Hey man, I love you/But no ing way

Caution: Love Ahead

a/n: 

Highly unedited (not that I ever edit anything I put up here LOL) and written during stolen time between work so expect errors, cheese, and fluff! Belated happy valentines!

 


 

 

 

Yoo Jimin never had time for anything else, much less go on a date. So it wasn’t much of a surprise for Aeri when she turned out to be a totally hopeless case in planning one.

 

“What do you think?” Jimin asked as her laptop screen went dark, displaying a little ‘end of presentation’.

 

“You know,” Aeri annoyingly sipped her already empty drink, making disgusting slurping noises. “It’s really amusing seeing you like this.”

 

Jimin threw her a glare. “You’re not helping.”

 

Aeri put her palms up, “I’m just saying! I mean, you called me here in the SC office saying you have ‘important’ matters to discuss about and I ended up missing lunch and listening to an entire point-by-point report on, and I quote, ‘the art of woman wooing’ complete with a powerpoint presentation and hardcopies of said research.” she waved the papers around. “Relax, Yooji! You’ll be fine. I’m sure of it."

 

She watched her friend heave a sigh and run her fingers through her hair. Aeri understood how Jimin’s mind worked, understood what made her tick so it wasn’t unexpected that she would react the way she did.

 

Poor lover girl was in a state of panic and shock, if the regular ‘is this really happening’ questions she threw at Aeri every hour were of any indication. Her brain was wired for logic and knew nothing but academics and so those were her go-to in coping with this situation she got herself in. Aeri was sympathetic but at the same time, she admittedly found this Jimin cute and sweet, in her own nerdy way.

 

“A sit-down meal at a restaurant should work, right?” Jimin confirmed, lips habitually pressed together. “I mean, it did get the highest score on that one survey. You never go wrong with statistics.” she looked so tense Aeri wanted to laugh but she forced herself not to, deciding to be a decent friend just once.

 

“Jimin, look,” she started, “I know you’re doing these to reassure yourself that everything’s going to work out fine but let me tell you just to be clear: it’ll be perfect. No matter what you do or where you go, okay?”

 

Jimin stared at her, letting out a deep sigh before nodding, “Okay.”

 

“Good. Now, if you’re done, it’s time we start moving. Lunch break is almost over.” Aeri stood, dragging her seat back outside, “You wouldn’t want to miss our next subject.” she teased in a sing-song voice, cackling at Jimin’s petrified stance.

 

Thanks to her friends, math had been a class Aeri’s been looking forward to.

 

Aeri found it funny how brave Jimin was when she did that, as Ms. Woo and Mrs. Lee had put it, scandalous act but acted like a saint during detention and how daring Minjeong had been reduced to a blushing, shy mess. Mark, who had been the presiding officer then, had happily spilled everything that had happened that afternoon to their circle of friends which, unfortunately, lacked the action they were expecting. According to him, the two sat at opposite ends of the room (as per Mrs. Lee’s instructions). They looked at everything except the other but on occasions (that happened ever so frequently, Mark had said) that their eyes met, both would look away wearing bright pink on their cheeks.

 

The day after The Kiss™ happened, Ms. Woo had ordered Minjeong to transfer seats, which the blonde strongly rebelled against, disrupting class every chance she got and after giving her multiple threats that didn’t work, Ms. Woo eventually let her sit beside Jimin again and Minjeong finally behaved, though the brunette looked absolutely mortified by it all.

 

Her two friends had been her source of entertainment these days, which was kind of sad. She should get herself a date.

 

As Ms. Woo droned on and on about the Gudermannian function and Aeri’s mind finally reached its limit and blanked out, her eyes landed on Jimin and Minjeong, seemingly paying attention to the discussion until Aeri noticed Jimin writing with her left hand, which was weird since her friend was right handed and as far as she knew, was never ambidextrous. Her gaze then dropped and she couldn’t hold back her scoff.

 

Seriously? Holding hands under the desk? Right in front of Christopher Gudermann’s circular and hyperbolic functions?

 

Aeri huffed, rolling her eyes. She really should get herself a date.

 

She sneaked out her phone and discreetly snapped a photo of evidence, sending it to Yizhuo. “Are you seeing this”

 

The girl’s reply came suspiciously fast. It seemed like Aeri wasn’t the only one using her phone in class. “🤮🤮🤮 i can never understand what unnie saw in that goof.”

 

“Minjeong prob put smth in her drink during that party lbr”

 

“So true bestie omg nobody can stand her annoying istg i almost became deaf listening to her boasting about unnie kissing her 🙄

 

“Yooji’s been freaking out about it too like, who’s gon tell her a peck isnt enough action DUDES this aint a k-drama”

 

“They’d die when they finally kiss fr”

 

“Sksksks why are we discussing our friends kissing”

 

“Idk u started it”

 

“U started it HELLO i have screenshots i have RECEIPTS”

 

“Naur. Coffee later after school? Let’s ditch em.”

