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let me know the way before there's hell to pay

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Johnny doesn’t know she’s got an aversion to strobe lights until there are at least three of them -- probably more, not that she can count -- flashing directly in her face. The living room of this house -- whose house it is, she isn’t super sure, not that it matters because she’ll never run into the host -- is packed full of people she doesn’t know. She’s all alone in a sea of bodies that smell like artificial strawberry and just a little bit too much perfume, covered in loud primary colours covered in denim jackets and plaid overshirts. She coughs loudly; the entire living room ceiling is made of smoke, probably in direct spite of smoking not being allowed indoors anymore, rulebreaking all the rage, or something like that.

She hates this party, if only because she’s on the verge of hacking up a lung (which, like, grody), and because neither Jaehyun nor Yuta are anywhere in sight, probably chasing after their respective crushes like their lives depend on it. At least they’d had the forethought to invite her? She marvels at the idea that there could be such a big group of girls who want to love girls. Sign of the times, she figures, tugging at the hem of her overalled corduroy skirt, trying to hide the shape of her thighs from lingering eyes.

Outside is wilder, she notes, hearing the splashing of people jumping into the pool. Probably fully clothed. Probably reenacting that scene in Romeo and Juliet. Johnny remembers watching that movie with Yuta glued to her side, the both of them bursting into tears over how completely gorgeous Claire Danes had looked in the dim blue glow of the pool lighting. She and Yuta together are a couple of drama queens. Still, she thinks for a second about joining them in the reenactment, if only because it would probably be cool to be able to cool off her head, and it would be even cooler if someone here actually looked as gorgeous as Juliet did in that moment.

Somewhere, Johnny knows, Jungwoo is lurking, and her makeup is perfect, her body glitter perfectly matched to the rest of her ensemble. Johnny really, really, really does not want to run into Jungwoo. Not tonight. Not when her heart is still aching despite the distance and, above all else, time still between them.

Someone -- a pretty girl, a very pretty girl -- presses a cup into Johnny’s hand. She sips it gratefully, wishing she could just, like, leave. Or something. Everyone is dancing like the world is about to end -- to hear it told, it is, but that’s a year away, or at least that’s what she’s come to believe -- and Johnny keeps getting elbowed by people she doesn’t know. One person in particular keeps nailing her in the small of her back. She winces, inches away, stares down into the contents of her cup. Clear. Everything lately is clear.

It’s uncomfortable, but so is the prospect of spending another Friday night alone in her shared apartment while her best friends are probably getting laid and having orgasms. She won’t admit she’s jealous of them, but… it’s kinda there, lingering in the back of her mind.

That pretty girl who’d given her a drink hasn’t actually left, and is actually sort of leaning on Johnny, trying to say something into her ear only to be drowned out by the music as it blasts louder and louder overhead. Johnny turns her head and it’s like a comedy -- she hears Dreamweaver play in the back of her head as she takes in full lips drawn into a pout, glossed over clear and shining even in the intermittent lighting. She smiles, and it’s like angels have come to swoop just the two of them right up into heaven.

“Hey,” she chirps, visibly pleased with herself. “Is it okay? I think one of those dudes over there--” the girl points, the gesture minute so as to not draw attention, “were trying to do something creepy, so I thought I’d kinda head them off at the pass.”

Johnny, all too aware of the Something Creepy that guys like to pull at parties like these, dips her head in thanks, shouting her name over the music. It’s a sloppy introduction, and she shrinks away a little, not quite able to convince herself of her place here. Not even when the prettiest girl in the room -- no, the prettiest girl of all time -- is talking to her, protecting her like she’s something that needs to be protected.

“I’m Donghyuck,” singsongs the girl, bobbing her head in time with the beat. Her puffy pigtails, precious and petite, bob with her. The strap of her floral print spaghetti-strap shirt falls down her suntanned shoulder. She has a little fleck of glitter there, sparkling whenever the strobe flashes, and Johnny wants nothing more than to kiss it away.

She is at least a dozen times cuter than Johnny’s ex. Johnny can feel her heart melting, and Lauryn Hill is playing over the speakers (a remixed version -- whoever’s manning the turntable tonight is doing a good job). “Do you want to dance?” she asks. Then she realises her hand is busy, and tips back the drink Donghyuck had given her, letting the burn of it ground her. Better drunk than sober and bored, she figures with a shrug.

Donghyuck, in answer, fits her arms around Johnny’s middle, pulls her close -- and stands on her tiptoes to whisper in Johnny’s ear, “I thought you wouldn’t ask.”

That little bit of contact by itself is enough to send a little thrill up the column of Johnny’s spine, though she’s just present enough to at least try and suppress it. Donghyuck’s just so warm, and Johnny’s been cold for a long, long time.

There’s a smirk that plays at the corners of Donghyuck’s pretty mouth, and Johnny swears she knows way more than she lets on, not that she knows how to ask. Instead, she moves with the beat, letting Donghyuck’s body guide her own, the shared sweat between them more than enough to remind Johnny that she hasn’t even held hands with anyone since Jungwoo, a couple months ago.

It feels good. So good that she thinks she might topple over with it. One song melts into another and Johnny’s arms end up wound around Donghyuck’s middle, drawing her closer. Johnny’s throat is so dry she could use another dozen drinks, but doesn’t give in to the urge, if only to keep the heat of Donghyuck’s skin on her own.

Eventually Johnny loses track of time entirely, tipsy on contact and whatever sort-of-sweet, sort-of-heat drink Donghyuck had so kindly given her. She peers down into Donghyuck’s face and flashes a smile despite herself, the shyness that she’d arrived carrying like a designer bag someone else had bought for her. “Hey,” she mouths, “you’re really cute.”

“What?” asks Donghyuck, loud over the music, but unnecessarily when the song dies at that exact moment.

Johnny flushes, ready to blame it on the alcohol if she has to. “Do you want to go, like, talk about something?”

And Donghyuck makes this face of confusion. “Aren’t we having a good time here?” She hitches up a leg -- god but is she ever bendy -- and digs her knee against Johnny’s hip, none too subtle. Her hands, which have been roaming the expanse of Johnny’s back for most of the time, slip a little lower. “C’mon, baby girl, it’s like foreplay.”

No one had ever callen Johnny baby girl except her mom. This feels dramatically different than when her mom had said it. She thinks she might like it. Johnny’s flush deepens, and she tucks her chin to her chest. “Yeah,” she agrees, “yeah, we can stay here.” And no, they haven’t really stopped moving, not even when the song had turned into something slow and sweet over their heads in the midst of their conversation, but Johnny figures she can stay for a couple more songs. She shrugs out of her overshirt, revealing the crop-top-and-overalls combo Yuta had convinced her to wear. Her skirt feels too short, but she doesn’t tug it down when she realises there are hearts in everyone-around-her’s eyes, instead guarding herself by tying the sleeves around her waist.

