The general mood of the girls who had agreed to meet at Chaeyoung's house was rather strange: Jeongyeon was euphoric about something she wanted to reveal at the right time, Momo was so down in her spirits that she had attached herself to a bottle of wine and Chaeyoung couldn't say how she felt.
The silence between them was a bit embarrassing, so much so that it prompted the blonde to interrupt it with a cough "so.. Why do you have those long faces?"
"Jihyo broke up with me because I'm a selfish " Momo had her forehead resting on the table, the glass bottle still clutched in her hand "kill me, my life no longer has sense"
"What have you done to her?"
"I went to her house tonight and increased the weight I put on her shoulders, telling her to give me back the old Jihyo and other that I should have saved. I hurt her and I don't know what to do anymore"
Chaeyoung seemed to empathize a lot with that situation "I did a similar thing to Mina just an hour ago and I feel guilty"
Jeongyeon's face spoke clearly: she wanted to grab both of her friends by the hair and slap them until they screamed in pain "Mina and Jihyo are the best people I know and you had the face to hurt them again? What the hell do you have in place of the brain?"
"I think there is a dead fly, otherwise my stupidity cannot be explained" the brunette had started drinking again "this wine , don't you have beer in this immense villa?"
"I only drink fine things, you should know it"
Momo was about to reply to the words of the shorter one, but the arrival of a tall and slender figure had prevented her from doing so "you are a huge dickhead"
"Tzuyu, you arrived sooner than I expected" Chaeyoung had not broken down in the slightest, too busy drawing circles on a napkin.
"Look me in the face and tell me why you told Mina about the bet" she was shaking with anger and her red eyes made her frail and scary at the same time.
Momo and Jeongyeon looked at each other in confusion, both unaware of what was happening. However, they were ready to shoot at any moment to resolve the situation.
"She had a right to know the truth and I'm surprised you didn't tell her everything, you should have seen her face when I made her read the messages. A relationship should be based on mutual trust, didn't you know?"
"It was enough for me to see her destroyed face to understand how treacherous you are. You know better than me what level her sensitivity reaches and you stepped on her as if her feelings didn't matter" she was getting closer and closer "I don't care if you make me suffer, you can also pass over me with a truck if you wish, but if you make the girl I love feel bad, I'm ready to do anything to shut your dirty mouth"
"So you love her, it's a shame she doesn't want you anymore" her arrogant smile was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Tzuyu had taken her by the arm, in order to get her out of the chair, and then slapped her on the cheek with her free hand "you are a witch, you are not even a little ashamed of your lousy way to be?"
"You won't have any problem finding another girl, stop being melodramatic and let's leave it all behind. We shouldn't be fighting each other over a woman, right?"
Calm was no longer part of the taller girl, who had grabbed Chaeyoung's shirt and pushed her onto the table. She would have beaten her to death if only four of well trained arms hadn't pulled her away very quickly "leave me, I have to give her what she deserves"
"Beating her won't change either your mood or Mina's, calm down" Momo was the one with the strongest grip even though she was a little drunk "and then what bet are you talking about? What does Mina have to do with it?"
Tzuyu had lowered her head during the story, feeling even more guilty despite her pure intentions "I never wanted her to find out, much less this way. Now she thinks I've used her and I can't stand it; I'm okay with being pointed like a bad person, but I don't want her to suffer because of me"
The grip that Jeongyeon had exerted on the arm of the tallest was gone "what happened to our group? We have become horrible people"
"I'm going home, seeing her face makes my blood boil" Tzuyu's anger had been replaced by sadness "I just hope Mina can recover soon, she doesn't deserve any of this. And you, Son Chaeyoung, will come sooner or later struck by karma"
It had gotten dark and the incessant rain didn't want to stop its rapid descent to earth, but it was time for Dahyun to leave Sana's house as, although she would have preferred to spend another night with her, she had things to do as soon as possible.
Driving without having to rush to cheat the speed of time wasn't too bad, it was making her feel relaxed and free to think about what she needed to do.
However, the vibration of her cell phone had distracted her from her quiet thoughts and, in order not to lose attention on the road, she had answered without looking who was calling her "hello?"
"Dahyun, I'm Jin"
"Jin?" she had raised her eyebrows in confusion.
"I'm one of the bartenders in the place where you usually hang out with your friends, the tall one full of tattoos"
The brunette immediately had the image of him in her mind "okay, now I understand who you are. Why did you call me? How do you get my phone number?"
