Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

House Rules

By @Master_King_Queen

House: Party Hard, Dude!

House: Party Hard, Dude!

Kookie’s hand reached and disappeared behind his thick textbook, colder as it left the circulating heat bubble between Kookie’s chest and the book’s pages. His hand landed on the table before him before reaching a round object, grabbing what he could only assume was an apple. He didn’t really have time to think about it, equation after equation stuck in his head. He brought the onion up to his lips and bit into it, the others at the table leaning over in anticipation of his reaction. Kookie just chewed noisily, not grimacing, but also not going in for another bite.

Jimin, who had switched the fruit out with the vegetable, slumped in his chair. “How does he even do that?” he asked the air, Hobi responding.

“I think he trained his taste buds to stop working when he was trying to focus another sense,” Hobi hypothesized, it all coming to an end as Joon opened the downstairs bathroom and walked out, sighing in oddly satisfactory relief.

“Good pee?” Yoongi asked, watching him walk over with a binder.

Kookie looked up as Joon took a seat at the head of the table. “Oh, Joon’s here.”

“Tae and I had a full-blown argument about gravity, one of your favorite concepts, and you said nothing to us,” Hobi pointed out. Kookie just said he hadn’t noticed.

“Alright guys!” Joon perked up, never in an overly dramatic way but always just enough to grab and hold everyone’s attention. He placed the binder on the table—it was about two-inches thick—and slid it to the center of the table for their gazes to set. “So, this week is my week to plan something fun for us to do and I’ve been thinking about the slight confliction with this week.”

“You mean it being your birthday on Thursday?” Jimin pointed out and Joon looked up at him. “Aww, you remembered?” Jimin looked around the table at the other faces. “Joon, I’ve known you since high school, I think it’s physically impossible for me to forget. Plus, we all knew it was coming up. Never mind that, continue.” Jimin fixed his elbows on the table and leaned on them, showing his engagement.

Joon nodded, an ear-to-ear smile on his face. “Because of that, I thought at first, we could just celebrate my birthday and have a really awesome party, but doesn’t that just seem selfish?” Yoongi, Hobi, and then everyone else at the table shook their head. “You say that, but you guys don’t mean it. So, my idea is that we can all celebrate our birthdays!”

There was silence at the table, staring going on towards the one at the head. Joon’s excited arms, once raised, now lowered. “What, you don’t like it?” Then the muttering began, contradictions and soft “no”s fluttering throughout the space. “It’ll be like a 2nd Christmas!” Joon went on, arguing his point as he took the binder back. He flipped it around to show how it said, “Seven-way party planner” with hearts and multi-color print on the page. He opened it. “I mean guys I really thought this through. We can take the major themes of every birthday party for every one of us and mesh them together for a perfect event. I have a whole section for each of you. Yoongi’s black and pink combination of attire, Kookie’s cake preferences, Tae’s old school party games, I mean I out-did myself. Guys, it’s a binder.”

Jin and Hobi couldn’t help but chuckle, amused by Joon’s amusement. “It sounds fun, don’t get me wrong, but,” Jin paused, biting his nail. “Shouldn’t your birthday just be for you?”

Joon thought about that statement, the strangeness of having a day dedicated to just himse—

“Nah, not really,” was Joon’s all too quick answer. He stood up, the wooden chair beneath him squealing. “So, are you guys in or not?”

Jin turned to Yoongi and Yoongi turned to Kookie and Kookie turned to Jimin and Jimin turned to Tae and Tae turned to Hobi and Hobi turned back to Jin; they were more or less in agreement. Jin shrugged. “I guess I kind of would prefer this. I mean just for us seven, rather than planning our own individual parties all the time.”

“Exactly! Convenience!” Joon looked ecstatic, astonished he hadn’t included that very point in his reasoning of the event. “Okay well, the birthday party is on Thursday and it is currently Monday meaning we have the rest of today and then three more days to prepare. Instead of a whole heap of gifts, I decided we should just go one shareable gift given per person.”

“But it’s still your birthday,” Jimin pointed out.

Joon waved his hand as if it were nothing. “Don’t even worry about it, this is enough for me.” Joon stuck his hand out in the center. “Ready?”

The other six stuck out their own hands, stacking them on top. Joon was about to call “Break!” when he thought about it. “This is pretty basic, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I kind of thought we would spice it up,” Kookie agreed, all of their hands still sandwiched in the middle. “Why don’t we like, get a chant or something?”

“That’s still too basic. We need something unpredictable,” Hobi said.

Tae’s head popped up. “Why don’t we disperse?”

“What?” Joon turned to Tae.

“Like in those shows after they yell ‘whatever,’ it cuts to the next scene of them doing something, or they like go and play a sport.”

“…So you want us to run?” Jin asked. Tae nodded.

“Alright,” Joon agreed. “But we have to completely disappear from one another’s sight.”

“Should I have stretched before sticking my hand in?” Jimin wondered, Jin also wanted to know.

Tae didn’t care.

“Three, Two, One, BREAK!” As he said it, the hands flew and so did their bodies, half of them opening the door and leaving the house and the others disappearing into bedrooms, bathrooms, or behind the couch.

They decided to start planning tomorrow.



Tuesday had tiptoed in so stealthily that they weren’t ready for Joon’s first-day workload. This time, they all got binders.

“Okay, so since I have to work extra to pay for all this crap, I’m hoping I can trust you guys to kick it in the ass,” Joon’s speech began, the others lined up in front of the door. “Hobi, Yoongi, and Jin will go get the required food-related things and attire-related things.” He handed them all binders. “And Jimin, Tae, and Kookie will go get the decorations, game-related things, and gift-wrapping materials.”

“Why do we have three things and they have two?” Kookie asked.

“Because food and clothing shopping is more complicated than going to a store and buying Twister and wrapping paper.” Joon pat Kookie on the head before handing him his binder. “Okay, you’ll find everything you need inside, hopefully. Questions?”

No one said a thing.

Joon sighed. “Okay, I’ll be at work if you need me. See you guys!” Joon waved goodbye before stepping outside and closing the door behind him. Once it did, the fractioning began.

“Can’t wait to beat you guys in getting party things,” Kookie boasted, straightening his always crooked back, that is when he wasn’t boasting like now.

