fin.

YOU BELONG WITH ME.
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Minjeong remembers it vividly, the day her family moved into their current home. No, she doesn’t really reminisce about it because oh, it would be her home for years! No, she wasn’t dramatic like that. It’s because it was the first day she met Yoo Jimin, the girl who would never leave her alone since that day.

 

It was the summer of 1957, somewhere at the end of June. The eight year old Minjeong at that time was super nervous about finally starting second grade.

 

The grass rustles underneath Minjeong’s feet when she jumps out of the car, her eyes darting around everywhere like a curious child and trying to take all the scenery in. It was like any other neighborhood, houses connected together, some had large backyards and what not. Yet it was beautiful, especially the clean area in front of the house. The green grass made it better.

 

She was about to turn around and help her mother until she suddenly felt a hand connecting itself to the back of her head and then going away as fast as it came. Minjeong’s face scrunches up and she grabs the place of the impact in pain, she turns around immediately knowing who the culprit was. 

 

“Seriously, Ryujin? Stop hitting me out of nowhere, how many times do I have to tell you I’m older than you!” The girl in question, Ryujin, just rolls her eyes before replying, “By like two minutes? It doesn’t matter. When will you accept that we are the same age?”

 

“I’m still older!–” Minjeong’s voice immediately quiets down when she feels a hand on top of her head, meanwhile another hand rests on Ryujin’s. “Now, now, children. Don’t fight or I’ll tell mom.” Their older sister, Chaewon says. The twins just glare at each other before turning away, obeying their sister anyways. 

 

Because even if Chaewon was chill, she could be their worst nightmare if they ever tick her off.

 

“Oh what a mess..” They hear their mother say, the trio of siblings quickly turn around to find their mom facing the house in front of them. Minjeong tilts her head out of confusion before following her mother’s line of vision. 

 

And oh wow, it really was a mess. Unlike their own house, the house in front of them seemed to have no signs of neatness, whatsoever. Weeds growing out of nowhere, the grass being incredibly uneven on the lawn and pots of flowers lining up on the windows.

 

“Come on, Jisoo. Don’t get distracted, we need to get all this stuff inside the house before the sun sets; it’s already 2 pm.” Their other mom says as she hands a box filled with glass objects to Chaewon, the reliable older daughter, who takes it and heads inside the house. 

 

“I know, Jennie, it’s just.. how unlucky are we to have to face such an eyesore of a view everyday from now on? I wonder who owns that? Must be such a mess of a family.” 

 

“The Yoo’s.” Minjeong says. “What?” Jisoo raises an eyebrow and the younger girl immediately feels dry up, but she still manages to gather up some of her courage before replying, “The Yoo’s live there, it’s– it’s written on the signboard.” She points at the small signboard beside their mailbox and indeed. “Oh,” Her mother replies and then shrugs, not caring enough about the people there.

 

Minjeong also notices a small head shyly peeking out from one of the windows of the Yoo’s house, intently watching her and her family. She doesn’t think much of it. Then, she turns around towards her new house again.

 

Jennie just chuckles before giving Jisoo a light shove towards the large truck resting behind their car. “Bring some of the stuff from the truck now, will you? I’ll be in the house arranging everything with Chaewon and Ryujin. Take Minjeong with you,” She says before dragging Ryujin away towards the house. “Why me!” Ryujin yells and Minjeong smirks out of victory.

 

“Come on, kid. We need to hurry.” Jisoo says and Minjeong immediately straightens up before following her mother towards the truck. She enters the back of the truck with the help of her mother and stands at the corner while Jisoo checks the boxes, waiting for the older woman to tell her what to do.

 

A few minutes passed in silence with Minjeong just watching her mother, one of the few moments where she wasn’t scared of her, but that peace was soon disturbed by the noise of the grass rustling and a pair of feet running towards the truck.

 

“Hi!” A high-pitched voice croaks out and Minjeong turns to her left to see a young girl, probably as old as her, standing with a large smile on her face. She had long silky black hair, a very small face, sharp features and a mole beside her lips. “Hey..?” Minjeong says in reply and her eyebrows furrow when the girl jumps into the truck and stands beside her, their shoulders brushing against each other. She was taller than Minjeong.

 

“What’s your name?” She asks in a cheery tone. Minjeong squinted her eyes, trying to understand why this girl was getting so friendly with her when they were just strangers before replying, “Minjeong. Kim Minjeong.” She says and turns around to look at the taller girl.

“Pretty,” The girl says and Minjeong is left dumbfounded.

 

Jisoo turns around, a frown on her face because of the sudden intrusion. “And who might you be..?” She asks with her hands on her hips. “I’m Jimin! Yoo Jimin! I live in that house over there!” She enthusiastically says while pointing at the house in front. “Oh no..” Minjeong mutters as she nervously glances at her mother, whose frown only deepens.

 

Minjeong watches Jimin stare at the box the older woman was holding, then she smiles and puts her hand on the sides of the box. “Can I help you with this?” She asks as she looks up at Jisoo with sparkling eyes. The younger Kim tried to stop herself from gasping in horror. The woman harshly pulls it out of Jimin’s grasp before saying, “No.” She then turns around to Minjeong and hands the box to her. “Go take this inside and help your mother,” The younger girl gets the message, so she nods and takes the box before hurriedly trying to get out of there.

 

Of course, there was no way God would let her get out of there that easily.

 

She’s in the middle of the way to her house when she feels a small hand grasp at her own hands that were holding the box. She looks up to find Jimin smiling at her, an unfamiliar glint in her eyes.

 

This Jimin girl sure has small hands considering her height.

 

But Minjeong never had her hands in someone else’s grasp unless it’s her mom Jennie or her siblings. The thought alone causes her cheeks to heat up and the warmth that she felt on her hands told her that it was very much real, Yoo Jimin was the first person to ever hold her hand (excluding her family).

 

Then, Minjeong remembers her mother’s silent dislikeness towards the girl and her family. So, she immediately pulls her hand out of Jimin’s grasp, lets the box of books drop on the ground and then rushes over to her mom’s side who had just come out of the house because that was the only courageous thing to do at the moment. “Oh? Who do we have here? Looks like you’ve already made a friend here before your sisters, Minjeong!” Jennie smiles.

 

“I’m Jimin, ma’am!” Jimin says with a grin before averting her gaze from Jennie to Minjeong again, that unfamiliar glint in her eyes returns. 

 

And at that moment, while hiding behind her mother from a girl she just met, Minjeong decides that she doesn’t like Jimin. At all.

 

 

Jimin remembers it vividly, the day a certain short haired girl moved in with her family in the house in front of them. She reminisces about it a lot, more than she thinks. Yes, she was dramatic like that. But how could she not? It was the day she met the girl who entered her world like a tornado, it was the day she met Kim Minjeong.

