Jeongyeon left the hospital completely giddy. Some random patients shot her strange looks as she skipped past but she couldn’t care less. She had done it. She was going on a date with Im Nayeon. The most beautiful girl in the world liked her back and now she had a date!
The smile died when she pulled out her phone and saw how many new texts there were.
Chae: Did you do it?
Dubu: Tell me you asked her out this time.
Momo: Sana thinks you finally did it but I still think you’re too chicken.
Tzuyu: Everyone won’t stop talking about you and Nayeon. I’m still hoping you miraculously develop better taste.
Mina: Hey come over to mine we need to talk
Jihyo: Hey Jeongyeon, just to warn you that all your friends are gathered at Mina’s. I think they’re planning to surprise you but I felt like you deserved to know.
Jihyo: Also did she say yes?
Jeongyeon loved her friends, she really did. But right now, she was tempted to block all of their numbers
Sighing, she sent a quick text to Jihyo before switching off her phone.
Jeongyeon: Thanks for the warning, and yeah she said yes.
She imagined this news sent the entire house into pandemonium, yet when she arrived at Mina’s they were all sitting casually at the kitchen table, with the fakest attempt at innocent faces Jeongyeon had ever seen. Even Jihyo was there, seated between Tzuyu and Chaeyoung as if she had been part of the gang since day one.
“Hey Jeongyeon.” Mina said breezily. “Glad you could make it.”
“Hi guys. So, what’s the-”
“We heard you have a date!” Sana blurted out, unable to hold her excitement in any longer.
Jeongyeon braced herself, seven pairs of curious eyes staring at her. She nodded.
The reaction was instantaneous.
“Fuck yeah I win the bet!”
“You actually did it?”
“No way! Nayeon must have asked!”
“Aw, I’m happy for you.”
“Ayy, Jeongyeon’s got a girlfriend.”
“Where are you taking her?”
Jeongyeon latched on to the last question before she got completely swept away in a sea of babble.
“I don’t know yet.”
The kitchen immediately became silent. Jeongyeon felt a bead of sweat break out on her forehead.
“You… don’t know?” Dahyun repeated slowly.
They were all clearly baffled that Jeongyeon hadn’t thought ahead. Really, it was like these people didn’t know her at all. She sighed.
“I was kind of thinking dinner and a movie?”
It normally took a lot more for her friends to get under her skin, but they had completely ruined the buzz Nayeon had given her. In a moment Jeongyeon would come to regret, her temper got the better of her and she snapped.
“Well if you can think of something good enough then be my guest!”
“Good idea.” Of course it was Chaeyoung who instantly jumped at the opportunity to ruin Jeongyeon’s life. “We’ll have a vote. Best idea is the one Jeongyeon goes with.”
“I feel like Jihyo should have more sway since she’s the only one who knows Nayeon well.”
“Good idea, Jihyo’s decision can be worth two votes.”
“Do we all have to pitch an idea? Because dinner and a movie was kind of my first date with Sana so I’m not sure I can come up with something better.”
“Do I have to participate in this? I really don’t care about Jeongyeon’s love life.”
“Aw, babe don’t doubt yourself! I loved our first date.”
“Hang on!” Jeongyeon once again cut across the rising noise level. “Don’t I get a say in this at all?”
“Well sure, you get a vote too, right?”
The others nodded at Momo, and Jeongyeon felt like banging her head off the table.
“The results are in.” Jihyo announced dramatically. “Two votes for the beach, one vote for the park, two votes for the haunted house, three votes for the JYP café and one vote for “I don’t care plus her friend is better.”
Jihyo blushed a little at that, and Jeongyeon rolled her eyes at Tzuyu’s smirk. No doubt who that last one was from then.
“So, what? I’m supposed to take her to the café? How is that any less cliché than my original idea?”
“The café is cozy and cute.” Mina explained. “Way less pressure than a fancy restaurant, which means less ways for you to screw up. Plus if it does go wrong you’re not stuck in the cinema with her for a few awkward hours.”
“Oh great. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Sana and Momo work there.” Jeongyeon grumbled.
