one one one my one
the only one one one you are
this is the love love love I know
Jeongyeon isn't a coward, exactly, but she'd spent enough time staring at the ceiling and losing sleep to know there was little sense to how they could work out. She remembers sitting in the middle of their living room, Sana tearing up the last piece of chicken for them to share. It was raining outside, and everyone was out or had fallen asleep.
"Would you ever want to have children?" Sana asked, quietly. It was out of the blue, but Sana tended to field questions that way, and if it were from any other person Jeongyeon would have thought only a little about it. But being in love with someone you don't want to be in love with makes you wary of everything, and Jeongyeon hadn't quite known what she was supposed to say.
"When I was growing up my ambition was to be the best mother ever," Jeongyeon tried, laughing a little to soften it.
Sana had sidled up to her, fork held up to line up with Jeongyeon's mouth. "Aa," Sana coaxed, and Jeongyeon rolled her eyes, complying.
"What about now?" Sana propped chin up on a fist, elbow pressed against the table top.
The truth is, Jeongyeon's plans had muddied in the years since she'd moved to the dorm. It was a joy the people she loved the most were expecting - grandchildren for her parents, nieces and nephews for her sister. Everything used to be so clear: Jeongyeon was going to grow old eventually, settle down, start a family, and she would get up each day to a man she loved next to her stirring out of slumber. But when Jeongyeon looked at Sana, when Sana's hand curled around her thigh, careful and gentle, she didn't know if she could be sure.
"I'll want to start a family eventually," she said, mouth full of chicken. "I want to be the best mother I can be," smiled. "Think my husband should take equal responsibility, though," Jeongyeon said, watching the twitch of Sana's lips, her gaze jumping to the blue frills jutting out of the sides of their worn out carpet, the way her fingers flexed in her fist.
"My parents want me to carry on the 'family line' too," Sana said, crooking her two fingers in the air. "Once I'm done with this and 'experienced everything'," Sana sprawled out then, her legs kicking out until her toes touched the sofa, her head flopping into Jeongyeon's lap, shoulder blades pressing into the thin muscle of Jeongyeon's calves. If she heard the way Jeongyeon's heart started hammering, she didn't comment on it. "I'll go back home and carry on with whatever only daughters are supposed to do."
Sana stared up at Jeongyeon, eyes wide, and Jeongyeon breathed slowly, in and out, watching that one lightbulb that they could never fix flicker and cast shadows against the wall. Sana'd been going out on clandestine dates with a guy they'd met at one of the after-parties: he was smart, the CEO of an up and coming start-up, and actually seemed to get Sana's humour and off-the-wall jokes. Jeongyeon would sit and listen while Sana sprawled out on her and Momo's bed, recounting her dates, and it was nice, after a while, to pretend that it didn't hurt. That everything was fine.
"That's what I should do, right?" Sana asked, voice lilting, and most of what Jeongyeon was thinking about was how warm Sana felt against her, how the world seemed to be narrowing down to just the two of them, and she vaguely registered that Sana was daring her to say it. To be brave. To tell her: I want to be foolish. Let me, let me, let me.
Instead, Jeongyeon looked up at the ceiling above them, peeling from the storms that had been buffeting their little apartment recently. They still hadn't moved out after so long - the status quo was familiar, and nice, and Jeongyeon could spend her whole life patching their little house up rather than let it fall apart. Become something new. "You love them," she said, and didn't look down.
The night before they signed their new contracts, Jeongyeon had kissed her.
The mansion they'd opened up for their renewment party was so huge, and there was a pool and Nayeon had already jumped onto one of the floats and gotten her thousand-dollar pants soaked up to the waist, and Sana had dragged Jeongyeon past the crowds of executives and labelmates and friends with the same smile she always wore, bright and reassuring, before pulling them into a bathroom on the furthest end of the hall.
Jeongyeon's teeth had knocked against Sana's upper lip, and her fingers caught in strands of Sana's hair in a way that she was sure would hurt, but Sana had only pulled her closer, hands on Jeongyeon's hips as she pressed her into the bathroom sink. Sana's mouth had been warm with heat and Jeongyeon went dizzy. When Jeongyeon pulled back, Sana's pupils were blown wide, thumb running circles across the dip of her spine, making Jeongyeon shudder against her. When Jeongyeon looked down she could see the sinewy muscles in Sana's forearm, her own head heavy with a kind of painful clarity.
"We can't do this here," Jeongyeon protested, when Sana tried to lean in again, and she watched it: the hurt flicker across Sana's face, muted and angry.
"We're in a private bathroom," Sana said, eyes fluttering closed when Jeongyeon mirrored Sana's motions, hands flickering down Sana's back.
