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a thousand pieces of moon

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It takes sixty-three days, five one night stands, and a pinch of misunderstanding for Son Chaeyoung to realize that she’s in love with her best friend. 

 

Let’s go back.

 

---

 

Day One

 

“I’ve gotten a new job,” Tzuyu announces, a statement so ordinary that Chaeyoung takes her time chewing her dumping before swallowing, then smiles up at her in encouragement. 

“Congrats? As you do every week. Not that I’m not proud of you every week!” she hurries to say with what she hopes is a sweet smile. It comes with the territory, and Tzuyu is only getting busier as her modeling career picks up. “What kind of shoot is this one?”

“Not a shoot.” It’s only then that Chaeyoung looks up from the food she’d been inhaling to actually see her roommate’s face. Tzuyu looks like she did when she’d gotten her first ever modeling gig, for a store-front ad at the local stationary shop on the main shopping street close to their college apartment, a mix of tentative excitement and lip-biting anxiety. (The notebooks had flown off of the shelves that month, and Tzuyu still gets a 50% discount on everything from the stationary shop as a thank you. Sometimes people stop her in the store for autographs, while Chaeyoung mopes with their shopping cart like a bored boyfriend in the background.)

“Okay…?”

Tzuyu takes it as enough of an invitation to go on, grabbing Chaeyoung’s free hand in her excitement. “My first acting job, and it’s a leading role too!”

Chaeyoung feels the smile split open her face before she consciously puts it there. How can she not be happy? Tzuyu has been talking her ear off about wanting to get into acting as a serious career, wanting to be known as more than a pretty face and long legs to sell handbags and eye cream. The excitement for her best friend, her oldest friend, is pouring out of her before she knows what is happening.

“Tzuyu! Oh my god, churn the freaking butter!” she says, taking their linked hands and shaking them up and down. 

“It doesn’t sound the same in Korean, you know,” Tzuyu says, but she smiles anyway at Chaeyoung’s attempt to use a Chinese idiom, translated poorly into Korean. “But yes, churn the butter as you say.”

“When does it start? Omg, you have to take me onto set every day if you can. I bet the lunches will be amazing.”

Tzuyu rolls her eyes. “Why do you still act like you need free lunch to get through the day? You could probably pay for everybody’s lunch on the set and then some with just the royalties from Goodbye, Obsession .”

“Rich mindset, baby,” Chaeyoung says, tapping her forehead like a meme. “Besides, how else can I afford the lifestyle of an international playgirl if I didn’t cut costs somewhere?”

“God,” Tzuyu says, still looking at Chaeyoung with a fond smile, the same one that Chaeyoung has been teasing ever since Tzuyu arrived in her high school homeroom, barely speaking Korean and already taller than half of the boys. The boys caught up to her eventually. Chaeyoung, however…

She shakes the thought away. Who would have thought, her best friend, an international superstar? Tzuyu hits her on the shoulder again, blushing furiously when she says it out loud.

“I am not!”

“I know that reaction, Chou Tzuyu,” Chaeyoung says, teasing, because she can. “Don’t worry, I won’t judge you for thinking you’re hot shit. You are hot shit. The Korean general public won’t know what hit them.”

“Well…” Tzuyu swallows. “So. It’s actually not going to be the Korean general public, unless they’re really into niche Taiwanese dramas.”

Chaeyoung blinks as Tzuyu’s words digest in her mind. “Woah. Wait.”

Tzuyu nods rapidly, and Chaeyoung watches as her face transforms into one of pure excitement, a whole level above her initial reaction when telling Chaeyoung. “Yeah it’s a Taiwanese drama, and I’m going home to film it. I mean, it’s filming north of Taipei but it’s a short train ride from my parents’ house and I’m sure my mom is going to practically move into my trailer to spend time with me anyway…” Tzuyu rambles on as Chaeyoung starts to tune her out, somewhat distracted, surprised even, by how excited her best friend is. 

