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how do you talk to an angel?

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Sometimes Dahyun wonders what kind of ceiling René Descartes was staring at when he came up with the Cartesian plane.

Was it just like the one she was staring at right now?

A dirty white pockmarked surface with visible water stains and fissures helplessly covered up by layers of dilapidated waterproof sealants, accumulated through time and time again roof leaks that a multi-million won-endowed private school somehow cannot find a solution to?

If René was here, would he be able to imagine a Cartesian plane on this too?

Dahyun squints at the obnoxious white, trying to get a hold of the intense boredom (and curiosity) the mathematician must have had to be able to come up with a two-line graph for data pairs from a bland surface.

She doesn't have any idea why Yves asked to meet here when they could have just met at the diner or any other cooler place that isn't school.

Meh. She's weird but I'm weird too so that's okay. We're already here so...

"You're gonna snap your neck if you don't stop that."

“Unnie.” Dahyun breathes out, unwavering in her stare down with the cracks of the ceiling. “When do you think will they ever move us to a new room?”

It was a helpless fit when the maintenance staff turned the small worn-down storage room at the end of the west wing hall into the official Student Welcoming Committee office early last academic year.

The only difference between the old storage room and the so-called office now is the old sofa Yves and Jiwoo contributed, brought over from the old journalism club's newsroom. It comes in handy when no one wants to use the creaky (and dangerous) table and when Dahyun just wants to sleep in peace because nobody ever goes to this end of the hall. Nowadays, however, it looks like it's two butts away from falling apart so Yves just drapes a white cloth over it and settles for the hazardous small dining table-turned-meeting desk as their new workplace now.

Aside from the creaky furniture, there are also the busted lights that always feel like Dahyun's in a rave party, the lone window in the room that never seems to open wider than half its ability to, and, of course, the leaky ceiling.

Everything about the Student Welcoming Committee screams half-assed by the frugal school, much to the honor Dahyun knows she's somehow obligated to feel considering how this organization was built in her concern, fought to existence by the great Student Council President Park Jihyo, so that Dahyun's sad welcoming (or lack thereof) will never repeat again, and to also help guide the new students of the esteemed (stingy) Apgujeong Private High School.

The entire summer break has flown by and yet the school still hasn’t decided to spare their tiny office room any attention and saving.

Dahyun feels really dejected now.

“Stop that. You need to stay alive if they ever do move us to a new room.” Yves, the oldest member of the Student Welcoming Committee (a pretty junior everybody else somehow ends up being too afraid to talk to), settles down on the head seat of the worn-down meeting table.

“If you continue staring at the ceiling, your blood’s gonna rush over to your head. Or you’ll just just snap your neck.” She shrugs. “You die in both ways.”

“That’s…" Dahyun gulps, craning her neck back to place. Okay now she gets why everybody else is afraid of Yves Ha. "That's scary, unnie…"

“It’s stupid.” Yves focuses on fixing a clump of papers, aligning the edges with the help of the table. She slides the clipped stack over to Dahyun.

“Now sit down properly. I only have a few minutes before my parents find out I snuck out. Again. I just have to talk to you about the new student arriving in a few days.”  

Dahyun does what she's told without sparing a second. She's known to be a good kid and the only student scary junior Yves doesn't bluntly ignore unlike everyone else. Dahyun would very much like to keep it that way and try not to ruin her chances with the only organization that's going to help make her college applications look spotless and perfect.

Yves nods her head to the clipped stack of papers in front of Dahyun. "Those are from the Principal Park."

It's a black-and-white photocopy of a slam book page, colorful and decorated with stickers of Kim Wansun and Michael Jackson, among other things, torn off at one side.

Dahyun immediately recognizes it from the Guidance office's, with how she used to stay over there during her freshman year answering Ms. Kwon's slam books. They make new students go over and answer. Judging from the unfamiliar scribbles of what seems to be shaky but neat handwriting, in one of those glittery pens Ms. Kwon collects, this must be the new student's slam book page.

"Mina Sharon Myoui?" Dahyun reads the first line. Her lips learn the unfamiliar name like a prayer, reciting over and over again until it slips off in such a graceful, wealthy sound, her slam book page's very own k!M dü3u sounds and looks like a disgrace now.

