Kris sighed as he put the last of the paint into the trunk of his car, shutting it. "Are we done now? I'm tired."
When Kyungsoo didn't reply, he turned to find him staring intently at something. He followed his eyes and they landed on the river were people were getting on those cheap sappy boat rides.
"What're you looking at?" Kris asked. The shorter boy averted his eyes and shrugged.
"You wanna go on a boat?"
"No, I don't."
"Why not? It looks like fun."
"Kris, I said I don't-"
Before he could complete his sentence, he was being pulled by the arm toward the river.
"It'll be fun!"
"I don't want to get on-"
"Hey how much for a boat ride?"
Kyungsoo scowled as the taller boy quickly paid for the two of them. He got on the boat and pulled the other boy along with a yelp. Kyungsoo looked around nervously before glaring at Kris.
"You're so out of the art club for this."
"Come on, how bad could it be?" Kris asked as the driver began to row the boat. Kyungsoo inhaled sharply, closing his eyes as he gripped his seat hard.
"You don't look like you're enjoying yourself."
"Because I'm not," Kyungsoo yelled, a little loudly which slightly took Kris off-guard.
"I thought you were looking at it because you wanted to get on."
"How so very observant of you. Next time, try not to assume things about me." He snapped.
Kris frowned, "You can at least appreciate the fact that I'm trying to do something nice for you. You're always so closed off and even though you treat me like shit, I'm still trying to be your friend."
"I don't need friends," Kyungsoo muttered, "And even if I did, it definitely wouldn't be someone like you."
Kris stood up angrily, making the boat shake and Kyungsoo let out an unexpected squeak as he held on tight to his seat. Kris' anger immediately dissolved as he eyed the other boy curiously. Kyungsoo shot him glare.
"Don't just move suddenly like that! Isn't this damn boat shaky enough for you?" He yelled, his voice losing that usual calm tone and getting a little higher than usual.
"Uh..." Kris sat down again cautiously, "You're not really a fan of boats, are you?"
"No, I'm not! I hate boats and I hate water!"
Kris' mouth formed an 'o' as he nodded slowly. Yeah... maybe this was a bad idea. It was the first time Kyungsoo looked so... uncomfortable and anxious. He was acting jumpy and yelling a lot more than usual.
"I'm sorry," Kris said, placing a hand on his shoulder, "I really didn't know." He was confused as to why he felt so guilty for forcing Kyungsoo into that boat ride. He'd assume that he should have been happy to see the guy was out of his comfort zone for once. But it didn't feel good at all.
"What do you know anyway? You're so goddamn oblivious to everything all the time. Like the fact that you have zero talent in art and that the only reason I made you my assistant was to make you give up on your stupid dream!"
Kris felt his heart drop at that. "What?"
"You heard me. I was trying to get you to give up all along. That's why I treat you the way I do, I want you to leave the art club and to never hold up a damn paintbrish again, because your art skills are just offensive."
Kris only stared at the other boy in disbelief. That was what he wanted all along? Getting me to give up on my dream? Kris could take Kyungsoo's insults, he could take being his assistant, but this was just on another level. It's not like his art skills physically hurt the guy, so why was he being so spiteful and malicious? Why would he do all this just to make Kris give up?
"I know I'm not a great artist. I'm not even good at it. I'm not that oblivious," Kris stated, voice quiet, "but can you blame a guy for trying? I wasn't lying when I said I was passionate about it! And though you insulted me over and over again, I persevered because I wanted to get better, I wanted to learn, and I wanted to learn from you. Yeah, you. Not Sera. Not anyone else."
Kyungsoo's eyes widened, feeling his heart skip a beat. He hadn't meant to lash out at that guy, but being on that boat made him nervous and he lost his temper. He'd never heard Kris talk like that, sounding so hurt. And it made him feel undeniably upset at himself.
"Your art inspires me. There's just something about the way you express yourself through you drawings, like I can feel what you felt while you were drawing them. I aspired to be like you. But you just ridiculed me. Over and over again. And it turns out you were just trying to get me to give up right from the start. I thought you were cruel before but boy this really takes the cake," Kris laughed humorlessly, looking down at his lap. Maybe it was stupid of him to keep trying to be something he was never cut out for in the first place. Just like Kai had told him once, this life wasn't about making your dreams come true, it was about surviving. He thought that was stupid when he first heard it, but now he understood that it was true. How many people out there really get to do what they wanted in life? Even if they were great at it, it was rare. Kris wasn't even a good artist, so it wasn't even possible for him.
Kris looked up in surprise, not sure if he had actually heard right. The voice was so small and so soft, he had barely heard it. "What?"
