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Sugar Maple Tree

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

Feels like

I'm standing in a timeless dream

Of light mists,

With pale amber rose

 

 

*****

 

 

Early Spring of 2011,   3rd year of Middle School   

 

Mina can feel the chilly spring breeze caressing her cheeks as she goes outside their school building and starts walking towards their school gymnasium.     

It’s a beautiful spring day, but the wind is still carrying some remnants of the cold winter air so Mina wraps her red scarf around her neck while she admires the sprouting flowers scattered along their school’s pathways.  

She always loves the start of spring.   Mainly because she adores flowers- and Spring is a season that promises a beautiful scenery of colourful flowers every year.  

Secondly, because the beginning of spring also signifies that it’s already the start of her birthday month.   And Mina loves celebrating her birthdays with Ray and the special people in her life-  her family,  her few beloved friends, and of course- Jeongyeon.     

So on this one fine spring day, Mina walks excitedly towards their school gym.     Her classes ended earlier so she’s going to wait for her best friend instead.   

Mina is extra giddy because today-  is also the day before her birthday.   

 

*****

 

 

Jeongyeon’s basketball practice ended a bit later so Mina waits for almost an hour in their gym lobby.

When she sees Jeongyeon exits with Dahyun and Chaeyoung,  the trio immediately wave and smile at her.

“Mina-unnie!  Happy Birthday!”     Dahyun excitedly runs towards Mina and hugs her.

“My birthday’s tomorrow, Dahyun-ah.  But thank you.”    Mina smiles at the younger girl after the hug.

“Doesn’t matter, unnie.  I’m still gonna greet you every day until the end of March.”  

Dahyun proudly announces but there’s a faint blush in her cheeks when Mina smiles at her to say thank you again.

 

“Did you wait long, Mina-ya?    Sorry, coach requested us to run a few more drills today. ”     

Jeongyeon asks Mina as she gets her best friend’s bag and carry it herself.

“It’s ok, Jeong.   I finished all of my homework now anyways so it’s fine.”  

Mina confirms smiling and Jeongyeon holds her hand as they start walking together.

 

On their way home, Jeongyeon announces that they should go to the arcade as an early celebration for Mina’s birthday.   So the two girls went ahead to play in the arcade instead of walking to their nearest bus station.

 

When Jeongyeon spots the claw machine, she gets excited and keeps on playing it until she finally wins the cute penguin plushie and gives it to Mina with a lopsided smile,

“Happy Birthday, Mina-ya.”

“Thank you, Jeong”    Mina accepts the plushie gift from her best friend with a shy smile.

 

They continue playing inside the arcade and are so happy trying out almost all sorts of game in there that they eventually lost track of time.    It’s already past sunset when they finally exit the arcade store and the sky is now drizzling lightly with cold misty rain-   it turns out it’s the first spring shower of the year.

 

It’s funny how both girls forgot their umbrella that day.    And before Mina could even suggest to just buy one inside the arcade store,   Jeongyeon is already pulling her for a run towards the direction of the bus station.

Jeongyeon drapes her varsity jacket over them while they run together.    She’s using it as their shield from the light rain showers.   

But not even halfway through the station,  the light drizzles turn into heavy drops of rain and they need to stop running for a while or else they’ll both be drenched heavily.

 

The two girls stopped in front of a residential house- the small roof of its entrance gate immediately sheltering them from the heavy downpour.

A few minutes later, the gate of the house slowly opens and they see their teacher about to step out from it, with umbrella in hand.

“Miss Lee?   Oh Hello!”    Jeongyeon and Mina both bow their heads politely to their teacher.

“Mina-ssi?   what are you doing here?”  

 

Sunmi looks at the two young students with concerned eyes.   They look like poor little wet puppies with their school uniforms already soaked by the rain.  So when Mina shyly explained to her their predicament, Sunmi immediately invited them inside her house and offers them a fresh new set of clothes to change into.

 

Sunmi’s family house is rather small as compared to Myoui’s mansion but it’s very homey.   She lets the young girls stay there for a while, as they wait for the rain to stop and for Mina’s dad to fetch them.  

While they are all drinking hot tea on the dining table, Sunmi looks at her watch and smiles, and then she asks both girls with eager eyes-

 

“Do you want to see something cool?”

Both girls excitedly nodded.  

 

Sunmi then leads their way into the backdoor.   They exited into a covered wooden patio which stretches into a shaded walkway and apparently leads into a beautiful garden at the back of the house.  Most parts of the garden are covered with a transparent roof so they are protected from the spring showers outside.

 

It’s already night time and the garden is softly illuminated by the rustic white lamps hanging sturdily from the walkway’s wooden columns.   So the young girls can still see all the luscious flowers beautifully adorning the spacious garden.

 

Mina gasps as soon as her eyes caught of the colourful varieties of flowers, 

“They are so beautiful, Miss Lee.   Which flower is your favourite? ”  

 

“I love all of them.”   Sunmi answers while smiling warmly,   “But there’s a specific flower that’s very special to me.”  

And then she tugs Mina’s arm lightly to lead her into one corner of the garden.   Jeongyeon follows along just as excitedly.

“Here. This is my favourite.”     

Sunmi points to a plant with large green leaves and a fully closed flower bud.     The bud is mainly white with swirls of light green.  It is shaped like a large drop of dew.

 

Jeongyeon and Mina are wondering why it is their teacher’s favourite when it just looks like a closed green stalk.

Sunmi notices her students’ confusion but she just smiles after looking at her watch, 

“Two minutes.  You’ll see what I’m talking about in two minutes.   Just wait here for a second.”

Then Sunmi walks towards the light switch and turns off some of the garden lamps.     It gets a bit darker with only just one faint lamp remaining as the light source.   

 

Mina immediately clings onto Jeongyeon’s arms as her eyes adjust to the dark.    Jeongyeon holds Mina’s hand and wraps her other arm over to her best friend’s shoulders while they wait for their teacher to get back.

 

“One minute.   Just focus your eyes on them now.”    Sunmi instructed them as soon as she gets back to their spot.

 

Only the soft drizzles above the garden’s roof can be heard as Jeongyeon and Mina remains quiet while looking at the flower plant.     Both young girls are holding each other close as they remain their focus on the closed white flower bud being gently swayed by the chilly spring breeze.   

 

After a few seconds, the closed bud starts to move and it slowly begins to open up.   Its swirls of petals are carefully blossoming and widening slowly, until it completely blooms into a beautiful white flower.   

The flower’s petals are large and so white so the fully bloomed flower stands out completely in the dark as if it’s radiating a faint amount of white light.    

 

Jeongyeon and Mina are both holding their breath as they watch the fascinating phenomenon unfolds before their very eyes.  

Jeongyeon then looks at her best friend’s side, and she sees that Mina’s mouth is slightly opened and her eyes, still looking at the fully bloomed flower, are widened with pure amazement and awe.

She smiles knowing that Mina is enjoying this experience so much.  And Jeongyeon even feels happier thinking that she gets to witness this with her best friend.

 

“This is so cool!   This is the first time I’ve seen this.”    Mina finally comments after a while, her voice filled with sheer delight.

