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Something in the water

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Minjeong remembers the first time she ever swam.

The chill waters engulfed her body full heartedly, and it was like being born again. Unlike other children, Minjeong let her instructor carefully let them teach her that going under water wasn’t scary. And at 8 years old, little Minjeong begged her parents to enroll her in more swim classes.

She grew to love the waters, finding it calming whenever she took a dip, a round back and forth enough to make her forget about how bad her day was. As soon as she’d get out, a smile occupied her lips willingly.

High school came and fortunately for her they had a swim team, which Minjeong immediately applied for. She ended up making it onto to the Varsity team, freshman year. While she enjoyed it, there was always a girl who was tall, sharp eyes, had the physique and was drop dead gorgeous who was one of the only people on par with Minjeong.

She hated it.

She liked having the attention on her and it seemed like the girl did too because she’d give Minjeong a glare whenever she came from the changing room.

Their school was full of incredible swimmers and Minjeong liked the atmosphere, she even made a bunch of new friends too. But with Yu Jimin on the team, there seemed to be a split in the varsity team. To make it even worse, Jimin was captain while Minjeong was vice captain. They became athletic rivals.

She didn’t care but she guessed the others did. They took their sides and eventually, bets of which group would have the better scores were set.

They were fun because it gave Minjeong a sense of thrill. It was always relieving whenever Minjeong saw the slight scowl on Jimin’s face when Minjeong’s group gathered the better scores. It was never a matter of their high school against others but within their own swim team.

They graduated their senior year with the national title, and Minjeong remembered it being the only day where there wasn’t tension in the air.

Offers fly out for a high ranking school for swim teams. Kwangya University. They all accept, excited that they worked hard enough to earn a full ride for a scholarship to one of the top universities.

“Minjeong, can we go now?” Ryujin groans, her knees to her chin while she sits on the long chair.

The brunette rises up to top, slowly back stroking toward the girl’s direction. When she reaches the edge of the pool, Minjeong lifts her goggles to give Ryujin a knowing look.

Ryujin rolls her eyes. “Saturdays are for free sessions going over the things you struggled with during practice.” They both say at the same time, one monotone, the other brightly. Minjeong smiles.

Pulling herself up the wall, she grabs the towel Ryujin hands her, patting the cloth around her body. She removes her swim cap, shaking her head to get her hair back to its normal state.

She scrolls through her phone, looking at the time. “Are you hungry? I’ll get you something to eat.” Minjeong offers.

Her friend immediately springs up from her position. The brunette knows she has Ryujin for Saturday sessions for the rest of the semester. Quickly taking a shower and changing, she feels as if nothing can ruin her day. She in such a good mood that she decides to not to take too long getting ready so Ryujin doesn’t have to wait.

She grabs her keys, pulling Ryujin down the dorm hallways. The raven begs for her to slow down, obviously noticing the beam on Minjeong’s face.

As they leave to go outside, she hears girls giggling, making Ryujin and Minjeong look up.

Remember when Minjeong said nothing was going to ruin her day? Maybe there’s one person who can do just that, ruin her day.

Yu Jimin.

Minjeong plans to walk past them without sparing a glance. She just wants to get out without any problems.

But of course, Jimin bumps into her.

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Jimin immediately apologizes, turning back to look at the person she bumped into.

Ryujin turns around, waving her hand. “It’s fine, have a good rest of your day.” The raven says, she locks eyes with Jimin’s friend, Yeji and swallows.

Yeji holds their contact a bit longer before tugging on Jimin’s arm. “Let’s go.”

Jimin’s eyebrow curves up. “But-”

Turned the other way, Minjeong pokes her tongue against her cheek. “I’m fine. Maybe you should watch where you’re going.” She reminds the two.

Soon, she hears a laugh. “Oh, Minjeong? What a coincidence. Did a little bump rile you up? I said I’m sorry.” She taunts, something the brunette knew was coming.

Ryujin closes her eyes, sighing. “We’re leaving.” She pulls Minjeong toward the exit, not before giving Yeji another glance.

“Aw, leaving so soon? We just got here?” Jimin’s voice fades once they’re outside.

They enter Minjeong’s car, the brunette’s door shutting it a little harder than usual. “I don’t get what her fucking problem is. She’s so unnecessary for no reason.” She rants to her friend.

She hears no response from her friend. “What’s with you?” Minjeong nudges her with her elbow, knocking Ryujin from her daydream.

The raven shakes her head and softly smiles. “Nothing, nothing. Start the car.”

As they eat, Minjeong tries not to let earlier events irk at her every then and there but Jimin’s stupid smirk pops up in her vision every second and it’s starting to piss her off.

Meanwhile,Ryujin enjoys her multiple plates of food joyfully. The brunette suspects something has the raven on cloud 9 but she isn’t sure who or what.

She brushes the thought to the back of her mind.

A swim meet is coming up soon and Minjeong needed to relax, not act like she wakes up in the wrong side of the bed everyday. She’s nervous, although, it isn’t like she hasn’t been training nonstop for the past few days that her body is tense and sore from overworking her body.

Despite being sore, she wakes up early to do her morning rounds, not once missing a day.