"I said, I'm sorry," Kyungsoo spoke, sighing, "I didn't mean to say all those things to you. I just lost myself for a moment. I... really don't like water." The boy looked around, a distant look forming in his eyes as if it was bringing up old memories in his head, "I had a younger sister... Her name was Jiyoon. She was only ten years old, always so bright and cheerful. But her life was taken away, just like that," he paused. "She died drowning, about five years ago."
Kris' eyes softened. He hadn't known that Kyungsoo had any siblings, mostly because the guy never talked about himself. It was obvious he had loved his younger sister dearly. All of a sudden, Kris wasn't mad at him any more. The guy sure was mean, but he had also been through a lot and life hasn't been particularly kind to him. And for someone like Kris who was lucky enough to have never lost a loved one in his eighteen years of living, he couldn't even imagine the grief Kyungoo must have been through. He didn't realize he'd be opening up old wounds when he forced Kyungsoo onto the boat.
"I don't want you to pity me, I just thought I owed you an explanation for yelling at you like that," Kyungsoo added, "And yes... it's true that I wanted you to quit art in the beginning. And your determination pissed me off but at the same time, it was... endearing. You grew on me, to be honest, and I hated that fact. I've tried to distance myself from people for the past five years but you... You just came waltzing right into my life and made me get attached to you. I don't hate you, and I hate that. So I kept treating you like crap because I didn't want to get any more attached to you. And obviously that was failing miserably. God, I feel so pathetic right now-"
Before he could complete, he was silenced by a sudden pair of lips covering his own. In the middle of his rant, he hadn't even noticed that Kris had gotten up and made his way to him, and now he was kissing him. Kissing him! His eyes were wide and his heart was thumping uncontrollably in chest, but he couldn't push him away. Kris pulled back slightly, breathing heavily as he took in the bright blush on the other boy's cheeks and the wide-eyed look on his face.
"W-Why did you..." Kyungsoo muttered, voice a mere whisper. Kris looked into his glowing eyes and he couldn't help thinking Kyungsoo looked beautiful. He didn't even know what he was doing, it was just that he looked so damn adorable ranting like that and all of a sudden he found himself kissing him. And he totally liked it. Okay... I just kissed a dude... and that dude just happens to be Do Kyungsoo...
I'm okay with this.
Before he knew it, he was leaning back in to kiss his plump lips again.
"Sehun's upset at me."
Victoria sighed into her phone, "Kai, I have homework." That was a lie, she just didn't want to hear Kai talk about Sehun. Why he found it neccessary to report every single 'adorable' thing Sehun did, she had no idea.
"I guess I deserve it though," he went on anyway, "After all, I followed him around on his date."
Victoria froze, "You did what?"
"I know it's messed up but... I couldn't help it. I just felt really uneasy and I had to see what they were doing."
Victoria stayed quiet, feeling a prick of hurt. To think he could actually go that far... She couldn't stop that one thought from re-surfacing yet again.
"And the funny thing is, I don't even know why I did it."
But she knew. She knew for a while, only she herself didn't want to believe it. She had wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but apparently he himself didn't know.
"Kai," she said monotonously, "I'm busy." Before he could reply, she hung up and tossed her phone onto her bed, digging her fingers into her hair. The tears were leaving her eyes on their own accord, and she couldn't feel more pathetic. Crying over a guy. A couple years ago she'd never had seen herself like this. But here she was, feeling like her heart was being torn into pieces. The worst part was, she couldn't even blame Kai. Or even Sehun. She couldn't blame anyone.
She found herself picking up her phone and dialing in the number she knew by heart since middle school.
"Amber," she choked, "I need to talk to you."
"Victoria?" the other girl sounded confused, "Are you crying? Hold on, where are you?"
"At home," she mumbled.
"I'll be right there, okay?"
She felt numb after putting down her phone. Why did she even call Amber? She had no idea, all she knew was, she needed someone to talk to. And Amber was always the one she could be completely honest with. That had never changed since middle school.
It only took twenty minutes for the doorbell to ring. Victoria quickly composed herself, wiping away her tears and making her way down the stairs. Thankfully her parents weren't home to see her miserable state. She opened the front door to find a worried Amber.
"Are you okay?" She quickly asked, stepping into the house.
Victoria nodded, closing the door behind her. "Yeah... I'm sorry I bothered you. I just needed someone to talk to and I just sort of... called you."
Amber shrugged, "I had nothing better to do anyway. So what's up?"
Victoria bit her lip, "Do you want something to drink?"
"I'm good," the short-haired girl replied as they sat down on the couch in the living room. "Well?"
Originally she had wanted to talk about Kai but seeing Amber there, in front of her, she forgot about her own problems for a second. Even after everything that had happened between them, Amber was still worrying about her, she was still there for her, and she came running when she called. She felt guilty all over again for everything she had done.
