As I recalled the mock exams in March, my enthusiasm burned even brighter.
Today, I was determined to showcase my true abilities.
No more mistakes in my life.
But I wondered, was that too much?
Eun-ha, it looks like there are flames in your eyes.
Of course. Today, I will take the test with all my might.
Cool down a bit. You should approach the test calmly and steadily.
Han-gyeol, on the other hand...
Han-gyeol had been incessantly eating chocolate since earlier.
The chocolate wrappers strewn across the desk seemed to number over ten.
Arent you eating too much chocolate?
Eating chocolate helps me concentrate. If I eat about twenty, Ill become a god of concentration.
Maybe you should stop. What if you cant solve the problems because youre too full?
Should I run a lap around the playground outside?
Han-gyeol seemed just as nervous.
You werent nervous at all during the March mock exams.
That was the beginning of the semester. I didnt have high expectations then.
You need to take the test calmly and steadily, too. Lets give ourselves some positive affirmations. Ill help.
Trying to ease the tension, I subtly took Han-gyeols hand.Discover, Devour, Delight: N♡vεlB¡n.
It was a plausible excuse, but I had to admit there was a bit of selfishness in it.
Maybe about forty-five percent?
Does holding hands help you relax a bit?
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No. It actually feels like my nervousness has increased.
Do you still get nervous when I hold your hand? Why?
We held hands whenever we could, yet Han-gyeol still seemed fluttered by it.
A prey animal caught by a predator, perhaps?
If you keep calling me that, I might really bite you hard.
It seems that predator had become my nickname before I knew it.
But considering my recent behavior, I couldnt outright deny it.
This isnt the savanna forest, Eun-ha. Its a school.
Anyway, dont be too nervous today. Its not even the real college entrance exam.
I gently stroked Han-gyeols head.
Ill do my best.
Still feeling nervous?
A little bit of tension is not bad, you know.
Your hand seems a bit shaky, Han-gyeol.
Its because Im holding hands with Eun-ha.
His words were so sweet that I held his hand a bit tighter.
Its okay. Youll do well, Han-gyeol. Youve worked hard so far.
Thanks for believing in me. Youll do great too, Eun-ha. Weve worked hard together.
Yeah. Well both do well.
We eased our nervousness by supporting each other.
Soon, the other students started entering the classroom early.
Then the homeroom teacher came in and changed our seating arrangements.
Everyone, I know youre nervous, but dont be too stressed. Take the test with the mindset of not making mistakes, okay?
After a brief morning assembly, the supervising teacher entered.
Seeing the teacher bustling about made me a bit nervous.
Time passed, and soon the OMR answer sheets and questionnaires were placed in front of us.
The teacher announced the start of the exam, and I opened the questionnaire.
Eun-ha, you did great too.
Han-gyeol then gently stroked my hair.
With the warmth and happiness, I felt like I could do well in the remaining exams too.
After lunch, it was straight to the English exam.
With my ears perked up, I completed the listening assessment and quickly moved on to solving the problems.
I felt I had finished both the Korean and elective subjects without any mistakes, true to my usual performance.
Alright, everyone, hands on your heads. Youve all worked hard taking this mock exam.
Finally, the last subject was over.
I felt great having completed all the subjects without any errors.
Though I didnt expect to rank first in every subject, the results were satisfying enough.
A sense of accomplishment kept making the corners of my mouth rise.
After the supervising teacher left, everyone in the class just collapsed onto their desks.
Ugh~ Finally, its over.
Ah, my whole body aches now that the tension is gone.
I was so tense during the exam, I thought I was going to get a cramp in my calf.
Still, the difficulty didnt seem much different from March, did it?
It did seem similar. But the March mock exam was a bit tougher, wasnt it?
Ah, so the grade boundaries will probably be similar to Marchs.
Probably. I guess well see the predicted grade boundaries by tomorrow.
While the students were chatting, the homeroom teacher entered the classroom with a bag of cell phones.
Alright, you all worked really hard on the June mock exam. For those who did well, dont get complacent, and for those who made mistakes, dont be disheartened. Got it? With less than half a year left until the college entrance exam, some of you might start to slack off. This is the time to stay focused and keep pushing. Everyone, go home and rest well today. This concludes the homeroom session. Head home.
I hurriedly gathered my things and rushed over to Han-gyeols seat.
Han-gyeol, lets go home now.
Yeah. Just a moment, let me gather my things.
Sure, take your time.
We packed our bags and left the classroom.
But as we stepped out of the school, I noticed something subtle in Han-gyeols expression.
Halfway down the road home, Han-gyeol stopped walking.
Yeah? Whats up?
I have something to tell you.
What is it?
Han-gyeol hesitated, then looked at me weakly.
Then, uncharacteristically hesitating, he spoke to me with difficulty.
I dont think Ill get a grade 1 in Korean. Im sorry for lying.
When I checked, I scored 85. It seems that score wont be enough for a grade 1. I lied because I didnt want to affect your remaining exams if I said I did poorly in Korean. Im sorry... Im sorry I let you down after all your help...
Han-gyeols voice trailed off weakly.
Hearing his dejected voice made my heart ache.
I regretted perhaps having put too much pressure on Han-gyeol.
I felt sorry, thinking I might have made things harder for him with my stubbornness.
But what I needed to offer Han-gyeol now was not an apology.
I thought about what comforting words I could offer to Han-gyeol, who looked so troubled.
Words a girlfriend can offer to her boyfriend when hes struggling.
Words to say when someone is pushing themselves over the edge with guilt.
Just saying its okay? That seemed like something anyone could say.
Next time will be better? That too felt too clich.
As numerous thoughts raced through my mind, one particular thought settled in.
I embraced Han-gyeol, who was lost in his gloom.
Hoping my sincerity would reach him, that these words would comfort him, I said:
Dont be sorry. And dont force yourself to be so strong.
--- The End OF The Chapter ---
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