“Mr. Byun, were you worried about me?” Yumi continued in her usual carefree manner. It was impossible to get this kid to be serious for once, he thought. His brain formulated no comeback for her sudden remark. Baekhyun gaped at the girl, he completely lost track of his own momentum. Quite frankly, he always run out of words when speaking to this specific student. To save himself some time and breath, he decided to skip the lecture today.
“Go straight home,” he managed to convey. Yumi clasped a hand over to contain an incoming laughter. The way her teacher tired too hard to sound demanding, all while struggling to look tough. What a sight to witness, she thought. Yumi nodded her head diligently in response. The man had gone through too many heart attacks for her, the least she could do to repay him was by causing less trouble.
“Thank you for jumping in earlier. You were really cool, Mr. Byun!” she added, raising two thumbs up to show her deepest gratitude. It must have been rare for Baekhyun to hear these compliments because for a few seconds, his facial muscle began to itch a smile. What a nuisance.
“Byun Baekhyun!” a voice interrupted their short moment.
Both teacher and student turned this heads toward the owner. Yumi was taken back by the beauty waving at them, she was so immersed that her hand almost went up to return the greeting. The woman’s jet black, shoulder length hair was similar to Yumi’s, but it somehow radiated this maturity that the student lacked. Even with an oversized blazer draped over those petite shoulders, her outstanding figure was hard to miss.
“Minseok told me you would be here,” she smiled sweetly. Yumi politely bowed out of respect, she quickly stole a glance at Baekhyun to see if the woman’s overflowing charm had swept him off his feet yet. It certainly did without a doubt, his jaw was near touching the ground. She felt secondhand embarrassment just by standing next to her teacher. Yumi noticed the hesitation from both adults, she figured her presence added to the awkwardness. Taking in the subtle hint, she immediately excused herself for the pair to talk comfortably. As she left the premise, she couldn’t help but wondered what kind of relationship the two had because they certainly did not exchange the same looks toward each other.
Once his student was out of sight, Baekhyun turned his attention back to the unexpected guest. “What are you doing here?” he sighed.
“You sound a bit too excited to see your older sister.”
How long has it been since he last saw his sibling? Was it two years, or maybe even three years ago; he really couldn’t recall at all. To say that the two had a rocky relationship wasn’t quite accurate, it was more of their nonexistence relationship that greatly contributed to this offsetting tension.
“Mom and dad are doing well overseas. I’m also doing great. Thank you for checking up on us, like always.”
The sarcasm in her tone sounded way too natural. If a stranger had listened in to their conversation, they could easily mistaken Baekhyun for a family oriented man. He was very much the opposite in reality.
“That’s great to hear, Jieun” he murmured, desperately wanting to escape this forced conversation. Jieun scanned her little brother’s getup, the corner of her lips tugged into a slight frown. She was disappointed, but he already knew that. It was always hard to please his family with the unpredictable path he took.
“When you said you were teaching, I was expecting at a prestigious college and not this…mediocre public school,” she scoffed.
“I like it here,” he lied. He absolutely hated the run down place and his mundane routine, but it was only bearable because he didn’t need to force himself to meet his parents’ unrealistically high expectation. He wasn’t a prominent lawyer material like his sister, or brilliant professors like his parents. Baekhyun merely inherited their good genes. He would do anything to give it back if he could, this ‘gifted’ brain was useless to him anyway.
“Give mom and dad a call when you decide to grow up. You’re still young and it’s not too late to start your career—“
Baekhyun purposely cut her off, “I’m doing perfectly fine, thanks for the offer. You must be busy so I’ll take my leave now.”
Jieun watched her little brother brush off their conversation as usual. The stubbornness in him never left. If only he had a little bit more ambition, Baekhyun could have been the greatest. What a shame, she thought.
Yumi navigated her way to the new apartment address, which was a lot easier than what she had anticipated. It only took three bus stops and a five minute walk to reach the place. She had a feeling Kyungsoo planned this for a while now. Out of curiosity, she wanted to check out the place on her own. Putting pride aside, Yumi was thrilled at the idea of having her own place. It felt like a step into adulthood that she always fantasized about.
“407…408…409!” Yumi mumbled each apartment number leading up to hers and stopping in front of the correct door. A small squeal escaped her lips as she rummaged through her backpack for the pair of keys that Kyungsoo had entrusted her with. At the same time, an elder tenant from the same apartment floor spotted the suspicious girl snoopin