Title: In Good Taste [Part Six]
Rating/Genre: PG-13 + Language; Coming Out, Girl-Meets-Girl
Disclaimer: I don’t own Soshi. I don’t own anyone, in fact. All Fiction.
Warning(s): Only that I thinkkkk we’re at the halfway mark?Author’s Notes: I read a tweet that said, “Stop shrinking yourself to fit places you’ve outgrown.” Words to live by. Hope everyone’s taking good care of themselves. Per usual, drop a comment if you feel so compelled.
Yuri zipped the back of her black dress, eyeing her disappointment in the bathroom mirror. Its spaghetti straps sagged a bit—she’d have to do some safety pinning—and it ended at an awkward length, right at her calves. As if it couldn’t decide to be flirty or frumpish. In between. Like herself.
This dress and her deserved each other. Faintly, she imagined Sinbi having a field day judging her.
But, these were the results when your right-hand woman wasn’t present.
Yuri dug through a drawer, scraping three silver pins from its little grooves between the wooden slats. She blew debris from a pin, frowning. Yuri had been avoiding Sooyoung, if she’d be honest with herself. Purposely grabbing early morning shifts (Sooyoung preferred to sleep in) and answering texts in a friendly—albeit, noncommittal—manner. Because Sooyoung practically majored in Kwon Yuri. She’d sniff out a dilemma like Lassie.
“Yul, are you almost done?”
“Yeaaaah,” she drawled, clipping the straps as well as she’d care. “You need something in here?”
Taekwoon poked his head past the door, giving his gelled hair a little flip. “Sure do!”
Immediately, he glided behind Yuri, squeezing her up into his lanky frame. “I needed this. Do you mind?”
“Oh, you sweet talker.” She breathed in his ‘fancy outing’ cologne. Relaxed into the firmness of his chest, head rested on his shoulder. “I needed that hug, too.”
“I bet. You’ve been withdrawn lately.”
Yuri schooled her body not to tense, though she’d probably failed. “I have, haven’t I?”
“Should you…see a shrink?”
“No, I don’t think it’s like that. Besides, we can’t afford it.”
“Not yet.” He waggled his eyebrows at her through the mirror, his narrow features handsome and confident. “This new client could change everything.”
Three-and-a-half years ago, Taekwoon (like many tech-ish folks his age) fell into the unpredictable startup life. He and four of his alumni friends (Yuri and Sooyoung referred to their boys’ club as ‘bros’), they managed a business of app representation. Generally, finding people or small companies with cool app ideas and pairing them with the proper freelancers for development and branding. An app-developer dating service of sorts. They also contributed their own hands in website building and such. Yuri really didn’t have a full head around the specifics, but Taekwoon mentioned it so often, she could parrot those points.
She admired that about Taekwoon. His drive. It’s the drive that made this celebratory dinner come to pass. Taekwoon, the bros, and their girlfriends/wives got reservations to a restaurant heights above their usual pay grade. One of those bros happened to be Han, Sooyoung’s fiancé. Meaning…
“You and Sooyoung haven’t binge-watched your awful soaps together in a while.”
“They’re not awful, Taek.” Yuri slipped in her earrings, smirking for him. “We’re bogged down with that gruesome, ugly, unforgiving thing…I think it’s called life?”
Taekwoon laughed, but a shadow of something Yuri didn’t want to question darkened his eyes. “Am…um, am I responsible for the ugly in your life?”
“Oh, shit, no!” Yuri overcompensated by backing into him. His long arms stretched from either side of her, holding onto the edge of the sink. “You’ve done nothing, and I mean nothing wrong, so…”
His black eyebrows rose. Face expectant. The silence of the bathroom both heavy and stilted—a miserable combination.
“So, chin up. Tonight is about you, okay?”
Fortunately, that imparted a genuine smile to his face. “Team effort, Kwon.”
“Yeah, yeah, but you signed the client.”
“That I did.”
“And you’ve done the most all-nighters.”
“That’s true, too.”
“Plus, you’ve been the encourager, their powerhouse of positive thinking, countless times. You’re the best.”
“Gotta admit,” he murmured, lowering his lips to her shoulder. “All these compliments turn me on.”
