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What was the common standard for ‘anything’ that people in their 20s would say?
Eungyo was not quick to agree. Rather than being a whiny child, Lee Jaehyun was clearly an adult.
“Your personality…is it always like this?”
“What is my personality like?”
“Well… It’s not quite the personality I had in mind.”
Lee Jaehyun was a person who enjoyed discreetly revealing his twisted emotions. Or has that never been noticed by anyone? If she is not mistaken, Lee Jaehyun was enjoying the awkward emotions she was feeling at that moment.
As a result, she declined to conform to his pattern.
“I figured you had already noticed.”
“I was going to be kind and gentle to you. But…”
With a mischievous smile, he drawled out his words, casting a condescending gaze upon her, and then burst into laughter.
“You know. What kind of person am I?”
Her forehead wrinkled deeply as she tried to understand what he meant. Her worry didn’t last long. In short, she guessed it meant that he would not wear a mask as a good person in front of her.
He maintained eye contact and smiled in such an adorable manner that it became slightly bothersome.
The man knew that the face behind the mask had been revealed. He seemed to know the reason behind their repeated eye contact at the tavern.
It was unpleasant. His inward appearance was it.
Eungyo looked up into his downcast eyes and responded with a smileless face.
“I should have thought about it more. I don’t need a notebook after all… I’m sorry; I guess you’re busy. Okay, I’ll leave.”
The man’s lips curled into a slight smile at her lightning-quick change of stance.
“Isn’t it too quick to give up?”
Blocked, turned her head and looked at Lee Jaehyun.
“I don’t enjoy puns, arguments, or useless wars of nerves. That thing is not important to me.”
Lee Jaehyun’s eyes narrowed in response to Eungyo’s sarcastic reply that she was different from him, and his slightly parted lips revealed a new red tongue and then disappeared.
“Are you angry?”
“Do I look angry?”
“Hmm, then are you annoyed?”
As she bowed her head in greeting and advanced with a brisk stride, her wrist was suddenly grabbed.
“I was wrong. I’m sorry, sunbae.”
Lee Jaehyun quickly offered his apologies, deftly controlling his facial expressions.
She was shocked. Did he know that offering a baseless apology is even more ridiculous?
“I am not offended, so there is no need for you to apologise. And also… do you really have to call me senior?”
“Then, shall I call you noona?”
“… Are you kidding me?”
Her breath involuntarily caught in her throat as her name was called in a low, clear tone. In a split second, her heart sank.
Lee Jaehyun’s lips were captured at the end by the blank gaze of Eungyo.
She could see why she thought it was a voice she had heard somewhere and why Lee Jaehyun’s voice felt strange.
The way he spoke sounded familiar.
It was a voice that resembled that bastard who made her feel miserable.
“As expected, I can’t call you by name. Can’t I just call you ‘sunbae’?”
Lee Jaehyun approached her with a bright smile as if he had never said that before. Eungyo nodded her head quickly.
“Do whatever you want. I think it’s better for you to call me senior rather than using my name.”
Lee Jaehyun grinned at her seemingly embarrassed acceptance.
“I’ll bring you the notes. So don’t be angry, sunbae.”
“Thank you. Then… Please.”
Her wrist was finally released. While she was in confusion, with one arm wrapped around her, she heard the cacophony of voices echoing down the stairs.
“I guess the moving process is complete, Jaehyun. You don’t have any luggage left?”
“Yeah. Hey, Lee Jaehyun! Let’s eat jajangmyeon!”
“I guess your friends are here.”
“Then I’ll get going. My note, please.”
The door burst open as soon as she finished speaking. Approximately six people were pouring in.
People who entered the studio with flushed expressions found Eungyo and then looked embarrassed and confused.
Eungyo hurriedly left the studio, avoiding making eye contact with anyone. A voice, tinged with unease, emerged from behind her, saying goodbye.
At first glance, they were friends who were of the same age as Lee Jaehyun. As she climbed the stairs and glanced back, she caught sight of him warmly welcoming his friends as the glass door closed behind her.
There was a young man in his mid-20s whom she hesitated to approach.
In a fleeting moment, Eungyo pondered her impetuousness, caught between the allure of Lee Jaehyun and Lee Dohyun’s voices, questioning her choices.
“But… That’s a relief.”
Finding her notes, relief flooded her heart, and she was welcomed by her reflection as she approached the entrance of the building.
Her face flushed a deep shade of crimson, reaching up to her ears. Inside, there was a woman whose lips were unusually swollen, appearing red as if she had just been kissed.
“I think we need to find a part-timer.”
In the end, Eungyo, who had skipped lunch and was running out of time, proposed a suggestion. Haeda lowered the sign and nodded, seemingly in agreement.
“I can’t do it anymore because I don’t have enough stamina. During the college vacation season, there is likely a high demand among students for part-time employment opportunities. I will find out.”
The two left the cafe with unusually tired expressions. Kim Haeda’s car, which usually would have been parked in front of the cafe, was not visible. As she looked around, Kim Haeda pushed her shoulder into the building.
“My sister is coming. Hurry up and go in.”
“Oh, is she coming? All right. Get home safely.”
“Uh, catch you later.”
She put her hands in her pockets, took out her phone, looked at the screen, and positioned herself on the side of the road.
Eungyo glanced briefly into the serene and softly illuminated basement before making her way up the stairs. The arrival of his friends was met with an unsettling silence as if the atmosphere had been drained of all liveliness.
