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of your love and lies

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her head feels heavy. she really regrets that 6th shot now. she should've known better. drinks never do any good to her. and she remembers having way too many tonight. maybe it was really careless of her, but its okay to let loose some times, right?

she shifts a little, feeling the warmth of her bed and the softness of the pillow under her head, a smile unknowingly making its way onto her lips at the familiarity. she wonders if she's alone in the room right now,, if she is in her room, that is. no, she's definitely in her room. where is hyejoo then? and why is it so quie-

"i'm so sorry" a whisper comes breaking through the silence.

heejin can almost feel the fingers that gently trail down from her cheek to her jawline. a thumb comes to rest there while another finger ghosts over her cheek. 

"i...." the next words of the person are incoherable. heejin tries to open her eyes and seek out the person who's talking to her but her eyelids feel heavy. she feels too tired to do anything at all. she tries to mumble something but the words don't make sense to herself either, she wouldn't expect the person to understand her. 

suddenly the warmth disappears, the person having removed their palm from heejin's face. before she can say anything, she feels a light kiss being pressed to her forehead. 

"good night heekie" 

"heejin" she feels a tug at her arm. "come on, wake up" 

heejin opens her eyes slowly, trying to adjust to the light. only then is she aware of the headache blooming under her temple. 

"haseul's making you some pancakes. oh and she kept the painkillers on the breakfast table too, said that she expected you to be nursing an awful hangover" hyejoo says. 

heejin looks at her roommate, "are you going somewhere?" she asks as she watches hyejoo putting her jacket on.

"yup. chae, yerim and i are going out for the day" hyejoo answers as she walks towards her bed on the other side of the room and picks up her phone. 

heejin is just sitting up on her bed when the memory flashes across her mind : "good night heekie". memory? it wasn't that, was it? it was most probably a dream. but it felt real. too real. 

"hye, were you here when i came back last evening?" she asks as she swings her legs off the bed. 

"yeah, of course i was" hyejoo answers as she finishes putting her mask on, meeting heejin's gaze.

"did i... how did i end up here? in our room?" heejin has to know, needs to know that it isn't what she's thinking. because there's only one person who calls her that name. and she doesn't like the idea of her being that close, kissing her forehead like it's nothing, calling her the nickname as if nothing happene-

"you stumbled in yourself and flopped onto the bed. then i fixed your position and tucked you in" hyejoo shrugs. 

"oh" heejin says. "i remember falling asleep on the couch tho,,, i think" 

hyejoo chuckles, "i wouldn't trust my memory if i was you heej. you were drunk off your ass last night" 

heejin groans, her headache seemingly getting worse with every passing minute. "you're right, i must've come to the room out of habit" 

"why did you even drink so much yesterday? you normally hate it" the younger girl asks. 

"when we were done with the music video, someone suggested that we should all go get drinks to celebrate. i refused but then yoonjae kept insisting that i join so i had to" heejin replies. 

"oh so the mv is completed? when are they releasing it?" hyejoo questions. 

"ben told me that it'll be released by next week. they've still got some editing and stuff to do" heejin answers, finally standing on her feet. 

although hyejoo has her mask on, heejin can tell that she's smiling when she says, "i'm excited for it"

heejin smiles back, "me too" 

hyejoo nods before taking a seat on the bed, probably waiting for yerim or chaewon to call for her when they're ready. 

heejin grabs her towel and makes her way towards the bathroom to take a quick shower and freshen up. when she returns 15 minutes later, she finds hyejoo right where she had been before (without her mask, however), only now yerim was standing in front of her while they were talking. 

"so yeojin and i were ta-" yerim stops midsentence when she notices heejin standing there. "good morning heejin!" 

"good morning" heejin smiles as she dries the remaining water droplets from her hair with a towel. 

"do you wanna join us? we are planning to go to the gaming arcade in hongdae" yerim says with her usual bright smile. 

"i would if my head wasn't killing me. i'm gonna go have breakfast and take the painkillers. you guys have fun tho" heejin tells both the younger girls who smile in return before she leaves the room. 

as she makes her way towards the dining area, she can't help but think. if it wasn't reality, if what she felt and heard were not real, then why would her subconcious conjure something like that up? it wasn't possible right? she had spent too long trying to patch herself back, she couldn't, wouldn't let herself be dragged down the same path again. she wouldn't let her fuck up whatever is left of her sanity.

heejin is about to take a seat at the breakfast table when she sees someone else sitting there too. lifting her gaze, she finds the girl already looking at her. 

talk of the devil. 

hyunjin looks a little worried, but heejin decides it's not her business to ask what's up. not anymore, at least. 

and so she looks away, taking her seat a few chairs away from the girl.

"hey good morning heej" haseul greets as she walks in with a plate of pancakes in her hand. she sets it in front of heejin and puts a hand on her shoulder. "you feeling alright?" 

"no" heejin pouts as she looks up at the older girl. "i've got this massive headache,, ugh it's killing me" 

haseul rubs her arm gently, "i figured. have your breakfast and then there's the bottle of painkillers. take one and you'll feel better in no time" 

"thank you" heejin says gratefully. "where are the others?" 

"vivi and sooyoung have a schedule today so they'll be back home by the evening. hye, chae and yerim are going out in a while. yeojin is over at her school friend's place and i sent jiwoo to wake jungeun and jinsoul up. they should be here in a moment" haseul answers before making her way back towards the kitchen. 

heejin rubs at her temple a little before taking a piece of her pancake and stuffing it in her mouth. she almost moans in bliss because of how delicious it tastes. she would shout a compliment for haseul to hear in the kitchen but her hangover refuses and so she silently continues eating. 