When Yves corrects her faulty pronunciation with her very own sultry, airy, and elegant voice, reading Mina Sharon Myoui with a slightly-off and intimidating Western accent, Dahyun feels even more awe-struck.

Can someone actually be named that beautifully?

"Principal Park asked if I could show her around at the start of the school, but I still have things to do with the talent show so I thought of giving you this one." Yves is normally in-charge of the older new students, considering how Dahyun is a squirming ball of nerves and the personification of embarrassment whenever she’s near a senior, let alone a senior with a pretty sounding name.

“You think her name sounds pretty?” Yves smiles.

Did I just say that out loud?

“Wait ‘til you see her then.”

Dahyun feels her breath hitch.

So here’s the thing: Girls are a hard topic. Confusing. It’s like approaching a ticking bomb and picking through the colored wires for the one to cut off, to stop the explosion. An intricate and fatal experience.

With girls, Dahyun is a mess.

Ever since transferring to this prestigious (cheapskate) school, all she’s ever got herself entangled with is a bundle of trouble and confusion because somehow, the girls in the city are far different than the ones she grew up seeing in the province. Suddenly, Dahyun's no longer a Tony Ahn and Andy Lau fangirl, and her Walkman has only ever played Kim Wansun and Mariya Takeuchi ever since. She likes to blame it on the city's upbeat lifestyle but everyone knows it's the people.

The girls in the city are always trouble.

"Why is she coming in so late?" Dahyun asks, interest caught when it dawns on her that this is the first student who’s decided to enroll so late in her high school years.

As far as she’s concerned, people usually try to avoid transferring schools in their senior years. Adjusting and adapting is a different kind of challenge when it’s high school and education isn’t your only obstacle to face. It’s even harder when you’re transferring to a school like Apgujeong High, whose students (seniors) only take into account all the superficial aspects of your life and use them as the deciding basis on whether you’re a Cher Horowitz or a Tai Frasier.

"I have no idea", Yves shrugs nonchalantly. She’s a Cher, it explains. Always has been. "All I know is that she must be pretty fucking loaded to enroll here so easily. She has dorms all sorted out and even has an entire room all to herself."

Dahyun's jaw drops. "The entire room?!"

Yves nods with a lopsided smirk, impressed herself.

"Woah…"

The dorm situations are pretty normal and sufficient for a province girl who lived sharing the same room with her parents and older brother for the entirety of her growing-up life.

The rooms are big at the dorm, enough for two to three residents. Dahyun shares hers with Jihyo–which is fucking cool–and their space is neat and clutter-free all the time. It's what you get when the Student Council President is your roommate.

Dahyun doesn't know much about how things work at the dorms but for this new pretty-named student to get one entire room for herself...she must either be really wealthy to afford the hefty rent (seeing as she isn't a scholarship-admitted student unlike Dahyun) or she just doesn't like sharing her own space with others.

Either way, this new kid is interesting.

Dahyun is already excited to meet her when the school year starts.

 


 

Fuck this shit. Dahyun wants to back out.

She’s normally a resilient person. Kim Dahyun never exits a fight unless when she needs to and someone’s already dying. Other than that, she’s able to withstand everything thrown her way. She falls down and stumbles a lot, but that doesn’t stop her from finishing whatever it is she has to finish.

It’s what Kim Dahyun is known for–other than the more obvious things she’s famous for (i.e. her eagle dance in the freshman orientation week last year that’ll probably make its way to the school yearbook, her glaring blonde hair that makes her stand out among all the other brunettes and colored streak clip-ons, so on and so forth).

This, however...Dahyun isn’t known for this.

 


 

(It starts with Jackson Wang. Because of course it does.)

It was pretty much an uneventful day, like all the other days when you live far away from home and all your other friends are older, more important people.

Dahyun spends her days out in the streets, looking for new places to hang at or cheap arcades to play in. By the afternoon, she goes with her Jeongyeon and Momo unnie to school for their summer training sessions, watching from the bleachers and just chilling with the latest volume of Neon Genesis Evangelion to read. 

This is the entirety of Kim Dahyun’s day, a consistency in her life that is somehow a source of steady comfort and assurance now.

The bleachers by the open field are empty this summer afternoon. The only people present are a few teachers and staff preparing for the academic year opening next week and the student athletes in their pre-season training sessions staying around.

Dahyun feels at peace the most during these times of solitude.

