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it was such a sight, but it was just fluorescent high rises

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minjoo writes her half-assed reflection paper with a pen she remembers she had picked up off her homeroom floor when she was on cleaning duty.
she’s currently in detention for sleeping in her chemistry class, and writing an essay about not doing it again is something she cannot guarantee.

she hears the teacher blurt out words of lecture about being responsible students while writing her reflection paper with her fellow class-sleepers in the room.
minjoo is not the trouble making type, really, but she just couldn’t stand staying awake to a fucking eight am chemistry class after staying up late, reading what tumblr has to say about her zodiac sign.
“kim minjoo,”

“y-yes?” she flinched at the sudden mention of her name.

the teacher sighs before saying, “your grades are going downhill, you should consider not sleeping through classes next time.” minjoo swears in her mind that her grades are not that bad to be going downhill, in fact, she’s an average student. she submits her requirements, late if not on time but she makes sure she doesn’t go to summer class again (10th grader minjoo was a dumbass).

the other students looked at her. minjoo looks down in shame and hides her face with her dark brown locks.

“no need to be embarrassed, literally all of us here are failing classes.” yena, her detention room seatmate whispered.
minjoo smiles to her words and then asked, “what subject did you slept on?”

“history.”

“I hate it too.”

“history lecture is lullaby to my ears.”

the seatmates giggled.

“choi yena and kim minjoo!” the teacher’s shout stopped their laughter, “you two, stand right here in front and face the wall!”

they stay for another thirty minutes and minjoo discovers that yena is a senior.
she had seen the girl before many times already in the same room they’re in but now they bothered to actually talk to each other.
yena is friendly, minjoo thinks that maybe she just looks really unapproachable for yena, but the first sentence the senior said to her really lifted up her mood, though not everyone in the room are failing classes, it made minjoo feel a little less embarrassed.

 

she exits the detention room and closes the door carefully, almost afraid on making a sound on the odds of the teacher calling her back in again for shutting the door rudely.

she pass through school gates and walks aimlessly out.

her feet have decided to take her to the cemetery on a whim.

it’s her grandmother’s death anniversary soon, so she settles on that reason. it’s kind of dumb to go to a cemetery to find the peace of mind she’s looking for, mainly because she really had no reason to because she’s never really close with her grandmother (she grew up on a different city and only saw her twice in her life).

minjoo delicately clears her grandmother’s grave of fallen dry leaves and stray weeds. she stares at it for a moment.
and then thought of her teacher’s recommendation of an upperclassman chemistry tutor crossed the girl’s mind.

she heaves a deep sigh, “I swear grandma, it’s not that big of a deal. my teacher was exaggerating, I could lift my grades right back up on my own.”
minjoo’s body jolts when she feels a presence, because it’s a goddamn cemetery with no one else around her.

and then there, something catches her attention. suddenly aware of not being alone. the brown haired girl finds the source of it, seeing a glimpse of it on her peripheral vision, she diverts her gaze on her far right.
there she sees smoke being puffed and a stick of cigarette between thin, feminine fingers.

“what the fucking hell…” minjoo whispers quietly enough not to be noticed by the said person, though she has quite the distance of approximately thirty feet not to be heard.

she was about to flee out of the scenario but the universe betrayed her.
it was like some of the universe’s unspoken law of feeling someone’s eyes looking at you without having any idea on how that happened.
it was like some super human powers, or some added system on our brains aliens implanted in us a long time ago to advance the human technology, or merely just some dark magic shit, or something connected to the signs basing off to the placements of stars, something astrologists started.
but setting all of that aside their eyes met. their eyes met and there’s no turning back now, no time for an escape plan, or a quiet walk out of the awkward scene.
yeah minjoo’s pretty sure that’s kim chaewon, though the thirty feet distance between them, she could identify who the hell is smoking. she had a small crush on the girl for a good two months before, minjoo thought she was boring for being a really good, respectful student, always abiding to the school rules, being offered the student council vice president position without having to go through elections because teachers and the student body trusts and adores her that much.
she’s almost angelic. but now she’s fucking smoking. minjoo thinks about the information once again, what the fuck, kim chaewon is actually smoking.

everyone does bad things. minjoo does bad things, like she goes to the detention room twice or thrice every week for using her phone on hallways and in class, or sleeping in class, or eating in class, or shoplifting a fun size snickers.

chaewon for sure also does bad things. not that smoking is bad. it’s not entirely that bad. it’s bad for the health, but smoking is not a thing only bad people do. smoking does not mean you’re being a bad person. it’s just someone who is known to be a good girl, an example student who’s smoking right now. minjoo wonders if she’s the only one who knows about this. it’s like:

a. maybe chaewon smokes and everyone knows about it already,
b. maybe minjoo is just really just clueless about the current highschool drama going on in their department.
c. or chaewon smokes in the cemetery, somewhere secluded, so she won’t get caught doing it outside.

definitely the last one. going back to the moment, it’s not a big deal if minjoo sees her smoking. it’s just really awkward that a random schoolmate catches you doing something in secret.

still not breaking their eye contact and minjoo’s mouth staying agape (minjoo looks stupid right now), chaewon gets up and flicks the cigarette to the ground, stepping on it as she bends down to pick her bag up and walks toward her direction. minjoo stands up shakily from her seat beside her grandmother’s grave.

“s-sunbae-nim,” minjoo bows. did I just fucking stutter.

chaewon walks past her, not before giving her the eyes. it’s like a you-better-not-tell-anyone-what-you-have-seen kinda look. to be honest it scared the shit out of minjoo.

minjoo remembers that time she saw chaewon rolling her eyes when a teacher asked her to carry a shit-ton of books to the library, who wouldn’t, she might have just thought chaewon was that good of a person. she did not pay chaewon that much attention before. and that was her first time seeing her do something that’s contrary to her original image of being angelic.

maybe chaewon gets tired of the image people see her as. maybe she smokes in secret to have some kind of another face completely opposite to what the society sees.

minjoo decides to not think further about the information she just retrieved. better to keep her mouth shut and to mind her own business.
but conspiracy theories are fun, minjoo’s one brain cell tried to reason.

that’s when a message notification pops up, fishing her phone out from her pocket, minjoo reads her mom’s text telling her to go home already.

 

monday comes and there’s an eight am chemistry class (it’s an MWF schedule). minjoo tried her best to stay awake through it. she took some notes she couldn’t even understand and doodled at the back of her notebook, anything to keep her awake.

“kim minjoo,” their teacher held her back after class.

“about your assigned chemistry tutor, you could meet her after school. that means you’d stay for an hour or longer of learning. that’s better than than staying for detention, right?”

“I thought it was just a recommendation?” the girl’s eyebrows furrow in question.

“it was. and then we decided to actually assign upperclassmen tutors,”
minjoo purses her lips, looking down, nodding to whatever he says.

“minjoo, you’re not the only one getting a tutor, all of you who are on the verge of failing are. she said to meet her at the library, by the way here’s her number.” the teacher gives her a smile and signal that she could leave.

“okar, sir.” minjoo accepts the piece of paper with a phone number written on it, returns the smile, and leaves.

 

“what was that about?” she sees nako outside of the room waiting for her.

“I’ll be getting a tutor,” minjoo frowns, “I will stay longer at school every other day so I could save my chemistry grades.”

“shit man,” the shorter girl chuckles at the sight of minjoo’s growing pout on her face, “at least it’s a help to save your grades.”

 

minjoo makes eye contact with her during lunch break. her heart skipped a beat, and it’s not because of the her little developing crush on chaewon but because chaewon is giving her the eyes. and it’s more of like a glare.

and the crush she’s developing for the girl might be from the incident last Friday. not that she found smoking attractive for a girl, maybe that’s one reason but chaewon is pretty. like pretty pretty. and her bangs are cute. and she has the most boopeable nose ever.

