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take pains, be perfect (lord, what fools these mortals be!)

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“...And isn’t that evidence enough? Aliens exist, but for some reason we’re too stupid to read the signs-” Sooyoung reasoned half to herself and half to the empty space of her room.

She was lying down on her own bed with her hands under her head, splayed comfortably while she stared at the ceiling and ranted about why, in her opinion, aliens existed.

Meanwhile, Jungeun was sitting on Sooyoung’s spinning desk chair with her legs curled up to her chest and turned so that she was facing her. She was taking her sweet time with the cup of instant ramen that she held in her left hand, the noodles dull and the soup itself all spice and no actual taste, just like supermarket ramen should be.

How exactly they ended up like that, she wasn't really sure.

It began like it usually did, with one of them shooting the other a horny text (this time, predictably, it was Sooyoung), followed immediately by a suggestive “my parents arent home”, which was all it took for Jungeun to grab her stuff and check herself out in the mirror on the way out, headed for the metro with a heavy heart and a fire in her chest.

Sooyoung was waiting for her at the stop like she usually did, her hair swept by the cold winter wind because she absolutely refused to wear a hat under any circumstances. It was a long walk from the metro to Sooyoung’s house and the first time, Jungeun was positive she would get lost (despite having already been there once). She practically bullied the other girl into coming and getting her, because there was just no way she would manage. Needless to say, she regretted doing it as soon as she saw Sooyoung’s cheeky grin, the girl not even bothering to greet her before the first teasing words left her mouth. After that, it just stayed that way.

That day, though, Jungeun’s stomach just wouldn’t give her peace. She supposed it was payback for her laziness and how she didn’t bother heating up whatever it was that her mom left her and her brother to eat for dinner and grabbed a yogurt from the fridge instead.

It kept growling as they chatted while making their way to Sooyoung’s house, Jungeun’s hands shoved deep into the pockets of her coat. At first, Sooyoung had ignored it, only arching her brow at the sound and smiling when Jungeun went red in the face. But after six very, extremely embarrassing times, she just had to ask.

“Are you hungry or something?” There was, surprisingly, no light-hearted teasing in her voice.

Jungeun’s ears burned nonetheless. She wanted to deny because, honestly, what was it to Sooyoung, and why was there concern underneath all the amusement in her tone (she definitely did not sign up for overanalyzing stuff like this), almost opened her mouth to say no, but a low rumble betrayed her. Again.

“...Yeah.” She admitted with a sigh.

Sooyoung led them to the neighbourhood supermarket, next to that 24 hour alcohol store they went to at Heejin and Jiwoo’s party, with a chuckle and a “alright, I needed to buy some stuff anyway”.

What flustered Jungeun the most, though, was that they didn’t even… do anything. Another hour was passing, and yet nothing even remotely physical happened between them, and worst of all was that neither of them seemed to actually mind that.

They walked around the supermarket as if it was just a normal, everyday occurrence and pointed their fingers at candies that used to be their favorite when they were kids after Sooyoung noticed some that she remembered from her hometown.

Mentioning that she used to drown her waffles in whipped cream before she could eat them earned Jungeun a questioning side-eye and snicker from the other girl, so she didn’t add that she still did it from time to time and instead rested her weight on the cart she pushed around while Sooyoung shoveled food inside.

It was only when they were waiting in line at the counter that Jungeun noticed how extremely questionable the quality of Sooyoung’s food of choice was. Among the instant ramen packets there was also a big pack of onion crisps, a few cans of cola, sweet bread and a solitary chicken breast. Sooyoung put it all into one plastic bag carelessly and smirked when she saw Jungeun’s arched eyebrows.

(“Something wrong?” She asked, amused.

Jungeun just shook her head and pulled her hoodie over her head when they stepped outside again.

“How do you have instant soups for every meal and still look like this?” She only realized how that sounded once it was said, taking a sharp breath.

Sooyoung let out a laugh, shielding her face from the cold wind.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”)

They waited until the water stopped boiling and until the soups were done, leaning against the kitchen counter and arguing whether the best flavor was the one in the red packet or in the yellow one (the matter has not been settled).

The problems started when they had to transport the steaming cups upstairs. Jungeun carefully gripped hers on top, where the liquid couldn’t reach, but she still hissed and let it go almost instantly when the hot vapor hit her palm.