“What is the name of this flower, Miss Lee?”    Jeongyeon asks their teacher.

 

“It’s called the Moonflower.   They only bloom during the night.”    Sunmi softly explains, 

“It’s regarded as a sacred plant in some cultures- since it’s a metaphor for a beautiful blossoming amidst the darkness.”

 

Sunmi then walks closer to the girls and she gently puts both of her hands over to each of their shoulder before she smiles and finally concludes,

“The Moonflower also symbolizes that you can find peace and healing even during dark times.  And I     think it’s a lovely thing.”

 

Mina smiles widely at her teacher, “Now I know why this is your favourite flower, Miss Lee.”

 

 

Knowing full well how Mina loves flowers, Jeongyeon happily tells Sunmi that it is her best friend’s birthday tomorrow.    So she requested to their teacher to take a photo of them with the fully bloomed Moonflower in the background.      Sunmi then wholeheartedly obliges, saying it’s her birthday gift to the young girl.

 

So Jeongyeon and Mina pose giddily with the fully bloomed Moonflower between them as Sunmi takes a picture of her young students.   

 

The photo turns out beautifully- with Mina having her full gummy smiles on her face while she’s pointing at the Moonflower in the middle, and Jeongyeon is looking fondly at Mina while wearing her lopsided smile.    Both of them looked so happy in the photo, wearing their own trademark smiles, while their hands are intertwined with each other’s.

 

 

It’s the first photo of them with the Moonflower.   And it somehow becomes Mina’s birthday tradition after that.

 

*****

 

 

 

At Mina’s request, they always visit Sunmi’s house a day before her birthday to watch the Moonflower bloom at night.   And then Jeongyeon and Mina will always take a photo of them with the fully bloomed flower in the frame.

 

One time during their junior year in high school, Jeongyeon planned to surprise Mina and so she secretly planted a Moonflower in their balcony.   

She excitedly invited Mina into their home a night before her birthday, and both girls crouched down in the Yoo’s balcony as they patiently wait for the potted Moonflower to bloom.

But it never blooms.  And Jeongyeon sulks in their living room because her surprise is ruined.

Mina just smiles tenderly at her best friend and comments,  “It’s ok Jeong, it’s the thought that counts.”

“But we wouldn’t have a Moonflower selca for your birthday this year.  It’s too late now to visit Miss Lee’s house.”    Jeongyeon is still sulking.

 

Seungyeon, who’s watching a Korean drama in the Yoo’s living room then, gets irritated by Jeongyeon’s loud whining so she suggested a brilliant idea instead-

 

and so Jeongyeon and Mina found themselves smiling and posting in front of the Yoo’s TV where a huge wallpaper of Moonflower is projected in the screen.    

They still ended up continuing their tradition somehow and have their Moonflower selca that year, a night before Mina’s birthday.

 

And Mina wouldn’t have it any other way because Jeongyeon is with her.

 

*****

 

 

 

Late Winter of 2018, College Junior Year, 2nd semester

 

Jeongyeon has been wandering around the area for hours now.    She doesn’t know where she’s going. 

It’s snowing outside, and her tears are already dry.    She has been walking and crying ever since she walked away from that restaurant.

It still hurts.

 

She feels cold.   Her hands are already numb from the harsh winter air, but the crushing pain in her chest is more intense.

“Your hands are cold, Jeong.  Here let’s share this. ”

She suddenly hears Mina’s soft voice in her head.  She remembers the numerous times her best friend has handed her the expensive heat packs whenever she feels that Jeongyeon’s hand is freezing.   And then they would both hold it together in between their hands as they walk around during winter.

 

“Damn it.”    Jeongyeon holds her chest as the pain becomes too much for her to handle at the mere memory of her best friend.   

 

She suddenly feels weak.  So when she finds an empty bench in the middle of a public park, she immediately sits there to rest.   After a few minutes, her phone lights up with a notification:

 

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd  👽  (6:28 PM)

Jeong, where are you?

I’m already here.

See you!  😊

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd 👽  (6:29 PM)

It’s snowing heavily outside,

take care on the road!

I brought our heat packs.  😉

 

 

 

 

Jeongyeon clutches her phone tightly after reading the message and she feels like crying again.

 

Right.   She’s supposed to have a celebratory dinner with Mina tonight.   Jeongyeon scoffs.   How ironic.   She definitely doesn’t feel like celebrating tonight.  She feels miserable.

 

For a moment, Jeongyeon contemplated on actually going to her dinner with Mina tonight and to just pretend like she didn’t witness a pain crushing scenario just hours ago.  

But when she thinks about the possibility of Mina happily sharing to her the news about Jihyo during their dinner, she feels like she can’t pretend to hide the pain in front of her best friend when that happens, so she replies:

 

 

 

Ace Jeong (6:35 PM)

Sorry, Mina.  I can’t tonight.

Something came up.

 

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd 👽 (6:35 PM)

What happened?

Where are you?

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd  👽 (6:37 PM)

Jeong, where are you?

 

 

[Cutie Alien nerd is calling…]

 

 

 

Jeongyeon didn’t answer Mina’s calls.   She’s not yet ready to hear her best friend’s voice again.

 

 

Ace Jeong (6:45 PM)

I’m ok.   Don’t worry about me.

Go home already.

Stay safe, ok.

 

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd  👽 (6:45 PM)

Are you sure you’re ok?

Where are you now?

I’ll go there

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd  👽 (6:50 PM)

… Jeong?

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd 👽 (6:55 PM)

 Guess, I’ll just wait for you at home..

Just please stay safe

 

 

 

 

Ace Jeong (7:03 PM)

Goodnight, Mina

 

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd  👽 (7:04 PM)

I’ll wait for you, ok?

Call me.. or txt me if anything

 

 

Cutie Alien nerd  👽 (7:05 PM)

Goodnight, Jeong.

I’ll be waiting

Keep yourself warm, please

 

 

 

While Jeongyeon is hiding her phone again inside her winter coat pocket after reading Mina’s last messages, a white petal is suddenly blown to her right cheek, and it finally lands into her red scarf. 

She picks the petal from her scarf and Jeongyeon squints wondering which flower this petal could possibly come from in the middle of winter.    But then she spots a couple in the other bench, the girl is holding a bouquet of flowers.   Oh right.

 

When she looks back at the white petal in her hand, the pain wells up in her chest again since it suddenly reminds her of the Moonflower.     And then her gaze shifted down to her red scarf that is warmly wrapped around her neck.   The scarf which Mina has personally knitted and gave to her last year for her birthday.    The scarf where the white petal landed just a minute ago.    

 

Jeongyeon lets out an empty bitter laugh and looks up at the sky where snowflakes are falling down.

“Very funny.”      Jeongyeon speaks into the dark winter sky above.    

 

The pain in her heart becomes intolerable again when Jeongyeon remembers that it’s going to be Mina’s birthday in a few weeks.    

 

She looks away into the distance, clutches the white petal in her hand and bit her lower lip as tears start to roll down from her eyes again.

