A scream could be heard from Shuhua’s phone, but she paid no mind to it, already used to it the moment she had picked up her best friend’s facetime call. She glances at her phone briefly to see Jeno getting hit in the face by a snowball.
“Aria, you brat!” Jeno yells after a giggling high schooler, and Shuhua sees her hiding behind her twin brother, Arden. She met Jeno’s family over the phone some time ago, and she absolutely adored Jeno’s relationship with his family. They were very close to each other, and it was very heartwarming to see.
Jeno is pushed down onto the snow, his phone falling onto his chest, and the screen blackens for a quick second, before Jeno’s face reappears, his twin siblings giggling next to him on the snow.
“Shuhua, when are you going to come visit us?” Aria steals the phone from Jeno, holding it above her.
Shuhua chuckles, “maybe next holiday.”
“Okay, you promised. I won’t forget it.”
Aria passes the phone back to Jeno, who gives her a look.
“You haven’t even met them in person, and they already like you better than me.” Jeno playfully says, and Shuhua indulges in his playfulness. Tilting her shoulder, a smug look on her face, “yeah, I’m pretty great.”
Jeno laughs, setting his phone on the ground as he takes off his boots, shucking off the excess snow from outside, and hanging his coat on the coat rack.
“Mom, come say hi to Shu!”
Jeno emerges into what looks like the kitchen, and he shoves his phone into his mother’s face. A blonde woman appears, all bright and cheerful. Shuhua mirrors her expression, greeting her first with excitement.
“Hi, Mrs. Harris! How are you doing?”
Mrs. Harris lifts up a bowl that was filled with dough, “I’m baking. This one wanted chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa today.” She pinches Jeno’s cheek, much to his dismay and whines of disapproval.
Shuhua giggles at Jeno’s pout, “he’s told me all about your cooking, Mrs. Harris. He says it’s to die for.”
Mrs. Harris turns to her son with much adoration. “He asks me to cook so many things, I’m surprised he isn’t built like a fluffy panda.”
Jeno looks smug, lifting his shirt to show Shuhua his abs. “These take hard work, mom. Your son is a hard worker.”
Shuhua rolls her eyes with Mrs. Harris, “Shuhua, I’m going to have to hand you back to this goof.”
Jeno makes a face, laying himself lazily onto the couch, as he smiles at Shuhua with so much contentment. Shuhua can’t help the smile that appears on her own lips seeing how happy her best friend is, and she thinks, maybe Soojin’s mom was right.
Happiness can radiate all around someone who acquires it.
“Washington seems to be doing you good.” Shuhua points out.
Jeno nods, “yeah, we visit Mom’s family around this time every year, till Christmas, and then we spend New Years at home, in California.”
Shuhua hums, “it looks beautiful there.”
The latter nods in agreement, eyes scanning the Christmas decorations hung in the living room of his mother’s childhood home. “Well, how have you been, bestie? Anything interesting happened to you? Maybe with Karina? Or, ahem ahem, Soojin?” Jeno clears his throat, eyebrows bouncing in mischief.
Shuhua her lips in, preventing a smile, as a blush washes over her fair cheeks. “Well—,”
“Hey, what did I say about your door?”
Jeno blinks in surprise at the familiar voice. Shuhua looks just as surprised, but the blush that deepens doesn’t go unnoticed by her best friend. Not even over facetime.
“What? I locked it.” Shuhua argues back, and Jeno sees her eyes follow a figure till they appear in front of her. Jeno watches silently with a growing smile as Soojin appears in the frame, realizing what Shuhua was about to tell him.
“Oh, you locked it?” Soojin challenges, “then how did I get in?” Her hands land on her hips, like a mother scolding their child.
Shuhua blinks, trying to think of a comeback. “Uh...w-with.. magical powers?” Jeno rolls his eyes at Shuhua’s retort.
