jennie kim may be many things, but an unobservant idiot is not one of them.
she's absolutely certain of what's about to happen when her girlfriend of the last six years laces their fingers together and leads her from a table at a restaurant jennie knows well (she better know it well, given that it's the spot that they had their first real date and every subsequent anniversary dinner at) towards their car. but it's also not like she's not expecting this either because she hadn't exactly been subtle when she just happened to mention her ring size to chaeyoung. in all fairness, she hadn't intended to be indirect. she's more than aware that her girlfriend has been waiting for some sort of sign.
jisoo's always been the one to set the pace in their relationship. she had been the one to ask for a first date, to kiss jennie first and to ask jennie to move in with her, alongside practically all of their other major milestones as a couple. it's probably for the best, given that jennie isn't exactly known for her amazingly decisive personality (it's actually quite the opposite, she's pretty prone to indecision, which is probably the point) but, for some reason jisoo has completely left getting engaged up to her, waiting for a glaringly obvious smoke signal before moving forward, one that jennie decided she was ready to give.
it wasn't a matter of not loving jisoo with her entire being because nothing could be farther from the truth. but what they don't tell you about those fun dramas about actors and models getting married is that it's much more than just an exchange of rings. if it was just the ceremony, jennie would have proposed herself years ago, dragging jisoo down the aisle herself if necessary. but the small issue of neither of them being out certainly hindered that.
jennie's not entirely sure herself what she was waiting for. first, it was she wanted to tell both of their families because while jisoo came out back in high school and jennie had made vague comments to her parents before, she had never formally told them. after that, it was a matter of waiting until their careers jumpstarted, partially from fear of backlash and partially just to have one less stressor, like a gigantic wedding, to focus on.
then, all of a sudden, jisoo's second drama had exploded, reaching record-breaking ratings and approval rates due mostly to its stunning leading lady. just as quickly, jennie was featured on her first magazine cover while wearing her own designs, thoroughly impressing not only the heads of her company and her peers but the general public as well. they were thrust into nationwide recognition and news outlets just ate them up. " a gorgeous but sweet, girl-next-door who wasn't afraid of cracking a joke and her sassy, tsundere best friend only soft for her taking over the film and fashion worlds together" was an easy sell and regardless of how constraining those images were, they stuck. jennie started attending and even headlining larger and more exclusive events as jisoo attended more award shows, the trophy shelf in their apartment being replaced with a cabinet. around this time too, the first major idol from a large entertainment company came out as dating an actor of the same sex. the backlash had been tremendous but far less homophobic than either jennie or jisoo had expected. most of the comments were just about how they weren't supposed to be a good match of personalities, not because of their sexualities.
that's the thing about being a celebrity, suddenly any relationship you are in is no longer just yours. in an instant, it involves thousands of other people who capture and slow down every interaction, looking for a hint of something to fuel them. they pour intent into each and every word, cherish every picture and invest hours of time into what they believe should be the reality, regardless of if it is or not. everything means something and even if it doesn't, they will find a way to make it so. even the flimsiest connections become concrete proof of a theory based entirely upon wishes and dreams. on the opposite hand, if you are in a relationship, you are just as carefully monitored for hints of something wrong. if you don't publicly wish someone a happy birthday featuring a personalized caption, complete with four goofy selfies of the two of you in various locations, your relationship is suddenly a sham, with the possibility of a private message completely out of the question.
jennie would be lying if she said she got used to it in the beginning. every exchange with another celebrity would spew rumor after rumor, even for the most minor of things. worse than that was the fan reactions, which ranged from the extremes of crazy, delusional fans who believed similar instagram captions were secret love messages to the other crazy, delusional fans who believed that she should die for even interacting with their token famous person.
jisoo had been wonderfully supportive and understanding the entire time (because it's jisoo, when has she ever not been wonderfully supportive and understanding?) and they collectively agreed to take their time. neither of them were particularly keen on every aspect of their relationship being investigated or people picking apart their every word to each other and evaluating whether it met their standards. but with the news that the general public was less interested in the couple's gender as opposed to their supposed incompatibility was a light in the tunnel.
eventually, over time, more and more celebrities began to come out and jennie and jisoo continued to become more and more successful. somehow, in the blink of an eye and without either of them realizing, it was no longer taboo to be an lgbt celebrity and just as quizzically, they had both developed fanbases of people that would seemingly support them no matter what. hell, most of them seemed to either want jennie and jisoo to date, already believed that they are dating or claimed that they had gotten married in some secret wedding year ago anyways.
suddenly, there was nothing holding jennie back.
