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a night to remember

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“slow down on the drinks, unnie.”

she hears juyeon say, gentle fingers prying the bottle she brought for pre-game away from her hand. luda makes an effort of snatching it back, but the taller girl is already holding it beyond her reach. juyeon and her stupid long limbs , luda can’t help but curse internally with a huff, bottom lip jutting out in annoyance.

“aw, don’t get sulky now. we have all night, there’s no reason for you to drink half a bottle when we just got here.” juyeon chuckles, ruffling luda’s hair fondly. the older girl can only swat away her hand as she continues, “you haven’t even danced.”

“i don’t do that.”

“riiiight,” juyeon drawls out, giggling to herself, “i forgot that all you do is stare at jiyeon unnie from afar.”

luda makes a face at that, makes a point of tiptoeing to finally snatch the bottle off her hand while juyeon is distracted, clearly thinking that she now has the upper hand. juyeon doesn’t stop her, an amused look is taking over her face instead as luda mutters, “i do not ,” before downing what is left in the bottle in one go.

she ignores juyeon’s raised eyebrow - one of challenge - as she sets the bottle down by the door, just like she ignores the way juyeon’s words is starting to get on her nerves.

juyeon isn’t entirely wrong , she was staring at jiyeon the moment her eyes caught sight of her among the crowd. and even now , as the liquor she just drinks settles warmly down her throat. she’s sure that the warmth spreading in her chest has nothing to do with the soju, though, because jiyeon meets her gaze from across the room with her bright smile - crescent moon eyes and heart-shaped lips - and a wave of her hand to prompt her over.

“well at least you won’t have to only stare now.” she hears juyeon say with a teasing tone, throwing her hand over luda’s shoulders as she waves back at jiyeon. she doesn’t have to look over to know that juyeon is smiling back at jiyeon, because the next thing she knows is she’s being ushered to where jiyeon is currently standing.

it’s not that luda is one of those losers who doesn’t know how to flirt, god, no. she has won a bet against sojung on who would get the most numbers, another one against juyeon on who would get the most free drinks, and those two are practically the masters of flirting, that should make her the god .

(alcohol might have been a great contributor to that, but that’s beside the point. she definitely has it in her.)

so for her to go mute around jiyeon really takes her by surprise. it didn’t start immediately, though. they met under a similar setting, during a party. luda had never been the type to go out to parties, but having juyeon as her roommate meant she would get dragged to one from time to time. she never did hate it, the fact that juyeon was never really the type to ditch her was comforting. she loved the free booze she would get from these parties too, they helped her loosen up and have fun. she met a lot of new friends this way, like sojung and hyunjung from the faculty of music, hyunjung’s girlfriend soobin, and dayoung the theater kid. 

jiyeon was a friend of sojung’s, hyunjung’s, and to luda’s surprise… juyeon’s and dayoung’s. they met around late last year, during sojung’s christmas party. she asked a number of people to stay for an “after-party” because it was also hyunjung’s birthday. luda didn’t want to be stuck with people she didn’t know, so upon sojung’s reassurance that there would be a lot of people she knew, she agreed to it. but among those familiar faces, jiyeon’s was one of the few she didn’t know.

juyeon had always been stuck by her side, so naturally she asked her who it was. the younger of the two ended up calling her over, all too eager to introduce the two together. she was pretty when she laughed, the first thing she did when juyeon cracked a joke as a way of greeting her. the older girl looked at luda soon after, eyes twinkling with interest. i don’t think i’ve seen you around, was what she said. luda was quick to explain that she was juyeon’s roommate and that she had been dragged to parties from time to time. jiyeon must’ve found it amusing, because she laughed again, inviting her to get drinks together.

so the first night they met wasn’t a disaster . in fact, they spent the night talking about nothing and everything: from how jiyeon helped hyunjung get together with soobin to the games luda would much prefer to play then. it was probably the first party she spent away from juyeon.

it only became a disaster once the new semester started, when she found out that they took the same elective: film studies.

she didn’t think much of it when jiyeon tapped her shoulder, grin toothy and wide, similar to the one she sent her way just now, excitement clear in her tone upon finding out they were taking the same class. it somehow slipped their minds, to discuss what they were majoring in. luda was a nerd who happened to enjoy films, a programming major, while jiyeon was an aspiring actress who’s studying film.

