there was a very obvious reason why one night stands should only be done with attractive strangers, which was the lack of attachment. nothing that happened on that one specific day would mean anything to any of the involved parties.
yena knew it well, and she prided herself on strictly following that motto.
however, sometimes… life happened.
in her case, specifically, jo yuri happened.
yuri is a girl two years her junior, someone she often saw around the campus and who had friends in common. she would even describe her as a friend, too. especially since when that happened, she was at the younger’s dorm room, having some fried chicken with alcohol while they watched some series, yena had to admit she wasn’t entirely sure. or were they watching youtube? either way, they were watching something, them sitting side to side, when the younger stared at her and admitted she thought her unnie was attractive. she had been flattered and thanked her, as well as said that she thought the same of her.
the rest was a bit of a blur. she doesn’t recall who leaned in first, but she does remember that they kissed. and she also remembered that it didn’t end there.
she didn’t exactly regret it, per see. it was nice, it was fun, so there was no reason to.
not when it happened.
and this was why you don’t hook up with people you know. because they might come back, because they might misunderstand, and it would make things weird.
after that, yena and yuri still were just friends who crossed ways at the campus from time to time and had an almost identical circle of friends. which wasn’t an issue, that is, if that was all.
that was not all.
there was clearly a misunderstanding somewhere, because it always felt like there was something else going on. with the way yuri looked at her, slightly different, and how longer their time together had become. yena couldn’t help but feel uneasy at it, it made her feel like the younger was demanding something from her.
the worst thing of it all was that it didn’t completely bother her. she liked her and her companion, so when she sat by her side and talked about her day, yena smiled and listened. when she asked for them to do something different, to go out and hang out, she couldn’t help but say yes. it was fine, right? she would have said yes regardless of sleeping with her or not, and yuri would obviously ask to befriend her more even if that didn’t happen.
“so, what’s going on with you and yuri?”, chaeyeon asked her. she made that question quite often, it was getting too much. she knew it was because the younger was concerned for her, but also curious since choi yena never dates!. that was yena who said it, by the way. all the time. “are you finally going to admit she’s different?”
“different how”, she deadpanned, pouting. “she’s just a friend.”
“whom you slept with.”
“we slept together once too.”
“yeah, before we were friends”, the blond rolled her eyes. “it doesn’t matter. you two clearly changed behaviours after that happened and it’s awkward to watch.”
chaeyeon stared at her as if she wanted to shake her best friend until her hair was all over the place. “seriously? are you going to act clueless whenever i bring it up?”
“your question insinuates it’s an act. which it isn’t”, she shook her head. “i don’t think there’s anything wrong or different.”
that was a lie and yena was fully aware that, despite it not being an act, there was something up. it was obvious that she thought like that, probably, by the way the younger’s brow furrowed. chaeyeon wasn’t buying any of it. “one day one of you will crack about this tension and honestly? i’m not sure if it would be better to be you or her.”
“maybe there’s nothing to crack about”, yena pouted.
her friend rolled her eyes but let it be. for now, at least. the older knew it would be brought up another time but she’d enjoy the small recess.
it still was at the back of her head though. because she knew that chaeyeon’s words weren’t coming from nowhere, she knew there was something odd and just ignored it. she just hoped everyone else ignored it too.
like yena herself did.
“hey, unnie. i thought we were going to get coffee after class yesterday?”, yuri asked her as she sat to her side.
“fuck, yeah, we were. sorry, jjoyul, i think it escaped from my mind after finishing my exam”, yena said, hoping that the younger wouldn’t notice it’s a lie. “i’m so sorry for forgetting it.”
“it’s okay, you were probably tired from the exam”, soon came her reply, attached to a very kind smile. god, jo yuri was always so kind and so understanding even when she should probably scold the older instead. it made her slightly guilty. “you owe me though.”
“which means we’re gonna grab a coffee now”, she finished her line of thought with a warm smile.
but looking at it, yena froze. “i can’t.”
