Chapter 1: The Past is in the Past
"Do you know how much longer until we get there?" Jinsoul asked. Her mom shook her head, staring forward at the open freeway. Jinsoul sighed, looking out the window as well.
Jinsoul's mother had won two hotel rooms and free food for three weeks in some casino in Reno, so the two of them were going to stay there so they could figure out what they were going to do with their lives. Jinsoul thought it was a bad idea, seeing as how whatever money her mom had left would be spent at the slot machines, but at least they had a place to sleep.
"Mom, what's the name of the casino we're staying at?" Jinsoul asked after a few minutes.
"The Grand Sierra Resort," she answered quietly. The silence returned, and they drove on.
Jinsoul, a sixteen year old girl from Calabasas, California, was born rich. She had grown up in luxury and financial security- until now. Jinsoul's father was the CEO of Jung Enterprises (Jinsoul still had no idea what they did), and her mother was his third trophy wife. Once she had reached the age of forty, Jinsoul's father divorced her, wanting a younger wife that he could show off. Unlike his first two ex-wives, however, Jinsoul's mother won custody of her daughter. She and Jinsoul packed up their things, and left the house (they couldn't quite call it home) they had both lived in for most of their lives. Jinsoul didn't mind, really. Her dad was a dick, and her half siblings were competitive and arrogant. Her parents may have been crazy, but at least her mom was nice.
After a few more hours, they finally drove up to the casino. It was huge and intimidating, and Jinsoul began to feel nervous; it would be so easy to get lost in the gigantic building.
"I think this was the biggest hotel in the world when it was built," Jinsoul's mom spoke. Jinsoul nodded silently as they pulled up at the front door of the hotel. A valet walked over to them, and Jinsoul's mom handed over their car keys. They had a Mercedes-Benz, but they were going to sell it and buy a cheaper car once everything settled down. Another person came to help them carry their luggage, but Jinsoul and her mother sent him away.
The two of them didn't have many things that they had brought with them. They had some clothes, childhood photos, and their laptops. They left so much behind, maybe because they wanted to forget about everything from before.
Honestly, Jinsoul had a good life in Calabasas. She was the student body secretary of her grade in school and had a few good friends, but she was glad to leave. She didn't like the way her classmates treated certain people, and how everyone had so much more than others. She just felt like it wasn't fair.
But at the same time, it was hard to be happy. She had no idea where her life would go from this point forward; she didn't even know where she would live in three weeks. The future was truly an unknown to her.
As she and her mom walked through the giant turning doors, the smell of cigarette smoke wafted through the room. There was a large lobby with a long carpet leading toward the check-in desks. Across from the carpet were the bright slot machines, making loud and grating noises; a sign and two guards near the entrance dictated that no one under the age of twenty-one could enter. There was no line at the check-in counter, so Jinsoul and her mom went right to the front.
As Jinsoul's mom talked to the woman at the desk, she looked around. She felt a slight headache coming on from the smoke, and a bit overwhelmed from all the lights and noises. Finally, her mom tapped her on the shoulder and handed her a room key.
"Let's go." Despite the prospect of freedom and vacation her voice showed only exhaustion, but Jinsoul understood. She picked up her luggage and followed her mom toward the elevators. Jinsoul looked at her key, turning it over in her hand.
"We're on the fifteenth floor."
Her mom spared a brief glance down at her own room key. "Yeah," she answered simply. Suddenly, the elevator door opened, and they stepped in. They quickly arrived at their floor, and they stepped out to look for a sign.
"This way," Jinsoul said, pointing to the hallway to the right. The two walked down the hall, stopping in front of two rooms labelled 1542 and 1543. Jinsoul remembered she was in 1542, waving goodbye to her mom and walking inside.
It was an average sized hotel room, with a large, beige-duvet-covered bed in the center, a lamp and a bedside table next to it, a small desk in the far right corner, a mirror, a large window, a tv, and a cabinet for clothes. Jinsoul placed her things on the desk and went to check out the bathroom. It had another mirror and a sink, shower, and toilet; it was quite small.
She looked up at herself in the bathroom mirror. She couldn't help but think she looked odd: she was unused to seeing herself without makeup, let alone so tired. She also wasn't used to her new hair color. In her hometown it had been weird to not be blonde but when her and her mother decided to leave a few days before, she'd dyed her hair back to it's original color. Jinsoul hadn't had black hair since she was nine years old, and seeing that color with her more grown up face made her feel like someone else entirely. She shook her head, going to check out the rest of the room.
Across from the bathroom was a closet, mini fridge, and a coffee maker with a box of coffee, tea, and sugar packets next to it. Jinsoul walked back over to the desk and began to unpack her luggage. As she was placing her clothes in the cabinet, she received a knock on her door. Jinsoul peered through the peephole. Realizing it was her mom, she opened the door and smiled. Her mother walked in, sat on her bed, and sighed. Jinsoul followed.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"I'm fine," Jinsoul answered. She still looked worried. "Mom, I'm glad we're out of there."
Jinsoul's mom looked relieved and reached into her back pocket. She handed Jinsoul five twenty dollar bills.
"Mom, can we afford this?"
"Just take it. What are you going to do for the next three weeks, watch TV? I heard there's some fun stuff for you to do here," she said. Jinsoul reluctantly placed the money in her wallet and sat back down next to her mom.
"We'll go to dinner in a half an hour." Her mom stood up and headed for the door. "I heard that there's a buffet!"
Jinsoul smiled and showed her mom out. At least there was a buffet.
Jinsoul quickly finished unpacking and turned on her favorite channel to watch on vacation: TLC. She was half an hour into an episode of Say Yes to the Dress when someone knocked. She groaned, sitting up from her comfortable spot on the bed and turning off the TV. She again looked through the peephole, suspicious of the weirdos that might stay at this casino, and saw it was her mom.
"I'm ready honey," she said as Jinsoul opened the door. Jinsoul slipped on a pair of sneakers and walked out.
Once they arrived back on the first floor, the scent of cigarettes came back into Jinsoul's nose, and she made a face. She couldn't imagine getting used to the disgusting smell. She and her mom walked down the carpet, through the slot machines, and up a ramp. At the ramp was a short line leading up to a cash register. When it was their turn, Joonmyeon's mom talked to the woman, and then they were led to a small table outside of the smoking area. Just then, a middle aged woman with overdone hair and too much make-up approached them.
"Hello, what would you like to drink?" she asked. Joonmyeon ordered a raspberry iced tea and her mother got a cheap glass of wine. After the waitress left, they both stood up to go get food. They grabbed plates and walked off in opposite directions, quietly returning a few minutes later with full plates.
As Jinsoul ate her food, her mother spoke.
"Let's set some ground rules." Jinsoul nodded. "I'm basically giving you free reign. I'm going to let you do whatever you want, go wherever you want. Just don't leave the casino. And," she sighed, "Don't do anything stupid. I don't want to have to worry about you. I want to have fun here, get out of this...funk, and I can't do that if I don't know you're safe. I trust you, though. I know you'll do the right things. You always do."
"I promise I'll be good," Jinsoul said. Her mother smiled back.
"Thank you," she answered, and the rest of dinner was silent.
After dinner, Jinsoul and her mom went back to their rooms. A few minutes later, her mom knocked on the door again. Jinsoul opened, and her mom was wearing a nice dress and simple make up.
"I'm going out. I just wanted to say goodbye before I left."
"Alright," Jinsoul answered, and her mom left. She shut the door behind her, and walked slowly around the room. She gazed at the generic wallpaper, the unmade bed, the already messy desk.
"This is my home now, at least for a little while," she said quietly to herself. She sighed and walked up to the window, resting her forehead against the glass. She looked down, seeing the tall, bright buildings of downtown Reno, surrounded by the empty desert. Her eyes moved towards the snow capped mountains, and the homes at their feet.
She sighed again, letting her breath fog up the glass. She drew a smiley face with her finger and just stood there. After a few moments, she walked away from the window and grabbed her phone. She put on Frank Ocean, stuffed her airpods in as tight as they would go, and turned the volume all the way up, getting under the covers like she was going to sleep.
What's going to happen after this? Do we have enough money? Are we going to be alright? she thought. Finally, after some uncountable amount of time, she managed to get some rest.
Chapter 2: Abandoned Child?
The next morning, Jinsoul woke up with a start.
Where the hell am I? she thought. She began to panic, jumping out of bed and looking quickly around the room. Suddenly, Jinsoul remembered everything, and she breathed a sigh of relief, sitting back down on top of the messy covers.
"I'm in Reno. Mom's in the room next to me. I'm not at dad's anymore," she said slowly, out loud. She finally sighed, pulling her phone off of its charger on the bedside table. She had one new message, from her mom:
Hey Jinsoul, im probably still out or passed out in my room. Dont come in. If you show your room key to a cashier at a restaurant, you'll get free breakfast. I love you. Stay safe!
Jinsoul briefly debated going to check on her mom before realizing that would probably do more harm than good. She looked at the clock on the desk; it was only eight o'clock. Jinsoul groaned.
"Fuck it's early," she cried out loud. "What am I going to do all day?" She paused. "I've been talking to myself a lot lately, haven't I?" Jinsoul laughed at herself, getting back into bed and turning on the TV.
About an hour and a half later, and five episodes into 90 Day Fiance, Jinsoul started to get hungry. She finally managed to get herself out of bed, changed from her current pajamas into slightly more presentable pajamas, and left her room.
She took the elevator down to the first floor, heading straight to the buffet without looking at anything or anyone else. She waited in the line, was seated, ordered a raspberry iced tea, and grabbed a plate to go get her food. Everyone else was with their families or friends, talking and laughing amongst themselves.
"Now aren't you a loner, Jinsoul?" she muttered to herself. Realizing she had spoken out loud in public, Jinsoul blushed and hurried back to her table.
She ate her breakfast all alone, earbuds in and phone out in an attempt to look like less of a loser.
I hope to god it won't be like this for the rest of the trip, she thought, quickly scarfing down her food out of embarrassment. She stood up, left and looked around at the casino surrounding her.
"I might as well explore today; what else do I have to do?" she quietly said out loud.
She began to wander aimlessly among the halls, nothing catching her eye at first except for a starbucks (where she bought a vanilla bean frappacino). At the very end was finally something interesting: a bowling alley.
"If I had someone to bowl with that could be pretty fun," Jinsoul mumbled before walking back into the lobby. She noticed an escalator, and with nothing better to do, decided to go down it.
The escalator led to the basement of the casino. As she walked down the basement halls, she saw lots of stores and restaurauts containing random clothes and fast food. She saw a cute little candy store, a toy shop, a Johnny Rockets, and an indoor mini golf area.
"What even is this place?" Jinsoul muttered quietly to herself. Towards the end of the hall was a small movie theater, which shows movies every hour for four dollars. "Maybe I'll go see a movie later," she mumbled. Finally, at the end of the hall was an arcade with a little restaurant in it. "I'll go there tomorrow," Jinsoul decided. She sighed, yet again, already a bit worn out, and realized it was time to go watch some more TV.
In the late afternoon, Jinsoul got out of bed and shut off the TV. Her eyes had glazed over from staring at the TV for so long, and her brain felt like mush. She went to the bathroom, splashing water on his face and brushing her hair. She grabbed her phone, room key, and money before heading out the door and down to the movie theater. The only thing playing was some b-list kids movie, but did she have anything better to do?
Once she arrived and bought her ticket, she realized she was a bit early so she sat on the ground outside the theater. When she turned to her side, she saw a very young looking girl there, playing a game on a clearly very expensive phone (was it the new iphone?). She couldn't have been more than eight or nine, and she was totally alone. Where were her parents?
Jinsoul had been staring for a while when the little girl finally noticed her.
"What are you staring at? You made me lose!" She whined.
"Um- s-sorry," Jinsoul stuttered in confusion.
The little girl suddenly gasped. "Abandoned child?"
"Are you an abandoned child too?"
"Awesome, come sit next to me." Jinsoul hesitantly scooted next to the girl.
"Are you seeing the movie?" the girl asked, not explaining any further.
"Um- yeah," Jinsoul responded, running her fingers through her hair nervously.
"I'm Yeojin," the girl said. "Ultimate phone gamer and frog expert."
"Well- I'm Jinsoul," she answered, trying to think of monikers for herself. "Student...council...secretary?"
"I'm sorry, but that's really boring," the child apparently named Yeojin answered.
"Fine. Um...I'm Jinsoul. Ultimate internet shopper and expert in angstily listening to Frank Ocean."
Yeojin nodded approvingly. "Much better."
"How old are you?" Jinsoul finally asked.
"I'm nine, and you?" Yeojin casually answered.
"I'm sixteen," Jinsoul replied.
Yeojin thought for a moment. "Well, you're a bit old, but I guess we can be friends. I haven't found any other abandoned children here yet anyways."
Jinsoul looked up at the clock, not quite knowing what to say to that, and Yeojin followed her eyes.
"It's time for the movie, I guess," Jinsoul said. Yeojin shrugged at Jinsoul, and the two walked into the theater.
During the movie, Yeojin whispered to Jinsoul.
"This movie is sooooo boring..." Jinsoul nodded in agreement; if a nine year old thought this movie was boring, then it was really boring. Without hesitation, Yeojin rested her head on Jinsoul's shoulder, and the two quickly fell asleep.
After the movie was over, they were shaken awake by an employee. They sat up, yawning and standing up sleepily.
"Are you hungry?" Jinsoul asked, suddenly worried if this poor child was getting properly taken care of.
"Yeah, a bit," Yeojin replied.
"I get free food for myself and whoever I bring, so do you want to eat dinner with me?"
Yeojin pumped her fist. "Yeah!" she said excitedly. "Now I can spend my money at the arcade!"
"Let's go to the buffet," Jinsoul said.
"A solid choice," Yeojin answered, and they walked up the ramp. "Have you been to any of the other restaurants?"
"Good, they all suck," Yeojin said, and Jinsoul giggled. Soon enough, they were seated, and the same waitress from last night approached them.
"What would you girls like to drink?" the lady asked.
"I'll have a raspberry iced tea," Jinsoul said.
"Yummy! I'll have that too," Yeojin added.. The lady smiled, writing down both of their orders and walking away.
"Let's go," Jinsoul said, and the two girls went to get food. They returned a few minutes later with fully stacked plates, and now Jinsoul was really worried Yeojin wasn't getting enough to eat.
"How long have you been here?"
"Three days now, I think. I'm here for a month. You?" Yeojin asked as she stuffed her face.
"I got here yesterday, and I'm staying here for three weeks," Jinsoul answered.
"Wow, that's a long time. Do your parents play poker?" Yeojin asked, and Jinsoul explained her situation.
"Damn, your dad sounds like an asshole," Yeojin said.
Jinsoul gasped. "Language!"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever."
"You know what though..." Jinsoul sighed. "It's true. Anyways... what brings you here?"
"My parents are slot machine repair people so we just move around from one casino to another. They give us a free room when my parents repair stuff so we don't really settle down anywhere." Yeojin thought for a moment. "Technically I'm not an abandoned child. But when there's no school and they're working they just let me wander around whatever casino we're at. There's always something to do."
"Yeah. It's not a big deal. I can usually find other kids to play with, whose parents do the same job as mine or are poker players. It's been harder here though. You're the first abandoned child I've found."
"I mean...you get fed and stuff, right?"
"Oh yeah. They give me money," Yeojin said. Jinsoul still eyed the nine year old a bit suspiciously, finally putting down her fork after her fifth plate of food. "Anyways, the buffet ice cream sucks. You want to go get froyo? There's a place in the basement, and it's on me," Yeojin offered.
"Actually, that sounds great," Jinsoul said, giving Yeojin a friendly smile. She smiled back and confidently led Jinsoul back down to the basement, quickly arriving at the froyo place.
The frozen yogurt store was brightly colored, with beach themed wallpaper and turquoise counters and tables. The chairs and ceilings were a blinding yellow, and Jinsoul had to blink a few times to see properly. In contrast, the employees of the store looked absolutely exhausted and bored. The two workers were the only people in the store other than Jinsoul and Yeojin, and they sighed deeply when they walked around to look at the flavors. Jinsoul got a simple medium sized vanilla with oreos, and Yeojin got chocolate vanilla swirl with so many different kinds of toppings that Jinsoul was sure she wouldn't be able to taste the ice cream. That's what you get when you let a literal child do whatever they want, Jinsoul thought as they sat down at one of the too bright tables, quickly digging into their ice cream.
"This is so weird," Yeojin whispered to Jinsoul, the two of them peering over at the two employees. The employees were glaring at them, picking at their nails and snacking at the gummy bears.
"Yeah," Jinsoul answered.
"Ugh!" Yeojin suddenly cried as she looked down at her phone, the employees giving her an extra mean stare. "My parents want me to come back up to the room. Anyways, give me your number so we can hang out."
"Um, okay," Jinsoul said, letting the nine year old punch her number into Jinsoul's phone. "Do you want me to walk you back to your room?"
"No way!" Yeojin cried, standing up to dash out of the froyo place. "Bye, see you tomorrow."
Jinsoul stared down at her half finished ice cream. "Well. I guess I have a child now," she mumbled out loud.
Chapter 3: The Reno Girls
The next morning Jinsoul woke up, groaning and trying to fall back asleep. After about five minutes of tossing and turning, she opened her eyes again, realizing she was up for good. She sighed: it wasn’t like she had any reason to be awake and sleep was so much sweeter. With a groan she sat up and grabbed her phone. She had one new message:
Hello Jinsoul, her mother wrote, I'm probably out again today. From now on, you should probably just assume I'm not in my room. I'll text if we should meet up. Stay safe, I love you!
After what felt like a few minutes but was really a half an hour of mindlessly scrolling through instagram, Jinsoul got out of bed and went back to the ground floor. Although she was starving, she realized she was going to get very sick of the buffet if she kept on eating there. At that moment, her eyes landed on the starbucks. "Oh, I'll get something from there," Jinsoul muttered. "God, I'm such a white girl," she said out loud, "I'm a freak too. Like, who talks to themselves ther much? No one other than me.” Jinsoul shook her head and continued on her way.
With a chai tea latte in hand, Jinsoul walked around the hotel, mindlessly going down the escalator to the basement. She wandered around, noticing the lack of people in the carpeted halls and cheap boutiques. She turned a corner and looked down the hall. "Why don't I just go to the arcade today?" she muttered, and sped up her walking pace to get into the arcade.
As Jinsoul walked in, she noticed the loud, bright game machines. They basically looked like slot machines, except for children. There was a token machine off in the corner, next to the prize stand and restaurant. The place wasn't empty, a few groups of children and their parents playing the games, but it wasn't even close to packed. Jinsoul finished her drink then, looking around for a trash can. She found one in the restaurant, and as she threw away the cup, she realized she was still hungry.
"I guess I'll just get something from here," Jinsoul muttered. She ordered a large soda and some chicken nuggets, and sat down. There was only one other group of people: a group of girls around Jinsoul’s age.
The girls were sitting at a table a few seats down from her own. There were five of them, some definitely older than others. One had bright, bleach blonde hair, and a young and sweet face turned in a heavy glare. Beside her was another girl with pitch black hair and a resting bitch face. The two girls were dressed in all black, with chains and spikes and heavy dark makeup. They were sharing a set of earbuds and even from a distance Jinsoul could hear the loud rock music blaring from it. It made her chuckle to see the two girls dressed so goth in the childlike arcade.
Next to them was a smiling girl who looked a few years older than the two goths, but with her bright and happy expression, she looked like she fit in here way better. The other girl, birdlike features with a short brunette bob, was staring intensely at the prize stand, but not for the prizes they offered. Her sparkling eyes were directed at the young girl working at the stand, a short but pink haired teenager. She clearly had a thing for the employee, but the worker was oblivious.
Finally, there was her. Soft, brunette, and extremely beautiful, Jinsoul was immediately drawn to her. She had pretty lips, a perfect nose, smile, and oh. She was so perfect.
"Damn," Jinsoul muttered, eyes still locked on the gorgeous girl. She suddenly realized she was staring, and looked down at the bright blue table.
"You really shouldn't look at people for long, extended periods of time. It's rude. Also, ther table is really bright. Why are you looking at it? It's really bright, you might hurt your eyes," Jinsoul said. Her mind wandered off, spacing out until he heard a voice.
"Do you always make a habit of talking to yourself?" she heard. Jinsoul looked up quickly, the voice abruptly ending her daydream: it was the gorgeous girl standing on the other side of her table, grinning and gazing at Jinsoul. She blushed deeply.
"Oh, um, no, not really, just, um, while I've been here, I guess," Jinsoul stuttered. The pretty girl laughed quietly, and Jinsoul smiled nervously.
"I'm Jungeun," the gorgeous girl said.
"Jinsoul," she responded, and shook Jungeun's hand.
Her hands are really nice, Jinsoul thought, I wonder how they'd feel wrapped around my waist in a tight hug. Oh god Jinsoul you should not be obsessing over someone’s hands when they’re right in front of you- Jinsoul shook the thought from her mind.
"Chicken nuggets for Jinsoul," the cashier called out. She stood up to go get her food when Jungeun gently grabbed her arm.
"Sit with us, alright?" Jungeun asked.
"Yeah, I will," Jinsoul answered and smiled, her cheeks turning slightly pink.
As she walked over to get her food, Jinsoul contemplated what had happened to her in the last few minutes.
I can't believe she talked to me. Maybe she just felt bad for me or something, Jinsoul thought. She sighed. She's really pretty, isn't she? And beautiful. And pretty. She smiled and walked to Jungeun's table. When she arrived, Jungeun looked at her and smiled back, patting a spot next to her. As Jinsoul sat down, Jungeun spoke.
"Guys, this is Jinsoul," she said. No one paid attention except for the smiling girl.
"I'm Yerim!" she answered and grinned softly. Jinsoul nodded at her, returning the grin
"That's Haseul," Jungeun explained, pointing to the girl staring at the employee working at the prize stand.
"Oh, oh, hey," she said, turning around for a single second before turning back toward the worker. Jungeun chuckled and rolled her eyes before turning toward the younger girls that were still just glaring.
"That's Haseul's little sister, Chaewon," Jungeun spoke, pointing to the girl with bleach blonde hair. "And my little sister Hyejoo," Jungeun continued, pointing to the girl with pitch black hair. At that moment, Hyejoo and Chaewon turned to stare at Jungeun and Jinsoul.
"What,” Hyejoo deadpanned.
"Go play some of the games. We look like idiots," Haseul said.
"It's not my fault that you make us come here every day. Anyways, I'm twelve, I can do whatever I want," Chaewon answered in her surprisingly high pitched voice. Jungeun and Jinsoul laughed quietly, until Chaewon gave them a look and they stopped.
“Yo yo yo!” A voice suddenly interrupted. They all turned to look, and Jinsoul smiled as she saw Yeojin was the one who called them. The rest just looked confused.
“Who’s this?” Jungeun asked with a grimace.
“My...friend? Yeojin,” Jinsoul explained.
“Yeah...yesterday was weird.”
“What’s going on? Who are these people? More abandoned children?” Yeojin asked, and Jungeun introduced everyone. “Well I’m Yeojin, ultimate phone gamer and frog expert. What’s everyone doing?”
“I wanted to go play some of the arcade games, but nobody wanted to come with me,” Haseul spoke frustratedly
"I'll go play some of the games with you," Yerim said.
“Oh, oh me too!” Yeojin added. Haseul looked suspiciously at Yeojin but Yerim smiled at her. The three got up to play, Haseul giving one last glance toward the prize stand.
"So what brings you to Reno?" Jungeun asked Jinsoul once they were off.
"My mom and I are staying here until winter break ends," Jinsoul explained, and Jungeun smiled widely. "And you? Why are you guys here?"
Jungeun chuckled, and Chaewon and Hyejoo rolled their eyes. "Well, every time there's a school break, like spring, summer, or winter break, that girl," Jungeun said, pointing to the girl that Haseul was staring at earlier, "always works here. Haseul's in love with her, and she's the only one with a car, so if we want to go outside we have to come with her.”
"When we were younger, she used to bring us along so we wouldn't look strange. But now she doesn't really have an excuse," Hyejoo said.
"Why doesn't she just talk to her?" Jinsoul asked.
"Who knows?" Jungeun responded.
"It's so embarrassing; they go to the same school," Hyejoo said.
"How long has this been going on?" Jinsoul questioned.
"Three or four years," Jungeun answered sadly.
"THREE OR FOUR YEARS?!" Jinsoul exclaimed. Jungeun, Hyejoo, and Chaewon nodded slowly.
"And guess who has to listen to her blab about this chick? Me. Ugh, the pain of having Haseul as a sister," Chaewon said, leaning her head on Hyejoo’s shoulder.
"So you guys live around here?" Jinsoul asked.
"Yeah, we're all neighbors, and we live down by the mountains," Jungeun said. Jinsoul nodded.
"Is there even a school around here?"
"The K through eight is down there, and the high school is next to it," Hyejoo said, pointing off into the distance. “AKA...hell.”
“Hell is where we belong though,” Chaewon added. “So it’s more like purgatory.” Everyone ignored them.
"What grade are you in?" Jungeun asked Jinsoul.
"Oh, I'm a junior," Jinsoul spoke.
"So you're sixteen, right?" Jungeun replied. Jinsoul nodded. “Then we’re the same age. Yerim and Haseul too.”
"And so is Vivi," Chaewon said. Jinsoul gave her a confused look.
"Vivi is the name of Haseul's crush," Jungeun said.
"How did you figure out her name?" Jinsoul asked.
"Mostly just intense stalking," Jungeun said. Jinsoul giggled.
“We’re twelve," Chaewon spoke. Suddenly, Haseul, Yeojin, Yerim arrived back at the table.
"We spent about twenty bucks, so we’re gonna go get prizes now," Yeojin said. Yerim had her arms wrapped proudly around her shoulders; they were getting along already. Haseul was still trying to shyly glance at the prize stand.
"I can't believe you just spent twenty dollars just to talk to some girl," Chaewon said with exasperation.
"Me either," Haseul answered, shrugged, and walked over to the prize stand with Yerim and Yeojin. A few seconds later, she returned alone.
"What happened?" Chaewon asked.
"I chickened out and gave Yerim all my tickets," Haseul replied. Jinsoul looked over at the prize stand, and Yerim was excitedly helping Yeojin pick out crappy stuff, while Vivi was handing it to her with a neutral expression. Hyejoo sighed.
"Again?" she said. Haseul nodded shamefully.
"Why do you always do this? You force us to come here and spend tons of money, but then you always get nervous and don't do anything. You really need to take a look at yourself," Chaewon said. Haseul looked down at the table, head hanging in embarrassment.
"We're still coming back tomorrow, right?" Hyejoo asked. Haseul kept looking at the table, but she nodded and smiled. Jungeun and Jinsoul giggled, and Chaewon rolled her eyes.
At that moment, Yerim came back with a small bag of stuff.
"Here, I got everyone some cat ears!" Yerim said, walking around and placing a plastic headband with cat ears on everyone's heads. As Jinsoul received hers, she reached up to touch it.
