Title: Must Love Girls [Part Six]
Rating/Genre: PG-13; Girl-Meets-Dog-And-Girl
Disclaimer: I don’t own Soshi. I don’t own anyone, in fact. All Fiction.
Chap. Summary: I don’t feel like writing this. Just read~
Warning(s): If you suddenly realize you’re homophobic, stop reading, fix that, then come back.
Author’s Notes: Chapter Six already! ;_____; Thank youuuuu for the motivation to keep this multishot chuggin’ along. I’m still here for Soshi writing, so chins up! I just like to be transparent of my thought process, since I do care. ^^
✽ ✽ ✽
Tonight, Jessica Jung feasted on a dog food delicacy.
Well, not dog food, exactly. It’d take more than pride-splintering heartache for her to resort to clumpy can-shaped gunk. These treats were modeled identically to human cookies—the sandwich kind with crème filling. In peanut butter and vanilla, coincidentally her favorite flavors, not counting coffee.
“Krystal, does this company bake coffee dog treats?”
“What for?” her younger sister asked over a whirring vacuum cleaner, steering it around stacked barstools. “To caffeinate those brainy pups cramming for midterm exams?”
“Yes! Where can I find that?!”
“That’s offensive to a breeder, unnie. You know I’m against animal testing.”
They shared a mutually dorky laugh. Jessica especially, who rolled to her stomach on the couch, pilfering another treat. “Why are these sweet? Won’t they give Lens diabetes?”
“As long as you don’t feed him cookies exclusively, his glucose levels shouldn’t be an issue. They’re made of—”
At this, Krystal silenced the vacuum with an audible click. “Who taught you that word?”
“Oh, hm.” Jessica distractedly twisted two vanilla halves apart. “Heard it in passing...”
Her tone supplied the culprit: Kim Taeyeon. The word ‘carob’, amongst many unsolicited dog lectures, probed its way into Jessica’s vocabulary.
Terminology worked fine. If only Taeyeon hadn’t laid waste to her pride, her feelings.
“Your apartment’s officially spotless, master,” Krystal kidded, curtsying like someone who’d never curtsied in their life. “Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room—spic and span.”
Assessing their home safe from monster vacuum’s rampage, Lennon bounded happily from whatever closet he’d ducked into. In an act of fake bravery, he got as close as nose-touching the inactive machine before scuttling over to his owner. And his treats.
Jessica snatched the bag to her chest. “Haven’t you taken enough from me?”
“Lennon’s not culpable.” Krystal made space beneath her older sister’s outstretched legs. “You’re the one who has dumpster fire taste.”
“I so do not.”
“Really, now? Then, why isn’t Sinful Seo here?”
“She’s too forward.”
“Listen to yourself! Seohyun’s sexual appetite isn’t a character flaw.”
“Sit, Lens.” When Lennon dutifully followed directions, Jessica rewarded him with the crème-less half of cookie. She stuffed her mouth, whining, “Taeyeon’s not a dime-a-dozen type. She’s a rarity, an enigma.”
“I thought you were pissed at her.”
Krystal plucked out a treat of her own and spoke after two nibbles. “This isn’t my kickass sis. You don’t sulk over girls, nor do you exhaust this much energy on some rando nerd.”
Was Taeyeon a nerd? Jessica’s lips perked in a grin.
“Nein!” A rolled magazine appeared in Krystal’s swift hand, smacking Jessica with the force of a sumo wrestler. “No succumbing to the Dork Side!”
Jessica clutched her welted arm. “That fucking hurt!”
“Don’t go there!”
“That dungeon in your head just now.” The paper contracted as if she’d wallop Jessica again at any given second. “When you’re there, your face goes all doughy and forlorn. It’s a disaster.”
“Doughy!?” Jessica sneered. “Don’t you mean dopey?”
“No. Absolute dough. I could bake a pizza on it.”
They giggled, knowing their banter wouldn’t amount to a true-blue fight. Krystal’s face darkened beneath her beret. “This is...unfamiliar. I can’t recall ever wiping a speck of dust from your mantle and yet...” She pointed a heel to the vacuum that snagged Lennon’s watchful eye every few minutes. “I turned into Mother and tidied your whole apartment.”
In the half month since first compensating Taeyeon, she’d adjusted their meeting system to keep her distance. Jessica left Lennon with the downstairs doorman ten minutes before the set time. That way, she wouldn’t be swept into striking, pathetic eyes that’d convince her to listen to excuses. Upon Taeyeon’s return from the park, he’d have her payment sitting on his desk.