“Sorry Jeongyeon.” Jihyo shrugged, not looking apologetic in the slightest. “The people have spoken.”
“If you guys weren’t responsible for me meeting Nayeon, I would disown all of you.”
Saturday noon saw Jeongyeon waiting nervously inside the JYP café. Why she’d gone along with her friends’ idea, she wasn’t certain. Maybe it was because despite her complaining, at least two of them had been successful enough on a first date to land themselves a long-term relationship. Granted, the two she was thinking of were Sana and Dahyun…
Ok maybe this was a bad idea.
Momo scurried over with a grin on her face, but a glare from Jeongyeon sent her veering off to collect another table’s order. Just because at least two of her friends would be spying on her date didn’t mean that Jeongyeon had to be nice to them. Momo hated romance, why was she so invested anyway?
The bell above the entrance gave a small ding, and Jeongyeon’s mood went from grumpy to nervous in an instant. Nayeon stepped inside, and Jeongyeon struggled not to let her jaw drop, because there was no way one woman could be so damn pretty.
To be fair Jeongyeon had always thought Nayeon was incredibly pretty, but it turned out that hospital scrubs really didn’t do her justice. Today Nayeon’s dark hair was loose and wavy in a way Jeongyeon hadn’t seen before, and she had a little more make-up on than usual. Jeongyeon couldn’t stop her eyes from roaming as she took in Nayeon’s plain white pumps, blue jeans and pastel striped top.
(Maybe she was a little bit in love before the date even began.)
Jeongyeon knew that she was dressed better today than when she got admitted to the hospital, but seeing Nayeon look so beautiful made her suddenly panic. Was her hair alright? Did her coat make her look like a granddad? Was her Yankees t-shirt too casual?
Nayeon finally saw her standing there with a stunned look on her face, and she gave Jeongyeon a megawatt smile. Jeongyeon felt the air rush out of her lungs as she walked over, fumbling to pull a chair out.
“Hey.” Nayeon grinned. “You clean up nicely outside of a hospital gown.”
Words, Jeongyeon, use your words.
“You look beautiful.”
Nayeon blushed, and Jeongyeon felt like she could breathe again. This was just Nayeon, the girl who loved to tease her for every dumb injury she got. Jeongyeon had been falling hard for Nayeon for a while, but the banter between them had always been easy. That didn’t need to change just because they were on an official date.
“Have you been here before?” Jeongyeon smiled as they sat down. “I know it’s a favourite among the locals, but I was hoping this would be your first time.”
“It is, actually. Heard a lot of good things about this place.”
“Well the staff can be a little… overbearing, but it has a really good atmosphere.”
Right on cue Sana skipped over, looking terrifyingly excited. Jeongyeon gave her a smile that was half politeness, half please-for-the-love-of-God-don’t-ruin-this.
“Welcome to JYP café! What can I get you two beautiful ladies?”
“Uh…” Nayeon seemed taken aback by the sheer peppiness of Sana. “I’ll have tea and a scone?”
“Wonderful! You won’t regret it. What about you Jeongyeon, I mean random customer?”
Jeongyeon resisted the urge to put her head in her hands and give up.
“Just give me a latte and a bagel Sana.”
“You sure you don’t want your usual? Oh right never mind your breath would be terrible afterwar-” Jeongyeon glared at her. “Right! Forget I said anything! Have a nice date, I mean, what’s a date? I don’t know what you guys are doing here haha that would be weird.”
“Sana.” Jeongyeon growled.
Sana legged it back to the kitchen, leaving a mortified Jeongyeon and a bemused Nayeon behind.
“…I’m guessing your friends work here?”
“I am so, so sorry about them.”
“It’s fine.” Nayeon laughed, and Jeongyeon breathed a sigh of relief. “It’s actually amazing being able to see their ridiculousness in person instead of just from your stories. I thought you had to be exaggerating some of it but now I’m not so sure.”
“I genuinely wish I was exaggerating any of it.” Jeongyeon groaned. “But unfortunately, they’re probably even worse than I made them out to be. Sana and Momo work here, and they both traded shifts so that they would be here for the date. I honestly can’t tell if they’re trying to help me or hurt me at this point.”
