Dinner had gone on without apparent hitches, with the exception of Jihyo's constant silence, who had limited herself to listening to Sally's nostalgic speeches with her head down. She hated the way she'd felt during their brief confrontation and she hated her weakness of mind. She couldn't even enjoy the food, eating without tasting anything just to keep busy.
Nayeon wasn't all that thrilled with her ex's presence, but even so she hadn't been able to resist commenting on some of the moments the blonde mentioned, ending up smiling briefly now and then.
That detail had not gone unnoticed by any of those present at the table and Sally, feeling more motivated than ever for having received the much desired attention, had resumed speaking with more enthusiasm "do you remember our first group outing? The one we spent walking around the city"
"The one in which a car passed next to the sidewalk, on which we were walking, at such a speed that the water from the puddle ended up all over us?" Jeongyeon lost her frown, too amused by the memory of their shocked faces.
"Momo was on the verge of hysterics the whole time, what a memorable day" Katarina continued with the same smug smile "now that I think about it, it wouldn't hurt at all to like that.."
"That's what I was referring to, that day Nay and I even got together" Sally was thrilled to have managed to get everyone on her side "the kiss we gave was even more memorable than the whole outing" having said that she placed her hand on the brunette's, smiling and posing as if her way of doing was right. Besides that, she was also looking at Jihyo with a satisfied smirk, already ready to savor the victory.
At that point the brunette had wiped with a napkin, slowly getting up from her chair and making a small bow in the direction of the couple "thanks for dinner, I really have to go now"
"You don't have to leave, stay here" Nayeon was immediately sad.
"Why should I? To hear about your memories with your ex? I don't care at all and I'd rather be at home alone" she never wanted to answer abruptly, but the stress had reached a level that made her tremble to the bone "if there's one thing I can't stand it's teasing so if you want to go back to her leave me alone"
At that point Nayeon stood up too, totally ignoring Sally's attempt to stop her "what are you saying? No one is making fun of you"
"Tell the love of your life, after all I'm just a meager buffet compared to dishes from a luxury restaurant" her eyes were shining and a shiver ran down her back without any regard, making her tremble even more "I'm starting to think it was all set up to humiliate me and I've never felt so ridiculous in my life so I'd rather leave now. Good night everyone"
She left at a brisk pace, internally cursing herself for having hoped to finally be able to conclude something without having to suffer too much and wiping her cheeks streaked with tears that poured down copiously.
A quick sound of footsteps was reaching her, prompting her to speed up her already brisk pace. Nayeon didn't want to give up, trying her best not to trip from her heels "Park Jihyo, stop!" she felt upset in a way she never thought possible "please talk to me and let's sort it out"
Jihyo stopped as the taller girl's hands grabbed hers, looking straight into her eyes "what else do you want? Come back to her, you will surely have many more memories to bring back"
“You know very well that I would never go back with her, I just tried my best not to make the situation even worse and the same goes for Jeongyeon and Katarina. We are not teasing you, nor did we intend to make you feel humiliated. And what was that talk about the buffet? It's not like you"
"It was Sally who made that comparison and, seeing how you deal with her, I have to admit that she is absolutely right to think so. I can't compete, I finally understand it"
Nayeon had left her hands to wipe the other girl's face face "I hate the opinion you have of yourself, it's totally wrong and baseless. You don't realize the wonderful person you are and you are totally unaware of the beauty you possess, external and inner"
"If I'm so wonderful why don't you let me get closer to you? I've respected your space and I always will, but it's unnerving to have to manage the moments when you show you want me and just be a simple friend"
"It's complicated Jih, really" she was still her cheeks wet with tears, the gaze immersed in her "I'm trying to understand what I want and after being manipulated for years it's not easy for me, try to understand me"
Taking two steps back was the only thing the brunette managed to do to put an end to that painful contact "don't worry about me, I just want you to be happy and if being with her is the key for your happiness then I'm fine" she forced a smile, walking away from her without looking back and resumed crying silently.
Nayeon watched her go with her arms hanging on her sides and her heart in confusion "why do you keep thinking I want to be with her?" she murmured as she stared at her back.
Jeongyeon and Katarina hadn't spared themselves in scolding Sally for what she had done, throwing rather heavy words against her and not regretting the least when they saw her go away annoyed, also because they knew very well what her sudden bad mood was aimed at.
She had come home with the express purpose of updating Momo about the situation and to think of another strategy together, but she had totally forgotten about the pajama party organized by her sister and the first thing she saw once she crossed the front door was a pillow that had crashed into her face.
