Soojin debates whether she should knock or just open the door, because she was fully confident that Shuhua did not lock her door. Maybe she should knock. It was basic human decency, but she knew damn well Shuhua would not let her in if she knew it was her standing outside her door.
So to be a decent human being, or use Shuhua’s forgetfulness to her advantage, so that she could make it up to Shuhua? That was her dilemma.
Soojin heaves a sigh, blinking in thought as her eyes trained onto the handle of the door.
“When did I start caring if I was a decent human being? I don’t give a .” Soojin muttered to herself, reaching for the handle of the door.
She turns around at the call of her name, a little surprised at who it was.
“What are you doing here?” Soojin’s hand falls from the door handle, stuffing them into her jacket pockets. Her demeanor grows cold and tense, a sense of anger rising deep within her.
“I’m.. Uh–,” Karina raises the wrapped box in her hands, “just dropping this off to her before I fly home for the holidays.”
“Oh, right. You guys are like….dating…” Soojin mutters to herself, but Karina hears, and she gives Soojin a small and polite smile.
“We go on dates… but I’m aware of what she feels for you, Soojin.” Karina tells her, and it catches the other woman off guard.
“You’re lucky, is all I have to say.” Karina chuckles, and her smile is sad.
Soojin shrugs, “there’s nothing going on between us anymore. We’re just friends. No benefits. You don’t have to worry.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that you have a part of her heart.”
Soojin doesn’t know why that makes her mad. To have someone like Karina telling her off about something Soojin has been so confused and in denial about.
“She’s all yours,” Soojin says with a clenched jaw, already starting to slowly walk towards the elevator.
“You know damn well that’s no one's choice, but hers.” Karina says, which makes Soojin stop in her tracks. “Don’t be a coward, Soojin. We both know that what she feels for you is not one sided.”
Soojin turns around, eyes flaring in anger, teeth clenched. “You don’t know .”
Karina doesn’t seem bothered, nor did she look aggravated like Soojin was. She remained calm and collected. “Shuhua deserves better. Give her what she deserves.”
When Soojin blinks away her anger, Karina sees the pained look in her eyes. “I can’t.” Her voice sounded strained, and she tried her best to withhold any sign of vulnerability to be seen.
Especially not for Karina to see.
“You can’t just give up. You have to at least try.” Karina tells her.
Soojin sighs, “I never gave in.”
“I know she deserves better,” Soojin says, “I ing know it…. that’s why I can’t…”
It sounded so simple to say. In her mindset, Soojin definitely knows Shuhua deserves better than her, and that’s exactly why she’s trying her hardest to draw a line between them.
“You can.” Karina nods her head. She should feel stupid for encouraging the person she’s going up against, but what good would it do if she ended up just being the second choice.
Karina did not care if falling for Shuhua was going to break her into pieces. As long as she knew Shuhua was with the one she actually wanted to be with, that was all that matters. Whether it be her or not.
Soojin shakes her head, “just… just make sure she’s okay,” is all she could say.
Karina sighs, and gives her a nod of assurance, and that was enough for Soojin to decide to leave again.
“Hey, Soojin.” Karina calls for her before Soojin turns the corner of the hall and heads towards the elevator. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to you in the past.”
“Your apology is worth nothing compared to the years of torment you’ve put me through.” Soojin said bitterly, eyes hardening at the memory.
Karina looks saddened, but she couldn’t do anything, but understand where Soojin was coming from. She didn’t expect to be forgiven so easily, but she didn’t apologize in hopes of it anyway. She just wanted it to be known to Soojin that she’s changed, and that she has acknowledged how terrible she was towards Soojin in the past.
“I’m sorry. I really am.”
When Soojin walks away, Karina stands there with a heavy heart. She looks down at the present in her hands, and she’s reminded of why she was standing in front of this door in the first place.
She knocks on the door three times, and it takes three more series of knocks till the door finally opens to a red eyed, and sullen Shuhua.
Karina takes in the beauty that is Yeh Shuhua. A small smile graced her lips, and she let her eyes roam over every curve of Shuhua’s features slowly.
Shuhua looked tired, and like she had been crying, but the surprise on her face after seeing that it was Karina behind the other side of the door, is what makes Karina’s heart melt.
“Hi, beautiful.” Karina greets.
Shuhua blinks, “Karina,” she breathes out her name, eyes lowering to the wrapped box in the older woman’s hands. Karina sees this, and holds it towards her, “for you.”
Shuhua breaks out into a small smile, “thank you,” she accepts it, “come in, I have yours under the tree.”
Shuhua takes hold of Karina’s hand, and pulls her into her space. It was the first time Karina’s ever been in Shuhua’s house, and everything seemed as elegant as the owner was.
