Sam sat in the coffee shop down the block from her apartment leeching wifi and working on her latest piece about a new metalcore band on the scene. She was only here because she had a deadline and the internet at her apartment had been down.

Still, she reveled in being able to spend uninterrupted time out in public again. Six months ago, she hadn't been able to leave the house without paparazzi hounding her about Nic and asking why they were suddenly no longer together. Eventually, when they realized she wasn't going to say or do anything interesting, they left her alone. They popped up here and there, but it tended to happen only if she was in an area frequented by other celebrities.

Unfortunately, today wasn't turning out to be as uninterrupted as she hoped. She'd been working for a solid two hours when five of the prettiest Asian men she had ever seen had sauntered in and wrecked her concentration.

They sat at a table by the window laughing and being loud and disruptive. Each of them was clearly styled by a professional as they wore designer gear. Their hairstyles varied from normal black hair in a standard boyish cut to more daring, dyed fashion colors and edgier cuts. She was also pretty sure they were wearing a good bit of makeup, or else they had unfairly perfect skin. Sam wanted to tell them to leave. Or at the very least she wanted to tell them to keep it down.

Her back was to the group, but she turned and glowered at them earlier. She hoped her RBF was effective enough to shut them up, but it hadn't succeeded. Her last resort was to put on her headphones and blast some music in the hope that she could focus enough to work.

After another raucous outburst from the group, Sam gave in and put on her headphones. She turned the volume up to blasting until she couldn't hear anything past the machine gun drums and distorted, chugging electric guitars. Immediately, her shoulders relaxed and she let out a deep breath. Most people didn't understand how this kind of music calmed her, but it was an outlet like any other. She let it wash away her frustration as her fingers flew across the keys of her laptop. No way was she letting some overgrown men-children get between her and her work. Not today.

Jae swatted Dabin's arm, laughing as he watched the girl put headphones on. When she'd glared at them earlier, they'd decided to see how long it took her to get fed up and leave.


"Looks like we bothered her," Dabin said in Korean with a grin. He got the others' attention and pointed at the unfortunate woman. They all burst into laughter.

Jongho shook his head and chuckled. "She's cute!"

Jongho wasn't wrong. Jae had thought so when she'd turned around to glare at them. She had big dark eyes set in a delicate face without makeup—something Jae rarely saw in women lately. Her wild curly hair was in a multicolored messy topknot and tested the strength of the hair tie she used to hold it. She dressed like a rocker in an oversized worn band tee that hinted at a petite frame and worn ripped up jeans. It was nothing fancy and the lack of effort only seemed to enhance her natural beauty.

Jinki laughed. "She may be cute, but she's mean looking. We're bothering her."

Jongho nodded his agreement and got a look in his eye that they'd all learned meant he was about to start trouble. "I think it's time for a round of Get That Number." They all froze at Jongho's words.

Get That Number was a game they played since becoming an official K-Pop group almost five years ago. The group chose a girl and then chose a member to go and get her number. Their first three years after their debut, they had to be discreet about it due to contract obligations barring them from dating. So, it had served as a trust exercise of a sort. Now, they did it just for the fun of chatting up pretty girls. But it was also harder because most of the girls knew who they were and that took the fun out of the whole endeavor. They hadn't played in months, and Jae hadn't expected to play again. Though, he was reigning champion. While some of the other members of the group got turned down at least once, he never had.

Jae saw the wheels turning in Jongho's head and he wasn't surprised when Jongho looked right at him and pointed. "I believe it's Jae's turn."

All but Jae burst into laughter at that. Dabin patted Jae on the shoulder and shook his head. "Good luck," Dabin said grinning. "You'll need it."

Jae ran a hand through his hair to push it back out of his face and chuckled despite the flutter of nerves. "Easy," he lied. He got up and Jongho grabbed his forearm before he could leave their table.

"Let's make this harder on the reigning champion, shall we?" Jongho glanced around the table and got eager nods from the twins, Minki and Jinki, and Dabin.

"Seems fair to me," Dabin said with a shrug.

"Jongho, you're savage." Minki said shaking his head and sipping his coffee.

Jae fought the urge to curse, his hands tightening on the back of his chair. "Oh, come on, guys. We don't have time for that." He wasn't wrong, they had a rigid schedule after today's downtime. They didn't even have a night in the hotel after their last show, they had to go straight to the airport from the stadium.