 

 

It was the summer of 1957 when nine years old Jimin who had recently turned nine years old was roaming around her house, holding a book in her hands and bored out of her mind.

 

Her mother was out for work and her older sister was busy doing her homework. Jimin decided to visit their basement downstairs, it had been a while since she went down there. Her hands try to reach for the switchboard in the darkness and after a few minutes, she manages to flick the light switch on.

 

The basement lights up, a honey-like color radiating from the lightbulb above. Jimin makes her way down the rest of the stairs and lands on the floor with a small jump, a habit of hers. Then, she slips in through the cracks between the old couches and furniture that were in the basement and stands in front of a large portrait of a woman with short, dirty blonde hair.

 

“In memory of Yoo Jeongyeon,” reads the bronze plate below the portrait. “Hi, mom.” Jimin says and  smiles as she stares at the smiling woman in the black and white picture. “I haven’t visited in a while.. sorry.” She says and sits on the table below the portrait before turning around and looking up to the picture again.

 

“Mom’s out working again and you know Yeji.. always the hard working student that she is. So, I’m a bit bored by myself. Don’t take it as an offense that I’m only visiting you because I'm bored, okay?” Jimin continues and chuckles. “Anyways.. I– I read this book today.” She says and puts the book she was holding on the table.

 

“It’s a romance novel, actually. I was reading it and wondering if, you know, if I’ll ever fall in love. If there would be someone who would fall for me too. I can already imagine what you would be saying if you were here, Jimin! You’re too young for this!” Jimin says and glances up at the portrait again before laughing.

 

“It just described love in such a beautiful way, you know. I can see that mom loves you the way these two characters do, even though you’re not here anymore. From what I can remember, I guess you loved her too, probably more than mom herself did.” She continues before staring at a blank part on the wall in front of her. “I guess I kind of want that too..” Her voice trails off.

 

“In the novel, it said that when you fall in love, you just know . You just know when you look at the other person’s eyes.. so I’m guessing the same would happen to me? I’m not sure though–” Before Jimin could continue however, a voice from above called out to her. “Jimin! Bring me a glass of water, please!”

 

Jimin sighs in response before looking at her mother’s portrait again. “See you later, mom.” She mutters before turning off the lights and rushing upstairs. She closes the basement door before going towards the kitchen, where she grabs a glass and heads over to the sink to turn the knob. 

 

Jimin watches the water fall inside the glass but her attention is taken away when the honking of a car is heard from outside. She looks up to see a truck, a car in front of it and three children and two women getting out of the car. She giggles a bit when she sees one of the girls smack the back of the head of a girl who had her back turned to Jimin’s house. Then the other taller, and probably older girl who was standing on the side, puts her hands on the top of the younger girl’s heads.

 

Jimin watches their interaction with an amused look despite not knowing what they’re talking about, but she feels her breath getting stuck in when the girl who was hit in the back of her head turns around. She looked a bit younger and very pretty.

 

The girl points at her house and Jimin feels her heart’s pace fastening up. She wonders what they’re talking about? She swears she and the girl made eye contact for a brief moment before she turned around again. Oh, does she want to be friends with her?

 

“Jimin!” The voice breaks her out of her train of thoughts and it’s only then Jimin realizes that the water was overflowing from the glass. She immediately twisted the knob again, not wanting to waste much water and then she tilted the glass to let some of the water fall out from it. After she’s happy with the amount of water, she rushes to Yeji’s room and puts it on the table the girl was studying on. “Thank–” Jimin doesn’t even let her older sister finish her sentence as she dashes out of the room.

 

Jimin stands in front of the mirror in her living room and immediately tries to fix up her messy look. She tries to brush up her hair to look a bit cooler and wipes some of the sweat from her face caused by the summer heat. It didn’t really make much of a difference in her appearance, but Jimin likes to think that at least she tried.

 

She then hurriedly makes her way out of the house and towards the truck, because she can see glimpses of a girl leaning her back against the inside of the truck while watching something.

 

Meeting her made Jimin even more excited, so she runs faster and stops when she’s right in front of the girl. “Hi!” She internally cringes at the way her voice comes out. “Hey..?” The shorter girl says, Jimin smiles even more when she hears the girl’s pretty voice as she enters the truck and stands beside her. She could definitely be a singer. 

 

“What’s your name?” Jimin asks.

 

“Minjeong. Kim Minjeong.” The girl replies as she turns around to look at her, but Jimin almost misses her response when she makes direct eye contact with the girl.

 

Her heart almost jumps out of her chest, Minjeong had very pretty eyes. Suddenly, Jimin gets this fluttery feeling inside her, as if there was a feather tickling her lungs. “Pretty,” The word leaves before she could stop it, and all of a sudden, Jimin knows. Jimin knows that this was the moment the romance novel was talking about. 

 

Before she could dwell too much on it though, a deeper voice breaks her thoughts. “And who might you be..?” The woman asks with her hands on her hips. Jimin figures that this must be Minjeong’s mother and her instincts scream at her to make a good impression on the older woman.

 

“I’m Jimin! Yoo Jimin! I live in that house over there!” She replies before pointing towards her house with a grin on her face. Hopefully Minjeong and her mother don't think that her house is too shabby. (It’s not much, but it’s home.)

 

Jimin’s eyes then darted towards the box the woman was holding and her instincts from before return. She grabs the sides of the box too before looking up and politely asking, “Can I help you with this?” Minjeong’s mother takes it away from her grasp though, and Jimin thinks that maybe she doesn’t need any help.

 

“No.” She says before turning to Minjeong and handing the box to her. “Go take this inside and help your mother,” Minjeong just nods before rushing out of there.

 

Jimin panics, she hasn't even properly talked to the girl yet. So, she also hurriedly makes her way out of the truck with a jump and runs towards her, before grabbing one of Minjeong’s hands that were holding on to the box. 

 

A smile automatically tugs on Jimin’s lips when Minjeong looks up at her. 

 

Jimin thinks she could drown in those eyes all day. Oh no, is this what her deceased mom thought when she looked at her other mom too?

 

Minjeong immediately pulls her hand out of her grasp, startling Jimin. 

 

The box drops on the ground and some of its contents spill out. Then, she rushes over to another woman who Jimin didn’t even realize was standing there. She must also be Minjeong’s mother.

 

“Oh? Who do we have here? Looks like you’ve already made a friend here before your sisters, Minjeong!” The woman smiles as she looks down at the girl who was behind her, gripping her dress with her hands and staring at Jimin. 

 

“I’m Jimin, ma’am!” Jimin says with a grin before averting her gaze from the older woman to Minjeong again. 

 

And at that moment, while gazing out at the shorter girl’s sparkly eyes that seemed to hold stars in them even in broad daylight, Jimin decides that she likes Minjeong. A lot.

