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Cherry Chapstick

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Jongae doesn't ask questions right away when her best friend knocks on her window a couple hours after texting an invitation to a party that she declined in favour of finishing a paper. Bunhong's leaning over the tree branch with a split lip, bruised cheek, and bright grin. Jongae pulls her earbuds out, pushes her laptop onto her desk—pausing just long enough to grab her box of bandages and antiseptic—throws open the window, and all but drags Bunhong inside and down the hall, into the bathroom she shares with the rest of the third floor east wing of the dorm.

Bunhong swipes leftover water with her sleeve and hops onto the countertop between two sinks with her sticker-covered skateboard hugged to her gut. She tilts her head so her ear rests on her shoulder, letting her dyed hair fall away from her face and the antiseptic-soaked cotton ball Jongae dabs her wounds with. A girl from her literature class asks if she's okay, and Bunhong nods with a bright smile that pulls her bottom lip uncomfortably. Soon, the sound of the shower echoes throughout the bathroom.

"I think I broke Jaebum's nose." Bunhong's leg bounces with nervous energy.

Jongae pauses her scruitiny and stares wide-eyed at Bunhong. "Why?"

The girl shrugs and picks at her fingernails. "I was gonna kiss Eunjae, and he flipped out."

"Understandable, since he is her boyfriend?" She finishes cleaning the smears of blood from Bunhong's lip. She'd need to get some ice for the bruising. There were scrapes on Bunhong's knees and palms; she probably fell off her skateboard on the way over.

"But he's a dick!"

"He's not that bad," Jongae murmurs placatingly. She carefully peels the wrapper off a Spiderman bandage and holds down Bunhong's thigh to cover the scuffed knee.

"Seriously? What normal person would grab someone's hair and scream at them just because she was about to kiss someone else? Just say 'excuse me' or something! I swear, he was drunk off his ass."

Jongae nearly drops the bottle of antiseptic and stares at her friend with wide eyes. She knows Jaebum; he's always been really nice. "Did he really...?"

Bunhong nods slowly, a smile parting her lips. "We all kind of got into it, which is where I go these," she gestures to her face, "but you should've seen Eunjae unnie! She literally threw him into the pool! Like," she wrenches her arms back and heaves them forward, "that! I thought she was gonna jump in after him and try drowning him—some kids were saying she should—so I wanted her to come with me, instead, but she just told me to go home." She follows Jongae back to her bedroom and flops onto her back on the springy single bed, dropping her board and shoes to the floor. "I really hope she breaks up with him. She deserves a lot better." Someone who would never pull her hair or yell at her or hold her back from anything, ever.

"Bunhongie," Jongae says slowly, putting the shoebox of First Aid supplies back on her closet shelf, "why were you going to kiss Eunjae unnie?"

Bunhong looks down her body at her friend. She looks funny on the landscape of her breasts, belly, and feet. "I asked her, and she said okay."

"It wasn't a dare or a game or...?"

"No. Not that I'd say 'no' to it, if it was."

"Oh," Jongae replies softly. There's a blush to Bunhong's cheeks that Jongae notices but doesn't comment on. "If you want, you can stay here for the night. I just finished my essay for Professor Kim; I was just gonna watch anime and have popcorn for dinner."

"Yeah!" Bunhong eagerly digs her heels into the bed, lifts her hips to strip off her shorts, and burrows into the mess of Jongae's blankets.

Jongae closes her closet and stares at the posters of Kim Taehee and Shingeki no Kyojin over Bunhong's head. "I-I'm catching up on Haikyuu!!. How far did you get?" Her cheeks are burning, she knows it.

The screen lights up Bunhong's face. "Haven't watched it since I watched with you ...." Her mouth hangs open a little as she navigates the browser. "You mind if I borrow your Chapstick?"

"No, go ahead." For how much Chapstick Bunhong uses, she must have really soft lips, Jongae thinks. She bites her bottom lip and tucks a couples packets of popcorn into her hoodie pocket. "I'll just go make popcorn and get you some ice, then."