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i'll meet you where the water's warm

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It was the beginning of summer camp and all Jimin wanted was to finally have a breath of fresh air away from school. No more popular girl nor class representative, just… Jimin.

It must be said that at first it was difficult to persuade her teacher to agree with the idea of a summer trip, until she eventually did, which led to the organization of the expedition and convince most of her classmates to attend, especially one girl.

This girl wasn't exactly Jimin’s friend or something remarkably close to that term, but oddly, Jimin found herself insisting that she should come with them.

But there she was, five seats away, immersed in her own world with her headphones on and looking out the window. Jimin couldn’t help but wonder if the girl was enjoying the scenery.

“I still can’t believe she actually came.” Yizhuo said, disrupting Jimin’s thoughts about the girl. “I always knew she was weird, but I guess not anymore. I mean, she still is, but now like twenty percent less.” The blonde laughed to herself.

“We don’t even know her, so you shouldn't be talking that way about her.” Jimin turned her head to give Yizhuo a soft but serious look.

“Okay right, I’m sorry. I just find it crazy, that’s all.” The blonde girl apologized right away knowing how much Jimin despised that kind of bad attitude.

“Maybe this is exactly our opportunity to get to know her.” A voice behind them said and both girls turned their heads to look at Aeri, who was smiling ear to ear.

“Exactly.” Jimin nodded happily at the girl’s idea. “That’s the attitude we need.” The dark-haired girl pointed out, raising both her eyebrows at the blonde.

“Okay, but… how? And I want you to be realistic. No cringe please.” Yizhuo crossed her arms, doubting her friends could come up with a rational idea. “Because she’s always wearing those big ass headphones, she’s always quiet, and no offense but she even looks like that one emoji.” The blonde argued.

“You will need to be more precise, there are like a lot.” Aeri asked, laughing.

“You know which one I’m talking about. That one that has a straight line as a mouth.” The three of them looked at each other for a second before bursting into laughter because they knew exactly what emoji she was referring to.

“I knew I wasn’t the only one seeing the resemblance.” The blonde said in between chuckles. “Okay but now being serious, let’s say we hypothetically want to befriend her, how are we going to approach her in the first place?”

“Chill, there will be like a lot of activities throughout the two weeks, and as simple as to ask her to join us.” Aeri suggested. “Buuuut…” She paused. “Jimin should ask her.”

Jimin’s heart skipped a beat. No way. That will be embarrassing.

“You are the extrovert among us.” The brunette reminded her.

The dark-haired girl hesitated, obviously afraid of the outcome, and because she didn’t exactly want to be part of that plan, yet maybe this was the little push she needed to once and for all get close to the mysterious girl.

“Okay, I’ll do it.” Jimin said, biting her lip and discreetly trying to take a one last glimpse of the girl’s side profile.


 

It was still early in the afternoon when the school bus arrived successfully at the cabins after a very long ride.

“Man, my butt hurts.” Aeri whined when she woke up from her nap.

“I seriously need someone to crack my back.” Yizhuo stretched her arms standing up.

When the bus parked, one of the teachers stood up to explain to the students that she was going to be waiting for them at the main hall, in order to start giving the instructions of how the cabins and roommates were going to be assigned for the following days.

“Well, you heard her, Imma head out.” The blonde picked her bags and walked fast out the bus, disappearing among the crowd.

“Guess I’ll be going too, see you there.” The brunette said.

“Sure, I just need to get my things and I’ll be there in a sec.” Aeri listened to Jimin and nodded before following the blonde’s way.

 

By the moment Jimin ended up grabbing her bags, she noticed that all her classmates had already left the bus, except for her and the girl with the headphones on, who was still looking out the window.

Huh?

In a whole different situation, the long-haired girl would have approached the girl and asked her if she was okay, but right now she was a little bit nervous to even try it.

She bited her lip. Oh c’mon, seriously? It’s just a normal question.

After a few seconds she finally made up her mind and summoned the courage to walk up towards where the girl was sitting. Jimin called her by her name with a shaky voice, “Minjeong?” but she got no answer.

Of course, the headphones.

The tall girl decided to wave her hand to get the girl’s attention but she was evidently still listening to some music due to how loud it was.

“Uhm?” The girl took her headphones off as fast as possible to meet Jimin’s gaze.

Oh.

Jimin was stunned at how pretty she was up close that she even forgot what she was about to say in the first place.

She coughed to snap her mind back to reality and avoid looking like a fool in front of the girl. “I- I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. It’s just that I got a bit concerned because I was on my way out when I saw you still here all by yourself, so I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

The short haired girl's face was blank, not a single sign of emotion, maybe a little bit of boredom, but nothing more.

“Yeah, I’m okay, I’m just preparing myself mentally to bear the rest of the day.” Those words caught Jimin off guard, not sure if the girl was making fun of her or…

“I see.” That was all Jimin could answer, making the awkward silence that followed even more noticeable.

“I should get going.” The short haired girl said, breaking the silence, and stood up in front of Jimin for a second until the girl noticed she was blocking her way.

“Oh, my bad.” The long-haired girl moved aside to let the girl pass but the bus aisle was so narrow that their bodies almost touched, making Jimin gulp and look away.

“It's okay.” The short girl walked towards the exit of the bus and showed a small awkward smile before leaving. “See you around, I guess.”

“Yeah…” Jimin was left alone in the bus with a blushed face.


 

“What took you so long?” Yizhuo asked in annoyance when Jimin arrived at the main hall which was crowded and noisy.

“I told Giselle that I had to get my things, didn’t she tell you?” The long haired girl noticed her tone came a little bit aggressive and wanted to apologize but she was cut off by the teacher who began to explain that the different colors she gave the students when they arrived was going to be the way to designate the roommates. “I will be calling you by the color marked on your wrists and I want you to gather over here with your bags already in hand so I can proceed with the next indications.

Jimin looked at her wrist. Blue.

“I’m red, please tell me you two have red as well.” Ning Yizhuo grabbed both her friends' wrists, but none of them had a red mark on it.

“Mine is yellow.”

“And mine’s blue.” Jimin said disappointed.

“Well, it’s over.” The blonde sighed.

 “Blue!” The teacher shouted, startling Jimin. The long-haired girl got up almost immediately and made her way to where her other classmates would be waiting for her, but not without looking for a particular girl who remained sitting in the corner of the room.

“Jeon Heejin, Yoo Jimin, Kim Minji and Jang Wonyoung, your cabin will be the number two, the closest to the dining hall. ” Jimin couldn't hide the disappointment on her face when she saw that none of her roommates was Minjeong. But on the bright side, at least she had been paired with Heejin, one of her friends from middle school.

“Yellow!” The school teacher shouted and Aeri gathered with Yerim, Yoohyeon and Gahyeon.

“Orange!”

“Green!”

Some other classmates got up.

“Red!”

There she was. Shyly walking towards the rest of the girls. “Ning Yizhuo, Kim Bora, Jeong Jinsol and Kim Minjeong.”

Yizhuo looked at both her friends discreetly pointing at Minjeong and mouthing “what the fuck no way“

How lucky.


 

Ning’s cabin was the closest to the river and the one with the best view, and of course she had to brag about it on the way to the dining hall.

“It’s just perfect, the view is so relaxing, no joke.” The blonde said, picking up some fruit, yogurt and a package of crackers from the sideboard.

“Yeah, if I’m not mistaken, you said that three times already not too long ago, so I think we got that pretty clear.” Aeri reassured her, making Jimin chuckle.

“Leave her alone, she’s happy.” The friend group walked to the farthest table in the dining hall.

“My god I’m so tired. I think I'm not cut out for this.” The blonde sighed as she sat.

“Me too, I think I will be sleeping like a baby tonight.” The brunette took a bite off her apple.

On the other hand, Jimin ate in silence, trying so hard not to inquire about Minjeong, especially now that she was sharing a room with Yizhuo.

“Unfortunately, I think I won’t be getting a decent amount of sleep these days with Bora in the room. I just know she will be talking nonstop, which I don’t mind that much though, considering we have two introverts as roommates, but I have my limits you know.” Yizhuo complained about her extroverted friend.

“I think we all have our limits with Bora.” The brunette laughed.

“Yeah, but I love her anyway. I bet right now she's probably smuggling some alcohol without the teacher suspecting anything. And before you all freak out, by alcohol I mean a single bottle of Soju and that’s it.”

“I wish that were me.” Aeri yearned before changing the topic. “Now that I think about it, Jimin is sharing a whole cabin with the prettiest girls from school.”

“Uh, hello?” Ning scoffed, clearly offended. “Where the fuck am I then?”

“Oh no no no, what I tried to say was- “ Aeri was cut off by both Jimin and Yizhuo giggling at her worried face.

“Leave it.” The blonde laughed. “My b.” Aeri simply answered pouting.

“You are the prettiest, Ning, don’t worry.” Jimin comforted the blonde. “And about what Aeri said, I don’t know, I just hope I can get along well with them.” The tall girl was unusually nervous. “I know Heejin is very easy-going because we used to be classmates in middle school, so it won’t be awkward; Minji, well, we all know her, she’s really sweet, but Wonyoung…” She made a worried face. “She’s kind of intimidating. But I’m sure Minji will take care of us to prevent chaos .”

“Of course she will, she’s an angel.” Yizhuo said automatically.

