“Wakey, wakey.” Jennie stirs, twitching slightly as faintly dry lips ghost the shell of her ear. It sends a shiver trickling down her spine and she grumbles, tilting her head away from the feeling. “Unnie…”
Jennie keeps her eyes firmly shut. If she just ignores the voice, then maybe the day won’t have to begin, maybe the warmth of sleep won’t slip away–
A nose bumps her ear, reminding her of the way her dogs sometimes wake her up, except this nose isn’t damp and snuffly.
“Mmm...” Jennie opens her eyes, squinting at the pale sunlight that filters through the blinds. She turns her head, almost knocking foreheads with Lisa who peers at her with sleepy brown eyes. “Why did I let you into my bed if you’re just going to wake me up like Kuma?”
Lisa pouts. Jennie knows the reason of course. They’re in Bangkok, having just completed the first set of tour dates. She can’t believe it’s finally happening… a world tour. Jennie has been waiting for this moment for years – they all have. There’s a palpable energy amongst the group: nerves, yes, but also an electric excitement, the feeling that something pivotal is about to happen. The Bangkok shows had been crazy, and they’d pulled everything off much better than expected.
Lisa had been sad at the thought of leaving, as she always is when they go to Thailand. There was a wilted quality to her: a flimsiness in her usually bright smile, a slump to her shoulders, a wistful look in her eyes as they returned to the hotel. Jennie feels for her. To sink into the feeling of home so infrequently… it’s been hard for the younger girl.
So last night, when Lisa had looked like she was feeling all those things and more, Jennie had taken her back to her room. Even though she was bone tired, even though she savors the time she gets alone, Lisa was more important.
But now, in the early hours of the morning, Jennie is nursing some regrets. She’s not a morning person at all. She likes to ease into wakefulness like an eel into water. Lisa is too loud, too sunny, too much for 7am.
“Like Kuma?” Lisa’s affronted face has morphed into a pleased expression. “Isn’t he your favourite?”
“I don’t have favourites.” Jennie feigns offence at the suggestion, eyes still half closed.
“Kuma is cuter than Kai.”
Jennie opens her eyes. “Take that back!” She demands and Lisa giggles, delighting in the reaction.
“It’s true. Everyone knows it–” Jennie slaps a hand over her mouth, using the action to push at Lisa so she topples backwards and away from her. Immediately she misses the warmth of the other girl’s body.
“Come back.” She grumbles, wiggling her fingers.
Lisa stays on her back, long limbs spread out. “Ouch.” She whines. “That hurt.”
“It did not.” Jennie rolls her eyes. “Come back.”
“I barely touched you.” Jennie sighs, struggling upright. Lisa has a hand to her mouth, eyes dramatically screwed shut. “Stop being a princess.”
“I am a princess.”
“Fine.” Jennie’s really cold now, the warmth she’d collected in the cocoon of her duvet seeping away quickly. “Come cuddle me then.” She tugs at Lisa’s oversized t-shirt and this time the girl obeys, rolling back over. Jennie lifts the duvet and Lisa slips under, nestling against her. Satisfied, Jennie closes her eyes, chasing the whisper of sleep that still lingers in her body–
– a whisper that is promptly knocked away when Lisa rolls on top of her, smooth legs and cold feet sliding against her own, her face hovering above the older girl’s. Jennie’s eyes spring open, and she knows she must look annoyed because Lisa winces a little, her expression sheepish. “Lisa-ya!” Jennie growls, truly fed up now.
“Sorry.” Lisa mumbles, widening her doll-like eyes. Jennie sighs. Lisa is good at this, at treading the narrow line between being annoying and endearing. The younger girl seems to sense the slight softening of Jennie’s disposition because a smile curls at her lips and she leans closer. “Kiss it better?” She inquires in a baby voice.
Jennie’s mind lags, too busy taking in Lisa’s sudden closeness: the way the younger girl’s small breasts rub against her own and how she smells of sleep and the shampoo she used last night. “What?” She asks when the words catch up to her, eyes widening slightly.
Lisa points to her face with a long finger. Seriously?
“You’re still milking that?” Jennie tries to sound unfazed but sometimes Lisa is just a bit too... Lisa. As in, she’s never heard of personal space and constantly pushes at the boundaries that Jennie sets in place.
Lisa pouts again.
