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call me in your summer

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Sooyoung likes spontaneity because it adds a bit of flavour to an otherwise mundane life. But, of course, being impulsive has its costs, and Sooyoung has experienced her share of consequences because of it.

Impulsivity isn’t always a bad thing, though. Sometimes, it’s warranted or may even be for the better. For Sooyoung, impulsivity drives things forward: there’s always an effect and, good or bad, she’ll never know what will happen unless she does something.

 


 

“Do you know any place hiring?”

It comes out as a half-hearted question, as if Sooyoung wasn’t really expecting any answers. And sure enough, she doesn’t get any.

“Nope,” Chaewon answers, far too kind to point out that this is the third time Sooyoung has asked her in the past week and she’s starting to get sick of it.

“I just want some money, summer break is soon,” she groans.

“There’s always a part-time position open at the mall, if only you didn't screw up your chances of working there!”

Contrasting her unforgiving choice of words, Chaewon’s tone is cheerful. Probably out of amusement, Sooyoung suspects. Sometimes, she wishes she never told Chaewon about her history of part-time jobs, including a stint at the mall food court that ended with a sudden firing.

Sooyoung just shakes her head at the memory of it. Considering the intentions behind her actions, anyone would agree that she shouldn’t have been fired. After all, she was just trying to do the right thing. Here’s how it went:

After finding a bunch of girls in the bathroom of the staff break room smoking weed – a terrible idea to even begin with – Sooyoung decided to confront them. Now, she usually minded her own business, but a customer had just yelled at her for something that was out of her control (“no, ma’am, for the third time, I cannot call up corporate right now and demand we stop using straws for the sake of the world’s turtles. I’m just a fast food worker-”) and Sooyoung wasn’t in the mood to come out of the bathroom smelling like weed when all she did was pee.

Unsurprisingly, high school students who smoke indoors aren’t the most rational individuals, so confronting them only ended with Sooyoung being told to keep her nose out of it (impossible when the smoke is everywhere and the entire bathroom reeks) followed by some rude remarks calling her a “fuckin’ self-righteous hag” muttered not-so-quietly under their breaths.

And so she tattled to the manager, who told her he’d deal with it. But when she found the girls smoking in the bathroom again and again, Sooyoung lost it. She picked up a bucket of mop water and promptly threw it at their faces, adding in a snarky comment to go along with it (“there, I put it out for you!”).

Needless to say, it was an entirely impulsive act, but one driven by irritation and her patience being exhausted.

She was fired by the manager on the spot, who she later found out never actually dealt with it because he was the one selling the girls weed and didn’t want to lose them as clients.

That’s right, a Burger King manager selling overpriced weed to underage teenagers. Sooyoung deserved so much better anyway.

But now Sooyoung can’t pass by Burger King without getting nasty stares from her former co-workers. Nor can she get any job in the food court because apparently, there’s an extensive weed network amongst the plethora of stressed students working at the mall (everyone thinks smoking weed is cool) and those nasty girls had made sure to tell everyone. Literally blacklisted from the food court. 

Their glares make Sooyoung feel like a shackled prisoner being dragged through the village, barefoot, a traitor with ‘SNITCH!’ branded on her forehead. This is not the type of attention Sooyoung needed, nor wanted.

And it’s ridiculous, really.

“You could’ve just advised them to smoke outside, you know,” Chaewon says, lips pursed in that pointed way whenever she was making an extremely valid point that Sooyoung didn’t want to hear.

“I care for the youth of our country. I didn’t want them smoking anywhere!” Sooyoung puts a hand to her chest, feigning dramatic concern.

Chaewon lets out a cute snort, possibly the only person capable of doing so. “You should just think things through more, that’s all.”

And Sooyoung just sighs because she’s bad at thinking things through. She tries to reason with it, though, telling herself that negative consequences only come out of impulsivity that’s driven by anger. So, what she needs to work on is not her impulsivity, but rather her temper.

It’s a logical thought process.

