Title: Skandl! (Chapter 23)
Pairing(s): TaengSic, side!YulTi
Rating/Genre: PG-13 + Language; AU Idol Romance
Warning(s): Not today, Sataeng.
Disclaimer: I don't own Soshi. I don't own anyone, in fact. All Fiction.
Author's Notes: I apologize for any typos. Someone’s been editing while drinking...please tell me what you think! ^^
The plane ride back to Korea sucked.
Jessica lugged her suitcase down a hall, swearing every time its wobbliest wheel warped her into zigzags.
Delays. Turbulence. No WiFi. A lightning storm. Pilot sounded drunk.
Lucky Six considered themselves blessed, close to dry humping the asphalt as they safely unloaded. Nay, the suckage persisted. Hordes of media hounds, Charms, and anti-Charms congested the airport. The Chinese station from which they left had been similar. Except Jessica couldn’t interpret the barks for attention other than names and short phrases in English. Here, in South Korea, references to Ace, Yuri, multiple dating rumors, and Elite’s testimony hit The Six at full impact.
JiWook bloated into Violet Beauregarde realness when Jessica bypassed the van ride home, phoning for her own separate transportation. Understandable, although, she was still miffed about her leadership’s original purpose. She’d been weaker, sure. Gullible, possibly. That didn’t warrant omitting stronger candidates in a hostile situation--joining an established group. Choosing Tiffany may have saved her a ton of trouble. She could’ve sharpened anxious energy into productivity-- not lose sleep over what member listened to her on what day.
Jessica knocked an elbow to the door. She needed personal respite. For a few hours.
“Hi,” Jessica chimed, uninclined for snark.
She scoped the luggage. “Moving in?”
“Accepting new roomies?”
Sunny didn’t partake in her sheepish grin. “Fany stole my song.”
“She went through my things,” Jessica whined. Couldn’t this wait? “I didn’t hand it to her.”
A couple weeks had gone by since Elite Entertainment made the official statement on Tiffany and ex-Olympian Ace’s “four-month” relationship. Predictably, the response was explosive. Too explosive, in fact. It put the public’s head in a whirlwind--incapable of digesting the “friendly lunch outing” with the Skandl member. Rather, the gay news got rained on by articles, conspiracies, and viral footage of Ace, clad in a suffocating Moschino tee, apologizing for “misleading” his fanatics.
Did he ever have many fangirls. Lucky Six (and Elite) underestimated his popularity. Jessica, Sooyoung, and Hyoyeon’s Picpockettes were jam-packed with spiteful ‘Acers’ holy warring other fandoms. He’d been pedastooled as the finest young bachelor for his good looks, demeanor, sense of charity, and naming the ‘everyday woman’ as his type. Now, the batshit part of the populace jeered him for falling for Korea’s beauty standard. Like all the other guys.
Theories clogged the airwaves--some supporting, many concluding that Heechul and Ace were always lenient on Lucky Six regarding gossip. Which was downright nonsense.
The World Tour would be their saving grace. Publicity, controversial or not, boosted sales. Ace’s viewership increased and Tiffany became the hottest topic on Twitter and Naver. Internet sleuths already discovered ancient photos of the false couple together. This farce helped everyone. Mostly CEOs.
“Giving ‘love:murder’ to you was a mistake.” Sunny stepped back, allowing Jessica to enter the apartment. “My music is very personal. It’s a part of me.”
“If I could control her, I would.”
The musician grumbled. “Tae’s in her room.”
“I’ll talk to Fany...again.” Though, Tiffany kept her plans to herself.
“I’m a dumbass for trusting you.”
In Hongdae, as Jessica pleaded her intrinsic, unexplainable urgency to learn the song, Sunny dropped her bitchy blinders. Since, like everything, this involved Taeyeon.
So, Sunny sang each line, scribbling incoherent genius notes throughout the lesson. Circling notes of emphasis. Making Jessica promise two things:
Not to squander this opportunity.
She wouldn’t break Taeyeon’s heart.
With “love:murder” hijacked before she chose how to use it, Jessica’s vowed to keep the second provision solid.
