for almost ten years and counting...

ten years and counting

 

October 28, 2018


 

“Yujin-ah,”

 

Yujin’s ears perked up from the soft whisper coming from above and in an instant, she lifted her blanket so she could take a peek, darkness immediately greeting her but she could see a faint glint above her.

 

“Can you sleep?” Minjoo asked softly, her head peeking from the top bunk, and Yujin, despite her ugly eyesight and dimness of the room — could clearly see the glimmers in the older woman’s orbs.

 

With a snort, the taller girl sat up from her bed, shaking her head as she ruffled her brown locks. “No, too pressured for tomorrow,” She answered truthfully, and with that, her heart started to beat erratically out of nervousness and pressure. Just thinking about what was going to happen tomorrow makes her want to vomit already.

 

It was their official debut tomorrow and Yujin was excited, but nervousness overweighs it greatly, that was why she couldn’t make herself fall asleep because thoughts are filling up her head greatly. Be it positive or negative. It couldn’t be helped, it was normal — but tomorrow was a very special day, it was proof that she finally succeeded in reaching her dreams of being an idol.

 

She thought she was ready but deep inside, she was nowhere near being ready. Go easy on her, she was still fifteen after all and doing her best to show people her incredible talent and passion for performing. She might not be ready for everything that she will and might go through but she was so sure that she could show that she was worthy of her position.

 

Having other eleven reliable sisters was such a blessing and made everything better than before. They might not be that close yet but their bond was seriously amazing for a group of people who just knew each other for a few months or so and had a little bit of conflict in the past because of the survival show. But nonetheless, they were all going along together well — they might not be alike with one another but one thing was for sure, they fit together like puzzles.

 

Yujin was grateful for that, they helped her a lot, the other ten women babied her a lot. However, still, she was so pressured even though she was surrounded by the same and supportive people.

 

“You want to go out for some fresh air? It’s just eight anyway,” Minjoo suddenly suggested when Yujin got lost into her thoughts. Then, the bunk beds moved slightly, and not long after, there was a soft thud — the older woman went down from her bed and sat beside her.

 

Yujin scratched her nape, a little bit unsure because they seriously need to rest early because tomorrow was a big day for them — but then, she wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway, maybe a fresh air would let her cool her mind off a bit. It was a very tempting offer.

 

“Plus, manager-nim just exaggerated. They know we won’t sleep this early anyway. So, are you up? Promise, I know a good place,” Minjoo added, and even under the darkness — Yujin could still perfectly see the charming smile plastered on the older woman’s lips.


 

And there was where Yujin just found herself staring at the great view of night life city while nibbling on her ice pop with Minjoo beside her, drinking on her can of soda, also admiring the magnificent view presented in front of them.

 

“Not disappointing for a place, right?” The older woman asked, giggling to herself as she opened a box of chocolate sticks.

 

Yujin’s lips tugged upwards, forming a small smile as she averted her gaze from the view of the city. “Very healing, how did you find this place, unnie?” She asked, shifting her position into a more comfortable one since they were sitting on a big rock.

 

Minjoo hummed, tugging her jacket closer to her, it was a very chilly night — it didn’t help that winter was approaching. “I lived around this neighborhood before and often go here with my cousins to admire the view of the city. But now, I go here if I need to cool off, or think about some stuff since it’s very peaceful and lovely.” She answered, looking back at the younger woman and offered her a chocolate stick, the latter politely declined and showed her unfinished ice pop. “You could go here if you want to think. Seriously, no one will bother you here.”

 

“It is indeed lovely here,” Yujin whispered, shivering a bit but glanced up to the moon with a satisfied sigh. There was a silence between the both of them, the sound of the gentle howl of the wind and rustling of the leaves could only be heard.

 

Minjoo broke it, taking a brief glance at Yujin. “You could always tell me about your worries, Yujin-ah. Unnie is always here to listen and give advice,”

 

For a second, the younger woman froze. Minjoo could literally read her like a book while the others are still trying to grasp her personality and all — but Minjoo, her unnie, her roommate — already managed to see through her. To others, Minjoo might look like a playful clumsy girl but she was very reliable, so gentle too that Yujin was instantly comfortable around her.

 

Her heart warmed. Minjoo’s gaze alone could trigger a wildfire in her chest.

 

Even though they just met a few months ago, she could already feel a strong connection with the older woman that was why she was never hesitating to open up to her. Hopefully, Minjoo thought so too because Yujin was sure — everything was fated, they were destined to meet.

 

Yujin chuckled weakly, nodding along as she smiled, showing her dimples. “As long as you do too with me then we’re good, unnie.” She whispered and Minjoo laughed, playfully slapping the younger woman’s shoulder then nodded when she recovered.

 

“Of course, Yujin-ah, I will. Tell me everything, and all of my attention and focus are all yours.” The older woman said with a cheeky grin, rubbing Yujin’s chin and even poked her dimples.

 

Minjoo might be a strong-willed and hardworking woman but she was still fragile, a whole crybaby despite that. Yujin was a witness of her hardships, she witnessed the vulnerable side of her. She kept a lot to herself, that was why the younger woman was always worried and kept a keen eye on Minjoo.

 

Yujin was trying her best to make her more open to her, show her that there was nothing wrong that would happen once she poured everything onto her. Yujin would gladly be a keeper and companion to her Minjoo-unnie.

 

That night, Yujin learned a lot about Minjoo — even her secrets, her worries, concerns for the future of the group — the older woman told her everything that bothers her for the first time and for a moment, Yujin saw everything in Minjoo’s sparkly eyes.

 

They exchanged secrets, laughs, and serious conversation but it all ended lightheartedly, Minjoo leaned on her shoulders while Yujin just tried her best to make her sudden racing heart to stop acting like that, pulling the older woman closer to her as she’s in need of more warmth, in need of Minjoo’s comfortable warmth.

 

Yujin could only think of how Minjoo looked so beautiful under the moonlight, her warmth, her eyes, her smile. She realized how much she cared for this girl beside her and it was scary.

 

There was something blooming inside her chest but she didn’t know what to think, nor do. Ignorance, it was a nice idea, actually. A perfect option.

 

Maybe, it would fade. However, what if it didn’t?


 

***


 

February 06, 2019


 

It was Minjoo’s birthday yesterday and Yujin didn’t get her anything, just greeting her at midnight and gave her a hug because she decided to ask the older woman to get ice cream a day after since it was their day off, perfect.

 

“Minjoo-unnie, let’s get ice cream, my treat~ It’s my birthday gift to you,” Yujin barged inside their room one morning, spotting the older woman with her guitar, strumming it gently. Giggling, Minjoo placed the guitar back to where it was placed and stood up, giving the younger, who was leaning against the doorframe, a thumbs up.

 

Minjoo grinned. “I will never refuse a treat, especially if it’s my favorite ice cream~” She sang, slowly slipping out of her bed.

 

There was where the both of them found themselves eating ice cream in a, fortunately, not crowded ice cream shop downtown. They sat on the very secluded part as Minjoo requested the owner — who was also a huge fan, so they were in a nice and safe place. They need to avoid some nosy leeches as much as possible, especially that their comeback rumor news just got released to the public just recently.

 

Before walking to the spot with their ice cream, they didn’t forget to give the kind owner their signatures and asked him to be quiet about their whereabouts. The huge fan, who was the owner, obeyed immediately with a bright smile. At least he looked trustworthy and he gave them privacy.

 

They talked about the most randomest things and about their schedules, mostly — since it was confirmed that they would make their first comeback soon. It would be tough as it would be their first comeback but WIZ*ONES are always there to support them and give the members some strength.

 

Yujin watched Minjoo eat her vanilla ice cream silently while gaping at the glass window beside them, watching the people with a small smile plastered on her luscious pinkish lips.

 

And there was this blooming sensation spreading through her chest, it was warm and fluttery — and most important of all, it only happened when Minjoo was around. Yujin was terrified of what was happening to her but she just shrugged it off, and now, it was just growing stronger.

 

The younger girl couldn’t help but to giggle when she spotted an excess of ice cream on the corner of Minjoo’s lips. What a messy eater, she thought as her hand itched to reach for the older woman’s face and wipe the cream away.

 

So, she did. Carefully, leaning in, she called for Minjoo’s attention. “Unnie,” She softly said, and the older woman hummed, glancing at her with a curious look. Yujin smiled, reached for her cheek, and cupped it — suddenly, everything went in slow motion.

 

Even Minjoo got surprised at the sudden action and froze, letting Yujin wipe off the excess cream with her thumb gently, feeling the tip of it brush on her lower lip that made her shiver. And when Yujin retreated her hands, Minjoo let out a crooked and awkward but grateful smile. “Thank you, Yujin—” stayed agape, eyes widening in shock.

 

Yujin brought her thumb on her lip, poking her tongue out to clean the ice cream away and looked away from Minjoo’s shocked gaze with a playful smile, continuing to eat her own chocolate ice cream.


 

***


 

December 02, 2019


 

“What will happen to us, unnie?” Yujin asked, breathless and Minjoo could feel the burden and too much anxiety from the tone itself the younger woman used. The older one felt bad, tugging Yujin closer to her and pulled her for a warm, comforting hug.

 

Yujin wanted to cry but she didn’t want to worry Minjoo, and she was a big girl now, a woman — she shouldn’t cry anymore. It would make everything worse too, she knew Minjoo was also feeling bad and anxious about the recent happenings so she should comfort her instead, however, as expected — the older woman took care of her, not the other way around.

 

“Who knows? I have faith,” Minjoo whispered, her hair as she pressed a light kiss on top of her forehead, also rubbing her chin softly. “This won’t be the end of us, of IZ*ONE.” She softly added, fixing Yujin’s beanie and jacket, trying to warm her up as much as she could.

 

They were currently in their ‘favorite place’, the same place where Minjoo took her before they officially debuted. It was not the second time they went here together, probably, the tenth time throughout because they already call this place their safe haven. It was the middle of the winter, but it didn’t stop them from going there.

