Actions

Work Header

i'd stop the world (if it gave us time)

Chapter Text

TO BE POSTED ON AUGUST 27, 2022. Check out my CARRD for more info!

Chapter Text

::

 

i’d stop the world (if it gave us time)

 

::

 

carrd

 

::

 

when you say

you love the way i make you feel

everything becomes so real

don’t be scared, no, don’t be scared

‘cause you’re all i need

and you still look perfect as days go by

even the worst ones, you make me smile

 

love someone; lukas graham

 

::

 

jimin’s favorite season is spring.

 

aka where jimin and minjeong meet for four different years during four different seasons.

 

::

 

summer.

 

::

 

On paper, it should be fairly simple and easy.

 

In Jimin’s hand is a poorly cut-out of a star emoji, the one with the shining effect.

 

And right there, tucked in the corner of the loud open bar by the beach of Busan, is a woman that couldn’t be older than Jimin, with the same shining star emoji taped above the right side of her chest.

 

The twin of the red heart emoji taped on Jimin’s own chest is left on the table in front of the woman, dangerously close to the pooling condensation of the iced tea she’s been swirling since Jimin looked up from the paper where she confirmed her name, attendance, and preference.

 

“Go on,” one of the staff encouraged when she noticed Jimin just… staring.

 

“Sorry, I… I’ve never done this,” Jimin admits sheepishly, eyes straying to the big sign behind the staff.

 

MEET A NEW FRIEND!

for only ₩20,000 (unlimited iced tea included)

additional ₩2,500 to upgrade to cocktails

open for people ages 19-27

identification required!

 

She resists the urge to snort. When her older sister told her that she found the perfect way for Jimin to spend her vacation evening, this was the least of her expectations. Somewhere down the block, her sister and her boyfriend are cozying it up in their rented Airbnb, having quality couple time without worrying about Jimin.

 

“That’s fine. Many of our customers are tourists and are also trying for the first time,” she smiles reassuringly, cocking her head towards the direction of where the shining star emoji lady is. “Don’t keep her waiting too long.”

 

Someone clears their throat behind Jimin, clearly miffed that she’s taking too much time, and Jimin sidesteps without too much thought.

 

Right in the direction of the star lady.

 

The woman looks up from where she’s aimlessly swirling her straw and takes one look at Jimin before her eyes drop to the heart.

 

She’s got short blonde hair and bangs that sway with the salty ocean breeze, and with the golden sunset behind her, Jimin feels wholly and utterly undeserving all of a sudden.

 

“Hello,” Jimin greets lamely, surrenders a bit too willingly to the woman’s gravity, overestimating her forward step so she bumps her hip on the edge of the table and disturbs the tranquility. Jimin blushes, she’s never this clumsy. “Sorry.”

 

The woman’s smiling at her, deeply amused, and Jimin finds that she likes the sparkle of mischief in her eyes.

 

Jagi, right?” The woman asks, voice light and feminine and young.

 

Jimin startles at the nickname before remembering that it’s what her sister listed her down as.

 

This is going to be the death of me.

 

“That’s me,” she shakes her hands, ridding herself of sudden nervousness. “And you’re Gyeoul?”

 

“That’s me,” Gyeoul teases, parroting Jimin’s voice crack. Then her smile softens to something warmer, dangerous. “Want to try their iced tea? It’s a bit too watered down but if you drink it with their fries, it’s not so bad.”

 

Jimin settles down, guard down. “Sure. Want to share a plate?”

 

::

 

They end up at the beach when Gyeoul decides that they abused the unlimited iced tea way too much.

 

Jimin rents a beach blanket, Gyeoul convinces her to buy a pack of sparklers, and they pool their remaining money for a serving of tteokbokki—with two eggs because apparently, Gyeoul doesn’t like sharing the yolk—before hunting down a good spot to settle down.

 

It’s too cloudy for stargazing and too humid to do anything else, the air stagnant and salty. The clouds mean that there’s barely any moonlight and there are signs littered saying that people will be fined if they start a bonfire.

 

“Mm,” Gyeoul hums around a mouthful of fishcake, tapping the bowl against Jimin’s bicep.

 

“Thanks,” Jimin takes it, blinking as she tries to figure out which stick is hers. Gyeoul’s egg is already bitten in half, the yolk slowly dissolving into the broth and she wonders if she should point it out.

 

The wind picks up suddenly, Jimin helplessly struggling with her food halfway into her mouth and her hair suddenly whipping forward.

 

Gyeoul laughs, high-pitched and excited at Jimin’s misery, and squawks unattractively when she realizes that her precious food is in danger. 

 

"Oh my god, your hair's a mess," Gyeoul snorts, reaching over to help Jimin in getting a few strands out of her mouth. Gyeoul regards her with a stare, hand still resting on Jimin's shoulder. "It's all frizzy."

 

"Yeah, beach air does that. It's worse in the mornings," Jimin grumbles, gathering her long hair to momentarily hide her blush if it were visible at all. "It's a pain."

 

"I want to see it," Gyeoul teases, scooting closer. "I bet it's all poofed up. Does it curl?"

 

"I don't think so. It just tangles and is generally all over the place." Jimin ties it haphazardly, smirking when Gyeoul looks awed at how she tied her hair without any scrunchie. "I bet your hair is super low maintenance."

 

Gyeoul shrugs, a thin shoulder producing such a huge gesture because of how big her shirt is. "If you call root touch-ups low maintenance then yeah."

 

Jimin laughs. Touche. "Fair enough."

 

"How about you?"

 

"What about me?"

 

"Ever thought of dyeing your hair?"

 

"Not really. The farthest I've gone is having shoulder-length hair, a bit longer than yours and it was…pretty bad. I’ve stuck with my boring, long hair since." Jimin hates that she sounds too self-conscious but how could she not? Gyeoul looks like she's a fucking hair and skin model. "Dyed hair suits you though."

 

"Thank you," Gyeoul murmurs and for the first time tonight, Jimin notes that she's shy.

 

It's adorable.

 

::

 

There is a multitude of reasons for the inevitability that leads to them holding hands.

 

It could be the lateness of the night or maybe the long-winded conversations that wear them both down. Maybe it’s the sand in their hair or the mosquito bites on their arms. It could be because of Jimin getting back her spine, slowly resisting Gyeoul’s gravity, her tongue sharper and words smoother, no longer fumbling at thinly-veiled compliments that threatens to burst out of her lungs the moment she catches Gyeoul in a different light.

 

Whatever it is, it leads to this:

 

The back of Gyeoul’s hand bumps against Jimin’s and when she glances at her periphery, the other woman’s ears are red, visible because Jimin tucked a lock of blonde hair against her ear just minutes before.

 

She grows bolder, sitting straighter, before standing up.

 

“Let’s go head back?”

 

Gyeoul’s hand is warm, slightly bigger, but so soft that Jimin wonders if she’s ever done a house chore in her life. The only proof that the hand she’s holding is alive is because Gyeoul’s hand sweats after a minute.

 

Under a lone lamp, Jimin notices that Gyeoul’s right thumb is painted with nail polish, already chipped, and the nail art of a smiley face has long lost half of its smile.

 

Jimin doesn’t let go.

 

Her house—or the rented Airbnb—is closer than where Gyeoul is staying and they reluctantly stay outside where the porch lights are still on. There’s a small glow from the living room window that Jimin can only assume is her sister waiting up for her.

 

“So,” Gyeoul breaks the silence, it’s almost two in the morning. “, I had fun tonight. But I think I won’t be drinking iced tea for, like, a month.”

 

Jimin giggles, absolutely enamored within just a few hours. “It wasn’t that bad.”

 

It’s always breath-taking when Jimin catches the way Gyeoul’s smile twists from one emotion to another, achingly beautiful and fleeting.

 

“You don’t know what the match party was for, do you?”

 

Jimin looks away. “No,” she answers truthfully, looking back at twinkling eyes. “My sister just told me to go out and have food. Meet new people.”

 

Gyeoul nods like everything checks out. “Yeah, I figured it out when you suggested the beach when we left the bar.”

 

“I’m sorry, I don’t—” Jimin takes a deep breath, flustered all over again. “What was it for, then? God, you went there for something and you totally got stuck with me, didn’t you?”

 

“Hey, it’s fine,” Gyeoul squeezes her hand, and Jimin’s reminded that they’re still holding hands. “I’d rather meet you than someone else. And don’t worry about what it was about.”

 

Jimin is about to say something when the front door opens, her sister’s head poking out.

 

“Oh, sorry,” her older sister looks at Gyeoul once, smiling at Jimin, before disappearing behind the closed door.

