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CHAPTER IV:
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∞⇢


“You’ve never seen me in a different light, Seol?”

My breath hitched, I had to blink my eyes while my brain tried to process the words that came out of his mouth just now. For a second, I got lost in the way he was still gazing at me like it meant something. I subconsciously counted how many breaths I took before I was able to break the eye contact.

My attention darting to the other three in the group, I instantly sensed the tension. They were all looking at me expectantly. I turned to Baekhyun once again hoping he wasn’t staring anymore but was proven wrong because it even seemed like he never looked away in the first place.

For a moment there, I hoped he’d burst out in laughter and tell me that he was just messing with me but no, he didn’t.

But what was this all of a sudden? Where did that come from? I was cramming in my head, gripping on the beer I was holding.

“What is wrong with you?” I let out of a nervous laugh, trying to lighten the mood.

When Baekhyun continued to appear serious even after I tried to shake the awkwardness away, I turned to the others in the group.

“What is wrong with you guys?” I asked them. “Why is this suddenly about me?”

None answered my question. I looked away momentarily as I drank. I focused on Naeun whose eyes were squinting once more as if fighting the urge to fall asleep. Jongdae, on the other hand, kept on checking mine and Baekhyun’s reactions while Minseok roamed his attention around.

Baekhyun smirked, making me to automatically turn to him.

“So, that’s a no I guess.”

I sensed a tinge of hurt in his tone. Especially when he refused to look back at me and brought his drink to his mouth instead. I spaced out for a moment, confused.

“Ya.” I couldn’t help but react. “Why are you like this all of a sudden?”

“Why?” He replied, throwing me a glance. “What am I doing?”

I was certain of the subtle sarcasm in his tone this time.

“Why are you acting all weird all of a sudden?” I asked, pulling a portion of his sleeve wanting him to face me.

He did glance at me again with an unreadable expression on his face. He locked eyes with me for a second before he let out of a scoff.

“You can’t even answer a simple question.” He replied, his tone mocking.

“What?” I couldn’t believe it, my mouth fell slightly opened.

I did not appreciate his sarcasm. I felt anger slowly build inside me.

“Are you for real Baekhyun?” I asked, irritated.

I heard Naeun gasp, making us both check on her. Her eyes were big, her hands covering .

“Are you guys fighting?” She seemed worried. “Did I make you guys fight? Oh no!” She tilted her head down. “Or!” She looked up once more, teasing written all over her face. “Or is this some sort of a lover’s quarrel-”

Jongdae was quick to cover with his hand.

“Ugh…” Minseok intercepted. “Naeun, I think you should go home. You’ve had too much to drink anyway.” He added, talking to Naeun.

Naeun, with still covered, was left staring at Baekhyun and me. She looked confused as well, her eyebrows furrowed.

“We’re going to take her home.” Minseok told us. “Right Dae?”

Jongdae spaced out for a moment, exchanging looks with Minseok before nodding.

“Yeah. We will take this talkative girl home. Don’t worry about her.” He finished the beer from the bottle he was holding before standing up.

“But they haven’t answered my questionSSS yet guys.” Naeun whined as soon as Jongdae freed .

“Hush.” It was Jongdae who even covered Naeun’s mouth with his hand once more. “You already did a good job. That’s enough.” He told her. “Let’s leave before the blood starts to spill.”

“We’ll go ahead.” Minseok bid.

“You besties talk, bye.” It was Jongdae.

I could hear Naeun struggling to talk but Jongdae did not let her anymore.

I literally did not hear anything from Baekhyun after they left. I kept glancing at him but he busied himself with his drink. I couldn’t believe this was how it turned out. We were all in a good mood earlier and now this. We were supposed to have fun.

Frustrated, I focused to listen to the crackling sound as the fire flickered from the wood. I took the stick beside me and adjusted the wood to rekindle the fire.

“How could you ask me that question in front of our friends like that?” I asked when I couldn’t take the suffocating silence anymore. “Were you trying to embarrass me or something?”

He still did not speak and I was so damn mad feeling like talking to the wall. I threw the stick I was holding before I stood on my feet. I moved to the spot Jongdae occupied earlier which was in front of him. However, even when I was already facing him, he still refused to look at me.

For real though, what was wrong with this guy? I couldn’t process how he was behaving this way just because I did not answer his question. Gosh, this was driving me up the wall. Did it matter to him that much? But why though? Unless…

“If you don’t say anything…” I trailed off biting the inside of my lip. “I might think that you asked me that question because it’s actually you who have seen me in a different light and you wanted to find out if I feel the same way.” I blurted out, resisting the urge to roll my eyes at him.

To my surprise though, he finally looked at me. There it went, there was absolutely something in the way he gazed at me.

“Are you in love in love with me?” I asked, absent minded.