Donghyuck in particular looks at her like she’s something to be admired, and it makes Johnny’s heart flutter, stupid heart that it is.

Still, she can’t ignore the way it positively thuds when Donghyuck’s fingertips meet the faded bruises on Johnny’s sides, all the places that make her wince when she can’t help herself. Embarrassed, Johnny bows in on herself, resting her head on Donghyuck’s shoulder.

“Baby girl,” coos Donghyuck, her lips brushing the piercings that dot Johnny’s ear. Johnny yelps, muffled by Donghyuck’s skin, and her instinct isn’t to fight to keep whatever this is -- it’s to fly right out the window, in a manner of speaking. “No one hurt you, right?”

Her face neon red, Johnny looks for a means of escape. Donghyuck takes her by the worn-out collar of her shirt, then by the straps of her overalls, and tugs her down, til they’re at eye level. “Did I scare you?” And this isn’t flirtation. This is genuinely making sure Johnny’s okay.

No one -- not even her best friends -- has done this for Johnny. She’s about to say she’s okay, but the words just won’t come out in time.

In any case it both is and isn’t a rescue, when Jaehyun and Yuta find her, sweat beading their foreheads in an almost comically identical manner. Jaehyun’s mascara is running a little bit, but like, prettily? Johnny does a good job of pretending not to be envious of the way her best friend seems to look beautiful even after hours of lacrosse practise, or all-nighters in the university library, or pigging out on hot Cheetos for days on end. “Hi, baby!” shrieks Jaehyun, like it’s post-summer vacation and they haven’t seen each other in months. “Hey, can you like, come with us? We have to ask you something, and it’s suuuuper important.”

Yuta has already got her arm around Johnny’s, dragging her away by the elbow.

Johnny glances over her shoulder to see whether or not Donghyuck is watching her go, and finds she likes being watched even as she’s being pulled away.

“Do you know who that is?” hisses Yuta, breath a little too warm against Johnny’s ear.

“Donghyuck,” Johnny answers slowly, confused. She has already been informed? What is the big deal?

The living room becomes a disheveled dining room becomes the kitchen in a pretty fell swoop. Jaehyun is already finding them more drinks in the fridge. Water. Johnny might not admit it but she’s grateful for it when Jaehyun presses a frigid bottle to the nape of her neck, wrangling it just right that her collar catches the condensation. “Do you know who Donghyuck is?” asks Jaehyun, resting shoulder to shoulder between Johnny and Yuta equally. “I mean, besides the girl you’ve been flirting with all night. Like, that’s a given.”

Johnny would be lying if she said she knew who anyone here is, her two best friends aside. She fixes her gaze on a cracked spot in the countertop. “Is she, like, bad?” She hadn’t gotten the vibe that Donghyuck was inherently anything, except for stupid hot.

“Nooooooooo,” Yuta counters quickly, nudging Johnny with an elbow. Johnny winced. She’d already taken more than her fair share of blows in the ribs tonight, not to mention all the practising the three of them had been doing the last couple weeks. “No, not at all. I just think that, like, maybe she’s a couple levels ahead of you or something?”

“What the fuck does that mean?” Johnny takes the bottle out of the back of her shirt, cracking it open and taking a long drink, if only to give Yuta a long look over the rim. “Like, I know I’m a baby gay, whatever that means--”

“Johnny, hon, you just realised you were gay, like, six months ago--” Jaehyun tries to interject, but Johnny speaks over her anyway.

“But hello? Look at me? I am very, very hot.” She pushes a damp hand through her hair, undoes it a touch, and earns herself a good, long up-and-down from both her friends. “I am pretty sure I can get whoever I want, so like, maybe take a chill pill? Let me do whatever I’m gonna do?”

Jaehyun and Yuta, for all their worldly knowledge, give each other sceptical glances. “I mean,” sighs Yuta at last, “I guess I can’t stop you. And you’re right, she is really cute.”

“If you’re into that,” adds Jaehyun, reaching for the bottled water Johnny is drinking. “She’s not really my type--”

“Oh, like you have a type,” Yuta croons, all sarcasm. “Since when?”

“--but if she’s who you’re into, you know I’m here for you.” She rests her head on Johnny’s shoulder for a moment, the vibrant pink of her hair catching Johnny’s eye as it waved across the slim, pale column of her neck. “I love you no matter what, you know? I want you to be happy whoever you end up hooking up with.”

Yuta hums agreement, though she’s still got her eyes narrowed in Jaehyun’s direction. “Just, like, don’t say we didn’t try to look out for you.” When she doesn’t get an answer, she mutters sike under her breath, pulling away from the cuddly twosome that Johnny and Jaehyun have made of themselves.

“I’m gonna go find Donghyuck now,” says Johnny slowly. Why the fuck are her friends being so weird? Not that she cares at this moment; she’s already set her mind to something, after all, and the only thing keeping her from getting that thing is the fact that her friends think it’s cool to interrupt her when she’s on her game. “You two, like, get along better, maybe?”

She thinks she sees a flash of mischief in Jaehyun’s eyes as she departs the kitchen, but decides to ignore it. Maybe they’ll have to have a house meeting when they all finally decide to go home. She doesn’t want to live in the middle of whatever their disagreement is.

The first thing Johnny does is head back to the dance floor, which is somehow even more crowded than it had been when she had left it. She sort of pokes her head in the middle of it, which doesn’t feel great because everyone is noisy and whooping along to an older song the likes of which Johnny doesn’t know. Eventually she gives up, heads outside.

Not that Johnny doesn’t expect it? But this is pure chaos. Someone’s started a bonfire; it’s taller than any one participant that’s circled around it, a bunch of brush and sticks not meant to be stacked that high, let alone burned. Around the fire pit are a bunch of burnout looking grunge kids, male and female and somewhere in between, their greasy hair haloing them as they kick around a rainbow hackysack. There’s tables that seem to be scattered around the backyard at random for the sole purpose of holding drinks, each with their own sentinel guarding them in case Something Creepy happens. There’s the usual gaggle of people. Johnny even thinks she sees a flash of Jungwoo’s mahogany hair somewhere in passing.

It isn’t enough to keep her from finding Donghyuck, of course, but the thought that she and Jungwoo are sharing the same airspace is unnerving, to say the least.

There’s a crowd of drunk twentysomethings shouting out the words to a Chili Peppers song that Johnny doesn’t even pretend not to know the words to as she tries to make her way toward the pool. There’s this little rock formation; she’d seen it when she’d first gotten in, before everything had become so crowded with bodies that she couldn’t feel herself breathe. It would be a good vantage point.