"Those look cute on you," Jungeun said, smiling at Jinsoul. Jinsoul blushed.
"You too, Jungeun," Jinsoul spoke, and maybe it was just Jinsoul's imagination, but she swore Jungeun's cheeks turned a bit pink.
"I even got a pair for Vivi!" Yerim exclaimed. Everyone quickly turned to look at Vivi. Yerim waved at her, and Vivi waved back. Everyone turned to look while Yerim put the cat ears on Vivi's head. When Vivi grinned at Haseul she quickly turned around, eyes wide. Vivi made a face, and continued her work.
"We should go now," Haseul said.
"Ugh, finally," Chaewon moaned.
"By the way, could you possibly drop us off at my place? And Jungeun, can you go Haseul or Yerim's?" Hyejoo asked.
"Guys...what are you going to do..." Jungeun said suspiciously.
"We're updating our tik tok," Hyejoo firmly answered.
"Please, do not disturb the neighbors again....but fine," Jungeun said.
"Yes," Chaewon muttered, and high fived Hyejoo, the two girls smirking at each other. Haseul rolled her eyes at them, and they all stood up together.
“Wait, what’s wrong with their tik toks?” Jinsoul whispered to Jungeun.
Jungeun grimaced and shook her head. “I’ll just have to show you sometime. And, um, Jinsoul?”
"You should meet us back here tomorrow. At around one or something?" Jungeun suggested, a nervous inflection in her voice. Jinsoul smiled widely.
"I'll be here," she said brightly, looking at Jungeun.
"You know, maybe we should exchange numbers. Just in case, you know, we can't find each other or something, I dunno," Jungeun said, chuckling nervously. Jinsoul nodded vigorously, and handed Jungeun her phone. Once they handed back their phones, they looked at each other and smiled.
"Well, see you tomorrow," Jungeun said.
"Yeah, see ya," Jinsoul responded. They left the arcade, and after insisting on dropping Yeojin off Jinsoul went back to her room. The smile didn't leave her face all day or night.
Chapter 4: Vivi's Note
The next morning, Jinsoul woke up smiling, her mind immediately going to Jungeun; she couldn’t believe she was going to see the beautiful girl again today. She reached for her phone to check the time: 10:30 am. She had one new message from Jungeun:
Hi Jinsoul ^.^ Just wanted to make sure you remembered to meet us at the arcade!
I hope you come...
Jinsoul grinned widely.
Of course I remembered! I'll see you then, Jinsoul almost sent, but stopped typing. "Should I send her an emoji?" she mumbled out loud. Jinsoul looked at what Jungeun had sent, and started to get worried. "I mean, she sent one, but which emoji is appropriate? I mean, a heart is way too bold, but I really have no idea...”
Finally she sighed and typed out a response.
Of course I remembered! I'll see you then :)
She sent the message, then fell back onto her bed. She stared up at the ceiling, trying to calm her nerves. "It's just a text," she groaned. Suddenly her phone buzzed, and she practically jumped out of bed. She unlocked it as quickly as her fingers would allow.
See ya! Jungeun answered.
Jinsoul smiled widely once she read it, then rushed to get ready. She carefully picked out her nicest clothes that were still casual, and brushed her hair so that it looked good (she briefly thanked god that she didn’t have that dead blonde hair anymore). She brushed her teeth three times and checked the mirror every five seconds. Finally, she decided she was decent enough, and left the room.
Quickly, she headed down to the basement. Shit, I'm early , Jinsoul thought as she looked down at her phone; it was only twelve o'clock. Oh well; she’d just wait until they got here, but when she looked into the arcade, she noticed that the girls were already there, including Yeojin. She walked over to them and tapped Jungeun on the shoulder, the other girl looking up and grinning.
"Hey, what are you guys doing here early?" Jinsoul asked.
"Well, Jungeun wanted-" Hyejoo began, but stopped when Jungeun gave her a pointed glare.
"We're here because Haseul wanted to see Vivi early," Jungeun said. Jinsoul nodded.
"Oh, okay," she answered, and sat down next to Jungeun.
"Did you eat?" Jungeun asked Jinsoul. She shook her head.
"Nope, are you hungry too?" Jinsoul said.
"Hey, what do you all want?" Yerim asked as everyone in the group except Jinsoul and Yeojin handed her five dollars. Soon enough they realized this was their arcade food system, and gave Yerim five bucks too
"I'll have a large fries and a coke," Jungeun spoke.
"Same for me," Hyejoo said.
"Make that three," Chaewon responded.
“Nope, four!” Yeojin interjected.
“Five!” Jinsoul cried excitedly.
After a few seconds of pointed staring at Haseul, she spoke up again. "Um, Haseul, uh, do you want anything?" Yerim asked. Silence. She tapped the girl on the shoulder. "Uh, Haseul?" she repeated.
Haseul quickly turned around, pulled out of her daydreams. "Um, what's up?"
"What do you want?" Yerim asked, clearly used to this behavior.
"Whatever they're having," Haseul replied, and turned back to look at Vivi. The girls all sighed and rolled their eyes, and Yerim walked off to go get food with Yeojin excitedly following behind. Hyejoo and Chaewon stuck in earbuds and began their daily stare-down-the-children fest, and Jungeun turned to Jinsoul.
"Have you played the games yet?" Jungeun asked.
"Nope. Actually, yesterday was my first time down here," Jinsoul explained.
"That's right! Well, do you want to play them? I can make us win every one, and then we can get lame ass prizes and make Haseul jealous by talking to Vivi."
"Sounds like a good plan to me.”
The two walked off to play the games, stopping first at the big purple machines that exchanged money for tokens. Jinsoul was about to stuff a five dollar bill into the slot when Jungeun pushed her hand away.
"No, I'm paying for the both of us," Jungeun insisted. Jinsoul sighed.
"But that's unfair! It's just for some crap anyways. Please let me pay my share," Jinsoul whined. Jungeun shook her head.
"Hell no!" she spoke as the ten dollar bill she'd put into the machine was sucked in, and it began to dispense gold, coin like tokens.
"Hey, can you go to Vivi and ask for two cups?" Jungeun asked, and Jinsoul pouted but obeyed. When she returned, Jungeun was desperately trying to make sure that the coins didn't fall onto the floor by cupping her hands around the dispensing area. It was only sort of working, and that was just because Jungeun had large hands.
"Here, here," Jinsoul said, handing one of the clear plastic cups to Jungeun. She held it under the token area, and Jinsoul bent over to pick up the fallen tokens. When she wasn't looking, Jungeun spared a quick glance at Jinsoul's ass, but soon returned to concentrating on the token machine. When it was finally done, they sat on the floor of the arcade and evenly divided the tokens between the two cups.
"God, Jungeun, I feel so guilty," Jinsoul said.
"Don't worry, it's fun for me too. It's not every day I get to take a newbie to the arcade and show them my secret ways.” Jungeun gave Jinsoul a wink that had her shivering all over and they stood up, Jungeun escorting them to one of the games. It was the kind that had the light spinning around in a circle, and you had to press it at the right time so it would land on the jackpot. Jungeun put three tokens into the game.
"Watch.” Jungeun grinned smugly at Jinsoul and then the machine.
"Get ready, go!" the machine spoke in an annoying automated voice, and the light started spinning. It was turning really fast, so fast that Jinsoul could barely keep up with it. After (what Jinsoul thought was) five spins, Jungeun pressed the button. It landed on the number one jackpot spot, and tickets started coming out of the machine.
"Holy shit," Jinsoul muttered.
"Practice makes perfect," Jungeun responded. Finally, after about five minutes, all the tickets were out. Jungeun expertly folded them and placed them into her pocket. They went around to three more similar games, not playing the same ones over and over again because Jungeun said it decreased their chances.
"All that, and we still can't get a hoodie," Jungeun said jokingly after they'd won about three thousand tickets. Jinsoul laughed and touched Jungeun's arm, like she’d read about when trying to look up how to flirt. She thought it felt kinda forced but when Jungeun looked away with a shy smile, she figured maybe it had worked.
"Can you teach me your ways, oh arcade game master Jungeun?" Jinsoul asked with a giggle, and Jungeun laughed back.
"Oh yes, my disciple." They both shared another giggle, and she led Jinsoul over to a machine with a big handle.
"This one is good for beginners," Jungeun said as Jinsoul eyed the machine. It wasn't that big, and very inconspicuous compared to some of the others. It was called Big Fish Jackpot (despite its size), and had lots of pictures of swimming fish on it. In the center was a spinning wheel with numbers on them.
"On most, the jackpot section is very small, and there are a lot more squares. This one has a pretty big jackpot section compared to others, and not too many sections. Also, it's quite easy to maneuver once you have the strategy down," Jungeun explained. Jinsoul nodded.
"Alright, to master this one, you have to start pushing the handle immediately after you put the coins in. You have to push it about a quarter of the way down.” Jinsoul followed her instructions exactly and once she finished, she paused for a moment.
"Perfect. Now, push the handle to about the three quarters mark, as fast and as hard as you can.” Jinsoul complied, and Jungeun smiled.
"Good, good. Now, slowly, but still really hard, push the handle the rest of the way down," she said. Jinsoul did as he was told.
"Finally, pull the handle towards you.” Jinsoul pulled it towards her, and the spinning slowed down, and landed exactly on the one thousand ticket mark. Jinsoul grinned, squealing and jumping up and down. Jungeun smiled proudly at her, and they waited for all the tickets to come out.
"That was really good, Jindori," Jungeun said, and Jinsoul’s eyes widened.
She gave me a nickname. My life is complete .
“Th-thanks,” she finally managed to stutter back.
As the tickets emerged, Jungeun taught Jinsoul how to fold them properly. "So you fold them like this, as quickly as possible so that it doesn't fall apart. If it does, then you might lose some or have it just be messy in your pocket," Jungeun said. Jinsoul started folding the tickets as Jungeun taught her, and by the time they were all done, they were in a neat little stack. Jinsoul stuffed it in her pocket, and they moved on.
Once they spent all of their tokens, they moved over to the ticket calculator. What you did was feed the tickets into the machine, and once it ate them all it gave you a receipt with the amount of tickets you got on it. They did just that, feeding their thousands and thousands of tickets into the machine.
"Do you want to combine? We might be able to get a hoodie and share it," Jungeun joked. Jinsoul smiled.
"Sounds good!” When they were done, the two had earned about twelve thousand tickets.
"Oh my god, that's so many," Jinsoul said in shock.
"Yeah, I guess," Jungeun answered.
"It was mostly you, you know," Jinsoul said with admiration. Jungeun shook her head and smiled.
"You helped," she whined. Jinsoul giggled, and they walked over toward the prize stand. They handed Vivi their receipt, and she blinked in shock.
"That's a lot," she said calmly. Jinsoul and Jungeun shared a smile.
"So, how much is a sweatshirt?" Jungeun asked.
"Too much," Vivi admitted, and they all laughed. Jinsoul noticed Haseul giving Jungeun and herself death glares. "Seriously, it's sixty thousand tokens. I'm not even kidding.”
"What the fuck?" Jinsoul said.
"Well, whatever," Jungeun said, sighing. She turned to Jinsoul. "You just want to get way too much fucking candy?" she asked her new friend.
"That sounds perfect.”
They picked out tons of every kind of candy in the place, asking for two bags so they could evenly split it. When they had packed everything and were just walking away, Vivi called to them.
"Hey guys?" she asked. Jungeun and Jinsoul turned around to look at her. She beckoned for them to come back, and they returned to the table. Vivi slipped them a small piece of folded paper.
"Could you give this to Haseul?" Vivi asked shyly. Jungeun and Jinsoul nodded politely, then walked back to their seat. As soon as they had turned their backs toward Vivi, both of their jaws slacked.
"Holy shit, what could this be?" Jinsoul whispered to Jungeun.
"How does she know Haseul's name?" Jungeun whispered back. They both laughed quietly for a moment, then returned to their state of shock.
"It could be a restraining order," Jinsoul guessed. Jungeun laughed, louder this time, and they arrived at the table, immediately slipping Haseul the note.
"It's from Vivi," Jungeun said, and Haseul opened it up as fast as possible, her fingers shaking. All the girls crowded around Haseul; even Hyejoo and Chaewon pulled out their earbuds to read it.
Vivi (the pink haired girl who works at the casino arcade)’s number: 775-646-5548.....text me! ;)
Haseul almost died on the spot. The seven girls looked up at Vivi, and she was blushing furiously. They all looked back at the note, then at her. Haseul couldn't even manage a smile, and just kept staring at Vivi. Vivi turned away after a few moments, a frown crossing her face.
"Oh my god Haseul she thinks you hate her now! Why didn't you wave or smile at her or something ?" Hyejoo growled. Haseul was too shocked to respond, eyes moving back to stare at the note.
"She's too surprised to do anything right now, let's just leave her alone to process," Yerim said wisely as Haseul became a statue, barely even moving to breath. After a few minutes of everyone just staring slack jawed, Jungeun spoke.
"Anyone want starbucks?" Jungeun asked.
"Coffee. Plain. Black.," Hyejoo said.
"Me too. Black, like my soul," Chaewon specified. Jinsoul gave her a look.
"Um..." Jinsoul said as Jungeun rolled her eyes and wrote their orders down.
“Just a caramel frappuccino for me,” Yerim said.
"Oh, I'll have one of those cookies with frosting on them, and hot chocolate," Yeojin added. Jinsoul smiled at her.
"I suspect Haseul doesn't want anything; she might barf it up," Chaewon said. Everyone nodded, and Jinsoul followed Jungeun out of the arcade.
"Hey, um...why are Hyejoo and Chaewon like that?" Jinsoul said. Jungeun laughed.
"Even though Hyejoo’s my sister....I still don’t know. She’s so...it’s not the worst phase your sibling could have, but like...literally she hand-dyes all the clothes my grandparents get her black," Jungeun spoke, smiling. Jinsoul chuckled.
"How does Chaewon put up with her? They’re best friends, right?" Jinsoul asked jokingly.
"She's the same way. And they’re not just best friends, they’re dating." Jungeun answered.
“Oh my god...how do you and Haseul put up with that?”
"I dunno...I dunno....but I mean they're only in middle school, they have some time to grow. And at least that means they don’t do anything weird,” Jungeun explained
Jinsoul nodded in understanding. “Right...but when they get older though...”
“Don’t even remind me. Well, at least Yerim is innocent.”
"I know, even though we’re the same age Yerim is somehow sooo cute!" Jinsoul exclaimed. That made Jungeun's face fall, a small frown settling in on her face. Jinsoul thought that sadness didn't suit her, so she tried to change the subject.
"What do you usually get at starbucks?" Jinsoul asked.
"I always just get a scone and a white chocolate mocha," Jungeun answered, then laughed. “That sounds so boring, doesn’t it?”
"It's cool, who doesn't like mochas?" Jinsoul responded.
Jungeun smiled. "Your favorite thing?" she asked.
"Well, it depends on my mood. Vanilla bean frap when I'm happy, five cake pops when I'm sad, and a chai tea latte when I have the feels. Also, the bigger the size, the more I'm feeling that emotion," Jinsoul answered.
"So, what are you getting?" Jungeun asked.
"Venti vanilla bean frappuccino," Jinsoul answered, smiling widely, and Jungeun returned it. The two girls ordered their food and drinks, and were about to go walk down to the arcade when Jungeun got a text.
"The other girls said we're leaving now, and that I have to drive because Haseul has become paralyzed," Jungeun said with false annoyance. Jinsoul giggled.
"Well, bye then," she answered, trying not to sound too sad.
"Wait, we should take a picture together!" Jungeun exclaimed, pulling her phone out of her pocket and wrapping her arm around Jinsoul's shoulder to hold her closer. Jinsoul's breath hitched at the contact, trying to contain herself for a moment before speaking.
"You better add a snapchat filter..."
Jungeun laughed, but opened snapchat all the same. Jungeun grinned, and Jinsoul held up two fingers and smiled as well. The camera clicked, and they both gazed at the screen, waiting for the picture to load. They both approved of the shot, butterflies on their noses from the filter, and Jinsoul looked up at her and smiled.
"Send it to me, okay?" Jinsoul said. Jungeun nodded.
"Of course," Jungeun said, and waved.
"Bye Jindori," she spoke, walking towards the door. Jinsoul smiled back, waving and turning pink.
That nickname does stuff to me , Jinsoul thought to herself.
When the gorgeous girl was far out of sight, Jinsoul slowly walked back to her room, trying to process the day in her mind, and prepare for the next one (which she hoped would include Jungeun. Lots of Jungeun).
Chapter 5: Emo Twelve Year Olds
As light flooded into Jinsoul's room she woke up, drowsily shaking her head. After a few minutes of trying to fall back asleep, she gave up and opened her eyes. She immediately grabbed her phone and checked her texts. She didn't get any new messages in the night, but went to her texts anyways to look at the selfie Jungeun sent her the previous evening. She grinned just looking at it, remembering the way that Jungeun's arm wrapped around her shoulder. She was a little bit disappointed that Jungeun had not texted her again after that, but she smiled again when she realized it was because Jungeun expected her to show up without a message.
Jinsoul briefly looked at the time, gasping a little when she realized it was already eleven o’clock. At first she wondered why she woke up so late, but then remembered that she hadn't gone to bed until very late last night. Too much reality tv and a new crush could only too easily cause insomnia.
Jinsoul shifted out of bed, running her fingers through her hair before immediately going to the bathroom. She got ready nervously, not quite as thoroughly as the day before, but she was okay with that. She didn't want to be too overbearing, and she felt a lot more comfortable with Jungeun. She still wanted to look nice though, triple checking her appearance in the mirror. Carefully she put her things into her bag, and she walked out of her room.
As she went down to the basement, she eyed the Starbucks thoughtfully.
“Would it be weird if I bought her a scone? I might come on too strong. But it would probably make her happy..." Jinsoul debated out loud to herself. Eventually, shse just bought everyone a scone, and walked down to the basement. She was early again, but as she walked into the arcade restaurant, she noticed the other girls were already there.
"Hey," Jinsoul said, plopping down next to Jungeun and handing everyone a scone. They all grinned and thanked her, but Jungeun just kept staring at her.
"Is something wrong, Jungeunnie?" Jinsoul asked, testing out the new nickname.
"She thinks you look nice, she's just too afraid to say it," Hyejoo spoke for her sister. Jungeun and Jinsoul both blushed, Jinsoul asking Jungeun if it was true with her eyes.
"Yeah, she's right," Jungeun said with laughter, but still completely honestly. Jinsoul grinned and blushed.
"Thanks for these by the way, they're my favorite," Jungeun spoke.
"It’s really no problem.” Suddenly, she remembered something.
"Hey Haseul, what happened with Vivi last night?" Jinsoul spoke in a hushed voice, being careful not to let Vivi, who was standing only a few feet away, discover they were talking about her. Hyejoo started giggling, Haseul blushed, and Chaewon rolled her eyes.
"Literally, it took me three hours to get her to say hey," Chaewon complained. Haseul's blush deepened.
"I was there. It was a crazy goose chase, Chaewon trying to pull the phone out of Haseul's hands. We literally had to threaten her with purposely destroying her car so she couldn't see Vivi anymore to get her to text hey," Yerim confessed.
"God, you're so fucked, Haseul," Hyejoo said.
"I would've killed you if you'd accepted your car's death," Jungeun spoke.
"Anyways, that totally cut into Hyejoo and my daily scream session," Chaewon spoke again.
"You guys have daily scream sessions?" Jinsoul asked.
"Thank god they had to miss one, Hyejoo is so loud. The neighbors are terrified," Jungeun said.
"Well, they are in middle school. The neighbors should expect weird stuff to happen," Yerim responded.
"Um, you guys know we're here, right? Anyways, we have to maintain our tiktok channel," Hyejoo said.
"The fucking neighbors came over and knocked on our door last week, telling you two to be quiet," Jungeun said with exasperation.
"Well that's just because Chaewon's so damn good," Hyejoo said seriously.
"Can we stop? I get enough of your...weirdnesses at home," Haseul spoke.
"Amen," Jungeun responded, shaking her head in solemn agreement.
"If you guys are going to make fun of us, you'd better not come to our house when you and Vivi decide to finally get together," Chaewon said to her sister.
"We probably will, Vivi's an only child," Haseul responded.
"How the hell do you know that?" Yerim asked.
"Facebook," Haseul responded, grinning.
"Oh my god," Hyejoo muttered.
"Speaking of Vivi, what happened after you texted her?" Jinsoul asked.
"Well, she texted back about a minute later, and we kept a conversation going for a little while," Haseul replied.
"They texted for so long that I had to leave. I had planned on staying to read every single one of these texts, but it was like nine o'clock, and my parents wanted me home," Yerim said.
"I bet they texted all night," Chaewon said, grinning sneakily. Haseul blushed.
"That's really cute," Jinsoul spoke.
"You should go talk to her!" Hyejoo said.
"Hell no! We may be texting buddies, that does not mean we've progressed to people who can talk to face to face," Haseul responded. Chaewon and Hyejoo rolled their eyes in unison.
"That's so dumb. We're in middle school, and we know that's not how it works," Chaewon said, referring to herself and her girlfriend. Haseul sighed and looked over at Vivi. Vivi waved and grinned, and Haseul waved back, staring creepily before Jungeun yanked her back to the table.
"Dude, you can't just look at people like that," Jungeun said.
"Well, you look at Jins-" Hyejoo began.
"You shut up," Jungeun interrupted.
"Just go talk to her," Yerim whined, exasperated.
"N-no, I can't," Haseul answered nervously.
"Oh fuck this, I'm not going to just sit here while you guys argue. Jinsoul, you want to walk around with me?" Jungeun asked. Jinsoul nodded happily, and they quickly walked out of the arcade. Once they were a little ways away, Jungeun spoke.
"I can't deal with Haseul's shit today," she said, voice filled with affection and annoyance toward her friend. She turned to Jinsoul. "This literally happens at least once a week, you know."
Ugh, that must suck," Jinsoul commiserated.
"I know, right? The worst part is now we know that Vivi actually likes Haseul back, and she's still too scared," Jungeun complained. Jinsoul laughed.
"It's so sad, yet sort of hilarious at the same time," Jinsoul said. Jungeun laughed as well.
"Yeah, I'm with you. Is there anything you'd like to do?" Jungeun asked.
"Well, I haven't had anything to eat today except for that scone, and I get free food almost everywhere here," Jinsoul said.
"Food sounds good, is there anywhere you recommend?" Jungeun asked.
"Well, you can't go wrong with the buffet," Jinsoul answered. Jungeun nodded and grinned.
"Buffet it is!" Jungeun spoke happily, and let Jinsoul lead the two of them up the escalator and to the buffet. As they waited, Jungeun pulled out her phone. On instinct, Jinsoul peered over Jungeun's shoulder to gaze at the screen. When she looked, she saw that the selfie of Jungeun and herself was her lockscreen. When Jungeun noticed that Jinsoul had seen, she blushed. Jinsoul made a mental note to change the selfie to her wallpaper as well.
Finally, it was their turn in line. They paid and were seated, ordering their drinks (raspberry iced tea for Jinsoul, a coke for Jungeun) and got their food. After a few minutes, they both returned to the table.
"So, why are you and your mom here in the casino for so long?" Jungeun asked. Jinsoul chuckled and wiped her mouth, proceeding to explain her situation to Jungeun.
"Damn," Jungeun said in shock. Jinsoul just chuckled some more, and nodded.
"Well, why do you live in Reno?" Jinsoul asked.
"Hyejoo and I actually live with our grandparents. Both of our parents are dead. They got in a car accident, my dad was a drunk, so whenever he drove it was quite dangerous. Luckily, my brother and I weren't in the car with her, but my mom was. I guess both of our dads are dicks," Jungeun said.
"Wow, I'm so sorry," Jinsoul said, sympathy and empathy evident in her voice.
"It's alright. When it happened, I was only four, and my brother had just been born. I don't remember them at all," Jungeun explained.
"Well, I'm still sorry.”
"It's fine. My grandparents are alright. They're like, total typical grandparents. My grandma literally just knits all day, and my grandpa is a raging republican, but it's okay. It's probably better than your situation, or if my father had lived," Jungeun said.
"At least I had tons of fucking money," Jinsoul said.
"But does money really mean anything?" Jungeun asked. Jinsoul chuckled.
"It doesn't. It really doesn't. I should know, I grew surrounded by the stuff, and yet it did, like...nothing to improve my happiness and satisfaction with anything," Jinsoul spoke honestly.
"You're not like other rich kids," Jungeun said.
"And you're not like other children of raging republicans. Anyways, I'm not rich anymore," Jinsoul replied. Jungeun laughed.
"Then what are you?" Jungeun asked.
Jinsoul took a long time to answer. "I don’t know," she finally responded. “I don’t fucking know.” Her expression was completely neutral, and Jungeun’s smile faded.
"Is that a bad thing?" Jungeun said.
"No," Jinsoul spoke, smiling softly, "I've always been like that. But now, I think now I can start to figure my shit out."
Jungeun smiled softly at her but jolted when her phone buzzed in her pocket.
"Hold on," she spoke, checking the text. She sighed sadly after reading through it, looking back up at Jinsoul.
"The girls have to leave, apparently the fighting got to be a bit too much, and they got some stares from customers. They're too embarrassed to stay. Also, Hyejoo says she has some pent up melancholy anger from yesterday and her and Chaewon have to release it," Jungeun said. J
“What does that even mean?” Jinsoul asked.
Jungeun shrugged. “Probably do some all black makeup look, blast screamo music, and sing along? Or write angsty poetry together.”
Jinsoul frowned. "I wish you didn't have to go...”
"Me either. But we'll see each other tomorrow, right?"
"Right," Jinsoul said, still a hint of sadness in her voice. Jungeun stood up, waving goodbye.
"Bye, Jindori," she spoke.
"Bye bye, Jungeunnie," Jinsoul responded, and Jungeun grinned. As the girl left the restaurant, Jinsoul sipped on her drink. Jinsoul didn't leave until a few minutes after Jungeun left, feeling too lazy to stand. She finally went back up to her room, putting all of her stuff away before flicking on the tv. As he listened to Long Island Medium, she grabbed her phone. She first changed her screensaver to the selfie that Jungeun had sent her the day earlier, before sending Jungeun a text.
Chapter 6: A Simple Peck
The next morning, Jinsoul woke up with the sun high in the sky, yet she was still somehow tired. She suddenly remembered how she'd stayed up texting Jungeun until four am, sharing random stuff about their lives and thoughts with each other. She had learned so much about Jungeun, and she felt closer to her than ever. Just thinking about it made her let out a lovesick sigh.
She checked the time on the digital clock by her bed, and it read 12:30 pm. "Oh shit!" Jinsoul cried out loud, throwing herself out of bed and rushing to the bathroom to get ready. She quickly washed her face and brushed his teeth, not bothering to shower at all, throwing on the nearest clean clothes she could find and barely spending a moment to brush her hair. She didn't want to miss a spare second with Jungeun.
