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When Chaeyoung woke up, the first thing she did was check the date.

She blinked at her phone screen for a few seconds, and then sighed. “Fuck.”

She dropped her arm and rolled onto her back, her phone landing somewhere on the bed beside her. She turned her gaze to the ceiling of her room, staring at her Wouter Hamel poster -- which was definitely still stuck flat to the plaster behind it, instead of curling up at one corner like it had been the night before.

Chaeyoung thought that she’d hear her roommate’s footsteps just a moment before she actually did. And then Momo would knock on her door and say --

“Chaeng, are you awake? We still need to get Tzuyu’s present for tonight.”

She grunted. “Yeah, I’ll be out in a minute.”

Of course, Momo still turned the knob and pushed the door open a little. “I’m coming in. Are you decent?”

“You’ve definitely seen me in less,” Chaeyoung shot back, her tongue like metal in her mouth for how mechanic her response was.

Momo didn’t seem to notice, as usual, because she was now busy holding the door open only halfway. “You say that, but I’m just remembering that one time you forgot to lock the bathroom door and --”

“I have a shirt and shorts on, unnie,” Chaeyoung said, hoping that her voice didn’t sound too worn. “You can come in.”

“Great.” Momo swung the door open fully and stepped inside, and Chaeyoung couldn’t help but return her smile at least halfheartedly. The older girl frowned, probably taking in the bags weighing Chaeyoung’s eyelids down. “Oh, did you not sleep well last night?”

Chaeyoung paused. “Something like that.”

Momo made her way around the piles of clothes and books Chaeyoung had scattered on the floor before finally settling on the bed, too. “If you’re not feeling well, I can just go shopping by myself.”

“No, no, I’m okay.” Chaeyoung pushed Momo’s hand away when she reached up to feel Chaeyoung’s forehead. “I just need to get dressed. Is that coffee I smell?”

Momo brightened again. “You bet. I’ll just wait for you in the kitchen, then?”

Chaeyoung nodded. Momo cast one last glance at her before slipping back out into the hallway, letting the door shut behind her. Chaeyoung waited a few more moments, the scent of coffee completely absent from her nostrils, before she got up and pulled out a dresser drawer.

Five minutes later, she dropped into a chair at the kitchen table. Momo already had a warm mug waiting for her, and now slid into the seat on the opposite side. “I was going to scramble some eggs, but it looks like we’re out. So we could grab something to eat at the mall, if you’re still up for it?”

“Yeah, that’s cool.” Chaeyoung raised the mug to her lips, about to gulp down a large mouthful. Then her throat tingled, a last-minute reminder of how she had been scorched before. She paused to blow on the liquid before taking a careful sip.

“Are you sure you are?” Momo was frowning at her again. “Fine, I mean.”

Chaeyoung took her time swallowing her coffee. Her first instinct was to brush off Momo’s concern, as usual. But Momo usually didn’t check on her more than once, and Chaeyoung was getting tired in more ways than she could pretend caffeine would fix. So she set her cup back onto the tabletop and took a gamble. “Unnie, I have a question.”

Momo blinked, and then her expression settled into an easy smile. “Ask away.”

“What if,” Chaeyoung looked at her coffee, at how the dark surface sloshed its edges against the rim of her mug. “What if I told you that I’ve been through today, before?”

Momo tilted her head. “Like déjà vu?” Her eyes widened. “Oh, do you mean metaphorically? Sorry, you know I’m bad with poem things, so you’re going to have to explain.”

Chaeyoung laughed, because she hadn’t known that Momo would say that. So she continued. “Not really. I mean that I’ve gone all the way through today, the exact same way for the most part, and then gone to bed and woken up only to find that it’s today again.”

“Oh.” Momo’s brow furrowed, and she rubbed at the handle of her mug in the same way she did whenever she tried to memorize the grocery list instead of just writing it down. “Is that even possible?”

“Apparently.” Chaeyoung shrugged. “I don’t know how it happened. Maybe magic is real and I got cursed somehow, or maybe the universe just works in mysterious ways. Or maybe someone dropped something extra special in my drink at Tzuyu’s party last night, and this is all just one giant fever dream.”

