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[1]



Chaewon looks at Eunbi skeptically as she fidgets in her leather jacket. She thinks she's about to lose feeling in her arms with how tight it is, but Eunbi wouldn't let her take it off in a million years.

“Are you sure this is going to work?”

Eunbi doesn't spare her a glance and continues her attempts at making the lighter work. “If it doesn't then you're the one paying for my treatm—”

“Yes, it's going to work!” She exasperates when the cigarette fails to light up again. “Now, make yourself useful and help me light this shit.” 

Chaewon tsks and takes the lighter into her hands. “She's gonna show up any minute now and we're still stuck at phase one of the plan.”

“You don't need to remind me, idiot.”

She thinks this must be the most satisfying click she's heard in her life. 

They might as well have discovered fire with the way they rejoice looking at the bright orange at the tip of the cigarette. “Okay, now what?”

“What do you mean now what ?”

Eunbi mocks her tone and places the cigarette at her lips.

“Smoke it.” 

“What happened to making smoke rings or whatever?”

“Make it through smoking it first, please.”

After a long drag and suffocation taking over her lungs, Chaewon coughs her heart out and glares at Eunbi through her tear filled eyes. “I'm going to kill you one of these days.”

“I'm sure you will.” 

With a careful glance to the college entrance, Eunbi straightens Chaewon's back, flattens out her leather jacket and shakes her by the shoulders. “You can do this, okay? Just don't cough and look as cool as you can. Don't smile if she smiles—if you can't help it, smirk. This is foolproof. She's going to—”

“Okay whatever, she's coming this way.” After a shooing motion, Chaewon turns and takes in a deep breath. 

I can do this.

It's simple. How hard can it be? 

Just: lean back against the wall by her car. 

Prop a leg up, support yourself on it and put one of your hands in the too-tight-for-comfort leather jacket, if you can even manage to.

Put poison in your lungs (this once) when you see her pass by and call out for her.

Wow, I can do this.

“Kim Minju, wanna go out for—”

Wait a minute. Minju turns before she can complete her lines and beams at her.

“Oh, unnie! What are you doing here? Don't you have work today?” 

Wait. This wasn't how it was supposed to go.

 

(“Kim Minju, wanna go out for a ride?” She'd say, pointing to a rented Harley Davidson and blowing out smoke as they meet eyes. 

Minju would swoon and voila, there she has her first date. Everything would only go uphill from there.)

 

She fumbles. “O-Oh, no—yeah! Got off early today, that's all.” A cough follows and she can imagine Eunbi strangling her for making a complete fool out of herself when her beloved plan was completely foolproof. 

The girl slightly pouts as she frowns. Chaewon thinks it's cute. “Unnie, since when do you smoke? It's not good for your health, you know.” 

Her hands slip down to the pockets of her torn skinny jeans. 

(Eunbi told her to wear leather jeans too, but there is a line that Chaewon draws when it comes to her own comfort.)

“Yeah, I'm—I'm just stressed right now, that's all. Never really liked smokers anyway. You… you don't like 'em either, right?”

“Well—no, not exactly.”

A sigh of relief takes over her. Thank god.

Her foot crushes the cigarette stub (with too much enthusiasm, Minju thinks) and she smiles—no, smirks.

“You know, now that I've seen you I feel so much better. We'll catch up some other time, yeah?” 

Some other time , because she really, really can't feel her arms and she thinks she'll never be able to talk again if she doesn't drink water at this instant.

“Alright. Bye, unnie!” 



“That went better than expected, right?”

“I guess…”

Chaewon frowns. “What?”

“Well, after you left…”

What?

Sighing, Eunbi holds up two fingers in front of her. “Two words—Ahn Yujin.”

Fuck.



[2]



“This doesn't make sense. How could this make any sense? How could you fall for her of all people? She's going to kill you. She's literally gonna kill you.”

A tsk. “Just because she's related to Kwon Eunbi doesn't mean she's not worthy of being loved.”

Sakura stops writing her notes to look her dead in the eye. “She's worthy of being loved, alright—we've seen her face enough to justify that—it's just not worth loving her when you have to get through that demon.”

“My love for Kim Minju has no barriers and no bounds! I've loved her from—” Chaewon gets cut off when Sakura throws an eraser to her face. “Pipe down, or the whole school's gonna hear you.”

“We're the only two stuck in detention here, who's gonna hear me?”

Eunbi isn't the obstacle she sees to get with Minju, anyways. 

First she has to get the girl to notice her existence. Who was Kim Chaewon? No one but another face in the crowd to the likes of Kim Minju. There's no logical reason for Minju to acknowledge her. She's a nobody in the high school chain. 

It's a classic cliché. The trash at the bottom of the invisible high school world order falling for someone at the very top of it. What can she do?

That's just how the universe is. 

Once Minju notices her—well, she really hasn't thought of that. She hopes her charm will eventually win the girl over. 

(That, much to her dismay, is not how the universe is.)

 

“Who's Kim Chaewon?”

Ah, another person at the very top of the high school hierarchy. Jang Wonyoung, was it? Caused a huge commotion in her freshman year for her world class visuals and now maintains her popularity as the council's vice president. She peers into the classroom and takes a good look at the two students in it. 

“Who's she to you?”

“Nobody, but she might as well be the school's sworn enemy at the moment.”

“What?” Sakura asks but the girl gets dragged away by the council's president, leaving the two of them in silence. “What the hell?”

Sworn enemy ? Half the school doesn't even know I exist, why would I be—”

“Which one of you is Kim Chaewon?”

“Who's she to—”

“It's you, right?” Eunbi directs herself towards her, looking far too accomplished for it not to be suspicious. “You just shouted out that confession to Minju, right?”

“U-Um, what are you talking about?”

Sakura scoffs. I did warn you, written all over her face. Chaewon makes it a note to flip her off later. 

She feels a chill run down her spine when Eunbi takes a step closer to her. Maybe she's a bigger threat than she anticipated. 

“You're on thin ice. Thin fucking ice, okay. Don't pull some shit like that again. Stay away from Kim Minju.”

“What…”

“What did I even do?”




[5]



Chaewon knows it's unprofessional. 

Unlike in movies and countless romance novels, dating a coworker isn't all rosy and perfectly acceptable in society. It's something frowned upon. She knows why it's frowned upon, of course. It might affect your performance as an employee, the other employees will resent you when you act all lovey dovey in the workplace and things are going to be hella awkward if you two break up. She gets it. It's an unwritten rule everyone knows about. 

(It's also a written rule, as stated in the company's code of conduct.) 

Don't date your coworkers. 

But Chaewon's case is an exception—at least she thinks it is. 

It doesn't count if you think wow, she's the most pretty person I've ever seen when she was in the elevator with you on her way to a job interview.

A job interview at Chaewon's company—but technically, she caught feelings for the pretty girl in the elevator before she became an employee so it really doesn't count. 

“That doesn't make sense, for fuck's sake. Just say you want to date Minju and go.”

“No, you don't get it—I can date my coworker in this case—and therefore I am not breaking the company's code of conduct.” Chaewon looks so accomplished saying it that Yena feels like punching her face in. That , on one hand, would definitely break the code of conduct—but on the other hand, stopping Chaewon from daydreaming about the new girl would definitely be worth it. 

“If you like her, then tell her. No one cares about the rules anyway.”

No one cares? ” Chaewon tchs. “Imagine what Yoonjung-sunbae would do if she found out.”

 

Yena thinks—no, she knows that's a ton of bullshit. She can tell. 

She can tell by the way Chaewon constantly looks at the younger girl's cubicle when the two of them are on a break. She can tell when  Chaewon puts on her best face when she sees her passing by. She knows when Chaewon curses quietly when she sees her smile. She knows. 

“You're a coward: that's the problem.”

And with the silence that follows, she knows she really does know. “Well…”

“I can't deny that…”

“You should ask for her number.”

The way her eyes widen is comical, as if she revealed a secret she kept for her entire life. “Her what.

“Number, so you can message her and ask her out?”

Ask her out!? You're joking, right? There's no way she'd go out with someone like me,”

“Chaewon- ah, we don't have enough time or words to deal with an inferiority complex now. Why would she not go out with you? You're smart, funny, kind, pretty, pretty cute—you get it?”

“You're right, I am smart, funny, kind and pretty cute. But all that doesn't matter. She has to like me to go on a date with me.”

“Doesn't everyone in the office like you already, though?”

“No, they hate me because the ex boss used to favour me too much.”

“But Minju came after that boss left, right?”

Chaewon brightens with her words. “Right.”

Yena smiles. “So will you ask her out?”

“I thought I was asking for her number?” 

How hopeless can this girl be when it comes to love? “Fine. When will you ask for her number?”

“Monday, I swear on my loyalty to this company.”

 

-

 

Chaewon hates Mondays. It's nothing new. Everyone hates Mondays. 

Even Minju hates Mondays. She can tell by the way the younger woman almost trips on thin air while greeting her in the morning. Her eyelids droop in the elevator and she just looks so cute bundled up in her green scarf that Chaewon feels her day getting better already. 

Minju gives her another smile before she gets off on her floor. 

It's a shame Yena doesn't come in today. No one else knows about her office crush, so there's no one to she can tell her Why Kim Minju is the Best Girl in the World agenda to. 

It's only fair that she brightens up Minju's day somehow. 

10;30. Her break starts. She has about 15 minutes. 

 

Chaewon spots her in front of the coffee machine: she's pretty sure the girl is going through it with how out of service :( is posted in the coffee pot. 

“Minju,”

She raises her head to face her. It's good enough to be a beauty CF or something. Wow, her eyes are blessed. 

 

Thank god for Ahn Yujin. She forced the intern to get her two coffees from the shop down the street—she should put in a good word with the boss for her later.

Bearing Yujin's dirty looks is worth it when Minju beams at her and says, “Thank you, sunbaenim.

She feels all warm and fuzzy and cozy inside. 

Mondays aren't that bad, she supposes.

 

-

 

“So…”

“What?”

“Did you get her number?”

Oh. Right, she had to do that yesterday. 

“I forgot.”

Mondays are horrible but Tuesdays are even worse. They're just a reminder that the week still has four days to go. Tuesdays are worse because she doesn't catch a glimpse of Minju today. 

Yena scoffs at her. 

“You're a hopeless case, Kim Chaewon.”

“I'm not! I really forgot…”

“Sure.”

 

(Turns out Minju had to leave early today because of a cold. Chaewon adds that to her list of Why Tuesdays Suck. )

 

-

 

Wednesdays; no one gives a shit about Wednesdays. 

They're the middle child of the week. Wednesdays are neutral. 

This Wednesday will be special. She'll remember it as the day she asked the love of her life her number. 

Turns out she'll remember it as the Wednesday her boss almost fired her. “You're a dumbass.” 

“I know.”

She just had to be late the day of the super important meeting—as her boss repeatedly stressed—with overseas clients, didn't she? God bless her presentation skills. If she didn't try her very best on that slideshow, she wouldn't be safe inside of her cubicle now—well, not cubicle, because it's lunch and she's at the food court, but she can't come up with a better analogy.

