Playlist: Lover, by Taylor Swift.
“What in the world are you doing?” Yuri asked, a baffled expression on her face as she approached Yena. “You’re drenched, you’ll fall sick! Are you crazy?”
Yena shrugged and smirked. “I am crazy. That’s why you like me so much.”
“I’m not going to refute that,” Yuri huffed, “but still.” Shaking her head, she finally looked around at the rooftop decorations, all shining in the moonlight.
“What do you think?”
“It’s beautiful,” Yuri breathed, her eyes growing soft. She focused on Yena and brushed away wet hair plastered to her face. “You’re beautiful.”
“So are you.” Yena grew serious. She stepped back a step and put the flowers aside. “I also have something to ask of you.”
“Okay, of course. Is there something worrying you?” Yuri frowned. “Is it Juri?”
“No, no, nothing to do with her.” Yena took a deep breath, then took a small box out of her pocket. “Yuri-ah.”
“Oh my god,” Yuri whispered. Her eyes widened. The umbrella shook in her hands.
“I don’t think I ever got to finish what I said the other night, did I? You know, when I first heard your voice, I thought you were an angel. Like someone who was blessed with the most beautiful voice, someone who could draw the best and worst emotions out of me, and remind me what it was like to feel again. Then as we got to know each other better, spent more time together - even though it was just through separate balconies and a little bell wind-chime - I found myself falling for you more and more. When we went to Busan together, I learnt bits and pieces of you that I don’t think I ever would have if I didn’t follow my heart. And my heart wanted to follow you. It still does, until the very end.”
“This might be too early and too soon, but I do hope you consider it.” Yena opened the box and took out the simple silver band tucked inside. There were no diamonds, no special embellishments. Just two names engraved on the inner side of the ring separated by a little drawing of a wind-chime. She gently placed the ring in Yuri’s palm. “Jo Yuri, sometime in the future when we’re both ready, will you consider marrying me?”
“Yena, I-” Dropping her umbrella in disbelief, Yuri stared at the ring. Her ring. She met Yena’s eyes, shining with hope and love, and she smiled. She slipped the ring onto her finger, both of them marvelling at the way it fit perfectly. “Yes.”
Yena’s face lit up like the sun as she pulled Yuri in, plastering wet clothes against dry ones. Rain pooled itself in divots on the rooftop. Feet splashed in puddles; droplets shimmered in the light. Yena lifted her hand, tracing Yuri’s hair where it framed her face and tucking it away behind her ear. With arms still wrapped around Yuri’s waist, they started swaying to the music playing quietly in the background, a slow one-two step that guided them across the floor.
They waltzed under fairy lights, treading lightly on moons and stars. Soaked to the bone and without a single care in the world, they moved as one, giggling as they brushed noses and twirled around. If it were possible, Yena would engrave Yuri’s cackling into a music box and play it on repeat, would keep a snapshot of Yuri’s wide smile and the way her eyes absolutely lit up - Yena would treasure it all.
As the rain drizzled to a halt, they realised that the playlist Yena had curated had long since ended. But it didn’t matter. Music was everywhere, from to the quiet pitter-patter of raindrops and the distant hum of fairy lights to the melody of their laughter harmonising. Time slowed to a stop when Yena turned to dip Yuri, their faces only a few inches apart.
Hitched breaths. Twinkling eyes searched the other’s, silently asking for permission. Yuri wrapped her arms around Yena’s neck and closed the gap.
Yena awoke in an unfamiliar bed and a set of clothes that definitely was not hers. Sunlight wormed its way through the gaps in the curtains and warmed her left cheek. Still groggy, she winced and rubbed her eyes. Yena was definitely not a morning person. As her brain started to work, she became very aware of a light weight on her chest. The weight shifted and groaned. A body pressed itself into hers, soft to the touch. Legs tangled under the sheets, cold toes brushing against her warm feet.
She pulled the covers away to reveal a sleeping Yuri cuddled into her front, hand clutching tightly at Yena’s shirt, chest rising and falling slowly as she dozed. The ring glittered on her finger still. Yena stared and stared and stared, and when she finally realised that this was entirely real and not at all a dream she had to slap a hand over her mouth to contain her awestruck grin.