“Tzuyu’s party is tonight,” Momo started to say, but then she trailed off. “Right. Yesterday, but also today.”

Chaeyoung could only offer another resigned lift of her shoulders.

Momo leaned forward. “So how many times have you relived today, then?”

Chaeyoung counted back in her head, unsure if she was forgetting any. “Probably six or seven. Counting the actual first day, that would be eight.”

“Wow.” Momo sat back again, her chair scraping a bit against the linoleum. “That’s a lot.”

“Yeah.” Chaeyoung sighed and leaned back too, pushing her coffee mug farther away from her. “There must be a way to get out of this cycle, but I haven’t been able to find it yet.”

Momo hummed. “What have you figured out so far?”

Chaeyoung stared at the print on her coffee mug; it was grainy from multiple trips through the dishwasher, but she remembered it as the logo of the university Momo had graduated from back in Japan. “The night -- the first night of Tzuyu’s birthday party, I think I sort of, uh, walked in on her and Dahyun-unnie in the kitchen… having a moment.”

Momo’s jaw dropped, and she slammed her palms down on the table. Chaeyoung’s coffee splashed dangerously close to the edge of her mug. “Wait, really? They’re finally going to get together tonight?”

“Well, that night they didn’t.” Chaeyoung waited for the liquid to settle before taking another sip of now lukewarm coffee. “They got really embarrassed that I had come in, obviously, and even though I told them that we’d all been waiting for it to happen, I guess the moment had passed. So they didn’t kiss, I didn’t even find the chips I’d been looking for in the first place, and now I’m apparently cursed to wake up and go through everything over and over again.”

Momo propped one elbow up on the table, resting her chin in her hand. “So every night, you’ve been trying different ways to get them to kiss?”

“And it never works.” Chaeyoung threw her hands up in the air. “If I don’t interrupt them in the kitchen, Nayeon-unnie does. If I tell her that the bathroom will be free for the next thirty minutes if she wants to make out with Sana-unnie, then Jeongyeon-unnie spills some soju on the couch and goes to the kitchen looking for cleaning supplies. And if I have those supplies out beforehand, then --”

“Okay, okay,” Momo said, eyes dancing. “I get it. It’s been hard.”

“Don’t laugh,” Chaeyoung huffed as she crossed her arms and tried to keep her cheek from twitching upwards. “This is serious.”

“Of course,” said Momo. She stopped trying to hide her smile. “It’s alright, Chaeng. You have me to help you now.”

Chaeyoung paused. “Yeah. Yeah, you’re right.” Then she swept up her mug and drained her coffee before wiping her mouth with the back of her other hand. “So, let’s go shopping.”

“Great.” Momo stood up. “I’m starving.”

Thirty minutes later and after a quick stop at Momo’s favorite cafe for freshly baked pastries, the two of them were free to wander through the rest of the mall, occasionally pausing in front of the windows of the shops that caught their eye.

“So what do we end up getting her?” Momo asked, wiping off the frosting clinging to the corners of her mouth with her thumb.

Chaeyoung crumpled the wax paper in her hands and tossed it into a nearby trash bin. “Are you trying to cheat, unnie? I wouldn’t have expected that from you.”

“Well, this day is already going differently from what you’ve expected, right?” Momo said. She balled up her own wax paper before arcing it over Chaeyoung’s head. It landed neatly in the bin, and Momo cheered so loudly that a few passersby spared them a glance.

“You’re embarrassing,” said Chaeyoung. But she let Momo keep her fist raised victoriously in the air for a few moments before she tugged it back down. “Actually, every time we went shopping for Tzuyu’s gift, I tried to get her something different.”

Momo nodded, humming thoughtfully. “That’s a good idea. You never know what might change things later, even if it’s something as small as what gifts she gets.”

“Right. So let’s see.” Chaeyoung rubbed her chin. “Gag gifts didn’t seem to work. Last time, we got her a whole kit of prank devices. But you know those buzzers that you can hide in your palm and shock people with when you shake hands? It somehow ended up on the couch, and Mina-unnie sat on it. She screamed so loudly that Dahyun-unnie and Tzuyu immediately came running, and then they never went back to the kitchen to finish their talk.”