The sunset spreading by the horizon, past the outlines of the school buildings and behind the cotton clouds fanned out by the afternoon breeze; the sight of the soccer team training by the lush green field, her Jeongyeon and Momo unnie spearheading with their amazing athletic abilities. The final touch of perfection is her Walkman right beside her, flimsy lightweight headphones on the sides of her head, blasting the familiar intro of Sweet Caroline to her soul.

Dahyun bobs her head to the happy beat.

She decides to read her manhwa while waiting, to save time and be able to watch Sailor Moon without any hindrance when she gets back to the dorms later.

When she fishes for her thin comic book inside her bag however, the casualties left by the hurricane movements of her time-pressured haste has her pulling out the wrong clump of papers.

Mina Sharon Myoui’s pretty cursive handwriting greets Dahyun’s eyes, just when the chorus of Sweet Caroline plays.

It suddenly feels like she’s in a field of flowers.

Dahyun ends up forgetting about her manhwa. There’s something even more interesting, quite enthralling, with what she’s seeing, the brave answers from the likes and favorites page of Mina’s slam book entry.

Unlike the first few pages that only ask about general info like contact details (which Mina left blank, unfortunately) and home addresses (again, blank), this page is adorned with pretty cursive handwriting and scientifically-questionable, perfectly-drawn circles over the Choose Your Favorite! questions.

Dahyun finds out a lot about Mina Sharon Myoui even before meeting her.  

Her job as a welcoming committee member didn’t entail that she had to study every bit of information about the new student, let alone a senior. When Yves did this, she was all professional and outwardly friendly, never too warm to get personal but just enough to be acquaintances.

Dahyun didn’t need to know that Mina liked Jasmines and Angels Breaths, preferred Gap’s Grass over the Dream’s scent, watched the Love Letter more than once a month, and was head-over-heels in love with the two Itsuki Fujii in the film.

She didn’t need to waste her time knowing these, but she stays reading nonetheless, smiling at every heart drawn at the end of a name, at every unusual pick and interesting answer.

She hasn’t met Mina Sharon Myoui, yet somehow, Dahyun already likes her.

At the bottom part of the page is the most interesting portion of the entire slam book. A question of ideals and the likes.

What is your ideal type?

She’d probably describe someone from the boys’ basketball team, Dahyun thinks. With their virility overhyped by television, everyone suddenly thinks high school boys from private schools are like Asian counterparts of Leo, Devon Sawa, or Rider Strong when in reality, they’re really just a bunch of disgusting big babies. 

Dahyun’s nose scrunches at the sour taste of the idea.

She looks down at Mina’s answer, hoping she won’t be fooled like the rest.

(Spoiler alert: Dahyun doesn’t get to find out.)

Before she can even read a single word, however, an arm is thrown around her shoulders roughly, almost sending her falling down the bleachers and perfectly knocking off her headphones.

It’s sweaty and hard, as heavy as a bowling bowl from Park’s Alley, biceps the size of a compact disk. A wisp of strong men’s perfume blows its way to Dahyun’s face, sending her nose scrunching with a burning kind of sensation. Her nostrils feel like they’re on fire.

She already knows who it is.

“Oppa, ew!” Dahyun tries to move away but Jackson practically headlocks her in place, ruffling her hair.

“Is my Dahyunnie grossed out by her hyung now!?” Jackson pouts, feigning offense.

“Oppa, get off. You’re sweaty!”

There’s a glint of mischief in the basketball captain’s eyes, his fake kicked puppy act unable to hold down the cackle that slices through the peaceful stillness of a few minutes ago. Even a few of the cheerleaders and soccer players training on the field look up at them, attention caught by the rather boisterous laughter of the notorious Jackson Wang.

As if the unwanted attention isn’t enough, Jackson’s mischievous eyes notice the paper in Dahyun’s hands, the cause of her stern focus and sought privacy.

He grabs it quickly, because Jackson is just like that. Always has been the most annoying older brother friend in Dahyun’s entire life, and Dahyun’s naturally poor ability to react unsurprisingly leaves her frozen and jaw-slacked, because she’s also like every unfortunately pestered little sister in this narrative.

“What is this?” Jackson singsongs, eyes brightly scanning the paper.

