DON'T U WAIT NO MOREBe Natural
“Where on earth is she?”
Seungwan paced back and forth at the front of the classroom, the light from the projector casting her restless shadow on the white board. She was mentally mourning the savings she had wasted on buying Seulgi that nice watch for her birthday, when it was clear the present had not improved Seulgi’s punctuality in the slightest.
“Can I at least put on some music while we wait?” Yerim asked, squirming out of Joy’s lap to grab her phone.
Before Seungwan could even reply, the intro to the Baby shark song was already playing in the background. Seungwan closed her eyes and counted ten calming breathes.
“Forget it. I’m gonna go look for her,” Seungwan said and made for the door. She needed an excuse to get out anyway, before Joy and Yeri could commence their unnecessarily passionate rendition of Baby shark like they always did.
Just as Seungwan’s hand was about to close around the doorknob, it its own accord. The door swung open to reveal Seungwan’s best friend/the person she wanted to yell at the most right now.
“Hi Wan before you can yell at me I just wanna say sorry for being late and has anyone told you you look beautiful and cute and unlike someone who would yell at people, and also yelling damages your vocal chords and prevents you from blessing everyone with your awesome singing?”
Seulgi’s words only strengthened Seungwan’s urge to smack her sideway, but Seulgi just had to end off with that eye-smile of hers, and Seungwan really needed to develop an immunity to that because it had honestly been ruining her life since kindergarten.
“Fine. Come in.” Seungwan backed away from the door in resignation.
“Just in time, Seulgi unnie!” Yeri exclaimed and stood up from her chair.
It turned out Seulgi was in time - just in time, in fact - to act the part of Mother Shark. Seungwan watched the chaos unfold before her eyes, until the chorus, where Seungwan finally gave in and joined them (and ended up singing louder than everyone else).
“Where were you anyway, unnie?” Joy questioned once the song had ended and Seulgi plopped down into the seat next to hers.
The Earth stopped spinning on its axis. All the world was silent. A cricket chirped in the distance. It too sounded disbelieving.
“I was sleeping,” Seulgi clarified, and everyone else in the room released a collective sigh of relief, “They’ve got the most comfy arm chairs in there. And everyone has to keep quiet, so it’s perfect.”
“You know, if you look closely beyond the row of arm chairs, there are books in the library too. Some people actually go there to read. Crazy, I know.”
In response to Joy’s sarcastic comment, Seulgi just laughed like an idiot and hit (gently tapped) the younger’s shoulder.
“Anyway,” Seungwan clapped her hands together to catch their attention, “You must be wondering why I gathered you guys here today.”
“If you need free labour for cupcake sales again, I’m out,” Yeri announced.
“Sales? Last time was a cupcake giveaway! What kind of maniac just hands out top-notch cupcakes for free to the whole school? I would never have signed up to help if I’d known we weren’t making any money.”
That made Seungwan smile a little, because Joy was admitting her cupcake recipe was top-notch, and also because she knew Joy would have helped out anyway, although the girl would rather be dead than admit that.
“I’ll help,” Seulgi volunteered, raising her hand high.
The thing was, Seungwan actually did a little analysis of their last cupcake giveaway, and her results showed that Seulgi ended up eating more cupcakes than she helped to make. She didn’t have the heart to tell her best friend that, of course.
“Geez. Thanks for the overwhelming support, guys. But no, I won’t be doing another mass baking for a while. Today, I’d just like to draw your attention to something.”
Seungwan clicked on her laptop and the projector displayed the first slide of her presentation. In all caps, dramatic letters crawled across the screen:
OPERATION: DON’T U WAIT NO MORE
“Ah, you were talking about this last week. It’s about getting Seulgi unnie a girlfriend isn’t it?”
“Getting me a wha-“
“Guys,” Yeri interrupted, holding up a hand, “I think you’re missing the brilliance of the fact that Seungwan unnie actually made a PowerPoint presentation for this.”
“Oh gosh you’re right, Yerim. I feel so ready to be educated on the impact of climate change and global warming any minute now.”
Seungwan gave her best glare (which wasn’t very good), but it did nothing to stop the two younger girls from snickering at her slideshow. Even Seulgi was giggling behind her hand. What was wrong with PowerPoint? It was a great way to organise her thought-out points in a logical flow, with the help of appropriately timed visual aids.
“Okay. Enough,” Seungwan shushed the uncooperative crowd, “The point is…”
“The Powerpoint is…” Yeri interjected. Joy gave her a high-five.
Seungwan sighed. She needed to get this done quickly before she lost any more years of her life.
“Go on, Seungwan,” Seulgi encouraged, “What is this about getting me a girlfriend?”