 

“Is this a date”

 

“It’s a date.”

 

***

 

Minjeong’s first kiss was when she was in 2nd grade, turning when her friend who had been too spoke and their lips coincidentally met. The next was during 3rd grade. 4th. And so on. All of which were accidents. And all of which, Yizhuo was unlucky enough to witness, and was even unluckier to be the participant in the first one.

 

“Who you calling delusional now, huh? Huh?”

 

There’s only one straw left. Just one and Yizhuo would be more than willing to push her friend off the building.

 

She had shown the blonde the photo Aeri sent her when they met up for their next class, meaning to but it backfired and now Yizhuo was starting to wish she didn’t mention it at all.

 

“Ning-”

 

“Stop right there.” Yizhuo interrupted, already plugging her ears with her forefingers. She recognized that look. No, she’s not going to let herself go through that again. “I swear to god, if I ever hear you go on a detailed explanation on how that k-word felt like again, I’m going to k-word you.”

 

Minjeong batted her lashes, “You’re going to kiss me?” she faked an exaggerated gasp, hand flying to her chest, “Oh my god, I didn’t know you had the hots for me.”

 

“What? No! I’m going to kill you! Kill!

 

“Oh? .”

 

Yizhuo could only groan and pull her hair out in frustration while Minjeong chortled away. Dear lord, how could Jimin even stand her? What happened to their student council president’s taste? Was she even sure of asking this dork out? Did she even think about the decision she was going to make? About the annoying gum that will forever be stuck on her hair?

 

She looked at her annoying gum friend who had started to animatedly fantasize about this weekend, obviously excited about the date. It was getting redundant, she had been gushing about it for two days now that Yizhuo didn’t even need to pay attention to know what she’s saying. But as consolation for actually not being delusional, Yizhuo let her yammer.

 

A knock from the door got the entire class’s attention. Yoo Jimin’s head popped in and Yizhuo could see Minjeong perk up from the corner of her eye.

 

Jimin’s eyes roamed around the room, stopping on Minjeong a few seconds longer, before eventually shifting to Yizhuo.

 

“Ning Yizhuo, can I have a moment?”

 

Her brows went up to her hairline. She pointed to herself, ‘me?’ which the older girl just responded with a serious nod. Glancing at Minjeong who was wearing a sulky pout, Yizhuo met with Jimin outside since their subject teacher was absent anyway.

 

“Am I in trouble?” she asked as soon as she reached Jimin.

 

Jimin shook her head, fortunately. “No, I am.”

 

Yizhuo blinked, “I’m sorry, I’m not following. You’re in trouble?”

 

Jimin nodded. “Wanna take a walk? You don’t have a teacher right now, right?”

 

Yizhuo thoughtfully frowned, studying her. Jimin looked serious. But if she had a problem, why would she go to her? Why not Aeri? Or Mark? Or Minjeong?

 

“Is that legal? I mean, is that not considered loitering? Or cutting classes?”

 

Jimin smiled, one corner higher than the other, “If you’re with me, everything can be considered official student council business.”

 

“Was it also official student council business when you kissed Minjeong in front of everybody?”

 

Yizhuo enjoyed the way Jimin flushed pink. “Come on, walk with me.”

 

She shrugged, “Sure. But only if you’re buying pink pringles.”

 

“Deal.”

 

They strolled quietly and Yizhuo could almost hear Jimin’s thoughts running amok with how the older had her brows knit, lips pressed in a tight line. Passing by the cafeteria, Jimin was true to her word and bought each of them a can of pink pringles which replaced the silence with crunchy chewing.

 

“Okay, so what’s up?” Yizhuo finally broke the ice when she finished her snack. They had almost toured the entire campus and were now walking by the football field and Jimin still hadn't said a word. As much as Yizhuo didn’t mind missing her classes, she wasn’t really a fan of walking.

 

Jimin released a breath. “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to start.”

 

Yizhuo grabbed her arm and dragged her to sit at the bleachers. “Ah, now this is nice.” she massaged her legs, “Take your time, unnie. No pressure, though I still have no idea what this is about.”

 

“It’s Minjeong.”

 

Yizhuo nodded in understanding, “I completely understand that you’re questioning your decision because same--”

 

“No, that’s not what I mean.” Jimin was quick to interrupt, “It’s just...what do you think she’d like to do on a date?”

 

Yizhuo stared at her. “So you made me walk around the entire campus just because of…” she trailed off, shaking her head in disbelief.

 

Jimin scratched her nape sheepishly, “Sorry.”