He continued to look at me intently, the bonfire between us was left unbothered. Then, I had to avoid his eyes only to scold myself for asking that stupid question. What was I thinking? Did I actually believe that his mood changed because I did not answer his question if I ever saw him in a different light? I must be too dumb if I took it that way.

Of course, he was acting like this because Luna was mentioned. He became quiet the very moment Minseok told us about her. I clicked my tongue realizing how much of an idiot I was.

“What if I am?” He answered, his tone flat.

I held my breath, swallowed before I inhaled and exhaled sharply. I just hated the fact that he kept playing with me like this. Saying one thing but actually not meaning it.

“C’mon Baekhyun.” I scoffed. “You actually think I’ll believe that?”

“Why not?” He challenged.

I stood, placed my hands on my hips as I filled my lungs with air.

“Because I know exactly why you’re behaving this way.”

“Really, why?”

“Because of Luna.”

He smirked, tilting his head sideways as if I just said the most ridiculous thing.

“You’re unbelievable Seol.” He drank as soon as he finished speaking. “You’re really making this about her?”

“Yes.” I answered, frustration taking over me. “Because you’re suddenly making this about me.”

He checked his bottle as if to examine how much was left before he took it to his mouth once again. He emptied it this time before he stood.

“I’m tired, let’s just go home.” He announced before he turned his back at me.

What the hell was wrong with him, really? I groaned in frustration as I sat once more, not wanting to leave without resolving this. I was certain he was acting this way because of Luna, there was no way he meant what he said about being in love with me. That’s too far-fetched. Contradict to what Naeun said, he wouldn’t find me lovable. Not when I wasn’t his type of girl. It’s Luna and she’s everything that I wasn’t.

“Ya. Byun Baekhyun.” I called him, still on my seat whining like a stressed out kid. “Can you please stop acting childish?”

My question was left ignored as he continued to walk ahead. I exhaled sharply, gulped as I stood on my feet to follow him. I made hurried steps until I reached him and grabbed him by the arm.

“This is about Luna, isn’t it?”

He smirked, glanced at me like I was annoying the hell out of him.

“No matter how many times I tell you that it isn’t, you still won’t believe me.” He reasoned out.

For a moment, I believed him.

I watched him walk ahead once more.

“So, what are you telling me now?” I went on as I tailed behind him. “That you’re acting up just because I did not answer your question?”

He stopped walking, turned to me.

“Exactly.” He replied cockily, shoving his hands into his pockets. “It was just a question Seol and yet you can’t even answer it.” He clicked his tongue. “You even had to make all of this about someone else just because you don’t have the guts to answer the ing question.”

Oh my god, I swear he was too good at being cocky and sarcastic. I had to bite the inside of my lower lip.

“WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU BAEKHYUN? Damn, this is so frustrating.”

To be honest, I didn’t even understand the need for him to ask me that question. Why? Why did it seem like it mattered to him now?

“You never really take me seriously, do you?” He asked, his forehead creased.

“What does that even mean?” I replied in exasperation.

Despite the confrontation taking place at the exact moment, I remembered that we should put off the fire before leaving.

“Forget it, let’s end this conversation now.” He told me, wearing the same expression as before.

I just stared at him before I turned around and went back to the spot we occupied earlier. When I got there, I took the small bucket with water and poured it into the bonfire until the fire was out.

When I came back, he was not there anymore.

I sauntered my way to the parking space. I thought about his question again. Did I ever see him in a different light? My brain was then busy taking down the memory lane. Flashes of memories filled my thoughts as I tried to answer his question in my head. I felt that familiar tug in my heart as I did the thing I promised myself I wouldn’t anymore. Remembering it.

I got to the area where the vehicles were parked. Although I was not expecting him to still be there since he was obviously equally pissed at me, I still checked the spot where he parked his bike earlier.

To my surprise, he was right there. He was still there. He was leaning on his motorcycle, holding my helmet in his hand. He did not see me standing a few feet from him as he seemed to have been thinking about something.

Seeing him like this, I remembered that particular time.

“Third Year.” I said, catching his attention. “High School.”

He slowly looked up to see me, confused.

“Yes.” I added, feeling embarrassed already. “I did see you in a different light Baekhyun.”

He looked more baffled, probably taken aback by my unannounced confession.

“The reason why I did not answer your question earlier was because you and the guys will realize that that was the exact time that you were in love with Luna.”

He remained quiet as he stopped leaning and stood properly. Shock was written all over his face, as it should I guess. I never once mentioned it to him. Hadn’t even entertained this memory since I had gotten over it.

“See?” I told him as I took a deep breath, wanting to shake away the sudden awkwardness. “This is exactly how I’d picture you to react earlier.”

His hand that was holding the helmet fell to his side, his face still showed that he couldn’t process what I just said.

