mending fences

kiyub

 

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renebaebae 📷: @mo_onbyul & @hi_sseulgi

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yongsun that's my girl 😚😚😚

mo_onbyul @todayis_wannie dinner tomorrow at 8? ☺️

yongsun @mo_onbyul ???

28 may 2020

 

liked by mo_onbyul and 5,278 others

renebaebae 🌅💙

yerimiese the sun didn't ask to see you kiss the moment it rose 🤮🤮🤮

breadsu @yerimiese don't gotta be jealous here homie 🙄 keep smoochin guys 👍

lunaires well… as long as you two ain't making out while we're doing our runs 👍

oobie sunrise looks magnificent 👍

5 june 2020

 

liked by todayis_wannie and 5,821 others

renebaebae 🌼💙

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hi_sseulgi you've never gotten me flowers @todayis_wannie

todayis_wannie @hi_sseulgi yeah but i got you fried chicken instead

13 june 2020

 

liked by yerimiese and 7,627 others

renebaebae 😉💙

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yerimiese YOU MADE HER WEAR A SUIT???

hi_sseulgi 👀👀👀 very nice..

yongsun i'm looking disrespectfully 😉

19 june 2020

 


 

"are you sure she wants me to come along?"

 

joohyun poses the same question to her soulmate for the third time in an hour. seungwan is sleeping over for the weekend and thought it was a great time to bring this up — a picnic, with seulgi and sooyoung.

 

"yes, yes i am." seungwan hums, "she didn't specifically say so but she did say i could bring you along, which roughly translates into yeah you can come."

 

joohyun frowns, causing a crinkle to form between her brows. she eyes her soulmate with skepticism and purses her lips. her relationship with sooyoung has been civil, but nowhere near friendly, so it's hard to fathom why the freshman would want her to join in on a picnic with the trio.

 

it's without a doubt that her fight with seungwan drove a wedge between them, and joohyun understands. if she were in sooyoung's shoes, she'd be rightfully mad too. joohyun has been meaning to talk to her but it's hard to find an opportunity when the younger girl is never around when joohyun comes over. on rare occasions, they would briefly meet when she picked up seungwan for dates, but nothing substantial would be exchanged. so everything about sooyoung inviting her along makes no sense.

 

"come on, it's not that serious. think of it as a double date, it'll be fun." seungwan extends her hands out and beckons for her soulmate to join her in bed.

 

joohyun exhales quietly and crawls in next to seungwan. settling in, she mutters, "i still think she doesn’t like me. to her, i'm probably just an who hurt her friend."

 

her soulmate shifts to hug her, and joohyun willingly melds into her arms. it’s become second nature at this point. patting the back of her head gently, seungwan nods, "it sounds a lot like sooyoung but i think she wants to make amends now. she just at apologies, that's all.”

 

joohyun lets out a sound that vaguely resembles a groan and a whine at the same time and buries her face into the chest of her soulmate.

 

a loud gasp escapes seungwan’s throat, "i dare not believe my ears." 

 

"what?"

 

the nerd snickers, "irene is actually whining."

 

the older girl merely huffs in response and turns away, leaving seungwan to spoon her from behind.

 

"i'm sorry," seungwan coos, nuzzling her nose into joohyun's back, "try to talk to sooyoung, for me?" 

 

"what if she tries to bite my head off again?" joohyun pouts.

 

seungwan shakes her head and reassures her soulmate by tightening her embrace, “no she won’t, we’ll bake her a nice little apology cake to get on her good side, how about that?”

 

“she’s going to think i’m attempting to poison her or something.”

 

“she won’t.”

 

“what if she yells at me again?”

 

"i won't let her.”

 

“you don’t have the best track record, you know that right?”

 

“trust me, joohyun-ah. now, let's sleep, hmm?" seungwan mumbles drowsily, on the verge of unconsciousness, "goodnight and i love you."

 

"goodnight seungwannie," joohyun turns only to find that her girlfriend is already asleep. "i love you too." she adds with the softest whisper, nestling herself further into her arms.

 


 

seungwan tries her hardest to convince joohyun that a picnic with sooyoung wouldn't spell the end of the world and though the older girl accepts, she still remains doubtful about it all.

 

with an apology cake and a plate full of sandwiches, joohyun is slightly convinced that she could get on sooyoung's good side. or at least, she could try to bribe seulgi to help her.

 

with summer at its prime, a park near the university would suit their needs for the day. a breezy, sunny day seems perfect for a picnic, and with more than enough snacks, seulgi and seungwan would be the last to disagree. except that there's a mild, awkward tension between their soulmates that goes undetected. joohyun offers convincing smiles that quickly slip once seungwan's attention turns and sooyoung does the same.

 

a silent yet mutual agreement between the two, they keep the act up and their soulmates wouldn’t even know. it could be worse, joohyun decides, if she brushes this aside, she could actually enjoy how nice the sun feels against her skin.

 

but eventually, the two best friends abandoning them in search of the washroom leaves the freshman and graduate in a tension-filled silence. the large mat they shared suddenly feels too cramped despite the absence of their soulmates. sooyoung nibbles away at a piece of cake while joohyun tries her best to avert her gaze. it's like they both decided that perhaps the grass is more interesting.

 

“yah,” sooyoung starts abruptly, catching the older girl by surprise. "thanks for coming."

