Your form, Choi Confessions, has 3 new responses.
~ this week’s confessions ~
✩ my best friend has a crush on me and i don’t like them back
✩ my girlfriends are unionizing
✩ kim doyeon, will you go to the dance with me?
no, i don’t even know who you are
you deserve it @ the second one
“Which Choi is it?”
Yoojung whips around in her seat, but whoever had said it is already far away. Suyeon taps her on the shoulder. “Hey, you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I’m fine,” Yoojung manages to mutter. Just paranoid about being found out . “Just distracted. I was checking Tumblr.”
“Oh yeah, did you see Doyeon rejecting that guy?” Haerim chimes in. “Well, I assumed it was a guy. You never know.”
“It was funny,” Yoojung agrees, only half paying attention. She pushes her food around; she’s not hungry.
“I liked girlfriends, plural, more,” Suyeon says, grinning. “Lucky kid.”
Haerim laughs, and Yoojung wishes her friends weren’t always… so prone to gossip. In her first year at the high school, she’d started the blog out of sheer boredom- the link to the form that collected responses was only available to people at the school, and as a result, her blog had become a hotspot for anonymous confessions and drama. Yoojung wouldn’t give it up for the world- she liked feeling on top of social events, liked guessing who each confession was about. She even liked the love confessions she got every now and then, because apparently she was more attractive as an unknown blog than she was as a person- although there had been one confession to Choi Yoojung. But it was weird, hearing her friends talk about her without knowing it.
The lie is an uncomfortable prickle in her stomach, but she could never risk her secrecy. She trusts Suyeon and Haerim, she really does, but… trust can be betrayed.
If anyone were to find out, Yoojung would have far more eyes on her than she likes.
Which Choi is it?
She’s almost late to theater because she’s too busy checking the notes for her latest post- Doyeon’s rejection has sent a flurry of gossip through the school, despite the fact that it’s going to be the first of many. Kim Doyeon, one of the most popular girls in the grade, is bound to be taking someone to the winter dance- the real mystery is who.
(Yoojung wonders, in a tiny corner of her mind, if she could ever have a chance.)
She slips into the auditorium and waits for their teacher to start paying attention. Ms. Jung is kind of spacey sometimes, but she’s a good teacher. Right now, she’s fiddling with her phone while everyone else chatters and settles into the designated two rows for class.
“Excuse me, is this spot open?”
Yoojung turns around even more quickly than she had at the Choi question. It’s Doyeon, because of course it is- she has a little smile on her face, and Yoojung hates how quickly her cheeks heat.
“Yeah,” she stammers, “it is.”
“Great,” says Doyeon, and sits down right next to Yoojung; she smells like campfire smoke. Not perfume, Yoojung notes- it’s natural.
There’s an awkward silence in which Yoojung waits for Doyeon to get out her phone and text someone, like popular kids are wont to do. She doesn’t. “Uh… I didn’t notice that you were taking this class.”
“I’m not,” Doyeon says, not losing an ounce of her cheerfulness. “Choir’s doing a collaboration with theater.”
“Oh,” Yoojung says, and wonders if maybe she’s evolving in reverse to become monosyllabic. “Are we doing a musical?”
Doyeon shrugs. “Probably.”
The conversation ends there when Ms. Kim, the choir teacher, bursts into the room. The room quiets, all eyes on the teachers- although Yoojung could swear Doyeon is watching her instead. The two teachers step up to the edge of the stage. “Drama students,” Ms. Kim starts, “I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that the choir students are here with you. We’re going to be collaborating on a group project- adapting a play to become a musical.”
It hits Yoojung that Suyeon’s taking choir, albeit in a different period- she wonders why she’d never thought to tell her friend about this. “In addition to that,” she continues, “you all have the responsibility of choosing the play, selecting the roles, and choosing the songs. Feel free to ask questions.”
A hand shoots up, and Ms. Jung squints. “Hyojung?”
There’s a simultaneous “huh?” and “I was wondering-” before they both come to the realization that there are two Hyojungs in the class now. The Hyojung who had actually asked the question continues. “Anyway, uh, are there restrictions on the plays and songs we can choose?”
“Nothing explicit, nothing overly violent, but a bit of violence and minor cursing is fine- you’re in high school,” Ms. Kim says to a chorus of cheers. “Today we’re going to be making the decision. Any volunteers for taking notes?”
Yoojung raises her hand timidly, mostly because she can feel Doyeon looking at her and she has good handwriting anyway. “Miss Choi, good.” Yoojung scurries up to the stage and writes down play suggestions. “Feel free to discuss.”
Kim Jiwoo, one of the choir students Yoojung only knows from chemistry, raises an excited hand. “We should do Shakespeare!”
“No, we shouldn’t,” Chaeyoung, a drama student, argues. “Those plays are boring. There aren’t enough…”
“Lesbians?” one of the Hyojungs hollers from the other side of the room; Ms. Jung looks like she’s seriously regretting letting them have this discussion.
