----- Valentine’s Day Cont. -----
After both of their classes have finished, Chaeyoung leads Heejin to a spot near a lake and then takes out her wand. With a few words, a picnic blanket and basket appear in front of them.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Chaeyoung chuckles when Heejin gives her a surprised expression, then leads them to sit down. She opens the basket, “We said to treat today like any other day and we’ve had picnics before and oh my!”
Chaeyoung acts shocked when she pulls out chocolate covered strawberries. “Where did these typically romantic delectables come from? And what the heck is behind me? Omo!” Chaeyoung looks back and summons a bouquet of peonies flowers before turning back to Heejin.
“You are seriously such a dork,” Heejin smiles brightly as she accepts the flowers and smells them. “Thank you. Aw, I knew I should have got you something.”
“You’re very welcome and don’t worry about it,” Chaeyoung reassures, then jokes, “I just hope what I got you was better than what you got this morning. I heard you got a few gifts.”
Heejin’s shoulders deflate, “So you’ve heard. If anything, I gave Hyunjin back the tickets. There was a mishap on her end about them.”
“Tickets?” Chaeyoung inquires.
“Yeah, the Quidditch World Cup ones,” Heejin takes a bite from a chocolate-covered strawberry.
“Holy , you’ve got some real steel walls, Jeon! To be honest, I think I would’ve taken them if my ex had purchased those tickets originally to go with me. I tried buying them back when they were first released a few months ago, but they’ve been sold out since,” Chaeyoung admits.
“A few months ago?” Heejin pauses.
“Yeah, back in November,” Chaeyoung bites into a strawberry as well.
Hyunjin bought the tickets… in November? But wouldn't that mean…
"In hindsight, this is probably a terrible segue, but speaking of Hyunjin," Chaeyoung sits up a little straighter. "I know that your breakup wasn't that long ago and I don't know what exactly goes on in that big brain of yours, so I never knew when would be a good time to bring this up."
Heejin's head tilts in curiosity and listens in silence as Chaeyoung continues.
"But I like you, Heejin. I care for you. I really do. But I've also been in your position before and so even if you believe you already have an answer to what I'm about to ask, I don't want you to tell me right away. I need you to really think about it, okay? So, here goes."
Chaeyoung takes a deep breath, "Jeon Heejin, will you be my girlfriend?"
There it is. Heejin knew this would happen eventually, but for some reason, it still stunned her. This question had loomed over their heads for weeks and now here it was, in front of their faces. She struggles to find the right words and just as Heejin begins to speak, Chaeyoung stops her.
"Think about it for at least a day and take a few more if you need to. I know I might sound ridiculous, but I'm serious. In my last relationship that I was in, I rushed into it. I had also broken up with an ex at the time and I became putty at the first person who showed me some sort of care that would help me forget them. But in the end, both of us were hurt much more than we should've been."
"I'm not saying that you've been using me nor am I saying that whatever feelings you have for me aren't true. All I'm saying is that I want you to be sure," Chaeyoung reaches out and holds onto Heejin’s hands. "Sure that your mind isn't fighting your heart even in the tiniest bit."
Heejin squeezes the other girl's hands in agreement to her request and breathes out, "Okay… But what if I-"
"Don't worry about hurting my feelings if you realize you aren't ready to take that next step with me," Chaeyoung soothes her correctly guessed concern. "Like I said, I've gone through what I'm pretty sure is happening to you now or hey, maybe I'm wrong, but either way, this will save us from a lot of potential hurt. If you're completely ready to be my girl, perfect. But if you still need time to sort yourself out on your own, then that’s perfectly fine too because I loved being your friend first and will happily continue to be your friend after all is said and done. Whatever you decide, I'll completely understand."
Heejin lets Chaeyoung’s words sink in before releasing a deep breath, “You’re too good for the world, Lee.”
The other girl chuckles, “Aw, don’t flatter me.”
The rest of the picnic was spent peacefully without much difference in comparison to when they’ve done this before. And as Heejin sits there with her, it’s hard for her to imagine saying no when all seems to be going so well between them.
----- The Next Day -----
When Heejin woke up the next morning, her thoughts of becoming Chaeyoung’s girlfriend had yet to sway. Heejin was grateful that Chaeyoung had put her feelings above her own, but Heejin was sure that nothing could make her change her mind. Before she went to bed, she did give it some thought as the other Ravenclaw had requested and nothing made her doubtful. No one made her doubtful. No one should. No one who she is mad at shouldn’t make her doubtful. And that settles it in Heejin’s mind.