Lo and behold, Taeyeon was napping when Jessica closed herself in the next bedroom. Sleepy Taeyeon and Grumpy Jessica. They should’ve traded nicknames.
Once she collapsed onto the emptier side, the fairer-haired woman jerked upright, flinging dazed panic at every corner.
Jessica hooked her by the chin. “It’s just me.”
“Jesus,” Taeyeon grumbled, deflating. She glanced at the brick of luggage. “Are you on the run or what?”
“I grabbed a cab at the airport. Had to see you.”
“How was your trip?”
“Nice, I suppose.” All-expenses paid trip sanctioned by Elite. There were fires to extinguish and leaving the country cleared Lucky Six of any new developments. “I get why Yul loved that unplugged hiatus. Immersing myself in idol confusion is unhealthy.”
“It keeps you sharp.”
“Whatever, nerd.” She nudged her face into Taeyeon’s cheek, hands twisting the edge of a Culture Club shirt. “I heard some of your new songs were leaked.”
From Skandl’s upcoming, non-scandalized, sterile album. Reception, from what Jessica skimmed, had been positive. Her girlfriend--The Reviews Aficionado--would know more than her.
“Jessica, I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Oh...okay.” They’d prefer the fans to hate it, Jessica conjured.
Taeyeon rolled them into a lying position. Bowed eyes twinkled wickedly, attentively. The desk lamp illuminated her smirk. “Hi back.”
“I didn’t say hi yet.”
“Then, say it.”
Jessica’s breath hitched. A single intake before Taeyeon’s smooth lips found hers. They kissed leisurely, fanning fingers through lush hair and sliding the silk of bare legs. Tiffany, tours, hate speech drifted from her mind. Truthfully, this was the only escape she desired. Elite wouldn’t understand.
Taeyeon trilled; warm fingertips circled beneath Jessica’s shirt. “Mm. Spending the night?”
“No.” She ignored the expected groan. “Lucky duties to attend to.”
The leader’s hoarse voice trailed wet kisses to her ear. Her question was raw, impatient. “Will you attend to me?”
Jessica growled, a smidge guilty. Visiting her girlfriend wasn’t 100% for relaxation; they had an objective to complete. But, winding Taeyeon up gratified her sensitive nerves. “You’re not a Lucky duty, bear. You’re a Jessica Jung duty.”
“Fuck, that’s trumps all.”
She relished in the squeezes, scratches, palmfuls of her ass seized by small, dexterous hands. Taeyeon sure knew how to touch a girl. Reigns of self-restraint beaded through her grasp until she bundled silky locks behind her ears, getting a better view at her handiwork. “Tae?”
“Hm?” Taeyeon’s lids blinked out of sync. Yep, the damage had been done.
“I love you, sweetheart.”
Ohhh. Sly Moody bear playing that card. And the way the woman’s eyes drank her in, tongue making a short appearance at the corner of her lips, grazing that damn piercing. It liquified her every time. “You think you’re sneaky.”
She shuddered, feeling her zipper descend. Treacherous legs opened entry into her shorts. “Babe, let’s--”
Taeyeon grinned triumph. “Let’s...get naked?”
Through fabric, pressure on her center halted. “Am-am I doing something wrong?”
“My sister,” Jessica accidentally moaned. Straightening her throat at a comically perplexed gasp, she clarified, “Soojung should meet you.”
She groped the bed for her phone, lighting its screen. “Right now. She should be home right now, actually.”
“I’m so horny, though.”
“Willpower?” Jessica lifted Taeyeon’s hand from its goal. “She’s adamant. We’ve been dating for months and she’s beginning to question you.”
“Curb your attitude, Tae. Soojung will outbitch you in seconds.” She refastened her zipper, hopping out of bed to switch on a bigger light.
“You have to be compatible with my family.”
“Why should I?”
Petulant, evasive Taeyeon. Similar to the old days. Jessica knew the woman cared just as much about impressing her sister as she did. She answered honestly, anyways. “Because someday, I’d like you to meet my parents and grandparents and cousins…” Jessica picked Taeyeon’s laptop off her dresser. “I consider you the one.” She flushed madly, entering the password and double-clicking Skype. “If you want.”