It’s not like Tzuyu’s been too down recently, but it’d be wrong to say there wasn’t something of a funk where she was concerned. Tzuyu has been acting as she always has, saying hi cheerfully to Chaeyoung in the mornings, kissing her on the cheek when she leaves for a shoot, stopping by Chaeyoung’s studio with little lunch boxes whenever she feels like it.

Chaeyoung even jokes that Tzuyu is in love with her, a little bit, with all of the clinginess and constant affection, but even that has been delivered with a less than vibrant smile from her these days. Chaeyoung is filled with nothing but happiness at the prospect of her best friend finally being able to spend quality time at home, and she tells her so.

“Tzuyu, that’s so great,” Chaeyoung says with as much sincerity as she can muster. “I’ll miss you, but I know you’ll love the time with your family, and everyone…”

Tzuyu giggles. “I know… did I mention who my leading man costar is going to be?” 

Chaeyoung sighs, getting ready to muster appreciation for a man, making sure that Tzuyu understands how much of an absolute chore it is for her. 

“Aaron Yan , that’s who!” Tzuyu giggles again, an uncharacteristic show of fangirling from her.

“Oh, that Fahrenheit guy? Isn’t he gay?” 

“I know that,” Tzuyu sighs, still looking dreamy. “But when you have a poster of someone on your wall in middle school, you still get starstruck. I can’t believe I’m going to meet him!”

“Yeah, and you get to make out with him to boot huh,” Chaeyoung drawls. “I can tell you’re excited for that too.”

“Nah,” Tzuyu makes a face. “Come on, it’s professional. I’m a professional.”

And Chaeyoung smirks and Tzuyu fake hits her (though it actually hurts– when did she start working out so much?) and the conversation dissolves into laughter and drinking on their old couch and Chaeyoung teasing Tzuyu when the main couple starts kissing in the drama they're watching, and that’s it. Chaeyoung is excited, she’s happy, she’s everything a best friend should be, and that’s it. 

 

Day Three

 

But the day comes too fast for Chaeyoung, as Tzuyu explains that principal photography will start extra-early, and the cast needs to get together for promotional pictures, being taken on set in Danshui. Chaeyoung takes Tzuyu to Incheon then, waking up at the ass-crack of dawn, wiping her eyes driving through the light mist that’s falling all around them. She jokes that the sky is crying for Tzuyu as she leaves, completely expecting one of Tzuyu’s arm-bruising fake punches, but Tzuyu is unexpectedly subdued. 

She finally speaks when they pull into the drop-off area, looking over at Chaeyoung with watery eyes, and Chaeyoung struggles not to react. She doesn’t succeed.

“I’m going to miss you,” Tzuyu gets out before she lets a sob escape her, and damn it, 4:30 in the morning is too early to cry, but Chaeyoung feels herself going the way of the sky and she wraps Tzuyu in a hug. Tzuyu’s arms come around her, and she pays extra attention to how her arms can wrap all the way around her– Tzuyu’s always been her tallest friend, and now, an errant thought pops into her head. No one else can hug me as nicely as she does.  

It’s a weird thought, one that Chaeyoung delegates to her future self to think about. Now is the time for setting Tzuyu’s luggage on the ground, letting her pull up the handle, letting her wipe her tears away to reveal her frustratingly perfect face, even after crying, and letting her walk through the sliding doors, where a ticket person rushes to help her. Pretty privilege, Chaeyoung laughs to herself, Tzuyu will never be free of it. 

She watches Tzuyu disappear inside of the airport, and only a honk behind her startles her from the reverie. People are still impatient assholes at 4:30, so she gets back into the car, restraining herself from driving extra-slow to make her car neighbor extra-mad. 

The full moon watches her the entire time, the entire drive back to her now empty apartment. 

 

LINE (3)

 

[Picture]

It’s a Badtz-Maru plane. Reminds me of you. fierce but small

I miss you already.

