A/N; Note will be at the end of the chapter to avoid any possible spoilers.
Friday morning. The last day.
Tiffany lied in bed, curled up within her comforter and staying warm underneath the thick material. For the past thirty minutes, she had been scrolling through her phone. The tiny digits in the top right corner indicated four in the morning. Although the screen dimmed, it produced enough light to illuminate her pale face. She swiped through Facebook, finding herself lingering on Nichkhun's page.
As a matter of fact, she rarely thought of him the past week. It didn't come as too much of a surprise, especially considering Jessica was a handful, but it was still astonishing. The more she thought about the situation, particularly the older woman, Tiffany's mind began wandering before she closed out the Facebook app and started swiping through the photos she took yesterday.
Analyzing the photos, she couldn't help but focus on Jessica. There were some photos where she was smiling, others where she didn't, and some were flat-out blurry. But one thing remained with all of them - there was no doubt Jessica held her interest. The brunette occupied her thoughts more than Nichkhun did. Truthfully, there were multiple occasions where she'd entirely forgotten the entire situation and intended to mess with him because she was too distracted with keeping Jessica in line. Not that she was ever successful.
There was also a certain familiarity with Jessica than she ever felt with Nichkhun. It lingered on the tip of her tongue, but she couldn't quite pinpoint what it was. Perhaps it was the familiarity of Jessica being another American, going to the same high school, or even majoring in the same study. Either way and the longer she thought about it, she knew for sure she developed a crush on the older woman. It was no coincidence. Yesterday, seeing how Jessica took care of her, that's when she knew this wasn't some silly phase that would go away.
Next, the issue was how to address this. How could she tell Seohyun? Would she tell Seohyun? The thought gave her butterflies, a mixture of nerves, and also a hint of excitement. Tiffany Hwang developed feeling for another woman for the first time.
'Google it,' she thought.
Closing out the photos app, she clicked the search bar and entered the following;
having feelings for someone of the same gender
Immediately, hundreds of articles and pages loaded with related topics filled the browser. Everything ranged from
blogging articles, websites where you asked questions, and even advice and support from online therapy sessions. It was overwhelming, and Tiffany didn't know where to start.
She scrolled further down the first page, skimming over headlines until she saw related searches;
how to tell if someone of the same gender likes you
how to flirt with someone of the same gender
being in love with the same gender
Then, she saw the perfect match.
i have a crush on my friend of the same gender
Feeling compelled, she clicked the suggestion and was quite pleased to see the first article the page offered. It was an article written by a woman who described everything in great detail, expressing the same thoughts Tiffany shared. While she continued to read, her mind began drifting further from the words she had been reading and started to dwell on yesterday. Specifically when they almost kissed in the funhouse.
The incident kept playing within her mind, rewinding and pausing each time their lips were centimeters away. Never did she consider kissing another woman until that very moment. It was an impulse, a moment of weakness, she thought. Something she had no control over, yet it felt right. Perhaps it was a sign of something she had been oblivious about, that she secretly had been wanting to kiss the brunette since the moment they met in class and laid eyes on the former's bewitching good looks. Jessica was far from perfect, the complete opposite of what she intended to find in somebody, but it attracted her and drew her closer, wanting more.
As they say, opposites attract.
"Hey, Seohyun," Tiffany whispered in the dark.
A few seconds of silence passed, causing Tiffany to check on the younger woman. Carefully maneuvering on the top bunk, she clutched the phone in her hand and lit the phone screen before leaning over the bunk to check the bottom bed. She held the light to Seohyun's face, noticing she was wearing earphones while she slept. No doubt a result of the two American's arguing the other night.
Tiffany cautiously reached forward before removing the latter's earpiece. "Seohyun."
Stirring, the younger woman yawned from the result of suddenly being woken up. She struggled to lift her eyelids before pushing the light away from her face once she was slightly more coherent. "What time is it? Did I miss my alarm?"
"No, it's four in the morning."