Her girlfriend gawked. An absentminded nod. “The one. Okay.”
She watched Skandl’s badass leader bump her knee on a desk, curse, hobble to her drawer to cull a suitable blouse. And apply mascara. And comb her hair. And…
“Trying to seduce her?” Jessica teased, casually messaging her sister before getting on cam. This would be a surprise for Soojung, too.
An impressively presentable Taeyeon reclaimed her place on the bed, visibly shaking. “Too much?”
“She’ll appreciate the effort.” Or mock it. Whichever.
The familiar Skype ringing stole Taeyeon’s hopeful smile. Jessica heaved a huge breath. And spewed:
“Don’t call her Soojung. She goes by Krystal and only Krystal to people she doesn’t know. Don’t ask about work because she hates it. Don’t ask about film because she loves it. Don’t gloat, don’t berate yourself, no self-pity. Have some spice. Not too much or she’ll call you a bitch. Don’t be offended if she calls you a bitch. Really, really remember to not to address as her Soojung--that’s a family name.”
Entertained by the terror reflected in Taeyeon’s dark pupils, she hit [Answer].
The screen loaded.
To a half-naked Jung Soojung, singing, “Sissyyyy, peep my new--AHHH!!!”
“Soojung!” and “Hohhh, shit!”, they screamed back at her.
Regardless of the initial shock, her younger sister didn’t hide a revealing halter neck bikini top. She leaned her head to the side, cheesing devilishly. “Hi! I’m Kimmie, your webcam plaything! Anyone wanna see my tits?”
“Mmhm,” Taeyeon mumbled, staring.
Jessica promptly screened a hand over her eyes. The other two clutched their sides laughing, taking the easiest bonding tactic: ganging up on the older sister. “Soojungie, get dressed!”
“It’s a swimsuit, Jess. You sound like a Republican.”
“Looks like your sister’s tryin’ to seduce me instead,” Taeyeon snickered, instantly yelping from a slap in the forehead. “That hurt!”
“My sister’s very violent,” Soojung shimmied into a mesh sweater. “Run while you can still use your legs!”
They seemed cordial. Jessica would withstand the brunt of the jokes if it meant her two most important girls getting along. “Tae’s safe, thank you very much.”
“You’re shorter than I thought you’d be.” Soojung raised her eyebrows, silently pushing for a response.
Taeyeon’s tongue tied into knots. “I heels and um, camera angles for a…”
“Jess’ exes were tall. Weren’t they, sis?”
Jessica avoided the outraged glance singeing her face. “I don’t recall.”
“Are you...” She scrutinized openly. “taller than Taeyeon?”
The girl’s top lip bent out of shape. “Yikes. Dealbreaker.”
“Behave, Soojung. She’s all the woman I need.” Jessica squeezed her girlfriend’s knee. Subtle assurance.
“Tell me about yourself, short stuff. And omit shit I can Google myself.”
Taeyeon held her chin, thinking. Pretty cute, but Soojung grew impatient.
“Anything. Before I grow a beard.”
“I--er,” She flaked long bangs from her pinkened face. “I like, I like--”
Soojung didn’t realize the difficulty of separating one’s self from a profession of their magnitude. Skandl, fame, singing--it was her life. “What. Do. You. Like?”
“Keeping to myself,” Taeyeon admitted in an exhale. “I don’t go out much and when I do, disaster strikes. Life’s better in my apartment.”
She smiled, respecting the answer. “What else do you like?”
“Uh…” A shrug. “Smoking?”
Soojung stoner-grinned. “Excellent. My coworkers and I hotboxed in a vault yesterday. My munchies were--” She karate swiped. “Kickass. I ate the whole bowl of complementary lollipops. Fuck the kids.”
“You’re going to get fired.”
“Don’t be a drag, Jess! This is America. Our entire population is blazed.”
Taeyeon’s brain was probably booking a trip to the States. “That true?”