“I’m not kissing you on the lips, Lisa.” Jennie chides, but she still brings her hands up to rest on Lisa’s back, feeling the sharp outline of her shoulder blades.
“Don’t ask a stupid question.”
“You did last night.” Jennie’s mouth snaps shut. Lisa’s innocent smile has a hint of a smirk to it.
“That was the corner of your mouth and it was an accident anyway.” Jennie rushes the words out, taken off guard.
Lisa raises an eyebrow.
– The previous evening –
They leave the stage for the third and final night, the roar of the Bangkok crowd chasing them until the last second. In the low-lit area below, Jennie can just about make out the flush of the other girls’ cheeks and the light perspiration on their foreheads illuminated by the stage lights. Lisa’s eyes glimmer with happiness when they meet Jennie’s and she smiles wide in response.
“We did it!” Chaeyoung claps her hands together, a relieved grin on her face. “Come here girls!” She gestures with her thin arms and the four of them huddle together, wrapping themselves around each other in mutual celebration. Jennie slips a hand under Lisa’s shirt to rub at her back and the younger girl briefly presses their warm cheeks together.
In the dressing room the staff have set some food out, and as the girls enter their manager whips a bottle of champagne from behind his back. They cheers, a myriad of clinking glasses all slightly out of sync. It feels good to have this first set of dates tucked under their belt.
Chaeyoung natters away to Jennie about an amusing fan interaction she had as she sips at her drink, the bubbly liquid warm as it slides down her throat. They don’t get to drink often, so it only takes two glasses for Jennie to begin to feel a pleasant heat spreading across her cheeks. She laughs a little too loud when Chaeyoung does an impression with wide eyes and a gaping mouth, the details of the story slipping over her head. Jisoo, who’s already changed into sweatpants and a hoodie, wanders over to see what they’re laughing about. Chaeyoung’s interest is piqued by the kebab in her hand and she shuffles closer to the oldest girl, who eyes her warily.
“Why?” Chaeyoung pouts.
“Get your own.”
“They’re all gone already!”
“Yeah, because you ate them.”
Jennie is glad to sink into this bubble that they have together, just them and their team and the adoring fans in the crowds. The past couple of weeks have been… rough to say the least. She finds her hand straying to the phone in her pocket, slipping it out and checking to see if Kai has texted. Nothing.
Needing a distraction, Jennie looks around for her go to source. “Where’s Lisa?” She mumbles, more to herself than anyone else, but Jisoo hears her and nods her head towards the opposite side of the room.
Following her eye line, Jennie watches fondly as Lisa makes her way around the room, chatting with everyone, alive with the success of her hometown shows. Right now she’s talking to Sung, a young man in charge of stage lighting, who’s currently receiving Lisa’s enthusiastic attention with a soft if not bemused smile.
Jennie saunters up behind her bandmate, slipping a hand around her waist. “Hi, Oppa.” She politely greets Sung, who bows his head towards her in response. Lisa turns her head when she feels Jennie’s touch, long blonde hair whipping her in the face.
“Lisa!’ Jennie huffs, scrunching her nose.
“Whoops.” Lisa says, not sounding sorry at all. “Guess what? I’m going to teach Sung-oppa the ddu-du ddu-du dance!” Jennie raises an eyebrow.
“I didn’t say for sure, I said maybe .” Sung laughs, holding his hands up. He’s classically handsome, with a willowy but toned build.
“You said if I taught it to you, then you couldn’t say no.”
“Well, you are the queen of dance.” He smiles and Lisa blushes. She’s always been terrible at taking compliments. Jennie frowns, disapproving of his forwardness.
“Lisa, did you eat?” She gently pinches the other girl’s hip to get her attention.
“Hmm, no. I’m going for dinner with my parents soon.” Jennie nods. “Do you want to join?”
“I don’t want to intervene…”
“You won’t. They love you.” She’s successfully turned Lisa’s attention away from Sung, who hovers a little awkwardly at their peripheral.
“But it’s your last night with them.”
“So what? I can still enjoy it with you there.”
Jennie considers. If she doesn’t go with Lisa, she’ll probably head straight back to the hotel and mope over Kai until the concert adrenaline wears off and she falls asleep. Not too appealing.
“Okay.” Lisa gives a little clap.