And when Jessica sneaked to get Lennon afterwards, the money would still be waiting. Untouched.
She’d sent Taeyeon’s calls to voicemail, deleted unread texts. Iced her out.
For those same weeks, Jessica went full sloth. Hence, the messy home.
She laced her and Krystal’s fingers together, lightly shaking them to a silent rhythm. “I’m being stupid, aren’t I?”
“Stupid’s not the term. I’m concerned. Jungs don’t carry the lovesick gene—it’s proven science.”
“Then, emo’s a virus and I caught it from Taeyeon.”
“She’s obsessed with your pet, unnie.” Krystal tried to fix the bend from the magazine, stressing, “Dumpster. Fire.”
“It has to go deeper than that.”
“You’re hoping it does.”
“Thanks for visiting, Krystal.” Jessica’s eyes glazed over; she could sense it herself. “Don’t know where I’d be without you.”
“You’d be lying in a pile of takeout containers and discarded clothes. It looked like several days of you exploded in here.” She rose, balled up the empty dog treat bag, and busied her hands unplugging the vacuum cord. “How ‘bout you feed the help?”
“Are you asking me to cook in this state?”
“I don’t have a death wish, Satan. I love myself too much.”
“Well, Taeyeon nearly teared up when she tried my—”
“Eggplant parmesan. I remember.” Krystal’s lip twitched, possibly chewing on her thoughts before muttering, “This Taeyeon’s diet consists of boxed junk food, right? You’ve probably found the one person who considers your flavorless slop more than tolerable.”
“She called me an astounding cook.”
“That confirms her lunacy.”
“Don’t kick me while I’m down. I appreciated her opinion.”
“’Cus she recited that ‘more beautiful than a rose?’ line?”
Jessica’s neck warmed. “Isn’t she so romantic?”
“Oh, god.” Krystal mimicked a near faint, stumbling convincingly into a wall. “You’ve gone too far, so now I must get drunk. Have any of the Zinfandel left?”
“Let’s uncork that shit. Then, I’ll let you wax all night about—”
A weak knock sent them into acute stillness.
And Jessica scanned the perimeter for a mirror.
Because she knew.
From a natural inkling to the time (6:30pm) to Lennon bopping to the door and Krystal’s groan of disgust once she jammed her eye to the peephole.
“Lennon’s girlfriend’s here. Were you expecting the trash?”
“On a Wednesday?” Jessica had already jerked from the couch, emergency brushing her hair and correcting her inside-out t-shirt. “N-no. I’m as surprised you.”
“Then, what does she want?”
Swishing the door ajar, Krystal left enough space for her head to jut through. “Can I help you?”
“Oh, um...” Taeyeon’s voice echoed from the hallway. Obviously, she hadn’t prepared for some pissed off family member to fill in as bodyguard. “Is Jessica free?”
“Jung. Jung Jessica?”
“Don’t you mean Jung Lennon?”
Jung Lennon. Jessica would cackle at the moniker if she wasn’t so damn anxious.
Lennon appeared to be having a conniption, blocked from his love by Krystal’s long, oppressive limbs. Taeyeon noticed, too, by the light coo, “Hey, little man.”
“I’m Jessica’s sister, if you haven’t gathered,” Krystal spat, drawing the focus to her anger once more. “Pretty much Lennon’s first mommy. And I hear you’re so neurotic, you make Emily Dickinson sound like Kylie Jenner.”
“Th-that’s why I’m here. To say sorry.”
“Krystal,” Jessica sighed. Patience crumbling, frustration peaking. “Let her in.”
Taeyeon, stilted by skinny legs soon to buckle from terror, kept her back on the door. In case Jessica sicced her sister on her, more than likely. She wore her hair down—clipped on one side to show a prominent ear—with a striped top over a chiffon mini skirt and silver brogues.
Brogues. Not the Keds.
Today, Jessica snacked on dog biscuits and Taeyeon left her grimy sneakers at home? Surely, hell had frozen over.
“I walked him, so your service won’t be needed.” Krystal shared while she tracked a lint roller through the Jessica-shaped crumb outline on the couch. At Taeyeon’s pout, she smirked. “A tad overdressed, are we? Lennon couldn’t give two shits about your ensemble.”
Taeyeon hauled in a self-deprecating laugh. “Can’t find the lie in there.”
“Make your case and kick rocks, ho.”
Ho? Jessica lipped ‘what are you?’ to her younger sister, receiving the Kanye shrug of a girl who watched too many rap videos. Fighting a grin, Jessica crossed her arms and stood her ground. Waiting until Taeyeon acknowledged her face-to-face.
