Title: Gut Feeling
Pairing: girl!OnTae (Eunsook/Taeyeon)
Genre(s): fluff, humor, romance
Summary: Eunsook moves in across the hall from Taeyeon and turns her world upside down.
a/n: For SSS 2010 at shineesanta
. Written for salted_taiyaki
It was a weird time to move in, Taeyeon thought. It was the middle of winter, just after Christmas, so it was snowy and almost unbearably cold- the kind of cold that stung your skin the moment you stepped outside and seeped into your bones so you stayed cold even when you were curled up under a thick blanket. So Taeyeon didn’t understand why someone would want to move all of their stuff into the on-campus apartments at a time like this, especially since it was still winter break and would be for the next two weeks.
She saw the other girl dragging boxes of her things into the apartment across the hall from hers when she was on her way out to meet Gwiboon for coffee. She hadn’t wanted to leave the warmth of her apartment to be honest, but the other girl had a way of convincing people to do what she wanted them to no matter their own preference.
So Taeyeon had pulled on thick wool tights with the burgundy mini skirt she got for Christmas (and that she knew Gwiboon would approve of) and a soft sweater, throwing her navy pea coat on top- hoping for extra warmth when she wrapped her mustard-colored knit scarf around her neck and slipped her feet into her brown leather boots.
Honestly, she felt pretty good about herself and she couldn’t wait to see Gwiboon so the always-impeccable girl could appreciate her ensemble. So when she saw the girl with the long straight hair and rosy cheeks fighting with her possessions, she didn’t stop to help like she knew she should have. Instead, she walked right by, only offering the panting girl a small smile as she headed to the elevators, soon forgetting the stranger all together.
“Cute skirt,” Gwiboon nodded approvingly when Taeyeon entered the coffee shop, shivering and clutching at her scarf as she sat down at the small table across from the other girl.
“Thanks,” Taeyeon smiled, cheeks and nose pink from the cold.
“How was your Christmas?” Gwiboon asked, sipping her latte and eyeing her younger friend over the coffee cup.
“Fine,” Taeyeon shrugged, sliding her coat off to drape over the back of her chair, “Too much family time honestly, but it was nice.”
“God, I know what you mean,” Gwiboon agreed, “My mom spent the entire week asking me about Jonghyun and begging me to have him over. But there’s no way I’m going to subject him to her before I absolutely have to. I don’t want to scare him away!”
“Have you seen him since you got back?” Taeyeon asked, pausing the conversation briefly to order a caramel macchiato when the waitress came to take her order.
“Yeah, he came over to have dinner at my place last night,” Gwiboon grinned a bit wickedly, “He left right before I texted you this morning…”
Taeyeon arched an eyebrow, smirking at her friend and causing Gwiboon to burst into a fit of giggles, hand covering her mouth.
They spent the rest of the afternoon hunched over the small table, discussing details from the night before conspiratorially, even though Gwiboon claimed that she wouldn’t kiss and tell. Taeyeon didn’t mind hearing about Gwiboon’s escapades though- it always proved to be extremely interesting. And informative. So by the time she was unlocking her apartment with numb fingers later that day, she wasn't even thinking about the fact that she had a new neighbor. That is, until she heard a door open and a tentative greeting.
Taeyeon turned around, startled, to find the girl from that afternoon standing at the threshold of her apartment, looking uncomfortable and shy.
“Hi,” she said back, knowing that she should be the accommodating one since the other girl was new here, but all she wanted to do at the moment was change into sweats and thick socks and then curl up in front of a movie.
“Um…where’s the trash shoot?” the girl asked, teeth digging into her plump lower lip and her earnest brown eyes wide.
“Oh, just down the hall and around the corner,” Taeyeon said, pointing, “It’s on the right.”
“Thanks,” the girl smiled, eyes turning into crescents and lips stretching to reveal perfectly straight, white teeth. Taeyeon felt herself smiling back, appreciating how warm the other girl’s smile was. But she didn’t know what to do then so she just slipped into her apartment with a small nod to the other girl.
The next week was spent in her apartment for the most part since a lot of her friends weren’t back from their hometowns yet and Gwiboon was too busy with Jonghyun to spend long periods of time with her. But she didn’t mind. It was nice to sit back and relax after finals and then the hectic holidays.
Taeyeon had gotten so used to just depending on herself and her DVD collection for company that she was honestly surprised to hear another person’s voice speaking to her when she was taking out her recycling one afternoon in loose sweatpants and a t-shirt, her hair pulled back into a high ponytail.
“Hi, um…I didn’t get to introduce myself before,” was what she heard coming from behind her as she went to let herself back into her apartment. Taeyeon turned around to see the girl from across the hall standing in her doorway again and she couldn’t help, but wonder how she always knew when she was in the hall. Did she sit at her peephole all day?
