“So you really like her?”
Jongin looked up from his coffee, he felt Jisoo’s stare rip its way through his flesh, he stuttered slightly before speaking. “Yeah, I really do.”
He swore he saw something shift in the beauty’s face, it wasn’t friendliness by any means, but rather a quick flash of melancholic disappointment. Her face fell for a quick second, her eyes darkened as she seemed to peer out the window.
“She’s a good person…” Jisoo began, shattering the uncomfortable silence between the two. “She’s been through a lot, being with her isn’t ever easy, you have to be ready to catch her when she falls, and sometimes you have to pull her before she jumps.”
He nodded slowly. “I’m not a runner.”
“I hope, because Jennie’s not a chaser.”
Jisoo sighed and paused, her fingers seemed to dig into each other as her breaths came out slow and steady. She seemed to be holding the entire world back within her mouth, a dark sea of emotions that could drown an entire cities. She held back so much, and yet she still needed more restrain.
She gulped slightly before speaking again. “She’ll follow you to the ends of hell and back, even if it means skipping past heaven… She’s loyal like that.”
“I’ll make sure every second is a second in heaven.” Jongin promised.
Jisoo swore she saw the fire of a man with the purest of intentions, and she felt the flames swallow her whole and they left her a pile of charred bones.
“What do you want to know?” she eventually asked, leaning into her chair and lifting the cup of coffee to her lips ever so gently.
Jongin smiled softly and let out a relieved sigh. “How about her favorite foods? Favorite things to do?”
She fought against her muscles, that screamed in protest, they refused to turn her lips into a smile. But she had won, and she returned a kind smile back to him.
“She really likes Korean food, she’s never been picky… But she loves milk flavored ice cream,” Jisoo explained but stopped to softly chuckle, “She’ll make this cute little face where her cheeks squish against her eyes, and she’ll probably hug you and tell you ‘thank you’ a thousand times, and she always shares, no matter how many times you tell her that you bought it for her.”
She watched as Kai pulled out his phone and rapidly began to type in his notes, he looked up after she paused. “Oh, don’t worry, this is just to keep track so I don’t mess up.”
“She’ll take a lot of pictures, of herself, of you… She’ll stop and admire the pictures she took of you, she’ll go off on this tangent of how beautiful you are and how much she adores every little thing about you,” Jisoo said with a scoff, “She’s very dramatic.” But her face softened before she spoke again, “Make sure you take pictures of her too, tell her how much you love her cheeks and her eyes. Tell her she’s beautiful, she won’t believe you at first, but after awhile she’ll believe it. You can tell because her eyes start to shine and she gets really shy.”
Jongin laughed quietly, “You know a lot about her.”
“We’re in a group, you pick these things up as time pasts.” replied Jisoo with slight shrug.
He nodded in agreement and sipped at his coffee.
She glanced out the window again, and felt the sun wrap its warm rays around her skin, they embedded deep into her bones and left her with a gentle warm feeling radiating throughout her body.
“She likes the cold.” Jisoo said out of the blue, while still looking out the window.
“She likes to cook, so make sure you’re always hungry when you get back home because chances are she made your favorite. You’ll open the door and she’ll give you a bowl and she’ll wait till you’re done to ask if you like it. Even if you don’t, lie. Cooking makes her happy, it’s one of the only things that makes her smile anymore.”
Jongin nodded feverishly. “Anything to keep her happy right?”
“Anything.” she echoed with a quiet sigh as a weary look consumed her.
“Thank you for all of this. I swear I’m gonna make her a happy woman, and if I don’t-”
“If you can even think of a time you’ll make her upset, don’t bother trying to date her.” Jisoo interrupted.
His eyes widened before shrinking, he nodded while he spoke. “I’ll make her happy. Always, I swear.”
Jisoo entered their dorms with a certain melancholic ache radiating throughout her chest, but as usual, she never got to feel for long before her attention was being demanded by one of her members.
