joohyun keeps spending her nights in seulgi's apartment, except for when she's working night shift. she usually goes there when she's sure yerim's asleep. they will get up in the wee hours of the morning so joohyun can come home for her daughter while seulgi drives back to the city for her work.
the agreed setup seems to work for them, at least during the first few weeks. but it starts getting harder after a little while.
there are many reasons, most often because of seulgi's busy schedule where she's forced to stay in the city. problem is, when she finally gets time for herself, it's joohyun who isn't available.
"i'm sorry, seulgi. i can't come tonight. yerim's running with a fever. i don't want to leave her alone with mom."
seulgi's out in the hallway of her apartment for better reception. her mood drops after hearing joohyun's voice on the other line.
"it's okay. yerim's condition is way more important," she says. "if anything urgent comes up, call me, okay?"
"i will." she hears joohyun sighs. "i miss you."
"i miss you too. but don't worry, we'll catch up once yerim's feeling better."
"thanks for always understanding. by the way, i still need to check her temperature. speak soon. i love you."
"i love you too." the next thing seulgi hears is a dead line.
"trouble in paradise?"
seulgi turns and sees sunmi. "hey. just got back from work?"
"yup. how are you? why do you look like you've been robbed off of ?"
sunmi stands beside seulgi, her door keys rattling in her hands. "let me guess, she ain't coming tonight, is she?"
seulgi shakes her head. "yerim's sick."
"oh. poor kid. i hope it's nothing serious."
"just some fever. but since joohyun's a nurse, she's doing the nursing thing to the maximum level."
sunmi smirks "can't compete with the child, eh? i think that was the reason my step-dad resented me. i was a sickly kid. and whenever i am down, i am always mom's priority, not him."
seulgi lets out a small smile. "it's fine. i love the kid too."
"i'm sorry. i didn't mean for it to sound negative."
"don't worry." seulgi waves a hand quickly. "it's just that spending quality time together has been hard these past few days. my schedule got hectic. sometimes, i need to stay in the city for a night or two if there are urgent matters i need to attend to. and joohyun, well, we can't see each other if she's with yerim. i don't want to start any issue between them. but i miss her so much now." she exhales.
"i'm sure joohyun misses you too in the same way. if not, even more," says sunmi. "she's really head-over-heels for you. you're one lucky doofus."
seulgi smiles when sunmi playfully punches her. "how about you, how are you?"
"fine. the salary you're giving me from the foundation really helps. i have declined some private massage clients."
"that's good to hear. still saving up to pay off your step-dad?"
sunmi nods. "i called my mom yesterday. she says there's no need for me to pay him. but i still want to. and she's happy when i told her about the foundation. thanks to you."
"wouldn't have done it without you. i should be the one thanking you."
sunmi smiles. "care for a beer?"
"sure. joohyun won't be coming over anyway. besides, i haven't seen your in a while."
sunmi laughs. "dammit! that sounds really funny!"
"you're the one who started it."
"i know. i know. let's go in now." sunmi gestures to her door. "i'm sure my misses you already."
seulgi parks her car just outside the bae compound. she pulls out her phone to message joohyun.
it didn't take long for joohyun to appear. but instead of walking to the shotgun seat, she opens the door on the driver's side, and seulgi wonders why.
"joo--" seulgi stops when joohyun suddenly slips in to sit on her lap, straddling her and closing the door after. "oh..."
still not saying any word, joohyun cups seulgi's face and kisses her, pressing their bodies together. the two made out in the car. seulgi's secretly thankful that her glasses are tinted.
in between their heated exchange, seulgi adjusts the seat back and reclines so joohyun can settle more comfortably.
they continued kissing until they had to break apart as the need for air becomes unbearable.
"that..." seulgi's panting. "that was hot..."
"i missed you so much." joohyun kisses her again. it lingers for a moment before she pulls back. "i missed you."
"i missed you too."
"what time's your flight again? can you stay for a few minutes?"
"it's in six hours." seulgi pulls joohyun to her chest. "sure. that's what i'm thinking when you told me you wanted to see me before i leave."
joohyun sighs, her body relaxing in seulgi's embrace. "i really miss you..."
"i'm sorry if i have to be away. but it'll be just for a few days."
"i don't like that we won't be seeing each other again for days." joohyun pouts. "we haven't been spending much time together because i was busy with yerim lately."
"i'll be back as soon as i can. i promise. i won't be away for months like before when i was in aef. it's only for three days, honey."
"but you're with jisoo..."
