Week One: ExtraBRUTAL
AHHH ITS FINALLY HERE!! sorry for the delay my exams are coming hehe. anyways, this chapter didnt focus much on humor, it was more to build the characters and attempt (?) to add more emotional depth + make their relationships slightly more stronger. hope u like this, let me know ur thoughts in the comments!
There’s silence in the entire hallway, except for the sounds of a girl shuffling around. She looks around once again, despite being sure that nobody would stumble upon her since class was about to start in 2 minutes and the fact she was in that one hallway no one walks by.
The blonde lets out a sigh of relief as she twists the door knob she was holding onto for dear life and opens the door.
Ten minutes before classes started, Jiwon decided that it was a wonderful idea to ditch her class 3-2 and go to the ‘dead hallway’ of the second building and spend time in the washroom quietly. (She’s glad class president Wonyoung didn’t notice.)
However, her plan immediately went down the drain when she saw a figure sitting on a counter beside the sinks and flinched. She didn’t expect anyone to be here.
It’s a girl with shoulder length black hair and bangs, staring at her phone with puckered lips as her legs dangle off the counter, not being tall enough to reach the floor. Jiwon slightly gasps when the two meet eyes.
Well, What are the odds? It’s Naoi Rei!
Then, the blonde tilts her head as her mind immediately goes into thinking mode. Why exactly is she excited? It’s not like Rei and her are friends. Plus, the Japanese girl probably wouldn’t feel as.. happy as her when she saw her.
Jiwon’s thoughts are all broken though, right when Naoi Rei flashes her blinding smile. It’s warm, the way she smiles, and it’s almost as if there’s a magnetic pull on the corner of Jiwon’s lips, telling her to smile back. “Hey, blondie.” Unlike the warm smile Rei was giving her, her words had a slightly more playful tone to it.
“Hey, Rei.” She slowly approaches the girl before pointing at the counter beside the one Rei was sitting on. “Is this seat taken?” Jiwon jokes.
“It is.” Rei deadpans, the blonde suspiciously arches an eyebrow, “By who?” The Japanese girl leans in closer, way closer to Jiwon’s earlobes. “The bathroom ghost.” And when Rei retracts to see Jiwon’s unamused expression, she lets out a giggle. “Okay, sorry– It’s taken by my bag.” She puts her backpack on the counter which was previously on the floor. Jiwon unconsciously pouts, but she doesn’t say anything.
Then, Rei moves aside by a bit, making some space on the small counter she was sitting on. After that, she pats the spot and looks up at the confused blonde girl with a smile. “Sit beside me.”
Jiwon is rather shocked than confused– Up until yesterday, never did Naoi Rei struck her as a clingy person. But hey, it’s really the shy and introverted Jiwon that’s winning here right? Finally someone is warming up to her without much effort from her side. (Both figuratively and literally– Jiwon swears she feels Rei press into her from the side when she hesitantly decides to sit beside the Japanese girl.)
+1 friend in the bag for the timid yet popular Kim Jiwon!
“Well.. What are you doing?” Jiwon asks with an awkward smile. Conversing and socializing– All of it was easier in the detention room with all six of them, with people like Yujin and Rei who had a large presence in every conversation unlike Jiwon. Now though, being alone with Rei, she doesn’t necessarily know how to act. The joke she made earlier wasn’t necessarily funny either– Just something to get the conversation flowing.
Rei only looks at her with one of her classic ‘Naoi Rei evil smirks’ as the whole school says. (Jiwon wonders if she actually puts any emotion behind that.. If Rei actually ever looked at someone and had one corner of her lips twisting upwards in a mocking sense. Of course, as an actress herself, Jiwon finds herself being curious for that reason alone.)
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” The Japanese girl slightly tilts her head, “Why is the goody two shoes star actress ditching class and sneaking to the dead hallway?”
The blonde finds herself feeling slightly offended at that. The ‘goody two shoes’ nickname was probably not used in a good sense.. Jiwon looks at the girl for a second before turning away. She wonders, does Rei know she’s being rude? But from the way the vlogger is looking at her with a mischievous glint, Jiwon guesses she’s doing it on purpose.