 

joohyun blinks at the youngest as if she’s speaking a different tongue, because just a moment ago, they seemed hell bent on avoiding any sort of conversation. she clears and nods, if sooyoung is making an effort to patch up, she wouldn’t make it any harder.

 

"thank you for inviting me." joohyun responds politely.

 

the conversation lapses into silence as sooyoung puts down her cake. the older girl wonders if she should attempt to keep their sorry excuse of a chat alive. but thankfully, the freshman speaks up, despite her gaze being fixated on the grass instead.

 

“i know this is long overdue but i wanted to say i’m sorry." she murmurs, fiddling with her hands.

 

with sooyoung's apology, joohyun feels a weight being lifted off her shoulders — she's finally forgiven. 

 

“apology accepted,” joohyun offers a small smile to easen up the atmosphere, “and i’m sorry too, i hurt your friend and i deserved it.”

 

sooyoung widens her eyes, “wait, really? i thought you were mad at me for lashing out at you.”

 

“it was harsh, but you made good points.” joohyun acknowledges with a small bob of her head and pulls her legs to her chest, "seungwan is lucky to have a friend like you."

 

with an audible exhale, sooyoung lies on the mat, sprawling her limbs in every direction. “i thought you hated me!”

 

with a laugh, her anxiety evaporates into relief, maybe they both were mistakenly under the impression that the other hated their guts. “me too.” joohyun adds.

 

“oh, i actually did because you had the right intentions but boy, did you mess it up real bad. seungwan-unnie got mad at me for harping on it so i dropped it and tried to be nice." sooyoung shrugs as she glances at joohyun.

 

the graduate could only purse her lips, she understands how and why seungwan practically got bullied by her. the youngest of the trio is certainly someone you wouldn't want to get on the bad side of.

 

"we're cool now, right?" the freshman props herself up on her elbows when joohyun remains quiet. it's a little more unsettling than she'd let on. but to her relief, the older girl hums.

 

"yeah, we are. let's put it behind us, shall we?" joohyun says and refills sooyoung's cup with some sparkling juice. 

 

the freshman lets her signature, gummy smile slip and she nods. raising her plastic cup, she bumps it against joohyun's cup and they toast to a new friendship.

 

"i'm glad seungwan-unnie met you," sooyoung muses, "you've made her better."

 

"she makes me better too."

 

"now that you say it, it's kinda cringe." sooyoung winces mockingly, earning a scoff from the graduate.

 

kicking her legs out, joohyun rests her weight on her hands. it feels better to not have to tiptoe around sooyoung any longer, she feels like she can breathe now.

 

"let's go out for drinks sometime, think of it as a little bonding time."

 

joohyun raises an eyebrow amusedly — park sooyoung turns from an enemy to a friend in a matter of minutes. she can't help but wonder if she should be amazed at how long sooyoung could hold a grudge or grateful that their relationship wouldn’t just consist of awkward throat clearing and avoiding each other. perhaps this is just how sooyoung is, and perhaps she'll find out more along the way.

 

"bonding time, huh?" the graduate muses, "what about our girlfriends?"

 

"they can come along," sooyoung shrugs, “but seungwan-unnie's in charge of taking care of seul and i when we drink. you know, just in case we're both too inebriated to get home."

 

joohyun laughs, recalling the whole situation that allowed her to meet her soulmate. now, they’re halfway into the year and things are constantly shifting for the better. "come over to my place then,” the graduate offers casually, “feel free to drink till you pass out."

 

"till i pass out?" seulgi's voice pipes up from behind them.

 

"welcome back," sooyoung smirks, "joohyun-unnie wants us to go over for drinks."

 

"oh i'm down!" seulgi bobs her head enthusiastically. she settles beside sooyoung, and the younger girl rests her head on her lap. seungwan tosses her soulmate a surprised look and the older girl merely nods.

 

"you're going to puke all over her house, seul-ah." seungwan mutters in a deadpan voice.

 

a pout makes her way onto her lips and seulgi groans, "to be fair, i held it pretty well on my birthday."

 

"i'm sure yongsun will be fine as long as you clean it up." joohyun adds teasingly, opening her arms up for seungwan to enter her embrace.

 

sooyoung snorts, eyeing seungwan pointedly, "oh we all know who's going to actually do the cleaning."

 

"i will not." seungwan grumbles as joohyun pulls her into a side hug.

 

"come on, unnie, when was the last time you got drunk?"

 

"i don't need to get drunk to enjoy myself."

 

"oh but it makes everything a lot more fun, wannie!"

 

"so true, baby."

 

joohyun watches the trio argue on, seulgi and sooyoung teaming up against her poor soulmate. and though seungwan is capable of deflecting their jibes, joohyun interjects every once in a while to back her up. she gets a glimpse of the trio’s friendship and at the same time, they eagerly welcome her with a little sarcastic banter. afterall, what is a friendship without some snark?

 

they end the day off with some dinner and the couples part ways. seungwan insisted on sending joohyun home, though everyone could tell that she just wants to spend a little more time with her girlfriend.

 

"did you have fun today?" joohyun asks as they stroll back to her apartment.

 

"yeah, it was a nice day. i assume you and sooyoung managed to patch up." seungwan replies while swinging their interlocked hands.

 

"mhm, she's a lot more easy going than i expected."

 

"she’s not the easiest person to get to know but she can be sweet once you break through that prickly exterior," seungwan smiles, "i'm just glad that you guys are finally getting along.”

