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Our promise, written in your photograph (and our hearts).

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“Y’know, I think you genuinely have a chance with her.”

“You’re crazy Chaeng, she doesn’t even look at me. Plus, it’s been around a month or two and still nothing has happened. She’s up there, I’m down here, nothing’s ever gonna happen.” She continued to munch on her food, “it’s never going to happen, not in my wildest dreams. Or yours.”

“Come on, be fair. She at least looks at you- glimpses even -but those still count. She at least realizes that you exist ever since you’ve confessed y’know. She doesn’t look at others.”

Jeongyeon shakes her head.

“She probably looks at me with disgust, she probably hates me. We aren’t in a time very accepting of this Chaeyoung.”

Chaeyoung keeps fighting.

“Jeongie, if she really did hate you, she would’ve told the world by now of your secret. But she hasn’t, and clearly she doesn’t want to.” She shushes Jeongyeon once more, “seriously Jeongyeon, at least think about it logically. You’re one of the smartest people I know, come on.”

“And you’re on of the dumbest.”

“Hey I’m not that dumb! I get B’s and A’s!” Chaeyoung shouts slapping her friends arm painfully.

“Just wait and watch Jeongyeon. I’m gonna watch both of you get married.” Her eyes immediately widen, “Okay wait- maybe that was a bit too far...”

Jeongyeon keeps her head down.

“Stop giving me hope Chaeyoung. It’s never going to happen. Not in our wildest dreams.”

A pause.

“Well then Jeongyeon, watch you wildest dream come true.”

Chapter Text

 

 

Jeongyeon is like any other person in high school, any other person in the lower parts of the social hierarchy. But unlike most, she’s never minded it one bit. She’s unlike the others who desperately try to pull their way up with broken ropes and rotten ladders, she’s unlike others who’ve at least wanted a glimpse from the higher ups, what the lower status call the gods.

She’s actually more saddened by it than anything. When she entered this school, she looked for hope for a better future, for an opportunity to use her life to help others and learn about the world. She definitely hadn’t expected to be stuck in a school which was the definition of stereotypical and no matter how much she wanted to transfer, this school somehow grabbed her back and caged her in it. Or was that just because she didn’t want to leave? At this point it was almost futile to try answer.

Well whatever it was, Jeongyeon was starting to understand the feelings of her fellow peers stuck in the bottom as some weird, magical feeling pushed out of her when she caught a rather rare glimpse of an actual angel. Yes, an actual unfortunately flirty angel who came off as a beautiful presence to whoever was invited to get graced with it.

It almost sounded wrong coming out of someone like Jeongyeon’s mouth, like a teenagers cracked voice trying to harmonize to the voices of a symphony. Her name was - wait for it - the popular, infamous, absolutely vivacious Minatozaki Sana.

Yes, the Minatozaki Sana.

“No way.”

“No fucking way.”

“HAHAHA! You have a crush on the Minatozaki Sana? The flirt that the whole school is after? How miserably is that? Oh my goodness, my stomach hurts from laughing.”

Jeongyeon just sighed, what else would she expect from her best friend?

Chaeyoung couldn’t stop laughing, probably wouldn’t either just to make Jeongyeon feel worse. Of course Jeong, the one who called herself ‘the one who was never influenced by the higher ups and would never fall for their traps’ falls miserably for one the most popular, stereotypical girls in their stereotypical school.

Chaeyoung continues, wiping a laughing tear from the side of her eye, “You’re not lying right? You better not be, this is the best blackmail material right here!” She slams her hand on the table for dramatic effect. “Ha, I still can’t believe it. What happened to ‘Thy shall never fall for their foolish traps visible in daylight, thou shall never fall to them’? Here you are, with a crush on the Minatozaki Sana. With a crush on her.” Chaeyoung dramatically voices, slamming her hands on the table while laughing off her socks afterwards. At this point, the blonde’s friend could barely breathe, tears stinging her eyes accompanied by her ragged cracked laughing.

Jeongyeon sighs, massaging her stinging temples. “No Chae, I’m not lying. I’m genuinely not lying and I’m falling hard and here you are being the worst best friend by laughing at me.”

Her best friend ends with a soft giggle, still wiping excess tears that threaten to fall from the corner of her eyes.

Chaeyoung, the girl infront of her almost, almost looks like a maniac.

“I’m sorry, that- that was just too funny. So now that it’s clear - that I have a big fat crush on Im Nayeon and you have a, probably bigger, crush on Minatozaki Sana - we can both celebrate our absolutely depressing crushes on two of the most popular students of our school.” Chaeyoung proceeds to dramatically put her hands upon the smart girl’s shoulders, probably one of the smartest she’s known, and says, “this just makes everything seem more stereotypical doesn’t it?”

Jeongyeon pauses to think and realizes that she’s really fallen for this whole school’s trap. “yeah. Unfortunately.”

“Does it make you sad?”

“Kinda.”

 

                                                                         — — —

 

A new member decides to join their group, her name being Kim Dahyun. A funny, out-of-this-world, definitely a little too over-estatic but nevertheless quite a smart girl. She seems to make both of their worlds brighter, and her presence is so welcomed it’s as if she was meant to be with them from the start.

And of course, Dahyun just falls as despairingly as both of them.

“So Dahyun... we see you’ve been eyeing a girl...” Jeongyeon says mysteriously, with Chaengie continuing the sentence, “a popular girl with the name Myoui Mina. So, are we right or are we right?”

Both girls were trembling from excitement, putting Dahyun fully into the spotlight.

Dahyun grumbles, “Right.”

The two girls immediately high-five each other, shooting a playful grin at the oldest maknae out of the three of them. Though this was meant to be a sad occasion, an occasion meant to symbolize the upcoming pain of wanting someone you can never have, Jeongyeon and Chaeyoung played it off as a happy one instead. Just so they could see Dahyun smile instead of fret over a useless crush that would probably never happen.

“Don’t worry Dubu, we’ve also got crushes on those popular girls. You already know them so...yeah. I still wonder why I like her in the first place...” Chaeyoung puts her face upon her chin, looking up to the ceiling, daydream-like. ”But I guess no one really needs a reason to like the popular girls do they?” She shrugs, lifting up all their moods.

“Yeah, they don’t really.” Jeongyeon agrees.

Even with a bittersweet moment like this resting over their heads, consuming the atmosphere, smiles remain on their faces - although the smiles are pitiful and full of sadness, it’s alright. It’s always alright between them.

She hates unrequited love for making them all feel this way.

“You guys wanna grab a coffee or something?” Dahyun says, desperately trying to get rid of the almost turning despondent atmosphere.

“Yeah, but tea for me.” Jeongyeon says. It’s not a surprise that Jeongyeon doesn’t like coffee, only using it whenever she needs to pull an all-nighter, as it’s bitter and sweet is definitely way better (clearly shown in the way she likes one of the sweetest girls who, according to her and other lowlives’ words, is Minatozaki Sana).

Even worse is the fact that the nearby café they decided to rest in was one playing a sad song, that also accompanied by drizzling rain and dark skies.

The universe just loved to make their lives sad, didn’t it?

Fortunately, the song eventually switched to a song that is actually one of Jeongyeon’s personal favorites: Every day, every moment by a rising artist called Paul Kim. It was soothing, extremely fitting for a lone coffee shop that rested by an unknown street. Though it was alone and far, a few passionate individuals seemed to love the simplicity that coated the shop and the raw aroma of roasted coffee beans clashing with fresh cheesecakes, a scent that only it ever created.

That’s why she loved this place. Maybe, she would assume, more than her love for her mother (but that was always pretty small, if she was honest). Maybe a better thing to compare her love for this shop was her friends. The more she thought about it, the more she realized how much they were different, her friends and the coffee shop, yet how much they collided together to make this perfect get-together place for her friends and herself. It was calming and unloved and lonely, just like how her friends were - minus the calming part, but they could be that too sometimes. It was small and in the corner of an unknown street, just like how they sat in the corners of the cafeteria, surrounded by other unpopular, unknown, unrecognizable people. But it was different too. It was small and echoey, not exactly the best combination for their loud, boisterous voices. But somehow, even being so small and unknown so they could talk freely about anything... they never really did. This was the shop that had that kind of an effect on you, an effect to make you be quiet and actually reflect on life for once because being a normal student with a hectic life doesn’t really give you a chance to does it?

(And Jeongyeon realized that she was doing exactly that. She also realized that she should stop falling for the simple traps of life, but in the end even she herself can’t help it.)

Unfortunately, as always, something has to ruin the peaceful moment. And that something is Chaeyoung.

“Shit, don’t look but three o clock to your left, there’s something that you might be interested in.”

Though Jeongyeon would have slapped the youngest girl’s head for ruining such a rare sanctifying moment, she was still in daze from the songs calming features and the utter tranquility that revolved around the shop, so it was safe to say that Jeongyeon had no intentions of that right now. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t annoyed.

“What?” She snapped.

“Minatozaki.”

Her soft soil brown eyes widened. “What?”

Dahyun repeated monotonously, “Minatozaki and her gang at three o’ clock. Don’t snap your head there or they might notice us.”

“Think they already have, they just don’t care.” Chaeyoung muttered dejectedly. “After all we’re down here and they’re up there.”

Dahyun shook her head to try rattling out the negative thoughts now implanted by the girl sitting next to her. “Hey Jeong, why don’t you order for us? Caramel sundae for me and strawberry milkshake for Chaengie! Get desert of any kind too.” Dahyun retracted. “Wait isn’t that a double desert? Whatever.”

Jeongyeon, being the eldest, usually took responsibility for even simple matters such as just ordering, Dahyun didn’t even need to ask as by that time she was already on her feet, directing herself towards the plain brown counter. Jeongyeon was still surprised to say at least, firstly because ‘how is this place so empty?’ and secondly because the Minatozaki and her squad was here, in such a secluded place.

“I’d like a green tea, a caramel sundae and a strawberry milkshake, three random cheesecakes too, if that’s possible.” Jeongyeon said fluently like she had rehearsed it in the corners of her mind.

The cashier raised her eyebrows up in question. “Coming right up ma’am, but are you sure you won’t regret the cheesecakes you get?”

The blonde haired girl waved her hand loosely with the accompaniment of a shaking head. “Cheesecakes can never taste bad.”

Jeongyeon sensed a presence near her but never really bothered to look up - more like struggled to keep her head down - to see who was beside her because literally the only people who were there in the café were her friends and them. And that meant if she looked up and dared to peek at the glowing presence beside her, then she would be met with either the side profile of Minatozaki the flirt, Im Nayeon the narcassist, the Myoui or Black Swan, Park Jihyo the impeccable goddess, Chou fucking Tzuyu or the holy dancing queen Momo. (She did say that she would never ache for a glimpse of them, but now it seems her body begs to but her mind is firm to keep her promise.)

A giggle erupts from the person beside her and holy damn because it sounds like the heavens above just erupted with love and happiness. “That’s true, cheesecakes are the best aren’t they?”

Her body takes over and her mind fails to function as her head fleets to catch a glimpse and-

Holy shit.

Yes that’s right, holy shit.

Damn anything in this world that dare ruins this extraordinary moment because holy mother of gods, this person right infront of her is a living goddess. A living princess right in blind sight. With her pure blonde hair that reflected the light from the stained lightbulb above them, and her eyes and body and- oh god her ethereal eyes.