"That day... You asked me why I didn't apologize to you all this time."
Amber sighed, "Victoria, I don't-"
"Want to talk about it. I know. But let me speak, please," she sucked in a breath, "The fact was... I was scared. I was scared to just go up to you and apologize for ignoring you out of the blue like that, without an explanation. Most of all, I was scared to tell you why I did it. I was always being made fun of by my friends for hanging out with you. They kept saying shit about you in front of my face and I went along with it, even if I hated it. They teased me every single day, calling me your lesbian girlfriend and whatnot. And maybe when I think about it now I feel like I've been such an idiot but back then, I cared so much about what everyone else said and thought about me."
"So that's why you stopped talking to me? Because you didn't want to be teased?" Amber had wanted to sound indifferent but she couldn't help the anger that slipped into her tone.
"No," she shook her head, "It was because I was a coward. Just like I always was, like I still am. I was too scared to push my uncle's hands away when he touched me, too scared to tell my parents about what he did, too scared of being different and not fitting in, and..." Victoria bit her lip, clenching her fists as she looked up at Amber, "too scared to admit my feelings for you."
Amber stared at her incredulously, not sure if she had heard right. Feelings? What feelings? "What?"
"I was in love with you," she breathed, "But because I was afraid of how everyone would think of me, of how you would think of me, I just took the easy way out. I stopped talking to you, even though I wanted nothing more than to go up to you and be like we always were. I stopped looking at you because if I did, I knew my heart would break all over again. I stopped myself because I was so damn scared of being judged."
Amber couldn't even believe what she was hearing. Victoria was in love with her? Her feelings weren't one-sided? She'd expected an array of different reasons for why Victoria had started avoiding her but that, she wasn't expecting that one bit.
"And now..." she continued, voice cracking ever so slightly, "Now I'm scared of letting Kai go."
Amber frowned, "Huh? You want to break up with him?"
"If it were up to me, no I don't want to. But I have to. He doesn't love me... not anymore," she said quietly.
"Did he say something that upset you?"
"No..." Victoria shook her head, "Not really. I just know it. I've known for the past couple of weeks but I kept denying it to myself. He just... doesn't look at me the same way anymore."
"You can't just assume that, Victoria. I think you should talk to him first."
"It's not an assumption. I'm sure of it. I know him all too well to know he's moved on... that he has feelings for someone else. And you probably know who that is."
Amber stayed quiet for a while, "You think Kai is in love with Sehun?"
"Maybe not in love yet but... he definitely has feelings for him." It hurt to finally admit it but somehow, saying it aloud seemed to lift some weight off her shoulders. She wasn't just doubtful, she was sure. And saying the words felt better than having them spin around in her head. "I don't think he even knows it himself."
"That does explain why he's been acting so weird about Sehun going on that date... I had a sneaking suspicion but it looks like it's actually true."
"I don't want him to be chained to me when he clearly wants someone else. As much as I want to be selfish but... I know it'll just hurt us both in the end. I want to do the right thing for once. I have to break up with him, and tell him to be with the one he really wants."
Amber's eyes softened, "Are you sure about this?"
The other girl bit her lip, hesitating for a minute before nodding her head, "Yes. I don't want to be a coward anymore."
"Okay, then do it. If you're really sure," Amber stated, nodding at her encouragingly. After talking to her today, she realized that maybe Victoria had been hurting a lot more than she did. Amber had to deal with the pain of being betrayed by someone she loved, but the other girl had to go through the pain of not being around the person she loved and the guilt of what she did. It didn't negate the fact that she did a terrible thing but, she had paid her price for it. "And Victoria... Don't be so hard on yourself. You did a shitty thing but you were young and naive... middle school is a crappy time and people are always judging others. Of course you just wanted to fit in. Even I wanted to fit in. So maybe you were a coward, but you had your reasons for it. At least you've matured now and you're doing what you think is right, even if it hurts. I'm really proud of you."
The black-haired girl smiled warmly, looking up at the girl she once loved. "Thank you, Amber."
Amber only nodded, "I'll get going now."
Before she could leave, Victoria walked up to her and hugged her, "I'm sorry. For everything." Amber sighed and wrapped her arms around Victoria as well, feeling a sense of closure and relief. At least she finally knew why Victoria did what she did, and she found that she could even forgive her. She was glad she finally got to hear her side of the story as well.
"I won't lie and say it's okay but... I forgive you."
Victoria tightened her arms around her, crying into her shoulder. Amber gently stroked her head, comforting her as she felt the dampness seep into her shirt. But she didn't mind. Before leaving, Victoria told her that she was going to break up with Kai the next day at school.