 

Gyeoul cocks her head towards the door meaningfully.

 

“Maybe your sister will tell you.”

 

And she lets Jimin go.

 

::

 

If anyone has the perfect timing, it’d be Gyeoul.

 

Jagi-ah!” Her sister bellows from the front door, eyes twinkling in mischief and Jimin already knows it’s not good. “The pretty girl from last night is here for you!”

 

Jimin panics.

 

She’s still dressed in her pajamas, hair a mess from tossing and turning the whole night after her sister confessed that the match-making party is a kind front for people looking for a date and maybe hook up afterward.

 

Her sister opens the door a little wider and Gyeoul’s right there; dressed up for the day and still so beautiful. If anything, the morning light seems to amplify her beauty even more, and here is Jimin, lounging on the couch with a duvet wrapped around her shoulders because she’s been stewing in embarrassment and mortification since she woke up.

 

Reluctantly getting up, she sees amusement dancing on the woman’s face but mercifully doesn’t point it out.

 

“Hi,” Jimin murmurs, feeling underdressed as she notices Gyeoul’s oversized shirt, cozy-looking sweater, and loose shorts. “What are you doing here?”

 

Gyeoul bites her lips, hands hidden behind her back.

 

“Do you want to go out on a date?” She exhales easily while Jimin’s heart pounds. Gyeoul shakes her head. “Actually, no, wait. Do you want to be my girlfriend? Just for the duration that we’re here? I promise I’ll make it worth it.”

 

It’s… a lot to take in.

 

One, why? Two, Jimin doesn’t even know her. Let alone know when this will last.

 

But Gyeoul’s looking up at her with her doe-eyes, sparkling in a better, brighter light under the morning sun, and Jimin already knows her answer before she can deny it.

 

“I don’t even know your name,” Jimin says weakly, leaning on the open door because what is happening right now?

 

“You can keep calling me Gyeoul, I’ll keep calling you Jagi.” When Jimin still looks unconvinced, she pouts. “Come on, please? I had a really great time last night and my brother’s meeting up with his friends. I don’t want to go with them.”

 

Fine,” Jimin agrees but only to wipe the pout off of the woman’s face. It’s entirely too dangerous, “Let me go change and freshen up.”

 

“You’re already beautiful,” Gyeoul remarks, tongue poking out from her teeth as she smiles.

 

Jimin stands straighter, cursing inside her head because she’s never this bold, blushing but there’s a deep satisfaction that zaps through her spine when the other woman’s eyes drop to her breasts. “Do you want me to go out wearing pajamas?”

 

She’s obviously not wearing anything underneath and she bites her lip, satisfied in knowing that she’s attractive in the eye of someone like Gyeoul, someone who could quite possibly get anyone she wants.

 

Gyeoul’s eyes are still dark when they meet Jimin’s. “Or,” she tries to bargain, stepping closer. “We can stay inside?”

 

“I was promised a date,” Jimin deadpans, flattered nonetheless.

 

“Fine,” Gyeoul whines. “I’ll wait out here.”

 

::

 

When Jimin walks out the door, she’s already tamed her hair to a proper shape, the sundress she picked seemed to be a good choice because Gyeoul can’t stop staring at her.

 

“Ready?” Jimin asks when Gyeoul seems to be frozen.

 

“Right,” she lightly shakes her head, the action reminding Jimin too starkly of a puppy. She finally takes her hands from behind her, holding up a bouquet of mismatched flowers.

 

“Did you steal these from someone’s garden?”

 

“The sidewalk, actually.” Gyeoul proudly admits. “From my house to yours.”

 

Jimin smiles softly, delicately holding the flowers in her hand. “You mean your rental?”

 

Gyeoul’s smile dims and Jimin hates it. “Yeah,” she shrugs, “that.”

 

The force of her desperation to fix things should scare Jimin but to hell with being scared.

 

She’s not going to meet another Gyeoul in her life again.

 

“These are beautiful,” she leans forward, gently kissing a soft cheek, staying before pulling away. “Thank you.”

 

::

 

Gyeoul takes her back to the beach.

 

There’s a beachball tournament and dozens of street food tents popped up overnight. People are shouting, someone’s blaring an annoyingly catchy jingle about seaweed, and a shoutcaster’s commentary overlaps with everything else.

 

Everything is hot, sticky, and humid. Jimin’s glad that she wore something light because, after a few minutes of cooking under the sun, Gyeoul tugs her to the side so she can take off her sweater, bangs matted against her forehead.

 

Jimin clicks her tongue, happy that her dress has pockets and she had the thought to shove a handkerchief inside earlier. She holds Gyeoul’s chin, resisting the urge to coo when she closes her eyes to let Jimin wipe off her sweat.

 

“You’re cute,” Jimin explodes, unable to hold back. She bites her lips. “Like, really really cute right now. I want to put you in my pocket.”

 

“Later,” Gyeoul admonishes, tugging her back to the center of everything. “Now, food!”

 

The whole day, Jimin is content with watching people gravitate around Gyeoul, also helpless against her gravity, and she’s fine with it. Gyeoul always finds her eyes through the crowd, flashing Jimin a grin, before charming her way to another free serving of bingsu.

 

She doesn’t know what to do with the sinking feeling inside her chest when she realizes that with all the people around them, from different backgrounds and varying levels of preferability than Jimin, Gyeoul always, always comes back to her side.

 

::

 

That night they slept together.

 

But not like that.

 

When someone won the tournament and the vendors start packing their tents up, all they’re left with is a plethora of leftovers that Gyeoul managed to charm from the vendors and a cloudless sky.

 

“Come on,” Gyeoul says around a chicken wing, already nighttime. “I’m teaching you how to find stars. Do you have a compass on your phone?”

 

Jimin doesn’t know what they’re doing, watching as Gyeoul lays down her phone in between them, calibrating the compass with garlic parmesan stuck to the side of her mouth. She looks up at the sky, wonders what’s so special about them.

 

“I don’t see that many stars,” Jimin points out, smiling at Gyeoul when she cheers victoriously with Jimin’s phone in hand.

 

Gyeoul squints up at the sky, turning the compass until the needle points in the middle of south and southeast. “There!” She points at a dot brighter than the ones around it. “That’s Jupiter and from there, Capricorn and Aquarius should be nearby…”

 

Some names that Gyeoul mentions are familiar; zodiac signs, a name of someone she read somewhere, but most are lost on her and after half an hour of pointing at barely-there specks, Jimin lies back on their blanket, just listening.

 

“So, if I want to find a star, I just find something… familiar?”

 

Frankly, Jimin doesn’t know what she’s saying but it seems to be correct, Gyeoul nodding excitedly and leaning against her knees.

 

“Yeah, like a common point. Like how the north star is visible for people in the northern hemisphere so they have their own gnarly compass.”

 

“Then they just go from there? You can find all the stars and planets?”

 

Gyeoul grins, plops down dramatically beside Jimin. “Just like that.”

 

“Sounds like a lot to remember.”

 

She feels Gyeoul snort more than hear it, their shoulders pressed tightly together side by side, Jimin’s phone digging against their hips.

 

“I have an idea. This will make you remember at least one.”

 

Jimin stays lying down. “Okay, I’ll bite. What?”

 

“Do you have moles?”

 

“Is this your semi-romantic way of getting me to take off my dress?” Jimin teases, propping herself up on her elbows when Gyeoul sits up, flustered.

 

“Maybe?”

 

She’s got a cute grin on her face, embarrassed but something Jimin is growing to learn that she can’t really say no to.

 

“I’m wearing a bikini underneath anyway,” she mumbles under her breath, awkward despite being the one who hinted at it in the first place.

 

Jimin burns up at Gyeoul’s scrutiny of her skin, fingertips delicately mapping, sighs of disappointment dropping from her lips when she’s short just one mole, jagi.

 

Finally, she settles on a cluster of moles right against Jimin’s left hip bone, dress already tugged back to her shoulders and the skirt bunched up around her waist. Jimin wishes no one sees them right now because she knows what they might look like to someone else and she’d rather not get arrested for public indecency.

 

“Here,” Gyeoul taps, waiting for Jimin to look. “Aries.”

 

“Oh?” Jimin pinches her skin, listens to Gyeoul talk about the four bright stars that make up the constellation. “That’s my zodiac sign.”

 

“See, a piece of the sky is always with you,” Gyeoul tells her, voice suddenly quiet. The waves lap at the shore, restless, and it takes Jimin a second of staring into Gyeoul’s eyes to figure out that the other woman is leaning down. Until her lips are right there, pressed against the constellation she mapped on Jimin’s skin. “I know how to track stars. I’ll find you.”

