- Genre: Fluff, Slice of Life
- Word Count: 2,015
- Pairing: Reader x Taeil
- World: NCT
You pulled into the parking garage next to the SM building, stifling a yawn. It was nearing midnight and you were exhausted from a long day at work. You texted your boyfriend, letting him know that you were waiting in the garage. He responded almost instantly, telling you to come in the building because he would be another thirty minutes or so – even through text, you could sense his worry. He didn’t like the thought that his beloved was sitting alone in a closed-off parking garage at midnight. Usually, you relented and came inside just to ease his worry, but your day had been extra taxing on you and you didn’t have the energy. He was lucky that you had managed to drive there safely! After letting him know this, you leant the seat back and let your body relax to the soft tone of the radio.
You’re not sure how much time passed, but you could feel yourself hanging in the narrow space between being awake and asleep. Your ears registered the sound of footsteps echoing in the garage, but your mind didn’t process it. Your mind had almost completely crossed over when a loud scream made you nearly jump out of your skin. Your eyes flung open and you screamed out, seeing a face mushed against the glass.
Heechul backed away, torn between amused and offended. “I’m not that ugly am I?”
Your hand rested over your racing heart ad you flung the door open, grabbing the closest thing to you and flinging it at him. The manga didn’t go very far, missing the cackling male by a mile. “Heechul, you jerk!”
“In my defense, I didn’t know you were asleep.”
You scoffed, sitting on the hood of the car. “I almost was, until I saw your ugly face.”
“Now that’s just rude.” He pouted, sitting beside you. “Taeil asked me to come check on you.”
“He’s such a worrywart,” you mumbled, rubbing your tired eyes.
“Because he loves you~”
“Look at that smile, so cute!” Heechul pinched your cheek and you groaned, smacking his hand away.
“You’re such a pain!”
The elevator dinged and rushed footsteps echoed throughout the garage. Taeil came into sight a few minutes later, breathing heavy. His lips split into a bright smile as soon as he saw you. He threw his arms around you, pulling you off the car so he could snuggle you close. “I missed you, honey.”
You chuckled, running a hand through his damp hair. “You saw me this morning.”
His forehead found yours. “It feels like so much longer. Ready to go home?” You nodded and his hand gently rubbed your side. “Are you tired?”
Without a word, he picked you up into his arms and carried you to the passenger side. You pulled the door open and he gently set you down on the seat, making sure you were clear before closing the door.
“Thank you for checking on her, hyung.” Taeil bowed at Heechul, unaware of the fright he had given you.
“Anytime,” He sent you a smirk and you rolled your eyes, turning away from him.
Taeil climbed into the driver’s seat and started the car.
The sun streamed in through the thin gap of the curtains, landing right across your eyes. You groaned in frustration, rolling over to bury your face in Taeil’s t-shirt. His body reacted, arms tightened around your waist, his lips finding the top of your head.
“Good morning, honey.” His voice was soft, mind still hazy with sleep.
“I hate mornings,” you muttered, feeling his chest rumble when he chuckled. “You’re off today, right?”
“Yes, for the next three days and my boss made sure to get every ounce of work he could out of me.” You sighed thinking about how much you had run back and forth yesterday – you hadn’t even gotten a lunch break. “Why? What’s on your mind, Tae?”
He hummed, his thumb drawing circles on your hip. “The company is focusing on Dream’s comeback, so we have a couple days free.” He pushed himself up, supporting his head with his palm. “Let’s take a trip.”
Taeil was silent for a moment. “Camping, let’s go camping.”
You rolled onto your back, looking up at the ceiling thoughtfully. “Alone with Taeil in the wilderness… I could get behind that.”
He smiled brightly, leaning down to peck your lips. “Do you want me to make breakfast or grab some on the road?”
“A bacon egg and cheese from McGonalds sounds amazing right now.”
“Let’s get ready, then!” He threw the comforter off of you.
You took turns taking a shower, packing a bag of essentials while you waited. The campsite you were going to was a two and a half hour drive from your home, and there was an outdoor enthusiast shop five minutes away from the site.
Once you were both ready, you hopped into the car and took off.
“The next time you want to go camping, maybe check the weather first?”
He sent you a sheepish look, tensing when the sky lit up with a crack of lightning. The sky was dark, covered by thick gray clouds. Rain pounded the Earth below to the point that it was hard to see the road.
“We definitely can’t camp in this.” You muttered.
“It’s not safe to drive in, either.”
“There’s a motel down the street.” You informed him, looking at your phone. “It’s the only one for a few miles.”
Having no choice, he drove down the street to the motel, pulling up at the door to let you out. You rushed out of the car and under the awning covering the entrance. It took you less than a minute, but you were nearly soaked to the bone, your clothes sticking to you like glue. By the time Taeil made it over, he was looking like a drowned rat.