 

now that minjoo thought about it maybe half of the time she was shocked of the smoking incident and also shocked of how cool and attractive chaewon looked.
it was a dumb reason to find someone attractive. smoking is not cool and is bad for the health. but minjoo thinks chaewon looked hot doing it.

chaewon breaks the eye contact first and returns to chatting with her friends. her circle of friends are composed of good students like her. minjoo wonders if they know about chaewon’s habit.

“minjoo’s crush on top student chaewon returns!” yujin announces to their table.

“what i— no—,”

“minjoo you were staring at her for a good couple of minutes and we all saw you in action so don’t try to deny.” nako said. she can’t believe nako betrayed her like that.

“I wasn’t! I swear!” minjoo defended herself. it was useless. her friends kept teasing her.

“guys, you know I’m close with her right?” wonyoung says partnered with a sheepish smile, “chaewo—!” minjoo cuts her off, putting her hands on wonyoung’s loud mouth.

then the universe betrayed her once again, chaewon’s whole table of friends turned their heads to minjoo’s, hearing the loud call wonyoung’s mouth did. but chaewon was, thankfully, clueless about it and continued to spoon her strawberry yogurt. the typical chaewon not caring about her surroundings.

minjoo sighed in relief.

 

minjoo thinks if it’s just coincidence or the utter fact that she has this small developing crush on chaewon that she sees her in almost every turn of her head at school. it was not like this before. minjoo would see chaewon once or twice a week at the cafeteria or at the hallways. she didn’t pay that much attention, really.

 

but this day it’s like the girl is present on every location minjoo is in, well except in classes because chaewon is a grade higher, but that’s not the point.
the point is that minjoo now notices her and that she stands out even in the hallways packed of rowdy highschoolers on their way to their classes.

she even saw her at the restroom this morning. while minjoo washes her hands, she sees chaewon ‘s reflection through the mirror entering a cubicle.

or when she looked out of her classroom’s window there’s chaewon walking outside.

or she discovers that she has the same lunch period as chaewon. she notices just now that chaewon’s friend group has their usual table just one table away from minjoo’s group’s.

or the fact that wonyoung is actually close friends with chaewon. the girl’s not lying during lunch, she just thought wonyoung is that shameless to call chaewon’s name out like that. they were talking just when minjoo was supposed to approach wonyoung.
minjoo kept a distance and waited for them to finish and to part ways.

 

but in all of those times minjoo had seen chaewon, the latter hasn’t seen or noticed minjoo, doesn’t have the idea they’re sharing the same space as each other. chaewon didn’t even bat an eyelash at minjoo.

minjoo thinks it’s okay.

but she has this little feeling of annoyance towards the girl for not noticing her. minjoo thought about all the times people praised her attractiveness but now… fucking chaewon won’t even acknowledge her existence.

not that minjoo wants chaewon’s attention but she’s just disappointed because she thought they built up some kind of connection after the Friday incident.

maybe ‘connection’ is not the right word because chaewon practically glared at her and then treated her like wind, but it’s the two of them who knows the secret, and they have an unspoken rule of minding each other’s own businesses even after minjoo caught chaewon doing something against the law.
(chaewon’s seventeen, so smoking is prohibited. minjoo thinks it’s completely okay, chaewon gets a pass. it called the pretty privilege. though minjoo would report this to the authorities if it was some guy at school trying to be edgy that will end up being rebellious. minjoo could get some good marks for it. but chaewon won’t do that, shes a top student, she’s rich and smart, and her future is secured.)

 

minjoo spaces out on math. hitomi taps her shoulders.

“you shouldn’t space out or you’ll end up falling asleep again.” minjoo cannot believe hitomi just clowned her, “try your best to stay awake, wouldn’t want you to get another tutor.”

now that hitomi mentioned it, minjoo thinks about the extra hours she’ll be spending at school. she doesn’t even want to think about it because another hour of studying and chemistry, of all subjects she could fail, stresses her out.

 

the bell rings and students rushed quick out of school, excitedly leaving after hours of studying.
minjoo stays behind. slowly putting her things in her bag, walking to her locker to grab her chemistry book, she’s unmotivated.

“minjoo, we’re leaving,” hitomi hooks her arms to wonyoung’s before waving goodbye.
“study hard,” nako reminds her.
“maybe your tutor’s cute, cheer up.” she chuckles at yujin’s words.

they wave their goodbyes to minjoo before leaving. minjoo sighs and walks her way lifelessly to the library.

 

the library wasn’t packed. nothing has really changed after her three months of not entering the building (minjoo last entered when she needed a book… for a book report). it still has its tall, dark brown shelves and boring beige walls that might have the purpose to lure anyone onto sleep.
there are a few students, some with their laptops, some are sleeping, some are actually reading a book or studying.

minjoo ponders if it’s alright to take the farthest seat that is located at the corner of the library, but she also considers of the chances of her tutor not finding her if she does.

she decides on texting the number her teacher gave her.

sending a, 'hi, this is kim minjoo. your tutee. have you arrived? if you already did, can you tell me where you are and what you look like?' she cringes at herself for being so formal.

 

there’s a notification indicating that the person already replied, just seconds after sending her message.
it was a short 'no', 'wait', followed by an 'omw'.

minjoo reads the texts, she doesn’t know what to even think at the lack of words her tutor typed in. she looks around to somehow find her tutor, still deciding whether to take the farthest seat because it might be occupied soon or keep standing by near the entrance for the sake of her tutor’s convenience on finding her.

 

“kim minjoo?” the voice was soft. almost angelic. pretty voice. 10/10 would recommend.

minjoo turns around to find a girl just a little tiny bit shorter than her. those signature soft looking, even-maybe-softer-to-the-touch, curly bangs. minjoo’s heart jumps a little. just how can someone have their voice matching to their hair.
minjoo thinks it’s cute.

and then minjoo realises it’s her. minjoo holds her breath and then gulps. okay, maybe her little tiny bit of crush on kim chaewon have decided to multiply after seeing her up close.

“y-yes?!” the taller girl is embarrassed as fuck. she turns red. she’s red. minjoo’s face is red and she has no idea. it’s not because she stuttered or semi-shouted at the girl. it is just because it is kim chaewon.

minjoo wishes her chemistry teacher taught her how the process of evaporation works so she could evaporate right at the moment.
it’s not just that because kim chaewon knows her name.

chaewon tilts her head and her eyebrows meet as if she’s confused. cute, minjoo thinks. chaewon notices her flushed face. “I’m… your chemistry tutor. should we take a seat and get started?”

so that’s why kim chaewon knows her name.
(yujin is in fact, right, her tutor is cute.)

“yeah, i guess.”

 

they take their things out from their bags and chaewon stares down at minjoo’s chemistry book.
the junior notices how her book has a trace of its cover folded diagonally like a thing had been laying above it for a long time for it to be in that kind of condition.
(minjoo realizes it is because she had laid her arms and head above it to sleep, thus the reason she was in the detention room afterschool.) she face-palms herself internally, so done of embarrassing herself for the nth time on this day. so no reason of literally face-palming in front of chaewon before the latter thinks she’s an actual weirdo.

instead, she clears her throat to get the girl’s attention and flips her book open get started on studying (and to get the book cover out of chaewon’s judging eyes).

“I’m chaewon, kim chaewon. I’m a senior. nice meeting you.” her tutor suddenly introduced herself.
oh, right. yeah, introduction. minjoo wished she knew basic human interaction.

