with a message from Victoria that simply said: “Xiao Li dropped by. I was tired so I went home with her. Let’s just finish this tomorrow morning.” Somehow that gave him more unease than relief. Victoria was unreadable to him as ever, like a totally blank slate he had to admit as he raked his hair in frustration.

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mayoomon #1
Continue this story, please
naranari #2
Chapter 24: Another chapter pleaseeee
lovecome96 #3
Chapter 24: Aww. This chapter is very cute and lovely. Thank you. Hope things will go well with them.
mayoomon #4
Chapter 24: So lovely chapter. Thank you.
mayoomon #5
Chapter 22: Thank you for new chapter.
mayoomon #6
Chapter 22: Thank you for new chapter.
mayoomon #7
Chapter 19: Nichkhun is getting worse but the story is more curious.
mayoomon #8
Chapter 15: Thank you for continuous update.
mayoomon #9
Hey,I enjoyed your story. Please continue.
lovecome96 #10
Chapter 6: Hi,
I really enjoy reading your fiction so please keep it up.
Hope you have a great time writing this fiction about Khuntoria. I know it’s been a while but I still love them 🥰