ii. first day

kissed and cursed

Hangovers were demonic and ruthless. Such a thing was easy for Joohyun to say since she was having a hellish one then. She woke up because of her head, and it confused her how she could feel lightheaded as she did and yet experience excruciating pain at the same time. It was like her head was a soccer ball—the game was on but the grass was soft. If that even made sense.

 

          She shut her eyes and willed for the pain to stop.

 

          “Hyun,” Seulgi groaned, “stop moving… It’s too early.”

 

          “Seul,” she snapped back, “stop making me your body pillow and get me water.”

 

          “But… why?”

 

          “My head hurts.”

 

          “Again?”

 

          “What do you mean?”

 

          “You said the same thing last night.”

 

          “Last night? Oh, the party.”

 

          “Mm.”

 

          “To be honest, I can’t remember much about last night.” Joohyun checked her phone for the time and sighed when she saw it was already past noon.

 

          “Mm.”

 

          “I obviously got drunk. What about you?”

 

          “Mm.”

 

          “You too, huh. But you don’t sound like you’re having a hangover. Hmm, maybe it really is different for each person.”

 

          “Mm.”

 

          “Seul, honestly, it’s already 2 and you have yet to give me a proper conversation!” She glared at her friend, who, in the end, was already sleeping. Joohyun sighed instead.

 

          She wrenched Seulgi’s arm from around her waist and her leg between Joohyun’s before going to the bathroom to wash her face. And since Seulgi’s house was pretty much like hers, no headache could stop her from going to the right direction. She washed her face thoroughly, removing any trace of alcohol before wiping.

 

          There was a weird diamond necklace on her that she didn’t remember having, so it meant that it was given to her while she was drunk. But when she searched for the chain, there wasn’t one. She squinted hard, wondering if it was dirt on the mirror, but the shape was too definite for it to be one.

 

          Maybe it was a sticker. So Joohyun gently touched the space between her collarbones, and tried to take the sticker off.

 

          Only it didn’t.

 

          And then there was this pit in her stomach that seemed to twist into a knot of despair, churning as a dreadful reminder.

 

          It wasn’t a sticker. Hell, it wasn’t even a tattoo.

 

          It was the mark of her curse.

 

          She had kissed someone last night.

 

          She didn’t know what time, but the mark served as a clock as well. The lines forming the diamond were solid, but the inside color was less than half.

 

          She kissed someone last night.

 

          Before she could scream, a shadow moved behind her. Joohyun twisted, hands raised to defend herself. She froze when she realized that it wasn’t a shadow, for her it was the shadow. Of the Aphrodite. She sat cross-legged on the ledge of the bathtub, picking her nails for something that wasn’t probably there, fixing silver hair that never needed fixing.

 

          She could’ve been staring for an hour, for all she knew. But it did take a while before Aphrodite raised her head, and her kaleidoscope eyes took Joohyun’s breath away. It was overwhelming—the colors seemed to be on top of one another and yet not one stood out. They seemed to be moving as well, the colors—fighting for Joohyun’s attention.

 

          “Hi, sweetie,” Aphrodite greeted with a serene smile so beautiful it felt like a gush of wind just hit Joohyun. And her voice was light, like a soft spring day when the trees whisper you compliments and the birds tweet you hello.

 

          “H-hapro-ffus-ha,” Joohyun basically wanted to drown herself because of her stutter. It was the worst in her whole life, and she did it in front of her family’s patron goddess.

 

          The goddess raised her hand, and a wave of calmness went through Joohyun. “Aphrodite, milady,” she gave a low bow.

 

          “You’re cute! Nothing less from someone I’ve had my eye on since her birth,” Aphrodite squealed.

 

          “A-ah. I like someone else…”

 

          There was this loud and yet graceful way of laughing that the goddess seemed to invent at that moment. “You’re lovable, aren’t you, Joohyun?” She giggled again. “I didn’t mean it that way, heavens no. From the moment you were born, you see, you caught my eye. Not that way, I repeat. It was just… there was something in you that reminded me of Irene.”

