It all started with a trip to the hospital. As usual, it was mostly Chaeyoung’s fault.
To be honest, Jeongyeon didn’t even need to be there. Mina had been just as sober as she was, and unlike Jeongyeon she was meant to be Tzuyu’s ride home. But seeing Tzuyu standing there with a bleeding hand while the others fussed around her struck a chord in Jeongyeon’s heart, and now here she was driving Tzuyu, Chaeyoung and Dahyun to the hospital.
(All her friends called her the mom friend, which Jeongyeon found quite insulting. No mom friend dabbed like she did, and she always encouraged their partying and nights out. Just because she made sure they all got home alive didn’t make her a mom friend. Insisting that they texted her so she knew they all made it home safe was a normal friend thing to do.
Honestly you break down Sana’s door one time because she was stupid enough to fall asleep before texting you, and you’re stuck with a label for life)
“So how exactly did you end up with a broken hand?” Jeongyeon asked as she weaved through the traffic.
“Chaeyoung told me that sometimes she felt I was like a brick wall to talk to.” Tzuyu slurred. “And I thought that was crazy, because fuck brick walls I’m way tougher than them.”
“So she turned around and punched a wall.” Dahyun sighed.
“Not true.” Tzuyu objected, her good hand flailing around the backseat in protest. “I told Chaeyoung I was tougher and she said “prove it.” and I said how and then she took her camera out and told me that if I managed to beat the wall in a fight, it would show everyone I was tougher so then I punched it.”
“In my defence,” Chaeyoung piped up, her eyes just as clouded at Tzuyu’s. “I didn’t think she would actually physically fight the wall. I just thought she’d yell at it for a bit before getting distracted.”
“I won though, didn’t I?”
“Uh…” Jeongyeon was ninety nine percent certain that the video on Chaeyoung’s phone would show the wall very much intact after Tzuyu’s punch, but right now none of them had the heart to tell her the truth. “You sure did. That wall knows better than to mess with you after tonight.”
“Thought so.” Tzuyu snuggled contentedly into Chaeyoung’s side despite her broken hand.
Thankfully, they arrived at the hospital before Tzuyu asked to look at the video, and after finding a place to park Jeongyeon lead the four of them into the Accident and Emergency department. By some miracle it was nowhere near as crowded as usual tonight, so it only took twenty minutes before they were given a bed and a nurse came to see them.
(Jeongyeon didn’t believe in love at first sight, not really. What she did believe in was potential. She knew that she could look at someone and know, right there and then, that if they hit it off it could lead to love.
Of course, this was all theoretical to her, only used in arguments when Dahyun insisted she was in love with Sana the moment she laid eyes on her.
“You mean when she tripped over you when you were lying on the floor and you ended up with matching broken noses?”
“Soulmates Jeongyeon, I’m telling you!”
But tonight, Jeongyeon found proof that her theory was correct.)
After a few minutes spent updating their worried friends on the situation, someone finally came to deal with them. When the nurse pushed open the curtain and walked in, she made eye contact with Jeongyeon for all of two seconds. Within those two seconds, something inside Jeongyeon surged, similar to lust, but coming from a very different place. It was intense and passionate, and really shouldn’t have been possible considering they’d met all of three seconds ago.
(Jeongyeon didn’t love Nayeon when she first laid eyes on her, but she did recognize the potential.)
“What’ve we got here?” the nurse asked, in a tone that implied that she had dealt with far too many drunk accidents already and she wasn’t hopeful this would be any different.
“I think I broke my hand.” Tzuyu held it up mournfully, the pain apparently hitting her as the alcohol wore off.
“How did this happen?” The nurse examined the hand gently, and Jeongyeon couldn’t take her eyes off her.
She was young for a nurse, Jeongyeon realised. They had to be around the same age, yet Jeongyeon was still in college and this woman had a full-time job.
She also hadn’t given them her name. Was that normal in nursing? Jeongyeon didn’t think so. Then again, nurses were supposed to be comforting and kind, but everything this girl did reeked of condescension.