“Okay, I guess we should have seen that coming.” Momo clapped her hands together. “But it should be easy enough to find some gift that at least won’t cause more problems, right?”

“You’d think,” said Chaeyoung. “Remember that this will be my ninth time trying.”

“Ours,” Momo said, linking their arms together. “I take responsibility too, even if I don’t remember living through all the other times. So let’s find something together, okay?”

Chaeyoung grinned, and wondered why she hadn’t decided to tell Momo about all of this sooner. “Okay.”

“Why don’t we get her a stuffed dog toy?” Momo pointed at one of the stores they’d passed. “We can make our own in there to give to her. We can pick its clothes and everything.”

Chaeyoung nodded slowly, remembering Dahyun’s gift for Tzuyu. “That would be perfect, but I don’t think it would work for us.”

“Alright. Oh, how about a purse?” Momo’s face lit up when her eyes landed on a familiar brand name. “Then she could carry her real dog in it. She would be carrying Gucci, in a Gucci.”

Chaeyoung snorted. “Okay, unnie, if you can afford to shell out two million won.”

“Only one million,” said Momo, tugging at Chaeyoung’s elbow. “We’re splitting the cost.”

Chaeyoung rolled her eyes and pulled the older woman into the nearest department store. It was one that she and Momo had perused several times previously, and she still had some remaining potential gifts to check out.

They browsed two entire levels of the store before Momo finally detached herself from Chaeyoung’s side to check out an accessory display. Chaeyoung let her arm hang for a few moments as she scanned through a few pajama sets before she remembered that Momo was no longer there. She quietly slipped her hand into her pocket and continued sifting.

“Did you find anything?”

Chaeyoung turned and grinned, holding up the softest pajamas she’d ever come across, as well as an eye mask that matched in color. “I think so.”

“It’s cute.” Momo reached out and rubbed the pajama fabric between her thumb and index finger. “I guess the pattern on the mask is, too.”

Chaeyoung flipped it over to look at the two eyes printed on the outside. “She sleeps with her eyes open anyway. This is just preserving her reputation.” She peeked behind Momo, trying to see what the other was holding behind her back. “What’d you get?”

“This scarf.” Momo held it out for Chaeyoung to see. “It’s light enough for summer. And this would be perfect for Dahyun to grab and pull her in for a kiss later tonight, right?”

Chaeyoung laughed. “Or accidentally strangle her. I could see it going either way.”

Gently,” Momo said, draping the scarf over her forearm like a waitress would do with a cloth napkin at a fancy restaurant. “She’d do it gently.” Momo’s ringtone sounded before Chaeyoung could voice a reply.

“Who is it?” Chaeyoung asked as Momo pulled out her phone and glanced at the screen.

“Hey, Jeong.” Momo stepped up beside Chaeyoung, leaning slightly so the other could also hear Jeongyeon’s voice on the other end of the line. “What’s up?”

“Are you with Chaeyoung?” There was some static, and then the sound of a door closing. “Can I come over and then head to Tzuyu’s with you two? I need to get out of this apartment.”

Momo exchanged a glance with Chaeyoung before saying, “Sure. We’re at the mall right now, but we’re on the way back. Maybe in about twenty more minutes?”

“That’s fine. I still have to take the subway over.” Jeongyeon’s loud exhale rattled the phone speaker. “Thank you so much.”

Momo frowned. “What’s going on? Is everything okay?”

“Well, Sana is over, and she’s trying to make food with Nayeon-unnie for the party later,” Jeongyeon said. “I haven’t gone into the kitchen yet, and I can’t tell if they’re just banging pots and pans or banging each other. But frankly, either scenario will give me a bigger headache than the one I already have.”

“You don’t want to third-wheel, got it,” said Momo, snickering over Jeongyeon’s indignant protests. “See you soon.”

“Spoiler alert,” Chaeyoung said once Momo ended the call, “they really were just baking. The cookies come out okay, but I would stay away from the punch, because Nayeon-unnie totally spiked it even though she promised Mina-unnie it’s non-alcoholic.”

“She always does that,” Momo said with a laugh. “You’d think Mina would have caught on by now.”