“No,” Jessica sighed.
“You’re not here! How would you know?” The sister returned to her question track. “What else do you like?”
The rockstar’s shoulders relaxed. More comfortable. “Sex.”
Oh my god, Soojung…
“With your um, Jessica. Exclusively.” Her face brightened, another thought breezing through. “Your sister! I like your sister a lot.”
“Took you long enough. You’re trying to make an impression, short stack. My sister is first. Over smoking, sex, and your boringness. Got it?”
Taeyeon nodded. “Duly received.”
“So,” Soojung propped her elbows onto a desk--locked and loaded. “I’m very uncomfortable about your boyfriend, Loco--”
“He’s not my--”
“If Jess had to flaunt a hot guy, would you care?”
The Lucky member studied Taeyeon’s petrified face, curious herself. They’d never broached this topic.
“I’m not flaunting.”
“Yes, you are. Answer my question.”
“I’d--” Taeyeon massaged her eyebrows, perturbed. “I’d hate it, okay? It’d crush me.”
Wow. She didn’t realize how much she wanted to hear this confession. Taeyeon and Loco were far from real, yet the waves of Photoshopped pictures, Vines of the hand-holding, nighttime date pictures...difficult to brush off. “Tae…”
“How ‘bout those gay ass photos of Yuri and Tiffany?” their interrogator pressed. “Would you come out as a dyke or cower behind your boyfriend?”
Moody bear growled, pouting as such. “I don’t fuckin’ know. Our PR team is unpredictable.”
Soojung pointed to the camera. “You’re a free agent, no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise. My sister doesn’t deserve a liar.”
“I’ve lied, too,” Jessica defended.
Her sister ignored that. “She wears her heart on her sleeve. When she’s crying to me and I’m miles removed, unable to console her, I fuckin’ despise you.”
“Sooj--” Taeyeon self-corrected, gulping deep breaths. “Krystal.”
“I love Jessica. I do. How can I prove it to you?”
Jessica wrapped her arms around the other woman, kissing a studded ear, muttering, “I believe you, Tae.”
Taeyeon was adamant. “How, Krystal?”
Remnants of a younger sister’s emotions faded. Demonically serious. “Idols are phony. You’re phony.”
“You’re right. I can be.”
“What do you want in life? I don’t want ‘to communicate to others through music’ BS. Plain and simple. What do you want?”
She recognized that glower. Soojung’s no-nonsense film expression. The one she melded when calling ‘Action!’ or editing a clip for the 100th time.
Jessica slid Taeyeon’s trembling hand into her lap. Her short nails were painted gold. Lucky gold.
Her lips cracked open after a full minute. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be Joan Jett.” She snickered softly, wiping an eye with her shoulder. “Then, I became a teenager. A cocky Elite recruit. Set to surpass any he she within the company. That didn’t work; so, as a Skandl member, I had to be the best. I was motivated by pain and rejection...a thirst for revenge. To prove naysayers wrong.” Her straight eyelashes flickered to the ceiling, then to the screen.
“I only want to be...to be myself without repercussions. I’m flopping at that.” She shook her head, humorlessly smirking. “I failed at being accepted by Elite, my parents, an evil ex, and LTE sometimes. Today--for weeks, perhaps months--I want to be accepted into your family. Because Jessica’s the realest thing that’s happened to me. Ever.”
There had to be a level beyond Cloud Nine. Jessica floated above her current body, decidedly spellbound. The ‘I like puffins' comment made all the sense.
Soojung looked stunned as well. “I wish I recorded that.”
“Tell you what,” The woman on the computer placed a fist to her mouth, thumping it three times. “Add me here, on Skype. We can talk whenever you feel conflicted. My advice is harsh, but infallible.”
“It’s not,” Jessica lipped, pleased that she unearthed Taeyeon’s smile.
“Jess is my main priority.”
“Mine, too,” Skandl’s leader rushed in.
“She can’t be,” Soojung argued. “You’re a celebrity. Your image, brand, band--they all come first. Believe me--I’ve bitched at Jess for this very reason, too.”
