The girls collectively groaned.
“Okay gameplan is, we get to the concert, perform our set, drive for for-fucking-ever, and then do another concert, and then sleep for 10 minutes before we get home. OK? Leggo.”
Moonbyul tried tripping Solar on her way into the car.
“Do you have to do that every time? We already know the itinerary.”
“I’m just trying to get you hyped.”
“Hype my ass,” Hwasa grumbled, only to receive a swift pat on the butt.
“Hey!” Wheein chased Solar’s hands away from Hwasa’s butt only to replace them with her own, “these are mine. Exclusively.”
“Then please tell my girlfriend to keep her hands off them as well when we’re on stage.” Solar shoots a pointed glare at Moonbyul who’s still too tired to even open her eyes.
Wheein smirked. “Is she still in the doghouse?”
“I was born and raised in the doghouse,” Moonbyul muttered. She didn’t care much for the conversation going on. In her dream she was having a rap battle with Jay-Z and winning, and the grand prize was a lifetime supply of beige trench coats.
“Please be quiet,” the manager groaned weakly.
“Okay pump up the jams!”
Though Hwasa was sleepy two seconds ago, at Solar’s command she started flipping through her Recently Played.
The manager groaned again –unheard- and started up the car.
“Unnie,” Wheein begged, tugging on Moonbyul’s ponytail, “please tell your girlfriend to be quiet.”
“Ya, I’m your leader and your elder. That means double respect.”
Wheein turned in her seat until she was on her knees and bent her neck 90 degrees. “Respectfully leader unnie, please be quiet so I can sleep.”
“I got your back gfriend.” And with that, Hwasa started playing some slow jazz.
“Hey wait that’s not-“
Moonbyul pointed a finger in what she presumed was Solar’s direction (her eyes were still closed) and shushed her.
They were about five minutes into their drive, and reluctantly, even Solar was starting to fall asleep again.
Another 30 minutes in and Moonbyul got startled awake by a particularly large speed bump. She sighed and rolled her shoulders, stretching her muscles and blinking into the pale morning light.
Hwasa and Wheein had fallen back asleep, Hwasa’s playlist still gently flowing through the car speakers. The manager had turned the volume down slightly. She made eye contact with Moonbyul and smiled encouragingly.
“Good morning Unnie.”
The manager smiled slightly. The girls were always more manageable after they got a few extra Z’s in.
Moonbyul turned around and saw Solar, the professionally licensed hype-woman, totally knocked out in the back seat. She smiled to herself.
Reaching over she brushed away some of the baby hairs that were clinging to her cheek.
Surprisingly it woke Solar up. The older girl didn’t usually wake so easily. She must not have been sleeping that long.
When she awoke to Moonbyul’s tender, smiling, face, she immediately felt shy. She shook some of her hair back in her face, and pushed Moonbyul’s hand away.
“Do you have to be like that so early in the morning?”
“You ask me that every second of the day.”
Solar smirked while rubbing her eyes. “That’s because I actually like it every second of the day.”
“You’re lying,” Moonbyul teased.
“I’m lying.” She yawned heavily. “I hate it, and I hate you.”
She leaned forward to kiss her, and then rested her chin on the back of Moonbyul’s chair, so Moonbyul had to lean back a bit, just to keep enough distance in between them that she could look at Solar’s face.
“How did I do this morning?”
Moonbyul reached over to smooth out Solar’s hair again.
“I’d give it a B+. The kids were not happy you were yelling at them.”
Solar sighed. “It’s gonna be a long day today.”
“I know. They’ll appreciate it later on. Especially when they find out you’re buying them fried chicken for the road this afternoon.”
“chicken,” Hwasa said loudly in her sleep. They older girls waited a little longer to see if there was anything else, but Hwasa just smacked her lips loudly and continued to rest in the front seat.
Moonbyul returned her attention to Solar, who was staring fondly at the back of Hwasa’s head.
“Hey,” Moonbyul chastised, “eyes on me, remember?”
“If you can touch her butt then I can at least look at her, can’t I?”
Moonbyul wasn’t too worried that Solar was actually mad. Her head leaned into Moonbyul’s touch; she was just sort of holding Solar’s cheek with her hand, not moving it too much. Fixing her hair was only an excuse to make contact. A thinly veiled one, just like all her other attempts, but Solar still appreciated her attempt to be sly anyways.
Moonbyul wanted to keep joking around, just because it was nice to hear Solar’s laugh, and see the twinkle in her eye. But Solar was looking at her gently, holding her gaze, not making a point to say anything, just comfortable to share the silence with her.
The manager coughed. “We’ll be there in 20 minutes.”
