Actions

Work Header

the best thing i ever did (was that i met you)

Work Text:

 

...

There is nothing rational about love. 

Love stutters when it gets nervous, 

Love trips over its own shoelaces, love is clumsy 

And my heart doesn’t wear a helmet.

Cupid is fucking irresponsible,

And I’m tired of him using me for target practice. 

- Rudy Francisco, Scars / To The New Boyfriend

...

(Momo has no idea what she’s gotten herself into.

“Can you help me court Sana?”

It’s only out of sheer stupidity that she agrees.)

Momo blinks at the person standing in front of her. “Eh?” she asks, thinking she’s misheard. It wouldn’t be the first time it happened, actually. One time, she misheard the professor’s instructions and thought that the essay (worth half of their grade) was due the next day so she spent the entire night cramming a semester’s worth of information into thirty pages. The complete misery she felt when she realized her efforts proved futile was only assuaged by Sana buying her dinner for three nights in a row. 

Sana. Right. The person in front of her mentioned Sana. What for, again?

Jung Eunha, a fellow junior whom Momo shares her classes with, smiles patiently. “You’re best friends with Minatozaki Sana, right?” she asks. That wasn’t the question she said earlier but Momo decides not to ask.

“Oh, yeah. Since kindergarten,” she answers, her thoughts now moving on to what she’d like for lunch. 

“Cool.” Eunha pauses. She’s unfairly attractive. Most people in the same vicinity would be hyperventilating from standing so close to Aphrodite reincarnated but Momo is not like most people. To be fair, the prettiest person she’s ever seen is Sana and Eunha doesn’t have the same beauty as she does—doesn’t even come close

“So, what do you think?” Eunha asks. 

“About what?” 

“My question earlier.”

“What was your question earlier?” Now Momo’s getting confused—it’s as if they’re talking in circles. 

Thankfully, Eunha just smiles. She leans against the wall leading to the cafeteria and Momo’s still thinking about what to get for lunch because she just survived a three-hour long lecture about something she wasn’t even interested about. And Jung Eunha is blocking the way for sustenance and jokbal. So it would be really helpful if she could just—

“Can you help me court Sana?” Eunha asks for the second time during their conversation.

(Momo realizes why she intentionally misheard her question the first time—it’s simply because she didn’t want to hear it.) 

“Eh?” she says for the second time during their conversation. 

“You guys aren’t… dating, right?” Now Eunha looks nervous, pretty eyes darting cautiously at Momo’s stunned features. “I asked your friend Chaeyoung and she said that you guys weren’t so I thought I could you know... take a chance.” 

Chaeyoung. Momo needs to have a word with her later. She blinks again and forces a smile. “Oh, we’re not,” she answers with as much sincerity she can muster. For some reason, her chest feels too tight. She grips the book she’s holding in her hands with the same force. 

“Oh, good. I just… you know—I really like Sana.” Eunha’s soft features get even softer, if that’s even possible. “We shared one Philosophy class together and the way she just breezed through the entire course like it was nothing—well, that kind of sealed the deal for me. That was last semester. I’ve been meaning to ask her out but I think she’s way out of league.”

“She’s way out of everybody’s league,” Momo comments, biting the inside of her cheek. Even me. 

“That’s why I came to you for help.” Eunha pouts. “You’re her best friend. You know everything about her—I just need some tips on how to get her to talk to me—” 

“Sana isn’t like those girls out there,” Momo interrupts, shifting her weight and feeling vastly uncomfortable about the whole situation, “You don’t need tips to get her to talk to you. Just wave at her in the hallway and even though she has no idea who you are, she’ll wave back.” 

Sana is one of the nicest people Momo’s ever known. Everybody is immediately drawn towards her radiance. It’s like she’s some kind of goddess—walking on earth and casting beauty everywhere she goes. Momo has no idea why the other girl stuck to her for so long. Perhaps it's their unfailing loyalty to one another. Maybe Sana doesn’t want to find another best friend. Whatever the case, Momo doesn’t feel like setting Sana up to date somebody who probably only wants to get into her pants—

Eunha’s hand on her wrist stalls her thoughts. “I don’t want to just talk to her,” the girl says gently, “I want to know her and I want her to like me.” 

Momo stares at her. “Sana likes everybody.”

“Yeah but I don’t want to be everybody.” Eunha tilts her head to the side, frowning. “As far as I know, she’s never been in a relationship. Maybe nobody’s been good enough for her and I—well, you know—I want to be good enough.”  

It shouldn’t be a bother, really. From their previous conversations, Momo knows Eunha is a nice girl. She’s talented, beautiful and humble in every way. She even has her own fanclub running around the place. Kind of like Sana. If Momo could pick somebody to end up with her best friend, Jung Eunha would be a top contender. But still—something holds her back from agreeing. What is it? 

“Why should I help you?” Momo doesn’t mean for her voice to sound so defensive but it comes out that way anyway. 

Eunha shrugs. "You don't really have a reason to," she says, rummaging around in her bag. She takes out a page from her notebook and scribbles on it. Momo watches her elegant fingers fold the paper in half. "But give me a call if you change your mind," Eunha adds, a tinge of hope highlighting the end of her sentence, as she extends her phone number. 

Momo doesn't know why she takes it. She also doesn't know why she says, "I'll think about it." 

Eunha grins. "Awesome." 

"Momoringggg!" a familiar voice catches their attention. Momo instinctively smiles, not noticing the way Eunha is staring at her with curious eyes. The two women turn their heads and spot Minatozaki Sana walking towards them, blonde hair illuminating the glow of her smile. The rest of the students milling about actually turn to stare with their jaws wide open. Some might've even drooled. In Sana's arms are a stack of Philosophy books. Halfway through her walk, she nearly stumbles on flat surface. Thankfully, Momo is close enough to right her.

"Hi, Satang," she says, bumping shoulders with her best friend and taking the books from her arms.

"Were you waiting for me?" Sana asks, almost breathlessly.

"No." Even though she was. Momo remembers Eunha watching them and clears her throat. "Oh, by the way, this is—"

Sana's smile turns bashful. "Jung Eunha-ssi," she chirps, "I remember." 

For somebody who just asked Momo for help in courting Sana, Eunha manages to keep her cool facade intact. "Hi, Sana-ssi," she greets, bowing, "We had Modern Philosophy last semester. You were the only one who was brave enough to stand up to Mr. Kim's views about utilitarianism." 

Momo looks over at Sana, who smirks. "Some called me stupid," she remarks, leaning against Momo's side. 

"Not me," Eunha says. It could've been taken as a flirtatious comment but it's obvious that she means it.

Sana must think the same way because her expression shifts. Momo stares at her carefully. She's spent her entire life knowing the different nuances and shades of Minatozaki Sana's face—not analyzing but simply knowing. This time, the soft smile on Sana's encompasses the appreciation she feels over Eunha's honesty. 

"You were the only one who got an A on his essay," she says, winking, "That's an achievement."

The faintest blush appears on Eunha's cheeks. It's barely noticeable but Momo sees it anyway.  

"We should get going," she says all of a sudden, wrapping her fingers around Sana's wrist, "I have a class by one." 

Eunha blinks, the moment forgotten. "Right," she says, nodding. She then gives Momo a long look. "I'll see you around, Momo. It was nice to see you again, Sana-ssi." After a brief pause, she turns around and walks away. 

Sana immediately wraps her arms around Momo's waist to side-hug her once Eunha is out of sight. The scent of her flowery perfume fills the dark-haired girl's senses. "Do you want jokbal, Momoring?" her best friend asks cheekily, "We still have time." 

Momo tells herself it's only natural. The ugly feeling in her chest is nothing more than just a best friend feeling territorial and left out. Of course she wants nothing more than for Sana to date people. But, as Sana leads her away from the cafeteria and towards the exit, Momo can't help but feel like the scrap of paper with Eunha's digits written on it is burning through the skin of her palm. 

"How come you haven't dated anybody?" Momo asks a week later, her conversation with Eunha still fresh on her mind. They're in Sana's dorm room with a movie propped open on their laptop. Mina, her roommate and their mutual friend for a few years, left to study at the library for the night. 

Sana, with her blonde hair tied in a high ponytail above her head, gives her a look. "You know why, Momoring," she says. 

(That's the thing about Minatozaki Sana—she always tells the truth, no matter how vague it is.) 

 "I don't," Momo says defensively, stuffing her face with popcorn and ignoring the shaking of her knee. On screen, the guy is professing his love for the girl. It's cheesy and gross. She forces herself to watch it.

"You might think you don't but you do," Sana replies. 

Momo thinks back to Eunha's words. "Is it because nobody's been good enough?" 

Sana pauses, pondering the question. "Something like that," is all that she says. 

Momo knows when to push or pull a conversation to get something out of Sana so she leans forward, wearing her best puppy look and wraps her arms around the blonde's middle. "Can you explain more?" she asks with a slight whine. Sana can't resist her aegyo.

But to her surprise, Sana just stares ahead. "I don't feel like dating anybody, Momo." 

"Whoa, okay." Momo pulls back, slightly hurt. "I didn't think you'd get all uptight about it." 

There's a shift—too quick for Momo to decipher but slow enough to know that there's been a change. Sana looks at her, eyes bright and shiny, as she leans forward to press a quick peck on the dark-haired woman's cheek. "How can I date anybody when you take up all my time and attention?" she murmurs against her skin.

Momo flushes. "I'm not that clingy," she grumbles. 

"Uh, yeah, you are." Sana's gaze is piercing, her smile sweet. "Remember when we were kids and there was a really bad storm that night? You practically smothered me in your sleep with how tight you were holding on." 

Momo does remember. It's not her fault she's got a deeply terrible fear of thunderstorms. Now that they're older, she doesn't ask Sana to sleep with her but sometimes, when thunder claps outside the dorm window and shakes the entire building, the door to her room would creep open and Sana would slip in using her duplicate key. Momo wouldn't say anything, afraid to wake up her roommate Jeongyeon, but the firm hold she had around Sana was enough to let her know how grateful she was. 

“So you’re not dating anybody because of me?” She doesn’t like the sound of this.

“Yes!” Again, Sana is painfully sincere. “I wouldn’t want you to feel lonely.” 

Momo grows quiet, guilt eating her up inside. She thinks about what Eunha said. As far as I know, she’s never been in a relationship

"What's with the questions?" Sana presses, dragging her attention back to her and bumping her shoulder, "Are you planning to ask me out soon, Hirai Momo?" 

Momo's answer is swift. "No, you idiot," she says, "I'm just curious, that's all." 

"Right." Sana winks. "You're such a bad liar, Momoring." 

The dark-haired woman goes stiff. "Forget I asked," she mutters and turns her attention back to the laptop. 

There is silence—heavy and stifling. Then the faintest whisper of her name. Momo doesn't have to look to know that Sana is gazing at her with her own puppy look—her eyes wide and her bottom lip caught between her teeth. It’s the same look she always wears every time Momo doesn’t give her the attention she wants.

"Momoring," Sana whispers again. 

Momo just crosses her arms and stares straight ahead. The same way Sana did earlier. 

A sigh. Then arms around her shoulders, pulling her closer. Lips against her cheek. Momo stiffens again but relaxes soon after. The scent of Sana's perfume—never unchanging in the past few years they've known each other—is still a comfort. She lets out her own sigh and turns to meet Sana's half-lidded stare. Their lips are a few inches apart, noses touching one another. They've never had their share of personal space, too comfortable and wrapped up in each other to even care. Momo wonders if there's something wrong with that. 

"I guess I'm just waiting for The One," Sana finally tells her, smiling—they've known each other their whole lives and Momo knows the smile is forced. For some reason, she doesn't call her out. "You know that feeling you get when you’re really hungry at a restaurant and then you see the waiter coming in with your order?” 

Momo nods quickly. Sana’s smile becomes more genuine. “I’m waiting for that moment,” she adds. 

“You haven’t felt that way about anyone before?” the dark-haired girl asks in a quiet voice. 

Sana lets out a soft sigh, running her fingers down the nape of Momo’s neck and making the other girl shiver. Her eyes are gentle. “I have,” she admits. She’s never known how to lie. This fact relaxes all Momo’s worries.

“Oh.” Momo’s mind shatters. “Why didn’t you tell me about them?” A flash of hurt pierces through her soul. Sana not telling her about something this important stings. She imagines this is how a gunshot must feel.  

“Because—” Sana shrugs and Momo has never seen her look so dim before “—I knew that they were never going to feel the same way about me so I didn’t say anything.”

Momo frowns, calculating. “When was this?” she asks, “I don’t remember you acting differently.” 

“Hmmm.” Sana pretends to think about it, lips curling up at the edges. “A long time ago.” Not a lie, not the whole truth either.

“Before we met?” Which is stupid—they’ve known each other their whole lives. There is nothing that has happened in Sana’s life without Momo’s knowledge about it. The idea that Sana could’ve kept something this big from her is alarming but Sana looks too sad to even warrant an interrogation right now. Maybe another time, then. Momo can’t shake off the hurt in her bones, though.

Sana grins. “You don’t have to worry about it anymore,” she says in a singsong voice. Just like that—she’s back to her cheery self all over again. Momo wonders how easily she can switch up her persona.  

“I’m your best friend,” she deadpans, “I should be worried, especially since you didn’t tell me about it.” 

“Aww.” Sana blows her a kiss, flirtatious as always. “You don’t have to be so jealous about it, Momoring. You know that my heart has always belonged to you and you alone.” 

Momo rolls her eyes, even though the words make her flush. “You know,” she grumbles, turning back to the movie and flicking a popcorn kernel at Sana, “you shouldn’t flirt with people so easily.”

Sana hums. “Why not?” 

“Because you have a tendency to make everybody fall for you.” 