As predicted, the pool is full of cute girls making out. (And boys, and people that defy description, yeah, but Johnny isn’t really here for them?) She won’t admit to the queasy pang of jealousy she feels in the pit of her stomach as she watches someone get felt up beneath the rippling surface of the water. Instead she focuses on what she’s trying to do. Not that it’s going well; she doesn’t see Donghyuck hanging around here, either. Instead what she gets is--

Well, a bunch of dudes. One of whom comes right up to Johnny, fits an arm around her waist. She shrugs away, shooting a glare the frat bro’s way. “Hey, do you mind? I’m looking for my friend--”

“The one you were dancing with earlier, right?” asks this guy, who is shockingly handsome. Not that Johnny’s interested. She just notices things. “She told me to look out for you. Cute, huh?” He beams like it’s his job. Johnny can see in her mind’s eye the number of people who would line up to get a chance at that brilliance. “I’m, um, I’m Lucas, by the way.” Lucas offers her an unopened bottle. (Zima? thinks Johnny, though she bites her lip to keep from saying as much. Could this party get any lamer?) “She said she’d be back in, like, a little bit. You wanna chill for a minute?”

Not really, said that same flip in Johnny’s stomach, but if Donghyuck had decided that Lucas was one of the okay ones, then it’d probably be fine. “How do you know Donghyuck?” she asks, taking the drink offered her and popping its top. After a couple sips she can’t help the face she makes.

Lucas either doesn’t notice, doesn’t care, or feels the same way. Cool. Johnny’s opinion of him goes up, if only just a little. “We dated. In like… middle school? High school? I don’t remember very well. When we were younger, and before we moved here. We’re friends, now.” That sort of kills it, but only for a second.

“Is she--” Except Johnny doesn’t know Donghyuck well enough to ask questions about her from strangers, and doesn’t know Lucas well enough to ask him anything, anyway.

He gets the hint, though. He must be smarter than Johnny thinks any dude here is. She’s almost impressed. “Nope. Just… sometimes it’s like that.” Johnny doesn’t know what to make of this. “She told me not to let you go, though, if I saw you. Talked about you for pretty much the whole time you were gone, like you were Angelina Jolie and she’d just run into you at the grocery store.”

No one’s ever really compared Johnny to Angelina Jolie, either, but that’s neither here nor there. She masks her chagrin by finishing off the drink in her hand, which goes a lot quicker than one might think. “Where’d she go?”

“Oh, just, you know. One of our friends is having a time or starting a fight or something, and she wanted to go check on him.”

Just behind them, another couple launches into the pool, wrapped in each other’s arms. Johnny flinches away so hard that she nearly topples over. Guess she’s drunker than she thought she was. Lucky for her Lucas catches her by the arm, keeps her upright, and fuck, he’s stronger than he looks. Maybe he’s been working out under that Obsession sweatshirt he’s got going on? Johnny wonders if maybe they can hang out. Work out together, even.

The crowd parts, uncharacteristically silent, all the music from before having stopped. Donghyuck is there, and she’s got her arm draped over the shoulders of a kinda cute, kinda downtrodden looking little dude that Johnny could swear up and down she’s seen somewhere before. All thoughts of Lucas, and working out, and this party disappear in favour of rushing to Donghyuck’s side. Not that it helps, of course.

Donghyuck and her friend -- who looks like he might have been crying? Johnny can’t be sure, not from the distance she’s at right now -- take a seat at one of the few tables scattered about. Her friend knocks over a couple drinks in the process, but they’re probably abandoned by now, their vanguard having disappeared into the ether at some point. Johnny elbows her way through the crowd and makes her way to the pair of them, intent on proving a point at some time this evening.

Donghyuck’s attention is focused on her -- friend? And she looks like she’s trying to be comforting, the gentle slide of her palm up and down her friend’s spine drawing the tension from him until he sags beneath the weight of her touch. Johnny lingers there, caught in the orbit of what’s probably meant to be an intimate moment, not sure if she’s allowed to just barge in.

Funny how she’s never been stopped by that before. Funnier still that she’s a little jealous that someone else gets to have this moment. Crushes are, without a doubt, the worse.

Eventually, though, Donghyuck looks up. How do her lips stay so glossy? Johnny wonders, brows knitting together. She’ll have to ask that later, when they get some time.

Johnny tips her head a little, proud in how she approaches. She unties the shirt from around her waist and drapes it over Donghyuck’s friend’s shoulders. “Hey,” she says, a bit awkwardly. “Everything okay?”

Donghyuck tries to smile, but it just ends up looking a little…off. Like something happened. Johnny thinks she should ask, but later, when they’re alone. If they ever end up alone, that is. “Sorry. I meant to be there when you got back, but Mark here--” and Donghyuck pinches her friend’s side, earning a decidedly high-pitched yelp right out of him. “Got himself in a little trouble, and I had to go make sure he didn’t try and fight someone for his honour.”

Not to have a crush or anything, but Johnny is immediately drawn to the idea of Donghyuck fighting for people she cares about. “It’s cool,” she says after a way-too-long pause to gather her thoughts. “Like, I’m not buggin’ about it or anything, I just…” She clears her throat, and realises that she is both too drunk and not nearly drunk enough for this level of awkwardness. “What happened?” And she sits down next to Donghyuck, attention focused on her friend. Mark, Johnny reminds herself, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

“Oh, the same thing that always happens,” Mark says with a shrug, but there’s something almost tremulous about him and the way he says it. “People find out I’ve got tits under this thing,” and here he plucks at the hem of his oversized sweatshirt printed with some 70s cartoon Johnny’s never heard of on the front, “and suddenly they wanna act like I’m a freakshow.”

“You aren’t a freakshow,” Donghyuck says consolingly. “I mean, you are, because you are, but not because of whatever you do or don’t have under that ugly-ass shirt.” And here she cracks a grin, pinches Mark’s side again.

Johnny is deeply reminded of his early days of friendship with Jaehyun and, eventually, with Yuta. It’s refreshing to see people who aren’t interested in making out, she figures. “Is there anything I can do?”

“Yeah, just like, don’t ask a bunch of weird questions,” says Donghyuck, and Mark nods along in agreement. “It is what it is. Hey, you came out looking for me, right?”

Johnny has to bob her head in answer, too busy trying to stop the questions behind the already tepid dam of her teeth. “I did,” she says. “Lucas found me and kept me company for a minute before I saw you.”

“Oh, Lucas!” And here Donghyuck’s all smiles. “I’m glad you met him. He’s, like, one of the only dudes I can trust.” Mark makes a noise of indignation, earning him a gentle punch to the shoulder. “I said one of! Don’t bug out, okay? You know you’re my main man.”

