Vol. 2 Chapter 33
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Translated by Springlila
Edited by Springlila
I, Lim Dae-han, and Jung Ji-pil. The three of us met at a downtown cafe. It was a fairly spacious franchise chain cafe, but there were not many people because we met early in the morning. The only guests were a couple of college students who occasionally went in and out of the smoking room.
Jung Ji-pil and I remained silent as we faced each other. Lim Dae-han, who had gone to get a drink with a vibrating bell, returned to his seat just in time.
Jung Ji-pil had an iced americano, I had a cold green tea latte, and Lim Dae-han had a strawberry drink with ice cream floating on top. It was accompanied by a honey bread topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with syrup. Lim Dae-han was doing something unusual by cutting bread with a knife. The whipped cream, which had already been piled on top, had reached the end of its useful life.
“… I’ll do it.”
Lim Dae-han gently handed me the knife when I extended my hand. When I turned my gaze to the side, Lim Dae-han crossed one leg with his arms crossed. He turned his head to the side and tilted his head halfway.
He does that in order to avoid making even the slightest eye contact with Jung Ji-pil. I cut the already half-pressed and dead bread. I didn’t want to hear the sound of the bowl and the knife rubbing together. Jung Ji-pil, who had previously remained silent, finally opened his mouth. He looked at me and Lim Dae-han in turn, then asked carefully.
“… Does Lim Dae-han always do all of these things?”
I was glad I did the cutting. Because I didn’t have to make eye contact with Jung Ji-pil. Lim Dae-han poked me in the side with his elbow. I thought it meant to answer, so I raised my head and said, “Uh-yeah.” But it was the spoon that came in front of me. Lim Dae-han scooped up strawberry-flavored ice cream with a small spoon that was too small for him and shoved it into my mouth.
“No… Don’t do this in front of Ji-pil.”
Normally I would have taken it, but not today. I stopped Lim Dae-han while glancing at Jung Ji-pil. At that moment, I made eye contact with Jung Ji-pil. He opened his mouth wide and made a puzzled face, looking at Lim Dae-han and then at me.
“Aren’t you too attached to each other right now?”
Did we…? I just assumed it was because Lim Dae-han was so large and so close to me. Lim Dae-han ignored Jung Ji-pil’s words. He couldn’t keep my expression of boredom from showing. Lim Dae-han brought my drink to me with that expression on his face. Then I ate ice cream. It just tasted like strawberry ice cream from the store. It was sweet and delicious.
“You’re such a punk.”
And then, a curse slipped away Jung Ji-pil’s lips.
“Aren’t you supposed to deny it now? Right now… this is crazy… What are you doing in front of me!”
When Jung Ji-pil raised his voice, Lim Dae-han called him out.
“You know everything anyway.”
Jung Ji-pil trembled in response to the terrifyingly calm voice. Fuck, development… After looking down at my feet, I reached out to the bread placed in front of me and picked it up with my bare hands, and ate it.
When I carefully handed one over, Jung Ji-pil said, “You eat it!” While chewing the bread in his mouth.
“I, I tried not to say anything. I thought it was weird. I wondered why you and Lim Dae-han were suddenly hanging out like this.”
“Let’s just say the conclusion.”
“Don’t interrupt me!”
Lim Dae-han laughed lightly at Jung Ji-pil’s reaction. I immediately looked at Lim Dae-han. Was Jung Ji-pil funny… ? My eyebrows were slightly wrinkled, but then I lowered my head to maintain my usual expression. Lim Dae-han’s hand wiggled closer, grabbed, and then released my hand. The awkwardness of the hand that had lost its grip was startling.
“But he, ah, I’m going crazy.”
“You know you can see the playground from the back door of the library.”
I remembered the road I walked with Dae-han after having dinner yesterday. We were probably just joking around. I don’t recall anything noticeable happening. Jung Ji-pil trembled and added a word when I tilted my head.
“There! Ki Young-hyun was..”
Jung Ji-pil, unable to control his anger, then lowered his voice.
“You touched Dae-han ass.”
At the same time, I was agitated and raised my voice. I couldn’t believe it, so I pounded the table with my clenched hand. Thud. The sound of a heart beating was similar to the sound of a fist hitting the table.
“Really… That’s why I was curious about what you were doing and kept an eye on you.”
“Hey, what were we wearing?”
“Ki Young-hyun’s black hat. You don’t normally wear a hat.”
I couldn’t deny it. My lips twitched frantically. Jung Ji-pil smiled confidently as if he were a detective who solved the case. Then he raised his index finger and resumed his speech. He seemed to have already been convinced that he closed his eyes.
“That was it, but.”
“That was it, but?”
“Lim Dae-han placed his hand on yours.”
“He was also a bit hesitant in the air before placing them.”
Jung Ji-pil imitated Lim Dae-han’s hand gestures. He paused in the air, and then placed his hands on the back of his hand, which he had placed on the table.
I didn’t remember. When I turned to face Lim Dae-han, he was looking elsewhere. He shook his legs and turned his gaze to the opposite side of where we were.
“Are you really in like that, that, that, that relationship?”