Momo’s so focused on getting her heart to slow down after Sana’s flirty comment she doesn’t realize that her best friend is looking at her strangely. “Not everybody,” Sana whispers, letting out a sigh. There’s been a slip to her mask, a crack in her facade. When Momo turns to look at her, the blonde is already standing up and walking away to the bathroom. Not even giving her best friend the chance to ask what she did wrong.

She wonders who Sana’s first love was and what they did to affect her this badly years later.

She wonders why Sana didn’t tell her.

(The hurt deepens.)

(“Who was it?” Momo asks after they slip into bed with Sana breathing steadily next to her. 

There’s a poignant pause. It’s dark. They can’t see each other’s faces. 

“It doesn’t matter,” Sana answers quietly, her fingers tracing patterns on Momo’s stomach.

“Satang.” 

“Momoring.” A sigh. Then Sana pulls away and curls into a ball, facing away from her best friend. The action stings and Momo pretends not to feel her heart squeeze on itself. “I don’t want to talk about it. It’ll only hurt.”

“Oh.” Momo turns away too, facing the wall. “I’m sorry.” 

Silence. If Momo closes her eyes and listens closely enough, she can hear the familiar beat of her brain whispering Sana Sana Sana into the night. It’s all that she’s ever known since they were kids.)

...

“Minari?”

Mina lets out a non-committal hum, not looking up from her phone. Momo steps inside Sana’s dorm room—the three of them are supposed to have dinner together but she guesses that Sana got caught up with something. It’s the day after they had that weird conversation while watching the movie. She still can’t get the memory of Sana’s crestfallen expression out of her head—the sad look in her eyes when she reminisced on a first love Momo had no idea about. She feels like a bad friend.

“Has Sana ever fallen in love with anybody?” she asks the younger girl, taking a seat next to her on the bed.

(Unlike Sana, Momo doesn’t have the shifts of Mina’s facial expressions memorized—she doesn’t notice the way the girl’s jaw tightens, just a tiny bit.)

“I don’t think so,” Mina answers casually, still not looking up from her game.

Momo sighs. “It’s just…I found out yesterday that she actually liked somebody before but didn’t do anything about it. I mean—it’s Sana. She could bat her eyelashes and the Dean would be on his knees.”

“Don’t give her any ideas,” Mina warns. Then she shrugs. “Besides, maybe that person was already taken?”

Momo scoffs. “Who wouldn’t want to date Minatozaki Sana?” she questions out loud, thinking of Eunha and the piece of paper with her phone number written on it. Give me a call if you change your mind.

Mina finally looks up, smiling. “I can name a few people,” she says, staring at her.

Before Momo can retaliate, the door swings open to reveal Sana. She looks beautiful, as always. Momo doesn’t understand how her heart always soars at the sight of her—maybe it’s a best friend thing. She doesn’t care. All her worries about being a bad best friend are almost squashed into non-existence when Sana sweeps her gaze towards her and smiles that gorgeous smile. The kind of smile that could probably resurrect a dead person. It’s almost like last night’s conversation never happened.

“Sorry for making you guys wait,” Sana says, extending both of her hands to her two friends; Mina sighs and pockets her phone while Momo jumps up and intertwines her fingers with her best friend’s.

“There’s this new place around the corner that sells Samgyeopsal,” Momo excitedly says, her previous worries pushed to the side when her stomach is grumbling.

Sana grins. It’s blinding. “Then let’s try it.”

“You’d make a great girlfriend, Satang,” Momo comments lightly as she drags her two friends out of the dorm, skipping towards their destination.

(She misses the way Sana’s face falls and the gentle squeeze Mina presses on the blonde’s shoulder.)

On the other hand, Momo thinks about how Sana is one of her dearest friends. She wants her to forget about the pain of her first love. It must’ve been so tragic for her not to tell Momo about it in the first place.  Instead of forcing her to open old wounds, she should be doing something to heal them.

How can I date anybody when you take up all my time and attention?

(I wouldn’t want you to feel lonely.)

Momo won’t be selfish anymore. They’ve spent their whole lives together—from kindergarten up until college. Not once has Sana dated anybody, even though she knows that there’s a line of people waiting for the opportunity. She didn’t want Momo to feel left out because of it, doesn’t want Momo to think she’s abandoning her for somebody else. While it does seem awfully stupid, Momo can’t help but feel touched by such a gesture. It’s just so Sana. However, she can let Sana date other people. Perhaps her frosty reception towards Jung Eunha’s deal was too harsh. She’s not too worried—she knows she’ll make up for it soon. Sana is her best friend. She wants her to be happy.

(Even if it’s not with her.)

(The thought kind of stings.)

“I didn’t think you’d call,” Eunha admits when they meet up for coffee on a Saturday. Both of their morning classes have ended. Momo’s leg is shaking underneath the table. A nervous habit.

“Me too,” she says, shrugging.

Eunha wraps her long, elegant fingers around her coffee cup. “What made you change your mind?”

Momo thinks about the sad look on Sana’s face when she brought up dating. I knew that they were never going to feel the same way about me so I didn’t say anything, she had said. A fierce urge to protect her best friend from all the harms of heartache overwhelms Momo suddenly. It’s like she’s being engulfed by saltwater, gasping for air. She wishes she knew who that person was, what made them so different, what they did to claim a place in Sana’s heart and break it at the same time.

“I want Sana to be happy,” Momo answers. She’s never uttered such truer words before, “and you seem to really like her. I figured that you’re a better choice than half of the idiots in this school.”

Eunha’s eyes twinkle as she brings the cup to her lips. “You’re a good friend.”

“Yeah, I know. So if you’re going to break her heart, then I will personally make sure your life is a living hell, Jung Eunha.” Momo glares at her, mouth set in a straight line. The look on her face is enough to make anybody cower.

But the other girl’s smile just widens. “I knew the risk of asking for your help,” she states, “and I’m willing to take it. I want Sana-ssi to fall for me—the same way I have for her.”

(All of a sudden—Momo’s stomach drops.)

(It’s the same kind of feeling she gets when the waiter comes out of the kitchen with food but misses her table.)

(She ignores it—she won’t be selfish.)

“Good,” Momo says, clearing her throat, “because I don’t take it nicely when people hurt my best friend.”

“I know.” Eunha’s grin has a hint of pride in it. “I caught news of how you punched some guy in the face at a party because he wouldn’t leave Sana alone.”

Momo remembers, frowning at the memory. “He deserved it.”

“He did.”

The frown blossoms into a smile and Momo’s heart unclenches. “Okay,” she says, taking a sip of her frappe, “I think you and I are going to get along well, Eunha-ssi.”

...

“Sana is a romantic at heart,” Momo tells Eunha one day after their shared morning class together. They’re walking side by side towards the cafeteria with Eunha dutifully taking notes on her cellphone. “She believes in all the crap romance comedies are always pushing, you know? Chemistry. Timing. So if you flirt with her and she flirts right back, it means she likes you. She's the type to pursue someone if she thinks there's a connection. You know the idea where you have this soulmate just waiting for you to waltz in your heart? Yeah, she believes that. She still cries when she watches Love Letter, by the way. It’s one of her favorite movies—she could watch it over and over again.” 

Eunha giggles. “It’s kind of ironic,” she comments, “Sana-ssi is a Philosophy major. I would’ve expected her to share the same view on love as the rest of them do.”

Momo frowns. “How do they view love?”

“Crap, basically.” Eunha shrugs, pocketing her phone. “It’s meaning has been abused and tarnished by many people for so long now. Humans spend so much time thinking that love is the answer when it’s really not.” 

Momo knows Sana would disagree. “She’s always been an optimistic person,” she says slowly, coming to a stop by the same wall where Eunha cornered her a week before, “Even though the world is full of crap, she always finds the beauty in it. That’s what I love about her.”

Eunha smiles, her eyes soft. “Me too.” There’s a pause; Momo thinks about Sana’s definition of The One: You know that feeling you get when you’re really hungry at a restaurant and then you see the waiter coming in with your order? That’s what love is for Minatozaki Sana—a person she’s been anticipating for so long, the quiet love creeping in at the most unexpected of times, somebody who is worth the wait. Momo wonders if Sana felt that way about her first love. Again, there are too many questions to ask her best friend which she’ll have to ask later.

“What about you, Momo-ssi? Do you believe in soulmates?” Eunha suddenly asks, looking at her with an unreadable expression. 

Momo blinks. “Me?” she asks. The closest thing she can call a soulmate is jokbal. 

“Yeah.” Eunha leans against the wall, her arms crossed. “Soulmates. Do you think there’s somebody out there waiting on you? The other half to your soul? The one who utterly compliments and completes you at the same time?” 

Pretending to think about it, Momo already knows the answer to that question. 

No.

Of course she doesn’t believe in soulmates. That’s something people tell themselves whenever they get hurt by the ones closest to them. It’s a fantasy to believe in when things don’t work out. It’s not really a concept she can agree with. Why would you spend your whole life thinking there’s somebody out there for you when you can just choose to love the ones who are already there? Besides, having a soulmate seems like a lot of effort to deal with. If Momo ever started dating, she’d find somebody who makes her laugh and knows how to handle her bullshit. No soulmate required. Just the freedom to choose whoever she wants. 

People have always said she was slow about a lot of things. But not when it comes to matters of the heart. 

“I don’t really see the point of it,” Momo tells Eunha bleakly, “I mean—I’ve never wanted to find my soulmate before.” 

“Maybe that’s because you’ve already found—” 

Momoringggg!” 

Sana. Momo perks up and looks over Eunha’s shoulder. Sure enough, Sana is emerging from the corner with a triumphant grin on her face. People move to the side to make way for her—like they’re unworthy to follow in her wake. It’s almost hilarious, really—how the entire world actually stops and stares at Minatozaki Sana as she breezes through the hallways of their university. The sight of her is always enough to leave Momo breathless but today is different. This time, she feels like all the air has been knocked out of her lungs, if that’s even possible.

Sana is wearing her best corporate look: a peach-colored business shirt tucked in long brown slacks with the suit jacket thrown over her right arm. Her blonde hair is tied in a ponytail behind her head, mascara making the hazel in her eyes pop like a sparkling chandelier, pink lips curled into a devious smile. Momo doesn’t understand why it feels like there’s something stuck in her throat when Sana barrels past the dozens of students gaping at her only to stumble to a stop right in front of her and Eunha.

“I just defended my paper!” Sana shrieks happily, flinging her arms around Momo’s neck, “God, I spent three days preparing for what I was going to say!”

Momo feels warm, glancing discreetly at Eunha who only smiles. “Congratulations, Satang," she says, returning the hug.

“I’m feeling extra happy today,” Sana says, leaning back with her arms still locked around her best friend, “Do you mind if we get some bubble tea later?”

“Of course not.”

“Good.” Sana still doesn’t let go. It’s only until Eunha clears her throat that she realizes they’re not alone. She pulls away quickly, her cheeks flushed red. Momo coughs.

“Sorry,” she says, rubbing the back of her neck, “I forgot to mention that Eunhas’s here.”

“Good morning, Sana-ssi,” Eunha chirps happily, “I’m glad to hear that you aced your defense. Of course, that’s expected from someone like you.” She winks as she says the last line.  

Momo is aware that Eunha is flirting. For some reason, this knowledge doesn’t help in easing the sudden discomfort she feels. It’s one thing to tell Jung Eunha about tips and info to get Sana to like her—it’s another to witness it with her own two eyes. But she chastises herself for it. After all, she needs to push Sana out there, get her to date people, make her stop revolving her life around Momo. She told herself to stop being so selfish. Right? 

Sana returns the wink. “You're too nice, Eunha-ssi.”

“Just stating a fact.” Eunha glances at Momo smugly, who raises an eyebrow. “Anyway, I should get going. It was nice talking to you girls. I’ll see you tomorrow, Momo. Same time and place?” 

She’s referring to the coffee shop they went to last Saturday. Momo nods, giving her a tight smile. She doesn’t notice the way Sana’s eyes narrow suspiciously at their interaction. 

“Are you guys going out or something?” the blonde asks once Eunha is out of earshot. She turns to Momo, tilting her to the side and smiling wide. There’s something off about it, though. The dark-haired woman can’t quite put her finger on it but she feels like she’s being analyzed. 

“Me and Eunha? No way.” 

“You’ve been spending time with her,” Sana points out, raising a perfectly crafted eyebrow. Ah, Momo thinks to herself, there it is. The reason why the smile felt so off—it was the beginning of a pout. 

“I share a few classes with her,” Momo deflects. Sana doesn’t need to know what she’s doing behind her back. Besides, it’s all going to work out in the end. She reaches out, intertwines her fingers with Sana’s and pulls her to the direction of the cafeteria. “Come on, I’m hungry.”

Sana doesn’t budge, pout still in place. Momo’s eyebrows twist in confusion.

“What is it?” 

“Momoring.” 

“Yes, Satang?”

Sana tugs her close. Hard. It’s a known fact that even though Minatozaki Sana might look like a star straight out of a movie, she’s always been the clumsier of the two. But this time, it’s Momo who stumbles, it’s Momo who has to reach out and put her hand on the wall, it’s Momo who finds herself staring straight into Sana’s glinting eyes.  They’re so close they’re practically sharing the same oxygen. Sana doesn’t even look like she cares about the fact that they’re in the middle of the hallway with college students milling about. In fact, she looks entirely pleased with herself. The blonde wraps her arms around Momo’s neck again, grinning broadly. Heat flushes through the dark-haired woman’s entire body and she suddenly can’t breathe. 

“Momoring,” Sana says again, her voice low and husky. She tilts her head again, showing off the smooth expanse of her neck.

“Eh…” is what comes out of Momo’s mouth, her mind drawing blanks.

“Have you replaced me with Eunha-ssi?”

