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Title: Rebel With A Cause
Rating: PG
Pairing: Wheein/Hwasa
Summary: When the capturing is in reverse.

Rebel With A Cause

Wheein stood behind her tripod turning knobs and dials on her camera to get the settings just right. The soccer team shuffled and shifted, following orders from the two coaches who had less of a handle on their boys when it wasn’t a play they were trying to get out of them.

Needless to say, they were rowdy. This wasn’t how Wheein wanted to spend her free hour, but it was kind of her job so she sucked it up and dealt with the-


Wheein looked up to one of the players. He stood with hands on his knees and butt sticking out toward her.

“How’s this angle?”

The coach shooed him back into formation. Team photos were her least favorite thing to shoot if only because they gave her a headache and it was far too many eyes staring at her, waiting for her to count and click the shutter. Large crowds. A bunch of attention. Not her thing.

“Is this good?” asked one of the coaches.

Wheein set her wire-frame glasses right on her nose, looked at the screen on her camera, back to him, and threw a thumbs up. Nodding, he went to stand on the far right end of the team opposite of the other coach.


“1, 2, 3-” She held down the shutter, letting it snap a couple twenty images. “Done.”

The team split immediately, returning to their antics of hooping and hollering and teasingly groping each other. A whistle blow snapped them back into line and they rushed onto the field to return to practice.

Wheein unlatched her camera, tore down her tripod and left. There was still fifteen minutes left of-

“What kind of camera is that?”

Wheein paused.

“Over here.”

Adjusting her glasses, she ducked her head and squinted through the wires of a chain link fence into the shadows beneath a set of bleachers. There was a girl under there, back leaned against one of the aluminum beams, uniform tie undone and buttons open to expose a hint of cleavage hiding there. Chipped, black polish on painted fingernails flashed as she lifted an unlit cigarette to her lips.

“What is it?” the girl asked again, chin jutting toward the piece hanging off Wheein’s neck.

She shrugged. It was one of the school’s stock cameras. It said Nikon on the front. She told the girl that. She was an old school, Kodak, print and darkroom type of girl herself. This digital stuff wasn’t always so fun but it got the job done.

“Are you any good?”


The cigarette rolled from one side of the girl’s mouth to the other. “Come over here.”


She tilted her head. “There’s a loose panel of chain over there. Don’t bend it too far.”

Walking around the gate, Wheein found the spot and maneuvered through the opening careful not to distort the chain any more than it already was.

The girl smirked at her once she arrived, dark eyes peering over the rim of her John Lennon-inspired shades. She flickered a lighter in her grip, looking Wheein up and down. The action made her self-conscious. Wheein found herself clutching onto her camera as if to hide behind it.

“What do you do with that?”

“I take pictures for the school.” Newsletter, yearbook, website, announcements. She racked up a good amount of community service hours for it. Something that would count for her future when applying for college. That thought made her queasy. She whisked it away.

“Ever make any posters?”


“Can you help me with one? I need some for my campaign.”

“Campaign?” Because she definitely couldn't mean-

“Disciplinary Committee.”

Wheein tried not to laugh but she couldn't help herself. The girl in front of her looked like the poster child for rebels without a cause and a future only bright due to the stark lamplight she was going to get in an interrogation room about a murder.

The girl didn’t look impressed with Wheein’s snorty laugh. She sobered and darted her eyes away from the glare piercing into her.

“I don’t know if I have time,” she said softly.

“You have time right now, right?”

She couldn't argue with that. The school bell rang and the girl shouldered her bag.

“Meet me here tomorrow. Same time.” The unscorched cigarette dropped to the ground. “Bring your portfolio.”

Watching the girl shimmy through the fence, Wheein realized it was already too late to say no.


She looked through yearbook documents to figure out who the girl was.

Ahn Hyejin.

Same year as Wheein. Her hair used to be longer and her makeup not so heavy. No wonder Wheein didn’t recognize her. Well, that, and Hyejin used to hang out with a crowd known to ditch every now and again. Apparently, they went to karaoke but that didn’t sound as amusing as the rumors that they stole keychain figurines from convenience stores and didn’t bus their tables at restaurants.

