Vol. 1 Chapter 15
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Translated by Springlila
Edited by Springlila
“How far should I solve it?”
Dae-han had answered up all of his problem workbooks. Where we are now is the library. The city library was next to the school. This place, which is a five-minute walk from the school’s main gate, was bustling with people of various ages. In this day with numerous things to study, it has always been filled with people, regardless of age.
There were three areas in the reading room: one for men, one for women, and one for unisex. Lim Dae-han and I were seated in a reading room that only men could enter.
Never, ever, ever. I was obstinate because I was terrified of running into the guys that Lim Dae-han knew.
“Let’s relax for a while.”
Lim Dae-han spoke softly through the quiet silence. In such a quiet room, even the click of a ballpoint pen could be clearly heard. But he said it didn’t matter. It was both impressive and amusing that a student who had never studied in the class wanted to learn and solve a question. Lim Dae-han surprisingly had a very funny side. I smiled and raised my head.
Fortunately, we ate less because we were each seated in front of a desk in the reading room. However, if we were talking at a table loudly, the person next to us would have been staring at us. They will also avoid making eye contact with Lim Dae-han if they have a negative view of him.
Should I frown like Dae-han? I frowned my brow. Lim Dae-han, who was facing the scene, tilted his head.
“Just do what you want. I will do as much as you tell me to do.”
Oh, did it work? That can’t be true. Even though I had such a gentle face, there was no way my impressions would change just because I frowned my eyebrows.
I quietly received the workbook and checked it. I tried to turn it over to the front page, but I couldn’t go that far because Dae-han hurriedly blocked it with his hand. I don’t know why people are ashamed of showing wrong answers while not being ashamed of asking questions they don’t understand.
Anyway, I checked from the place that Dae-han opened it until the very end. I handed it over to Dae-han without a word. He couldn’t hide his annoyance for a moment and wrinkled his face, but as soon as our gazes collided, he returned to his original position.
I smiled quietly at such Lim Dae-han, but it was also somehow strange, and I pouted my lips for no apparent reason. I returned to my original position, just like Dae-han, and solved the question. I was in a hurry because the exam began tomorrow.
‘Let’s go on a date after the exam.’
I was worried about a lot of things when I remembered what Lim Dae-han had said. I had a hard time figuring out whether I should change into casual clothes or wear a school uniform, where to go, and what song to sing if we went to a karaoke room. It was better to just study.
I pulled out the math test paper from the mock exam. This was also included in the scope of the test. This time, the exam questions were quite easy and I was able to get a decent score. I checked the two wrong questions by writing the last wrong answer note.
I didn’t like math very much because it had a lot of complicated things here and there. In particular, it was difficult to substitute the formula. I tapped the tip of the pencil on my lips. I looked through the reference book for the formulas I needed and wrote them down. Since then, my mind has been a mess.
That was then.
I wasn’t aware of anyone’s presence and was focused on the question when I was tapped on the back. It was the opposite of Dae-han’s seat. A familiar face greeted me with a big smile as I turned my head.
He was my classmate when I was in my freshman year of high school. He was the class president at the time. He was quite handsome and tall, so he was very popular. He also cracks a lot of jokes. He was also good at teasing anyone and making creepy jokes such as “I like you, brother.” Despite this, he had such a pleasant attitude. He used to laugh it off when people said it was creepy. We used to be good friends, but because our classes were so different in the second year, it was difficult to see each other.
“Are you here to study?”
He asked me in low voice. It was significantly quieter than the voice Lim Dae-han had used to me before. Instead of speaking, I nodded.
“Your hair has grown quite a bit. You’ll get caught by the student council, Ki Young-hyun.”
He grabbed my bangs painlessly. Ah, shit. He used to play strange pranks like this before. I shook my head to let go of his hand. That friend grinned and looked away, then paused. I just looked away, too. Dae-han was looking at him with a grim face.
The friend opened and closed his mouth. Then he gestured to me.
“Let’s hang out outside and talk. I feel tired.”
He pretended to be pitiful while whispering with his mouth. I was trying to stand up while looking at Dae-han, but Dae-han interrupted me and my friend with a gloomy voice.
“The exam is tomorrow, what do you mean you’re going out? Just study.”
I put my index finger up and put it in front of my mouth. Please keep your voices down. But I had the impression that a couple of pairs of eyes were staring at us. It seemed that Dae-han didn’t even care about it. The big, fierce guy glanced up and down at my friend. Since Lim Dae-han was famous, my friend smiled awkwardly as if he didn’t want to get involved.
“Then study hard.”
After saying his goodbyes, my friend returned to his seat. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, and I was disappointed when the encounter ended without me being able to speak properly with him. I tilted my head to one side before straightening it out. I bit my lower lip. Then I slowly turned my gaze away.
Lim Dae-han stayed still with his broad shoulders hunched. I didn’t feel like studying.
Is he mad…? I became cautious.
