Today is the day, Chaeryeong thinks as she stares at her own reflection in the mirror. Her eyes look tired after an entire day of sharpening moves and singing her vocal chords out, but there’s a hint of determination burning behind the blatant weariness.
She is going to tell Jisu she’s in love with her.
It’s been years of keeping this secret from her best friend and letting it grow quietly inside of her chest. But the secret is too big now, has creeped into every inch of her body and taken over the depths of her soul, and it feels like everything is two seconds away from blowing into their faces.
Explosions are messy and loud. Chaeryeong doesn’t like messy and loud, and neither does Jisu. She knows she can’t let it get to that point — the cage needs to be open, the birds need to be set free, and the right time for that is now.
Knowing all of that doesn’t make Chaeryeong any less nervous because, holy shit, this is happening and it can ruin their friendship, but it’s happening. She can’t be a coward, but she’s a coward. Everything is confusing, loving Jisu is confusing, but it’s oh so painfully good.
If given the option, Chaeryeong would still choose to fall in love with Jisu in a million different lifetimes. She could never, ever picture herself wanting someone as much as she wants her.
A quiet knock on the door makes Chaeryeong jolt on her bed, shaking her out of her thoughts. She already knows who it is. Something tugs in her chest. “Come in.”
The door opens to reveal Jisu in cute rabbit pajamas and hair still damp from shower, a shy smile playing on her lips. Chaeryeong’s heart skips a beat — is she ever going to get used to such a view? “Hey,” Jisu greets as she makes her way into Chaeryeong’s room, “Yuna was snoring a lot. You know, the usual.”
Chaeryeong giggles, creating some space on the bed so Jisu can slip under the sheets. “I know.”
Jisu buries her head on the crook of Chaeryeong’s neck, both arms wrapped loosely around her waist, and stays there. She has no idea of what the proximity is doing to Chaeryeong’s heart. Or maybe she does, because there’s a frown on her face when she looks up and says, “Your heart is beating too fast,” Jisu points out as she places a hand over Chaeryeong’s chest, “Is everything okay?”
A deep sigh flies out of Chaeryeong’s throat as she puts her hand over Jisu’s, gently caressing her wrist. It’s time. “Actually, I have something important to tell you.”
Jisu is taken aback at first, but soon a sweet smile appears on her lips. “Oh, really?” She returns the caress by letting her hand travel from Chaeryeong’s chest up to her cheeks, stroking the skin with a softness that melts away Chaeryeong’s nerves. “Tell me then, darling.”
Chaeryeong turns into a puddle of fondness at the pet name, and realizes she’s no longer the confident girl from minutes ago. This moment is so fragile, with Jisu’s fingers on her cheeks and starry eyes looking back at hers, and the last thing she wants is to screw it up.
“Jisu,” Chaeryeong licks her lips and prepares herself to finally let it all out, “I’m in—“
A loud crash. Then a groan, followed by a whine. A door opens, and there are loud, angry steps on the hallway.
“God! It’s fucking midnight. What the hell are you even doing?!”
“I’m sorry, okay? I needed my snacks!”
And that’s Yeji.
How great. Chaeryeong loves her life, loves her friends even more. She could go and wrap the two into a hug so impossibly tight that would turn them into human crumbs right now. That’s how much she loves them.
Jisu sighs tiredly, dragging a hand through her face, “I guess I’ll go check on those nerds,” then she pokes Chaeryeong’s nose and her tone becomes softer, “We can continue this later, if you want.”
Chaeryeong’s heart sinks. She was so damn close and the moment was so damn perfect. Of course something — or someone — would ruin it. “Alright,” Chaeryeong forces out a smile, and Jisu leaves.
Chaeryeong was about to fall asleep when she felt her phone vibrate under her pillow. She unlocks the device and blinks a couple of times, trying to adjust to the sudden brightness as she squints to read the notification.
can you believe i had to listen to yeji and ryujin whine for an entire hour
but!! i’m all yours now
come to the rooftop?
Chaeryeong clenches her jaw. The nerves return.
these two, i swear…
i’m omw :))
Chaeryeong throws a hoodie over her pajamas, stops at Jisu’s bedroom to grab a coat for the girl — how did Yuna sleep through this mess? — and carefully unlocks the door, leaving the dorm on her tiptoes.
Jisu smiles as her strands fly against the wind, spreading her arms open for Chaeryeong to fall into them. And that’s exactly what she does, breathing in the scent of vanilla coming from Jisu’s now fully dry hair as her chin rests comfortably over the girl’s shoulder.
“It’s too cold,” Chaeryeong comments as she breaks the hug, handing Jisu the coat. “Put it on. I don’t want you to get sick.”
