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Youthful Lunch

 
Chaeyoung was standing in the kitchen having a quick drink of water before heading out when
she received a text message from Mina.
 
"I've finished getting ready. Are you leaving soon?" it read.
 
She typed back, "I'm about to! See you in a little bit!"
 
"Okay. Don't keep me waiting too long."
 
Her actual heart fluttered at the heart emoji at the end of that message. They still hadn't said 'I
love you' yet, but a lot of their text messages recently had plenty of hearts attached to them.
 
She scrolled up higher to revisit the conversation they had last night, which consisted of a variety
of cute animal pictures they started sending back and forth to each other along with combinations
of other silly emojis. Their text history would look completely incomprehensible to anyone else,
but it made sense to the both of them.
 
"What's with that face? Are you texting a guy or something?"
 
"Eh," Chaeyoung vocalized, startled out of her happy reprieve by the familiar and annoying
sound of her older sister's voice. "No way."
 
Hyoyeon replied with a hum and sly smile, clearly not believing her. She shuffled closer in her
slippers and clad in pajamas, as she had been for the past few days ever since coming home for
Christmas break. Their father had given her a hard time for appearing so slovenly lately, but she
ignored his complaints. As she had put it, her vacation was well-deserved after 'busting her ass' at
school. "You also look dressed up, like you're going on a date."
 
"I'm not," Chaeyoung immediately denied, unconsciously smoothing out her skirt. "Just meeting
friends."
 
"Come on, Chaengie," she singsonged. "If there's someone special in your life, you can tell your
beloved big sis."
 
Chaeyoung wondered how Hyoyeon would react to the news of her having a girlfriend, but that
was a conversation for the distant future—if she felt like having it at all. "There's nothing to tell,"
she responded with deliberate flatness. "I've gotta get going."
 
"Drive safe." Hyoyeon followed her little sister to the front door, continuing to bug her. "Don't
speed. Don't talk to strangers."
 
"Whatever, mom," she grumbled, sitting on the bottom step of the stairway, pulling her boots on
over her tights.
 
"Don't stay out too late."
 
"I won't," she said as she opened the door.
 
"Make sure you practice safe sex."
 
"Shut up!"
 
Chaeyoung dashed out to her car in an attempt to get away, but couldn't escape the impure
thoughts now placed in her head due to that last piece of unwarranted advice.
 
"Have fun on your date!" Hyoyeon called after her.
 
Chaeyoung yelled back, "It's not a date!"
 
 
♕   ♕   ♕   ♕   ♕
 
 
Technically, it was a double date.
 
Somi was back in town visiting family that still lived in the area for a few days, and had brought
her girlfriend with her, so it was the perfect opportunity for her and Chaeyoung to hang out,
catch up, and also introduce their significant others.
 
Chaeyoung and Mina were currently waiting outside the entrance of the food court at the local
mall. With Christmas only a week away, the place was extremely busy, hustling and bustling
with cars and patrons coming and going. There was an obvious energy buzzing in the air and
from Mina as well.
 
"Somebody's excited," Chaeyoung teased, playfully nudging the girl hanging onto her with her
shoulder.
 
"I'm looking forward to meeting your friend and her girlfriend," Mina explained, balancing on
the balls of her feet. "It's also our first double date with another couple."
 
"The one with Jeongyeon and Nayeon didn't count?"
 
"Nope," she responded, then looked up at Chaeyoung fondly. "Even if it did end well."
 
"It did," Chaeyoung agreed with a smile. Sometimes the level of cuteness that Mina emanated
could be overwhelming. She was about to lean over to affectionately kiss the side of the taller
girl's head before a pair of slightly scandalized stares from an older couple passing by reminded
her that they were indeed in public.
 
She put a bit more physical distance between them but didn't let go of Mina’s hand. The other
girl didn't seem to notice or care about the looks that had been directed their way during the time
they were standing outside. Chaeyoung quietly sighed, thinking at that moment that it would be
nice to be a guy. She was perfectly content with being a girl, but it would give her the privilege
of being close with her girlfriend in public without a looming sense of paranoia and the habit of
constantly glancing over her shoulder.
 
"Where is Somi anyway?" Chaeyoung asked rhetorically as she pulled out her phone to check for
any new messages, trying to redirect her attention back to more pleasant thoughts. A perfectly-
timed new text then popped up. "Oh. She said they're here. Her dad's dropping them off… Hey,
maybe that's them."
 
A navy van pulled up to the curb and two girls stepped out of the back of the vehicle, one
familiar and the other unfamiliar. "Thanks, Dad! See you later!" Somi bid farewell to her father
before spotting the pair approaching them. “Chaeyoungie!” she cheered, bright recognition
crossing her face.
 
