Yuri was a geek. She always had a book in her hands and was often engrossed in it. Often, she wouldn’t noticed if someone was calling out to her. That was how focused she was when it came to reading. However, there was an exception and it came in the form of a blonde named Jessica Jung who stayed in the room a few doors away.
Jessica moved into the dormitory two months ago. She was on an exchange program and it so happened there was a vacancy in the dormitory that was on the same level as Yuri. Yuri hadn’t noticed her existence if not for the brief conversation they shared when Jessica wanted to ask if she needed to label her items she wanted to put into the fridge at the shared kitchen. It was then Yuri experienced a heart-stopping moment as she spoke face to face with the newbie. It was the start of polite greetings and casual small talks whenever they met at the dormitory. Due to their different schedules at university, they didn’t get to each other often. Therefore, Yuri cherished the brief moments they chatted whenever they bumped into each other at the dormitory.
Late one night, Yuri heard familiar footsteps padded across the corridor. Distracted, Yuri tried to listen to where Jessica was heading to since she wasn’t able to focus on reading. She glanced at her clock and noticed it was almost midnight, an unusual time for Jessica to be awake. That blonde was always sleepy and often slept before 10pm.
The footsteps stopped. Yuri sat upright and closed her book. The air became thinner and she felt her breath quickened. A knock on her door confirmed Jessica’s location.
“Hey, are you still awake?” a soft voice asked from the other side of the door.
Yuri jumped out of bed and opened the door. Jessica had disheveled hair and looked very tired. She had a pillow in her arms.
“Are you okay?” Yuri asked, concerned about her dorm mate.
“I can’t sleep. I drank some warm milk earlier but am still unable to sleep. I, sorry to bother you. I am not familiar with the other two girls who stay at this level…perhaps talking to someone would alleviate my stress over my project submission and I would be able to sleep…”
Yuri smiled. “Don’t worry. I’ll lend you my ears.”
Yuri looked around her tiny room and it appeared the bed was the only available place for both of them to sit and chat. She patted one side of the bed and gestured for Jessica to sit down.
They sat in silence for a few minutes until Jessica finally spoke.
“Actually…” Jessica paused, “I think I just need someone to be around me. It is kinda lonely.”
Yuri had the urge to wrap her arms around Jessica and engulf her in a hug but she willed herself against it. Jessica, dressed in pink pyjamas with white fluffy sheep prints, was tempting to hug.
“You have me, I mean, a friend like me,” Yuri quickly corrected herself.
“I can imagine it must be really lonely to be away from your family.”
Jessica nodded with a sigh.
There was a quiet moment before Jessica spoke again.
“Do you mind if I spend the night here?”
Yuri blinked twice and swallowed hard. “Oh…s-sure…”
Yuri shifted to one side and made space for Jessica. Both of them lay side by side on the bed while Yuri pulled the blanket to cover them equally. Then, Yuri picked up the book on the bedside table. She opened the book to the page she was reading earlier on. Somehow, Yuri kept reading the same paragraph over and over again.
“I noticed how engross you usually are when you read. You must have been reading earlier on before I interrupted you. I’m sorry.”
Fireworks went off in Yuri’s head. She was overly delighted to know that Jessica noticed her.
“It’s okay,” was all Yuri could say. Her tongue seemed to be rendered useless in front of her crush.
Yuri continued staring at the same page, avoiding eye contact with Jessica. She kept telling herself to focus on the book, not on the beautiful girl who was sleeping next to her.
Jessica snuggled closely. The warm body lying next to her proved to be too much of a distraction. Plus, the smell of green apples from Jessica’s shampoo was the sweetest thing Yuri ever inhaled. It was extremely difficult to concentrate on the words in her book.
It took a mere few minutes before Jessica fell asleep soundly. Yuri took the opportunity to study the sleeping blonde, taking every detail of her hair and face. She couldn’t resist sweeping the few strands of loose hair which fell across Jessica’s face and tucked it behind her ear.
Yuri was careful to turn away from Jessica as she switch off the bedside lamp. Her heart was pounding wildly and she didn’t want Jessica to hear it. Lying on her side, Yuri fell asleep with a wide grin on her face. She knew that after tonight, they would become closer.