 

The dorms were gloomy, the members were trying to put up a strong act and trying to comfort one another and Yujin didn’t want them to see her being vulnerable like this once again, that was why she asked Minjoo if they could go to their place. Without hesitating, Minjoo agreed after throwing a lot of jackets for her to wear.

 

Until now, Minjoo was the only person who could see this side of her because she couldn’t simply lie to her, and the older woman could literally read her like an open book.

 

Yujin bit her lower lip, nibbling on it anxiously as negative thoughts filled up her mind. She was never the pessimistic type but seeing how everything was going for the group, she couldn’t help but to think something bad. Thankfully, she got the girls, she got Minjoo — to always reassure her. If everyone was just too selfish then Yujin probably lost her mind already.

 

“Let’s talk about other things instead,” Minjoo waved off the topic, they’ve been talking about it ever since and she’s getting sick of it, but she has faith, she’s confident.

 

She reached for Yujin’s cold hand, intertwining their fingers together before bringing it up near her lips, gently blowing on it to help them warm up.

 

The gesture caught Yujin off guard, but she let Minjoo — she could feel her cheeks flaring as she watched the older woman repeatedly do that until her hand started to get warm. She then reached for the other one and did the same thing.

 

Minjoo’s warm breath hitting her skin made Yujin extremely shiver, rather shivering because of the cold. The taller girl knew that the older one was a sweet person, someone who was very thoughtful of others. She took care of Yujin very well, and the other members too, of course.

 

It was bad for Yujin’s health and heart.

 

She knew, she knew very well that Minjoo was just acting like a reliable sister, a thoughtful yet good friend. That was just what Minjoo was, but to Yujin — she was more than a friend. She was never a friend, she couldn’t see Minjoo as a friend nor sister.

 

Yujin just simply couldn’t, and it was haunting her.

 

She thought of it a lot of times, countless nights when she was supposed to be sleeping and resting after their hectic schedule was wasted because of Minjoo, and her feelings for the older girl.

 

Believe her, she tried, god damn — she ing tried her best to stop these feelings from growing but she failed to do so. She was so frustrated with herself because she couldn’t. How the hell was she going to stop these feelings when Minjoo was just that wonderful and charming?

 

Even if she tried hard, she would fail eventually — just one smile from Kim Minjoo made her feel so weak already, she just wanted to kneel and worship her.

 

At the start, Yujin just shrugged it off because it was so stupid, maybe she just idolize and look up to the older woman that much, a sisterly love. She thought she was envious of her beauty, kindness, hardworking nature, and all. Maybe she just felt attached because they were getting closer.

 

There was absolutely no way that Yujin would like girls. It’s a sin, as she would like to believe.

 

But then, soon, when she learned much about Minjoo and spent a lot of time with her — she realized something. She never felt this way before to anyone, even Wonyoung, who she already knew from the very beginning.

 

She asked Eunbi about that, the leader after all, was experienced about stuff like this but Yujin never said any specific gender or name, just a situation and her thoughts. She needed help, she was inexperienced, she was confused so to enlighten herself, she asked out of desperation because her thoughts were killing her.

 

“You like them, Yujin. Don’t be surprised, it’s normal. Sometimes, we can’t control our feelings, our heart—even if you don’t intend to like that person nor insist to yourself that you will never like them, you might still catch feelings because that’s how it is,” Eunbi’s words would play on her mind, Yujin could still remember the motherly smile their leader gave to her.

 

“Remember, Yujin-ah. Things might not go well all the time. Feelings can’t always be reciprocated. I know I shouldn’t be a little bit harsh on you, but this is the reality, Yujin. Please, take care of your heart.” Yujin can vividly remember how the older woman’s eyes had a sad glint in it when she said that. “You’re growing up now, I’m so proud of you. Unnie is always here if you need someone to talk to.”

 

Yujin, after that, finally accepted this. At first, she was so disgusted because she fell in love with a woman, a close friend, a bandmate — how worse could it go? But then, after collecting her thoughts, she realized that nothing was wrong with liking Kim Minjoo — she was a likeable woman, she got it all, the epitome of perfection. Who wouldn’t love her?

 

It’s just a phase, Yujin tried to insist to herself but in the end, she only failed herself and just kept falling deeper and deeper each day to this woman beside her. Absolute madness.

 

But what could she do? It was not like she wanted for this to happen either. She couldn’t expect anything, she would never. Minjoo was too good to be true, there was no chance that the feelings were mutual, so she just let it be. That was how it is.

 

“Unnie,” Yujin quietly called for the older woman who was busy warming her hand, and gulped when Minjoo tilted her chin up to meet gazes with her. Those god damn eyes and gaze, Yujin was so weak.

 

Minjoo pursed her lips, noticing something. “There’s something bothering you, Yujin,” She said, and the said woman became tense. “And it’s not about the group.” Added her and sat up straight, looking serious which made Yujin panic for a bit.

 

This was what Yujin means whenever she says that Minjoo could read her like an open book, the younger couldn’t lie to her either. She was terrified she might spill her deepest secret because of the fact she couldn’t lie to Minjoo, the secrets she would love to keep to herself until her last breath.

 

To be frank, Minjoo was never someone who easily judges people and was a very open person but Yujin won’t take the risk. Even so, it involved Minjoo herself so she would never attempt, there was just no way.

 

“Yujin, didn’t we tell each other that we’ll share everything that worries us?” Minjoo reminded her which made the younger girl gulp, feeling tense and shrink under her gaze.

 

Averting her gaze almost immediately, Yujin’s eyes remained still on the magnificent view of Seoul, retreating her hands back and tucked it inside her pockets while Minjoo’s gaze burned her greatly. “It’s nothing really important, Minjoo-unnie, I assure you.” She responded, lying through her teeth. She didn’t stutter, yes, but her voice wavered and it didn’t go unnoticed by Minjoo.

 

The older woman gave her an unamused look, shaking her head. “Yujin-ah, tell me, it’s okay.” She pleaded and Yujin was slowly breaking already. Her fists balled, feeling her breath hitch.

 

“I do not want for our friendship to be ruined, unnie. Please, don’t force me about it.” Yujin begged, helpless and hopeless, she sounded so weak.

 

It caught Minjoo’s interest, piquing her curiosity even more. She reached for Yujin’s face, cupping it and caressing it ever so gently which made the younger girl freeze, slowly turning to her with a pleading gaze. Minjoo gave her a small smile, encouraging her, telling her that nothing bad would happen if she ever spills.

 

“Nothing to be afraid of, it’s just me, Yujin. Tell me everything, I got you.” Minjoo whispered, caressing Yujin’s flaming cheek with her thumb.

 

It was not going as planned, Yujin panicked. Her heart wouldn’t stay still, there were butterflies in her stomach, and she was heavily breathing because of their close proximity. Minjoo’s hand didn’t help, it made everything worse than it was.

 

“You’re making it hard for me to keep it, unnie.” The younger woman breathed, biting her inner cheek, moving her hand to take Minjoo’s hand away from her. “It’s better if you don’t know.” She softly insisted but Minjoo isn’t easy to please. Yujin saw it coming, of course, and it was one of her fears — the older woman would never stop until she gets or earns this certain thing.

 

Minjoo’s gaze softened, holding the hand Yujin used to reach for hers and gave it a light squeeze. “You want me to beg?” She questioned and the younger woman’s eyes widened in shock.

 

“U-Unnie—”

 

“I will grow restless if you won’t tell me, Yujin. I do not care if it’s about me or anything that concerns me. I just want to know, and let me help, alright?” Minjoo said, huffing as she looked at Yujin with a pleading gaze.

 

And it didn’t take long for Yujin to break.

 

With a lot of hesitation, Yujin opened to speak. “You won’t get mad at me?” She quietly whispered, eyes sparkling in worry and guilt, looking like a lost puppy and Minjoo almost cooed.

 

“I will never dare.” The latter answered with a reassuring smile.

 

“This won’t change a thing between us?” Yujin asked again, and Minjoo nodded, even crossing her heart.

 

“Absolutely.” She responded, even shifting closer to the younger woman. However, Yujin didn’t move much, just staring at Minjoo while wearing an unreadable expression on her face.

 

“This won’t change the way you see me, you treat me?” The younger one questioned, breath hitching and that was where Minjoo realized that it’s serious. Narrowing her gaze, the older woman looked at Yujin with full confusion.

 

“Yujin,” She quietly called, tense. “Just what are you trying to imply?”

 

Yujin her lower lip, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, trying to gain enough courage. This wasn’t supposed to happen, and it seriously terrified Yujin to the core. She was so afraid of what Minjoo would do or might say.

 

Yet she trusts her, Yujin absolutely trusts Minjoo.

 

“I like you, Kim Minjoo.” Yujin managed to find her voice and blurted out, surprisingly, not even stuttering. Her intense gaze remained glued to the older woman, watching her reaction and she gulped when the latter did not react, nor showed any emotions, just blankly staring at her.

 

And Yujin thought it might not be enough. “I like you, romantically. Not sisterly or platonically, or whatever. I sincerely like you, unnie.” She breathlessly said, trying to stop her heart from jumping too much, her chest hurt.

 

Somehow, after that confession, it felt like this weight on her chest had been lifted off. She didn’t know whether this was a good thing or not. Everything seriously went out of hand, the least thing she wanted to happen is this; confessing to Minjoo.

 

Heh, if she was not just this weak for her but no, god, Yujin was seriously under Minjoo’s spell.

 

“Are you disgusted, unnie?” It was almost a reflex. Yujin could feel her lips quivering, wanting to cry as her heart cracked — it was a very, very bad idea to confess. Bitterly chuckling to herself, Yujin agreed with it. Minjoo was definitely disgusted — Yujin liked women, she liked her.

 

With that, Minjoo immediately reacted, shaking her head furiously. “N-No, no — Yujin-ah, no. I will never,” She denied, still shaking her head softly to show that she was not disgusted or anything — but beyond flustered and shocked. It was unexpected, seriously, Minjoo never thought of it even slightly.

