I bought chocolate milk instead of soy milk on my way and took the bus while sipping the beverage with a straw. While I watched the cars also running busily on the road today outside the window, the bus suddenly stopped and some guys with familiar faces stepped inside.
Looking in that direction, I exclaimed instinctively, “Eh?”
Honestly, they weren’t quite delightful dudes to bump into. Chun Dong Ho and his friends just got on the bus. The boy wearing glasses was probably the one who had a crush on Lee Mina; the other, a boy who had a light mouth.
‘Geez, I can’t even remember their names…’ I thought. The only person whom I still memorized the name was Chun Dong Ho.
Slightly nodding at them almost involuntarily, I soon closed my mouth and just rolled my eyes. We actually didn’t have a good relationship; besides, they quit our cram school once Yoon Jung In began to take courses there. Thus, there were sincerely nothing between us.
While I averted my eyes outside the window in embarrassment, the boys, who were staring at me, also turned their heads away from me. Their whispers reached my ears.
“What the heck? Didn’t she just nod at us?”
“Do we know her?”
“I don’t think so.”
Eh? I opened my eyes wide while trying to be subtle. ‘Don’t they know me?’ I wondered. Now I had come to think of, the group hangout could have not happened in this world while regarding that Yeo Dan oppa had joined the event.
With that thought in my head, I suddenly opened my eyes wider at Chun Dong Ho’s abrupt voice.
“Ah, I know who she is. She goes to our cram school.”
“Should I go say hi? What should we do?”
Around that time, I decided not to hear their conversations anymore and just stopped paying attention to them. Although the world had changed, people’s personalities didn’t dramatically turn into something else, so they would still be different on the inside and out, just like those whom I had known before. In that case, I would refuse to get along with them.
Aside from that, I realized something new.
“They still go to our cram school,” I murmured. If that was true, the hypothesis I had in mind carried more weight.
Avoiding their glances, I bit my lips anxiously.
My anticipation was correct.
As I went to my cram school and looked around, there were Chun Dong Ho and his friends, instead of Yoon Jung In and Lee Mina. Thankfully, a few kids, whom I had been getting along with when Yoon Jung In and Lee Mina were here, came to me and said hi. Responding to them as cool and collectedly as I could, I soon took an empty seat and sat down.
After I finished getting ready to take the class, as usual, I fell into thought while resting my chin on my palm.
‘So, Lee Mina was also a character in that universe, not here. Well, since this wasn’t a world of Romeo & Juliet, a tragic couple was enough for just Yeo Dan oppa and me alone.’
Without Lee Mina and Yoon Jung In, the break time felt very boring. Two or three kids came over to my seat to chitchat, but since we weren’t usually that close in the other world, I felt some distance between us.
They asked me if I wasn’t feeling well, so I replied I had a slight cold, and thought, ‘Myself in the other universe would have always spent this kind of day.’ It felt really strange.
Instead of waiting for the whole class to end, I came out in the middle, eventually, while making an excuse that I caught a cold. As soon as I stepped outside the cram school building, I took the bus to Balhae Hospital. Being very nervous that there was a possibility of the hospital not existing at the destination, I could finally calm down once the huge medical building appeared through the window.
However, the name of the hospital had changed. A person wearing an employee card on his neck came toward me, who was wandering around the information booth on the first floor.
He asked, “Do you need help?”
I was so flustered that I just lowered my head and came out of the hospital. Catching my breath in front of the huge building, I tried my best to stay nonchalant. Since Balhae Group vanished away, the name of the hospital would also have changed for sure.
I turned around and looked up at the medical center again. Still, it was hard to believe that Yoo Chun Young’s father, Eun Hyung’s father, and Eunmi weren’t inside there.
Wandering around the spot for quite a while, I bent my steps again.
I didn’t want to go straight to the Four Heavenly King’s houses. If I happened to see the sight I had seen in the past again, I wouldn’t be able to sustain it. However, returning home this way was even more unbearable, so I finally headed toward City Hall station on subway line Number 2.
Once I came outside the exit while being mingled in the crowd, skyscrapers emitting fancy lights like jewels under the dark sky welcomed me.
I raised my head high up in the air while almost stretching my neck back and tried to find the Reeds building; however, that didn’t exist, of course.
That was when I gave up the lingering feelings inside me and headed back home.
As soon as I stepped inside my house, the smell of soup with anchovy broth came over. My mom seemed to have arrived home from work quite earlier today.
While I headed to the kitchen, my mom asked me without even looking back.
“Are you already home? What about the afterschool self-studying session?”
“That’s canceled. By the way, mom…” I lied nonchalantly then blurted out the next words on the spur of the moment.
“You know our next-door neighbors, not the right but the one on the left.”
My mom turned around to look at me.
“What’s about them? Did something happen?”
I asked, “Are they close to us?”
My mom opened her eyes wide toward me and replied, “No, just so-so.”
Standing in front of the kitchen with stiff shoulders, I slowly loosened up the tension in my body and heaved a deep sigh.
I flung a question feebly, “Really?”
“Uh-huh, our next-door neighbors don’t seem to get along with us. You know your father hates them. Why, is something going on?”
“Uh, no, nothing at all,” I replied and turned around. My mom’s voice kept on reaching my ears from behind me.
“Did the kid next-door went after you again and said something?”
“They had a kid?”
“What’s wrong with you? You know Jimin, the seven-year-old kid. Didn’t you say that he teased you in the bus station last time and splashed some beverage on you?” asked my mom while swinging the ladle in the air.
I frowned at the story that I had never heard before. Probably this kid was the owner of the electric scooter that I saw in front of Yeo Ryung’s house in the morning. Since I would not have harassed him first, he wouldn’t have that good personality though.
It wasn’t part of my curiosity, but I also got to know an unpleasant truth additionally. ‘If a kid pops out from next-door, let’s stay away from him as much as I can,’ I said to myself. Dwelling on the new lesson in my head, I went back to my room.