“Anyways, I have some good news for you.”

She makes no effort to acknowledge Yena. It doesn't stop her from sharing her good news , like she expected.

“I heard Kim Minju gushing over you for saving the meeting today. Apparently it was tanking before you came like a hero swooping in to save the day. She thinks you're cool, Kim Chaewon. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that's the first step to get someone to like you.”

 

Wednesday passes by in daydreams and frightening grins. 

 

-

 

“Unnie,” — not sunbaenim, because Chaewon told her not to call her that, — “What day is it today?”

Minju probably asks to fill in the elevator's silence. It would take about 2 minutes to reach their floors, so why spend it in an awkward silence? “Oh, it's Thursday.”

“It's Thursday.” She repeats herself. Already?

“Minju,”

“Hm?”

“What would it take for me to get your number?”

 

-

 

It's Friday and Yena wants to punch Chaewon's face so bad, it physically hurts her. 

She's been making that stupid face all day. 

Is it supposed to be smug or ecstatic? She can't tell. For some reason, she keeps bragging she got Minju's number. Yena doesn't know why. The way she asked for it was incredibly boring. She doesn't know why Minju even gave it to her. 

The younger girl must be either super bored or just easy to please. She doesn't know and she doesn't want to know.

“You're a cheeky bastard.”

Chaewon just smiles. “I know.”

 

 

[8]



“Is this your idea of a date?” Minju huffs. 

“If you want to escape from our families breathing down our necks, then this is the best you'll get, Princess.

Chaewon feels a (sick) sense of accomplishment as Minju rolls her eyes. 

She doesn't get it, does she?

There's no way they'd be able to find the two of them. They're in a run-down ice cream parlour in a whole different city—Chaewon went through the trouble of getting them out of town undetected, and all she gets in return is annoyed sighs and glares. 

It's not like she wanted to go on this date, anyway. 

“Do you seriously like that toothpaste flavour?”

She looks up to see Minju trying to show her disinterest in every humanly possible way ever. The woman has her head rested on one hand, plays around with her ice cream—strawberry, was it?—as it melts, her eyes wander to each crevice of the parlour and she speaks with so much lethargy Chaewon can't find the will to reply. 

She musters up a glare. Minju is too busy being bored, so she doesn't see it. “Or did you just order it to get on my nerves?”

Tch. The world doesn't revolve around you, you know. Mint chocolate is superior and will always be.”

“So you ordered it just to get on my nerves, I see.” 

It shouldn't even be called a date.

Chaewon would never go on a date with someone who hated mint chocolate chip ice cream. That's basically a crime. 

It's not a date—it's a business tactic. Her parents kept calling it a date so much she had no choice but to label it as one. There's no way she would willingly go on a date with Kim Minju. She's had enough emotional blackmailing from her mom and dad that she had no other choice. 

 

“How long do we have to be here?”

Fuck, there's still two hours to go to make it seem like they went on a date date. 

“A long time.” 

“Wow. I could be doing so many better things at the moment and yet—”

“Yes, you're stuck with me. Boohoo. Someone come rescue the Princess.” 

The sarcasm is not appreciated. Chaewon doesn't care. “Ugh, I can't believe my dad expects me to date you. Why can't they just make a normal business deal like any other businessmen would?”

“They don't want a business deal. They want to merge the companies together—and your dad doesn't want you to date me. They expect us to get married.” 

Minju shivers at the words, evidently. “Firstly—ew. Secondly—what would they even call the new company? KimKim or something?” 

She shrugs. “They won't have a company to name anyway. I'd give up being the heiress to my company if it meant marrying you.”

Chaewon gets a condescending smile. “The feeling's mutual.” 

Five minutes—or was it four?—three, maybe?—pass, she can't tell: her ice cream is all melted, the only employee in the store is asleep at the counter and Minju lets out another sigh. 

It's not like Chaewon wants to be here any more than Minju does. It's no wonder their mutual group of friends—rich kids, basically—find it unsurprising that Chaewon hates her. She's spent her whole life being compared to the younger (“ better ,” as dad says) Kim. Living in her shadow, if you will. 

To think Minju hadn't grown up with the same predicament would be a reach. She can't say that she doesn't know much about her: but she knows one thing for sure. Kim Minju hates her. 

“Can we leave already?”

Chaewon huffs. Seems like Minju needs to have everything spelt out clearly for her. 

“It's barely been an hour since we left. Don't you think it would be susp— Give me your hand.”

“What?”

With a pleasant smile, Chaewon reaches out for her hand that's still meddling with her melting ice cream. 

She places a light kiss at the centre of her palm, just for good measure. 

Thankfully, Minju seems to have got the cue. She looks down, bashful and curtains her face with her hair. 

“What the fuck are you doing?”

What? Didn't she see them? 

“Your dad's guys. Poorly disguised and stalking around the shop.” 

She's acting for her life here. If Minju's dad found out she was treating his daughter anything less than a princess she wouldn't live to see another day. Chaewon laces their fingers together and leans in to whisper to her. 

“Let's go somewhere else. I don't think they're leaving any time soon.”

 

“Put in a good word for me. I don't want to die because of a Kim that's not my dad.” Chaewon says to her on their way to her car. It's a bit hard to reach for her keys since the younger girl is clinging onto her arm, but there's nothing she can do about it. “You owe me. Big time.” Minju says in her ear and pulls back with a smile. 

She sighs. 

Only the devil could be this bewitching. 


-


“She's nice and all, but I don't think she's the one for me, dad. Besides, I think she's dating someone else.”

He frowns at her. “What did I tell you about lying, Minju?” 

Minju's dad tells her too many stories about his life that she doesn't know which conclusion to draw from. Was it the one where you should know when to lie instead of being honest all the time like a fool or the one with honesty saving you from the unnecessary problems that come with lying? 

“I don't know, that it's bad?”

“This is a crucial part of your life and you still want to lie about it.” He says with his disappointed glare™. “I know that you and Chaewon are dating.”

What? What do you mean?”

“Your uncle passed by the two of you on your date and told me it was going a little too well for a first date. Not to mention, you kissed her right in front of the gates, in my presence. Anyone can tell you're dating Kim Chaewon.”

Oh, for fuck's sake. Maybe she went overboard with this one. 

“Dad… I'm not lying though…”

“Honey, it's nothing to be ashamed of. A dad always knows. And besides, don't think I forgot about your little crush in high school.”

 

She's really done it for herself now.

Well, Chaewon can pay her back with going along with this lie, maybe. 

 

 

[17]




“We've been friends for six years and you won't tell me? Were those six years all fake? Six years of wasting—”

“—Fine! Stop your melodrama already, I'll tell you.” 

“You know Kang Hyewon, right?”

Hyewon-sunbae ? The grandiose thing that happened today is about her?”

“Yes.”

“Does she even know you exist?”

“Apparently, since she asked me out on a—a date…”

“No way.”

Yes way. She asked if I was free after school, that she wants to go to this new restaurant with me and all.”

“...I know you're the whole school's crush but—but Kang Hyewon? I almost can't believe it.”

 

“Did you say yes?”

“Um, Hyewon- sunbae is known for being kind and caring and I thought I'd give her a chance. I should live my life a little, like Yujin said.”

“Oh.”

“What's with that reaction? Be more enthusiastic! This is the first I'm going out on a date in years,

“I don't know, Minju, what if she's a secret casanova or something? It's always the silent ones, you know.”

“Tch. You're silent and you're not exactly a hit with the ladies, are you?”

Ehem. No need to make fun of my love life, Ms. Kim.”

“Maybe you should learn how to accept the truth, Ms. Kim.”


-


“She was so sweet! I didn't think she would be that chivalrous—maybe she was too excited about the food but she was like perfect girlfriend material. I'm hoping for a second date, it was that good.”

“Was it? Was it really? Or are you just rubbing it in my face?”

“A little bit of both. Why are you so doubtful of her? She's not the big bad wolf you think of her to be.”

“I don't know—but it's always the silent ones, I'm telling you. There's just something off about her—I can feel it.”

“Unnie, are you—are you jealous?”

“Of what? And why the fuck are you laughing?”

“Aww, Ssamu-unnie , you'll always be my favourite unnie, don't worry! We're not best friends for nothing— six years, remember?”

“Get your disgusting finger hearts out of my face. I'm not jealous. It's your life and you can do what you want with it, Minju- yah.

“I know, unnie, I'm just messing with you~!”


-


“Is it right for me to feel like this?”

“Maybe you just feel possessive of her; you both were always together before they started dating and maybe you're just coping with the change.”

“Wait—they're dating?”

“Aren't they?”

“Are they?”

“I don't know. Yena told me they're dating but you can never trust what she says, you know.”

“Dammit. Haven't you ever felt jealous if Yena dated someone else? Or have you felt like if she did, you would be jealous?”

“Well, she says she has no interest in dating—and we're just friends, why should I would I feel jealous?”

“Wow: we're just a pair of cowards. Jo Yuri and Kim Chaewon, your local cowards.”

“I'm not a coward! You know what? Maybe you do have feelings for Minju after all. A best friend would be supportive of a relationship, not bitter and constantly complaining about how you would be such a better girlfriend.”


-


“Minju, why haven’t I formally met your girlfriend yet?”

“She’s kinda intimidated by you. Maybe you should tone down the resting bitch face every time you see her.”

“But I’m your best friend. I have to give her my approval or some corny shit like that.”

“I don’t know—maybe I don’t you to meet her.”

“Why?”

“Maybe you won’t like her.”

“No need to worry about that;”

Let’s get the pain over with already.



[29]



It's her again. 

Chaewon sees her here every Friday. 

She can tell it's her because every time she enters, it seems like a silence overtakes the club just to welcome her in. She gets why.

The woman always comes in after 10, never a minute earlier. It's no different tonight. 

“Hey.” 

Her signature smile and her signature style—a hoodie and skinny jeans. Chaewon isn't sure how, but the woman always manages to pull it off. “Hey, the usual?”

Before she can answer, the same thing happens. She wonders why she bothers bringing any money to the club—everyone wants to buy her a drink, anyway. It's embarrassing that even their manager tried to hit on her only to be rejected in front of the whole staff. That was a good laugh. 

This time, it's a girl—another regular, except she's usually here on Saturdays: Chaewon wonders why she's here on a Friday, but she doesn't really care. This girl comes to the club more for the dancing than the drinking, she supposes. She never leaves shitfaced and wasted. 

“Can I buy you a drink?”

She says yes. Chaewon used to wonder why she did most of the time. 

“I'm just curious about people—and I wanna see how far they're willing to go,”

“And how far is that?”

“Far enough to end up in a pretty girl's bedroom.”

“Confident much?”

“What about it?”

Before she says it, Chaewon starts making a rum and coke. 

“2 mojitos, please.” 

She raises a brow at that. The woman gives her a teasing smile. She's in a mood to play around today, maybe. “I'm Lee Chaeyeon. Own a dance studio on the other side of town.”

 

It's kinda funny, even after seeing her for all these weeks—Chaewon's never really learnt her name. She never says it to the people at the bar. It's always a “If you're lucky enough, you'll find out tonight.” 

