Pairing: Krystal/Amber, side!Sulli/Victoria, side!Taeyeon/Jessica
Genre(s): romance, fluff, humor, slight angst
Word Count: 13,696 overall
Summary: Krystal is straight. She's sure of it. But life is never so simple.
Written for the 2012 femmebigbang
Part 1 | Part 2
Krystal leaned over the counter- hip cocked, waist bent at a 90 degree angle, and chin cradled in the palm of her left hand as her right forearm rested on the flat surface. She had an hour and seventeen minutes left in her shift and at that moment, it seemed like an eternity.
She supposed that she should be grateful that the early semester rush was over- no more lines that snaked through the campus bookstore and had the staff working to ring up purchases and assist clueless students in locating their course materials from the moment they clocked in until their shift was over with not even a free moment to go to the bathroom. So the fact that she was bored was actually an improvement.
Still, she wished that maybe a student or two would wander in just so she had something to do. Ringing up a couple of purchases might help the time go by more quickly than staring dazedly at the empty store.
Not every shift was this boring- even the shifts when nearly no one seemed to come in- because she worked with two of her best friends on Friday afternoons. However, they were currently in the back doing inventory, leaving Krystal in the front of the store alone and just about ready to put her head down on the counter to take a nap.
Just then, the bell on the door tinkled and Krystal quickly straightened up- never so eager to have a customer to assist in her life.
“Oh, it's just you,” she sighed upon seeing Luna enter, dropping back down onto her elbows and blowing the bangs out of her eyes lackadaisically.
“What a way to greet your very good friend,” Luna scowled, hands on her hips, before she laughed, “Why are you so down?”
“Bored,” Krystal sighed, hunching over further to rest her head on her straightened right arm- long black hair splayed over the surface of the counter.
“Where are Victoria and Sulli?” Luna asked, well acquainted with the work schedule of her friends since she tended to show up nearly every week just to hang out. When they weren't swamped, that is.
“In the back, doing inventory,” she replied, not even raising her hands to do the finger quotes around 'inventory' like she wanted to. She know that Luna caught her drift anyway.
“Ah, so by inventory, you mean flirting shamelessly with each other,” Luna remarked with an amused smirk.
“Yep, you guessed it,” Krystal nodded, heaving herself up into standing position again. Leaning over like that was starting to make her back cramp up.
“You saw them? What are they doing this time?” Luna wondered, “Sulli misplacing items just so Victoria will chide her? Standing too close together to look over the checklist? Victoria watching Sulli in what she thinks is a stealthy manner?”
“I didn't go check on them,” Krystal admitted, “but I can only imagine.”
Luna laughed, hopping up on the counter in front of the empty register despite the scolding she always got from Victoria when she did so in her presence.
“Has Sulli said anything to you yet?” Luna asked, rubber heels of her lug-soled boots bumping against the counter as she moved her legs, “About Victoria, I mean.”
Krystal shook her head, “Nope. Whenever I try to broach the subject she just laughs and says I must be imagining things.”
“Victoria seems absolutely scandalized when I try to bring it up,” Luna added.
“They're hopeless,” Krystal agreed, “How are they ever going to admit to each other that they have feelings for each other if they can't even admit it to themselves?”
Luna snorted her acquiescence with that statement, pulling her cell phone out of her purse to answer a text.
“Actually, I think Sulli has admitted it to herself,” Krystal mused, “But she is convinced that it'll never happen so she refuses to acknowledge it.”
“You think?” Luna asked, cell phone clunking loudly onto the counter next to her.
“I don't think Victoria has even admitted it to herself at all,” Luna told her, “Like, she is so freaked out by Sulli being two years younger than her that she won't even let herself think about it.”
“I don't know why she's so bothered,” Krystal sighed, running the pad over her thumb over the split in her middle nail.
Luna shrugged, “And I think she's also so focused on the fact that Sulli always has boys chasing after that she hasn't even considered the idea that Sulli might like her too.”
“It's kind of pathetic,” Krystal complained, tapping her black painted nails on the edge of the cash register.
“What's pathetic?” Victoria asked innocently, emerging from the back room with a clipboard in her hand and Sulli at her heels.
“These people I know,” Luna volunteered, grinning in amusement, “They both like each other but they won't admit it.”
Sulli immediately flushed red, moving to straighten a pile of books on the shelf next to her.
“Maybe you could give them a push in the right direction,” Victoria suggested, completely oblivious to what they were really talking about it.