Shit. This time, Yuri knew she’d tensed perceptibly. “Can’t be freaky while I’m wearing this dress. It wrinkles if I even breathe wrong.” Which was going to be a pain in the ass to sit down in.
Taekwoon left a row of heavy kisses, undeterred. “Take it off?”
Her palms moistened with sweat as she grappled for a passable excuse. When it pinged into existence, she stilled his hips with a light tap. “N-no way, you. I’m quite literally safety pinned into this rag. Once it’s off, it’s off and we shouldn’t miss the dinner. You’ve been looking forward to it.”
He growled as he pulled away, something that’d melt the clothes off any woman. Any straight woman.
Yet, Yuri stood, ramrod straight, fretting for her words to sink in.
“Bah, sorry. You’re right.” He stepped away to adjust his blazer. “Can’t let those losers make toasts at my expense without me.”
Dodged that. Success. “Wouldn’t want that.”
“You’re not off the hook, though.” Taekwoon’s eyes met hers with an obvious smolder. “Tonight, the dress comes off. Would you like that?”
For this lie, she’d rummage through her trove of memories. Of a certain boutique shop owner’s long lashes, her womanly tapered waist. Her textured, coy phone voice. The devastatingly flattering blush on her cheeks when she’d told Yuri, “You have a beautiful heart.”
From those thoughts, Yuri lied in a confident, “God, yes. I would.”
When Yuri and Sooyoung greeted one another, all meetup stresses evaporated.
“Yul, my dear, wonderful Yul,” Sooyoung gasped with all the melodrama of their shows. Her strapless sundress swished in flawless accord. “Lifetimes have passed since we’ve been one.”
“But, my love, it’s only been weeks.”
“Weeks, lifetimes—they’re synonyms when you’re not in my arms.”
They twirled in a hearty hug, giggling at full volume outside the restaurant.
“She never acts that excited when she sees me,” Han teased, nudging Taekwoon with an elbow. His haircut—stylishly shaven on the sides—and Armani suit definitely costed triple what Taekwoon wore, shoes and all. He came from money and didn’t hide it. “S’young just holds her hand out like, ‘What’d you bring me?’”
They laughed along with the other coworkers and their dates as a smiling server led them inside.
“Our bond is sacred and everlasting.” Sooyoung tightened a softly thin arm around Yuri’s waist. “It shan’t be broken.”
Han did his patented aegyo. Everyone groaned. “What about our impending union? Husband, wife, all that shit.”
“We’re here tonight to celebrate, you fool.”
“I should be jealous, right?” He slinked into a chair next to Taekwoon, leaving Sooyoung and Yuri on the other side of their beaus, sadly separated. “You’re testing my manhood.”
Taekwoon agreed, adding on, “I feel tested, too. Can I get in on this passion, Yul?”
Their party laughed earnestly, soon followed by hungry murmuring over their menus while the server recited the evening specials. Everybody except Yuri, who’d gone hollow in her seat.
Did Taek mean that? Within jest, people revealed truths. Often, subconsciously.
She gripped the loose tablecloth in her lap, dreading the countdown to bedtime. They’d be sleeping together. And after her “God, yes” earlier, she had to deliver. Since—she blinked at her man, who’d removed his blazer already—Taekwoon personified the absolute boyfriend. Gentlemanly, humble. Buttoning shirt sleeves to his elbows because he hated being constricted, bogged down by the bells and whistles of looking presentable. That’s where he and Tiffany contrasted. Never had she seen Tiffany out of her flawless veneer. Was this a sign?
“Could you repeat the first appetizer?” Sooyoung shouted over the loudness, simultaneously pressing a ‘shut it’ finger to Han’s lips.
The server, who’d introduced herself as Jihyo, perked to attention. “Pardon?”
Yuri couldn’t help noticing how Han scoped out the attractive younger woman, none too concerned about appetizers. Interestingly enough, Yuri realized she found Jihyo attractive before he laid his sleazy eyes on her.
Sooyoung squinted at her menu. “The fri-fr—”
“Oh,” Jihyo grinned, bringing her large eyes into an amiable smile. “The frisée salad. It’s a favorite of mine.”