Her eyes were the literal definition of aesthetics and beauty, and the highest forms of them too. Once you stare into them, your stuck, stuck in its trance, its nature-like beauty, its velvety flow with flicks of light brown scattered throughout, its everything. She’s everything.

This was the moment Jeongyeon had related most with her annoying peers at the bottom. The ones who dress up in the weirdest ‘trendy’ clothes just to get a taste of how it is to be noticed by the higher ups, the ones who trail behind the goddesses, the ones shoving everyone aside to make space for them, the ones who desperately try to fit themselves in just for one fleeting look. She could finally understand why they acted such a way just for one look, one glance, one anything. With their absolutely astounding looks and presence who wouldn’t?

Only in that moment had Jeongyeon realized how lucky she actually was when she saw her best friends’ jaws hanging from the corners of her eyes.

Dammit, what have I gotten myself into?

What really has she gotten herself into?

Say something!

“Y-yeah.” The blonde girl then realized that she had been directly infront of the counter, blocking the popular girl’s way. She shoved herself aside and swayed her hands to intertwine against her back. “I’m sorry! I must’ve been blocking your way, here you go.”

The popular blonde girl giggles again, and holy cow it sound amazing- Dammit Jeong get a hold of yourself! Jeongyeon can just imagine her friends dying of laughter, actually it’s probably happening right now, but of course she’s too busy staring at the long haired goddess to care.

“It’s no problem. Oh and actually before I completely forget, here you go!” The long haired beauty quickly passes the dumbstruck girl a flyer, only to look back at the cashier, who also unsurprisingly seems to be in a trance by the girl infront of her.

Jeongyeon scurries off before she gets locked in the pattern of Sana’s hypnotic eyes again, only to be greeted with laughter and questions from her friends.

“You looked like a freaking deer stuck in headlights!” Dahyun boomed while laughing, not caring whether the other party who were also in the shop heard or not.

The blonde harshly clasped both her hands over Dahyun’s loud mouth and shushed her. She had always wondered why was it a deer and not any other animal, but this was not the time to be thinking of such, this was the time to shut Dahyun’s mouth so they don’t hear.

“Goddammit Dahyun can’t you be quiet for once? They’re right over there.” Jeongyeon stares at her seriously and Dahyun swears she’s never seen the older so stressed. The tofu girl being herself just laughs it off.

Chaeyoung meanwhile looked frozen, not physically but her mouth seems to give up on her and Jeongyeon wishes that Dahyun could act the same way for once.

The tofu girl spots a flyer dangling on the corners of a Jeongyeon’s fingers, ready to slip off and join the wind’s adventure to the unknown. She speaks up before it’s too late. “Hey! What’s that in your hand? Lemme see,” She snatches the flyer right out of the older’s hand and reads it feverishly while muttering out the important words contained in the plain-looking flyer.

“So... a party eh?” Dahyun says as she turns over the flyer and hands it back.

Jeongyeon looks down to the flyer that her friend read through and wonders, why would Sana ever hand out flyers, and a party flyer? Do those exist?

Chaeyoung finally snaps out of her fantasy and looks at both of her friends. “A party...? Are you sure you guys wanna go?”

Jeongyeon’s never been to a proper frat party, like ever. She’s seen them in movies, and watched them on shows but there’s something just strange about the thought of parties and rowdy people clashing everywhere. Maybe it’s just the fact that she’s pretty much not that social, or it could be because she hates the stench of alcohol. Just that lingering smell of stink, it always gets to her especially since her mom used to be an alcoholic. Thank god she didn’t live with her anymore.

Dahyun replies by shrugging. “I mean... it seems harmless, and Sana was the one to hand the flyers out so it really must be a big deal, right? I think there’s no harm in going, what about you Jeongie?”

Jeongyeon thought about it. It was just a party after all, a simple party with rowdy people and an alcoholic stench, but it was still fun. Parties were always a way too loosen up, to forget the problems that plague your mind, to be set free and do anything you want without people judging you. Parties were fun, and she reckoned that’s what she needed right now, some fun.

She nods her head. “Yeah I’ll go, I’ll get to see Sana anyways.”

 

                                                                  — — —

 

So, here they were at what people called the ‘party of the century’. And here Jeongyeon was regretting even coming with the sharp scent of alcohol everywhere, with thriving mindless bodies dancing around to create a maze, with her friends leaving her like the jerks they are.

Maybe Jeongyeon should’ve just hid in the toilet.

Another push and pull from the mindless crowd, getting her more lost than she already is. A faint voice from outside could be heard vomiting, while others of people shouting over the crowd or rubbing skin from all the dancing, thriving as if they were zombie.

Scratch that, she definitely should’ve just hid in the toilet; staying at home wouldn’t even work since her friends would drag her to the party nevertheless. It was futile to try anything at this point, she thinks, with the crowd slashing her about like she was stuck in a wave on the surge of becoming a tsunami. It was tiring, and she could barely stand up with the constant moving, but she’d rather rip her way through the maze to potential safety than stay stuck in this random place.

And she did just that.

With her hands ready while she ducked her head down, she prepared herself to run through the crowd, that would be way easier than just walking her way through while being flung around like a mindless piece of tinfoil. With her legs pumped up from the newly found courage and her hands right in place, she raced her way through the small crevices of human bodies.

She could see the end in sight, and the difference shocked her. Just a few more steps and she would reach near the counter of a kitchen, where a few teens were talking leveraged upon seats and others watched the dancing crowd. She never thought a kitchen counter could bring so much happiness in her.

Jeongyeon smiled. She was free, and surprisingly it was easy to be free too.

Maybe she should be more courageous more often.

Well, now that she’s finally out of that hell hole, she can actually breathe and do something. But thinking again, she decides against it because there isn’t really much to do than dance or play mindlessly shaming games with strangers you barely know - and she didn’t want that at all, so bathroom it is.

She searches for the closest bathroom while clasping both of her hands tightly around her borderline deaf ears. She wondered how people even managed to keep their ears in check after parties like this, where the bass was booming through your body and the music ripping through your ears. Is this what people derived comfort and fun from nowerdays? Because to her it seemed more than strange that people were willing to do this almost every alternating weekend.

(But after all she was here for the most petty reason, just to see her crush once again. Jeongyeon tells herself to stop, stop fretting over a crush that will never happen, but here she still is convincing herself that she’s searching for the bathroom when in reality she’s just looking for a girl.

Pathetic right?)

She continues to walk to the closest bathroom until she realizes that she has no clue to where it could actually be. When she came here, she remembered it being somewhere on the second floor, was it to the right or left again? Or was it straight? Jeongyeon sighs when she realizes that she’s not going to get anywhere with this, thus deciding to open random doors because well... she’s bored out of her mind.

Being a person who had grown up to see her mother affected negatively by these small parties with alcohol, which soon turned her into a raging obsessive addict, she grew quite scared of alcohol. Not the alcohol itself, but it’s effects. She didn’t want that happening to her or her friends - but she knew her friends could and would control themselves - or else she would just take the matters into her own hands.

Thus, mindlessly opening doors to only embarrassingly see half undressed people or even worse, she stumbled across the last door which she prayed was empty unlike the others she had saw.

Maybe her newfound courage wasn’t such a good thing after all.

“Please, please, please be empty so I can have my sanity back!” She whisper-shouts to herself as she takes the door handle and pushes it open, only so slightly, that not even a noise could be heard.

And she pokes an eye through, only to see the coast clear. (Thank god, Jeongyeon thinks.)

That is until she sees a male body moving slowly back, almost sensually but with the small slit she’s looking through, almost nothing but a blur of dark colors and the unhelpful candle light was visible.

And then a girl. At first the body was unrecognizable, just like the male’s, but she had remembered seeing a figure like that before. Jeongyeon just didn’t remember where.

“Why do you suddenly act like this?” The male voice speaks up, deep and smooth, resting the palm of his hands against her hips. “Just yesterday you were pushing me away.” He continues to rub the skin of the girl’s hip while Jeongyeon is ready to scurry off, but her courage and determination keeps her planted onto the floor, watching the shadows.

“Today’s not yesterday. Now, shut up and kiss me.” The now recognizable girl’s voice comes into range as she throws the boy onto the bed and catches his lips in a harsh kiss.

And, of course, Jeongyeon gasps which catches both of their attentions.

Dammit.

Jeongyeon fleets for her life, her hands flying about for safety while her legs continue to sprint in an attempt to hide in the nearest shelter. She doesn’t really know why she’s running so fast, it’s not like she’s going to get beat up for this, however the rush of adrenaline keeps her running, because she needs to and, and -

“Oof! What the hell, watch where you’re going- Oh Jeongie! There you a-“

Jeongyeon shuts the shorter girl’s mouth and pulls her into the store room conveniently placed right beside them as she hears the deep voice nearing with thumping footsteps. It was a good thing that she ran, now that she thinks about the angry voice she can hear approaching.

Maybe her newfound courage wasn’t such a good thing.

“Hey, it’s alright. It was probably just a pervert, we’ll lock the door this time.” The girl’s voice says sweetly.

Chaeyoung’s eyes reaches the top of her forehead, conveying clear worry to Jeongyeon.

They hear disappearing footsteps from outside, before both falling out of the cramped, dark store room.

“Hey, are you alright? Let’s just forget that Sana and him were there alright?” Chaeyoung comforts, placing a hand on her shoulder to which the older places back down.

“I’m not concerned on that right now Chae.” She breathes out before turning to her shorter friend.

Her eyes are so close to rolling of their sockets.

“What happened to your hair?!” 

“Chill unnie, I was just dared to cut it. That’s it.” Chaeyoung says nonchalantly while Jeongyeon tries to breathe properly.

The older regains herself, not before sighing. “Well, at least you look good.”

Now that all her fear from the previous minute had faded away, a sudden pain gnawed at the pit of her stomach, crawling its  way through her body to shoot through her heart. It felt like someone was slowly draining the life of her, one by one ripping apart the emotions in her body until there was none left.

She didn’t want to admit that Sana was the cause of it.

‘Why did it have to be Sana of all the girls I could fall in love with? The girl who clearly is just a player?’ Jeongyeon asks herself.

“Thanks Jeong. I think we should leave now, it’s getting late.”

Thank god Chaeyoung wasn’t able to see through Jeongyeon’s facade, and even if she did (she did, by the way, shown by her eyebrows furrowing and frown deepening) she hadn’t said anything to Jeongyeon’s delight.

Jeongyeon nodded. “Let’s search for Dahyun first.”

 

                                                                   — — —

 

A week later from the unfortunately unforgettable party (well its only really unforgettable since the incident took place), she dreams about a girl, a girl who she seems to grow up with, have children with and spend her life with. Normal teenage dreams that teenagers have.

But that kept her wondering.

She didn’t really know Sana. Like, at all. She had only ever talked to her once, if it can even be considered that since it was a miserable attempt at talking in a coffee shop, and she had only known Sana by the words of others. She also realizes that she isn’t calling the goddess by her last name either like she used to, is she mentally getting closer to her?

She sighs heavily before her train of thought continues, fiddling with the ends of her fingers.

Does she really like Sana? Or does she only like the physical aspects of her, the parts that she shows to the whole world? For all Jeongyeon knows, Sana could be another bitch who would judge her, Sana could be like a bully to her, Sana could be anything.

Her dreams always portrayed Sana as this person who was happy, easily excitable and she was kind. She always got along with Jeongyeon and tried her best to stay happy despite the situations. She had always helped Jeongyeon, and in turn Jeongyeon would help her or treat her with a gifts. She was a simple girl who wanted a simple life just like Jeongyeon.