 

joohyun exhales, resting her head on seungwan’s shoulder. it makes for an awkward walk but neither of them minds. “me too.” she murmurs, a tinge of contentment filling her tone. 

 

they amble along in relative silence until seungwan pauses in her step.

 

“i’m happy,” seungwan blurts, cracking into a sheepish smile at the sight of joohyun’s face scrunching up in bewilderment.

 

who knew the happiness of her soulmate would be so infectious? there's plenty of things that seungwan could do to make joohyun's heart flutter, but the simplest one is seeing the beaming smile on her face.

 

"so am i."

 


 

a hangout at joohyun’s is organized a week later with yongsun and byulyi joining in as well. with some pizza and soju, the group is all prepared to have a fun night. yongsun even brings out the one thing that joohyun dreads the most — a karaoke machine. her roommate isn’t bad at singing, but she is loud, and joohyun is certain that their neighbours wouldn’t appreciate yongsun belting a note at midnight. yongsun merely shrugs it off, citing that they have been decent neighbours, lending them sugar when they needed it and whatnot, surely a little karaoke wouldn’t hurt.

 

the night is filled with lots of singing and an occasional rap that ends in breathless panting. seungwan spends most of the night next to joohyun, until sooyoung and seulgi eggs her on to drink. she ends up with flushed cheeks and a dreamy smile on her face. 

 

"i-i g-gotta go." seungwan slurs, scrambling to her feet. the attention in the room is shifted to the nerd but even joohyun holds back on assisting her, they all want to see how this plays out.

 

seulgi hiccups before muttering, "where are you gonna go, wannie?" 

 

"i gotta see j-joo… joohyun…"

 

byulyi holds back a snicker and rests her head in her hand, "why?"

 

seungwan pouts, her shoulders drooping in the process. "i miss her." she admits in a soft, almost forlorn tone.

 

a chorus of awws escape the group and joohyun feels a warmth settle in the depths of her chest, her lips tugging upwards in an amused smile. they watch seungwan shuffle towards the door and joohyun stands up to grab her soulmate before she wanders off in the dead of night.

 

"i'm right here, seungwannie." she hums, guiding the girl back towards the living room.

 

but seungwan shrugs her off, hissing slightly, "you're... you’re not... not joohyun. joohyun doesn't wear glasses."

 

it catches her off guard and the room bursts into laughter. although she only wears her glasses at home, seungwan has been over enough times to know this.

 

she yanks the thin frame away from her face, "there, believe me now?"

 

squinting, seungwan folds her arms across her chest. "n-no... but you do look a lot like her."

 

"come on, let's get you to bed."

 

"i-i'm… i'm not following you, fake joohyun."

 

joohyun turns to the others for help and while yongsun and byulyi look somewhat sympathetic, they certainly aren't masking their amusement. meanwhile, seulgi and sooyoung are busy cackling and collapsing into each other.

 

"this is why seungwan-unnie should just stick to beer." sooyoung wipes a stray tear from her eye, "she gets drunk drunk."

 

as if on cue, or perhaps by a poorly timed mistake, seungwan stumbles over her feet and joohyun rushes to catch her. steadying the nerd in her arms, the older girl heaves a sigh of relief.

 

yongsun shrugs, taking a shot of soju, "your soulmate, your problem."

 

"you can't say that and take a shot! you're going to end up like seungwan in a matter of minutes!" byulyi whines.

 

joohyun narrows her eyes but her anger melts away when seungwan begins to mumble into her chest.

 

"you feel pretty nice, but joohyun's hugs are better."

 

"i'll give you a proper hug to compare, how about that?" joohyun sighs.

 

"i don't even know you, weirdo. do you go around hugging strangers?" seungwan pulls back and frowns at fake joohyun.  

 

the older girl smirks, "only if they're cute."

 

"i have a girlfriend!”

 

it takes a little effort and a hell of a lot of convincing, but with a little help from their friends, joohyun manages to tuck a drunk, mumbling nerd into bed. the whole ordeal leaves her tuckered out and she wants to crawl in with seungwan but she's wary that drunk seungwan would escape, so she decides to return when the younger girl is fully asleep.

 

tugging her hair out of the messy excuse of a bun, joohyun exhales slowly. "get some sleep, i'll be back." she says quietly as she heads for the door.

 

"can we cuddle?" her soulmate asks with a yawn, she’d been watching joohyun the whole time with bleary eyes.

 

the older girl raises an eyebrow, "i thought you had a girlfriend."

 

"i may be a little drunk, but i know who my girlfriend is." seungwan furrows her eyebrows.

 

"what happened to fake joohyun?"

 

"i don't know, maybe she left." seungwan mumbles, "so can we?"

 

"okay." 

 

at her behest, joohyun relents and crawls into bed with her soulmate. seungwan instantly curls up next to her, her eyelids closing before joohyun even settles. she leaves a tender peck on seungwan's forehead as she watches her love drift into a deep slumber. seungwan is definitely sticking to beer only, hell, she couldn’t even recognise joohyun just because she had her hair up and glasses on.

 

unleashing drunk seungwan should probably be saved for special occasions, or when joohyun thinks she needs to be reminded of just how adorable seungwan is. she pushes a stray strand of hair covering her soulmate’s face away and seungwan shifts, clinging tightly to her and curling up just beside her.

 

come hell or high water, she’s never going to stop loving this bumbling mess of a soulmate.