“I punched a wall.”
Yep, that look was pure condescension.
“Of course you did.” The nurse sighed. “Well listen, I’m going to give you some painkillers and then you just hang tight until we can get you down for an x-ray.”
She went to leave the room, and Jeongyeon, finally snapping out of her stupor, blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
“What’s your name?”
The nurse looked at her and raised one perfectly shaped eyebrow, causing Jeongyeon to blush.
She turned and left then, closing the curtain behind her. It was like a spell had been lifted the second she disappeared, and Jeongyeon was suddenly aware of the two kids smirking at her.
“I think someone has a little crush.” Dahyun nudged Chaeyoung and they both burst out into giggles.
“Who?” Tzuyu frowned in confusion, which gave Jeongyeon hope that she hadn’t been blindingly obvious about her attraction to Nayeon.
“Jeongyeon thinks the nurse is pretty, don’t you?” Chaeyoung’s wicked grin told Jeongyeon that she’d be teasing her about this for weeks.
The blush on her cheeks was answer enough. Jeongyeon deliberately avoided eye contact with all three of her friends, but she couldn’t avoid the distaste in Tzuyu’s voice.
As memorable as their first meeting had been, Jeongyeon really didn’t have any plans to follow up on it. Sure, Nayeon had been pretty, and Jeongyeon had felt something unusually strong when they met, but she didn’t know the nurse at all, and she hadn’t had time to ask for her number or anything.
Luckily, fate decided to give her a second chance. Unfortunately, it was due to her own broken arm.
When the bedside curtain was pulled open and Jeongyeon was met with a familiar raised eyebrow, she didn’t know whether to cringe or smile.
“Hey there.” Nayeon briskly walked over and inspected Jeongyeon’s arm. “Your friend punch you instead of a wall this time?”
“She wasn’t involved in this, and would you believe no alcohol was involved either?” Jeongyeon sighed. “I was just trying to do a good deed for my other friends.”
“Oh yeah?” She couldn’t tell if Nayeon was actually curious or just being polite, but Jeongyeon kept talking anyway.
“I have these two friends who share a dorm together. For some reason, they got it into their heads that they wanted to paint the roof of their room and I volunteered to do it because the two of them are walking disasters.”
“And yet you’re the one here with a broken arm?” The raised eyebrow was back, but it was more teasing this time.
“Momo tried splashing Sana with paint and she tripped over a bucket trying to escape. Knocked straight into the ladder I was balancing on and we all came tumbling down.”
“Oh wow.” Nayeon seemed genuinely impressed, or maybe terrified at how accident prone all Jeongyeon’s friends tended to be. “So this really was the best case scenario.”
“Yep.” Jeongyeon hadn’t stopped smiling since Nayeon walked in, and it grew into a full-blown grin when the nurse smiled back.
“Sounds like you really deserve a break. Hang tight and we’ll get you scheduled for an x-ray and surgery to fix that arm. I’ll see what I can do about getting you a proper bed as well.”
“Oh wow, ok.” Jeongyeon hadn’t been expecting that. “You really don’t have to do-”
“Of course I do, it’s my job.” Nayeon replied. “Besides you’re one of the few people I’ve met today who didn’t break their limbs due to their own stupidity, so I’ll do what I can to make this easy for you.”
She gave Jeongyeon one last small smile before leaving, and a grin remained on Jeongyeon’s face for a good few minutes until it occurred to her that she still hadn’t got Nayeon’s number.
It took less than a week for Jeongyeon to end up back in the hospital. Thankfully, her arm had not been the casualty and remained safely wrapped up in its cast. Her nose on the other hand, was dripping blood and probably broken.
She really needed less accident-prone friends, especially ones that didn’t get so immersed in dancing that they forgot about the person standing behind them. It had been a very graceful spin, but Jeongyeon couldn’t quite appreciate Momo’s skill properly due to the foot that smacked into her face.
Momo apologised the entire ride over, and despite Jeongyeon insisting that it wasn’t her fault, she remained anxiously by Jeongyeon’s side as they waited for a nurse.