it was only natural for two people who already knew each other to stick together during classes, so it wasn’t weird when jiyeon asked for her number. they started to get lunch together before class, reviewed materials together before important quizzes, and even hung out after class.

which was what led her to this predicament, spending time with jiyeon meant learning more about her. she learned how quick-witted jiyeon was, able to digest the longest and boring of films well, pointing out the plot holes rather effortlessly. she was smart, well-spoken in how she would explain her thought-process in a way that was in no way condescending or pretentious - unlike most film majors she knew. 

she was attentive, getting her tea order right when they had to study late at the library. jiyeon pressed the cup against her cheek, lightly giggling when luda whined at the droplets wetting her cheek. she brushed it off as just a wild guess when luda saw that she got her tea order right, even though she was sure that she had mentioned it once in a passing conversation.

she can’t deny that she admired those qualities about the older girl, could even admit that she wanted to be even half as good as her. especially since she wanted to do well in the class anyway. but she soon realized that this admiration had nothing to do with wanting good grades, it was teetering dangerously towards a crush instead.

partnering up for finals had pushed them to spend even more time together: to make a short film. they spent nights and days writing a script, renting equipment, convincing people to help them with the project - though that was mostly done by jiyeon. it was after a long day of shooting, exhaustion wearing down on their bodies that luda ended up lying down on jiyeon’s couch, while jiyeon just chose to lie down on the fuzzy carpet of her living room. she caught herself staring at jiyeon for a little too long then, the lack of sleep evident on her features, dark circles under her eyes. she only snapped out of it when jiyeon caught her gaze and sent her a warm smile, one that made her eyes crinkle and her cheeks lift up, that for a second luda could’ve sworn that exhaustion had left her body entirely. her chest felt tight with something she can’t really describe then, in turn making her throat felt like it was closing up on its own that she had to look away.

since then, even the slightest brush of jiyeon’s shoulder against hers would send a tingle, like that of a spark. it’s not helping that whenever their eyes meet, that insistent squeeze in her chest would come back, creating that same lump in her throat. she ended up getting frustrated one night - palms sweaty under jiyeon’s gaze as she rehearsed the presentation portion of the exam, she was sitting so close that she could smell the sweetness of her perfume - that she ended up excusing herself for the night, met with confusion on jiyeon’s part. 

she tried her best to steer clear of jiyeon’s way soon after, cringing at the thought of ever stuttering in front of her again. excuses were made up until the day of their presentation, from pet-sitting for hyunjung while she was out with soobin to just not feeling well. she spent her days trying to memorize her part, no longer wanting to impress her professor, just wanting do well in front of jiyeon.

until tonight, that is. 

she can see jiyeon standing with two shot glasses in hands now, still smiling that bright smile that made luda feel this way in the first place and suddenly those two weeks she spent avoiding jiyeon felt like forever ago. 

god , she’s down bad .

“aw, you guys already have drinks. i brought soju!” juyeon offers with that excited tone she always does, tone turning playful when she adds. “there would be more if this little unnie hadn’t drunk the entire bottle to herself earlier.”

jiyeon looks at her then, eyebrow arched with intrigue. “oh?”

“pre-game.” luda mutters dismissively, opting to take the shot glass on jiyeon’s hand to distract herself. “had to match the birthday girl’s energy somehow.”

jiyeon chuckles at that, passing the other shot glass for juyeon. she pours another one for herself, then for sojung who luda just now realizes has been standing behind jiyeon the entire time.

“dayoung really wouldn’t shut up about this party for the entire week ,” sojung says, eyes scanning the room, maybe to see if dayoung is within earshot. “i’m glad she’s off annoying other people now.”

jiyeon thrusts the glass sojung’s way before raising her own, grin mischievous. she didn’t really get to see much of playful jiyeon, it’s a different kind of breathtaking. “to matching dayoung’s energy then?”

juyeon snorts at that, clinking her glass with jiyeon’s. luda can’t help the chuckle from escaping her lips, indulging jiyeon’s call for a toast. her eyes catches sight of jiyeon’s head tilting back, the lines of her slender neck taut as she gulps down her drink in one go. it somehow makes her cheeks burn, so she opts to drink the shot given to her just moments earlier instead, quickly drinking it without so much as a wince. the bottle she had earlier already makes her somewhat numb to the burning sensation already.