 


 

the days pass, and things were peaceful, filled to the brim with love. joohyun finds that she’s been absorbed into seungwan’s group just as much as her friends have adopted the trio. in a strange turn of events, byulyi and sooyoung have become rather close friends. the freshman showing interest in helping byulyi with projects meant that joohyun could spend more time with her soulmate; heck, she’s grateful she doesn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn for one of byul's impromptu shoots anymore.

 

azure’s friends on the other hand, had been keen on meeting the legendary joohyun — the only person who could steal their precious leader away. they too, welcomed joohyun into their party, even if she did not know how to play the games they spoke of, there was always a slot for wisteria.

 

the semester is about to end and while seungwan is usually prepared, having a girlfriend was a little more distracting than she'd like to admit. she missed a few classes here and there but nothing that she couldn't catch up on with a little extra studying.

 

sooyoung had to threaten joohyun to stay away so the nerd could focus, to which the older girl reluctantly agreed. to her dismay, her soulmate would not give in to her whining, so she's left to study all alone.

 

spending the day at the library is taxing, she trudges back to her dorm as the sun begins to set. a frown rests on her face as she ponders over a particularly complicated question in her head, the answer is seemingly being dangled right in front of her but she just can’t seem to grasp it.

 

perhaps it's the fatigue setting in but she doesn't notice that she's about to walk head first into someone until she's made contact. she stumbles backwards in surprise, lowering her head in a small bow and mumbling a staccato of apologies. gathering up her books, she hears the stranger speak.

 

"all is well, are you alright?"

 

the voice strikes fear within her and she looks up in disbelief. if she didn't already have enough on her plate, here comes the universe with yet another test.

 

"m-madam bae?”

 


 

ending up at munch with the matriarch of the bae family is probably the last thing seungwan had been expecting the day before an important paper. munch is usually a place of comfort but right now, it feels the furthest from it. she should be worrying about her revision, not why joohyun’s grandmother is here. pushing aside her thoughts, she faces her new foe with a cup of tea.

 

madam bae is still as unnerving as she was a few months prior. dressed in a dark, assumingly branded trench coat, the elderly woman gives off an aura of unbelonging amongst a sea of tired students. seungwan avoids eye contact at all costs, twiddling with her thumbs as she fixes her gaze on the steam rising up from her cup. just how in the world is she going to weasel out of this? she should be an expert at this point, considering how she managed to dodge joohyun for a whole month. 

 

“you don’t have to be so nervous,” the matriarch breaks the tension with a quiet voice, “i merely wanted to talk.”

 

the nerd looks up and makes the mistake of looking the aged woman in the eye. stifling a wince, she tries to look just behind her instead. seungwan clears and asks, though the quiver in her voice is hard to mask. “w-what brings you here?”

 

“joohyun.” the woman’s response is swift and her lips are pressed together in a tight smile.

 

seungwan’s breath gets caught in when she hears the mentioning of her soulmate. , she’s a terrible liar and madam bae would definitely see through her, but she still has to try, for joohyun.

 

“your granddaughter? she should’ve graduated back in april if i’m not wrong.” she even tries feigning a frown, but her goddamn body is betraying her with all the trembling. she so desperately wants to bolt, but maybe after she finds out what the matriarch is here for. excuses of a stomachache lingers on the tip of her tongue.

 

madam digs into her bag, pulling out a large brown envelope and sliding it across the table. she nods for the young girl to open it, leaning back in her seat while her eyes are trained on her. seungwan meekly reaches over and unseals the envelope, peering into it with an unsettling curiosity. inside lies a stack of photographs which she pulls out to get a closer look.

 

the nerd shuffles through them, each one leaving her more troubled than the last. they are all pictures of her with joohyun; hands locked while they stroll, hugging as they leave a convenience store in the dead of night, kissing in yongsun’s car after they watch the sunrise. seungwan doesn’t have to look through all of them to know that none of these are taken with their consent. 

 

as rattled as she is by this information, seungwan feels a rage beginning to bubble in her chest. she knows joohyun’s relationship with her family, especially her grandmother, is strained at best. every ounce of her being wants to protect her soulmate, even if it means standing up to this maniac of a woman.

 

gritting her teeth, she seethes, “what do you want?”

 

the woman across raises an eyebrow curiously and she lets a wry scoff slip. “is asking for clarity regarding your relationship a lot to ask for?” 

 

“you didn’t have to resort to this.” seungwan glares at her, motioning to the spread of pictures between them.

 

the aged woman exhales and nods her head slowly, “you two knew each other before the dinner, yet you felt a need to lie about your relationship. if you had already been keeping things from me then, could i have expected you to tell me if i asked?”

 

seungwan swallows, stalker lady has a point. though the argument was the main reason they kept it from the matriarch, she doubts that they would’ve wanted to spill the beans even if they were on good terms.

 

“no,” the nerd concedes softly, “but wouldn’t have joohyun told you in due time?”

 

madam bae scoffs quietly, “it would be a miracle if she even talks to me any time soon."

 

strained is too mellow of a word to describe the relationship between joohyun and her grandmother. as much as seungwan wants to side with her soulmate, she has to give madam bae a chance too. sensing no hostility or malice, the nerd comes to an internal compromise, she will only tell whatever is necessary and nothing more. taking a sip of her tea, seungwan asks, “what do you want to know?”