 


 

Minjeong had a gut feeling that day when she first met Yoo Jimin that this was only just the start of her troubles. Still, she was surprised when the taller girl had immediately ran up and hugged her when entered the classroom of her school during her first day of second grade. It embarrassed her to no end.

 

Of course, that wasn’t the end of her troubles. Everyday, Jimin would sit beside her during lunch and force her to play with her during break. It’s as if fate was playing games with her when the teacher partnered her up with the taller girl for an art project. 

 

For Minjeong, this was hell. The constant teasing from her classmates and sometimes even her new friend Hyejoo. “Jimin and Minjeong sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-NG.” It became worse when even Ryujin, who was in a different classroom despite them being in the same grade, heard about it. She about it to no end.

 

(Minjeong also hoped that Jimin would stop holding her hand out of nowhere, because when she does, Minjeong feels heat crawl up to her cheeks and her ears become red. She looked like a whole tomato, like how her cousin Kim Jiwon would get red whenever she got embarrassed.)

 

Her first year in a new town wasn’t what she expected, and the next three weren’t any better either. So, as the sixth grade came around, Minjeong decided that enough was enough, she needed to take some action. During the first few days of sixth grade, 11 year old Minjeong decided to keep a close eye on the slightly older girl.. when she wasn’t busy staring at Minjeong herself.

 

And Minjeong noticed the drastic contrast between the way Jimin looked at her with such sweet eyes yet looked at their grade’s popular girl, Jeon Somi, with such hatred. 

 

Hyejoo helped her hatch the smartest and perfect plan of all time. Ask out Jeon Somi and let Yoo Jimin just watch, until she loses interest in her. She called it the “#GetRidOfJimin project. Although she was using the girl to get rid of Jimin, she still wondered why Jimin hated Somi so much. 

 

Somi was nice, pretty and popular. What’s there to hate about her?

 

It started during the second week of sixth grade with Minjeong rushing out the bus to chase after Somi who had already left, with Jimin trailing behind her. It was the perfect opportunity and the black haired girl didn’t let it go to waste. 

 

“Somi, hey!” Minjeong calls out and the girl in question immediately brightens up when she turns around to see who was calling for her. “Hey, Minjeong.” The blonde haired girl smiled. Minjeong unconsciously gripped her books tighter when she felt Jimin’s gaze from behind her. It wasn’t the usual lovey-dovey one, no, it was more of an ice-cold glare.

 

Looks like the plan was working after all. 

 

“I was wondering if you would like to sit with me at lunch today,” Minjeong boldly says. “Sit with me at lunch,” was basically an indirect way of asking out someone. Somi looked a bit startled and Minjeong watched the way the girl’s face heated up. Was this how she looked whenever Jimin would get a bit too close to her?

 

“Oh.. are you serious? Why?” Somi says while trying to hide the smile creeping up to her face.

 

“I just want to hang out with you.” Minjeong replies and tries to flash her killer smile she stayed up all night practicing for. The cold gaze from behind that made her body’s hair stand up remained. “Alright,” Somi says and grins. Minjeong nods and grins back for a completely different reason.

 

The next few days at school, Minjeong would try her best to always be within Jimin’s radius whenever she walks around with Somi. Like that one time, during break when Somi was busy babbling about some sleepover she had with her friend Chaeyoung and Minjeong just absent-mindedly nodding. The black haired girl looked up from the ground when she noticed a familiar pair of shoes, it was Jimin putting books in her locker.

 

Minjeong immediately grabbed Somi’s hand and smiled at the girl (despite not knowing what she was saying) when Jimin’s eyes fell on hers. 

 

She liked the way Jimin’s eyes burned in anger whenever she saw her with Somi. Because it meant her plan was working, obviously. Everything was going smoothly and she could not have asked for a better life.

 

That was, until, Ryujin decided to take an interest in Somi. It was crazy, how could her own twin rat her out to Somi like that?

 

It was the middle of February during recess when Minjeong was outside cleaning up her face near one of the outside sinks when Somi harshly turned her around by her shoulder. Minjeong furrowed her eyebrows out of annoyance and as she was about to ask the blonde girl what was up, she felt a painful impact on her left cheek.

 

Somi’s slap had so much power in it that Minjeong stumbled back and would have almost fallen down if it weren’t for the sink behind her. She noticed that the blonde haired girl’s eyes were teary and her nose was red. 

 

Minjeong could already tell why she was so mad and who exactly told her. She mentally cursed herself for being born with a twin. 

 

“You’re the worst.” Somi said with her jaw clenched before she almost ran out of Minjeong’s vision.

 

That breakup wouldn’t have so much if only Jimin wasn’t near the entrance gate of the school, watching the whole scene in 1080p. Minjeong rolled her eyes out of irritation, why did fate hate her so much?

 

 

Jimin had a gut feeling that day when she first met Kim Minjeong, that it was fate; Maybe soulmates really do exist? 

 

Her gut feeling was proven right during the first day of second grade when she was chatting with her friends when a very timid Minjeong quietly entered the room with her books pressed against her chest. Jimin’s face instantly lightened up, Minjeong was here. Out of all the classrooms for second grade students in their school, Minjeong was in the one that Jimin was in.

 

Of course, that wasn’t the end of Jimin trying to take care of Minjeong though. She always noticed how Minjeong struggled to converse with the kids at class, sat alone at lunch and stared at the view outside the window in their classroom during break. Jimin didn’t want the shorter girl to feel left out.

 

So, she started to sit beside her during lunch and play tag with her during break. Jimin originally didn’t think that Minjeong would like playing tag so much, but she always seemed to be running away from her whenever Jimin approached her during break, so she figured that the girl’s favorite outside game was probably tag.

 

Jimin noticed how mean the kids were to Minjeong sometimes. They constantly and made weird jokes all the time. She also noticed how the girl would not stand up for herself, at all. And that made Jimin become even more protective over the girl. 

 

Sometimes, Jimin would hold Minjeong’s hand (despite Jimin herself being a bit shy) because Minjeong was just so clumsy, the girl had practically no strength in her and would fall over the smallest things. 

 

(Jimin watched through her house’s window that day, when Minjeong hurt her knee and her mother, Ms. Jisoo was scolding her while pacing around the kitchen of their house. The scared expression on the young girl’s face made Jimin promise to herself that she would never let Minjeong get hurt, ever again.)

 

The next three years were the same, with Jimin trying her best to get closer to Minjeong. She’ll admit that she was a bit sad on how Minjeong became friends with Hyejoo before she became friends with Jimin, when the girl had been trying to get close to her for years. 

 

Sixth grade came around and Jimin felt that maybe things were finally starting to look up for her. Whenever she would look away from Minjeong to focus on the teacher’s lecture, she would feel the girl’s gaze on her. It made her weirdly giddy and she started remembering the day she first met Minjeong and locked eyes with her.