Sooyoung chuckled and stared her down, which only earned her a frustrated groan. The football player grabbed both cups, satisfied with herself. A smug smirk appeared on her lips only to morph into a frown that made Jungeun raise her brows, and she turned around on her heel with a weak “come on” to rush up the stairs as fast as possible.

It was Jungeun’s turn to laugh when she heard Sooyoung forcibly set the cups on her desk and saw her flailing her hands around with an annoyed hiss in an attempt to cool them down. As soon as she saw Jungeun enter the room, unable to contain an amused smile, she hid her hands behind her back and acted as innocent as possible, Jungeun only shaking her head.

Jungeun didn’t even begin eating hers, too preoccupied with blowing on it until it became cooler, before Sooyoung was already throwing her empty cup into the bin she had under her desk. Jungeun widened her eyes, because that should have been humanly impossible, it was water boiled like five minutes earlier, and she still wasn’t able to pick her own cup up.

(“What the hell? Are you already done?” She asked, her mouth hanging open.

“Yeah, I’m a fast eater.” Sooyoung shrugged, and Jungeun was almost surprised by the lack of any implied subtext in her tone. Almost.

“That… can’t be healthy, though?” Jungeun said, already imagining her intestines burning alive.

Sooyoung nodded slowly, as if she were pondering.

“Or maybe it’s just you who’s incredibly slow?” She concluded with a smirk and went to lie on her own bed, right under the girl’s most prized possession, the giant, signed poster of Sunmi.

Come to think of it, the singer has witnessed some truly traumatic imagery during her stay on Sooyoung’s wall.)

While Jungeun ate slowly, she turned on the spinning chair to look at Sooyoung just because she could and, for the first time ever, they actually talked about the drama club.

Jungeun was glad that neither of them mentioned Jiwoo, who was completely absent from the conversation apart from always being present somewhere at the back of Jungeun’s mind.

They quickly moved on from how the play could be cool if updated to space (“Just saying, making those fairies into aliens would have totally worked.”, “Ugh, Jinsol would have eaten this shit up if you’d told her earlier.”) to exchanging opinions about aliens and their existence in general.

Sooyoung was a very firm believer and she seemed to actually care about the subject while Jungeun was a bit more sceptical, so she resorted to quiet hums of agreement while eating.

As Sooyoung went off with her reasoning, Jungeun half listened to her, half drifted off deep into her own thoughts.

How she knew that it was a saturday and the reason that Sooyoung had the house to herself was that both of her parents were working the night shift, and how she noticed that the bowl that someone broke at Heejin and Jiwoo’s birthday party and never admitted to it was never replaced and a thin, empty vase now occupied its previous space.

Or how Sooyoung had a shelf filled with serious, classical books that nobody at school would have probably accused her of reading, ever, in her room, and how the only personal photo she had was the one that displayed her and Hyunjin while they stood next to each other with grave expressions hanging on the door, slightly tilted.

How despite Sooyoung’s very proper way of speaking, Jungeun began noticing that sometimes, her accent would slip (she faintly remembered the football player saying she was originally from Busan, once) when she got excited, or how her own eyes stayed focused on the girl’s face whenever she said something to catch a glimpse of her bunny smile and the excitement in her eyes instead of drinking in the picture of her long legs and exposed stomach as she was sprawled on the bed, and how the warmth in her chest was almost palpable when she listened to Sooyoung tell her some complete and utter bullshit she read on the internet about how the pyramids were built.

And it would have been great, it really would have, and Jungeun really would have loved it, all of it, if only it had happened under different circumstances. Because right now, every little detail she came to notice only added to her already growing feelings, those feelings she shouldn’t have developed in the first place, and she could only hate it.

So she set the unfinished cup of ramen on the desk (it had gone cold, anyway, and she wasn’t even hungry anymore), the sound making Sooyoung’s head snap to the side to look at her with a lazy smile, and Jungeun couldn’t help the curl of her own lips when she saw the other girl’s curiously arched brow.

In a few quick steps she reached the bed and, without a word but maintaining eye contact, crawled onto Sooyoung’s lap unceremoniously. A silence came over the room as the tips of her fingers ghosted over the girl’s exposed stomach, the muscles there tensing slightly and Sooyoung’s gaze falling down to Jungeun’s lips, even if she still sported a rather endeared smirk on hers. Her hands quickly found their way to Jungeun’s waist, the touch light but the gesture possessive.

“Hi.” She said, baring her teeth in a smile.

Jungeun chuckled, and her heart skipped a beat at the dumb greeting and the softness in Sooyoung’s voice.