When the curtain opened to reveal Nayeon, Jeongyeon was fairly certain the universe was trying to tell her something.
Nayeon’s face lit up when it saw Jeongyeon, but then her eyes moved to Momo and her hand on top of Jeongyeon’s and her smile dimmed. Or maybe Jeongyeon was just over thinking it. She’d only met Nayeon twice after all, so why would the girl dislike Momo when they’d never met?
“Back so soon?” Nayeon questioned, taking a seat opposite Momo.
“There was an incident.” Jeongyeon grinned sheepishly, then winced in pain. “I think my nose is broken.”
“I kicked her in the face!” Momo blurted out.
Nayeon gave a condescending eyebrow raise, which seemed to be her default reaction to Jeongyeon’s friends. Jeongyeon couldn’t really blame her.
“Well the doctor will be here in a minute.” Nayeon gently reached over to cup Jeongyeon’s face, turning it from side to side to inspect her nose.
Jeongyeon tried not to shiver at her touch. Nayeon was just being professional, she should stop reading into her every gesture and expression.
“There’s a vending machine near the emergency exit.” Nayeon kept her eyes on Jeongyeon’s face as she spoke. “If you want to help Jeongyeon you can go get some water from it.”
“Me?” Momo said, startled. “Oh, yeah sure I can do that.”
She leapt up and scurried out of the room, shooting Jeongyeon guilty looks the entire time. Jeongyeon wanted to reassure her once again that it hadn’t been her fault, but she was kind of distracted by Nayeon’s face growing closer to hers.
Calm down calm down oh she smells nice calm down-
“I’m not exactly the top expert around here but it looks pretty broken to me.” Nayeon let go of her face and Jeongyeon released a breath she hadn’t even realised she’d been holding. “If you want my advice I’d tell you to get a less violent girlfriend.”
“It was an accident.” Jeongyeon insisted, and then it registered. “Wait, girlfriend? Oh no, Momo and I are just friends.”
“Momo?” Nayeon’s eyes widened. “The clumsy walking disaster friend who you broke your arm trying to help?”
Was it normal for nurses to remember every patient’s story? Maybe. Jeongyeon really should look into it since she kept ending up in here.
“Yeah that’s her.” Jeongyeon smiled sheepishly. “She knocked into me while dancing and well, this happened. To be honest, I was the one in the way, but as you can probably tell she feels pretty guilty.”
“That explains the coddling.” Nayeon smirked. “Are you sure she’s not into you? I could have sworn you two were girlfriends.”
“Positive.” Jeongyeon laughed. “I love her, but not like that. Besides, Momo doesn’t do romance and I…”
Don’t say it don’t say it.
“…I kind of have my eye on someone else right now.”
Oh God, you said it.
She expected Nayeon to recoil, or make an excuse and leave, but instead her smirk just grew.
“Oh yeah? Me too.”
Four days later and Jeongyeon was back again. This time, surprisingly enough it was her own fault.
Chaeyoung didn’t usually approach her with dumb dares, likely knowing that Jeongyeon was harder to persuade than the rest of her inebriated friends. Tonight however, she seemed to sense something was different, which was why she sidled up to Jeongyeon with a grin that promised trouble.
“There’s a hotdog in the kitchen and no one knows where it came from. It looks alright but everyone’s scared to eat it.”
Jeongyeon narrowed her eyes, not fooled for a second by Chaeyoung’s innocent expression.
“I’ll do it for fifty bucks.”
“I only have a twenty on me.”
“Fine.” Chaeyoung gave in, apparently considering the money worth the rare sight of Jeongyeon doing something ridiculous.
Jeongyeon couldn’t say why tonight of all nights she indulged Chaeyoung. It was just that when she asked herself what was the worst that could happen, her mind went straight to the hospital.
Straight to Nayeon.
So yes, maybe she was being reckless. Sue her, she wanted to see the pretty nurse again, and hopefully, finally ask her for her number. Four trips worth of casual flirting was enough to take that next step, right?