 

Then, here comes a certain blondie trying to take Minjeong away during the time Minjeong was finally warming up to her.

 

Jeon Somi.

 

A whiney, gossipy and too flirty for her own good type of girl. Jimin didn’t know what the whole school saw in her, why would anybody like an arrogant rich pink princess? Apparently, Minjeong did.

 

It was during the second week of sixth grade when Jimin noticed Minjeong rushing out of the bus faster than usual. So she decided to fasten up her pace too, to see what’s up with the girl. She certainly did not like what she saw. Minjeong had her back turned to her but she could see that the girl was saying something to Somi because of her adorable fluffy cheeks.

 

Somi’s face lightens up and she looks so stupid, like a teenage girl in love. Oh my god, is that how Jimin looked whenever she talked to Minjeong?

 

Jimin had a slight inkling on what the two were talking about after she saw the grins on their faces. It didn’t leave a nice feeling on her chest. The next few days were hell for Jimin. Wherever she would go, Minjeong would be there with Somi. Like that one time when she was putting books in her locker, she noticed the two passing by while holding hands.

 

Her eyes burned in anger as she stared at the two, it was obvious that Minjeong didn’t have any interest in what the blonde girl was saying, yet she kept babbling? Jimin always paid attention to which topics would have Minjeong’s ears perk up and which topics would have Minjeong go to sleep while listening. 

 

Somi never noticed though, because the two weren’t a good match at all. What did Minjeong even see in the girl?

 

It didn’t last long though, about a month after when Jimin was about to go out of the entrance door to the playground to her friends, she saw Somi approaching Minjeong from behind. Jimin was curious as to why the blonde looked so mad, so she stayed in her position to see the scene unfold. 

 

Jimin felt her eye twitch when Somi harshly turned Minjeong around. Who does she think she is to touch Minjeong like that? 

 

The next thing she did shocked Jimin. Like, wait a ing minute, did Jeon Somi just slap Minjeong? Jimin couldn’t find it in her to be angry, she rather found it funny. Minjeong can finally see what type of girl Somi is now, plus they’ve obviously broken up at that moment. Minjeong stumbled back at the slap and Jimin would’ve gone there to help her, but she wouldn’t interrupt this crucial moment.

 

Somi says something to Minjeong and immediately brushes past her. Jimin watches the whole scene with an amused look and a giggle threatening to leave her lips any minute.

 


 

Then came seventh grade, which brought a lot of changes. Minjeong’s hair reached her waist, meanwhile Jimin’s voice had a drastic change, it went from the cute high-pitched tone to more of a deeper, smoother tone plus she also dyed her hair to a red wine color, (Not that Minjeong cared) Ryujin and her being in the same classroom along with Hyejoo and Chaewon moving out for college.

 

Although the biggest change for Minjeong that year wasn’t any of that, it didn’t happen to Jimin or school. It happened at home when her grandmother started living with them. Taeyeon was her grandmother’s name. 

 

The woman would always sit on a chair in the living room, sometimes reading a newspaper or staring out the window. Taeyeon didn’t talk much in general, let alone having a proper conversation with Minjeong. Minjeong felt a bit hurt by it because she heard such good things about the woman from her mother Jisoo so she was eager to meet her.

 

Too bad Taeyeon didn’t have the same eagerness to meet Minjeong or even Ryujin.

 

It was in the middle of May of 1963 when Minjeong was in eighth grade when Taeyeon decided to hold her first conversation with Minjeong where her responses were more than three words.

 

Minjeong had just entered the house with a soda in her hand after messing around with Hyejoo outside who lived in the same neighborhood. It was weirdly warm that day. She was about to go up the stairs to her room when a voice she isn’t used to hearing, calls out to her. “Minjeong, come here.”

 

The girl in question turns around, trying to hide the shocked expression on her face as she hesitantly makes her way to her grandmother. “You can sit down,” Taeyeon said with a smile, wasn’t this the first time Minjeong had ever seen the woman smile?

 

Minjeong felt weirdly excited but you couldn’t really blame her, the woman she looked upto was finally talking to her after months of ignoring her. “Yes, grandma?” She said as soon as she sat down while fiddling with her fingers after she put her bottle of soda on the ground. “You’re friends with Yoo Jimin, right?”

 

Minjeong couldn’t comprehend what she was hearing. “Wait- what? Why would I be?” She asks, an offended expression on her face.

 

Taeyeon chuckles before replying, “Well, she lives in the house in front of ours, not only that but she also goes to your school right? You two are in the same grade,”

 

“Yeah but she’s a bit older.. how do you know all that?” Minjeong asks as she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact on how Taeyeon knows all of that. “Well, the article here says that she’s an eighth grader from SM High, that’s your school, isn’t it?” Minjeong nods, although she can’t help but roll her eyes at the headline of the article.

 

“Why aren’t you friends with her?” 

 

Minjeong couldn’t believe that Yoo Jimin was the reason why her grandmother was talking to her for the first time in a while. “Well, you would have to know her.” Taeyeon pretends to think for a bit at Minjeong’s reply before saying, “I’d like to.”

 

Minjeong felt offended. “Yoo Jimin.. she’s not exactly the type of person you’d like to be friends with. Why do you even want to know about her?”

 

“The girl has an iron backbone. She sticks to what she wants and doesn’t let anyone take it away from her,”

 

Minjeong snickers at the second sentence and mutters, “Yeah, I can tell.” Then she looks up at Taeyeon again. “An iron backbone? That girl is pushy beyond belief and she- she’s just annoying. She’s been stalking me and bothering me since second grade?”

 

“Really?” Taeyeon says, an amused expression on her face. “I see my granddaughter must have something special in her to have someone like Yoo Jimin chase after her.”

 

Minjeong clenches her jaw. She? special? Minjeong thinks she’s the most worthless person in the world (Her mother Jisoo likes to remind her of that everyday) so even if Jimin was a crazy stalker obsessed with Minjeong, she would still think that Jimin deserves better. (And she does. Minjeong would never not think that Jimin deserves to like someone who’s worthy of it.)

 

Taeyeon notices Minjeong’s silence, so she takes her newspaper in her hands and hands it to Minjeong, who takes it without any complaint. “Now, read that. Without prejudice.” She says as her wrinkly finger points at the large headline at the top.

 

“Eighth grader Yoo Jimin from SM High School takes a stand against adults.” With a picture of Jimin sitting on a tree attached below.


 

Yoo Jimin and that stupid sycamore tree.

 

It had been like this since they were young, Minjeong roaming around their block on her bicycle with Ryujin when Jimin’s voice would somehow make it to her ears. She would try to follow the voice and soon her gaze would land on a girl far up on a tree, sometimes with her older sister. “Hey, Minjeong! Do you wanna climb this tree with me and my sister?”