"We can't be doing this anywhere," Jeongyeon said, quickly, before her heart could win out. Her skin felt heavy and damp under the jumpsuit she'd chosen for the occasion, and Sana was wearing some stupid glittery dress that chafed against the skin of her hands. Sana was staring at her with derision in her eyes before dipping her nose down into the hollow of Jeongyeon's collarbones, lips drifting across her skin, and it took everything in Jeongyeon not to give in.
"I don't think you get to tell me you love me and then not do anything about it," Sana breathed, voice heavy against the curve of her neck. "You make me wait seven years for you, and then when you finally tell me everything that I've ever wanted to hear -"
"You forced me to," Jeongyeon heard herself say, felt Sana's hands loosen on her waist.
Sana hadn't - she'd only asked what was wrong, that Jeongyeon was staring so hard at her, at the way the party lights behind her head haloed her features. Sana was beautiful, Jeongyeon had always known, but there was something about that moment that Jeongyeon wanted to commit to memory, the feeling of Sana still strung to her by black ink on a page and the world at their feet. The breath of the morning wind climbing into both of their bones, the times they sat outside in the cold and watched the sun come up. Jeongyeon wanted all of that, wanted the feeling of Sana's hand under her jacket forever, and she ached and ached and went breathless with that wanting. Jeongyeon had said: I'll miss you. Sana had smiled that soft smile of hers, the party around them dialed down to a bare murmur, and Sana's voice drifted loud and clear across the distance between them. I'll keep coming back to see you. The rest of them, too, but you- And then Jeongyeon had broken, a strange thing, a stranger in her lungs, forcing words out of her mouth that had been threatening to spill over ever since she'd seen Sana in bright yellow pajamas, ever since Sana had come into her life like a piece of the sun that had fallen out of the sky. I love you. I always have.
The sun was staring back at Icarus now, in the small confines of a bathroom, at the way Jeongyeon's gaze flitted to her hands, flexing uselessly in front of her stomach.
"Sana," she said, and never thought anything could hurt this much, the kind of ache in her chest that felt like a knife, twisting endlessly in her chest, Sana's hand wrapped around the handle. "I can't." Placed her hands over Sana's own, laced their fingers together. Pulled them down. Sana didn't resist.
"I.... I want. You can't even imagine -" a breath, Sana's catching with her own. "I want you every moment of every day. I want you so much that I think I might go insane sometimes, but I can't make you happy without - because -" Jeongyeon wiped at her lips with the back of her hand, reality crashing back onto her.
"You have a boyfriend," Jeongyeon said, and Sana flinched, hard and raw enough that Jeongyeon almost wanted to lean forward again.
"Because you never said anything!" Sana bit out.
"He's good for you," Jeongyeon said.
"You're good for me-"
"I want to have this part of a normal life," Jeongyeon said, and meant it, even if it were for Sana's benefit more than her own, because every other facet of normalcy has been stolen them under the guise of this profession that she thought she would love forever. "The two of us - we'll have to explain, and evade, and hide, and I'm not - I'm not brave enough for that. It may not seem like it now, but whoever can make you the happiest - it's not me. We were just -" It's the wrong time. The wrong configuration. The wrong situation. "We'll forget." The feeling will dull. We'll fall in love with new people. The right people. The comfortable ones.
"I'll give it to you," Sana said, finally. Jeongyeon crumpled into Sana's hold as the other girl laid fingers on the soft skin behind her jaw, gentle, careful. Warm like the summer breeze. Sana's palm was wet with her tears, but she didn't move it, just leaned closer, pressed her forehead to Jeongyeon's, thumb gentle on Jeongyeon's cheek. "That normal life you want. You'll have it. I'll make sure of it."
And then Sana kissed her again, and again, and again, until it was the last time.
The table where they sign their papers isn't the one she'd entered the company at. The memories are fuzzy now, but important details have taken shape over the years: Jihyo's head peeking from behind the glass door, her features so big and striking for such a small face. Jeongyeon had just gotten a shitty haircut and stumbled into the office hoping somehow that they'd overlook her misshapen head.
This room doesn't even have glass doors, and is wide enough to rival their entire dorm, its ceiling stretching on forever. Also, Jeongyeon's hair is perfect, and the lawyers carefully explaining their newfound duties to her aren't the ones that barely looked at her back when she had nothing to offer but potential, something every other trainee carried on a gangly set of legs.
They'll keep on. Six people is more than enough - Twice isn't them anymore, it's a brand. A legacy, she can recite with her eyes covered and her hands tied. Undying.
When the droning ends, finally, Jeongyeon looks up from the spot on the table that's been burned by hot coffee they've never managed to scrub off. Sana is staring carefully back at her, a small smile on her face.
I'm sorry, Jeongyeon wants to tell her, when they stand up and round the table and shake hands, and all Jeongyeon can feel is the way her hand trembles when it closes around Sana's, steady as the rising sun.
Perhaps in another world.