She knows this because even after her bathroom-smoking-mop-water incident, her temper got the best of her and got her fired. Again. At her following job.

“The new guy at the Halloween store is kinda weird, I wish you were still there with me,” Chaewon says.

“I don’t,” Sooyoung replies, to which Chaewon pouts like a kicked puppy and Sooyoung immediately feels like taking it back.  

To be fair, working at the Halloween store had both pros and cons:

  • The pros: source of income and meeting Chaewon (who is the only co-worker in her work history that Sooyoung has ever truly befriended).
  • The cons: it’s a Halloween store that’s open year-round.

For one thing, outside of foreigners and Itaewon regulars, no one really gives a shit about Halloween. Second, during the Halloween off-season (which is…98% of the year), weird people come and weird things happen at a year-round Halloween store.

Quite frankly, working at the store was embarrassing and totally unfitting of Sooyoung’s image (pretty and charming college student, a proud member of the dance club). However, If Sooyoung had to be brutally honest with herself, she sorta misses working at the store. It was easy money and most shifts were spent just hanging out and fooling around with Chaewon. What else could she ask for?

But unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, her impulsivity got her fired from that job too. It also involved kids and Sooyoung being fed up. Again. Like some cursed déjà vu.

Seeing Chaewon’s pout, Sooyoung feels the need to justify herself. “It was those stupid kids’ fault! It’s always stupid kids.”

“But you didn’t have to lock them in the bathroom!”

“It was the only way to pacify them, Chae, they were like wild animals released from their cages!”

“Their parents came and threatened to call the cops!”

Sooyoung rolled her eyes. “Whatever, they deserved it.”

Chaewon sighs lightly, but lets out a chuckle soon after. “Speaking of the Halloween store, I have a shift in half an hour and should probably get going. I’ll talk to you later?”

“Sure. If you know any job openings, please let me know. Or else I’ll resort to being a stripper, I swear.”

Chaewon widens her eyes, scandalised, as she rises from the table. She salutes Sooyoung with a more determined ‘yes ma’am’, probably fueled by Sooyoung’s abrupt proposal.

Sooyoung smiles as she waves Chaewon goodbye. She sinks into her seat as soon as the girl is out of sight. 

While being a stripper is certainly an appropriate use of her…skills, she hopes she can find a source of income for the summer that doesn’t involve poles nor men. Sooyoung isn’t really a fan of either of those things.

 


 

With the way she is, one may see Sooyoung as the type who’d be the knight in shining armour. But no one ever considers that those knights in shining armour may have their own knights too.

For Sooyoung, that knight is Chaewon. Trusty Spookytown employee Park Chaewon. Truthfully, it’s an overdramatic comparison, but Sooyoung considers a summer of boredom and no income as a nightmare situation that seriously needs saving. And thus, her saviour from such a summer is Chaewon. 

The image of the bright girl skipping across the grass happily is an amusing contrast from the university students she weaves around, scattered around on picnic blankets with their eyes glued to books.

“I come bearing a wonderful opportunity!” Chaewon exclaims, hopping to a stop and squatting right in front of Sooyoung. The older girl is seated under the shade of a large tree, trying to do a bit of studying of her own outdoors. It’s exams season.

Sooyoung lifts her head to look at the girl with a raised eyebrow.

“I have a job opening for you,” Chaewon says promisingly.

Sooyoung immediately closes her book, transferring her full attention to the grinning girl in front of her.

Chaewon clears her throat. “Once upon a time, there was a girl named Jiwoo.” Sooyoung narrows her eyes, but Chaewon continues, “all throughout high school, Jiwoo dated the love of her life. She thought they’d be together forever, but alas!” Chaewon brings a hand to her chest, grabbing a fistful of her blouse in bitterness, “she was dumped on graduation day because the so-called love of her life was going to college on the other side of the country.” She shakes her head. “Fast forward four months, so-called love of her life, now her ex, told her she’d be visiting for summer break. This put our poor, heartbroken protagonist Jiwoo in a bit of a pickle.” She closes her eyes and pinches the bridge of her nose in pseudo agony.