Wheein laughed to herself. This girl running for the disciplinary committee was even more hilarious. She wondered why Hyejin joined the campaign, to begin with. It wasn’t like she would win. Still, she couldn’t deny that Hyejin fascinated her in a strange sort of intimidating cool way. Maybe helping out wouldn’t be so bad.

“What’re you doing?”

She clicked out of the window too fast. Byulyi narrowed her eyes. The editing room she was in belonged firstly to the AV Club that Byulyi was vice president of and second to the Photography Club that Wheein slacked on attending meetings but made it up with good pictures. She found herself in this room with Byulyi a lot, doing their separate versions of editing, and sneaking in food against room rules. Criminal acts made for great friendship pacts.

“I was getting design ideas for this year’s yearbook.”

“Why do you look so guilty?”

“Why do you look so guilty?”

Smirking, Byulyi pulled out an illegal can of coffee from her jacket and popped it open. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

“Deal.” She took a sip and handed it back to Byulyi before asking, “Yongsun is still president of the disciplinary committee, right?”

“Yeah. Why?”

Wheein shrugged and turned back around to exit out of the rest of the windows she had opened.

“What’s going on? What were you really doing in here?”

The bell rang. Wheein grabbed her bag.

“Can’t talk, gotta go!”


Slipping through the loose, fence panel, she found Hyejin sitting on a gym towel, eating sliced melon from a plastic container.

“Oh!” she said, excitedly when she saw Wheein with a binder in hand. She patted the empty space on the towel beside her. “Come show me.”

Wheein sank down and cracked the binder open on her knees. “They’re not very good-”

Hyejin waved a hand. “Hush, hush.”

The binder found way out of Wheein’s grip and into Hyejin’s after she sucked her fingers clean and dried them on the inside of her skirt. Nails flicked through pictures, glossy behind their sheet protectors.

“Have you ever heard of film noir?” asked Hyejin.


“That's what I want.”

Wheein’s nose scrunched. “That's kinda dark.”

“It's a counterattack.”

“What are you going for?”


Wheein held back her laugh. There was little to no way she'd win against Kim Yongsun who held the title for the past two years. Kim Yongsun who was Byulyi’s best friend. Kim Yongsun who Byulyi was helping with her own campaign.

Funny that they were suddenly pitted against each other. Funny that the rainbows and kittens rival was chains and whips. Wheein may or may not like the latter better.

“Why not vice president? Or just a seat?”

“It’s better to be on the top of the food chain, right?”

Wheein shrugged. She wasn’t wrong.

“I want a campaign video, too,” Hyejin continued.

Wheein lifted her eyebrows. Moving pictures wasn't her forte. That was Byul’s department and there was no way she'd ask a rival for assistance.

“We’ll talk about.”

“Okay.” Hyejin closed the binder. “I'm going to keep this. For research. I like your style. When can we start?”


“Do you want to come to my house? We can work in my studio.”


Hyejin didn't have a studio. She didn't even have a living room. Not that Wheein was passing any judgment. Hyejin’s place felt more like a home than hers did anyhow.

She greeted the Ahn parents, smiled through introductions, and accepted the offer to stay for dinner before following Hyejin into her room. A black sheet hung tacked from one wall with two mismatched desk lamps pointed toward it.

That was it. That was her “studio”.

"This one gives the best light,” said Hyejin, walking over to click on the lamp with a cracked shade.

The bulb was bright. Hot and bright. Wheein could already feel it making the room sticky. She rolled up her sleeves and got out her camera to get ready.

“Do you need anything?”

Just for this to hurry up so she could get home and do homework. “No.”

“This is my good side.” Hyejin leaned toward her, turning so light lit up her left half. “Do you know why?”

Wheein blinked. “No?”

“This.” She pointed.

Wheein noted her mole. She also noticed the lack of space between them. The heat of Hyejin’s closeness made the back of her neck sweat. The scent of her smooth smelling perfume made it harder to breathe. Wheein leaned away. It didn’t help. The beam of a lamp ignited her back. There was no escape.

“You should change.”

“Ah, right.” Hyejin finally stepped away. Wheein relaxed. “What should I wear?”