 

          That was a baffling statement. “I’m called Irene, too…”

 

          “I know, darling. And it’s not a coincidence, mind you. Irene was the name of the first princess I blessed. The ancestor first met with the curse. And her mark appeared on the exact same spot as you have.”

 

          Joohyun instinctively touched the mark. “I… This might be rude to sound, and I think it actually is rude, but I still don’t know why you’re in Seulgi’s house, milady.”

 

          Aphrodite snapped her fingers, and the bathroom melted away to a grand bedroom that fit only those of royalty. Everything was... colored rose gold? Everything looked vintage, even, like they were straight from the romantic era. Joohyun wondered if they really were from decades ago. This was a Greek goddess with her. Anything could have been possible. Perhaps the only thing that was different in the room was Joohyun herself, and a black clock on one side of the wall.

 

          “Now I’m not in Seulgi’s house,” the silver-haired woman deadpanned, settling herself on one of her sofa chairs with ease. “Make yourself comfortable, Irene. It’s not like I’ll force you to stay afterwards.” There was a dangerous pause while Joohyun was in the process of sitting, the two of them staring at each other. “I’m kidding. Honestly, humor doesn’t exactly match with you, honey.”

 

          “I agree with that, actually.”

 

          “That was supposed to be another joke, Irene.” Aphrodite looked at her incredulously. But Joohyun couldn’t help it. Maybe it was the difference in humor, and not just the lack of it, in her opinion. Or maybe because the older woman was used to a certain period’s humor and forgot to adjust to the current generation.

 

          She wasn’t sure anymore. About anything, really.

 

          So instead Joohyun simply nodded slowly. “What is with the clock? It’s not matching with the room color…”

 

          Aphrodite grinned with sincere appreciation. “Yes! Right. Okay, listen here, Irene. This clock, this is you.”

 

          What?

 

          “It’s just a bigger mark, let’s say it as that.”

 

          And now that Joohyun could look closely, the hands did move the other way. “What is it for?”

 

          “A chance made by yours truly so I could talk to you.”

 

          Joohyun was understanding it less and less. “Thank..you?”

 

          “Ah, tell your praise later. After remembering. Last night was a surprise, Irene. It was an unexpected turn of events for you. You were—you know what, I’ll make you remember them now.” The goddess appeared standing in front of her. Before she could even flinch, Aphrodite had already pinched her cheek.

 

          And then everything came rushing back to her like a film sped up.

 

          “Woah, Irene. Hold on to me.”

 

          Joohyun felt herself evaporating when she saw how Wendy held her before falling. Then a flicker of light made her gasp loudly.

 

          Aphrodite was there, just behind her. She gave past-Joohyun a little push just when she raised her head. And as if the deity realized present-Joohyun was staring, looked at her direction and threw her a smug grin. She snapped her fingers like she did before.

 

          Joohyun looked back just in time for her past self to shove Wendy sharply before staggering backwards and running away.

 

          She really was blessed sobriety. She didn’t know how to feel about it.

 

          Then her mark burned, and suddenly the memory was gone and Aphrodite was back in front of her, with her arms crossed and a brow raised. “Well?”

 

          “Well?” Joohyun repeated lifelessly. “You just?! You made me lose my first kiss! To Wendy!

 

          “You’re welcome.”

 

          “N-no! I didn’t—I never wanted to kiss—”

 

          “Don’t lie.” Aphrodite clicked her tongue and Joohyun felt like an exploding volcano of red.

 

          “—no comment!” She sighed angrily. “You said it was an unexpected turn of events. It looked scripted to me.”

 

          “I said, for you, which was true.”

 

          Ah. True, true. “But don’t give me vague words like that! And you still ended up giving me the curse! I was so careful…”

 

          “There’s a reason for everything, Irene. I had my reasons for making you kiss Wendy. Mostly for personal entertainment—”

 

          “I’m gonna pretend I didn’t hear that,” Joohyun intervened with a frown.

