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Communications 101

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“Hey, Seunghee?” Hyojung hesitantly calls out, interrupting the younger girl as she was in the middle of telling Mimi an epic story.

“Yes?” Seunghee’s raspy voice replies back and Hyojung cringes. In the grand scheme of things, she should probably be glad that their main vocalist decided to lose her voice at a more… opportune time- for a lack of better words- choosing to do so right as promotions were ending and they were due for a long, long break.

“Maybe you shouldn’t be talking so much?” Hyojung advises. “We wouldn’t want our main vocalist to damage her voice.”

“It’s fine!” Seunghee exclaims and Hyojung has to fight to keep that tight smile on her face. “It’s just a slight cold. I’ll be fine in a couple of days.” Hyojung doubts it’s just a slight cold- because if it were a slight cold, Seunghee would be coughing and maybe her voice would be a bit throatier than usual but right now, Seunghee sounds like her throat had been mauled by a lion. Several lions. A whole pride of lions.

“Uh, are you su-”

“Yeah!” Seunghee exclaims vehemently. “It’s fine. You don’t have to worry so much, mom,” Seunghee teases and Hyojung sighs. Maybe it’s time to play dirty.

.

“You want me to do what?” Arin asks and Hyojung almost shushes her despite the fact that Seunghee is currently not in the dorm. Seunghee’s out- karaokeing with friends, of all things- and that fact only further proves that Hyojung needs a long, long break. From this group.

“I want you to aegyo your way into Seunghee’s heart and convince her to shut her mouth for the next two weeks.”

“Uh,” comes Arin’s smart reply. “But why?”

“Because whether Seunghee believes it or not, she lost her voice, and if she ends up permanently damaging it because she’s an idiot who refuses to listen to her smart, beautiful leader, then the future of our group is in danger.” Arin stares blankly back at Hyojung. Hyojung sighs. “And because if you do, I won’t tell Jiho that you were the one who ate the slice of chocolate cake she was saving.”

At that, Arin pales and immediately replies with a meek “Yes, ma’am.”

.

Arin slowly pokes her head into the room before cautiously calling out, “Seunghee-unni? Can I talk to you?”

“Of course!” Seunghee exclaims as she tosses her phone across the room to focus her full attention on Arin. “What do you need to talk about?”

 

“Um,” Arin starts off as she hesitantly walks over to Seunghee. She’s really not good at this aegyo thing, being too shy and not shameless enough to pull it off effortlessly. But she did ask her classmate, Mina, for some pointers and according to her, the key points to a shy girl’s aegyo are wide, innocent eyes (check), a mild form of baby talk (check?), and appearing small and cute (not check). The last component may be a bit hard considering that Arin is currently 171cm and still growing, but Seunghee apparently doesn’t seem to notice this- if the way she is fondly patting Arin’s head is any sign. “How’s your throat?”

“It’s fine!” Seunghee exclaims and Arin can finally understand what Hyojung means when she says Seunghee sounds like her throat was mauled by a lion. “It hurts just a bit but I should be fine in a couple of days.”

“But unni, don’t you think you should take better care of your throat? I really like your voice and I wouldn’t want you to lose it or anything.”

“Ay,” Seunghee waves off. “Trust in your unni.”

“But unniiii,” Arin drags out, making sure to put a whine in her tone. “You need to take better care of yourself. Can’t you just not use your voice as much as possible for two weeks or something?” Seunghee looks like she’s about to argue back, Arin hammers in the final nail in the coffin. “For me?” she cutely adds on, looking at Seunghee through her eyelashes and makes sure to toy with her hands for effect.

Seunghee’s eyes dilate and Arin takes it as a success. “Of course!” Seunghee answers after a moment, which was spent squealing over how cute Arin is and pinching her cheeks. “But how am I going to talk? You know I love to talk.”

And Arin panics because she had never planned on getting this far. “Uh?” She looks back to the door, where Hyojung was peeking in through a small crack Arin had left open. Hyojung pulls out a packet of post-its and starts to crazily gesture to it. “Maybe you should try communicating through writing? Like post-its or something?”

“That’s a great idea!” Seunghee exclaims before immediately clasping her hands over her mouth. “Sorry,” she apologetically rasps out.

.

“Good job, Arin-ah,” Hyojung praises as she fondly pats the younger girl’s head. “I knew you could do it.”

“So you’re not going to tell Jiho-unni that I was the one who ate the last of her cake now, right?” Arin asks.

Before Hyojung could answer, another voice cuts in. “You did what?” They both turn around to see Jiho with a dark look on her face.

“Uh,” is all Arin manages to get out before Jiho lunges at her.

Hyojung immediately tries to stop the taller girl by latching onto her leg. “Run, Arin, run!” she yells. “I’ll hold her off for as long as I can!” And that’s all Arin needs to start sprinting away from Jiho, who is still trying to chase after her even though she has a tiny leader attached to her left leg.

.

“Do you want to see me do my doorbell imitation?”

JinE looks up from the post-it Seunghee has just placed on her desk to Seunghee herself, then back to the post-it, then back to Seunghee. “I guess?” This doesn’t sound like a good idea but it’s been a pretty slow day and JinE is kind of bored.

Seunghee beams at her answer and writes something on her pad of post-its before sticking another one down, right above the first one. “You have to knock the door.” JinE hesitantly knocks on the table three times, and on the third knock, Seunghee slams down a post-it that just says “ARRRGGGHHHH” and looks at JinE expectantly.