Jisoo and Chaeyoung decline the invitation that Lisa extends to them as they’ve already stuffed themselves senseless, so only Jennie and Lisa take a car back to the hotel to change. January in Bangkok is warm, so Jennie slips on a crop top and brown cargo pants, making sure to wear a handbag with a strap that goes across her shoulders. The streets are cramped and petty theft is common.
There’s a funny knock on the door – erratic and way too long – so Jennie knows it’s Lisa.
“Come in.” She calls out, putting on some lipstick.
Lisa slips inside the room, and Jennie appraises how long her legs look in the white jeans she’s wearing. Then she notes the bottle in Lisa’s hand. “Did you steal that?”
Lisa gives a little shrug. “Oppa bought it for us, didn’t he? That’s not stealing.”
“Your cheeks are pink. How much have you had?”
“A few.” Lisa says defensively and a little poutily, making Jennie realise she’s being a killjoy. She’s just surprised – Lisa isn’t usually one to bend the rules.
“It’s our last night in Bangkok.” Lisa implores, a little sad, and Jennie finally gets it.
"Hand it here." She gestures for the champagne with her fingers and with reluctance, Lisa obliges. Her face brightens when Jennie takes a swig straight from the bottle. "Now come on, your parents are waiting."
The restaurant they end up in is a Manoban family favourite, tucked away in a back street where the buildings on either side seem to lean into each other with a sigh. The owners know who Lisa and Jennie are, but Lisa has frequented the place enough that they treat them with complete normality, giving them a booth at the back away from the prying eyes of other customers.
Lisa's mum greets Jennie with a warm hug, and her dad – always quite stoic – gives her a nod and a hello.
They order plenty of food, and though Lisa's mum is chatty, asking questions about the tour which Lisa then briefly translates to Jennie, she can see the sadness creeping up behind the woman's eyes. She's about to say goodbye to her daughter for god knows how long, something that clearly never gets easier. Lisa's dad is quiet, a contemplative expression on his face as he nurses a drink. Lisa is trying to keep the mood light, telling jokes and complimenting the food, but Jennie can tell that her mother's growing despondency is affecting her. She hooks an ankle around Lisa's under the table, offering her silent support. Lisa glances at her, blinking in surprise, before a weak but grateful smile twitches at her lips.
Later they say goodbye as the girls have an early flight back to Seoul in the morning. Mrs Manoban leaves faint pink marks around Lisa's neck with how tightly she squeezes her in a hug.
"Make sure she eats and sleeps." The older woman whispers to Jennie in English when she embraces her goodbye.
Jennie nods. "Of course."
In the car back to the hotel Lisa is quiet, twirling a piece of hair tightly around her finger and staring out of the window. There's a fragile air air around her, like she's just about keeping it together, and Jennie is careful not to shatter it. The lights of the city flit past, illuminating the Thai girl's face as she watches her.
She reaches over and unwinds the hair, catching Lisa's attention. "Do you think you'll keep this hair colour for the rest of tour?"
Lisa shrugs. "Probably not. I'll change it for the comeback."
"Not sure yet. But I think I've had enough of blonde for now."
"Why? I like it." Jennie remarks, offended on behalf of Lisa's hair. "You look like a doll."
She's smiles at the light blush that scatters across Lisa's face, though it's definitely not the first time Jennie has said that.
"Maybe something shorter…" Lisa mumbles, giving a self conscious shrug. "Darker."
"Trying to create a cool girl image for America?" Jennie teases.
America. Even saying it outloud still feels surreal.
"Maybe. So what?" Lisa huffs.
"You can change your hair as much as you like but I'll still know you're a dork at heart."
Lisa shoves at her lightly, and Jennie catches her hand, tugging her closer. "Still the girl with short brown hair and too many layers-"
"Stop!" Lisa pushes a hand over her mouth and Jennie grins into it. It's cold against her lips, as Lisa's hands always are. "I'm not that anymore." She pouts, looking genuinely put out.
Jennie thinks back to their shows these past few days. Concealed in the dark, she'd peered out as Lisa did her new dance solo for an audience that practically roared in response. The younger girl glided across the stage, moving like water, eyes and smile flirting with the audience. Lisa has a confidence on stage that she hasn't anywhere else. It occasionally flusters Jennie to watch it, let alone have it turned on her. She can only handle a little of Lisa's charm at a time, an amount that she can keep in check, respond to in the measured way she likes.
