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Vegas Lights

Chapter Text

"Is it really that bad?" Jinsoul asks over the phone with curiosity.

Chaewon sighs to herself at the question. Maybe if she was asked last night, her answer would be "Absolutely" or "This is the worst thing to ever happen to me". But a day later, and a gaze around the small pile of clothes on her bed waiting to be packed, Chaewon blinks slowly to prepare her response.

"No, of course not. I should be thankful for this opportunity. It's not every day your parents make you go on a forced vacation."

Jinsoul hums in response at the answer. Chaewon props the phone between her cheek and her shoulder as she prepares to sort more things into her large suitcase. She struggles with the pile of clothing that's starting to tower out of the bag, pushing it down with a grunt as she prepares to zipper it shut. If she was going away for awhile, she would have to take everything she possibly could.

"I just don't know why they can't be adults about the situation. They need to send me away so they can argue without me hearing. I'm already aware of what's going on."

Chaewon rolls her eyes at her own words. Jinsoul gives a sympathetic hum, because how else does she answer that?

Chaewon's parents haven't been seeing eye to eye about things recently. Really, they just argue and fight over everything. Even though their house is huge, more like a multi-billion dollar mansion, Chaewon can still hear them from across it. In reality, she is old enough to move out on her own, she certainly has the money from her family to be able to buy a replica of her parent's home if she wanted to, but refused to do so for so long.

The Parks have a large reputation, internationally. Chaewon is the one and only heir to the Park family business, which has dealing in all kinds of trades and affairs across the world. She is required to learn the business and its transactions, and feels that she can do so the best living at home. When the fighting started, which was only recently, did Chaewon start to have second thoughts. Now, before she can even think about it, her parents are demanding she take a long vacation away from home and come back when they feel it's best for her to return.

"I think your parents just don't want you to be impacted by what's going on. The Park Legacy, remember?" Jinsoul tries to make a joke to lighten the mood.

Chaewon sighs, defeated. "Yeah, I know they care about me and don't want it to affect me. But is our legacy really that high, they can't let something personal and unrelated to the business interfere with my life?" Chaewon pauses, pulling the suitcase off of the bed and putting it on the carpeted floor for tomorrow's venture to the airport. "I was supposed to spend the weekend in Jeju with Heejin, and I had to call her yesterday and tell her to bring someone else."

Jinsoul could tell her friend, despite saying that the vacation wouldn't be bad, sounds very unhappy about the situation. "Hang in there Chae, you can always call me if you need someone to talk to, you know that right? Also, you're fucking loaded, fly me out and let me join you. I've never been to America". Chaewon laughs at her friend's words. Jinsoul always knew how to bring a smile, even if it was a small one, to her face.

"Oh you're welcome to come and visit any time you have. I might die if I have to be alone in a hotel room for awhile". Chaewon smiles to herself. Maybe it won't be so bad if she can get to spend her time with someone else.

Jinsoul knows this, and decides to add more layers to her response. "If you hate being alone so much, go to the clubs there and pick up a hot girl, you know that place has a ton of clubs and, I'm sure, a ton of hot girls". Jinsoul emphasis the last two words of her point with a flirty tone. Chaewon blushes at her friend's teasing, rolling her eyes.

"We'll see, I doubt I'll stoop to that level though. That's not how you find people". Chaewon says with a frown, and a hint of disgust. "Plus, they're Americans. No thanks."

Jinsoul bursts into laughter, making Chaewon wince as she pulls the phone away from her face, only to return it with a frown. "Now stop cackling and let me prepare for the worst. I love you Jinsoul unnieeee!" Chaewon says with an overtly sweet tone.

Jinsoul laughs again, a clear rolling of her eyes happening on the other side of the line. "Yeah yeah, I love you too Chae, don't have too much fun!" Jinsoul says cheerfully, and then abruptly hangs up. Chaewon chuckles to herself at her friend's words.

With a large sigh, Chaewon double checks her belongings. She has four large suitcases and a carry on, still feeling like she's missing half her stuff. Living with money privileges goes to her head sometimes, as she remembers she is already bringing way more than she needs to. What other person needs to bring 800 thousand won worth of makeup with them? She disregards her thoughts. Thinking about it too long will only make her feel bad, and that's the last thing she wants to feel, given what her has come to right now.

Just as she settles into bed, she hears it. Checking her watch, she confirms it to be what she knows. 10:00 on the dot, she hears her mother start up with the shouting, followed by her father's deep voice booming through the many walls of the large house. With a sigh, Chaewon grabs the headphones on her bedside table and puts them in quickly, immediately playing her music. Oh My Girl fills her ears as the shouting dissipates. She will at least be glad to get away from the shouting, which is what they wanted for her. If it'll help the family reputation, she'll push through it.

She recalls Jinsoul's flirty words in her head, groaning. Ever since she came out a few years ago, everyone in her life has been waiting for her to get married to another respectable and wealthy young girl and basically build an empire together. It's a lot of stress to be honest, but again, anything for the reputation of the family's legacy. She should just be grateful that they're okay with her sexuality, not a lot of people in her situation could say the same.

Around 12:00, she finally takes out her headphones. She puts them on her bedside table, then droops her head down on her pillow with an exhausted sigh. The deafening silence fills the now dark, large bedroom. As Chaewon drifts off to sleep, she can't help but be confused why her parents are sending her to Las Vegas, of all places. She hears that all the worst kinds of people usually flock there and make a fool of themselves. With her eyes closed, she smirks at herself. Maybe it'll just be fun to watch other people act like idiots, she thinks. Preparing to rest for an early flight, Chaewon finds herself in a sweet slumber, dreaming of all the stupid, funny drama she will witness when she gets there.

Hyeju screams as she hangs up the phone. Her boss really aggravates her, and she isn't sure if she can take it anymore. Miss perfect CEO Jo Haseul seems to do everything she can to make Hyeju's life harder. Even though all she asked if she would send out a company announcement while she was on a business call, Hyeju still felt irked by the request. She should send out her own damn announcements. Hyeju massages her temple in frustration at her desk.

She stares at the sign over her office door: 'Son Hyeju: Chief Technology Officer'. With a huff, she turns back to her computer, and exaggerates a long groan as she opens her email application. She lets out even more groans of frustration as she types out a sickly sweet reminder for the staff to log out of their computers for the weekend so that her team can perform a much needed update. With a final huff, she hits the send button, dramatically throwing herself back on her black computer chair and staring at the paneled ceiling. She's done enough work for the day, and just wants to count the amount of black flecks on the ceiling rather than look at another set of codes or another email. She doesn't get that luxury, as she receives a quick knock at the glass door.

Immediately sitting up straight and opening up a random tab with some updated codes for the new update, she pretended she was hard at work, clicking at some random lines of binary code. "I know you're not actually working, Miss Son". With a defeated sigh and a caught expression, she looked up to see the one woman who makes her life so much harder.

Haseul gives her a forced smile, taking a deep breath. "I have something important I need to discuss with you, and I can see that you're not too busy, may I sit down?" She asks, already approaching one of the two large chairs in front of her desk.

Hyeju sighs, forcing a smile back. "This couldn't have been another phone call? Or perhaps an email?" The pain is evident in her voice.

Haseul forces herself to not roll her eyes. She loves her staff, but Hyeju was a stubborn, dramatic coworker, most of the time. She sighs in defeat, knowing that Hyeju is one of her longest and thorough employees. She will put up with the dramatics just this once. "I have a tech promotion convention in the schedule for tomorrow, and our usual salesman is out on sick leave". Haseul tries to drag out her request, knowing Hyeju won't like it.

Hyeju narrows her eyes at her boss in concentration, wondering where this is going. If it's what she thinks, she isn't going to be happy. "What does that have to do with me? Can't you send someone else?" Hyeju starts to fidget with one of the buttons on her white shirt.

Haseul swallows, then proceeds to continue. "No, our other salesman is on probation, remember? The copy room incident?" Haseul says with hesitation. Hyeju sighs, remembering well. That probation meant she was on call, and she cannot say no when she is on call.

"Okay, so you are asking me to go to the convention and promote White Dove then?" Hyeju asks with fear. She really doesn't want to take a work trip, one at such last minute. She's hoping it'll at least be nearby and close to home.

"I'm more so telling you to go to the convention." Haseul says with exasperation. Hyeju nods, this feeling on disappointment filling her system. She can't say no if she is on call as the substitute, so she just nods in defeat. Haseul tries to give her a smile, but it looks like a forced smile, one full of fear for her next words.

"Great! With that being said, I need you to leave early and go pack your bag. It's in Las Vegas. I'll get the information to you before you take off so you can go over-" Hyeju cuts her off with a weird noise in her throat, her eyes wide and confused.

"LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, UNITED STATES? TOMORROW?" Hyeju cannot help but raise her voice a little at the request. Haseul sighs, rubbing her temples with the pads of her fingers.

Hyeju still stares at her, waiting for a response. Haseul looks up, visibly not in the mood to put up with the outburst. "Miss Son, I need you to do this for me, okay? I'll make some deals with the people in HR to get you another day off this year for it. Please? White Dove needs this convention really bad." Haseul is practically pleading with her. Hyeju cannot say no anyway, but she feels even more discouraged from doing so now.

"Okay, I wanted to leave early anyway." She says with her eyes glaring at the cheap, grey carpet below them. Haseul lets out a breath she didn't know she was holding in.

"Wonderful! Now, get out of here, I have a lot of documents to send your way!" With a cheerful disposition, Haseul stands up abruptly from the chair, walking backwards towards the door in a rush to get out. Hyeju watches with a twitching eyebrow as she closes the door, walking back to her office with a wave and an eye closed smile at her through the glass walls of her office. Hyeju feels like she really better get that day off, and more, as she packs up her company laptop and mentally prepares for a long, unexpected trip.

What's a few days? Hyeju will grind through it with ease. Maybe she can even go out and see how cool the lights and the people there are, she thinks to herself with optimism, heading forward down the hall. A quick packing trip is all she really needs, just a small bag and maybe a carry on. She's never been one to need a lot of stuff, even with a nice paying job. Hyeju tugs on the collar of her shirt as she makes her way to her car, ready to go home and pack, as well as wait for her trip info.

Las Vegas, wow. Hyeju isn't sure that she's ever been anywhere as exciting and fun before. She hears that Americans really know how to party, so she hopes that's true when she spends her time away from work hours. A new excitement fills Hyeju, despite the drag of a business trip and the annoying thought of talking to strangers about some tech software. However, the thought of talking to some pretty American girls on her own time makes Hyeju swoon. She's going to make this a fun time for herself, taking advantage of her situation. All she wants is a little bit of fun, nothing serious. She doesn't see the appeal at the moment.

With all these positives tacked onto a very negative work trip across the world, Hyeju is ready for the Vegas nightlife and its people. Who knows what will await her when she gets there?

Chapter Text

Hyeju was tired, hungry, and definitely PISSED.

She left immediately after work just as Haseul told her to, the million thoughts about her destination swirling around in her head. She did everything right; packed a small amount of stuff, confirmed she received the presentation notes, and checked her travel information. However, life had different plans for the smooth transaction of this situation that was forced upon her.

Hyeju’s flight was supposed to be at 6:00 pm, but then her flight got a last-minute delay due to the weather. Then, another delay. Then, another. Hyeju was fuming when it was 3:00 am and there was an announcement of the Frontier flight getting cancelled completely. Now, she’s pacing under the bright, airport lobby lights, gripping the phone to her ear with stress.

“I’ve been here for almost half a day already, am I getting another flight or not?” Hyeju says, clearly angry, but choosing her tone carefully.

Her boss sighs in a displeasing manner. “I’m going jump on and get you something with United right now, I’m sorry that you’re stuck there. At least you’re paid by the hour?” Haseul says with hesitation, unsure of how her employee will answer to her positive outlook.

Hyeju closes her eyes, throwing her head back and looking into the fluorescent lights above her head. “Thank you. I’m sorry, I’m losing my mind in here. There’s only so many Vogue issues to flip through.”

A relieved laugh escapes Haseul’s mouth, unsure just how angry Hyeju would be at the situation. “I understand, but I’ll have the next available one for you real soon. Hang in there Ms. Son!” Scared that Hyeju would switch her mood back, Haseul quickly hangs up the phone.

With an annoyed huff, Hyeju puts the phone back in her pocket. She takes a moment to pause and observe the different people who are walking through the airport around her. It’s not a holiday, but there are quite a lot of people here. She sees various people running to catch flights, carrying food, and even some people sleeping propped up against walls. With a defeated sigh, she walks back over to her seat in the waiting room by her former gate.

The next few minutes are spent scrolling through various social media, already feeling bored out of her mind again. A pent up groan escapes her mouth as she drops the phone in her lap and puts her head in her hands, waiting for this whole painful ordeal to be over. The 3:00 am tiredness starts to hit her like a truck.

A light tap on her shoulder wakes her up, and she snaps her head up at the source. A sweet smile is on the girl’s face. She’s dressed like she just rolled out of bed that morning.

“Hello!” The girl says with a slight bow. Hyeju nods her head, clearly confused. “I just got here not too long ago and was going to go grab myself a coffee. I couldn’t help but see you distressed on the phone earlier and you look like you need one too. I can’t imagine how long you’ve been here, especially if you have a good seat.”

Hyeju looks at the dark-haired girl, blinking a few times to process. Strangers don’t usually approach her, the disinterested look permanently on her face, but she manages to find her smile. The girl sounded sincere, and she looked like a nice person.

“Wow, that would be fucking awesome. You’d be a lifesaver. Let me just get my wallet so I can-“Hyeju was cut off by the girl sticking her open palm out.

“No, don’t worry about it! I’ll get it. I offered, didn’t I? I’m Kahei by the way. Nice to meet you!” The gave a genuine smile, and Hyeju couldn’t help but naturally smile back.

“I’m Hyeju. But, are you sure? You don’t even know me, that’s a lot to offer to a complete stranger, especially this one. I’ve been here since 4:00 pm.” At Hyeju’s confession, Kahei gasps, eyes going wide. There’s no way she was going to let her pay for herself now.

“4:00 pm?! Oh, you poor thing, no I’m going to get this for you. I am getting one for myself anyway! Stay right here Hyeju, I’ll be back! Can you watch my bag as payment?” Kahei asks, holding out a decently sized carry-on bag. With a nod, Hyeju takes it, and puts it next to her own things, on the seat next to her. With a smile, Kahei gives a small wave, and walks through a small sea of people towards the nearest Starbucks.

Hyeju lets out an exhausted, but thankful breath. Leave it to this Kahei girl to restore her hope in the kindness of strangers. She is looking forward to when she will get to taste a delicious, caffeinated drink.

“Excuse me, is this your stuff?”

Snapped out of her coffee dreams, Hyeju looks to her left at the source of the sound. In front of her stands a small girl with brown hair, a displeased expression on her face. Behind her, there is a carry-on that seems to be on the brink of exploding with how full it is. The girl is dressed in what looks like an expensive, comfortable set of clothes.

Hyeju narrows her eyes at the girl, and the girl does the same to her. The hopeful feeling that she was feeling from Kahei’s kindness suddenly dissipates at the snarky tone in this girl’s voice. She doesn’t even know how to answer without sending even more snark back, but she tries to reign it in.

“Yeah, these are mine. Is there a problem??” Hyeju fails at taming her snarky comeback to the girl. The girl clearly wasn’t having it, and didn’t back away, like she expected her to. She tapped her foot impatiently, thinking of her own answer to Hyeju’s spiteful remark.

“Actually, there is, you see, there’s no more seats. But you rudely have your stuff spread out on this clearly unoccupied chair. Would it be that much of a pain if I asked you to move it so I could sit down?” The girl says in an annoyed tone. Hyeju’s nostrils flair at the girl’s pretentious disposition, seeing plenty of space on the floor for her to sit down at.

“Oh, I’m so sorry miss rich and famous, didn’t know you were too expensive to sit on the fucking floor.” Hyeju says with venom laced words. The girl blinks back at her in shock, which then melts into anger. Uh oh, Hyeju thinks, this girl isn’t used to these words handed to her.

The girl’s ears start to turn red, and her face twists into one on the brink of explosion. She squeezes her fists, trying to stop herself from screaming in the middle of the airport. “What’s your name and who do you work for? I will make sure of it that you are never employed again.” She raises her head in what is supposed to be a serious and threatening tone.

Hyeju just stares at the girl, perplexed. After a few beats, she breaks into a small chuckle. There’s no way this small girl can actually do her any harm. “Not going answer those questions sweetheart, if anything, I don’t know who YOU are. Stop acting like I should.” With a confident smirk, Hyeju turns back to her phone, looking for anything else to do besides deal with the annoying girl to her left.

A few seconds go by and Hyeju is certain she must’ve walked away, already engrossed in something on her phone, until she hears a hollow thud and sees her bag fall to the floor out of the corner of her eye. Immediately, the girl takes her seat next to Hyeju, scooting close to the left edge to keep her distance from the rude girl. Hyeju feels like steam is coming out of her ears, and quickly grabs her bags, as well as Kahei’s that was on the chair, and moves them in front of her. She grabs Kahei’s bag and puts it on her lap, to be kind for whenever she comes back. She hopes it’ll be soon.

With a glare, Hyeju trains her attention on the small girl sitting next to her. She looks even shorter sitting down. “Actually, my name is Chaewon Park, if that should say anything.” Chaewon says pointedly. Hyeju blinks at her slowly.

“I have no idea who you are. Just be polite next time and maybe I’d have let you sit down. God, I hate rich people who have their head shoved so far up their ass.” Hyeju loudly whispers the last part to herself, scooting herself as far right as she can, away from the girl.


Before she could furrow her brows at the unfamiliar voice, Hyeju sees Kahei walk towards her, shaking an iced coffee in her hands with a warm smile. Hyeju feels like her savior just showed up, despite barely even knowing the woman.

Chaewon looks at her with an eyebrow raised at the use of the name. Ignoring the staring, Hyeju takes the medium coffee from Kahei with a kind “thank you”, stirring the ice around with the straw sticking out of the lid. Kahei smiles as Hyeju trades with her, handing over her carry-on bag.

“Thank you for watching this for me! I hope the coffee helps.” Kahei then notices Chaewon’s presence and gives her a polite, small bow in greeting. Chaewon gives a forced smile back. “Oh, Hyeju I didn’t know you were travelling with someone! I would have offered to get them a coffee too!” Kahei says with genuine concern. Chaewon scoffs, throwing a disgusting look at Hyeju’s direction.

“Oh no, we are NOT travelling together, we don’t even know each other. She was just holding my seat.”

Hyeju could feel her eyebrow twitch at the last of her response, feeling angered that she called it HER seat, when it doesn’t have her stupid name anywhere on it.

Kahei looks startled, but responds kindly, “Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t know! Well, I’m going to go back to MY seat too.” She says with a light chuckle, and Chaewon looks at her, offended. “It was so nice to meet you Hyeju! Good luck with your flight, I hope you aren’t stuck here any longer!” With a smile, Vivi heads across the waiting room area to her seat, settling in with her belongings as she converses with the man next to her clad in business attire.

“She didn’t have to throw my words back at me like that.” Chaewon says with annoyance. Hyeju rolls her eyes at the unnecessary comment out of the short girl’s mouth. She wanted this trip to be over before it even had the chance to start.

Shifting in her growingly uncomfortable seat, Hyeju quickly brings her phone to her face at a notification from Haseul. She checks the flight information, thankful to finally be getting away from this area, from this spoiled brat sitting next to her. News comes in good and bad form, as she sees that the gate number is still the same from now over half a day ago. Hyeju is thankful she won’t be reduced to sitting on the even more uncomfortable floor somewhere else but thinks it would be worth it to get away from this pretentious ass sitting next to her. With a sigh, she sees that the flight is in an hour and a half. Finally, things are moving for her and this awful business trip.

“Can you move your bag over more? I need to stretch my legs out or they’ll cramp up.” Chaewon interrupts Hyeju’s scrolling on the new flight information. Hyeju freezes at the incredibly rude comment, biting her lip to stifle a yell. She pretends she doesn’t hear her and continues scrolling on her phone at more updates Haseul sent about the hotel situation.

“Excuse me, Hyeju,” Chaewon says, emphasizing her name with anger and disgust, “Can you please move your fucking bag over oh my god.” Hyeju whips her head to the left to glare at the angered girl next to her. With a sigh, Hyeju moves the bag over a literal inch, a smug smirk threatening to paint her face.

Chaewon makes an inhumane noise at the display. “Are you kidding me right now? Grow up.” Chaewon then takes a swift kick to Hyeju’s bag, pushing it into the other girl’s leg. Sprawling out her tiny legs, Hyeju blows a puff of air out slowly, in an attempt to calm down at the rude gesture.

“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just do that.” Hyeju says in a disgruntled manner, crossing her legs as to separate herself even more from Chaewon’s close proximity.

After a while, the airport’s bustling nature dies down as 5:30 am approaches, with the early travelers any minute away from arriving. The seats are starting to become vacant again, and Hyeju wonders if this is her opportunity to get away from this girl. However, she notices how quiet it’s been, as she looks over and sees her fast asleep, head turned towards her and her mouth slightly agape. Her small hands are folded neatly on her lap and her legs are still stretched out. Hyeju snorts quietly at the sight. It’s finally good to see the girl not talking for once.

She notices how different her face looks as its asleep, and not yelling, complaining, or sneering at her. Her face is calm, relaxed, and peaceful. Hyeju would even dare call her pretty if she didn’t interact with her or see what she’s like awake. With a small hum to herself, Hyeju turns her attention back to the speckled carpet below her, counting the dots as her phone has lost its interest awhile ago.

The intercom startles her with an announcement of boarding, and she lets out a breath of relief as she quickly gathers up her things to get on the plane for another 11 hours sitting down with nothing to do. At least there’s TVs on the flight, and Haseul bumped her up a class for the long airport wait. She will endure the long flight if she isn’t going to be paying for it anyway.

Hyeju turns and notices that Chaewon is still sleeping, unbothered by the loud intercom that is repeating boarding sections. She contemplates leaving her there to miss the flight, laughing to herself at how much she would really deserve that.

With a defeated sigh, Hyeju pokes Chaewon’s forehead. The girl scrunches her face up in annoyance, still clearly sleeping. Hyeju sighs louder and lays a hand on the girl’s shoulder, shaking her quickly awake. With a gasp, the girl looks around frantically, then at the brunette girl in front of her. She swats at Hyeju’s hand in disgust, looking at it like it made her skin burn. “What’s your problem??” She asks with sleepy annoyance.

Hyeju regrets waking her up a lot right now, thinking it would’ve been funnier to let her wake up on her own to a missed flight. “Good morning princess, we are boarding now.” Hyeju says monotonously. Chaewon rubs her eyes and notices the line starting to form around the gate entrance.

“Oh.” She says, sounding the nicest through one word than she has the entire time Hyeju has interacted with her. “I didn’t think it was so soon. Uh,” Chaewon slightly blushes, causing Hyeju to narrow her eyebrows in confusion at the sudden bashfulness from the spitfire girl she was introduced to. “Thank you.” She says as if it would cause her pain to speak. Hyeju is now the one to start blushing, unsure of how to handle the now awkward situation.

“Uh, welcome.” She mumbles with her eyes trained to the floor. Clearing her throat, Hyeju turns away from the girl, and heads towards the line of people. Chaewon follows behind silently and tiredly, and the two don’t utter any other words to each other. They both silently hope the other is not their seat partner too, that would be absolute hell.

They release breaths they didn’t realize they were holding when they finally take their places on the plane, clearly on complete opposite sides of it from each other. Leaning back in her seat, Hyeju closes her eyes in relief and in frustration. She is glad to be away from such a stressful situation, but she mentally prepares herself for another, as her work isn’t done. She still has some notes she really should be studying for this convention.

Across the plane, Chaewon lets out a breath as she prepares for her trip across the world, away from family and responsibility. With a quick text to Jinsoul and her parents to say her goodbyes for 11 hours, she melts away into her window seat, staring at the long, outstretched plane wing to her side. She wonders what she’s going to do with her time there, and what kind of people she will run into.

She really hopes she will never see that Hyeju girl ever again.

Hyeju strongly wishes for the same thing.

Chapter Text

This was NOT going to plan at all.

Chaewon walks through two large, glass doors to what looks like the richest hotel anyone could ever lay eyes on. Everyone, except Chaewon.

Sure, on the surface, the place looks regal and sophisticated. Everything is made out of marble, the décor is all shining gold, and there’s even a large fountain in the middle of the grand lobby. A girl sits at the large, golden desk up front, looking bored out of her mind. She’s dressed in what looks like a modern twist on the Ancient Greek toga. She sits on her phone, looking out of place against the dated setting.

Chaewon can see RIGHT THROUGH the façade. She can spot fake and cheap design like it was her job. Everything that looks gold and shiny is clearly painted on. The marble structures all look like props from a college play set. The fountain, too, needs some repairs as the water sputters out at an unsteady rate. Her face turns into an unpleasant and confused frown.

She double checks her email conformation, forwarded by her father, and hopes she has the wrong place. Looking around, she tries to find something that indicates that this is not where she is supposed to be. There is no way her father paid for this sorry excuse of a hotel for his own daughter to stay in.

She decides to take a last resort, pulling the many bags she has (annoyed there is no bellhop to take her things for her) towards the fake, golden front desk. She lets out small huffs of struggle as she wheels and carries her things across the large lobby towards the very clearly bored and unhappy receptionist. She doesn’t move a muscle, except for the constant swipe of her thumb on her phone screen.

“Welcome to the Athens Hotel. Name?” The blonde girl says monotonously, not even lifting her head from her phone. Chaewon stares at the disinterested girl in front of her in disbelief, her entire face going red. She was having a bad day, starting with a rude girl at the airport, and now this clear mix-up of hotel rooms.

She takes a slow breath to prepare what she has to say, fighting the urge to make a scene in the cheaply decorated lobby. The girl behind the desk can tell what's going on without looking, as her eyebrows go up as she continues scrolling. This is clearly not her first time dealing with unhappy and pretentious guests at the hotel. Chaewon gathers her thoughts accordingly.

“Hello. Can you tell me where this hotel is? It clearly isn’t THIS one.” She emphasizes her words in a pointed manner. The girl finally looks up from her phone, leaning over to examine Chaewon’s phone screen. As she does, Chaewon can finally read the nametag over her cheaply made uniform: Jungeun.

The girl bites her lip, trying hard to not smile. Plenty of people of this girl’s status made a fuss about the hotel upon arriving to it before, and after the countless number of times that Jungeun had to explain to red-faced, screaming people that this IS the hotel they paid for, she just finds each and every time afterwards more and more funny. It adds a little excitement to the usually boring day, as there are usually not too many people walking in and out of here. She can’t blame them for that either, she knows her place of employment is a trash can painted in gold.

“You’re standing in it.” She tells Chaewon bluntly. “Let me guess: doesn’t look as good as it did on the website? We get that a lot.” She says, slipping a small chuckle past her lips. She starts to lightly pull on the cheap fabric of her work uniform, waiting to see how this small brunette girl will be reacting. She really hopes she won’t have to call security, not after last time…

Chaewon’s face turns even more sour and more into a frown at the blonde girl’s words. “No, you don’t understand. My father wouldn’t pay for something like this. This has to be a mistake.” She says, each word carrying more panic in it than the one before. The silence engulfs the large and empty lobby as the two girls stare at each other, waiting to see what the other can do to improve the situation. Jungeun gives her a weak smile, twirling her fingers through her hair in awkwardness.

“Uh, I’m really sorry to hear that ma’am, but this is the place you have reserved. I can’t help you unless you want to just check in.” She says hesitantly. Chaewon purses her lips at the response, then closes her eyes with a deep sigh. This girl just worked here; she can’t help.

“I’m going to call my family. Thanks for you help.” She says with a hint of sarcasm. Turning around and walking away from the desk, she heads to a secluded corner of the lobby, surrounded by more cheap décor; gold leather couches and a white marble coffee table. Chaewon takes out her phone, and the contact for her father’s office lights up the screen. The call starts with the press of a button, and she turns the phone towards her head, praying to herself that his receptionist will patch her through so the situation can be resolved immediately. She knows this has to be a mistake.

“Park Enterprises main office, how can I help you today?” The woman says with a customer service friendly voice. Chaewon lets out a long sigh, but before she can start speaking, the receptionist already cuts her off. “Ms. Park, do you want to speak to your father?” The woman asks, even more sweetly and albeit a little hesitantly this time. This wasn’t the first time Chaewon has called to complain about something to her father before; The sigh was recognized immediately.

Chaewon bites her lower lip, her eyebrows furrowing together. “If he is available, please.” She says in a patient tone. The receptionist puts her on hold, and Chaewon changes her demeanor back to angry with a frown. As the small jingle repeats through her ears, Chaewon continues to stare around the large lobby she is standing in. She notices small chips in the marble tile, a lightbulb out in one of the looming chandeliers, and even a smoke alarm on the tall ceiling hanging out of its place. She closes her eyes immediately. The more she looks, the more faults she finds.

At the desk across the way, Jungeun stares at the small, angry girl with amusement. This is MUCH better than her twitter. She loves seeing the spoiled rich and famous get what’s coming for them.

After what feels like an eternity, Chaewon hears her father’s voice at the other end of the phone. “Chaewon! How was the flight? How’s the room?” He asks with enthusiasm, and with something else. She can tell there’s an exhausted tone behind his voice, even more so than usual. She wasn’t sure if it was from the job, or from the arguments with her mother. She didn’t want to ask and find out the answer.

“Actually, there’s a problem.” She says as if she is tattle tailing in Kindergarten . She could tell by his tone that he was leaning over his desk now, the phone tighter in his hand. “What happened sweetheart? Did anyone hurt you?” Chaewon lets out an exasperated huff at the defensive tone in his voice.

“I’m sorry to bother you at work, but you sent me to the wrong hotel. This is nothing that would meet your standard.” She says pointedly. She smiles a little at herself, knowing that he will have her out of there and in a better place within minutes. If anyone can fix a situation that fast, it’s her father.

There’s a short pause on the other end of the phone. Her father lets out a nervous laugh, and suddenly, Chaewon’s smile falters. She could recognize that laugh anywhere, and she knew what was coming.

“Actually princess, we just managed to get a partnership with the corporation who owns the hotel. It’s the nicest one they have, and well, it looks good for someone within the family to be there. I’m sure you understand…” He says, words laced with charisma. Chaewon’s body stiffens at the revelation.

Her father has done things like this plenty of times before. 'The family reputation': The words sing-song in a mocked tone in her head. Whenever her father would secure a new partnership, her and her mother were constantly subjected to many painful situations, such as dinner parties they would rather be anywhere else than attend, as well as eating foods that will never go near her kitchen pantry ever again. Of course, her father WOULD ship her across the world to stay at a sorry excuse of a luxury hotel, with its cheap, Greek décor and its unhospitable employees.

Mulling over the disbelief that she is feeling, Chaewon remains silent. After a minute, Chaewon’s mouth shut tight in fear of blowing up at her father, he hums nervously into the phone. “I should’ve told you before you left, my apologies sweetheart. I’m sure now that it’s cleared up, you can go check in, and I can get back to my busy schedule, right?” He says kindly, laced with a bit of sternness. Chaewon bites her lower lip hard, staring down at the overtly shiny, white tile on the ground.

“Yes, that makes more sense!” She finally says with fake enthusiasm, unable to fight about it now. “Thank you for clearing it up for me father, I hope work isn’t too busy for you!” She tries to sound as sweet and convincing as she can, not wanting to poke the bear. He responds in a satisfied hum of approval.

“Thank you for understanding Chae, we miss you!” He says, and Chaewon pulls her mouth into a tight smile and lets out an “I miss you both too!” As he hangs up, she dramatically drops her arm to her side with a sigh. This is so typical of him, she thinks to herself with disappointment.

As Chaewon takes her slow steps back towards the desk, where her many bags and suitcases sit waiting for her next to Jungeun, failing miserably to hide a smirk on her face, she can feel her own heat up. Of course, this was all just a business strategy her father had cooked up, aligning perfectly with the fighting her parents have been doing. Right now, all she feels is like an asset more than like a daughter. It hurts a lot.

Jungeun clears her throat as Chaewon approaches the desk, desperately trying to not meet the amused blonde’s gaze. “Uh, so, room 311?” She says with a hesitant smile, dangling a key from her finger. She stares at the receptionist with furrowed brows, to which Jungeun clears her throat again. “Uh, it’s off season. No one else really reserved anything here today.” She says sheepishly, leaving the key at the front edge of the large, shiny desk.

With a dramatic huff, Chaewon grabs the browning gold key quickly, her head pointed up as she walks away from the girl trying to hold back silent laughter. If there’s one thing Jungeun enjoys, it’s messing with the guests on off season. There’s just few enough of them for her to have her fun, and with her boss never bothering to do his required rounds of the building, she feels she has free reign over how she can treat the guests here without fear of penalty. She has much planned for this small brunette.

Little does she know it’ll only be adding more onto the girl’s incoming full plate.

This is the WORST thing her boss has ever asked her to do, and Hyeju had to put up with a lot of tasks in her time with White Dove.

The flight ended before she knew it, due to the sleeping pill she took last minute with her on the plane. Out like a light, Hyeju woke up the captain’s voice that they landed, smiling satisfied to herself at the easy plane ride, despite the troubles of getting on. In better spirits seeing the American sky outside of her plane window, she gets up and grabs her carry-on bag, hurrying out of the plane as passengers all scramble off the plane and to their destinations.

As she reaches the luggage retrieval station after a smooth transition through customs, she sees across the way the annoying the brunette from the Seoul airport, her back turned. The smile disappears off of Hyeju’s face as she nears closer, unable to escape the vicinity as she awaits her single suitcase. Within minutes, the machine starts moving, spinning bags and suitcases of different sizes and colors. In the first few to come out, Hyeju notices a matching pair of four suitcases and bags, with an expensive designer logo plastered all over their mint exterior. She rolls her eyes at the sight as the small, bitchy girl heads over and retrieves her things.

With her body now turned towards the exit, Chaewon struggles slightly with her many bags, then sees Hyeju standing there. They both look at each other, then, away quickly, frowning at each other. A breath of air escapes Hyeju’s mouth. She’ll never have to see HER again, good riddance.

After a minute, her single suitcase arrives, and she is speed walking through the Las Vegas airport to take an Uber to the convention center a few blocks away. If she managed to get her flight earlier, as planned, she would have been able to settle down in the hotel first, but hours behind schedule, she is rushing to the convention center to give her presentation in her clothes from the day before. She feels tired, gross, and disoriented in an unfamiliar environment.

“All part of the job.” She mumbles to herself mockingly as she approaches the white car waiting for her outside the airport. The air is musky, hot, and incredibly boisterous with different people. Sure, she’s used to the crowded areas of Seoul, but this felt…different. She had no time to distinguish if she liked it or not as she was already in the back of the car, her head in her laptop screen as she reviews the last of her notes. All she can think about subconsciously is the way Haseul can make it up to her for this, like with a long vacation, or a raise.

In a few minutes, she is dropped off in front of the very large, grey building she will be getting familiar with for the next day. Taking a second to catch her breath, Hyeju closes her eyes and smooths out her black blazer and her black dress pants, going through the notes she just crammed in her head. Then, it was time to head inside to check in and set up her stand.

With the obnoxiously green lanyard around her neck, Hyeju walks through the long, covered tables in the middle of the football stadium sized room. Her eye catches the White Dove logo on an equally obnoxious green tablecloth, rolling her eyes a little. However, her eyes open wide when she sees who is sitting in one of the two seats behind it.

Kahei, changed out of the comfy plane clothes Hyeju met her in, writes on a clipboard, dressed in a cute pink blouse and a cream skirt. Her eyebrows are furrowed down at her work, a strictly business demeanor presented. However, that disappears into a bubbly one as she looks up and sees a surprised Hyeju staring at her. She breaks out into a grin.

“Hyeju?? Is that you??” She asks with enthusiasm, quickly getting up and standing in front of the green table. Hyeju shakes the surprise away, greeting with a small bow for the dark-haired girl. She is so thankful that out of the people she encountered on this trip so far, she happened to run into the kindest one.

“Kahei, it’s been a long time!” Hyeju jokes with a smile. Despite her usual indifferent expression, she is very friendly when people show that side to her first. To be stuck at a work event, something she would usually be profusely complaining about, with a kind person is going to help the situation a lot.

With a tap of her pen to the clip board and her own green lanyard, Kahei chuckles. “I didn’t know you were the representative for White Dove’s Seoul branch!” She turns the lanyard towards Hyeju, showing her smiling ID photo and name. “I’m the representative of the Busan branch. What are the chances!” Her words come out with a beaming smile at the younger girl.

A new sense of relief at the event partner makes Hyeju laugh as she goes around the table to take a seat in one of the metal chairs. Kahei joins her then, showing her the clipboard she has been scribbling on, diving right into business talk about the sales and the products they are required to tackle while at this event. The stress melts off of Hyeju’s shoulders more and more as she listens to the sophisticated and diligent way that Kahei is planning out their required goals. This convention is going to go by in a breeze.

The conversation was in the middle of one about the different companies they needed to impress today, when Hyeju looked up from the clipboard, her blood running cold. Of course, SHE was fucking here. The mood suddenly lost all its relief, and now filled itself with panic.

Adjacent to their table, just a few feet away, there was an identical table to theirs, this one decorated with a purple tablecloth. The bold, white letters “Cherry Seed Inc.” over a cartoon logo of the said fruit sat on the front. Looking up slowly, Hyeju’s eyes lock with its founder and CEO.

Choi Yerim stares back at Hyeju, a look of shock written all over her face. Hyeju flinches when she feels Kahei tap her shoulder lightly, her attention turned back to her temporary coworker. She gives a concerned smile, her hand laying on Hyeju’s shoulder. “Are you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost…” She trails off as her face turns towards Yerim, giving the unfamiliar girl a polite smile. Hyeju feels herself swallow hard, her throat feeling dry all of a sudden.

“Yeah, yeah. Just, see someone I know.” Hyeju mumbles, glancing at Yerim again, then back at the clipboard of notes. Her heartbeat starts increasing, and she suddenly feels warm. She quickly turns to Kahei. “How long until we have to present? I need to step out for a minute.” She says with an apologetic and shaky voice. With concern, Kahei checks the schedule on her phone.

“We have 30 minutes, don’t worry, you can use my speaker notes for the Seoul branch too. I doubt anyone will notice.” She says with a smile. With a quick but sincere “Thank you,” Hyeju speed walks behind the other tables, making her way to the front automatic sliding glass doors and into the hot Vegas sun.

Pacing the concrete foyer, she rubs her temples, starting to sweat from the heat and from the fear that fills her body. How long has it been since she’s seen Yerim? Two years? Hyeju lets out a shaky breath, stopping her pacing to close her eyes and calm down. She was here to make her company look good, to keep her job, and at this point, to help out Kahei’s job too. She can’t lose her shit in front of these many high-class companies and potentially make her company crash and burn in its reputation.

Just when she feels like she suppressed the feeling enough, she turns back towards the doors, only to see a concerned Yerim standing in front of them. She didn’t age a day; her brown hair was tied in a bun, and she wore a white pantsuit that Hyeju couldn’t help but admit to herself looked really good. Why, of all times, did this have to happen now?

With a step forward, Yerim shows a shy smile, looking down at the small cracks in the concrete. “Hi Hyeju, it’s been a while.” She whispers, clearing her throat and looking back at the shell-shocked girl in front of her. Hyeju’s stomach plummets as she hears her voice, remembering it all over again as the memories come flooding back.

Hyeju is too stunned to speak. What do you say to the girl you dated for two years, the girl you were going to spend the rest of your life with?

Yerim’s eyebrows raise, concerned. She shows the friendliest smile she can, taking a small step closer. “I didn’t know you moved up with White Dove now.” She observes the green lanyard and the CTO ID attached to it. “That’s a good position for you, I’m sure you make them very proud.” She says with sincerity in her voice. Hyeju is trying to stop herself from running away.

Somehow, she finds her words, and composes herself with a quick head shake. “Hello Yerim. You look well.” Hyeju says, trying to maintain a cool tone with her ex-girlfriend. Yerim shows a tight-lipped smile, hinting at the tone in her voice. The hurt is still prevalent in the younger girl after the way everything ended. She can’t blame her either.

“I just wanted to make sure you were okay. We-“ She stops, shaking her head. “I know where I went wrong in the past.” She is whispering now, looking to the ground in shame. “But I know that this convention is a big deal. Please, don’t let me ruin it for you. Maybe we can get a drink, catch up, talk it out after it’s over?” She offers, a hopeful smile on her face. Hyeju feels her once cold blood switch to hot immediately at the words.

She bites her tongue to stop herself from making a frown. “That’s very kind of you Yerim, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She says with a hint of hurt in her voice. Hyeju knows that talking about it would probably help the bitterness she feels, but she doesn’t want to face them, at least not right now. She’s over Yerim, of course, but the way she ended the relationship still leaves a bad taste in Hyeju’s mouth.

Frowning, Yerim looks at the ground, starting to play with the ends of her hair. Hyeju takes note that after two years, she still has the same habits. “Oh, okay, um.” Yerim says, clearly disappointed at the rejection. She wanted to redeem herself, and most of all, to give Hyeju the closure she deserved. It hurt knowing she wasn’t going to be given the option.

“I think about it all the time.” Yerim whispers, looking back up at Hyeju, directly in the eyes. Hyeju suddenly feels like the already hot Vegas weather suddenly went up 10 degrees. “What I did wasn’t fair, and I am reminded about my decision everywhere I look.” She gestures to the convention center behind them. Hyeju nods, not knowing what else to say.

“It was nice to see you Yerim, I’m glad you’re looking well.” Hyeju says with truth and sincerity. “But I have a job to do, and afterwards, we will both fly back to Korea and go our separate ways and won’t have to talk again. It’s probably best if that’s how it plays out.” She says, feeling her stomach drop like it was on a rollercoaster.

Yerim shuffles on the sidewalk, desperately trying not to get upset. She still had to present, after all. She can’t break down and cry in front of her ex that SHE ended things with, then give a presentation in front of a hundred companies that can greatly benefit her own. “I understand.” She says in a small voice. “It was nice to see you too, Hye.” She gives small nod, then walks back into the building in an awkward manner.

Hyeju lets out a shaky breath she didn’t know she was holding. This is the WORST work trip she’s ever been on. She doesn’t know how she will keep her cool during the big presentation, which isn’t even in her main job description, in front of companies that can sink her job. Adding that her ex-girlfriend was in the crowd. This is a total nightmare.

Slowly, Hyeju steps back into the convention center, quietly making her way back towards her green table. Kahei gives her a small smile, whispering “We’re next!” as she takes her seat. Hyeju blows out a puff of air, making the hair in front of her face fly forward. This is going to kill her.

She’ll really need a drink once this is over.

Chapter Text

As far as presentations go, this was the worst one Hyeju, as well as the rest of the hundreds of participants, have ever seen.

For the situation she was in, it could have always gone worse, but that didn’t stop her from ending up with an angry CEO banging his fist on their green sales table, an icepack on Hyeju’s forehead, and a shaking Kahei sitting to her right.

It started off great; Hyeju walked up to that large, highly lit stage with confidence and poise, the notes she had memorized sitting readily in her brain. Despite her frazzled appearance, she kept her cool and proclaimed the start of the presentation with the rest of the room sitting on the edge of their seats. Kahei’s polite and firm nods of approval and support alongside Hyeju’s sell of their tech products was really helping with winning the crowd over as well. She felt a smile creeping on her face as she spoke, happy to see what this was going to do for her future at the company.

That was, all until Hyeju’s eyes landed on Yerim in the crowd. Despite the sea of faces behind the shadowed lights pointing at her, Hyeju could still make out Yerim’s table almost perfectly, close to the front of the stage. The younger girl would’ve been able to keep calm and continue on with her presentation had it not been for what she saw when her eyes landed on her ex-girlfriend.

During the presentation, a man dressed in what looked like an expensive suit came up behind her and whispered something in her ear, causing Yerim to smile and giggle. Hyeju’s blood ran cold, and her stomach went through a rollercoaster-like motion upon noticing immediately after the hand that went up to cover her giggle had a large, sparkling ring on the fourth finger. Hyeju’s voice wavered strongly as she noticed the expensive looking man kissing her quickly on the cheek, then turning around to walk back to a table with a black tablecloth a row down.

Hyeju knows she is over Yerim and certainly isn’t jealous of the two, but she can’t help but feel immediate anger at the situation. Everything about it made Hyeju feel humiliated, her self-esteem plummeting in the span of ten seconds. It was very noticeable to the sea of a hundred CEOs, salesmen, and tech partners as Hyeju heard Kahei clear her throat next to her. Snapped back to reality, she turned to the dark-haired girl and noticed her panicked face. Hyeju just stopped talking in the middle of a sentence and has been glaring in the generation direction of Yerim for almost a full minute now.

With a nervous chuckle, Hyeju managed to compose herself and make a joke of the situation, tying it into her presentation on the topic of malfunction of software applications. Hyeju promised to herself as she kept speaking that she wouldn’t look over at the girl’s table again, for fear of messing up again. Kahei was beginning to relax again as well, providing her parts of the presentation with ease.

In the middle of one of Kahei’s points about the impact of customer service improvements for their products, Hyeju pauses again, her face going red and expletives sitting on the tip of her tongue.

While she was busy not looking at Yerim, her eyes had the unfortunate event of landing on the man who Hyeju assumed was her ex-girlfriend’s fiancé. There he was, with a smug look on his face, whispering to another sharply dressed man next to him and pointing up at Hyeju and Kahei, clearly talking shit. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back; that’s when the microphone flew out of her hands and landed on an older man in the front row.

The entire crowd people and Kahei immediately hushed for what felt like an eternity, the energy of the room suddenly turning very tense. “EXCUSE ME?!” The man shouts, gripping the large microphone in his hand with white knuckles and the other gripping on his shoulder. “WHO SENT THIS INEXPERIENCED CHILD HERE?” He fumed with rage. Everyone awkwardly stares at Hyeju to see what she’s going to do.

“I’m so sorry sir, it slipped out of my hand on accident.” She says with clear panic in her voice, rushing immediately down the stage to retrieve the microphone from the man. But with the fear, anger, and shame steering her coordination, she only ends up slipping on the last step of the stage, hitting her forehead immediately on the railing as she falls to her side. Talk about making a situation even worse.

No one dared to speak or to move. Kahei, still standing frozen on the stage, starts visibly shaking. She doesn’t have to worry about being embarrassed though, as all eyes in the building are on Hyeju and Hyeju only.

Gripping her forehead and wincing, the embarrassed girl rushes over to the man’s table, and with shaking hands grabs the microphone from him in a rush, running back to the green table and sitting down immediately. Everyone in the room is left speechless.

“…White Dove would love to receive your support and work together to bring better ideas to the future of technology for the world. Thank you.” Kahei practically wails the words out with fear, rushing off the stage and back to her seat next to the embarrassed girl with her head in her hands.

No one claps like they did for the other performances. Luckily, a tall man immediately gets up and goes to the stage, starting his presentation on global tech partnerships. The energy starts to slowly go back to where it was before Hyeju just potentially sabotaged her entire career in front of hundreds of important people.

After the last person presents, the man who Hyeju hits immediately springs forward from the front row, approaching a still shaken duo from White Dove. He still looks just as pissed.

The scolding lasted at least 5 minutes straight. During the rest of the presentations, Kahei managed to get up and get Hyeju an icepack from a medical table nearby, but Hyeju could tell with a sunken heart that she was on the verge of tears. Not only did Hyeju humiliate herself, but she did to Kahei as well. The man's yelling only dampened her mood as the cool icepack didn't suppress the heat on her embarrassed cheeks.

The two didn’t say anything to each other as they packed up their things, going separate ways with tight-lipped smiles and disappointment in their eyes. They both will be expected to give thorough reports of their time at the convention when they get to their hotels, and then will have to see what their futures will look like when their bosses scold them tomorrow morning.

But Hyeju knows she royally fucked up. There was no use putting in a report of what happened when she knew she was going to be immediately fired tomorrow morning. With her head hung in shame, she grips her laptop case close to her chest, awkwardly avoiding eyes on her as she heads for the doors and into an already scheduled Uber waiting at the curb.

That’s how she ended up at this night club a block from the convention center, nursing a large glass of rum and coke, her second of the night so far. She let the warmth of it fill her up and melt away the embarrassment and anger she was feeling.

The sight was one to behold: a brunette with her head resting on her left hand and a drink being swirled around its glass in her right. Her white shirt was slightly unbuttoned, and her black blazer was laid across her lap. All she could think about on a loop in her head was the man’s expensive suit, the ring on Yerim’s finger, the way he was smirking at her, and most of all, the awkwardness of the events from earlier.

Her thoughts were about to melt away as the drinks would accumulate and her mind would be occupied elsewhere. She has no idea what she’s about to get herself into.

The bed was too small. The shower was cramped. Worst of all, the closet wouldn’t fit all the clothes she brought.

Chaewon was getting angrier as she explored the “luxury suite” her father reserved her to stay in. Despite it being the largest and most expensive room in the whole hotel, Chaewon was very unhappy with the smallness of everything. She was used to larger rooms with better quality furnishings. This felt sub-par to the rich girl.

It hit her, finally, as she observed the living room, kitchen area, bathroom, and bedroom that she was utterly alone. No parents, no Jinsoul, no Heejin…no one.

The realization of her solitude hits her like a ton of bricks. Looking around the white and gold room with its cheap, Greek décor, Chaewon feels the tears starting to well up in the corners of her eyes. She desperately tries to blink them away, but they just start to spill out on her small face. A hand goes up to cover her mouth and stifle her sobs, eyes shutting tight. The last thing she wants to do right now is cry about the situation.

Not only did she feel alone, across the whole world without anyone by her side, but she feels used. Her father really pawned her off as a free sample to the company of this place so that he could make more money, not even thinking about what his own daughter wanted. Chaewon feels the hollowness in her chest deepen the more she thinks about it.

Suddenly, her phone rings, Oh My Girl’s Dolphin filling the empty suite with its happy beat. Startled, she looks down at the ID to then smile a little. Across the screen is a photo of Jinsoul and Chaewon at the beach, the sunrise in the background adding a comforting glow to the photo and to the feeling inside of Chaewon’s chest.

“Jinsoul unnie!!!” Chaewon beams into the phone, masking the sad feeling inside of her heart with enthusiasm at her best friend’s sudden call. Jinsoul can already tell something is wrong, she’s her best friend after all.

“Chae! Tell me every exciting thing you have done so far while living it up in Vegas!” Jinsoul excitedly proclaims into the phone. Chaewon chuckles at her best friend’s upbeat demeanor, walking over to one of the white leather couches in front of a tv in the small living room area, sitting down. Immediately, she sinks deep into it, and then lets out a disapproving groan.

“I haven’t done anything exciting, I just got here, and everything is already upside down.” She says in a displeased tone, readjusting herself on the sunken couch to get as comfortable as she can. “This hotel is a nightmare; you’d probably love it.”

Jinsoul bursts into laughter, causing the frowning girl to then ease into a smile. It almost feels like her best friend is with her right now in this terrible environment. “So, what you’re saying is that it’s not actually that bad, but it doesn’t meet your royal expectations.” Jinsoul jokes with her best friend. Normally, if someone said something like that to Chaewon, she would be offended. Only her dark-haired best friend can say anything like that to her and have it been taken lightly.

“It’s just smaller and cheaper than I’m used to, yeah. The girl at the front desk is annoying as hell too, nosy and in my business.” She says with a frown of disgust at the girl in the cheap costume downstairs. Downstairs, Jungeun is still cracking up at the altercation that occurred in the lobby not too long ago.

Jinsoul hummed in response. “Don’t worry, I’ll beat her up when I get there.” She says in a playfully threatening tone. This causes Chaewon to furrow her eyebrows. “What do you mean when you get here?” She did offer to have Jinsoul come and stay with her during her time here, but she didn’t expect it to be so soon.

A nervous chuckle escapes the dark-haired girl’s lips through the phone. “Your dad called a minute ago and we set it up so I can come in a few days. Surprise!” She says with her voice half-wavering. Jinsoul knows that Chaewon would be happy to see her and adore the company, but also knows she will be displeased about her father stepping in and setting it up. It wouldn’t be the first time Jinsoul was asked to do something for her best friend on a short notice.

Chaewon wants to protest, but she just sighs in defeat. After a pause, she smiles a little, chuckling lightly. “It’ll be really good to see you Soulie, it’s barely been any time, but I already miss your annoying ass.” She says playfully through the phone. Chaewon leans back on the couch and sinks in further, her lip twitching at the foreign feeling.

A pause happens over the phone. Jinsoul knows Chaewon would bring up her father’s intrusion on their hangout together immediately. “What happened Chae?” She asks concerned, knowing her best friend is alone across the world without anyone else by her side. The worry in her voice makes Chaewon feel tears sting at her eyes all over again.

“I’m just homesick, that’s all.” She says as a half-truth. She IS homesick, but she can’t help but still feel hurt at why she’s here in the first place. Jinsoul, the observant best friend she is, doesn’t buy it.

“I know, but I’ll be there soon, I promise! What else happened? There’s more.” She says, prying but with kindness. Chaewon lets out a breath of air to stop herself from softly sobbing again at her friend’s concern.

She explains over the line about her father’s business transaction, and how she’s the byproduct of it again. As she explains this, Jinsoul is nodding her head on the other line, knowing that this has happened before and is not all that surprising. She knows Mr. Park cares about his daughter, but he seems to always have work at the center of his mind.

“I’m sorry Chae, I know how much you hate when things like that happen.” She says with pure concern and love. “But I’m going to come, and we are going to have so much fun on our own that you’ll forget why you’re there in the first place. I promise it’ll be a good time, just wait.”

Chaewon nods, clearing her throat, crossing her legs over on the couch. A small smile appears on her face as she moves the phone to the opposite ear. “Thank you unnie, you always help me.”

Jinsoul hums in approval, a smile on her own face. Then, her eyes narrow and her smile grows as she says her next words. “But before I get there, I want you to do one fun thing on your own, just a girl on the town doing her own fun shit. Go to a club! Meet a girl! Gamble all your money away! Something fun!” She shouts dramatically. Chaewon feels herself growing bashful.

“I’ve never been able to do too much of that on my own, you know that!” She says like a goody two shoes daughter. Her father was always particular about where she went and who she was seen with. He wants her to participate in activities that will benefit her and the rest of the family’s image and as well, associate with people who will keep her in good graces with the rest of the world’s eyes.

Jinsoul dismisses her words with a puff of air. “Chaewon, you are across the world. You are in LAS VEGAS. Go have fun and do things you could never do here. I promise, it’ll be a good time and a lot of fun.” Jinsoul charms at the younger girl. This makes the rich girl smile slightly, and giggle.

“I guess you’re right, I’ll try to have fun. My father isn’t here to scold me, and I’m mad him for this right now.” She says, her eyes narrowing. Jinsoul chuckles nervously. “Go easy Chae, but also don’t, DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” She says the last part mimicking a Californian accent. Chaewon smiles wide at this fun side of her friend.

“I’m gonna go let you have fun and settle in more, I’ll be there soon, okay? Don’t let me in until you’ve done something exciting! Bye!” With those animated words, Jinsoul doesn’t wait for her best friend to say it back, as she hangs up abruptly. Chaewon chuckles as she lowers the phone and is met with the silence of the room around her, sighing.

She felt determined, ready for some fun. Immediately, she gets up and heads to her many bags in the bedroom across the way, opening her suitcases and pulling out various clothes. If she was going to have a good time, she wanted to look good doing it.

When she laid out her outfit, she sat on the surprisingly comfortable bed, pulling out her phone. There seemed to be a night club a few blocks from here, which looked promising enough. She decided she would head over there when the sun started to go down and grab a drink, maybe two if she was feeling dangerous. She could hardly contain the nerves in her stomach at the thought of doing something so adventurous by herself.

There is a lot awaiting her when she decides to head out the door, more than she ever asked for.

Night life in Las Vegas, even during “off-season” as Jungeun called it, was bustling with all kinds of lights, sounds, and people. The club was loud, highly lit in a red, neon glow, and packed with people. Hyeju has been there for a bit, already on her way to being pretty tipsy. There’s a lulling smile on her face now as the alcohol fills her system, and her work nightmare from earlier melts from her mind.

Chaewon, at this point as well, has been there for a little, already with a second drink in hand. Even though she is alone, she is finding herself having a lot of fun, moving excitedly to the upbeat music around her. She’ll definitely have a story, and a good memory, to share with Jinsoul when she comes.

This doesn’t ever get to happen for Chaewon, and this small amount of her pink, fruity drink becomes the most she’s ever had in her life. It fills her system rapidly, and she soon finds herself getting pretty tipsy. She’s never got to experience this light feeling before and makes her way over towards the bar to get more. She doesn’t want this night to end and this fun feeling to go away.

Hyeju sits at the bar with her umpteenth drink in hand, her eyes closed and swaying to the music, a small smile on her face. “Can I get another one of these?” Chaewon asks the bartender, who raises one eyebrow at the already tipsy girl. She only just gave her a drink, only her second one at that. This girl was clearly a lightweight.

Hyeju opens her eyes and looks over at the shorter brunette girl standing close to her, dressed in an outfit that’s too expensive for this club, but looks good on her. The realization of their previous meeting does not occur to the alcohol-filled girl at all. She just smiles drunkenly. She found this girl to be very pretty.

“You heard her-“ She says quickly, looking at the name tag of the bartender- “…Hyunjin. Get the girl another drink. It’s on me!” She says confidently, sending a wink in the girl’s direction.

Hyunjin rolls her eyes playfully as the obvious flirtation occurs in front of her. As she goes to make the drink, Chaewon looks at Hyeju and blushes, bashfully shuffling her feet, which looks out of place against the intense energy of the club they are currently in.

Clearly, Chaewon is unaware of the encounter she previously had with the other girl, the alcohol in her system taking over. She approaches the stool next to Hyeju, taking off the girl’s blazer that sits on it and putting it on Hyeju’s lap so she can sit down. This confident act makes Hyeju chuckle, and she flashes a charming smile towards the gorgeous girl in front of her.
If only she remembered how Chaewon did something like this before.

Chaewon finds the other girl to be extremely attractive, her heart racing as she takes in every detail from the cute triangle shape of her mouth down to the perfect shape of her eyes. Interrupting these thoughts is Hyunjin, who puts down the fancy looking cocktail and walks towards the opposite side of the bar, attending to someone else, but getting away from the two girls who are clearly going to be hitting on each other all night.

“What brings a cute girl like yourself here?” Hyeju asks smoothly, taking a sip of her rum and coke without breaking the eye contact. Chaewon feels her face get warmer, a combo reaction from the alcohol and the good-looking girl flirting with her. She takes a sip of her own drink, giggling like a schoolgirl.

Chaewon starts off by telling Hyeju all about her unexpected trip due to her family’s orders, finding herself opening up a lot because of the alcohol. She stops in the middle of confessing her feelings about why her father sent her there with an even redder face. “I’m sorry, you didn’t ask to hear about my problems.” She says hesitantly, looking down in small embarrassment to lightly tap her nails on the side of the glass.

The music and the people move around them in swift motion, but just the two of them sitting at this less crowded bar together makes it feel like they are in their own little world. Hyeju has been hanging onto every word out of the pretty girl’s mouth, showing clear sympathy for her, her head starting to slightly spin from the alcohol. Still, she gives her all her attention.

“No, please, tell me all about it, you’re still cute.” She says with a smile, sliding her hand across the counter to stop the girl’s nervously tapping hand, laying her own on top. Chaewon accepts the gentle touch, laying both their hands down on the counter together. Maybe it’s the alcohol, maybe it’s the kindness in Hyeju’s voice, but Chaewon feels her heart tug with butterflies. She flashes the girl next to her a warm, red-cheeked smile.

“You’re so sweet. Thank you.” She moves her thumb shortly across Hyeju’s hand, receiving a warm smile with red cheeks back. “My father just has all these expectations for me. Get married to a rich girl, take over the company, be just like him.” She says as the smile slowly slips off her face, one of stress following it. “I know he means well, but I think I would like it better if the limelight wasn’t on me. I can be stuck up at times because of what I’m used to, but the things that come with the luxuries are so much. I don’t feel I have any control over my own life.” She says, admitting the words out loud for the first time to a pretty stranger in the middle of a bar in Las Vegas, now definitely feeling that she is drunk.

She starts to shake at the admittance, the alcohol and the confusion and the pretty girl’s presence all hitting her at once. Hyeju quickly softens her wide eyes, giving their already touching hands a soft squeeze. The two girls lock eyes, Chaewon’s full of fear and Hyeju’s with understanding and concern.

“I don’t know the full story of your situation, and I can’t relate, but I can tell you that you deserve to be happy, on your own terms.” Hyeju starts to say. Despite her increasing intoxicated state, she has enough mental clarity to give the stressed girl her own opinions of the matter. She still, however, does not the mental capacity to realize that she called this girl pretentious in the Seoul airport only over a day ago.

“You seem like a sweet person, and you should be happy. You should talk to your family about what you want, and you should marry who you want; who cares about money, right?” Hyeju says these last words with her own voice wavering. Now, it was the younger girl’s turn to look visibly stressed.

All the previous events of the day start to come back to Hyeju; the ring, the man, his suit, his judgement. The plummet of her job performance. Hyeju grips Chaewon’s hand a little tighter, immediately flagging down Hyunjin to make her another drink. She clearly sobered enough to remember, and that’s the last thing she wants to do right now. Chaewon watches her with a careful eye, despite her head spinning slightly from the alcohol.

“Money isn’t everything, you’re absolutely right.” Chaewon admits softly, just barely audible over the loud sea of people and music. Hyeju’s eyes close as Hyunjin hands her the rum and coke, its content being down quickly. Hyunjin shakes her head, walking away. She has no idea what’s going on with the two girls flirting at her bar area, but she knows it isn’t going to end up well.

