Yeo Dan oppa was acting too bold to skip and avoid the after school self-studying session even though only a year was left until the college entrance exam. Unlike him, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy freedom afterward as we did before.
Switching her gaze to me, Mina grabbed my hands and continued, “So, let’s go there together. I want to join the group hangout with you. You know we never hung out before.”
“Um, yeah, you’re right.”
As soon as I replied that way, Lee Mina stopped flaunting a grin. She diverted her gaze back onto Ruda. It made him flinch the corners of his eyes; however, Ruda soon blurted out with a nonchalant smile, “Why are you looking me like that?”
“Hey, don’t you dare to disturb Donnie joining the hangout.”
Mina warned him so severely that even I was feeling ashamed. Ruda also slightly blushed. After a moment, he returned to his usual look and replied while taking a step back.
“… What if I refuse that?”
“Gosh, I knew he would respond that way! Catch him!”
Before I was about to say something, the girls, who were probably joining the group hangout with me, dashed into Ruda and grabbed his arms or poked his side.
However, Ruda wouldn’t let them attack him unless if it was during the first semester. He had determined to be honest with everything and show his true colors after the second semester. Unfortunately, Ruda’s abnormal, athletic ability was also included in the part that he decided to become straightforward.
Within a few minutes, the girls, who got hit on their foreheads, stepped back with sobs.
“You’re so mean! Ruda, you’ve changed too much!”
“So, do you hate me now?”
Looking at Ruda, who asked that way while suddenly making a sad face, I was filled with amazement.
‘Wow, but his skill of using his face and voice to manipulate other people hasn’t changed,’ I thought. In other words, he still had the ability to make others listen to what he wanted to do.
The kids, who tackled at Ruda with all their strengths just now, backed off hesitantly as if they were feeling guilty. Exchanging eye contact with each other, they soon spoke to Ruda, “Um, not at all… I mean, geez, why are you being so serious about what we just said?”
“Yeah, I’m so embarrassed.”
Being surrounded by the girls, who tried to comfort him, Ruda suddenly turned around to look in this direction with a swiveling grin. He then flung a question while striding toward this side, which bewildered me.
“Donnie, are you really joining the group hangout?”
Rolling my eyes, I slurred the end of my words.
I was about to express my opinion clearly just now but watching Ruda looking at me with those eyes, I couldn’t articulate my response properly in my head.
Lee Mina, who sat across me, flared up again, “Hey, Yi Ruda, I told you not to do that sad-cat-eyes!”
“What’s so bad about using my skill?”
“Geez, Yi Ruda suddenly turned mean after the break.”
While Lee Mina grumbled that way, Ruda’s blue eyes were on me again.
That was when I evaded any definite answer. Someone, who popped out from behind, put his arm on my shoulder. I looked back.
“Yoon Jung In?”
“Why are you here again?”
While Lee Mina furrowed one side of her brows, Yoon Jung In raised his hand and spoke in his usual, confident attitude.
“Hey, why do you want to join the group hangout? That’s lame, don’t go.”
As he insisted that way, every eye was bent on him in a flash. While everyone around him gaped at what he just said, my jaw also dropped onto the floor.
I stared at Yoon Jung In, who was standing beside me, wondering, ‘Did he already have been to a group hangout?’
Well… I recalled something that happened during the first semester. At that time, most of us were new to high school, so we often met our friends in middle school. Thus, it was common to introduce our middle school friends to our new classmates in high school.
For instance, when only one person from a group went to a different high school, the person gathered his or her middle school friends to make new friends, which was easier to make more personal connections.
For that reason, those who went to different schools often hung out in downtown, which turned out into a group hangout or group dating sometimes.
Yoon Jung In might have joined one of those events. He was surely a social butterfly, which wasn’t that surprising at all now.
Other kids became more excited than me that they flung questions randomly.
“Hey, have you ever been to a group hangout? Really? With whom?”
Sweeping back his black hair nonchalantly, Yoon Jung In replied, “Oh, um, Ilsang High School.”
“Shut up! Are you sure?”
“You’re always one step ahead of us.”
Listening to words of exclamation showering from all directions, I realized that the name of the school sounded familiar. I repeated the name in my mouth.
‘Oh…’ That was when I came up with what the bullies, who were beating Ban Hwee Hyul in the alley, said a few days ago. They talked about someone from Ilsang High School although I couldn’t remember the name of the person.
I suddenly displayed a look of sorrow while thinking, ‘… Are they still alive? Those bastards…?’ While I was lost in thought, Lee Mina and Yoon Jung In were having noisy conversations in front of me.
“Ilsang High School? How lucky you are! That school is famous for having a lot of pretty girls.”
“Did you have fun?”
Rolling his eyes at the question, Yoon Jung In replied, “I don’t think so. Well, the girls were all pretty, but it’s better hanging out with you guys.”
There was soon widespread criticism pouring out to him.
‘Such a lucky asshole! That’s why you still don’t have a girlfriend…’ Among those jealous approaches against him, there was particularly a clear voice.
“Dude, what matters is who’s joining that event instead of how exciting it is, isn’t it?”
“Hey, who said that just now? That’s really a meaningful quote.”
“Yeah, we should note that down.”
That was when some kids made a great fuss about that while others were laughing intensely. A person’s remark suddenly paused the noisy air.
“Hey, but although they’re from Nam Gye High School, aren’t there anyone who’s more handsome than Yoon Jung In?”
Sometimes, there was a moment when it suddenly turned silent during the break or lunchtime
as if someone had turned off the speaker. That was happening right now. Usually, there wasn’t any specific reason for that thing to take place, but now it was a little different; a reason existed for this sudden silence.
After a moment, everyone raised their eyes and began to scowl at the boy, who just dropped that remark. Those staring their eyes out fiercely were mostly the girls.
The boy, who had talked just now, took a step back out of perplexity.
“Um, doesn’t Yoon Jung In look handsome?”
“What does Yoon Jung In’s handsome appearance have to do with us joining the group hangout?”
While Lee Mina tossed the question with an apathetic look on her face, I found Yoon Jung In’s ears turning surprisingly red through his black hair.
I blew a whistle inwardly while thinking, ‘Yoon Jung In, you get embarrassed when you hear that you’re handsome.’
I wasn’t the only one who noticed that. The kids around Yoon Jung In soon put their hands in his collar frivolously and asked, ‘Dude, your neck is almost on fire. Aren’t you having a fever?’
Yoon Jung In blushed up to his neck just like what they said. Running backward, he yelled, “Handsome appearance? What the heck is that?”
“Dude, you bragged about yourself when you were hosting at the retreat last time. I can’t get used to you acting like normal now.”
“True, I thought you had an overinflated ego.”
While everyone threw a remark one after another, Lee Mina’s determined words intervened in the noise. I turned my head into that direction.
“Hey, let’s get real. Yoon Jung In does look handsome. He is, but does any of you get fluttered while looking at Yoon Jung In?”
Another round of silence swept the space. I expressed my condolences to Yoon Jung In in my mind. ‘Geez, Yoon Jung In… you joined the conversation just once, but the arrow suddenly turned and was now aiming at you.’
However, how did the story go into this direction? While I wondered since when it began, Yoon Jung In spoke in a slightly tragic voice.
“Guys, aren’t you being too harsh?”