“Are your parents not home yet?”
Seulgi turns her head at the question to Irene who is sitting quietly on the edge of her bed. She gestures for Irene to sit on the bed with her, but apparently the older girl prefers to sit a bit faraway from Seulgi, which has never really happened. Seulgi realizes that Irene is keeping her distance, building a wall between them, and she doesn’t like it, but she doesn’t know how to break the wall either.
“They’re on business trip.” Seulgi answers quietly and Irene nods her head.
“What about your brother?”
“Staying at friend’s house.”
Irene nods her head again and with that, the conversation ends as the silence falls upon them again. Seulgi doesn’t dare to speak or ask about anything, she doesn’t know which is the right move she should take and she’s afraid - so afraid that she will ruin their relationship by taking the wrong move. Seulgi has never been so afraid of losing someone because all her life, she had learned that people come and go.
But now, she doesn’t want Irene to walk away from her life.
So Seulgi just waits there, sitting on the other side of the bed and fumbles with her fingers, waiting for Irene, waiting for anything.
Irene’s words break the silence as Seulgi tilts her head up and stares at the latter in confusion. Irene takes a deep breath and finally turns her head to look at Seulgi.
“I’m sorry for getting you suspended.” Irene purses her lips, her brows furrowed in regret and apology.
“It’s not your fault, Irene.” Seulgi frowns deeply, unable to understand Irene’s way of thinking because it’s clearly that she was the one who slap Nana and got suspended because of it.
“It is my fault.” Irene says firmly and turns her eyes away.
“It is not your fault.” Seulgi shakes her head and blinks incredulously.
“It is my fault, Seulgi.” Irene says again, her voice goes an octave lower.
“It is not your fault.” Seulgi replies as firmly. “Why are you being like this, Irene? I don’t understand.”
Seulgi doesn’t mean to raise her voice at all, but all the confusion inside her head makes her unconsciously raises her voice slightly. Irene whips her head to her and opens as if she’s about to reply, but nothing came out from her pair of pink lips.
Seulgi stares at her in anticipation and wait for the reply, but Irene closes again and drops her head, letting the silence falls upon them again.
“Why did you pick a fight with Nana?”
Irene asks quietly and Seulgi raises her brows slightly, a bit taken aback by the sudden change of topic.
“Because she deserves it.” Seulgi blurts out honestly and to her surprise, Irene laughs.
“Seulgi, you are really full of surprise.” Irene says between her laughs, filling the room with the beautiful sound of her laugh.
Seulgi blinks rapidly at the sight before slowly stretches her lips into a wide smile, feeling her heart flutters inside her chest as the sight of Irene. Seulgi has yet to figure out the reason.
After a while, Irene finally stops laughing and takes a deep breath to calm herself. She turns her head to Seulgi before slowly crawling further into the bed. Seulgi moves to the side naturally, giving a space next to her for Irene.
“My mom was really proud when I got accepted into X high school you know,” Irene starts as she settles on the spot next to Seulgi, leaning her back against the pillow. “I was really happy too since it’s rare to see my mom got so happy because of my achievement.”
Seulgi stares at Irene quietly, listening attentively. Her heart clenches slightly because she knows that Irene is going to tell about the incident, and she knows that it didn’t end up well.
Irene lets out a soft sigh and looks up to the ceiling before continuing with the story.
“It was nice, I got along well with most of the girls and it’s fun.” Irene chuckles again. “Of course there are some people who dislike me, but I didn’t really bother about it, I never did.”
Seulgi curls the corners of her lips up a bit, remembering how friendly and amazing Irene was when she first met her. Irene is still amazing now though, she will always be, at least in Seulgi’s eyes.
“I got along well with some of the teachers too.” Irene nods her head as she speaks. “And there’s this one teacher who was really kind to his students.”
Seulgi holds her breath at the words, feeling her heart sinking slowly down to her stomach as she prepares herself for the continuation of the story. Seulgi knows, she just knows that this teacher is the one who caused all the troubles for Irene. This teacher is that disgusting man who laid his dirty hand on Irene and made her moved school.