“why not? you don’t have class until an hour or so, right?”, yuri tilted her head and the other frowned. she didn’t know why or when her dongsaeng memorized her schedule, but it happened and yena supposed it wasn’t any big issue. except when it was used against her like that.
“right. i’m… free for the next… two hours”, she started slowly, “but i was planning on studying instead.”
at that, the younger rolled her eyes. “you’re always studying! like that you’re going to overwork yourself or something. a small break is not going to kill you. much the opposite actually.
she sighed, defeated. “nothing i say will make you change your mind, am i right?”
“yup. glad you understood that fast”, she giggled at that. “come on, unnie. i’ll pay for whatever you have, if that helps.”
it didn’t help at all, it just made yena feel a little more guilty. she didn’t want to go to grab a coffee with her dongsaeng because she didn’t want her to come any closer than she already had, and everyone knew that going to a cafeteria with someone meant a date. yena was not one for dates and she did not want to have one, especially in a place close to campus where any of her friends - or worse, complete strangers who could be future hookups - could see. but, oh well, it couldn’t be that bad. it would probably be bearable, she tried to reason as she let the other girl walk her towards the closest cafeteria, one that she herself had visited many other times too.
and it surprised her that it was more than just bearable. it was nice to sit beside yuri and just talk about anything that crossed their minds that wasn’t related to school. it was comforting, relaxing in a way and it made her not pay any attention to the way that the younger was a bit too close, a bit too comfortable for it to be seen as friendly. in fact, yena liked to hear the other laugh beside her, liked the way she was smiling quietly whenever she spoke, liked the way she grinned before opening her mouth to make some comment.
it was nice. she had really enjoyed it, so much she went to class grinning. and that wasn’t much choi yena behaviour, but she decided to pretend not to care the way people, and most specifically lee chaeyeon, stared at her.
that was not the last time they had a totally-not-a-date meeting outside of
campus and yena was very aware of that fact. however, if one spent time to analyze their actions before and after they went to the cafeteria together, it’d be very clear that yuri was not the one whose actions were unusual. she often suggested to hang out with the upper-class girl even before that day, however, she used to turn her down more than she said yes. her meetings increasing was completely her fault, finding it hard to give excuses to deny them when she actually wanted to hang out with her dongsaeng, which only made it all harder to ignore.
she’d be lying if she said she didn’t have a hint about what was going on, but she decided to pretend until the end.
chaeyeon rolled her eyes at her best friend. “you haven’t been going out with me much. does this mean you finally did something about your feelings?”
yena choked on her lunch. “i have no idea what you are talking about.”
“well, considering that you’ve been hanging out so much with yuri alone and don’t even party that much, i’d assume something finally happened.”
“nope. nothing happened, as it should.”
“you know, having a crush is not totally entirely bad”, the younger sighed. “it’s all over your face. you have changed these past few days, it’s pretty obvious.”
“you’re just jealous you don’t have me for yourself anymore.”
“please. i’m more than pleased to not have to see your face twenty-four-seven”, her best friend teased, but then her face turned sad. “i don’t get why you’re in such strong denial.”
yena rolled her eyes, losing her patience. “lee chaeyeon, you believing in me or not, that’s the truth. i’m not dating jo yuri nor want to.”
chaeyeon stared at her with an annoyed expression. “come on, don’t be stubborn. i know that’s a lie.”
the older knew that too, but instead of admitting it she left a frustrated groan. “why would i want to date her, to begin with?”, she scoffed, resting her cheek on one of her palms. “i hang out with yuri because it’s fun, okay? she’s not the type of girl for dating or anything serious. just having some fun.”
a long pause came and her friend wasn’t answering. yena thought that she had finally made her point clear, or maybe she was just giving up for the time being, but once she turned at her direction, she noticed chaeyeon’s attention wasn’t on herself, but at someone behind her. “i’m not the type for anything serious?”, a familiar voice said with a hurt tone.
yena gulped down before turning. “jjoyul, wait, i can expl--”
“save it. i heard enough”, the younger scoffed. “it was foolish of me to think you could somehow see someone as more than just someone to use and have fun with, but in the end, that’s an impossible task. have a nice day, chaeyeon-unnie. bye, yena-unnie. never talk to me again.”
all she could do was stare at yuri’s back as she walked away from her table. had that really just happened? and she said for yena never talk to her again. so that was it? the end of their friendship… or whatever they had?
and the worst of all was that it wasn’t even for something small. it was because of her being a dumbass and not knowing how to deal with feelings. it was all on her.