Moonbyul took her hand away but Solar grabbed it, and laced their fingers together.
“Thank you,” she replied quietly.
She let go of Moonbyul’s hand and sat back in her seat.
“Get a little more sleep,” Solar whispered, already closing her eyes again.
“I don’t think that’s possible.”
“I just want to spend time with you.”
“Spend time with me in your dreams.”
The manager gagged loudly.
“You want to die?” Solar raised her hand in mock-threat. Nobody was intimidated.
In the makeup trailer Wheein was still nodding off while getting her lipstick done. Hwasa sat beside her, waiting for her turn, playing with Wheein’s fingers just to occupy time.
As the makeup artist moved from filling in one eyebrow to the other, Wheein groaned loudly.
Hwasa folded Wheein’s hand into a fist and fist-bumped her. Then she unfolded it and made it slap Hwasa on the face. Then she gasped loudly.
“Unnie? Why would you do this to me? Wheein-nim? Sasaengnim?”
Through her half-tired expression Hwasa could see a smile start to bloom on Wheein’s face.
She reshaped her fingers into a gun, and made the sound effect of it firing, then dramatically collapsed on the floor.
“Y-you’ve… K-uh-illed me,” Hwasa said in a loud, staggering breath.
She could hear the unnies giggling from the other side of the room.
“Wheein-ssi,” Solar joined in, “how could you?”
“Aigoo, our Hyejin-ah,” Moonbyul gasped out fake tears, “Hyejin-ah…” she crawled towards her, acting devastated.
“Ya I didn’t kill her!” Wheein suddenly shouted. The makeup artist flinched, but then returned to contouring, while Solar laughed, Hwasa continued to gasp, and Moonbyul continued to cry.
Wheein’s makeup was finally done so Hwasa took her place in the chair, not before getting punched in the shoulder. Wheein went around organizing her things, checking her makeup in the mirror before returning and sitting down at Hwasa’s side.
“You don’t have to wait for me,” Hwasa said.
“Your makeup always takes the longest.”
Hwasa glanced down and saw Wheein playing games on her phone. She smiled gently.
“Get a new high score in my honor.”
“Will do, captain.”
Because Hwasa knew Solar was jealous even if she didn’t mean to be, she decided to make things fair and went for the leader’s butt instead of Moonbyul’s. Solar jumped and turned around to face Hwasa’s smirk and Moonbyul’s expression of shock.
As they lined up for the next formation Wheein was laughing in her face, and Hwasa winked slyly.
“You guys are such pervs,” Solar said in the car.
“I’ll say,” Moonbyul whispered.
“What was that Unnie?”
“There,” Hwasa pointed at Moonbyul’s scowl, “I made unnie jealous for you, are you happy now?”
Solar laughed and pinched Hwasa’s cheeks, “I’m always happy with my favorite maknae.”
“WHAT THE HELL?”
Wheein started slapping Solar’s arm and Moonbyul grinned, feeling slightly avenged.
“These kids,” the manager mumbled.
She was ignored, as usual.
Halfway through their second drive, they stopped somewhere per Solar’s request earlier this morning and everyone got fried chicken.
“You see how I take care of you?” she bragged.
As they sat down to eat Wheein leaned over and kissed Solar’s cheek.
“Sorry for ever doubting you.”
Moonbyul set out her napkin and utensils carefully, unlike the other girls who dove in straight away. She waited for Solar to pick the piece of chicken she preferred, then chose the one she liked. As soon as she put it on her plate Solar switched them.
“I’m treating you today, remember? That means you even get first choice in chicken.”
“Daebak,” Hwasa gasped.
Wheein thumbs-up’d in agreement.
Moonbyul smiled fondly at Solar. She reached over to brush an invisible crumb off her lip.
“Don’t do anything greasy while I’m eating,” Hwasa warned.
Solar shot her a death glare and then leaned in close to whisper something in Moonbyul’s ear.
The girl pulled away blushing like crazy.
Satisfied with her work, Solar bit into her chicken smugly.
“Unnie’s got a lot of game,” Wheein remarked.
“More game than me?” Hwasa asked, around a mouthful of chicken.
Wheein snorted, and then whacked Hwasa with a drumstick. “That’s impossible she looks like a Pokemon!”
“This coming from the girl who gets patted and told ‘good girl’ by her girlfriend instead of complimented like an actual human being.”
Moonbyul threw down her chicken like it was hot. “Burnnnnn.”
Wheein glared at the both of them. “You two deserve each other.”
Hwasa was just satisfied to have not been targeted… this time.
After another performance at night they were back in the car, tired, but more awake then they were all day. Wheein had taken over the music, still using Hwasa’s phone but playing all the songs Wheein downloaded for her.