The hyungs looked at the dongsaengs quickly, scoffing collectively. “We’re not juvenile in the notion that planning a kickass party is a competition,” Yoongi made clear, folding her arms. Jin cleared his throat, taking a step so he stood next to Yoongi. “But if it were,” he clarified, Hobi finishing the sentence for him. “We would win.” They fist-bumped.

The dongsaengs high-fived and laughed. “You guys wish,” Jimin responded. “May the best age win.”

The six put their hands in the middle, pausing there and staring each other down. Tae, as before, yelled “Three, Two, One, BREAK,” and they broke into their two groups and scattered.

“So I have an order of four large pizzas, two of them are half pepperoni and half cheese, one is all mushroom, and the last is Hawaiian.” The pizza guy took their order, looking up at Hobi. “You sure about the mushroom? It’s pretty gross.”

“Believe me, I know,” Hobi said, double-checking the binder. “But we have a sort of…food code.” The guy sighed.

“Alright, and you want this for Thursday, right? Delivered?” Hobi nodded. “Alright,” he repeated, Hobi running over the ten or so other words he could have used other than saying “alright’” again. “Let me just put it in.” As the man honed in on the computer system before him on the brown glossed wood littered with Parmesan, Hobi tapped his binder anxiously, looking around. Yoongi was waiting outside on a bike. When they left, it would be Hobi’s turn to get on the back and Yoongi’s turn to steer it.

He turned back to the man quickly and started talking. “It’s for a birthday party, like a seven-way birthday party.”

“Seven of you have the same birthday?” the man muttered, still staring at the computer.

“No,” Hobi clarified. “Just one, but we thought it would be fun. Innovative.” Hobi nodded to himself, the man nodding only to seize further conversation. Hobi kept talking. “We’re all getting gifts…and I’m painting a mural for them.” He paused. “I-m a good artist.” Mid-end-of-conversation-nod, the cashier was startled when Hobi rose his voice. “I mean I’m not anymore! No, I’m giving it up for writing…I decided this will be my last drawing until I make it as an author.”

The cashier ripped off the receipt and handed it to Hobi. “That sounds wonderful sir! That’ll $36.48.” Hobi nodded and paid.

“Alright, prepare to be wrong thoughts,” Jin told himself as he finished prep. He was saving the actual cooking for later, but for now, he was working on his biggest project ever: A quadruple-layered red velvet, German chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry star-shaped, orange-flavored icing cake. Just as Yoongi’s preference showed in the dress code and Jin’s did in the food, Kookie made his mark on the deserts. Jin wasn’t complaining though; he invited the challenge his friend had brought him.

He had already prepped the flour, the milk, the eggs, everything he needed to do the cake right. Jin sighed, putting in his ear buds and playing Fur Elise by Beethoven. He stretched his back and got to work.

Kookie took his foot off the gas and put it on the break, slowing their van down. Tae’s body lurched forward, despite being so mentally unaware. He scratched his reddening arm from him and Jimin fighting over the front seat. Jimin sat in the back, his leg on his lap as he held the binder in his arms. He was looking through the game section. They had already gotten the wrapping paper for gifts and were heading to a toy store. “Jimin, what are we getting again?” Kookie asked, bored at the red light.

Jimin hummed before answering. “Well, this is Tae’s part so you know it’s weird.” Tae reached around and tried to hit him, Jimin dodging it and continuing. “We have pin the tail on the donkey, the game of life, a piñata full of…chicken nuggets?” Kookie snorted and then laughed at that, high-fiving Tae for it. Jimin rolled his eyes. “And Twister, which is probably just the dumbest game to exist.”

Despite the light turning green, Kookie and Tae whipped their heads around and looked wide-eyed at their friend. “What!?” they screamed in unison, startling Jimin.

The car behind them honked and, in a fit of rage, Kookie hit the gas and crossed the intersection, getting onto the freeway. “Jimin, Twister is like the God of physical party games! It’s a relic!” Tae argued.

“It’s stupid,” Jimin argued back, which was barely an argument. “What kind of skill is even required for Twister? The game is just for horny teenagers, I doubt they even sell it anymore.”

“I don’t understand how we’re friends,” Kookie muttered, continuing down the road.

Pulling up outside the toy store—or really toys, games, and other things that are fun—Kookie didn’t do circles around the parking lot like the other six or so cars looking for parking spaces. Instead, he pulled into a handicapped space, turning the car off. “Okay,” Kookie turned over to look at Tae and Jimin. “I’ll wait here so we don’t get towed and you two go get the piñata, the donkey board, and Twister aka the best game of all time.” Kookie shot Jimin a glare and he rolled his eyes, getting out of the car. Tae and Jimin hustled into the store, completely missing the “STORE CLOSING SOON. EVERYTHING MUST GO.” sign out front.

Tae disappeared around the corner to go get the piñata and donkey board, Jimin, unfortunately, left to get the devil game. His shoulders slumped and his feet slid against the floor as he scooted by clumps of people old and young in the skinny aisles, spotting the game on the next shelf over. Jimin’s eyes drifted for a moment and did a double take down. There was a kid with pale skin and blue shorts on trying to reach for a barbie doll two shelves above where his short stumps for arms could reach. He grunted, his mother apparently too busy grabbing other things off the shelf. “Here.” Jimin grabbed the kid and hoisted him up by his armpits, able to reach the doll. He put him back down and the kid turned to him, saying “Thank you! You’re tall for a kid!” before running off. Jimin frowned at the child’s back, muttering curse words under his breath as he turned to grab the Twister game.

But it was gone.

Jimin looked around, searching for another one, but there was none. He searched the many people residing in the aisle, seeing if one of them had picked it up. He asked the employees and they all said they had no more. Jimin ran around the store, choosing not to believe them and searching anyway. Finally, Jimin found it…in the hands of the kid he had lifted’s mother as she left the store. “No,” he breathed out, watching her walk to her car. “Oh no.”

“Oh no.”

Jin scoured through the vast desert of his cabinets, even searching through the refrigerator for what he needed; there was none. He looked hopelessly at the oven, within it the first, second, and third layer of the cake residing in perfect star-shape. But the fourth was yet to be made…and why?

As they walked out of the store, not two steps from the door, Hobi’s phone rang. He saw who it was and handed the bags of chips to Yoongi before answering. “What’s up?”

“I need you to buy me flour! The special flour! Dill Esquire Flour! I ran out!”

Hobi sighed, whipping his head back to Yoongi.