“Black.” Noir, duh.


Hyejin rummaged in her closet and Wheein waited at her place on a desk chair, legs swinging back and forth. Fixing her glasses, she eyed the room. In the corner, Wheein saw a small hermit crab tank full of bracelets. She wondered what happened to the crab.

“How's this?”

The bored look on Wheein’s face switched to interested and pink before she could catch herself. Hyejin looked all sorts of mature in a black, form fitted dress. Her already heavy makeup was darkened and her lips were layered in a bold shade of deep burgundy.

Wheein’s hands tightened on her camera. “Good.”

The corner of Hyejin’s mouth quirked. “Okay, then let's get started.”

Sliding off the chair, Wheein stood in the middle of the room while Hyejin got into position.

“What should I do?”

“I don't know.” She kept her eyes down on her camera, turning settings for the right exposure to distract herself from how stunningly amazing Hyejin did look beneath those lights. “Do whatever.”

“You’re a lot of help.”

Wheein sighed. “Pretend you’re modeling for a catalog. One of those old ones in black and white.”

Hyejin laughed before giving an, “Okay.”

Wheein lifted the camera to her eye. “Ready.”

But she wasn't ready.

Hyejin didn't know how to pose innocently. She flirted with the camera, smoldering at the lens and through to Wheein who held the heavy piece steady. Her expressions were perfect. Each pose embodied the theme she wanted all accentuated by the tight, black dress and smokey makeup done artistically along her face.

She was a completely different person. Alluringly so. And wheein captured it all with every click and angle.

“How do they look?”

“They look good.” She wasn’t lying. Neither was the sweat on her palms.

Hyejin bit her lip and bore her eyes straight into the camera. Wheein felt her heart jump along with the shutter.

"Let's take some together."

Wheein scrunched her nose in protest. "I don't want to."

"Get over it."

Hyejin took the camera and swiveled it around so the lens pointed at them both. A hand pulled Wheein closer and an arm draped over her shoulder. The shutter flickered five, ten, twenty, fifty times before Hyejin suggested,

“You should dress up, too.”

Hyejin’s look said she didn’t have a choice but that didn’t stop Wheein from groaning as she went to the closet where she picked out a suit jacket and a fedora.


A black marker inked out a mustache above her lip. Hyejin laughed and even Wheein couldn’t hold back her own cackle when she saw her reflection.

“I look stupid.”

“So? Come over here.”

She sided up to Hyejin, eyebrow cocked while Hyejin pouted her lips. Over and over and over again they posed and snapped. The camera went back and forth between hands for their own solo shots until the heat got too much and they turned off the lamps.

Sitting back on the desk chair, Wheein shrugged out of the suit jacket while Hyejin held her camera from where she sat on the floor rather unladylike for being in a dress. Wheein pretended like she didn’t see pink under all that black sequin.

“What do you think?” asked Wheein.

“I like them.”

Hyejin clicked through the shots, giving comments on a few, turning up her nose at others, laughing at the ones where Wheein finally cooperated in making funny faces with her in and rolled her eyes at the less amusing ones.

“How can I get these?”

“I’ll email them to you,” said Wheein taking her camera back to pack it up. A twinge of sadness pricked in her chest. She was having more fun than she expected. She almost didn’t want to leave.

“And the posters?”

“I’ll make and print them.”

“Okay. You have to make me look good.”

Wheein nodded, shouldering bag. She didn’t really see how she could make Hyejin look bad.

But she’d keep that comment to herself.


A hand grabbed the back of one of the editing room swivel chairs and spun her around.

“Where have you been?”

Wheein looked around. “Nowhere.”

“You don’t look like you’ve been nowhere.”

“Somewhere I’m not telling.”

Byulyi stuck her finger into Wheein’s nose. She growled and batted at her like an irritated cat. Byulyi only laughed and continued her poking assault at various places on her face until Wheein smashed her entire palm into Byulyi’s mug. She gave up after that, body plopping into a nearby rolly chair.

“I saw you hanging posters.”

She gasped, hand pressed to her chest feigning shock. “Me?”

“Cut it out.”