 

“Yujin, please,” Minjoo pleaded when the younger woman hung her head down low, sniffling and sobbing because of too much embarrassment and fear. She pulled the latter into a hug, patting her head and pressing a kiss on her temple, like she usually does whenever she comforts the pup. “Unnie is not disgusted or mad, no, I’m just surprised, hmm? Don’t think of it like that…” Minjoo whispered, gulping, but she was trembling as well.

 

Yujin took a deep breath, trying to calm down. She just nodded, wiping her tears with the sleeves of her jacket like a child before finally meeting gazes with Minjoo, her heart momentarily freezing. “I-I’m really sorry, unnie. You’re probably uncomfortable now that you learned that I’m liking you,” She whispered.

 

“Look at me,” She suddenly heard Minjoo’s demanding voice, it instantly made her flinch. “Look me in the eyes, Yujin.” Minjoo demanded again with a serious voice and Yujin complied like a loyal puppy she was for the older woman, lips puckered a bit.

 

And what caught her off guard was when Minjoo cupped her face, caressing both of her cheeks to make her look at her and stay still, giving her a very intense and sincere gaze.

 

“It’s okay, I perfectly understand — I don’t judge you for that or anything, it happens,” Minjoo whispered, pulling her for a hug once again.

 

Yujin melted, snuggling closer to Minjoo, feeling a lot better than the last time but her heart remained beating erratically as the older woman held her tight. It was the reassurance Yujin needed, she didn’t need Minjoo to like her back — she just wanted for her to be around her like this, nothing more, nothing less.

 

“I will always be around you, Yujin-ah. I will always be your reliable older friend and sister.”

 

It was an indirect rejection and it broke Yujin’s heart into pieces but it was better this way, this was what she wanted. She couldn’t ask for more.


 

***


 

March 13, 2020


 

Yujin noticed it, she was not that dumb and dense. Minjoo slowly distanced herself from her after that confession a few months ago.

 

She noticed it, and she was very heartbroken because of that. It didn’t help that they changed dorms and they were no longer roommates. Yujin was hurt but she said nothing, just trying to make their close friendship intact as much as possible. She was not the only one who noticed it, the others too, especially Eunbi.

 

Minjoo became closer with Chaewon, giving her full attention to the older woman like how she used to give her whole attention to Yujin before. It hurt her so bad, witnessing them laughing happily while the younger girl was left in the corner. Minjoo barely interacted with her anymore, she only did if needed and Yujin pretended that everything was normal.

 

She shouldn’t be jealous of Chaewon but she couldn’t help it — she was so angry with herself because she was feeling like this towards Minjoo and Chaewon. The ill feeling that would bubble in her stomach whenever she saw Minjoo with other people, especially men, it seriously haunted her.

 

But as usual, she had no right to say anything nor to feel like this. She understood perfectly but it just disappointed her that Minjoo promised never to change but she herself distanced away. That was a punch in the face to Yujin.

 

And so, when she bottled everything up and exploded, she didn’t even hesitate to ask anymore. She just wanted for them to be close once again, nothing more. God, she seriously hated herself for confessing to Minjoo abruptly like that.

 

“Why are you avoiding me?” Yujin’s voice cracked along with her heart when she asked that. Minjoo froze, okay, she was panicking, especially when she saw the younger woman’s eyes start to sparkle with tears.

 

Not going to lie, Minjoo did avoid Yujin. It was not like she purposely did it — her actions, it was out of reflex, seriously. She tried to keep their friendship intact, but yet she was the one who pulled away.

 

Regret and guilt washed over her, holding Yujin dearly and embraced her, gently shushing her to stop crying while patting the back of her head. It’s all your fault, Minjoo you saw it, you goddamn noticed it but what did you do? You pulled away from Yujin even more.

 

“I’m sorry,” You are guilty, what kind of friend you are, Kim Minjoo? “I’m really sorry, Yujin-ah.”

 

What was she scared of? She didn’t know either. It just happened. What a fool she was for making Yujin worry and cry like that because she started to suddenly avoid her after spilling a secret that she forced Yujin to share herself. She’s not disgusted, never, she would never. Was she embarrassed? Certainly not.

 

But then what was wrong with her? Minjoo herself didn’t know.

 

“Please, I do not want to lose you,” Yujin whispered, voice muffled, letting out a sob.

 

Minjoo hugged her tighter. “You did not lose me, you will never.” She reassured, gulping as she bit her lower lip but she continued comforting the crying woman.

 

Minjoo saw Eunbi appearing silently from the corridors, giving her a pointed look. The younger woman averted her gaze, feeling ashamed of herself. She knew that Yujin had been crying to their leader about her avoiding her so Eunbi certainly knew everything but she chose to be silent and let her fix the mess she caused without being told to.

 

“Sorry, unnie. I’ll stop harboring these petty feelings for you.”


 

***


 

December 31, 2020


 

“I watched the year-end VLIVE! You two look cute.” Eunbi said with a big smile, approaching Yujin and instantly frowned when she noticed how gloomy the woman was, in contrast to the aura she showed earlier in the live.

 

Yujin looked up to Eunbi, and the older woman immediately went closer, worried because she saw how broken the second youngest’s eyes looked. She halted in front of her and cupped both of her cheeks. “Hey, did something happen earlier at the dinner with Minjoo?” She softly asked, tone full of worriedness.

 

Giggling bitterly, Yujin averted her bloodshot eyes, seemingly holding her tears. She didn’t want to worry Eunbi any more but her heart, her body — it failed her. She looked so vulnerable in front of Eunbi.

 

“Nothing, it’s just me…” The younger woman started off, obviously frustrated.

 

Eunbi let out a sigh, leading her to the couch and let her sit beside her. “Tell me, what’s with you?” Asked by the leader, gently caressing her cheek.

 

Huffing and averting her gaze, Yujin found the vase more interesting. “I just realized something, unnie and I’m so angry with myself.” She breathlessly said, tears finally freely flowing from her sparkling eyes which made Eunbi’s heart clench.

 

Seeing Yujin suffering like this greatly pained Eunbi, the leader treated Yujin like her child. Witnessing her getting hurt and getting frustrated to the core also frustrated Eunbi because she didn’t know how to help.

 

“I’m so tired holding these feelings back, so exhausted trying to make these feelings stop. It’s ruining me, it’s ruining us.” Yujin honestly confessed, another tear fell out, and Eunbi saw how tired the younger woman looked from hopelessly loving and harboring feelings for their other member.

 

“I-I promised I’ll stop but why is my heart so stubborn? I still like her, I still like Minjoo-unnie so much and it hurts.”


 

***


 

April 28, 2021


 

Oh how time flew fast. Yujin just blinked and everything already happened.

 

Two and a half years... it would end tomorrow already and Yujin didn’t want to let go. She already said that to herself, not be that attached to the group so it would hurt less if they ever part ways again. But… she didn’t know it would be this hard. She was so happy with the other eleven members, she was the happiest with them.

 

Call her selfish but she seriously didn’t want to let go of the group but everything was already set and planned in the very beginning. And it hurt Yujin — and one thing, she and Minjoo were going to part ways too and she was not ready. She didn’t want to let go of the other members too, they were special to her but Minjoo — IZ*ONE was the only thing that kept her and Minjoo close, without it, nothing. And it scared her.

 

Everything felt so bland now, especially that the group was disbanding and Minjoo would be away from her. Yes, she could still stay in contact but it was different — they won’t share dorms anymore, share performances together in one stage — never again. Yujin didn’t want to be away from the group, away from Minjoo.

 

It was not like she was able to do anything, this was what she signed up for. Adjusting to the new group was alright since they were already friends with the other trainees, she and Wonyoung were supposed to debut with them if Produce48 didn’t just happen but still, it would be foreign, another start that Yujin didn’t want to experience again, selfish it was.

 

“Unnie, I don’t want to let go.”

 

“Everything has its end, Yujin-ah. Too bad, ours ended quickly.” Minjoo turned to the gloomy Yujin, smiling softly at her.

 

The younger woman asked the visual just an hour ago if they could go to their favorite spot and have a small talk. After all, this might be the last visit to their place as groupmates. Yujin just didn’t want to break down in front of the members, Wonyoung already kept crying ever since last week and she wanted to look strong.

 

“Tomorrow is our last day as groupmates, as IZ*ONE members, unnie. I don’t know what to feel…” Yujin whispered, feeling her eyes moist, heart painfully clenching. She hung her head down low, not wanting Minjoo to see that she was crying.

 

Minjoo took a deep breath, scooting closer to drape her arm around Yujin, patting her and comforting her. She actually wanted to cry too but she couldn’t, not when Yujin needed her comfort. She needed to be positive.

 

“Maybe it is, and so? It’s not like we’re not going to see each other again. Being part of IZ*ONE is bittersweet, and I will never forget every memory we all shared, the bond we shared as a group. It’s irreplaceable but… it’s time, it’s time for us to part ways and walk forward.” The visual said, looking at the night sky with a small smile etched on her lips, recalling their times together.

 

Yujin kept mum, just leaning closer to Minjoo and admired the scenery before them together. It was so peaceful and quiet, and Minjoo was right beside her. Just what she needed.

 

“I don’t know if I can step forward again, unnie.” Yujin whispered and Minjoo hummed, glancing at the younger woman with a curious look. Yujin continued elaborating, still gloomy as she emotionlessly stared forward.

 

Taking a deep breath, she admitted, “I find it meaningless to be an idol anymore,” She confessed, playing with her fingers and Minjoo was in absolute shock when she heard that coming from Yujin herself.

 

“I-I… Yuj?” She stammered, looking at the younger woman, confused yet curious.

 

Yujin was undeniably one of the most passionate and talented people Minjoo ever met. She knew how much the younger girl worked hard to be in this field and she could see the potential of her, Yujin would be more successful in the future, she had a very bright future and Minjoo was sure of that. So, she was surprised to hear that from Yujin herself.

 

“How come?” Minjoo breathlessly asked. “Is it because you wouldn’t be able to move on from your temporary group?” She added and Yujin pursed her lips, nodding.