Momo pauses, the roaring in her ears coming to a stop. She stares at Sana’s features—at her wide, unblinking hazel gaze, the pointed shape of her nose, the curve of her heart-shaped lips. She resumes pouting but her eyes are still sparkling with mischief. But behind the playful emotions is a hint of something. To anybody else looking at the blonde, they could’ve easily just passed off the statement as a joke, a friend pretending to be jealous, somebody poking fun at a hilarious set-up. But not Momo. She’s spent her entire life knowing Sana—she knows that behind that facade of hers is the unrelenting fear that Momo might’ve found another, better friend. She knows that behind that flirtatious exterior is a hint of fear and anxiety. While Sana exudes confidence and playfulness to the rest of the world, Momo knows there are still some insecurities tucked away from everybody else to see.

So she grins, planting a soft kiss on top of Sana’s cute nose, and pulls back to say, “Never, Satang.” 

Sana doesn’t look like she believes her but she drops her arms anyway. The rest of the world continues on with its life. Momo lets out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding in. 

“Lunch?” Sana asks, back to her bubbly personality.

“You decide where to go,” Momo says in return, her fingers naturally wrapping around Sana’s, “It’s my treat.” 

Sana’s grin brightens. It’s like looking at the sun—Momo has to look away.

(Do you believe in soulmates?

Momo doesn’t—why would she?) 

“She likes sunflowers,” Momo states, rubbing her chin thoughtfully, "so you should get them for her on your first date." 

Eunha snorts, doting it down on her phone once more. She now has a list of what Sana's likes and dislikes are, her favorite movies, her pet peeves, what songs she listens to when she’s sad. It’s practically a Dummies 101: How To Get Minatozaki Sana To Like You—Jung Eunha is prepared. "I haven't even asked her out yet," she says, "or even talked to her without you being there." 

Momo thinks about their previous encounters with Sana. "I think she likes you," she says slowly. 

"You said she likes everyone." 

"Yeah," Momo agrees, "but I think she likes you differently." 

Eunha grins. "You think so?" 

"Yeah." The words are somehow hard to get out. Momo ignores the sinking feeling in her stomach. 

They’re sitting in the same coffee shop they met up at last Saturday. Eunha has ordered a cup of black coffee with a few pastries on the side. Meanwhile, Momo's sipping her boba tea with nonchalance, looking around every once in a while. She can spot a few people from Jung Eunha's fanclub hiding around the corner of the shop, no doubt wondering what on earth their idol is doing with Hirai Momo of all people. 

Oh, I'm just giving her tips on how to court my best friend.

How hilarious. 

"How should I approach her?" Eunha asks, redirecting Momo's attention. 

"The same way you normally would," Momo answers, taking a cupcake from Eunha's plate. The other girl barely blinks, somehow used to Hirai Momo's strong bond with food.

"I've never really talked to her before."

"But she still remembers you after one class. That's a good sign."

The smile on Eunha's face brightens. She really is beautiful. From their previous encounters, Momo can tell just how much of a good person she is. She's smart, humble and kind to others all around her. The way Eunha speaks about Sana—with awe, respect and admiration—is also an obvious indication of how much she likes her. If it had been anyone else, Momo wouldn't have agreed to help. But in this case, Jung Eunha is a definite exception.

She's perfect for Minatozaki Sana. 

"When are you going to ask her out?" Momo asks. 

"I'm waiting for the perfect opportunity. We don't really cross paths so I'm going to have to find a way." 

Momo nods, agreeing. A brief silence overtakes them. 

"Can I ask you a question?" Eunha says suddenly..

"Sure." Momo checks her phone. There's an Instagram notification from Mina, featuring Sana's pretty face taking up half of the photo with the younger girl looking on exasperatedly. "By the way, she likes to use a lot of emojis in her text messages so don't be put off about it. A lot of people usually are," Momo adds as an afterthought.

Eunha hums, taking notes. The silence settles over them. Momo reaches for another cupcake.

"How come you haven't dated anybody?" the other girl asks and there's something about her tone that Momo can't identify.

Momo tilts her head to the side, thinking. "I don’t want to," she answers bluntly after a few seconds, taking a large bite of her cupcake. 

"Has nobody been good enough?" 

The memory of Sana's pondering expression crosses her mind when asked the same question. Something like that.

She repeats the same thing. Eunha's face shifts. It's such a miniscule movement but for some reason, Momo sees it anyway. "Why do you ask?" she questions curiously. 

"No reason," Eunha answers, stirring her coffee with a serious expression. Momo picks off a piece from her cupcake and throws it at her. The other girl yelps. 

"Tell me." 

"It's not a big deal, Momo-ssi." 

"But you asked it anyway." Momo kicks her under the table. “Come on.” 

Eunha frowns. “It’s a valid question,” she answers defensively, “You’re gorgeous, talented and best friends with Minatozaki Sana, who also has a bunch of fanboys and fangirls running around willing to do her bidding. People are bound to notice you.” 

Momo laughs. “I really doubt that.”

“Do you have your eye on somebody?”

Not for the first time ever, Momo’s mind draws blanks. She hasn’t been interested in dating anybody. Relationships are tough to manage, after all. She prefers watching other people be complete idiots for one another—like her roommate Jeongyeon with her girlfriend Nayeon. The thought of willingly giving your all for a person is a nice concept to think about but at the same moment, she honestly can’t imagine doing it. Maybe she’s the same as Sana—looking for The One. Waiting for the right moment. Sitting in the middle of the restaurant with your eyes trained on the kitchen doors, where your order will come out. The same moment Sana is waiting for.

“Nope,” she answers, smiling brightly. 

(Sana Sana Sana.)

For some reason, Eunha looks relieved. “Noted, I guess," she says and finishes the last of her cupcake. 

(Sana doesn’t leave Momo’s mind for the next two hours.) 

...

“Whatever you’re doing with Eunha-ssi,” are the first words that pop out of Mina’s mouth when she enters Momo’s dorm room the next day, “just be careful about it.”

Momo shrieks and nearly drops the towel wrapped around her body. “Would it kill you to knock!” 

“Would it kill you to actually lock the door?” Mina refutes, sitting down on top of Momo’s duvet and fixing the older woman with a strange stare. 

Momo hurries to change into a fresh set of clothes, dreading the conversation she and Mina are going to have. If Sana said something to her about Eunha and Momo's recent interactions, then she must suspect something. She might've only known Mina for a few years but she knows that the younger girl has a way of waiting out conversations to get people to fess up.

After she's done drying her hair, she drops down on the Jeongyeon's bed, thankful that her roommate has some studying to do for the night, and looks at Mina expectantly. 

"What brings you here, Mina-chan?" Momo asks, easily slipping into Japanese. When it's just the three of them, their mother tongue naturally pushes through. It's better that way. There are some words in Korean that aren't capable of expressing her feelings completely.

Mina looks at her pointedly. “You know why I’m here.”

“Something about Eunha, right?” Momo’s knee starts shaking. “Did Sana say something?”

“No, but she didn’t have to.” 

“What do you mean?”

Mina just sighs and purses her lips. “You don’t have to play matchmaker,” she says gently and Momo feels like she’s been shot through the heart, “Just because Sana didn’t tell you about that one person she liked a long time ago doesn’t mean you have to go ahead and push her with somebody else to make up for not knowing about it.” 

“I’m not—”

“Then what are you doing with Eunha-ssi?” Normally, Mina is the type of person who looks away when somebody stares into her eyes. But when she does the staring, her gaze is unflinching. Everytime she does this, Momo knows she’s fucked. Mina rarely gets all confrontational about something. Unless it’s important.

Instead of denying it, Momo lets out a deep breath. “How did you even know about Eunha?”

“I’ve got eyes and ears everywhere.” 

Momo raises an eyebrow dubiously. 

“Okay, fine. Chaeyoung told me,” Mina admits, shrugging, “Word travels fast. Eunha's fanclub has dubbed you as Satan reincarnate. That doesn’t matter, though. I just want you to be careful about this.” 

“I’m not playing matchmaker,” Momo points out defensively, running her fingers through her damp hair. The image of Sana’s longing gaze fills her thoughts. I guess I’m just waiting for The One, she said. “Besides, what’s so wrong about wanting my best friend to date people? To have a long lasting relationship? Some people just need a slight push, okay?” 

Mina frowns. “It’s better for things to happen naturally.” 

“If I wait for things to happen naturally then Sana won’t be happy,” Momo grumbles, crossing her arms and dropping back-first onto Jeongyeon’s bed. This has been the one thought to reverberate in her head over and over again. Sana hasn’t dated other people because Momo takes up all her time and attention. It’s even gotten to the point that she didn’t tell her own best friend about her first love. 

Sana has always been like this. Especially when they were kids. She wouldn’t say anything to unnecessarily worry Momo. Unless it was a joke, of course. Like the time she fake-bawled her heart out just to get Momo’s attention away from the pet fish they had in the classroom. Or the time she pretended she got stung by a bee to get Momo to kiss the tiny scratch away. And all the other times she purposely tripped on her own shoelaces so that Momo would carry her all the way back home. As children, Sana’s skin had a multitude of scars and bruises only Momo knew every story to. She always said that it was worth it to get Momo’s attention. She loved having Momo’s eyes on her and Momo didn’t think it was selfish.

But when it comes to the important things—Sana clams up. 

When their family dog died, Sana only mentioned it in passing. When Sana didn’t get into the university she originally wanted, she laughed it off. When Momo accidentally fractured her arm because she was trying to do a stupid dare, Sana hid her puffy eyes and pretended like she hadn’t spent the past few days bursting into tears. Momo only found out after Mrs. Minatozaki told her. 

(Sana is hard to read most of the time. Only Momo knows how to.)

Sana wants everybody to be happy but sometimes it is at the expense of her own. She provides her share of sunlight to the ones seeking it and hides the dark clouds shadowing her suppressed anxieties and fears. She thinks of Momo’s wellbeing first and foremost and never gives an indication of feeling obligated nor burdened by it. 

Sana is the sun. 

Momo is stuck on her orbit. 

(Perhaps she always has been.)

“A relationship isn’t going to magically make someone happy,” Mina says wearily, coming into Momo’s view and poking her cheek lightly. “Sana doesn’t need a girlfriend.”

“You don’t understand, Minari,” Momo mumbles. 

“Then make me.”

“Sana is…” Momo can’t come up with the words to summarize who Minatozaki Sana is for her. “She’s everything to me,” she finally says, meeting Mina’s hard gaze, “She has done everything for me. I want to do the same for her. I know that I’m freaking about the thought that she hasn’t told me anything about her first love but I’m past that now. I’m just not setting her up with a random idiot—Jung Eunha really likes her.” 

Mina’s frown returns. “Has it occurred to you that maybe Sana isn’t really the dating type?”

Please.” Momo waves her away. “She is. She just hasn’t found the right person yet.” 

“And you think Jung Eunha is the one for her?” 

That makes Momo pause. “I don’t know,” she admits and Mina lets out an exasperated sigh. Momo sits up quickly and nearly hits her friend on the forehead who, thankfully, ducks out of the way. “But that’s why you date, right? To get to know somebody and figure out if you want to be with them or not?” 

There’s something Mina isn’t telling her, Momo is sure of it. However, compared to Sana who can easily be swayed with Momo’s best puppy-eyed look and pouty lips, Mina’s not the type of person to easily give in to aegyo. She can probably keep a secret until her dying breath. Perhaps even after then. Either way, the look on Mina’s face is enough to let Momo know that the younger girl doesn’t like what she’s doing. 

Momo steels her resolve. “I’m not going to force Sana into anything she doesn’t want to do,” she states.

“I know.”

They stare at each other for a couple more seconds. 

“Are we done here?” Momo finally asks, a rough edge to her tone.

Mina bites her lower lip. “You might not realize this,” she says carefully, apparently still not finished with their conversation; Momo resists the urge to roll her eyes, “but you’re going to hurt Sana if you keep this up.”

“Just for helping somebody talk to her?” 

“Have you ever stopped to think that maybe Sana isn’t over her first love yet?” Mina shoots back tersely, crossing her arms, “and that’s the reason why she’s not dating other people?”

Momo blinks. “I—” she fumbles with her words and shakes her head. “I didn’t think about that.”

“Of course not.” Mina doesn’t say the words with contempt but with resignation. She gestures to the door and nods at Momo, completely aware that if she pushes this conversation, it’s only going to make things worse. “I’ll head out. Just… Talk to her, okay?” 

Momo nods after a short pause. “Okay.” 

The younger girl smiles. “Thank you, Momoring.”

Before Mina slips past the door, Momo steps forward and calls out, “Mitang?” 

“What?”

Momo’s never been the one to hesitate when it comes to matters of the heart. Still, she finds herself shifting uneasily, her eyes darting nervously from Mina’s curious gaze and down to the floor. “You know who Sana’s first love is, don’t you?” She hates this—she’s never had to ask anybody else details about Sana. Because she believed herself to be the complete expert of the girl.

Now? She’s not so sure.

Silence. It’s all that Momo needs to know. The hurt returns again, fresh as ever. She and Sana tell each other everything—why didn’t her best friend trust her with this one? 

“Did she tell you?” Momo asks, looking up and locking eyes with Mina. 

“She didn’t have to,” is what the other girl answers, her expression unreadable. 

“You keep saying that.”

“I know Sana-chan.” 

“Are you saying I don’t?” 

Mina shakes her head quickly. “Of course not,” she answers firmly, “What I’m saying is that you just need to look at things from a fresh perspective.” 

Confused, Momo stares at her. “Minari…”

Mina grips the doorknob tightly in her hand. “You guys are my best friends,” she says, a certain rawness to her voice; it shakes Momo, “and I don’t want to see you guys get hurt.” 