 

Minjeong thinks the tree really was pretty, climbing it wouldn’t be that much of a hassle either. Minjeong also didn’t want Jimin’s eyes to lose that light in them whenever she would ask her. Because Jimin’s eyes were, kind of, slightly, pretty.. especially when they shined.

 

But Ryujin and her annoying teasing smirk would bother Minjeong, so, so much. She would glare at her younger twin before looking up to the other girl’s expectant eyes. “Um.. my mom asked me and Ryujin to pick up something from.. someone. Sorry!” She would say and cycle away while Ryujin stayed behind for a bit to shout to Jimin, “No, she didn’t!” and then she would cycle away after winking at Yeji.

 

(Minjeong tries to ignore the sting she felt in her chest everytime she would see Jimin’s expectant eyes lose its glint after Minjeong rejects her offer.)

 

When Ryujin tries to after they reach their home, Minjeong would try to say anything that would make her twin think that she can’t tolerate Jimin. At all. “Climbing up a tree with Yoo Jimin? That’s the last thing I’ll need! I’ll be dragged right back to second grade– I can’t go back to that hell!” She would feel relief in her chest when Ryujin laughs at her response and stops teasing her. 

 

(Somewhere in her mind, Minjeong can feel that she’s not exactly telling Ryujin the truth. She tries to push that thought away though.) 

 

It that their school’s bus stop was right in front of that tree. So in result, everyday ever since the school year started, Minjeong and her classmates had to listen to the girl’s loud and annoying blow-by-blow traffic report. 

 

“It’s three blocks away! two blocks!” Minjeong squinted her eyes as she looked up, trying to make out Jimin’s figure in the tree despite the sun and it’s blinding light. She can hear Hyejoo scoff from her side, which made her unconsciously smile too. “One block!” The girl said and started to climb down the tree. 

 

“As if that’s any valuable piece of information.” Minjeong says and reverts her gaze from the girl, back to Hyejoo just so Jimin wouldn’t know that she was staring at her. “I hate it when she does that.” Hyejoo replies. “Her minutely traffic report crushes all my hopes of the bus not showing up and me not having to go to school.” The bus arrives by the time her best friend finishes her sentence. Minjeong chuckles at her friend’s reply.

 

Hyejoo heads inside the bus as quick as light and yells, “Race you to the back!” And just when Minjeong was about to head in too, she felt a hand harshly land on the back of her head. She knew who the culprit was before she even looked back.

 

“Ryujin….” Minjeong said and sighed when the girl stood beside her. “Hey, loser. See you at school,” Her twin says with an annoying smile on her face before jumping up on the bus as well. Minjeong didn’t really need a bully at school when her own sister was there. Before Minjeong herself could enter the bus this time, she felt a weirdly familiar shoulder brush against her. Minjeong could feel her breath hitch for a quick second when she turned around to look at the girl.

 

“I think the tree looks particularly beautiful in this light. Don’t you?” Jimin says, her eyes glancing back to the tree for a second before turning back to Minjeong. Somewhere around fourth grade, when Minjeong made her first friend (Hyejoo) and Jimin didn’t bother her as much as before, a silly banter started between the two that would last for years. “Not as beautiful as me, though.” Minjeong replies, a teasing smile on her face.

 

Minjeong’s teasing smile would change into more of a fond smile when she would watch Jimin roll her eyes at her and walk towards the bus. The girl stopped right at the door of the bus and turned around to look at her again, “You’re just visually challenged. I feel sorry for you,” She replied before heading inside.

 

The smile changed into a dramatic gasp, and that gasp would change to Minjeong clenching her teeth. Minjeong felt weirdly offended, did Jimin really think that stupid sycamore tree was more beautiful than Minjeong? There was no way. Also, ‘Visually challenged?’ This coming from the girl who lived in the house which was practically the joke of the neighborhood?

 

Their house’s condition became worse than the day when Minjeong and her family first saw it! They had bushes growing over their windows! Weeds here and there! She remembers that day when their entire family was in the living room, doing their own thing while her mother Jisoo was staring out the window towards the house of the Yoo’s. 

 

Minjeong put down her newspaper that she was reading, curious about what her mother was doing. “Does that woman have no sense of vision? How does she even have the audacity to make a painting of that sorry excuse of a yard? Does she have no shame?” The woman kept ranting.

 

“No.. miss. Im does landscapes and she sells them at the fair, I think? People say they’re beautiful.” Chaewon says as she bit into her apple before going back to writing into her notebook. Chaewon had come back home during break.

 

“Landscapes? Beautiful? It would be beautiful for the world if she did some landscaping on that.. I don’t even want to call that a yard.” Jisoo says before rolling her eyes and walking away. Minjeong doesn’t say anything, she never does.

 

It was another normal day at their town when Minjeong was talking to Hyejoo while heading to their bus stop, with Ryujin trailing somewhere behind her with her own friend, Chaeryeong or something. Minjeong expected to arrive at the bus stop with Hyejoo and watch Jimin let everyone know about her minutely traffic reports like usual. She didn’t expect to find a bunch of firemen and other men in uniforms with their vehicles below the tree.

 

“Listen, girl. Either you come down here right this second or we cut this whole thing down with you!” One of the men yelled while looking up and Minjeong’s eye twitched at the tone the man used, because she instantly knew who he was talking to. Despite that, she peaked up at the tree for confirmation about who it was; Although she wishes she didn’t because at that moment, Jimin’s eyes locked with hers. (Minjeong hated how Jimin’s eyes lit up the moment she arrived; She didn’t deserve all that, especially when she knew she was going to let Jimin down again.)

 

“Minjeong, you guys! Come up here! They won’t cut the tree if we’re all here!” Jimin yelled, her eyes never leaving Minjeong.

 

And the bus arrived on cue, all her classmates who were previously busy watching the girl on the tree in amusement, hurriedly started making their way into the bus. Minjeong received some shoves from them because she was standing right in front of the gate while gazing up at Jimin. 

 

“You guys! Please– Minjeong.. please! You don’t have to come up so high! Just– just a little bit!” Jimin’s voice started getting smaller and smaller as she watched her classmates get on the bus without caring. Minjeong knew she was the girl’s last hope.

 

Minjeong was about to move to the tree– she didn’t know what she was going to do but she was going to do something. That is, until that loud annoying voice comes back.

 

“Come on, Minjeong. Don't tell me you’re getting all soft for Jimin and her stupid tree, are you?” Ryujin asked with a smirk, her head peeking out the open window of the bus as she stared at her twin’s back. Minjeong turned around and glared at her before turning back to look at Jimin. 

 

Minjeong questions, why did that mutant tangle of gnarly branches mean so much to her?

 

She felt bad for the girl.. but she wasn’t gonna cut school over it. And have Ryujin make her life hell for it.