“I know. well, you’re quite a famous senior so… yeah. and you are a top student, plus you’re pretty. it’s kinda impossible to not hear your name at least once. okay, I’m rambling, im sorry.”

chaewon raises an eyebrow at her.

“my name is not ‘rambling’ by the way. I’m kim minjoo so… yeah.” minjoo continued her speech of shame.
and then there’s silence.
and then,

“so you said i’m pretty?” chaewon’s cocky and she’s just there flipping through the pages of her book casually.
minjoo panics, and once again, rambles, “no— I mean— yes!! yes I said that. I mean it’s true..” minjoo lowers her head in shame. she hides her face with her hair.
chaewon bites back a smile.

minjoo tries hard to not seem like a creep the whole time. she can’t help but to steal glances at chaewon when the latter is not looking. her face is not expressive but it is pretty.

chaewon turns out to be a good tutor. she could sense when minjoo couldn’t catch up to what she’s saying and repeats it for her.

her tutor’s words are clear and softly spoken. she seems to be sure of everything she says. she definitely knows how to teach. minjoo’s surprised she could learn a least bit of chemistry.

scratch that, minjoo couldn’t understand stoichiomety and it shows in chaewon’s face the slight frustration of not being able to make her junior understand the lesson. and that’s the moment minjoo admits to herself that she’s an official dumbass, if chaewon thinks she is (she probably does), then she’s a dumbass.

“you’ll understand if you focus.” chaewon adviced, “it’s not that hard. you just need to know how everything works. the process is long but it’s not hard, I swear.”

it’s almost as if the senior is scolding her, and it doesn’t get better when minjoo opens her mouth to ask, “how long are we staying here? doesn’t this lasts just for like an hour or something?” minjoo closed her eyes and pressed her palms to her eyelids, already tired of seeing scientific terms.

“finish your work and then we’re done. I’m here to help you learn and to help you finish your homeworks. minjoo, this... what i’m doing is charity work, but if mr. jeon sees progress on your grades he’s giving me extra marks. this is for me too.” chaewon explains.

minjoo suddenly felt apologetic, she peeked through the spaces between her fingers to see her tutor’s face, she sounded like she’s pissed off, her expression remains emotionless.
the tutee sighed, “okay, help me understand this. I’m not even halfway done in this shit.” finally sitting up straight, she picks her pencil up.

chaewon smiles to minjoo and proceeded to their lesson.
wait. chaewon smiled. holy shit.

minjoo’s heart does the thing again. it’s her first time seeing it, her smile, the girl has this poker face she’s wearing all the time like she is uninterested in everything around her. but this time she smiles.

her smile is pretty, minjoo thinks. she’s so pretty.

how could a person with such a pretty face like that let poison enter her body. and for what exactly?

she’s dying to ask about their encounter last Friday at the cemetery. she could not just be chaewon’s tutee and act like she saw nothing. and then the girl’s just here being all smart, prim, and proper like minjoo hasn’t seen her smoke.

minjoo has been staring, chaewon notices but ignores.

the tutor breaks the silence, feeling uncomfortable under minjoo’s gaze. “…so, you get the mass by using this equation.”

 

minjoo stops by in a café to get a morning iced coffee, for her and hitomi. no chemistry classes on Tuesday s but better to not fall asleep at any of her classes.

she sees hitomi by the school gate and hands her the coffee. “thank you,” the girl yawns and rubs her eye with her sweater paw, “good morning. let’s go.”

“so, how was yesterday? I mean, your chemistry tutor and stuff.” the two walked to their class together.

“it was… alright. surprisingly.” minjoo replies.

hitomi nods in agreement, “yeah that’s surprising.”

“hiichan, don’t tell this to anyone but kim chaewon’s my tutor.”

the shorter sips on her drink before replying, “wow. and why isn’t anyone allowed to know she’s your tutor? anyone would’ve seen you two together.”

minjoo took a long sip, gulped, inhaled deeply, and sighed as she said, “that’s not the point. you see…” she lowered her voice, continuing her sentence in a whisper, “I may or may not have been developing a small crush on her.”

hitomi stops on her tracks with her mouth left slightly open. she whisper-yells on minjoo, “what? so our friends’ speculation is true? I was about to believe you just really spaced out during lunch and she just happens to be right there.”

“yeah, it’s true. and do not tell anyone about this, okay?”

“you can trust me.” the shorter smiles reassuringly, “she’s pretty, but she kinda bitchy, you know? how did you even develop a crush on her?”

“I don’t know. maybe because she’s smart? and yes she’s snobby and— hiichan you’re right. how did I even… I just want to let this out to someone, I cannot keep this all to myself.”

 

wonyoung, hitomi, and yujin are already seated, eating their lunch.

minjoo and nako follows right after and walks towards their table. minjoo notices the table of chaewon’s group already occupied and busy with either food or books and notes. she eyes them in the goal to find chaewon.

a short glance on her crush won’t hurt. the girl seems to be reading her notes and has a sandwich on her other hand.

wonyoung looks up to find the two approaching and shouts, “chemistry genius, kim minjoo!”

she’s so loud. pretty much everyone in the twenty feet radius heard her. including chaewon’s group. the group turned their heads to wonyoung and then to whom she’s calling, minjoo.

minjoo’s face heated up in embarrassment as she felt chaewon’s eyes on her.

the voice in her mind kept chanting, don’t look back. don’t look back. jesus fuck minjoo don’t.

she did it subconsciously. the universe’s law of feeling someone’s eyes on you.

minjoo and chaewon locked eyes. chaewon raised an eyebrow and then smirked. the chemistry genius’ heart does the thing again, she almost dropped her lunch box. minjoo looked down to break the eye contact and went to her friends’ table.

minjoo ate her lunch in silence. hitomi sent her an apologetic look.

 

Wednesday, after classes, minjoo sees her tutor already seated in the library at the same table as last time, tapping away on her phone. she didn’t even need to read the message she just received from chaewon to know because she already arrived.

“hi.” minjoo greets.

chaewon looks up from the device she’s holding, “hello, chemistry genius,” she greets back a reference of wonyoung’s bullshittery during lunch time yesterday.
“please, not you too.” she’s surprised that the girl even remembers it. embarrassing but go off, if it’s something chaewon remembers about minjoo.

the session went on smoothly. the air is lighter compared to last time, minjoo was nervous but probably because it’s their second time today. she got used of chaewon’s stoic personality and the limited words she speaks, she talks when it’s needed, chaewon does not like wasting words and unnecessary small talks.

minjoo diligently does her homework, fixated on writing on her answer sheet but she notices chaewon tap on her phone, might be out of boredome while waiting for minjoo to finish.

minjoo’s own phone, that is on top of the table together with her books, lights up and vibrates, a message notification pops up on her lockscreen.
she aims to raise an arm to reach for it but chaewon’s faster, she grabbbed minjoo’s phone and looked at the screen.

the phone’s owner was shocked of the sudden action chaewon just did, “uhh, why?”

chaewon stares at it with an unreadable expression. then she chuckles and returns the device to the owner. “i just wanted to see what you saved my number as.”
“oh, shit, sorry. i’ll change it if you want.”

“no, I mean, it’s alright. you saw me smoking, of course you’d call me a smoker. that’s just it. just– don’t tell anyone about it okay? or have you already?”
her finger hovers above the ‘smoker tutor-nim’ contact edit button on an attempt to change chaewon’s contact name

“no, I didn’t tell anyone. I’m just saying sorry because maybe you never wanted to talk about it with me, like, I’m just a random schoolmate that happened to see you doing that. it’s awkward. and we acted like nothing happened on the first day so,” minjoo’s relieved that her tutor’s cool with it, that she’s not mad.

