When she realizes it, Solar is still trainee Yongsun. Summers in Seoul are blisteringly humid and opening a window creates a threat of being covered in a sheen of sweat in a matter of minutes. But when you don’t have air conditioning and closing all the windows creates the possibility of suffocation, being covered in sweat pales in comparison to death. So Yongsun, Hyejin and Byulyi open up all the windows in their small apartment and lie on the floor in pure exhaustion.
Yongsun watches Byulyi lay completely flat on the ground, cheek pressed to the linoleum.
“Unnie,” she whines as Yongsun sat with her back to the couch watching tv.
She sees movement out of the corner of her eye and Byulyi has her chin propped on her hand, her bangs just barely covering her eyes. Yongsun can’t help but worry that Byulyi has been spending so much time practicing that she’s neglected cutting her hair.
“Have you ever been in love before?”
Yongsun blinks, leaning back thoughtfully at the question. She glances at Hyejin who is snoring quietly on the ground next to her, headphones plugged firmly into her ears.
“I don’t think so,” she says slowly, meeting Byulyi’s eyes that seem to be burning.
Yongsun her head curiously at the question.
“I fall in love too easily. It only ends in heartbreak.”
She can’t help but unintentionally choking a laugh out despite how bitter and sad Byulyi’s words sound. After a quick look of melancholy from Byulyi, Yongsun bites her lip.
“Sorry, you just sounded like the tagline of a drama.”
“But it’s true.” Byulyi sighs and rests her head on her arms, ducking her head to stare at the floor. With a sigh, Yongsun crawls over to the despondent girl, reaching out a hand and playing with shaggy bangs.
“Did something happen today?”
“Did the singing coach yell at you again?”
“Did you not get dinner?”
At those words Byulyi suddenly jerks up and those burning brown eyes made an more questions die in Yongsun’s mouth.
“We’ve known each other for two years, Yongsun-unnie.”
She nods at the words, slightly confused at Byulyi’s intensity.
“Is this about us not debuting soon enough? Byul-ah, you know-“
“I realized I fell in love, today.” Byulyi still isn’t looking at her and for some reason Yongsun’s heart starts pounding faster and she’s terrified.
“With who?” she asks in a barely audible question. The ensuing silence is more suffocating than being thrown into a rice box outside in July.
And Byulyi looks up right then and Yongsun can’t breathe. The other girl doesn’t have to say anything. All she has to do is look right at Yongsun and she knows. She had once told Byulyi after an acting lesson had gone poorly that although her face may not be terribly expressive her eyes could speak volumes. And this is still the case.
Yongsun slowly draws back from Byulyi, gently scooting away to put some distance between them.
“You don’t have to say anything. I know.” With a sigh the other girl stands wiping a bit at her eyes.
“I’m going to go for a walk. I’ll see you later tonight.”
Yongsun head hurts and her palms are sweating but she still reaches for the fabric of Byulyi’s athletic shorts as she tries to walk past her.
“Hey,” she says quietly, tugging once.
Byulyi just looks at her and there are tears in her eyes.
“This doesn’t change anything,” Yongsun lies.
And Byulyi just smiles.
This is the beginning she realizes. The ball is rolling down a path and once set in motion it can never be stopped.
It’s been nearly a year. They never talk about that sweltering summer night when they were trainees. The next day nothing changes and that pattern continues. And because Byulyi never changes how she acts around Yongsun, Yongsun never changes how she acts around Byulyi.
This changes during their first day of filming their first collaboration with Bumkey. Yongsun is now Solar, hair long and curled past her shoulders in dark waves in a slim dress and made-up eyes. She swallows as she stares at the mirror and struggles to see herself in the bright fluorescent lighting. She continues to stare even as she hears the sound of shoes tapping on linoleum before coming to a stop. Solar glances up and sees Byulyi or now Moonbyul, long dark hair slightly curled, hanging over the front of a slim fitting suit. They both gaze at each other silently and Solar feels something bottom out in her stomach.
“Wow,” Moonbyul says with a grin. But Solar ignores the light expression now on Moonbyul’s face, thinking instead of the few seconds when she had seen shock pull the other girl’s eyebrows up and eyes had darkened with something far more meaningful.
“They really went all the way with you,” jokes Moonbyul as she tugs on the curled ends of Solar’s hair. But Solar still isn’t saying anything, just staring at the other girl’s rose bud mouth and the way the lighting hits the elegant slope of Moonbyul’s nose.
Without thinking she reaches upward and wraps a finger around the dark fabric of her silk tie. Moonbyul’s smile freezes and she slowly turns her face and looks down at Solar.
Solar isn’t as thoughtful and careful as she wishes she was.
“Where is everyone?” Solar inquires softly as Moonbyul leans forward with her tugging until one of her arms is bracing against the back of the chair and the other against the make up desk. Moonbyul’s eyes flick to Solar’s lips and the movement sends a molten hot thrill down her spine.
“They’re all shooting,” murmurs Moonbyul, her voice uncharacteristically husky. “Wheein is doing her move with the phone.”
And so it is so easy to tug downward and press against Moonbyul’s. It’s just lust she thinks as a hand gently cups her waist and soft lips press almost chastely against her. As Solar threads a hand through Moonbyul’s hair she can’t help but think that the ball is careening down a path that can never be stopped.