“Yeah.” Aeri and Jimin said in unison.

“Hey, you share a room with her cousin right? Jinsol. How is she?” The brunette asked.

“She’s fine, she’s just a bit shy, the complete opposite of Minji. Yet when we were unpacking, we noticed she brought some kind of doll with her and I kid you not, that thing looked so fucking creepy. So she’s kind of a weirdo too.” The blonde made a face of disgust which Jimin laughed at. “Let her be, maybe that doll is meaningful to her.”

“I guess?” Ning tried to shake the image of the creepy doll off her mind. “Anyway, how about you Aeri? You have like the most neutral roommates so far.”

“They are amazing. Yerim and I are close so it’s nice to have a friend around.” She started counting the pros. “I’m not actually a friend of Yoohyeon, but she is as sweet as Minji,  no wonder why they’re dating; and Gahyeon is just so cool, she’s like a sane version of Bora.” She joked.

“Can we trade roommates, please?” The blonde begged but Aeri just smiled mischievously. “I can trade Minjeong for Yoohyeon.” 

“Hey, don’t be mean.” Jimin frowned, annoyed at her friend’s harsh words.

“Yeah, besides we said we were going to integrate her into our group. So you should be telling us more about her.” Both Aeri and Jimin nodded, making Ning roll her eyes in defeat.

“Hmm, I mean, she’s just like there…” Ning shrugged. “I know we said this was our chance to befriend her, but I’m not sure anymore. Because unlike Jinsol who’s just shy and that you have to talk to her first to get her to speak.” She paused.” Minjeong is just… I’m sorry but she’s just weird. Even if you talk to her, she won’t say a word back.” She took a sip of water before continuing. “Today Bora tried to have a conversation with her because as you know, she can’t stand the silence, and Minjeong just straight ignored her by putting her headphones on. So, it’s going to be really hard for us to follow the ‘plan’, guys.”

“Maybe she’s not interested.” Jimin said. “Maybe she finds it difficult to interact with certain people.”

Jimin thought about the short conversation she had with Minjeong earlier in the bus. “Because we actually talked on the bus after you two left.” Jimin smiled. “Not much though, I just asked her if she was okay because the bus was pretty much empty yet she was still there. And she told me, and I quote: I'm just preparing myself mentally for the rest of the day.”

“She actually spoke to you?” Aeri was in disbelief.

“Well fuck, now I feel kinda bad for what I said.” Yizhuo looked ashamed.

“She looks like she lacks social stamina, so that should be the main reason she isn’t talking with anyone. Maybe she needs someone who she can feel comfortable enough to talk to, and to be honest Bora doesn't seem to be the right one for that.”

“But are you? Is that what you are trying to tell us?” Ningning smirked.

The blonde’s words caught her off guard, turning her ears red, and making the temperature of her face rise gradually.

What?

“What are you saying? That’s not what I meant.” Jimin let out a nervous chuckle. “I’m just stating a fact, taking note of all the things you just told us about Sua,  

Ning Yizhuo smiled at her with squinted eyes, Jimin’s words sounding a bit suspicious.

“No but it’s true.” Aeri interrupted the awkward moment. “We agreed on Yuji being the most capable among us to do this and I think she has just proved us to be right.”

Sigh.

That felt like a lot of weight on her shoulders. “Hey! but don’t leave me alone on this one, you two have to help me too.” The tall girl pouted.

“Of course we will. Don’t worry, Yuji.” Aeri smiled at her friends. “Right, Ning?”

“Yeah yeah.”

“Just be nice guys, please.” Jimin begged one last time.


 

The next morning was notoriously warm and the breeze of summer mixed with the scent of the river filled the room. Jimin loved it, it brought back memories from past summers.

“Does anyone know what is scheduled for today?” Wonyoung asked.

“Scavenger hunt, I believe.” Heejin’s deep voice came from the bathroom.

“Oh, I love that one, it’s pretty fun.” Minji said with her usual contagious eye-smile, unfortunately this didn’t have any effect over Wonyoung who just sighed and closed her eyes. “Not with this weather.”

Jimin just listened to the girls talk in the background while picking her outfit for the day: A plain white muscle tee, some shorts and her pair of Converse.

Minji approached the tall girl before heading to the field along with the other girls, and asked if she wanted to join them.

“Oh no, you guys go, I have to wait for Aeri and Ningning.” The long-haired girl smiled politely. She's so cute.

“Okay then, just don’t be late, girls.” Minji warned softly. Just like a mom. Jimin thought. “We won’t.” She smiled.

Jimin sat down on the front steps of the cabin to wait for her friends; the morning sun was shining brightly and the birds were chirping loudly. It was a beautiful day, she thought, but her introspection was disrupted when she noticed a particular girl walking towards her direction.

Minjeong?

At first glance, the short girl looked tired, but Jimin didn’t care much because that also made her  very… attractive.

Minjeong’s straight short hair was intentionally messy that day and her bangs were almost covering her eyes. She was wearing an oversized black shirt with a small Uchiha logo on the right side, a pair of Nike Air force and black shorts.

So fucking pretty. Jimin’s heart was beating notoriously fast. Should I say hi? She is not wearing her headphones today… Would she listen to me anyway?

The tall girl had second thoughts on waving at the girl, especially when she seemed in a bad mood. But she did it anyway.

“Good morning, Minjeong.” The tall girl awkwardly greeted her, making the short girl stop in her tracks and lower her gaze at Jimin.

She stopped? I wasn’t ready for this.

“Good morning, Jimin.” Minjeong bowed her head quickly and kept walking.

That was it?

Jimin didn’t get a chance to say something else, she just stared at Minjeong’s back as she walked away.

I’m so lame.

 

“Sorry if we took so long, Ning and Bora couldn't stop arguing about some stupid shit.” She heard Aeri’s voice, who arrived along with Yizhuo just in time to prevent herself f rom drowning in sappy thoughts.

So that’s why she seemed annoyed.

“It’s okay.” She smiled. “But we should get going though, the hunt is about to start in like ten minutes.”

“Since when are you so excited about this?” The blonde chuckled.

“I promised Minji we wouldn't be late.”

“Okay, so the milf spoke, let’s get going.” Ning grabbed their hands and dragged them to where the event was about to start.


 

When they reached the field the PE teacher had just started to gather all the students together to proceed with the indications.

“Okay listen guys, I will hand you the list for the scavenger hunt. You will be searching in two areas: the woods and the river.”

“This list looks cheap as fuck.” Yizhuo complained about the harmless piece of paper.

"Have you seen Minjeong? We should track her  down in case the professor says we should go as a team." Aeri suggested.

“She’s with Heejin…Wait, she is with Heejin? What the fuck?” The blonde was in disbelief.

The three girls looked in the direction where Heejin and Minjeong were sitting together.

“Jimin, this is your chance, go go go.” Aeri pushed her.

What was Heejin doing with Minjeong anyway?

“Wait, I can’t go there just like that, it would be weird. Let’s wait for the instructions at least.” Jimin was getting nervous as the seconds went by.

“The rules are simple; you will have the opportunity to choose your teammates, but I will give you just five minutes to set your team up and come here with me to get your map."

“Now go!” Ning and Aeri pushed her and Jimin anxiously made her way through the crowd of classmates until she reached Minjeong.

It was obvious that neither Heejin nor Minjeong were expecting her sudden intromission.

“Oh Jimin, what are you doing here? I thought you were with Aeri and Yizhuo.”

“Yeah, I was, but our team is one person short, so I came to ask Minjeong if she wants to join us.”

Jimin’s hands were kind of sweaty. What if Minjeong said no? Maybe she was with Heejin because she was part of her team already. She felt stupid for not thinking about that in the first place.

“Oh we were actually talking about that too-“ Heejin got interrupted.

“I will join you.” Minjeong said getting up, leaving both stunned.

“What?” Jimin and Heejin replied in unison, confusion written all over their faces.

“I’ll go with Jimin.” The short girl moved next to the long-haired girl. “I’m sorry Heejin, but to be honest Hyunjin scares me a bit.”

Jimin tried so hard to suppress a chuckle.

“Where is the rest of your team?” the short-haired girl asked.

“Oh, right this way, follow me.” The tall girl made a pause. “Ehm, see you back at the cabin, Heejin?” Jimin tried to be polite with the recently rejected girl.

“Sure.”

 

“Oh my god she did it.” Aeri was evidently shocked at Jimin and Minjeong walking towards them.

“Shut up.” Ning shushed her. “This has to look like a coincidence.”

“Girls, Minjeong agreed to join us." Jimin announced. "I know we already met, but let me introduce you to my best friends, Ning Yizhuo and Kim Aeri."

This is awkward.

“Hi.” The short girl's voice was low.

“I love your shirt.” Aeri pointed out. “I like Naruto too.”

Minjeong didn’t know what to say, she wasn’t used to people complimenting her. “Thanks.” She said emotionless.

“I don’t want to stop you guys, but the teacher is waiting for us. Five minutes, remember?” Yizhuo reminded them.

“Okay, teams, take your walkie talkies, and all the maps you need from the table, and listen carefully: First team that comes back with all items, only the ones you can carry obviously, wins. The objects that can not be brought, you will need to take a picture with them and show it to me. Okay?”

“I think we should split up, Aeri and I could search in the forest and Jimin and Minjeong in the river.”