“Magical powers?” Soojin snorts. Shuhua mirrors her stance, hands on her hips, “or maybe you’re just an experienced thief. You know how to pick locks. That’s how you got into my house.” A suspicious finger is pointed in Soojin’s face.
Soojin rolls her eyes, but a subtle, yet fond smile reaches her lips. “Have I told you how much of a nerd you are?”
“Literally every time you see me.” Shuhua scoffs.
Soojin smirks, hands leaving her hips to grip onto Shuhua’s, pulling her flush against her. “Not every time.” Soojin counters, leaning in to graze her lips softly against Shuhua’s.
A hand cups her face, and Shuhua hums, “yes. Every single time.”
Soojin ignores her words, finally giving her a kiss in greeting. They melt into one another, soft lips moving slowly against each other.
“Ahem,” Jeno clears his throat.
Soojin stills against Shuhua, slightly pulling away to look at her, eyes widening.
“Well, this episode is quite intense, isn’t it?” Jeno jokingly says as if he was watching a series on netflix. Embarrassed, Shuhua hides her face into Soojin’s shoulder, while the older woman finally finds the phone that is propped up on the kitchen island.
“Wha—, why is he—,” Soojin glares at Jeno, but is cut off by the latter’s enthusiastic greeting. “Hey, Soojin!” Jeno waves his hand, smiling cheekily at her.
Shuhua shrugs, avoiding Soojin’s glare when she turns towards her. “I forgot I was on a call…”
“Hey, so when’s the next episode?” Jeno explodes into a fit of laughter, which gets abruptly cut off when Soojin hastily clicks the end button on Shuhua’s phone.
Shuhua giggles at Soojin’s huff, “he’s just playing.”
Soojin curls her hands into fists, frustration all over her face. “If he wasn’t your best friend…. he would be dead by now.”
Shuhua rolls her eyes, “why? Because no one is allowed to see you be anything other than scary and intimidating?”
The older woman blinks at her with an unchanging expression. “Yes. And that man has already seen too much of myself that I don’t want people to see.”
Shuhua raises a brow, as if questioning how serious this conversation really was.
“People can’t see me being soft! I am not soft. I am—,” Soojin straightens her jacket, a smug look on her face, “I’m tough. I’m—,”
Shuhua closes her eyes, “I beg you not to finish.” Oh, but she does. “I’m a badass.” Soojin says complacently.
“Oh, god.” Shuhua mumbles.
Containing her laugh, she wraps her arms around the older woman’s neck, looking at her with a teasing glint. “Please don’t ever say that again. I-I mean, you are all those things… I guess… to some people...” Shuhua scrunches her nose, “...to a point…well, not to me. I’ve never been scared of you. To me, you’re a total softie…”
“Get to your point.” Soojin says.
Eyebrows meeting, Shuhua blinks, eyes drifting off elsewhere. “Um… I… I kinda forgot what my point was.”
“I know it. Moral of the story, I am not soft. Jeno is dead to me. And that’s that.” Soojin shrugs her shoulders, nodding her head, quite satisfied with what she deemed was Shuhua’s point. Which, by the way, was probably so far off.
“Not close. Not even the slightest.” Shuhua mutters, eyes following the figure who leaves her to sit on one of the stools on the other side of the kitchen island.
“Are you busy?” Soojin asks her.
Shuhua leans against the kitchen island, humming in thought. “...that depends.”
“On what you’re gonna say next.”
Soojin rolls her eyes, “I was on my way to the pet store. Stopped by here to see if you wanted to come with me.” The corners of her lips slightly raise into a sweet smile, and Shuhua wonders why the older woman wouldn’t want people to see her smile so adorably. It was quite the sight for the eyes.
“Pet store?” Shuhua asks, smiling too.
“Yeah. It’s Yoon’s birthday soon, and she’s been asking for a puppy for years now. I always thought it was too big of a responsibility for her to carry, but I think she’s proved herself to this point.” Soojin explains.
“Okay, I’ll come with you. But no pet store.”