“I’m Eunsook,” the girl said when Taeyeon just stared blankly, “I just transferred here from a college near my hometown.”
“Oh, I’m Taeyeon,” she replied, “Er…welcome to the building.”
“Would you want to…um…watch a movie or something?” Eunsook asked before Taeyeon could disappear into her apartment again, “I could make dinner too…”
Taeyeon paused, unsure of what to do. It was pretty nice of the other girl to invite a perfect stranger over and offer to feed her, but at the same time, she was just that: a perfect stranger. What if they didn’t get along and it was really awkward?
“O-okay, thanks,” she finally said, shooting the other a girl a small smile that was met with a wide grin in return.
“Great! I’ll get cooking and you can maybe come over in an hour and a half?”
“Sure,” Taeyeon agreed, smiling, “See ya.” With that she went back into her apartment to change and make herself presentable. Eunsook may have already seen her looking like a slob, but perhaps it wasn’t too late to make a better impression.
Exactly an hour and thirty-two minutes later, Taeyeon stood in front of the other girl’s apartment door. She’d changed into a pair of skinny jeans with a cropped flowered t-shirt over a white camisole and a pair of ballet flats on her feet. She had pulled her hair back into a neater ponytail and straightened the loose pieces that framed her face. Once she put on some blush and mascara, she decided she was presentable. So she waited in front of the closed door, hearing Eunsook’s footsteps getting closer before the door swung open, revealing the girl herself, a wide but nervous grin on her face.
“Come in,” she gestured, stepping aside, “I’m just finishing up the pasta.”
Taeyeon smiled in greeting and followed Eunsook inside, taking in her apartment. It was clean and neat, albeit a bit sparse, though that was to be expected since she had just moved in. At least she had managed to make the space look somewhat homey in the time that she had been there. A small plant sat on the windowsill and there was a plush looking blanket thrown over the back of the couch. The colorful placemats on the table and the rug on the floor also helped to create a warmer atmosphere. Taeyeon began to feel somewhat guilty with how messy her apartment had become in comparison to this one.
“Your apartment looks great,” Taeyeon said earnestly, standing in the middle of the room and watching as Eunsook poured the pasta and steaming water into a strainer in the sink.
“Thanks,” the girl replied, shaking the strainer before returning the pasta to the pot, “I want to hang up some posters and pictures soon so it doesn’t look so bland…”
“At least it isn’t a disaster area,” Taeyeon giggled, picturing her own kitchen with dishes in the sink and table stacked with papers.
“It’s too soon to judge how clean I am,” Eunsook laughed, dishing up the pasta onto two flower-patterned plates and spooning some sauce onto both, “I hope you like spaghetti,” she went on, “I’m not great at cooking, but I can handle spaghetti.”
“I love spaghetti,” Taeyeon assured her, “And I can cook absolutely nothing, so I’m sure your cooking skills are much better than mine.”
Eunsook set the plates down on the table and went to the cabinets and pulled out two glasses.
“What do you want to drink?” she asked, filling one with cold water from the tap.
“Water is fine for me, thank you.”
Eunsook filled the second glass and returned to the table, gesturing for Taeyeon to sit as she slid into her own chair.
The two girls began to eat wordlessly, too focused on their food to chat and too new of acquaintances to have anything so important to say to each other that they couldn't to wait for their meal to be finished to say it.
“This is good spaghetti,” Taeyeon said when she was halfway through her portion, taking a sip of her water. Eunsook beamed at her from across the table before she resumed eating.
As soon as Taeyeon had finished her meal, Eunsook was up and clearing her plate, taking it to the sink to wash.
“Wait,” Taeyeon quickly turned, “You made dinner. I can do the dishes.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Eunsook chuckled, turning the water on hot and returning to the table to grab her own empty plate, “You’re the guest. Just sit and relax.”
“No,” Taeyeon pouted, standing up and following Eunsook to the sink and staring at her until the other girl looked at her, “I’ll do them.”
Eunsook looked surprised for a moment before she smiled, cheeks flushing slightly.
“Alright, you can dry the dishes after I wash them, okay?” she offered, looking through her bangs at the stubborn girl who finally nodded, satisfied by the arrangement.
And so the two of them cleaned up side by side, efficiently finishing the dishes before Eunsook led Taeyeon to the couch to watch a movie- a romantic comedy that had recently come out on DVD. By the end of the evening, they were curled up under the blanket and giggling at the funny parts of the movie. And when Taeyeon left, a smile stretched across her face, they made plans to go to lunch the next day at the Thai restaurant that was around the corner.
Taeyeon went to bed smiling that night, feeling warmth in her gut from the evening and Eunsook’s company. As much as she loved her friends, there was something about the other girl’s presence that left her feeling a little like she had sucked helium.