"No you aren't." She mumbles against Lisa's palm, which Lisa then removes.
"Good." She seems a bit confused by Jennie's sudden relent in teasing. "It's not fair. You always looked cool. Even when I first met you."
Jennie grins at that.
"Life isn't fair."
Lisa tuts, but she doesn’t seem quite as fragile anymore, so Jennie counts it as a win.
Back at the hotel and faced with a night alone, Lisa appears to droop again, so Jennie tugs the girl to her own room.
Lisa doesn’t often like to divulge the negative things she’s feeling, so very little talking takes place between them as she unlocks the door. Lisa almost immediately flops onto the bed with a grace that’s severely lacking.
“Hey, shoes off my duvet.” Jennie chides and Lisa kicks her reeboks off.
The half finished bottle of champagne catches Jennie’s eye. She considers for a moment before picking it up. “Drink?”
“Any plans for your birthday?” They’re a drink in, sitting on the floor against the bed.
Jennie shrugs. “Lunch with you girls, Chahee, Nayeon... maybe Irene and Yeri if they’re in Seoul – I still need to ask them. Homecooked dinner with my mum.”
Lisa is quiet. Then: “No one else?” The question is implicit.
Jennie sighs. “I have to lay low at the moment. That’s why I’m keeping things extra small.”
“He hasn’t texted me in three days.”
“Maybe he doesn’t want to distract you from the shows?”
Lisa, always thinking the best of people. “A text before bed wouldn’t hurt.” She takes a long sip of her drink, finishing it. “Or any other time, really.”
“He probably knows…” Lisa trails off.
Jennie turns her head. “What?” She asks, a tad too sharp.
Lisa swallows but holds her gaze. “That it’s over. YG made it pretty clear.”
Jennie wants to snap at her, to tell her she’s wrong, but it wouldn’t be fair. Instead she reaches for the bottle. “Yeah well, he could have at least had the conversation with me. I haven’t seen him since the news broke.”
She can feel Lisa studying her face as she pours the drink. “Are you in love with him?”
Her hand slips, spilling bubbly liquid over her pants. “What?!”
“I just wondered–”
“I’m not in love with him!”
“Why would you ask me that?!”
“Sorry!” They’re both flushed: Jennie from shock and embarrassment at the suggestion of being so infatuated with a man she’s only dated briefly; Lisa at the thought that she’s overstepped some invisible line and now has Jennie’s anger directed at her. “I’m sorry, you just seem upset, and I’m trying to understand–”
“You wouldn’t understand because you’ve never dated anyone! It doesn’t mean I’m in love with him!”
“Okay.” Lisa winces at the tone of her voice. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“I’m not upset.” Jennie counters. The lie is feeble. “At you or him.” She adds.
Lisa just nods, pulling her knees up to her chest and curling in on herself.
It’s uncomfortably silent between them for a couple of minutes. Jennie downs her second drink just to have something to do. Lisa doesn’t move, simply staring into her glass. Glancing at her, it doesn’t take long for Jennie to feel a bit guilty. She was supposed to be cheering Lisa up, not snapping at her.
“Are you going to drink that, or watch it until it goes flat?” She attempts to lightly tease the younger girl.
Lisa doesn’t reply, but she does obligingly tip the drink into her mouth. Jennie’s eyes trace the length of her throat, watching it contract in a swallow. She feels the sudden need to be close to her, a clinginess likely brought on by the buzz she’s now getting from the champagne and the regret curdling in her stomach.
She shuffles closer, but Lisa doesn’t look her way. “Lisa…” She mumbles softly. She’s not very good at apologising.
“It’s fine.” Lisa is very good at accepting apologies, even non existent ones. But she still feels stiff to Jennie, holding her body with too much awareness. Jennie examines her, taking note of how the heat of the city has caused her mascara to smudge slightly under her eye, how almost all her lipstick has rubbed off to reveal the natural peachy pink of her lips, how the dark of her eyes is hidden by the way she’s looking firmly downwards. “You’re so beautiful.” She says, and Lisa’s eyes dart to hers in shock. “And I’m mean. Sorry.”
Lisa shrugs one shoulder, a blush blooming on her cheeks for the second time that evening. “Yes, but it’s okay.” She grins when Jennie lightly slaps her knee.