“it’s cool. don’t stress yourself about it.” chaewon’s smile is reassuring.

 

chaewon and minjoo’s MWF chemistry lessons went on well for the following couple of weeks. they’ve transcended to being acquaintances, a level higher than their tutor-tutee status. there are small talks and jokes and giggles in between studying, mostly minjoo talking. chaewon kind of let off loose on her reserved personality, she is still the same, but she responds to minjoo’s knock-knock jokes, and that’s already something.

she’s still as distant, even without the tense air compared to when they first met, there are still awkward moments of silence and minjoo couldn’t just pin point what the hell is keeping them apart.

maybe it’s just chaewon’s way of keeping the distance of being a tutor to a friend. or she’s by nature picky with people she’d get along with.

“you should invite her out, like on a friendly date? or treat her to a café or something, say that it’s your gratitude for her being your tutor.” hitomi suggests.
minjoo huffs in frustration, “I can’t, no, it’s like a date, hiichan!”

there is only a week long remaining of chaewon as her chemistry tutor. after her teacher saw the progress on her grades, he decided to make the tutor sessions less to a month. she talks with hitomi about it. on how to be closer to chaewon so after their last session, at least, they could still be connected to each other. she could text chaewon, but there would be no reason to. they’re not friends… yet. she can’t text the girl casually. plus minjoo is awkward as hell.

hitomi rolls her eyes, it’s completely out of character, minjoo really is just unbelievable, “minjoo shut up, she’s probably straight.”

the taller girl between the two is now the epitome of that shocked pikachu meme right now. hitomi is right. she might be straight.

minjoo frowns, “you’re right. she really do have this straight girl vibes. I’m hopeless. she’s just one straight crush I’ll eventually forget.”

“okay, now minjoo, you are being pessimistic. we’re just not sure if she likes girls. we could find out.”

“how?”

“I don’t know. ask her friends maybe?”

“that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. no. her friends are all… seniors. they’re intimidating. I can’t. I could just let this go.”

hitomi sighs in defeat.

 

they’re at the library again and minjoo sees yena walking towards their table while waving her arms, “yo! kim minjoo!”

minjoo puts her head down on the table in shame. she hears the librarian shut yena up with a sharp shhh.

“so this is the reason I haven’t been seeing you in the detention. is chaewon your tutor? what are you two studying?” yena sits beside minjoo and flails her arm around the junior’s shoulder. she tilts her head to read the book title, “chemistry?”

great, now chaewon knows she’s a regular in the detention. it’s probably a major turn off for the girl. all thanks to yena’s big mouth.

“yes, yena. could you please leave so we—” chaewon was cut off.

“how about we go get ice cream?” yena suggests.

minjoo agrees to the suggestion, “i’d love to. besides, i already have finished my homework.” she then eyes her tutor for confirmation.

chaewon gives in.

 

it’s quite amusing for chaewon to be the one talking about what ice ceams they should get despite looking like yena’s invitation was a bother to her earlier.
“she loves ice cream. she pretended to be annoyed but in reality none of her friends could get ice cream without her even if she’s studying. it’s her emotional support.”

minjoo chuckles at the information yena just said. she thinks about the real reason why chaewon smokes, if smoker’s smoke to forget things that has been making them stressed or sad, minjoo thinks it really is possible for someone as perfect as her tutor to bottle up things in her own that even ice cream can’t heal.

“i didn’t know you two were close.”

“we’re in the same grade, and i’m friends with some of her best friends, and we hang out sometimes so i guess that makes us friends too.”
minjoo could ask yena about chaewon’s romantic preference right now, as hitomi suggested, but she doubts that the girl knows about it. she brushes off the idea.

chaewon returns with their orders, putting the tray down to the table, “yena, you better not be talking shit about me.”
“don’t worry she’s not.” minjoo smiles to chaewon.

minjoo discovers chaewon likes that horrendous mint chocolate.

 

chaewon takes the bus and minjoo and yena walks home to the same direction.

“i’m surprised that you don’t have a crush on chaewon yet.” yena breaks the silence.

minjoo trips on a curb, “w-what?”

she does not know how she tripped on a fucking curb but she did anyways.

“oooh, so you already have?”

“what are you even saying. i haven’t answered yet.”

the older throws minjoo a questioning look, it’s almost mocking, she has a smug smile on her lips and an eyebrow raised as if not believing the junior’s words. “chaewon may be cold but once you get close to her, if not like close- as in friends, but at least physically close it’s impossible to not have a crush on her.”
minjoo nods and stays silent waiting for yena to continue.

“dont get me wrong here,” yena waves her hands in front of her, “i don’t have a crush on chaewon, i already like someone.”

“then what’s the purpose of saying that?”

“um. nothing, i’m just saying things. and, you know? i paid for your ice cream.”

“yena, are you guilt tripping me?”

“so you have a crush on chaewon?” yena asks once again.

“yes.”

“i knew it.”
minjoo adjusts the strap of her backpack, “she looks straight.”

“she really does.” the older agrees.

“wait, she’s straight?” minjoo stops on her tracks.

yena does the same, but two steps ahead so she looks back, “i don’t know that. she never said anything. how long have you been liking her? is it that bad?”

the younger catches up on yena and the two continued walking, “not really. you know, she’s really just that likeable and i don’t know what to do anymore.”

“gay.”

 

minjoo shifts from one foot to another on the floor, looking down she notices a loose thread on her skirt. she starts to fidget with it, waiting for chaewon in front of the her locker. they have a tutoring session even on a tuesday. there is a test coming up on wednesday so the teacher just requested chaewon to help minjoo on studying to pass.

the junior feels sorry for her tutor, it’s supposed to be a free day but instead she would be tutoring minjoo’s dumb ass not to fail. she can’t be greedy, although delighted by the fact that she’ll be with chaewon four times this week, minjoo thinks she should get some time off teaching minjoo. they’re just both high school students with the same curriculum and just because minjoo’s one single brain cell couldn’t process chemistry, chaewon looses her after school freedom.

“you could’ve just waited for me in the library, you know.” it’s chaewon, she steps to the side to let the girl open her locker.

“the library is closed... for some reason. and my phone’s dead so i couldn’t text you... so, i’m wondering if we could study in the cafe just a five minute walk out or something?” minjoo continues to fidget with the thread.

“don’t you have a test coming up? are you sure you could study there? how about your house?” chaewon closes her locker after retrieving her things and tucks her books on her arm.

minjoo’s eyes widened, she squeals internally because it’s just unbelievable for chaewon to suggest going to her house. her crush is going to her house. like chaewon going in her house, where she lives in, it’s not a big deal but, that’s a big progress if minjoo wants some kind of bond between them.

“is it alright for you?”

“yes. of course,” she chuckles in between her replies because of the irony of it all. library is closed, she has a test coming up, they study at her house, “o-of course. let’s go.”

their walk to minjoo’s place is quiet. they’re outside the school, and without yena, the awkwardness is inevitable. they’re chaewon and minjoo after all.

chaewon is not really awkward, she’s just silent. minjoo is tense and is the epitome of awkwardness. chaewon is quiet and it bothers her, it’s not bothering at all because the senior is just there... walking, minding her business, but minjoo’s awkward nature thinks she should do something. like, an ice breaker or a topic they could talk about. or they could just focus on walking. right, walking. they could trip or something if they don’t focus on that.

minjoo’s mind is processing so much information, it couldn’t even process this much during chemistry class. is it because that chaewon is quiet as hell that maybe something’s off? or is it the utter fact that minjoo has a crush on her that’s why she’s nervous and it’s not awkwardness at all? just minjoo’s desire to reach out and interact with the other girl?

the junior fakes a cough, “i could carry those for you.” minjoo points at the books chaewon is carrying.

she had kept on side-eyeing her senior and she noticed the struggle of chaewon on carrying the thick books.

chaewon hugs her books and steps away for minjoo not to have access on them. “no thank you, i could carry these on my own.”

minjoo catches up on chaewon’s pace “you should’ve gotten a bigger bag so you could fit them all in, and that looks heavy. let me help you.” then the sound of an engine alerts minjoo, she holds on chaewon’s forearm to pull her away from the road just when a car passes by near them.

she pulls on her arm again lightly to loosen chaewon’s hold and the senior gives in, handing the books to minjoo.

