I don’t wanna give, don’t wanna give too much/I don’t want to feel, don’t want to feel at all

Caution: Love Ahead

Yoo Jimin never had time for anything else.

 

So why on earth was she at the community pool on a weekend afternoon after cram school instead of studying at home? Hell, she didn’t know.

 

She’s leaning against the table by one of the deck chairs, applying sunscreen while she waits for Minjeong to finish showering. The girl was taking forever; she probably drowned in there or something.

 

This...this was all because of that one word she said last week. One word powerful enough to knock her world out of its orbit: a simple ‘okay’.

 

Done applying sunscreen, Jimin glared at the glistening pool. Her memory was usually terrible but she could clearly recall how Minjeong had burst into the student council office at ten in the morning, grabbing her by the shoulder and desperately saying, please, help me.

 

What she said next, Jimin could still remember word per word. “I know I’m an and I annoy you like crazy, but my mom said if I participate in the swimming competition for the upcoming festival then I can get a puppy and you’re the only swimmer I know so PLEASE train me.”

 

Minjeong had held her hostage with those pleading puppy eyes and adorable pout. How could she possibly say no to that? The answer is she couldn’t and before she knew it, a quiet ‘okay’ had slipped out of her lips which had Minjeong breaking into the biggest smile ever. The girl had run around the table to give her a big hug and a hearty ‘THANK YOU!’ before saying, ‘okay, I gotta go I’m late for physics BYE!’ and then she’s gone.

 

Jimin may or may not have stared off at space long after she left, Aeri, Mark, and Haechan’s teasing and laughter fading in the background as she tried to comprehend what the heck just happened. That smile, though. That smile made everything worth it, but that’s just her gay side talking.

 

When she got her sanity back, she sent Minjeong a text, saying they’d start training next week, since she still had that abrasion on her knee and so Jimin could rearrange her schedule only to get an infuriating reply: ‘OMG you actually saved my number LOL i really just keep on winning huh’

 

Overall, she’s still a bit pissed. At Minjeong. At herself. Having a big brain is one thing. Knowing how to make it work is another.

 

“Unnie!”

 

Jimin jumped so hard she almost fell from her seat. Minjeong was running towards her in her rash guard...and a bright yellow inflatable baby chick around her waist. Her wet hair was let down on her shoulder so waist up, she looked like a y swimwear model and from the waist down, she looked like a seven-year-old kid.

 

“What took you so long?” Jimin demanded.

 

“I had to figure out how to inflate this.” Minjeong hefted her inflatable baby chick up.

 

“Minjeong, you’re here to learn swimming. You literally won’t be needing that.” she handed her the sunscreen but Minjeong ignored it and instead moved closer, stepping between Jimin’s knees so her damned inflatable chick was all over Jimin’s face.

 

“Put it on for me.”

 

“No.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“No.”

 

“Please?”

 

Minjeong gave her The Puppy Eyes and Jimin could only sigh in defeat. “Fine. But first get this chicken out of my face.”

 

The blonde laughed, taking off the swim ring. She’s a very attractive girl, no doubt about that, but Jimin’s heart had no business hopping around like a figure skater everytime she laughs.

 

This is nothing. Imagine you’re putting sunscreen on your baby sister or something, she thought as she dotted the cream on Minjeong’s face and neck, gently spreading it with her fingers. The scratch from last week had disappeared. Her skin was soft and smooth and Jimin had to push back the urge to squeeze her fluffy cheeks.

 

Minjeong stood still, just quietly watching her as she applied sunscreen and it was making Jimin tense, her heart going from a figure skater to a circus acrobat.

 

“Why do you like staring at me so much?” she had to ask, genuinely curious.

 

“I already told you. Because you’re pretty.” Minjeong simply answered.

 

Jimin scoffed, “That’s it?”

 

Minjeong tilted her head to the side, “Should there be more?”

 

“I don’t know, is there?”

 

“No.”

 

Jimin retracted her hands, putting the sunscreen away. “Okay.” she softly said, pushing the girl back. “I’m going to set my terms on this...arrangement we have.”

 

Minjeong plopped down on the deck chair. “Sure.”

 

“We meet during weekends, around this time.”

 

“You already told me that through text.”

 

“I’m reviewing.” Jimin snapped. “But I’m thinking about doing it daily. What do you think about late night swims?”

 

“y.” Minjeong blurted, earning a tube of sunscreen chucked to her face which she easily caught, laughing.

