For What It's Worth (Part 2)

The Bunny and The Bear
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The party went as planned, ending with Sooyoung and Seungwan kissing after exchanging their engagement rings. For anyone else present in the celebration, it was heartwarming how Seungwan and Sooyoung could be so shy in showing their affection in front of people who’d known them for a long time. For Joohyun and Seulgi, however, it was a constant battle of stealing glances every time they gave a slight reaction to everything that transpired in the small stage.   Maybe it was because Joohyun thought that Seulgi was to be engaged with someone whom she regarded as her long-lost little sister, or maybe because Seulgi was more than aware of Joohyun’s relationship status and afraid that her boyfriend would come out anytime she was focusing to her best friends. Either way, their meeting was long overdue and they were more than aware of the tension between them.   That was why when it was time for Seungwan and Sooyoung to engage with the guests, both Seulgi and Joohyun were forced to make any kind of interaction. Seulgi almost wanted to groan and run away when she saw that Seunghee was held up by her relatives on her way to Joohyun. Pity, it was hard to ignore that Joohyun was beside her the whole time.   “Unnie,” Seulgi started, glad that her voice didn’t sound as shaky as she had in her mind, “what kind of drink do you want? I’ll get it for you.”   Seulgi knew that her effort to run away was too noticeable, but she had no choice. It was almost impossible for her to look at Joohyun for five seconds without feeling anything. Hence, when her eyes met Joohyun’s, she had to bite the inside of to keep a calm façade.
“I’d prefer if I come with you,” Joohyun said, in the ever-soft tone Seulgi remembered. And Seulgi knew, despite the tone, her decision was final. With a slight smile, she ushered the older woman toward the open bar.   After getting their respective drinks, they found themselves in another episode of awkward glances and sipping drinks. Seulgi tried to focus her attention on other guests, how they were getting to know each other.   The drink in Seulgi’s cup was almost finished, but then she saw Yongsun and Byulyi near the bar. The former was visibly excited, looking at her direction, while the latter had the same expression Seulgi had before. She knew the exact reason why, so she kept mum when the couple was walking toward them.   “Excuse me, you’re Irene Bae right?” Yongsun asked, Byulyi trailing behind her.   That’s right. I forgot she goes by Irene Bae now, Seulgi thought, trying not to be bitter about it.   “Um yes,” Joohyun timidly answered.   Seulgi knew Joohyun was aware that some guests were already looking their way since they got their drinks. Knowing Yongsun, however, she could lose her composure quickly, so Seulgi was ready for the worst possible outcome.   “Is it okay if we take a picture together? I’m a huge fan of your dramas!”   With how much she gushed, Seulgi was amazed that Yongsun could control herself. Joohyun, on the other hand, timidly nodded at the request.   “Oh thank you! Byul-ah, come here!” Yongsun pulled the blonde-haired woman who was standing behind her, away from Joohyun’s viewpoint.   “Byulyi?” Joohyun remarked seeing her junior in the dance club, who looked a lot different in her smoky makeup and blonde locks.   “Hi, Unnie. It’s been a while.”   Yongsun was confused seeing Byulyi bowed to her favorite actress, who actually acknowledged the greeting.   “It is,” Joohyun said with a warm smile, and Seulgi had to avert her eyes.   “What the heck Byul? You know Irene–hmph!”   Byulyi was quick to cover up Yongsun’s mouth before she could gain more attention from their surroundings. “Unnie! You’re too loud!”   Their interaction was quickly garnering more interest from their surroundings as they were wondering why Byulyi's hand was covering Yongsun's mouth. “Should we go somewhere else? The veranda, maybe?” Seulgi suggested promptly.   The suggestion was gladly accepted as they cut through the guests to get to the veranda. Fortunately, it was quite empty apart from the man who quickly put out his cigarette once he saw the four women.   When they were finally alone, not only did Seulgi had to avoid Joohyun, she and Byulyi also had to avoid Yongsun's scrutinizing gaze.   “Can any of you explain how you two know Irene Bae?”   Neither of the two was particularly excited to tell the reason why. Byulyi clicked her tongue when Seulgi slightly elbowed her, even though it didn't escape Joohyun. She held back a chuckle when Byulyi sighed and started explaining.   “She's our senior in high school. We were in the same club.”   “And it never crossed your mind to tell me, your girlfriend of three years, that you personally know the one artist whose dramas I watch religiously?”   The look on Byulyi's face was priceless that Joohyun found it hard to look away. Never would she thought that she would see the moment when Moon Byulyi was whipped for a girl, yet there she was, witnessing the whole thing.                                          “This is the first time I meet her in person since high school!” Byulyi whined.   “But you do know her!”   “Okay, Unnies,” Seulgi interjected, “this isn’t the time to fight, is it? I don't think Joohyun-unnie can stay for a long time.”   