But of course, that was just her dream. Just her persona of Minatozaki Sana.

‘Do I really like Sana?’ she questions herself. ‘Or am I in love with the person I’ve made her to be?’

Jeongyeon knew the answer deep down, but she refused to acknowledge it. Just because it’s all a dream, doesn’t mean that Sana can’t be the same in real life, or maybe the Sana she learns is even better. Maybe she’s more understanding, maybe she has many more hidden talents, and maybe, just maybe, she would like the dork back and wouldn’t be judgmental.

But that what’s she feared the most, that she would be like the others.

After all, they were in the nineties.


Jeongyeon was shocked, more than reasonably so, when her two most trusted friends were dragging her mercilessly through the empty hallways to reach a music room, a music room that brought back memories of her younger years, but that wasn’t the right thing to think of right now. Right now she was confused as to why she was being dragged into a music room in the first place.

Don’t tell me...

“You did not.” Jeongyeon denies.

“You guys did not just.”

Both of the youngsters awkwardly laugh, shuffling around.

“Tell me you guys did not just sign me up for the talent show!”

Dahyun sighs exasperatedly and rolls her eyes. “Come on! We all have such great musical talents and it’d be cool to show it to the school and perform with real instruments!”

“I know you play the bass guitar unnie!” Chaeyoung butts in.

“And you have the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard Jeongie!” Dahyun adds.

Jeongyeon’s eyebrow spasms, her anger showing on her face. “Guys, no one even cares about us, we only have one week to practice, and I don’t want to embarrass myself on stage!”

Chaeyoung crosses her arms. “I know you’ve wanted to be a star unnie. Why don’t you give it a try?”

“No. Never! I’ll completely embarrass us!”

Dahyun starts to pout, with Chaeyoung joining and using her cute puppy eyes too. And the older falls for it.

“Five meals,” Jeongyeon demands with her eyes slightly sharpened, “Five meals is what you owe me, Kim Dahyun and Son Chaeyoung.”

Dahyun and Chaeyoung both eagerly shake the older hands, and Jeongyeon can barely keep the smile off her face with her friends’ cute outburst of happiness. They both grab her hands, dragging her deeper into the nostalgic music room to find the dark blue bass guitar that Jeongyeon used to sing with.

Chaeyoung whoops when she finds it, throwing a fist up into the air while passing the dark blue bass guitar right into Jeongyeon’s hands, where they always belonged.

She remembers her memories with this wistful instrument. The times she was filled with jealously watching others take the precious item away, or admiring them for playing so magically and effortlessly. She remembers stumbling across it, being thrown to her small, chubby hands as a discarded instrument no one wanted. Everyone wanted the drums, the piano, or the romantic guitar that so many boys used to woo the girls. But she had the bass guitar, the instrument that buzzed throughout songs, with that low, deep vibe that hummed into her chest and poured it with fascination and love.

It was her first love, and she fell hard.

Even if it marred her young, innocent hands from incessant plucking, even if it left her fingers with deep red marks from the harsh pressing of her weak hands, she continued to play it. Even if it left her voice sore throughout her evening, leaving her to write down her words onto paper, she continued to fall in love with it. It didn’t look like her love would stop growing.

It was the best way to fight of her abused life back then, after all.

She snapped out of her reverie as soon as a distant shouting registered in her brain.

“Hey Jeongie! Stop daydreaming about Minatozaki and join us will ya?” Dahyun snorted in the background while Chaeyoung was shouting into the ears of poor Jeongyeon.

Jeongyeon, always being the one interrupted from her peaceful thoughts, looks at Chaeyoung with an annoyed face before giving up and sighing. “Well, at least tell me what song we’re performing. And I wasn’t even thinking about her.”

“What about... Photograph? Sounds good right?”

All thoughts of the song are thrown out of the window and burned when she realizes just what’s happening.

She just agreed to be in the talent show.

Meaning that everybody in school will be there.

Including Sana.

Most of her wants to die just right there, weak and in the arms of her beloved bass guitar. But another part of herself wants to see Sana, she wants to see Sana’s face looking back at her with the same love heart eyes she contains for the other. She wants to reveal herself to Sana, show how much she’s better than all the other losers like her, she wants Sana to feel the pain of love just like her. She wants Sana to love her back, mouth agape and shocked from hearing her lover’s voice through the damaged microphones, but knowing her, she’ll probably be bored and uninterested.

Jeongyeon really hates this. She feels even worse for Chaeyoung.

Chaeyoung’s practically been in love with Nayeon ever since they entered this school, but the older never even understood why she did. Tzuyu or Mina seemed more like a perfect fit of what Chaeyoung wanted, a peaceful girl with soft features, which is practically the opposite of Im Nayeon. But Chaeyoung was always a mystery, writing poems at ungodly hours, drawing sketches of what she calls ‘imperfectly perfect’ objects and sceneries, most of them being Im Nayeon herself. Both Im and Chaeyoung are so different, Chae knows this, yet she still managed to fall right in love for the latter. It surprised Jeongyeon when she found out that it wasn’t Mina or Tzuyu, or even just someone like Jihyo, but the loud, nutty Im Nayeon.

It was surprising how they were treated so similarly to idols here, Jeongyeon always wondered if they enjoyed their lives so high up with unlimited attention stuck onto them. Was it nice to have so much attention? Jeongyeon never agreed, but she despised the idea of attention in the first place.

As much as attention was a bad thing, they never really asked for it. It’s not like they got popular gradually, working hard to be noticed, one day they had just... popped out like that and suddenly everybody was down their throats, grasping to be a part of them or cornering them for gossip and news.

It was sadder the more that she thought about it, they were unwillingly put into pedestals as goddesses, all eyes on them for hope and gossips; but one mistake from either of the six and their whole opulent world would come smashing down into flames, surrounded by haters from their mistake. It was a lose-lose situation either case, unless they had actually wanted the fame they had.

What were their life like children? Were they also previously worshipped like they are currently, or did they live normal lives with normal memories? Were they from rich families, middle class or poorer backgrounds? So many damn unanswered questions she had, but it’s not like she needed to know anyways.

Meanwhile, Chaeyoung and Dahyun were staring at Jeongyeon with absolute disbelief, because Jeongyeon has literally been looking out into space with that ‘thinker face’ plastered on her for two minutes straight.

“I just asked her if she wanted to play Photograph...” Chaeyoung murmurs while scratching her head.

Dahyun shrugs. “Yeah, let’s just go with that. I think it suits our voices anyways.”

 

 

                                                                 — — —

 

It hadn’t even been three hours since their last practice with Photograph, not even three, and she found her feet mindlessly walking towards the nostalgic music room once more.

Barely anyone was around anymore, no more background chatter from gossiping girls or deep voices from the jocks laying against lockers, no more clicks of heels or rushing squeaks of rubber soles contacting with the ground, just silence. Pure, lasting silence.

She liked it better this way, for a change.

All that resonated through the empty, darker hallways were her soft breaths in and out, and the touches of her heels against the cold tiled floor.

She’d like to etch this memory permanently into her. It would seem strange to others, but the amount of peacefulness that dripped around her was enough to leave her dizzy with peace and serenity. It was enough to keep her mind calm and peaceful, unlike their normal state, full of analysis’s and questions of random things around her. It was a good state to sing this tender song too, now that she thinks of it.

She presses down with the heel of her palm, against the rusted handle of the nostalgic music room. The more she thought about it the more she realized that nostalgic hadn’t done much justice to the amount that this music room had actually affected her life (but there were better things to think about than that, like how to not embarrass yourself infront of your crush, and well... the whole entire damn school in the talent show). She left the door wide open, more than certain than no one would wander the lonely halls at a late time like this.

She picked up the dark blue bass guitar from the corner of the room and sat down before dropping it. It landed with a thud against the muscles of her thighs and her hands instinctively wrapped themselves around the instrument. She let herself smile down at it, reminiscing of old times.

She let her fingers maneuver without the need of vision, darkness filling her eyes as soon as she closed them. She wanted to be as close to music as possible now, and she wanted herself to completely drown within it.

She starts to sing.

Loving can hurt

Lovin’ can hurt sometimes,

Her smile deepens when she realizes that she does relate to the lyrics.

But it is the only thing that I know.

Whoever wrote this was definitely deep within love, but it could be any love. Family love, friendly love, love at first sight, but whatever it was, it was still love. They all varied so much, but they were all still love.

When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes,

It is the only thing that makes us feel alive.

She couldn’t stop smiling, the lyrics were just too... reminiscent of her. When it was hard, when she was left by her mother as a spare punching bag, it was her friends that lead her here. Her friend’s, Chaeyoung’s, unconditional love that let her live, that mended her soul. It was Chaeyoung who would stay up countless nights, hearing her cry and soothing her, it was Chaeyoung that would make her laugh through the distress, carring her back through the endless pain, make her smile once again. It was Chaeyoung’s love that let her live, and she couldn’t owe it to anything else. It was Chaeyoung’s strong, encouraging words that echoed into her head when she was alone, making her grab her dad’s hands and running away from the cruel home. It was love, only love that let her get through her hard times.

And then Dahyun came along, with her stupid dances and her gargantuous love that she threw upon Jeongyeon, and sometimes Jeong could cry from the amount Dahyun fills her heart with happiness (but of course, she’s never going to tell her that, or else she’s going to have to relent with a teasing Dahyun). Sometimes she felt that she didn’t deserve this love, but Love was universal and it was free.

Everyone deserved it.

We keep this love in a photograph,

We made these memories for ourselves,

Where our eyes are never closing,

Hearts are never broken,

And time's forever frozen still.

And her eyes opened themselves in that exact moment, only for it to be to be frozen still.

A sharp gasp came from the girl, as she stared right into Jeongyeon with her hands clasped against her mouth. Jeongyeon stood up in shock, looking at the girl a few feet away from her, by the entrance of the music room.

What the hell is she doing here?

“Sana?”

The girl lets her hands droop back to her sides slowly, as she took a deep breath. A shy smile slowly formed onto her face, as she looked straight to the other.

“Hey Jeongyeon.”

 

                                                                       — — —

Chapter Text

 

Jeongyeon just stood, frozen in shock. She could imagine herself as one of those dramatically animated cartoon characters right now, eyes melting of her sockets with her jaws falling to the floor with a massive smash. Her hands were hardened by her sides, with occasional nervous trembles rushing down them, shooting through her veins (which was not very helpful, if you ask her). She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t dare do anything because what the hell was her crush of all people doing here?

What was the Minatozaki Sana doing here?

And then Sana smirks, and Jeongyeon knows she’s fucked.

“What? Am I not allowed to be here?” The latter says, with hooded eyes and a sultry voice; as if she was trying to lure Jeongyeon in to some kind of trap, the kinds of ones Jeongyeon tends to avoid falling for.

(And, unfortunately, Jeongyeon falls right in.)

She steps one step closer to Jeongyeon, one step closer to making the distressed blonde faint. The tension was thick, thicker than any other material that had been made in this small world, and yet Sana takes another step towards the blonde, causing her to stumble back against the foot of her chair.

Her tone abruptly changes. She folds her hands against each other, and looks at Jeongyeon with a more powerful stare, tilting her head back just a bit before casually raising a brow. “What, what’s that look for? Am I not allowed to be here Jeongyeonie? Hm?”

The blonde’s mouth cracked itself to a close, gulping loudly in order to prepare her voice for use instead of stuttering like the useless lesbian she was. She steadied her hands, clasping them together to keep them from trembling to stop sending more shivers of terror down her spine.

