Nice. Cool. Fun. Awesome.

Getting By, Just Barely

The week after returning from Japan was the only peace Byul came to know for months. Her senior year of college snuck up on her, grabbed her by the throat, and hadn’t eased up since.

 

Academics weren’t even the issue—her classes were manageable this semester. With the summer courses she’d taken the past couple of years, including the two online classes she completed this past summer, Byulyi only had four classes left to complete over her next two semesters. The thought of taking all four in the Fall had crossed her mind, but to stay eligible for athletics, students had to be at least part-time, meaning at least 2 classes each semester. What that meant big picture was that compared to her peers, the senior had a lot of time not spent in class. Most other undergraduates were taking four to seven classes at a time.

 

All of this to reinforce that academics were not her main stressor this year. It was everything outside of the classroom that, from the first week of the new school year, gripped her.

 

For starters, Byul was physically tired. Exhausted, even. Yongsun had asked her about this over the summer, asked if she would be okay with the quick turnaround from high-level international basketball into training for the college basketball season. At the time, she’d waved off the older girl’s concerns.

 

At the time, she felt on top of the world.

 

At the time, she was at the Olympics, playing well and learning a lot. It was fine then. However, after the brief family vacation in Japan and the week of downtime upon her return to SNU, Moonbyul began a rigorous individual training regimen—the summer taught her that to take her game to the next level, she needed to be stronger, faster, and more skilled. Although official team training began in October, she was committed to her own pre-season training throughout September, holding herself to two sessions each day—one for weightlifting and the other for basketball-specific drills. Able to keep up at first, the senior was beginning to feel the aftereffects of having put herself through the ring as she had.

 

There were additional basketball responsibilities this year, too. Most people expected it, but it was officially announced at the start of the school year that Byulyi would be the sole captain of the team this year. A huge honor bestowed upon her by the coaches and team, but also a new source of stress. She had never been a vocal leader, preferring instead to lead by example, lead from the back. While she could still set the tone by modeling proper behavior in accordance with the culture of SNU Basketball, Byul knew she’d have to push herself to speak up and be more proactive about organizing team events that facilitated bonding and cohesiveness. Heeyeon was an invaluable resource when it came to this, sharing a lot about her experience as a captain and helping Moonbyul brainstorm ways to reconcile being a peer and a firm leader that held people accountable.

 

Business school applications also had to be dealt with. Although not due until January, Byulyi was serious about presenting a well-curated portfolio to admissions teams. She’d narrowed down the list of schools she was interested in and put a lot of energy into networking with alumni and administrators. The intention was to learn more about her programs of interest while leaving a positive, lasting impression on each person she meant. She hoped that the connections cultivated came back to benefit her in the long run.

 

Then there was Yongsun.

 

At every step of the way, the graduate student did things that, to others, might have seemed small or insignificant but made a world of difference to Moonbyul. For starters, Yongsun introduced Byul to yoga. A few weeks into her weight training with Taecyeon, the blonde picked up the new activity in hopes that it would help improve her flexibility and form when lifting. Of course, she eventually forced Byul to try and, of course, the athlete went along with it. She found yoga to help tremendously with recovering from her own brutal workouts. Watching Yongsun stretch and twist and bend wasn’t half bad either.

 

When she was exhausted after a day of pushing herself to her physical limits, Yongsun would come over—because Byul was serious about limiting her time at Yongsun’s apartment due to Chorong’s presence—make sure Byulyi ate properly, ask about her day, then hold her head in her lap, sometimes massaging her scalp until Byulyi was close to falling asleep.

 

When Moonbyul needed to vent or talk through something related to her role as captain, Yongsun would listen attentively and provide a fresh perspective on how to possibly navigate the situation. When it came to business school, Yongsun read and edited every single draft of Byul’s application. She, too, exhausted her network, looking for potential connections she could help Moonbyul make with business school administrators.

 

Yongsun helped with everything. Made everything better, more manageable. Yet she was still Byul’s biggest stressor. And by biggest stressor, she meant biggest. Number one source of stress. Top of the list.