“see, you almost gotten yourself killed, and are senior books really this thick?” the younger of the two lifts the books on her eye level to inspect it.

“getting hit by a car doesn’t automatically kill me,” chaewon giggles unperturbed by the fact that she almost got ran on and folds her arms to her chest, not knowing what to do with them now that they’re unoccupied, “and you talk too much more than usual.”

“what the hell, you almost got hit and you’re out there laughing.”

“minjoo, you are exaggerating i’m in here,” chaewon points down the ground she’s standing on, “and the car was there,” she motions her hand to the road, “literally two feet apart.” she folds her arms back on their previous position.

“but two feet is close!” minjoo argues.

“you know, at first i thought you were the quiet type,” chaewon holds on the junior’s backpack to keep up with her pace, “i mean– you’re not really talkative, but once you start talking about something that is not chemistry you just can’t stop.”

minjoo chuckles, “everyone says that,” she then adjusts the books on her arms, “i’m so dumb i could’ve just put this in my bag instead of carrying.” chaewon removes her hold and puts her arms on her sides awkwardly. minjoo places the things in and wears her backpack again,
they never run out of awkward moments.

“...you walk slow, you could hold on it again... if you want.”

chaewon does as what she’s told. she holds on minjoo’s grey backpack again to keep up with the girl.
and then they walk together in silence again for a good minute until minjoo asks, “do you still smoke?”

“yes.”

“how come no has ever found it out? doesn’t the smell linger?”

“i have my ways, kim minjoo.”

then minjoo points her finger somewhere, “look at that cat on top of the fence.”

“you’re talking too much.”

“i’m sorry.”

 

minjoo closes the door behind them as she and chaewon remove their shoes.

“no one’s home?” chaewon asks.

“my parents are both at work. and i don’t have siblings,” she opened the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of water to quench her thirst caused by their ten minute walk, “you want something?”

“just water is okay,”

minjoo grabs another bottle and two strawberry yogurts and chaewon’s eyes shown, she looks delighted.
“oh my god, i love strawberry,” she accepts the bottle of water and the yogurt.

“my room is upstairs.” minjoo leads the way to her bedroom.

she forgot about her room’s current condition to let her crush in without doing something about it. it was a mess. and minjoo breathes in heavily as she rotates the knob, there’s no turning back, they’re already there.

the door opens to the sight of purple disheveled sheets and hoodies hanging everywhere in various colors. there’s crumpled papers on the floor on one side of minjoo’s light brown study table that didn’t seemed to reach the trashcan and food wrappers everywhere, it’s not much (at least for minjoo) but it’s noticeable enough to catch chaewons attention.

minjoo looks over to the older to see her reaction and facepalms, “god, this is so humiliating.” the tutee walks in and tries to lessen the mess, picking up trash and discarded clothes, “i swear, i’m really not this messy.”

“you seem to have the liking on hoodies...”

“...yes. i get cold easily so..."

chaewon nods and takes her bag off her back and places it on the floor, minjoo sees through her that the girl is feeling awkward, and she is too.
“you can just place that here,” she points at her study table and goes back on clearing up the mess.

“okay,” there’s a couple of seconds of pause, “...minjoo, it’s fine... you don’t have to clean everything up.”

minjoo stopped moving as she nods slowly to the latter’s statement, “u-uhh haha... okay,” she immediately drops the pair of socks she had in hand on the floor, “shouldn’t we get started?”

it was normal and nothing out of ordinary of studying usual chemistry except their change of location. they had decided to just sit on the floor because minjoo has one chair for the study table and the other one is filled with clothes.

 

“even if i’m leaving already, you should continue reviewing your notes. at least pass your test okay?” chaewon says as minjoo opens the front door.

“yes ma’am.”

chaewon smiles and walks out of the house, she looks back to minjoo who’s still at the door. the tutor raises an arm to wave her goodbye. minjoo waves back.
“bye... and thank you.”

minjoo’s heart does the thing at the sight of chaewon’s smile.

she goes back to her room and lets out the highest squeals onto her pillow.

 

the next morning, with the first period almost starting, minjoo calls chaewon’s number in hopes of the girl answering before classes starts.

“hello? chaewon?”

“minjoo? classes are st–,”

“your books! i forgot to give them to you back, theyre still in my bag!”

“okay, minjoo, calm down, just go to my locker.”

“how about your cla–,”

chaewon hung up.

minjoo went to the senior’s locker. she sprinted through hallways, late for her own class. she found chaewon waiting for her already, “chaewon! your books! i’m sorry!” minjoo bowed to chaewon apologetically and presented the books in front of chaewon.

the older accepted the books, retrieving her things from minjoo’s hands, “it’s okay, don’t worry.”

“b-but what about your homeworks, how did you study without these? it’s not okay...”

she puts a hand on minjoo’s shoulder, “i said it’s okay. i don’t really need the books right now until second period. c’mon let’s go back to our classes.”

 

minjoo can’t believe the hand of kim chaewon is touching her. she started to ponder if she’s even worth of chaewon’s touch or the hoodie she is wearing right now is new fresh from closet and not reused for the senior to have contact with.

the hand is still on her shoulder as they walk back, “wait isn’t your classoom on the other way?”
“i’m walking you to class.”

“c-chaewon n-n-no! you’ll be late!” minjoo felt heat rise up to her face, now it’s red, and now she’s just a useless lesbian who gets flustered on the smallest things. she removed the hand on her shoulder with her own, now she’s holding it.

chaewon holds minjoo’s hand, “i’m walking you to class.” she links their fingers and tightens her hold as the red on minjoo’s face deepens in color. “let me hold this okay? i think you’re the one who walks slow today.” the girl’s sudden boldness surprises minjoo, it’s unusual but she cannot complain about it, because her fuckin crush is holding her hand like, who wouldn’t want that.

minjoo couldn’t protest. they walked. with their hands intertwined together. like, jesus, is this a dream? what in the literal fuck, is this heaven? please don’t wake me up yet, minjoo thought.

they reached her classroom. the junior prepares herself for the scolding. chaewon herself knocked on the door, then it’s opened by their homeroom teacher, the angry expression that seemed to fade on the sight of chaewon.

minjoo stands on the side then chaewon pulls her close. oh, yeah we’re still holding hands.

exposed to everyone in the room chaewon speaks, “excuse me sir, i’m sorry minjoo is late, i just had some business to talk with her.” she flashes a smile. that good girl smile that makes teachers fall for whatever she says.

minjoo sees yujin, wonyoung, and nako with their mouths agape and eyes wide, same expression with hitomi, who has her eyes wider than everyone else (because she’s the only one in the friend group who knows about minjoo’s crush).

“oh, kim chaewon, it’s okay. minjoo come take your seat quick.” the favoritism... but it somehow benefits minjoo so she’s alright with that for now. but chaewon also does deserve the treatment she’s getting. she’s a perfect person, minjoo can’t deny that.

their hands unlink from each other (not even a split second minjoo already missed the warmth of her senior’s hand on hers), “bye, minjoo” the senior waves at her, “thank you for your consideration, sir.” chaewon bows and leaves.

