It's late enough when Namjoo gets home that her mom and dad are already asleep. Her mom's left a note on the kitchen island, saying she hopes Namjoo had a good time at her show and that there's leftovers in the fridge if she's hungry.
She's not hungry, just sweaty and tired and thirsty, so she chugs a glass of water and heads up to her bedroom. Namjoo's been in a great mood all night, but the note makes her stomach twist a little as she climbs the stairs. She's lucky, really, in how much freedom and trust her parents give her, and she doesn't want to abuse that trust, but…
She's had just enough time to change into her pajamas and tie her hair up into a ponytail when the knock comes at the door. Her sister doesn't wait for an answer before she's opening it, just far enough to stick her head in.
Namjoo scowls at her. "Why are you still up, brat?"
She's not sure what part of that her sister takes as permission to open the door completely and let herself in to plop down on Namjoo's bed.
"I wanted to hear about your date!"
"Date?" Namjoo repeats.
Her sister rolls her eyes. "I'm not dumb, unnie. I know Yoongi-oppa's your boyfriend now."
Namjoo raises her eyebrows. "Okay, no. Just, no."
Her sister gives her a look. Namjoo can tell she thinks it's much more devastating than it is. After a few moments of Namjoo's complete lack of reaction, she gives in with a sigh. "Okaaaaay," she says, in a tone that makes it clear she thinks Namjoo's a liar. "If you say so…"
"Ugh," Namjoo says, "just go away already, I want to wash my face and go to bed."
"Fine," her sister says, but she doesn't move from the bed. She tilts her head and bites her lip, looking at Namjoo a while longer until Namjoo loses patience and says, "What?"
"Can I borrow your purple nail polish?"
Namjoo picks up the bottle from the edge of her desk and chucks it at her, but her sister catches it easily. She's giggling, still looking smug as she finally leaves the room.
Namjoo's really glad not to be fourteen anymore.
It's annoying, knowing her sister thinks she's lying about this, because she's not. She's really not.
If there is one thing that Namjoo knows for sure, it's that Min Yoongi is not her boyfriend.
It's everything else that's confusing.
Like--okay. Here's one thing that's confusing. Two months ago, Namjoo came out to Yoongi.
They were in his bedroom listening to music together, which was how they ended up most days after school once they both had finished their homework.
Yoongi had on an album they both liked and had listened to a million times. He was sitting in his desk chair, spinning around once in a while, and Namjoo was on the floor with her back against his bed and her arms around her knees. Neither of them had spoken for a couple of minutes, but that was normal for them, not uncomfortable at all.
It felt like the right moment somehow. Namjoo opened her mouth and blurted it out, a little loud even against the background of the music. "I think I like girls more than guys."
She had never said it out loud before. She thought--she suspected people must know already, though. She'd heard whispers at school more than once. She saw the way her mom looked at her sometimes. Even just the fact that none of their parents cared that Namjoo was here unsupervised in Yoongi's bedroom almost every day--that had to mean something, didn't it?
Yoongi had stopped his chair mid-spin. He didn't say anything for a long time, but Namjoo could tell he wasn't ignoring her; that was the face he wore when he was thinking hard, when he was digesting things.
So she waited him out, biting her lip and picking at her nails, until Yoongi cleared his throat and said quietly, "Yeah. Me too. The other way around."
It felt good, telling each other, that moment of honesty and connection, but it was also…
The confusing part was that she didn't feel any different, deep down. Somehow she had thought saying it out loud would magically sort out her feelings, let her know exactly what she wanted and what she was. But it didn't. It was still just as much of a mess. But at least it was a mess she had someone to talk about with, someone who was going through the same thing.
And another confusing thing: tonight after the show Namjoo let Yoongi finger her in the backseat of his car when they were parked just down the street, halfway between their houses.
Let is the wrong word. Let implies that Namjoo was doing him a favor somehow, like she didn't want to do it, like it was just Yoongi doing stuff instead of the two of them together. And none of that is true at all.
It was the two of them making out. They've gotten pretty good at that the last couple of weeks, the kissing part. It's weird, but it's good, too, which Namjoo supposes is why they keep doing it. If they'd tried that first time and it had just been gross, if nothing had happened at all, well--that would have been it, right? The end of the experiment. They both could have known for sure and checked it off: nope, definitely gay. Case closed.
But that's not what happened.
And so now Namjoo's started to get used to it, the way Yoongi kisses and the way it makes her feel warm and slow all over. The way his hands feel cupping her boobs, above her sweater and underneath. The way the hard line of his erection feels pushing against her thigh, and the way she's always aware of it even though neither of them call attention to it, and the way it feels nicer than she would have guessed.
It's all been nice so far. So when Yoongi's hand slid up a few inches under her skirt, Namjoo had shifted on the vinyl seat and spread her legs a little. And Yoongi had taken the hint, moving his hand over so his fingertips just brushed against her inner thigh.
He lifted his head and looked down at her. The only light in the car was what made it in from the streetlights, which wasn't a lot where Yoongi had parked. His face was shadowed and his eyes dark. "This is okay?" Yoongi said, in his soft low voice.
"Yeah," Namjoo said. "I mean, if you want to."
Part of her felt really awkward--she tucked her head in against Yoongi's shoulder and neck so he couldn't see her face--but it was good, too, yet another nice thing to add to the list: Yoongi's long fingers touching her over her panties and then underneath and then inside. Namjoo couldn't help but squeak once in a while, but mostly the only sound was the ruffling of their clothes and Yoongi's heavy breathing and his whisper of "okay still?" every few minutes and "did you come?" at the very end, after she'd groaned too loudly and shook and dug her nails into his arms so deep she feels guilty remembering it now, hours later.