“Hey,” Jennie greeted, she patted the soft fabric beside her, “Where’d you go?”
Jisoo collapsed into the couch and sighed before pulling the bowl on the table closer. “I went to do some work, boring stuff.”
Jennie looked to the older woman with a slight look of disbelief. “Did you have a good day?”
Jisoo raised the steaming noodles to her mouth and ate slowly. A flood of spices and flavors rushed into her mouth, she loved it, and not because it tasted good, because she had tasted it a thousand times before.
But rather because she imagined how much care Jennie had poured into the broth, how her muscles must’ve ached as she spun and formed the noodles, all because one day in a sea of mainly forgotten years Jisoo complained about how much she missed how her mother made her soup, and Jennie had never forgotten how much Jisoo longed for her family. She loved it because it was the closest taste she would ever get of Jennie’s love, it was pure, unadulterated love. But most importantly, it was her love. Sure the soup had Jennie written all over it, but it was for her, no one would ever be able to drink the same broth.
“Good.” Jisoo answered as she placed a bag onto the table in front of Jennie. She turned to see Jennie’s face light up, her lips turned to expose her gummy smile as she pulled out a container of ice cream.
“You know you didn’t have to do this.” Jennie said as she always did.
“I know, I wanted to.” said Jisoo as she watched Jennie place a spoonful in her mouth and squealed quietly.
She felt Jennie wrap her arms around her waist and place her head onto her shoulder, she smiled to herself as she felt Jennie’s head smoothly rest in the crook of her neck, they fit together perfectly. And Jisoo swore she felt her tiny chips and cracks be filled with gummy smiles and thousands of ‘thank yous’.
Jennie raised the spoon to her mouth, and a comforting loop began. She placed the spoon a few inches from Jisoo’s lips, she whined quietly as she waited for the older woman to open her mouth.
“Come on, open up,” Jennie begged with a pout. “You know you can have some too.”
Jisoo sighed with a smile. “I know, but I brought it for you.”
Jennie continued to pout till she opened her mouth.
“You know Jongin messaged me today.” Jennie admitted a few minutes into their peaceful hug.
Jisoo’s chest tightened, the warm soup resting in her stomach suddenly turned into a sour burning acid.
“Really? What did he say?”
Jennie pulled herself from Jisoo’s shoulder, and an overwhelming flood of coldness filled her every chip and crack.
“He said he wanted to take me out… He wants to go out and get some food, and take a walk together.” Jennie chirped.
Jisoo feigned surprise and glee. “Wow, he sounds like the romantic type.”
“I know right?” Jennie exclaimed, her hands flew in the air in the way they always did when she was excited and Jisoo wondered if her hands ever moved that way when she talked about her, but she quickly brushed the thought off.
Jisoo watched as Jennie continued to talk about Jongin, and in a bitter, more corroded part of her heart, she wanted to take Jennie right then and there. She wanted to come home everyday to noodles, even if she grew sick of the way it clumped to her teeth and how the spices caused her chest to burn with the fury of seven hells. She wanted Jennie even when she broke down sobbing, she wanted her when she was cocky and she wanted Jennie before she was Kim Jennie, ace of YG.
When she said she loved Jennie, it wasn’t a temporary, ‘I love you now’ type of love. It was a ‘I have loved you, I love you and I will love you. No matter who you’re with, as long as you’re happy, I’ll be happy.’ Jennie’s happiness was worth more than any gem, it was worth more than all the gold in the world. She would trade her spot in heaven for even a minute of pure joy for the younger woman.
“I think you should,” Jisoo said abruptly, looking to the shocked younger woman. “If he makes you happy, go. Go date him.”
She remained silent for a few moments before speaking in a hushed voice. “You really think so?”
“He seems perfect for you.” said Jisoo.
Jennie smiled in an innocent naive manner. But all that mattered to Jisoo was that she smiled, the simple act of her being happy made Jisoo feel like everything in the world rested calmly.
“Okay,” she beamed as she pulled out her phone, “I’ll say yes.”
