“She gets angry sometimes, making her snap before her brain could react first and tell her to calm down, but that was far from meaning she was rude.”
It was Hyunjin’s birthday, but even so, she came to school. And her smile didn’t leave her lips for even a minute the whole time Heejin was with her.
“Since it’s my birthday, y’all should attend to my wishes,” she said during lunch.
Hyejoo and Yerim snorted, of course, but Ryujin turned to her and held her hands, trying her best to suppress a laugh. “Anything for you, my queen.”
“I say we have our basketball game today after classes and then we have dinner before our show.”
“As you wish, Ryujin’s queen,” Hyejoo said, earning a punch from her and laughs from everyone.
Later that day, the group got together to give Hyunjin the game she wanted to play. Heejin teamed up with Ryujin and Hyejoo, like they had promised the last time.
But it didn’t matter if Heejin’s team was losing terribly bad, even though they claimed Yerim was a noob, and Chaewon, well, wasn’t doing much. Hyunjin was happy, celebrating with her teammates every time they scored. Chaewon was happy as well, even though she wasn’t in Hyejoo’s team, but the taller decided to target her, so every time Chaewon held the ball, there she was, ready to stop her, which was every time, by the way.
“It’s not fair!” Ryujin whined when Hyunjin scored for the tenth time. “Hyunjin does all the work!”
“Didn’t you say you and Hyejoo were going to beat us?” Yerim asked, a smirk across her lips. “You don’t have a noob in your team now, so what’s your excuse? Unless you’re calling Hyejoo and Heejin noobs.”
“Fine, you’re not a noob, Yerim. It doesn’t matter who teams up with Hyunjin, her team will always win.”
Hyunjin stayed out of the conversation, unbothered, spinning the ball on her finger.
“Show off!” Ryujin ran after her.
Heejin observed with a smile on her lips, still wondering and panicking about Hyunjin’s gift.
It’s not like she hadn’t thought about that all week, much for the opposite in fact. But she didn’t know what she would like the most. She knew she loved everything related to astronomy, mythology as well and cats, but... she could only hope that what she got for her was enough.
They were about to enter the same bar where they always performed, and Heejin took advantage of the sudden wave of courage.
“H-Hyunjin,” she called.
Hyunjin told the others to go ahead and turned to her. “Yes?”
Heejin hurried to take the gifts from her bag. “I wanted to give you this. It’s nothing much, but I hope you like it. Happy birthday.” She extended the little birthday bag.
Hyunjin eyed it for a couple seconds before accepting it. Without peeking inside, she removed the smaller gift first, widening her eyes at the crescent moon earrings. Then, removed the other gift, and this time, her chin dropped when she took a look at her framed portrait.
“I think you haven’t seen that one, so I thought you would like it framed.”
“It’s beautiful. And the earrings, they’re awesome. Thank you so much, Heejin. You didn’t have to.”
“It’s your birthday, I wanted to give you something, even if it’s not much.”
“Not much? This drawing is gorgeous!”
“I’m glad you liked it, then.”
There was silence, and it suddenly became awkward.
“I-I should go, they must be waiting for me to prepare,” Hyunjin said.
“Right, and I’ll go join the others.”
“Thank you again, Heejin.”
Heejin smiled at her and followed inside, watching as Hyunjin made her way backstage. Heejin searched for them in the crowd. They must be more at the front.
“Oh, here you are. What happened?” Ryujin asked as she joined them.
“Nothing, just wanted to give her my birthday present.”
“A kiss?” Chaewon asked.
“Yeah, of course.” Heejin rolled her eyes. “Ready to see Hyejoo play?”
“No. I’m afraid my heart won’t take it.” Chaewon brought a hand to her chest. “You’ve seen her play that one time. Is she cool?”
“The coolest after Hyunjin.”
Chaewon gulped, and Heejin laughed. “I’d like to tell you you’re gonna be fine, but I don’t think I can promise that. Let’s get to the front anyway, I promise I’ll catch you if you faint.”