Jinsoul ran all the way to the elevator, down to the escalator, and to the basement. But as she neared the arcade she slowed down, not wanting to seem like she was too crazy about getting there on time. When she finally got there, Jungeun quickly grinned.
"What took you so long?" Hyejoo asked knowingly.
"Sorry I'm late, I just woke up really late," Jinsoul said apologetically, looking up at Jungeun. Hyejoo gave them both a pointed look, then turned to Chaewon and whispered something in her ear. Chaewon nodded, face expressionless, and whispered back to Hyejoo. Yeojin, who despite being still a child was now an official part of their group, gave them a look, and then Jungeun and Jinsoul a look.
“Were these two doing something?” She asked loudly. Nobody answered but Chaewon winked at her. “Oh...” she answered. The three of them shared a smile, Hyejoo and Chaewon standing up before looking at the other girls.
"We're getting food now," Chaewon spoke, and everyone handed her their five dollars.
"Um, chicken nuggets for me please," Jinsoul spoke.
“Me too!” Yeojin cried loudly.
"I'll take that too," Jungeun said.
"We'll have some too," Yerim spoke, referring to herself and Haseul, who was typing furiously on her phone. Chaewon gave her older sister a look before holding Hyejoo's hand, the two of them walking to the cashier.
"Wait, who is Haseul texting?" Jinsoul asked.
"Vivi," Yerim responded casually.
"But isn't she, like, right there?" Jinsoul asked, pointing to the prize stand, where Vivi's eyes were also glued to her phone.
"Welcome to Haseul logic," Yerim said.
Suddenly, Yeojin stood up. "Well, I want some candy. I'm going to Candy Baron, anyone else want to come?"
“Me!” Yerim cried, following the nine year old.
"Nah, we're good," Jungeun said. Haseul just shook her head, desperately waiting for her phone to buzz.
"Your losses," Yerim said and Yeojin snapped sassily in their faces, walking out of the restaurant. Just then, Chaewon and Hyejoo returned, Chaewon immediately resting her head on Hyejoo's shoulder.
"Why must these tables be so damn uncomfortable?" Chaewon whined.
"Why couldn't Vivi have worked in a cooler part of the casino?" Hyejoo responded.
"Maybe one day, when Vivi and Haseul finally go out, we can get discounts here. Like maybe get a sweatshirt or something," Jungeun spoke.
"Why are you so obsessed with getting a sweatshirt?" Jinsoul asked Jungeun jokingly.
"Because I've been forced to come here since I was twelve and I am still unable to get a fucking sweatshirt," Jungeun complained, making Hyejoo and Jinsoul laugh.
"Why don't you just save up tickets?" Chaewon asked, expression neutral. Jungeun's eyes widened.
"How did I never think of that? Guys, guys, we are going to get a fucking sweatshirt, if it's the last thing I do," Jungeun said with determination.
"What do you mean by we?" Hyejoo asked.
"I mean the seven of us, including Yerim and Yeojin when they get back from Candy Baron," Jungeun explained.
"And who's paying for all of that?" Chaewon asked.
"Um, everyone is? We can each chip in five dollars," Jungeun said.
"And who gets the sweatshirt?" Jinsoul asked. She wanted to join, mostly because she’d been dreaming about wearing one of Jungeun's gigantic hoodies.
"We can all share it!" Jungeun responded, trying to make everyone excited about her new plan.
"But it's ugly as fuck," Chaewon responded.
"They only come in pink, bright blue, and beige. No black. Not even a good deep purple or blood red," Hyejoo added.
"But it's an heirloom of our labors!" Jungeun begged desperately.
"I'll help you!" Jinsoul said happily.
"I guess I'm in too," Haseul said. Just then, their food was done and Yerim and Yeojin came back.
"Look, I got everyone taffy!" she said happily.
"I have braces," Hyejoo deadpanned.
"Me too, but we'll just eat them anyway," Chaewon spoke, grabbing her taffy and stuffing it in her mouth.
"Remember that time when Hyejoo and Chaewon got their braces stuck together when they were kissing?" Jungeun said, laughing. Yerim and Haseul followed.
"I didn't know that actually happened in real life," Jinsoul said with fascination.
"Well, it did. It was so funny when they tried to explain it to grandma and grandpa," Jungeun said.
"It wasn't that funny," Chaewon muttered.
"That was how we had to fucking come out to our grandparents," Hyejoo said sadly.
"Well, the only reason it's an us that was coming out is because you totally outed me," Jungeun explained.
"I had to! Then they would have focused on me the whole time," Hyejoo said.
Jungeun rolled her eyes but put a smile back on her face. "Anyways, now that Yerim and Yeojin are back, we can discuss our plan!"
"What's happening?" Yerim asked. Jungeun explained the idea with the sweatshirt.
"That sounds fun!" Yerim said.
“I’m fucking down !” Yeojin cheered.
“Language!” Yerim, Jungeun, Jinsoul and Haseul cried simultaneously.
"Fine," Yeojin grumbled and the seven girls stood up, walking away from the restaurant. Chaewon and Hyejoo suddenly made a move to split from the rest of the group.
"What are you two doing?" Haseul asked Chaewon and Hyejoo.
"We're going to find a good spot to film some tik toks," Chaewon said, completely seriously.
"Dude, you're in public! Unless you find a way to break into a room, then there's nothing you can do," Jungeun responded. Hyejoo and Chaewon looked at Jinsoul expectantly.
"No, no, no. I do not want to go to sleep knowing that I'm lying in the same spot where middle school students made weird tik toks. Plus you’ll mess up my room," Jinsoul protested.
"Oh, come on, it's just tik tok," Hyejoo said.
“It’s not tik toks, its the tik toks you guys make,” Haseul answered.
“They’re weird," Jinsoul, Jungeun, and Haseul all said at the same time. Chaewon rolled her eyes, and Hyejoo and Chaewon stomped off.
"We'll text you when we're done," Hyejoo yelled back to the other girls.
The other five girls giggled at their middle schooler friends, and walked off to the game machines.
After an hour, the girls had gathered thousands of tickets. They fed the tickets into the special machine, pulling out their receipt, which stated they they had about nineteen thousand tickets total.
"We might be able to get it," Yerim said hesitantly.
“I dunno, I thought Vivi said it was way more than nineteen thousand last time...” Jungeun spoke up.
“We might as well try though,” Yeojin answered, and they all shrugged and walked over to the prize stand.
"Hey guys, what's up?" Vivi asked, and Jungeun handed her their receipt.
"Can we get a sweatshirt?" Yeojin asked hopefully.
"No, sorry. It's still sixty thousand," Vivi said.
"That is so fucking stupid," Jungeun said, sighing angrily.
"Can we get candy then?" Yeojin asked.
"No! We are saving this," Jungeun responded, tucking the receipt into her wallet. "We can combine tickets, right?"
"Yeah, you're allowed to do that," Vivi answered.
"Well, I'm going back to candy baron," Yeojin said, skipping away.
“I’m gonna make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid...” Yerim mumbled, running after her and yelling her name.
"Hey Haseul, so you were telling me last night that you enjoy watching movies?" Vivi asked Haseul, grabbing her arm. Haseul stared back in shock, and Vivi pulled her behind the desk so they could talk. Jinsoul and Jungeun walked away to leave the two girls alone.
"What now?" Jungeun asked.
"We could hang out in my room," Jinsoul suggested, trying not to think of anything weird or seem too excited.
"Sounds good," she said, following Jinsoul up the escalator and to the elevators. When they arrived at the little elevator lobby, Jinsoul leaned against the one on the far right.
"Why do you think it's going to be that elevator?" Jungeun asked.
"I don't know. It's a little game I play, guess the elevator that's going to open," Jinsoul said to Jungeun.
"Well, I think it'll be this one," Jungeun said, going to the one closest to the opening, across from the Jinsoul chose. When the elevator finally opened, it was the one in between Jinsoul's and Jungeun's. They got on it, Jungeun linking their arms together. Jinsoul grinned widely.
When they finally reached the fifteenth floor, Jinsoul walked out, Jungeun following behind her. They finally made their way to her room, stopping in front of the door because Jungeun received a text.
"Fuck," she muttered.
"What's wrong?" Jinsoul asked.
"Why does this always happen!" Jungeun said, sighing. "Well, Yerim said that she and Yeojin were leaving candy baron and saw Hyejoo and Chaewon making one of their tik toks in the middle of the casino basement. With the volume of their music turned all the way up. In front of children. And you know what kind of music they listen to," Jungeun said.
"I guess that means you have to leave then," Jinsoul said, deflating a little. Jungeun nodded.
"Haseul's going to throw a fit. Finally talking to Vivi, only to get thwarted by her weird little sister," Jungeun said. Jinsoul giggled.
"Well, bye, I guess," she said sadly. Suddenly, Jungeun leaned in and pecked Jinsoul on the cheek. Jinsoul grinned, blushing a dark pink, and Jungeun's cheeks matched as well. She began to walk away.
"Bye," he said, waving with her pretty hands. Jinsoul waved back until the girl was out of sight. When she wasn't visible anymore, Jinsoul opened the door to her room, throwing off her shoes and jacket. She laid out like a starfish on his bed, promising to herself that she will never forget what that simple kiss felt like.
Chapter 7: Heejin and Hyunjin
Jinsoul felt her phone vibrate underneath her leg and sat up quickly, noticing the bright light coming from the window and realizing it was morning. She grabbed her phone and noticed it was at four percent. "Shit, I guess I fell asleep before I could plug it in," Jinsoul mumbled. She looked at the text that had woken her up.
Haseul got sick and her parents won't let us use her car, Jungeun typed, so I can't come and see you today :(
Jinsoul frowned. She really wanted to see Jungeun, and what was she supposed to do all day if her new friends weren't around? She sighed, typing out a response:
D: I'll miss you, Jungeunnie... Jinsoul sent the message quickly, realizing a second later that she sounded really desperate. She facepalmed then shook her head, reaching towards the table next her bed to grab the TV remote.
After a good three hours, the rumbling in Jinsoul's stomach became too loud to ignore. She turned off the TV, lazily getting out of bed and hopping into the shower. She let the warm, running water clear her mind of overly dramatic brides and families with way too many children.
She emerged from the shower a half an hour later, not caring that it was almost three o'clock in the afternoon. She threw on a pair of sweatpants, a cozy t-shirt, and wandered down to the buffet. Quickly she perked up, remembering that Yeojin was probably still in the casino.
Come eat at the buffet with me, Jinsoul sent.
Ive been waiting 4 ur text all day! Finally! Yeojin immediately answered, and Jinsoul smiled.
“What should we do now?” Jinsoul asked Yeojin after they finished their meal (she couldn't tell if it was breakfast, lunch, or dinner).
“There’s a bowling alley downstairs.”
“I don’t know if they’ll let just two people play...”
“Someone might need another player," Yeojin whined.
“Yes!” Yeojin cried a little too loudly and started running off towards the bowling alley, Jinsoul chuckling and casually following behind.
The bowling alley was fairly full, a few lanes free but most occupied by families and groups of male thirty-somethings with graying hair. As Jinsoul stepped into line, she noticed a middle aged woman and two girls behind of her. As the woman thanked the employee and left to go with her family, Jinsoul listened to the two girls talk with the worker.
"Hello, how can I help you?" the employee asked.
"Um, can we get a lane?" one of the two girls said.
"How many people?" the employee spoke.
"Just the two of us," the same girl responded.
"I'm sorry, you need at least three people to get a lane," the employee said. He gave the girls a pitying look, and their bodies slumped. Suddenly, Yeojin started jumping up and down and waving her arms.
“We can join! We can join!” The nine year old yelled.
The two girls turned toward Jinsoul and Yeojin, and the employee gave them a worried look.
"Um, if you guys need more players we can join. We’re a group of two anyways," Jinsoul volunteered. The employee and the two girls turned to look at her and Yeojin, grinning
"Then the four of us will take a lane," one said.
"That will be sixteen dollars please," the employee answered. The other two girls began to hand the worker money, but Jinsoul pushed their hands away and handed forward her room key.
"I get in free," she explained. They smiled as the employee swiped her card.
"You four are good to go! Shoes are just around the bend, and you'll be at lane thirty six," the employee spoke, and the four girls made their way over to the shoe area.
"Thanks for that," one said.
"Oh, it was nothing," Jinsoul responded.
“Our pleasure,” Yeojin added proudly and winked.
"I'm Heejin, and this is my girlfriend Hyunjin," the girl spoke, gesturing to the other. Hyunjin waved and held Heejin's hand. They looked young and very pretty, still older than Yeojin though. It was obvious they were both very soft spoken.
"I'm Jinsoul," she said.
“And I’m Yeojin, ultimate phone gamer and frog expert.” Heejin and Hyunjin smiled at Yeojin as they reached the shoe counter.
"One size five, one size six, and..." Hyunjin trailed off, looking expectantly at Jinsoul and Yeojin.
"One size seven," Jinsoul said.
“And a kids size three,” Yeojin finished, and the shoe guy brought the pairs up to the counter.
After they slipped on their shoes, they walked down to their lane. Hyunjin punched their names into the machine.
"So how old are you guys?" Yeojin asked.
"We’re both twelve!" Heejin answered. Jinsoul held back a chuckle. They were the exact same age as Hyejoo and Chaewon, but so different.
“Oh, so you are also abandoned children. I’m nine.”
"And I'm sixteen," Jinsoul responded. Heejin looked at her with wide eyes.
"I know, I'm an old lady," Jinsoul said, and Heejin giggled. Hyunjin turned to look at Jinsoul.
"Did I spell your name right?" he asked. Jinsoul looked up at the screen.
"Yeah," Jinsoul responded.
"Well, Heejin, you're up!" Hyunjin said, and Heejin smiled and walked over to the bowling balls. She lifted a few of them up, testing out their weight before choosing a green one. She picked it up, walking to the lane, and tossed the ball with perfect form. She succeeded in knocking over ten of the pins. Hyunjin cheered loudly, and Heejin grinned at her. They clearly liked each other a lot.
When the ball she'd chosen came back, she sent it flying again, and got a spare. Hyunjin cheered even louder, hugging her girlfriend as she walked back.
"Your turn," Heejin said to Jinsoul. She walked over to where the bowling balls were, and tried to pick up the ball Heejin had had before. She almost dropped it on her toes, immediately setting it back on the bowling dispenser before choosing a lighter one. She tried to imitate what Heejin had done, but only took down four pins. She chuckled at herself, and picked up a similar ball. In the end, she knocked over three more pins. Hyunjin and Heejin nodded their heads as Jinsoul walked over to her seat.
"Not bad," Heejin said. Jinsoul chuckled again.
"Not good either," she responded. Hyunjin stood up at that moment, picking up the ball Jinsoul had used earlier.
"Wooo, go Hyunjin!" Heejin cheered enthusiastically. Jinsoul grinned, thinking about how adorable the pair was.
Hyunjin, too, ended up being amazing at bowling. But luckily for Jinsoul, Yeojin was at about the same level at bowling as herself, even after getting bumpers for the sides. Still, Jinsoul kept cheering as though she was the greatest bowler in the world, and Jinsoul didn't feel embarrassed by her bad bowling skills.
When the game ended, Heejin ended up as the clear winner, with Hyunjin in a close second. Jinsoul and Yeojin had been battling out for third, with Yeojin finally beating Jinsoul in the last round (which she blamed entirely on the bumpers).
"We’re tied in my heart," Heejin said, hugging Hyunjin and sharing a soft peck on the lips. They smiled romantically at each other, Jinsoul awkwardly watching from the sidelines and Yeojin making gagging faces. But suddenly they pulled away, just as Jinsoul and Yeojin noticed a man walk into the bowling alley.
"Hey kids," the man said. The two girls smiled nervously.
"Hey dad, what's up?" Hyunjin asked.
"Just checking up on my girls. I have another game tonight, do you think you two can manage on your own again?" the man responded. Heejin and Hyunjin nodded.
"Of course, dad," Heejin spoke. Jinsoul looked at the three people (who were apparently related) just as the man noticed Jinsoul and Yeojin.
"Who are these young ladies?" the man asked.
"This is Jinsoul and her sister Yeojin," Hyunjin spoke. He walked over to Jinsoul and Yeojin and shook their hands.
"I'm Doyoung, Heejin and Hyunjin's father," he said, grinning. Jinsoul squeezed Yeojin’s hand, trying to keep her quiet, managing an uncomfortable smile.
"Well, you girls have fun!" Doyoung said, walking out of the bowling alley. Jinsoul stared at her new friends in shock.
“Okay, Jinsoul and I aren’t sisters. But apparently you two are...so what the fuck is going on with that?” Yeojin spoke up.
“Language,” Jinsoul whispered.
"Wait, wait, it's not what it looks like! I promise," Heejin said nervously.
"We're not blood related, we're actually just step sisters. My mom married her dad last year, so it's not like we're really related at all," Hyunjin explained. Jinsoul nodded, still a bit creeped out but feeling more accepting.
"It's not that weird, right?" Heejin said, wincing.
“Not at all! Actually that’s kind of cool,” Yeojin answered.
Jinsoul thought it over for a few moments, then nodded her head. She wouldn’t call it cool but..
"I guess not," Jinsoul said. Heejin and Hyunjin smiled.
"Are you two down for another game?" Heejin asked.
“Hell yeah!” Yeojin cried, making the bowlers near them turn and stare. Jinsoul shrugged her shoulders.
"Sure," she said, and went up to the counter to pay for another game.
As they watched each other play, they all talked.
"So, what does your dad do?" Jinsoul asked Hyunjin.
"Our dad's a professional poker player. We usually stay at casinos for a few weeks, then move to another one," Hyunjin explained.
“Ah, so you are also abandoned children,” Yeojin spoke knowingly.
“You know of the abandoned child tradition. I see,” Hyunjin answered
"We don't see dad much, but it's okay because mom is usually there. Since we move around so much, she has to homeschool us," Heejin continued.
"The only reason I even call Doyoung dad is because he'd kill me if I didn't," Hyunjin said. Jinsoul chuckled.
"So what does your mom do?" Jinsoul questioned further.
"Well, she usually is just a housewife," Hyunjin said.
"More like, hotel wife," Heejin added.
"But sometimes she'll attend these special Christian meeting thingies at night, and we'll have the room to ourselves," Hyunjin spoke.
"It's nice, because we get to kiss and cuddle in peace," Heejin spoke as she walked back from scoring yet another spare. Jinsoul thought back to Hyejoo and Chaewon again. If they had the house to themselves...Jinsoul didn’t even want to think about the tik toks they’d make.
"That's another reason we'll never tell our parents about this. Dad doesn't really care about religion, but mom's a pretty big Christian. If she knew, she might try to get us anti gay therapy or something," Hyunjin said sadly. Jinsoul nodded, then bowled. She scored a good five points.
"Well, how about your parents?" Heejin asked as Hyunjin went up to go bowl.
“My parents repair slot machines, so we travel around a lot too,” Yeojin explained.
“You?” Heejin asked Jinsoul.
"My parents actually just got a divorce. My dad's a big CEO, and my mom used to be a housewife, but now we're just living here until she can find a job," Jinsoul answered.
"I'm sorry about that," Heejin said, sympathy and empathy in her voice.
"It's alright, I hated my dad anyways," Jinsoul said, and Heejin chuckled.
At the end of the game, Heejin emerged as the winner (again), Hyunjin got second place (again, also). Jinsoul almost won this round but at the very end she realized she didn’t want Yeojin to be last, so she threw the game. Nonetheless, she was disappointed.
"Ugh, why," Jinsoul whined, and Hyunjin laughed. Heejin looked down at her phone, then back to Hyunjin.
"We'd better get going soon so we can maximize our cuddle wuddle time," Heejin said, pouting cutely.
Hyunjin made a disgusted face but Jinsoul could see the love behind it. "Alright then. Hey Jinsoul and Yeojin, can we get your numbers? Maybe we can hang out tomorrow."
"That sounds good," Jinsoul said, and passed their phones around.
“We'll bring some of my other friends along!” Yeojin said excitedly. “They’re weird and there’s one named Haseul that’s kind of pathetic but they’re all really nice.”
“We haven’t hung out in a big group in a while!” Heejin said, a smile on her lips.
“Sounds fun,” Hyunjin mumbled, smiling at her girlfriend.
"Well, see you tomorrow!" Heejin said happily, grabbing Hyunjin's hand.
"See ya!" Jinsoul replied.
Once they were a big enough distance away, Yeojin whipped to look at Jinsoul. “Walk me to my room so we can analyze how weird that just was.”
“Sure thing,” Jinsoul answered, chuckling a little. She had to text Jungeun about this.
Chapter 8: The Girls Go Bowling
The next morning, Jinsoul awoke to the sound of her phone's alarm. She wanted to make sure she woke up early because she was going bowling with all of her new friends, introducing them to Heejin and Hyunjin.
She promised to meet Jungeun and her friends at the arcade because even though they spent most of their time at the casino, they rarely ventured outside of the arcade. Luckily, Haseul had gotten over her illness (Jungeun said it was because of her sheer will to see Vivi), so the girls were able to drive down to the casino.
When Jinsoul arrived at the arcade, all of her friends were sitting on the floor by the exit, arguing. She shot Yeojin a text to come meet them before walking over.
"Isn't it Vivi's day off?" she overheard Chaewon ask.
"Yeah, you told me she's here because she has nothing better to do," Yerim spoke.
"Honestly, she's just here to see you," Hyejoo murmured softly.
"Just ask her, you guys text every day," Jungeun spoke up, releasing a frustrated sigh.
"But I can't! Talking in real life and texting are way different," Haseul responded.
"Hey guys, what's up?" Jinsoul spoke, feeling it was time to intervene. Jungeun grinned widely, gesturing for Jinsoul to sit next to her.
"We're trying to convince Haseul to invite Vivi to bowl with us," Jungeun explained.
"Come on Haseul, it would be so nice!" Jinsoul encouraged.
"But I can't!" Haseul whined.
"Just go do it," Chaewon mumbled, pushing Haseul towards Vivi. Haseul sighed, standing up and walking to the counter where Vivi was working, They spoke for a little while, the other five girls watching intently and trying to listen in. Finally, Vivi pulled off her work apron and hat and stuffed them into her bag. She and Haseul walked back towards the other girls.
"Are you guys sure it's okay if I come?" Vivi asked.
"Oh no, we want you to come! The more the merrier," Yerim said happily. Vivi smiled.
"Let's go," Jinsoul said, and all of the girls followed her.
When they arrived at the bowling alley, Hyunjin, Heejin, and Yeojin were already there.
"Were you guys waiting long?" Jinsoul asked the girls, and they shook their heads.
"No, we just got here," Heejin said. Jinsoul smiled and introduced everyone to the pair.
"So, since there's so many of us, should we get in teams?" Jungeun asked, and everyone nodded in agreement.
"I'll go get us a lane," Jinsoul said, Jungeun trailing behind her, giving over her card for the big group.
“Should the rest of us go get shoes?” Heejin asked. Everyone agreed, and they went over to the counter.
"What are Jungeun and Jinsoul's shoe sizes?" Vivi asked.
"Well, yesterday Jinsoul said she was a size seven," Heejin said.
"And Jungeun's size fourteen," Hyejoo added.
"Wow," Hyunjin said.
"I know, my sister has weirdly giant feet," Hyejoo spoke, chuckling.
“You should be glad Jungeun and Jinsoul aren’t here; Jungeun would kill you for admitting that in front of her crush,” Yeojin said to Hyejoo.
“You know us too well already,” Hyejoo mumbled back. When everyone had their shoes, they all stood off to the side, waiting while Jungeun and Jinsoul were still in line (and clearly cutely chatting)
"Let's choose teams," Haseul suggested, looking hopefully at Vivi.
"Alright, so me and Yerim because I suck and Yerim told me she’s good, Hyunjin and Heejin, Vivi and Haseul, and Jungeun and Jinsoul because they need to get together already," Yeojin said. Everyone nodded and at that moment, Jinsoul and Jungeun returned.
"Here you go," Vivi said, handing Jungeun and Jinsoul their bowling shoes.
"Also, you two are on the same team," Hyejoo said. Jungeun and Jinsoul both looked at each other excitedly before forcing themselves to calm down a little.
"We're at lane seventy two," Jinsoul spoke, and the girls walked down to the lane.
"I'll put the team names in," Chaewon offered and walked over to the machine.
"We're team death," Hyejoo said, sharing a dark glare with her girlfriend. Yerim snorted, and Chaewon typed 'team death' onto the screen.
“We’re team frog!” Yeojin said.
“Agreed, team frog,” Yerim added, and Chaewon punched it in. Then, she looked at Hyunjin and Heejin expectantly.
"Um, we're team cool. Because we're as cool as refrigerators," Heejin said awkwardly. Chaewon shook her head, but put in 'team cool'.
"What's your team name?" Chaewon asked Jungeun and Jinsoul.
"I don't know, do you have any ideas?" Jungeun said to Jinsoul. The other girl shook her head.
"Alright, you two are team mom and dad," Chaewon said, inserting the name into the machine. Jungeun rolled her eyes.
"Couldn't you have thought of something cooler?" Jungeun spoke with exasperation.
"Like our team!" Heejin called, but she was ignored. Chaewon shook her head and smirked.
"Anyways, why mom and dad?" Jinsoul asked.
"Because Jungeun is the dad of our group, and you're the mom," Chaewon responded.
"But why do I have to be the mom?" Jinsoul whined.
"Because you're slightly more butch," Hyejoo explained to her sister. Jinsoul and Jungeun rolled their eyes but smiled.
"Finally you two are team sexual frustration," Chaewon said, referring to Haseul and Vivi. Vivi was silent, but she blushed a deep red.
"No, no, no, no, no," Haseul protested.
"Sorry, too late," Chaewon responded, smirking even more. Haseul sighed.
"You little fucker," Haseul muttered, and the game started.
Yerim was not as good of a player as she had claimed to be, in fact, she was terrible, so team frog ended up taking last place. This time they couldn’t even get bumpers for Yeojin because you had to be under seven to get them, and this time the employees finally realized she was actually nine, despite her short height.
Team death was too busy sharing their earbuds and sneaking off to make weird tik toks to actually succeed at bowling.
Team mom and dad only evaded last place because of team death and team frog. Jinsoul had been counting on Jungeun to be good to make up for her absolute failure yesterday, but she wasn’t in luck; Jungeun was almost worst than she was. But it was okay; she was so cute that it didn't matter.
Team cool was still just as good as yesterday, but to literally everyone’s surprise, they were beat.
Team sexual frustration actually turned out to be really good. They got many strikes and spares, and ended up winning the game by fifty points.
"Great, team sexual frustration won," Yeojin said sarcastically.
“Language,” Yerim whispered as Haseul and Vivi cheered, jumping up and down and hugging each other enthusiastically.
"Aw, you two are so cute together!" Heejin said happily. Haseul and Vivi stopped hugging, but they still smiled and blushed.