But even they were too late.

“How does a store run out of Dill Esquire Flour!?” Hobi complained, regretting his tone afterward and looking to see if anyone heard.

Yoongi didn’t care, her teeth clenched as she said, “Why does Jin never plan ahead?”

Hobi looked down the aisle at all the shopping carts, grabbing Yoongi’s hand and pulling. “I have an idea.”

“I’m sorry,” the woman said, somehow quaking in her boots while being completely still and reserved. She had about four layers of clothes on along with a hat and scarf. “I’m just not comfortable with being touched.”

Joon stared back at her from his own seat, biting his pen. “But you do realize that I’m a chiropractor, right? Touching you is my job.”

For the 5th time, Joon’s phone vibrated in his pocket, finally making the decision to mute it when he saw who it was. “Is there something more important than this consultation Mr. Kim?”

“Yeah,” Joon muttered, seeing the now five missed calls and twenty missed messages from Hobi. “A birthday party.”

The woman frowned. “What?”

“What’s wrong Hobi?” he asked once Hobi was on the phone.

Still in the grocery store, Hobi and Yoongi’s heads rounded the corner to stare at the lady shopping for canned soup, her blonde hair up in a strict, takes-no-shit bun. “Jin needs more of that extremely specific flour and some woman took the last one. What do we do?”

“Excuse me—!”

Joon shushed his client and turned fully away from her. “Can you just ask for it?”

Yoongi grabbed the phone from Hobi. “Well, we’re following her now but…I mean what do we even say?”

“‘Uhm, excuse me, ma’am, if we don’t get that flour, our friend is going to murder us. Ha ha, both of them!’” Joon mocked, his fake smile dropping instantly. He flinched as the door to his office slammed shut, the reserved woman now gone. “What was that?” Yoongi asked.

“Nothing, just get the flour back.” Joon hung up, leaving Hobi and Yoongi to fend for themselves. Yoongi gave Hobi a violent shove towards the woman’s basket, knocking him into it. The blonde started, turning around swiftly and dropping her beans. “Oh!” She snorted once she saw them approach, somehow blind to whiteness and fear in Hobi’s face. “Sorry! I’m so clumsy.” She leaned down to collect her now dent can. Yoongi nudged Hobi again, now infuriating him as she pointed to the pack of flour in her cart. “I hope I didn’t hurt you,” she said, still talking as she examined the beans from the floor, her body turned away from them. Yoongi’s eyes said it was almost too easy while Hobi’s said it was almost too mean. Not thinking twice about it, despite Hobi’s glare, Yoongi reached in her basket, snatched the flour, and ran away. Hobi’s mouth was open, dumbfounded, as the woman began to straighten herself up, he too running.

“I! Hate! You!” Hobi shouted as he hit Yoongi’s shoulders over and over again, towering over her on their bicycle as she steered. She just laughed, their groceries and binders strapped inside the bike’s little basket. “That was so mean Yoongi!”

“I stole her flour, it’s not like I stole her child,” Yoongi defended, pulling up to the house. Hobi got off of Yoongi’s shoulders and stepped onto their driveway, grabbing the grocery bags from their basket and hustling to the front door. Yoongi unlocked it, waiting for the scent of sweets to consume her. She was consumed, there was no question there, but her other senses were assaulted. Her ears by the growling and the shouts and her eyes by the sight of shredded cow onesies.

Jin looked up at them as they walked in on Juggy and PipPip’s mouths latched onto the onesies Jin had picked up yesterday evening, the material torn in certain places as Jin’s batter-covered hands tried to shoo them away.

“Oh…” Hobi started.

“…No,” Tae finished, the three friends looking through the car window at the closed down party store. “I don’t understand,” Tae went on. “When did this happen?”

“Apparently online shopping has taken over their business,” Kookie explained. “That’s why there weren’t any Twister games in stock…and all those old people were there.”

Tae and Jimin turned to Kookie briefly, but eventually shook his comment off. This was where they were supposed to get their Jimin-inspired decorations: an unbelievable amount of non-floating, multi-colored balloons, old-school candles, copious amounts of streamers, glitter bombs, and a large banner to write, “It’s someone’s birthday!” on. “Now what?” Tae asked, turning to the others.

Jimin rubbed his lip in contemplation. “Donuts?”

Joon’s waving hand fell and banged onto his desk as his second to last patient closed the door to his office. Never before had he felt so tired in one day, the others texting him non-stop about what they had accomplished and what was yet to be done. He, for once, didn’t ask them to do that, which is probably what he found so annoying. Joon laid his head down on the white chipping wood and sighed, closing his eyes and waiting for that sweet moment where his brain could turn off and he could let himself fall into obli—


Joon groaned, snapping his head up at the receptionist for their building. She was dressed in her usual attire of a pencil skirt, barely high heels, too many bracelets, a white blouse, and a blue cardigan, her hair pinned back and out of her still-growing face. Usually, she would just call if she needed something, so despite his fatigue, he perked up. “What’s wrong?”

“Uhm,” she chose to start off with, looking worried. “Remember when you told everyone here that you didn’t really have ‘friends?’” Joon’s eyes opened wide.

They didn’t.

Oh but they did, Joon realized, following the receptionist down their dark and dimly-lit curved hallway until they reached the lounge where sun poured in through the window in the waiting room and the glass automated doors. She stopped by her receptionist desk, the desk curving inward to give her some protection from situations like this. Before the desk, right on the lobby’s green marble floors, right before the black carpet with the logo printed on, were Yoongi, Hobi, and Jin holding a large duffel bag and Jimin, Kookie, and Tae holding two dozen donuts…and both parties yelling at each other.

The security guard—Marty—was standing by, trying to calm down patients while simultaneously calming down Joon’s friends. Once he spotted Joon, he walked over, sweating profusely. “I was going to pepper spray them, but they said they were all here for you? Three of them came in apart from the other three, and then they saw each other and started screaming.’” Marty wiped his forehead. “This is a chiropractic floor, you can imagine there’s not much us security guards really do here. This was a bit too much for me.” Joon just nodded and thanked him, walking over—surprisingly—with more anger and authority in just his posture and walk than Marty had ever done in his entire career. Tae was the first to spot Joon, doing a double-take when he did and then snapping to attention, hitting Jimin on the shoulder who hit Kookie and then so on until the six of them were quiet.