“I’m gonna go to bed, good luck.” she mumbled with a weak smile.
“Thanks, goodnight.” Jennie replied absentmindedly.
Jisoo left a bowl empty, yet she still remained hungry. She was starving for Jennie’s voice, even if it was her angry tone, how her eyes flared as she placed her hands on her hips while her voice slowly raised with built up fury.
She left that room out of fear, of the empty pocket of space eating at her stability, her home. She felt as if everything she had ever known was beginning to crumble beneath her feet.
She went asleep that night dreaming of a home built in the sun’s kind glory, as the night rose and coldness filled every corner of the Earth, her home was filled with the smell of noodles and the warmth of distant laughs.
Jisoo could feel Jennie slip from her grasps, the light of Jennie’s smiles no longer burned her, but rather the brightness of her phone screen when she showed Jongin’s lovey dovey messages. She had to fake surprise each time, acting as if she hadn’t reached into her own chest, and pulled out years of sacred memories and handed them over to Jongin, as if she didn’t type those messages herself, spending hours crafting perfectly curated sentences before letting Jongin send them for himself.
Jisoo was the one who bled, but Jongin was given the glory of winning.
And it had never felt more unfair than when Jongin was able to pull Jennie into his arms, the way his muscular arms was able to wrap around her back and serve as a shield against the world. Jisoo could never protect her the way Jongin could; and it killed her. But Jennie had never been happier, she smiled more, she laughed more. Even though Jisoo knew she was never the root of her happiness, she enjoyed looking at how beautifully Jennie had bloomed, the colorful petals of her joy and smiles bloomed in the sun’s glory.
Sure she bled, but as long as Jennie remained in her life, even as a scarce passerby in a life where they had once spent nights together, spilling their secrets as stars spilled light into their darkened rooms. She didn’t care.
Jisoo was in her bed one night, her muscles ached with the fury of nights of dancing and practicing for award shows she never truly cared about, when she heard the quiet squeak of her mattress, and soon the familiar feeling of Jennie’s arms wrapping around her waist seemed to push her into the deep ends of her most repressed memories. They were silent for a few moments, the creaks of the mattress and the occasional whimper floated between the two, but Jisoo’s cold stare smashed the two to dust.
“Everything’s going wrong.” Jennie admitted a few minutes in, she burrowed herself into the muscle of Jisoo’s back and found herself within her decayed and destroyed home.
Jisoo remained silent as the sweet call of the cicadas stumbled into her dark room.
“I’m sorry.” Jennie mumbled quietly into Jisoo’s nape, she wrapped her arms tighter around the older woman as her eyelashes gently brushed against the back of her neck.
“It’s okay.” Jisoo muttered back, wanting to enjoy the bittersweetness of this moment. Jennie’s arms wrapped around her in the most familiar, intimate way possible. Yet it felt wrong, Jennie smelled like cologne and her breath was tainted by a beer she never drank before. The moment seemed to be owned by Jongin, with his pungent cologne and expensive beer, it wasn’t an echo of a sweet memory but rather the birth of Jongin’s existence into their lives.
Everything intimate and loved had come to die in between her arms, and Jisoo swore she held onto the bare remains of a relationship she had spent so long growing, watching as awkward conversations bloomed into intimate confessions.
And Jisoo realized that if love wasn’t painful, not heart wrenching, bone crushingly painful. It simply wasn’t love.
And loving Jennie had certainly drained her, had it not been for the younger woman’s sweet smiles and the way she said ‘Jisoo’ with her slight accent slipping in, forcing her to enunciate every syllable, she swore she would’ve been a corpse for the entire world to view.
So she turned from the wall and faced Jennie, she cupped the younger woman’s face in her hands and quietly whispered.
“You’re gonna be alright.”
“How do you know?” Jennie asked, the slight childish fear had came back and possessed her words.
“Because this entire world would burn before I’d let anything happen to you.” she wanted to say.