“Right. As you all know, the second semester of our junior year has just begun. This means that, in four months, our seniors will be graduating, including…”
Seulgi’s eyebrows shot up as Seungwan clicked the next slide.
“One and only, Bae Joohyun sunbae-nim.”
A photo of the girl looking flawless at a ballet recital took over the screen. Seulgi took a moment to appreciate the gorgeous shot, before scrambling to her feet to draw the shades of all the windows.
“For crying out loud. Do you know how creepy this would seem if she happens to walk by right now?”
“Here’s what we know about her,” Seungwan continued, unfazed, “Name: Bae Joohyun. Nickname: Baechu (Cabbage). Birthday: 29 March, 1991. Favourite colour: purple. Hobbies: ballet, reading, ironing her uniform to perfection, getting A’s for every subject. And, lastly, has been Seulgi’s crush since Freshman year.”
Seungwan dedicated a whole slide to illustrate this last piece of information. Seulgi peaked through the cracks between her fingers, watching herself in a derp photo from two years ago getting shot in the heart by a cartoon Cupid.
“Art,” commented Yeri.
“Play the animation again,” Joy requested, earning herself one more of those chastising shoulder taps from Seulgi.
Seungwan honoured her request with three encores of the Cupid’s arrow animation. She hoped they were starting to see the brilliance of using PowerPoint now.
“Come on, this is unnecessary. I’m not that obsessed about her,” Seulgi grumbled.
“I thought you might say that, so I came prepared. Exhibit A.”
With a click of her mouse, the screen changed to display a pencil sketching of a head of cabbage, with shading and all.
Leaning back against a table, Seungwan gazed at the photo as if reminiscing. “Remember when we two took that elective art class in Freshman year? This was your first assignment. The theme for that week was ‘free style’. Then came assignment two, when we had to paint with water colour.”
The next photo showed a painting of a purple head of cabbage.
“Assignment three, fruit bowl.”
Seulgi had drawn a bowl with cabbages of different sizes and colours.
“Assignment four, scenery.”
A cabbage field.
“Assignment five, abstract art.”
Basically cabbage as reflected by fun house mirrors.
Seungwan could still vividly recall from two years ago, when a very concerned art teacher had pulled her aside and asked if Seulgi was okay. Seungwan had had a hard time reassuring him with a straight face.
“I’m glad Seulgi has you to look after her. History has seen many great artists go down that path, you know. Drawing the same thing over and over, obsessively, as if possessed. That’s their way of descending into madness!”
Seungwan supposed young love was its own kind of madness. She would know.
“Convinced of the severity of this situation now?” Seungwan asked with crossed arms.
“It was an artistic phase!” Seulgi insisted.
Seungwan clicked her tongue. “I was hoping I didn’t have to use exhibit B to prove my point, but you’ve forced my hands.”
Seungwan tried her hardest to suppress a sadistic smirk when the words Oh no flashed in Seulgi’s eyes.
Joy and Yeri exchanged a look.
“Yerim, is this what I think it is?”
“I think it is, if you’re thinking what I’m thinking.”
“Could it be the legendary…” Joy’s voice dropped to a reverent whisper, “Hurdler Seulgi?”
Seungwan clicked the next slide. The room exploded in applause.
“Hurdler Seulgi! Hurdler Seulgi!” The two younger girls chanted.
Seulgi slid impossibly deeper into her chair.
The short clip showed a sophomore Seulgi sprinting down a lane of the school field's track. She was leaving a good distance between herself and the rest of the pack, her quick legs looking impossibly long and her figure exceptionally cool for a moment. Then, her head turned slightly to the left, and she caught a glimpse of Bae Joohyun from the side-line.
Modern science couldn’t explain what happened after that. Seulgi made her jump into the air like a pro hurdler. Only, there were no hurdles. It was a simple middle-distance sprint. Seulgi had never hurdled in her life, until that day when she accidentally made eye contact with Bae Joohyun while representing her school at a city-wide competition.
The jump over the invisible obstacle disrupted Seulgi’s momentum. Her closest pursuer crashed into her from behind, and another racer joined them a second after, all falling into one confused pile. The unmistakable cackling at the end of the clip pinpointed Yeri as the one who had recorded the whole scene.
That very same cackling was filling the classroom now. “Oh my stomach. Play it again, please!”
Seungwan decided it was enough teasing for a day, and regretfully refused Yeri’s request. Seulgi did look like she would become a puddle of shame on the floor soon.
“Do you still doubt me, Seulgi?”
“Okay, fine! I like Joohyun sunbae-nim, just like 90% of the student body. Can we get to the point of this meeting now?”
“Sure. Simple. We’re gonna get you a date with Joohyun unnie.”
