I was alone for a while
You came along and you asked me for a smile
I guess then the stars had aligned
A flower bloomed, the clouds were rushing out of my mind
AT EARLY MORNING time is distorted, so much so that Joohyun feels as though she's in another dimension, in someone else's body, stuck in a life she isn't sure of—until the hot cup of peppermint tea she'd made earlier stings against her palm that she's brought back to real time.
She returns to her room to find Seulgi sat on the edge of her bed, grey shadows fall on her figure from the window blinds and the thin strips of summer sunlight glisten against her skin in a delightful yellow. Even before debut, Seulgi had always been the physical embodiment of yellow for Joohyun; an idyllic sort of happiness so carefully construed it seemed unreal. Joohyun sits down next to her.
"Hey," she says softly, careful to note the slight puffiness to Seulgi's face and red nose and the loose bun that can't begin to control the disarray of her hair.
Seulgi startles, hands clenching at the sheets in some semblance of cover—she regresses to the state of a child, caught in the shameful act of indiscipline—her voice is hoarse but high pitched, "I'm sorry, I—"
"Hey, no," she hands the cup to Seulgi, "you look like you need this more than I do."
Silence behaves rather oddly as it twists and contorts in the form of a weary one-way conversation, Joohyun wishes she could manipulate it to make Seulgi understand something, anything. Steam rises from the cup and curls away into the atmosphere. "Seulgi-yah, you know you can tell me if anything is wrong—if you're feeling sick and can't make it to practice today."
"No, no," Seulgi shakes her head, eyes still downcast, "I don't need you to act like a leader. I... I want you."
"I'm here. I got you." Joohyun places her hands on Seulgi's, offering any kind of comfort she can. Her heart beats slowly and with certainty at the base of her throat.
"You don't understand."
"Then help me understand."
Joohyun is always fascinated by emotions and how easily they control some people—she'd formed a terrible habit of staring at faces but with Seulgi she can't just look, she's captivated and—Seulgi worries her bottom lip between her teeth oh god, "I don't know what I feel."
She takes the cup from Seulgi and places it on the ground. "Come here," she tucks Seulgi in her arms in a lopsided version of an embrace until she can smell the lavender fabric softener from her shirt, "do you need anything?"
"No, I just want you." Her voice sounds muffled against Joohyun's shoulder.
"Okay, okay. I'm here, baby bear."
"I love you," Seulgi says—fingers fisted in the material of her pyjama shorts to stop herself from doing something stupid.
"I love you."
"I know, baby. I know." The heat from Seulgi's skin is almost feverish against her own and as though Joohyun is coddling a baby, she places a chaste kiss on her cheek, "And I love you."
"I feel so alone, Joohyun-ah."
"But I'm right here."
"Yeah..." Seulgi sits up straight and starts cracking her knuckles before Joohyun can stop her. "I—I... I didn't ask—how are you?"
"I'm—I'm fine but why—?"
"I think I deserve the right for you to be honest with me," Seulgi's tone is tight and controlled, trying not to waver and sound so small—but Joohyun knows.
"You don't have to worry, Seul. You're important to me."
"And when are you gonna realise that you are important to me? That I wanna know how you're feeling?" For the first time in their conversation, Seulgi catches Joohyun's gaze, "I never know what's going on inside your head. You don't tell me anything and I understand—I understand you don't want me to worry but you have to give me something."
Joohyun starts to crave for the past, fuelled by the utter stupidity of her emotions—of cold nights spent on practice room floors, a strange mixture of tiredness and energy thrumming under fingertips, wrapped in the security of another human. She doesn't know what to say to Seulgi, afraid that every word would sound wobbled and wet on her tongue. In Seulgi's eyes, she can almost see herself reflected as a stranger—a being so very existentialist and dreary that she has to look away and focus on her hands. "You know I'm not great at explaining how I feel."
"Neither am I but I try for you and I'd like it if you could do the same for me once." Seulgi grabs her forearm, the touch is so agonising that Joohyun wants to curl into Seulgi in a strange sense of affection until they're a part of each other.
"I'm—" Joohyun starts but her breath hitches in her throat when she looks over at Seulgi again—lips pulled in a slight pout that accentuates the overall attractiveness of her face—goddammit, "I wanna kiss you."
"You can but later."
"But we won't have any time until after practice and god knows how long that'll take today."
"It's settled then."
"We could talk later, I want you now," Joohyun whispers, albeit a little impishly; hands on Seulgi's waist, guiding her so close that Joohyun can feel the warmth of Seulgi's body against her own—the first time they've been so close since days that she feels satiated, content—eyes closing at the comfort. She doesn't want to be anywhere else.
"Joohyun-ah," a light blush spreads across Seulgi's cheeks, "don't change the subject."
"You're my favourite subject."
Seulgi pulls back a little, "Promise that you'll tell me—"
"Oh my god, of course I'll tell you..."
Whatever gap that appeared between them is sealed in reverse as Joohyun leans in and kisses her. It's tentative and soft, almost unsure of itself and it is what it is—just a kiss but Joohyun feels airy and light, emotions shedding from her skin like pieces of malformed concrete. One part of her implodes in a supernova and another bursts into existence at the tip of a singularity—a universe created at the edge of her consciousness.
Kissing Seulgi is like tasting the utter euphoria of creation.