“I can’t blame you though.” I trailed off. “I’d probably react the same way if I found out that you had feelings for me too.” I added, sounding casual as I walked towards him. “But come to think of it…” I paused when I was next to him, taking the helmet from him. “That’s something nearly impossible.”

“What is?” He asked, his forehead creasing as he held on to the helmet, refusing to give it to me.

“You having feelings for me.” I answered in a matter of fact tone as I shrugged. “It’s equivalent to pigs flying.”

He looked disappointed for a second before he tilted his head down, exhaling sharply. I took the chance to take the helmet from him. I wore it in front of him while he was giving me an odd expression. However, I didn’t want to keep this conversation any longer, so I ignored him. I extended an arm to reach for his helmet but he stopped me by holding the helmet I was wearing and made me face him.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asked, his tone determined.

He seemed mad at me now, all of a sudden.

My first thought was he felt guilty.

I locked eyes with him for the next moments and almost got lost in it if not for the group of students who were approaching the parking space. He must have noticed them as well as he took his hand off me. He seemed stressed out right now which made me regret answering his question.

“Why didn’t you tell me about how you feel back then?” He went on as soon as the group left.

I let out of a small laugh, desperately wanting to let this topic go.

“Baek.” I held him by placing my hands on his shoulders before I smiled. “You don’t have to feel guilty about it.” I told him to make him feel better. “It’s been so long, it shouldn’t really matter anymore.”

When he shook my hands off his shoulder, I realized that there was no way he’d let this go easily. I exhaled sharply, knowing I made a wrong move.

“But why?” He continued to ask.

I sighed exasperatedly.

“Can we please not talk about this ever again?” I said, not wanting to complicate things any further.

“Only if you answer my question.”

“My god Baekhyun!” I exclaimed, obviously annoyed at him for being this stubborn. “You have so many questions!” I added as I removed the helmet from my head, suddenly feeling a bit suffocated. “Can you just stop asking?”

“ Seol, sometimes you’re just so frustrating.” I hissed, filling his lungs with air afterwards.

“And so are you!” I scoffed at him as I pushed the helmet to him. “I already told you that it shouldn’t matter anymore since it’s been years already. Maybe it was just some stupid, childish crush anyway.” I went on. “And I’ve moved on from it a long time ago too, can’t you see? I obviously don’t have feelings for you anymore.” I reasoned out, almost breathless from speaking so fast.

For a moment, I thought I saw him flinched. I heard him take a deep breath before looking away. I watched him in this state before I saw him balled his fists.

“You’re right…” He spoke monotonously, not looking at me. “We shouldn’t talk about this ed up , ever again.”

He sounded mad and it was obvious that he was trying to contain it. The way his jaw clenched after speaking did not go unnoticed. He pushed the helmet back to me before he turned around to wear his own.

ed up , his choice of words to describe the situation got me dumbfounded. I just continued to stand on my spot as I watched him climb on his bike and turned it on.

“Do you mind?” His flat tone caught my attention. “I have somewhere I else to go after.”

“Where will you at this time-”

He cut my speech by grabbing the helmet from my hands. He leaned closer to me so he could wear the helmet on my head, buckling it under my chin. He threw me another look, signalling me to hop on.

We left the area and all the while I was behind him, I kept thinking about his behaviour. Why was he acting like this? I mean, I kinda know why but why did it feel like I had done something terribly wrong? I get the feeling that he wasn’t just mad at me right now. There was something else but I just couldn’t put a finger on it. I felt guilty, that was for sure but a part of me was entertaining the thought that this was still about Luna and that he was just overreacting, venting it all out on me instead.

When we reached our house, I got off and returned the helmet to him. I opened my mouth, attempting to ask him where he was going but he took off before I could even say a word.

“What the hell?” I asked in confusion.

What the hell is wrong with that guy lately?

∞⇢

The next day, everyone seemed busy. I was tasked to go to the Basketball court to attend an orientation with the whole team. They briefed us about the opening ceremony and I also met the person assigned to be the school’s mascot. I was told that I need to stand next to him all the time. I also spent time watching them practice since I did not have anywhere else to be anyway.

I had not heard from Baekhyun since last night and I was guessing that he must be busy practicing for his match tomorrow. Dae and Minseok were pretty occupied as well as they sent a photo of them on our group chat volunteering for their org. Thankfully, Naeun texted me asking for us to eat lunch together.

While we were eating, she asked how my conversation with Baekhyun go last night. I told her how it was but left out the part where I told Baekhyun that I had a thing for him back in High School. That should remain as our secret. So, I dwelt on the fact that Baekhyun seemed to be mad at me.

“But wait Seol.” She took a pause from eating, pondering on a thought. “Come to think of it, last night…he said that he was curious too if you ever saw him in a different light what if…” She tilted her head to one side. “What if…he asked because he was the one who actually did?”