 

          “—and because you have a role to play. A story to tell. And Wendy looked like a promising main character.”

 

          “You could’ve at least given me a warning! Not appear out of nowhere after doing the deed!”

 

          “It would have ruined the surprise.”

 

          “Touché. But I’m still mad that it’s Wendy!”

 

          “Are you really?”

 

          “No, I’m really happy it’s her. Thank you.”

 

          Aphrodite nodded arrogantly. “I know. You’re welcome.”

 

          “But why me? I never heard of you visiting my relatives before.”

 

          “I told you already,” the room began to melt out of a sudden, “you’re special.”

 

          “What’s happening?” Joohyun stood up anxiously, walking towards the other woman. “Aphrodite?”

 

          “My time is up already, little angel.”

 

          “Stop with the cringe-inducing nicknames already!”

 

          “But they suit you!”

 

          “No!”

 

          The goddess let out a breath. As the room started to disappear, she hugged Joohyun tightly. “I’m always watching you.”

 

          “Having a stalker goddess is not something I’d want to put on my autobiography.”

 

          “Watching over you. My, what a bully you are! Exactly just like the first Irene, with her smart mouth and charming personality.” She kissed Joohyun’s forehead.

 

          “You’re disgusting,” she cringed, feeling warm because, no matter how weird it was to say, it was like Aphrodite was that one big sister she never had.

         

          “We’ll meet again.”

 

          “Really?”

 

          “I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. But I’ll do my best.”

 

          “Okay.”

 

          “I’ll leave now.” Everything was starting to fade to nothing. “Don’t forget…”

 

          Aphrodite floated away, her voice slowly becoming quiet.

 

          “Don’t forget what?” Joohyun shouted towards the abyss. “Don’t just do that! Don’t leave me hanging; I get anxious!”

 

          “Start the kissing, hun. I like your ship.”

 

          A last burst of light and then there was nothing.

 

~o~

 

           Hangovers were demonic and ruthless. Such a thing was easy for Joohyun to say since she was having a hellish one then. She woke up because of her head, and it confused her how she could feel lightheaded as she did and yet experience excruciating pain. It was like her head was a soccer ball—the game was on but the grass was soft. If that even made sense.

 

          She shut her eyes and willed for the pain to stop.

 

          “Hyun,” Seulgi groaned, “stop moving… It’s too early.”

 

          “Seul,” she snapped back, “stop making me your body pillow and—wait.” She sat up abruptly, causing Seulgi to roll away and fall from the bed.

 

          “Ow,” her friend complained.

 

          “This happened already, I—Aphrodite—my memory, I have it back and—Seulgi!” She shrieked her friend’s name.

 

          “Shhhh, Hyun,” Seulgi whimpered. “Shhhh.”

 

          “I kissed Wendy! Your classmate-friend Wendy! My crush!”

 

          “Good for you, Hyun.”

 

          “You’re missing the point here, dumbo. I kissed someone. The curse is already getting worse as we speak!”

 

          The fact of it made Seulgi rise. “You kissed Wendy,” she stated, as if it was her idea.

 

          “I did,” Joohyun covered her face with the blanket. Oh wow she did. Now the mental image of Wendy was enough to send her to short-circuit. Where did the confidence from earlier go? She needed it terribly.

 

          Seulgi extended her arm and reached for her phone. “Wow you must’ve been great.” She showed the screen to Joohyun. Wendy (15 missed calls).

 

          “What did she say?” Her eyes widened.

 

          “I don’t know. She didn’t leave voicemails. I’ll text her now.”

 

          “T-tell her we have to… m-meet up.”

 

          “What for?”

 

          Joohyun stared at Seulgi before doing an extravagant wave towards her diamond mark.

 

          “Ah. Right.” Two minutes later, Seulgi’s phone buzzed and she said, “She’ll be by the library in an hour.”

 

          “I can’t just kiss her in the library!”

