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This may have been a mistake.

Yoobin’s made plenty in her life and she’s not one to avoid them. When she was little, she walked down into a pit in her parents’ backyard and forgot to think about how she would get out. She used to think she could go thirty hours without sleep before exams. She once dated a tattooed upperclassman who smoked and skipped class to annoy her parents who didn’t want her liking girls. She even kissed him. It was horrible, but they both turned out to be gay and he’s still the best person to give her advice. Mistakes make for a well-rounded human being.

Yoobin doesn’t want to count using her roommate for a photography assignment as one of them, but.

But.

As she scans her photo album, finger swiping harsh on the mouse, the weight of apprehension and something else settle on her shoulders.

Her hands pause on one photo where Yoohyeon sits in a summer dress, brushing her hair in front of her chaos of a vanity. Her silver hair sits daintily on the slope of her shoulders. She’s prettier than Yoobin remembers and she dislikes that a lot.

Her media class included an individual photography assignment. Two weeks ago, Yoobin shoved her hand in a shiny fishbowl to pick out a scrap of paper for her prompt. Yoobin thought her prompt would be easy enough.

Yoobin thought of Yoohyeon immediately.

Not because she’s pretty, though of course, she is, conventionally and otherwise. Yoobin can write a paper on this – she did go around asking strangers at a frat party to verify, if one Kim Yoohyeon was hot because that’s only something she could ask fifteen people as a roommate friend and not get called out. The responses varied little between yeah she’s hot to are you kidding me she’s cute AND hot, or something about her ass that Yoobin has yet to successfully delete from her memory.

Yoohyeon is pretty and it may be why Yoobin picked her for her project. There are other reasons - Yoobin doesn’t need to relocate and can shoot from the comfort of her apartment. She also doesn’t need to write an exhaustive consent form and an ad for a model. None of these very convincing reasons she picked Yoohyeon replaces the fact that she can take photos of her all the time.

Absolutely not.

But Yoohyeon has made everything harder for her.

It’s not entirely Yoobin’s fault, see – Yoohyeon has been acting strangely.

Since they started living together in college, in the mornings they made a point to sit down and talk over breakfast. Their routine involved Yoohyeon telling Yoobin about her week, sharing stories about classes and professors and whatever drama happened in Games Club. Yoohyeon would ask Yoobin about her week, then one of them would get ready to go to class and the other would stay at home doing assignments.

Recently, though, Yoohyeon has been leaving earlier than usual. She would come back very sweaty in wet gym clothes (it would drive Yoobin a little bit up the wall) and not speak to Yoobin until the next day.

There would be nights where Yoohyeon would ask Yoobin if she could sleep with her for the night. For that night (and every night) Yoobin would oblige because she knows sometimes Yoohyeon needs someone to talk her to sleep. Yoobin would wake up with Yoohyeon's arms wrapped tight around her waist, face buried in the crook of her shoulder, nose tickling her neck. Yoobin would go back to sleep and dream of holding Yoohyeon's hand and wake up with no sign of her in the apartment except for a sticky note on her cabinet saying she's going to meet a friend, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.

Yoobin used to wonder why she apologized to her about these things or worried about not telling her. Yoobin wonders how far she can go in letting Yoohyeon know that with Yoobin, she can get away with anything.

There would be days where Yoobin wouldn't see Yoohyeon at all - only the ghost in her apartment leaving sticky notes and laundry in the basket and junk food on the dinner table. Days later, Yoohyeon would come back to their apartment when Yoobin is there and never leave her side. Yoobin would let her.

She exhales sharply when she scrolls back to the first photo in the album again out of a hundred and forty-three. She shuts her laptop close and collapses backwards on her beanbag.

//

Yoohyeon was a fascinating and difficult creature.

Yoobin doesn’t mean to be dramatic as that’s out of character for someone trying to implement Marcus Aurelius into her life, but Yoohyeon confused her enough to be nervous.

Two weeks ago, she got her prompt for her assignment. She spent the first three days brainstorming before asking Yoohyeon one empty Sunday if she would be her model. Yoohyeon said yes to the promise of free lunch and because she's Yoobin’s best friend.

“You don’t need to do anything,” Yoobin had said. “Just go about your day.”

Yoohyeon said, “cool!”

But Yoohyeon absolutely did not do that, because the next day Yoohyeon came home from sports club that she had only gone to one other time the whole semester, drenched in sweat. Her tank top was white, thin and damp, leaving her sports bra to peek through the fabric.