 

“I can’t believe you’re seriously worried about that.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

Jimin looked so lost and Yizhuo couldn’t believe she was serious. “Unnie,” she put a hand on the older girl’s shoulder. “You can take her on a trip to the ninth ring of hell and she’d still love it.”

 

“What?”

 

“Her words, not mine.” Yizhuo clarified. “The point is, she’d be happy as long as it’s with you. Just be yourself. Smile at her. Compliment her. She likes it a lot when you do that. Believe me, I know.” she recalled Minjeong’s giddy rants and shuddered.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Okay.” Jimin exhaled and gave her a grateful smile. “Thanks.”

 

“No problem. But if you are thankful then maybe you can let me cut classes and--”

 

“Nope.”

 

Jimin walked her back to her class, buying her another can of pringles so she’d stop pouting and grumbling. The girl bid her good-bye by the door but not without peeking inside, searching for Minjeong, and giving her a smile which had the blonde screaming as soon as she left.

 

Yizhuo pinched the bridge of her nose as her ears were once again subjected to Minjeong’s gay squeals. She shouldn’t have told Jimin about the effect of her smile.

 

But oh well, as long as they’re happy, I guess.

 

***

 

Minjeong had done it. She’s become the luckiest person on earth, the most successful Yoojinator in existence. Those were her thoughts when she saw the older girl waiting for her at the coffee shop near their neighborhood, clad in a black off-shoulder and jeans and looking exactly like Minjeong’s future girlfriend. She was busy frowning at something on her phone so Minjeong decided to be cheeky and sneaked up behind her.

 

She hovered by Jimin’s shoulder and whispered, “Whatcha doin’?”

 

Jimin did not disappoint. She yelped and flinched and almost dropped her phone while Minjeong cackled in the background, resting her head on Jimin’s shoulder.

 

“Hello, gorgeous.” she greeted with a wide grin when Jimin whipped her head to look at her with a frown.

 

Jimin stared at her for a long while, too long that Minjeong thought she was going to profess her undying love but instead, she got a bewildered question, “Why can’t you be normal for once?”

 

Minjeong straightened up, pouting, “Why can’t you be not grumpy for once?”

 

Jimin’s scowl melted with her sigh. She grabbed Minjeong’s hand. For what, Minjeong had no idea but hey, why not. “Sorry. I’m just a little high-strung about this date.”

 

Now, how could Minjeong survive this day without dying of intense heart palpitations? “Yeah, I heard from Aeri and Ning.” she snickered when Jimin started grumbling about traitorous friends. “Hey, relax. It’ll be fine. It’s already perfect.”

 

Jimin gave her a skeptic look. “But we started the day with a little argument. That wasn’t in my itinerary.” she admitted.

 

Minjeong tugged on her cold, clammy hand, smirking down at her, “But isn’t it so ‘us’?”

 

Jimin laughed. “It is.”

 

“Yeah, and that’s perfect. Now, come on. Time’s ticking. Fly me to the moon, baby.”

 

They bought drinks to fight off the heat--iced americano for Minjeong and a can of cola for Jimin--before riding the bus to somewhere. Minjeong tried asking where they’re going but Jimin insisted it’s a secret. She let her have that bit of fun. With what she heard from Aeri and Yizhuo, they’re probably going to the theaters. She's sure Namsan was somewhere in Jimin’s itinerary too.

 

Minjeong didn’t mind, if it’s with Jimin.

 

“What’re your plans for summer break?” Jimin asked after they got settled on their seat.

 

Minjeong hummed thoughtfully, “Sleeping, sleeping, and sleeping. With a side of…sleeping.” she grinned cheekily at Jimin who rolled her eyes. “What about you?”

 

“The team’s planning to join a swim meet at Jeju,” Jimin picked the lint on her pants, eyes downcast and ears pink. “Three days, two nights. It’s going to be pretty. There. In Jeju, I mean. You know, like, the beach. And seafood. And black pork.”

 

Why was she acting weird? Like, she’s malfunctioning or something. Minjeong figured she must be getting nervous, which was a new concept. Yoo Jimin getting nervous around her. Who would’ve thought?

 

Minjeong only nodded so Jimin could breathe. “Sounds nice.”

 

“Yeah, but--well…” the older girl huffed, glaring at her with apparent frustration, making Minjeong burst into laughter. “You already know what I mean!”

 

She feigned innocence. “Hm? What do you mean?”

 

Jimin frowned, “Kim Minjeong.” she threateningly said.

 

She rested her head on Jimin’s shoulder and chuckled when felt the girl stiffen as she closed her eyes, “Wake me up when you finally got the guts to ask what you wanna ask, unnie.”

 

She heard Jimin groan, “You are so annoying.”