Dabin laughed. "You don't have to actually go on the date. You only need the promise of one."

"You don't even have to call her. How many of those calls have you made after getting their numbers? Three?" Jinki pointed out.

In his mind, Jae let out every curse he knew in every language he knew as he nodded once and headed over to the woman's table. She was beautiful at least, so he could be sincere in his interest. He tried to pretend he wasn't himself and was just another man approaching just another woman to ask for just another date.

Jae took a seat at her table, hoping it would be enough to get her attention. She froze, looking up at him with surprise that morphed into a withering look. As if she wasn't already sending off don't-bother-me vibes, he could hear the heavy rock music she was blasting. He smiled his most disarming smile and pantomimed for her to remove her headphones. She faced her computer screen and for a moment he thought she was going to ignore him. But then she rolled her eyes and let out an annoyed huff. She pulled on her headphones so one of her ears was free but she didn't remove them or shut off her music. Rough. This was rough.

"What do you want, pretty boy?" She asked looking up at him and sitting back in her chair. Her voice was even rough like she'd spent her life screaming along to the music she was listening to.

Yeesh. For a moment, Jae couldn't speak. But then he glanced at where Jongho, Dabin, Jinki, and Minki sat. They were barely containing themselves as he crashed and burned in front of them and this girl.

"So… I'm Jae," He blurted. She narrowed her eyes at him. "What are you listening to?"

She looked at him like he'd grown another head. "Music," She said flatly.

Jae sat there dumbstruck for a moment, smile frozen on his face. This woman was savage, and he kind of liked it, but he also didn't know how to react to it. He switched gears and asked another question. "What are you working on?"

"Work, actually." She crossed her arms over her chest and tilted her head to one side, clearly hoping he would take the hint and leave.

"Cool, cool…" Jae trailed off.

"Cool, cool…" He heard Jinki mimic him in Korean and he internally cringed as they all burst into laughter. This was not going well.

"So, like, my friends wanted me to get your number because you're really pretty and stuff, and I'm going to look like such a fool if I don't get your number." Jae blurted, and then kept going, "I don't want to bother you, but I am definitely probably bothering you, and now I can't stop talking. Can I please have your number? I won't call or text unless you want me to. I'll give you my number too." He fished his phone out of his pocket.

"Yeah, no. And I don't want your number," she said. "You are bothering me, by the way. So, if you could go now, that'd be great." She added, putting her headphones back on in dismissal. She'd said no like it wasn't a big deal.

Still smiling, Jae got up and thanked her despite the fact she couldn't hear him. He went back to his table and sat down, immediately dropping the smile. "Yeah, she didn't give it to me."

They all burst into laughter as he slumped down in his seat, his mood fouling by the second.

"No surprise there," Minki said as he sipped his coffee.

"You're all bastards. You gave me an impossible task! She's here doing real work for a job. Not looking for a boyfriend." Jae grumbled.

Jongho pouted at him. "Awww, is the mighty Jae brought low by his first rejection from a girl?"

"She was already bothered by us. It wasn't a fair game." Jae protested earning more laughter.

"It had to happen at some time," Dabin said looking satisfied at Jae's failure.

"I'm just glad we were all here to witness it." Jinki said and Minki nodded his agreement.

They started talking about other things, but Jae was still stuck on getting turned down. He found himself wondering why she had said no. She'd said he was pretty, so she thought he was attractive. Did he smell today? He lifted his shirt a little and inhaled. He didn't think he smelled any different than usual, all he could smell was his soap and whatever detergent his clothes had been washed in.

Jae couldn't let it go, and he got up.

"What are you doing?" Dabin asked as they all looked up at him.

"I have to know why she said no. I'll be back." Jae responded and went back over to her table.


Sam wanted to scream. Why the hell was this guy not going away? She'd sat for ten minutes, typing, pleased with herself at having gotten rid of him. But here he was again being annoyingly pretty.

He had a face that looked like it belonged in a haute couture ad, all angles and strong lines that only a pouty mouth softened. Even his mussed-up bleached blond hair looked poised to enhance his strong features. He had a surprisingly bulky build that showed despite the baggy clothing he was in. And he was tall. And he was bothering her.

She took off her headphones and closed her laptop. "What part of 'no' is confusing to you? I'm not interested."

Jae rocked up and down on his feet. "I don't mean to bother you, I just need to know why you said no." He said. "Is it my face? Do I smell? I can't figure it out." The worst part was that he seemed sincere.