She then proceeded to take off her top with one hand, tossing the soggy mass of fabric to their laundry basket and walked around the kitchen in running shorts and a goddamn sports bra for no reason.

They’ve seen each other naked – Yoobin was once too drunk to change out of her vomit stained clothes so Yoohyeon cleaned her up, and Yoohyeon casually forgets to close her bedroom door when changing. Yoohyeon is admittedly a lot more relaxed about her body, but Yoobin had never had Yoohyeon’s sweaty back in full view at that point.

Yoohyeon traipsed in their tiny kitchen, cutting fruits from the fridge before plopping herself down on the couch next to Yoobin, still topless and shimmering with sweat, to stuff her mouth with fruit.

One of Yoobin’s skills as Yoohyeon’s lifesaver and caretaker is her ability to stay put. So, she took photos.

(She did spend a good hour in her bed staring at the ceiling because her conscience was screaming that that entire fiasco was code for something.)

Save for the first day, the next shoots were less problematic, but Yoohyeon’s antics remained odd. She woke up an hour earlier than usual one morning and found Yoohyeon seated on the dining table, bowl of cereal in front and eyes closed. Nothing unusual, until Yoobin recognized her pajamas.

Her slight figure drowned in what was Yoobin’s missing blue oversized sweater with a small rip on the shoulder. Yoobin moved quietly to take a good look and found the orange stain she knew would be at the back.

(Yoobin vaguely remembered asking Yoohyeon where it went some months ago and Yoohyeon saying she last saw it in the laundry basket. She convinced Yoobin to take charge of groceries to stop her impulse spending in exchange for Yoohyeon doing the laundry ever since.)

Yoohyeon was nodding off dangerously close to her bowl of cereal. Yoobin snapped some pictures before slapping Yoohyeon’s back awake.

She followed her to their secret space in the library to study. One of her favorite shots is of Yoohyeon hunched over her notes, brows knotted in concentration with a pack of highlighters in one hand and a pen in the other held like drumsticks. She took pictures of Yoohyeon in her big sweater at the park, rolling in the grass with Yoobin, back at their apartment where Yoohyeon made them ramen for the night, in Yoohyeon’s room where she fell asleep playing Monster Hunter while waiting for Yoobin to come home from a party.

It was easy and peaceful. Yoobin adjusted to Yoohyeon’s new average of odd.

Until this morning.

Yoohyeon nudged her awake. When Yoobin made no move to wake up she shook her shoulders. Yoobin shot her a glare and asked what she needed.

“I have a date,” she said, and Yoobin thought she imagined her voice until she looked at Yoohyeon properly. Her hair was on second-day waves. Her eyes bounced about the room. Her teeth worried on her lip, brows furrowed and fingers picking at the lint on her sweater.

“Cool,” Yoobin said and immediately wanted to fall back asleep. She sat up straighter, reaching to her bedside and grabbing her phone. Nine in the morning – it was sleep in day for her. She shook her head awake. “When?”

“Today,” Yoohyeon said, and with a deep breath added, “I need help.”

Yoobin nodded when Yoohyeon didn’t speak any further. Yoohyeon dragged her out of her room and they both padded to hers. On Yoohyeon’s bed was a mess of garments and dresses Yoobin had never seen Yoohyeon wear.

“So…this date,” Yoobin started and swallowed when she caught sight of what she thought was lace underwear. “Where are you guys eating?”

“Oh, we’re having lunch somewhere,” Yoohyeon stood in front of her pile, finger tapping her bottom lip. “She told me it would be a surprise, but it’s near campus, so it could be anything.”

“Why lunch?”

Yoobin watched Yoohyeon unearth a dress from the pile of clothes. Yoohyeon placed the dress on her and turned to a mirror. The dress was a low-cut neck with a slit on the thigh. “Why…not lunch?”

Yoobin nodded quickly about nothing. “Isn’t dinner sexier or something?” She then shook her head quickly and prayed her brain to mouth filter would wake up.

Yoohyeon dropped the dress back to her pile and retrieved another impossibly smaller one. When did Yoohyeon ever wear these clothes. Were these her clothes. “Or something. Lunch was more convenient.”

Yoohyeon spent a bit more time posing in the mirror and throwing things back into the pile. Yoobin spotted the hem of something white and floral and tugged on the fabric.