She, Choi Yena of foolish love and hopeless romanticism, was in her girlfriend’s bed, with said girlfriend currently in her arms. Could there be anything better?
Now that she was more than awake, what with her heart racing in her chest and twinging every time Yuri shifted in her sleep, Yena took a good look around Yuri’s bedroom. From where she was lying down she spotted a shelf of books attached to the wall, all with titles about music composition or history. Under the bookshelf was a desk with a study lamp, and next to that a small closet. Her gaze drifted towards a collage of pictures plastered to the bedroom door, but from this distance she couldn’t make out any of them.
When Yuri stirred, Yena glanced back down again. She smoothed Yuri’s hair down, patting her head as Yuri slowly opened her eyes. “Good morning,” Yena whispered.
Yuri tightened her grip on Yena’s shirt. “Good morning.”
“Very,” Yuri replied, her husky voice slurred. She snuggled closer to Yena. “I love how warm you are.”
“And I love you.” Yena sat up slightly, propping herself up on her elbow so she could face Yuri. Leaning down, she pecked Yuri on the lips once, then twice. When she pulled away, Yuri’s eyes were half-lidded, lips curved into a sleepy smile. Reaching up to tangle her fingers in Yena’s hair, Yuri pulled her back in for another deeper, longer kiss. Hands travelled across smooth skin to cup cheeks, caress backs, to brush against any exposed strip of skin, sneaking up shirts. Their fronts pressed up against each other as they kissed, little moans escaping with every breath.
“Yena,” Yuri gasped, feeling Yena’s lips graze her neck. “Yena, wait-”
Yena’s eyes flew open. She scrambled up, clapping a hand over her mouth as she realised what she had done. Lying under her, Yuri’s hair was tousled, face as flushed as Yena’s, burning hot to the touch. “Too fast?” Yena asked through her fingers.
“Yeah.” Yuri turned even redder, if that were even possible, averting her eyes. “You’re my first ever relationship, and, well…”
Yena peeled herself off Yuri and sat cross-legged in bed. She nodded in understanding. “Let’s take things one at a time.” Rising, she stretched and tied her hair back in a ponytail and winked at Yuri. “This time, I’ll make breakfast for you.”
Heading towards the kitchen, Yena took inventory of everything Yuri had. There wasn’t much to be found: a few cans of luncheon meat, some overripe kimchi, eggs and instant noodles and rice and sauces. She scoffed. To think Yuri was criticising the lack of food in Yena’s house when her own barely contributed any more. Well, no matter - not that Yena could cook that well, anyway.
So instant ramen it was.
By the time Yena heard Yuri shuffling out of the bedroom, she already had a pot of ramen simmering merrily on the stove, its cover gently rattling as water boiled. Pieces of luncheon meat fried in an eggy mixture, served on a rather cute plate with little cartoon ducks dancing around its rim, were placed on the dining table next to the flowers that Yena bought yesterday and had somehow miraculously survived the awesome downpour. Yuri couldn’t see the colours, she knew, but it would still be a pretty addition to the room.
“Smells good,” Yuri mumbled, her eyes still squeezed shut as she stretched and yawned. “What is it?”
Yena nudged her into a chair before attending to the ramen. “Guess.”
“Instant noodles,” Yuri immediately said, opening her eyes to laugh at Yena - before suddenly jolting in her seat. Her chair scraped back noisily.
Concerned, Yena glanced over, her brows furrowed. “Why, what happened?”
“Yena, you…” Yuri’s gaze shifted to the flowers. Her eyes widened. She stared at them for as long as she could before she was forced to blink. “Yena, I think I’m seeing things.”
“What kind of things?”
“Yellow daisies,” Yuri said, pointing at them with a trembling finger, “and pink tulips.”
Yena gaped at her. The pot started to bubble over. “Say that again.”
“I-it was just for a moment, but” - and Yuri took a shaky breath, her lips stretching so wide her smile split her cheeks - “the flowers were yellow and pink.”