 

          Seulgi shrugged indifferently. “Just hide behind one of the shelves and sneak a kiss just so you won’t… you know, die.”

 

          “I don’t know what’s worse: dying or being an embarrassment.”

 

          “Dying, of course!” Seulgi blinked.

 

          “Of course it is. But that’s not my point!” Joohyun stomped her feet. “I don’t know what to do…”

 

          Seulgi held her shoulders. “Listen, Hyun. First, kiss the heck outta Wendy. I don’t care—just don’t die.”

 

          “I don’t plan to…”

 

          “We’ll explain it to her after.”

 

          “We will? Wouldn’t she think I’m weird, having this curse and all?”

 

          “I don’t care. You’re more important to me, Hyun. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.”

 

          “Aww, you’re sweet. But that doesn’t change the fact that I have to kiss Wendy in the library. Stupid curse.”

 

          “I could kiss her in your place but the curse doesn’t work that way, does it?”

 

          The thought of Seulgi kissing Wendy made her cheek twitch.

 

~o~

 

          The library was eerily quiet, even for a place that banned noise and clamor. There wasn’t even a sound of pages flipping or fingers typing or even hushed whispers from students who thought their voices were low.

 

          There was absolute silence; it sent Joohyun’s teeth chattering. She didn’t like it. Especially that she had to do the deed in there.

 

          Seulgi wasn’t offering much counsel, either. She was too busy molding a lump of clay into something that looked like a dog with a head of a snake and an alligator’s tail. She raised the hybrid animal to Joohyun’s eyes. “Look! It’s a cat.”

 

          Joohyun never felt so horrified about a cat that looked the way it did than now. “That’s not a cat,” she said softly, thinking of a way to say what she thought it was before.

 

          “Shush, it’s a cute kitty cat and you won’t fool me anymore, Hyun,” Seulgi diligently defended herself, hugging the… whatever it was to her chest. “Anyway, look, there she is.”

 

          And she felt horrible now, so weak and fragile and it drove her crazy how the possibility of fainting when she meets with Wendy’s eyes was high.

 

          Maybe she actually was high that time. Because the library swirled when she saw the raven-haired girl sitting there alone.

 

          “Do I need my cat to push you towards Wendy?” Seulgi asked good-naturedly.

 

          It didn’t feel good-natured.  And she didn’t want that weird specie of cat near her. “I’m fine,” she reassured, taking a deep breath as she took the steps towards Wendy.

 

          Her mark started to burn slowly, like a flame flickering gently. It was just because she was going near Wendy, her first kiss. But Joohyun did not know that, and thought that it was her slowly dying. It made her panic and half-ran towards the other girl.

 

          “Hyun?” Seulgi called out worriedly.

 

          She didn’t reply, and instead went straight to the table where Wendy was. When she was near, Wendy looked up in acknowledgement and was about to smile nervously when Joohyun suddenly grabbed her by the collar and dragged her behind the bookshelves.

 

          “U-um Irene?” Wendy’s confused way of saying her name made Joohyun bite her lower lip. “I-I’m sorry about the ki—”

 

          Joohyun disregarded her apology and instead trapped her by a shelf furthest from people, before diving her lips to meet Wendy’s.

         

~o~

 

          “Okay,” Wendy nodded slowly after Joohyun and Seulgi explained to her about the former’s curse. And before that, Joohyun was sitting with her knees to her chest due to embarrassment while Wendy went off to find Seulgi. “So… I have to kiss you everyday?”

 

          “Yes, we have to kiss everyday.” Repeating it was humiliating. Joohyun wanted to wrap herself with books and maybe drop out school to move into an isolated house and live with a dozen cats. She rubbed her face tiredly. “I’m sorry about this.”

 

          “No, it’s okay!” Wendy sympathized, smiling with what Joohyun believed was pity. But really, however, her ears rang with how she said “okay”. That was like sealing the deal. But if she really was fine with it…

 

          Oh… was it actually mutual?