“It’s fine by me, over.” Minjeong talked into the walkie talkie, startling the girls. “I’m sorry, just wanted to check if it works.”

Jimin giggled at the girl’s antics while her friends were clearly annoyed.

“At the count of three you can go.” The teacher took her whistle. “One…two…three!” A loud whistle was heard, and all the students started running.


 

The trees were getting taller as Jimin and Minjeong got closer to the river. But they still had a, not so long, way to go.

“Can I ask you a question?” Jimin said out of nowhere, breaking the silence.

Minjeong didn't avert her attention from the map. “Uh, yeah, sure.” They kept walking through the woods, accompanied by the sounds of nature.

Actually, Jimin wanted to ask more than one question. She wanted this opportunity to have a real conversation with her, and decipher the magnetic energy she felt towards her.

“What made you change your mind to join us on the trip?” The long-haired girl was curious because as well as her friends, she didn’t expect her to be here.

Minjeong lifted her eyes up from the map to focus on her answer. A cute frown forming on her face.

“Hmm... you? I think so.” The short-haired girl confessed and gazed at Jimin, whose ears were burning from the sudden revelation.

“I don’t know. You seem like a very emotional and nice person. So when you approached me to tell me about the summer camp and invited me with such joy on your face, I kind of felt bad for thinking of not going.” She laughed, for the first time, and Jimin was enchanted by the sound.

 Jimin was indeed a very emotional human being that Minjeong’s words hit her straight into her heart, but how did she notice something so personal if they had not shared a word before? Not precisely a long conversation. 

“Am I a nice person?” Jimin smiled sheepishly.

The river peeked through the trees.

“I think so. At least that’s the impression I got from you in class.” Minjeong stepped on a branch.

Has she been watching me all this time? Since when? Jimin’s cheeks got warm after realizing she had never noticed.

“Thank you, I appreciate your words.” The long-haired girl couldn’t take her eyes off the short girl who was back on focusing on the map as if nothing happened.

 

 

It didn't take long before they reached the river.

When they did, Jimin was amazed at how clear and shiny the water was. The turquoise waves hit the huge rocks all around the river.

It was an otherworldly view, especially with all the tall trees surrounding the river and the big mountain in the distance.

“It's so beautiful.” Minjeong couldn't suppress a smile and gazed at the tall girl. It was the first time Jimin saw her smile ear to ear, her eyes glittering due to the sunlight reflecting on the water.

You too.

There was no use in denying it, she had a crush on her.

“I know.” Jimin smiled until she got aware of how much she was staring at the girl and decided to change the subject. “The list says we need to search for a peach tree, a blue boat and a book, right?”

“Yeah, and I don’t see any of those here, so we should begin searching that way.” Minjeong pointed north.

“Okay then.”

The girls walked by the river shore with the scent of the freshwater filling their lungs. The weather was moderately hot, but not enough to make you sweat like crazy but enough to get your skin to look naturally glossy.

As the heat started to rise, the tall girl noticed droplets of sweat falling off Minjeong's neck.

“Do you see something?” Minjeong asked, interfering with her thoughts.

“Ehm, not reall-“ Jimin was cut off mid-sentence when she heard the shorter girl shout.

“Look! There's a peach tree over there.” The short girl ran towards the tree with Jimin following behind. “Hey be careful, the rocks are kind of irregular.”

Jimin was panting when she caught up with the girl. “You run fast, huh?”

“Look at these peaches.” Minjeong was in awe at how many peaches were on the tree.

“Stay still, let me take a picture for the teacher.” The long-haired girl said in between gasps, grabbing her phone out to take a picture of Minjeong, who was doing a peace sign beside the tree.

The tall girl bit her lower lip to stop the urge to smile and giggle. 

“Why are you smiling that way? Is there something on my face?” Minjeong frowned, looking unintentionally adorable, and rapidly took Jimin’s phone off her hands.

“No.” The tall girl couldn’t suppress a giggle anymore. “It’s just that you look as tiny as the peach tree.” She teased.

Minjeong returned the phone to its owner after she approved the photo taken by the tall girl, and the brush of their hands sent butterflies directly to Jimin’s stomach.

“Well, I am tiny.” The short girl frowned, pouting  her lips.

This feels nice. Jimin thought. She’s nice.

“Here, eat this.” The short girl offered her a fresh picked peach.

“Is this safe to eat?” Jimin thought that wasn’t a good idea.

“Yeah. They’re soft right now so it’s good.” Minjeong took a bite from the fresh fruit and Jimin couldn’t ignore the wet lips and the peach juice falling off her chin, which the short girl then cleaned with the back of her hand.

The tall girl gulped at how soft her lips looked after the bite. “We should get going, we have yet to find the boat and the book.” Jimin shook her head to stop those thoughts.


 

“Hey, can we sit for a second?” Minjeong asked, wiping the sweat from her bangs with a small towel she had on her pocket.

“Sure. Are you okay?” The tall girl couldn’t hide the fact that she was worried.

“Yeah. It’s just that I’m not used to being outdoors in this weather.” The short girl sat down on the grass, under the shade of a tree, and leaned back on her hands.

“I brought a bottle of water with me, take it.” Jimin gave it to her and sat down beside her.

“Thank you.”

They sat like that for a while, enjoying the silence. Just the two of them contemplating the river, no need to talk.

Jimin got time to realize her interest for the girl had crossed the line of just “friends”, even though they weren’t exactly friends to begin with.

However, she had to admit that she had fallen for the girl even before the trip. All the magnetism and attraction was there since day one, and it only grew enough to bring them to this very moment.

She even had time to recall a very old memory of when she heard Minjeong sing for the first-time [by accident] on her way to her next class. Her voice was effortlessly beautiful and Jimin thought that maybe that was when her attraction towards the girl began, who knows, it just happened without any reasonable explanation.

Jimin found it funny because she never thought of herself falling for the “angsty kid” as Yizhuo would call her. But Minjeong wasn't an angsty kid, she was just a really reserved girl who didn’t see any reason to talk to other people, and of course Jimin respected that, yet, that had an effect on her, as if  something was pulling her closer to the girl, as if she was a huge walking magnet.

“I really like your company.” Minjeong blurted out with a voice as tiny as her.

“Huh?” Jimin’s thoughts suddenly vanished due to the girl's unanticipated confession. She turned to get a glimpse of the short-haired girl, and verify that what she heard was actually real and not just her mind playing tricks on her.

Minjeong let out a giggle because Jimin looked very puzzled.

"What I'm saying is that I think I feel comfortable around you.” The girl clarified to ease Jimin’s look of confusion. “I don’t feel pressured to say something, but when I do, you are a great listener.” Jimin noticed how Minjeong smirked at her own words. “You know, people think I’m weird, or that I am mean, but in reality, most of the time is just me not knowing how to communicate with them.”

At this point Jimin’s heart was beating loudly, she didn’t know if she wanted to cry, hug the girl [obviously not because that would come off as weird], or just simply let the girl speak. But if there was one thing she was sure of, it was how grateful she was of Minjeong’s courage to say all those things out loud.

Jimin was more than aware of the short time they had been talking, but this could be the starting point of either a friendship, or even something more.

“I am glad you think that way about me because I was thinking the exact same thing about you.” Minjeong directed her gaze at Jimin, her eyes were of a lost puppy. I know we haven’t talked much either at school or here, but yesterday when I got the chance, you seemed like a nice kid to me. Even if you felt reluctant to talk with me." Jimin smiled brightly, she really meant that. "And about not knowing how to communicate, it’s completely okay, you can take one step at a time, you don’t have to force yourself into doing something you don’t feel comfortable enough with. You just have to be yourself.” The long-haired girl reassured her. “Even if it sounds cringe.”

Minjeong laughed at the remark. “Yeah, a bit.” They went silent for a second. “Now I understand why everybody chose you as our class representative. You are also really good with words.”

Jimin chuckled as she remembered that one time when  her classmates were so eager to make her the group leader. “Thank you, but here I am not the class leader, but rather just Jimin talking to a new friend.”

“Are we?” Minjeong raised an eyebrow.

“Only if you accept.”

Minjeong stretched her hand, going for a handshake, and Jimin took it with confidence.

“Deal.”

“Deal.”

 

“Jimin, are you there? We found all the objects and we are now heading back. Over.” Aeri's voice came from the walkie-talkie.

It looked like their little moment had come to an end.

Fuck. She forgot about the hunt for a minute. “Ehm… hi, I’m here. We are actually still looking for the boat.”

“You forgot to say ‘Over’.” Minjeong joked and Jimin just rolled her eyes.

“No time for jokes, come on, let’s go find the rest of the things.”


 

“Hyunjin is truly a menace.  Yizhuo was clearly salty. “I can’t believe they actually won.”

“I do. Just look at their team.” Aeri pointed at Heejin, Sooyoung and Hyeju who were lifting Hyunjin as part of their celebration. “Also, no one expected Hyunjin to bring a giant fish with her. That somehow gave them more points." They saw how the four girls had to get together to be able to lift the fish and take a picture with it.

“Come on girls, cheer up, we might have gotten second place, but we had a good time.” Jimin tried to brighten up the mood for her teammates, but Yizhuo and Aeri just looked at each other with suspicion.

“You actually did?” The blonde teased.

“You girls didn’t?” Jimin asked naively, unaware of Yizhuo’s mind games.