“Maybe you should just tell me then—what exactly I’m doing wrong.” She lets out a frustrated sigh. "Like help me understand.

“I can’t,” Mina says, looking away, “It’s not my secret to tell.”

Growing even more confused, Momo can only watch as Mina walks away, closing the door shut. The silence she leaves behind is deafening. But the only thing that's on Momo's mind is the familiar roar of Sana Sana Sana. She sinks down on her bed, covers her face with her hands and listens. 

Momo waits three days before cornering Sana in her dorm room. It’s a Wednesday so they’ve both got essays to write, books to study and a choreography to memorize but when Momo asks if she can come over, she hears the smile in Sana’s voice when the blonde agrees.

Sana is sitting alone in her room when Momo walks in. 

“Hi,” she greets. 

The blonde smiles and opens her arms. Barely a second passes before Momo is stepping into her embrace. 

(This feels like home.)

“Missed you,” Momo whispers against her best friend’s shoulder.

“We saw each other yesterday,” Sana says playfully. 

It’s only been a day but ever since her conversation with Mina, Momo feels like the distance between her and Sana has never been more profound. She thought she knew everything about her best friend—there’s something damning about realizing how wrong you really can be. 

“I know.” Momo sighs and pulls away. “What are you doing?” 

“Just an essay.” 

“Can I stay here?” 

Sana’s smile widens. “You’re lucky Mina’s hanging out with Chaeyoung tonight.”

Momo wants to ask. She wants to ask why Sana didn’t tell her about her first love. She wants to ask what happened between them. She wants to ask why she didn’t date other people, despite having so many choices. The words are at the tip of her tongue already, so she sits down and lets the silence pour over. She’s gathering her courage. She doesn’t know why she feels like she won’t like what the answer will be. 

Sana is her best friend. She remembers the hurt she felt when she realized that this one little secret slipped past her notice. What kind of friend was she to not realize the pain Sana’s been masking all along? 

(A bad one, a voice in her head answers.)

“Satang,” she says the same time Sana whispers, “Momoring?” 

The two of them pause, chuckling. 

“You go first,” Momo says. 

“Okay.” Sana bites her lower lip, apprehension dawning on her features. “It’s about Eunha-ssi.”

Momo’s heart skips. Oh no, she thinks to herself, did Mina tell her? No, Mina would never—

“She asked me out,” Sana continues and for the first time since kindergarten, Momo doesn’t know what the look on her best friend’s face means. The thought terrifies her. 

“Oh.” It feels like there’s something stuck in the back of her throat. “What did you say?” 

“I said yes.” Sana looks at her carefully, as if gauging her reaction and it feels like an eternity passes before Momo lets out a breath she doesn’t realize she’s been holding in.

“That’s great,” the dark-haired woman says, forcing a smile even though it is anything but; “I’m happy for you.”

Momo fakes a cough and squeezes her eyes shut for a few seconds, once again completely missing the look of hurt and disappointment Sana quickly masks into a smile when she looks up again. 

“When did she ask?” Momo questions, a little bit curious herself. The last time she and Eunha talked, the other girl wasn’t too intent on making a move soon.  

Sana shrugs, turning her attention back to her essay. “Earlier today,” she answers, “I was meaning to tell you tonight but then you came right over so everything works out.” 

Right, Momo thinks to herself blandly, everything works out.          

“Do you like her?” she asks. 

Sana raises an eyebrow. After a pause, she smiles. “Yeah, I do. I mean—I wouldn’t say yes to somebody I don’t like.” 

Momo frowns. Then what about all the other people who asked you out? She doesn’t say this out loud though, too preoccupied with the way her heart suddenly feels like it’s caved in. She can hear the blood thundering in her eardrums. The familiar roar of Sana Sana Sana doesn’t seem to quiet down, even though the person in question is sitting down in front of her.

“What about you?” the blonde suddenly asks, looking up with a slight furrow between her eyebrows, “You wanted to say something, right?”

I want to know why you kept your first love from me, Momo wants to say.

I want to know why you couldn’t trust me with that secret, Momo wants to say.

I want to know why it hurts so bad that you didn’t, Momo wants to say.

“There’s this new place that offers really good black bean noodle soup,” she says instead, forcing herself to cheer up at the mention of food; Sana tilts her head, as if knowing it’s a lie but wrongfully choosing not to pursue it. “Chaengie said it was really good. Do you want to go tomorrow?”

Sana drums her pen against the table, grinning. “Do you really have to ask?”

“You’re the best, Satang!” Momo exclaims in a singsong voice but doesn’t rise from where she’s seated on Sana’s bed. They both know Momo would’ve stood up to hug her. Even she can hear how fake her tone sounds. She just hopes Sana doesn’t push it.

But this is Sana.

And Sana knows how to read Momo well too.

“Is there something wrong?” the blonde asks, worry tinging her tone.

“No,” Momo says quickly, lying back down on the bed, “I’m just tired, that’s all.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, Sana.” She closes her eyes, tries to stop thinking about the confusing mess in her heart, when the lights suddenly shut off and a moment later, she feels Sana slip in next to her on the bed, even though there’s another one just a few feet away. Her breath catches in her throat and her heart goes into overdrive. Sana is warm, as she always is, and she smells of flowers, like she always does. Momo can’t remember a time where her life wasn’t so closely intertwined with her best friend’s. She knows she would not have it any other way.

Sana is lying on her stomach, presumably staring down at her.

“Don’t you have an essay to finish?” Momo asks, her voice neutral.

“It can wait.” A pause and then Sana reaches out to wrap her fingers around the hand Momo has on her belly. “I’m tired, too.”

“You’re always like that,” Momo says without thinking.

Even with her eyes closed, she can somehow sense the quizzical smile Sana shoots her. “What do you mean?”

“Even when we were still kids,” Momo says, her thoughts drifting, “you always felt the same thing. When I fractured my arm, you cried. When I got a bad grade on a project I worked really hard on, you got mad. When they ran out of jokbal at our favorite restaurant, you looked sad.”

Sana lets out a soft laugh, leaning close until the sides of their heads are touching. “You’re my best friend,” she says, her voice gentle and sweet and everything Momo needs right now, “What you say, I say. What you do, I do. What you feel…” There’s a pause, filled with poignancy and heartache, and Momo opens her eyes to see Sana watching her.

It’s like all the air has been sucked out of her lungs.

“What you feel,” Sana says again, reaching out and brushing the bangs away from Momo’s eyes, “I feel too.”

(Momo wonders if Sana can feel this—the swirl of words stuck in the back of the throat, the sudden sting of heat behind her eyes, the growing agony in her chest—all rising at the thought that Sana is going to love someone else as much as she loves Momo.)

“I love you,” Momo has to say it—she doesn’t know why. Sana knows. She has always known.

There’s something different about the look Sana gives her. It’s full of fondness and affection but behind the bright hazel of her eyes, there’s a smidge of pain, wiped away carelessly but leaving fingerprints in its wake. Momo doesn’t know why she didn’t see it before.

“I love you too, Momoring,” Sana says in return, leaning forward and pressing a fleeting kiss on her cheek, right on the corner of her mouth. When she leans back, the pain is gone. Momo wonders if she imagined it. “Let’s sleep,” the blonde says, curling on her side and wrapping an arm around her best friend’s waist, pulling her close.

It’s all natural. Muscle memory. An inherent need. The way Sana perches her chin on Momo’s shoulder, the way Momo leans down and presses her cheek against Sana’s head, the way their breathing joins and slowly evens out. Lots of people have joked that they’re like one person stuck in two bodies—that when God was creating them, He accidentally split a soul into two individuals always searching for one another whenever they’re apart, that in the divine timeline of heaven and earth, Hirai Momo can never exist without Minatozaki Sana and vice versa, that when Momo breathed air for the first time since she came into existence, Sana wasn’t far behind, being born only a month later and quickly finding Momo a few years down the road. 

Jung Eunha’s question suddenly comes to mind.

Do you believe in soulmates?

(Momo doesn’t— 

But if she does, then she knows Sana is hers.)

(It happens slowly but surely— 

Momo loses her best friend.)

Momo is there when Eunha comes to pick up Sana for their first date, a bouquet of sunflowers tucked behind her back with a large smile on her face. Momo is there when Eunha asks Sana to watch Love Letter in her room that night because her roommate is out. Momo is there when Sana laughs at the random influx of emojis Eunha sends her every single day. 

Momo is there after Eunha kisses Sana for the first time during their third date. 

Momo is there when Sana shyly tells her that she and Eunha are officially girlfriends. 

Momo is there to witness everything she told Eunha to do come to life. 

It feels like she just handed Eunha a gun with a single bullet in it and told her to pull the trigger.

Eunha shoots her straight through the heart. 

(Is this what it feels like to be happy for your best friend?)

Mina looks at her with pity as they’re sitting in the far corner of the library. Momo has her head ducked low as she finishes writing an essay for an elective she doesn’t even like. Her phone is sitting next to her, just in case Sana calls to hang out or something. Even though she hasn’t done that for a while now, too preoccupied with dating Jung Eunha. 

Momo sighs, sensing Mina’s stare. “You were wrong, you know,” she points out. 

Her friend hums. “About what?” 

“Sana didn’t get hurt,” she says, flexing her fingers. I did, she wants to add but she suspects Mina knows. 

There is only silence except for the soft murmur of college students studying with their friends and the gentle scratching of pencil against paper. Momo’s brain hasn’t stopped screaming Sana Sana Sana for a while now. She wonders if it’s always been like this, wonders if she only noticed now after Sana started dating Eunha, wonders if she’ll ever get a moment of peace and quiet soon. 

Mina’s hand suddenly envelops her own. 

“Are you okay?” she asks.

Momo blinks. The voice in her head quiets down. “Yeah, of course,” she answers. 

Mina doesn’t look like she believes her. “I’m your friend,” she presses, “You can tell me anything.” 

“Mitang…”

“Momo.” Mina’s expression softens, her eyebrows drawing together. “Are you okay?” 

Myoui Mina has this exceptional talent of waiting out conversations to get the other person to fess up. Even though she hasn’t known Momo and Sana her whole life, she loves them like they’re the sisters she never had. She knows their little quirks and unique mannerisms and sees right through the bullshit they constantly have to put up. Momo might claim to not show her heart on her sleeve but Mina knows otherwise. 

“I’m happy for them,” Momo finally answers and it feels like her heart is bleeding. She forces a smile. “I really am. I’m glad I helped Eunha. Sana really seems to like her.” 

Mina stares at her for a long time. 

“If you’re so happy for them,” she whispers; Momo sees her pain mirrored in the other girl’s brown eyes, “then why are you crying?” 

Oh. Momo touches her cheeks with her fingers. They come away wet. She tries to wipe the tears away with the sleeve of her sweater. But her eyes continue to leak. She furiously, hastily and desperately continues to wipe at her face, the fabric of her clothes rubbing painfully at her skin. It’s not enough. The more she tries to cover up the pain, the more it continues to bleed raw. Like a scab wound you just can’t stop scratching. Her throat closes up. She can’t breathe. 

Thank God they’re in the very corner of the library with bookshelves covering the fact that Hirai Momo is having a mental breakdown over her best friend. Mina easily slips out of her chair and comes to sit next to her. Strong, unfailing arms wrap around Momo’s lithe frame and hold her close. 

“It’s okay,” Mina whispers against her hair, “Just let it out.” 

Momo doesn’t understand why she’s crying. 

All she knows is that while Mina’s embrace holds some semblance of comfort, she’d rather be in Sana’s arms instead. 

It hits Momo in waves. 

The first wave comes when she’s waiting for Sana in her usual corner of her classroom, where a long time ago, Jung Eunha struck up the nerve to ask for her help. She hasn’t gotten that much sleep the night before so she leans her weight against the wall, closes her eyes and hopes to hear the familiar voice of her best friend calling her by her nickname. 

It doesn’t come. 

(She leaves with an empty stomach.)  

The second wave comes when Sana misses her calls. Most people wouldn’t normally mind much, especially with finals coming up and taking everybody’s attention away. But not Momo. The first time it happens, her heart drops. The reason is because Sana has never once missed her call in all the years they’ve known each other, regardless of when and where. Sana has this special ringtone reserved for her which makes it impossible to ignore her phone. One night, when Momo misses her so badly it feels like she can’t breathe, she rings Sana’s cellphone seven times in a row. By the eight time she does this, she stops and realizes, with an increasing sense of futility and dread, that she is no longer as important to Sana as she likes to believe. 

(I wouldn’t want you to feel lonely, Sana told her.) 

Fuck you, Minatozaki Sana. 

The third wave comes in the middle of a thunderstorm. Everything is shaking. The trees outside rattle with the force of the rain and lightning continually flashes across the window. Momo is terrified, even though she pretends not to be. Still, even Jeongyeon, one of the densest people in the planet, notices the way she flinches at the loud clap of thunder outside. Momo waits, as she always does, everytime the sky feels like it’s about to burst open with the apocalypse, but for the first time ever, Sana doesn’t come slipping in through the door. 

She lets out a deep breath, squeezes her eyes shut and buries her face against her pillow.

A few minutes later, a weight slides in next to her. Then Jeongyeon’s voice is by her ear. “You’re shaking,” she says, hesitantly touching her shoulder. Momo realizes she’s also crying. 

“Jeongie?” she rasps, tears clogging her throat.

“What is it, roomie?”

Momo hates to ask—it makes her feel weak to ask for help from others. 

(Except from Sana.) 

“Will you stay with me?”

Jeongyeon’s answer comes in the form of her draping a blanket over their bodies and wrapping an arm around Momo’s middle. Momo relaxes slightly. The comfort she’s getting isn’t from the person she wants but for now, it’s enough. “Don’t tell Nayeon,” Jeongyeon mumbles and they both giggle. 