Dahyun fights to get it back when it dawns on her, because no one is supposed to know there’s going to be a new student at least before the school year. Because no person also deserves to have their personal slam book pages in the wrong hands .

But Jackson is at least two heads taller, three times bigger, and a thousand and more ways faster and stronger than Dahyun, so she obviously loses the battle and only gets effortlessly–humiliatingly– shoved away with just one hand.

That goes on for about a few more embarrassing minutes before Coach Solji starts moving towards their way and Jackson decides he’s had enough fun tormenting his little sister. He gives it back with a sheepish smile. 

Dahyun doesn’t have the heart to punch his arm for the humiliation. She stomps on his foot instead.

Jackson doesn’t feel anything through the thick protection of his Reebok pumps but he pretends he does for Dahyun’s bruised ego, yelping and stumbling back.

It looks too scripted for Dahyun to care. She slumps back down on her seat with a huff, shoulders lagging when the exhaustion from getting the slam book pages back kicks in.

Jackson, unfortunately, continues to stay to keep her company.

(Any other day Dahyun would appreciate this. Jackson Wang is a big name in school, and everyone would love to be pestered by him. But now, this is the last thing she wants. Jackson is a big name but he’s also a big, loud mouth. )

He snoops over Dahyun’s shoulders. “That’s the new student?”

Ugh. Dahyun doesn’t answer.

Jackson lights up in amusement. He playfully begins poking at Dahyun’s shoulder, as if that would get her to give him the answer he already knows.

“It is then.” He gives in when Dahyun doesn’t. “You better be careful, okay?”

The change in his playful tone is uncanny, especially because it drifts to a tenor that sounds as if Jackson Wang is actually serious about something.

Dahyun can’t help but fall into the bait. “Be careful of what?”

Jackson is sitting with his muscular arms stretched out behind him, leaning back leisurely as his smirk drifts off to midair.

“The new kid. My boys know all about her already.”

Dahyun narrows her eyes skeptically at the basketball captain. Jackson’s little spies were all over town, doing errands for him. He was a mafia boss in the making.

“What are you talking about, oppa?”

“One of my boys told me she’s fucking loaded.” Jackson cocks an eyebrow up, playing Dahyun into his game. He knows getting one trivia detail correct is the only key to gaining Dahyun’s attention and trust.

 Dahyun hates how everyone knows she’s that easy.

“And your point is…?”

Jackson faces her altogether, lopsided smirk infuriatingly cheeky when he leans a little bit closer to whisper, “The new kid? She’s the daughter…of a Yakuza boss.”

Dahyun blinks. “A what?”

“You know? Those big crime syndicates in Japan? She’s Japanese, right?”

Dahyun isn’t sure but the surname kind of gave it away. “Um…yeah?”

“Then, yes. Yakuza Princess.” Jackson sits back up, certain. “My boys never do me wrong. Be careful, Fake Little Sister.”

The gears in Dahyun’s head move rather slowly, trying to grasp the information she’s just heard. Jackson Wang is a man of his words, according to her Jeongyeon unnie (given that only applies when he owes her something like mocha buns or a free ride with his sports car, never about Japanese crime syndicates) this, however, is something Dahyun just can’t comprehend properly.

Nothing about what Jackson said makes any sense in her head. She’s not left with anytime trying to understand it even more, when the shrill sound of the whistle blowing breaks through her muddled thoughts.

A few minutes later Jeongyeon joins them already, attractively rugged-looking and mildly disordered from her rigorous training session. Sweat sticks the fabric of her shirt against her stomach, outlining to-die-for toned abs.

Even through her disheveled glory, hair tied up in a ponytail and a towel wrapped around her neck, Dahyun’s Jeongyeon unnie is still as cool as ever, every girl and boys’ crush.

“Wangwang! What are you doing out here? Training done?” She asks towards Jackson, doing some sort of bro-shake with him. When she sees Dahyun’s little frown, it dawns on her. 

“Messing around Dahyunnie again, I see?”

Jackson snorts, waving his hand in dismissal. “Nah. I was just telling Dahyun about the new senior coming in.”

“Oh. Next week?”

Dahyun forgot. The new school year starts next week so Mina will also be coming in then. 

Suddenly, her throat dries up at the thought of meeting the new student, now a different reaction from before Jackson poisoned her mind into having double thoughts about the pretty-named senior.