“Hmm I don’t want to interrupt, but I think I should get going. I’m exhausted.” Minjeong intervened, feeling like she no longer was supposed to be there.

“Are you sure? You can come with us for dinner.” The long-haired girl suggested, which got her another questionable look from her friends.

The tall girl perceived all of this was making Minjeong uncomfortable.

“Oh no, I’m good, thank you.” She shook her head. “I’m not really hungry to be honest. I just want to take a shower and rest.” Minjeong explained, bowing before leaving. “It was nice meeting you guys.”

Jimin couldn’t help getting gloomy; she didn't want Minjeong to leave so soon. Yet she knew she was being pushy, which she of course regretted, especially after the conversation they shared earlier in the river.  She had to respect her space.

“See you at the cabin.” Yizhuo waved.

“Have a good rest.” Aeri said sweetly.

“See you around, Jimin.” The long-haired girl almost pouted as she saw her walk away.

One step at a time.

“Can somebody explain to me why she looks like she is on the verge of crying?” Yizhuo wasn’t expecting that reaction from Jimin over... Kim Minjeong? Maybe she had to start connecting some dots.

Aeri on the other hand, was just laughing. “Leave her alone.” She went to Jimin for a hug. “Can we just go eat already? I’m hungry.”

“Come on, let's go.” That was the last thing the blonde said before grabbing her best friends’ hands and dragging them to the dining hall.


 

Unlike her roommates who were already asleep, Jimin was wide awake busy thinking about that day's events. The conversation with Minjeong and their time spent together in the river was replaying over and over in her head. She missed her; it was obvious that her affection towards the girl had grown significantly.

It felt great to be around Minjeong, it was different, they had no context nor really a story behind, it was just them hanging around and getting to know each other.

Maybe I fall in love too easily.

Jimin’s mind rambled like that for an hour until she finally was able to fall asleep.

 

The next morning her roommates woke up early to get ready for that day’s hiking. Jimin groaned at the noise, the lack of sleep was surely kicking in.

“Don’t forget to bring water girls, it’s going to be hot out here.” She heard Minju say; she probably didn’t want them to pass out in the woods.

Jimin lazily woke up, unable to go back to sleep, and headed to the minibar to grab breakfast, which consisted of apple juice and an energy bar. She still had to prepare her backpack.

It was going to be a long day.


 

“I just know my back will hurt like hell if I keep carrying this shit.”

“Have you tried to have fun today? We haven't even started and you are complaining already." Aeri countered. "Besides, your backpack is not even that heavy; and we are just going to hike until we reach the nearest viewpoint, which won't take us long, to be honest.”

Jimin tried to concentrate on her friends' bickering but it was difficult when almost all of her attention was on Minjeong. This of course, didn't go unnoticed by a certain blond.

“Yuji, are you even listening? Who are you looking for?” The brunette said, resting her hand on the tall girl’s shoulder to get her attention.

“Of course I am.”

The blonde just narrowed her eyes. “You are looking for Minjeong aren't you?”

“What?” Jimin got tense, she had forgotten how straightforward she could be.

“You want her to join us?” Of course she wanted to, Jimin thought, but she didn’t want to annoy nor pressure the girl. She wasn’t supposed to be that kind of person. “Do I go ask her o nah?”

The tall girl thought about it for a second, however, she just ended up giving up on the idea. “Not today, we might come off as weird.” And convinced her friends to go grab their hiking staff before following their teacher and tour guide.

Jimin remained silent most of the way to the mountains, just listening to her friends talking. Meanwhile, when she could, she would catch a glimpse of Minjeong, who was walking all by herself with her typical headphones on and her backpack that made her look tiny.

When they reached the viewpoint, the scenery was astonishing; the river, the forest and the cabins looked so small from that height. You could also appreciate almost up close, the eagles flying freely all across the field and the fluffy clouds decorating the sky.

All the way up there had been worth it after all.

Her classmates and the teachers didn't wait to take pictures, videos, and even selfies with the magnificent view. Meanwhile, some others sat down on the picnic tables close to the railing that gave sight to the mountains. One of those was Minjeong.

“Let’s take a picture in the gazebo.” Aeri begged, pointing at the little wooden gazebo that was near the picnic tables.

“Okay, okay, come on.” Yizhuo was the first to walk towards the construction with her friends following behind.

“You take it, I suck at selfies.” The brunette pleaded and the blond had no choice but to say yes, taking a selfie of them making a peace sign.

“Oh, this one is so cute.” Jimin smiled at the picture and turned around to look at Minjeong, yearning for a chance to someday take a photo like that with her.

“You should go talk to her.” Yizhuo suggested as she noticed Jimin’s not so subtle  puppy eyes aimed at the short girl.

“But it will be awkward.” the dark-haired girl argued. She didn't want to interfere with the short girl's alone time.

“Just do it.” The tall girl gulped and dubiously made her way to Minjeong.

 

“Jimin is going along well with the plan.”

Yizhuo leaned on the handrail of the gazebo. “I don’t think she’s exactly following the plan; I think she has an ulterior motive for trying to talk with her.” She said as she set her eyes on Jimin.

“What do you mean?” Aeri found herself lost in the conversation.

Ning Yizhuo smirked and laughed at her friend’s obliviousness. “I think she has a crush on her.”

“Oooooh” The brunette widened her eyes, covering her mouth as she connected the dots.

 

Jimin sat down on the empty space beside Minjeong, accompanying her in silence until the short girl sensed her presence.

“Jimin?” Minjeong asked incredulously as she took off her headphones to hang them around her neck. Yoo Jimin was the last person she expected to be sat next to that day.

“Did I interrupt you?” Jimin beamed at her, causing the girl to smile back. “No, not at all. I was just enjoying the view and listening to music.” The short girl replied sheepishly.

“Can I listen?” The long-haired girl didn’t mean to flirt, she was genuinely curious about what the other girl liked to listen to. This clearly caught Minjeong off guard.

“S-sure, here, take them.” The short-haired girl grabbed her headphones and placed them on Jimin’s pink ears.

Jimin immediately recognized the song that was playing. It was ‘Mystery of Love'. "Oh my god, do you like Sufjan Stevens? Me too." Somehow her voice sounded more excited than she meant to.

“I do.'' Minjeong’s eyes twinkled excitedly and a tint of blush painted her cheeks. “We can listen to it together if you’d like.” She took the headphones off Jimin and placed them in between them. “Come close.” Jimin swallowed and leaned her head closer to Minjeong. The music was playing loud enough for the two to listen and hum along the song.

Jimin couldn't believe that she was actually listening to one of her favorite artists along with Minjeong. It seemed like something out of a dream. But it was real, Jimin reflected, and the time and place were witness to it.

“You want to come with us when we head back to the cabins?” The long haired girl had the courage to ask right after the song ended. Still under the influence of the shared moment.

“I’d love to, but I’m not sure if your friends would like that. They seem quite intimidating, especially Yizhuo. I think she hates me.”

“No no, of course she doesn’t, she is just very protective of us.” Jimin was worried, she didn’t want to make the girl uncomfortable and to get the wrong idea of her friend. “Actually, she was the one who encouraged me to come here and talk to you.” Minjeong turned around to glance at Jimin's friends who were staring directly at them, but as soon as they noticed they pretended to look elsewhere. The short girl just chuckled.

"But I'll understand if you don't want to join us, however, my invitation still stands."

"I'll let you know." Minjeong smiled, finding Jimin's worried face endearing.

"Deal?"

"Deal." They shook hands.

"Well, I guess that's my cue..." Jimin thought it was time to let her resume her alone time.

Minjeong didn't know what possessed her at that very moment when she grabbed Jimin's hand, preventing the girl from getting up. She gulped. "You can stay, I don't mind." She tried to avoid eye contact with the tall girl.

Jimin’s heart fluttered at the touch. “Okay, I will stay.”

When she was there with Minjeong, she recalled her thoughts about  wanting to take a picture with the shorter girl. “This may sound strange, but w-would you like to take a picture with me?” She bit her lip. Maybe this was bold of her, but she had to try.

“Huh?” Minjeong tilted her head in confusion.

“Can we take a picture together?” Jimin held onto the edge of the bench, waiting for an answer.

“Oh” the short-haired girl laughed at Jimin’s sudden shyness. “Mhm, sure, why not? The view is too gorgeous to waste.”

“I won’t upload it to my Instagram if you don’t want to, I swear.”

“It’s okay, Jimin.” The girl calmed her.

“Okay, okay.” Jimin opened her front camera and smiled when she saw Minjeong getting closer, posing with her well known peace sign.

Click.

Jimin looked at the selfie and felt a strong emotion run through her whole body; she was beyond happy. And maybe it would sound childish, but she was going to cherish that picture for a long time.

 

In the end, after her time spent together at the resting area and Minjeong did accept Jimin’s invitation to walk together back to the cabins.

“So, when you left to go with Minjeong, Bora actually approached us to offer us alcohol. It was crazy.”

“You still accepted though.” Aeri had to snitch.

“You did?!” Jimin was about to scold them, but swallowed her words right away because it was already too late for that.

“Yeah, but it was just a sip, nothing crazy.” Yizhuo said, making it seem that there was nothing to worry about.

“It was mor-“ The blonde covered Aeri’s mouth before she could continue. Minjeong couldn’t suppress a laugh.