“I think it’s more important to get to know a person, who they are.” Chaewon continues, making Hyeju put down her nearly empty drink to stare back with alert eyes. “I admire someone’s hard work more than anything. Even if their job isn’t perfect, if they work hard at it, that says a lot about them.” Chaewon says, taking more sips of her own cocktail as she finishes.

Hyeju nods in agreement, and the energy shifts suddenly. With just one conversation, the two seem to almost understand each other. This escalates fast, as the two continue talking about relationships, leading to all other topics: the environment, their homes in Korea, friends, even video games. Their conversations keep getting more and more animated, not just with the connection they were sharing, but with the increase in alcohol. The count on each was lost as the night was nearing its very late hours. Before they knew it, it was 3:00 in the morning, and they were the last ones inside.

Hyunjin stared at the pair from across the bar, wiping down the counter with a glaring eye. With the increase in alcohol, the two have gotten very…strange. Not in the usual way you would expect flirty strangers at a bar to get, but…weird. They were cackling at everything and nothing the other was saying and gripping each other’s hands as if the other was going to leave. It was quite the sight to see. Their words didn’t even make sense anymore, Hyunjin furrowing her brows at the conversation they were currently having.

“…And then I told her ‘No, I am going to find someone who wants bigger things’, which had her spilling champagne all over the carpet!” Chaewon slurs out to a cackling Hyeju. Suddenly, Hyeju looks up in Chaewon’s eyes, the laughter stopping abruptly. She gets closer, taking in the girl in front of her. The lights of the bar, still in its passionate, red glow, light up Chaewon’s face in a way that causes Hyeju to say three little words, ones that will end up sabotaging everything.

“Let’s get married.”

Chaewon freezes, her giggling and drunk demeanor halting suddenly. She looks at Hyeju, taking her in under the strong hue of the red lights. She drunkenly thinks about how great their conversation has been, how they were so in sync with everything. She then thinks about her father, and how angry she is at him. The Park family legacy rings in her ears. She shoves it to the back of her mind, letting her anger and the beautiful girl in front of her take center stage. Her next words are the real foreshadowing of sabotage.

“Yes, absolutely, why not?”

Her words come out hurried, eager, scared. Both girls are too drunk, too heavily weighed by their lives at the moment to process what they even just said. Chaewon’s anger at her father and her yearn for her own freedom of choice drive her decision. Hyeju nods back eagerly, a huge, drunken smile on her lips. She is motivated by her anger at Yerim, at the state of her life and her career. As well as the pretty girl in front of her, who makes it so easy for her to act like an idiot.

“I hear they have 24-hour churches here. Let’s go fucking get married.”

Chaewon and Hyeju stand up, quickly rip money out of their pockets to throw on the counter, grabbing each other’s hand and drunkenly staggering fast out of the now empty club.

Hyunjin stares at them in complete horror, slowly approaching the table to retrieve the cash. She then retains a neutral expression, shrugging her shoulders as she takes the money back towards the bar. It’s not like this is the first time she’s seen it happen.

Weirder things have definitely happened in Vegas.

Chapter Text

Hyeju furrowed her eyebrows in her sleep, her half-awake state making her conscious of the splitting headache she was currently experiencing. How much did she drink last night?

Slowly opening her eyes, she is met with the sun coming in through a large window on a white, marble wall adorned with golden décor. She blinks a few times, trying to remember where she was. Is this the hotel that Haseul reserved for her? She freezes, her eyes shutting again as she brings the soft, white bedsheet up to her nose. Right, her job.

She is starting to remember the events of yesterday, her stomach dropping in fear. Does she still have a job? Was Kahei okay? Yerim…

Hyeju flinches as she feels weight next to her in the bed shift, her eyes going wide. Did she take someone home with her?!

She squeezes her arms into herself, feeling all her clothes from yesterday still on her body. Did anything happen? Did she just take someone back to her room and they fell asleep? She had many questions for herself, her eyes narrowed and concentrated on the shining gold picture frames on the wall across from here. And since when did Haseul reserve her a luxury hotel room?

Something tells Hyeju that she should turn around and at least get a look at the girl who she took back with her. Hyeju freezes, cold. She HOPES it was a girl she took back with her. She can tell by the pulsating feeling in her head that she was definitely drunk enough last night to do something out of character and stupid.

Slowly, she turns herself over, only to be met with a lump of someone’s small body under the covers, their whole body hidden. Hyeju can tell that the person is definitely petite, but she needs more than that. She carefully leans over the quite large bed and pulls the blanket back slow, in fear of waking the other person up. She would just get a quick peek and then leave them be, maybe go out and get herself breakfast to get rid of this horrible feeling.

That horrible feeling only gets worse.

As she pulls back the blankets, she is met with a very familiar sleeping face. Brown hair falling in front of her soft face, lies Chaewon, the rude girl from the airport. This shock only causes Hyeju to lose her balance off the side of the bed, landing in an abrupt thud on the white tiled floor.

Immediately, Chaewon’s eyes shoot open, then quickly shut at the harsh sunlight coming in through the window. Her head is pounding just as hard as Hyeju’s. She frowns as she opens her eyes again, smoothing out her outfit from last night, and wondering how in the world she fell asleep in it. As she does so, she sees something stuck on her finger. It was a thin, gold ring.

She could not even process what that was doing there because she saw the last person she ever wanted to see in her life stand up from the other side of the bed, her brown hair a mess and her white shirt horribly wrinkled. Hyeju reaches up to run her hands through her mane with a pained expression on her face, and that’s when Chaewon notices it: a thin, gold ring on the other girl’s hand as well.

What the hell?

Hyeju and Chaewon lock eyes, both too stunned, disgusted, and hungover to speak. The silence that fills the large room is deafening, both trying to process the events that led to this scenario.

Immediately, Hyeju runs to what she quickly judges as the bathroom, throwing up all contents from last night into the toilette. As she kneels on the floor, her body shaking and her face burning with warmth, tears start to come out of her eyes. This is way too much to process right now.

In the bedroom, Chaewon is still staring at the space Hyeju was once occupying, too shocked to move, except for a small flinch every time she hears the hungover girl in the adjacent bathroom. Her mind was moving a mile a minute. How is Hyeju here? How did she get here? What do the rings mean? Did she really drink that much last night? The endless list of questions goes on and on, all feeling unanswered in the brunette’s head.

Chaewon is snapped out of her questions when she sees Hyeju emerge from the bathroom, her skin as pale as a ghost and her eyes wide with fear. She stops at the open doorway of the bathroom, afraid of getting closer.

“What’s going on?”

Hyeju croaks these words out with a hoarse voice, terrified and tired. Chaewon swallows hard, unsure of the answer herself. Her eyes scan around the room. Everything looks the same as when she left yesterday, despite the slept-in bed and Hyeju's bags and shoes occupying a corner. That is, until she sees the flat paper on her night table.

With unsure hands, Chaewon reaches over to grab the nice paper, slowly, as Hyeju watches with confusion and fear. She turns it over and nearly drops it on the bed, a gasp escaping her lips and her eyebrows shooting up in extreme confusion.

The tan paper has both the girls’ names on it, with the scripted letters “Certificate of Marriage” printed at the top in a large font.

Chaewon stares at the paper with hard eyes, unable to break her gaze off of it. What has she done? Is this real? What will her family think?

At the remembrance of her family, Chaewon immediately drops the paper on the bed, her hands flying up to stifle a fearful sob from her lips. Hyeju blinks at her, slowly approaching her side to grab it and see why her reaction was so intense to a piece of paper. She was not prepared for what she saw either.

The marriage certificate, adoring ‘Son Hyeju’ and ‘Park Chaewon’ makes Hyeju yell out an inhumane noise, causing Chaewon to peek up with watery eyes at the younger girl. Hyeju isn’t sad, worried, or scared. She looks angry. Her eyebrows furrow together, her knuckles turning white at her side.

“What did you do?” Hyeju demands of the smaller girl, her voice wavering and her hands moving up to lay on her shoulders, shaking her lightly to get her to talk. Chaewon immediately takes a step to the side, as if she was burned by Hyeju’s touch. Her weepy state flips into anger.

“What did I do? ME?” She asks with bewilderment, brushing off her shoulders with disgust. Her hands fall to fists at her sides. “Both of our names are there, we both fucked up. Just, why did it have to be YOU?” Chaewon spits out, her eyes falling to her left hand. She removes the ring there, flicking it onto the coffee table as if throwing out a piece of garbage. Hyeju, seeing this, goes and does the same, throwing her ring on the bed, rubbing at her fourth finger furiously.

Her eyes narrow at the older girl. “You’re not exactly a great catch either princess.” Hyeju turns and picks up the certificate from the bed, sticking her head farther forward to read every little detail that could possibly on its surface. “Where is this from? We need to get it annulled immediately.” Her eyes frantically scan the document for some kind of name, or witness signature. She finds one, though she can’t quite make out the name. She does, however, find out the name of a church nearby under it that will be the start to cleaning up this mess.

She taps the name on the paper, turning around to find her shoes on the white marble floor. “Found it. Let’s go and just get this fucking over with.” She says with venom in her voice. Chaewon opens her mouth to scold the younger girl’s attitude when her phone rings.

Both girls freeze as Oh My Girl’s Dolphin echoes through the large bedroom, Hyeju stifling a laugh at the choice of song. Chaewon notices and reaches out to shove her with anger. Pulling out her phone, her blood freezes in her body at her father’s contact coming up on the phone.

He couldn’t know, right? There was absolutely no way. “It’s my father.” She mumbles out, the fear easily detectable in her voice. Hyeju nods with an annoyed huff, sitting down on the bed. She starts to pinch the buttons of her white shirt hard between her fingers as the rich girl rolls her eyes, taking a deep breath in order to compose herself.

“Hi dad! How is home?” She asks cheerfully, confident in the masking of her complete fuck up from the night before. The line on the other side is completely silent, and Chaewon furrows her brows. “Hello?” She asks hesitantly, wondering if this was a butt dial.

“Park Chaewon. What have you done?”

Her father’s voice is calm, calmer than Chaewon has ever heard it in her entire life. This causes the opposite effect for her, and her blood starts to heat up in fear, her cheeks flushing. Hyeju peeks at her from the corner of her eyes, her head down at her lap in annoyance. She now feels a bit of concern for the older girl from what she can see of her from her periphery.

“Wha-“ Chaewon starts but is abruptly cut off. “I get a voice mail from my INTOXICATED daughter at what is supposed to be 4 in the morning in Vegas, saying she ‘found someone’ and ‘is going to do whatever she wants’. He mimics a drunk Chaewon as he slurs out the words angrily, the girl’s face heating up and her free hand covering her eyes.

“Dad, please-“ He doesn’t give her a chance to speak for herself, and he cuts in again. “Tell me you didn’t go off and marry a stranger. Tell me you were alone in your room, and you were prank calling your parents because you miss them.” He pleads out, fear and anger mixed into his voice. Chaewon gulps loudly, remaining silent. She wishes she could agree to that, but if she stupidly called in her drunken state, she can’t lie now.

She hears something in the background slam, and she flinches, tears starting to well in her eyes. “I cannot fucking believe this.” He says alarmingly. “What is her name? Who is her family? She clearly coaxed you into this against your will.” He says sternly, already making the gears in his head turn at how to fix this quietly and quickly. Chaewon looks at Hyeju with wide eyes. Hyeju looks over at her with a disgusted face, rolling her eyes.

“Her name is Son Hyeju.” She says, her gaze not leaving the younger girl. As Hyeju whips her head to look at her with fear and confusion, Chaewon looks at her with complete hatred. Her father will fix this for her. “She’s from Seoul.”

Her father hums in response. There is a short silence over the line, as he writes down the name to do digging on. “I’m going to go and clean up your mess. You are going to go down to whatever shithole you were at last night and you are going to get it annulled immediately.” His words come out firm and demanding. “Call me when it’s done. I’ll have that demon back here and ready to face her consequences as soon as possible. Goodbye Chaewon.”

He immediately hangs up, leaving a frozen Chaewon with her eyes wide and the phone still pressed against her cheek. The energy of the room, which was already weird, somehow gets weirder.

“Uh, are we going to go now, or are you just going to stand there?” Chaewon snaps out of her staring contest with the window, the phone in her hand falling to her side. Hyeju has her arms crossed on the bed, looking impatient and annoyed. Chaewon bites the inside of her cheek to stifle a scream.

“I’m not putting up with you for another fucking second. I’ll call an Uber.” She walks over to the door, opening it and gesturing out into the equally cheesy, decorated hallway. “Well? I don’t want you in my room. Wait outside.” She glares at the frowning girl. Hyeju’s arms cross again after she stands.

“I should’ve known this wasn’t my room. It reeks of privilege and distaste.” Hyeju’s words drip with sarcasm. And she walks towards the door, picking up her thrown shoes and bags from the night before on the way. As she slowly walks through the opening, Chaewon scoffs.

“Should be yours with how terrible it is.” She then slams the door, causing Hyeju to let out an angry breath. She takes in the dramatically dim lit hallway, despite it being the early afternoon. Rolling her eyes, she heads towards an adjacent elevator to head down to the lobby and wait for the snobby, rich girl.

On her way down, she can’t help but let the offense and anger she has towards the older girl be put on a back burner as she takes it the situation she’s in. How did she end up agreeing to this, even if she was intoxicated? Her mind swims through many different things; her job, her location, the alcohol, Yerim, Yerim’s rich fiancé. Her hands turn into fists at her side, her head lowering to the white floor of the elevator with shame.

The ding of the elevator shakes her from her thoughts, and she finds herself in a lobby that gives her a weird sense of déjà vu. She DID walk through here last night after her huge mistake to go to Chaewon’s room, after all. At the desk, she sees a blonde girl wearing a white uniform that fits in with the tacky theme of the hotel. Hyeju rolls her eyes at the never ending distaste, making her way towards an equally tacky leather couch to sit down in to wait for the older girl.

Scrolling on her phone for only a minute, she feels a light tap on her shoulder. Looking up, it’s not Chaewon, but the blonde girl from the desk. She looks like she would rather be anywhere else in the world than in this building. Hyeju really can’t blame her.

“Is there a problem…Jungeun?” She asks with an eyebrow raise, reading the girl’s nametag. She puts her hands on her hips, looking rather annoyed.

“Are you here with someone? I don’t remember checking you in.” She asks in a nosy way, making Hyeju’s mouth form a tight line. This is the last thing she needs right now.

“Uh, yeah, I’m here with…” She clears her throat, the embarrassment prevalent on her cheeks in a red blush. “...with Park Chaewon.” The girl’s name comes out in an annoyed mumble, making Jungeun’s eyebrows raise in surprise. That girl? There’s no way anyone would willingly take the time to spend time with her, from what Jungeun gathered, at least not for free.

“Huh. Okay. Well, I’m sorry to bother you. Gotta follow protocols, you know?” She says sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck in embarrassment. Hyeju stifles an eye roll at what she feels is nosy prying but manages to force a small smile to her.

The elevator several feet away dings again, a much more collected version of Chaewon walking out of the elevator than what Hyeju saw earlier. She was dressed in a yellow sweater and jeans, white shoes looking brand new on her feet. Hyeju grumbles as she feels gross in her own clothes, which are VERY old by now.

Jungeun’s face fails to hide a growing smirk at the awkwardness that fills the empty lobby. She has no idea what happened between these two girls, but she can tell it was BAD. She bites her lip to suppress a laugh, clearing her throat as the two girls turn to look at her. “Have a great day. See you later!” She says with a cheery tone, immediately turning around to go back to the fake, gold desk, her shoulders shaking as her laughter fails to be kept at bay. The unfortunate newlyweds stare at her as she walks away, a matching pair of annoyance on their faces.

“Well, she’s a real treat. Now, are you going to prolong this or are we going to go and fix this disaster?” Hyeju spits out, already making her way towards the front double doors with impatience. Chaewon pauses to register, then briskly follows the other girl to head out into the cool Vegas air. “Hey, wait a minute- “

Hyeju continues to walk slowly down the sidewalk, taking in the exterior of the hotel. It’s just as white and terrible to look at as the rest of it. Her eyes roll at the few cars that are in a nearby parking lot, seeing many cars that have to cost more than anything she’s ever looked at in her life.

“Where are you going!? The Uber is going to be the opposite way.” Chaewon puffs as her small legs speed walk over to the brooding, unkempt girl. Hyeju stops walking, turning around to then resume walking away from Chaewon in the opposite direction. She lets out an annoyed groan, catching up to stop her with a hand to the shoulder.

“Are you serious right now? If we want this problem resolved, we need to at least be on the same page.” Hyeju shrugs her shoulder at the older girl’s words, continuing to walk away. Chaewon lets out an annoyed, short yell walking to her to grip her shoulder again, harder. “Grow the fuck up. It’s the car you just walked past, idiot.”

Hyeju turns her angry gaze at the obnoxiously orange car parked on the curb, then back at Chaewon. She shrugs the girl’s grip off of her shoulder again, immediately heading for the car. Chaewon rolls her eyes, following after her. She can’t wait until she gets rid of this girl, and her father takes care of her and her bad attitude too.

“HI, HOW ARE YA!” Belts out the small girl from the driver’s seat, whipping her head around to stare at Hyeju and Chaewon. She gives a large smile, keeping it on her face despite the disgruntled looks from the two girls. “I’m Yeojin! Going to a wedding chapel huh!” She exclaims, looking back to the dashboard at the Uber app on her phone for a second. “That’s so cute, who’s getting married? You two?” She says innocently.

“NO!” Both passengers yell out quickly, making the small girl jump. She chuckles, turning her attention to the steering wheel to start the drive. “I’m kidding! I’m just nosy, don’t mind me.” Hyeju and Chaewon stare at the back of the girl’s short, black bobbed hair as she pulls out onto the road, humming to herself lightly.

Hyeju leans her head closer to Chaewon, whispering discreetly. “How old is this girl? She looks like she just got her permit.” This makes Chaewon push the younger girl’s head away from her with a scoff. “Stop that!” She snaps. Yeojin giggles from the front seat at the interaction.

“Even if it’s not you two getting married, you are so cute! You’re like an old married couple already.” She says with a flashing smile through the rearview mirror. This makes Hyeju choke on air, and Chaewon turn beet red.

“NO! No, we aren’t…well…” Hyeju stammers through a few more coughs. Yeojin lets out another laugh as they approach the tacky looking church building, clearly no ounce of religious worship ever happening in that place.

“Have fun you lovebirds!” She winks at them as they climb out of the car, and then pulls off towards her next destination. The girls stare after the leaving orange car with annoyance, refusing to talk about what happened on the drive. They turn and face the small building, right in between a casino and a pawn shop. They both cringe internally, blushing embarrassedly at how they were both so wasted last night to even stop and think about what they were doing based on the cheap look of the setting alone.

Walking in, they are greeted with cheesy, pink décor on white walls. A muscly looking man behind the counter looks VERY out of place against the cutesy room. That is, until he offers a sweet smile to the girls. “Welcome to the Cupid’s-“ He suddenly stops, the smile turning serious at the sight of the girls. He only just saw them yesterday.

“Uh, are you here to annul your certificate?” He asks awkwardly. This certainly isn’t the first time this has happened, but it is just as awkward as the first time for him each time an angry couple comes back the next day. “I didn’t send out the paperwork yet so no worries, you both just seemed…quite intoxicated last night.” He said with a nervous laugh.

Hyeju and Chaewon both turn red in the face knowing that this man saw them act like fools and make a stupid decision. Hyeju clears her throat awkwardly. “Yeah, here.” She hands over the certificate to the man, adoring the nametag ‘Woozi’. He looks it over with a nod, then holds out his hand. “And we need the rings back and you’re good to go.”

The girls frown, Chaewon letting out a large groan. They took them off and left them at the hotel, how would they know that they needed them back? “Aren’t they cheap? Why do you possibly need them back?” Chaewon demands of Woozi, shifting his feet uncomfortably behind the large, white counter.

“It’s in the policy. You both…signed it last night.” He whispers, swallowing a lump in his throat. Chaewon throws her hands in the air, starting to pace the pink throw rug under her feet. He smiles, his forehead starting to glisten with sweat. “I have to send this paperwork in by the end of the day so its OFFICAL official. If you go and get the rings soon, it’ll all disappear. I promise.” He says reassuringly.

Hanging her head in defeat with a sigh, Hyeju nods at Woozi. She glares in the direction of Chaewon, who stops her pacing to shoot a threatening glare back. In their heads, they are blaming the other for this bump in the process.

They both look away at the same time back at Woozi. “Thank you. We’ll be back before you know it.” Chaewon says with snark in her tone, clearly directed towards Hyeju. As the other girl rolls their eyes, they walk out of the overwhelmingly pink and white building and back into the Las Vegas afternoon.

Hyeju sighs dramatically, walking towards the curb to pull out her phone and schedule them another Uber. “This is so annoying. What kind of shit is that, give back the rings? They’re probably made of plastic for all we know. This is your fault.” She yells down at her phone. Chaewon bites her tongue.

“MY fault?! How fucking dare-“ Chaewon is cut short by another play of Dolphin coming out of her phone. She rolls her eyes in annoyance at the interruption of her scolding. She looks down at the caller ID and freezes, just as she did earlier. It was her father again.

Hyeju rolls her eyes at Chaewon’s panicked face. “Oh come on, daddy’s calling again? Are you going to tell him more things about me so my life gets ruined?” She asks with annoyance. Chaewon sends a devastatingly disgusted look at the younger girl, then an immediate panicked one back at the screen of her phone.

She picks it up, letting out a hesitant “Hello?” Before awaiting her father’s reply. “Hey sweetie, did you go and get it taken care of yet?” He asks with hesitation. Chaewon sighs, a “not yet” mumbled past her lips.
Suddenly, she drops the phone, shocked. Hyeju looks at her with a confused expression, her eyebrows furrowed together. Chaewon picks the phone back up from the concrete quickly. “What?!” She screeches into the phone.

He father sighs. “I said, don’t go. Whatever you do, absolutely do NOT break off that marriage.”

Chapter Text

“Are you going to tell me what the fuck he said, or am I going to be left in the dark?”

Hyeju paces the flooring of the room that she woke up in this morning, her wet hair feeling cool against the angered heat in her red face. Finally, and thankfully, she was able to get a moment to get clean and change her clothes, her black t-shirt and jeans feeling much more comfortable than her business attire.

Chaewon sits on the bed, her hands folded tightly in her lap and legs dangling in the air. She looks like a statue, the way she is frozen in place. Her face, however, has been red since she got off the phone with her father. The Uber back to the hotel, thankfully not piloted by a small, nosy driver, was painful, silent, and awkward, even for the poor guy who drove them. Hyeju made sure to leave him a little bit of a nicer tip for that.

When Chaewon sat on the bed and refused to speak, Hyeju gave up trying, instead proclaiming she was going to use her shower because she hasn’t gotten a single moment to relax since she was in South Korea. Despite the luxurious shower, Hyeju couldn’t properly enjoy it, as her mind was filled with the events of last night up until that point. How could so much of happened in less than 24 hours?

Hyeju’s hair is almost dry now as she continues to pace around, the only sound being the light thumping of her feet on the marble floor. Chaewon still looks unable to speak, tears threatening to spill over out of her brown eyes onto her red face. Hyeju can’t stand it anymore, and approaches the smaller girl on the large bed, shaking her shoulders slightly.

Her tone comes out impatient, but softer than last time. “Come on, we need to go back and get this taken care of, before the end of the day.” She pleads with the shocked girl in front of her. At the mention of the original plan to get the rings and go, she suddenly focuses her gaze on Hyeju, shaking her head and pushing her touch off. Hyeju looks at her with a mix of anger and concern.

“No, we- we can’t…” Her voice sounds small and defeated as she swallows a lump in her throat. Hyeju shakes her head to keep from blowing up.

“I don’t know what your rich daddy told you, but I am NOT staying in this mess.” She declares with a firm tone, staring at the two thin rings that both now sit next to each other on the end table. She grimaces at them in shame.

Chaewon takes a large, deep breath. She is one hair away from losing her cool. “Stop throwing my fucking money in my face. I’m sick of it, and I’m sick of YOU!” Her last word booms through the large room, making Hyeju flinch. Her face retains an indifferent expression.

The older girl sighs, burying her face in her hands. “Listen, my father did some digging on you and found out where you work.” She says, as if that answers any questions for the lost girl. She cocks an eyebrow at the reveal, still quite confused. Chaewon rolls her eyes, shaking her head. “Apparently, your company has been under his radar. He’s been wanting to work with you for a while.” Her voice is filled with a mocked enthusiasm.

Hyeju feels complete confusion, more so than before. Her father actually gives a shit about White Dove? Who is he to make a call like that anyway? The standing girl slumps over dramatically, leaning down to Chaewon’s sitting level with her mouth open. “Who is your father again?” Se asks with genuine confusion.

Hands go up to push Hyeju back, her butt hitting the floor with a thud. Chaewon stands up and stands over her as Hyeju looks up with an offended glare. “What the hell was that for?” She asks, rubbing her lower back from the ground.

“Only someone living under a rock hasn’t heard of Park Enterprises. We are a big part of why a company like the one you work for has any kind of international business.” She says with fists at her sides, only to let her hands relax. She shouldn’t be bragging about it right now, since clearly it landed her in an inhumane situation like this one. Hyeju doesn’t see Chaewon’s recoil and regret at her words. She stands up quickly, towering over the girl with red cheeks.

“Stop throwing your money in MY face.” She takes a step back when she realizes how close she got to the girl, her arms crossing. “Okay, so maybe I’ve heard of Park Enterprises, I’ve seen your dad on the front of Forbes. What does that have to do with White Dove?” She looks at the ground, her eyes lowering in shame. “I don’t even think I have a job there anymore; I can’t do anything for him.” She says in annoyance. Leave it to rich capitalist scum to try and control the lives of innocent people.

Chaewon furrows her brows. “You don’t? Are you sure?” She asks with confusion, and as far as Hyeju can tell, a sense of optimism. She shrugs, turning around to take a few steps to her bag on a chair adjacent to the bed. She takes out her phone, only to feel her blood turn to ice.

Haseul’s contact name pops up on the screen with a ‘Call me as soon as you get this.’, And three missed calls. She reaches up to smack her forehead. “Shit, my boss just called me. Give me a second.” She gestures to the door, only to make Chaewon give her a bewildered look.

“Excuse you, this is my place. You fucking leave.” She says with anger, pointing her small finger at the door. Hyeju rolls her eyes, mumbling “I need to get the hell out of this nightmare.” Before making her way into the tacky hallway to make a very important call.

Immediately as she closes the door, she is pressing Haseul’s contact name and bringing the phone to her ear, taking small and scared steps down the hallway and towards a large window that overlooks the late afternoon traffic of Vegas from dozens of stories up. She concentrates on the slow-moving cars below as the dial tone rings in her ear.

After two rings, Haseul gives a firm, but tired “Hello Ms. Son.” Through the phone. Her stomach drops and she swallows a lump in her throat. She forgot about the time zone difference. “Hello.” She decides to keep it simple, knowing the next words can’t be good.

Haseul lets out a long deep breath, the line going quiet. Hyeju’s eyes stay open wide, waiting to be fired, yelled at, something. She knows she fucked up at the convention, and there’s no recovering from it.

Haseul chuckles.

“I didn’t know you were married.” She says with an awkward tone, catching Hyeju off guard. She remembers what Chaewon said about her father’s findings. She bites her tongue before she can deny it.

“Yeah! Haha…” Hyeju says, playing it off. She didn’t know where this was going, but it sounded a lot like she was going to keep her job.

Haseul hums, unsure of how else to continue that conversation. “Well, I got a surprising phone call a little bit ago from the CEO of Park Enterprises, your…father-in-law.” Haseul says, amusedly. Hyeju feels lightheaded at the direct statement Haseul gives her. That man she saw on the cover of Forbes a few times is now, or at least by the end of the day when Woozi sends in that paperwork, her father-in-law. It feels very weird and very unwanted.

“Oh?” Is all the tech officer can say into the phone. She can already see where this was going, and she didn’t like it. No wonder Chaewon was a spoiled brat, she thinks, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Haseul gives a hum through the phone. “Mr. Park has been wanting to work with us for awhile for a new campaign he is setting up in the States. I never had the interest, but he says that the two of you talked about a way to not only make it work but get more international status for White Dove.” She says, confused but hopeful. Hyeju’s mouth drops as the words come out into her ear.

She’s never had a single conversation with Mr. Park before in her life. She grits her teeth in frustration. What a LIAR. She was about to protest and let his slimy plan sabotage, but Haseul was speaking again, in a sterner tone. “I know what happened at the convention. That would have been really bad for us, so it’s only right that we take on this project.” Hyeju perks up, her eyes wide and her blood turning cold again.

“I would have fired you for that embarrassing display, honestly. Fortunately, Mr. Park took it upon himself to pitch his idea to us.” She says in an articulate manner, making Hyeju blush furiously in embarrassment. She doesn’t want her boss to think she’s in the same nepotistic class as his daughter.

“Yeah, yeah we talked about an idea. I…” She struggles to find her words. “I know I messed up at the convention, and I can’t excuse that. But I’m willing to jump into this project. We…came up with the idea in an attempt to fix my mistake.” She says, steadying the panic that was evident in her voice. She wasn’t the best liar; she was NOT in the same leagues as Mr. Park and his pretentious associates.

Haseul stays silent for a moment, then lets out a hum. More silence passes, and Hyeju can feel herself starting to sweat. She hated going along with this lie, she cannot stand the Parks right now, but she really needs this job. It’s the last stable thing in her life right now, apparently.

“I appreciate you stepping up to do something good for the company after…yesterday.” She says with a displeased tone. Hyeju lets out a shaky laugh. “I already happily approved the project; I think it’ll help us a lot. With that,” She says, pausing to shuffle some papers in the background, “It looks like you’ll be there in Las Vegas for longer than expected. I can have some of your stuff sent to you?” She says with hesitation, fear of the dramatic reaction she is used to from Hyeju coming out.

Hyeju doesn’t have the energy in her to whine with dramatic affect about the sudden change in her job, sighing in defeat at Haseul’s command. “I would appreciate that a lot, actually. Thank you.” She manages to say with a hint of sweetness, desperate to keep this job from falling into the water again. This unusual response makes Haseul let out a strange squeak.

“Okay, awesome, great.” She says, surprised. “I’ll send you the address of where you’ll be going tomorrow. I’ll have some others there to get everything started. Thank you Hyeju.” She says, her voice now filled with optimism. Hyeju sighs, saying her goodbye and hanging up the phone. She puts her head in her hands.

What is Chaewon’s father doing? Does he really care about his company that much, that he’s willing to pawn off his daughter like this? She removes her hands from her face, staring out of the window at the slow traffic, the golden hour sky starting to gain hints of pink in it. She lets out a shaky breath, happy at least she has her job.

She remembers the gremlin of a human being in the room down the hall, and she frowns to herself. Is it really worth it if it means putting up with Chaewon? Her mind starts to think about the girl, as she leans against the window, letting the strong orange light warm up her face.

Chaewon is stubborn, annoying, pretentious, stuck up, and just plain mean. Hyeju frowns as she thinks over the rich girl, their interactions being so short but so hateful. What happened last night that landed her here? How did she end up with HER? She couldn’t even stand her when they were in the airport together.

As the orange sunlight starts to sting her eyes, she blinks and remembers something that feels familiar, but not directly. All she can think about is red, the color of it in a neon glow, and Chaewon’s face radiating off of it. The nightclub. She narrows her eyes, groaning as her hands come up to her face. In a weirdly lit area, yeah, the girl was pretty. Hyeju will at least give her that. The alcohol that was in her system must’ve fed off of that the whole night, she shudders, strongly, as it led her to end up in this mess.

Just when her mind was starting to wander into what she was going to do in order to simultaneously get her way at work and break off this cursed marriage, her phone starts to buzz in her hand, and she looks down to furrow her eyebrows.

A number she has never seen before is on her screen, but she recognizes the Seoul area code. She hesitates, before deciding it might be job related. “Hello, this is Son Hyeju.” She says professionally, letting her thoughts on the small brunette down the hall and the mess she is in with her float to the back of her mind. She just wants to keep taking off in her career and throw herself into it so that she can forget about the rest of her life right now.

“Ms. Son. Hello.” Starts a deep, male voice over the line. She narrows her eyes, wondering who it could be. “This is Park Minjun. I was wondering if you had a moment to talk.” He said professionally. Hyeju freezes. He sounds scary, but also very charismatic at the same time. No wonder this guy always got his way.

She lets her anger at her situation come back. “I’m very thankful that my job is saved Mr. Park, but you can’t keep me with your daughter. I’ll happily work with you without the marriage-“ She is cut off by a cool laughter coming from the other side of the phone.

“Ms. Son, I know this is a tough situation, but I am sure my daughter has been nothing but an angel through this. You both landed in this marital position, after all.” He says with a fake sweetness to his voice, causing Hyeju to cringe. How false that really was.

“You’re going to be working with a lot of close associates of mine. You know, I’ve been wanting to work with White Dove on something for a long time. I know how great their tech services are.” He says, in an attempt to flatter his new daughter-in-law. She slowly closes her eyes, frowning.

His tone turns shady, almost condescending. “I have a proposition for you about this whole ordeal if you’ll hear it. I’ll make it worth your while.”

While Hyeju was off saving her job, Chaewon was curled on the unkempt bed, burying her face in her pillow. She peeks her head out enough to take in the orange glow coming in from the window, feeling the tear trails stuck on her face. She takes in the whole conversation she and her dad had.

“Chaewon, do you realize who you managed to meet up with?!” He said excitedly through the line. “She is THE tech officer for White Dove’s Seoul branch.” Chaewon frowned over the phone, the fear in her stomach growing and growing as his elaborate plan spilled out of his mouth.

“This is huge. Your marriage together will turn heads and get companies talking. They’ll be dying to get in on a project between Park Enterprises and White Dove.” He says, sounding like an evil villain revealing his plan. Chaewon stares at the concrete hard, a confused Hyeju sitting down near her with a confused frown.

She should’ve seen this coming as soon as she saw his name across her phone. He always does shit like this, it’s the reason she is here and ended up in this situation anyway. This was the last straw for her. She has never felt so restricted and helpless in her life. She refuses to speak into the phone, hoping he’d pick up on it.

If he did, he didn’t show it. He continued rambling about the new levels of reputation they’ll exceed to, and the amount of money they’ll be making. That’s all everything is to her father, and she never felt so ignored before. She was so zoned out, she didn’t realize his rambling ended, and he was talking in a stern tone.

“You are not to annul that certificate. This is going to be good, Chae.” He chuckles lightly, his voice laced with charisma. “And you got to marry someone you chose! I think it’s a win for us all.” He didn’t give his daughter a moment to reply, before he changes his tone and says his goodbye, hanging up on her without letting her get any words of protest in.

And now, she finds herself here, crying out her terrible feeling on the bed while her unfortunate spouse is down the hall and fixing her life. Chaewon wishes she could get the chance to do that herself, but all she feels is the suffocating weight of being stuck in such a prestigious family, one in the eyes of the media and the world of money. She wishes she could sink into the bed and disappear.

Her infamous Oh My Girl ringtone fills the room, and she lets out a loud yell into her pillow. At this point, her favorite song is going to soon be hated if it is just going to keep bringing her bad news. She manages to roll over and pick her phone up from the side of the bed Hyeju was in this morning and lets out a huge breath of relief at the happy photo on the screen.

“JINSOUL! I’m so glad to hear from you.” She says with sincerity, the tears threatening to come back. Jinsoul always knows how to cheer her up when things in life feel uncontrollable and like shit. Her raven-haired friend’s voice can be heard in a laugh from the other line.

“CHAE! How are you doing? You must miss me a lot.” She says with a playful chuckle, causing the brunette to feel a small smile on her face for the first time all day. She lets out a shaky breath.

“I’ve been better to be honest.” She grumbles into the phone, the smile disappearing as she remembers the sudden flip of her life the past day. Jinsoul pauses over the line, letting out a small breath.

“Do you want to talk about it?” She says with concern and sincerity, her best friend instincts kicking in. Chaewon can feel tears stinging hot in her eyes, and shakes her head, as if she could be seen.

“No, not right now. Maybe when I get back. I hope that won’t be too long from now.” She says with sadness laced in her words. This causes Jinsoul to let out a small chuckle, surprising the small girl. “You know I’m coming tomorrow, right?”

Chaewon freezes, her entire body going numb. Any other circumstance, she would be screaming into the phone with excitement. Now, with this Hyeju situation, she feels embarrassed. All she wants to do is find a way to get this to be broken off so that she doesn’t have to tell Jinsoul all about the shit show that happened after they last spoke. She suddenly realizes she’s been quiet for too long and lets out a forced squeal of delight.

“That’s right, how could I forget! I’m so excited to see you soon Soulie!” She says excitedly, knowing Jinsoul can detect any mood she is over the phone.

Thankfully, she doesn’t bring it up. “You better be! I’ll call when I get to the airport and you can come pick me up, so I get to the right place, okay?” She says sweetly. Chaewon internally groans. If Jinsoul didn’t call her out on her weird behavior, it means she will pester her about it in person. Can she really hold this big news from her?

“Sounds good, unnie! I’ll see you soon!” She says cheerfully, as the girls exchange their goodbyes. As soon as the line hangs up, Chaewon feels her body shake, as if she is going to pass out. She has no idea how she is going to hide this from her best friend. She can’t let her find out, no matter what. It’ll be done and over with soon, she’ll find a way to convince her father. Then, it’ll be as if it never happened, and there will be no reason for anyone to know a thing.

She walks over to the window and stares out, lost in the mesmerizing orange and pink that sits in the warm sky, the light falling on her face. Her mind drifts to the girl on the phone outside of the room, and she furrows her brows. There’s no way she willingly chose to interact with this girl freely, she should have recognized her from the beginning of this mess.

She closes her eyes, the brightness from the orange sun going past her eyelids and making her remember the setting yesterday. The red neon of the club, the yearning stare of Hyeju under it. Part of her cringes at the thought of the annoying girl looking at her like that, but another, VERY SMALL part of her admits that she looked kind of good there. Must’ve been the devil’s lighting and the fact that she is a lightweight that made this happen.

As the confusing thoughts of the girl fill her head, her phone buzzes with a text message. She looks down and notices it’s from Jinsoul, and she frowns. She just talked to her, why would she be texting? It must be a meme or a funny video.

Her stomach drops when she reads the text. ‘I forgot to tell you, but I think your father knows how homesick you are. He asked Heejin to come along with me. We haven’t had a ladies’ trip in so longggg!’

Chaewon lets out a curse as she reads over the message. Don’t get her wrong, she adores Heejin, but that’s just one more person to hide the truth from. It would be hard enough to hide it from Jinsoul, but Heejin and Jinsoul seems impossible. She runs her hand through her tousled hair, closing her eyes and throwing herself back on the bed face down in defeat.

After a few minutes, she hears the door open. Hyeju emerges, showing a tight-lipped smile. Chaewon narrows her eyes at the girl. Something has to be up; her expression is very hard to read.

Hyeju walks over to her things, taking them out of the bag and looking around the room for somewhere to put them. Chaewon watches in horror as she realizes it looks like Hyeju is making herself at home in her suite.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Chaewon spits out, grabbing Hyeju’s wrist, making some of her clothes fall to the floor. She lets out a huff, snatching her wrist back from the older girl’s small grip. She picks up her clothes and looks around, heading towards the living room area to find another wardrobe to put her things in.

Chaewon follows, looking at her with bewilderment. “I got to talk to the father-in-law.” She says coolly, making Chaewon cringe. “He had some…demands.” She says carefully, turning to look at the smaller girl in the bedroom doorway. “He wants us to stay together and be close, he had some good reasons for it too.” She says, visibly swallowing in a nervous manner.

After all the shit that has happened since she opened her eyes in the morning, she just sighs in defeat. She would be kicking and screaming about this, but after everything, she just feels drained. She blinks slowly, then points to the living room couch.

“Whatever. I don’t even care anymore. You’re sleeping there, though.” She says with demand. Hyeju rolls her eyes, already pulling a throw blanket from the lounge chair and putting it on the couch.

“I don’t think he expects us to be in the same BED, princess.” She says with a huff, sitting down on the couch with her back to Chaewon. She turns all her attention to her phone, starting to scroll mindlessly on social media.

“Just make sure you turn out all the lights later. I hate lights on when I’m trying to sleep.” She grumbles as she walks back into the bedroom, slamming the door shut. Both girls simultaneously let out frustrated breaths, putting their head in their hands.

Later that night, as Chaewon was ready to go to bed, she couldn’t help but feel how empty the bed felt. She was used to sleeping alone in a big bed at home, but after having someone next to her last night, it feels strange. She shakes her head, ridding her thoughts of the unfortunate new roommate that’s just outside the bedroom door.

She is suddenly aware of Hyeju’s scent lingering on the pillow next to hers, and she nervously shoves it off the bed. She rolls over, facing away from the girl’s empty spot, forcing herself to get some sleep.

Chapter Text

The car door slams and Hyeju flinches, smoothing out her red button down and her black pants sheepishly, the Uber giving her a dirty look as he drives away. She sighs angrily, looking up at the large skyscraper in front of her.

Today was the first day of her project with Park enterprises, and all Hyeju can feel is nervous and scared on top of her morning anger. She knows that the net Mr. Park has her tangled in right now is a small one, and she will have a lot of expectations to live up to. He has her working with some really big people in the tech world, and the thought of that alone makes her stagger her balance. She composes herself, focusing on her breathing as she takes confident steps towards the front door.

Why was the brunette so angry? Well, that had everything to do with the snobbish girl she found herself stuck in an unfortunate marriage with.

Since they woke up in the morning, both girls have been fighting. For some reason, Chaewon likes to wake up very early, and had no regard for the sleeping girl in the living room area as she was banging kitchen cabinets and using her hairdryer all morning. Hyeju didn’t like their situation so much either, but she would’ve been more conscious of another person trying to sleep in the suite. Not even opening her eyes yet, and she was already pushed over the edge for the day.

If there were any people residing in the same hallway as them, then they were probably rudely awoken by the shouting that was very loud for the morning. Hyeju is not a morning person whatsoever, and Chaewon suffered the consequences of that sudden realization. They both did, as the pair were on the same level of angry at the other.

Hyeju tries to shake away the memories of the morning, angry, and deep, DEEP down, guilty. All she can think about is the look on Chaewon’s face when she finally gave up fighting back.

The small girl, red in the face and shaking with closed fists at her sides, sagged her shoulders, looking away from Hyeju at the floor. Her voice cracked. “If I wanted to hear shouting, I would have stayed home with my fucking parents.” Hyeju can tell she was trying not to cry.

As she approaches the front desk of the lobby, she can’t help but put her hands up to her face at the memory. She wasn’t sure if she was angrier at the rude awakening, like she was shouting at Chaewon for, or for the shouting itself. Maybe she took it a little too far.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sharply dressed man at the desk, his smile lighting up his face. Hyeju, however, could tell it was fake. She could see it in his eyes from behind the large, mahogany desk that he was sizing her up, judging her. “Hello, and welcome to Park Enterprises Las Vegas branch. How can I-“ He stops abruptly, clearing his throat. Hyeju feels her cheeks starting to turn red at his narrowing gaze. Everyone in this line of business knows who Hyeju is now, after the mess at the convention.

“Our executives are busy right now. You’ll have to call and make an appointment for the future.” He says with a frown. He turns his gaze away from the girl with an inaudible scoff, busying himself with something on the desk in front of him. Hyeju takes a deep breath, running a hand through her hair with a frown. She’s going to have to get used to this kind of treatment for a while.

“I don’t need an appointment. I’m here to work with your tech advisor.” She says with an annoyed tone. He cocks an eyebrow at her in an unconvinced manner. He hums in response, immediately picking up the phone in front of him, glancing back up at Hyeju with a blank stare.

“Hi Chan, were you expecting any partners today?” He asks in a dramatic tone, making Hyeju groan internally. Silence fills the lobby as he receives his answer over the phone, nodding and humming in response a few times. He then seems to turn pale, clearing his throat. He looks back up at Hyeju with wide eyes. She retains a blank stare back.

He changes tone, sounding cheerful. “Right, I see. Okay, I just wanted to check is all, it’s no issue. Bye now.” He hangs up the phone and Hyeju can see how tense and awkward he suddenly is. She cocks an eyebrow at him as he give her a nervous laugh.

“I’m sorry Ms. Son, I didn’t know you were working for Mr. Park now.” A hand goes to the back of his neck in embarrassment. “I just had to confirm your arrival, you know, got to follow protocol.” He says with a fake smile.

The whole display of the last few minutes leaves a bitter taste in Hyeju’s mouth. First, she was treated as lesser for her infamous act the other day, but now she was being treated with immediate favor over her association with Mr. Park. She suddenly felt ashamed and embarrassed for the whole ordeal, more so over for her new partnership with the Parks than the belittlement over the embarrassment she caused her company the other day.

“Yeah, I understand. Thank you…Mingyu.” She says, looking down at his black blazer to read the nametag there. He audibly gulps, giving off a nervous smile. Hyeju wasn’t sure what was said over the phone, but just the mention of the owner and CEO of the whole company had him in fear.

She chuckled to herself audibly and makes her way over to the elevator, his fearful eyes watching her the whole way. When the door closes, she can’t help but groan at the whole ordeal, her face heating up at the thought of being in the same class as the Parks and their associates now. It makes her feel slimy, like she suddenly needs to take a boiling hot shower.

The door opens and she is met with a drab colored hallway, a few people in professional outfits walking up and down it, some with papers in their hands, some carrying tech equipment. She lets out a breath and heads into the hallway, scanning the identical plaques outside the office doors.

She finds the one that reads ‘Lee Chan: Tech Supervisor” on the outside at the end of the hall. Hyeju takes a deep breath, preparing herself mentally for the even harder work she knows she will be enduring than when she is at White Dove. She can’t get away with complaining as much as she does back home, so she tells herself to be on her best behavior. She knocks twice on the door, opening it after.

Hyeju’s blood runs cold upon seeing who is sitting at the large desk in the middle of the room.

He gives her a smile, telling her to come in and close the door. Hyeju has to shake her head to snap out of her frozen state, shakily closing the door as she goes over to one of the chairs in front of Chan’s desk. She grips her hands tightly in her lap, forcing a smile at the familiar man.

The same man who laughed at her up on stage, the same man who was whispering in Yerim’s ear, the same man who made Hyeju lose her shit at the convention. Here, sitting in front of her and ready to work on a project together, was her ex-girlfriend's fiancé.

“Hello Ms. Son, it’s so exciting that we will be working together!” He says with enthusiasm, making Hyeju’s frozen state turn to anger. She was lowering her gaze, until she caught herself. She can’t do that here; she has to tread lightly while doing this work.

She instead, flashes a huge, fake smile. “Hello Mr. Lee. I’m looking forward to this project!” Her voice drips with fakeness, which doesn’t register with the brown-haired man in front of her. He hums in response, showing a smile. Hyeju wishes she could punch it right off of his face for the way he embarrassed her.

“We have partnered with some other companies on this, since it’s going to be our biggest application launch in years. I’m surprised at how sudden this was sprung upon me, but-“ He pauses, his smile growing sheepish. “Now that you’re in the Park family, your tech background worked well enough to get the boss on board with a big project.” He says with a light chuckle.

Hyeju widens her eyes for half a second, then fearfully returns to her sweet demeanor. Mr. Park was telling people about the marriage now? Hyeju bites the inside of her cheek. He’s probably making up grand stories about her and Chaewon, elevating her to a higher state than what she actually is. Keeping up with that reputation is going to be hard; it feels like someone stuck a large weight on her shoulders.

“Yeah, we talked about this project together and wanted it started right away.” She says, feeling her heartbeat slamming in her chest at the lie. This is going to be harder than she thought.

He nods, turning his attention to some papers on his desk. “Let’s see. Apple agreed to sign on with us, as well as Microsoft. We got a few other smaller companies sending representatives. Oh, and some new and upcoming ones as well.” He says, smiling at the paper fondly.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door, and Hyeju can hear it open behind her. Chan smiles wide at the person who came in, making Hyeju cock her eyebrow slightly at him. He turns back to Hyeju, clasping his hands together in excitement.

“Speaking of new and upcoming companies, we are so happy to have one working closely with us as we get the logistics of it up and running.” He gestures to the person to walk closer, his smile threatening to overtake his whole face. The person takes their seat next to Hyeju, and she finally turns around to look at who the new person is.

Hyeju feels her stomach plummet into the floor. Sitting across from her with a shy smile, is her ex-girlfriend.

Yerim gives her a small, awkward wave, making Hyeju’s head spin in confusion. She manages to robotically wave back, her face twitching into a smile. As Chan continues to go into detail about the project, Hyeju can’t help but tune him out, the ringing in her ears engulfing her thoughts.

She feels like she must’ve pissed off someone a lot in her past life to end up in this position. The combination of working with her ex-girlfriend and her fiancé, the embarrassment she caused for herself and her job, and the unfortunate events of the Park family in her life makes Hyeju short circuit. Yerim shakes her out of her thoughts.

“Hyeju, are you okay?” She asks, looking at the pale girl with concern. She shakily nods, letting out a nervous laugh. She doesn't want her actions to ruin her career, again.

“Yeah, just had a rough morning. I’m sorry, continue please, Chan.” She says, peeling her eyes away from the concerned couple and back at the floor. The pair stay silent for a few seconds, unsure of Hyeju’s state.

Chan clears his throat and continues with his brainstorming, Yerim turning back to her notebook, scribbling away. Hyeju manages to pay somewhat attention, nodding every once in awhile at Chan’s explanations. Her hands still feel numb, and her throat dry. He tells them that they have a few weeks to a month to kick off the project before they have the chance to continue their work back in their own companies.

Hyeju lets out a breath. Just when she thought maybe work would be less painful than her life outside of it right now, she was harshly mistaken. This is going to be a nightmare.

Chaewon finishes putting the last traces of Hyeju inside of the wardrobe in the living room, pushing on the doors to make sure it is sealed shut. She turns around quickly, scanning her eyes nervously across the suite, looking for any more traces of the unfortunate roommate. Upon seeing the place in the same state it was when she first arrived here, she lets out a shaky breath in relief.

Jinsoul and Heejin would be here soon, and Chaewon was growing more and more nervous about it. She hates this situation; she should be excited about seeing her two friends again, having a good time away from home and across the world to do just about whatever she wants with them. But because of her stupid actions, which she internally mostly blames Hyeju for, she has to hide this big secret from them.

She feels absolutely guilty about it too, but she can’t handle the embarrassment and the shame. Whenever her father interferes in her life and her friends start getting angry about it, it just makes her feel bad. She knows they care about her and want the best for her but seeing them angry at her family only makes her feel worse about the little control she actually has over everything.

She sighs, pushing the thoughts away as she looks at her phone to check the time. It’s only late morning, but she knows their flight will land pretty soon. She said she would meet them at the airport so the navigation to the hotel was easier for them. Plus, she just misses them so much, and wants to see them as soon as possible.

She makes her way down, the elevator opening to an unsurprisingly empty lobby, except for the ever so pleasant Jungeun. She looks up from her bored stare at her phone, and to Chaewon’s surprise, gives a beaming smile. She waves at her to come over to the desk.

“Park Chaewon! How’s the cushy life treating you!” She says cheerfully, making the smaller girl frown. She suppresses an eye roll at the ridiculous question.

“I’m just great.” She says, sarcasm and tiredness prevalent in her voice. This only makes Jungeun smile more, humming in confirmation.

“Great! You know what would make it better?” She gestures to the over-the-top, glass drinking pitcher next to the desk. “We just got this water setup for guests. It has really sweet, fruit-infused water that comes out of it! You should give it a try.” She says with a pushy tone in her sweet voice.

Chaewon frowns, cocking an eyebrow at the blonde girl. From the very few interactions she has had with her, she knows that this random extend of kindness can’t be anything good. She looks at the pitcher with a frown. It looks refreshing and flavorful, but she won’t chance it. “No thanks.” She says, turning around to walk towards the exit. “Maybe later. Not…thirsty.” She says with annoyance, heading out into the chilled Vegas air.

She locates her Uber and gets in with a curt “Hello.” The ride is spent in silence, and she’s thankful for it. Her mind keeps racing, and her heart keeps staggering her chest at how scared she is of the outcome of this trip. She doesn’t know what she’s going to do when Hyeju comes back from work, but she will have to think of something, and fast.

Her phone suddenly buzzed. Absent mindedly, she went to retrieve it from her pocket. It was a link from her father, and her brows go into a furrow. What could he possibly be sending her?

Opening the text, her entire body feels like it was dipped in sub-zero water. A news article was attached to the text. ‘I wanted to give you the heads up that this is public information now. It’s going to go smoothly, I promise sweetheart. Think of the good this will bring our family! You did choose this, after all.’

Her fear is interrupted by the Uber driver clearing his throat, motioning to the airport entrance they found themselves outside of. She wavers out a “thank you” before frantically climbing out onto the pavement, the driver pulling away behind her.

She turns her attention back to her phone to look at the article headline:

An Heiress Hitched: Park Enterprises’ Golden Child Marries White Dove’s Chief Tech Officer in Surprise Wedding.

Chaewon can feel her body start to shake, suddenly aware of how vulnerable she is in public. She makes a beeline for the entrance, locating the nearest bathroom and locking herself in a stall. She puts her head in her hands, pushing the tears at the corners of her eyes into her head.

How is she going to hide this from her friends now? It’s public information, and there’s no way she can hide this from them. When they meet up, they’re going to have it written all over their faces. Chaewon sniffles, wiping her face to compose herself.

She exits the bathroom stall, making her way back into the large airport. She double checks her texts from Jinsoul about the flight gate, nervously swiping the message from her father to be deleted. She doesn’t want to see it ever again.

She makes her way through the crowded airport, her head down in shame and fear. She hopes no one will notice her and try to ask her about it. She knows her father wouldn’t tell the press how the wedding happened, putting his own twist on it, but she can’t help but feel ashamed of the whole ordeal.

She makes it to the gate, stopping at the entrance with a halt. She takes a deep breath, trying to still her shaking, nervous hands. She starts to hold them together, practicing smiles to herself so her friends can’t see how scared she is. She isn’t sure what kind of reaction she will receive once they came through that gate.

It’s been a few minutes, and the passengers from Seoul filter out through the gate, making Chaewon’s stomach flip. She notices Heejin and Jinsoul come out with their luggage wheeling behind them, talking amongst themselves with smiles. This makes Chaewon bite her lip.

Heejin points out Chaewon amongst the others waiting, and they both look over, huge smiles plastered on their faces. Chaewon feels like her blood is on fire. Why are they smiling at her?

They come sprinting forward, crashing the girl in a hug in laughter.

“Chaewon unnie! We missed you so much!” Heejin said with her face squished into the side of the smaller girl’s cheek. Chaewon feels a wave of fear wash over her, but she manages to giggle back at her best friends’ embraces around her.

Do they not know? The article was only posted a little while ago, so it’s possible. “Hi strangers!” Chaewon says with laughter. She swallows as they let go of her, smiling at her warmly.

She rubs her arm, looking at the ground nervously. “Did you two hear anything lately?” She asked with a small voice, causing both girls to look at each other in confusion. They look back at her with lost looks.

“No? Were we supposed to of heard something?” Jinsoul asks, cocking her head to the side.

Chaewon lets out a shaky breath. So, they didn’t know. Maybe, just maybe she could work with that.

Jinsoul takes her phone out of her pocket, pulling up Google. “Did your dad end up in the news again? What company did he buy out this time?” She asks, before having her phone ripped out of her hand rapidly by a wide eyed Chaewon. Jinsoul and Heejin look at her with wide eyes.

“NO! No, please don’t use any social media while we are here, okay?” She says nervously, closing out of Google and handing the phone back to her dark-haired best friend. “Please? Promise me you won’t check anything.” She pleads with them, causing both girls to look at each other nervously.

Their gaze falls back on their small friend. “We won’t, we promise.” Heejin says with a sincere nod.

This wouldn’t be the first time the pair were asked to not check the internet on their friend’s behalf. Her dad’s sliminess doesn’t always stay stealthy and quiet, there have been some instances in the past that have gotten exposed. For their best friend’s sake, the pair have learned to respect that wish and not check anything when asked. Especially with the fighting that her parents have been doing before she left for here, they were extra understanding.

Chaewon feels a significant amount of ease fall off her shoulders. They have been on a plane for so long and have no idea what’s going on, which is what she wanted to happen. She feels guilty about lying to her best friends, but she knows they would understand why. At least, she hopes they would.

Chaewon gives them a smile, gesturing them to follow her as they make their way through the airport and out into the early Vegas afternoon. Both friends take turns looking around at the flashy buildings that were in front of them in awe, small smiles on their faces. “This seems like a fun place.” Heejin says in awe. Chaewon suppresses an eye roll. There has been nothing fun about this trip for her so far.

Chaewon stops dead in her tracks when she approaches the designated Uber spot, internally groaning. Sitting in the spot was an unfortunate familiar orange car, the small girl in the front seat slightly headbanging and singing from what Chaewon could see. She squeezes her eyes shut for a moment, before motioning for her friends to follow her to the car for their ride to the hotel.

“HELLO! I’M- oh.” Yeojin yells, whipping her head around at the girls stuffed in the passenger seat, furrowing her eyebrows at Chaewon. “It’s you again. How was the wedding!” She says with a chirp, causing Chaewon to turn furiously red.

Her friends look at her with very confused face, mouthing “wedding?” at her, which makes Chaewon panic. In a split-second moment, she composes herself, laughing lightly. She turns to Yeojin, giving her a very hard stare. “She drove me to a club the other day. It was called The Wedding!” Chaewon says with a cheery voice, causing both friends to nod and smile in agreement.

Yeojin narrows her eyes, looking between the three girls. “I don’t think-“ Chaewon starts laughing, startling everyone in the car. “It was a great time. Thank again Yeojin! Now, can we get back to my hotel?” She says sweetly, her eyes trained hard on the smaller girl.

Yeojin manages to show a small, hesitant smile. She turns around to face her dashboard, turning the blinker on to make her drive. “Yeah, anytime!” She says awkwardly, making Heejin and Jinsoul stare at the two girls in confusion.

If they suspected anything, they didn’t say so. The three girls talked and laughed together over the course of the ride, Yeojin remaining silent in the front seat. She was not sure what the girl was hiding, but it was not her place to say anything. She wanted a good tip from the obviously rich girl, after all.

She pulls up to the curb outside the hotel, causing Heejin and Jinsoul to fall over in laughter at the dramatic detailing of the Ancient Greek architecture and design. Chaewon blushes with a glare, opening the door to usher her laughing friends out and retrieving their things from Yeojin’s car trunk.

As they enter the double doors, both girls remain giggling to themselves, their luggage pulled beside them. Chaewon notices Jungeun staring blankly at her phone at the front desk, the usual for what the girl has seen of her. Chaewon looks behind her briefly before approaching the desk. Jungeun doesn’t look up from her phone.

“Hello Miss Park.” She says in a bored manner. Chaewon huffs, crossing her arms at the employee’s rudeness. Her friends behind her are busy staring around the room, their eyes wide and the snickers still being exchanged. They knew how much Chaewon must be cringing to be in a place like this.

“I have two people staying with me in my suite, I’m not sure if that’s protocol or not, but-“ She lowers her voice, so the others don’t hear. “I don’t want you to interrogate any more people that come through here.” She hisses out, making Jungeun smirk down at her phone. She loves getting under these spoiled brats’ skin.

“Thanks for the heads up. The water is still there, by the way.” She gestures uninterestedly to the glass pitcher. A smirk threatens to break on her face, but she bites her lip. “I left out a cup of it for you to try when you got back. Let me know what you think.” She says with a grin already on her face.

Chaewon stares at the blonde on her phone, rolling her eyes. If she was trying to pull something, there was no way she was going to fall for it. Her friend's laughter then interrupts her internal critiquing of the girl at the desk.

Jungeun looks up at Chaewon to try and sell a sincere look, but her gaze immediately falls behind the small girl.

Jungeun notices Jinsoul off to the side, staring at the ceiling and in a conversation with the blonde next to her. Jungeun’s eyes grow wider, and her face turns red. Jungeun thinks she has never seen someone so beautiful in her entire life before. She takes a deep breath, her mouth falling open.

“Huh? Water?” Jinsoul says, her gaze landing on the pitcher off to the side. “Oh! I’m so thirsty!” Jinsoul exclaims with a smile, approaching the table. She hums pleasingly to herself at the sight of a plastic cup already poured out.

Jungeun’s whole face turns white, and her gaze turns into one of fear. Jinsoul takes a sip with a small smile, only to immediately spit out its contents and drop the cup on the floor. Her face turned into a sour pout.

Jungeun immediately gets up out of her seat, running over to Jinsoul with tissues she grabbed off of the front desk. She hands them to the girl, who takes them and wipes her face. Heejin is behind them, stifling a laugh, and Chaewon is frowning at the events that just occurred.

“Oh my god, are you okay?” Jungeun asks with a panicked voice. Jinsoul starts to raise her face to the blonde in anger, only to have to falter immediately.

Even though Jinsoul is sure that the outfit is just a cheesy costume, she can’t help but think that this girl in front of her looked like a real-life goddess. Her soft face, full of concern, made Jinsoul’s heart start pounding. Immediately, she starts giggling, a little too much.

“I’m okay! Thank you for checking. It was just very salty.” Jinsoul says with blushing cheeks, making Jungeun blush and sheepishly smile right back. Jinsoul giggles bashfully as she wipes her face with the napkin.