“I-it’s just that -“ Jeongyeon grimaces noticing she’s already failed in not stuttering in the first word. She sighs, breathing deeply right after to calm herself down. “It’s just that... what are you doing here at all? It’s five in the evening and the sun’s about to set and literally nobody is here at all except you and me.” She breathes out, chuckling at that last part. “You, and me.”

Jeongyeon wanted to finish off the sentence with an ‘out of all people in this world, why would you come here to see me?’ but shuts her mouth when she sees Sana’s facial expression turn into a newer one, a one devoid of emotion with the slight clench and release of a jaw.

God she looked scary.

Jeongyeon internally freaks out, preparing herself to die right there and then. She could imagine it right now, her tombstone written in with bold letters ‘died from angering the Minatozaki, with questionable ways, but no one should ever try angering her so kids don’t try this at home. Or anywhere where there is a Minatozaki. In loving remembrance of the brave useless lesbian who tried to defy social hierarchy, Yoo Jeongyeon.’

But instead of being greeted with a hard knockout punch, she was greeted with soft-spoken, muttered words, that were dropped in sorrow.

“Do you really not remember me Jeongyeon?” Sana says her name for the third time, and god if Jeongyeon isn’t falling for the way it just rolls of her tongue with that velvety aftertaste then she doesn’t know what - Jeongyeon, what the hell are you thinking about?! Sana just said she knows you—

Wait. Wait a second right there.

Sana knows me?

Is that even possible?

She’s lying’, Jeongyeon tells herself, ‘she’s just gonna try making me fall for a damn trap or something like that and I’m not going to. Not this time. There’s no way in hell that Minatozaki knows me personally, or knew me. I would’ve remembered, otherwise. It’s hard to miss a girl like her, whether she’s a kid or not.’ Jeongyeon voices determinedly in her head. ‘Or... did I know her before my accident?’ Jeongyeon’s eyes widened, before pulling herself out of that thought. ‘No. She’s probably just playing with me. She’s probably recording this whole thing prepared to humiliate me infront of the school.

Jeongyeon tightens her stance, and faces Sana bravely, chin held high with her breathing steady and deep, her hands clenched softly. She wouldn’t fall for it, she chants, and truthfully she wouldn’t dare.

Sana sighs, from the expression Jeongyeon was shooting at her, it was clear what the answer to her question was. “I just- I just came here because I was walking by and I heard you singing, I think you’d forgotten that cheerleading practice was today, and it had gotten extended. You’re singing... it’s really wonderful. Whoever you were singing that for, they would be really proud.” Sana’s mood changes for the fourth time in their small conversation and Jeongyeon wonders how she even copes up with it. “Say... who were you singing it for?” Sana tilts her head, and Jeongyeon falls once again.

For my friends, and technically you.’ Jeongyeon mentally answers. ‘Would you be weirded out by that, or used to it by the amount of boys chasing after you?’ She wonders.

The blonde replies instead by shrugging. “Well, for nobody really.” She continues. “I’m actually preparing something with my friends... that’s why I came here.”

“Why are you all alone then?” Sana asks, and Jeongyeon falters because she doesn’t really know how to reply.

“I- I guess it’s because I take the bus and the next bus is at five?”

Now it’s Sana’s turn to be surprised. “You take the bus at five everyday?” She questions, face forming into a more worried one.

The nervous blonde shakes her head. “No no! There’s a bus right after school ends too, but I have the privilege of staying after school if I want too. My dad’s busy and comes home at six anyways.”

Sana nods her head, lips pursed, and looks at the clock in the corner of the room. “Well... it’s already four fifty-five, I think you better hurry up to the station.”

Jeongyeon instantly whips her head to the side, to be met with the watch taunting her with its time. “Shit! Oh shit- I sweared- I meant shnizzles! I got to go!” She hastily collects her bag not before shouting a ‘Bye Sana!’ and running off.

Sana watches as Jeongyeon flees off, with a small smile decorating her face. She picks up the faded yellow chair - which was chipped on its foot due to Jeongyeon stumbling on it - and places it back under a spare desk. Afterwards, she picks up Jeongyeon’s bass guitar, sliding her hands across the metal strings before placing it on the plastic holder.

She walks out of the school, only to be greeted with the orange hues of the sunset in the winter day. In the peripherals of her vision, she could see a distant shadow of a girl with faded blonde hair, running to catch the awaiting bus. She chuckles quietly to herself before clutching her jacket tighter around her, breathing out a ashy puff of air.

“She never changes does she?”


[5:30 PM]


Thou have fallen: I just met Sana.


Tofu Dubu: In your dreams?


Thou have fallen: She knew my name.


Tofu Dubu: What


Thou have fallen: She also looked at me with that sad smile, like she knew something I didn’t know.
|
And then I had to leave.
|
I’m also contemplating something she had said to me before, and I have no idea what it means.


Tofu Dubu: WHAT

 

[5:35 PM]


Chaengie needs to be watered: EXCUSEEME I JUST ARRIVIED~


Tofu Dubu: Just read whats above sweetie


Chaengie needs to be watered: Okay unnie!
|
Jeongyeonnie
|
My best friend
|
Sweetie
|
what the actual HELL

Thou have fallen: I don’t know either!
She just came up to me while I was practicing
and she even said something like
‘Do you really not remember me?’

Chaengie needs to be watered: first of all what the hell
|
second of all I dont
think shes lying maybe she did actually
know you?


Tofu Dubu: Maybe this was before your
accident?


Thou have fallen: I was thinking of that but the chances are low...

Tofu Dubu: Doesnt mean it’s impossible

Thou have fallen: I’m home rn, I’m going to check something.

Chaengie needs to be watered: Wait dont leave


[Thou has fallen is offline]


Chaengie needs to be watered: seriously


“Sana!” Jihyo shouts, trying to break Sana from her reverie.

“SANA!” She screams again, successfully scaring Sana causing her to jump in her seat, while Jihyo’s laughing herself off.

Sana pushes the younger girl’s shoulder and rolls her eyes. “Goodness, couldn’t you have greeted me in a more polite way?”

Jihyo shakes her head, giggles still erupting from the back of her throat. She slings her left arm around the older, and swiftly takes a nearby chair with her other hand and plops down on it.

“So how’s cheerleading?”

Sana rolls her eyes again. “So how’s ditching cheerleading for student council?” She says quizzaciously.

“Hey, student council is fun! And it was in need of new members anyways, and I was the one who sacrificed my time for such! You should be proud!” Jihyo sulks offendedly, while Sana laughs it off, wrapping her thin arms around the younger. They stayed like that for a while, watching their friends enter the cafeteria.

As if it was a normal routine for them, the whole student body seemed to make way for Nayeon, Momo, Mina and Tzuyu, the oldest (and most immature) walking through it as if it was a catwalk, people applauding and fanboys screaming from the sidelines - while others were just jealous or didn’t give a care. Momo and Mina were clinging onto each other, and if you looked carefully at Dahyun’s face across the sidelines, you would’ve seen a hint of jealously painted on her expression. Tzuyu really didn’t care.

It was like a massive wave of sweaty and scrawny teenagers had politely moved out of four girls’s way, which throughly annoyed Jeongyeon, however it’s not like she had any say in this. It was tiring, to say at least, being shoved aside right into a locker (and that’s also just for four damn girls, like how much space do they need?) although she wasn’t surprised when she looked back to see minuscule dents on the dull cream colored lockers. She actually felt bad for those things, always having to be pushed and shoved on, always used as a material for love-struck students to anonymously send in hearty letters or meaningful flowers, never used for its initial purpose to simply safely store belongings. She deeply respected those who used lockers the right way without abuse, but it’s not like she resented those who didn’t. After all, she herself wasn’t an avid user of the cream colored safe, seeing no purpose for it when it was so far away from her classes and she would rather just carry her belongings all around.

She realizes how much of this time, stuck against the lockers, she uses to contemplate the most useless things on Earth.

Like feeling sympathy for a locker.

Not a very impressive thought. Why was she thinking of it in the first place again?

Finally, the popular three had made it to the end, sitting on their divine right of the middle of the cafeteria. The crowd had finally dispersed. Some pleasant for the crowd finally gone- especially Jeongyeon- and most pleasant because now was their time to shine infront of these goddesses.

(Hint: The goddesses couldn’t care less.)

“So!” Nayeon dramatically enters as she falls right into the chair next to Sana. “How’s it going on with Yoongi?”

Sana’s eyes immediately widen as she looks to the girl. “Huh? How’d you know about that?”

Nayeon looks at her weirdly before shaking her head. “What, you think we didn’t figure out? Clearly something happened between you two that night, I saw you go in there!” She exclaims.

“It was nothing unnie, we both just decided it as a one time thing.” She could already hear the whispers from the surrounding students, but chose to say nothing. It’s not like this was the first time.

Nayeon shocked, pretends to faint with her eyes rolling to the back of her head, her hands making their dainty way onto her forehead as a true fainting masterpiece. “How could you? He’s so handsome and to die for, he practically’s courting you!”

Jihyo chuckles at her fanatics but seriously questions Sana. “Yeah, I thought you liked him too, or were just playing your push and pull games with him to attract him more.”

Well maybe if you thought a bit more you would’ve realized that I don’t like him at all.‘ Sana says to herself, shaking her head.

Jihyo stops to look at Sana with a confused face, a sandwich landing on her palms from Tzuyu. “Mm? Sorry I didn’t catch that. What did you say?”

‘Oh god, did I just say it out loud?’ She internally facepalms. ‘Quick, act normal!’ She orders, preparing herself.

Sana smiles and shakes her head. “It’s nothing. Keep eating.” 

She shrugs. “Okay.”

Jihyo turns around to have a small chat with Mina, munching on the chicken sandwich from Tzuyu. Onto Sana’s right, there is Nayeon who does everything so dramatically (after all she is wishing to be an aspiring actor and is already a member of the theater club) with Momo’s occasional giggles and laughs and Tzuyu’s playful jabs to the older which leaves her pouty.

Sana’s tummy rightfully grumbles and she groans when she sees that she had forgotten her backpack in her last classroom. Of course, doing such a simple task as that isn’t even easy when she’s one of the most sought out girls of this school. God she really hated this school sometimes. The attention was pleasing and she loved the way it drove her ego to an all time high, but being followed to every single place, being the word and whispers that drips shamelessly out of other’s mouth,  filled with jealousy and hatred or admiration, not being able to do normal tasks like normal people. It really drove her to the brink of insanity. 

The feeling of someone lurking around always scared her. The voices in her head, chanting her name, the voices of her classmates, whispering as if they were devising a scheme against her, it mortified her. Every single move of her was being watched by students, by her own school, the place where she was supposed to feel safe in the hands of staff and her friends, it’s now all her enemy. She knew if she even made a thousand mistakes, that nothing would happen, but the fear was still there. It wouldn’t leave.

She hates this.

She dumps a hat onto her face, stretching it to be as low as possible. She quickly walks off, fast but not enough to catch the attention of others, smoothly blending into the crowd. Sana looks up and thanks the lord that one of her fangirls didn’t notice her and ask her a bunch of shameless and useless questions, or a sneaky stalker with their camera following her. She realizes that’s it’s been quite a while since she could think to herself, for herself, and already devises a plan to visit the lonely coffee shop this afternoon.