“Maybe she doesn’t want to.” Chaeyoung offered her arm again. “But I guess we should head back, before Jeongyeon-unnie ends up fuming on our doorstep with nowhere else to go.”

“Hey,” said Momo, hooking their elbows together. Her hand easily slid down, fingers searching for Chaeyoung’s before threading them in between. “Why don’t we tell Jeongyeon about our plan? We don’t have to mention your whole reliving today problem, but I think it would help to have someone else who can watch and make sure nothing gets in the way of the big moment.”

“Sure.” Chaeyoung shrugged. “But let’s not tell the other unnies yet. Dahyun-unnie will realize something is up if everyone else starts acting weird.”

Momo sighed. “For someone that observant, she’s pretty blind to Tzuyu’s very obvious puppy dog eyes always aimed in her direction.”

“We all have our flaws,” Chaeyoung said with a chuckle. And then tugged Momo towards the register.

As it turned out, it took all of two seconds for Jeongyeon to be completely on board with their plan -- which at this point, didn’t consist of much more than keeping all intrusions out of Tzuyu’s kitchen starting at around an hour before midnight. Still, Chaeyoung figured that this was the best chance she’d had so far of waking up to a tomorrow.

Hours later, Jihyo was the one who answered Tzuyu’s door. She immediately beamed at the three. “Hey! Now that we’re all here, we can finally start drinking Nayeon-unnie’s blatantly alcoholic punch.”

“Are they here, unnie?” Tzuyu rounded the corner just as they finished toeing off their shoes.

“Happy birthday, maknae,” said Jeongyeon. She padded over to wrap the taller woman in a warm hug. “I hope you’re ready for the best one of your life.”

“Until next year,” Momo agreed, coming up from behind and adding to the crowd of hugs. “Do you want presents now or later?”

“Later!” Nayeon yelled from somewhere behind them. “Come on, stop crowding the doorway so we can start this party.”

Dahyun was the only one of their circle who owned a disco ball, and she had already hung it from the light on Tzuyu’s living room ceiling. Then Sana turned the speakers up and hit play on the laptop open in one corner, ushering in the last hours of Tzuyu’s birthday to the upbeat tune of her favorite Sistar song.

The night passed much like it always did: Jihyo handing Mina cup after cup of punch while sporting the most shit-eating grin that Chaeyoung had ever seen, Nayeon actively pushing Sana into Jeongyeon to try and make the two kiss, and Tzuyu laughing the entire time while Dahyun rested her head on the younger woman’s shoulder, mindlessly playing with the end of the scarf draped around Tzuyu’s neck.

(Tzuyu, for the record, had immediately put the eye mask on once she’d unwrapped it, only taking it off when a red-faced Mina yelled at her to do so because “four eyes is too many to have”. But when she’d unpacked Momo’s gift, she’d immediately gasped before holding it up for everyone else to see. “This is so pretty, unnie. Thank you.”

“Wow, Momo,” Sana said from where she was on the couch, half lying in Nayeon’s lap while also idly kicking Jihyo sitting on the other end. “When did you get an actual sense of fashion?”

“It’s always been better than yours,” Momo scoffed. Then she leaned into Chaeyoung. “Chaeng helped, though, so of course it would be the best.”

Chaeyoung happened to be taking a sip of her drink, and it burned the back of her throat a little more intensely than usual. Her coughing fit was covered, more or less, by Mina crawling across the circle to delicately wrap the scarf around Tzuyu.

Mina sat back on her knees once she’d finished, scrutinizing Tzuyu’s finished look with glazed but earnest eyes. Tzuyu smiled. “How do I look, unnie?”

“Perfect,” said Dahyun, and no one could deny it.)

Chaeyoung felt a little bad about not engaging in the party as much as she had the first few times, but not enough to stop keeping an eye on the clock. As midnight drew nearer, the chatter began to mellow; Sana’s playlist accordingly switched to songs suited more for sprawling out in various corners of the living room and simply enjoying each other’s company. Dahyun’s disco ball took a well deserved break as Tzuyu carefully dimmed the lights to a warm yellow glow.

Momo took on the task of subtly suggesting an alternative area for Nayeon and Sana to have their alone time, and Jeongyeon managed to convince Mina to drink enough water so that she was knocked out on the couch, snuggled into Jihyo’s shoulder.