It is, Johnny concludes, stupid to be jealous of Mark, of all people, but here she is, trying very, very hard to contain herself. Maybe it’s the alcohol slowly burning a hole into her brain? She doesn’t know, not really. “Hey, if anyone messes with you--” she starts to say, but then they’re interrupted by the sudden presence looming just behind Johnny, heavy in its shadow.

“Lucas, oh my god, I’m so glad you’re here,” Mark chirps, bounding up from her seat and fitting his notably short arms around the absolute giant’s neck. “Hey, remember how you said you weren’t gonna ditch me to hit on that girl you’re into? You fuckin’ lied, dude, and I needed you.”

Lucas, all mush mouthed and pretty, mumbles an apology, kisses the top of Mark’s head despite the thick layer of cable knit covering most of his dark curls. “S’okay,” says Donghyuck, deadpan. “You can do the rescuing next time, if you really need to.”

And Johnny feels so out of place that she’s about to leave, find her own friends, ask if she can go home. But Donghyuck flings her arms around Johnny’s waist, strokes the soft spot where her ribcage ends just beneath the hem of her crop top. “You came back for me,” she says, all saccharine and low-fat bullshit. The Snackwell’s of flirtation. Still, the bat of her lashes is a pretty one, and Johnny has a crush all over again.

“Yeah, you kinda made my night,” says Johnny. “Is that okay? If you did?”

“Depends on what your friends told you about me. Oh, yeah,” she continues, when Johnny’s look turns to one of surprise. “I know all those dykes, and I know they’re not super nice all the time, but I know that pretty much everyone can be nice, regardless of whether or not they know who I am.”

“My friends are--” Johnny thinks about this, thinks about the way Jaehyun and Yuta have been acting the past few days, rather than the past few hours, and figures that if someone wants to think they can be mean, they probably have the right. “They just said I’m too baby for you.”

“Baby?” Donghyuck squints up at Johnny, and fuck, she’s too cute for words. Johnny needs to take a step back, take a breather, take a break from this party, but Donghyuck’s still holding onto her like she’s something pretty and valuable that’ll try and run away. So she doesn’t. If only because she wants to see how this plays out. “You’re, like, older than me.”

“I just came out kinda recently,” says Johnny, trying to ignore the thirdhand embarrassment she’s currently feeling for her former self, fourthhand for anyone who might be able to hear her overexplaining herself. “I’ve had exactly one girlfriend and three orgasms. They say that barely qualifies me for anything.”

“Well, that isn’t nice of them.” Donghyuck’s mouth quirks at the corner. Johnny can’t say why, exactly, that turns her on, only that it does, and that she wishes she’d worn something a little more horny-friendly this evening. Her fault for not thinking she’d find someone tonight. Go figure.

Behind her, some really butch girl kicks up her legs in a kegstand, her oversized flannel riding up and showing off well-defined abs. The partygoers watching her hoot and holler and catcall. Donghyuck turns to watch, and Johnny, by design of their positions, turns with her. They watch, raising cheers of their own, and Donghyuck never lets go of Johnny one time. She repeatedly drags her thumb along the bottom curve of Johnny’s ribs. This makes it markedly harder to focus on what they’re watching, but Johnny does her best, bottom lip caught between her teeth.

It’s not as easy as it looks, pretending to think about anything besides kissing Donghyuck here, while a bunch of her drunk acquaintances cheer on someone who’s half a kegstand away from a sports injury, but Johnny manages.

“Did you see that,” Mark asks, and Lucas has to hold him back from getting up there and flashing everyone within a fifty-foot radius. The entire time, Mark grumbles. “I could do better.”

“I know you can, man,” Lucas agrees, clapping Mark on the shoulder in something like consolation. “But not today, maybe? You think you’ve had enough adventure?”

Mark just grumbles some more, but takes it in stride.

“Thanks,” he tells Donghyuck, “for helping out.”

Donghyuck just waves her hand, tugging at the short strand of hair that hangs at the nape of her neck. It’s almost like she does this -- the thing where she protects the people closest to her -- all the time. Maybe she does. Maybe Johnny admires her a little more for it.

Eventually, Mark and Lucas and Donghyuck all say their goodbyes. This is the moment Johnny’s been waiting for since they’d met on the dance floor, what seems like a lifetime ago. Donghyuck hasn’t stopped touching her -- not that she’s asked her to stop, mind -- for even a second, grabbing at hands, at the soft skin of Johnny’s sides.

It’s all Johnny can think about, really.

The party’s cleared out some from the absolute fucking riot it had been just an hour prior. Donghyuck has a little sparkle in her too-bright eyes, gazing Johnny up and down, obviously prizing her in a way that makes Johnny’s skin hot even in places Donghyuck can’t see. “Hey, what else did your friends say about me?”

“Nothing, really. They said they’d be into whatever I’m into, if that, like. Makes sense.”

“Oh, make it weirder!” And Donghyuck laughs, a breathy sound that captivates Johnny all the more. Her hands find the narrow column of Johnny’s waist, just for a minute, then travel downward, into the thick corduroy of her overall skirt and resting on her hips. “They wanna watch? Something like that?”

“What? No. They have girlfriends or something, I dunno.” Johnny wrinkles her nose, mentally railing against the idea of her two best friends having literally anything to do with her sex life, besides occasionally recommending good brands of vibrators or offering to share VHS tapes of pornos they’d dared one another to buy. Not that Johnny’s done anything in that regard. Yet. “They’re just supportive. And they tried to tell me I was too baby for you, which, like, look at me?”

“Oh, ‘cause I’ve been able to look at anything else, right?” Donghyuck teases, pressing her thumbs into the soft bones of Johnny’s hips. “Please, you’re beautiful. Anyone with eyes at this stupid party would know that.”

“You think the party’s stupid, too?” Johnny tries and fails to keep the marvel out of her voice. At least she does a pretty convincing job of making it sound like it’s because of the commonality.

“I think all parties are stupid. This is the first one I’ve ever not regretted coming to.” Donghyuck’s hands, menace that they are, leave the confines of Johnny’s skirt, come to rest on the slopes of her shoulders. “I think that might just be because of you.”

Johnny’s belly sparks up with the same heat that Donghyuck’s every touch inspires in her. She wants really, really badly to be kissed. It looks as though that might happen, if only because that glint in Donghyuck’s eyes softens a little, becomes something that could be affectionate.

They’re drawing closer, slow but steady in the path they make toward one another. Donghyuck’s fingertips dig into the hollows between Johnny’s ribs, like her hands were made to be right there, like Johnny was constructed years ago for the sole purpose of letting Donghyuck touch her.