 

Minjeong entered the bus without sparing Jimin a second glance, just so she wouldn’t have to watch the light in her eyes die down, like usual.

 

Jimin wasn’t at the bus stop the next morning. Or, the morning after that. Sure, she was at school; But you would never know it unless you really paid attention.. and Minjeong did. Minjeong paid attention even when she didn’t want to. Also because Jimin wouldn’t come to bother her at lunch anymore.

 

Minjeong told herself that she should be glad about it; Isn’t that what she always wanted?

 

Although, she never wanted Jimin’s smile to fade away and her eyes to grow tired, like it is now. 

 

And as Minjeong was on her way to Jimin, who was getting on her bicycle to go home after school, to apologize, to tell the red-haired girl that she was sorry. But then she thought, no, this was the last thing she needed, for Yoo Jimin to think that she missed her. If she told her that, her life would’ve been worse than when she was in second grade.

 

So, all she did was watch Jimin cycle away.

 


 

Jimin loved to watch her mother paint; It’s more like Jimin loved to hear her mother talk while she painted. It’s quite a rare opportunity, because her mom Nayeon is always out working to make ends meet. Jimin learnt a lot about her this way, and it slowly dawned on her on how her mother used to be such a fierce woman when she was young.

 

Jimin learnt how the woman met her deceased mother while the two were trying to steal alcohol from the same convenience store. She also learnt how the woman wished she had finished college.

 

Then, one day Nayeon surprised her with a question.

 

It was like all the other days when Jimin would watch her mom paint. The woman would sit in their backyard on a stool and paint her landscapes on a canvas while Jimin would always be on her left, sitting on a chair and watching her. “So.. what’s going on with you and uh, Kim Minjeong?” Nayeon asks as she turns to Jimin, a knowing look in her eyes.

 

Jimin couldn’t hide the immediate smile that tugged on her lips as soon as she heard the girl’s name.

 

“What do you mean? Nothing,” She replies but the shy smile on her face says otherwise.

 

“Oh.. okay. I see, sorry.” The older woman replies with a teasing tone in her voice as she turns back to painting on her canvas. “Wh– why would you even think that?” Jimin asks. “No reason, to be honest. It’s just that..” Nayeon says dramatically before pausing her painting to look at Minjeong again. “Just that you seem to talk about her.. all the time.”

 

“I do?” Jimin says but immediately looks down on the ground when she meets Nayeon’s eyes, the heat rushing to her cheeks. “Yeah, you didn’t notice?” The older woman says, a fond smile on her face as she watches her child act the way she used to when she was a teenager and madly in love with Jeongyeon. Jimin shakes her head in response before looking up and replying, “I don’t know.. It’s something about her eyes.”

 

Jimin’s gaze drifts off to a far distance. “They were the first thing I noticed about her. It’s like she holds millions of stars and constellations in them, and you know me, I’ve always been a fan of stargazing.”

 

“So, she has beautiful eyes, doesn’t she?” Nayeon says with an amused expression. “But what about her?” She asks as she turns back to her painting once again. Jimin’s gaze reverted from the distance, back to her mother’s face. “What do you mean?” Jimin asks with a raised eyebrow.

 

“What about her as a person?” Nayeon repeats.

 

“What?” Jimin still doesn’t get it, Nayeon chuckles in response before saying, “You have to look at the whole landscape instead of just focusing on a part of it.” Jimin’s eyebrows furrow as she asks, “What does that mean?”

 

Nayeon shakes her head at the naivety of her daughter. “Your mother, Jeongyeon, told me this. A painting.. is more than just some of its parts. A cow by itself is just a cow, a meadow by itself is just grass and flowers.. and the sun peeking through the leaves of a tree is just a beam of light. They mean nothing more than just something temporary you know? But when you put them all together, it can be something magical.”

 

Jimin didn’t really understand what her mother meant that day, until one day when she was climbing up higher than usual in the sycamore tree to rescue a kite she watched fly away from in front of her house.

 

It was quite a long way up, maybe because Jimin had never climbed that high whenever she was in that tree. The higher she got, the more magnificent the view got as well. The breeze was so sweet, it was nothing similar to Minjeong, but whenever Jimin would take a deep breath to fill her lungs with the sweetest smell she had ever known, she would be reminded of Minjeong and her deep chocolate eyes.

 

Jimin takes the kite that was stuck in the tree branch, her eyes never leaving the view in front of her.  “Hey, seems like you, uh, found my kite!” Speak of the angel, or should Jimin say, Minjeong. 

 

“Minjeong,” She says as she looks down to see the long black-haired girl, before turning back to the view in front of her again. “It’s so beautiful..” Her words trail off.

 

Minjeong scratches her elbow with her right hand as she speaks, “I can’t! I, uh, sprained my ankle and I totally can’t walk.” Jimin looks down again to see the girl’s twin, Ryujin standing beside her all of a sudden, like a devil who suddenly appears whenever you have to make a decision and tries to lead you to the bad choice, looking up at Jimin with an amused expression. Ryujin elbows the girl in her stomach before muttering something, probably something like, How would you walk here if you have a sprained ankle?

 

Minjeong holds her stomach in pain as she glares at Ryujin before looking up at Jimin again. “I mean– I have a rash. Yeah.. I have a rash.” The girl’s voice became smaller and smaller as she spoke.

 

From that day, that place in the tree became Jimin’s spot.

 

She could just sit there for hours and look at the same scenery over and over again. Jimin can’t explain it but that view gave her world a change. Somedays, when she would climb up the sycamore tree during noon and come back home during the evening, she would watch the sunsets be purple and maybe even pink. On some days, the sunsets were a blazing orange setting fire to the endless clouds in the horizon. Jimin’s eyes shone at the magical view. This must be what her mother must be talking about.

 

The view was a plain, large grassy field with trees and yet it was nothing like everything else Jimin had ever seen.

 

Some days, Jimin would wake up extra early and climb the tree while watching the sunrise. One morning, before school, Jimin was in her same spot in the sycamore tree when she heard the noise of tires screeching from below. One or two trucks arrived and stopped right near the sycamore tree and multiple men got out from the trucks while bringing out tool boxes.

 

“Excuse me! Um, sir! You can’t park there! That’s a bus stop!” Jimin shouts, but makes her voice soft enough to not seem rude. “Hey, what are you doing up there?” One of them said, as he tried to look up at Jimin despite his hat hindering his vision. “You can’t be up there! We’re gonna take this whole thing down now,” One of the other men said from the side.

 

Jimin felt her heart drop and an empty feeling in her stomach. “T-the tree?” She asks, her hands unconsciously wrapping protectively around the branch she was holding for support. 

 

“Yeah? Now, come on down already. We don’t have time.” The same man from before spoke. 