"good morning y'all" jungeun greets as she walks towards the table, taking a seat next to heejin. 

"good morning jungie" hyunjin says. "slept well?" 

"yup" jungeun answers and then takes a look at heejin. "bad hangover?" 

heejin just looks at jungeun with a sad face and it's enough of an answer. "poor baby" jungeun says and then pulls her chair a little closer to heejin's, hand automatically going towards heejin's scalp and starting a slow massage. 

it's only a little while before jiwoo joins them and sits beside hyunjin. after greeting all of them, she and hyunjin fall into a conversation of their own, heejin not minding enough to listen what they're talking about, instead leaning into jungeun's side for more comfort. 

"what time did you come back last night?" jungeun asks softly. 

"i'm not sure, i can't recall much from last night. i remember calling our manager to pick me up from the bar, everything is a blur after that" heejin mumbles. 

"i wanted to wait for you to come back but sooyoung and jiwoo had an argument last night and jiwoo was kinda upset so she told me that if i wanted to sleep in my bed then i should come now or else she was locking the door" jungeun chuckles a little.

"they had an argument? are they okay now?" heejin asks. 

jungeun shrugs, "i don't know. sooyoung left before i woke up, probably before jiwoo too so there's less chance of that happening. but i'm sure they'll be fine. you know they love each other too much to continue a fight for more than a day" 

heejin hums in reply. it was true, the girlfriends were very much in love, had been ever since the group debuted. 

she thinks back to the day when both the girls had told them that they were together and chuckles to herself at the memory.

(almost 2 years ago)

heejin is more than thankful that their schedules are finally over and that they got a week's break. it was very much needed. 

she's seated comfortably between hyunjin and chaewon, all the members (on a second glance, two are absent) are present there in the living room with them. some seated beside them on the long couch while some were sitting on the floor as they watched one of the latest movies playing on the tv.

"guys" they hear a voice coming from behind them.

heejin turns her head to see sooyoung standing there holding jiwoo's hand who is standing beside her. for some reasons, there's an almost uncomfortable expression resting on their faces,,, or is it nervousness? she can't quite figure out. 

"what's up? everything alright?" vivi asks. heejin, who's in control of the tv remote, puts the movie on pause as all of them give their attention to the girls standing there. 

"we have something to tell you" sooyoung says. heejin can see jiwoo giving her hand a little squeeze, probably trying to comfort her. 

"go on then" haseul says. 

"jiwoo and i.. actually we,," sooyoung trails off and nervously glances at the girl standing beside her. 

at this point almost all the members are staring expectantly at them, except hyejoo who seems to be mumbling under her breath for them to "hurry the fuck up" so that they could continue the movie. typical hyejoo. heejin almost laughs. 

"we are together" jiwoo blurts out. 
suddenly everyone's quiet, and sooyoung looks like she wants to run away for a moment. 

"what?" hyunjin asks. "together?" 

"yeah" sooyoung answers. "jiwoo is my girlfriend" 

"oh.." hyunjin trails off as another wave of silence takes over while the girls process the information in their heads. 

"how long has it been?" haseul asks. 

"a few months" jiwoo replies. 

"and why didn't you tell us this before?" haseul asks again. 

"we didn't want you to..." sooyoung trails off nervously. 

"judge you?" heejin finds herself completing. 

"no,,, but yes? i don't know. we weren't sure how to tell you guys" sooyoung answers. 

"we would judge you?" jungeun scoffs. "dumbasses" 

"see guys, we really like each other and we don't want you people to hate us. i know we are just starting off properly with our debut and-" sooyoung says but is cut off when haseul speaks up. 

"sooyoungie, calm down" haseul smiles as she stands up and approaches them. "i'm really happy for you guys" 

sooyoung and jiwoo look up in surprise, "you are?" jiwoo asks. 

"of course, are you stupid or what?" haseul says. 

it's only a moment before all the girls stand up and tackle them in a hug, shouting 'oh my god' 'congratulations!' "this is amazing!' and then there's hyejoo saying, "i saw this coming but okay, good for you guys that you are finally together" 

it's later that same day when they go to have a belated celebratory dinner that haseul unexpectedly announces that her and vivi are together too. 

"oh guys, by the way" she says as she picks at her food with a fork. "vivi is my girlfriend" 

heejin had almost missed what she said, her attention captured by yeojin and yerim playfully messing each other's food. 

but by the time all of them realize what haseul said and seeing the pink dusting on vivi's cheeks, sooyoung almost dashes out of her chair to tackle haseul down (she would have done it if jinsoul wasn't holding her arm) saying, "WHAT THE HELL WERE WE BEING NERVOUS ABOUT THEN?! HOW COULD YOU HIDE THIS FROM US?!" 

at the end of the night, the girls made the 4 girlfriends buy them ice cream as a treat and on the way home, bombarded them with questions like "who asked who out first?" (haseul and sooyoung had) and as it turned out, hasuel and vivi had been dating longer than jiwoo and sooyoung. 

heejin and hyunjin, roommates at that time, spent their night analyzing and talking about every moment they had spent with vivi and haseul back when 1/3's promotions were going on. 

and okay, maybe it should have been obvious all along. 

heejin's thoughts are broken when she feels jungeun stiffen a little beside her. she looks up and finds jinsoul sitting right opposite to the girl. 

she grabs jungeun's free hand and gives it a light squeeze. the older girl relaxes visibly when her eyes find heejin's and she gives her a smile. 

jungeun and jinsoul... the girls hadn't been on good terms for a while now, longer than heejin and hyunjin. which meant over a year now. jungeun and heejin had gotten closer over that time. although they never had to speak about what exactly happened between them and the other girls, they both knew that their pains were similar and it was enough for them to be there for each other. they had both fallen apart from people that they were closest to at some point. they didn't have to know what happened, it was like a silent agreement to never talk about it but somehow they had become each other's comfort zone. it wasn't like the other girls weren't there for them, but nobody really knew what was up and nobody wanted to cross a border. heejin preferred it that way. 

it's a while later that haseul joins them at the table and they continue with their breakfast. 