 

minjoo spaces out on most of her classes, but she takes notes sometimes, because chaewon told her to. you should at least take notes, so that if you don’t understand something you could always go back to them. she doesn’t really read her notes. it’s for chaewon to see that she took her advice. and daydreaming in class is far more entertaining.

her mind replayed the moment of when they were holding hands. it’s almost as if unreal. her mind displayed it with sparkles and light fog, it’s dreamy and magical, and it’s something really to look back if it’s not to happen again.

chaewon really got her. minjoo chuckles to herself at the thought of her hopeless crush on the girl.

she felt a light tap on her shoulder and it turns out to be her seatmate, hitomi, sliding a small torn piece of paper on her table.

there’s a writing with hitomi’s neat and perfected hangul penmanship that says, stop thinking about her and listen to the teacher ! she a het!
minjoo laughs (because her friend knows what’s exactly on her mind), out loud, the whole class hears, even the teacher. hitomi’s eyes widened.

“kim minjoo! get out of my class, stand outside by the door and wait for the class to end!” the whole class has their eyes on her, and her friends with their lips pursed, stopping themselves from laughing,

wonyoung pats minjoo’s back as she passes by, “goodluck.”

she stands outside the classroom, earning stares from other students on the hall. then fuck, chaewon is there, with her friends. minjoo tries to cover her face, she turns around to face the wall beside the door so the group wouldn’t see her.

minjoo is starting to think it isn’t just purely coincidence that she sees chaewon literally everywhere in school after they had known each other. she stands out, like a red dot on a white surface, like she has a magical aura around her that makes her blaringly visible despite being in a crowd. when she spots chaewon somewhere there’s an alarm inside of her brain that alerts her of her tutor’s presence that says: chaewon. chaewon. chaewon like a mantra. it’s just her name being repeatedly said in the tone of an ambulance siren. it’s weird, but it’s alerting, but not like she knows what to do when chaewon is there.

“minjoo?” she recognizes the voice.

minjoo gasps and turns to face chaewon, “yes?”

the senior tilts her head and furrows her eyebrows, “nothing, just... don’t you have a class right now?”

“uh, um... i–,”

chaewon interrupts her before she can even speak, “hey, i’m sorry, i really need to go to right now so, i’ll see you later?”

minjoo sighs in relief, “yeah, okay. bye.”

the girl then hurried off to her group (but not before smiling at her junior and waving goodbye, minjoo thinks she could get used to this), presumably for gym class because minjoo can’t just miss the ponytail and she short pair of gym shorts and because she’s a useless lesbian she can’t just stop staring at the chaewon’s legs and ass until she disappeared from minjoo’s sight at the end of the hallway.

 

the class ends and the teacher calls her in to tell her about detention after class.

 

detention is certainly not something new to minjoo, it’s more like of a routine, at least before. it’s not a big thing that worries her like how good students avoid it to not have a bad record. she’s used to it but now it’s starting to worry her that she might miss a chance to be with chaewon.

apparently, teachers believe tutoring sessions are important and just another extended time same as detentions, but in another form that student that are flunking school has been dreading about so they let it slide. minjoo does not dread about it, she enjoys spending time with her senior crush. the sessions with her tutor has been saving her from then.

(minjoo’s starting to believe that chaewon really is an actual angel sent from heaven.)

 

“you free today?” he leans his shoulder against the lockers and crosses his arms to his chest coolly, like how every mediocre school jock does it. minjoo cringes.
minjoo closes her locker and sighs, “i’m sorry, but no. maybe next time? i’m really busy these days.” she’s too nice for a boy that has been constantly bugging her.

minjoo can’t just turn him down because he’s a senior, and a jock, not just that because he’s one of their school’s soccer team star players. and if she does not want to be grilled by the straight girls that goes after him she turns down his offers quietly, not to be noticed by bystanders and not to go out with him to be seen by schoolmates.

“minjoo c’mon,” he holds on minjoo’s arm, “just a hang out. cancel your plan, it’s not detention again right?”

she chuckles.

they met in detention. it’s odd that a jock isn’t chasing some cheerleader girl. he’s an asshole, probably a member of a boy gang that throws crumpled papers to nerds and are noisy in classes, in conclusion he was in the detention room with minjoo. and minjoo is pretty so he won’t miss that, of course. so now he’s been chasing a detention-regular for already two months.

she shrugs his hand off her arm, “i can’t, i’m sorry... i promise, next time.” she smiles at him charmingly. minjoo wishes she doesn’t have that smile, that she wasn’t that attractive, she doesn’t like to brag but minjoo thinks being pretty has it’s disadvantages sometimes.

“alright, kim minjoo. i will always wait for that next time.” he pats her arm lightly this time. it stays there for a while, while they talk about plans on their hangout that minjoo knows will never happen. he’s eager, and minjoo’s tired of him.

she could’ve been already waiting for chaewon right now, maybe on her locker or the library. but he wouldn’t just stop talking.

“minjoo?”

minjoo and the guy turn their heads to the voice.

“ch-chaewon...” minjoo manages to utter her name successfully, but stuttering as per usual. she sees him raise an eyebrow and he finally drops his hold on minjoo.
“i’ve been waiting for you in the library, so i decided to go to your locker to, um... maybe, see you here? and uh, okay i’ll just wait for you two to finish your talk?” first time chaewon speaks like this. it’s adorable but minjoo wonders why.

once again, kim chaewon saves her.

“no, we’ve just finished. i really was about to leave. let’s go.” minjoo holds chaewon’s hand and pulls the girl to leave.
and they left. they left him alone just like that.

minjoo thinks chaewon is an angel sent from heaven.

“i didn’t know you have a boyfriend.”

they walk to minjoo’s house, again. library already opened (they had been installing additional shelves and books in, therefore the reason why it was unavailable yesterday) but she reasons that she could focus more if she’s in the comfort of her home. chaewon easily complies with it.

“he’s not my boyfriend.” minjoo looks over to see her senior’s reaction. she has a questioning eyebrow raised.

“really?”

“yeah. he’s just another boy bothering me to go out for some reason.” she kicks a small rock as she walks.

chaewon hums.

she continues to kick the rock. chaewon kicks it too. and they basically had a mini soccer game on the sidewalk until the poor rock is tossed in the middle of the road. now minjoo thinks chaewon isn’t just an angel, she could almost out-play that jock who’s been after her with her clumsy kicks, little squeals, and giggles.

 

there are laughter as they race upstairs to minjoo’s room (something about who’s dumber if they come last). minjoo realizes they finally had something between them, something more than acquaintances, like super acquaintances, or they’re friends, maybe. or chaewon’s more than a tutor now and she’s more than a tutee to chaewon.

“can we not study just today please?” minjoo pleads to her tutor as she sits on her bed.

the senior is starting to take her things out, “what? you could’ve just went out with that guy if you didn’t want to study.”

“but i wanna spend time with you, not him!”

minjoo gasps, regretting what she had just said. she puts her hands on her mouth and turns red up to her ears.

“what?” chaewon asks in a teasing tone.

“i-i said nothing! i’m gonna go get some snacks.”

“kim minjoo if you wanna spend time with your crush you’ll endure the chemistry lessons!” the tutor shouts to minjoo who already ran downstairs for food, she tried to reason that instead of admitting she felt embarrassed for accidentally kind-of-confessing to her crush.

chaewon follows her down, “yah! i didn’t say you’re my crush and why are you here?” the red doesn’t leave minjoo’s cheeks still.
“i’m helping you out?”

minjoo circles around the kitchen island away from chaewon, “i’m just grabbing chips ahoy i don’t need your help!”
“okay, but can you stop shouting?”

she takes two packs of chips ahoy and hands them to chaewon.