Chaewon rolls her eyes hard, making Heejin let out a laugh. Both girls don’t seem to notice as they are too busy smiling in a flirty manner at each other. Chaewon lets out a long breath. “Well, my room is 311, so join me when you’re done eyeing up the girl who just tried to poison you.” Both girls ignore her, too busy giggling at the mess that was on the floor now.

Heejin follows Chaewon to the elevator, making their way up to the third floor. “Jinsoul already found herself a crush on this trip.” Heejin says with a playful laugh, only making Chaewon roll her eyes again. “She’s ridiculous. I’d never be like that.” She says with a huff, then a small smile. As ridiculous as Jinsoul could be, she loves her best friend.

They step out into the hallway, and approach the door to her suite, Chaewon fishing out the key on the way. Heejin looks around the hallway as she unlocks the door, laughing. “This place is sure up your alley, Chae unnie.” She says teasingly, making the brunette groan.

When she opens the door, she nearly screams.

Hyeju is sitting on the couch in her pj’s. A box of pizza sits on the coffee table and the tv hums softly through the room. A slice is in her hands, mid-air to her mouth when she sees a pale, furious Chaewon and another blonde girl behind her. She turns back to the tv, staying silent and munching on her pizza.

“I didn’t know someone else was here.” Heejin says, her face stricken with shock. Her face then scrunches up in confusion, gaping at Chaewon.

She has no idea how she’s going to explain this to her friends.

Chapter Text

Chaewon couldn’t stop panicking.

Hyeju was too busy ignoring the situation Chaewon wound up in, Heejin was gaping at the other two girls in the room, Jinsoul was still off flirting with Jungeun, and Chaewon was staring at the floor. What could she say? She feels like she’s been caught red handed.

“Does this have something to do with why we can’t check social media?” Heejin asks softly, laying a delicate hand on Chaewon’s shoulder, shaking her a little. Chaewon looks up at her with red cheeks and was unable to hide her panicking face.

Hyeju was not ignoring the situation, at least not anymore.

She looks out of the corner of her eye when she realizes that both girls are frozen in place, standing in the open doorway. She eats some more of her pizza, her face turning red. Finishing a slice, she stands up, brushing a few crumbs off of her lap. She gives the two girls a small smile, making them turn their heads at her standing presence.

“Hi! I’m Hyeju. You must be…” She falters, looking to Chaewon with a questioning face. She mouths “Heejin”, the said girl still too busy staring at Hyeju with a cautious eye. Hyeju smiles again. “Heejin. So nice to finally meet you!” She says, hoping that the girl didn’t pick up on her wavering voice.

Now, Hyeju could’ve easily let this situation fall on the smaller girl, and she could’ve eaten her pizza in peace. But seeing Chaewon’s panicking face, she couldn’t help but feel bad for the girl. She isn’t sure who the other girl was, and why she was there, but Chaewon seemed stressed about it. Hyeju just felt that if she was staying with Chaewon temporarily, she should at least make it so the rich girl wasn’t stressing, which would then impact Hyeju’s stay there as well. Her logic might not make any sense, but she wasn’t questioning it right now.

Heejin lowered her eyes at Hyeju, then cocked an eyebrow in the direction of Chaewon. “Chae, who is this girl and how does she know me?” She asks cautiously. Chaewon pleaded to Hyeju for help with her eyes.

Hyeju spit out the first thing that popped in her head. “I’m a friend of Chaewon’s. I live around here, and when I heard she was coming, I decided to come and hang out.” She says, a weight falling off of her shoulders. She mentally pats herself on the back for that, she didn’t think she had it in her to lie so easily.

Chaewon flashes her a thankful smile, something that almost made her widen her eyes in surprise at. She’s never seen the girl look that fondly at her before, and she felt her stomach do a flip over it. She looks away at Heejin, blaming the feeling on her distaste for the younger girl.

“A friend of Chaewon’s?” Heejin questions, narrowing her eyebrows at both girls. She starts to walk towards Hyeju, until they hear a voice down the hallway.


Stomping is heard, and then a very out of breath Jinsoul is standing in the doorway, one hand on the door frame, the other clutching something. As the three girls stare at the dark haired girl, catching her breath, she looks up at them with a smile.

She holds up what’s in her hand, a small, white paper. She flashes a smile, her face a cute shade of pink. “I got her number.” She says smugly, her smile turning into a huge grin. All the girls stare at her with a blank stare, and she looks between them all with a slowly faltering smile. She rolls her eyes, walking into the room and closing the door.

“I find it rude that my friends aren’t being very supportive of-“ She stops abruptly, her gaze landing on Hyeju. She looks at Heejin and Chaewon, both still looking awkward standing by the door. She looks back at the girl standing beside the couch, looking at Jinsoul with a questioning eye.

Heejin starts the conversation. “Jinsoul, did you know that Hyeju would be staying with us?” She asks accusingly, her gaze still resting unsure on the younger girl in the middle of room, Hyeju crossing her arms in her sweats and big t-shirt. She suddenly feels vulnerable as three pair of eyes stare at her from across the room.

“I did.”

Everyone in the room’s eyes widen at Jinsoul’s words. Does she know something? Chaewon promised her to not look at social media, but did she do it anyway? Did Jungeun tell her something?

These thoughts raced around Chaewon’s head, until she saw Jinsoul walk towards Hyeju, grabbing her hand and shaking it vigorously. “It’s good to finally meet you, Hyeju! What are you doing here?” The younger girl almost flinches at the stranger's grip on her hand.

She flashes a quick look at Chaewon, who only gives Hyeju a bewildered and paled expression back. Heejin walks forward more, standing next to Jinsoul. “Jinsoul knows your mystery friend and I don’t?!” She says with a confused, and slightly hurt, voice. Jinsoul looks back at Hyeju, a glint in her eye. It makes the younger girl swallow a lump in her throat.

“Yeah! Of course, I do! She’s been keeping you company since you got here, right?” She says sweetly, turning her head back to look at Chaewon.

Wait, what?

Jinsoul was going along with the lie that Hyeju conjured up on the spot, even throwing Heejin off from suspicion. She breaks out into a friendly smile, stepping forward to shake Hyeju’s hand as well. “Well, even if these two don’t ever tell me anything, it’s nice to meet you!” She says with a sincere smile.

Hyeju feels her heart pounding in her ears right now. She has spun so many lies the past few hours that she can’t seem to keep up. It eats at her heavily, but she knows that this would benefit everyone right now if they stuck to a story.

“I told you they were coming to stay here for a while, didn’t I, Hyeju?” She says, shooting an overtly sweet look at the younger girl. “I know you have a lot of stuff to do for work and I don’t want to take up all your time.” She says, flashing a smile.

Hyeju feels that strange motion in her stomach again, and she trains her eyes to the floor, becoming interested in the flecks on the marble floor. “Yeah, I remember.” She murmurs quietly.

Chaewon never told her that her friends were coming to stay here. She internally rolls her eyes, but then stoops her shoulders. This isn’t even her place, so she doesn’t get a say. She’s only here because of the deal she struck with her father.

Hyeju bites the inside of her cheek, looking up and flashing the other girls a kind smile. She had to play nice, for now.

All four girls were sitting on the couch, thankfully fitting into a comfortable conversation. Hyeju offered her pizza to the others because she felt that was the kind thing to do but was groaning internally when she saw their hands dive for her pizza box, eating the rest of her food.

She tuned out the three girls’ conversation, feeling like the odd one out in the group, but was brought back to reality when she saw Heejin look at her kindly. “Hyeju, how did you become friends with Chaewon?” She asks with a smile. Jinsoul shoves the rest of the pizza slice in her mouth, humming as she chews. “Yeah, I would like to know the answer to this as well.” She says with food in her mouth, making Chaewon cringe.

Hyeju stares at the three girls who are all looking at her with an eager eye. Hyeju trains her eyes on Chaewon, who was waiting for her to speak, her eyebrow rising with impatience, tilting her head towards the two curious best friends next to her. Hyeju clenches her jaw slightly.

“Actually Chaewon, why don’t you tell? It was such a FUNNY story.” She says overtly sweet, flashing a smile at Chaewon, batting her eyelashes, making the smaller girl’s face twist into half a frown.

Chaewon shoots daggers at Hyeju with her eyes, but she retains a kind smile back at her pretend friend. “Oh, my father introduced us!” She says, racking her brain for more information to sell her story. “He uh, met her on a work-related trip and thought we would be great friends. And he was so right!” She says too loudly, making the rest of the girls flinch at her tone.

“That’s why he sent me here. He knew she lived here, and he wanted me to stay close to a friend.” She says, patting herself on the back for coming up with a great story in the moment. Hyeju raises her eyebrows at her in pride. She didn’t think the small girl had it in her, but then again, she IS the daughter of Park Enterprises, after all.

Heejin and Jinsoul look at each other with pointed looks, making Hyeju and Chaewon hold their breaths. They then break into laughter, making the pretend friends share a look of concern. “Of course, your dad was involved!” Jinsoul laughs out, shaking her head. “That’s so cool that it worked out then!” She says with a smile.

Hyeju and Chaewon both laugh nervously, looking at each other for a split second. That felt too close, but they can breathe easier knowing it swayed the girls in.

Hyeju excuses herself and goes towards the kitchen, looking to get herself something to drink. As she walks in, she notices a bottle of champagne on the counter, and she shudders. Hyeju never wants to see alcohol again, knowing it got her into this mess. She should be tucked into bed back in Seoul, playing a game right now instead of here. She blames the alcohol for this, as well as Chaewon. It was easier on her mind that way.

She opens the fridge to see some water bottles, and she grabs one, feeling the cold, plastic material on her hand. She closes the door with a satisfied hum, only to jump back a foot.

Leaning against the doorway, Jinsoul has her arms crossed, and her eyes are in a scowl. Hyeju shoots her a nervous smile. “I didn’t see you there. Thirsty?” She says with a chuckle, holding up her water bottle in front of the raven-haired girl. Jinsoul sighs, unmoved from her spot.

“You know, every 'friend' her father introduces her to turns out to be terrible. I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know what’s going on between you and Chae.” She starts, eyeing up the wide-eyed girl with a scowl. “But I’m not going to push it.” Hyeju lets out her breath slightly. She retains a neutral expression, hoping Jinsoul can’t see that her ears are ringing with fear.

Jinsoul then moves from her position, walking closer to Hyeju and getting close to her face. Hyeju’s face turns red, swallowing a lump in her throat. “Still, if you hurt her, if you do something that will cross her OR Heejin and I, I WILL make sure your life gets ruined.” She says with intensity. “Chaewon’s father can do a lot of damage in his position, but you don’t know the fury her best friend can have.”

Hyeju takes a step back, shaking her head slightly at the taller girl. “Y-yes, I understand.” She says, looking at the floor and crossing her arms. She doesn’t want the older girl to see her shaking hands. “I’m not going to hurt anyone.”

Jinsoul hums suspiciously, taking a step back. Just then, Chaewon walks in, stopping abruptly at the sight in front of her. “Hey you two.” She says shakily, noticing the tenseness in the air. Hyeju takes this as an opportunity to exit the room and back towards the couch to sit next to Heejin.

Chaewon chuckles nervously, looking at her stoic faced best friend. Jinsoul grabs her by the shoulder, pulling her farther away from the archway of the kitchen. She leans in closer, whispering. “I’ve known you a lot longer than Heejin has, so I could smell bullshit the moment my eyes landed on this stranger.” She gestures towards the open archway. “You better have a good reason as to why you are selling this lie to your best friends.” She says sternly, making Chaewon start to tremble.

Jinsoul sighs, grabbing her hands and shaking them, causing the smaller girl to look up. “I’m not going to pry.” She says, defeated. “I get your life is complicated and there are a lot of things you need to hide. I’ll still be here.” She says with a small, defeated voice. Chaewon can feel tears pricking the corners of her eyes. Her bottom lip starts to tremble.

She can’t take it anymore. She doesn’t have to lie to her best friends, its public information, but the guilt of what she’s done, and the things her father is making her do outweighs that. That, then, makes her feel more guilty, like her ties to her father matter more than her friendship, even though that certainly is not true.

“I’m so sorry, Soulie.” She whispers, pushing past her best friend and briskly walking to the front door, the tears blurring her vision. “Chae?” Heejin says, standing up and looking at the door. She doesn’t stop, as the door opens, and slams shut.

Hyeju furrows her brows at the sudden deafening silence that fills the room, Jinsoul staring at the door with a tight jaw, and sad eyes. Heejin looks back and forth between the two remaining girls, a confused and concerned look on her face. “Well? What happened?” She asks, her voice raising.

Jinsoul turns her gaze to Hyeju, her eyes narrowing. “She’s just upset about home right now and seeing all of us must’ve been overwhelming.” She walks towards the couch, standing in front of Hyeju. She looks up at the raven-haired girl, who has her arms crossed. “Hyeju, could you go check up on her?” She asks with an exasperated sigh.

Hyeju almost burst out laughing at Jinsoul asking her to do so, when she is the actual best friend, but she holds her tongue. No, she isn’t scared of Jinsoul, at least, she won’t admit that she is, but she can see the sadness in the girl’s eyes over her best friend. Who would she be to keep this negative energy lingering around the place she is sleeping? She already has to deal with Chaewon waking up at the ass crack of dawn and making noise.

She sighs, standing up quickly, making Jinsoul step back. “I’ll go see where she ran off to.” She says in a defeated tone, approaching the door. The two other girls stare at her as she opens it, peering left and right down the long hallway. No sign of the small girl.

“I’ll be back.” She exits and closes the door, leaving a concerned Heejin and a crestfallen Jinsoul waiting awkwardly in the room. Heejin turns and looks at Jinsoul, still utterly confused. “Why did you ask her? You’d usually go yourself.” She says with her hands on her hips.

Jinsoul sighs, turning her head to look towards the window. The sun was starting to set. “I think she can help her right now, more than anybody.”

Hyeju had no idea this place existed.

She started out going towards the lobby, asking a smiley and daydreaming Jungeun if she happened to see the small girl. She flashed her a shrug, returning her head to the side to stare with a lazy smile at the ceiling. Obviously, someone else was occupying her thoughts right now, and she would be of no help to Hyeju. She sighed in annoyance and returned to the elevator.

She decided the best thing to do was start at the top, and work her way to the bottom, venturing out into the city if it was needed. However, when she hit the rooftop button, she was met with an unsuspected view in front of her.

Sure, it was a rooftop, the view would be awesome by default. She just didn’t expect to see that as the sun was setting, the lights were turning on all over the city.

The hotel sat smack dab in the middle of the heart of Las Vegas, and everything was lit up in various colors. Some of the lights flashed, some sparkled. The orange sun in the skyline made it look even prettier to the awestruck girl. The wind was blowing perfectly, and the sun was warming her face in a soft way. The view and the feeling made the girl smile to herself.

She noticed out of the corner of her eye that something was moving. Looking over, she saw her target sitting on the ledge, staring out at the lights, her eyes puffy and red. Her hands were clinging to the railing that was wrapped around the building, and only her feet were dangling over the vast city. Hyeju couldn’t help but sigh pitifully at the sight.

Hyeju had to put up with a lot of shit the past few days, being by Chaewon’s side. She feels like she cannot stand being another moment near the girl, and she honestly cannot wait until she gets to finally get away from the girl.

But, staring over at her small and shaking body leaning against the railing with her sad eyes, Hyeju couldn’t help but feel her stomach twist again. With the beautiful view laid out across the sky, she just wants the girl to stop being upset and to either enjoy it, or to go back to being with her friends.

Hyeju takes a few steps over to the edge of the building, sitting down to throw her legs over the side and rest her limbs against the railing. She lets out a deep breath, but Chaewon doesn’t seem to move, or pay her any mind. Hyeju looks over at the girl.

Her face is sad, lost in thought. Hyeju bites her lip at the sight. The orange light of the setting sun shines on her face, and the flashing lights from the gaudy buildings below reflect off of the pupils of her eyes. Hyeju blinks a few times at the sight. She looks…pretty.

She’ll push that thought to the back of her mind. “Hey. Your friends are worried about you.” She says casually, receiving no reply from the other girl.

Hyeju turns her head back towards the lights and the setting sun, the orange ball sinking slowly under the skyscrapers that line the evening sky. She looks down and watches the slow-moving cars below, her fingers tapping lightly against the metal railing.

“Listen, I know this situation is the worst. I’m not happy about it either.” Chaewon’s eyebrows furrow in frustration at the younger girl’s words. Hyeju sighs. “But I can see this is taking a really big impact on you. You’re not like me you can’t just-“ She pauses, a nervous chuckle escaping her lips. “You can’t just throw yourself into a work project or block out your emotions like me, I can tell.” Chaewon leans her head on the railing, closing her eyes.

“You should talk about this, if not with your friends, then, well we are living together for a bit, aren’t we?” She says with a lighthearted chuckle. Chaewon finally turns and looks at her with a blank face.

“You don’t know what it’s like, to be burdened by this position.” She whispers, immediately turning her head out towards the Vegas skyline. She can feel the tears threatening to come back. “My father can do whatever he wants, and my family becomes pawns to his will. He doesn’t do it maliciously, but-“ She lowers her gaze at her hands, holding them together. “It hurts so much.”

Hyeju stays silent at the revelation. She doesn’t know what that’s like, but all she can do to get the girl to stop crying already is to listen. So, she nods. “I’m sure being the heir to Park Enterprises is a big burden to undertake. That’s a lot for a young girl who should be living her life to be dealing with.” She says, choosing her words carefully. She doesn’t want to set her off, she knows all too well now what that’s like after this morning.

Chaewon nods weakly, turning her head to look at Hyeju. She looks back at the sad girl with a hint of concern in her eyes but maintains a blank stare. Chaewon furrows her brows. “Why do you suddenly care?” She asks in annoyance, turning her head back to stare at the sun, which is almost under the horizon now.

Opening her mouth, Hyeju suddenly closes it again. She had no answer to give, because while she was only here at the expense of Jinsoul’s request, she DID feel herself caring, deep down. There’s been some feelings inside of her that she has been neglecting for a while, and she thought, why not share them now? It’s not like Chaewon will pay any mind to them.

“I know what it’s like, to feel like your life is ruined by things like money and status.” Hyeju exclaims, the words off her tongue making her breathing stagger.

Chaewon turns and looks at her with a questioning expression. Just as she did, the orange light of the sun dipped below the horizon, and suddenly Hyeju’s face and her dark pupils were alive with the flashing, neon lights of Las Vegas. Chaewon could see a rainbow of colors across this girl’s serious face, and she felt her heartbeat thump in her chest.

She shook her head at her reaction, turning away with a pained expression. “I doubt you understand me and what I’m feeling right now.” She said with a harsh tone, making Hyeju draw her head back in offense. She turns her head the other way, transfixing her eyes on a swirl of lights on an adjacent casino building.

“No, I don’t know what it’s like to be where you are, I get that already.” She crosses her feet together curling her body into herself. “But I’ve lost a lot of good things in my life because I didn’t have money, or status, or anything. Almost...everything.” She says, anger and guilt racking her body as she recalls her life.

Chaewon looks turns to look at the back of Hyeju’s head, tilting her own in curiosity. Hyeju can feel eyes staring at her, and she shakes her head. “No, I don’t want to talk about it.” She says, swallowing a lump in her throat. She turns around and stares at Chaewon with a weak smile. “This is about you right now; I can block my feelings out easily. Tell me more about this.”

Curious and admittedly a little concerned, Chaewon sighs in defeat, letting the younger girl’s confession go. It’s not like she cared enough to ask her about it anyway, right? She looks at Hyeju as her stomach twists in knots.

This girl, who she could not stand, still cannot stand, was actually being really sweet to her right now, in her own way. She was willing to put away something she was feeling in order to listen to her, which made Chaewon feel bad. She gave a reluctant smile. “Thank you, Hyeju. You’re not half bad.”

Hyeju raises an eyebrow at her, which makes Chaewon groan internally. Never mind to that.

“Sometimes. You’re not half bad sometimes. Anyway,” She continues, looking away with embarrassed cheeks. She clears her throat. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I just want to sit here.” She says in a small voice.

“You can…stay here with me. Silent company is nice.” She says indifferently, her face heating up even more. “I don’t want to leave you alone with those two, they’ll just be suspicious.” She quickly adds. “Don’t think I just want you here, or something.”

Hyeju chuckles softly in amusement. “Whatever you say, princess.” She turns her head and stares out at the view, the sky now turning dark, and the lights as bright as ever.

Chaewon knows that Hyeju only calls her that nickname in a mocking tone due to her status, but this time, it just makes her heart slam against her chest.

Chapter Text

The events of last night were…weird.

Hyeju grumbles thinking about it, shoving the double shot espresso to her lips, a tired sigh escaping her lips. Here she is, back in what was supposed to be her escape from the crazy events of her total time in Vegas, but instead becoming another nightmare. She hears a balding man next to her murmur along to a slideshow presentation on company goals.

As the bitterness of her black coffee hits her lips, she can’t help but have her mind be reminded of the bitter girl who she is currently spending her only free time with. She shakes her head, taking another sip. She shouldn’t be subjected to thinking about her while she is out of the room, especially while pressured into this large project, one that will make or break her career. She knows now what kind of person Mr. Park is and the things he could do to ruin her life.

Still, despite the resistance, her mind drifts off to last night.

After Chaewon asked her to stay for a while, the girls fell into a very comfortable silence together, overlooking the city lights. It remained that way, the pair listening to the traffic and watching the lights until they saw them when their eyes blinked. However, Chaewon seemed to break the silence out of nowhere.

“Do you…remember that night?”

The question comes out small and barely audible, but Hyeju still heard it. Her cheeks suddenly heat up at the question. She didn’t know why, but she suddenly felt vulnerable. She wraps her arms around herself, blaming the slight wind that blows around the pair.

“No, I don’t, and I don’t think I want to remember.” She says coldly, suddenly standing up, taking a step back from the side of the building to give a blank stare at the still sitting girl. Hyeju looks at the ground and crosses her arms, kicking at something small.

Chaewon tightens her jaw, looking out at the city. What a typical answer from Hyeju, she should have expected that coming. She doesn’t remember much of anything herself, but she still just wanted to know what was going through the other girl's mind. Biting the inside of her cheek, she stands up, pushing past the younger girl and heading for the door to the stairwell and the elevator.

“I just asked, you don’t have to be a bitch about it.” She says with a grumble, opening the door with a dramatic push. Hyeju shakes her head and jogs forward to catch the door before it closes and leaves her alone on the rooftop. She puts her hand over the elevator button before Chaewon has the chance to even touch it.

“You’re the one with the problem. I just sat with your ass, up in the windy, dry heat for god knows how long, and now here you go opening your mouth again.” Hyeju is leaning over the shorter girl, eyes glaring at her with intensity. Chaewon looks back up at her with hard eyes, swallowing a lump in her throat. She scoffs, pushing Hyeju’s hand on the elevator button and letting herself inside.

“You didn’t HAVE to stay; you have free fucking will.” Her tone becomes harsh, making Hyeju blink as she follows her into the opened elevator. As the door closes, she looks at Chaewon with hatred, shuffling to the corner of the elevator in an attempt to get far away from her.

“Well, you were crying, it’d be heartless for me to leave you alone.” She murmurs, looking at the floor with an angry expression. Chaewon whips her head around to stare at Hyeju, the calm elevator music contrasting against the intensity of the tension. She turns her head back around to stare at the descending closed doors.

“I’m tired of this shit. I hate putting up with you.” Chaewon murmurs, eyes trained forward. This causes Hyeju to let out an inhumane noise. Chaewon looks back at her again with confused annoyance. What is her problem NOW?

Hyeju is red in the face. “TIRED? I sleep on the fucking couch, with a very uncomfortable pillow, I might add, and have to deal with you before the sun even comes up. “ She says with her eyes wide, nostrils flaring in anger. Chaewon turns back around, a mix of anger and embarrassment in her red cheeks. She didn’t want Hyeju to see her face.

“Whatever. I’m done talking to you. Just, make nice in front of my friends and once they go to their rooms, you better stay the HELL away from me.” Her words come out dripped in venom, making Hyeju raise her eyebrows, her expression changing. Chaewon rolls her eyes as the elevator dings and opens to the third floor.

“They have their own rooms?” She says with curiosity. A weight seems to be lifted off of her shoulders. She didn’t want to share the already stressful space with more people. Stepping out in the hallway, they make their way towards room 11. “Maybe one of them would switch with me.” She grumbles, glaring at the small figure walking in front of her.

Chaewon turns around and stops walking, crossing her arms. “They’re not supposed to KNOW you’re staying with me. They think you are from around here, remember?” The patience is being lost in her tone at the younger girl. Hyeju tightens her jaw and walks past her, bumping her shoulder with a childish huff.

Just as she turns a corner, she stops. Chaewon stops immediately behind her back, her annoyance growing at the pause Hyeju did. She looks over her side to see what the problem is.

Jungeun is standing outside of room 307 adjacent to their destination. She is looking at her phone with a sickly-sweet smile on her face, a cup of that stupid water from downstairs in her hand. Chaewon rolls her eyes at the sight. This definitely has something to do with Jinsoul.

Chaewon stomps over to Jungeun, making the girl look up with a smug smile on her face. It falters when she realizes its Chaewon, and she looks back at her phone, taking another small sip of her fruit water. “Oh, hello Miss Park. I’m just on…inspection duty.” She lies, immediately giggling at her phone. Obviously, a certain dark-haired girl was on the other end of those messages.

Chaewon blinks slowly at the blonde girl, her temper slipping form her. She turns back at Hyeju, who is now standing outside 311 with an impatient look, raises her eyebrow at the scene. Chaewon whips her head back to Jungeun.

Chaewon's voice raises. “I’m so sick of the energy everyone in this shit hole is giv-“ Suddenly, Jinsoul opens the door of 311, her eyes scanning the hallway with curiosity.

The sudden entrance of Jinsoul makes Jungeun flinch, her cup of water flying forward and landing all over an already angry Chaewon.

Jungeun’s eyes widen, a smile twitching on her face, but she turns around immediately to hide her humored reaction from the furious girl. Hyeju looks like she could care less, but on the inside, she is groaning, knowing she’s going to have to put up with an even angrier Chaewon.

Jinsoul blinks at the events, showing an awkward smile. “Oh, Jungie, I think you pissed off my best friend.” She says with nervous laughter, making the secret couple whip their head around at the girl.

“…Jungie?!” Hyeju says with bewilderment. Chaewon has that question written on her face as well, still the angered look plastered on her face. Jinsoul turns her blushing face towards Hyeju, her sheepish smile turning aloof. She clears her throat, stepping out of the hallway. She ignores the question.

“Chae, are you okay?” She asks with genuine concern, coming forward to wipe some water off her best friend’s face.

Chaewon sighs in defeat as her best friend's hands wipe her face, stepping back. She gives Jinsoul a small smile. “I’m doing better unnie, I promise.” She says, truly meaning what she said. Despite the water all over her light sweater, she doesn’t fully remember why she was so upset. Even though Hyeju was just picking a fight, their time together actually did something…good for the younger girl.

She shakes off the thought, accepting it as having someone around, even if it was someone very much disliked. Jinsoul shows a kind smile. “I’m glad to hear it, you’re not allowed to be sad while I’m here!” She says playfully, lightly poking the girl’s cheek, earning a friendly giggle back.

Jinsoul then turns her gaze back towards Hyeju, who is still standing next to the open doorway. Her stare turns hard, and she looks back at Chaewon with a serious expression. “I still don’t know what’s up with her.” She whispers, making Chaewon clench her jaw slightly. Jinsoul sighs, showing a small smile. “But if she helped you just now, then I’ll give her a chance.”

Ruffling her hair, Jinsoul walks toward a wide eyed Jungeun, giving a blushing smile and struggling with her room key. The two start to murmur to each other like two schoolgirls in love, making the pair head into their own room, closing the door quickly. They did not want to be around the two of them any longer than necessary. They give each other a look, one full of anger at their paused arguing and one of pain at the events of the hallway.

“Oh! You’re both back!”

The pair jump as the see Heejin stand up from the couch, walking quickly forward to give them a concerned smile. “Is everything okay? You had us worried, Chae.” She looks at Hyeju with a kind smile. “I’m so glad Hyeju found you and brought you back.” She says playfully, making the pair sell her a forced smile.

She looks between the two of them, her smile growing bigger with a hum. “Well, I’m going to go to my room now. We should do something fun tomorrow!” She says excitedly. “You should come with us too, Hyeju.” She says, quickly throwing a flirty look in Chaewon’s direction.


Chaewon pretends she doesn’t see it. “Oh, Hyeju might be busy, she has work…” She trails off. Heejin laughs. “Then, we will do something when you get off!” She heads towards the door after flashing another smile at Hyeju, picking up her suitcase from earlier. She throws one last look at the two of them.

“Don’t stay too long, Hyeju. Chaewon likes waking up early.” She says with a wink, closing the door immediately.

The girls blush furiously at the painfully obvious teasing she was doing to them, unsure as of why she was doing it at all. The air suddenly felt awkward again, and Chaewon clears her throat. “I’m going to bed now.” She announces, walking toward her bedroom, closing the door quickly.

Hyeju sighs, plopping down on the couch. She replays the events of the rooftop in her head, trying to shake them out as much as she can.

So, what if she felt a little bad for the girl? She’s not an animal, she has the ability to sympathize. Chaewon had to go and make it weird, making Hyeju grumble. She lays her head down on the small pillow, curling up on the small couch. She closes her eyes, attempting to block everything out with some sleep.

Chaewon’s door opens, making Hyeju sit up. Before she can see what it is the girl wants now, she is hit in the face with a pillow.

She takes it off her face, glaring hard at the now shut door. She then sighs, looking at the pillow now laying on her torso. It was bigger than the small one from the couch, and it smelled like herself. She rolled her eyes, replacing the two pillows, putting her head down to engulf not only her own scent, but a little hint of what she assumes is Chaewon’s.

Despite the small reminder of the small girl, she gets the best sleep she has had since she got there.

“Miss Son?”

Hyeju snaps her head up to many pairs of eyes staring at her, their faces a mix of confused, angry, tired, and bored. She looks back at Chan, who is now at the front of the room. He is wearing another flashy suit, this one suede and royal blue. Hyeju groans internally at the man. Why can’t he wear a normal suit like a normal person? It leaves a bitter taste in her mouth, more so than the coffee she’s been consuming.

He clears his throat, gesturing towards the door. She feels like a bucket of ice was just dumped on her head when she sees who was standing there.

Kahei makes her way into the room, greeting everyone around her with a warm smile. She then looks at Hyeju, her smile turning awkward. Unable to process what was going on, since Hyeju tuned out most of the presentations, she just offered Kahei a small but polite wave. The dark-haired girl gave one back, although Hyeju couldn’t tell if it was forced or not.

“We would like to welcome another member of White Dove to our project, Wong Kahei. She will be working with the public relations team to raise funds!” Chan says with enthusiasm, making the people in the room clap and hum in approval. She blushes, bowing to each person individually.

Chan then turns to Hyeju, showing a full smile. She almost grimaces at the sight, feeling the urge to punch his perfect teeth in. “Could you bring Miss Wong to Miss Choi’s office?” He asks kindly, making Hyeju want to disappear into her seat. “The three of you will have a lot to dig into together.” He says with a chuckle.

Hyeju wants to disappear completely as all the eyes of the room land on her. Kahei has to hate her for the sabotage that happened at the convention, and even working around Yerim still rubbed Hyeju the wrong way. Internally groaning, she can’t help but feel like she is receiving a punishment from life itself. There can’t be any other explanation for it.

“Of course.” Hyeju says brightly, standing up a little too fast from her chair, making it spin and making some of the older people in the room give her a disapproving look. Looking down with pink cheeks, she hurries over to Kahei, exiting the room together. They make their way from the conference room down the hallway.

The silence was awkward, and Hyeju could feel herself sweating as they make their slow walk down to the other side of the building. She finds it unbearable, unable to look at Kahei and see what the girl was feeling. She decided to take a deep breath and turn her head towards the older girl. She had a neutral expression on her face, focusing on the drab setting they were walking through.

Finding the words to have this conversation was hard, but she managed to start. “Kahei.” The girl stops walking just as Hyeju does. Her smile is small and hesitant. “I wanted to apologize.” She starts, looking at the floor in shame. The events of the other day replay in her head. “I can’t excuse my behavior, but I am sorry for potentially hurting your career. I'm glad to see you're still with White Dove, despite my mistake. ” She says genuinely, looking up at the girl with a nervous expression.

Kahei sighs, showing a bigger smile, one that reminded Hyeju of the girl’s initial kindness from when they met in the airport. That felt like so long ago now. “Thank you for that, Hyeju.” She says with kindness. This makes Hyeju’s tense presentation falter, relief washing over her. That’s at least one person she could make amends with.

A light punch hits her shoulder, the raven-haired girl letting out a cute laugh. Hyeju widened her eyes. Despite the hell she could have potentially caused this girl, she was acting so friendly with her. She thanked the universe that Kahei had such a kind heart. “Maybe this time, you can get ME a coffee and save one of my mornings!” This makes Hyeju smile the biggest she has since she ever stepped foot in this building. “Let’s not keep Miss Choi waiting. This project isn’t going to pay for itself.”

Hyeju feels her smile twitch, remembering that they’ll be working with Yerim. Not only did that make Hyeju dread her job even more than when she was back at her desk in Seoul, but she knows that Kahei has to know something strange is up between the two of them after her actions at the convention. She hopes that this won’t ruin the fix she made with Kahei. Still, she’s thankful that she was able to muster up the courage to say anything at all. It usually takes a lot for Hyeju to be able to apologize, but she knew Kahei definitely deserved it.

The pair make their way down the hallway, stopping outside of Yerim’s temporary office. She reads the plaque outside of the door:

Choi Yerim: Cherry Seed Inc., CEO

She grumbles to herself, hoping that Kahei can’t hear. Hyeju knocks indifferently on the door, opening it to see Yerim lift her eyes from her papers to stare at the two girls. She has glasses on today, donning a cream pantsuit that looked pretty expensive. Her mind wandered back to Chan. She could feel her fists tightening, but she quickly dropped them. A smile instead flashed across her face.

Miss Choi, hello.” She says with a half-smile. The pair make their way over to the two chairs in front of her mahogany desk. Yerim gives an abashed smile at the formal greeting. Even though they were in a professional setting, she always referred to her ex-girlfriend, and ex-best friend, with a gentler approach. Hyeju turns to Kahei with more of a smile.

“This is Wong Kahei. She’ll be working with us on the funds for the application.” She says kindly, returning a more pained smile back at Yerim. The girl at the head of the desk frowns slightly. She’s upset that Hyeju is making their situation weird, but at the same time. She can’t really blame her. She knows what happened in the past…

She clears her throat, throwing a kind smile in the direction of Kahei. That’s something she can worry about later. After all, they have a really important project to work on, and their careers are weighed heavily by this. “So nice to meet you! I know we will do great work together.” Yerim says sweetly, making the older girl nods in agreement.

They immediately jump into action, all the information out and ready to go on Yerim’s desk. She starts explaining to them their targets and goals, stressing that as soon as they meet them, they can all leave and go back to their own offices. She says this coolly, watching for Hyeju’s reaction. She’s never seen the girl perk up and start taking notes so fast. It makes her want to roll her eyes, to be honest.

She pauses, immediately finding a list of donators that they all should focus on building relationships with. She takes the lists and gives one to Hyeju, then one to Kahei. As she does so, Kahei audibly gasps. Her eyes land on Yerim’s engagement ring; large and glistening in its white gold glory. Hyeju looks over at the noise, seeing Kahei’s own hand on her mouth in awe. She feels her mood dampen immediately.

“Oh my GOODNESS, that’s a gorgeous ring!” Kahei says excitedly, holding out her hand in a physical question to see it closer. Yerim’s smile turns into a beam, and she holds her hand out farther for the awestruck girl to see. Hyeju, on the other hand, turns her head down, suddenly much more interested in the list of names in front of her.

Yerim gives a wide, toothless smile at the gushing she is receiving. “Thank you! Chan-er, Mr. Lee and I are planning the wedding for a few months from now.” She said proudly. Kahei seems to lean in farther, inspecting every glittering diamond on it. She looks back up in shock.

“This ring must’ve cost a fortune. Miss Choi, you really bagged a winner.” She says with a playful laugh, making the girl blush and giggle. She admires her own ring with a hum.

“I really did. He’s a great guy, and he has done so much for me.” She says proudly, then freezes. Turning her head, she remembers that Hyeju is in the room. Hyeju whips her head at Yerim when she feels eyes on her. She can see an awkward smile on the girl’s face, and it was the final straw. The words come out before she can even think about them.

“What, pampered you with money? That’s what you’ve always wanted, right?”

Hyeju feels her stomach drop the moment the last word leaves her lips. The once light and professional atmosphere makes a complete 180, the tension feeling thick. Kahei looks between the two girls, confused, and visibly horrified at the girl’s outburst. Yerim’s mouth forms a tight line. If Hyeju has kept anything over the few years she has known her, it was her temper and her speaking without thinking mentality. Even though she feels ashamed for their past and her part in it, this is way out of line.

Yerim turns her gaze back to Kahei, her face turning kind again. Hyeju has to commend her for not even blushing at the outburst, but still, that makes it even scarier for the girl. She has no idea what the CEO is thinking.

“We have a lot of planning to map out. Let’s stick to that, for the sake of our careers.” She says with a chuckle, but Hyeju can feel the slight jab in her direction, flinching at her words.

Despite this being the biggest thing to ever happen to her career wise, she can’t seem to keep her mouth shut every opportunity she has had here. She feels defeated and embarrassed with herself. If there’s one thing she hates, it’s being put in situations that cause her temper to get the best of her, as well as acknowledging when it happens.

She immediately stands up, her face turning beet red. She can feel her hands shaking as her eyes scan a confused Kahei and a disappointed Yerim. Her eyes quickly jump to the door, then back to the girls in their chairs. She inaudibly swallows, letting out a nervous laugh. She rubs her fingers along the edge of the paper in her tight hands.

“D-do you think I could review this on my own?” She asks in a hurry. She already takes a few steps back towards the door. “I work better when I review the material and draw up my own notes.” She mumbles, now in front of the door.

Yerim nods robotically. “That’s fine, Hyeju, but-“ She doesn’t get to finish, as the frazzled girl is already out the door and down the hall, pressing her clammy hand into one of her burning cheeks. She makes a bolt for the elevator. As she steps inside and the door closes, she lets out all the air in her lungs.

That certainly went fucking well, she thinks to herself. She squeezes her eyes shut, a million thoughts running around her head. Why did she have to work with Yerim? Why did Kahei have to make her talk about a part of her life Hyeju wanted to never hear about? She feels a mix of emotions, from angry and ashamed at herself down to annoyance and self-loathing because of Yerim.

Hyeju isn’t sure when she arrives back, or how she arrives back, to the suite, but she does. She takes out her spare key that she managed to take from the room the first day there, turning it hard in the lock, springing the door swiftly open.

Sitting on the couch and having their laughter cut off was Chaewon and Heejin on the couch, Jinsoul on the armchair. Jungeun sat on her lap, making four pairs of eyes trained on the shaking girl in confusion. Hyeju only visibly shakes more at the unexpected people sitting on her current bed and in the space she is staying. She really doesn’t need this right now.

Instead of asking if she is okay, like anyone would do upon seeing how wracked with fear and guilt Hyeju is, Heejin stands up, shooting up an eyebrow in confusion. “Hi Hyeju, how do you have a room key? And why are you still in your work clothes?”

Out of all the things they could have said, this definitely was the worst thing Hyeju could hear. She swallows nervously, more fear being added to her already tarnished mood. Chaewon, sitting next to the standing blonde, notices. She decides to speak for her.

“Oh, she comes around a lot.” Chaewon says carefully, receiving a surprised stare from everyone except Jungeun, who is too busy resting her head on Jinsoul's shoulder. “She has some stuff here since she planned on coming over to hang out with me a lot.”

Despite the well thought out lie, Chaewon immediately regrets her words as Heejin shoots her an amused look. Her face turns red at the gawking she is receiving. Jinsoul, on the other hand, is staring at Chaewon with a hard stare. She taps her fingers lightly against Jungeun’s leg, her gaze hard to meet. Chaewon is going to pretend she doesn’t see it.

Hyeju feels like she is suffocating a little, the energy in the room very tense. She closes the door a little too hard, making everyone jump. She jogs forward and stands facing everyone closer, clasping her hands together to stop them from shaking. She flashes a wide-eyed smile.

“That’s right. Now.” Her eyes scan around the room, and they stop when she looks into the kitchen, noticing the bottle of champagne still sitting on the counter from yesterday. Her brain starts firing off. She whips her head back to stare at the girls in front of her, clapping her hands together a little too loudly.

“Who’s up for going out and having some fun tonight?”

Chapter Text

Despite the absolute nightmare that being in this city has caused the young CTO, one thing leaves her in awe, reflecting off of her eyes and making her jaw drop: The lights.

The sidewalks of Las Vegas are crowded with people and events, but as Hyeju looks up and observes the neon glow around her, she can’t help but feel all the stress and the worry escape her mind, even if just a little bit. The way some of them twist, flicker, even pulse against the sky is breathtaking. It’s amazing that these little joys against the pitch-black night are free to see for anyone who happens to find themselves outside.

Her admiration was interrupted by a loud honking, and then a tug on her sleeve. She almost flinches at the sudden senses, her gaze changing into an annoyed glare when she sees Chaewon dramatically pointing her thumb backwards at the Uber waiting at the curb. The smaller girl then makes her way over and climbs into the backseat with Heejin. Not wanting to sit so close to the unfortunate roommate and her friend, who was being weird around them, she might add, Hyeju chooses to climb into the front seat.

Jungeun and Jinsoul, of course, chose to take their own Uber to the nightclub. Hyeju still has no idea how those two got close out of seemingly nowhere, as well as how in the world Jungeun managed to get away with leaving the front lobby unoccupied for the night, but she just shrugged those thoughts away. Their fast, budding romance was keeping Jinsoul preoccupied from Hyeju and Chaewon’s business and their secret. Jungeun still concerns the pair, especially Chaewon, but Hyeju will make nice with her if it means Jinsoul’s attention is kept away.

The ride was silent on Hyeju’s end, but Chaewon and Heejin were busy having light conversation in the back seat. They were murmuring quietly and giggling, making Hyeju roll her eyes. Heejin was still a strange mystery to her, and she has no idea why she keeps making strange faces and giving Chaewon specific looks when they are in the room. It must be a part of the girl’s personality or something. At the very least, none of them hate her…she thinks.

Hyeju freezes when she hears her name being whispered lowly from Heejin’s lips, a teasing snicker followed right after. Still frozen in her seat, listening to the dry night wind coming in from the cracked window, Hyeju tightens her jaw. What was Heejin getting at anyway?

Whatever they were talking about, Chaewon shoves Heejin a little too hard over, a firm “Stop being weird” escaping her lips. Hyeju is thankful at least Chaewon was standing up to her friend about her strange behavior. Instead of being offended or upset, Heejin just laughs. She leans closer to Chaewon and speaks so low that Hyeju barely catches what she says, but she still unfortunately hears it.

“You can deny it all you want Chae, but I think she might have a thing for you.”

Hyeju feels her entire body turn cold, eyes widening so much that one starts to twitch. Her jaw is clenched so hard, she is surprised her teeth haven’t shattered.

Who does Heejin think she is, spreading lies? Obviously, anyone with eyes could see the pair couldn’t stand each other, and even as they are pretended to be friends for the others around them, she didn’t think they were selling it THAT well to deserve this assumption from the blonde. She just needs to push that to the back of her mind and do what she intended to do with this outing: have fun, unwind, and forget the events of the shitty day.

As they pull up to the nightclub, Hyeju grumbles a little too loudly.

It looks very familiar, and Hyeju can only assume this is where she found her sorry ass awhile ago when the most unfortunate event of all happened. She can feel stress cementing itself to her body. “This is the closest nightclub in the city, that’s where you asked to go, right?” The driver says, awkwardly rubbing a hand on his bearded face.

Before Hyeju or Chaewon can start to object to the familiar place, Heejin cuts them both off. “Yes of course! Thank you!” She immediately opens the door, closing it with an excited slam and running around the side to stand on the curb. She beams as the married couple stares at her with uneasiness. “Well come on, the two lovers are probably inside already!”

The two girls sigh almost simultaneously, taking off their seatbelts and reaching for the door handles. “Have fun.” The driver mumbles at them, sensing the awkwardness in the car. This causes Hyeju to shoot him a forced smile, climbing out to meet the musky air. Chaewon copies and they all join together outside the crowded and bright nightclub.

There is a short line at the door, but they all manage to get inside in only a couple of minutes. When they step in, they are met with a booming base so loud, it practically recalibrated the beating of their own hearts. There is a sea of people on the dance floor, a DJ on a taller stage overlooking everyone. Behind him, there are gigantic screens that change color in tempo with the music. Now that Hyeju is no longer drunk or sulking as much as she did the day of the convention, she takes in just how large this place is.

Hyeju confirms to herself that this kind of place that will make all her problems temporarily disappear, and she pushes past the other girls and makes her way over towards the bar, the motion creating a sense of déjà vu for her. She pushes that thought away and takes a seat at one of the many stools that line the bar, waiting for the bartender to get her the first drink of the night.

The peaceful feeling fades when she notices a familiar face approaching her, a professional look on her face. She stops in front of Hyeju, her stare looking blank and indifferent. She can almost see the girl taking a deep breath before speaking. “Hello again. What can I get you?” Hyunjin asks professionally, reaching underneath the bar to grab a glass. Hyeju can feel herself starting to sweat at the familiar face.

“How do you remember me? I came in here like, once, and this place is packed as fuck.” Hyeju states with offense, her eyes lowering to the shining, black counter. Hyunjin starts to make the stressed girl a Jack & Coke, remembering her order from last time. She places it on the counter, making Hyeju look up and stare her right in the eye.

“I’m very good at my job.” She says firmly, shooting a small smile. Hyeju almost feels like she should be afraid of this girl, even with the sweet smile. She looks around at the other people sitting at the bar; some chatting with friends, flirting with strangers, and some playing drinking games. Seeing she has no one to attend to at the moment, she turns back towards the girl, who was already sipping her drink in plentiful amounts. “So, how was the wedding?” She asks over the loud music nonchalantly, a half smirk on her face.

The drink almost falls out of her hand at the question, making Hyunjin’s smirk turns into a careful stare at the expensive glass in her hand. Hyeju coughs nervously as the alcohol stings her throat, her gaze on the bartender becoming hard. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She barely mumbles over the loudness of the room. A hum is received from Hyunjin, her hands moving to take out her phone.

Hyeju watches her with confusion until she pulls up a news article with a photo of the Park family next to Hyeju’s company photo at White Dove. She can feel her own face turning pale. “Is this fake news, then?” Hyunjin says with devious amusement. Hyeju swallows, her mouth running dry. She knows that its public knowledge by now but seeing an article with her face on it is enough to scare the shit out of her. No wonder despite all her lashing out at work, she’s still able to keep her job.

“Hyeju! Come join us! Oh, what are you drinking?”

A hand immediately comes up and slaps at Hyunjin’s phone, sending it falling to the bar floor with a thud. Hyeju feels her stomach twist in fear, turning around to see Heejin and Jinsoul behind her. They are eyeing her with curiosity at the sudden display in front of them: a flustered and scared Hyeju and an enraged bartender, bending down to pick up her phone immediately.

“Uh, did we interrupt something?” Jinsoul asks carefully, eyeing both girls with caution. If the younger girl thought she felt stressed before, she certainly feels ten times that now.

“No! No. Hyunjin here was just showing me something related to our conversation.” She laughs out loudly; thankful the music was louder, and it didn’t seem too suspicious. Jinsoul nods, showing a tight-lipped smile. Heejin next to her, was still looking at Hyeju with a strange expression.

Hyunjin was about to explode on this girl, her brand new phone receiving a small crack on the side of the screen, but all the words melted from her mind when she looked up at the new girls in front of her, the blonde girl in particular.

She doesn’t even remember what she was angry about, because the girl standing in front of her, looking at the source of her anger with confusion, was the prettiest girl the bartender has ever seen. Plenty of people have walked through this nightclub in her time working here, but it took a lot to make her stop in her tracks and develop a crush on first sight.

“Chae and Jungeun are waiting, come on, let’s go have fun together!” Heejin says over the music, doing a cute dance and pointing behind her. Hyeju looks and sees in a close corner, an uncomfortable and annoyed Chaewon is sitting at a booth next to a laughing Jungeun, dancing in her seat with excitement while Chaewon tries to hunch away in distaste for the blonde.

Jinsoul turns to Heejin, showing a wide smile. “Can you grab us more drinks? I think we need to catch up to Jungie.” She laughs, flashing a fond smile at her new lover, now hitting Chaewon’s shoulders swiftly as she laughs at something that Chaewon does not seem to find amusing.

Hyunjin immediately stands up straight, rushing closer to an edge of the bar like a soldier in attention. “I-I can get you whatever you want.” She says, loud and shaky, making Hyeju raise an eyebrow at her. Shrugging at the unsuspected events of the past few minutes, she gets up and follows Jinsoul back to the corner booth they were sitting at.

Heejin steps forward and asks for various shots and cocktails for everyone, hoping they’ll last awhile. She gives a warm smile, making Hyunjin’s heart beat harder. This girl was an angel in human form, she had to be, if she was making the bartender feel this way. She hangs onto every word that comes out of the girl’s mouth, rushing to show off her bartending skills.

In almost perfection and in record time, Hyunjin made all the various shots and mixed drinks and placed them on a tray for the blonde, making other people who were sitting at the bar gawk in awe at the skill they just witnessed. Hyunjin shows a toothless grin with pride as the girl blinks in surprise at the speed and skill she just witnessed. She grabs the tray after fishing some money out of her wallet, looking back up with a smile.


She walks away almost immediately, returning to her friends with a wide smile as Jinsoul and Jungeun cheer at her for bringing over the alcohol. Hyunjin watches as this takes place, frowning.

Was the girl not impressed with her skill? Is she in a relationship? Is she straight? A million questions fly around Hyunjin’s head at the disappointing result of her rather smooth display of skill just now. She watches with a small pout as the girl sits and takes a drink, as if nothing happened.

“Hello? Can we get another round here?”

Hyunjin snaps back to reality, seeing a few different people around the bar looking at her impatiently, empty glasses in their hands. She scrambles to meet all their requests.

She makes many, MANY mistakes on their orders throughout the night.

The night passes by swiftly. The girls are having a lot of fun, even Chaewon. Jungeun and Jinsoul find themselves becoming the main attraction of the dance floor, dancing with each other like a pair of talented goofballs, laughing as the crowd around them cheers on. Heejin is somewhere on the dancefloor as well, dancing and swaying by herself happily. Chaewon is at the table still, a drink in hand, swaying happily in her seat to the upbeat music. It was no Oh My Girl, but it was still enjoyable enough, especially after having a full drink just before.

Hyeju is a different story. She isn’t too much of a dancer, and now that her usual spot at the bar has been infected by the nosy bartender, and her annoying, unfortunately real wife was sitting at their table, she found herself in an open corner. She had a very small amount of her drink left, wanting to savor it. Also, she was too scared to approach Hyunjin for another. She was waiting to see if a floating waiter would find it and get her a new one.

She watches Jungeun and Jinsoul attract a larger crowd, the two clearly drunk girls dancing perfectly to the rhythm of the pulsating music. She rolls her eyes, grumbling into her microscopic drink from her glass. She was the one who suggested they all go out, and yet she was the only one not having any fun.

Thinking back to the outburst at Yerim earlier today, Hyeju closes her eyes and throws the very little amount left of her drink down her throat. Despite her untouchable position on this project due to her tie to the Park family, Hyeju still feels like she will face a lot of consequences for her actions when she goes back to work. She feels terrible for the way she snapped at Yerim, not meaning to come off so strongly. She tries to push those feelings away.

Out of the corner of her eye, she can see someone in all black approaching her, feeling like the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Her poor decisions were overwhelming her right now, and she needed someone to come take her empty glass and get a new one. Turning her head, she is met with an alert and blushing Hyunjin.

“Shouldn’t you be behind the bar?” Hyeju says with distaste, looking away and gripping her glass a little tighter. She’s expecting some kind of anger from the other girl for her actions earlier, or even more prying into her personal life, but she doesn’t get that. Hyunjin leans in closer, looking at Hyeju with pleading eyes and ignoring her question completely.

“I need you to help me out here.” She murmurs, barely audible over the loud music and cheering for the idiots in the middle of the dance floor. Hyunjin scans the large crowd, and her eyes land on a less crowded corner of it to their right. Heejin is there, still swaying in rhythm and singing along to the song.

Hyeju can see that the bartender looks at her with awe, visibly swallowing. She then turns back to Hyeju with a bashful smile, looking down at the floor. “She’s with your group, right?” She asks with an awkward laugh, making Hyeju roll her eyes. These lovesick fools around her are starting to give her a bad taste.

“She might be. Why do you care?” She asks indifferently, silently thankful that Hyunjin didn’t blow up on her about the phone incident. She thinks she should be thanking Heejin’s existence for that.

Hyunjin takes the glass out of the younger girl’s hand, replacing it with a piece of paper. She looks at it with curiosity when she sees numbers on it. “C-can you give her my number? I’ve never seen someone so beautiful in my whole life, I swear.” She says nervously, rolling the smooth glass in between her hands.

Hyeju looks at her with a blank expression, taking a deep breath. “Really? Give her your number? Not only is it a terrible idea to get someone else to do it when you barely talked to her, but also, why should I help you? You were all in my business earlier.” She says with harshness, making the bartender look at the floor. Despite the pulsating rainbow of lights against the whole club, Hyeju can see the girl blushing with embarassment.

“I-I’ll tell.” She says swiftly, eyes snapping back at Hyeju wide. The younger girl furrows her brows in confusion. Hyunjin takes a shaky breath, nodding, her eyes still wide. “I’ll tell them about the article. That’s why you slapped my phone, right? They don’t know, do they?” She says in one breath, stepping back.

This is the absolute last thing Hyeju needs right now. She can’t be bothered to play matchmaker, and she doesn’t need Hyunjin spilling their secret. Maybe she doesn’t care about Chaewon’s friends finding out anymore, but she thinks back to the arrangement she set up with Mr. Park. If she’s going to be staying with Chaewon for her time here, maybe she doesn’t want the friends to find out. Living with an upset and bitching Chaewon is the last thing she will ever need.

Hyeju stumbles forward and grabs Hyunjin’s arm, afraid she will run away and spill the already too high pile of lies and secrecy. She grips the piece of paper in her other hand hard. “I’ll give it to her tomorrow when she’s more sober. I’m not going to disturb her. She looks…” Hyeju trails off, watching Heejin aggressively moving to the music, making some of the people around her look with wide and concerned eyes. “…occupied with herself. I promise I’ll give it.” She says defeatedly, looking back at the nervous bartender.

Hyunjin nods, looking down at the empty glass in her hand. She looks up at Hyeju with a tight-lipped smile. “How about a few of these on the house then?” She says nervously, thinking back to their earlier encounter. She knows she is asking the younger a lot considering the teasing she was giving her about the whole marriage thing (that she unfortunately had to see for herself manifest in this very place).

Hyeju smiles for the first time all night, patting Hyunjin on the shoulder. “That sounds really swell. I could use a few more drinks.”

Chaewon sits in the large booth, watching the people around her dance, talk, and laugh with each other. She smiles to herself watching all of these people have fun, be themselves, and act so free, not a care in the world.

She frowns when she rethinks that.

All these people around her that get to do whatever they want, and not stick to some kind of reputation or stay under the watchful eye of the public. This reality call only makes Chaewon knock back another shot on the table in front of her. She shakes a little at the impact, but sighs as it warms her up even more.

“Whoa, what's up with you?”

Chaewon looks over and sees Hyeju approach her with a blank expression, sipping on her Jack & Coke casually. Chaewon rolls her eyes, immediately taking another shot. She doesn’t want to deal with this right now, even as her timing was horrible, she didn’t want to see the girl any other time anyway.

Hyeju’s eyebrows shoot up in concern. “Be careful princess, look what all of that did last time.” She says coolly, taking a large sip of her own drink. The hypocrisy of the display makes Chaewon frown angrily.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She says harshly, picking up a mojito on the table and taking an angry sip. “Don’t tell me what to do. I have enough people in my life doing that already.” She snaps, quickly taking another drink. Hyeju flinches at her choice of words, looking at the floor with embarrassed cheeks.

She quickly moves and sits down across from the girl, burying her face to stare into the brown liquid in her hand. She moves the glass around in a circular motion. “I’m sorry.” She says firmly, making Chaewon clench her jaw in response, and surprise. She didn’t think this girl knew what that word even meant. The pair sit frozen in place for what feels like forever before they both go back to nursing their drinks.

The silence between them becomes less awkward as they both sit and watch the people around them, the only sound being the continuing loud bass from the speakers that hang from the tall ceiling of the night club. The lights from the large screens behind the DJ stand jump with color, lighting up the dark room every second.

Hyeju turns away and looks at the walls of the club, noticing that while the screen was a rainbow of pulsing emotion, the accent lighting under the bar and its nearby booths were all red.

The girl feels her stomach turn, and not from the alcohol. Something about it felt familiar, as she recalls the night everything fell apart. She remembers the girl across from her, under this same red lighting. She remembers the way she looked, the way the light made everything feel so…intense.

She dared turn her head now, and that same feeling seems to hit her straight in the heart.

Chaewon was staring off at the dancing crowd, her face expressionless, yet elegant in display. She takes another sip of her mojito, crinkling her eyes slightly at the alcoholic impact. Hyeju studies every movement. Like a deer in headlights, she wonders why she can’t seem to look away.

The small girl finally turns her head, feeling eyes burning her skin. She furrows her brows at Hyeju confused for a moment before her face immediately turns to stone.

She can see it too, the red lighting against the wall. She notices the way the red intensifies Hyeju’s gaze, glinting in her black pupils. Every detail seems to come alive on her. Chaewon notices the way her triangular shaped lips start to slowly part as she takes a small breath.

The intense gazing frightens the girls, at how vulnerable they feel in each other’s presence against it. The intense red color screams at them, like some kind of warning sign, but all they see is fiery passion.

Chaewon snaps out of it, immediately downing two more shots, then finishing her drink. Hyeju looks at her with wide eyes, before taking the glass in her now shaking hands and letting the rest of it go down her throat. She grabs at a remaining shot on the table and downs that almost immediately after.

The pair try everything in their power to avoid eye contact with each other, staring hard at Jungeun and Jinsoul, both very visibly sweaty and still going strong. Despite how much it made both girls roll their eyes before, they can’t let themselves look away from the dancing lovers.

Hyeju randomly stands up, surprised at her own sudden reaction. Chaewon finally forces herself to look at the girl with confusion, afraid of looking at her face directly. She didn’t want whatever weirdness she was experiencing to come back.

“I’m going to get more. Need anything?” She almost yells out, nodding her pained face quickly at the bar. Hyunjin is watching the pair with a careful eye, then immediately throws a thumbs up and a wide smile at Hyeju.

Chaewon has no idea what that’s about, but she nods. If she was experiencing this weirdness for any longer, she might run out of here. She didn’t want to worry her friends again.

“Yeah, I could use another drink.”

Unsurprisingly, the pair end up wasted again, a sense of déjà vu laying across the nightclub.

The U-shaped booth they were sitting at, on opposite sides, looked different as they were now sitting practically on top of each other, laughing like hyenas at the most random things. At the moment, it was some guy on the dancefloor trying to hit on Heejin.

“Heejin is SO not the kind of girl he should be hitting on.” Chaewon yells out, slamming her fist in laughter on the table. Hyeju laughs along too, feeling herself naturally lean in closer to the small girl. She has no idea what is going on at this point, but all she can feel is that she wants to be closer.

“Good to know, our bartender kind of has a thing for her.” She slurs out, lazily pointing at Hyunjin, who is staring at Heejin’s situation with a jealous expression. Chaewon laughs even harder at the confession, leaning herself over until she is practically sitting in Hyeju’s lap. She lays her head on her shoulder.

“That’s so funny. What’s with my friends and finding lovers on this trip?” She yells out, turning her face more into Hyeju’s neck to laugh again. Hyeju feels her face turning red at the closeness, a drunk grin plastered on.

“I know. Gross right? Love is so weird.” Hyeju flings her hand out in slow motion, her face in a playful frown.

Chaewon closes her eyes, her head still on Hyeju’s shoulder. She cuddles into her, throwing an arm around her shoulder to get closer. “Couldn’t be me. Not like THAT.”

Hyeju hums firmly in agreement, immediately going to pick up another shot glass from the table. She hands one to Chaewon, then picks one up for herself. The clingy girl lifts her head up, an arm still around Hyeju, the other holding out a small, clear liquid. Hyeju does the same.

“To love being the most fucked up thing on the planet.” She says confidently, making Chaewon sloppily smack her glass with her own. “Cheers to THAT.” She yells again, making Hyeju laugh. The pair take their shots, setting the glasses down a little too hard on the table.

Instead of burying herself farther in Hyeju’s shoulder, Chaewon turns and looks at the girl whose lap she is occupying. She sees it again: the red light surrounding them. Her eyes drift down to the girl’s sweet lips. The red lighting makes them seem even more inviting.

Hyeju watches her eyes looking down, slightly opening her mouth a little. The people around them move fast to the music, and the lights flicker all over the dance floor as the sea of people seem to be at its highest capacity this time of night. These two, however, find themselves in their own world together. One that decorates their skin in an intense, red glow.

Hyeju immediately moves her head forward, capturing the small girl in a surprise kiss.

It’s sloppy, lazy even, as the pair are too intoxicated to function properly, their minds and their actions becoming foggy. However, they grab at each other's faces and necks, as if the other person will disappear when they break away. As if this is one of the only moments that the two will have like this.

“Let’s leave.”

