Bottom of Bottom

Somebody's Fool

 

KYUNGSOO

 

Five years ago …

 

I don’t do this a lot. Scratch that, I have never done this before. Not because I’m scared that I’d be turned down. That’s relatively impossible, not to sound overly confident. But it’s just the truth.

There’s at least a ninety percent chance that she’d accept it. The other ten percent that I left out is for the possibility that she may have a different preference other than my gender. That, or she’s dying tomorrow.

We weren’t complete strangers to each other, to begin with, which makes this a lot easier. I may have never shown any direct interest whenever our mothers would hang out in our respective homes. Neither have we shared conversations that were more than a hi and a hello, but I would assume she had caught me looking a few times. Because I, for sure, had caught her.

We’re fourteen, that’s not too young anymore, right? I’ve seen more than a dozen seventh graders in my school that are obviously romantically involved. It’s not uncommon in this day and age.

Now, do I want to date? Dating is pretty straightforward for smart people like me. You exchange I like you’s, you share intellectual conversations, and you do fun things like talking about your favourite books and studying for the exams together. I never study but maybe, I could start studying if I had a girlfriend.

I don’t mind trying those things with her. Besides, suppression is not my favourite feeling in the entire world. Especially when I know that I don’t have to suppress.

Besides, maybe if I did have a girlfriend … girls would stop bothering me for good. I’m sick of it, I don’t want to deal with it anymore. Especially when I know that I’m not interested. They’re wasting not only their time but also mine.

So, I’m going to let Wang Hanna know about my feelings.

Actually, I am going to tell her in words. Written words. That way, it gives her time to sleep on it. Not that she’d need to. But I decided to give her that option, just to be fair. I won’t call it a love letter because that’s just too cheesy. It’s just a piece of paper anyway, nothing fancy. I just tore a piece from one of my graph paper notebooks. Let’s say it’s a thorough summarization of my feelings for her. Another reason why I realized writing it was better is that she won’t have too many questions and I won’t have to repeat myself. If she didn’t understand something, she can easily revise.

This is my first time in her school. It’s roughly the same size as mine, except they seem to have a much better security system judging by the CCTV cameras and the half-glass half-brick guard booths that displayed the backside of the dual monitor set up at the security desk inside.

I watch as students flock out of the gates in separate groups. I ignore the stares, and the suppressed screams coming from girls that would walk by—or hop by. Wow, I guess this is a normal thing? I’m sure I heard a few students mumble that I must be waiting for my girlfriend. Now, I do not have a girlfriend. Not yet. But they’re not entirely wrong because I am waiting for a girl. She’s just not my girlfriend yet.

We’ll get there. First, I must see her. Hopefully, I didn’t miss her yet.

A familiar backpack catches my attention. Blue. Cerulean Blue, to be exact. The figure attached to the bag hopped out of the gates while holding onto the straps. The corner of my lips perks up at the sight of her. I clear my throat twice to make sure my voice sounded all right before I take my first step toward her. But before I could take another, I see her stopping right in front of another figure. A boy. Looking at his uniform, I can tell that he goes to the same school. He’s probably a classmate. I’m just going to hide here until she’s by herself so that we can have privacy, I presume.

“Thank you for accepting my invitation! I promise you, you’ll like this restaurant I’m gonna take you to. And also, we can go to the arcade after if you want?” The boy suggests, the biggest grin on his lovesick face.

She shyly grins while tapping her toes on the ground. “Ye—yeah, of course! But you said if I go on a date with you, you’ll lend me your notes and the assignment for tomorrow, right? Can I have it first before we start our date? Just in case we have too much fun and we forget about it?”

“Oh! Of course, as promised, I have all of them in my bag. Here.” The boy frantically takes out two textbooks and a thick notebook from his bag and offers to put them in her bag. “Here you go—ah, before we go, is it okay if I run to the washroom first?”

“Yeah, sure! I’ll be waiting here, Junji!” She beams.

When the boy disappeared into the gates, I move just a little closer to peek at her better. She stood there patiently while looking around. What is happening? She’s going on a date, sure. I heard it loud and clear. But the trading that I heard didn’t sit right with me.

