“I asked you what you were doing.” Han Seojun repeated as he grabbed my hand, straightening back on his seat. I knew it would have been weird if I told him the truth, that I wanted to see his face more clearly. I had to come up with an excuse. “I was just trying to wake you up gently. I wouldn’t want you all grumpy and scolding me for doing so.” I lied. Seojun looked in front of him, the empty seats where our friends used to sit then turned back at me.
- Where are the others? He questioned confused.
- They’re waiting outside.
- Why didn’t you join them?
- I had something to finish first, and they were so eager to leave, I didn’t want to hold them back.
- You’re over now?
- Huh? Oh, yeah. Let’s go. I nervously said.
Seojun didn’t really wait for me and got up, walking to the door. I quickly followed him outside where our friends were waiting. “Ah, Yoonie, Chorong is going to join us for dinner.” informed my best friend. With that information in head, I shyly looked at Han Seojun, wondering if he was going to tag along or not. I still didn’t know why he decided to come to the study group if he was just going to sleep anyway but a part of me was hoping that he would eat with us. Seojun let out a sigh, looking at the horizon then back at me.
- You’re paying? He asked shamelessly.
- Ah, if I knew I would have taken notes in class. Heera said loudly. Don’t bother, I guess I’m treating everyone tonight.
- Oh, look at her! I poked my friend, giggling. I see that modelling pays a lot!
- You should try one day. M. Lee said that with a pure face like yours, you could easily try posing for skincare products.
- No way, he’s just flattering, I really don’t think that I’m pretty enough to do that.
- You’re doing that again! She complained. Han Seojun. You’re a model too, don’t you think that our Yoonie is pretty too?
Seojun looked at me, puzzled. He made that face that meant “isn’t it obvious?” although I didn’t know what was. He turned his attention back to Heera before giving an answer.
- She’s right. He resulted.
- See, what did I-
- Yoonju’s right. He interrupted Heera. Her face’s too chubby, there’s no way people would want to look at it.
He chuckled as he answered, getting a killing glance from my best friend. Chorong still tried to cheer for me, complimenting me which made me smile a little. I wasn’t truly hurt by Seojun’s words, as harsh as they sounded, I knew he’d never speak out his mind. I noticed he was acting like that with Im Jugyeong too. He always said that Jugyeong is ugly, but we all know that it isn’t true. So normally I thought that it was the same for me.
Heera and Seojun kept arguing all the way to the restaurant, while Chorong and I walked behind, talking about unimportant stuff. Although I was used to hanging out alone with Heera, it was nice to have Chorong and Seojun with us. They say that you should get out of your comfort zone sometimes, and even if at first I was a bit scared to be awkward, things turned out better than I thought. The more time we were spending together, the more comfortable I was feeling. We went to Heera and I’s usual restaurant, we kind of grew close to the owner so she always put a little more meat especially for us. She’s a middle-aged lady who’s children don’t visit too often, so she treats us like hers. It’s like having a second family. Though when we arrived, the lady thought that the guys were our boyfriends, which made me feel really embarrassed. I felt my heart sting a little when she said to Heera and Seojun that they looked good together and should consider dating. I mean, I’m used to being put aside, Heera’s more outstanding so it’s only normal that people don’t notice me or have lower standards for me. It’s not a big deal to me. I think it is for Heera though. She’s always so caring about me, she’s worried that this kind of things might deeply hurt my feelings. Honestly, I don’t feel too insecure about myself, at least I don’t think so. I know that I am what I am, some people may like me but I know that some others may not and I can’t force them to change their mind about me.
“Yoonju.” Heera’s voice took me out of my thoughts. “Aren’t you going to pick up?” I looked at my phone, my brother’s name showing on the screen. For a moment I panicked and thought that something might have happened to him and so I immediatly answer the call.
- Hello, Yeongsu? Is everything okay? I asked distressed.
- Yes, everything’s fine. I heard him chuckle. Why are you always overreacting like this?
- Yah, is it my fault? I’m used to you having troubles.
- Right, it’s my fault then, sorry.
- Anyway, why are you calling?
- Hm? Ah, right. I was just worried that you still weren’t home.
- I’m having dinner with my friends, that’s why. I explained. Are mom and dad home?
- No… He sighed softly. Dad left on a business trip this afternoon and mom’s working late again.
- I see. Then, have you eaten yet? Want me to get you something on my way back?
- No, I’m fine, I’m having noodles right now. Ah, and I did as you told me! Adding an egg to it really adds flavor to it.
- Haha, see? I knew you’d love it! I said happily. I’m gonna go before my friends eat all the meat. I’ll text you when I’m on my way.
I heard my brother emit a loud “okay !” before hanging up and putting my phone away. I immediatly started eating again. “Was that your brother?” Chorong asked me while stuffing his mouth with more meat and lettuce leaves. I chewed on my food quickly to reply.
- Yeah, my older brother by two years. I announced before chugging a whole glass of water.
- How are his studies going? Heera questioned right after. I heard that medical studies were extremely hard to follow.
- Well, it is hard, he barely gets enough sleep because of how much he works, but he’s making it just fine.
- At least that explains a lot about you. Spat Seojun. You study your off, your brother’s in a medical faculty, I bet your parents are also working like crazy.
- Yah Han Seojun-
- That’s fine. I stopped Heera. He’s right after all. I barely see my parents because of their works.
I guess that my voice sounded more tragic than I thought, seeing how cold the mood turned after I said that. I kept on eating as if nothing happened while everyone around the table looked like they didn’t know what to do or say. Maybe it was my fault that the atmosphere became like this, or maybe it was Han Seojun’s fault for bringing that up. But even if I wanted, I couldn’t possibly blame him since he didn’t know what was going on in my family. Even back in my childhood, I don’t have a lot of memories of my parents. They’ve always been working hard so my brother and I can live comfortably. Both of them work in a big company and so they often go on business trips, although at least one of them stay in town to keep an eye on us. “Don’t make such a long face, it’s fine.” I said with a faint smile, trying to cheer up the mood so the dinner could end on a happy note. Heera paid for all of us as she promised, even though she was supposed to only pay for me, then all of us split up to go home. I took my headphones and walked home to the sound of my favorite songs as I sent a message to Yeongsu telling him I