The atmosphere in the karaoke room turned chilly in an instant.
Normally, there was no intention to escalate things this roughly, but it was because of Ahn Hyeon-ho and the other boys constantly mumbling, looking for a moment to intervene in this.
And because senior Han-kang in front had somehow provocatively stirred something within.
Holding my phone, the senior fell into deep thought. The moment he checks it, there is no turning back.
Crossing the line to confirm beyond this point meant having to see this through the end.
Senior Han-kang met my gaze.
The smile had vanished from his lips and he looked at me expressionlessly, as if trying to read my mind.
Whether I was being baselessly bold or truly had nothing to fear.
Urging him on like that, senior Han-kang eventually let out a light chuckle and then lightly patted me on the shoulder.
“Eh, I was joking. A joke. Let us not do strange things and spoil the mood.”
Did he choose to back down?
Well, I knew he would, of course, if he really went through with it here, he would have a lot to lose. And he wouldn’t like being humiliated in front of Seo Yerin.
“Right, Woojin. What’s with cursing a senior?”
“Haha! No way, senior, what are you? Sherlock? How did you catch that? Your observation is amazing!”
Other students were reacting from behind like the audience at a broadcast station.
It felt as if the moment just passed as if it could be lightly overlooked and I turned slightly to the side.
Choi Yiseo tried to mediate by grabbing and firmly pulling on my sleeve, telling me to tolerate it and Seo Yerin just bowed her head, her expression invisible.
But, her shoulders were visibly trembling.
What is it?
It was somewhat…
Unpleasant to see that.
I had no feelings for Seo Yerin.
But I did have some feelings for Anonymous69. The one who caused the most trouble, spammed, and spread odd photos.
One could say that she is a troll deserving to be ignored. But who doesn’t have a story if they are human?
Now I somewhat sympathize with how Seo Yerin, a girl that’s loved by all, turned into Anonymous69, and why she had no choice but to be pushed to such a corner.
And because of that.
I brushed off senior Han-kang’s hand on my shoulder and said,
“I get that you’re trying to hit on a pretty girl but don’t cause trouble for others.”
“…Woojin, you’re crossing the line here.”
Senior Han-kang’s expression stiffened. Smiling, he was trying to contain the situation and step back, but I forcibly cornered him.
“Is she your girlfriend? Are you dating? If not, what’s with this jealousy? Frankly, what would you do if I called her out separately?”
“Does our Woojin have some special feelings for Yerin? You’re really putting in the effort, huh?”
“Do not change the subject here you fucker, unless you want me to rip your mouth open.”
“Special feelings my ass. It isn’t like I have even talked to her as much. It’s all because you look pathetic. Like a dog trying to get laid, wagging its tail and jerking off.”
“Haa, you don’t understand our relationship…”
“I don’t care. So what?”
I took a deep breath.
If there was a cigarette, I would have wanted to smoke it, the thought of hitting him was so strong in my mind.
Well, he’s a non-smoker, after all.
“Using your senior position to summon juniors and then act all high and mighty. Planning to ply them with drink until they blackout from all the drinking and then take them over to a motel?”
What could be the words that represent Seo Yerin’s feelings without causing harm to her?
I choose my words carefully as if throwing shit in the right part of the river.
“As a man, how embarrassing it is to see, bastard.”
Shoving past him, I rushed out of the karaoke room.
It isn’t a great atmosphere, surely. Now that I’m gone, they will all start bad-mouthing me too.
Rumors will grow and people in the department will start to whisper.
But what does it matter?
‘It isn’t like I have friends anyway.’
Rumors only matter if you have people close to you.
Having no friends makes me invincible.
The karaoke room which Kim Woojin just left.
Voices carried over the mic, and the next one complained about the fight.
“Absurd. Look at how delusional he was being all by himself.”
“Bro, do you think I should have just grabbed that jerk?”
“Don’t let that get to you, senior Han-kang. That kid is a loner so he can’t read the room.”
Students were comforting him. But he couldn’t even smile.
‘Haa, I feel like shit.’
To be honest.
It was spot on.
He knew that Seo Yerin was kind to others, but somewhat timid around men.