“We might as well finish this.” She holds up the nearly empty bottle and Lisa nods, accepting the remaining dribble of liquid in her glass. Jennie then leans her head on Lisa’s shoulder. “Did you enjoy the show tonight?”
Lisa hums a yes. “It’s hard too, though.”
“Because you miss home?” Jennie guesses sympathetically.
“No. Well, yeah , but... it’s always so much pressure.” The last few words come out as a whisper. “When I’m on stage in Thailand, I just feel all their eyes on me. I can see that I mean so much to them, and it’s kind of overwhelming. Like they’ve placed all their hopes and dreams on my shoulders.”
Jennie stills. This kind of stripped back vulnerability isn’t usual from Lisa.
“I want to do well for them, so badly.”
“You will. You have.”
“But what if it’s not enough, or I let them down…”
Jennie sits up, blinking as her head spins slightly. She ducks to catch Lisa’s eyes. “You’re already enough, okay? You always have been.”
Lisa’s lip wobbles and she looks away, trying to recover her composure. “I think drinking makes me emotional.”
Jennie reaches forward to cup her cheek in an offer of comfort, and Lisa leans into the touch. Jennie’s forefinger creeps up to wipe at the mascara smudge under her eye, like she’s wanted to do since she noticed it. Tidying Lisa up is something she’s always done, and enjoyed too. She traces the delicate skin under the younger girl’s eye. Jennie likes the fact that she’s privy to this Lisa. Everyone else – the fans, the media – they see the Thai Princess, but Jennie gets her when the human breaks through.
“You can always tell me how you’re feeling, you know?”
Lisa nods. “You too, Jennie.” Her eyes are drooping a bit from tiredness, but she holds Jennie’s gaze. “It’s okay to be sad.”
Jennie looks away, withdrawing her hand. She hears Lisa sigh. “It’s late, we should sleep. You can borrow some pjs.”
“Alright.” Lisa says softly.
Lying in bed, Jennie’s mind keeps turning Lisa’s words over. The truth is, she’s been longing to talk about everything, and right now she feels enclosed by warmth: the duvet, the alcohol, Lisa’s body inches from her own, and it makes her feel safe, like she can admit something in all that warmth and it will stay protected.
“I’m just hurt.” She whispers into the darkness. She feels Lisa wriggle onto her side to look at her. “It’s like I don’t matter to him anymore. Which is kind of a hit to the ego.” She says with a dry chuckle.
Lisa listens. She’s always been a good listener.
“And it’s not like I thought we could last, I’m not an idiot…but still. It was something, even for a moment.”
“Jennie...it’s definitely going to be more complicated than that. He won’t have stopped caring about you. I mean, you never spoke about him much, or what you guys did together…” She trails off. Jennie was very private about the whole thing, even with the girls. “But when you were in the city at the same time he always made an effort to see you. And he’s a nice guy.”
“I deserve a text.”
“Of course you do.” Lisa squeezes her arm. “And if he doesn’t text you by your birthday then I’ll eat my words. But you’re Jennie Kim, no man should be bruising your ego.”
Jennie scoffs, but the words please her. She wraps an arm around Lisa’s tiny waist and tugs her closer. “You never turn off that charm do you?”
They’re close now, though Lisa’s face is just an ambiguous shape. Except her eyes. They seem to glint playfully even in the darkness.
“I can’t help that I’m charming.”
“As long as you save that charm for me.” And maybe it’s a little selfish but she means it.
“Hmm…” Lisa pretends to consider the demand, prompting Jennie to tickle her in her ribs. She squeals and tries to wriggle away from the older girl, moving like a fish out of water.
“Unnie!” She gasps out. “Stop!”
Jennie laughs, feeling flushed and happy, but doesn’t relent.
“Okay, I swear! Only you, only you!” Lisa splutters into her pillow, now turned onto her front in an attempt to escape the torture.
Jennie decides to have mercy and stops. Lisa stays on her stomach, panting. A minute passes and Lisa still hasn’t moved so Jennie pokes her. “Are you sleeping?” She asks, amused.
“Yes.” Lisa mumbles.
“With your face smushed into the pillow like that?”
“I feel safer from you here.”
“Well too bad. If you’re in my bed you at least have to cuddle me.”
“No? ” Jennie raises both eyebrows.
“You almost killed me!”