Taeyeon didn’t know why she spent at least ten minutes after she got out of the shower staring into her closet, feeling like she had nothing to wear. She continued to tell herself that it was just a lunch- it didn’t matter what she wore. But it still took her another five minutes after that self-reassurance to pick out a lace-paneled t-shirt, a cardigan, a pair of dark jeans, and her brown boots. And she still just felt alright, like she wished that she could look better.
But despite her insecurities, she couldn’t help but smile when she heard a knock at the door and she grinned when she opened the door to reveal Eunsook standing in the hallway, already all bundled up for the cold in a red wool coat and a thick scarf.
“Let me just grab my coat,” Taeyeon said, quickly grabbing her pea coat and scarf before slinging her purse over her shoulder and walking into the hall, shutting and locking her door behind her.
They spent the elevator ride in silence. It was a silence that wasn’t quite comfortable like one that would be shared by old friends, but it wasn’t entirely uncomfortable either. It was the kind of silence that was pregnant with nerves and a certain amount of anticipation, where the two people involved took turns catching each other’s eyes and smiling before looking away before they held their eye contact for too long.
But by the time they got to the lobby, Taeyeon remembered the movie she wanted to ask Eunsook about so the short walk to the restaurant was filled with eager conversation regarding whether or not that particular ending was realistic and if they were rooting for the male lead or the comedic sidekick (they both agreed that the sidekick who ends up alone is much more interesting).
And when they were seated across from one another in the small restaurant, sitting next to the front window so they could people watch, the conversation was flowing like they’d known each other for much longer than one day.
Taeyeon found out that Eunsook was a biology major with a literature minor while she shared that she was an education major and a dance minor because her parents wouldn’t let her major in something so “risky.” They discussed their families, their friends, and the long line of bad teachers that they’d had over the course of their lives.
The entire two hours they spent at lunch flew by and was almost completely filled by satisfying conversation, the two of them only experiencing a couple of awkward silences- one of which was when Eunsook almost choked on her rice.
And when they parted ways in the hall back at their building, Eunsook gave Taeyeon a warm hug- not one of those awkward half-hugs that people gave at family reunions to relatives that they didn’t really care for- and Taeyeon, though not a particularly touchy person herself, had to admit that she liked it; the contact leaving her warm and tingly.
The day following Taeyeon’s lunch with Eunsook was the first time that she’d been able to meet up with her friend Minjung since before Christmas. Minjung was her age, though taller than Taeyeon, and they’d met in psych class the year before. Minjung was very calm and that’s why Taeyeon hypothesized that they were such good friends- the taller girl balanced out Taeyeon’s often-jangling nerves and she…well, she gave Minjung someone whom she could treat like the little sister that she never had.
“How was your Christmas?” Taeyeon immediately exclaimed when she saw the older girl sitting in their regular booth at the diner down the street.
“Pretty good,” Minjung shrugged, smiling at her, “And yours?”
“Good! Kind of exhausting though!” Taeyeon told her, “I’ve just been being a total slug this whole week.”
“I thought you were going to hang out with Gwiboon-unnie this week…”
“Well, yeah, but unnie has been kinda busy…” Taeyeon said, raising her eyebrows suggestively.
“Ah,” Minjung nodded knowingly, chuckling.
“Oh! But! I have
been hanging out with my new neighbor!” Taeyeon added excitedly.
“Yeah! She just moved in, like, the day after I came back from break,” Taeyeon explained, “Her name is Eunsook and she’s so nice. We get along so well! I mean, I’ve only seen her twice, but I feel like she’s already one of my good friends.”
“Well, that’s goo-”
“And she’s really pretty. She has long, straight hair and a really nice smile. And she gives really good hugs and-”
“Tae?” Minjung interrupted, “Do you…like
Taeyeon stared at Minjung, puzzled.
“Of course I like her. What? Did you think I was being sarcastic or something?” she questioned, brows furrowed in confusion.
“That’s not what I meant…” the taller girl trailed off, thinking about how she should word her question so as not to offend her friend, “I mean…you know BoA-unnie?”
“Okay,” Minjung paused again, surprised that Taeyeon hadn’t gotten what she was not-so-subtlety hinting at, “You know how BoA-unnie is my girlfriend?”
“Duh,” Taeyeon huffed before she suddenly straightened up, eyes wide with realization, “You mean like that
“Of course not. I-” Taeyeon trailed off then, eyes staring at nothing in particular as she absorbed their conversation and considered what Minjung was saying, “Oh my god.”
“Tae? You okay?” Minjung asked, leaning to try and enter the other girl’s line of vision to get her attention, but to no avail.
“I just…never even thought of that. I…Minjung! I never even considered anything like…liking a girl before! No offense!”
