It had been covered in dust, somehow gotten an oil stain, and now lay wrinkled and with little holes in the middle of it (did her room have termites? Worse, bed bugs? Did cockroaches eat paper?), the lead clouded over a little but still very legible. Still very much about Sunyoung. Who Yiyin is still very much in love with.
"What's that?" Qian asks, tugging on her socks. They're thigh-highs. She insists on wearing them, even in the summer. And boy, is it a summer. September coming soon, the window's open to the breeze, the clock showing something late past four in the morning - and she's still sweating it out like she's in a sauna.
"Poem," Yiyin replies, absently. "Something from ages ago."
"Time is relative," Qian huffs, getting up and stretching. "I asked you when Zootopia came out and you said centuries and when I looked it up it was literally, like, this year."
"No, really," Yiyin turns around, laughing. "This was. Three years ago. I was in high school."
"Hmm," Qian provides, carrying on the conversation just to have a conversation. "I'll have my reservations." She stops to ruffle Yiyin's hair before making her way out the door.
Yiyin looks back at the paper, flapping a little in her hand. The desk lamp sheds pale light on it from behind her shoulder, shadow of her neck slant across the words. But it's not enough and she barely gets the gist of it, eyes watering with strain from the long day she's already had.
She blinks it away and squints. Something about eyelashes and long hair and the goddamn moon. She looks out the window, and as if on cue the last slivers of the moon fade out behind a pink sheen of cloud. "Yeah," she says aloud to nothing, fingers tightening almost imperceptibly on the paper. "You fuckin' go, babe. Disappear."
"You're early," Yiyin croaks, then clears her throat and smiles back.
"Uh huh," Sunyoung wipes her hands on her shirt. It says FLICKER SHAPED GLITTER BABE. It doesn't make sense. Sunyoung crosses one leg over the other, even as she stands, then uncrosses and cricks her neck. She always does that, Yiyin notes absently, when she's nervous. "Meeting with the manager."
The pad pinned to the wall has Yiyin's name on it today. Her turn in the backroom today, with tasks to do. Inventory, probably, and unpacking crates. The only reason anyone would meet with the manager this time of the year would be sick leave - Sunyoung isn't sick, isn't the type to lie about it, either - normal leave, or resignation. And she's been talking about quitting for a while now. Maybe two months, maybe an entire year. Yiyin can't be sure because, like Qian said, time is relative. Especially her version of it. Yiyin looks at the pad, makes up her mind.
"Manager?" she says, hoping she sounds something like casual. "What for?"
"She asked for confirmation within a week, since I was so, you know." Sunyoung shrugs, wrinkles her nose. "Indecisive."
Yiyin knows all this, pretends she'd forgotten. Tries to act like whichever option Sunyoung decided to go for wouldn't affec her.
Maybe she's being too closed off. Sunyoung's her friend. This is -
"Decided to stay," Sunyoung says, rocking her weight onto her toes. Her sneakers squeak against the floor. A car honks and zips past outside. Yiyin's ears are ringing, fingers numb.
So close, her brain comes up with, garbled, and before she knows it, she's running forward to hug Sunyoung across the counter. Strands of Sunyoung's hair in Yiyin's face, her laughter light and surprised, body so warm and arms tight around her. "'M glad," Yiyin finds herself mumbling. "Was gonna miss you so bad."
"Hey," Sunyoung says again, floppy bun leaning too far over to the left, bangs in her eyes and eyes kind. "Come on. Just five hours from the rest of the day. I could always just come over."
It wouldn't be the same. "Yeah," Yiyin says, throat stubborn and stiff and making everything difficult. "But still."
A ringtone, high-pitched and wailing, belts out suddenly from between them. Yiyin lets herself have one second - just one more - taking a deep breath before leaning back, hands falling to the counter. "That'll be her."
"Yeah," Sunyoung says, sounding slightly breathless.
"You," Yiyin swallows, "Go tell her the good news. Still on the team."
Sunyoung looks strangely unfocused, then gathers herself. "I," she begins to say, then shakes her head. "Exactly, yes. That."
She leaves for the manager, and Yiyin's left with her heart erratic and list of chores waiting patiently, still pinned on the wall. There is a rush of elation across her ribs, a familar longing settling in her spine. She is used to this, to all of it.
Another deep breath. She reaches for the pad.
"And you are thinking of?" Sunyoung whispers, chin tucked over Yiyin's shoulder. It's half past two at night. They'd been having a celebratory round of whiskey in the living room at her staying, and now they're stewing a little in their own sweat on the balcony.
Eyelashes. Hair, Yiyin wants to say, stupidly. Seventeen again because I read that stupid thing. Always this slow because of -
Her cracked nails rake the slightest bit against the floor as her fingers curl into loose fists.
The goddamn moon. It stays in place, this time. The clouds are still and waiting, Sunyoung's laughter ready and spilling and pretty as always.
laughingvirus, you're up bb! <3