 

While the senior spent September and much of October managing everything on her plate, Yongsun spent that time “living her best single life”—that’s what Hyejin had once called it when they were all together and the youngest girls were asking the graduate student for “updates” on “things”.

 

“Why are you talking in code?”

“I’m not,” Hyejin sassed. “I very clearly asked unnie what I needed to ask her.”

“Okay, but that was super vague. Why not just ask her outright whatever it is you need to ask her?” The brunette calmly asked with a head resting in Yongsun’s lap and legs elevated on the couch arm. The two of them spent a lot of time in this position—masking how giddy it made her each time was becoming increasingly more difficult for Byulyi.

 

All four were gathered at Moonbyul and Heeyeon’s apartment on a rather mundane Sunday in September. They had done their own things the night before and decided that spending the day together would help them reset and recharge for the week ahead.

 

As for whatever Hyejin was being cryptic about, the athlete knew it had to do with Yongsun’s efforts to expand her social circle. It was no secret that the older girl was going out more often. Although never divulging too many details with Moonbyul about what exactly was going on during her nights out, the graduate student wasn’t shy about how determined she was to build out that part of her life. Judging by the growing number of new names camped out under her tweets and Instagram pictures, Yongsun was meeting new people and making new friends—the nights out were working. Byulyi didn’t much mind, though. Their time together wasn’t significantly impacted so she was fine with it.

 

“You know what, you’re right, Byul-unnie. I’ll be more direct. Yongsun-unnie, any update on you living your best single life and hooking up with hot people?”

 

Normally, the blonde would’ve immediately thrown a small fit and told Hyejin to stop being so ridiculous. She would’ve denied it. That didn’t happen this time. Instead, Wheein jumped in to make a joke about . . . something. Or maybe she didn’t make a joke? Wheein said something and the three of them continued on about whatever they chose to talk about. Byul didn’t know. She wasn’t paying attention.

 

Closing her brown eyes, the athlete sank into Yongsun’s touch—she had begun aimlessly playing with Moonbyul’s brown locks—and processed what had just been dropped on her: Yongsun was hooking up with people.

 

Nice.

 

Cool.

 

Fun.

 

Awesome.

 

She hadn’t been the same since. Later that same day, the two of them found a moment alone and Yongsun clarified that she wasn’t actually “hooking up with a bunch of people,” but rather, putting her flirting skills to the test. Byul desperately wanted to believe it, but the fact that it took her friend so long to clear that up made it difficult. If that was truly the case, why didn’t she say it when Hyejin first brought the topic up? And what exactly did “putting flirting skills to the test” even mean? The whole thing left her with more questions than answers, questions she didn’t dare ask in fear of the answers.

 

The thought of Yongsun flirting with random people wasn’t the only thing Byul couldn’t get past. Yongsun’s body. It was ridiculous. It was stressing her out. Taecyeon’s workouts had to be sent from above because the results were . . . unbelievable. In only a couple of months, Yongsun had toned up. The lap that supported Byulyi’s head most nights became firmer, the legs that peeked out from the shorts and oversized t-shirts or sweatshirts that Yongsun preferred to wear when in UV gradually became more defined.

 

Moonbyul had always found Yongsun beautiful. That eventually evolved into her having romantic feelings for the older girl. But now, with the body that Yongsun had, Byulyi wanted her. Badly. And she felt horrible about it because this was her best friend. People weren’t supposed to creep on and lust after their best friends, yet here she was creeping on and lusting after her best friend. It didn’t help that Yongsun was always touching her. None of the touching was new. It was all stuff the older girl had done before, things Moonbyul was accustomed to—a sudden hand on her stomach, a head resting on her shoulder, arms wrapped around her waist if they were lounging around. The reactions ignited, though? Byulyi was not yet accustomed to them.