One visit to the hospital and stomach pumping later, Jeongyeon severely regretted every decision she’d made that night.
Even when the door to her room opened and Nayeon’s head poked in, she could barely muster a weak smile to greet her favourite nurse.
“Which friend was it this time?”
“Chaeyoung. I haven’t told you about her yet but she’s usually the mastermind behind my other friends’ drunk stunts.”
“Like punching a brick wall?”
“Yep.” Jeongyeon groaned as her stomach gave a painful twinge. “Although to be fair this one is mostly my fault. I didn’t have to agree to her dare but I just…felt like being an idiot.”
“Oh really?” Nayeon raised an eyebrow, but her playful smirk stopped it from being too disdainful. “You wanted another trip to the hospital that bad?”
Jeongyeon laughed nervously.
“Something like that.”
Jeongyeon actually did try to ask for Nayeon’s number that time. Unfortunately, she only got as far as “Hey-” when her stomach decided to protest and she ended up retching into a basin right in front of her crush. As if she wasn’t embarrassed enough, Jeongyeon lasted exactly two minutes before she was back in hospital.
Her friends knew that she’d be dizzy and weak, so why the heck did they think surprising her directly in front of the hospital was a good idea?
Needless to say, Jeongyeon didn’t appreciate it when Dahyun and Sana popped out from behind a tree and screamed “SURPRISE!” into her face. She appreciated even less when it made her stumble backwards, trip over Mina who had snuck up behind her, and whack her head off the ground.
As she got her head bandaged up, for the first time ever, Jeongyeon was grateful that Nayeon wasn’t the nurse looking after her.
With her head, her arm, her nose and her stomach all recovering, Jeongyeon really didn’t feel like going back to the hospital anytime soon, even with the temptation of seeing Nayeon. She turned down all invitations to nights out in favour of resting at home. She read books, watched tv and slept.
It took three days before boredom got the best of her.
When Dahyun’s name lit up on Jeongyeon’s phone, the sensible part of her knew that she should ignore the call. However, the sensible part of her was growing a lot smaller ever since meeting Nayeon, so against her better instincts she answered.
“Hey, can Mina and I borrow your car? You know, since you only have one good hand at the minute I figured you wouldn’t be driving it.”
“Do either of you even have a driver’s licence?”
“Nope, that’s why we want to practice.”
“This is a terrible idea.” Jeongyeon sighed.
“So you’ll let us?”
“Yeah, as long as I can come along to supervise and make sure you don’t crash. Come over in the next hour and I’ll teach you both how to drive.”
“Yes! Mina let’s go!” Dahyun’s excitement was enough to put a smile on Jeongyeon’s face. “I promise you won’t regret this. I’ve been practicing on the driving games in the arcade and I think I’m actually pretty good.”
Dahyun was not a good driver.
To be fair, she had potential. She just tended to ignore Jeongyeon’s advice like “turn left” or “change pedals” in favour of pressing every button and knob she could see and asking afterwards what they did.
“Is this big red one the airbag?” Dahyun pressed it.
“No.” Jeongyeon slapped her hand away and pressed the button again. “That’s your emergency lights. It warns other drivers that you’re having difficulty.”
“Oh cool.” Dahyun swerved dramatically to the right and Mina went flying across the backseat. “The Mario game didn’t have that.”
“Probably because it’s an arcade game meant for kids.” Jeongyeon hissed.
“Well yeah but you’d think they’d be a little more realistic. They have the pedals but not much else, it’s false advertising for kids who want a proper driving experience.”
“That’s not the… you know what never mind. Just watch out up ahead there’s a car reversing-”
Dahyun slammed on the breaks, and Jeongyeon’s arms shot out instinctively to brace herself. Her good hand landed fine, but her bad hand pressed straight against the cigarette lighter coil. Pain shot up her hand, and not just from the broken bone in her arm.
“Oh my god it burns! Holy shit is my hand on fire? It feels like my hand is on fire! I don’t even smoke why was that thing switched on?”