She hated how something tugged at her chest everytime she looked at Sooyoung so, although returning the smile, she leaned in.

“Less talking.” Jungeun said against Sooyoung’s lips, the other girl only smirking before closing the distance between them.

This way, she could focus on the way Sooyoung’s hands wandered all over her back, how she let out a small sigh when Jungeun had started kissing her way down her neck and pulled her even closer by the waist instead of on the feelings that had no right to exist, even if for a little while.

___

“See, and this font is in public domain, I checked, so it’s alright if we use it, and…” Heejin explained away, holding her phone up in front of Jinsol’s face, zooming in and out with her thumb and gesturing wildly with her other hand and her gaze fixed on the screen.

After she had finished designing the poster (she actually managed to do it over the course of the weekend, almost pulling an all-nighter on friday after she came back from that meeting with Hyunjin, finally finding the energy necessary to pick it up again), Heejin was eager to show it to Jinsol, but decided to do it at school instead of over text to properly see her friend’s reaction, because even if Jinsol would never tell her it was ugly (even if it was and which it wasn’t, or at least so she hoped), her face would betray her in a matter of seconds.

Right now, though, the blonde stared at the screen with wide eyes and her mouth hung open at the piece of art in front of her. It looked so, so good and honestly, Jinsol was both impressed with her friend and relieved because she was putting off making that poster for what seemed like an eternity and she wasn’t even sure she could pull it off.

But Heejin did, and the final product was much better than anything the crew could have come up with, probably.

“...What do you think?” Heejin asked, feeling jittery all over from excitement and expectant, because she knew what this face on Jinsol meant.

The blonde stayed still for a while, still processing. She let out a long breath and raked her fingers through her hair, effectively messing them up.

“Are you for real!?” She burst out, grabbing Heejin’s arms and almost making her drop her phone as a result. “You literally saved my ass! I don’t know when I would have found the time to make it, and it would have looked like shit compared to this!”

Heejin grinned, almost beaming with pride.

“No, don’t say it!” She protested, though. There was no need to pit two powerful women against each other, and Jinsol knew it. “Do you think Miss Kim will like it?”

“Duh.” Jinsol nodded, rubbing her chin. By the way her eyes became glazed, Heejin could tell she was thinking about something. “Why don’t we ask her?”

Heejin furrowed her brows.

“What, now?”

Because they were waiting for literature class, having decided to split up with Jiwoo and Jungeun for the long pause due to the fact their lessons were strewn all over the school, they were also on the opposite side of the building to where the drama club room was situated.

“Yeah, why not.” Jinsol shrugged. “I know she’s gonna love it, and maybe that shit ass principal is finally gonna give us some money with a poster like that.”

And without any further explanation, she grabbed Heejin’s hand, barely giving her time to get her backpack from the floor and sling it over her shoulder before dragging her into the sea of students getting from one class to another.

Some of the other students who filled the school corridors with sounds of chatter were sitting by the walls and talking to their friends, some were doing their homework last minute scribbling the answers in a notebook they had open on their lap with a pen in one hand and a phone with the answers in another, and some were walking somewhere just like the two of them.

The only corridor that was virtually empty, save for three freshmen who stood huddled in a circle and tried to look stealthy while vaping in the corner, was the one leading to the drama club room.

Ignoring the first years who eyed them with suspicion as soon as they heard their steps but soon got back to their previous activities, Jinsol and Heejin approached the drama club classroom.

The door was wide open and some voices could be heard coming from inside, which made them slow down before they could be seen, stopping in front of the door and eyeing each other with confusion, Jinsol’s eyebrows forming a V.

“...And good, we need to put an end to this stupid-” Heejin recognized it as the voice of coach Moon.

Jinsol elbowed her lightly in the ribs, gesturing wildly and pointing at her watch. They only had ten minutes before class started, and they still needed to get back. It was no time for eavesdropping, as much as the both of them wanted to.

Heejin raised her hands in defeat. How were they supposed to interrupt the two teachers right now?

But Jinsol was prepared. She waved at Heejin dismissively in a silent gesture of “I got this” before backing away from the door slowly, and then stomping her feet as loudly as she could, the steps echoing in the empty corridor. She also added a poorly masked, fake cough before knocking on the door and immediately walking inside, urging Heejin to go after her.

The voices went quiet, and Jinsol plastered a wide smile on her face as soon as they entered and saw the two women stand suspiciously close to each other, leaning against the desk.