“Believe me, I've tried,” Luna assured her, unable to hold back the laugh that followed the statement.
“Well, I'm sure they'll figure it out for themselves at some point,” she she smiled, walking behind the empty register to start to count the money in her till, “And get off the counter,” she added when she remembered.
Luna sighed, but hopped down and shot a look at Sulli who quickly went back to examining the bookshelf in front of her.
“Can we leave yet?” Krystal whined, checking the clock for probably the hundredth time that afternoon. She groaned. Still fifty-eight minutes to go.
“Hey, wake up!” Krystal demanded when she found her older sister dozing on the couch with the tv on and her laptop open on the coffee table.
“Huh?” Jessica sat up, blinking blearily at Krystal as though she was speaking Spanish.
“It's only 6:20,” Krystal told her, letting her purse drop onto the floor with a thud that had Jessica cringing in her sleepy state.
“I wasn't sleeping,” Jessica defended, running her fingers through her light brown hair and rubbing absently at her eyes.
“Yeah okay,” Krystal replied sarcastically, walking over to fridge to get herself a can of iced tea before plopping down on the couch next to Jessica's feet.
“How was work?” Jessica asked, pulling her bare feet under the afghan she had draped over herself and giving Krystal more room.
“Long,” she complained, picking up the remote from the floor and flipping through the channels.
“Hey, I was watching that!” Jessica protested, scowling in her direction.
“What was it about?” Krystal challenged with a smirk, knowing that Jessica probably didn't even know what was on the other channel since she'd slept through it and was just being difficult.
Jessica sighed in resignation and relaxed back into the cushions, eyes fixing on the screen as Krystal stopped on a music show.
“This is an annoying song,” Krystal observed after a moment.
Jessica nodded though neither of them made a move to change the channel.
“Taeyeon isn't coming over tonight?” Krystal asked when the song ended and a commercial started to play.
Jessica shook her head, “No, she has to work on some paper that's due on Monday.”
“I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend why someone would want to go to more school once they already finished college,” Krystal lamented, scrunching up her nose at the idea.
“That's just because you're not as driven as Taeyeon is,” Jessica teased, laughing at Krystal's indignation.
“I don't see you going to grad school,” Krystal shot back.
Jessica shrugged, “I don't know what I'd want to study in grad school anyway.”
“See? Exactly my point.”
“Besides, I'm making money instead,” Jessica went on, “to pay for my share, and half of your share, of this apartment.”
“Working terrible hours at a clothing boutique,” Krystal pointed out.
“So now you're trying to convince me to go to grad school, huh?” Jessica teased, poking Krystal in the side, “Have fun living on the street when I can't pay the rent. Besides, I'm just working there until I figure out what I want to do with my life.”
“Aren't you supposed to know that by the time you graduate from college?”
“You know so little,” Jessica replied with faux authority in response to Krystal's jibe.
“Good thing I have you to teach me the ways of the world!” Krystal exclaimed over-dramatically, matching Jessica's grin, “You're such a good sister,” she gushed, mostly joking, but meaning it underneath her insincere tone.
“Oh yeah?” Jessica replied with a laugh, “Well, you're the best baby sister a girl could ask for,” she cooed back, grabbing Krystal's face to press a wet, smacking kiss to her cheek.
Jessica laughed, getting up from the couch and patting her head as she walked to her bedroom.
“You know it's your turn to make dinner, right?” Krystal called over her shoulder.
“Wanna order from that Indian place?” was the response.
“Yeah,” Krystal yelled back.
At least they agreed on some things.
Krystal gripped the metal bar as the the subway car sped along its track- jostling her and the rest of the passengers stuck standing. It was rush hour so the subway was packed, leaving Krystal with no choice but to stand for the seven stop ride that she took from her apartment to campus. She tried really hard not to think about how many germs were inevitably on the pole she held onto.
With relief, Krystal let go at her stop, palm a bit sweaty, and stepped out of the cramped car onto the platform. She was actually running a little early, but she had a bit of a hangup about not being late, so she made her way around the crowds of people in the station as quickly as she could manage- hating to get stuck behind large groups of slow walkers that made her feel like she was crawling.
Krystal looked to her left to see who had spoken. She typically avoided any strangers who tried to talk to her on the street since they usually wanted her to sign something and it's not like she had all day! But the voice that was next to her wasn't like the desperate and overly friendly voices of those people standing on street corners holding clipboards. So she slowed her pace and looked at the boy walking next to her, waiting for him to continue.