Chaewon says this immediately after she breaks the kiss, both their faces beet red, a combination from the alcohol and the surprising moment. Hyeju takes a deep breath, blinking a few times before nodding vigorously.

Chaewon and Hyeju get up from their comfortable position, linking hands. They make a beeline for the exit of the nightclub, Hyeju struggling to schedule an Uber for the both of them on the way out.

Just as they do so, Heejin exits the dancefloor, making her way over to the table with a frown at seeing it empty, all the alcohol on it empty, glass cups remaining. She turns around and heads for the bar, making Hyunjin nearly drop a glass that was in her own hand.

“Hi again!” She says cheerfully, resting her head on her hand on the bar counter. “What can I get-“ She is cut off by Heejin looking at the door with an amused and confused face. “Do you know if my drunk friends just ran out of here?” She asks with a laugh, making Hyunjin blush furiously. Even this girl’s laugh was angelic.

She then realizes she was just asked a question, shaking the thought away. She clears her throat, trying to suppress a smug smirk on her face. “They did. Funny, you say drunk, but that can’t be. Tipsy maybe, but probably not drunk.” She says, making Heejin look at the bartender with curiosity. “What do you mean?”

Hyunjin shrugs, looking down at her hands as she starts to wipe down a glass with a wet cloth.

“I mean, out of all the things they were drinking, at least half weren’t even alcoholic. My boss would absolutely kill me if I was giving out drinks on the house.”

Chapter Text

If they thought their previous fights were bad, then this one was a total warzone.

Chaewon and Hyeju stood on opposite sides of the bedroom, their faces red and their voices loud enough to wake up the entire building. Both girls knew as the venomous words slipped out of their mouths that the friends across the hall could hear them, and yet they didn’t care. What mattered more in their stubborn and distraught state was out yelling the other.



The argument consisted of words and phrases such as these, the girls staring at each other with a look of pure hatred. Chaewon is wrapped in the complimentary bathrobe they give out for staying at the hotel, looking smaller than she usually is under its large size. Hyeju is in her clothes from last night, a sense of déjà vu being recalled as if it was the first, unfortunate night all over again. It might as well have been, for the way everything seemed to happen.

Chaewon found herself waking up this morning wrapped in Hyeju’s arms, snuggling closer to the girl with a smile in her sleepy state, until she realized what was happening. Chaos commenced not a moment after she ripped herself away, yelling in shock and confusion. This act woke up the sleeping girl next to her, glaring until her face turned pale at the sight of the small girl lying next to her. It seems as if all the events of last night rush back not only to Hyeju, but to Chaewon as well.

How is it that they could have a pretty good memory of the night before? They remembered all the alcohol consumed. There’s no way that amount could make any person remember the night before in such good detail. As every event that plays out, from the moment they stepped into the Uber until they wrapped their arms around each other to sleep, the girls find themselves feeling perplexed.

It started with Chaewon pointing a shaking finger at the girl, still trying to adjust her eyes to the sunlight coming through the large window on the wall. “What did you do to me? Why are you in my bed?” She spat, sending a grumpy and bewildered Hyeju to fight back, their words pinballing off of each other and escalating fast.

They have no idea how much time went past since the shouting started, but the roughness of their throats and the headache in their minds is an indication that this has been going on for a while, neither girl willing to back down. They are placing blame on the other for the night before, not daring to admit what they both know: they were both fully aware of their actions, despite the alcohol telling them otherwise.

As flashes of the night before keep playing in their mind, their anger at each other only keeps increasing. Chaewon winces as she stops to take a breath, her voice feeling like gravel in her own throat. “Why are you still here?” She asks defeatedly, swallowing to stop the pain. She could have kept going with the shouting, she wanted to project all of her strange feelings at the younger girl across from her, but she’s been shouting too long. Her eyes look at the ground as her eyebrows furrow together, unable to look at Hyeju anymore.

The CTO tightens her jaw at the question, her hands still balled at her sides. “Because I’m staying here. Your father said so.” She says with annoyance, looking away to stare at the floor as well. She could feel Chaewon’s eyes on her now that she was looking away.

The rich girl stares into Hyeju as if trying to read her mind. She walks over to her, her feet padding across the floor to stand directly in front of her. She still does not look up, eyes trained on the flecks in the white tile. “What about that, Hyeju? What did he tell you? There’s no reason for you to be here.” She crosses her arms, and the younger girl continues to stare at the floor.

“He just wanted us to be seen together if we are seen at all.” She shrugs, glancing at Chaewon for a split second before back at the ground. The watchful girl can see Hyeju starting to look very uncomfortable and scared, a big shift from all the shouting only a minute or two ago. She doesn’t like this sudden change of energy.

“That’s complete bullshit, and you know it.” She states firmly. Her hand reaches over and shakes Hyeju’s arm. “And look at me when you answer a fucking question.” She scolds, causing Hyeju to pull away, crossing her arms like a toddler in time out. She flashed another familiar, angry face at the shorter girl. “Do NOT touch me, gremlin.”

Chaewon pulls her head back in offense. “What are you, five? Grow up.” She rolls her eyes and turns around, walking back towards the bed. Chaewon starts to make up the bed in an attempt to have some control over fixing something, even if its small. “You don’t have to take out your issues in your pathetic, fucked up life on me.” She mumbles harshly, fluffing a pillow in her small hands.

As soft as those words were compared to the ones that were just ringing across the room, it’s these ones that are the final straw for Hyeju. She immediately heads out of the room and towards the cabinet in the living room, taking out light, black jacket and aggressively starting to put on some socks. Chaewon walks out of the room to see the girl’s face a deep shade of red, grabbing hastily her shoes.

“Where are you going?” She asks, half annoyed and half concerned. Even as angry as the girl was with her loud, shouting voice, this silent preparation to go out looked as angry as Chaewon has ever seen the girl. It was kind of scary, what she was witnessing looking so calm and yet concerning to make the past moments disappear from her mind.

Hyeju grabs the spare key from the table, opening the door dramatically. She looks back to glare at Chaewon with the most hateful and, Chaewon can tell, sad look she has ever seen. As she does, the room across the hall opens, Jinsoul sticking her sleepy head out in confusion.

Chaewon stares at Jinsoul’s tired eyes, full of curiosity and concern, from across the doorway. Hyeju doesn’t even notice, or care to. “I’m getting the hell away from here, that’s for sure.” She says with force, making Jinsoul’s eyes widen, but still standing frozen in place.

Hyeju catches her eyes as she slams the door closed but looks away quickly to stomp down the hallway in anger. Jinsoul watches her head towards the elevator with a tight jaw. She has no idea what’s been going on across the hall all morning, but it was making her hungover state worse. More importantly, her best friend was involved, and that made her want to intervene.

Jungeun gets up from the bed in the room, walking over to wrap her arms around Jinsoul’s waist against the doorway. She buries her face in the side of the dark-haired girl’s neck with a groan. “What the hell are your friends up to?” She asks with tiredness evident in her voice.

Jinsoul leans back farther into the blonde, but keeps her eyes trained on the hallway where Hyeju once was. “I’m going to have to find out.”

Who the fuck does she think she is?

Hyeju can’t stop asking herself this question regarding the small girl back at the hotel. Her hands are in her jacket pockets as she stiffly walks through the Vegas late morning. The air is a little humid, but the jacket was still needed. She keeps her eyes trained down on the cracking asphalt, avoiding the various shoes she would see coming near her line of sight.

All she wants to do right now is walk so that she can blow off some steam, but Chaewon’s mumbled words echo loudly in her head. She tries to shake the thoughts away and power through her walk, hoping to tire out eventually. If there’s one thing Hyeju hates, it’s being forced to deal with her emotions. That’s what throwing yourself into a work project is for, you’ll get so swept up in it and the shit that surrounds it that you won’t remember what you were feeling before.

She sighs slowly as she turns a random corner, entering an area of the city she has yet to see. She’s been bottling up her bad feelings for as long as she can remember; it’s all she knows to do. Maybe it’s not the best method, but she doesn’t have any other choice. Sure, she has a friend or two back in Seoul that she goes out with once in a while, but she’s never shared these kinds of feelings with them before. She hasn’t shared her feelings in…a long time. Not since she was close with Yerim.

The split-second thought of her ex causes Hyeju to stop in her tracks. She remembers what Chaewon said, about how her life was fucked up, causing her to look up and survey her surroundings. She has absolutely no idea where she is, making her sigh as her hands come up to her face. Of course, her was pretty fucked up, but she didn't need other people and their stupid two cents saying so. There is too much weighing on her mind right now, too much of her life suffocating her in this city. She feels like this is all a big test, one she cannot run from or bottle up anymore.

All her thoughts are interrupted when a savory smell hits her nose, her eyes closing as she takes a big breath. She can smell some good, fresh coffee coming from somewhere nearby, and the thought of having one right now after the mess she had to wake up to makes her mouth form a small smile. She looks around at the many close-knit shops that are aligning this boulevard, until her eyes lands on what looks like the source of the smell.

Diagonally across the street was a small, yet adorable looking café. Hyeju sees the sign hanging from the roof reading ‘Birds of a Feather’ and her eyebrow raises. She would have never guessed that was a café by the name, but it sounds cute enough. What matters more is the pleasant aroma that the little place is producing. It drags Hyeju in as she makes her journey to its front door in hopes of getting something that will brighten her day, and her mood.

The bell chimes as she opens the door, the perfect coffee scent getting stronger, making Hyeju alert almost instantly. She looks around and surveys the surprisingly empty space. There are a dozen string lights hanging from the ceiling, and all of the furniture is a light brown wood. The whole back wall was a giant chalkboard, the name of the café across it with little notes and pictures surrounding it, probably from put there by customers. Complimenting the whole place was the various amount of greenery that decorated the walls and some shelves.

Hyeju was snapped out of her admiration of the cute place by a friendly greeting from the person behind the counter, giving her a cute smile and a wave. Hyeju smiles back and walks forward in front of the girl, a peach-colored apron wrapped around her black clothes. “You must not be from around here.” The girl laughs, motioning to the almost empty café. “We never get anyone outside of the regulars after the early morning rush.”

Hyeju feels her smile tighten. Despite the warm and welcoming energy of the place, she isn’t really in the mood for chatting. She did have a stressful morning, after all, and didn’t want that to be evident to the kind girl. She laughs nervously, her eyes tearing away from the sweet smile of the barista to the menu above her head, written in a cute, blue font on more chalkboard.

Her eyes scan the menu with curiosity, her brow furrowing on her supposed decision. “I’ll have the uh…the swan special?” She asks hesitantly, unsure why what looks like an americano had that extravagant name. This causes the barista’s eyes to open wide, a gasp escaping from her smiling mouth. She looks behind her at the door to the kitchen area, and her loud voice makes Hyeju and the two other people in the café jump.

“SOOYOUNG! A NEW CUSTOMER ORDERED YOUR FAVORITE!” The barista screams, the smile never leaving her face as she turns back to give a grin to a confused Hyeju. It’s just an americano, she wasn’t sure what the fuss was.

The kitchen door then swung open, a pretty girl with long, brown hair donning similar attire to the barista stepping out. She had a rolling pin in her hand, pointing it at the now giggling girl with a curious eyebrow raised. “What’s got you so loud this morning, Jiwoo? There’s no one-“ She stops when she notices the lost girl on the other side of the counter.

She immediately nods, a smile now on her face. “Oh, I’m sorry, hello! Welcome to Birds of a Feather!” She says kindly, eyes then looking at screen Jiwoo was typing on. Sooyoung makes a noise of affirmation at it. “That’s what you were yelling about. Woo-ming, you’re going to scare our customers away one of these days.” She says playfully, the other girl looking bashful at the comment.

Hyeju isn’t sure what their deal is, but she can feel her teeth rotting at how sweet the two girls were being with each other, making her frown. She came here for a coffee, and to stop the stressful headache that was building up since this morning. These two seemed to only add to it.

“Uh, are you going to make my drink now?” Hyeju asks hesitantly, the two flirting girls suddenly stopping their moment. They give each other one last longing look, before Sooyoung tosses out a wink and heads back into the kitchen, making Jiwoo giggle as she makes the americano. Hyeju grimaces at the sight, pulling out money from her pocket.

As Jiwoo finally hands over the delicious smelling americano, Hyeju mumbles a small “thank you” before heading over to the door, only to immediately stop in her tracks. Chaewon would still be there, and she didn’t want to see her. She scans the large, glass windows of the café and remembers how she has no idea where she is as well. That only leaves her to stay here for a bit before venturing back out when she felt she could stomach being in the same room as her unwanted spouse.

Jiwoo watches the girl with a curious eye, wondering where her head was at. Despite her bubbly persona and the fact that Sooyoung makes her brain scatter, Jiwoo was paying attention sharply to the new customer. Their café is relatively new and small, and it’s not often that they get new customers at such a strange time of day. This girl, as far as Jiwoo could tell, was also exhibiting a lot of stress on her pretty face, far beyond what she has seen of the regulars who come and start their long days off with their specialty coffee.

She walks back into the kitchen area to see Sooyoung putting various doughs in their bread makers, getting ready for tomorrow’s shift. She smiles at seeing the girl she loves working so hard to help continue their dream of owning and running their own café together unfolding in front of her eyes. They’ve only been open for a few months, but Jiwoo’s heart soars seeing how hard the older girl works for this, for both their sake. The moment almost makes her forget why she walked back there in the first place.

“Sooyoungie~” Jiwoo singsongs, making the baker look back with a smile. Jiwoo leans her head back to stare out of the small window of the kitchen door, a perfect shot of Hyeju staring with despair at her coffee cup. “Why don’t we give a proper hello to the new customer, maybe ask how she heard about the place? You know, for marketing reasons.” She says shyly, knowing full well Sooyoung can tell it has nothing to do with marketing the café.

The taller girl wipes some flour from off her apron before walking forward to plant a quick kiss on the blushing girl’s face. “Lead the way, darling.”

Both girls exit the kitchen, spotting Hyeju in the same position. It makes Jiwoo wonder if she even tasted the coffee at all yet, making her concern raise. She knows their coffee is irresistible by smell alone, so if the girl wasn’t touching it, it confirmed that she was really bothered about something. Jiwoo grabs the baker’s hand before heading over to Hyeju, kind smiles on their faces.

Hyeju doesn’t have time to react before they’re standing in front of her. “How do you like the coffee?” Jiwoo asks kindly, making Hyeju groan on the inside. Don’t they see that she’s really not in the right space to be talking? She manages to bury that annoyance and shows a small smile, holding up the coffee. “It’s really good, thank you so much again.”

Sooyoung’s good vision notices the liquid in the cup is still at the top, and there was not way she took a sip of it at all. She’s watched the girl she loves make enough of them to be able to tell. Plus, not that she’s biased or anything, but the response would have been ten times more animated. She steps forward more, taking one of the opposite seats across from Hyeju. She smiles as Jiwoo stands behind her, her hands resting on Sooyoung’s shoulders as Hyeju gives them a blank stare.

“You look like you have a lot on your mind, kid.” Sooyoung states, reaching one of her hands up to hold Jiwoo’s own. The kind girl nods in agreement. “You haven’t touched your coffee. I can tell.” She says nervously, making Hyeju’s cheeks flush with embarrassment. Not only did it feel like she was having an intervention with complete strangers, but they were calling her out too.

If this were any other place, any other moment, and with any other people, Hyeju knows she would rudely stand up and exit the place in lightning speed. But, as the guilt and shame of everything comes flooding back under the two lovers’ welcoming and gentle gaze, Hyeju can feel small tears threatening to spill from her eyes. This makes the two girls across the table look at each other with concern, then back at Hyeju.

They wait as she formulates how she wants to reply, or if she even wants to at all. She thinks back to her earlier thoughts, coming down this very street. She was kicking herself for how she always bottles up her emotions, and it led her here. This should be taken as a sign. Hyeju decides that she’s going to let down her guard for these caring girls. They’re strangers anyway, and she doubts she will ever see them again.

“My life is just…messy right now.” Hyeju says carefully, masking her teary eyes with a light chuckle. Sooyoung nods at her, as if giving her permission to continue. Hyeju pauses, thinking over her life since she has been here, which feels like it’s been forever already. So much has happened, she can hardly keep track. Where does she start? How much does she tell?

She looks down at their joined hand resting on Sooyoung’s left shoulder, and she notices that there are matching rings there. She swallows a lump in her throat, sighing. “You two are from around here, right?” She asks shyly, receiving a warm smile from Jiwoo. “Not really, but we’ve been here for a few years. We met here and didn’t ever want to leave!” She says fondly, squeezing her wife’s hand.

Hyeju sighs, cursing to herself that out of everyone in this place, she found herself stuck with a spoiled brat. She looks down at her own hand, noticing how bare it is in comparison to the other girls. “Then you must know that people can do stupid things here.” She starts, the other two girls nodding. Hyeju feels her heartbeat speed up at the shameful statement she is about to spill. Her words come out rushed and scattered. “I…I kind of drunkenly got married to someone and she is the worst human being on the planet, and I don’t know what to do because of her dad and I-“

The rambling is cut off by a bellow of laughter from both girls, making Hyeju’s face turn pink.

Sooyoung is trying to suppress her laughter at the sight of Hyeju’s offended and upset face, but it takes her a second as her own face turns red from laughing. Jiwoo has her face buried in Sooyoung’s shoulders and is shaking from silent laughter. Sooyoung finally takes a deep breath and rushes her words.

“No, no we aren’t laughing at you.” She says, letting out a few breaths to steady herself. “It’s just…that sounds awfully familiar. This city really knows how to bring people together, huh?”

Hyeju narrows her eyes at Sooyoung, confused at what she was implying. Jiwoo looks up with a pink face, resting her arm around Sooyoung’s shoulder and Hyeju sees her ring sparkle under the soft, accent lighting once again. She puts two and two together.

“You…you two got married here?!” She asks with shock, confused by how close the two girls were as they turned to stare at each other with silent love. Hyeju can’t believe that two people in her and Chaewon’s position would end up being so sickeningly perfect for each other and choose to stay together after committing such an insane act. There’s no way it ever ended like that for anyone.

Jiwoo nods proudly, squishing her face into the side of Sooyoung’s with a beaming smile. “Yup! I couldn’t have asked for it any other way.” Sooyoung hums in approval, her cheeks turning pink. “We met in a café a few blocks from here, somehow ended up still together later that night at a bar, and when we woke up in the morning, married.” Sooyoung says in an animated matter, making Hyeju look at the couple with wide eyes. “Now, here we are, running our own café together, and still going strong!”

Hyeju can hardly believe the sight in front of her. “That sounds really unrealistic.” She says neutrally, the smile never leaving the married couple. “I’m stuck with a pretentious bitch, and you happened to find your soulmate? Some luck I have.” She says with bitterness, looking down at the cooling coffee in her hands. She finally takes a sip, her eyes widening at how good it was, making Jiwoo hum in approval.

“Something led you to this café, I’m assuming it was the good smell.” Sooyoung starts, making Hyeju look at her with confusion. She points to the younger girl’s coffee. “You ordered it, and yet something was holding you back from taking your first sip. You were going to let it sit there and cool and lose its goodness, all because you were too lost in your own mind to remember why you came to get it in the first place.”

Hyeju’s confusion only grows at the older girl’s speech, but Jiwoo smiles fondly. “Something led you to wherever you were, and this girl drew you in, whether you believe so or not.” Hyeju narrows her eyes at the direction the conversation was heading in. “And you took that step, which felt right at the time. Sure, almost everybody who ends up in this position crashes and burns.” She laughs, making Hyeju grumble.

“But, I can see it written on your face. There’s a lot on your mind, and I can sense it’s beyond this situation. It might be holding you back from something great. I don't know the girl, but there's a reason you chose her that night, even if you were drunk. The fact that you are still with her, too, says something. Just give it a chance. Let your walls down, kid. You really never know.”

Hyeju stares blankly at the two girls, her brain turning to tv static. Despite the sincerity and weight behind Sooyoung’s wise words, Hyeju only feels them bounce off of her brain, her walls still very much up. She immediately stands up, making both girls look at her with furrowed brows.

This is exactly why Hyeju never shared her feelings, why she bottled everything up. Having these words thrown in front of her face was something she wasn’t used to, and she didn’t know what to do with the information. As if she would willingly give Chaewon a chance, she’s getting out of there the second that she can.

Still, last night’s thoughts come back at her, in full force. She remembers the feeling of Chaewon’s lips against her own, the way the girl was snuggling herself into her, and how wonderful her small frame felt next to her own as they fell asleep. These feelings only made Hyeju start to visibly shake. All she wanted to do was shove them so far down that they would disappear forever.

“Hey, are you okay kid?” Sooyoung asks, Jiwoo stepping forward to get a look at the girl’s pale face. “We’re sorry if we overstepped our boundaries. Soo, should I get her some water or-“ Jiwoo is cut off as Hyeju shuffles swiftly past her and heads for the door, a hurried “thank you for the coffee.” Spat out before she makes her dramatic exit.

Sooyoung’s advice rings in her head as she frantically walks the sidewalk in front of her, pushing past some stray people who glare as she bumps them.

“Just give it a chance. Let your walls down, kid.”

Hyeju shakes her head violently, making some bystanders side eye her with judgement. How could she be so stupid to think the words of some dumb, love-sick strangers could do anything for her mood? She took a chance to face her feelings, and it crashed and burned. She didn’t like what advice and words were given to her at all. And yet, why was it bothering her this much?

She remembers back when she used to be able to share her thoughts and let her guard down in the past, and how beneficial that had been for her. So, what, Sooyoung and Jiwoo couldn’t help her, but she knows who potentially can. She knows of someone who used to be there for her in the past, and she knows who she can talk to. In a moment of weakness, she is going to blindly jump into something that is either going to crash and burn for her even more or prove to be beneficial.

Taking out her phone, Hyeju’s shaking fingers punch in a few numbers, the phone then pressed into her ear. She can feel her heartbeat quickening and her face sweating. Despite everything in her brain telling her to hang up the phone, she can’t do it. She’s already here.

“H-hi, Mingyu? It’s Son Hyeju. C-can you tell me if Ms. Choi is still in the office t-today?”

Chapter Text

The pounding on the hotel door makes Chaewon flinch, her anger rising back. Hyeju just left, did she come back to pick another fight? Chaewon grumbles, ignoring the frantic pounding that echoes in her empty suite.

After a minute, silence fills the air, her shoulders relaxing. Whoever was bothering her after a shitty morning must’ve gotten the hint, leaving her alone. She decides to use the opportunity to crawl back into her large, plush bed, burying herself in the sinking mattress and the soft blankets.

As the growing familiar scent of Hyeju hits her nose against the sheets, a weird feeling washes over the small girl. A mix of annoyance, pain, anger, and a familiar comfort flood her system, overwhelming her mind as she can feel tears threatening to spill from her eyes.

Absent mindedly, she reaches across the empty bed and takes Hyeju’s pillow, bringing it closer to herself, burying her now crying eyes in it.

She has no idea what she is doing, and why she’s suddenly so upset, but her own words rung in her mind when she made the younger girl angrily stomp out of the place. The overlapping thoughts of last night and the terrible fight they just had all mix together, confusing the hell out of the small girl. Chaewon just wants to disappear, she has other problems to deal with, she doesn’t need this confusion on top of them.

Noise could be heard from the suite door, the sound of a lock being opened making Chaewon suddenly lift her head up, her neck craning back with her brows furrowed. Was it Hyeju? Did she hope for it to be Hyeju? She feels another pang of guilt as she remembers just how upset the girl looked. There’s no way she would be coming back yet. Still, who could be at her door if the only ones who had keys were her and the girl who just stormed out of here?

The sound of the door opening makes Chaewon freeze, her blood running cold. That is, until she hears who was now inside of the suite’s living room. “Park Chaewon I swear to god, I’m going to k-“ Her best friend’s words stop when she sees the sight of the younger girl with her back turned, curled in a ball on the bed, eyes trained on the window in front of her.

Jinsoul sighs to herself, the annoyance of the girl ignoring the knocking dissipating as she takes in her best friend’s melancholy state. She walks over silently and sits on the edge of the bed, still feeling groggy from the morning shouting and the hangover she was still sporting. As she attempts to gather her thoughts in her current state, the room feels deadly silent.

“Jungeun has a master key.” She starts, the girl next to her not stirring in the slightest. “I probably shouldn’t have asked her to use her privilege like that, but you need to talk about what’s been going on all morning.” Jinsoul says firmly, putting a hand on Chaewon’s arm. She watches as her best friend curls up into herself more, her cheek resting against a pillow.

“I know she’s been here since last night.” Jinsoul states, making Chaewon turn her head to stare at the dark-haired girl with sad eyes. She shrugs her small shoulders.

“We fought, that’s all.” Her voice comes out small and defeated, her face turning to stare back at the window as her cheeks turn pink. “I said something really mean to her and she left.” Jinsoul nods in response, a sigh escaping her lips. Her best friend was stubborn when she was upset, either taking a lot of prying, or chasing after her as she runs away to be alone. She’s used to this kind of thing by now over the years, so these short responses are not bothering her.

However, this time it’s about someone who wasn’t her father. Chaewon’s friends outside of Jinsoul and Heejin were known to them a little, but Chaewon has never been this distraught over someone before. It makes Jinsoul’s suspicions, as well as her uneasy feelings for the other girl, raise significantly.

“This girl means something to you, huh?” Jinsoul says softly as she observes Chaewon’s face. It twists into a scowl, an offended look thrown at a concerned Jinsoul. Seeing that her friend’s face was unmoving, her own softens into a pained and confused expression. Jinsoul can see a glint of something else in her eye too as Chaewon holds her unreadable expression.

The older girl sighs for the hundredth time since she woke up this morning, staring at the smaller girl with compassion. She could tell that it took a lot for the girl to keep silent, even if it wasn't actually a vocal answer. She could see it since she first met Hyeju, the energy between them strange, as if something were holding them back. Heejin may have teased them about it until they were red in the face, but she was watching from the sides carefully. There was no doubt that the two had something going on, and not just something secretive and suspicious.

“Maybe you should tell her.” Jinsoul states bluntly, making Chaewon tense up again, as if her words could hurt. The small girl feels nothing but trapped right now. She wanted to shake off Jinsoul’s question, but she can feel it pulsating in her heart and becoming painfully visible on her face that she couldn’t hide if she tried.

Chaewon couldn’t deny that something in her was feeling drawn to the other girl, the memories of the night before replaying in her head over and over like a broken record. The way Hyeju’s lips felt against her own, the weird sense of safety she felt as they fell asleep, even the way she noticed how the brunette’s face was staring at her with longing under those cursed red lights.

She wants to blame everything on the alcohol, like how it got her into this mess in the first place, but she can’t use the same excuse twice. At that point, there was more going on than just drinking. The thought of Hyeju’s angry and upset face at her harsh words from earlier replay in her mind as the feelings start to hit her like a bullet train.

Fuck, she might have some feelings for Hyeju.

Coming to terms with this information makes her shut down. She has a lot going on right now and liking the girl she is with against her will is the last thing she could have ever wanted for herself. Jinsoul sees a flash of a hundred emotions across the rich girl’s face, feeling helpless. She wonders what is going on, but she knows that there is something deeper going on that the girl won’t tell her about. She wants to be a good friend and respect it, at least for now. At least, until she thinks it’s starting to hurt Chaewon. Based on her reactions right now, she wonders if it is actually hurting her.

“You can talk about it, you know.” Jinsoul says, referring to the reason that Chaewon was being so secretive since her friends got here, and why her and Heejin weren’t allowed to know anything. Chaewon immediately shakes her head, burying her face farther in the pillow, inhaling Hyeju’s scent. Jinsoul doesn’t know what’s fully going on, and this didn’t feel like a good time as her emotional state takes over.

“Let me talk to her.”

Both girls flinch suddenly at the new voice in the room, unaware that someone was standing behind them. Craning their necks back, Jinsoul furrows her brow at the sight of Jungeun, dressed in her work uniform and her arms crossed together, face a blank expression. Chaewon immediately turns her head back around to stare at the wall, hard.

Since when does Jungeun care? Why is she getting herself involved? Chaewon shakes her head as Jinsoul throws her lover a sympathetic smile. She knows that the two of them have tension, but she appreciates the thought, nonetheless. She gets up from the bed and walks over to the blonde, laying a gentle hand on her cheek.

“I don’t think she wants to talk about it right now, Jungie.” Jinsoul says affectionately, caressing the girl’s face. Maybe she jumped the gun with Jungeun pretty quickly (Heejin kept calling them U-Haul lesbians), but she really liked being around the girl. Just having her in the room right now helped ease the energy that has been gnawing at Jinsoul for some time.

What Chaewon didn’t know was that in private, she was worrying about her best friend and this new mysterious girl a lot. She wasn’t going to pry because she knows that Chaewon’s life can get complicated, but her best friend instincts still kick in. Jungeun was nothing but sweet, giving her the reassurance she was looking for behind closed doors. Frankly, if it weren’t for the comfort felt when the blonde had her arms around Jinsoul, she might have made a scene about it already. From the way the two have been acting, she knows that would have only made things worse.

“Are you sure? I think talking to someone else might really help.”

Jungeun’s voice comes out in a way that makes Chaewon freeze. Her tone indicated that yes, in fact, Chaewon needs to talk to the girl who she saw as annoyance. Now, she isn’t sure if she should be scared or not. Jungeun’s past behavior has proved that she is capable of being unhinged when she wants to. The rich girl did not want to give her any reason to do so.

“Okay.” Chaewon murmurs, making the lovers snap their heads back at the small figure curled on the bed. They glance back at each other, Jinsoul having a curious look in her eyes. Jungeun gives her a reassuring smile, making any concerns or worries about the situation she was feeling disappear.

Jinsoul gives a her a sweet kiss on her cheek, then a small smile. She hopes that whatever the blonde had planned to talk about wasn’t going to scare her friend or make her shut them all out more. Still, she will put her trust in the girl. She takes one last look behind her at the girl on the bed and then walks out of the apartment, closing the door behind her.

Jungeun sighs, walking to the other side of the room to face the girl, blocking the view of the sunny early afternoon outside. She places her hands on her hips, her face displeased.

“Listen here, you’re worrying Jindori.” She exclaims, making Chaewon furrow her brows in confusion at the nickname. Jungeun blushes slightly, clearing her throat. She has no idea how to approach this, but she’s going to try.

“I know about your situation.” She states, shrugging as Chaewon’s eyes pop open. “I read the news. What do you want me to do at that damned desk all day?”

She waits to see what Chaewon will say, but the girl’s jaw just tightens, remaining silent. Jungeun sighs. “I didn’t tell her, or Heejin for that matter. It didn’t feel like my place.” She grumbles, feeling the brunette’s eyes burning holes into her. Jungeun looks away at the opposite wall and rolls her eyes.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with you. I just…didn’t want to upset her.” Jungeun says carefully, making Chaewon narrow her eyes at the girl and her ever growing red cheeks. She sighs, looking back at the small girl, now sitting up in bed in curiosity, the pillow still resting in her lap.

“I don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes of this situation, but your secret is safe with me. Why don’t you just get it off your chest? This moping around isn't going to help anybody.” She says as Chaewon looks at her with hesitation. Jungeun takes a seat next to the frazzled girl, looking at her with a serious expression. Her actions make Chaewon feel the urge to word vomit all her information so that this dark feeling could disappear.

“Tell me everything.”

And that’s what the girl does, the words spilling out of her one after another.

“I don’t understand.” Hyeju whispered, her heart pulling hard in her chest. Yerim looked at her with sad eyes, tears threatening to spill over. She fiddled her fingers together nervously as they stood in Yerim’s cozy living room.

Yerim has just received some big news about a new job opportunity she would be taking in the states. It has been her dream to get the chance to move across the world and start up her own business, and working for this company would be a wonderful start to making that dream happen. However, she didn’t think it would come so soon. She was just falling into a really comfortable position with her girlfriend, Hyeju.

Hyeju looked to the floor, crossing her arms. This causes the first of many tears that night to fall from Yerim’s face as she scanned the sadness in the girl’s eyes. “We were supposed to go to Itaewon for your birthday next month. I had this whole trip planned out.” Her voice comes out in a pained whisper, making Yerim squeeze her eyes shut, hands coming up in her face.

“I didn’t want it to happen like this, Hye, believe me.” Yerim stated, watching as Hyeju’s face twisted between many different feelings.

“No, that’s not it.” She said bitterly, catching Yerim off guard with a flinch. She looked up at the girl with anger mixed in with her sadness. “We talked about going together. How can you do this to me?” She said with exasperation, watching Yerim’s brows furrow with confusion, her eyes still watery.

“Hyeju, this was never your dream; you didn't want to go. You knew that I had this startup business in my life plans. You said you were going to support me when the time came.” She whispered, watching as emotions of anger, sadness, and even understanding flash across her girlfriend’s face.

“I-I know.” She mumbled, her hands clenched at her sides. Yerim stepped forward and grabbed them to put in her own, giving them a small squeeze. Hyeju looked up at her with a face the older girl couldn’t read.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you make this happen.” She whispered, inadequacy in herself hitting her like a bullet train.

They’ve been friends for a long time, leading to hesitant but welcomed feelings blossoming between the two. The relationship was pretty casual, but the feelings were definitely there. Hyeju listened almost every day to Yerim express her enthusiasm for starting her own business someday, highly ambitious for the hard work that would go into it. Yerim loved chasing after the feeling of seeing the fruits of her labor sowed. It was something Hyeju admired about her.

Yerim never had it easy. All her previous startup plans crashed and burned pathetically, leading to her drive getting more intense. But the spark for making her dream come true never died. As Hyeju watched her struggle time and time again, it couldn’t help but make her feel inadequate. She had nothing to give the girl to help her make her dream come true, and that killed her. Now, she was slipping away, and there wasn’t anything she could do about it.

Yerim shook her head, biting her lip. “No Hye, don’t say that. You’ve been nothing but supportive so far, and that's all that matters. I’m so sorry.” She pleaded, her hand coming up to wipe away her own wet cheeks.

Hyeju’s jaw tightened, the guilt still weighing at her mind. Despite telling the girl she would understand when the time came for her to make her journey across the world and start her very busy and long dream, Hyeju couldn’t help but feel upset. She felt all these thoughts hit her at once, blurting them out as they popped in her head.

“Fine. Y-you can go and give up on this.” She spit out, making Yerim flinch. Hyeju pulled away from the girl, her face a pained scowl. “I get that this was your dream, but are you really going to chase after this for what, money? Success? Is that all that matters to you?”

Yerim shook her head, anger starting to appear on her face. “No, don’t pull that shit.” She stated, making Hyeju’s jaw tighten. Hyeju took a few steps backwards, making Yerim immediately point a finger at her. “What, were you going to leave, like you always do? Why do you run from your problems instead of face them, like a fucking adult?” Yerim’s voice rose. Hyeju’s blood felt like ice in her body at the words.

“Well which is it? Is this for money? For status? Why can’t you just stay here? Haseul would be willing to promote you.” She said bluntly as her feet edged closer to the front door. She didn’t want to turn it into a fight, and she wanted to get away from it. This was a coping mechanism for her. She would face it later, when she wasn't so upset.

Yerim’s jaw tightened, and her head shook in disappointment as her reaction is immediate. “Just go. You’re already out the door as it is. You were supposed to support me. You need to grow up and stop running from every inconvenience in your life.” Her harsh words came out like punches to Hyeju, who didn’t hesitate to immediately throw the door open and close it in half a second, escaping the truth that was just thrown at her.

Those words have haunted her every night since. Her feelings for the girl have faded, but the ones of their last moment together has not.

This is a bad idea.

Hyeju screams this over and over in her head as she stands outside of Yerim’s office, the CEO’s name plaque being studied intently. The nervous girl plays with her hands, frozen in place. Now that she made the frantic journey here, she felt the regret sinking in. There’s no way Yerim would want to talk to her, what was there to even talk about? Her current state had nothing to do with her ex-girlfriend.

And yet, she feels like it does. Why else would Yerim cross her mind when these new feelings have surfaced? She can’t keep running away, the guilt feeling stronger as she imagines the faces of the concerned café owners a few blocks away. Sooyoung told her to go for it. She was referring to something else, but those words echo in her head as she pushes open the CEO’s office, not thinking to knock beforehand.

The sudden interruption makes the two girls in the room stop their conversation, their eyes opening wide at the sight of Hyeju. Kahei looks at Yerim with a confused expression, while Yerim’s smile is tight-lipped. Hyeju chuckles nervously, fighting the instincts in her body that are screaming at her to run away. She immediately closes the door, strutting forward quickly with fear.

“Kahei! It’s nice to see you again.” Hyeju says kindly, flashing a smile at the raven-haired girl, receiving a confused yet kind smile back. “Hello Hyeju, I didn’t know you would be joining us today!”

Her tone sounds hesitant, but kind, nonetheless. Hyeju nods at Yerim, showing what she hopes is a smile. She can’t tell what her face is doing at the moment, as her fears are ringing in her ear. “Yerim.” Hyeju says nervously. The CEO’s gaze seems to soften at the use of her name.

“Kahei, why don’t you go update Mr. Lee on our current plan?” Yerim says to Kahei, turning to give the girl a small smile. Kahei looks between Yerim and Hyeju with curiosity, before nodding politely at the CEO. On her way to the door, she flashes Hyeju a sincere look. She may be completely lost to everything going on, but Kahei can tell the frazzled girl needs the encouragement right now.

The final click of the door closing leaves a momentary silence lingering in the room, the two girls staring at everything around the room except the other in awkwardness. Spontaneously, Hyeju takes a seat at one of the black chairs across from Yerim’s desk, her eyes now trained on the floor. Yerim’s eyes are on the younger girl now, waiting for her to speak first.

“I’m really sorry about yesterday.” Hyeju says, her eyes coming up to meet Yerim’s softening ones. She nods silently, waiting for the CTO to continue. It was a good start, but she knew the girl had more to say.

“I’ll take any punishment for my behavior yesterday.” She says, her shoulders slumping down. “I was way out of line. What happened between us was…so long ago.”

Yerim almost has to strain to hear the mumbled words that come out of her ex-girlfriend’s mouth. Her eyebrows furrow together, mouth forming a thin line. Was Hyeju…finally ready to talk about her feelings?

It’s a long time coming, that’s for sure. It’s the middle of a workday too, but the setting seems very Hyeju-like. Yerim remembers all the bad timings of Hyeju’s nervous talks with her from her past. Some things never change.

“Water under the bridge, Hye.” She says softly, making the younger girl’s gaze become more nervous. The gentleness of her words was present. She knew that Hyeju needed some encouragement to get her to spill her mind. She’s been waiting to have this conversation since the moment Hyeju slammed that door a long time ago.

Hyeju can feel her palms start to sweat, swallowing a lump in her throat. She wipes her hands along her black jeans nervously. “I wasn’t very kind to you on that day.”

The breath Yerim was unknowingly holding is released, nodding shortly. “I kind of kicked you out. I wasn’t exactly kind either.” She says, suddenly interested in the pens that were sitting on top of her desk. Hyeju waiting so long can’t really be blamed. This conversation feels really hard and awkward to the both of them now.

“Hyeju, you have a lot of bitterness lingering.” Her blunt statement makes Hyeju flinch in her seat. “Even now, you seem bitter that you couldn’t help my failing projects and ideas. That wasn’t on you, that is part of the process.” She states, watching Hyeju for her reaction.

The younger girl immediately cuts in. “I get that. I-I just feel like,” Her words visibly scramble in her brain as she searches her feelings. “I just feel like you left because I was holding you back from your dream.” She says with a shaky breath. Yerim’s expression falls. “I didn’t have anything to keep you here, and while I see now that it was for the better for us both, I still can’t help but let it haunt me.”

Hyeju glances at Yerim’s hand, which was squeezed into a small fist on top of her desk. “And now you’re with Mr. Lee.” She says slowly. Her cheeks turn a dark shade of pink almost instantly. “He seems to have himself together, and makes me feel so inferior.” Hyeju admits, making Yerim hum in acknowledgement. She seems to get what the girl was hinting at, but she wanted to hear her say it. She needed to come to terms with everything to be able to say it all out loud on her own.

Yerim is silent, making Hyeju feel more nervous, the urge to run to the door replaced by the urge to just run straight into the glass windows behind the desk. She shakes those thoughts away quickly. “He’s able to take care of you if you need it, and he can give you the things you deserve. You- nobody would leave that.” Hyeju whispers, suddenly feeling very vulnerable as Yerim’s gaze softens. “And I couldn’t do that for you. I’m afraid... I’ll never be able to, for anyone.”

The truth was starting to come out, making Yerim nod her head in understanding. She could easily tell Hyeju was still bitter, but she got it all wrong. She thought the girl was mad at her for leaving, but it sounds more like she was mad at herself for holding her own self to incredibly high standards.

“Hyeju, I’m really sorry about the way everything happened. I didn’t want to hurt someone I care about on the way to making my dream come true.” Her words come out sincere, making Hyeju tense. “But you can’t be hard on yourself like that. You didn't keep me from my dream, we both knew it was coming one day. This wasn't about money, or fame, or anything like that. We-we both didn't give each other the chance to speak about it."

She pauses, searching Hyeju's hiding face. "And If you hold back from giving yourself completely to someone else, you’ll only hurt them, or keep yourself from great opportunities.”

She leans closer, making Hyeju meet her gaze. Her eyes are a little sad, but they’re full of kindness. “You have to let your walls down and start over. No light can get in if you keep them boarded up.”

Life must be trying to tell her something at this point, Hyeju thinks. Run from one advice, end up at another: both being the same. She told herself that she was done running again, and she wasn’t going to do so now. All she can do in response is nod robotically, then look down in embarrassment as the understanding washes over her.

“This all would’ve been avoided if I didn’t run away, huh?” Hyeju finally exclaims, a nervous laugh escaping her lips. Yerim leans back in her chair and fold her hands, looking up at the girl across from her with a weak nod. “We both could have done better. I’m glad we finally had this conversation, and I think you should think about the opportunities you have now.”

Hyeju’s gaze lowers in confusion, making Yerim copy her appearance. “Your uh, your wife, Hye. I’m talking about your wife.”

Hyeju hopes that the flinch she just felt her body do wasn’t noticeable to the CEO, immediately grasping at a sense of composure for herself. “Oh, yes, of course.” She laughs nervously, making Yerim look at her with a calculating stare. “Opportunities.” Hyeju says nonchalantly, thoughts of a certain small brunette coming back to occupy her brain.

Yerim watches the flash of emotion across the girl’s face. “Hye.” She states, making the girl snap out of her thoughts. “You can make her happy. You can be yourself. Just stop running.”

The CTO wants to cringe at the way Yerim talks so strongly about her relation to Chaewon, completely unaware of the reality of their unfortunate circumstance. However, there is something in her words that make Hyeju’s body chill with defeated energy, hanging onto her words with curiosity. There’s no denying that these words need to be accepted, hearing them from a stranger like Sooyoung and now from the girl who always knew what to say to make Hyeju listen. She gives the girl a shy nod.

“Thank you, Yerim.”

The smile that spreads across the CEO’s face is gigantic, making her get up and rush over to the other side of the table to engulf Hyeju in a hug. As she relaxes into the kind embrace, Hyeju lets out a deep breath. Their past may have been rocky, but she missed the friendship they always shared. Maybe coming here wasn’t a bad idea, after all.

The two girls find their conversation leading them to almost pick up the friendship where it left off. They spend the rest of their conversation bringing up old memories from the past, laughing at fun times, shaking their heads at hard ones. Their friendship can’t go back to how it once was overnight, but this light conversation is making Hyeju feel like a large weight was lifted off of her back, the oxygen reaching her lungs a lot easier. She has a lot of things to think over once she leaves this room, but for now, she’s going to enjoy the fact that she didn’t run away, and that something in her life was starting to go right.

They know that they can’t talk forever, so Yerim sends her off with a genuine smile, playfully telling her to come to work the next day or she will be in trouble. Hyeju sheepishly closes the door, a light chuckle escaping her lips. The descent down the hallway is spent breathing in the air around her a lot deeper, the conversation still playing on a reel in her mind.

On her way down the elevator, it stops at a floor prematurely. Seeing who enters makes Hyeju freeze, her face hard to read.

Chan steps in, shooting the frozen girl a toothless grin. “Hello Ms. Son. I didn’t know you were here today.” He says kindly as he stands next to her.

Hyeju would have rolled her eyes and moved to the farthest corner of the elevator if this were any other time, but what reason does she really have against him? He’s acted kind to Hyeju, even if he did wear such flashy suits. Her eyes almost scowl as she looks at his grey tweed one now.

But realistically, she had no quarrels with him. She thinks over the events at the convention, when she remembers the way he was talking and pointing at her during her presentation. As the memory flashes over her mind, she realizes that his face was nothing but kind. He could have been commenting on the presentation, or herself even. The sudden realization makes her feel stupid, fighting to keep her cheeks from enflaming.

She turns to him as the elevator continues its light hum downwards, swallowing a lump in her throat. She wants to say something, anything, to break the weird energy that has always been there, all from her side. She decides to say what really matters her to right now.

“Take care of her, okay?”

Chan turns to the girl, his face changing into a confused expression. He was about to open his mouth to ask what she was talking about, but the sincerity on her face said it all. His own gaze softened into determination as he nods.

“I will, I promise.”

The elevator dings to the first-floor lobby as the two coworkers find a sense of understanding between each other. They exchange one last kind smile before they part ways, Chan walking over to talk to Mingyu at the desk, Hyeju heading for the revolving glass doors. It’s strange, how it feels like she left a large piece of herself in the building. A fresh start was on the horizon for the young girl. She didn’t know it would feel this good. She takes in the slight breeze of the Vegas afternoon with a small smile, staring up at the other tall skyscrapers around her.

Her reminiscing was interrupted by the sound of someone slurping a drink loudly next to her.

She turns her head in confusion to see Hyunjin with a cup in hand, the straw sticking in her mouth. Hyeju stares at the girl perplexed as she continues to drink her drink.

“Uh, what are you doing?” Hyeju asks carefully, her confusion growing at the sudden appearance of the bartender. Hyunjin shrugs, holding out her drink with a blank expression. “Drinking a soda.”

Hyeju barely has any time to respond before the girl makes a sudden noise of surprise. “Did you give her my number? I didn't get any messages...”

The silence between the two girls that fills the air is a telling answer. Hyunjin narrows her eyes as she takes another sip. “I see."

She sighs, using her free hand to smooth out her black t-shirt and jeans carefully. "Well, I guess that leaves me no choice.”

Hyeju looks at her with more confusion, now with added fear, still processing the sudden encounter. Before she can respond again, Hyunjin is slinging her free arm around the girl and walking them down the street. “You’re going to have me over so I can talk to her myself.”

Chapter Text

On the outside, it looked like two close friends were walking together and chatting as the hot afternoon sun reigned down over the city. People strolled by on the crowded street, talking amongst each other and hurrying off to different destinations. Every few feet or so, there were some street performers with small crowds of people surrounding them. It was a typical weekday afternoon in Las Vegas. Hyeju and Hyunjin fit in like pieces of the puzzle that made up the busy street they were walking down.

To outsiders, at least. In reality, Hyunjin was pulling the girl forward with an arm around her shoulder casually, while Hyeju was following along with confusion and even a little bit of fear. “Um, where are-“ She stumbles along as Hyunjin’s pace is fast, trying to regain her balance. “Where are you taking me?!” She demands. Hyunjin is using her free hand to sip more from the cup in her hand.

“Oh, your hotel. That’s where I’m assuming the pretty blonde will be?” She asked, turning her head to smile. Hyeju blinks a few times, before ripping herself away from Hyunjin’s strong embrace. She crosses her arms in a huff as she watches the older girl finish the rest of her drink and throw it out at an adjacent trash can that’s on the sidewalk. Brushing off her own hands, she suddenly blinks back at the girl she just semi-kidnapped.

“Um, are those your clothes from last night?”

Hyeju tightens her jaw at the ridiculous question, rolling her eyes. They stand there for a few moments as people walk past them, the murmur of their conversations being the only noise around. Hyunjin chuckles nervously.

“My hotel? How do you know where I’m staying?’ Hyeju ignores the girl’s question and instead asks her own, her voice coming out stern and agitated. Hyunjin chuckles again, but less nervously this time. She takes her phone out of her pocket to pull something up, holding it out in front of the girl with tight lipped smile.

“Looks like you and the small one have a fan club.”

Hyeju’s eyes widen at the photo that is on the girl’s phone, her cheeks turning a deep red. It was a news article saying that Her and Chaewon were found entering the hotel together. This was part of Mr. Park’s reason to keep them together at all times, but Hyeju could still feel herself swallowing a lump in her throat at how public the whole ordeal felt.

The photo itself too made Hyeju’s heart race in anxiety. The pair had pink cheeks and were holding hands, Hyeju’s face dangerously close to Chaewon’s own. At the sight, more memories of the night flooded back, making her face turn red at how vivid everything was. The amount of kissing, all the flirty comments, lying in bed together…

Her thoughts were rattled when Hyunjin took the phone and put it back in her pocket. She slung her arm over Hyeju’s shoulders again, catching the blushing girl off guard. They started walking again for a minute before Hyeju ripped herself out of her embrace once again.

“Hey, will you wait a damn minute?” Hyeju says exasperated as Hyunjin stops her pace to stare with a blank face. Hyeju huffed in annoyance and kept walking in the same direction, Hyunjin following right behind. “You could’ve just asked you know. I’ll take you to your stupid crush. And I can walk MYSELF.” She spits out as the bartender’s grin slowly spreads across her face.

The rest of the walk was spent in silence, a winning, toothless grin still plastered on Hyunjin’s face while Hyeju’s was in a small frown accompanied by a scowl. It felt a lot like an annoying sibling was tagging along to go see your friends with you, Hyeju thought. Eventually, they made it to the hotel, in all its white marbled glory.

On the way to the elevator, the two girls passed by the front desk, which was occupied by its usual blonde employee, only this time a very expensive looking man was murmuring something rushed and stern at the girl. Hyeju could tell that this must be her boss, and that she was being reprimanded for joining them on their night out. Jungeun, however, didn't look phased at all, staring behind the man and lost in what looked like very pleasant thoughts, judging from the smirk on her face.

“This is…an interesting place.” Hyunjin says as they climb into the elevator, looking around at the extravagant gold detail on the small enclosure around them. Hyeju just grumbles in response. “Tell me about it.”

Walking down the hallway, Hyeju can feel her heart thumping hard in her chest. Not only is she bringing this nosy bartender to see her day-old crush, but she was on her way back Chaewon, the girl she just woke up to and had an explosive fight with. Her conversation with Yerim and with the café owners ring in her mind. Hyunjin interrupted her day and made her come back here early before she could even give any of it a thought. Maybe she wasn’t exactly ready to face the princess right now.

Hyeju stops in front of a door a few down from the one she usually goes to. She throws her thumb in the direction of the door quickly. “Well, that’s her room. Good luck.” She says, starting to walk back the way of the elevator. Hyunjin stops her before she can get any farther with a hand on her shoulder. “Hey, I can’t just knock on her door, that’s weird. You have to introduce me.”

Hyeju looks at her in disbelief. “THAT’S weird? You were outside of where I work, and you dragged me back to where I am staying?!” She says frantically, making Hyunjin shrug her shoulders indifferently. “I was on a walk. I wanted Dr. Pepper. You happened to be there.”

The girl was about to respond hysterically, but then the door they were in front of opened slowly. The two girls immediately froze at the creaking door. Heejin poked her head out and gave them a confused look. “Um, is everything okay?”

Next to Hyeju, Hyunjin made an inhumane noise in her throat, her face immediately turning a cute shade of pink. Hyeju waited for her to say hello, but all the bartender could do was stare at the blonde girl in silenced panic. This caused the atmosphere to grow awkward as the seconds passed by.

“Um, I think Chae is-“ Heejin’s hesitant reply was cut off by Hyeju pushing the stiff girl next to her forward a little too hard. “Heejin! This is my…friend, Hyunjin. She was our bartender last night.” Her words come out rushed, and Hyunjin just waves frantically in silence. It’s certainly a strange scene for the blonde.

“Oh yes, right, I remember.” Heejin smiles softly, chuckling and waving back. As she does so, Hyunjin seems to choke on air, the blush on her cheeks turning darker by the second. Heejin doesn’t know what to make of it, so she just chuckles nervously. Hyeju was about to face palm, but she stops herself before she makes it weirder.

“We were wondering if you wanted to hang out today. I think you and Hyunjin would get along really well.” Hyeju says, showing a relaxed smile. That’s what she will do: get them all to hang out outside, and then say she has something work related to attend to, so that she could get away from this mess as well as give Hyunjin the alone time with her crush that she needed. She’ll have done her job by then, and she won’t have to worry about Hyunjin's warning from last night about outing their secret to everyone. It’ll be easier than she thought.

Heejin’s face lights up in a wide smile at the suggestion. “Oh, that would be so fun! Give me a few minutes, and I’ll be out.” She gives both girls a smile before closing the door with a soft click. The girls step back and face each other, their energy shifting back to how it was before.

“Really? Can you be any more of a useless gay?” Hyeju spits out, making Hyunjin look down at the floor, her hands going up to her face. “I’m sorry, she’s just so pretty, I forget to speak.” She murmurs into her hands.

Crossing her arms with a huff, Hyeju waits for Heejin to emerge, standing in silence with the frazzled bartender next to her. As they wait, the younger girl finds her eyes wandering to down the hall to stare at the closed door of room 311. She wonders if Chaewon was still there, and what was going through her head right now. Should she really talk to her? Was she upset? Did she regret what she said?

She shakes her own thoughts away, turning from Hyunjin to stare the floor next to her as her face heats up. She may feel some things for this girl, but she shouldn’t dwell on them too much. She remembers the harshness in Chaewon’s words at her when she left here only a few hours ago. There’s no way she could do or say anything remotely about her confusing feelings.

Heejin finally opened the door, dressed in a white cropped blouse and light high waisted jeans. Hyeju side eyed Hyunjin to see the girl squeezing both of her hands together tightly, a very nervous smile on her face as she took the girl's fresh appearance in. She almost wanted to laugh at the girl for her behavior. Heejin didn’t seem to notice though, as she beamed them both a friendly smile.

Stepping out and closing the door, the blonde started making her way down the hall towards the other girls’ rooms. Hyeju immediately stepped forward, her hand reached out. “Wait wait wait.” She rushed out; panic written all over her face. Heejin’s fist lowered from where it was reaching for Chaewon’s suite door. “Um- I don’t think she will want to hang out. Maybe we should just-“ She was cut off by hands coming up to grip her shoulder tightly.

“NO, uh, no, go ahead Heejin, the more the merrier!” Hyunjin said in a rushed manner, making’s Hyeju’s eyes widen, her jaw locking in place. What was the girl doing? She’s the one who wanted to get close to Heejin, why is she sabotaging it now? And why did she have to drag in the one person she didn’t want to see right now?

Heejin looked between the two girl’s faces, confused by the clashing energy going on. However, she just nods, immediately knocking excitedly on the door in front of her. “CHAE! OPEN UP!” She yells, startling both girls still standing outside her door.

Hyeju is praying hard in her head that Chaewon isn’t home, or that she wanted to ignore visitors for a while. No one answered those prayers, however, when a disgruntled brunette poked her head from the doorway at Heejin. She looked like she just got done crying, making Hyeju’s heart twist in her chest. But she had a lightness to herself, like a weight has been lifted off of her shoulders. Hyeju silently hoped that the girl was actually fine.

“Is everything okay?” Chaewon asks with furrowed brows at the sight of her friend. Heejin starts to bounce on the balls of her feet, an excited smile on her face. “Can we come in? Let’s do something~” she says cutely, making Hyunjin make another strange noise and stare at her like she put the stars in the sky. At this, Chaewon finally looks over and notices the other girls.

Hyunjin is noticed first, making Chaewon widens her eyes at the familiar face. What the hell was the bartender from two terrible nights in her time here doing with Heejin? She almost wants to blame the girl directly for the position she is in right now. It would take less anger off the other girl, who she now has these weird feelings for, swimming around her head.

Her expression slackens at the sight of said girl, her blood turning to ice in her body. She came back? Was she still upset? Should they talk about it? Questions immediately filled her head. The two locked eyes, their gazes hard to read. The cheaply lit hallway in its dimmed glory hid away the glint of longing and concern in their eyes from each other.

“Um, yeah, why not? We can find something to do.” She shrugs, trying to conceal the thumping of her heart in her chest at the sight of the girl she just figured out she felt something for coming back to their shared hotel suite. As she moved away from the door to stand more in the middle of the living room, the other three girls came slowly in. Heejin took a seat on the couch, Hyunjin immediately taking the spot next to her, of course.

Chaewon turns her head to the right towards a door. “I should probably freshen up a bit with a shower if we’ll hang out. Plus…” She turns to Hyunjin, confused how the bartender ended up in her living room. “There’s a new face here. Hi.” She says monotonously, receiving an energetic wave and smile back.

Hyunjin then turns over and looks at Hyeju, who was still lurking hesitantly by the front door. She points a finger out at her and chuckles in a teasing manner. “Have her join you, pretty sure I saw her wearing those clothes last night.”

Immediately, Heejin starts laughing. She puts a hand on Hyunjin’s shoulder while doing so, making said girl blush furiously and smile like she just won the lottery. However, the other two girls in the room had their jaws locked in place, faces red for different reasons. Ignoring the pair, Hyunjin takes this as a good sign that teasing the other two girls would make Heejin notice her more.

Heejin leans in a lot closer to the girl next to her, making her eyes open wide. She starts to whisper, but the other girls could still hear it. “You’ve noticed it too, right? Those two have something fruity going on.” She giggles, Hyunjin frozen at their close proximity.

Chaewon and Hyeju lock eyes, only to look away at the same time. The smaller girl clears her throat. “Well, If no one else wants to say something stupid, I’m going to go shower now…” She trails off, immediately walking towards the bathroom that was connected to the suite’s bedroom. Hyeju lets out a large breath she didn’t realize she was holding in at her departure.

Heejin suddenly remembers something, as a gasp escapes her lips. “Oh, Jinsoul! Now that her girlfriend, or whatever she is, is actually doing her job now, I’ll go see if she isn’t missing her too much to join us.” Getting up from the couch, Heejin walks over to the door to open it and head for the door across the way before either of the girls could say a thing.

Standing up immediately, Hyunjin comes forward and starts to whisper excitedly to Hyeju. “Did you see that? She laughed at me; I’m doing so well.” Her expression was smug and full of glee. The other girl did not look amused.

“Would you quit it?! Don’t you want to be alone with her, she just went and invited someone else.” Hyeju hissed out, unhappy with the ganging up that was just pulled on her and Chaewon. Her expression faded at the thought of the other girl. She looked really upset by Hyunjin’s words. She was probably disgusted by them, no doubt.

However, that wasn’t actually the case. At that very moment, Chaewon was spacing out as the warm water came down on her, thoughts running a mile a minute of the girl who shares the suite with her. She immediately shakes her thoughts away and continues her shower when she feels a blush form on her face as she recall’s Hyunjin’s words about the two of them.

Back in the living room, as the two were whispering amongst each other in a very loud manner, Heejin walked back through the door with a pouting Jinsoul. “Will you stop that? She’s literally downstairs, she’ll probably be knocking on your door later tonight.” Heejin says with a hint of annoyance.

Jinsoul sighs dramatically, wrapping her arms around herself as she makes her way farther in the living room area to take a seat on the arm chair adjacent to the couch. “But I miss her…she’s not answering my texts…” Jinsoul says gloomily as Heejin rolls her eyes.

“I think her boss was scolding her, that’s what it looked like on our way here.” Hyeju states, making the dark-haired girl suddenly aware of the others in the room. She gave a confused look at Hyunjin’s presence, but her face fell stoically at the sight of the girl who just made her best friend upset not too long ago.

Hyeju can’t read what her face is trying to say, but she can feel her face turning red at the hard gaze. She recalls Jinsoul stepping out to see the very tail end of her fight with the other girl, and she can’t help but feel ashamed by it. She has no idea what Chaewon told her, but she doesn’t think it was anything good by the way she seemed to shoot daggers with her eyes.

The more she feels the intensity of Jinsoul’s gaze, finally looking away herself, the more her heart sinks deeper into her chest. Once again, storming out in the middle of a fight may have sabotaged the very little goodness that existed for her. Chaewon must have made her look like a monster if Jinsoul was looking at her like that. The thought of that makes Hyeju feel disappointed. These strange, new feelings must definitely be one sided.

The hours tick by. Both girls have taken their showers and joined the others in the living room. They didn’t really know what to do together (Hyunjin suggested they come hang out at the bar and get free drinks, earning a loud and immediate NO from everyone in the room except Heejin, who pouted in disappointment), so they all decided to put on the tv, Jinsoul ordering them all takeout. She, of course, had to hurry down to go get it, an excuse to see her blonde troublemaker. They all complained about the food running cold when she came back later than it would take to get the food.

By now, the Thai containers sat empty on the coffee table as they continued to watch the K-drama on the tv. Jinsoul was checking her phone every few minutes, her face lighting up like a Christmas store when she gets a text back, completely ignoring the tv and everything else around her. Heejin somehow fell asleep, her head moving from the back of the couch to Hyunjin’s shoulder. The bartender dared not move an inch, afraid of disturbing the girl, and having her move away. All her attention was on the other girl, despite her eyes trained forward on the tv.

Hyeju was sitting on floor, leaning against the arm of the couch, while Chaewon was sitting on the couch itself, trying to sit away from whatever gay behavior was going on between the sleeping girl and that bartender she still feels mild resentment towards. This left her sitting very close to the girl that was on the floor. At one point, her leg brushed against the other’s arm, making her blush furiously at such simple contact.