 

Day Seven 

 

Chaeyoung does it like she’s on autopilot. She’s halfway through her beauty routine, swiping on glittery eyeshadow before she turns to yell at Tzuyu to hurry up in her bathroom, only for the words to die in her throat. Tzuyu’s not here anymore, she reminds herself. She’s having a great time in Taiwan, as her LINE messages have indicated, and you are going out tonight, by yourself. 

It’s not like Chaeyoung is codependent anyway. Sure, she’s been going out with Tzuyu every Saturday for the past… three years? Since they got this apartment together? And the routine has remained the same the entire time, where they would get dolled up and head to whatever club or bar that had caught Chaeyoung’s eye that weekend. Tzuyu would play wingwoman, and Chaeyoung would scout around for someone pretty to lure into her bed. The routine was more of a Chaeyoung thing, but she always thought Tzuyu liked it, just hanging out, laughing at Chaeyoung’s latest ways of finding a one-night stand. 

And Tzuyu would respectfully bow out at a decent time of night, sometimes going to a quiet hotel bar, sometimes going to their friend’s apartment, right when Chaeyoung found someone good enough for one night. Chaeyoung was always grateful that Tzuyu would essentially sexile herself, that she never had to ask, that Tzuyu just understood, just like they understood each other in every other way for the past years of their friendship.

And now she’s gone. Chaeyoung swallows, finishing the cat eye she’s done basically on autopilot, and pretty well at that. 

Hey. She can go out by herself. And if it’s weird, it’s not like she can’t ask Momo to go out with her next weekend, who’s always up for a night of wild dancing followed by a morning of gentle resting. 

 

It’s weird. At first, Chaeyoung gets into her favorite place with ease, finding comfort at the loud music, the flashing neon lights, the plush velvet of the couches, the camaraderie with her favorite bartenders. It’s where she’s most comfortable, and when one of her songs comes on, Chaeyoung laughs and gets up to dance with a random woman from the bar, whispering that she still collects royalties from this one. 

It’s this random woman that she ends up slamming into her closed front door, leaning up to mouth at her neck while she tries to lock it behind them. Tzuyu was the one who always insisted on adding the second lock, ever concerned about apartment security.

The woman grabs Chaeyoung’s chin, startling her out of the thought. “I like the hallway, but maybe, we can go to your room?”

Chaeyoung doesn’t give Tzuyu another thought for the rest of the night.

 

LINE (3)

 

Got to the hotel! My mom came up on the train, just like you said she would. We’re getting curry rice together now!

[Picture]

I’ll send pictures to make you jealous of the lunches on set 

 

Day Eight

 

Chaeyoung wakes up with a headache and an empty apartment, save for herself. The woman had escorted herself out early in the morning, she thinks. It’s a bit fuzzy, but she’s pretty sure she heard her apartment door open and close, and the only sign of another person here is the umbrella that was knocked down last night in the rush to get into Chaeyoung’s bedroom. 

Chaeyoung groans, head still fuzzy from drinking a little more than she normally would last night. Gingerly lifting herself out of bed, she pads to her bathroom, then knocks blearily on Tzuyu’s closed door. It opens without any effort on her part, swinging aside from the accidental force of her knocking and then she’s struck by the cleanliness of everything, the neatly made bed, the shoes lined up under the closet, how unlived it already looks, and then she remembers. 

Tzuyu would have already been up, making a cup of warm water with lemon for Chaeyoung just how she likes it, and pushing it towards her on the table with a chagrined smile. She would have come in sometime in the morning, either before or after Chaeyoung’s girl of night had left, sometimes having been mistaken as her live-in girlfriend. Tzuyu would always correct them, but Chaeyoung sometimes wondered what would happen if she didn’t.