Shuhua dropped her hand when they made it into the living room, the younger woman bending down to retrieve Karina’s present from under the tree and handing it to her with a proud smile.
“I hope you like it.” Shuhua shyly says.
Karina accepts it with her own smile, eyes relaying so much adoration for the latter. “I’m sure I will, Shuhua. It’s from you.”
Shuhua only blushes, and Karina raises her hand to swipe her thumb over the red of her cheeks. She lifts Shuhua’s gaze back up into her own, and she searches for what she can find in those beautiful brown orbs.
“Did she make you cry?” Karina asks softly, eyebrows meeting in the middle.
“What?” Shuhua is dumbfounded.
“Soojin? Did she make you cry?” Karina repeats, putting the present down, and taking a step closer towards Shuhua, their fronts touching, as she continues to cradle Shuhua’s face like she was the utmost fragile.
Shuhua’s expression softens from its confused state. “No...” she truthfully says, “it was all me.”
Karina sighs, “oh, beautiful… I wish that you wouldn’t cry for anyone like that.”
Shuhua doesn’t say anything, but her eyes tell Karina that she’s sad, mind probably drifting to the person in question.
“If I’m being honest, Shuhua, I’ve accepted the fact a while ago that your heart already belongs to someone else.” Karina softly chuckles, and her eyes mirror Shuhua’s sadness. She lets out a shaky sigh, leaning forward to connect their foreheads together, eyes closing shut.
Shuhua closes her eyes too, hands raising to grip the sides of Karina’s shirt. “I’m so sorry, Karina.”
There was no room for any more denial.
She shakes her head, “hey, no. Don't say that. Remember what I told you?” Karina pulls away to look Shuhua in the eyes, “never apologize for what your heart wants. Even if it’s not me.”
“I wish it was you,” Shuhua whispers, a tear rolling down her cheek, but Karina doesn’t think twice to wipe it away. “It would be much easier that way. You’re so good to me. You’re so kind. Perfect.” Shuhua says, and her heart cracks seeing how Karina looks at her with the same kind smile she had met her with.
“I try to give you my best, beautiful. It’s what you deserve.”
“No,” Shuhua sniffles, “I don’t deserve you. I’m not worthy.”
Karina hums in disagreement, “if only you were able to see yourself through my eyes. You deserve everything.”
“I’m sorry,” Shuhua says again. It’s the only thing she could say.
“Thank you for trying, anyway. For giving me the time of day… It was the happiest I’ve been in a very long time.” There was so much longing and ache between the lines of her words, Shuhua could hear it.
Karina brings their faces closer again, their foreheads resting against each other. “I’m still here for you.” She assures Shuhua, “maybe I’ll even give Jeno a little competition for his title.” Karina playfully says, causing Shuhua to break into a fit of giggles.
“Be careful. He’ll bet on his victory, and you’ll be stuck watching reruns of High School Musical.”
Maybe it wasn’t meant to be for the both of them, but there was no denying the fact that they have both developed a different kind of relationship that allowed them to care for each other this much.
Karina had accepted it.
Shuhua’s heart did not belong to her, and she was okay with it. Hurt, yeah, but who was she to stand in the way of something that could turn out to be the most beautiful thing.
If she didn’t trust Soojin, she wouldn’t have given up so easily, but Karina did. She trusted Soojin to handle Shuhua and give her what she deserves.
Soojin just needed a little help.
“Our annual dance competitions have been moved to after New Years instead of before, so when everyone goes home for the holidays, I expect everyone to still be practicing their routine.” Chungha speaks to the members who were sitting tiredly on the floor of the practice room; all sweaty and out of breath.
“We’re going against big names in the state, guys. Juilliard, Columbia, Cornell, and so on and so forth. So I expect nothing but hard work from everyone. We don’t wanna lose our four year streak, now do we?” Chungha points her finger at every single member, an expectant look on her face.
They all answered tiredly, and Chungha only chuckled.
“Anything to add?” Chungha turns to the five other dance leaders.
“Don’t mess up.” Soojin pipes, arms crossed, and eyes piercing.
Lisa rolls her eyes, slinging her arm over Soojin’s tense shoulders. “What Soojin means is, we hope everyone has a great winter break, and we’ll see you guys at practice when everyone gets back.”
“Alright, everyone is dismissed. Happy holidays.” Chungha claps, offering a kind smile in contrast to Soojin’s tough exterior, as everyone starts to pack up and leave the practice room.
“Come on, Jin. It’s the holidays.” Lisa swings Soojin’s arm that she latched onto, side to side in a whine. “Smile for Lisa,” she tickles her fingers under Soojin’s chin, making baby faces and sounds that she very much knew would irritate the latter. <