She can see the hopes rise on this Chaeyeon's face. She shakes her head at the woman's game. It'll end the same way like any other night. Chaewon knows what's going to happen. 

They'll talk for a while, the woman will smile her pretty girl smile and laugh her pretty girl laugh and Chaewon'll watch as her company gets enamored with the way her dimples slightly show in the dim lighting of the club. 

If she's interested enough, she'll leave with the stranger. Otherwise, it's just another Friday night alone at the club. (Not alone, since Chaewon's there to keep her company anyways.)

She doesn't expect it to be any different. 

Luckily for Chaeyeon, she seems to be interested. 

—Okay, maybe not that much. The woman comes back with a sigh, taking her usual place and orders a rum and coke. 

“Well? What went wrong?”

“Only one word— rebound . Too caught up with her ex.”

She chuckles. “That's why you shouldn't say yes to everything. You're not Jim Carrey in Yes Man, you know.” The woman laughs at her stupid joke. Chaewon thinks it's one of those small things that make her week better. 

“She was interesting, though. Maybe if she moved on, then…”

Again, the same story. The woman doesn't usually go out to the dance floor and today is no different. When she isn't intrigued enough by the people in the club, she stays till it closes down.

Chaewon never asks more from her. She does the same. 

 

Maybe there's something different about today. 

Maybe it was the contrast with her white hoodie and black skinny jeans that did it. 

Maybe it was the way she let her hair down instead of in a loose ponytail like the other weeks. Maybe it was because of the way her cheeks had a pink tint—or maybe it was nothing at all. 

It could be nothing at all, Chaewon's just feeling confident today. It's any other Friday, but it's not. 

She gets the pleasure of closing up today. 

“Hey,” she calls out. 

“Hmm?”

“The night's still young, isn't it? Go out with me for a while.”

The woman grins. “Why should I?”

“I don't know. Do you need a reason to?”

“I suppose not. What happened to not saying yes to everyone?”

She makes final checks to the locks and turns to face her. “Make me an exception, then.”

“And wait—tell me your name,”

“If you're lucky enough,”

Chaewon grins. 

“You'll find out tonight.”

 

(It's not that night she finds it out.

Minju , she learns one day she's uninterested in the club patrons again, has the bad habit of talking on the phone with the speaker on.

Minju looks like a frog, apparently, so her mom scolds her with the nickname for being out so late when her parents are going to visit her tomorrow.

Minju looks even better when she's flustered, Chaewon decides.)



[42]




“This date better be worth it, Nako. You remember how much of a disaster last time was.”

Ugh, we don't talk about that mess. I can't even imagine… you and Sakura ? You and the most perfect woman on this planet? I can't forget the second hand embarrassment, that's literal—”

“Okay, I get it. No need to remind me. Let's just hope this one goes well.”

“This time you better hold out till the end —no running away because they're too intimidating or too out of your league or—or anything. You better go through the whole date or your love life will not be going anywhere—”

“Yes, I will stay till the end of the date. I promise.” Chaewon cuts Nako off. She wonders how the girl has the energy to talk so much when she's barely four feet above the ground. 

“You better. This girl is your soulmate and that's final. I actually did a background check on her and you guys match so—”

“I think I'll be the judge of that, Nako. You said the same thing about Moe and we all know where that went.”

 

“Anyways, I think she's here. Hot pink, right?”The call ends with Nako telling her go get her, tig— (she cuts it short because she is not going to hear that come out of her best friend's mouth). 

She finishes putting on her skates and wiggles her toes in them.

Nako wasn't kidding when she said her date would stand out in a crowd. 

 

“Pink dye… out of all colours…” 

She mentally prepares herself to face the woman. 

Wrong, she should've been physically preparing herself. 

The moment she steps into the rink and catches the woman's attention with a tap on the shoulder: it happens too fast. 

Firstly; she learns her date is a clutz. She doesn't know how to skate (or at the very least, she must be a beginner) and can't manage a turn. Secondly, her date is pretty. Maybe it's the flaring colour of her hair, she doesn't know. But she's someone she needs to get a better look at. 

Thirdly—what thirdly

She gets a better look. There's no thirdly, what more can she learn about her?

“Kim Minju, is that you?”


-


“This cafe, out of all places?”

“Come on, it's a nice night to drown in nostalgia.” Chaewon chuckles as she opens the door for the younger woman. 

They decide to leave the skating rink out of consideration for Minju's inability to actually skate. When she asks why on earth she would agree to a skating date when she can't skate; Minju says she was hoping for her date to be romantic and teach her how to. 

She sighs at that. The girl is still a hopeless romantic. 

(Chaewon doesn't think she has the right to feel the way she feels when she imagines someone maneuvering Minju's movements as she fails to skate on her own.)

(She feels, nonetheless.)

“I'll have coffee… no—milk tea it is.”

Minju gives her a look and she ignores it. “The same, with ginger and cardamom.”

“How have you been? It's been, what, four years already?”

“Yeah, four years… I'm doing fine. What about you?”

“You know me, I'm the same as always.”

Silence. 

She can't say it's uncomfortable. A strange sense of contentment fills her seeing the younger woman, to see she's doing well. It takes her back to when they were young. All she does is look at her with a fond smile. 

“Do you remember the time we got kicked out of here?”

Finally, she manages a laugh out of her. 

“That was all your fault, you know? If you weren't messing around with my laptop, then we wouldn't be scolded by the owner!”

Yah , you were provoking me.”

“Well you were the one who kept trying to—!”

Oh, right. 

Chaewon was the one trying to get a kiss from her for winning the photography competition. She refused because the older girl won with a picture of her fooling around at the beach. It was picturesque, of course, but did she need to title it KMJ ? Did the whole school need to know she thought it would be nice to build a sandman—no, become a sandwoman?

She hears her clear her throat. 

“Well, it's been such a long time since then… what have you been up to? Oh yeah, did you get into SNU?”

(Minju wonders why she asks. She obviously knows, anyway.)

“Yeah…”

It begins to drizzle outside, lightly. Rather than looking at pedestrians passing by, Chaewon scrutinizes this cafe she once thought of as her safe haven. It hasn't changed at all. 

Trot songs continue to be the only thing on the owner's playlist. 

Faint white lights against green walls. The red of the employees' uniforms. Peeling posters of forgotten actors. The slight creak of the door whenever a new customer enters, the warmth of the cafe; and of course. 

Chaewon and Minju.

It feels like nothing has changed. 

It seems like she hasn't changed.

But, she knows everything has changed.

And she knows Minju well enough to know she's changed. 

 

“Are you seeing anyone?” 

“If I was, I think they would be mad at me for going on a blind date, right?” She grins.

Minju flushes at the realization. “O-Oh, right.” 

“Who set you up?

“Yuri—she's my friend from SNU. We work together now.”

“My friend who set me up, Nako, said I did a background check on her and blah—but she didn't exactly do a good job, did she? She couldn't even tell we used to date,”

“Yuri said the same thing! She was like she's perfect for you! She's your one and only and you better stick out till the end. She's the love of you lifetime, I'm telling you! and——I'm talking too much, aren't I…”

Minju laughs and gives herself a knock on the head. “Not at all. It's nice to hear you speak after so long.”

Tch , as if you didn't nag at me for blabbering all the time back in high school.”

“Ah, it was really hard back then. I think I lost hearing in this ear, you know,” she says, tugging at her right ear and snapping at it. 

Unnie , don't be like that,” Minju whines. 

She rolls her eyes. Minju rarely ever calls her unnie. 

When they first met, the girl mistook her for being the same year and showed her no respect. Not like she did after she found out Chaewon was a year above her, but still. 

The seventh (yes, she kept count) time Minju called her unnie, she supposed, was when it started. 

“Unnie, how do I look~?”

Minju has always been the impulsive type. Doing what she wants when she wants to do it. Chaewon doesn't know how she put up with her for this long. Her rational personality tells her to keep Kim Minju and all the disorder that comes with her away from her clear-cut, organized life. 

Chaewon thinks she's becoming irrational these days. 

“What stupid decision did you take now…”

It's starting to become a habit for the younger girl to disturb her at the cafe. The one place she thinks she can have to herself, but no. Kim Minju monopolizes her time here too. 

She clicks her tongue and takes a look at her. 

“Oh.”

“What, does unnie not like it~?”

Sometimes she thinks Minju loves playing around with her. A telltale sign is that shit eating grin whenever she knows she leaves her speechless. 

The grin looks just the same, except now Minju's hair is a light orange and she looks so pretty that she thinks her heart is going to explode. 

“It doesn't matter if I like it or not, Minju.”

“But, you look really pretty as always, you know.”

“By the way, you look good with your pink hair. Only a few can pull that off, you know.”

She pouts. “Thank you for that, Chaewon- ie. Yujin keeps saying I look like a walking highlighter.” 

Ahn Yujin? You two are still in contact?”

“Oh, we are! As if the kid could live without me.”

“I can't even imagine she can. The way she followed you around like a lovesick puppy will never leave my mind…” She shudders a bit remembering the younger girl's antics with her then girlfriend. Minju chuckles in response. 

“It was just a childish crush.”

“I know.”

“You do?”

“Yeah.”

“But you still got jealous over it, though,”

“I did not— ” 

There it is again. That shit eating grin looks more shit eating after four whole years. “ Yah, Kim Minju!”

She doesn't have the heart to scold the younger girl, not when her dimples show as she laughs: even if it's at her expense. 

Why did this have to end again?

“No, but Yujin is a good kid. She helped me a lot after—um… after we broke up…”

Minju is also the type to get too immersed in what she says. 

No wonder she can't hear properly these days, how can she when Minju always clings on to her arm and tells her everything she's been through in the day? 

“I heard Eunbi-sunbae and Hyewon-sunbae were caught holding hands outside of school… since when does holding hands count as dating? There's no end to gossip, I tell you. If holding hands is dating, then what's linking arms supposed to be? Marriage?”

It's a rhetorical question, right? She hopes Minju doesn't expect an answer when she literally has their hands in her coat's pocket because “it's winter and I feel cold”.

“I'm talking to you, Kim Chaewon.”

“I don't know; if Eunbi and Hyewon are dating for holding hands then what are you and I doing?”

“We're obviously more than—than dating… of course...” 

The problem with Kim Minju is she sometimes speaks without thinking. 

That just causes Kim Chaewon's thoughts to go from 0 to 81 in 5.2 seconds.

“We are?” She cocks a brow.

“W-We aren't! I just…”

Minju lets go of her hand and puts it back to her side.

“Kim Minju, aren't you cold?”

“No.”

Obviously not. She looks so red it's cute. 

“Kim Minju, wanna go to the cafe?”

“Now?”

“Yeah.”

“No.”

“Kim Minju.”

Minju exasperates. “What?”

“I like you.”

Seems like Minju still speaks without thinking. 

Well, they managed a good half an hour without bringing it up, anyway. 

“Oh.”

She stares at the bottom of the tea cup. Chaewon feels a bitter taste come up her throat. Maybe it's just the tea she had—it probably is. She never liked sweet things in the first place. She stopped drinking coffee because Minju hated everything about it back then—but she can't help but feel the bitterness comes from something else. 