“No!” Chaeyoung yells back. “Not nearly enough lesbians!”
“Then let’s do lesbian Shakespeare!” Doyeon, of all people, calls from her seat.
This earns a cheer from the crowd. “What play?” says the other Hyojung.
“I don’t know,” says the first Hyojung, whom Yoojung mentally dubs Short Hyojung. “Yewon, any ideas?”
“No,” three different people, presumably all Yewon, say. Tall Hyojung groans. Yoojung looks around; there’s Choir Yewon, and… fuck. The drama Yewons are only about an inch apart. She wonders briefly how she hasn’t noticed the double Yewons until now.
“What about Romeo and Juliet?” Doyeon suggests.
“Overrated,” a choir student Yoojung doesn’t know says.
“It’s a classic!” Jiwoo says.
Drama Yewon #1 looks tired. “What if we all say our names first? That might help.”
Yoojung tallies the names on the board, and discovers that apparently parents of drama/choir kids share some sort of hivemind, because in addition to the two Hyojungs and the three Yewons, there’s another Chaeyoung, not to mention two Nayoungs, both in choir. One Nayoung, who Yoojung nicknames Scary Nayoung because of the fact that she hasn’t moved a muscle since the class began, says, “Everyone, nominate a play. The play with the most votes wins.”
It’s a good suggestion (Yoojung sees Ms. Kim’s shoulders slump in relief that they’re finally getting something done) and one by one, they nominate plays. Yoojung counts. It’s a tie between Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, which she could have predicted just by looking up the most popular Shakespeare plays. The cynical choir student, who had voted for something Yoojung’s never heard of, rolls her eyes. “Oh, no. What are we going to do?”
The room begins to heat up again until Doyeon, who’s been quiet until now, speaks up. “Yoojung, you didn’t vote.”
“Oh, yeah!” Tall Hyojung says. “Yoojung, what do you want?” She’s bouncing in her seat, and Yoojung stifles a grin.
“I, uh,” she starts, looking back at the board. “Romeo and Juliet,” she blurts out solely because it’s there in her neat handwriting next to Doyeon’s name.
Who are you?
There are so many Chois in the school. I guess that’s why you’re confident using it as part of your username.
You could be Choi Yerim. She’s a sophomore, but she could have been running it with one of her older friends.
You could be Choi Hyojung. She takes creative writing- surely she’s literate enough to run a blog.
You could even be Choi Sooyoung. She’s a teacher, but the teachers have been known to meddle.
But you’re not Yerim. Yerim would have told someone by now.
You’re not Hyojung. She doesn’t know how to use Tumblr.
You’re not Sooyoung. She would have been found out too quickly.
You’ve been doing a pretty good job hiding, Choi Yoojung. But I’m onto you.
What do you want?
You’re in the theater program, yes? I have it on good authority that you’re an excellent actor.
Don’t take a big role. That belongs to someone else.
Oh, and after that- if you know who wrote any of the confessions, email me. This is too good to keep hidden.
Or the whole school will know your secret.
Fine. Don’t drop any hints. Don’t demand anything else. If I find out who you are, you’re dead.
How did you know?
Ooh, scary. I’m not worried.
It was easy. All I had to do was see your handwriting- one handwritten post, Yoojung, and you were doomed.
Tryouts are today, and the whole class is buzzing. The choir students will be singing in the back, not taking any main roles, so Yoojung only looks at the theater students. Who could it be? She can’t imagine any of them being mean enough to sabotage her like this.
Maybe it’s a choir student who wants to help a friend.
“Hey!” Yoojung jumps as Doyeon sits down next to her. “What are you thinking about?”
“The tryouts,” Yoojung says. She’s become more confident talking to Doyeon now- despite being stunningly popular, she’s… actually pretty nice.
“I’ve heard you’re good,” Doyeon says. “Are you trying out for any main roles?”
“No,” Yoojung mutters. “I’m going to be an understudy.”
“You’re too good for that!” Doyeon protests. “You could be Romeo. Or Juliet. Or whoever you want.”
Yoojung shrugs, hoping Doyeon won’t notice how miserable she sounds. “It’s okay, I don’t like the spotlight.”
Doyeon raises an eyebrow, but nods. “That’s fair.”
Yoojung barely remembers the tryouts; they pass in a blur. She recites a speech passably, although she’s uncomfortably aware of everyone watching her- a few people, including Doyeon, even clap.
At the end of them, the teachers dismiss them. Yoojung vaguely recalls saying goodbye, but she does remember what happens next. Her stomach is feeling horrible now- the nausea is like a whole ocean in her gut, swirling and rollicking at the edges of her torso. She pushes her way through the crowd and heads to the closest bathroom, where she promptly throws up nothing but water.
Yoojung stays there for a moment, sitting on the edge of the toilet and feeling sorry for herself. She can’t believe someone had actually found her out. She can’t believe someone had blackmailed her.