 

“I’m serious.”

 

“I mean, yeah, sure, no problem, I guess?”

 

“Okay. In exchange for these lessons, I expect you to follow the school rules.” she raised a finger when Minjeong started to protest, “The moment you break them, all of this will be over. Am I clear?”

 

The blonde opened and closed but ended up huffing. “Fine. But I can’t promise that I won’t be tardy.”

 

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Jimin said, “Now, lastly, you’re going to win that swimming competition.”

 

“Oka--wait, what? So that’s why you suddenly wanted to do it daily.”

 

Jimin crossed her arms. “I don’t train losers, Kim Minjeong.”

 

Minjeong laughed. “I literally can’t swim, Yoo Jimin.”

 

“In a few days, you can. Next month? You’ll be basically a mermaid. Five minute jog around the pool. Now.”

 

Minjeong gaped at her in disbelief. “You’re insane.”

 

“Chop-chop!”

 

Grumbling, Minjeong got up and jogged with a grumpy scowl. Jimin let herself smile. She couldn’t believe the girl was actually being agreeable. Did she want a puppy that much? Diving head-first into a sport without any prior experience just to get a puppy was the most wholesome and purest thing Jimin had ever heard.

 

Well, she could use this to her advantage. Torment Minjeong a little, maybe. She snickered to herself just thinking about it. Kicking the inflatable chick out of her way, she joined the blonde.

 

Kim Minjeong’s Swimming Boot Camp starts now.

 

“Care to explain why I need to jog instead of swim?” Minjeong panted when she reached her side. “I thought you said you’ll turn me into a mermaid, not into a horse.”

 

“Hearing how you whine a lot, it’s safe to guess you have a strong set of lungs.” Jimin commented. “It’s important to warm your body up before getting into the water.”

 

Minjeong didn’t complain after that, though her scowl didn’t disappear either. After a few stretches, they finally jumped into the pool. Well, Minjeong literally did, annoying the hell out of Jimin because that was so unnecessary and extra and almost gave her a heart attack.

 

“I want you to lay down,” Jimin ordered once she finally got the blonde in check.

 

Minjeong whistled.“Wow, never thought I’d hear that from you.”

 

Jimin seriously considered shoving the blonde’s pretty face into the water and holding it there for, like, ten seconds. “Keep messing around and I’ll literally drown you.”

 

“With love, I hope--ouch! Stop that! Jesus, you were not kidding! Let go of me!”

 

After a skirmish of headlocks and chokeslamming each other, Jimin finally got Minjeong on her stomach. God, they haven’t even started yet but she’s already exhausted. Was there even hope for this girl?

 

She placed her palms on Minjeong’s abdomen, supporting her. “Now, kick your legs and paddle with your arms.”

 

The blonde did as told, “For how long do I have to do this? I feel stupid.”

 

“Maybe because you are.” Jimin quipped, earning water splashed to her face. She reveled on how easy it was to banter with Minjeong and was aghast that she found herself enjoying it. “Now we’re going to move, okay?”

 

She slowly advanced, still assisting Minjeong’s weight. The girl was doing well staying afloat so far and Jimin was trying her very hardest to focus despite the feeling of abdominal muscles contracting against her palm.

 

“I’m doing great, aren’t I?” Minjeong asked, grinning at her like an idiot.

 

“Yes, you are.” Jimin conceded.

 

“Ooh, I got a compliment. Say it again.”

 

Jimin rolled her eyes. “You’re doing great, Minjeong. Now, I’m going to let go.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Pff. Okay, sure. I got this. I never needed you--oh my g--blurblurblurblurb.

 

Jimin burst out laughing as she watched Minjeong sink like the titanic, limbs flailing to resurface.

 

She’s so going to win the competition.

 

***

 

Kim Minjeong wasn’t informed that the process of becoming a mermaid was painful.

 

Rising in the morning had been difficult enough as it is but after getting into what Jimin called Swimming Boot Camp, the simple task of sitting up proved to be an impossible feat. Minjeong had endured a week of rigorous training. She did not expect Jimin to show up with a detailed lesson plan, though Minjeong would argue that it’s more fitting to call it a torture plan. Neither did she expect the Yoo Jimin to show up at her doorstep every day at six in the morning to force her to do laps around the neighborhood (if Minjeong only knew that was her motive when she asked where she lived, she would’ve given her the address to the nearest circus) and now she’s this close to giving up. Screw winning, her muscles were dying.