What she doesn’t realize though is her friends messing about and creating drama, catching the attention of those jobless fans, just so she could be free to run for her lunch.

(And also the pair of eyes burning holes at her as she left.)


Jeongyeon stands there, just staring. Staring at a picture. A picture of a girl, and her. On a polariod printout.

Soft round cheeks, plump hands holding the latter’s baby hands tight, a bright smile plastered on her face. Black ruffled hair tied into a messy bun, a red coat hung upon her frame with a small blue dress underneath it. The photo was slightly blurred, but clear enough to see the features of the girl’s face. 

She looked so innocent, so young, so cheerful beside the younger Jeongyeon, who was smiling just as radiantly. It was as if she smiled for the first time, or seeing her lost puppy run back to her arms, and Jeongyeon may as well be that metaphorical puppy with the way she clung to her arm. She examined herself in the photo, a stark difference to herself today. She looked at the camera with a box-like smile, her eyes squinting due to the immense expression. A peace sign thrown right next to her face, a big blue jumper that she doesn’t recall wearing (but she doesn’t recall this picture at all either), pants that looked muddy but resemble her adventurous younger persona and her shoes filled with brown spots too. She wished she remembered her childhood. As much as she loved her dad’s storytelling of her embarrassing childhood, she wanted to experience it for herself. It was hard having six years of your life ripped apart from you, like a reboot button that someone else had pressed.

She wished it was all a mistake but this is real life. And she had a mystery to figure out.

Who was the girl to her right?

(She didn’t want to admit that it looked like Sana.)

”DAD!” She calls out, running, sprinting down the stairs, not a care given by her brain when her feet stumble on the edges of the stairs.

Her dad, perched up from the couch, looks at his daughter with a worried frown. “Jeong, you alright?”

”Dad, who’s this?” She breathlessly questions.

Jeongyeon’s father reaches out for his glasses, pressing them on the front of his nose. “Come closer, I can’t see clearly.”

She runs faster, stumbling across almost every single piece of furniture on her way with her lousy luck. She sticks the polariod photo onto his face as he examines it.

His eyes squint to see the picture clearly, and when he does recall the girl, he smiles brightly. “Oh yeah it’s her! What was her name... Sata?” He shakes his head while Jeongyeon sighs in relief. “No no... I think it was Sana. Yes Sana! Mina something Sana!” Jeongyeon’s dad shouts as the latter’s heart stops beating for a few seconds. “Y’know she was a really nice girl. Real bubbly and everything. She was always so bright, even managed to make my days better by watchin’ ya two play. Y’know, she and you used to beg each other to play, one time I even saw you play dad and mom with a doll.” He laughed heartily, eyes flashing at the old memories. “Good times.” His body freezes when he realizes that what happened after that wasn’t such a good time.

Her dad sighs in relief when Jeongyeon doesn’t say anything about the mix up. Thank god she doesn’t - well of course she doesn’t - First Minatozaki comes up to her in the middle of her practice asking her if she remembers her (like hell? she would have mentioned it before if it she did remember) and now she finds out that she and her were best friends?

BEST FRIENDS.

”Nope. Never. Never ever,” She curses her mind when a boy-band’s recent song plays on loop like a broken cassette. “It’s not possible. Can’t be.”

Her dad’s relaxed features knot into a one of confusion, wrinkles pressing on his matured skin. “Why not?”

”Dad. She’s in my school.” And She’s popular, she’s pretty, she’s a goddess, the girl that everybody wants.

Including me.

 “So? You should go say hi to her.” He casually continues, as if being friends - or even just muttering hi (infront of the whole school mind you, it’s not like she’s ever left alone) to one of the most sought out girls in their campus was the easiest thing in the world.

Fact check: It’s not.

Jeongyeon’s eyes were blown wide, her whole body shaken from receiving the information. Of course she knew Sana, of course the universe decides to play with her, of course she just has to end up with a crush on her. It’s just in her luck isn’t it, to be related to one of the most popular girls in her school who hasn’t ever decided to contact her until today, knowing that they had a past. Why was she so affected by this anyways? Really, why? It’s not like she remembers a thing, not even a single memory came out of her looking at that picture of them. Why hadn’t her dad mentioned this to her before, is there a reason or had he just forgotten about them? 

Why is this even affecting her so much?

It’s not like suddenly with this information anything’s gonna happen, she’ll just tell her friends and that’s it. She probably scared Sana off that evening with the way she had stuttered and acted, so it’s not like any of this matters right? She’ll stay down here, like she was meant to, with her friends just like her, and Sana will stay up there, basking in the spotlight with no interest of knowing her. She probably only greeted her to get a joke out of it, or see if Jeongyeon genuinely remembered her. Jeongyeon was a nobody. Sana was an idol. There’s no way anything can happen.

(Oh, how wrong she was.)

“Hey, Jeongyeon?”

Jeongyeon released a soft noise from the back of her throat, indicating a yes.

“Want to hear some stories of you two? I know you two knew each other for a few months, but you got some pretty funny and exciting memories in there.”

The younger girl nods and plops herself down onto the olive green sofa of the living room, the rusted springs releasing a squeak from her force. She enjoyed the old, worn out sofa, preferring it over buying new ones, and her dad had to agree. Though these sofa’s were growing old and tired due to age, dust coating its insides, a place that her dad nor her could ever clean, they kept it. It was covered in the heartwarming scent of their house, a faint peppermint smell with a sense of comfort and nostalgia covering it. One reason why she loved this sofa so much.

”You were five back then, turning six. Y’know, sometimes I would watch you two just play and this feeling of calmness would just overtake me, like I could watch you two play with those wide smiles, jabs and hugs towards each other forever. She was like my second daughter, it hurt me a lot seeing you cry after she left, especially after that day.” He took a soft breath, a broad smile widening across his face, before continuing. “Y’know, the day you both met - and this was hilarious - you told her a joke that I told you one day. Remember that desert joke that I told you once?” His eyes immediately widened as he slapped his forehead, becuase how could she remember if she had amnesia? 

“Uh- well, the joke went like this. What’s red and drifts over a desert?”

Jeongyeon frowns, thinking. She gives up two seconds later. “I can’t figure it out.”

“A fart with a sunburn.”

Jeongyeon’s face converts into forced deadpan, trying her best to keep her laughter at bay. Her face looked like a one of those teenagers when they try to entertain a baby, her nose widening as she tried her hardest keep it in, and she fails with her laughter when her dad starts laughing at her face.

”Theres no way I told that joke! Ever! That’s the worst one I’ve heard by far out of your mouth!” She says while hitting the table, dying of laughter.

”When I first told you that, you literally went up to everybody and told it! And each time you were rolling around in laughter while the other just faked laugh! You know when I first told you this, you were drinking milk and you laughed so hard it came out of your nose!” Her dad wiped a laughing tear from his eye. “That was too funny.”

”No way.”

”Yes way.”

”Oh my gosh...” Jeongyeon tried her best to keep up her serious facade, for all of it to fall down when she imagines herself laughing with milk released through her nose. By now, both her and her father were on the floor rolling around in laughter, their loud voices resonating through the old room.

Jeongyeon’s laughing mania ended, as she regained her breath and turned to look into her father’s eyes. “Wait, what happened with Sana?”

Her dad looked straight into her eyes, before bursting out in laughter and clutching his stomach for sheer life, slapping the unclean carpet with hard force. He hiccuped loudly, before continuing, “She slapped you!”

Jeongyeon’s jaw released for the third time that day, she felt as if it would rip off her any moment now. “She slapped me?”

Her dad laughed even harder, gripping onto the carpet while barely being able to breathe. “You- You should’ve been there, God! I can barely breathe it was just too funny. She slapped you and said that the joke wasn’t funny and she left. Oh my god, this is too much!”

Jeongyeon just pouts, sad from knowing that Sana and her’s first encounter went so wrongly. But it was mostly Jeongyeon’s fault for that bad joke, but a slap is simply uncalled for! 

She waited for her father’s laughter to calm down, reaching for his hand to pull him up from the ground.

”I think that’s it for the night Jeong. It’s almost ten now. Say hi to her will ya and invite her over one day, I’d love to have her and see her now, hopefully nothing’s happened to her.” He breathed deeply before walking to his room. “Goodnight Jeong.”

”Goodnight Dad!” 

She plopped down onto the bed, inhaling the scent of it before sighing deeply but happily. Maybe, this whole time, her perception of Sana and her group was wrong, everyone’s was. They aren’t some goddess creatures (though they could all qualify with those looks), they were still humans. Humans that needed sleep, air to breathe, space to think, time to heal, they were still humans. We’re all humans. 

Maybe it wasn’t such a crazy idea to be friends with Sana.

Jeongyeon grabs her phone from the edge of her side table, flipping it open.

[10:00 PM]

Thou have fallen: So... me and Sana used to know each other.

As she drifts off to sleep, she hears two buzzes emanating from her sidetable.

[10:03 PM]

Tofu Dubu: U DECIDE TO TELL US NOW RIGHT BEFORE MY BEDTIME
|
EXPLAIN 


[6:15 AM]

Chaengie needs to be watered: OUT OF ALL THE DAYS I DECIDE TO SLEEP EARLY


Jeongyeon’s two best friends are already sitting down in the cafeteria by the time Jeongyeon reaches, both of them practically shaking with wonder.

”Explain. Now.” Dahyun says, with no hint of playfulness that laces her voice, just hard seriousness. Jeongyeon was a little frightened if she was being honest.

”Alright, Alright! No need to get all bad cop on me.” She puts her hands up and surrendered. She pulled against the shortest zip of her green bag (which is her favorite color by the way, she really hated that no one liked green and always related it to vomit and envy) and searched the inside of the little pockets for the photo. She carefully took out the photo, not wanting their edges to be spoilt and the fragile picture to be crushed up under her bag’s pressure, or her friends’ hands.

”Well- uh- according to my dad, that’s a picture of me and Sana when we were younger.”

Dahyun gasps and snaches the photo. “You both are so cute!” She squeals, shaking Chaeyoung while the latter hits her and screams let me go!.

Chaeyoung hits her one last time, tilting her head at Jeongyeon while their friend was busy admiring the photo. “Do you remember anything at all? Like even hints just from the photo?”

Jeongyeon sighs and shakes her head. “I don’t remember a thing. Even when my dad told me a story of her, nothing flashed.”

”So this wasn’t a prank after all.” Chaeyoung muttered.

She explained to them what her dad had said about their relationship, and how closely knotted the two of them were. How they would beg to be with each other, how they would play with each other daily and how they were neighbours. But no feelings passed through her while she explained, no hints of a bit of happiness, nostalgia, or just anything at all. No feelings even passed through her other than remorse and hatred, that her whole childhood had to be ripped from her, that she was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. She couldn’t even remember a second of a moment with anyone, the only memories were some of her playing in a sandpit, desolent and lonely without friends, soft drizzling in the background with lightly dark skies covering her. And that’s the only memory that’s ever stuck with her, if it’s even a memory or just a made up one from her imagination.

”Hey Jeongyeon?” Dahyun says.

”Mm?”

Dahyun squinted her eyes to read the back of the photo, but failed when eyes just blurred instead. She held up the photo for Jeongyeon to see. “What does this mean?”

Chaeyoung snatches the photo before Jeongyeon can even blink her eyes. She reads aloud the message written a small, messy, childish hadwriting. “I’m so sorry Joehn—oh sorry it’s Jeongyeon— But I hope you keep our promise, you may not remember me with m-memories, but at least your heart might.”

