Vernon collapsed in relief on the sidelines of the sand pit and didn't even mind that the scratchy sand scattered from his sandaled feet and splashed into the creases of his neon green joggers. His sleeveless white tanktop rumpled around his slim torso while the crackle of laughter and sunshine echoed off of his barely freckled arms.
"Phew!" Trying to make volleyball line calls on his over-competitive superior officers was mildly stressful work. Vernon rested his palms behind him, closed his eyes and leaned back to finally relax now that the games were over. After a few minutes, the bright young man felt a presence come up beside him. Vernon opened his amber eyes and looked up.
"Hey, ol' sport." It was Kim Taehyung, and he was smiling that starlight smile as he squatted down next to Vernon and sat down with a plop in the sand. Taehyung's yellow t-shirt was lined with rings of sweat, and his face had a fresh sheen that glowed in the sun.
Vernon had noticed that his inventory unit leader, Kim Taehyung, had been extra cheerful the past couple days. Tae had become this warm, warbling mystery unraveling and young Vernon was continually surprised by it.
"Nice game, Captain," Vernon said, extending a water bottle to his unit leader.
Taehyung just chuckled. "It really wasn't an even match. Bless her soul, but Shae is truly a terrible volleyball player." As Taehyung laughed so warmly when he said it, Vernon felt this shy sense that it was ok to laugh along with him. "She's proof that being a powerful mystical being isn't really the cure-all for the uncoordinated."
Vernon eyed his unit leader as Taehyung swigged back a deep gulp of water. Tae let out a relieved sigh. Then he said in his rich, jazzy voice, "You still don't trust me, do you Vernon?"
Vernon flinched a little at the question. "Uhhh..." He gave a vague shrug for an answer, his eyes still carefully watching the way that Taehyung's thick red bandana was pushing back his sweaty silvery hair from his gently pleased face.
Taehyung propped his arms up onto his knees, still holding his open water bottle casually in his left hand. He smacked his lips a moment... then stretched out that bottle and gave a soft 'BOOP' on Vernon's own knee. "Don't sweat it, kid."