Jiwon clears before speaking up again, her eyes glued to the floor. “Um.. The class that’s about to begin–” The bell rings from somewhere far away, indicating that classes have begun. The blonde lets out a nervous giggle, “Or the one that just started, It’s Ms. Park Jihyo’s class.” She takes a pause.
Rei gestures to her to continue.
“And I’m not exactly comfortable with the way she teaches– Or rather the way she teaches me. Like, you know, saying my mistakes in the assignments outloud or purposefully making me stand up to answer questions to get me out of ‘my shell.’ So, I just decided to.. Skip.”
She looks at Rei hesitantly, trying to gauge the girl’s reaction. She hoped that the Japanese didn’t think of her as a class failure, she had average grades!
“Oh, I see.” Rei smiles, “Here I thought you were skipping because you’re just failing the subject– Cause you know, theater kids don’t really put much focus on studies, what more from the main star of our school?” She nudges Jiwon with her elbow, and the blonde only smiles in response.
Jiwon can come up with some snarky reply which includes Rei’s vlogging career– But she doesn’t. It’s just not like her because she necessarily doesn’t care, plus, this is Rei. The Rei from last Sunday and today seem different, but both are still Rei.
Jiwon doesn’t know why, but she can’t possibly be rude to Rei, even if it is the latter who’s starting it.
The blonde girl’s train of thoughts disappear immediately when she hears a sigh from beside her. She turns her head to see Rei mimicking her position, looking down with their eyes glued to the floor. Is she upset?
And just when Jiwon is about to ask her what’s wrong, Rei looks up at her with a frown as she slowly speaks up.
“You’re really weird, you know?” (Ouch, another insult. Except this time it wasn’t indirect.)
Rei doesn’t even let Jiwon try to come up with a response as she continues, “I noticed this before we even met in detention but– I just insulted you in your face two times in a row, and yet you’re not saying anything.” The blonde is shocked, but she doesn’t know why. “Why do you let people get away with these kinds of things?”
Jiwon slightly tilts her head, “I.. I don’t know.” She mumbles, “I guess I just.. don’t really care about how other people act with me or how they think of me? I mean, I receive a lot of criticism on my acting daily– But none of it really affects me because as long as I’m satisfied with myself, everything will be alright.”
Rei stares at her for a while, as if she’s trying to dissect her personality through her eyes. Then, the Japanese girl sighs, “I still don’t understand you.” Jiwon lets out a nervous chuckle, “I guess we’re just kind of different?”
Rei whips up her head again to look at Jiwon, a playful smile painting her blank face. “You mean like opposites?”
The blonde haired girl nods despite being confused at Rei’s sudden change of attitude. “So.. like, opposites attract?” The short haired girl nudges her side and Jiwon feels herself bursting with laughter all of a sudden, the atmosphere in the room changing abruptly. “You’re quite annoying, you know?” Of course, she means it in a joking way, Naoi Rei could never be annoying.
The Japanese girl giggles, “It’s what I do best.”
A few seconds pass by before Jiwon decides to strike a new conversation, “So? What were you doing here?” The older girl shrugs, slightly pointing her phone upwards at Jiwon. “Just checking the comments on that mall shopping spree video I posted two days ago. Wanna see?”
From the way Rei is already turning on her phone again and clicking through to find her channel with a bright smile on her face, Jiwon already knows she can't say no. Plus, it’s a good way to pass time instead of just mindlessly scrolling on her phone until lunch.
"I’d love to."
Rei quickly clicks on a video with a thumbnail that had the girl on it, holding a bunch of shopping bags and random funny text surrounding her. One of the bigger ones says, "Me scamming sellers instead of them scamming me?" Jiwon smiles at it.
Before the video can barely start though, Rei pauses it before clicking on the comment section. Jiwon takes note of her subscriber count– 3 Million subscribers. As far as she remembers, Rei started her vlogging journey with a video of a tour of their school seven months ago and immediately shot to fame in a short amount of time. She went viral not only because it was a tour of a school by an actual student of one the most legendary schools in South Korea, but also because of her humor and wit.