...what?

Dahyun bursts out laughing, completely shattering the silence. “Don’t tell me you guys were getting it on at six!”

“What the hell Dahyun, they were six!” Chaeyoung hits the back of her head and glares. 

As Chaeyoung and Dahyun were blabbering on about the supposed love affair Jeongyeon and Sana had at six years old (like hell she would ever even have the courage to kiss her), Jeong closes her eyes and droopes down in exhaustion, hoping the rusty metal chair could just consume her and keep her there. She didn’t want to think about what Sana had wrote in the back of their photo, she didn’t want to think why Sana had taken so long to confront her, or just simply why they even had a past in the first place. She didn’t want to think about how their next meeting would be, if they would even have one, or if Sana would really accept her for... liking girls.

She could feel some of her blood warming, anger for the world being so harsh for just being... different. But at least she had her friends, who were accepting and always had her back.

She opened her eyes and blurred her vision on the ceiling, feeling herself fall into her thoughts. She never really wanted this to ever happen, her life to turn around in the matter of two days even though nothing much really happened. Yeah, it’s true that Sana searched for her, but Sana could have a past with a thousand people and want to search for all of them. Yeah it’s true that she had a past with Sana, but if she decided to confront her now, after so many years, did she ever mean anything to Sana? Does Sana really even care?

Does Sana even accept this?

She shakes her head. It doesn’t matter if Sana cares or not, she doesn’t need her for happiness. She doesn’t need to put herself down for another girl, even if that girl is the one that she’s falling for. Right now, she needs to focus on herself, her studies and her future career. She shouldn’t get stuck into all this romantic drama business, it’s not what she came here for.

I came here for a better life, she recalls, a better life for me and my dad. I didn’t come here to get stuck with stupid teenager feelings, I’m better than that. 

Yet she knew she was already stuck, but she couldn’t help but deny it.

Feelings are a part of life, it’s okay to have them. It’s okay to fall sometimes Jeongyeon. A small murmur of her brain fights back, but she shuts it down immediately.

She doesn’t want her trust broken again.


Once again, she finds herself in the console of a empty corridor, walking towards a destination that only her feet knew. She let herself walk, hearing the thuds of her shoes spread, echoing down the halls. She let her fingers dangle slightly on the surface of the unused lockers, her tips covered in dust as it left a trail behind, a trail soon to vanish as it gets covered in dust once again.

She knew where she was going, but why? One side said to practice for the talent show, which was partly true, but there was another reason. A deeper reason that she let herself believe. To see if she’d be there again. To see if she’d wait to meet the same girl who was her neighbor ten years ago, or maybe she would be there just to hear Jeongyeon’s voice again. Maybe she’d just want to have a normal conversation with her, and learn about her.

Maybe she wouldn’t be there at all.

”You came.”

She stopped walking, a frown adorning her face. “Why wouldn’t I come, I need to practice.” She continues walking and opens the door, leaves it open for the her to enter too. For a second it feels like all of this is just her imagination, until she hears footsteps enter, followed by the shuffling and bumping of instruments until she feels a bass guitar pressed gently against the palms of her hands.

“Don’t lie, the talent show got postponed until a month because not enough people signed up.” She smiles and looks at Jeongyeon straight in the eye. “You came here for me didn’t you?”

Jeongyeon grunts and nods, she didn’t think Sana would’ve cared about the show. She cuts to the chase. “Sana... who exactly are you?”

She hears the absence of a breath for a second and sees a desolate smile on Sana’s face, biting her cheeks to keep it from crumbling. “So you really don’t remember me.” She crouches down to meet Jeongyeon’s eyes, a pleading look in her pupils that left Jeongyeon in a trance. “Not even a single thing?”

Instead of speaking, she shakes her head afraid her voice would give up on her like last time.

”Not even our promise?” At this point, Sana sounds desperate to the point Jeongyeon can hear her own heart breaking. Jeongyeon turns her head from Sana, she didn’t want to see Sana’s smile break and wither so fast, she didn’t want to hear the cracks in her voice, and she didn’t want to give into those pools of tears threatening to make their way down the girl’s face.

So, shakes her head rougher, clenching the sides of the plastic chair, feeling them deform with her pressure. As much as she wants to lie so Sana could at least have a smile on her face, she couldn’t lie, not when she sounded so desperate.

”Don’t you at least feel anything around me?”

A small palm cups her cheeks and Jeongyeon’s world crumbles as she meets Sana’s eyes. Those same entrancing eyes that left her speechless in their encounter, those same eyes that held so much meaning and sincerity that Jeongyeon just wanted to immerse herself into it, those same eyes that crumbled when she locked their gazes. Before she could stop herself, she felt her mouth move and the faraway words ringing through her ears.

”I think I like you, Sana.”

It was only after the words entered through her, that she realized that Sana wasn’t here anymore.

Sana left her.

Chapter Text

This was it.

This was what she had spent countless of hours on, this was what reunited her with her first love, this was the stage she would potentially ruin her quiet career, the stage which she would hopefully enjoy with her friends.

This was really it.

”So... good luck guys.” Dahyun breathed out, the curtains hiding the impending spotlight that would shine through them, with the audience’s eyes staring back at them unemotionally. Jeongyeon really wasn’t ready, she really wasn’t prepared, but at least she had her friends right? This was all just for fun right?

There were a thousand thoughts running through her mind, a flash here and there of memories, some parts of her body filling with astonishment that she was finally doing this, other parts freezing her in her spot, still ice running though them with her mind formulating the worst possible outcomes. 

She felt like vomiting and flying. Two completely different feelings yes, but valid nonetheless. By this part, her head was just blabbering nonsense, fighting on what emotion to feel in a situation like this. She felt conflicted. She was conflicted. But it was okay, it was okay because her friends were with her right?

”Don’t worry guys. We can do this. Yeah?”

Chaeyoung stuck her hand out, looking at both of her friends expectantly. Dahyun nodded sharply, swiftly placing her white small hands on top of her friends.

They both looked at her, smiling.

Jeongyeon realized that she wasn’t the only one having second thoughts on this, she wasn’t the only one who feared going on stage, singing infront of their school, potentially embarrassing themselves so badly they need to change schools. Her fears weren’t alone, she wasn’t alone. She realized when she looked into her friend’s eyes, she saw a reflection of herself and her feelings. But they had so much hope buried within their eyes, shining blindingly even without the spotlight glaring against their skin. 

Maybe she should worry less about what others think, and just play with her friends happily.

She smiled back at them, gripping both of their hands and nodding furiously, giving her mind no time to fight back.

”Let’s do this.”

 

                                                                       ———

 

It felt surreal, being up there and singing to people that you don’t know, people who all perceive the lyrics of the song different, people who have their own curious lives staring back at you with unamused faces. When the curtains flew open, was that a sign of her changing or a sign that she should run away from the stage while she still had the seconds to?

She didn’t know, and it didn’t matter.

She forced herself to think of nothing, her mind blank, and she looked up. She looked up to the soft chatters—to the eyes staring back at her, to a few smiles and mostly to impatient faces. Across the second row, she saw Sana. The person who she, painstakingly, still had a crush on even though the rejection was so clear. The beats of her heart increased, her breathing heavier, the announcer’s nasally voice barely registering through her trembling state, all just from a look.

”And now for the new girlband, Thrice!”

But it was okay. It was fine. Even though it felt as if ice was peircing through her skin from all sides, she was still fine. Maybe a little distraught, maybe a little anxious, maybe even on the verge of running off stage but she was fine. She would go through this like she promised her friends, even if it meant changing schools because she’s completely embarrassed herself.

The newly furnished speakers crackled softley to the entering chords Chaeyoung played and they sang.

They sang and closed their eyes, singing as if they were in an empty room with only their voices to fill the void. Jeongyeon opened her eyes and looked to the side of her periphals to see Dahyun harmonizing with Chaeyoung’s light voice; her hands skating across the surface of the keys, pressing gently on each of them as if it were some sort of sacred hand sport. How three simple instruments could sound so tender and heavenly without the needs of drums was beyond Jeongyeon, but if just their three voices were enough too keep the whole audience fixated on them—with not even a sneeze or cough being released —then she could take a guess why.

Jeongyeon didn’t feel the need to close her eyes anymore, she didn’t feel afraid. It seemed almost serene watching her friends sing so gracefully accompanied by her lower voice; Chaeyoung moving subtlety to the beat, the guitar held loosely against her fingertips while Dahyun let her voice soar through the speakers with her hands gliding across the dusty keys of the piano. And how could she forget herself, the way her own hands moved in their own accord without the need of concentration, the way the nails dragged lazily across the metals strings to create a slightly buzzing sound after each note, it felt right. This felt right. With the rush of happiness and calmness she was feeling right now, this was completely right. 

Until she saw one lonesome figure walk outside in a rush.

Jeongyeon registered the last few notes playing, the piano fading in with the guitar, both of them slowly reducing in volume for the last words.

”Wait for me to come home.”

And then an applause.

 

                                                                                     — — —

 

“Y’know sometimes Sana, I wonder why I’m even friends with you.”

Sana scoffs disbelievingly.

”And these are one of those moments.”

The blonde huffs, her cheeks expanding rapidly, her face flushed with frustration. She sat upright and rolled to the side swiftly while nearly falling straight to her butt. She clutched the rails of the chair tightly after that and looked straight at the younger with slit-like eyes.“Well what do you suggest I do then, smarty pants?”

The other girl laughed sarcastically. “I don’t know, talk to that old friend that you have a clear big CRUSH on instead of avoiding her like the idiot you are? Like you walked out her her damn performance halfway because of some dumb reason I’ll never understand. Like who the hell does that? Were you out of your mind?”

”Tzu I—”

“No, No don’t say a word. Bask in your shame of the truth because your thick skull can’t get it through.”

“Chou Tzuyu wait—”

“I swear everytime you talk a child fails their test because your existance can just kill brain cells.”

“Tzuyu can you just—”

“Is Jeongyeon blind to your dumbness because I can literally smell it. It’s that bad.”

“CHOU TZUYU LISTEN TO ME!” Sana snaps, losing all her patience.

The room falls still, one girl’s face filled with frustration while the other was scared with a twinge of annoyance. Tzuyu uttered a soft fine and rolled her eyes, plopping down onto the bed and patting the space beside her so Sana could sit beside her and start talking.

”I’m just scared okay? You think that being like... this is even acceptable in our time?” 

Tzuyu falls silent, a bit taken aback that Sana thinks that people still feel this way. Added to the fact Jeongyeon was the one who blatantly confessed that she liked girls and that she, specifically, liked Sana. “Who said that you needed to tell anyone? Jeongyeon is the one who likes you, and you can keep this a secret.”

”But what if people find out? My parents, our friends, what would they all think?” Sana’s friend tried to prod that none of them would find out, but the truth was Sana would manage to reveal it somehow. It’s just in her nature. “You know I can’t keep secrets, for goodness sakes even you found out about Jeongyeon!”

Tzuyu is really trying to help but with Sana being so pessimistic and worrisome, she can’t find a way to make this situation lighter, so she switches it.

”Let’s just forget about this for a second. Can I ask you something instead?”

Sana nods. 

“Who is Jeongyeon to you? Like... why does she even mean so much? I mean— for you to abandon your long standing crush on Yoongi for her, she must mean something.” Tzuyu reasons, looking expectantly towards the girl.