Something immutable hit Yuri. The inexplicable urge to chip in, “I, uh, I agree. It’s good.”
The whole party quieted. Two reasons: In big groups, Yuri usually kept her lips buttoned unless she and Sooyoung were being dramatic -and- how the hell would she be hip to French fucking cuisine? Their financial struggles weren’t a secret. Regardless, she powered on. “It’s…it’s this—” She fixed her hands into claws, tapping them together. “shrub-like, pale, crunchy lettuce. It…it has a twinge of bitterness, but it’s super refreshing…so, you don’t notice. And it’s often topped with…” Sweat dripped on the back of her neck. “P-poached egg and…and vinaigrette.”
“Exactly.” Jihyo nodded a silent thank you because they hadn’t shut up for her. “We also add pork belly, all sourced locally. It’s a great starter.”
Sooyoung’s eyes had remained fixed on Yuri. Shaking her head of a daze, she said, “I’m sold. I'll have one to start. And your filet mignon, rare. I want it to moo at me.”
In a sequence around the table, everyone eventually got their act together and ordered. Yuri, whose stomach had plummeted to hell, ordered a simple dish. French onion soup. The way everyone—namely Taekwoon—gawped at her had done her appetite in. He’d appeared mystified, being that she only went out to eat with him and Sooyoung. To his knowledge, at least.
Not long after Jihyo left and a sommelier replaced her with a wine list, Taekwoon leaned close with, “Um, how’d you know that?”
“W-well, you know…” Yuri drew from her experiences, assembling a brand-new lie. How sad she couldn’t name the ingredients of a goddamn salad without knocking earth off its axis. “my—my dramas. They have all kinds of gourmet meals and…I saw it. On a lunch break, I ordered one.”
“Was it expensive?”
Oh, hell yes. “I’m sorry. I accidentally splurged. It’s my fault.”
He let out a huge breath, expelling…relief? Then, grinned. “Full disclosure. I pre-ordered two Xbox games.” He mustered up a terrible British accent, imitating Sooyoung and Yuri’s flowery greeting from earlier. “We mustn’t keep these trivial secrets, shall we, my love?”
Relieved herself, Yuri bent forward and kissed him. “No, we mustn’t.”
The night commenced on a high note, luckily for Yuri. Including: a toast that turned into a roast war of embarrassing office hijinks, a bro’s wife rehashing some YouTube-grade conspiracy theories, and male-dominated discourse. Sooyoung chatted to anyone near her and took chair-sharing breaks next to Yuri to relay the latest Craftie’s gossip. And when her best friend wasn’t pressed to her side, Yuri politely small talked or half-listened to Taek’s banter. Jihyo, ever the attentive server, picked up on this, making easy conversation whenever she topped off Yuri’s wine or water. She felt no gay vibes from her (as far as one’s babygay brain could detect), yet it didn’t stop her from subtly...ever so subtly...appraising her snug white top or the strands dangling under her bun. Whew, what a hottie.
This excited Yuri, actually. Toying with her newfound sexuality. Thinking thoughts none of the heterosexuals would assume.
Besides that, she was bored. She missed Tiffany.
And—who would’ve thought—Yuri’s phone vibrated in a message from her. For the first time in what felt like centuries.
Nonchalantly, Yuri lifted her phone, changed its settings to ‘light-up only’, and read,
Tiffany: I told u to lose my number and that makes me a hypocrite. Because I didn’t for one second consider deleting yours. I’m undeniably a glutton for heartbreak. Yuri if we do this we must do it right. No dates, but be social. Are u game?
“Lord,” she muttered, truly breathless in a swoon that blurred her vision. That confession sated her more than the twice-bitten apple tart on her plate.
Yuri glanced up, wary of anyone noting her reaction.
With cheetah-esque speed, she returned, I’m so fcking game. I’d find u now if I could. Ty for not giving up on me...
She focused on being natural. Until minutes later, for their exchange:
Tiffany: I’m kind of scared. Yuri, u scare me so badly.