 

          Stfu Joohyun. Getting your hopes up was the same as throwing yourself to sharks. It never works out.

 

          “But,” Wendy added cautiously, “is there a chance of breaking the curse?”

 

          Joohyun rose her brows. “Is kissing me daily that much of a horrifying action for you?”

 

          “No! In fact, I’ll very much appreciate such action.” Maybe realizing how erted that sounded, Wendy reddened. “No-not like that! I mean, I respect you, Irene.”

 

          Ouch. Just got respectzoned.

 

          “I’ll gladly shoulder this burden with you!”

 

          “That’s so sweet! Mr. Pringles is jumping with joy!” Seulgi raised the chunk of thing with a childish smile.

 

          “You named it Mr. Pringles?” Joohyun couldn’t believe how she was basically sisters with this girl.

 

          “I think it’s cute,” Wendy grinned.

 

          Seulgi gave Joohyun a look that conveyed “I told you she’s sweet and understanding”. Joohyun shrugged in defeat.

 

          She didn’t want to admit to her friend that she never thought of Wendy without those traits. It added to the charm. And hell, was Wendy charming.

 

          Not in the way Seulgi was charming—with her charisma and innocent fire. Wendy was charming the way the ocean was captivating. Waves of bright smiles and trenches of deep eyes. Laughter that can reach the depths of the waters.

 

          Wendy made Joohyun want to drown.

 

          Repeatedly, too.

 

~o~

 

          Smack!

 

          “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry! I moved my head wrong!”

 

          “It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt much,” Joohyun wiped the blood from her swollen lower lip. She didn’t know how Wendy ended up wounding her lip because of improper head movement, but she didn’t judge.

 

          “I might get attacked by your fans!” Wendy reasoned out, pulling a handkerchief from her pocket. It was a tad bit nostalgic for Joohyun.

 

          “You’ll be fine!” Seulgi patted Wendy. “Besides, it’s not like they’ll know it’s because of you, right?”

 

          “Right… But here! Take my handkerchief. I feel really bad about your lip.”

 

          Joohyun took it anyway.

 

          As Wendy started moving for her bike, she whirled around and gave a sheepish grin. “Whenever we meet, you often end up bleeding. Maybe I’m cursed too.”

 

          Seulgi started jumping around while holding Joohyun’s arm. “She remembered your nosebleed!” She whispered frantically.

 

          As Joohyun waved goodbye, she flicked a finger on her friend’s forehead. “Knowing she remembers it does not make me feel better.”

 

          “I bet her kisses do, though.”

 

          She opened to disagree, but she couldn’t because Wendy’s kisses did make her feel better.

 

          Seulgi had a mischievous smile the whole way home.

 

          Joohyun locked her out.

 

 


 

well.... here it is omf sorry for the delay

/showers you with cookies and hearts

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wandawanda21 #1
🥺
Riscark #2
Chapter 13: Damnn talk about April's fools there 😬
SEEKER_
#3
Chapter 13: Is that person connected to the princess irene? And I'm curious as to what happened to the ancient seungwan after Princess irene died. Why do i get a feeling that it's all connected. Irene's disappearance and what happened before.
Marina_Leffy
1688 streak #4
Chapter 13: Wow! Happy April fools! What a scary premonition.
Riscark #5
Chapter 12: Holy , I know it's some kinda dream, but goddamn I was so scared that it was happening in real time and seungwan cannot do something to help irene
SEEKER_
#6
Chapter 12: What the did seungwan just had a vision of the past them? As lovers too??? Omg
Aizbox
#7
Chapter 12: NOOOOOOOOO~ but for real, I'm excited for what will happened next. Thank you for writing this! 🩷
mklarisse_ #8
Chapter 12: so intense 😭 thank u so much for the update happy new year author!!!
mklarisse_ #9
Chapter 9: woah the creepy old lady 😭
chantreux
#10
Chapter 12: I just read this in one go and its soo good? Woah.