Sana chewed on her bottom lip softly, thinking of how to break it to Tzuyu that she never really did have a proper crush on Yoongi. She just wanted to fit in and what better excuse is there really than to pretend to have a crush on one of the most famous boys in school. Maybe she shouldn’t reveal it at all. Maybe she should just keep quiet about it.

She looked back at the nostalgic times she had as a kid with Jeongyeon, the excitement that would fill her being when she saw her other half. The way her heart would warm at the sudden sight of brown hair and matching glistening eyes, twinkling with fun and mischief under the radiating heat of the sun. She told Tzuyu of the times in winter where she would throw snow at the latter’s face to start a playful fight, or the times when they ran to played hide and seek, Sana weeping when she couldn’t find Jeongyeon after a few minutes or so. She told how she could never forget—as much as she wanted to—that one time they both played and bullies had attacked them; nearly landing a punch on Sana’s face but Jeong had stood infront and took it for her, keeping her promise of always protect the younger. She could never forget the fact that she had fell in love with Jeongyeon, yet the other forgot about her completely. What a cruel joke the universe had to play on her when she was young.

Even to this day, she still doesn’t remember Sana. 

“Ugh I’m such a crybaby over nothing.”

Sana sniffles slightly, causing Tzuyu’s heart to break more on the inside, but she kept her stance and put a comforting hand upon the older’s shoulders.

“Hey Sana, it’s okay. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell her once you’re both together, but why don’t we first tell our friends that you like her?”

Sana paused, lifting her eyes from their steady gaze towards the floor. ”You... you really think they’d accept me?”

“Of course they’d accept, if I did, why wouldn’t they?” Tzuyu smiled widely, even though her heart was slowly being torn apart.

Tzuyu knew Sana liked Jeongyeon from the beginning, Tzuyu knew Sana would never like her but it still hurt. As if knowing it just caused a few cracks across the shell of her heart—the hope of the other girl even slightly returning her feelings stronger— but hearing it officially was the thing that ripped it into shreds, only to be painfully stitched back again within time.

Small and limp arms fell around her figure, hugging her softly as what Tzuyu guessed to be a form gratitude. She felt the older shift, her scent fading away as she stood up and gave a soft kiss on the cheek as a goodbye, the door creaking to a close. Tzuyu’s gaze shifted to the crater that laid on the bed to show Sana was gone, like how her heart had made way for the older, only to be rejected and pieced back together slowly.

But Tzuyu knows it’s going to be okay, and one day she’ll move on, looking back at the foolish times where she fell in love with her best friend (even though she knew her heart was already taken). She patted the dust off her jeans and stood up, grabbing her dairy and plopping down onto the royal blue chair.

Anyways, she had better things to worry about, like her biology exam that’s written in clear red with several arrows pointing towards it, and the date of tomorrow written right beneath it on her dairy.

Her bio exam is tomorrow and she hasn’t even started revising.

shit.

                                                                                   ———

 

Jeongyeon still couldn’t stop thinking about the way Sana just blatantly walked off stage as if it was nothing. As if it never cracked a piece of Jeongyeon when she saw her leave with that powerful walk, the same walk that would have people shoved against lockers for her.

“Y’know, I think you genuinely have a chance with her.”

Jeongyeon laughs, loud and hard, enough to leave her in a slight coughing fit. Her hand slammed down onto the table, looking directly into the accused eyes. 

“You’re crazy Chaeng, she doesn’t even look at me. Plus, it’s been around a month or two and still nothing has happened. She’s up there, I’m down here, nothing’s ever gonna happen.” She continued to munch on her food, “it’s never going to happen, not in my wildest dreams.“ She isn’t surprised if Chaeng has been pondering the possibility of them both being together so she adds, “or yours.”

“Come on, be fair. She at least looks at you—glimpses even—but those still count. She at least realizes that you exist ever since you’ve confessed y’know. She doesn’t look at you the way she looks at others.”

Jeongyeon shakes her head.

“She probably looks at me with disgust, she probably hates me. We aren’t in a time very accepting of this Chaeyoung.”

Chaeyoung keeps fighting.

“Jeongie, if she really did hate you, she would’ve told the world by now of your secret. But she hasn’t, and clearly she doesn’t want to.” She shushes Jeongyeon once more, “seriously Jeongyeon, at least think about it logically. You’re one of the smartest people I know, come on.”

“And you’re on of the dumbest.”

“Hey I’m not that dumb! I get B’s and A’s!” Chaeyoung shouts slapping her friends arm painfully.

“Just wait and watch Jeongyeon. I’m gonna watch both of you get married.” Her eyes immediately widen, “Okay wait- maybe that was a bit too far...”

Jeongyeon keeps her head down, clenching her hands from underneath the table.

“Stop giving me hope Chaeyoung. It’s never going to happen. Not in our wildest dreams.”

A pause.

“Well then Jeongyeon, watch you wildest dream come true.”

The older rolls her eyes, throwing her wrapper right into the bin while sliding down her chair until her back hit the cold metal of the seat.  “You sound like one of those optimistic characters straight from a book.”

Chaeyoung looks at her, pondering if they could ever actually just be a part of a book, or a movie, or some strange simulation made by future humans. She knows it isn’t unheard of thinking this way, or whether anything is real, or if everything is just a dream, but it feels strange to think of it. How would anyone ever know if everything is just fake? If nothing’s real? And if nothing around us is real, then what is real?

Chaeyoung had said the word real so many times that it didn’t even sound right anymore.

”Chaeyoungie stop, we’re not part of a book or a simulation.” The said girl opened her mouth in retaliation, closing it after a few seconds realizing that it’d be pointless on fighting on whether reality is real or not. “It’s like... almost time for lunch to end, where the hell is Dahyun?”

Chaeyoung shrugged. “I don’t know either, she hadn’t told me of anything today. But I did tell her to try coming early since school is ending right after lunch.”

“Hm, that’s strange.” Jeongyeon removed her phone from her pocket, and flipped it open, pressing tiny buttons till she finally typed in her friend’s number. “I’m calling her, and I swear to god if she doesn’t reply...”

 

                                                                         ——— 

 

Dahyun was walking down the hallways from her last class which was geography. They convinced her to take the subject back in Year 9 even though she felt pretty mediocre about it, but now she never regrets taking such a subject. It was interesting, of course it was for her to enjoy it, but it was more the way the teacher taught that captured her within the subject. His voice was warm and always somehow excited at teaching students, his lessons always filled with wonder because he really does try to make every one of his lessons new and thoughtful, and just... a great to learn in general. Before she thought geography as one of those boring and lame subjects that only smart people would ever take, because that’s the way it was taught; with plain simplicity, with no wonder or complexity, it was just plain boring. Population, the structure of earth, how the weather travelled, understanding how the earth work, blah blah blah. When did understanding how the planet they lived in worked ever get so boring? (She realized, after changing schools, that it wasn’t ever the subject that was boring but the teacher who taught it).

Late to lunch, again. It was basically a routine by now, something expected of Dahyun to be, late to lunch especially if it was a Tuesday. Who could blame her? Right before that was geography, where she stays back and asks tons of questions—doesn’t even have to be related to geography—as long as it’s something that sparks interest within her and her teacher, it’s more than good enough to take a portion of their lunch off. And willingly to the shock of Jeong and Chae, who both know Dahyun as the food lover.

At least this time Dahyun isn’t as late as last time, she had once actually reached the cafeteria ten minutes before lunch ended (to no one’s surprise) and gulped down her food in one whole bite. All of those savory flavors her mom had so tirelessly made wasted, but who could she blame right? She just had to talk to her teacher about his thoughts on Germany winning World War II and what would happen to the rest of the world.

Around thirty minutes of lunch left, she read from her handwatch on her left wrist. She continued walking, taking a sharp turn past their classroom to where the homeroom of the year 11’s we’re located, until she heard strange shouts coming from one of the homerooms. Her mind started to formulate the different possibilities that would happen whether she would go and see what in god’s name was happening (because those were some loud and aggressive shouts and was that crying she heard in the background?) or if she should ignore it and erase it completely from her mind so the curiosity and guilt of not going  doesn’t stab her in her sleep. She hears more distant cries, and sounds of something collapsing—strangely like a human body falling— and she completely brainwashes the idea of leaving and rushes across to the left side of the corridor, peeking through the small hole within the door. If anything, a small peek wouldn’t hurt right?

She countinued to peek, pressing her ear against the door occasionally to get a better hear of the conversation, only to completely remove her ear from the door because what she had just heard was outright awful. How is she even meant to help this poor girl on the floor, crying and sobbing helplessly when there were four others staring at her disapointedly and some of them shouting insults towards the girl. God, how is someone small and timid like Dahyun even supposed to save the girl from this situation if they’re both the same, if they’re both rejects from society just because of their sexuality. She’s got to do something, anything to save this girl but what—

And her ringtone goes off, fully on speaker to reveal Dahyun’s love for kpop.

Dahyun isn’t even surprised when she looks down to see Jeongyeon’s number flashing before her; fate always loves to play jokes on her, but maybe this time fate wanted to tell her something.

(Fate wanted to tell her something important, and that was to not be afraid and fight for her kind)

 

                                                                               ———

 

“Sana are you fucking kidding me? You’re one of those god forbid creatures... a gay?!”

Sana sobs harder into her palms, pressing her hand tighter against her mouth to stop her cries from falling. She tries to stop but she can’t. Her tears continue to fall as her throat tightens painfully, wrapping themselves around her words while her body fails to hold her up so she crashes onto the floor. She crashes with her knees bruised, her hands still clasped against her mouth, her body continuing to constrict herself as she curls into a ball trying to hide herself. But she can’t, not with Jihyo’s finger pointing towards her with absolute shame, not with her friends all staring at her as if she was some sort of freak, not with the person she even trusted the most, her beloved friend Mina, who hid against the shadows. And worst of all Momo, Momo her best friend who she spent her whole childhood with, looking away from her disgustingly as if she was just another disappointment.

“What’s so wrong with me? With this?” Sana sobbed harder her hands clutching the tiles, her tears raining down onto the floor. She wished that she was never like this and  that Tzuyu had never given her the hope of confessing, because now all of her friends despise her for such a simple thing which is just liking girls. She felt her eyes scorch dry up as the remainder of her tears fell; her heart searing with heat and pain forcing her body to limp closer to the floor.

Until a hand caught her. And a voice snarl with disgust.

“Nothing is wrong with you Sana, they’re the ones who’re wrong.”

But that voice was strangely lighter than anyone’s she’d heard. It was not even close to Tzuyu’s, or even Jeongyeon’s, and it was strangely more smoother than both their voices. Sana’s lifted her eyes up and...

Dahyun?

Nayeon snorted back, laughing at the way the stranger thought she was so powerful. ”What are you one of them too? A god’s mistake?” Her head snapped back to meet Sana’s fearful eyes. “Sana how the hell could you even turn out this way, huh?”

“What would people think when they find out about you, do you even know how badly your parents would react to this? They put you into such a nice school and you turn out like this?” Momo asks desperately pacing around the room.

“I cant believe you, all those times you spent with boys, what was it, all a lie?”