“What’s this one?” Yoobin asked, and Yoohyeon moved the heap of clothes on top of the cloth. She pulled out a lightweight summer dress that fell long and flowy. Pink flowers scattered on the hem and around the waistline.

“That looks nice,” Yoobin commented. Yoohyeon laid the dress flat on her torso, turning this and that way.

“You think so?”

Yoobin nodded and walked out of her room. “I’ll get my camera.” Yoohyeon hummed in agreement.

When Yoobin walked back to Yoohyeon’s room a few minutes later, she found her turned to her mirror and away from the door, arm circling to her back to zip her dress up. Yoobin sits her camera on Yoohyeon’s bed and walked over, hands grabbing hold of the dress.

“It keeps slipping,” Yoohyeon complained and let her arms fall to her sides as Yoobin fastened the back of her dress with a smooth zip. “I shouldn’t wear a bra huh?”

Yoobin coughed and kept her focus on Yoohyeon’s face in the mirror, falling back to the bed. “You look fine either way.”

Yoohyeon tugged and stretched the spaghetti straps on her shoulders. “Okay.”

Yoobin watched Yoohyeon bite her lip in her reflection, eyes uneasy. She turned on the bed to grab her camera.

“Pose for me.”

Yoohyeon barked out a laugh, mouth wide and eyes folding into little crescents, before grabbing the skirt of her dress and spinning in front of the mirror. She bent her knees low, put her hands on her waist and posed, hissing “fashion!” that sent Yoobin to a giggling fit.

Yoobin was sprawled in the bed on her stomach, camera ready as Yoohyeon sat in front of her vanity and started on her makeup. She got shots of Yoohyeon swiping glittery eyeshadow with a finger on her eyelid, one of Yoohyeon with one brow done, and another of Yoohyeon’s long fingers locking her dangling silver earrings in place.

“Your roots are showing,” Yoobin noted and pushed herself up and off the bed. She had a picture in her head she wanted to carve out and reached for a lamp on Yoohyeon’s side table.

Yoohyeon hummed a little tune under her breath. “Do you like me dark or silver?”

Yoobin plugged the lamp to an outlet near Yoohyeon’s vanity and flicked it on. “Dark hair makes you look young,” Yoobin started. She shuffled the lamp onto a stack of books on the floor. “You barely look any different from your middle school pictures. But,” Yoobin held her camera up and captured Yoohyeon surrounded by a deep, warm golden glow, listening to her with wide eyes and parted lips. “Silver looks cool on you.”

Yoohyeon smiled, or tried not to, cheeks squishing against her mouth in an effort to pout. “Okay.”

She turned back to the mirror. She tossed her hair off her shoulder and rummaged through her drawer. “Help me pick.”

“Are you that nervous that you don’t know what to pick?” Yoobin walked over anyway as Yoohyeon scattered varying shades of cool and warm red. “You literally only use one of these.”

“I wanna try a liquid one,” Yoohyeon tapped on a long transparent case of berry red. Yoobin leaned against the edge of Yoohyeon’s vanity, watching Yoohyeon twist off the cap and swipe the tip left and right on her bottom lip.

Yoobin hummed and shook her head. “Don’t rub your lips together.” Yoobin warned her too late, and Yoohyeon looked at her wide eyed and head tilted to the side like a puppy. Before Yoobin could stop herself, she said, “Wipe it off and I’ll do it for you.”

Yoohyeon damped a pad with makeup remover, nibbling on her bottom lip as she did, and began scrubbing at her lips.

“Don’t rub it harshly.” Yoobin felt her tone dip a little deeper, get a little quieter. Yoobin leaned down and grabbed the pad, easing down on Yoohyeon’s lips. She wiped her mouth slowly and was careful to work around her mouth with another pad. She grabbed Yoohyeon’s stick of lip balm and rubbed the balm on Yoohyeon’s bottom lip, then her top.

“That you can rub.” She took the lipstick from Yoohyeon’s hand and snapped the cap around with one hand, tossing the cap to the vanity. “Part your lips a little?”

Yoobin felt Yoohyeon’s doe eyes on her, big and curious and lips a little bit apart, as she slid the applicant on the center of Yoohyeon’s bottom lip and blended with her pinky finger. “Don’t close your mouth,” she instructed gently. She worked the same with her top lip, swiping the tip and feathering the berry out to the corners, and caught Yoohyeon’s eye as she leaned back. Yoohyeon stared at her with dark eyes, hair sitting innocently off her shoulder, earrings shimmering in the light.