 

After thirty long minutes, their bus ride was finally over and Minjeong was shaken awake. Their first date destination wasn’t what Minjeong had imagined, though knowing Jimin, she really should’ve expected it. It wasn’t the theaters nor Namsan Tower. It was a public aquarium.

 

She sent Jimin a reappraising glance as they lined up for tickets, “Inch resting.”

 

Jimin gave her a wide grin, the biggest smile Minjeong’s ever seen yet. “They have 650 species of 55,000 different marine life forms.” she gushed, excitedly tugging on Minjeong’s arm, “Hey, look! Toddlers can have a free pass! You can enter for free!”

 

Minjeong scoffed at the jab, “You do realize that makes you a e, right?”

 

“So you agree? You’re a baby?”

 

Your baby.”

 

Jimin smirked, playfully bumping her shoulder, “Yeah. My baby.”

 

That made Minjeong pause and utter a quick prayer for mental strength and emotional stability as she felt her cheeks inevitably burn up. She’s in the presence of high sugar, low salt Jimin and she wasn’t about to complain.

 

The sight that greeted them upon finally entering was breathtaking, to say the least. Floor to ceiling glass tanks filled with glimmering water and all kinds of fishes swimming around. Minjeong didn’t bother getting to know each of them since Jimin already did that for her. She knew her crush had a thing for sharks, but she never knew she was a marine geek. It was adorable. And if Jimin started teaching her the scientific names of each animal, Minjeong would still find it adorable.

 

“That fish looks sad.” Minjeong pointed out, eyes on that lone sardine that had somehow gotten itself separated from its school.

 

Jimin huddled over, peeking over Minjeong’s shoulder from behind and holding on to her shoulders. “Yeah, it kind of does.”

 

Minjeong leaned back, into Jimin’s warmth, and whispered into her ear, “Let’s break it out. You distract the guards, I’ll break the tank.”

 

Jimin had to drag her away before she could commit the crime, binding Minjeong’s arms with hers, and redirected her to another tank and started lecturing her about each fish they could find.

 

“This is amazing,” Jimin commented after telling Minjeong everything about every species she recognized and spouting more facts about a sardine than she would like. “I’m so glad we came.”

 

Minjeong’s too busy trying to process the sardine information dump Jimin was giving her to pay much attention to the fishes but she agreed. It was great. Jimin looked very happy, and wasn’t that all that mattered?

 

“I know, right? This is really ni--”

 

“Look, it’s a penguin! How cute!”

 

Minjeong could only chuckle as she got dragged away to look at the humboldt penguins which were supposedly from South America and could stay underwater for 18 minutes and could swim 30 miles per hour--or at least that’s what Yoo Jimin the walking almanac told her.

 

“Why are there penguins in an aquarium? They’re not fish.” Minjeong wondered as she watched the penguins waddle.

 

“I know.” Jimin agreed, snapping photos, “It’s kinda weird that an aquarium has birds.”

 

“Mammals.” Minjeong corrected.

 

Jimin looked at her, “Minjeong, penguins aren’t mammals.”

 

Minjeong jutted her chin up, defiant, “Since when?”

 

Jimin stared at her before bringing her phone up, snapping a photo which she will soon see posted in the older girl’s social media account with the caption ‘what a clown who believes that penguins are mammals looks like’, “You’re lucky you’re cute. Let’s go.”

 

The next zone had crocodiles and Minjeong had to physically stop Jimin from trying to touch the, in the older girl’s words, charismatic reptiles.

 

“No, Jimin, you can’t put your hand out like that. Those aren’t dolphins. They’re not going to boop it. They’re going to snap it into half. ”

 

Jimin gave her that pleading look that frankly looked like Puss in Boots, “I’m just going to feed them.”

 

“Then use the friggin’ fishing pole thing. Be careful. Your hand. Your hand, Jimin. Your hand.”

 

After letting Jimin haphazardly feed the crocodiles a few more times, they finally moved on to the next areas. Minjeong had always been fascinated with animals and having Jimin around was like having a tour guide and walking and talking Google for free and without WiFi. Her jaw hung agape at the pirarucu which was apparently the largest freshwater fish. When they reached the dangerous waters zone, she offered to be the lookout while Jimin climbed the tank to pet the sharks and had to clarify that she was only joking when the girl seriously considered that idea. The sea lions were adorable but when Jimin had started to connect them to puppies and came to a wild conclusion that therefore Minjeong looked like a sea lion, Minjeong had to walk out of there.

 

Overall, Minjeong liked it. She liked clinging on to Jimin when it got too crowded and getting an exclusive whiff of her perfume, how the girl’s entire face would light up at the different marine animals and coral reefs and the way she would talk about them so passionately, how she would make sure to hold Minjeong’s hand, and even the petty bickering which had become their brand.