 

Her line of thinking is disrupted by seeing Tzuyu’s messages on her phone, and Chaeyoung smiles just at her best friend’s name. It seems like she’s met her primary co-stars, and after being temporarily blinded by Aaron Yan’s star power, he seems like a really nice guy. The rest of the cast must be big names in Taiwan, but she doesn’t recognize Celia Wu or Kevin Chu, though Tzuyu insists that they’re all so nice and welcoming, even to her mom, who has taken to coming onto set at lunch to graze on the cast's leftovers. 

Chaeyoung has only met Tzuyu’s parents twice, once when they visited Tzuyu for the first time, and then again recently, when they took a family vacation to Seoul with her brother. She barely understands any Chinese too, but she’s always felt a kinship with Tzuyu’s mom, and this information only cements her initial feeling, she thinks with a smile. 

At least Tzuyu is happy, comes another errant thought. Chaeyoung blinks. It’s not like she herself isn’t happy, but it’s… it’s just weird without Tzuyu. But it’s possible that last night was just a weird time for her, a rare off-night for Chaeyoung. It’s rare that the high of drinking and dancing doesn’t leave Chaeyoung satisfied, but hey. There’s always next weekend.

 

LINE (3)

 

First week of official shooting today! Wish me luck 

Kevin got me some taro milk tea to be nice, but I had to tell him i hate taro stuff

He gave it to my mom tho and i think she’s in love with him now hehe

 

Day Twenty-One

 

“So if I’m being Tzuyu, what do I have to do?” Momo asks while drawing on lipstick in Chaeyoung’s bathroom mirror. 

“Why are you being Tzuyu? Just be yourself?” Chaeyoung replies, focusing on a cat eye herself. 

“Please.” Momo finishes her work with a smack of her lips, then appraises her work in the mirror. “We’ve known each other for years, and we all know this is you guys’ thing, going out on the weekends together. And the Tzuyu comes back to my place to eat ice cream while you bang some random girl in your shared apartment, and then it’s rinse and repeat. But she’s off working, so here I am. Not too much of a leap to make.”

Momo’s not wrong. She tried last weekend, to go out by herself one more time, convinced that the last time was a weird fluke, that the weird feeling in her chest was some kind of chest cold with nothing to do with being alone. But the result had been the same: a just-okay one night stand, with someone Chaeyoung could barely remember. Chaeyoung is nothing if not resourceful though, so asking Momo to come as a friend will certainly solve her weird funk.

“I could have asked Sana to come too if you thought it was weird,” Chaeyoung grumbles, unwilling to admit that Momo has once again, hit it on the head with her astute observational skills. “Besides, we love going dancing together.”

“Yeah, you, me, and Tzuyu all going dancing together,” Momo says. “Hey, I don’t mind. If I’m replacement Tzuyu, that’s an honor. You’ve seen her, she’s insane.”

“I...guess.” Chaeyoung knows that Tzuyu is pretty. Practically anyone who has ever set eyes on Tzuyu knows that she’s pretty, but to Chaeyoung, that’s always been the least interesting thing about her. 

Anyone on the street who sees one of Tzuyu’s many billboards would stop in their tracks a bit, but they don’t get to see Tzuyu when she’s half-asleep on their shared couch, drooling after one too many fried chicken pieces. They don’t see Tzuyu in her determination to improve her career, to the point of moving to Korea at a young age to model, to do CFs, and now to even act. They don’t see the countless auditions, late nights, and hours of work that Tzuyu has put in to become as good as she is now, but Chaeyoung has been there through it all, being her first friend, and now her roommate. She knows Tzuyu’s preference for bath tissue, so what’s the fact of her pretty face going to do?

“I’ll be the best wingwoman in the world for you,” Momo says, squeezing Chaeyoung’s shoulder and setting her in front of the mirror. “So good that when Tzuyu decides she loves being in Taiwan more than here that I can easily become your number one, haha.”