“Because Jongin won’t let anything happen to you. He’ll pull some strings… He’ll do something.” she said instead, swallowing the ‘I’s alongside the painful lump in her throat. Jennie just sighed quietly in response and wrapped herself around Jisoo tighter.
And Jisoo swore she felt her cracks get filled again.
Jisoo was plunged into hope that night, the warmth of Jennie’s body lurked into hers and for the first time in months she was able to sleep without needing to bury herself within layers of blankets. The sweetness of Jennie’s laughs danced unapologetically across her tongue, and Jisoo took the time to sit down and savor every prance and leap, smiling as Jennie would crash into her and then project her laughs onto her shoulder.
Jisoo would complain, but she secretly loved the way her laughs tickled her skin and how she felt like she was walking through heaven everytime Jennie glanced at her.
But Jennie was fleeting, she had drifted from Jisoo’s bed and had floated into Jongin’s arms instead. Jisoo thought it was because Jongin’s apartment were quieter and cleaner than their dorm.
But after hours of endless cleaning and shushing the younger girls in her dorm, even after promising to make her favorite food. Jisoo still found herself sleeping alone at night, and nothing killed her more than knowing no matter what she offered Jennie would always find her happiness in Jongin.
But she remained, she stood at every performance and watched as Jennie locked eyes with Jongin as EXO walked up to get their awards. She watched as Jennie’s fingers drifted up his hand as they walked past each other, she watched as Jennie flocked to the other girl groups as she moved to the sides, still making sure to watch her, despite Jennie choosing a hundred other people over her.
Sure it killed her, but that didn’t matter.
“Jisoo?” Jennie called out.
Jisoo turned on the couch to face the younger woman, Jennie had her face pressed onto the couch cushions, her cheeks had fluffed upwards and pressed against her eyes. Jisoo felt her heart seize in her chest.
Jennie huffed quietly, “You’re really pretty.”
Jisoo chuckled quietly and smiled at Jennie. This wasn’t the first time she complimented her as such, sometimes Jennie would stretch across her lap and let her fingers play with her face. Her finger would trace her jawline and rest at her chin, Jennie would talk about how her eyes reflected everything beautiful in this world. And Jisoo wanted to tell her that she thought her eyes were beautiful when they were staring at her, and her chubby cheeks, and the little lines that danced across the sides of her mouth when she smiled, the entire world managed to be beautiful when she looked at Jennie.
Jisoo let her hand fall onto Jennie’s scalp, “You tell me all the time.”
“I know,” she mumbled as she stared upwards. “But I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.”
“You’re so pretty and you could have anyone in the world... And you're not even dating anyone.” Jennie continued with a fake frown.
“Why?” she asked as her eyes filled with curiosity.
Jisoo felt years of built of emotions press against her teeth, years of stolen glances and touches, of fingers dancing across thighs under wooden tables and secret promises to never hurt each other the way others hurt them.
A sea of adoration with green shades of yearning foaming to the top swished in her mouth as waves of secret resentment crashed into her teeth. Jisoo was drowning, but she’d never let Jennie drown too.
She swallowed the currents and laughed weakly afterwards. Her hand smoothed Jennie’s hair before pulling her hand back to her lap. Her hand didn’t belong on Jennie’s scalp, that wasn't their home.
“I have you,” she mumbled with a weak chuckle, “I have Lisa and Chaeng.”
“I don’t need anyone else.”
Jennie’s hand reached across the space and pinched her cheek. “Look at you being all sentimental. What’s gotten into you?”
She laughed bitterly, fighting the sharp pricks that radiated from the center of her eyes. “Nothing.”
“Whatever it is, I hope it stays. It makes me happy when you love me.” Jennie admitted with a loud laugh as she stretched across Jisoo’s lap.
Jisoo gently cupped Jennie's face and she fell in love with the way the warmth of her cheeks embraced her freezing fingers, her skin pressed soft kisses against her sharp bones and she felt her heart fall into a state of bliss.
"I guess I'll just have to love you forever."