Naoi Rei brought in more fame to SSOTE than they had thought they could achieve. And that brought up SSOTE's prestige and the amount of students wanting to enroll in the school. Rei had become a celebrity, and it was helping the school in a large amount, which is why despite being a student with below average grades, she is one of the most important students to the school.
There are a lot of comments, sort of expected as the video already has a million views. Jiwon starts reading when Rei’s fingers stop scrolling and a row of comments appear.
6:12 lmaoo!!! i need to learn from rei how to scam people rei is literally so crazy i feel like she’s the type to record a video of her sneaking out of detention and posting it this wasnt as funny as the previous videos but wtv im gonna transfer to ssote bc of rei!! i hope i can meet her.. rei should get bangs she’ll definitely look prettier then new subscriber here! rei is so funny haha
Jiwon watches Rei’s finger linger on the second and third comment before she removes her hand completely and slightly pushes the phone towards Jiwon. “You think I should record a video if we sneak out next Saturday during detention?”
It’s risky, Jiwon thinks. Rei might get in trouble, but then again, when has consequences ever scared Naoi Rei? At least, that’s what the whole school says.
“Do you want to?” She asks with concern. The Japanese girl shrugs as she tilts her head before resting it upon Jiwon’s shoulder (The action flusters the blonde haired girl, but she tries her best to not move for a more comfortable space for Rei.)
“Well, they did say that I seem like the type to do it, and they’ll enjoy it, so I might as well.”
Rei is quiet for a minute as she just presses herself into Jiwon a bit more. “You’re kind of different from last Sunday.” Jiwon smiled.
But the Japanese girl whips her head up at lightning speed, staring at the blonde with widened eyes. But she doesn’t say anything, as if expecting Jiwon to continue, and so the blonde does in a hesitant voice,
“I meant– last time we talked in detention, you were all loud and like a mischievous kid but today.. you’re kind of calm. It’s nice!”
Rei doesn’t miss a beat as she replies, “But I am like how I was yesterday.” It’s almost as if Rei is begging and pleading to Jiwon to not change the image of her she had in her mind.
That’s when Jiwon realizes.
She cares too much about the image other people have of her.
Naoi Rei cares too much about what other people think. Kim Jiwon couldn’t care less about what other people think.
“Well, I mean.. I do have a reputation to keep..” A pause. “I’m just a bit tired now..” Then, Rei returns to her previous position by resting her head on the blonde girl’s shoulders. Jiwon doesn’t miss a beat replying, “I still like you no matter how you are, you know? Loud and funny or not.”
Rei chuckles, “You like me? Who would’ve thought that you’re smoother than Yujin?” Jiwon only laughs in response, letting the Japanese girl get away from the subject by cracking a joke.
Then, Jiwon feels the slightly older girl let out a sigh. It's slightly different, she sighs as if she’s tired. Tired of carrying the weight of something heavy on her shoulders– But the weight of what exactly? Meeting the type of expectations people have of her?
Jiwon is the best drama club actress of the school, she knows how emotions work. And Jiwon feels as though Naoi Rei is desperate to keep her image of a “Crazily funny menace to society vlogger” just because people expect that from her, just for her channel.
She wonders how she should comfort Rei– and if she should comfort Rei at all. Sure, they had fun last detention with the others; But they’re still not exactly friends.
But then again, Jiwon realizes she can’t just let Rei mope around like this in front of her. So she reaches out her hand towards the older girl’s hand, and slowly locks them together in a poor attempt to comfort her. It’s not much, but she hopes it’s enough.
From the side, the Japanese girl lets out a low snicker. “You’re such a flirt, blondie.”
The ‘blondie’ in question immediately retorts back, “Says the one that’s been clinging to me ever since I stepped inside the room!”
Rei lets out a loud chuckle. Jiwon finds herself softly smiling.
Sent 4:07 PM.
yk it’s always so funny to me how whenever i say ‘sister’ like in a historical show where im a brother with a tense relationship with my sister and u say ‘brother’ back except that youre dead serious
what do you want
school’s over so you wanna go home right now?