Silence descends and Sooyoung, eyebrows now deeply furrowed, stares at the squatting girl in front of her. Just as the silence could get any more awkward, Chaewon bats opens one eye.

“…Okay? And?” 

Chaewon sighs. “The plot twist is that this is a true story and Jiwoo is a real person. In fact, she’s my friend!”

“Oh. Poor girl.”

“Yes, truly,” Chaewon frowns for a moment before her lips curve into a hopeful smile, “but this is why we need your help!”

“With what?”

“Jiwoo needs a girlfriend.”

Sooyoung blinks at Chaewon, once, twice, before finally raising a skeptical eyebrow. “Huh?”

“Oh, you guys don’t actually have to date. All we need- I mean all she needs is a fake girlfriend.”

“Why?”

“Because Jiwoo’s dumb!" Chaewon says with a huff, suddenly getting frustrated. “She kept in touch with her ex after their breakup. Jiwoo told her all sorts of lies, like ‘I’m fine’ when really she isn’t, and ‘I’m enjoying university’ when really she’s miserable, and ‘I’ve made soooo many friends’ when really she’s made like, three, me including-”

Sooyoung struggles to keep up. “Where do I come in?”

Chaewon purses her lips. “You know the dumbest lie Jiwoo told her stupid ex? ‘I’ve met someone new and we’re hitting it off!’” Chaewon sighs. “Stupid, stupid, stupid.”

Sooyoung narrows her eyes.

“Truth is, she hasn’t because she’s still secretly in love with her stupid ex. So now, Jiwoo needs a fake girlfriend to keep up the lie for when her stupid ex comes to visit! Our friend Hyunjin says it’s like, the ultimate power move or whatever.” Chaewon leans in, knocking on Sooyoung’s forehead. “Are you following me?”

“Ow! Yes,” Sooyoung winces, evading Chaewon’s small fist.

“Okay, well listen,” Chaewon holds up three fingers, “we want to send Jiwoo’s stupid ex three messages. One, ‘I’m totally okay!’. Two, ‘I’m totally over you!’. And three, ‘I totally never lied to you about any of this!’.”

Sooyoung’s lips quirk. “All lies?”

Chaewon shrugs. “Basically. But her stupid ex will get those three messages when she sees Jiwoo underneath the arm of someone who is way cooler and not stupid.” She nudges her chin towards Sooyoung with a knowing look, as if to say, ‘I’m talking about you.

A compliment. Sooyoung likes compliments. “Well, I do like petty revenges and this kind of sounds like one.”

Chaewon’s face lights up. “So you’ll do it?”

Sooyoung purses her lips in brief thought and her lack of an immediate answer doesn’t sit well with Chaewon.

“Come on, please! Hyunjin says we should find Jiwoo a fake girlfriend who’s hotter than her stupid ex and willing to date her. It was a tall order, especially since we only have four days til Jiwoo’s ex comes home, but then I thought of you! You’re hot and you like girls! Please help us, Sooyoung. We’re doing this for Jiwoo. Maybe this will help her move past her stupid ex. And she’ll pay you! You don’t have to be a stripper! Pretty please!”

Chaewon pleads to her with her palms pressed tightly together, eyes resembling those of a starving stray puppy’s in the middle of winter. Truthfully, Sooyoung was already leaning towards agreeing to it, so Chaewon’s cry from the heart wasn’t really necessary. Nevertheless, Sooyoung couldn’t really have said no to such an earnest and urgent request anyway.  

“Okay, fine-“

Chaewon pounces on her, enveloping her in a tight hug. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” She pulls away, grabbing onto Sooyooung’s shoulders and staring at her with a determined fire behind her eyes. “This is for the greater good, trust me.”

Sooyoung just laughs as Chaewon pulls her in for another hug. “You’ll like Jiwoo! She’s super cute and nice.”

“She better be!”

And just like that, Sooyoung is saved from the boring, penniless summer of her nightmares.