Jennie submerges half of her face in the water, calmly watching a few flower petals flow with the ripples on essential oil infused warm water. It's not like she expected any less from Wendy. She's always been one to overprepare. Still, it's very endearing.
It's half past eight in the morning. On a normal day, she'd be neck deep in memorizing choreography and trying to write lyrics that seem to never come and smiling for faceless cameras that scream about never being enough. That she can never be enough.
The world outside is nothing short of cruel.
Why is it that when one thing goes bad, everything worse comes pouring out?
She sighs. Her thoughts are rapidly venturing into maddening and Jennie has to shake her head to keep them far and locked at the back of her mind.
Just in time, she gets reminded she's not alone.
"You look tired."
Jennie didn't even notice her come in. Wendy with the easy smile and expressive eyes, is just casually leaning on the bathroom door as she stares on amusedly.
In a way, Jennie can't help to think this is cruel too.
She pushes back, anyway, poised and ready as she's apt to be.
"You're not supposed to comment on a lady's tiredness, Son Seungwan," she pretends to scowl. "You know better than to be rude."
She's met with a melodic laugh, wonderfully loud and terribly unforgiving to the secret thrums inside her poor chest as Wendy crosses the remaining space to get to her.
"Apologies, then," she says. "Anything I can do to make it up to you?"
Jennie knows that tone. From the twitch of her eyebrow to the suggestive quirk of generous lips, she knows Wendy is about to be very annoying.
She falls into it anyway.
"I'm still sore," she pointedly tells Wendy, yet her eyes fail to look away from her captivating gaze.
Almost immediately, most expectedly, the gaze turns playfully smug and Jennie's instincts has her feeling the tingles rise from the bottom of her spine and crawl to the tips of her fingers.
"Told you my strap is bigger than your ex's dick."
There it is.
Jennie reflexively splashes bath water without any hint of remorse in response at the cackling Wendy.
Wendy doesn't lose her grin and Jennie has to fight and bite back her own. She can't let her head get too big, after all.
"If you want, what is it, round 9? I mean–"
"Oh my gosh, just stop," Jennie giggles, rapidly dropping her act and losing whatever is left of her composure.
"That's not what you said last night."
With reddening cheeks puffed up, Jennie splashes more bath water at Wendy who gleefully squeaks before finally promising to shut up.
"Now you got me all wet," she pouts.
Jennie threatens to splash her again that Wendy rushes to raise her arms in surrender.
"Not an innuendo," she swears. "And scoot over. I want a bath too."
For one thing, this isn't the first time.
Another is that there's nothing special to it. There shouldn't be anything special to it.
Wendy is only undressing, not even caring to put on a show, but Jennie still finds herself staring, looking over every patch of pale unblemished skin that gets revealed for every fabric that gets removed.
In their circle, Wendy is quite known to have really nice skin. They're not wrong.
It doesn't take long at all. Wendy doesn't bother dipping her toes. She just goes in and smoothly slides herself right behind Jennie, leaning back into the tub as she gestures for her to come closer.
"It's more comfortable this way," she reasons.
Not that Jennie would even question it. There's always something so soothing whenever she sinks into Wendy, feels her warm and safe and solid around her as she lets strong arms hold her tight.
They stay like that for a while, just two girls soaking in their small world without the cruelty of unfair consequences.
It's peaceful, so peaceful that Jennie's thoughts start to sound so loud again.
"Sometimes–." she breathes out, lets the feel of Wendy's gentle encouraging touches coax her harried thoughts back into track.
"Sometimes I just want time to stop."
It's as if she can feel every contraction of Wendy's muscles as she freezes up behind her. Jennie almost laughs.
"Get over yourself," she chokes back, grasping at the edges of her vulnerability for words she can only dare to say. "I just meant I like the freedom here, away from... everything."
The breath of relief Wendy lets out isn't exactly unexpected but it's still a bit insulting.
For something they refuse to address, unsaid words can be pretty loud.
Then, like a bad habit, they cover the elephant in the room with a thin white veiled version of a different truth.
"I could say something about our chosen paths not being easy," Wendy starts, hands flipping over to hold Jennie's into an easy grip, "but when you think about it, no path is exactly easy. As long as we're alive and we go through life, you know?"
"Even things that aren't justified," grumbles Jennie.
"Yeah, well, some people are assholes."
The most undignified snort unabashedly comes out of Jennie as she half turns to look at Wendy with eyes wide.
"Did you just cuss?"
"Hey!" Wendy retracts her arms and crosses them in an indignant protest. "I cuss sometimes, it's not a big deal."
Jennie giggles at the sight, cheekily mimicking the other's stance just for kicks.
"Uh, yeah it is! The angelic Wendy Shon–"
"–lalalalala I can't hear you!"
This is an out, of course. Something they both gratefully take.
It's easy, so easy that it's almost cruel. The playful water splashing, the squeals and laughters reverberating, the time quickly passing by.
Jennie knows they don't have forever.
Then Wendy looks at her, face happy and carefree as if they're the only two people in the world, the only two who truly matter, and something inside Jennie claws out to sing, scream, cry a million what ifs.
She can't help but smile back.
Out of all the cruelest things, maybe this is why hope is the last one to come out of Pandora's box.