She stared up at him. "What's there to know? You aren't my type."

Jae seemed to mull that over like he couldn't quite grasp the concept. "Okay, but what is your type then?"

"Don't give him anything! Run away from him!" One of his buddies called out, surprising Sam with what sounded to her like an Australian accent.

Jae's expression turned to annoyance as he said something rude sounding in another language.

"He's cussing us out in Korean right now." Called out another one of his buddies. Jae grabbed her pen and chucked it at the table earning raucous laughter and a complaint from whomever it hit.

Sam bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. The last thing she wanted was to let him think she was charmed by this. "I'm not some conquest, and I want my pen back." She said.

"Sorry," he said rubbing the back of his neck. "They're idiots. I'll get you your pen back."

"He's the idiot!" Another Australian accented buddy said. "Don't listen, don't go out with him."

She gave a frustrated sound at the annoyance and saw something flicker in Jae's eyes. He leaned in close enough for her to actually smell him. He definitely didn't stink as he'd asked her, but she wasn't going to comment on that. "If you give me a number, it doesn't have to be real, I'll take them all and we'll leave." He proposed.

Sam could practically hear angels singing at his offer. Still, she huffed in annoyance and used her extra pen to scribble a series of numbers onto the corner of her paper. She ripped it off and shoved it to him. "There, done. Now please, leave me alone."

He grinned and pocketed the piece of paper. "Thanks. Have a nice rest of your day. I hope whatever you're working on turns out good." He sauntered back to his buddies and began giving orders to them. Sam put her headphones back on and hoped that the next time she turned around they'd be gone.


Jae walked back towards the hotel with the group. A slow grin spread across his face as he stared at the little piece of paper she'd given him. She'd written "Sam" at the top before the series of numbers he assumed was fake, but her name was Sam.

Jinki cried out in dismay, tossing his head back and covering his face with his hands. "Now he'll be unbearable to live with!"

"Good job, Jae," Jongho said with a smile. "I thought for sure she'd cut your balls off and feed them to you."

Dabin popped up behind him and tried to grab the paper. "Is it real? Show us!" Jae dodged his grab, but Jongho swooped in and grabbed it from the other side.

Jae made a mad grab at Jongho, but Jongho deftly stepped away from his grip as he fished his phone out and began to dial. Jae panicked and went at Jongho again, only to have Dabin and Jinki get between them. Dabin held him back. "Come on, bro, this isn't funny! I got her number, that was the deal."

Jongho hit send on his phone, and his eyes widened and his jaw dropped as it rang. He hurried to put the phone on speaker, and they all listened for an answer. She'd given him a real number. "It wasn't fake!" Jongho pumped a fist in the air.

Jae made a rude hand gesture to thank them for their support as he waited for the outcome of the phone call. "You're all bastards." He had to admit, he was curious to know if she'd actually given him her real number.

The phone stopped ringing as someone picked up on the other end. "Hello, this is Sam." She'd given him her real number! Her voice came through clear and professional with the same grainy quality to it that made it sound like she spent most of her time screaming.

"Is it her? I don't speak English, what's she saying?" Jongho asked frowning.

They all looked to Jae for confirmation.

"Wait, you actually gave me your number? Damn, I'm good." Jae blurted in shock, a smile forming on his face.

All but Jongho made exclamations in English and Korean that they knew he had tried to cheat. Jongho looked confused.

"Wait, you?" Her voice tipped up in pitch. "Oh my god, you JUST left here. And you said you wouldn't call!"

Minki shook his head at Jae. "This is a loss. You cheated by telling her to give you a fake number." He said it again in Korean for Jongho's benefit and got a nod of agreement in response.

"No way!" Jae protested before switching to Korean. "She gave me her real one, that's a win!"

"Whatever. Consider yourself blocked." She announced and the line went dead.

Jae didn't care that she had hung up, he was elated she had given him her real number.

"What'd she say before she hung up?" Jongho asked as Dabin handed him back his phone.

Jinki was holding his sides laughing. "She said she was blocking him and hung up."

"Hey, she blocked my number!" Jongho complained, affronted, as they resumed their walk back to their hotel. "Here," Jongho handed Jae the piece of paper. "Keep it. You never know."

Jae looked at the crumpled piece of paper between his fingers for a moment before he put it into his pocket. Jongho wasn't wrong. You never do know.