It takes a while but she falls asleep thinking of Sana. As she always does. 

...

The final wave comes when Momo sees Sana emerging out of her classroom one day, her dazzling smile in place. It’s been a while since they last saw each other (only exchanging the quickest of texts before Sana has to be somewhere else or before Eunha has to pick her up for a date) so Momo immediately perks up at the sight of her. As usual, everybody stops and stares, stunned into silence and submission by one Minatozaki Sana. 

Sana sees Momo and smiles. 

The final wave is a treacherous, painful, strikes-her-where-it-hurts burst of emotion. 

Oh, she thinks to herself when Sana’s gaze moves away from hers and towards where Jung Eunha is already waiting for her by the wall—slim, gorgeous and head-over-heels in love with Momo’s best friend. Sana’s smile widens, if that’s even possible. It’s as if the sun has arrived.

This is what it feels, Momo’s brain whispers and the roar of Sana Sana Sana finally quiets down. Everything ceases. She understands now. If only the realization didn’t have to come now—with Sana smiling shyly at Eunha, with Eunha closing her eyes and leaning in for a kiss, with the rest of the world sighing as the lovers wrap themselves in one another. Momo watches, her heart breaking, and comes to the conclusion that Sana is wrong. 

You know that feeling you get when you’re really hungry at a restaurant and then you see the waiter coming in with your order? Sana’s words return mockingly. I’m waiting for that moment.

It isn’t like that all—it is worse

It’s you—starving, exhausted and in desperate need for sustenance—only able to watch as the waiter, holding your dinner in his tray, walks past your table. 

This is how Momo finally understands. 

...

“I’m in love with Sana,” Momo says the next time she sees Mina. 

Mina barely looks fazed as she pauses whatever game she was playing on her computer and looks up towards Momo, who is standing by the doorway looking like she’s just seen a ghost.

(Momo figures Mina knew all along—it kind of explains why she’s been cryptic for a while now.)

“What are you going to do about it?” Mina asks carefully. 

“I don’t know.” Momo sinks into her friend’s bed, pointedly ignoring the fact that Sana’s side doesn’t look like it’s been slept in for a while now. “I haven’t really thought about it yet.” 

“How did you figure it out then?”

Momo lets out a defeated sigh and tries to come up with the words to describe how she feels. “It hurts to be with her,” is what she settles for, “but it’s worse to be without.”

Mina nods solemnly, bringing her knees to her chest and tucking her chin on top of them. She waits for Momo to elaborate, which the older girl does a few seconds later. “I think I’ve been in love with her all this time,” she begins and she knows this is the truth because it hurts—it hurts so bad it feels like she’s going to die because of it, “I didn’t even realize it. I just thought this is how you’re supposed to feel for your best friend. When she told me about her first love, I thought I was mad at her for not telling me—I was actually mad at her because it wasn’t me.” 

Momo doesn’t notice the sharp intake of breath Mina takes or the way the younger girl squeezes her eyes shut and bites her lower lip. It’s not my secret to tell. 

“I thought I was doing the right thing by helping Eunha,” Momo continues, completely oblivious, “and that by pushing them together, I wouldn’t be so mad about the whole thing. Guess I was wrong.” 

“Momo…” Mina nibbles on her lower lip.

“I mean, I’m so stupid, right? All this time, I’ve been so blind to my own feelings and I ended up screwing myself over—” Momo covers her face with her hands and lets out a frustrated sigh. She’s been crying herself to sleep for the past few nights but she’s pretty sure her tears are endless now. She feels them prickling the back of her eyes.

“Why didn’t you tell her?” 

“I tried to,” Momo says defensively, thinking about the last time she was in this room with Sana; it seems like a long time ago, “but she told me that Eunha had already asked her out. What was I supposed to do—tell her that I’ve been feeding Eunha information to get them to start dating? Tell her that I don’t really want her to date anybody else? Tell her that I was being a stupid hypocrite the whole time? She’d hate me.”

“She wouldn’t,” Mina says quickly, “Sana could never hate you.” 

Momo thinks about the past few months—Sana cancelling on their lunch dates, Sana missing her calls, Sana hanging out with her girlfriend. “It feels like she does.”

Mina lets out another sigh and places her hands on Momo’s cheeks, forcing the older girl to look at her. “You’re her best friend,” she says firmly, her voice leaving no room for argument, “You’ve known each other for your entire lives. For God’s sake, stop moping around the fact that she has a girlfriend and talk to her—”

“Wait, are you telling me to go for it?”

No—wait, God, I don’t know—it’s up to you, okay?” Mina rubs the bridge of her nose. “I don’t know what you’re supposed to do in this situation, Momo.” 

Momo thinks about Sana and Eunha. It feels like her heart has crumbled. “She’s happy, isn’t she?” she whispers. 

Mina gives her another one of her pitying looks. “She is.”

The truth stings. Momo leans back, wipes away the tears from her eyes and takes a deep breath. All her life, she’s had Sana. Even when they were kids, even when they were apart, even when Sana is no longer exclusively hers. All her life, all she’s ever wanted is to be next to her, always, forevermore. If Sana was all that she had, then it would be enough. It is enough. Momo’s only seeing it now for what it really is.

Love. 

Sana is her first love. 

(It hurts.) 

“What do you think about soulmates, Mina-chan?” Momo asks in Japanese, her eyes fixed on Sana’s bed. 

Mina hums, reaching out and wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “I think,” she begins, also in Japanese, looking at Momo carefully, “soulmates are the people we can’t live without but if we have to, in order to make them happy, then we must.” 

“Are you telling me to let her be happy?” Momo’s voice shakes.

Mina doesn’t answer for a very long time. 

“I think,” she says, “you should talk to her, Momoring. Then you can decide on what to do next.” 

There’s a party on Eunha’s floor. Sana extends the invitation to Momo and Mina, of course.  The only problem is, Momo can’t exactly coax Mina to a party, no matter how many times she begs and goes down on her knees. Myoui Mina hates parties and would rather spend all her time playing video games with Chaeyoung. Which leaves Momo with no other choice except to ask her roommate. 

Jeongyeon looks at her curiously. "Jung Eunha's throwing a party?" she repeats. 

It's the night of the party. Momo still isn't dressed for it. Meanwhile, Jeongyeon is in the middle of her homework, glasses perched on the edge of her nose, as she gives Momo a calculative look. 

"Yup," Momo answers, letting out a sigh, "Sana's going to be there." 

"Your best friend Sana, right?" 

A bitter taste envelops Momo's tongue at the reminder. She nods solemnly. 

"Then why don't you go with her?" Jeongyeon asks, head tilted to the side. 

Because I can't bear it, Momo thinks to herself, her brain screaming Sana Sana Sana all over again. She wants to press her palms against her ears and yell at the voice to go away. But she doesn't. It's all she has left of Sana, anyway. 

"She's going to be with Eunha all night long," Momo says, her shoulders tense, "I don't want to be a third wheel." 

Jeongyeon clearly doesn't believe her but all it takes is one sniffle from Momo for the older girl to understand. She shuts her books, drags her ass out of the chair and pulls on her shoes. Even though she literally just got home half an hour ago, she looks ready to leave again. Momo glances up at her, surprised, but Jeongyeon just shrugs and says, "I miss booze." 

Momo's always been a little clueless when it comes to other people who isn't Sana. But the way Jeongyeon squeezes her shoulder as she heads to the bathroom sends a message that isn't hard to miss. 

I'm here for you. 

(Momo wants to cry again.) 

Momo tells Jeongyeon she can bring Nayeon along, but the older girl just waves her off and heads towards the kitchen where the drinks are being served. Momo doesn’t notice but Jeongyeon doesn’t take a sip that night, too intent on watching her every move and ready to jump in at any given time. Momo doesn’t notice because she’s too busy staring at Sana and Eunha in the corner of the room, their hands clasped loosely between them as they have a conversation. It is as if a protective bubble surrounds the couple and nobody is allowed to enter.

That is—until Eunha sees Momo hovering nearby, holding a red cup in her right hand.

“Hey, Momo!” Eunha brightens up considerably as she drags Sana along to where Momo stands. “I’m glad you could make it!” 

“Wouldn’t miss it.” Momo is staring at Sana, who looks intent on staring at the ground. She frowns—Sana has never had trouble looking at her. Even though the past few months have been rough on their friendship, Sana never fails to smile at Momo when they’re standing in front of each other. Something must’ve happened.

“How are you?” Eunha asks, “Did you come here alone?” 

“I’ve been good. Mina hates parties so I dragged my roommate along.” Momo gestures to where Jeongyeon is talking to a few people, her red cup still noticeably full despite the fact she said she missed drinking booze earlier. 

“That’s good,” Eunha comments lightly, her hand still intertwined with Sana’s. 

A painfully awkward silence envelops them.

“I’m going to get us some drinks,” Eunha says, pressing a quick kiss to Sana’s cheek before she leaves. 

Momo immediately asks, “Satang, are you okay?”

Sana leans back when Momo takes a step forward. It’s such a sudden reaction that at first, Momo’s brain doesn’t register what just happened “Hey,” she says, unable to mask the hurt in her tone, “did I do something wrong?”

“No, no, no,” Sana says, wrapping her arms around herself, “It’s just… I’ve been thinking.” 

Momo frowns. “Do you mind telling me?”

“It’s nothing, Momo.” Once again, Sana doesn’t look at her. 

Liar, Momo thinks to herself and the anger fills her bones. She’s sick of this—sick of losing her best friend, sick of being angry and jealous, sick of the fact that for the first time in their lives, Sana is lying to her face. She doesn’t know where this sudden boost of courage comes from but she grabs a hold of Sana’s wrist and pulls her into an empty room, making sure that Eunha doesn’t see them enter. The music gets muffled and Momo can finally think straight.

Sana lets out an aggravated sigh, knowing where this is going. As kids, they never really had any fights with each other, especially since Sana would just cry everytime they did and Momo would sulk like a little baby. Most of their conflicts were resolved in minutes. But this is different now—this isn’t exactly a fight but Momo knows that Sana can feel the tension, can feel the hurt and anger rising, can feel that there’s been a shift in their dynamic.

Momo lets out a deep breath. “Did I do something wrong?” she asks again. 

Sana shakes her head too quickly. “You didn’t,” she says.

“I can’t believe this,” Momo nearly snaps, her posture tense, “I’m your best friend and you can’t even tell me what I did wrong.” 

“I just told you that you didn’t do anything,” Sana says sharply. 

“Then why can’t you look me in the eye?”

Sana looks up, her hazel eyes burning, and their gazes meet. Momo’s heart squeezes—it feels like she can’t breathe. Is this how love is supposed to feel? She thinks to herself. 

“I’m looking at you now,” Sana says, “so can we please drop it?” 

“No.” Momo crosses her arms. Her earlier anger has resurfaced once again. Even though her brain has finally stopped screaming Sana Sana Sana due to the fact that they’re in the same room together, she knows it will only come back once she goes with Eunha again. She knows the pain will return once Sana leaves her side. It’s a desperate, pathetic way of dealing with the situation but Momo presses her back against the door and doesn’t budge when Sana takes a step forward.

“Eunha is waiting,” Sana tells her. 

“I know.” 

“Then what are you doing?” 

“I wanted to talk.” 

“Then talk.” 

“Why are you lying to me?” 

Sana huffs. “I’m not,” she says.

“I’ve known you since we were in kindergarten, Sana,” Momo spits out, remembering the way Sana backed away from her embrace, “You can’t bullshit me.” 

“Okay, fine!” Sana clenches her fists and takes a deep breath. It actually looks like she deflates a little bit when she turns to look at Momo again, her eyes all soft and sad—it stabs Momo straight between her ribcage. “I was just thinking about how long it’s been since I last saw you. I didn’t like it. I don’t like not knowing what you’re doing or where you are or how your day has been. I just—I missed you, that’s all.”

Momo doesn’t speak. Sana’s eyebrows furrow with concern when she sees Momo’s eyes glazing over with a few unshed tears and she immediately rushes forward. Momo’s chest feels like it’s about to cave in. The pain she’s been hiding (except from Mina) is like a dam just about to burst—

“Hey,” Sana says, her voice soft, and she’s Momo’s best friend again—not Eunha’s girlfriend, not the girl who broke Momo’s heart without meaning to, not a stranger masquerading as one of the people Momo desperately needs. The thought of this is enough to kickstart her tear ducts and she finds herself crying once again. It’s stupid and humiliating and—oh—worth it, because Sana wraps her arms around her and holds her tight. It’s been a long time since they’ve touched each other like this.

God, Momo thinks to herself desperately, clinging to the other girl, I’ve missed you so much

“Tell me what’s wrong,” Sana says, rubbing her back comfortingly, “Momoring, please?”

“I—I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because—” I love you, Momo says in her head, wishing she could say it out loud instead, I’m an idiot, I told Jung Eunha how to get you to fall for her, but I love you and it’s too fucking late.

“What is it, Momoring?”

“You—you—” Momo can’t take it anymore. She forces all the air back into her lungs and pulls away from Sana’s embrace. She finds concern, worry and guilt written all over her best friend’s features. It both angers and relieves her. “You lied to me.” 

Sana blinks, drawing back. “What?” 

“You—you said you didn’t want me to feel—feel lonely.” There. It’s out now. Momo hates herself for being so selfish. She lets out a soft whine and bites her lower lip to stop the words from coming out. They do anyway. “You said the reason why you didn’t date other people was because you didn’t want me to be left out, because you gave me all your time and attention, because you’re—you’re—”

“My best friend,” Sana finishes for her, her voice low. 

(Everything falls apart.)

