a misunderstanding.

Young
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Baekhyun never saw this coming— to be sitting at a police station with two students by his side, all while reeking the smell of ketchup in his hair. A disturbed customer called in to file a report after the argument broke out, and that was how they all ended up here. Baekhyun didn’t even care anymore, he just wanted to go home and rest for the day before class tomorrow. 

 

“Mr. Byun, you're free to go. You girls can’t leave until a guardian picks you up,” an officer informed. The two were lucky enough to have caused the accident at a restaurant owned by Baekhyun’s friend, or else they would have been in much deeper trouble than just a simple warning. At the end of the day, their teacher brushed off the matter only to keep the paperwork minimal. 

 

“They’re not coming,” announced the troublemaker beside Baekhyun with her arms crossed in annoyance. Yumi scanned the wall clock again, reminding her that she should be home to see her mother for the first time in weeks. 

 

“Listen kid, we can’t let a minor off on their own. It’s the law,” the same officer countered her statement. A sarcastic scoff escaped the student's lips. 

 

“I’m 18 and they’re still not coming. What are you gonna do? Lock a high school student overnight here?” Yumi mocked his tone, she was clearly fed up at this point. Adding to her frustration was the sight of Jaemin’s ex-girlfriend leaving the station, as if she didn’t start this whole mess. For the past hour, it was hard for Baekhyun to ignore the squirming body beside him. The girl who couldn’t sit still kept watching the time as if she needed to be somewhere. 

 

“She's my student. I can take her home,” Baekhyun spoke up, surprising even himself at the voluntary measure. It wasn’t like him to do these sort of things and the sudden spur to help her was unexplainable. Yet, his heart felt pleasantly at ease to see the excitement in her eyes. Clutching on to her backpack, the student sat quietly without uttering a single word to show her gratitude. Just for the time being, sparing him of another headache was the least she could do. The pair arrived at the address given to Baekhyun. He appreciated her attempt to keep the car ride as appropriate as possible, but he never imagined how awkward it would turn out. Her usual talkative self felt strangely more comfortable in a sense. 

 

“Thank you Mr. Byun,” Yumi mumbled her words, the respectful act between them could not be more agonizing. The little nod Baekhyun gave while avoiding her eye contact almost made her crack, but Yumi kept a composed front. 

 

“Don’t be late tomorrow,” he jokingly warned, forcing out a few words to shadow the heavy atmosphere. To play along, his student nodded her head diligently. His habit of getting flustered over the smallest thing was quite hilarious for someone his age, but she’ll save the teasing for next time. Thanking him once more as he drove off, Yumi watched his car disappear at the intersection before heading inside. 

 

“Mom,” she called out from the entrance upon entering. Thank god the freeloader wasn’t home, she did not want to deal with him right now. Yumi gently knocked on her mother’s closed bedroom door, anticipating to hear from her again.

 

“Come in,” a voice called out. How long has it been since she last heard this soothing sound, her heart instantly filled with joy. Yumi invited herself in, spotting her mother on the floor sitting legs crossed. Beside her was a bottle of pills— Ritalin again, she recognized the common stimulant used to increase productivity. The full bottle only indicated that her mother probably went through the last one already, but the familiar scene drained every bit of her will to confirm.

 

“How are you?” Yumi tried her best to maintain a positive mood, sadly it wasn’t enough to keep the busy adult entertained. As if her daughter’s words were washed out, the best response she could think of at the moment was a simple nod in return. Following that, the single mother proceeded to pop a pill in . Yumi automatically cringed, the few seconds she witnessed was enough for her to imagine the bitter taste.

 

“Have you been keeping up with your studies?”

 

A proper question finally surfaced; but how disappointing it was for Yumi, to be asked the same thing whenever they see each other. Her mother wasn’t typ

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