She can’t believe she’s going along with it.
The bathroom door opens. “Yoojung? Yoojung, are you okay?” someone calls. It’s Doyeon’s voice, Yoojung realizes. Why would Doyeon care enough to come looking for her?
“I’m fine,” she mutters, but she sounds anything but. “Isn’t it class time?”
“I could say the same to you,” Doyeon says. “What’s going on?”
“Why do you care?” Yoojung snaps, surprised at her own anger. “My best friends are too lost in each other to talk to me, some kid is blackmailing me out of the only thing I’m good at, and nobody remembers I exist. You shouldn’t, either.”
The bathroom is silent before Doyeon says, “Who’s blackmailing you? With what?”
She sounds genuinely confused, but Yoojung knows she shouldn’t trust Doyeon. It might just be her hormones talking, might just be the way her heartbeat increases when Doyeon is nearby, but… she wants to trust Doyeon. So she takes a deep breath and says, “My last name’s Choi.”
“I don’t see how that’s relev-” Doyeon starts, before coming to a quick conclusion. “ Oh . So you’re the one who’s fallen victim to all those love confessions to me, huh?” She doesn’t sound upset, and Yoojung’s heart rate slows down. “Hey, what class do you have now?” she asks after a second.
“Study hall,” Yoojung says. She eases open the stall door. “Why?”
Doyeon’s eyes flicker to the window. “It’s not safe here, but…”
“This is a horrible idea,” Yoojung says. From her position in the windowsill, the ground seems miles away from here, even though she knows it’s only about ten feet away. There’s even a heating unit of some sort halfway down that she can use to get down.
Doyeon’s already standing on the ground, waiting- clearly she’s done this before. She grins at Yoojung. “You’ll be fine.”
“I’m scared of heights, ” Yoojung hisses. “I don’t want to jump out the window. I’ll die, or worse, get in trouble.”
“Okay, Hermione,” Doyeon teases. When she sees Yoojung’s face, she frowns. “If you really can’t-”
Footsteps echo from outside. Yoojung freezes. “Someone’s coming!”
“Drop to the heater!” Doyeon hisses. “Quick!”
Yoojung has no time to think- she quickly drops from the windowsill, arms still holding onto the edge. For a long, terrifying moment, she feels her feet dangle in thin air. Doyeon is taller, of course she is- she could have reached the heater with ease. Her hands are starting to feel slippery, and she just barely manages to look down past the dizzying drop and spot the heater.
Yoojung lets go.
For a moment, she’s falling, but she lands on the heater quickly. Scrambling down to the ground, she throws her arms around Doyeon on instinct- maybe it’s just that she’s just survived a ten-foot drop and is now skipping class, maybe it’s that Doyeon feels safe. The younger girl stiffens in surprise, but she hugs Yoojung back.
When she lets go, Yoojung decides to pretend that had never happened. “I,” she says, “am never doing that again.”
Doyeon laughs, but there’s an edge of nervousness to it. “Understandable.”
Maybe out of pity, Doyeon pays for her coffee. Yoojung takes the opportunity to order some sugary monstrosity that can’t be good for her stomach, and she’s surprised when Doyeon doesn’t flinch- she must be rich. They sit at a table in the corner, and the silence is broken when Doyeon starts, “So. What do you know about this person?”
“Why?” Yoojung asks. It feels like a silly question, but she genuinely doesn’t know the answer.
“Because I want to help you,” Doyeon says, scooping her whipped cream out with a spoon. “We’re going to find this person and we’re going to ruin their life.”
“No, we’re not,” Yoojung says, alarmed. “I just want them to leave me alone.”
Doyeon points the spoon at Yoojung. “Okay, point taken. We are going to find this person and we are going to get them to leave you alone.” After a moment, she adds, “By any means necessary.”
Yoojung can’t help but laugh. “Okay, uh. They’re in our class, because they emailed me just after and they recognized my handwriting. They want someone else to have a big role- maybe themself.” Doyeon stares at her expectantly. “I… that’s it.”
“Okay, we can work with this,” says Doyeon, scribbling on a napkin- Yoojung peeks and sees a list of names. “Is there anyone we can rule out?”
Yoojung considers for a moment. “Um… both Hyojungs, I think. Short Hyojung was mentioned in the email as someone the blog could have been run by, so it wouldn’t make sense for it to be her. Tall Hyojung thinks gossip is stupid and is also too nice to do that to anyone.” Doyeon crosses them out, and she adds, “And you. I guess.”
“And me,” Doyeon agrees. Thinking for a moment, she says, “I think we can rule out Seungeun from choir, too. She’s Ms. Jung’s little cousin, and Ms. Jung said she has Tumblr blocked on all of her devices.”
Yoojung realizes that if they’re just going one by one, it’s going to take a long time. “Who tried out for major roles? We can eliminate everyone who didn’t and their friends.”
Doyeon winces. “I wasn’t paying attention. Were you?”