“He was a popular teacher you know. He’s young, good-looking, smart, kind, he’s just—perfect.” Irene’s voice has turn much softer, her tone is empty and dreamy as if her mind is not there. Seulgi watches as Irene stares emptily into space.
“He was a math teacher and I had difficulties in math. You know I always have.” She chuckles dryly before shaking her head lightly. “Around my second year, he offered himself to teach me about math, which I took it gratefully.”
“I came to his office when the class ended and he would teach me about the things that I didn’t understand.” Irene pauses her speech for a moment and chews on her bottom lip. “That was how it’s supposed to be.”
Seulgi purses her lips as she leans a bit closer to Irene. She lifts a hand, wanting to touch Irene, to hug her, to comfort her, but she doesn’t know if it’s the right thing to do, if Irene wants sympathy right now, if Irene wants to be touched when she’s looking so empty like this.
Seulgi is afraid that Irene will break if she touches her, like a fragile porcelain doll, so beautiful yet easily breaks. Seulgi always remembers the cheerful Irene who will always laugh everything off and smiles as bright as the sun, but the Irene right now is not the Irene that she knew, it’s the other side of her that she always hid from the world.
But Irene is still Irene, and Seulgi still wants to be by her side.
“I noticed that he has started to touch me, rubbing my shoulders, patting my head… I thought it was just a friendly touch, like an adult encouraging a kid.” Irene tilts her head to the side and sighs softly. “Then he started to touch me more, holding my waist when I stepped out of the door… Throwing an arm over my shoulders… Leaning his face close to mine…”
Irene lifts a hand to wipes her nose and Seulgi hears it, a soft sniffle coming from Irene.
“Whenever we’re alone he’d start to touch my legs… My hips… He even tried to kiss me once.” Irene shuts her eyes and folds her legs against her chest, pressing her knees closer against her front. “I called him out one day, but he… He told me that no one was going to believe me since he’s a nice and trusted teacher while I’m just… Bae Irene…” She lets out a trained chuckle, pitying herself.
“I tried to threaten him, saying that I will take this case to the authoritative and everything… He just laughed, saying that he’s an adult and I was just a kid, that nobody is going to believe me, and that it’s easy for him to say that I seduced him since he’s a very popular and likeable teacher…” Irene whispers brokenly, tears brimming in her eyes. “He also said that my parents would be so disappointed and that I’d be such a disgrace for them… Thinking about it made me lose my courage… I remembered about my mom’s proud face and my dad who drove me to school on my first day, I remembered about my amazing siblings and the ordinary me… I didn’t want to disappoint them, Seulgi…”
“Irene…” Seulgi mutters under her breath, slowly wrapping her arms around the other girl and pulls her closer.
“He knew he got the upper hand in this, so he continued with the touching, kissing, and everything… It was so disgusting and terrifying, I was living a nightmare…” Irene sniffles softly, leaning closer to Seulgi and wraps her arms around the other’s small waist, resting her head on Seulgi’s shoulder.
“It was my third year of high school and I thought that—I just need to hold this for one more year and then I can free myself from this nightmare by graduating. Despite him being like that, he kept his words of not telling others about this or pull my grades down… I was sure that I’m going to be fine…” Irene sighs softly before continuing with her story. “But one day, he tried to do other things… He tried to drag me into a hotel.”
Seulgi feels her heart sinks down to her stomach, a spark of fire burning inside her chest, boiling her blood as she tries so hard not to squeeze Irene out of the anger inside her. How disgusting, how despicable, how detestable. That teacher deserves all the punishment in this world for touching one of his innocent students, threatening her and making her living a hell life.
“I managed to pull away and escape. I cried so hard that night, I didn’t dare to show myself and ended up skipping for 2 days… When I came back though, I was surprised by the news that… Someone has took the picture of us, and has reported it to the headmaster… I was saved, the teacher was taken to the authoritative…” Irene sniffles again. “Or at least that’s what I thought.”
