Minjeong had woken up even earlier than she usually does. Hours before sunrise, and probably just a few hours after she went to bed, Minjeong had woken early to puke her guts out. Even though it was a Friday night, she definitely should not have drank as much as she did knowing that she had to work in the morning, but the temptation to numb down her feelings from the day before was too strong to ignore.
She’s paying for it now though. Minjeong had tried to return back to sleep, but her body simply wouldn’t allow for it. So instead, Minjeong finds herself in the bakery in the middle of the night—or very early in the morning depending on how you look at it. It’s probably not a bad idea that she starts so early today though, because she’s moving at half-speed and flinching from the sound every time that she has to turn on a mixer.
She sips on water, but her hangover is of colossal size and is going to be a challenge to tame today…especially when Aeri and Yizhuo arrive at the bakery. On top of Minjeong’s outrageous headache, she now has to listen to her friends’ very loud and disapproving voices.
“You ing kissed the strange woman living in your house that you’ve known for barely two weeks?!” Yizhuo sharply hisses.
“Minjeong!” Aeri snaps, disappointment heavy in her tone.
Minjeong’s temples pulse. “Shhh,” she begs of her two friends to spare her. Seungwan luckily isn’t in till the afternoon, so Minjeong is glad that she has this time to talk out her complicated night with her two best friends—though she’s starting to regret it now that she can see the horrible judgment on their faces.
“I did. I’m pretty sure that I kissed Jimin last night,” she admits, melting her face deeper into the palm of her hands as she nurses her hangover.
“And?” Aeri carefully asks.
Minjeong deeply sighs before telling them, “Jimin said…‘um.’”
The blonde baker had thought about it all morning and had worried if she had made a mistake or not. And now that she’s seeing Aeri and Yizhuo’s grimacing and hearing their sharp inhales, Minjeong unfortunately receives validations for her fears.
“That’s bad, right?” she asks, already knowing the answer.
“,” Yizhuo quickly replies. “This is what happens when you’re sad-drinking while talking about your ex! Jesus, Minjeong.”
“It’s not that,” the blonde whines, trying to defend her actions. “I like her, I actually like her…and I thought she liked me too.”
Even with the alcohol clouding her senses at the time, Minjeong still remembers the icy chill of mortification that had crawled down her spine when Jimin didn’t kiss her back. Her gut had immediately knotted in embarrassment.
But wasn’t Jimin flirting with her earlier? Had Minjeong been imagining the other woman’s sneaking glances and lingering looks? What about all of that hand-holding? Had Minjeong read the whole situation wrong?
…Or was it just loneliness that had been tainting her vision?
“Are you sure you’re not just falling for another pretty face?” Yizhuo asks.
Minjeong glares at her friend. “If I was doing that, don’t you think all those blind dates that you set me up on would’ve turned out better?”
“Okay fine. So you like Jimin,” Aeri summarizes. “Now what? She’s still a stranger living under your roof and she has no idea who or where she came from. You are literally all that she has. If anything goes wrong with you, she’s out on the street again. Just think about how confusing and scary this is for her.”
That really makes Minjeong frown. She hadn’t thought of it that way. “…you’re right.”
“Seriously, think about it from Jimin’s perspective,” Yizhuo adds on. “Don’t you think it’s scary that the only person that she has to rely on right now is making advances on her? Come on, Minjeong.”
“W-well, don’t say it like that,” the blonde whispers, now feeling a heavy blanket of shame weigh down on her.
She likes Jimin and she thought the feeling was mutual. That was all that she had meant with that kiss. She really hadn’t thought things through with her stupid soju-infused brain.
“Do you guys think I should talk to her about it?”
“No!” they simultaneously reply.
Minjeong shrinks into her seat on a stool, like a child being chastised.
“Just…pretend like you don’t remember most of last night,” Yizhuo suggests. “You were pretty wasted, weren’t you?”
“Just do that then,” Aeri says, agreeing with the redhead. “Be careful with Jimin. You have no idea what she may have been through.”
Minjeong carefully nods, now feeling dreadfully guilty about acting on her impulsive desires last night. While she numbly stares at the steel tabletop, she feels Yizhuo suddenly force a pill into her palm.
“Here, take a pain killer for your hangover. Pull yourself together, woman,” Yizhuo lightly laughs.
The blonde baker softly smiles, feeling just the smallest fraction better. “Thanks.”
When Jimin finally comes downstairs for work, Minjeong instantly feels a mixed wave of humiliation, fluster, and guilt as she lays eyes on the raven-haired woman. Part of her really wants to confront her houseguest so that she can apologize for acting the way that she did, but heeding her friends’ advice, Minjeong decides to play dumb to spare them both the awkward confrontation.