“I’d like to talk,” Taeyeon finally mumbled in a slow breath. She girlishly pieced fair hair behind her ear. “Give me your evening?”
The entire evening? Jessica’s pulse spiked for dual reasons:
1. Taeyeon had some nerve, asking anything of her.
2. YES, please.
“You’re asking me to ditch my family? For you?” In her peripheral, Krystal waved an ‘amen’ with the lint/crumb roller.
A redder Taeyeon latched fingers onto her purse strap. “Yeah, I am. Basically.”
Oh. This was different.
“Though I’m thrilled to see Lenny,” she lowered a hand for the dog to eagerly lick, “your forgiveness is my priority. Have you eaten?”
Krystal stepped in to interject (about the dog treats, to unintentionally embarrass her), but Jessica impeded that with a, “Depends. Where will you take me?”
“There’s a neat restaurant a block or two away. Are you familiar with it?”
“It’s a gem.”
“How convenient, since I made reservations.”
Jessica glanced at her sister, whose impressed head bob copied her own. “Fine. Give me ten minutes to freshen up.”
A.k.a. make myself look like I haven’t been slumming it on the couch.
Relief washed over Taeyeon’s expression—nothing micro about it. She sank to Lennon’s side for a short reunion, avoiding Jessica and Krystal’s eye-based argument before the younger of the two conceded in a tantrum-like shimmy. Jessica foresaw a bitchfest about “being a shitty sister” in her near future and she didn’t mind.
Because Taeyeon asked her out. And she said yes.
Taeyeon folded a triangle of cloth napkin across her lap, energy ninety-five percent spent.
Aware of her tendency to overthink, she’d kept her strategy simple: make a reservation, come clean with her intentions, and leave Jessica to decide their fate. Then, a lanky sister in jeans priced higher than college tuition answered the door with the primary objective to chew Taeyeon out.
She bit a frown from her lips. It made all the sense for an (irritably) effective support system to have Jessica’s back. Unlike Taeyeon, a loner status didn’t follow her like an internet troll.
Meanwhile, Jessica cuffed her linen sleeves to her elbow, as beautifully fresh and feminine as possible. It hinted effort, but in an endearing way. “What if I’d refused, Taeyeon? Would you still come here?”
“Probably,” she replied honestly. “I’m accustomed to eating alone.”
“I dine solo often, too.”
“Yet, when I say it, it sounds so sad, huh?”
Pity weighed on Jessica’s smile. “It does.”
“I apologize for not being upfront,” Taeyeon said, hardly hearing her words over her heart’s percussion. “No matter how I’d addressed it, we would’ve been subject to a very awkward conversation.”
“That conversation being?”
She switched gears with a shake of her head. “I’ve been thinking about us.”
“You have?” Jessica’s pretty lashes batted down to her own lap; her emotions were transparent, candid and Taeyeon admired her for this. “And?”
“We have communication problems.”
Ire comparable to Krystal’s shuttered over the coyness. “What?”
“Communication. Ours sucks.”
“I disagree. Our issue is that we want different things, er, species”
Oof. Low blow. Taeyeon moistened her tongue with a sip of water. “I don’t mean it as an insult.”
“Then, how should I interpret that, Taeyeon? You’re critiquing what hasn’t even happened.”
“See? I can’t barely communicate with you about miscommunication. Every time I zig, you zag.”
“But, ultimately, those lines converge. And when they do, will you see me?”
At the least opportune moment, the woman who seated them appeared at their table, finger poised to her tablet. “Are you two ready or do you need another minute?”
Taeyeon sat up, startled, grabbing for her neglected menu. Jessica gently intercepted, stacked her own on top of Taeyeon’s and handed them to the server, saying, “We’ll both have dumpling soon tofu, thanks.”
“Anything to drink?”
“Sparkling water and lemon.”
The server made face with the gronde as she swiped in their orders. “And you?”
“I, uh,” Taeyeon fumbled through her bewilderment, mentally listing what beverages restaurants universally carried. “This water’s fine for me, thanks.”
She excused herself in time for Taeyeon to grit out, “Why would you do that?!”
“Efficiently speeding things along, you mean?” Jessica tossed long hair behind her shoulder, icy cold. “You’re welcome.”
This pinched a nerve that couldn’t be ignored. “I can make my own choices.”
“You hadn’t looked at your menu once. I relieved us of a hovering server.”