 

Her eyes are shining with melancholy so Jimin pulls her close, holds each other until they fall asleep like that, on the beach and nothing else.

 

They wake up with sand everywhere, still curled up together.

 

Gyeoul walks her back to her Airbnb, the scene familiar as they hold hands. Only this time, Gyeoul leans up to kiss Jimin fully on the lips, not letting go until the first rays of the sunrise kiss their cheeks.

 

Jimin watches her walk towards the sunrise, her silhouette swallowed whole by the sun.

 

Gyeoul doesn’t knock on her door again and Jimin goes back to Seoul.

 

::

 

autumn.

 

::

 

The smell of pumpkin spice always tickles Jimin’s nose but autumn is the season where it’s advertised in literally everything and not even coffee can escape.

 

She counts how many more people are in the line in front of her before deciding to open her emails, double-checking if she missed anything for today’s meeting—memos, last-minute presentation changes, a paper jam as her secretary prints the outline she’ll disseminate—before Jimin decides that it’s a lot to process for someone that hasn’t had their caffeine fix yet.

 

There’s nothing notable or out of the ordinary about the corner coffee shop on her way to work. The staff is quick and efficient, their coffee alright for the price, and when Jimin indulges with the occasional pastry, it’s still pleasantly warm; overall checking every box in Jimin’s mental standard list.

 

It’s reasonably priced and that’s really all Jimin can ask for, isn’t it?

 

A child cries somewhere in the shop and Jimin instinctively looks for the source but instead, her heart races. There, by the pick-up counter, just a few paces in front of the crying baby and haggard mother, is the shape of a person that’s been haunting her since last year’s summer.

 

Jimin knows she should stop.

 

It's been more than a year and whenever she sees blonde hair and a silhouette around the same height as Gyeoul, her heart traitorously races, beating loudly in her chest and asking is it you, is it finally you? 

 

Only to be disappointed when they turn their head and it's a different slope of a nose, a different smile, none of Gyeoul's blinding radiance.

 

And yet she stares.

 

Stares until the woman shivers at nothing, looking up, and Jimin holds her breath because for once, her heart finally got it right.

 

Blonde hair longer than she remembers tied up in a messy bun, brown eyes with the familiar sparkles staring back at her, surprised, and it’s like watching creamer dissolve in dark coffee—transforming into something new, something lighter.

 

“Green tea latte for Minjeong!”

 

Jimin can only watch as the woman flusters to take her coffee. Minjeong bounces inside her head. Her name is Minjeong!

 

“Good morning! The usual?” The cashier chirps loudly, Jimin fumbling with her wallet as she eeks out a yes, please. When she looks back, Minjeong is still at the pick-up counter, drink in hand, unbelieving as she observes Jimin in her world, in this non-notable coffee shop at the street corner near her office building.

 

It’s awkward, Jimin shuffling until they’re next to each other, resolutely looking ahead. They’re waiting for Jimin’s drink, she knows, and she’s going to be late for work but Jimin could care less.

 

She has so many things she wants to say: how have you been, who are you, are you real, and the heaviest of them all is why didn’t you say goodbye?

 

But it’s too loud to make conversation, the outside world too hectic for it to beat down on this fragile connection they have, so they wait. Jimin can feel Minjeong’s restlessness, chewing on her drink’s straw, sneaking glances at Jimin, but it’s just a little bit more.

 

A little bit more patience, a little bit more heartbreak.

 

Jimin decides that it’s worth it.

 

“Mocha cappuccino for Jimin!”

 

Minjeong’s eyes are still wide when Jimin takes her drink, meeting Jimin’s when she gestures to the table out front. The other woman follows her and it’s such a stark contrast from the firecracker woman that tugged her along the beach of Busan last summer that Jimin finds herself nervous, an unknowing pressure on her shoulders to not fuck this up.

 

They sit quietly, Jimin shooting a quick text to her secretary that she’s running late, and the sidewalk traffic is thankfully dwindling down, most office workers now settling in their desks and starting their day.

 

“So,” Minjeong decides to break the silence first. There’s a crack of the familiar grin that Jimin remembers, just buried under the thin layer of disbelief and shyness. “Jimin, huh? And in Seoul of all places.”

 

“Minjeong,” she tastes the name on her tongue carefully, mindful not to drink her coffee just yet. “And that’s jagi for you.”

 

Minjeong laughs and it’s the same, Jimin helpless as she basks in hearing it in person. For the longest time, she thought she’d gone mad, Gyeoul made up from the hopelessness of her romantic heart.

 

But she’s real.

 

She’s real and she’s staring at Jimin with the familiar slope of a nose, the same smile, the inextinguishable radiance of her soul.

 

“Okay, jagi-ah.”

 

Jimin’s heart constricts painfully, then she exhales and it’s lighter. Better now with Minjeong.

 

She wants to say you left but there’s too much accusation in that, especially with knowing that there was no way it would’ve lasted, not with Jimin going back to Seoul and Minjeong somewhere she never knew; never thought to ask.

 

So instead, she settles for:

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

“Looking for you,” Minjeong replies without a thought, shy and bold at the same time, the sun on her cheek just like the morning she asked Jimin out on the porch of her Airbnb. “I told you that I’d find you, didn’t I?”

 

Jimin scoffs, hiding her fluster with a sip of her coffee. “I found you.”

 

Minjeong reclines in her seat, head tilted towards Jimin like a sunflower seeking the sun and it’s ridiculous because if anyone between them would be shining, it’s Minjeong.

 

“Here I am.”

 

::

 

They end up exchanging numbers when Jimin can no longer push her work day back and Minjeong lets her go.

 

This time, Minjeong tells her how long she’ll stay.

 

On Jimin’s skin, near the inside of her elbow, hidden by her blazer, Minjeong writes down every important detail.

 

KIM MINJEONG

0XX-XXX-XXXX

1023-1106

 

Minjeong’s sweater slips as she writes down, Jimin curious about the splatters of paint on her arm.

 

“I’m helping my grandma paint her little greenhouse,” she tells Jimin, something so trivial yet big because it’s a glimpse of Minjeong’s life, a little farther than anything else Jimin has seen. “I’m staying at her house.”

 

It sets something in Jimin’s heart at ease.

 

Minjeong’s not staying at a rental this time. Somewhere in Seoul, Minjeong has roots.

 

Somewhere in Seoul, Jimin is rooted.

 

Minjeong is real.

 

“I’ll call you,” Jimin promises, already hating that she’s the one leaving this time.

 

Minjeong waves her away. “I’ll wait.”

 

::

 

Jimin won’t make the same mistake this time.

 

She calls Minjeong to go out whenever they’re both free, taking her out to night markets, splurging on restaurants, and buying Minjeong little trinkets just because she found them cute.

 

(It’s in the loneliness of her apartment, coming down from the high of spending the day with Minjeong, that Jimin realizes how desperately she’s trying to leave her mark on Minjeong’s life. Just like how Minjeong came into hers and effortlessly changed Jimin, ruined for anyone else.)

 

This time, Jimin takes pictures of MInjeong and Minjeong lets her.

 

She wants to immortalize every moment as much as she can, something tangible and something she can look back on instead of just imagining.

 

“Give,” Minjeong holds her hand out. They’re in the middle of a little European-inspired strip mall, the sidewalks made of cobblestone, and someone busking in the middle of it all with an accordion. “I want to take pictures of you this time.”

 

Jimin balks. She wants to complain that it’s useless—she has no use for pictures of herself, only wants Minjeong—but ultimately, she can’t say no to Minjeong. No matter how hard she tries.

 

She hands over the film camera to Minjeong, feeling silly and limbs longer than she’s used to now that Minjeong expects her to pose. She’s awkward, suddenly shy in her own skin with all of Minjeong’s attention on her, and it takes Minjeong holding her hand, telling her to relax, for Jimin to loosen the knot between her shoulder blades.

 

“Just be,” Minjeong murmurs, taking a picture of Jimin eating ice cream. “Exist right now. Here with me.”

 

(Later, much much later, when Minjeong has already gone away from Seoul and the weather is colder, Jimin finally gets the courage to get the photos printed.

 

She never knew how beautiful her smile looked when Minjeong was right there with her.

 

Existing. Together in the same space.)

 

::

 

They’re supposed to go out tonight but there’s an emergency at Jimin’s work so Minjeong comes over to her apartment instead.