When Momo looks up, Sana is staring at her. The look in her eyes is the same one when Momo told her she loved her all those nights ago, before Eunha came and swept her away. This time, the pain is more pronounced and Momo knows she didn’t imagine it when she saw it last. 

“I’m sorry,” Sana tells her, sounding close to tears, “I just… I got caught up. I didn’t mean to—to leave you out like that.” She sighs, running her hands through her blonde hair and shifting her weight from one foot to another. “Every since Eunha came along, it was like—like—” 

Momo’s self-loathing deepens. “Like the moment when you’re really hungry in a restaurant and the waiter comes with your order?” she asks in a quiet tone.

Sana looks at her for a really long time, her eyes red around the edges. “Yeah.” Her voice cracks. “Exactly like that.” 

This is worse than watching the waiter walk away.

This is worse than Eunha shooting her in the heart. 

This is the worst pain Momo could’ve possibly felt in her entire life. 

(It’s worst because it’s Sana.)

(Amidst the silence that overcomes her and Sana, she hears her heart breaking inside her chest.)

(The voice screaming Sana Sana Sana in her head stops.) 

“Do you love her?” Momo asks once again, her voice devoid of any emotion. She feels like she’s been doused with cold water. This is what she gets. This is her punishment. This is retribution coming to bite her in the ass. She was so focused on making Sana happy she didn’t realize she was sacrificing her own happiness in the first place. 

(Isn’t that what you do for someone you love?)

“Yes,” Sana says after a brief pause, “I think I do.”

Oh.

It is. 

Momo feels some of the weight on her shoulders lift. “Okay,” she says, nodding, “I understand.” She wipes away her tears. “I’m just being clingy again.” Her fingers shake. “I’m sorry.” It hurts. Everything hurts. She smiles anyway. 

Sana gauges her reaction. “I’m sorry too,” she whispers. 

“Just don’t lie to me again,” Momo tells her seriously before she cracks a smirk, “I can handle Eunha taking some of your time away but if you lie to me…” 

Sana laughs, wiping away her own tears, before she reaches over and wraps Momo in another hug. Momo can’t see the complete anguish written all over Sana’s face as she buries her nose against the blonde’s shoulder, eyes squeezed shut. She can’t stop thinking about Sana’s answer. Yes, I think I do. They continue to hold each other close, so close that when both of their hearts inevitably break, they think it’s just their own.

(Momo doesn’t realize that Sana didn’t answer her.) 

Jeongyeon holds Momo later that night as cries herself to sleep. 

It’s a week after the party. 

“Momo-ssi,” a voice calls in front of her.

Momo pockets her phone after sending a quick message to Sana and looks up from where she’s seated in the middle of the courtyard. Jung Eunha smiles and gestures at the space next to her on the bench. Even though she’d rather literally spend her time with anybody else, Momo nods her consent. 

“Hi,” Eunha says. 

“Hey.” 

“I haven’t seen you around.” 

Momo picks at her jeans. “I’ve been busy with choreography,” she answers. It’s not like she’s mad at Eunha in the first place—she was the one who agreed to help her out, after all. Still, she can’t help but feel the bitter sting of this truth hit her squarely in the face. If it wasn’t for her stupidity, then Eunha wouldn’t have had the guts to ask Sana out and then they wouldn’t be dating now.

But then Sana wouldn’t be happy, Momo thinks to herself. This is her only salvation. 

“I just wanted to say thank you,” Eunha tells her after a moment, “I know that Sana and I have been together for a while now but I just realized that I didn’t get the chance to thank you.” 

Momo wants to laugh. She just smiles. “No problem. I’m happy if she is.”

Eunha hums. They sit there, watching the rest of the world pass by. Momo’s brain has forced itself to attune to other sounds—she’s been listening to music more often now, trying to replace the empty roar of Sana Sana Sana with something else entirely. At least then she won’t miss her so badly. At least then she’ll learn to live without her. At least then her mind will be singing songs unrelated to her best friend. 

It hurts to be with her but it’s worse to be without. 

She remembers Mina’s words. 

Soulmates are the people we can’t live without but if we have to, in order to make them happy, then we must.

(Soulmates are mutually exclusive—just because Sana is Momo’s doesn’t mean Momo is hers.) 

“Are you, though?” Eunha suddenly asks and she looks like she’d rather be anywhere than here.

Momo glances at her. The other girl has both of her hands pressed tightly against her lap.

“Eh?”

“Are you really happy?” Eunha asks again. 

The words take Momo by surprise. “She’s my best friend,” she answers. 

“That doesn’t answer my question.” 

“Of course I am.” The lie is spoken through gritted teeth. She rolls her hands into fists and resists the urge to cry again. She’s been crying too much the past few days. “I agreed to help you in the first place because I wanted Sana to move on from her first love.” 

Eunha lets out a soft chuckle. “I don’t think it worked,” she remarks casually. 

Momo looks at her sharply, her breath catching in her throat. “Eh?” 

Then she sees it—the pain in Eunha’s eyes is the same one in Sana’s when Momo confronted her last week. It’s an easily, frighteningly recognizable look. Momo would know.  She sees it reflected in her own eyes when she looks in the mirror.

(She’ll realize later on that it’s the look of unrequited love.) 

“She hasn’t moved on,” Eunha explains patiently, wringing her hands together, “When I’m with her, I feel like she’s somewhere else.” 

“But—” Momo fully turns to her now, eyebrows drawn together “—she looks very happy with you.” 

“She might be,” Eunha agrees, sighing, “Hey, she could really love me, for all I know. But there’s a difference between being content with someone and being happy with them.”

“Please don’t get all philosophical with me,” Momo whines, groaning, “I just had lunch. You know what food does to my brain.” 

Eunha smirks. “Okay, I’ll rephrase it.” She crosses her legs and leans back against the bench, her eyes on the horizon. “What do you think love is, Momo-ssi?” 

Momo follows her gaze. Students are milling about, listening to music, walking with friends, studying under the shade of trees. The birds are singing. le’s not too hot, not too cold. Overall, it’s a good day. She thinks about the question, lets it roll around her head for a few moments, like you would with a really complicated Rubick’s cube. She wants to say that love for her is bruised elbows and skinned knees, love for her is Momoring whispered under bedsheets with hands clasped tightly together, love for her is a girl she’s known for her entire life and will know for the rest of it. 

She’s been lying to herself for so long now. Maybe it’s about time she tells the truth. 

“It’s Sana,” she answers quietly, closing her eyes shut and feeling the tears roll down her cheeks and not bothering to wipe them away. She hates herself. Pathetic, desperate, selfish. What a fucking hypocrite.

“I thought so too.”

When Momo opens her eyes and turns to Eunha, the other girl doesn’t look upset. Her eyes are dark, her lips are set in a straight line, her entire posture stiff but she doesn’t look angry. Instead, she looks the same way a person would look when the waiter passes by their table. Disappointed but understanding. Momo wants to bare her soul in front of her and tell her how sorry she truly is for betraying her like this. But before she can open her mouth to do so, Eunha raises her hand and says, “I knew.” 

Momo blinks. “Eh?”

“You were in love with Sana from the beginning,” Eunha says, sighing again, “You just didn’t know it.”

“Eunha-ssi, I’m really sorry,” Momo chokes out, biting her lower lip, “I didn’t mean to—” 

“Don’t apologize.” Eunha reaches over and squeezes her hand, her gaze intense and unflinching. “Never apologize for loving someone.” 

“But—” Momo hates that until now, Eunha is being the reasonable one, the kind one, the unselfish one. “I just told you that I love Sana too, even though I—I—I helped you, even though you’re already dating.” 

Eunha shakes her head. “You don’t have to apologize to me,” she says, “The second I asked you for help, I knew that I was intruding but I still went with it anyway. I ignored all the obvious signs and forced my way into your relationship. It was selfish—I used all the tips you gave me and had Sana say yes, even though she wasn’t over her first love, and I realize now that it’s a terrible thing to do. You don’t need a guide to get someone to love you back.” At these last few words, Eunha finally allows herself to cry. 

“You wanted her,” Momo nearly sobs, digging her face into the palms of her hands. Her shoulders shake. It feels like all the emotions she’s tried so hard to keep at bay has finally exploded. The only casualty is Jung Eunha. 

Eunha gently pries her hands away from her face. Her eyes are red. “Don’t you want her too?” 

The question shatters Momo. The truth slips out easily. Once it’s been released, you can’t hold it back. “Always,” she sobs, “Every single day. From now on until forever, if she’ll have me.” 

Eunha lets out a breathy, bitter laugh. “There you go,” she says, wiping at her cheeks, “That wasn’t so hard to admit, right?” 

“Are you going to tell her?” 

“Of course not.” Eunha takes a moment to collect herself. “I’m not cruel—everybody deserves a chance to tell someone they love them.”

Momo feels like shit. “I’m sorry, Eunha.”

“Don’t be.” Eunha purses her lips, her eyes still leaking tears. “I’m not the one you need to apologize to.”

It feels like a blessing—one that Momo doesn’t deserve. She watches as Eunha takes a deep breath, shakes her head and looks at the ground, maybe contemplating whether she should leave or not.  A question suddenly pops up in Momo’s head. 

“Do you know who her first love is?” she asks before Eunha has the chance to leave.

The other girl looks up at her, surprised. “You don’t?”

“Of course not.” 

“Oh.” Eunha blinks. “That explains it.”

“Eh?”

Eunha shakes her head and stands up. “I’ll see you around, Momo-ssi.”

“Eh? Wait! Why can’t you tell me?”

“It’s not my secret to tell,” Eunha explains simply. Then she smiles her charming smile, one that would’ve made half of the student population fall for her. Momo now understands why she has such an avid fan club and why Sana was swept off her feet.

The words are achingly familiar. Momo suddenly remembers Mina saying those same words. 

“What are you planning to do now?” she quietly asks, rising as well.

Eunha sighs, wraps her arms around herself, as she stares at the horizon once more. “The right thing,” she murmurs. 

Then she suddenly reaches out and embraces Momo. If it had been anyone else, Momo would have received a punch in the face. But this is Jung Eunha. Smart, kind and humble Jung Eunha. 

Never apologize for loving someone

Momo starts crying again. 

“Tell her,” Eunha says against her shoulder. 

“Eunha-ssi…”

“I’ve got a class to get to. Bye, Momo.” With those final words, Eunha steps away, wipes at her eyes and hastily walks off. Momo watches her go, her heart breaking for her. 

(The song of Sana Sana Sana slowly creeps back in her mind.) 

Momo is in the studio, dancing her heart out. She always does so every time she’s stressed, every time there’s a problem she can’t fix, every time her mind gets all fuzzy and she can’t think straight. Dancing helps her ground herself back to reality, lets her know that she’s moving to some beat that life has planned out for her, gives her the illusion that at least she has some control over parts of her life. She lets the music block out all the thoughts in her head (the Sana Sana Sana she’s known for her entire life) and moves to the rhythm. She focuses on the way her arms move, the deliberate steps her feet take, the ache in her bones every single time the music ends, and she goes back to it again and again. 

She’s so consumed by the music, she doesn’t notice the door to the studio swinging open. It’s half past ten o’clock so she doesn’t expect anybody to come looking for her now. With her eyes closed shut, she lets the loud drumming of the speakers dictate her every move. She’s not creating a choreography, per say, but she’s letting her body create its own pace. 

She is completely and utterly at the mercy of the song. 

And then it ends. 

She still has eyes closed, feeling the sweat run down her back and the song in her head return. 

(Sana Sana Sana)

“Momoring?” 

She opens her eyes and sees Sana reflected in the mirror, standing behind her. Her eyes are puffy, her nose red. She looks like she just ran a few miles. But in Momo’s mind, she still looks utterly beautiful. The sun reincarnated. 

“Sana,” Momo whispers, rushing forward and wrapping her up in an embrace when Sana suddenly starts crying, “Hey, hey. What happened? Are you okay?”

Sana collapses into her arms. Momo runs her hands against her back, letting her know that she’s there for her. Her mind is trying to come up with all the possible reasons as to why she’s crying. The only one that really comes to mind is Jung Eunha. 

Sure enough—

“Eunha broke up with me,” Sana sobs. 

(The song in Momo’s brain reaches its climax.)

“Oh shit,” she says, losing her footing. She stumbles back into the mirror behind them, sliding down onto the floor and bringing Sana with her. They lay there, wrapped up in one another’s arms, and still desperately in need of each other’s comfort. 

Sana has never been the one to let others worry needlessly about her. She chooses to take her own pain and hide it from the world. Her smile is meant to comfort you and assure you that everything is going to be okay. On a dark, stormy night, Sana is one thing Momo looks for when she needs to believe that the sun will come out again. It’s always been like this—Sana is the sun, Momo is the planet stuck in her orbit. 

(Her heart clenches at the joy and relief she feels at the thought of Eunha taking a step back.)

(Selfish, inconsiderate, hypocrite)

“Hey, hey,” Momo says, kissing Sana’s forehead, “I’m here, I’m here.” 

“I’m—I’m—I’m so so—sorry,” Sana gasps on her collarbone, her words a mumble, “I didn’t—I don’t want—I can’t—” 

“You don’t have to talk now,” Momo is quick to tell her, "Just let me hold you."

“Bu—but—”

“Ssshh.” 

Sana nods, her tears staining Momo’s shirt. “Okay,” she says after a deep breath. 

“I’m here,” Momo repeats, tugging her close, “I’m always here.”

...

Mina is at Chaeyoung's again which means the room is empty.

For the first time in a long time, Momo stumbles in after her best friend inside the dorm, watches her take off her make-up in front of the mirror, lets herself be steered towards the bed. The feeling of being alone with her in her room is both familiar and foreign. She can't remember the last time she sat next to Sana on the mattress, just holding her close and promising never to let go. 