She’s scrolling through her phone when a pop-up appears that her mom was calling. Yves and Gowon had left the dorm a while ago so she didn’t hesitate to answer, “Hi, mom!”
“Hi sweetie, I’m just calling to check-in on you. Even after seven years, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten used to not being able to see you as often. But now, you’re finally going to be graduating in a few months!” Her mom says happily.
“Time really does fly, huh mom?”
“Oh you’re telling me, hon,” her mom laughs warmly. “So, what’s been going on over there? Are your studies okay? How are Yves and Gowon? You should invite them over next time, it’s been a while since I’ve seen those kids…”
Heejin and her mom catch up for the next couple of minutes, answering her mom’s many questions as well as asking about what has been going on at home and the smile on Heejin’s face never seems to wash away. Talking to her mom was always like that. With the exception of a few typical quarrels, the two were extremely close and her mom always seemed to know the right words to calm her down and bring her clarity. So as she’s on the phone, she wonders if she should bring up her relationship status and to get affirmation about her feelings. But then she remembers that she had never told her parents that she and Hyunjin had broken up. She was too embarrassed to tell them when she had returned home that fateful night and opted to say that she was homesick instead to explain why she was back.
“Heejin, dear,” her mom breaks her trance. “I almost forgot to ask! How’s that sweet girl, Hyunjin?”
Heejin sighs as the name escapes her mom's mouth, “About that-”
“Did you see the surprise I had packed you?”
“-Hyunjin and I- Surprise? What surprise?” Heejin back tracks (her mother always had a knack for asking questions too quickly when on the phone).
“So I take that as a no,” her mom snickers. “I forgot to ask you when you had come home, so I was hoping you would have found it by now. I guess I’ll just tell you where it is. Go check your traveling bag. When you open it, it’s in the inner pocket. Oh boy! Your dad is urgently requesting my help. I’ve got to go, dear. You know, he’s finally trying to cook that dish that he and Hyunjin kept talking about and I guess it must’ve been harder than he thought. I’m coming! Anyways, tell her I said hi, okay? Bye sweetie, love you!” Her mom rushes at the end.
“Love you too,” Heejin manages to squeeze in before her mom hangs up. In an instant, Heejin drops her phone on her bed and rushes to her suitcase, whipping it open in excitement. Of course, her mom put the surprise in the one pocket Heejin put absolutely nothing in so she had no reason to look in it beforehand.
When she reaches in, she feels something flat. Immediately, Heejin thinks it's money and with her eyes closed, she pulls it out enthusiastically then guesses how much the bill could be. She opens her eyes and her heart sinks to the pit of her stomach.
It was just a still image, but the moment plays in Heejin’s mind as if it had only happened yesterday.
"Did you get the money shot, dad?" She laughs lightheartedly and he takes another picture before putting the camera down and giving her a thumbs up. It was then when she sees a smile on his face too. Seeing that the picture-taking was done, she goes to move before realizing that Hyunjin was still looking at her.
"What? Is there something in my teeth?" Heejin worries.
"No, it's just...," Hyunjin's voice turns soft. "You're beautiful."
In the photo, Heejin was caught smiling mid-sentence at her dad. Next to her was Hyunjin, looking at her with an expression Heejin’s sure she had never seen before. Honestly, she doesn’t think anyone has ever looked at her like that. Hyunjin wore a soft, endearing smile and her eyes were fixed onto her like she was the only person that mattered.
The way Hyunjin was looking at her in that picture…
Heejin used to look at her like that. How there could be a million people in the room, but only one person would completely enrapture her. So many emotions hit Heejin at once and it’s almost too much.
She just wants to rip the photo in half out of frustration. Her fingers grip the top of the image and she’s ready to create a tear and yet, they don’t move. She can’t get herself to rip it apart. To rip them apart. She can’t do it no matter how much she should. And the fact that she can’t was telling her something that she had long been refusing to admit to herself.
“!” Heejin grunts out in frustration and throws the photo towards the trash can. She falls onto her bed and brings her hands up to cover her eyes, whispering desperately, “Why do you still have a grip on me?”
The moment she sees Chaeyoung that morning, she does not wait to tell her that she needs another day to think about it. And to no surprise, Chaeyoung easily understands and that just makes Heejin feel all the more bad about making her wait. All at once, Heejin feels as if she had been wasting Chaeyoung’s time for weeks, potentially leading her on. But on one hand, Heejin knows that whatever she feels for Chaeyoung is real to whatever extent that may be. If someone were to ask if she cared for the girl, Heejin would not hesitate to say yes. They were friends first before they became anything after all.