Johnny ducks, and whispers, “Is this okay?” She can smell strawberry on Donghyuck’s glossy mouth.

And then, the worst imaginable thing happens.

“Hey, uh, what are you doing with that infant?” asks a voice that Johnny both knows too well and cringes to hear.

At the edge of the pool, draped gracefully over its edge like a too-sleek mermaid, is Jungwoo, a curl of dark hair clinging to her brow wetly. She’s the only person still in the water, and the reflective light coming from beneath the surface of the water casts her in an almost eerie glow, something out of one of those slasher flicks someone or another is always trying to get Johnny to watch. Her makeup is perfect, seemingly in spite of both natural laws as well as the fact that she’s still beaded with pool water. Her university-issue sweatshirt is plastered to her frame, which might normally be off-putting? Except Jungwoo is super hot. She could literally wear anything and look good. It almost isn’t fair.

Even Donghyuck doesn’t really know what to say in the face of the accusation that she’s an infant. Johnny watches with despair as she turns to where Jungwoo lounges poolside, as her mouth opens to say something only to close again.

Johnny flinches away. “Hey, Jungwoo,” she tries to say, but it comes out more a drunken garble than any attempt at words. “Nice to see you. Have you lost weight or something?”

“Always,” sniffs Jungwoo. “When are you coming over to get your stuff? It’s been, like, months, and I don’t know where to send it since you moved and everything.”


“Your pyjamas, your photography books, your Spice Girls albums....”

Donghyuck makes a noise of something close to delight. “I love the Spice Girls!”

“I bet you do,” says Jungwoo, sniffing again. She uses her upper arms to push herself out of the pool entirely, looking every bit the siren her face would trick people into believing she is. The way her skirt, still damp from the water, reminds Johnny why she’d asked Jungwoo out in the first place. Just for a second. Just before Donghyuck’s hand finds hers, gives a little squeeze, reminds her of where she’s at, reattaching her feet to the ground. “Anyway, Johnny, you know where I live. You can come pick up your stuff at literally any time, and I’d really like it if you did? You know, if you think you can swing it, I mean.” She pauses, straightening the length of her spine, her ass pushed out in a way that catches the eye of more than a few of the guys here. “Oh, and infant? Please don’t corrupt the baby girl too much, would you?”

Johnny, she finds, does not like ‘baby girl’ when Jungwoo is saying it. She’s becoming pretty particular with that one, in fact, especially considering she’s just found her love for it tonight.

“So was that fucking weird or what?” Donghyuck, showing mercy, peers up at her from beneath heavy eyelashes, bats them up at Johnny like nothing weird happened at all. It’s a kindness Johnny isn’t sure she deserves, not when she’s burning and doesn’t have enough drink left in her system to blame it on.

“She’s weird. She’s probably the weirdest girl I’m ever gonna date.” Johnny reaches up, brushes the bangs from Donghyuck’s forehead. “I’m sorry. I’ve really been avoiding her all night, and I was thinking, like, maybe she’d left already? Or--”

“Baby girl,” and Donghyuck laughs, takes Johnny’s face in her hands, smushes her cheeks in a way that should remind her of her mom, but doesn’t. “You don’t have to worry. I know girls like her, and meaner ones, and they don’t scare me.”

“Does anything scare you?” Johnny asks, her voice a breathy whisper, barely audible over the cheers and jeers that suddenly rise up near to them, close enough she nearly flinches away.


Maybe if you didn’t let me kiss you right now,” Donghyuck says softly, inching closer, “I might be a little afraid I’d done something horrible.”

Her thumbs drag over the apples of Johnny’s cheeks, little whispers of care to which Johnny’s never felt entitled before tonight.

Then their lips meet, seeking one another, testing boundaries and finding that they don’t exist. It’s like dancing, thinks Johnny, walled off from her own consciousness in favour of reveling in this moment, in the gently slick slide of Donghyuck’s lips upon her own. Her hands, always just a little too clumsy for comfort, are smooth when they find the side of Donghyuck’s neck, the curve of her shoulder, mapping her like an explorer, albeit not a well-traveled one. Her fingerprints press carefully into those spaces only to chart more, a constellation of potential, and it’s hard not to swell with pride when Donghyuck sighs against her lips.

“You’re so fucking cute,” says Donghyuck, all air, nipping at Johnny’s bottom lip and tugging it between her front teeth. “I promised myself I wouldn’t be that girl who does stuff at parties, but.” She takes Johnny’s hand in her own, drawing a brief whine from Johnny’s throat, and leads her toward the house.

The path is a winding one, and Johnny’s so sure they get lots of Looks on the way, but eventually they’re back in the confines of the house. Here, too, the party has thinned a bit. Jungwoo is there, Johnny knows it, probably has stolen a towel from a stranger’s bathroom and is staring at her with those all-knowing eyes, like she’s the smartest person in the room.

Johnny can’t say she cares, not when they’re in the hallway and headed toward the stairs, and Donghyuck latches her mouth to the place where Johnny’s pulse bunnies in her neck. She stammers out some broken noise that music has never explained, that VHS pornography borrowed from her friends has never justified. Suddenly she knows what her Yuta or Jaehyun mean when they talk about hooking up on the weekends, having the time of their lives. Suddenly she burns with a fire that the pool forming between her barely-parted thighs threatens to extinguish in its own ineffectual way, and it’s entirely different than the embarrassed way she had flushed before. Now it’s pure want, Johnny falling apart every time so much Donghyuck so much as looks at her.

It’s about time she got some, anyway. Maybe she’ll be a little less desperate, once she gets that ache that echoes deep in her center is finally sated. A little less needy, a little more appealing to anyone that might want her after.

They traipse up the stairs, kissing with each step, mouths darting lower and lower the higher they climb. Their hands wander places that Johnny’s never put hands before, herself excluded, Johnny finding the tiny waistline under Donghyuck’s shirt, the shapes of her hips, the curve of her ass -- bet settled, Johnny’s an ass girl. Finding the upper floor mostly abandoned save a few like-minded people, Donghyuck, brave in a way that Johnny can’t begin to fathom, pokes her head into various bedrooms. When she finds one that must be empty she drags Johnny inside, closing the door behind them for the sole purpose of pinning Johnny up against it. The hook hanging over the door makes a sound like it’s threatening to collapse; the coats hanging from it spill onto Johnny’s head, interrupting the kiss Donghyuck is about to use to swallow her entirely.

They laugh, something high and breathless and, of all things, silly, and Johnny hadn’t known that hooking up could consist of anything but the serious silence between someone trying to get something done. The strobe lights, still flashing outside the house as well as in, flicker across Johnny's face, casting her in what she can only presume to be almost eerie lighting. Donghyuck traces the patterns as they map the planes of Johnny's face, chasing the lights, one after another.