"Hey, Somi—aaa, oof!" Her greeting and body were thrown off-balance from Somi’s fast and
fierce embrace knocking the wind out of her.
 
"Long time no see!" Somi smiled, stepping back and holding her friend at arm's length. "You
haven't changed a bit! Oh, wait… You have," she said, realizing that she had to look less down to
now make eye contact with the other girl. “Probably gotten taller!"
 
"Heh, I’m quite proud of it."
 
"We should do some introductions, huh?" Somi let go of Chaeyoung to drape her right arm over
the shoulder of the shorter girl standing next to her, pulling her close, proud to show her off.
"This cutie pie right here is my girlfriend, Yoojung.”
 
"Hello!" Yoojung greeted, full of bubbly energy. "It's nice to meet you!”
 
"Nice to meet you too," Chaeyoung replied.
 
"I'm Mina," the ballerina introduced herself, clinging to the redhead's arm again to cutely add,
“Chaeyoung's girlfriend."
 
Hearing Mina refer to her as her girlfriend still made the redhead feel all warm and tingly inside,
and couldn't help giggling and nervously scratching the back of her head.
 
"Ha! Look at her getting all embarrassed!" Somi laughed, pointing out her friend's blush.
"Classic." After obviously assessing Mina’s appearance, she added, "Man, Chaeyoung said you
were pretty, but I wasn't expecting you to be this pretty! Don't you think so, Yoojung?"
 
"I do," she quickly agreed. She placed a hand on her chin and thoughtfully looked between the
two girls girls a few times, coming to a conclusion. "Especially since you and her are both
foreigners.”
 
"Oh… I suppose we are,” Mina also agreed, then turned her attention to Chaeyoung, who now
looked sheepish. "I think I've finally learned your type, hm?"
 
"A-anyway, let's head in!" the redhead awkwardly chuckled, trying to change the subject from
her apparently obvious tastes in girls. "I sure am hungry!"
 
Somi chuckled. “How classic, unnie.”
 
Entering the food court was like being hit with a wall of noise, thanks to the combination of
conversations from shoppers taking a break to eat with classic Christmas music playing over the
speakers.
 
"They've got some new stuff in here," Somi commented halfway through their meals.
 
"I hadn't really noticed," Chaeyoung responded.
 
"Well, yeah, 'cause you live here. I like my current town and school fine, but it's nice to be back
around here for a bit."
 
"I would hope you like it," Yoojung teased. "It's where you met me!"
 
"Of course, sweetie," she responded, petting the latter’s head.
 
Yoojung giggled at the contact before joking with the redhead, "Sorry, Chaeyoung, but Somi’s all
mine now!"
 
"Oh," Chaeyoung said, having to take a moment to come to understand that Somi must have
mentioned their 'history' to Yoojung. She honestly had forgotten about the pain she used to
experience from being apart from the dark-haired girl and how much she desperately missed her
affection. It had felt like so long ago, and now that she had Mina to kiss and consume her waking
moments, those past thoughts about Somi no longer even occurred to her. "Right. Somi and I
used to be girlfriends."
 
"What the heck's with that, Chaeyoung?” Somi laughed, and dramatically stated, "I thought I was
your first love. Don't tell me I was so easily forgotten."
 
"I guess I did forget," she chuckled.
 
"Unreal…" Somi amusedly rolled her eyes. "How do you put up with her, Mina-unnie?”
 
"It's quite difficult sometimes," Mina joked.
 
On the other hand, she had not forgotten about the information about the past relationship
between Chaeyoung and Somi and even had brief moments of jealousy over the fact that Somi
was the redhead’s first kiss… but there was no point in getting hung up over the matter since
Chaeyoung was now hers to kiss whenever she pleased (as long as the other girl was willing, and
she often was).
 
"How long have you two been together?" Somi asked them.
 
"Almost 2 months, on January 8th."
 
"Oh, it's on the 5th?" Chaeyoung asked, pretending not to know. "I'm just kidding!" she laughed
when Mina glared at her, raising her hands up in defense.
 
"Terrible."
 
"You guys are cute," Yoojung smiled. "I can totally tell you've got that 'new couple' vibe going
on, acting all giddy and stuff."
 
"It's been a little over a year now!" Somi brightly smiled. "We met in our Performance Club, like
you guys. I joined freshman year with no musical experience and decided to pick both and dance
and vocal, 'cause it seemed interesting, and that's how I got to know her."
 
Yoojung continued the story, "I decided to take her under my wing and teach her 'cause I thought
she was super cute, and before I knew it, I ended up falling for her. Somehow she wound up
liking me too."
 
"It's because you're so cool, unnie! Especially when you sing," Somi fawned, hanging onto her
girlfriend's arm.
 