“Like I said, there are people who don’t like me. They talk about how I led the teacher on, how I tricked him and how I was actually the one who’s evil in this case… They start to spread the rumors around and even called me out on it… I ended up getting into a fight you know.” Irene chuckles dryly. “They called my parents and I became a—controversial student? I mean, the case with the teacher was still new and suddenly I picked a fight with other girls…”
There is a beat of silence before Seulgi decides to say something after keeping quiet for quite a while.
“Is that why you moved school?”
“That’s one of the reasons…” Irene mumbles quietly and closes her eyes. “I was fine there, I still have other girls who got my back and support me no matter what I do, but… When I got home that day, I was already in a sour mood and my parents decided to—ask about the truth… They asked me if I really had no feelings for the teacher and that the case was not consensual…”
“They—did?” Seulgi gapes, darting her eyes to look over at Irene who is still resting her head on her shoulder. For a moment, the image of Irene’s gentle mother that she met once disappears from her mind, replaced by the image of cruel parent who doesn’t trust her own daughter.
Seulgi knows the thing that hurt Irene the most was not about the school, it was because of her parents who questioned her.
“They did, Seulgi.” Irene lets out a strained chuckle and lifts her head from the other’s shoulder. “I got mad, of course. I cried and yelled at them, I was so frustrated and so hurt… And then I told them that I’d never do that to the teacher because I—“
There is a long pause and Seulgi just waits patiently until Irene suddenly releases her hold on her and moves away from the bed. Seulgi lifts her head up questioningly and sees Irene standing beside the bed, her back turned to Seulgi.
“Irene?” Seulgi asks quietly, crawling over to get down on the bed to check on Irene.
“I told them that I would never make a move on the teacher because—“ Irene says hoarsely and Seulgi knows that her voice is cracking because she’s in the verge of tears.
Seulgi stands up from the bed and moves closer to Irene, placing both hands on her shoulders, rubbing them comfortingly, and leans her forehead against the back of Irene’s head, telling her that it’s okay, that she is here and Irene is going to be fine now.
“Because…” Seulgi hears Irene in a deep breath, feeling her shoulders rise slightly when he inhales. “I like—girls.”
Seulgi freezes immediately, her hands that were rubbing Irene’s shoulders earlier stop immediately as her mind tries to process the words. I like girls. Meaning?
Seulgi likes girls too, put it in a way that throughout her life, she hangs out with girls more compared to boys. Girls are great, really. They are pretty, have soft skin, nice hair, delicate features, and everything beautiful. She gets along well with girls since they’re calmer and more mature compared to those boys who scared the girls away with insects. Girls are great, they understand each other more and sometimes they even know when another girl is upset because they can simply read the air, unlike insensitive boys who only know how to make fun of people. So if Irene likes girls, maybe she means—
“I like girls. I’m gay. I am only ually attracted to girls.”
Irene answers too honestly as if she can read all the running thoughts inside Seulgi’s head.
Seulgi doesn’t say anything and doesn’t move an inch, not continuing with her comfort rubbing on Irene’s shoulders, yet doesn’t move away from the girl. She is thinking, letting Irene’s words sink in her head. Sure Seulgi has heard about gay people before, but she never thought that she would meet one in person, and ever her best friends, Soojung and now, Irene.
When Soojung told her that she’s gay, Seulgi just went like oh, as if she just heard a surprising news and let the information sink in her head. But it doesn’t feel the same now when Irene is the one who says that. There is a feeling of oh like what she felt with Soojung before, but there is something else, something close to relief and reassurance. It feels like she just lets out an air that she has been holding for quite a while inside her chest, she feels calm, relieved and—happy?
“I’m sorry, Seulgi…” Irene mutters brokenly, making Seulgi snapped out of her thought as she feels the shoulders under her hands start to shake. “I’m sorry for not telling you… For being like this…”
“No.” Seulgi blurts out and tightens her hold on Irene’s shoulders. “It is not your fault… Not at all…”
Irene doesn’t say anything, just sniffling quietly with her back still turned to Seulgi.
“Irene, can you please turn around? Can you look at me, plase?” Seulgi asks carefully, loosening her grip on the other’s shoulders, hoping that Irene will turn around to face her.
