In conclusion, the foot volleyball match in which Jeong-yoon participated was soundly defeated by his opponent. He felt like it was his fault, so his expression kept getting gloomy. No, actually, it was his fault.It was all due to his lack of skills in foot volleyball.
However, the people in the department did not criticize Jeong-yoon. On the contrary, they patted him on the shoulder, saying it was entertaining to watch. After witnessing his face taking a direct hit from the ball, it seemed everyone had given up any expectations they had on Jeong-yoon. They also gave up on winning. Everyone was an angel.
“Seo Jeong-yoon, don’t even kick stones on the street from now on!”
Except Kim Min-soo.
Min-soo slapped Jeong-yoon on the back and muttered, ‘Ugh, your skill.’ If it were any other day, Jeong-yoon might have twisted Min-soo’s neck. But today, he had nothing to say and just bowed his head.
Jeong-yoon touched the grass in front of him and said, ‘Aish.’ and lay down. The grass touching his back was dry from the sun. On the left, Mi-hee, who was sitting, handed him a mini fan. The wind from the fan made his wet bangs flutter. On the right, Hyang-gi pressed a cold water bottle to his cheek.
Around that time, Jeong-yoon felt a bit uncomfortable being treated like this. It felt like coming home after getting a low score on a test, and his mother had prepared galbi (short ribs). He would have felt more at ease if they had hit him on the back like Kim Min-soo.
“Anyway, good job. Just keep trying.”
Mi-hee said. It felt like when his mom clenched her teeth and said something similar when Jeong-yoon got a bad score in elementary school. Mi-hee smiled slightly as she placed a wet towel on Jeong-yoon’s forehead.
“But if you can’t play foot volleyball, you should’ve said it. Then I would have switched you with another kid.”
“It’s useless. It’s not just foot volleyball that I can’t do. I can’t do everything…”
Jeong-yoon confessed gloomily.
“Sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you to play.”
“I should have confessed that I can’t play from the beginning. It’s embarrassing.”
“But still, you made me laugh the most today.”
“…Yeah. I have to make someone laugh, even if I can’t kick the ball.”
Now Jeong-yoon’s voice sounded somewhat resigned. Mi-hee laughed hard. It wasn’t that funny of a joke. Jeong-yoon looked up at Mi-hee as she put away the lukewarm towel. Anyway, the fact that she was amused by his words made him feel a little less guilty.
Come to think of it, wasn’t he the protagonist of defeat? Yet, he received the breeze from the fan, had his towel lifted, and even received comforting words. Moreover, he received a pretty smile. Thank you, he thought.
Jeong-yoon smiled gratefully. Min-soo’s expression slightly darkened as he saw that. He pouted as if he didn’t like what he saw.
“What are you two doing?”
Min-soo had always subtly expressed his feelings for Mi-hee, even in ordinary times. Therefore, their appearance seemed rather awkward. Jeong-yoon lifted the body that was lying down, and the dry grass stuck to his back fell off.
“What are we doing?”
“Are you guys dating? Huh?”
Jeong-yoon’s expression stiffened at those words.
“Why are you saying that? Don’t involve Mi-hee just because you feel regretful.”
He meant it. He was an idiot who had spent years chasing unrequited love, and Mi-hee was too good for him to get involved with. There were more than six guys with a headcount he knew who were following Mi-hee.
However, it wasn’t Min-soo who responded to Jeong-yoon’s words. Mi-hee slapped Jeong-yoon’s arm.
“Hey, is it so unpleasant for you to get involved with me?”
“Why are you putting up such a wall just because of anything I say?”
Though he said it for Mi-hee’s sake, ironically, Mi-hee got upset. Jeong-yoon couldn’t understand the situation, so he stroked his stinging forearm and closed his eyes. Mi-hee glanced at Jeong-yoon and gulped down the water.
“Anyway, Seo Jeong-yoon, you make me so sad.”
Jeong-yoon asked again. Mi-hee had no answer. Hyang-gi, who had been watching them from the side, suddenly rustled her bag and pulled out a small container with a lemon drawing. Then, she took out a candy wrapped in golden paper. After handing one to Jeong-yoon, she extended another one towards Mi-hee. It seemed like a gesture to sweeten the mood after eating something sweet.
However, Mi-hee couldn’t see the candy because she was looking somewhere else and grumbling. Jeong-yoon took it for her, peeled it, and handed it to Mi-hee.
Mi-hee bit the upper part of the candy that was unexpectedly pushed towards her. Jeong-yoon smiled meaningfully, as if to relieve the tension.
“I washed my hands at the tap, so it’s clean. Eat it.”
Jeong-yoon’s brown eyes shone bright red under the sunlight. Mi-hee stared at Jeong-yoon’s face and ate the candy with an expression that said she couldn’t stop him.
“I gave it to you to ease your mind .”
“Don’t get angry. I’m sorry.”
Jeong-yoon said as he carefully folded the candy wrapper. He had to organize the trash properly. Mi-hee smiled slightly and ate the candy, while Min-soo said in a hushed tone while shoulder-to-shoulder, “Hey, is it a masterpiece? Are you crazy?” and proudly boasted that the candy’s fragrance tasted delicious because it was expensive.
It was then.
“Oh, it’s cold!”
Jeong-yoon flinched while sitting. It was because of the cold water droplets that suddenly splashed on his back. Wondering what was going on, he saw Chae-heon as he turned around, who had been sitting behind, bowing down. It seemed like he had poured a bottle of water directly onto his head.
