Ch. 13

Wed Game


I can’t believe I told him he was handsome to his face. He doesn’t deserve to be flattered, but I’ll do what I have to do to get on his good side. You have to be on his good side to win this stupid game.

And that man likes to be flattered. I can tell from the way he perked up when everyone was cheering and applauding him. And I’m gonna weaponize that. I’ll compliment him and fulfill his apparent praise kink. And I’ll find a way to insult him too.

But damnit, he really is handsome. Even if his personality is trash and his morals are questionable, and even if he’s rich and spoiled and annoying, I can’t help but admire that stupid face of his.

I walk back to the dorm site, relieved that I haven’t been sent back home a failure. If I were sent home, I’d have to think about my life outside the game again. My life with Seungkwan.


Everyone is shuffling into their respective dorm buildings. I look around for Mingyu, not wanting to be separated from him in this hoard of losers. The last thing I want to do is become friends with a Joshua simp.

I catch a few people side-eying me. Of course, they’re all wondering why the girl who punched the old man has not been kicked out of the game. I would have snapped at them all and asked them what they were staring at me for, but there’s a camera crew filming and they seem to have taken a special interest in me.

I ignore everyone’s suspicious stares and keep looking around for Mingyu. I spot him far away and head through the crowd toward him.

I stop when I feel someone tug at my arm.

It’s the girl. Number 69. She looks at me with what looks like regret. She then gets close to me and puts her arms around me. The camera crew begins to swarm around us.

Everyone stares. She doesn’t seem to care.

“Thank you,” she says as she hugs me.

I’m not used to being thanked. Or even hugged for that matter. The sincerity coming from this girl startles me, and I don’t know how to react. Hug her back? Tell her not to touch me? Squirm?

I decide to put a stiff arm around her. “Uh, no problem, kid.”

She releases me and turns to the camera. “The man that 152 punched was making me uncomfortable. She helped me. I was too cowardly to step in and say something when it happened, but then I felt bad about it, so here I am.” She turns to me. “I’m sorry you got in trouble because of me.”

She bows to me a full 90 degrees.

Everyone is looking at us.

I’ve never been bowed to like this before. Not for this long. Not with this much sincerity and respect.

I’m thankful when a bunch of screams from the other side of the camp makes everyone turn their attention away from me. Even the camera crew scuttled away from us toward the commotion.

Apparently, stupid Joshua’s coming to grace us with his lordly presence.

As everyone rushes toward him, I hang back. 69 hangs back with me too.

“Look kid, just be safe okay?” I tell her. “If anyone makes stupid jokes about your number, then just let me know, I’ll deal with them.”

She smiles and nods. “Thank you.”

“Unlucky girl, aren’t you?” I say as I look at the number plastered across her chest.

“I hate it. Everyone keeps making these obnoxious comments...”

“So what’s your real name, girl. I don’t wanna be calling you 69 all the time.”

“I’m Jiheon! Nice to meet you. And you?”

“Saerom. How old are you?”

“I just turned 18.”

“Why would you come to a marriage game at 18?”

“My family’s in debt,” she answers, lowering her head, “I’m here trying to help them.”

I nod in understanding. There must be a lot of people out here in similar circumstances. Poor and just participating for the money and the possibility of joining the upper class elite. This is a Squid Game inspired game after all.

“Hey there, Miss Heroine of the day!” Mingyu’s voice calls out from behind me. He’s got a sneer on his face that tells me he’s ready to make fun of me.

And damnit, how can he look so hot in this stupid green uniform they’re making us wear?

He approaches and stops beside me, glancing toward Jiheon. He snickers and points to the sticker on her chest. “Ha! I like your number.”

Jiheon’s cheeks turn red at the comment. I smack him hard across the arm. “Shut up, Mingyu. No unsolicited comments about her number, got it!”

“Sorry, sheesh,” he says, rubbing his arm where he got hit.

Then he pulls me to the side, out of earshot from where Jiheon is. “I want us to dorm in the same building. I chose Building 8, so go sign your name there before all the slots fill up.”

“Why Building 8?” I ask, groaning at the thought of having to walk all the way to the end of the camp to get to that building. “Why can’t we be in the first building? It’s closer to the hall and the cafeteria and…”

“Nope. We’re doing Building 8. It’s strategic.”

“What can possibly be so strategic about that?”

“You see,” he leans closer to me, whispering, “there’s this rumor going around that Joshua has his eyes on one particular girl named Chaeyeon, who signed her name for Building 8. If he’s into her, then he’ll come by that building a lot, so we’ll have more time to woo him.”

“Who is this Chaeyeon?” I grunt, feeling unreasonably angry that there seems to be a contestant that already has the upper hand.

“I don’t know,” he mumbles. “Rumor is that she used to be his employee or something.”

“That seems hardly fair.”

“It is what it is.”

An obnoxious voice comes from one of the other contestants. “Ha! Sixty-nine!” he says and laughs, pointing toward Jiheon, who, of course, just lowers her head and lets her cheeks turn pink.

“ off, !” I yell at him, shooting the middle finger at him for good measure.

I then turn to Jiheon, who looks as bashful and as meek as ever. “Come on, Jiheon. You’re dorming with me.”


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