"You're pretty," says Donghyuck, like Johnny's meant to never have heard it before. Her voice is a drawn thing, tight in the base of her throat, and she kisses Johnny's collarbones like she wants to drown under the weight of each one.

Johnny, never one to deny someone their desperation, winds her fingers into the short hair at Donghyuck's nape, gives it a little tug. When Donghyuck raises her head Johnny kisses her, full and true, sunshine in the gesture because she's already decided what Donghyuck deserves. Her hands round the curves of Donghyuck's freckled shoulders, and her mouth chases the places that the gaps between her fingers miss.

"You're pretty," Johnny says back, slurring with the simple effort of keeping herself in check. Donghyuck presses to her, their chests flush, and when Johnny feels the pert nipple pressing into her own breast, she has to draw her thighs together to keep from doing something even more embarrassing than, say, speaking.

"I want to fuck you," mumbles Donghyuck, burying her face in the curve of Johnny's neck. "Can I fuck you, Johnny? Would that be okay with you?"

A keen pours out of Johnny's mouth, and she nods, so quickly she gives herself a little whiplash with it. "Yes, please, yes," and before she knows it entirely she's taking Donghyuck's hand again, carelessly stuffing it into the crop top she wears under her overalls, the pink fabric of it prominent with the promise of too much feeling up for Johnny's brain to process.

Merciful in just one respect, Donghyuck peels herself from the place in which she's kept Johnny pinned for the longest five minutes of her life. It feels irreverent, to Johnny, when she watches Donghyuck climb into someone else's bed, drag her spaghetti strap shirt over her head to reveal that she hasn't been wearing a bra this whole time. (Duh.) Irreverent and glorious, fucking juvenile -- but sexy all the same. Donghyuck might just be Johnny's dream girl. She hears Dreamweaver in the back of her head all over again.

"Are you coming or not?" Donghyuck asks, tipping her head, the curve of her lips turning upward, something perverse in her eyes. When Johnny unhooks one buckle, weighing heavy on her chest, Donghyuck tuts out something like displeasure. "No, I want to unwrap you like a birthday present. Can I do that?"

Who is Johnny to say no to that?

She crosses the room slowly, slipping out of her sandals but leaving the rest like she's asked. Donghyuck makes grabby hands at her, when she parks herself on the edge of the bed. "What's wrong? You scared of me?" Donghyuck teases. Johnny inches closer, lets herself be grabbed, lets herself be dragged down til they’re both splayed out on the mattress. Then they're face to face, nose to nose. Johnny's crossed legs give her some strange sense of longing and relief, the pressure built between them making this all the more difficult to bear. She can barely fathom thinking in a way that isn't abstract, let alone having a conversation about the wonders of consent. "Really. Are you? We don't have to do this, if you really don't want."

Johnny snorts her impatience, then swallows it down, wrapping her arms and legs around Donghyuck's tiny frame like some kind of horny deep-sea creature. Her mouth finds the sweet release of Donghyuck's, and she nips at the girl's bottom lip, asking in silence for more.

"M'serious," Donghyuck mumbles, muffled by an onslaught of kisses, each of which she returns with an enthusiasm that Johnny finds…refreshing, to say the least. Thirst-quenching, in fact.

"Listen." Johnny perches herself on one elbow, tugging at a strand of Donghyuck's hair. "If you don't fuck me in the next, like, five minutes? I am literally going to die."

"Sit up," Donghyuck instructs, dutiful in the way she handles Johnny's neediness. Maybe it's more of a meant to be situation than Johnny had given her credit for. She works open the other buckle of Johnny's overalls, swings the straps over her shoulders, and immediately starts roaming the expanse of her exposed abdomen. Her fingers round the curves of Johnny's tits, squeezing one, then the other in turn.

The noise Johnny makes is almost inhuman. Almost.

"Do you like that, baby girl?" asks Donghyuck, leaning in to bite into the spot where Johnny's neck meets her shoulder. "Do you want me to make you feel good?"

"Yes, please," and Johnny's losing it already, the pulse between her legs throbbing in want, in need. "You already are, I just-- you're so good, so good..." She'd never been talkative before, not in her last relationship; she's surprised to hear her own voice, thready and breathless as it is.

Donghyuck's thumb brushes over a nipple, and Johnny moans. It happens again. Again. Again. The sheer repetition of it threatens to drive Johnny insane. "Please," she tries again, but it comes out more a primitive sound than any real effort at words. Downstairs, the music, suppressed by distance, moves in perfect time with the racing of her heart, the rate at which she feels herself start to bead with sweat. "Please, Donghyuck, I really want you to--"

And then Donghyuck lifts Johnny's shirt, ducks her head, takes one nipple into her mouth. Her tongue swirls over it, a delicious torture that has Johnny’s thighs tightening against one another, clenching at the ache between her legs that’s been driving her insane all night. Johnny's head lolls back, and she unties the tiny pigtails of which Donghyuck must have been so proud, the elastics clacking together as they slip around Johnny's wrist for safe keeping. All the better to guide her with, Johnny supposes distantly. "Please," she tries a third time, but Donghyuck doesn't listen, too busy caught up in dragging the flat of her tongue across every inch of Johnny's breasts in a way that no one could describe as anything but worshipful.

"I want to go down on you," breathes Donghyuck against Johnny's skin, her hands finding purchase again, now on the gentle shelf of Johnny's hips. "Can I go down on you?" Her mouth, so glossy throughout the night, she so covert about her touch-ups -- it shines, kiss-slick, in the flashing lights, the bright white doing her nothing but favours.

Johnny nods. "Yes, yes, yes." She plants her bare feet in someone else's covers, lifts her hips, lets Donghyuck strip her of her clothes. The overalls and Johnny's panties go straight to the floor, though Donghyuck takes a moment to admire how damp the fabric is, in her own way, eyes wide and round and marvelling as she fingers the flimsy garment. Then she splays her palms on the soft inners of Johnny's thighs, spreads her apart, taking another moment to admire her.

"God, but you're pretty all over," Donghyuck breathes. She lays belly-down in the bed, pillowing one cheek on Johnny's thigh and dusting kisses there. Every third kiss is punctuated by a little bite, a tiny red mark left behind in its wake. Johnny's legs tremble, her knees threaten to lock up, but she holds still, lets herself be told how cute she is. Everything is better in Donghyuck's voice, she decides somewhere between those kisses and the concerted effort it takes to tuck her hands beneath herself, stop her hands from wandering places she's promised to give to Donghyuck for the night.