But on the other hand, there’s Hyunjin and whatever the hell Heejin feels for her.
Hyunjin, who had made her feel everything, everywhere, all at once. The same person who still invades her mind when she least expects it. The same person who, when in the same room, makes Heejin feel like she can’t breathe. The same person who is simply too hard to ignore.
The mental battle would continue for the rest of the day and when she returns to her dorm, the first thing she notices is Yves and Gowon hunched over the taller girl's desk.
“What are your two doing?” Heejin asks.
“Nothing!” Both girls say simultaneously in panic as they turn around to face Heejin.
“What’s behind you, Yves?” Heejin looks at her pointedly.
“Nothing special... just you know, stuff…,” Yves replies awkwardly, making Heejin even more suspicious. Heejin starts to approach her and two girls try to evade Heejin’s reach but eventually, Heejin pries Yves’ hand forward. She looked at what she was holding and to Heejin’s horror, Yves was holding the picture that Heejin thought she had thrown away.
“We um… found this near the trash can today,” Yves says as she properly shows Heejin the picture.
The three best friends share looks and Heejin sighs, “I know you have more to say, so just say it.”
Gowon hums in thought and then speaks, "You never really talked about what happened between you two with us, Heej. Not that you have to, but we just think it would be a good idea for you to talk about it, you know? But only if you’re comfortable with it, of course!"
“I have nothing to say about it,” Heejin says plainly as she glances at the photo again. “I threw it towards the trash for a reason and that’s that.”
“Well, if that’s the case, Gowon and I noticed a crease towards the middle of the picture. Do you want us to just rip it for you? It seemed like that’s what you wanted to do?”
When Heejin says nothing, Yves motions to tear it in half and Heejin feels stiff as it’s about to happen.
“No!” Heejin yells and rushes to take it from Yves’ hands, clutching it close when in her possession.
The atmosphere grows still.
“Heejin,” Gowon trails sympathetically while Yves’ mouth hangs in shock.
And just like that, Heejin breaks. opens and the words don’t stop coming out. She explains everything right from the start of the school year. She tells them about the arrangement and their dropped jaws doesn’t make Heejin refrain from continuing. She tells them about how she and Hyunjin tried to become friends, but ultimately became something more. She tells them about Hyunjin’s confession but how Hyunjin broke her heart not long after and everything in between. And lastly, she talks about her situation with Chaeyoung and how despite how much she likes her, Hyunjin still manages to have some sort of indescribable hold over her.
“Holy ,” is the first thing Yves says when Heejin finally stops.
“That was… unexpected to say the least,” Gowon adds.
“I don’t know what to do,” Heejin speaks wearily. “Or maybe I should know. I mean, the answer should be obvious, right? Clearly, it’s-”
“Chaeyoung.” “Hyunjin.” “Chaeyoung.”
“What?!” Heejin exclaims when she hears Gowon say ‘Hyunjin’ instead. “How on earth is it Hyunjin?! Did you not hear what I just said?”
“Yeah, Park, what’s up with that?” Yves says. “What I heard was that Heejin got played and that she and Chaeyoung have genuine feelings for each other. The only problem is that Heejin isn’t completely over Hyunjin yet, but she’ll get there.”
“You want to know what I heard?” Gowon starts. “For one, I’m hearing failure for communication. Olivia and I used to have communication problems, so I can recognize it when I hear about it whereas you two still struggle with it.”
“I don’t struggle with communication!” Yves says in defense.
“You think Jiwoo likes someone else when it’s clear to literally anyone with eyes that she likes you and you’d know that by now if you just talked to her,” Gowon tells Yves.
“I-I...” Yves stutters before turning silent.
Then, Gowon turns to Heejin. “And you. You didn’t even give Hyunjin a chance to explain herself. Instead, you just left her there without letting her get a word in. Think about it, Heej. If she already attained what she had wanted so badly, why would she try so hard to explain herself to you after the fact? You said you both planned on ending it after winter break anyways, so then there’d be no point for her to try and fix whatever you two had going on when school resumed and yet, she is. Sure, she could have given you some bull answer, but again, what would she gain from that if she already got what she wanted and had already planned on dropping you once break was over? And don’t say it’s because she wanted to still look good to the other students because her reputation is obviously doing just fine despite your mysterious break-up.”
Heejin just stares speechless at Gowon as she continues. The girl's words hit Heejin like a truck as her previous concerns of not talking it out with Hyunjin appeared to be a much bigger deal than she had thought.