 

they’re seated on the carpet of minjoo’s bedroom floor while chaewon flips on the book’s pages, finding the next lesson to teach minjoo in advance.
“i literally just took the exam for the past couple of week’s lesson and we’re moving on another again this quick? can you let me breathe?” minjoo splays her body on the floor and takes a bite off her cookie.

“minjoo, get up. we’ll just do a quick run through so you’ll be familiar with this one alright?”

chaewon puts a hand on minjoo’s knee. she has a smile on her face, it’s small and sweet but it makes the butterflies in minjoo’s stomach go nuts nonetheless. then they stare at each other for about half a minute.

the junior sits up.

“yeah, okay.”

 

“can i smoke on your balcony?” chaewon takes out a box of marlboro from her bag’s small pocket.

minjoo isn’t sure on what to answer. she does not like the idea of chaewon smoking (though she found it hot at first).

“smoking is bad for the health you know.” she closes her book and puts it on her bed.

“it’s my stress reliever.”

“are you always stressed?”

“yeah, i guess.”

she grabs the box from chaewon and stands, holding it up the air. the senior does the same and reaches for it.

“you really think you’re much taller than me? we have barely an inch of difference!”

the shorter jumps but minjoo leans her arm backwards, “i’m three centimeters taller, ma’am.”

minjoo tiptoes and chaewon gives up, huffing in defeat and pouting her lips in the cutest way possible, “i hate you.”

the (not much) taller girl chuckles, “you’re cute. but to think you’re actually reaching for a pack of cigarettes,”

“well, congratulations on not getting flustered on calling me cute this time,” she folds her arms against her chest and smirks. minjoo frowns in disbelief.
lowering her arm, she hands the box to chaewon, “fine. do whatever you want.”

it’s chaewon’s turn to chuckle this time and she doesn’t miss the tinge of pink on her tutees’ cheeks.

“thanks,” she takes a stick of cigarette out of the box and lights it, bringing it immediately to her mouth. she sits on minjoo’s bed. the other girl observes on how she does it.

there were no words after that. they lock eyes for a moment then the older girl turns her head sideways to puff out the smoke.
“not in my room, miss kim chaewon.”

“i’ll do whatever i want,” chaewon sing-songs.
minjoo holds chaewon’s arm to pull he up and turns her body around to lightly push the senior towards the glass sliding door that leads to her room’s balcony.

she slides the door open and chaewon stares at her with an unreadable expression while bringing the cigarette that is in between of her middle and forefinger to her soft plump lips. she blows a small cloud of smoke to minjoo’s face and laughs. minjoo brings a hand to her face to cover her nose.

“jesus,” she coughs, “kim chaewon. i’m kicking your ass i swear.”

chaewon lets out a hearty laugh, “okay, okay, i’m going out,” her laughter is contagious until she’s out.

 

thursday, minjoo needs a break, away from chaewon. at least for like a day or so.

no tutoring sessions on thursdays, but she wishes she won’t bump on chaewon for pete’s sake. being with her crush is okay. being with chaewon is amazing, it’s overwhelming and strange in a way it has minjoo swooning everytime. she’s amazing, and really pretty. she has this charm that only she has. minjoo needs a normal heart rate right now that it might jump off her chest because chaewon does the bare minimum but it makes her heart skip or has it beating rapidly.

seeing chaewon is an experience. laying your eyes on her is a blessing. it’s something she should thank god of, like the breath he gave her to breathe but chaewon manages to take away every time she smiles. minjoo thinks of when even did she start thinking like this. from the day she caught chaewon smoking, she thinks, it does not start from there. it gradually developed overtime.

like from their first meeting, until now (she realizes chaewon now laughs on her knock-knock jokes), she notices the change, their bond deepens in a span of four weeks. sometimes chaewon catches her staring, the girl would only give her a smile and returns back to her business. minjoo got used to chaewon catching her, but she keeps her occasional staring at the minimum least as possible.

sometimes minjoo thinks if she’s obvious enough for chaewon to notice that she likes her.

sometimes minjoo catches chaewon staring at her.

now that they’re friends (at least for minjoo? (chaewon had practically smoked in her house)) it isn’t that bad to meet her crush at school. she’s used to her presence. but not with hitomi nudging her side with her elbow whenever chaewon is there, it makes their other friends turn their attention to them with questioning looks on what the hell is going on when the girl nudges a little too hard to be noticeable.

or yena’s teasing grin and knowing look thrown towards her when they’re on the same space as chaewon.

and speaking of the two, they’re currently talking to each other in front of minjoo’s locker. no problem with that, just except they’re not friends or anything.
“you two know each other?” minjoo squeezes in on their conversation.

yena turns to her, surprised, and at most she looked delighted, “well, yes! apparently, minjoo, my friend, i just found out i’m not the only one who knows about your love interest,” she puts an arm around hitomi’s shoulders as if they we’re friends for a dacade. hitomi has her eyes closed while nodding in agreement.
“we’re actually thinking of ways on how to get you together with chaewon,” hitomi speaks up.

minjoo looks around to make sure no one in the hall is hearing them before saying, “what? no. i’m handling this on my own, alright. give me time. i’m progressing slowly but surely,”

the older of the three rolls her eyes, “well then, make actual progress, kim minjoo!”

“yena, you don’t know what’s happening behind what you’re seeing. i’m giving you the right to shut the fuck up,”

hitomi then sighs and mumbles, “she’s right, minjoo. progress surely... but make it fast, tomorrow is your last tutoring session with her, just so you know.”

“shit,” minjoo curses under her breath.

“well, i’m going to class now,” yena says, adjusting the straps of her bag, “just text her, coward. bye!”

“i’m coming that way too! bye, minjoo!”

the two walked away from her and minjoo opens her locker to get her things. now she’s absolutely conflicted of whether she should actually text chaewon or just let things happen on their own (not like chaewon would ask her out).

 

she does not literallly bump on chaewon.

instead, chaewon is just... there, seven feet away from her, just standing, looking like she’s waiting for something. minjoo wants to flee, away from her.
it’s delusional, to think that chaewon would actually notice her or approach her or something.

but she cannot just flee away because the school’s rigged vending machine ate her money again and won’t drop the orange juice she had paid for. if not for chaewon’s presence, minjoo could have punched the machine or stuck her arm in, it’s embarrassing to do, and punching it would definitely catch not only chaewon’s attention, but also the bystanders’.

“hey,”

jesus fuck for the love of god. of course, it’s chaewon.

“hi.”

minjoo tries to smile, and her crush smiles back warmly, with her eyes closing a little from it, almost laughing. wait. she’s actually laughing.

chaewon is giggling while saying, “you got it stuck?”

the junior’s face turns pink and she scratches the back of her head, looking sideways, “yeah...”

“have you tried hitting it though?”

she’s looking straight to minjoo, her head tilted innocently, and her cute straight eyebrows are raised, waiting for an answer.

it took her some time to respond, “uh, yeah.”

the older laughs again, she hits minjoo’s arm lightly, “okay, i’m starting to think all you can say right now is ‘yeah’?”

her bright eyes turns to crescents when she laughs. also her laugh is cute and hearty, minjoo blushes.

“yeah– i mean– no, what are you doing here anyways?” okay, it sounded mean, minjoo regrets immediately in her mind.

the wind gushes and the junior folds her arms and clutches to her jacket sleeves, the weather is starting to get cold, chaewon hugs herself, “i was waiting for... you,” she looks away, she has her eyes trained down to the ground for a good while. then chaewon finally looks up, “wonyoung told me that you’re going here so, i waited.”
she looked so small and cold. minjoo thinks about giving her the jacket if not for her getting herself cold if she did so.

