Before or After?

Somebody's Fool

 

HANNA

 

If there is one thing that I hate the most, it’s the little hunch I get before every decision I make. The little hunch that I never listen to. I get so distracted by my feelings that I forget the bigger chance of me being rejected by the school genius because I’m the complete opposite.

I. Am. Stupid.

Why would he accept someone like me?

I went from Hi, Hello and Hey … to Don’t you have anything better to do with your life, like studying for example? That’s like zero to a hundred really quickly. I was humiliated, I was put down publicly by this guy. I was insulted.

I want to hate him. I want to stop liking him.

But I don’t know where to begin with that.

I’m never gonna be good enough for him. He’s smart. He’s extremely attractive. He has the nicest and sweetest parents who love each other. He’s also rich and competent. He has everything one could wish for. Of course, it’d be easy to turn me down—or anyone, for that matter.

I bet he’s very picky when it comes to girls. He wouldn’t just date anyone. Especially not a clumsy girl like me.

What do I offer? My love. My attention … My dedication.

But darn it, other girls would probably die to offer those things to him too.

So, I’m not that special.

“Hey, what’s the sulky face for? Hanna, this is the best time for you to start moving on, hm?” One of my new best friends, Sunyoung, taps my cheek. My other new best friend, Miran, does the same on the other side while nodding at us eagerly. “Yeah! That jerk just made you look like a joke in front of everybody, how could you like him now, right? It’s a big turn-off, he’s not a gentleman at all.” She added.

Gentleman. I’ve always known he wasn’t one. And yet, here I am.

“Well,” I slump on my chair with a defeated frown. “He’s not wrong for saying what he said—he just wanted to know if we were compatible, that’s why he asked what my GPA was because—”

A loud bang on our cafeteria table makes me almost jump from my chair, and I am pretty sure my two friends and the tables near us all reacted the same. I slowly look up to meet Baekhyun’s flaring nostrils. Byun Baekhyun is our classmate and, well, I got a confession from him literally on my first day here. He said it was love at first sight. I was pretty shocked when he said the word love within four hours of meeting me.

I guess love at first sight was real after all. But of course, I had to turn him down. As much as I now understand how it feels to be rejected hard. At least, I turned him down very kindly, obviously. He’s still here alive and kicking … and acting like I totally did not just say no to him.

But he just doesn’t do it for me. And I’d hate to turn him down again, I’m not really good at it. I’m not confident enough to turn down someone more than once even if I wanted to.

First of all, I haven’t gotten a confession in so long. I am not the same Wang Hanna I was a few years ago. I don’t know why not a lot of people talk about this in a more realistic way aside from growing s and hips like in the movies. Because that doesn’t apply to me. Pretty Wang Hanna was pretty short-lived.

Because second of all, like I always say—puberty tragically hit me with fat, acne and hair in the wrong places but for some reason, it managed to dodge the chest and hip department. I look like a sad thirty-year-old with poor hygiene in a twelve-year-old’s body. And I’m freaking nineteen.

But look, there’s this guy who has only known me for three and a half weeks and is head over heels for me. I guess I still got it, even just a little. It’s not good enough for a Do Kyungsoo, that’s all.

“What did I just hear? That Do Kyungsoo rejected you and didn’t even bother accepting your letter first? And he asked for your GPA? Isn’t that just creepy? What, he wants to follow you home and know where you live? What an ! Do you want me to fight him for you, my love?” Baekhyun sat on the bench across from ours as his two friends (more like minions) Wooshik and Daehan, stood behind him.

I look to my left, then to my right, hoping I’d find a way to escape this conversation right now. I really don’t want to talk about this, especially not with him.

Uhm, I think, uh—“ I quietly laugh while tilting my head a little. “Hm, that’s … GPS. You’re talking about GPS—” I look at my friends. “Right? That’s GPS, right?”

“What’s GPS? Is that what he asked? What a creep then! Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” Sunyoung realizes.

