Forcing a smile on her way back to the lecture hall, Haeun apologized to her students once more. She was completely lost in thoughts as she waited for her class to check in their attendance. Even throughout lecture, she kept her mind preoccupied by unwanted thoughts of their earlier exchange. To think time would somehow bring them closer but all it did was torment them further. Haeun didn’t mind getting hurt over and over again, she was partially at fault. It was letting Taeho suffer through everything that broke her the most.
The weary professor sped through her last lesson of the day to pick up Taeho. It was bad enough that she had to keep him at the daycare for half of the day, she can’t possibly let him spend the night without neither one of his parents.
Upon dismissing her class early for once, many sighs of relief filled the vast space. Haeun’s upper division course never received the luxury of an early leave, surely they would take the rare opportunity when it is given. As students began pouring out, Haeun caught a glimpse of an individual waiting by her podium. She made eye contact with the girl, unable to recognize her as one of the many students in this class.
“Sorry to disturb your leave, Professor Oh. I just wanted to say a very quick thank you,” she expressed wholeheartedly. Unsure of what the student was thankful for, Haeun returned a bashful smile to shield the confusion on her face.
“Ah— sorry, that was too abrupt…” Yumi blushed, forgetting the fact that she was supposedly under another alias at the moment. She simply wanted to thank the professor for her work opportunity but the timing was completely off.
“For the early dismissal…thank you for that!” Yumi quickly improvised on the spot. Before decides to ramble off again, she figured it was best to take her leave. Any longer here and Iseul’s cover may be entirely blown. Leaving the conversation as is, she retreated her steps in a hurry to head out.
Haeun was beyond puzzled by the girl, although she sure left a memorable impression. What a shame, she thought. It completely slipped the professor’s mind to ask for her student’s name.
The secondhand embarrassment finally hit Yumi on her way out. What a creepy way to approach someone without the woman even knowing who she was in the first place. Yumi pulled herself together to finish off the remaining bits of her housemate’s schedule. She searched around the vacant campus for her next class, realizing how awfully late it was already. By the time she made it to the designated lecture hall for her last class, it appeared that only her clueless self and a few dedicated students, decided to show up. With only less than half the class presented, even the professor himself seemed uninterested in what he was about to teach for the next hour. She didn’t blame the ones who ditched though, who would possibly want to attend a class at 10:00 P.M. on purpose— certainly not those dozing off in their seats right now, she thought.
The late hours did not bother her one bit since she was practically immune to working all those undesired closing shifts at her old job. But even if she stayed alert throughout the whole class period, the man’s nonchalant voice would still put her to sleep subconsciously. Also, that ticking wall clock drove her insane, the way it was overriding the professor’s flat voice triggered every nerves in her system.
“See you all next week.”
That’s it. That’s the cue. Yumi grasped the chance to escape the nearest exit. Her lack of familiarity with the school did not hold her back from ditching this god-awful class. How did Iseul managed to not miss a single day of class, she wondered to herself. Holding on to that thought, she soon realized how foreign these hallways looked. They were completely different from where she entered previously.
“How far did I walk…” she mumbled, her eyes scanning all around for a way out.
The maze-like building was exceptionally creepy at this time of night with barely any students around. As if someone had heard her prayers, she found a group of trio ahead. Wasting no time and energy to keep circling around the building, Yumi sprinted towards them in hopes for adequate directions. Just when she thought her luck was finally turning around, the trio halted their steps. They were stopped by a night shift guard who immediately demanded an identification check. Iseul had warned her about the influx of security at night but she clearly did not mention an ID check. , Yumi cursed in her head while withdrawing back discreetly to avoid the guard. Not only did that heightened her suspicion, Yumi ultimately made direct eye contact with the guard then. The terror in her eyes peaked at the image of him trudging towards her. A simple excuse may work if she were to roam around campus in broad daylight, but to pay an unauthorized visit way past closing time does not look good whatsoever. In a rational attempt to dodge the guard, Yumi entered a random lecture hall to escape through one of the other exit doors. When she least expected the room to be occupied, an unlikely encounter took her by surprise.
A loud thud caught the attention of an off duty instructor, who had just dismissed his last class of the day. The startled man turned his head on instinct, his eyes were met by an equally astonished soul at the door. Before neither of them could process the current situation, Yumi rushed over to one of the many row of seats in the midsize lecture hall. She hurriedly crouched down behind a selected row, making sure it was the perfect blind spot against the entrance.
“Mr. Byun, please help me out!” She voiced in despair, hoping he’ll somewhat get the hint. The casual greetings will just have to wait until this passes first.
Baekhyun had little knowledge in what just happened within the five short minutes since that door cracked open. But he gradually caught on when a guard entered the room, his eyes searching around frantically before even noticing Baekhyun.
“Sir, can I see your staff ID?” He walked up to the podium where Baekhyun stood to proceed with his routined work. The professor complied, he handed over his ID promptly and as it was being verified, Baekhyun slowly positioned himself in front of the guard’s line of vision.
“Professor Byun,” he continued, “I saw a student entering earlier—“
“She took Exit B out,” Baekhyun finished.
Thanking him for the information, the guard took of