Surprisingly, Ban Yeo Ryung’s room was #301, located exactly on the opposite side of ours. Since we were #318, our rooms were at both ends of the hallway.
Before she opened her room door, I fell into quite hopeful and positive thoughts, ‘Well, Yoon Jung In or other kids will ask Yi Ruda about her feelings on me, so I’ll share that and be prepared for it.’ It was when I had those thoughts in mind with a chuckle. As the door opened, the figures I saw through it made my smiling face turn stiff.
Holding the round doorknob, the person who looked at me at the entrance with purple tiles on was no other than Kwon Eun Hyung. His smiling green eyes seemed to be fixed on me. My cheeks stung.
‘What the…?’ I glanced at Ban Yeo Ryung with wonder asking, ‘Why are they here?’ Instead of Ban Yeo Ryung, the one who answered back was Kwon Eun Hyung. He pulled my hand as I stood there blanked out.
I asked, “Why are you here?”
“Hmm, just to hang out. Anyway, why don’t you go wash your face first?”
Eun Hyung gave me a crisp new towel and cleansing foam then pointed the bathroom. Before I was about to ask him why Eun Hyung said to me with a soft gaze.
“Go wash your face. You get all kinds of viruses outside.”
“Well, then you guys are still…”
They didn’t seem to wash their faces too. Eun Hyung smiled at me. As soon as I saw that handsome grin under his red hair, surprisingly, something like enlightenment passed through my head.
‘Oh, Eun Hyung isn’t smiling at all… If I don’t move my butt to the bathroom and wash my face, I will be washed by Eun Hyung instead,’ with that in mind, I dashed into the bathroom. I could barely hear Ban Yeo Ryung’s voice from far apart.
Kwon Eun Hyung sounded warm and serene as usual. As if they were doing a high five, then I heard palms slapping each other. Filling the running water in both hands, I wet my face and thought, ‘What the hell is going on?’ What was more ridiculous happened next.
When I wiped my face with the towel and went to the living room, Jooin, who wore the same jet-black dress pants as before, was sitting there. His blushed face and tangled hair looked as if the aftermath of the dance was yet to go.
As I tried to smile at him in joy, Jooin, who grinned brightly at me, pulled my wrist to his side instead of giving me the usual, big bear hug. He then made me sit in front of him and took out a wet tissue. What he did next was rubbing my cheek with it.
When I asked him in wonder, he replied, ‘Mama, sit still,’ with a cute smile, so I couldn’t do anything. A person who could stop someone with a smile was not only Ban Yeo Ryung.
How long did I stay like that? Eun Hyung told me he would be cooking some instant noodles, so he stood at the sink in the corner of the living room. At that moment, Eun Jiho, who was leaning on the couch apathetically, opened his mouth.
“Eun Hyung, I want eggs.”
To be honest, I almost forgot that Eun Jiho was inside the room until then. His eyes looked too different than usual. They were too black that it looked like those of a dead fish. It also reminded me of the eyes he had two years ago, which I saw in the home video at my house.
Our eyes met in the air. His silver hair glowed like silver glitters under the bright living room light.
After a second, the one who avoided my eyes was Eun Jiho. Coincidentally, Eun Hyung looked at him and flung a question.
“Are you gonna have noodles too? You said you don’t want to?”
Ignoring me from apart, Eun Jiho responded as he fixed his gaze at the TV.
“Only the eggs.”
“I’m only having the noodles.”
It was Yoo Chun Young who replied while leaning against the glass door to the terrace. Just like Eun Jiho, I also forgot his existence in the room; however, he didn’t seem to know that I was here too. He never even looked at my side.
I heard Eun Hyung answering in a giggling voice.
“Why? It’d be perfect if someone says he only wants the soup.”
“Did you answer?”
Out of nowhere, a cold and low voice came out after Eun Hyung’s joke. It sounded completely out of place among the overall atmosphere.
My eyes got fastened to Jooin, who was busy wiping out my face like an artist, but now I turned my head to look at Eun Jiho. As he came into my sight, I got dumbstruck. The person he threw that question to was no one else but me.
Woo Jooin also turned his head. Ban Yeo Ryung, who just finished removing her makeup, sat down beside me and stared at Eun Jiho with a fresh babyface-like look.
Regardless of their gazes, Eun Jiho opened his mouth again in the repressively silent air.
“Did you answer!”
I frowned my brows a bit. It felt weird. His voice sounded too serious and severe that I thought I was missing something critical inside his question.
I asked, “What, to whom?”
“To Yi Ruda! Did you answer to his love confession?”
While I became at a loss of words, Eun Jiho twisted his head a little to face me in front. How long did I stay frozen and hesitant? Was it a few seconds or a few minutes? As I felt a gaze from another direction, I slowly lifted my gaze.
At a distance, Yoo Chun Young, who was leaning on the terrace door, stared at me with his blue eyes as if he knew where I was at from the beginning. I wavered for a moment then laughed.
I said, “What…? You mean, Yi Ruda kissing me on the cheek at the end? It wasn’t a confession or anything.”
It was Woo Jooin who asked back this time. He knitted his brows a little, which he seldom did. I smiled then answered back.
“Our stage was over and everybody was watching us. Ruda would’ve been just playing around to draw some attention. The kid is from abroad, so that’s like saying hello to someone among them…”
While I continued rambling, Eun Jiho cut me in. Resting his chin in his hand, he spoke to me with a stare.
“Have you ever thought he would like you?”
I furrowed my brows. No one here would believe that Yi Ruda might definitely be the heiress of a mafia family, and that was why she became a female crossdresser and would never like me as a girl. I just shook my head.
“No, you’re just getting it wrong.”
“Do you convince that?”
Eun Jiho, who turned his head after the short response, showed a sign of outlandish satisfaction on his lips. It seemed like he was saying, ‘Yeah, that’s you,’ to me. He looked delightful somehow but I hardly could figure out if it was a sneer or just a plain smile. Sitting in front of Woo Jooin, I stared at Eun Jiho for quite a while then disheveled my hair. ‘So, is it now all over?’ I thought.
At that moment, Yoo Chun Young stood up and suddenly walked out to the terrace. Before I was about to ask him where he was going, the door got closed. The breeze from outside waved my hair but as the door got closed, the breeze also stopped.
‘Maybe he just wants some fresh air,’ with that thought in mind, I turned my head to look at Jooin.
“But why are you guys here?”
“Just to hang out. Well, other kids are inside the small room too.”
It was not only them who came to this room. Other girls would also be inside the small room. As I understood the situation, I sat down again.
Eun Hyung placed the steaming pot on top of a dry towel. He then looked at the terrace to call Yoo Chun Young.
“Chun Young, aren’t you gonna have some noodles?”
I, who was fixing my gaze at the soaked noodles with a chopstick in my hand, turned my head absently to the terrace as I heard the familiar name.
The glass window reflected our images, which made Yoo Chun Young, who was sunk in the darkness at the terrace, look like a hazy afterimage. It looked as though he had seen us but he just stared outside while shaking his head.