Sooyoung and Jiwoo led the way, greeting a few people on their way. Heejin couldn’t wait to see their performance. They were going to play Uncover for the first time, and most likely Loonatic again, and she could feel her heart racing already.
Ryujin and Yerim’s conversation kept them distracted, and the drinks Jiwoo and Sooyoung brought for everyone, until finally they announced their entrance. It felt like déjà vu, watching them stepping on stage with the same cool auras. This time, Hyunjin wore a long, loose tank top, tucked inside ripped jeans, and a flannel shirt. She was sure she was going to take the shirt off at some point of the night, and Heejin knew it would be her demise.
Hyunjin swung the guitar’s strap over her head, fixing her hair back the next second, and Heejin gulped. She noticed the moon shaped earrings she gave her moments ago, and that damned fake lip ring. She felt like screaming already, and Hyunjin hadn’t even opened yet. She checked on Chaewon, and poor girl, was as struck as Heejin had been on the first night. She didn’t blame her, Hyejoo had her hair caught up in a high ponytail, and was also wearing a loose tank top, showing her toned arms (not as much as Hyunjin’s, but the normal for drummer’s arms).
“Hang in there, Chae. Wait until you actually see her playing.” Heejin laid a hand on her shoulder.
Heejin took a sip of her drink and looked at the other members as they prepared themselves. Jungeun was also so pretty, beautiful, actually, with black jeans and a button up white shirt and a goddamn tie. She peeked at Ryujin, and of course she was suffering already as well, commenting with Yerim, for sure, about how hot Jungeun looked. Yerim nodded and pointed at the stage. Heejin could read Ryujin’s lips asking ‘Jinsol’?, as she smirked and hit Yerim on the arm.
“Good evening, everyone!” Haseul greeted into the mic, earning a round of cheers. “Thank you for coming tonight again! The last time we said it was a special night, well tonight’s a special night as well, because it’s our beloved guitarist Hyunjin’s birthday! Give her a big round of applause, everyone.”
The same fangirls from the first night screamed their lungs out. Heejin frowned. Was that a challenge? Taking a deep breath, she shouted so loud it scared all her friends around her. But it seemed that it worked, because Hyunjin looked at her direction, smiling as Heejin waved at her.
“Be careful, you don’t want Hyunjin’s fangirls killing you after this,” Ryujin said.
Ryujin raised her eyebrows. “Wow, we love a confident gay.”
Heejin didn’t have to tell her to shut up, because Haseul spoke again to introduce the band and herself. And like that, their over the top, but impressive long introductions with their solos started. Heejin gripped on her glass when the sound of Hyunjin’s guitar filled the room. There she was, the talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, and the rest of the Lady Gaga meme that Heejin couldn’t remember, guitarist that stole her heart since the very first moment.
She finished her riff and approached the mic, with that smug smirk she only used when she performed, and looked right in Heejin’s direction. “And I’m your guitarist, Hyunjin,” she said into the mic, and Heejin thought she was dreaming, or living inside a webtoon yet again.
“Don’t die on us, please,” Ryujin said, holding her arm and pretending to check her pulse.
Heejin didn’t bother to fight back. She nodded, and took another sip on her cold drink. Dumb decision, of course the alcohol would burn, not cool her down.
"Please, enjoy!” Haseul beamed, and at Hyejoo’s count of three, the show started.
They played some songs Heejin had already seen live, but also a couple new covers, until they made a small break to breathe and drink water. And for Hyunjin to take out her shirt, like Heejin predicted. But she didn’t predict her tank top to be that opened on the sides, showing the tight, black tube top she had underneath, and goddamn she had already finished her drink.
“Jiwoo, can you get me something else to drink? I’m thirsty.” Heejin waved her empty glass at her.
“I don’t think I can get you what you’re thirsty for at the bar.” Jiwoo wiggled her eyebrows and Heejin flared her nostrils, feeling her face even hotter, if that was physically possible. “I’ll be right back.”
“Get one for me too!” Ryujin said as Jiwoo gave her a thumbs up on her way.
“They’re cool, right?” Heejin turned to Chaewon.