The two teachers sported their usual attire, with Miss Kim in one of her flowy cardigans (this time, it was bright orange with an intricate purple pattern) and wide, flared jeans, while coach Moon looked like she walked straight out of an ad for a ridiculously expensive athleisure brand.

Before Heejin even could mutter a quick “hello”, Miss Kim greeted them both with a warm smile that made her eyes narrow and her arms crossed over her chest.

“Hey, girls, what’s the matter?” She asked.

Jinsol spoke up first, only shooting a quick glance at coach Moon, who just stood there with her hands in her pockets and her signature smirk on her face.

The blonde girl raised the sleeves of her hoodie as if she was getting to work and joined the fingers of her hands at the level of her chest like a world leader.

“Well, um, I know I probably should have said something sooner, but…” She began, Miss Kim looking at her with interest. “I had this idea that maybe we could make posters and hang them around the school so that more people would be interested and come to the showing?”

And before Miss Kim could do anything beyond nodding, she nudged Heejin again and motioned for her to show the poster to the teacher.

Heejin fished her phone out of the back pocket of her jeans, her hand going a little bit clammy when she typed in the password, the gallery app already open on the drawing, and handed it to Miss Kim.

She took a deep breath and hoped that no embarrassing messages came, because of course she forgot to turn the data off.

Miss Kim extended her hand and put on the glasses she always had hanging on a beaded chain around her neck, admiring it from all different angles. Even coach Moon had her gaze fixed on the poster while she looked at it from over Miss Kim’s shoulder, her mouth slightly open in awe.

Both girls looked at the teachers expectantly, each passing second making the possibility of either Jiwoo or Jungeun making the lesbian taylor swift conspiracy theorists groupchat come alive higher and higher, and Heejin was dying inside at the mere prospect of Miss Kim having this knowledge.

The drama club teacher looked up at Heejin, then.

“Wait… you drew that?” She asked, a hint of disbelief in her tone. Her eyes were wide when they went back to the poster, and then back to the girl in front of her.

“Yes.” Heejin said, giving a small bow of her head with her hands behind her back.

“With your hands???” It was coach Moon’s turn to ask. The woman looked absolutely amazed, and the way her cheeks rounded when she smiled kind of reminded Heejin of the hamster she had in primary school.

“Um… yes?” She nodded again, her brows slightly furrowed. What else was she supposed to draw with?

“This is great, Heejin!” Miss Kim clapped her hands and leaned forward. “If you send it to me, I will print it and we can hang it around the school then, okay?”

Heejin nodded furiously, warmth surging to her chest at the compliment from her favorite teacher.

“Yesss, will do!” Jinsol affirmed, her stare drifting from Miss Kim to coach Moon, not subtle at all. “Now, sorry, but we need to get to our class before the-”

The sound of the bell ringing filled the classroom.

“Bye, girls!” Miss Kim waved them off. “Prepare well for the next meeting!”

The two teachers watched Jinsol drag Heejin out of the classroom with an eager “goodbye!”, their steps becoming much quicker as soon as they disappeared at the door.

When the ruckus caused by the bell was finally over and the corridor went quiet again, coach Moon shook her head with a small chuckle.

“Kids…”

___

A few days ago already, the time had come for Jinsol to text the big drama club groupchat that included the football team members (the one they used before went dead almost immediately) to ask everybody to bring any and all stuff they think could be used to make the costumes for the play.

While she mostly meant clothes, any kind of fabric (Gahyeon’s grandma worked the sewing machine like a devil) or accessories were welcome, as Jinsol cleared up after some initial confusion (Chaeyoung asked whether it could be any type of clothing, and Jinsol said it could be anything, even a bedsheet, as long as something could be made of it).

They found themselves in the drama club room, most of them with at least a bag full of clothes and trinkets that their families just didn’t need anymore or could bear the loss of.

Admittedly, it was a bit of a mess. The clothes were strewn all over two joined tables in the middle of the room, as if it were a buffet, and the members went absolutely crazy when choosing the pieces they deemed fit for themselves and for the role. Or not, because some (not naming any names) only cared about picking the most standoffish combinations possible.