"I got it from the contacts of a girl who stopped here to drink and you were the only one who allowed me to call"
"Who's the girl? What's her name? If it's a joke I'll beat you and her without any mercy"
"Her name is Mina and now she is half asleep on the counter, she wakes up only to have a few long sips and to cry in silence"
Although the information she had in her possession was few she had already understood the reason for everything "I'll be there in five minutes, don't give her anything else to drink" she had closed the call to devote herself completely to driving.
Fortunately she hadn't lost the habit of driving or it wouldn't have been easy to get to the place in such a short time. She had entered with her usual self-confidence, easily identifying the person she was looking for.
She ventured to gently touch her shoulder "Mina, I'll take you home"
"I don't have a house, leave me here to drink" her words were so carried away as to be annoying.
"Then you will come to my house and no, arguments or complaints will not be accepted. Let's go" she had pulled her lightly to make her stand up "can you tell me what you drank? We have to pay the bill"
"I don't remember, I asked for random stuff" she was so drunk that she couldn't stand up properly.
Dahyun, after having snorted noisily, turned her back "I'll take you in the car, hold on to me. Jin, put what she drank into my account and I'll pay as soon as possible"
She nodded her head to greet the bartender and lifted Mina with apparent ease "you are heavier than you may seem, has anyone ever told you?"
"You're not gentle at all" her voice as a child made her adorable even in the eyes of the impassive person who was carrying her "but thank you for coming to get me" she made herself so that she could hug her like a little monkey.
"I am always available for the people I like" she helped her to sit down and put on the seat belt "but I would like not to see you again in these pitiful conditions"
"I'm sorry, I promise there won't be a next time"
The drive was silent if they didn't mind the sound of the rain hitting the car, but there was a hurricane of thoughts in both of them that kept them from starting a conversation.
Once they arrived Dahyun had taken the older to the bathroom, imitating Sana's way of doing "I'll get you some spare clothes and towels, in the meantime take off your clothes and go into the shower. I promise not to look at you, okay?"
"You knew it?"
There was no need to ask what she was referring to, the sad look she was giving her was in itself an answer "yes, I knew"
"I must be really pathetic in your eyes"
"You're wrong, I have no reason to believe this about you. Listen, I've never agreed with that bet and I assure you that I scolded my best friend properly, but I can also tell you that Tzuyu really cares about you and that for her you were never a trophy to win"
"So why didn't she tell me? If she had told me about it I wouldn't have been upset and I would never have sought refuge in a noisy and crowded place. I lost everything, I don't even have a home to go back to"
"Couldn't you go and stay with your parents? Just long enough to find accommodation all to yourself"
"My parents.. I don't even remember the last time I saw them. You know, I chose Chae above all things and I was left without my family, they closed the door on me because they didn't want to have anything to do with a daughter blinded by a toxic love"
Dahyun had taken her hands in order to make her sit on the floor with her, crossing her legs and looking into her eyes "do you remember Cassandra? The redhead with the pointed nails and smudged makeup. She was my Chaeyoung and, by choosing to continue the relationship, I was left alone too. She used me for my money, abandoning me when I lost everything I had, but I survived and made an effort to support myself"
"You don't have to feel obliged to tell me your things, I know how reserved you are.." her heart was crying because of those things.
"I am doing this to make you understand how similar our situations are and to give you the courage to take your life in hand. We are undeniably different and this gives me hope, it makes me believe that you will not change who you are because of the pain. I repeat that Tzuyu really cares about you, much more than she knows herself, but if you don't feel like going back to her or being with Chaeyoung then it's time to be strong"
Mina had returned the handshake "I don't think I can do it, I feel as fragile as a dry leaf. I've only fallen in love twice in my life and I've been a fool on both occasions"
"You say this because you are in the highest moment of pain, but you know very well that it is not true. Chae loved you in her own way, I can say it because I have known her for a long time, while Tzuyu.. You do not even imagine how much she has changed because of you. , she has become the best version of herself. They were wrong, I agree with you in saying this and I have no intention of justifying them, but take the time to think for yourself and then decide what to do with your bond with them, okay?"
"Okay, I'll do my best to follow your advice" she had stopped crying and shivering "I never heard you talk so much and you gave me a peace of mind that I never felt before. Can I hug you?"
"Many tell me" she was the first to hug her, her hair and holding her close "I hugged Sana today, apparently you two are the only people I can keep close without feeling the urge to throw you out of a window"
"Did you and Sana hug each other?" Mina's sadness was suddenly gone, her eyes sparkling "that's why she phoned me, I have to call her now!"