She wanted to lean forward.

Instead, she pulled herself and leaned against the side of the vanity desk. “You don’t rub your lips together like with sticks,” Yoobin was almost whispering, voice soft and light in the quiet room. Yoobin let herself admire her work a little, how the red peeked out from Yoohyeon’s mouth. “You can close them now. Just don’t rub them together.”

“Thank you,” Yoohyeon chirped and shuffled through her cabinets again, this time opening a square jewelry box. “Pick one for me?”

“Why do you need me to do everything,” Yoobin watched Yoohyeon inspect various bracelets and rings before spotting a familiar chain.

“Hey, that’s our necklace,” Yoobin tapped on the box where a thin, long silver chain sat. Yoohyeon took the chain out and lifted the necklace up for them to see. The thread was full silver but shimmered in the gold light. From the center of the chain dangled a round hoop with a rose gold ‘Y’ inside.

“Friendship necklace,” Yoohyeon buzzed with interest, feeling the chain and the pendant and laying it on her chest. “Ooh! I should wear this one!”

“You want to wear this on a date?”

Yoohyeon shrugged, dancing in her seat. “It’s a cute necklace.”

She slid the necklace around her neck and lifted the mass of her hair with her wrists. Yoobin moved swiftly behind her and held on to the chain lightly while Yoohyeon gathered her hair to her side. Yoobin smelled mint and cherry.

Her hands brushed against the smooth skin of Yoohyeon’s nape as she worked on hooking the chain. When she clicked the finally chain at the back, she placed her hands on Yoohyeon’s shoulders and glanced at the mirror.

She held her breath. Yoohyeon glowed, the metal on her chest matching the cool twists of her hair, colors turning pink and yellow from the light. Her eyes glittered and the blush on her cheeks made her full of life, her berry lips doll-like. Yoobin’s hands warmed against Yoohyeon’s skin, though she did not move. Yoobin’s pulse rushed at how Yoohyeon looked back. She met Yoobin’s gaze with the same curious eyes, big and alert, but her eyes felt heavy, dark in the dim room, distorted further by the dust and the golden light from the lamp.

Neither of them moved for a while – she could only feel blood rushing to her ears and Yoohyeon’s steady breathing.

Yoobin swallowed before finding the strength to step back.

“You look nice,” was all she said, stiffly. Yoobin released the breath she held tight in her lungs with a breathy, nervous laugh. She fished her phone out of her pocket, and when Yoohyeon turned around in her seat they heard the click of the phone and Yoobin’s thumbs tapping on the glass. Yoohyeon raised an eyebrow, smiling wide.

“They’re for me,” Yoobin said quietly.

//

She sighs and swipes her fingers on the trackpad as the screen hums to life. The time reads four-forty PM in big clean sans serif overlayed on a selfie of Yoohyeon and her in bed, Yoobin glaring half-asleep and Yoohyeon’s cheek squished against her pillow.

When keys jingle outside the door, Yoobin stays frozen in her seat.

Yoohyeon steps into the apartment looking wearier than Yoobin expects. Even a little deflated. She shakes the keys out of the lock and toes the door closed, forehead knotted and a thin line on her lips. Yoobin’s nerves are warmed with concern, though it’s not until Yoohyeon lifts her head, meets her eyes, and averts them that Yoobin worries.

“Welcome home,” Yoobin tries and watches Yoohyeon dump her bag on the floor and plop down next to her. “How did it go?”

“I’m home,” Yoohyeon yawns. “It didn’t work out.”

Yoobin expects Yoohyeon to jump on why, but she doesn’t go further beyond that and sits limply on the couch instead. Yoohyeon sighs and turns to Yoobin. “I’m okay. Just disappointed.”

Yoobin gives her hand a quick gentle squeeze. Yoohyeon sighs again. “Am I pretty?”

Yoobin’s not quick to irritate, but she immediately feels protective. “Of course you are. Did she say anything?”

“No. It’s just. It’s like no one wants to try and like me,” Yoohyeon says. “They seem interested, then they don’t. I get that I’m not cool, but…”

“You’re plenty cool,” Yoobin argues. “You’re learning three languages at once, you dedicate your time to five other hobbies, while maintaining good grades. You’re pretty and you’re charming.”

Yoohyeon hides her face into her hands and Yoobin sees the tip of her ears redden. “Is that cool?”