“This might sound weird,” he chuckled, voice low, but smooth sounding, “But can I have your number?”
It was true that Krystal had had boys come up to her on the street before and she'd experienced her fair share of rude catcalls (including a guy in a van who was pleasuring himself as he yelled to her out the car window), but there was something different about this instance. Because while Krystal usually ignored the catcalls, brushed off the boys, and told creepy perverts to fuck off, she actually found herself somewhat at a loss for words- heart speeding up in her chest inexplicably.
“Oh, um...” she paused, trying to decide what to do. Her first instinct was always to say no. It was a stranger after all. But she found that she actually kind of wanted to give him her number, strange as it was.
The boy ducked his head, brown bangs falling into his eyes, “Sorry, I know this is pretty random.”
“I...can give you my number,” she finally said as they emerged from the underground station onto the sidewalk- fresh air a relief after the stuffiness caused by the crowds of people.
“Really?” the boy looked at her, grinning, “Thanks. I uh...don't usually do this.”
“Me neither,” Krystal laughed as she accepted the boy's phone, going to 'contacts' and typing in her first name and her cell phone number. She glanced at the wallpaper as she handed the phone back- a selca of the boy wearing a baseball hat along with a girl with long, reddish hair and side bangs that was making a pouty face at the camera. She obviously wasn't his girlfriend since he was asking her out. His sister maybe?
“Thanks so much,” he said, shooting her a charming grin that had Krystal's cheeks heating up, though she was in no way ready to accept the fact that a smile had made her blush, “I'll call you.”
“Okay,” she replied, wondering where on earth her wit had run off too, “I guess I'll talk to you soon!”
She smiled and waved good bye as the boy shot her one last grin and jogged away.
What was she doing? This was so unlike her. But...she couldn't deny the smile that refused to leave her face.
“Sulli wears spandex shorts under her dresses?” Victoria hissed, eyes wide as she walked quickly from the back room where she and Sulli were, once again, doing inventory. Krystal wondered how often that was really necessary, but chose not to comment.
“Yeah?” Luna replied, seeming confused as to why Victoria was rattled. Aside from the obvious fact that she was secretly in love with the younger girl. But that went without saying.
“Oh...” Victoria seemed to realize how bizarre her outburst was, laughing nervously and scurrying around the counter to fiddle with the display case of electronics behind the registers.
“Why?” Luna pressed, amused smirk in place as it always was when it came to Victoria's and Sulli's denial.
“Just didn't expect it, that's all,” Victoria flippantly answered, not making eye contact.
“She says she wants to always be prepared,” Luna said, having fun teasing, “Though for what exactly, I'm not sure. Perverts, maybe?” Luna stifled a giggle behind her palm as Krystal snorted at Luna's amusement.
“Hmm,” Victoria hummed as though she had tired of the subject, but Krystal could tell that she was moving things around carefully in the case so as not to make too much noise in case Luna offered any more insights on what happened under Sulli's skirts.
“What were you doing looking up Sulli's dress anyway?” Krystal jumped in, unable to resist.
Victoria whipped back around, looking panicked.
“I wasn't!” she exclaimed, “I mean, I didn't mean to. She was getting something off one of the higher shelves and I was holding the ladder for her. So she wouldn't fall.”
“Ah,” Krystal responded as Luna nodded mock-seriously.
“Well, I'd better get back!” Victoria announced, weaving between the shelves to return to the back room like someone was at her heels.
Luna burst into laughter when she was out of sight.
“How are they not dating again?” she wondered aloud between giggles.
“Because they're both really awkward?” Krystal supplied.
“Right,” Luna laughed, “So what were you telling me before Victoria's brain melted? Something about a guy on the subway?”
“He came up to me after I got off and asked for my number, out of the blue!” Krystal told her in disbelief, jumping back into her story from where she'd left off and once again feeling the twinge of nervous excitement in the pit of her stomach.
“You've never met him before? Or seen him? Is he cute?”
“Never,” Krystal affirmed, “And yes, he was cute.”
“Does he go to our school?” Luna asked.
“I don't think so,” Krystal shook her head, recalling his cell phone wallpaper, “He had a picture on his phone of him and some girl and in the picture he was wearing a hat from one of the other schools in the area...I forget which one now...”
“His background was a picture of him and some girl?” Luna asked, incredulous, “And you didn't ask who she was?”