Yoojung shakes her head, taking another sip of her sugary monstrosity. “Nope.”
“I guess we’ll have to wait for the cast list, then,” Doyeon says, sliding the napkin and pencil towards her. “Here- write your number. It’s probably time to go to class, but we should keep in touch.”
Yoojung begins to protest, but sighs and writes down her number and adds a little Yoojung :) next to it. “What do you have next?”
Doyeon makes a face. “Math. I’ll see you later?”
“Sure,” Yoojung says weakly, wondering what she’s gotten herself into.
“Where have you been?” Haerim asks when Yoojung sits down at their table for lunch. “You weren’t in study hall.”
Suyeon plops her tray down. “What’s this I hear about missing study hall?”
“I wasn’t feeling well,” Yoojung lies. “How are you doing?”
“Okay,” Suyeon says. “Something weird happened earlier. I was going in the bathroom and there was a really loud crash.”
“Odd,” Yoojung murmurs, pretending to be paying attention.
“That’s funny,” Haerim says. “Who knows what that was- high schoolers are weird.”
She launches into conversation with Suyeon. Yoojung, barely listening, pokes at the sugary monstrosity she hasn’t quite finished. It’s impressive that they didn’t notice the foreign cup.
Maybe they just don’t pay attention to her these days.
Her phone chimes with a text. She looks down, and it’s an unknown number sending a picture of a cat with hearts all around it. What the… The unknown number texts her again quickly.
oh sorry, wrong contact lol. it’s doyeon
Yoojung relaxes. it’s ok , she types. who are all those hearts for? She saves Doyeon’s contact with a little heart next to it, because she doesn’t have any self-control and hearts are nice, anyway.
it’s nothing!! the next text reads. It seems almost frantic- Yoojung wonders if Doyeon has a crush she’s trying to keep secret or something. It’s not like it matters, though. i was trying to send a reaction image to my friend nayoung
the scary one?
Doyeon sends that laughing-with-tears emoji that Yoojung’s only ever seen cheerleaders and grandmothers use. yeah her
i like how you knew who i was talking about , Yoojung sends before she can think much about the fact that she’s joking around with the most popular girl in the school.
she is scary tho is Doyeon’s almost instant reply. Yoojung is about to reply when her phone is snatched from her hands.
“No texting at the table!” Haerim crows, looking at the screen. “Who are you talking to?”
“Give that back!” Yoojung scrabbles for her phone, but Haerim holds it over her head.
“Ooh, Suyeon, you’ll never guess who our baby was texting.”
Yoojung makes another hopeless jump for it. “It’s Kim Doyeon,” Haerim says gleefully, “and she’s got a heart next to her name.”
To Haerim’s credit, she hasn’t actually looked at the texts and gives the phone back after this announcement. Yoojung stuffs it in her bag, cheeks burning. “It’s not what you think.”
“Sure,” Suyeon says. “I didn’t know you two knew each other.”
“Theater,” Yoojung mutters.
“Doesn’t explain the heart.”
“I give everyone an emoji and I was out of options,” she protests faintly. It’s clear they don’t believe her.
“Our baby has a crush,” says Haerim, pressing her hands to her heart. “Tell us everything.”
Yoojung rolls her eyes. “No, I don’t.”
“Actually,” Suyeon starts, but Haerim cuts her off.
“ Tell us everything. ”
“You guys don’t tell me if you have crushes!” Yoojung says. “Why should I tell you if I do?”
“So you do like her,” Haerim says victoriously.
“No, I don’t,” Yoojung mutters. “She’s my friend and I think she’s pretty. That’s all.”
“We can tell you about what’s going on with us if you want,” Suyeon suggests. “Do you feel like we’re leaving you out or something?”
“A little bit,” Yoojung admits reluctantly. “But it’s okay. I get it.”
Haerim’s glee has died down. “I’m really sorry if it feels like we’re leaving you out. It’s just, uh-”
“Are you two dating?” Yoojung asks. “Because if so I could sort of tell.”
There’s an awkward pause before Suyeon stands up, walks to the other side of the table, and hugs Yoojung tightly. She relaxes into the older girl’s arms, feeling at peace for the first time in a while.
“I’m sorry,” Suyeon mutters. “It was just- awkward, I guess. We shouldn’t keep secrets from each other.”
"I was trying to get her to announce it on the confessions blog,” Haerim agrees, rubbing Yoojung’s back. “She said telling strangers before telling you would be rude.”
Yoojung starts to laugh. She’s not sure why- maybe it’s the circumstances, maybe she’s just relieved. “Well, if we’re talking about keeping secrets… I guess technically you would have told me too.”
Haerim’s rub turns into a hit. “Holy shit, Yoojung! You should have told us.”
“What?” says Suyeon, untangling herself. She hasn’t caught on to Yoojung’s implication yet. “Should have told us what.”