She pinches between her eyes, trying to rub the tiredness out of her eyes. Ryujin notices, looking up from her plate to speak. “You need to take a break. For now, only swim during practice. Trust me, the hard work you do during downtime will kick in. But you can’t win any meets if your body is begging for rest.” She scolds the brunette, firmly stuffing her mouth with rice.

Minjeong lets her head rest against her palm. “I guess. I don’t know, I just want to make sure I don’t let the team down.” The brunette admits with a doubtful tone.

As one of the captains, Minjeong feels the need to work a bit harder. She’d never want to be the reason they ever placed lowly in meets. They take a toll on her whenever they ever did.

“Minjeong!” Jimin runs after a fuming Minjeong.

Their team had just placed 2nd to last for the first time just because Minjeong couldn’t beat an easy opponent because she had a faulty dive.

As soon as Minjeong saw the ranking, her eye twitched and she rushed straight toward the bench to get her bag, aiming for the changing room. Jimin immediately followed her, concerned.

Jimin huffed, wondering how Minjeong could be so fast. “It’s not your fault. The rest of the team needs work too!” She yells, which caused for Minjeong to turn.

Minjeong slowly walked toward the girl, eyes never leaving her’s. “We could’ve had a chance to rank top 5. But I blew it, Jimin. It’s my fault and no one else’s. I should’ve done better. The team did everything they needed to do.” Minjeong shakily breathed.

Jimin only moved closer, reaching for Minjeong’s hand. “It happens, but you need to stop being guilty for things others have done. Yes, you could’ve done better, but we could’ve made it easier for you to finish the rankings. You don’t have to carry all of the guilt.”

But Minjeong jerked her hand from the girl’s grasp. She glared at Jimin before turning around to leave. Jimin closed her eyes and let out an exhausted sigh, Minjeong’s warmth still imprinted in her hand.

Ryujin’s spoon falling onto her plate startles her. “How many times have we told you to stop doing that?” The raven scolds her, annoyed.

Leaning back into her seat, maybe she’ll agree with taking a little nap. “Whatever, finish your food. We’re leaving soon.” She tells Ryujin who only ushers their waiter for the bill.

Sleeping comes difficult to her. Naps during the day weren’t really her thing so finding out that trying to nap at a time like this didn’t work, she resolves to just staring at her ceiling. For the first time, she’s begging for sleep to overcome her. She feels drowsy but is waiting for her heavy eyes to visit her again.

While staring up at the ceiling, Minjeong thinks.

She should be thinking about sleeping, not the cold blue waters. She promised Ryujin though.

So she waits and waits, breathing in and out slowly.

“Min!” Yizhuo suddenly barges into her room.

The brunette jumps up, bumping her head against the headboard. “Shit! Yizhuo, what in the world?” She groans, rubbing her head.

The blonde sends an apologetic smile. “Sorry about that. Anyways, Jimin wants to discuss the competition and apparently she needs you there.” Yizhuo explains.

Minjeong rolls her eyes, flopping back onto her bed. “I’m not leaving my room. She can send any information or questions to me through my number she somehow got.”

Minjeong shivers at the amount of odd messages she’s gotten from the raven.

Shuffling is heard and through her closed eyes, Minjeong feels Yizhuo still in her room. “Minjeong-” The blonde tries again but is cut off.

A pillow finds it’s way to Yizhuo’s face. “I said no. She doesn’t deserve an ounce of my time. Please get out of my room.” Her voice rings with monotone in the room.

The door is shut and all Minjeong begs for the rest of the day is some peace and quiet.

The library is and will always be Minjeong’s sense of comfort. For other people, it’s nothing but a boring library, remembrance of a huge room filled with a bunch of books. However, Minjeong thinks of it as something more. When she’s not busy worrying about swimming, she’s studying in the library, where it’s guaranteed to be quiet. Her thoughts are able to be processed without anyone interrupting her sense of thought. Somehow, she manages her time well, better than most of her friends.

While swimming takes up most of her time, classes take even more. It does get frustrating from time to time but Minjeong isn’t one to stress often. Giving the university’s librarian trouble isn’t one she’d ever want to do by becoming one of the students who stayed in the library from morning to late night, refusing to leave. In her time in the huge library, she’s seen a lot of sleepy students asked to be escorted.

A widespread of papers lays in front of her, a huge textbook opened wide on the side. Minjeong hums to the music quietly, tapping her pencil against her chin. Most of the times, she liked finishing projects earlier.

Suddenly, she feels the table shake, causing her to look up. When she looks up, she immediately looks back down, letting out a breath.

“Minjeong.” Jimin calls.

Minjeong pretends not to hear her, turning up her volume on her AirPods.

Her pencil is suddenly plucked from her hand, which Minjeong responds to by grabbing another pencil and going back to working.

The raven sighs impatiently. “How many pencils do you have?”

The brunette closes her eyes before looking up and placing her pencil on the table. “What do you want?” Minjeong lets out shakily.

Jimin’s lips move into a frown. “Why didn’t you come to the meeting yesterday? You’re vice captain.”