 

Attempts to course-correct fell flat. Whenever the athlete found a situation especially unbearable—typically when Yongsun tried to get her way by being handsy and pouty—Byulyi would get stern with her, tell her to stop and flat out say no to whatever was being requested. That only seemed to motivate the blonde to touch her even more. It was helpless. Byul was suffering and there was no solution. At any given moment Moonbyul felt as if she’d combust. She was losing her mind.

 

Of course, the fact that she hadn’t had in five months wasn’t helping either. The senior was tightly wound with no prospect of release any time soon. It was cruel.

 

Heeyeon never missed an opportunity to rib her for it.

“If I were a gambler, I’d 100% put all my money on SNU winning a championship again this year,” the taller girl suddenly shared one day.

“Oh yeah? Why’s that? We have more rookies this year, so it’ll be a bigger challenge, but I think we can do it.” Byul loved basketball conversations. It seemed like Heeyeon was setting the stage for a serious conversation about player personnel and tactics.

“Your forearms,” Heeyeon giggled.

“Huh?”

“Because of your forearms. You have stronger forearms this year. Rock solid.”

“What are you talking about?” It was late, Moonbyul was tired. She wasn’t in the mood for Heeyeon’s riddles.

“You have stronger forearms so people won’t be able to get you off the ball as easily. You’ll be more in control.”

“I have stronger forearms? What the are you talking about?”

“All that ing you do. Your forearms have to be strong as hell by now, no? Or do you only use your right hand?”

“ off,” Byulyi scoffed and shook her head at her roommate’s crass joke before retiring to her bedroom for the night.

 

Memories of the past month and a half were cut short as the team trainer dug into an especially tight knot in her left calf.

“Ah! Yujin, that hurt!” Her whiny words tumbled into the pillow her face was pressed into.

“If you stretched properly before training and stuck to the daily routine I created for you, there’d be nothing to complain about,” the much older woman chided Byul, all while digging further into the stubborn mass of muscle that stood between her and the rest of her Saturday.

“I stretch properly every day and before practice,” the senior argued. “Ask anyone, I foam roll and everything.”

“For two minutes on each body part?” Yujin’s skepticism annoyed Moonbyul, but also filled her with shame. She didn’t roll out for nearly that long—maybe half a minute at most. Her tight muscles were a telltale sign of that.

“I foam roll,” she flatly responded.

“Mmhmm. I don’t want to hear you crying to me if you get hurt. You’ve put on more muscle weight. Proper stretching and warming up is critical to your body holding up for the whole season.”

“I’ll be more serious about it,” Byul sulked.

“Turn over.”

 

Moonbyul did as instructed and tried her best to relax as Yujin finished massaging legs. Ten minutes later, another command was barked at her.

“Alright, get up. Time for the NormaTec*. By the way, might want to check your phone. Someone’s been calling you nonstop.”

Byul had a habit of setting her phone to silent when the team had practice. She hated leaving it behind in the locker room, especially since she tended to use it to play music while she got shots up before practice started. Making the walk all the way back to the locker room to store it away seemed pointless, so she’d put it on silent and leave it with Yooa, their new team manager this year. The only drawback was forgetting to turn the ringer back on after training was over.

 

With legs inserted into the compression leg attachments, the brunette checked her notifications. Three missed video calls from Yongsun. There were also a few text messages and some tagged posts on Instagram. She’d call Yongsun back first.

 

A few rings passed before the graduate student answered.

“Hi!” She was so cute—hair in a messy bun with a bright smile, the kind that brought out the dimples at the corners of her lower lip.

“What do you want?” Moonbyul tried to respond disinterestedly.

“Oh please,” Yongsun rolled her eyes.

“Are you, like, a stalker or something? A fan? Blowing up my phone with a bunch of video calls.”

“And you didn’t answer,” the blonde reprimanded her, tone turning less playful.

“I was with the trainer, Yong.” Why was she explaining herself? There was no reason to explain herself. “What’s up?”

“I need help picking a color for my nails.”

That’s what you were calling me for?”

“Yeah. I narrowed my options down to three colors, so I need to eliminate one.”