“So, I think you should talk to her. For closure, if anything.”
“Okay,” Heejin draws out. "I guess I can see why you think I should talk to her for closure, but that doesn’t really explain why you would choose her over Chaeyoung though.”
"I do have a second reason, but this is something I feel like you should come to the conclusion to by yourself," Gowon says apprehensively.
"Why can't you just tell me?"
"Because I don't want to say it and have you believe it just because I told you," Gowon explains.
"But you basically just told Yves that Jiwoo likes her back when you don't know that for sure," Heejin counters.
"That's different from this, Heej."
"How could it possibly be any different?"
"It just is, okay?" Gowon tries.
"Gowon, please. I'm a literal mess right now and all I'm asking is for help, not for more confusion," Heejin crumbles and sits on her bed, prompting Yves and Gowon to sit next to her in comfort.
"I'm sorry, Heej," Gowon apologizes and places a hand on Heejin's back.
"No, I'm sorry. I shouldn't even be getting mad at you," Heejin takes a deep breath. "Hyunjin was just… She meant the world to me and with just one word, she completely shattered me into pieces. I was literally against her before I even met her for the stupidest reason and yet she somehow managed to turn that into complete and utter affection. You know, I used to wish that I had realized my feelings for her earlier because we could have had so much more fun together if I wasn't so stubborn."
Heejin pauses and Yves and Gowon wait for her to continue.
"But then that happened and I just couldn’t bear to see her happy again without me. I wanted to act as if whatever we had never happened at all, but it would all come rushing back every time I noticed her in a room. I wanted to make her mad and regretful and then, I met Chaeyoung. Chaeyoung, my goodness! She's everything a girl could wish for. She's amazing in every way imaginable and just when I thought I found someone who’s perfect enough to not make me think of anyone at all, Hyunjin just never seemed to escape me. I try to avoid her in real life? I'm thinking of her. I try to stop thinking of her? My eyes land on her from across the room when that’s the last thing I should be doing whenever I'm with Chaeyoung. I just can’t understand why. I should hate her… but I can’t."
“And why do you think that is?” Gowon pushes.
“I don’t know!”
“But you do! Honestly, I think you’ve known for a long time now, but you just refused to admit it out loud because you know the minute you do, it changes everything.”
Words get caught in Heejin’s throat as she processes what Gowon had been trying to pull out of her. Maybe Heejin does know the reason why she can’t seem to let go of Hyunjin, but she had been denying it the moment the words nearly escaped all that time ago. She refused to acknowledge it for the sake of her own feelings, but now, she has more than herself to be concerned about. So, maybe she should face the facts because the longer she tries to bury it, the more hurt she’ll cause to both herself and to others.
“Oh c’mon Gowon, just tell her,” Yves says. “We’ll only go in circles if Heejin can’t figure it out.”
“Believe me, it’ll be better when she admits it herself.”
Yves presses, “Admit what?”
Heejin gulps as she and Gowon's eyes meet.
“That I love her,” Heejin looks at the photograph in her hand. “I love Hyunjin.”
A/N: At last, it has been admitted out loud!!
A lot has been unpacked (get it? sorry, bad pun) this chapter and now we wait to see what Heejin will do about it. Plus, did any of you forget about the fact that Heejin's mom left something in her bag? (ngl, I even forgot until I re-read my story!) Either way, now you know! And yes, I made Chaeyoung extremely understanding about the whole situation LMAO sue me :D.
And about the whole quidditch ticket thing, in case some of you may have missed what I was trying to imply (although I'm sure you didn't, I'm just overthinking), the significance of it being bought in November is that the Quidditich World Cup doesn't take place until way after winter break and it was bought when Heejin and Hyunjin weren't even dating yet so our Slytherin had some high hopes of what would follow after their "deal" had ended.
Lastly, one other update I'd like to give you all is that I'm not really sure when the next chapter will be out. To be honest, I've been having a huge writer's block for chapter 25, but decided to release this chap now because I didn't want it sitting around finished without ever knowing when it would have been published. For all I know, I could finish chapter 25 within a few days or maybe a few weeks, I'm not sure. If anything, I've been working on a new one-shot for a while as that typically helps me get the creative juices going, so keep an eye out for that (it's for another ship, but if y'all would like a 2jin version, lmk!)
Thanks for reading and giving me such loving support up to now! Don't be shy to comment or share your thoughts on twitter in a kind manner!
Til next time - S (rv_twice5 on twitter!!!)