“GPS … I don’t know, is it English? Kyungsoo asked for GAP, didn’t he? You silly, it was GAP! The grading thingy, like the letters or sometimes numbers, no?” Miran debates with her.

I scratch my head as I listen to all of them try to figure it out. At least, I knew what GPA was. I had heard about it a lot recently when I moved, which is why I’m very familiar with it now. I don’t know exactly what it means but that’s what they called my final grade when I was transferring so I guess it was my grades combined? Unfortunately, adding the grades altogether didn’t make it sound better.

And that’s why I’m here. Rejected. A failure, as always.

“Whatever, the point is,” Baekhyun ends the debate and suddenly grabs my wrists across the table, making me drop my spoon and chopsticks. “Hanna, I will always protect you no matter what happens, okay? Tell me if that jerk ever—”

“Isn’t that the new girl who got rejected hard yesterday? GPA girl.”

“Oh my god, she has a boyfriend and she confessed to Kyungsoo? Look at them holding hands.”

“Did she actually tell him her GPA? I want to know how dumb she is.”

A group of friends walks by, loudly whispering about me, and Baekhyun glares at them. “What are you looking at, huh? What’s good, man?” He lets go of my hands and stands up, pointing and nodding rudely at the boys. When the group eventually cowered away and left, Baekhyun goes back to his sweet mode and collapses down on the bench, giggling proudly at what he just did.

Sunyoung cheekily throws an arm over my shoulders. “You know what could cheer you up? Slumber party! Since you’re technically new to this town and a new part of our clique, why don’t you invite us to your apartment? We’ll watch a drama together, put makeup on each other and then talk about boys except for that not Do Kyungsoo? Huh? Sounds fun!”

“Oh my god, that’s a good idea! Please say yes, Hanna! My mom’s gonna be cool about it for sure! And then, later on, we can take turns going to each other’s houses!” Miran pushes as well.

Baekhyun slams the table again, grabbing our attention. “That’s a great idea, I’m in. I’m gonna make the snacks for the drama, sounds fun? What drama are we watching? Hanna, what’s your favourite drama? I’ll make sure we watch what you want to watch.” He looks behind him, at his friends, and nods eagerly. They look very unsure, but they nod at him anyway. As I said, they’re his minions.

Sunyoung loses her smile as she glares at him. “Who said you were coming? It’s a girls-only slumber party, you creep! Go away, we have some party planning to do.” She swipes an arm to signal the three guys to leave.

I silently watch as they all start bickering. And finally, a genuine smile curves through my mouth. I may not be the brightest student … but I’m pretty darn good at finding good people to be friends with.

This could be my rainbow after the rain.

Or calm after the storm.

Not sure if I used that right, but whatever.

 

 

“Mom! What happened here?”

More than half of our furniture is gone, fragile decors are shattered to the ground, my mom is slumped on the floor at the spot where the loveseat used to be. She is crying so so loudly that she probably didn’t even hear me. “Mom!” I call again and finally, she looks up. I belatedly realize that she was hugging a picture frame.

It’s their wedding photo.

Another thing that I hate the most aside from my little hunches … is my mother’s undying love for my father. No matter how much they had hurt each other before, no matter how much she had cried because of him … she still loves him so much.

She probably doesn’t know it but sometimes, in the middle of the night when I’d go out to get a glass of water or go to the bathroom … I’d see her awake, trying to call my dad’s number non-stop. I’ve told her so many times to give up. I doubt if Dad still uses that number anyway.

And if he wanted to go back … he would.

If he wanted to talk … he would.

If he wanted to see us … he would.

“It seems like your dad also made business with the mob or at least with someone who knew someone from the mob and … they took a lot of things, money and jewelry, they even took my vault where I kept your college fund. They want your dad, but I couldn’t tell them anything, so they said they’ll be back and … I don’t know what they’ll do next. They said calling the police wouldn’t do anything because they have connections and if I do call the police … your dad will be equally in trouble.” She explains in defeat.