“Why only one?”

“Because I want one color on my toes and another on my fingers.”

“I see.”

“While you’re seeing, pick two, please. Here are the options.”

 

The decision was obvious once the three nail polish bottles were presented.

“Get rid of the blue. That shade doesn’t suit you. The green and taupe complement each other. They work together.”

“That’s what I thought, but maybe this is a good time to try something different?”

“You’re getting your nails done. That’s already you trying something different.” She normally did them herself.

“Ugh, fine.” Yongsun set the blue down and communicated to the nail tech working on her feet that she was no longer considering it. “Wait, which one should I use for my–”

“Olive green on your hands, taupe for your feet.”

“What if I did taupe on my han–”

“The green on your hands, the taupe on your toes,” Byulyi repeated.

“Fine,” Yongsun rolled her eyes. “How was practice?”

“It was cool. A few weeks until our first game, so we’re still doing a lot of conditioning, but incorporating more run-throughs for set plays. Yujin yelled at me afterwards, though.”

“What did you do?”

“Why are you assuming I did something?”

“Because I imagine she’s too busy to waste time scolding you just for fun.”

“Be on my side just once, Yong. Geez.”

“I’m always on your side. Number one supporter.”

“I don’t know,” she started mischievously, “there are some eager underclass girls making a strong case for themselves. You might want to step your game up.”

“It’s okay. They can have you.”

“Hanging up now.”

“Don’t you dare! Stop being so sensitive.”

“If I actually let one of them have me, though, you’d be upset.” She wanted Yongsun to agree.

“Of course I would. Giving in to rookie groupies is beneath you.”

“So you’d be fine with me giving in to veteran groupies?”

“I’m glad your trainer scolded you,” the older girl evaded the question altogether. “You deserve it.”

“You don’t even know what she yelled at me for,” the athlete chuckled.

“I don’t care. She was right. Do whatever she told you to do and stop being annoying.”

“Uh oh, Miss Yongsun is getting upset. I’ll let you go before you hit me through the phone. Am I seeing you tonight,” she asked hopefully. They saw each other throughout the week but they hadn’t spent a Saturday night together in a while. Byul missed that. A Saturday night in with Yongsun—just the two of them—sounded like exactly what she needed today. “We can, like, watch some movies or something? I’ll buy us some food?”

 

Yongsun’s groan and grimace told her that the subsequent answer wouldn’t be to her liking.

“Ugh, that sounds perfect. I wish I could,” the blonde bemoaned, “but I agreed earlier today to go out with Seungyeon and her friends.”

 

Seungyeon.

 

The athlete only barely held back a severe eye roll. Seungyeon’s name was one that Moonbyul had started seeing and hearing more often.  The girl was gradually becoming a constant in Yongsun’s life and Byul didn’t know what to make of that. Curiosity got the best of her one day, resulting in the senior checking out the older woman’s Instagram page. She shouldn’t have done that. Seungyeon was beautiful—tall and lean with striking facial features. Seungyeon also had a job, which meant she had money. Who knows what inspired her to do so, but since the day Hyejin discussed Yongsun potentially hooking up with people, the graduate student began sharing more details about her nights out. One such detail was that she rarely paid for anything when out with Seungyeon, and by rarely, she meant that she never paid for anything. The girl came out of nowhere and immediately burrowed her way into Yongsun’s life. It was aggravating.

 

As had become customary for her, Moonbyul had to reel herself in. She was being ridiculous. It wasn’t like Seungyeon would steal Yongsun from her. There wasn’t even anything to steal. Yongsun was her best friend, nothing more. Whatever the nature of the relationship between Yongsun and Seungyeon, it was none of her business.

 

“How about,” Yongsun started excitedly, “you and I spend tomorrow together and I’ll completely block off next Saturday for you, too?”

“That’s fine,” Byulyi swallowed her disappointment at not being able to spend tonight together.

And I’ll come over once I get back from the nail salon so you can see the final results in person.”

“That works for me. Gotta go now, but I’ll see you later.”