Taking in her surroundings, Chaewon notices that everyone around her is no longer paying any sort of attention. Jinsoul was engrossed in her phone, her face a bright pink. Hyunjin looked on the verge of passing out due to the girl on her shoulder, now with her body snuggled against the anxious girl. She continues to look around the now dark room, realizing that they’ve been watching the show for awhile now. It surprises her just how calm the day has been, despite the hellish morning.

At the remembrance of the morning, she turns over and observes Hyeju next to her, who quickly turns her head to look at the tv. Chaewon squints her eyes. Was the younger girl just staring at her?

“Are you still awake?” She finds herself whispering, before a shiver runs through her body. They weren’t speaking and haven’t since this morning. She bites her tongue at the initiation of conversation she just started. She didn’t want the other girl to get upset again, remembering the way things ended this morning.

Hyeju bashfully turns her head back towards Chaewon, turning her sitting body to face the other girl better. “Yeah, I am.” She says quietly, showing a tight-lipped smile. Thankfully, it was dark, and she was now turned away from the tv, or else Chaewon would’ve seen the blush creeping up on her cheeks.

They sit in silence, Hyeju watching her while Chaewon stares down at the floor, concentrating on the flashes of light that are illuminating the dark space. The only noise is the lull from the tv, and the light tapping of Jinsoul’s fast fingers on her phone’s keyboard.

“I think-“ “Do you-“

They laugh silently and awkwardly at their simultaneous start of conversation. Hyeju extends an arm out as an invitation for the older girl to go first. Chaewon looks down at her lap, coughing nervously.

“I think I owe you an apology.” She mumbles softly, unable to look at the other girl in the eye. Hyeju remains silent as she observes the illuminated face of the girl up on the couch, swallowing a lump in her throat. Against the bright, lulling lights of the tv, she looks vulnerable.

“I don’t think that’s-“ Hyeju was whispering a reply at the girl, who looks so upset at the mention of the earlier fight, before being cut off. “No, I was really harsh. I drove you out of here and- and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when- or if you came back.” She whispers, curling her knees up to her chest and resting her chin between her knees.

Hyeju screams in her head at the adorable sight of how much smaller the girl looks in front of her, shaking the thoughts away quickly. She shouldn’t let those feelings grow any bigger, they’ll only result in catastrophe. She tries to play it cool, as if the sight of the sorry girl didn’t just make her heart explode rapidly in her chest.

“Oh, it’s okay. I’m-I’m back, aren’t I?” She chuckles nervously, trying to calm her blushing face down and show as kind of a smile as she can to the girl so that she wouldn’t be upset anymore. Even if this situation they are in will remain that way- a situation – she at least hopes that the girl won’t hate her any more than she probably already does. It would just hurt too much if that happened.

Chaewon shows a kind smile, catching Hyeju off guard. She automatically assumes it might be some kind of front, as she recalls the death stare she received from Jinsoul from earlier and continued to receive from her throughout the evening. Still, she must be putting on a great act because Hyeju wants to swoon at the rare sight of the smiling girl in front of her. For once, she wasn’t looking at Hyeju like she was the scum of the earth.

“You are here.” Her words come out with so much relief and affection that it catches them both off guard. Chaewon is thankful the girl looked away, or else the bright tv lighting would show her ever increasing red face. She clears her throat awkwardly, turning back to look at the tv. The other girls in the room are still in their same position, unaware of the lighthearted whispering coming from the other two.

Chaewon pulls herself farther into a ball on the couch, burying her face in her knees and gripping her crossed hands together. “Still, I’ll make it up to you, somehow…” Her voice comes out muffled tucked into her own knees, but Hyeju can still hear her. The sudden instinct that she can think of doing at the very moment of noticing the girl’s drooping shoulders at the crestfallen remark is reach her hand out and lay it on top of the other girl’s folded ones.

The action startles both girls, unsure of what to do now as they sit and stare at their hands in silence. Their eyes are wide and they are frozen in place. Hyeju yells at herself in her head to remove it and stop being weird, but she instead offers a gentle squeeze. “N-no, don’t worry about it. I p-promise, all is good now.”

Chaewon can feel her heartbeat pounding at the sudden contact, unsure of what to make of it. The tv continues to hum with the playing K-drama, and the other girls are busy with their distractions in the darkness. She should be pulling away, but the gentleness of the girl’s hand on hers makes butterflies swarm around her stomach. She feels herself take a deep breath, hanging onto the soft feeling of the younger girl’s hand.

Hyeju, too, is feeling these emotions. Her hand that is still resting on the ground to steady herself upright is lightly shaking at the sudden action she just performed, but keeps her hand on the other’s soft, small ones when she notices her not pulling away. Maybe she is too shocked at the weird action, but Hyeju just wants to relish in the hesitant, but not totally unwelcomed feeling she is getting.

Each girl had a million thoughts running around their heads. Maybe, the other didn’t hate them? Maybe, they could learn to make this situation work? They were growing more and more confused yet drawn in as the seconds passed by of their hands softly touching each other’s. They tried to put all their yelling thoughts into the gentleness of the touch, hoping the other can hear that they are lost and are unsure of what is going on right now, and why it feels so calming at the same time.

The door of the apartment immediately slams open, startling every single person in the room. Jinsoul drops her phone and Heejin jolts awake and up, much to the dismay of the blushing Hyunjin next to her. Heejin didn’t even look phased by the notice of falling asleep on the girl.

Hyeju and Chaewon as well, jolt so far apart that Hyeju lands laying on the floor, her chin hitting the thin throw rug that lays across the hard marble floor. Chaewon uncurls out of her ball when Jungeun turns on the lights from over by the front door, walking to be seen visibly by the others with hands on her hips.

“You’re all having fun without me? That’s rude.” She says with a pout as Jinsoul’s smile beams across her face. She excitedly waves her hand for the other girl to come over and sit with her on the chair, earning her a giggle from the blonde. She hurries over to plop down on her lap, as if she didn’t just ruin the peaceful energy that was occurring a minute ago.

“It’s always more fun with you around, Jungie. We were just watching a drama.” She says playfully, as the four girls look at them questioningly. At least one pair here could get something right, even if the chaotic relationship was semi-annoying the others.

Jungeun then looks between the others in the room as she curls herself comfortably in Jinsoul’s lap, laying her head on her shoulder with a cocked eyebrow. “Isn’t that the bartender from last night?” She states as Hyunjin’s dismayed expression turns into a tight-lipped smile. “Yup, that’s me, hi.” She says indifferently with a small wave.

She hums in response. She notices Heejin rubbing her eyes and yawning, and Hyunjin’s red cheeks. “Huh. Hey Heejin, she’s pretty cute. You should scoop her before she’s off the market.” Her words come out casually, but it makes Hyunjin freeze in a panic. The sleepy girl, however, was too busy yawning and stretching to fully hear what was said. “Huh? What did you say unnie?”

Instead of repeating the question, she fixes her gaze on the other two girls, who are sitting a good distance apart, Chaewon now closer to Hyunjin and Hyeju rubbing her chin while sitting away from the couch. Jungeun narrows her eyes as she notices their pink cheeks, their frantic, small movements of awkwardness, and the fact that they are trying to not look at anyone but the floor in front of them.

She hums again, recalling the deep conversation she had with Chaewon earlier. Upon seeing the two girls in this state, as well as observing that of the others in the room (not including her Jindori, who she was chatting with very deeply over text since the moment her boss walked away), Jungeun can conclude that she definitely walked in on something.

“So, are all you love birds done being weird or can we resume the show?” She lifts her head from Jinsoul’s shoulder and looks at the tv with obliviousness to the wide eyes around her. “Oh, I’ve seen this one before, it’s really good.”

No one says a word as all six girls resume watching the tv, all their energy now studying it intensely as Jungeun just returns her head back to Jinsoul’s shoulder with a sigh, closing her eyes and smiling at the comfortable embrace.

They can choose to ignore her now, but her teasing words have an impact on them all.

Chapter Text

Compared to the rocky beginning that Las Vegas brought for the two girls, the days that soon passed from here seemed to go by at a suspiciously peaceful rate.

Well, that is, suspiciously peaceful for the two guests of room 311.

There was still the usual light bickering that went on, usually related to Chaewon’s early rising habits contrasting with Hyeju getting ready for work, but in general, the married girls were getting along unusually well. They were even opting to hang out one on one together. Hyeju can recall many times the past week that she almost couldn’t get up for work the next day because she was up so late talking to Chaewon. Thankfully, Jinsoul nor Heejin suspected her presence staying over the room every night, although there was one incident Heejin came knocking at 1 am to ask Chaewon a really stupid question. Hyeju never gathered all her things and hid in the bathroom so fast.

In regard to work, things started to go back to normal for the CTO, at least, for the most part. Yerim, Kahei, and herself were working hard on making the project for Park enterprises funded. Hyeju’s knowledge was even ready to help get the application to progress into a beta stage at an earlier rate than everyone expected. The main thing was, Hyeju mended not only her friendship with Yerim, but that translated into her attitude at work and with herself.

For the others, every day was going at an expected rate. Hyunjin was still making excuses to come hang out to see Heejin, while the said girl was just as oblivious as before. After all the compliments and red cheeks, one would assume she’d have gotten the hint by now. Jinsoul and Jungeun were usually MIA, often caught together at the front desk or hiding out in Jinsoul’s suite. Chaewon could swear she heard them talking about baby names during one of their hang outs but wasn't surprised in the slightest. She’s starting to think that those two were the ones who should’ve ended up in this position instead.

Their position.

Neither girl wants to think about it too hard or else they’ll mentally shut down. What do you do when you start to have feelings for…your legal spouse? They are already together in the legal sense, so where does that leave them and their complicated feelings?

Chaewon is currently thinking about this again, on the brink of that mental shut down. Hyeju left for work this morning, and ever since, Chaewon can’t seem to move from her spot on the couch. All Hyeju did before she left was wish the other girl a good day and asked if she should pick them up dinner, and it was enough to keep Chaewon zoned out and paying no attention to the movie playing in front of her.

She doesn’t know what to do, and as the feelings grow, she feels herself getting more anxious about it. Torn between the good moments with Hyeju making her feel fluttery on the inside, and the reality of the situation and their very rocky start, Chaewon rubs at her temples, curling further in the soft, white blanket that she is wrapped in. She exhales a long and deep sigh, shutting her eyes. All the thinking makes her tired, ready to take a nap and forget about it for a little while.

That luxury doesn’t come to her, as she hears Oh My Girl’s Dolphin playing from the coffee table. She grumbles, feeling herself disliking the song more at the sudden disturbance. Sitting up and rubbing her eyes, she picks up the phone only to feel stress spread throughout her entire body. It was her father.

Her hand comes up across her eyes, while the other takes the phone to her ear. “Hi dad.” She says neutrally, despite the mix of fear and annoyance that is filling her body at the moment. Whenever he calls, it can never be good. They haven’t spoken since…everything fell apart.

“Hi sweetheart, how are you doing?” He asks kindly, making the girl’s heart twist in her chest. She can’t deny that hearing his voice just reminded her of home, of a time when everything wasn’t so messy. Still, she was on her guard. This was probably more than a check in.

“I’m…well.” She says hesitantly, unsure of the truthful answer to that question herself. Sure, things were going as well as they could in this kind of situation, but all the new information she has discovered about herself, about Hyeju, have been eating at her. She hears her father give a happy hum on the other end of the phone.

“Wonderful, I am glad to hear that.” He says with enthusiasm. Chaewon holds her breath. She knew what was coming as a short silence engulfs both ends of the phone. Then, he clears his throat, his mood suddenly shifting. “I am hearing that your…that Son Hyeju has been involved in some recent, incidents.” He says in a very displeased manner.

Chaewon’s brows furrow at this information. Incidents? “I’m not sure I understand, dad.” She says, suddenly feeling more anxious than when the phone rang. She heard him sigh in an annoyed manner. “At the Tech Execs Convention just the last week, It appears that Son Hyeju had a…situation happen when she was presenting. I had to hear it through a CMO at a partner company. And so late after it occurred.” He complained sternly.

The tension that Chaewon was feeling wanted to relax at the anger not being directed at her, but something in her hesitated. If anything, the tension only increased. If she heard this last week, she wouldn’t have cared, maybe even begged him more to get her out of this situation. However, she can’t deny that she has grown to think about the other girl and her feelings.

A lack of response from the girl causes the CEO to sigh again. “She seemed to have caused a scene, and a lot of chief executives were very displeased by her behavior.” He says with a judgement, making Chaewon’s mouth form a thin line. What is she supposed to do with that information?

“O-okay, but what-“ She was cut off by his deep voice. “And her work attendance was rather peculiar last week.” He says with more anger in his voice. “She should be very grateful for the position she is in right now. First, she coerces my daughter into some kind of trap,” Chaewon flinches at his harsh words. “Then she chooses to slack off from the only act of redemption she could have gotten for it.” His voice was getting harsher, making Chaewon become angry and upset.

Her hand tightened into a fist, a scowl on her face. She was very thankful he couldn’t see what her face looked like right now. “This is all a lot for the both of us to deal with, you know. Cutting her some slack wouldn’t hurt. Things have been going well here now, and-“ Once again, she doesn’t get to finish her defense of the poor girl.

“This kind of behavior is a bad reflection.” He states firmly, less angry as he was just a second before. “I already obtained a lot of sponsors on this new application due to our position and her occupational ties.” Chaewon looks down at the floor with a hard expression as she takes in his feelings and thoughts of this whole ordeal again. “If this little incident of hers and her attendance keep spreading, we may be in trouble.”

Chaewon always hated the use of that, the ‘we’ he liked to toss out. Sure, she had expectations to take over, but is that even what she wanted anymore? She looks up and stares at the suite around her, suddenly aware of how foreign and unlike home it actually felt. She remembers the yelling, the tension, the reason she is here in the first place.

That alone was enough to make her snap at her father, to make her finally stress to him how she feels more like a business transaction than like a daughter. But she couldn’t, not when his next words came out. “I’m not saying this purely as a businessman, but as your father. I’m sure you two love each other or whatever caused this to happen, but I need you to know that the person you made this big, and quite frankly stupid, decision with is exhibiting this bad behavior.”

There was a lot to unpack with that statement. Love? Absolutely not, sure there was a feeling or two, but certainly not love. As well, she was so caught off guard by his sudden diversion of the conversation away from work related talk to looking at the situation in a personal manner; she didn’t think he was truly capable of that, especially in this case. In addition, there was actually a bit of a point to what he was saying.

She did notice that Hyeju’s occupancy at the hotel were more routine than they were last week, nearly scaring her and her friends by her appearance eating pizza in front of the tv as they walked in for the first time. Was there something she was hiding?

She shakes the thought away. Her father was known for his skills of persuasion, and she would not let it get in her head. She’s had enough of that in her life, and she knew the signs of it by now. She’s been the one here with Hyeju, she would know if the younger girl had anything going on…right?

“Thank you for your concern dad, but things have been going well the past week or so.” She states, her tone coming out passive aggressive. “Hyeju seems to be working hard right now. I can tell without knowing what’s going on.” If she could say more, she would. But this satisfied her on kindly telling her father to butt out of this. She just wanted the conversation to be over at this point.

“I have to go. We are all going to…” She trails off, thinking of an excuse. “We are going out somewhere or another, I don’t know. But we’ll talk again soon.” She doesn’t care to bother perfecting the lie, she wants to make it clear that this conversation is over. She can feel her hand shaking in a fist in her lap, suddenly fidgeting to adjust her position comfortably on the couch.

He sighs disappointedly, then another silence occurs. Then, his voice softens almost completely. “Your mother says hi, by the way. She hopes you are having fun with your friends.”

Chaewon feels tears threatening to come out of her eyes at the mention of her mother, suddenly missing her a lot more than usual. Her mother always understood her better than her father did, as they both usually got sucked into whatever schemes and ideas he had planned. She feels like talking to her about this would help out a lot, but then she pauses. This was probably her father’s biggest and most messed up plot of them all, and it might be upsetting her as it is. She absolutely did not want to get confirmation of that fact.

“Tell her-” Her voice comes out strained, and she coughs and blinks a few tears out of her eyes. “Tell her I miss her, and that she doesn’t have to worry about me.”

They take turns with their short goodbyes before Chaewon hangs up, letting the phone drop into her lap as her hands come up to cover her face.

If this conversation happened last week, Chaewon would have begged her father to let the whole idea of working with Hyeju and her company go and get her the hell out of this disastrous situation. But she just had to go and actually care about this girl. Her father’s words confuse her as she recalls the conversation. Was Hyeju really missing work last week? And what scene did she cause?

Chaewon immediately lays down on the couch, wrapping herself in the blanket again. Of course, as this has been Hyeju’s bed since she got here, it smells very strongly of her. Chaewon would have sat back upright and gone to her own bed at the reminder of the girl she has been desperately trying to get off her mind, but she was just too tired and drained from that phone conversation.

She buries her face farther into the cushion, taking in Hyeju’s clean and unique scent. Her father always got his way, and he had so much power to be able to do whatever he wanted, even if that put others at a disadvantage. Chaewon was tired of it. She felt hot tears threatening to spill from her eyes but blinked them away quickly. She would not let him make her upset for another second.

Instead of thinking about the unfortunate control that is exhibited over her life, she instead lets her mind drift off to more thoughts of Hyeju. This talk with her father just gave her a reality check on the situation that they are in. She shouldn’t be thinking about the girl as much as she finds herself doing, and she shouldn’t be looking at her beautiful eyes, her cute mouth, the way her nose scrunches up when she laughs…

She shakes away the thoughts of the girl, opting to instead shut her eyes and let the mental exhaustion take over. As she grows more and more tired, drifting off, her mind still wanders back to the girl, the scent that still lingers overtaking Chaewon and her dreams.

Hyeju wonders what the hell happened to her. For once, she actually enjoys being at work.

Ever since her conversation with Yerim, she has been going into work on time and staying all day, even staying a little after when she was expected to go home. As the plans for the new application come together, she finds herself getting more excited about working on it with some of Park Enterprises’ software engineers. She didn’t think she would ever feel this good about something work related before in her whole life.

The mornings were her favorite time. When she got there, the morning sun would light up the building in a way that cast it in a soft light. Looking up, she can’t help but reflect on the opportunity to be here.

Her career was never the biggest thing in the world to her, there are definitely more important things in life. But she can’t help but think about the nights in college, cramming in those textbooks and typing all those codes until she woke up on her keyboard. Now, she was working for essentially the largest tech corporation in the world. She should be really satisfied and happy about this…right?

She looks down at the doors in front of her and makes her way inside for the day. Despite the amazing opportunity to be here, it all just happened by unfortunate chance. Had she not have gotten herself involved with the CEO of Park Enterprises’ daughter, she would be back at her office in Seoul, probably writing more painful company emails for Haseul right now. But is that really bad either?

Making her way to the elevator, she presses the button up to one of the many IT service rooms. It was almost at the top of the very tall skyscraper she was in right now, so that gave her another minute to think about this opportunity, this chance at being here. Hyeju suddenly feels a wave of disappointment flood her as she thinks that the only reason she is here right now stems from an accidental series of unfortunate events.

But Hyeju just shakes her head, looking at the floor numbers count up on a screen above the door. It might have gotten her this opportunity, but Mr. Park wanted to work with her for a reason. She didn’t single handedly keep White Dove afloat after a large hacking incident one time for nothing, ensuring advanced security measures were put in place to keep everyone out. She smiles to herself as the floor dings to her destination. She should give herself more credit, she was so good at her job, and it was recognized at such high levels.

With a new spring in her step at the self-confidence boost, she makes her way to the IT room to start more work on the project. “Good morning Hyeju! I improved some performance issues last night when you went home.” A man with a low voice says kindly, and Hyeju flashes him a smile. “Thanks Wonwoo, I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

They were being formal with her before, but she insisted they just call her Hyeju, it was easier that way and more her style. For the past week, all the different people in the IT department that were working on this project made it a mission to talk to her and make her feel not only welcome, but like their unnamed leader. She was constantly getting up from her workstation and analyzing code on other people’s monitors, giving her expertise on how to make everything flow together better and run smoothly. All the others seemed to rely on her for her knowledge. It made her feel really good as her confidence returned, her earlier thoughts dissipating in the process.

The day passed by in a blink of an eye. A lot got accomplished, and she even surprisingly spent her lunch hour talking with Chan in his office, almost going over and being late to get back to work. She still felt herself feeling on guard around him, intimidated by his pristine and expensive appearance, but she was learning to get over that. Feelings and impressions can’t go away over night, after all.

“Bye Hyeju! I’ll have more lines up for review next week!” Wonwoo gave her a wave as he makes his way out of the door after everyone else, leaving Hyeju alone to finish up some review herself. She gives a wave and a smile to him as the door closes with a click, making the room silent, only the hum of the servers and computers echoing across the room. The CTO sighs, turning her attention away from the monitor in front of her to swivel her chair around and stare at the room before her.

Once again, she recalls her thoughts on being here, or rather, the certain someone who helped her end up here. She wants to scold herself for thinking of the small girl when she will just be going back to the apartment to see her in less than an hour, but she can’t help herself. She keeps staring at the girl’s last name in big letters on a company logo on the back wall. If there’s anything to blame these thoughts on, it’s that.

She smiles to herself as she thinks about the girl’s annoyed huff when she was locked out of the bathroom this morning, Hyeju purposefully using up a good amount of the hot water so that the girl would be slightly inconvenienced. Don’t get wrong, she might have these small feelings for the girl, but messing with her was a whole new level of fun because of it. Seeing how annoyed she gets when she is inconvenienced just the smallest bit is like gold to Hyeju. She just thinks Chaewon is the cutest that way.

Immediately, she shakes her thoughts away, turning around to stare back at her computer monitor and the dozens of codes that are running down the screen. She shouldn’t be thinking about the girl like this, she told herself she wouldn’t. Chaewon wouldn’t be thinking the same, after all.

Sure, Chaewon seemed nicer to her, but she equates that to the lack of argument. If one started up again, she is sure that she would have to see that hateful look on her face again, hear those heartbreaking words again. Hyeju looks down at her keyboard with a crestfallen expression.

Sighing, the girl puts all her effort into reviewing the last of these codes. Her brain was still swimming with these thoughts of the other girl, as well as her conscious telling her to stop, so reviewing these codes were starting to hurt her brain. She was having difficulty following with their sequence, so she gave up and saved it for the week. She’ll come into work earlier next week and get it done before they progress farther into development. Right now, she can’t be bothered to give anything a second thought.

Before she could log off for the night, she gets a ping on her browser notifications that she got an email. Sighing in an annoyed manner, she quickly goes to check it, ready to delete it. It was almost 5:30 p.m., there is no way anyone would be working right now and discussing work related matters.

However, she pauses upon seeing the unfamiliar name pop up on the email. It read as The8 Corporations, making Hyeju furrow her brows. What the hell was that?

She clicks on the email, which was pretty short in length. It reads out as one of the funding companies of this new project, and they just wanted some confirmation on a few matters regarding it to review as soon as possible. Hyeju shrugs, automatically sending back a template of information that they sent out to the other funders without a second thought, then closing the browser. Why did people have to bother her at such terrible times?

She logs off, immediately going to grab her blazer and her laptop off a table from across the room, the email already out of mind. The lights turn off, and the door closes on the now empty server room. Another productive and successful day at work for Hyeju as she goes to make her way back to a certain small brunette.

The door opens suddenly, making the girl fall off of the couch abruptly. She rubs her forehead after it collided with the rug as Hyeju steps into the suite, looking very exhausted with a delicious smelling bag in her hand. From the ground, still rubbing at her forehead, Chaewon can’t help but smile a little at the sight of the girl appearing from the doorway and taking off her blazer. She remembers the words she gave her father about the girl and her hard work. She can confidently see that she was correct upon seeing how tired the girl was, rubbing at her eyes and yawning.

As her free hand comes away from her eyes, she jumps a little at the sight of Chaewon staring at her. Both girls look away immediately, suddenly occupied with the floor in front of them. “Uh, how was work today?” Chaewon asked awkwardly, a nervous chuckle escaping her lips. She was punching herself in her mind for letting herself get caught staring so easily.

Hyeju hums in a sleepy manner, making her way over to the kitchen to put down their dinner and grab herself some water from the fridge. She sighs contently as the cool bottle makes contacts with her hand. “It was long, kind of a lot to deal with. At least it’s the weekend.” Hyeju states, twisting the small plastic cap to bring the bottle to her lips. She walks back out to the doorway and leans against it, sipping her water and keeping her attention on the now standing girl.

Damn. That’s all Chaewon could say to herself. All the girl was doing was drinking her water as she leaned against the doorway, still dressed in her work business attire, and yet she made it look so good. Chaewon suddenly felt like she needed a drink of water herself at the attractive sight of the girl in front of her, immediately looking down at the floor again. She hopes that the soft lighting of the lamp beside her wasn’t going to give away her warm cheeks. “T-that’s good, what did you get for dinner?” She asks, wanting to disappear at the small stutter in her voice. Either Hyeju doesn’t notice it, or she chooses to ignore it. She steps away from the doorway and shows an excited face. “Burgers! A coworker suggested his favorite place just down the block from here, says it's great. I hope it’s- is that okay?”

Hyeju mentally kicks herself for her awkward defensiveness. She didn’t know Chaewon’s likes and dislikes fully yet, but why should she care? She immediately covers up her question. “N-not that it matters anyway, they’re here so you just have to take it or leave it, princess.” Hyeju looks at the floor and hopes her face wasn’t turning red.

Chaewon blinks in response, suddenly narrowing her eyes at the other girl. “Yes, it’s fine, no need to be snarky about it.” She says with a hint of annoyance. God, why did she have to have a crush on this girl? it's bad enough that the nickname made her heart flutter in her chest.

Hyeju rolls her eyes, walking back into the kitchen to grab their food. “I wasn’t being snarky, but whatever.” She mumbles, just loud enough for the other to hear from the living room. She receives an irritated hum of indifference back.

They sit on complete opposite ends of the couch, enjoying their food in silence as they watch a movie together. Chaewon doesn’t want to admit it to the other girl, who would only be smug about it, but the food was indeed great. In fact, she didn’t really want to say much to the other girl right now. All her thoughts are currently filling her head again as she takes quick glances at the girl to her right.

She watches the girl eat her food hungrily, making a slightly disgusted face at the action. But, still, the thoughts are swimming in her head. Is the girl really okay after last week? Did they have that big fight when something larger was going on for her? Chaewon can’t help but feel bad about that if it’s true.

She keeps her gaze back at the tv again, feeling a frown overtake her face. She wished her dad never called today and made these thoughts worse. Now, every time she has a single good thought about this girl, her father’s words come back to her. Being reminded that Hyeju was probably just a temporary person in her life, and that her father will find a way to dispose of her as soon as his stupid project is done makes her feel hurt. She didn’t want that to be all it was, but is there even anything to be done about that?

Across the couch, Hyeju was inhaling her food, starving after a busy day, and just enjoying the amazing food that Wonwoo recommended. She should really talk to Chan about getting him some kind of raise, he was a great guy and worked hard.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she noticed the other girl next to her, looking small and defeated out of the corner of her eye. She frowned, her mouth forming a thin line. Is she okay? Should she ask her about it?

Taking another bite of her burger, Hyeju sighs quietly to herself. How could she even think that she could let these feelings for the other girl develop to where they are now, knowing the girl was most definitely not feeling the same way? She glances at her again quickly, seeing her pained expression, which only makes Hyeju feel disappointment. Chaewon probably only feels at the most, indifference for her.

Both girls continue watching the movie with silence for the rest of the night, stealing occasional glances at each other. Their thoughts are the same: stuck on the one across from them, wondering where these feelings stemmed from, and if there was anything they could do to suppress them.

Who are they kidding? These feelings only keep growing at rapid speed with each small glance, each thought, each wish for the other to feel the same.

Chapter Text

Thank God it was the weekend. Hyeju looked forward to sleeping in, even getting the chance to play a new game on her computer. She had the whole Saturday planned out: Wake up whenever, get herself a large breakfast somewhere on the city block, then stay glued to the couch playing games; something she enjoyed, but did not have as much time for anymore.

Of course, nothing ever went to plan.

Hyeju was woken up suddenly at the sound of yelling coming from outside the suite door. Soon, it was followed by knocking, then Jinsoul’s loud voice. “Chae! Are you awake? Let’s get breakfast!”

Afraid that she’ll somehow get the door open, despite it being locked, Hyeju’s eyes frantically scan the room for her things. She immediately scooped up stray clothes and her work computer, running towards the bathroom with silent, quick footsteps. Just as she makes it to the door, it opens, and she bumps into Chaewon, who looks just as frazzled at the surprise visit.

They give each other an anxious look, before Hyeju closes the door and lets out a breath. It would be really weird for Jinsoul or Heejin to find her here, since they were still in the dark about the whole situation. The thought of that makes Hyeju’s stomach twist in a knot. Why hasn’t Chaewon just said something already? Keeping this from them was only going to hurt their friendship the longer they held off. Plus, they couldn’t keep it hidden forever.

While the younger girl was hiding out in the bathroom, Chaewon takes a moment to compose herself, afraid that she will look guilty. Her brown hair was still a little messy and she was still in her yellow pajamas, but Jinsoul has seen her like that already. What was concerning was hoping she didn’t suspect that there was another girl hiding out in the bathroom.

Opening the door with a relaxed smile, Chaewon sees not only Jinsoul, but the three others with her. Heejin offered a small wave while Jungeun snickered at her pajamas. Hyunjin…was there, which no one was surprised about anymore. They all knew she tried to tag along now to hit on Heejin…except for Heejin.

At the sight of the four girls, Chaewon suddenly feels awkward in her pajamas. She quickly runs her hand through her hair and crosses her arms, screaming at herself in her head to keep calm. She rolls her eyes playfully. “What’s this about breakfast?”

Heejin chuckles, nodding her head in the direction of Jungeun. “Jungeun unnie knows of a really great place around here that makes the best kimchi, so we want to taste for ourselves!” Chaewon hums to herself in response. A good breakfast sounded perfect right now.

Just as she was about to suggest she go get ready, Hyunjin decided to open her mouth. “Well, what about Hyeju? Is she coming?”

Chaewon wanted to strangle her. No one else except Jungeun knew that the girl was residing there. She flashed a pained smile in the dark-haired girl’s direction. “I can text her to meet us there, yeah, sure.” She hoped that her voice wasn’t wavering too much, afraid that Hyunjin was about to slip something out. She relaxed a little as Hyunjin seemed to hum in response.

“I’ll only take a second to get ready, I’ll meet you guys downstairs.” Chaewon went to close the door, only for there to be a loud thud coming from the direction of the bathroom. All the blood in her body seemed to freeze in place.

Heejin and Jinsoul looked confused, looking behind the short girl to see if anything had fallen. “Uh, everything alright in there?” Jinsoul asked as Jungeun and Chaewon exchanged looks of worry. Jungeun is now caught up on the situation, and hates to admit it, but she feels bad for the girl. Her situation was a really tough one. The blonde reached out to lay a hand on her lover’s shoulder. “I’m sure Chaewon is fine, maybe we should let her get ready? I’m really hungry.” Her words come out soft and sweet, hoping to get the dark-haired girl distracted.

It didn’t seem to work. If anything, it only seemed to make her narrow her eyes in suspicion in Chaewon’s direction. She then exchanged an unreadable expression with Heejin next to her. Jinsoul pushed pass her friend and stepped into the suite. “No, I think we will wait for Hyeju here. The place is only down the road, I’m sure it’ll be easier for her to come here.”

Chaewon’s heart was now beating fast in her chest. She gave a frightened look towards Jungeun, who only shrugged, mouthing her a “sorry” before heading inside too. Sighing, she looked to Hyunjin, who didn’t seem phased at all, grabbing Heejin’s arm and guiding them inside as well.

She swallowed a lump in her throat as they all stood near the entrance to the kitchen, their arms crossed together in a waiting position. Chaewon tries to keep calm as she stands next to them, showing a small smile. How can they get away with this now? She lowly grumbles a few curses towards the girl who was just across the way behind the bathroom door.

Hyunjin was talking Heejin’s ear off excitedly as they waited, but the girl was too occupied as her and Jinsoul looked unamused. They knew something was weird. Meanwhile, Chaewon was frantically thinking of ways they could still make this work.

Jinsoul, however, started looking the living room area over, scanning for possible clues to reveal why something felt off. She located a pillow from the bedroom and a fuzzy blanket sprawled out on the couch, making her expression turn stoic. She faced Chaewon suddenly.

“Why is there a makeshift bed on the couch?” Her tone comes out accusingly, making everyone, even Heejin, flinch. Chaewon could feel her hands start to shake nervously, clasping them together immediately as she offers a forced smile. “Oh, I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so I watched a movie on the couch. I woke up there this morning.”

Jinsoul doesn’t seem to buy it. “Chaewon, the girl who likes her luxurious beds, managed to fall asleep on the couch.” Her voice is monotone. Chuckling nervously, Chaewon makes her way over to the couch, immediately wrapping herself in the blanket. It smelled very strongly of Hyeju, making her stomach fill up with butterflies and her face blush at the familiar scent. She hoped that no one else could notice the reaction.

“Yup, I- I was here.” She says coolly. Her heart drops when she sees Jinsoul’s defeated reaction. It hurt more than anything in this entire situation to be lying to her friends right now. Sure, what’s the harm in telling them anymore, there’s nothing they could do about it anyway. However, it’s been this long already, and it would only make everything worse. She looks down to stare at the white fluffy blanket that she is wrapped in right now instead of the sad eyes of her best friend.

They all jumped when they heard a sudden, loud noise come again from the bathroom.

All eyes immediately went from the bathroom door to Chaewon, no one daring to speak. Jungeun and Hyunjin’s eyes were wide, but they looked away immediately. Jinsoul and Heejin, however, still had their eyes trained on their friend. Jinsoul was the one to speak. “You can come on out, Hyeju.”

The room fell silent again for another full minute before the bathroom door opened slowly, a very red faced Hyeju coming out. She seemed to limp slightly as she inched closer to the bathroom doorway, smiling painfully at everyone in the room in awkward embarrassment.

“Uh, I dropped my laptop on my foot. I must’ve banged the cabinet when I was looking for a bandage.”

No one said a word for what felt like an hour. Chaewon did the first thing she could think of, and she laughed. All eyes suddenly went to her, perplexed looks on their faces.

“Ah, Hyeju! I didn’t know you were here already.” She smiles at the other girl in a way she hopes communicates for her to keep going. She looks at Chaewon with a frozen, confused expression, before immediately laughing back. “Oh, yeah! The spare key comes in handy…I was just…checking a work email in the bathroom. I didn’t want to disturb you on the couch over there.”

Chaewon could see Jungeun and Hyunjin giving each other a “is that buyable?” look. She tried to ignore them so that Jinsoul and Heejin didn’t see. She avoided their gaze too, as she smiles back at Hyeju. This could work. “ Oh, that’s so kind of you! I am up now, and I think we’re all going out to breakfast. I was just going to text you!”

Jinsoul looks at them with a hard stare, her jaw locked tightly. Heejin looks confused but remains silent where she stands. The tension in the room is so thick, it could be cut with a knife. After a few moments, the raven-haired friend speaks in monotone. “We’ll wait outside, then.”

Grabbing Jungeun’s hand, she walks towards the door without looking back, the blonde flashing them a forced smile. Heejin still looks like she is reading the situation, the gears turning in her head in a puzzled expression. Hyunjin has to wrap an arm around her shoulder and lead her out, flashing the nervous girls an unbothered and uninvolved smile.

As soon as the door closes, Chaewon starts to visibly shake. Hyeju walks over and immediately puts her hand on her shoulders. “Hey, I think we did well with that one. I-“ She was cut off by Chaewon ripping herself out of her grasp and pushing down the fluttery feeling at the sudden contact. She looked very angry. “Why the fuck do you have to be here? I didn’t ask for this shit.”

She immediately walks to her bedroom and closes the door, leaving Hyeju sighing with her head in her hands. Hopefully, this breakfast was as good as Jungeun says and will make up for the setback she felt this situation just caused between them.

The breakfast was absolutely not great. Maybe the others were used to good quality kimchi made in Korea, but Jungeun and Hyunjin were the only ones who looked happy as they wolfed down their breakfast this morning. The rest of the girls barely touched their food, the mediocre food combining with the lack of appetite at this morning’s situation.

And it didn’t end there. No, Hyeju wasn’t going to get her perfect Saturday off of work, because it never happened that way.

Jungeun thought that helping the situation would include suggesting that they all spend the rest of the day together. Her and Hyunjin took turns finding different places for them all to go and have fun, since they lived in the area. Hyeju and Chaewon were cursing them out in their heads. Didn’t they notice how tense the atmosphere was ever since the morning started?

Of course they didn’t. They all spent the day doing various things, from going to an art museum to visiting a theme park and even visiting an arcade. Every time anyone else wanted to just go back to their own rooms, both girls suggested that they continue seeing more of the city together. Chaewon even tried to scold Jungeun with “Aren’t you supposed to be at work right now or something?” But the girl just waved lazily in response. Hyunjin, too, was getting very angry stares from Hyeju, but she kept nodding her head towards Heejin. “Sorry, but I need this” She mouthed.

So, the day passed by with fun activities, with almost everyone not having as much fun as they could have. And still, when they all made it back, they somehow ended up in Chaewon’s suite again, sitting around the coffee table and playing various board games. By that point, it seemed like Jinsoul was less angry, thankfully, and Heejin went back to her normal self. That made the early evening the most enjoyable it has been all day.

“I think it’s your turn, Hyun.” Heejin says playfully, laying a hand on the blushing girl’s shoulder. It looked a bit like the bartender was getting her wish, after all. Heejin was slowly (very slowly) starting to pay attention to the other girl. They all think it had something to do with the small Naruto plushie she was clutching in her lap, won at the arcade by the smitten girl next to her.

Hyunjin smiles widely and rolls the dice, moving her little hat piece across the Monopoly board. She hums positively when she passes go, collecting her money. Her and Heejin are the only ones enjoying themselves right now, getting into the game in front of them. Chaewon was sitting on the floor by the coffee table, her eyes landing everywhere except Jinsoul, who was giving her side eye whenever she could. Jungeun was in Jinsoul’s lap, again, but looked nervous herself. She sensed the other’s uneasiness, trying to rub her thumb on the girl’s hand affectionately. She was slowly starting to realize that maybe making them all hang out together was…not the best idea after the morning.

“Um, it’s your turn now, Hyeju.”

The youngest girl was broken out of her thoughts by all eyes on the room on her, Hyunjin’s hand outstretched with the black and white dice. She gives the girl a small smile, but Hyeju forces one terribly in response. Jinsoul continues to watch her closely.

Her little dog piece moves across the board before landing on a space occupied by a little house. “Ah, looks like I owe you something, Jinsoul.” Hyeju laughs awkwardly, still feeling the dislike the other girl was exhibiting for her from across the room. Jinsoul’s gaze locked on the younger girl, her eyes swimming with slight anger.

“Yeah, you could say that.” She grumbles, looking for her property deed card on the table in front of her. “It’s 200.”

Chaewon looks between her best friend and the girl who she’s keeping secrets with frantically, disliking the tension that just increased as they exchanged interactions. Someone coughs awkwardly as Hyeju hands over the colorful, paper money, only to have it snatched quickly by the older girl. “Thanks.”

The room falls into an awkward silence, all eyes now on the small girl who was supposed to be going next. She could feel Jinsoul’s gaze on her the hardest. “Um, I think it’s your t-“ Hyeju was cut off abruptly.

“No, actually, why don’t we play a new game, hmm?” Jinsoul states harshly, making everyone turn to her with wide eyes. Her angry gaze was on Hyeju. “How about truth or dare? Haven’t done that in a while. Might be a lot of fun.”

No one said a word at her sudden desire to change games. Hyeju swallowed nervously, while Chaewon looked between the two of them again. She was starting to get very anxious at her friend’s hostile behavior towards the younger girl. Not only was it so unnecessary, but she remembers the phone conversation she had the day before with her father. Was Hyeju still going through something right now? Does she really need this right now? What about Jinsoul, was she still worrying too?

“P-please, just st-“ Chaewon’s small voice was drowned out by Jinsoul slamming her fist lightly on the table. She turns her gaze towards Heejin. “Heekki, truth or dare?”

Everyone was confused by her attention shift to Heejin. She blinked a few times, curling the Naruto plush further into herself. “Uh, I guess, dare?” She says with hesitation. Jinsoul immediately responds. “Okay. Kiss Hyunjin.”

Hyunjin’s eyes open wide, a smile twitching on her face. Heejin remains still, furrowing her brows. “Um, is there any reason w-“ She didn’t get to finish, and she didn’t get to do her dare either. Jinsoul turns herself back to face Hyeju again.

“Hyeju. Truth. Or dare.”

Her voice comes out stern and almost threatening. Chaewon grips the hem of her sweater tightly in her hand at the exchange occurring in front of her. “Soulie, maybe you shouldn’t-“ She cut Chaewon off again. “Hyeju?”

What was she supposed to do, say truth? That sounded like a bad idea given how dangerously close their cover up was to being exposed. She looks over at Chaewon quickly, examining her anxious state. She really hated lying, especially seeing how much it affected the other girl, one she has grown to care for. She sighs, looking back at Jinsoul with a confident expression.


Her voice comes out cool, confident, unwavering. Maybe she couldn’t be with Chaewon in the way that her feelings were wanting her to, but she was going to defend this secret that they shared. It was one of the only things keeping her here, one of the only things they shared right now. She felt bad that the girl’s friends didn’t know, but her priorities lied in Chaewon, in the girl she suddenly wanted to spend every ounce of her will on protecting.

Jinsoul smirks deviously, narrowing her eyes. “I dare you to show us where you live by throwing a party at your house.”

It wasn’t long after that when everyone left for the night. Jungeun managed to stop her “it’s not my problem” demeanor and have Jinsoul to get them back to her suite for the night (neglecting the front desk, as usual). Heejin, on her way out, asked Hyunjin casually if she could get some of those free drinks from her job she mentioned once. The bartender grabbed her hand excitedly and led them out of there at lightning speed, a smile on her face at the suggestion.

But the two remaining girls were not in the room anymore. No, they left the monopoly board and the pillows on the floor where they were. Hyeju noticed the way the girl was shaking and on the verge of crying, her concerns for her growing by the second. She was hesitant to do anything at first, remembering the outburst from this morning. But she knew that if the girl stayed here, she was going to lose it and run off anyway.

Chaewon was frantically looking at the front door too, desperately looking to run away. That was, until she felt a hand grab her own. The gentleness of Hyeju’s touch made her rapidly firing thoughts almost freeze in place completely. The girl’s face was concerned, and almost completely understanding. “Running away only makes things worse.”

She looks down, biting her lip slightly, as if her own words made her realize something. Hyeju nods slightly, her eyes looking up at the girl slowly. “I’ll go with you.”

She has no idea what was going through the girl’s head right now, where she wanted to suddenly run away to, but right now, this was no time for her to be alone. Chaewon could only nod weakly in response.

As they stepped out of the room, Chaewon seemed to look even more lost. She wanted to run away just a second ago, and yet she couldn’t figure out where. They were in a foreign place after all, this wasn’t home, where she could bury herself in her bedroom or outside in familiar world she grew up in. Hyeju had to take the initiative and bring her somewhere.

That’s how they ended up on the rooftop again, the same one from around the beginning of everything going wrong. Under the night sky, the lights still looked just as dazzling, just as radiant. They sparkled, twisted, changed color against the pitch black of the sky.

They were dangling their legs off of the ledge again, resting their arms and head on the bar in front of it. Not a word has been said yet. They just stare at the lights of the Las Vegas city life and listen to the distant noises of traffic. In an adjacent theater, there must’ve been some sort of concert going on, as a distant hum of a guitar was heard against the traffic. The city was loud, bustling with people, and yet from so high up, it all felt so far away.

“Do you think everything happens for a reason?”

Hyeju murmurs these words out suddenly, her eyes still trained on a spinning wheel of colorful lights on the building across the street. She wasn’t sure if Chaewon even heard her, or if she was too upset to speak after there was a lulling silence. But, after a minute, she gets a reply. “I don’t know. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Life is just…full of so many unexpected things.”

Hyeju hums in response, pondering the small girl’s words. Life was unexpected, in this situation especially, it was very unexpected. But was that all it was, an accident? A fuck up on her life?

“That’s true. But maybe the unexpected things are what make it so great, even the bad stuff.” She says carefully, blinking in surprise at her own words.

A light breeze sweeps over the night, making their hair wave behind them. She recalls her conversation with Yerim again, tightening her mouth in a thin-lipped smile. That was a situation that they both didn’t exactly handle well, and it caused them so much unneeded pain. She was carrying this unnecessary grudge, while Yerim had this small guilt over something that wasn’t fully her fault. And even though they can’t make up that time, this unexpected work trip turned tragedy turned once in a lifetime career opportunity led them to fix all of that in one simple conversation.

The unexpected had to have its reasons. It just had.

Chaewon looks over at Hyeju with curiosity at her sudden silence. She can see the gears turning in the girl’s head as she thinks deeply. She remembers what her father told her on the phone about her weird behavior at work.

“Besides, well, this, are there any things in your life that have happened unexpectedly?” Her words come out small and careful, afraid of being too personal with the girl. She looks down at the cars on the road and the people on the sidewalk moving slowly below her, biting her lip quickly. “And did they…did you find them having some sort of reasoning?”

Hyeju nods immediately, her gaze now looking up at the lack of stars against the light pollution that filled the sky. She stays silent for a minute before thinking of her answer. “I was with someone awhile back. Yerim is her name. She left m- she went to the states to pursue her dream.” Her gaze was still fixed at the black sky. “I knew it would happen someday, and yet I took it personally; I thought it had to do with money, status. I ran away, and she pushed me out. We never spoke again.”

Chaewon nods and studies her face intently. The light from the buildings across from them casted her face in a soft, yellow glow. “Keeping those feelings in might’ve ruined a lot of things for me. I was very immature about everything.”

She now looked away from the sky to stare back at Chaewon, the smaller girl’s gaze not looking away as their eyes lock. The lights move in each other’s dark pupils. “But one conversation fixed everything. One true and honest conversation helped us put the past in the past, helped us move forward. I should be angry at myself that I was so stupid to let these feelings eat at me for this long, waste away parts of my life…”

She lets her hands rest on the cool, metal bars of the railing with a sigh. “Truth is, I was always going to be that way; I was always going to run away. This needed to happen so I could grow up, so I could help myself see how bad my behavior was. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing about it. It happened for a reason.”

Chaewon watches the girl intently, her mouth slightly ajar. This Hyeju was so different from the one she was with on this very roof the other week. This one seemed surer of herself and was being much more open. Against the light of the city, against the light breeze that swept the rooftop, Chaewon felt like she was seeing a large part of Hyeju that she could not see before.

She found herself admiring what she saw a lot.

If her feelings were small before, they doubled in size now. She reaches forward and grabs the girl’s hand, giving it a light squeeze. Hyeju looks at their joined hands resting between the bars of the railing, then looks back up at Chaewon’s kind eyes.

“And…And this?” Chaewon flicks their joined hands slightly. “Did this happen for a reason?”

Her tone comes out small and cautiously. Hyeju looks down at their hands, gazing intently as her heart flutters in her chest at the gentle contact between the two of them. She bites her lip slightly, thinking.

“I don’t think this was an accident, princess.” Her tone comes out lightheartedly, a small chuckle escaping her lips. “I’m not sure what the reasoning is yet, to be honest with you. But I think someday, you and I will look back on this and laugh about it, right?”

Chaewon chuckles lightly, absent-mindedly rubbing her thumb along the girl’s hand. “Yeah, one day this will be a funny memory, huh?”

A memory. Is that all this was going to be?

The reality of the situation hits them both instantly, turning their heads away to stare back at the city lights, the many colors putting on what felt like a personal display for them both. Still, their hands were joined together tightly, hanging over of the building.

It was silent for a few minutes, their feelings starting ease with the comfortable energy that surrounded them as they watched the city below them, as if they were reigning over it. The sea of people on either side of the sidewalks down below walked by and were off to their own activities for the night. The cars too, inched slowly forward and out into the heart of the city, passing by other skyscrapers that they could not see over.

“So, what are we going to do about Jinsoul’s dare?”

Chaewon breaks the silence, making Hyeju grumble in annoyance. “That was so unnecessary. Where did you pick up these friends anyway, huh?”

Chaewon giggles lightly at the other girl, before sighing as the reality of the dilemma before them sets in. “Maybe we should…rent a house? I can make it happen with no problem.”

Hyeju rolls her eyes, but a smile is on her lips. “Of course you can, rich girl.” Chaewon rolls her eyes back, but a smile is on her lips too.

It was silent again, before Hyeju made a noise of surprise.

“That goddamn Hyunjin. She wants Heejin so bad? She’s going to let us use her place for the night.”

Chapter Text

“You own a lot of cat collectibles.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

Hyunjin snatches the ceramic cat back from Hyeju’s clutches, holding it close to her chest protectively with a glare. Chaewon rolls her eyes at the whole ordeal, although she herself was looking around the house with curiosity. Everything was indeed strange, and yet, very Hyunjin.

Her aesthetic was tasteful and soft, the furnishings light and calming. There was a cream couch in front of a large tv, the walls beige and surrounded by a good amount of greenery. It was simple, yet cute and elegant.

Never mind the fact that it’s soft aesthetic didn’t exactly fit Hyeju’s vibe, but neither did the various amount of décor items that surrounded the home. Lots of figurines of cats were scattered on bookshelves and on top of tables. It wasn’t the worst thing you could put in your house, but it was not going to sell to Jinsoul and Heejin that this was where Hyeju resided.

A small orange cat comes into the living room from the hallway, meowing softly at the guests. Hyunjin scoops her up and hums, a happy smile on her face. Chaewon sighs, a small smile on her face. “At least she has a cat, or else the choice of décor would be a little odd.” She chuckles nervously.

Getting a tour of the small home only seemed to worry the rich girl more. It could work, sure, but she was nervous about something, anything going wrong. She wanted to be cross with her best friend for demanding this of Hyeju, but she was in no position to do so. She was the one who was too scared to spill what happened. It was more for covering up the amount of time they have been hiding more so than for the original reason at this point.

She felt a hand touch her shoulder, looking up to see Hyeju flash her a concerned expression. Chaewon swallows nervously, shifting herself over so that their contact breaks. “I’m fine. It’ll work.” She looks around at the room, then at the purring kitty in Hyunjin’s arms with a sigh. “We’ll make it work.”

Hyunjin gave the two girls free range to move just about anything they needed in her place into a small closet that was in the spare bedroom. Before they got there, Chaewon took it upon herself to drag a grumbling Hyeju out to the store and make her buy things she would have in her own place. “Do we have to? I’m sure Hyunjin’s place is fine, she is pretty cool or whatever.” Hyeju complained, but she was holding her tongue now. She’s glad that no one would suspect her of being some kind of furry.

The three of them went around the house, taking down various photos and nick-nacks that Hyeju felt would blow their cover. As they continued to move around her things , Hyunjin couldn’t help but feel bad as she watches everything pile up in the small closet. Maybe she wanted to get closer to Chaewon’s friend, but it ended up putting them all in this position, one that was worrying the other two to death.

When she got a random call from an unknown number, demanding to use her space, Hyunjin was thrown out of a loop, until she realized it was Hyeju. “Uh, how did you get my number?” She asked carefully. She had only given it to Heejin after the first time they hung out (surprisingly), receiving a crushing “Oh, I would love to be friends!” from the other girl. That didn’t stop her though, clearly. “You originally gave it to me at the club, god, can you just help us out or not?” Hyeju spit out as her patience wore thin.

She watches the fake couple- real couple?- carefully put a lot of her things away in the other room where the closet was. The bartender sighs to herself, then looks down at the cat still purring loudly in her arms. “You’ll have to stay with your friends tonight.” She coos to the cat, petting her head affectionately. It seemed like a lot to give up her home like this to basic strangers, but she can’t help but feel like she owes them this.

They were putting up some photos in the frames that Hyeju printed off last minute. Hyunjin could hear Chaewon giggling at the various photos in front of her. “These are so funny…who knew you were so much of a dork?” She says fondly as the photo was ripped out of her hand. Hyeju picked up a now empty frame and put it in with an unamused expression. “Wearing glasses doesn’t make me a dork.” She grumbles. The whole exchange made Hyunjin roll her eyes. Jinsoul and Heejin, anyone really, didn’t need a brain to see that these girls had something going on.

Still, she watched as her own home became almost foreign to her now. This was going to work, she said confidently to herself. Her isights may have been locked on Heejin, but she’ll admit she was rooting for those two as well. The bartender laughs to herself at the sight of Chaewon nudging the other girl over some more of her photos. They were different from when they first walked into the bar that very night. If anything came out of this party, she hoped not only for a win for herself, but a win for these two as well.

Hyeju completed her dare after all. There was nothing Jinsoul could say; she was convinced.

10:00 at night, the party just started in its full swing of things. The house wasn’t large, but it wasn’t exactly as small as it looked either. Jinsoul was surprised to see so many people there, and she wondered if Hyeju wasn’t so shady and secretive after all.

She shakes her slightly, putting the red plastic cup to her lips. Maybe Hyeju wasn’t so sketchy, but there was still definitely something up with her and Chaewon. She made it her mission to figure it out by the time this party ended.

That is, if it ever would.

Jinsoul knew that American parties could get intense, but this one was especially alive with energy. There had to be almost a hundred people there, all occupied in their own ways. Two guys were screaming karaoke by the tv, trying to yell over the already cranked, high energy of the music as a crowd watched and yelled along with them. Outside on the porch, there was another crowd of people, talking and playing games together (Hyunjin was absolutely killing it at arm wrestling). And in the small backyard, where the speakers were set up, there was a crowd of dancers moving fast against the beat. It was the most alive place Jinsoul has ever seen.

Here, in the kitchen, the dark-haired girl was just happy leaning against the counter, drinking cheap vodka with an arm wrapped around the blonde girl in front of her. They were talking to a group of people they just met, enjoying the evening. She felt Jungeun lean back farther into her, making them both smile contently.

While the music blares around her and Jungeun continues to talk to the others around them, Jinsoul closes her eyes, resting her chin on the other’s shoulder, the smile still plastered on her face. Ever since the moment they got here, things have been off. She knows it has everything to do with the “friend” of Chaewon’s they met when they arrived. Still, there was something really great that came out of this too.

That all lied in the girl who was currently pressed into her, laughing loudly at something that was shared amongst the circle of people. Jinsoul lost track of what has been said a while ago, her thoughts swimming as more alcohol has been thrown back into her system. Sure, at the club, all she wanted to do was dance until it hurt the next morning, but in this more informal setting, she is happy curling herself around the girl in front of her.

The main this is, Jungeun has been a constant for her in the few weeks she has already been here, and she has a hard time imagining what things were like without her. She unknowingly tightens her grip on the blonde, making her head turn back. “Everything okay, Jindori?” She asks with concern, her face a light pink due to the alcohol that was already in her system. The taller girl smiles sheepishly as the rest of the group around them continues their conversation, leaving the pair in what feels like their own little bubble.

“I’m just thinking about you, that’s all.” She says bashfully, making the other girl swat at her playfully. “I’m right here! What could you be thinking about?” She asks in a teasing manner, laying her head in the crook of the taller girl’s neck. A toothless smile spread out wide on Jinsoul’s face.

Many people continue to talk around them as the music and its bass booms through the walls of the house from outside. Still, Jinsoul feels like everything has stopped around them as the alcohol puts her in a more emotional state. Tears are already pooling in her eyes. “I just like you so much.” Her mouth trembles, and Jungeun starts laughing at the sight. This makes Jinsoul’s brows furrow as a small tear falls down her red face. “Why are you laughing at me?!” She says with a pout.

Despite how loud Jungeun’s laugh came out, it still didn’t go over the noise of the music or the various other people who were in the house. She brought a hand up to the other’s cheek to wipe away the tear, still chuckling. “You are such a baby. I like you a lot too, in case that wasn’t clear.” She teases.

The blonde was growing used to Jinsoul and the things that made her so unique. This wasn’t the first time the other girl has cried over her. And while she would just laugh and shake her head, she won’t lie and say that it makes her feel emotional as well. She didn’t have much care for a lot of things (her job and her performance there was most definitely last on that list), but the girl next to her definitely was up there.

Jinsoul lets out a sniffle, rolling her eyes at the shorter girl. “I’m just saying, things have been…” She trails off, her smile now falling into a crestfallen expression. “Chae isn’t herself, and she’s hiding something. Its- its never gone on this long.” She says, just barely audible over the noise of the house. Jungeun immediately looks around to see if anyone happened to be listening in on their conversation.

She turned back towards Jinsoul with a smile. Jungeun was aware of everything going on, but she didn’t feel like it was her place to say anything, especially after her talk with Chaewon about it. She had never seen someone so upset before, and all she could really do was listen. If someone told her that she would end up caring about the spoiled rich girl and offering to be there for her just a few weeks ago, she would have laughed. She had all these elaborate pranks to play on her, but she would just feel bad doing so now.

“You’re a great friend to her, not a lot of people wouldn't be willing to avoid the internet for this long over anyone.” She laughs nervously, hoping that she couldn’t see right into her head that she knew everything. “she’ll tell you eventually, this might be something she needs to figure out on her own, or maybe…” She says her next words carefully. “With someone else.”

Jinsoul furrows her brows at that. “I’m her best friend, she has and can always tell me anything.” Her voice comes out hurt and offended. Jungeun sighs, lowering her hand to rub affectionately on the girl’s arm. “She knows that, but she might just need time. It’ll be revealed to you soon, honey.”

The dark-haired girl seemed to relax at the other’s words, a small smile appearing on her face. “You always know how to make me feel better.” She says sweetly. Jungeun laughs before reaching behind her to grab a clear, glass bottle from the counter. “Now, let’s have some fun, okay?” She says, reaching for their red cups. Jinsoul seemed to hum in agreement at that.

Jungeun hoped that for the couple’s sake, Jinsoul wouldn’t dwell on it too much more right now. She seemed to buy the whole “Hyeju’s house” plot the others set up as well. The last thing she wanted to do was make the girl suspect that almost everything she knew about Hyeju was a lie, and that the girl she relied on for comfort over it knew everything.

This party was nothing like the ones thrown at home, that’s for sure.

Chaewon was sitting on the porch outside, one of the only places that wasn’t as crowded as the rest of the party. There was a couple making out on an adjacent chair, making her look away in disgust, but otherwise, the crowds of people were scattered on the front lawn and at the other end of the porch, where there was a very intense arm-wrestling match going on right now, drunk people screaming at the different contestants who were straining their muscles. The music was still loud from the backyard, but it lulled like a distant hum from where she was sitting.

This wasn’t her type of atmosphere at all, certainly not one she was used to. If there were parties at home, they usually entailed as elegant, business dinners with more Beethoven than The Weeknd being played. This felt very American to her, very in a whole different world to her. That left the small girl to curl herself in a ball in a chair under this porchlight, lost in her own thoughts.

Her heart was running at a fast pace, out beating the bass from the speakers across the property. Her and Hyeju decided that they shouldn’t spend too much time together here, as to not gain any more possible suspicion from Jinsoul or even Heejin, who were off doing their own thing anyway. Chaewon buried her face more into her tucked knees. She felt that this was so unanimously agreed on too because of the weirdness that usually resulted after every time they were around alcohol.

Still, she can’t help but want those events to happen again, even if that meant making things weird. As the party started, and all of Hyunjin’s contacts showing up (really, how did the girl know THIS many people?), they both decided to go their separate ways for the night. She agreed to it too, but it still felt weird to do so. She was starting to grow fond of having the girl next to her.

She hits her forehead slightly against her own knees. “Stop it.” She murmurs to herself, the desperate urge to suppress these feelings completely failing each time Hyeju pops back in her mind. She thinks back to their conversation on the rooftop last night. Maybe everything happens for a reason, but she wished that their relationship didn’t start out so rocky and hostile. Maybe then, they wouldn’t have had to feel like these feelings needed to be suppressed. There was no way that the younger girl was going through this either, and she doesn’t blame her for that. Living with a spoiled, rich brat must royally suck.

“Yo! Look who it is!”

Chaewon breaks out of her thoughts by the sound of a vaguely familiar voice. People recognized her all the time, but usually didn’t approach; that’s not the kind of status she had. Still, once in a while, the Parks had their super fans. Sighing, the girl lifted her head, only to furrow her brows in confusion immediately.

Sitting on the wooden porch floor across from her was that Uber driver girl, what was her name? She was trying to place it, but the smaller girl answered her thoughts for her, a smile on her face. “Nice seeing you again! I’m Yeojin, from- uh, with the orange car. In case, you forgot or whatever.” She points her thumb behind her towards the street.

Chaewon looks across the pockets of chatty, drunk people scattered on the lawn to faintly see a familiar boxy, orange car parked neatly behind the dozens of others that lined the street’s curb out in the dark night. She sighed at the realization, recalling their past few interactions.

“Uh, hi Yeojin.” She says monotonously, lowering her chin back down on her knees. Suddenly, the thought of being anywhere except this quieter part of the party seemed like a good idea.

If Chaewon was trying to get the younger girl to go away, it wasn’t working. She scooted her crossed legs closer so that she could talk better over the bass that was pulsating throughout the whole structure of the small house. Not that she needed to, Yeojin was a loud and bubbly person as it was.

“Park Chaewon! How is life being marr- oh I’m not supposed to talk about that right.” She says quickly, earning an annoyed glare from the brunette. When she didn’t say anything, Yeojin let out a nervous chuckle. “Right, got it. I just- you just look very upset, and alone. Thought some company would help.”

Sighing, Chaewon looks down at the floor where the dark-haired girl was sitting. She was holding a red cup (was this girl even old enough to drink?) and giving a goofy, yet genuine smile. It was unfortunate that the worst possible people were the ones aware of what’s going on, even strangers such as the girl here. But, what else does she have right now? She didn’t want to sit here and mope over her unrequited feelings for the girl she is married to.