“Well they’re not ruining this date if that’s what your worried about.” Nayeon smirked. “Honestly it’s just really nice talking to you outside of the Accident and Emergency ward. I was beginning to think you had less of a life outside of the hospital than I did.”
“I can see why.” Jeongyeon grinned sheepishly. “But I do actually do stuff between visits.”
“Oh yeah? What kind of stuff.”
“Sleeping, eating, going to college.” Jeongyeon shrugged. “Also contemplating my choice in friends. That’s become a big one recently.”
“I forgot you went to college.” Nayeon admitted. “What exactly are you studying again, something arts?”
“Yeah, I’m studying music. I’m hoping to be a singer but realistically preparing to be a teacher.”
“I get that.” Nayeon laughed. “I actually wanted to be a singer too, when I was little. My mom laughed in my face and told me that I could do it as a hobby as long as I also had a steady source of income.”
“Ouch.” Jeongyeon winced.
“It’s fine, she was probably right.” Nayeon shrugged slightly, looking a little wistful. “I might try it someday, once nursing has given me enough money to fall back on if my music won’t pay the bills.”
“I was lucky in a way. My parents were a bit like yours, up until my big sister became an actress while I was still in school. She managed to make a good career out of it, so when the time came to pick a college course they had no objections to my choice.”
“That is pretty lucky.” Nayeon agreed.
“Do you like nursing?”
“Hm? Oh, yeah. It’s great. I was kind of reluctant in college but turns out I’m really good at it. Graduated second in my class. Would have been first if there wasn’t an even bigger prodigy in the same year as me.”
She pouted, and Jeongyeon resisted the urge to smile like an idiot because wow, Nayeon was adorable.
She went to ask another question, but got distracted by her phone buzzing. A text from Mina flashed up on the screen.
Mina: She looks sad. Try and stick to happy subjects so that she’ll have good memories of the date.
Jeongyeon looked around frantically, but there was no sign of Momo or Sana anywhere.
Jeong: How do you know that? Where even are you?
Mina: Look behind you.
“I wonder if the food’s coming soon.” Jeongyeon said, attempting to seem casual as she twisted around in her seat.
There were two tables behind her. One table had another couple looking very much engrossed in each other. The man said something to the woman, and the woman laughed in a way that was nothing like Mina, so Jeongyeon ruled them out. The other table had a man with an elaborate moustache, strangely large sunglasses, and his hood up. He looked completely ridiculous, with that moustache covering half his face she couldn’t even tell what was underneath it.
She squinted at the man. He smiled and held up his phone in acknowledgement, his moustache tilting lopsidedly on his face.
No. No way. Mina wouldn’t do that to her.
Her phone buzzed again.
Mina: Like my disguise? She hasn’t noticed me yet even though I’m facing her.
Jeongyeon turned back around, trying to hide the fact that she was screaming internally.
“Everything ok?” Nayeon asked.
My friend is literally spying on us from another table while dressed in the most ridiculous incognito outfit I’ve ever seen. And she’s supposed to be one of the more sensible ones.
“Fine.” Jeongyeon tried to laugh naturally. “Just wondering if Sana’s spiking my food with something.”
“I’m sure they have some limits. Spiking your food is a bit extreme.”
“Right. Yes. My friends definitely have limits and aren’t completely invasive into my private life.” Jeongyeon gave another fake laugh. “So, uh, you were telling me about this prodigy who beat you?”
“Yeah, I hated her at the beginning. But it turns out she’s not so bad.” Nayeon smiled. “I was more intimidated by her than anything else, and I don’t handle being intimidated very well. She never seemed to mind though, and after a while I got over myself. Now she’s my best friend.”
“Jihyo?” Nayeon laughed and nodded at Jeongyeon’s surprised face. “Oh right, you said you met her in college! Sorry, I think it was just the whole ‘intimidating’ thing that threw me off, because Jihyo seems pretty sweet and nice.”
“Oh she is.” Nayeon agreed. “But she didn’t become head of the A&E ward just by being ‘sweet and nice’. She’s also terrifyingly competent, and one of the strongest people I know.”