If I go on a date with you, you’ll lend me your notes and assignment for tomorrow, right? That’s what she just said.

Why would she go on a date with someone just to have notes and assignments? Can’t she do that herself? Is she lazy? Did she miss classes recently? Is she having trouble with a specific topic? Is she—

“Wang Hanna.” Another unfamiliar voice grabs my attention. Another boy. He comes running towards her. “Hanna, here’s the answer key you needed. Sorry, it took me a while. My guys had a hard time sneaking into the teachers’ room to get it, they were only able to do it when we did the fire drill yesterday.” The boy chuckles shyly while scratching the back of his head.

She hops excitedly while looking down at the paper she received. She fishes out her phone from her skirt pocket to take a picture of the paper. “Thank you so much! I’m so relieved, I was really worried that I was gonna fail this test again. This is my third time retaking it, so I really needed this, thank you! You’re so sweet Taeho!”

“Oh, come on, tha—that’s nothing. If anything, I should thank you for going to the movies with me last Sunday. You know how much I like you, so it was really special for me. Thank you for giving me a chance to prove myself to you, Hanna. I understand if you’re not ready to date yet, I can wait.”

“Thank you so much, Taeho. Anyway, I need to go. I’ll see you around, bye now!” With the same grin on her face, she waves her hand at him before turning away and walking into the gates.

When the Taeho guy begins walking away, I decided to reveal myself and block him from further moving. “Hello,” I say.

“Uh—” He looks around with hesitation. “Hi?”

I point to the gates where Hanna just went into. “Wang Hanna. How are you related to her?” I ask without any hesitation. As much as I hate to admit it, I quickly caught onto this sly scheme that Hanna is spreading around her campus. And I would like to clarify it.

“Ar—aren’t you … Do Kyungsoo? The top student of Sunhwa High school? You’re popular everywhere, man! What are you doing waiting in our campus?” The boy belatedly realizes.

This is why I do not enjoy small talk. It’s barely a conversation. There is no volleying of information. It’s just pure talking for the sake of talking. He didn’t even acknowledge my main concern at all and opened his own topic. Why is that? Why do people do that? Do they not realize how infuriating that is?

“I’m not in your campus. I’m waiting outside of your campus.” I correct him, tightening my hold on my Rubik’s cube in one hand and my bag strap in the other. “Going back to my question, how are you related to Hanna?” I repeat myself, one thing I hate doing the most.

“Oh, Hanna? God, I wish we were something. We’re just schoolmates but I’m one of the lucky ones who was able to take her out on a date and give her gifts.” He inches closer to me and nudges me on the arm as if he meant something more than what he just said.

I raise a hand to stop him from doing that immediately and he did. Thank God.

But he continues to talk. “If you’re planning to do the same, make sure you have your brains ready, which wouldn’t be an issue for you, I’m sure. She only accepts gifts and invitations if we can help her with assignments and exams if you know what I mean. But man, it’s worth it, trust me. She may be at the bottom of the bottom class, but she’s definitely the sweetest and the prettiest in this school!”

“Bottom of the bottom? Just how bottom are we talking about?” The words were sharp when I said them.

“Uhm … like, the last place? The very bottom of Class F.”

The girl I like is at the bottom of the bottom and used it to her advantage by making these guys tip her with intellectual aid in exchange for limited attention and time given by her without actually dating them for real. That is unideal. It’s like a business to her but it’s hardly a fair trade-off. Cunning. She’s surviving (I bet, barely) in this school because of these pathetic losers who are head over heels for her beauty and her … irresistible charm. And I was almost one of them.

Well, that’s disappointing.

And a major turn-off.

 

 

When I arrived home after that very disappointing one-sided rendezvous that never happened, I get welcomed by my father who opened the front door for me. “Good evening, Dad. I’m home.” I curtly greet as I take my shoes off.

“Your Aunt Wooyoung is here, be polite and greet her a good evening as well. She’s with your mom out on the terrace having tea.” He taps me on the back before scurrying to the TV room to watch his game.

