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momo swirls the drink in her hand as she waits outside. she didn’t think things through, acted on impulse when she’d seen the flood of messages after her work. this is the only solution she could come up with, wanting to cheer her friend up. momo sighs softly, looking down at the melting drink. the tips of her fingers are frozen but she bears the tingling. she switches over, blowing hot air to keep herself warm.

it’s worth it though.

nayeon comes out of her building, beaming smile as she spots momo by the stairs. if it hadn’t been for the brick wall beside her, momo’s sure she would’ve dropped the drink. all of a sudden, nayeon runs to her, enveloping momo in her arms. there’s a lot of squealing in her ear, but she pays it no mind. it’s normal with nayeon and over the years, momo can say that she’s immune. she’s aware of the co-workers staring at them, so momo pulls away hesitantly. it doesn’t affect nayeon, though. she intertwines their fingers, waving to the others before tugging momo away.

“you came all the way to give me my favourite drink?” nayeon asks in between sips. “you didn’t have to, you know. i always rant about work.”

“how often do you end up in a fight with your superior?” momo rolls her eyes. nayeon offers a sip of her drink then and without hesitation, she takes a greedy sip.

ya, that’s like half the drink.” nayeon scoffs, grumbling under her breath. “you could’ve gotten your own.”

momo doesn’t like any of those drinks though. she doesn’t want to say no to nayeon when she’s offering sips of her own. can’t watch her crestfallen face upon rejection. she wonders how long she’ll be able to pull that off for.

“it tastes better.” momo grins through her lie. “maybe because it’s yours?”

even though teasing nayeon is a second nature to her now, it’s goes both ways. momo has lost count of the number of times she’s caught nayeon stealing her hidden gummies in the kitchen. after all, the next threat after nayeon is sana. trying to keep things away from the duo is incredibly difficult. she’s come to the decision of stocking that cupboard with all of her favourite snacks. because nayeon loves taking them away.

there’s a tug on momo’s fingers and she realises nayeon is trying to point out to something. she’d forgotten they were holding hands. the cold from earlier has dissipated, the searing warmth from nayeon is all that she can feel. momo keeps a tight hold, not wanting to let go.

“what is it?” momo squints.

“can we get some tteok?” nayeon points to the shop by the road. “i skipped lunch.”

“you told me you ate lunch.” momo furrows her eyebrows. she remembers asking earlier and nayeon had confirmed that she did. she’s been so busy with work, momo has to make sure to remind her during the day.

“before you get mad at me, i was on my way to get lunch. but then, someone needed my help.” nayeon mumbles. “i would’ve assigned it to someone else. if only anyone else could do it.”

“i’m dropping by your work tomorrow. we’re eating lunch together.” momo sighs, walking towards their new destination.

“no, you won’t. momo, your work is twenty minutes away. by the time you reach me, you’ll lose half your lunch. there’s not enough left for you to return.” nayeon shakes her head. “i promise i won’t do it again. just this one time.”

it’s never one time, but momo lets it go. butting heads with nayeon about this ends up with them going in circles. maybe she’ll start organising a weekly meal plan for the three of them. there’s less worry for sana because their boss forces them to take breaks. it’s wishful thinking for all companies to have the decency to do the same.

“oh, nayeon, you’re back!” the elderly woman running the shop greets nayeon first, smiling brightly. “you told me you were going to come last week.”

“i know, i’m really, really sorry. work has me busy.” nayeon apologises. “i promise to eat whatever you recommend today.”

momo looks between the two, wondering how often nayeon ends up coming here during work hours or after.

“did you bring your girlfriend today?” the owner glances at momo. “i hope you’ve been taking care of nayeon. she spends too much time working.”

the tips of nayeon’s ears turn red and momo chuckles at her flustered state. she’s not sure if the reaction is about the insinuation of them being together or her over-working. despite the craving to let her suffer a little longer, momo chooses to come to the rescue.

“i’m her good friend, momo. we grew up together.” momo introduces herself. “i’m trying to keep an eye on her but she likes lying about when she’s eating.”