"Then why are you waking me up, Fany? I'm trying to sleep."
"I need to tell you something."
"Can't it wait? We can talk in the morning," she assured, closing her eyes again.
For a few seconds, Tiffany didn't say anything. Instead, she shifted the luminosity from the phone in the direction of where the futon was and observed Jessica sleeping.
Upon closer inspection, she noticed the brunette was twitching rather frenziedly. Almost like she was having a nightmare or a bad dream. Either way, Tiffany found it concerning and felt partially guilty that she was intrigued. At some point, she noticed Jessica started talking in her sleep. Unfortunately, most of it was incoherent.
There wasn't a lack of hesitation, and without thinking, Tiffany blurted, "I think I like Jessica."
"I already knew, Fany. I'm glad you finally came to that conclusion."
"What? How can you possibly know before I told you anything?"
"Do I need to remind you that you were going through Jessica's bag the other day, sniffing her clothes? You also haven't explained why both of you ended up handcuffed the other day. Interesting."
"Oh, my god! Don't say that out loud? Are you crazy!? What if Jessica hears that and wakes up? Don't think I've forgotten you purposely took the key so we couldn't separate, Seo. I also have a perfectly valid excuse why we ended up handcuffed together!"
In the dark, Seohyun released a half-hearted giggle. "It's obvious. You've never been an expert at hiding your feelings. I've noticed you're sharing a lot of similar traits with Jessica. For example, you're mimicking her speech patterns and how you present yourself. Your gestures are starting to mirror hers."
Heat started radiating from Tiffany's cheeks. There was a twinge of embarrassment that Seohyun was observant enough to notice such details. She knew the latter pointed it out the other day, but the emphasis this time around was much different.
"How can you be so sure? Realistically, it could be an American thing."
"It's most certainly not an American thing. I've lived with you since you arrived in Korea, Fany. The few times I met Nichkhun, I never once remembered you sharing any traits with him. I've also met Jessica's sister in the past - "
"Wait, you've met her sister? You're aware she has a sister?"
"We were in middle school. We had a mutual friend. Ironically, this friend was also American."
"Explain because I don't remember this."
"You already started high school when this happened."
"What's the name of Jessica's sister?" Tiffany questioned, curious to see if Seohyun was correct, although she knew the youngster would never lie. Perhaps she had the wrong girl.
"I believe it was Krystal? I only met Jessica once, but I doubt she remembers. That's if you consider it a meeting since it was brief. Their mother arrived to pick Krystal up, and Jessica had been sitting in the passenger seat of their car. Krystal introduced me as her 'waiting friend' before hopping in the vehicle. They left long before you arrived. When you brought Jessica home Tuesday, I was surprised I recognized her after so long. I didn't want to bring anything up since I'm sure she doesn't remember. It would have been awkward."
Tiffany rested against the mattress again and turned off the phone screen, silently staring at the ceiling. She couldn't believe what Seohyun said. Truthfully, she was a little hurt.
"Fany, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"You're jealous, aren't you?" she exclaimed a little too loud for Tiffany's liking.
"Oh, please. The infection in your voice is so obvious."
"I'm jealous that you met Krystal before I had the chance to. Like, it's not that I'm upset with you, but it's not entirely fair. Jessica is supposed to be my girlfriend. I feel left out of the loop," Tiffany huffed.
Seohyun covered , suppressing the laugh that threatened to echo within the room. She worried it would cause Jessica to wake up if that was even possible. "Fany, you sound like a twelve-year-old. You're hilarious. Let's get some sleep, and we'll discuss this in the morning, okay?"
"How are we supposed to talk about this when Jessica's present?"
"Goodnight, Tiffany," Seohyun vocalized, purposely shutting down their conversation as she grabbed her earphones, intending to fall asleep once more.
Left alone in the quiet, Tiffany snuggled within her comforter like before, thinking about what Seohyun said and these new feelings. Though it may have seemed like the younger woman skimmed over their conversation, she knew Seohyun always kept her word.