“Anyway, how about you two?” Yizhuo smirked mischievously, but thank god Minjeong didn’t even notice. “Both of you for sure had a good conversation back there.”

“It was nice, we listened to one of Minjeong’s playlists and took some selfies.” Jimin was blushing hard; that definitely didn’t exactly sound platonic.

“Aww cuties.” The brunette pinched Jimin’s cheek with excitement. “Minjeongie, you should come to dinner with us then.”

The latter widened her eyes at the unexpected nickname coming from Aeri..

Minjeongie? She gets to give her a nickname before me?

“Umh, sure, I think I can.”

Oh.

“Well, move your asses faster, I’m starving.” Yizhuo took the lead once again.


 

Jimin felt like she was in some sort of lucid dream and that nothing around her was actually happening. Especially when her friends began to talk about anime with Minjeong.

“Yuji, are you okay?” The brunette waved her hand in front of Jimin, who clearly had spent a good amount of time dissociating.

“Y-yeah. I guess my mind just went somewhere else.” The long-haired girl excused herself. “What were you saying?”

“Minjeong was showing me her playlists just now. They are so cool.” Ning scrolled through the Minjeong's music app. “We almost have the same music taste, it’s crazy.” She paused. “No wonder you won't let go of those headphones because if I were you, I'd be listening to this nonstop too." The blonde joked.

“Thank you?” Minjeong tried to figure out if that was a compliment or not.

“On the other hand, Minjeongie and I were talking about Naruto, since the other day I noticed she was wearing an Uchiha clan shirt.” Aeri said excitedly.

“What is that?” Yizhuo and Jimin asked in unison.

“They wouldn’t get it.” The brunette leaned on Minjeong’s shoulder in a cocky way but the short girl wasn’t feeling it and had no other way but to smile embarrassed.

“It seems you guys are getting along quite well. I’m glad about that.” Jimin couldn’t suppress a smile when she saw that her friends were genuinely trying to bond with the girl she adored the most.

“Yeah, Minjeong is really cool and nice, no wonder you are very fond of her.” Yizhuo teased the tall girl out of nowhere.

“Yeah, she really is.” Jimin's ears were turning red the more her friends stared at her.

“Anyway, I know we are having a good time and all, but I think we should get going. Aeri and I are very tired.” The blond got up trying to drag the brunette with her.

“Indeed, but don’t worry guys, you two can still enjoy the night.” Both girls were throwing complicit glances at each other.

“Oh, it's okay, just let me know when you get to your cabins.”

“Don’t worry about it, Yuji.” The girls bowed down. “See you later Minjeong, don’t forget to take care of our Jimin.” 

“O-of course.” Minjeong blushed at the unexpected but bold request from the blonde.

 

When the girls left, the silence was evident. However, it wasn’t awkward at all. It was just quietness they would usually share together, and to be honest, Jimin preferred that. Just the two of them, eating peacefully.

“Your friends were really nice to me.” The short-haired girl admitted coyly.

“Did you feel comfortable?” Jimin wanted to make sure the girl had had a good time with her friends, by taking into consideration how hard it was for her to interact with new people.

“Yeah I did actually. So much that I even felt bad for having misjudged them all this time. However, now I think I understand why you are friends with them; they’re just as nice as you… yet, I still think you are nicer.” Shel said very calmly, while Jimin, was holding her breath to not squeal out of happiness at the last compliment. “Thank you, I guess it just comes naturally.”

 

“Don’t be too modest.” Minjeong laughed, and the tall girl was starting to get used to making her laugh effortlessly.

“I’m not! I swear.” Jimin pouted.

The long-haired girl was pouring most of her heart into this friendship because it was the least the Minjeong deserved. Jimin desired for this bond to last, because the memories she was already creating with Minjeong, were some of the best she had ever had in a long time and she didn't want to get rid of them. Not now, not ever.


 

The sky was perfectly clear for the stargazing night the maths' teacher had prepared for the camp's second week; he even had brought some telescopes for the students to share with a partner so they could look out for the constellations.

“Just don’t go too far away from here, okay?" The educator reminded them, due how dark and dangerous the forest could be at night.

Jimin was chilling by herself, leaning on a tree, watching Bora and Minju talk when she felt a sudden poke on her shoulder.

It was Minjeong, who for the first time had dared to take the first step with the tall girl.

“Oh, Minjeong, what brings you here?” Jimin greeted her and swore Minjeong looked even tinier when she had her backpack on.

“Want to share a telescope with me?” The short girl said without making eye contact with Jimin.

“Me? Really?”

“Yeah, you.” The short-haired girl pouted, annoyed at Jimin for not answering as fast as she wanted, but the long-haired girl just smiled at how cute she looked.

"Sure, I'd love to, but where exactly would we go?"

"I know a place."

 

Minjeong grabbed Jimin’s hand and guided her to a small hill not too far away from the main field, from there you could see the cabins and even the deep forest. Jimin was in awe at how cloudless the sky looked.

“How do you know about this place?”

“I saw it from the window bus when we arrived here.”

Jimin smiled to herself as she remembered how Minjeong was so focused looking out of the window that day.

Minjeong unpacked a gray camp blanket from her backpack, and placed it all over the grass with delicacy, like she was afraid of hurting it, and put the telescope they borrowed from her teacher, in front of them. Pointing straight to the night sky.

“Want to take a look first?”

“It’s such an honor.” The tall girl grabbed the telescope and adjusted it to observe the moon first. “It’s so beautiful.” She took Minjeong’s hand and pulled her closer. “Look at this, you will love it.”

“Oh my god, it’s kind of terrifying how huge it is.” Minjeong shuddered.

“Oh, come on, it’s pretty.”  The long-haired girl objected but Minjeong just kept insisting it was scary. “Yeah, pretty… huge you might say.” Jimin decided to give up on trying to convince Minjeong otherwise because, to her surprise, the short girl could be very stubborn.

For the rest of the hour the girls chose to take turns to look out for the constellations the teacher had listed, and to their luck, they only found two of the four on the list, however, for them that was more than enough and called that night a success.

“That was fun.” Jimin said as they sat down on the blanket, listening to the crickets chirping, an owl howling somewhere in the forest and the sound of the trees rustling due to the breezy night. “I love summer.” Jimin confessed and Minjeong looked at her. “It makes me feel full of life, like I can do anything.”

“I agree, but I actually prefer the winter.”

“Yeah, you look like the kind of kid that would say. that” Those were Jimin’s words before Minjeong hit her shoulder playfully. “I’m joking.” The tall girl rubbed her arm with signs of pain all over her face, she didn’t know the short girl was that strong. “Ouch.”

“I’m sorry, Jimin.” She immediately massaged Jimin’s bare arm carefully, causing the older’s heart to flutter at the sudden touch of Minjeong's delicate hands all over her skin.

“Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt anymore.” Jimin got nervous, it was the first time Minjeong dared to touch her beyond her hands, and missed the contact when the soft hands were no longer on her arm. “Now I know you are a strong kid I shouldn’t mess around with.” She joked and Minjeong just smiled and rolled her eyes.

There was a quick moment of quietness before Minjeong decided to take a word.

“You know, yesterday I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I am enjoying this trip thanks to you… and your friends.” She confessed allowing herself to be vulnerable around Jimin. “I came here with zero expectations, just preparing myself mentally to be a loner and wait for this to be over, but now… I’m not so sure about that last part.”

Jimin stared at Minjeong’s features, which were shining under the moonlight. “I don’t want this to be over either.” Jimin bit her lip, this was feeling way more intimate than her previous conversations.

“Will we still be friends when we go back to our normal lives at school?” Minjeong's eyes were almost pleading and Jimin had to resist the urge of cupping her cheeks. She wouldn’t do that without the short girl’s consent.

“Uhh, edgy.” The long-haired girl joked to ease her strong feelings. “Of course, we will, who do you take me for?” She reassured the short-haired girl who just smiled and lowered her gaze in sign of embarrassment.

“I don’t know, I think it’s a valid concern.” The short-girl shrugged.

“Don’t worry” Jimin moved closer to reach for Minjeong’s hand. She touched her pinkie as a way of asking for permission to hold her hand, to which she timidly accepted. “I’ll be with you until you get tired of me.”

Maybe Jimin was being delusional and imagining things due to her being on cloud nine at that very moment, but she swore she saw Minjeong smirk at their hands touching.

“Well, now that you say that, there’s something I wanted to ask you.”

“What is it?”

“Heejin and I signed up for the talent show tomorrow.” The short girl said, squeezing Jimin’s hand in a sign of shyness. “And I want you to come. It’s not obligatory but I want you to be there.”

Me? Is this real?

“We will be singing a slow song; I hope you don't get bored.” She chuckled, trying to hide the fear of rejection from the long-haired girl.

But in fact Jimin was actually about to lose it. Listening to Minjeong sing was her number one desire since that time she heard her sing from the school hallways, and now for the first time, she would have the chance to listen to the girl’s voice, loud and clear.

“Of course, count me in, I’d love to be there.” Jimin smiled brightly and Minjeong reciprocated the smile with a giggle.

“I will see you there then, it will be at 8 p.m. Outside the dining hall, close to the big bonfire. Don’t forget.”

“I won’t.” Both smiled at each other before packing their stuff up to head back.


 

"You look anxious, are you okay? Did you take something?" Yizhuo asked because Jimin's behavior had been somewhat suspicious since that morning.

