Irene found herself in the middle of a bustling train station filled with people on their way to work and students rushing to get to school on time. It was early in the morning on a Friday, and if it weren’t a filming day, Irene would have been in bed snuggled beneath a warm blanket. She rubs her eyes, fighting to stay awake. It had been a very busy week for the idol. Her back-to-back schedules barely left her any time to rest.
Maybe she could get away with taking a small nap on their ride to the countryside, she’s sure Seulgi would understand.
At first, she thought that the news about an overnight trip with Seulgi sounded a little sudden. Sure, both Seulgi and her got along, but this time they’ll be together for much longer, and it’ll only be their second time meeting. Even though Irene still felt a little awkward around the other girl, she's sure that the next two days of filming aren’t going to be too bad.
Irene tries to keep herself busy by going through her bags while she waits for Seulgi to arrive. She went to fix her bags for what seemed to be the fourth time when she hears someone call out to her, “Irene-ssi!”
She turns her head, and there’s Seulgi with her usual cheerful expression.
“Hello, Seulgi-ssi,” Irene greets with a small smile.
They stood apart, stealing glances at each other while they wait for instructions from the production crew. This time they look at each other at the same time and make eye contact, causing both of them to giggle.
“Did you wait long?” Seulgi asks, feeling apologetic.
“Not long,” Irene gives her a reassuring smile, “I think I got here ten minutes before you did.”
“Next time I’ll make sure to get here before you.”
“I’ll make sure to take my time next time,” Irene says.
Seulgi makes a mental note to arrive at the filming site an hour early next week.
"What'd you bring?" Seulgi asks, pointing at the different bags by Irene's feet.
"Oh," Irene crouches down and opens up a bag to show Seulgi, "Wendy made us some food for the train ride."
Seulgi's mouth drops, "How did she find the time to prepare all of this?"
"I woke up to her in the kitchen cooking up a storm."
"Wow," Seulgi was speechless at the girl's efforts, "tell Wendy I said thank you."
"She even made bentos for the staff," Irene shakes her head in amused exasperation.
"Oh my God, that's so nice," Seulgi says mirroring the older girl's expression.
"Alright guys, we're going to get started," Somone from the show staff says, getting the couple's attention.
Seulgi walks towards the cameras and receives a mission card as well as an envelope full of cash. Seulgi returns to her place next to Irene, and they read what’s written on the card.
Seulgi scratches her head, “It's only an address?”
Irene opens up the envelope and gasps, “What are we going to do with this much cash?”
"That could last us a week," Seulgi says.
“Maybe they gave us extra for emergencies?”
"Does coffee count as an emergency?" Seulgi asks sheepishly.
Irene chuckles, “Let’s get our tickets first, and then we’ll see if we can find somewhere to buy coffee.”
Seulgi nods eagerly, "Sounds good to me!”
The couple easily finds a ticketing machine near them and they purchase their tickets. Once they have it they stand off to the side to avoid being in the way of other people.
“We have about an hour before our train leaves, should we find a café or something?” Irene says, keeping both tickets into her bag.
Seulgi looks around and spots a coffee shop not too far from them, “There’s one right there.”
Fortunately the line wasn't too long when they got there and they were able to place their order before the it got busy again.
They find an empty table and began to chat while they wait for their drinks. A few minutes later, the barista calls out their order and Seulgi gets up to bring it to their table.
“Seulgi-ssi, I heard your new album comes out soon.”
Seulgi grins, “Yeah, it'll be out in a few days.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
“Oh, do you happen to be my fan?” she wiggles her eyebrows.
Irene pursed her lips, “These days I'm more into Boa, sorry.”
Seulgi brings her hands up to her heart as if an arrow just pierced through, “Ouch.”
Irene checks the time, “We should head out, our train leaves in 20 minutes.” They gather their trash to throw it away on their way out.
“Let me help with those,” Seulgi picks up the bags before Irene could refuse. The smile Seulgi gives Irene before leading them to their platform looked like it came straight out of a romantic scene from a drama.
Irene bites her cheek, trying to not show how much she was swooning over Seulgi's chivalrous actions.
The couple arrived at the platform, waiting to board the train. The train door opens and a swarm of people come rushing out of the train.
Seulgi gently pulls Irene closer to her, so the girl wouldn't bump into anyone.
Irene blinks, she didn't have time to process what just happened because Seulgi was gesturing for her to enter first. A producer guides them to an empty car reserved for the couple and production crew.
As soon as Irene settles down in her seat, she let out a big yawn.
Seulgi notices from the corner of her eye and whispers, “You can sleep if you want.”
Irene thinks about it for a moment before shaking her head, “I think I’ll be okay, the tea I drank earlier is keeping me up.” Irene brings out the snacks that Wendy prepared for them, "I'll just leave these out if you ever get hungry."