Her eyes grew wide as she gasped. I remembered thinking about the same thing last night too.

“Oh my god!” She exclaimed. “What if he likes you and he was trying to see if it was possible for you to like him too!?” She put her fork down to clap her hands. “OH MY GOOOOD! What if Baekhyun is actually in love with you Seol?”

My brain lagged at her assumption. No, my brain was fast to shake her statement off.

“No.” I verbalized. “That is not possible.”

“Why not?”

“I’m sure he only sees me as a friend.”

“How sure are you?”

“Well, you see how he treats me.”

“Well, I see it and it’s not how he treats me or his other friends.”

She had a point which made me think for a second. But then again, we have been best friends for ages and Naeun could still be wrong about this.

“But you’re right, I can’t be so sure as well.” Naeun stated, contradicting her previous remark. “But we cannot leave the idea out that he has feelings for you as well.” Her shoulders slumped. “But if he does!” She sat straight once more, her face beamed. “WOW. Just wow.”

If he had feelings for me… I tried to process the thought in my head. If he had feelings for me…I remembered how stressed he was light night after I told him about my feelings for him before. How I told him that I had moved on and don’t have feelings for him anymore….

A small gasp escaped my mouth as I recalled how he exactly reacted to it. My heart suddenly beat wildly. Could it be? I also thought about how he looked at me at times lately… I was lost in my thoughts until Naeun spoke once more.

“Who is this Luna anyway?” She asked. “And what’s the deal with her aside from having a name which means goddess of moon?”

Luna, I thought about her and it outweighed every possibility of Baekhyun having feelings for someone like me. My thoughts then travelled to how Baekhyun’s face would light up at the sight of her back in High school. And it was all it took for me to dismiss Naeun’s theory.

“Fine,” I heard her. “If you won’t tell me, I guess I’ll ask Minseok and Dae instead.”

“Yeah.” I muttered. “You probably should.”

Baekhyun and Luna. I remembered how the whole campus went crazy about them that time. Everyone thought that they looked perfect together. I even heard talks in the hallways against me. Some of them said that I should just leave Baekhyun alone since I was making things uncomfortable for Luna. Little did they know, that was also the exact time…I had my heart broken for the first time.

∞⇢

It was about two in the afternoon when Naeun and I were passing by the huge soccer field. The weather was so nice and cool and there were many students hanging around. They occupied some spots on the bleachers facing field.

“Seol, look!” Naeun said. “Isn’t that Baekhyun?” She asked, pointing to a specific spot.

I followed the direction where she was pointing and indeed saw Baekhyun. He was sitting on the bleachers too but near the field. No, judging by what he was wearing, he actually seemed like he was previously jogging and was just taking a rest.

I sensed Naeun was about to call him but stopped when we both saw a woman approached Baekhyun. I easily recognized her as the senior Business student who sometimes talked to him. She obviously had a thing for him and had been trying to find ways to get closer to him.

“Isn’t that Na Jieun?” I heard Naeun.

“Yeah.” I answered. “That’s her.”

“I heard she’s very popular among the male population in the campus but…she apparently has eyes for your bestfriend.” She replied in a matter of fact tone.

I chose not to reply to what Naeun just said as I watched how the both of them started to talk. Baekhyun had always been so approachable and had a way of charming people he talked to. Girls, students and even professors. I watched Jieun covered as she laughed at something that must have said. Next thing, they stood and I just noticed what Jieun was wearing. She was dressed in work-out clothes as well. I scoffed, realizing that she must have planned on joining him on purpose.

Baekhyun however turned to where we were. I exchanged looks at him for a second before he turned to Jieun again. They talked once more before the left their spot to go for a run together. Gosh, he’s so annoying.

“Didn’t he see us?” Naeun asked, sounding confused. “I even waved at him.”

How could he talk nicely to her and be mad at me. He’s so childish.

“You’re right, he’s mad at you.” She concluded. “But oh wait! Could he be mad at me too because of what I did last night?”

“Most probably.” I replied, following Baekhyun and Jieun’s route.

It was obvious that Jieun was enjoying the moment. Even from afar, she kept glancing at him and smiling. I hope she trips-

“Most probably mad at you or mad at me?”

I groaned.

“It doesn’t matter Naeun, he’s obviously having fun right now. Let’s go.” I urged Naeun to leave.

He was busy entertaining some woman. See, there was no way he’s got feelings for me.
I concluded. I should not have even entertained that thought in the first place. It was stupid of me to get convinced by Naeun.

∞⇢

I spent the rest of the day with Naeun. We watched some sports games taking place today and even attended some literary contests. However when it was time for her part time job, I was left alone roaming around the campus grounds. I d

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