They still haven't spoken about the break-up yet. Momo doesn't want to—it'll keep reality at bay. God, she thinks to herself, tracing Sana's name over and over again on the blonde's shoulder, just let me have this. 

"She told me that she was lying to me," Sana says all of a sudden, her voice scratchy; Momo's arms tighten around her, "She said that she couldn't bear to be with me after what she did." 

Reality comes crashing in.

You don't need a guide to get someone to love you back. 

Guilt claws at Momo's throat. She is the reason for the break-up, she is why Sana is crying now, she is the catalyst to all the wrongs that have yet to be righted. If she could only explain what happened from the start, then perhaps Sana's pain wouldn't have to run so deep. She wants to explain what Eunha did, what she did and why they did it in the first place. She wants to tell her she loves for her, that she didn't realize it until it was too late, but for some reason, the words just get stuck in her throat. 

(Because at the end of the day, telling someone you love them is never easy.)

"She didn't say what she did that made her so guilty," Sana continues, her eyes leaking tears, "and I'm—I'm so confused. I don't know what I did wrong, Momo." 

You didn't do anything, Momo thinks, squeezing her eyes shut. It's hard to breathe. 

"I thought—I thought we were happy," Sana says, her voice cracking at the last word, "When I was with her, it felt right." 

This is your fault, the voice in Momo's head says, if you hadn't told Eunha you love Sana, this wouldn't have happened. 

"I loved her," Sana whispers, burrowing her face into her hands, "She made me… she made me forget about my—" 

"Your first love," Momo fills in. 

Sana nods, her hair covering her face. 

Momo stares at her. You're my first love, she thinks but she doesn't say it. 

In some way, she has to be grateful. If it wasn't for Eunha, Momo would've never known about Sana's elusive first love. If it wasn't for the first love, Momo wouldn't have started realizing her feelings. If it wasn't for her feelings, though, Sana wouldn't be like this—crying her eyes out for a girl who really did love her back. 

It's a conflicting situation. 

(Can you help me court Sana?

Momo should've said no.) 

"Momo," Sana says suddenly, raising her head. Even though her hair is a mess, her eyes are wet and her lips are trembling, Momo feels her breath catch in her throat. 

(The sun, even when it's dying, is still a marvelous sight to see.) 

"What is it?" she asks. 

"I’m going to do something stupid," Sana tells her, sounding very determined but terrified at the same time, "and I need you to stop me." 

A bunch of scenarios pop up in Momo's head. Sana cutting her hair, Sana drunk calling Eunha and begging on her knees, Sana skipping her classes just to mourn her broken heart. All the things a regular girl would do if she got dumped. So without really thinking about it (she never really needs to think when it comes to her best friend), Momo nods. 

But then Sana leans forward and presses their lips together and everything stops.

(She imagines the waiter crashing right into her table.) 

Momo hasn't thought of doing this before. Maybe she should've. Maybe she should’ve spent the past several years imagining what it’d be like to kiss Minatozaki Sana. They've kissed each other on the cheeks, forehead, corner of the lips so many times before that it's almost natural to kiss her best friend back. She closes her eyes and lets herself move tentatively against Sana's touch. And even though Sana is breathing shakily into her mouth and Momo can taste the salt of her tears in her tongue, they don't stop. 

(I'm going to do something stupid.)

Momo pulls Sana closer, tangling her fingers into her hair and tugging at the roots. Sana opens her mouth, dipping her tongue in, and Momo's brain nearly shatters with the volume of Sana Sana Sana reaching its peak. They kiss slowly and unhurriedly but Momo can feel the desperation and grief in every press of their lips. But she can't bring herself to pull away. Every taste of Sana's tongue, every sound she makes, every nip of her teeth against her bottom lip is a drug and Momo is a helpless prisoner.

(I need you to stop me.)

Momo doesn't want to stop. She'd let Sana use her anytime, any day. If this is the furthest she can go with her first love, then fuck it—let her. Who cares if Sana still wants Eunha? Who cares if Momo can't seem to confess? Who cares if they hurt each other the more they continue to do this, the more Sana's tears steadily leak, the more Momo's grip on her tightens? Let them, let them, let them. This is what love is—watching the waiter walk away with your food. This is what love is—Sana needing her and Momo needing her back. This is what love is—painful, confusing, agonizing but Momo wouldn't have it any other way. 

(Do you believe in soulmates?

Yes, Momo thinks, I do.

And you’re mine.)

Sana continues to kiss her, sounding breathless but somehow unable to stop. Momo opens her eyes a fraction and sees the heartbreak written in each teardrop that falls from the blonde's eyes. It hits her then—what’s going on. She freezes and pulls away, pushing Sana back at the same time. Her heart struggles to slow down. 

Soulmates are the people we can’t live without but if we have to, in order to make them happy, then we must.

"Momo," Sana whines, the hurt crystal clear in her expression. Her fingers come up to touch her lips. Momo's are tingling with heat. 

(So this is what it's like to kiss the sun.)

"I'm sorry," Momo gasps, her heart aching as her own eyes fill with tears. Guilt takes a hold of her heart. Her resolve shatters. 

(I want you to be happy—

even if it's not with me.

"I did something bad too," Momo confesses and every word that comes out of her mouth is like a stab to the heart, “I know that I shouldn’t have done it but I don’t know what I was thinking

“What are you talking about?” Sana draws back, suddenly terrified. 

Momo takes a deep breath, stubbornly wiping away her tears, “I gave Eunha tips on how to get you to like her,” she says, unable to look at Sana because she knows she’ll see the shock written in those hazel eyes of hers, “She approached me one day and asked for help. Then I found out about your first love and I justI thought it would do

“You… you set us up?” Sana’s voice doesn’t betray any emotion. 

“I wanted you to be happy,” Momo whispers, clenching her fists tight and ducking her head, “I told her everything about you—like how much you love sunflowers, how you can’t watch Love Letter without crying, how you always believe in love even though you’ve been taught not to.”

Sana doesn’t utter another word. Momo knows this is bad so she continues to explain from the very beginning, even though it’s slowly killing her to do so. Because deep down inside, the truth will set her free but it will also ruin her chances with her first love. How would you feel if your girlfriend researched on you beforehand? How would you feel if your best friend gave up private information about you? If the roles were reversed, Momo would be pissed too. 

“When I found out that you fell in love with somebody a long time ago and didn’t tell me, I thought I was a bad friend,” she says, “so I figured that if I helped you get a girlfriend, without you knowing about it, then it would help me get over my guilt and it would help you move on. You get what I mean?” 

No response. 

“That’s what Eunha was talking about,” Momo tells her, “when she told you that she was lying to you.”

When the silence continues to persist, the dark-haired girl finally forces herself to look up. She expects to find Sana’s eyes to be full of tears or for her mouth to be twisted in anger. Instead, what Momo sees is an empty expression staring back at her. 

It stings. 

“You gave her tips?” the blonde questions, her voice low but devoid of any emotion. 

Momo nods, her vision blurring. 

“You knew that I was still getting over my—my first love—” Sana’s voice hitches “—but you still thought it was a good idea to get me with somebody else?” 

“Eunha really liked you,” Momo tries to explain, “and I just wanted you to be happy.” 

“That doesn’t excuse what you did.” 

“Satang, I’m sorry—” Momo reaches forward, only for Sana to flinch at her touch. The action sends a cold chill down the dark-haired girl’s spine.

“I thought—fuck, I’m such an idiot.” Sana lets out a cold, humorless laugh. The tears have gone, replaced with a hardened expression.“I knew that I was a klutz but I didn’t think I’d be stupid enough to fall for this.” 

Now it’s Momo’s turn to be speechless. Sana shuts her eyes and shakes her head. 

“I thought Eunha was perfect for me,” she says, still in that same empty voice, “She liked the same things I did. She did things for me without having to ask. She seemed to understand what was going through my head, even though we were only getting to know each other. There were so many moments where I thought she was my soulmate.” Then she opens her eyes and fixes Momo with a pained look. “Now I know it was just a lie.”

“It wasn’t,” Momo exclaims, her voice shaking, “Eunha really liked you. She loved you. She just—she needed help, that’s all!” 

But Sana continues to shake her head. “It doesn’t matter,” she murmurs, “You don’t do shortcuts when you love someone. I would know.” 

“Sana…” Momo swallows. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for things to end up like this.”

There’s a long silence after that. Momo doesn’t know what else to say that won’t make things worse so she just keeps her mouth shut. Her eyes are trained on Sana though—Sana who refuses to look at her. There’s something awfully wretched about your best friend turning away from you, not looking you in the eye and possibly hating you in their head already.

(She thinks not having Sana in her life is the worst form of punishment she can receive.)

“I want you to leave.”

The words leave a hole in Momo’s heart.

“Eh?” She hopes she’s misheard. “Satang?”

Sana inhales, her eyes wet. “Please, Momoring,” she says, her voice cracking at the edges, “I—I need to think about what you’ve just said and I can’t do it if you’re here. I need you to leave.” 

“But,” Momo tries to say and then stops herself. It’s the least she can do, after what she's done. She swallows the lump in her throat and slides from the bed, pulling on her shoes and feeling Sana’s eyes on her back. She hates herself for this. On the night where Sana needs her the most—and she’s just walking away. Some best friend she is. 

She walks slowly to the door, her thoughts crashing into one another. Her heart feels like it’s going to burst with the amount of confusion, anger and despair she feels. She can’t stop thinking about Eunha’s selflessness, about Sana’s heartbreak, about the fact that she just kissed her first love. Both her eyes and lips burn. She wants to turn around and confess the magnitude of how she feels for the blonde. She wants to turn around and kiss her again and again. She wants to whisper ‘I love you’ so many times until the other girl has to believe her. But Momo doesn’t. She isn’t cruel—Sana has suffered enough for tonight. She just lost her girlfriend—she doesn’t need to lose a best friend too. 

When she opens the door, Sana’s voice stops her. “Momo,” she calls out. 

Hopeful, Momo turns around. “Yeah?”

“Thank you for being honest,” Sana says, her voice barely above a whisper. Her hazel eyes are bright with tears and it hurts Momo in ways she cannot even comprehend. “At least one of us is.”

Momo frowns, stepping back into the room. “But you’ve never lied to me, Sana,” she states, confused, “You’ve always been honest with me.” 

Sana laughs. It’s a self-deprecating sound. “Maybe you don’t know me that well, after all.” 

 ...

A week goes by.

Then two.

And then three.

Mina keeps her updated about Sana but the radio silence is unbearable. 

Momo spends all of her time in the dance studio now, listening to music so loud her eardrums could bleed. It’s a fruitless effort to get her brain to stop repeating Sana Sana Sana over and over again but it’s enough to drown out the pain and misery she feels every time she thinks of Sana’s burning kiss. It had only been a few minutes but it was enough to leave a scar in Momo’s heart. 

Maybe you don’t know me that well, after all.

Sometimes, Momo wished she had pushed her away sooner.

Most of the time, she wished she didn’t.

(It’s all she can think about every night.) 

Jeongyeon tells her she spotted Sana and Eunha at some cafe in the outskirts of the university. 

(Momo pretends not to hear her.)

...

She’s dancing again. 

The music is so loud she can feel the ground vibrating. Trickles of sweat cling to every inch of her skin. Her bones crack, ache and burn. She goes on, as she always does, despite the constant roar of Sana Sana Sana in her brain, despite the memory of the blonde's mouth against hers, despite the pain and agony she feels at the distance between them both. Sometimes, when she gets in the zone, she doesn’t look at herself in the mirror. Instead, she closes her eyes and lets her body move to the beat of the music. She imagines it as the only way she can truly express herself. 

The end of the song comes and Momo wraps her arms around her body, falling to her knees and breathing heavily. The silence, after several minutes of painfully loud music, is somehow louder. Her tears mingle with the sweat running down her face. She doesn’t wipe them away. At least then she can pretend she wasn’t crying in the first place.

Sana Sana Sana Sana Sana Sana Sana

The door creaks open but Momo doesn’t hear. 

I want you to leave

She doesn’t wipe away her tears but she presses her palms against her eyes, trying to push away the persistent thoughts of her kiss with Sana. Somebody steps into the room. 

Maybe you don’t know me that well, after all

Momo only raises her head when she hears a small yelp and sneakers screeching against the floor. She moves to stand up quickly and instinctively opens her arms to catch her best friend falling straight into her arms, after having practically tripped over flat surface. Sana’s unmistakably blonde hair catches her attention and Momo feels like she can’t breathe. 

“Hi,” Sana greets, smiling at her, her hands gripping Momo’s arms firmly. It’s not her usual bright smile but it’s enough. 

“Hey,” Momo says in return and the back of her eyes prickle with tears, “You’re here.”

It’s been a month since they’ve held each other like this, since they’ve kissed, since they’ve been in the same room. It relieves her that nothing seems to have changed. Sana leans back, letting go but still standing close. 

Momo wants to kiss her again. 

“I missed you,” she whispers and it’s only by sheer strength of willpower that she manages to take a step back.

Sana instinctively moves closer and Momo’s willpower shatters. 

“I miss you,” the blonde says and the present tense doesn’t go unnoticed. 

“What are you…” Momo doesn’t exactly know what to talk about. She’s dreamed about talking to Sana again but now that the moment is here, she’s rendered speechless. The seconds that pass by feel so entirely precious that she doesn’t want to say the wrong thing in case Sana pushes her away again. So she closes her mouth, squeezes her eyes shut and takes a deep breath. “You’re here,” she says again. 

“I’m here,” Sana echoes, “I’m always here.” 