“It's not really my business...”
“It is if you're giving him your number!” she insisted.
“It's not like we're getting married,” Krystal pointed out, laughing, “And besides, if it was his girlfriend, why would he give me his phone to put my number in knowing that that was his wallpaper?”
“Well text me when he calls you!” she instructed, “I want to know what happens!”
“I will, I will,” Krystal assured her.
“God, this is so pathetic,” Luna groaned, burying her face in her hands over-dramatically, “My love life is so boring that I have to live vicariously through you!”
“And Victoria and Sulli,” Krystal reminded her with a grin.
“Right,” Luna snorted, “And them.”
Krystal flopped down on the chair in the living room, catching the glare Jessica sent her out of the corner of her eye, but choosing to ignore it. She knew that Jessica was hoping for some alone time with Taeyeon, and normally, Krystal would honor that by hanging out in her room, but tonight she needed the distraction more than Jessica needed the opportunity to coax Taeyeon into a make out session.
The guy from the subway had called earlier and they'd set up a date for the following evening. It was just seeing a movie together- nothing that even involved much socializing aside from the few minutes while they waited for the movie to start- but Krystal still found herself uncharacteristically nervous about the whole thing.
What was it about this guy that had Krystal acting like a socially awkward recluse? None of those descriptors would typically be associated with her personality, but their short phone conversation had solidified the fact that this situation wasn't exactly typical. The only positive was that Krystal had taken the call in her bedroom, so at least Jessica hadn't heard her pathetic end of the conversation- all one word answers and nervous laughter.
So now she was basically killing time until the actual date which wouldn't commence for another twenty two hours. Hence the desire to watch some dumb romantic comedy with Jessica and her girlfriend instead of sitting in her room, stewing over all the possible ways she could make a fool out of herself the next day.
Krystal could see the way Taeyeon immediately cast a glance at her from her spot on the couch when Jessica tried to snuggle up next to her- still uncomfortable with public displays of affection, even if it was just in front of Jessica's younger sister. She knew that was why Jessica preferred to be alone with Taeyeon- so the latter would start to feel more comfortable with their relationship- but just for tonight, they'd all have to adapt.
Krystal thought that they could all just blame that boy from the subway. It was clearly his fault, anyway.
They met outside the movie theater- the boy leaning casually against the wall with his attention on his phone. He was in skinny jeans (skinny, but not skintight), a t-shirt, a hoodie, and a baseball cap. Theoretically, Krystal thought, there should be nothing about this guy that totally threw her off- sending her usual confidence careening off the edge of a cliff and leaving her nervous and unsure like she'd never had the confidence at all. But theoretically meant nothing when Krystal felt her heart leap at the easy smile he sent her when he saw her approach. There was something soft about him that made him seem different from anyone she'd dated in the past- something honest and genial about his demeanor and she couldn't help but be drawn to him.
“Hey,” he greeted easily when she was within ear shot, “Ready to go in?”
Krystal nodded, in awe of how relaxed he seemed. So it really was just her with her heart banging loudly in her chest, then. Snap out of it, she mentally hissed at herself as she followed him inside the theater to the ticket counter.
“What do you want to see?” he asked, leaning back to look up at the movie listings- titles and showing times glowing brightly in red.
“Um...” Krystal looked up as well, scanning over a couple of kid's movies, an action flick with probably more chase scenes than actual plot, a sappy drama, and a cheesy romantic comedy before her eyes settled on the one horror movie that was playing, “Blood Pledge?” she suggested, hoping that he actually liked horror films. There was always the chance that he didn't but would see it just so she wouldn't think he was a wuss or something.
“Only if you want, I'm up for whatever,” she added when he looked at her, surprised.
“No, that sounds good,” he laughed, eyes crinkling, “I just didn't take you for the horror type.”
“What's that supposed to mean?” she asked, laughing.
He shrugged, “You just seem like the type that would scream and close your eyes through the last five minutes, that's all.”
“Hey!” Krystal protested, “I think you have me mistaken for my sister. I love horror movies.” Her lips curled up in a smile even as she crossed her arms in defiance.
“Alright, alright,” he put his hands up in surrender, laughing, “Just don't come crying to me if you're terrified by the end of it.”
“If anything, it'll be the other way around,” she promised, eyes shining with the challenge.
The boy grinned, seeming pleased with her confidence as he stepped up to the ticket counter to purchase the tickets.
