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i know it’ll break me (so go slow, i wanna daydream)

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Jiwoo was sure she knew what love was.

The feeling burying itself deep in her chest, burgeoning and blooming like a bouquet of flowers whenever Jungeun would smile at her.

“Don’t ever change Jiwoo,” she would whisper in the girl’s ear over and over after a particularly rough day at school when someone had told Jiwoo to just shut up, criticizing her cheerfulness and her penchant to sometimes be very loud.

Jungeun had held her while she cried and Jiwoo hadn’t felt safer, hadn’t felt so okay to be who she was after someone had made her feel like it wasn’t.

“I love you, Jungie.”

The other girl would say it back everytime.

Her ribs would cage in her wild heart, protecting it from leaping right out of her chest whenever Jungeun would intertwine their hands and lean against Jiwoo.

Jungeun was her best friend. Jiwoo wanted her to be more.

.

Jiwoo gets the shock of her life when, once they’re in high school, Jungeun starts spending time with a senior when they’re in their sophomore year.

The day Jungeun tells her that she’s dating Jinsol is the day that Jiwoo’s world shatters a bit.

She’s blonde and tall and gorgeous and Jiwoo can’t even compete.

“Nothing will change, Jiwoo,” the promise tumbles from Jungeun’s lips before Jiwoo can ask her not to make promises she can’t keep.

But god, she hopes, hopes, hopes it’s true.

.

Sooyoung’s bored, sitting next to her studying friend whose nose is buried deep in her class book while messily scribbling notes down in the journal next to her, when something - someone finally grabs Sooyoung’s attention.

“Who’s that?”

Haseul glances up quickly, looks in the direction that Sooyoung’s head is turned to before she resists rolling her eyes. Sooyoung is predictable and not at all subtle with her intentions.

“Who? Jiwoo?”

Jiwoo, Jiwoo, Jiwoo.

She catalogues the name in her mind for later, but knows deep down she won’t forget it. It fits her.

“Cute..” Sooyoung trails off, unable to look away from the girl.

Sooyoung likes her smile, her wide eyes. Her red hair and the positivity she’s radiating all around her. Different from the types that usually catch her eye. Why hasn’t she noticed her before?

“Let me guess. Your next mark?”

“It’s not like that.”

Sooyoung’s sure that it truly isn’t.

Haseul scoffs, warily eyes Sooyoung as if she doesn’t believe the words that just came out of her mouth.

(She doesn’t.)

“It’s always like that.”

Okay, so Sooyoung had a bit of a reputation. Haseul’s trepidation is fair, she supposes.

Sooyoung never made a habit of staying with one person for more than a week usually and it wasn’t really ever anything more than something physical.

“She’s a sweet girl, Sooyoung. Don’t pull her into your antics. Besides, she’s desperately in love with Jungeun. Everyone knows it, it’s painfully obvious. To everyone except Jungeun.”

“The underclassmen Jinsol’s dating?”

Sooyoung had met Jungeun a few times. Her and Jinsol had been long time friends since middle school. When Jinsol started seeing the sophomore, she’d brought her along a few times but they mostly kept to themselves. Sooyoung hadn’t really ever spoken to Jungeun.

“Mmhm,” Haseul was uninterested in the conversation, just wanted to issue one more warning, “Try not to break any hearts, Sooyoung. Including your own.”

.

Everyone knows Ha Sooyoung.

It’s not often that she isn’t the talk of the school in one way or another even though she generally managed to stay drama free and keep to herself outside of her small circle of chosen friends and hookups she’d have here and there. They all seemed to know what it was and didn’t pursue anything further with Sooyoung.

Still lots of students wanted to know her, be her, or be with her.

Jiwoo paid no mind.

But when the tall raven-haired senior approaches her after school Jiwoo doesn’t know what the hell to expect.

Jiwoo’s in her own little world, mumbling something to herself - probably about Jungeun - as she watches her now distant best friend goof around with a different group of people. She could probably join them if she wasn’t too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Sooyoung never approaches anyone - she doesn’t have to - but something about Jiwoo has her inexplicably drawn to her like something of a magnet. She really couldn’t explain it - because she knew nothing at all about the girl.

“What’s going on in that head of yours?”

She probably could have been smoother with that opening line but she was genuinely curious.

“I’m Sooyoung,” she blurts out when the girl only stares at her.

Jiwoo laughs a little then - temporally distracted from her thoughts - thinking it’s absurd that Sooyoung is introducing herself like she isn’t the most popular student in school, “I know who you are.”

Sooyoung shrugs, “Well, I don’t know who you are. I want to.”

“Oh,” nervous laugher, “I’m Jiwoo.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Jiwoo.”

.

Coming to this party was a bad idea. She came with Jungeun since the invitation was extended by her but they lost each other halfway through when Jinsol got there.