“Can you be honest with me?” 

 

“Why did you break up with me? I know the reason you told me is pure bullshit. I never asked for the truth and you never told… but can you tell me now? It's been four years…” 

She feels a sigh leave her lips after the warmth of the tea fills her chest. 

“I don't love you anymore, that's why.”

“I didn't want to drag you down. I didn't want to be a dead weight to you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Minju- yah … you know I'm not that smart, right? I'm good at photography and all, but when it comes to education, I'm a failure. I don't feel bad about that but—but you're brilliant. You're the smartest person I've met. If we kept dating after you got into the best college in the country… I would just come in your way. Being with me isn't worth—”

“Don't say that.”

“No, I mean to say—you deserved someone—”

“I deserved you, unnie. I only wanted you.”

Curse Kim Minju, she still says stuff like this.

She doesn't know what to say. “I'm sorry.”

“I know.”

The rain stops, only scattered droplets remain. 

“Wait—are you crying?”

Though Minju shakes her head a firm no, it doesn't stop Chaewon from sliding beside the younger girl and trying to comfort her however she can. “Someone once told me there's no use in crying over the past…”

“I'm not crying over the past, I stand by my words, Kim Chaewon. I'm just—I'm mad at you.”

What ? Why?”

“You're such an idiot.”

She can feel the owner's piercing glares from across the counter. She knows other customers are taking second glances at them. It's like she's nineteen all over again. 

She knows she's not. 

“I know.”

 

“Can you forgive me?”


-


“How did it go?” 

“How long does a degree in computer science take?”

“I don't know, four years?”

Nako looks down on the older girl, face down into her bed and showing no signs of life. “What? Thinking about changing your career now? And how did your date go? Was it that bad?”

Four years? Are you sure?” 

“Yes.” 

It's disturbing. The way Chaewon slowly rises and faces her, a disgusting smile on her face. The way she gets up and hugs her. The way spins her around and dances like a madwoman.

“It wasn't a date, by the way. You set me up with my ex.”




[78]




Should she risk using her signature arrow? 

The last time she did, Minju had to go through the trouble of coercing the weapons master to give it back.

She shouldn't have to struggle for her. 

“Why settle for a letter tonight?”

“What do you mean?”

The Commander in Chief shifts her gaze upwards to emphasize her statement. “It's a magnificent night. Orion rules the kingdom of the sky and the moon is full. Why would you let this beautiful night slip away when you could spend it with her?”

Yujin is right. 

She could write countless words to describe the quiet night and how she fails to compare it to quiet beauty in the castle, she could attempt to put her yearning into words and she could make good use of the literature classes she attended in her tender years; but it would be futile. 

It would be better to tell her, though her words might fail her in the moment. Shooting her arrow and a letter with it is just another way to rouse suspicion. 

“But there's no possibility of her leaving the castle. The King intensified his guards after the revolution—while that may be something we can take pride in, it is nothing but a pain to deal with now.” 

“You should break in, then.”

She scoffs. “If you're done fooling around, it'd help if you came up with some real solutions, Commander.”

“General Kim,” she starts, voice dripping with disbelief in the stupidity of the General, “I can ascertain the Princess is upset with you at the moment for avoiding contact these two months. If you were to ask her to leave the castle by herself just for you , I doubt she would even look your direction anymore. Are you sure you could bear with that?”

If only the squadron was here now, Yujin thinks. They'd see their almighty General pouting like a child with a (not so) intimidating glare. “It's not as if I did it on purpose. We were too busy planning the kidnapping of Minister Park for me to spend time with her.”

“You've already broken in before, how hard would it be to do it again?”

The Commander in Chief takes her silence as a sign to continue. “You could pose as a knight to get in. Or, you could jump the wall and take down the guards by her room. Entering through the back of her room would be possible too, I heard the guards aren't around there as much. You could start a commotion to direct attention elsewhere… for a General, you should be to come up with these ideas, you know.”

She swears it was a moment that she turned away to check if anyone was listening in on them. 

She sees only the General's coat in front of her. 


-


The knock on the door is alarming. 

It's too late into the night for her to receive any visitors. Too late for anyone to be allowed into her room, if she's being accurate. 

Her Father told her never to open the door when it's past 10 in the night. It might be revolutionaries coming for your head , he warned, but she wishes to herself that it was revolutionaries (a revolutionary) —not coming for her head, but just wanting to see her. 

“Are you awake, Princess?” 

Palace guards. Why does it have to be them?

“What is it?”

“Please refrain from exiting the room at any cost. A knight was caught spreading conspiracies about the kingdom and causing a scuffle in the process. We suspect it to be the work of the Emance Organization. For the glory of the kingdom, it is best that you remain as you are. That will be all.”

She sighs and collapses back onto her bed. How much longer until the kingdom goes down in shambles? It's tiring to see her Father descend into paranoia every time something like this happens. 

Curse this revolution.

Not because she's a royal stuck up who thinks the people shouldn't fight for their rights and not because she wants the Kim kingdom to continue for centuries on; she doesn't get to see her because of the revolution. But then again, they met because of the revolution—so she can't curse at it wholeheartedly.

It's not fair. 

What exactly can she call the two of them?

Going on four dates—she's not sure if they're even dates—can't cement them as anything to each other. 

Is she just a person of interest

Is she something more?

Can she be something more?

Is it bad that she wants to see her?

“Now she plagues my mind all the time.” 

This—whatever this is—is taking a toll on her. 

It's a sickness—she imagines the General breaking the glass of her window—in a Knight's armour, on top of that—she sees her regretting the decision she makes because how on earth would she explain all that shattered glass on the floor?—and she approaches her, careful not to step on any glass—and she smiles at her—it's that infuriating smile—but it doesn't matter, all of it is a figment of her imagination.

She looks better in her coat, anyways. Why a knight of all things?

An illness. This has to be an illness for her mind to be this delusional. She turns to face her wall, unwilling to see the work of her mind and wills herself to sleep.

 

“Princess, you have every right to be upset with me but please take into consideration my efforts…”

It's not her first time in the girl's room, but to be here with everything that's going on outside the room—it feels different. 

It's strange. 

She can't sit beside her on the bed because, just because . It's awkward to simply stand beside the bed and if she knelt down it would feel like she's being knighted. That's not a life she wants to imagine. 

Crouching beside the bed, Chaewon reaches a hand out to catch Minju's attention—a moment's hesitation gets the best of her. Still, Minju turns, doubt painted across her face and an eyebrow raised to make her feel guiltier than she already is. 

“Are you really here…?” 

Hands cup around her face and thumbs press down into her cheekbones. She can feel herself heating up at the unexpected touch.  “Are you not well, Princess?”

Her eyes widen and she retracts her hands before sitting up on her bed. 

“Chaewon, what are you doing here? How did you even get in? Why are you wearing the insignia of the kingdom?”

“I changed my mind about being a revolutionary. I want to serve to kingdom now.” She makes a poor attempt at a joke: but she forgets Minju is naive enough to believe her. 

“...What happened to democratic ideals and universal emancipation? Would you rather face death fighting for the King than for a dream you've lived for nearly five years? With someone like you in the cavalry—”

“—I'm kidding, Princess.”

Minju rolls her eyes at her childish act. 

After a good laugh or two, she says, “As you can see, I broke your window to get in. I'm sorry, I couldn't find another way. Forgive my insolence…”

“Ah, and getting into the castle proved to be a hindrance. I simply followed everything my Commander in Chief said and true to her words, I ended up here.”

“You were the knight who caused the commotion outside?”

“Yes.”

 

“I haven't seen you in two months.”

“I apologize for that… I would be asking for a death sentence if the leader found out I tried to persuade you out of the castle.”

“You don't need to apologize. I know it's practically impossible for the two of us with the revolution going on. I'm not upset with you.” 

She feels the world lift off her shoulders when Minju gives her a gentle smile after that.  

“So why did you risk your life coming here? Did you miss me that much?”

Right, that's the reason she's here. 

Chaewon carefully pushes away the glass on the floor with her feet and makes her way to the window. She beckons Minju to follow suit.

“The stars are shining brighter tonight. I wanted to gaze at them with you.” 

Now that—that seems counter effective at the moment.

Orion rules the kingdom of the sky. The moon is full and the night is magnificent. 

However, it doesn't matter. 

What matters is the way Minju blushes when she coaxes her into looking into her eyes. Her smile while trying to name constellations. Her dimples showing at a joke as she laughs. Right now, nothing else matters except Minju. 

She was supposed to be stargazing yet; here she finds herself—unable to tear her gaze away from Kim Minju.

I cannot say I am afraid of death tonight; at least I would die seeing such a beautiful sight .”

“Is the fearsome General a secret Maester, underneath all the rumours of single handedly kidnapping Minister Lee?”

“What can I say, Princess, it seems I can be whatever you will me to be.”

Minju turns to face her with a crooked smile on her face. “Not a Maester, just someone who knows their ways with words—a sweet mouth, simply put.”

There are many things Chaewon should say. Many things she thinks she should say. 

I like you, Princess.

I think I'm in love with you.

But the night is perfect. 

Tranquility is unattainable as long as she's the General of the Revolutionary Emance, but the moment is serene.

“Chaewon.”

She pretends as if she wasn't staring at her all this time. Minju holds out her hand and she takes it into her own. Her hands are cold, so she interlaces their fingers. “Hm?”

The Princess shakes her head. 

“Minju.”

“...what is it?”

“Nothing, I just wanted to call you by your name.”



[???, i n t e r m i s s i o n]




You don't know what to do with this information. 

Why is it always her

To be more precise, why is always the two of you ? More precisely, why both of you

Even more precisely, why is it that you two keep falling in love?

Honestly, travelling across the multiverses isn't talked about much in the time travelers' community—it brings unnecessary existential dread and causes the universe (which universe, though, they never mention) to speed up by a billionth of a billionth of a second—but you don't really care about all of that. 

And since there aren't exactly any rules stopping you from looking into your own timelines, you do it anyway. 

(Your parents give you an earful now and then, but it's nothing you can't deal with.)

Every single life—every single universe—every single period of time—it's her. 

You don't get it.

Even your big galaxy crunching time traveling brain doesn't get it. 

Why do you keep falling in love with Kim Chaewon? 

 

What makes her special to you?

She seems like a forgettable face. Nothing too remarkable about her. Then again, nothing's too remarkable about you either. 

Maybe that's why you keep ending up with her. Two mediocre people with intertwined timelines. It barely makes sense, though.

Why you and her

You've traveled across the universe and through time long enough to meet countless insignificant people in your life. Why do none of them have connected timelines?  

You've been through Chaewon's timelines too (come on, there's no intergalactic law preventing you from doing it so you're technically not doing a bad thing,) and she always ends up with you. 

For reasons you can't understand, half of your realities with Chaewon begin with her being a— tsundere, was it?—to you—it just opens up an entirely different set of problems, so you tend not to think of it much. 