Wheein laughed and turned back to the computer where she was putting the finishing touches on a paper due in two periods. She enjoyed helping Hyejin, but her own schoolwork was becoming second priority.

“I’m helping someone on their campaign,” she admitted.

“You are?”

“Me am.”


“Ahn Hyejin.”

Byulyi laughed. “What?”


Annoyed, Byulyi took Wheein by the throat who pretended to be choking.

“Okay, okay!” Wheein flailed. “I’ll talk!”

Byulyi released her, eyes narrowing. “I didn’t know you were friends.”

“We’re not.”

Byulyi’s eyebrows lifted.

“We weren’t,” she amended.

“You know she's not going to win.”

“Because of Yongsun or because you're going to rig the ballots again?”

A knock on the door saved her from another chokehold as Byulyi went to answer it. “I think it’s for you.”

Wheein whirled around, blinking in surprise. It was Hyejin. Wheein’s ears turned red when she waved at her. Byulyi noticed and she smirked as if she just learned Wheein’s deepest, darkest secret.

She rolled her eyes. “What do you want?”

Hyejin cocked her head to the side. “Let’s go.”


“We have important campaign business to do.”

They did? Wheein didn’t remember. But she didn’t argue.

“Go get’em, tiger.” A hand slapped her butt on the way out.

Wheein made a note to punch Byulyi in the stomach later.


There was no important campaign business. They were ditching instead.

Backpack bouncing on her back, she hurried after Hyejin who rushed them off the school grounds and to a bus stop a block away from where they waited.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

Wheein didn’t know what to make of Hyejin’s wink. She was too busy praying the school wouldn’t call her mother and hoping the teacher wasn’t picking up those papers today. Maintaining an A- average was already tough enough without the added stress of being PR for a campaign she was roped into and daydreaming about the fake delinquent with the alluring eyes when she should be studying for tests.

“Come on.”

A hand grabbed Wheein's wrist and dragged her onto the bus. They rode four stops away before getting off and Hyejin finally let her go leaving her skin prickly and warm. She panicked for a moment when she caught herself wanting that hand back.

A few blocks and they ended up at an abandoned building yet to be demolished. Ignoring warning signs, Hyejin led them through the doorless threshold and up two flights of busted stairs where they could see out into the city.

“Why are we here?”

“I was bored.” Hyejin pulled out her gym towel and spread it on the ground.

Wheein sat down next to her. “But we have class.”

Hyejin shrugged and cracked open a container of juicy melon. Wheein picked one out and chewed. “Are you close with that sunbae?”



“We’re friends.”

“I heard she was a bully.”

Wheein laughed. “No, she just likes to play rough.”

“Hmmm,” Hyejin hummed, tongue sliding out to lap at a bead of melon juice that rolled off her lip to her chin. The action was oddly sensual. Every little thing Hyejin did was lowkey sensual and Wheein always found herself entranced by it.


Taking a cigarette from her pocket, Hyejin placed it in her mouth with all the grace of a cool kid. “She's my competition.”

Wheein snorted. “Do you really think you can win?”

“Yeah,” those deep eyes caught onto Wheein, mouth pulling into a soft smirk as she looked her up and down. “I think so.”

Something in Wheein simmered. She wasn’t sure if Hyejin was referring to the campaign or not anymire. She opted for not asking more and looked away from that smoky stare to the cigarette rolling between those full lips. "Aren't you going to smoke that?"

Hyejin took it out of her mouth and looked at it. "You want to try?"

She shrugged.

Wheein went to take it from her fingers but Hyejin aimed for her mouth. The yellow end slipped between her lips, damp from the previous pair around it. A lighter flickered and the end burned. Wheein sucked in a drag. She coughed, sputtering and choking on the smoke. Hyejin laughed, the tone thick and dark as her voice but lighter. Airier. Warmer.

Wheein sucked her teeth in annoyance at how the sound of that laugh did things to her chest and the humiliation it brought as well. "You do it."


The stick slipped between her fingers like a pro, mouth puckered tight and delicious. Wheein found her eyes on them, round and pink. They were plump, like the melon, and juicy looking from the swipe of a tongue along them. A stream of smoke blew past them after a thick drag.

Hyejin choked.