it was also the small matter of nayeon, naeun and krystal from work creating an entire powerpoint presentation, complete with far too many cheesy animations, of the photos they'd captured of jennie staring at jisoo when the other woman visited their office during her lunch that was akin to, "lovesick puppy" that set jennie off.
because of, or possibly in spite of her friends' help (because she had chased them out of her office after the eighteenth slide) jennie had decided that she was ready to take the next step; to come out and to announce that she was in love with kim jisoo to literally anyone that would listen.
one not-so-subtle "slip" to chaeyoung and one aptly timed work trip later, jennie is sure that jisoo's about to propose.
all of that being said, jennie's never seen her girlfriend quite like this. she's clutching the wheel so tight that her knuckles have turned white and jennie's not sure when the last time she saw her blink was. she's about to mention it when her own phone rings, the look of mild panic on jisoo's face converting to one of complete panic for a millisecond at the sound. it's recovered almost instantly but it was there long enough for jennie to notice it, and understand the implications of it.
her girlfriend is an actress –and a damn good one at that, she's certainly got the awards to prove it– but jennie would like to think she can read through jisoo when she's acting. the split-second of panic reveals more about the situation than anything else ever could.
this isn't part of her plan.
it's nayeon, who jisoo says hi to immediately as the speakers of their car feed through the call (out of all the people jennie works with, nayeon is probably the one her girlfriend is the closest to). apparently, she needs jennie to check over some last-minute designs for an emergency shoot or something (the poor woman was practically in hysterics the entire call so jennie's not entirely sure what she said) but the gist of it means that she has to go back to her office.
jennie knows jisoo like she knows the back of her hand– actually, probably better than the back of her hand –and so she doesn't miss the way her shoulders droop slightly halfway through the conversation. she changes course from their unknown destination without a word before nayeon even hangs up the phone with a shriek about jeongyeon and the kids moving her fabric swatches and jennie can't help but fall in love with her girlfriend even more. jennie has probably just ruined jisoo's engagement plans, or at least her date night plans after being gone off in paris for a week and while guilt doesn't even begin to explain what jennie is feeling, her girlfriend doesn't make a sound. she's not sure what to say so she just steals one jisoo's hands from the wheel and grabs it with one of her own, pressing a few quick kisses to the knuckles that have returned to their normal color and gazing over at how the dashboard illuminates jisoo's soft features.
jennie doesn't let go of her hand as they enter the building, waving at the security guard who tips his cap to jisoo (which causes jennie to cock an eyebrow at her girlfriend, because since when does she know jiyoung? but jisoo just shrugs).
the elevator ride is silent, so much so that jennie can hear her girlfriend's slightly labored breaths that make her feel all the more guilty. jisoo definitely had something planned and she definitely just ruined it. she's about to suggest that they turn around, get back in the car and somehow salvage whatever was supposed to occur when the elevator signals that they've arrived at their destination.
jennie has worked her way up the ranks at chanel for a while (quite literally, given that her office is now on the top floor of the building) but her current office has stayed largely the same since she initially moved into it. that's why it comes as such a shock when the doors open and jisoo leads her out of the elevator to see dual sets of white christmas lights leading the way to the door, a sight that sets her emotions alight more than she's like to admit. they've at least one strand of christmas lights with them, hanging in their spaces, since their first apartment. while they had been a holiday-timed purchase, now jennie insists on using them all-year-round. at first, jisoo had really bought them as a joke gift because jennie wasn't a fan of the harsh lighting in their first apartment but they stuck and traveled to their next few apartments as they left college, booked some jobs and gained fame and larger paychecks with longer digits. jennie knows that jisoo accepts them more because they use less energy than the normal lights in their living room and not really for their sentimental value, or certainly doesn't weigh it as much as jennie herself. still, the lights that surround and illuminate the hall around her mean more than jennie can really share.
she can see candles inside her office and while part of her panics (because open fire and lots of fabric scraps doesn't seem like a great plan) the vast majority of her mind just swoons. she allows herself to be pulled down the hallway that is usually decorated with past magazine covers for a second before she notices that the frames have all been replaced with images of her and jisoo; a rather embarrassing ones from their childhoods, the location of their first kiss, their interlaced hands holding the keys to their first apartment, one of her in their bed that's not entirely workplace appropriate (that she reminds herself to be sure comes down before they leave), one of kuma and dalgom surrounded by shreds of the dress that was supposed to be jisoo's for her first premier. jennie tries to formulate words but nothing comes out, her body seems to be on autopilot as jisoo leads her farther down the hall to her office.