“wow, luda really is on fire tonight.” sojung chuckles. having spent several nights partying with her and juyeon, she has witnessed some of her drinking habits first-hand. “are you sure you just want to match dayoung’s energy? you haven’t even met the birthday girl.”

that’s a nice reminder, that she’s here for dayoung out of her own free will, because she wants to be a good friend. 

but instead she feels like a hot mess the moment she was aware of jiyeon’s presence in the room.

“i can fix that,” jiyeon perks up, her slender arm easily wrapping around luda’s as she tugs her forward. her breath tickles the side of her face as she says in a hushed tone, “i’ll bring you to dayoung so you have an excuse to drink more.”

panic flares at the thought of having to spend her time with jiyeon. she throws a desperate look at juyeon, who in turn just throws her arms up in defeat, though the shit-eating grin on her face looks a lot like triumph.

“i hope you don’t mind me stealing you away from juyeon, i just thought you should branch out.”

“are you implying that i’m one of those pathetic friendless girl?”

jiyeon laughs at that, “i know you’re anything but that.” the sweetness of her perfume clings to the air around her now, it’s making her feel dizzy. “maybe i’ve just missed you and want to make sure you have a good time tonight.”

gone is that insistent squeeze she’s used to feeling, it just seems to burst into this fluttery feeling spreading down to her stomach instead.

jiyeon does take her to see dayoung, who immediately throws her hands around her shoulders.

“unnie! i didn’t think you’d make it!” she pulls back with a pout, concern clouding her face. “jiyeon unnie said you haven’t been feeling well.”

luda glances at jiyeon, who is currently talking to a girl dayoung started dating recently, yeonjung. guilt washing over her at the realization of how unfair it has been for jiyeon. they’re friends, after all, she must’ve been worried too. it crosses her mind that jiyeon probably decided not to push her about it because it would create more stress, especially when it was finals season.

she gives dayoung a reassuring smile, offering her a paper bag containing her gift. delighted, dayoung shrieks at the sight, “i’m well enough to pick out a gift for you.”

“my god,” jiyeon laughs, “how do you keep up with her, yeonjung-ah?”

“barely.” yeonjung makes a face, but the fond smile she has betrays her.

“yah,” dayoung pushes at her girlfriend’s shoulder, “watch me not cook for you ever again.”

“you act like i can’t cook!”

“well we both know i’m the better cook!”

“don’t you have a party to host instead of bickering with your girlfriend?” jiyeon cuts off with a chuckle before yeonjung could say anything else. “don’t you have party games?”

“of course i do!” dayoung sticks out a tongue at jiyeon, “i’ll get everyone to do truth or drink.”

luda scowls at the suggestion, “are we still in high school? who even plays any game of truth these days?”

“oooh do you have anything to hide, unnie?” yeonjung teases, poking at her arm. “why are you scared?”

“it’ll be fine, just drink if you don’t wanna answer,” jiyeon shrugs, nodding dayoung’s way in approval of her idea. the host grins at that, skipping away to gather her guests. “great things happen when people are at least a little tipsy.”

soobin is evidently excited at the idea, if the hyunjung unnie is gonna get wasted she screams out is any indication. the mentioned girl looks anything but excited, though, expression grim as she settles down to sit on the floor behind her girlfriend, chin perched on the shorter girl’s shoulder as she starts bickering with sojung.

luda also finds out why juyeon was eager to have jiyeon took her away, as she arrives to the living room hand-in-hand with dawon, another theater major she assumes juyeon has brought to the party as her date. she has mostly heard of her, not like her roommate has been able to shut up about her. juyeon catches her gaze from across the room, smirking when she sees her seated beside jiyeon. luda has the urge to give her the finger, but chooses to just mouth fuck you instead.

yeoreum, one of dayoung’s friend grumbles as she crouches in the middle of the room to spin the bottle, probably under the birthday girl’s order. dayoung yells for everyone to shut up, sat on yeonjung’s lap over on the couch while everyone else is seated on the floor. her dramatic self even has a tiara resting on top of her head.

as everyone settles down, yeoreum spins the bottle with a flick of her wrist. every pair of eyes follows its movement with bated breath, until it eventually slows down to a stop, pointing at hyunjung.

soobin barks out a laugh, hyunjung groans, and suddenly luda thinks that maybe this will be fun after all.