Poor Jinsol couldn’t keep up with her commentary, going from one person to another and rating their picks based on how well they went with her artistic vision. Even though it was Gahyeon’s grandma that made the outfits come to life, Jinsol was in charge of putting them all together to form a coherent ensemble, and with the drama club doubling in members, it was no easy task. She went around the room holding her hands up to her head and either nodding her head in approval or sighing at some of the choices. Her flannel shirt and dark, loose jeans coupled with round glasses made Jinsol look like a pretentious indie film student who listened to Modest Mouse a little bit too often.

Hyejoo’s childish, high-pitched laughter filled the room as the tall brunette gripped her stomach and pointed at Yeojin, who grabbed one of the many t-shirts littering the tables and immediately threw it over her head, only for it to extend well below her knees. On the little football player, it looked more like a very modest (unless one counted the pulp drawing of a foxy redhead on a motorbike it had on the front) dress instead of a t-shirt.

“Aww, I’m sorry!” Yerim apologized with a sheepish smile seeing Yeojin’s pout. “It used to be my dad’s!”

“God, I’m going to stay a dwarf forever!” Yeojin complained while she was taking the t-shirt off. She threw it back on the pile and continued her search with even more energy.

Currently, all attention was turned to Siyeon, who turned herself into a full blown gothic princess after snatching a long, black nightgown and some blue feathers that Yubin attached half-assedly to her bangs, which went incredibly well with her sharp features and dark make up. It was apparent that she came to kill, and her first victim was Bora, who tripped on air because she couldn’t stop staring even when taking the name-tagged bags to the safety of the box at the back of the classroom.

Although with a hint of regret, Jinsol still had to tell Siyeon that, despite looking like “Honestly? A queen, a goddess!”, that outfit was a no-go, and the girl agreed with a little sigh (“But it was fun while it lasted!” Yoohyeon animated the newfound friend).

Yeri came prepared, already wearing massively oversized hoop earrings and a baby pink feather boa over a low-cut tank top. She posed against the wall while Chaeyoung, who didn’t even spare a glance at the stack of clothes, took photos with a giant smile, looking more like an overjoyed mom whenever she said “yes, that’s great, now give me that smile from before!” instead of a girlfriend.

On the other side of the room, Jiwoo was trying to pitch a disgustingly sweet, pink lacy dress to Jungeun, because she thought it would be a great idea to defy gender roles, and she just knew that the blonde would own it. However, Jungeun was not on board. She waved her hands furiously as she protested loudly, trying to get Jiwoo to put the dress back, because there was honestly no way in hell she would be caught wearing a dress.

Thankfully, Jinsol came to the rescue.

“No, Jiwooming, that’s not a good idea…” The blonde shook her head.

Jiwoo pouted, but Jungeun let out a breath in relief. Jinsol’s word was the law when it came to the costumes.

However, a slight spark appeared in Jinsol’s eyes, accompanied by a teasing smirk directed at the other blonde.

“It won’t go well with the horse head you’ll be wearing!”

Jungeun just let out a loud groan. They would never let her live this down, she was sure. Was being the lead really worth it? Was it a cruel joke plotted by Miss Kim?

At the time, Heejin was fishing for a shirt she deemed cool enough to call dibs on and claim as part of her outfit. Nothing seemed to catch her eye (seriously, too many people thought black stuff somehow fit the psychedelic theme) until a bright pink flashed through the mass.

Holding on to it with one hand and keeping the stack of clothes from falling off the table, she took out the entire shirt, and that was when she knew that she had hit a jackpot. It turned out to not be only bright pink, but tie dye AND oversized, which was just her style.

She quickly walked away from the table to free the space for others who still haven’t gotten any stuff for themselves, and as she turned around, she saw Ryujin leaning against the stage and looking at the chaos.

Heejin smirked and made her way over to the co-captain, flashing her a victory smile and holding up the shirt when the girl noticed her.

“What do you think?” She asked as soon as she came up to Ryujin.

“Looking good!” Ryujin nodded in approval. A small smile appeared on her lips.

Heejin felt a faint hint of some heat in her cheeks, thanking the gods it wasn’t too strong. She just hoped it was not noticeable.

However, while Ryujin looked extremely good in her green hoodie and rolled up trousers, Heejin couldn’t help but wonder one thing.

“Why aren’t you looking for clothes?”

Ryujin raised her brow.

“I just don’t want to give her even more work.” She said, chuckling and motioning in Jinsol’s direction.

Jinsol was currently explaining to a very reluctant Shin Yuna that yes, it was her that ultimately decided how the costumes would look, only taking some suggestions. She had her palm held up to her forehead and her other hand on her waist while she just stared at the floor with Yuna chatting her ear off.