its design is minimalistic, like a majority of the rooms jennie inhabits. the white walls match the entire building and a solitary, long table shoved to the side to leave space for the life-sized mannequins that are so often wheeled in and out of the room. three walls are covered in corkboards and whiteboards and other random pieces of taped materials that heavily contrast the intended simplicity, exemplifying the organized chaos that seems to be jennie's life. a wall of glass windows allow moonlight to pour across the floor that mixes with the candlelight surrounding the lone mannequin in the center of the room.
it's not wearing what jennie had left it in before she left for paris.
the outfit is horrible, one that looked as if it had to be tailored last minute, that much is obvious by the sloppy stitchwork along the back that indicates that it was originally designed with someone taller in mind than ended up modeling it. it looks like someone with little to no education on fashion designed it, which was the truth. it was designed by a sophomore in college with big aspirations and far too much confidence than was probably deserved.
it knocks all the breath out of jennie when she realizes it (and not just because it's so bad).
"you kept it? why?" she barely manages to whisper out, reaching toward one sleeve and turning the fabric in her hands. even after seven years, the dress is still fresh in her mind.
after all, it had been the reason she met jisoo.
sooyoung had needed to stay behind in a rehearsal and asked someone from set to fill in for her. when jennie had opened her apartment door, she hadn't expected a literal goddess to be on the other side, literally bracing herself on the doorknob to keep her knees from buckling at the smile and soft apology she was given.
jennie continues her circle of the mannequin, remembering how shy she had been, how her hands had shaken as she re-stitched up the side, how she panicked behind the camera every time jisoo looked at her and how she had blushed red when jisoo had borrowed a pen (in front of chaeyoung) to inscribe her number directly into jennie's palm before leaving with a wink. jennie had contemplated the perfect text to begin with for days before getting swamped with finals work. despite that, she hadn't forgotten about jisoo for a second the summer between sophomore and junior year and when chaeyoung had suggested asking jisoo to model for her, she had felt like the stars aligned.
"because even back then, on day one, i knew it was always going to be you," jisoo shrugs as jennie rounds the mannequin back towards her. it was just like jisoo to say something so profound, that made jennie's heart do an entire marathon with such nonchalance, like it was as simple as breathing or as obvious as gravity.
it was an odd sensation, being shocked by something she already knew was happening.
she had hinted the plan into motion and suspected the moment that jisoo "randomly" suggested going out to dinner in the car ride home from the airport. jisoo's a homebody, to put it nicely, and has practically only suggested going out when she wants to surprise jennie with something. not to mention that the restaurant was their special place , and all the puzzle pieces seemed to lead to a very certain picture. up until the phone call from nayeon, she had been sure that her girlfriend was about to propose, and ignoring the time between the call and the elevator doors opening, she knew this was about to happen.
that, in no way, shape or form prepared her for the sight of jisoo, gently and shyly pulling a small, red velvet box from her jacket pocket. jennie's not entirely sure what to do, and it's pretty obvious that jisoo's unsure too, raising her free hand to scratch at the nape of her neck like she does whenever she's nervous.
"so, i had this entire speech prepared," jisoo starts, chuckling lightly, her words coming out probably far too fast for anyone other than jennie to understand. "seungwan actually offered to write it with me because sooyoung's plane idea was horrible, but i wanted to do this myself. that was pretty dumb, given that she's, like, an expert on writing love songs and i'm, well, me who can barely speak without tripping over her own tongue but either way, i did but i also kinda forgot some of it– joohyun was gonna run it with me, but that seemed really awkward even though we've literally filmed a proposal scene together, well , she was proposing to me, but-–"
jennie steps forward, wrapping her arms around jisoo's waist and pulling her close, effectively silencing her girlfriend's tangent.
"... and yeah," jisoo trails off before looking directly into jennie's eyes with as much determination that jennie feels like she's gonna melt and taking a small step back and getting down on one knee. "jennie kim," she starts again, pausing to reach forward to take one of jennie's outstretched hands.
"yes?" jennie couldn't help but interrupt, earning a glare with no menace behind it as jisoo fought back a smile that matches her own grin.
instead of continuing on her speech like jennie expected, jisoo pulls their connected hands toward herself, causing jennie to topple into her arms.
jisoo, apparently, didn't think that one quite through, barely managing to catch her girlfriend as they sprawl on the floor. both women look at each other, before breaking out into hysterics, jennie tucking her head into jisoo's collarbone.
the moment is messy and chaotic but loving, just like the course of their relationship has been and jennie wouldn't have it any other way.
their laughter dies down and jennie looks back up, searching for her girlfriend's eyes and finding nothing but warmth, acceptance and adoration before her.
"fuck the speech, marry me?" jisoo breathes out and jennie doesn't even bother responding before pressing their lips together.