"you know it's business matters," says seulgi, kissing the top of joohyun's head. "that travel agency is popular in japan and i heard the ceo's a big fan of jisoo. i want to get this deal for the yeosan hotel we're building to provide more jobs there. sooyoung and sungjae will come along."
"but those two are a couple which means you'll get stuck with jisoo."
"look, i trust you, okay?" joohyun raises her head to look at seulgi. "but if that jisoo ever tries to seduce you, i'll cut her face with a scalpel."
"chill." seulgi chuckles. "we won't be sharing a room. and i'll come back home as soon as we're done with the meeting."
joohyun nods as her hand reach for seulgi's face, her fingers tracing her lover's jaw. "please take care, okay?"
seulgi kisses joohyun's hand. "i will. i love you."
joohyun says her 'i love you too' by leaning in and kissing seulgi again.
their short and hot make-out session in her car lingered in seulgi's mind the entire duration of her flight to japan.
she feels giddy inside, knowing that there's someone out there, and it's still joohyun, who loves her and cares for her deeply.
the thought of it makes seulgi feel like she's falling in love for the first time all over again, and she can't wait to go back home into joohyun's arms.
she called joohyun after they've landed and called her again after seulgi got into the hotel room.
joohyun falls asleep that night during the call, listening to seulgi's stories about her sau days.
saying they miss each other is an understatement.
after over a week of barely seeing each other, seulgi and joohyun made sure their schedules are cleared for the night after the former got back from her japan trip earlier.
joohyun jumps up onto seulgi's waist when the apartment door opens. the impact pushed seulgi backward, but she doesn't care. if being away for a few days meant getting home to a hungry girlfriend like this, then missing each other is all worth it.
with her emotions taking over her whole being, seulgi then carries joohyun straight into the bedroom while the other woman is busy snogging her.
it didn't take long before seulgi's hands get braver, slipping under the shirt to cup her girlfriend's bumps.
and joohyun's moan tells her she can continue with whatever she has in mind.
so she fondles the woman's bosoms, making joohyun arch her back.
"seulgi..." joohyun's hand grasps the back of seulgi's neck. "uh..."
"yes?" asks seulgi. "i'm still not allowed beyond this, right?"
joohyun shakes her head even though she looks like she wants more.
"well, at least this is progress." she pulls her hands and fixes joohyun's blouse.
joohyun laughs. "why are you saying it like i am not allowing you to go ual on me? am i really giving you a hard time?"
"well, sort of." seulgi admits with a shrug. "but don't worry. i totally respect your decision about us not going down that road yet. i'm just checking how far can i go."
"i'm surprised this is the first time you've done this in weeks."
"it's because i missed you so much. and also, i'm checking how they are." she playfully runs her fingers along the woman's chest.
joohyun chuckles. "i can assure you they are just fine."
"well, i haven't seen them for a long time..."
"then why don't you look at them with your own eyes?"
seulgi's eyes widen.
joohyun laughs again. "why do you look surprised?"
seulgi blinks first while processing what she heard. "well... i..."
joohyun's phone suddenly rings. seulgi reaches out for the phone and hands it over to joohyun after seeing the latter's mom calling.
she gets off from the woman so joohyun can sit up to answer the phone.
"mom? oh. yerim, baby, what's wrong?" joohyun looks at seulgi. "umm. mommy went out to buy something. no, i don't have work tonight. oh, you're having a nasty dream? sure, i'll come home now." she holds seulgi's hand. "yes, baby. i'll see you in a few."
seulgi just holds her girlfriend's hand back knowing their time together tonight will be cut short again.
joohyun eventually hangs up and shoots seulgi an apologetic look.
"let me at least drive you back," seulgi says. "i know it's about fifteen minutes walk, but i won't allow you to walk alone at this hour."
joohyun looks down and plays with seulgi's hand. "i'm sorry."
"it's okay. she needs you."
"do you want to come with me instead? you can stay in my room while i put yerim back to sleep."
seulgi inhales. "tempting, really. but you won't be able to concentrate if i'm there. just sleep beside your daughter tonight, hmm?" she caresses joohyun's cheek.
joohyun closes her eyes and sighs. "i'm really sorry."
"hey. don't be. it's yerim we're talking about here. i love your kid too. i wouldn't let her alone in fear tonight, you hear me?"
"okay. now off we go." seulgi stands up and picks her car keys. "we can catch up tomorrow, anyway."
"i... we can't tomorrow..." says joohyun, looking more guilty now. "it's her aunt's--junmyeon's sister--birthday. she invited us to stay over for the night."