"alright girls, we are leaving" they hear and heejin watches as hyejoo, chaewon and yerim make their way towards the door. 

"don't forget to pick yeojin up before you return" haseul tells them. 

"we won't" chaewon smiles. 

"okay then have fun" haseul says as she returns the smile. 

when heejin sees yerim open the door, she focuses back on her food and that's why she misses it. 

she misses the way hyejoo and hyunjin exchange a look. she doesn't see when hyejoo glances at her and hyunjin subtly nods her head.

and she doesn't see when hyejoo smiles at hyunjin before she leaves the place. 

it's late in the evening when heejin is lying across the couch with her head on jungeun's lap.

the other girls present in the house are there too, eyes focused on the television screen as one of the kdrama's played (on jinsoul's recommendation, heejin isn't normally one for watching long dramas but she's isn't one to say no to her friends either)

she looks around the room and finds almost everyone engrossed with watching the tv, except jinsoul herself. she seems to be texting someone on her phone.

heejin is about to tease the girl for it when she hears someone punching the code in and the front door opening a moment later. 

she sits up as vivi enters, watching as the girl takes her long jacket off. 

"you're home" haseul stands up and gives her girlfriend a tight hug, who in return almost melts in her arms. 

"i missed you" vivi says, a tired smile on her lips. 

all the girls greet her and ask about how their schedule went. after being silent for 10 minutes, jiwoo clears her throat and everyone is clearly aware of what she wants to ask even if she doesn't utter a word.

"sooyoungie is on her way. she had to stop somewhere but she'll be here any moment" vivi tells her. 

"i didn't say anything" jiwoo mumbles and snuggles into hyunjin's side, hiding her face. 

"you should go head to the shower, i'll get your clothes ready for you" haseul tells vivi who in reply just nods before both of them make their way towards their shared room. 

heejin is about to lay back down when she feels her phone buzz in her pocket. she quickly pulls the device out and looks at the screen. 

she's evidently surprised when she sees the name "jinsoul" popping up, especially since the girl is right in front of her. filled with curiosity, she opens the message. 

jinsoul : don't go for opening the door when the bell rings. and do not look up at me after you finish reading. 

heejin : care to explain what's up?

jinsoul : you'll see. text jungeun too. and act like you're super engrossed with the drama.

heejin : why do we need to text??? we are all right in front of each other. 


heejin : okay okay

after taking a screenshot and sending it to jungeun (who immediately checks her phone when she hears the notification), heejin settles back on the couch and continues watching the drama.

from the corner of her eye, she can see hyunjin on her phone too but she's almost hiding the screen from jiwoo who has her eyes closed with her head resting against the taller girl's shoulder. 

it's only a matter of minutes before the doorbells rings and immediately, all the girls (except jiwoo, of course) give their full focus to the television screen.

just another one of those times when heejin is proud of their acting skills.

"who is ringing the bell? don't they have the password?" jiwoo groans as she strectches her arms, sitting upright. 

jinsoul shrugs, "why don't you go get it?" 

"why me?" jiwoo pouts. 

"you're the only one who isn't watching" jungeun answers matter-of-factly.

jiwoo looks around the room, and yes it does seem like jungeun has a point. she stands up almost unwillingly and walks away from the living area, making her way towards the front door.

once she's out of earshot, heejin turns towards jinsoul, "what's going on?" 

"just sooyoung" jinsoul chuckles. "let them be" 

heejin humms before she turns her attention back towards the television. she watches as one of the famous actors appears on the screen and automatically her eyes find hyunjin. of course her face is lit up like a child, it's her favourite actor, heejin chuckles to herself.

it's moments like these that she forgets the bitter memories and pushes them to the back of her head. she's almost lost thinking about the times that she binge watched dramas all night with hyunjin, when suddenly she realises that the girl is staring back at her. 

she feels her breath hitch in her throat as neither of the girls tear their gazes away from each other. it feels suffocating, hyunjin's eyes still have the same effect on her and it makes her want to cry. hyunjin's lips part, as if she's about to say something but heejin wouldn't dare hope to hear her. she stands up abruptly, making jungeun look up at her in worry. 

"hey, you alright?" the older girl asks.

"yeah, of course" heejin fakes a smile, something she is very used to doing. "i just feel tired, so i'm gonna try and take a nap"

she can practically feel hyunjin's eyes on her as jungeun nods and she turns away to make her way towards her room. 

as she's walking, her eyes fall upon the two girls standing near the front door. jiwoo and sooyoung. 

sooyoung has her arms wrapped tightly around jiwoo's comparatively smaller frame and she's holding the girl as close as she possibly can. heejin notices a bouqet of roses in one of jiwoo's hands and watches as the girl uses the other one to slowly cup sooyoung's cheek before leaning in. 

heejin smiles a little as she walks into her room, people like sooyoung and jiwoo were the reason that she was yet to lose her faith in the stupid four lettered word called love. 

contrary to what she had planned at first ("just gonna lay down, not sleep") heejin actually did end up taking a nap, waking up a few hours later when she hears voices in her room. 