I close my eyes because I hate seeing her this way. “Who ca—cares if he gets in trouble, Mom? It doesn’t matter anymore. If you’re not going to call the police, then I will—”

Before I could dial a number on my phone, she quickly snatches it from me. “Your dad was just desperate for money because he had troubles with his business, he must have been so scared. See, he didn’t even tell his shady business partners about Hanna Ddul Eat, the mob didn't seem to know it exists at all otherwise that would have been the first thing I lost. Your dad left to protect us and—”

“Protect us from what, mom? I mean—look at this!” I look at the mess, the unrecognizable apartment that we just recently finished decorating.

Still, with the same determined expression, she explains to me. “I know, sweetie. But you have to understand that your dad made a mistake. People make mistakes and it’s just normal to cower and make careless deci—"

“And is it also normal for him to abandon his family and let them deal with the baggage he left? This … this baggage that left us with no couch and TV.” I tell her and finally, she doesn’t say anything.

Mom stands up and walks over to the dinner table. I’m surprised they didn’t take it as well. Because they took the chairs. Weird. They probably ran out of space in their vehicle.

She grabs her keys and hands them to me. “I think it’s better if you sleep at Hanna Ddul Eat for tonight, it’s safer for you. Okay? I’ll take care of this, I’ll find another place for us to go.”

“No, I don’t want to sleep anywhere else. Mom, we—” I push the keys back to her. “We can’t find anything better than this place, this is also what we can afford. If we go farther, we just go closer to the city. We can’t afford that right now. We’ll stay here, we’ll sleep on it and we’ll go to the police together tomorrow, okay?” I pull her in a hug. “It’s just the two of us now, Mom. Just accept it. Because we’re gonna be fine. We’re a team, aren’t we?” I rub her back and she starts crying again.

“I’m sorry this is happening to you, baby. I’m sorry—”

I shake my head as tears begin crawling down my cheeks, but I make sure she doesn’t hear a single sob from me. “Ssh, Mom. Stop apologizing, you didn’t do anything wrong. I’m fine.” I quickly wipe the tears before pulling away from the hug. “Now, we need to just fix this place again, hm? Slowly but surely. IKEA will be our saviour. I want to invite my new friends here for a slumber party, it can’t be looking like this, right? It’d feel more like camping if we all sit on the floor. Should we just get tents then?” I ask.

Finally, I make my mom laugh.

After my talk with her, I waited until she was completely settled and calm before I go into my room. “Oh, wow,” I mutter to myself as I see my empty room. No bed. No desk. No computer. The only things left are my textbooks, school supplies and some clothes scattered on the floor—and it’s only half of the clothes I owned. Seriously? What do they need my clothes for anyway?

Welp. I guess I’m sleeping on a pile of clothes tonight.

Pretty resourceful if you’d ask me.

The next morning comes, and I wake up with a terrible back ache and stiff neck. I was sprawled out like a starfish on top of my clothes, maybe that’s why. My mom already left for work before I even woke up, and I lost my chance to convince her on alerting the police about everything that happened. I guess that’s a clearno from her. But whatever, I will go by my day like it’s a normal day. I have to. I will not let my father control my life even after he had left.

I am loved by my mom and my new friends. That’s all that matters to me now.

I am loved by my mom and my new friends. My new mantra whenever I feel down.

I am loved by—

“Do Kyungsoo.” I blurt out by accident as he walks by. I take a step back and am lightly pushed away as students run into the gates, as they should before it closes. I probably should be doing the same right about now. Darn. I didn’t mean to say that out loud. He stops when he hears his name.

He doesn’t turn his body completely and only looks at me over his shoulder. He gives me a head-to-toe scan and it makes me flinch, for some reason. And his gaze stayed on the ground the longest, before moving it back up to meet my eyes.

Is this jerk checking out my legs? What the—

Suddenly, I catch a hint of a smirk from him before he walks away.