“Oh, you have such a good heart.” Heejin fawned mockingly.

Ryujin snickered.

“I know, right?”

Eyeing the shirt once more, Heejin decided to see how it would fit her. Of course, there was no way any of them would willingly strip in front of the whole room while retaining their confidence (well, maybe besides one person), so they all resorted to throwing their clothes over what they already had on, and Heejin was no different.

While pulling it over her head, she noticed how good the shirt had smelled. It was like laundry detergent, of course, everything they brought to the drama club had to be washed beforehand, but there was a hint of something else, too, something that seemed weirdly familiar, but Heejin could not place it. She just hoped nobody noticed her taking a sniff and wondered whose shirt it was, because she absolutely needed to know what it was.

“Hey, man, that’s some cool stuff!” Sooyoung waltzed up to them, sporting a dark denim jacket, which Heejin assumed was from the pile, and a crop top, which she assumed was Sooyoung’s. She held a purple headband in her hands. “Makes you look hot.”

Heejin nodded.

“Hell yeah, you too!” She said and held her hand up for Sooyoung to high-five, which she did almost immediately, a deeper level of understanding between them.

“No, you look hideous.” Another voice shot Sooyoung down from behind Heejin. She didn’t need to turn around to know it was Hyunjin.

That earned her a snicker from Ryujin and a full-on laugh from Sooyoung.

“Yeah, as if.” The tall football player dismissed.

“What’d you get, Hyun?” Ryujin asked, trying to take a peek at the stuff that Hyunjin was holding.

With a shit-eating grin, Hyunjin held up a black shirt with a print of a full moon covered by clouds (admittedly, it looked a bit like those you could get at tourist stalls in the mountains) and a band cut roughly from a bedsheet, baby blue and with little white dots, all the while shooting them a thumbs up.

“I got it from the goth queen herself.” She announced.

“Well, put it on.” Sooyoung scoffed.

“No.” Hyunjin refused, flat, but her stare was unrelenting.

It was finally the time for Jinsol to come up to them, the girl already looking dead tired from the unusual amount of work.

“Ryujin…” She began, raking her fingers through her hair. The co-captain just stared at her, smirking. “Thank god you’re not like those… animals. No offense to y’all.”

“None taken.” Hyunjin shook her head.

Jinsol glanced at the other captain, then, eyeing the shirt and the headband. She waved her hand with a resigned sigh.

“I… guess it makes sense.” She said.

Hyunjin muttered a quiet “Yesss”, victorious and glad she got the green light.

“Alright, but this is actually really good!” Jinsol complimented Sooyoung, gaining a bit of her energy back. “For a 60s fuckboy, at least!”

“Only for him?” Sooyoung was quick to reply, her brows arched and grease practically dripping from her voice before she let out a small laugh.

However, Jinsol was already eyeing Heejin up and down, rubbing her cheek absent-mindedly. Heejin waited for her friend’s verdict, although she had to admit, she didn’t actually want to part with the shirt.

Jinsol unceremoniously grabbed the hem of both the tie dye and Heejin’s actual shirt, though, and tied them sloppily at the level of her friend’s ribs, so that it made a half-assed crop top. The knot was kind of chunky, but it could work.

“Yes, this is it!” Jinsol announced, satisfied with the end product.

Heejin just looked down, pondering for a while.

“Isn’t that too Coachella?” She asked with a laugh. Under other circumstances, she probably would have been a bit flustered, but she had been sticking to her new year's resolution and even though she would not admit it, she was kind of proud to flaunt it.

“Nooo!” Jinsol shook her head. “This will show you being liberated from your dad or some shit.”

Ryujin’s laughter while she commented “Yeah, great reasoning, Jinsol.” made Heejin’s head turn to the girl to catch a glimpse of that soft smile, and effectively miss the way the other co-captain’s eyes strayed to her exposed stomach for a split second.

“Fair enough, let’s get it.” She said, although she could still feel the curiosity that hadn’t been satiated, and the way the fabric felt soft on her chest and the smell enveloped her in the best way possible wasn’t helping at all. “By the way, do you know whose shirt that is?”

Hyunjin replied like it was the most obvious thing in the whole world, a faint, mischievous smirk on her lips.

“Oh, it used to be mine.”

___

It was another (rather) peaceful evening at the Jeon household.