“I’ll prove you wrong--about prioritizing your sister.”
She tweaked on a wry grin. “Don’t idol-lie to me.”
“Funny. You’re not the emo diva I imagined.”
“Thank you, Krystal.”
“Call me Soojung.”
Before Kuma/Coma-style water works erupted, Soojung whipped to her sister. “Message me later. A goddess from Screenwriting asked me to the movies and I don’t know if she’ll put out on the first date.”
“Hold on!” Jessica’s voice hit the roof. “Goddess--she? A girl?! Since when--”
“Is my landing strip too slutty?”
“Goodniiiight!” Then, Soojung signed off.
“Oh my god. Our parents are gonna… I bet she’ll make me come out for her. That’ll be a treat.” Casting aside shock from the grandest of capricious sisters, Jessica turned to the singer at her side.
Stress bags accented Taeyeon’s pretty eyes; a classic smirk made up for it. “She’s...cute. I saw the Jung resemblance.”
“What, we’re both crazy and apparently gay?”
“No,” Taeyeon gyrated her chest. “In the boob-ular area.”
And for the next five minutes, Jessica pummeled her love with every pillow in reach.
The honey brunette came home to the aftermath of a Lucky Six sleepover. She wheeled in her bulky suitcase stealthily, parking it to its side beneath a table. Glowing tinges of dawn shrouded the living room, where a comfortably chaotic collection of legs, hair, and pillows decorated their sectional couch.
Jessica had only heard about these slumber parties. They occurred in the wake of monumental events (award shows, far travels, Jinnie’s departure); anything deserving that added dose of physical contact as moral support. The World Tour would be announced that morning.
Including the last day of practice before the “Girls Only” summer concert.
Younger, lesser known girl groups would open, gradually sequencing to independent artists; then, the well-known idol primetime slot. The female empire would showcase a mix of group and special solo stages. Hyoyeon and Tiffany worked hard for their pieces--toiling extra hours to polish a hip hop dance and a song from a recent drama, respectively. Skandl was scheduled to perform right before them. Sunny’s own DJ-ing segment would start the trio off.
Jessica couldn’t help scouring the rough lineup for Bae Soojin’s name. Nothing. Though, that never stopped her in the past.
She toed soundlessly around the couch. Excitement for their future coursed through her muscles. As well as Taeyeon’s wistful honesty with Soojung. No doubt the singer locked a permanent position in her vision of family.
Taeyeon needed it. Jessica wished to wave a wand, causing the Kims realize the error of their ways--that they missed out on a beautifully quirky individual.
Ah, well. Her parents were bound to love her--and tease her. If Taeyeon thought her sister was intense...Jessica couldn’t wait.
Jessica pinched knuckles to her lips, restraining a giggle. Hyoyeon snored on the left end of their sofa, adorned with her three signature accessories: Miso snuggled into her arms, an unopened wine bottle phallically nestled between her legs, and Donovan Zhou beneath her head, pillowing it with a toned thigh. Seemed like when JiWook barred the guy, he crashed at the dorm more often. Lucky Six made a point of it--if Elite launched a romantic narrative on one member, they sure as hell would defend an actual boyfriend.
Unlike Hyoyeon’s artsy man, Sooyoung’s boyfriend had a traditional doctor-surgeon-something medical job that kept him outside their apartment. Donovan served as surrogate male, resting upright for the lean woman’s crossed ankles upon his shoulder.
Sooyoung was beautiful even in her sleep, eyelids relaxed and glossy lips parted. Like a reposed photoshoot. Jessica pecked the heavy sleeper on the cheek, knowing the loudmouth would kick up a fuss otherwise.
The youngest member occupied the sofa’s middle. Jessica tread lightly, for this singer could spring conscious at a pin drop. She handed a ton of her sanity to Seo Juhyun. Managing when JiWook was absent, catering generous advice, touting diligence to last several lifetimes. Jessica wondered/worried about her potential lovelines. Seohyun contributed the bulk of her love to Lucky Six. When that eventual prospect appears, he or she’d better be the damn Messiah or somebody close.