 

“That is one thing, yes. I think I already fulfilled my role of being an idol. I-I can’t see myself debuting and performing with other girls anymore. It’s terrifying, unnie…” She replied, her voice trembled a bit and she took a sharp inhale.

 

“What are the other reasons, Yujin-ah?” Minjoo asked, tone a little bit serious. It was indeed a serious matter to her, she didn’t want to judge or interfere but she thought that Yujin was just confused. She couldn’t think hastily like this, especially that a lot of people were expecting her to shine.

 

Yujin gulped, meeting eyes with her briefly before looking away with a sigh. “It feels so meaningless to me anymore. Performing, promoting, practicing—just all, without you.” She confessed truthfully and Minjoo froze.

 

No, no, no. Minjoo wouldn’t let Yujin lose her bright future because of her, because of her feelings. No, she couldn’t. She noticed it, Yujin still gave her heart eyes — that was the reason why she tried to distance herself, so the younger woman would be able to move on but no, it was useless. Both of them were so hopeless.

 

“Yujin…” Minjoo whispered helplessly and Yujin winced, biting her lower lip, regretting she told the older woman that.

 

“Unnie…” She murmured back, her heart almost stopping when Minjoo held her hand, pressing the back of it to her cheek which almost sent her into a cardiac arrest.

 

“Please, don’t do this. Continue being an idol, this is your passion. Don’t let me hold back your potential, don’t let your feelings hold you back.” Minjoo pleaded, staring right back at Yujin and moved their hands together, pressing a kiss on the back of the younger girl’s hand.

 

Yujin gulped, biting her lower lip that it almost bled, her heart was racing — fluttery yet aching. Minjoo’s eyes are hypnotizing her, her goddamn voice. God, why? Why was it so hard to refuse?

 

Forcing a crooked smile. “Okay, I will, unnie. For you,”

 

For you, Minjoo, I will continue. If that’s what you want.


 

***


 

July 28, 2022


 

“Yujin-ie, congrats on your debut!” Yujin’s smile widened when she heard a very familiar voice from the other line, it never failed to make her heart race and flutter again after all these years.

 

“Thank you, Minjoo-unnie. Did you already send your message to Wonyoung?” The younger woman asked, sitting down on her new dorm’s couch, looking around and sighed, feeling empty since the other members decided to go home first while Yujin decided to stay back since her parents are on a vacation.

 

A giggle can be heard, Yujin’s heart warmed. “Yes, of course, I did! She will sulk if she ever learns that I called you first without me congratulating her for y’alls second debut.” Minjoo replied, and Yujin laughed lightly, focusing on the older woman’s lovely voice.

 

Fortunately, the members stayed close. They might have parted ways already but they remained close even if they were busy with their own new careers and lives now. A lot of things changed, and Yujin couldn’t still advance forward, it felt like she was stuck and she had no heart to tell that to anyone, even Minjoo.

 

“That’s good,” Yujin muttered, laying down and closed her eyes, feeling exhausted after performing their debut song earlier at the debut showcase. It was been a while since she ever performed in stage again and it felt odd that it was not with other IZ*ONE members anymore but she was currently working on that. “How about you, unnie? New casting?” She asked, switching topics.

 

“Well, yeah, my company is trying to pick one since I got five offers at the same time…” Minjoo answered, making Yujin laugh because she knew the older woman was pouting but actually worried for her since her schedule is hectic because of the acting offers that always come flooding in.

 

Minjoo was now a rising and in-demand actress, after IZ*ONE disbanded a year ago, she already got three offers and her first drama was a hit which made her a hot topic and a desirable actress — the directors wanted her for their films. Not just that, she would also make her solo idol debut soon. Minjoo was not yet ready to give up her idol career and was still making wonderful songs.

 

Yujin was so proud of her, so proud that she reached this and she would achieve a lot more in the future. She was happy for Minjoo since she was living her dream, however, she couldn’t say the same for herself. She felt empty, and happiness didn’t last anymore. She knew it was because she was not with Minjoo.

 

Unfortunately for her, her feelings never faded, only getting stronger even if Minjoo and her didn’t meet often anymore and would only message or call each other since they were busy but even so, she still longed for Minjoo so much. It was scary, she was growing, yet her feelings for Minjoo were also growing.

 

“Unnie,” Yujin murmured, nibbling on her lower lip. Minjoo hummed. “Take care of yourself, I will be anticipating your next project.” Yujin said instead, the real words she wanted to say got stuck in the back of . Coward.

 

“Thank you, Yujin. Let’s meet again soon, hmm? See you, I will watch your performances!” Minjoo beamed and soon, the call ended. Yujin just stared at the ceiling, sighing as she placed her phone on the table in front of the couch and let herself get drowned by her own thoughts.

 

“I love you, Kim Minjoo.” Yujin whispered to the empty living room, her heart kept aching — asking for Minjoo’s warmth. May the wind hold that secret until it vanishes.


 

***


 

November 29, 2022


 

“Yah, Ahn Yujin, why did you invite us for a drink after your debut’s promotion and you didn’t even invite Wonyoung?” Yena asked, crossing her arms as she watched the younger woman across her, downing shots of soju silently. She side-eyed Eunbi, who was also invited.

 

Yujin tilted her head up, looking at Yena with reddening cheeks because of the effect of alcohol. “Why not?” She asked plainly and poured herself another shot, completely ignoring the meat and other food present at the table.

 

Yena hissed, narrowing her eyes. “I know you’re already an adult, Yujin-ah but that doesn’t mean you will take advantage of it.” She nagged softly.

 

Eunbi sighed, shaking her head to signal the duck to stop talking. “Let her be.” She mouthed, flipping the meat on the griller. Yena took a deep breath, shaking her head when Yujin offered her a shot.

 

“Sorry, I can’t drink. I have a schedule tomorrow.” She responded, apologizing through her eyes and Yujin huffed. Yena was an idol, solo — she decided to part ways with Yuehua and signed an exclusive contract with JYP. So far, she was doing well, she debuted last March.

 

“Just one shot, I feel lonely drinking alone…” The youngest among them three whispered sadly, drinking another shot of soju before getting herself some meat, munching it silently while hanging her head down low.

 

With a sigh, Eunbi took the shot, drinking it in one go. Yujin’s lips tugged up into a small smile, shaking her head as she continued pouring, also giving Yena a shot which the latter grabbed and drank, grimacing.

 

“Thank you for accompanying me today, unnies.” Yujin whispered, scratching her nape, feeling shy all of a sudden that she had to bother them but the two just shrugged it off, especially Eunbi.

 

“It’s okay, you know I’m always free. So what’s wrong? Are you pressured?” The oldest asked gently, still grilling the meat while Yena munched on her lettuce like a rabbit.

 

Eunbi quitted the idol life, and decided to be a dance instructor in Chaeyeon’s dance studio, speaking of Chaeyeon, she was actively promoting as the leader of the new girlgroup of WM — she established her own dance studio after IZ*ONE disbanded and offered Eunbi if she could take care of it, so the leader did. Her age stopped her since the companies were picky and Eunbi was fine with it, not even having further plans anymore about being an idol since she thought she already got everything she wanted.

 

Yujin was so envious of her, Eunbi was living a normal life — trying to find her happiness freely, living her best life. The younger woman still felt stuck, finding everything so meaningless. She just badly wanted Minjoo beside her.

 

“No, I-I’m just… I feel empty.” Yujin whispered, rubbing her hands together anxiously as she gulped. Most of the girls now know about her feelings for Minjoo, she tried to keep it but she was just that obvious around Minjoo but they never said anything, just supporting her and lending their shoulders for Yujin if she ever needed one.

 

Yena and Eunbi looked at each other. The oldest among them patted her head, smiling at her. “Yujin-ah, it’s because you still haven’t found your happiness..” She comforted her, “You’ll find your purpose soon.”

 

Yujin laughed, a mocking and bitter laugh. She drank another shot, shaking her head as she giggled to herself, looking at the two older women with a sheepish grin. “I’ve found my happiness already, the one who keeps me going, unnies. You all know that. But without her, I feel empty and nothing.” She answered, her lower lip, still grinning but her eyes, it was full of sadness.

 

“I’m not selfish or anything, I want her for myself but I know I can’t — I just want her to be right by my side… I’m not asking for more,” Yujin added, breathless.

 

“We’re drifting more apart, and I fear that I might fully lose her someday.”


 

***


 

May 28, 2024


 

“It’s been a while since we met again like this! Too bad some of us aren’t available, this .” Nako sulked, pouting while Hitomi just giggled, patting her back. Wonyoung nodded in agreement, hugging Sakura even more tightly.

 

The Japanese line was back to Korea after a year, they did visit frequently and all but this was the first time they hung out together this year, too bad, as usual — they were not complete since the others were busy, their schedules didn’t match up.

 

Yujin couldn’t focus on her other friends since her gaze was only glued to the woman across from her, of course, it was none other than Kim Minjoo herself. Fortunately, the actress was free, her filming schedule got cancelled so she was able to tag along at the last minute and Yujin was in deep shock.

 

She just didn’t even prepare, Minjoo just suddenly entered the venue with a bright smile, surprising them — especially Yujin who literally almost jumped out of her seat. It had been five months since she ever saw Minjoo in person, a proper meeting even.

 

Oh, how she missed Minjoo so much. She couldn’t even help but to only look at her, only glancing at the others from time to time so they wouldn’t be upset. Her eyes trailed down through her face features, and oh lord, it became sharper and more mature than Yujin last remembered. Minjoo was just getting more and more beautiful each day and she was absolutely smitten.

 

Her gaze lowered down, landing on Minjoo’s pinkish pair of lips. She gulped, a sudden urge washing through her and before she could even do something that she might regret, she looked away, blushing and feeling hot all of a sudden.

 

“Yujin,”

 

The said woman immediately perked up, looking at Minjoo with a curious gaze, feeling her heart act up when their eyes met. She could see the galaxies in her orbs, it’s still the same. The eyes that could make Yujin kneel in an instant. “Yes?” She asked, clearing .