"We've got to get going, our parents are out of the house again," Hyunjin spoke sadly. No one except Jinsoul and Yeojin noticed the ‘our parents’ part, the two sharing an uncomfortable grimace.
"I get it, you girls need your scream time. Your time to embrace the black void of human existence," Hyejoo said sympathetically.
"Um, we're not going to, um, do...whatever that is," Heejin responded.
"I'm only twelve," Hyunjin protested.
"I'm...twelve....I need.....my time...to learn to embrace the void that is human existence..." Chaewon said slowly. The four girls gave each other looks.
"Well, speaking of the gothic hours, I need mine, so we'd better get going," Hyejoo said.
"Do we have to?" Haseul whined.
"Do you want my screams to be released from my lungs, uninhibited?" Chaewon responded. Haseul rolled her eyes and sighed.
"My parents drove me here, could I catch a ride back to my house with you guys?" Vivi asked. Haseul immediately smiled again.
"Of course! And you'll get shotgun," Haseul said happily.
"Can we at least walk Jinsoul back to her room?" Jungeun asked.
"Yeah, let's do that," Yerim said.
"Well, bye guys," Heejin said, waving to the other girls.
"Bye Heejin, bye Hyunjin," they called back to their new friends.
"Did we freak them out?" Chaewon muttered to Hyejoo once they were not within hearing range of Hyunjin and Heejin.
"Yeah, definitely," Hyejoo responded. Chaewon nodded sadly and Yeojin and Yerim shook her head disapprovingly at them.
"What floor is your room on?" Jungeun asked Jinsoul.
"The fifteenth," Jinsoul responded as they walked towards the elevators. Jungeun, Jinsoul, and Yeojin immediately ran to different elevators after they had pressed the button.
"What?" Yerim asked.
"Which elevator do you think will open?" Jungeun responded. Chaewon, Hyejoo, Haseul, and Vivi all ran and stood in front of different elevators. After a few moments, Vivi's elevator dinged, and the other girls sighed. It opened, and they all squeezed in.
Once they arrived on the fifteenth floor, Jinsoul directed the girls to her room. They all looked around.
"This is the first time I've been outside of the basement and the first floor," Hyejoo said.
"Dang," Jinsoul responded.
"And who's fault is that?" Chaewon said, giving her sister a pointed look. Haseul shhed her sister, making sure she didn't reveal Haseul's stalker tendencies in front of her crush. When they finally arrived at Jinsoul's room, she turned around.
"1542, that's your room number?" Chaewon asked.
"Yup," Jinsoul responded. Suddenly, Jungeun leaned down and kissed her on the cheek.
"See you tomorrow, Jinsoul," she spoke. Jinsoul blushed and grinned. Vivi cheered, Haseul whistled, and Hyejoo patted her sister's back.
"Making progress, huh?" she said, wiggling her eyebrows.
"Shut up," Jungeun muttered to he sister. Chaewon sighed.
"Just fuck already," she spoke with frustration.
"Oh my god guys, I'm leaving," Jinsoul said, still smiling as she opened the door and went into her room.
"Let's go guys, unless you want to see Hyejoo and I release the demons torturing our minds here on the floor," Jinsoul overheard Chaewon say. She laughed, wondering what the hell would happen the next day.
Chapter 9: Room 1542
Jinsoul awoke to the sound of knocking at her door. She shifted in her bed, staring at the source of the noise before deciding to ignore it. She picked up her phone to check the time. "It's only eleven, the maids don't come until one," Jinsoul mumbled in confusion. She was about to check her messages when she heard more knocks.
"Open the fucking door!" a voice yelled. Jinsoul rolled her eyes, recognizing Hyejoo's voice immediately. She got out of bed and attempted to fix her hair before opening the door. Standing in front of her was Chaewon, Hyejoo, Yerim, Yeojin, Haseul, Vivi, and Jungeun. As soon as she opened the door, the seven girls all piled into the room.
"What are you guys doing here?" Jinsoul asked, a confused expression on her face.
"We decided to hang out here today, since it's Vivi's day off," Jungeun responded, plopping down onto Jinsoul's bed and gesturing for Jinsoul to sit next to her. Vivi laid down on the bed too, and Haseul quickly followed. Yeojin grabbed Jinsoul's phone.
"What are you doing?" Jinsoul exclaimed.
"Texting Hyunjin and Heejin to meet us here," Yeojin responded casually.
"I can do that," Jinsoul muttered, taking her phone away from Yeojin and texting the girls herself.
Meet at my room, room 1542. Apparently we're hanging out there today , she sent.
Jinsoul plugged her phone back in and looked around the room. Jungeun was smiling at her, Yerim and Yeojin were sitting on the floor, Haseul and Vivi were lying down on Jinsoul's bed, and Chaewon and Hyejoo were looking through Jinsoul's things.
"You need new clothes," Hyejoo grumbled as she rummaged through Jinsoul's clothes.
"Yeah, we should take you shopping some time," Chaewon added.
"But her clothes are so nice!" Jungeun protested. “She looks pretty in them."
"Actually they're right, I haven't bought anything new since eighth grade," Jinsoul said, chuckling, trying to not get weird since Jungeun called her pretty. Chaewon and Hyejoo shared a look.
"I think it’s time we took a trip to Hot Topic then," Chaewon insisted as she and Hyejoo walked into Jinsoul's bathroom.
"Why does your shower smell weird?" Hyejoo asked.
“Why would it smell weird?” With a sigh, Jinsoul got up and made her way to her bathroom. It just smelled like her flowery shampoo. “What do you have against florals?”
"Florals,” Hyejoo and Chaewon simultaneously muttered with a shudder.
"Ugh, guys, leave her alone," Jungeun said. Just then, there was a knock on the door. Jinsoul groaned and flopped back down on the bed.
"I'll get it," Jungeun said, standing up and opening the door for Hyunjin and Heejin. "Hey guys!"
"Hi! Your room is nice," Heejin said, looking around for a place to sit. The bed was already full, and Chaewon was sitting on Hyejoo's lap on the chair. Eventually, she and Hyunjin sat on some of the pillows Yerim and Yeojin had put on the ground.
"So, what do you guys want to do?" Yerim asked the group.
"Are any of you hungry? I literally just woke up so I could go for some breakfast," Jinsoul suggested.
"Well, we brought some candy," Hyunjin said, dumping a bunch of stuff from the vending machine out of her pockets. Heejin did the same.
"Me and Hyejoo brought coffee," Chaewon spoke, pulling out a case of cold brew cartons.
“I have some saltines I found in my mom’s purse,” Yeojin added, throwing a ziploc bag of saltines into the food pile.
"And I have some orange chicken from panda express," Vivi said, placing a panda express box on top of the candy bars.
"Thanks for bringing food," Jinsoul said happily.
"It's the least we could do for barging into your room without warning," Yerim responded.
"Come on; I’m starving!” Yeojin whined.
Jinsoul smiled at the young girl. “Well, let's eat!"
"Wait, do you have forks?" Jungeun asked Vivi.
"Just a few, here, we can share," Vivi said, putting five sporks in the middle. They grabbed the sporks, everyone pairing up with their girlfriends/crushes (except Yerim, who got her own because Yeojin refused to eat with a fork instead of her fingers) so they could share the chicken.
After a few minutes, most of the food was gone except for a few candy bars, and the girls had nothing to do again.
"What do you usually do when you're here alone?" Heejin asked Jinsoul.
"Honestly, I just watch TV," Jinsoul replied.
"What do you watch?" Hyunjin asked. Jinsoul blushed.
"Um...I usually watch reality TV...," Jinsoul said, feeling embarrassed. The rest of the girls giggled. "Come on, it's not that bad, and I'm on vacation!"
"Are you sure it's not that bad?" Haseul asked sarcastically.
"I'm sure!" Jinsoul replied.
"Prove it then," Haseul said.
"Alright then, I will," Jinsoul spoke with determination, leaning backwards to grab the remote off of the bedside table. She turned on the TV, noticing what it was and smiling at Chaewon and Hyejoo.
"You two are going to love this one," Jinsoul said happily to them.
"What is it?" Hyejoo asked.
"It's Untold Stories of the ER, of course," Jinsoul responded.
"What's it about?" Chaewon asked.
"Basically, it's about real life weird medical cases. There’s lots of gross graphic body stuff and sometimes death, " Jinsoul explained.
"Holy shit that sounds awesome! How have we not heard of that show before?" Chaewon said.
"It’s exactly what I need right now," Hyejoo added, and they turned to the TV.
During the episode, Hyejoo stayed in her spot on Chaewon's lap. The two girls were very concentrated on the episode, but Chaewon wrapped her arms around Hyejoo's waist to play with her fingers.
Yerim, Yeojin, Hyunjin, and Heejin kept their spot on the floor, Yeojin finishing off the leftover candy bars. Heejin rested her head on Hyunjin's shoulder.
Haseul, Vivi, Jungeun, and Jinsoul squished into the bed, all of them leaning against the headboard with their legs under the covers. Vivi stared intently at the screen, while Haseul stared intently at Vivi.
Jungeun and Jinsoul watched everything, chuckling at Haseul and grimacing at the TV. About halfway through the episode, Jungeun faked a yawn and wrapped her long arm around Jinsoul's shoulders. Neither of them said anything, but Jinsoul grinned and blushed.
"That actually wasn't so bad," Vivi admitted.
“If a little gross,” Yerim mumbled under her breath.
"That was amazing!" Hyejoo said happily.
"Is another episode next?" Chaewon asked.
"No, next is Sweet Home Sextuplets," Jinsoul responded. Everyone but Jinsoul groaned.
"How do you even know that?" Hyunjin asked.
"I may have memorized the showing times. Anyways guys, come on! Sweet Home Sextuplets is one of my favorites!" Jinsoul whined. Everyone rolled their eyes, but turned back towards the TV (except for Haseul, who continued to stare at Vivi).
"Why...are there...so many..." Chaewon mumbled.
"Seriously, that’s too many babies. Even just one baby is enough for me," Hyejoo said.
"I mean, it’s not their fault. It’s not like they wanted so many babies," Jinsoul explained.
"It’s still too many babies," Chaewon said.
"She has a point," Yeojin admitted. They all shook their heads in agreement and watched the show.
After a few minutes, the girls began to get bored. Chaewon pulled out her phone and started looking through tik tok.
"What are you doing?" Hyejoo said quietly.
"Something interesting," Chaewon explained. Hyejoo grinned as Chaewon turned from watching the videos to making them. She started lip syncing screaming along to the lyrics of some emo song, Hyejoo joining in quickly. Soon enough they began smudging their thick mascara so it looked like it was running down their faces.
Meanwhile, Hyunjin and Heejin were attempting to concentrate on the show, but kept looking over at Chaewon and Hyejoo to give them weird looks.
"Don't worry, they do that all the time. It's sort of their thing: making weird tik toks at inconvenient moments," Yerim whispered to Hyunjin and Heejin. They nodded at Yerim, but kept looking over at the two girls who were technically their age. At this point, they were throwing their whole bodies into these lip syncs. Hyunjin looked at them worriedly, but Heejin squeezed her girlfriend’s hand, directing her attention back toward the screen. Hyunjin smiled and pecked Heejin on the cheek, and they kept watching the show.
On the bed, Vivi had fallen asleep. Her body had shifted so she was lying completely on top of Haseul. For a long time, Haseul stared at Vivi, her eyes wide with shock. Jungeun and Jinsoul chuckled from the sidelines, giggling at Haseul's awkwardness. Once she got over her shock, Haseul tentatively wrapped her arms around Vivi's small body. Haseul tensed up, but when Vivi smiled in her sleep, Haseul relaxed (but only a little bit). Jungeun still had her arm around Jinsoul's shoulders, but then she started to squeeze Jinsoul's shoulder. Jinsoul was confused for a few moments.
"You seem tense. Do you want me to give you a massage?" Jungeun whispered into Jinsoul's ear. Jinsoul's expression went from confused to shocked. She nodded quickly, nervous that she might embarrass herself in front of her crush, but still excited. Jungeun adjusted so that Jinsoul's back was facing Jungeun's chest, Jinsoul sitting in between Jungeun's legs. When Jungeun began to massage Jinsoul's shoulders,s he began to relax. She shut her eyes, letting Jungeun's large hands bring her relaxation. Jungeun didn't press too hard, but made sure to make Jinsoul feel nice. As Jungeun moved lower, Jinsoul let her head fall back, embracing the feeling.
"Is this nice?" Jungeun whispered to Jinsoul. She lifted her head up and nodded at the girl. As Jungeun's hands moved lower, Jinsoul bit her lower lip to make sure she didn't let out any embarrassing noises. She really just wanted Jungeun to keep on doing this forever. Jinsoul bit her lip harder, trying desperately not to look too into this. She looked over at Haseul, and Haseul wiggled her eyebrows at Jinsoul, taunting her. Jinsoul rolled her eyes and flipped her friend off, refocusing her mind back toward her goal of not making noise.
By the end of the episode, Jinsoul was a complete mess, her body slightly sweaty, and her face a bright red.
"Vivi, wake up, it's over," Haseul said, gently tapping Vivi. Vivi yawned, looking around and giggling.
"Did I sleep through the whole thing?" Vivi asked.
"Yeah," Haseul said, and smiled, a little overly affectionately. Jungeun reached around Jinsoul to turn off the TV.
"Are you all alright?" Yerim asked Jinsoul.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Jinsoul said, her voice a bit gruff.
"Are you sure?" Jungeun asked, placing her hand on Jinsoul's forehead. "You feel slightly warm, you're probably sick," she said worriedly. Chaewon and Hyejoo turned away from Chaewon’s phone to groan.
"Dude, she's not sick. Your fucking massage just made her really horny, that's all," Hyejoo said.
"Don't be so rude! Jinsoul is sick," Jungeun said with slight annoyance. Chaewon and Hyejoo rolled their eyes, and turned back to Chaewon’s phone.
"I swear to god, I'm not sick, I'm fine," Jinsoul insisted.
"I don't believe you, let me take care of you," Jungeun said with determination, rushing to the bathroom to find something to help out Jinsoul.
"Well, I don't want to get sick, so we should probably go," Heejin said sadly.
"But I'm not sick!" Jinsoul whined.
"You look pretty sick. We're going to go now. Thanks for inviting us! Maybe we can hang out tomorrow if you're feeling better," Hyunjin said. Jinsoul sighed, giving up on trying to convince them she was alright.
"You should probably go home too, I don't want you getting sick," Vivi said with concern. Haseul grinned.
"Same for you. I'm driving everyone home now!" Haseul said, and Yerim and Yeojin stood up.
"Doesn't anyone care if I get sick?" Yeojin asked, pouting.
"Of course! We can't let our little angel get sick," Haseul said.
“I’m no angel,” Yeojin grumbled as Jungeun returned from the bathroom with a wet cloth.
"Here you go Jinsoul, make sure to put this on your forehead," Jungeun said quickly.
"Jungeun, we're leaving! We don't want to get sick," Haseul said, linking arms with Vivi, Yerim and Yeojin snickering at them from behind.
"No! I have to take care of Jinsoul," Jungeun said sadly.
"I'm fine, seriously!" Jinsoul said. Normally, she would have wanted Jungeun to stay, but she was really embarrassed about this whole thing. At that moment, Chaewon and Hyejoo detached themselves from each other and walked over to Haseul.
"Dude, she's not fucking sick. Just come on," Hyejoo said. Jungeun sighed, but walked over to the rest of the girls.
"Bye," she said sadly, waving at Jinsoul. As Jinsoul waved back, Jungeun quickly ran over to peck Jinsoul on the cheek. She quickly went back to the other girls and left Jinsoul's room.
After a few minutes, Jinsoul checked to see if they were far from her room.
“Fucking hell,” she groaned as loudly as she could without the neighbors saying anything.
Chapter 10: Making Out At Church?
The next morning, Jinsoul woke up at a reasonable hour of the morning. Due to the fact that Jungeun thought she was sick, they hadn't texted the night before, letting Jinsoul finally get a good night's sleep. She pulled her phone from the charger and noticed she had quite a few texts: one from Haseul, one from Hyejoo, and three from Jungeun.
I hope you feel better thanks for letting Vivi come over too , Haseul had texted.
Jinsoul typed a response: im feeling much better and im always happy to have Vivi over. im just glad you two are finally starting to get together
She read the next text, from Hyejoo:
I hope your horniness was fun. My sister was worried sick. Make sure you thoroughly clean the shower...get out the floral smell. The twelve year old finished off her text with a barfing emoji.
Jinsoul rolled her eyes and responded.
Leave me alone !
Also florals slap
She exited out of the conversation, then smiled. Although Hyejoo’s words made her upset (she didn’t like to imagine Jungeun worried sick over something so stupid), she was excited to read Jungeun's texts.
Hey Jindori, the first read, I'm sorry I couldn't stay to take care of you. Please get better so I can see you again...
I'm going to bed now. Please get better. I miss you,,,
Jinsoul smiled softly and blushed, moving on to the next message.
Jindori~ I just woke up. I really hope you're better, because if you are maybe we should hang out?? I still need my sweatshirt :D
I'm feeling much better. Let's definitely hang out at the arcade. Is 12 or 1 ok? Jinsoul responded. A few seconds later, Jinsoul's phone buzzed.
12 is perfect! So excited , Jungeun texted, ending with the red heart emoji. Jinsoul grinned, jumping out of bed. Today, she wanted to look good.
She showered and afterward, she took the time to actually blow dry her hair and pick out a special outfit. She really did want to look for Jungeun, especially after what happened the day before. When she was finally ready, she rapidly headed down to the arcade.
"Hey guys," Jinsoul said when she arrived at the arcade restaurant. As soon as Jungeun saw her, she grinned and pulled Jinsoul into a tight hug.
"Feeling better?" she sweetly asked. Jinsoul nodded, and Jungeun smiled even wider. "Ready to get that god damn sweatshirt?"
"Hell yeah," Jinsoul responded just as Yerim, Yeojin, Chaewon, and Hyejoo walked over.
"We told Heejin and Hyunjin to meet us here," Yerim explained.
"Wait, where's Haseul?" Jinsoul asked. The girls all looked over at the prize stand, where Haseul and Vivi were deep in conversation. At that moment, Heejin and Hyunjin walked into the arcade and to the group of girls.
"Hey guys! What are we doing?" Hyunjin asked.
"We are attempting to get a sweatshirt that we'll all share," Jungeun explained.
"Alright, we brought money," Heejin responded. The eight girls walked over to the token station, exchanging their money for the golden coins.
"Hyejoo, Chaewon, can you two show Heejin and Hyunjin how to play?" Jungeun asked. Hyejoo nodded.
"Sure," the younger girl said, grabbing Chaewon's hand and leading Heejin and Hyunjin over to one of the games.
"Let's go," Jungeun said, casually wrapping her arm around Jinsoul's waist as they walked deeper into the arcade.
Once the eight girls had finally put all of their tickets into the machine, they printed out the receipt and walked over to where Vivi and Haseul were. The two girls didn't notice them until Yeojin cleared her throat.
"Oh, um, hey guys, what's up?" Vivi said, clearly distracted.
"Here are our receipts," Jungeun responded, pulling out the receipt from that day and the other one from a few days before. Vivi shook her head sadly.
"You guys only have 44,000 tickets. You need 60,000 to get a sweatshirt," Vivi explained.
"That's so stupid!" Hyunjin said.
"I know, it's way overpriced. I'd just give it to you except my boss would kill me," Vivi responded. Suddenly, Haseul's phone buzzed.
"Hello?" Haseul said into her phone. "Do we have to? Ugh, fine. We'll be home soon," Haseul said as she hung up the phone.
"Our families are going to church together, and we have to go," Haseul said to Chaewon, Jungeun, and Hyejoo. They all groaned loudly.
"I hate church," Chaewon whined.
"Let's go to the car," Jungeun said sadly, leaning down to peck Jinsoul on the cheek. "I'll talk to you soon."
Jinsoul watched Jungeun go with a frown, the two sharing a sad wave.
"Is it, like, really really wrong to make out at church?" Jinsoul overheard Chaewon ask Hyejoo. Jinsoul chuckled as Hyunjin tapped her on the shoulder.
"Hey Jindori, our dad wants to have lunch with us so we have to go now," Heejin said.
"Well, bye guys," Jinsoul responded as they walked away, looking around and noticing that Yeojin had disappeared as well. She must have dipped with everyone else. Suddenly, a group of kids approached the prize stand, and Vivi started to serve them. Jinsoul sighed, waving to Vivi and walking back up to her room.
Jinsoul was still in her room about forty five minutes later, surrounded by candy wrappers and empty starbucks cups. She was watching Long Island Medium, tucked under the covers in her pajamas, despite it being one thirty in the afternoon. Suddenly, her phone buzzed, and Jinsoul grabbed it.
It was Jungeun, sending a very simple text: Hey Jindori~
Jinsoul grinned and answered as quickly as her fingers would allow. Aren't you still in church?
Yup, we all still are...
Jungeunnie... that's, like, really unholy
I honestly give zero fucks. Anyways, Haseul is texting Vivi, and Hyejoo and Chaewon are making out
Omfg ofc Hyejoo and Chaewon would make out in fucking church
My grandma is practically sobbing
Oh god... Jinsoul simultaneously grimaced and snickered.
It's actually pretty hilarious to watch
only in reno...
Lmaooo, Jungeun messaged, adding on that one emoji with two different sized eyes and the tongue sticking out. what are you doing?
Jinsoul smiled at her double texting and answered. watching long island medium and pigging out in sweatpants
how the hell is that cute?
Man idk it just is
Ummmm , Jungeun double texted.
What, Jinsoul answered, starting to get a bit nervous.
WHAT? Jinsoul typed, anxiety growing in her stomach.
OH MY GOD JUNGEUN YOURE KILLING ME
Its rlly nothing!!!
WTF U CANT JUST LEAVE ME HANGING!
just that I feel very uncomfortable bc im wearing a fancy dress
Lmaooo , Jinsoul answered. She felt relieved but in the back of her head, she knew that wasn’t the full issue. But nonetheless she ignored it. So dramatic
I fucking hate wearing fancy dresses. I just want to be pigging out and wearing sweatpants and watching tv with you rather than hearing my sister and her girlfriend make out and my grandpas sighs of disapproval and the priest drone on about stuff i dont care about at all
aw, I wish you were here too
omg yay church is done! also my sister is grounded lol
oh poor girl
She probably deserves it tho, Jinsoul added.
yeah but grandma and grandpa will forget in 2 days so it doesn't matter
Chaewon's mom just grounded her too lol they're gonna be so annoying
can't they just...whatever they do over facetime?
no way, Hyejoo's banned from facetime
well one time she was doing a satanic ritual with Chaewon and grandpa walked in
omfg he must have died
it was two days after the braces incident too
I feel so bad for them now lol
yeah, those two can never catch a break
oh hell yes im home now, Jungeun added . gonna change into sweatpants
I am now in sweatpants and I am happy
what's your favorite song? Jinsoul suddenly asked.
that was random...
but what is it? Cmon im curious!!! Jinsoul pestered.
Ig it would have to be Work Song by Hozier
oh hozier? I know that song Take Me To Church by him...
If you only know take me to church then youre rlly missing out , Jungeun said, and Jinsoul could feel her firmness through the screen.
I’ll have to give it a listen!
well what's your fav song? Jungeun asked.
Definitely we fell in love in october by girl in red
who the hell is girl in red?
YOU DONT KNOW GIRL IN RED?? Jinsoul typed, steam practically coming out of her ears. Maybe Jungeun really is straight then...
Only one of the greatest wlw songwriters of our generation. Jinsoul refused to admit she was probably exaggerating on that one.
omg, I'll listen to that song rn then
I think you’ll like it a lot
Oh my god, Jungeun typed.
This is amazing
i actually really like it
How have i never listened to this before, Jungeun quadruple texted.
I'll listen to your song then, Jinsoul double texted.
it's very....hozier , Jungeun explained.
As Jinsoul put the song on, she had to agree. But she really liked it.
this song is really sweet...i actually sort of fucking love this... it’s going on my playlist
Really? Jungeun answered with the pouty face emoji
Ofc, u clearly have taste
Jungeun sent another pouty face emoji before typing out a real message.
well, grandma is forcing me and hyejoo to help her out in the garden, so i gotta go
Jinsoul pouted reading Jungeun’s response. why must you always leave me..
I'll be back soon Jindori wait for me~
I promise I will, Jinsoul answered, working up the courage to include a heart emoji
if you're going to go, just go! Jinsoul finished, whining out loud.
Chapter 11: Jungeun's Confession
The next morning, Jinsoul woke up to the buzz of her phone and checked her messages, receiving one from Hyunjin and one from Yeojin:
Hey jinjin, heejinie and I have to have a family day today, so we can't hang out :(
it's okay! see you tomorrow, Jinsoul responded, looking at Yeojin’s.
Yo yo yo my parents are having a family day 2day so byeee c u tmr, Yeojin texted.
No problemo! See you tomorrow, Jinsoul chuckled and answered just as someone knocked on the door. Jinsoul tilted her head in confusion, but went over and looked through the peephole. Standing outside was Jungeun, alone. Hesitantly but with a slowly growing smile, Jinsoul opened up.
"Hey Jindori," Jungeun said, giving Jinsoul a side hug.
“H-hi,” she stuttered, a little nervous to be alone with her crush.
"Sorry I just sort of burst in here. Chaewon and Hyejoo are grounded, Yerim felt lazy, and Haseul went to the arcade to talk to Vivi, so I came here," Jungeun explained.
Jinsoul smiled. "It's no problem, come in." Jungeun stepped inside, looking around at Jinsoul's room, and then at Jinsoul herself.
"Just woke up?" Jungeun asked. Jinsoul looked down at herself and blushed, realizing she was still in her pajamas.
"I don't care, it looks comfy. Speaking of, do you have any sweatpants I could borrow? I don't feel like wearing jeans anymore.”
"They'll probably be too small for you, but here are a pair anyways," Jinsoul responded, tossing Jungeun a pair of dark grey sweatpants. Jungeun smiled, taking the pair into the bathroom to change. Jinsoul walked over to her phone, shuffling Harry Styles and going to the kitchenette.
"Do you want some tea?" Jinsoul asked Jungeun through the bathroom door.
"Sure." Jinsoul put enough water for the two of them into the hot water boiler and flopped down on her unmade bed.
Soon enough, Jungeun emerged from the bathroom, laying down next to Jinsoul. The sweatpants were definitely too small for her, but somehow she still looked good in them. Jinsoul thought Jungeun would probably look good in everything.
"How's life?" Jungeun asked, rolling onto her stomach.
"Pretty cool, actually. You?"
"It's great...being here, it’s great." Suddenly, the water boiler started to beep.
"Ooh, time for tea!" Jinsoul said, jumping out of bed to pour the water into the cups.
"How much sugar and what kind of tea do you want?" Jinsoul asked.
"I don't really drink tea that much, you decide," Jungeun answered. Jinsoul stared at Jungeun in shock.
"You don't drink tea?" Jinsoul asked incredulously.