Haerim leans over and whispers something in Suyeon’s ear. They’re cute together, Yoojung thinks- a little dramatic, sure, and completely unsubtle, but cute. Suyeon’s eyes widen. “Choi Yoojung! Does that mean you knew that the post last year that was basically telling Haerim I put chocolates in her locker was from me?”
“Yup,” Yoojung says, laughing. “Like I said- kind of obvious.”
“Oops,” Haerim says sheepishly. “Does your crush know?”
“She’s not- whatever.” Yoojung sighs. “Yeah. That’s mostly why we’re friends.” She decides going into the whole blackmail thing would be way too complicated for now, and just settles for, “I was upset about a message I got and she comforted me.”
“A true love story,” Haerim sighs.
She laughs again. It’s good to have her friends, as ridiculous as they are. “I think that would be you two.”
The cast list is up. Yoojung only knows because she sees everyone in her class crowding around a completely random spot on the stage. “Sookyung, you got the nurse!” she hears someone yell.
Yoojung’s phone buzzes. It’s a text from Doyeon.
can’t make it back to your seat bc it’s so crowded but here’s a picture of the list [image attached]
Yoojung opens the image, heart pounding in her throat.
Romeo - Jeon Somi
Understudy - Choi Yoojung
Juliet - Kang Mina
Understudy - Kim Doyeon
Mercutio - Son Chaeyoung
Benvolio - Choi Yewon
Tybalt - Park Jiwon
Friar Lawrence - Kim Bora
Nurse - Kim Sookyung
Yoojung stops reading once it gets to the heads of houses; she really doesn’t care who’s playing the minor roles as they’re not potential suspects. If she scans further down, she’s a tree somewhere. thank you fellow understudy , she texts. i’m a tree i think they ran out of people
explains why i’m even an understudy , Doyeon replies.
i’m sure you’re a good actress
you wouldn’t say that if you’ve seen me
Yoojung laughs. is mina nice?
yeah, i like her. somi is nice too . Yoojung spots Doyeon weaving her way through the crowd, but she’s stopped by someone with dark hair whom she presumes to be Mina.
Despite the conversation she’s having, Doyeon’s still texting Yoojung. mina and i have the same birthday we’re practically the same person
Yoojung ignores the strange flare of jealousy (?) in her gut and replies, don’t text and talk
She doesn’t get a reply. She supposes that’s for the best.
“Hi!” She turns around- there’s Somi, sitting right next to her. Yoojung wishes people weren’t so good at sneaking up on her. “Sorry you got understudy. You should have had a regular role.” She sounds geniune- Yoojung mentally rules her out.
“It’s okay,” she says. “I don’t mind being understudy. And you’re a better actress than I am.”
Somi snorts. “No, I’m not. You’re good, I’ve seen you.”
“Actors in act one, scene one, come down for the reading!” Ms. Jung calls. “As well as anyone else who’s interested.” Yoojung isn’t, so she stays in her seat along with some of the choir kids and tries to ignore the sinking feeling in her gut.
It’s okay, it really is. She doesn’t mind being understudy. She doesn’t mind not being in the spotlight.
It doesn’t matter.
The reading is finished before she can blink. “That’s it for the day,” Ms. Jung says. “Yoojung, could you stay a minute?”
Yoojung makes her way up to the stage, sharply aware of all the eyes on her. Doyeon flashes her a smile that’s probably supposed to be reassuring, and she tries to force out a smile of her own. She knows it looks less like a smile and more like a grimace, which she guesses is entirely fair- she’s more in a grimace mood anyway. When everyone leaves, Ms. Kim, still there, gestures for her to sit down. “Yoojung, to be completely honest, Yi- your teacher was shocked when you auditioned for an understudy. You’re very talented.” She pauses. “Jiwon- the girl playing Tybalt- she’s in choir another period and theater this period, so technically she could have a vocal part. However, she’s also a talented actress. She talked to me today and said she’d rather let someone else have her part and take a vocal part if they want it.”
“I’m fine where I am,” Yoojung murmurs. The world feels like it’s spinning around her. “Thanks, though.”
“Yoojung,” Ms. Jung starts, “is everything okay? You seem like you’ve been quieter lately.”
“I’m just busy,” she says, “it’s fine, really.”
“Nothing at home?” Ms. Jung presses. “No drama? Nobody’s making you-”
Ms. Kim puts a hand on her arm. Yoojung wonders briefly if they know each other outside of school. “It’s almost time for next period, but think about it, okay? The offer’s still open.”
“Okay, thanks,” Yoojung mutters, slipping out of the classroom while she still can. That had been… an odd conversation.