Water droplets falling down through the hair tapped on the grass. Some droplets, flowing along the neck, rolled down and seeped out slightly below the collarbone where the T-shirt revealed. For some reason, it looked strangely captivating, and Jeong-yoon’s gaze involuntarily became absent-minded.
After a while, Chae-heon breathed out a deep sigh. It was only then that Jeong-yoon regained his senses.
“Kang Chae-heon. Is it hot? Want to use this?”
Jeong-yoon handed a mini fan to Chae-heon. However, Chae-heon didn’t respond. He just sat there, with his wet hair combed back slowly, staring silently at Jeong-yoon. His distinctively dark-colored eyes were shining intensely. Although his face was usually expressionless, today it seemed even more so. It felt somehow eerie.
Soon Chae-heon stood up. Then, without saying anything, he started walking towards the student center.
‘Is he going to wash up? We have tug-of-war later.’
Jeong-yoon slightly tilted his head, remembering the shower room in the school building. He absentmindedly watched Chae-heon’s retreating figure. His back looked oddly bothering.
How long had he been watching? When he turned his head at the lively noises coming from the front, the first-year class president was sharing snacks. It was orange juice and sandwiches.
“It’s from Senior Kang Chae-heon. Say thank you and eat!”
The class president shouted. However, Chae-heon had already disappeared somewhere. Jeong-yoon looked at the sandwich in front of him.
‘I ate this during the high school sports festival, and now even in college. Come to think of it, I had this in my first year too.’
Jeong-yoon smiled as he unwrapped the sandwich. Egg sandwich. It was his favorite.
A few years ago, during his second year of high school.
The classroom was immersed in a noisy discussion. The topic of discussion was not that heavy. It was about ‘what snacks to choose for the sports festival.’ The one buying the snacks was Kang Chae-heon, the class president.
“So, what do you guys want to eat?”
Chae-heon, standing in front of the podium, asked with a cheerful voice. Opinions broke out from all corners of the classroom.
“I want a hamburger!”
“Not a hamburger, I want a sandwich!”
“If you’re going to eat a sandwich, let’s get a Ruth sandwich! By the way, the brownies there were delicious too!”
Jeong-yoon, who was watching the commotion blankly, poked his partner who shouted that the brownies were delicious.
“You shameless guy. What brownies? Keep it down.”
Even though he was the class president, they were all so lively. They even demanded brownies. It felt like, “Are these the kinds of rascals I’m dealing with?” The partner who shouted about the brownies replied while Jeong-yoon poked him.
“Why? We should say this when the class president is treating us.”
“He treats us all the time. Always freeloads.”
Jeong-yoon clicked his tongue. The class president continued to watch the students’ uproar with a friendly smile in front of the podium. He seemed to be waiting patiently until the opinions were roughly gathered.
Kang Chae-heon. No matter how much he was the class president, he was still a student, and he always opened his wallet easily. TAt first, the kids who were grateful eventually took his generosity for granted, saying, ‘Chae-heon has a lot of money.’ Jeong-yoon didn’t really like that.
“This isn’t something he should have done in the first place. They’re making a big deal out of it.”
As he mumbled while resting his chin, Jeong-yoon’s partner tapped his shoulder again.
“Then don’t eat it.”
“Why? If someone buys it for me, I’ll graciously say thank you and eat it.”
“Then why the fuss? Is someone here Mr. Ethics all by himself?”
“Yeah. I got full marks for ethics. But what score are you?”
Jeong-yoon grinned. His partner expressed his annoyance and hit his shoulder once more. Even after exchanging such jokes, he still didn’t feel good. No ordinary pushover. He wondered if Kang Chae-heon, the self-assured and strong-willed man, was having a nice day. Jeong-yoon kept thinking from Chae-heon’s perspective. It may be because he likes Chae-heon.
Jeong-yoon muttered to himself.
“You should at least have a conscience. I feel sorry for Kang Chae-heon.”
It was then. Chae-heon, who was writing something down at the podium, looked up. Jeong-yoon, who was resting his chin on his hand, and Chae-heon, who was standing in front of the podium, exchanged a quiet gaze.
Jeong-yoon wondered if he had heard him. Jeong-yoon turned his gaze with an embarrassed expression.
But fortunately, it didn’t seem like he heard it. Chae-heon quickly looked away and knocked on the podium. It
“Pay attention here.”
Chae-heon’s voice wasn’t that loud. However, as soon as he finished speaking, all of the kids who had been speaking loudly shut their mouths and stared at the podium. They seemed to be more focused than during class.
Jeong-yoon tilted his head and pouted. Chae-heon has always been able to easily draw people’s attention to himself. The guys who were giggling and throwing eraser pieces during his presentation class didn’t even make a noise when Chae-heon spoke. Jeong-yoon wondered if it was because he’d always been the class president or if it was in his blood.
Chae-heon crossed his arms and smiled mischievously with an arrogant face.
“Let’s go with sandwiches for this sports festival snack. Including drinks, and brownies. I’ll also bring ice cream, and we’ll go for cones. I won’t accept any other opinions.”
As soon as he finished speaking, the students clapped and cheered. Jeong-yoon scratched his desk with a disgruntled expression. Brownies, drinks, and ice cream. They were all things he liked, but for some reason, it felt uncomfortable. He couldn’t figure out the reason.