"We never really have it around at home." Jinsoul shrugged, setting a timer on her phone to let the tea steep. She walked back over to the bed and sat down. The two girls looked at each other for a long moment, just so unsure, before shaking their heads back to reality.
"Are you hungry?" Jungeun asked.
"I brought some old lady cookies." Jungeun went into the bathroom to grab her jeans. She rested them on the desk chair and pulled a ziploc bag out of the front pocket. She ate one of the cookies, then handed the bag to Jinsoul.
"These are good," Jinsoul said.
"I have an endless supply at home; I do live with a grandma," Jungeun responded, and Jinsoul laughed. Just then, the timer on Jinsoul's phone went off, and she went over to go get the tea. A few seconds later, Jinsoul returned with two steaming cups
"Your tea, madame," Jinsoul said jokingly, bowing down to had Jungeun her tea.
"Thank you, my liege." They both giggled and took a sip from the cup. Jungeun paused and smiled. "Holy shit this is good.”
"It’s my favorite chai,” Jinsoul explained as Jungeun took another sip. At that moment, Jungeun adjusted, sitting with her back against the headboard. She gestured for Jinsoul to sit next to her, and Jinsoul crawled over. Slowly, she leaned against Jungeun's body, smiling softly. The two of them just sat there for a long time, listening to the music and quietly sipping their tea. Suddenly, Jungeun's breathing quickened and her body became tense.
"Is something wrong?" Jinsoul asked, looking up at Jungeun. Jungeun inhaled and exhaled a few times before speaking.
"No....no. It's just, Jinsoul......you're so cool. You, like, take my breath away and stuff.....Jinsoul," she spoke, turning to face her, "Jinsoul." She chuckled nervously, "I'm...I’m so into you."
Jinsoul looked at Jungeun in happy shock, then grinned impossibly wide.
"I like you too, Jungeun. I like you, I like you, I like you," Jinsoul repeated, giggling and smiling out of pure happiness. Jungeun smiled back, wrapping Jinsoul in a tight hug. Jinsoul hugged her back, burying her head in Jungeun's chest and inhaling her scent.
"Can I kiss you?" Jungeun asked, all of the sudden.
"Of course." Jungeun then cupped Jinsoul's face, rubbing her thumb on Jinsoul's soft cheek. Jungeun leaned in, slowly shutting her eyes and kissing Jinsoul on the lips. Jinsoul immediately pressed her lips back, the kiss feeling passionate but still so sweet and innocent. When they pulled away, neither of them could wipe the smiles off of their faces.
"Cuddle?" Jungeun asked.
"Fuck yeah!" Jinsoul responded, and the two of them laid down, slipping under the covers. Jungeun pulled Jinsoul's lithe body closer, running her fingers through Jinsoul's hair. Jinsoul shut her eyes, snuggling into Jungeun's chest.
"You're so cute, you know that?" Jungeun said, grinning. Jinsoul giggled and blushed.
"Really?" she responded, looking up at his crush- well now she could call it more of a mutual crush, and the feeling was so good.
"Of course," Jungeun said, pecking Jinsoul's forehead. She wrapped Jinsoul in her arms, shutting her eyes so she could just feel Jinsoul against her. Jinsoul shut her eyes as well, interlacing her small fingers with Jungeun's.
The two of them fell into a perfect state of relaxation, just breathing slowly with each other as the music played and the sun fell lower into the sky.
"The light is beautiful," Jungeun spoke. Jinsoul nodded into Jungeun's chest, letting Jungeun kiss the top of her nose. But suddenly, Jinsoul's stomach rumbled, ruining the mood.
"Are you hungry?" Jungeun asked. Jinsoul frowned.
"I don't want to stop cuddling," she responded with a pout.
"We can cuddle once we've got some food," Jungeun said, getting out of the bed and standing up. Jinsoul still frowned, but followed her anyway.
"But it's cold out there!" Jinsoul whined. Jungeun wrapped her arm around Jinsoul's waist, pulling her closer.
"We'll be back soon, alright?"
"Fine," Jinsoul mumbled and grabbed the room key. They left Jinsoul's room, quickly finding the nearest vending machine and buying some cookies and a twix bar. They soon walked back to Jinsoul's room, quickly dipping back under the covers again. Jinsoul changed the music to a different playlist.
"Is this One Direction?" Jungeun asked.
"They're sort of my guilty pleasure," Jinsoul admitted.
"Actually, I've heard this one before." She leaned against the headboard and gestured for Jinsoul to sit in between her legs.
"It's called Little Things; it's one of my favorites," Jinsoul responded, getting comfortable leaning against Jungeun's chest as she pulled the covers on top of them. They snacked on the food, letting the music play.
"Better than I thought it would be," Jungeun admitted.
"You know, not all of their songs are bad,” Jinsoul answered, looking out of the window. "Oh, the sun is setting!" She happily stood to go watch and Jungeun followed her, holding her hand.
The two of them just stood there, watching the sun slowly set into the dark night sky. As the stars started to come out, Jungeun pointed to one.
"Let's make a wish." She turned to Jinsoul and they shared a smile before shutting their eyes, concentrating very hard. When they were done, they faced each other.
"I'm cold," Jinsoul mumbled. Jungeun grinned mischievously then picked her up, tossing her onto the bed. Jinsoul screamed and giggled as Jungeun clambered around her, smothering her with kisses. Jinsoul laughed happily, wrapping her arms around Jungeun's neck and pulling her closer so she could kiss her. Jungeun smiled, kissing Jinsoul back.
But soon enough, Jungeun's phone started to ring, and Jinsoul’s face absolutely fell.
"Holy shit, can I never catch a fucking break?" Jungeun said, getting off of Jinsoul to respond to the call.
"Hello? Grandma!” She whined, “Come on , it's winter break. Must I really have a curfew of 8:30? Please? Ugh, fine," Jungeun finally said, hanging up angrily and grabbing her jeans.
"You can keep the sweatpants," Jinsoul said. Jungeun nodded, gathering her things together. Jinsoul walked over to the door to see her out.
"I promise that one day, I won't have to leave," Jungeun said, pecking Jinsoul on the lips.
"I'll see you tomorrow," Jinsoul said, pecking Jungeun back.
Jungeun grabbed Jinsoul’s hands and held them. "I'll miss you.”
"I'll miss you more," Jinsoul mumbled, pecking Jungeun again. They both giggled and looked down at the floor.
"Bye Jindori," Jungeun said, pecking Jinsoul for the final time.
"Bye," Jinsoul said, pecking Jungeun back, refusing to leave her hanging.
"I really have to go..." Jungeun pulled her hand away then kissed the top of Jinsoul's head, finally walking away.
"I'll miss you the most!" Jungeun yelled back to Jinsoul before she walked out of eyesight. As Jinsoul shut the door and wandered back into her room, screaming into her pillowcase, she realized that she probably wouldn't be able to sleep that night.
Chapter 12: A New Home
Jinsoul woke up the next morning utterly exhausted. The butterflies in her stomach had been so strong that she couldn’t fall asleep, but she didn't care. All that mattered was the fact that Jungeun was hers, and she was Jungeun's.
Jinsoul pulled her phone off of the charger and opened the one unread text.
Hey Jinsoul, we haven't really talked in a while. We should have lunch together. I have some things to tell you, her mother had texted.
Alright, lets meet at 12:30, Jinsoul answered. Jinsoul felt a little worry bubble up in her stomach; her mother’s words sounded so foreboding. But just as Jinsoul's mom confirmed their lunch time, her door burst open.
"Hey baby," Jungeun said, crawling into bed next to Jinsoul and kissing her on the lips.
"Awww, you two are so cute!" Yerim cooed, laying down sideways on the bed. Yeojin followed her, gagging at the new couple and sitting down on the floor.
"Thank god you two finally figured it out; maybe my sister will finally stop her pathetic pining over you," Chaewon said, sitting down on Hyejoo's lap on the chair they'd practically adopted as their own.
"Now Haseul and Vivi just need to get together," Hyejoo added, wrapping her arms around Chaewon's waist.
"Congratulations!" Heejin and Hyunjin spoke as they followed everyone else, sitting down on the floor in front of the TV.
"How the hell did you guys get in here?" Jinsoul asked.
"I stole your extra room key," Hyejoo answered. Jinsoul just sighed, and Jungeun pulled her closer.
"Where's Haseul?" Hyunjin asked.
"In the arcade," Jungeun, Yerim, Hyejoo, and Chaewon said at the same time.
"With Vivi?" Heejin asked.
"Duh, who else would she be with?" Yeojin responded.
"Anyways...so what should we do today?" Yerim asked.
"I have to go to lunch with my mom at 12:30," Jinsoul said.
"It's only 10:30 though, we have some time," Jungeun responded, snuggling into Jinsoul.
"Wait, aren't you grounded?" Hyunjin asked Hyejoo and Chaewon.
"My parents forgot," Chaewon explained.
"Mine too," Hyejoo piped up.
"Speaking of which, my grandparents are going out of town for a few nights. They're leaving tomorrow, and Hyejoo's kicking me out of the house, so can I stay with you?" Jungeun asked Jinsoul.
"Of course!" Jinsoul replied, grinning widely. She took a deep breath, overjoyed at the extra time she’d get to spend with her new girlfriend. Now, she felt close enough to her that it wouldn’t be weird.
"Someone's a little too excited," Hyejoo teased.
"Hyejoo please, the reason you're kicking me out is so that you and Chaewon can do weird stuff. I think you guys are the ones who are a little too excited," Jungeun responded.
" Excuse me, there is no such thing as getting too excited about spending quality time with your girlfriend," Hyejoo whined.
"And we aren’t just doing weird stuff. The things we do have a name, and that name is satanic rituals," Chaewon added.
'Alright, I've had enough of hearing about my sister's weird obsessions for today," Jungeun interjected. Yeojin giggled.
"Let's play scrabble," Heejin said loudly, her and Hyunjin giving Chaewon and Hyejoo weird looks.
"Do you have a set?" Hyejoo asked. Hyunjin pulled a travel scrabble game from her bag in response.
"Let's play up here," Jinsoul suggested, patting the bed.
"But it'll get all messed up!" Chaewon whined.
"But I'm cozy," Jinsoul whined back.
"We're playing on the bed," Jungeun said firmly. Everyone quickly climbed onto the bed, fearing Jungeun's tone.
"There's only four players allowed, so we'll have to play in teams," Heejin said.
"The couples and Yerim and Yeojin, right?" Jinsoul asked.
"Hey, I have a disadvantage," Yerim complained.
“What?” Yeojin cried.
“Well, you do know less words...” Yerim mumbled.
“But I know better words!”
"You two can go first," Heejin interrupted. A few seconds later, Yerim put down her first word (hat), and the game began.
"I just looked it up, imalltoyz is a website!" Hyejoo cried.
"Okay, we accepted toyz with a z, we accepted malltoyz, but imalltoyz is pushing it," Heejin groaned.
"Are you sure?" Chaewon asked hopefully.
"Yeah. We are," Yeojin firmly responded.
"Shit, it's 12:25, and I'm still in my pajamas," Jinsoul said suddenly, jumping out of bed and completely destroying the board.
"What the hell? You completely fucked up our entire game," Hyejoo whined.
"Baby, stay. Stand up your mom," Jungeun said.
"I can't stay," Jinsoul responded, emerging from the bathroom wearing jeans and a t-shirt. "And sorry about the board. Be back soon!" she yelled back to the girls in her room, grabbing her things and rushing out of the door, leaving them to do whatever.
She went down to the buffet and soon saw her mom had already grabbed a table.
"Am I late?" Jinsoul asked.
"No, you're right on time."
"We should get food now."
Her mom nodded, both of them standing up and grabbing plates. A few minutes later, they returned giant piles of food.
"So, what did you want to talk to me about?" Jinsoul asked, munching on a pancake.
"I found us a new house!" her mom answered with a bright smile.
"What? Where is it?"
"It's back in California, but more towards the north. It's called Vallejo, and it's in the Bay Area. It's pretty close to San Francisco. How cool is that? We'll have to rent, but it'll be so nice to have our own space, right?"
Jinsoul took in a deep breath, eyebrows furrowing, trying to look everywhere but at her mother. "That sounds great," she lied.
"Is something wrong?" her mom asked, concern clear in her voice.
"I don't know. I was sort of hoping we could stay in Reno," Jinsoul said hesitantly.
"But it's so creepy here!"
"It is, I see that...but I honestly love it here. I'm happier than I've been in a really long time.”
"I know you're quite happy here. I...I can see it in your face, hear it in your voice; you look happier than you have in ages. But...I already contacted the landlord, so there's nothing I can do," she said. As much as her heart hurt Jinsoul could see her mom was genuinely concerned, frowning at her daughter's unhappiness.
"It's alright. Vallejo sounds nice," Jinsoul said, perking up just a bit, if only for her mom’s sake.
"I promise you'll enjoy it. It's right by the water too."
There was one question Jinsoul was absolutely dreading. But, she had to ask, frowning even at just the idea of it. "When are we leaving?"
"In nine days. I bought the plane tickets already." Jinsoul swallowed thickly, and they sat in silence for a few minutes before her mom spoke again. "Is there anything here contributing to your happiness?"
Jinsoul smiled at the very mention of her new friends and girlfriend. "I met this really nice group of girls."
"That's so nice. It's good to know you're making friends." Just then, they both finished their meals. "Well, I'm exhausted, and you probably want to get back to your friends," she said.
"Alright then. Bye mom," Jinsoul responded, the two standing up and hugging each other tightly.
"I'll see you soon," her mother said. They waved at each other and Jinsoul stepped out of the buffet, taking the elevator back to her own room. She walked in and flopped on the bed before looking around the room.
"Where is everyone?" Jinsoul asked Jungeun, the only person left.
"I kicked them out," Jungeun answered, pulling Jinsoul under the covers with her. Jinsoul giggled.
"That's good. I want to be alone with you too." Suddenly, Jinsoul looked up worriedly. "How are you getting home?"
"Getting a ride with Vivi," Jungeun explained, grinning. "So, what did you and your mom talk about?"
Jinsoul sighed, the smile leaving her face. "I'm leaving in nine days, and moving to Vallejo for good."
Jungeun frowned too. "That's shit. Where's Vallejo?"
"It's near San Francisco," Jinsoul said. Jungeun growled angrily.
"That's so far!" she said, tone full of anger. Jinsoul bit her lower lip, feeling water start to cloud her vision.
"Baby, baby, don't cry, we still have more than a week left, don't worry," Jungeun said, quickly calming herself down and holding Jinsoul tightly. Jinsoul looked up, the tears that were threatening to leak gone.
"At least I have you for now," she spoke, snuggling into Jungeun's gentle body. Jungeun wrapped her arms around Jinsoul. Suddenly, Jinsoul sighed.
"What's wrong?" Jungeun asked worriedly.
"I’m just...tired. Emotionally.”
Jungeun nodded into her neck. “Then sleep. We can nap, it’s alright,” she mumbled into her skin.
Jinsoul nodded back and they laid like that for a long time, drifting in and out of sleep, occasionaly whispering sweet nothings to each other. After many hours, Jungeun got up.
"Vivi's shift is over," Jungeun explained. Jinsoul frowned.
"I wish you didn't have to go...”
"Don't worry. Tomorrow I won't have to leave you," Jungeun said, kissing Jinsoul on the forehead and the lips before walking out of the door.
Jinsoul was really excited for tomorrow.
Chapter 13: The LEX Nightclub
The next morning, Jinsoul woke up feeling a little too excited. Today was the day that Jungeun was finally going to stay over; nobody could separate them, for a few days at least. She leapt out of bed, throwing open the curtains and putting all of her dirty clothes in a drawer. She took a long shower, trying to calm the butterflies in her stomach before throwing on some casual clothes.
When she was done, she sat back down on her bed and looked at her phone. She assumed that the bed would just get messed up anyways from all of their cuddling (nothing more!), so she didn't bother to make it.
Her phone said that she had one new text so she opened it:
Hey baby, Jungeun wrote, Jinsoul immediately smiling at the nickname written on her phone , I have to drive my grandparents to the airport, so I won't be there until around five. Haseul and Yerimmie are coming with me, but I promise they'll leave after a while so we can be alone. So excited! She ended her message with the red heart emoji.
Jinsoul smiled. She was disappointed that Jungeun wouldn't be coming over sooner, but the fact that she was staying the whole night made up for it.
Alright I'll see you then! I’m so excited too , Jinsoul responded. After she sent the text, she grabbed her things and left her room, going down to the ground floor to grab breakfast with Yeojin (and ignore her making fun of her and Jungeun).
At around five o'clock, Jinsoul was in her bed, sipping on a vanilla frap and watching Four Weddings with Yeojin, who she invited so that she wouldn’t get too nervous while waiting for Jungeun. Suddenly, she heard a knock on the door, and quickly jumped out of bed to go see who it was.
"Jindori!" Jungeun said happily as Jinsoul swung open the door. She pulled her new girlfriend into a tight hug as Vivi, Haseul, and Yerim walked into the room. Jungeun picked Jinsoul up, spinning her around in a circle before gently putting her down.
"Hi," Jinsoul said, grinning and holding Jungeun's soft hand. The two of them turned around, seeing that Haseul, Vivi, and Yerim had taken over the bed in the space around Yeojin. Jinsoul groaned.
"Can't you guys sit somewhere else?" Jungeun whined.
"But it's comfy here," Yerim whined back.
"Chaewon and Hyejoo's chair is comfy," Jinsoul said.
"Who knows what they've done there?" Vivi mumbled.
"Anyways, if it's so comfy, why don't you two sit there?" Haseul retorted. Jinsoul and Jungeun sighed and sat on the floor.
"I wonder what the two of them are doing right now," Yerim said, referring to Chaewon and Hyejoo.
"I don’t think any of us want to know what they’re doing,” Yeojin responded, and everyone chuckled.
"Do you guys ever worry about them? Like, do you ever get afraid that they get bullied at school?" Vivi asked.
"Eh, I'm not worried. They've known each other since birth, and they've liked each other since elementary school. As long as they have each other, then I'm okay with it. I think they can get through anything together," Jungeun explained.
"I mean, it’s not like they’re doing anything really dangerous. If they weren't being safe, I'd kill them both," Haseul said.
"We're their sisters, we know them best. If they weren't doing anything that wasn't alright for them, we'd put a stop to it immediately," Jungeun spoke.
"I'm so glad they're dating; it's so much easier to keep watch on them," Haseul added. “Even if they’re a bit codependent.”
"It's sweet how protective of your sister you are," Vivi said to Haseul.
She grinned and blushed shyly. "Thanks..."
"So, what do you guys want to do?" Yerim asked.
"Are you guys hungry?" Jungeun said.
"Oh my god I'm starving ," Haseul responded.
“Same,” Yeojin groaned.
"I could go for some food," Vivi added.
"Do you know any good places here?" Jungeun asked Jinsoul.
"We could go to the buffet," Jinsoul suggested.
"Buffet?" Haseul said excitedly, sitting up quickly.
"Buffet it is," Jinsoul said, standing up. The other girls followed her.
"How much should I give you?" Jungeun asked as the group stepped into the elevator.
"Don't worry, I get everything free," Jinsoul answered.
"Wait...so we're eating at an all you can buffet....for free?" Haseul asked.
Haseul grinned, jumping up and down excitedly. "Free food, free food, free food," she chanted as they left the elevator. Vivi looked at her, gaze both humorous and loving.
"Do you really think you can handle all of...that?" Yerim whispered to Vivi, looking at Haseul dance around. Vivi chuckled.
"I can try," she responded, smiling softly. At that moment, they arrived at the buffet, and Jinsoul swiped her card as they walked inside.
"This is so awesome," Haseul said, sitting down across from Vivi. Her plate was stacked high with all sorts of food: meat, bread, pasta, and all kinds of fruit (no vegetables of course). She was also carrying another plate, which was covered with all different deserts.
"Can you really eat all of that?" Vivi asked incredulously.
"When's the next time I'm going to go to a buffet for free? I have to stuff myself," Haseul responded.
"Oh my gosh guys, it's like we're on a double date!" Jinsoul exclaimed.
"But we're not dating," Haseul said.
"Not yet," Jungeun muttered.
"And I'm here," Yerim added.
“Me too,” Yeojin spoke up.
"Well these two are practically dating," Jinsoul said, pointing to Haseul and Vivi. Both of them blushed and looked down at their food.
"What about me and Yerim? Are we the eternal..." Yeojin paused, counting on her fingers, "Ninth and tenth wheels?"
"Yeah, sort of," Jungeun responded.
"Speaking of which, where are Heejin and Hyunjin?" Vivi asked.
"They left yesterday," Jinsoul responded.
"Aw, I liked them," Haseul said sadly.
"I'll miss them. They were the most sane middle school students I've ever met," Yerim said.
"Their parents are married you know," Yeojin responded.
"What?!" the other girls exclaimed, turning towards Jinsoul and Yeojin.
"Well, they met when their parents started dating," Jinsoul explained.
"Wow..." Jungeun murmured.
"Never mind," Yerim said and dug into her food.
"How old were they when they met?" Haseul asked.
"I think they were eleven or so," Jinsoul answered.
"Oh, that's not so bad then," Vivi said.
"Yeah, that's not bad at all," Haseul added.
"I guess," Jungeun mumbled.
"As crazy as they were, they were pretty cool," Yerim spoke. Everyone nodded, and continued to eat.
"Damn," Jinsoul said suddenly, staring at Haseul's plates; they were both empty.
"How did you even do that?" Vivi asked. Haseul just smiled and made a cute face. Vivi smiled back softly.
"Are you guys done?" Jungeun asked. Everyone nodded and stood up, walking Yeojin to her room (her parents wanted her home) before going back to Jinsoul's.
"What do you guys want to do now?" Haseul asked, sitting down on the ground next to Vivi. Jungeun and Jinsoul shrugged as they snuggled on the bed.
"We could look through the hotel book," Yerim suggested as she spun around on the desk chair.
"That's a good idea," Jinsoul responded, and Yerim grabbed the book. Shee flipped through the pages, murmuring, "No, no, no," until she stopped on one.
"There's a nightclub here," Yerim said.
"But we're underaged, we couldn't get in," Vivi responded.
"I could get us in if you all wanted," Yerim spoke.
"That would be really fucking crazy," Jungeun muttered.
"I'm down," Jinsoul said.
"Seriously?" Jungeun asked Jinsoul quietly, and she nodded. "Then I'll come too."
"I'll go. I really do need to get out more," Vivi added.
"I'll go too. Why not?" Haseul spoke.
"But what if we all drink? Who will drive us home?" Yerim asked.
"I'll drive us. I promise I won't drink," Haseul responded.
"Do you promise ?" Yerim said firmly.
"I promise! I don't want any of us getting into a car accident," Haseul said.
"It's a bit early, we should wait before we go," Jungeun said, and everyone nodded.
"I'm going to go change," Jinsoul said, picking out some clothes and going into the bathroom. Ten minutes later, she returned to the main room. "So, how do I look?" Jinsoul asked, spinning around. Jungeun's jaw dropped.
"Holy shit you look awesome!" Haseul squealed.
"You do look really nice," Yerim added. Vivi nodded in agreement.
"Fuck, Jinsoul," Jungeun muttered, checking out her girlfriend and biting her lower lip. Jinsoul grinned and blushed.
"Do you really think it looks that nice?" Jinsoul asked bashfully.
"Yeah," Jungeun responded seriously, breathlessly.
"Oh my god you’re acting like such a fuckboy," Yerim teased.
"Shut up, it’s Hyejoo and Chaewon's job to tease me, not yours," Jungeun whined.
"Well, someone has to take over when they're not here," Yerim responded. Jinsoul walked over to where Jungeun was on the bed, and Jungeun pulled her girlfriend into her lap.
"You look so good," Jungeun whispered into Jinsoul's ear, and she shivered. She had tried to look pretty, changing into the only dress she’d brought and thick eyeliner, but she didn't know that Jungeun would have this kind of reaction. She didn't mind at all though, smiling at her precious girlfriend.
"Thanks Jungeunnie," Jinsoul responded, grinning widely.
"Can I borrow some of your make up?" Haseul asked.
"Sure, it's all in the bathroom," Jinsoul responded, and Vivi, Haseul, and Yerim left to go put it on. As soon as they were out of the room, Jungeun roughly kissed Jinsoul on the lips.
"Jungeun, not while they’re so close," Jinsoul whispered, giggling.
"Later. Definitely later." They waited for the other girls to emerge from the bathroom, cuddling a little bit while Jungeun tried to not be all over her sexy girlfriend. A while later, the three girls came out of the bathroom with light make up. Jungeun and Jinsoul looked at the clock.
"It's eleven, let's go," Jungeun said. Everyone nodded and followed her out the door and up to the top floor.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Vivi whispered to Yerim worriedly as they approached the door to the club.
"Yeah, I've got us covered," Yerim responded as they reached the front of the line.
"You girls got ID?" the security guard asked. Yerim nodded, pulling out her own fake ID. The security guard gave all of the girls a brief glance, then let them in. Once they were inside, they all looked at Yerim in shock.
"How did you do that?" Jinsoul asked.
"Where did you get that?" Jungeun added.
"Why do you have that?" Haseul added as well. Vivi just stared.
"Come on, even I have to get out some time. Anyways, I figured that a security guard at a casino probably wouldn't give a shit as long as one of us had ID," Yerim explained. The rest of the girls nodded, still in shock.
"Come on guys, let's dance!" Yerim shouted. That shook them out of their surprise and everyone cheered, going out to the main dance floor.
The place was completely packed, filled with gross underdressed frat boys and overdressed sorority girls. There were two floors, and the DJ was blasting some remix of a top forty song that Jinsoul couldn't name.
"Find us a spot, I'll get us all drinks," Yerim yelled above the music. They all nodded, and Yerim left them. The group managed to find a booth for themselves, sitting down and waiting for Yerim to get back so they could start their night.
"Holy shit guys, what have we done?" Haseul shouted over the music.
"This is so fucking crazy!" Jinsoul screamed back. Soon enough, Yerim returned, pushing through the crowd, carrying four shots.
"Once for each of us, minus Haseul of course," Yerim shouted. They all grabbed one, downing it at the same time as Haseul watched.
"Shit, I have never drank before," Vivi said loudly.
"Woohoo!" Jungeun cheered, standing up.
"Let's DANCE!" Yerim shouted, and they all whooped and cheered, moving out into the middle of the floor.
"Jungeun, what are you doing?" Jinsoul asked her girlfriend. She was currently nibbling away at Jinsoul's earlobe as the two of them danced closely. Yerim, Haseul, and Vivi were nowhere to be seen, but neither of them cared. Both of them were a bit tipsy, and nothing really mattered except for them in this club.
"Baby?" Jungeun asked, slurring slightly.
"What?" Jinsoul yelled back.
"Baby," Jungeun repeated.
"What?" Jinsoul yelled again, grinning.