In one universe she dates Hitomi—a sweetheart, an angel, the cutest person you've ever met and yet—she still ends up falling in love with you. Why, just why would you ever break up with Honda Hitomi? Once she left Jang Wonyoung— the Jang Wonyoung—to be with you. 

You can't come up with a logical reason. 

 

Also, why is it the same 10 people the most involved in all of your realities? You don't know. It's probably the same reason why sometimes the timelines; they get a little bizarre. Last time you checked, you—as in the time traveling you, Kim Minju—cannot sing or dance or even act for your life. How on Earth (Earth, of all places) did you end up in the same reality show and subsequently the same band as her? 

Isn't this what earthlings call fate? Destiny? She's your soulmate?

You wonder if the Kim Chaewon that's supposed to fall in love with you has the same suspicions.

The time traveling Kim Chaewon, she's bound to be curious about why they keep ending up together, right? 

Will your Kim Chaewon be as kind as she generally tends to be? Will she be rude and live up to the tsundere stereotype? Will she be batshit insane and essentially make the two of you be in a toxic relationship? Will she be whipped for you?

You don't know all that. You think you'll find out soon. 

All these doubts rise in your mind because there she is, only a few feet away from you. Your Kim Chaewon. 

You don't know anything about her. Or maybe, you know everything about her. Time—it's wibbly-wobbly, you see. 

A definite statement you can make is your Kim Chaewon, she has pink hair. She's pretty like that. You've already seen all possible hairstyles on her but for you, the you whose life you are experiencing to see it in person has a profound effect. 

You're at a party. A get together? Ball? You can't remember. It was some event and you happened to materialize here. Might as well have some fun if you were led here, right? She's at this party too. 

Is this how you two meet?

Will she come up and ask you for a dance?

What if your Kim Chaewon is a coward and you have to ask her instead? 

You just have to see how time plays out for you. 

You put the glass in your hand down on the bar counter just in case. If you're dead set on confronting her today, then you might as well do it sober.

Until your senses are lost in the scent of oranges—or was it the center of the Andromeda? You don't remember. What's more important is the arms that wrap around your waist and the sweet voice in your ear. You barely catch on to what it demands of you.

“Just do as I say, Kim Minju.”

“What?”




[1]




“W-What?”

“You're pretending, right? To be a bad girl . Or at least fit into the stereotype of a bad girl. Why?”

Fuck. Chaewon's been exposed. And by Minju, of all people. Well, it's not like she was pretending to be bad, she was trying to adapt to a new lifestyle. A lifestyle that involves being bad. That's all.

It's the truth. So, she tells Minju just that. 

The younger girl looks at her in disbelief. “Why would you do that?”

If she answered that, it would basically be her confessing her feelings for Minju. But—she thinks Minju already knows she likes (loves) her a lot. She wouldn't have spent every Saturday for the past two months with her for no reason, after all. Chaewon is transparent with her feelings. It wouldn't take a genius to figure that out. A sigh leaves her lips. Might as well tell her. 

“You remember back in your second year, Yuri asked you what your type was? We were playing some stupid game and she kept pressing for answers to questions like that? You said you like bad girls.”

Silence. Her car is suffocating in the inside so she offers for them to go out. That's why she drove all the way here, anyway. To look at the view outside, not confined inside her car. 

Once they're out, Minju leans against the hood of the car. “So you made a move two years later?”

“Well—you said you weren't interested in dating anyone in college, so,” 

 

“Unnie, you're ridiculous.”

Ouch. 

You hear rather than see. You turn to see her on the verge of a fit of giggles. She's… laughing? 

She's laughing at you. Oh.

“I know.”

“Listening to Michael Jackson's Bad on repeat won't make you bad , you know?”

It's ironic how the song happens to be playing on your car's stereo. You huff and take the keys out of the ignition. “Unnie, you're one of the mildest persons I know. Though I have to admit, it was fun watching you keep up the bad girl facade all this time,”

You pout. You can do that now, you suppose. “You're lucky I like you, Kim Minju.”

There's no point in being inconspicuous, so you say it. She doesn't respond. Instead, she makes her way over to where you're seated on the car. She gestures you to come forward and when you're close enough, she takes hold of the lapels of your jacket.

You've always thought Minju is beautiful. 

Her eyes, you think, are the most captivating pair you've ever seen. You never got a proper look at them. It's probably because you're too shy to look into her eyes for that long. But now, you can see the stars in her eyes clearly. 

Brown—albeit a deep brown, you learn to appreciate the colour in the few seconds you get to witness it. That's funny, you always thought her eyes were black. 

Her eyes close. Oh , she's kissing you. 

 

Is it supposed to feel like fireworks? 

Is it supposed to feel like time is slowing down and like they're the only two people in the universe? Is she supposed to feel her heart jumping out of her chest? Is she supposed to see the universe in her eyes? 

Chaewon doesn't know. 

She's too lost in Minju's strawberry flavoured chapstick. Too lost in the vanilla scent that intoxicates her. Too lost with how soft Minju's lips are on her own. 

She pulls back with a smile on her face. Chaewon doesn't see it, her eyes still closed, as if replaying the moment in her head. 

“Does this mean we're official now?”

“Not yet.”

“Then why'd you kiss me?”

To keep you going? ” Doubt lilts her voice. 

She chuckles. Kim Minju hasn't fallen in love with her just yet. 

(“Should I keep wearing these leather jackets?”

“...Maybe keep them for a little while longer.”)



[343]




Chaewon is a horrible kisser. 

Minju can say she saw this coming. It wouldn’t make sense if she was a good kisser. No one can be that perfect. 

Or maybe she’s horrible kisser because she’s too nervous. Chaewon is a naturally reserved person, shy with an intimidating facade to compensate for it: so her nerves must be getting the best of her.

It’s no secret that she’s enamoured with Minju. Minju knows. She thinks the whole club knows. She’s pretty sure Chaewon knows she knows. She’s never embarrassed because of that, though.

She's enamoured with her, so if she kisses her (not really) out of the blue, it's only natural that's she's nervous.

There’s no way to prove her theory right until she tests it. 

She leads the kiss this time, saving the older woman from her misery—but nothing changes. Chaewon is just a bad kisser. 

Well, everyone is bound to be flawed. You can’t be rich, influential, sweet, kind, surprisingly good at dancing and a good kisser all at once. It’s not realistic. 

Minju thinks of Chaewon as an escape from her reality. Therefore, it comes out after little deliberation.

“Chae, you’re not a good kisser.”

Maybe she should’ve told her before, she would get to see the sight of her ears turning a bright red earlier. It’s cute, the way the blush spreads to her face and a stutter hangs on her words.

“O-Oh, really?”

Minju wonders if she’s like this with everyone. Careful with her words, always so smiley and… soft . It would be concerning if she was, how on earth would someone like that lead a company? She’s probably this way because she likes her. “I didn’t know, sorry.”

“You don’t need to be sorry for that, sweetie.”

She must’ve dated people who were bad kissers as well. Right. That makes perfect sense. Even if she didn’t, no one had the heart to tell her she was a bad kisser. It’s pure logic. 

“When was your first kiss?”

She’s not sure why she’s so adamant to get to the bottom of this mystery. In her mind, Chaewon is the closest anyone can be to perfection. She supposes that’s why. She doesn’t want to believe that this almost perfect person is a horrible kisser.

“Um…”

With how hesitant she looks, it can’t be a good memory. That’s nothing out of norm, Minju wouldn’t exactly be pleased trying to remember her first kiss either. “Now?”

“You won’t be back here for another week so, yeah. Tell me now—”

“No—that’s not what I meant…”

Oh, how much cuter can Kim Chaewon get?

“Am I your first kiss?” Minju asks, barely able to hide her smile.

She nods. “And how has someone like you have to have your first kiss with someone like me ?”

“What do you mean by that? I’m glad that it’s you, Minju. Don’t think of yourself like that…”

“I’m kidding, Miss Self-Love-Warrior. I mean to ask, why ?”

Chaewon’s shoulders rise as she heaves a sigh. “I don’t know, I was never interested in anyone.”

Minju remains silent, urging her to continue.

“Since my dad died and the future of the company was thrust into my hands at such a young age, I told myself I couldn’t fail no matter what. I had to uphold my dad’s reputation and I didn’t care how I’d do it. I just worked, and worked, and worked for years—eventually, my friends were concerned with the way I was burning myself out. So… they brought me here on my birthday. Saying I should live my life a little and,” another sigh leaves her lips, “Et voila. The rest is history.”

History it is. 

Minju knows life has been a bitch to her for so long she can't remember how it is to live a decent life. She knows an enormous amount of bad luck caused her to end up the way she is now.

But by a trick of fate, a line of destiny or whatever—she happened to be working that day and happened to catch Chaewon's (her friend's, being more exact) eye. 

From that day: Minju would say she dared to dream again. 

She pulls in Chaewon for a hug, hoping her silent words would get through.

They always do.

“Won’t you get in trouble for kissing me?”

“No, not unless my boss finds out. You’re not exactly gonna run out there and tell him, are you?” Chaewon shakes her head a firm no. 

“That's a relief. Now I can teach you all there is to kissing. Maybe even more than that, baby.”

She's not sure if Chaewon heard everything she said. Her mind seems to be going haywire because of the 'baby'.



[???]



You don't expect it, but your Kim Minju is stronger than she looks.

You bring a hand up to touch your cheek. It stings. Perfect.

“Thanks for that,” you tell her once the woman bothering you for the past two weeks disappears.

She looks confused with the whole situation. “She was getting too attached to me and that’s a time traveler’s worst nightmare, right? I told her my girlfriend was waiting for me by the bar. My girlfriend wouldn’t be pleased to know I’m cheating on her and run into her arms all of a sudden—ergo, the slap. Foolproof, I know.” 

Does she know you’re Kim Chaewon? That you two are destined to be together or some bullshit?

“I’m Kim Chaewon, by the way.”

“I’m aware.”

She doesn’t pay you much attention. Is she the tsundere now? That would be refreshing, for once.

Your Kim Minju is just as pretty as all the other Kim Minjus you’ve seen before. You want to brag and say she’s even a little bit prettier.

“Hey, I think she’s coming back. I know you’ve already done me a huge favour, but can you kiss me? I think I really need to sell this angry girlfriend story,”

She takes a look around the ballroom—or is it a dancefloor? You aren’t sure,—to see if your words are genuine. They’re not. You’re a bit of a cheeky bastard, Minju doesn’t look pleased with that.  She glares at you and leaves the bar. 

Ooh, she’s pretty and feisty. 

You think you’re in love with your Kim Minju already.



[599]



Love blooms on the sets of ‘Violets; and a Rose’?

 

MBS’ popular drama Violets; and a Rose has taken the country by storm ever since the announcement of its star-studded cast—with renowned actordols Doh Kyungsoo and Kim Chaewon, to Baeksang winners Kim Minju and Yum Jeongah—and continues to be the talk of the town as each episode, filled with a stunning plot and impeccable direction weaved into one creates a hot topic every week. 