 

“Sorry,” Jimin opens the door with her phone tucked between her ear and shoulder, holding a spatula in hand and offering to take Minjeong’s coat with the other. Minjeong waves her off. “I have to finish this call, can you just stir the pan? Make sure it doesn’t burn? If I’m not done in three minutes, turn off the fire.”

 

“What are you making?” Minjeong asks, taking off her shoes and putting her coat away so fast that Jimin wonders if she naturally looks like she belongs everywhere, able to make a home out of anywhere.

 

“Spaghetti. The meatballs are cooling on the rack.”

 

“I’ll take care of it,” Minjeong winks at her, taking the spatula from Jimin and bumping their hips together. “Go back to work, I’ll be fine.”

 

Jimin almost lurches forward, almost drops a kiss on Minjeong’s cheek in thanks, and manages to pull back just in time to remember that they don’t do that. Even if it may be natural for her, she doesn’t want to scare Minjeong by being too forward.

 

Minjeong looks at her like she knows.

 

Jimin flushes, excuses herself to resume her phone call, and in between shuffling legal documents and squinting at her laptop screen, she finds the time to glance at Minjeong in the kitchen, swaying her hips to the soft music coming from her phone propped up on the coffee maker.

 

By the time she’s done, Jimin’s exhausted, leaning heavily on the couch as she massages her temple.

 

“Bad day?” Minjeong asks, the table already set, and somehow manages to sneak out a bottle of wine.

 

“Better now,” Jimin sighs out, naturally gravitating near Minjeong. “Sorry for dumping the cooking on you.”

 

“I barely did anything. You were nearly done before I showed up anyway.” Minjeong waves her off, looking around the place. “So. This is where you live?”

 

“Sorry if it’s a mess,” Jimin follows Minjeong’s line of sight, cringing at the off trinkets littered and her work documents a mess on the living room floor. “I didn’t expect that we’re staying in.”

 

“And yet you had time to make spaghetti.”

 

“I can’t let you starve.”

 

Minjeong laughs, the sound echoing around Jimin’s apartment. “Take out is a thing, unnie.”

 

Jimin blinks at the nickname. “I’m older than you?”

 

It’s bizarre but now that Jimin thinks about it, they haven’t discussed their ages yet.

 

This time, Minjeong is the one who looks sheepish. “I kinda looked you up. Yoo Jimin, a hotshot accountant. Hey, did you know you have a red carpet picture?”

 

“It was during a fundraising party two years ago. Before I met you.”

 

MInjeong nods, pouring them both a glass of wine. “Show me around?”

 

The younger woman insists on holding hands, walking around Jimin’s apartment like there’s an imaginary real-estate agent trailing them, role-playing as a couple looking into getting a place together, and Jimin burns at how much she wants that.

 

At how much she wants to keep Minjeong with her.

 

They reach her bedroom, Jimin embarrassingly hiding her discarded pajamas under the covers, and when she looks back, Minjeong is standing by her vanity mirror.

 

Jimin’s heart drops to her stomach. She knows what Minjeong is looking at.

 

Slowly, her reflection stands next to Minjeong’s.

 

Flowers, pressed and laminated, are taped at the edge of her mirror.

 

Minjeong carefully traces the dull colors with her eyes. “Are these…?”

 

“The flowers from the sidewalk, yeah.”

 

Minjeong’s eyes are shining. Jimin doesn’t want her to cry so she holds her hands. “You kept them?”

 

Jimin nods, wants to say I wasn’t sure if we would meet again and it’s the only thing I can hold on to that reminds me of you, wants to say a whole lot more.

 

Patience, she tells her heart, there’s time for everything.

 

“Of course,” is all she says but Minjeong seems to know anyway.

 

::

 

Jimin doesn’t know why it’s labeled as a child’s toy.

 

“That’s obviously a choking hazard.”

 

MInjeong laughs, the sound bursting like firecrackers. “Come on, unnie!”

 

Jimin warily eyes the setup Minjeong made on her balcony. The younger woman purchased an ungodly amount of a kid’s toy that looks like sand but feels like clay and scattered it on top of a tarp spread on Jimin’s balcony.

 

Taking off her slippers, Jimin cringes at the sensation of the fake sand at her feet, gingerly sitting down next to Minjeong. “What are we doing?”

 

“Stargazing.”

 

But there’s too much light pollution, too many planes flying overhead, clouds too thick to see beyond. Jimin is just about to point it out when Minjeong kisses her, light and quick. She’s looking at Jimin intently and it’s with several seconds of brainstorming that Jimin finally gets what she’s referring to.

 

“I’m not a star, Minjeong-ah.”

 

“Really? Could’ve fooled me.” Minjeong grins, happy that Jimin caught on, but still whips out her phone to show Jimin the stars and planets that are right on top of them in real-time. 

 

(Later, much much later, when Jimin’s alone again, she’ll find specks of the fake sand lodged in between her floorboards, and her longing for Minjeong leaves her colder than any winter night.)

 

::

 

Minjeong asked her out this time, telling Jimin that she’ll be picking her up at seven and to dress warmly.

 

Jimin gets a text from Minjeong that says she’s already outside, Jimin hurriedly shoving her hair under a beanie and wondering if she’s dressed warm enough for whatever Minjeong is dragging her. Minjeong impatiently calls her phone and Jimin locks the door behind her.

 

Out on the sidewalk, Minjeong is grinning widely, a little sweaty, and Jimin is already suspicious.

 

“What did you do?”

 

Minjeong simply nods, gesturing for Jimin to look down, and she sees it.

 

Jimin’s heart grows fuller, fonder, and heavier with the weight of words she wants to tell Minjeong.

 

“That’s vandalism,” she exhales, trying so hard to keep everything inside of her.

 

Minjeong shrugs. “You don’t have flowers growing here so I made them instead.”

 

There, on the sidewalk, are flowers drawn in chalk. Jimin looks closely and Minjeong’s hands are caked with chalk dust in the color of a rainbow.

 

“We’re in Seoul,” Jimin rebuts weakly at Minjeong’s disappointment of flowers not growing on the sidewalk. “Does this lead to where you’re staying? Your grandmother’s house?”

 

Minjeong’s smile dims and Jimin knows that melancholy all too well. They’re running out of time again.

 

“No. To, uh, to a rooftop cinema, actually.” She hops in place, the content of the backpack on her shoulders jostling loudly. “I made food and the movie starts in half an hour. Classic Disney reruns.”

 

Jimin sighs. Minjeong is so so perfect but she also knows that no one is; no one could be.

 

And yet, Minjeong is the closest thing to perfect that she’s had the honor of meeting.

 

“I already love it.”

 

::

 

They walk back to Jimin’s apartment, the nostalgia hitting Jimin like a truck and dread trickling down to her fingertips, cold and stifling.

 

Minjeong breaks the silence, always braver than Jimin.

 

“Are you seeing anyone recently?”

 

“No.” Jimin wants to say you.

 

“Why not?”

 

You know damn well why, Jimin thinks, but Minjeong doesn’t look like she’s fishing for compliments so she settles with a: “Not interested in anyone.”

 

“But you’re with me right now,” Minjeong hedges, Jimin’s building coming into view. “Am I special?”

 

Jimin wraps her arm around Minjeong’s shoulder, pulling her close.

 

“Something like that.” But it sounds too close to yes, because you’re you.

 

Despite this, Minjeong leaves her again.

 

::

 

winter.

 

::

 

It takes another year and a season before they talk again despite having each other’s phone numbers.

 

Jimin’s not strong, there have been multiple instances when she’s crippled by the loneliness of being away from Minjeong that she almost calls, almost begs her to come back. But she’s too scared of this.

 

Because what they have isn’t normal. It’s shaped a lot like destiny, fueled by inevitability, and Jimin doesn’t dare break the delicate magic that fate is playing on them. Her faith that they’ll meet again sobers her up most nights, soul too intertwined with Minjeong’s now that it’s impossible that their last meeting would be last November.

 

All she needs to do is be patient.

 

Minjeong doesn’t reach out to her and neither does Jimin.

 

And finally, finally the message Jimin has been waiting for comes through.

 

Kim Minjeong (My Gyeoul) [12:02 AM]

Can I see you again?

 

Yoo Jimin (Jagi) [12:03 AM]

You know where I live :)

 

After a week of waiting for another message of Minjeong coming back, Jimin grows restless. She checks all the local flights for delays, and accidents, then she also checks the train rides, and international flights—everything. She’s exhausted from waiting, her heart stretched thin from trying to reach wherever Minjeong is.

 

She gets drunk, opens the half-drunk bottle of whiskey hidden deep in her cupboards, and downs it without a care. When the alcohol burns her throat, she oddly sobers up. What if Minjeong showed up tonight and you’re drunk out of your mind, Jimin?