Taeyeon sucked in a deep breath, thwarting knee-jerk comparisons to her long-gone ex. If she and Jessica deserved a shred of successful connection, ground rules would need to be established. They relied on conjecture, presuming what the other thought, desired, could handle without a decent discussion. “You see no harm in that?”
Visibly unsettled, Jessica hastily thanked whoever dropped off her sparkling drink. “Women are normally amused when I order for them. It’s fun.”
Fun. That word again.
“The world doesn’t revolve in your favor, Jessica. Just because you’re beautiful and accomplished doesn’t invalidate my perspective since—as you can tell—I’m not normal.”
“God, I’m sorry,” Jessica glimpsed away, masking some sort of emotion.
“We’re perpetually on two different pages.”
“In two separate books,” she amended.
“Shelved in their own libraries.”
“Divided by two entire planets.”
People were so messy. Taeyeon offered a dull smile, pushing her indignation aside for the sake of conversation. “On my downtime, I’d dwell on Diglett and my loneliness. Then, you and Lennon alighted my life.”
“You’re partially correct. Lennon cheered you up on his own.”
“I thought so, too, at first.”
“Evidently communication” Jessica threw up rabbit ear quotes, “is the perpetrator here.”
“Can you tone down the sarcasm? It’s not helping matters.”
She flashed a smile at the neighboring couple before lowering her voice to sharpened glass. “Don’t lecture me.”
“I’ve been reevaluating our interactions, Jessica.” Taeyeon’s stomach growled as a platter of skirt steak wafted past their table. Hopefully, nobody else heard it because it’d kill the serious mood. “I apologize for using you, for not trying to be on the same wavelength, for not being a true friend. I’d convinced myself of a narrative that doesn’t suit you because I’m so out of your league.”
She waved her quiet. “My ex stayed by my side when family denied my sexuality, opened my eyes to fine arts and an improved wardrobe. Which I appreciated ‘til these good deeds changed into something insidious, dark, possessive. She’d begun manipulating me against what little friends I had. And I let her. Because…well, love.“
“And then she broke up with you.”
“I’d fallen short of her expectations. Five years up in flames.”
Two bubbling bowls of tofu stew were set in front of each woman along with several banchan dishes. Taeyeon interrupted their flow to scoop a hot mouthful where it belonged. She hummed around the spoon, satisfied. “Damn, that’s divine.”
Jessica didn’t touch her food yet; she’d been watching Taeyeon. “You know, I…” She hesitated to lift her utensils, painted nails reflecting on the shiny finish. “didn’t get as much beef as you.”
Miffed, Taeyeon transferred several strands of her bulgogi into Jessica’s stew. “The spoils of a breakup are rarely 50-50. Being that her income doubled mine, she wiped out what made our home ours. Leaving me with an overpriced apartment, some furniture…”
“Yes, Diglett.” Her lips curled on the right side, forever smitten about her No.1 companion back then. “My ex and I adopted him on the last leg of our relationship, which, obviously, didn’t amount to much. We quarreled over the puppy for weeks. It was so brutal, I feared legal action would be taken. Thankfully, she thought I needed him more, since she’d started dating again.”
Jessica even dined prettily, Taeyeon noticed. In those tiny bites she thought only existed in commercials. “Then, when Diglett died, you were abandoned with nothing to show for it.”
“Only material crap…my broken heart felt like shrapnel.”
“You come off as a creature of habit,” the brunette muttered, metal chopsticks swirling a bit of spice into her broth. “When I nudge you out of your comfort zone, it’s not some power play. I’m asking you to loosen up, to try new things. If I only followed your mindset, we’d never reach past a first-name basis.”
“True. I’m sorry.”
“The weekend after we met, I got a shower bar installed.”
Taeyeon smiled into her tofu, loving Jessica’s sheepish grin. “Safety first.”
“It was coverage. As well as Lennon. If the shower bar can’t save me from single lady injuries, as least I’d have a dog to find me and dash to the rescue like Lassie.”
“You’ve aged well for an elderly lady.”
“Taeyeon.” Her eyes softened. “I forgive you because if I don’t, how will I know if we’re compatible? I solemnly pledge not to mistreat you like your ex.”
Something in Taeyeon’s heart fluttered. As though it believed her before Taeyeon’s brain’s finished processing. “Thanks. That means a lot to me.”
“Good.” Jessica continued to eat, cheekily adding, “And to think, we communicated without Lennon as mediator.”
“I’m as surprised as you.”
Handholding was a routine Jessica supported. She’d initiated it in a stroke of courage, loosely stringing their fingers the moment they departed the restaurant. A proper post-date activity.