"chae you know i'd never do that, right?" she hears hyejoo say. 

"i.. i do. i'm sorry" heejin recognises the voice as chaewon's. 

she sits up a little and a yawn escapes her lips, "hey guys"

both the girls, who were seated on hyejoo's bed, turn their heads abruptly in her direction, looking startled to say the least. 

"heejin.." chaewon mumbles. 

"when did you wake up?" hyejoo asks, running a hand through her hair.

"like one minute ago. thanks to you guys" heejin playfully rolls her eyes and watches them smile a little.

"we're sorry" chaewon says as she makes a move to stand up. "do you want to sleep more? we can go to my room instead if you want" 

"no no, it's alright. i should've been up earlier anyways" heejin says as she lets her feet touch the ground. "when did you guys return?"

"like an hour ago" hyejoo answers.

"had fun?" heejin asks.

"i would have but these two are no fun to play with! they kept losing against me" hyejoo tells her, earning a slap on her forearm by chaewon immediately

"yah! liar! i did beat you at that one whack a mole!" chaewon says, making heejin laugh.

"that's because you were being all pouty and i let you win" hyejoo replies with an eyeroll as she rubs at her arm. 

heejin shakes her head in amusement as she stands up and smoothens her shirt out,

"where's yerim?" 

"in her and yeojin's room, listening to yeojin rant about her sleepover" hyejoo tells the older girl. 

heejin nods, "alright then, you guys continue whatever you were talking about. i'm gonna go grab something to eat" 

"sure" chaewon tells her and in a few moments, heejin is out of the room, leaving the two girls to their own devices. 

heejin makes her way towards the kitchen, eyes fixed on her phone screen as she replies to a few of her texts, smiling as she sees a picture of her sisters sent to her by the oldest one.

she's walking in the kitchen, attention still captivated by her phone when she ends up tripping over something (it's a slipper, she later realises), quickly trying to grab onto something as a reflex in order to not fall on her face. 

her grip tightens on the arm of someone as a hand comes to hold her waist protectively, securing her from the fall. she lets out a shaky laugh, trying to steady her heart that seemed to be jumping in her chest at the unexpected almost accident. 

she takes a moment to regain herself, before releasing her hold on the person's arm.

however, the hand on her waist stays and so she turns her head to see who it is. 


"are you okay?" the taller girl asks.

"yup. thanks" heejin answers, her hand reaching for hyunjin's to pull it away from her waist. 

in a completely unexpected gesture, hyunjin holds onto heejin's hand instead, making heejin's breath hitch in her throat. heejin's gaze snaps up, eyes meeting the taller girl's. 

hyunjin looks conficted, unsure of why she's doing what she's doing. she opens her mouth to say something but it closes just as soon when she realises how close they're standing. 

they've been here before. 

but the last time they were standing up like this, alone and in the middle of the kitchen, there was a different tension in the air. heejin had her arms around hyunjin's shoulders and the taller girl had wasted no time in pushing heejin up against the counter, pressing into her with an urgent kis-


"heejin! i've been-.. are you busy?" haseul enters the kitchen, eyes widening just the tiniest bit at seeing the two girls together. 

heejin yanks her hand out of hyunjin's and steps away from the girl, "if you count me almost falling on my face a moment ago, maybe" 

haseul quickly walks up to her with a worried expression, "are you alright?" 

heejin manages to give her a little smile, "i am. i was just looking for something to eat" 

"oh i bought this box of strawberries earlier today, you can have some if you want?" haseul asks. 

"yes please" heejin breaks out into a grin as she watches haseul make her way towards the refrigerator. it's only a moment later that she realises that hyunjin is no longer in the kitchen. 

"did you need me for something?" heejin asks as haseul hands her the box of strawberries. 

"i just needed to tell you that we have a schedule tomorrow" haseul answers as she shuts the door of the refrigerator. 

"we do?"

"yeah, all of us. it's an hour long interview thing. the manager called while you were asleep" the older girl tells her. 

heejin nods her head, biting into a strawberry and humming contentedly at the taste, "what time?" 

"the interview will start at 6pm so we all should be there by 5" haseul answers. "let's go and sit with the girls. sooyoungie wanted to watch a movie" 

"sure" heejin says and follows haseul out of the kitchen. 

they walk into the living space and find sooyoung and jiwoo sitting there along with vivi, yeojin and yerim. haseul takes a seat next to her girlfriend and heejin sits down beside the youngest one.

"hey jinnie" she ruffles yeojin's hair a little. "how are you?" 

"all good" yeojin grins. "it was a lot of fun" 

heejin smiles at her, "i'm glad"

the movie is about to start when heejin sees jinsoul and hyunjin exit sooyoung and jinsoul's shared room and join them. jinsoul takes the seat on her other side and steals a strawberry from the box she's holding with a silly grin. 

heejin cuddles a little into jinsoul's side as she continues eating, eyes scanning around the room. she sees jiwoo wrapped up in sooyoung's arms and her head resting on the older girl's shoulder, and a smile makes its way on her lips. they really can't stay away from each other, she thinks. 

"hey where's jungeun?" she finds herself asking.

"she's in the room, someone called so she left" sooyoung answers. 

"family?" heejin asks. 