Mina began fumbling for the first aid kit, while Dahyun just laughed nervously.
“My bad. I didn’t realise that knob did anything.”
It was unrealistic to expect Nayeon to be the only nurse to look after Jeongyeon every time she ended up in the A&E, but she still couldn’t stop the twinge of disappointment when the curtain was pulled open and a new, not-Nayeon nurse entered.
The nurse seemed nice, but she had a smile on her face when she looked at Jeongyeon that was kind of unsettling. It made Jeongyeon feel like the nurse was in on something and all her friends were going to sneak attack her out of nowhere.
“Yoo Jeongyeon, right?” the nurse asked. “Can’t believe I finally get to meet you.”
The feeling of paranoia increased, and Jeongyeon double checked that Sana or Mina weren’t hiding behind the curtain.
“Sorry but, do I know you?”
“Nope.” The nurse’s grin widened. “But Nayeon talks about you a whole lot. I’ve been hoping to see this infamous patient with the ridiculous friends. This is what, your fifth time in here this month?”
Jeongyeon’s face felt as hot as her hand. Nayeon talked about her? To her colleagues, or maybe to her friends? She was ‘infamous’? Jeongyeon didn’t have a clue how to process any of that.
“I’m Jihyo by the way.” The nurse continued, checking the bandaging on Jeongyeon’s hand. “Nayeon’s best friend. Pretty sure I’m her only friend but don’t tell her I said that.”
“I won’t.” Jeongyeon still didn’t have a clue what was going on.
“I’ll tell her you came in again, she’ll get a kick out of it.” Jihyo commented as she began changing the dressing. “I know you told the doctor but I’m curious, how did you burn yourself?”
“Teaching my friend how to drive.”
“Oh wow.” Jihyo laughed. “Nayeon really wasn’t exaggerating then.”
“Nope.” Jeongyeon sighed. “They live to make me suffer.”
“Well I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but you being here really brightens Nayeon’s day. The way she talks about you, I’d say you’re her favourite person in this hospital, other than me of course. I almost thought… well actually that’s none of my business.”
Jihyo finished redressing the wound and moved on to another patient, leaving Jeongyeon to try and figure out just what exactly she had been going to say.
“This is ridiculous.” Momo complained, as Sana drove her, Tzuyu and Jeongyeon to the hospital. “This is why Mina and I are strictly friends with benefits. Relationships are the worst! Sana gets a girlfriend and suddenly she stops being the ridiculously clumsy drunk friend and becomes the responsible designated driver.”
“You and I literally tripped over each other and fell into Mina’s swimming pool less than two weeks ago.” Sana pointed out.
“And now Jeongyeon!” Momo continued as if Sana hadn’t spoken. “She used to be the mom friend but ever since she got a girlfriend at the hospital she’s agreeing to a ton of dumb stunts.”
Jeongyeon would protest that, but they were driving her to the hospital because she and Mina decided to have a skateboarding race, despite the fact that Jeongyeon hadn’t stood on a board in years. Her twisted and possible sprained ankle made it harder to argue with Momo on the ‘dumb stunts’ part. The ‘girlfriend’ however…
“What girlfriend?” Tzuyu spoke up
“No one.” Jeongyeon said quickly. “I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“This nurse at the hospital who she keeps running into.” Momo grinned. “They’re not together yet but we all know how badly Jeongyeon wants it. Chaeyoung said she was blushing like crazy the first time they met.”
“That time I broke my hand?” Tzuyu’s mouth twisted like she’d tasted something sour. “Really? Her?”
“She’s not that bad.” Jeongyeon protested weakly. “You just caught her on a bad day. She’s been really nice to me every time I end up in there.”
And funny, and flirty and pretty, and Jeongyeon might be falling hard for her but they didn’t need to know that part.
Sana pulled over to let them out at the entrance. Tzuyu considered Jeongyeon’s words thoughtfully as they walked towards the door.
“So you’re saying if I broke my hand again she’d be a much kinder nurse to me?”