"Do you want to get out of here?" Jungeun asked, smirking a little bit. She'd had a few drinks, but so had Jinsoul.
"Yeah," Jinsoul responded, biting her lower lip. Maybe it was all a bit cringe, but who cared when they were this drunk and free and having so much fun?
They grabbed each other's hands, running out of the club and into the elevator. They both started giggling, high with excitement and happiness and maybe just a little bit of the alcohol they'd had earlier. As soon as they were on Jinsoul's floor, they ran into her room, fumbling with the lock a little bit before quickly opening the door.
As soon as they got inside Jungeun pushed Jinsoul onto the bed, quickly kissing her. It was sloppy, too much spit and tongue, but it was passionate and full of something that Jinsoul could not quite put her finger on (but that thing was lovely).
They pulled away and looked at each other, smiling brightly. Jinsoul let her fingers run through Jungeun’s brown hair, melting a little bit at her pretty, blurry, messed up appearance. She was so lucky, really. So lucky to have met Jungeun. So lucky to be with her. So lucky that they could spend the night together when Jinsoul was leaving so soon.
“Jinsoul...” Jungeun said something after that, but it was so slurred that Jinsoul couldn’t really make out the words.
“Wh-what?” Jinsoul asked with a soft, tipsy giggle.
And suddenly, Jungeun passed out.
Jinsoul just stared at her for a few seconds before snorting at her sleeping figure, awfully silly looking. She just shook her head, giving her an affectionate smile before going to the bathroom to get ready for bed.
Once she was in her pajamas she got back under, tucking her girlfriend under the covers and adjusting her so she’d sleep comfortably. She sighed as she noticed Jungeun was still wearing jeans; she couldn’t get her changed as that may be a step too far, but it would still be uncomfortable.
Nonetheless she finally crawled in beside her, looking at her girlfriend’s stunning sleeping face.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Jinsoul mumbled, and she meant it. Even if Jungeun was fast asleep, she was glad she was here. Having her in the bed beside her just felt so right.
So Jinsoul turned off the bedside lamp, snuggled in, and went to bed, a perfect first night together.
Chapter 14: Hickeys
The next morning, Jinsoul woke up to the sound of Jungeun breathing slowly, her mouth slightly parted. Jinsoul smiled to herself, adjusting so she could look at her girlfriend. She ran her fingers over Jungeun's cheek, eyes raking over her drunken, flopped body, still wearing her clothes from the night before. Jinsoul smiled more, thinking about just how beautiful her girlfriend was. Suddenly, Jungeun's eyes fluttered open, and Jinsoul quickly moved her hand away.
"Did I wake you up?" she asked quietly, not wanting to disturb the atmosphere in the room. Jungeun shook her head and grinned.
"Of course not baby." Jungeun tugged Jinsoul on top of her and kissed her on the lips. The two of them pulled away, giggling happily.
"Good morning," Jinsoul whispered.
"Good morning," Jungeun whispered back, wrapping her arms around Jinsoul's waist and kissing her deeply.
“How do you feel?” Jinsoul asked.
“Bleh,” Jungeun groaned, looking down at herself. “Why am I still in my clothes from last night?”
Jinsoul giggled. “You passed out.”
Jungeun snorted and rolled her eyes at herself when suddenly, Jinsoul's phone buzzed. Jungeun let out something between a groan and a whine as Jinsoul reached over to grab it.
"Oh, two texts from Yerim," Jinsoul said, opening the messages. Hey guysssssssssss we left the club. Don't worry about us, k? she read aloud from Yerim.
"Someone sounds tipsy," Jungeun said, making Jinsoul giggle.
Hey, just making sure you two are alright and ended up back in your room , Yerim's second message said.
We're alright, how did it go last night? Jinsoul typed and a few seconds later, her phone buzzed again.
Well I passed out as soon as I sent that text last night, but Haseul told me that Vivi got completely wasted and was totally all over her. Like....all over her , Jinsoul read.
"Shit," Jungeun said. “I mean, I hope Haseul enjoyed it at least...”
"What should I answer?" Jinsoul asked Jungeun.
"Ask her if Haseul's freaking out and how Vivi is doing." Jinsoul sent just that and quickly received a response.
Haseul's so freaked out that she insisted on coming over to my house. She's been pacing for the last forty-five minutes. Vivi is super hungover and she's so embarrassed that she refuses to leave her bedroom or answer any of Haseul's calls. It's just making Haseul even more insane. It's just....ugh , Yerim's text said.
“Fuck, I hope things work out. Haseul's been obsessing over Vivi for too long to fuck this up now," Jungeun said.
"At least we don't have anything to worry about," Jinsoul responded, nuzzling her nose against Jungeun's.
"Ugh, I should probably shower," Jungeun groaned, seeing as how sticky their bodies were from the sweat of dancing and alcohol and falling asleep in her regular clothes. Jinsoul nodded, rolling to the side to let her stand up.
"Come on, go. Hurry up and don’t waste your time with me," Jinsoul said, trying to pull Jungeun out of bed. Jungeun just groaned, smiling at her girlfriend.
"But I wanna cuddle more! I'll give you a kiss," Jungeun offered. Jinsoul immediately sat up, waiting for Jungeun’s kiss. That kiss came, but it also came with Jungeun trying to pull her back into the bed.
"Jungeunnie, no! You have to shower," Jinsoul whined. Jungeun sighed but stood up, wrapping her arm around Jinsoul's waist as they walked into the bathroom.
“Fine. But show me how this shower works.” As Jinsoul turned on the water, explaining how to make the temperature go up and down, Jungeun hugged Jinsoul from behind, pressing their bodies together.
"Stop, you’re gonna make me wanna cuddle again," Jinsoul whined. Jungeun ignored her, kissing the smaller girl's jawline lightly. When the water was warm, Jinsoul snaked her way out of Jungeun’s grasp. She left her new girlfriend with a peck on the cheek and let her shower in peace.
Jinsoul waited very impatiently for the three minutes Jungeun was in the shower, trying to distract herself from missing her girlfriend even though they were in the same damn hotel room and they’d slept in the same damn bed. Jinsoul sighed as if in a dream. Sleeping in the same bed with her had been so lovely, and she’d get that same feeling tonight too.
Jinsoul tried not to leap up like an idiot when the water turned off, gripping her knees, trying to be patient.
"Can I borrow some underwear?" Jungeun finally asked, stepping out of the bathroom with wet hair and only a towel wrapped around her.
“Pretty,” Jinsoul mumbled as she nodded, grinning and throwing a pair at her.
Jungeun flushed and gave Jinsoul a shy smile, grabbing some clothes out of her travel backpack and going back into the bathroom. When she was done, she marched out of the bathroom and picked Jinsoul up bridal style. She gently placed her on the bed, leaning over to kiss her gently. Jinsoul laughed, pulling Jungeun down next to her.
"Hey baby," Jungeun spoke, gently brushing some of the hair out of Jinsoul's face. She smiled, wrapping her arms around Jungeun's waist.
"I'm cold," Jinsoul whined, snuggling closer to Jungeun. Her girlfriend protectively wrapped her arms around Jinsoul, trying to warm her up. "I should probably go shower too," Jinsoul was beginning to stand up when Jungeun pulled her back down, settling the blankets on the bed.
"Baby no, stay," Jungeun whined, "Come on, we can get cozy in the bed." Jinsoul sighed, rolling her eyes but smiling and sitting next to Jungeun. She leaned her head on Jungeun's shoulder, and the other girl wrapped her arm around Jinsoul. Suddenly, Jinsoul frowned.
"We sort of need to eat," Jinsoul spoke. Jungeun frowned as well.
"But I don't want to get up," Jungeun said sadly.
Jinsoul suddenly smiled. "Wait! I just realized that I get free room service!"
“How have you not used that before?” Jungeun asked as she smiled too, grabbing the menu out of the drawer. They decided to get some bacon and pancakes, and soon enough the food arrived.
"I'll get it," Jungeun said, letting Jinsoul relax on the bed and going to the door. She got the food, bringing it to the bed where Jinsoul was. Jungeun got back under the covers and cuddled Jinsoul on the bed, silently but comfortably eating the food. When they were done, Jungeun put the plates beside them and held Jinsoul tightly. She sighed, kissing the top of Jinsoul's head.
"I'll miss you, you know," Jungeun spoke quietly.
"Is it because I get free room service?" Jinsoul joked. Jungeun chuckled and pet Jinsoul's hair.
"It's because you're perfect."
Jinsoul blushed, giggling and snuggling her. They locked gazes sat that way for a while, staring into each other's eyes until they realized it was a bit weird.
"You want to watch TV?" Jungeun asked.
"Sure," Jinsoul answered, sitting in between Jungeun's legs and leaning against her chest. After Jinsoul turned on the TV (which, of course, was playing Cupcake Wars), Jungeun held Jinsoul's wrapped her strong hands around Jinsoul’s delicate fingers. Both of them only half watched the show, focusing more on the warmth of each other, pressed together. After a few episodes, Jungeun started kissing Jinsoul's neck, wrapping her arms around her girlfriend to pull her closer. As Jungeun got more bored, she completely abadoned watching the show to focus on attacking Jinsoul’s neck with kisses. Jinsoul bit her lower lip, tilting her head back to give her more access to her neck. After a few minutes of Jungeun's roughness, she pulled away blushing.
"What's wrong?" Jinsoul asked, looking up at Jungeun. Jungeun blushed more, looking down at her hands, which were still intertwined with Jinsoul's.
"I think I gave you a hickey," Jungeun mumbled with embarrassment. Jinsoul's eyes widened, hands coming up to her neck to see if Jungeun was right. Jungeun leaned over to look at her neck and cringed.
"Is it bad?" Jinsoul asked worriedly. When Jungeun nodded, the younger girl quickly stood up and ran to the bathroom. Jungeun heard her groan with annoyance. "Why Jungeun? I don't have any turtlenecks." Jinsoul whined.
Jungeun blushed further, turning off the the TV and going into the bathroom. "It's not that bad," Jungeun lied.
"Chaewon and Hyejoo will make sure that I never hear the end of this," Jinsoul groaned. Jungeun frowned guiltily, but suddenly, Jinsoul turned towards Jungeun and smiled. Jungeun pouted and Jinsoul snorted. "I don't care that much," Jinsoul admitted, and Jungeun smiled back.
"I don't think we'll be seeing much of my sister and Chaewon for a few days anyways. I’m sure they won't emerge from the house unless it's absolutely necessary."
Jinsoul giggled and the antics of the middle school students. "You all are so fucking awesome," Jinsoul said.
"And so are you," Jungeun responded. Jinsoul smiled, then looked around.
"Why are we just standing in the bathroom?" she asked. Jungeun giggled, then took Jinsoul's hand.
"Let's go back to the bed." They both laid down, sighing with relaxation.
"Can I give you more hickeys?" Jungeun asked.
"No!” Jinsoul cried, and on that bed, play fighting began to ensue.
Chapter 15: Cookies
The next morning, Jinsoul and Jungeun woke up late. Opening their eyes they realized they were facing each other, their hands linked together. Jungeun opened her eyes first and leaned over to kiss Jinsoul on the cheek. Jinsoul smiled, snuggling into Jungeun's chest.
"Hi baby," Jinsoul said quietly. She snuggled deeper into her girlfriend.
"What do you want to do today?" Jungeun asked.
"Maybe we should actually leave the room," Jinsoul answered. This whole time they’d been together, so far they had mostly just been snuggling and talking. Jungeun chuckled, pecking her forehead and sitting up.
"Let's get ready then," Jungeun said.
Jinsoul grinned, getting out of bed to wash up. "Shit, my neck," she groaned from the bathroom, remembering yesterday’s hickey situation. Jungeun laughed.
"If anyone looks at you funny, I'll kill them for it," Jungeun said.
"Do you think that these will go away by the time we Chaewon and Hyejoo again?" Jinsoul asked. Jungeun walked into the bathroom in clothes fit to leave the hotel room, peering at Jinsoul's neck.
"I don't know..." Jungeun wrapped an arm around Jinsoul's waist and Jinsoul leaned against her.
“You suck!” Jinsoul whined, grabbing the toothpaste to brush her teeth.
“That’s exactly what I did. I sucked on your neck and gave you a hickey.” Jungeun snatched the toothpaste out of Jinsoul’s fingers when she was done with it, starting to brush her own teeth.
It was so nice, like this. Her and Jungeun, standing there in the bathroom together in their sort of shitty pajamas, toothpaste running down their chins. But it didn’t matter how sloppy they looked, with bedhead and no shower yet. Already, they were so comfortable together.
Jinsoul could imagine a life like this. She could imagine doing this every day and never getting bored or tired of it. It was so joyous, so domestic, that she could almost forget how soon she had to leave and pretend that this was her life forever: fun in the casino, with crazy friends and a perfect girlfriend, free and utterly happy.
"Didn't we say we were going to go out?" Jungeun asked. She and Jinsoul were relaxing on the bed, having just finished the exhausting activity of showering.
Jinsoul chuckled. "Yeah, we should probably do that."
"Ready?" Jungeun asked as Jinsoul grabbed her things her things and nodded. Finally, they left the hotel room.
"What do you want to do?" Jinsoul asked as the two slowly wandered the casino's halls.
"I'm feeling lazy, but also sort of hungry."
"We could go to the vending machine," Jinsoul suggested.
“For lunch? Slash breakfast?”
“Do you really feel like going all the way down to the buffet? Anyways, that feels like a little too much food.”
"True, true...you know what, that's perfect!" Jungeun happily grabbed Jinsoul's hand, the two rushing off to the vending machine.
"Let's get a soda and some cookies," Jinsoul said. Jungeun nodded, going over to the machine as Jinsoul got a coke.
"Shit," Jungeun muttered. She hit the dispenser roughly a few times before pressing the button to get her money back.
"It ate my money and then didn't give me the food." Jungeun grumbled.
"Damn! Those cookies look good too.”
"Are there vending machines on every floor?"
"I think so, maybe..."
"Can we go to the next floor then?" Jinsoul nodded, gently holding Jungeun's hand and walking out of the vending machine area. They went to the next floor, looking around for the vending machine before realizing that it was organized the same way as their floor. Then, they quickly found the machine.
"This one only takes coins," Jungeun spoke.
"Do you have any?" Both girls rummaged through their things, and Jungeun shook her head. "Me neither.”
"Next floor?" Jungeun asked. Jinsoul nodded and smiled, and they quickly went up to the next floor.
"This one doesn't even have what we want," Jungeun whined. They left the area, walking back to the elevators.
"Should we just give up and get something else?" Jungeun asked.
"We shall never admit defeat!" Jinsoul cried and they both giggled, stepping back into the elevator.
They repeated this process many times over, finally being able to get their cookies only after reaching the twenty eighth floor.
"Holy shit," Jinsoul said, stuffing the eight bags of cookies into her bag.
"We had to."
“Well well well,” a voice spoke up. “If it isn’t the couple that refuses to leave their room because they’re probably doing gross things.” The two teen girls turned to see Yeojin staring at them with her arms crossed.
“We’re not doing gross things!” Jungeun whined and Jinsoul pouted.
“What are you even doing here? Your room is on the seventh floor,” Jinsoul said.
“This floor has the good cookies and takes bills,” Yeojin explained. Jinsoul and Jungeun looked at her sheepishly, and Yeojin gasped. “Did you guys buy all the cookies?”
“...Maybe,” Jungeun mumbled.
“You guys owe me. Big time.”
With a sigh, Jungeun reached into her bag and handed Yeojin one of the cookies.
“Just one? Fine, I’ll take it, because my parents aren’t home and Sex in the City is on next on HBO. I have to go back and watch it.”
“Why are you watching that?” Jinsoul whined.
“Goodbye. And you still owe me!” Yeojin cried as she ran back to the elevator.
Once she was out of earshot, the two girls turned to each other.
“Kids,” Jungeun mumbled.
They both laughed, going back down to their room with pure happiness in their hearts. But when they got inside, they found that the room wasn’t empty: Hyejoo, Chaewon, and Yerim were already inside.
"What the fuck?" Jungeun, Jinsoul, Hyejoo, and Chaewon spoke at the same time.
"Why didn't you guys warn us you were coming?" Jungeun asked. Her and Jinsoul shared a look. They had been enjoying their alone time together, but interacting with their friends was nice too.
"Because we assumed you two would actually be in here ," Hyejoo responded.
“And wait, where are Haseul and Vivi?” Jinsoul asked.
“Both were afraid the other would show up somehow. They’re still avoiding each other after the incident that night,” Yerim explained.
"What have you two been up to?" Chaewon asked Jungeun and Jinsoul with a glint in her eye.
"Shut the fuck up," Jungeun whined back.
"Oh, fancy seeing you two weirdos here. Now what have you two been up to?" Jinsoul teased back to Chaewon and Hyejoo.
"Demon summoning," Hyejoo responded with a perfectly straight face. Jinsoul snorted, burying her face in Jungeun's shoulder as Jungeun whined,
“No worse than what you two were doing,” Chaewon added.
"Shut the fuck up,” Jinsoul mumbled. The other girls laughed, Chaewon and Hyejoo sitting in their chair as Yerim looked around the room.
"So, what should we do today?" Yerim asked.
"Actually, the other day I was looking through the casino guide and it said they had a spa downstairs," Jinsoul spoke.
"Oh my god, that sounds amazing!" Hyejoo said.
"Let's fucking do it!" Chaewon added.
"Plus, I can get everyone in for free," Jinsoul said.
The girls all stood up, making their way from Jinsoul’s room to the basement.
Suddenly, Hyejoo turned toward Jinsoul and peered down at her.
"Is that a hickey?" Hyejoo asked. Jinsoul's eyes widened, her whole face turning bright pink.
"No," she answered, her voice quavering as she pulled her shirt higher up on her neck. Hyejoo burst out laughing, Jungeun wrapping an arm around Jinsoul's waist as she glared at her sister.
"Guys, my sister gave Jinsoul a hickey!" Hyejoo shouted to the entire group. Everyone started laughing hysterically.
"Really? Did you have to?" Jungeun asked Hyejoo.
She smiled smugly. "Of course I did."
Soon after, they arrived at the spa. Jinsoul walked over to the desk as the other girls stood at the doorway.
"Do you guys take drop-ins?" Jinsoul asked. The lady at the desk looked around the empty spa, then turned back to Jinsoul.
"We do now," she responded. Jinsoul smiled and slid over her room key.
"How many?" the employee asked. Jinsoul turned around, counting how many people were with her.
"Five please," Jinsoul responded. The woman nodded, leading Jinsoul toward a door into the spa area. Jinsoul beckoned for the group to follow, and they went in.
"Oh my god, I feel so nice," Yerim said as the group exited the spa.
"It's like I'm floating on a cloud of lotion," Chaewon spoke.
“We’ve gotta take Vivi and Haseul there, when they’re not being weird of course...” Jungeun spoke.
“Who knew Vivi was just as odd as Haseul about this kind of thing?” Yerim asked.
“Well, that’s why they’re perfect for each other,” Hyejoo said.
“We can’t let this go on for much longer though. Then they’ll never get together...” Jungeun grumbled.
“Soon. Let’s see if they can possibly do it themselves-”
“Unlikely,” Hyejoo interrupted Yerim.
“But soon. Then we can all go to this spa together! It was amazing,” Yerim finished.
"It really was amazing, except for the part where they mentioned my hickeys," Jinsoul said.
"Wait, seriously?" Hyejoo asked.
"You can never catch a break, can you," Yerim mumbled.
"I really can't," Jinsoul answered with a snort and a roll of her eyes.
Chapter 16: FINALLY!
In the morning, Jinsoul awoke to the sound of her phone buzzing. She grunted, wiggling out of Jungeun's grasp to grab the device to see she had one text, from Yerim:
Hey so Haseul and Vivi still aren't on speaking terms, so I'm inviting both of them over to your place without telling them the other is gonna be there
Jinsoul snorted but then sighed, at first responding with a simple okay . But then, she thought for a moment.
Will Chaewon and Hyejoo come? She asked.
Nah. they want more alone time
Oh no , Jinsoul typed before she got out of bed, throwing on some clothes and brushing her hair before she heard the sounds of Jungeun waking up.
"Morning baby, what's up?" Jungeun asked groggily. Jinsoul threw some of her looser clothes to Jungeun (the normally very neat and organized girl had forgotten to bring enough clothes for the trip, in her excitement), going back over to the bed and flopping down. For a brief moment she gazed at her gorgeous girlfriend, her heart melting. If only she could always wake up like this.
She shook her said, remembering she had something to tell Jungeun.
“Yerim has this plan to try and get Haseul and Vivi together. She’s gonna bring them both over here without telling the other they’re coming."
“Here, you can just read it yourself.” Jinsoul pulled out her phone and let Jungeun read the text for herself. After a few moments Jungeun nodded, sighing and going to the bathroom to change.
"I sort of just wanted to have another day with each other," Jungeun mumbled when she returned, sitting back on the bed. Jinsoul nodded, snuggling into Jungeun's side.
"At least we can help Haseul and Vivi get together, I mean, it's about time," Jinsoul responded. Jungeun smiled, pecking Jinsoul on the cheek as someone knocked on the door. Jinsoul got up, kissing Jungeun before rushing off to answer the door.
"Hey you two!" Jinsoul said, opening the door for Yerim and Haseul. Haseul grinned, pulling Jinsoul into a tight hug.
"I missed you," Haseul said; they hadn’t seen each other since the night at the club.
"Missed you too," Jinsoul responded as Yerim looked her up and down.
"Someone looks like they’ve done nothing but cuddle in bed with their girlfriend for days," Haseul said. Jinsoul pouted and rolled her eyes.
"You’re just jealous," Jungeun rebutted from the bed. Yerim pointedly ignored her, wandering into the shower to sniff it, then walking into the main room.
"Have you guys ever even cleaned?" Yerim spoke.
Jinsoul blushed a little bit. "Come on, we’ve been too busy cuddling for housekeeping to come!" she whined.
“Don’t turn into Chaewon and Hyejoo on us,” Jungeun said.
“Come on, someone’s got to take over their teasing position while they’re gone,” Yerim answered. Haseul giggled, plopping down on the edge of the bed.
"You know you love me," Yerim teased. Jinsoul crawled into bed next to Jungeun and hugged her with a pout still on her lips as Jungeun laughed. Suddenly, someone knocked on the door, and Yerim stood up to let them in.
"Who’s there?" Haseul asked. No one responded.
"Hey there Yeojin! Hi Vivi!" Yerim spoke as she opened the door. As soon as Haseul heard her crush’s name she sat up straight, a nervous but excited look in her eyes. Yerim and the small girls had a short conversation before walking into the main room. When Vivi saw Haseul she blushed hard, her eyes widening. Haseul waved at her slightly, and Vivi just blushed more, sitting down on the ground. Haseul frowned and buried her face in the bedding. Yeojin, shockingly, did not tease the girls. Jinsoul figured Yerim must have informed her of the plan before this too.
"So, guys, what do you want to do?" Yerim asked awkwardly. Vivi shrugged slightly and Haseul did nothing.
"Isn't there a movie theatre in the basement? We could go watch something, if anything showing is good," Jungeun suggested. At that, both Vivi and Haseul perked up.
"Movie it is!" Yeojin said, and they all stood up to leave the room.
"To be honest, I always fall asleep during movies," Jinsoul whispered to Jungeun as they walked to the elevators. “Me and Yeojin met there, and we both fell asleep, like, immediately.” They walked in the back of the group, Jungeun's arm around Jinsoul's waist as Yerim and Vivi walked in the front and Haseul and Yeojin were in the middle.
"It doesn't matter because Yerim always does too. I kinda like movies, but Haseul loves them. She loves to make little videos on her phone. And Vivi is in the film club at school," Jungeun explained.
"But I still don’t like it," Jinsoul whined as they stepped into the elevator.
"It's okay, because that's going to be our excuse for you, me, Yerim, and Yeojin to fall asleep and give them alone time...and then something only they can talk about once it’s done,” Jungeun said. Jinsoul nodded, looking up at her girlfriend and smiling in understanding.
After a few minutes, the five girls arrived at the theatre. Jinsoul noticed Yeojin quickly tug Haseul aside.
“Pay for her ticket.”
“What? Oh my god no, Yeojin, it’s too weird. Maybe that's a bad-" Haseul started.
"It's settled," Yeojin interrupted.
"But it’s weird if I only pay for hers and then not everyone elses!" Haseul protested.
"Haseul," Yeojin whisper-whined. Haseul sighed in defeat as she went up to the ticket counter, just paying for everyone’s in the end. Yeojin groaned loudly, but she stopped when Haseul gave her a pointed look, and the went into the theatre.
Jungeun was completely right. The girls all pretended to be into this super arty indie movie that Vivi and Haseul seemed excited about. So, Yeojin, Yerim, Jinsoul, and Jungeun had fallen asleep almost immediately. Jinsoul felt like barely any time had passed when Vivi was shaking her awake, the group all leaving the theatre. Vivi and Haseul seemed happy and excited, recovered enough from their embarrassment to have a short conversation about the movie. But as soon as they remembered what happened, they fell silent.
"So, um, what do you guys want to do now?" Yerim asked, still groggy from her nap.
"Well, I'm a bit hungry," Haseul responded.
"Me too," Vivi added.
"Well, I think the rest of us are full. We'll go back to the room while you two go eat out or something. Alright? It's decided. Bye guys!" Yeojin said. Jinsoul, Yerim, Jungeun, and Yeojin rushed away from the theatre before Haseul and Vivi could protest. Once they reached the escalator, they huddled together.
"What's the plan?" Yerim asked.
"Are we just going to go back to the room?" Jinsoul asked.
"Fuck no!" Jungeun spoke.
"We're going to spy on them, obviously," Yeojin added. Jinsoul nodded knowingly.
"Guys, they're here!" Yerim whispered, and the four girls ducked behind a sign. Vivi and Haseul walked past them, not noticing they were there. Neither of them spoke, standing a distance apart.
"What are you in the mood for?" Vivi asked quietly.
"Whatever you'd like," Haseul responded, chuckling awkwardly.
"Do burgers sound good?" Vivi said. Haseul nodded, and they stepped into the the Johnny Rockets. Jinsoul, Jungeun, Yeojin and Yerim followed them in, sitting down at a table and making a wall of menus around themselves. They listened to the two girls buy their food (Haseul absolutely insisting on paying for both of them, again, of course) and sit at a table to wait for their number to be called. They sat in silence, both too nervous or embarrassed to speak.
"Ugh, why are they both so awkward?" Yeojin whispered with annoyance to the rest of their group.
“That’s their job,” Yerim groaned as they shook their heads in agreement. After about five minutes, Haseul and Vivi's food arrived, and Vivi went up to go get it. When she arrived back at their table, she handed Haseul her burger without a word and began to eat. After a few moment, Vivi put down her burger and wiped her mouth with a napkin. Haseul looked up at her in confusion.
"Haseul?" she asked hesitantly.
Vivi sighed. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" Haseul asked.
Vivi sighed again. "For completely embarrassing myself.".