Noticing her lifting head and her legs dropping back to the floor, Yeojin lit up like a Christmas tree, a smile on her face. “Tell me what’s on your mind, Miss Park! Or is that not your name anymore? MRS. Park? Did you take her l- sorry I’m done.” She says as Chaewon’s jaw tightened.

Sighing for what felt like the hundredth time that night, Chaewon looks down at her hands in her lap. The only noise is the music and the chatter of people around them as she gathers her thoughts. “I have these feelings for her, but I know I’ll only get hurt if I act on them.” Her words come out small, barely audible over the noise around them.

Yeojin blinks a few times in confusion. “Aren’t you two married?” She says bluntly, making Chaewon sigh with annoyance. Yeojin immediately waves her free hand in the air. “Never mind that. Uh, do you know how she feels?” The younger girl had no knowledge of this situation outside of the fact that it happened, but for now, she was going to just listen.

She shook her head in a somber manner. “I’m not sure, but that’s not the point.” She plays with her own hands nervously. “Everything is out of my- out of our control. I can’t get any closer to her and risk us parting ways. It would just hurt too much.” Tears were threatening to spill from her eyes at the revelation.

Yeojin huffed, taking another sip from her red cup before putting it back on the floor, making a face at the burning alcohol in her throat and at Chaewon’s words. “That’s the dumbest excuse I’ve ever heard.”

She gets up from her place on the floor to stand in front of the girl, crossing her arms. Chaewon looked extremely offended. “I don’t know what it’s like to live in your world, but you absolutely can do something about her place there. Is it a disapproving family thing? So what. You are your own person. No one can fully make you do what they want, especially if it makes you unhappy.” She pauses, wondering if she said too much as the girl’s face turned pink. “Er, and you know, y’all seemed cute the moment you stepped in my car. Would be a real shame to let that go.”

The music continues to blast across the property, and a loud eruption of applause occurs across the porch as another round of people set up their next drinking game. The two girls are locked in a staring contest, unreadable expressions on their faces. Yeojin’s previous words wash over them both.

“But I-“ Chaewon is cut off by Yeojin, still staring. “No. Don’t make excuses. Do you like her?” She asks firmly. Chaewon is taken aback by the girl’s bluntness.

Of course she does, she would be lying horribly to herself if she tried to throw it under the rug for another second. She’s liked her for a while now, maybe even.... from the beginning. They just had a rough start, and there were too many factors. So many things were keeping them from the fact that they had a better understanding of each other than anyone ever has. No, Chaewon doesn’t just like her. She was in awe of her. She needed to have the girl around for longer than she was supposed to be.

The sudden standing of the girl made Yeojin take a step back. She blinked in surprise before crouching down to retrieve her red cup, her eye contact not breaking from the girl, who had her fists tightened at her sides. Chaewon pushed past the smaller girl, turning her head back as her shaking hand grips the doorknob with white knuckles. Her voice comes out shaky, but still confident; dripping with emotion.

“I like her so fucking much.”

This is HER house, goddammit. She wasn’t going to let someone ruin the fucking party for her.

Hyunjin felt on top of the world after winning the many arm-wrestling games she was challenged to in the front yard, all the losers ending up drunk and bitter over their losing bet of taking shots. No one can beat Hyunjin in anything, she is too strong and determined. But apparently, there are things that she can lose at.

Take, for instance, the girl who was currently flirting with Heejin. That really made her feel like a sore loser.

The lawn was dark, save for the light that creeped out from the porch, where Hyunjin watched the two with sadness. Still, she could clearly see the two girls in a circle with others, drinking and laughing. They were much closer to each other than the other people in the circle were, and all they were looking at were each other. It made the bartender’s blood boil, but it also made her stomach drop like a rollercoaster that never stopped going down.

She couldn’t tell what they were talking about, but the other blonde girl was getting very close to her, whispering in her ear, making Heejin laugh. It hurt so much that she wasn’t the one in that position right now. People continued to talk around her, but she was frozen in place, her eyes hard on the circle in front of her. She lays her hands on the railing of the porch, gripping the wood with strong hands.

She then relaxed her hands, hanging her head down in shame. Was she really in the kind of position to be angry about this? She was terrible at making a move on the other girl, and when she dared to, the other girl didn’t seem to respond the way Hyunjin had hoped for. It wasn’t even like she was getting turned down either, it was more like the girl wasn’t understanding that she was getting hit on at all. That only made the bartender more nervous. She was very bad at being direct.

Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe it was the high she was experiencing from winning all those previous games, but Hyunjin wasn’t going to stand by and let this happen. Last time she watched someone flirt with Heejin, she was working, and also much more of a mess around the other girl to even think about approaching her herself. Spending some time together over the past week or so, and she felt herself not only growing fonder of the blonde, but a little less nervous each time.

Still, the thought of going down there and winning her over scared the hell out of Hyunjin.

There was no other person around to do the work for her; she was putting two feet in front of the other and making her way down the stairs of the front porch and onto the lawn. This might’ve been 'Hyeju’s house' for the night, but she didn’t have to stand for this to happen right in front of her. Before she could even think about what she even wanted to say, or to do, she was standing in front of the group of people, now all noticing her sudden presence.

“Hyunjin! Awesome party, am I right? You absolutely crushed those guys back there.” Seungcheol yells, even though the music was not as loud where they were. His voice makes her jump, her nerves through the roof. “R-right, they didn’t stand a chance against me and my strength.” She flexes, making a few people around her laugh. But she didn’t care, she wasn’t here to mingle right now. Her gaze was locked on the girl in front of her.

Heejin was now flashing her a kind smile, despite the other blonde next to her chatting her ear off about something. Hyunjin’s gaze then fixed on her, her blood growing hot again. “Ryujin. So nice of you to come.”

The girl immediately stops talking to Heejin, turning her gaze to Hyunjin’s tense, glaring eyes. She doesn’t seem to be phased. “Oh, hey! This party is a lot of fun, thanks for throwing i-“ Hyunjin immediately cuts her off, scared of their plan crumbling in front of Heejin, who started to furrow her brows in confusion. “Ah, don’t mention it, really, don’t.” She says with annoyance and urgency.

Heejin looks between the two girls, her confusion growing. What was going on?

Ryujin, as well, looks at Hyunjin with a strange expression, turning her gaze back on Heejin, then back on her friend in front of her. She raises her eyebrow at the bartender. Was she trying to steal this girl away from her? She was talking to her first, so that would be really rude. Well, two could play at that game.

“Heejin, why don’t we get some refills back inside?” She says smoothly, putting an arm around the other girl. The other blonde bites her lip nervously as Hyunjin’s eyes harden more at the action. “Um, maybe you go on ahead. I’ll catch you later, Ryujin.”

The girl sighs defeatedly, looking around at the other people in the circle, who have grown quiet as they observe the tense exchange around them. Shrugging, Ryujin walks off into the house with an empty red cup drooping at her side in her hand.

Hyunjin should’ve felt like she won that, but in fact, Ryujin walking away just meant that her friends that were still around were going to step up at playing wingman. “She doesn’t ever talk to someone that much; you must be special.” Chaeryeong says to Heejin, taking a sip from her cup and then flashing a smile. “Don’t worry Heejin, if you can’t find her for the rest of the party, I’ll give you her number.” Yeji said with a wink. Heejin chuckled nervously, then remained silent.

“Heejin, let’s go, somewhere that is not here.” Hyunjin blurts out, awkwardly rushing forward to grab her hand and pull her out of the circle they were in, making them all look at her with a strange expression. She knew her face must be bright red right now, and she could feel her hands tingling at how nervous she was, but she just hoped Heejin didn’t notice so much.

She did.

As they were being pulled across the dark lawn and to the side of the house, Heejin had so many questions in her head. Why was Hyunjin acting so weird? Where are they going? What was going on between her and Ryujin?

The side of the house was empty of people, but the music was now louder than it had been at the front. There was a fence that separated the empty area from the very crowded backyard of people dancing. There was only a small light that shone over them from the side of the house, casting them in what felt like a stage spotlight.

Heejin looked around at the empty, dimly lit area with confusion. “Why are we here?” She asks, turning her gaze back to a very nervous looking Hyunjin. She takes a step back. “You’re not here to kill me or anything, right?” She says playfully. The other girl can only shake her head, the corner of her mouth turning up slightly.

Hyunjin takes a breath, then looks up at Heejin in the eye. The only noise comes from the music that was just beyond the fence, as well as the light chatter that existed between the people behind it. She opens her mouth “I-“ The fence then opens, two guys walking out of it and laughing to each other, the two girls standing against the house turning to watch them walk by and walk away.

They laugh a little, before Hyunjin lets out a shakier breath this time. “Um, I know this isn’t exactly the best place for this, but I have something I want to say, and-“ Heejin furrows her brows and cuts her off immediately. “Are you trying to set me up with Ryujin too? She was nice and all, but I don’t think I was all that interested. I-“ Now, it was Heejin’s turn to be cut off by a very annoyed Hyunjin.

“Can you just let me talk? I don’t want to see you with Ryujin, at all actually.” She immediately flinches at the intensity of her own words, her face turning red as she looks down at the grass with an embarrassed expression. “I- I had someone else in mind though, if you were interested, that is.” She says quietly, barely audible over the muffled music. Heejin sighs, bringing her hands up to her face.

“Before you ask, the answer is absolutely not.”

Hyunjin’s face falls, tears threatening to spill out from her eyes. There goes her fucking chance now. How could she be so stupid to think she had a chance?

“I’m not going out with Hyeju! I’m pretty sure she's interested in Chaewon right now, or at least, something weird is happening between those two that neither Jinsoul nor I can figure out.” She says, rubbing the back of her neck sheepishly. “Sorry to burst her bubble if she happened to be interested though.”

Hyunjin immediately looks up at her but stays frozen in place. You've got to be fucking kidding.

They stay in place like this, only the music and the chatter behind the fence progressing behind them. That is, until Hyunjin surges forward and grabs the girl by the shoulders, pulling her closer.

Heejin widens her eyes in surprise but doesn’t make any moves to get away. Hyunjin surprises herself at the sudden action, unsure of what to do now. She didn’t think she would get this far, honestly. But she manages to let out a shaky breath, before leaning forward and capturing the blonde in a kiss.

It only lasted a few seconds, because Hyunjin couldn’t feel the girl kissing her back. She pulls back, hear hands trembling against the girl’s shoulders, too afraid to move. Heejin, too, had a very unreadable expression on her face, frozen where she stood.

It felt a hundred hours went by, but the same song was still playing. All the two did was stare at each other in fear, waiting for the other to react. Hyunjin swallows a lump in her throat, all the alarms going off in her head to get out of there. She knew she fucked up. This wasn’t how this was supposed to go at all. The girl had made her nervous for so long, afraid of messing up her careful tactics of getting closer, only to watch as they were ripped to shreds in front of her face. There’s no way that Heejin would ever want to talk to h-

“Can you do that again?”


Hyunjin’s eyebrows furrow immediately at the girl’s request, unable to process the fact that she wasn’t being yelled at or stormed away from. She looked for a possible warning sign in the girl’s face, afraid that this was some kind of test. She could barely process that she had enough nerve to just walk across the lawn to her and the others moments ago.

Heejin sighed when she noticed that the girl was making no plans to respond. Then, she took it upon herself to make the next move and pull the girl’s face to her own with both hands behind the back of her head.

Hyunjin almost gasped into the blonde’s mouth at the sudden contact, but she immediately found herself kissing back. It was a slow kiss, but it was full of hunger and curiosity. The rest of the world was drowned out, with only the two of them under this intense, yellow light against the pitch black of the night. The light was hot, but Hyunjin wasn’t sure if it was that or the fact that she was finally getting this chance to kiss the girl she wanted nothing but to have since the moment she saw her.

The kiss broke when they both needed some air, exhaling shaky breaths together that turned into light laughter. Heejin looked down at the grass beneath them with red cheeks. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. But…I think I really liked that.”

Hyunjin face palmed playfully. Her face equally as red. “I’ve been dropping hints since we met, you know.” She says painfully, making Heejin furrow her brows. “You have? But-“ She suddenly stops as she recalls their short time together: the bartender giving her number, the determination and money she was putting out to win that cute Naruto plushie that now sat on her bed in her suite, the awkwardness that was exhibited when the bartender was talking to her...


Heejin says with complete shock, her cheeks turning redder against the light they were under. She looks down at the ground, suddenly feeling bad. “Uh, I guess I didn’t pick up on that.” She laughs, making Hyunjin shake her head. “You are going to be the death of me, Jeon Heejin.”

The blonde smirks playfully, wrapping her arms around the bartender’s neck. Her words come out low. “We'll see about that.”

“Sorry, room’s occupied.”

Hyeju shouts out to the couple that only responds with displeased frowns, shutting the door behind them. Sighing, she turns back towards the switch that was in her hands, unpausing the game of Mario Kart to continue her race.

Everything was going smoothly, Hyeju knew that. Still, she couldn’t help but feel anxious about something or someone ruining the whole thing and wasting all that effort she put into this plan. That’s what kept her tied to the spare bedroom, afraid someone was going to barge in and find the mess of Hyunjin’s belongings in the closet just across the bed where she was sitting. It’s better if she stayed here and made sure no one entered this room.

As she crosses the finish line in first place, she lets out a sigh, rubbing her eyes with her hands as the console falls on her lap. It was going to be a long night, and there’s only so many games Hyunjin had on this thing. She was going to grow very bored, fast. As well, she was going to let those thoughts she was trying to suppress come back if she got bored enough as well.

Tuning out the music and chatter coming from the hallway outside the door, Hyeju lets her mind drift off to a certain small, rich brunette who was somewhere around this place, probably having so much fun and forgetting about how weird things felt when they decided to stay apart for the night.

She groans to herself as all those thoughts come back, letting herself fall over on the bed and burying her face in a pillow on the bed. Why did this girl have to have such an effect on her? She didn’t want to be away from the girl, especially if being in this party atmosphere would somehow lead them back into something intimate like it has the other times…

She shakes her head, still buried on the pillow. No, it shouldn’t be like that. If Chaewon wanted her, wanted that to happen, she would have made that clear…right? Maybe she was overthinking everything too much.

Just then, the door swung open, making the CTO sit up quickly. “Sorry, but the room is-“ She freezes when she sees who it is.

“Um, hi, again.” Sooyoung says with surprise, making Jiwoo poke her head out from behind the taller girl, her face lighting up. “IT’S YOU! FROM THE CAFÉ!” She screeches, making Hyeju, and the people who were outside the hallway, jump. Sooyoung rolls her eyes and rubs her wife’s back affectionately. “She already had a bit to drink, but her enthusiasm is well placed. It’s funny seeing you here.”

The couple give her warm smiles, the kind you’d get from your parents when they’re tucking you in at night. It made Hyeju feel uneasy. “Uh, hi.” She says monotonously, turning back to the switch in her hands. She was suddenly interested in staring at the home screen, hoping that the others would leave her alone.

They didn’t, of course. Jiwoo walked over and sat down on the bed, then letting herself fall on her back with a cushioned plop. Sooyoung giggles at the action. Yeah, Hyeju really wants them to leave.

“If you’re looking for a place to make out, find somewhere else.” She complained, making Jiwoo whine, turning her head to the side to stare at Sooyoung, who was still standing in the doorway. “Did you hear that, Sooyoungie? We should go somewhere and make out.” She giggles out, only making her wife roll her eyes playfully.

She then closes the door behind her and comes forward to stand in front of Hyeju. “You left in a hurry last week.” She states bluntly, making Hyeju feel sweat form on her brow. She eyes the door quickly before looking down at her lap, cursing under breath. She promised herself she wouldn’t be running from things anymore, even if that meant doing so with these…overtly sapphic strangers.

“I did.” She states plainly, unsure of how Sooyoung wanted to approach this conversation. Just before she could open her mouth to say more, Jiwoo was sitting up and moving closer, getting up in Hyeju’s face with a scowl. “You ran out without finishing your coffee.” She stated firmly. “And you didn’t give us a chance to help you out.”

Hyeju feels her face heating up at the sudden scolding she was receiving for her poor actions. “I’m sorry, I hope I didn’t scare you two.” She says, flashing an apologetic look at them both. Sooyoung puts her hands on her hips with a sigh. “You did, but something told me that you were going to be okay. I am glad that was correct.”

Hyeju smiled slightly, thinking back to how she ended up at Yerim’s office, only to have it work out in such a good way for them both, and even for most everything that was still going on in her life. “I am okay now, I promise. Thank you for giving me a push to where I needed to go.” She turned towards a pouting Jiwoo. “And I promise to come and have more coffee soon, I was actually really upset to leave it on my way out.”

That made her smile widely, reaching forward to engulf the girl in a hug. Hyeju looked at Sooyoung with a strange expression, receiving a shrug. “She’s touchier than usual when she drinks.” The girl whispered with a smile.

Hyeju groans, pulling herself away. “Fine, fine, enough. I get it.” She grumbles, but the pair are still smiling. Sooyoung then takes a seat next to Jiwoo on the bed, wrapping an arm around her waist as they look at Hyeju. “So, did you two patch things up?”

She knew that Jiwoo was referring to her and Chaewon, so she remained silent, unsure of how to answer that question. Their smiles faded at her silence. “I’m guessing that a no…” Sooyoung says, disappointed. “Is she here right now?”

Unsure of what that question meant, Hyeju continued to remain silent. They exchanged looks with each other, then looked back at the younger girl. “Okay. So you’re going to go and talk to her about your feelings, right?”

“Um, well-“ Hyeju was cut off while trying to find some sort of excuse. “No, you’re going to go talk to her.” Jiwoo says, standing up. Sooyoung and Hyeju watch her with hesitation.

“Wooming, what are you-“ She was cut off by her wife heading towards the door, her hand on the knob. She turns and looks back at them sitting on the bed. “I’ve seen the articles, you know. I know what she looks like. I’m going to get her and bring her here for you.”

Before either of the girls could start protesting or stop her, the door opened, and she slipped out amongst the sea of the people that were around the house. Sooyoung and Hyeju looked at each other with fear in their eyes, standing up immediately.

“What the fuck? You can’t just let her-“

Meanwhile, Jiwoo was on the hunt for the little Park Chaewon girl. She had to look really hard, since the girl was so short, and there were so many people littered around the loud, bustling energy of the party.

She looked over and noticed that the front door opened, and the target had been located. She looked scared yet determined to wherever her destination was. Jiwoo squeezed between the different people in front of her in order to get to the rich girl before she slipped away.

“You.” She says, standing in front of the now confused Chaewon. “You are coming with me.”

She grabs the girl’s hand and starts pulling her through the gatherings of people, receiving glares on the way back to the spare bedroom. “Wait a minute, you can’t-“ Chaewon was trying to protest, but she suddenly stopped in front of the spare room, and the door opened to see the girl she was looking for sitting on the bed, looking worried.

“You two must have a lot to talk about. We’ll leave you to it.”

Sooyoung stands up and follows her wife out of the doorway with obedience. She looked really hot when she had her mind set on something. Maybe they SHOULD go make out in another room…

This one was already occupied.

One girl sat on the bed, staring at her hands, while the other remained right in front of the door, debating whether or not running away was an option she could get away with.

Chaewon was ready to march into that room and talk to Hyeju herself after her talk with Yeojin but being grabbed by a complete stranger and shoved in a room alone with the other girl made that feeling completely disappear. Now, all she could feel was her shaking nerves.

And Hyeju could sense that. She could see the girl’s small hands shaking at her sides, and her first instinct was to get up and walk closer without a second thought. Still, she hesitates when she stops in front of her, mere inches apart. The smaller girl swallows nervously, afraid of what was going to happen, and yet, secretly hoping this gap between them would just close.

The music continues to sound out through the house from outside, and there are people right outside the door, laughing loudly. But, in this moment, it is just the two of them. Hyeju recalls one of their earlier conversations as the setting around her starts to feel dream-like.

“Everything happens for a reason.” She starts, her gaze bearing into Chaewon’s cautious eyes. “I- I think we both know that by now.” She whispers, hoping that the girl will catch on. But she continues to stare, afraid of opening her mouth, afraid of this dream she felt like she was in.

Did she want to wake up, or keep dreaming?

But, then again, do we ever fully dream the same thing twice?

She lets her shaking hands rest on the taller girl’s arms, holding onto her like she would float away if she were to let go. She knew that both of them were completely sober right now, that both of them decided to stay apart for the night, but here they were. And Chaewon knew what the other girl was insinuating with her words.

Still, she wasn’t feeling ready to take that surge forward yet. There was the worry of everything going wrong once that line was finally crossed. Her father, her status, the fact that she could be taken away from Hyeju at any given moment…there was too much on the line.

Her hands let go of the younger girl’s arms, taking a step back and flinching as her back collided with the door. Hyeju’s look turned sad, and yet, understanding. She was fully aware that everything could go wrong too.

Hyeju only left a lamp from the bedside table on, so the room was cast in a soft, yellow glow. It wasn’t the best to be able to see each other as clearly as they wanted to under this intense moment of yearning, but still. There was a glint in both of their eyes. They seemed to communicate with each other this way, daring the other to make a move, to cross that line.

“We don’t know what’s on the other side of this.” Hyeju finally says, making Chaewon’s lips part. She moves her face closer, and Chaewon can swear that she could now count every individual eyelash on the girl’s face. Hyeju glances quickly at the other girl’s lips.

“I want to figure it out with you, Chae.”

The sincerity in her voice and in her burning gaze was enough to melt away her fears, pushing her just a little closer so that they were locked in a kiss. As they connected, they let out noises of relief, holding each other like they haven’t held each other in years. Chaewon ended up with her back pressed further into the door as Hyeju tries desperately to close any and all gaps that exist between them.

By the time they break away, a new song is playing outside, and they nervously laugh at the amount of time they just spent kissing. They were blushing and acting like schoolgirls with little crushes, but the reality of it sets in as they lock eyes once again.

There’s no turning back from whatever this now is.

Just before either of them could start talking, they hear the doorknob rattle, their eyes snapping to see it twisting quickly on the wooden door. They immediately look to each other, unprepared to face reality right now. They still needed to talk about this, and if Jiwoo and Sooyoung were coming back, they didn’t want to deal with it.

Hyeju quickly grabs Chaewon’s hand and pulls her towards the closet door, opening it in silent hurry before slowly and fearfully closing it shut. Now, it was completely dark, the only light coming from the crack underneath the door. They could both feel themselves bump into various objects of Hyunjin’s, the small space feeling even smaller with all this stuff hidden away. This only left for them to be pressed together as they wait for whoever was in the room to leave.

Both girls could feel their hearts throbbing hard in their chests, a mix of the close proximity with each other, the fact that the two girls who were so used to picking fights were just kissing, and the new voices that filled the room. They sounded way too familiar, making their stomachs drop in fear.

“Come onnnnn, why not?” They hear a whiny voice slur out, and another one sigh. “We are not doing this here, in Hyeju’s house, with a bunch of people right outside the door.” The other voice comes out stern but follows with a sultry laugh after a moment's pause. “Well, maybe we can make it happen.”

Hyeju scrunches her face up in disgust at the torture she has to endure right now, hearing these voices from behind the door. She almost forgot that she was supposed to be hiding right now, immediately biting her lip as her blood continues to grow hot in her body.

“Oh? Is that so?” The first voice said playfully, followed by a silence, save for the music that still continued to blare. Chaewon put two and two together, immediately shuddering. Was hiding really worth knowing that something gross was going on behind the door right now?

The silence stopped when they heard shifting right outside the door. “Someone might come into the room, but I doubt anyone would find us in here.”

The voice sounded louder as only a piece of wood separated their dark enclosure from the outside voices. They couldn’t see each other in the dark, but both girls were looking at each other with intense worry. How could they make this work so that they still wouldn’t get cau-

The door immediately comes flying open, and the two girls are met with the falling smile of Jinsoul.

She blinks in surprise. “Uh, sorry, I-“ She pauses, taking in the small closet they were standing in. The light from the room shines on everything, casting an eerie glow on all of Hyunjin’s belongings.

Her eyes land behind the frightened pair on a few picture frames that were sitting on top of everything, Hyunjin smiling wide and happy with various people in each. She remains silent as she takes a moment to process what the hell was going on.

As her face slowly turns from confusion to seething anger, both girls have just one thought.

Fuck. They’ve been caught.

“Soulie, let me expl-“

Jinsoul immediately shakes her head, turning around to stare at Jungeun. The blonde looked like she was caught red handed as well, even though she wasn’t the one hiding in the closet. “You knew, didn’t you?” She says with so much hurt; a tear falls down Chaewon’s frozen face. Jungeun looks between the horror-stricken girls and the girl she loves, her own eyes welling up with tears. “L-let them talk-“

Jinsoul turns back around and gives the two girls a hard stare. No one says a word as her gaze continues to harden and look more betrayed as the seconds go by, feeling like years.

She then storms out of the room, out of the house, without another word.

Hyeju and Chaewon immediately link hands in the opened doorway, afraid to let each other go.

Chapter Text

“Jinsoul, will you please come out of there?”

Chaewon paces the familiar hallway of the hotel, past the definition of anxious and upset. Leaning against the wall, watching the smaller girl with a pained expression, was Hyeju. And of course, right against the door, pressing her shaky hands on it and biting her lip so hard it was on the verge of bleeding was Jungeun. Even though this problem was between Jinsoul and Chaewon, she was taking it the worst.

She curls both her hands into fists and continues to bang on the door. “Jinsoul please, let them explain.” She pleads, then proceeds to curse under her breath. No one got any sleep last night, and they’re all exhausted from the continuous pleading outside of the silent door that was 307. It was evident in their voices, and in the sluggish and despondent way they were occupying the hallway.

After Jinsoul stormed out of Hyunjin’s house, Jungeun immediately ran after her. Still, she wouldn’t turn around, and she wouldn’t say a word. She eventually found her way into an Uber before the blonde could even stop her from going any farther. Even though she would still be staying in the place she was working, Jungeun felt like she was watching Jinsoul leave and never returning again. It scared the shit out of her.

So, after going back into the room and finding a shaking Chaewon curled into Hyeju’s tight embrace, she managed to get them to go back to the hotel with her, in hopes of getting through to Jinsoul, and explaining what’s going on. However, they just proceeded to sit outside the hallway all night, even dozing off when it got too tiring. Chaewon woke up with Hyeju’s head on her shoulder, staring intently at her and feeling her steady breathing as the past night’s events came back to her.

They’re part of why she was pacing the hallway so much, and Jungeun was the one putting all her effort into getting her to come out. It wasn’t just the idea that her best friend could very well never speak to her again, but it was that mixed with the fact that her and Hyeju stone cold soberly kissed last night and have been different with each other ever since.

Whilst pacing, she steals looks at the other girl against the wall, feeling like a knife was twisted in her throat as she watched her sorry eyes on her frantic self. She can’t look for too long, or else she feels like she might burst into tears. There was way too much happening in her mind right now.

Suddenly, she stops in her tracks when she sees shoes in front of her line of vision, looking up to see one of the girls that was weighing heavily on her mind. Hyeju reaches forward to lay a had on her cheek. “Maybe we should try to get some rest and leave her alone for a bit, maybe she just needs some time.” She says with a tired sigh.

Chaewon immediately steps away, coughing awkwardly. “Yeah, maybe, thanks.” She mumbles sadly, blush creeping up on her cheeks. Hyeju’s jaw tightens at the action, turning away to head for their shared suite without another word. She curses at herself in her head as she does so. Of course, just when she decides to scare herself and go for this, things are bound to be on the verge of falling completely apart.

Chaewon can’t sleep.

Awkwardly, just before, Hyeju was about to follow her into the bedroom, before hesitating and pausing at the door. It’s not like they haven’t slept in the same bed before, but it’s just…not the time right now. She needs to be alone with her thoughts.

Curling herself into the pillow, she has her eyes trained on the morning sun, groaning. She just wants to shut her eyes and forget about everything for a moment, but there is too much going on in her brain right now for that to happen.

The number one thing on her mind at the moment was: is this really worth it?

She curls her face farther in the pillow, her eyes fixed on the window with intensity as this question crosses her mind. Everything happens for a reason, but what was this one? Was she going to lose her best friend over Jinsoul? Or would she have to push Hyeju away and get back in Jinsoul’s good graces?

She shakes her head, sighing as the knot in her stomach continues to grow. No, Jinsoul wouldn’t do that. But, still, this puts a huge wrench in her endeavors to get closer to Hyeju. Just when she managed to put aside her problems with the other girl and realize that they have been drawn to each other from the start, she feels like she needs to stay away from her. At this rate, they’ll never get the chance to win, even after crossing the line together.

A soft knock comes at her door, shaking her thoughts and making her jump. Hyeju’s voice is barely audible through the white wood. “Hey, I can’t sleep. I was going to make some coffee. Do you want some?” It’s soft and caring, the things that Chae needs right now. Still, her previous words scream in her head. Maybe she should stay away…

And yet, she can’t, not when Hyeju was being the nicest she has been since the brunette has known her, making her heart long to feel her nearby. She turns back to see the sun slowly take a higher place in the city skyline, reflecting off of an adjacent skyscraper and almost blinding her. She clears her throat. “Okay. Thanks.”

Her voice comes out on the verge of crying, but she is met with silence on the other side of the door. That makes her turn back to her thoughts, mentally kicking herself for letting this happen. All of it, really. She had no one other than herself to blame for this right now, she was the one who decided to keep this from her friends, too embarrassed with herself. Now, karma was coming back at her, as her best friend slipped away, and she found herself slowly growing fonder of the girl she made this mess with by the second.

The door then opens slightly, creaking eerily as Hyeju peeks a kind face in, forcing what she hoped was a reassuring smile in the direction of the girl wrapped up in the blankets on the bed. She steps in and closes the door as Chaewon sits up, rubbing at her tired eyes before taking the steaming white mug with a small “thank you.” Hyeju sits next to her on the bed, her knees pulled up, an identical mug steaming in her own hand.

The sit like that, taking careful sips of their coffees, the only sound coming from the distant honking of the traffic below. Despite Chaewon’s earlier thoughts ringing loud in her head, having Hyeju next to her right now helped lull the atmosphere into a calmer one. There was no loud party, no banging on another hotel door, there was just them, this room, and the temporary bliss that existed between them.

Who knew that for someone who she caused so much chaos with the past few weeks would end up being someone who could bring her so much needed peace?

Jungeun knows that today, her boss was going to be in the building to check on things, and she was currently nowhere to be found. She didn’t give a fuck, let him fire her at this rate.

What mattered more was knowing that Jinsoul was okay. She knows she played a part in this, and while she is wondering if she regretted that now or not, she still takes responsibility. That’s why she snuck back downstairs and outside in hopes to get her some things to say she was sorry; snacks, flowers, you name it.

Jungeun only just met her a few weeks ago, and she knows eventually the dark-haired girl will have to go back home to Korea, but she has felt what was meant as an innocent crush turn into something much bigger than they both were expecting. Letting her go would be the dumbest decision she could make. She sympathized with Chaewon in her time of need, but she would be greatly upset if that meant it cost her one of the beat girls she has ever had the pleasure of meeting.

She sat outside the door again, her back pressed against it whilst the favorite snacks and the bouquet of flowers laid in her lap. Jungeun bets that she looks like a mess right now, still in her clothes from last night, earning her a look or two by the people coming out of their rooms and walking by. But what mattered to her more than anything right now was who was behind the door she was leaning against.

“Fine. If you won’t open, I’m just going to sit here and talk to myself.” She says loudly, uncaring if anyone in the adjacent rooms can hear her. She rubs the blue petals between her fingers on her lap as she thinks over her words. “I don’t even know if you can hear me right now. For all I know, you have your headphones in and are playing Red Velvet.” She chuckles to herself, then sighs sadly.

“ I have stuff to say to you. So, you better be listening.” She says with her brows furrowed, biting the corner of her lip. “I know you’re pissed off at those two, and at me, maybe at Hyunjin too, although, I have no idea where her and Heejin went last night.” She says as she looks in the direction of Heejin’s door with curiosity. She immediately looks back at the floor in front of her.

“Never mind that, I’m sure they’re okay.” She says quickly. “Anyway, what I want to say to you is…you are best friends with Chaewon. You know how messy things for her can be, with her situation and all.” She recalls her conversation with the small girl, when she was one of the only ones who was willing to listen to her. She is just trying to reiterate everything she gathered from her side of things.

“And- and she was HURTING about it, Soulie.” She says, shaking her head at the events she was told. Damn, how much of a shitty parent can you be to force your child into something like this? “She was embarrassed, and I am sure she has a very good reason why she didn’t want to tell her best friends. I think she didn’t want to prepare for how upset you would be when you found out.” She turns her head to stare at the white, wooden door, then turns back to stare at the flowers in her lap. “But, I guess, you’re even more upset now.”

“I’m sure you checked the internet by now, so my words hopefully don’t sound too confusing.” She chuckles nervously, swallowing a lump in her throat. “But, just, please, consider coming out and at least hearing what her and Hyeju have to say.” She curls herself into a ball, laying the flowers on the floor next to her. “If you don’t want to see me anymore, I’ll understand.” She says as she feels tears pricking her eyes.

“But I talked to Chaewon because she wasn’t going to be the one to ask for help when she so clearly needed it. If you want nothing to do with me, that’s fine, but just-“ She takes a deep breath in order to calm her emotions, afraid of breaking down outside of Jinsoul’s door. “Just, go talk to her. She will tell you everything. Don’t throw away a longtime friendship over this, at least without hearing her side.”

Jungeun then nods to herself, satisfied with what she said. She stands up, bending down to neatly organize the snacks and flowers that were on the floor so that they would look nice for whenever Jinsoul decided to open the door. She then took a step away, turning around to watch the dim lighting of the hallway cast the sight in a somber glow.

“Please call if you need anything, and please think about what I said, if you even heard me.” She says with eyes staring hard at the door. She then turns around and heads back downstairs, feeling defeated. But she knows that crowding outside the girl’s door for too long would just overwhelm her, and probably push her further away. It was in Jinsoul’s hands now.

On the other side of the door, with her back against it, Jinsoul is wiping at the tears that are falling from her eyes, a frown on her face. Despite her prevalent anger at everyone outside the door, her entire room is a reminder of her time with Jungeun, and the girl’s words can only play over in a reel of her mind as she figures out what she is to make of all of this.

She is no longer in the dark, and she doesn’t know what to do about it.

Chapter Text

Chaewon didn’t want Hyeju to leave, but she had to watch her go.

That is, she didn’t want her to leave for work, as she would be left alone in the apartment. But she remembered how upset her father was last time the CTO was missing work, so she kept her mouth shut and didn’t voice her protest. Not that she would anyway, they’re not on that kind of level yet…really, she wasn’t sure what level they were on at all.

Their anxious Sunday turned out to be good, despite the circumstances. Hyeju took it upon herself to keep the smaller girl busy with things to do so that her thoughts of Jinsoul didn’t overtake her again, and make her scared feelings come back. They watched movies, ordered takeout, and Hyeju even offered to play one of her favorite video games with her. Chaewon knew it was all meant to be a distraction as it was happening, but she appreciated the sentiment very much; it was what she needed.

Still, that couldn’t last forever. Now Chaewon was sitting in a ball on the living room couch, wrapped up in the blanket Hyeju was using last night. She chuckles to herself as she buries her face in it more, her eyes trained on the tv in front of her. It’s almost funny how the girl she was fighting with every day and was starting to loathe with every fiber of her being ended up being one of her biggest comforts right now. She hums to herself, reaching forward to grab at a mug from the coffee table, taking a microscopic sip of her still scalding hot tea.

Without Hyeju’s company, it would be up to her to take her mind off of everything. Everything in her is screaming to run to Jinsoul’s door and beg her to just come the fuck out and at least listen, but that didn’t seem like the greatest idea right now. Not even Jungeun could get through to the older friend, and that was saying a lot. Jinsoul couldn’t hide forever, she would have to come out and they would have to discuss this at some point.

There came a sudden, muffled shouting from outside the hallway. “HEY! WHAT THE HELL?”

Chaewon furrows her brows as she takes another sip of her drink, recognizing Jungeun’s voice. Was she trying to get Jinsoul to come out again?


Her mug sets down on the coffee table again, and Chaewon cocks her head to the side towards where the front door was in order to figure out what was even going on. From the sounds of it, it wasn’t her trying to knock on Jinsoul’s door again, that’s for sure.

“She doesn’t want to see anyone, just leave her al- give me the damn key!” The rich girl hears again from her placement on the couch. She turns and stares at the door, as if she could see right through it and into the hallway. Should she step outside and see what was happening, or was it not a good idea to do so?

It’s not like she had anything better to do right now, after all. She gets up from her cozy blanket cocoon and heads over to the door, putting her curious eye to the peep hole with a squint. All she could see through the fisheye lens view of the hallway was that there were shadows moving in the direction of where Jinsoul’s room was, and it made her curiosity grow stronger.

Whatever it was, Jinsoul didn’t need anything happening outside her door right now. Chaewon runs over the million reasons as to why she shouldn’t open the door after hearing shouting, but she decides to ignore them, and she opens the door slowly. There, standing in front of Jinsoul’s closed door, was Jungeun and Heejin. Hyunjin was standing on the opposite side of the hallway, staring at the two with wide eyes.

It looked like they were fighting, honestly. They were both grabbing at something in each other’s hands, and Hyunjin just gaped at them, frozen in place. Jungeun looked angry, while Heejin just looked annoyed. Their grip on whatever was in both their hands was strong, and they were pulling it with mild strength.

“Did you not hear me? She doesn’t want to see anybody.” Jungeun spits out, now whisper-yelling as they acknowledge Chaewon’s curious expression. Heejin rolls her eyes, still grabbing onto the object in her hand with her life. “And? She needs to come out. She had her time to think, now she needs to come out.”

Chaewon freezes when she processes what is happening in front of her. Right, Heejin and Jinsoul were in two different understandings of things right now, since they haven’t seen her, or Hyunjin, since yesterday. She isn’t sure what was up with that, but that’s not important right now. What mattered was the growing anxiousness she was feeling as she watched their small encounter in the hallway, and clearly, Hyunjin wasn’t going to step in and say anything.

Chaewon steps forward a little, her eyes darting back and forth between the two girls. Her voice comes out shaky. “W-what the hell is going on?” She ademands, and suddenly, everyone stops and turns to stare at her, noticing the clear uneasiness she was exhibiting.

Jungeun looks at her with a glare, but it wasn’t directed at her at all. “I don’t even know. This one,” She cocks her head in the direction of the disgruntled girl next to her, “took the master key behind my desk without a word.” She says with frustration, using her free hand to rub at her temple.

Before anyone could say another word, Heejin takes the opportunity to yank the key out of Jungeun’s grasp, immediately putting it in the door. Everyone turns and looks at her with eyes wide, unsure of what was about to happen next. “Heejin, don’t-“

The door opens, and without a second of hesitation, Heejin slips inside the room. “JINSOUL UNNIE! I KNOW YOU ARE HERE!”

Hyunjin and Chaewon give each other a nervous look, before Hyunjin shrugs and follows Heejin inside of the suite. Chaewon’s eyes widen again, looking with bewilderment in the direction of Jungeun, who now looks pissed, red face and all. She turns around and opens the door herself, following them inside and continuing to scold Heejin. “HEEJIN WHAT THE FUCK!”

Sure, she wasn’t happy that Jinsoul was being annoyed by everyone right now, but she won’t lie, she feels a little better seeing the familiar tacky, white and gold décor of the room she has shared with the girl for a while. Still, when they see Jinsoul, they all pause.

All her suitcases are packed up, and she is dressed in what looks like an outfit fit for a long plane ride. She is sitting on the bed with her hands folded, her legs stretched out and touching the floor. At the sudden intrusion on her room, she snaps her head to look up at the rush of girls running into the bedroom, startled at the encounter. Her face then turns slack when she notices who it is.

Jungeun especially felt her heart ache upon seeing the girl again, especially seeing how upset and heartbroken she was. The poor girl was kept in the dark for so long, only trying to be a good friend to Chaewon and stick to her promise, only to be pushed so far away that she was willing to leave without saying goodbye. That made Jungeun’s stomach twist into an uncomfortable knot.

Heejin, however, was not having it. She put her hands on her hips as she surveyed the packed bags and the tidied room. “Unnie, what do you think you’re doing?” She demands, her face becoming hard as it lands on the dark-haired girl. Jinsoul tightens her jaw, unable to escape confrontation now. “I’m leaving.”

Jungeun looks at the bags around the room with sad eyes. Was she really just going to leave? Like that? She could feel tears in her eyes as she squeezed her hand at her side, hoping they wouldn’t come out.

Heejin steps closer to Jinsoul, looking her in the eyes. “We need to TALK to her, goddammit. I’m angry too, but not enough to turn my back on my best friend.” She spits out, making Jinsoul flinch. Jungeun then furrows her brows. Heejin knows? How?

Jungeun immediately looks at Hyunjin, who’s face was bright red, looking very much like a kid who was caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Jungeun’s eyes narrowed at her.

“WE have to talk to her?! When she wouldn’t even talk to us in the first place?!” Jinsoul shouts, her eyes looking glassy as she gets emotional all over again. “She COULD HAVE talked to us, Heekki, and this wouldn’t have happened.” She says, her voice sounding defeated.

The blonde friend then slumps her shoulders, defeated by Jinsoul’s hurt remarks. Her eyes lower to the floor. “I know that. I don’t know why she didn’t tell us.” She almost whispers. She then looks back at Jinsoul, her stubbornness back. “But we’re going to talk like adults now. No more of this sulking and hiding shit.”

She turns back around and faces Hyunjin, her look softening a little. The bartender’s face lights up. Damn, she is definitely whipped. “Hyun, could you go get Chae and drag her ass here please?” She asks sweetly, flashing a cute smile. The blonde barely finished her request before Hyunjin was out the door and in the hallway, where a confused Chaewon was still standing, unsure of what her place was in all of this.

With a forced, sweet smile, Hyunjin grabbed the girl’s arm and pulled her along into the room, right across from where Jinsoul and Heejin were. She gave a toothless grin to Heejin. The blonde stepped forward to lay a kiss on the other girl’s cheek, making her squeak quietly. “Thank you.”

Everyone stared at the interaction for a moment in silence, making Hyunjin look at their unreadable expressions. “What?!” Her face turned red. “Leave me alone and just fix up your mess already.” She grumbles, taking Jungeun by the arm and carrying her out of the room with her, closing the door behind them.

As they do, Jungeun immediately turns to Hyunjin, pounding her arm with her fist. “What the HELL! Where were you all? How does Heejin know? Why are you acting so guilty?!” Her questions come out rapidly, more confused than angry. Clearly, whatever happened worked well, since they’re now forced to reconcile with each other. So, she was in no position to be too cross with the girl.

The bartender’s hand goes behind her neck, her blush coming back. She flashes a sheepish smile. “Well, uh, I think we hit it off last night, and-“ She pauses, letting out a happy laugh. “And I made my move. Which turned into us making out outside for a while. Which then turned into us going inside and drinking some more. When then turned into us making out m- okay I’ll get to the point.” She says nervously as Jungeun’s patience visibly wears thin.

“I think I might have slipped out that I knew what was going on between Chaewon and Hyeju.” She says, making Jungeun shake her head. “Ah uh, well, I had to tell her she was just looking at me with these eyes and I felt really bad but-“ She was rambling by now, and Jungeun put a stop to it. “Okay. So, she found out. She wasn’t…angry? Wanting to leave and never talking to you again level angry?” She says shyly, looking at the floor with a crestfallen expression.

Hyunjin sighs, turning her gaze back on the closed door. The hallway around them was silent now, and she was curious as to how their talk was going. She gives the general direction a small smile. “She was angry, but she seemed to process some of it through what I knew fairly well. I think she just needs to hear from the source, and she will be fine.” She turns to Jungeun again, laying a hand on her shoulder. “And Jinsoul will be fine too, you’ll see.”

Jungeun sighs, looking over towards the closed door as well. A lot was resting on that conversation, and not just for her, but with everyone involved. It was a scary thought, but she hoped that they would be able to make it work. They are best friends, after all. Still, leave it to Hyunjin to spill the beans so easily when Heejin was involved.

“Now, Jinsoul told me the other day something about you having some tasty water in your lobby. I think you should introduce me to that.”

Jungeun smirks mischievously to herself. Oh don’t worry Hyunjin, you’ll get what’s coming to you.

This must be the worst possible day to be a CTO, Hyeju thought. All of their servers were acting very weird.

It’s not unusual for that to happen in early stages, in fact, it may have been concerning if nothing was going wrong. However, she can’t help but wonder why it was being especially buggy today. The last thing she wanted to do was make any more mistakes whilst here, she had been so careful to not do so. So, she decides to take the day and review more information and brainstorm more ideas with Kahei and Yerim.

Compared to the first time they were all in this room together, this is a drastic difference. The once awkward and tense atmosphere of Yerim’s office was now a fun and light-hearted space for the girls, laughter and rich conversation filling the air. The sun was slowly creeping its way up higher in the sky, indicating that it was just turning over into afternoon. There were many papers scattered on the big desk in the middle of the room, being studied intently.

There were moments where they didn’t feel like reading more information and coming up with new ideas and programs, so they decided to relax and just talk casually to each other instead.

“No, I’m telling you, she was SMALL. I didn’t think she could drive a car yet, to be honest with you.” Hyeju says with seriousness, making the other two girls laugh hysterically. Kahei was wiping a tear from her eye after the conversation, while Yerim was giggling like crazy. Clearly, a lot of work was getting done that day.

Yerim sighs, trying to catch her breath. She then focuses her attention back on Hyeju as their laughter dies down and their topic of conversation ends. “So, uh-“ Her energy suddenly shifts, as if she is treading lightly on the question she wants to ask. “How did you meet Chaewon?”

Hyeju immediately feels the light energy of the room sudden grow tense around her. Sure, maybe Jinsoul and Heejin were Chaewon’s best friends, but these were just…coworkers, not to mention one of them is her ex-girlfriend. The last thing she wants to do is tell the truth, who knows who could be listening in? The world may know that they’re married, but Mr. Park definitely wouldn’t want people knowing how it happened.

She feels her anxiety growing stronger when her brain fails to come up with something to say, leaving her face turning red and her eyes staring ahead widely. To make matters worse, Kahei was looking at her with a strange expression, one she could not quite read. Until she decides to ask a very dreaded question.

“Well, at the airport, you said you two weren’t together?” She said with confusion, cocking her head to the side as Hyeju curses in her head. “Maybe I shouldn’t pry, but you two seemed very angry with each other when I first met you.” She laughs lightly.

How the hell could Hyeju forget that she met Kahei in the airport, way before the whole mess ever happened? She needs to find some kind of cover up, and fast. Yerim was looking at the two of them with piqued interest. “Really? You were all at the airport together?”

“Sh-she was accompanying me here, for vacation purposes.” She starts slowly, thinking about how she could get Kahei’s question off of her back. It wasn’t totally a lie. “And um, we were just really tired, is all. No ill feelings between us!” She laughs out, playing with her hands in her lap. Oh, if only they knew, there used to be so many ill feelings.

Kahei chuckles awkwardly, forcing a smile. “Okay…I’m glad you two are well.” She says kindly, although her confusion was definitely still there. It wasn’t her business to get involved, and she wasn’t going to pester the girl about it for much longer.

Yerim, however, sighs as she slumps down farther in her chair, looking more like a child than a CEO as she pouts. “Okay, but how did you two meet! It must’ve been a good story if the Parks are involved.” She says, crossing her arms like an impatient toddler. Hyeju chuckles nervously. She won’t be able to escape the question.

No, she cannot tell the truth, but she can take a moment to think about a hypothetical situation with the other girl. Maybe drunk in a bar in Las Vegas isn’t very romantic, she thinks of other ways they could have met, potential hypotheticals…ways that she would have really liked to meet the other girl, and maybe it would not have been so messy.

She smiles to herself slightly as these scenarios play over in her head. “We met at a big business dinner.” She says carefully, staring off at the opposite wall as she pictures a scene in her head. “Park Industries wanted to work with White Dove for a while, so Mr. Park set up an event for us to talk…that's how this happened.” She says, gesturing to the papers on the table. Damn, she was so good at coming up with words on the spot, she should give herself a pat on the back for this.

“Um, are you sure? The Busan branch didn’t hear about any kind of event…”

Shit, she almost forgot that Kahei works for Haseul’s stupid bird company too. She laughs nervously, hoping her face isn’t turning too visibly red. “Ah, maybe someone else from your branch was invited.” Hopefully that would be the last of the pestering she would be receiving from any of them.

But, alas, it is not. “No, I am specifically in charge of PR and events, I would be there.” She says with a higher voice, her brows furrowing. Shit, of course she was. “Well, it must’ve been a Seoul branch only thing. It wasn’t THAT big anyway…” She swallows a lump in her throat.

“Um, okay, if you say so…” Kahei says, turning back to the papers that were on the table. Yerim coughs awkwardly as the energy of the room suddenly shifts. “Maybe we should work a bit more, there’s still a lot of names of investors who signed on that we have to go through.”

They continue scanning the list of names, mostly in an awkward silence now. However, Yerim and Hyeju still whisper shortly with each other, even giggling at some of the ridiculous names on the paper. Yerim was leaning over and showing Hyeju another one, when the door suddenly opened.

Huh? What was Chaewon doing here?

The small girl looked much different than the one Hyeju recalled this morning, sad and somber over her best friend’s anger and her own departure to work. This Chaewon looked a lot better, more relaxed, although she still seemed shaken up, from what Hyeju could tell. They’ve lived together for enough now that she could notice the girl’s habits. And, she was just paying more attention to her, how could she not?

“Sorry for barging in,” She bows slightly. “I was told Hyeju would be here, and I wanted to bring her some lunch, and- oh.” She pauses when her eyes register on the people in the room.

A somewhat familiar girl with black hair was sitting in a chair by the desk, her glasses on and a paper in her hands. She is flashing a kind smile at her, although something about it tells her that it was analyzing her in a way that she could not pinpoint. And then, she noticed the close proximity of Hyeju and the other girl in the room.

The girl was leaning over by Hyeju, looking a little too friendly. They paused when she came in. Chaewon blinks a few times. “Um, am I interrupting something or-“ Her voice trails as Hyeju immediately gets up and moves closer with a warm smile. Her smile gets bigger when she sees the plastic bag hanging from her hands. “What’s the occasion?”

Chaewon puts the strangeness of what she walked into behind her as she returns a smile. “Just some pho. Thought it would warm you up and help you work better.” She says, shyly handing the bag over. Hyeju takes it with a bigger smile. “Thank you, I appreciate it so much.” She says with blushing cheeks.

The room falls silent for a few seconds before Hyeju perks up. “Oh! Uh, this is Kahei. Maybe you remember her from the airport?” She extends her hand in the direction of the raven-haired girl, receiving a small wave. “Nice to see you again!” She beams, making Chaewon return a small wave back.

Then, Hyeju turns to the girl next to her, and her smile still present. “And this…this is Yerim.”

Chaewon stops. Where has she heard that name before? Unless-oh. The rooftop. Is this Hyeju’s ex that she mentioned?

“Um, Hi.” She says a little coldly, making everyone look at her blankly. She bites her lip slightly, keeping her mouth in a smile. What is your problem? She thought to herself. Why are you being so weird?

“Do you want to have some of it with me? We’re just mostly hanging out, so-“ Chaewon cuts her off. “No! No. No it’s okay. I- I’ll be back in the room. Jinsoul- we’re doing better. I’ll get lunch with her, since it’s the least I can do…besides,” Her words come out stammered and a little harsh. “You seem to be having a good time here as it is.” Hyeju’s eyes widen. “What does that mean?” She then steps closer and starts to whisper. “Chae? Are you alright?”

She swallows a lump in her throat. Her eyes fall back on Yerim, who is also looking at her with curiosity. Goddammit, this girl is super pretty. It makes Chaewon feel a little insecure and a bit pissed off honestly, and she rarely ever felt that way. What the hell was going on and why was it disturbing her so much?

“I’m going to go now. Bye Hye. And uh-nice meeting you all.” She says hastily, but not before stepping forward and giving the taller girl a lingering kiss on her cheek, catching everyone in the room, including herself, off guard. Both girls turn red and Chaewon steadies her breath before turning around and exiting the door without another word.

Hyeju is very confused, still staring at the closed door as if the girl was still there. What was that about? And that kiss- she touched her cheek, feeling the ghost of it lingering- that was really unexpected. Maybe she was reading into things wrong.

Yerim chuckled nervously, turning back to her work. Hyeju turned around and watched her stare hard at a piece of paper in her hands, and she could tell that the older girl wasn’t even actually reading it. “Um, maybe you would want some? Or Kahei-“ She was cut off again, this time by Yerim.

“Um, no thank you. I uh- I don’t think your wife would appreciate that.” She chuckles lightly, her eyes still trained on the paper. Hyeju furrows her brows, before her jaw drops open.

Was Chaewon…jealous?!

Chapter Text

“Oh. Hello.”

Chaewon says monotonously as the door closes, and Hyeju emerges. She hangs up her blazer on a metal hook that was nearby the door. Her jaw is tight. “Hello.” She returns the smaller girl’s energy.

She couldn’t help it, seeing Hyeju so close to her ex-girlfriend, who she also worked with and saw every day, was making her feel so weird inside. She couldn’t pinpoint the feeling either, and that pissed her off. Why was it such a big deal?

Hyeju’s reaction didn’t help either. She had a long day at work; the servers weren’t working all day, trying to get the investors to stay on because of it was mentally draining, and as well, Chaewon’s actions made the atmosphere with Yerim awkward all day, even when the CEO kept saying she was okay. And the rich girl had the audacity to use a fucking passive aggressive tone with her as soon as she comes back? Well, Hyeju hoped she could take what she was dishing out.

“Thanks again for the food.” She says quickly, trying to stop her face from turning pink from how absolutely sweet the gesture was for her to come bring her lunch. “It was good.” She nods, before walking into the kitchen to head for the fridge. A cool bottle of water always helps after a long day at work. At least there was something that could be looked forward to, since Chaewon was in a shitty mood for no good reason.

“Yeah, sure.” She pauses, her eyes still trained on the tv, trying to stop her own face from turning pink. She didn’t want to ask this, but she couldn’t stop herself. “Did you share it with anyone?” She tries to not sound so snarky in her tone, but it comes out that way anyway.

Immediately, Hyeju comes storming out of the entryway to the kitchen, lingering in the doorway. Chaewon turns around and shoots her a confused expression. The CTO’s face looks annoyed, and quite frankly, a little pissed. “What the fuck is your problem?”

Her look of confusion turns into one of anger, her brows furrowing in offense. “Excuse me? I don’t have a problem. I just asked you a question.” She turns back around and stares hard at the tv, crossing her arms over each other. What was Hyeju getting so worked up for? It was just a question. She could’ve just said she didn’t want to answer it if that was such a big deal.

Letting out a loud huff, Hyeju walks over to the living room area to stand directly in front of the tv. She takes another sip of the water that was in her hands, before putting in on the coffee table, crossing her arms to mimic the annoyed girl sitting on the couch. “Can I help you?” She says, staring up at Hyeju’s tightened expression with a glare.

“Yeah, actually. If you’re going to come to my job and do something nice, you should at least try not to make anyone uncomfortable.” She says with an accusatory tone. Chaewon tightens her jaw, feeling her cheeks turn red, which only made her angrier. “I don’t know what you’re insinuating right now, but you’re blocking my K-drama. Can you fucking move?”

Hyeju brings her hands to her face, rubbing at it with impatience. She lets out a noise of frustration. “If you’re jealous, just say it, oh my god.” She says with irritation. This makes Chaewon’s eyes open wide, her lips parting a little. She wasn’t expecting that answer.

Jealous, her? Over what? “I’m not JEALOUS.” She spits out, her face in disbelief. “I have nothing to be jealous about.”

As soon as the words leave her lips, both girls seem to deflate, turning away.

Sure, legally, they’re married. To the whole world, they’re married and together and happy. But, in this hotel suite in the heart of Las Vegas, both girls know that the constant push and pull of their relationship has left them…going nowhere. They may have crossed over the line of accepting their growing feelings just a few days ago, but the reality was: they were not together. There was no indication that the other even wanted that.

Did living together make the other grow unwanted feelings? What about the situation they’re in- would this even last if it were to go somewhere? There were too many questions stewing in both of their minds as the room falls into a silence.

And then there’s the remembrance of Yerim, which makes Chaewon scowl again. Hyeju spends a lot of time with her ex-girlfriend because they work together, and from what she walked in on today, they seemed to be getting along really well. Something might’ve been happening there that she was unaware of. She didn’t like that at all.

But that didn’t make her jealous…right? After all, like she stated, she had nothing to be jealous about. Her and Hyeju weren’t even…really together.

Hell, they’ve never even gone on a date. Their situation kind of made the traditional-ness of their feelings disappear.

“Whatever. I’m not jealous, I just asked you a question, but never mind, I guess. Can I watch my show now? I have to restart the whole episode because of you.” She grumbles, lowering her gaze down to her lap, hoping Hyeju didn’t see her upset expression at all the thoughts that just crossed her mind.

Hyeju remained silent, her jaw still tight. “Yeah, sure.” She says with annoyance, grabbing her water bottle and walking away to go back into the kitchen. When she gets there, she stops, blinking a few times. Turning back around, she makes her way over to the tv again and stands in front of the brunette again.

“Actually, no. This is where I sleep, so you should go to your nice big bed and leave me alone for the rest of the night. I don’t want to see you.” She raises her voice loudly, her brows furrowed in annoyance. This makes Chaewon throw out another offended expression.

“Excuse me? Last time I checked; this is MY suite. You just happen to be here.” She yells, making Hyeju glare down at the tiled floor. “And I don’t even know why you’re still here, to be honest.” Her words come out a little harsh, but she doesn’t mean it to. “Y-you could’ve gotten one next door, or s-something. I don’t know wh-“ She was cut off by Hyeju’s sudden loud outburst.

“Because I said I would look out for you, okay?” She almost practically screams the words out, making Chaewon’s eyes widen. There is a sudden silence that fills the apartment as the younger girl looks back away to train her eyes on the floor again. “Your father, he- he asked me to stay and keep you company, look out for you.” She doesn’t want to meet Chaewon’s curious gaze. “Something about you going through a hard time and being upset with things at home…so, I’m here.”

Chaewon’s mouth parts slightly. She guesses that this was her father’s weird way of caring about her, knowing that the reason she was even here in the first place was due to the constant fighting her parents were doing at home. But that’s not what had her hung up. It was the fact that after waking up to a complete stranger she was annoyed with and being married to her, Hyeju agreed to stay with her?

The rich girl furrowed her brows even more. “Uh, well, I’m sure he made you, or whatever, but this is still my-“ Hyeju looks at her again, making her words fall short. “No, uh,” Her face quickly grows hot. “It was mostly optional, really. I, well-“ She starts to stutter badly. “I c-chose to stay h-here.”

Chaewon blinks at her a few times. This was new information.

“You…chose to stay here?” Her voice comes out small, almost like a whisper. “Why?”

Hyeju pauses, making the room fall silent. Why DID she agree to it? Did she find Mr. Park scary? Was she not in the right mindset when she agreed to it? She did drink a lot the night before, that’s for sure…

But the truth of the matter is, whether she wanted to admit it or not, something drew her into Chaewon on the first night, even after the shitty meeting they had in the airport. Here was Chaewon now, waiting on an answer that was always there, but was shoved down by deflections of anger, arguments, and running away.

“Because I- well, I think that it was because I’ve always had f-“

The suite door burst wide open, making both of the girls jump.

“Did I fucking hear yelling?!”

Jinsoul is standing in the doorway, her arms crossed, with a displeased looked on her face. Hyeju can’t tell if her heart was slamming in her chest at the confession she was just spilling out to Chaewon, or because of the sudden intrusion.

The dark-haired girl’s eyes narrow when she sees the other two, their faces red and their expressions anxious. What did she just walk in on? And she is certain there was some smart bits of yelling going on a moment ago. She just managed to talk things out with her best friend, and while she still felt pissed off that she wasn’t let in on what was going on, she could see Chaewon’s side of things. Still, she couldn’t put up with any more yelling from these two. She’s heard enough. This was supposed to be a fun trip with her best friends; the last thing she needed to deal with on top of the secrets was more yelling and interruptions on what was supposed to be relaxing time.

“No one was- okay, we were shouting, but we’re fine now.” Hyeju’s words come out short, and firm. Her eyes narrow back as she and Jinsoul are locked in a glaring contest. She hoped that Jinsoul couldn’t look right past her demeanor and see that she was still a little scared of the older girl.

Chaewon looks back and forth between the girls, chuckling nervously. She flashes her own glare in Jinsoul’s direction, annoyed that Hyeju was going to tell her some important information that was interrupted. Still, her expression softens and turns worried when she sees the tension occurring between the girls, even after the talk they had earlier. She didn’t want her best friend to hate the girl she was growing feelings for, and the other way around.

“Oh, so you’re still here.” Hyeju says dryly, swallowing a lump in her throat. She had no right to be the one mad at Jinsoul, she helped lie to her, after all, and yet, seeing how upset Chaewon was when she was locked in the room and refusing to talk about it made Hyeju go into a protective mode unknowingly. Her gaze then falters slightly, defeated. She didn’t really have a reason to feel that way, after all. Chaewon already pointed that out about her own (very obvious) jealousy.

Chaewon, however, wasn’t having this. Before Jinsoul could open her mouth in her own snarky reply, she decides to let out an annoyed huff. “Can you two cut it out?” She says with exasperation, making the two break out of their own thoughts and stare at her.

Jinsoul tightens her jaw. “Sorry Chae, I really want to move past this, but she put you through way too fucking much. I’m not going to let her yell at you again, even if she is forced to be here with you.” She says firmly, flashing yet another watching eye over in Hyeju’s direction. This makes the pair blush. After all, she wasn’t actually forced to be there, as she was just revealing.