it’s proven to be fun indeed, because after hyunjung downs her drink at sojung’s attempt to get her to tell an embarrassing story of herself, it lands on sojung. she somehow manages to twist her answer into a story of jiyeon’s drunken foolery. jiyeon is quick in trying to get her to drink instead, pushing the cup up to sojung’s lips only for some of its content to end up spilling onto the floor. dayoung whines at the sight, sending sojung to get some wipes to clean up the mess the two make.

jiyeon seems pretty satisfied with herself, humming a happy tune as she spins the bottle again. it ends up landing on hyunjung again , who before anyone can even ask anything, decides to just drink out of her cup yet again. by now, she looks out of it already, snuggling up to soobin’s side with her eyes closed, cheeks dusted pink in that tell-tale sign that she’s drunk. 

so soobin spins for her, just as sojung comes back with some paper towels. her attention is set on the spinning bottle, even as she hears juyeon tease hyunjung for having low tolerance, even as she hears sojung nagging jiyeon to help. 

the world seems to come to a halt around luda as the end points her way, dramatic gasps echoing around the room. 

suddenly, it doesn’t feel fun anymore.

because she knows juyeon is gonna run her mouth, it’s only proven right when she stops teasing hyunjung, clapping her hand together and starts asking dayoung if she can ask the next question. her grin is wide when the birthday girl gives her the approval she needs, eyes glinting with mischief when she asks, “who in this room would you kiss?”

there’s a chorus of oohs in the room while luda can only send juyeon a nasty look, finding her arched eyebrow annoying. she knows if she lies her way out, juyeon is gonna tease her about it. so she takes a big gulp out of her drink instead, ignoring everyone’s expectant gaze.

(jiyeon’s gaze makes her skin prickle, she has noticed how she has stopped wiping the floor to stare at her out of her peripheral view. it’s the only one she’s hyper aware of, burning on the side of her head.)

“you know that means you have someone in mind, right?” soobin teases just before she moves to spin the bottle.

“no, it means everyone will be left to wonder.” she says, trying her best to appear nonchalant as she lets the bottle spin.

after a turn at dayoung, the bottle lands her way again . figuring that she should stick to her first move of leaving an air of mystery around her, she downs yet another cup. and again after a turn at soobin and juyeon, again each time the bottle lands on her. 

by the time the game ends, she’s leaning over someone’s shoulder, barely hanging on to reality as the world around her starts to sway.

“let’s get you some air,” she hears someone say, and next thing she knows she’s being escorted out, past the sliding doors and onto the porch of dayoung’s apartment.

she barely registers how nice the night breeze feels against her heated skin as she’s being seated down on the couch facing the city of seoul. the pillow feels fluffy against her back and it takes everything in her to not just lie down and let herself drown in its comfort. she feels a gentle hand on her chin, a cup being pressed against her lips. with what little consciousness left in her, she drinks the content slowly, realizing that it’s water, and ends up finishing the entire cup. her head falls back on its own accord and the same hand guides it to rest on their shoulder instead.

with her eyes closed, luda tries to make sense of what’s actually happening. finally having water instead of just alcohol running in her veins is a little helpful, and the night breeze does feel nice now that she takes a moment to properly enjoy it. everything seems to finally slow down as she registers the familiar perfume surrounding her senses, her eyes crack open to see jiyeon fumbling with an empty cup in her hand.

seeming to realize that luda is finally gaining her senses, jiyeon speaks in a light teasing tone, “you know you didn’t have to take my advice seriously, right?”

maybe it’s called liquid courage for a reason, because the alcohol seems to numb her of every other sensation, including the usual tightness in her chest and the lump in her throat. 

it leaves her with this light feeling, almost like she’s floating. 

it makes her feel carefree, if not a little bold.

“how could i not when i’ve always wanted to impress you so bad?”

her words must be slurred together because jiyeon’s shoulder shakes with her chuckle, “you’re so out of it, luda.”