I can handle it , she convinces herself, and heads to study hall.
yoojung: this week’s confessions are much more interesting than last week’s, also there are a lot more. we’re getting into dance season
suyeon: do tell
yoojung: there’s one saying that they have a crush on a girl but the only people who seem to like the confessor are boys, two from named choir students saying that the other person is a bad singer, one saying they lost their pet roach in history class, three more asking people out, one saying that they think two teachers are dating, and one saying that their aunt is annoying
haerim: what’s that one in the middle???
suyeon: the fighting choir students?
haerim: NO THE COCKROACH
yoojung: probably a troll
haerim: no listen my little sister’s friend’s older cousin goes to our school and may says she’s got pet roaches
haerim: and i have history next!!!
suyeon: they probably got some facts mixed up
suyeon: you know how little kids are honey
suyeon: shut up
haerim: it seems like it’s too big of a coincidence
yoojung: it’ll be fine “honey”
suyeon: don’t mock your mom miss choi
haerim: but… what if…
suyeon: you’ll be fine
haerim: okay going into history now
haerim: AKJDSFJGKWGVR OAHC MSYT
suyeon: haerim? babe?
suyeon: haerim what’s wrong
haerim: IS A TON A BUG
yoojung: is a ton a bug? not unless it’s really heavy??
suyeon: you sat on a bug?
Yoojung is walking through the hallways to theater class when Doyeon catches up with her. “Hey, Yoojung,” she says. “Did either of our teachers try to talk to you about being an understudy?”
Yoojung nods. “Yeah. Both of them. Why?”
Doyeon opens the door to the theater for her. “After you. They asked me if you were okay.”
"Thanks,” she says. “That’s… weird. What did you say?”
“I said to ask you, because it’s not my business,” Doyeon says.
Yoojung is glad, somehow, that Doyeon knows when to interfere and when not to. “Thanks. They said I could take Jiwon’s role because she’d rather do vocal, but I don’t want to make anyone mad.”
“If Jiwon volunteered herself, she’s probably out.”
Yoojung realizes that they’re walking to the seats she’s come to think of as their seats, and then she realizes that she has a routine with Kim Doyeon, and all of this is so odd that she ignores it and continues along her path. “It’s more likely to be one of the leads or their friends, I think,” she says. “Tybalt’s not the biggest role.”
“Good point,” Doyeon agrees. “Although you never know. Someone could have really wanted to play a side role.”
“Chaeyoung really wanted to be Mercutio,” Yoojung admits, “but nobody else wanted to be Mercutio because of that fairy speech, so I don’t think that counts.”
Doyeon laughs. It’s a laugh that doesn’t fully fit her- loud and almost grating. Yoojung wonders if this is her true laugh. She can hear almost hear Haerim in her head calling her whipped. “That’s… fair, honestly. Mina seems too nice to sabotage anyone. Also, she’s like a grandmother with technology. It’s really cute.”
Yoojung pushes back the spike of definitely-jealousy- Mina can’t be that interesting, can she? and agrees. “Somi’s too nice, too. She doesn’t even seem that into the role.”
"Then someone wanted one of them to get in,” Doyeon says. “I know most of Mina’s friends. They’re too useless to blackmail everyone, and I mean that in the nicest possible way.”
Mina, Mina, Mina. “You never know.”
“No, seriously,” Doyeon argues. “Two of them were like friends with benefits or something, and one asked the other to a dance in the middle of a kiss. The second one said ‘what?’ and hired another friend to ask her on your blog, but the third friend was so confused by technology that she typed her answer in three different languages, conveniently forgetting English.”
Yoojung had started laughing halfway through, and by the end she can barely breathe. “I get your point now,” she chokes out. “I was so confused by the submission that was in Korean- and Japanese- and I think the third one was Elvish.”
Doyeon is laughing, too, and it’s the loud one again so maybe she’s just been controlling her giggles all this time. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
“Oh, dear,” Yoojung says, finally calming down. “Anyway, doesn’t Somi have like three sisters?”
“Two, both older,” Doyeon corrects. “Heejin’s in our year art class and Soyeon’s a year older and in this class. I guess it could be either of them blackmailing you, they’re all really close and smart...”
Yoojung peeks over Doyeon’s shoulder in the middle of her monologue. Ms. Jung is standing there, clearly listening. She coughs. Coughs again. “Hey, Doyeon?”
Doyeon pauses instantly. “What?”
Yoojung points. “Uh… behind you.”
Doyeon whirls around. “Oh! Uh, hi, Ms. Jung. How’s Seungeun?”
Ms. Jung doesn’t look amused. “Both of you are staying after class. I don’t know what I heard, but it sounds bad.”
“Great,” Yoojung mutters.
Instead of sitting on the stage, Ms. Jung takes them to the empty choir room, where Ms. Kim is boiling water. “So,” she starts, “what’s this I hear about blackmail?”
“Go easy on them,” Ms. Kim says. “Either of you want tea?”
"Sure,” Doyeon says. Apparently at least the tea is normal, so Yoojung shrugs too.
When all four of them are sitting with cups of tea- Yoojung peeks at the label, and it reads English Afternoon , so maybe the teabags were random- Ms. Jung starts again. “Does someone have something over either of you? Because that would explain a lot.”