Now, she'd spend the rest of the night thinking about a certain brunette and her roommate.
The sound of an alarm rang throughout the confined room, causing Tiffany to become aggravated as she struggled to locate her cell phone. While her eyelids remained shut, her right hand absentmindedly roamed the layers of blankets as she searched for her phone. Grasping the small device, she lethargically opened her eyes before successfully muting the alarm.
The room once again became peaceful and quiet. Tiffany continued to lie in bed for a few more seconds until the realization kicked in. It was her alarm.
Instantly she shot up, eyelids flying wide open in distress, despite being weary. Reaching for her phone, she the screen and checked the time.
"Holy . It's almost one!"
Frantically, she glanced around the room, noticing both of the other women were gone. She knew Seohyun had already gone to class, but Jessica? She was nowhere in sight. The daybed appeared tucked away, and the blankets used were neatly lined up on the end of the furniture. In addition, the duffle bag Jessica brought was gone, too.
"Oh, god. No, no, no," Tiffany chanted several times, quickly descending from the bunk. "This cannot be happening."
Horrible, awful thoughts began racing through her mind. Simultaneously, fear and anxiety filled her heart.
First, she missed the chance to talk to Seohyun about these newfound feelings. Secondly, she slept in, resulting in her missing the entire morning. Third, there was no Jessica, which meant no girlfriend.
That was her biggest concern at the moment.
"Please tell me this isn't real," she pleaded.
Tiffany started searching the dorm for any sign of Jessica's duffle bag or clothes. Something. Anything. She checked underneath the couch before scouring through Seohyun's bed. Desperate, she even rummaged through the dresser they shared, but to no avail. There was no sign of Jessica. It was as if she had disappeared without a trace.
"I can't believe you would ing leave me like this. Our agreement, our deal. I'm an idiot for thinking you would actually stay and see this through."
Denial. Anger. Those were the first two stages of grief she was already experiencing. Jessica wasn't the most well-grounded person she knew, but she didn't expect the former to leave the day before the party. She felt betrayed and humiliated. Stupid, to an even lesser extent. In reality, she started caring less and less about attempting to make Nichkhun jealous. That wasn't even the reason why she was so upset. In fact, she was upset that Jessica left without a goodbye. Even after receiving her number, there were no texts from the other American.
'To think I developed a crush on you.'
Tiffany briefly thought about texting or calling Jessica, but she subsided the idea. She didn't trust herself, knowing she would get too emotional and most likely have an outburst. If fortunate enough and the other woman came back, she didn't want to risk losing her.
Instead, she walked over to the mini-fridge. She grabbed the piece of paper on top, prepared to read whatever Seohyun wrote.
I apologize we couldn't have that discussion this morning. I attempted to wake you up, but you must've been fatigued from yesterday. (Which you will need to tell me all about, by the way. I'm curious to know how your date went.) I've thought about what you told me earlier, and I hope it's clear that you have my support. I'm sure you're conflicted, maybe scared by these newfound feelings, or even were hesitant to tell me, but I'm touched you trust me enough to confess. I'm aware I most likely came off tentative about this entire situation, but it makes me happy to see you've finally found someone you connect with after Nichkhun. I know I teased you about being meant for each other, but some things in this life are too strange to be a coincidence. As long as Jessica has been treating you well and you're content around her, I say go for it and tell her. That's all that matters.
Once she finished reading, a small smile found its way to her lips before she realized there was another piece of paper underneath the one Seohyun left. She released the sheet and picked up the other one. Unlike the youngster, this one was written in English and was cursive. There was only one other individual who could've written this.
Now, before you start assuming, I'm not ditching you. I can already envision your reaction to reading this. Your forehead is wrinkled, and you're looking twice your age. Amazing how I knew that, right? Us barn animals are quite intelligent, actually.