 

*****

 

 

 

That night, Jeongyeon did not go home to their shared apartment but instead she stayed over at Dahyun and Chaeyoung’s place.

 

“But did Mina-unnie confirm it already?    Did she say she’s already dating her?”     Dahyun asks Jeongyeon, after the older girl has told her what happened that day.

“I saw them kissing, Dahyun-ah...”    Jeongyeon replies with gritted teeth.

“But..”     Dahyun is about to question her again but then she looks at the older girl and Jeongyeon really looks miserable.   Her eyes are tired and swelling, and her shoulders are heavy.    

Dahyun sighs, she supposes she’ll just let Jeongyeon rest tonight instead.   She would just ask about it again tomorrow.

 

 

“Can you call Mina for me please?”      Jeongyeon asks Dahyun after a while.   

“Sure, unnie.”

 

*****

 

 

 

Mina sighs after speaking to Dahyun over the phone.    She’s been worried sick about her best friend when Jeongyeon did not contact her again after cancelling their dinner plans earlier.

The heaviness in her heart subsides a bit upon knowing that Jeongyeon is actually safe, and is resting comfortably at their other friends’ place.

Still, it did not shake her worry off completely-  specially when Dahyun tells her it’s best idea if she holds off going there for now when Mina insisted to go to Dahyun’s place tonight to check up on Jeongyeon.

 

Jeongyeon is her best friend for years.    Mina knows that there really is something wrong with the other girl.   But why is Jeongyeon not telling her?

 

Mina goes to bed that night with uneasy feeling in her heart.   She opens her phone and sends her last “Good night” message to her best friend.

 

*****

 

 

 

Jeongyeon continues to stay over at Dahyun’s place for the next five days, and on the sixth morning, Dahyun found Mina knocking on their doorstep.

“Can you give it to her, please?”    Mina tells Dahyun as she hands over her freshly prepared smoothie.

 

Today is the last basketball game of the season.    It’s another do-or-die championship match for Jeongyeon’s team.

 

“How is she Dahyun-ah?”    

“Still not ok, unnie.”    Dahyun sighs.

“Does she-  does she still not want to see me?”    Mina asks hesitantly, a tinge of sadness in her tone.

Dahyun pitifully looks at Mina as she quietly answers,   “I’m sorry, unnie..  Let’s give her a bit more time.”

 

Mina sighs,   “Do you think she’ll be alright for the game later?”   

“I hope so...  Our opponent is very good.   It’s gonna be a tough game later, unnie.”  

Dahyun sighs again with a nervous tone. 

 

“Don’t worry, Dahyun-ah.   Sana and I will be watching later.”     Mina smiles warmly,     “We’ll cheer for you.   You’ll win the championship for sure.”

 

Mina adds as she pats Dahyun’s shoulder to give more encouragement and reassurance.

“Thank you, unnie.”    Dahyun replies smiling, now feeling a bit better after hearing Mina’s words.

 

*****

 

 

 

Mina watches the game later that afternoon with Jihyo, Sana, and Tzuyu.    

Although Jeongyeon’s team eventually won the championship after a double overtime, Mina notices that her best friend’s game is kinda off.    

“That’s not how Jeong usually plays.”   Mina thinks to herself while watching the game.

 

 

Their coach has probably noticed it too so Jeongyeon mostly just sat on the bench for almost half of the entire game.   So it was actually Dahyun and Chaeyoung who carried their team into a championship win that day.    It’s the first time ever that Jeongyeon did not get the Finals MVP since their freshman year.

 

Mina is extremely worried now so she finally decided to talk to Jeongyeon after the game.   She needs to know what’s been bothering her best friend these days.

 

 

So Mina waits for her best friend at their university court entrance lobby after the game.   When she finally sees their basketball team getting out of their locker room, she calls out to her best friend,

“Jeong!”

 

Jeongyeon turns around quickly and looks at her direction after hearing Mina shouts her name.   Mina notices the quick surprised smile that forms in her best friend’s face after seeing her, but it immediately fades away.

 

When Jeongyeon meets her gaze, Mina feels something wells up in her chest.   It’s been almost a week of not seeing her best friend and she misses Jeongyeon so much.  

 

Her longing for her best friend only intensifies when she sees the expression shifts in Jeongyeon’s eyes.  It’s the same expression when Jeongyeon is undergoing a major problem in her life.    But it looks heavier.   Jeongyeon looks pained.

 

Jeongyeon did not move.   And for a moment, the two girls just quietly stand there- longingly staring at each other in the hallway with a few metres apart.

 

After a few minutes of just silently staring at each other’s eyes from a distance, Mina finally takes a step forward and starts walking towards Jeongyeon.   She walks with a firm determination to hug her best friend-   because she knows Jeongyeon badly needs one right now.

 

 

With only a few feet away from her best friend, Mina pauses on her steps when someone calls out to her,

“Mina-ssi!”

She turns around and sees Jihyo waving and walking towards her direction.   And when Mina shifts her gaze back again to Jeongyeon’s spot, her best friend is already gone.

 

“Sana tells me to fetch you.  Let’s go now?”   Jihyo tells her.

 

Mina is still looking at the almost empty hallway, without a single trace of Jeongyeon now.    She lets out a loud exhale of frustration before she quietly replies,

“Yeah, let’s go.”

   

*****

 

 

 

Early Spring of 2018, College Senior Year, 1st semester

 

Jeongyeon and Mina have not seen each for almost two months now and it frustrates Mina so much.  

It frustrates her because she doesn’t have any idea why Jeongyeon is acting like that.

 

Her best friend just sent her a single “Happy Birthday”  text message during her birthday two weeks ago.

 

It was the first time since their tradition started that Jeongyeon and Mina did not take a photo with a Moonflower.     It saddens Mina so much since it’s one of the few things she’s mostly looking forward to every year for her birthday.

 

The heaviness in her heart grows more unbearable each day so Mina finally decided this needs to stop.  

Or else, she might not survive her demanding senior year because she’s always distracted and worrying about her best friend every day and every night.

 

 

Mina needs answers.

And she must get it this semester.

 

*****

 

 

 

“Where are my clothes?”    Jeongyeon asks Dahyun rather loudly one Saturday morning.

“Oh.  I gave it to charity, unnie.”   Dahyun smiles widely.

“What??!!”

“You should be proud, unnie.   It’s a philanthropic way for spring cleaning.”   Dahyun smugs proudly as she pats Jeongyeon’s shoulders.

 

“Are you kidding me?   I don’t have any more clothes on in here.”   Jeongyeon whines while rummaging through her shared closet with Dahyun.

 

“Unnie, we gave away some of our clothes too, don’t worry.”    Chaeyoung comments smiling.

“But I don’t have any more clothes left!”

 

“You still have some of your clothes from Mina-unnie’s apartment, right?”  Dahyun asks Jeongyeon.

Jeongyeon quickly looks at Dahyun’s direction with a surprised expression.

 

“Why don’t you go get some in there later?”   Dahyun smiles before she adds,   

“Don’t worry unnie,  Sana told me they’ll be having their batch dinner later tonight.  Mina-unnie will attend too so you can sneak in and get some of your clothes later.”