 

Minjoo giggled, crossing her arms, looking all good with just a plain white shirt and jeans with sneakers. “How are you?” She asked softly.

 

Yujin’s breath hitched. “I’m fine. I’m doing good.” She lied through her teeth.

 

“Nice to hear.” Minjoo responded with a cheeky smile before her attention got stolen by Yuri, showing something from her cellphone and they both laughed. Yujin’s heart warmed, she couldn’t help but to smile also. Minjoo’s smile is something to die for.

 

“I missed you so much,” Yujin whispered to herself as she eyed Minjoo across the table, smiling softly and then got hit by Hyewon, who was beside her and hugged her.

 

The lunch went well, until Nako suddenly asked something. “Omo, yah, Kim Minjoo! I saw a lot of kissing scenes in your dramas! Woah, woah, I’m impressed.” The shorter woman teased, wiggling her eyebrows and everyone laughed, except for Yujin.

 

Minjoo blushed at the sudden statement. “It’s my job, what can I do?” She muttered, feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable. Her eyes unknowingly went to Yujin and saw how the younger looked gloomy, she gulped.

 

“Wow, your kiss with Nam Da Reum-ssi, ten out of ten. Minjoo-ah! You—”

 

“I’ll just go to the bathroom.” Yujin suddenly excused herself in the middle of the discussion, making everyone go silent. The younger woman paid no mind to it and casually walked away from the scene, breathing heavily.

 

Hyewon glared at Nako across the table, the latter flinched and gave them an apologetic look. “U-Uhh, anyways! Hitomi is dating someone!” She immediately changed the topic, and it earned the others’ attention, especially Hitomi who smacked her after her sudden announcement.

 

But Minjoo, her eyes remained glued to the direction where Yujin left off. She clenched her fists, trying to ignore the sudden action of the younger. Of course, she was not dumb — Yujin still probably liked her up until to this day, even though she would like to believe she doesn’t anymore.

 

Meanwhile, Yujin almost lost herself there. She splashed water on her face, trying to cool down and leaned on the sink. Thankfully, no one followed her and let her think alone even just for a while. Okay, that was too much for her to hear. She was flaming in jealousy even though she didn’t have the right.

 

She watched every drama and movie Minjoo was in, but would avoid the romantic scenes and all, especially the kissing scene. She was insane but she just wanted to see Minjoo even if it was just on dramas, even if she was with other boys. She would always feel like throwing up whenever she watched Minjoo acting like she was in love with them, a whole nightmare.

 

Once, a video of Minjoo’s kissing scene with another man went viral and Yujin threw her phone away thrice because it kept popping up in her feed. Absolute nightmare, it felt like she couldn’t breathe because her heart was aching so bad to the point she thought it would seriously stop from too much pain.

 

Yujin took a deep breath, looking at her reflection. “Yujin, come on, don’t be like this. Hold yourself, Minjoo is there.” She said to herself, patting her back and soon after, she went out of the bathroom, smiling fakely at the others.

 

Nako mouthed, “Sorry.” from her seat and Yujin just threw her a smile, it’s not like she did that on purpose and she will never be angry.

 

She pretended nothing happened, silently sipping on her drink while she listened to the other members’ stories, ignoring the gaze coming across the table, from Minjoo.


 

***


 

November 11, 2025


 

Yujin’s eyes shook. Her lips twitched, letting out an amused scoff as she read the viral and breaking headline of today.



 

[BREAKING!!!]

 

Former IZ*ONE member and actress Kim Minjoo confirmed to be dating model actor Song Jihyeok

 

The new couple met through 2024 hit drama, ‘Lovely Lady’ and even the lead couple of it. Not much to the netizens’ surprise, they admitted to be dating just last month.

 

[read more…]



 

Bitterly laughing to herself, she harshly threw her cellphone away, hitting the wall and landed on the floor, completely destroyed. She took a deep breath, walking to the corner of the room and sat there, leaning her weight on the wall behind her, hugging her knees.

 

She saw it coming. Chaewon told her about it. But Jesus, it ing hurt like hell. It was like a bullet pierced through her heart. Her heart completely shattered into pieces, this wasn’t the first time she got her heart broken by Minjoo but this news didn’t just shatter her heart but also her whole being.

 

“I love you, Kim Minjoo. I still do and it hurts,” Yujin whispered to the nothingness, hugging her knees closer as she sobbed hard, her cries echoing around the quiet and empty room.

 

Kim Minjoo shattered her whole.


 

***


 

June 05, 2026


 

“Yujin-ah,” The said woman’s ears perked up, beaming at the familiar soft voice. She turned around and saw the most beautiful woman in this world walking towards her with her usual gorgeous smile, wearing a white button up shirt and skinny jeans with her sneakers but still rocked it.

 

“Minjoo-unnie,” Yujin greeted back, crossing her arms as she grinned at her as the older woman halted in front of her. Minjoo also threw her a bright grin but soon frowned as she looked at her.

 

“You became taller again? Unfair,” Minjoo sulked, puckering her lips cutely and the younger woman couldn’t help but to giggle, ruffling Minjoo’s beige hair.

 

Last night, Minjoo suddenly messaged Yujin asking if she was free since she would like to have dinner with her. The deities probably took pity on her and her schedule was cleared up that time since she just finished promoting their group’s newest single so she didn’t hesitate.

 

They ate dinner peacefully at a nice restaurant Minjoo found that offers great security and privacy so it went nice, they even video call-ed Eunbi after.

 

Soon, they decided to have a walk, of course, with masks and caps that could hide their identities. Fortunately, it was dark so no one really recognized them, plus, they were walking in deserted streets.

 

No one dared to speak, just walking silently and enjoying the peaceful quietness. Yujin was a little bit awkward, but feeling the presence of Minjoo beside her already made her feel at ease and happy, her heart was jumping happily, fluttering so much.

 

The back of their hands brushed against one another but no one attempted to initiate to hold one, but soon enough, Yujin gathered courage and finally held it after the fourth brush, awkwardly yet gently holding the warm yet soft hands. Bright colors spread through her chest.

 

Minjoo didn’t mind it, briefly glancing at their hands with a small smile plastered on her lips which made Yujin blush. They just continued walking slowly, hands glued with one another.

 

“How are you and Jihyeok-ssi?” Yujin suddenly asked, breaking the silence and it took her hell to ask that, she didn’t want to sound so pathetic and bitter too so even if it hurt, she still asked — so she would know if that man is treating her princess right and if Minjoo was still happy.

 

Minjoo hummed, smiling a bit. “We’re doing good, we still haven’t met this week but it’s all nice.” She responded and Yujin didn’t get any hint of a lie or anything, she was genuinely happy with her current relationship and the younger woman was relieved. Minjoo’s happiness was the most important thing in the world, for her, that is.

 

“That’s good to hear. You look happy with him and judging by how you talk about him to me sometimes, and the other members’ words, he’s a nice man.” Yujin softly said, briefly glancing at the older woman with a small smile, tightening her hold.

 

Minjoo nodded to confirm it. “I assure you, he’s one of the best around, Yuj.”

 

A clench on her heart, Yujin would never be a guy like Jihyeok. “I would love to meet him soon, it’s been so long already but I still haven’t formally met him.” She said, nibbling on her lower lip. The other members already met with the couple but Yujin refused, giving excuses because she didn’t know whether she could manage seeing Minjoo with the man she was in love with.

 

But now, Yujin just wanted to meet the man who was making her Minjoo happy. Maybe, her heart would finally get tired and finally stop after seeing how the older woman looked content with this person.

 

“Sure do, soon.” Minjoo replied with a cheeky smile. “Anyway, how about you, Ahn? You’re the only member who has never experienced dating so far~ When will you finally try and find your own person?” The older woman threw her a question, nudging her a bit to while Yujin just laughed weakly, shaking her head.

 

It was indeed true, she still hadn’t dated anyone until now, even Wonyoung already dated two people but here she was, still hopelessly pining and very much in love with her former bandmate, Kim Minjoo. Still uncertain when she would finally get to move on from this wonderful girl and find someone.

 

Yujin tried dating, goodness she tried, be it a guy or a woman. No one piqued her interest, it was still Minjoo no matter what and it was making her go crazy. She didn’t want to date when she still loves Minjoo, she was not that stupid or selfish — the last thing she wanted was to give other people false hope.

 

“Not interested yet, too busy and all,” Yujin half-lied with a giggle, looking at the woman who’s walking beside her, her smile wavered a bit. “Not like I’m on a rush either.” She added, trying to put up a bright smile but failed, her smile was crooked and it didn’t go unnoticed to Minjoo’s eyes.

 

Well, not like she would be able to tell Minjoo that she was very much in love with her up until today. She would rather bury herself alive. They were okay now, and Yujin worked hard to keep their friendship close and she wouldn’t risk it once more.

 

“But still, hurry up, Yuj~ I already want to see you being happy with someone you love.” Minjoo playfully said, a little bit awkward before turning her head to their way.

 

Yujin just softly sighed, “I only see myself with you, unnie.” She thought and didn’t answer, just quiet as they walked together through the chilly street.

 

Once again, silence took over them but it didn’t last as Yujin opened to speak.

 

“It’s been a while since I ever held your hand like this again,” The taller woman quietly murmured but Minjoo clearly heard it all. She then raised their joint hands, the corner of her lips tugged upwards to form a soft smile before meeting eyes with the older woman. “I missed it, I missed holding you like this.” She added before averting her gaze away, scared that she might do something Minjoo wouldn’t like.


 

***


 

March 25, 2027


 

“Are you sure about that?” Eunbi’s worried tone made Yujin chuckle, nodding even if the older woman couldn’t see her, also giving a verbal response.

 

“Yes, of course? I’m just going to meet Minjoo-unnie and Jihyeok-ssi.” She said while grabbing her wallet, keys, and mask.

 

“That’s why I’m worried, Yujin! You’re meeting Minjoo and Jihyeok!” Eunbi exclaimed, stating the obvious and Yujin rolled her eyes, walking out of her apartment then went to the elevator.