“Head of a ward at her age is pretty damn impressive.” Jeongyeon said. “And my friends seem to like her a lot, which would make it extra nice if we...”
“Hit it off?” Nayeon smirked at Jeongyeon’s blush. “I think we already have, don’t you?”
“I think so too, and I was wondering… Does that mean a second date?” Jeongyeon tried not to sound desperately hopeful.
“Hm… Depends on if the food here is good enough.”
She was clearly joking, and yet Jeongyeon had sudden visions of Momo hurriedly scraping a scone off the floor while Sana tried to stop the coffee machine from overflowing. She really hoped her friends’ clumsiness somehow vanished while they were on the clock. Surely they wouldn’t have had these jobs for so long if they kept tripping and messing up, right?
As if summoned by Jeongyeon’s anxiousness, Momo came out of the kitchen balancing their drinks on her tray. She shot Jeongyeon a wink on her way over that was the opposite of reassuring. The rational part of Jeongyeon knew that Momo was a professional waitress, but that didn’t stop her from flinching every time the mugs so much as wobbled.
It turns out she was right to worry, because while Momo set Nayeon’s tea down with the utmost grace and delicacy, she practically tipped Jeongyeon’s coffee all over her.
“Oh shoot! I’m so sorry.”
Jeongyeon was too busy frantically mopping at her t-shirt to snap at Momo, but she had officially jumped above Sana and Mina on Jeongyeon’s shit list.
“Come with me.” Momo grabbed Jeongyeon’s arm and yanked her out of the seat. “I have a spare shirt you can change into. Be back in a sec!”
Nayeon seemed stunned at the sudden 180 turn their date had made, and Jeongyeon didn’t even have time to apologize before Momo dragged her into the café bathrooms.
“Seriously, don’t worry about your shirt.” Momo gestured to the hot pink top that was hanging from one of the toilet doors. “You can borrow mine.”
The fact that the top was just hanging there ready for use was the proof Jeongyeon needed to confirm that this was all staged. Momo was a bit clumsy sure, but that spill had been completely deliberate. If this was her master plan, Jeongyeon was not impressed. She grabbed the top for a closer look, and then stared flatly at Momo.
“I’m not wearing this.”
“Why not? Do you not like the colour?”
“It’s not a top! It has no back and barely has a front, it’s practically a bra!”
“Momo it’s our first date!”
“There’s nothing wrong with sex on a first date! You go out wearing this and I guarantee Nayeon will want to stay the night.”
“Why are you like this? Why are all of you like this? I don’t need your help wooing Nayeon and I’m not wearing this!”
“Ok, firstly, I’m trying to help you seduce her, not woo her. Wooing is most definitely not my thing. And secondly,” Momo grinned devilishly. “I don’t have any other clothes for you to borrow. It’s either this or your coffee stained t-shirt.”
Jeongyeon glared at Momo.
Momo glared back.
Two minutes later Jeongyeon exited the bathrooms smugly, wearing a plain white shirt with the JYP café logo on it. A few seconds later Sana’s laughter could be heard all the way from the kitchen as Momo slipped out wearing the pink crop top.
Sana had brought the food over while Jeongyeon was in the bathroom, and Nayeon was thankfully tactful enough not to mention the outfit change. Jeongyeon took a large gulp of her latte, wiped her mouth and smiled.
“As you may have noticed my friends are slightly insane.”
“I did.” Nayeon agreed calmly. “However, the food here is excellent. This is the nicest scone I’ve had in a long time.”
Ok, this girl was officially a keeper.
“In that case, what do you say to that second-”
Jeongyeon really wished she didn’t recognize that voice.
But unfortunately she did, and Dahyun was standing at the entrance to the café with a flower basket in her hands.
“One delivery to Im Nayoung from Yoo Jeongyeon!”
Nayeon looked understandably confused. Jeongyeon wondered at this point if her friends were deliberately trying to mess with her.
“We’re over here! Also her name is Nayeon you dumbass.”
“Isn’t that what I wrote?” Dahyun plucked the card from the basket and squinted at it.
