by Rana Eros
My first saffic. Dedicated to my baby sister and her Girl, my beloved beta Eliza, and Brigdh, who's been waiting.
Sungmi's paid attention to SM's recruits since her own debut, in case the unthinkable happened and her solo career tanked. Her theory's been that SM wouldn't waste all her training and would re-package her, probably as part of a group. Now here she is, on the other side of that unthinkable, and theory has become hope.
SM's having her sing with three other girls on the SMTown summer album. She knows who Sunday and Jiyeon are, though the third name is unfamiliar. She also knows Sunday and Jiyeon are having as little success as she is now. That SM's putting them together can only mean there's a plan in the works.
The four of them meet officially in the studio. Sunday's been in Japan, and the other girl is from America, but Sungmi's at least talked to Jiyeon before. They smile and hug, and in Jiyeon's eyes she sees her own disappointment, her own hope. They're presented as delicate, but it's not kind, this business, and she's glad to see Jiyeon's no more easily wilted than she is.
"Is this a group hug?" says the third girl, the true newcomer among them, and Sungmi's surprised by how low her voice is. When they both turn to her, she grins unrepentantly, then laughs when they open their arms to make room. "Yeah, I think this is going to work great. Hi, ladies, I'm Stephanie."
"Hi, Stephanie," they say in chorus, and Sungmi wonders if Jiyeon's laughter is also partly out of sheer relief that they're all getting along, that there are arms around them.
"Hey, hey!" It's Sunday, looking rather put out at their three-way hug. Then she ducks down --not very far-- and wriggles between Sungmi and Stephanie, pushing them apart and making them laugh harder. Once in position, she straightens and stretches her arms across their lower backs, looking supremely satisfied with herself. "That's better. Rule for next time: no hugs without me."
Next time. It's got a nice ring to it. And since she's the one who started it, Sungmi thinks it's only right that she's the first to say, "I promise, Sunday. No hugs without you."
"Promise," Jiyeon echoes, and Stephanie nods.
"Good." Now it's Sunday's turn to grin, and the mischief in it is a different kind of promise. She drops her arms and hops up to peck Sungmi on the lips. It's such a startling move, none of them pull away before she's gotten all three of them, and Sungmi can only lick her lips. Sunday's wearing tangerine lipgloss. Sungmi's got a few sticks of that at home; now she knows she'll never wear it without thinking of the softness of Sunday's mouth, the brightness of her eyes. Sunday pulls away from kissing Stephanie and says, "There, sealed with a kiss. Now, are we singing or what?"
"We're singing," Jiyeon says, but then Stephanie leans forward and kisses her, and Sungmi's not surprised to be next. Stephanie's lipgloss is flavorless.
"Now you two, so it's fair," Stephanie says.
Sungmi looks at Jiyeon, who looks back, and she can see the hope gaining ground. She can feel it, in her own heart. Taste it on Jiyeon's lips.
Hear it when they're singing. She never wants to stop.
~END (of the beginning)~