 

“What’s with it? Unnie, I’ll be fine. Out of all the members, I’m the only one who still hasn’t met Jihyeok-ssi,” She said, pressing the parking lot button, eyeing her reflection.

 

A sigh can be heard and Yujin smiled. “Unnie, I will be okay.” She said to Eunbi, and to herself for encouragement. The older woman didn’t answer at first. “Just make sure. Call me later, hmm?” She said instead.

 

Giggling, Yujin nodded, it’s already a habit even in phone calls, exiting the elevator and went to where her car was located and pulled her car keys out. “Yes, yes. Tell Yooeun that Auntie Yujin will go there with Auntie Wonyoung soon. Also, send my regards to Haeyoo-oppa.” She said, halting in front of her newly bought BMW and unlocked it, hopping inside the car.

 

“Of course, I will send your message. Don’t bring any toys anymore with you guys, Yooeun is starting to get spoiled by her aunties.” Eunbi reminded her with a chuckle which made Yujin laugh also, starting the engine of her car.

 

“Is it bad to spoil your kid? Anyway, I’ll just call you later, unnie. Bye.” She said and ended the call, taking a deep breath before maneuvering the car out of the basement parking lot of her apartment complex.

 

When Yujin reached the hotel where they would have dinner, she hesitated for ten minutes, just standing there. She had to call Hyewon for encouragement but to no avail, she only moved when Minjoo texted her, asking for her whereabouts and with that, she finally went inside.

 

She met Minjoo at the lobby, who was waiting for her and probably… her boyfriend too. Yujin smiled, feeling the beat of her heart start to race again at the sight of the gorgeous lady who’s waving at her happily and grinning at her. “Yujin,” The older woman greeted, hugging her and the taller hugged back, not wanting to detach herself no more.

 

“Joo-unnie.” Yujin whispered lovingly.

 

“Let’s go to our reserved table now, Jihyeok-oppa will be arriving soon.” Minjoo said, dragging her to the table and Yujin just let herself get dragged, a small smile etched on her face, just focusing on how Minjoo held her wrist.

 

They sat across one another, and soon, the waiter asked for their orders and they gave it. Minjoo already ordered one for her boyfriend, well, she knew his favorite meals anyway.

 

“How are you, Yujin? It’s been months, you’re pretty busy now too, right? With your acting career booming.” Minjoo started the conversation, clasping her hands together and Yujin noticed that she got a new haircut which suited her, every style suited Minjoo — she would stay beautiful even if she goes bald.

 

Indeed, Yujin got even busier because she made her acting debut, her company already kept pushing her since forever but she just had the guts to finally take the offer just recently. “Yeah, I can’t wait to work with you, unnie.” She playfully said, it was not impossible — Wonyoung and Minjoo starred in the same drama before and it was a hit as expected.

 

Minjoo laughed, and it was music to Yujin’s ears, her heart warmed. “Yes. I can’t wait. I saw your scenes and wow, you’re seriously good, Yujin-ah. You could always ask unnie for some tips and all~” She offered with a smile.

 

Yujin winked at her. “I will, for sure,”

 

Their talk continued smoothly after that, Yujin kept cracking some jokes and Minjoo would laugh loudly or giggle. It felt like it was their date, except it wasn’t. When Yujin almost forgot the real purpose of the dinner, someone made an entrance, breaking their heartwarming moment.

 

“Unnie, your smile is seriously beautiful and precious.” Yujin seriously complimented, eyeing the woman across her with eyes full of fondness. Minjoo stopped laughing, staring back at the younger woman. “Please, don’t ever lose it.” Added by Yujin, reaching for her hand, gently caressing it before throwing her a small smile but their eye-contact remained and Yujin swore, she almost lost herself into Minjoo’s honey orbs.

 

“Darling,”

 

Yujin and Minjoo immediately broke their eye-contact, looking where the manly voice came from and instantly, the younger woman gulped, leaning away and retreating her hand. This handsome lad was definitely Song Jihyeok, Minjoo’s boyfriend — seeing him so up close really struck Yujin a bit.

 

“Oppa,” Minjoo greeted weakly, throwing him a small smile, freezing a bit when the guy leaned down to kiss her cheek before settling down beside her while still smiling brightly at her. Yujin felt like throwing up after witnessing that, her heart started to pound harshly in a bad way, a strange yet scary sensation bubbling into her stomach.

 

“You must be Yujin, I finally met you, another close friend and former bandmate of my girl.” Jihyeok said softly, he was indeed a well-spoken man, a gentleman too.

 

Yujin’s ears rang upon hearing that, forcing out a smile before shaking hands with him. “Hello, Jihyeok-ssi, we’ve finally met.” She greeted.

 

Jihyeok laughed, putting his hand on top of Minjoo’s hand. The younger woman’s gaze dropped down to stare at it for a second before diverting her eyes one again. “Please, no need for formalities. I wish to be close with you.” He responded with a friendly smile.

 

Yujin nodded. “Then, likewise, Jihyeok… oppa,” She almost grimaced but for Minjoo, for Minjoo, she reminded herself.

 

They ate dinner after that. Yujin learned that Jihyeok is indeed a perfect man for Minjoo — they look great together even. The guy had it all, and no wonder Minjoo loved him so much and Yujin could clearly tell that Jihyeok was absolutely smitten too. She was glad that Minjoo was in good hands.

 

That was enough for her, just seeing Minjoo being happy and getting the love she deserved — Yujin couldn’t ask for more. She couldn’t help but to smile when she saw the couple in front of her bickered over cute things. It hurt but… like she said, Minjoo’s happiness was the most important, so she was relieved.

 

Yujin gave up a long time ago, the moment she accepted her feelings for Minjoo, she already gave up — she didn’t have any slightest chance even before the start. And so, even if it greatly pained her, she watched Minjoo smile lovingly at her lover. The smile she badly wanted to get from her.


 

***


 

December 28, 2027


 

“That’s your final answer, Yujin-ah? You won’t continue anymore?” Minjoo asked her, and Yujin nodded with a giggle, taking a sip from her wine. “Yes, I will quit as an idol and actress after my contract expires with my current label.” The younger one confirmed.

 

Their christmas/new year reunion just got finished, all of the IZ*ONE members were present but the party ended quickly as most of them were all still busy but nonetheless, they spent quite a nice time, they were complete. Yujin felt so satisfied and happy tonight, especially that she got to spend time alone with Minjoo, since the latter wasn’t that busy.

 

Minjoo was a little bit in awe when she heard it from Yujin herself and sighed, nodding as she also took a sip on her wine. “May I know why?” She asked softly and who was Yujin to refuse?

 

The younger took a deep breath, looking at the glass window, admiring the scenery — but she stared at her faded reflection instead. “It’s meaningless, everything is meaningless even way before, unnie and I don’t know if I’m able to continue anymore without a purpose. I would love to have a normal life and discover a lot of new things.” She answered deeply, slowly looking at Minjoo’s direction.

 

Minjoo looked beautiful, well, she always looked beautiful no matter what to Yujin’s eyes. The most beautiful woman to ever exist on the planet.

 

“I only continued because you told me to, even if I already found everything meaningless by that time. You encouraged me, and who am I not to oblige your plea?” Yujin whispered the continuation and downed all the remaining wine from her glass, gently placing it back to the table after as she stared at Minjoo. The latter was frozen for a second, clearing as she tried to compose herself.

 

Yujin’s gaze then went to Minjoo’s hands resting on the table, eyeing the ring placed on her ring finger. She couldn’t breathe. “So,” She started off again, her lower lip and the older woman just looked at her silently. “When’s the wedding?” She asked, suddenly breathless.

 

Minjoo bit her lower lip, averting her gaze away from Yujin’s intense gaze. “Next year, probably around September. We want more time to settle everything, I might take a hiatus from being a celebrity too.” She responded, voice full of hesitance.

 

Yujin laughed, not knowing if it was mocking or genuine. September? Were they joking, why did it have to be around her birth month? Do they hate her that much? “Oh, congratulations, unnie. I’m seriously happy for you.” She replied, smiling genuinely at her but soon, that smile faded.

 

Minjoo’s breath hitched as Yujin threw her the question. “Then why did it take you a whole month to tell me about your engagement to Jihyeok-oppa? Everyone already knows. I had to learn it accidentally from Wonyoung.” She asked, feeling a little bit confused and very much hurt. “I just don’t get it. You guys hid it from me, when I asked Eunbi-unnie — she said it was your request.” Added by Yujin.

 

She didn’t know if it was the alcohol that made her dizzy, but she was genuinely confused as to why Minjoo hid that to her for a month. Don’t Minjoo trust her? Did she think she would announce it publicly? Did she think she would do something that would ruin them?

 

“Y-Yujin, it’s—”

 

“Then why? What was the reason for your request? For your sudden secrecy?” Yujin threw another question and this time, Minjoo hung her head down low. The younger woman huffed, feeling her broken heart crack as she looked away, couldn’t bear to see the older woman being like this.

 

She couldn’t understand but for Minjoo, she would even without an explanation. That was how much she loves Kim Minjoo — she would make the world her enemy if she needed to. For Minjoo, she would do anything.

 

Taking a deep breath, Yujin tried to cool her head off before turning to silent Minjoo again, admiring her and letting her be for a while, she could tell that the older woman was drowning with her thoughts. And a few moments after, she finally let out a sigh, grabbing Minjoo’s hand, catching the latter off guard.

 

She couldn’t help but to stare at the beautiful engagement ring Jihyeok gave to Minjoo. A bitter smile formed on her lips but it didn’t last because when their eyes met, it became a sweet and genuine smile again.

 

“I-I’m really sorry for keeping it a secret, Yujin.” Minjoo apologized quietly, looking guilty and frustrated but she didn’t elaborate on it further. She didn’t know why she kept it a secret to Yujin too, she doesn’t know…

 

Yujin chuckled weakly, shaking her head. “Hmm,” She just hummed as a response before caressing her hand softly again, smiling as she rubbed the ring gently — a dark sensation started to spread all over her chest again. “It looks beautiful.” She whispered, then looked up at Minjoo, meeting eyes with her.

