It starts with a kiss.
It’s unexpected in some ways but in other ways Solar could have spotted it years ago when she still was Kim Youngsun and had a roundness to her cheeks that wasn’t quite idol appropriate.
Some people say she’s dense. That she isn’t observant. And it’s true to an extent. Sudden movements startle her. Bugs make her scream. Guys hitting on her go way over her head. But for some reason Byulyi does not. Solar thinks that she felt the shift in their relationship like gravity, inevitable and inescapable. Byulyi is uncapping Yongsun’s water bottle and even though she’s thirsty herself, she lets Yongsun take a long sip. And when Yongsun looks back at Byulyi to give her the water bottle she sees the other girl’s eyes peeking from under her dark bangs. And there is a moment of complete transparency before that vulnerable emotion was glossed over like a curtain pulled in front of a window. That hungry look was gone from Byulyi’s eyes in an instant and all Yongsun was looking at was glass.
But she remembered that look for a very long time and all the other looks that followed.
Yongsun wasn’t stupid and Solar isn’t either.
Sometimes Solar just wishes that people could read her mind. It would make interviews a hell of a lot easier. Dance practices would go off without a hitch. And Moonbyul would have known when she first kissed Solar that she likes a little bit more teeth than usual.
But Moonbyul likes this mysterious quality of Solar’s.
“It’s like I’m looking into your eyes and I’m looking into a mirror,” Moonbyul whispers into the nape of her neck once, her breath warming the downy baby hairs there. Solar makes a noncommittal sound as she feels a gentle mouth tease the skin near the underside of her jaw.
“Does that mean I’m shallow?” She doesn’t mean for there to be a slight hardness in her tone. Solar compensates for the question by gently caressing Moonbyul’s hand rubbing circles against her bare hip.
“No,” is murmured against the shell of her ear. “It’s like a still lake. You look at that surface but you cannot fathom just how much depth it has.”
Solar makes a pleased sound and rolls over. She’s nose to nose with Moonbyul whose dark hair makes her pale face seem almost doll-like. Long lashes flutter as Solar reaches out and rubs a thumb along the smoothness of her cheekbone.
“Are you just trying to get me to kiss you?” Solar teases, barely concealing the warmth she feels for the other girl.
Moonbyul stares at her, the other girl unusually serious.
“I can’t stop looking at you,” Moonbyul whispers as she leans forward, cupping her jaw with a gentle hand, “because every time I see you there is something new to appreciate.”
Solar feels her cheeks warm and lets out an awkward laugh.
“Y-you need to stop it with your greasiness.”
Moonbyul almost looks insulted and Solar sighs as she turns her head and presses her lips against the inside of the other girl’s palm. Her eyes soften almost instantly and Solar takes it as the approval she needs to tug a bit and pull Moonbyul closer. Just as Solar leans forward to press against hers Moonbyul whispers against her lips.
“Everything I say is true you know.”
Solar silences her with a kiss, winding her hands through dark hair and trying to stay grounded in this moment in time, not the looming shadow of the future.
They’re not girlfriends. But they’re definitely not friends either. Friends don’t look at each other like they do. Friends don’t treat each other like they do. And friends certainly don’t kiss each other like they do.
But in front of the cameras Solar tries to keep a very hard line between the Solar behind closed doors who just responds to Moonbyul’s greasy comments with a lazy kiss and the Solar who loudly protests Moonbyul’s words with a blush and nervous laugh. She supposes they are the same, as a make-up brush sweeps up the contour of her nose.
Solar watches Moonbyul out of the corner of her eye, the girl’s hair now dyed an ash blonde, as her eyes flutter open and closed under the make-up artist’s patient hands. She feels a pang of guilt as she recalls just how late she had made Moonbyul stay up last night.
“Byul-ah,” she says toward the other girl who trusts in her chair so violently that the artist nearly stabs Moonbyul with an eyeliner pen. She still just blinks, completely unphased as she looks expectantly at Solar through the mirror.
“Are you alright?” Solar asks lightly as managers scurry about the room and Wheein and Hwasa roar behind them about some new internet meme.
Moonbyul’s mouth twitches, eyes never living hers through the mirror.
“I’m very tired.”
Solar feels heat rise in her cheeks and she ducks her head just a fraction, giving their manager a sideglance. The man doesn’t even bat an eye.
“I’m sorry about that,” she says honestly trying to convey the apology in her voice. “I’ll try to make sure that you get a lot of rest then.”