Dahyun pats Jeongyeon’s shoulders and raises her eyebrows after giving her brilliant suggestion to the older girl.

 

Jeongyeon contemplates on Dahyun’s idea and finally comes with a decision,

“What time is their dinner?”

 

*****

 

 

 

Around 8PM later that day, Jeongyeon sneaks into Mina’s apartment to retrieve some of her clothes.   

 

Mina should not be at home during this time as Dahyun has instructed her.   But Jeongyeon still tries to quietly enter the unit and to check for good measure if Mina’s pair of home slippers is at the entrance.  

Jeongyeon sees it’s still there, neatly arranged by their doorstep.    Just the sight of her best friend’s cute penguin slippers at the floor already makes her miss Mina more.   She thinks it’s crazy how every little thing that reminds her of Mina only elevates her longing for her best friend much more intensely.

She sighs away the slight pang in her heart and then finally relaxes and walks to her room.   She quickly gathers all of her clothes and packs them in her sports bag.

 

 

As Jeongyeon walks out of her room and into the living room with her bag full of clothing, she’s startled to hear a very familiar voice suddenly calling out her name.   She freezes on the spot immediately.

“Jeong..”   

 

Jeongyeon slowly turns her head to see Mina now standing from the couch and walking towards her. 

A sudden rush of panic courses through her body as she feels conflicting emotions at the mere sight of her best friend’s face.   It’s been almost two months of not having even just a glimpse of Mina, and she misses her best friend every single damn day. 

 

Her heart wants to run towards her best friend and to meet her with a tight embrace, but her mind is telling her to escape quickly to the door and walk away.

“Jeong..”   Mina calls out to her again once she gets closer, now with only less than a metre away between them.

“Can we talk?”   Mina is looking at her with worried eyes,  “Please?”  

 

“She already belongs to someone else.”   Jeongyeon firmly reminds herself as she replies,

“Sorry, Mina.  I really need to go right now.  Let’s talk some other time.”   

Jeongyeon shifts her eyes away from her best friend’s concerned face.

 

She turns around again and walks to the door in a rush but she suddenly feels a tight grip on her wrist, making her unable to step away further.

“Jeong, please.   I’m just worried about you.”  Mina asks her again with a begging tone in her voice now,

“Let’s talk, please.   It will be just quick if you really need to leave, I promise.”  

 

Jeongyeon silently turns around and she sees Mina, who’s now staring at her with a pleading face.    Her best friend looks desperate.   Jeongyeon’s defences slightly break because she doesn’t like to see Mina in that state. 

 

She sighs, already thinking of an alibi,  “Okay.  But just ten minutes.”

Mina’s hand slides down from her wrist unto her palm.   She gently squeezes Jeongyeon’s hand while she replies with a small smile,  “Thank you.”

 

*****

 

 

 

They are now sitting quietly on the couch beside each other, with just a small space between them.   Jeongyeon carefully moves away further on the opposite end because being in this close proximity with Mina is not doing any good to her fragile broken heart.

Mina furrows her brows when she notices Jeongyeon subtly moving away, so she also slides gently to Jeongyeon’s direction to lessen the distance between them.

But when Jeongyeon notices that Mina is moving closer, she panics so she immediately rushes into the other end of the couch.  

 

Mina’s a bit surprised by her best friend’s odd behaviour.   But she just lets out a frustrated sigh before finally commenting,  

“Well I guess you don’t want to be near me anymore, huh.”

 

Jeongyeon immediately looks at her best friend upon hearing that,

“You’re wrong.  I always want to be with you.  I just don’t trust myself being near you right now.”

She wants to reply to Mina, but she just kept quiet.

 

They just continue to sit quietly in the couch for a few minutes.  Both of them silently gauging who will start the conversation first before Mina finally gives in and carefully asks,

“Did I do something wrong?”    

Mina stares at Jeongyeon, patiently waiting for her best friend’s reply.   But Jeongyeon remains silent so she just continues,

“You stopped talking to me ever since you cancelled our dinner celebration that night.   And then you start hiding from me.   It was the first time you did this, Jeong.   We always talk about our problems to each other.    So can you imagine how worried I am?”

Mina explains to her with concerned voice and a tinge of sadness in her eyes,

“So Jeong, tell me please-  did I do something wrong?”   Mina pauses and then carefully adds,  “or.. did  something happen to you that day?”

 

 

Jeongyeon has already thought of a perfect alibi few minutes ago even before she sits on this couch.   But now looking at Mina’s sad yet beautiful face,  scenes from that day with Jihyo kissing her best friend starts flashing in front of her again and it pains her.

The prickling feeling in her chest comes back and it’s getting stronger, so painful that Jeongyeon finds herself slipping even before realizing it’s already too late,

 

“I saw you that day..”    Jeongyeon pauses and continues quietly,   “…in the restaurant.   with Jihyo.”

Mina’s eyes suddenly become alarmed but then she quickly shifted to her worried gaze again before Jeongyeon catches on it.     But Jeongyeon still noticed it anyways.

 

“What did you see?”

“I saw..”   Jeongyeon gulps,  “I saw Jihyo kissing you that day.”

“And?”

“and what Mina?”

“Y- You saw Jihyo kissed me, and then what?  What did you do after?”   Mina stutters a bit.

“I don’t know.. I just kinda walked away after that.”

“Why?”

“What do you mean why?”   

Jeongyeon asks rather irritatingly.  She feels frustrated now with how this conversation is going.  She really doesn’t want to revisit again the pain that she felt during that day. 

 

 

“Why did you walk away, Jeong?”    Mina asks her again more softly this time,    “Did it bother you seeing me kiss someone else?”

Her best friend questions her again but with a gentle yet careful voice now.  It is only then when Jeongyeon realizes that Mina has already moved closer to her.

 

“I-..  Jihyo told me she’ll ask you to be her girlfriend that day.”   

Jeongyeon looks away when she answers, completely ignoring Mina’s question.    She doesn’t want her best friend to see the pain in her eyes.

 

Mina sighs in frustration,  “Yes, she did ask me to be her girlfriend that day.”

Jeongyeon’s heart constricts in pain as she continues to stare at Mina’s bare feet against their cold wooden floor.

 

 

 

“But I said no.”

Jeongyeon blinks once.   She doesn’t know if she heard it correctly so she immediately looks up to meet Mina’s gaze- who’s now staring at her with that same expression that has been haunting Jeongyeon for the past months.

 

 

“I didn’t accept her heart.”

“Why?”    Jeongyeon finally finds her voice again.

“I couldn’t.”    Mina moves closer to her, her eyes remain focus on Jeongyeon.

“Why?”

“Because my heart already belongs to someone else.”

 

Mina suddenly reaches out for Jeongyeon’s hand and places it on top of her chest.  She is still holding Jeongyeon’s gaze when she asks shakily,

 

“Do you feel it, Jeong?”   

And Jeongyeon can feel it- she can feel Mina’s heart throbbing so frantically.   It feels so intense and so loud under Jeongyeon’s hand as if it desperately wants to burst out from her best friend’s chest. 

