Chapter 165: Chapter 165
That was when Eun Jiho bent his body. His arm suddenly embraced my neck, while the other caressed my back. His actions seemed quite stiff like that of a wooden doll. It was somehow different from the usual action that he would do to me, such as having his arm around my shoulders casually. Then at the next moment, his ear touched my cheek. Even his ear felt warm.
That was when I rolled my eyes in confusion. Eun Jiho’s voice sounded so close that it felt like there were only a few centimeters between us.
“I’ll give you 10 seconds to cry.”
“I can’t give you more than that, so cry until the elevator comes.”
Flickering my eyes, I burst into laughter, and, at the same time, the tears that filled my eyes ran down my cheek. I didn’t feel sad at all afterward. ‘What did you just say, Eun Jiho?’ I trembled as I was dumbfounded with that thought in mind. Eun Jiho might have misunderstood me by then. He placed his hand on top of my head, solemnly. When I bent myself more and found the will to giggle, he noticed that I was actually laughing.
He then pushed my shoulder slightly away from him. As I took a step back and looked up at his face, a look of frustration came into my sight.
“Hey, I lent you my arms so you can cry, but why are you laughing instead? How could you… woman?” he asked.
“Then should I just… geez, how can you say such a thing like that? Giving me 10 seconds? Gosh…”
I continued to burst out a giggle upon hearing what he said. Since I repeatedly laughed and cried all day, it felt like my stomach had loosened. When I finally plopped down on the ground and laughed out loud, Eun Jiho raised me up while fetching a sigh.
At that moment, I heard a bell ringing around my ears. When I turned back, I saw the elevator door slowly opening. There was no one inside. Holding my wrist, Eun Jiho pushed me into the elevator. I kept on laughing as he shoved me.
I looked back again. Eun Jiho was still standing in front of the elevator with a sullen look.
“Dude,” I asked while looking at him.
“Why does it have to be in front of the elevator?”
“You could have done it in the hallway. How come you chose to do that in front of the elevator?”
When Eun Jiho tried to respond, the elevator door slowly closed. When I wondered if I should open it back or not, I saw his lips moving through the gap between the shutting door. The glowing red sunset stained his hair into an orange hue. That was when I realized that my hands remained frozen stiff in front of a button.
He said, “I can’t be patient any…”
With those words, the door finally closed. The elevator then seemed to shake for a moment as it soon ascended.
When I was finally alone, I thought, ‘Can’t be patient any… anymore? For what?’
Perhaps it was about something trivial. He didn’t really have any reasons to give me ten seconds to shed some tears; however, his discontinued remark kept lingering in my head. I then touched my aching forehead. His jet-black eyes against the sunset somehow looked so severe and desperate that I felt confused at the moment.
* * *
The next day, when I came to school, the entire establishment was astir with news about Choi Yuri. She texted a message saying, ‘It was me who created the Yeo Ryung haters club and spread the rumor that Donnie did it. I’m sorry,’ to a few of her friends on the day before class. She then disappeared from the school without a trace.
The students in Class 1-1 first thought that someone else was doing a prank using her phone number. Once they found out that Choi Yuri transferred to another school without a single word of farewell, a big commotion burst among them. They called her phone, but it didn’t connect as if she even changed her number.
It wasn’t satisfying to watch the case end like that. Although I was the center of the overall situation, I couldn’t believe that such a thing would end just like that.
When I looked unexpectedly underwhelmed, my classmates encouraged me to say something or to go together with them to beat Class 1-1, but I refused as I now felt my motivation plunging.
A few weeks have passed since that day; however, none of the people who backbit me when I was still the center of the rumor apologized. I knew they would act like that, but I couldn’t help feeling unbearable pain in my chest, regardless.
With those feelings in me, I slowly laid my head onto the desk and looked outside through the window. The world was tranquil. The leaves on the stretched branches shone a green tint under the sunlight.
After the final exam, the six of us—Ban Yeo Ryung, the Four Heavenly Kings, and I—gathered together.
When we finally brought up Choi Yuri to our topic, Ban Yeo Ryung then burst into tears. Eun Jiho started to look perplexed. Under this circumstance, one could say that Eun Jiho was the one who reduced her to tears; however, we all knew that it was because the embankment that blocked her emotions for the whole time collapsed at long last.
That day, Ban Yeo Ryung spoke while crying.
‘Is it wrong to like someone? Everyone has a right to like who they want! Don’t talk to me like that. I-I… if you say something like that, then it makes me feel like I’m the wrong person, and it was my fault to like someone. If you say so…’
While Eun Jiho became at a loss of words, Woo Jooin spoke to him, ‘You made her cry,’ with a sigh, which made Eun Jiho even more speechless. Meanwhile, Yoo Chun Young stretched out his hand to Ban Yeo Ryung and patted her head. However, he was just as surprised as Eun Jiho; as such, he also didn’t know what to do.
Eun Hyung then came forward. He sighed and lowered his head to reach the eye level of Ban Yeo Ryung.
‘You know that Eun Jiho talked angrily because he was also concerned about you. It’s just his way of caring about you. If you did something wrong, then we would have already told you. Don’t cry, Yeo Ryung.’
‘No, I’m not crying because of Jiho. It’s just that I… I’m afraid of myself…’
A deafening silence then enveloped the room. Ban Yeo Ryung kept wiping her tears with the back of her hand. Her wet wrist shone under the dim darkness. She continued her words while her shoulders shook.
‘When things like this happen… I get very scared. I feel like maybe I’m a bad person as they say… The reason why I’m involved in these things continuously is that I don’t deserve to have any friends…’
‘You guys can also leave me because I’m too tired to deal with this… so as I thought about how I didn’t deserve any friends, I noticed that I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about such things…’
Her words made Eun Hyung sigh again. He then stretched out his hand and carefully grabbed her wrist, which she regularly used to rub around her eyes roughly. Her tearful black eyes were on Eun Hyung.
‘People aren’t that simple. They try to describe every action I made based on the fact that I don’t have a mother,’ said Eun Hyung.
Ban Yeo Ryung’s eyes displayed a feeling of awe at last. I never expected him to bring up his story, so I sat upright out of confusion. I glanced at Yoo Chun Young, who looked nonchalant, before looking at Eun Hyung again. He also seemed unconcerned like Yoo Chun Young.
With a smile, Eun Hyung continued, ‘When I involve myself in a fight, they would say that it’s because I have no mother. When I didn’t behave politely, they would bring out the absence of my mother again. Whenever I lay myself open to even the smallest attack, they would shove those words at me. I could still do those things, even if my mother was still with us.’
‘People are good at associating irrelevant things together. The reason those people hated you… do you really think that that’s the only reason why they hated you? No, haters are gonna hate no matter what.’
Ban Yeo Ryung still looked at Eun Hyung with tearful eyes. It made me feel so uncomfortable that I wrapped my arms around my legs. Though it was over, the incident that Choi Yuri provoked happened just a few days ago.