At that moment, I heard two people talking.
“Ruda, my boy, you became a baby. Can’t even button up…”
“Shut up. I just got off on the wrong foot while feeling urgent.”
“Should I button up for you?”
“Oh, come on!”
Looking at Ruda being topless in front of Lucas, I was frozen up. When Ruda turned around, she quickly turned back and slipped on her dress shirts in a hurry that it fluttered like a flag behind her back and soon subsided.
With a reddened face, she said, “W… hy don’t you say something before you come out?!”
Her… I mean, his words didn’t ring true to me at all. There seemed to be a valley deeper than a precipice between us in the blink of an eye.
While his voice didn’t reach me and just scattered through the valley for a while, I saw all the time I spent with Ruda flash before me. Ruda kissing me at the school trip, often sitting close to me while resting his chin on his palm and flaunting a grin at me, and his warm and strong arms that used to pull me in them…
After a good while, I blurted, “Were you a… boy…?”
As soon as I dropped that question, I regretted to say so while thinking, ‘What kind of stupid question is that! Of course, he’s a boy! Am I thinking that he’s covered with some kind of newly developed artificial skin?!’
Now I clearly understood all his suspicious actions and why Lucas kept calling himself ‘hyeong’ at Ruda. Hold on, then what was that heart-looter thing?
On the other hand, Ruda and Lucas were also in a panic. With his face tinged pale, Ruda asked back, “… What are you talking about, Donnie…? ‘Were you a boy?’ Oh, lord… then you have…”
Regardless of what he just said, I quickly lifted my head and looked at Lucas. He had come to Korea to find his brother, but now he seemed dumbfounded at this unprecedented situation, which his brother’s classmate was re-discovering his brother’s gender.
I almost shouted, “You said Ruda looted your… heart! He had stolen your heart and ran away overseas!”
Scratching his head, Lucas dropped a response, which made me shriek to myself, ‘AHHHHH!’
“Do you know how cute Ruda was when he was young? He had a Barbie-like curly gold hair, twinkling blue eyes… He was just a living doll.”
URGH! I grabbed my nape for a second. Ignoring Ruda, who was about to say something to me carefully, I continued, “Then… what’s with the Ice Princess?! You could have said Ice Prince!”
Speaking that way, Lucas suddenly blushed that I became perplexed for a moment. Eh?
Watching our conversation, Ruda, on the other hand, narrowed his eyes in suspicion. He then uttered, “Lucas, are you…”
“You looked too pretty, Ruda. If you weren’t that cute, then why would I…”
Listening to him uttering a grunt, I realized that Lucas also regarded Ruda as a girl when he first met him.
Yes, I could thoroughly understand Lucas. With that thought, I observed Ruda’s slender waist, smooth neckline, and gorgeous profile face. Even if he was seventeen, the age that many western kids tend to go from cute to ugly, Ruda was that much beautiful; thus, how amazing he would have looked in his childhood?
Grasping the overall situation, Ruda began to roar, “Lucas hyeong! Are you saying that you thought I was a girl?”
“I knew the very next day that you were a boy! However, I habitually said the nickname Ice Princess, so…”
“Still, how could you call me in a different gender for almost a year?”
Striking a retort, Ruda seized Lucas by the collar. Watching that sight, I realized that Lucas was going too far at some point. He already recognized that Ruda wasn’t a girl, but he had been calling a boy ‘Ice Princess’ just because it became his habit.
I mean, hold on… Aside from that, was Ruda a boy? For real?
While I could only ramble those words in my head while being absentminded, Lucas said to me, “We have no time for this! Now we all changed our outfits, let’s go ASAP.”
What Lucas just said, we didn’t have time to disentangle the chaos. Putting on our blazers in the last place, we quickly opened the door.
Ruda ushered us the way out to the entrance. A few securities who found us running across the hallway shouted, “What the fu*k! Lucas, why are you––” However, before one of the securities turned on his walkie-talkie, Lucas’ edge of the hand struck his nape.
