yeah, they're good-looking kids.
You say, “I think I have a crush,” and he says, “Yeah, Lee Donghae’s a good-looking kid, but I don’t know if he’s interested in pussy.” Lips spread wide, his mouth could swallow your face. You elbow him hard, and he tumbles backwards. When he recovers, he’s holding you around the waist, and slowly, you feel the ice melting.
“I’ve got enough competition from the other girls—I don’t need it from you,” You tell him on another occasion, at the salon, waiting for your nails to dry. He’s doing something elaborate with his hair, dying it red again, getting it curled.
“You know I’m prettier,” he says to your reflection. He pulls your chair over, and you almost slide your pinky nail against one of the arms. You sulk through his apologies, but later, when you think through images of the day, his hands brought together in prayer before his face, the sorry grin, were pretty cute.
He chooses to tell you because you’re American, and they’re supposed to be more open over there, free country and all that jazz, right? “Sometimes I look at him, and it’s like, I can’t bring myself to look away. Do you ever get like that?”
You nod. All the time.
“I’ll kill you if you tell,” he says, the fear genuine in his eyes. You feel empowered, and then annoyed. The second one is harder to explain.
You start watching the Chinese guy more closely after that. He’s really not that great-looking.
He’s the one who finds you on the floor of the bathroom, your lunch on your shirt. “Oh God, what is that smell—oh.”
He wipes off some of the puke with the edge of his sleeve, and it’s the sweater his sister got him last Christmas. You’re crying and coughing and your stomach burns as much as your throat. You’re humiliated and terrified, but he just holds you and holds you.
“Don’t worry,” he tells you later. “Americans are supposed to be fat.”
You punch him where it hurts, and he makes a big show of limping the rest of the day.
Donghae thinks it’s a good idea to take selca of the two of you making out. There’s something in the idea of exhibitionism that gets you giddy, and you swap spit in front of the camera. You’re both red and breathless afterwards, but it’s nothing you haven’t done before, in the quiet of his room.
Heechul’s thoughtful when he inspects the photos on your computer. “So low-res, I can’t even tell how good your technique is.”
“Why don’t you find out?” You tease with a finger waggle.
He tears away from the screen to look at you, and you stop smiling. “Are you serious?” He asks, eyes big and watching.
You swallow. His hand is at the nape of your neck, pressing.
He kisses you like he’s afraid. It’s not what you expect, but it’s not worse, either.
Backstage just before a performance. He’s been gaining weight, and you’ve been losing, a lot of it. You think you look good these days, except for the sunken eyes and the sallow complexion, but you know, part and parcel of the job. Everyone’s been complimenting you on the tightness of your thighs, your ever-shrinking waist. You credit them to your mother, with a modest blush.
“Looking more like a man,” you say with a grin.
“I was about to say the same thing,” he shoots back and dodges your small fist.
He hugs you for so long you’re afraid he’s broken, or trying to break you, or both, or neither. You want to say something about the lawsuit; you want to be the one it’s okay to confess to. He doesn’t, though, and you realize, that makes more sense.