“well”, her best friend started, and somehow yena already knew she didn’t want to hear her finish it. “you were right. maybe nothing should have happened.”
but why does she hate that it had to be like this? maybe it was because it was so recent, she tried to tell herself, but then days passed and nothing changed. the guilt she had accumulated for a good while was now unbearable and made her want to collapse. it was crushing her.
when she sat down all by herself, when she visited the cafeteria she often went with her, when she opened her kakao talk, she wondered how yuri was. wanted to try to find her, talk to her, try to explain, but then what would she say? she didn’t know why she said that, and why she actually thought it was somewhat true. because now all yena could do was regret ever letting those words leave her mouth. no, scratch that, she shouldn’t even have thought of them, to begin with.
despite her trying her best to believe that she didn’t want anything serious with yuri, and actually believing in them for a while, that wasn’t her real wishes, her real feelings. but now the younger was hurt and it was all her fault.
she should at least tell her the truth. even if she still decides to never look at yena’s direction, it’d be fair.
“jo yuri”, she said after taking a deep breath. her dongsaeng was on her phone, a book ignored on the table, but just her name being called was enough to divert her attention. she didn’t look at the older right away, though she immediately recognized her voice, with the way she stiffed and took a while to stare up at her.
okay, maybe she should have gotten more courage before actually confronting yuri. now that she was right there looking at her, waiting for whatever she had to say, words didn’t come. probably acting by impulse wasn’t the best thing to do, but to be fair, that was how choi yena often behaved.
the younger waited and waited until she left a scoff. her expression almost said of course, as if she expected yena chickening out. however, when she tried to grab her stuff, the other spoke again. “i’m sorry for the things i said the other day and even if you don’t forgive me for saying them i just wanted to tell you that you aren’t just someone to have fun with”, she blurted in a single breath, rushing the words and hoping they’d make sense. it apparently worked, considering the way yuri froze, eyes widen. “you’re more than that. you’re very nice, and kind, and quite cute too. i’m just-- i just suck at this. it’s scary, and whenever i noticed that i liked it and wanted to see you more and more… it frightened me. i know it’s stupid and it doesn’t excuse for the things i said, but i truly told that to myself to try to pretend i haven’t fallen for you”, she took a deep breath after that, looking at her own feet. “so, yeah. you’re not just someone to have fun with and i want you to know that.”
once she looked back to see the other’s reaction, she expected her to be frowning, ready to snap at her. however, she was smiling. “you really think so?”
“you have fallen for me? the choi yena has fallen for someone? and that is me?”
she felt her cheeks warm. was she teasing her? making fun of her feelings? she sighed, but she supposed it was fair since yena had done something much worse. “yes, i do. i’m sorry for that.”
yuri stepped towards her, tilting her head as she stared closer. “don’t be. i’m happy you like me. if it wasn’t obvious i like you just as much.”
“yeah. so”, the younger said after a small break. “want to start again? as if this didn’t happen.”
“i don’t think i can pretend i didn’t hurt you like this.”
“it’s fine, unnie. i forgive you.”
but i don’t think i can forgive myself, she wanted to say, but instead, she just nodded. “well then. i’m choi yena and i was born in 1999. nice to meet you…”
“my name is jo yuri. but you can call me yours, unnie”, she finished with a wink.
involuntarily, she smiled. “that’d be nice. i guess i’ll do that from now on.”