 

She’s still getting that puppy though.

 

So what’s stopping her from just dropping out of this so-called boot camp when she could easily participate, do the bare minimum, and get that mutt now that she knew how to swim? Her mom didn’t say anything about winning, did she?

 

“It’s Jimin, isn’t it?”

 

Minjeong whipped her head to Aeri, spooked. They were on their way to their math class after eating lunch and walking Yizhuo to her next class. Jimin was busy doing her student council duties. Something about a lockdown drill. So Aeri decided to eat with them.

 

“What? What Jimin?”

 

“The reason you’re being...weird.” Aeri answered, “You’ve been going to school thirty minutes earlier and haven’t been getting detention for an entire week. You’re being...tame. I don’t know, it’s just creeping me out.”

 

Jimin didn’t tell her anything, did she? Then Minjeong won’t say a word either. “It’s never too late to start doing my New Year's resolution.”

 

Aeri narrowed her eyes. “I’m not buying that. I doubt you even have ‘be a good girl’ on your list.”

 

“Everything doesn’t revolve around Jimin-unnie, okay?”

 

“Yeah, everything except your world.”

 

Please. I’m not that obsessed.”

 

Aeri shrugged, “Whatever, I’m still going with my JiMinJeong agenda.”

 

“...JiMinJeong..?”

 

“I said what I said.”

 

Before Minjeong could question her any further, they arrived at their classroom. Aeri went to her seat but not before smacking Minjeong’s and wriggling her brows while cocking her head in Jimin's direction.

“So I heard you’re keeping me like a dirty little secret or something.” Minjeong told Jimin as soon as she sat, “It’s okay though, I don’t mind being your dirty little secret.”

 

“What?” The girl was rearranging her nine hundred ninety nine pen collection yet again. She had argued she only owned ten but Minjeong swore she saw fifteen times that much.

 

“Aeri doesn’t know, does she?”

 

“About what?”

 

“About you and me.”

 

“...you make it sound like we have an affair or something.”

 

“Don’t we?”

 

Jimin rolled her eyes and resumed her endless arranging of pens. “Aeri doesn’t need to know. If she does, she’ll just be teasing me to no end.”

 

Minjeong propped her cheek on her knuckles so she could properly watch Jimin. Damn, that side profile is glorious. “You haven’t told anyone, even as much as mention it, that you’ve been spending weekends, early mornings, and weeknights with me and you don’t even want to walk with me to school though we’ve been together since the crack of dawn. Yoo Jimin, be honest. You’re ashamed of me, aren’t you?”

 

Jimin stared at her as though she just claimed to have come from another universe. Before she could lawyer it out, Ms. Woo arrived and started the lesson, giving Jimin no more chance to explain or whatever it was she was trying to say.

 

Minjeong kept her eyes on the board, pouting with her arms crossed. She wasn’t really mad. No, she actually didn’t mind it. She knew Jimin’s reasons and understood them and honestly, she liked being lowkey. Letting the world know about their agreement would raise too many bothersome questions.

 

She was just putting up a show, acting sulky and cute. It’s fun, and she was definitely enjoying the concerned glances she kept getting from Jimin every now and then.

 

The girl suddenly leaned closer and whispered, “Look, I know you’re upset but for the love of all things holy, if you do not stop tapping that damned pen on your desk, I’m going to throw a fit.”

 

Okay, maybe those glances weren’t very ‘concerned’ as much as they were annoyed.

 

Minjeong briefly looked at her pen she didn't realize she’d been tapping. “We love to see it.”

 

“Seriously.” Jimin sighed. “Here.”

 

Minjeong paused, staring in bewilderment at the outstretched arm. “What?”

 

“Use it. Doodle on it. Whatever. Just stop that tapping.” Jimin muttered without looking at her. “And quit sulking too. It doesn’t suit you.”

 

Minjeong’s lips slowly curved up to a smile, watching Jimin who was doing everything she could to avoid looking at her, and never failing to notice the blushing tips of her ear peeking from her dark hair. Oh, she’s shy shy.

 

“Okay.” she softly muttered but took Jimin’s hand instead, intertwining their fingers, earning a questioning frown from the girl. “What? I believe this falls under the ‘whatever’ category and frankly, I think I like this better.”

 

Jimin looked like she was about to say something but decided against it, resorting to just sighing and turning her attention back to Ms. Woo’s lecture.