“it was just today!” nayeon argues, crossing her arms over her chest.

the owner laughs, shaking her head. “let’s go. there’s some empty seats on the other side.”

as soon as they sit down, momo notices nayeon shiver. she rubs her hands, hoping to generate some heat. her blue coat clearly not enough to keep her warm. momo pulls over her jacket, thrusting it in nayeon’s hands. she looks confused for a moment before shaking her head.

“i’ll be fine once i eat.” nayeon pushes it back towards momo.

“you’re shivering. don’t make me zip you up.” momo threatens. it wouldn’t be the first time she’s done it. nayeon tends to stubborn about her own wellbeing, choosing to sacrifice it for some silly reasoning.

“won’t you be cold?” nayeon frowns. “what if you get sick?”

“living with you for so long has me prepared for your lack of foresight. i have another jacket.” momo quips, ignoring nayeon’s offended gasp.

their bickering is quashed when the food is put down on their table. momo watches in amazement as nayeon wolfs down at least four pieces in one go. it leaves behind a trail of sauce all over her lips and momo grimaces. she wipes it away aggressively with a tissue.

“no one is taking the food away from you. can you eat slowly?” nayeon grins at momo’s comment.

for once, nayeon listens to momo’s advice. she takes smaller bites and there’s less of a mess. she ends up taking at least half of momo’s bowl too, but there’s no complains on her side. as long as nayeon is satisfied and happy, nothing else matters.

momo gets up to pay before turning around to face nayeon. “do you think we should grab some for sana? this is her favourite snack during winter.”

(if she’d been paying attention to nayeon, she’d have realised that her smile had dimmed. that the yes , of course had been filled with confliction)

 

/

 

“momo, wake up.”

someone is shaking her. the tiredness in her body makes her crave more rest and she rolls over, ignoring the disruption.

“we’re going to be late.”

this time, the blanket is ripped off the bed and momo shivers as the chilly air hits her. slowly, she opens her eyes, squinting at the person towering over her. nayeon ? momo rubs the sleep away, sitting up slowly as she struggles to make sense of the situation.

“awake now? we have twenty minutes to make the next bus or else we’re screwed.” nayeon helps her off the bed. “how the hell did you sleep through your alarm? you’re better than me.”

she remembers briefly stirring in her sleep, but the late night yesterday had taken a toll. momo promises herself never to drink with sana and jeongyeon on a work night again.

“you could’ve gone to work. my stop is earlier than yours.” momo frowns as she looks at the time. nayeon will be late. why did she stay back with her?

“i already called in about my lateness and it’s fine. sometimes over-working has its perks. they were nice about it.” nayeon scrunches up her nose. “i’ll grab you something for breakfast. get ready, okay?”

nodding meekly, momo hurries off to get dressed. there’s something suspicious about the way nayeon is acting. did something happen last night? her memory is foggy beyond the point of her downing shots with sana. she’s adding this to the long list of reasons to lock their wine cabinet in the kitchen.

“ready? let’s go.” nayeon hands momo her bag, as well as her breakfast. “i’ll meet you after work so that we can go to the café together?”

“what café?” momo asks. she doesn’t recall having a conversation about anything of the sort.

nayeon snickers, adding to momo’s confusion. “i knew you were out of it from your second glass of wine yesterday. sana wanted to visit the café she’s been raving about for a week. you said yes to it last night.”

oh .

“right. i can come to you, if you want? i need to buy some treats for boo and dobby.” momo pauses at the bus stop. “you’re already busy, plus you’re late today because of me.”