Yoojung and Doyeon share a look. At least on Doyeon’s end, it looks like a you should tell them but it’s up to you look, which had been what Yoojung had been trying to communicate as well, so she starts. “I got a mysterious email saying that I couldn’t audition for a lead role or they’d reveal a secret of mine to the whole school. I don’t know who it was from.”
Ms. Kim brightens, somehow. “Are you the one running that confession blog? Is that the secret?” Yoojung shifts in her seat, which the teacher takes as an answer. “Ha. You owe me.”
This last is directed at Ms. Jung, who sighs. “Not the time, but I guess I do. In any case, we can’t report this to the principal. He won’t take it seriously. Kicking someone out of the production would cause quite a stir, and we don’t want whoever it is to keep blackmailing you.”
“Do you think they’d step down if we found out who they were and threatened to report them?” Doyeon suggests. “They wouldn’t know that thing about the principal.” Yoojung peeks at Doyeon’s teabag label- it says Buttermint , which would probably explain why she’s not drinking any.
“Maybe,” says Ms. Kim. Yoojung is trying to remember their first names now that she actually has to talk to them one-on-one- she knows Ms. Jung’s is Yiyeon, but she can’t remember Ms. Kim’s. Chanmi? Chaewon? Ch-something. “Professionally, we can’t really help you, and technically scheming like this is against school rules, but it’s not my fault if this tea made me forget our conversation.”
“That’s not a very good excuse,” Yoojung mutters under her breath, but out loud she says, “I have a plan. Or I think I do, anyway.”
“Excellent,” says Ms. Jung. “Let me know if you’d like to step up from understudy. Somi didn’t want to be Romeo in any case.”
“Hey, Somi,” Doyeon says at the next class, sitting down on one side of her. Yoojung is on the other, waiting for the signal. “Is there another role you’d rather be?”
Somi shrugs. She looks rather threatened, which is the point. “I wouldn’t mind being, like… Tybalt or something. I’d get to stab someone. Instead of all these dramatic love confessions.” She makes a face.
“Great,” says Doyeon gleefully. Yoojung is beginning to understand why she fits into the popular girl stereotype sometimes. “Would you be interested in getting that role? I swear this isn’t just so Yoojung can have it.”
“Yes,” Somi says, still looking terrified. “My sister wants me to have it, though. Something about, like… standing out.”
“Which sister?” Doyeon asks, leaning in even closer. “You’ve got two.”
“Soyeon,” Somi stammers, “why?”
Doyeon grins. “Could you do us a favor and tell her you’re switching roles? We can get you a role with a sword,” she adds when Somi looks unconvinced.
“Deal,” the younger girl whispers. “I… don’t know what this is about, but deal.”
Doyeon’s smile widens. “I’ll get you a crossaint tomorrow, Somi. No ill intentions meant. Thanks!”
She whirls off, and Yoojung smiles apologetically at Somi. “Sorry,” she whispers, “you didn’t do anything wrong, it’s your sister. Doyeon’s just… protective, I guess.”
Somi gives her a little smile back. “It’s okay,” she whispers back.
I heard that Romeo’s understudy is going to take up the role. I thought you remembered our deal.
She didn’t want to be Romeo anyway. We talked to her about it, Soyeon.
Will you leave me alone now? I can report you for this, you know. You’d get suspended… or worse.
Yes. But I’m going to remember this.
Hell if I care.
yoojung: success [screenshots attached]
yoojung: thank you so much for helping me. why did you do that? you’re.... well, you’re you and i’m just me
doyeon: because we’re friends silly
yoojung: what does huzzah mean?
Jiwon is more than happy to take a main vocal part- according to Suyeon, she’s very good, so Yoojung supposes having her play Tybalt would be a waste. Somi shines as a fighter, but not before demanding Yoojung and Doyeon explain the whole thing to her. She’s mortified. “I’m sorry for my sister,” she mutters. “She’s… she really wants me to do well, I think. But she’s going to get a talking-to from Heejin, just you wait.” The thought of Heejin, who’s about as intimidating as a rabbit, giving Soyeon a talking-to almost makes Yoojung laugh. Ms. Jung presumably pays Ms. Kim something, because the choir teacher looks smug for a solid week. Haerim asks Suyeon to the dance with minimal chaos. And Yoojung, after a lot of convincing, agrees to play Romeo. (“Female Romeo,” Chaeyoung insists. “Because gay rights.” There’s another loud cheer.) She’s not used to being in the spotlight, but she finds she rather likes it- it’s junior year, nobody is really watching this, and she likes acting. She dreams, one night, of wearing her costume, which is ridiculous in the way only Shakespeare costumes are, and staring out at an empty auditorium.
Well, it’s almost empty. Except for Doyeon, sitting in the seat Yoojung usually takes, and smiling.
The two of them practice after school one day. Doyeon had stolen Mina’s Juliet costume, which fits very well- they are almost the same person, after all- and lies down on the stage dramatically.
