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Take Me Away (Back Home With You)

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Handong stared at the drink in her hands. She ran her fingers around the rim of the glass, toppling it a little to the right and musing at the way the liquid followed and twirled. It was her fourth drink of the night—still a long way before she would surrender to drunkenness. (She wasn’t an avid drinker, not even close to being an alcoholic. But sometimes, she just loves the way alcohol makes the world turn and blur, makes her entire body feel light but at the same time hot—she loves feeling hot; and not quite the literal kind of hot.)

It wasn’t a particularly eventful day, no sad stories like those seen in dramas—the heartbreak from a breakup, the anger from being fired or the depression from being a failure in life. Nothing of the sort. But it was a stressful day. One filled with petty annoyances and unbothered ignorance. Everyone has days like these, and Handong just happened to be that someone today.

(The feeling of having alcohol in one’s system can be so very liberating, and Handong raises the glass in her hands before shouting for the bartender to bring her the fifth drink of the night.)

She eyed the place with half closed lids, waving off any advances made by men and women alike. She is attractive, and she knows that she is. She knows what gets people swooning for her, and presents exactly that for them to see. What use would a pretty face be if not to pair it with unbashful confidence? A self-assured woman is sexy, and sexy is Handong. But she doesn’t go to the club to flirt and hook up, rather prefers to settle for people whom she knows personally. (Because at the end of the day, Handong is a sweet girl, one who wants some stability in her relationships. The contrast between her appearance and personality cannot be larger.)

But then, whoever is up there—he who controls the universe and everything that happens and whatever—always plans surprises for Handong. There was someone who stood out in the middle of the chaos of the club. The girl placed herself by the door, and judging from her face, wants nothing to do with this place and all its inhabitants.

Handong smiled. Maybe today might just be the day she starts flirting at a club. Hopefully, it will also be her last. She emptied the martini on the table; she wanted something more tasteful.  

“Bartender,” she called out. “A glass of your finest red wine, please.”

*

Dami stood by the entrance.

One, it was a Saturday. Two, she had not wanted to be here. Three, the two people responsible for dragging her there had gone off into the crowd without her. She was beyond annoyed, done and very much hope to be back home in her trusty comforter—anywhere but here, where sweaty bodies glued together and alcoholic breaths mixed. (She cringed; hygiene was no longer a thing nowadays. Human beings and their questionable intellect.) The only thing preventing her from turning around and walking out the door, accompanied by the horrid sound of a freedom cry, was the fact that she would be the only one sober enough to drive her two roommates back home. Lee Dami always looks out for her roommates. Because other than people sharing an apartment, they were more importantly friends—very close friends—who would travel to the end of the world for one another. So, she chooses to stay, chooses to wait for her two friends to be done with… whatever they are doing. She prayed that they wouldn’t past the midnight mark.

A few bodies swatted past her, leaving behind trail remnant of the smell of beer. She gagged. (Dami hated alcohol, detested the way the liquid runs down her throat in an almost rancid fashion, and the smell that would invade her nostrils without her permission.) She sighed. That’s what she got for having roommates who loved places like this. The fact that both preferred girls over anything, and hooking up over a stable relationship, makes Dami want to pull out hair from her follicles. (Constantly.)

There were more people pouring in by the minute, and her battle plan of standing by the door for the entirety of the night grew increasingly inappropriate and dumb. She moved hesitantly towards the bartender. Ordering an orange juice always earned her weird looks from them, she only hopes this one would be an exception. (Bartenders ought to be openminded too, she laments.) 

From afar, she spots a lady staring at her as she approaches the bar. It wasn’t obvious, but she definitely wanted Dami to notice. (And of course, Dami did. She would be useless—and blind—if she couldn’t even realise the flirtatious intentions of a beautiful lady.) The stranger was hot, to put simply. Dami supposed all female human beings are, but the lady was hot hot. The skin tight leather pants she donned did nothing to pacify the growing hunger and Dami's palpitating heart. Her ash blue hair framed her face nicely, accentuating her sharp features even more; where others would have looked absolutely horrendous with faded dyed hair, she looked fascinatingly pretty.