"That's worth a thousand points for taking out the Wicked Witch!" Tzuyu was standing on the couch in a victory position "you plebs can do nothing against me"
"What a piss, if I had known about this silly rule I would have also thrown the table at her" Sharon had surrendered to her fate, leaning on Dahyun to recover a bit from the battle. She found herself smiling as she received the much-desired hug.
Sally was still standing, the pillow in her hands and the wandering look "girls, this living room looks like a dump"
"We'll clean everything up, promised. How was dinner? They could have avoided inviting you at the last minute, the bottle of wine you took away was needed for our aperitif"
"It went well, nothing too challenging"
The sound of the door being unlocked made everyone turn in the direction of a version of Nayeon they never imagined could exist "you and I need to talk. Immediately"
The sigh of the blonde had been annoying for all the people in that room "it's fine, but let's not disturb the girls and let's go and talk about it calmly in the room. Do you want something to drink?"
"I really don't want anything from you, I'm tired of your bull"
Sharon, among her best friends, had approached both "am I wrong or did the calmest and most peaceful person in the world say a bad word?"
"You're not wrong, she's also screaming" Dahyun didn't know whether to laugh or worry and for that very reason she started staring at the youngest of their trio "what do you think?"
"I'm rooting for Nay, who knows what my sister did to make her lose her temper" she seemed calm, even if seeing her parental figures argue had never been pleasant for her.
Sally's attempts to calm her ex had been completely useless as only accusations and flattering words were coming out of Nayeon's mouth "as long as you hurt me it's all right, but you shouldn't have allowed yourself to hurt Jihyo and you should disgust yourself for going so far as to make her cry. I was surely wrong to give you sympathy too, but I was unaware of the things you said to her when you were alone"
"So what if she's offended? She's an adult and she should be able to handle constructive criticism about her person. I just wanted to help her improve"
"The only person who needs to improve is you, head" Nayeon's eyes seemed ready to shoot bolts of lightning capable of incinerating anything "you have to stop hurting others for your own gain or you'll be left with a bunch of dead flies in the hands"
Sharon was smiling proud and had ears ready to hear every word "I love that woman, these insults are like music to me"
“I hope Jihyo is well, I'll text her later” Dahyun was worried about her friend and was totally supportive of Nayeon's bad language.
The quarrel lasted for several minutes, during which Nayeon was throwing all the anger she had repressed towards Sally and the three girls were having fun, not to succumb to the heaviness of those speeches, making jokes about a possible fight.
"Are we really fighting over such a small person? You and I have known each other for many years and she has only been part of your life for a few months, there is not even a margin of comparison"
The brunette had found herself inhaling deeply so as not to let herself get totally angry, clenching her fists so hard that she left nail marks on her palms "rely on the time spent with someone is a huge bull since the fictitious bond that kept us together will never be even remotely equal to what I have with Jihyo. Thank you for one thing though: I finally figured out who you really are, but that's not all because I think I'm almost ready to let go of what little is left of you"
"Don't say that, I'm sure that together we can overcome this crisis too, we always have" Sally's hands tried to touch her, finding themselves in contact with nothingness "please Nay, come back and stay here, Tzuyu and I need you"
The girl just mentioned raised both eyebrows "she must learn not to get me in the middle of their arguments, it only makes it worse every time she tries to soften her with the family thing"
Nayeon had thought for a few seconds before replying "as sorry as my good side may be I have to tell you no, I wouldn't go back to you even for all the money in the world. I want to move on and this happened because of your actions, so if you really want to pick on someone, pick on yourself"
"I told you, she just got more nervous" Tzuyu had leaned towards the table to get her glass of orange juice, drinking through a straw and even making noise.
Sharon had slapped her "could you avoid acting like a caveman? We're in the middle of a war of words here"
The only silent one of the three was getting impatient because of her best friends "I hope they hear you so they can shout at you for at least half an hour"
"Shut up Hyun, think about hugging me instead" her bangs was now all messed up, but she wouldn't have given up being in those arms for anything in the world, let alone fix her hair.
"We are really misfits, not even two people screaming like crazy can upset us" Tzuyu had also taken the popcorn to share with the other two.
When Nayeon left, slamming the door harder than necessary, Sally had stared blankly at the girls before heading to her room and grabbing her cell phone. She pushed the call button and waited for an answer "I think I screwed up, now it's up to you to take care of Jihyo. If I can't have Nayeon then no one else will have her"