Taeyeon, remarkably, detoured them to a grocery for ice cream.
A Melona bar for each. More satisfying than dog cookies by far. Maybe Lennon would enjoy homemade dog ice cream. Jessica would Pin a recipe tomorrow.
Public trash cans were sparse, so Taeyeon wrapped their sticks within the packages and stuffed them in her purse to toss later. Sadly, she had to break away to do this. Jessica snatched her hands up in quick succession, though. Being mushy.
The romance got to her, surely.
“May I confess something?” Jessica massaged Taeyeon’s soft skin with her thumbs. “It’s been on my mind.”
Taeyeon donned a conservative smile. Eyes narrowing marginally, broadcasting heightened anxiety. “Please do.”
“I should be truthful—I mostly objectified you early on. I convinced myself to have a girlfriend, like being alone was less than, which it isn’t.” A warm breeze danced around them, whisking Jessica’s hair into Taeyeon’s unruly gronde. That’s when she noticed the scant distance between them. “I should’ve pursued a relationship for actual companionship; you’re not my pet.” Jessica giggled. “And then, I saw you treat my literal pet better than I did some hookups. I’ve learned…to want you for the right reasons and I’m sorry I ever brought up bad memories. I have maturing to do.”
“So do I. Let’s tackle that together, if…” She flushed in the night air. “If that’s not too arrogant?”
“Are you kidding me?”
Taeyeon’s smile blossomed into a fullness Jessica hadn’t seen, even in Lennon’s presence. It embodied months—possibly years—of stress melting from her future. And it didn’t falter when Jessica’s phone vibrated.
Krystal. Jessica texted her on the sly at the store, recapping her dinner. The message consisted of thirty-some-odd vomit emojis, if she had to guess.
Not breaking eye contact, Taeyeon asked, “Wanna take that?”
“I like you, by the way,” she mumbled. “In case we zig and zag again.”
In unambiguous response, Jessica leaned forward, halting once Taeyeon mirrored her. And they kissed.
Their lips pillowed unevenly, a supple collision of flesh and timidity. Jessica grew chills from the extended caress, tasting cold, sugared breath and the twitch of micro-muscles always revealing the other woman’s weakness. Which happened to be Jessica at that moment. Gratified, she brought one hand to the slope of Taeyeon’s neck, wrenching free to collect herself. And, to her astonishment, a needy, inhabited sigh touched her skin.
Jessica should’ve been thanking her, really. Rather, she shivered as Taeyeon initiated a firmer kiss. Around her shoulders, Taeyeon draped her arms, enveloping them in an embrace rivaling all the shallow sexcapades of Jessica Jung’s past. Exuding hunger, skill, long-term promise.
She forgot to saturate herself with perfume and Taeyeon seemed completely unfazed. They’d lost themselves in what heated into soft dents of teeth, gradually uncoordinated brushes of skin, indecipherable whining for the unspeakable, and a talented introduction of tongue. Jessica’s hand trailed an intoxicated path to the end of Taeyeon’s skirt, gently adhering into warm, smooth skin underneath.
There, Taeyeon paused. Fearing herself too handsy, Jessica started to move. Until Taeyeon whimpered, interlocking her own fingers onto that hand, holding its suggestive place.
And Jessica confirmed, emphatically, that Lennon was no match for her womanly, human qualities.
“May I…can I come up?”
This question nearly knocked Jessica off the face of the earth. Did Taeyeon just request a nightcap? She sputtered between hotly discordant kisses, basically brainless, while Taeyeon toyed with the unbuttoned juncture of Jessica’s blouse.
She’d unleashed something from within this woman. And it wasn’t prudish.
“Krystal’s in my apartment,” she roughly lamented. Taeyeon groaned realization against her cheek, inflaming her more than extinguishing. “I’m free tomorrow, though.”
“Thursday. At 6:30.” Taeyeon bent backward to giggle. “Our old usual.”
“Our revived usual.”
They made space between themselves. For necessity.
“Guess I’ll…” Reluctantly, Taeyeon aimed a thumb to the street, still kiss-drunk. “head to that place that has my bed and my stuff.”
Mmm, bed. “6:30 sharp. Can’t have Lennon getting flabby.”
“It’s a date.”
This chapter made me miss Skandl!Soojung like crazy. Y’all knew I couldn’t mention her without making an appearance. Look at this goddess. Ugh, I'm a slut for Jungs.
Photographer source on image, stolen from mewsofia's tumblr.