The room seemed to relieve itself of stress once they were silent again, a buzzing of the office continuing after it was done. Despite Joon holding all the power, his face was still turning pink from embarrassment. He sucked in a breath through his nostrils before saying, “Maybe you’ve forgotten…but I just so happen to work here!” he hissed, catching their looks of regret. Head down like the others, Jimin held up his box of treats and muttered under his breath, “Donut?”

Jin fake-coughed, “Bribe.”

“At least we had the decency to bring something,” Kookie muttered back, Joon quickly shushing them again.

“Please for the love of god just tell me what you want,” Joon asked, looking down the row of faces and wondering who would be brave enough to speak up. Jin was the one who looked Joon in the eye, carrying the duffel bag.

“Uhm,” he started. “I know you’re working, but any chance you could sow these back together?” Joon eyes rolled back into his skull, sighing but not giving the bag a second glance. “Are those the onesies?”

“…It’s a possibility,” Jin answered.

Tae went next. “Also, we don’t know where to buy the decorations we need for the party. Most of the stores are shut down.”

“And since we’re on the subject of buying things,” Jimin said, scratching his head. “Where could we buy Twister that isn’t the place you sent us originally?”

Joon stood silently, not shifting his legs or blinking his eyes as his gaze suffocated the six. Even his joints didn’t move or bend; even his lungs refused to regulate. His face said nothing either, not permitting an ounce hinting at what he was feeling until Joon was ready for them to know. They expected his whole body to release all at once, but it didn’t. It remained stiff as Joon reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He opened it and handed Kookie his credit card. “Use this and order Twister on Amazon.” Kookie took the card and Joon moved on to Jimin. “The neighbors, Jerry and Willa? They have tons of party decoration stuff, the ones you want. Ask them if we can pay for some. Use my card.” Joon pointed to Kookie and then walked over to Jin. “Uh, I can’t sow that stuff right now,” Joon admitted. “But I have a friend who can. She’s part of our sower club.” Joon grabbed the pad and a pen from the receptionist’s desk and wrote down her name and number. “She might ask you for money too so…just, use my credit card too.” Joon waved like the money was nothing. “But please, next time you want to come and ask me something…” Joon leaned in close, the others following his example and leaning in. “…schedule an appointment.” He smiled sweetly before turning swiftly and rushing back to his office.

Yoongi, Tae, Jimin, Kookie, Jin, and Hobi glanced at each other and then to their surroundings. Before they could leave, Joon rushed back down the hallway, grabbed the donuts from Jimin’s hand, and then left for good.

The day was over.



Wednesday swept them all off their feet like a sharp blow of wind, neither parties aware how badly the other had messed up until Joon brought it up at breakfast.

“Guys, I’m working around the clock this week so we can afford for you all to be working less this week and paying for party stuff, please just try not to come to my job, I can’t afford to help.”

Yoongi, Hobi, and Jin looked up at each other, feeling ashamed. Kookie, Tae, and Jimin just felt too ashamed to look up at all. Joon examined the faces at the breakfast table, Tae consciously giving Joon more of the pancakes he made. He sighed, slouching. “I’m sorry, that was harsh. I just…” He didn’t know what to say, lost for words. “Never mind. Do whatever you want, come to my office, whatever you need, I’m here…promise.” Joon puffed out his cheeks as he ate, uncomfortable that no one was saying anything. Hobi sighed and spoke up. “It’s not your fault, we just kind of messed up. But we know how to fix it now, so we promise we won’t bother you, yeah?” Hobi looked around for confirmation and the others violently nodded.

Joon smiled. “Thanks guys.”

As Joon closed the front door, Jin and Kookie glared at each other. “We’re still winning,” Jin gloated.

“Oh please,” Kookie scoffed. “We messed up way less than you guys. I mean you’re going to one of Joon’s sower friends because you couldn’t watch your dog Yoongi?”

“It was Juggy’s fault too!” Yoongi argued back. “How do you not know what stores are open or not?”

“Well we’re gonna find out now, aren’t we?” Jimin replied, stepping up. Hobi stepped up next. “Yeah we are, prepare to lose.”



Their hands were stacked again, only seconds passing before they yelled “BREAK!” and disappeared from one another’s sight.

Ding Dong!

Tae groaned out loud, head falling backward and almost crashing into Kookie’s chest. “But they’re so weird.” Jimin, Tae, and Kookie stood outside their neighbor’s house, Jimin disagreeing with Tae’s complaints but also finding himself looking longingly across the bushes and to the row of flowers he had been planting in their own yard. “You’re weird,” Jimin said back, hitting Tae’s shoulder as the door opened. Jimin and the other two snapped to attention, smiling invitingly as Willa answered the door, white apron wrapped around her waist as always. “Hey neighbors!” Jimin greeted, holding out the box of donuts Joon didn’t take from yesterday. “Donuts?”

Jin, as he did for some reason, tossed his keys back for them to be caught, Yoongi making no effort but Hobi stepping up to cradle the falling objects. “Is this it?” he asked, looking up at the multi-colored brick building with a mural of a naked woman covered in ribbon plastered on the front, her private parts blocked out by the front entrance.

“You know, statistically that’s been proven to be a dumb question,” Yoongi responded, Jin responding by hitting her shoulder. The three walked in, a chime going off when they opened the door….and then continuing for a good ten seconds after they had originally walked in, already at the front desk. The desk was covered in a bearskin, making all three of them extremely unsettled. “This place is weird,” Yoongi said.

“You know, statistically—” But Jin didn’t get a chance to finish his sassy remark as a stumpy woman in a blue shawl too big for her came in through some hanging beads, click-clacking as she entered. “Hello!” she greeted, a gold tooth popping out of her mouth and through her red lipstick. Her eyes were petite, a strong blue hiding within them. She wasn’t wearing shoes, and it was about then that Hobi really wondered what the hell was going on. “Cloud Zucchini must have sent you.”

“…Cloud what?” Jin asked, leaning in as if that would make what she said no longer that.

Hobi smirked. “You know statistically—”

“Shut up Hobi.” Jin turned to him.

“No thank you, I’m actually baking a blueberry pie right now. But come on in!” Willa invited, stepping aside so they could enter. Jimin passed the donuts back to Tae and walked in, Tae passing them to Kookie and walking in, and Kookie opening the box and eating one as he entered. “It seems like you’re always baking something,” Jimin commented.