It’s a joke, obviously, but Momo’s words cause an unexpected stab of panic to bloom in Chaeyoung’s gut. She’d been thinking of Tzuyu’s job as a brief, two month stay in Taiwan, a means to an end, to launch her acting career before she comes back and everything goes back to normal. Her life is here, after all, with Chaeyoung in their tiny apartment, being here whenever Chaeyoung drags herself in from a long day at the studio, arguing with record executives and artists, being here to eat Chaeyoung’s food whenever she makes too much, being here to go out on the weekends and wake up together in the morning. Tzuyu wouldn’t never come back. She wouldn’t never come home.

Momo laughs, oblivious to Chaeyoung’s sudden inner panic. “I’m going to get my shoes on. God, those boots take forever to lace up. You look great, just toss some powder on and let’s goooo!”

Chaeyoung is left alone, staring at her reflection. It never occurred to her, not even a little bit, that her current life could change so drastically with one little development like Tzuyu getting a job in Taiwan. Sure, she knew that Tzuyu was a big part of her life before. But now, she realizes that certain realities could be born out of her panicked thoughts. Maybe Tzuyu’s career could pick up in Taiwan, and she could get many more jobs in dramas in that market, never to return. Maybe Tzuyu could realize that she can be near her family, for the first time in years. Maybe Tzuyu could just like Taiwan better, and why wouldn’t she? It’s her home after all. 

But… a small part of Chaeyoung cries that they’re each others’ homes, their little apartment in the middle of Seoul. 

And surely, Tzuyu thinks that too. 

 

LINE (4)

 

I haven’t been to Danshui much, but the sunset is so nice here

[Picture]

We filmed here today, and Aaron bought everyone ice cream afterward

I still can’t believe I know him now. Can’t wait for you to meet everyone

 

Day Twenty-two

 

Chaeyoung wakes up, squinting in the bright light. Weird, normally she closes the drapes before falling asleep. She leisurely stretches her arms against her bed but freezes when she touches something. Something very… warm and breathing, still in her bed. Another woman, one she vaguely recognizes as someone she brought home last night, blinks up owlishly from under her covers.

It’s been so long since Chaeyoung actually had to face someone in the morning like this, so it takes her a bit longer to react. They stare at each other for what seems like forever, before the woman just laughs. 

“I don’t think I even know your name,” she finally says, extending an arm to Chaeyoung. “I’m Chaeyoung.”

Chaeyoung takes a second to recognize the absurdity of hooking up with someone who has the same name as her, then decides to embrace it. “Hi Chaeyoung. I’m Chaeyoung.”

“No way.” Other Chaeyoung looks stunned, then laughs again. It’s not a terrible sound, and Chaeyoung realizes that the other woman is actually gorgeous. She briefly wonders if they could have made it work, but dismisses it. She hasn’t wanted a serious relationship in ages, so the fact that she’s contemplating it with a ridiculously named stranger who she met less than 24 hours ago must mean she’s really out of it. 

She doesn’t have to say a thing though, because Other Chaeyoung is already swinging her legs around the bed, and god, she really is fit, but for some reason Chaeyoung isn’t that interested in her again. Name aside, and as hot as the other woman was last night, there’s something not so fulfilling about hooking up anymore that has Chaeyoung a little numb. 

“Well, I had fun, but I have to run,” Other Chaeyoung says, standing up to pull on her clothes from last night. 

“Here,” Chaeyoung says, tossing her a blank white shirt from her drawer. She’s gotten to the point where she offers every hook up of hers a shirt to walk home in, and generally people are grateful to avoid the walk of shame. 

“Prepared,” is all Other Chaeyoung says, slipping on the shirt with ease. “Appreciate it, Chaeyoung.” She giggles again. “Which way is the door?”

After she’s out of the apartment, Chaeyoung looks at her phone again. A few messages from Momo, filled with winking faces that she ignores, and then some messages from Tzuyu. She opens the ones from Tzuyu so quickly that it takes her phone a while to respond. She’s having fun it seems, with attached pictures of the sunset on the water of where she’s filming. Chaeyoung swallows, and stares at the closed door of her apartment with an uncomfortable feeling settling in her chest.