Jiwoo watches Jungeun in the corner with the blonde. The couch firmly pushed all the way back against the wall to make space in the living area for all the bodies congesting the space with their dancing and rambunctiousness.

Jiwoo was over it, but she couldn’t pull her eyes away from the scene in front of her. Jinsol’s back was against the arm rest of the sofa, her legs swung over Jungeun’s own which were planted on the floor.

Why is she such a masochist? The knife twists a little deeper when she still refuses to turn away as Jungeun brushes a stray hair behind the blondes ear before Jinsol leans in to kiss her.

“Hey, dreamer.”

Jiwoo spares a quick glance in the direction the voice came from though it’s unmistakably Sooyoung.

“Oh. Hi, Sooyoung.”

“You really like to make yourself miserable, don’t you?”

Jiwoo can’t deny the observation.

“Jinsol is the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen, how could I stand a chance?”

Sooyoung would beg to differ, her gaze doesn’t falter from Jiwoo.

“She’s okay.”

“Okay?” Jiwoo feels as if Sooyoung has said something absurd, “Wait, isn’t Jinsol your friend?”

“Yes. We’ve been friends since we were twelve but that’s it,” a devilish smirk painting her pretty lips, “and besides, she’s not who I’m interested in.”

Jiwoo doesn’t quite comprehend the girl’s words until she’s stepping close to her. Sooyoung’s fingers come to rest on Jiwoo’s face, lifting her chin to make eye contact.

That’s when Jiwoo sees it, realizes.

Jiwoo sees it in Sooyoung’s eyes, whatever that look is that she searches so hard for in Jungeun’s eyes. It’s a kind of understanding softness that she wants to wrap up her heart in.

“Jiwoo,” a throaty husk of nothing but longing, “you shouldn’t give so much of yourself to someone that doesn’t want to give it back.”

I would, I would, I would,

Sooyoung’s silently screaming, hoping the girl can read her mind. Jiwoo deserves everything.

Sooyoung is well aware that she should maybe take her own advice but she’s making sure Jiwoo knows. No blurred lines, no confusion.

This is how she feels.

She walks away before Jiwoo can say anything back but Jiwoo swears she can feel the words running down her spine. Lodging themselves somewhere safe so she doesn’t forget.

(She doesn’t.)

.

Jiwoo had never truly seen Sooyoung before.

She knew who she was of course, had heard the rumors of her dating habits (if you could call it that), could tell you what the girl looked like and could even m pick her out in a crowd but until the other night she hadn’t seen her.

Dammit, Sooyoung. For getting in her head, under her skin.

Jiwoo couldn’t stop thinking of Sooyoung’s words.

You shouldn’t give so much of yourself to someone that doesn’t want to give it back.

The echoes of her words kept her awake all night.

.

Junguen makes time for Jiwoo. She should be thrilled, really, since it’s been something of a rare occurrence these days.

Jiwoo isn’t quite feeling like herself, stops herself from flinging her body full force at Jungeun in the usual bone-crushing hug she’d reserve for her.

It doesn’t feel right.

“Are you okay?”

Jungeun’s been noticing something off about Jiwoo lately but had been waiting for the red-head to come to her. She usually did. Jungeun maybe only had herself to blame for that, though.

Jiwoo is tired of feeling like shit. It not Jungeun’s fault. Though that’s part of it, she’s blissfully unaware and with Jinsol all the time now and.. Jiwoo isn’t trying to ruin that but keeping her feelings bottled up is causing more harm than good.

It was now or never at this point and she couldn’t keep putting herself through this torture of the unknown. The bandaid needed to be ripped off.

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Jiwoo.”

Because she always says it back.

But Jungeun knows there’s something that’s different this time laced in Jiwoo’s familiar words.

Something more. And when she really looks in the girl’s big brown eyes, she sees how watery they are.

“If- if you weren’t dating Jinsol, is there a chance that we would be anything at all?”

Could you love me the same way you love her?

Jungeun looks at her with something akin to pity and Jiwoo feels that knife twisting again.

Jungeun had no idea. It was really brand new information to her. Jiwoo had always just been Jiwoo and she treated everyone which such an open heart.

Jiwoo swallows her sobs that were threatening to burst forth, she hated this. Hated that she let herself get so wrapped up in the idea that Jungeun was meant for her. That silly idea of falling in love with your childhood best friend and being with them for the rest of your lives.

“I don’t know,” Jungeun was really at a loss, because she liked Jinsol so much and didn’t see that changing anytime soon, but it hurt her that Jiwoo is hurting, “We might not ever know.”

Jiwoo doesn’t let herself hold on to that might. She has to let go of all the maybe’s she’s stuffed away in a metaphorical suitcase labeled with Jungeun’s name.

It was a nice thought. It wasn’t realistic.