"Yes, I did. I ruined any chance we had of being together," Vivi interrupted.
"What do you mean?"
"You'd never want to date me now," Vivi said quietly, chuckling sadly.
Haseul laughed. "Bullshit."
"I've literally been stalking you since middle school. There's probably nothing you could possibly do to making me stop liking you," Haseul explained. Vivi stared at Haseul in shock, her eyes widening.
"Really?" Vivi asked hesitantly. Haseul nodded, grinning widely.
"Of course," she responded. With that, Vivi practically threw herself across the small table to kiss Haseul on the lips. Haseul was surprised at first, but then kissed back, running her fingers through Vivi's hair and releasing all the pent up feelings she'd had for the small girl. And when Jungeun, Jinsoul, Yeojin, and Yerim squealed a few tables down, the two didn't even notice.
Chapter 17: We Fit Together
"Are you still awake?" Hyejoo whispered. Chaewon smiled in the darkness, flipping around in the bed to face the other middle schooler.
"Of course, how could I sleep when I get to be all alone with my girlfriend?" Chaewon responded. Hyejoo grinned and blushed, laughing a little bit at Chaewon's cheesiness. Chaewon rummaged around in the sheets, looking for Hyejoo's hand before holding it gently.
"Today's our last night here alone together," Hyejoo spoke sadly. Chaewon frowned, snuggling closer to her girlfriend. The two of them had been spending their nights together in the same bed, since they got the chance now (not doing anything too grown up, of course)! It was like a long sleepover except with nobody trying to discipline them: no siblings, no parents. As twelve year olds, of course they had loved every minute of it, and were more than sad to have to give this freedom up.
"At least Vivi and Haseul started going out, maybe then we can spend some alone time at my house," Chaewon said hopefully.
"Wait, seriously?" Hyejoo asked.
Chaewon nodded. "Haseul called me immediately after it happened."
"When was that? Why am I only hearing about it now?"
"You were still asleep," Chaewon explained.
"Fucking finally. Well, that's good."
"I know, right? Maybe we don't have to go to the fucking arcade anymore."
"On the contrary, I think we'll be going to the arcade more, so your sister can see her girlfriend." Chaewon groaned. "I am so damn sick of that place!"
"Thank god for Jinsoul, at least we can chill at her room sometimes," Hyejoo said.
"But wait, doesn't she have to move soon?" Chaewon asked. Hyejoo frowned and sighed.
"Fuck...ugh, he does! My sister's going to be a fucking mess," Hyejoo spoke sadly.
"I don’t think she’ll be able to function for a while," Chaewon said.
"Honestly though....I'll really miss Jinsoul too. Even though she's awkward as hell, she's super fun and cool," Hyejoo said. Chaewon nodded in agreement.
"Do you think they had sex?" Chaewon whispered.
Hyejoo's eyes widened. "I don't know," she whispered.
"Wait, Haseul told me they snuck into a club, so they might've," Chaewon said.
"We'll have to pester them about it tomorrow," Hyejoo said, nodding firmly.
Chaewon moved to rest her head on Hyejoo's chest. They laid like that for a while, Hyejoo petting Chaewon's bleach blonde (and lifeless) hair while Chaewon listened to the sound of her girlfriend's heart beat. It was so easy. They were so young, and yet so comfortable with each other. It made sense, of course, since they had been friends since birth and been dating for a few years now. But they couldn’t help but think maybe, they were meant to be too.
“Do you wanna bake something?” Chaewon suddenly asked.
Hyejoo turned to look at the alarm clock. “It’s like...one am.”
Slowly, Hyejoo looked down at Chaewon with a grin. “You know...I saw these Sanrio cookie recipes on tiktok that looked really yummy.”
Chaewon smiled back at her. “Then what are we waiting for?”
With a giggle both girls leapt out of bed, padding their way into the kitchen. Hyejoo pulled the recipe up on her phone.
“It’s Kuromi and My Melody,” Hyejoo said. Chaewon looked over her shoulder before giving her girlfriend a kiss on the cheek.
“Like you and me. You’re Kuromi and I’m My Melody.”
“You’re cheesy,” Hyejoo mumbled lowly, not looking at Chaewon to hide that she was blushing. Chaewon just giggled, climbing on the countertops to get the baking ingredients from the highest parts of the cabinets.
Hyejoo read out the first couple parts of the recipe and Chaewon started stirring following her directions. And Hyejoo just watched, her tiny blonde girlfriend flitting around the kitchen in the dead of the night, in her animal crossing pajamas that she only wore when she was alone or just with Hyejoo, no makeup on, just herself.
And Hyejoo knew she was so, so lucky. Not many people got to have a best friend or more at such a young age like her. It was nice to have someone who understood her so much: someone she could listen to weird emo music with, dress crazy and fun in public with, sit with at lunch and go crazy in the school hallways, someone who she could play animal crossing and minecraft with after school and talk with on the phone until the late hours of the night, when her grandparents yelled that she was running up the phone bill, and then switch to texting with. She was lucky that this girl that was her girlfriend, her best friend, her everything was so kind, no matter what. Quiet and small but strong and brave. And of course, it was a plus that she was the most beautiful girl in their entire middle school.
"I can't believe we've actually tricked everyone into thinking we’re satanist emo demon worshippers twenty four-seven," Hyejoo said. They both chuckled.
"I know, right? We're way too young for that," Chaewon responded quietly. “It’s not sustainable. We like cute things too. And we still like kid stuff.”
"It's become sort of a game for us. It’s only really funny because we’re in middle school." Hyejoo spoke.
Chaewon nodded, looking up at Hyejoo.
“Do you think we’ll end up together...past middle school?”
Hyejoo stared at her, panicked. “O-Of course! Do you not think-”
“No no no. I...I just was worried you didn’t want to,” Chaewon mumbled.
Despite the fact that she was covered in flour, Hyejoo stepped close and gave her a big hug. “I wanna be with you forever. Even if it sounds stupid. I wanna grow up with you.”
Slowly, Chaewon smiled. “Me too.”
“Like...learn to drive, get our first jobs, go to college, move in together, get married, do....everything.”
Chaewon wrested herself from Hyejoo’s grip and put the sheets of cookies into the oven. "I’d like to do all of that someday. With you."
"Of course, what do you think?" Hyejoo answered.
"And......I'd like to have my first everything with you. And I'd like for you to have your first everything with me too." Chaewon spoke.
"I wouldn't want it any other way," Hyejoo answered.
"But not now, of course. We’re so young. We’ve got, like...sooo much time," Chaewon added. Hyejoo nodded in agreement.
“Anyways. We could never break up because then you’d have so much blackmail on me.”
“Me too! You’re the only person who knows about my My Little Pony collection.”
“I told you it’s not that bad!” Hyejoo whined. Chaewon flushed and shook her head.
The honest truth was that Hyejoo thought it was cute. In fact, everything about Chaewon is cute. And perfect, and lovely, and kind, and helpful, and lovely. She was lovely, and....loveable.
And Hyejoo loved her. A lot. It was the truth; she loved Chaewon in a romantic way, as much as a twelve year old could love anyone in a romantic way.
When they were kids, just friends, they said it all the time. But since they got together, they’d felt weird about saying those three words.
But Hyejoo knew, it was time. "Um, Chaewon? I know this is sort of a weird question to ask but...we've been together a long time, right?" Hyejoo asked. Chaewon looked up at her in confusion.
"Yeah, why?" Chaewon responded.
"Because, I know we're a bit young and stuff, but you know, um.......I love you, Chaewonnie," Hyejoo said nervously. Chaewon grinned in delight, immediately pecking Hyejoo on the lips.
"I love you too, Hyejoo," Chaewon spoke sincerely. They both giggled with happiness, looking at each other's beaming faces. Chaewon smiled softly, tucking a lock of Hyejoo's jet black hair behind her ear.
"I'm so glad I forced my sister to give your sister the note saying I liked you to you in the fourth grade," Chaewon said.
"Me too love," Hyejoo responded and sighed happily. Suddenly, the oven beeped, and Chaewon rushed over to the oven, throwing it open. Both girls gasped as they stared at the sheet of cookies: they’d turned out perfectly.
They shared an excited squeal as Chaewon pulled the two sheets out of the oven, trying not to get Hyejoo’s minecraft pajamas dirty.
“It says they need fifteen minutes to cool down.”
“They’re lying,” Hyejoo mumbled, shoving one into her mouth. She squeaked and tried to fan her mouth as Chaewon giggled.
“Be careful!” Chaewon whined.
“Wait...I have an idea.” Hyejoo shoved on a oven mitt and grabbed the two trays, tossing them into the freezer.
Chaewon gasped excitedly. “I’m dating a genius!”
“You know it.” They shared a peck on the lips and stared at the clock, giving the cookies one minute. Once it passed they pulled the cookies out of the freezer and immediately ate every single one of them in complete silence.
As soon as the trays were empty, Chaewon let out a huge yawn.
"Are you sleepy?" Hyejoo asked. Chaewon shook her head, trying to force her eyes to stay open. Hyejoo turned around and looked at the digital clock on the oven.
"It's three o'clock in the morning! We really need to sleep," Hyejoo exclaimed quietly. Chaewon frowned.
“But what about the dishes?”
“True.” They shared a nod and Chaewon grabbed Hyejoo’s hand, leading her back to the bedroom. Without washing their faces or brushing their teeth, despite the cookies, they slipped back into bed. Chaewon rolled onto Hyejoo, pulling her closer and wrapping her arms around her waist.
"Goodnight Joo," Chaewon said sleepily.
"Goodnight...I love you," Hyejoo responded.
"I love you too," Chaewon spoke before sleep took over.
Chapter 18: I Love You
The next morning, Jinsoul woke up to find Jungeun staring at her.
"Were you watching me?" Jinsoul asked incredulously.
Her girlfriend flushed a little and peck her on the lips. "Nah, I just woke up."
"How many days do you have before your grandparents get back?" Jinsoul asked with a smile.
"None. I have to go pick them up from the airport this afternoon." The smile immediately came off Jinsoul’s face, replaced with a frown. She sighed deeply and got out of bed, going to the kitchen. She didn’t want to make Jungeun sad by seeing how upset she was.
"Do you want some tea?" Jinsoul asked.
"That sounds awesome." As Jinsoul went to get both of them a cup, Jungeun wandered over to where Jinsoul was preparing it, giving her a back hug.
“I’m gonna spill!” Jinsoul whined.
“Let me cuddle you,” Jungeun mumbled.
The tea was quickly ready and Jinsoul turned around, handing her a cup. Jungeun smiled and plopped down in the desk chair, Jinsoul kneeling in front of the chair.
"I’m gonna miss you so much," Jungeun said.
"Me too. I...I can’t believe you have to go today," Jinsoul responded, blushing slightly. Jungeun smiled and held Jinsoul's soft hand. "You know, I have to leave Reno soon too," Jinsoul spoke, eyes on her lap.
"How soon is soon?" Jungeun asked worriedly.
"T-two days," Jinsoul responded sadly, hesitantly looking up at Jungeun. She saw the panic in Jungeun's eyes and she sat up and kissed her.
"I don't know how I'll survive without you," Jungeun admitted, Jinsoul sitting up so they could rest their foreheads together.
"It's not like I'm going to die. We can still text and call and skype," Jinsoul responded, for her own sake as much as Jungeun’s.
"But it'll never be like this again. I'll never be able to kiss you, to touch you, to hold you in my arms ever again..."
"Don't say that," Jinsoul said, choking up slightly. Jungeun held the back of her head and kissed her again, deeply and passionately. Jinsoul quickly pulled herself onto the desk chair, wrapping her arms around Jungeun's back and her legs around Jungeun's waist. Things got a little bit deeper and Jungeun sunk into the chair, pulling Jinsoul deeper into her lap. Jinsoul tilted her head, both of them letting out a quiet groan. Suddenly, Jungeun picked Jinsoul up and gently placed her on the bed, climbing on top of her. Jinsoul smiled and kissed Jungeun again, her hands coming up to fiddle with Jungeun's shirt buttons.
"Jinsoul..." Jungeun spoke breathlessly, an obvious question on her lips.
Jinsoul paused, looking up at Jungeun. “Yeah?”
“We...we haven’t known each other for all that long, I guess, and maybe we’re a little young but like, it feels like I’ve known you forever, and I feel so much for you, and I...I always thought my first...you know, would be with someone special to me, like you, so, Jinsoul....d-do you wanna...do it?”
Jinsoul didn’t have to think very long. Yeah, they were only sixteen, but it seemed like the right time, the perfect time. There was no one else Jinsoul could ever think of giving her virginity to.
"Okay. I want to do it. I want to," Jinsoul answered as firmly as her voice would allow.
Jungeun smiled nervously. "Alright. Let's do this then," Jungeun said, and leaned in to kiss her again.
Jinsoul did not have a single regret.
It was over. But it was perfect, far more perfect than Jinsoul could have ever even imagined. It was the right choice, and all because it was Jungeun.
The two of them were still in the bed together, breathing heavily, holding each other as tight as their overheated bodies would allow. The couple gazed at each other but it wasn’t awkward, no, in that situation...it made perfect sense.
The moment was weighty and silent for reasons Jinsoul couldn’t explain, until Jungeun opened her mouth to speak.
"Jinsoul, I, I love you," Jungeun said breathlessly, her eyes locked onto Jinsoul's. Jinsoul kissed Jungeun again, placing both her hands on either side of Jungeun's face.
"God I love you too," Jinsoul responded. They both grinned widely, kissing more. “I love you so much.”
"That...that was so wonderful, my Jungeun," Jinsoul spoke softly.
"It was absolutely perfect," Jungeun answered, unable to wipe the grin off of her face.
"I-I’m gonna remember that forever, my love. I promise," Jinsoul said, playing with Jungeun's hair. Jungeun leaned over and pecked Jinsoul's lips.
"As will I."
"Are you going back to your house?" Haseul asked Hyejoo.
"Yeah," she responded, adjusting the seat belt so it wasn't choking her. She pouted and rolled her eyes. “I have to clean up for when my grandparents get home tonight.”
Vivi, Haseul, Yerim, Hyejoo, and Chaewon were all sitting in Haseul's five person car. With Yeojin trying to watch as much Sex in the City as possible before her parents realized what she was doing, and Jungeun and Jinsoul doing...who knows what in that hotel room, the five remaining girls of the group were left to their own devices (and utter boredom). So, Haseul had thought it would be nice for the girls to hang out at the arcade, like old times, and give Vivi a ride home when her shift was over. To her surprise, Chaewon and Hyejoo had agreed to come (although Haseul had noticed a big pile of dishes in the kitchen that the girls were probably trying to avoid doing).
Haseul was driving with Vivi next to her in the front, and Yerim, Hyejoo, and Chaewon were in the back. Yerim was next to the right window and Hyejoo was next to the right, with Chaewon on Hyejoo’s lap. Even though the middle seat was opened, Chaewon had refused to use it. Suddenly, Vivi turned to Haseul.
"Do you want to come over?" Vivi asked. Haseul grinned, nodding vigorously.
"Of course I would!"
Vivi smiled as Haseul turned to talk to her sister. "Hey Chaewon, I'm going to drop you off at home because I'm going to Vivi's, okay?"
"Ooh, is it finally time for Haseul to lose the big v?" Chaewon teased. Haseul sighed, rolling her eyes.
"Shut up," she responded.
“How does she even know what that means?” Vivi mumbled. Just then, they reached Hyejoo and Jungeun's house. Hyejoo untangled herself from her girlfriend as she left the car.
"Bye bye!" Haseul, Vivi, Yerim, and Chaewon said.
"Bye," Hyejoo responded and waved as Haseul drove away.
Haseul soon dropped Yerim off at her house, and quickly drove up to Chaewon and her home. As Chaewon got out of the car, Haseul unrolled the window and stuck her head out.
"Don't forget, if mom and dad ask where I am, tell them it's for school," Haseul said in a hushed tone.
"Of course," Chaewon responded, nodding firmly. She waved to her sister as she drove away.
“Isn’t it winter break?” Vivi asked.
"My parents will just be happy I’m actually thinking about school work. And anyways, finally, it's just us," Haseul said happily as he rolled up the window. Vivi smiled.
"And I'm so glad," Vivi responded, placing a hand on Haseul's thigh. Haseul grinned as she pulled into Vivi's driveway, putting it into park and taking out the key. They walked to the door, Vivi shuffling through her things to find her keys. She finally found them, quickly opening the front door.
"Hello? Mom? Dad?" Vivi yelled when they stepped into the house. When she received no answer, she turned to Haseul and smiled.
"I guess my parents are at work," Vivi said. Haseul grinned, fighting the urge to cheer
"Do you want a tour?" Vivi asked.
"Yeah, sure," Haseul responded happily, letting Vivi hold her hand.
"This is the dining room," Vivi said, pointing to an open room with a circular table in the center. Haseul nodded as they walked past a closet, feet shuffling on the grey carpet.
"This is the kitchen," Vivi said, pointing to a small room with white tiled flooring, countertops, and pans hanging from the ceiling. Haseul peered in as Vivi pulled her along to the next room.
"This is the living room," Vivi said, gesturing to the room. It had beige walls, an average sized TV with a few video game consoles, and a large, comfy looking brown couch. Behind the couch was a wall of glass doors, leading to what looked like the yard.
"Your couch looks comfy as hell," Haseul said.
"Oh, it is," Vivi responded, taking Haseul's hand and leading her up the stairs to the second floor.
"This is my parent's room," she said, gesturing toward a closed door.
"That's the guest bedroom," Vivi spoke, gesturing to another closed door.
"This is the bathroom," Vivi said, as Haseul peered into the bathroom, which had a shower curtains with pictures of bambi on it.
"And that is my bedroom," Vivi finished. Haseul immediately walked into the room, looking all around it. It was impeccable: the room was completely clean, with the bed totally made and nothing on the floors. The first wall was covered with pictures of Vivi (as a child and as a teen), her family, her friends (some people Haseul recognized from high school but mostly pictures of their little friend group), movie and film festival posters, and of course pictures of Haseul. The second wall had the headboard against it, the third was a closet, and the last had a mirror and a desk against it. Next to Vivi's bed was a bedside table with a digital clock and a framed picture of Haseul.
"How the fuck do you keep your room so neat?" Haseul asked. Vivi laughed.
"I don't know, I just sort of like cleaning. And hate messes."
"What do you want to do?" Haseul asked, still peering around Vivi's room.
"Does watching TV sound good?" Vivi said.
"That sounds perfect," Haseul responded, smiling and holding Vivi's delicate hand as the two walked down to the living room. Haseul plopped down onto the couch as Vivi grabbed the remote and turned on the TV.
"Do you mind this?" Vivi asked as the TV played House Hunters. Haseul smiled.
"Anything is wonderful, as long as I'm with you," Haseul responded. Vivi rolled her eyes, but blushed all the same.
"Stop it, you cheeseball," Vivi said. Haseul chuckled, forcing herself to look at the TV.
After an episode or two of house hunters, Vivi sighed.
"Baby, come here," Vivi said. Haseul stood up, walking the two feet over to where Vivi was leaning against the arm of the couch. Vivi grinned and pulled Haseul on top of her, her girlfriend's eyes widening. Vivi pulled Haseul closer, kissing her happily. Haseul rested her body in between Vivi's legs, kissing her slowly.
"God, I've wanted this for so long," Haseul mumbled quietly.
"How long?" Vivi asked, pulling away only slightly.
Haseul blushed. "Since, um, seventh grade."
Vivi pouted and lightly punched Haseul's shoulder. "Why didn't you talk to me?" Vivi whined.
Haseul looked down at her lap. "I was way too nervous. Honestly, you're just...incredible. You're cute, funny, know so much about movies, neat, and absolutely gorgeous, and I could go on forever....but you intimidated me."
"You're the same, you know," Vivi responded. Haseul shook her head.
Vivi rolled her eyes. "You know nothing," Vivi said. Haseul laughed.
"I don't," Haseul responded, pushing a lock of hair out of Vivi's face.
"Do you promise not to ever be afraid to be with me again?" Vivi asked.
"Of course, Vivs," Haseul responded, leaning back in for one more kiss.
Chapter 19: I'll Miss You Forever
Jinsoul realized that the silence of nighttime is much, much heavier than silence in the day. Somehow, the darkness coming through her window made the lack of sound in the room more eerie. Really, she hadn’t slept at all that night, in that space between being half asleep, and half awake. She so desperately didn’t want to waste her last day being sad, tired, broken, but it seemed like that was her fate, no matter what she did.
Jinsoul wasn’t sure if the light finally coming into her room through the window was painful or utter relief: a blessing, because this torturous night was finally over, or complete pain, because her time was running out, and she could no longer escape her goodbyes.
So she just laid in bed as long as she could, trying to exist in that in between space where she could avoid everything bad. The only thing that finally interrupted the silent night spent almost in torture was the loud buzzing of Jinsoul's phone.
Tomorrow is the big day honey! Don't forget to start packing now , her mother texted.
Fuck that shit; she could pack tomorrow morning. She didn't respond, shifting over in her bed to bury her face in the pillow, trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep before, inevitably, someone burst into the room without knocking. Of course, that was the moment when that exact thing decided to happen.
"Oh my god Jinsoul it's your last day! We're all going to miss you so much," Chaewon said loudly, jumping on top of the small girl. She smiled hesitantly as the other girls got on the bed as well and gave her a hug.
"Get off, Jinsoul's probably having a hard enough time as it is," Jungeun spoke with annoyance in her voice. The other girls sighed, sitting in their usual spots around the room. Jungeun crawled into bed next to Jinsoul, sitting so that Jinsoul was in between her legs, resting her back against Jungeun's chest. Jungeun rested her head on Jinsoul's shoulder, playing with her delicate fingers.
The worst part of all of this had been not waking up with Jungeun beside her. They’d been spending the last few nights together, and it felt so unnatural without the warmth and weight of her sweet girlfriend beside her. But what hurt the most was seeing that Jungeun was just as broken as herself. She never, ever wanted her sweet girlfriend to hurt like this.
The room was silent, the weight of what was happening tomorrow making all of them feel like pure shit. Eventually, Yeojin sighed.
"So, are we going to make Jinsoul's last day here suck really badly, or are we going to at least try to have some fun?" Yeojin asked.
"I brought candy. Maybe that will make things suck less," Vivi responded, dumping a bunch of twix and milky way bars onto the bed. Everyone lazily grabbed a few and brought them back to their spots.
"So, um, where are you going to be living?" Haseul asked Jinsoul.
"It's this place called Vallejo. It's in California, near San Francisco," Jinsoul responded. Everyone in the room groaned.
"Why is it so far?" Hyejoo whined. Jinsoul shrugged, stuffing a twix bar into her mouth. Jungeun wrapped her arms around Jinsoul's small frame, kissing her neck lightly. When Hyejoo gave them a look, Jungeun shot the dirtiest look he could possibly imagine right back.
"Wait, how long were you here before you met us?" Yerim asked.
"Oh, one or two days," Jinsoul responded.
"What the fuck did you do without us?" Chaewon said.
"Well, the first night I just sort of ate food, and the second day I met Yeojin," Jinsoul answered
"What did you two do together?" Jungeun asked.
"We just watched a movie and ate froyo at the creepy froyo place in the basement,” Yeojin explained.
"There’s a froyo place here?” Haseul asked with a loud gasp.
“Maybe if we actually left the damn arcade before we met Jinsoul, we would’ve learned that ages ago,” Chaewon rebutted spitefully.
“Oh yeah, the froyo place is creepy,” Vivi mumbled.
“Wait, why?” Jungeun asked.
“The workers were kinda mean. They just sort of...stared at us,” Jinsoul explained.
“There’s a theory that they are all members of a satanic cult,” Vivi explained.
“Oh my gosh!” Chaewon cried.
“We definitely have to go then...” Hyejoo added.
“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. An integral part of the conspiracy theory is that the manager is the head and he’s in a polygamist relationship with all the female employees. And you have to date him if you join the cult,” Vivi said.
“Hm...maybe not then,” Hyejoo mumbled.
“Well, we should at least try the satanic froyo,” Chaewon said, and everyone started laughing.
"What the fuck, Chaewon," Jungeun said, smiling. “And what the fuck, Jinsoul and Yeojin, why did you go there?”
"I don't know, things were weird then!” Jinsoul whined.
“And how were we supposed to know that it was a front for a cult?" Yeojin answered.
“I’m just joking,” Jungeun mumbled,smiling and kissing Jinsoul on the cheek. "Well, you're mine now, I’ll keep you safe from weird cults," Jungeun whispered to Jinsoul. Jinsoul leaned into her touch, smiling softly. Jungeun looked at her, trying to remember this moment forever.
"Of course Jungeunnie. I'll always be yours."
"Ugh, why are you two so cute together?" Yerim whined. Jungeun and Jinsoul laughed softly.
"You're just jealous," Jungeun responded.
"You wish," Yerim retorted. Everyone laughed again, the sound filling the room. When the laughter died down, Haseul spoke.
"Do you want us to help you pack?" Haseul asked.
"No thanks. I don't even want to think about that until tomorrow." Everyone laughed again but this time, the sound didn't fill the room.
The rest of the day was spent half in silence, half in laughter, as memories from the last two weeks were retold, interspersed with silences. They weren't awkward at all, just sad, as if the previous laughter was just putting off their oncoming sadness. As much as the girls would've liked to stay the night, their parents called, and forced them to leave the large casino.
“Come on, just an hour more!” Hyejoo whined into the phone. “It’s our best friend’s last day here!” Jinsoul almost sobbed hearing Hyejoo call Jinsoul her best friend, but felt herself become more at ease when she heard the final sigh and acquiescence of Hyejoo and Jungeun’s grandmother. With a smile and a quick thanks, Hyejoo hung up.
“Alright, we’ve got some more time. Ladies, let’s head out.”
“Wait, what?” Jungeun asked.
“Do you really think we’d try and usurp your last hour with your girlfriend? Come on. Let’s go,” Hyejoo answered, and everyone but Jungeun and Jinsoul made to head out.
Jinsoul could see tears fill Jungeun’s eyes and Jinsoul knew that although all the girls wanted that extra time with her, her sister knew how much this love meant to them.
The girls all went to the door and Jinsoul gave them each tight hugs, trying not to absolutely fall apart. But they all understood, so completely, so that Jinsoul felt comfortable enough letting a few tears down her cheeks.
"Jinsoul?" Jungeun spoke as the other girls left the room, Jinsoul shutting the door behind them.
“Thank god you’re here,” Jinsoul breathed out as Jungeun wrapped her arms around her, a sweet back hug, kissing her cheek ever gently.
“I...I didn’t expect my sister to do something like that for me, and think something like that all the way through. I guess I should think better of her, you know...she loves you a lot. They all do. She...she said the other day that you’re the best thing that’s happened to our group. You make me...so happy. And she says it makes everything better.”
“Don’t make me even more sad,” Jinsoul whispered.
“N-no...I guess we should share these things. Now’s the time, you know. Let’s go sit on the bed though.”