 

LINE (2)

Shooting is going by so fast, sorry I haven’t responded

Gotta go, but i’ll text later?

 

Day Thirty-Five

 

Chaeyoung knows that she’s going through the motions, not even asking Momo to go out with her anymore after a couple of times, just going out and finding the prettiest person she can to go back to her apartment until someone says yes. 

But what breaks her is the model. Chaeyoung pretends to herself, since there’s no one else around to pretend to, that she’s brought this woman home for completely random reasons. She’s statuesque, straight off of a Marie Claire shoot, with long brown hair lightly dyed. But her eyes are a bit too close together, and her chin isn’t nearly as dainty as it should be. 

It’s wrong, in many ways, and it’s one of the only times in the past month where Chaeyoung is proud of herself when she gently pushes the woman away at her door. 

“I’m sorry,” Chaeyoung starts, but the other woman doesn’t look upset, just disappointed. 

“I can get a cab, no worries,” she says, turning from Chaeyoung briefly before turning back. “You should work it out, with whoever it is.” Chaeyoung opens her mouth but nothing comes out. The model girl smiles. “Trust me, I know the face of someone with a broken heart. You’ll be happier if you resolve it, however you can.”

Chaeyoung goes back to her apartment, the wide open living room that was once decorated with Tzuyu’s things, a cardigan here, a mini-camera there, a casting booklet tossed on the coffee table. It’s empty now, save for Chaeyoung’s unopened mail and her phone. She’s already read messages from Tzuyu, promising to text with nothing after it, and she sighs. 

The room is illuminated by just a single lamp in the corner, and the rest by moonlight, coming in through the open windows. It’s just past another full moon, just another reminder of how long it’s been since Tzuyu got on that stupid Sanrio plane to Taiwan and immersed herself into her new job. 

Jealousy is stupid, Chaeyoung tells herself as the first tear falls into her hands. Being jealous that Tzuyu is enjoying her first big career move into acting is stupid. Being irrationally jealous of her new co-stars, of Aaron and Celia and of fucking Kevin, Chaeyoung can’t believe she’s jealous of someone named Kevin , because they get to see Tzuyu every day and she can’t, is stupid. And yet here she is, a self-proclaimed international playgirl, having a breakdown because her best friend isn’t here with her, and she desperately misses her, maybe even a little too much, but she can’t unpack that right now when she’s full on sobbing in her empty apartment. 

Chaeyoung hadn’t realized how much of her life revolved around Tzuyu, how much everything she did involved her, in working, in going out, in just living with her. The model’s words, and her general appearance, stick in Chaeyoung’s mind. She can’t ignore how she brought home someone that looks just like Tzuyu, who said she had a broken heart. 

She can’t ignore it forever, but right now Chaeyoung decides to ignore it just for the night, and she falls asleep with tears on her cheek right there on the living room couch.

 

LINE (3)

[Picture]

Look at this little latte! I had them make it with my face on it!

I know you must be busy, but I want to call sometime! Tell me when is good for you

 

Day Fifty

 

Chaeyoung stops going out on the weekends, becoming what she never thought she would become: a total shut in. Either at work, or in her solitary apartment, she only goes out to scrounge for food or to get on the train to work, and then scrounge for food afterwards. She’s hiding from everyone, her coworkers, her friends, even Tzuyu herself. She can’t bring herself to think about potentially… she can’t even think about it. So she remains inside, working on some more lyrics to hopefully another hit song, and hides from everyone.

The thing about hiding, however, is that Tzuyu has always been particularly good at finding. And Chaeyoung is weak right now, so when Tzuyu stops texting, and just directly calls her for the first time since she’d left, Chaeyoung picks up the phone.