“well... are you busy after school? can we get ice cream?”

“w-what?”

“us two. ice cream. later?”

turning down the offer would be bad. minjoo ponders for a while on why her crush is inviting her for ice cream. to think about, it’s odd that chaewon initiates activities outside tutoring. but she would not definitely turn down an offer from her.

hell, minjoo could run a marathon for chaewon.

it’s a lot to process, honestly. it really isn’t just something chaewon would normally do.

“but it’s cold?” says minjoo.

“i’m not accepting no as an answer, kim minjoo. see you later.”

chaewon walks off just like that. minjoo exhales, the girl is really something else.

she finally decides to hit the vending machine, more likely out of her damned romantic excitement.

 

the ice cream hangout was okay. though chaewon kept saying most of the time that it’s supposed to be called a date, making minjoo blush so much that she had to excuse herself to the bathroom to let her face cool down.

“bathroom.”

“what?”

minjoo has her face blocked from chaewon with her phone, it has its front camera opened viewing her beet red face.

“i said bathroom,” her voice comes out small, the chair scrapes on the floor as she stands up now looking down to the ground to let her hair fall over her face, “pee.”
she runs off leaving chaewon confused.

minjoo screams into her pillow at the memory of it.

her phone chimes and she screams her last “fuck!” before looking at the notification.

chaewon had texted her, ‘hey, i just got home :)’

she panics and sends an ‘okay’

she left her on read after that, on minjoo’s disappointment, she blames herself for sucking at text messages.

 

“why the hell did you replied with an ‘okay’?” yena scolds her that morning.

“i panicked!”

hitomi chimes in, “minjoo, the person was being sweet you could’ve sent a longer message.”

minjoo sighs an takes a bite off her sandwich.

“invite her over to your house today,” yena suggests.

“why?”

“final tutoring session? remember?”

“god. don’t remind me about that it makes me sad.”

“then invite her over so you could do it there.”

“yena’s right.”

“i will try.”

 

it took all of minjoo’s willpower to talk to chaewon about going to her house.

the older seemed okay with it, no questions are asked either. so they’re walking home together and minjoo’s struggles to strike a conversation at the girl.
it’s chaewon who breaks the silence, “this is our last day of tutoring sessions, you’re aware of that right?”

“yeah, what about it?” minjoo tries to be casual though her mind is panicking right now.

she hears the older sigh, “nothing. just saying.”

it ends at that until they reach minjoo’s house.

 

minjoo sticks the cold tub of mint chocolate ice cream on her tutor’s cheek, the girl squeals and was about to hit minjoo but she stops when the tub was presented right in her face.

her face immediately lights up at the sight of the ice cream, “for me?”

“yeah. my gratitude for you being my tutor.”

 

she finishes the ice cream at like ten minutes while minjoo writes on the answer sheets chaewon had given her.

“i’ll read the next lesson and you should too after answering. i’ll explain to you after.”

minjoo did as instructed.

they really do not have much to do. chaewon’s just giving her junior review exercises and advanced reading. literally just filler activities for their last day.

 

she had her book opened to read. but the silence of the surrounding made her space out. minjoo’s growing bored. until her eyes land on chaewon’s face.
she notices how the curls of chaewon’s hair cascades down her shoulders smoothly, how it looks soft to the touch, even how her bangs frames her face well. opposite on how soft she looks, she always has this resting bitch face on her. minjoo thinks it’s attractive.

subconsciously, minjoo raises an arm, extending her index finger to reach the older’s cheek only to poke it.

the tutor flinched, looking up from the book she was reading to minjoo, “what the hell are you doing?”
she sounded annoyed.

minjoo curls back to the ball of embarrassment that she is and goes back to read her book, “i’m sorry. just checking.”

“checking what?”

she does not look at chaewon while answering, “your, um... cheeks.” there was a second of pause in between every word minjoo had muttered.

“what about my cheeks?”

minjoo replies, “soft.”

the sharp gaze on chaewon’s eyes softens, her furrowed eyebrows seemed to be deflating after seeing her tutee looking that small, holding up a book to her face to hide her flustered face.

then everything on that moment was soft.

from the stripes of golden and warm light of the setting sun passing through the window’s blinds that strikes to minjoo’s flushed face, chaewon watches in slight amusement when she sees her tutee’s eyes shifting from one side to another, pretending to be analyzing whatever lesson the book displays as they sit on the fluffy carpet on the floor of minjoo’s room.

everything was soft and pure and minjoo glances up at chaewon who has a small smile on her face, free of furrowed eyebrows and annoyed expressions, it’s just chaewon and her soft hair and soft cheeks.

and chaewon smiles displaying her pearly white teeth as if to laugh at minjoo’s fake act of reading. a giggle escapes her mouth and minjoo thinks that’s the cutest thing ever.

minjoo’s heart does the thing again. she feels it jump and beat rapidly at the sound of chaewon’s soft laughter.
she sees chaewon close her book and put it aside.

the older rises from her cross legged position. she crawls forward to minjoo and places her arms on either sides of the girl, trapping her in between.

minjoo could barely breath as she felt the back of her head touch the bed frame, making no space for her to move back.

“ch-chaewon,” she pushes the book she’s holding on chaewon’s front in an attempt to widen the gap between them two.

the older stayed unbothered as she grabs the book from minjoo and puts it somewhere minjoo could not even be able to locate right now at the sight of chaewon coming closer.

she climbs on top of minjoo to sit on her lap.

the close proximity lets minjoo see chaewon’s sparkling eyes darting back to hers and down her lips. she gets the signal of what’s about to happen next.

chaewon holds on the string of minjoo’s hoodie and fiddles with it for a while, while minjoo has her faced turned to the side avoiding eye contact with the girl on top of her.

the harsh pull on the string of her hoodie makes her look back to chaewon with widened eyes out of surprise.

she meets the dark brown orbs of her eyes that seemed to be a pool of void that pulls her in to a whole different world and the pupils that bore holes within her with the look that seems to be desiring something out of minjoo.

minjoo gulps.

she felt chaewon tighten her hold on the hoodie string and pulls.

chaewon kisses minjoo.

chaewon’s lips are soft and she gives soft kisses, minjoo realizes as soon as their lips brushed together.

it was a short peck but the older pulls minjoo back into a longer kiss after emitting a chuckle when minjoo makes a tiny noise after their first kiss.

this time, minjoo kisses back. she closed her eyes, her tensed shoulders relaxes as she feels the older’s arms wrap around her. chaewon smiles into the kiss and minjoo does too.

so they broke into a giggling fit after that but returns to kissing when chaewon whines, “hey, kim minjoo, seriously, stop it.”

their mouths moved in rhythm. minjoo puts a hand on the other girl and discovers that chaewon’s cheeks are really soft to the touch when it isn’t just a single poke of a finger.

and she realizes chaewon’s lips are softer and she tastes the mint-chocolate ice cream she had gave her a while ago when her tongue slides past them.

chaewon caresses the base of minjoo’s neck and the younger lets out a soft whimper at the feeling.

it’s dreamy. and kissing chaewon reminds her of sparkling water and glitters and constellations.
kim chaewon is a dream.

they both pulled back and just stared at each other for some while.
minjoo ponders about how kissing chaewon reminded her of constellations when her bright eyes look like they contained the whole universe.

chaewon smiles at her once again, her heart grows warm and bigger, it does not do the thing this time (minjoo thinks she could get used to it).