“Two for Blood Pledge,” he said, pulling out a card case to show his i.d. when the woman requested it since the movie was rated R.
Krystal glanced over idly, not really looking, but having nothing else to do while she waited. But something caught her eye. Focusing more intently, Krystal re-read the name on the license: Amber Liu. Amber. Amber.
“Holy shit,” she breathed before she could even think. The girl behind the counter glanced at her as she handed over the tickets, but didn't seem too interested.
“What?” the boy- no scratch that- girl asked, taking the tickets and sticking the card case back in her pocket.
Krystal was at a loss. What was she supposed to do? No matter what, she was going to come off looking like a complete moron at best. She could lie and pretend she knew all along, but she didn't date girls so she suspected that she'd be found out pretty quickly. Part of her wanted to call Jessica and ask for advice, but she didn't really want to be laughed at right now, and besides, she had to say something since Amber (Amber!) was standing there staring at her.
“You're...a girl,” she finally said, wincing at the confused expression that crossed Amber's face before her eyes widened in realization.
“I didn't ever tell you my name, did I?” she asked, a look of resignation crossing her face.
Krystal shook her head.
“Sorry...about that,” Amber apologized, rubbing the back of her neck sheepishly.
“No don't apologize!” Krystal insisted, “It's my fault. I'm just...really stupid, I guess.”
“You're not stupid,” Amber laughed, smiling at her in reassurance, “You are definitely not the first person who has mistaken me for a guy. One time a restaurant employee saw me going into the women's bathroom and yelled out that I was going into the wrong one.”
Krystal gaped. How embarrassing!
“That's so awkward!” she exclaimed, “Did you punch them?”
“No!” Amber laughed, looking really and truly amused by the prospect, “I think that might have made it even more awkward. But still, I can understand the confusion. I just like to dress like this and keep my hair short,” she shrugged, “I'm used to it.”
“I'm really, really sorry,” Krystal said, not actually able to remember ever feeling like this much of an idiot.
“It's fine,” Amber assured her, “So...I'm guessing you don't date girls then?”
Krystal shook her head apologetically.
“Don't worry about it,” Amber grinned, “We can always be friends. And we might as well go see the movie since we already have tickets. If you want to, that is.”
“I do,” Krystal immediately told her, finding herself returning the other girl's grin. Being friends with Amber sounded great, to be honest. And the fact that Amber was being so nice about the whole thing, that just made her that much more determined to make it happen.
“Great. Let's go in then,” Amber smiled, starting to walk toward the ticket taker, “You have to pick the tab up next time though, since this isn't a date,” she teased.
Krystal agreed, laughing loudly at the joke. It was partly relief that Amber was willing to joke about something that could easily have offended anyone else. But it was mostly just the fact that Amber's smile and laugh were contagious.
It seemed that the evening wasn't going to be a bust after all.
“So how was your date with the subway boy?” Jessica asked when Krystal let herself into their shared apartment at quarter to midnight.
“First of all, subway boy sounds like you're talking about someone who makes sandwiches for a living,” Krystal pointed out, really just stalling because she was really not looking forward to Jessica killing herself laughing over the whole thing, “And second of all, it...wasn't really a date.”
“What do you mean?” Jessica asked, brows furrowing in confusion before amusement took over, “You mean he never meant it as a date at all?”
“No, that's not it,” Krystal told her, “But it's almost a shame that that's not the case since you'd clearly be so supportive and reassuring,” she added drily.
“Sorry,” Jessica laughed, “But it's not like you have any shortage of guys that want to date you. If you were insecure over your ability to charm a man, I wouldn't have laughed. I'm not that mean.”
Krystal couldn't help the quirk of her mouth, “I suppose that's true.”
“So what happened then?” Jessica pressed, “You should probably warn me now if you need me to console you.”
“You...don't have to console me,” Krystal said, still wanting to put off the explanation, “But try not to laugh too hard, okay? Please?”
“I won't,” Jessica promised, nodding solemnly, though Krystal could see that she was eager to know what exactly had happened.
“So it turns out that the person who asked me out...” Krystal took a breath, “was a girl.”
Jessica seemed to not comprehend what she said at first, but realization brought a screeched, “What?” along with uproarious laughter as she clapped her hands together.
Krystal scowled, “You said you wouldn't laugh too hard.”
“Krystal,” Jessica said between bouts of laughter, hand coming up to cover her mouth as she doubled over again, “How did you not know she was a girl?”