There is a long silence before Irene slowly turns around and face Seulgi, tears pouring down from her eyes and trail down her face. Seulgi has never seen something to beautiful yet to heart breaking at the same time, she can feel her chest clenches painfully, choking the air on with the building lump feeling in it.
“It is…not your fault…” Seulgi mutters softly, feeling the burning feeling behind her eyelids, feeling the tears brimming in her eyes. “It’s okay, Irene… It’s okay…”
Irene chokes on a sob as she moves forward and places her hands on either side of Seulgi’s face, cupping her face gently as she leans closer to press their foreheads together. Seulgi complies by wrapping her arms around Irene’s neck, pressing her closer as if it’s the most natural thing to do.
“I couldn’t stop it…” Irene whispers hoarsely, letting the tears drip to the floor, mixing them with Seulgi’s tears that have drip to the floor too. “I knew something is wrong with me when I didn’t even bat an eye on boys, even though all girls at my age were talking about it…”
Seulgi sniffles quietly and closes her eyes, listening to Irene’s story and feels the closeness of their bodies pressing together.
“And then in middle school, I had a crush on a female senior… I didn’t dare to confess, I never dared… What would my parents say about it… What would my friends think about it… It was so scary… I was so scared Seulgi…” Irene sobs brokenly, moving her head to bury her face on the crook of Seulgi’s neck.
“No need to be scared anymore, Irene… Look, I’m still here, you’re holding me…” Seulgi whispers back, closing her eyes and let the tears trail down slowly on her cheeks.
“Thank you, Seulgi…” Irene replies, still sniffling quietly. “Thank you for everything…”
“I should be the one thanking you…” Seulgi hums softly. “You have no idea what have you done to me, how much you changed me for the better… You are a wonderful person, Irene. Don’t let anybody tells you otherwise…”
She hears Irene sobs hardly at the words before she breaks down crying, sobbing with all her heart as she clings on Seulgi. All the while, Seulgi keeps her arms wrapped tight around Irene, sobbing quietly as she buries her face on Irene’s shoulders, drenching her shirt with her tears.
They both cry and cry until they are no more tears to shed before finally settling on bed, lying next to each other while looking up to the empty, dark ceiling. Their hands intertwined together under the blanket.
“So,” Seulgi starts out carefully, clearing before she continues. “What did your parents say about it? After you coming out to them.”
“They didn’t say anything.” Irene sighs quietly. “I guess they’re too surprised? They never brought up that matter again. The next day, my mom just came to my room and asked me if I wanted to move to another school… And I thought—it’s not a really bad idea.” She chuckles quietly.
Seulgi nods and smiles softly at the sound of Irene’s laugh. Right now, she decides not to say her opinion about anything regarding Irene’s parents since she’s sure that Irene doesn’t really want to talk or think about it right now.
Right now, they’re next to each other and that’s what matters.
The comforting silence indulges them and Seulgi barely realizes that she is falling asleep, slowly drifting into a deep slumber, but still slightly awake, in state between consciousness and unconsciousness.
Then she feels it, something brushing gently against her forehead. It feels like a swipe of butterfly wing or rose petal, soft, smooth and tender. It almost feels like a kiss. Seulgi isn’t sure if it’s part of the reality or just the start of the sweet dream she’s having tonight.
To: Joy, Seulgi, Yeri
I got everything ready, let’s do it tomorrow.
To: Seulgi, Wendy, Yeri
Wake up earlier tomorrow girls, we got something to fix
To: Joy, Seulgi, Wendy
Joy, pick me up at my house pleaseeeee
To: Seulgi, Wendy, Yeri
You better be awake when I reach there
To: Joy, Wendy, Yeri
So, I’ll pick Irene up at her house?
To: Joy, Seulgi, Yeri
Yep, while you go to pick up Irene, we’ll prepare the things so you can just bring her to the broadcast room along with you.
To: Joy, Seulgi, Wendy
I feel like the girl in that action movie, the one with Angelina Jolie as the female agent, what’s the title? Pepper?