“Kid? Are you okay?” Jeongyeon’s warm, fond-trickled voice snaps Dahyun out of her reverie. The esteemed soccer captain is already sitting down on the bleachers next to her gym bag, kicking off her shoes unceremoniously.

“Did Jackson say something stupid again?” She huffs, brows furrowing at the basketball captain standing in front, shrugging his shoulders innocently. 

“Uh, yeah…”

“It wasn’t stupid!” Jackson rebukes. 

“Something about the new student, I’m guessing?” Jeongyeon ignores his cries. 

Big surprise: Jeongyeon is an honorary member of the Welcoming Committee. Jihyo made her join as an unofficial school ambassador of some sorts—because parents like seeing students like Jeongyeon, all sporty, smart, and pretty, and more parents equals more profit for the school—but that doesn’t mean Jeongyeon joins the meetings or anything. She never does, to be honest. Her training schedules collide with team meetings and Yves has, more than once, expressed her desire to just set Jeongyeon free from the shackles of low-budget school org duties.

Despite that, oddly, Jeongyeon lowkey stays and keeps up to date.

“What did he say now?” Jeongyeon slips on her slippers, wiggling her toes in glee at the newfound liberty away from the confines of her socks. 

“Something about a Yakuza…” Dahyun puts the slam book pages back in her bag. 

“Yakuza!?” Jeongyeon exclaims, eyes throwing daggers at Jackson standing behind Dahyun. “And do you believe him?”

Dahyun hates that a part of her is questioning a lot of things now, connecting dots without her permission.

Her silence makes way for Jackson’s rebuttal. 

“What’s not to believe?” He says with much exasperation. He holds up his hand and begins counting his conjectures.

“One, she’s fucking rich. Dirty money from Yakuza business. Two, entire room for herself?” Jackson snorts. “Secrets! Yakuza things too! She probably has a knife set hiding under her bed. And three?” he trails off, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. “Isn’t it unsettling how she’s moving all this way to a new country, so late into her high school year, when she could’ve just...oh, I don’t know, transfer to some other better school there in Japan?” 

“Bullshit, Jackson.” Jeongyeon scoffs, breaking the noir tension between the jokester basketball captain and iffy little Dahyun. “You’re scaring Dahyun with your shitty jokes again.”

“I’m really not kidding!” Jackson looks like he’s on the burst of laughing and crying at the same time. 

Jeongyeon doesn’t believe him even more. “You know what? Just go back to your boys, Wang. I’m seriously going to kick your ass if you scare Dahyun off even more.” 

Jackson tries to say something else but Jeongyeon coils her fist to prepare a punch at his self-proclaimed perfectly-sculpted face, eventually sending him running off with a laugh. 

Dahyun’s too busy zoning out the entire time to notice anything, gulping a boulder down her parched throat as Jackson’s words finally strike her–the possibilities that pretty-named Mina Sharon Myoui might actually be a Yakuza Princess...

Oh no.

“Unnie.”

“Mm?” 

Dahyun stands up, walks besides Jeongyeon when they begin trudging down the bleachers.

“Can you come with me next week?”

“Where?”

“At the welcoming.”

Jeongyeon snorts. She pulls Dahyun close when they exit the field. “You’re seriously believing Jackson?”

Dahyun doesn’t answer. Her trembling shoulders when Jeongyeon wraps an arm around them are enough of one.

“He’s just joking around, Hyun. Don’t believe that clown.”

“Still.” Dahyun snuggles closer to her unnie. “I’ll buy you mocha buns for an entire month in exchange.”

Jeongyeon drifts off to pondering silence for a few seconds, contemplating the unfair negotiation. “You do know that you’re just putting yourself up for the shorter end of the stick, right? You don’t need to buy me mocha buns for an entire month because there’s nothing to be afraid of, Dubs. Jackson’s just messing with you.”

Dahyun stays firm, however. “I’ll do your homework too.”

That , Jeongyeon can’t decline. “Ooh....you’re good at this.”

Jeongyeon may be smart, but she’s a little bit lazy too. They’re all humans here (more like, messed up teenagers).

“So?” Dahyun looks up at the older, taller girl with bright hopeful eyes. “Please come with me?” And protect me just in case? Hopefully the need never rises…

Jeongyeon rolls her eyes with a defeated sigh. “Sure. Whatever. Mocha buns and homework for a month?”