“I said I didn't, I'm just kind of excited.”

“Damn you are down so bad.” The blonde raised both of her eyebrows, surprised at how Minjeong had her friend wrapped around her finger.

“What?” Jimin asked, she didn’t know the girl knew about her little crush already. “Nothing.” The blonde simply answered and sat next to Aeri.

“I can’t believe she’s going to have a duet with Heejin, she must be good to be sharing the stage with her.” The brunette said, but it came a little passive aggressive for Jimin’s liking.

“She is.”

They both smirked at each other, they had forgotten how protective Yoo Jimin could be.

“Just sit down and relax, you still have like thirty minutes before the show starts.”

“Aeri is right, sit your ass down and take a deep breath before you leave, because you really seem to need it.”

 

 

Jimin arrived quite early at the event because she wanted a chance to talk with Minjeong before the show started, but the girl was nowhere to be found. However, fortunately for her, she noticed Heejin was already there, sitting near the bonfire with Hyunjin.

“Hi girls, have you seen Minjeong?” The tall girl felt like a lost puppy in the middle of the forest.

“Yeah, she is right there, rehearsing near the instruments.” Heejin pointed at the drums set up that was like eight steps away from them.

Jimin thanked her amiability, and wished her good luck before going to where Minjeong was.

 

 “Minjeong!” The long-haired girl shouted out of the blue, startling the girl who was very focused on her lyrics sheet.

“Yah!” Minjeong fake cried and brought her song sheet close to her chest to prevent Jimin from looking at what she was going to sing that night.

"Sorry, I was looking for you because I wanted to wish you luck."

“Thank you, I think I will need it because I’m not gonna lie, I’m a bit nervous.” She sighed. “It’s the first time I actually sing in front of all these people.”

“You will be okay, I promise.” Jimin rubbed her shoulder tenderly, getting the girl to relax a little bit.

“I just don't want to embarrass Heejin on the stage.” The short girl hid her face behind her song sheet.

“You won’t. I know you two will sound like goddesses out there.”

“How are you so sure about it?” The short girl got confused at how confident Jimin sounded about her singing skills and the tall girl noticed her confusion but decided to keep a certain story a secret.

“I just know, believe me.”

“Thank you, Jimin.” They stared at each other for a short minute until a voice behind interrupted their little moment. “Minjeongie, are you ready?” Heejin came holding a guitar. “We go out in five minutes.”

Minjeongie?

“Yep.” The short haired girl checked the lyrics one last time.” I guess I will see you in the crowd.”

“Good luck, Minjeong.” With her heart beating like crazy, Jimin got the courage to go for an unexpected and quick hug before leaving.

Minjeong got frozen, the hug was so fast she couldn't say anything back as she watched Jimin walk away to sit beside Hyunjin.

The bonfire’s light was strong enough to illuminate the band set up. And also to get the students in the mood for the music night.

Heejin and Minjeong sat on the wooden stools, Heejin tuning her guitar, and the short girl adjusting the mic to match her height.

“Hello, is this on?” Heejin laughed when she listened to the sound of her own voice through the speakers, making the crowd chuckle along with her. “I think it is.”

“I would like to introduce the song we prepared for this special night. It’s called Do you love me? By Taeyeon.

Jimin widened her eyes at the song; she was a huge fan of Taeyeon, and now her crush was about to sing one of her favorite songs from her favorite artist? This was heaven for sure.

“I hope you enjoy it.”

All Heejin had to do was to stroke her guitar to take Jimin to another world. One where Minjeong was there, singing in front of her with her soothing voice, joined by Heejin’s harmonization, who matched the melody perfectly. The passion in their voices was breathtaking, and this almost made Jimin cry in public.

Heejin’s guitar skills were so sharp that not a single note was missed, and had Minjeong following her tempo with excellency. It was a performance straight from heaven, and the girls sharing the stage were aware of it when they stared at each other's eyes before harmonizing to the last part of the song.

Jimin was trying to not shed a tear when the rest of the students gave a round of applause. Hyunjin stood up to shout for Heejin, meanwhile Jimin remained seated with her eyes locked on Minjeong, who was smiling at her shyly and sighing with relief that the performance was over.

 

Jimin approached the girls once the show was over. “That was so beautiful I almost cried.” The tall girl said, making the both girls laugh. “I’m being serious guys, that was perfect, and you coincidentally chose one of my favorite songs.

“Minjeong actually was the one who picked the song, she’s an avid Taeyeon fan.”

“Seriously? And you didn’t tell me?” Jimin was kind of offended at the unknown fact. “You literally didn’t ask.” The short girl smiled mischievously, leaving her without words.

“Well now you know.” Heejin dared to joke.

“I know I’m gonna sound like a broken record but you two together sound majestic. I'm gonna think about it all night.” The long-haired girl kept complimenting the girls, especially Minjeong, who was starting to get embarrassed due to not being used to people's praises on her now not so well-hidden talent.

“Thank you, Jimin, but to be honest it was all Minjeong.” Heejin said, putting her arm around the short girl's shoulder and smiling so much that her eyes disappeared into a crescent moon shape.

However, the sudden closeness towards Minjeong was making Jimin very uncomfortable.

Was it envy? Probably. Yet she couldn’t get rid of the feeling as Heejin wouldn’t take her arm off her. She was jealous at how easy the brunette made it seem to get closer like that to Minjeong, while she would find herself struggling to even touch the short-haired girl's hand or hug her in a friendly way.

“Enough, this is so embarrassing.” Minjeong covered her face with her hands.

“Ah classic Minjeong, getting shy as always, but okay okay.” The brunette laughed and finally, to Jimin’s relief, let go of her shoulder. “I wish I could stay a little bit longer but Hyunjin is waiting for me.” She pointed at the girl who was staring at them from the bonfire. “I'll see you around guys, and let’s do this again sometime Minjeong.” The brunette squeezed her hand briefly before walking away.

“I didn't know you and Heejin were so close.” Jimin didn't want to sound jealous, she didn't have the right to be, but her emotions took control of her mouth.

“We are not exactly that close, but as we share the same private vocal lessons I get to see her very often and she talks to me whenever she gets a chance even though I don't always pay attention to her. But she’s very nice.” Minjeong said with the corner of her mouth turned up in a lopsided smile.

Jimin shook her head because she was being immature for letting her insecurities get into Minjeong’s possible friendship with Heejin. “She is. As well as very fun and cool. So I hope you two keep getting along well, and get the chance to sing a duet once again. I would particularly love to see that.”

Wait.

“I don’t know, her friend Hyunjin is quite scary, she’s always looking at me like she wants to attack me or something whenever Heejin is near me. I don’t unders-” The short girl was cut off.

“Would you like to go to the river with me tomorrow?” Jimin proposed. “It would be like a chill picnic day, with food, a beautiful view and…maybe one song from you?” The sudden idea didn’t sound that bad and to be honest, aside from wanting to hear Minjeong’s sweet voice again, what she really wanted was to spend their free day with her.

“Huh?” That was Minjeong’s way of saying Why me, out of all people?

“I mean, sure, I would love to, although I can’t promise you to sing a song, but I could give it a thought.”

Jimin smiled happily once the girl agreed. “So it’s a… deal.” The tall girl almost bit her tongue when the word date almost slipped out of her mouth.

“Deal.” And for the first time, Minjeong wasn’t convinced of the word said.


 

Jimin had chosen a spot near the river's wooden bridge for that day’s picnic. It was a bit further from the camp area but it was worth the walk up there.

“I brought my camp blanket, a pair of water bottles and some sandwiches that I actually took from the dining hall. I know it's not too much but I hope you like it.” Minjeong said in a tiny voice and Jimin knew she was embarrassed about it.

“It's completely fine by me, besides, it's not about the food but having a good time together.” Jimin smiled proudly at her own words but Minjeong wasn’t feeling it at all.

“Corny.” Minjeong teased her while pushing her aside, with visible signs of disgust all over her face.

“Oh come on, it’s not that corny.” Jimin whined like a child doing a tantrum, and Minjeong just burst into laughter.

However, she couldn’t get mad at the puppy look-alike girl for teasing her when deep down she actually loved it.

“Sure, sure.” Minjeong said, opening her backpack to place the blanket under a voluminous tree, to prevent any sunlight from leaking through the leaves.

“I brought with me a bag of snacks and some peaches, because If I’m not mistaken, you really like them.” Jimin took the rosy and velvety fruits along with the bags of mixed nuts out of her tote bag.

The eyes of the girl lit up at the sight of the soft, round and slightly fuzzy fruit . “Yes, thank you!”

“You’re welcome.” The long-haired girl smiled, leaning on the tree behind her and closed her eyes to focus on the sound of the river flowing as well as on the robin birds chirping.

Unconsciously, she was about to fall asleep when she felt Minjeong getting up. “Are you going to fall asleep here, really?” Jimin opened one eye and watched as the short girl walked towards the wooden bridge.

“I’m not going to fall asleep, I’m just relaxing.” But Minjeong was already far enough to listen.

The short girl was very focused on the crystalline water, leaning on the ropes suspending the old wooden structure, to get a better look of the fishes swimming in the river.

Jimin couldn’t stop staring at the girl and decided to join her.

“Are the fishes more entertaining than me?” The long-haired girl joked while she leaned on her back on the ropes of the bridge.