 

Minjeong played with Jimin’s hand for the rest of the hour, but not without scribbling a tiny heart just above her wrist along with a ‘JiMinJeong FTW!’

 

***

 

“What kind of puppy are you going to get?” Jimin asked, aimlessly floating on the pool. From where she lay, she could make out some constellations she recognized. Like the Big Dipper and Orion.

 

Minjeong was also in the water somewhere, Jimin didn’t know--she couldn’t see. When she spoke, she wagered the girl’s somewhere on her right. “I’m not sure. I don’t really have a specific breed in mind. I just want a puppy.”

 

Jimin turned to the sound of her voice, ignoring the water in her ear due to the movement. Minjeong was just sitting by the poolside, feet submerged in the water while looking up at the sky. There’s always something about Minjeong at night. Maybe it’s the moonshine, or perhaps it’s the starlight, or she might just be tired after a long day. Whatever it was, she always seemed serene and somber, as if someone had flicked off the chaotic switch. It was intriguing as it was surprising. Jimin had always thought the girl ran on jet pack fuel 24/7.

 

They had just finished an hour of training and were now just relaxing. Minjeong had been turning out to be quite the fast learner. For someone who started from zero, she was making fast progress. She might actually have potential of winning the 50 meter freestyle. If she does, Jimin might just be the proudest mom ever.

 

“You like puppies that much, huh?”

 

“Yeah,” Minjeong met her gaze, “And you.”

 

Jimin would deny that that made her face burn and stomach flip. She scoffed and turned to the sky again, ignoring Minjeong’s cheeky chuckles. “What about you?” the girl asked.

 

Jimin hummed. “I like sharks.”

 

“Sharks.” Minjeong echoed, deadpan.

 

“Mm-hm. And crocodiles.”

 

“Crocodiles.”

 

“And sometimes, I just think that dinosaurs.”

 

“Oh my god, yes, dinosaurs.”

 

Their eyes met and they simultaneously burst into laughter.

 

“Sharks and crocodiles though. Are you serious?” Minjeong questioned, baffled.

 

“Yeah, I mean, why not? I think they’re lovely.”

 

“Huh. I don’t understand, but I respect it.” Minjeong said, earning an unnecessary glare which she just laughed at. “Dinosaurs are cool though.”

 

“They are.” Jimin nodded in agreement. “You have taste.”

 

“Of course. That’s why I like you.”

 

That made Jimin pause, ceasing to move, blink, or even breathe. Did she just receive a confession? Or was that just another one of Minjeong’s greasy gags? The girl was back to staring up at the night sky. She couldn’t read her expression. Well, knowing her, it was probably the latter. Minjeong probably didn’t even think about it much before saying it. Nothing worth panicking about. Sit down, she told her rampaging heart.

 

“I like the stars too.” Minjeong continued, as if she didn’t just say something that almost made Jimin drown. “I’ve liked them since I was young. My parents used to take me out on trips for stargazing. It was fun.”

 

There was a melancholic tinge to her tone, though Jimin couldn’t be sure. “What’s your favorite constellation?”

 

“Hmm, Orion.” Minjeong answered, “It’s the first constellation I learned from my dad, so it’s memorable. Plus, it’s got so much in it--Betelgeuse, Rigel, and M42 and a smaller nebula--I think it’s awesome how there’s so many to see in such a small area. Sagittarius is a close second though. Did you know that the center of our galaxy is found in that constellation? Queen , me thinks.”

 

It’s the way Minjeong’s eyes shone as she enthusiastically rambled on that got Jimin to quit floating on her back just so she could look at her properly, how she got all excited talking about something she obviously loved. Overflowing confidence was one thing Jimin admired about her, but now she discovered there was also her diligence and burning passion. It was quite mindblowing to finally find out what went on in that mind, leaving her more intrigued than before.

 

Minjeong’s words rang in her mind, there’s more than what meets the eye. But it’s up to you if you’re willing to make a move and learn more about it.

 

Jimin moved, approaching Minjeong. “That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. What’s a beatle juice? Is that, like, cosmic fluid or something?”

 

“Cosmic wha--unnie! It’s Betelgeuse.”

 

Jimin had to chuckle at her exasperation, “Yeah, that. What’s that?”

 

Minjeong’s excited smile and little squeal was the cutest thing ever. She waited for Jimin to reach her only to huff in exasperation because the girl was taking forever. Grabbing her wrist when she swam within arm’s distance, Minjeong all but dragged her.