He sounded surprised when he said it. It made Namjoo want to giggle a little, but she managed to stop herself. Yoongi's never laughed at her once during any of this, after all.
They'd kissed again for a little bit, and then they'd put their clothes back into place and Namjoo had made her way down the sidewalk to her front door.
"I like queer," Yoongi says thoughtfully.
They're in Yoongi's bedroom again, sitting on his bed. Namjoo is sitting right side up, back against the wall and her legs dangling off the edge. Next to her, Yoongi's upside down, legs propped up and his head hanging over the side. His hair looks ridiculous.
"Yeah?" Namjoo says.
Yoongi hmms in affirmation. "It's a big word. Lots of room in it."
"Yeah," Namjoo says again. Differently this time. She hesitates. "It's not just the word, though, you know? It's the knowing."
Yoongi makes another noise of acknowledgment.
"Well, you definitely like girls," Yoongi says.
"And you definitely like me." Yoongi waggles his eyebrows at her. It looks pretty stupid upside down.
"...you're okay, I guess."
"Well," Yoongi says. "There you go."
When Namjoo sighs he grabs her hand and holds it. It feels comfortable and familiar--lots of things about Yoongi feel that way; they've known each other since they were kids, a decade since he moved into the neighborhood. She's used to his pout and his dumb laugh and his stubbornness and a hundred other things. But there's that other piece too, alongside the comfortable and familiar.
"Don't pretend you're not confused too," Namjoo says. "I know you too well to fall for it."
"I mean, yeah," Yoongi says. "Obviously. I have no fucking clue here."
Namjoo laughs, shaking her head. "Fine. Just as long as we're 100% clear on that."
Dicks in porn always looked kind of scary--or if not scary, just weird. Namjoo had never bothered to pay much attention to the guys, not when there were girls right there being so soft and pretty and appealing.
"Yeah, guys in straight porn are never hot," Yoongi says. "They save all the hot guys for gay porn."
"Well, that's sexist," Namjoo says, making a face. "Fuck the male gaze."
Dick in real life, though, is...kind of nice. Or at least, Yoongi's is. It doesn't look like a goofy alien attached to his body, just like another natural part of him. It's kind of cute, even, pretty and pink. Stiff and hot in her hand, but the skin's so soft too, and she likes the way Yoongi jumps at just the brush of her fingertips at the right place.
Maybe she wouldn't like it as much if it weren't Yoongi, her best friend, who she knows and likes and trusts so, so, much. But it is, and she does.
"Shit, sorry," Yoongi says as Namjoo pulls off his dick, coughing. He sounds a little panicked, and his hands are moving gently and quickly over her head and her shoulders like he's not sure what to do with them.
As soon as Namjoo has her breath back, she says, "I thought you said you'd done this before!"
"I didn't know you meant from this side," Yoongi replies--not quite a snap, but almost there, proof (if she needed any more) that he's embarrassed.
It takes her a second to get it, and then: "oh," says Namjoo.
Well, all right. They're both learning together, then.
"The thing is," Namjoo says, tearing up little tufts of grass as she speaks, "the thing is, it feels like...giving in."
Yoongi squints at her from under his cap. It's a beautiful day out, which is why Namjoo wanted to go to the park in the first place; it seemed like a waste to be inside when she could be here with the sun and clouds and flowers and trees. Yoongi grumbled a little bit, but he came too, though he's dressed in a hundred layers because somehow he's always cold.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Yoongi says.
Namjoo blows out a frustrated breath. "It's just--heteronormativity, you know? I don't want to just give in to societal expectations. Or like we should be together just because people look at a guy and a girl who are friends and they assume things. Like it's proving them right. Doesn't it, doesn't it feel to you like it's denying part of who we are?"
Yoongi raises his eyes upward and stares at the tree above their heads for a long moment, like he's waiting for it to say something.
When they were kids, they used to fight all the time (Namjoo isn't sure they spoke at all the whole summer she was thirteen), but they don't, really, anymore. They haven't for a long time. They disagree about stuff, sure, but they also--they understand each other, Namjoo thinks. Yoongi understands her. When Yoongi looks at her he doesn't just see the genius or the awkward tall girl or whatever it is everyone else sees. He gets the way her mind works, even when Namjoo barely understands it herself. Just like Namjoo knows all his different silences and murmurs and smiles.
This is a silence that means he thinks Namjoo's being a dummy.
"Yoongi," Namjoo says.
"Namjoo," Yoongi parrots back, but he meets her gaze again. "Look, if you don't want to date, if you just want to fool around occasionally, or not even that--that's fine. That's your choice. But that line of reasoning is bullshit. You are who you are, and who the fuck gains by you trying to keep yourself in a smaller box?"
Namjoo chews on her bottom lip. "But," she starts, but she doesn't really have an answer for that.
"We're not playing at being straight together," Yoongi says. He sounds almost bored, even though Namjoo knows he's nowhere near it. "We like each other. Right?"
Her stomach feels like a mess of nerves and uncertainty, but--she does know the answer to this question, she thinks. "Right," Namjoo says, and the smile that blooms across Yoongi's face makes her smile too.
"Okay, okay," Namjoo says, "we can try it. Dating. Boyfriend and girlfriend." It still sounds weird to her, every word of it, but...weird is okay, too. They can figure it out.
Yoongi looks annoyingly smug, but Namjoo still holds his hand the entire walk home. They even kiss in front of her front door and everything.
("I knew it!" her little sister shrieks when she finds out, but Namjoo just ignores her. Let her think what she likes; Namjoo knows the truth.)