 

Minjeong was loving it. And she hoped for the day to never end. But of course it does and they’re walking out of the aquarium, bags filled with souvenirs and was met with the pink-orange hue of the sunset.

 

“Hey.” Jimin prompted, “Are you still mad about that sea lion thing?”

 

Minjeong didn’t reply, maintaining her sulking act of puffed cheeks and pouty lips.

 

“Minjeong.” Jimin squeezed her hand to get her attention, “Kim Minjeong.”

 

The blonde clicked her tongue at the finger poking her cheek. “What?” she snapped, glaring.

 

Jimin grinned, eyes crinkling. “You’re cute when you’re mad.”

 

“Oh, shut up. That’s my line.” Minjeong pushed her away even as a smile bloomed on her face and warmth spreading on her cheeks.

 

“Come on. Stop sulking. Do you want ice cream? We can get ice cream. Mint chocolate. Our favorite. What about that, hm?”

 

Minjeong pretended to think about it, “Hmm, okay.” her eyes caught sight of a large metal contraption not far from where they were, “And that! I want to ride that!”

 

Jimin’s gaze followed where she was pointing and visibly blanched. “No, no, no, I’m not getting on that. What about a carousel? There’s a carousel over there too. The ponies are cute.”

 

“It’s just a Ferris wheel! It’ll be romantic!”

 

“My panic will not be romantic, Minjeong.”

 

She brandished her ultimate weapon of getting what she wants: the legendary Puppy Eyes™.

 

Jimin stared at her long and hard before giving in, “Oh, alright. But just know that if I throw up on you, you deserve it.”

 

The queue for the ride wasn’t that long and they got on the compartment faster than Jimin would’ve liked. There weren’t many people so they got the space all to themselves, which didn’t really change anything as the older girl insisted for Minjeong to sit beside her so she could squeeze her hand to death.

 

“Calm down, unnie.” Minjeong chuckled, half wincing at how tight the grip on her hand was getting as they slowly ascended. “Look at the view, isn’t it beautiful?”

 

Jimin’s eyes were glued on her, “Nobody’s looking at that damn view.”

 

Minjeong laughed, recognizing the line. “Don’t be a scaredy cat. Oh, wait. You already are.”

 

“Shut up--oh my god, why is it creaking? Is it supposed to be creaking? I don’t think it’s supposed to creak. I’m getting down--oh holy crap I’m going to die. Someone stop this wheel!”

 

Minjeong guffawed harder at the freaking out girl, “Unnie, we’re not even that high up.”

 

“We’re dropping. We’re dropping, Minjeong. Oh my go--” Jimin faltered, completely failing to process altogether and looking like her soul had left her body as their compartment descended and Minjeong was dying from laughter.

 

Jimin was right. Her panic wasn’t romantic, but it was a whole comedy series. The entire ride was spent with the older girl losing her mind while Minjeong tried not to laugh as she comforted her but when Jimin started praying the rosary, the blonde couldn’t stop herself from cracking up.

 

“Glad to see you having fun with my misery.” Jimin bitterly told the still laughing Minjeong as they finally got off, looking pale as a ghost.

 

“Aww, sorry about that. I didn’t think you’d be that scared.” MInjeong chuckled, fixing Jimin’s hair that was all over the place as if they just came from a rollercoaster ride instead of a Ferris wheel.

 

Jimin huffed, pouting and Minjeong thought she’s adorable. Her dark eyes scanned the blonde’s face, lips then pressed into a thin line, “But you’re happy?”

 

Minjeong poked Jimin’s cheek, “Very.”

 

“Then I’d ride that with you again, a thousand times over.”

 

As if the day couldn’t get any better, they ended it with the perfect activity: swimming. It was already nighttime when they arrived at the neighborhood pool and the sky was void of clouds, light pollution the only thing suppressing the stars.

 

Gyeoul, Minjeong’s white maltese that they had picked up on their way there, was already curled up on a lounge chair after playing catch with the girls. Minjeong swung her feet that were submerged in water and watched the ripples. She was seated at the edge of the pool while Jimin floated aimlessly on her back, resting after racing against each other that ended up with Minjeong grabbing Jimin’s ankle, resulting in an underwater wrestling match that made Minjeong swallow and inhale more pool water than she’d like.

 

Suddenly, Jimin started laughing and Minjeong was positive it was because of too much chlorine intake.

 

“Are you finally losing your mind?” she asked, mildly concerned.

 

“No, it’s just occurring to me how badly I stressed over this date.” Jimin admitted, still chuckling, “The data I gathered from my research showed that a meal at a restaurant was the best thing to do on your first date--”

 

“Data you gathered from your what?

 

“--But here I am, making you eat Mcdonald’s take-outs at a neighborhood pool.” Jimin grinned at her, “Real romantic, right?”