 

“You’re doing this to me.”    

Mina is still holding Jeongyeon’s gaze but her eyes are now laced with raw vulnerability and longing as she finally confesses her heart out to her best friend,

“You’ve been doing this to me for six years now.”   

 

Jeongyeon breathes nervously.   She can’t believe what she’s hearing right now and her own heart beats are already mirroring the ones that she can feel in her hands -    

Just as intense,  just as loud,  just as desperate.

 

 

“You love me.”     Jeongyeon whispers as she moves closer and holds Mina’s other hand to place it on top of her own heart,

“You want to kiss me.”

Mina blinks twice and her grip on Jeongyeon’s hand tightens.   Her breath hitches and she gulps when her gaze travels down to Jeongyeon’s lips.

 

 

Jeongyeon can’t hold it any longer,

 

“Cause I love you Mina.  I love you so bad, I don’t wanna be just your friend anymore.”

She pulls Mina even closer to her, their faces are only inches apart now as she whispers in a breathy voice,  

“I wanna do this- ”

 

And that’s when Jeongyeon finally leans in and captures Mina’s lips in a searing kiss as she cups both of best friend’s cheeks.   It doesn’t take two seconds for Mina to kiss her back.

 

They kiss soft and slow at first- savouring the feeling of each other’s newly freed restraint love and affection as they gently move their lips along and hold each other close.

 

Jeongyeon inhales the moment, her senses slowly drowning with the feeling of Mina’s lips, Mina’s warmth, Mina’s body pressed so closely against her.   She kisses Mina so gentle hoping that the other girl is feeling all the love she has to offer.

 

 

But it was only gentle and innocent at first, until it isn’t.  

 

Not until Mina starts to snake her arms around Jeongyeon’s neck and her kiss deepens.  Jeongyeon wraps her other arm around Mina’s waist to pull her best friend even closer as she kisses her back just as desperately.    

She licks on Mina’s lower lip and silently asks for access.  When Mina opens her mouth and lets her in, Jeongyeon’s head starts to spin.  

 

Her head is spinning so wildly as she finally drinks in Mina’s taste- a taste so heavenly and sweet in Jeongyeon’s tongue, she couldn’t get enough.   And Mina’s tasting and drinking her in just as hungrily.

Mina’s kiss is so electrifying- the current in Jeongyeon’s blood is running at rapid speed and she feels her skin burning.   She knows she needs to stop now or else she won’t be able to control herself anymore.

 

Jeongyeon breaks away from the kiss.   Their foreheads are now pressed close against each other as they’re both panting so hard and feeling each other’s hot breath.

“Mina..”    Jeongyeon whispers breathlessly,   “Please tell me to stop...   I don’t want to rush you.”

Jeongyeon lifts her gaze and looks at her best friend lovingly,

“I love you so much, Mina.   I want you so bad,  I  won’t be able to stop myself if we continue like this.”

She carefully holds Mina’s flushed cheeks and looks at her best friend’s eyes as she begs again,

“Please tell me to stop.”

 

 

Mina is looking at her intensely- eyes laced with vulnerable gaze but are liquid with so much longing and desire,

“No, I don’t want you to stop.” 

 

And there is not enough touch, not enough skin, not enough yearning for the lost times that their lips have been trying to find each other, because when Mina pulls her in this time-

they kiss again.

 

 

They kiss hungrier and greedier than before, as Mina carefully moves and straddles over Jeongyeon’s lap.  The electric current in Jeongyeon’s veins surges to high now.    And when Jeongyeon slides her hand inside Mina’s sweater, her best friend lets out a sharp breathy moan and Jeongyeon inhales it all in.

 

Jeongyeon starts to run her lips and tongue along Mina’s exposed clavicle, up to her smooth neck and along her jawline.

Mina shivers and moans at the sensation as she breathlessly calls out her name, “Jeongyeon…”    

Jeongyeon continues to plant wet kisses on Mina’s neck and sucks on them gently.  Her other hand is busy feeling Mina’s stomach and is now carefully making its way upwards when Mina’s fingers start to tangle her hair with a sense of urgency as she hisses and demands breathlessly to Jeongyeon,

“Bed.  Now.”

 

Jeongyeon smiles into Mina’s neck- she’s not the one to be told twice.    She then captures her best friend’s lips again for another passionate kiss as she carefully lifts Mina up and stands from the couch.   Mina wraps her legs around her waist and they continue to drink each other in while Jeongyeon leads them inside to Mina’s room.

 

 

 

They nearly stumble on Mina’s bed, but Jeongyeon cradles her in just in time to guide and lay Mina gently on the mattress below her.    

Jeongyeon is now looking down at her best friend-  eyes dazed, cheeks so flushed and warm, her hair beautifully dishevelled against the white sheets, and Jeongyeon’s heart swells with overwhelming love and affection.

 

Even with still her oversized sweaters on, Mina already looks so radiant and beautiful against the soft pale moonlight illuminating the room.

“Jeongyeon-ah..”  

“Mina-ya..”

 

 

Mina carefully reaches out to her and gently cradles her cheek, Jeongyeon leans into the touch.

“I love you.”    

She finally whispers, still staring into Jeongyeon’s eyes so lovingly.

 

And Jeongyeon feels like she could cry in that moment.    Her heart is filled with an overwhelming amount of joy and adoration for the only girl she truly loves right now.

“I love you too, Mina.   I love you so damn much-“

Jeongyeon replies back as she immediately leans down and kisses Mina again with a newfound fervour- fueled by Mina’s sweet heartfelt confession that’s still playing repeatedly in Jeongyeon’s ears.

 

 

 

It’s the beginning of a cold spring, but their bodies are burning- now stripped of any trace of clothing.    As Jeongyeon continues to softly trace Mina’s smooth skin- with her lips, with her fingers, with her tongue.    Their bare heated bodies pressed closely together as if they’re opposite charge of magnets long been deprived of each other.

 

 

 

It’s the beginning of a cold spring, and Jeongyeon allows her senses to be invaded by everything that is Mina-

 

her warm and flushed skin,

her beautiful rosy cheeks,

her soft and needy moans,

her tight embrace and urgent kisses,

her intoxicating scent,

the sweetness of her tongue.

 

 

 

It’s the beginning of a cold spring, and Jeongyeon holds and kisses her gently as Mina comes undone so beautifully into Jeongyeon’s arms for the first time. 

 

 

 

It’s the beginning of a cold spring, and Jeongyeon feels like a great weight has been lifted off her shoulders as she whispers her promises of love and unwavering affection to Mina;  while they continue to taste and drink each other’s love for the rest of the night.

 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

Feels like

 I'm lost in a deep cloud of heavenly scent,

Touching,

Discovering you.

 

 

 

 

 

*****

 

 

 

 

In the morning, Mina wakes up first.     She finds herself being enveloped by Jeongyeon’s arms while her best friend is still sleeping and snoring lightly.     

Jeongyeon’s body still feels so warm and comfortable against her.    It feels like a perfect haven during cold spring days, and Mina suddenly wants to go back to sleep again.    But then her stomach starts to growl loudly-  she feels ravenous after what they did last night.