“My knight in shining armor,” Jisu grins, breaking into laughter when Chaeryeong rolls her eyes and pretends to gag, “Thanks, Chae.”
Chaeryeong nods shyly as she watches Jisu struggle before she successfully slides her arms into the coat, looking so small and adorable wearing the oversized clothing that Chaeryeong nearly yelps.
“So,” Jisu sing-songs, swaying back and forth on her heels, “Where were we earlier?”
“O-Oh, that…” Chaeryeong fidgets with her nails, “Jisu, I— It’s kind of a delicate topic.”
Jisu nods, taking Chaeryeong’s hands into hers and caressing her knuckles. Chaeryeong wishes she could stop trembling. “Take your time.”
The world is quiet. The girls are sleeping. It’s just her, Jisu, and the universe of feelings she’s about to reveal.
Chaeryeong has never felt so nervous in her entire life — not when she auditioned, not when she was selected for the final lineup and not when they debuted. Hell , she wasn’t this nervous an hour ago when she was a word away from throwing her love out in the open. There’s a weight on her shoulders this time, one that sends a chill down her spine and reminds her that things are never going to be the same.
They can change for the better, but they can change for the worse, too.
Jisu releases one of her hands to let it rest under Chaeryeong’s jaw. Chaeryeong inhales a sharp breath and closes her eyes, leaning into the tender touch she has grown to adore so much. She doesn’t realize she’s crying until Jisu wipes a tear away with her thumb, groping her face with so much care that Chaeryeong feels like she’s a piece of glass about to break.
Maybe she is.
“Chae, love,” Chaeryeong winces and bites the inside of her cheek at how easily the word flows out of Jisu’s mouth, “Look at me, please?”
Chaeryeong sniffles and cautiously cracks her eyes open, heartbeat quickening as she takes in the frown and the worry painted on Jisu’s beautiful face. She looks like she’s about to cry, and Chaeryeong figures she should’ve seen this coming — when one of them cries the other does, too. It’s automatic. They can’t help it.
“Jisu,” Chaeryeong breathes out, maintaining the intense eye contact between them as she says, “What I was trying to say is that I’m in love with you.”
Jisu gasps, remaining frozen at the exact same place as she processes the words that came out of Chaeryeong’s mouth. Chaeryeong wants to look away, to apologize and run in shame, but her feet stay rooted to the ground, almost like they’re cursed.
Chaeryeong waits, waits, and waits. The silence and the way Jisu refuses to stop staring are eating her alive. At this point, Chaeryeong wants it to end — wants Jisu to dig a knife into her chest and let her bleed until the wound heals. A rejection is still better than nothing, after all.
But what happens next knocks Chaeryeong off her feet.
Jisu suddenly grabs her by the waist, making sure there’s little to no space between their faces before she whispers, “God , Chaeryeong. What took you so long?”
And then Jisu kisses her.
It’s takes a few seconds for Chaeryeong to take in what is going on, for her brain to register that yes , those are Jisu’s hands squeezing her waist and that’s Jisu’s mouth pressing against hers. It’s only when Chaeryeong whines as Jisu’s teeth sinks on her lower lip and the girl grins into the kiss that it hits her.
This is not a dream. This is real.
Chaeryeong is the one who breaks the kiss, hands resting on Jisu’s shoulders as she regains her breath. Jisu breaks into a smile that makes Chaeryeong’s knees buckle, her situation getting impossibly worse when Jisu decides to pepper her entire face with kisses, butterflies flying wildly inside of Chaeryeong’s stomach as their giggles fill the air.
Chaeryeong pulls Jisu into a tight hug, fingers traveling lazily through dark strands as she mumbles, “Let me hear you say it. Please.”
Jisu hums, leaving a few pecks on Chaeryeong’s neck and shoulders before she confesses, “I’m in love with you too, Chae. Have been for so long.”
Chaeryeong is about to burst from all the emotions that are taking over her. It’s a mix of relief, happiness, and love — so much love for the girl she’s holding in her arms that is hard to believe she’s been carrying the same secret for so long, that she wants her just as much.
“We’re idiots, huh?”
“Yeah,” Jisu chuckles, the tip of her fingers running up and down Chaeryeong’s arms and spreading goosebumps all over the place. “But we can always make up for the lost time.”
Chaeryeong feels her face heat up, but before she can dwell too much on it, Jisu is kissing her again.
They giggle into the kiss and giggle while they sneak back into the dorms. Jisu ditches her room for the night and falls asleep on Chaeryeong’s bed with their legs entwined.
“I love you so much,” Chaeryeong whispers before she presses a kiss on the top of Jisu’s head, flying to the moon when the girl smiles in her sleep and buries her head deeper into her chest.
Chaeryeong couldn’t wait to tell Jisu those words over and over again.