She guessed that he would bring the note to her tomorrow. As night fell, her mind found an unexpected tranquilly, unlike before.
Eungyo, who had returned home, reclined on the sofa with only the soft glow of indirect light illuminating the room. She checked the email that she had seen earlier in the day.
The chief editor’s comments, although her pride was painful, were not without merit.
She indeed attempted to take the easy way out by hopping on the trend. Under the pressure of obligation, she hastily scribbled a lengthy piece of writing.
After reclining for a while, she stood up and clutched her growling stomach. It’s worth noting that she only had two strawberries and a cup of coffee for her entire day’s meals.
Her focus wavered as late hunger surged through her. Eungyo perused the delivery app before slipping into the bathroom.
Savouring a satisfying meal and indulging in a tepid shower, she felt like the happiest person in the world.
Without even bothering to dry her hair, she flopped onto the bed and switched on the fan.
Every time a gentle breeze blew, her hair dried little by little.
‘Should I just sleep…’
Perhaps due to her drowsiness, her appetite waned, and she began to feel drowsy.
She was roused from her slumber by the sound of the doorbell chiming at the front door. After hearing the doorbell ring, she promptly opened the door half a minute later.
As soon as Eungyo opened the door, she was startled by the sneakers of the man, whom she had mistaken for the delivery man.
“Isn’t it a bit dangerous to have it delivered at this time?”
Lee Jaehyun stood in front of the door, clutching a bag of the delicious food she had ordered.
“Oh, uh… do you have a part-time delivery job?”
He laughed at the unexpected question and suddenly held out a bag of food.
“No. We met in front of the stairs. I thought it was urgent, so I brought your notebook. I tried to meet the deadline, but I failed.”
Unlike during the day, Lee Jaehyun was dressed in a black short-sleeve shirt and training trousers. With his towering height and being dressed in black, he looked like he had spent the night driving.
Eungyo took the envelope and felt her mouth go dry as she looked at the note in her hand.
His eyes met hers, and he looked her up and down, this time holding out her notebook.
“This is it, right?”
A smiley face was sketched on the cover of a familiar note. Eungyo’s lips curved into a smile.
“Yes… Thank you. You can give it to me tomorrow.”
“Did I come here for no reason?”
“No! I’m sorry. If it’s okay, would you like to come in? We can eat this together.”
It was a polite thing to say. First of all, there was a lot of food, and she was thankful for his thoughtfulness in returning to deliver a note to her.
With a kind face, she somehow believed that he would decline. She believed that he would respond with a smile and reassure her, just as he had done with others.
“There’s wine in the car. I’ll bring it, sunbae.”
He didn’t reject it.
With a grin on his face, he made his way down the stairs, taking slow and heavy steps. Eungyo gazed at the stairs he had descended, wearing a perplexed expression.
Afterwards, she let out a hearty laugh, gently wiped the corners of her mouth, and entered the house.
Instead, she left the door wide open, took out the food, and placed it on the table in front of the sofa. She felt strange. It felt unfamiliar and somewhat absurd.
Has anyone ever visited her house? Kim Haeda was reluctant to enter her house unless there was a serious reason.
But the person who was like the first customer was Lee Jaehyun. Moreover, the man’s intention to drink wine at this time was so clear that she laughed out loud.
Eungyo gently used her front teeth to scratch the lip that she had pressed with her fingernail.
Lee Jaehyun… She didn’t think he was the type of person to conceal his desires. Perhaps he doesn’t feel the need to conceal it anymore now that he knows about her.
Interestingly, her feelings of embarrassment during the day became more apparent at night.
Eungyo knew the meaning of the sweat that wet his hands when she first saw him. She stubbornly refused to admit that his actions were driven by self-interest.
“I have brought two bottles. Is it okay?”
As she heard Lee Jaehyun’s voice from the front door, she lifted her upper body, and he walked inside, closing the door behind him. While she was thinking, she deftly concealed her emotions.
“If you drink wine, what about driving?”
“I can sleep in the studio.”
“Ah… isn’t it a little disorganised?”
“It’ll be all right.”
He set aside the wine he had brought and carefully surveyed his surroundings.
The house was filled with cute things everywhere, and most of the furniture was all in one piece. No special emotions came to mind as he looked at the studio-style interior, which had an island structure without a dining table, and the living room and bedroom were divided by a partition.
As he surveyed the room, Eungyo grabbed an opener and a glass, and then settled down in front of the sofa. Why did it take him so long to realise what she was doing?
During such moments, she felt the need to maintain a composed and collected demeanour so it wouldn’t be awkward. After turning on the TV, she gestured towards the seat next to her instead of the one across from her and nodded.
“Come quickly. Have you ever tried drinking this?”
“No. Someone gave it to me.”
“Ah…I like this.”
Lee Jaehyun nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders, as if it were a mere coincidence, before taking a seat beside her. He gently touched her arm, causing their collars to brush against each other. She discreetly brought her knees together, trying to conceal her nervousness.
Pizza and oil pasta. The salad, filled with cheese, was too heavy for a light meal. Without Lee Jaehyun, she would have had to go without late-night snacks for at least three days.
Lee Jaehyun, with a fork in his mouth, absentmindedly ran his hand through his wet hair as he casually fiddled with the remote control.
“I think it’s too wet. Are you okay, sunbae?”