 

"your relationship with joohyun, it's certainly more than friends, isn't it?" the elderly woman’s question comes out as more of a statement and with photographic evidence, seungwan can hardly lie her way out of it.

 

the nerd purses her lips, "she's my girlfriend."

 

"and this has been going on for how long?"

 

"a few months, we got together a few weeks before the dinner."

 

"so, why was it necessary to lie?"

 

"because we fought and we hadn't resolved it, it wouldn't make for a great first meeting." seungwan mumbles, holding back a snarky remark. if this woman hadn't placed the pressure of marriage onto joohyun, maybe they wouldn't have to worry about what she would think.

 

the matriarch nods understandingly. "you care a lot about her, what happens if she were to find her soulmate?"

 

soulmate. seungwan stiffens, not for the reasons madam bae thinks however. she almost finds it comical that they could be stalked for weeks and yet the conclusion of them being soulmates seems so far out of reach. it's for the better, she supposes.

 

joohyun should be the one who breaks the news of their otherworldly bond, it's not seungwan's place to do so. 

 

"as long as she's happy." seungwan allows to tug into a genuine smile. "it’s the only thing that matters."

 

the woman across breaks into a small, pleased smile. no bitterness detected, or at least seungwan fails to feel any. a buzzing from her phone draws her attention and she checks the screen discreetly.

 

a call from seulgi; which she declines instantly. her best friend is going to have to wait.

 

"don't let me keep you, i've gotten what i came here for." the matriarch says quietly.

 

seungwan glances at her phone and back to madam bae and decides that she has said enough for today. "i don't think either of us wants joohyun to find out about this." seungwan drops her voice low as she slips out of her seat. "you don't have to doubt our relationship. i love joohyun, and she loves me."

 

the woman tightens her jaw but nods anyway. "how is she doing?"

 

"she likes her job, though she's a little busier nowadays." seungwan replies as she gathers up her things.

 

"that's good. take care of her, will you?"

 

"of course."

 

"thank you, seungwan-ssi." madam bae exhales quietly, "convince joohyun to return for chuseok, if you can."

 

"i won't make any promises but i'll try."

 

"come along too."

 

seungwan bites her lower lip and nods, "we'll see." she makes a run for it, leaving the matriarch to ruminate.

 

holy , holy , holy . what the actual just happened?

 

a strange turn of events leaves her running from a bae again — well, twice isn’t a lot but it’s peculiar that it could even happen more than once.

 


 

“finally! took you long enough!” sooyoung grumbles the moment seungwan returns to her room.

 

seulgi and sooyoung had been waiting for her at the dorm, their takeout food growing colder with every minute of her absence. dinner with her friends completely slipped her mind after her encounter with madam bae and frankly, she’s a little rattled by it.

 

“woah, what’s up? you look like you fried your brains from studying.” seulgi comments from her spot on the floor. their food is all laid out neatly, waiting to be devoured. 

 

seungwan forces herself to move, shuffling into the room to place her things down. she trusts her friends, but she doesn’t want to share anything till she’s made some sense of what’s happened.

 

“yeah, sorry,” the nerd blurts, “i was close to solving a problem and i didn’t want to break my focus.” 

 

her friends believe her, thankfully, but they also think she’s beyond stressed at this point so they bring down their bantering by a notch and let her have an early night. dinner is quieter than usual and sooyoung returns to her room instead of hanging around. seungwan is lying in bed by ten but her thoughts are jumping from academics to madam bae all at once.

 

the biggest question remains; should she even tell anyone about this? seungwan tries to reason with herself. madam bae just wanted to know what their relationship is, not a big deal. but this is their relationship, and this is joohyun’s grandmother, surely joohyun deserves to know? but what if joohyun flips at those pictures and it causes their already strained relationship to worsen further?

 

the nerd exhales frustratedly as she stares at the ceiling. the last thing she wants to be is a reason for joohyun to argue with her grandmother. she doesn’t want to put her soulmate through the choice of choosing between her and family. 

 

“stop thinking and go to sleep,” seulgi chides from her bed, “it’s fine if you can’t solve that one problem.”

 

seungwan sighs as she sits up to face her best friend. “have you ever lied to sooyoung?”

 

the question causes seulgi to look up from her phone, she eyes her friend with a raised brow. “i don’t keep anything from her, you know that.”

 

“not even if it’s a white lie?”

 

the design student frowns as she thinks hard. “she tried baking the other day and her brownies came out a little burnt, but i told her it was delicious anyway. does that count?” seulgi responds.

 

“so you lied to protect her, right?”

 

“yeah i guess. but well, you know her, she tasted them and she knew.” seulgi shrugs, “i don’t like lying to her anyway, she gets more upset if i lie.”

 

seungwan plops back down on her bed and sighs, she’s stuck in a dilemma now. the idea of lying to her soulmate vexes her, she hates that she can’t be honest with the person she should be the most comfortable around. and if joohyun is to find out, seungwan dreads just how hurt she could be. it feels like no matter what she chooses, the risk of joohyun being hurt by it will never disappear.

 

“why are you asking? did something happen between you and joohyun?” seulgi’s tone is laced with concern as she questions her best friend.

 

the nerd shakes her head, “no, we’re good. it’s just a what if, don’t worry.”

 

seulgi hums, “well, i don’t know what it actually is, but if i put myself in your shoes, i would tell sooyoung. i wouldn’t intentionally hurt her but sometimes the truth just , i’d just rather be honest with her and we can deal with it together, you feel me?” 