“That takes care of everyone, I think,” said Jeongyeon, plopping down next to Chaeyoung and Momo with a paper plate of leftover tortilla chips. “So now we wait?”

“Not for long.” Momo lifted her chin in the direction of the kitchen. “Dahyun’s already helping Tzuyu clean up.”

Chaeyoung took a deep breath. “Let’s hope that this works.”

Jeongyeon glanced at her. “Well, even if it doesn’t, it’s no big deal. There’s always a next time, right?”

Momo squeezed Chaeyoung’s hand. Chaeyoung chuckled wearily, and then dipped her head. “Right.”

The song switched, and Chaeyoung fiddled with the edge of Jeongyeon’s paper plate. Then Momo’s arm was around her waist, pulling her a little closer. “Hey.” The older girl’s words brushed against the shell of her ear. “Jeong’s right. It’ll be okay.”

Chaeyoung nodded, and allowed herself to sink a little more into Momo’s hold.

It took Momo all of ten minutes to finish the remaining chips. Nayeon and Sana reappeared in the living room and dropped onto the couch; Jihyo glared at them, but Mina remained undisturbed. Jeongyeon wandered over to ask whether the couple had only stopped early because of Nayeon’s clear lack of stamina, and Chaeyoung was already smiling when Momo nudged her in the side.

“Chaeyoung?”

She tilted her head a little, shifting so that she could look up without giving up her comfortable positioning on Momo’s shoulder. “Yeah, unnie?”

“I,” Momo let out a long exhale. “I have something to tell you.”

Chaeyoung hummed, her tongue already falling into a familiar script. “What is it?”

Momo cleared her throat. “I just wanted to -- I just, well. I need to tell you that I --”

Tzuyu stepped out of the kitchen. Most of the girls in the living room glanced over out of mild interest. Then Dahyun emerged, too, and in between the two...

“You’re holding hands?” Nayeon smirked. “Something good must have happened.”

“I don’t know, unnie,” said Tzuyu, her expression studiously straight. “Maybe you should ask my girlfriend.”

Chaeyoung jumped to her feet as the apartment burst into cheers, pulling Momo up too so the both of them could join the pile of screaming girls.

“We’re so happy for you two!” Jihyo had an arm around Dahyun’s shoulders, and somehow pulled Tzuyu down as well. “Congratulations.”

“It was about time, if you ask me,” said Jeongyeon. “But better late than never.”

Nayeon slapped her in the shoulder. “Don’t be rude. So, who confessed first?”

“And more importantly,” Momo added, “did you do the scarf kiss?”

The rest passed in a blur, like usual. But instead of buzzing with whys and hows and will there be a next time, Chaeyoung’s thoughts swelled with the lightness of a job well done. Before she knew it, everyone was tidying up, and then trickling out of the apartment among whispered good nights and promises to meet again soon.

“You did it,” said Momo, squeezing her hand.

The two of them were walking back, letting the night air cool the flush in their cheeks and the spinning in their heads. Chaeyoung grinned, squeezing back as she looked up at Momo. “We did it.”

They fell into a comfortable quiet, and minutes before midnight, Chaeyoung fell into bed. She adjusted her hands behind her head as she stared up at her bedroom ceiling, at the one corner of her poster lifted from where it had been stuck on with a piece of now dry ticky tack.

She drifted off to sleep with the curled up poster corner mirrored in the edges of her smile.

-

When Chaeyoung wakes up and checks the date, she can’t believe her eyes.

She jolts up, mattress squeaking as she stares at her phone screen. “This can’t be right.” She looks up at her ceiling; the poster corner is stuck flat again.

“No.” She drops her phone and holds her head in her hands. “No, no, no. This can’t be happening.”

“Chaeng, are you awake? We still need to get Tzuyu’s present for tonight.”

She squeezes her eyes shut. And then, after a deep breath, “Yeah, I’ll be out in a minute.”

She can’t think straight, but decides to tell Momo again over her cup of coffee. They still don’t have eggs, so they buy pastries and toss wax paper balls, and wander in the same mall department store. Chaeyoung buys Tzuyu a sketchbook and pencil set this time, because she’d promised to teach her how to draw at some point. Momo picks the scarf, and Chaeyoung decides that this doesn’t need correcting.