 

Instead, she pours over the pattern she’s been noticing over the past two years, so when the streets explode with festive colors and Christmas-themed decorations, she’s ready.

 

Two days before Christmas, an hour before midnight, Minjeong knocks on her front door, luggage behind her.

 

Like every other time, Jimin can’t believe that Minjeong is in front of her, real and breathing.

 

“Can I stay here?”

 

Jimin opens the door wider, as well as her heart, ready to welcome Minjeong despite the heartache and the anxiety of never meeting each other again.

 

“Of course,” slips from her tongue, a little mix of you don’t have to ask, and please don’t leave me again. 

 

Jimin dusts off the snowflakes on Minjeong’s shoulders, the knot in her throat loosening when she palms the warmth Minjeong left on her coat, hanging it up nearly right next to hers. As softly as she can, Jimin gathers Minjeong in her arms, just holding her and letting herself be held.

 

“Got any plans for Christmas?” Minjeong asks right on top of her beating heart, making a home out of Jimin’s arms.

 

“Not much,” she admits, waddling them so they can cuddle on the sofa. “, why?”

 

“Leave it to me, then.”

 

Jimin couldn’t resist so she kisses Minjeong’s forehead, keeps her lips pressed there. “How long are you staying this time?”

 

Minjeong exhales, relaxing her body against Jimin’s. “I have to get back by the third of January.”

 

Jimin nods. “Come on,” she says but doesn’t make a move to get up. “, I’ll help you unpack in the guest bedroom then we’re wearing matching fluffy socks tonight.”

 

She hovers around Minjeong making sure she has everything she might need, every ounce of comfort Jimin is able to offer, and Minjeong soaks up the attention like a sponge. She leaves the promised socks at the foot of Minjeong’s bed, trotting to the kitchen to fix them tea because they’re still too awake to sleep now even though it’s well past midnight already.

 

Minjeong skids across the floor just as Jimin mixes honey in with her drink, amused as Minjeong struggles with the lack of friction.

 

“You look like a puppy. The ones that try to walk after experiencing booties for the first time.”

 

Minjeong glares at her with no real heat. “So you’re saying I’m cute?”

 

Jimin huffs, pushing a mug in Minjeong’s direction. “I said you’re like a puppy.”

 

“You call me a puppy before calling me baby,” Minjeong clicks her tongue, disappointed. “Kinda unfair if you ask me.”

 

Jimin opens her mouth, making a scene that has Minjeong anticipating.

 

“Maybe another time.”

 

“Damn it.”

 

::

 

Something is different.

 

The valet in Jimin’s building grins happily at her, readily taking Jimin’s car keys from her and when he tells her to have a good night with your partner, Ma’am, Jimin already knows that something is up.

 

First of all: the smell.

 

“Oh my god,” Jimin sniffs the air, the apartment warm, and when she peeks around the corner, she dumps her work bag on the floor as she takes in the sight of Minjeong with an apron on, the air smelling like a bakery, and cookies cooling on every available counter surface. “You baked?”

 

It’s a stupid question because of course she can but Jimin’s stupid when it comes to Minjeong, rounding the counter so she can peer at what Minjeong is tinkering with in the oven.

 

“Yup,” the younger woman proudly boasts, holding a cookie for Jimin to taste. “Wife material enough for you?”

 

It’s warm, soft inside and the chocolate chips melt on Jimin’s tongue—it’s how Minjeong makes her feel.

 

“These tastes bland,” she teases, loving the way Minjeong pouts, looking down at the tray in her hands like it personally offended her for not tasting good.

 

“Don’t lie!”

 

Jimin’s peal of laughter surrounds them. “Kidding, they’re very good. No wonder the valet downstairs is in a good mood.”

 

“Is it so hard to compliment me? And yeah, I brought some down and also gave some to your neighbors,” she gestures to a bunch on one side of the kitchen, empty boxes next to it. “Then you can bring that batch to your office, give some to your workmates.”

 

Imagining it is so easy: Jimin giving out boxes of Minjeong’s cookies, everyone from the office digging in, the praises, and Jimin will smile and say oh, my girlfriend made them.

 

But as she looks at Minjeong, back turned to her, fussing over a new batch of cookies, Jimin thinks what are we?

 

“Thank you,” she decides to ask some other time. Jimin comes up to Minjeong, dropping a quick kiss on a sweater-covered shoulder, before backing away. Minjeong sways, chasing her lips. “I’m sure everyone will love them, babe.”

 

Minjeong stills at the name, wide eyes looking at Jimin.

 

“You—that’s not fair!”

 

::

 

Minjeong already knows that Jimin’s coworkers appreciated the cookies, everyone egging Jimin on to video call her during work hours so everyone can say their thanks.

 

(“My friend made them,” the word tastes wrong, misplaced because if there’s one thing Minjeong is for Jimin, a friend doesn’t cut it. “She’s staying with me over the holidays.”

 

“Call her!”

 

And Minjeong burning at everyone talking over to give her well-wishes and praises is an image Jimin will never forget. It’s another aspect of her life that Minjeong touched, another reminder that she’s real, she’s not made up.

 

She’s real and she made cookies for her co-workers and she waits for Jimin to come home.)

 

Snow has been steadily falling over the past few days and when Jimin comes back home, the apartment still smells like cookies and now chocolate, and her…couch is everywhere.

 

“Minjeong?” she tentatively calls out, watching as a blanket-turned-roof shakes and Minjeong’s head pops out from underneath. “What are you doing?”

 

“Pillow fort!” Minjeong exclaims looking at Jimin oddly like she’s not supposed to be surprised. “Change into comfortable clothes then get in here with me.”

 

It’s a bit humid inside, Minjeong not waiting for Jimin to settle down before giving her a mug of hot chocolate.

 

“Why did you suddenly make a pillow fort?” Jimin asks, sipping the chocolate and falls a little more when Minjeong laughs at the foam mustache on her lips. “Did something happen?”

 

“No,” Minjeong ushers her to lie down on the spare blankets, making sure Jimin’s comfortable before taking her place beside her. “I just wanted to have you all to myself.”

 

Jimin snorts, hands seeking so she can intertwine their fingers. Minjeong’s hands fit well with hers, filling out every space with her own weight, and Jimin tugs so their hands rest over her chest, close to her heart.

 

“You already have me,” she whispers, eyes closed.

 

Minjeong gives her the other half of her earphones and they spend the evening like that, staring up at Jimin’s spare blankets, the smell of chocolate heavy around them, curled up in each other, and serenading their little world with hush love songs about forever and fate.

 

::

 

She decides to surprise Minjeong by coming home early.

 

Jimin knows that there’s a farmer’s market set up two blocks away from her apartment but it’s out of her way to work so she never had a reason to visit. Now, she power walks her way, suit and all, to a flower stall and gets their prettiest flowers.

 

Minjeong deserves the best.

 

She gets her own surprise.

 

Minjeong is napping on the couch, earphones in, the afternoon sun soaking her skin like a personalized spotlight. Jimin looks down, heart growing in size, because she never expected to be so smitten at the sight of Minjeong wearing her clothes.

 

Brown eyes slowly open, sensing someone looking at her, and Minjeong startles at Jimin hovering over the back of the couch.

 

Fuck,” Minjeong curses, yanking the earphones away, holding her heart. “I thought someone broke in.”

 

“You look comfy,” Jimin gives her a pointed look at the shirt she was sure she just washed last night.

 

“You left everything in the dryer, so…”

 

Jimin wants to say everything I have, say it, and it’s yours or you don’t have to ask next time, but Minjeong spots the flowers before she can say anything.

 

“It’s okay,” is all Jimin says, falling in place next to Minjeong, handing her the flowers. She fixes Minjeong’s hair, roots now about an inch long, and loops her arms around her until they’re cuddling on the couch, hearts pressed together as they beat fast, unsynced.

 

::

 

The rain hasn’t stopped.

 

Coins and a few scant bills scatter in the space between them. It’s dumb but when Minjeong proposed racing rain drops down the window with a silly grin on her face, Jimin falls mute, pointing at a drop and branding it as hers.

 

Jimin’s phone is propped by the windowsill, a live countdown playing and the volume turned down low.

 

“I win again,” Minjeong happily gathers coins into her growing pile of money, counting them like she’s in a high-stakes casino. “That’s three times in a row now, baby.”

 

Jimin rolls her eyes but her attention is elsewhere. On a small screen, the timer ticks. “Come here,” she opens her arms, just enough for Minjeong to slide in, and their little game is forgotten. “You’re so tiny.”