Next, Im Yoongie...topless in her sports bra. Reliving her sister’s bikini stint, Jessica volleyed a swordlike glare at the male before tucking a blanket around her friend’s waist. The woman’s uncanny ability to switch skins to ‘Idol Yoona’ gained new respect. Despite her carefree nature, she’d mastered the industry game--gave fans what they fancied while living freely amongst her closest mates. However JiWook “punished” her, it didn’t leave an impression. Jessica kissed her favorite on the forehead, startled by the phone lighting up in Yoona’s hand. A text alert...from Sunny.
At that hour? Jessica pruned her lips. This would require more adjustments than she anticipated.
Evidence of Madam Hwang cluttered this latter end of the couch. Pink blanket. A discarded sleep mask. Slippers. One of many stuffed animals gifted by Yuri…
She followed her instincts to their room. As expected, Tiffany wasn’t asleep. Instead, she was bent over familiar papers, reading glasses removed to regard the latecomer. “You’re back.”
“Overslept at Tae’s,” Jessica supplied.
“No world wars in your absence. Sleepiness forgiven.”
She gestured to the bed. “May I?”
“Go for it.” Tiffany clicked off a flashlight.
They stared at one another in morning’s blueish grey haze. The woman sitting cross-legged in flannel boxers and no makeup was the version she confided in. Accessible, unstyled. Innocent on the outside, at least.
She and the girls lavished Tiffany with TLC when YulTi broke up. Five shoulders to cry on to make up for the one.
Jessica and Tiffany kept the engagement to themselves.
Approaching schedules provided her roommate daily distractions. Urges to mope siphoned into vocal sessions. Rage personified in more powerful dance steps. Reddened nostrils encouraged foundation shopping.
Only Jessica saw the girl break down in the middle of the night. There, she’d unfold her covers for Tiffany to slither in, the warmth of her body clouding judgements of disloyalty, vindictiveness. A surreal sensation, really.
Tiffany chewed a tip of her glasses. “Overslept...oversexed, you mean?”
“Tae wishes,” Jessica replied in an equally hushed tone, laughing. “She and my sister finally met.”
“Tae will be a welcome addition to the Jungs.”
“If you were married...” A rueful smile. “Would you take her last name?”
“Um, no. It’s Jung Taeyeon or bust.”
They snickered in the dimness, eyes yet to depart from their focus--each other. Mirth dissolved as Jessica blinked downward, lifting a marked sheet.
“Fany, what are you going to do with this song?”
“What were you?”
Jessica remembered Taeyeon’s burst of pure energy following Soojung’s conversation. After winning the pillow fight, her lover held her tight, crying relieved tears until they were swept into slumber. “Make a statement. To JiWook, Elite...”
“What changed your mind?”
“You…” she whispered, “and the girls. Our children, apparently.” Jessica propped her weight on an elbow, smirking. “I’d rather make a statement by being successful. Going against the odds because Lucky Six is the best.”
“Now, you. Why are you studying Sunny’s song?”
“What do you think it means?”
“Don’t fuck up. That’s a warning.”
Tiffany tossed her glasses to her comforter, leaning over crackling papers to hiss, “I’m not Jinnie.”
“Don’t believe me?”
“I can’t rely on belief, Fany.”
“Fine,” the dark-haired singer sat up, folding her arms. “Round robin game. You and me.”
“Favorite physical attribute--my smile.”
She tumbled onto her back, conceding. “Eyes.”
“Most embarrassing moment? You first.”
“Jinnie intercepting our ‘First Class’ show.” That took little thought.
“Good one. I was most embarrassed when Yul left me tied and naked in the car for an hour. Most humiliating hour to contemplate what I’ve done.”
Jessica sprung back to life. “Are you serious?”
“Give me a secret, Jess.”
Did this woman even deserve to hear secrets?
“I’m…” She clothed herself in the peace of their setting. Tiffany’s slow breathing. Cotton against her back. The agreeable temperature. Ghosts of Taeyeon’s hands in her shirt, stroking her abdomen out of habit. “I’m starting to love this leader business. Unlike you, I know I’m powerless in the grand blueprint of things. But, to have some say….it’s thrilling.”
