Yerim kisses her on an impulse.
They’re on the couch playing video games, and Chaewon gets up to go to the bathroom so it’s just the two of them, feet tangled up and this odd, unpalatable tension between them. Hyejoo opens her mouth to say something, but all Yerim can see is her stupidly dark eyes and her stupidly pouty lips and the stupid flush on her cheeks, and—
Yerim’s heart pounds.
The music in the background is playing, that menu music that Chaewon hums non-stop under her breath to annoy Sooyoung. But it doesn't matter when Yerim’s leaning over and closing her eyes and suddenly Hyejoo’s lips are under hers, soft and warm; and Yerim tries to pour everything she doesn’t say out loud into this one kiss.
Hyejoo makes a surprised little noise. But she kisses Yerim back even though Yerim wasn’t sure if she would, and that's all that matters. Yerim’s heart flutters, pleased.
The toilet flushes. Hyejoo jerks away from her, face red, and Yerim’s hands clutch at empty air.
Hyejoo shakes her head. “Not when she's—” she says, and gestures helplessly towards the bathroom and Yerim wishes she doesn't get it, but she does.
There's a reason why she never acted on this earlier.
“Not without her,” Hyejoo finishes.
They stare at each other for a moment, and Yerim treasures the softness in Hyejoo’s eyes, the same expression she's been looking at her with since they were still kids in high school and Yerim skipped over to Hyejoo’s classroom because even back then, she knew that she didn't want Hyejoo to feel left out, ever. (Same goes for Chaewon. And that's why Yerim doesn't protest when Hyejoo pulls away, because she's not selfish like that.)
“Okay,” Yerim answers, and it's a promise.
This time, Chaewon is the one who makes the first move. She catches Yerim by the wrist when they’re on the way to the fridge, spinning the two of them around until Yerim’s trapped between Chaewon and the wall. It's three in the morning and half of their friends are asleep; and Yerim’s eyes sting from tiredness, but she doesn’t want to go to sleep when Hyejoo and Chaewon decide to join Jinsol’s movie night. The television blares in the next room over.
“You kissed her.”
Straight to the point, no bullshit. Yerim trembles under the force of Chaewon’s gaze. It's funny— Chaewon’s voice is gentle, and the words have no malice in them, but Yerim feels like her knees could buckle at any moment.
“I'm sorry,” she whispers. But she doesn't look away, doesn't dare to.
Chaewon’s mouth thins, the slightest movement. “Are you? Are you really?”
She leans forward, closer.
If it wasn't Chaewon, maybe she would've talked back. If Yerim hadn't been raised with politeness ingrained into her bones, maybe she would've fought back with don't ask questions you don't want to know the answer to.
But maybe she wants Chaewon to know the answer.
“Chaewon,” Yerim says. A plea. Shaky.
She's only felt like this with one other person before.
Yerim wants more than she can have. And she's greedy when it comes to Chaewon; she gives more than she can take when it comes to Hyejoo. But she loves both of them, so much that it's taken over her life by now, all her wants and hopes and dreams and desires— it's theirs. Sometimes she catches Chaewon smiling at Hyejoo with that special, sweet expression she saves for the two of them; and her heart yearns.
“Please,” Yerim breathes out.
Chaewon reaches up and cups her cheek. Her thumb rubs circles on Yerim’s skin, and Yerim leans into her touch, needy.
“Are you sorry?” Chaewon repeats.
Yerim stares at her, lips parted, barely daring to breathe, but she manages to say— “I'm not.”
“Good,” Chaewon replies simply. “Because this would be a mistake, otherwise.”
Then she’s kissing Yerim like she means it.
It's the most fragile between the two of them. Everyone knows about this thing between the three of them; know about the way Yerim clings onto Hyejoo and Hyejoo lets her; and it doesn't take a genius to see how much Chaewon and Hyejoo adore each other. But Yerim and Chaewon trade glances too, when they are alone. Softer, shyer, sweeter. And sometimes it feels like she's swimming uphill, grasping desperately at nothing; but then Chaewon saves the last piece of cake for her and doesn't mind Yerim using her as a pillow during breaks, and Yerim feels a little less uncertain during those times.
And this? This is one of them.
Yerim kisses back.