The sudden mood change, Dahyun knew, was a defense mechanism, but she didn't mind the way Sana reached them shortly after with something to eat. She had helped Mina to let off steam further and the two of them too, both happy to be able to say they were in a relationship, had been able to let the most trustworthy person in their group know about them.
They had gone to sleep late at night, Mina in Dahyun's bed and Dahyun on the couch with the auburn. It wasn't very comfortable, but neither of them was going to leave the other "thank you for what you did, it matters a lot to Mina and it's thanks to you that she is now sleeping without crying in her sleep"
"I know what it feels like and I was aware of everything, I could never leave her to herself"
"The more I look at you, the more I begin to believe that perhaps true love exists"
Dahyun had barely smiled, but that brief and simple gesture contained all the joy and sadness that she didn't know how to put into words "I would love to believe it too"
A kiss on the lips, short and light, had unleashed a storm of butterflies in their stomachs "allow me to upset your beliefs and take your ex's idiot by the hair"
"You don't seem like the type to initiate, or just participate in, a fight"
"For my girlfriend I could turn myself into a beast that feeds on the fear of others and, to satiate myself, I would be obliged to use my fists against anyone who tries to make you feel bad"
"You could use these beautiful hands to touch me"
Sana was blushing "are you telling me to have ?"
"You would like it, right? I'm sorry but I was talking about simple and peaceful cuddles to help us sleep, you know?"
"You will drive me crazy, it's not that easy to resist impulses and your behavior certainly doesn't improve the situation" she pouted "stop smiling or I'm seriously offended"
Dahyun had taken her face to give her a goodnight kiss.
"You can't do that, you should at least console me!"
"Go complain to Mina, I'm too sleepy to listen to you" she had her eyes closed and her breathing regular "although I hope to find you still here when I wake up"
Those words had been the coup de grace for Sana, who had finally realized that she was madly in love with her "I'm screwed"
Despite the breakup, Jihyo didn't want to lose her only source of income and went to work as she used to, totally ignoring Momo's presence and pleading looks. Simply calling herself hurt by the brunette's words was an understatement, but her maturity had managed to overcome even an uncomfortable situation like that.
That day she had not sung even a second, she had limited herself to cleaning in silence and more quickly than usual, making sure not to forget anything so as not to spend more time in that apartment that she loved so much.
She heard Momo talking to someone, but she had no idea who the people who invited themselves might be. Judging by the brunette's tone of voice she was not at all keen to engage in conversation and Jihyo had only returned to the living room after she had finished cleaning everything, ready to leave.
"Jihyo? Is that really you?" there was emotion in the voice of the old lady who had spoken "good heavens, you have become even more beautiful" even though she did not know her, the younger had not been able to stop that woman from taking her hands.
"Grandma, Jihyo no longer has her memories and she doesn't know who you are"
"Oh, what a shame. You know honey, you are my favorite granddaughter and I was very sorry when you stopped answering my phone, but now I understand why" she was looking at her with love and sadness "my baby, are you okay? your eyes are screaming with sadness"
"I don't know, I'm not sure of anything anymore" the redhead would have wanted so much to let go of a desperate cry, but she had no desire to show herself weak in front of the one who had broken her heart.
Grandmother Hirai had taken the liberty of hugging her, so naturally that she triggered the arrival of some very fuzzy memories: their first meeting, a walk in the park and tales of bygone days.
Jihyo's head hurt and Momo was ready to reach out to support her, but a man's hard voice had ruined everything "what are you doing here? Are you back from New York to try to sneak into our family again? You will never have our money, put it in your head once and for all"
"Dad, she's not here for the reasons you think.."
"Shut up, I'm not talking to you. This inept wanted to exploit us to make her stupid music and now that she has failed she is back in charge? I don't accept it, get out of this house immediately"
Jihyo did not know what to answer, the wickedness of those words had overwhelmed her like a wave several meters high. She looked for the eyes of the person she loved to have a minimum of support, as Mr. Hirai was continuing to rant at her with gratuitous insinuations and insults, but the brunette had limited herself to staying with her head down and her eyes fixed on the floor, without breathe.
Not even the grandmother, despite her efforts, had managed to stop the river in full of bad words that was coming out of her son's mouth, making the redhead feel crushed by even more weight.
"I've never been a profiteer and I've always put your daughter's feelings first, but apparently in this family only the selfishness and resentment that comes when you can't get something wins. I'll leave immediately, I'm tired of being insulted by someone who has evidently never tried to get to know me" she made a brief bow to the old woman before leaving at a brisk pace.
She had waited at least a minute, hoping that Momo could reach her and be on her side, but this did not happen and her heart was now reduced to crumbs.