 

“yeah, i feel you.”

 

“okay, great. now stop thinking, you’ve got an important exam tomorrow.”

 

“thanks, seul.”

 

“anytime, wannie.”

 


 

seungwan’s exam goes smoothly, thankfully her brain didn’t cause her to bungle up her paper with irrelevant thoughts. she’s still struggling to come to a proper conclusion; lying wouldn’t do them any good, but that’s the only counter argument she can come up with. everything else like forcing joohyun into a difficult position and ruining her relationship with madam bae is seemingly worse. 

 

"yong said she saw you with your grandmother yesterday." 

 

if there's anything more anxiety-inducing than having one life left in a boss fight, it would be this very sentence. her blood runs cold and she swears her heart has dropped to her stomach. seungwan bites the inside of her cheek and looks up at joohyun.

 

"g-grandma?" the nerd chokes. she’d been zoning out throughout dinner, her head swarming with thoughts as joohyun sits across her. they are out for a celebratory dinner to mark the end of seungwan’s exams, or as joohyun would grumble, a long awaited date.  

 

"mhm, she was dropping by byul’s.” joohyun bobs her head, looking up from her food, “said she saw you with an elderly woman, so she assumed it was your grandmother."

 

"o-oh."

 

"was she visiting?"

 

"u-uh… yeah… she was just… u-uh... checking up on me…"

 

joohyun’s mouth parts but freezes before she even speaks. with a slight frown, she turns to seungwan. "why are you so nervous?”

 

"i-i'm not..!" seungwan blurts, looking down at her food. her noodles are getting soggy from how slow she’d been eating.

 

“well you sound jittery,” joohyun mutters, “are you hiding something from me?”

 

lying has never been seungwan’s forte; she’s never liked deceiving people. but to outrightly lie to her soulmate, it’ll definitely eat away at her. “n-no… sorry, i think i’m a little tired and stressed.” of course she would blame stress, academics are probably the most convenient lie and they are partially true.

 

“hey,” joohyun softens her gaze and reaches for the nerd’s hand, squeezing it lightly, “you’re the smartest girl i know, you’re going to ace those exams easily. i know you got this.”

 

“thank you,” seungwan forces a small smile, normally she would be swooning at joohyun’s words, but today she’s a little liar undeserving of any sort of happiness.

 

“come on, finish up and let’s go home.” joohyun nudges her lightly.

 

even if it’s to protect her soulmate, seungwan struggles with seeing lying as the right choice.

 


 

“i have a problem.” seungwan declares upon stepping out of the shower. she had been pondering over it in the shower, her dinner with joohyun had been a close call and she decides that she needs a little help. sooyoung is over again as usual, the couple are snuggled up in seulgi’s bed with a laptop between them.

 

seulgi glances up, "what's up, wannie?"

 

the couple stares at the pacing nerd and waits for her to spill but sooyoung is quick to run out of patience. “are you gonna tell us or what?” the freshman grumbles.

 

running a hand through her wet locks, seungwan exhales shakily. "i may have had a conversation with joohyun's grandmother." 

 

sooyoung perks up at the sound of that, she sits up with widened eyes. "wait what? how'd she get your number?"

 

"she didn't! she came to campus! just to talk to me!" seungwan exclaims. she settles down in her chair and groans, “it sounds insane, right?”

 

 sooyoung gasps, "what the ?"

 

"language!" seungwan chides, smacking her soulmate on the arm lightly.

 

"sorry," sooyoung corrects herself, "what the actual ?"

 

seungwan clicks her teeth and leans back in her chair, there's no retracting of statements now. staring at the ceiling, she sighs, "and i don't know if i should tell joohyun."

 

"why not?" seulgi chimes in, “wait is this why you asked all those questions last night?”

 

the nerd bobs her head slightly, sitting up and pulling her legs close to her chest. "look, i don't know much about her family but all i know is joohyun is iffy around her grandmother. i don't want to upset her by bringing this up, it's not like it's a big deal."

 

"if it wasn't a big deal, why do you sound so stressed about telling us then?" sooyoung counters with a subtle roll of her eye, she leans back into seulgi’s embrace and the conversation continues.

 

"okay, fine, it is a big deal." seungwan admits. it feels good to get it off her chest, like she’s just gotten affirmation that anyone in her position would feel equally as unsettled.

 

seulgi hums before asking, "why would her grandmother even come to seoul anyway?"

 

"she knows that we're dating but she wanted to hear it from my own mouth."

 

"how did she find out in the first place? did she send someone to stalk you guys?" seulgi questions in a half-joking tone but seeing seungwan’s jaw drop in horror makes her purse her lips quickly.

 

"oh my god, seul, she ing did! even slid the photos over like a villain!” seungwan lets out an exasperated sigh, mimicking the matriarch by sliding her hand across her desk in a slow motion, “there were pictures of us on dates and she scares the living hell out of me!"

 

her friends stare at her as if she’s gone mad, which it sounds like she might have. it’s extremely hard to imagine that anyone would want to stalk seungwan, all she ever does is study, or stay in the dorm. it’s not like her habits really changed after meeting joohyun.

 

"that's extreme, i’m surprised that the person doing the stalking hasn’t died of boredom yet.” sooyoung lets a sarcastic remark slip, truly, she loves teasing seungwan, but this is merely to help the older girl loosen up a little. as big of a deal this is, what could they accomplish if seungwan is busy panicking?