Yuri: I understand y u feel this way but don’t. idk how to apologize enough for what I said. I don’t plan to use u for free food or cash or anything like that I promise
Tiffany: You’re forgiven so don’t dwell, ok? 😉
Tiffany: I’m alone.
Tiffany: Are u?
Damnit, of all the nights to be doing stuff.
Yuri: No 😔 I’m out w/ friends.
Tiffany: Am I distracting?
Yuri: Yes but I like it.
Beaming, she tucked her phone in the crease between her legs, further wrinkling that freaking dress. Yuri couldn’t recall ever using a line like that on her boyfriend, who’d gone into a heated disagreement about StarCraft.
Tiffany: I realized we have no selca together. That’s no good.
Yuri: Omg I agree!
Tiffany: We’re not friends on any soc media either.
Yuri: Friend me then
Tiffany: Hm, no. Not yet.
Tiffany: You’ll have to earn it. 😉
Unable to handle anything, —not the two dudes who’ve moved on to baseball stats or their straight women swapping skin regimens—Yuri rose from her seat. The only statement she could offer in her current state was a hasty, “Off to the bathroom” to Taekwoon, who nodded, too impassioned in the gaming console debate to see her off.
The bathroom on their side of the restaurant was a one-staller. Not the optimal place to call Tiffany. She bypassed it, wandering further, out to a patio section humming with as much activity as where she’d come from. But, it’d help her not stand out as she stole an empty two-person table, tapping the call button.
Tiffany sounded pleased. “Yuri, you remembered.”
Her eyes darted to the staff, nervous about claiming anyone’s seat. “Of course. Can’t talk for long, though.”
“Oh, a lightning round conversation.” She giggled. “I can do that.”
“What are you up to?”
“Resting. Got home from Bikram yoga an hour ago.”
The visuals of what Tiffany would be wearing did its job in destroying Yuri. “I’m so happy we’re talking again.”
“Me, too. I missed this.”
“I missed you.”
Tiffany sighed. “Back to lightning-fast convo. Tell me about work.”
“Um…” She hovered a hand over the table’s tealights, thinking of a way to make her laugh. “I almost broke my hip a few days ago.”
As expected, the resounding cackle warmed her heart. “Retail is dangerous business.”
“I walked with a limp. Sowon—you’ve met her—would talk to me in pirate slang.”
An even louder laugh. “You’ve healed since, yeah? No more pain?”
“What a pity.” Tiffany lowered her voice several levels, suggestively enough to purr, “I could’ve kissed it better.”
Yuri grabbed a napkin to fan herself. “On…on my hip?”
“Do you want my lips there?”
“Ye-yeah.” Her throat dried to sand. So much for just friendship. “But, on my cheek—uh, facial cheek—would satisfy me. Or a hug? Can we hug more?”
Long seconds passed before Tiffany replied, “You’re one of a kind, you know that?”
“You are. To answer your question: yes, we’ll hug more. Besides, we both know where a kiss on your hip would lead.”
And Yuri, previously sex-repulsed Kwon Yuri, spoke her turned-on mind without thinking. “Between my legs.”
“Oh, god,” Tiffany exhaled the sexiest breath known to womankind. “What happened to my virtuous Yuri?”
“She’s taken with you and lost control.”
“Control. Right. We should stop.”
“You need to get back to your friends.”
Yuri checked her phone, cursing herself for the time that’d elapsed. Being this sexually open intoxicated her more than wine ever could. “Sure, if you want to be sensible.”
“For now, I do.” She heard hesitation in Tiffany’s next words. “Listen, my friends and I are having a Girls’ Night next Saturday. At…at my place. Booze, tapas, laughter, shaved ice. You’re invited.”
“That’d be hard to explain, but I’ll try.”
“It’ll be a microcosm of my people, wherein I can monitor their actions.”
“I’d appreciate the protection.”
“Beneath the bitchiness, I swear my friends are not only loyal, but humane.”
“I’ll take your word for that.”
Grinning, Yuri ended the call and clicked a sad trail back to the straights.
No, she reprimanded herself, don’t lump Taekwoon and Sooyoung like that. It’s unfair. Anyways, her concerns detoured to Girls’ Night. It sounded intimidating as hell. And the least bit…tempting? Would there be more lesbians attending? If Yoona and Sinbi, who’ve been involved, were sure-things, that’d total two more lesbians than she’d ever known personally, by name.
