I agreed with a smile, “Yeah, they seem nice,” then suddenly added, “But it was a little uncomfortable to follow them since everyone seemed to be close except me. That’s why I felt so delighted and relieved to see you.”
The moment when I looked up at Yeo Dan oppa thoughtlessly, I found him losing his expressionless look momentarily on his face. Staring down at me with agitated eyes, he replied, “You were talking well.”
“No, I wasn’t. I felt very nervous. Wasn’t it noticeable?”
“Oh, that’s good to hear.”
Yeo Dan oppa still fastened his gaze at me while showing a mixed feeling on his face. Suddenly, he raised his hand and disheveled my hair. It wasn’t his usual, cautious touch but more of an intimate and casual gesture.
‘What’s going on?’ While I adjusted my messy hair, Yeo Dan oppa quickly walked away while leaving me in the alley.
“Ah, hold on!” I ran after him in a hurry.
Halting our steps in front of the café, we checked our intentions once again.
“So, you want to keep staying here, right?”
I nodded at his question, replying, “Yeah, now that I’m here, I’ll stay with them for a while. I even dressed up like this.” Speaking like that, I swayed the blouse that I borrowed from Yeo Ryung. Yeo Dan oppa’s face turned slightly enigmatic.
I asked, “What about you?”
I nodded again at his immediate response. He was indeed getting out of this place alone whether I helped him to leave or not. Since his friends deceived him into joining this event, Yeo Dan oppa was kind of a victim. Thus, although he tried to leave, he didn’t have to feel sorry for other kids. If there would be someone, who should feel sorry for us, it would have to be his friends, not him.
Being aware that he couldn’t stand uncomfortable situations, I tilted my head. Now I had come to think of it, he was kind of praiseworthy that he didn’t stamp out of the café until now. Was he staying here for me since I looked too nervous? Having that thought in my mind, I soon shook my head. ‘Come on, don’t be deluded. He might have been just feeling sorry for the kids…’
That was when I heard him flinging a question nonchalantly. I lifted my head.
“Who are you gonna sit with?”
“Huh? Probably the one whom I spoke with the most? I mean, as long as he doesn’t hate me.”
“Chun Dong Ho?”
Wow, you remembered his name. Thinking that way, I nodded at him.
“I see,” he said shortly.
Yeo Dan oppa didn’t add any more words. Before stepping into the café again, we spent some time checking the situation inside through the glass wall.
Thankfully, no one was looking into our direction. Some were applying lip tint while looking at the mirror, whereas some were checking their phones while sinking their heads on their chests.
I thought it would be fine to step inside now. Walking side by side with Yeo Dan oppa, I flung the door open. Once I got closer to the passage through the bathroom, I turned to that side and said, “Ah, oppa, let me go to the bathroom.”
“Me too,” responding that way, he soon walked after me through the narrow hallway. The woman and man’s bathrooms were standing side by side.
When we opened each of the doors at the same time, I heard a familiar voice coming through the man’s bathroom door. I paused and turned my head.
The owner of the voice was Sohn Se Young, one of the boys who left the spot earlier to go to the bathroom. What surprised me wasn’t the identity of the voice but the conversation he was having with someone.
“Gosh, why does it have to be Ahn Ji Young?”
His irritated way of speaking, which was covered with a veil of aggressiveness, made me flinch instinctively. Turning my head, I murmured in a low voice.
“What’s going on with him…?”
He didn’t show any sign of dislike until just now. Besides, he was going to the same cram school with Ji Young. In other words, they had been hanging out quite often. Being frozen for a moment with my hand on the doorknob, I threw a glance at my side. Yeo Dan oppa was also standing still while holding the doorknob.
That was when I realized that Sohn Se Young didn’t go to the bathroom alone. ‘Then his conversation partner now would be…’ As soon as I had that thought, someone’s voice came over the door.
“That’s what I’m saying! I thought she was joking about bringing her here, but she really showed up.”
I could grasp the sarcastic tone in his relaxed voice as if he was talking with downcast eyes. His way of speaking sounded very natural in backbiting others. Once I heard that remark, I felt my heart sink within me.
It was Chun Dong Ho. He was talking in an utterly different way from earlier when he spoke about what he liked. Sohn Se Young’s voice continued.
“Geez, I could stand her only when seeing in the class, not here. Do we have to see her even outside the class? Shoot! Why is Moon Sarah close to Ahn Ji Young to make this thing happen?”
Wow… I clicked my tongue with a big grimace. How could he talk that way?
Sohn Se Young uttered again, “Gosh, who should I be partners with? Well, I must not sit beside Lee Mina, right?”
Chun Dong Ho’s calm voice replied, “Uh-huh, you know Kim Jimin likes Lee Mina.”
“Would she also like Kim Jimin?”
“How should we know?”
“Lee Mina was the only one who didn’t even glance at Ban Yeo Dan while other girls were just captivated by him.” Sohn Se Young’s voice suddenly subsided, “Gosh, the more I think the more I get annoyed! Why did that hyeong send Ban Yeo Dan here? Fu*k!”
The arrow was pointing in this side out of the blue, which made me hardly breathe. Pouting my lips for a while, I turned my head and found Yeo Dan oppa shrugging his shoulders with his usual, nonchalant look beside me.
Meanwhile, Sohn Se Young’s backbiting kept on ruthlessly in the bathroom. It was like a runaway train without a brake.
“Not only those hyeongs but also Ban Yeo Dan can’t distinguish whether or not to join such an event! Although we said okay, how can he come here? Isn’t he insane?”
“Fu*k! What should we do? We’re like playing a supporting role here. Sh*t, so annoying! I’m not here to be treated that way!”
Listening to their conversations in silence, I shook my head. ‘Those bastards are out of their minds!’ I murmured to myself. Sohn Se Young was, of course, rude, but Chun Dong Ho, who replied passively such as ‘Yeah,’ ‘Uh-huh,’ ‘True,’ ‘How do I know?’ was also behaving the same. I got disgusted by both of them.
I, who said that I would stay here just until now, decided to tell Yeo Dan oppa about my plan afterward. I should ask him for bringing me back home. I didn’t want to spend even a minute to those bastards. Instead, I would just take a nap at home.
That was when I tried to pull Yeo Dan oppa’s sleeve. The topic of their conversations switched to something else out of the blue. I drew in my breath.
“Dude, what are you gonna do?”
“That girl… what was her name again?”
“Ah, Ham Donnie.”
As soon as my name slipped out from Chun Dong Ho’s mouth, my heart seemed to freeze. He was saying my name apathetically as if he was talking about some animal’s name in the zoo.
Sohn Se Young pushed him, “Yeah, her, Ham Donnie… What are you gonna do with her?”
“Didn’t you hear that before?”
Chun Dong Ho’s following remark smashed my nape like a cold wave. I felt a sudden shiver down my spine.
“Ham Donnie, that girl is super close to Ban Yeo Ryung. I heard that they even live next doors. Everyone in So Hyun High School knows this story.”
The moment I heard those words, my eyes were wide open, but I closed them and tried to stop my hands trembling in surprise. ‘So that was what happened,’ I murmured to myself.
The shock and fright didn’t last long. I had been going through so many things to get surprised at this kind of thing. Nothing occurred once I entered high school, so I had been forgetting about these things, but I never knew I would recall such memories in this way.