“Bye, Byul-ah.”

 

Yongsun might have been going out with Seungyeon again tonight, but Moonbyul found solace in the fact that the graduate student called her to help pick a nail color. A small victory.

 

Then she remembered that Seungyeon was Yongsun’s friend, not a competitor because there was no competition. She’d gotten worked up over her friend spending time with another friend. A loser. She was a loser.

 

*

 

The picture was the same. The captions were very different.

150 likes

yongsun Happy Halloween from me and my favorite pet 🐶

View all 28 comments

hyejin Unnie, that’s . . . not how the movie goes 🤦‍

taecyeon Poor Moonbyul 😂.

jinyoung You look great, Yongsun.

seungyeon 😍

heeyeon You look hot, unnie!

 

600 likes

byulyi Why did I say yes to this?

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wheein Byul-unnie, fighting! 😂

yongsun Because you love me!

          |byulyi @yongsun 😅

          |wheein @yongsun 😂

          |hyejin @yongsun yikes.

heeyeon Well . . .

yooa Why do you still look so cute dressed like this?

sandeul It makes sense now @heeyeon @seokjin @kenie @baro

|byulyi @sandeul We’re all sitting at the same table rn. Was this necessary?

“It was necessary, yes,” Sandeul cheekily chirped out loud after reading Moonbyul’s Instagram reply.

“Hurry up and tell us how this happened,” Seokjin demanded. His plate was full of food, but his attention was directed towards the picture Moonbyul had posted on Instagram.

“She asked and I said yes.” If she spoke directly about it, Byul hoped they could quickly move past it. The moment Heeyeon returned to the table after a quick bathroom break, the brunette knew that wouldn’t be possible.

“What are you all talking about?”

“Stop being nosy,” Byulyi tried to deflect.

“We’re talking about this,” Ken was quick to pull up his phone, the photo in question on display. “Byulyi’s couple costume with her friend.”

 

It was a picture of the night before when she and Yongsun attended a Halloween party on campus. Byul, dressed as a Dalmatian, was crouched down, allowing Yongsun, dressed up as Cruella de Vil, to rest her left hand on the younger girl’s costume‑covered head. Remembering when the blonde first approached her with the idea, Byul reddened a bit at how easily she’d succumbed to the proposition put forth.

 

“Byul-ah,” Yongsun softly called from her desk. It was littered with tattered books and printed-out articles riddled with highlighted sentences.

 

It was a weeknight in the middle of October. The graduate student had a 15-page paper to complete by week’s end and, thus, informed Taecyeon that she wouldn’t be working out with him during that time. Having work of her own to complete, Moonbyul recommended that the two of them spend each night in UV’s Academic Center, a room located next to the game room and gym in the building’s lounge. It was equipped with desks, computers, and a few printers and copiers, but more importantly, it emptied out after around 8:00 pm, leaving the room almost completely to Byul and Yongsun. Staking their claim on the space, the two agreed on a playlist full of mellow songs and set that as their background music before working comfortably alongside each other. The blonde calling Byul’s attention was the first either had spoken for at least an hour. They were engrossed in their work, riding the wave of productivity.

 

“Hmm?”

“What are you doing for Halloween?”

“Nothing, really,” Byul set her pen and notebook down, standing up to stretch for a bit. “Was going to go wherever you, Wheein, and Hyejin were going. Why?”

“I was planning on dressing up, but I need someone else to complete the costume.”

“What are you going as?”

“Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians.”

“That’s so random,” the senior smiled softly.

“Not really,” Yongsun disagreed, not contentiously though. “My hair’s already blonde. I could use a temporary dye to make half of it black and could easily find an outfit.”

“What would you need me to be?”

“Obviously, a Dalmatian.”

“Not obvious. I’ve never seen that movie, so I don’t know specifics.”

 

Byulyi settled back into her seat, guffawing at the way Yongsun’s mouth dropped open.

“You’ve what?!”

“I’ve never seen that movie.”

“Oh my gosh, we have to watch it!”