Jeongyeon calls, and meets them on their doorstep when they return from the mall. Momo is in the middle of telling Jeongyeon about their grand plan to get Dahyun and Tzuyu to confess to each other, but Chaeyoung can’t find it in herself to pay too much attention; she doesn’t know why last night’s confession hadn’t worked. Does a solution to her endless problem even exist?

She slides her phone out of her pocket while Jeongyeon and Momo complete a lengthy handshake to confirm Jeongyeon’s membership in the plan. Chaeyoung opens her most recent chat, which happens to be with Mina.

Hey, unnie. I have a question.

She hopes Mina isn’t gaming, which is the only time the older girl will spend hours without checking her messages. Luck happens to be on Chaeyoung’s side, as her phone vibrates a minute later with a new text.

What is it?

Chaeyoung pauses. Momo gets up to use the restroom, and Jeongyeon is also on her phone now, probably trying to beat Nayeon’s score in that one crossword game the rest of their friends happen to be obsessed with.

Chaeyoung decides that if telling Momo everything helped her get this much closer, telling someone else might not be too bad after all.

Okay, this is going to sound weird
But what if I said that I’ve been reliving this day over and over again for maybe the past week?

Mina’s reply is immediate.

Oh, like a Groundhog Day kind of thing?

Chaeyoung stares at the text bubble for a moment.

Is that a film?

Never mind, Mina says. I would say that it’s weird, but not unheard of.

Chaeyoung lets out a sigh of relief. Jeongyeon looks up at her, and she offers a brief smile. “Nayeon-unnie says they made cookies.”

Jeongyeon snorts before returning to her phone. “A likely story.”

The first night of Tzuyu’s birthday party, Chaeyoung types, I walked in on her and Dahyun almost confessing. Mina’s response is a wall of exclamation points and varying shocked face emojis. Chaeyoung swallows her laughter and continues.

I thought that the reason I have to relive today again and again was because I interrupted them that first time
But last night, they did confess to each other, and even became girlfriends

But here you are again, says Mina.

Chaeyoung exhales softly. Momo comes back into the living room, asking if anyone wants any chips.

So if they weren’t the reason, then what is, unnie?

Mina sees the message, but doesn’t reply. Chaeyoung tosses her phone onto the couch cushion when Momo asks for help locating clean plates in the kitchen cupboard. After Chaeyoung returns, she has one new text.

Maybe the universe is telling you that they aren’t the only two that need to get together?

Momo shoves a chip into Chaeyoung’s mouth before she can reply, and a small chip war among the three -- because Jeongyeon always gets reluctantly involved -- ensues. Chaeyoung forgets about Mina’s message until a few hours into the party.

Tzuyu loves the scarf, of course, but hugs Chaeyoung for the sketchbook and pencils just as tightly as before. Chaeyoung sits through another whirlwind of half-yelled karaoke sessions to the beat of the more obscene songs on Sana’s playlist, and a dance competition that ends when Nayeon almost breaks the coffee table.

Tzuyu and Dahyun slip into the kitchen. Over a plate of Jeongyeon’s last tortilla chips, Momo leans in again and murmurs, “I have something to tell you.”

“What is it?” Chaeyoung asks. And then looks up to catch sight of Mina fast asleep in Jihyo’s lap.

She remembers the text.

Suddenly, her ear is burning from where it rests against Momo’s shoulder, and the hairs on her arm raise when Momo shifts slightly against her. Chaeyoung can feel the heat of Momo’s skin, every point of contact in between them suddenly charged and much too warm -- especially for two girls with just enough alcohol in their systems to make the room spin at least a little bit. But suddenly, Chaeyoung feels like Tzuyu’s entire apartment has been flipped on its head.

I have something to tell you, Momo had said night after night, only to be overwhelmed by Chaeyoung’s immediate concern about reaching tomorrow.

“You’re holding hands?” Nayeon asks. Chaeyoung flinches, her own fingers clenching into an empty fist. Then she looks up to the kitchen entrance, where Tzuyu and Dahyun are standing.