 

“You didn’t erase it.” Minjeong suddenly said, grinning at her wrist.

 

Jimin didn’t understand until she saw the smudged ink on her skin. Minjeong liked doodling on her hand and arm during math, and Jimin prayed the blonde didn’t notice that she hadn’t been erasing them since last week. “Well...yeah,” she awkwardly cleared .

 

“Cute.” Minjeong giggled before taking a deep breath, “Okay, so Betelgeuse is the tenth brightest star and the second brightest star in Orion but it's been getting dimmer because it’s dying and you know what happens when stars die, right?”

 

“Supernova.” Jimin answered, more fascinated by the way Minjeong was geeking out than beatle-whatever-it-is, if she were to be honest. “Should we be worried?”

 

“No, it won’t harm us but it won’t go unnoticed. They said when Betelgeuse explodes, it’ll be as bright as the half moon for more than three months. It would even be visible in daytime for weeks.”

 

Minjeong went on about astronomy and Jimin had no idea what she was talking about but it obviously made her happy so Jimin was too. She could listen and watch her be adorable all night but Minjeong eventually choked on her own spit and laughed, complaining that hurt and demanded Jimin to buy her a drink tomorrow before saying they should probably call it a day. Reluctantly, Jimin agreed.

 

That night, Jimin lay sleepless in her bed, head filled with thoughts of her favorite constellations--the ones found in Minjeong’s eyes.

 

***

 

For the first time in history, Yoo Jimin, president of the student council, broke her attendance streak. She couldn’t recall when sleep had found her but the next moment, sunlight was hitting her face and she knew by the time she opened her eyes, she ed up.

 

Now she’s barely able to stay awake, breezing through her classes like a ghost with an enormous headache that proved to be the devil aspirin couldn’t defeat.

 

“Hey. Jimin. Yoo Jimin!”

 

Jimin flinched at the fingers snapping at her nose. Shaking off the drowsiness, she looked at Hyunjin who she didn’t notice had returned from grabbing drinks at the vending machine. It was lunchtime and since Aeri had a choir meeting, Jimin tagged along with her classmate instead.

 

“Thanks.” Jimin sheepishly said, taking the cola she asked for. She popped the can open and took a sip. “Ah, that hits the spot.”

 

Hyunjin clicked her tongue. “I can’t believe I’ll live this long to witness the Yoo Jimin acting like she got a terrible hangover.”

 

“I’m not hungover. I’m sleep deprived.” Jimin corrected, taking another sip.

 

Hyunjin shook her head, struggling to stab her straw in her juice box. “I might know something.”

 

The caffeine and sugar was making Jimin feel better now. “What’s that?”

 

“I have something to ask you, but you have to promise you won’t get mad.”

 

“Hyunjin, if this is about the Heejin again then it’s not the right time and place to talk. I haven’t had enough cola for this.”

 

“No, no. This is about something else.”

 

Jimin looked at her. She seemed serious. “Do you have a problem? Do you need help with something?” she asked, starting to get concerned.

 

Hyunjin shook her head, frustrated, “I just want to ask if you’re dating Kim Minjeong, damn it.” she blurted out in one breath.

 

Jimin’s drink went down the wrong pipe. She violently coughed out her lungs because what? “You’re joking, right?” she asked when she finally recovered.

 

She shrugged, “I mean, it’s cool if you’re not. Your reaction was gold though. I should’ve filmed that. So are you at least planning to?”

 

Jimin almost choked again. Can this girl slow down? “What?”

 

“Jimin, we live in the same neighborhood.” she slowly said, as if talking to a child. “And that neighborhood is pretty small so… yeah.”

 

Of course. They were bound to be spotted. Jimin supposed it was better for Hyunjin than other students who might start rumors instead of confronting her like this. “Well, we have a reason and it’s nowhere near your speculations.”

 

“Yeah? Then what’s the reason behind you spending every night and weekends at the pool? I mean, I always knew you enjoyed night swimming but with a companion? That’s sus. What about jogging together at the crack of dawn? Because I’ve been thinking about it since I accidentally spotted you and I can’t come up with an explanation other than you guys dating.”

 

Jimin’s ears burnt. If she says the word ‘dating’ one more time… “You were stalking us?”

 

“No! It’s not my fault I have to pass by the pool to get to the convenience store. Also not my fault that our house is on your jogging route. Your swimsuit needs help though. I mean, really? Rash guards? Girl, you need to put on something better than that on swim dates.”