Not only the ratings rise each week, with the most recent episode grazing 18% viewership, but also possible romance between the lead actresses Kim Chaewon and Kim Minju

The KimKim couple, as fans affectionately call the pair; have been spotted at Han river welcoming spring on a date recently. The actresses are also known for the playful repertoire they have on their SNS, often posting photos together and leaving comments on each other’s posts. The country is eager to find out if their romance goes beyond the silver screen! Wizpatch has reached out to the actresses’ companies and is waiting for an official statement to be released.

 

[+1852, -56] F*ck, Kim Minju is so pretty I wish she was dating me instead,,,

[+1289, -32] Chaewon-unnie has taste! Unnie we love you no matter what!!!!

[+906, -445] Yah, do you think Seola really cheated on Jiyeon in the drama? Imagine if they turned out like that in real life 

                    [+1045, -1] The f*ck you giving spoilers for you piece of sh*t

[+743, -72] Dream Rocket's next comeback is gonna be a cheesy love song lol

[+520, -811] Tch. I can't believe Chaewon betrayed her fans like this. What a b*tch.

[+441, -10] KimKim couple hwaiting!!

[+20, -14] Isn’t Minju dating Ahn Yujin tho?

[+1,  -0] Yah yah I smell publicity stunt hmmmm




“So is there anything going on between you two?”

Her manager asks the moment she puts down the phone.  

Can there be anything going on between us two?”

“Well…” Chanhyuk sighs, seemingly displeased with the question, “Urban Works has no restrictions on dating so there's no problem from our side— if you're dating her, that is.”

“What about Chaewon?”

“Idol companies are strict with their saying bans and coming from a company like Woolim: well, I guess she doesn't have it easy— if she's—”

“Dating me, I know. What about the PDs of the drama? They don't have a problem with it?”

“No—and why would they? Your real life chemistry would make even more authentic scenes between Seola and Jiyeon, wouldn't it?”

“The public?”

“Mostly positive response. Aside from Chaewon's fans, there isn't much backlash from the public.”

“Hm.” 

Minju smiles at the man and prepares to leave for her next schedule. “Is that all?”

“Wait—!”

“Are you dating Kim Chaewon or not?”

She still has that annoying smile on her face. Chanhyuk wonders why he deals with this job everyday. 

“I don’t know, we’ll have to see.” 


-


“Well, if it isn’t one half of the KimKim couple! Where are you coming back from, a date with your girlfriend?”

Chaewon doesn’t expect the first thing to greet her when she enters the dorm to be a hyper Eunbi, but she supposes life never gives you what you expect. “What, am I wrong? Why are you glaring at me?”

A sigh leaves her being. “We’ve been through this before, unnie.” 

“Well, I think that’s a ton of bullshit. You wouldn’t be leaving shit like I miss you, come back soon on her instagram because she left to Jeju if you didn’t feel something for her.”

“It’s easy to pretend, you know that right? It’s the same as skinship we do with the members. We’re just playing around because we know it’ll amount to nothing. This is the same as that.”

The younger girl leaves for her room and slams the door to emphasize her anger. “What’s with her, love troubles?” Juri asks. Right. Chaewon didn’t tell the other members.

“Yeah, I guess.”

 

It takes ten knocks, two reprimandings and five please? s to get Chaewon to open up. 

By the time Eunbi closes the door behind her, she sprawls across her bed with her head in her hands. 

“I don’t know about Minju, but I’m worried for you. Is it really just for publicity?” 

“We agreed we would pretend like we’re dating as long as the drama runs—I mean, it certainly has brought more attention to the drama—and now there are even articles about it…”

“But you didn’t think of the consequences it would have in the long run.”

“I didn’t think I had to! We were messing around, that’s all.”

“The company just asked if I was really dating Kim Minju. Somehow Seohyung unnie convinced them the rumours would die out soon and we should just leave it be.”

Eunbi makes her way to her side and lays a hand on her shoulder. “Chaewon- ah, why don’t you end it? It doesn’t seem like a good idea to continue this stunt.”

She turns to face the older woman. “That’s the problem, unnie. I don’t want it to end. I caught feelings and they don’t seem like they’re gonna leave me alone.”


-


“I-I can’t believe you did this to me…”

“No! No, baby, it’s not what you think it is—I swear, I’d never do anything to hurt you.” Chaewon pleads, tears cloud her vision as she reaches out for Minju’s hands. 

Minju hesitates for a moment. She wants to keep Chaewon’s hands in her own, but no. She can’t. “I don’t know if I can trust you anymore. I want to believe you, my—my heart wants to trust in you, but—”

“Don’t say that, babe. You know I can’t live without you. I wouldn’t sabotage everything that makes me happy just like that—it’s—it’s all Baekoh’s plan, he wants to break us apart, please, listen to what I have to say,”

And Chaewon waits.

She waits, waits, and waits. It feels like forever. 

“Cut!” 

 

“We're done for the day! Thank you for your hard work!” The director announces into the air. 

Chaewon wipes the tears out of her eyes. 

“Your makeup is all messed up,” Minju tells her with a laugh.

She takes the wet tissue out of her hands and rids her of the ruined makeup. 

Chaewon can't stop a smile from spreading across her face. Minju mirrors her expression. 

“What are you in such a good mood for?”

She focuses on the feeling of contentment blooming in her chest. It's warmth on a cold winter afternoon. It's a cool breeze on a summer evening. 

It's the brown of Minju's eyes looking at her.

“I don't know, the fact that I get to spend this moment with you? That's enough to make me happy.” 

Her eyes dim a little. Did she say something wrong?

“You don't need to prete—”

“Chaewon, Minju! My favourite couple of all the dramas I've been through! Great work today. Keep your chemistry up and the drama'll be breaking that 20% in no time. Seems like I was interrupting a moment, so I'll be on my way! See you next shoot!” One of the PDs leaves with a teasing smile on her face and eyes eager to unveil whatever it is that's between the two actresses. “You were saying?”

Minju doesn't respond, too busy wiping her eyeliner off, albeit a little too hard. Once she's satisfied with her work, she pulls back from Chaewon. 

When did they get so close? 

“It was nothing. Hey, wanna go out for dinner? I haven't got to spend time with you after Jeju.”

The younger woman pouts and Chaewon isn't sure how much of this she'll be able to take. She shrugs off her worries with a laugh. “Yah, what are you acting cute for, Kim Minju?”

“For you, Kim Chaewon.”


-


Minju has a sweet tooth, so it isn't surprising when she persuades her to get ice cream at her favourite place, two blocks away from the restaurant. What's surprising is her fans recognize her—more like they recognize Minju, who barely disguises herself when she goes out—and draw the conclusion that no one else except her would be out with the actress this late into the night. 

“Your fans are surely well-mannered,” Minju tells her: the fans asked for pictures and obliged when they politely refused. 

However, they do reveal to them that they're going out for ice cream and one fan insists that buying mint chocolate chip ice cream is the way to Chaewon's heart. They weren't lying, but Minju doesn't need their advice anyway. 

“What can I say? I raised them well.”

She doesn't expect for fan accounts of their date to be all over the Naver homepage next morning, but she supposes her fans are only human. 

 

But I don't even like mint choco :(

 

Minju texts her, probably referring to the article— KimKim couple spotted getting ice cream together; fans pitch new name 'MinCho' couple. 

 

KimKim sounds better, anyway

 

She wonders if Minju's gone through the comments. 

 

Kim Minju, you have Chaewon-ie's heart in your hands. Please take care of it well ;;;;;

 

When Minju later posts a picture of her mint chocolate chip ice cream from yesterday with the caption, Missing you already~~ she really can't help but think; Kim Minju, you have my heart in your hands. Please take care of it well.


-


The whole world is out to get her.

Why else would Minju end up being the special MC for her comeback stage? Sure, Kyungsoo is there too to make it seem like it was specialized for the cast of Violets; and a Rose but the whole script is written to embarrass the two of them. 

“Your ears are still red,” Eunbi teases once the interview is over and she’s far from Minju’s sight.

“I need to have a talk with the ass who wrote the script. Why would they ask Minju to give me a good luck kiss on a live broadcast—on national T.V?! Thank god they were satisfied with a kiss on the cheek. I would’ve collapsed on the spot if it was anything else…”

“Whatever, you’ve kissed in the drama before. It’s not that big of a deal.”

“It is a big deal…” Chaewon says, still flushed, that Eunbi can’t help but ask.

“For a pretend relationship, don’t you think you’re taking it too far?”

“...If I don’t take it too far, then what’s the point of pretending?”


-


“Today we have with us the bold Jiyeon and her devious mom, Jeongmin from MBS’ drama Violets; and a Rose! Welcome to Miyawaki’s Misty Nights, Kim Minju and Yum Jeongah!”

A round of applause follows the host's words. “This is the second time for both Minju and Jeongah -ssi to guest on my show, isn’t it?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Well, we have the famous actresses here with us today to promote their drama! Jeongah- ssi, how do you feel about the drama hitting 22% of viewership ratings with the last episode?”

Minju barely catches on to her answer, her mind too preoccupied with the scene she had to shoot with Chaewon earlier. She wasn’t expecting for Chaewon to mess up a scene they’ve already done before so much; needless to say, she doubts it’ll leave her mind for endless nights to come.

“...Alright! How about we read some questions and answer them?”

She nods, snapping herself out of her Chaewon-induced stupor. “Oh? This comment is rather interesting, Minju -ssi, would you read it for us?”

Why her? “Sure, 0801kimcw-nim says ‘ yeobo , don’t think of me too much and focus on your radio show, okay? Kim Minju hwaiting!’ with three hearts following…”

Sakura faces her with a smirk. Her tone carries the same tone her manager has when they talk about her. “Ooh, Minju- ssi , it seems like someone special wants you to do well on my show, better follow their words, right?”

She can’t fight the blush spreading across her face and chuckles. “Yes, I suppose I should.” 

Minju hopes her facade isn’t shattering away. 

Chaewon is doing all of this for the publicity. It’s nothing more than that. It’ll never mean anything besides that.

They agreed on it, right? 

Only a few more months. Then, she can get over her. She can go through this heartbreak by herself.

Heartbreak, even though Chaewon never broke her heart. 

Just a little longer.


-


“To Violets; and a Rose!!!”

The director shouts before he downs another drink—his sixth, probably. The drama ended on a high; achieving the highest recorded viewership ratings and the entire crew couldn’t be more than happy. 

It wasn’t long before everyone started leaving. The dinner was supposed to be a civil celebration of the drama’s success, but it soon turned into a drinking party with the director and PDs drinking like there was no tomorrow.

That also means dealing with a drunk Kim Chaewon. 

She didn’t expect the older woman to be a lightweight—but she did expect for her to be an absolutely adorable drunk.  “Minju- yah, your eyes are sooo pretty. And so are your ears, and your nose, and your lips, they’re so soft, and everything about you... so soft, date me already, Kim Minju~” Her voice slurs and she drags out her name, she can’t help but think of Chaewon’s reaction when she finds out she was acting like this. It’s so amusing that she breaks out into a fit of giggles. (Or maybe the alcohol is getting to her too.)

“We technically are dating, Chae.” Her heart twinges as soon as she whispers the words. 