I mean this seriously, which I know is unusual to be hearing from me. I'm the last person who you would take seriously. There is something or multiple things I want to tell you. It's been dwelling on my mind a lot the past week. I think telling you some of this would help with how I've been feeling. I didn't dare think about telling you this in person, so I thought writing a letter would be easier. (I noticed Seohyun did it, and no, I promise I didn't read what she wrote. Although I was dying of curiosity.) It's hard to express what I'm trying to say, but I want to see you in person. I'll explain this better if I see you.
So, that leads me to my next thing. You're probably wondering where I'm currently at, so I decided to show some appreciation for you while you were sleeping. I left pink balloons around campus that point in the direction of where I'm hanging out. (A little birdie told me that's your favorite color. You can't miss them.)
Until then, I'll be thinking of you.
Too stunned to talk or even remotely act, Tiffany held the piece of paper to her chest before sitting down on Seohyun's mattress. Going from both notes felt like whiplash. Seohyun, her roommate, supported this revelation. Hell, she even encouraged her to confide in Jessica about these feelings. In contrast, Jessica, the woman who agreed to be her girlfriend, managed to sweep her off her feet.
There was too much to process from both women, and it didn't help Jessica's letter resulted in causing her some anxiety. What did she want to confess?
Otherwise, she completely swooned over the idea Jessica went to such lengths to demonstrate this little act. Pink balloons? Sweet talk? No leaving? Everything presented itself to be too good to be true. However, Tiffany held a little bit of skepticism about why Jessica's belongings were gone. There would only be one way to find out.
Half an hour flew by before Tiffany considered herself to be presentable. During that time, she changed into more appropriate day apparel which consisted of the liking of a baby pink romper designed with small graphic details. To accompany the outfit, she slipped on white flats.
In addition, she applied light makeup. Although, she didn't spend much time fixing her appearance since she didn't want to keep the former waiting. Lord knows how long she anticipated Tiffany.
Nearly out the door, Tiffany retrieved the note Jessica left behind. Lastly, she also grabbed the cap she wore yesterday, as it was the only thing Jessica didn't take. Strange, but the raven didn't bother instigating the thought. She stuck both items in her purse before locking the dorm.
Standing in the hall, she immediately recognized a notecard and balloon at the end of the foyer. She strolled over to the articles before removing both.
I have to make sure you know to leave the building. But if you've been wandering around, please let me know so I can laugh at you. :)
Chuckling, Tiffany grasped the sheet tightly before descending the staircase and exiting the dormitory.
Outside, the sunlight instantly grew brighter once she stepped away from the corridor. Several seconds went by before her eyes adjusted to the lighting. Squinting, she saw a pink balloon a distance away. The item was taped to the nearest lamp post, gently swaying from the breeze that swept the campus.
From there, she began her mission of collecting the pink balloons. Surprisingly, the task turned out rather fun and adventurous. The game guided her in several directions, across multiple buildings and remote areas she never knew existed. At one point, it even directed to Jessica's parked car. In the end, the last balloon lied at the far end of their campus which was near their baseball field. It was less populated and mostly surrounded by trees.
Tethered to a nearby bench, Tiffany strolled up and untied the item before noticing one last note and a bouquet of purple and white windflowers resting next to the balloon.
Take my hand, and we'll lay in the grass where everything will be ours for a few hours.
Tilting her head sideways, she read the words repeatedly. Surveying the immediate area, she didn't see Jessica. However, she spotted another individual not too far from where she had been standing. She would ask them. Perhaps this other person saw Jessica.
Sauntering over towards the grassy patch where this other woman was sitting, she noticed their back seemed remarkably similar in comparison to Jessica's. It couldn't have been the brunette, as this other individual had lighter hair. It was a shade of blonde.
On closer examination, said individual was relaxing on a pink and white checkered blanket. Additionally, a white plastic bag appeared to contain food, and, oddly enough, a stack of books was next to the woman.
"I was starting to think you wouldn't show up."
Jessica stood from where she was situated and turned around to face the latter. Abruptly, Tiffa