Seulgi grins and opens a container filled with sliced fruit.
“Want to listen to music?” She takes out earphones from her bag and offers an earbud to Irene.
Irene puts on the earbud and waits for the younger girl to pick a song. Seulgi grins mischievously and clicks on a Red Velvet playlist.
“Have you heard of them Irene-ssi? I hear they’re really popular.”
Irene rolled her eyes when she heard the familiar intro of her group’s most recent song. She looks at the other girl and laughs at Seulgi mouthing the lyrics with so much feeling.
By the third song, Seulgi and Irene began to doze off and by the fourth song exhaustion took over and the two fell asleep.
The ride to the place they were staying at was fairly uneventful. The couple sat silently admiring the rural scenery that passed by. It took Irene and Seulgi a second to register that they arrived at their accommodation, both still felt a little drowsy from their nap on the train. Seulgi gets out first and takes out their bags from the back of the truck and Irene takes a look around and sees a greenhouse next to a countryside house.
The car leaves them once they’ve gathered all of their things and the couple walk toward the entrance of the house. They see an old couple waiting for them in front of the house.
"You guys must be the newlywed couple, congratulations on your marriage."
Irene and Seulgi laugh, "Thank you for having us."
"You guys looks so young and pretty," the old lady says coming up to them to help with their bags. "Come inside and put your things away."
The old man tell them all of the things they could do on the property and even recommended some popular nearby.
"We also run a strawberry farm here, I'm sure you already saw it when you guys arrived, but you guys can pick some strawberries and we can make some jam with it later."
“So that's what that thing was,” Irene says, referring to the greenhouse they saw earlier.
"You guys can settle in first, you guys can just head back there whenever you feel like it," the old woman says.
"Please feel free to call us if you have any questions or if you need help with anything," the old man says before both him and his wife take their leave.
Seulgi strains her neck to peek at Irene and sneakily takes a handful of strawberries from Irene’s basket and then quickly puts them in hers. Irene was too focused on picking the strawberries to notice. For some reason, the sight of Irene’s hardworking back made Seulgi smile.
Instead of putting the strawberries back into the other girl’s basket, Seulgi takes two and went to go wash them without Irene noticing.
Irene snaps out of her focus when she feels a tap on her shoulder. She turns to see Seulgi offering her a strawberry. Irene raised an eyebrow at the other girl, but Seulgi was insistent. Irene couldn’t refuse the pout Seulgi was giving her so she gave in and tried to take the strawberry from her.
Seulgi pulls her hand back as she shakes her head and says, “Are your hands even clean,” Irene teases.
Seulgi nods and tries to offers the strawberry to Irene again. “Cleaner than yours,” she grins as she flicks her wet hands at the older girl.
Irene turns her head to dodge it. She scrunched her face and rips the leaf from the fruit to flick it at the younger girl as an act of revenge.
Seulgi laughs, easily avoiding it and offers the strawberry to Irene again. This time Irene gives in and takes a bite. Seulgi smiles widely, her eyes disappearing into crescents, and quickly shoves the other strawberry in her hand into . Irene turns away quickly, trying to hide her blush.
Irene scoffs, “You just didn’t want to get caught eating by yourself.”
“You can’t prove anything!” Seulgi says before quickly walking back to her basket.
Irene shakes her head, chuckling at the other girl’s antics, and quickly goes back to work.
Seulgi kept stealing glances at Irene, finding her more interesting to look at than actually working. Seulgi thinks she can stare at her all day. She found it cute how Irene looked so serious.
After a while, Seulgi gets bored and decides to make things a little more fun, “Irene-ssi how about we race?”
That seemed to get Irene’s attention, “What kind of race?”
Seulgi hums, “Let’s see who can pick the most strawberries in a minute.”
“What does the winner get?”
Seulgi scratches her head, “How about whoever wins gets their wish granted?”
“Seulgi-ssi, that’s so unoriginal.”
“Well, what did you have in mind then?”
Irene thinks for a moment before breaking out into a small smile, “How about the loser has to carry all the baskets back to the house,” Seulgi raises her eyebrows thinking about it, “and the winner also gets to pick their room first,” Irene finishes with a grin.
"There's a punishment now?"
"It'll be more interesting, though."
Seulgi nods slowly, “That's true, but are you going to be okay with carrying all those baskets?” Seulgi turns her head to the pile of picked strawberries and whistles, “They look really heavy,” She smirks.
“Oh, you're going to eat your words,” Irene says with a determined look.
Seulgi clears , a little intimidated by the look Irene was giving the plants in front of them.
They ask one of the producers to time them and they take their positions.
“Ready, get set, go!” The producer starts the timer and the two start.