Chaewon pouts and raises a finger, as if to reprimand her. “I don’t mean technically, Minju. I want to date you for real real. No more pretending…”

Minju wants to kiss her pout away, but she’s not brave enough. Good thing she had liquid courage by her side the entire night. She can feel Chaewon’s smile through the kiss. “Okay.”

“Okay?”

She thinks Chaewon won’t remember anything when she wakes up tomorrow morning. She’ll be a little more selfish tonight.

She kisses her again. It’s sloppy and she can’t stop laughing, but it feels too good for her to mind. “Okay.”


[991]




Today, she buys yellow roses. 

For someone so young, she looks like she's burdened by life. She must be a year or two older than her.

Wonyoung finds out that she's a high school student. It's the high school a few blocks away from her own. Her blue uniform collides with the yellow roses she holds delicately in her hands.

She's curious. 

It could be a sensitive topic and out of respect, she never asks. 

“Thanks,” she mutters. Wonyoung gives her a smile—brighter than the one yesterday. 

She gets the same smile. It's weak. Unsure and lacking confidence. Wonyoung feels her heart sink the same way it does everyday.

The girl leaves without another word. 

She spends the rest of the day thinking of yellow roses.

(She spends the rest of the day thinking about the older girl.)

 

-

 

Today,  she brings along one of her friends.

No, it’s more like one of her friends tags along.

“Wow, do you come here every day, unnie?” The new girl—brown hair, about her height—asks her, but it’s as if she’s speaking to the wind: her unnie makes no effort to acknowledge the other girl’s presence. She was talking before entering the shop too.

Purple lilacs. 

Wonyoung watches as the smile she sees everyday overtakes her features. 

“Unnie, why are you buying flowers?” 

She watches as the smile disappears as soon as the words enter the quiet air surrounding them. 

The girl leaves without another word.

From the inside of the shop, she watches. She watches as the girl persuades new girl to go home. New girl is stubborn, until the girl starts crying and new girl doesn’t know what to do.

She hugs her for three minutes. The girl turns away, taking the path she takes everyday and new girl just stands there. 

Confused.

She stands there for a little longer, and leaves.

 

-

 

Wonyoung wonders what the mysterious customer will do today.

The shop is closed. It’s a public holiday.

She’s been here every single day for the past three months.  

Never missing a day. Always, sometime between 5 and 6, she’d come to the shop. Wonyoung is curious to see what she’ll do. Luckily, her apartment is just above the shop. 

It’s 5;45. She just stands in front of the door. Probably lost in her memories, or something like that. That’s funny, she’s never seen her here until two months ago.

Then, she sees her wiping her tears away. No one to comfort her. No one she can tell her pain to. It’s a peaceful evening. The sound of her weeping goes unheard. 

But Wonyoung sees. She hears. She wants to alleviate the pain.

Her mom’ll probably have her head later for opening the shop without her permission—it gets the girl to stop crying—it’s worth it. 

Red carnations. Complementary to the green of her sweater.

Wonyoung is the impulsive type. 

“Miss,” 

She looks surprised. She seems to wear her emotions on her sleeve.

“Excuse my curiosity, but can I ask for your name? Mine’s Wonyoung,”

She isn’t sure if she should offer a hand to shake. That would be awkward. 

“Minju.”

Her voice is sweet. She wants to listen to hear speak for a longer time, but Minju is a woman of few words. At least she thinks she is. After all, everything she knows about Minju is confined to one hour and the four walls of the flower shop.

 

-

 

Wonyoung has always been the impulsive type. 

Her mom thinks of that as a headache, but she can’t help it. It’s in her nature.

Classes end around 4 and she’s expected to be home by 5 to help at the shop. There’s an hour to spare.

Before she knows it, she makes her way over to the high school a few blocks away from her own.

It’s kinda ridiculous to hope to see Minju out of the hundreds of students that attend the school. Nevertheless, she tries. Her pretty face sticks out in a crowd. It doesn’t take much effort to find her.

She’s alone.

Wonyoung could see that coming. 

She’s alone, but she’s not. She notices that the girl from before—sporting blue hair now, has a concerned look on her face as she watches Minju leave. The girl doesn’t know what to do. It’s written all over her face.

Wonyoung knows what to do, though. “Minju unnie!”

She’s surprised. Her face is comical. “Wonyoung?”

“Are you going to the shop? Let’s go together today, hm?”

 

-

 

What’s so special about today , she wonders.

Minju picks out eight flowers in total. Each a different colour: or different shades of the same colour, at least. 

Even after a few conversations (“What’s your favourite song?”, “What do you think of TWICE?”, “When do you go home?”) and pleasantries, Minju is still a mystery to the younger girl.

She must be a reserved person. Quiet—introverted, that must be it. She never initiates a conversation. 

She never has joy on her face. She never looks happy.

Wonyoung gives her her signature smile.

Minju can never muster up a different smile. She doesn’t like it.

“What’s so special about today?”

This time, she isn’t surprised. As if she’s been expecting the question for a long time. “It’s… her birthday.”

“Oh.”

She doesn’t pry any further. Partly because she’s scared to, but mostly because Minju looks like she’s about to burst into tears.

“Tell her my wishes too, unnie.”

 

-

 

It’s putting 2 and 2 together.

The flowers are for someone dear to her.

She’s no longer with her.

 

-

 

“Unnie, I want you to know that I’m here for you. I’m always willing to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on. Don’t think you’re alone in this world.”

 

-

 

Today, she buys red roses.

Wonyoung notices that Minju tends to buy roses more than the other flowers. 

(“It’s cliched, but they’re my favourite.”)

She looks anxious. Worried. Hesitation all over her face. Her heart sinks and the emotion that follows is familiar.

She wonders how much longer she’ll visit the shop. How many days longer she’ll buy flowers. How much longer she’ll let this burden hang around her neck. It’s been five months already.

“Wonyoung,” 

Minju smiles. Her eyes are tinged with hope. It’s not the one she’s used to seeing. 

“Would you like…” Her eyes hold fear—fear of rejection, maybe. “...to visit her with me?”

She smiles. Maybe there’s something special about it, because Minju’s smile is even brighter when she sees it.

 

-

 

“She was truly alone in this world.”

Wonyoung watches as she puts away the wilted flowers—tulips, chrysanthemums, violets—all ones she bought before—and places the red roses down. Not at the centre, but to the left corner. 

She notices that her name is engraved there. 

“Every morning, she would be late to class. She'd end up sitting at the back of the class with me because of that. I… was selectively mute. But she wasn't fazed by that. She tried to befriend me every single day.”

Her voice might be the sweetest thing she's ever heard. 

Wonyoung thinks it would sound better if Minju wasn't crying profusely, if her voice didn't break everytime she would come up, if she wasn't sad anymore. It still sounds like a melody to her. 

“She—she even lost her friends because of me, they left her because she kept sticking around me. She was warm. Her presence was comforting. People like that are rare to come across. She was one of a kind…”

She offers a hand to her back, rubbing it in circles in hopes of calming her down. 

“I wasn't afraid to speak to her, eventually. I don't know when I started to, but I did. She told me honey would drip from her ears each time I spoke,” 

She smiles. One she's never shown Wonyoung before. One she thinks no one besides the girl she's addressing saw. “She was the only person I spoke to. I didn't notice that it was the same for her, after being acquainted with me.”

“Every week, she would bring me a flower,”

“One from your store.”

 

“She had to work two jobs a day to provide for herself, and out of her earnings, she would spare some amount just to buy me a flower.”

“Chaewon -unnie, she loved me… but I was too naive to see her love as nothing more than friendship. I was scared; if the line between friendship and love blurred, then would everything we have disappear?”

“Unnie confessed, no , it was a statement. You know I love you, right? That was the last thing she said to me and I—I was a coward—I couldn't say anything—and she never asked me to. If I knew that was the last time I'd see her—”

 

“It's okay, take it easy. I'm right here,”

 

Minju takes in a deep breath.

 

“It was a hit and run.”

 

“Why did it have to be her? Why did it have to be my unnie? There wasn't even anyone at her funeral except—except me, not even her friends...”

Tears follow Minju's words. Wonyoung embraces her like there's no tomorrow. The girl burrows her face deep into her neck, facing away from the grave. 

Kim Chaewon.

She can't recall a face that matches the name.

Time passes, but she can't feel it passing by. Minju turns to face the red roses. 

Another deep breath. 

“Chaewon unnie, I loved you, I love you and I'll always love you. I'm sorry. I'm sorry…”

 

“I'm telling you this because Chaewon unnie wouldn't want me to be like this. To be alone… to become the person I was before I met her. She would want me to find help…”

 

“Help me, Wonyoung.”

 

She feels tears pricking at her eyes. 

Minju smiles. It's bittersweet. It's perfect. 

Wonyoung smiles. It's bittersweet. If it was anything else, it wouldn't mean as much as it does now.



[1303.]



What was her alarm today?

That's weird. She can't remember the name of the song until it hits the chorus. 

Right . Shine. Just what she needs to wake up. 

She makes no effort to turn the alarm off until the bridge. It's at the high note that she finally turns in bed and grabs around for her phone on the drawer. 

Her alarm is off.

She doesn't get out of bed. Instead, she spends a few minutes more to look at the portrait beside her bed.

It's probably ten thirty, eleven, maybe.

Sunlight pours into her room; as if forbidden to cross, remains at the edge of her bed. She moves to the edge to feel the light against her skin. 

It's a Sunday and yet, faint traffic and conversations (from the apartment's welfare club, her best guess) fill the silence of her room. White noise she's familiar with. 

She indulges in the moment. The sunlight on her skin, the noise strangely falling into place with her room, green walls bringing a sense of peace and the portrait of her and Minju from their third date. It's surreal how all these factors come together for her to experience this moment.

Her phone buzzes. 

 

minguri <3

 

sleepyhead, are u up yet?

8: 13 a.m 

 

babeee wake uppppp

9: 57 a.m

 

filmed a morning routine vid lol

9: 57 a.m

 

im having toast for breakfast~~~~

10: 29 a.m

 

think it's gonna rain soon 

11: 03 a.m

 

good morning baby

11: 04 a.m

 

Chaewon gets a call three minutes later.

She doesn't get out of bed for another hour, too preoccupied with talking to her girlfriend on the phone. Minju doesn't mind though, not until she realizes she hasn't had anything to eat the whole morning. “You didn't even eat dinner last night,” she can hear her whine through the phone. Minju probably looks like the >:( emoticon now, she laughs at the thought. 

“Now that you say it, I am pretty hungry.”

“See? I'm right but what's new.”

“I don't feel like getting out of bed though…”

“Come over, I'll make seaweed soup for lunch.”

“Ew, that just makes me want to stay in bed forever.”

Minju scolds her for a solid minute before succumbing to a lunch date at their favourite restaurant. 

 

-

 

“Mrs. Han wants you to do the check-up on her.”

She sighs. “Why me? She seems to be really keen on rediscovering her sexuality with me and I am not willing to help her.”

“Kaeun said we should just agree with what she wants, so get going already.” 

Yuri plops herself down and pushes her to get off the bed. “Oh, and I think Minju's searching for you. I saw her on the way here.”

