Vol. 1 Chapter 10
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Translated by Springlila
Edited by Springlila
It was difficult for me to say these things on my own because I’ve been timid since I was a child. It was partly due to my brother’s strong personality, but it had already become my nature for the time being. My father, who overcame hardship to become a high-ranking government official was not timid, and neither was my mother. I’m not sure why. I was not only timid, but I was also easily scared.
Perhaps it was because of this that I had so many friends who were similar to me. Although Jung Ji-pil was a bit of an unusual case, in fact, he was also weak against strong people. I used to think that if I met someone, it would be nice if it was someone who could lead me well because the only people I mix with were gentle people. Even if there was no ideal type, this was certain. For example…
Lim Dae-han said as he extended his hand. I checked to see if sweat was forming in the palm of my hand, then placed my hand on it. Dae-han stroked my hand. It was a little weaker than the first time, but the grip was so strong that even though the strength had been reduced, the pain was similar.
“It hurt. Don’t hold my hand like that.”
I tried to pull out my hand, but it was useless. When I turned my head around, I could smell the faint smell of cigarettes on Dae-han. It also had a lavender scent to it. I think he sprayed something before coming to see me, but the smell of cigarettes was so strong that I could still smell it.
But he didn’t have a very bad scent. It also went well with Dae-han.
Lim Dae-han wiggled his fingers. The hand that was holding my hand lost a little more strength. Knowing that I had said enough for myself, I didn’t say anything else.
“Did you study hard?”
Lim Dae-han asked a question that my father would never ask. “Yeah,” I said. My palms were heating up. It has been a few weeks since we walked together. I’m getting used to it. The path we took together, as well as the conversation I had with Dae-han. Even though he and I both went to school in the morning and evening, we didn’t do everything together. Lim Dae-han did the night self-study on the days he wanted to, but not on the days he didn’t.
I didn’t insist on studying together either. To be honest, being in the same classroom as Dae-han was a headache. Then I couldn’t focus on that day. Well, even if Dae-han didn’t do night self-study, we left school together. Lim Dae-han would spend time somewhere and wait for me in front of the back gate by the end of the night self-study. Then I walked down the alley, clutching my hand tightly.
Lim Dae-han kept his promise. He waited for me at 7:15 in the morning and went to school with me, who left 20 minutes early. Holding hands was only in the evening. There were times when we entered the classroom together, and there were times when we parted in front of the school gate for the nonsensical reason that he had to rest after having a sleepy face. The following day, Dae-han did not attend class in the morning and arrived at school only after lunchtime, approaching me and saying.
“Let’s go have lunch together.”
Then Jung Ji-pil became upset next to me. He was openly huffing now, but he didn’t really care about Dae-han. Sometimes I patted Jung Ji-pil on the head, but it clearly contained ridicule and disregard, so Jung Ji-pil set the tone even higher.
Anyway, this was how I spent every single day. I didn’t have much of a conversation with Dae-han, but I appreciated having someone around me on my way to and from school. It was new because I had never gone home with my friends before. I don’t even carry earphones anymore. That doesn’t mean that Dae-han was a friend, but anyway…
I had a flat daily life in my own way, which was both scary and enjoyable with Dae-han. As time went by quickly, the exam period was just around the corner. Our school’s final exam was held later than other schools’. Many schools begin exams in early July, but we did not take the exam until mid-July. I wiggled my fingers and scratched Lim Dae-han’s palm.
“Are you studying?”
While I was asking Dae-han, I wondered if it was okay to ask him about this. Lim Dae-han, whom I and my classmates knew, was not someone who would study. He used to skip classes on his own will, even during exams. When I happened to look back, he was mostly sleeping on his stomach.
Dae-han didn’t respond again. He seemed embarrassed. He lowered his arm after touching his head or something with his other hand. Then he asked carefully.
“Do you like someone who is good at studying?”
Wasn’t that prudent of you? I shut my mouth in response to his words. It was an unsuitable question for someone who never studying. Still, it was good to be diligent… Nonetheless, it was beneficial to be diligent… I don’t have a specific ideal type, so I put my lips to that word. I made a small sound “Uhm,” before looking him in the eyes and saying:
“…I like diligent people.”
Lim Dae-han softly chuckled after speaking, as if it were absurd. I responded in the same way, with an awkward laugh.
“You don’t come to school often.”
“If you tell me to, I’ll go to school every day.”
“… Ji-pil would flip over.”
“Why is he like that? He is so strange.”
Still, it didn’t seem that Dae-han didn’t like Jung Ji-pil. He snorted every time he saw Jung Ji-pil having fun. When I saw it, I thought of a puppy playing with a lion. The lion patted the dog to play, but the dog raised its teeth. Of course, Jung Ji-pil was not as adorable as a puppy.