“Maybe.” Minjeong smirked.

Jimin rolled her eyes to then stare at the mountain that protected the area, she found it mesmerizing.

“You love this, don’t you?”

Minjeong turned her head to stare at Jimin’s side profile, noticing the girl’s mole under the corner of her mouth.

“I mean just look at this.” The short girl turned around to look at the mountain and then at Jimin, who was already taking a picture of the landscape. She couldn't hide a smile at the girl's love for nature.

“It’s beautiful.” Minjeong sighed helplessly, her words not exactly directed at the scenery.

She was feeling oddly nervous at the thought of being too close to Jimin, so she decided it was better to go back to the tree and take some deep breaths.

“I think I’m feeling a bit hungry, I will go take a peach from your bag.” The short girl walked away fast, leaving her alone with just the sound of the old wooden structure creaking behind her.

Jimin just tilted her head, confused, yet she assumed it was probably another of the girl’s quirks.

Minjeong took a bite from the peach as she sat down on the blanket, looking at Jimin with her long hair falling off her back and shining brightly under the sunlight. Pretty.

“I think I took too many pictures. It will be hard to choose one for social media” Jimin said, walking towards her while scrolling down her phone.

“You don’t have to.”  The short girl reminded her, smiling mischievously.

“Unlike you, I do like posting pictures on the internet.” The long-haired girl fought back, sitting beside the short-haired girl and picking a bag of mixed dry fruit.

“I just don’t find it necessary.” She took another bite from the peach.

“You are not as romantic as me.” Jimin teased her playfully, sticking her tongue out.

“I can admit that.” Minjeong smiled, giving up to the tall girl.

 

They stayed like that for a while, just talking about music, Taeyeon, their hobbies, Minjeong’s singing skills, and a bunch of other stuff. This was the right occasion to learn more about each other, even about things they didn't get the chance to talk about ever before.

And Jimin would be the most talkative of the two for sure, but that day Minjeong was atypically chatty.

“Have you ever liked someone and thought that it might be too late to make a move?” The shorter one blurted out, fidgeting with her fingers and avoiding eye contact.

Jimin didn’t expect that question at all, let alone from her. She didn’t think of Minjeong being interested in those kinds of topics.

She didn’t mean to misjudge her.

Yet, the question touched very personal fibers on the long-haired girl.

In her case, she was feeling like it was too late to do something about it because there was no way Minjeong could see her as more than a friend, even if she tried. The girl had only really known her for a few weeks, it was impossible.

“Now that you say that, yeah I have.” Minjeong looked at her shyly, and Jimin wasn't sure where this conversation was going or what was troubling the girl’s mind at that exact moment. “But I believe that there’s always time to try, no matter what.”

Look who’s talking…

Minjeong didn’t look very convinced with her answer, and Jimin started to worry, the least thing she wanted was to make this not a safe space for the short girl.

“Do you like someone?” That was the question the tall girl wanted to avoid asking at all costs because she didn’t know if she was going to be able to deal with Minjeong’s answer.

Her heart wasn’t prepared for the sting that it would be to listen to Minjeong say another person’s name. Especially if that name was Heejin’s.

Or maybe she was going crazy and Heejin had nothing to do with this. But the image of the brunette holding Minjeong was still on her mind.

The short girl remained silent, staring thoughtful at the river. “I think I do.”

“You think so?” Jimin’s heart was beating loudly, anxiety taking over her body.

The shorter girl lowered her head and hugged her legs to protect herself from her own feelings.

“I mean, I’m sure, but I just don’t know if the other person likes me back.”

This feels way too familiar.

“Is that person a friend of yours?” Jimin bit her lip at the question, that could define it all.

“Mhmm, no, yeah, well I don’t know, it’s complicated.” Minjeong said, fidgeting with her hair. “The thing is that I don’t want her to be just my friend.”

So it’s a she. Heejin?

“Do I know her?” Jimin tried to ease the girl’s worry, by playfully asking her about her love interest.

The short-haired girl laughed. “Yeah, you do know her very well.”

Jimin’s stomach dropped as soon as she heard that. There was no doubt, it was the brunette.

"Have you tried talking to her about your feelings?" Jimin asked with sincerity, because even if she knew she wasn't the girl Minjeong was referring to, she was still her friend and cared about her.

Minjeong went silent for almost a minute which felt like an eternity for the long-haired girl.

“I’m trying to right now.”

 

And the realization hit her like a truck; all this coded conversation had been about her after all?  Jimin was completely flabbergasted; she felt like she was about to melt and turn into dust. She couldn’t come up with any words to say back, and all the girl could see was a frown all over her face.

“I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything.” Minjeong shook her head, ashamed of what just happened.

But Jimin was still processing the confession, and most of all, her own feelings.

“Please say something, just anything. I can even take a rejection.” Minjeong pleaded when a hand reached hers.

For the first time, Jimin had dared to grab her hand without a second thought, getting closer to Minjeong’s face to look directly into her eyes, smiling.

“I could never reject you when I feel the same about you.”

Minjeong blushed at the sudden proximity causing her to accidentally stare at Jimin’s lips but averted her eyes as soon as the tall girl noticed.

The short girl’s heartbeat was erratic, she wasn’t expecting her to reciprocate her feelings at all. But she couldn’t bottle up her desires anymore and got even closer to Jimin’s face, like it was a stare competition.

There was nothing to lose.

“Can I kiss you?”  

Both asked at the same time, making each other laugh at the shared thought.

Jimin’s ears were so red that Minjeong noticed, touching them with her delicate hands to ease the girl’s feelings. The tall girl lowered her head, embarrassed at the contact. 

“Can I?” Jimin asked one more time, but before she could say anything else, she felt a soft pair of lips on hers.

Minjeong’s kiss was shy, gentle and it tasted like peaches. It was obvious that the girl was nervous by taking the initiative, so Jimin ventured and grabbed her slowly by the nape to deepen the kiss, just a little bit to not make her uncomfortable.

Minjeong was stiff at the sudden change of pace but she relaxed as soon as the long-haired girl caressed one of her cheeks. Their breaths were in sintony until the short girl had to break the kiss to catch some air.

Jimin opened her eyes to look at Minjeong, who was blushing hard due to the intense kiss they just shared.

“Was that okay?” The long-haired girl asked, worried about Minjeong who was silent once they broke the kiss. But all her thoughts were cut off when, without a warning, a pair of hands grabbed the collar of her shirt to pull her in a kiss. This time it was more reckless and passionate that the long-haired girl couldn’t hide a smile before pulling away. However, right away, Minjeong went for another one, this time being just a quick peck.

“I will take that as a yes.” Jimin joked, although she was trying to keep composure to not kiss her lips once again. Her emotions were at its peak.

“I think my heart is going to burst at any moment.” Minjeong said, placing her hand over her chest. “If I die here, it will be worth it.”

“You are so silly.” The long-haired girl laughed and rested the palm of her hand on the girl’s cheek. It might have seemed like a simple sign of affection but in that moment, for Jimin it meant the whole world. “You are not going to die, I promise.”

“It could be like that Smiths’ song.” The short-girl said.

“Oh no, don’t.” Jimin put on a face of disgust. 

“To die by your side.” Minjeong started to sing effortlessly.

“When I said I wanted you to sing a song I wasn’t talking about one from The Smiths.” Jimin put her lips over hers to shut her up but the short haired girl just laughed in her mouth.

And they spent the rest of their day like that, talking and kissing, with the river as witness.


 

“I think we should get back.” Jimin suggested when the orange pinkish light of sunset started to color the forest.

“Should we?” Minjeong, who was laying down on the blanket, asked.

“As much as I would like to stay here with you, if we don’t come back before it gets dark they might start searching for us.”

But Minjeong wasn’t really worried about that but the fact they hadn’t even talked about what was going to happen to them from now on.

“You’re right, we should get going.” The short girl shook the thought off, tomorrow would be another day for that talk. “I don’t want your friends to worry.”

"They would worry about you too, Minjeong. You're one of us now." Jimin smiled at her with the evening light highlighting her features.

“Right.” The girl smiled back shyly while packing their things up.

“Let’s go.” Jimin offered her hand to help her stand up before leaving.


 

Jimin groaned when she heard her alarm go off; she was regretting agreeing to go watch her friends' volleyball game that morning.

Who in their right mind plays volleyball at eight in the morning anyways?

But she couldn't not attend when she had already promised her friends that she would be there cheering for them after Jimin refused Yizhuo's invitation to join their team with the excuse of her being the one with the right height to play the game.

Jimin sat up to turn off her alarm and with one eye open she took a look around to make sure none of her roommates, aside from Heejin, had woken up.

The brunette was getting ready too because she was one of the girls that was going to play on the opposite team of her friends’.

“Good morning, Jimin.” Heejin greeted her while tying her sneakers. “Are you coming to the game?” She asked suspiciously.

“Yes, but I would prefer to continue sleeping, to be honest.” She said, finally being able to open both of her eyes and watched Heejin smiling at her.

“Is Minjeong coming with you?” Heejin was very straightforward with her question without losing any ounce of charisma.

Jimin reminded herself that she shouldn’t get annoyed at the brunette when she was just trying to be friends with her..

“I actually didn't tell her about it.” And it was true because Jimin knew Minjeong wouldn't like to watch a game that early. “I thought you invited her.” A passive aggressive tone slipped off  her tongue.