"Aw, thanks, sweetie," she giggled, trying to act humble, but clearly loving and desiring more
praise.
 
Chaeyoung and Mina glanced at each other, feeling mildly awkward, thinking that the pair in
front of them also had that 'new couple' vibe despite the length of time of their relationship. As
the latter couple continued their cutesy flirting, they now understood how all their friends must
feel when they were around.
 
Speaking of their friends, Mina spotted a familiar pair of them entering the building. "Oh my
god," she suddenly said, gripping onto Chaeyoung’s sleeve and pointing. "Is that Jeongyeon and
Nayeon-unnie?”
 
"What?" She looked in that direction. "Holy shit, it is!"
 
"What are they doing here together?"
 
"I dunno... Oh, crap, they're coming this way!" Chaeyoung freaked out, leaning down in an
attempt to partly conceal herself under the table, only looking more conspicuous in the process.
Mina, having a bit more sense, moved her left hand up and looked in a different direction, hoping
not to be spotted.
 
Jeongyeon and Nayeon passed by without incident, seemingly with a purpose, not noticing their
friends and their poor efforts to hide themselves. The group could overhear bits of their current
conversation.
 
"So where are you taking me next, pipsqueak?" Jeongyeon asked.
 
"We're the same height," Nayeon immediately retorted. "Anyway, there's that store near
Spris that has some cute clothes…"
 
As the pair continued walking, whatever Nayeon was talking about quickly got drowned out by
the din of noise surrounding them. Chaeyoung and Mina breathed out a sigh of relief once the
seniors were out of earshot.
 
"Ooh, what was up with that?" Somi asked, immediately intrigued by their extreme reactions.
The girl lived for gossip. "Why is it so shocking for them to be together?"
 
Mina answered, "They're our best friends who hate each other… or so we thought."
 
"Since when do they hang out without us around?" The redhead wondered.
 
"I have no idea. This must be a new development."
 
Somi suddenly stood up, the legs of her chair loudly scraping against the floor, and proclaimed,
"We should follow them!"
 
"What?" Chaeyoung asked, taken aback.
 
"You wanna find out what they're up to, right?" Somi reasoned. Admittedly, she was also curious
to find out herself, always loving some good drama.
 
"Well… I guess…"
 
"Come on! Let's go!”
 
The tactical espionage action began, and the girls quickly located the juniors in the clothing store
that Nayeon mentioned while passing by. Chaeyoung and Mina peeked around the wall to
observe their targets through the large glass windows of the shop, slightly crouching. The
redhead was watching over Mina’s shoulder, her hand resting on the girl's upper back.
 
"You guys are so obvious, in more ways than one," Somi told them, her and Yoojung standing
behind the pair.
 
Inside, Jeongyeon was trailing along behind Nayeon, apparently content to go along with
whatever the other girl had planned. The bunny grabbed a couple of various clothing off a
clothes rack and alternated holding them up in front of Jeongyeon, apparently trying to conclude
what looked best on her.
 
"Wow, look at them," Chaeyoung softly said near Mina’s ear, even though she didn't need to be
quiet. "They're actually getting along."
 
The brunette whispered back, going along with the sneaky vibe, "They couldn't be on a date,
could they?"
 
"No way… Oh, Jeong did mention that she wanted to get something new to wear for Sana-
unnie’s 'classy Christmas party.' Maybe that's what they're doing."
 
"Nayeon is pretty fashionable. It would make sense for her to ask for help," Mina noted,
knowing how much her friend loved to shop, and would often drag her around the mall as well.
 
Their observations continued, and amazingly, the normally combative duo did not ever break out
into an argument. In fact, the interactions between them actually seemed quite pleasant.
 
"I guess they're friends now," Chaeyoung concluded.
 
"This is weird."
 
"Y'know… it's been a while since I've hung out with Jeongyeon," the redhead recalled, eyebrows
furrowing, having to think hard about the last time she spent some quality time with her best
friend. "I've only really seen her lately in the mornings when I pick her up for school."
 
"Same for me and Nayeon-unnie,” Mina realized.
 
"Do you think they've been lonely since we've been so busy with each other lately?"
 
"Maybe…"
 
"That's a 'new couple' problem, that's for sure," Somi informed them, to which Yoojung agreed
with a nod, both having accidentally neglected their friends during the first few months of their
relationship.
 
The juniors felt a twinge of guilt at that, but it was then immediately replaced with panic once
Jeongyeon and Nayeon began walking out of the store, finished with whatever business they had
inside.
 
"Ack! Hide!" the redhead yelped, grabbing onto Mina’s hand and scrambling behind a nearby
vending machine.
 
"Should we hide too?" Yoojung asked, unsure what to do.
 
"It's fine, they don't know you!"
 