“Okay. Make time in your busy schedule for me and we’ll watch it. Where’s your water bottle? I’m going to fill mine up, I’ll do yours, too.”

 

Handing the bottle over, Yongsun continued the conversation. “Shut up, I always make time for you. And yes, we’ll watch it. But yeah, I’d need you to be a Dalmatian.”

“Okay, whatever. That’s fine.”

“Really?!” The older girl’s excitement filled Moonbyul with glee. There were times she’d do the most basic of things and Yongsun would get unexpectedly so happy. Those were moments that made her feel accomplished. Making Yongsun happy made her happy. Filled her with pride.

“Yeah, of course. It’s not a big deal.”

 

At the time, it wasn’t. Once she had to walk the streets in her puppy outfit as Yongsun strutted around in a tight-fitting black corset dress with y makeup and alluring red lips, she realized more of why Yongsun was so surprised by the ease with which the athlete agreed to the costume. It was embarrassing.

 

Standing by and bearing witness to the older girl fending off interested partygoers all night was the more frustrating part of everything, but that was another story.

 

“There’s nothing to talk about. Like I said, she asked and I said yes. That’s all there was to it. And it wasn’t a couple costume.”

“If it wasn’t a couple costume, that makes it worse, no? You’re basically saying that she asked you to be a dog and you willingly said yes to that.”

“Yes, Sandeul. That’s what happened.” The reply was clipped and everyone present could tell the athlete was growing agitated. A wave of groans and boos from the others at the table were sent Byul’s way.

“Don’t be like this!” Baro heckled.

“The sensitivity of the youngest. As expected,” Ken shook his head.

“See!” Sandeul picked the conversation up again, gaining strength from the group. “Even they know there’s no reason for you to be getting upset with me. I’m not the one that made you dress up as a dog!”

“It was a Dalmatian, not just a random dog,” she bit back. “You all are acting like people don’t dress up for Halloween. It was clearly a costume.”

“Well, she’s very pretty. I hope all your hard work pays off,” a laugh escaped him. Sandeul’s personality was infectious. As he broke down in a fit of giggles, so too did the others, Moonbyul included.

“You’re annoying,” she tried to stay serious but failed.

“And you’re trying and failing at hiding how bad you have it for this girl.”

 

Byulyi had known these four for around a month but had heard about them from Heeyeon long before ever meeting them. The application process for SNU’s Business School was cutthroat. It was to be expected—the school was one of the top in the country. Once admitted, though, there were many measures put in place to ensure that every enrolled student had the support needed to thrive in the program. One such measure was a cohort grouping. Byul wasn’t exactly sure how the cohorts were chosen, but each class was placed into smaller clusters or groupings of around twenty-five students each. Clusters took all their first-year classes together, the goal being to foster community. That was how Heeyeon met Sandeul, Seokjin, Ken, and Baro. They were all part of the same cluster.

 

For weeks, Byul heard stories from her roommate about them and the antics they got into. They were all the same age, which wasn’t as common as one would think. Business school applicants were typically a few years removed from college with some work experience under their belts. Given this, the five of them instantly gravitated towards each other. From what Heeyeon said, they were fun guys, so even if Moonbyul hadn’t been applying to the same business school, Heeyeon made it known that she would have introduced the senior to them anyway. And boy, was the athlete grateful that her friend made the introduction. The chemistry with the “’92 Club” members was instant, as evident by the way they so naturally for everything. Choosing to ignore their ribbing, Byul was determined to make the most of their Sunday brunch.

 

“Can we drop it now? There’s more to me than my love life.”

“Listen to her bluff,” Heeyeon playfully rolled her eyes.

“Byulyi, that was gross,” Seokjin chimed in, mock gasping and covering his mouth for added effect.

“Look, we get it. You’re bigtime. Please tone down the ego,” Ken added.

“Can you all please stop,” the senior whined. They were obviously purposely dramatizing and taking everything she said out of context for the fun of it. “I want to eat in peace.”