“I didn’t get the chance. I couldn't find her anywhere yesterday.” The brunette stood up to grab her things.

But her words left Jimin thinking about the other day's events and the shared kisses. She couldn’t help but smile at the memory and peach flavor of Minjeong's lips.

“She was probably busy.” The tall girl smiled mischievously, getting up to get dressed.


 

“They have Hyunjin, we are over.” Yizhuo started to share her pessimistic energy when she saw the girl approach Heejin.

“But we have Hyeju, we can do this.” Aeri countered her energy with positivism.

“Don’t worry guys, you got this. I believe in you.” Jimin reassured them by patting their shoulders.

“We would have had a better chance of winning if you had joined us.” The blonde whined.

“Oh come on, you don’t need me, you two just go out there and play your heart out. Do it for me.” Jimin encouraged them.

“Yuji is right, let’s just have fun, Yizhuo.” Aeri smiled at her trying not to bring Yizhuo’s competitive self into this.

“Fuck it, let’s do this.” The blonde dragged the brunette along with her. “Scream your lungs out, Jimin.”

“Don’t worry about it.” She did a salute gesture before heading to the benches.

The rest of the classmates arrived when thirty minutes of the game had already passed, yet there was still a long match to go.

“I was looking for you.” She heard a familiar voice coming from afar.

“Minjeong?” Jimin wasn’t expecting the dark-haired girl to be there. “What are you doing here, is there something wrong?” The long-haired girl asked, concerned.

"No, that's the thing, there's nothing wrong. I was just having breakfast in the dining hall when I noticed a bunch of people gathered here."

“I'm sorry I didn't tell you I was coming, I didn't want to make you wake up so early for just a game when I know how much you love to sleep.” Jimin apologized, ashamed for her assumptions.

“It’s okay, I knew I could find you here, and also I wanted to see you.” Minjeong said, sitting beside her on the wooden bench.

Jimin’s heart skipped a beat. It was funny because even when she had spent almost a whole day kissing with the girl, she still wasn’t used to this flirting.

“This is better now that you are here.” she smiled wholeheartedly and Minjeong smiled back.

“Are Yizhuo and Aeri playing?” Minjeong squinted her eyes to get a better look at the field.

“Yes, they are on the white team.” The tall girl pointed at her friends.

“Oh, look, Heejin is playing too.” Minjeong pointed at the brunette, who was waving at the short girl excitedly, her smile so big that her eyes curved into a crescent moon-like shape. Minjeong waved back at her. “Wait, she’s from the enemy team, my bad.” The girl apologized, but Jimin wasn’t even mad, she just found it endearing.

They watched the rest of the game in silence until Minjeong decided to speak.

“About yesterday... Are we okay?”

Minjeong didn’t want to bring up the topic in a moment like that but the anxiety was taking over her and was making her think that there wouldn’t be a good chance for them to talk about it. Not back in the city.

Jimin looked at her confused, not sure of what the unexpected question meant. “Of course we are, however, Is there something worrying you?”

The short girl fidgeted with the end of her white shirt. “I know it is too soon to take the next step, but I just want to make sure we are on the same page. Like…you actually like me back, right?”

“I do.” Jimin answered with confidence, squeezing her hand. “Because even though I like being your friend, I would also like to be something more than that...” The tall girl bit her lip. “And the time we spend together, I want it to be an opportunity for us to know each other even better than we already do, formally.”

“Me too.” Minjeong squeezed her hand back with her eyes gleaming. 

“Can we go on a proper date once we get back to the city?” Jimin proposed enthusiastically.

“I would love that.”  Minjeong smiled widely.

“Deal?”  The long-haired girl extended her hand.

“Deal.”

And as they used to do, Minjeong shook hands with her.

 

They were laughing at their own antics when all of a sudden they heard their classmates celebrate that Yizhuo had scored a decisive point for the game.

Jimin immediately stood up to cheer loudly for her friend, and Minjeong couldn’t hide a smile at how lovable the long-haired girl was and stood up along with the girl to scream her lungs out. “Let’s go Yizhuo!”

The blonde waved at them to then sign with her index finger that they were just one point away to win the game. It was all or nothing.

Heejin and Hyunjin looked preoccupied and exhausted, especially the tall girl who evidently wasn’t expecting a comeback from the white team.

The last minutes of the match had every one of their classmates holding on to their seats because Hyunjin wasn’t going without a fight, she was giving a performance worthy of a show when she kept blocking every single attack from the white team almost flawlessly. 

“Hyunjin is out of her mind, I didn’t know she was that good at it.” Jimin couldn’t believe how the dark haired girl was able to do all of that considering how tired she looked a few moments ago.

“She probably doesn’t want to disappoint Heejin.”

The long haired girl gave her words a thought and to be honest she would probably be doing the same for Minjeong if they were the ones playing on the same team.

The match was about to be declared a tie when all of a sudden Hyeju jumped to bait Hyunjin by faking a roll shot just after Aeri passed the ball, which was actually directed at Yoohyeon for her to spike the now defenseless team, scoring successfully the last point of the game. And even when Heejin and Sooyoung tried their best to save the game, the shot was too fast for their reaction time.

The white team was officially the winner.

Screaming, the crowd cheered with excitement. Jimin and Minjeong, who were holding hands tightly, jumped as soon as they heard their teacher’s whistle indicating the end of the game.

On the other hand, the white team’s girls were still in disbelief of their win because none of them expected their strategy to actually work out. Meanwhile on the other side of the net, the black team was in shambles over the unexpected loss, especially Hyunjin, who was being comforted by Heejin.

When most of the students left, Jimin walked up to her friends, still not letting go of the other girl's hand.

“You were amazing out there!” The long haired girl gently let go of Minjeong’s hand to hug Yizhuo and Aeri. “I believed in you.”

“That was fucking insane. My mind was racing when I saw Hyunjin taking the bait.”  The blonde was talking too fast due to the adrenaline.

“The way Yoohyeon reacted so fast at my throw decided it all.” Aeri explained how she prepared for that throw minutes before.

“All of you played incredibly.”  Minjeong spoke with her tiny voice.

The two volleyball players looked at her tenderly. “Thank you, Minjeong.” The blonde hugged her unexpectedly and Minjeong reciprocated it a bit awkwardly, but with sincerity.

“Y-you are welcome.”

Jimin couldn't hide her wide smile at the sweet interaction, and Aeri noticed it, bumping her shoulder at her without any of them saying anything, there was no need to.


 

“I had to say something, she looked like a sad bunny.” Minjeong laid down on the grass and rested her head on the tall girl’s lap, who sat under a tree. “She took that loss very seriously.”

“Heejin is very competitive as well as Hyunjin, but unlike her, Heejin takes her losses close to heart.” Jimin explained, playing with Minjeong’s bangs. “But I’m sure your words meant a lot to her at that moment.”

“I really hope so.” Minjeong said, playing with a leaf and looking at the sky once in a while. “Now I understand why she is always so perfectionist with our vocal lessons.”

“Correct.” Jimin stared at her, thinking how this moment was more intimate than any other one they have shared.

After a moment of silence, Minjeong spoke. “I don’t wanna leave tomorrow.” The tall girl looked down. “Why so?”

“I feel so comfortable here with you.”

“We will be comfortable too back in the city, I promise.” The long-haired girl comforted the melancholic kid.

“I can’t believe we liked each other on a summer trip.” Minjeong laughed with irony.

“That’s how the romcoms begin.” Jimin jokes, knowing Minjeong didn’t have any romantic vibe. “But to be quite honest, I liked you even before this trip.”

“Huh?” The short girl stopped playing with the leaf. “Are you serious? When? How?” She got up to look at Jimin, who was giggling at the cute reaction from the tiny girl.

“Shhh, it’s a secret that I will tell you once we are back home.” And just like that the tall girl leaned in to steal a quick soft kiss from Minjeong.

“I’ll be waiting then.” The short-haired girl licked her bottom lip and leaned closer to Jimin's face to give her a peck.

And another, and another…


 

“Come on, I don’t want to be late, I want a good spot on the bus.” Yizhuo dragged Jimin, Aeri and Minjeong, who were still very sleepy, to the bus.

“You didn’t forget anything?” Jimin asked Minjeong, who shook her head.

The students started to get on the bus one by one until it was their turn.

“Kim Aeri, you with me.” The blonde grabbed the brunette’s hand almost instantly.

“Want to share a seat with me?” Jimin asked sheepishly because wasn't sure if Minjeong wanted to be alone for the ride. 

“Yeah.” The short girl smiled at her with tiredness in her eyes.

The four sat on the middle seats of the bus, Aeri and Minjeong with the window view.

“Look, I got us earphones so we can now listen to music together more comfortably.” The short girl took them out of her backpack smiling.

“Where did you get them?” Jimin wanted to kiss her so badly at that moment because of how cute of a gesture that was.

“Yizhuo lent them to me.” The girl turned her head back and saw her friends smiling at them, nothing needed to be said, they knew.

“Well, you choose, and I listen.” The long-haired girl proposed wholeheartedly and Minjeong’s eyes sparkled at her words.

The bus was starting to move, and Minjeong couldn’t avoid a yawn, resting her head on Jimin’s shoulder.

And she thought that it was nice to have, for the first time, a shoulder to lean on. She could definitely get used to this, to be accompanied.