“None taken,” Minjung laughed lightly, “It’s okay though. You know that right? It’s okay if you like a girl.”
Taeyeon nodded, still seeming somewhat spaced out.
“No wonder what Gwiboon-unnie talks about sounds so gross to me…” she marveled and Minjung couldn’t help but burst into uncharacteristically loud laughter at that, her head tipped back as she clutched at her stomach.
When she’d finally calmed down, she found that Taeyeon was staring at her, eyes big and innocent.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, if I like her, what do I do?” Taeyeon asked, “I don’t even know if she likes girls.”
“Oh! Will you meet her and let me know if she’s into girls?” she jumped in excitedly.
“I’m not going to be your personal gaydar, Taeyeon,” Minjung chuckled, amused at her friend’s bizarre thought processes. Taeyeon pouted.
“So what do I do?” she demanded, lower lips stuck out.
think she likes girls?”
“I don’t kn-”
“Just your gut reaction.”
“Well, yeah…maybe?” Taeyeon bit her lip, hands twisting nervously on the table.
“Honestly, your gut reaction is probably right,” Minjung told her.
And Taeyeon nodded, feeling her gut churn nervously at the thought of taking responsibility.
Taeyeon spent the next couple of days hiding out in her room, taking time to think about what she and Minjung had talked about. But mostly she was just too afraid to talk to Eunsook after what she had figured out. What if she wouldn’t be able to act the same around her anymore? What if she did something really stupid? What if she was wrong about Eunsook liking girls?
She didn’t know how long she could hide, but she soon found out when there was a knock at her door. She knew it was either her R.A. or it was Eunsook. And she kind of wanted to ignore it, but a bigger part of her wanted to see the other girl even if she might make a fool of herself. And even if she looked like a slob in leggings and an oversized hoodie.
Taeyeon peered through the peephole before opening the door- it was indeed Eunsook. She took a deep breath and opened the door, feeling her stomach twist with nerves. But when she saw Eunsook’s hopeful smile, she couldn’t help but smile back, her chest filling with warmth.
“I just made some break-and-bake cookies and I thought I’d see if you wanted some,” Eunsook said, gesturing to her door across the hall.
“Sure,” Taeyeon agreed, despite her nerves and the fact that she wished she was dressed in a more flattering outfit. So she followed a now-grinning Eunsook across the hall into her apartment which smelled of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
“Milk?” Eunsook offered, pulling two glasses off her shelf and getting the jug of milk out of the fridge. She filled both glasses when Taeyeon nodded, nervously perching on the couch.
Eunsook looked at the cookies, wrinkling her nose.
“I think they’re still too hot to eat,” she told Taeyeon, placing the milk in the fridge and turning to join Taeyeon on the couch. However, as she made her way across the floor, her toe caught on the edge of her throw rug and sent her careening forward. Taeyeon instinctively reached out, catching the falling girl and holding onto her as she half balanced on her lap.
Realizing their position, Taeyeon felt her heart rate speed up. She glanced at the girl who was half on her thighs and half braced against the floor. Eunsook looked up and caught her gaze, her cheeks flushing pink. And Taeyeon suddenly felt that surety in her gut that Minjung had talked about. She opened her mouth to speak, but felt the words die on her tongue and her cheeks heat up.
“S-sorry,” Eunsook stuttered, sounding embarrassed as she heaved herself back into standing position before she carefully sat down on the couch next to Taeyeon who could feel words bubbling up in her chest and threatening to spill out, even though she didn’t know if it would be a mistake to let them out.
“I…” Taeyeon started, looking at Eunsook and watching as the other girl turned to meet her timid gaze, “I like you Eunsook.”
Eunsook froze, mouth slightly open and cheeks red. But her eyes were questioning as though she wasn’t sure if what she was hearing was right.
“Please don’t be freaked out,” Taeyeon continued, looking at her hands, “But I just…I know it’s been only a couple of days, but…I like you.”
“Y-you do?” she asked, voice shaky and unsure.
“Yeah…” Taeyeon replied quietly, still not looking up- too afraid to see Eunsook’s face.
“I…I like you too,” Eunsook whispered, shocking Taeyeon enough so that she looked up, catching Eunsook’s eyes and feeling her blush darken immediately.
“Oh…” she responded, that being the only thing she could to say at that moment- that moment when their faces seemed to be getting closer.
And then the gap between them was small enough that Taeyeon could feel Eunsook’s warm breath on her lips. So she summoned all of her courage and closed the gap, pressing her lips to Eunsook’s plump lips.
The jolt that went through her at the contact was enough to know that her gut was right about least two things: she was crazy about Eunsook and Eunsook liked girls. Or at least she liked her. And that was more than enough.