Willa just laughed at that but didn’t actually respond, two things that unsettled Tae specifically. “Sorry to bother you Willa—”

“Oh it’s no bother,” said Jerry who randomly and awkwardly appeared from behind the island counter with two frying pans in his hand…yet no noise was heard.

Tae’s eyebrows rose, his attention now on Jerry as he kissed his wife on the cheek and now the both of them stared their neighbors down. While Tae made himself nervous and Kookie was preoccupied with the thought that he could definitely take Jerry and Willa if need permitted, Jimin spoke up. “We don’t mean to bother you, but Namjoon told us that you guys might have—specifically—balloons, streamers, lamps, candles, glitter bombs, and a large banner?”

“Oh!” Willa held out her hands to Jimin who, cautiously, took them in his own. “Of course, sweetheart,” she responded, speaking to him as if they weren’t maybe a year or two apart in age. “…You three workout, right?”

Jimin tilted his head, a permanent smile on his face. “Uh…what?”

“Oh, my apologies,” the woman said, reaching out her hand. “By Cloud Zucchini I mean Namjoon. You’re his friends who need me to sow things, right?” Jin was the one who shook her hand, nodding. “I’m Peach Princess, all the sowers in our community have nicknames. Come on back.”

Without getting their consent, she latched onto Jin’s hand and led him behind the hanging beads. Hobi and Yoongi followed swiftly, pushing the beads aside to reveal a more crimson room where different-scented ascents swam in the air, smoke clouding their vision and soft Indie music played from the built-in speakers. The confusion only grew before Yoongi spotted the large, glass ball sitting on a stand atop a silk-covered table. “Oh,” she said aloud, Peach Princess sitting behind the table. “You’re a psychic.”

“Mm!” she grunted. “You know it’s very rude to assume things.”

Yoongi pouted, embarrassed. “Sorry.”

“Well don’t be, because I am. Aha! Tricked ya.” Peach giggled, reaching her hands out to take a look at the bag of torn cloth.

“So, just out of curiosity, is “Cloud” or “Zucchini” Joon’s first name or is it like—” Peach stopped Hobi then and there.

“I can fix this, easy,” she said, looking up at them. “And the name sort of just goes together. He got it because there’s nothing he can’t do with some cotton.” She chuckled.

“What about the “Zucchini” part?” Jin asked.

“Oh, it’s because he has a huge penis,” Peach answered, Jin immediately shutting down. “But anyway, yep, I can fix this.”

Jimin’s permanent smile was still plastered on his face as he and Kookie worked together to lift the slush-filled bag. They put it over their shoulders, Jimin coughing as the dust flew into his eyes. Tae just stood in the corner watching, eating an apple Jerry had given him. They were in the basement of Jerry and Willa’s home, looking around at the party decorations they had stored down there, along with old appliances, some motor parts, and the sacks they were carrying of—

“Dead bodies,” Tae said aloud, taking another bite of his apple.

Jimin and Kookie looked at him and shushed him. “They said they were just large sacks of potatoes,” Jimin replied quietly, afraid they had heard.

“Exactly,” Kookie agreed. “And even if they were dead bodies, which they’re not,” Kookie spoke louder at that part to make sure the neighbors upstairs could hear. “…some people might not want to hear kind neighbors only a knock on the door away slander their hobbies.” Tae just rolled his eyes as the two friends moved towards the stairs. “Why don’t you help Tae?”

“I’m assuming they think I’m strong because I move some stuff for movers, but I don’t think you or the other guys realize how long I have to build up my stamina each week to be able to lift those heavy things by myself that could potentially break my bones. It’s not strength, it’s preparation,” Tae explained thoroughly.

“Well you better ‘prepare’ your ass to get that smaller sack over there or I’m going to ‘prepare’ to beat you senseless,” Jimin threatened, Kookie hitting his first stair, hearing it creak when he did. Tae rolled his eyes but complied, grabbing the smaller and slightly lighter sack. He turned to them, watching them go up the stairs. “…What if this is a dead kid?”

“Stop!” they hissed.

“Great!” Hobi exclaimed. “How much do we owe you?”

Peach shook her head. “I don’t want your cash per say, I want you to buy my services.”

Hobi tried processing that. “Sorry, I’m just still stuck on that thing you said about my friend’s private parts. You want us to do a reading?”

“Well buy a reading, but yes. Only one of you,” Peach sighed. “Business hasn’t been the best lately since that new psychic place opened up on fourth street.” She looked up at Yoongi. “I bet you go see her and not me, don’t you?”

“Lady, I didn’t even know being a psychic was an actual business opportunity,” she replied. “But either way, I’m not doing it.”

Peach looked over to Hobi. “You.” Hobi pointed to himself. “Me?” She gestured with her finger for him to come over and he did, cautiously. Hobi sat down in the wooden chair on the other side of her. “Give me your hand.” Hobi did, her wise and surprisingly smooth palm pressing over the back of Hobi’s hand. She closed her eyes briefly, breathing in. Hobi turned back towards Jin and Yoongi, showing his concern with his eyes. They just shrugged, showing their neglect with their eyes. “Ah,” Peach spoke up, drawing Hobi’s attention back to her. “There’s some confliction here, yes?”

Hobi thought into himself, thinking about the mural he had been preparing over the past few days. “…Yeah,” was his answer, and suddenly Jin and Yoongi weren’t there, or weren’t relevant.

“Mm,” Peach responded, putting more pressure on his hand. “You have two hobbies, yes?” Her eyes opened. “Are they conflicting?”

Hobi nodded, looking into her pool-colored eyes now. Over those past few days of making the mural, he had been at a crossroads. He knew the sole reason for doing this was to have a send-off to drawing and artistry, but doing the mural had only reminded him of how much fun he had drawing and painting and measuring distances and proportions and capturing moments. “It feels like…” Hobi short-circuited before taking the entire guessing game out of the psychic session. “…if I give up drawing, I’ll never be able to capture those moments again, even if I do pursue and succeed at writing.”

“Ah, yes,” Peach said in that calming voice she held. “You don’t only wonder what will capture these moments if not you, but also if you will still be happy capturing these moments with words instead of lines.” Peach let go of Hobi’s hand and he took it back gently, cradling it as if it were now special. Hobi couldn’t have said it better himself.

Peach held her hand back out. “Now that’ll be $14.99 and I don’t take cards.”