“Deal.” Dahyun offers a handshake to seal everything close.

Jeongyeon reluctantly accepts with a shrug. “You do know you’re not the favorable one in this situation right?”

“It’s okay.” Dahyun knows. Somehow, it already feels like she’s losing way too much. It’ll be okay.

She pushes down the bitter feeling with a tight hold around her Jeongyeon unnie’s arm. “I have you.” You’ll be the one for Mina.

 


 

Jeongyeon’s innate valor is contagious. 

It helps knock a little sense into Dahyun’s timidity. 

Maybe this is why almost the entire school has a crush on unnie…

The courage sets its peak the night before their first day back in school when–obviously overlooking the fact that she’s going to meet the new pretty-named senior tomorrow morning as well–Dahyun realizes that she’s going to be a sophomore now. Not as ideally naive as her freshman self but also not as defeatist as the juniors and seniors. 

Sophomore year just hits right. Something tells Dahyun it’s going to be different this time. 

Exactly what kind of different? Dahyun hopes it’s the good one. 

She doesn’t have the heart and energy to deal with any more drama. All she wants for now is a lighthearted year, one where she can learn and enjoy herself, and hopefully still have all 206 of her bones intact by the end. 

UGH. Dahyun is promptly reminded again of her important obligations tomorrow. 

The small spark of courage inside of her is like a precarious pole standing alone in the middle of a heavy storm, unguarded and exposed. All it takes is a reminder of what’s to happen for it to come burning out.

“Unnie?” Dahyun mumbles, eyes still fixed on the latest episode of Sailor Moon playing in front of them. 

Jihyo sits right next to her on the floral chintz sofa, one leg tucked underneath the other that hangs limply on the edge of the cushion. Her attention briefly leaves her script for tomorrow's opening remarks, eyes drifting to her golden-haired roommate for a short warm glance, "Yes?" 

Dahyun feels bad for dragging her unnie here when she's clearly busy with other things. They're really not supposed to be staying up and watching a rerun of the new Sailor Moon episode in the dining hall. It's a big day tomorrow and they– she– will need all the energy in the world to survive it.

“Have you heard of the new senior?” 

Still, Dahyun couldn't sleep or even close her eyes for a single second. Her mind continues involuntarily trying to assess the situation and coming up with possible escape tactics–should the need rise (currently she's in Strategy #13, the one where she uses her nonexistent and clearly exaggerated martial arts skills to twist her attacker's arms and throw them over her shoulder)–to the point where even Jihyo had noticed her younger roommate's concerning sleepless and uneasy state. 

Mission Get Dahyun To Stop Overthinking had to be implemented by  means of dragging the younger girl down to the dining hall to watch some TV, Dahyun’s go-to stress management routines.

Jihyo doesn’t watch much, especially when it’s curfew time and it's a clear breach of dorm rules and an abuse of her Hall Monitor duties for them to be lounging at the dining hall so late at night, but this is Dahyun and the sunshine girl had always been a soft spot in Jihyo’s heart. 

For her, Jihyo would do anything. 

“Ah…” she trails off with a nod, closing her binder with a soft flap. Jihyo had been waiting for Dahyun to realize they weren’t watching Sailor Moon anymore–at least, she wasn’t–and that she had been zoning out the entire time.

“Is this why you couldn’t sleep?” 

Dahyun feels really bad now. 

“I’m sorry if I got you worried, unnie.” She hangs her head low, unable to hold back the downward tug at the corners of her lips. 

Dahyun absolutely hates having people concern themselves over her. To be a burden is the last thing she’d want and for all Dahyun cares, her only role in everybody else’s life is the bubbly side character or, to others, a nondescript prop in their show. 

“Hey, look at me.” Jihyo lifts Dahyun’s head up with a finger, softly brushing her thumb against Dahyun’s trembling chin. “It’s okay, Dahyunnie. If you’re comfortable to, you can tell me what’s bothering you.” 

Dahyun feels like drowning in Jihyo’s full, caramel eyes looking at her warmly, patiently. She waits in hopeful silence and Dahyun honestly thinks the world got too generous letting her path cross with such a wonderful person like her Jihyo unnie. 

“It’s just that…” Dahyun can’t find her own words. 

Talking isn't linear. Outside, everyone knows Dahyun is exceptional at it. Class presentations, music recitals. If talking was a talent, she would have been a professional by now.