"Ah-" She coughed and flung the cigarette onto the concrete. It crushed beneath her heel. "Honestly, I've never done that before. I read somewhere boys don't like girls who smoke so I keep some with me."

Wheein’s brow furrowed, fingers plucking the minty stick of gum Hyejin offered from a pack she pulled from her pocket. What she said didn’t really make a lot of...sense- Oh. Oh. Wheein’s insides went fuzzy.

"Your dimple,” said Hyejin suddenly. “It's cute."

A finger poked into the crevice of her cheek. Wheein blinked, surprised. Hyejin smiled, fingers coming down to tickle beneath her chin as if she were some sort of puppy.

"So cute."

Heat burned in Wheein’s face. She pulled away and fumbled with her glasses, jaw working to soften the stiff piece of gum in her mouth.

“You should come over again,” Hyejin suggested, resting back on her hands. The light of the sun coming through the busted windows made her eyes look like molten chocolate. Wheein stared in awe. “My mom likes you and we have work to do.”


“Okay.” Hyejin closed the empty container and pushed off the ground. “Let’s go.”


Somewhere in the mix, things became less about campaign business and more about the hangout. After dinners, they holed up in Hyejin’s room, sharing songs, swapping homework answers, and talking about whatever the newest hot topic on the gossip train was.

“We should really finish those flyer designs,” said Wheein, winded from laughing so hard at Hyejin’s impersonating of the physical ed teacher. Voting was soon and they’d been slacking.

“Fine, I have to study anyway.”

Scooting up the bed, Wheein propped herself against the headboard and worked off Hyejin’s laptop, changing saturation and contrast while she sat to her left, scanning through a book.

“Hey, Wheein?”


“Do you like anyone?”

That was easy. “No.”


She shrugged and adjusted the exposure so the browns of Hyejin’s eyes stood out, rich and warm. Just like they had when they ditched in that old building. Wheein thought back to that day a lot.

“Do you?”

She dropped her head against Wheein’s shoulder. Her hair was a creamy scent. “I think I’ve fallen for someone.”

Wheein laughed but her chest gave a weird sort of pang. “You?”

“Why’s that so funny?”

“Because it is.”

Hyejin pinched her thigh. Wheein yelped, elbowing her in the side.


“I'm sorry.”

“I'm just kidding~” She nuzzled her nose into Wheein’s cheek.

Her defenses flared. “What're you doing?”

“Why’re you so flustered?”

“I’m not.”

Fingers pinched her cheek. “Yes, you are.”

Wheein flailed, trying to get away. “Quit it!”

“Come back over here!”

Hands grabbed, hair pulled, bodies toppled. The sheet beneath them tangled around ankles and limbs. An arm hooked around Wheein’s neck, body slamming her into the mattress. She threw up a weak punch, going for Hyejin’s shoulder but ended up smacking her in the face.

Wheein gasped.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m-”

“Why, you little-”

She didn’t finish that sentence. A playfully rough shove sent them both off the bed. Wheein dropped onto the floor with Hyejin on top of her, pinning her hard into the fuzzy, pink rug. The ends of cropped hair brushed at her cheeks. Hyejin was so close. Wheein could taste her breath, could smell the fragrance of her skin, could see the sheen of gloss bubbled on her lips. Her lips. They were so close. So close and swelled and red just inches from her own.

Wheein felt the heat rise from her chest, up her neck, and right into her face.

“You’re really red right now.”

Everything in Wheein surged. “Get off!” She pushed and scrambled up to her feet.

Flipping hair out of her face, Hyejin looked up at her.

It was hot. It was burning up and Wheein couldn’t figure out what that sad, curious look on Hyejin was about. All she knew was that her insides were tingly and it was getting a little harder to breathe being trapped under Hyejin’s gaze like this.

“I think I should go-

“I think dinner’s ready,” Hyejin cut her off, head tilting. “You’re still staying, right?”

Wheein licked her lips of their sudden dryness. Her body and mind were telling her to do two different things right now. And one of those was winning more than the other.

“Yeah. Right.”

“Good.” Hyejin smiled and handed Wheein back her glasses that had fallen off when they ended up on the floor. “I think we’re having your favorite.”