“Dang Princess,” Yoongi said, Hobi just now aware of her. “No wonder your business is failing.”

“Oh, thank you all so much!” Willa applauded, holding a baked pie as she and Jerry watched Kookie, Jimin, and Tae emerge from the basement and walk through the house towards the front door.

They just nodded back, wanting it over wi—

“Oh!” Tae exclaimed, stopping in his tracks with the sack in his arms. “Something moved.”

“No it didn’t,” Willa and Jerry spoke in the same tune, causing Tae to sharply look up at them. “What’s in here again?” Tae asked.

“Just potatoes,” Jerry answered. “They went rotten.”

“You have multiple sacks of potatoes in this large, black plastic bag that just moved?” Willa nor Jerry answered right away, both taken aback by Tae’s apparent “rudeness.” Kookie covered for him. “I’m sorry, he’s just really nervous about this party, is all,” Kookie lied, smiling the sweetest he ever had.

Willa just nodded as if she even remotely understood. “Well, no need to worry. As soon as the bags hit the garbage we’ll give you what you need.” Tae nodded, slowly moving again toward the front door. As they exited—crossing the driveway to their bins—Jimin finally admitted, “We’re throwing out dead bodies.”

“Ssh, don’t mention it to anyone,” Kookie said back as they tossed them in.

“A birthday party.”

“Jin needs more…”


“I know you’re working, but…”

“Thanks guys.”

“Thanks guys.”


“Mr. Kim!”

Joon snapped out of his thoughts, releasing pressure on his patient’s foot, putting it down gently. “I’m so sorry,” he apologized, clutching his forehead. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“I think you might just be tired,” the man said, straightening himself up. “It happens to those who work as hard as you do.”

“But that’s the thing,” Joon looked up at him. “I don’t…not really, anyway. I like being around people all day.”

His patient tried to catch his eye. “Do you?”

Joon let his eye get caught, wondering that himself.

Jimin threw the sack of decorations down on the floor—because of course they gave it to them in a sack—and sighed, checking his phone. Yoongi, Hobi, and Jin walked in only moments after them, Jin throwing the keys down on the table and collapsing next to Jimin on the floor. Yoongi and Hobi sauntered over to the kitchen to look for food. Kookie and Tae walked out of the downstairs room and sat at the table. “How was your guys’ day?” Kookie asked.

“…I found out I wasn’t happy,” Hobi realized, biting into a plain piece of bread.

Jin turned his head to Jimin. “You guys?”

Jimin put his phone down and sighed. “We witnessed probable murder clean-up.”

With not a second to spare, Joon walked in after them, dropping his briefcase at the door and kicking it over to the carpet’s lining, He just stood leaning against the door, eyes drifting. “How about you, Joon?” Tae asked. “How was your day?”

Joon’s eyes stopped wandering and finally settled on his friends. “I realized that I wasn’t lonely anymore…”

And with those thoughts, the seven sat there quietly.

The day was over.


And then it was Thursday.

The seven of them woke up early for the semi-all-day celebration. Jimin had written on the banner “It someone’s birthday” in a fancy cursive and littered it with glitter, glitter that had sunken into the carpet and made Yoongi want to slap him. Yoongi clearly wasn’t aware of all the glitter bombs Jimin had gotten for later.

The doorbell rang and before Hobi could get up and walk half an inch to answer it, Kookie and Tae were at the door, tearing it open. They were both physically disappointed to see whoever was there. “Twister was supposed to be here today!” Tae whined, stepping back for Hobi to take over. He brightened up as he saw Peach Princess at the door with their bag of onesies and a stack of pizzas in hand. “Hey!” he greeted. “What’s with the pizza?”

“Oh, I also work at the pizza place you ordered from.” She handed him the pizzas. Yoongi came over to help, grabbing the bag from her and saying, “Told you the business sucks.”

“I never liked you,” Peach said bluntly to Yoongi who just shrugged and walked away. “Thank you,” Hobi said, about to close the door when Peach held it open, smiling warmly at him. “Just so you know,” she began. “I can tell that both drawing and writing make you happy and can capture those moments you want to capture so badly in life,” Hobi smiled, looking down at the floor. “…But you have to go with whatever makes you happier…and I think you know what that is.”


Hobi wasn’t sure if those were his own thoughts or Peach’s thoughts projected into his mind, but the more he thought about it the more he realized that probably wasn’t how psychics worked. “Bye Hobi,” she said, walking off their property. Hobi watched her go and smiled, Yoongi, Kookie, and Tae coming up behind him. “Dude, Amazon is so stupid,” Kookie complained. “All these millennials using a phone to get a package from across the country that can’t even get the time right?”

Yoongi peeked out onto the porch, pushing past Hobi once she saw the box just sitting there. “Are you serious?” She grabbed it and held it up. “You guys didn’t check the porch?” When neither of them said anything, Yoongi just handed it off to Tae and stormed off.

They shut the door, Hobi putting the pizza in the kitchen as Jin worked hard to finish up with the food, an apron that said, “If I were a dad, I would be killing the game” on it. The cake was already neatly set, tall and wide on the table. Jin did an amazing job, Hobi couldn’t deny it.

Joon inhaled quickly and exhaled slowly into the balloon, his cheeks turning a rosy color from all the inhalation. Jimin laughed at him as he and Yoongi put the banner up above the couch. Hobi looked up at it, humming to himself. “You know it’s about half a centimeter off, right?”

“I really don’t care, Hobi,” Jimin responded, sticking the tape on.

Tae gasped as Kookie took the game out of the package, taking it from him and smelling it. “It smells just like the cardboard from my childhood.”

“You had distinct cardboard in your childhood?”

“I liked to smell boxes.”

“Okay!” Joon shouted, gathering everyone’s attention. He stumbled a bit, kicking a multitude of balloons around. He shook it off. “It’s almost 11 AM, Jin, is the food ready?” Jin gave a thumbs up. “Jimin, you done decorating?” He nodded. “Tae and Kookie, do we have Twister?” They said yes, followed by a string of complaints. “Didn’t ask, but okay. Hobi, do we have pizza for later?” He gave another thumbs up. “Yoongi, do we have the onesies?” She nodded. “Alright, then let’s get ready people!”