“i am late and we’re going to be on a crowded bus.” nayeon sighs. “mo, the direction of the café is towards your work. there’s no point in you coming to me for us to go back.”

the point is made and momo realises the logic behind it. even though she’d rather pick nayeon up from work, there’s no use doubling the travelling.

she spots their bus at the stop before theirs, a sense of dread brewing in her stomach. peak hour public transport is the worst. there’s no place to sit, no place to stand. people don’t want to take the empty seats next to strangers. and, momo hates crowded buses.

nayeon reaches out then, loosely interlacing their fingers. she smiles softly at momo, squeezing her hand lightly. “it’ll be okay. you board first.”

momo hasn’t been able to figure it out yet, but somehow nayeon knows when she’s unsettled. she knows when momo is nervous. knows when she needs that extra bit of support. and even though she asks nayeon every time, she just shrugs her shoulders.

feeling the reassurance of nayeon’s support has never been an issue. she’s vocal about chasing away insecurities and loves to show it too. that’s what momo appreciates the most. nayeon grounds her, anchoring momo in the times even she herself doesn’t realise how much she needs it. it’s taken the years of their friendship to realise that nayeon’s habit is to put everyone else first and then herself. she caters for the needs of others, their stories, their worries. it gives momo the push to do the same for nayeon.

as they squeeze through the people on the bus, nayeon’s grip on momo only tightens. she lets out a shaky breath only when they reach the back of the bus. momo glances over at the seats, perking up at the sight of an empty one. she ushers nayeon over before she has a chance to argue. for a moment, momo swears she spots a glare on nayeon’s face but the bus lurches and she stumbles, sitting on the seat.

momo giggles, inherently winning an unspoken argument. nayeon will always be the priority in her eyes.

 

/

 

“oh, you’re out early.” nayeon walks beside momo as she leaves the building. “do you want to grab the dog treats now? i might as well pick some up for kookeu too.”

“more like you fed all of boo and dobby’s snacks to him.” momo clucks her tongue. “don’t think that i haven’t realised.”

“he’s still growing! he needs all the treats.” nayeon argues. “i feel like jeongyeon ended up eating some last time. she told me it was cereal but it looked just like those dog treats. it’s not surprising, really. she’s adopted so many dogs, i’ve lost count.”

momo zones out as nayeon talks more about jeongyeon. there’s a dull pain in her chest. one she wants to erase. is it the thought of losing nayeon? momo can’t quite comprehend the reasoning. hearing nayeon ramble on and on about jeongyeon’s dogs is rubbing her the wrong way.

“–love boo more. are you even listening to me?” nayeon pauses, crossing her arms over her chest.

no, she isn’t. momo opens her mouth to reply but nayeon waves her off.

“we’re here. i’ll pay today. for stealing the treats away from your devilish twins.” nayeon teases, walking inside the shop.

she regrets it later when they’re at the cashier. momo smiles smugly at the long receipt being printed out. of course she’d take advantage of the offer.

they bicker about it all the way to the café, neither wanting to relent. thankfully, it’s sana who ends up breaking their squabbling.

“you made it! did you buy me a present?” there’s a shine in sana’s eyes as she glances at their bags.

“unless you’re a dog.” momo deadpans, placing it on the table. “they’re dog treats.”

“so mean.” sana mumbles. “nayeonnie, have a look at their menu. i know you like some of the drinks i like, so i can recommend a few for you.”

momo chuckles at the excitement brimming between the two of them. always wanting to try out new things. she can’t relate to appreciating the heavily caffeinated drinks. “i’m going to go to the bathroom. i’ll be back in a bit.”

“i’ll order something for you.” nayeon says absentmindedly.

sana locks eyes with momo, a teasing grin on her face. before she can do anything with the information, momo scrambles to escape. her best friend will be the reason she loses all of her hair from stress. never misses a moment to prove her insinuations about nayeon.

she needs to wash her face. momo calms herself down as she returns to their table. confusion is plastered on sana’s face, busy staring at the pink drink on her spot. what is that? she’s aghast simply looking at the concoction.

“that’s yours?” sana points. “you told me you hated everything coffee related.”

“no, i didn’t.” momo winces as she swallows a few sips. still just as bitter as she thought it would be.