“Hey, Wheein, it’s Hyejin. Call me.”

“I’m bored. We should go to that tteokbokki stand you like.”

“Seriously? I didn’t think dinner was
that bad.”

Erasing the last voicemail, Wheein tossed her phone into her locker with a sigh. Ignoring Hyejin for an entire weekend was one of the hardest things she’d ever done. But she didn’t know how to answer. She didn’t know how to face her after what happened. Or what could’ve happened? Wheein didn’t know. All she knew was that she couldn't bear to look at Hyejin in the eye through dinner and she didn’t breathe properly until she was safely home.


Wheein started, jumping backward into her locker door that banged against the neighboring one. Eyes shifted to her and she ducked away, fixing her jostled glasses and scowled up to Byulyi who was laughing at her.

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“That.” She waved her hand around. Byulyi cocked her eyebrow and she gave up. “What do you want?”

Byulyi leaned against the locker, foot propped up against the metal like one of those popular jocks you see in the movies, smug grin intact. “Hyejin was asking about you this morning.”

Wheein did an eye sweep of the hallway. “What did you tell her?”

Byulyi shrugged. “That I hadn’t seen you.” Wheein’s shoulders unwounded. “What’s going on?”


“Did you two fight?”



Wheein did another look around before she leaned over to Byulyi, voice low. “I- She…”

“She what?”

The moment in Hyejin’s room, flat against the floor with her over her, knees straddling her tight and those eyes focused and hot came crashing back in. Wheein’s heart skipped a beat. That was too much. Too much to tell Byulyi. That was too much for herself to handle again.

“Nevermind.” She closed her locker and walked off.

Byulyi followed. “Tell me.”

“It’s nothing.”

“Does she like you?”

“What?” She spun around in a panic. ”No!” She hissed.

“Or do you like her?”

Fire blazed into her neck. “Why would you think that?”

Byulyi grinned. “You should see yourself right now.”


Ice sliced up Wheein’s back.

Byulyi smirked. “See you later.” She winked and sauntered off, joining a group of friends down the hall.

Wheein cursed her to hell.

“Hello? Earth to Wheein.”

Fixing her glasses, she turned around. “Hey.”

Hyejin crossed her arms. “I called you this weekend.”

“Sorry.” She shrugged. “My mom had this thing planned…”

A finely plucked eyebrow quirked upward. “Meet me during free hour. Okay?”

She could’ve said no. She could’ve come up with some lame excuse about chess club needing new headshots for their upcoming tournament. But guilt ran into a weakness she developed in the face of Hyejin and she crumbled.


Hyejin’s face lit up and Wheein felt her own chest swell seeing the previous disappointment erased. “Okay.”


They went to the lab instead of the bleachers. All because Hyejin begged to see the editing room and Wheein couldn't give any more excuses with it raining outside.

“Ta-da,” Wheein said bored.

She leaned up against the wall, watching Hyejin walk around the room, surveying the monitors, poking around at the equipment, and examining the whiteboard decked with storyboards and brainstorming ideas jotted up there on multicolored post-it notes.

“Where’s the black room?”

Wheein snorted. “You mean the dark room?”


Turning out the lights in the editing room, Wheein took her down the hall into her territory. She wasn’t supposed to let anyone outside of the photo club in (not even Byul) but she knew Hyejin would never stop asking her to do it.

“Wait here,” she instructed and skipped off to make sure no one else was inside before returning. “Okay, but we can’t be long.”

Hyejin slipped in before her, weaving around the light trap hallway into the main room. Wheein blinked a few times, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness to the reddish orange light that turned their skin a strange colored hue. She let Hyejin explore again, rounding the basins of chemistry, turning knobs of the enlargers along the walls, and playing with the filters.

“I’ve always wanted to be in a place like this with someone,” said Hyejin, holding a filter to her eye as if it were a magnifying glass.

Wheein told her to put it back. “Why?”

“You know.” She sauntered over to Wheein, sly smile on her face. The lighting made it all the more sinister. Same as her voice, colored with a warm husk. “It’s dark. Just me and them. Like something you see in dramas, right?”

“I guess.”