“Aww I’m sorry.” Jennie teases, leaning over Lisa’s back and trying to find her face. Lisa keeps it firmly pressed in the pillow. “How about a kiss for forgiveness?” It’s more affectionate that she usually is, but the champagne has loosened her up. She leans down to press one to Lisa’s cheek at the same time that Lisa turns her head slightly to look at her.
Instead of catching the soft pillow of her cheek, Jennie’s lips touch something different, something plump but dry, and she feels a sharp, hot exhale of breath against her mouth. For a second, they both freeze, Jennie’s brain sluggish, but then it hits her and she’s pulling back, swallowing hard. She hurriedly moves away from Lisa, taking her place beside her instead.
Lisa rolls over quietly, lying flat on her back to stare at the ceiling. Jennie does the same.
“Night.” She practically throws the word out of her mouth, feeling all kinds of strange.
“Night.” Lisa whispers back.
Jennie waits until Lisa’s breathing evens out to curl into her body. Regardless of how weird that all was, she still longs for closeness.
– Current day –
Jennie can’t believe Lisa is even bringing up the non-kiss, and she isn’t happy about it. Feeling awkward, she pushes Lisa off her body, squinting at the time on her phone. “Go back to your room and get ready, our flight’s in two hours.”
She pretends not to see the flash of hurt on Lisa's face.
“No need to be bossy." The younger girl grumbles, sitting up and stretching her arms above her head. Her shirt slips up and not for the first time worry tugs at Jennie’s mind at the fact she can count all of Lisa’s ribs. Lisa does what Jennie says, heading to the door with slow, sleepy steps and leaving the brunette to her thoughts.
On the plane, Jennie sits next to Jisoo, craving her calming aura. She’s got a headache, not an awful one, but a slight thrumming in her temples that’s enough to put her in a sub-par mood. Jisoo seems tired, her skin a little sallow, so the two sit quietly, drifting in and out of sleep.
Lisa throws her a couple of looks, the sort that mean why are you ignoring me and have I done something wrong? Jennie isn’t even sure why she’s ignoring her, why she pointedly focuses on her book instead of Lisa. The younger girl eventually gives up, wrapping herself around Chaeyoung who receives her with an indulgent smile. Lisa stays clinging to her once they get off the plane, through the airport where a herd of dedicated fans gather, and all the way back to the dorms. She doesn’t look Jennie’s way again.
By this point Jennie is sort of over her weird feelings – whatever they were – and ready to talk to the Thai girl again, but Lisa walks straight towards her bedroom, tugging Chaeyoung with her. Usually when they get back to the dorms after travelling she makes them both a tea, but not today.
“You see that?” Jennie scoffs at Jisoo who is stretching out on the couch.
“Just straight to the bedroom, no thought to invite us.” Jennie drops her handbag with unnecessary force.
“They’re probably watching youtube or something. Who cares? I told Chaeyoung I wanted quiet when we got back so it’s good they stay in there.”
“Oh, are you okay?” Jennie feels a bit sheepish for being self involved.
“Yes, I just didn’t sleep well last night.”
“Would you like a tea?”
Jennie pushes her own grievances aside, making them both an earl grey and settling down to chill. They’ve got four days in Seoul until they set off for Indonesia, so it’s nice to take an afternoon to recharge and relive some memories from the last few days. The more she thinks of the Bangkok fans –– sweaty and intense but pressing up against the barriers with a love that seemed to spill at the feet of the girls –– the more she wants to talk to Lisa about it all.
Their younger bandmates have been in Lisa’s room all day, sporadic laughter trickling out from under the door. They come out once to make food. Well – Chaeyoung cooks and Lisa sits on the counter wearing a pair of sweatpants so long that they swallow her feet as she dangles them. She looks soft and Jennie wants a hug but Lisa doesn’t look her way so she sulks on the couch instead.
Chaeyoung offers her food and she says no even though her stomach’s kinda rumbly, so by the end of the day when she’s forced to cook she’s feeling suitably sorry for herself.
Jisoo puts in a movie, announcing it on the group chat, but only Chaeyoung comes out to join, wrapped tightly in a minion blanket. Jennie waits fifteen minutes, then she gets up and heads silently towards Lisa’s room.
Her hand is raised at the door to knock when there’s a sudden vibration in her pocket. She pulls out her phone, fumbling with it once she sees the caller ID. Her thumb is embarrassingly shaky when she accepts the call, breathing out–