“you hate coffee?” nayeon is shocked as she looks at momo. “but you drink half of mine whenever you buy it for me.”

there’s a hint of hurt laced in her voice and momo curses internally. this is exactly what she’d been avoiding. she flits her gaze between nayeon and sana, not knowing how to answer. well, it’s not like sana didn’t know about her inability to say no to nayeon. this isn’t news.

“her taste must’ve changed since we last talked.” sana smiles, chipping away on the pressure. “it’s been a while since we’ve come to a café.”

“that must be it. she never says no to me whenever i offer her sips from my own drink.” nayeon chuckles.

momo chokes on her next sip, coughing hard. she didn’t have to say that out loud. her cheeks grow warm as sana looks over at her again. she’ll never live that down.

(if she’d been paying attention to nayeon, she’d have picked up on the frown on her face)

 

/

 

it’s their second bottle of wine they’re about to finish between the four of them. nayeon is huddled against momo, engrossed in playing with their threaded fingers. sana sits across, busy showing off something on her phone to jeongyeon.

boo and dobby seem to be very comfortable snuggling against nayeon’s legs, fast asleep. they’re terrified in a storm yet jeongyeon’s cackling isn’t loud enough to stir them awake.

momo’s only had one glass herself yet her tolerance has always been low. nayeon seems to be a bit soberer. her promise to herself about not drinking on weekdays flew out the window as soon as jeongyeon brought over two bottles from her father’s restaurant. nayeon and sana can never say no to fine wine.

“are you okay?” momo asks, brushing nayeon’s hair away from her face as she nods. “do you want to sleep?”

“i’m fine now. more worried about their state.” nayeon chuckles at sana and jeongyeon. “how did they drink more than us but seem alert.”

“practice nabongs.” jeongyeon quips. “don’t push yourself and you’ll build resistance. but i don’t think that’ll ever work with you. weak drinks are too strong for you.”

nayeon grumbles at the insult but doesn’t bite.

“do you think you can dance drunk?” sana challenges the three of them. “i bet momoring can’t stand on her feet right now. this dance looks fun.” she giggles at her phone.

momo’s never one to back down and she leans over, plucking the phone out of sana’s hands. what is this? domino lovers challenge? it seems simple to the eyes but requires a partner. she’s not doing this on her own. nayeon shifts beside her, hooking her chin over momo’s shoulder.

“that looks hard.” nayeon squints. “why is it so fast?”

“do you want to try?” momo gets up, pulling nayeon along with her. “i’ll guide you.”

“you watched it two times. i don’t trust you.” nayeon shakes her head.

“i’m offended. you should have more faith in me.” momo gasps. “just mirror what i do at the start.”

running through the video one more time, she nods. nayeon stands in front of her as momo starts with her right hand up, left hand down. she intertwines her fingers with nayeon, barely masks the sharp inhale that escapes her lips. she’s overwhelmed by nayeon’s strong grip, but uses it to her advantage, lowering nayeon for a mere second before pulling her back up. momo unwinds one arm, giggling as nayeon squeals at the sudden movement. she tugs on nayeon’s hand again, bringing her close. momo leans her forehead against nayeon’s, breathing heavily as their noses brush against each other.

even the darkness of the room couldn’t hide nayeon’s gaze lingering on momo’s lips. she meets her eyes, the confliction undeniably reflecting in momo’s own.

“i don’t want to fight this any longer.” nayeon sighs.

“then, don’t.” momo let’s go of nayeon’s hands, cradling her cheeks between her palms instead. she brushes her thumbs across. “and just so you know, i don’t want to fight this either.”

nayeon closes the distance between, pressing her lips against momo’s. her eyes flutter close. it’s just as heated as it’s soft. not what momo ever really thought it would be like. so much more . she encircles nayeon’s waist as she pulls her by her shirt, keeping her near. it’s only when momo hears someone clear their throat that she remembers their friends are still there. she hesitantly moves away, kissing nayeon’s forehead.

“god damn you guys. we didn’t need to see that. but finally!” sana shouts, cheering. “it seems like the plan worked.”

momo and nayeon whip their heads back to sana.

what plan?”