And this thought process screeched to terror as everyone at the table stood upon her arrival, all in their jackets and excited about after-dinner drinks.
Taekwoon’s concerned smile struck her in the morals. “Babe, there you are. Nobody knew where you went.”
“There was a line,” she rapid-fire lied. “So, someone let me use a toilet in the back.”
“Cool. The gang’s heading to our place.” He held out Yuri’s jacket for her to tuck into, kissing the crown of her head afterwards. “Han bought two bottles of bubbly. It’ll give us more hangout time and you can catch up with Sooyoung.”
Damn. Yuri felt Sooyoung’s eyes burning a weirdly telling strip up her side. For the millionth time, she wished Soo’s blasted Yul-intuition wouldn’t have kicked in.
Aware, she evaded her best friend—on the path out the restaurant, during the lazy chat in the parking lot, any texts lighting up her phone on the ride home, and for the trip upstairs—until interaction was totally necessary. Aka in the confines of her apartment.
“Yul,” Sooyoung hissed, masking only a hint of annoyance in her stance. “We should talk.”
Yuri had gotten busy recovering a mix of wine glasses, mugs, and plastic cups for a congratulatory cheers to the future. To be a good host, of course. That’s what she’d told herself. “Can it wait?”
Apparently, it couldn’t. Sooyoung signaled her fiancé into the kitchen to fill and pass out the champagne while they “discussed work” outside.
“Um, fine.” Yuri waved a farewell to Taekwoon, whose grin met his eyes when he noticed her heading out the door with Sooyoung. As if he feared she’d venture off on her own again. And then, the dread seeped in deeper. How the hell did that even look?
They walked and walked, arms folded, silent. Their destination, which happened to be in the sparse backyard of their building, thankfully showed no signs of life besides the browned potted plants posed around the table benches.
Yuri blew into her hands, cursing spring’s unpredictably windy nights. The temperature had dropped considerably, but it wasn’t unbearable. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Sooyoung ping-ponged. Derisively. “Cut the crap, Kwon.”
She trembled. “What?”
“Who is he?”
“Who the fuck is he?!”
“Sooyoung!” Yuri snapped, owning no justification to do so. “Explain to me what you think you know.”
“I…I think!?” She held a hand out to calm herself. As if she’d slap Yuri silly from a lack of restraint. “Tonight, I watched my best friend in the world blushing through a rather long fucking text conversation when every person she’s close with sat there at our table. Unless you suddenly flirt with your parents. I think—and correct me if I’m wrong here—everybody realized you’d ghosted us for a bathroom you didn’t use. You put no effort into our celebration, Yul. You’re making Taek look like a damned fool.”
Fuck, poor Taek. The final push of the sword through Yuri’s heart. Her eyes watered, chilled by the breeze. “I’m…I…”
Sooyoung’s small nose tinged pink, eyes black and hard. “Lately, you dodge my calls, my texts. You’re nonexistent on any social media. We haven’t overlapped schedules at Craftie’s and I had no clue why. Well, until now.” She nodded down to the phone dimly lying on the splintered tabletop. “Is there someone else?”
Yuri’s trembles intensified. Her stomach flipped. She should’ve declined that tart. “Possibly.”
“Jesus, Yul, lacking discretion much!?”
“I won’t do it again.”
“All this because Taek’s bad in bed?” Sooyoung humorlessly chuckled, incredulous. “Unbelievable.”
“Sex isn’t—ugh, it isn’t a bodice-ripping, bombs going off orgasm volcano like in the movies, you pinhead!” A harsh gust whipped her short ponytail like the needle of a compass. “Humans differ in chemistry and capacity and hunger—just like a relationship. You make it work, you communicate your pain. Y-you don’t hit up the first bloke who dicks you like a professional—”
“Stop!” Yuri nearly gagged at the very inkling. That Sooyoung thought so lowly of her. “What about you, huh? Cozying up to that skinny flower boy with the deep pockets.”
