'look. i'm not asking you to break up with him. if you love him, i'm all okay with that. but i want you to think this thoroughly first, noona.'
you hear your brother's voice in your head as you walk on the busy street, heading nowhere in particular.
after pulling you out of the restaurant, eunwoo tells you to go somewhere tonight and think it over. you agreed after he promised he'll go home to apologise to your parents.
and now you're alone, not knowing where to go.
donghae will surely be waiting for you in your apartment. you don't want to see him yet. you're not ready to answer his questions yet.
you've never felt so alone, imprisoned, and confused in your life.
your heart feels heavy. you want to scream and let it all out.
you want to be mad at your dad. you want to be mad at donghae. you want to tell them to their faces how selfish they are.
but you know you can't do it. you won't be able to do it. you'll regret doing it.
you're far from being drunk, but your world is shaking, your feet leading you to nowhere. anywhere is a good destination.
and before the tears could flow out of your eyes, a beam of bright light ahead catches your attention.
you look up and sees the big led screen along the crosswalk flashing a 7-eleven ad.
you shake your head and laugh at yourself. "seriously?"
you usually ignore this big screen whenever you pass by the area. but right now, it feels like it is talking to you. and that ad reminds you of only one person.
'you shouldn't waste your life trying to please other people because no matter what you do, they won't be satisfied.'
you stare up at the big screen for a few more seconds until it flashes a different advertisement.
you stop on the side to take out that specific card from your wallet.
you dial the number on your phone. she picks up after three rings.
"kang seulgi. who's this?" she sounds like she stepped out of the bar as you can still hear the bass in her background.
you close your eyes, realising how much you miss hearing her voice.
you let out a loud exhale, not sure if this is the right solution to your problem.
but you don't care. you're feeling rebellious. you'll do whatever you feel like doing.
"are you... are you free tonight...?" you ask softly.
"irene?" she asks. "i'm with yuri and the others. you want to come over? we're at the usual."
you shake your head, forgetting she can't see you. "i... i want to see you."
it reduces her to silence, making you want to take the words back.
you thought it's game over until she speaks.
"tell me where you are. i'll pick you up."
she drives you to an open parking lot. you tell her what happened while you two eat takeouts.
like before, she listens attentively without saying anything, nodding and humming once in a while.
"i don't even know why i tell all of these things to you," you say after you finish your story. "you barely know me. we're not friends. and i might be bothering you right now."
"no. you're not a bother," she says assuringly. "and it's helpful to listen to other people's issues from time to time. it's like a validation that everyone on this planet is not exempted from problems."
"are you saying you're finding pleasure listening to my problems?"
"well, that's one way to put it." she chuckles. "but, no. i am not in any way happy knowing you're not fine. i guess i love hearing you talk and pour your heart out outside the classroom."
you look at her.
for the first time that night, you take a good look at her--observing her and taking in all her features.
she's still in that black suit with her hair hanging on her shoulders. she somewhat looks tired--could be from school or something else. you want to ask about her problems too, but you don't want to pry either.
"people should be treated as an end, not as a means to get something," she speaks in a sigh. she looks at you with a warm expression. "i'm sorry that you have to go through that. i'm sorry if those people around you treat you in that way. we may not know each other personally, but i believe you're a strong woman, irene. and i know you'll be able to decide for yourself this time. it's your life, after all. do anything you want. don't let them decide for you."
you look away and let those words marinate in your brain.
do anything you want. don't let them decide for you.
"what's your go-to food when you're sad?" she asks.
you think for a moment. "chocolate. kitkat specifically. the chunky one."
"want me to buy one for you?"
"no need." you smile. and you think you're rebelling now as an idea comes to your mind. "you know what, i know exactly what i want tonight."
"and that is?"
you smirk. "bring me to your place."
as soon as the door to seulgi's apartment closes, the two of you are all over each other.
you take her coat off. you take her tie off the way you've always imagine you'd do it.
she lifts you, and you wrap your legs around her as your hands skilfully her dress shirt.
she carries you to the floor bed, where she lays you gently.
she kisses you again. your hand reaches for her nape to pull her closer.
you wake up feeling lighter and brighter. the beam of sunlight reflecting from the window tells you it's probably midday.
this is almost like the deja vu of last time, except for the scattered clothes on the floor.
and the arm that's draped over your torso.
smiling, you turn to face the sleeping figure beside you, remembering the events that occurred last night.
it was a wild, hot, and satisfying experience altogether. the two of you stayed up until dawn, under the sheets, panting and gasping for air.
and she looks like she's in a deep sleep, exhausted from all the activities from a few hours ago.
you brush the stray bangs off her face and watch her.
she looks so calm and beautiful.
and is that a bite mark on her neck?
your face warms up.
yeah. you remember her there when you're close to--
she stirs and groans.
she opens an eye and scans you. her expression relaxes before nuzzling into your neck.
you raise a brow. "did you just try to confirm which woman you'd slept with last night?"
"no. i was checking if last night was real."
"confirming if you really nailed your hot professor to bed?"
she chuckles. "yeah. definitely that."
"so, what do you usually do after this?"
"what do you mean?"
"after you slept with a girl, do you just ghost them or what?"
she pulls away to look at your face. "do you really see me like that?"
"well, aren't you the one telling the gang how you sleep around with any woman and disconnect from them after?"
"fair." she shrugs. "but you aren't any woman."
you don't know what to answer to that.
"i don't see you in that way." she nuzzles back again into your neck. "you're not like them. you're different. you don't deserve that treatment."
"what kind of treatment i deserve then?"
"you deserve to be appreciated," she says. you can feel her breath on your skin. "you deserve to be treated as worthy and significant; to be listened to. you deserve to be taken care of; to be loved, to be worshipped."
there's this certain gentleness in her tone that pierces right through your heart.
but you know you can't fall for that because it's kang seulgi. that's just how she is.
"is that your way of trying to sleep with me again?" you ask.
she laughs and pulls away to lie on her back, facing the ceiling. "oh, professor."
you prop your head on your hand. "i thought you don't sleep with the same woman twice?"
"i told you, you're not like them."
"oh. so, you want to sleep with me again, huh?"
she laughs again, harder. "why ask? you'll only stop me if i try to."
you take a moment to answer. "hm. to be honest, i won't. but--"
that seems to be the only confirmation she needs because she's already cupping your cheek and kissing you.
and despite the inner voices in your head, telling you to avoid her, to stop, you let her touch you and kiss you wherever she likes.
you allowed her to claim you over and over because she manages to take the worries off your mind.
you think she deserves it because you're not your pretentious self when you're with her. you are free and liberated.
no faking. no lying.
so you give into her touch, succumbing to this little world--this haven--she created for you.
you don't know how this will end. what's important is this moment; you and her, and your bodies moulding together into one.