To: Joy, Wendy, Yeri
I think it’s called Salt…
To: Seulgi, Wendy, Yeri
Pepper omg I’m crying
To: Joy, Seulgi, Yeri
You are the salt to my pepper
To: Joy, Seulgi, Wendy
To: Seulgi, Wendy, Yeri
Ok, so tomorrow Wendy will stick the pictures and then Yeri and me will take the students to the notice board
To: Joy, Seulgi, Yeri
And then Seulgi will do the final act
To: Joy, Wendy, Yeri
It sounds like I’m some kind of magician
To: Seulgi, Wendy, Yeri
Do magics with pepper if you can
To: Joy, Seulgi, Wendy
Seulgi knows Irene is nervous in stepping her feet back to the school. It’s obvious as how Irene squeezes her hands tightly as they walk to the school building. Seulgi smiles softly and squeezes her hand back, reassuring her that everything is going to be okay.
She knows it is.
“There aren’t many students around…”
Irene mutters softly as she turns her head to scan the empty hall. Weird since it’s less than 15 minutes until the first class start, yet there aren’t many students in the front hall or locker room.
“They’re busy somewhere else.” Seulgi answers casually.
“Where?” Irene perks up.
“Come here, I’ll show you where they are.” Seulgi smiles.
Holding hands, they walk down the hall to the more crowded area. There are students who are standing in front of the notice board, pushing on each other in hope to take a clear look at what’s displayed.
Irene tilts her head questioningly at the scene until some of the female classmates run to her and throw themselves to hug the confused girl.
“Irene, how poor you are! I can’t believe this kind of thing happened to you! It’s awful!”
One of the girls sobs pitifully, earning a confused look from Irene.
“What… happened?” Irene gapes, turning her head to Seulgi who is smiling softly at her.
“We saw the pictures already. Nana and the others had gone too far this time, spreading a trash rumor like that.” The other girl says, pointing at the notice board and Irene gulps nervously before slowly stepping closer.
The students who notice that Irene is stepping closer quickly move away as if making the way for Irene to take a closer look.
Her eyes widen when she sees the picture on the board. It’s the picture of that teacher when he tried to drag her into a hotel. There’s not only one picture, but couple of pictures showing the sequence of the incident, how the teacher pulled at her hand and how she escaped from him.
Below the pictures is a piece of paper with some words printed on it.
On 13 September 2015, a student witnessed the scene of a teacher dragging a female student into a hotel. The next day, the pictures were reported to the authoritative and the school took the action to hand the teacher to police. The teacher was arrested and charged for ual assault.
“There’s something else.”
Irene snaps out of her trance at Seulgi’s voice and quickly turns her head to her, still with wide-eyes and shocked look on her face.
Seulgi gives her a reassuring smile before taking her hand and guide her through the hall. On their way, Irene catches the sight of Wendy, Joy and Yeri who wave their hands at her with a happy smile on their faces.
Irene is too confused to smile back at them.
Just like the plan, Joy has managed to unlock the broadcasting room and Seulgi quickly drags Irene inside with her, shutting and locking the door behind them in case someone wants to bother with her plan. Satisfied, Seulgi quickly walks over to the broadcast panel and plugs her phone.
“What are we doing here?” Irene asks, moving over to Seulgi who seems to be searching through the data in her phone.
“Shhh…” Seulgi hushes quietly and places a finger against her lips, letting the recording on her phone plays throughout the speaker.
“Hi! My name is Jung Soojung. I am a third year student of X high school, yeah that prestigious all girls school. I was in the same class as Bae Irene on first year and we were still in touch throughout the next years of high school.”
Seulgi watches as Irene furrows her brows, utterly confused by everything.
“You see, I’m sure you all know how kind Bae Irene is, yeah we all know too. So anyone who says that she seduced the teacher and all that stuff is simply jealous, we all know that.”
Still with wide eyes and jaw dropped, Irene slowly turns her head to look at Seulgi who is still smiling at her.
“What I’m trying to say that, all that bull is not true. Why? Because I was the one who took those pictures!”
Both girls just stare at each other in silence as the recording of Soojung’s voice fills the room and rings through the school building. Still staring at Seulgi, Irene slowly chuckles before lifting a hand to cover , muffling the sound of her laugh. Seulgi quickly does the same, lifting a hand to in order to muffle any sound that will interrupt the recording.