 

seungwan hisses sharply, aiming the wet towel that has been sitting around her neck at the freshman. seulgi blocks it with ease and tosses it back with an exasperated sigh.

 

"do all rich people send private investigators to stalk their granddaughter's soulmate?" sooyoung hums, “and did you bring the photos back? i kinda wanna see them.”

 

seulgi snorts, "maybe i should consider working for joohyun’s grandmother, huh? i take some pretty nice shots, right?”

 

"yeah but also no way, baby." sooyoung sighs, "you can't even get from the bathroom to the bed without bumping into anything, how are you going to sneak around discreetly?"

 

seulgi pouts, looking at seungwan for back up but she merely shrugs. "sooyoung's right." the nerd relents. 

 

seulgi huffs, "so you really had no idea that you were being stalked?"

 

"it sounds kinda insane, doesn't it?” seungwan nods, “plus, i've been busy with joohyun and studying."

 

a scoff, followed by a smug response escapes sooyoung’s lips, "oh i bet."

 

"wait, so what happened? what did her grandmother say?" seulgi is quick to guide them back onto the topic at hand, though she’s probably just curious about the whole situation.

 

"she didn't say much beyond that, joohyun is mad at her though, and she knows. and she invited me to return with joohyun for chuseok.” seungwan shrugs, recalling her interaction with the matriarch. 

 

sooyoung chimes in with furrowed brows, "so does that mean she likes you..?"

 

"i don't know, but i hope she does.”

 

“if she likes you, then what’s the problem?”

 

seungwan sighs, her dilemma weighing heavily on her shoulders. in a small voice, she confesses to her friends. “i don’t know if i should tell joohyun about all of this, i have this gut feeling that if i do, she’s not going to take it too well. her relationship with her grandmother is really strained after the dinner in daegu. but if i don’t, and she finds out about it, it’s going to be a lot worse.”

 

“i think you should just tell her,” seulgi pipes up, “it concerns her, she should know about it. you might be the only person that can fix her relationship with her grandmother.”

 

sooyoung hums, nodding her head in agreement. “i doubt joohyun-unnie would even want to listen to her grandmother, but she’ll definitely hear you out.”

 

“things might get worse before they get better, and it’s okay. she could get mad or upset but it’ll pass, surely that is better than leaving it like a ticking time bomb.” seulgi adds with a hopeful smile.

 

perhaps there lies an ulterior motive behind madam bae’s visit, maybe it’s a plea for seungwan to help patch things between a grandmother and her granddaughter. the pictures and the whole situation about clarifying details about their relationship could just be a cover. the answer is all too clear with this revelation.

 

“i think you know what to do, right, wannie?” seulgi eyes her best friend encouragingly.

 

seungwan hums, “yeah, i know. thanks guys.”

 

“that’ll be fifty bucks for interrupting our movie.” sooyoung declares.

 

“get it from joohyun’s grandmother,” seungwan retorts, “sell some of my pictures to her.”

 

“for all we know, she could be investigating us as well, since we’re pretty much your only friends.”

 

“she wouldn’t want to investigate an annoying brat like you, go back to your movie.”

 

“harsh, must’ve picked it up from the rich old lady, huh?”

 

“yeah, yeah.”

 


 

at the insistence of her friends, seungwan tries her best to not delay in telling joohyun. the weekend has arrived and she’s taking the chance to stay over at joohyun’s, but they decide to go on a little stroll.

 

the cool night air makes it a lovely night for a stroll, which in turn, builds a great atmosphere for a heart to heart talk. seungwan, unsure of how to broach the subject, merely blurts out a i met your grandmother and hopes for the best.

 

joohyun stops in her steps, exclaiming in sheer shock, "you met my grandmother?" 

 

"yeah…" seungwan rubs the nape of her neck nervously, "she just wanted to talk, it's nothing, really."

 

"when?” joohyun’s expression is devoid of any serenity that had been present mere moments ago, it’s as if seungwan’s words have ruined any sort of peace she’ll ever know.

 

seungwan gulps, “a couple of days ago, just before my final paper.”

 

“we met after your paper, why didn’t you tell me?” joohyun murmurs, a tinge of disappointment is evident in her voice. 

 

"i didn't want to upset you.” seungwan feels a pang in her chest, she takes her soulmate’s hands into hers and squeezes it lightly, “your relationship with your family isn't the best, i just thought you might be better off not knowing.”

 

“and you’re telling me now?”

 

“well, it concerns you. you should have a right to know.”

 

joohyun tightens her jaw, "what did she want?" 

 

"she wanted clarification on our relationship, and i told her we were dating, but she doesn’t seem to know that we’re soulmates.” the nerd tries to be as honest as she can, answering whatever questions joohyun may have.

 

"how did she know to find you?"

 

seungwan forces a shrug, she wants to try to help fix things, that means that telling joohyun about the stalking is probably a bad idea. they haven't exactly been private on joohyun's social media, perhaps that could substitute as an excuse. 

 

"you're lying." joohyun’s voice is sharp and it digs into her soulmate. she shrugs their hands away, causing seungwan to recoil slightly. the nerd tenses up and scrunches her face in discomfort, if there’s anything she’s learnt so far, is that she’d never lie to joohyun. 