 

Minjeong kicked, splashing water at Jimin’s direction, “I don’t mind, you dork. You worry too much as if I haven’t been basically begging for this date for, like, three years.”

 

“Begging how? You call intentional bad behavior ‘begging’?”

 

“Please. I can’t count the number of times I told you to ask me out on a date. I had to flip a damn table to be here, I’m not about to complain about stale burgers and soggy fries.”

 

Jimin narrowed her eyes, “I kind of feel like you are though.”

 

“Meh, we can just do the candlelight dinner next time.”

 

“Candlelight sounds dangerous. With you around, I feel like the candles aren’t the only thing that’s going to burn.”

 

“So you agree? There’ll be a next time?”

 

“Only if you want to.”

 

Minjeong breaks into a wide grin, “I’d love to.”

 

Jimin looked away, face twitching weirdly as she oh so obviously fought back a smile. “Then yeah, sure, whatever.”

 

Minjeong laughed at her bashfulness and changed the subject, taking pity on the girl’s rapidly reddening cheeks. “How come I’ve never seen you swim?”

 

“What?”

 

“During our practices, I’m always the one doing the swimming while you just stand there and order me around.”

 

“That’s literally my job?”

 

“I wanna see you swim.” MInjeong said, feet swinging more vigorously now. “Come on, mermaid.”

 

Jimin rolled her eyes, “You are so annoying.” she huffed but did it anyway, backstroking on the spot before switching to freestyle and then demonstrated a few more upon Minjeong’s cheers, though the blonde admittedly only recognized the butterfly one.

 

Jimin cut through the water with such poise and ease that it made Minjeong feel both bad for making her witness her clumsy swimming and lucky that she got this amazing, gorgeous, intelligent, talented girl as her date. A girl that’s more than she could ever ask for.

 

The girl took a dive then and Minjeong could barely see her as a blurry ripple underwater until she suddenly emerged right in front of her, water splashing like bits of crystals and Minjeong’s breath was taken away. She’s beautiful.

 

“How’s that for a mermaid, hm?” Jimin asked, leaning on Minjeong’s knee after raking a hand through her wet hair. Droplets of water were on her skin, trickling down the length of her jaw.

 

“Hmm,” Minjeong reached down, tucking a lock behind her ear. “Not bad.”

 

Their gazes locked, an intense clash of deep browns. She thought back to the past month of late night swimming, laughter, conversations that ranged from reasonable to ridiculous, and their petty squabbles and fisticuffs and realized that she was happiest when she’s with Jimin. The happy crush had bloomed into something more, she’s afraid, and she had her mother to thank for insisting that she go on that swimming competition.

 

“You’re beautiful.”

 

Minjeong blinked rapidly, confused that the sentence she was thinking of didn’t come out of . There’s a small smile on Jimin’s face as she watched the blonde get flustered, which wasn’t helping her maintain her composure.

 

“Stop staring at me like that.” she grumbled callously, covering her face with her hair. “Why are you being weird all of a sudden. You got enough sleep from the bus ride. You drooled all over my shoulder.”

 

You drooled all over my shoulder.” Jimin corrected. She’s resting her head on her stacked arms that rested on top of Minjeong’s lap now. “And I’m not being weird. Just honest. You are pretty, you know that?”

 

“Yes, I know that. Now, enough with the compliments. If you’re not careful, I’ll turn into mush.” Minjeong poked her forehead, earning a laugh.

 

“Yizhuo told me you like compliments.”

 

“You’re missing something.”

 

“What?”

 

“I like compliments from you. There’s a difference.” Minjeong poked her again. “So you’re just saying that because I like hearing them?”

 

“No. I told you, I’m being honest.” Jimin retorted, looking so ready to fight her if she were to continue accusing her of being insincere.

 

Minjeong snickered at her indignation. “You know, I really want to kiss you right now.”

 

She had expected rolling of eyes to follow the silence that came with her random declaration, as was Jimin’s usual response to her flirtatious jabs. So when Jimin met her gaze with an unreadable expression and said, “Do it then.” Minjeong was caught off-guard.

 

A trickle of water drizzled down from Jimin’s hair, along her nose, and ultimately to her lips where Minjeong’s eyes stuck, shamelessly staring. At the back of her mind, she remembered when Jimin had put her necktie on her and attempted to commit murder through asphyxiation.

 

Does it ever drive you crazy...

 

She recalled the day Jimin brought her to the infirmary, and the day of the lockdown drill, and that particular moment right after the swimming competition--as though she was nearing death and had her life flashing before her eyes.

 

Leaning down, she closed her eyes and the sound of dripping water as Jimin pushed herself up by the pool’s edge was the last thing she remembered when their lips met--wet, and cold, and chapped, and chlorine-flavored, and perfect.

 

...Just how fast the night changes?