“You’ve never wanted to do-” Arms draped over Wheein’s shoulders, trapping her in the heat of Hyejin’s breath and the static of her alarming closeness. “-this?”

Wheein stiffened. Everything seemed to be heightened. Hyejin felt like she was all over her. Her breath, her scent, the weight of her arms, the vibrations she gave off. Wheein buzzed along with it. Her skin bubbled. Her jaw tightened. Hyejin stepped closer and her insides locked up when her body pressed into hers.



Hyejin jerked forward, growling as she snapped her teeth at Wheein’s face. She felt the air of the strike against her nose and broke free, feet stumbling back into the wall. The syrupy tone of Hyejin’s chuckle darkened the room and seeped into Wheein’s veins turning her already heated skin molten.

“I’m sorry,” said Hyejin, face catching an angle of light that lit up her eyes in a smoky glint. She didn’t sound genuine but her eyes were focused and studying. “Did I move too quickly?”

Wheein’s eyebrow cocked. “Too quickly?” Did she mean…?

Hyejin paused, brow wrinkling as she studied Wheein a for a second, blinked in a realization that evaded Wheein and laughed. “I’m done in here. Are you?”

Wheein only nodded.

“Good. I need your help editing my speech for this Friday.” She left the darkroom.

Wheein hurried after, heart still stuck in her throat.


It didn’t take much longer for Wheein to put two and two together. And that two and two added up to a very confusing, very stomach fluttering, very panicky sort of result. Byulyi was right about her. And that was a terrifyingly giddy sort of realization.

“Why do you look like you just drank expired milk?”

“Maybe I did.”

Byulyi knocked her knuckles into Wheein’s head. “Why are you eating lunch in the editing room?”

Because she needed to get away. She needed to get away from Hyejin. But Hyejin was everywhere. In the halls, in the cafeteria, in every corner of her bedroom.

Wheein stared at all the campaign material strung across her room and piled up like some sort of shrine against the wall. Hyejin’s pretty face, her blazing smiles, her alluring eyes. Each image took her back to a moment she’d spent with Hyejin. Beneath the bleachers, in her home, in the cafeteria at their own table away from everyone else, ditching to buy ramen and trinkets from gumball machines, trapped up in her room just the two of them laughing and joking and pressed up shoulder to shoulder on a tiny bed.

The memory of her back against the floor with Hyejin brought itself to the forefront of her mind and Wheein almost choked.

“Oh my god.”

She took down the posters from her easel, snatched off the fliers on her desk, and dumped the campaign pins into a bucket and tossed it all in her closet.

It didn’t help. Because Hyejin invaded her mind with wonders. What she was doing now? What was she going to say in her campaign speech? What had she done in the dark room if Wheein hadn’t broken free?

Wheein dropped onto her bed, face smashed into the pillow. The nosepiece on her glasses stabbed into her skin but she didn’t care. There were more pressing matters to deal with at the moment.

Like that her heart beat wildly for Ahn Hyejin and she didn’t know what to do about it.



It was one thing coming to terms with your own feelings and another one trying to figure out the angle of another person’s possible feelings.

“I knew it.” Byulyi beamed, chewing at a chunk of apple in her mouth.

Wheein groaned into her applesauce. “Shut up.”

“She probably likes you, too.”

Wheein bubbled in fuzzy static. “I don’t know.”

“Talk to her.”


“Then stop staring.”

Wheein would but Hyejin was staring back at her from across the cafeteria. No smile, no wave. Just staring. There something different about her, too. A sort of sadness. Like the flicker she'd seen when they were in the darkroom.

Someone stepped in the way, blocking her view. When they moved, Hyejin was gone. Byulyi was right. She should talk to her. She needed to talk to her.

But Wheein didn’t have the courage to go looking for her.


A soccer game kept her busy.

Wheein hurried up and down the field and into the bleachers, snapping pictures at high shutter speeds and slightly overexposed settings. The crowd was wild with having two of the biggest rival teams playing against one another with neither showing sign of backing down. Wheein squeezed her way through the fray and out to the calmer area near the concessions. She was thirsty.