“no, no, i don’t think you understand,” luda pulls back to properly look at jiyeon. the edges of her visions still feel a little blurry, but she manages to focus on her curious eyes. “there was a time i thought that i only wanted to do well in the subject. i kept telling myself that if i did well on the project, it’d be best for the both of us. i told myself that i didn’t want to stutter around you because you’re so good at speaking and that i just  didn’t want to seem incompetent. but the more we go on, the more i care about what you think of me than what the professor thinks of me. and i’m sorry for being a coward-”

“now you’re just rambling, aren’t you?” jiyeon scrunches her nose up in the way she does whenever she finds something cute, like that time she saw a picture of banggu, her pet dog from back home, as her lockscreen.

luda huffs, pouting, “you’re not listening-”

“i am , luda.”

“i like you, unnie! that’s what i’m trying to say!” luda exclaims, feeling her patience running thin. her dazed mind doesn’t even register the surprise taking over jiyeon’s face, “i became this loser who can’t even string sentences around you and i feel so stupid and out of your league at times so i just spend my time avoiding you instead. i realized it might not have been fair for you-”

she’s once again being cut off by the laugh jiyeon lets out, one of disbelief. a hand goes up to pat her cheek, the slight sting sobers her up a little more. “i was afraid that you’re avoiding me because you felt uncomfortable, silly.”

luda can only stare, because what on earth is she talking about?! jiyeon continues to giggle to herself, “i don’t know, i thought maybe it wasn’t best to mix crush and schoolwork but maybe i was selfish by wanting to spend more time with you.” luda’s brain lags, crush? “i was worried that you realized that i like you halfway there and it freaked you out. i didn’t wanna push you away, so i thought it was best to give you some space.”

jiyeon looks a little bashful now, scratching the back of her head and staring intently at her lap.

“i should’ve just asked you out on a date, but to be fair i didn’t even know if you like girls… so i never really mind just being your friend.”

she looks up then, and upon seeing the sheer honesty in her eyes, it feels like finding clarity. she’s starting to piece together jiyeon’s words now, and the realization that hits her makes her cheeks burn red.

oh .

luda shifts her gaze then, suddenly finding the intensity of her gaze a little too much as the familiar twist suddenly makes its presence known in her chest.

she hears a dry chuckle escape past jiyeon’s lips, “at least now i know that you like me too?” jiyeon pushes a stray hair behind luda’s ear then, “but come tomorrow morning, we probably have to go back to square one, don’t we? you probably won’t ever remember telling me any of this and i’d look like a fool trying to convince you that you ever told me any of this.”

the look in her eyes shifts to that of wistfulness. as the lightness the liquor brought fades away into nothingness, she feels her throat closing up once again. 

if words are going to fail her once more, she might as well act with what little boldness she has left.

so she surges forward, mostly out of impulse to assure jiyeon that she won’t ever forget about her true feelings now that she has taken the time to admit it to jiyeon, to herself .

jiyeon gasps at the first brush of their lips, before recovering to kiss her back. luda’s nerves are now alert, even as her eyes flutter close. the edges of her senses clearing and instead focusing on the feeling of jiyeon’s lips against hers, chest bursting once again with that warm and fluttery feeling that spreads nicely all over her body. luda’s hand moves to the back of jiyeon’s neck to pull her closer, delighting in the way jiyeon tilts her head to playfully bite her lip. with a groan, she moves closer to settle on jiyeon’s lap, but a giggle escapes past jiyeon’s lips and they’re forced to break the kiss instead.

luda huffs in annoyance, nudging forward for another kiss with her eyes still closed, hands secured behind jiyeon’s neck, “i’m not that drunk, okay.”

jiyeon’s lips are still a breath away from hers, the older girl decides to steal a peck but pulls away when luda tries to deepen it. there’s amusement in her voice as she mumbles, “are you sure you aren’t?”

“i won’t forget about this tomorrow, if that’s what you’re still worried about.” luda pulls back just enough to look into jiyeon’s eyes now, ignoring the way her stomach flips at a glimpse of jiyeon’s thoroughly kissed lips. everything looks far more clearer, gone are the blurry edges in her vision, only the warmth of jiyeon’s hold on her waist and her smoldering gaze.

in the safety of her arms, that same lightness returns. it gives her the courage to say it again, clearly, with more clarity, “i like you, unnie.”

this time, she’s able to relish the way jiyeon’s eyes light up at her confession, turning into crescent moons as her lips tug into a heart-shaped smile.

“let’s sober you up properly, then.” jiyeon leans up to steal yet another peck, it makes her giggle, “i’ll make sure you really don’t forget by tomorrow."