Even with the dull pulse, thrumming between her temples, Minjeong quickly buries herself in work. It’s a habit that she’s naturally developed when she’s a little overwhelmed with her feelings. Focusing on something else to keep her mind off of troubling matters always works best.
But as she’s kneading out a mound of dough, she feels her hand cramp up. Mildly annoyed, she pulls her gloves off and goes to dig her thumb into her palm, trying to push out the tension. It’s not uncommon for a baker’s hand to cramp up from time to time, but she does wonder if it’s worse today due to her dehydration.
“Does your hand hurt?”
Minjeong immediately stiffens as Jimin steps in with no sense of personal boundary as she quickly takes the blonde baker’s hand into her own. Minjeong takes a small step back to try to put some distance between them, but Jimin’s still holding onto her hand and examining her palm.
“Y-yeah, my hands cramp up sometimes,” Minjeong says.
“Does it hurt here?” Jimin asks before pressing in around the base of Minjeong’s thumb.
The blonde immediately hisses and grabs onto her forearm when the sting rockets upwards.
“Sorry,” Jimin says, giving the shop owner a small smile. “Here.”
Before Minjeong can protest against what the other woman is doing, Jimin glides a warm hand up the length of the blonde’s forearm, waking a trail of goosebumps in its path. She settles near the crook of Minjeong’s elbow before her thumb goes poking into the bundle of muscle there. When she finds the spot that she’s looking for, she digs her thumb in while her other thumb pushes into Minjeong’s palm. If that didn’t hurt enough, she then starts to rotate the baker’s wrist to twist the muscle or nerve—Minjeong has no idea.
“Just hold still.”
Minjeong clenches her teeth through the sting, but after a bit of time passes, she feels the tension start to relax a bit with the way that Jimin’s stretching out her forearm. “W-where did you learn this?”
Jimin shrugs up a shoulder. “I’m pretty good with anatomy.” She continues to hold Minjeong’s twisted arm in place for a bit longer before she relaxes the limb and gently shakes it out. “You should probably drink more water,” Jimin suggests, now rubbing both of her thumbs into Minjeong’s palm. “Does that feel better?”
Minjeong sighs as it feels like her whole body is melting like butter in a hot pan. All this from…a hand massage? She sighs again, realizing that her feelings are really bothersome.
“No?” Jimin suddenly asks, drawing the baker from her rambling thoughts.
“No—I mean, yes! It does feel better. That feels really nice,” Minjeong bashfully admits. “T-thanks.”
From across the table, Minjeong catches the sight of Yizhuo’s wide judgmental eyes, which Minjeong quickly mirrors back at her friend. It’s not like she’s the one that instigated all this…this…touching!
It’s not surprising since they’ve been friends for so long, but Minjeong’s glad when Yizhuo’s wide eyes change directions to seriously stare down Jimin instead. She’s sure that the red headed baker is probably also wondering some of the same things that she is.
Is Jimin really not flirting with her?
By the time that it’s three o’clock in the afternoon, it already feels like late in the evening for Minjeong since she barely got any sleep last night. Luckily for her, Seungwan had made an afternoon coffee run, so as the blonde baker sips on her hot coffee, all she can think about is how her nice big, comfy bed is waiting for her upstairs.
She’s also incredibly grateful for Yoona dropping off some meals the other day because she’s definitely in no condition to cook tonight. Though she’d be okay just passing out right after work and skipping supper, she can’t just leave Jimin to starve.
After she’s finished her afternoon coffee in the kitchen, she returns back to the storefront and finds Jimin outside the shop, crouching down on the sidewalk. Minjeong had been trying her best to avoid the other woman for the day, but this is rather puzzling. Curious, she walks a little closer to the glass door and as she draws close enough, she can see a slight profile of a little girl, with their back against the wall, and with their little pigtails shaking as she cries. Minjeong quickly steps outside, shivering as the cool air hits her bare arms.
“What’s going on?”
Jimin looks up at the baker, her big eyes flooded with worry. “Minjeong, I think she’s lost.”
The shop owner quickly crouches down to the floor with Jimin and the child. “Sweetie, where are your parents?”
The girl must only be five or six years-old, so young that she must be scared to death without her family around. When the kid doesn’t answer and just continues to hiccup through her sobbing, Minjeong stands up and tries to look around for any sight of worried adults from any of the other shops around the area.
From the sound of the wailing child, Minjeon