"i think it was some old school friend" sooyoung tells her and heejin nods. 

she could be wrong but heejin can almost swear that she hears jinsoul mumbling something under her breath after that. 
heejin rests her head against the couch's headrest and focuses on the movie that's now playing. 

she tries not to think too much about what happened earlier, tries to forget how hyunjin's fingers had felt threaded between her own after so long, tries to remove the image of hyunjin trying to say something but being unable to. she tries so hard to just push hyunjin out of her head. 

but as she should have leant by now, that never really works out for her. 


Chapter Text

"i'm so sorry! i didn't mean to disturb you, i'll leave if you want me to" heejin utters quickly, head bowing in apology as she stands at the door of the practice room.

the black haired girl stares at her for a moment before a smile breaks onto her face, "hey, it's alright. why don't you come in?" 

heejin walks in sheepishly, standing a little distance away as the taller girl makes her way towards the music system and turns it off. 

"so, you're a new trainee i assume?" the girl speaks and heejin is just the tiniest bit intimidated by her. 

"yes, i joined the company a few days ago" heejin answers, meeting her gaze. 

"i see" 

"what about you?" heejin asks. 

"i've been a trainee here for the past 2 years" the taller girl tells her. 

"oh" heejin takes in the information. "that's a long time" 

"not much when you compare it to the number of years some artists have trained for" the girl shrugs. 

"still a lot compared to me" heejin says with a smile.

"so how old are you?" 

"i was born in 2000" heejin answers. 

"oh awesome! we are the same age" the girl grins, and it's a very pretty grin. 

"that's great" heejin bites her lip, a habit she had whenever she was nervous. 

wait, nervous? why was she nervous? 

"you're really pretty" the girl compliments and heejin can feel her cheeks warming up. 

"so are you" 

"mind telling me your name then?" 

"jeon heejin" heejin says as she extends her hand, the girl taking it in hers almost immediately with a silly smile plastered on her lips. 

"kim hyunjin" 

"alright the shoot is about to start" the pd informs them, earning a nod from everyone. 

they are all seated in the chairs with the interviewer seated in a chair of his own just a little distance away. 

the chairs were set in two rows, the girls from 1/3, yeojin and jungeun in the front one and the rest of the girls behind them. 

heejin puts on her best smile as she watches the tiny light below the camera turn red, indicating that it had started recording. 

as the interviewer goes into introducing each of the members and the group, heejin makes sure that her smile doesn't leave her face and that she keeps nodding every now and then to whatever he's saying. 

heejin laughs at every joke that's said and passes a comment or two once in a while as well. even if she doesn't find the man funny, her members sure make the time worthwhile. 

it's 20 minutes into the interview when fan questions and requests are brought in. 

"vivi-ssi, someone from hong kong wants you to send them a message to encourage them for their exams" the interviewer says. 

heejin watches as vivi goes on to speak her native language confidently and smiles at the older girl when their eyes meet for a second. 

"okay that was great. the next fan wants to know if you have any funny stories from recently" the interviewer asks and almost immediately, yerim raises her mic. 

"i have one, i have one!" she says, happiness evident in her voice as usual. 

"yes choerry-ssi, what is it?" the interviewer says. 

"so this was only a short time ago" yerim says. "so, me, olivia hye and gowon unnie went to this gaming arcade-" 

hyejoo groans and almost hits yerim with her palm, yerim only giggling in response. 

"we played a few games and so, we were making our way towards the food zone. i was walking ahead and talking about something and suddenly i turn around, and neither of the two were there" yerim says, her expression complimenting her words very well. 

"wait, so they just left you?" heejin laughs. 

"no, no" hyejoo says, her hands in front of her. "it wasn't like that" 

"what happened after that? did you find them?" the interviewer asks. 

"no" yerim laughs. "i called gowon unnie and she said she stopped at one of the games and didn't see when we left" 

"olivia hye-ssi wasn't with her?" the man asks in amusement. 

"she wasn't" chaewon says. "but then i went to where choerry was and we both were searching for her" 

"where did you find her?" sooyoung asks, and heejin realises she isn't the only one who didn't know the story. 

yerim surpresses a laugh, "we searched for her everywhere right, and then we enter the food zone and she's occupying one of the tables-"

"and this is what she said, 'i've been waiting for you girls for so long, why are you always late?' and that too with such an expression!" chaewon says. 

"yeah! she made us feel like it was our fault!" yerim laughs and everyone else joins in too. 

"so olivia hye-ssi, how did you end up there?" the interviewer asks. 

“they just walk too slow” hyejoo shrugs. 

it takes only a short time for everyone to move on from the story but heejin finds herself glancing at hyejoo once again, notices her fiddling with her fingers (if only for a moment) and she just knows that there’s something wrong, knows that hyejoo was nervous while answering and she’s so distracted thinking about it that she almost misses it when the interviewer takes her name. 

"so heejin-ssi, you're supposed to star in one of ben's music videos right? a fan wants to know how that experience was for you" 

"oh" heejin says, putting on the well practiced smile once again, "it was great, actually. it was an honour for me that they thought i was good for the role. and the song is very beautiful too. so everyone, give it a lot of love when it comes out" 

and so, the interview goes on. 

"ah we have a quetion for all of you" the interviewer says and all the girls look at him expectantly, "if the members were guys, or if you were a guy, who among the members would you date?" 

everyone thinks for a moment before they start passing on the mic, and of course, heejin is the first who's supposed to answer. 

"for me, um" she takes a glance around before answering, "kim lip unnie?" 

"yeah? why her?" the man asks. 