 

She goddamn loves this woman so much to death.

 

Bringing her hand over her lips, Yujin shakily pressed a kiss on the back of Minjoo’s hand. Maybe that alcohol made her brave and bold, but at that point, she didn’t care anymore. What mattered the most was Minjoo only.

 

“You look beautiful.”


 

***


 

September 01, 2028


 

Just how cruel life could be for Yujin?

 

If she didn’t just love Minjoo — scratch that, loving a wonderful woman like Kim Minjoo was something not to be regretted. Even if what it all brought to Yujin were pain and suffering, and a lot more of it to come, that was for sure.

 

This was her fate, her destiny. To love someone whom she couldn’t reach and pine for them until the very last puff of her breath. She accepted it long ago, bittersweet. She wondered, what if things were nicer for her? For them? Will she ever have a chance? Countless thoughts kept bugging her.

 

Yujin stared at the familiar scene before her, nostalgia, it hit her greatly — also a sense of familiarity. She looked around, staring at her surroundings and smiled. Nothing much changed compared to what it looked like a decade ago.

 

Her phone kept endlessly vibrating but she ignored it, focusing on the view, thoughts, and her stick of cigarette. She felt at peace, she felt so light as a feather — recalling what happened yesterday, it felt like a big weight got lifted out of her shoulders. She finally got out, officially quitted the celebrity life and she didn’t want to go back in anymore.

 

She wanted to find her purpose, that was her goal for this life. And go away even just temporarily from reality, from the harsh reality, and from Minjoo.

 

Oh, speaking of Minjoo. She asked her if she could meet her at their favorite usual spot tonight, however, Minjoo couldn’t promise since she was busy preparing — preparing for her wedding that would happen tomorrow, her big day. It felt selfish when Yujin requested for her presence a day before her wedding but she couldn’t help herself, she didn’t have the guts to see Minjoo walk down the aisle and get married to a man tomorrow so she wished to meet her today instead.

 

A birthday gift for her, she would like to think. Her presence is enough.

 

Might as well spill every single word she wanted to say to Minjoo before she vanishes tomorrow.

 

Yujin smiled to herself, bringing the half lit stick of cigar between her lips. Mint, it tasted like mint, and somehow, it made her a little bit relaxed. She was tense earlier, nervous to meet Minjoo and face her again. Her gaze then went around again, she often visits here but it looks like it would be her last visit for a long, long time.

 

She always go here if she ever felt lonely and hurt, cry Minjoo’s name and let the moon and stars comfort her. This used to be Minjoo’s and her safe haven but now, it has become Yujin’s solely. She didn’t even know if Minjoo still goes here, she hopes she still does.

 

Yujin exhaled, puffing out the smoke and watched it slowly vanish into thin air almost immediately. And light footsteps caught her ears which made her perk up, she let out a small smile — gently flicking the cigarette to the ground, stepping on it to extinguish the fire.

 

“You smoke…?” That familiar angel-like voice that never fails to make Yujin’s heart flutter. Smiling, the taller woman peeked through her shoulders.

 

“Occasionally,” Yujin responded softly.

 

She watched Minjoo walk to her with light steps, looking worried and upset. Still beautiful as ever, still the same woman who caught her heart and never gave it back. “Why do you look shocked?” Yujin added, chuckling but the older remained serious, halting when she reached near her.

 

Both of them just stared at one another, Yujin smiled when Minjoo let out a sigh, taking a seat beside her and left a nice gap between them. “I didn’t know you learned how to smoke.” She murmured, placing her purse on her lap, the smell of mint and cigarette lingering around the air but bearable.

 

Yujin brushed her long raven hair with her fingers, giggling. “Sorry,” She cheekily replied but Minjoo just softly looked at her.

 

“Happy birthday, Yujin-ah.” She then greeted her, the younger woman’s grin just got wider.

 

“I thought you forgot,” Yujin admitted, playing with her fingers but Minjoo’s eyes still remained on her.

 

“I will never, never in a million years.” The older responded gently and Yujin bit out a laugh, just nodding in disbelief, her heart lit up because of that statement too but how foolish of her to think there was still hope?

 

Yujin’s eyes remained glued to the night view of the city, smiling softly as she admired it, so healing as ever. She reminisced their first time going here together, before IZ*ONE’s debut day, oh how indeed time flies fast. Also, the day where everything started, where the blooming feelings were born.

 

“You know,” The younger started off, still not daring to look at Minjoo. “I ignored everyone today, even my parents. I ran away. I didn’t open any messages of greetings because I want you to be the first one who will greet and wish me a ‘happy birthday’ today.” She confessed, well, it was all true.

 

She giggled when Minjoo didn’t respond, she knew the woman froze up. She didn’t need to look at her to know, she just knows the older woman that well — her every reaction, reflex, habits, and all, Yujin knew.

 

“Thank you for meeting me here even if you’re busy preparing for your wedding tomorrow with Jihyeok-oppa.” Yujin tried her best not to wince but her heart ached after she said that. She knew that Minjoo felt awkward so shifted topics immediately.

 

Finally, she briefly glanced at Minjoo, who was emotionlessly looking at the view in front of her. Yujin frowned a bit, as for someone who would get married tomorrow with her fiancè, she looks gloomy rather.

 

“It’s nothing, I will see you no matter what.” Minjoo responded honestly which made Yujin’s heart flip, but the latter just laughed it off, feeling touched and not catching the tone the older woman used.

 

There was a silence between them and Yujin, as usual, broke it off by speaking again. “I won’t beat around the bush, unnie… I asked for you to meet me because I would like to tell you something… Tell you everything.” The playfulness almost instantly disappeared, Yujin turned serious and genuine which made Minjoo nervous a bit.

 

Yujin turned to Minjoo, just staring at her like she was the only woman to ever exist — well, she was, in that very moment — she could only see Minjoo, think about Minjoo, no one else.

 

It was like her tongue got burned for a moment, she suddenly cowered but when the older woman gave her a soft look, she finally surrendered. “Unnie…” She whispered, looking so helpless. “I’m sorry but I think I can’t go to your wedding tomorrow.” She continued weakly, gulping as she watched Minjoo’s expression change into disappointment—confusion and disappointment are written in her beautiful doe eyes.

 

“It’s not that I can’t… but I think I’m unable to manage to see you walk down the aisle and exchange vows with Jihyeok.” Yujin added, clenching her fists, and her heart already acted when she said that, squishing painfully. Minjoo didn’t say anything yet, listening intently to her words.

 

Taking a deep breath, she continued pouring her hearts out. “I-I think I just can’t, unnie. I’m so sorry.” She apologized, her eyes lost focus because she was holding her tears. No, no, don’t cry, she shouldn’t cry in front of the older woman.

 

Minjoo’s breath hitched, biting her lower lip and asked after a few moments of silence. “Why?” It was weak and low, a slap into Yujin’s face, she felt guilty.

 

Yujin didn’t immediately answer, looking up to the moon — the witness of her foolishness. She tried to gain courage, taking a few deep breaths and patting herself mentally. It was now or never.

 

“Do you think I will be able to handle seeing you, the one I love, walk down into that very aisle and witness how you marry the man you love?”

 

Minjoo stared at her, shock was evident on her face. Yujin felt her chest was a little bit cleared up but her heart, it was aching painfully, longing for Minjoo. She finally confessed, god, after years of keeping it to herself, she finally let her true feelings out. She knew that the older woman thought she already moved on, it was always like that — Minjoo assumed for the best anyway.

 

“...Yujin?” The older woman called out, her voice was hoarse. She looked so confused and Yujin’s heart stung because of that.

 

The taller woman looked away, hanging her head down low and tightly closed her eyes, biting her lower lip — she was breathing heavily, she felt so exhausted pining for Minjoo already, so tired bottling everything up, so exhausted from hurting and suffering.

 

“I love you, Kim Minjoo.” Yujin finally managed to say the words that she badly wanted to say to Minjoo ever since. “And it hurts.”

 

Minjoo was taken aback at the sudden confession. Yujin suddenly regretted confessing, literally a day before the older woman’s wedding, what was she thinking? But she had enough, she exploded, this was her limit. It just hurt so bad.

 

“Since when?” Minjoo asked, looking pale when she heard those words coming from Yujin’s own mouth and latter laughed breathlessly, shaking her head as she stood up, walking to the railings — she couldn’t handle it, she couldn’t handle her emotions anymore, she let her tears fall, eyeing the scenery presented in front of her. A gust of wind passed by, and Minjoo also stood up, padding towards her and looking so helpless.

 

The older woman waited patiently, halting in front of Yujin with a respectful gap between them, eyeing her so desperately. She saw how exhausted the younger woman looked, she had been keeping it for so long. She also noticed how much Yujin changed, how she got taller and how her features matured.

 

“Almost ten years and counting,” Yujin whispered, bringing her hand up to her lips, biting the side of her hand, an action to keep herself together. “Almost ten years and counting, Minjoo. It’s still you.” She repeated, also looking in disbelief because she couldn’t believe that she’s been loving and pining for Minjoo for almost a decade already yet her broken heart doesn’t have a plan to move on.

 

Minjoo was left dumbfounded, still staring at Yujin who was crying but she saw how Yujin looked beautiful even if she was crying. But it hurt her so bad to think that Yujin cried because of her, all because of her own stupidness and cowardice.

 

“But that’s not important anymore,” Yujin shrugged it off, taking a deep breath and wiped her endless tears with the sleeve of her coat, nodding to herself before turning to face Minjoo. She stopped her movements for a bit, her heart skipped a beat when she saw Minjoo, the latter stood there with teary eyes.

 

“I just wanted for you to know that, I, Ahn Yujin — hopelessly, helplessly, and pathetically, pined and loved you for almost a decade and counting.” She added while looking directly into Minjoo’s sparkly orbs, breath hitching as she clutched her chest, biting her lower lip.

 

The older woman felt like she was splashed with cold water but she kept mum, feeling like her lips got glued together, she just stood there — staring at Yujin as the latter poured her feelings out while tearing up.