Jihyo growled under her breath. “I should’ve known, I should’ve known by the way you were looking so disgustingly at that blonde tomboy—“

Dahyun felt her head spin. With so many whispers, so many snarls, they were all looking at her disgustingly like this was all a mistake. She felt her eyes slightly water, her hands sweat as she gripped harder against the fabric of Sana’s uniform, hearing her cry harder against the whirlwind of terrozing comments and stares. She couldn’t do this, she couldn’t fight against them. Not when she opened her mouth and her voice failed her, instead a soft whimper coming out. She failed Sana, she couldn’t protect her, she failed Sana. She couldn’t protect her own kind, she couldn’t protect herself—

And then a slap. All of their gazes snapped down towards the sound to see Jihyo against the floor staring shockingly up at Mina, hand against her cheek and tears falling down her face, leaving a trail of dismay from her crystal eyes. It happened so fast—in the flash of an eye—no one could even move from their places. They were all frozen waiting for the next move to be made, for someone to say something.

Then Mina clenched her jaw tighter, boring holes into Jihyo’s eyes with her stare and Dahyun knew what would come.

It was the same look Chaeyoung had given her father.

“You don’t get to say that about Sana, none of you do.” Mina breathes out heavily. “Just because she’s... gay, that doesn’t mean she’s any different than us. I mean look at us! Look at the state we’ve put her in, just look! She’s crying against the floor, her knees are fucking bruised, she can barely breathe and none of you even tried to help her. Who’s the monster now huh? Look at her, look at us! We’re the monsters, treating her like she’s nothing.” Mina’s jaw shook slightly, tears running down her face but she continued to keep her stance.

Everyone looked back at Sana with horror, their eyes bleeding shame and guilt when the snapped their heads away but still with a hint of pride clouding them, refusing to believe they were the sole cause of her pain.

”And you guys are calling her the god forbid creature, what kind of friends are you huh? What happened to supporting each other till the end? What happened to making sure we’d never hurt each other, all those promises, huh?!” Mina shouted agressively, her eyes pointing daggers against each one of her friends. No one could speak now, every single one of those comments and stares vanished as they all looked down at themselves, at the monsters they’ve become. 

Dahyun could see the pride being stripped away slowly from their eyes as they took a peek towards the victim, Sana, who was still trembling with fear and her gaze fixated downwards to the dull brown of the classroom tiles.

Mina laughed. “Now you’ve realized, who’s the real monster. Sana, even if she was gay, was still the same as us this whole time right? She’s still as kind as ever, she’s still as strong as ever, and she’s just the same. Just because she’s lesbian, that doesn’t mean she’s any different. You guys are all actual monsters.” She snickers. “Even you Momo, I thought you’d at least not say anything, but looks like you’re just like the rest of the world. Homophobic.”

“Come on Sana, let’s get out of here.” Mina took both Sana and Dahyun’s hand, and left the classroom, leaving the rest of Sana’s friends behind.

 

                                                                  — — —

 

They all sat in silence stunned by the way the quietest girl, Mina, had all left them speechless. With nothing to say because she was right. She was right about everything she said, about how they hurt Sana without even caring once about her, about how they were the real monsters. They let Sana cry on the floor with no one to protect her, and they didn’t even care once. 

“What kinds of friends are we?” Jihyo looks down onto her hands, the same ones that had pointed so accusingly towards Sana with no care whatsoever. “We made her cry, we broke our promise of always supporting each other and never hurting each other.” The hands that once pointed so shamingly towards Sana were now filled apologetic tears. “I’m so sorry Sana, I’m so sorry. I lost control and—”

Soft hands wrapped around Jihyo’s figure and pulled her close for a comforting hug. “We’re all sorry and we all lost ourselves Jihyo, not only you. We’re all at fault.” Nayeon placed her hands against Jihyo’s cheeks, rubbing off the tears while softly cooing into her ears to calm her down. “We lost our friend because of society’s expectation that being... being gay is wrong. But, Sana is really the purest and kindest person I know out there and if she is really gay then society is wrong about people, she isn’t the one wrong. I guess what Mina said really did put some sense into us.”

Nayeon breathed out and ran her fingers through the younger’s caramel hair. “I mean... I’m still not used to it either yet, believing that Sana is this way, but I guess we’ll have to get over it sooner or later right?” Jihyo sniffled as a reply and nodded her head against the older’s chest. She couldn’t help but smile softly at the smaller girl who was tucked inbetween her arms, her head resting snugly against the older’s chest as she quietly sobbed; it was a stark contrast because usually Nayeon would be the one crying against Jihyo’s shoulder, but it’s nice change once in a while. She wondered why society had frowned so deeply against gay people and she could kind of understand, it’s unnatural and rare and even a sin in some religions, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Maybe, once in a while, she should also question how society views things because Sana is so kind and sweet and for her to be equivalent to a monster is impossible, she guess she just needed Mina to dig that into her brain. Into all their brains actually.

Nayeon shifted her gaze towards Momo, seeing the Japanese’s head lowered as her arms covered her face. She walked closer towards the younger girl, making sure to make her presence clear in case she wanted to be alone. “Hey, Momoring, you alright? Don’t be so harsh on yourself bub, we all were at fau—”

Momo shakes her head lightly, looking up to the older’s comforting eyes with her own terrified ones. “You—you don’t understand Nayeon. Sana was my friend, my best friend in the whole world, and she and I had been together since childhood.” Momo saw Nayeon nod slowly. “And I just abandoned her... she had trusted me the most, and I just left her there. I didn’t even— I didn’t even feel anything! Seeing her cry there, I didn’t even care, I didn’t even thinking of helping! We had been best friends since childhood, and I was more than ready to break all ties with her right then and there!”

Momo clutched the sides of her head and pushed herself up to meet Nayeon’s height. “I was so concerned about what others would think of her, about what would her parents think, of what people would think of me if I was friends with her. I didn’t even think about her once, not even once Nayeon! Tell me Nayeon, what kind of friend am I? What kind of horrible person does this!” She falls to the floor holding Nayeon’s hands, the older staring back shocked, her left foot stepping backwards as her knees went weak because everything Momo was saying was right. Everything she was saying was true, Nayeon hadn’t cared once about how Sana felt either. She had only cared what others would think of herself. “Tell me what kind of friend am I?” What kinds of friends are we?

Momo sobs quietly. “I don’t deserve her.”

Nayeon stood there, looking down at her friend with nothing but shock and disappointment within her eyes because both Mina and Momo were right. She didn’t deserve Sana at all, none of them did, not if they only thought of themselves. With nothing to say, she pulled Momo’s body closer to hers and hugged her as tight as she could, muffling the japanese’s sobs with the fabric of the uniform. More tears soaked her shirt as she let the truth sink in a bit more, reality becoming a slight blur as her sight started to mix all the dull colors within the room.

They really were the worst friends in the world.

(And she had no idea how to fix it.)

                                                                     — — —

 

Tzuyu sighs when she sees five miss calls from Mina, walking outside her room to call her friend. She sighs even harder when she sees three of her friends on the floor crying and sighs more when she realizes that she has absolutely no clue on how to deal with any of them.

“All you have to do is apologize, it’s as easy as that. And accept her for who she is.” The youngest says, gaining all of the three’s attention. “Though the accepting part may take a while, which is expected.”

 

                                                                      — — —

 

Jeongyeon was looking downwards, her words failing her as she opened her mouth and closed it right after. The small keys wrapped around the pinky of her hand, feeling the way the sharp edges of the iron dug into her skin. Right beside her was Chaeyoung who looked slightly disappointed, her face cradled within one of her palms while the other rested flat against the table of the empty coffee shop.

”I mean... it’s expected but still, it’s so disappointing that they’d react that way towards her.” The smallest spoke softly into the air finally breaking the silence. “I just hope that they realize their mistake at least.”

Dahyun scoffs. “You should’ve seen the way they completely abused Sana, it was horrible. Even I was shocked, I couldn’t even say anything. Thankfully Mina put some sense into them even if it meant slapping one of them to shut them up.” Dahyun’s phone vibrates violently (she finally decided to keep it on silent) and she leaves it there for a few seconds. “I’ll be impressed if they even manage to apologize with what they said.”

The drinks come their way and Jeongyeon thanks the only barista in the coffee shop, giving her a small smile as she places their order down and thanks them for being so loyal customers. It’s not like they’d choose any other shop to go to, this was good enough. The oldest grabbed the end of her glass, placing the straw between the crease of her lips and slowly sucking against the straw, savoring the melted chocolate that ran through her mouth and the soft Oreo bits that needed chewing on;  loving the way when she chewed on the soft cookie, the vanilla would mix with the chocolate and extend its flavor, making it one of her favorites whenever she could waste time. She watched as her friends laughed, throwing two straws into their milkshakes and using all the air within their lungs to see who could finish it first, and laughed herself when Dahyun had finished around thirty seconds before Chaeyoung, the short haired girl staring longingly towards her lost ten dollars that the older happily flaunted. Another great memory that she’d cherish, definitely something worth taking a picture of, so she does.

“Jeongyeon you should probably confess, you know that right?” 

And everytime something just has to ruin the moment.

“See Jeong?! Even Dahyun agrees with me.” Chaeyoung puts her hand up for a high five which Dahyun first looks confused to, but then immediately returns with enthusiasm, because who can reject a high five right?

Jeongyeon sighs and dropped her head into the darkness that her palms could provide against the illuminating white light above their seats. Why were her friends so adamant about her confessing to Sana? Yeah, okay, now that it’s confirmed that Sana does like girls back, that doesn’t mean she likes her right. Jeongyeon stopped her mind from even getting her hopes up slightly. Sana didn’t like her, she didn’t, she couldn’t and she wouldn’t. Sana just fell for another girl, some other pretty and nice girl not one who had a messed up childhood and now only lives with a father. The time Sana left her in that music room by herself has damaged her self esteem more than enough and she doesn’t need another blow to start crying over it again.

”Jeongyeon why can’t you just accept the fact that, maybe, Sana returns your feelings? I know it’ll be your first time confessing but seriously if she rejects you it’s not like it’s the end of the world.”

She knows she’s overreacting but maybe it would just feel like the end of the world if Sana were to reject her. She means, if it felt like that once already, who says it wouldn’t twice?

Chaeyoung sighs. ”Come on Jeongyeon, at least get a grip and say something.” 

Jeongyeon side-eyes her smaller companion. “You’re forgetting that not only did she leave me alone in the music room when I told her before that I liked her, but she walked out of our performance and she was the only one who did! If I got rejected once, what makes you think I won’t again?”

Chaeyoung groans and throws her head back. “Bro that was a whole two months ago, have you seen the way she stares at you like bro, bro,” the short haired girl extends the word, trying to get her point through the blonde, “she likes you. I can see it, Dahyun can see it, but you can’t see it because you’re afraid of getting rejected again. You are, aren’t ya?” Chaeyoung clicks her fingers (to Jeongyeon’s annoyance) when she sees the older’s face slightly guilty.

Dahyun really doesn’t want to reveal the truth, she really doesn’t, but it’s so hard to keep it hidden when she knows a relationship could be blooming right now and her friend could be happier.

So Dahyun speaks. “Look Jeongie, I may not know Sana or the relationship you have with her, but the way she described you to me was kind of heartbreaking. She really misses you Jeongyeon, and I don’t know what you did to capture her heart that way but you definitely did leave one hell of an impression on her. It’s okay if you don’t tell her your feelings—I mean really it must be hard if she rejected you once already, but at least, y’know, say hi.” She sees Jeongyeon looking down towards the comforting mahogany color of the table. “Even if she didn’t exactly leave such a good impression on you.”

She sees both of her friends looking at her expectantly and one of the faces more pleadingly, and she drops her forehead onto the countertop with a grunt. “I hate you both.” She mutters loosely.

“I’ll take that as a yes!”

“Me too!”