“Not Nayoung, Nayeon.” Jeongyeon stressed, all thoughts of second dates gone from her mind. At this point she’d be lucky if Nayeon didn’t block her number.
“Oh whoops my bad.” Dahyun chuckled nervously, while Nayeon just stared. “Then I guess I should tell you that Jeongyeon didn’t order a flower basket, that was just us trying to help her look more romantic. On the bright side, she definitely knows your name! That part was all my fault.”
At this point Jeongyeon decided it was time to stop denying all the signs the universe kept sending her that this date wasn’t working out. Nayeon seemed to find her friends vaguely amusing, but Jeongyeon knew that there was only so much both of them could take.
She stood up, grabbed Nayeon and threw a twenty on the table.
“Run for it.”
Nayeon, bless her, immediately understood what was happening. She sprinted after Jeongyeon as they left the shop, Dahyun yelling behind them for them to wait.
They ran for a good few blocks before Jeongyeon ducked into an alleyway, breathing heavily.
“I think we lost them.” She panted. “I don’t know how many times I need to do this but once again I’m sorry about they’re… everything.”
“Well they are a little too invested in your love life, but on the bright side this is the least boring first date I’ve ever had, so don’t stress out too much about it.”
“Better then dinner and a movie?”
“Much better.” Nayeon grinned.
Her lips were so cute and heart shaped that Jeongyeon found it hard to draw her eyes away from them. They looked like very kissable lips, but Jeongyeon didn’t want their first kiss to be in some dingy alley next to a dumpster. Nayeon moved closer and she gulped, trying to control her thoughts and her eyes. Why did she have to have such nice lips dammit?
“If you want we can go back to my place- just to hang out I mean! No pressure or anything.”
“I’d like that.” Nayeon was still smiling, her lips so close and so tempting.
Jeongyeon gulped and backed away a little. She had been hoping it was subtle, but judging from Nayeon’s smirk she knew exactly what kind of thoughts were running through Jeongyeon’s head.
“Lead the way.” Was all Nayeon said, clearly on the same page about kissing next to a dumpster.
“If you see any of our friends run in the opposite direction.” Jeongyeon told her as they crept out.
Her heart was beating quite fast, but whether it was from adrenaline or Nayeon’s hand in hers, she wasn’t quite certain.
Ten minutes later they were seated in the small kitchen of Jeongyeon’s apartment, a fresh mug of tea in Nayeon’s hands. Jeongyeon had a plate of biscuits between them, since neither of them had been fully finished their food when they bailed.
“Mind if I put some music on?” Jeongyeon asked as she set down the milk and sugar.
“Sure.” Nayeon shrugged.
Jeongyeon switched the radio on, and Ariana Grande’s voice rang out through the kitchen. Nayeon’s face lit up when she heard the song, and to Jeongyeon’s delight she began singing along.
And wow, now Jeongyeon understood why Nayeon wanted to be a singer, because the girl had a voice on her. It was clearly untrained, but much like everything related to Nayeon it was the potential Jeongyeon noticed. She hit the notes cleanly and easily, never straining for any part of the song. At the chorus Jeongyeon couldn’t help but join in, deliberately singing a low harmony.
Nayeon’s eyes met hers, radiating happiness. Jeongeyon kept singing, but now she deliberately sang to Nayeon with a smile on her face.
(At that moment, Jeongyeon hated Nayeon’s mother just a little bit, because even though they were just two girls singing for fun in a small kitchen, she’d never seen anyone look quite so alive.)
The song came to an end, but the spell didn’t fully wear off. Nayeon sat there with flushed cheeks, exhilarated as if she’d just performed it at a concert, and Jeongyeon couldn’t help but stare at her.
“You’re amazing.” She said.
Nayeon’s cheeks got redder, and Jeongyeon moved closer.
“Bet you say that to all the girls.” Nayeon joked, but Jeongyeon adamantly shook her head.
“No, I swear I’m not trying to be smooth or anything, but you genuinely looked like you should have been performing it on stage. You’re so…”
Captivating. Magnetic. Enchanting.