 

“But that’s just it, unnie. I won’t do anything, I have no ill intentions towards you and Jihyeok-oppa. Your happiness is what matters the most to me, so here, I’m saying this all before your wedding to get some inner peace.” Yujin explained after calming down a little bit, shaking her head lightly and stared back at Minjoo.

 

“So please,” A step, Yujin took a step forward after taking a deep breath, still staring at Minjoo. The latter did not flinch so she continued until there was no space between them anymore yet Minjoo remained unfazed, still looking at Yujin with an unreadable expression and gaze.

 

With a smile, Yujin reached for her face, cupping it gently and caressed her cheeks with her thumbs so softly and leaned in.

 

Minjoo closed her eyes out of reflex, waiting for something and soon, she felt something soft being damp on her forehead.

 

Yujin gently planted a kiss on her forehead, and Minjoo’s heart bursted rainbows all over. It didn’t last, just three seconds or so to cherish the moment, cherish the chance the younger woman got.

 

She slowly pulled away, still smiling at Minjoo who already had her eyes open, following her movements. A sad and broken smile, that is. “Please be happy and let me love you until I can. Please, let me love you freely at the back. Nothing more, that’s all I want, please. I’ll go away.” She begged, choking out a cry, her hands trembled as she retreated, missing Minjoo’s warmth already.

 

Yujin felt like , vulnerable, a literal mess but at least she got it; inner peace. She got it, she was still hurting but everything felt lighter this time.

 

“You were my everything—actually, still is. My heart, it all still belongs to you and I do not want for you to give it back to me.” Yujin whispered, nodding as she took another deep breath, flashing another sad smile.

 

With that, she took a step backward, and another one, until Minjoo looked unreachable anymore. “Thank you,” She whispered, just loud enough for Minjoo to hear. She can’t help but to smile, Minjoo looked beautiful despite what just happened, she looked so… sad too but that’s enough.

 

“And I love you, I will love you until the very end of me, Kim Minjoo. See you soon.” Yujin added with a smile, and with a broken and heavy heart, she turned around, walking away slowly and it was torture knowing Minjoo is there, looking at her while she escaped and ran away from her.

 

But that was for the better. She could feel that the moon and stars were already giggling at her foolishness once again but this time, this would be the last. This would be the last time she would be Minjoo’s fool.

 

The corner of lips tugged upwards, smiling secretly as tears still continued to flow from her eyes. Chest heavy as she walked away, running away from Minjoo and everything. She was absolutely shattered.

 

Please, be happy with the person you love and let me love you silently.


 

***


 

Minjoo silently gazed to the direction where Yujin disappeared to — ran into, and slowly walked to the rock they used to sit on every time they visited this place. Oh, how everything got ruined.

 

She ruined everything, she ruined Yujin — her cowardice ruined everything and it ruined her too, not being able to hold Yujin like she wanted to.

 

Minjoo hung her head down low, covering her face with her trembling hands, shaking furiously because she was absolutely mad and frustrated with herself. Why? Why did everything have to reach into this? Yujin, oh dear sweet, Yujin — she was so broken, hurting for the past years while Minjoo tried to turn blindeye on her feelings.

 

She knew, god, she knew! She knew Yujin loved her unconditionally all these years without fail yet what did she do? She ran away from it. Terrified of the judgement and pressure, the consequences it might bring to her, it might bring to Yujin even if the latter was so ready to keep her away from the world.

 

Minjoo choked out a sob, wailing painfully, as she patted her chest repeatedly like it would ease the pain — she cried like a mad woman, like it would bring back the time. She wiped her face with her sleeves, trying to collect herself up but she failed, looking at the moon who was eyeing her from above. Her quivering lips formed into a mocking smile.

 

“Yujin-ah,” She whispered like Yujin was present and right beside her, she whispered it like the younger woman’s name like she’s her everything. Well, she is. “The moon looks beautiful tonight, isn’t it?” She added, trembling insanely, glaring at the moon, hating herself inside.

 

Minjoo could feel her heart aching painfully. If everyone thought Yujin is the only one suffering, Minjoo was too. With heavy guilt and stupid decisions haunting her every night.

 

“I’m so sorry, my love. I’m so sorry.” Minjoo cried out, screaming in frustration after. Everything felt heavy, her heart was wholly shattered into millions of pieces. “I’m so sorry that I’m a coward.” She added, patting her aching chest.

 

It was like everything lost its meaning, lost the light. Minjoo’s world turned cold and gray, colorless and crushed.

 

Of course, she loved — loves, Yujin. She never said nor showed it but she loved Ahn Yujin with every piece of her that was why it was so difficult. Ever since the beginning, she did, she also loved Yujin back, even until now — yet, she was still a coward who kept running away from her.

 

But today, officially today, she completely lost her — she lost Yujin, her greatest love, the person she only loves.

 

Don’t blame her for just playing safe but it risked her whole world, and until Minjoo dies, she would bring regrets and guilt with her. What if she just became brave and also confessed to Yujin that she actually loves her back? They were surely living happily yet Minjoo chose the wrong choice.

 

Minjoo sat there, emotionlessly and lifelessly, she was so broken to the point she became numb, the face of Yujin etched on her mind. She stared at the scenery, and huffed, amused — she looked like a crazy woman. The moon, the stars, the wind — they know it all.

 

But what had been done was already done. And it was all your fault, Kim Minjoo. The woman thought to herself, smiling bitterly as she angrily looked at the ring. She never loved Jihyeok, and she would never be able to no matter what she does. She felt bad but she had to live in this set-up. Poor man, Jihyeok was indeed a nice guy and Minjoo would never forgive herself for involving other people because of her stupidness and cowardice.

 

As Minjoo sat there and thought of her life decisions, guilt eating her up. The scene where she first met Yujin that very moment in that survival show played on her mind, she knew she was in trouble because of how her heart fluttered when Yujin grinned at her. Minjoo smiled at the memory.

 

“In our next life, you’re the one whom I will choose and until eternity, it will always be you. I made a mistake this time but in the next ones, I will make sure I’m the one who will fix ‘us’.” Minjoo promised to the universe.

 

She fluttered her eyes open, the nice view of the night life of the city greeted her, with Yujin’s lovely laugh ringing in the back of her head, she added — “But even so, remember Yujin, my heart, my soul, every piece of me — it all belongs to you even though the world decided to give us up this time. It’s you, it’s still you, and it will always be you until the end of the day.”

 

With a smile, Minjoo finally let out the words she badly wanted to say to Yujin, but never got the chance to and would only like for the wind to hear it.

 

For ten years and counting, Minjoo loved Yujin, and still is. From the beginning, debuting in the same group named IZ*ONE, parting ways, and up until today — she’s still loving her and will never stop.

 

“I love you, Ahn Yujin.” She whispered, sealing that secret to no one. May the wind hold it until it vanishes.


 

***


 

June 2018


 

Minjoo stood there at the side of the room, fidgeting very badly and nervousness wouldn’t just leave her nerves.

 

Of course, she’ll be nervous, she was going to audition in Produce48 after all. And it’s wrecking her. It didn’t help that she was not with someone and would perform alone on that stage.

 

She glanced at some of the trainees from different agencies there, huddling in the corner while nervously eyeing the monitor screen nearby. At least, they were not alone like her… they can hold somebody’s hand while Minjoo could only hold her own, clasp her own tightly, reassure herself.

 

Minjoo felt like shrinking, she could feel some gazes from the trainees. She tried her best to give out a friendly smile and the others returned it so she was relieved that they were very friendly and not those cold-hearted mean girls.

 

When the other group of trainees performed, Minjoo watched them intently while her own bottom lip. They were good. So, so good. The longer Minjoo watched, the confidence she brought slowly shrunk.

 

There it was again. Negative thoughts. She couldn’t help but to compare herself to them even though she knew every trainee was unique.

 

She took a deep breath, nodding her head to once again, reassure herself. Her eyes were screwed shut as she filled her mind with nice thoughts, encouraging herself not to lose confidence and just perform!

 

And when she opened her eyes, another group from a known agency suddenly went into the waiting room. The group consists of three members and wow, they were surely tall…

 

“Ahh, I’m so nervous…” One of them murmured, shaking the other member’s shoulders.

 

Minjoo silently stood there, awkwardly shifting her footing as she scratched her sweaty palm. Any minute, the staff would call her and ask her to prepare since she was going to perform after a few groups.

 

The new group suddenly went closer to her, walking to her direction and they all brightly greeted the present trainees in the waiting room. And the three of them huddled near Minjoo, just across her as what the staff instructed them to do.

 

“Urban Works’ Kim Minjoo-ssi?” A voice called and Minjoo immediately perked up, raising her hand out of reflex. The guy staff then gestured for her to move forward and so she did, “Please enter this room. You’ll be performing soon.”

 

Minjoo immediately moved, but her head suddenly snapped beside her and she was greeted by a charming grin of one of the tall Starship trainees in front of her. The first thing Minjoo noticed was how charming and bright it was, and those deep dimples.

 

Her knees suddenly buckled, resulting in her almost tripping on nothing and yelped, blush spreading through her pale cheeks, but not because of embarrassment…

 

She trailed behind the staff. And she noticed how her heart was racing much faster than usual. Her hand slowly moved to her chest, feeling the beats of her heart against her palm.

 

Tilting her head, she quietly took a glance through her shoulders and saw the tall girl who grinned at her, now talking with her co-trainees with her bright smile still intact.

 

From then on, Minjoo knew…

 

She was in trouble.

 

***

 

A/N: hello folks! wow, AHHAHAHA it still feels surreal to me! thank you guys so much for the support and love! TYAC still managed to enter top 10 with huge deduction points, im still in awe. but once again, thank you guys so, so much! and sorry for hurting and breaking y’alls heart.

 

me and my co-writer, deyn, are still discussing if were going to write a sequel so i hope this extra scene will suffice HAHAHAHA

 

again, thank you and sorry uwu please freely curse at us!

 

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