Tiffany’s lips peeled into a small grin. “Isn’t it?”
“Very. Your turn.”
She gazed to the ceiling, whites of her eyes shifting. “Hm.”
“‘Hm’ isn’t much of a secret. Try again.”
“If you promise to--”
“No more games, Fany!” Jessica snapped, at her peak of patience. She had too much riding on Tiffany and her freaking secrets. This had better be fruitful. “Not chess, checkers, Scrabble, goddamned ‘Ticket to Ride’….nothing.”
“Fine!” The woman threw her hands haphazardly. “They’re gone!”
“What the fuck, who?! The pictures! They’re gone.”
“As in…” Jessica moved forward. Truthful eye contact her sole source of sustenance. “Deleted?”
“Deleted. Forever. No one saw them but me.”
“How do I know you’re not lying?”
“You’ll have to trust me.”
A shoddy reply, though the brunette would be kidding herself if she said it didn’t raise her spirits. “What caused this?”
“I need you, Jess.”
Lucky’s leader mimicked impending vomit. Tiffany rolled her eyes.
“Not like that! I need you for this group to prosper.” Hurtful memories practically played behind Tiffany’s eyelids. “Getting dumped...put roles in perspective. Without Yul, I’m heartbroken. Without you and our girls...I’m not Lucky Six’s Tiffany Hwang. That means more to me and when I try to improve myself, maybe I’ll get Yuri back, too.” She wiped a stray tear. “I want it all.”
Jessica pushed scattered sheets to the sides, pressing close enough to feel Tiffany’s breath. “So do I.”
“Impossible, is it not?”
“We strive for perfection. I’d argue that’s pretty impossible.”
“Everything I’ve said...I’m sorry. And putting Taeyeon through betrayal a second time when I knew she was traumatized by fuckin’ Soojin.”
Basking in elation, Jessica swung both arms around Tiffany’s neck, placing a single kiss on the bridge of her nose. “Thank you. In time, I’ll see you in a whole new light. We could be best friends.”
“Damaged trust takes an eternity to mend.”
“I’ll give you less than that.”
Tiffany looped her into a firm hug, silently weeping. For Yuri, more than likely. She let the girl finish, wiping her cheeks dry intermittently, relaying words normally gave to her sister or vice versa. Thus, Jessica Jung, covered in another woman’s tears and surrounded by “love:murder”, concluded--Tiffany had been the naïve one all along.
Honest transparency powered Lucky Six. She learned it as a newbie member, feigning sleep in a noisy dormitory. Minutes from being invited to dinner by Tiffany kneeing her in the side, rudely mentioning eating disorders. Where Jessica wrote her order on a whiteboard and looked to the others for help, confirmation.
That’s what kept their team sane: the ability to speak their minds.
Verily, Bae Soojin appeared at the “Girls Only” concert.
As a host.
“I could stand Jinnie mooing through a four-minute song,” Jessica groaned, enduring a monitor of Jinnie and Kim Heechul introducing the next act. Their over-the-top narration abounded. “An MC? Seriously?”
Taeyeon, hair primmed to the finest order, pouted glittery lips. “Shouldn’t have slain all those peasants in my past life.”
They laughed. Time spent together backstage was a big plus.
“Tae, I’d kiss you, but I’d be wearing the evidence for the next two days.”
“I found glitter in my panties,” the singer whined. “Dong-gun hired the spaciest crew of stylists. I’m Tinkerbell on shrooms.”
Jessica winked, blowing a kiss instead. “I once fantasized about fucking a faerie.”
The rest of Skandl curbed impending dialogue, waving their presence. Sunny, as tastelessly sparkly as Taeyeon, planted a hand on her orange miniskirted hip. “Are we interrupting?”
“‘Sup, Jess.” Yuri’s bunny ears were too chipper for her sullen face. She nudged their lead singer in the thigh. “Ready to make asses of ourselves?”
Taeyeon blew her cheeks out, owning repulsive over-aegyo. “Hell ya!”