 

Jimin massaged her temples. This misunderstanding was starting to make her headache worse. “Hyunjin, those weren’t dates.” she explained everything to her friend, about how she was only doing Minjeong a favor in exchange for the blonde’s cooperation at school.

 

“Oh, okay. That makes sense.” Hyunjin nodded. “But you do like her though, don’t you?”

 

“What?” Jimin laughed. She refused to think about it. “Why would I?”

 

“I don’t know? Because you’re squeezing her in your already tight schedule? Making time for her? Admit it. If it wasn’t Minjeong, you wouldn’t even consider agreeing.”

 

Jimin scoffed, “That’s wrong on so many levels.”

 

“Oh, so I see how it is. You are undergoing the first stage of grief.” Hyunjin narrowed her eyes. “Jimin, I need you to answer the next few questions honestly.”

 

Okay, so what’s she on to now? “Shoot.”

 

“Do you think about Minjeong at least three times a day?”

 

“Well...yes, but not because--”

 

“Do you think she’s pretty?”

 

“Who doesn’t?”

 

“When she smiles, do you feel like your whole world stops and stares for a while?”

 

“Isn’t that a song?”

 

“Whenever she’s near, don’t you just panic?”

 

“I--no. No, why would I panic?”

 

“Are you planning to answer every single one of my questions with a question?”

 

“It worked quite well for Socrates so I don’t see why not?”

 

Hyunjin leaned back, eyes gleaming like a detective who just finished interrogating someone and found some juice. “I’ve connected the dots.”

 

“You didn’t connect .” Jimin wittily quipped.

 

“I’ve connected them.” Hyunjin replied, recognizing the meme, and with her smug face declared, “You like her.”

 

Okay. What about a no? “What?” she exclaimed, bewildered. “Where did that even come from?”

 

Hyunjin tapped her temple, “From faultless research.”

 

“This is dumb.”

 

“Okay, if you can’t accept that then what if we just say you have a tiny crush on her.”

 

“No.”

 

“Yes.” Hyunjin said, nodding. “Stop denying it sweetie, it’ll save you time.”

 

Jimin huffed and focused on her food instead. “You’re worse than Aeri.”

 

Hyunjin blew her a kiss, “We’re doing it for you, baby.”

 

She refused to think about whatever crap Hyunjin was trying to feed her. The only thing she’s going to eat today was her pork cutlet. Yes. She should think about the lectures. The upcoming exams. The lockdown drill. The quizzes. The cultural f--

 

“Hey, can I sit with you? Everywhere else is full.”

 

Jimin didn’t even need to look up to know who it was because aside from recognizing that voice, Hyunjin had also started kicking her under the table, making faces while loudly whispering, “It’s your crush! Quick, act normal!”

 

Oh my god, why was she so embarrassing? Jimin kicked her back, hard. Shut up.

 

O-kay. So I’m going to sit, alright?” Minjeong said, taking a seat next to Jimin whose face was burning up because Hyunjin was still freaking out and Minjeong could obviously hear and God she wished the ground would open up and swallow her whole right there and then. Could this lunch get any more awkward?

 

“Hey, Minjeong. Where’s Yizhuo?” Hyunjin sparked the conversation, her sickeningly sweet, up-to-no-good smile making Jimin cringe. Dear lord.

 

“Choir meeting.” Minjeong simply answered. Jimin could feel her glancing over from time to time but refused to acknowledge it. No, she won’t let her see how mortified she was. She’s going to pretend she didn’t exist at least until the end of this lunch. She sped up eating. “Damn, babe, you that hungry?”

 

Jimin stiffened, swallowing with much difficulty. Of course Minjeong would talk to her. “Yeah.”

 

“Wasn’t talking to you but sure, babe. Sure.

 

Jimin choked, for the second time that day. Minjeong calmly handed over her glass of water and patted her back as she coughed. “There, there. I was just messing with you. You’re my one and only baby, don’t worry.”

 

Jimin’s face was burning like the ninth ring of hell. She caught sight of Hyunjin watching them with malice gleaming in her eyes. Oh my god, why did Minjeong have to be so...Minjeong? Could she at least act like a decent human being in public?

 

“Ugh, I’m so done.” Jimin stood, marching to put her dishes away, ignoring Minjeong and Hyunjin’s laughter.

 

Before she exited the cafeteria, she bought a banana milk from the vending machine and slammed it down in front of Minjeong who just blinked at her in confusion.