So Mina tries to carefully get out of Jeongyeon’s embrace, as much as she doesn’t want to yet- it’s already time for breakfast.

 

As Mina sits on the bed and stares down at Jeongyeon’s sleeping face, a small tender smile curves up on her lips while she marvels at the beautiful sight in front her.    With the early morning sunlight slightly peeking through the curtains,  Jeongyeon looks so ethereal in her peaceful sleeping state.

Mina reaches out and gently caresses her best friend’s hair.   She leans down and kisses Jeongyeon’s forehead.    Jeongyeon then stirs, and opens her eyes slowly.     

 

“Good morning.  Sorry if I woke you up.”    Mina greets her in a low morning voice while she looks down and smiles at her best friend.

Jeongyeon stares at her for a few seconds before a faint blush appears onto her cheeks and she suddenly hides her face in the blankets.

 

Mina’s brows furrows at her best friend’s weird reaction so she slowly pulls the blanket down.   When Jeongyeon’s flustered face reappears again, Mina softly asks,

“What’s wrong,  Jeong?”

Jeongyeon is still looking at her shyly and suddenly Mina gets worried and asks hesitantly,

“Do you- do you regret it?”  

“No!”  Jeongyeon is quick to protest and then lets out a loud sigh afterwards, 

“No, of course not.   I didn’t regret one thing that ever happened last night, Mina-ya.    I meant every word that I said.   I meant every kiss.  I meant everything..    It’s just..  just..” 

 

Jeongyeon reaches out for Mina’s hand and holds it closer to her face.    Mina is quick to gently cup it in Jeongyeon’s cheek.   

 

“I was just..”    Jeongyeon is still hesitating so Mina gently brushes Jeongyeon’s cheek with her thumb, silently encouraging her best friend to continue.   Jeongyeon leans into it and draws courage from Mina’s soothing touch.

 

“I’m just a bit insecure ok?  …or shy.   I don’t know.  Something like that.”  Jeongyeon finally says while her eyes shifted nervously.

“Why?”

“Because I feel like.. like- I didn’t do well last night.”   Jeongyeon hides half of her face in Mina’s hands.

 

Mina chuckles and then laughs so fondly, her heart swells with how adorable Jeongyeon looks right now.

Jeongyeon thinks Mina’s laugh is the most wonderful sound in the morning.

 

“Shouldn’t I be the one who’s supposed to feel that since it was my first time?”  

“Exactly.  I just want your first time to be perfect.  You deserve nothing than that, Mina-ya.”

A tender smile forms into Mina’s lips as she gently moves and lays herself on top of Jeongyeon. 

 

Mina softly caresses Jeongyeon’s hair slowly, while her other hand is still cupping Jeongyeon’s cheek. 

She looks at her best friend lovingly as she whispers slowly in her low morning voice,   

“Last night was perfect, Jeong.   I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

Jeongyeon smiles upon hearing Mina’s reassuring words and she captures her best friend’s lips again and kisses her softly.   Mina kisses her back just as gentle.

“I love you so much, Mina.”   Jeongyeon murmurs in between their morning kisses.

Mina smiles in Jeongyeon’s lips as she replies,   “I love you too, Jeong.  I always have.”   

 

“You don’t know how happy I feel right now that I can finally tell you that out loud.”   Mina adds smiling before she moves to sit up again.

But Jeongyeon pulls her back again on top of her, “woah, where do you think you’re going?”

“I need to cook breakfast for us.  I’m starving, Jeong.  Aren’t you?”

“Well... I  kinda am.   But breakfast can wait.”    Jeongyeon smirks at her, and Mina rolls her eyes knowing exactly what her best friend has in mind.

 

“I need to cook, Jeong.”   Mina tries to weakly break from Jeongyeon’s embrace but her best friend just holds her more tightly.

“We can do deliveries.”   Jeongyeon is still smirking at her when she slowly leans her face closer to Mina’s ear, gently blows it there, and plants a soft kiss at the side of Mina’s neck before she teasingly whispers,

“I have a different breakfast in mind right now.”

 

Mina shivers at the touch and lightly lets out a quiet moan upon feeling Jeongyeon’s hot breath and wet kiss onto her neck.    She looks at her best friend again and replies weakly in breathy voice,

“You’re so unfair.”

 

“No.”   Jeongyeon cups Mina’s cheeks and replies smiling,    “I’m so in love with you.”

 

 

And then they kiss again.

And Mina never gets to cook breakfast that morning.

 

*****

 

 

 

Later that day, Jeongyeon quickly visits Dahyun’s place again to get some of her things since Mina demanded that she should get back to their apartment already.

 

“Finally, unnie!   Hallelujah!”    Dahyun shouts excitedly while raising both of her hands.  

She apparently spilled what happened to her and Mina when Dahyun forced her to explain why she didn’t come home the previous night.   

 

“So Mina-unnie is your girlfriend now?   We’re so happy for you both, unnie.”   Chaeyoung exclaims.

Jeongyeon slightly pauses before answering Chaeyoung’s question, “uhh.. I guess so?”

 

“What do you mean you guess so?   You’re not sure?”   Dahyun questions with a surprised face.

“Well, we did kiss and..”

“Unnie, did you even officially ask Mina-unnie to be your girlfriend already?” Dahyun adds.

“Do we still need that?   We already said we love each other.  Isn’t that a given already?”   Jeongyeon is confused.

 

“Welll..  you did at least talk about your final status now, right?”   Dahyun raises her brows.

When Jeongyeon doesn’t answer again, she presses on,  “Like what are you and Mina-unnie now?   Just best friends?   Or best friends and girlfriends?   Or what?”   

 

“well.. best friends don’t kiss and make out right?  What do you think?”   Jeongyeon replies.

“Why are you asking me that?!”   Dahyun is perplexed and then she holds Jeongyeon’s shoulders,  

“Unnie.. why are you acting like it’s your first time to have a girlfriend?  You’re the more experienced one between the two.   You should know that it’s important that it’s clear and you both know where you stand right now.”

 

Jeongyeon sighs.  She knows Dahyun is right,

“Will you help me, Dub?  I have a plan.”    

 

Dahyun replies smugly,  “Of course you need our help.   If we didn’t help you, you wouldn’t even get to kiss Mina-unnie in the first place.”

 

And a small bean bag came flying in Dahyun’s face after that.

 

*****

 

 

 

 

Early Summer of 2018, College Senior Year, 1st semester

 

Jeongyeon and Mina often go on dates now.    One Friday night, Jeongyeon invited Mina on a romantic dinner date in an Asian restaurant since she noticed that Mina needs a breather from their stressful week of exams and deadlines.

They are sitting across each other on a table for two when Mina suddenly asks her,

“Why are you smiling at me like that?”

“Like what?”   Jeongyeon teases.

“Like- you know..  I know that smile, Jeong.   That smile is reserved for private spaces.”   Mina’s holding off her smile before she leans closer to Jeongyeon across the table and whispers, “Behave..  Later.”