“She dresses like a guy, okay?” she defended, “And she has a low-ish voice. She said that plenty of people have mistaken her for a boy before!”
“But still, didn't you notice her lack of an adam's apple?” Jessica pressed, seeming to get herself under control even if her lips were still twisted in an amused grin.
“Maybe you go around staring at people's necks, but I don't. I'm...normal,” Krystal scoffed, setting her purse on the kitchen table and dropping down on the couch.
“So how did you find out that she was a...she?”
“I saw her driver's license,” she explained, “Her name is Amber.”
“And you told her that you had thought she was a boy?” Jessica asked, wide-eyed.
“Well, yeah,” Krystal replied, sighing in remembrance of the embarrassment she felt even though it had ended up not being all that bad, “I didn't know what else to do.”
“I'm guessing she was understanding? Since you didn't come straight home.”
“Yeah, she was cool with it. We saw the movie anyway. But now I owe her a movie because she paid before I realized...” she trailed off. It really was an unusual spot to be in even if it hadn't seemed that way to Amber.
“Aw so you're going on another date?” Jessica cooed, grinning.
“Not a date,” Krystal corrected, “We're just gonna be friends. I mean, she seems nice.”
“If you ever need advice about how to treat a woman...” Jessica teased, laughing even after Krystal shoved her arm playfully.
“As much as I'm sure you'd love to show off your knowledge,” Krystal said sarcastically, “I don't think I'm going to be needing your dating advice...ever.”
“I could still help you with boys, you know,” Jessica insisted, defensive of the world knowledge that she had acquired by being older than Krystal, even if that wasn't what they were even talking about, “I had that boyfriend in high school...”
“That you dated for two months and then broke up with because you, and I quote, would rather clean public restrooms for a living than have his dick anywhere near your mouth again.”
Krystal grinned in triumph at Jessica's scowl. Her habit of eavesdropping on her older sister when they were younger had paid off time and time again.
“I'm going to bed,” Krystal announced, feeling good that she had gotten the last word, “But promise not to tell anyone about my date tonight. Please?”
“Only if you stop bringing up stuff that I said on the phone to Tiffany when I was sixteen, okay?”
“Deal,” Krystal smiled and then made her way to her bedroom to change into her pajamas.
It was only right before she was about to lay down that she checked her cell phone one last time. She had a message. And to her surprise, it was from Amber.
I had fun tonight and I hope you did too. Even if it wasn't what you were hoping for. But remember that you owe me a movie. Or a meal. I'm not picky ^^
Krystal smiled to herself as she typed out a response.
I did too. And I haven't forgotten! But a three dollar slice of pizza counts as a meal right? She hoped that Amber would know she was kidding.
It was only a minute or before her phone buzzed on her night stand.
Several meals in that case. You're not getting off so easily~
Krystal laughed quietly into the darkness of her room.
Alright, you win ^^
She waited another minute for a response.
Excellent :) This friendship is off to a good start ^^
Krystal laughed and relaxed into her pillows. She fell asleep with a smile on her face.
Needless to say, Luna had been just as amused as Jessica had been when Krystal told her what had happened on her date the night before. She had tried as hard as she could to avoid the topic, but Luna was persistent, so the story came out. Sulli had snickered as well and while Victoria had tried not to laugh, wanting to set a good example for the younger girls, Krystal could tell that she was fighting off an amused smile.
“Okay, so now that that's done, can we get back to work or something?” Krystal whined, tapping her fingers against the register in irritation.
“Yeah, get back to work guys!” Luna teased, “What are you even paid for?”
Krystal reached across the counter to shove at her should while Sulli made a sound of indignation.
“My turn to man the register,” Victoria told Krystal, stepping up next to her and bumping Krystal's hip with her own.
“Fine,” she relented, walking out from behind the counter, “You want Sulli and I to shelve the books that came in yesterday?”
“Yep!” Victoria chirped. She might not have been their superior officially, but she was older and had worked there longer so Krystal and Sulli tended to listen to her and do what she said with minimal questions.
Sulli whined as Krystal dragged her by the wrist to the back of the store, calling Victoria a mean unnie, and sticking her tongue out as she went, making the older girl laugh. Krystal rolled her eyes. Could they be any more enamored with each other?
Krystal found herself out for lunch with Amber the following weekend, paying her back for the movie.
“They have the best tacos,” Amber gushed, leading Krystal into a small restaurant that smelled, quite frankly, amazing.