"she has this cool, chic vibe to her. but she's also very caring as well. she would make the perfect partner for anyone" heejin answers and jungeun leaves her seat to come and give her a side hug with the biggest smile on her face and a "thanks heejinie!" 

"hyunjin-ssi?" the interviewer asks. 

"oh" the girl seems to be lost in her thoughts before she blurts out, "heejin" 

heejin's eyes almost widen but she stops herself when she realises they're being filmed. so instead, she pretends.

"oh really?" she says with a teasing smile. 

anything for the cameras. 

hyunjin looks nervous, and heejin hopes that no one except her (or the members) can catch it, "yeah. or yves unnie!" she quickly replies. 

haseul and vivi take each other's names in their answers (oh how subtle) and even their reasons are similar, "she'd take good care of me" 

"yeojin-ssi what about you?" the interviewer asks the youngest one. 

"uh" yeojin looks at all of the members, "choerry unnie" 

"really?" yerim says with a big smile. 

"yeah, she's really sweet and i think she would always cheer me up if i was having a bad day" yeojin answers and yerim stands up to give a quick back hug to the girl. 

"for me, i think same as hyunjin" jungeun says, "either heejin or yves unnie. they both have that different kind of vibe to them? they're really cool but then they are also cute and they care for the members a lot" 

"aw thanks lippie" sooyoung says as she blows a kiss towards jungeun (who makes a disgusted face at first but ends up smiling anyway).

"um, yves?" jinsoul answers and glances at the said girl, "she just seems like she's someone who would be really good for her partner" 

"choerry-ssi?" the interviewer asks.

"olivia hye!" choerry answers. "she looks very strong and cool right? but she also has a very soft side to her. she's also very protective and has a different way of showing her care. if i had a boyfriend, i would want him to be like olivia hye" 

"hey olivia is blushing!" sooyoung points out and hyejoo quickly shakes her head. 

"i'm not!" she squeals but everyone is already laughing at her cuteness. 

"what about you, yves-ssi? it seems like everybody wants to date you, who will you pick?" the interviewer asks. 

"well" sooyoung says and all the girls who had taken her name pretend to act cute, "i will choose chuu" 

all the girls let out a disappointed groan while jiwoo gives the biggest smile, "really unnie?" 

"yes, she always makes everyone smile and she is very bright. her voice is strong and yet soothing, and she takes care of people very we-"

"alright we got it, moving on" jinsoul teasingly says, making sooyoung slap her arm. 


"i think the answer is obvious" hyunjin mumbles.

"kim lip" jiwoo answers and everyone laughs at the betrayed look on sooyoung's face. 

"yves doesn't look very happy" the interviwer says between a laugh, "what's the reason though?" 

"me and kim lip, we know each other since before debut, right?" jiwoo says and jungeun nods, "i love that comfortable relationship you know? you are best friends for a long time and then you fall in love and start dating and all that" 

"then what about gowon-ssi?" the man asks. 

"heejin or hyunjin? maybe?" chaewon says, although she looks a little confused in her own words. "because we are the same age?" 

"and of course, last but not the least, miss olivia hye" 

"i'll date myself" hyejoo says and honestly, nobody is very surprised by her answer (but that doesn't stop them from laughing) 

"that's probably the best answer so far" the interviewer laughs. "self love comes first for miss olivia" 

"of course" hyejoo says, but her smile doesn't quite reach her eyes. heejin starts to feel worried about the younger girl. she really does seem kinda off, but it could just be heejin overthinking everything. 

that is also one of the things that she's always been good at. 

"okay, now we have a game for you" the interviewer says. "it's the pepero challenge. whichever team has the smallest piece left, they can take the prize" 

"what's the prize?" yeojin asks. 

and with that, the interviewer points towards the basket of various snacks and eatables placed on the table at the corner of the room, all the girls clapping their hands excitedly. 

"do we choose our own pairs?" haseul asks as all of the girls stand up from their chairs.

"you can go with the debut order" 

heejin internally curses. 

"okay then let's stand with our partners!" jungeun says as she moves towards vivi.

pretend for the cameras heejin, she tells herself.

and so that's what she does. heejin wraps her arm around hyunjin's, who holds onto her hand as well.

"2jin fighting!" they speak at once, giggling right after. 

all of the girls stand in pairs, heejin and hyunjin, haseul and yeojin, vivi and jungeun, jinsoul and yerim, sooyoung and jiwoo, and the last pair being of chaewon and hyejoo.

"okay so, i'll call the first team of,, let's go with haseul and yeojin" 

both the girls chuckle as they step forward, sooyoung grabbing a pepero stick from the provided table and handing it over to haseul. the girls just laugh for a while before they actually start with the challenge. at the end, it's yeojin who moves away first because of being unable to hold her laugh in, a pretty good part of the pepero stick remaining. 

the game continues with vivi and junguen, and then jinsoul and yerim (their piece is the smallest yet) until it's heejin and hyunjin's turn.

heejin calms herself down with words in her head and steps forward. chaewon passes the pepero stick to hyunjin who puts one side of it between her lips. heejin laughs a little, hoping that she doesn't sound as nervous as she feels when she faces hyunjin. 