To be honest, I knew because I wasn’t a fool. Lim Dae-han was jealous of my friend’s friendly attitude. The tips of his ears, neck, and red are stained red when he holds hands with me. If he witnessed someone messing with me and tapping anywhere on my body, he might have felt a little uncomfortable. If I saw Dae-han’s friends being too friendly with him, I’d think it was a little annoying as well. Just a little bit. Really just a little bit.
However, he didn’t run out of the classroom like last time, nor did he send a bear emoticon, so I remained silent. I looked at Dae-han with his lips still pouting. The sound of shredding paper could be heard through the obstructed desk wall.
Lim Dae-han was still looking at the desk, and his hand suddenly invaded my desk. It was a note smaller than a crane paper. Just by looking at it, it was obvious that he had torn up the workbook and sent it.
[Sorry for not letting you talk to your friend]
Contrary to what I thought that Dae-han was angry with me, an unexpected note came. As soon as I saw the contents, I wrote ‘No, it’s okay, haha.’ in small letters right below it. Stupid. Lim Dae-han was far too open with his emotions. Honestly, it feels a bit good too. It’s good that someone who likes me gets jealous…
I handed the reply to Dae-han. Another shredding sound came from beyond the desk wall. If you keep tearing the problem book like that, there will be no space to solve the question. Now he was solving a math question. Of course, he didn’t have a notebook.
And then the hand came up again. Even this note was bigger than the previous one.
[But I don’t want to be oblivious to it.]
[You’ll make a fuss if I do that.]
Are you laughing at me cause I’m old-fashioned?! But Dae-han wasn’t that different. Who was it that stiffened up and walked awkwardly the first time we held hands? It’s not that I’m trying to make a fuss; it’s just that the body stiffens.
I agonized over the reply. I was more careful than when I solved the question. There were three candidates.
- I’m not? I’m not like that?
- You are like that too ^^;;
- What are you talking about?
The first one was literally just a negation, but the second and third were a little more playful. Tap, tap, tap. I made dots on the message left by Lim Dae-han with the sharp mechanic pencil tip.
After contemplating for a long time, I ended up sending a boring answer. I couldn’t hide the fact that I was a boring guy myself. I should have just sent answer number 2. However, if the note grows longer, both of us will have less time to study, so it’s better to do well on the exam and talk about things when on a date. But even then, what if I’m not having fun? No, I’m sure it would be…
I have a lot of thoughts. My fingers were tangled in my hair. I lifted my upper body after holding my head for a moment. I turned my attention to him. Suddenly, I wanted to collect the note Lim Dae-han had sent. I wanted to keep the note about how jealous he was…
I pressed my lips and clenched my fists. And I moved my hand over the desk where Lim Dae-han studied hard. The wall between the desks made his face invisible. I reached out and pulled my upper body back with my hand. Lim Dae-han shifted his gaze as well.
Lim Dae-han softly bit his lower lip and gripped my palm tightly. I shook my head softly enough that only Dae-han noticed. “Give me the note,” I said quietly. Dae-han, who was holding my hand, loosened his grip.
His hand again brushed against my wrist. He clutched it tightly as if he didn’t want it to escape. He flipped my palm. My palm felt cold against the desk. Something touched the back of my hand. It was a ballpoint pen, to be precise.
It’s a major development. I’m surprised Dae-han brought a pen with him. Oh, and by the way. I saw the traces that Lim Dae-han left on the back of my hand. It was a black circle.
What is this…?
After looking at the back of my hand for a moment, I opened my palm again.
‘I gave you the note.’
He whispered, mouthing one syllable at a time. Lim Dae-han, who had messy short hair, handed me two notes that were on the desk. I couldn’t hide my curled lips, and I stuffed the message deep into the pencil case. Dae-han then puffed his cheeks with air while looking at the circle. I wondered what this sign meant before shaking my head and deciding to concentrate on the question.
I hope the exam will be over soon…
To be honest, I was looking forward to a date with Lim Dae-han.
“Five minutes left until submission. Those who haven’t written the OMR, hurry up and finish it.”
The exam was completed with 5 minutes remaining and the final verification procedure was completed. I lay down on my desk to take a break. For a brief period, I forgot about the outside weather as the air conditioning blew cooler than usual. Not only me but everyone was drowsy. There was even a guy who snored in between.
The final exam lasted four days, which was neither too short nor too long. I had covered crucial topics in the prior lesson, so the remaining hour was quite leisurely. I buried my chin in the back of my arm, planning what I would do next.
Is it better for me to go home, eat, and then go to the library? However, I thought that there would be no seats available if I went to the library after eating. Is it better to go to the apartment’s reading room, which is close to the front gate? While pondering about this and that alone, I abruptly lowered my eyes.
Lim Dae-han, who was sitting two rows behind me, was already lying down and motionless.