“Well, that’s the true story of everything regarding Irene and that disgusting man. Thank you for listening, Soojung is out!”
Once the recording ends, Seulgi quickly turns off the mic before bursting out in a laugh, followed by Irene who is giggling so hard that her eyes start to glisten with tears.
“Oh my God, Seulgi… How—just how…” Irene stutters, gesturing her hand in order to replace the words.
“I don’t know, Irene. I just—did it.” Seulgi breathes out before laughing again.
“Oh my God, you are really full of surprise. What else are you hiding behind that face of yours?” Irene says in amazement, leaning her head against Seulgi’s shoulder as she laughs.
“A lot of things.” Seulgi giggles gleefully, leaning back against the broadcast panel, holding herself as Irene laughs into her shoulder.
“I’m going to find out all of them—” Irene says as she lifts her head up to look at Seulgi, pausing when she notices how close their faces are.
Seulgi’s smile slowly fades, feeling the air around them changes abruptly. Now, there is nothing to be laughed about as they stare into each other’s eyes. Irene’s smile has faltered too as she slowly, so slowly, leans her face closer to Seulgi’s.
Seulgi doesn’t remember how Irene got her hands intertwined on Seulgi’s lower back and she doesn’t realize that her hands are rested comfortably on Irene’s back, feeling the fabric of her uniform against her back.
For a moment, the time feels like stopping and the world closes just for the two of them.
There is no sound, and if there’s any, it must be sound of their beating hearts and the blood that rushes through their bodies and into their head, blocking all the thoughts from their minds.
It feels like a magic spell. Seulgi can’t think of anything, her mind only draws blank as she loses herself into the pair of beautiful eyes in front of him, and she knows Irene feels the same by how she tentatively leans even closer.
Seulgi flutters her eyes closed and leans forward, and the she feels it, their lips gently pressing together.
The soft flower smell of Irene, the feeling of Irene’s hands wrapping around her waist, the feeling on Irene’s body against her, the feeling of her soft beautiful lips pressing against hers; Seulgi feels amazing. She can hear the sound of her blood rushing to her head and how her heart beats wildly inside her chest.
Their lips slowly part with a soft sound before Seulgi slowly opens her eyes, looking at Irene who is staring at her with sparkling eyes and a bright smile. Seulgi feels like waking up from her sleep to look at the sunshine.
“You know,” Irene whispers so softly and Seulgi can feel Irene’s breath hits her lips gently. They are still so close to each other, but Seulgi doesn’t want to pull away, she is completely enchanted by Irene.
“If moving school means I got to meet you, then maybe that incident in my old school was not really a bad thing.”
Irene closes her eyes and presses their lips again, making Seulgi closes her own eyes involuntary and relaxes under the touch.
They kiss again for the second time, and the third, and the fourth. Just innocent chaste kisses, brushing their lips, molding them together before parting them slowly to look into each other’s eyes.
It is until a teacher knocks angrily on the door that they’re snapped back to reality. They lets out a gasp at the same time and turns their head to the door, hearing the not-so-impressed teacher and the loud pounding sound against the surface. They turn their head to look at each other again before breaking out into a fit of laughter.
Maybe they’re going to get in trouble again, but it’s worth it. Irene’s beautiful smiling face in front of her worth everything in this world and Seulgi knows it.
In that second, it hits her, it finally clicks inside her head.
She is in love with Irene.
And maybe, just maybe.
Irene is in love with her too.
How wonderful would that be?
Finallyyyyyyyy huhuhuhuh I'm so touched while writing this chapter omg I'm so gross sorry but they're just too precious
Now that they have their feelings connected, it will be only a while until they reach the happy ending huhuh I don't want this to end but every story has its end right? :') but don't worry there will be another couple of chapters since there are a loooooot of things that they have to take care of ok pls support seulrene
I will start to write Irene's pov by the next chapter so you guys will understand more about Irene's side of the story
Please do know that english is not my first language so you might find a lot of grammatical errors, typos and broken english, I am so sorry!
Comments, subscribes and upvotes are much appreciated, thank you so much!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoy the story!