"alright, go" the interviewer says. 

although heejin does take the other end of the stick between her lips, it's almost as if she can't move. she stays rooted in her place as hyunjin's eyes look into hers. 

it's a quick action, way too quick for the camera, how hyunjin glances down at the stick between them as if asking whether it's okay and how heejin blinks her eyes, the answer being a yes. 

and that's all hyunjin needs. 

she puts a hand on the side of heejin's head and gets closer, biting off the stick quickly. heejins's heart rushes and she can almost feel her cheeks warming up, her entire body almost frozen as hyunjin gets closer and closer and-

hyunjin pulls away, leaving a small (yet considerably big, according to the game) piece of the stick between heejin's lips. 
it turns out that their piece is only slightly shorter than haseul and yeojin's.

it's chaewon and hyejoo's turn next, and even though the stick hasn't even been handed to them yet, they look flustered to the point of their faces turning red. 

once the challenge starts for them, hyejoo puts a hand over her eyes as she bites off the stick, chaewon moving closer in as well. when their noses brush against each other's, they both pull away as fast as light, making all the girls laugh. 

heejin watches as sooyoung and jiwoo come forward for their turn, sooyoung throwing her hair back dramatically and saying, "let's win this chuu" and jiwoo just giggling in response. 

"okay, go" 
sooyoung puts both of her hands on either side of jiwoo's neck (heejin mentally chants : don't make it obvious, don't make it obvious) and both of them start moving closer and heejin feels like they're getting way too close- 

she's right when she sees them 'accidentally' brushing lips, making all the girls squeal. both of them fall onto their knees, laughing and hiding their faces, jiwoo shouting "IT WAS AN ACCIDENT" while waving her hands in front of her face. 

heejin almost wants to scoff. if only she could say just how many times she had walked in on them all over each othe- 

yeah, she definitely doesn't want to think about that image again.

"so clearly, our winners for today are yves and chuu. we couldn't even find their piece because it was so small" the interviewer says amid a laugh, the girls joining in while sooyoung and jiwoo try to hide their faces. 

the interview goes on for a while more until they finally pack up. as the girls make their way towards their cars, jungeun walks closer to heejin and gives her hand a light squeeze. no words are exchanged but both of them know what she means to say. 

all the girls get into the three different cars, heejin choosing to go with sooyoung, yerim and vivi.

she takes a seat at the back of the car and immediately leans her head against the cool glass, eyes fluttering closed on their own. 

as usual, yerim puts the window down ("but the wind feels so nice!" - she always argues when someone tells her to keep the window shut) and as the car starts, heejin feels the light breeze hitting her skin ever so gently. 

it almost lulls her into sleep, if it weren't for the memories that keep flashing before her eyes. 

(4+ years ago)

heejin walks out of her last class of the day, sighing to herself. 

things had been a little stressful lately, with all the school work and assignments and then of course, the training at the company. she felt beyond exhausted. 

as she exited the school and started walking away, she heard a voice behind her. 

"hello miss? don't you think you're forgetting something?" 

heejin turns around and finds hyunjin standing there, slightly leaning against a wall. 

"hyun, hey. what are you doing here?" heejin says as she approaches the taller girl. 

"it's friday?" hyunjin says. 

"and?" heejin asks, not quite understanding what the girl means. 

"yaah jeon heejin! that means you completely forgot. we decided last week that we were gonna check out the new cafe and go shopping together today. you were the one who suggested it! i've been waiting here even though my classes ended an hour ago" hyunjin tells her. 

heejin clicks her tongue when realisation hits her and lets out a sigh, "i'm so sorry hyun, it totally slipped my mind" 

she really wishes she could just ask hyunjin to cancel the plans, her body being completely deprived of any energy. but she can't do that, not when hyunjin has already waited so long for her.

she's about to say something when hyunjin's voice cuts her off. 

"hey, how about we cancel today's plan?" hyunjin says as she looks at heejin, almost as if she's reading right through her. 

"what? why?" heejin asks, watching as hyunjin stands straight and begins to walk. 

the taller girl shrugs, "you look tired, i wouldn't want to add to it" heejin finds herself smiling at the words, "come on i've got a better idea, let's go" 

it's a 15 minutes walk to hyunjin's place and as they stand at the doorstep, heejin finally decides to ask, "what are we doing here hyun?" 

"hanging out together, what else do you think?" hyunjin answers as she opens the door. 

"mom i'm home" hyunjin calls and when they step inside the house, hyunjin's mother greets them. 

"hyunjinnie, how was your d- oh heejin! how are you sweetie?" 

heejin bows respectfully before she smiles at the woman, "i'm good, i'm sorry for coming here abruptly" 

"no sweetheart, this place is your home too. come by anytime, we love to have you here" hyunjin's mother says as she gives a light squeeze to heejin's shoulder. 

"alright mom, we are gonna go upstairs" hyunjin says and gives her mother a kiss on the cheek. "please make dinner for heejin too, she's staying the night" 

before heejin can say anything, hyunjin holds onto her hand and pulls her up the staircase along with her. 

as soon as they enter hyunjin's room, heejin finally speaks up, "hyunjin i'm not staying the night" 

"yes you are" 

"no i'm not" 

"yes you are" 

"i don't have my clothes or anything here!" heejin huffs. 

"i'm pretty sure all my clothes are good enough for you, about toothbrushes and stuff, i have new ones" hyunjin tells her. 

"but i have homework" heejin pouts. 

"it's the weekend" hyunjin answers. 

"i didn't even inform my mom before coming here-" 

"i did" hyunjin says. 

"what?" heejin asks, almost not believing what she just heard, "when?" 

"while we were walking to here" 

"and she just agreed?" heejin asks. 

"you know, your mom could say no to you, but never to me. she loves me" hyunjin shrugs. 

heejin knows that the girl is right, her mom does kinda adore hyunjin. not that she would ever accept it tho. 