“Uh…” Jeongyeon had no idea what Tzuyu was getting at. “…maybe?”
The she turned around and punched the hospital wall as hard as she could.
“Tzuyu what the hell?”
“Oh no my hand is broken.” Tzuyu stated flatly. “I sure hope I get a nice nurse looking after me.”
“What was- What even- What the fuck is wrong with you people?” Jeongyeon spluttered.
“You say ‘you people’ as if you’re not one of us.” Momo chimed in. “Newsflash Jeongyeon: You’re the one who’s spent the most time in the hospital.”
“Let’s just go in.” Jeongyeon groaned. “And I hope you get the meanest nurse with the worst bedside manner.”
(Tzuyu did in fact get the nurse with the worst bedside manner. Unfortunately for Jeongyeon that nurse was also the one she had been hoping to keep away from Tzuyu.)
They were put in a room with two beds, and Momo sat patiently between them while Jihyo bandadged Jeongyeon’s foot. When the door opened to reveal Nayeon Jeongyeon’s heart rose, only for it to abruptly sink again when Nayeon strode over to Tzuyu.
“Alright, new patient. What happened to you?”
“I punched a wall.” Tzuyu’s tone dared Nayeon to question her.
Jeongyeon cringed when Nayeon raised an eyebrow. It was cold and condescending, not playful or teasing like she was used to. This was the Nayeon from their very first meeting, and Jeongyeon didn’t know how to explain to her that she was essentially being tested right now. True, the only stakes were her friends’ approval of her maybe-someday-girlfriend, but she couldn’t let Nayeon walk blindly into Tzuyu’s trap.
“Hi Nayeon.” She piped up, waving her broken arm.
Nayeon looked up in surprise at the sound of Jeongyeon’s voice, and her entire demeanour softened when she saw who was in the other bed.
“Hey you.” She grinned. “I’m not even surprised that you’re back here again.”
“Are you disappointed in me?” Jeongyeon waved her unhurt leg in the air. “I’m down to two functioning limbs.”
“I should be.” Nayeon smirked. “I’m supposed to encourage my patients to stay healthy, but I just can’t bring myself to feel bad every time I see you in one of these beds.”
“Careful.” Jeongyeon laughed. “Talk like that and I might just break my other arm to keep you entertained.”
“Six times in less than a month, you’ve almost beaten the record.” Nayeon shook her head fondly, but then she seemed to remember that Jeongyeon wasn’t her patient today.
She turned back to face Tzuyu, all warmth gone from her expression. Tzuyu raised one eyebrow in an almost perfect imitation of Nayeon’s signature scorn. Nayeon glared at her, undaunted, and there was a tense silence while the other three people in the room waited to see who would break first.
Nayeon eventually turned away, and Tzuyu’s lips twisted up into a smug smirk. Jeongyeon had absolutely no idea what any of that meant.
“Right well, I’ll be back to give you more painkillers in a while. Just hang tight and try not to hulk out on these walls. They’re a lot thinner than the brick you usually punch.”
With that Nayeon left, and Jeongyeon waited with baited breath for Tzuyu’s verdict.
Jeongyeon groaned and buried her head in her pillow.
“I think they’re cute.” Momo smiled. “She obviously likes Jeongyeon back, but neither of them are willing to go beyond flirting.”
“I know, right?” Jihyo agreed, finished bandaging Jeongyeon’s foot. “I’ve never seen Nayeon so shy with a crush, it’s adorable. Usually she’d just go right up and ask them out, but it seems like Jeongyeon is pretty special.”
“You know I can hear you both.” Jeongyeon mumbled.
“I’m Jihyo.” Jihyo extended her hand and Momo shook it with a grin.
“Hirai Momo. Want to join the betting pool our friends have on when they’re finally going to go for it?”
“How about you combine that betting pool with the one us A&E nurses have? It’ll give us a bigger prize and better intel for more accurate guesses.”
“Jihyo, you incredibly beautiful nurse, I think this is the start of a wonderful partnership.”