 

but if it’s to keep joohyun’s relationship with her grandmother somewhat salvageable, she still has to try. "n-no i'm not."

 

"seungwan, you don't have to protect me."

 

seungwan softens her gaze and drops her voice into a mere whisper, "hyun…" 

 

"just tell me the truth." the older girl grits her teeth, her piercing gaze is more than enough for her girlfriend to cave.

 

seungwan lowers her head slightly, shifting her weight from one foot to another. "she sent someone to follow us, take pictures and whatnot.” she murmurs quietly.

 

"are you serious?"

 

the younger girl bites her lips and nods, "she had pictures of us kissing, i couldn't lie my way out of it."

 

"what the actual ?" joohyun mutters incredulously, pacing in her spot to mitigate her fury. “why the hell would she do that?”

 

"hyun, don't be mad.” seungwan tries to appease her fuming girlfriend, “she still cares about you."

 

joohyun scoffs loudly, folding her hands across her chest. her anger has been steadily rising at the mere thought of someone following them. "she's actually gone insane, does she think she can still control me?" the older girl cries out.

 

"no, no, honestly,” seungwan coos, “she wants to talk but she thinks you wouldn't want to."

 

"why the hell would i want to talk to her?"

 

"she's still your grandmother after all…"

 

"it doesn't give her the right to send someone to stalk us! this is our relationship, how dare she invade our privacy like this?”

 

"yeah, i know, what she did wasn’t right, but neither of us would've willingly told her the truth." seungwan wraps her arms around joohyun, pulling her soulmate into her chest, hugging her tightly, "you should talk to her."

 

joohyun squirms, but seungwan keeps her grip steady. she runs a hand down joohyun’s back and slowly, her anger melts away into something resembling bitterness. joohyun plants her cheek on seungwan’s shoulder and heaves a quiet exhale, "i had plans to reconcile the next time i went home but she's gone too far. i don't need to hear anything from her."

 

"hyun-ah…"

 

looking up at her precious soulmate, joohyun slips her arms around the small of her back. besides her anger, there’s something else that lingers. "she didn't say anything hurtful to you… right..?"

 

worry; this is the one person — the one thing that she wants to keep away from the hideous grasp of her family. seungwan is too sweet, too kind, too loving to even come near her grandmother. she always assumed that as long as seungwan stays away, she would be safe from all that. but now, it scares joohyun to even think about how her grandmother might try to break them up, not that she would ever let it happen though. 

 

"no, not at all. she even asked me to bring you home." seungwan’s words are relieving to hear but it won’t provide all the reassurance she needs. she’d have to pry it from her grandmother’s lips, perhaps a written documentation vowing to never come in between them.

 

joohyun grinds her teeth, offering a small nod as an acknowledgement to seungwan’s words. her girlfriend shifts her hands to cup her cheeks, guiding joohyun to look her in the eyes. 

 

"she can't break us apart, i'll promise you that right now. we'll face her together, okay? and we'll come out of it just fine." her voice is soft, yet firm and determined. on her lips lies an optimistic smiles and joohyun is reminded of all the reasons why she’d do anything to protect her.

 

"you don't have to…” joohyun shakes her head, “she's my problem to deal with."

 

"i know,” seungwan mumbles, “i know, but let me be there for you. everything's a little less daunting with someone by your side, isn't it?"

 

joohyun hesitates, but the sheer intensity of her soulmate’s gaze allows her to relent. if seungwan trusts her enough to let her know, who is she to push her away? "thank you, seungwannie. and i'm sorry that you have to deal with this mess." the older girl sighs, dropping her gaze to the ground.

 

"all in a day's work as your soulmate." seungwan teases, “i don’t mind, honestly. i want to get to meet your family eventually, not just as your girlfriend but as your soulmate too.”

 

joohyun’s cheeks lift into a wide smile, "you got more work cut out for you, i don't know how she'll react when she finds out you're actually my soulmate."

 

"i'm sure it'll be fine,” seungwan flops her hand casually, “she didn't take it too badly when i said we were girlfriends."

 

"soulmates are a bigger deal, seungwan-ah. this never happens in my family." joohyun sighs, pulling seungwan’s hands away from her face. she hooks her arm with seungwan’s, tugging her along to resume their stroll.

 

"we'll cross that bridge when we get to it." seungwan shrugs, "are you still mad?"

 

"a little." joohyun huffs, "i’m going to hold a grudge for the rest of summer, i'm not dealing with her now."

 

seungwan laughs easily, leaning closer to her. her worries from before seem like nothing now that it’s all over. or at least, it’s easy to feel like that with joohyun.

 

“wanna get some ice cream?”

 

the nerd glances at her soulmate knowingly; joohyun has taken a liking to making bets after improving her relationship with sooyoung. as informed by the freshman, seungwan is a terrible runner, so maybe she'd get a headstart this time. seungwan sprints off into the night, aiming for the convenience store up ahead.

 

“race you to the store, loser buys!”

 

but joohyun reacts fast, and there’s no way she’d accept a loss just like that. “nice try, i’ll take a vanilla cone.” she winks at seungwan after overtaking the poor girl. 

 

seungwan lets a breathless laugh slip as she catches her breath; it’s the moments like these that remind her just how wonderful it is to love.

 

“let me win next time, please?”

 

“no way, not after you tried to pull a fast one on me.”

 

“how about a kiss?”

 

“that, i can do.”

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