"okay that's enough of your excuses. stay here, i'll get you a change of clothes and then later we are watching a movie" hyunjin says as she makes her way towards the closet, making heejin sigh. 

the next half an hour is a chaos of them changing, freshening up and grabbing some snacks before they finally settle in hyunjin's bed. 

"alright, what do you wanna watch?" hyunjin asks. "and no, don't say naruto" 

"meanie" heejin pouts, "okay, any marvel movie is fine" 

hyunjin nods as she searches for some movie on her laptop. it's barely 5 minutes before she plays an avengers movie. 

both of the girls settle back comfortably in hyunjin's bed as they watch the movie.

however, halfway through the movie, heejin finds herself completely zoned out. 

her thoughts wander back to the bad results she got in her last vocal lessons at the company and the test she barely passed at the school last week. she feels disappointed in herself, she was supposed to do better. there were so many people expecting good things from her, she needed to prove-

"earth to jeon heejin" hyunjin snaps her fingers in front of heejin's eyes, pulling her out of the thoughts. 

"oh shit, i'm sorry. i didn't mean-"

"hey, shh, it's alright" hyunjin smiles a little at her as she pauses the movie, turning towards heejin and taking one of her hands in hers. 

hyunjin's fingers interlock with hers easily, her hands are bigger, always making heejin feel safer. 

"what's up? what are you so lost in your thoughts about?" hyunjin asks, her voice soft and her gaze softer. heejin feels a little warmth creep to her heart. 

"it's stupid" heejin shakes her head, trying to look away from hyunjin's eyes. 

"it's not stupid if it bothers you heejin. come on, talk to me about it" the taller girl urges. 

"it's just" heejin sighs as she looks down, "you know, last week's results.. and school is being burdensome as well. it's all just too much,i guess" 

"hey, last week's results, they mean nothing. you've always aced every other session except it-" 

"exactly hyun. that's why i feel so disappointed. i know i could've done so much better" she unknowingly plays with hyunjin's fingertips, "it's just,, i don't want to let people down. and if i don't debut-" 

"heejin you ARE going to debut. the company would be beyond stupid if they don't let you debut" hyunjin tells her. 

"you can't say that hyun" heejin looks at the girl. 

"yes i can. i have been in the company longer than you, and i have seen so many trainees come and go. you are among the few who i can already see debuting" hyunjin says. 

"does the 'few' include you?" heejin teases. 

"well, duh. imagine not letting kim hyunjin debut, that would be so stupid" hyunjin says, looking like she's actually a hundred percent assured in her words (she probably is). 

"let's debut together then" heejin smiles. 

"of course" hyunjin smiles back, "and about school, you're gonna be fine okay? but if you need any help, you know i'm here. we can study together too" 

heejin gives hyunjin's hand a little squeeze. "thanks hyun" 

"there's no need for it little lady" hyunjin says as she pulls her hand away from heejin's, "let's watch the movie" 

heejin hums in response as hyunjin starts the movie again. they settle back once more and heejin takes a quick glance at her best friend's face (her eyes are fixed on the laptop screen), a smile unknowingly makes its way to her lips. 

what would i do without her?, she thinks.

she wraps her arm around hyunjin's, shifting closer and leaning her head against the taller girl's shoulder. 



"you're always gonna be with me, right?" 


"you promise?" 

"i promise heekie" 

(present day) 

the car comes to a stop, pulling heejin out of her reverie. 

she climbs out of the vehicle, following behind vivi, sooyoung and yerim. she notices that the other two cars are already parked, meaning they were the last ones to reach. 

as she enters the dorm, the first thing she wants to do is run to her room and just fall asleep because she feels drained, both physically and mentally. 

however, as she drags her feet towards the door, someone stops her. she looks up to find hyejoo standing there. 

"i'm gonna stay in chaewon's room tonight, we are planning to play video games" the younger girl informs her. 

heejin raises an eyebrow, hinting towards the words that she's not willing to say out loud. 

hyejoo quickly catches on, "no don't worry, i'm not gonna ask hyunjin to room with you or anything. chae and i can share a bed" 

"okay then" heejin says as hyejoo smiles at her before leaving. 

for a second, heejin lets her eyes wander, not mentally willing to admit that she's looking for someone even though she is. 

she finds her, giggling as she tickles yeojin relentlessly on the couch, the younger girl trying her best to push her hands away between laughs. 

"HYUNJIN UNNIIIEEEE!!! STOPP" yeojin shrieks. 

haseul stands a little distance away watching the pair, an amused smile on her lips. 
heejin smiles slightly at haseul when the girl catches her eye, gesturing that she'll be calling it a day. 

haseul nods, getting distracted almost as quickly when yeojin manages to push hyunjin off her (and off the couch). she quickly goes to help hyunjin up and heejin takes that as her cue to leave. 

when she finally enters her room, heejin wastes no time in changing and freshening up, her body almost begging her to just go and sleep. 

she falls face first on the bed once she's done, slowly pulling the covers over her body. 

she's almost about to fall asleep (that's what she tells herself, in reality her thoughts are still a mess) when she hears a notification going off on her phone. 

she grabs the device with a groan, unlocking it quickly to see who texted. 

the name she sees is the last one she would have expeected.

kim hyunjin

she opens the text. 

kim hyunjin : hey. i hope i didn't make the show uncomfortable for you but if i did, i'm sorry. 

you didn't, heejin almost wants to type but stops when another text pops up. 

kim hyunjin : goodnight 

a bitter chuckle escapes heejin's lips as she puts her phone back on the nightstand. 

always huh?