 

Minjeong wondered if it was possible for a human being to melt away like cheese on the barbecue grill because that was exactly how it was like kissing Yoo Jimin. The possibility made her smile into the kiss and felt the older girl do the same and the next thing they knew, they were a giggling mess, leaning into each other’s forehead for support as their shoulders shook the laughter away.

 

In the midst of the tickles, Minjeong peeked at Jimin--cheeks flushed, eyes squeezed shut, smile wide, and dimple showing--and thought, this girl didn’t hang the stars in her sky.

 

She brought her up to the softest clouds, turned her into one one of the stars, and made her feel like the only constellation Jimin would ever admire.

 

***

 

It drove Minjeong crazy, just how fast the night changes.

 

Days had passed since their wonderful first date and one would assume that there would already be plans for a second, and a third, and a fourth, and so on. But since then, Jimin had never spoken to her again and Minjeong was this close to believing it was all made up by her, as Yizhuo always said, delusional mind.

 

That kiss was especially too good to be true. It wasn’t difficult to believe that it’s a mere fragment of her imagination. She must’ve taken too many vitamins and started hallucinating, though she’s not quite sure that’s one of the symptoms of ascorbic acid overdose.

 

If it wasn’t for math, Minjeong would start to think Jimin was avoiding her. Ms. Woo’s class was the only time she got Jimin all to herself--well, barely. Since the girl would usually be paying an unhealthy amount of attention to the lesson. But she still let Minjeong play with her fingers and scribble hearts and stars on her skin. When the blonde asked her about it (accusing her of avoiding her, of being a coward, and calling her out on that promise of a next time--you know, the usual), Jimin just gave her an apologetic smile and the usual excuse of being busy.

 

“She hates me, doesn’t she?” Minjeong despaired at the annoyingly clear blue sky.

 

She and Yizhuo were having lunch at the rooftop since the cafeteria was full. Also because sulking Minjeong didn’t want to share tables with Jimin and Aeri who had waved them over, opting to act as though they hadn't seen anything instead.

 

“Don’t be overdramatic.” Yizhuo chided, “She said she’s busy, didn’t she?”

 

“But still,” Minjeong pouted, pushing her vegetables around.

 

Yizhuo flicked her forehead. “You’re too obsessed.” she clicked her tongue. “Stop sulking and eat your lunch. It’s not the end of the world.”

 

“But she’s my world.”

 

“I swear to God, if you don’t stop being cheesy I’ll push you off this building.”

 

Minjeong grinned her most irritating grin but whatever she was going to annoy Yizhuo with was interrupted by the speakers crackling to life, stealing the girls’ attention.

 

“Mic test, 1, 2.” a garbled voice spoke and if Minjeong guessed it right, it sounded like Mark. “Calling the attention of Kim Minjeong from class 3-1, please proceed to the student council office. Again, calling the attention of Kim Minjeong from class 3-1, please proceed to the student council office. Thank you.”

 

Minjeong exchanged confused looks with Yizhuo who asked, “What did you do this time?”

 

She shook her head. “I didn’t do anything.”

 

“Yet. You haven’t done anything yet.”

 

“Okay, you have a point, but it still doesn’t make any sense. What do they need from me?”

 

Yizhuo shrugged, “I don’t know, prevention is better than cure?”

 

Minjeong gave her an I-can’t-believe-you look before putting her lunch box away. “Come on, you’re coming with me.”

 

Yizhuo’s kimbap hung from her agape mouth, “I’m eating.”

 

“So am I but did I complain? No.”

 

“Can’t they wait?”

 

“You know how the student council is. They’d broadcast my name over and over until I got my there. I have them to thank for my fame.”

 

“Just say you want to see Jimin-unnie and go.”

 

“’I’ll get you dessert.”

 

“You should’ve said that first.” Yizhuo finally got up and followed Minjeong down the stairs.

 

She ran through her memories, checking if she’d violated rules by instinct, as was her nature, but couldn’t remember any. She didn’t run through the hallways, didn’t burn down more counters in the chem lab, and she didn’t commit verbal assault and made someone cry either.

 

“Any idea what it is?” she asked Yizhuo as they neared the office.

 

“I’ve got one, but it’s unlikely.”

 

“Yeah? What’s that?”

 

“Nah, I don’t wanna get your hopes up.”

 

They finally reached the SC office and were welcomed by the usual clutter. Mark and Haechan were discussing some paperwork at one corner. Aeri was there too, eating ice cream with Yeji on the couch. She waved Yizhuo over when she spotted them and gestured for Minjeong to proceed past the partition screen where Jimin’s desk was.

 

Shrugging, she accepted Yizhuo’s good-luck punch and went to see the student council president who happened to be her crush who had been ghosting her for days now.