But the rich girl shakes that feeling away, crossing her arms as she scowls at the other two. “No, you know what? You two need to have your own talk. We might be on better terms, but you both need to be too.” Hyeju furrows her brows as Chaewon turns on her heels and walks over to the door. “Are you forcing us to stay here and talk?” Her voice comes out bewildered. “And where the hell are you going to go?” Hyeju starts to step forward and stop her from leaving, but she stops when the door opens. “I’m going to go hang out with Heejin for a bit. I’ll probably end up pulling a Jinsoul and INTERRUPTING her with Hyunjin, but- actually, maybe I’ll go see what Jungeun is doing…” She trails off, unsure of what her other best friend could be doing with her new love interest.

Jinsoul blushes at the call out, making her unable to protest as the door closes, and the suite is left in silence. None of the girls left make a move, suddenly more interested in staring at the floor or the tacky décor over facing the person in front of them. However, they both knew that this was the last rung on the ladder that’ll get them out of the mess that has already been cascading. It was just the matter of who was willing to admit defeat first.

Which means: Chaewon was going to be gone for a while.

“Don’t sit so fucking close to me.”

“I was here first. There’s plenty of room over there.”

The two girls bicker to each other under the dark, Vegas sky; contrasted as the familiar lights electrify the city into its full vibrancy. They didn’t expect to be up on the rooftop but being cooped in that room had them at each other’s necks. The setting felt too tense, as all their past lies and secrets surrounded the place like a bad smell. Hyeju said she had a place for them to have a different view and maybe be able to talk. She was the first one to break the silence (after what felt like half an hour of intense glaring and uncomfortable, awkward tension), but it only led to hostile remarks and their steps going backwards on the situation.

So, under this peaceful, glowing night, Hyeju hoped she wouldn’t regret taking her here. After all, it felt a lot like this place was something special; this was where she and Chaewon had a few of their closest moments together. She would hate for Jinsoul to ruin that feeling it gave her. But, at the same time, this was Chaewon’s best friend, and this talk that they should have may be the last obstacle that is keeping her from just letting go completely and going after the girl. It wasn’t enough that they crossed the line the other night: they had to face the reality of their situation and tie up as many loose ends as they could.

So, even though this may go south, or it’ll feel like pulling teeth, Hyeju is willing to take charge of the situation. The silence that is filling the small breeze that flows around them as they look at the city life isn’t as awkward as it was in the room; at least there was a sublime view of the city that was moving below while they sat still.

“I’m sorry for my part in lying to you.”

Hyeju decides to start out simple, but right to the point. The last thing she wanted was for Jinsoul to get upset again and lock herself away. That would seriously get her and Chaewon to be on bad terms. “I was only trying to ease her fears and her embarrassment, but that doesn’t excuse lying. I’m sorry it came to that.”

Jinsoul turns her face with a hard expression, but it softens when she sees the sincerity in Hyeju’s eyes as the light displays from across the way dance around her pupils. Her mouth forms a thin line. Maybe she should just hear what this girl has to say. The apology was a good start.

She nods, motioning for Hyeju to continue. This makes the younger girl sigh as she looks off into the skyline, letting her eyes fall on all the faraway skyscrapers that start to look like specks as her eyes scan farther and farther away. She swallows a lump in her throat before continuing. “You don’t know me very well, and I probably made a completely terrible impression as your best friend’s new spouse.” She chuckles, before blushing hard at the realization of her own words. She awkwardly clears her throat. “But I hope there aren’t any hard feelings.”

Jinsoul looks at her with an analytical eye. Despite the darkness of the late Vegas evening, the raven-haired girl could easily see that the other girl was blushing. This made her voice her reply. “You really like Chae, don’t you?”

Hyeju’s eyes widen at the bluntness of the unexpected question, seemingly turning redder to Jinsoul’s observant eyes. She then turns her head away from Jinsoul, unsure as to how she should really answer that question. Doesn’t Jinsoul hate her, so wouldn’t she want her to not like Chaewon? She didn’t want to lie anymore, that’s part of what put her in this intervention-style conversation. So, she sighed defeatedly as thoughts of the smaller girl filled her mind.

“I like her very much.”

Her voice is sincere, and full of passion. Jinsoul takes note of that, and hums. “It was obvious since the beginning, to be honest.” She lets out a shaky laugh as Hyeju looks down at the cars below them, unsure of what to do with that information.

Jinsoul then lets out a sigh. “Look, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from. I’ve never met you before, then I see you fighting with my best friend, then I find out you both lied to me, and you both somehow ended up married by drunken accident.” Hyeju rubs the back of her neck at the directness of her words. “And the fighting you two were doing, it was so frequent that it made me want to hate you, to be honest.”

It feels like a large disappointment has washed over Hyeju at the other girl’s words. She plays with her fingers in her hands between the metal bars of the rooftop railing, keeping her eyes trained on the traffic of cars below. “But” Jinsoul speaks again when she notices the crestfallen look that was on her face, “Now that this is finally being addressed and I made my amends with Chaewon, I am willing to give you another chance too.”

Hyeju looked back up and at Jinsoul with her eyebrows raised. She flashed a weak smile. “Thank you.” Her smile falters when her mind wanders back to Chaewon, remembering how her and Jinsoul ended up on this rooftop in the first place. Why should it ultimately matter what Jinsoul thinks of her? She wasn’t really WITH Chaewon…

Noticing her negative thoughts, Jinsoul furrows her brows at the other girl. “If you like her so much, why don’t you just tell her?”

A glare is shot in Jinsoul’s direction. “I WAS telling her, kind of, when you barged in on us.” She grumbles, making Jinsoul flash a nervous smile. “Ah, I’m sorry about that.” She laughs out nervously. She then turns her head to stare out at the city again, parting her mouth slightly. The view was absolutely beautiful, she had no idea this place existed until now. She should take Jungeun here-

Her mouth turns into a frown. She pretty much pushed the blonde away when all of this happened, even when she brought her gifts and was trying so hard to get her to talk to Chaewon. She wonders if it was too late for them at this point. Maybe Jungeun was even trying to get over her already.

She didn’t want to dwell on those thoughts too much right now as they twisted the nerves in her stomach, so she turned to the other girl again. “You know, if you were confessing to her earlier, that doesn’t explain why you were yelling.” She says with a slightly accusing tone.

Hyeju frowns, looking away at the swirling lights on an adjacent building. “Uh, I’m not sure if I sh-“ Jinsoul cuts her off. “You are NOT keeping any more secrets from me.” Her tone is stern. Hyeju immediately looks at her and shakes her head. “Y-yeah, of course I’m not.” Okay, maybe Jinsoul was still just as scary as she first was.

Her gaze turns up at the pitch-black sky. “I don’t really know what she wants.” She admits, blinking a few times. “I would like to do this properly, even if we are legally together in the eyes of the rest of the world.” She swallows nervously. “But once I finish this project for her father, I’m probably being dropped. I won’t know what to do with myself if I get too attached and then be forced to stay away.”

Jinsoul looks at the girl with a pitiful smile. Chaewon’s father was a real ass hat and could easily make sure Hyeju never sees her again once his greedy hands are done touching his grimy business transaction with her. Maybe she wasn’t a huge fan of Hyeju after everything, but she certainly was NOT a fan of Mr. Park. Besides, from the way Chaewon was talking about her from their talk before…she knows these two are on the same page. Now, if only they would just acknowledge it.

“If you want to do things properly, then do it. Who cares what will happen? Don’t let an opportunity pass by, especially if you really like her.” She narrowed her eyes, almost in a judgmental scowl. “Do you?”

Hyeju nods immediately. “I said that I do.” Jinsoul scoots closer, almost getting in her face. “Then for the love of god DO SOMETHING about it.” She stresses, then moves away. Hyeju swallows nervously, feeling like her hands were starting to sweat. That felt much easier said than done.

With a deep sigh, she continues to look out on the city night with what felt like even more nerves than when she first got up here. Maybe things are on a better start with Jinsoul, but her words held a lot of weight: she should step up and do something about it. For starters, they really needed to talk about the other night more in depth. That kiss they shared really has been on her mind for a while…

Eventually, Hyeju snaps back to reality, only to see that she was now alone on the rooftop, even as she looked around at its darkness. Did Jinsoul leave? Hyeju must have been really deep in thought, or perhaps Jinsoul was giving the both of them some alone time to mull over the words they just exchanged.

A breeze blows by, making the brunette shiver slightly as she curls into herself more. The sounds of the traffic below and some of the distant attractions of the nearby casinos, clubs, and venue halls all blend together to create an atmosphere that makes Hyeju feel like she is overseeing the world from as high up as she was. Her mind fixates on the many different sights below: people walking on the sidewalk, the ‘PLAY HERE’ signs on doors, as well as the flashy cars that go by.

Who knew that one place could bring so much chaos, and yet, when she really sat here and observed it, brought her so much familiarity, as she recalls her home city of Seoul. Even Chaewon, who was also from Seoul, brought forth that kind of feeling for her; like…a piece of home when she felt so far away, and for so long now. Something about that really moved her as she looked out on the city and its dazzling lights.

That was all she needed to quickly scramble up from her place over the railing, her grip on the bar in front steadying her as she moves her legs. She turns around and navigates the darkness of the rooftop to find the door to the elevator back down.

She has a girl to go win.

“What the hell?”

Chaewon grumbles to herself when she steps back in the suite, seeing it empty and quiet. “Where the hell did they go?” She says with annoyance, walking over to sit down on the couch. She reaches for her phone in her pocket, ready to click on Hyeju’s contact. “They’re funny if they think they’ll get away with this one.”

Before she could send a simple “Where the hell did you go?” text, she hears the door open. With an annoyed sigh, she turns herself towards the entryway, where Hyeju came rushing into view, stopping dead in her tracks at the sight of Chaewon. The smaller girl rolls her eyes. “Did you both really fluke out of talking? That’s so-“

She was interrupted by Hyeju striding forward to stand in front of her. She reaches her arms out and grabs Chaewon’s own, pulling her up from a sitting position on the couch to stand inches apart from her. Chaewon looks up at the taller girl with wide eyes. “Wha-Did you talk to Jinsoul or not?!” She exclaims, pushing Hyeju back slightly, blushing furiously at their close proximity. What was she doing?

As soon as she was pushed backward, however, she steps forward again, capturing the confused girl in a passionate kiss.

Chaewon gasps into Hyeju’s mouth, and almost loses her balance on the spot. However she almost immediately kisses back, their lips locked together in a slow, yet fiery dance together. Hyeju’s hands find their way to the small girl’s waist, trying to pull her closer into the kiss. Chaewon, as well, snakes her hands behind her and at the back of her neck.

Nothing ever felt so correct and good to either of them.

Still, they had to come up for air at some point. Hyeju breaks the kiss, letting out a gasp and inhaling a large intake of air, making Chaewon giggle as her breaths become deeper as well. She opens and closes her mouth a few times, unsure of what to say, as well as being incapable of saying a thing. Hyeju’s perfect kissing quite literally put her at a loss for words.

Which was okay, because Hyeju was the one who wanted to speak first.

“Go on a date with me tomorrow evening.”

Her voice comes out confident, but a little hesitant, unsure if she was being too blunt. She could feel her already pink cheeks turning crimson. She lowers her gaze to the tiled floor. “Uh, you know, only if you want to. Um-“ Chaewon’s finger comes up to firmly press into Hyeju’s lips, making her eyebrows shoot up. She flashes a big smile, one that makes Hyeju’s heart do somersaults in her chest.

“I would love to.”

Chapter Text

“I don’t think I can do this.”

Hyeju sighs, slapping a palm to her face.

“Hyunjin, I’M the one asking for advice.”

Hyunjin flashes a weak smile, while Hyeju groans. Currently, they were sitting on the hot, hard concrete ground with their backs resting against the stone building of the hotel. It was almost time for the big date; the one that has been gnawing at the CTO’s mind since she got off of work earlier that day. She didn’t necessarily…have a plan for what she wanted to do for the other girl; all she knew was that it had to be special.

So, here she was now, sitting outside of the hotel on a very warm day, talking to Hyunjin, the person whose gay panic got in the way of talking to Heejin from the start. This’ll definitely get her the ideas she is looking for…

Hyunjin kicks her foot forward from her position against the wall, watching as a small rock makes its way across the surprisingly empty sidewalk. The sun was just starting to go down, with the sky dressed in a vibrant hue of pink and orange. Hyeju was running out of time before the clock struck 7, and she would take the smaller girl out. Of course, Hyunjin was the only one available right now.

Still, sitting next to someone while she was so nervous was helping. “Anyway,” She grumbles, “I really need some ideas. You know the area, right? What do you recommend?” She asks, turning her face to stare at the bartender with pleading eyes, earning a surprised look in return. “Wow, you really care about this don’t you?” Hyunjin asks with sincerity.

Hyeju pauses, feeling a blush creep up on her cheeks, turning herself away quickly. With the golden way the sun is setting in the sky right now, her red face would be very noticeable. But she steadies her shaky breath. “Of course I do.” She says with longing, her eyes trained on the glare against the tall skyscrapers above her head.

She never got to do things right with Chaewon, due to the mess of the situation they landed themselves in. And she wasn’t really sure how that would work in with the route they’re on now. Still, all the CTO wanted was to grab on to her small chance and run with it. As the project at work continues to push along forward, despites it’s hiccups, the scarier the feeling in her stomach gets. Who knows what will happen once it’s finish, and they all have to go back to South Korea alone.


Hyeju flinches, turning her head to stare at Hyunjin’s lit up face. “Wh-“ She gets cut off by the excited girl. “Bread! It’s a restaurant a block away from the club.” She says calmer this time, a friendly smile on her face. “They have the BEST food; you will not regret it one bit.”

Biting her lip in thought, Hyeju nods at learning this new information. Hyunjin did work in the night life of this city, surely, she would know what’s good and what’s not. A half smile forms on Hyeju’s face. “Thanks Hyunjin unnie.”

The bartender smiles smugly, satisfied that she was able to pass on a good recommendation to the needy girl. Hyunjin watches her closely and notices the bouncing of her leg, the fidgeting of her fingers. She looked nervous, and a little terrified. “Hey.” She says, making Hyeju snap her attention back at the girl next to her, trying to regain her cool. Hyunjin chuckles at the sight. “It’s going to be okay. She likes you a lot.”

A weak smile shows up on her face, but she lets out her own chuckle too. “I hope she still will after tonight.” She then pauses, her eyes going wide. “W-wait, I need more ideas! Where else should I take her? I want to make it really special, a-and-“ Her stammering was silenced by the smile that was slowly growing on Hyunjin’s face.

“Do you like bowling?”

Jinsoul paces up and down the hallway of her room, too afraid to make the venture downstairs. What meets her down there, is really up in the air right now. She’ll either find herself back in the room with tears in her eyes, or with another in her embrace.

So many things have blown apart since she found out about this secret that was being kept from her. And while it still bothers her to an extent, she understands it that makes her feel bad for hiding away the way she did, instead of letting everyone explain themselves from the start. Her friendship with Chaewon may have easily found its way falling back to where it once was (although, the thought of knowing the girl was legally married was so strange to ponder for too long), she needs to do something about where she stands with Jungeun.

A nervous sigh escapes her lips as she stops her back and forth pacing and opts instead to go for a walk around the hotel, exploring other parts of it she wasn’t aware of. Maybe if she goes on a little bit of an exploration on all the floors, she won’t have to face Jungeun just yet…

As she makes her way to the stairwell, starting her descent to the topmost floor and working her way down, she takes slow steps, letting herself inspect and count each and every room that she walks by, before clearing a floor and heading down one to another. She knows that she is stalling, as the sun seems to glow brighter and brighter orange as she makes her way down, but it’s helping a lot. She can mentally prepare herself for the conversation, and as well, hopefully lessen her nerves. Jinsoul really wants to make things right with Jungeun.

Thinking it over, Jungeun really did the best she could with the situation. She was there for Chaewon, despite the weirdness that existed between them initially, and eased her worries over the situation without throwing her best friend under the bus. It may look like Jungeun is some sort of liar, but Jinsoul could easily tell by the amount of time that she has known her, the blonde was starting to care about her best friend, as well as trying to ease a situation that she could have easily not been a part of. In a way, her gesture was really sweet.

Her thoughts of the other girl almost seemed to manifest for her when she reached the 7th floor, and she was startled by the sound of a loud bang.

It’s possible that someone in a room around her could have made the noise, but it wasn’t coming from a room with a door number. In between 705 and 707, there was a small utility closet. The door rattled as something else made a thud, and a small “shit” was uttered. At the sound of the voice, Jinsoul’s entire cooling down body was suddenly much hotter than it was when she started this mini adventure around the building.

Slowly, and hesitantly, she approached the door, lurking outside of it with fear visible in her body language. Of course, when she was trying to prepare to go see Jungeun downstairs, she happened to run into her prematurely. And really, it’s no surprise that Jungeun isn’t even at the desk anyway.

When she hears another crash from inside of the closet, she sighs, rolling her eyes. Biting her lip with caution, she makes a small knock on the door. “Jungie? Are you in there?”

The rustling and moving inside the room come to a dead silence. Jinsoul’s nerves grow as the seconds pass by, until she hears the door click and watches it swing open slowly. The blonde girl she has grown so fond of over the course of her time here peeks her head out in hesitation, making the dark-haired girl’s stomach fill up with butterflies. Yeah, she really had to fix this.

Jinsoul swallowed nervously, fighting the normal urge she has grown used to of embracing the girl in her arms, to instead flash a small smile. “Hi.” She says softly, making Jungeun’s own soften as she opens the door more, revealing the mess of boxes of towels and bedsheets thrown on the floor behind her. “Hi.”

They stay locked like that, before Jinsoul snaps out of it and stares at the mess behind her. “Um, what are you doing?” She asks, making the blonde blush. She lowers her gaze down at the floor. “I was uh-I was sulking, I guess…”

Jinsoul’s heart hurt hearing that, watching the pained smile on the girl’s face. “Maybe I can help you not sulk?” She says cautiously, rubbing her hand on the back of her neck. Jungeun then looked up with a small smile. This was a very good sign for them. She motioned for the taller girl to come into the closet with her, the door closing with a short click.

Before Jungeun could even turn around and face the other girl, she felt hands snake down to her waist from behind, and a head lay atop of her own. Her heart fluttered in her chest at the contact. “I missed you.” Jinsoul whispered. Jungeun felt herself relax into the embrace.

They stayed like that for a few minutes, enjoying each other’s company and embrace. But Jinsoul knew that it wasn’t going to fix everything by itself. So, she let go, turning the other girl around to face her. Jinsoul’s face was sincere, and almost on the brink of tearing up.

“I’m sorry.” Jungeun says before Jinsoul could say anything, making her eyebrows furrow. “I kept this from you, which was wrong, and-“ The dark-haired girl stopped her with her own words. “No, stop, I was the one who wasn’t willing to listen, I-“

“No no, I should’ve told you, or-“ They both stopped talking over each other. They then chuckle lightly. It’s obvious that they both really want to make this right. Jinsoul decides that she will just let the other girl talk first, gesturing with her hand. Jungeun laughs nervously, before shyly reaching forward to grab the other’s hand.

“I was keeping something from you, and it ended up spiraling into a mess.” Her grip on the older girl’s hand tightened. “And I thought I was going to lose you over it.” She whispers, making Jinsoul get closer to grab her other hand. She gives them both a gentle squeeze and a small smile.

“This situation is…tough.” Jinsoul says with a tight smile. “And we both didn’t help each other to some extent with it, but,” She looks her in the eyes. “You were there for my best friend when she was struggling with something she didn’t feel comfortable sharing, and that means a lot to me.”

Her eyes glow with sincerity, and every possible worry or stress she was feeling suddenly seemed to melt away. Under the dimmed, blinking light of the random storage closet on the 7th floor, the two seemed to fix the tension that put them apart. And, without a secret lingering in the air, it seemed like there was a chance for them to get even closer (if that was even possible at this point).

The silence that filled the closet seemed to echo that for the girls. They both flashed each other a longing smile, letting out breaths of relief. “Now, can we get out of here? This isn’t exactly the kind of place I imagined fixing things with you in.” Jinsoul says, looking around at the boxes of hotel supplies, suddenly aware of the smell of cardboard and new cotton.

Jungeun, however, stays silent. She pulls the dark-haired girl in by her waist, catching her by surprise. She has a devilish smirk on her face.

“You know, we don’t have to leave just yet…”

Hyeju was standing outside of the room she has grown used to from her weeks being here, slowly approaching a month already. It felt weird. This place was starting to feel like second nature to her, almost like a…home. Even if she did find herself sore in the morning from sleeping on the couch and STILL dealing with Chaewon waking up at god awful hours of the morning, she found herself growing used to her time at the suite, and albeit a little fond. Especially since Chaewon was there.

Sure, they still bickered in the mornings and had their occasional snide remarks, but both girls couldn’t oversee the red faces and the lingering looks they gave each other when they happened. They just needed to put in some work to get to where they needed to go, that’s all. It was something Hyeju was willing to do, something she really wanted. Being around the small girl made her feel good inside, and she didn’t want to stay away.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the door opening, making her fix her posture to standing up stiff and straight in nervousness. Chaewon peeked her head from behind the door, only her eyes visible, but they crease in a smile at the sight of the CTO. Hyeju is wearing a simple white sweater with cropped jeans, her cheeks painted in a cute rosy hue of pink. Chuckling quietly to herself at the sight, Chaewon opens the door fully, showing a soft smile.

She was dressed in a casual pale, yellow dress, a small white bag off her shoulder. Hyeju almost audibly gulps at the sight. “Y-you look b-beautiful.” She spits out, feeling her face get even redder. Chaewon feels her own start to heat up. “You- you too.” She says, almost as if in a daze.

They stay silent, standing shyly in front of each other and unsure of what to say or to do. They both let out a nervous giggle at the same time. They were literally legally married and have been living together for awhile now, there was no reason for them to be acting that way. Still, knowing that there are no longer any walls between them and what they want makes them unsure of how to act. They really want to get this right.

Snapping out of her state, Hyeju extends her hand out shyly. “Let’s go.” She almost whispers, lacing her hands slowly in Chaewon’s own smaller hand. They fit together almost perfectly, which made their hearts flutter. Everything about this moment felt so surreal, like a dream they never wanted to wake up from.

They made their way outside of the hotel and onto the sidewalk, Hyeju using her free hand to take out her phone from her jean pocket and check the ETA of the Uber she scheduled. However, something doesn’t seem right. She clicks around on the app a few times, until-

A horn blares throughout the street, making the people who are passing by stare at the bright neon orange Kia soul that was parked at the curb. Both of the girls felt frowns form on their faces at the sight of the tiny girl at the wheel waving frantically, her eyes like crescents as she smiled at them.

“Shit.” Hyeju whispers, turning her attention back to the app and checking if this was really happening. Sure enough, Yeojin would be bringing them to their destination. There may not be anything to hide anymore, but still, the girl was so…nosy.

Grumbling to herself, making Chaewon chuckle in disbelief, they make their way to one of the back doors, opening it to receive a very loud greeting. “MY FAVORITE GAYS!” She yells loud enough to make people walking by give them short looks. Chaewon sinks lower in her seat.

“Hi.” Hyeju says monotonously, making Yeojin giggle as she turns on her blinker to start the trip to their destination. Hyeju grabs Chaewon’s hand absent mindedly, then tightens her grip and blushes when she realizes. Chaewon gives it a squeeze.

“Aww, did you two finally settle your weirdness!” Yeojin says, looking into her mirror to stare at the couple in the backseat. Hyeju gives her a stoic expression, while the faintest bit of a smile is on Chaewon’s face. Yeojin gave her a little push at the party the other night, so she should at least give her some kind of acknowledgement, even if Hyeju was unimpressed.

The ride there felt longer because of Yeojin’s loud presence, but at least it was only a few blocks away. When they pulled up to the curb of the place, the blaring speakers of Girls Generation was enough to get them to scramble out of the car before it came to a complete stop. She rolled her window down as they exited, the music growing slightly louder. “HAPPY FOR YOU TWO! ENJOY YOUR NIGHT! NO CANOODLING IN THERE!” She puts on a pair of sunglasses from her middle console and gives a finger gun before pulling away from the curb with a loud screech, making the two girls flinch.

After a few second trying to process what just happened, Hyeju turned towards Chaewon with a pained expression. “I’m sorry about that.” She says, making Chaewon let out a cute laugh. “It’s okay, it’ll be funny to remember about our first date.”

Not just A date, but the FIRST date. That made Hyeju turn her head and bite her lip. God, she was really down bad.

“Is this a…bowling alley?”

Chaewon looks at the cheesy, retro neon sign on the front of thr large building in the shape of a bowling pin, flashing different colors in the pattern of a ball striking it. Hyeju nods slowly, trying to read her face. A growing smile appears, making her release a relieved breath. “Bowling is so much fun.”

The extravagant music and the clanging of bowling pins fill the air as the semi-busy alley was alive with the night. The ultraviolet lighting made Hyeju’s white sweater glow intensely as she watched the silver ball roll and earn her a strike, pumping her fist in satisfaction. When she turned around, Chaewon was clapping lightly, a proud smile on her face.

Grinning back, Hyeju made her way over to the bench and sat down next to the girl, nudging her slightly. “You turn, princess.” She says playfully, making the older girl blush and roll her eyes. She walks over to the return rack and grabs the green ball she picked out and walks up to the line. She concentrates hard on the full set of pins in front of her, determined to get a strike and beat out the other girl.

With her tongue poking out of her mouth in thought, she takes the ball and awkwardly throws it forward, watching as it slowly swings left and hit a single pin with a pitiful small sound. She pouts suddenly when she hears laughter behind her. Turning around she seems Hyeju laughing with her hands on her knees, her nose scrunched up cutely. She frowns, despite the butterflies forming in her stomach at the sight.

“Hey! It’s not funny!” She says with annoyance, rolling her eyes as the brunette laughs even harder. She stands there and watches as Hyeju continues to laugh harder at her ultimate failure, despite the careful calculating she put into the throw. She puffs out her cheeks and crosses her arms, sitting on the opposite side of the bench from her. “You’re being mean.”

Hyeju slowly calms her laughter down and watches the displeased look on the girl’s face. “Oh, come on, lighten up Wonnie.” She says as she leans back farther on the bench, putting her hands behind head with a smug smirk.

That didn’t get to last very long, as she heard a voice that startled the hell out of her. “Hyeju!!”

Her smirk drops and her hands come away from her head as she sees a bubbly Jiwoo walk forward, a pink bowling ball resting in her small hands. She flashes an excited look. “What are the odds you’d be here! Sooyoung and I are just on a date~” She giggles, turning her head back to stare at a lane two over where Sooyoung was concentrating intently on the pins in front of her, the red ball in her hands glistening under the lighting. She moves to take her turn, the ball rolling out of her hand as Jiwoo turns back around to give a toothless grin to the two girls.

“She’s so good, isn’t she?” She says dreamily, turning around again to watch the ball collide with a little over half the pins, a smirk of approval appearing on the older girl’s face.

Hyeju internally groans dramatically. Of course, when she’s trying to have a good time with her date, people will pop up and interfere. She tries to keep her cool, and flashes Jiwoo a smile. “What are the odds!” She says with a little too much enthusiasm, watching as Chaewon raises an eyebrow at her. All the smaller girl knows is that this girl dragged her into a room in Hyunjin’s house and forced her to talk to Hyeju with no explanation. Granted, it landed her here, but it was still strange.

“Um, hi again.” Chaewon says carefully, unsure of what else this girl could do other than grab a stranger and force her to talk to the girl she has feelings for. Jiwoo beams a smile. “Park Chaewon, hi!” Before she could even groan at the formality of her answer, she walks over with her pink ball and puts it on their track.

She turns around and flashes a smile at them. “Why don’t we all play teams? That would be so much fun!” Before the two could react, she turned head to the right. “SOOYOUNGIE!” Everyone in the place seemed to flinch at her loud voice, except for the one being called. She calmly turned her head over and raised her eyebrow. “Let’s play with Hyeju and Chaewon!” She says excitedly, waving her arms to get her wife to come over. Rolling her eyes playfully, she grabs her ball and walks over to the others, putting it next to Jiwoo’s pink one.

She flashes a smile at the two. “I’m happy to see you two together and having fun. “ She says with her hands on her hips in pride. “You’ll have to tell me about it while we kick your butts!” She gestures to the ball return for either one of the others to go first.

Hyeju opens her mouth, then closes it again. The other two look at her with wide eyes, excited to be on this now forced double date together. Sighing defeatedly, she looks over at Chaewon, who is showing a wary smile, but nothing that shows she is against the idea.

At least they have dinner afterwards to look forward to alone together.

“You are so aggressive, you know that?”

Hyeju blushes, averting her gaze and crossing her arms. The ambiance of the restaurant is calm, with soft music playing and dimmed lighting. There are only a few people, so it’s almost as if they have the place to themselves. It may not be completely five star like Hyeju is sure the smaller girl was used to, but it was satisfactory for a first date. She hoped that Chaewon liked it.

“So? Sooyoung kept scoring.” She grumbled, making Chaewon laugh playfully. “You don’t have to throw the ball so hard; you were doing alright in the beginning before that.”

Hyeju sighs in slight annoyance. She wasn’t totally on board with the idea that Jiwoo and Sooyoung interfering on their game, but they seemed really excited, and Chaewon was, for the most part, on board with it as well. Encountering the pair, as well as Yeojin on their way there, was starting to give the CTO a headache. Still, she had faith that the date would turn out okay, especially now that they were alone.

After the waiter took their orders and poured them water, the two found themselves falling into such deep conversation, more than they’ve had since they met. They talked about things in their life that they didn’t reveal before: Chaewon’s large obsession with Oh My Girl, Hyeju’s favorite wolf plushie from her childhood, and a large chunk about their favorite video games. The conversation was so good, when their food came, they completely forgot that they were even hungry. Their stomachs growled at the sight, and they laughed.

Picking through their food, there was a small silence as they satisfied their hunger and enjoyed their meals. They kept stealing glances at each other, their faces red and happy. The clinking of their silverware on the white porcelain plates and the soft murmur of music and people around them was all they were listening to. It was peaceful.

But their conversations were ringing in their head. A lot of what they discussed seemed…familiar somehow, even if they were certain it hadn’t come up in conversation before. Why was that the case?

That realization was etched onto their expressions, their glances turning into full on staring, watching to see what the other was thinking. Hyeju decided to speak up.

“What do you remember, about that night?”

Chaewon, who was taking a sip of her water, coughs a little into the glass, setting it down and steadying her breathing. She didn’t expect the straightforward question, and the curious glint in her date’s eyes. She feels her face turning red.

“I think th-“

“We were at the club, the one Hyunjin works at. We sat at the bar.”

Chaewon widens her eyes at the interruption. She remains silent, as to let the girl know she can continue. “There was a lot of drinking. I-“ She stops, her face beet red now. “We talked a lot about…our situations.” She says, looking down. Chaewon furrows her brows. She doesn’t remember that part…even if she did find herself slowly recalling the night.

“You told me about your father, about why you’re here…that’s also part of why I stayed in the apartment.” She can’t meet the smaller girl’s surprised gaze. “I already knew what was going on when you told me, and-“

“You knew…this whole time?” She whispers, the shock still on her face. Hyeju immediately shakes her head. “No! No, not the whole time.” She looks back up at the girl, her eyes full of sincerity. “Honestly, when we woke up the second time…I remembered everything. And something about that made me remember the other night as well. She says, biting her lip in fear.

Chaewon blinks a few times, as if she was processing what the girl said. They were fighting and bickering, afraid to admit this to each other the whole time?

Chaewon decides to burst out in laughter, startling the younger girl.

After a few seconds, the realization hitting her too, she breaks out into laughter as well, the very few people in the restaurant all turning to glare at them while they were pounding the table and gasping for breath.

After a minute, their breathing calmed down again, and Chaewon cleared her throat. The energy shifted back to seriousness. “Now that you mention it, I was wondering why I felt so…strange around Yerim.” She admits as Hyeju cocks an eyebrow. “You talked about her that night, didn’t you?” She says with a nervous giggle.

Hyeju smirks smugly. “Oh please, it’s not just that. You were jealous.” She takes another sip of her drink and picks her fork up again to dig back into her pasta. Chaewon’s mouth goes into a thin line, scoffing as she turns her attention back to her chicken with a frown. “No I was not…”

Hyeju continues to eat, remaining silent as she keeps her smug eye on the other girl, who was trying her hardest to avert her gaze. She looks back up after a minute to the smug girl, rolling her eyes. “What? I’m done talking to you now.”

Hyeju laughs again, and the cute sight of her crinkled nose and cute cheeks makes Chaewon’s grouchy façade disappear into very small smile. She was really happy to be here with the other girl and learning about the earlier information made her feelings grow three sizes larger in her chest.

They got interrupted earlier, but it was okay, because being with the other girl in this mutual acknowledgement of a date, getting to hold her hand and not put up any kind of annoyed front felt really good. No more secrets, no more lies, no more worries. They were here now, and even though the future seemed rocky, they had a lot to look forward to together. That made her feel warm inside, like a light had been turned on in a cold, dark room.

“I know you remembered that night.” She says, taking another sip of water, her eyes locked on the frozen girl in front of her. “You asked me on our first time on the roof if I remember, and something told me deep down, you did.” She chuckles slightly, picking up her fork again. “I was really mad with you about that. It really seemed like you were keeping information from me.”

Chaewon bit her lip nervously, nodding ever so weakly. She is pretty sure she was pretty aware of the night as well, tricking herself into forgetting its events, blaming the alcohol. Still, she remembers that she consumed a lot of drinks. There’s no way she should’ve been able to remember that. But, the shock of waking up the next day and finding out you’re married is a lot to process, especially when its to someone you found yourself having a very bad first impression with.

A hand comes on her shoulder and startles her, making the glass in her hand fall on the table and spill all over the white tablecloth.

“Hey! It’s nice to see you two!”

Hyeju’s eyes become hard daggers at the sight of Hyunjin, who was flashing a wide grin from behind Chaewon. Heejin was a little to the side of her, smiling sweetly. “You took my advice and came to Bread, isn’t it so good?”

Hyeju’s mouth becomes a hard line. “Yeah. Everything was great. You know, I didn’t think you were here that often.” Her tone came out passive aggressive. Hyunjin didn’t notice, or care to, because she flashed a closed eye smile. “Yup! Bread has all my favorite stuff. I always get the bread.”

Chaewon turns around and gives her a puzzled expression. “You just…eat bread here?” Hyunjin nods seriously, turning her head to daydream off into the distance. “I love the bread here…” Heejin giggles from beside her. “Hyun really likes bread.” The bartender turns her head back to her date with a fond smile. “I like you.”

Hyeju rubs her temples with her hands, sighing loudly. This makes Chaewon giggle. Heejin walks over and pulls out a chair from an adjacent table to sit next to her best friend. “Are you guys just about done? Why don’t we join you for dessert?”

Hyeju turns to Hyunjin to plead with her to get the blonde girl away from them and leave them alone on their date. She doesn’t seem to catch it, because she immediately does the same and sits next to the now grumbling girl. “That’s a great idea Heej!”

Chaewon starts excitedly talking with her longtime friend, as if her date wasn’t just sabotaged. Hyeju, however, stares into spare with a glare. Hyunjin nudged her. “Hey, can you get us some bread for the table? It’s so good.”

This felt like a disaster.

With a final wave the two couples parted ways from outside the restaurant. It was starting to rain, the bright lights of the city seeming to glow a little brighter against the complete darkness that was the Vegas night sky. The two stood under an awning outside the restaurant as they waited for an Uber (Hyeju triple checking that Yeojin wouldn’t be picking them up), their hands laced together to keep warm from the chill the rain was bringing in. Cars passed by and people ran by with umbrellas and coats, and they were watching them go by in serene silence.

“I had a fun night.”

Hyeju turns her head to stare at Chaewon’s soft eyes, glimmering under the dim light of the restaurant’s aesthetic awning. She furrows her brows at the statement.

“But we kept getting interrupted…”

She was almost pouting now, and Chaewon smiled automatically at how adorable the sight was. “That’s okay. You were there, and you made it special for me.”

Hyeju turns her mouth up into a small smile. “But it could’ve been better, and I really wanted to make this special for you, and-“

Chaewon steps forward and catches the other girl off guard with a short, chaste kiss. Hyeju blinks a few times, frozen in place after the warmth of Chaewon’s lips was off her own.

The rich girl giggles at the reaction she is given, the other girl’s red face and all. “Stop worrying, it was great.” She whispers, her hand coming up to cup her cheek. “You were very sweet. I would like to go out again soon. My treat.”

Hyeju grins like a fool. The butterflies that filled her stomach felt so good, no longer with any hint of fear. They were finally getting their chance, with no secrets kept in between. Sure, there was still the fact that they were legally married, but they weren’t going to dwell on that too much. What mattered right now was the time they got to spend with each other and enjoy it. They wanted to do so much more together, learn way more about each other.

The red car pulled up to the curb, and Hyeju smiles as she tugs on the girl’s hand. “Let’s go back and watch a movie. You pick whatever you want.” Nodding, Chaewon steps forward and they make their way towards the car.

However, Chaewon’s phone started blasting Dolphin.

Stopping in her tracks underneath the rain, she digs her phone out of her small bag. Hyeju turns around, almost at the passenger door. “Answer it when we get back.” She says gesturing to the car. Chaewon’s face goes pale.

“It’s my father.”

Hyeju feels all her nerves come back with those few words. Quickly, she knocks on the window of the car and gestures for the man to wait for them kindly as Chaewon walks back over to the awning and presses the answer button on her phone.

“Hi dad. Is ev-“

“I’ll be there in a few hours. Do NOT go anywhere until then.”

Chaewon furrows her brows, a nervousness seeping into her body. “What? You’re coming? Why?” Her voice comes out high and concerned.

His voice was seething with anger, unlike one Chaewon has ever heard before. “Ms. Son is in a lot of trouble. You both need to stay at the suite until I arrive.”

Chapter Text

“How could you let this happen?!” Mr. Park yelled, his face an unsettling shade of red.

Hyeju was tense in her seat on the couch, gripping her own hands with white knuckles. The ride back to the hotel was supposed to be relaxing and full of anticipation for spending the night watching movies together, but life had other plans for them. That’s how Chaewon’s dad and two of his representatives ended up standing stiffly the next morning in front of the shaking CTO on the couch, anger written on their faces. Chaewon was standing to the side, her own face pale and fear stricken.

If her dad was here, that meant that something very wrong was going on; he was constantly busy with business things and taking the time to go across the world to talk to them meant a lot of bad stuff could happen. He was currently too bust yelling to explain what was going on in the first place, making both the girls’ nerves grow rapidly.

Every time the CTO wanted to open her mouth, he would cut her out, not finished with his ranting. To Hyeju, he looked just as he did in all his magazine covers: salt and pepper thinning hair, a strongly angled jawline, and faint wrinkles forming on his face. The only difference was that instead of a cool, sharp look like he usually dons in his photos, he was scowling, his angry face contorted into a nasty, accusatory glare at the panicking girl in front of him. It makes Hyeju wonder, even through this very intense moment, just how different people can be when they don’t have a spotlight on them.

“I let you stay in this suite I paid for, let you into my company and save your job, just for you to act so careless.” He spits out venomously, as his representatives dressed smartly behind him next to the tv type away furiously on their phones, assessing something very large that was going on right now. If only Mr. Park would start giving some answers.

Before he could keep going, Chaewon, who was standing next to the couch with trembling limbs, managed to find her footing on the conversation after the confusion that kept growing more and more with his anger, and spoke up. “W-what is this about?” She says a little too loudly, swallowing a lump on her throat when he turns to look at her. His expression softens slightly at the sight of his worried daughter, but he still keeps his unpleasantry. Sighing in frustration and anger, he turns back to Hyeju. Disappointment is written all over his face.

“Did you, or did you not open and send an email to 'The8 Corporations'?” He says bluntly, using his fingers to make quotation marks in the air at the name of the company. The two older representatives in their sharp suits stop typing, looking up slowly from their phones to stare at the situation. There is a deafening silence that fills the suite. Chaewon furrows her brows in confusion at the question. She was completely out of the loop of the situation and had no idea what her father was implying.

Hyeju, however, immediately paled, the red embarrassment of her cheeks immediately gone.

“W-well, uh, I-“ He grabs fistfuls of his hair with his hands, letting out an impatient groan. “I’m going to need you to spit it out, Ms. Son.” He yells. Hyeju lowers her head, unable to meet the eyes that were all on her.

She flashes back to how tired she was that day, how tired she has been for almost the entire trip. What was supposed to be a quick business trip resulted in an unwanted marriage with a (at first thought) spoiled brat, full of secrets and lies to her visiting best friends, and a work project that she clearly couldn’t even seem to get right. Just when everything was slowly turning around for the better, life has proven that she is unequipped to handle all of this; something just had to go wrong.

Her voice is barely audible, but against the tense silence, she manages to open her mouth. “Yes, I did.” She admits, shutting her eyes tightly. She expected more shouting, she expected people to barge in and take her away, or hopefully, to wake up back to this morning, but the suite still sat in silence. The only sound came from the representatives next to the tv, now typing even faster on their phones in deep concentration.

A phone rings, and the one excuses himself to walk towards the suite entrance, stepping out and closing the door as he answers the phone, speaking hurriedly. The muffled sound of it becomes the only thing they can hear, that is, until Mr. Park finally speaks. His face is beyond angry, and he looks on the brink of explosion.

His voice, however, comes out very calmly. “The8 Corporations was traced back to Xu Minghao, one of the biggest and smartest hackers in the world.” Hyeju’s eyes go wide. She has heard of him before; he almost put multiple multi-trillion-dollar companies out of business. ”He managed to get past our firewall system, which would have been fine with the extra spyware we have installed, but-“ He pauses, his gaze growing harder. “You sent him private company information. He slipped inside of our system and has been disabling ALL of our applications."

Hyeju knew, that in this moment, her life was over.

She could see it now: ‘Son Hyeju, Former CTO of White Dove, Jailed for Fifty Years Following Hacker Incident.” She wanted to cry, to scream, to run away. But she made a promise that she would no longer run, even if she was in such a scary situation. As well, this was a mess she caused, and she will have to suffer the consequences of them. The realization was hitting her all at once, and she felt herself shut down.

“Don’t you FUCKING dare.”

Hyeju weakly raises her head to see Chaewon with hard, teary eyes burning daggers at her own father. He looked taken aback, like he has never seen his child raise her voice in his whole life. He parts his mouth, his eyebrows furrowing in offense. “Don’t speak to your father that way.” He snaps, his eyes glancing quickly to the side, as if remembering one of his reps was still in the room. “I raised you better.” He turns back to Hyeju, crossing his arms and clenching his jaw in thought. “Now, what can we do to resolve this? I’m thinking the authorities would like to h-“

Chaewon immediately cuts him off. “NO! You are NOT going to do that.” She states firmly, anger dripping from her voice. He immediately cuts in, a finger pointed out. “Don’t get involved in something you don’t understand sweetheart.” He snaps again. She shakes her head, walking towards the couch and sitting next to a shaking Hyeju, wrapping her small arms around the girl in protection. “Let her explain herself at least, what the hell is wrong with you?!” She yells out, her grip on the other girl tightening.

He stares at her with an unreadable expression, as more silence fills the air. Hyeju shakes her head weakly. “There’s nothing to explain.” She barely whispers. “I should have been more careful, I knew better, and I still let this happen without thinking.” She bites her lip, hoping that she won’t cry. Chaewon begins to run her thumb over Hyeju’s arm in comfort.

Her father remains still, a sigh escaping his lips. He turns himself backwards. “What is the situation like?” He asks hurriedly, and the older man nods immediately. “We managed to regain control of the servers, but there’s…months and maybe a year of damage to fix…” He trails off, eyes looking apologetically at the girl on the couch. Mr. Park then turns around, shaking his head. “You are lucky, Ms. Son, that we didn’t lose everything.” He says with anger. “But that doesn’t excuse what happened. This very well cost us several million won.”

Chaewon tightens her grip on the other girl, shaking her head quickly. “N-no, you’re going to go easy on her o-okay?” Her voice was wavering. “This is so fucking unfair. Y-you have enough money to cover this without it making a d-dent in your pocket. Don’t punish her too harshly. You-“ She pauses, thinking over what she was going to say in her head. “Y-you’re the reason I’m here anyway, and this was y-your setup.”

Now, it was Hyeju’s turn to wrap her arm around Chaewon, unsure of what kind of response that was going to elicit from him. He looked furious, but he quickly darted his eyes to the side, to see if the one rep was paying attention. When he saw that he was too busy typing away to other partners and corporations to fix this mess, he sighed in pain.

“You’re very lucky my daughter is fond of you.” He says with anger, a small trace of fear in his eyes at Chaewon's reminder. “I could have had you sent to prison for a long time for this.” Hyeju feels herself shudder. A bullet was most likely dodged, thanks to Chaewon’s protesting and care. It surprised her, honestly. She wasn’t sure the other girl had it in her to stand up to her father, given what she’s seen of her and their interactions. But she was very thankful for it. It might have saved her life, honestly.

Hyeju turns to the smaller girl, staring at the hard glare she had on her own father. Sometimes, she can’t even begin to believe that everything happened the way it did and ended her in this position. The events that led them here were scattered, rapid, and intense, yet she wouldn’t have asked them to happen any other way. Life kept throwing her situations she thought would overtake her but ended up working out much better than she could ever anticipate.

Her relationship with Yerim mended, something she didn’t see happening, and she no longer found herself running away from problems that arose for her, even if they were as intense as the one she was going through now. And here, looking at the girl she thought was the most annoying, selfish brat on the whole planet ended up becoming the most important person to her; someone she wanted to spend all her time with. It was enough to bring a small smile to her face, even in the heat of such an intense moment.

Finding someone who made her feel like all of the lights in this crazy city were shining for them, felt so good. Hyeju wasn’t ever going to let that go.

The smile that was on her face, however, was just the last piece of happiness she thought was ever going to feel again. The words that came out of the man’s mouth seemed to make every brick of the castle that was building itself in this new paradise she was experiencing crumble down and turn to dust.

“I’ll agree to not press charges, but you’re coming home with me tomorrow morning.” He says sternly, watching as the eyes of both girls stare blankly ahead at him, frozen in place as their veins feel like ice. “Ms. Son, you will no longer be welcome here, and if it wasn’t clear before, you are off the project production completely, and I have Ms. Jo at your office on standby for your resignation. Chae, we will head back to Seoul tonight, and you will both to sever ties altogether. I no longer approve of this relationship; it ends NOW.”

All of the air left their lungs as their eyes locked. They reached for each other’s hands without a second thought, clinging on for dear life for what felt like the very last time.

“This is my FAVORITE part, look.”

“Hasn’t he been doing that this whole time?”


Hyunjin and Heejin were laying on the bartender’s living room floor (ignoring the perfectly comfortable bed in the bedroom as well as the comfortable couch behind them), watching cat videos on YouTube on the tv. Hyunjin suggested that her lover just HAD to see her growing collection of cat videos she had stored, gushing over them, and meowing back at the little balls of fur on the screen. Heejin wasn’t going to protest; she enjoyed cat videos very much, and she enjoyed spending time with Hyunjin even more.

Laying on their stomachs with their elbows propping them up, Heejin turned away from the spinning, goofy cat on the screen to break out into a content smile at the sight of the other girl laughing sweetly; her own orange cat laying in front of her as she uses one free hand to pet her soft fur, earning a purring hum of satisfaction. The sight of the happy girl melted Heejin to a puddle, making her sigh deeply in contentment.

Realistically, this was all still very shocking to her. Hyunjin was flirting with her since the start, and she was too focused on this vacation time to notice. Sure, Hyunjin was cute since she met her, but she didn’t expect for anything to come of it; this was a trip across the world, after all. Opting to keep to herself was what she planned on, unlike Jinsoul, who cuffed the first cute girl she managed to see. Still, even if things didn’t go the way she originally planned, she wouldn’t be here if she was opposed to it.

“What are you looking at, Heekki?” Hyunjin teases, wiggling her own eyebrows to make the other girl laugh, swatting the bartender’s arm. “Am I not allowed to look at a cute girl??” She dramatically questions, a smirk on her blushing face. That makes Hyunjin look down at her cat in front of her, blush creeping on her cheeks as she continues to give the orange cutie some loving pets.

It remains that way for a few minutes, the screen staying on the ended video as Hyunjin goes deep in thought, her fingers scratching behind the kitty’s ears her head turned to the side as she continues to purr. She didn’t think she would ever end up like this, with Heejin laying next to her in her own home, calling her cute. It took a lot, it felt like, for things to get to this point. She was shocked that her advances on the other girl were so well received.

Humming at her own thoughts, she turns her head and catches the blonde staring at her, smirking slightly. Then, she voices what has been on her mind the past few minutes. “You know, I’m really surprised you’re here with me like this.” She admits, making Heejin squint her eyes in confusion. Hyunjin nodded slightly, letting out a short laugh. “I didn’t get any indication from you that when I made my move, you would be so accepting of it.”

Heejin lets out an “ah”, lowering her gaze to the floor and blushing at the observation. She bites her lip, aware that it took her so long to catch on. Hyunjin moves her hand under her chin to tilt the girl’s face to meet her own. Her eyes were soft as she approaches her next question. “So, what made you kiss me back? And, uh, how did we get here?” She chuckles nervously.

She felt like asking the question alone was going to ruin everything, at least that is what her nerves were telling her, but she really needed to know how why all her advances in the past were seemingly rejected, and why it took making a bold move to get her to show signs back. It wasn’t any kind of accusation or judgement, but Hyunjin was just pretty confused.

Heejin understood this too, as she searched the inquisitiveness in her lover’s eyes. Letting out a defeated sigh, she racked her own brain. “You have always been cute, I’ll admit that.” She shyly says as Hyunjin’s face enflames. “But- I guess, I didn’t take the chance or care to take the chance to talk to you because realistically, we both- well,” She pauses, unsure of how to word her next sentence. “The truth is, I’ll have to go back to South Korea at some point, and you’ll be here at home with you sweet little kitty across the whole world.”

Hyunjin’s jaw tightens, and she nods in understanding. Still, her words couldn’t help but sting; she knew the girl was from another country, but she wasn’t considering that. The harshness of its reality hits her like a brick as she lowers her gaze in disappointment, her hand on the cat in front of her pauses. ”Oh. Yeah, that’s true.”

Heejin swallows nervously at the sight, feeling a knife twist in her chest at the sight of the girl getting upset. Turning herself on her side, she reaches out her hand to run through the bartender’s soft, black hair in comfort. Her own eyes sparkled with sadness. “I’m sorry that I completely pushed the thought out of my head over that, I really wanted to talk to you ever since you made all of those drinks so smoothly.” She smirks slightly. “That was pretty hot, you know.”

Hyunjin feels her sad feeling lessen slightly, a small tug of her mouth showing. “I’m pretty good at my job, what can I say?” She says smugly. The smile slowly falls again, and she turns her gaze to the blonde next to her, taking the hand that was in her own hair to lace their hands together. Heejin started to rub small lines over Hyunjin’s larger hands with her thumb softly.

“You’re also pretty good at being so cute, and so good, you know that?” She says passionately as Hyunjin feels her smile coming back slightly as a warm feeling fills up her chest. “What changed your mind?” She pauses, her eyebrows raising slightly. “DID anything change your mind?” She asks with curiosity. She bites her lip in fear at the answer she might be receiving.

Heejin sighs, looking at the girl laying on the floor across from her with a passionate gaze. There was no doubt that she was adorable, and there was no way she would be able to resist her for much longer if they ended up spending so much time together. There were a few different factors involved in this eventual get together that she replays in her head, and it causes her to chuckle.

“I’ll admit, I was not a hundred percent sure if your advances were platonic or not.” She says weakly, making Hyunjin groan as she lowers her forehead to the floor in front of her next to her relaxing cat. “Either my flirting was really bad, or you are the worst at picking up hints.” She says in her dramatic state, making Heejin giggle.

“And” She says, “Your friend Ryujin flirting with me that night, she’s cute and all-“ Hyunjin immediately looks up, her gaze suspicious as Heejin laughs more. “Let me finish! Really, I wasn’t attracted to her, and when you showed up looking so upset, I wasn’t sure who that was directed at; I just didn’t want you to get the impression that I was interested in your friend’s advances.”

Hyunjin cocked her eyebrow. “Go on.” She says with a smirk, making Heejin rolls her eyes playfully and laugh. “So full of yourself, Kim Hyunjin.” She continues. “I think, the moment you started pulling me away to side of the house, my mind started racing with what that could mean…what I wanted it to mean.” She admits. “I- I wasn’t getting my hopes up too much since I wasn’t sure what you thought of me really and like I said, I’m only here temporarily…”

The reminder of the original question is brought up again at her last words, making Hyunjin nods in understanding. Heejin scoots herself closer on the floor, wrapping her arms around the other’s torso, inhaling the sweet scent from her t-shirt. “Truth is, I couldn’t ever resist you, Kim Hyunjin. And even now, despite all the previous reasons why I didn’t help make this happen sooner, I want to see where this takes us, even…even after I leave.”

Hyunjin lets out a breath she didn’t know she was holding in, using her free hand to wrap around the girl hugging her side. She feels her worries melting as the warmth of the other girl around her makes her feel whole. “I want to see what happens too, even if it has only been a few days.” She chuckles lightly. “We’re as bad as Jinsoul and Jungeun, aren’t we?”

Heejin scoffs, pulling herself away slightly to lift her head up to stare at the girl above her. “Absolutely not, we are not THAT cheesy and gross.” She says dramatically, making Hyunjin laugh.

They sit like that in silence for a while, both feeling happy that they finally addressed what has been going on. But, still, Heejin was feeling sentimental, and like she wanted to say more. She wanted to make it clear to Hyunjin that she liked the girl so much that she was willing to keep up whatever they have going on, even after she eventually leaves.

“Hey.” She says, causing Hyunjin to stare down at her lovingly. This makes Heejin break out in a toothless grin. “I like you a lot, and- it’s important to me that you know that.” She says with sincerity, making Hyunjin nod as a blush continues to form on her cheeks.

“I know we are in the middle of a moment together right now, but I think when you really want something, you’re going to do all you can for it.” She says, as a rant forms in her head, her eyebrows furrowed deep in concentration on what she wants to say. “Whether it’s an ocean, other people, or anything else in life trying to hold you back…you just go for it, you know?” She says as she focuses back on the smiling girl looking down at her.

“Yes, I know.” Hyunjin says happily, her hand cupping the blonde’s cheeks in admiration. “I’ll send you all the cat videos when we are apart, and, whenever you eat bread, I hope you think of me, and-“ She pauses, looking away. “We are ALMOST as bad as Jinsoul and Jungeun, aren’t we?”

Heejin laughs loudly, falling on her back as the happiness of the moment fills her up. There’s nowhere else she would want to be right now than with Hyunjin. Just when she least expected it, the girl came into her life like a bullet train, and she wanted to stay on it for as long as she could.

When you want something, and all the factors surround it scare you, go for it anyway. That’s what she was getting out of this newly forming relationship with the cute bartender next to her, who so quickly seemed to reach out and take her heart without any further hesitation.

She got something, someone, and she was going to make sure she kept it.

Chapter Text

Chaewon thought her father was bluffing.

She thought he was bluffing when he made her pack up all of her things.

She thought he was bluffing when they got on the earliest flight home, the tiredness still visible in her slow blinking eyes.

She still thought he was bluffing when they stepped out into the familiar Seoul airport, and she looked at a familiar hallway, smiling to herself slightly when she remembered the last time she was here, and the experience she had with the annoying girl who wouldn’t move her stuff.

When she eventually reached the familiar home she left all that time ago, feeling more like a year than just a bit over a month and a half, she realized that maybe he wasn’t bluffing after all, as the sadness started to take over when the bedroom door clicked shut, echoing across the large, cozy room full of her Oh My Girl posters and various plushies. As she stares at their smiling, plush faces, she only returns them a frown.

Hyeju is no longer in her life.

As the tears welled in her eyes, she walked swiftly forward and grabbed her large Kirby plushie, squeezing it against herself as she tries not to let the realization hit her too hard. She can’t help but bring the Kirby to herself with one arm and use the other to search her phone, only to curse as she sees that the younger girl’s contact had been deleted, no doubt by her father when she fell asleep on the plane.

She slinks down slowly to sit on the carpeted floor, her large, plush bed and chair that are in the room forgotten. She buries her face in Kirby’s soft body, sighing when she realizes it smells so much like herself, like home. Her heart, however, aches with a sadness at the lack of Hyeju’s own scent mixed in, just as it was in the suite they had learn to share. The past month had made it start to feel so familiar to her, that in her own room, with her face pressed into her own stuffed animal, she felt less like she was home than ever before.

She chuckles lightly to herself, shaking her head in sadness at the thought. This is what was ultimately wanted, wasn’t it?

At the very beginning, when the two girls had nothing better to do than shout at each other and be disgusted by each other’s presence, this was the best outcome for them both. The idea of the spontaneous and absent-mindedness of the whole marriage still made Chaewon bite her lip and turn red, but it turned into something, unexpected, in the best way possible. She had grown strong, real feelings for the other girl.

Maybe it was the fact that they were stuck in this mess together, opting to keep everything a secret that only they shared. Maybe, it was the forced time spent together. Or perhaps, it could have been some sort of twisted joke, played on them by fate, leading them on only to laugh in their faces as they crashed and burned.

But Chaewon knew better. The time that she spent with Hyeju, and getting to know her better, made real, genuine feelings stir up in her like a whirlpool. Her stomach twists as she realizes, she could have seen herself falling for the other girl in due time.

Thankfully, her thoughts were shaken by the ring of her phone. Snapping out of her thoughts, she immediately grabbed it from her comfy, sweatpants pocket, only to deflate slightly when she realized that of course, it wasn’t Hyeju, and how could it be? She either didn’t have her number anymore, or wouldn’t dare make contact, knowing what kind of things the smaller girl’s father was capable of.

Seeing the comforting sight of Jinsoul and herself at the beach as the sun rose over the horizon made her sigh. Maybe she wanted nothing but to talk to Hyeju right now but being able to talk to her best friend felt good, since she didn’t get to do a lot of that the past month. She clicks the button, looking at the suitcases on her bed that desperately need to be unloaded from the long journey, feeling worn out and gloomy at the sight as she greets her best friend. “Hi Unnie.” Her tone is tired and defeated, and she makes no effort to hide it.

Jinsoul stays silent on the other line for a moment. “Hey Chae, how are you doing?” Her tone is very delicate, concern and care dripping from her words. Chaewon feels a single tear fall down her face, sniffling as she wipes it away. She stares at her own bedroom around her, running her free hand through the plush carpet she is sitting on. “I’m okay, I guess.”

Her best friend scoffs. “Do not lie to me, Park Chaewon, I don’t think you’re exactly in a position to be doing that, again.” The rich girl sniffles again, weakly smiling, but staying silent. Jinsoul then sighs in defeat. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to come off in any bad way, I’m just really worried about you.” She states. “Do you want her number? I can give you her number again.”

Chaewon weakly shakes her head, as if her best friend could even see her right now. “No, I- I don’t want to get her in trouble. It’d just all fall on her…I barely got her out of being arrested, for fuck’s sake.” She says with anger, taking the first thing that was near her, being Kirby, and throwing him across the room to hit against the door with a no so powerful, soft thud. She sighs as he rolls over in front of the door. “Sorry, Kirby.” “What?”

“Nothing.” She says, getting up to retrieve the plushie and giving him an extra big squeeze as an apology. “I just- I miss her so much.” She admits, closing her eyes at the audible acknowledgement of her feelings. Jinsoul hums on the other line. “I’m sorry, Chae.” She says with sincerity. “You knew this was going to happen since the beginning though, didn’t you?”

Chaewon really wished that her best friend didn’t ask her that question, because yes, at the end of the day, her father was always going to tear them apart, even when she convinced herself to go for what she wanted anyway. As her feelings grew, so did the dread that came with the eventual ending that was going to tear them apart. She remained silent as she pondered over these thoughts.

Until she managed to ask a question. “Would it have been better if I stayed away?” She whispers over the line, hating that she even needed to ask. Jinsoul pauses, letting out a breath. “What are you thinking right now?” She asks with curiosity.

“Was this worth it? I knew, and I still let this happen, and now I’m just upset and angry wh-“ Jinsoul cuts her off. “If you could go back, to the very first night, would you do it again? Be honest.”

Chaewon blinks a few times, rubbing the sleeve of her oversized white sweatshirt between her thumbs. The very first night, as she admitted to Hyeju, wasn’t as much of a blur as she realized; a lot of it was intentionally blocked out at the terrible thought of being married to the other girl the very next morning. But, as her mind wanders back to the colorful city with its people and its lights, the one thing that all those other things revolved around was the cute girl at the bar who wanted to buy her a drink.

“Yeah, yeah it was.” She admits, as the pain continues to sit in her stomach, her head, her heart. “I would take a just second of her time. That one second would feel nicer than almost anything ever has.”

She smiles to herself; despite the sadness she feels. “Oh, that’s very gay.” She hears muffled from the other line. “Jindori, this is so sad and so gay.”

Chaewon’s face turns into a frown. “Are you still with Jungeun?” She asks, hearing a giggle from the other side of the line. If she found them gross before, she finds them repulsive now. Being without Hyeju just makes that feeling intensify, and she’ll admit it, she is envious of her best friend for not having to deal with a shitty dad who can tell her what and what not to do, affecting her relationships.

“Yeah, but I’ll be going back home in a few days. I- Jungie, stop tickling me!” She hears giggling from the two girls from the other end, and she shakes her head, immediately hanging up the phone with an annoyed huff.