“I think I’m in love.”
“You think?” Heejin laughed, then looked at Hyunjin once again and sighed. “You and me both.”
“The three of us are.” Ryujin sighed behind them.
“Four,” Yerim mumbled, and they nodded all together.
“Poor Haseul, none of you crushed on her.” Sooyoung shook her head with her arms crossed.
“You know someone already has,” Jiwoo’s voice sounded behind them, making the four girls turn with frowns.
“What? Who?” Heejin asked, accepting the glass and peeking at the liquid. “Wait, is this more alcohol? I didn’t ask for more alcohol!”
“Oops.” Jiwoo shrugged, handing Ryujin her drink.
Heejin sighed, but still took a sip. It didn’t seem as strong as the first one, sweeter even. It should be okay.
“How are you guys enjoying tonight?” Haseul asked, the crowd answering with cheers. “Another reason why tonight’s special is because we’re gonna perform, for the first time, our second original song!” She waited for another round of cheers to die down. “It’s called Uncover, and we’re gonna finish with our first original, Loonatic. Please, enjoy.”
Heejin gripped on Chaewon’s arm, but she didn’t even flinch.
When that clean guitar melody she remembered Hyunjin playing for her started, with Hyunjin singing the first part, the excitement Heejin felt on the first night was back. It was even stronger now, like she was watching a concert of her favorite band. Well, had she any doubt that Hyunjin was her favorite guitarist by now?
She had liked Loonatic, but Uncover was something else. The unique mix of the instruments, their voices, and above all, the lyrics. It wasn’t like Heejin didn’t believe Hyunjin was talented, much for the opposite, but it felt surreal that she wrote those lyrics.
And when Hyunjin sang the second part of the chorus...
I didn’t know anything
Ooh ooh the ocean inside me
I have you, I’m with you
Something new is rising further in my heart
To say Heejin felt in an out of body experience was an understatement. Maybe the alcohol wasn’t helping at all.
She honestly didn’t know how she was still breathing by the end of the song. And she understood now why it would be a shame if she had heard the entire song before without the whole band. Well, not that she minded at all listening Hyunjin sing and play for her during three minutes, but the impact the song had on her was worth the wait. And now she could ask her, and Hyunjin didn’t have the excuse that it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore.
They let the crowd cheer all they wanted until they started Loonatic, and Heejin’s heart thumped in the song’s beat – frantic, so strong she felt it in her ears. She screamed the lyrics she remembered, especially the iconic ‘I don’t really care now’ that got stuck in her head ever since she heard it for the first time.
People cheered and whistled as they bowed and thanked, making their way back. A sudden urge to run backstage and give Hyunjin a big, tight hug pulsed on Heejin’s body. But she would be patient and wait for them to get their deserved rest after a great show. For now, she would finish her drink, which didn’t taste as great as before because it had warmed up, so she swallowed everything at once, scrunching her nose at the taste.
“Wow, go easy on that,” Sooyoung said, stealing the glass from her hands.
“Are you gonna get me more?”
“No, you’ve had enough.”
“But I’m fine!”
Sooyoung patted her head. “Sure, you are.”
“Where’s Hyunjin? I wanna talk to her.”
“They’ll be here soon.”
Heejin whined and yanked on her arm. “How soon?”
Sooyoung sighed, shaking her head. “Just a little bit longer, let’s dance while we wait, okay?”
Heejin nodded and turned to Ryujin, joining their little circle. For a bit she focused on having fun, moving side to side as the rhythm of the pop music blasted. But too soon Hyunjin’s smile flashed on her mind, and another urge to hug her and tell her how proud she was and how much she love-
Heejin froze, a deep frown creasing her forehead, as if like that her thoughts would stop as well.
“You okay?” Ryujin asked, shaking her arm.
Maybe she didn’t want to have control over her thoughts after all.
“I want Hyunjin.”
“Well, tell me something I don’t know.”
“No, I want her here, right now. I wanna talk to her.”
Ryujin chuckled. “Alright, I know, they’ll be here soon.”