“Don’t you even—”
“You accuse me of making Taek the fool when we all see it, Soo. You two frequent bars separately. Han posts countless stag shots at the strip club while you’re gallivanting around with a complete stranger because he promises selcas with some no-name rapper.”
Rage reflected in Sooyoung’s glare, the wrinkles at the corner of her frown, the vein throbbing at her neck. “Why does anyone care?”
“Because it’s—” Yuri paused to hold it in and failed. “Nobody thinks your marriage will last, alright? The writing’s graffitied all over the walls. Long-term commitment is the last thing on either of your minds.”
“Says the woman boning outside her relationship.”
“I’m not boning,” she drew out the last word, despite how gross it left her mouth tasting. “You allowed that guy to suck on your chest, to leave a hickey. That’s not a small mistake and you’re not his damn whore, so you owed him nothing.”
Somewhere around ‘damn whore,’ thick tears peeled down Sooyoung’s cheeks. She broke into a long sob and Yuri—shocked at reducing her strong-willed friend to the mess before her—reached out tentatively. “S-Soo, I’m sorry.”
Sooyoung whimpered, refusing the apology. And Yuri’s hand. “What’ve you become?”
“Unhappy, I guess.”
“We were inseparable. Now, you’ve thrown me to the dogs for this new guy.” A deep sniff. “We haven’t confided in each other. That hurts the most.”
“I’m the worst, I know.” Unable to handle the lack of contact, Yuri moved to Sooyoung’s side of the bench, pushing into her for maximum closeness. “I have—uh, had—shit to figure on my own, without others’ input. I’m sorry. I would never intentionally hurt you. Or break your trust.”
“Taek’s a diamond in a mine of douchey tech-asses, Yul. Cheating on him is a mistake.”
Yuri started to argue, then withered with exhaustion and simply, shame. “I know.”
Minutes ticked of heavy thinking on both their parts. A fresh gust reminded them of the afterparty happening flights above.
By then, Yuri’s tears had spilled over, too, and every leftover grain of her power incited her to admit, “He’s a she.”
Sooyoung turned within the arm Yuri slung around her, agog. “Mind repeating that?”
“My…person I’m interested in is a woman.”
“You…” She shook her head. “How!? Where’d you meet?”
Yuri echoed the head shake, thoroughly beat. Guilt hurt like a bitch…and she’d be having sex with Taekwoon later, as the centerpiece of her horrendous night. “I’ll fill you in later. Just…she’s amazing.”
“Wow. And you two haven’t…” Sooyoung did the scissoring motion with her long, outstretched pointer and middle fingers.
Finally. Funny Sooyoung’s well-awaited comeback. “No.”
“Is she hot?”
Yuri shut her eyes, reviving the tingles of their sexy teasing. “It’s more than that. She’s clever, accomplished, generous...insanely patient. She casually uses words like ‘microcosm’ and ‘immutable.’ Why would I go through all this trouble for a quick fix?”
“You’re open to having sex with her?”
“That’s a big deal, Yul. Tell me these things next time. We could’ve come up with something that didn’t involve an actual affair.”
“I’m not thrilled by dancing up on a random woman. This isn’t some passing, fashionable phase.”
“It’s sort of fashionable.”
They exchanged their first genuine smile since dinner. Which quickly fell when Sooyoung reminded her, “Nevertheless, you shouldn’t cheat on your nice boyfriend.”
Yuri bobbed her head. “I’d say it’s complicated, but that’d be a cop-out.”
“He’s been calling me, anxiously asking for intel and, duh, I lie to him, acting like it’s work sapping your energy. I say we’ve been keeping in touch, only busy. I cover for you ‘cause you’re my girl. So, if you can spend more weeks, days—hell, hours—of your relationship lying to him, I’ll continue my duties to protect your ass. It’ll take its toll, though.”
Taekwoon was worried. Like, going-to-outside-sources worried. And coming from Taek, the naturally shy dreamboat, it set off warning sirens of an unstable couple. How careless had she been to skip off to that secluded booth? Yuri clutched her head, knowing that in an alternate timeline, she’d only regret not making the same choice. After a Tiffany drought, Yuri's desire for her grew, grew, and grew larger than her headspace for common sense and decency.