Minjeong leans closer, obviously seething. “And you, are the captain. There’s only so much I can do and it doesn’t look like you need my help anyways. If there was anything I needed to say, I would send it to you for review. The coaches go to you… since you’re so much better.” The brunette remains eye contact with the older.

Jimin presses her lips together. “It doesn’t mean you should abandon your duties. You still should be intact in team meetings, Minjeong. As much as I hate to admit, I need you.”

The brunette falters a bit, taking time to gather her words. But instead she doesn’t respond. Caught off guard are words best used to explain her current sense of feeling.

Swallowing stubbornly, Jimin leans back into her seat. “Fine. Be like that.” She mutters before standing up and leaving.

Minjeong’s eye twitches as she slowly takes a breath. She plugs her AirPods in, pushing the unknown feeling bubbling in her stomach back.

Minjeong’s been told that she’s too stubborn sometimes.

Beside her cold appearances, she’s reluctant. She really takes on the words of talking when she needs to. Talking a little too much earns a guilty pang later on.

In her head, she just wishes some people would just leave her alone. It’d prevent her from taking up conversations that lead to awkward ones, ones that have her making a face and letting out a sigh. It was pretty unbelievable that a innocent brunette had such a feisty attitude.

She wasn’t always like that….. it was just Jimin who happened to ruin her mood for the rest of the day and causes for Minjeong to snap at everyone who attempts to her. The times where she doesn’t have to deal with things and people who she doesn’t like, she’s still quiet, a person who keeps to herself.

So, if she wakes up on the right side of the bed, you’ll be fine. If not? Well…….

It takes everything in her not to dive into the cold waters, and go against Ryujin’s words like she promised she wouldn’t do. She’s itching for a dip, just to forget about her worries just for a bit.

Maybe she won’t go for a dip. Her feet in the water is enough. So, she grabs her stuff, remembering to bring her ID and keys. She’s out of the door in 10 minutes, allowing her time to breathe before deciding what to do next.

With her arms folded, she directs herself through the huge facility, knowing the directions to the huge pool by heart. She nods and smiles to the staff and the small acquaintances she’s passes by there and there.

When she opens the glass double doors to the pool, coolness presses against her skin. She eyes the area, looking out for a perfect spot to set her things on.

Once she finds a spot and sets down her items , she makes her way toward an edge of the pool. Slowly, she sits down, dipping one foot after another into the waters. As soon as she does, she fights the urge to submerge herself in the tempting cold waters.

Instead, she lets out a breath, swinging her feet up and down. It’s difficult, but she tries.

“You’re not going to go in?” A familiar voice suddenly says.

Minjeong looks up, locking eyes on a beautiful raven, who runs her fingers through her hair. She sees the raven make her way toward Minjeong. She wonders why she isn’t swimming with her goggles and swim cap like she usually does.

“Oh, I can’t go in. Ryujin’s put me on a no swimming ban on the weekends. So, this is me improvising.” She manages to say.

The brunette goes quiet, looking back down at her feet. She’s leaning her weight on her arms backwards, swishing away in the water. She feels a few movements before the raven approaches her, resting her forearms sideways on the edge of the pool, just right beside Minjeong.

Minjeong purses her lips. “If you’re here to annoy me, I’m not up for it today, so you can just leave. Go back to peacefully swimming. I won’t interrupt your session.” The sudden change of demeanor causes the other girl to laugh.

A soft hand on her thigh startles her a bit. Jimin pushes herself up, her face leaning closer to the brunette’s. Jimin’s eyes flicker between her eyes and lips, before settling on her lips.

Minjeong stays subtle, gazing down at the girl. Her face expresses show no emotions, which must’ve made the raven curious.

“But…. do you really want me to leave?” Jimin’s voice comes with lusciousness.

The raven was challenging her?

The brunette scoffs. “Yes. It’s not like you want to kiss me anyways. But, it appears to me that you want to, badly. Because, oh, what fun it would be kissing your rival?” Minjeong counters.

The tension is enough to have a small sound interrupt them, pull them away from the little game Jimin wants to play so badly. The brunette goes along with it, because, it takes her mind away from the fact that she can’t swim anyways.

As much as she hates Jimin, the raven’s gorgeous, everyone in the university wants her. Minjeong isn’t one of them, but she’ll have her fun stringing Jimin along.

Their rivalry is a constant cycle. She despises the thought of ever being friends with Jimin. Ryujin’s told her to try, but really, Jimin’s mouth needs to be shut up sometimes.

They stare at eachother for a long moment, and Minjeong begs for there not to be anyone to experience the sheer moment the brunette wishes to be over.

Jimin’s smile is frustrating but so hot and cute at the same time. The brunette likes to think it’s only reserved for her, because Minjeong’s the only one who gets on her nerves.

Suddenly, Minjeong curses under her breath when she’s tugged into the cold water and pinned against the pool wall.

“I just literally said I can’t go in the pool!” Minjeong groans, ignoring the other girl smiling amusedly.

Jimin rolls her eyes. “Whatever, bet you can’t beat in a round?”

Minjeong’s mood does a 180. “Fuck you, Jimin.” She spits, climbing to leave the pool.

The brunette’s sure she’s never dreaded being in the pool before.