“Chaewon,” Heejin called, turning to her. “You talk to Hyejoo.”
“Tell her you like her.”
Even under the weird flashing lights Heejin could see the red on her cheeks.
“Why would I do that?”
“Because that’s how you feel! How will she know if you don’t tell her?”
Chaewon frowned at her. “What are you saying?”
“Am I speaking Chinese?”
Chaewon exchanged a look with Ryujin and Yerim, who shrugged.
“What?” Heejin frowned at them. “I’m just saying we should all let our feelings out tonight!”
Way too suddenly, shrieks echoed around, making Heejin snap her head to the source. She tiptoed and squinted, trying to see what was going on, but it was quite obvious. The fangirls waited for them to exit the backstage. They smiled and waved at the fans as they walked deeper into the crowd, probably looking for them, but Hyunjin didn’t. She stayed behind, as her fangirls extended their arms and offered her pens.
“Hey, Hyunjin did that to me, now they all want the same!” Heejin scoffed, but before she could take even a step, a grip on each arm yanked her back.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Ryujin asked. “Hyunjin is only doing her job, and the girls probably just want to wish her happy birthday.”
Except they were not. They were too close to Hyunjin, and she was smiling too much at them and patting their shoulders. Heejin controlled the unknown feelings bubbling inside her and looked away.
The rest of the band had joined them, greeting them with smiles and excitement. Heejin greeted them back, her friends complimented their show, and Ryujin introduced Chaewon and Yerim to them. Heejin looked back at Hyunjin again. She was hugging a man, even taller than her. He pulled away and patted Hyunjin’s head as she giggled and hit his chest. That must be her brother. It was, wasn’t it?
She learned how to play the guitar with him, after all. It was only normal that he wanted to come watch his little sister’s show, especially with it being her birthday. Heejin felt her heart more at ease now, but the eagerness of wanting to hold her didn’t ease even a bit.
Heejin felt her heart hit her ribs when she noticed Hyunjin walking between the crowd to get to them at last.
“Birthday girl!” Ryujin beamed, opening her arms to receive her friend in a bro’s hug, patting her back.
Hyunjin chuckled, letting Yerim and Jiwoo hug her as well. Then, she finally found Heejin’s gaze on her, and when Jiwoo was done hugging her, she swiftly passed by Chaewon and Hyejoo, wait, was she really going to tell her?!, and stood in front of her.
“Hey,” she said, as cool as she could be. “How was the show?”
“Amazing.” Why didn’t Hyunjin ever hug her?! “Uncover was really, just, wow, you know.”
“You liked it? For real?”
“Loved it. The lyrics were something else. To think you wrote them… I’m proud of you.”
Hyunjin bit on her lower lip as she smiled? Held a smile? Heejin didn’t understand, but her damned canine looked so adorable and hot and Heejin needed another drink fast.
“Thank you, Heejin. I’m happy you enjoyed it.”
“Now you have to play it for me if I ask you to. You don’t have an excuse now not to.”
“Fair, but I’ll probably ask something in exchange.”
Hyunjin’s eyebrow raised. Wait, did Heejin say that out loud? “I-I mean, yeah, we’ll see.”
And Hyunjin could just have shrugged, laughed, even judged her, but she had to smirk and say, “I’ll remember that.”
What was she trying to do?!
Heejin laughed, a very nervous laugh, and while Hyunjin joined the others, Heejin stole Jiwoo from Sooyoung.
“Get me another drink.”
“I don’t know if I should.”
“Please, Jiwoo, my brain’s gonna explode.”
Jiwoo sighed and pulled her towards the bar. “Vivi, two more, please.”
The ginger barista nodded with a smile, turning to prepare the drinks.
“What happened?” Jiwoo asked.
“I don’t understand her! I thought there was some kind of chemistry between us, I spend lots of time with her, we keep each other company, we talk a lot, she even told me things about her past and why she’s living in your garage--”
“Wait, she told you?!” Jiwoo’s chin dropped.
Jiwoo stayed silent for a few seconds.