“Anything for you, Byulyi. We’re just grateful you graced us with your presence today.”

“I’m begging,” Moonbyul pleaded.

 

Satisfied with the distress they’d caused the group’s youngest member, the business school students dropped their charade, falling into regular conversation with each. The senior tuned out at one point as the other picked up a conversation about one of their professor’s eccentric teaching habits. A few minutes passed as she scrolled through post after post on Instagram of the Halloween shenanigans the peers and public figures she followed had gotten into the night before. Suddenly, a tap on her left shoulder broke her reverie.

“Where are the essays you were supposed to send me?”

“Ah,” the athlete rubbed her neck in shame. All four of her new friends had been welcoming and enthusiastic about helping her with her applications in whichever they could. Sandeul, though, had been the most proactive, offering to read over her essays and personally introduce her to SNU Business School professors. She was supposed to email him her essays by the Thursday that just passed. “I’ll send them to you tonight. Sorry,” her face warmed slightly.

“I’m not trying to stress you out, but I figured since Midnight Madness is next weekend, you’ll be busy towards the latter half of this week and even busier once the season starts. The sooner I can review your essays, the sooner I can get edits back to you and then you can process everything. Just trying to make it easy for you.”

“I should be the one making it easy for you seeing as you’re going out of your way to help me.”

“Oh please,” he waved her off. “It’s nothing. We all want to help make the application process easier for you so you can join us next year! It’s the least I could do,” he bumped her shoulder softly.

“I’m very appreciative of the help. Will get those essays to you later today.”

“Did I hear you mention Midnight Madness?” Seokjin interrupted their conversation. “Byulyi, can you get us tickets into the events?

“You’re dad’s a CEO,” Ken responded in disbelief. “You can afford tickets to everything.”

But, if our superstar can get me free tickets, why would I pay? That’d be a waste of money, don’t you think?”

“This guy,” Baro mumbled and shook his head. Everyone else simply laughed.

“You see where I’m coming from, right, Byulyi? Right?”

 

She never answered him, focusing instead on catching her breath from laughing so hard. Seokjin coming from a family with money, she knew about, which is why she found him so funny—he was always bargaining and looking for ways to avoid spending money. Because the slightly older young man always came across as down-to-earth, the revelation that his father was that high-ranking made Moonbyul like him more instead of finding him intimidating in any way. Once that news was processed, she moved on to thinking about the next weekend. Midnight Madness.

 

In some ways, last year’s event felt like yesterday and in other ways, it felt like eons ago. Her mind immediately went to Yongsun. This time last year, they had only known each other for a couple of months’ time. It was mind-boggling thinking about how far the two of them had come. Byul remembered every second of the night they spent out together—the shock she experienced when Yongsun showed up looking as stunning as she did, the laughs they shared, the irritation that consumed her when Yongsun disappeared, only to later be found with Jinyoung, Chorong, and her other friends. It was a doozy of a night.

 

The basketball star knew the following weekend would be eventful. Whether it’d be a good type of eventful, she wasn’t sure, but with everything that had transpired since last year, and considering all the moving pieces that could potentially collide, she wouldn’t hold her breath.


Note: Back at it. Thank you all for the kind messages and comments. Your patience and understanding motivated me to make sure I got this out today.

It’s a new school year for everyone, meaning new characters! Also, lots brewing just beneath the surface. It’s all so much fun. Writing the end of the chapter, it hit that a bit over a year has passed for most of these characters. Wow. It’s amazing to think about the ways in which each of them has grown. Proud. Oh! Funny enough, the Cruella de Vil/Dalamtion costume pairing was decided on long before the teasers came out. How wild is that?

*NormaTec: A compression therapy treatment that uses pulse massage patterns to boost recovery post-training/post-physical activity. The compression device uses compressed air to massage limbs, mobilize fluid, and fight inflammation. There are leg sleeves that individuals insert their legs into. It feels great.

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Saluhmander
Have not forgotten this story. Slowly making progress on the next chapters.
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