Seulgi calmly pick the fruit, not really taking the whole thing serious. She's looking at Irene every few seconds with an amused smile. Who knew Bae Irene was this competitive. Irene doesn’t even look at Seulgi too focused on the task at hand.
An alarm rings signaling the end of their small competition. Irene looks down at her basket, proud of her harvest. She glances at Seulgi’s basket and cheers at the obvious difference in amount. Seulgi accepts her inevitable loss but decides to mess with the older girl anyway, “It didn’t count, I was tying my shoes when PD-nim said go.”
“That’s a lie, I saw you start right away!” Irene argues.
“I guess nothing gets past Bae Irene,” Seulgi shrugs. It was worth a try.
Irene grins with her chest puffed out, “Nope.”
Seulgi laughs, amused at how unexpectantly competitive the older girl was.
Irene goes back to the house to choose her room and leaves Seulgi to move the baskets of strawberries. She heaves a few baskets onto a cart and starts pushing them to the front of the house.
Seulgi works quickly and by the time Irene comes back, she’s about done with moving all the boxes from the greenhouse.
Irene didn’t expect Seulgi to finish so quickly given her earlier performance during their race.
“I came back to help out but it looks like you took care of it all.”
Seulgi makes a show of flexing her biceps, "Aren't you glad you got stuck with a strong partner like me?"
Although she won, Irene felt a little bad for not being able to help more. Seulgi tries to refuse her help but Irene ends up transferring the last basket from the cart anyway.
Just then the old couple came out of the house with a tray of food in their hands. The old man calls them over as they set down the food, “Come take a seat, you kids must be tired.”
Irene and Seulgi thank him and help the elder couple set the table.
“This is too much,” Irene says wide-eyed.
“You both should be eating more!” The older woman gestures to her and Seulgi, “Look how skinny you both are,” she huffs.
Seulgi laughs loudly before quickly dig in and Irene joins her. The older woman looks at the two, satisfied that they were enjoying her cooking.
They finish eating the lunch prepared by the elder couple and Irene is quick to help out with cleaning up, Seulgi right behind her following her lead. The older woman tries to protest, urging the young women to go out and enjoy their day, but Irene and Seulgi insist that this was the least they could do.
The last of the dishes were put away and Irene looks around the kitchen to see if there was anything else that needed to be cleaned. She was about to tidy up the dining room table when the old couple walks in.
“Young lady, go out and enjoy the rest of your day, I’ll take care of things here,” she shoos Irene out of the kitchen to the living room where Seulgi and the lady’s husband were having a conversation.
Seulgi’s face lights up when she notices Irene and waves her over to where she and the old man was standing, “Irene-ssi! Mr. Lee was telling me about this campsite close by, he says it’s about a ten-minute car ride there.”
Irene’s eyes lit up, her interest piqued, “Camping?”
“The weather’s perfect today, let’s not waste the day staying indoors,” Seulgi tries to persuade the other girl, but it seems like Irene doesn’t need much convincing.
“Let’s do it!” Irene couldn’t hide her excitement as she lightly hopped from one foot to the other.
“You two are married but you address each other so formally,” The old man says bluntly. He hides his smirk when the two avoid each other’s gaze, secretly enjoying seeing them squirm. The abrupt change of topic made the air in the room a little awkward.
“If I come in there and I see you messing with those girls!” The old lady yells from the kitchen.
“Calm down woman! We were just having a peaceful conversation!” The old man yells back.
Seulgi and Irene share a look and giggle, finding the older couple’s banter entertaining. Maybe this could be their dynamic down the road when they’re both much more comfortable with each other.
The old man looks back at the two, “Anyway, as I was saying, I think you two should call each other more comfortably,” he crosses his arms and nods, internally praising himself. He couldn’t just ignore the couple this was the only way they could get more comfortable with each other.
His wife rushes into the living room and drags him by the ear to the kitchen leaving the two alone.
Seulgi clears and chuckles awkwardly, “So, can I-,” she avoids Irene’s curious gaze, “Can I call you unnie?”
Irene smiles at the shy girl in front of her, “Of course.”
“Unnie, you don’t need to be so formal too.”
The old man cackles and yells from the kitchen, “Ah, young love,” making the two girls blush. A loud smack could be heard and Seulgi laughs while Irene looks in the kitchen’s direction slightly concerned.
“I think we should go before Mr. Lee comes back to tease us some more,” Seulgi whispers to Irene, “I’ll ask the staff if we can borrow a car,”
Irene agreed, “I’ll get our things ready, is there anything we need?"
"Some snacks should be good."
"Okay, just meet me outside, I won't take long."
Not long after Seulgi is outside leaning against the car, waiting for Irene to come out. A few moments later Irene is seen coming out with her hands full with bags. Seulgi opens the trunk and they stuff their things into the back of the car.