"oh." seulgi remembers how joohyun was happy knowing her relationship with her sister-in-law wasn't affected by what happened between her and junmyeon. "then i'll just stay in the city tomorrow since i have classes to attend to in the evening."
joohyun covers her face with her palms. "i'm really sorry this is happening. believe me, i want to be with you."
seulgi stands beside joohyun and pulls the woman to her stomach. "hey. we'll be able to find the right timing, don't worry. we won't be like this forever."
"but i'm afraid you'll get tired of this setup..."
"what are you saying? i waited for years to get you back again. i won't let small things like this break us, okay?"
"thank you." joohyun stands up and kisses seulgi. "i'll make it up to you next time. i swear."
"yeah. i still have to check your treasures." seulgi chuckles when joohyun playfully slaps her. "shall we? little yerim is waiting for her mom."
joohyun sighs and nods.
it was raining the next day but that didn't stop seulgi and her team from doing the rescue operation when they got a tip that several homeless dogs were spotted in the secluded area of the town.
as expected, the dogs were elusive and scared. it didn't help that the road is slippery and they are all drenched--including the dogs--making it hard for them to catch the mongrels.
it took them hours, but it was all worth it when the dogs were brought into the shelter and were given food. seulgi felt so happy she messaged joohyun about it too.
getting carried away, seulgi didn't notice the time and drove straight to the city when she remembers she has art classes in a few hours.
not wanting to be late, she went to her apartment only to change, disregarding joohyun's reminder for her to take a shower first.
she regrets it cos she's already feeling under the weather after her class. she feels cold and her body aches. feels sore, and her nose is stuffy. driving back to her apartment took a lot of effort but she managed to go back to her room and plonk herself on the bed.
she didn't tell joohyun about it, not wanting to worry the woman who should be enjoying the party celebration tonight. she just messaged joohyun she's sleeping early tonight.
after making sure the message was sent, seulgi rolls herself into the blanket and sleeps.
she doesn't know how long she was out. seulgi remembers waking up from time to time, guessing the time of the day through her windows.
her phone needs charging but every time she tries to get up, her body feels too heavy. she ends up laying back down and drifting into sleep again.
she feels worse than yesterday, but she knows proper rest would make her feel better in no time.
seulgi wakes up again and sees it's already dark outside. she gets up immediately in panic, noticing a white towel falling from her forehead down to the floor.
she picks it up. the towel's still damp. she doesn't remember getting herself a towel. a movement on the side of the bed makes her look, only to realise she isn't alone.
"hyun? what are you doing here?" she asks, surprised.
joohyun, who's still in her pink scrub suit, sighs. "you're driving me crazy, seulgi."
"what? i didn't do anything..."
"exactly. i haven't heard from you for a day. the last message i received from you was last night."
"i..." seulgi blinks, trying to recall what happened. "i wasn't feeling well. i just slept all day."
"aish. you." joohyun touches seulgi's forehead. "do you know you were burning with fever when i came in? and you were not yourself. you were mumbling words, talking like you're already dying."
"i did? what did i say?"
joohyun produces another towel from a bin nearby and wipes seulgi's face and neck with it. "you said, 'please tell joohyun that i love her. and that i will be happy to die knowing she's mine'."
"i said that?" seulgi chuckles. "wow. that's cheesy."
"wow your face." joohyun pushes the towel in seulgi's face. "you made me worry, do you know that? i couldn't focus on my work! i even had to call junmyeon to pick yerim from school this afternoon so i can drive here straight. good thing he's done with his rounds early."
"i'm sorry." seulgi chuckles again. "i still can't move on from my cheesiness."
joohyun glares at her.
seulgi gulps. "seriously. i'm sorry."
"can you please stop making me worry like that again?" snaps joohyun.
seulgi can see the tears starting to form in joohyun's eyes. she hugs the woman. "i'm sorry, honey. i won't do that again."
"i was worried," says joohyun, finally breaking down. "i thought something happened to you. or maybe you finally had enough of me and would just want to call it quits."
"shhhh. that's never gonna happen." she rubs joohyun's back. "i'm sorry. i am so sorry."
"are you feeling any better now?"
"yeah. i have a great nurse for my girlfriend."
joohyun pulls back and wipes her face with her hands. "good. but i won't let you do any work tomorrow, okay? you need to rest and take meds."
"oh. i know what exactly i need to cure me."
"i need to see your treasures." seulgi wags her eyebrows.
joohyun grimaces and throws the towel at seulgi. "." she gets up from the bed.
"where you going?" seulgi says in a singsong.
joohyun turns with a smirk on her face. "i'm going to prepare the treasures for you."
joohyun laughs and heads out of the room.
she comes back with medicines and a glass of water in hand.