But the thing is, talking used to be easy because there was a script. There was a fixed topic to explain, information already sewn together perfectly. All Dahyun had to do was interpret the information in her own elementary way.

Talking is easy, until you have to explain. How it happens and why it came to be... Outside, everyone knows Dahyun is exceptional at talking. Inside, however, she can’t even understand herself enough to know where to begin explaining. 

“Can I just ask…” Jihyo’s calm words interrupt the turmoil happening inside Dahyun's head. It helps that she interrupts. Dahyun doesn’t know how to talk all of a sudden. 

“Does this have any, even at the slightest, involvement of Jackson Wang?”

Dahyun’s eyes feel like rolling out of their sockets. 

Her reaction is enough for Jihyo to understand. 

“So it does…” she rolls her eyes, already imagining more than ten ways to kill Jackson the next time she sees him. “I should have known that jackass had something to do with this…”

“Unnie, he said...he said that the new student was…” Dahyun just wants the ground to swallow her whole. She feels stupid for believing, but also scared. “... dangerous…

“Sweetie”, Jihyo’s natural mom voice manifests itself. Her hand rests on Dahyun’s cheek, caressing it. “Don’t believe that son of a bitch.” 

Someday, Dahyun thinks, Jihyo would make the best mom ever

“Just because someone’s rich and from Japan doesn’t automatically mean they belong to a family of elaborate crime syndicates.” 

Dahyun sighs, feeling stupid because of course , she knows that. The rational part of her is absolutely sure Jackson’s just messing with her again. She’s always been the easier target especially when left without the protection of her unnies. 

It’s just that...hearing Jihyo say it clearly to her now, Dahyun feels even more foolish.

“From what I know, the new student used to be a ballerina.” Jihyo smiles, pulling her hand back. “She also came from a Catholic all-girls prep school in Japan. Those don’t scream heiress to a Japanese Crime Syndicate family to me.”

“Wha—how do you know all those stuff?!” Dahyun exclaims, confused because those weren’t in the slam book. 

Jihyo shrugs, smiling playfully. “Jackson’s not the only one with connections, Hyun.” 

“Unnie!”

“Fine, fine.” Jihyo stands up and stretches her arms out. “Yves mentioned them.”

Dahyun huffs bitterly, feeling betrayed that her Yves unnie didn’t mention those to her , the one actually meeting the new student tomorrow. 

“Anyways, contrary to how Jackson probably made you imagine the new senior is like, I actually see her as a sweet girl. You’ll have a blast showing her around. You know all the cool places in town!” Jihyo exclaims giddily and for once, Dahyun is actually sure of herself because that is true. 

“You can take her to Park’s Alley and go bowling or down at the funky roller skating rink and teach her how to roller skate. Show her the arcade at Deux too! Everyone loves it there. Or, you know, if she’s more of the chill kind, just take her to your favorite music store. The one selling the vinyls. She’ll probably fall in love with you if you do that.” 

“What…?” Fall in love? 

Jihyo chuckles sheepishly, realizing how much she had been gushing. “I mean, I gotta be honest, Dubu, you seemed so cool and adorable when you brought me there before. You were talking all about The Beatles, Neil Diamond, Depeche Mode... it was so cool. If only I... swung your way ...I would have totally had a crush on you.” 

She means it so platonically now, with a pat on Dahyun’s head to finish, that Dahyun doesn’t see anything beyond a supportive older sister in Jihyo, always trying to cheer her up when she needs it the most. 

“Thank you, unnie.” For everything.

Jihyo smiles, one hand moving down to grab at Dahyun’s own. “No prob, kiddo.” 

“We should probably call it a night though.” She pulls her up to a stand, using her other hand to reach for the remote and turn the TV off. “We have a big day tomorrow.”

Dahyun sighs, feeling her chest all easy and light again. Jihyo’s company is always a breath of fresh air. 

When they return back to their room and separate ways to unite with the soft covers of their respective beds, Jihyo turns on Dahyun’s nightlight in the middle nightstand and wishes her younger roommate goodnight. 

“Sleep tight, Dahyunnie.” Jihyo mumbles, acknowledged with a soft, sleepy hum. “Tomorrow’s going to be the start of something exciting for us all.” I can feel it.