Standing in line, she bought a bottled water and some kimchi fries and took a seat on the ground near the gate where she wouldn’t be bothered or jostled around to the point she lost her glasses.


The first fry didn’t make it to Wheein’s mouth. Slipping from her fingers, it dropped to the concrete between her crossed legs. Not that it mattered. Her appetite was sucked away by the gargantuan wave of nausea caused by the butterflies raging in her stomach at the appearance of Hyejin in front of her.

“Hey,” she croaked. Where was her water? She needed a drink.

“Can we talk?”

Wheein fumbled for her camera and lifted it up with a shake. “Busy.”

“You’re taking a break.”

“Still busy.”

Hyejin rolled her eyes. “Five minutes? Under the bleachers?”

“I can’t.”

“It’s important.” She shifted, showing a nervousness that Wheein had never seen her display before. “It’s about the other day. In that room.”

It took everything in Wheein not to clam up. “Can it wait?” The crowd erupted in cheers from the stands. A perfect ticket out. “I should get what’s happening.”

Hyejin shrugged. “Whatever. I’ll see you tomorrow. Free hour?”

“Yeah, okay.”

Hyejin walked off.

If there was one thing Wheein knew, it was that she hated seeing Hyejin unhappy. She hated it even more because she knew she was the reason for it.


Wheein slipped into the editing room with a hard drive full of pictures she was assigned to go through and edit for the athletics website.

“You took your time.”

Wheein whirled around. There, sitting on one of the desks, was Hyejin. Her uniform was perfectly pressed, hair done to its best, and makeup applied with no noticeable flaw. She was dressed for the last campaign speech and voting ceremony. Wheein felt guilty. She was supposed to be with her for it - promised she’d give Hyejin strength by being at her side.

“What’re you doing in here?”

“Cornering you.” She slipped off the desk, arms crossing over her chest. “I knew you wouldn’t come to the bleachers.”

“Who told you?”

Hyejin rolled her eyes and shook her head. “I thought that sunbae was the competition but it was just you being a clueless, scaredy cat.”


Hyejin sighed, closing in on Wheein with every step she took toward her. “If you didn’t like me back, you could've told me.”

“I couldn’t.”

“Why not?”

Because that would be lying and Wheein was a little late on picking up on what was going on with herself. But wait.

“You…” Wheein blinked. “You like me?”

Hyejin’s laugh wasn’t the least bit mocking. “Aren’t you supposed to be the smart one?” She flicked the nosepiece of Wheein’s glasses. “Nerd.” Wheein stumbled backward into the door and Hyejin chuckled, face lighting up into a sweet smile. “I love how easily embarrassed you get.” Hands pressed into the door, trapping Wheein in Hyejin’s heat and the glaze of her voice. “And I’m kind of in love with you, too. Is that okay?”

Her chest singed and her stomach whirled. She could do nothing other than nod.

Hyejin’s head tilted. “Really?”


A finger lifted up her chin so she had no choice but to look into the enchanting depths of Hyejin’s eyes. “Really, really?”

“Really, really, real-”

The warmth of a mouth formed against hers. An arm looped around her, keeping Wheein in place. Hyejin titled her head, angling them better and pressed in. The gloss on her lips was sticky but sweet. Wheein could feel it gummy across her mouth but oddly and bittersweet on her tongue.

“I should’ve done this when I had you on the floor.”

Wheein floundered, speechless.

“I know you thought about it, too.”


Hyejin grinned and kissed her again. The hand around her waist soared up, fingers curling around her neck to guide her closer, pull her closer, turn her closer. The tip of a tongue swiped out at her mouth in a request. Wheein withstood, caught off by the burst of heat that simple action caused. Hyejin's nails pricked at her neck and she complied, opening up to allow her to kiss her soft and warm.

“Let’s get out of here,” she purred into Wheein’s mouth.

Wheein’s reply was just as breathless. “What about the campaign?”

“I forfeit.”

“I thought you wanted to win.”

Hands took her by the face and lips pressed into hers in a delicious sort of warmth. “I did.”

Wheein blinked. And then it clicked. This wasn’t ever about the campaign at all.

Hyejin grabbed her by the wrist. “Come on.”

Wheein gladly ran off with her.
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