Great. Now I have to greet someone who is going to directly remind me of what just happened to me half an hour ago. If I was a bad person, I’d definitely tell her what I just found out about her irresponsible daughter whom I choose to stop liking from now on. I do not like her anymore. Not even one bit. In fact, I have decided that I will now avoid people like her at all costs. They are not to be trusted. Especially for an intellectual like myself.

I reach the terrace and instead of heading out, I just opened the glass door wider and stood still. “Good evening, Mom. Good evening, Aunt Wooyoung.” I politely greet them with a subtle smile. She’s not even my real aunt, why do I have to call her that anyway? Why can’t I just call her Mrs. Wang? Or simply Mom’s friend? I don’t understand how my parents’ brains work sometimes. Not because they’ve been best friends with her since high school meant they’ve become blood-related. Time does not change genetics. It’s ridiculous how weird my family is sometimes.

“Oh, hi sweetie. You’re home later than usual. Did something happen in school?” My mom asks, looking over her shoulders as her back is facing me. Mrs. Wang on the other hand is sitting on the chair that faced the door, so she slightly tilts her head to one side and waves at me.

Swollen eyes. Tear-stained face. Furrowed eyebrows. She looks like she had just recently recovered from an hour-long session of bawling her eyes out. She probably fought with her husband again. Mr. Wang always seems like a fun guy whenever he’d hang out with my dad but every time, I overhear my mother and Mrs. Wang talking about the fights, it’s like they’re talking about a completely different person.

I clear my throat. “I just, uhm, studied with friends.”

Wait, no. That didn’t sound realistic at all. As expected, my mom narrows her gaze at me and turns her body almost completely while throwing an arm over the backrest of her chair. “You … studied? And with friends? Oh my god, my baby finally went out with friends. And studying! This is so exciting, my Kyungsoo is finally accepting friendship!” She starts bouncing, still in a sitting position, while switching her gaze from me to Mrs. Wang who starts doing the same thing.

I knew she’d be skeptical about my little white lie, but I didn’t think a celebratory bounce was necessary at all. “Studying with friends is always fun! You know, Hanna always does it with her friends at our home. And I always make them snacks and they love it. Tonight, they did it at her friend’s house this time.” Mrs. Wang beams.

Studying with friends, huh?

“Right, studying with friends,” I mutter to myself and look away to hide the lopsided smirk that formed on my mouth.

“What did you say, son?”

I look at them with a forced smile and shake my head. “I’ll be in my room, Mom. It was nice to see you, Aunt Wooyoung. Enjoy your time.” I bow a little before taking a step back and sliding the glass door shut.

Without taking a second look at my father, I walk past the TV room and run upstairs. When I arrive in my room, I see my little brother playing with Legos on my bed. “Hey, you’re still wearing your school uniform. You haven’t taken a shower, and you’re on my bed. You’re filthy. Come on, take a shower first.” I pat him on the back a couple of times until he whined himself off of my bed.

He stomped his feet to the door, and I just watch him while shaking my head. “Minsoo, I’ll help you build this later in your room instead, just call me when you’re done with your shower, okay?” I give him an assuring nod, finally putting a big smile on the kid’s face.

“Yes!” He throws a fist up before shutting the door closed.

Once he’s gone, I grab the wooden box from the floor and I swipe the Lego blocks with my arm, throwing them back into the box all at once. I pick a few more pieces left on my bed before setting the box aside. For some reason, I feel more tired than usual. Could it be because I wasted two hours of my free time on nonsense?

Nonsense that is Wang Hanna.

I am completely and utterly turned off.

 


 

Author's Note: I hope you like the intro!!! Dudes, you have no idea how much I've fantasized about this story for so many years so I'm so excited and nervous right now. Istg if I this up again like Suddenly It's Marriage, I'm gonna be sooooo sad. But I don't want to ruin this story for my own sake because I'm madly in love with it myself so that's why I thought maybe this is the best way I could slowly get back into writing more comfortably, if I wrote something that I WANT for myself first and foremost hahaha no offense meant but I WANT to read it too lol So I better not mess this up for me. Love ya!

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Comeonnnnb please leave them feedbacks and comments yall! So I know if I’m screwing this all up again.. lmao but srsly 🥺😜
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