Within minutes, the seven of them rushed to the bathrooms and came out dressed in their matching cow onesies, ranging in sizes to fit everyone’s body shape. Joon and Yoongi whistled for PipPip and Juggy to come, Jimin carefully took a sleeping cat Jimin into his arms, Hobi wrapped Horse around his neck, and Kookie clutched Toad in his hands. Jin brought over the bags of chips, the bowls of popcorn, and the plates of his home-made mini brownies and triangle cut peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The seven of them squeezed onto the couch, their animals cuddled in at their feet or lying on their laps, or perhaps somewhere inside their onesies slithering around. Only Joon, Jin, and Jimin had their cow hoods on, half covering their eyes. “Alright,” Hobi said, rubbing his hands together. “Now who’s ready to binge watch all of Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden!”

“Ugh, you know us so well,” Kookie said. “Play it.”

For the next six hours they watched it, and after they had devoured every last piece of food and switched positions from using each other as a pillow to lying on the ground to standing even, Kookie pressed pause and said, “…Yeah, I think that’s enough.”

They didn’t talk after his statement, but Kookie could tell they were in mutual agreement. “Well in that case,” Jimin said, turning to Yoongi who sat next to him. “Glitter bomb!” Unprepared, Yoongi turned to Jimin just in time for him to hit her square in the face with glitter packed into a plastic stick with a spring inside, unsure where he had even been hiding it. Without a second to spare, Yoongi got up and chased Jimin out the front door and into the garden. The others shot up and followed, grabbing plastic containers full of prepped glitter bombs and glitter containers from the box Jimin had been stashing away and joined them outside. The once sleeping animals stayed in, uninterested in the ruckus. It wasn’t until half their yard was covered in glitter—along with themselves—and that Jimin and Yoongi were in a stand-off that the animals trotted or slithered or hopped their way out.

“Jimin, don’t do it!” Joon called from the ground, Kookie hovered over him with a glitter bomb threatening to explode all over his white hair.

“I have to,” Jimin said back, charging toward Yoongi. Yoongi charged back, yelling, “This is what you did to me!”

The two collided.

The six of them sat on the carpet in the living room, munching on leftover brownie bits as Jimin was deafened by the hum of the vacuum cleaner moving over the carpet, cleaning up his clearly bad idea. Cat Jimin ran away.

“I told you this game was stupid,” Jimin strained to say, his left and right arm crisscrossed over each other while his left foot was in the air and his right foot was trying to find a way to move to the opposite side of the board.

Tae, Kookie, and Hobi were below, their limbs intersecting and seeming to mesh together as the game went on. “I’m starting to think Chim Chim hates Twister just because he’s not good at it,” Jin whispered to Joon who just nodded.

“That’s it,” Jimin let his body give out and collapsed onto the younger ones, crawling his way over to Jin.

“You got this Hobi!” Yoongi cheered on, Hobi wandering around aimlessly in the middle of their living room for the wall, a fake tail in his hand ready to be stuck onto a donkey’s, well, “donkey.” “You’re like, sort of, close!”

The others also cheered him on, although the cheering seemed to lessen the more he moved away from the living room and towards the kitchen.

“You got this Tae!” Yoongi cheered on, Tae wandering around aimlessly in the middle of their living for the piñata, Joon’s old baseball bat in hand ready to whip into some star-shaped cardboard.

The others also cheered him on, and unlike Hobi, he did meet his target, setting up his swing before embedding that bat into the piñata’s side, breaking it open. The cheering began, but quickly stopped once they saw the pile of chicken nuggets piling up onto the carpet.

The six of them sat on the carpet in the living room, munching on leftover chicken nugget bits as Tae was deafened by the hum of the vacuum cleaner moving over the carpet, cleaning up his clearly bad idea. Cat Jimin, again, ran away.

“No, no, NO!” Tae shouted, clutching onto Joon for moral support. “How did I get bankrupt again!?”

Jimin and Joon made no noise as they dry-heaved, unable to breathe with how funny they found it. It was Joon’s turn to roll and so he did, now Tae’s turn to laugh as Joon settled up for his third child.

“Now, Joon,” Jin said, re-positioning the cake sitting on the table, the seven of them surrounding it. “I know that this birthday is technically supposed to be for all of us, but,” Jimin handed something to Jin under the table and Jin took it, putting the blue and white candle—Joon’s favorite colors—into the cake between the “O” and “J” where Jin had written “NAMJOON” in icing. “It’s your birthday, and we all want you to know that…and how happy we are that you were born to be with us.” Jin lit the candle and took a step back, whispering, “One, Two, Three,” before they all started singing, Yoongi hitting the lights.

“Happy Birthday to you.”

Joon’s smile was seen through the unsteady light of the candle.

“Happy Birthday to you.”

Joon’s teary eyes were seen through the unsteady light of the candle.

“Happy Birthday dear Namjoon.”

Joon’s tears were seen through the unsteady light of the candle.

“Happy Birthday to you.”

Despite all of that, Joon knew once he blew out the candle, his wish would be hidden forever.

“Okay, now for the fun part,” Joon said, putting his hands together. It was 10 o’clock at night and they were all sitting with cake in hand around the pile of presents they had gotten. Some were big, some were small, but all were meaningful in their own way. Jimin had gone around and lit the candles, providing really the only light in the house. Luckily, he had gotten a lot, each of them holding a candle in their hand and having them surrounded their circle. “Who wants to go first?”

“I’ll go,” Hobi volunteered, standing up and handing his candle to Yoongi. He grabbed the long and wide but flat wrapped present, turning to them and saying, “Ready?” They all nodded, Hobi proceeding to rip off the wrapping paper and reveal the wooden frame and painting inside of it. The six collectively lost their breath staring at the picture.

It was of them, all seven of them, but what they looked like in high school. They knew exactly where the picture had come from; it was their first day in theatre class—the one class they all had together—and their teacher wanted to commemorate the day with a group photo that ended up in the yearbook. Hobi’s re-enactment of the original photo was stunning in how it caught all of their bad features—wrong hairstyles, pimples, disappointed expressions, braces—and made them something so nostalgic it gave them goosebumps. But the drawing wasn’t over yet, because where their shoulders would have begun Hobi blended the colors and on the bottom half of the image was them now, taken from a photo they took when they had first moved in. It was like their old high school selves were dripping into who they were now, the words “Happiness” written in the corner. “Hobi,” Joon breathed out. “It’s amazing.”