Ruda, who was running after Lucas, easily jumped over the collapsing security guard, but at the same time, we encountered another two guards.
Exchanging eye contact, Ruda and Lucas kicked the floor to jump up to the air and press down the guards. With a loud thud, the two big guys fell onto the floor and became unconscious.
Running through the securities, whose eyes all turned blank, I said inwardly, ‘Sorry, guys, I’m so sorry!’
In front of a narrow iron door, Ruda beckoned at me, saying, “Donnie, come on!”
“Uh… yeah!” Shouting that way, I ran into the iron door. As soon as I got in, Ruda slammed the door.
We began to run along the narrow staircase. Unlike the stairs that Lucas and I had descended earlier, this stairway was slightly narrower and steeper. Perhaps it was the secret passageway in this building.
Ruda, who was running ahead of me, said, “There aren’t any surveillance cameras here. If we go upstairs and get on the helicopter before they find us escaping, the victory is ours.”
With a nod, Lucas replied, “Cool, let’s go. I let Yeo Ryung and Jooin go stay at the rooftop.”
Ruda narrowed his eyes as if he felt dubious. She, I mean, he responded bluntly, “You really became close to them, huh? Calling only their first names…”
“Oh, isn’t that a part of Korean culture?”
Geez, weren’t they getting out of breath? For real? As if it was a lie that they had been separated for almost a decade, the two were having a conversation so nonchalantly. Although it was usually Lucas babbling whatever he wanted to say, and Ruda pointing out the flaws…
Anyway, I was very impressed that they still had enough strength to exchange dialogue while ascending the never-ending staircase. ‘No,’ I shook my head and braced myself.
Every step we take to go upstairs, Ruda was getting one step closer to his freedom! Thinking that way, climbing the stairs was nothing at all.
No, it was tough, really tough.
Within a few seconds, I changed my mind. Having failed to withstand my drastically descending stamina, I held my knee and heaved a deep sigh.
Since I was so into this escape plan, which seemed like the runaway scene in a thriller movie, I forgot for a second that I wasn’t a heroine in a teen film. In that type of movie, the protagonists could go through life while having only dream and hope; however, I was not. Geez, leaving that aside, I wished the main characters in a web novel didn’t have any extraordinary strengths or physical abilities.
While I rambled those thoughts in my head, I suddenly heard Ruda yelling from upstairs. Descending the staircase with big strides, he asked, “Donnie, are you okay?!”
He was calling my first name as friendly as usual; however, as soon as I realized that he was a boy, it felt quite awkward somehow. I thought, ‘But if I reveal that, he would feel hurt…’
Waving my hand in the air, I replied, “Yeah, I’m just… a little out of breath… I’m not that athletic…”
Saying those words, I felt dizzy, then at the next moment, my eyes widened. Ruda, who came downstairs before I even knew, was holding me up in his arms. The lights pouring onto his blonde hair overlapped with the lighting at the retreat.
With a stiffened face, Ruda uttered, “I’m sorry. We’re in a hurry to escape, so bear with me here.”
Watching him dropping that remark, I just shut my mouth. With a nod, I shoved my face onto my hands.
‘Gosh, even when I thought Ruda was a girl, I still felt my heart fluttering!’ While I had that thought in mind, I heard Ruda’s heart throbbing toward me.
As if I was made of Styrofoam, Ruda didn’t show any signs of difficulties at all while holding me in his arms. He began to ascend the stairs with big strides.
Lucas, who was running ahead of us, yelled, “Tell me if you’re out of strength! I’ll take turns!”
Ruda’s voice that still sounded acrimonious returned, “How could I trust you, hyeong?”
“That’s too harsh, Ruda. You regarded me as your real brother, didn’t you?”
“That was in the past.”
Every time Ruda spoke, his Adam’s apple vibrated and seemed to reach me that I blushed in embarrassment.