The best friend won’t take it personally, but hopefully she understands that Chaewon was not in the mood to deal with them, more so than usual. Still, Jinsoul’s call was useful, to an extent. It was nice that she called to check up on her in this melancholy state.

Feeling too lazy and upset to make her way over to her bed, she lays down on the carpet, sighing deeply as her jet lagged body grows heavy with sleep. Her mind races with thoughts of Hyeju: her smile, her cool demeanor, but soft inside, and the glow of her face; the way it used to be so easy to reach out and touch. She curses herself harshly for being so stubborn to wait this long to get those feelings sorted out, missing so many chances to have more time.

Now, all she has is her bedroom floor, Kirby, and a hole in her heart that she isn’t sure she can do anything about. She can feel herself giving over to the tiredness that wracks her body from the intensity of the past few hours and the plane ride. It’s all she has left right now as her dreams are filled with a hand in another, walking the streets of Las Vegas and laughing like there was no worry in the world, the lights dancing in each other's sparkling eyes.

“Should you be drinking that?”

“Should I hang up on you?”

“You haven’t yet, and I know you won’t any time soon.”

With a defeated sigh, Hyeju puts down her almost empty glass, leaning back on her familiar and comfortable plush couch. She looks around at her eerily tidy apartment, unsure of how the last 24 or so hours landed her back here. It didn’t feel right, to be here in her own place, she thought to herself.

Since the moment she was escorted (yes, escorted) to her front door, the first thing she did was run to the cupboard and pour herself a glass of whiskey. Not only was she a mess physically, with her disheveled and tired presentation clear from the worry, sadness, and lack of sleep, but she was feeling like a mess on the inside as well.

“Hey, Hyeju, are you there? Talk to me, please.”

She snapped out of her thoughts to look at the iPad propped up on her coffee table, Hyunjin’s concerned face looking back at her with a frown. The bartender called her almost a few minutes after she got back, making it her responsibility to check on the anxious girl after learning of the recent news.

Hyeju may have escaped prison, but she didn’t escape public humiliation.

Her face and name were plastered all over various media outlets, so much that there was no way even people avoiding the news could be out of the loop for too long. “White Dove CTO fired and disgraced after Park Enterprises hack scare”. It was all the corporate world, as well as the rest of it, could talk about right now; she did not dare go to any social media and risk seeing what the world thought of her right now. Not that their opinion mattered, anyway. There was only one person whose opinion really mattered, but she wasn’t allowed to ask her for it.

“Yeah, I’m here.” She sighs, picking up her glass and moving it around in her hand slowly, observing the way the light moved across of its smooth, clear surface. “You’re here, but you’re not.” Hyunjin states, crossing her arms and sighing in pity at the sight of the sad girl staring blankly at her drinking glass, as if she felt indifference towards it.

“You know, no one thinks differently of you.” She says with a small smile. “We don’t know the Hyeju in the harsh spotlight, we know the real Hyeju, who sulks at nightclubs, and has a soft spot for the girl she 'supposedly' can’t stand.” She says encouragingly with a chuckle, only to let her smile disappear. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to bring up Ch-“ With a wave of her hand, Hyeju cuts her off. “No, no it’s okay.” She says weakly, too defeated to get upset at the mention of the other girl. “Thank you for the words, really.”

Despite what she told the other girl on the call, she did find her thoughts going back to Chaewon. The look in the other girl’s eyes was one of the saddest she has ever seen, and it hurt beyond what she thought possible, knowing a stupid mistake she made was the cause of that. Not only did she herself get deprived of her chance with the smaller girl, but she greatly disappointed Chaewon too. It was written in her eyes when they got their last look at each other before she was asked to pack her things and be put in a cab to the airport.

“Have you…have you heard anything?” Hyeju suddenly asks, getting off the couch to kneel on the floor and bring her face closer to the screen in anticipation. It’s barely been 24 hours yet, but she needed to know if the other girl was okay. It was her biggest worry out of everything, because quite frankly, a big fuck you to Mr. Park and his stupid trillion-dollar company. Whatever happens, whatever could have happened, only Chaewon’s feelings mattered to her.

The older girl sighed. “Not really, even Heejin hasn’t had too much communication with her recently. Apparently Jinsoul unnie was planning on calling her soon, so I can give you an update after that happens.” She says carefully. Hyeju sighs in discontent, leaning back so that she is against the couch cushions, sitting on the hardwood floor.

“It’s funny.” She suddenly says, making Hyunjin tilt her head in confusion. “In the beginning, this would have made me so relieved. I WANTED this to happen.” She shakes her head, taking another sip of her drink as it burns down her throat. “I manifested this, for life to play its final, sick trick on me, didn’t I?”

At the start of her time in that crazy city, she ran into her ex-girlfriend, humiliated herself in front of a bunch of important corporations, and woke up married to a bitchy stranger, staying in a hotel suite with her. But things were starting to look up slowly, one by one. She put her past behind her with Yerim, managed to get on a good deal with a new job opportunity, and ended up seeing past the other girl’s mask to the rest of the world, slowly falling for the real girl behind it.

And now? She had none of it.

Yerim probably saw the news, and thinks negatively of her, especially since it most likely affected her own job. Her job? Out the window. She got an email of some resignation papers to sign from Haseul when she landed, which helped prompt the run to the liquor when she stepped in the door, everything starting to hit her and feel real. As well, what ultimately upset her the most, is that the moment she wanted to stay, wanted to figure it out with the other girl together, she was ripped away, all because of a mistake made when she was tired.

“Don’t blame everything on yourself.” Hyunjin says, furrowing her brows. Her phone moves in her hand as her image moves around on the screen. “It’s not too late, you know.” She says with sincerity. Hyeju shakes her head. “I am jobless, disgraced, and powerless compared to the likes of Mr. Park. No matter how much we both may want this, he’ll always be in the way. Something is always in the way of our feelings.” She says with an angry, shaky breath, clenching her first in her lap so hard that her knuckles turn white. The last thing she wanted to do right now was cry in front of Hyunjin and earn even more pity than she was receiving.

Humming, Hyunjin stares at the other girl, clearly aware of her terrible attempt at hiding her growing sadness. She turns over from her place on her bed, watching a sleeping mess of blonde hair in the space next to her. It was the middle of the night since she and Hyeju were many hours apart. She was trying to not be too loud, in fear of waking the other girl next to her up. She can’t help but let her eyes linger a little longer on the peacefulness of Heejin’s sleeping state, watching as her frame rises and falls with her breathing from under the thin yellow sheet.

With a soft smile, she turns back to the camera to see Hyeju still her same position. “I think when you really want something, you’re going to do all you can for it”. She says slowly. “If an ocean is apart from you or people aren’t for you, or something-uh” She stutters, trying to gather her thoughts. “What I’m trying to say is, I think, you can't give up on her, on what you both have been pining after.” She hardens her gaze on the frowning girl on her phone screen. “You’re going to go get her, okay?”

The corner of Hyeju’s mouth turned up. “I appreciate your enthusiasm, and your call. I’m going to go sleep and maybe cry, not sure in which order.” She says stoically. “Now, go to bed, Unnie. It’s late there.” She says indifferently, although Hyunjin can’t help but smile slightly at the concern. “Bye, Hye.”

As the facetime call ended with its usual noise, Hyunjin goes to slowly put her phone down on the night table next to her bed, the lack of a screen engulfing the cozy room in darkness. Turning her head, she blinks a few times to adjust to it, and almost jumps. Heejin is wide awake, a warm smile plastered on her face. “Passing on my words, I see.” She laughs softly as Hyunjin lays herself down fully, their bodies facing each other and faces inches apart. She leans over and gives the dark-haired girl a kiss on the cheek. “That was kind of you to do, stay on the phone with her.” She whispers, too late into the night for anything louder as Hyunjin lets out a yawn. “I’m worried about her, just as I’m sure you’re worried about Chae.” Heejin’s outline nods through the darkness, her hand coming up to run through Hyunjin’s hair.

“They were so stubborn to get together, well at least, in the legitimate sense-“ Heejin remarks lightly, not even phased that it was kept as a secret from her and Jinsoul anymore. “It won’t be long before one of them gets fed up and barges the other’s door down.”

Hyunjin shakes her head in the dark at the blonde. “I don’t know Heekki, she’s dealing with more than just Chaewon. She lost her job, and her face is all over the news…” She trails off. Heejin moved her hand to cup the other girl’s face gently. “Whatever happens, is meant to. We’ll have to trust that for them. Now, come on, let’s get some sleep.” She smiled into the dark at her lover. “Let’s try to enjoy the few days we have left for now before I go home, okay?”

Heejin turns herself to face the window as the bartender’s arms slowly snake around her from behind, their eyes closing comfortably as they slip farther into their dreamlands. Still, they worry what fate is in store for their friends, both halfway across the world, but feeling farther apart from each other than their friends feel from them now.

And Hyeju, laying down in her tired and sad state on the living room floor without feeling the energy to get up and sleep in an actual bed for once, closes her eyes as the jet lag hits her. Hyunjin’s words float in her head, as she drifts off into a world of dreams where she feels the warmth of the girl she is missing once again.

It’s often forgotten that when the lights go out, the warmth leaves with it too.

Chapter Text

The air was starting to turn very cold; that’s why Hyeju made sure to bring a bigger jacket this morning. It was biting at her nose, her breath coming out visibly in the form of a fleeting cloud. She buried her frozen hands farther into the fuzzy lining of her black jacket, walking as fast as she could through the Seoul streets on her way to the nearest convenience store. Of course, it would be her luck that a lightbulb would go out in the middle of trying to dye her own hair (which didn’t go exactly as planned, the end result turning blacker than the darker brown she was looking for). The nearest shop two blocks down from her apartment, thankfully, had them. If she had to travel any farther, she would just accept that she would be living with a dark bathroom until spring.

“Hate the damn cold.” She mumbles to herself, wrapping the large jacket around herself tighter as her feet move briskly down the empty sidewalk, the stores lined up to her right. The weather forecasted that it would probably snow soon, so she wanted to get this fast before she was trapped. Maybe picking up some more groceries whilst there wouldn’t hurt too much either.

It’s been a few months since she returned home, and her contact with the girl she still dreamt about at night was cut off. She still heard updates through Hyunjin sometimes, but she stopped reaching out and answering as often, since their conversations made her sad, even on days she was in a particularly good mood.

As the bell on the door made its small jingle, Hyeju stepping into the slightly warmer, small store, she lets out an audible curse, making the cashier shoot her a glare. Of course, she was doing better today, but right as she walked in, her eyes were met with the magazine rack. Donning it were many copies of “Media Today”, each donning a large, expensive photo of The Park Family on its front cover. Her eyes grew angry as it locked on Mr. Park, looking like an asshole in his grey suit. Then she hummed slightly at the sight of Mrs. Park, looking stiff as a board, but very pretty.

And, of course, the one who inherited a lot of that beauty, made her stomach twist violently as her lips parted at the sight of Park Chaewon.

Ignoring the glaring from the grumpy man behind the register, she quickly walks forward and hastily grabs at the magazine, bringing it close to her face as she examines as much of the girl’s beautiful face as she could. “You have to pay for that.” The man says passive aggressively. Hyeju ignores him, and clearly, he makes no moves to try and stop her as she continues to lightly touch her fingers on the girl’s glossy face. She then flips open the magazine, looking through various articles:

“White Dove Skyrocketing in Stock”

“Cherry Seed Inc.: How the CEO Made Her Way to The Top”

“The 101 Best Ways to Not Get Fir-

She flips through the magazine hastily, only catching glimpses of its contents, before her heart flips in her chest, turning a page back to see the family again, professionalism dripping from the photo like it was almost not real. “Insider’s Scoop: The Success Story of Park Minjun.” Hyeju wanted to punch his stupid stoic-ness in the face, but she was already being eyed suspiciously by the cashier. She manages to use one hand to cover his stupid face while she reads through its contents.

Of course, she just ends up skimming it, as it was all about the said bastard listed in the title. She had no care for him or his company, because clearly, it was built on a very crooked foundation, especially if it tried to use her as a pawn for its benefit. Still, she quickly turns her eyes back at the very end of the article, which was a few pages past its start. There was a final paragraph that had the girl’s name in it:

‘Park currently resides in the Gangnam District with his family: wife Park Jiah and daughter Park Chaewon. His only daughter is expected to take on the family business one day and carry on the legacy of the empire that has been built in the technological world. “I will make my family proud.” The Park girl told Media Today. “The legacy my father built will be strengthened in me, and I will dedicate my life to it.” She has told us cheerfully. It’s safe to say that we can expect to see more of the P-‘

Hyeju immediately shut the magazine in anger, hastily putting it back in its slot. Her hands then turned into fists at her side, as she let out an annoyed breath and stomped over to the aisle that had the few household items in it, her boots making dramatic noise against the linoleum floor.

She shouldn’t have read that, because it only made her emotions plummet into deep anger and sadness. That wasn’t Chaewon. That looked like the pretty, small girl she had been lucky to know before, but those words were not her, and she knew that for a fact. That was, to her, almost a sign of defeat; giving into her father’s wishes, being robotic for the limelight that was burning on her harder now than ever. It deeply upset the now dark-haired girl, as she found herself tearing up in anger in the middle of the lightbulb section of this small, empty convenience store.

“Stop.” She told whispered to herself, wiping her eyes harshly with the sleeve of her puffy jacket, reaching forward to grab a box of lightbulbs, unsure of what kind she was supposed to get. That was the last thing on her mind, as she walks away without another care about the reasoning behind why she was here in the first place. Before she could reach the counter and pay for them, she finds herself stopped in the middle of the store, near the entrance, staring at the magazine rack with a mix of emotions on her face.

She was so lost in her thoughts, that she barely heard the puzzled whisper of her own name from behind her, and the light hand on her shoulder. “Hyeju…” She tenses, surprised by the sudden gesture and the snap out of her own burrowing thoughts. Turning her head around cautiously, her eyebrows shoot up in surprise, her mouth parting slightly.

Jinsoul, clad in a blue coat over a white sweater, gives the girl warm smile. It seems almost pitying, but she didn’t want to let that bother her so much. She returns a small smile, pretending like she wasn’t just slipping into a rut of sadness over the dark-haired girl’s best friend. “Jinsoul Unnie, it’s good to see you.” She says, hoping to mask her feelings. The older girl looked the same, as if not a day passed by since she last saw her, except with a more frozen temperature friendly wardrobe. She had a lot of snacks tucked into her arm.

“Are you…having a party?” She says, referring to the chips at her side, and unsure of what else to say. If Hyeju is being honest, she was feeling kind of alarmed right now seeing Jinsoul again, being reminded of her time back in Vegas, and how she’s still trying to shake it. She eyes the glass door of the store quickly, thinking about how she can outrun this…

The other girl smiles a bit more. “Not really a party, but Jungie is here for a few weeks, so I wanted to get us some stuff to munch on when we watched some movies.” She says excitedly. “And then I ran into you.” Her excitement then fades a little, replaced with concern. “How are you doing? You never answer anybody back these days.” She says carefully, making Hyeju’s eyes dart towards the exit once again.

“I’m, uh, I’m doing…okay.” She lets out. It wasn’t a total lie, there were days she found herself getting through without her chest aching at the thought of the other girl so much, but it still royally sucked. “I’ve been, um, job hunting a lot, so, sorry for not getting back.” She says, which wasn’t a total lie either. She rubs at the back of her neck with her free hand, taking the smallest step back.

Ever since Jinsoul was kept in the dark about her friend’s past marriage (which, at this point, was officially and legally terminated a month ago), she had opted to being more observant of everyone around her. Sure, it made her realize that her (now officially labeled) girlfriend was kind of crazy in her own way, but she still found herself accepting that part of her greatly. And now, it was making her observe the clearly upset and anxious girl in front of her make her slow but stealthy retreat towards the door. THAT she wouldn’t be so accepting of.

Jinsoul’s mouth forms a thin line, her brows furrowing. “Son Hyeju, don’t you dare think about going anywhere.” She said sternly. “I’ve heard enough ramblings about every detail of your known life from Chae to know that you should not make this weird, or harder for yourself right now.” Her voice comes out stern and determined, making Hyeju flinch slightly at the trueness behind them.

Embarrassed, she lets out a defeated breath, nodding. She remembers her promise to no longer run away when things got hard, or when she didn’t want to deal with anything anymore. She’ll have to keep her word, even if it means a lot of upset when they depart, crying into a bowl of ice cream while watching a drama later. Nodding, she swallows a lump in her throat as Jinsoul’s gaze softens. “I’m not going to hurt you; I just think you should talk to somebody.”

With that, Hyeju and Jinsoul make their way to the register to pay for their things, the man behind the counter glaring at them between each beep of an item being scanned. When they finally got their items paid for and in bags, they both walked out together as the door jingled again, the cold hitting their faces like a slap.

“Are you close to here?” Jinsoul asks curiously, her face scrunched down to be tucked into the collar of her coat as much as possible. “I’m a bit of a walk, and I’m sure you don’t want to make that as much as I don’t.” Hyeju hums painfully, her teeth clenched as the wind starts to blow a little harder. “Yeah, I’m just down this upcoming street. I’ll lead the way.”

The two raven-haired girls made their way to the apartment, taking their coats off with a relieved breath as the heat in the apartment greets them kindly. “I’ll make some tea.” Hyeju offers, her eyes scanning her cluttered apartment as her cheeks turn crimson. “Uh, s-sorry about the mess. Make yourself at home, if you can…” She trails off, taking the girl’s coat and walking towards the kitchen. Jinsoul looks around with a pang of sadness: it wasn’t dirty or gross, but you could kind of tell the former CTO has been sulking in here a lot.

There were a few blankets on the couch, and a few unopened bags of chips, as if ready for another night of mindless tv watching and distraction. Still, she moves the blanket over to the arm of the couch, sitting down carefully as she observes more of the place. It was definitely very Hyeju; minimalist style décor, not too many bright colors, and yet, it was very comfortable. She could tell that the girl’s former job position paid her well enough to do well for herself, and obviously, well enough to keep her here months later, still “job hunting”.

After a couple of minutes, Hyeju emerges from the kitchen entryway with a tray of teacups and a pot, setting them down on the coffee table carefully. Sighing, she sits down on the chair that was adjacent to the couch, tucking her knees up and sitting in a ball. This only made Jinsoul’s gaze soften on the girl, unsure of what to say now.

Jungeun was probably passed out from the jet lag right now, so she had time to spare as the pair sat in silence, unsure of what to say to each other. Jinsoul has been wanting to talk some sense into her for awhile now, but now that she was here, she was at a loss for words, especially at how shaken up the younger girl still clearly is about it. She thinks to her own best friend right now and manages to find what she wants to say.

“This isn’t okay.” She starts, Hyeju’s hand freezing as it extends out with a freshly poured cup of tea. Jinsoul meets her halfway, taking it from her hands as the younger girl slowly recoils in her chair, unsure of where this conversation was going to go. “Chae, she doesn’t stop talking about you. I’ve never seen her this distraught before, and her dad has pulled some equally shitty crap before.” She states, then blowing air over her tea. It ripples at the action as Hyeju turns her hardening gaze to the hardwood floor.

“Please don’t.” She whispers, unable to look the older girl in the eye. Jinsoul shakes her head. “There has to be something that can make this work…” She trails off as Hyeju slowly turns her sad eyes to her. “Did you see the article?”

Jinsoul’s face softens. “Hyeju, don’t listen to what people were saying about you, you know that is old news and no is talking about y-“ She was cut by Hyeju vigorous shaking head. “No, the one put out recently. In ‘Media Today.’”

Opening her mouth, just to quickly close it again, her mouth forms a thin line. “Oh. Yeah, I- She’s supposed to say stuff like that.” She counters, trying to soften her face into a smile. “She hasn’t given up, you are always on her mind, you know.”

Hyeju turns her face into a frown, hastily turning herself towards the tea tray, pouring herself her own steaming cup. Bringing the cup to her lips, she flinches and coughs as the hot contents touch her now burning tongue. Jinsoul purses her lips at the action. “Don’t avoid the conversation. I’m not leaving until something is done about this.”

Hyeju angrily sets the cup down on the dark coffee table, flinching more as tea splashes out and hits her hand, stinging it instantly. In reaction, she brings it to her chest, clutching it as she flashes an angry look at the girl in front of her. “Don’t you fucking get it?!” She spits out. Her expression then turns crestfallen. “Chaewon was never meant to be anything more than what happened, that’s what life had cruelly planned for us.” She deflated, bringing her palms up to her eyes. She didn’t want to cry right now. “I think you should just give up and go home, Jinsoul. I’m sorry.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

Hyeju takes her hands away from her eyes and shoots the girl a slightly offended look. “Wh-“ Jinsoul’s sigh of impatience cuts her off. “Everything happens for a reason. What happened was not an accident. Is that not what you told her?”

Hyeju pauses, confused as to what she was referring to, but then parting her mouth in understanding. The second time the two of them found themselves on the rooftop overlooking the American city, a sight that Hyeju wanted to carry around with her forever, they pondered the predictability of time. Her gaze goes to her lap, nervously playing with her own fingers.

The older girl continued. “That moment meant a lot to her, you know. And I think despite her public display of succumbing to her father’s wants for her life, she still holds on to the things you two shared together. ‘You and I will look back and laugh about this’, is that not along the lines of what you told her?

Nodding ever so weakly, Jinsoul continued her passionate lecture. “That’s something you two will do together, laugh about it. She wasn’t just some accident in your life, how could you say that?” Her voice is stern. She gets up and kneels in front of the girl in the chair, putting her hands on her shoulders and forcing her to look at her hard face.

“It’s been a longer time of you two apart than you have of knowing each other, and you are still on each other’s minds. You two clearly were on the verge of developing something really special, and I can’t sit by and watch that get thrown away. I- She pauses, her face turning pink.

“I know I didn’t like you too well in the beginning, but can you blame me? You were both very secretive…” She says as Hyeju finds herself turning red as well. “But I’ve seen the way my best friend started to light up around you…and even now, despite everything, she’s beaming over you. I want her to be happy, and, getting to know you over time under that rough, ROUGH exterior…I want that for you too.”

The younger girl sighs harshly, squeezing her eyes shut at the kind words, as Jinsoul wraps her arms around the sitting girl in a hug. Hyeju used to be a little intimidated, and yeah, a bit scared of the girl, but she has to admit, her consolation skills were really working. She laid her head on her shoulder, keeping her eyes closed. “I don’t know what to do to make this right…I feel helpless.” She mumbles into her sweater.

Jinsoul slowly pulls away, humming and biting her lip in thought. There was a silence that filled the apartment as the two took turns blinking at each other, unsure what there was to even do. It was making Hyeju slowly deflate again. She was right; there was no hope for this. She would have to move on, and hope that someday, Chaewon’s cute face didn’t catch her off guard whenever she set foot in another store again, donning magazines in her comfortable place as Park Enterprises’ CEO. And where would that leave her? She still needed to find a job, one that would still take her. This just couldn’t work.

Shrugging her shoulders calmly, Jinsoul finally breaks the silence. “Hmm. Who says you even need a plan?” She stands up, making her way to the kitchen to retrieve her belongings as Hyeju watches her in confusion. “Come on, we're going to go get your girl.”

Chaewon hates business meetings. She especially hates AFTER business meetings.

Everyone is so exhausting. They all ask for her input, expecting some life-changing words to spill from her mouth that will skyrocket the company’s sales and opportunities. When she gets nervous, with all those eyes on her, she can only pass her turn. The judgmental looks on the different executives’ faces only make her confidence go farther down, as well as her mood. When she gets home, she immediately discards her expensive clothes on the floor as she crawls into bed, throwing the covers over her face and groaning. She needs 2-4 business days to recover from them, but she knows tomorrow, she will be stuck in another meeting, learning more about the innerworkings of the company, and how she will eventually fit into it.

She groans again this time when she hears a soft knock on her door. “Chae honey, I have something for you. Can I come in?”

Her mother’s soft and tired voice comes muffled from across the large room and from behind the door. She feels her face go from an annoyed scowl to a softened, small smile. “It’s open!” She calls out, still burrowed in her castle of blankets. She can hear the door opening slowly as her mother peeks her head in, shaking her head at the sight of her daughter’s outline beneath the covers. “Come out and talk to me about it, sweetie. I have fruit.”

There is nothing quite like your parent coming to your room to bring you a bowl of fruit. Chaewon pulls the covers out from herself, flashing a small smile as her mom comes to sit at the edge of her bed. She holds the bowl out as Chaewon reaches forward and takes a piece of pineapple, biting into it with a hum of satisfaction. “You knew just what I needed.” She says with contentment.

Still, the small smile on her face fades slightly. Her mom puts the bowl on the night table next to Chaewon’s large bed, sighing. “What did they make you do today?” She says as she pops a red grape into her mouth.

The small girl frowns. “I’m so over this. If I don’t say what they want to hear, they look at me like…like I’m just a child.” She says with a huff. “And I don’t even want to do this, I never fucking did.” She says with anger. Her mother narrows her eyes at her daughter at the curse, but lets it slide. She’s an adult, after all. “I’m sorry Chae.” She says with a somber look in her eyes.

Park Jiah was the spitting image of her beautiful daughter. Her and Minjun had met in college when they both had the same goals and ideas about the world together. That bond turned into something more as they married and eventually had their beloved Chaewon a few years later. She not only watched her daughter grow up, but also as her husband’s ambitions pay off over time, shocking boom of business opportunities and wealth hit them almost at once. In that time, she watched as he turned into someone else; as the money flowed to him, so did greed. She loves him, she won’t say that ever went away, but she can’t help but feel upset at the way what was supposed to be a blessing consumed her family and became a big curse.

Chaewon was no idiot to that either. As she grew up, she watched the way her mother ended up caught in his plans for the company, ending up in that position herself eventually as well. It pains her, to watch the way it was affecting her mother so much, and the obliviousness her father seemed to have at it. And, since she was sent away to embark on the craziest month and a half of her life, her mother finally had enough, starting their recent fighting. However, since she’s been home, there was hardly a peep out of them, not even anything happy or small. She wasn’t sure which was worse if she was being honest.

Still, her and her mother got along very well. When she came out, her mother was instantly accepting, giving her the most support and love in the world. And even now, when she finds herself complaining about her draining responsibilities, her mother is right there to listen, and to be a shoulder to lean on. Even if her mother can’t do much in the ways of interfering with her father’s company and its plans, she can still be there for her child.

“There’s more to it. Is this about Son Hyeju again?” Her mother asks cautiously, offering a consoling smile. Chaewon looks down, her cheeks turning pink as she seems to sink deeper into the bed. “It’s always about her.”

Her mother’s smile gets softer, if that was possible. She starts to smooth Chaewon’s hair from her laying position. “It’s been months, and you still think about her.” The older Park points out. “Why don’t you tell me more about her?”

Chaewon instantly lights up, a smile plastered on her face. “She makes this really cute pouty face when she’s confused, oh and she just has the funniest morning face, it’s grumpy and cute at the same time, and-“

She keeps rambling on about every detail she can possibly remember from the girl, her mother nodding along with a warm smile. As she watches the excitement in her daughter’s face, she can’t help but feel a pang of sadness. She’s aware that the girl in conversation is responsible for almost shutting down the whole family company (although, at this point, she doesn’t think that’s such a bad idea after all), so there was no changing her husband’s mind. Still, the way her daughter talks about this Son Hyeju is like she put all the stars in the sky, one by one. She liked her.

In the middle of Chaewon talking about how cute it is how messy Hyeju can be when she’s eating, her mother leans forward and gives the rambling a girl a hug, cutting her flow of conversation off. “I- wh- What was that for?” Chaewon asks, burying her face farther into her mother’s embrace. The older Park hums gently, pulling away after a few moments.

“I want to see you happy and doing what you want. Maybe that can’t happen right now, but one day, it will. I need you to promise me that you will never give up on the things you care about, okay?” She says sincerely, giving the girl’s arm a small squeeze. Chaewon parts her mouth slightly, surprised at the unexpected words. She turns her face into a small smile. “I promise.”

They both knew that it was a lot to promise, given the strict plans her father expected of her and her future, but the two held on to the little bit of hope that seemed to exist in the adoration that dripped from Chaewon’s words about something, someone, she found herself caring so much about. It seemed like finally, the Park girl had a solid reason in her life to hold on to the hope that she would get to make her own choice, have her own wants, someday.

Whether or not that reason would exist forever, she still wanted to believe in it, in the feelings that she still definitely had for Son Hyeju, albeit stronger despite being away from each other for this long.

“I’m not getting on that.”

“Yes, you are. Stop complaining and go win back your- er, wife? Ex-wife?”

“Shut up, fine, I’m going up.”

Blushing at the remembrance that yes, she was once married to the girl she was now going to go see, Hyeju takes a deep breath. Her eyes go up the large trellis that lines part of this massive mansion, feeling nervous from the expensiveness that dripped from the landscape, and the fact that Chaewon’s room was on the third floor. Swallowing a lump in her throat, she places her right foot on the first opening, shaking as she pulls herself up on the thin wooden material.

It didn’t help that it was starting to snow, either. Light flurries came down and danced around her head, her breath coming out in a cloud as she looks down at Jinsoul, holding a thumbs up from beneath her large coat. “I’ll be in the car while you go get her. Have fun! Don’t take too long, I can’t promise security won’t start growing suspicious of me sitting parked outside.”

Hyeju climbs up a single step, before turning back and looking at the dark-haired girl through the swirl of the snow flurry with wide eyes. “No! What? Don’t leave me by myself out here.” She says with panic in her voice, turning her head to look back up at the tall climb before her. Hands growing cold from the temperature, she climbs up another step, being at least a good 8 feel off the ground by now.

“Oh, are we having a heist? Why wasn’t I invited?”

Hyeju nearly falls off at the new voice, panic soaring through her body, but manages to hang on and look down with a glare. Jinsoul squeals quietly at the sight of Jungeun, skipping happily forward to engulf her in a hug. Hyeju furrows her eyebrows from above, still holding on. “Aren’t you going to ask how your girlfriend managed to know where we are and how she didn’t get caught?!” Hyeju exclaims, only to make Jungeun shrug her shoulders, clad in a puffy white coat.

“It was taking forever for Jinsoul to come back with the snacks. You got them, right?” She asks with concern in her voice, making Hyeju let out a muffled noise of surprise. “THAT’S what you’re worried about?!” She says, whining as the cold stings her hands, bringing herself higher up the trellis. Jinsoul shushes her, their voices slightly lower from being farther away. “Don’t be so loud, you’ll get us caught.”

Accepting the fact that she will never know how Jungeun found her way to their spot at Chaewon’s guarded mansion, right under her window, Hyeju sighs in defeat and continues to climb slowly, her boots pressing firmly into the thin wood one step at a time as the windows of the second floor come closer. She comes to a halt outside the second-floor window, her mouth agape at the sight of the luxury décor that lined this guest room. If she was Chaewon, she would probably hate being here too. Mr. Park’s taste, or lack thereof, was almost as tacky as the décor of the Athens Hotel.

At the remembrance of the place her and Chaewon spent their days, she immediately turns to look back up, making a determined but steady climb towards the third floor. She can feel her stomach turning in a mix of emotions at the thought of seeing the girl again, as well as what she will even say when she gets there. This was all sprung on her not even an hour ago, and here she was now, climbing up the side of her home and expecting, what, to get her to leave? Maybe this was a bad idea…

By the time that crosses her mind, she realizes she is right outside the window, unable to peek in due to cute mint green curtains that are obstructing her view. Unsure of what to do now, she lightly taps on the window. No response comes. So, she taps a little harder.

Chaewon jumps at the noise coming from her window, unsure if she was hearing things. The noise comes again, however, a little faster this time. She can feel the fear flowing through her body. It wouldn’t be the first time some lunatic tried to break into their home, maybe the security happened to miss someone on their rounds.

Although, just as she was about to pick up her phone and call them to come check her window, she thought that the tapping that was coming was now…in rhythm? That made her freeze up, unsure of what was going on. Then, her eyes widened when she recognized the beat of the tapping, sounding a lot like a familiar song that she still has been meaning to change on her phone…

No, it couldn’t be, could it? No one else would really think to tap to the beat of Dolphin on her window. Hesitantly, just in case, she reaches for the nearest item she could find, a book, and approaches the window with caution. She counts to ten in her head, preparing to hit whoever could be on the other side, just in case that small part of her that hoped it was someone in particular was wrong. She carefully pulled back the thin curtains, then swung them completely open, her pathetic little book raised high in the air in what she hoped was a threatening stance.

Her eyes widened and the book in her hand fell out of her grip at the sight of Hyeju, clinging for dear life on the thin, definitely breakable trellis that was just outside her window, the girl’s terrified and cold face peeking in from the side. Chaewon blinks a few times, concluding that she was probably dreaming. She immediately steps forward and opens the window, the cold air hitting her arms as she grabs onto the girl’s freezing hand, pulling her inside as she lands on top of Chaewon, both of them falling to the floor.

They stay like that for a few moments, both staring with lips parted and eyes wide. They are both red in the face, and it wasn’t from the cold air that was coming in through the open window. They scanned each other’s faces, looking for any little difference, feeling like years went by more than just a couple months. Chaewon stammers out her words.

“Y-you dyed your hair.” She whispers, her eyebrows raised. Hyeju turns even redder, feeling bashful. “Um, yeah, I did.” She says shyly as Chaewon reaches her hand up to tuck a strand behind her ear. “I love it.” She says with adoration, making Hyeju grin like a fool, her eyes getting watery at the sight of the girl she’s been missing so much in front of her. Feeling like she might explode from feelings, she quickly clears her throat, standing up and dusting off her jacket sheepishly. She reaches down to help the other girl up.

“This is a nice dream.” Chaewon says with a smile. “I hope I don’t wake up from it.” She says with a bit of nervousness in her voice. Hyeju squeezes their still locked hands. “This isn’t a dream, it’s really me.” She says with a small smile.

“I thought you were going to be a robber or something.” Chaewon says truthfully, looking at the thin book that was on the floor. Hyeju shakes her head, a chuckle escaping her lips. “That wouldn’t have done anything, weakling.” Chaewon narrows her eyes, but the blush is still on her cheeks, her mouth twitching to desperately break out into a grin. She ALMOST missed the other girl pushing her buttons (she definitely did).

“Who are you calling w-“ Before she could finish, a boot comes flying through the window, landing on the floor in front of the window with a thud. They blinked a few times, Hyeju going over to peer down at Jungeun, her arms crossed in front of her. She makes a gesture down in the now snow dusted grass to hurry up. Hyeju swallows a lump in her throat, her nerves coming back.

“We need to go.” She says, looking around the girl’s cutesy room with a smirk, despite the worry in her tone and on her face. “Grab some of your things, we’re getting you out of here.”

Chaewon’s eyes widen. She looks back at her bedroom door, as if her father was directly behind it. “Th-that’s not a good idea…” She says with clear panic. She turns back to Hyeju with urgency on her face. “What are you doing? I- I can’t just leave, he will hunt me down, you’ll REALLY end up in jail. He’ll definitely make that happen, I-“ The girl’s anxious ranting was cut short by Hyeju’s still cold hands on her shoulders, a chill running through her body.

“Okay. Then let’s not just run away. Running is something I said I wasn’t going to do anymore, right?” She says with a small smile, hoping that the smaller girl couldn’t see the fear that was growing in her at the bizarre, very bad idea that just popped in her mind. She swallowed nervously. “Let’s go talk to your dad. Right now.”

Chaewon immediately chuckles. “That’s hilarious. Now, maybe we can find a way to make this work, but I think that-“

Hyeju goes to walk right past her and head for the door, determined to stick to her outrageous idea, hoping that the other girl didn’t try to stop her, or see her shake. She knew that right now, she was winging everything that was about to happen, she turned one last time to get a good look at the girl she was potentially sabotaging her life for. With a small smile at her confused expression, she turns back to the door, opening it in a hurry, running down an unfamiliar hallway in hopes to somehow, in this large mansion, catch the bastard who not only got her deeper in this giant mess in the first place, but who also was withholding her from the one good thing that came out of it.

The fight or flight kicked in, her breathing becoming more rapid as her eyes darted around the various doors and windows that lined the third floor. The place wasn’t like a castle or anything like that, but it was still pretty large, larger than she was used to, her one-bedroom apartment being the size of one of the probably many guest rooms alone. Why does a three-person family even need these many rooms? Hyeju internally cringes in disgust at the thought.

Someone was in the corner of her eye as she moves quickly past an open door, immediately stopping just a few spaces past it. That had to be Mr. Park, who else could it be? Letting out a ragged breath, closing her eyes and wishing she had some form of alcohol in her system right now, she turns back around on her heel and approaches the room, trying her best to look like she knows what she is doing. Her eyebrows then shoot up at the unfamiliar person who was reading.

Mrs. Park immediately stands up from the couch she was sitting on, the book that was in her hands falling to the floor. Both of their eyes are wide, unsure of what to make of the sudden appearance of someone unexpected. Hyeju opens her mouth, before closing it again. The older woman immediately heads for her cell phone, which was on a large coffee table in front of her. “No! Wait! It’s uh- don’t you recognize me?” She says in a hurry, immediately blushing. Maybe her face being all over every newspaper and news channel for awhile would come in handy right now.

Her hand freezes on the phone, before slowly coming away as she peers at Hyeju with caution and curiosity. Then, her eyes widen, a smile twitching slightly on her face. “Son Hyeju.” Chaewon’s mother says, making Hyeju swallow a lump in her throat. Her tone was hard to read. “It’s so good to finally meet you.” She says, her eyes creasing as she smiles. But, just as soon as she does, urgency takes over, and she rushes across the pristine, tiled floor to grab at the girl’s hands. They’re not as cold as they were when she was outside, thankfully.

“What are you doing here? How did you get in?” She says in shock, immediately peeking behind her. “You shouldn’t be here, let me help you get out-“ Just then, she jumps back as someone appears at the door. She puts her hand on her chest. “Chaewon, you scared me. Why is your girlfriend here?” She says, both girls turning red as Chaewon quickly steps inside and closes the door. She regains her composure, turning a look of bewilderment at Hyeju. “What the hell are you doing?! You’re going to get yourself in a lot of trouble.”

Her words come out saddened, fear in her eyes. Her mother watches the event unfold in front of her, still just as confused as to what the former CTO was doing here, but with a watchful eye at the exchanges between the two girls in front of her. This was the girl Chaewon was once constantly fighting with, complaining about to everyone? That seemed impossible. They way they both looked at each other, there was nothing but adoration and longing.

“I- I need to talk to him.” She says with her voice wavering. “I saw the magazine today.” Chaewon immediately looks at the floor, while her mother’s look turns sad. “You can’t- you don’t want this; I know you don’t.” She’s basically pleading at this point.

“This isn’t smart.” The mother says, her tired eyes looking defeated. “I want Chae to go off and do what she wants just as much as you do, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s a whole handoff process going on right now with the company already set in stone an-“ Hyeju, not wanting to hear it, cuts her off angrily. “I don’t CARE. You shouldn’t either. When is she getting to do what she wants? When he’s no longer in charge? Dead? She shouldn’t have to wait!”

Chaewon turns to quickly look at the passionately angry girl standing next to her. “Stop. Don’t talk to my mom like that, please.” She says softly, suddenly feeling overwhelmed on top of anxious and scared of the current, unexpected situation. Hyeju immediately softens, reaching out her hand to grab at her smaller one. “I’m sorry. I just- is there ANYTHING you can do?”

Crossing her arms, the other Park in the room speaks. “I know you two really want to make your relationship work, but I d-“ Hyeju cuts her off again, less angry this time, but just as fiery and passionate.

“This has less to do about what I want. It’s about what she deserves, and it's not this.”

Just as she spit those words out, her voice a bit higher than before, the door comes wide open. In the opening, there he was: just the person Hyeju wanted to see, looking annoyed at first, then searing with anger and confusion when he sees who has been the source of the noise he was hearing from down the hall.

“What the fuck are you doing in my home?!” He spits out, reaching for the phone in his pocket. “I have to go to Busan in a minute, I don’t have time for this shit-“ He mumbles, ready to call security, then call the police. Hyeju panics, unsure of what she can do now. It makes her feel frozen in place, like she won’t be able to make this go in her favor if she tried.

“No. Put the phone down, come in, and shut up. Busan can fucking wait.”

His wife says this with a stern voice, making Chaewon’s eyes widen. Besides the fighting they were doing before she left to go to Vegas, she never heard her mother talk back like that, especially in front of her. Her father wasn’t expecting it either, his face turning red in a mix of anger and embarrassment. He manages to keep calm in front of the two girls, though. “I cannot keep them waiting. I need to fix more of the mess that SHE created.” He says, throwing an angry look at Hyeju, who looks like a deer in headlights, unsure of what's going on.

Sighing, the older Park steps forward, ripping the cell phone out of her husband’s hands, depositing it directly into an intricate fish tank that was displayed by the door. Everybody’s eyes widened, while she remained calm (at least, on the outside). The phone floated down to sit on the rocks that lined the bottom.

“What th-“

“You are going to stay here and listen to everything that needs to be said. This bullshit has gone on long enough: your daughter is unhappy.” She says angrily, stepping back to go over by the couch, standing behind it as she puts her hands on the back. He looks between the fish tank, his wife, and the two girls who were to the side of the doorway, stunned in anger.

He points an accusatory finger at Hyeju. “What the fuck have you done to my family?! You little b-“ A loud, frightened voice stops him from continuing.

“Don’t you DARE talk to her that way.” Chaewon’s voice is dripping with venom. “You have NO IDEA the type of shit you put everyone in this room through, do you?” Hyeju blinks a few times in surprise, never, even during their most heated arguments in the past, seen the girl this angry before. Despite the fear that’s evident in her body language and her voice, she has never looked so sure of herself in her whole life.

“I am tired of sitting idly by and watching you control everyone like puppets. Do what you like with your employees, but I am NOT one of them, and I do not ever want to be. I don’t know what I want to do, but I do not want to do this.” She turns a quick glance at the shocked look on Hyeju’s face, softening her face for a moment, before turning back to her father. Mr. Park looked like he was going to explode any second.

Still, the girl to the side helped push her farther. She reached out and grabbed her hand, feeling its now strong warmth in her own. Her gaze does not break from her father’s fuming rage. “This is what will happen. I am going to go get some of my things. I am going to walk out of here with Hyeju, and you are going to let me.”

His face is no longer red, looking more purple as his anger increases. He opens his mouth to protest, but Chaewon continues. Hyeju gives her hand a gentle squeeze. “It sucks, doesn’t it? To be told what to do when you don’t want to do it? You’re not going to do that to me anymore. Or to Mom.” Her eyes move to her mother, who was gripping the back of the couch still with white knuckles, fearful of the newfound defiance her daughter has discovered.

But, she gives the slightest bit of a nod, as if telling her to keep going. That small nod was all Chaewon needed to let the rest of her fear fade almost completely away, as she turns back to Mr. Park, who finally found an opportunity to speak. His voice came out way too calmly, that it was scary. Still, Chaewon didn’t let anything hold her back now.

“You’d give up a secure future with anything you wanted…for some careless girl you met on a drunken stupor out in Las Vegas!?” He shouts with bewilderment, more confused than angry. “Something happened to you. I should have never sent you on that vacation.” He shouts with exasperation, his hands coming up to sit on top of his head.

She delivers her homerun. “Sending me away was the best thing you could have done. I am free to do what I want, and what I want, is to be with Hyeju. I may not have a cushy job, or be loaded with money, but I will have someone who will support me and my decisions. And they are MY decisions, they belong to me now. I am NOT asking for permission; this is my first of many to come.”

Chaewon turns to her mother, who gives her a small smile, tears glistening in her eyes. After just getting Chaewon to come home after the incident caused by Hyeju, she would have to accept that her daughter would be leaving again, and most likely, not coming back. Still, knowing that her child will be happier, that’s all she could have hoped for. She would have to play damage control when her husband freaks out, and will want to intervene, but it’ll be worth it. In time, he’ll calm down, and hopefully see that his own daughter is better off.

She then turns her gaze towards the inspiration behind this newfound confidence and protest from Chaewon, their eyes meeting as she extends a kind smile, giving her approval. From the way the small Park girl would ramble on about her and seeing how pretty the dark-haired girl was up close, she knew that she had nothing to worry about.

“I’ll take care of her.” Hyeju mouths, sincerity in her face, although she herself is still hearing ringing in her ears at the suddenness of this exchange. All she knows is that Chaewon will be stepping out of this poorly decorated place with her, and that she will finally feel free to be herself.

Chaewon then opens the door, pulling the girl along with her back towards her room down the long hallway. As they make their way to the door, they both let out large laughs. Their laughs are so loud and powerful, that tears sting their eyes. They cannot believe that the last moments just happened. It felt really good, knowing that nothing was stopping them anymore.

Steadying her laughter, and then leaning down quickly, Hyeju captures the girl in a kiss, an explosion of warmth filling her body at the feeling. Chaewon gasps lightly, but immediately kisses back, smiling so much into it, that they can hardly keep kissing. This makes them laugh more. If they were told months ago that they’d be in this position, they wouldn’t have believed it.

The bedroom door suddenly flies open, making the two girls separate and move back in response. Chaewon falls to the floor, while Hyeju braces herself against the hallway wall. Jungeun is standing there, her arms crossed over.

“Where have you two been?! Soulie can’t keep the car running forever. I already packed your stuff up. Oh My Girl? I’m more into Red Velvet, but to each their own.” She says casually, slinging a bag over her shoulder that Chaewon recognized as her own. “Well, come on, before your dad sees!”

Chaewon would have been creeped out, or even kind of angry at the sight of Jungeun going through her things, but she just lets out a large laugh. Nothing can damper her mood right now, that’s for sure. Hyeju looks at her like she’s lost her mind, while Jungeun retains a stern expression. “What is so funny?? We need to GO!”

Hyeju shakes her head. “We- we’ll be down in a bit. We-er, Chae talked to her dad, and I think it’s fine if we just go out the front door…” She says cautiously as Chaewon’s laughter starts to die down. Jungeun shows a soft smile in response. “That’s great. Now, let’s just go before he decides to protest.”

She turns around and heads towards the window, putting a snow-dusted boot on the sill and finding her footing. Hyeju shares a look with Chaewon. “Uh, I don’t think that’s necessary-“ She starts, but Jungeun was already out of sight and climbing back down the trellis. Hyeju and Chaewon look at each other again, shrugging. They still haven’t quite figured the blonde out yet, but it’s not necessarily surprising of her to do.

Quickly grabbing a few things that she noticed Jungeun didn’t take the two managed to hurry themselves out the hallway, down two stories of stairs, and out the front door. The cold air of the now snowing Seoul air hits them, their breaths becoming visible. Looking over at the curved driveway in front of the house, Chaewon notices Jungeun hanging outside of the window of Jinsoul’s blue Hyundai, gesturing quickly for them to hurry up.

The two girls give each other a shy smile, now letting it start to sink in that this was a really big moment, their lives changing completely. Their cheeks, pink from their stares and the cold, makes them look away, up at the snow that was falling down on them. The sky, in its blinding, white light, makes them squint, as snowflakes land on their faces.

Everything happens for a reason. Maybe they’re bad reasons, maybe they’re good, but they mean something. The universe makes no accidents in its reveal of this to those who look for it. For Hyeju, she concludes that if she had to go back and do everything again, knowing that it would ending a winter snowfall with her cold hands finding their way to the smaller girl’s own in front of her, she would do it exactly the same way. Chaewon, too, wouldn’t trade her life at this very moment for anyone else’s.

There is more to life than the trivial, fleeting pleasures that money can provide. There wasn’t enough won in the whole country that was worth the way Hyeju’s smile lit up her face as they locked eyes again. She had no idea what was ahead for her, them, now, but for now, she was going to thank this cold day for gifting her this newfound sense of freedom, and the one who helped inspire her to push for it.

A car horn goes off, Jungeun peeking out from the passenger window again. She waves her hands quickly, impatience growing on her face. This makes the two cold girls giggle, their hands gripping tighter together.

Hyeju turns to her- girlfriend? Wife? Ex-wife? She wasn’t sure yet, but there was enough time in the world for that now. She lets out a small chuckle. “I don’t know about you, but I think I need a drink after that.” Chaewon giggles, reaching forward to give a quick peck on her frozen, red cheek. “You and me both.” She says dramatically, pulling them towards the car.

Chapter Text

The end of summer, and the approach of fall, proved to be sweltering. The two girls standing outside of The Athens Hotel felt beads of sweat drip down their foreheads as they looked up at its familiar, tacky exterior. The sun blinded their gaze as they squinted looking up, hands above their eyes. This place hasn’t aged a day, although, that’s not so surprising. It’s only been a year since they found themselves mistakenly here, waking up to anger and confusion in the other’s eyes.

“Absolutely not.” Hyeju exclaims, the grip on her suitcase tightening, despite the sweat that was forming on her palms. “I’d rather stay in a box, thanks.” She mumbles, earning a soft laugh from beside her. The source turned and nudged her with her shoulder. “Come on, it was so long ago. It should be funny to you by now.”

Sighing defeatedly, Hyeju turned and gave her girlfriend a glare. “You’re lucky you’re cute.” She huffs out, but there is a smile forming on her face. Linking their free hands, the two head into the familiar hotel, taking in its fake, familiar marble interior and chuckling.

“A year ago, I was so disgusted with how cheap this place was, and now, it’s probably the most expensive place I can afford.” Chaewon laughs out, still slightly cringing at the chips in the tiled floor. Maybe she wasn’t a hot shot heir to a rich and famous company anymore, but she was still learning to control her reactions to things around her. Maybe a snobbish, spoiled brat would always exist deep down, but she was admittedly way more humbled in her time since revoking the family business from her future.

A lot has happened since then. Her father tried the most to get Hyeju in some kind of legal trouble, but her mother was always there to squash that out before it went anywhere. Then, not a month later after the Park Family went quiet from the media, it was announced that Chaewon would be stepping down from the business, going instead to be carried on by a trusted advisor, Lee Chan. This was Mr. Park’s way of accepting that he wasn’t going to get his way, letting his plans for his daughter go, freeing her to do what she liked.

“No, this place IS cheap and disgusting.” Hyeju grimaces as they approach the front desk. “Clearly, THEY haven’t done much in the ways of improving anything. But I shouldn’t really be surprised about that, should I?” She shakes her head, slamming her hand down on the desk to startle the small employee behind it. He wakes up from his sleeping position in his chair in a flash, composing himself as the two check in to their suite.

“They gave us the same ROOM? Oh I’m leaving a zero-star Yelp review-“ Hyeju says with annoyance, taking the key to 311 from the nervous boy in his tacky uniform. Chaewon rolls her eyes playfully, not even surprised, and making her way over to the elevator with her girlfriend.

A lot has changed over the past year for their friends as well. One day, Jungeun weakly threatened to sue her boss and the company over the multiple breaks she was taking and was being reprimanded for, albeit more as a joke than anything else. She knew that she constantly snuck away from her reception post, but she was annoyed with how much her boss chewed her out for it. In some stroke of dumb luck, there were other suspicious things going on behind the scenes, and all the higher ups of the company landed themselves in trouble. On her court winning victory high, she spitefully bought out the entire company, becoming its CEO almost overnight. Somehow, that didn’t surprise anybody. If that was going to happen to anybody, it was going to be Jungeun.

Jinsoul, in her U-Haul type state of mind, decided to move to Vegas with her now insane wife without a second thought, and they both spent their time “running” the business, although they admittedly have no idea what they were doing. Still, Hyeju and Chaewon were not about to complain too much when they received a free room to stay in from their married friends, and a chance to come back to the place that started it all, even if Hyeju complained a little about it.

Making their way to the all too familiar room like they were just there yesterday, the two girls opened the door to jump back in surprise. “CHAE!! HYE!!” Jinsoul and Jungeun exclaimed, rushing forward to engulf them both in tackling hugs. Ever since Jinsoul moved away and married Jungeun, Chaewon swears she was becoming just as chaotic as her wife. It wasn’t a bad thing though, she did really miss her best friend, and this big greeting was warming. “How was the trip?” They asked excitedly as they pulled away.

Hyeju huffed, rolling her eyes slightly. “This one took fucking forever to pack her stupid bag. Who needs all that shit for a couple of days?!” She says with exasperation, making the pair giggle as her own girlfriend turns pink, her mouth forming a hard line. “Just because you don’t understand my routines doesn’t mean you can complain about them.” She says with annoyance. “Why did you pack your Switch, huh? We are here to see our FRIENDS.” She accuses, as Hyeju opens her mouth in offense. “Oh, you want to complain about that NOW? You’re the one who said you wanted to play Kirby on the plane-“

Before Chaewon could cut her off, Jinsoul clears her throat firmly. “Settle down children, you just got here.” She laughs out, then turns to Jungeun, who had a playful smirk on her face. “Not even here for a few minutes and they’re already arguing…must be this room.” She teases, Jinsoul joining her in laughter, as the two girlfriends turn red.

Their annoyed faces then soften as they lock eyes, smiles appearing. They have really come a long way, the memories of last year starting to come back as they observe different aspects of the room (Hyeju, especially, shudders when she sees the couch, well aware of how uncomfortable that was for her to sleep on for a month and a half straight).

Chaewon sighs defeatedly, her face still pink from the laughter directed at her and Hyeju. “Very funny. Do you annoyingly greet all the guests in their rooms this way?” She complains, earning a nudge from Jinsoul. “Only when they’re your best friend.”

“I think Heejin and Hyunjin will be joining us soon when they get here.” Jungeun exclaims, her head turned towards the window at the afternoon city sky. “What should we do when they get here?” She turned back towards them, a devilish look on her face. “The club Hyunjin worked at is still there, you know…”

Hyeju immediately widened her eyes. “NO. NO CLUBS, PLEASE.” Everyone immediately laughed, although Chaewon looked slightly shaken at the suggestion herself. Hyeju lets out a shaky laugh herself, before looking around at everyone else in their room, their eyes on her. An idea popped in her mind. “I think I know somewhere we can go and catch up.”

“They have BREAD!” Hyunjin says excitedly, her arms snaking around Heejin’s waist from behind. She squishes her face into her girlfriend’s own. “Can we get bread?” She asks with a shy smile, making the blonde roll her eyes. “Of course we can.” She says affectionately, turning her face to kiss her girlfriend’s cheek.

“Wow, everybody here is so Sapphic.”

“Jiwoo, please....”

Sooyoung says her wife’s name with a small laugh, untying her apron and putting it on the counter in front of her. Jiwoo copies her, showing a shy smile. “Sorry, we’ll bring the leftover stock to the table. We’ll join you in a second!” She says kindly, turning around to disappear into the back. Hyunjin whispers a strong “Yes!” to herself as the girls turn back around and take their seats at the combined tables at the corner of the café.

“Really? You’re going to make them keep working past closing?” Chaewon teases. “You’re the worst kind of person for that.” Hyunjin furrows her brows as the other people at the table start to laugh. “You’ll never understand the lengths I would go for bread.” She deadpans, making everyone laugh even more.

“What’s so funny?” Sooyoung asks as she carries over a tray of pastries. Jiwoo hurrying behind her, pulling out two more chairs from adjacent tables for them. Hyunjin’s eyes light up, like she’s never seen something so beautiful before, grabbing at a cream filled pastry and taking a bite, an adorable smile lighting up her face. Heejin shakes her head once again. “That.”

The eight girls continue to catch up, reminiscing about the last time they all found themselves here. Not too long after Chaewon and Hyeju got back together, Hyeju took the initiative to find and reach out to the café owners, since they had a hand in this messy journey to their happiness as well. Ever since, they have grown to be amazing friends, and the others all took them in to their group as well. This meeting was well needed after that time, as they remember their lives last year, and how much better they are doing now.

“How’s Yerim?” Hyunjin eventually asks, taking her seventh pastry, biting into it happily. Hyeju smiles. “She’s good, business has been growing, albeit slowly.” She says with a sigh. “We’re going to launch some new programs next year; my eyes are killing me from working on them all day.” She presses her palms into her eyes. “But we saw her not that long ago, outside of work that is.” She chuckles.

Hyeju still, even after Mr. Park publicly cleared up her name, had a very hard time finding a job. Park Enterprises didn’t have any spot to take her (and quite frankly, she would have rather dropped dead than associate with that company ever again), but there was one company out of the long list of ones that didn’t reject her. Cherry Seed Inc. was happy to take on Hyeju as their new CTO for their newly opened Seoul branch. They weren’t exactly White Dove or Park Enterprises, but it was something stable, what she loved, and she got a chance to do a little more work with her close friend when she was visiting from the States.

“Maybe she can free up her schedule and come hang out with us while we are here.” Chaewon says with a smile. “I think you’d all like her very much.”

They continue to chat at the back of the closed, cozy café. Hyunjin inhales more bread while Heejin looks at her animalistic behavior like it was the most attractive thing in the world. Jinsoul watches amusedly as Jungeun mischievously tampers with the bottles of water Sooyoung brought out for them all, offering one sweetly to a gullible Jiwoo. Sooyoung laughs as her wife spits the water out all over the table in front of her, Jungeun smirking sinisterly as she holds a salt packet in between her two fingers.

Hyeju and Chaewon, they watch the scene unfold in front of them with laughter, turning to each other and sharing smiles. They link their hands, thankful for the mess that got them to this point. If it weren’t for their friends, they wouldn’t be sitting here like this. The little pushes (large shoves) they needed to accept their feelings, and to see that they really wanted this, would forever be appreciated.

And while they appreciated the time they were spending with them all right now, there was still one thing they were really looking forward to the most, just the two of them.

It was just how they remembered it: the surrounding buildings were lit up, making up for the lack of stars in the sky. Not one building was the same, some with spinning lights in changing colors, some blinking rapidly in sync with the faint hum of music. Some, as well, stayed as they were: blindingly bright, standing out the most.

And away, on their own tower of light, the two lovers had their feet between the metal bars, dangling over the edge of the rooftop they didn’t know they were missing so much. Against the pitch black of the night, there was not one corner of the city that seemed to reflect that, as the world displayed before them was just as clear and vibrant as they remembered it, back when a colder end of summer started something unforgettable for them both.

Between the bars, hovering over the edge as their eyes looked out, their hands were intertwined, brushing their thumbs against each other's skin every so often to silently communicate what they were thinking: this place held something special, something that helped push them together. Maybe it was the way the lights touched everything, giving them a sublime moment that reflected the light they found in each other. Or, perhaps, it was so high up, away from the rest of the world, where they reluctantly grew to let their walls down, learning to be themselves together. Either way, there was something about this place that was one of the sole reasons they were so excited about coming back.

“I should properly apologize, you know” Hyeju says, breaking the silence that was the white noise of the Vegas nightlife. She turns to look at her girlfriend, who furrows her brows in response. “I was pretty crappy to put up with, and you didn’t deserve that.” She says with sincerity. It prompts a chuckle from the smaller girl.

“You don’t have to apologize for that, I was pretty bad to be around too.” She laughs out, but then softens her demeanor at the sight of Hyeju keeping a serious face. “No, really, I was kind of a huge ass. Th-“ She pauses, blinking a few times as she does. The lights from the city seem to reflect sharply in her serious gaze. “Thank you for giving me a chance- or whatever.” Hyeju grumbles out, her cheeks turning red. Chaewon bites her lip at the sight to stifle her laughter. Everything about this felt very Hyeju-like.

She takes their joined hands and lightly hits the CTO's leg with them. “Where is this coming from?” She teases, enjoying the sight of her flustered girlfriend in front of her. Hyeju turns her face downwards towards the heavy flow of traffic in the street, everything looking like insects to her from so far away. “Being here just made everything come back, even... even the bad stuff...”

Chaewon hums to herself, then pauses. She throws her head back to stare at the pitch-black sky, taking a deep breath as she does. A small smile grows on her face as she recalls the events that befell them previously. There was a lot of fighting, hostility, passive aggressiveness. She was so sure she hated the girl she was holding hands with right now. And yet, life had other plans.

The Hyeju she knows now, the one she really knows, is everything she could have ever wanted to find.

“I’m thankful for the bad stuff, too.” She finally says. “It had to happen to bring us here.” Hyeju shifted slightly in her place at the ledge, turning her body closer towards the brunette. “Everything happens for a reason.” She chuckles with a smile. Chaewon lets out a cute giggle, blushing. “Yeah, you were my reason.”

They become locked in each other’s eyes, ignoring the beautiful view of the Las Vegas skyline in front of them to favor instead the light of it that danced behind each other’s eyes. A long time ago, this feeling scared them to no end. Now, all they want to do is hold on to it, and never let it go, knowing nothing holds them back anymore. What better way to reflect on that, then here as they are now?

Hyeju remembers, with pink cheeks, how what they thought was a forgetful, drunken time turned into this moment right here. There was no amount of alcohol, no amount of anger or bitterness at herself or others that could have ultimately torn her away from Chaewon completely.

Just as she was about to open her mouth, Chaewon does instead. “Let’s get married.”

Hyeju blinks a few times, unsure if what she heard was true.

“You…want to get married? A-again?” She says in bewilderment. A light breeze blows through the city, Chaewon’s hair moving slightly against it as her face remains serious. “Yes, that’s what I said. We were before, so why not again?” Her eyes sparkle. “I love you Hyeju, you cute dummy. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.”

A grin slowly forms on Hyeju’s face. She was pretty sure the water and coffee they had at the café earlier wasn’t spiked, the question feeling genuine and serious as a smile starts to grow on the older girl’s face as well. “You are full of surprises, princess.” She laughs out as Chaewon uses her free hand to hit Hyeju’s shoulder. She puts her free hand up in surrender. “Hey, let me finish!" She chuckles, turning a loving gaze towards the gift that this crazy city gave to her." I love you too Chae. I'm not running anywhere anytime soon myself.”

As for her girlfriend's question, Hyeju’s face turned into a playful smirk. “You know, I hear they have 24-hour churches here…”