JinE blanks for a moment before hesitantly clapping her hands. “That was.. great?” Apparently, JinE’s lackluster response seems to have satisfied Seunghee because she throws her arms up in a silent celebration before happily skipping off. JinE shakes her head. Well, it most definitely did make her day more interesting.

.

Binnie walks into the room to see post-its littering the floor as Seunghee tries to tell Mimi an epic story through those tiny little pieces of paper fluttering to the ground. The sight pains her a bit, and as an alumna from her old high school’s environmental club, Binnie has to do something to stop it. “Hey, Seunghee-unni,” she calls out but Seunghee continues to write onto the pad of post-its. “Unni,” she tries again. Still ignored. “Unni.”

Seunghee then looks up and sticks a post-it onto Binnie’s forehead, right on top of her bangs. Binnie precariously peels off the post-it before reading it. “What is it?”

“Don’t you think it’s a bit wasteful to be using so many post-its?” Binnie asks. “I mean, look at the floor. You look like you went through a million of those packs.”

“It’s only been 20!!” Seunghee defends as vehemently as she can through writing.

Binnie sighs. “But still, this isn’t very eco-friendly of you. You should be more considerate towards the Earth. We live on it, afterall.”

Seunghee purses her lips as she considers Binnie’s words before nodding in agreement. “You’re right. But what should I do instead? I haven’t finished telling Mimi this story yet.”

“Yeah, she hasn’t,” added Mimi, who’s been sitting there the entire time. “It’s been an entire week and she still hasn’t finished it.”

“Maybe you should try using gestures or miming or something. Like sign language I guess?” Binnie shrugs. This really isn’t her job. She’s finished doing her part to save the environment. Captain Planet would be proud of her.

.

“Ow!” YooA exclaims as she’s hit in the face by one of Seunghee’s flailing arms. “Seunghee, what are you even doing?” she asks as Seunghee profusely and apologetically mimes Super Junior’s Sorry Sorry dance. Seunghee starts gesturing again and YooA has to duck in order to avoid being hit in the face. Again. Seunghee finishes gesturing and looks at YooA expectantly. YooA blankly stares back. “I’m sorry but can you repeat that?” Seunghee starts going through the same gestures a second time, but it’s not any easier to understand.

“Seunghee says that Arin told her to stop using her voice and at first, she was using post-its, but then Binnie told her it was killing the Earth so she’s been miming instead,” Mimi translates for YooA. Seunghee still hasn’t finished telling Mimi the story and Mimi really wants to know how it ends.

“But why did Arin tell you to stop using your voice?” YooA asks. Seunghee once again starts flailing her arms around in an elaborate dance, and YooA continues to blankly stare at her until she finished. YooA then looks over to Mimi.

“Seunghee says that it’s because she thinks Seunghee has lost her voice and she wants her to not use it anymore until her throat gets better.” Mimi supplies. And then she sighs and looks at Seunghee. “Okay, you need to find some other way to communicate. Translating for you is difficult.” Seunghee gestures some more. “I don’t know what you should do instead,” Mimi replies. “That’s your problem, not mine.”

“Why don’t you just buy a whiteboard?” YooA suggests. “It’s better to communicate with than gesturing and you can erase whatever you write and write something new on it, so it’s not killing trees or whatever Binnie is advocating for.”

Seunghee starts to gesture even more wildly before tackling YooA in a giant hug. “Seunghee says that it’s a great idea and that she loves you,” Mimi says.

“I got it,” Yooa says as Seunghee continuously presses sloppy kisses to her cheek.

.

“Honestly, this whiteboard is sooo much better than miming,” Seunghee writes as she tests out her newest method of communication.

“Yeah,” Mimi agrees. “So much better than miming. Why did Binnie even suggest that to begin with? Using a whiteboard is obviously the best solution.”

“It’s because Binnie’s a loser,” Jiho casually says as she passes through the living room to head into the kitchen. She managed to chase down Arin and make the poor maknae buy her a new chocolate cake as compensation, and she’s really excited to try it.

“Do you even know what we’re talking about?” Seunghee asks.

“No,” Jiho shamelessly replies. “But that doesn’t change the fact that Binnie’s a loser.”

“...Go to your room,” Mimi tells her after a long pause. Jiho shrugs and brings the entire cake box back to her room.

.

“Wait, so what happened to the girl in the coffee shop?” Mimi intently asks as she watches Seunghee continue to tell her epic story on the whiteboard.

“She got her face mauled by a cat but that’s not important,” Seunghee replies.

“Wait, what? Why did her face get mauled by a cat?” Mimi asks.

“Because the boy with the nose piercing was-” Before Seunghee could finish writing down her answer, she’s interrupted yet again.

“Where did a cat even come from? Why isn’t this important to the story anymore?” Mimi asks.

“IT’S BECAUSE THE BOY WITH THE NOSE PIERCING IS IN LOVE WITH THE AHJUMMA WHO RUNS THE COFFEE SHOP AND NOT THE GIRL WHO WORKS THERE!” Seunghee exclaims in frustration before gasping and immediately clasping her hands over her mouth. But then the realization hits her. “That was my voice, right?” Mimi nods in amazement. “It’s totally back to normal, right?” Mimi nods again. Then, Seunghee lets out an enormous squeal that shakes the entire dorm and cracks a couple of windows. “My voice is back! My beautiful voice is back! I can go karaokeing again now!” Seunghee cries out before running out of the dorm and presumably to the karaoke place down the street.

“Wait!” Mimi calls out after her. “You never finished telling your story!”