a distraction.

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“Pay attention to my lips, Yumi.”





“Pay attention to the board, Jung Yumi.” Baekhyun’s stern voice modulated through the quiet classroom. Calling out the dazed student in front of him for a third time this morning was just ridiculous. Usually, she would at least pretend to be paying attention. Yumi ducked her head in shame after snapping out of her fantasy. I’m going insane, she thought to herself.


On her way out of class, Jaemin caught up to the girl as he draped an arm over his friend’s shoulders out of habit. Only this time, she jumped in surprise because half of her soul seemed to have left her body since that move-in weekend. 


“Dang, sorry…” he apologized, slipped his arm off instantly when he saw her frightened response. 


“Are you okay?” the class president asked out of concern. Yumi shook her head, assuring him that she was just tired. The whole interaction was observed by their teacher, who naturally gravitated towards the scene without even thinking. Once he caught on to what he was doing, Baekhyun quickly shifted his gaze elsewhere. Though that didn’t stop him from wondering what their conversation was about. He too, was fighting an inner urge that could not be more annoying. 


The pair continued chatting on their way to class until Jaemin halted his steps midway. “Do you have a partner for Mr. Byun’s final project yet?” he proceeded to ask.


Yumi had almost forgotten about that assignment— which she really should not, considering how much that project will determine her final grade in class. If she had to be honest, Yumi was somewhat a lost cause. Everyone had their own little friend group in class, or they were smart enough to pair up with someone capable. 


“No,” she replied. 


“Good. Be my partner,” Jaemin decided abruptly. 


“Why though? My grades are horrible,” Yumi laughed, thinking that it might just be another joke of his. Now why would a model student like him ask someone who is barely hanging on to a passing grade in class, she thought to herself. It was a ridiculous equation, one way or another. 


Jaemin shrugged his shoulders, beaming a rather sweet smile on his face. “I want you to do well so we can graduate together,” he confessed. 


Before she could even respond, the warning bell went off to give students a head start on their last sprint to class. Just like that, her unofficial teammate dashed off on his own to avoid the tardy bell.


Nearly only a few months left of school, it never occurred to the girl that her time here was limited. College acceptances will be rolling in soon, career paths, and all these unplanned events ahead of her. To be so against her mother’s dreary lifestyle was ironic because that same pathway may be starting to catch up to her soon.


“I’m a mess…” she scoffed. Masking her inner dilemma quite easily, was one of the few things she excelled at. 


By lunch hour, Yumi opted in for her usual spot since the cafeteria became way too congested for her liking. She entered Mr. Byun’s classroom after brushing off the morning incident and blaming it on her lack of sleep. Immediately upon entering the room, sh

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