 

Jeongyeon chuckles as she lifts up a kimchi, raises one of her eyebrows and teases Mina again,

“I just remembered something you said before...  You know, something about putting kimchi on you.”

and then Jeongyeon bites the kimchi seductively while looking at Mina.

 

A flush of red immediately creeps into Mina’s face and neck after hearing that.  Mina whispers again and says firmly this time,

“Oh my god, Jeong we’re in a public restaurant.  Stop please. ”

Jeongyeon laughs loudly upon seeing Mina’s reaction.  She reaches out for Mina’s hand across the table and kisses her knuckles,   “You’re so cute when you’re flustered.” 

 

Mina rolls her eyes, but she still smiles when she comments,  “For the record, I wouldn’t allow you to put kimchi on me.   That’s so gross.”

“Sure?”    Jeongyeon is still wearing her teasing smirk.

 

“Yes, I’m sure.”   Then Mina subtly looks around the restaurant before she leans closer towards Jeongyeon again and whispers shyly,   “But I’m ok with ice cream.   Vanilla.  so we don’t ruin the sheets.”

 

Jeongyeon smirks at Mina’s reply.   She winks and kisses Mina’s hand again, as she whispers across the table,    “Perfect for summer.”

Mina raises her eyebrows before she finally responds to Jeongyeon with a shy smile.

 

 

 

While they are finishing up their meals, a pretty girl suddenly walks up to their table,

“Mina-ssi?  Is that you?”

 

Both girls immediately look up to the pretty lady now standing near their table.  Mina immediately stands and bows upon realizing who it is,

“Sunbae.  Good to see you here.”  Mina smiles at the pretty lady.

“Good to see you here too.  What are you doing here?”  

“I’m having dinner.   Oh by the way,  Jeongyeon-  this is Irene, my senior and our org President.”   Mina smiles as she introduces Irene to Jeongyeon.   Irene is already a graduate student in their university.

 

“Sunbae, this is Jeongyeon, my gir-“    Mina pauses and then looks at Jeongyeon.  She seems to be asking for Jeongyeon’s help to fill in the blanks.  

But Jeongyeon is panicking internally and just looks at Mina quietly.  

So Mina just smiles nervously before she continues,  “Jeongyeon is my bes-“

 

 

Irene is still waiting for Mina to finish her introductions and Jeongyeon can’t stand seeing Mina lose her composure anymore in front of her senior so she stands and introduces herself,

“My name’s Yoo Jeongyeon.  Mina’s best friend.  Please to meet you.”    Jeongyeon says as she offers a handshake to Irene.  She can’t ruin her plans yet.

 

“I’m glad.  I thought you’re Mina’s girlfriend.   Please to meet you, Jeongyeon-ssi.”   

 

*****

 

 

 

 

Their drive on the way home is a bit tense because of what happened earlier.    Both girls remain quiet during the first half of the drive.   After a while, when the traffic light turns red, Mina begins to speak and looks at Jeongyeon,

 

“Jeong, you know Sunbae confessed to me before during Sophomore year right?”

“Yeah, I remembered you telling me that story.”    Jeongyeon meekly replies.

“I already rejected her before but she’s kind of making her moves on me again lately..”   Mina quietly comments after.

 

Jeongyeon’s grip on the steering wheel tightens.    Mina reaches out to hold Jeongyeon’s shoulder gently,   “Jeong, you know I love you right.”   

Jeongyeon looks at Mina’s side and she sees that her best friend’s eyes are asking that silent question which Jeongyeon has been preparing to officially ask to her for weeks now.   Jeongyeon then reaches out to hold Mina’s hands,

“Mina-ya,  I know.  I love you too.   It’s just- ”

But then a loud honk interrupted them when the traffic light turns to green already.    And Mina sighs in frustration when they continue to drive home quietly again after that.

 

After a while, Mina asks Jeongyeon to stop by to a convenience store for a few minutes as she needs to buy something.

 

*****

 

 

 

When they reach their apartment, Mina goes to the kitchen and calls out to Jeongyeon softly but with a firm voice,

“Jeong, we need to talk.”

Jeongyeon recognizes that tone of her best friend and so she carefully walks to the kitchen and asks Mina,

“Ok, Minari.  What’s up?”

 

Mina walks closer to Jeongyeon and holds out her best friend’s hands before she gently asks,

“What are we, Jeong?”

Jeongyeon looks at Mina’s eyes and she really wants to ask her already but she has plans-

 

“I know about your plans.”     Mina comments afterwards when Jeongyeon remains quiet.

Jeongyeon is surprised and her eyes are widened after hearing that.

“Dahyun slipped the other day and spilled about your plans.  I’m sorry.”   Mina apologetically explained to her.

 

Then Mina tightens her hold on Jeongyeon’s hands and looks at her best friend’s eyes tenderly,

“But Jeong, I don’t want to wait anymore.    I have already waited 6 painful years just to kiss you and to confess to you.  I’ve had enough.”   Mina squeezes her hands before she continues, 

“I can’t wait another 3 months just for you to officially ask me.  I want to be your girlfriend now.”

 

Mina gets closer to Jeongyeon and she gently cups her best friend’s cheeks as she finally asks,

“So Yoo Jeongyeon, the girl who I’ve been in love with since high school, will you please be my girlfriend?”

 

 

This is really not how Jeongyeon imagined it would turn out to be.    And it’s really not what she has in mind since she is supposed to be the one to officially ask Mina out.   

 

But she supposes life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan it to be.    Sometimes life surprises you- and you just have to embrace them.

 

And it turns out- some detours and surprises might actually be better than your own well-structured plans.  

 

Because right now, while Mina is looking at her with those loving eyes again, as she patiently waits for Jeongyeon’s answer, her heart starts to beat so incredibly fast.   She feels nervous and excited at the same time.  She doesn’t know what to say yet she wants to say everything all at once.    Mina always has that effect on her.

 

And apparently like her best friend, she can’t wait anymore.  And so she wraps her arms around Mina’s waist when she finally answers,

 

“Myoui Mina, I love you always, every day and every night.   Of course, I’d love to be your girlfriend.”

 

Mina smiles widely, leans closer to her and whispers on Jeongyeon’s lips, “Good.”

 

And Jeongyeon finally closes the negligible distance between them to capture her girlfriend’s lips in another passionate kiss.

 

 

After their heated kiss, Jeongyeon murmurs on Mina’s lips to tease her now girlfriend,

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Mina laughs so loudly at that, gummy smiles and all.   

 

“You know, I’m glad you said yes.”   Mina replies while she gently breaks away from Jeongyeon’s embrace and reaches out for the convenience store plastic bag in the kitchen countertop,

 

“Because otherwise, you wouldn’t get to eat this on me tonight.”

Mina smiles at her seductively while she raises the tub of vanilla ice cream in her hand.  

 

A sudden new rush of energy immediately invades Jeongyeon’s body and so she kisses Mina again, lifts her girlfriend up to their bedroom and they enjoy the remaining precious hours of the night away.

 

 

 

Jeongyeon’s plan is now officially ruined.  But hey, at least she gets to eat vanilla ice cream that summer night- with Mina, on Mina’s lips, and everywhere in between.