“It’s badass,” Yoobin says it like Yoohyeon’s ridiculous for even thinking it’s not, and she’s taken aback by herself for a second. “You’re badass. Even if you forget to clean.”

Yoohyeon lifts her head, resting her chin on her palm. “That’s a lot.”

“If she can’t see how great you are, maybe it’s better like this,” Yoobin takes in how Yoohyeon’s cheeks swell at the hint of a smile and knows she wouldn’t be able to say no. “You deserve people who love you.”

Yoobin lets her eyes drift over Yoohyeon’s face. Yoohyeon stares back, eyes glittery and light like this morning. Yoobin swallows because her feelings and words are a bundle of clouds at the back of her tongue, waiting to fall out.

“I wish,” Yoohyeon pouts. “No one’s ever liked me and stayed.”

Yoobin wants to say, “I have,” and maybe she does – a voiceless murmur from her lips that’s louder than she intends. She stiffens and prays Yoohyeon hears nothing, but Yoohyeon inches closer to her. Yoobin leans further back into the couch, stretching her legs out in a weak effort to appear casual. Yoohyeon’s lips are curled into a shy, teasing grin, light, but her eyes are too murky to read. She feels close and far all at once – her arm is warm against her shoulder, but she feels like Yoohyeon is looking through her, searching for her.

“What was that?” Yoohyeon nudges her shoulder.

Yoobin scoffs but her hands sweat. She turns away from Yoohyeon and closes her laptop to keep her hands from trembling. “I’ve stayed. I’m here.”

Yoobin feels Yoohyeon’s eyes on her before she faces her again. Yoohyeon rolls her eyes. “But you haven’t liked me, you know.”

Yoobin chuckles like it’s a joke and Yoohyeon snorts, but they hold each other’s eyes. Yoohyeon’s is cold, closed, not the warm brown Yoobin’s used to waking up to. Her ears and temples are pounding. She licks her bottom lip, bites it, focuses on getting air in through her nose and out her mouth.

“I have,” Yoobin spits out, voice cool but she can’t hear anything because of the blood pumping through her face. “I do like you.”

“You’re like, my best friend,” Yoohyeon counters but she’s moved her arm away and fiddles with her hands on her lap. This is it. Yoobin’s going to fuck everything up. “You’re being nice.”

“Yoohyeon,” Yoobin’s jaw hardens, as her hands curl into fists on her jeans but she loosens them when Yoohyeon looks back. Her eyes are shimmery. Yoohyeon is going to cry and hate Yoobin and leave and Yoobin’s going to lose a friend. Maybe a love of her life. “I like you.” When Yoohyeon keeps staring, Yoobin leans forward, elbows on her knees. “I like you. I didn’t know until recently. When I did the photo project, when I picked you, I didn’t know. But I realized I’ve liked you since forever.” Yoobin doesn’t realize she can’t really feel her mouth until she’s biting down hard on her lip. “I’ve liked you. I do like you.”

“Oh my god,” Yoohyeon breathes out.

“I’m sorry, Yoohyeon, I–”

Yoohyeon stands up and combs her hand wildly through her hair. She spins around and her eyes are red and glossy.

“Is this a joke?” Yoohyeon’s voice is rough. “Please, Yoobin.”

“No,” Yoobin answers, voice gentle despite the storm in her head. “I’m not.” She feels the shame and confusion she’s pushed away weigh down like a sudden pressure on her neck. “I’m sorry.”

“Okay,” Yoohyeon shakes her head up and down vigorously. “This is. Huh,” She collapses back to the far corner of the couch, like her legs have given up. “Oh god.”

Yoohyeon hunches forward and stuffs her face into a pillow. Yoobin’s face is too hot and her eyes and nose sting. She’s going to lose a friend. She doesn’t mind failing an assignment at this point.

She hears a hiccup to her right and sees that Yoohyeon’s shoulders are shaking. Yoobin feels a sting in her chest, and a wave of anger burns under her skin – do her feelings upset Yoohyeon that much?

When Yoobin hears a sniffle and a shaky suck of breath, she moves right to her side.

“I…I’m sorry,” Yoobin’s eyes heat up and she’s trying to breathe. She lets her palm rest on Yoohyeon’s back. “I’m not going to use the photos anymore. I’m so sorry–”

Yoohyeon makes a muffled sound and shakes her head against the pillow. She cries through the rest of her shakes with Yoobin rubbing her back before she stills. Yoohyeon sniffles and groans something against the pillow.