Somi and Yoojung leaned against the storefront, trying to appear inconspicuous as possible by
looking at their phones as the other girls moved past.
 
After about thirty feet, Jeongyeon turned to look back over her shoulder, unable to shake the
strange feeling that had been lingering around.
 
"What is it?" Nayeon asked, noticing that her companion had stopped walking.
 
"That girl back there looked familiar…" she answered, squinting her eyes, trying to relocate the
girl with the ponytail that jogged her memory. "I swear I've seen her somewhere before."
 
“She probably goes to our school. Come on," Nayeon tugged her along by her sleeve.
 
"Alright, alright, no need to rush me, squirt."
 
"Again… we're the same height and I’m older than you!”
 
The couples reconvened once the seniors were fully out of sight. Somi seemed greatly
entertained, but suggested, "Maybe we should head out now if you don't want your friends
spotting you."
 
"Yeah," Chaeyoung agreed with a relieved sigh. "I don't want this double date turning into
nothing but stalking them."
 
"I'm having fun, though," Yoojung chirped.
 
"Me too," Somi chuckled. "But what should we do next…? Oh, hey, Chaengie—is that bowling
alley near downtown still open?"
 
"Yeah, as far as I know," she answered.
 
"We should go!"
 
"Right now?"
 
"Yeah! It'll be fun!"
 
"You would want to go bowling… You're way too good at it."
 
"Somi looks so cool when she bowls," Yoojung fawned and clung to her girlfriend's arm yet
again.
 
"I guess that's fine with me," Chaeyoung relented with a smile, then asked Mina, "What do you
think?"
 
"Yes, that sounds fun," she replied, staring down Somi with a challenging smirk, her competitive
nature taking over. "I'll take you down in one strike. …No pun intended."
 
 
♕   ♕   ♕   ♕   ♕
 
 
After making their way to the bowling alley in Chaeyoung’s car, the four of them enjoyed a
couple of games. Mina gave Somi a run for her money, but ultimately the younger came out in
the lead, years of practice on her side.
 
Eventually, their fun hang out had to end as the evening approached. Chaeyoung dropped off
Yoojung and Somi back at the latter's house, exchanging heartfelt goodbyes and hugs.
 
"Don't be a stranger!" Somi had said to her dear middle school friend, making her promise to
message her more often and to plan on hanging out during spring break when she would be
visiting again.
 
After checking her mirrors and backing out of Somi’s driveway, Chaeyoung grumbled, "Man, I
suck," referring to all her gutter balls.
 
"You put up a good fight," Mina attempted to comfort her while also giggling at her ineptitude.
 
"Yours was a lot better."
 
"I nearly had her."
 
Chaeyoung snickered at her fierce tone, smiling fondly. "That's another thing you two have in
common—you're both super competitive."
 
"Oh?" Mina had a glint in her eyes that was both dangerous and playful. "I don't know if I like
being compared to your ex."
 
She laughed. "C'mon, don't call her my 'ex.' That sounds so dramatic. She's my friend. And… no
offense to Somi but I think you're way prettier."
 
"Really?"
 
"Of course." She pounded a fist on the steering wheel to emphasize her next words, "You're, like,
the prettiest girl I've ever seen! In my whole life!"
 
"Focus on the road, please," Mina warned, redirecting the driver’s attention away from looking at
her face.
 
"You might even be the most beautiful girl in the whole world."
 
"Flatterer," Mina hid her blushing face in her jacket's collar, feeling herself falling for
Chaeyoung’s silly charms all over again. "I think you're beautiful too."
 
"Ahaha, no way…"

“It's true."
 
They both smiled, a comfortable silence passing over them. Mina looked out the window,
watching the way the street lights reflected against the glass, happily reminiscing over the events
of the day and past few months.
 
Ever since getting to know Chaeyoung, she not only gained a wonderful girlfriend, but even
more friends who were all quite interesting in their own ways. She had spent most of her life
dedicated to dance and not much else, previously content to go through life on a solo journey to
success in music. While she was still determined to be a professional dancer, of course, she
couldn't deny that it was nice to now have more people to spend time with when she wasn't
practicing.
 
For the first time in forever, she didn't feel so lonely anymore. She considered herself quite lucky
to have someone like Chaeyoung in her   life—
 
"You've also got bigger boobs than Somi…"
 
”What was that?" Mina asked, not sure if she heard that right, but she did.
 
"Eh," The redhead jolted, eyes widening, resembling someone with their hand caught in the
cookie jar. "Uh oh. Did I say that out loud?"
 
"You did," Mina sighed, shaking her head in amusement. "What am I going to do with you?"
 
If there was another thing Chaeyoung was also good for, it was ruining the mood, but Mina knew
that she wouldn't have her any other way.
 
 
 
♕   ♕   ♕   ♕   ♕

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