Pink

What happened ten days ago surfaces in Jun’s mind every morning since, burning her cheeks and the place between her thighs. What fell from her mouth at the boss’s karaoke party is still fresh on her tongue.

Jun’s breath is like drops of water, rippling against Lee’s skin. It hits her over and over – gentle in its warmth and yet harsh in its echoes.

This proximity is too much, it is too awkward and it makes her self-conscious. She wants to step away but she doesn’t stir an inch. She wants to ask what the hell Jun thinks she’s doing but doesn’t remember the words. She wants to be confused and outraged but her thoughts are pushed down a hill, only to slot comfortably into a dent called knowledge. Lee wants to step back, berate the other, remind her where they are, question what’s happening and what’s about to happen; and then she realizes she doesn’t want to do any of that.

“I—” Jun breathes because it’s the only thing she can remember to do. She has forgotten her name, forgotten who she is and where she lives, forgotten where she is right now, what she does for a living and why. Because Lee is standing there – in front of her and unmoving. There are no desks between them, no people to meet, no files to read, no reports to prepare, no places to be. Only a single footstep lies ahead of her, and then there stands the other. Only one little step and then there would be nothing left to separate them. Lee is here and hasn’t walked away like Jun thought she would. And that takes meaning away from everything else on this planet. Everything is now nothing. Lee is now everything.

What happened ten days ago is immaterial. What Jun said to her at the company dinner through a mist of drunkenness, does not matter. What took place between them in Jun’s doorway can be put down to a figment of someone’s imagination. Lee has already forgotten it. She has already moved past it to a place where she has fooled herself into misplacing the memory. What happened in the past is going to stay there, she has decided. What happened does not need to be relived in her recollections. They are adults, they can put all of that behind themselves.

What happened ten days ago surfaces in Jun’s mind every morning since, burning her cheeks and the place between her thighs. What fell from her mouth at the boss’s karaoke party is still fresh on her tongue. What they did when Lee dropped her off cannot be erased with a shake of the head. Jun tries to pry the mask off of Lee’s face, tries like crazy to pull the pretence off of the other. But it stays maddeningly put. What happened between them was real, she assures herself. What happened was not just a reverie from a feverish night. She gathers all her courage and reaches out.

Short fingers find her wrists, and now Lee can actually feel her nervous pulse throb against the other’s hold. Hazel eyes search through every recess of her mind, looking for answers to unsaid questions, looking for secrets that live elsewhere on Lee’s body. The calmness of those eyes confuses her. Their unerring foray is enough cause for alarm – hell, their proximity is enough cause for alarm. Yet she feels nothing but composure before Jun’s gaze. She feels like she is where she belongs, where she is most at home. The breath on her chin shudders unsurely. “You what?” she prompts it.

Jun touches the elder’s wrists, to confirm this is not a dream, to confirm she isn’t in one of her pathetic fantasies while one of the managers is prattling on about costs and benefits of the new marketing model. She touches the elder’s wrists and they thrum with life. Her eyes find the other’s, and she blinks a few times with disbelief. Lee’s heavy amber gaze shimmers in other colors, other meanings, other demands. She knows she should finish what she had begun to say before, but she also knows that she doesn’t need to. The words needn’t be spoken to hold meaning.

Lee raises her eyebrows in question, moves forward till the tips of their noses are almost touching, waits for Jun to continue. But really, she’s trying to egg the other on. What do you want? she asks wordlessly. What do you really want?

Jun gasps, the sound ending in a whine. She lets go of Lee’s wrists, moving her grasp to the elder’s waist instead. They are too close and the air between them is scalding. She can only manage little sobs at this point. “I…” she tries again in a whisper.

There is a knock on the door. Someone is outside, wondering why the meeting room is locked, why the blinds are drawn shut. Lee could answer them, call out to them in her best authoritative tone, and they would go away in an instant. But she keeps her stare locked with Jun, now opting to hold the woman’s face in her hands. She is balmy to the touch, warm enough to warrant concern for her health. Lee leans their foreheads together, sighing between their lips. “Hmm?” she urges. “You what?”

Jun instinctively tilts her head into the other’s palms. Someone knocks on the door. She locked it herself when she pulled them in here, but she’s still shocked to hear the interruption. Lee keeps her in place – Jun was the one who pulled them in here, but she herself is surrounded now. She pressed Lee against the table, but she’s now backed into a corner instead. Soft fingers stray into her hair and loosen her bun. “You what?” they ask her, but she’s too dizzy to respond. Too dizzy to stand it anymore.

“What is it…?” Lee speaks against Jun’s lips, and it’s as if something physically snaps in the air between them.

Jun’s hold on herself cracks like a pane of glass. She presses against the other, her inhales shivering and her exhales quaking.

When they leave the meeting room and a disgruntled co-worker barges in around them, their hair is immaculate, and their clothes are all back in order. “Hold on,” Lee stops the other for one final touch. She wipes at the corner of Jun’s lips, rubbing her thumb where pink lipstick is smeared.

Jun leans into the movement and the haze threatens to take over her again. But the thumb quickly disappears, and she smiles. “Thanks.”

About the author

quagmireisadora

Vi. 29. Ace. "You can't say goodbye Kibum," Jonghyun smiled wide as he walked backwards to the door of the office. "There's a Jonghyun coming here to drop off a delivery soon. There's a Jonghyun who will come fix your air con when it breaks. All those brooms and vacuums and mops are for the Jonghyuns who come here every night, after you leave. Every cafe you go to, every restaurant you visit, every bar you drink at... that person serving you is Jonghyun. We're everywhere. We're all around you. You can never say goodbye," he shook his head. Kibum's words were in the air before he even spoke them. "They'll never be you."
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