Sunny appeared unamused. “You bitches don’t even write music. If anyone should be pissed and cynical, it’s me.”
“This is an occupational hazard,” she explained. “You deal with it.”
True. Jessica almost agreed out loud. Sensing ever-present tension, she chose against it. “Nice DJing earlier.”
Sunny’s set had been pushed to the beginning of the show, deterring viewers who’d arrive late to omit younger groups. Elevating dark eyes screened Jessica’s outfit--a simple babydoll dress. “Thanks. Is Tiffany gonna steal my song?”
“What about me?”
The question died on the musician’s lips as the remaining Lucky Six members circled their space. Jessica peeked around, nary recalling a moment when all nine of them occupied the same breathing area.
Tiffany bobbed on her heels. “Hey, Yul.”
Yuri glimpsed to Taeyeon, Sunny, and to Tiffany, visually calculating a response. “‘Ey.”
Not even a full ‘hey’. Eek. Witnessing the gentle woman do anything less than go molten at her ex’s smile zapped cheer.
Except for one person’s. “Y’all have sequin herpes.”
Everyone ceded thankful chuckles. Im Yoona: Tension shatterer on demand.
Sunny held her arms out, lips attractively curved. “Bring in some love, Yoong.”
For a hair of a second, Jessica wondered if Sunny was plotting some sort of espionage on her Lucky pal. That’d be a good method of getting to her. Although, Sunny’s rainbow eye smile as she spun a squealing Im Yoona in circles squashed her paranoia. Just a matter of time until Yoona wandered from a violated closet, picking glitter off her tongue. Jessica cringed at the thought.
Mindful of the shiny/sexy concept that’d ratcheted Taeyeon’s angst, Jessica flossed their fingers, drawing her close. “It’ll only be three songs, babe.”
“Three of our newest crapsicles,” she corrected.
“Do your best?”
When Taeyeon flattened her smirk, pupils drifting to the right, Jessica checked, too. A sharkish man in a sleek suit materialized--hands sweeping on a tablet, eyes trained to their handholding. His voice was deep. “Impromptu meeting, Skandl. Fraternizing time is done.”
Taeyeon flexed a suddenly clammy palm. Jessica wouldn’t weaken her grip. “We’re friends, sir. I thought we could say a few words as a group?” Without waiting for rejection, she grasped Seohyun’s hand, who caught on seamlessly, snatching Sooyoung’s fingers from her hair. Around the ring connections went until Yoona’s thin fingers engulfed Taeyeon’s fist.
Tiffany bitchglared at the dude, making Jessica proud to have her on their side again. “Could you give us, I don’t know...thirty seconds?”
Dong-gun grinned something vicious. “Skandl. I’ll be…” He pointed 100 feet away. “Nearby. You have thirty seconds. Starting…”
Taeyeon wasn’t joking; he resembled a villain. Jessica brought their hands to her face, granting a quick kiss.
“Alright, Many of us aren’t religious-types, so I’ll keep this secular,” Tiffany started, bowing her head, “Please, let’s not fuck up out there. We’ve worked too hard, come too far…”
A pause. Jessica cracked an eye, watching Tiffany regard Yuri.
She continued. “And, nebulously non-theistic universe entity, heal our hearts. So that we’ll see with those rather than our eyes. Those only reflect our sordid feelings. Which isn’t fair for anyone else.” She straightened her throat, probably counting her seconds. “Strangers worship us, but we make mistakes as crazy as them. Crazier, I bet. May this be a night to remember.”
“By the might of your blue cheeks, shall we kick ass, Krishna!”
They giggled at the outburst. Tiffany agreed. “Yes, shall we kick ass.”
The groups parted, galaxies away from their stuffy lack of chemistry at previous music shows. Progress. Yet, as Jessica watched her bedazzled girlfriend bow plastically to their new manager, uneasiness touched her gut.
This surely would be a night to remember.
I support all my Soshi+Jessica bbs, but ya know...gotta show the OT9 Trash side sometimes. Come at me.
Actually, don't. I'm sensitive.