 

“Wait– but you can’t just cut a tree like this! Who gave you permission?” Jimin frantically says as her palms start to become sweaty. “The owner, who else?” The man yelled. 

 

“Why?”

 

“Because he’s gonna build a house where this tree is. It should be obvious why he wants to cut this down. So come on already, we have work to do and we don’t have a lot of time.”

 

“Wait but– you can’t cut this tree down! Not– not so soon.. you just can’t!” 

 

Jimin and the workers’ argument continued for a while until a group of teens started to arrive at the place and curiously looked up at Jimin to see what the matter was. “Listen, girl. Either you come down here right this second or we cut this whole thing down with you!” One of the men yelled while looking up, and that was when Jimin’s eyes lit up as a certain black haired girl came into view. 

 

Minjeong peeks up curiously and finally locks eyes with Jimin. “Minjeong, you guys! Come up here! They won’t cut the tree if we’re all here!” She yells, her eyes silently pleading Minjeong. The bus also arrived at the time, and Jimin starts to panic when she watches all her classmates rush into the bus. “You guys! Please– Minjeong.. please! You don’t have to come up so high! Just– just a little bit!” Jimin’s voice started getting smaller and smaller as Minjeong made no signs of any movement, she just stared at her. Jimin knew Minjeong was her last hope.

 

Just when she thought that Minjeong was going to come closer to the tree and do something, the girl instead turns around to the bus and glares at Ryujin for something she said, who had her head outside the window. Minjeong then looked back at her, there was a weird feeling in the pit of Jimin’s stomach.

 

Then, Minjeong enters the bus without sparing her a second glance. Jimin closes her eyes and lets her tears fall as her hold on the tree tightens.


 

What happened after that was a blur.

 

It seemed like the whole town was there just to come and watch Jimin, and nobody was there to help her. She could see a bunch of journalists with their cameras taking pictures of her with the tree and soon after, her mother arrived. Jimin watched her mom talk to a fireman to help her climb upto where Jimin was, and they agreed. And as she watches her mother come closer and closer to her spot, she could feel the rest of the hope she had left, chip away slowly.

 

Nayeon makes it up to Jimin’s spot, her right hand holding onto the ladder she was on and her left hand reaching out of the crying girl. “Sweetheart, it’s time. You need to come down,” Her voice was soft and slow.

 

“Mom.. please.” Jimin’s voice broke. “Please stop them.”

 

“Jimin sweetheart–”

 

“Just! take a look– please! Why does nobody ever want to look? You can see the whole world from here.. please. mom.” 

 

“I can see it, sweetie. The view is beautiful.. but it’s not worth your safety. It will never be. Come on.. it’s time.” Nayeon’s voice was firm.

 

Jimin hesitantly shakes her head, “Mom..” Her voice broke even more. “Jimin, it’s time to come down now.” The woman softens her voice as her hand grabs onto the girl’s wrist. “Just this once.. please?” Jimin’s voice was barely a whisper now. “It’s time.” Nayeon says with a final look. Jimin takes one last look at the view behind her and she could feel her heart break into millions of pieces as she climbs down from the tree with the ladder.

 

And that was it.

 

Jimin didn’t have any sleep for the next two weeks, she was always up thinking about that sycamore tree. The first week she cried a lot, but she cried so much that the next week she didn’t have any tears left. The sycamore tree had officially made her numb to crying.

 

Of course, she had to go school. She decided to take a bicycle for going to and coming from school instead of the bus after the tree got cut down. She doesn’t think she would be able to handle seeing the most magnificent tree she had ever seen to get turned into a stump. 

 

Nothing really seemed to matter anymore.

 

One day during the evening, when Jimin was studying (Not really, she was just thinking about the tree while sitting on her study table with her notebook in front of her.) she heard a knock on the door to her room. 

 

“Come in,” Jimin’s hoarse voice surprised herself too, she must have been crying so much. “Are you okay?” Nayeon asks as soon as she opens the door, a large rectangular object covered with a cloth in her hands. “Yeah.” Jimin replies a little too quickly. “It was just a tree,” Her next statement was lower than whisper, but her mom still heard it.

 

“No, it wasn’t just a tree.” Nayeon replies as she stands beside Jimin’s study table and takes the cloth off the object before the girl could respond. Jimin turns around to see a strangely familiar tree painted on a large canvas. Oh , it was her sycamore tree.

 

Weirdly enough, she didn’t bother hiding the smile that tugged on her lips as soon as she recognized the tree. 

 

“You should never forget what you felt when you were up there.”

 

Jimin could feel her eyes turning moist as she stood up to hug her mom, “Thank you.”

 

That painting was the first thing she opened her eyes to in the morning and the last thing she saw when she went to bed. 

 

Although, her mother’s statement from before always bugs her. ‘You should never forget what you felt when you were up there.’ Now that she thinks about it, what did she really feel when she was up there? And whenever she tries to think of an answer, she gets reminded of what she felt when she was near Minjeong. The sweet breeze that she inhaled reminded her of Minjeong.

 

The tree meant so much to her because it reminded her of Minjeong. The sycamore tree was a substitute for Minjeong . And the magical view that she saw when she was up in the tree was her world; Her world which became so colorful because Minjeong was by her side.

 

Any person who would’ve made this discovery about themselves would be shocked and realize that they are madly in love with that certain someone about it.

 

Weirdly enough, it didn’t really make Jimin happy.

 

When she could finally look at the painting of the tree without crying, she saw more than the tree and thought about the view up there. Jimin’s view of the things around her were changing. She thinks, even if that tree disappears someday, the view would always be there; You’d just have to manage a way to climb to see it.

 

Even if Minjeong won’t be by her side someday, Jimin’s world would still be colorful; She would just have to try to see it.

 

And as those thoughts invaded her mind, Jimin couldn’t help but wonder, did she still feel the same things about Kim Minjeong?

 


 

Minjeong’s never been a fan of eggs, especially sunny side ups. To her, eggs had a disgusting smell that made her gag everytime she would come near one. One time, when they were in neighborhood punk siblings Yeonjun and Beomgyu’s garage, who had formed a band with Jimin’s older sister Yeji and her own twin Ryujin (despite her mother Jisoo’s multiple protests.) Chaewon had also come that day to watch her sister play the drums because she was back home for break.

 

Minjeong was simply bobbing her head to the tunes, wondering if their mother would ever give Ryujin permission (not that she needed it) if she ever watches the band perform.

 

(Minjeong also wonders if the woman would give her permission to join the band too because even if she had rejected the offer Yeji proposed, secretly she still wanted to join them. But no, she said no, because she was scared of her mother. Minjeong has always been a coward.)

 

“Hey– hey guys! shh! Looks like Vivian’s found her dinner,” Yeonjun says and pauses the band’s session. Vivian was Yeonjun and Beomgyu’s pet snake.