When Sana wraps her arms around Momo’s waist, it’s like coming home. All the exhaustion she felt during her dance quietly melts away. It reminds Momo of their childhood—of looking forward to another boring day in kindergarten because it meant seeing her best friend, of carrying Sana on her back after every class to prevent her from another self-inflicted injury, of sleepovers, lunch dates, secrets whispered between smiling teeth, tears wiped away by careful hands, of love—so pure, innocent and beautiful blossoming into so much more—and it hits Momo here and then, with Sana in her arms, that she would literally never tell her of her feelings if it meant protecting their friendship. She would sacrifice her own happiness if it meant solidifying Sana’s.

You’re my soulmate, Momo thinks, breathing in Sana’s scent, mine, mine, mine.  

“Why are you here?” she asks. 

“I needed to talk to you,” Sana answers. 

“Is this bad?” 

Sana laughs. It’s light, tinged with a bit of sadness. Momo would know. She’s listened to every type of laugh that Sana has her whole life. “It depends, Momoring,” the blonde says, squeezing her middle once before pulling back, “It depends on how you’ll react to what I’m going to say.” 

(Momo makes quick promise to herself—don’t tell Sana about her feelings.) 

(She’s hurt her enough the past few weeks.) 

“It depends on what you’re going to say,” Momo says and she watches as Sana intertwines their fingers together to pull them both down to the ground. The scene is achingly familiar. Only this time, Sana isn’t a crying mess in her arms. There’s a few inches of space between their knees. Sana notices because she immediately slides closer, close enough that their body heat mingles, close enough that if Momo turns, her lips would be pressed against Sana’s cheek, close enough that she’s pretty sure if Sana listens carefully, she can hear her heart pounding. 

“What is it?” Momo asks, afraid to listen, afraid to know. 

Sana takes a deep breath, looking nervous. Which is a strange sight to see. She’s always been the more confident one between the two, always the one flirting with strangers, always the one suggesting stupid ideas, always the one with courage in her blood. The sight of her twiddling her thumbs like a nervous schoolgirl is enough to worry Momo. 

“You know you can always tell me anything, right?” she says, drawing Sana’s attention back to her. 

“I know.” Sana smiles at her then. “That’s the hardest part.” 

Momo doesn’t say anything, stunned into silence. She can only stare as Sana reaches out and traces the shape of her jaw with her thumb. “Momoring,” she says, letting out a soft sigh, “Do you remember at Eunha's party when you made me promise never to lie to you again?”

“Yeah.” 

“I’m going to tell you the truth now.”

Momo is rightfully confused. “What have you lied about?” This whole time, she believed herself to be the dishonest one, constantly keeping her feelings at bay, spewing out lies between her teeth like it was second nature. It never occurred to her that Sana might’ve been doing the same. 

Her heart rate picks up. It feels like a very important event is about to take place. 

Sana smiles sadly at her. “The truth is,” she begins, her eyes fluttering close, “it's you, Momo—you’re my first love.” 

Momo blinks, thinking she's misheard and praying to God she didn't. "Eh?" she asks. 

"Here are my truths," Sana continues, opening her eyes, "First, I've been in love with you ever since we were kids and I never told you because I was afraid I'd lose you. Second, one of the reasons why I dated Eunha was to get over you, which is why I pushed you away the past few months. Third, I really did love Eunha but not as much as I love you. What I feel for you—nothing can ever come close." 

Momo thinks she must've fallen asleep while she was dancing earlier because this can't be real. Sana can't be confessing to her right now, right? It's just impossible because a month ago, she was dating Jung Eunha. Holy shit—Momo pinches her arm, trying to gain some semblance of control as she stares quizzically back at her best friend. 

"Sana," she says, but nothing else comes out of her mouth. Her brain has completely and utterly shut down. 

"Momo?" Anxiety flits across Sana's face. "Please say something." 

Momo chokes out, "I don’t believe you.” 

“Eh? Why not?” Sana pulls back, looking hurt. 

“Because,” Momo tries to explain, wringing her hands, “you’ve never lied to me before. You’ve always told me the truth, even though it hurt most of the time. Do you re—remember that one time I—I—” 

“—made a fool of yourself in front of my parents and I told you that it was because you spilled juice all over the expensive tablecloth my mom just bought?” Sana supplies, almost smugly, “Of course I remember—you wouldn’t stop crying about it for two days straight.” 

Momo snaps her fingers. “See! And when I asked you about your first love, you told me you couldn’t tell me because it would hurt too much and—” 

“It still does,” Sana interrupts gently, pressing a hand on Momo’s shoulder and silencing her. Her smile dims. “Knowing that I’m in love with my best friend who doesn’t feel the same way is always going to hurt.” 

Momo told herself not to tell Sana her feelings.

But what happens if Sana feels the same way?

(To be fair, Momo hasn’t honestly thought of that possibility.) 

“You tell me that I’ve never lied to you before,” Sana continues, her cheeks wet with tears but her voice strong, firm and brave, “but I have, Momoring. So many times. Ever since we were kids. It was a way to… protect myself. When we were younger, I always pretended to fall over and hurt myself so that you would take care of me. When you asked me how bad the pain was, I lied so you’d carry me all the way home. When you told me how scared you were of thunderstorms, I didn’t tell you that I—I was scared of them too. All the times I crawled with you on your bed, I did it because you made me feel safe.” 

Everything that Momo has ever known about Sana shatters and reframes itself in her head. She’s staring at her best friend hard, as if trying to gauge the sincerity of her words. Then she remembers what the blonde told her a few weeks ago. 

Maybe you don’t know me that well, after all

(Maybe she was right.) 

The thought that Sana could ever return her feelings has never crossed Momo’s mind. The possibility of it coming true, especially now, is enough to make her both giddy and sorrowful. Giddy, because the girl she loves actually loves her back. Sorrowful, because they’ve hurt each other too much just to come to this realization. 

“I’ve lied to you for so long, Momo,” Sana whispers, wiping away her tears, “I lied to you about my feelings because you don’t feel the same way. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing you. I wanted to be with you, even if it wasn’t the way I wanted.” 

Something inside Momo snaps at those words. “Why are you like this?” she demands, her voice shaking as she glares at the blonde, “Why do you always have to be so—so—so—stupid? And selfless? Why do you always have to think about me instead of yourself, for once?” 

There are many things that Momo loathes herself for—hurting Sana takes the top spot. 

Sana laughs, bitter and sad. She brushes the hair from Momo’s eyes and traces the shape of her jaw with the tip of her fingertips. Her touch is electrifying. Momo resists the urge to shiver. 

“How can I think about me when all I’ve ever thought about is you?” Sana questions, a kind of wonder in her voice and Momo’s heart falters, “It’s like you’re a song stuck in my head, Momo. I can’t stop thinking about you. It’s impossible not to.” 

Momo understands.

(Sana Sana Sana

Despite everything, here they are, sharing the same emotions but not sharing it to each other. 

A fatal flaw. 

“Jeongyeon told me she saw you and Eunha together,” Momo says suddenly, desperate to know. 

Sana nods. “I talked to her,” she explains, “I wanted to understand. She gave me the courage to tell you how I felt about you.” 

Never apologize for loving someone

“Along the way,” Sana paves on, “she also made me realize a few things.” 

Momo flexes her fingers, itching to reach out and touch her first love. “And what are those things?” 

“That I love you,” Sana declares, “I love you so much. I’ve loved you since the day we met and I’ll love you until the day I die. You’re my best friend and if you don’t feel the same way, then I understand. I know that my telling you will ruin things between us but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life regretting the fact that I never told you. I don’t want to wake up one day, look at my future wife next to me on the bed and resent her for not being you. What I feel… I’m scared, Momo. You have no idea how terrified I am of losing you right now but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

(The song in Momo’s head stills.) 

In her mind’s eye, Momo imagines the waiter emerging from the kitchen doors. Her dinner is in his hands, held high above his head. He searches the room, eyes flickering from every guest, until they land on her. Then he smiles. Momo smiles back. For the first time since this whole thing began, he walks over and places her dinner in front of her. The pure rush of joy and elation she feels in her heart bursts like a waterfall. It doesn’t hurt. Nothing hurts anymore. 

(You know that feeling you get when you’re really hungry at a restaurant and then you see the waiter coming in with your order?)

(This is how it feels.) 

“Did you honestly think you could ever lose me?” Momo quietly asks, her newfound confidence allowing her to reach out and wipe away Sana’s tears. 

Sana’s lower lip wobbles. “When I found out you helped Eunha, I honestly thought I did.”

“Satang,” Momo says in a singsong voice, palming Sana’s cheeks in her hands, “you’re such an idiot if you think that I don’t feel the same way.”

The way Sana’s eyes widen and her mouth drops is hilarious, at best. But Momo is too relieved and elated to laugh. Instead, she curls her fingers around the back of Sana’s neck and pulls her close. They don’t kiss but their foreheads touch. Momo inhales unsteadily. It feels like every tear she’s shed, every pain she’s felt, every heartbreak she’s experienced has led her to this exact moment. Sana’s arms come up to wrap around her back and she buries her face against the dark-haired girl’s neck. 

“I thought…” Sana tries to say, sounding so confused, “I thought you wanted me to end up with Eunha.” 

“I thought I did too,” Momo confesses, her fingers now threading through Sana’s hair, “but you’re not the only one whose been lying, Sana.” 

“Momo…” 

Now it’s Momo’s turn to tell the truth. She pushes away the fear and anxiety of baring her soul for her best friend to see and just lets the words she’s been thinking the past few months to flow through. “You’re my soulmate,” she whispers, “The one person I can’t live without. The one person I would do everything for. The one person I would let go just to make them happy. That’s you. It’s always been you.” 

Sana’s crying again, tears falling against Momo’s shirt. “This isn’t a platonic-best-friend thing, right?” she asks shakily, her hands clutching her best friend’s shoulders. 

Momo laughs, pulling her closer. Sana shifts her weight and throws her leg over Momo’s knees. They’re cradling each other now and it feels so right—just walking to your home after a long trip. Just like Sana, because she has always been Momo’s home. 

“You idiot,” Momo tells her, grinning broadly now, “I love you too. I’m in love with you. Hopelessly and pathetically so. I want to kiss you, I want to go on dates with you, I want to marry you and grow old with you. You. Only you. I realized it after I saw you and Eunha together. It was like—like—”

Sana finishes for her, “—like you’re really hungry in the restaurant and the waiter comes by with your order?” 

“Except that he misses the table.” A poignant pause falls over them. “That’s how I felt when I saw you guys together. I just… I didn’t think you felt the same way so I lied about it too.” 

They both sigh, realizing their fatal flaw. They’ve always shared everything with each other. It’s ironic that the one detail they chose not to share was the most important one. 

“I didn’t think…” Sana tries to say before she loses all of her words too. She looks like she’s struggling to understand the magnitude of what their confessions.  

Momo hums, leaning back and looking down at Sana. Their eyes meet. It’s both familiar and foreign but Momo smiles and charges on ahead, “You said it so yourself. We’re best friends. What you do, I do. What you say, I say. What you feel, I feel.” Her eyes flicker over to Sana’s lips. “Kind of like soulmates, if you ask me.” 

Sana is smiling now. Bright, beautiful and utterly breathtaking. It’s like staring at the sun. 

“I thought you didn’t believe in soulmates,” the blonde says thoughtfully. 

“Maybe, maybe not.” Momo sighs and leans in close. Their mouths are a breath apart. “But I know that you’re mine.” 

Sana locks her arms around Momo’s neck and joins their lips together. Their first kiss was one of the most life-changing things Momo has ever experienced. The second one is just as much, only this time, the tears that stain their cheeks are that of happy ones. The heartbreak is still there, still painfully evident in the way Momo’s hands shake as she presses them against Sana’s back or in the way Sana’s lips tremble when she whispers Momo’s name against her tongue. They’re both scared, terrified of the consequences and guilty for all the pain they’ve put other people through. But this second kiss is enough to tell them that it’s all going to be okay. As long as they’re together, everything will be okay. 

(Sana is the sun—Momo is a planet locked in her orbit.) 

(She doesn’t realize Sana thinks of her as the moon—always turning away when she gets too close.) 

“I’m sorry,” Momo whispers when they break apart for some air. Sana’s lip gloss is smudged on her lips and she runs her tongue over it. “I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up.” 

“It’s okay,” Sana says in return, wiping away the unshed tears in Momo’s eyes, “You’re worth the wait.” 

Three years later, Momo is standing in front of a restaurant in the heart of Seoul. 

“Table for one?” The concierge asks, seeing that she’s alone. 

Before Momo can answer, familiar arms snake behind her back and wrap around her middle. A light, giddy voice by her ear answers the man’s question excitedly, “Two, please.” When Momo turns, she finds Sana’s hazel eyes smiling up at her. 

The concierge nods, unfazed by the blatant display of affection and leads them to their table by the window. Sana skips over quickly and pulls a chair for Momo, who rolls her eyes and blows her a kiss. Her girlfriend, now sporting pink hair, blows one back. 

“I thought you had an important meeting with a client,” Momo says after they’ve settled down. Before, when she and Sana went out for dinner, the menu was always the first thing she looked at. Now, she just places her chin on her hands and stares at Sana with a smile on her face. 

“And what—miss our anniversary date?” Sana shoots back, looking aghast that Momo would even suggest such a thing, “I wrapped up the meeting early and called a cab. I didn’t want you to wait too long.”

“You’re worth the wait,” Momo says. 

The smile that graces Sana’s lips is enough to make Momo wish their dinner would end soon. “Careful,” the pink-haired girl says, “If you keep talking like that, we might not make it through the night in this restaurant. What do you want to eat?” She gestures at the menu sitting in front of them, her smile still in place. 

Momo grins cheekily. “You, preferably,” she answers, giggling at the wide-eyed look Sana sends her way as she looks down at the menu, “but for now, I’ll settle for jokbal.” 

 ...

fin