I quickly look down at my legs and down at my … very obviously mismatched socks. Oh, right. I couldn’t find a single pair of white and matching school socks on my pile of clothes earlier, so I just had to make it work with one yellow-green fleecy sock and a plain bright red sock.

I slap my forehead as I realize what he was smirking about.

“You’re such a jerk,” I say.

I thought he was going to ignore it, but to my surprise, he stops again. I swallow hard and clench my jaw. Look confident. Look confident for once, Wang Hanna. “I said … I said you’re a jerk? Yes! I said you’re a jerk. Bec—becau—because you are!” I keep my chin up as I clarify what I said.

Ah. I’m a jerk. How so?” Kyungsoo asks, his usual stance of hands in the pockets and head tilted on one side. The same look he gave me when I confessed my feelings, and when I fell into the pool five years ago.

Weirdly enough … the same look he gave me right before I started liking him.

“Because you—you just—you’re just—” I try to find my next attack but I failed.

As if on cue, my phone starts ringing in my pocket and at the same time, my friends arrive right behind me. And by friends, I meant not only Sunyoung and Miran … but also Baekhyun and his minions, Wooshik and Daehan.

“Do Kyungsoo, perfect timing. Are you finally ready to face me, you jackass? Let’s talk, huh? Why didn’t you even bother reading her letter first before humiliating her like that? You don’t even know her! You don’t know her like I do, man!” Baekhyun took over the conversation and blocked me, bringing his arms behind so he could hold me with protection. Although, I very much did not need it.

My phone continues to ring so I didn’t have much choice but to answer it. “Hello? Mom, I’m kind of bu—busy right now. Class is about to start, and I need to get in or—”

“You know her? For how long?” Kyungsoo surprisingly stayed and continued to talk.

Baekhyun releases a ragged breath, looking like he’s about to be in full fight mode. “Well, longer than you do, , that’s for sure. And we’re meant to be, just so you know. You should be thankful I am letting her explore and confess to s like you until she realizes her feelings for me and see how much better I am than you. So, are you going to take her letter or not, dude?” He argues back.

Yikes. Kyungsoo has known me, technically, since we were babies. But it’s understandable for Baekhyun to use that reason since nobody knows about that yet.

Sweetie, I know you’re in school, but this will be quick, okay? I have decided to be a better mother to you and not let you go through this any further. We’ll leave the apartment and find a bigger and safer place to live in. But I have to save up first to do that, so, for now, we’ll have to stay at Hanna Ddul Eat first, alright? I know it’s not an ideal home but … this is just for the meantime, I promise.” My mom spoke on the other end.

“That’s okay, Mom. I don’t mind at all, I promise.” I assure her with a smile even if she couldn’t see me at all. And I make the stupid decision to look in Kyungsoo’s direction as I smile, and I immediately lose it.

Okay, sweetie. Since I’ve packed up and had all of our stuff put in my car, I’ll pick you up after school, okay? We’ll have to buy some airbeds and a standing fan, it might be a little hot in the back room of the shop, so … yeah. Anyway, I’ll let you go. Talk to you later, sweetie. Bye.” My mom finally ends the call first, so I take this chance to stop everything once and for all.

I grab Baekhyun’s shoulder to try and stop him. But he only threw an arm over me. “Babe, it’s okay. I got you.” He tells me.

Ew. He just called me babe. That feels weird to hear. He sure is on some serious level of confidence and determination when it comes to his feelings for me, even though it’s been less than a month.

I look at Kyungsoo again and he has the most intimidating smile I’ve seen from him, his gaze seemingly observing the way Baekhyun held me in his arm. I quickly pull away from the guy before Kyungsoo gets the wrong idea—not that it really matters at this point, but still.

Just when I thought he was leaving when he finally spins away, he once again turns his head slightly to the side and spoke. “I won’t take it. I don’t like stupid girls.”

I don’t like stupid girls.

I don’t like stupid girls.

Stupid girls.

Stupid Wang Hanna.

Stupid girls.