 

Minjeong hums in agreement, seemingly liking the way slender arms can easily wrap around her. “Do you think they’ll bring out fireworks?”

 

The sky is dark, darker than usual even though it’s nearing midnight. Jimin shakes her head.

 

“Highly unlikely. It’s still raining.”

 

“That’s kinda sad,” Minjeong pouts, Jimin kisses a puffed cheek.

 

4…

 

3…

 

2…

 

1.

 

Softly, cold hands cradle Minjeong’s jaw, she pliantly goes as Jimin tilts her head and kisses her softly, slowly, savoring.

 

“Happy birthday.”

 

The kiss seemed to have shut down Minjeong’s brain, taking her a few seconds for the statement to sink in before she flushes, shy.

 

“How did you know?”

 

A tight grip holds onto Jimin’s heart. “Didn’t mean to see your brother’s text. You were in the shower and you forgot to lock your phone,” Jimin admits, listening to the whispers of her heart and pressing tiny hundred kisses across Minjeong’s face so she knows that she’s adored, seen. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

“It’s the new year,” Minjeong defends like it should make sense. “It’s everyone’s birthday.”

 

“No,” Jimin is quick to throw back, holding Minjeong a little bit tighter, a little bit firmer. “It’s yours.”

 

“Oh?” Their eyes meet and Jimin delights in the mischievousness swirling in the depths of Minjeong’s eyes. God, you’re so pretty. “I get special treatment?”

 

“Only from me.” Jimin can’t help the little grit in her voice as she says the words, rough, and Minjeong’s eyes darken at her tone.

 

“Possessive,” Minjeong murmurs, throwing an arm around Jimin’s shoulder so she can balance herself, hoisting herself up and on top of Jimin’s lap. “I like it.”

 

Come here.”

 

::

 

Fancy restaurants are not something Jimin indulges herself often with but it’s been raining nonstop since new year’s and she’s been wanting to take Minjeong out for a proper date, a proper birthday celebration with wine bottles tucked away for a pretty price and sparkling gold-littered dessert cakes.

 

Minjeong insists on getting ready separately and Jimin isn’t allowed to peek.

 

Tch, Jimin clicks her tongue, no fun.

 

Going out tonight finally gives her the chance to wear one of her pantsuits that has been gathering dust in the corner of her wardrobe, price tag still intact, and everything. It’s nice to also get dolled up every once in a while, Jimin feeling confident with her ironed-out hair and crimson lips.

 

Down the hallway, a door opens.

 

“Finally,” Jimin mutters under her breath, standing up delicately because the heels she chose to wear are a little too high than what she usually wears. She turns to look at the soft barefoot sound of Minjeong’s feet and when she catches sight of the younger woman, all air in the room is gone. “Wow.”

 

Minjeong is wearing a silver number, glittering under the Christmas lights Minjeong put up in the hallway and never bothered to take down. She’s barefoot, the heels she’s supposed to be wearing dangling from one hand along with a purse. 

 

Beautiful doesn’t seem to cut how wonderful she looks and Jimin tentatively takes a step forward, her soul bowing in the presence of Minjeong’s radiance.

 

She doesn’t realize how hard she’s staring until the faint blush bleeds from Minjeong’s cheeks to where the strap of her dress kisses delicate collarbones.

 

“Stop that,” Minjeong whines, blonde hair falling forward and hurriedly tucked behind her ears. She fusses with her things, making a conscious effort to avoid Jimin coming closer.

 

They’re standing in the living room, Jimin gawking like she’s seeing Minjeong for the first time, and the air crackles with tension.

 

“Baby.”

 

Minjeong stiffens, leaning her hip against the back of the couch as she looks at Jimin, flustered.

 

“You never—” she stutters, biting her lip to stop the words from tumbling, and oh how Jimin aches to close the space, free her lower lip with a thumb. She can feel the phantom-like softness of Minjeong’s lips, hands twitching by her side. “Stop that or we’re not going out.”

 

There’s an implication there, maybe an invitation if Jimin thinks about it hard enough, but all of her brain cells are actively working together to burn the image of Minjeong in her memory, not wanting to miss any detail.

 

Jimin steps closer.

 

Minjeong doesn’t move, looks at her with dark make-up around her eyes, and Jimin wants to mess it up.

 

When she’s close enough, Jimin traces Minjeong’s cheekbones delicately, hand settling on a quivering jaw, fingertips barely touching a fluttering pulse.

 

“I thought you like it when I call you baby?”

 

Minjeong’s breath stutters, her chest rising rapidly beneath the glitter fabric.

 

“A little bit too much, it seems,” she murmurs, welcoming Jimin as she comes even closer. Her arms wound up around Jimin’s shoulders, fingers intertwining as she pulls Jimin into her orbit. She nibbles her lips, sinfully tempting. “Do we have reservations?”

 

Jimin watches the words form on her lips.

 

“No…”

 

“Okay,” Minjeong sounds like she’s psyching herself up, brows set in a determined line. “Good.”

 

Then she’s surging upwards, kissing Jimin desperately.

 

Minjeong has been in her room before but not like this.

 

Now, she’s walking backward, hands clenched tightly against the front of Jimin’s pantsuit and she wants to laugh. Does Minjeong think that Jimin would rather be somewhere else than here? Keeping Jimin close so she can’t get away? Or is she simply tugging her along, impatient?

 

Jimin hopes it’s the last one.

 

Because with all that she's been doing for the past three years, Jimin doesn’t think she can handle it if Minjeong can’t see even a glimpse of how deeply she’s fallen.

 

“Let me,” Jimin murmurs, keeping Minjeong from kissing her again. Their height difference is laughable, Jimin still wearing four-inch heels, and Minjeong’s are long dropped on the way to the bedroom. The tab of Minjeong’s zipper runs along the back. Jimin holds onto Minjeong’s hips, turning her around so that the younger woman faces the edge of the bed. “Bend over.”

 

Minjeong shivers, a sound caught in her throat, and ultimately does as Jimin says. Her hands glide on the sheets, sensual, Jimin drinking the sight in as she tugs off her shoes.

 

This, Jimin thinks—Minjeong sprawled out on top of Jimin’s bed, hips flush against the edge of the bed, head tilted so that one eye catches Jimin’s—this is where you belong.

 

Slowly, Jimin pulls the zipper, Minjeong’s skin unraveling before her like the perfect present. Her skin is smooth with faint tan lines, and a fine dusting of light freckles on her shoulders. Jimin maps them all with her lips.

 

She delights in every shiver, every jump as she brushes against somewhere that sets off firecrackers inside of Minjeong. Every hitched breath, every muffled moan—Jimin absorbs it all, soaks in the reassurance of Minjeong, here and close.

 

“Unnie,” Minjeong pants out, arms weak and pliant, going as Jimin directs them out of the straps of her dress. Jimin pulls the fabric, up and over the plumpness of Minjeong’s ass, and the lack of bra and simple black underwear makes her curse. “Hurry up.”

 

Minjeong’s voice is pitched high, breathy, and it snaps Jimin to taking off her pantsuit faster than she’s ever done. Minjeong eyes her as she strips, amused but doesn’t move from her position on the bed.

 

Good.

 

They’re on the same page, it seems.

 

“Sorry, did I take too long?” Jimin is cruel, already naked, pressing the line of her body on top of Minjeong’s for a moment. It’s a taste, a glimpse of the near future, and the way Minjeong clamps her thighs together tightly before whining under Jimin’s weight sets her soul on fire. Lips press against red-tipped ears. “What would you like me to do to you?”

 

Minjeong cranes her neck, a fire ignited behind her eyes.

 

“Everything,” she tempts, relaxing like she’s surrendering her fate. “All you want to do and then some more.”

 

This time, Jimin shivers. She peels herself from Minjeong’s back, impatient and hands shaking as she pulls down Minjeong’s underwear.

 

She’s damp, the outer lips of her cunt puffy and glistening. Ready.

 

“That’s a lot to ask of me,” Jimin murmurs, one hand reverently caressing a bare ass cheek. Minjeong lifts her hip slightly to chase Jimin’s hand. She gets the message, pulling her hand back and delivering a light blow. Minjeong moans, Jimin curses. “Shit, are you really sure about this?”

 

“Yes,” Minjeong sighs. “Give me everything.”

 

Jimin nods although she doubts that Minjeong can see it.

 

She starts with one finger, a steady pressure making its way inside of Minjeong. Another hand snakes between the bed and Minjeong, seeking until it’s pressing against a throbbing clit, unmoving.