Hyejoo had barricaded herself in her room as soon as she came home. The only sounds coming from beside the door were of her hitting the keys of her laptop furiously, undoubtedly killing some virtual people.

It was a tell-tale sign that her and Chaewon had a disagreement. Hyejoo always played more aggressively whenever something happened and her girlfriend couldn’t accompany her, letting out her frustration in a silent but deadly manner.

It wasn’t a matter of concern, though. Those two never actually fought for real, and Hyejoo would most likely just call Chaewon after she finished her game and they would talk until it got extremely late, already as mushy and soft as always, all animosities forgotten long ago.

Heejin meticulously copied the answers from the internet onto the history spreadsheet they needed to get done for the next day for the class with Mister Lee, the subject being the first world war.

She was trying to remember as much as she could, even when she was just copying and not actually putting in an effort, just to spare herself some pain when she would inevitably have to cram for the next test, but the generals’ names were getting mixed up in her brain. However, she pushed her glasses further up on her nose and typed in the next question, unrelenting until she was finished.

Heejin threw her hello kitty pen on the desk mindlessly. It rolled almost to the edge, but thankfully didn’t fall, the giant cat head attached to its top successfully stopping it from moving any further. She leaned back against her chair and extended her legs in front of her, the stretch extremely satisfying after hours of sitting in the same position. Soon, her arms followed, raised above her head.

As expected, Hyejoo’s soft laugh that she only ever graced Chaewon with could be heard from beside the wall.

Stifling a yawn, Heejin reached for her phone. In that studying-induced slumber, she knew that she would probably spend another hour just looking at dumb memes and videos with a dead stare in dire need to get her mind back to its previous state before she could even begin to do anything else, but it was a sacrifice she was willing to make.

She scrolled rather mindlessly, first through her twitter, although nothing exciting happened there (her previous account got suspended for rightfully defending boy group stans and she kind of lost the energy to begin anew, mostly lurking).

The one thing that Heejin wasn’t expecting was for a random instagram ad to give her an existential crisis.

It was just some ugly graphic of a recently founded university that specialized in economics and that announced applications were officially open, which got Heejin thinking.

Because really, this year, she would be graduating from high school and… and what, exactly?

She had always assumed that she would just join the acting academy. There was no way she wouldn’t get in, even if she was too humble to admit it. It seemed like the most natural of choices, too, after all. Her and Jiwoo would meet in the hallways, Heejin in the regular theater department and Jiwoo finally able to fully pursue musical theater. But was it what she actually wanted to do?

Heejin had never thought about it, to be completely honest. She just subconsciously accepted it as inevitable, just because she was a natural at it and all the signs seemed to point towards this outcome.

There was a curiosity nagging at her, though, getting bigger and bigger, especially recently, to try something else. To let herself see what it would be like to do something just for herself, maybe fail and maybe even succeed.

The seed had been planted and she couldn’t get the thought out of her head.

Biting down on her lip, Heejin set her phone back on the desk and reached for the laptop instead, pulling it closer. The adrenaline pushed her to squat on the chair for the dramatic effect as she typed in “fine arts seoul” into Google.

She opened most of the links that appeared on the first page, her brows knit together in deep focus as she looked through the various programs offered by different schools and faculties. With her chin propped up on her palm and the screen lighting up her face in dull white, she gathered every little piece of information that was displayed on the sites.

She read through the requirements for admission to most of them and they all wanted, more or less, the same thing - a portfolio. The only detail that seemed to fluctuate was the numbers of works that needed to be included in one, ranging from 15 to 35.

Raising her gaze up to the ceiling and wrapping her hands at the back of her head, Heejin began calculating to see if it would even work out. To get 35 works done, she would need to dedicate an insane amount of time, on top of school work, to art - time that she would have to cut from practicing for the drama club.

She could actually manage to get it done, but the thought made her uneasy. And what if she actually did get in?

Would she just… get on with her life, just like that? Study art full-time and only join the university’s drama club, so as not to give up the thrill that acting gave her completely (Heejin didn’t think she could ever do that)? And, the question she dreaded the most, how would she even tell her parents about the sudden change of heart, even if it was not that sudden at all?

However, she also thought of late evenings spent standing behind an easel and getting to create something that came entirely from herself, instead of always recreating somebody else in the end, despite how good she was at it. With that in mind, even the perspective of facing her dad was not so grim.

And right now, although it was just a flashy internet site and a head full of plans and nothing concrete yet, Heejin felt like it was alright to finally go her own way.