“Better than Chipotle?” Krystal ventured to ask, trying not to drool too obviously over the food that she saw being delivered to the table on their right.
Amber scoffed like she was offended that Krystal had even asked the question. Krystal grinned at the reaction.
“So what do you recommend?” she asked, skipping over to the specials board with various food items written in colorful chalk.
“I usually get the picadillo tacos with no onion and green sauce,” Amber told her, looking up at the mounted board behind the counter.
“What's pica...” she stumbled over the word and gave up, “that pica thing. What's that?”
“Ground beef,” Amber laughed, flicking Krystal's upper arm playfully, “But they put cubed potatoes in with the beef and it's amazing.”
“I really love quesadillas though,” Krystal mused, squinting at the menu. So what if she had forgotten to put on her contacts that morning. She didn't want to wear her glasses and she could see well enough.
Amber shrugged, “So get both.”
“Both? Won't that be a lot?”
“The tacos are small,” Amber explained, “I usually get three.”
“So if I got a quesadilla and a taco?”
“Go for it,” Amber encouraged.
“You're just saying that because I'm paying,” Krystal accused.
“Yep!” Amber grinned, laughing when Krystal glared at her.
But Krystal ended up getting both and Amber insisted that they split the check.
“You've been spending a lot of time with Amber lately,” Luna commented after Krystal had spent three Saturdays in a row with her new friend.
“Well, just once a week,” Krystal frowned, “But yeah? I guess.”
“Hm,” Luna nodded, turning to play with the container of ten cent erasers by the register.
“What?” Krystal demanded.
“Nothing!” Luna held up her hands in alleged innocence, “She just kind of came out of nowhere and now you guys are really close, that's all. I'm glad that you guys get along.”
“Okay...” Krystal allowed, sensing that Luna wasn't voicing everything that she was thinking, but deciding not t press the issue.
“Hey Sulli,” Luna called, obviously having moved on to another train of thought, “What's so interesting?”
“Huh?” Sulli whipped around from where she was watching Victoria reach up to restock the upper shelves with moony eyes.
Luna snorted in amusement, “Wipe the drool off your chin.”
Sulli looked confused for a moment before she scowled.
“I was just zoning out,” she defending, stomping away to straighten up the table of new arrivals.
“Do you think that was too mean?” Luna asked, turning to Krystal and looking concerned.
“Nah,” the taller girl shook her head, “She's not actually mad. Just in denial.”
“I know, but...I don't want to push her too far to the point where she just distances herself from Vic-unnie altogether.”
“I doubt that's possible,” Krystal reassured her, “but you can apologize if you want.”
“Sorry Sul,” Luna said as the younger girl walked past the register on her way to the back, “I was just teasing.”
“It's okay,” Sulli replied, flashing her adorable smile that always had Victoria eating out of the palm of her hand, even if Sulli didn't realize it.
Sulli missed the way that Victoria's eyes tracked her as she crossed the store and disappeared into the back room.
“So anything new with you?” Amber pressed the following Saturday after she'd taken a sip of her coffee, “Any new boyfriends?”
Krystal laughed, having to cover her mouth in case any latte escaped, “No, no new boyfriends.”
“Old boyfriends?” Amber teased.
“None of those either,” Krystal replied, grinning in amusement.
“You've got to have guys just following you around,” Amber told her, “I don't know how you don't have anyone.”
Krystal felt a slight clench of her stomach at the question. They hadn't talked about their love lives (or lack thereof) during the past few weeks of hanging out, probably since it would just remind them both that Amber had asked Krystal out and that Krystal had said yes, thinking that Amber was a boy. Not exactly Krystal's finest moment.
But they'd have to talk about it eventually if they were going to be friends. What kind of friends didn't talk about relationships at all, as though it was some sort of taboo topic? Friends with fucked up dynamics, Krystal assumed. And she didn't want her friendship with Amber to be one of those weird friendships that fade because it gets awkward or because there's only one or two things to talk about.
“They don't follow me around...” she replied, giggling a little nervously.
“Maybe they just hang back so you don't realize that they're following you,” Amber suggested, a glint in her eye.
“Are you suggesting that I have stalkers?” Krystal demanded, unable to stop the disbelieving laugh that escaped her.
“I'm just saying, you never know,” Amber smirked.
“But really,” Amber started, suddenly more serious, “How do you not have a boyfriend?”
“Um, I guess I'm just picky?” Krystal supplied feeling her stomach clenching nervously again.