 

Minjeong is tight, resisting Jimin’s finger until the moment the pad of her fingertips brushes against something soft, warmer, deeper. Minjeong jolts like she’s electrified, cunt fluttering around Jimin’s finger.

 

Jimin almost drools, slowly retreating, and pushes back with two fingers this time. Minjeong whines, low and full, tilting her hips so Jimin can sink even deeper. The younger woman sobs when Jimin finds the same spot, this time the sensation of pleasure is thicker, two fingers softly coaxing her flesh, the sensation doubled.

 

“You’re making a mess,” Jimin comments, own voice wrecked. “Turn around. Move further up.”

 

On shaky legs, Minjeong complains as Jimin retreats her fingers but does as told. She’s red all over, eyes glassy with unshed tears, nipples pebbled and begging to be sucked on. Jimin resists.

 

She nudges Minjeong’s knees, making room for herself in between spread legs. The sheets are warm from Minjeong’s body, Jimin settling. She hooks both arms under Minjeong’s thighs, fingers digging in and loving the finger-shaped pink that blossoms.

 

Their eyes meet and Minjeong nods. Jimin dives in.

 

Minjeong is even messier on her tongue, her flavor tangy and undoubtedly woman.

 

Jimin is a relentless pressure, sucking and flicking her tongue without any pattern. Minjeong shouts at the unpredictability of it, thighs clamped hard around Jimin’s head and fingers carefully treading around Jimin’s hair.

 

“Jimin,” Minjeong moans, high and keening, nearly shouting now. “Inside, please, need you inside.”

 

Jimin couldn’t resist now, fucking Minjeong with two fingers without any warning. Minjeong shouts, the sound punched out of her lungs as her back arches perfectly. Jimin repositions her hold, one hand tightly grasping Minjeong’s ass so she can’t buckle away.

 

Minjeong has no choice but to come, shaking and trembling from the intensity of it.

 

Jimin gasps for air, flushed cheeks resting against damp thighs. She watches Minjeong still lost in pleasure, eyes shut tight and that just won’t do.

 

“Eyes on me,” Jimin grits out, the two fingers inside of Minjeong coming back to life. Minjeong’s eyes open, incredulous, mouth gaping open in a wordless scream as Jimin starts fucking her again. “Keep your eyes on me, Minjeong.”

 

“Yes,” Minjeong hisses, holding herself up on her elbows, weak and wobbly but keeps her eyes on Jimin nonetheless. “More.”

 

Jimin gives her everything and then some more.

 

She hopes it’s enough to make Minjeong stay this time.

 

(It isn’t.)

 

::

 

spring.

 

::

 

Another year passed.

 

This time, Minjeong texts her in between their destined meetings. Jimin replies in kind but she’s heartbroken.

 

Every time Minjeong leaves, Jimin builds herself back up and hopes that she’s whole again by the time Minjeong comes back.

 

She doesn’t know how much more of the heartbreak she can take before the pieces are too small, too fine, and suffered too many cracks until they’re unable to be mended.

 

This time, Jimin is more heartbroken than whole when Minjeong comes back in her arms.

 

She fits right here, Jimin thinks as she holds Minjeong tighter, a little bit more desperate. Why can’t she see that?

 

The airport bustles with people that go on about their lives, uncaring about the two women holding each other in the middle of it all.

 

Jimin’s eyes are damp when she sees the flower crown of mismatched flowers in Minjeong’s hand. They’re a little crumpled, a few petals drooping, but they’re still the most beautiful flowers she’s ever received.

 

“Sidewalk?” Jimin asks, gingerly taking it from Minjeong’s hand.

 

The younger woman shakes her head. “From our garden this time.”

 

Minjeong is still wearing her graduation gown, cap mercifully not on her head though, standing on her tiptoes to put the flower crown on top of Jimin’s head.

 

“I still can’t believe you came here right after the ceremony,” Jimin sounds exasperated but her smile is fond, taking Minjeong’s luggage. She tries not to let hope grow in her heart when it’s two this time, heavier than last year.

 

She tries not to think about what it might mean.

 

“Yeah, well, my family and I celebrated yesterday.”

 

“You should be celebrating for a whole week,” Jimin scolds, heaving the bags to the trunk of her car. Minjeong does nothing to help but she takes off the toga, tossing it on top of her things. “Finishing a doctorate is impressive.”

 

“It makes me a nerd,” Minjeong deadpans, sliding in the passenger seat like she owns it. Like she wasn’t gone.

 

Jimin shakes her head.

 

No use dwelling on it now.

 

“I’m so proud of you, by the way,” Jimin remarks as she pulls away from the curb and into Seoul traffic.

 

Minjeong holds her hand through the center console.

 

“I know.”

 

::

 

Jimin knows it's her birthday before her eyes even open.

 

The first thing that she sees is a cake with unlit candles on the nightstand and Minjeong curled on the edge of the bed, still in her clothes from yesterday.

 

Minjeong was particularly distant last night, saying she has some last-minute documents to turn over regarding her dissertation and Jimin gave her a wide berth, content in listening as Minjeong solves complicated problems under her breath, camped on the living room table as Jimin reads a novel on the couch.

 

She remembers pressing a kiss on Minjeong’s head a little after eleven in the evening, excusing herself to bed. Minjeong says that she’ll follow soon but to not wait up for her. Ever since they slept together last January, the bed in the guest bedroom remains empty. There’s no use for it anymore.

 

Jimin moves to take a closer look at the cake and it’s then that Minjeong startles awake.

 

“Hi,” Jimin greets, amused at the panic on Minjeong’s face. “Good morning.”

 

“Fuck, did I fall asleep?”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin giggles, the pieces now falling into place.

 

“That’s so lame,” Minjeong groans, punching the pillow lightly. “Why did you have to look so cozy when you’re sleeping?”

 

“What were you planning anyway?”

 

Minjeong’s pouting, reluctantly getting up from the bed. She carefully places the cake beside Jimin on the bed, lighting the candles with a lighter on the bedside.

 

“Happy birthday,” she softly sings, eyes glittering with sleep and the sparkles of affection.

 

Jimin’s chest tightens.

 

“Thank you,” she blows out the candles, dipping a finger against the icing to taste it. Chocolate.

 

“I was supposed to greet you at midnight but…” Minjeong shrugs, looking small. “It wasn’t midnight yet so I laid down. I told myself I’ll just close my eyes for a few minutes, wait it out, you know?”

 

“But you fell asleep instead?” Minjeong glares, Jimin laughs, full-bodied and threatening to topple the cake. “You dork.”

 

Minjeong sulks but cheers up when Jimin offers a chocolate-coated finger.

 

Jimin is so in love, she can’t deny it anymore.

 

And yet…

 

What are we, Minjeong?

 

::

 

Jimin knocks on the bathroom door.

 

“Minjeong?”

 

“Yeah?” Her voice is muffled, close to the door.

 

“I forgot my glasses there, can I come in?”

 

Minjeong doesn’t reply but the door unlocks.

 

Jimin pushes the door open and she almost closes it again, blushing.

 

It’s not that Minjeong’s indecent but… she’s wearing a white towel around herself and it takes a certain amount of self-control for Jimin to behave as she watches water droplets kiss Minjeong’s skin, wishing it was her lips instead.

 

“Might want to put on your glasses for a better look,” Minjeong teases, eyeing Jimin through the fogged-up mirror. She’s applying lip balm on her lips.

 

“Don’t need them to see how beautiful you are,” Jimin confesses, moving forward until both arms cage Minjeong against the sink. She delights in the way she can see just how far the red blush travels on Minjeong’s skin, disappearing past the line of her towel. She drops a kiss on Minjeong’s shoulder, just a taste.

 

Minjeong shivers, leaning into Jimin’s space. “Don’t you have work?”

 

“Fuck it,” Jimin replies so quickly that Minjeong giggles. “I can be late.”

 

Their eyes meet through the mirror again.

 

“Who are you and what have you done to Jimin-unnie?”

 

Maybe it’s the sweet scent of body wash on Minjeong’s skin or the steam from the shower making Jimin lightheaded but whatever it is, it can’t be blamed for how she turns Minjeong around, kissing the bob of a delicate throat.

 

“You,” Jimin tells her, nosing her way to Minjeong’s jaw. “You happened.”

 

::

 

This is ridiculous.

 

Minjeong and Jimin are entirely too good. They see an elderly woman struggling in the elevator with folded boxes, they drop their plans for the day and quickly offer their assistance.