You’re stupid—

“Hanna, I said we’re here!” I stir awake when my mother violently shakes me, and I realize that I have passed out on our way to the shop. I quickly wipe the corners of my mouth that felt wet from my drooling. I cannot believe that I had to relive what just happened this morning in my dream as if it wasn’t bad enough to experience it once.

It wasn’t just a dream.

It did happen. And the memory buzzed in my head so painfully that I can’t stop reliving it even now that I am awake. I knew he didn’t like me because I was stupid. But I didn’t want to hear it. Especially coming from him. Asking me about my GPA was enough. He didn’t have to get straight to the point.

But then again … we might have pushed him to the edge.

If Baekhyun didn’t try to start a fight, I wouldn’t have heard anything at all.

“Seems like you really had a long day, huh? You passed out as soon as you got in the car. Did something stressful happen in school?” My mom rubs my arm affectionately. “Anyway, we’re here. Uh, I know this is not what I—”

I look out the window. A quiet neighborhood that is bright with lights coming from all directions. Rows of lamp posts lit up the clean street. I sharply turn to my right, and through the window, is a familiar gate.

My mom sighs and chuckles. “This is very last minute. I really was planning to just stay in the shop for a bit and then your Aunt Yoojin suggested this crazy idea that we should just live with them for the meantime and trust me, I felt that it was too much, and I didn’t want to impose but she was really persistent and I thought it would be more comfortable for you compared to my little shop and—”

The familiar gates open and a figure comes out. Also, familiar. A woman. I had to blink tightly to fully awaken myself and recognize who the woman is. That’s Aunt Yoojin!

“Hi! Oh my god, Hanna! Sweetheart, long time no see! I’m so excited!” She beams while hopping like a rabbit, quite literally. She opens the passenger’s door and shoves herself in to hug me. And before I could even begin to react to everything that she was doing, she puts it upon herself to take my hands and bring me out of the car. Wow, she’s very excited indeed.

On the other hand, I could just hear my mom laughing behind me.

Once I am fully out, Aunt Yoojin bearhugs me again. “You’ve become such a beautiful lady!” She comments. Okay, now that’s a little excessive. She’s straight-up lying to my face. “I’m so excited! We’re gonna live together, yay!” She squeals more.

And I lose my smile. “Li—live together? What do you me—live together, where—why are we—” I quickly look at my mom who was already taking one piece of luggage out of the trunk.

“Oh my, you’re really out of it? I was just telling you before your Aunt Yoojin started freaking out. I said, she suggested that instead of staying in the shop, we should just live with them. With the Do family.”

Do family … includes … Do—

The gates open again and this time, it’s Aunt Yoojin’s husband. Uncle Jaewoo. “Come on, boys. Let’s help them with their stuff.” The man signals behind him and before I could fully register every single sequence of this situation … he appeared out of the gates, followed by his little brother Minsoo who just stared at me with the biggest glare and the nastiest frown ever. Jesus, these two brothers are like twins. Including their temper.

There he is. Do Kyungsoo.

He walks straight towards our car, bowing politely at my mom before grabbing a few things from the backseat. And then he turns to me, I quickly look away and press myself against the car, hoping I’d melt into it somehow.

Kyungsoo steps away from the backseat, holding a small box that has my name on it.

One corner of his mouth perks up as he holds the box with one hand and rests his other arm on the roof of the car.

Leaning closer to me, he sarcastically says, “Welcome home.”

I knew it. I didn’t use it right.

It’s calm before the storm.

 

 


Author's Note: Jeez, the flow of this chaotic situation is amazing HAHAHAHHAHA I'm loving it. And yes, I know. Kyungsoo is really rude and kind of savage, I guess smart people are really good at savagery. If you know the original story, you know. LOL 

OH. and how convenient that is that the male character (from Itazura Na Kiss) who is head over heels for our main girl is SO PERFECTLY MATCHED with Byun Baekhyun's crackhead energy, so do not ask questions. Just take it HAHAHHAHA

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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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