She's so young, right, but Donghyuck certainly knows what to do when she gently opens the folds of Johnny's cunt, when she traces a delicate fingertip along the throbbing shape of her clit. Like she's done this a thousand times before. Maybe she has, maybe that experience translates, maybe Johnny doesn't care, so long as she's on the receiving end. "So pretty," she coos, and the exhale is warm against Johnny's lips, warm enough that she shudders even without contact. "I knew you would be, you know? The moment I saw you tonight, and while we were dancing, and while I was away from you -- I knew you'd be the most beautiful thing I'd seen."

Johnny probably has an answer waiting at the tip of her tongue, but then Donghyuck holds her open and traces her tongue against one lip, then the other. The sound is a wet one, and the entire room smells like sex when they haven't even done anything, and Johnny is trying so, so hard to keep from urging Donghyuck to just get on with it already. She struggles to keep her hips from bucking up against the velvet softness of Donghyuck's mouth.

Then Donghyuck's tongue flirts against her clit, something warm and hard pressing against Johnny’s most delicate innards. “Is that a fucking tongue ring?” she gasps out, actively fighting the urge to laugh if only because that’s the only thing that would make this make sense.

Donghyuck does it again, and when she does Johnny cries out so loud she's sure everyone downstairs can hear it. "Baby girl," Donghyuck chides, lifting her head, shooting Johnny a look, "am I gonna have to cook up a way to keep you quiet?"

"N-no," Johnny asserts, "no, I can." Her head is still spinning with the ghost sensation of metal against her clit. She tries to plead without looking pathetically horny.

"Good girl," Donghyuck says with a grin. "Not that I mind everyone knowing how good I'm about to fuck you, by the way." And then she dives back in, lapping mercilessly at each and every inch of Johnny's cunt, from the inside out.

Now Johnny can't keep from rolling her hips, from crooking a knee over Donghyuck's shoulder to keep her in place. She can't fathom wanting this to end. Her hands still need to wander; she fits them over her tits, tugging gently at her own nipples, languishing in the quick shot of pain intermingling with the pleasure. Even that is not enough to keep her rooted to earth. She ends up winding a hand in Donghyuck's hair, stroking over her crown, gasping out her name whenever her nose accidentally brushes against Johnny's clit. "Oh, my god," she'll say, every so often, when she comes back to herself just long enough to recognise the overwhelming pleasure washing over her with each expert drag of Donghyuck's tongue.

Her belly simmers with heat, ties itself into a knot that is so tight the threads threaten to snap. She's going to come soon, she can feel it; her toes bury into the mattress, curl up in the comforter. "Donghyuck, can I--"

And almost like it's an answer, Donghyuck presses a finger into her, sliding it in there just beneath her tongue, the slide made easier with spit, with the wetness that Donghyuck has cultivated with little touches and careful, intentional attentions throughout the night. She looks up at Johnny from between her thighs, eyes round with wonder and evil in equal measure, and hums out her response. Then she pulls away with her mouth, her finger still buried inside Johnny, held still save the little crook she gives against Johnny's insides, pressing into somewhere that Johnny's never felt before.

"Come in my mouth, baby girl," she whispers, husky with what must be her own arousal. She laps languidly at Johnny's clit with just the tip of her tongue, then engulfs herself in Johnny's soaking folds again, finger and tongue working in tandem.

Johnny's always been good at doing what she's told. She comes with a high keen, a sound out of her control, out of her mind, out of her body. "Donghyuck, ah, I, I," she tries to plead, when she can feel herself flood the endlessly working cavern of Donghyuck's mouth. "I, please, I--" She tingles all over, that knot in her belly afire now, every inch of her so sensitive she could scream.

Donghyuck slows, but does not stop. Not entirely, anyhow. She slots a second finger into Johnny, fucks her with both, curling the tips of them against her. This, too, she slows, taking her time, working her touch against every soaked-through inch. But it's a meandering thing, Donghyuck focused on sliding up beside Johnny, kissing her, letting her taste herself.

Johnny moans helplessly into Donghyuck's mouth, spreading her legs wider, one leg hooked around Donghyuck's and drawing her closer. "Feels so good," she whispers, beside herself with pleasure as she rocks down onto Donghyuck's hand. "So fucking good, god, what are you doing to me, you're making me crazy."

Donghyuck kisses her again, again, again, the slick slide of their tongues against one another filling the room with the sound of it. "So good for me," Donghyuck pants between kisses, something rough and ready in her voice. "Can I make you come again?"

Johnny clenches taut around Donghyuck's fingers. "Yes," she babbles, "yes, yes, yes, fuck me however much you want..." It trails off into obscenity, there, Johnny so distracted by the prospect of a second orgasm that she doesn't even properly enjoy the aftershocks of the first as they rock through her still.

She almost doesn't notice Donghyuck unbuttoning her own shorts, reaching into them with her free hand. Almost. But the jostling really reaches her, and she peers down with blurry eyes, and tries her best to ask, "Can I touch you instead?"

Donghyuck's fingers inside her slow, still. "Do you want to?" she asks, almost hesitant, searching Johnny's face for something that she doesn't know if she can give. "You can, yeah, but do you want to?"

In response, Johnny fumbles. She's still hazy from coming a first time, from the buildup of a second, but she does her best to push the offending shorts down Donghyuck's thighs. Donghyuck laughs, low and confident, and strips down a little more herself. She's so fucking cute, a tuft of hair marking the juncture of her thighs, trimmed but not completely bare. Johnny's not used to this, but it's pretty; she traces over the little patch with her index finger. It's enough to get Donghyuck to open her own legs, to let Johnny admire all the little beauty marks, sun kisses, and scars that dot Donghyuck's body here and there, letting Johnny know she's human.

The fingers still inside her start to move again, Donghyuck fixing her with an intent gaze. "Did you ever..." she tries to ask, but then Johnny's fingers are brushing up against her entrance, testing, finding her dripping too. "I mean, with--"

"Don't say her name," Johnny says. Or at least tries to. "If you say her name I won't be able to finish."

Donghyuck laughs, an aborted sound when Johnny finds the swollen nub of her clit. She ducks her head, buries her mouth against Johnny's clavicle. "Yes, just like that," she whimpers, biting into bone, the divot of Johnny's collarbones gathering sweat seemingly for the sole purpose of letting Donghyuck lap it up. "Did you, though?"

"No," Johnny says, and there's a reason for that but she doesn't have it in her to say it, "no, just you. And me, obviously... Tell me-- ah, tell me if...if I'm doing okay?"

There's something so inherently hot about feeling Donghyuck heave against her, about the way their breath mingles and their foreheads press together as they explore one another. Johnny slips a finger into Donghyuck's waiting cunt, then another, and Donghyuck makes a distressed noise. "Too much," she grits out, "holy shit, your hands are big?"