Nayeon waited for her to finish, a strange expression on her face. For the first time since they met she looked nervous, vulnerable. Jeongyeon hated it, hated that she didn’t realise how good she was. Nayeon shouldn’t look so scared of what Jeongyeon was going to say. Didn’t she realise how amazing she had sounded, how she had completely blown Jeongyeon away? No, clearly she didn’t and Jeongyeon didn’t think anything she said could fully explain to Nayeon how her singing had made Jeongyeon feel.
So instead, Jeongyeon kissed her.
There was barely a second of surprise before Nayeon kissed back, eager and hungry, like she had been preparing for this since the second she arrived. Her enthusiasm made Jeongyeon deepen the kiss, wrapping her arms around Nayeon’s neck and relishing every touch of Nayeon’s soft, warm lips.
All that potential Jeongyeon had seen building between them had finally sparked to life, and it was just as good as Jeongyeon had anticipated. When they paused for air, both of them had matching smiles on their faces.
“Relax Chae I’ve found them. No, tell Momo they haven’t done it yet but they are kissing so I don’t think Jeongyeon’s ruining it either.”
Jeongyeon whirled around to see Tzuyu standing in the kitchen doorway, looking incredibly bored as she spoke into her phone.
“How did you get in here?” Jeongyeon cried.
“I let myself in.” Tzuyu replied.
Jeongyeon knew for a fact that Tzuyu didn’t have a key to this place, but that was a confrontation she just did not want to have right now. Instead she grabbed Tzuyu and tugged her along to the front door.
“Look, I’m sorry for ruining your face smooshing or whatever. The others wouldn’t stop bothering me until I helped them look for you. I’ll tell them to get off your back until tomorrow.”
Jeongyeon shoved Tzuyu outside then took a deep breath, trying to cool herself down. Tzuyu was right, out of all their friends she was the least likely to want to be involved in Jeongyeon’s love life.
“If anyone else tries to interfere with me and Nayeon I will hunt you all down and make you regret it.”
“Understood. So should I tell Jihyo to cancel the ‘Congratulations! You have a girlfriend!’ balloons she’s hanging up around Nayeon’s flat?”
“You can’t be serious.”
“That’s what I thought about you and Nayeon, but unfortunately here we are.”
“That…” Jeongeyon sighed. “That would be great Tzuyu, thank you.”
Tzuyu nodded, turning to leave.
“Good luck with…” she waved her hand half-heartedly towards Jeongyeon’s kitchen “…that.”
And then she was gone.
Jeongyeon let out a deep sigh before heading back to the kitchen. Nayeon was waiting there, looking both nervous and excited.
“I think that’s the last of them.” Jeongyeon said.
There was a mutual sense of relief at that. Then Nayeon moved closer, her hands gripping Jeongyeon’s hips, making her shiver.
“In that case, should we get back to what you were going to say to me?”
The next morning when Jeongyeon woke up, she ignored all the texts on her phone and instead sent one to the groupchat.
Guess who officially has a girlfriend now?
She muted her phone before the others started spamming, and made her way into the kitchen. Nayeon was already up and eating Jeongyeon’s cereal. The sight of her sitting there in Jeongyeon’s spare pyjamas with her hair all messy made Jeongyeon’s stomach do a bunch of flips because this was real. Nayeon and her were together now.
“I’m going to do a fry up. Want some?” Jeongyeon began rattling around the pots in an attempt to extract her frying pan.
“Oh, I can think of something I’d like to eat.”
She said it so casually, but that didn’t stop Jeongyeon from almost dropping the pan on her foot. Nayeon burst into laughter, and Jeongyeon turned to her with the frying pan in hand.
“You’re evil.” She said, but there was a grin on her face. “I can’t believe my new girlfriend wants to give me a heart attack.”
“Well it would mean I get to see you during work hours.”
Jeongyeon’s phone buzzed again, and she looked down to see a new text from Dahyun.
Dubu: Momo got a bead stuck up her nose and we can’t get it out HELP
Nayeon stared curiously at her and she sighed, giving her girlfriend a rueful smile.
“You know what? With our friends I really don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”