Maybe this is why her roommates love places like this. Dami reckoned that pubs, clubs, bars and everything else, were erected for the sole purpose of having this lady as a customer.

“Ordering a coke?” the mysterious lady spoke as she reached the bar; the teasing tone doesn’t go unrecognised by Dami. (Of all the empty seats available, of course she would choose to sit right beside the beautiful stranger. Again, she would be a fool not to.)

“Close, but not quite.” Dami congratulated herself for not stuttering and sounding like a complete illiterate in front of the hot lady. She turned to the bartender, “orange juice please.” (Dami had never ordered orange juice with such confidence and pride before in her life. There’s a first for everything, she guesses.)

The lady laughed as Dami completed her order. There was something pure about the way she had brought her hands up to her mouth, and the slight forward tilt of her body as she laughed. “Cute.” She said in between her soft giggles.

Oh. Well, Dami definitely was not expecting this. A sexy lady with an adorable personality? Thank god for her roommates hooking up habits.

Dami could only return an awkward cackle and look everywhere but into the eyes of the stranger. In these kinds of situations—that being, speaking to a drop-dead gorgeous lady who seemed to also have taken an interest in her—Dami just had no idea what to do or how to present herself. (Her cool exterior is only a façade, a little visor that blocks people’s sight from her naturally shy and soft demeanour.)

“I’m Handong,” she turned to find the stranger still staring at her. (It’s a mystery how such a beautiful woman had not yet lost interest in her, Dami thinks.)

“Aren’t you going to tell me your name?” Handong said with a slight raise of the eyebrow and a little lob-sided smirk. (It was going to be one hell of a night for Dami.)

“I’m Dami,” she replied, then added, “or you can call me Yubin.”

“Well then, Yubin.” Her name rolled out surprisingly well, sounding so sweet from a stranger’s tongue. (Dami—or Yubin—supposes they are no longer stranger since they, well, know each other’s name. Right?)

Handong mused at the way she had like the sound of Yubin’s name spoken with that peculiar timbre of her own voice. She can’t help but to wonder how her name would sound like if Yubin were to say it, can’t help but to hope that it would be soon before the woman would say her name. (And hopefully in a socially acceptable fashion, and not in the way her fantasy had hoped she would. It would be a little too soon to enter that arena just yet.)

Yubin watched as Handong brought the glass of red wine to her lips (and oh, her lips, those goddamned lips); she takes a light sip, barely touching the liquid but leaving behind an obvious lipstick stain on the side of the glass. Every move she makes looked elegant, refined, poised—like she was royalty. Maybe she was, for a woman so fine (and expensive), must surely be blessed with at least that.

“So, Yubin,” she began, relishing in the way the other’s face had turned the slightest bit of red. (And Handong knew with confidence it could not have been the alcohol.) “Want to dance?”

She stood up, clutching onto the benchtop tightly in the process as her world spun and spun. She might have overestimated her tolerance. Screw alcohol; ruining all the fun. She topples backwards, losing her balance for that fraction of a second. She registers the feeling of lean arms sturdy around her waist, pulling her to stand up right. She registers as well, the close proximity of Yubin as she held herself in place by using the other’s shoulders as support. Handong studies her features, which was more visible now that they were pressed up against each other, almost. (For once, Handong hated the dim lighting of her favourite bar.)

Those eyes that had looked dead and livid was now shining with an intensity unlike any other, roaring with a life so vivid, Handong thought that it might’ve been the alcohol doing things to her brain after all. No human being is capable of looking so cool just a moment ago, and then in the next transition to resemble the cutest form ever alive. It just wasn’t possible, no. (Handong didn’t think humans possess the innate ability to be cute in the first place. Yubin might just change her mind, if she hadn’t already done so.)

She traced her sight from her eyes down to her nose (it looks adorable, and Handong knew that might just signal trouble, big time), then to her mouth. It was then that she realised Yubin had spoken. She glanced up in a frantic stupor.