Johnny has never thought about this before. Maybe they are. "Sorry," she says, sheepish. But then Donghyuck's mouth is on hers again, silencing any more apologies she might try to make.

They rock against one another's hands, now, Johnny fucking Donghyuck on just one finger. It's probably the lack of experience but she's never known anyone to be so tight before. No one had ever let her touch them like this before, although plenty had offered; no one had ever been this close to the dreams Johnny had thought up in the middle of the day, horny out of her mind and nothing to do with all that energy. She thinks of fucking Donghyuck a second time, a third, until she's nothing but a trembling cloud that threatens to float away.

"Feels so good," Donghyuck mumbles, bringing Johnny back to the present, to the way her pussy throbs and clenches involuntarily with every thrust of the fingers deep inside her. "So good, baby girl, you're a natural, can't believe no one's ever let you do this--" She spasms around Johnny's fingers, and Johnny can't believe it, either, can't believe she's going to bring this gorgeous girl to orgasm by barely doing anything.

She, herself, has lost track of the number of times she's moaned against Donghyuck's lips, of how much Donghyuck's thumb has brushed over her clit and accidentally-on-purpose earned herself a sharp little yelp of pleasure. She rolls down onto Donghyuck's fingers, encouraging her, shifting to lay on her side so that she can finger Donghyuck with all the enthusiasm she deserves.

They trade kisses, trade moans, dragging fingers against each other's walls in a tantalising rhythm that, even isolated from all the rest, Johnny swears she could come by. She starts to shake apart a second time, tightening around Donghyuck's fingers, and feels the same in return. Donghyuck comes without verbal warning, her orgasm drawing from her a sound that is almost a shout. Her come drips into Johnny’s cupped palm. She shyly hides her face in Johnny's shoulder, but doesn't stop working her fingers in and our of Johnny,, and Johnny comes not a minute later, whispering her name into mussed-up hair, "Donghyuck, Donghyuck, Donghyuck..."

They lay like this a moment, two moments, way too long with their fingers still inside one another, but not nearly long enough to clear the stars from Johnny's eyes. She catches her breath in time, and takes back her hand, licks clean the digits with which she'd brought the most beautiful girl she'd ever seen to orgasm.

Donghyuck watches her with rapt attention, with moon eyes, with her chest still trembling. "Disgusting," she declares in a shaky voice, and Johnny laughs.

"Says the girl who kissed me right after eating me out," she shoots back, giving Donghyuck a little shoulder shove.

Then they lie there, sizing one another up for lack of much else to do. Johnny admires the way Donghyuck looks with her hip planted firm against the bed. She’s so... Well, she reminded Johnny of all those studies of Greek myths she'd had to do in high school, in early college, before she had realised anything important about herself, like why she'd never been able to take her eyes off The Birth of Venus. It wasn't about shape, or about colour, or about whatever hot trends Donghyuck followed -- it was that here, she glowed, something otherworldly and stunning about her as she worried at her bottom lip with her top teeth.

Things return to normal -- or, as normal as they can be with Donghyuck's hand still wedged between Johnny's legs. Eventually, though, she moves, gives Johnny a little space, a little time to process her thoughts. They swirl around, nebulous and unsure of themselves, and eventually she says, "Hey," like it's the smartest thing that's ever come out of her mouth.

"Hey?" Donghyuck is so pretty, all flushed in spite of her tan, pearled with sweat and luminescent in the dying lights of the strobe parked out in the backyard. "Sup?"

"I met your friends," Johnny starts, stumbling over the words, if only in thought. "You met my friends before you even knew they were my friends. We both don't like parties. We both really like having sex, it looks like."

"Yeah," Donghyuck agrees readily, though she fixes Johnny with suspicion, brushes a strand of hair from her forehead. "What about it?"

"So, like…” And here’s where things get hazy, where not even one of those TV psychics could tell her what the future holds, not that she’s thinking about calling hers and telling them all about this, “are we dating?"

Downstairs, a record scratches, only to pick up a beat again. It's almost funny, except the look Donghyuck gives her is mortifying.

"Oh, hon," and Donghyuck is laughing, though what's that level of hilarious Johnny can't really decipher. "No, baby girl, we are not. But! I would like to see you again." She adds that last part before Johnny has the chance to let the crestfallen feeling sink in. "If you'll let me." She cups her hand round Johnny’s cheek.

Without dating? Johnny doesn't really get it, has a lot of questions that bubble up to the surface. Instead she just says, "Yeah," like it's the most natural thing in the world. “Do you want my number? You can call me whenever, if you don’t have class…”

Because, hello, Johnny would be stupid to give up a good thing, even if it doesn’t end up the way she wants it to. The still-rubbery feeling in her legs tells her that much.

Donghyuck rattles off her own phone number, already glancing around for her clothes or, maybe, something with which to write down her own phone number. On the desk she finds a fat permanent marker, uncaps it with a dumb grin. Then she’s back at the bedside, where Johnny is still lying, naked and exposed to the elements. She takes Johnny’s wrist in her hand, pulls her arm closer, scribbles something along the soft inner of her forearm. After a moment’s consideration she adds a second line.

“Call me sometime. If I don’t answer page me and I’ll figure something out.” She then leans into the space between them, kisses Johnny’s mouth a final time, leaving her with the tang of her own juices on her lips.

It only takes her a half-second to get dressed. Johnny watches, mesmerised, propped up on an elbow, wanting to take hold of Donghyuck the way it’d been done to her, to pull her back down for another round, and another, until they forgot one another’s names. At least Donghyuck is kind enough to find her carelessly discarded clothes, leave them at the end of the bed.

In a slanted mirror standing on its own two feet, Donghyuck touches up her forever-glossy lips. The mystery isn’t solved, per se, but Johnny thinks she looked prettier with come on her mouth than she ever will with the permanent coat of clear.

“Bye, baby girl,” she singsongs, sauntering out of the bedroom, leaving Johnny to her own devices, straightening her clothes as she slips from the bedroom. Upon her exit Johnny hears the telltale click of a ball bearing against the inside of Donghyuck’s teeth.

Despite what she’s been told, Johnny finds herself thinking of names for their future children.

It’s after a long while of lying there naked, her hand cupped lazily around one of her breasts as she tries to soothe herself, that Johnny realises three things. One is that she has to call Donghyuck, but wait three days to do it; the lapse in communication sounds like torture. Two is that she is, more than likely, very visibly fucked out and that Yuta and Jaehyun are her ride home, which means they’re going to barrage her with questions about how it went.

Three is that Donghyuck’s best friend still has her favourite overshirt.

Fuck,” she says, aloud, to absolutely no one.

And then, Johnny laughs, head tipped back against the sheets, hair haloed around her in something beautiful. She’ll call in the morning.