“What’s in a name?” Doyeon moans, flinging her arms wide. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” She really is a terrible actor, Yoojung thinks- she overacts, and her voice seems more suited for a sex scene than a sad monologue. A month ago, she would have thought Doyeon nothing more than a perfect, pretty face, but she knows better now. Doyeon’s charming, smart, and funny, and she’s far from whatever high schoolers consider perfect- she has a loud laugh Yoojung finds rather endearing, she’s a bad actor, and she likes to jump out of windows. “Hey, Romeo, what’s your line?”
“This is a monologue, I don’t have lines yet,” Yoojung says, laughing. “Weren’t you paying attention?”
“Not really,” Doyeon admits. “I was… distracted.”
“Did you know there’s a kiss scene?” Doyeon says thoughtfully. “Mina’s dreading it.”
“Me too,” Yoojung admits. Mina is nice, almost painfully so, and also very pretty, but Mina’s only almost the person she wants to kiss. “It’ll be a stage kiss, but still.”
“Yeah,” Doyeon agrees, changing the subject yet again. “Someone else asked me out today. In person this time.”
“Are you going to say yes to one of them?” Yoojung asks. “Or do you not like any of them?”
“Nope,” hums Doyeon. “I like someone else. I wish she would ask me out.”
“She?” Yoojung starts, but Doyeon continues.
“Maybe she just doesn’t like me. I’d do a lot for her since I’ve thought she seemed great for a while, and once I got the chance to get close to her I just started to like her more.”
“That sounds sweet,” Yoojung says. The feeling of jealousy is intensifying now, but she’s happy for whoever Doyeon likes. She really is. “Is it Mina? You seem close to her.” Doyeon shakes her head, and Yoojung continues, finding herself oddly desperate. “Somi? Heejin? I don’t know-”
“I’m trying to confess to you, dummy,” Doyeon interrupts. “You really are oblivious, you know?”
“Oh,” says Yoojung, because she doesn’t know what else to say. Her heart is a ray of sunlight beating in her chest, threatening to spill over and turn the world into a bright oasis. “I’d include some sort of love quote from the play here,” she begins carefully, “because I like you too. You’re kind and you went out of your way to help me and you bought me some ridiculous drink and you’re funny, too, and smart, and I like your laugh.”
“Oh,” Doyeon echoes, then; “Why didn’t you include a love quote, then?”
“They’re all about being enemies,” Yoojung says, “or else really melodramatic. I’m not good at melodramatic, and it’s not that great for actual relationships anyway.”
Doyeon laughs. “Would kissing you be melodramatic?”
“A little bit,” says Yoojung, “but it would certainly be welcome.”
~ this week’s confessions, pt. 1~
✩ i think someone killed my roaches
✩ i walked in on two teachers hugging and i’m scarred for life
✩ why are my sisters mad at me?
✩ doyeon pls go out with me i’ll treat u well - a football player
i’m taken, sorry!
“You kids better not be bringing in any alcohol,” says Ms. Jung, taking a sip from her water bottle. (Well, presumably it’s a water bottle. Yoojung can’t really tell what’s inside.)
It’s the school dance, and the teachers are checking Yoojung’s bag. Ms. Kim, next to her, snorts something that sounds vaguely like hypocrite . “You’re good, Yoojung,” she says out loud. “Have a nice dance.”
“Thank you,” Yoojung says, smiling at them.
She’s late, mostly because the line for the bag check had been long and she’d lost Suyeon in the crowd. Inside the gym, it’s clear that this doesn’t really matter. There aren’t too many people already there, and she spots Suyeon and Haerim crowding around the punch bowl mostly due to Haerim’s unwise fashion choice of a neon jacket. Weaving her way through the mass of people and saying quick hellos to anyone who recognizes her, Yoojung catches up with her friends quickly. “Hi,” she says. “Did I miss anything interesting?”
“Not really,” Doyeon says, sneaking up behind her. Again. Yoojung makes a mental note to buy some sort of fancy glasses that can see behind her. “You look amazing, Yoojung.”
Yoojung smiles at her. “And you’re beautiful as always. It’s nice to see you.”
Doyeon passes her a cup of punch. “You too. Want to dance while there aren’t too many people out?” She pauses. “Also, behind you.”
Yoojung turns around. Suyeon and Haerim are gaping at her. Haerim looks vaguely offended, while Suyeon just mouths tell us about this later, go have fun . “They’ll be fine,” she says, guiding her girlfriend towards the dance floor. “That’s a good idea- let’s go.”
Doyeon smiles at her, and in the dim neon lights of the gym-turned-dance, Yoojung sees something like genuine care in her eyes. It’s not that she hadn’t thought that Doyeon liked her before, it’s just- it’s just impressive, the idea that there’s someone out there who likes her romantically enough to stick around.
And Yoojung feels the same way.
That part’s a little wild, too. It’s an impressive coincidence.
Yeah, this is right where I’m supposed to be , she thinks, and smiles back.