“Handong?” Ah, and there it was, her name; spoken in absolute clarity with a tinge of concern and amusement laced within. Her name had never sounded more beautiful. (Handong then hopes she was the only one in the entire world with this name, however improbable it may sound.)

“Hey, are you okay?” This time, only concern was left. Whatever amusement was gone, replaced fondly with desperate attempts to ensure her new found acquaintance was alright.

Handong placed her palm gently onto the arm that was supporting most of her weight, sliding her other hand that was already on Yubin’s shoulders to the back of her neck. She leaned in, casually resting her lips on her ear. “I’m fine; more than fine actually,” she whispered slowly, slurring her words a little. (Flirting really wasn’t Handong’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean she can’t do a dang great job at it.)

“Actually,” she continued, too affected by the alcohol to realise that her hands had been tracing down Yubin’s body, from the back of her neck, to her exposed collar bone, to rest at slightly above her chest. She could feel the seams of her bra at the base of her palm. Even with her hands there, she could feel her rapid and intense pulse. She led out a breathy laugh, noticing the shiver it brought about in the other.

“You don’t have to be this nervous, Yubin.” She was still pronouncing her name in a particular timbre, in a voice so seducing it might just lure even the gods (and goddesses) to the court. She hears a soft swallow, before a little whimper like hum as the only response.

“As I was saying, forget about the dance.” Handong paused, moving even nearer and pressing her leg to the side of Yubin’s thigh. “Bring me home instead,” she let out breathily as she guided the arm still wrapped around her waist downwards. (That was bold, even for her. She blames it on the alcohol.)

Yubin kept mum. (She probably couldn’t even speak if she had wanted to.) She feels the hot breath down the side of her neck, and every curve of the woman’s body against her own. She moved her hands, which was by now resting on Handong’s butt, down to her thigh, stopping to caress it gently. She swallowed again, apparently to compose herself, which obviously was useless.

It seems like there would be no more sober Yubin driving two dumbass drunken roommates back home, only sober Yubin driving home with a slightly inebriated reincarnation of Aphrodite. She foresees her roommates stumbling into the dorm in the wee hours of the night, falling into deep slumber right in front of the door. She also predicts the complaints and indignant whine that are sure to come the next day, when both are finally shaken awake by bright light coming from the windows and Yubin’s less than quiet antics in the kitchen.

But Yubin likens she could deal with all of that. Who cares if she were to be a bad friend for one time? They have more than ten years of friendship, which can’t possibly be ruined with her ditching them now can it? (Who cares even if her friendships would be ruined? It’s Aphrodite reincarnate against two dumbasses; a clear win for Miss Handong honestly.)

“Sorry, was that too much?” she hears Handong suddenly, and feels her moving away. (She missed the warmth almost immediately, almost too quickly.) Yubin pulled, putting her free hand on Handong’s back to slam her flush against herself; her other hand was still rubbing soft circles onto her thigh.  

“No, I was just thinking about the two roommates I’ll be leaving behind. But you know what? Screw them.” She spoke lowly and then pulled away. “Let’s go,” she grabbed onto her hand and led her towards the door.

*

Siyeon watched dumbfounded as Yubin walked towards the exit, with a hot lady in tow.

“Er, Minji?” she called out, eyes still in the same direction. “Minji!” she turned, frustrated at not getting a reply. She sees Minji talking to a pretty girl, face positioned a little too closely to be deemed an innocent gap.

"What's your name?" she hears Minji ask. Before long, Minji was already speaking in that overly sweet voice of hers, "Yoohyeon. What a beautiful name; definitely suits a beautiful girl like you."

Siyeon rolled her eyes, “I swear to god, Minji-“

“What?” her roommate finally turned around. All Siyeon did was point towards the door.

“Wait. Isn’t that Yubin? She's leaving? With someone?!” Minji started incredulously.

“So,” Siyeon turned towards the girl Minji was talking to. “Did you drive here?”

“Singnie!”