Then I abruptly stopped. Lim Dae-han, who was one step ahead of me, also stopped and turned his head to look at me. Without realizing it, I tried to hide my gloomy expression. But it couldn’t be hidden.
“Do you like playing with Ji-pil?”
The words tumbled out. For a brief moment, I was stunned, but I couldn’t take back what I had said. Lim Dae-han frowned and stared at me with one side of his brow furrowed.
“Ah, no, that’s not…”
I tried to reverse my words. Dae-han moved his hand slowly. Then I tried to take out my hands, which were crossed in each other palms. I followed his hand and stopped. Dae-han entwined his fingers and linked them with mine. It felt like my heart was pounding.
“He’s not funny.”
“I’m talking about your friend.”
I let out a strange sound. I applied a strong force to my interlocked hands. Lim Dae-han exclaimed, “Ouch!” when I applied full force to my knuckles. He trembled and spoke in an unsuitable tone.
I couldn’t keep my eyes fixed on one spot and kept moving it in different directions. The grip remained in my hands. As I felt my facial muscles tremble, I lowered my head. Dae-han went on to say.
What in the world did I just do? It feels like my intestines were twisted.
Lim Dae-han, who waited for me at the school main gate, stood tall in front of me today, as he always did.
I couldn’t calm down from what happened before. I am simply roasted. I don’t know when this weather will cool down. It was still July. When would autumn arrive? When we hold hands, we don’t have to struggle because it was hot. Oops. Alone in my delusions, I raised my head at the voice calling me.
“From now on, I will go to school every day.”
I felt embarrassed and put my hands forward. I fiddled with my fingers, raised my chin, and looked at Dae-han.
My behavior felt so ridiculous after responding like a shy child.
Lim Dae-han attempted to speak with strong aspiration but was unable to complete the conversation.
“I’ll study too, so help me.”
“Yeah. You study well.”
Well, I’m not bad at it. I nodded, biting the soft flesh inside my cheeks. Lim Dae-han, who had his lips pursed, smiled. He looks handsome. Lim Dae-han was unflappable and lacked expression, but when he smiled, he seemed to draw people to him. I shook my head and looked up at him involuntarily.
There was a reason why the other guys only followed Dae-han’s back. I try to calm my heart and opened my mouth curiously.
“Okay. I will help you.”
Are you going now?
“Let’s go on a date after the exam.”
Without realizing it, my voice rang out. Lim Dae-han nodded one more time. It was a date. A date. I kept saying it to myself over and over. “Yeah. Let’s go on a date,” Dae-han said as if nothing had happened.
“Hey, Ki Young-hyun.”
It was a time when I couldn’t even properly respond to Dae-han’s words. A familiar voice could be heard. My brother appeared when I turned my head. He was wearing a training suit with an upper and lower set and dragging slippers from the convenience store. He had a black plastic bag dangling around his wrist. It appeared that he had sweat on his face.
I returned my gaze to my brother before turning to face Dae-han. Lim Dae-han gave my brother a brief glance before nodding.
“Are you friends?”
My brother asked me. At the strange appearance of my brother, I quickly looked around and nodded.
“Yeah. Le-let’s go in.”
“I’m leaving. Bye.“
My brother then approached me and slapped me on the back and shoulders.
“Let go. Take your hand from me.”
My brother smacked me on the arm. The back of my arm seemed to be on fire, but I couldn’t bear the thought of being hurt. My brother’s walk went more smoothly than I had anticipated. As I moved quickly with my brother, I kept looking back at Dae-han. Lim Dae-han stood there staring at my brother before turning away. What Dae-han had to do was obvious. He’d stand near the main gate, smoking cigarettes.
He called me while I was waiting for the elevator with my brother. Instead of responding, I turned my head to look my brother in the eyes.
“Is he your friend?”
He asked a random question out of the blue.
“Are you really friends? None of your friends are like that.”
Unexpectedly, he also knew my friends well. I blinked blankly as if I didn’t understand what he was saying. Does he really doubt the relationship between Dae-han and me? I definitely put my hands down at the end of the alley, and we didn’t talk much while we were walking down… no way.
‘Let’s go on a date after the exam.’
He probably didn’t hear what we said. A cold sweat ran down my back. When I couldn’t answer, my brother sighed and said.
“Hey, if you’re being bullied, tell me right away. And don’t grumble by yourself like a moron.”
“Don’t make our parents worry.”
I shifted my eyes and nodded slowly. Then I added later.
“He is not like that. He is a good guy.”
My brother was being sarcastic. The elevator door that reached the first floor soon opened. My older brother waited for the person inside to come out and went inside first. I also got on the elevator after being hesitant behind my brother.
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