“Just ask if we’re dating. You talk too much.”
Lim Dae-han rejected Jung Ji-pil’s careful question. He kept rubbing his pants and shaking his legs next to me.
“…Are you dating?”
Lim Dae-han replied bluntly. Jung Ji-pil opened his mouth wide and said to himself, “Oh my God,” and then covered his mouth.
“Lim Dae-han with that, Ki Young-hyun…?”
“Hey, did you forget I’m in front of you?”
I think I know why he put ‘that’ in front of my name. Jung Ji-pil muttered “Oh my gosh.”
“Then Ki Young, you’re always to a man…”
I cast a quick glance over at the other table. Nonetheless, he didn’t appear to want to stop talking. He asked again, this time with a lower tone of voice.
“… Did you like men in the first place?”
“W-well, I don’t think it is…”
I drew my chin back and stuttered. I’ve never considered liking men in particular. But do I like men if I like Lim Dae-han? I cast a glance at Lim Dae-han. Lim Dae-han was scooping the ice cream out of the cup. Then he put the spoon in his mouth and gulped it down.
“… So, do you like Lim Dae-han as a man?”
“What are you so curious about?”
Only then did Lim Dae-han look at Jung Ji-pil with a stern expression and tone in his voice. “No, it’s because…” Jung Ji-pil said, pointing to himself. When I was asked that question, I began to wonder as well. Lim Dae-han showed signs of dying in embarrassment when he came to look me in the eyes. I rubbed my face with my hands. I squeezed my eyes shut with the palm of my hand.
Lim Dae-han’s eyes shook. The gaze that had been shaking around as if he couldn’t control it soon calmed down with a sigh. But in the end, he didn’t answer anymore. He slowly drew the chair out and rose from his seat. “Go to the bathroom,” he said. And he hurriedly left. Jung Ji-pil glanced at Lim Dae-han’s back, then put his hand to his lips and whispered.
“I guess you were originally gay.”
“It’s great. But why are you two dating? So, did he go to self-study every night after school because of you?”
“Who else knows you two are dating?”
“You’re the only one who knows, so don’t go around talking.”
“I will not. I will not. Lim Dae-han will hit me if I talk around about it.”
Jung Ji-pil was the type of person who valued his personal life over the scrutiny that a friend might receive from others.
“Oh, right,” Jung Ji-pil, who had been turning his eyes for a while, said. And he was the only one who made a big deal about it by clapping his hands. It was clear that he was exaggerating about everything, which was probably about the girl who was introduced to him.
“At that time, there was a day when Lim Dae-han bought me jjajangmyeon.”
“He said this to me at the time.”
“He’ll get close to you, so don’t look at each other with a flushed face.”
It was definitely Lim Dae-han’s way. It was a threatening tone. Jung Ji-pil was attempting to keep me away from Lim Dae-han at the time. And it was when Lim Dae-han attempted to stay with me in some way. He’s been around for quite some time, but… But, in fact, it was not much different.
“Wah, that’s awesome. Awesome. There’s another one.”
Jung Ji-pil was like a panelist on a love show. I was the only one who blushed. On the contrary, it was so bad that I, on the other side, felt embarrassed.
“I was originally sitting behind you.”
“But I keep making eye contact with Dae-han from the beginning of the semester.”
“Yeah. You usually don’t look back in class. Except when handing out handouts.”
“Wow. Have you two been dating since then?”
I shook my head vaguely. I didn’t even know when the time Jung Ji-pil was talking about. I knew that Dae-han had liked me for quite a long time. Hearing about that time from someone else made me feel strange for some reason. I felt compelled to scratch it as if it itch on my arm.
Jung Ji-pil leaned in a little more and approached me. His eyes were innocent, in contrast to his cautious voice.
“Have you two already kissed?”
Lim Dae-han returned just in time. Jung Ji-pil, who couldn’t ask Dae-han as many questions as he asked me, finally shut up. My face was heating up despite the fact that the air conditioner was turned on. Jung Ji-pil asked Lim Dae-han while chewing and twisting his lips. At the very least, he had a question for him.
“Don’t you smoke?”
“You go around drinking.”
“I haven’t drunk since I started dating him…”
“You don’t study.”
“Doing it these today.”
He then added hastily.
“I memorized 200 English words yesterday.”
In fact, it’s unfortunate because Jung Ji-pil was not in a position to judge other people’s studies. Jung Ji-pil and Lim Dae-han have similar grades. Jung Ji-pil abruptly lowered his voice, pretending to be dignified as to what concept he had.
“Anyway, be nice to Younghyun. I’ll be watching you.”
Lim Dae-han didn’t even laugh when he heard those words. He raised one corner of his mouth and ignored it.
“And you shouldn’t be doing such high-level skinship outside. Since it’s me, you can just move on. However, what would you do if it was someone else. And students must carry out their responsibilities. And so, that…”
Jung Ji-pil’s face turned red while talking. I tapped my index finger on the table and said.
“Don’t think about it, Jung Ji-pil.”
“When did I…! When did I say I had a naughty thought?”
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