“What kind of qualities are you looking for then, princess?” Amber asked, playful again.
“Shut up,” Krystal laughed, “I dunno, just...someone that I can be myself with...someone who I can have a conversation with...someone who I can have fun with, but who can also be serious and be there for me...”
“That sounds reasonable.”
“Yeah, well that's harder to find than you'd think,” Krystal pointed out.
“I know,” Amber nodded, taking a sip of her coffee.
Krystal felt her cheeks flushing for no real reason as she fiddled with the cardboard sleeve on the outside of her to-go coffee cup.
“How about attractive?” Amber teased, poking Krystal on the arm.
“Well, that's not the most important thing, but...” she admitted.
Amber laughed, “Glad to know that those are the things people look for in a relationship since I think I am all of that and more,” she brushed her shoulder like she was hot shit, mischievous grin on her face all the while.
Krystal snorted, “You're right, if you were a boy, I'd date you.”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she wished that she could take them back. It seemed like the oxygen was all sucked out of the room- blood pounding too loudly in her ears. Amber had frozen as well, mouth open like she was all ready with a comeback until she'd realized what Krystal had said.
“Um...I mean...” she tried, but couldn't think of a single thing to say.
“I'm just cool like that,” Amber attempted to joke, but her laugh was hollow.
“You're holding out for Miss A's Min anyway,” Krystal quickly said, relieved to have finally thought of something.
Amber's laugh was immediate. She, too, was glad that the tension had been broken, “I am,” she agreed.
They'd been able to move past the moment of awkwardness, but Krystal still couldn't stop thinking about what she'd said even after they'd parted ways. Because it was true. All of it was true. Amber really did possess all of those traits that she'd listed. And she obviously found her attractive. She'd thought that Amber was attractive as soon as she'd seen her. Of course that was when she'd thought that she was a boy, but the fact that she was a girl didn't change the fact that she was very good-looking.
So would she date Amber as a boy? Well, yeah. Obvious, on the one hand. She'd agreed to a date in the first place. But the immediate attraction to someone was very different than the build up of affection that happened after getting to know someone. And since getting to know Amber, Krystal could say that the other girl really was her ideal type except for the fact that she was a girl.
Fuck, why wasn't Amber a boy? Krystal rolled over in her bed- restless and wide-awake despite the late hour. But now that she'd let the idea of being able to date Amber enter her mind, she couldn't stop herself from thinking about it.
She found herself imagining what would have happened if Amber really was a boy. They obviously would have had an amazing time- obviously would have hit it off. Would she have let her (him) kiss her goodnight at the end of the date? If not the first, then probably the second.
Krystal flushed when her mind supplied her with an image of the two of them kissing. And Amber looked the same as she always did. She could really pass for someone of either gender easily. But seeing it in her mind with Amber just looking like Amber was making her stomach twist and her skin heat up in embarrassment.
Forcefully, Krystal tried to make the Amber in her head more manly. She tried to picture her taller- taller than herself rather than a few centimeters shorter. She imagined Amber with broader shoulders and a thicker neck. She tried to focus on the flat plane of chest in her mind's eye- no curve of her breasts when she moved in a way that had her shirt pulling tight. Bigger, more masculine hands and slimmer hips. More muscle and not as soft as a girl.
She tried. She really, really tried to picture Amber as boy. But as a boy, it was no longer Amber- just a guy with features similar to Amber's. But he wouldn't have her voice or her laugh or her sense of humor. He wouldn't tease like she did or add emotions at the ends of his texts. He wouldn't listen like Amber did and he wouldn't make Krystal feel like the most important person in the world when she was with him.
She knew this because he was wasn't Amber. And only Amber could be Amber.
If that made any sense at all.
Krystal squeezed her eyes shut against the image of herself kissing some strange guy that did absolutely nothing for her. And then she squeezed them closed even tighter, trying to avoid the onslaught of images of her kissing Amber, just Amber as she was today when they'd had coffee, that were making her organs swirl around inside of her and her heart pound.
This couldn't be...there was no way that she liked Amber. She liked boys. And yet, she couldn't think of a single boy who made her feel like she might never stop smiling. She had never met a boy who made her want to crawl into every nook and cranny of his life while he made a home under her skin. And the idea of kissing anyone else in the world aside from Amber didn't make her whole body flush and her heart flutter.
She liked Amber.
She wanted to be with her.
...she was so fucked.