 

Minjeong’s head shot up from where she was sitting on the couch, then she decided to lean closer to the glass crate because all the others were doing the same. “Cool,” Chaewon said as her eyes were glued on the snake devouring the egg– raw – egg. The black haired girl thinks she might throw up any moment.

 

If a slimy reptile finds raw eggs delicious, then there’s no way there’s a place for eggs in Minjeong’s diet. 

 

After that, Minjeong started to have nightmares.. that she was a small human trapped in a giant egg and she was going to get devoured by a huge monster. She’d wake up just in time, just when the mouth of the monster was about to close up around her and she would be swallowed. One time, she would even imagine the monster to be her mother, she woke up in cold sweat that day.

 

Soon, the real nightmare began.

 

Minjeong opened the door after she heard the knock since she was the only one in the living room. 

 

“Hey, Minjeong.” The smile that haunted the girl for days came back. Jimin’s eyes were sparkling too, like always. Minjeong sighed unconsciously, wondering what she’ll have to say again to ruin Jimin’s hopes, like always.

 

“I brought these over for you and your family.” The girl said with a grin as she pushed her box towards Minjeong, the girl looked down to see the box had a bunch of eggs lined up together. “My chickens are laying eggs,”

 

“What?” Minjeong said in amusement as she took the box from the girl.

 

“The ones I hatched for the science fair,” Oh.. oh. “How could I forget?” Minjeong chuckles, her voice laced with bitterness.

 

It was so like Yoo Jimin. It was just like Yoo Jimin to dominate the science fair with her project despite there being 50 other projects in the room at the same time. All that crowd and audience just to watch Jimin’s boring eggs hatch? Minjeong was right beside the girl, showing her two mothers her erupting volcano. Yet, everyone around them seemed to find those boring chicks being born more interesting instead of Minjeong’s super cool volcano.

 

“Oh– oh! I think the last one’s hatching!” The voice of a high-pitched woman said from beside, which caught her mother Jisoo’s attention, who gave a slight nod to Minjeong before going to watch Jimin’s project.

 

Jennie watched her wife leave and out of curiosity, she decided to follow too. Of course, not before she gave Minjeong’s arm a light squeeze and an assuring smile.

 

That day, Jimin won and Minjeong lost without Jimin even knowing that the two were competing.

 

But does that make Minjeong obliged to eat the girl’s lousy eggs? No! 

 

“Jimin is such a sweet child, isn’t she?” Jennie said as she happily munched on the omelett that was made with Jimin’s eggs, the woman’s cheeks puffing cutely. “I don’t care, I’m not eating these tomorrow.” Ryujin said as she sat on the chair opposite Minjeong. The older twin decided not to say anything as she kept eating her dinner, which were the same omelets. 

 

“Ehh, look at you enjoying them. You must have been so happy getting them from your crush, right?” Minjeong felt her eye twitch at the comment as she looked up. Taeyeon, who was sitting on Ryujin’s right, chuckled a bit before asking, “Jimin’s your crush?”

 

“What? You have a crush on the Yoo girl?” Her mother, Jisoo, who was sitting at the head chair asked.

 

Minjeong frantically shook her head. “No– no! I swear, Ryujin is lying! Mom!” She turned to Jennie, who was right beside her. The woman chuckled in return before patting Minjeong’s head to tell her to calm down with a fond smile on her face. It sometimes amused Jennie how the two twins were so different. Ryujin was like a cat, while Minjeong was like a puppy.

 

The head pat immediately calmed the girl down, who just glared at her younger twin before going back to eating her dinner.

 

“How do we know there’s no chicks in these eggs.. like how are we so sure that no dead chick is gonna just pop out one day.” Jisoo says after a few minutes.

 

“Do they have a rooster? If there isn’t a rooster then the eggs can’t be fertile. So, if the eggs aren’t fertile.. you won’t find signs of any dead chick.” Taeyeon replied as she continued eating. “If they had a rooster, then we would’ve known, right? The whole neighborhood would have.” Jennie replies.

 

“Maybe they got it de-yodeled.” Ryujin absent-mindedly says.

 

“De-yodeled?” Jisoo asks with a scoff. “Yeah. You know, de--a-doodle-doo’d.” Ryujin’s shoulders danced as she spoke. “What the hell are you saying?” Jisoo scrunches her face. “Like how they de-bark dogs,” Ryujin replies and Jisoo finds herself being left dumbfounded.

 

“Minjeong, why don’t you just ask Jimin?” Jennie says with a soft tone. “What–??” Minjeong says, there’s no way she heard that correctly. “Why don’t you ask Ryujin?” She whines.

 

“Because you’re friends with her, right? I’ve always seen her around you but never around Ryujin. So I thought, you know, maybe you could ask her.”

 

“M-mom, I don’t think–” Minjeong was about to say as a nervous smile painted her lips but Ryujin interrupted her by saying, “What– You afraid to talk to her? I knew it! She’s your crush!” The younger twin says as she slams her hand on the table, startling Jisoo who stares at Ryujin with an irritated look.

 

“She’s not!”

 

“Okay, stop.” Jisoo says and the two immediately quiet down. “Just talk to her and find out, alright?” This was one of the rare times her mother had requested her to do something, Minjeong was determined to not let the woman down.


 

But.. she wasn’t that determined to talk to Jimin. So she tried to figure out a way without having to ask the girl, and all she ended up with was Hyejoo.

 

“How do you tell if one’s a rooster?” Minjeong asks as she and Hyejoo walk down the path towards the bus stop, Ryujin left early from the house because she had stuff to do with Beomgyu. “A rooster’s like.. bigger?” Hyejoo replies in her slow voice. “They have longer feathers too.” Minjeong nods before asking, “But how do I know if a feather is long or short?”

 

“Girl, are you dumb?”

 

“I mean– it’s not like I know the standard size, a feather could be as large as my palm and I wouldn’t know if it’s big or not.. because what size are they usually?”

 

Hyejoo shakes her head and sighs. After a few minutes, she says, “They have that rubbery red stuff on top of their head too.” Minjeong nods, it seems like Hyejoo was very knowledgeable about roosters and chickens in general. “Around their neck too,”

 

“Oh.. that shouldn’t be too hard to spot.” Minjeong replies. “Although, chickens have that rubbery stuff too, you know. Just that roosters have more.” Hyejoo replies and the black-haired girl nods again.

 

After that, Minjeong convinced Hyejoo to come spy at Yoo Jimin’s backyard over the weekend. Hyejoo seemed reluctant about it but said yes after Minjeong offered her to have her bicycle for a day. 

 

“Come on, shh, hurry.” Minjeong whispers as they go around the fence of the backyard of the Yoo’s. “Over here.” She says and bends down to peek through one of the holes in the fence, Hyejoo does the same to another hole beside Minjeong. Thank god

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