“Chaeyoung-ah!” Chaeyoung almost drops the phone as soon as she’d picked it up, just hearing Tzuyu’s voice again, clear on the other line.

“Hello my international superstar,” Chaeyoung replied, saying it in a surprisingly stable voice. Her heart is beating at the rate of a thousand beats per second it seems. “I miss you.” 

Damn it. Tzuyu pauses too, because for all of her affection towards Chaeyoung for their entire friendship, Chaeyoung usually doesn’t return it outright, and especially not to the point of actually saying it. 

“Wow, you miss me , hmm?” Tzuyu’s voice is teasing.

“Shut up,” Chaeyoung grumbles, falling back into their friendship like no time has passed. “I bet you miss me too.” 

“I do,” Tzuyu says without missing a beat. “I miss you so much! But there’s so much happening here, that’s happened here, gosh. I have so much to tell you!”

“Me too,” Chaeyoung says softly. “But you go first.”

“Well, I know I said I was going to be back in two weeks, but…” 

Chaeyoung stomach drops to the floor. Oh god, it’s happening, it’s happening, she’s never coming back, oh my god. “But what?”

“I want to invite you here. I have to extend my time here for a few reshoots, but I miss having you around so much. Can you do it? Please, Chaeng, for me? You can afford the time off, you practically run the studio.”

Chaeyoung takes a moment to breathe, to calm her panicky heart down. There’s no question of what she’s going to say. She’s weak for Tzuyu, and knows it now too. There’s absolutely no way she’d turn down anything said in the tone of Please, Chaeng.  

“I’d love to come.”

Tzuyu squeals, a sound that Chaeyoung almost never hears from her serious best friend. “I can’t wait for you to meet everyone. It’ll be so fun, gosh. I’ll see you soon then? Oh, what was it you wanted to tell me?”

The thing is, Chaeyoung isn’t even sure herself. “I can wait til I see you.”

“Mysterious.” Chaeyoung can practically hear the eye roll in Tzuyu’s voice, and suddenly she’s missing Tzuyu so intensely that she wants to cry. She holds it in. 

“I’ll see you soon then? Are you at least going to comp my plane ticket?”

“Oh my god,” Tzuyu says, laughing. “Of course, you really don’t change do you?”

Chaeyoung laughs and they hang up and she’s standing in the middle of her living room, trying to figure out how she’s going to figure out her feelings in the next two weeks before she lands in Taiwan.

 

LINE (4)

 

You got the reservation email right?

We’ll be at the Howard Plaza, so just meet us in the lobby when you get in! 

It’ll be all-you-can-eat ;)

See you!

 

Day Sixty-Three

 

The Howard Plaza looks gorgeous on the inside, as Chaeyoung steps into the manicured lobby to see a piano playing itself while palm trees seem to sway to the beat. It’s been a rough two weeks, not in any way that had lasting physical impact on Chaeyoung. It was easy enough for her to tell the studio that she’d be working remotely for a few weeks, which is how long Tzuyu has booked her ticket for. It’s a longer vacation than Chaeyoung would normally take, but she’s so whipped for her best friend at this point that she just puts in her time off notice without a second thought.

No, the stress has been emotional. The thought of meeting Tzuyu for the first time in over two months has stress pimples breaking out all across Chaeyoung’s hairline, and she never breaks out. She’s been going back and forth the entire two weeks, even on the stupid little Badtz-Maru plane where she didn’t sleep a wink.

Sure, she’s missed Tzuyu. That’s a normal, best friend reaction to not having someone who you spent most of your time with around you for more than two months. She’s missed their rituals, their casual evenings and their glammed up parties. 

But the fact that Chaeyoung has lost all interest in hooking up with random girls every weekend, just because Tzuyu isn’t there the next morning, is also a cause for some concern. Chaeyoung hasn’t wanted a relationship in years, ever since she was a green high schooler who romanticized everything and anything. And she knows that Tzuyu is the opposite, that she’d been single all this time, wanting to settle down with someone. Wanting to get married. 