“This looks fantastic,” Jimin joined in. “I mean really it’s—” He looked up and met Hobi’s eye. “I mean unless you don’t want it to be.”

“No no,” Hobi shook his head. “I decided that this will be the last picture I draw for a while, so I might as well make it count…I’m gonna pursue my own happiness.” Hobi nodded, content with it. “So you like it?”

The six of them shouted “Yes”s until Hobi begged them to stop, putting the drawing aside. “Who’s next?”

“Me,” Tae said, grabbing his much smaller gift. He stood up and faced the others, not smiling. Without asking if they were ready, Tae began unwrapping it. It was a box, words and a picture scribbled on it. It wasn’t until Joon put his glasses on that he could see what the words were, the same time as all the others. “Toaster!” Joon cried, getting up and tackling Tae in a hug, the other five following suit as they screamed in joy. Moving in, for some reason, none of them had ever bought a toaster. It was something they never thought they would need, but…

“I figured you guys were all lying when you said you didn’t want a toaster,” Tae said, crushed by their collective weight. “I remember Jin crying when he couldn’t toast his bread.” When Tae started wheezing, that’s when they decided to get off of him.

“Okay okay, I’ll go next,” Jin said, grabbing his poorly-wrapped gift. Despite it being poorly wrapped, no one could tell what it was until Jin tore it open…and even then they weren’t sure. “Is that a…hammock?” Kookie asked.

“Not just a hammock,” Jin unraveled it and they looked at the long, white ropes running down from the wooden planks. “A hammock to fit seven whole people.”

Jimin gasped. “For outside?”

Jin nodded. “For outside.”

“I love you, Jin!” Yoongi said, high-fives going around. He sat back down and Yoongi took his place standing, straightening her onesie. “Okay, so I sort of made this?” Instead of picking from the pile, Yoongi walked over to the T.V. on the other side of the room where some tall thing under a silk curtain resided. “How did we never notice that?” Hobi whispered to Jin, who just shrugged. With a dramatic flick of the wrist, Yoongi revealed it. “Ta-da!”

Under the sheet was a long, carpet-covered pole. Lining the bottom was one large, monotone-colored dog bed, one that could easily fit more than two. Attached in the middle of the pole was a round carpet-like hold where—clearly—a cat could crawl into and sleep in. And then on top of the pole was a large tank with a part cutting it in half, one side snake-friendly and the other-toad friendly. Their jaws dropped once they saw it, realizing exactly what it was for. “It’s for our pets!” Yoongi stopped presenting. “I mean I know it’s technically not for everyone because Jin and Tae don’t have pets but—”

“This is physically too cool for me not to love it,” Tae interrupted, admiring the craftsmanship. Yoongi smiled, flattered as she walked back over to them. “Jimin, you go.”

Jimin got up and grabbed the smallest gift there: A flash drive. “Yeah, I didn’t really have time to wrap it,” he admitted. “But, on this flash drive holds around 1,000 songs that I have spent days thinking carefully over to create the perfect playlist for us to use in the house. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.”

“Woah,” Kookie breathed out, catching Jimin’s attention. “Woah what?” he responded. Kookie reached out for his gift—the last one in the pile—and tore it open with one, swift movement.

It was a speaker.

“And it accepts flash drives,” Kookie added, gesturing with his hand that his mind was blown. Jimin kind of just glared at him. “You know I’m really not sure if I should hug you or slap you for that.”

“Welp, whatever you decided to do, both of those are actually amazing gifts,” Joon said. “Thanks guys.”

“What about you, Joon?” Jin asked. “What’s your gift? And as soon as he said it, all of the sarcastic or sad responses popped into his head at once and he took it back. “Not that you need one since it’s your birthday. I mean of course you don’t need one. What? Ha ha.”

“No, I have one,” Joon said, setting Jin at ease. “I’m actually surprised you guys hadn’t noticed yet.”

There was a slight pause before Yoongi squinted and said, “If you say, ‘This house is your gift,’ I’m not gonna lie, I’m gonna be a bit disappointed.”

“…What if I say this couch?” Joon responded and Yoongi rolled her eyes.

“We’ve had that couch since we moved in!” Yoongi said. “It’s physically the same—Oh my God.” Yoongi did a double-take at the couch; the soft couch; the long couch that fit all seven of them and gave space for popcorn bowls and hidden glitter; the couch that even Jimin didn’t sink into; the bright green color of it; the new couch. “When did you buy a new couch?!” Now the others were looking back, everyone getting up to sit on the piece of furniture they had lied on all day without realizing was so new. Joon just sat on the floor and turned to them, satisfied. “Oh my God, I knew something was different about it!” Hobi assured, smelling it.

“What can I say…” Joon said. “…except for that the old couch was from Jimin’s place and just really, really gross. Like seriously.” Jimin couldn’t argue with that, grabbing Joon’s hand and pulling him up onto the couch with them. The most vocal one of them all spoke once more. “Honestly guys, we don’t need gift-giving ceremonies like this,” Joon said, turning to the people next to him. “Let’s just give all we have to each other, all the time. Okay?” They gave one surprisingly in sync nod, not to each other, but to the air; to the house. Jimin gave out one more, “Happy Birthday guys.”

The night was over.

Or it was close to being, minutes before midnight where things were cleaned up and people were in bed, all but Joon and Hobi. They were the last ones to refuse to stop cleaning, only stopping when Jimin convinced them the glitter could never truly go away. At that point, they sighed and collapsed on the couch in their cow onesies, too tired to brush teeth or wash faces.

“This is the last candle,” Hobi noted, grabbing the last lit candle from in front of the couch and holding it, scooting up next to Joon. “It’s like the last supper…sad.”

Joon looked up from his phone, thinking. “Are you drunk?”

“Tae should not have brought wine with that toaster,” Hobi said, burping and making Joon laugh. They sighed together, rubbing their bare feet against the couch.

“You know you’re more than just a couch, Kim Namjoon.” Hobi turned to look at him, Joon only seeing half of his face in the candle’s light, the fire too close to Hobi’s face for comfort.

Joon smiled back at him, yawning. “You know you’re more than just a painting, Jung Hoseok.” Joon let his head fall onto Hobi’s shoulder, shutting his eyes. “Goodnight.”

All was silent now, and Hobi didn’t wait to know for sure if Joon was asleep before he blew out the candle and settled into Joon as well, replying with an equally drowsy, “Goodnight.”

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