 

Now, they’re roped into helping the retired woman living below the apartment with spring cleaning, her fussing over them both as they help her take down things from high places—Jimin—and find odd trinkets under her couch—Minjeong—and they take the fresh orange juice along with jjajangmyeon as a form of payment.

 

Minjeong is sweaty, hair a mess from the bandana the old woman tied around her hair, beads of sweat running down the side of her neck. She looks exhausted but smiles at Jimin with her eyes whenever she catches Jimin staring from the other side of the room and Jimin wants nothing more than to drag them back to their apartment and maybe not go out until tomorrow afternoon at the latest.

 

Jimin pauses bringing down a pile of old china.

 

Their.

 

Since when did she start thinking of the apartment as theirs instead of just hers?

 

::

 

The weather looks nice. Jimin watches from the couch as a cloud travels over a neighborhood building. It’s a Sunday and they did their grocery shopping earlier. Minjeong is somewhere in the apartment.

 

“Minjeong,” Jimin calls out, neatly placing her book on the coffee table. No response. “Minjeong-ah!”

 

When she heard the sound of Minjeong’s socked feet on the floor, she leaves a hand upturned. Predictably, Minjeong rounds the corner innocently, kneeling on the carpet and resting her chin on Jimin’s palm.

 

“What?” she asks, absolutely no thoughts behind her eyes.

 

Jimin coos.

 

“Does the puppy want to go out for a walk?” She can’t help but tease, giggling when Minjeong’s brows furrow but doesn’t take her chin from its perch on Jimin’s palm.

 

“‘m not a puppy.”

 

Jimin raises an eyebrow at the younger woman’s position. “Explain, then?”

 

Minjeong pulls back like she’s been burned, ears red. “Why were you holding your hand like that, then?!”

 

“It was an experiment,” Jimin shrugs, still holding out her hand. Minjeong swats it away. “And I conclude that you are a puppy.”

 

“I thought I was a baby? What happened to that?”

 

Jimin clicks her tongue. “Puppies are baby dogs, Minjeong-ah.”

 

Minjeong huffs, stretching her legs petulantly on the carpet, pouting up a storm. “I’m not going out.”

 

“Even if it’s nice outside?” Jimin can’t stop teasing, smile growing, and cheeks aching.

 

“No.”

 

“Look, it’s breezy and cloudy!” Jimin softly holds the side of Minjeong’s head, turning so she’s looking outside through the living room windows. “Don’t puppies like that?”

 

“It goes with people too, you know,” Minjeong grumbles, leaning on Jimin’s touch.

 

 “I’m making sandwiches, we can have a picnic.”

 

Silence.

 

Then Minjeong reluctantly gets up.

 

“Fine. I’m getting my coat.”

 

“Don’t forget your leash!”

 

Minjeong glares, walking away. “Bite me.”

 

“That’s your job, babe!”

 

::

 

It’s amazing how easily Minjeong blushes.

 

“Baby,” Jimin murmurs against heated skin, mind swimming at the scent of Minjeong’s perfume and sex heavy in the bedroom. Red blossoms on marked skin, making the hickeys that Jimin sucked stand out.

 

“Don’t,” Minjeong whimpers, drooling on the pillow. Jimin presses forward again, driving her hips deeper against Minjeong. “Fuck—don’t say that.”

 

“Why?” Jimin asks, patient. She pulls back, strap-on glistening with Minjeong’s slick. Minjeong wails in agony at the retreat, hands scrambling to hold Jimin’s hips, hooking her fingers under the harness, and tugs her forward so she can thrust inside again. Jimin lets her. “Why can’t I call you my baby?”

 

Minjeong shudders at the possessive tone, back arching more beautifully, hips high in the air. She adjusts her knees so her legs are spread wider, lewd, asking for more.

 

Jimin is only human.

 

She thrusts harder, a little meaner, relishing the moans she chases from Minjeong’s lungs. Jimin makes sure to stay deep, barely letting their skin separate before she’s thrusting forward again, giving Minjeong everything she wants.

 

“Didn’t… say tha—haah,” Minjeong goes a little crazy, mind melting into nothing. “Just… it makes me come hard.”

 

Jimin blinks.

 

She thrusts even harder, the sound of their skin unforgiving, and Minjeong howls for more. Greedy little thing.

 

“Baby,” the name tumbles from Jimin’s lips, folding herself so she’s draped over Minjeong’s back. Her knees give out from under her, trapped under Jimin’s weight and the bed, cunt stretched over again and again and again. “You’re mine, aren’t you, Minjeong-ah?”

 

“Yes,” Minjeong keens, pulling Jimin’s arms so they surround her as well. Willingly trapped in her lover’s embrace. “Yours.”

 

Jimin’s blindsided by her orgasm, hips stuttering, churning, and Minjeong comes with her.

 

::

 

She’s nervous.

 

Jimin fixes her suit, a little wrinkled after a day of work but it’ll do. One of the married women in their apartment building lets her in the garden, making small talk, and when Jimin asks if she can pick a few flowers, she helps her get the best. All pastel colored and pretty.

 

The ride up the elevator is quiet, their apartment even more so. Minjeong hasn’t come home yet and Jimin sits patiently on the couch.

 

She waits.

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

The door doesn’t burst open, no, because Jimin locked the door so she has a few seconds of wiping her clammy hands on her pants, standing up, hearing Minjeong battle with the door before she shoulders her way in.

 

Loud as a hurricane, life-changing and destructive.

 

She’s haggard, folders and suitcase pressed tightly against her small frame. She takes the scent of the Chinese place downtown that they both love, her clothes wrinkled and disheveled. Despite it all, she has a big smile on her face.

 

The grip on Jimin’s heart eases.

 

“I got the job!”

 

Jimin swoops in, uncaring of everything, lifting Minjeong off of her feet and spinning them around in place, happy. Minjeong’s laugh against her hair makes her braver, a little bit more in love.

 

Minjeong is dizzy with the spin and affection, holding her head. Her vision shakes as Jimin holds a bunch of flowers under her nose.

 

“I’m so proud of you, baby.”

 

Minjeong’s smile shifts into a teasing one, her cheeks aflame. “Mm, if I didn’t get the job and you gave me flowers, that would be a little awkward, won’t it?”

 

Jimin narrows her eyes but the smile on her lips softens it.

 

“Oh those aren’t for that,” she replies casually, following Minjeong into the kitchen to grab a vase.

 

Minjeong looks at her, curious. “Oh?”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin’s heart hammers, throat closing up with a lot of words she wants to say. Are you staying? Please stay. You can’t leave me again. I can’t handle it when you’re gone. But she carefully chooses, exhaling the tension from her body. “They’re for my girlfriend.’

 

Minjeong inhales sharply.

 

“You—what?” She shrieks, blushing so fast that Jimin worries about her blood for a moment before ducking, dodging Minjeong’s tiny fists. “That’s how you ask?!”

 

“I’m sorry!” Jimin laughs, rounding the couch. She squeals when Minjeong tackles her from behind, sending them both tumbling towards the cushions. Jimin turns, letting Minjeong settle on her chest, catching her wrists. “I’m sorry. Be my girlfriend?”

 

Minjeong doesn’t run.

 

She settles in Jimin’s arms.

 

“Okay.”

 

::

 

Everything is familiar yet not.

 

The cloud is too thick for stargazing, the waters too cold for a dip.

 

“Hey,” a voice calls out to her. “You coming?”

 

Jimin looks back at Minjeong. Somewhere in the sky above them, the stars remain unmoving, amused at their story.

 

“Yeah,” Jimin walks towards Minjeong.

 

The beach in Busan is the same. The two of them, however, are not.

 

“I love you,” Minjeong tells her out of nowhere.

 

“I love you too,” she answers automatically, words finally free.

 

Jimin’s favorite season is spring.

 

It’s when Minjeong finally stayed.

 

::

 

end.

 

::

 

inspired heavily by this old tumblr four season post:

 

summer - golden light shining through an open window at dusk, beach hair, chipped nail polish, always wants something more, flowers growing out of sidewalk cracks, contagious smile, constellations in the summer night sky

 

autumn - windswept hair in a messy bun, always has paint strokes on hands and arms, vintage vibes, pressed flowers, sand on the inside, drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, smart but doesn’t realize it

 

winter - fluffy socks for sliding around the house like a ninja, smell of baking cookies, listening to music under the covers, oversized jumpers, watching raindrops have races down the window, looks hella cute with dark makeup but doesn’t know it

 

spring - daisy chains and flower crowns, quiet but has so many things to say, always sweet-smelling, smiles from their eyes, picnics, easily blushes, pastel colors

 

::