I’m not sure since when has he been sleeping, I hope he did well on the exam. Just as I was staring intently at his broad back, the bell rang signaling the end of the exam. Ding-dong-dang-dong. ‘Aww.’ The guys started stretching and they said, ‘Hey, wasn’t it so hard?’ There were some guys who groaned. I stood up and stretched my arms out as well.
“The person in the back picks up the card and the person in front of him, rolling up the test papers.”
The teacher gave instructions to the students as if it was a set response. The test papers and OMR cards were taken by one or two people in the back. I, who was in the middle of the first row, keep shaking my head. As I turned my head, my eyes met with Dae-han. He had really woken up, his eyes wide open, and he stood upright with his arms crossed.
Should I have lunch together with Dae-han today? Dae-han bought me something different every day, so I decided to treat it as if it were pocket money.
He didn’t seem to like tteokbokki very much, but he seemed to be fine with pizza and chicken. Or we can order something and study together at home today…
The front door opened, and the teacher hadn’t even left the classroom yet, but a girl from the other class, walked in. She was a friend of Lim Dae-han. Some of the boys gave her a sidelong glance. She was well-known for her beauty. Usually, boys would call him, “Dae-han-ah.” Or “Dae-han.” While girls called him, “Hey, Dae-han~” or “Hey, Dae-han-ah~.” There didn’t seem to be much of a difference, but there was a subtle difference in the voice tone.
I… I… … I called him Lim Dae-han, or just hey, I called him a little sloppily. Or, I should not have included a subject at all.
“I heard you are going to the library these days?”
Lim Dae-han talked casually. While organizing the pencil case, I cast a glance at Lim Dae-han and the girl.
“Let’s go together today. I messed up my exam. I’m going to study for the English exam tomorrow.”
“Seo-i, I’d like to go as well.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You’ll beg me to play with you again.”
Dae-han’s other friends were gathered as well. I bit the soft flesh inside my lower lip just enough to avoid it hurting, then bit and let go of my lip again.
I went home with Dae-han throughout the exam period, but we never did anything together after that. Yesterday, we went home together and then parted ways. Lim Dae-han was thoughtful of me. He didn’t make any demands on me or ask me to do anything. Whenever we split ways, I always say, “Goodbye. Work hard in your studies.” Then I turned around and left. It was enjoyable, but it was also a little bit like that. It was difficult to explain in words.
In the midst of bickering between them, Dae-han had a joyful expression on his face. His expression was happier than when he was with me. I couldn’t keep my fingers motionless and had to stretch them again. Jung Ji-pil, who was approaching me, questioned as I let out a sigh.
“Ki Young-hyun, did you fail the exam?”
“It was fun to see you fail.”
“You must have enjoyed it.”
“It’s me. It’s always like that. Haha.”
Jung Ji-pil grabbed his chin and said proudly. I think he’ll be in second place from the back again this time. Even if he wasn’t good at studying, he was a good person.
While having a little talk with Jung Ji-pil, I cast a glimpse at Dae-han. Lim Dae-han was probably thinking of going to study with his friends. He had never promised to go with me, but I was embarrassed to eat and do what I had planned on my own.
“Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?”
Tomorrow was the end of the exam. Four days passed quite quickly. Putting my lips together, I couldn’t respond. When did we make the decision to go on date after the exam? I tapped the desk repeatedly with my index finger.
“Wait a minute… Because my older brother may want to eat with me tomorrow.”
“Does your older brother do this on a regular basis? Will he take you to a great place if you really are respectful to him? You should take me as well.”
“It’s because I’m sensitive. Wait a minute.”
It was a lie. My brother buys me a meal occasionally, but to do that, I hinted at it a few days ago, and there was nothing like that today. I pretended to contact my brother and sent a message to Dae-han.
Me: [We were supposed to meet after our exams] 12:06
Me: [When will we meet?] 12:06
I shifted the subject since I felt a little embarrassed to call it a date. I sent a message and glanced at Dae-han. He’d taken out his phone, so the message might have gotten through.
Lim Dae-han: [Tomorrow] 12:07
After receiving the message, I looked back at Dae-han. Lim Dae-han was also looking at me. After making eye contact, I hurriedly avoided him. I pretended to be embarrassed by Jung Ji-pil, who was standing in front of me like a general.
“I don’t think I can do it tomorrow. He said that he wants to eat tomorrow.”
“Can I go too?”
“Oh, I don’t think so… Next time my older brother call again, let’s go together.”
Because my brother had bought Jung Ji-pil a few meals, he asked with a smile, but I eventually refused. I felt bad about lying to him, but it won’t take long. “You can’t help it,” Jung Ji-pil said, pouting his lips and lowering his head. After that, he turned around and returned to his seat.
“Hey, what are you going to do the day after tomorrow? Let’s go to a coin karaoke with my brother.” I immediately proposed it since I felt bad for him.
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I'm sorry I couldn't update on Monday, so here's two chapter~