Seulgi snorted. “Yeah, right. Right after I ace Chemistry and land a duet with Beyoncé.”
“Seulgi.” Seungwan huffed. “This is precisely why I need to intervene. You gotta believe in yourself. Lots of people in this school would love to date you.”
“Yeah, unnie, you’re…” Yeri stopped herself and gave Seulgi an appraising look. “Not bad. Occasionally.”
“Right,” Seungwan went on, “And I don’t know if anything can be done about Beyoncé, but I think I know how to get you to ace Chemistry and charm Joohyun unnie at the same time. Two birds with one stone.”
“Yeah. Two supersonic birds with a cotton ball, maybe,” Seulgi whined, covering her face with her hoodie in resignation.
“No, hear this. We’ll get her to tutor you. She’s nice to everyone, and good at everything. It’ll be perfect.”
Amidst their little discussion, the classroom door cracked open without warning.
Seungwan had never pressed Alt + F4 so fast in her life. It was fortunate she had such good reflexes, because the one to intrude into their odd little meeting turned out to be no other than Bae Joohyun.
Joohyun’s vivid eyes scanned the room before landing on the projector screen, which was now displaying Seungwan’s laptop’s adorable Pokemon wallpaper, rather than Hurdler Seulgi.
“Hello,” began the senior politely.
Seungwan felt bad for Seulgi’s neck when the girl whipped around at the sound of Joohyun’s voice. There Joohyun stood in the doorway, back ramrod straight, hands folded primly in front of her ironed skirt, not a hair out of place.
“Sunbae-nim,” the four friends greeted the newcomer, with Seulgi ending a little later than the rest.
“Hi, everyone. Erm, Seungwan, it’s not a big deal, but you know we’re not supposed to hang around in classrooms after school hours.”
“Yeah, sorry.” Seungwan gave an abashed smile. Both she and Joohyun were members of the student council and were supposed to be good examples for the rest of the school.
“It’s okay. Just finish off soon and switch off everything when you leave. See you around, Seungwan. And everyone.”
“Wait, unnie!” Seungwan called before Joohyun could disappear, “Actually, my friend here has something to ask you.”
Seungwan walked over and put her hand on Seulgi’s shoulder, knowing her best friend was probably cursing her in her mind.
Surprise briefly crossed Joohyun’s features, but she was perfectly calm when she spoke next.
“Yes, Seulgi? What is it you want to ask?”
“Well, haha. Right.” Seulgi scratched the back of her neck, while Joy sniggered quietly at her side. “The thing is-Wait. You know my name?”
“Yes, I do. Kang Seulgi. From the school’s track and field team.”
Joy and Yeri had to fake-cough to conceal their laughter. If she knew Seulgi was from track and field, it was likely she had learned about her through the Hurdler Seulgi clip, which became a local viral for a couple of weeks when it came out.
Seulgi didn’t seem to consider this possibility, though, instead letting a silly eye-smile take over her features. Seungwan thought she saw it: the corners of Joohyun’s lips quirk in response. But before Seungwan could be sure of it, the girl had slipped back into her usual composed self.
“So, Seulgi, you wanted to say something?”
“Oh. Right. Well, you see, I’m kind of failing Chemistry.”
“It really is.”
Joohyun stood there for a while, nodding in a polite display of sympathy for Seulgi’s dismal academic life, before her eyes widened in understanding.
“Oh. You want me to tutor you?”
“Yeah-I mean, no-only if-But if you don’t want to that’s… that’s completely-“
“Oh no, it’s not that. I just assumed if you needed help with school, you would come to Seungwan first. But if she’s busy, I’ll be happy to help, of course.”
“Sure thing. It is my duty as a student councillor to assist my schoolmates in any way I can.” Joohyun smiled her award-winning smile then, and Seungwan almost understood the entire school’s infatuation with the senior. Almost; she was loyal to her Sejeong.
“Here.” Joohyun handed her phone over to Seulgi. “Add your number, if you don’t mind. We could discuss the timings and details later.”
Seulgi was worryingly quiet, a dazed look on her face, as she keyed in her number and then watched Joohyun wave her goodbye.
“You can thank me later, Seulgi.” Seungwan winked at her amazed friend once Joohyun had left. “Now, Yerim, if you’d please lock the door so I can finish this presentation.”
“Wait, it’s not over?”
“Nope. I’m gonna teach you my secrets, Seulgi.” Seungwan paused to send a conspiring grin at her best friend. “We’ll make a womanizer out of you yet.”
A/N: Hi. So I've officially fallen into the rabbit hole that is the Red Velvet fandom. Thanks for reading, and I hope this story makes you smile a little :)