Surely, Chaeyoung can’t be serious about Tzuyu . Her best friend. They work well as friends, even better as roommates who balance each other out. But that uncomfortable feeling, bringing all those girls back and being unsatisfied, bringing home essentially a Tzuyu-lookalike, shutting herself inside because everything is boring without her, it all points to something. Chaeyoung isn’t stupid, except maybe when it comes to her feelings, but still. 

And so, Chaeyoung’s stayed awake on the plane, and is getting into the Howard Plaza lobby completely exhausted, ready to see Tzuyu and hope that she has some kind of epiphany when it happens. If only she could see around these massive palm trees, then she might have a better chance of finding her…

“Chaeng!”

As it turns out, Tzuyu’s been looking for her too. Chaeyoung turns around at the sound of Tzuyu’s clear voice, looking for her in the crowd. It’s been months, but she knows Tzuyu’s face like no other, and instantly zeroes her out standing at the hotel bar.

God. Tzuyu looks good, is her first thought as she power walks over to the bar, luggage wildly being pulled behind her. Her hair is a little lighter, and a little longer, and she almost looks a little taller, though that would make things so unfair for Chaeyoung, having to look up at her even more. But her smile is still just as bright, her eyes just as soft, and Chaeyoung blinks, finally within a few feet of her best friend, still so much taller than her. She’d maybe hoped that an epiphany would come over her, but when she does, it still shocks her. 

I’m in love with Tzuyu.  

Oh. Oh

Chaeyoung has never had much impulse control. The realization is too new and it’s slipping out of her, the confession. And yet, Tzuyu as always saves her and wrecks her in one move. She sees Chaeyoung, and it’s like the world melts around them. Chaeyoung’s pretty sure that the clock in the corner is losing its hands in a slow drop of kaleidoscope colors, the faces blurring into flesh colored walls. It’s just Tzuyu in front of her. 

 

Until it isn’t. 

Because there’s a guy next to her, putting one hand on her hip and Chaeyoung is growling internally already, ready to rush in and scare him off like she does with any man who dares to look at Tzuyu. At her Tzuyu. He looks harmless enough, so Chaeyoung is sure that one darkened look will be enough to have him scampering away, tail between his legs.

Until Tzuyu pulls him closer to her, intertwining their fingers together. It’s almost like a movie scene, Chaeyoung thinks except for Tzuyu it’s a rom-com, and for Chaeyoung it’s a horror scene, happening in slow motion as Tzuyu’s hand sparkles with a huge diamond ring on her finger. On her ring finger.

“Chaeng!” Tzuyu calls again, softer this time since she’s closer to the pair of them. She breaks apart from the man and runs towards Chaeyoung, wrapping her arms around her, the same way she did all those weeks ago at the airport. Chaeyoung’s revelation remains the same: No one else can hug me as nicely as she does.

“I missed you so much!” Tzuyu says into her hair, which Chaeyoung is sure smells like airplane and musty air. “There’s so much I wanted to tell you, but even more has happened just yesterday! I…” Tzuyu pulls back, shyly lifting her hand in front of her face. “Well. This happened, yesterday.”

Chaeyoung raises her eyebrows and nods, hoping that she’s smiling as well. “Oh my god!”

“I know. I can’t believe it! Kevin!” Chaeyoung watches yet another horror scene as the mentioned Kevin comes forward, smiling like an idiot, wrapping his arm around Tzuyu’s waist. “I know I mentioned Kevin in my messages right? But I want to formerly introduce you to Kevin Chu, my new fiancé!”

This Kevin? Co-star Kevin? Chaeyoung tries to smile at him, at them both, both so deliriously happy while she reels from the impact of everything.

 

The true comedy of it all, Chaeyoung thinks before she blacks out, is that she is jealous of someone named Kevin after all.