chapter twenty-two

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LISA

Somi is a beautiful girl, and beside her good looks, she is clever and mature. At first, I thought she was an annoying bitch but I was so wrong about her. She worked hard to be accepted in our agency and the only thing she wants to achieve this year is to pay for her mother's expensive medical bills. I met her recently but we hang out in a bar at least once in a week. Even though I didn't spend ten years of my life with her unlike a certain person, I feel closer to her since she talked to me about her financial situation. I'm one of her only friends in the agency because she likes to keep a small circle around her which is understanding. It's always a pleasure to have a nice conversation with someone who wants to get to know you more.

I know that Somi likes me because she is not hiding it. In fact, she is not afraid of checking me out when I'm around. I like her confidence, she's like a new breath of fresh air.

I didn't push her away when she kissed me. I won't lie to myself for saying I am in love with her but I am willing to give her a chance. She is kind and above all, she loves me. So, why not?

When Jennie came between us and insulted the girl who had shown that it was not a sin to love someone, I couldn't hold me back anymore. No matter how many times I tell her to stay away from me, she is always coming back to hurt me more. What did I do to deserve this? I found someone who likes who I am. Somi doesn't see me as someone disgusting.

Why is she keeping me from being happy? I thought we were done talking to each other. I can't breathe and enjoy life without her being grumpy. Even if it hurts to break our friendship for a dumb reason, I don't think I can change her mind. She is too stubborn when it comes to same-sex couples.

I stare at her and grab her wrist. This is the last time I will speak to her. She doesn't understand me, that's the problem. She doesn't want to admit that I can love a woman romantically. I understand but it's not an excuse for saying nasty things about me. My sexuality is still something someone that I keep to myself. It took me years to admit it to myself and I had suffered a lot in my high school years. I won't let her drag me down: I am not the sweet Lisa she used to know.

We have to make things clear once for all. I don't want any disturbance: this is important and she needs to hear every word of mine. Leaving a confused Somi on the dancefloor, I drag Jennie out of the night club. Some people outside the club give us a curious look but I don't mind them. Holding her wrist, we walk into a tiny alley and I shoo her out with a flick of my hand.

"What the hell, Jennie !"

I slam her back against a wall in full force under a street lamp. She lets out a small grunt and glares at me.

"Don't raise your voice on me," she pushes me causing me to frown.

A light cold breeze flows through me as I feel my heart tighten at her contemptuous gaze on me. She knows she has the power to shut my mouth with a single look. I hate being powerless around her and be attracted to her sweet scent of strawberries.

She won't win this time.

"Or what? You'll ruin my life?" I scoff. "You're already doing it!"

Jennie mumbles incoherent words under her breath and arches an eyebrow. "She's no good for you. She'll go after your career before hurting you. I'm just trying to protect you. This is so fucking wrong, Lisa! It has to stop. All of it," she looks straight in my eyes.

"What do you mean ?" I ask trying to be tough but my voice miserably broke a little.

"You know I care for you but this... I can't stand it. You are not one of those stupid people, Lisa. You are better than that. I'm trying to help you," she casually states.

I scoff once again and take a step back. I can't believe she said that.

"Help me?"

I didn't know 'help me' means 'hurting me' in her language.

She takes away the distance between us and I'm now the one behind a wall. "Of course I am! You're not just my best friend's sister, you're my friend."

The warmth of her body lingers heats the air around us and is making me feel dizzy. Damn it, I shouldn't have drunk too much. I look away from her hoping that I will find a distraction.

"Can you... hum, step aside ?" I ask her while glancing over her shoulder.

"I won't let you go because I fucking care about you," she retorts.

Oh, no. She thinks that I asked her to stay away from my life which is not what I meant. I want her to step back because I don't feel so good with her so close to me.

I clench my jaw and look at her.

"Do you find me disgusting ?" I start and she steps back, surprised by my sudden question. "You don't have to answer. I know you care about me and I do too. We've been friends for so long, I can't remember the exact date we met but I know that it was a happy day. I am not mad at you for being a bad friend. You were like, a consistent rock in my life, always there to comfort me," I say. She looks at the sky for not letting tears scrolling down her cheeks. My heart aches because I talked about us in the past tense. "I didn't want you to know this part of me because I was afraid of this moment. This precise moment when we'll begin to hate each other. I know you don't hate me but I know that hatred is the only option for you to follow your belief."

Jennie is not a bad person. I have known her long enough to see her golden heart and be enthralled at her beautiful personality. She wants to fulfill the wish of her grandmother and I can do nothing to change it.

"You want me to... hate you ?" she asks, dumbfounded.

I smile at her, "It will keep me away from you."

It will also hurt me but she doesn't need to know that. The more time goes by, the harder it is for me to keep my tears from coming. Jennie is still looking at me with sparkled eyes.

An intense wave of shock overwhelms me when arms wrap around me in a tight hug. The cold air of the dark night disappears as soon as I feel the warmth of her body collapsing with mine. I lost my breath at her sudden move and widen my eyes.

"What the..."

"I don't know why you're so persistent in ruining your life but I think I can let it pass. I... I think I can try, you know, bear the thought of you with a woman."

I grasp her shoulders to see her face and she seems serious about it. I stare at her with a wide smile and take her in my arms as if my life depends on it.

"I never thought that you'll accept me! Maybe in my dreams, but never in reality. Holy shit, that's awesome," I exclaim and put my chin on her shoulder.

"I didn't say I accept this. I just... tolerate it for you," she says timidly.

She's taking baby steps but at least, she is progressing. I couldn't be happier because I know she is not open when it comes to the topic of same-sex couples but she's making an exception for me. 

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