 

“The drink I owe you from last night.” she briefly explained. “I hope you choke.”

 

Yeah, she liked Minjeong better at night, when that chaotic switch is turned off and nobody but her could hear those flirtatious remarks.

 

She attended her classes feeling a bit more awake. Maybe it was the cola, or what happened at the cafeteria, or Minjeong, or all of the above. Eitherway, she felt more alert and was able to concentrate on the lectures better. She couldn’t allow this to go on. She’s definitely going to sleep early tonight, maybe cut her time with Minjeong in half or something. Homework and studying had been done at the pool for the past week while she timed Minjeong doing her laps. It was more efficient that way.

 

Jimin borrowed Aeri’s notes from their morning classes, planning to copy them while she rotted away in detention. Yes. Yoo Jimin, president of the student council extraordinaire, was given the punishment of detention for being tardy as if her day couldn’t get any more worse. Hurray, there went her pristine image.

 

Sitting in that empty classroom had never felt so humiliating when she was the one seated on the teacher’s desk. Right now, she crouched so low in her seat as she diligently jotted down notes, too embarrassed to lift her head when she could feel the curious and judging looks from other students thrown her way. It wasn’t helping that Mark, the one supervising today because she couldn’t for obvious reasons, kept giving her that -eating grin.

 

Jimin was sitting in Minjeong’s usual seat--third row, by the window--and now she could understand why the girl liked sitting there so much. The view outside was nice, great for passing time, and the seat was far from everybody else. Not too near up front, not too far back. Just right.

 

Staring at the trees outside the window was making her eyes feel heavy. But she hasn't finished copying Aeri’s notes. But...sleeping is important. Her deprived brain badly needed it. And…

 

The next thing she knew, Mark was shaking her awake.

 

“Jimin. Hey. Two hours is up.”

 

Jimin blinked the drowsiness out of her eyes. She had fallen asleep leaning against the window. “What time is it?” she yawned. Now that’s a good nap.

 

“A little past seven.”

 

“Ah.” there’s a familiar fragrance lingering in the air, though she couldn’t pinpoint what nor where it came from. “What’s that smell? Do you wear feminine perfumes?”

 

“Probably Minjeong’s jacket.” Mark answered and only then did Jimin notice the flannel jacket draped over her shoulders.

 

She was confused. “She was here?”

 

“You won’t believe it. She suddenly barged in as if she owned the place. I tried telling her she wasn’t allowed because she didn’t get detention today but she just told me I can’t kick her out of her home. Then she sat beside you, laid down on her desk, and just watched you sleep for an entire hour. She only left when the time was up but not without telling me to let you sleep for a few more minutes. I don’t know, it’s pretty sweet of her if you ask me.”

 

“Oh.” her heart did a silly little dance, butterflies rising from the pits of her stomach and tickling her insides yet that one part of her mind resisted, dismissing it as oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine…

 

“Here’s your phone.” Mark returned the device. “I gotta go now. Haechan’s waiting. Please close up for me, Yooji. Thanks!”

 

Wordless, Jimin opened her phone hoping to look for something to distract herself from the Minjeong-scented flannel only to be greeted by a text message from the blonde herself.

 

“Let’s skip practice tonight. U need your beauty rest. Guess I tired you with that astronomy info dump last night 😅 Rest well babe 😘 Don’t miss me too much 😎

 

Jimin let herself smile--nobody was there to call her out for it anyway--and typed her reply.

 

“You should’ve woken me up.”

 

“Oh hey good morning sleeping beauty”

 

“Why did you go here”

 

“What do u mean whyyyy! I have to be there and witness the ceremonious event that is Yoo Jimin getting detention”

 

Jimin chuckled. This kid, really. “What about your jacket?”

 

“You can keep it. A humble gift from your crush 😎

 

🙄🙄 um 🤢🤮 excuse me???”

 

“U can hug it at night. Ure welcome 😘

 

“?????? it’s getting weird”

 

“PLS. U crushing on me SO hard. I heard u loud and clear ure not dat slick”

 

Jimin sighed. Actually, maybe Minjeong at night wasn’t any better than Minjeong during the day after all.

 

“K bye”

 

😂

 

Minjeong was Minjeong, no matter which time of the day it was. And Jimin found she liked every facet to her just the same.

 

 

 


 

a/n:

Disclaimer: i know nothing about swimming, nor have i taught anyone how to swim, nor do i KNOW how to swim 🤪

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