Yoobin stops rubbing her back and leans close, and when Yoohyeon doesn’t say anything she gives her shoulder a gentle pat.

“….Didn’t….”

Yoobin rubs small circles on Yoohyeon’s shoulder with her thumb. “Didn’t?”

“I didn’t haveada….” Yoohyeon muffles the rest of her words back in the pillow.

“What?”

Yoohyeon’s shoulders shake and she’s crying again and Yoobin scoots close to her side and wraps her arms around her. When she lifts her head there are two patches of mascara and a lipstick stain on the pillow.

“I didn’t. Have a date.”

“What?” Yoobin’s automatic response is to grab a tissue from the coffee table and wipe the corner of Yoohyeon’s face where her makeup has smudged off. Her hand shakes. “…What?”

“I went to the mall,” Yoohyeon’s voice cracks as she speaks. Yoobin keeps dabbing at her temple with the curled tissue. “I tried to look for. A hot outfit.”

Yoobin somehow thinks of laughing but her insides are flipping around inside her body, so she offers a shaky grin.

“Found a black leather one that made my butt look good–”

“Your…oh–”

“–but it was two…two hundred dollars for a dumb tube of fabric.” Yoohyeon glances at Yoobin and back at her soiled pillow. “I was hysterical at that point and actually considering going broke to seduce you–”

“S-seduce–”

“But I thought, I thought you were going to kiss me earlier and I hoped I looked pretty enough but you didn’t, and no two hundred stupid dollar dress is going to do that for me.” Yoohyeon raises her head and holds Yoobin’s eyes. Yoohyeon’s lips are bitten and her mascara has muddled her eyeshadow and Yoobin can only think about wanting to hug her.

“But you…”

Yeah. “Yeah.”

“You like me.”

“I do,” Yoobin doesn’t know what’s keeping her voice or her breathing so steady when her heart is beating up a storm in her chest. “And you. Also like me?”

“Since the frat party in first year.”

“That’s…” Yoobin gapes. “…almost two years ago.”

“Yeah.”

“Oh.” Yoobin folds the tissue with a finger and dabs it at the rest of Yoohyeon’s face. “I, uh, found out this semester. But I think–” Yoohyeon holds onto her pinky, where Yoobin’s hand rests on her cheek – “I’ve liked you for a long time too.”

“That’s nice.”

Yoobin does a breathy chuckle from her chest and puts the tissue back on the table. Her finger curls around Yoohyeon’s pinky.

They look at each other. Really look – Yoobin tries to dig up all the stories from Yoohyeon’s eyes and finds relief in the truth she sees there. She watches Yoohyeon’s eyes flicker to her mouth and back up. She gives Yoohyeon’s waist a firm squeeze.

“So, the date was fake.”

Yoohyeon actually looks apologetic. “I hoped you would have a reaction…”

“Were you trying to make me jealous?”

“Please,” Yoohyeon shuts her eyes and shakes her head. “Let’s pretend that didn’t happen. Please.”

“You walked around the mall for four hours–”

“Shut up shut up!” Yoohyeon falls into her and buries her face into her neck. “You’re not allowed to tease me!”

“You were going to spend two thirds of your savings to woo me,” Yoobin giggles when Yoohyeon starts whining and hitting her shoulder. “With a dress?”

“I’m going to kick your ass,” Yoohyeon says with her arms tight around Yoobin. “I’m going to be normal and ugly all the time now.”

Yoobin slides her hand down Yoohyeon’s arm and pushes her back gently. “You looked really pretty earlier, by the way.”

Yoobin reaches for Yoohyeon’s hand and plays with her fingers, pressing on her knuckles and rubbing her wrist. “I thought you were going to kiss me,” Yoohyeon reminds her of how Yoobin could feel Yoohyeon’s breath on her face, how she looked with her mouth parted and shiny.

“I thought I was, too,” Yoobin stares Yoohyeon down this time, eyes locked and unflinching even as Yoohyeon shies away. “I didn’t want to scare you.”

Yoohyeon stares down at their hands and reaches for Yoobin’s other hand to give it a squeeze. She looks up and meets Yoobin’s gaze.

“Would you kiss me now?”

Yoobin feels a pounding in her chest again but she lets go of their hands and leans back against the couch, looking away from Yoohyeon. “Maybe.”

It’s quiet. Yoobin doesn’t mean to hold her breath but she does anyway. Yoobin feels Yoohyeon staring holes into the side of her face, then hears the springs of the couch squeak. Feels Yoohyeon’s hand slip on her shoulder, trail up her neck.