“IS IT TRUUUU. YES.”
Solar mimed a really cheesy “okey dokey” motion. Moonbyul laughed and flicked Solar in the head.
“I’m a great dancer!” she shouted over the music.
“You have cancer?” Hwasa shouted back.
“-OKEY DOKEY YO.”
Moonbyul laughed even harder and Hwasa just shrugged, returning to her fake rapping competition with Wheein. Someone had pulled out the selfie stick and they were all filming this for no real reason.
Ten minutes later the car was quiet again. Wheein hadn’t been able to pick a song in time and the energy ebbed slightly. Moonbyul was still looking at Solar with heart eyes, even though she was just flipping through her phone. Whenever she concentrated on something she looked more serious; sharper, prettier.
Moonbyul sighed, pressing her knuckle into her cheek as if to contain her smile.
“Omo, look at Byulyi-ssi.”
Wheein turned Hwasa’s head to look at their unnie and they both laughed out loud.
“You look like one of those lovesick girls from a drama,” Wheein laughed.
“You like the lovesick girl from your own drama,” Hwasa wheezed. Then they both immediately burst into an exaggerated impersonation of the infamous, “heart, be normal” scene.
Moonbyul blushed fiercely.
Solar was watching with quiet amusement, only deciding to intervene when their choding was starting to make Moonbyul actually sweat.
“Go to sleep kids,” she warned.
Wheein rolled her eyes, knowing Solar was only getting defensive because she was sweet on the rapper.
“What if I don’t want to sleep?”
“I know you’re tired. Want to switch seats with me? You can lie down in the back seat.”
Wheein suddenly felt keen on the idea, and nodded appreciatively. She started to climb over in the back seat, but then did a 180, and threw herself over the storage compartment between the driver and passenger seat.
Hwasa rolled her eyes, equal parts amused and annoyed by Wheein’s aegyo.
“Aren’t you going to wish me goodnight?” she asked in a sickly sweet voice.
Hwasa shook her head.
“Ask me normally.”
Wheein’s eyes softened, though her grin was still firmly in place.
Hwasa smiled and leaned forward to press her lips against Wheein’s.
“Okay that’s enough,” Solar said after only one second.
“You’re such a killjoy.”
“Kiss more when you get back home, you should sleep now otherwise you’ll be cranky later.”
Wheein shrugged, and leaned in for another kiss.
Solar heaved a sigh that seemed like it should come from someone three times her age.
“Aigoo, these kids.”
They were all dragging their feet out of the car. Solar nearly walked into a telephone pole.
Moonbyul caught her just in time and redirected her. Wheein giggled so Solar moved to hit her but just ended up swinging her arm around Wheein’s shoulder. Wheein leaned into Solar for support, as she was stumbling too.
“We look drunk,” Wheein joked.
Solar gave a half-hearted fist-pump. “woo hoo.”
Eventually the girls split, the younger two walking towards their individual apartment, and Moonbyul claiming to walk Solar home even though that meant she was going to sleep over tonight.
The manager stared at her warningly.
Moonbyul held her hands up by her head. “I promise we’ll sleep.”
Solar snorted and Moonbyul elbowed her hard in the ribs.
“Yes we promise.”
“Solar-ssi, you’re crossing your fingers right in front of me.”
Solar giggled. “Oops.”
Moonbyul then grabbed Solar by the sleeve and started dragging her away. Hit by a sudden burst of energy Solar started running alongside Moonbyul. Nobody was chasing them. But it was fun to run anyways.
When Solar nearly trips over her own shoe they slow back down to a walk, Moonbyul laughing her ass off and Solar pretending not to be embarrassed.
Moonbyul grabbed Solar’s arm and shook it fiercely, smiling with all her teeth, nose scrunched up like a little bunny.
“Unnie I think you’re the funniest in the world.”
Solar wanted to be mad that Moonbyul was laughing at her clumsiness, but she was mostly just pleased.
She shoved Moonbyul with her shoulder, but Moonbyul didn’t let go of her arm.
“You’re going to give us away,” Solar warned.
“I don’t care.”
Solar’s mouth dropped open in shock, but there was a hint of a smile in her expression.
“You’re being too bold.”
“No this is being too bold.”
Solar saw it coming, she could’ve stopped it, or playfully turned her cheek. But she was feeling bold tonight too.
They kissed, lightly, playfully, in the shadow between two streetlights, and then giggled as they parted, swinging their now interlocked hands in between them.
“I love you,” Moonbyul whispered into Solar’s ear.
Solar rolled her eyes. “Yeah I know.”
Solar turned and fit her lips over one of Moonbyul’s cute cheek dimples and whispered, “I love you too.”