“I hate all of you.” Jeongyeon declared, her face still buried in her pillow.
“And with this, you tie with some kid named Yoojung for most trips to the hospital under a month.” Nayeon informed her as Jeongyeon lay in a brand-new bed.
“I know it sounds insane but I really wasn’t planning on matching that record.” Jeongyeon groaned, her ribs throbbing. “We were just supposed to have a peaceful day in the park. It’s honestly a talent how Sana and Dahyun can make any trip end in disaster.”
“Why exactly did Dahyun scream ‘LEAF!’ just as Sana was cycling past you? I mean you were in a park it’s impossible not to trample on a few leaves even when you’re just walking.”
“No idea, maybe they were playing a game, but she was loud enough that Sana panicked and swerved.”
“And now you end up in here, knocked down by a bike.” Nayeon shook her head in amazement. “Your friends are really something.”
“So I’ve been told.” Jeongyeon laughed.
Nayeon was quiet, focused on injecting painkillers into Jeongyeon’s IV drip. Jeongyeon suddenly remembered her first conversation with Jihyo, and how Nayeon likely didn’t have as many friends as she did. It made sense, in a way. Working a full-time job as demanding as nursing at such a young age wouldn’t leave most people with a lot of energy for socializing outside the hospital. Meanwhile while Jeongyeon’s Bachelor degree was demanding enough, she still had plenty of time and energy to spare for partying with her classmates.
“I didn’t always have them though.” She spoke up, whether to make Nayeon feel better or to break the silence she wasn’t sure. “Spent most of my teen years without any friends to be honest. Just didn’t meet anyone on the same wavelength as me, I guess. Not until college anyway.”
Nayeon hummed thoughtfully, carefully pulling the needle out of the bag of fluid.
“It was the opposite for me.” She said at last. “I had a ton of friends growing up, but I suppose in a way, none of them were my real friends. I mean, I was always surrounded by people but the bonds were never really that deep, you know? None of us kept in contact when we moved on from school, but it didn’t matter to me at all. Especially since I met Jihyo in college. Turns out one real friend is better than a bunch of seat fillers.”
“I agree.” Jeongyeon said, yawning as the pain numbed her. “But you have me now, so who knows? Maybe we can combine our people and make more real friends. The more the merrier and all that, plus Jihyo seems really nice.”
Nayeon lapsed back into silence, and for a minute Jeongyeon feared she’d overstepped.
“Do I really?” Nayeon said quietly. “Have you?”
“Of course you do.” Jeongyeon whispered.
You have no idea how much you have me. She wanted to say, but the painkillers were kicking in properly, and her eyes drooped shut.
The last thing she saw was Nayeon staring down at her, an unreadable expression on her face.
“It’s fitting in a way.” Nayeon commented. “That you break the record with your most ridiculous injury yet.”
“Nayeon this is serious.” Jeongyeon whined. “My circulation is being cut off, they might have to amputate!”
“Amputate the fidget-spinner off your finger.” Nayeon said dryly. “Imagine being the surgeon for that operation. No one would ever believe your story.”
“I can’t believe it got stuck either. This is a clear health hazard.”
“Only you, Yoo Jeongyeon.” Nayeon shook her head, a fond smile on her face.
Jeongyeon's heart proceded to do a loop de loop. Nayeon smiling tended to have that effect on her.
“So, about this record.” Jeongyeon grinned cheekily. “Do I get a prize? After all I’m pretty sure I’m paying half of your salary at this point.”
“Oh?” Nayeon quirked an eyebrow. “What kind of prize were you thinking of?”
There was no coldness or haughtiness in the gesture, just gentle teasing and amusement. Her tone was too flirtatious to be mistaken for anything else, and with all the words of both their friends swirling around in her brain, Jeongyeon finally found the courage to take that next step.
“How about a date?”
There were two agonizingly slow seconds in which Jeongyeon feared she’d ruined everything. And then Nayeon smiled, and all Jeongyeon’s doubts disappeared.
“I thought you’d never ask.”