 

Seeing Jimin in this setting made Minjeong wonder: when was the last time she got called here? A little more than a month, maybe, during that necktie lending incident that tamed her so bad she never went to school without it ever again.

 

She leaned against the divider, watching the brunette work before breaking her peace, “You know, if you keep wanting to meet me in private, people are going to talk.”

 

Jimin looked up and Minjeong greeted her with a lopsided grin complete with a wave of her hand, fingers wiggling. “Yo, pres. ‘Sup? Finally remembered you got a perfect girl in your life, is that it?”

 

The girl took a deep breath. “Come in. And close that behind you.”

 

Minjeong raised her brows slightly at Jimin’s serious expression as she did what she was told. Her face was tight, tense even. What’s up with that?

 

“Still got no seats, I see.” she jabbed lightheartedly, settling on the tabletop. “So who’s gotten you wrinkling those brows, huh? Tell me, I’ll kick their .”

 

“Ms. Kim.”

 

Minjeong stopped and looked at her, stern expression all too familiar. “Um, did I do something wrong?”

 

Jimin just gave her a weird, long stare before sighing, opening a familiar file while grumbling something under her breath, too quiet for Minjeong to hear. “Someone filed a report about you violating the school code of conduct section four.”

 

Minjeong snorted, “The what? Please, speak properly. We’re not in court.”

 

Jimin glared at her. “You don’t memorize the school’s code of conduct?”

 

“Of course I don’t?”

 

Jimin huffed, and for some reason couldn’t meet Minjeong’s eyes. “Well...you’re being accused of stealing--”

 

“Blasphemy! This is peak Anti-Minjeong agenda--”

 

“--...my heart.”

 

Minjeong froze, words stuck in as she processed what she just heard--or what she thought she heard because there’s no way she’d be hearing that from low sugar, high salt Yoo Jimin’s mouth. “I’m sorry, what?”

 

Jimin took another deep breath, bravely returning Minjeong’s gaze. “You’re being accused of stealing my heart.”

 

“Huh.” she uttered, dumbfounded even as a smile crept its way to her lips. “Who’s the accuser?”

 

“You’re looking at her.”

 

Minjeong couldn’t help it. She burst into peals of laughter, hearing Jimin snicker along. “Oh, I see.” she said, playing along. “Is this why you’ve been ghosting me for the past few days? Coming up with a creative way to tell me this or something, hm?”

 

Jimin coughed, ears red. “Might be.” she gave her a sheepish smile, “I’m sorry?”

 

Minjeong chuckled, shaking her head. How could she stay mad at this girl? “Okay, then. I forgive you.” she said, “So, Ms. Accuser, what’s the punishment for my theft?”

 

“Hmm,” Jimin reclined on her seat, lips thoughtfully pressed in a thin line. “To take responsibility of what you’ve done, you’re gonna have to be my girlfriend, Ms. Kim.”

 

Minjeong tried to mask her feelings, but her brows still shot up to her hairline, flushed cheeks a telltale sign of her racing heart. She leaned forward, hand resting on the back of Jimin’s seat. “Yeah? Until when?”

 

Jimin looked at her with the softest gaze and the sweetest smile and Minjeong felt like the only constellation in the sky once more. “For as long as you want.”

 

“For as long as I want?” she confirmed.

 

Jimin nodded firmly. “For as long as you want.”

 

“If that’s the case, then I’m afraid you’re going to be stuck with me forever, Yoo Jimin.”

 

“Lucky me.” Jimin bit her lip, “So...since I'm finally sober enough...be my girlfriend?”

 

Minjeong lightly flicked her forehead, “We literally just had that entire conversation and I already said yes, .”

 

“Just trying to be clear.”

 

“You’re ruining the mood!”


"So..." Jimin started again, chewing on her bottom lip, "What do you say about Jeju for this summer break?"

 

Minjeong planted a quick kiss on her nose, "You don't even have to ask." she said, "I mean, a trip to Jeju with five hot girls? Count me in--ouch! Just kidding, just kidding, you know I only have eyes for you, baby."

 

Just outside the partition screen, the entire council huddled together with Mrs. Lee who had insisted to speak with Jimin only to be stopped by the students standing, peeking through the cracks.

 

“Well,” Mrs. Lee spoke amidst the hushed cheers as the new couple melted into each other’s arms, “They seem to be really close friends.”

 

Aeri and Yizhuo exchanged looks before simultaneously drawling, “You don’t say.”

 

***

 

Yoo Jimin never had time for anything else. But Kim Minjeong was everything and more.

 

For Minjeong, Jimin could spare a lifetime and the next. 

 

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A little late but YAY THIS STORY GOT FEATURED 🥳🥳🥳 thank you for loving and supporting high salt, low sugar jimin and puppy eyes™ minjeong's journey ❤️
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