“You could've told her I was here.”

“I didn't know you were here!”

Chaewon stands to straighten out her scrubs. She spots Minju outside another on-call room and gives her a wave. 

“You forgot this at my place.” She says, gesturing to the coat in her hands. “It won't be a great day to save lives if you don't have your coat, you know.”

An airy chuckle follows her words. “Yeah.”

“Do you have the night shift today?” 

“Nope, that's Hitomi's headache this week.”

“Did you really come here to give me my coat or was it just an excuse to see me?” 

She gets a shove to the shoulder. 

“Honestly, a little bit of both.”

“Don't you have a collab with Sakura today? A gaming video or something?”

“Yeah, I should probably leave already. She's practically blowing up my phone at the moment,”

“Okay, I'll call you when I get home, alright?”

Minju nods. When she's about to leave without another word, Chaewon holds her back by her wrist. 

She points a finger to get lips and pouts.

She's getting quite shameless. Yujin's personality is rubbing off on her. Still, it gets her a kiss, so she's not complaining.

 

-

 

hey joyul

4: 35 p.m

 

joguriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

4: 35 p.m

 

Dr. Jo Yuri please I'm on my deathbed

4:36 p.m

 

ma'am

4: 37 p.m

 

r u fooling around w hyewon

4: 38 p.m

 

dr. ham

the fuck do you want

4:40 p.m

 

to be a cockblock LMAO

4: 40 p.m

 

no waitttt come backkkkk

4: 40 p.m

 

it's a serious issue

4: 41 p.m

 

im calling plEASE pick up

4: 42 p.m 


“What the fuck, Chaewon.” She hears a faint oh, tell her I said hi in the background and she wants to tease her for it—if she does, Yuri'll probably never pick up if she calls again so she decides against it. 

“Listen, don't tell anyone what I'm about to tell you but… I'm in love with Minju.”

Seven seconds of silence pass. Is it really that shocking?

“Did you call just to flex your relationship on me?”

“What? No! We haven't gone that far yet. Or at least I've gone that far, and I'm kinda afraid Minju hasn't.”

“I can't believe you guys haven't said the L word yet. Aren't you the couple everyone else aspires to be or something? And you've been dating for five months already…”

“Well, I don't know. I haven't felt like this with her before, wanting to see her all the time, to wake up next to her—like just, be with her, you get it?”

“Good for you, then. She probably feels the same about you. You should just muster up the courage to tell her.”

That's the problem. She can't muster up the courage to tell her. “But—”

“I'll call you later, okay? Kaeun is paging me.”

 

-

 

Minju furrows her brows at Chaewon's obstinacy. 

“Go home and get some rest, you look like you're about to pass out.”

The older woman scoffs. “No, I don't. I just slept like, four hours in the hospital. Let me bother my girlfriend in peace,”

She sighs and goes back to editing her video. 

“So you're just gonna sit here and stare at me until I finish editing?” 

“Yes.”

It turns out that she won't, because she gets bored after 10 minutes and decides that Minju's bed is a much more comfortable place to be. 

Minju takes another twenty minutes to finally get her ask me anything video up and another fifteen to read the comments of the one she uploaded a week ago. 

She finds a comment asking her if tigers are her favourite animal since her bed is filled with tiger plushies—they probably noticed when she filmed the morning routine video. 

(“...Do you really need to buy three of these? Isn't that getting obsessive?”

“No, you don't get it. Whenever you miss me, you're supposed to look at them and stop missing me.”

“But… why three?”

“It was a two plus one offer and I couldn't resist.”)

The cause of the comment would find it funny so she calls out for her. She doesn't respond. 

Chaewon—the OG baby tiger—is sprawled on her bed with the plushies surrounding her making for a cute sight that makes her heart feel all pleasant for a while. She doesn't have the heart to wake her up. 

(After taking a picture for good measure,) Minju pushes the plushies away and settles in their place instead. 

“I thought you slept four hours in the hospital?”

Chaewon groans and pulls her closer. “I wasn't sleeping.”

“Really?”

“I was just… thinking of excuses to come up with if you thought I was sleeping.” She chortles. 

“You're such a dork.”

She expects Chaewon to say something cheesy after that, but she doesn't. “You know, my fans keep asking me if I'm dating anyone. And they think I'm dating Yena, for some reason.”

“You keep making videos with her, that's probably why…” She gets dismissed, drowsily. 

“I was thinking of making a girlfriend reveal or something. Maybe girlfriend does my makeup or girlfriend answers twenty questions or whatever.”

“Won't your fans throw a sissy fit or some shit?”

“No, they're not that immature.”

Chaewon mumbles a someday, maybe and snuggles into her sweater. “Let's sleep first, yeah?”

“You know sloth is one of the seven deadly sins, right?” 

“Who cares, babe. I'm going to hell anyway.”

 

-

 

“Ooh, who's that cutie?” 

Chaeyeon gives her a teasing smile and settles down in front of the camera. 

She hasn't seen her girlfriend for three days because of her crazy work schedule. Minju misses her. 

Anyone would be curious if they found her staring at her lockscreen for so long. “Oh, it's, um, my girlfriend…” 

Chaeyeon's smile only widens when she sees her colour the slightest bit red with the words. 

“I thought you were dating Yena?”

“I'm not, why does everyone keep saying that?”

“Mm, maybe because you keep making videos with her?”

“I posted a Q&A like two weeks ago and you will not believe how many people asked me if I was dating anyone and if it was Yena,”

“Did your girlfriend get jealous over that?”

“Nah, Chaewon's not the jealous type.”

“Chaewon, huh? How long have you been dating?”

“Around six months.”

“Wow, you kept her a secret for six months? That's—”

Her words are cut off by the ringing of her phone. It's embarrassing, because Chaeyeon sees the contact name— ssam<3— and the photo of them on their third date.  She gives her an apologetic face to which she just says, “Go on, I'm not going to come between two lovebirds,”

 

Love?

 

-

 

“She told her friend about me only yesterday ,”

“That doesn't mean she doesn't love you, it just might mean she's not that close to the friend, dumbass.”

“Makes sense, but are you sure? Like, maybe she doesn't feel love for me yet.”

Yuri cuts the call short.

When she calls again, Hyewon picks up. Hyewon says she's sleeping and she's tempted to force the older woman to give Yuri the phone—but Hyewon has always been kinda intimidating so she's left alone with  her swirling thoughts.

 

-

 

“Oh my god, I don't mean to bother you, but aren't you Kim Minju?”

An intern, most likely, considering her age and her face way too brighter than any other doctors' at the moment, asks her. “Yes..?”

“Wow, I'm a really big fan! Can I ask what brings you here?”

“I'm here to see my girlfriend. She's a resident,”

“That's cool, I thought you were dating—”

“Nope, it's not Yena.”

“—Yeah. My name's Ahn Yujin, by the way!”

Ahn Yujin ? Aren't you Chaewon's intern?”

She looks dumbfounded for a moment. As if from shock, she takes a seat beside her on the reception chairs. “No way…”

“Don't tell me, you're dating Kim Chaewon ?”

She stifles a laugh. “Yes… why is that so shocking?”

“No, it's just that… she said that she was dating you once and I didn't believe her because—I don't know, it seemed too surreal?—but she wasn't kidding…”

Ahn Yujin. She's heard a lot about her. 

(“She's hardworking and can focus when you need her to, but when she's not, she's a demon. Nothing short of a demon, I tell you.”)

“Yes, I'm dating Chaewon.”

“She's so lucky…”

“I mean—you're lucky too! Chaewon seems to really love you,”

 

-

 

ssam<3

 

baby come and save me

1: 17 p.m

 

yujin won't stop asking me questions about us 

1: 18 p.m

 

she didn't weird u out when she met u rite

1: 18 p.m

 

no she was so kind!! stop being so hard on her

1: 19 p.m

 

she kinda looks up to u miss kim

1: 20 p.m

 

she deserves 'the being hard on her' thing

1: 20 p.m

 

my other intern wonyo listens to me but she doesn't

1: 20 p.m

 

hmm

1: 22 p.m

 

what's she asking

1: 22 p.m

 

u know like

1: 23 p.m

 

how we met n all

1: 24 p.m

 

lol did u tell her how you almost killed me on our first date

1: 26 p.m

 

how was i supposed to know ure allergic to peanuts >:[

1: 27 p.m

 

she keeps asking me to ask you to do a gf reveal vid

1: 29 p.m

 

oohhhh

1: 29 p.m

 

saying u should show off ur big brain doctor gf

1: 30 p.m

 

yea i don't think she said that sweetie

1: 35 p.m

 

hmmm we should film that vid someday luv

1: 35 p.m

 

Wait. Minju panics after sending the message. It's not worth sending it, so she deletes it. Chaewon hasn't seen it yet, anyway.

 

we should film that vid someday

1: 36 p.m

 

i wanna show off my big brain doctor gf after all

1: 37 p.m


-

 

“How do you know if you're in love with someone?”

Eunbi side-eyes her. 

“Wait, are you in love with doctor girl? I thought that was a one time thing.” She tenses at her choice of words. “It wasn't a one time thing, we liked each other so we decided to go out.”

“Whew, it's love already? You've been dating for what, seven months?” 

“Yeah…”

Eunbi stays silent for at most a minute, but feels like too long. “So?”

“I don't know, shouldn't the fact that you're asking me what love is supposed to be like say enough?”

 

-

 

“Do I look cool enough? Do I look cool enough to be the Kim Minju's girlfriend?”

“I don't know, maybe you could do a little better.” She tsk s and glares at her. Minju gives her a kiss on the cheek, and her facade fades away. 

“You know, one of my fans asked if I was dating a doctor because of the stethoscope you left here—multiple times.”

“Did the Yena rumour die out?”

“Not really, but it will with this video.”

Chaewon isn't as nervous in front of the camera as she expected. She looks relaxed—accomplished, if you will. 

“So, you'll do your intro, then introduce me as your girlfriend, and then we'll answer some questions?”

“Yup.”

“Okay, that's cool. Let's get started.”

She watches as Minju fiddles around with the camera for a while. She's not sure how much longer she can keep up the cool, calm and collected front.  But still, she needs to. 

She does her intro and turns to Chaewon. The older woman gets the cue and takes in a deep breath. 

“Hello, everyone. My name's Kim Chaewon and I'm Minju's girlfriend. I love her and please stop shipping her with Yena, thank you.”

“Right! So me and Chaewon are— Wait.”

Another deep breath. 

“I love you, Minju.”

“It's okay if you—” It's clichéd, but a kiss cuts her off.

“I love you too.” 

 

(“It's as simple as that? I stressed over this for three months and it's just a matter of three seconds?”

“Well, what did you expect?”

“I don't know, shouldn't it be more dramatic than this?”

“Why would you want to dramatize something as simple as I love you ?” 

“Dramatize something as simple as what ?”

“I love you.”

“Who?”

“You.”

“No, say the whole sentence.”

She rolls her eyes. “I love you, Chaewon.” 

“I love you too.”

Chaewon smiles, Minju does the same.)