 

Jeongyeon’s plan is now officially ruined.   But it doesn’t matter now.   Because Mina is finally and officially her girlfriend.

 

And Jeongyeon thought that life can give her all the detours and surprises it has to offer, and she’ll embrace them all fully- as long as Mina is with her.

 

 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

Those days

Of warm rains come rushing back to me

Miles of windless

Summer night air

 

 

 

 

 

*****

 

 

 

With Jeongyeon and Mina being officially girlfriends now, nothing much has changed in their dynamics honestly -

 

They still do their movie nights in the couch together.  Except sometimes, they never get to finish the movie.  Because you know, the movie can always wait but their burning love for each other apparently cannot.

 

Jeongyeon doesn’t sleep in the couch alone anymore.   She doesn’t need to pretend to be sleeping anymore just to get Mina’s kisses.   The goodnight kisses are upgraded now too- she gets it now in her lips, in her cheeks, and in every part of her body where Mina would like to kiss her.   She gets it every night, and every morning too.

 

Mina still personally prepares Jeongyeon’s smoothie for the rest of their games this season.   Except sometimes, Mina gets to taste it now in Jeongyeon’s lips.   And Jeongyeon says she loves that version of her smoothie more.

 

Sometimes they have petty fights and quarrel too- especially when they couldn’t agree whether they’d order Hawaiian pizza or Korean fried chicken for dinner.     Most of the time, they just ended up ordering both.   But Jeongyeon and Mina still make up and always end up kissing and cuddling each other by the end of the day- with a lot of leftovers in the following morning. 

 

 

By the end of their college senior year, Jeongyeon’s team won the championship again, and Mina graduated as the top of their batch.

 

When Jeongyeon receives her finals MVP award, she proudly announces in her speech that she’s already taken and Mina, her girlfriend, is the one who inspires her the most. Mina blushes so hard during Jeongyeon’s speech and she hides behind Sana in the crowd.    And after that day, Mina gained a number of admirers and haters alike from Jeongyeon’s fangirls.

 

Jeongyeon also cries during their university graduation when Mina looks at her while delivering a part of her valedictory speech- something about “leap of faith” and “courage” and “true happiness”.   And Jeongyeon’s heart is filled with overwhelming pride and admiration for her girlfriend.

 

 

 

They kiss during the fireworks finale of their senior year’s summer fair.

 

They go on food trip dates and leisure walks in the middle of autumn.

 

They snuggle and hide in each other’s arms for the rest of the winter. 

 

And in the beginning of spring, a week after their graduation,  Jeongyeon prepares another surprise for her girlfriend.

 

*****

 

 

 

 

Early Spring of 2019, Haneol University

 

A night before Mina’s birthday, Jeongyeon leads her girlfriend into their university’s huge greenhouse garden.   The entire garden is beautifully adorned and brightly illuminated by white and yellow string lights.   Mina gasps at the sight as soon as she steps inside.

 

Jeongyeon leads her in an area near the middle section of the garden where a small rustic fountain is located, and beside the fountain stands a rustic metallic double bench swing.

 

“Do we always have a swing here in our university garden?”   Mina curiously asks her girlfriend.

Jeongyeon smiles,   “No, I arranged for it.   I figured there’s something we need to celebrate together tonight so...”,   she brings out the ice cream packs from her bag and raises it to Mina,   

“My love, will you give me the honour of eating ice cream with you here in the swing?  Just like the old times?”

 

Mina laughs endearingly at Jeongyeon’s antics, but a rosy pink hue still appears on her cheeks while she answers,

“You’re so cheesy!”

“But you still love me right?”   Jeongyeon raises her eyebrows and smirks at Mina.

“Of course.”

 

 

And just like the old times, they sit together in the swing while eating ice cream and laughing at each other’s stories.   Jeongyeon is swaying the swing with her feet because she’s taller and Mina’s feet do not touch the ground.    

Mina leans into Jeongyeon’s shoulder after a while and Jeongyeon looks at her watch then she whispers softly into her girlfriend’s hair,  “I have another surpise for you.”

 

Mina then looks up to Jeongyeon’s face, and when their eyes meet and Jeongyeon smiles at her, most of the string lights suddenly get switched off and Mina’s hold on Jeongyeon tightens while her eyes adjust to the dark.

 

“I’m just here, Mina-ya.   Two minutes.”  

And Mina already knows what she’s waiting for.   

 

 

 

But what she’s not expecting is when hundreds of Moonflowers start to bloom simultaneously across the entire area of the garden where they are sitting-

 

There are Moonflowers encircling the fountain.  

There are Moonflowers beside their swing.

There are Moonflowers blooming at her feet.

There are Moonflowers everywhere, and Mina’s heart is blooming too.

 

It is such a marvellous and spectacular sight and it’s taking all of Mina’s breath away.

The garden seems to be fully illuminated now by the hundreds of fully bloomed Moonflowers as their huge white petals stand out beautifully amidst the darkness.

 

Mina’s heart swells with overwhelming love and happiness and immediately looks at her girlfriend with amazement in her eyes,

“Jeong.. I-…   This is perfect.“

 

Jeongyeon is just looking at her lovingly and wearing her lopsided smile which Mina adores very much, as she softly greets her girlfriend,

“Happy Birthday.”

 

 

Mina’s happiness is immeasurable at that very moment.  

 

And that precious day is added to the few special reasons why Mina loves the start of every spring.

 

 

*****

FIN.

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*****

-Epilogue-

*****

 

 

 

Jeongyeon and Mina continue their tradition that night and take lots of selcas afterwards, with hundreds of shining Moonflower in the background.    Jeongyeon says it’s to make up for their missed Moonflower selca last year.

 

They do a lot of different poses.  They pose hugging each other.  They pose with Mina kissing Jeongyeon’s cheek,  and they pose with Jeongyeon kissing Mina’s moles.

 

And in the middle of them kissing and posing for selcas, Jeongyeon whispers to her girlfriend:

“Even though I’m not your first kiss, I want to be your last kiss, Mina-ya.”

 

Mina smiles gummily at that and murmurs in her girlfriend’s lips,

“You’re still my first kiss, Jeong.  Don’t worry.”

 

Jeongyeon’s brows furrows,  “What do you mean I’m still your first kiss?”

 

Mina just smirks at Jeongyeon as she sneakily breaks out from her girlfriend’s embrace and run across the garden.  

Jeongyeon tries to run and chase her.  When she finally catches Mina, she wraps her arms around Mina’s waist so tightly and breathlessly asks her girlfriend again,

“What do you mean I’m your first kiss?”

 

 

“It means…”  Mina smiles and gently cups her girlfriend’s cheeks,  “I love you, always, and forever.”

And Mina leans in to capture Jeongyeon’s lips again for a more passionate and searing kiss this time.

 

 

Jeongyeon immediately forgets about her question the moment she feels Mina’s lips on her own.

 

 

Maybe someday, she’ll finally get to know the real answer.

 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love you always forever

Near and far, closer together

Everywhere I will be with you

Everything I will do for you

*****