It proved something, really, that after this admonishment, Girls’ Night stayed priority. Gay failed to trickle out of her system. Soon, Taekwoon would demand real answers.
Sooyoung and Yuri trudged back to the festivities in a companionable silence. Arms firmly grasping the other’s waist. In an affirming tightness that punctuated Sooyoung’s acceptance of this newly established sexuality. And blocking her cheer was Taekwoon, naturally. Clearly, she didn’t want Yuri to end up hurt. Or doing something (or someone) she’d regret.
For the remainder of the night and into the dark hours of morning, Yuri played girlfriend hostess. Refreshing drinks, performing domestic tasks in the kitchen. She engaged in an okay amount of conversation, even taking the plunge in asking these dudes specifics of their web design process, which easily resulted in a half hour of detailed definitions. Still, her involvement overjoyed Taekwoon. Ceding to the lesbian within couldn’t wipe her smile off the face to see the joy, the gaiety of him mounting new tiers of his career. Yuri rewarded this with pecks to his cheek, on the column of his neck. Casually hopping onto his lap. She put on her finest show to assuage his anxiety, narrowly watching Sooyoung lurking, eyeing this farce with fresh knowledge.
She loved Taekwoon. He deserved an amazing girlfriend until catastrophe eventually hit. So, she went the extra mile—whispering nothings into his ear, testing her weight upon his leg, lingering her kisses.
Simultaneously, Yuri fought the dissonance internally, where she imagined every gorgeous detail about Tiffany Hwang to make herself wet. Awful—borderline evil—but, desperate times called for desperate faking.
Per habit, Yuri clipped coupons after Taekwoon rolled off of her, sighing of satisfaction. Faintly, she remembered saying she finished first, to his immense delight. Another lie. One of too many to count by now.
The digital clock struck 5 o’clock and they were still awake. Yuri with her bargain clipping and Taekwoon tapping intently on his Xbox controller, comfy in a brand new pair of boxers. Going by the designer-labeled elastic, they weren’t his typical cheap multipack. If this client led to big money, changes like those would continue.
Every time she shifted the slightest, she ached unpleasantly. This really shouldn’t have been happening, after all the times they’d done it. She concluded it all to be psychological. Her body rejecting Taekwoon in gay protest. While gazing at a rerun episode of a show playing into headphones on her laptop, she surprised herself by blurting, “Craftie’s put an ad out for a new manager.”
“Uh huh,” Taekwoon answered, partially present.
“Do you ever wonder why I haven’t asked for a higher position?”
“Your job gets you depressed anyways. Why let them take more out of you?”
“I know the store inside and out.” Yuri set aside a square for 40% off a hairspray she’d been hoping to try. “It’d be better pay.”
“Babe,” he smiled over his shoulder, hitting the pause button on his game, “you’ve been stressed about money your whole life. Let me relieve you of that burden.”
“So, my status at my years-long job doesn’t set off any alarms?”
“Not at all. I love you unconditionally.” With that, he got back to shooting aliens or whatever the hell he did on that thing.
Yuri nodded shallowly. “So you say.”
His viewpoint didn’t suck, right? He did earn better wages than her. Better job, better benefits, better future, room for growth. A managerial role at a craft store would probably underscore more problems. More responsibility wasn’t ever her end goal. She’d eventually quit and let Taekwoon support them; they’d had this conversation. Mutually agreed.
Then, how come Yuri excused herself to the bathroom to cry?
Taekwoon loved her, so he didn’t push her to be more.
And that was okay.
But, what if she wanted more?
Once the bed drew them back within its confines like a magnet for the weary, Yuri rested her head on Taekwoon’s firm shoulder, pondering. His eyes drooped; they’d really tested their limits staying up this late.
He snore-jumped. “Yeah, hm? What’s up, babe?”
“Next Saturday…” She lightly swallowed, feigning coolness. “I’ll be working a double shift, then going by Soo’s place. Is that okay?”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
Reading that as rhetorical, she kissed his scratchy cheek. He needed a shave. “No reason. Thank you.”
“Love you, Yul.”
“I love you, too.”
I don't like friends fighting....
but I enjoy writing it.