“I’m sorry, Jiwoo.”

With some space, Jiwoo would heal. They’d have their friendship back.

But little by little, she could feel the flowers she used to associate with Jungeun were losing their petals.

.

There’s another party the next weekend. Jiwoo doesn’t know what her reason for being here is this time. Jungeun didn’t invite her but it’s possible she’s still the reason, that the party’s serving as a distraction for Jiwoo to try and forget her dwindling friendship because of her stupid feelings.

Jiwoo’s hiding out on the back porch away from everyone and she barely hears it as the door behind her creaks slightly before she feels the presence of another body next to her own. They stay silent, so does she.

She was a little confused, still stuck in her head over the conversation with Jungeun causing her mind to haze a little. The few words exchanged with Sooyoung, too, were also throwing her for a loop. Part of her realizing that Jungeun can’t give her what she’s looking for.

Jungeun isn’t hers. It’s possible she never was, wasn’t ever going to be.

Jiwoo’s always liked Jungeun. Loved her. It was almost habit at this point. She wasn’t quite prepared to let that go.

Jiwoo doesn’t question it as the girl next to her pulls a pack of cigarettes from her coat pocket, placing one between her lips and lighting it up. Inhaling, exhaling and watching as the smoke swirls against the darkness of the cold evening.

“Why? Why are you always here?”

Jiwoo just didn’t have the energy.

“I like you,” Sooyoung states simply like it’s the most obvious thing in the world, “and you looked like you could use a friend.”

Sooyoung was ready to be just that for Jiwoo if it’s what she needed.

“Here, it’s cold,” Sooyoung shrugs off that leather jacket she’s nearly always sporting and softly places it on Jiwoo’s shoulders, making sure it’s snug around the girl.

It’s such a gentle and intimate thing that Jiwoo thinks she wants to cry. Maybe tears prick at the corner of her eyelids.

Jiwoo takes comfort in the fact that Sooyoung isn’t forcing her to talk, isn’t talking herself. She’s quite, patient. Lending her comfort by just being present.

It’s exactly what Jiwoo needs in the moment.

Sooyoung flicks the half-smoked cigarette to the ground, using the heel of her boot to put it out, “I should head back in.”

Jiwoo only nods, starts to shoulder the jacket off of her to hand it back to Sooyoung.

“Keep it. It looks good on you.”

As Sooyoung turns to walk away Jiwoo realizes she isn’t quite ready to let her go just yet.

“Sooyoung?”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you.”

With those final words, Sooyoung’s gone again.

The jacket smells like smoke, something floral, and something uniquely Sooyoung that Jiwoo can’t help but wrap it tighter around herself.

.

Sooyoung has to get her racing heart in check immediately when she sees Jiwoo and something about the soft look on her face warms Jiwoo more than the coat she has nestled around her.

“You’re wearing my jacket.”

Sooyoung decides she really likes Jiwoo in her clothes.

They’re meeting at a small coffee shop, Jiwoo wanting to take Sooyoung up on the offer of friends. She’d be lying if she said she didn’t want to get to know the senior more.

“You’re not like I thought you were.”

“I might have been exactly what you thought I was at one point in the time,” Sooyoung can only be honest with Jiwoo, that’s how she wants to play this. No games.

There’s a lull of comfortable silence halfway through their coffee meet when Jiwoo feels herself just watching Sooyoung for a brief moment as the older girl is watching out the window they’re seated next to.

“I- I like you too, I think,” Jiwoo’s whispers, referring to the words Sooyoung said that night in the cold outside of the party, “but I need some time.”

And Sooyoung’s more than okay with that.

.

Jiwoo knows right away when she’s finally ready.

Sooyoung smiles at her from across the campus yard, it reaching her eyes in a way that’s so bright that Jiwoo doesn’t think she would mind going blind.

Sooyoung had been putting her back together, piece by piece, slowly and quietly and almost without Jiwoo even noticing until now. When it dawns on her that she feels whole.

Jiwoo’s legs carry her forward before her brain even has a chance to catch up with her actions.

Then she’s standing right in front of Sooyoung, grabbing her hand and tugging her to a shaded area away from any prying eyes.

“Jiw—“

Before she can finish questioning the girl, Jiwoo presses her lips against Sooyoung’s own in a kiss. A gentle, sweet little thing that has Jiwoo bursting at the seams because it feels so right.

Sooyoung tastes like coffee and cigarettes and peppermint, and Jiwoo finds she doesn’t mind it one bit.

“Hi,” she’s giggling, laughter bubbling up and spilling from her lips.

“Hi,” there’s that look in Sooyoung’s eyes again but Jiwoo can identify what it is and this time she doesn’t want to run from it, doesn’t wish she was seeing it in someone else’s eyes.

And those flowers in her chest aren’t Jungeun’s anymore.