Watches Yoohyeon move her legs on either side of Yoobin’s lap before sitting on her.

Yoobin’s breath hitches and she’s sure her brain is no longer functioning, but she manages to bring her hands up to Yoohyeon’s hips. Her fingers press on soft skin through her dress. Yoohyeon has wrapped her arms around Yoobin’s neck and her face is a head away.

She looks up at Yoohyeon’s dark eyes that betray her innocent smile. “You can try now.”

Yoohyeon’s cheeks are flushed the soft pink blooming down to her neck. Yoobin smooths one hand up Yoohyeon’s arm to her hair, combing them away from her shoulder, before coming up to rest under her jaw. She rolls her thumb there and guides Yoohyeon gently down.

Yoobin leans forward and brings Yoohyeon’s face so that there’s an inch between their lips. There’s little she can hear besides the pounding in her ears and Yoohyeon’s soft breathing. She brings her hand up from Yoohyeon’s jaw to cradle her cheek and leans in.

She brushes her lips against Yoohyeon’s bottom lip first, before pressing fully, chaste and simple, but her heart races all the same. She feels Yoohyeon lean into the kiss with a happy sigh and Yoobin, thoughtless, grazes her teeth on her bottom lip. Yoohyeon’s lip gloss tastes sweet.

Yoohyeon presses her body against Yoobin’s, who sits forward and keeps Yoohyeon close with a gentle hand on her back. When Yoobin slides her other hand down from Yoohyeon’s face to squeeze her thigh, Yoohyeon gasps, and Yoobin kisses her open-mouthed, licking her teeth.

Yoohyeon makes a noise that makes Yoobin chuckle and runs her hands through Yoobin’s hair. Yoohyeon nibbles on Yoobin’s lips and Yoobin hums. Her heart is steady, Yoohyeon feels good and soft and nice on her mouth, and for a moment Yoobin thinks she’s going to open her eyes and find herself barely awake on her bed. Yoobin wraps her arms fully around Yoohyeon and brings her close, tight and warm against her.

Yoobin drinks Yoohyeon’s soft breaths and sighs, relishing when her lips leaves Yoohyeon’s for a second and Yoohyeon chases her lips to land a firm kiss.

When they stop, it doesn’t feel very long, but Yoobin’s hair feels like a nest on her head and the straps of Yoohyeon’s top have fallen off her shoulder. Yoobin carefully slips the straps back up before settling her hands politely around Yoohyeon’s waist. Yoohyeon laughs, big and hearty, and leans her forehead against Yoobin’s.

“So,” Yoobin sighs out. She takes Yoohyeon’s face in her hands and moves her back, thumbs caressing her cheeks. “If I kissed you earlier, you wouldn’t have left.”

“Nope.”

“You did your makeup to get me to kiss you.”

“…Yes...”

"Did you mess up to get me to put lipstick on you?”

“No! …But I did want you put my necklace on.”

Yoobin slides her hands down to Yoohyeon’s shoulder and plays with her necklace. “I want to talk more. But I want to kiss more.”

“Okay,” Yoohyeon frames Yoobin’s cheeks with her hands, poking them with her thumbs. “We can kiss. Then talk.”

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Her prompt is ‘mundane’. Photograph a subject in a scene and tell a story of the everyday.

She hosts the photo prints in three nine-box grid shelves. Twenty-seven prints sit inside glass in each box that stand in a row on a table.

The first set is Yoohyeon and silhouettes – of her, of objects in their room like Yoobin’s old sweater, fruits, and cereal in a bowl. Yoohyeon’s face is hidden in the dark, and in the last row the muted light from a window touches her cheek.

In the second box, a unifying soft rose filter ages the pictures, all of Yoohyeon. Yoohyeon sleeping on her desk, Yoohyeon holding her highlighters, Yoohyeon eating noodles, Yoohyeon in sweaty gym clothes, Yoohyeon’s face curled everywhere in concentration.

The final box is the most vibrant. Pictures of Yoohyeon in her summer dress, getting ready in front of her vanity, illuminated by an easy yellow glow occupy the first row while Yoohyeon grinning and laughing, bright and toothy fill the second. The last three boxes are different in quality. The first is a selfie of Yoohyeon, taken from a phone; then hands, holding; and a grainy, blurred picture of Yoobin smiling.

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