Even saying Joohyun's name felt foreign for Seulgi, judging by the way Joohyun kept her gaze on her when she did so.   “Don't tell me you're moonlighting as her bodyguard, Seul!” Yongsun had this scandalized on her face. She didn't know what or who to believe anymore; not when two people whom she knew for years as honest people had such secret.   “She's Seunghee-unnie's guest! I'm pretty sure she's looking for her as we speak.”   The reasoning caught Yongsun, as she immediately let out her phone to take a picture of Joohyun before the actress had to leave. She asked Seulgi to take a picture of her and Byulyi with Joohyun, to which the former quickly said yes before Joohyun could prevent it. After some quick snaps, Joohyun braved herself to say, “Join us in the photo, S-Seulgi.”   It caught Seulgi's attention, knowing that Joohyun almost called her Seulbear like she did before. Seulgi smiled curtly. “I don't think I should.”   Not quite catching the tension between Seulgi and Joohyun, Yongsun was about to engage in a conversation with her favorite actress. Byulyi was quick to step in. “Unnie, let's get something to snack in. I saw some hors-d'oeuvres that are quite appetizing.”   With that, Seulgi was left alone with Joohyun. She knew Byulyi did that on purpose; as if it wasn’t obvious enough when she pushed Yongsun out from the veranda even though the latter was trying to get acquainted with her idol, the blonde-haired woman gave a thumbs-up when Joohyun was looking away.   “So…” Joohyun started, after what felt like an eternity for Seulgi, “it’s cute seeing Byulyi has a girlfriend.”   Joohyun was referring to the fact that Moon Byulyi was a student who had nothing else to think about other than dancing and gadgets throughout high school.   “Yeah… They’ve been friends since college so it just happened naturally.”   “Really? Where did they study?”   “K-ARTS. Yongsun-unnie was learning music composition and they met through Seungwan who was working on a project with her. They clicked instantly and have been inseparable ever since.”   “Oh. And you’re friends with Seungwan since…?”   “High school. She transferred during sophomore year.”   “I see…”   Seulgi knew Joohyun enough to know that there were a lot of meanings in her response, especially when she said it after reading her expression. “We didn’t date, in case you’re wondering. She’s nice to be with, but I never thought of her that way.”   The explanation came out of nowhere before Seulgi could stop herself. There was no need for her to explain that to Joohyun, especially when there was nothing between them in the first place. Maybe because Seulgi noticed the look when she saw her and Seungwan near the stage. Or maybe it was her intention, trying to convey that Joohyun still had a special place in her heart and no one could fill that gap just yet.   Whichever one of those reasons did Joohyun get, it reassured her in some way that she smiled at Seulgi, only this time the latter didn’t look away, making the former smile wider.   The smile faltered, however, when an especially strong wind blew. With her strapless dress, Joohyun was shivering. Seulgi was quick to offer her to go inside, to which she refused.   “Then at least wear this,” Seulgi draped her blazer to Joohyun’s exposed shoulders, knowing how stubborn she was.   “Aren’t you cold?” Joohyun pointed at Seulgi’s thin white top.   Seulgi shrugged, “Not really.”   “Well, thank you for this,” Joohyun pulled the blazer closer, letting Seulgi’s warmth seeped to her skin, “I appreciate it, Seulbear.”   Both knew that Joohyun was testing the water. Seulgi had nothing in herself to look away, however; not when Joohyun was smiling appreciatively at her. When their eyes met, the feeling of seeing Joohyun smile for the first time in high school resurfaced. If anything was different, it was how Joohyun had gotten prettier as she matured. Just like before, Seulgi let herself get lost in Joohyun’s eyes.   “This is a little late, but,” Joohyun prodded, “how are you?”   There were one too many answers to such a simple question that Seulgi had to think for a second. As much as she wanted to tell Joohyun everything, ten years held too many stories and questions for a small talk in her friends’ engagement party. So she settled with, “I’m good, Unnie. How are you?”   Even without Joohyun’s answer, Seulgi somewhat knew what kind of answer she would get. Like any other fan, she followed her news and works. For now, she preferred to get out from Joohyun’s spotlight.   “I’ve been busy these days, but yes, I’m good too.”   “I’ve seen your pictures and CFs,” Seulgi disclosed that much, “have you been busy with that?”   “Yes, I’m in between advertising contracts right now. I had a photo shoot for one of them this morning.”   Just like that, Seulgi and Joohyun were indulging in small talks. Albeit shivering slightly, Joohyun continued to tell Seulgi about her work. There were times when she recounted it excitedly, others were obvious that she wasn’t glad about telling, like her coffee adverts. Slowly, they got back to when it was just the two of them, on the hill behind their high school building, talking about everything and nothi
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Some of you early readers are lucky bcs I forgot to lock the update 😅
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