“Your drinks, ladies,” Vivi said, setting the glasses on the counter, and Jiwoo thanked her with a smile.
“She never told us.” Jiwoo took a large gulp on her drink.
“What do you mean?”
“We never asked either, but she never explained to us why she wanted to live in the garage. And she’s been there for more than six months already. You know her for a month and she told you.”
If Heejin was confused five minutes ago, now she didn’t even have a word for it.
“Then why? If she trusts me to the point of telling me something that personal, why does she go and hug everyone except me? Even with her fans! Why is she always sending me these mixed signals? I don’t understand.”
“Shouldn’t you ask her that yourself?”
Heejin looked away from Jiwoo’s expectant eyes and sipped on her drink. It tasted the same as the previous Jiwoo got her, so she took another gulp while it was cold and tasty.
“When they finished the show, I really wanted to just run and hug her and tell her how I feel. I don’t know why, all of a sudden. But when she was back and hugged you and Ryujin, but said only ‘hey’ to me, I got frustrated. And still am.”
“I think you know what to do.”
“Nah.” Heejin shrugged, taking yet another sip.
Jiwoo sighed, but didn’t answer, and they stayed in silence for a few moments.
“Do you want to go back?” Jiwoo asked.
“Yeah.” Heejin finished her drink and followed Jiwoo, her surroundings spinning around as she took the first step.
She wouldn’t let her feelings out easily like that, and probably embarrass herself and ruin everything.
“Oh, you’re back, we have something to tell you all!” Jungeun pulled Jiwoo and Heejin closer.
“When we were resting after the concert, there was this guy that came to talk to us backstage,” Haseul said. “He said we were amazing and that we should participate in a band competition that will happen soon!”
“Holy !” Ryujin gasped. “That’s amazing! Congrats, guys, go and win whatever that is!”
The same urges to ignore everything around her and hug Hyunjin pulsed through Heejin again, but she fought it, and instead, congratulated them as well.
Heejin was getting dizzy, as if she couldn’t keep up with everything going through her mind. She kept forcing her body to dance and her eyes to focus on anything but Hyunjin. But as she observed Hyunjin hugging Jinsol so close, giggling and hiding her face in Jinsol’s hair when she whispered something she had no idea what in her ear, all the frustration came back even stronger than before.
Jinsol’s her best friend since childhood, it’s only normal that they were that close.
That was what she wanted to convince herself of. But she still found herself not being able to fight anymore, giving up and letting her body move towards them when they pulled apart. She grabbed Hyunjin’s wrist, pulling her away from their friends.
Hyunjin frowned at her.
“Why?” Was everything Heejin asked.
“I don’t understand you!”
Hyunjin scrunched up her nose. “Have you been drinking?”
“Yeah, a couple drinks, but that doesn’t matter. Why do you go and tell me important and private things about yourself, and ask me to spend time with you, and care about my story, and play things for me, and talk to me for hours?”
Hyunjin blinked, confusion written all over her face. “Because... I like to be with you?”
Before Heejin could take a hold on her body, she fell towards Hyunjin’s, hugging her close as she rested her head on her shoulder. “Then why is it so hard to do this? Why do you always give me mixed signals, and leave me a mess when you always seem so calm? Have I been imagining this... thing between us all along? Am I just really annoying and clingy with you?” Heejin squeezed Hyunjin’s tensed body with each new question. She closed her eyes and breathed in Hyunjin’s scent, her lips almost grazing over Hyunjin’s neck. “I like you so much it’s driving me crazy, Hyunjin.”
Heejin wasn’t sure she said the last part loud enough for Hyunjin to hear behind the music playing on the background, or even she had said it at all.
But she knew she did when Hyunjin held on her arms and pushed her away, giving her a look Heejin didn’t know about. She took a step back, then another as she turned and left between the crowd.
In the end, Heejin did embarrass herself and ruined not only her night, but Hyunjin’s birthday as well.
And even got heartbroken as a bonus!
A/N: ... well, I said it would be a big chapter, I just didn't mention how it would end :)