You stepped into the motel, shivering at the blast of cold air that hit you. Taeil threw his arm around your waist in a feeble attempt to share his warmth. While he got you a room, you decided to look around the entryway.
The wallpaper was peeling and had turned a faded yellow, the chairs wobbly and seats tearing. The paintings on the walls were abstract, made with dark colors. Looking at them made you uncomfortable.
Taeil called you over and you followed him down the hallway to your room. The carpet was a puke green, a stark contrast to the faded wallpaper. The room wasn’t much better, sticking to the theme of green and yellow. The sheets were made of snagged cotton. Once white, they were now stained with who knows what.
“Take your clothes off,” Taeil told you before pulling his shirt off.
You set the bags on the chair, pulling out a set of clothes for both of you before stepping out of the wet ones. Even your underwear was wet.
“Much better,” you breathed out, feeling warmth from the cotton PJs you had packed. Taeil came up behind you, gently rubbing your head with the towel.
Thunder shook the windows and the power flickered a couple times.
His arms wrapped around you, chin resting on your shoulder. “I’m sorry,”
“I wanted a peaceful weekend for us, but now we’re stuck here.”
You patted his arm before you turned around, pressing your lips to his cheek. “It’s not your fault. And who knows, maybe the storm will pass and we can still get some camping in.” The lights flickered again. “Let’s watch some TV before the power goes out…”
Night had fallen and it was still pouring down rain. The lights continued to flicker, making it impossible for Taeil to sleep. He couldn’t understand how you were sleeping so soundly.
It was nearing one in the morning when the power finally gave out, engulfing the room in pitch black. Taeil moved to the window, peeking out the curtains. There wasn’t a single light on the street, aside from the few cars brave enough to traverse the slick roads. The darkness made him feel uneasy.
He climbed back into bed and grabbed his phone. The brightness of the screen illuminated his face, tricking his eyes into thinking the room had somehow grown darker. He became hyper-aware of every sound made by the old motel. Every little creak or thump had his eyes searching for the source.
Thunder clapped loudly, seeming to shake the entire building. It nearly made him jump out of his skin. He took a deep breath, resting a hand over his racing heart. Lightning lit up the room for a moment and his eyes caught a glimmer of something on the wall. He shined the phone light towards it, lighting up a dark painting of an old man. His eyes were narrowed, black beads full of displeasure. Cracked lips tugged down to form a frown and a deep scar running from the bridge of his nose, across his eye and stopping at the end of his thin brow.
Maybe it was just his imagination running wild, but he could have sworn the eyes moved. He suddenly got an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach and he felt as if something bad would happen if he even attempted to sleep.
Swallowing his nerves, he returned to the bed, sliding under the covers and close to your body. For a moment, he contemplated waking you up, but he knew that you needed your rest. Not only that, but he didn’t want to bother you with his paranoia.
His eyes scanned your face as you snored lightly. You looked so content and peaceful that it calmed his nerves just a little. He planted a kiss on your forehead and settled for playing a game on his phone to occupy him. Before he knew it, he had fallen asleep.
Your eyes fluttered open and your body stretched, a yawn passing your lips. Sitting up, you rubbed the sleep from your eyes, glancing at the body next to you. His chest was rising and falling softly, his hand clutched around the phone sat on his stomach. You swung your legs over the side of the bed and approached the window.
Dark clouds still lingered in the sky, but the sun was forcing its way through. The heavy rain had been reduced to a gentle shower. Debris littered the streets, marking the path of the storm.
With a yawn, you stepped into the bathroom. After doing your business, you turned to the sink and froze. Written on the mirror in red were the words ‘You are unwelcome. Redrum.’
‘That was definitely not there yesterday!’ You scrambled out of the bathroom, nearly jumping on top of Taeil. You grabbed his shoulders, shaking him roughly.
“What? What’s wrong?!” Seeing your frantic expression shocked him awake.
“We need to leave,” was all you could manage.
He wanted to question you, but seeing the panic on your face made him spring into action, hastily throwing your things into the bag. You speed-walked out of the room, feeling goosebumps erupt on your skin – it felt like eyes were following your every move.
Silence hung over you during the drive home, and it wasn’t until you were safe in your apartment that you told him what you had found. In turn, he told you about his own encounter with the painting. Wanting answers, you looked up the motel online.
“In 1964, Beatrice Kim and her husband, Kibum Kim, were found murdered in their bed by the cleaning staff. The sheets were soaked in their blood, but no physical wounds could be found. The official cause of death is unknown and there are no suspects. Police are baffled.” You read, suppressing a shiver.
Taeil, sitting next to you, gently hit the scroll wheel on the mouse. “They were staying in room 340… that was our room!”
“We stayed in a haunted room??” Your eyes met his and he swallowed nervously, shutting the laptop.
“We’re never going camping again.”