“Something good must have happened,” whispers Chaeyoung, in time with Nayeon’s louder declaration. And then she jumps to her feet, pulling Momo up so fast that she almost stumbles. But she steadies herself even as her mind continues to run in circles -- because her two best friends have finally gotten together, and they will always deserve her full support, no matter how many takes she has to give it.

But Dahyun and Tzuyu aren’t the only ones who have been blind to each other -- and it had taken a massive smack in the face from the universe for Chaeyoung to realize. The blow leaves Chaeyoung’s head ringing. She barely pays attention as she says her goodbyes and pulls on her shoes and steps into the night with Momo still beside her.

“You did it,” Momo says a few minutes later, squeezing her hand. It’s an echo of a freshly manufactured record, but it breaks Chaeyoung out of her haze all the same.

“What?” Chaeyoung shakes her head quickly. “We did it, unnie. They wouldn’t have gotten together without you, or Jeongyeon-unnie.”

“If you say so.” Momo tugs at her hand. “Are you okay? You looked like you were thinking really hard about something.”

And Chaeyoung wants to tell Momo. Wants to tell Momo that yes, Chaeyoung has been thinking hard about some things -- about how Momo always makes coffee in the morning before she asks for it and listens to anything and everything without expecting to understand. And as they walk down the street, hand in hand, Chaeyoung has been thinking about bad puns on brand name bags and chocolate frosting that ends up stuck to the corners of lips instead of the wax paper that gets thoroughly dunked into the garbage bin.

But Chaeyoung doesn’t tell Momo these things directly. Instead, she says, “I’ve been thinking about this.” And holds up their joined hands.

“Oh,” says Momo, halting her steps. “Sorry, are my palms sweaty? I sort of just grabbed your hand without thinking.” She starts to untangle their fingers.

Chaeyoung doesn’t let her. “Unnie,” she says. “It’s almost midnight.”

“Probably.” Momo looks down at their knuckles. Chaeyoung’s are paler, probably from how tightly she’s holding on. “But you don’t have to worry about resetting this time, right?”

“Maybe not.” Chaeyoung smiles a little, just a curl of her lips. “It depends on what you wanted to tell me back at Tzuyu’s, before they interrupted us by being absolutely adorable.”

“Oh.” Momo ducks her head. But she doesn’t step back, and she squeezes Chaeyoung’s hand again. “It’s alright, it was nothing really. I was just a little drunk.”

“Well, we’re not drunk anymore,” says Chaeyoung. “So it must have become something by now.”

Momo wrinkles her nose as she looks up again. “No, I think you’re still drunk, Chaeng.”

“Okay.” Chaeyoung pulls at their hands, and Momo steps closer. “Then humor me, unnie.”

Momo hesitates. But then she leans in, and the entire world warms.

Chaeyoung doesn’t think while they’re kissing; it’s sort of hard to. Afterwards, though, when they both pull back and breathe in each other’s muted awe, Chaeyoung considers the kisses she’s read about in books or seen in films.

But there aren’t any fireworks. No sparks that fly, no chorus of angels harmonizing countless hallelujahs. Because here, it’s just the two of them and the space in between, tucked into a dark corner of the night and mellowed by the moon above. The streetlamp at the end of the block stands silent, and the soft yellow rectangles of nearby apartment windows are already fading, one by one.

Momo smiles, small and tentative. The moon shines in her eyes and colors her lips -- and Chaeyoung feels their kiss settle into her bones with the confidence of eternity.

“So,” says Momo. “What I was trying to say was, I like you.”

Chaeyoung laughs, and pulls Momo in again. Because it’s past midnight, now, and she needs this to be real for tomorrow, too.

(They don’t end up falling asleep until the hours bleed into early morning, lying on Chaeyoung’s bed talking about old universities and the eggs they forgot to buy and sometimes, the universe.

When Chaeyoung opens her eyes again, she doesn’t reach for her phone to check the date. Momo is lying on her side, facing Chaeyoung, cheeks soft and her snoring softer. Chaeyoung feels herself smiling even as her eyelids begin to droop once more. She breathes out slowly, matching her next inhale with Momo’s. And then shifts closer, curling herself into the other like the corner of the poster stuck to her bedroom ceiling.)