“Agreed.” The two went back and sat down on the bed, sitting across from each other, only daring the slightest of touches or else they might break.
And so they spent the next hour or so discussing their own personal life and love, the feelings and experiences they shared together, a cacophony of first. First time, first love, first everything. It felt so right, with the two of them, age sixteen, but so wrong, only in that it was all ending. They squeezed each other’s hands and made forever kind of promises. What else could they do, with just an hour before they were torn apart indefinitely? It hurt, but Jinsoul promised herself she’d remember it forever.
Jungeun whined loudly when her phone buzzed, taking a second to peer down at it. “Fuck...it’s time to go...I-I can’t stall any longer-”
“It’s okay,” Jinsoul breathed out, getting out of the bed to walk her to the door. “It’s okay.”
They went over to the doorway, just standing there for a few moments, not even daring to look at each other.
As Jinsoul turned around to face her girlfriend, she scooped her up in a large hug.
"I love you, I'll always love you, please never forget that, and promise you'll wait for me, okay?" Jungeun whispered to Jinsoul.
"I love you too, so much. I'll wait forever, and ever, and ever," Jinsoul responded, pulling away from the hug.
"When I see you again, I am going to marry you," Jinsoul said firmly. Jungeun's eyes widened as he broke into a large grin, kissing Jinsoul firmly on the lips.
"Is that a promise?" Jungeun asked.
"It is," Jinsoul responded, shutting the door behind her and closing her eyes, trying to refrain from crying until she reached her pillow.
"Honey? Please open up, it's time to go," Jinsoul's mother spoke through the door. Jinsoul sighed, giving up on packing neatly and stuffing the rest of her clothes into her suitcase.
She hadn’t really slept, again. She’d spoken on the phone with Jungeun for a long time before she eventually heard the sound of snoring on the other end. That was the only thing all night that put a smile on her face, the image of Jungeun just passed out on her bed so adorable.
But then she felt listless and got up, leaving her bed to go walk around. So she prowled around all their old haunts in the basement: the arcade, the movie theatre, the creepy froyo place. All of it was closed, of course, and it stung to look at these places she may never visit again. But it felt necessary, like she had to get one last look before she was gone for good.
When she came back to her room it was only three am. She tried to sleep, she wanted to sleep, but she couldn’t. Lying awake, staring at the ceiling, feeling dramatic but oh so heartbroken. It kind of made sense. Fuck it, she could sleep in the car. She could sleep when she got to the new house (she couldn’t call it a home just yet)
As much as she didn’t want to leave, desperately so, she grabbed her things and walked to the door.
"You look like a mess," her mom said as she threw the door open. She hadn’t bothered to brush her hair and she was sure there were huge dark circles under her eyes.
Her mother sighed. "Well, we have to get going sometime." Jinsoul turned around, taking one last look into her room, empty and strange without all her stuff everywhere before shutting the door. It was strange, really. It didn’t feel like that place she’d considered home at all, instead just the cold, unwelcoming hotel room it had been three weeks ago. Jinsoul sighed. Her mom was already a few paces away, and she jogged to catch up with her.
The elevator ride down to the ground floor was silent, but not awkward. Jinsoul and her mother weren't necessarily close, but they understood each other. She knew how Jinsoul was feeling right now, and she got that Jinsoul blamed her, just a little bit, for the way she was feeling. She knew not to speak. It would only make it worse.
As her mother checked out of the hotel, Jinsoul fingered the plastic room key in her hands. She debated stealing it, as a keepsake or something, but in the end he just placed it on the counter. He didn't have the courage to just take it.
"Wait, do you happen to be Jung Jinsoul?" the employee at the desk suddenly asked. Jinsoul looked up with surprise.
"Yeah, that's me," she responded.
"Your friends wanted me to give you this." He pulled a hoodie out from under the front counter and handed it to Jinsoul. When she unfolded it, she realized that it was the sweatshirt from the arcade. She smiled widely, trying not to tear up (and failing), hugging it for a quick moment.
"Let's go to the car," her mom said, tapping Jinsoul on the shoulder. She nodded, picking up her things again and walking towards the car.
After the two had finally put their bags in the trunk, Jinsoul slipped on the hoodie as she got into the passenger seat. She inhaled its scent. It smelled like Jungeun, and Jinsoul almost broke down.
When her mom started to drive, she slipped her hands into the pocket. She felt a small slip of paper in it. Curiously, she pulled it out, and quickly realized it was a note from Jungeun:
Jindori, my goddess, my first love, my everything,
First of all, thank you. Thank you for giving me the best three weeks or so of my life, thank you for being there for me, thank you for being you. Just....thank you. I sincerely hope this makes its way to you, seeing as how the girls and I had to play arcade games for about two hours to get it. It was worth it though....I know you’re sad, but I hope you smiled when you saw it.
Remember when we first met? That day at the arcade, I thought you were the most adorably insane person I'd ever met (you talked to yourself). I was so fucking sick of coming to the arcade, but after I met you, I made sure we went there every single day (not that Haseul minded). It was just.....you put a spell on me. I don't know. I'm being too cheesy, right? I couldn't get my mind off you at all though. It was a little bit pathetic. Hyejoo laughed at me so much during that time, but it was okay, because I knew I'd see you the next day. And of course I could always make fun of her too...it was just her first opportunity to roast me about something when she usually received all the roasting.
ANYWAYS...I'm so glad I confessed to you that day. I was pretty surprised when you said you liked me back, even though the other girls said that it was obvious you liked me (well specifically Chaewon said that you were thirsty for me but that's not important). Even now, I still can't believe that I can call you my girlfriend.
Kim Jinsoul, I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you so much. You mean everything to me. I love you. Never forget me. I won’t forget you. I couldn’t even if I tried.
Love, your Kim Jungeun
PS the sex was fantastic
PSS i love you
PSSS you better fucking marry me
Jinsoul didn't cry. She'd wasted all of her tears the night before, not even feeling guilty for making the room cleaners clean all her snot and tears from the pillow. All she could manage was to stare out the window, glancing back at the note for a moment before putting it back into her pocket. The world outside of the car was covered in white, almost hurting Jinsoul's eyes, but she couldn't look away. It was like these whole weeks were being covered in white, removing them from her life, forcing her to start over, yet again. That these three weeks were just a blip in her life and not the earth shattering event that Jinsoul was sure had changed her forever.
And as the snow fell, Jinsoul wondered if she would ever see her first love in person again.
dont be too sad everyone...there's one more chapter left!
It was truly deja vu. The dark wood chairs and tables and the lasting stench of cigarette smoke remained in the buffet of the Grand Sierra Hotel. The smell of disgustingly delicious buffet food mixed together and filled her nostrils, overwhelming her senses with memories of those days and nights almost fifteen years ago.
"Jinsoul?" Sooyoung spoke, waving a hand in front of her face. Jinsoul shook her head, pulling herself out of her thoughts and watching the way Sooyoung's suit fit perfectly on her body. Jinsoul’s eyes flashed with jealousy; she would never look as natural in a business settings as her colleagues, Jiwoo and Sooyoung.
"I'm sorry," Jinsoul responded, "What were you saying?"
Sooyoung sighed. "The Reno development plans are set to be at the foot of the mountains."
"Right over there," Jiwoo added, pointing off into the distance.
Right next to the schools, Jinsoul thought, the expensive fabric of her collar rubbing her neck uncomfortably as she looked in the direction Jiwoo pointed.
"We'll have to make a contract with the current owners for the land," Sooyoung explained.
"The company will be pleased; it appears to be a large tract," Jiwoo said.
"We'll be building condos, right?" Jinsoul asked.
Jiwoo nodded. "We're just here for negotiations."
"So Jinsoul, what made you pick this hotel for our business trip?" Sooyoung asked.
"I spent a couple weeks here in my teenage years. It brings back...fond memories," she explained.
"Including this buffet?" Jiwoo asked in a sarcastic tone.
"Not so snappy service," Sooyoung mumbled.
"Especially this buffet." The pair fell silent and played with their napkins.
After many moments of awkward silence, Jinsoul felt the presence of someone standing in front of their table, presumably the waitress. Jinsoul looked up.
It had been years since they’d had contact. Jinsoul got a new phone soon after she moved to Vallejo with her mom and lost all of Jungeun’s contact information; number and address included. And years of desperately trying to find her social media accounts had turned up with nothing. But that didn’t mean Jinsoul didn’t think about her at least once a week, even all these years later.
Her mouth gaped stupidly at the woman she had fallen in love with all of those years ago. Jungeun’s hair was black now and her eyes looked tired and maybe she'd grown a bit taller than before but in Jinsoul's eyes, she looked just as beautiful as the day they'd first met.
Jungeun stared back with the same expression, not flinching at all for a few unbearable moments.
"Um..." Sooyoung said, trying to get the waitress's attention. She was ignored.
"Jinsoul?" Jungeun said, as if she couldn't believe it to be true. Jinsoul nodded in response, and Jungeun dropped her notebook.
"E-excuse me," Jungeun said, picking it up and finally collecting herself. "I'm very sorry ladies, may I take your drink orders?"
Jinsoul couldn’t even listen while Jiwoo and Sooyoung placed their orders, her mind running all over the place. Why is she still here? Are the others here? Does she have another chance to spend her life with Jungeun? Would Jungeun even want her?
"Jinsoul!" Sooyoung yelled to try and get her attention.
"What would you like to drink?" Jungeun said in the soft, comforting voice she always used to use just for Jinsoul.
"Uh...I-uh,” Jinsoul started, unable to formulate sentences.
"I'll get you a raspberry iced tea, alright?" Jungeun said. Jinsoul nodded and softly smiled. "I'll be back with those soon." The waitress looked down and quickly walked away from the table.
Jinsoul took three breaths and stood up.
"Please excuse me," she said to Jiwoo and Sooyoung, standing up and rushing after the waitress.
She caught her by the wrist a couple of seconds later. Jungeun turned around and they locked eyes for a moment before staring at the ground.
"Jungeun?" Jinsoul said. Jungeun shook her head, her trembling hands pulling a piece of paper out of her pocket and writing something down on it.
"I finish at around 8:30. Please call me," she said, handing the slip to Jinsoul. She gripped the paper tightly in her fingers and nodded.
"I promise." She let the hand still wrapped around Jungeun's wrist trail down to touch her fingers, then hang by her side. Jungeun nodded and rubbed the other's shoulder, rushing back off to work.
Jinsoul made her way back to her table.
"Shall we get food?" Sooyoung asked, picking up her plate. Jiwoo and Jinsoul did the same and followed her to the buffet tables.
"How do you know her?" Jiwoo asked in a mocking tone. Jinsoul physically growled, and the group fell silent.
It felt like a century before the dinner meeting was finally over, Jinsoul rushing up to her room and checking her phone as soon as she could get away.
"Seven o'clock. Damn it," she thought. Suddenly, she looked up and around the room. It hit her: she was in the same room that she'd stayed in almost fifteen years ago. She checked the room key again to make sure, and it matched up: she was in 1542.
None of the decorations or room arrangements had been changed since the last time she'd visited. In fact, the room looked exactly the same: the bed, the shower off in the corner, Chaewon and Hyejoo's armchair, and the kitchenette. She checked the time again in shock.
"7:02. Damn it." She sighed and flopped onto the bed, taking out a candy bar and throwing her briefcase across the room. She flipped on the TV and scrolled through the channels before settling on Sister Wives.
"Why the fuck is this show still on the air?" she spoke loudly in the privacy of her own room, munching on the snickers bar. A couple of episodes passed, and Jinsoul finally shut it off to get ready.
She showered and changed from her suit to a pair of jeans and a button up shirt, brushing her teeth and hair before checking the time again.
"8:27. God damn it."
She stood in front of the mirror, staring directly into her own eyes.
"You’ve got this Jinsoul. You're almost thirty, come on. Get some confidence," she spoke out loud. She checked her phone again.
"8:30. Fucking finally."
She slowly typed Jungeun's number into her phone, pausing for a moment then hitting the call button. She panicked for a moment but finally put the phone up to her ear.
"Hello?" Jungeun spoke in her gruff voice.
"Wow, hey!" The excitement was evident in her voice.
"How are you?"
"I'm....good. Very good. But what a coincidence!"
"I know! I...thought I'd never see you again," Jinsoul responded, her tone dropping.
Jungeun sighed and ignored her statement. "Where are you? I want to talk in person."
"I'm actually still at the Grand Sierra since I'm staying there."
"Oh good! There's this kind of not crappy bar down on the ground floor, wanna meet me there?"
Jinsoul smiled wide even though Jungeun couldn't see. "Definitely; I'll be down in five minutes."
"Yup, see you then!" Jungeun said and hung up. Jinsoul hung up as well and smiled, quickly shoving all of her things into her pockets and rushing down to the ground floor. She quickly found the bar and grabbed a seat at the counter, waiting excitedly for woman she had missed so much to arrive.
A couple of seconds later she felt a tap on the shoulder, turning around to see Jungeun looking down at her with a big smile.
"Hey!" She sat down casually at the bar next to Jinsoul. Jinsoul resisted the urge to hug her tight and quickly turned to the bartender.
"I'll have a margarita," Jinsoul said.
"Just a Heineken for me," Jungeun added. The bartender nodded and brought out Jungeun's drink, starting to make Jinsoul's margarita.
Jungeun turned to look at Jinsoul. "You look...so beautiful tonight." Jinsoul fought off a blush and smiled, biting her lip.
"You too, Jungeun."
"What have you been doing? You first."
"Well....nothing much, really. I went to law school and now I'm a negotiator for an architectural firm. It's all pretty boring. What about you? Are the others still in town?"
Jungeun sighed. "Nah. Vivi and Haseul eloped after high school and moved to Portland, and Chaewon and Hyejoo pretty much run Hot Topic now. Yerim is still here though; she works down in the cafe arcade. As for me, I'm just a waitress at the buffet.” She shrugged and Jinsoul frowned.
"College? I've been saving up for a while, to get out of here and go to college, but waitressing just doesn't pull in the cash. My grandparents really only had enough saved for one of us to go, and of course I had to make sure Hyejoo went. At least when they passed away they gave me their house," Jungeun explained.
"I'm sorry.." Jinsoul said.
"Don't be," Jungeun responded, caressing Jinsoul's shoulder. She looked up at the other and smiled, her touch still incredibly comforting. "Have you heard from Heejin or Hyunjin lately? I've been trying to find them for years but I haven't got a clue."
"Actually, a couple of years ago they sent me a very cryptic letter. Apparently when they were sixteen or so their parents found out about their relationship and threw them out. Now they're trying to get them in trouble with the law for incest charges? Even though they're just step siblings? I dunno, but apparently they've eloped and been on the run since then. They couldn't do more than send a letter since they're in hiding," Jinsoul explained.
"Holy shit. And they're married too..." Jungeun mumbled.
"Are you married?" Jinsoul asked, her voice laced with worry. Jungeun snorted and shook her head.
Jinsoul shook her head as well. "No, I'm very single." She could see Jungeun try to hide her smile.
"How long are you in town?" Jungeun asked.
"Three weeks. The company wants to build condos next to your old school." Jungeun nodded as Jinsoul's margarita came.
"Cheers," Jungeun said, holding up her beer bottle. Jinsoul lifted up her own glass.
"To us, obviously," Jungeun responded, clinking their glasses and both taking a sip.
"You'll never guess what room I'm staying in..."
"The room I stayed in back when we were teenagers."
"No way! How different is it?" Jungeun asked.
"It's literally exactly the same."
"Wow, I thought they changed up the decor every five or ten years here."
Jinsoul shrugged and chuckled. "I guess not."
The pair soon fell into easy conversation, laughing and talking the night away. When the bartender finally announced closing time, Jinsoul looked down at her watch.
"Shit, it's two in the morning! I have to get up at five tomorrow for negotiations."
"I'm sorry I kept you here so long," Jungeun spoke, quickly gathering her things. Jinsoul shook her head and touched Jungeun's chest.
"I had a really great time tonight. Let's do this again tomorrow."
Jungeun smiled back excitedly. "Definitely. I'll call you.” She gently trailing her hand from Jinsoul's neck to her waist.
"I-I’ll see you later," Jinsoul stuttered. Jungeun pulled away and turned to go to the parking lot, Jinsoul waving at her back. As soon as she was out of eyesight Jinsoul rushed back upstairs, flopping onto her bed and groaning. She knew she wouldn't sleep that night.
And there was one person she just had to talk to about it.
Quickly, Jinsoul dialed the number she'd memorized years ago, ringing only twice before it picked up.
"You'll never guess what's just happened," she spoke.
"What, can I not even get a hello?" Yeojin cried back into the speaker. Jinsoul chuckled, that girl would always been the same little nine year old in her heart.
Yeojin was the only girl she'd managed to keep contact with. Even then there had been a few years of no talking, until they reunited when Yeojin was eighteen. Yeojin ended up going to college at the same school where Jinsoul was getting her graduate degree in business. Yeojin had been undeclared at the time, taking a bunch of random classes, one of which was an intro to business class Jinsoul was helping out with. They immediately recognized each other and started meeting up frequently. Quickly, Yeojin entered the business world too, and Jinsoul declared herself Yeojin's mentor.
But now, she was the one who needed Yeojin's advice.
"Hi, sorry, but this is a big deal. You know how I'm doing that business deal back in Reno and I decided to stay at the casino we met in?"
"Of course. How could I forget you freaking out about the trip for days before hand, wondering if you were going to see Jungeun or something?"
"Well...you'll never guess who I did see."
"....oh my god."
And Jinsoul told the whole story of their meeting and their date, Yeojin listening closely the whole time.
"Okay, I have to study for a final. But girl...it's fate! It's literally fate! You have to date her now! Keep me updated, alright?"
After negotiations the next day, Jinsoul called Jungeun. The waitress had the day off and invited her to come down to the arcade to visit Yerim. She quickly agreed, changing as fast as he could out of her suit and into something more casual to see her old friend.
The arcade looked completely different: it was still just as bright, but with different colors. He couldn't find any coin machines anywhere, and the place was completely packed. He soon walked into the cafe area to find Jungeun and Yerim talking behind the counter.
"Hey!" Jungeun said, pulling Jinsoul in for a casual hug. She felt her whole body go warm as she was enveloped in the woman's arms, smiling uncontrollably.
"How did you sleep?" Jinsoul asked.
"Oh no, why not?" Jinsoul frowned with worry.
"Because she's still in lo-" Yerim began before getting a pointed look from Jungeun. Jinsoul turned and smiled at Yerim.
"It's been so long! How are you?" she asked happily. Yerim shrugged.
"I'm alright! And you?"
"I'm pretty alright myself."
"Do you guys want anything? It's on the house," Yerim said.
"Chicken nuggets sound pretty good..." Jungeun spoke up.
"I'll have chicken nuggets too," Jinsoul added.
"Go have some romance time while I make these for you." Yerim winked at the pair and went to the back. The pair looked at each other and smiled slightly while going to sit down at the brightly colored seats.
"Do you remember the first day we met?" Jungeun asked. Jinsoul nodded.
"It was here. I ordered chicken nuggets and you randomly decided to talk to me. Your sister and Chaewon were glaring at everyone and Haseul was staring at Vivi forlornly."
"What was your first impression of me?" Jungeun asked.
"Gorgeous," Jinsoul replied without a second thought. Jungeun smirked and raised her eyebrows.
"Well, I thought the same of you."
"Do you still feel that way now?" Jinsoul asked with a sudden surge of confidence.
Jungeun paused to look Jinsoul directly in the eyes, leaning in slightly closer. "Of course." Jinsoul sucked in a sharp breath, looking back at her and biting her lip.
"Chicken nuggets!" Yerim yelled, breaking up their moment.
"I'll go get them," Jungeun said, standing up and taking a moment to run her hand over Jinsoul's shoulder. She arrived back with the chicken nuggets a few seconds later with Yerim trailing behind.
"I'm on my fifteen," she explained, stealing one of Jungeun's chicken nuggets. Jinsoul bit into her and groaned.
"Holy shit, I forgot how good these were." Jinsoul spoke.
"How could you ever forget the arcade chicken nuggets?" Jungeun chuckled, and she shared a long look with Jinsoul while laughing a little too much. Yerim chuckled knowingly and stole another nugget from Jungeun.
The three women reminisced about their old times together, laughing and talking loudly while parents stared on in confusion. Jungeun and Jinsoul left after Yerim went back to work, not wanting to seem like creeps.
"We should split up now," Jungeun said once they were at the lobby, "You probably didn't get that much sleep last night and you need your energy for negotiations."
Jinsoul nodded sadly and frowned. "You're right...but we'll see each other again tomorrow, right?"
"Of course." Jungeun answered.
And so, it began. The pair saw each other again the next day, and the day after that, and each day until two weeks had passed. It almost felt like they were two teenagers again, together with nothing to lose.
"You wanna grab dinner?" Jinsoul asked.
"I'd love to! Where should we go?" Jungeun responded. Jinsoul suddenly looked down at her clothing and groaned. She was still in her pajamas, and she'd just changed out of her suit. She couldn't possibly get changed now.
"Are you okay with just coming up to my room and getting take out?" she suggested. She didn't realize what she'd implied until she heard Jungeun inhale nervously.
"Y-yeah, I'd love to," she responded after a few moments, and Jinsoul smiled.
"Great, I'll see you soon! Bye!" she said, hanging up and getting ready.
She quickly read Yeojin's insistent "good luck and get in her pants" text before she made her bed and tossed out all of the used candy wrappers from the vending machines. Jinsoul finally looked in the mirror for a moment, debating about whether or not to change out of her pajamas before deciding against it. She called the place and ordered the food, and just as she hung up, she heard a knock on the door. She looked through the peephole to make sure it was Jungeun before letting her in.
"Wow, it really is the same," Jungeun said before turning to Jinsoul and pulling her into a tight hug.
“Hi!” Jinsoul said excitedly in the crook of her shoulder.
"Hello," Jungeun softly answered in her ear. Throughout the days, Jungeun had been getting more and more touchy-feely (not that Jinsoul minded at all). Jinsoul hugged her back and smiled.
"I just called the place; they should be here any minute now," he said. Jungeun nodded and pulled a bottle of Jack Daniel's out of her jacket.
"I brought this," she said casually.
Jinsoul smiled and looked up at her. "Perfect." She took the bottle out of Jungeun's hands and poured a little bit into glasses, flopping onto the bed. After a few moments, Jungeun hesitantly sat down next to her.
"How were negotiations today?"
Jinsoul shrugged. "They were negotiations. How was the buffet?"
"It was...buffet-y. You know, I can't stand eating there anymore." Jungeun chuckled and Jinsoul nodded.
"That's understandable." Their conversation carried on for a few more minutes before the food came. They both quickly devoured the food, exhausted from their jobs, and finished their glasses.
"More?" Jinsoul asked, standing up to get the Jack Daniel's.
"Of course," Jungeun responded, holding out her glass for Jinsoul to pour into. They each shared a bit more and talked loudly, the alcohol and friendly atmosphere making everything more comfortable.
Suddenly Jinsoul put her glass onto the bedside table, moving closer to Jungeun.
"So this is what you invited me here for," Jungeun said, leaning in close to Jinsoul. The business woman shook her head.
"I wasn't thinking that when I called...but I'm not opposed to it."
"So this whole time you haven't just been trying to get into my pants?" Jungeun asked quietly.
"It's more than that, Jungeun. Trust me," Jinsoul said, caressing the short hairs on the back of Jungeun's neck.
"Okay," Jungeun mumbled, moving her face impossibly closer, "Okay." And their lips finally touched.
It felt like a dam had just been broken; a wave of emotions so strong crashing throughout her entire body and mind that she couldn't help but press her lips against the other, trying to show her just how much she was feeling at that moment. Jungeun kissed back just as fervently, wrapping her big strong arms around Jinsoul's little waist and pressing her closer.
And close they stayed for the rest of the night.
When Jinsoul awoke, Jungeun wasn't in the bed next to her. She furrowed her eyebrows and sat up quickly to find Jungeun rushing to get dressed.
"J-Jungeun?" Jinsoul asked, worried and tired. Jungeun turned back to her with a slightly panicked look in her eyes.
"Um...hey," she responded, pulling up her pants.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm...leaving." Jungeun zipped up her jeans and did the button.
"Will I see you again later?" Jinsoul asked softly.
Jungeun shook her head, looking around the room for her socks. "I don't think so."
"What? Why? What's going on?" Jinsoul demanded, leaping out of bed and standing in front of her.
"This....isn't going to work."
"Why not? Do you have someone else?"
"Of course not! It's just..." Jungeun sighed again. "I really, really like you Jinsoul."
"Then what's the problem?"
"Jinsoul...I have absolutely nothing. You're filthy rich. You have, like, ten armani suits in the closet right now. You want to pay for everything and clearly can do it. I want to be in a relationship with you, but it would never be equal.”
Jinsoul paused for a moment, then spoke. "That's the issue? You don't want to be with me because of something as stupid as money?"
"I want to be with you!" Jungeun yelled back. "But I don't even have a college degree and I have barely any money. Anyways, what's going to happen when you leave this hotel?" Jinsoul sighed.
"I can't imagine not being with you now." Jungeun sighed back. "Anyways, you made a promise to me. You promised me you would marry me one day," Jinsoul said sadly. Jungeun bit her lip, holding back her tears.
"I'm sorry I can't keep that promise."
"But you have to! I think it's pretty clear that we're meant to be together. We can't let money stop us."
"Then what will we do?" Jungeun asked desperately.
"Sell your grandparents house. Move in with me; my house is definitely big enough for both of us. The money from your old house will help you pay for college, and I'll support the rest. Jungeun...I don't care that you're not filthy rich. If anyone gives you shit for it I will personally beat them up myself. And trust me, none of my friends will care," Jinsoul said. "But please, don't waste this opportunity. If you leave now, that's it. Fate gave us another chance, despite everything. I'm sure we'd never see each other again."
Jungeun looked down at the floor. "Fuck, Jinsoul, you're right. You're so right. You always are," she said, finally looking back up at the other. "I'm sorry for being so insecure."
"You don't have to be, Jungeun. I'm sure everything will work out just fine."
And it did. Once Jinsoul was done with negotiations, she brought herself and Jungeun back to her home in San Francisco, California. Jungeun sold the house for a good price, and she was able to easily put herself through college with the money. Jinsoul and Jungeun got married two years later, adopted a little girl, and lived out the rest of their lives happily with each other.
and.....that's it!!! i low key cant believe it's over already...
well, i hope you all enjoyed! thank you so much for all of your kudos, and reads, and especially comments. PLEASE leave me a comment to let me know what you thought. it really means a lot to me and motivates me as a writer.
if you like my writing, you can find tons more stories here on my ao3. i have a couple other loona stories, as well as a few exo and many nct.
what's next? my next loona fic is going to be a 1/3 and viseul centric summer au where haseul goes to live in a small seaside town! it's going to be called Our Beach and i'll post the first chapter in a few days.
again, thank you all so much! i wish all of you the best