That is why he would call her out like this once in a while, go with the flow and end up drinking together.
And when she got drunk, obviously he was planning to take her to a motel.
Considering she said she worked out, she must have been more tired. And he thought she would finally fall asleep quickly after a couple of drinks and he judged it as the right moment.
Kim Woojin’s eyes, which had seen through his, still lingered on his mind.
The desire, hidden within the smile, and excessive kindness was too cleanly exposed to a first year junior.
Such a shame.
For Han-kang, it had been a long while since he felt such shame.
“Haha, honestly, I’m feeling a bit dizzy.”
He took an awkward look at Seo Yerin, who was unable to form her usual smile properly.
She was staring blankly at the karaoke room door which Kim Woojin had just exited, and that somehow made him feel unpleasantly strange.
“Yerin, you know that he misunderstood right? I just wanted to be close to you and nothing more.”
‘At least she doesn’t mind.’
Seo Yerin was unable to fully understand the situation which happened. And he knew that if he pushed her more, something else would happen.
Kim Woojin’s eyes which had pierced through him didn’t leave his mind.
Especially when looking at Seo Yerin, it felt like the voice of someone who forcibly exposed the flaws to others echoed.
“Guys, I apologize but I will leave.”
Han-kang shook off the other students holding on to him and stepped out.
“The mood is totally ruined.”
“Kim Woojin, just because he’s involved in that one thing, what is this?”
“Haa, so ridiculous.”
It wasn’t a situation to be singing in anymore. In the end, as the atmosphere settled, everyone added a few words to curse Kim Woojin.
“Is it really Woojin’s fault?”
Choi Yiseo crossed her arms with a reluctant expression.
“Of course, Woojin’s words are harsh, but from what I saw, wasn’t the senior forcibly approaching Yerin? And wasn’t it senior that first pushed Woojin making him look weird?”
“ What’s with you, Yiseo?“
“Is our Yiseo drunk?”
The female students all clung to her, trying to stop her but she refused to back down.
“I didn’t even drink, so how on earth will I get drunk? And I am not wrong about this. It isn’t that Woojin did that, but it doesn’t seem like senior Han-kang is a victim in this either.”
“Yah, Choi Yiseo.”
Ahn Hyeon-ho glared at her with a cold look.
Kim Woojin’s words weren’t just for Han-kang. During his diatribe, Kim Woojin would turn to gaze at Ahn Hyeon-ho too.
As if he was speaking to them.
“Are you dating him or something? Why are you taking his side? Someone who cursed at a senior and ruined the mood completely.”
Choi Yiseo crossed her arms with a sigh. She couldn’t do it then in high school.
That mistake was still wrapped around Choi Yiseo’s ankles.
They will act differently now in college.
“It’s about seeing the situation clearly. Not just being swept away under the carpet, but to judge people.”
Choi Yiseo answered calmly, and brushed off the other friends and took hold of Seo Yerin’s hand.
Still only looking around wondering how she should react, Seo Yerin had no choice but to follow Choi Yiseo who led her out.
Having left the karaoke and receiving a send-off from Choi Yiseo, Seo Yerin flopped onto her bed as soon as she got home.
A lot had happened today.
She had to shower, but she didn’t feel like it.
She just wanted to lie down, fall asleep, and wish for this day to end.
But it was definitely a pleasant day though.
The lectures were easy to understand, she learned to workout from the PT, earned the title of Sex God in the Bamboo Forest and had fun conversations with the admin.
Ah, it was truly a good day.
But in the end, everything was ruined.
She still vividly remembered when Han-kang and Kim Woojin were fighting.
She didn’t want to see them mocking and swearing at each other in real life, even if it was common on the internet.
Her head was spinning.
What wrong did she do?
While thinking about it,
Her phone rang.
Could it be senior Han-kang? Or Yiseo who saw her off?
Or someone else from the department?
She didn’t know.
She didn’t want to check but her hand reached for the phone whose screen lit up the dark room.
A person completely unexpected contacted her.
Seo Yerin was writing a reply the moment she exclaimed.
-Anonymous69: ? What is it?
There was no reason for the admin to contact her directly, since they decided to forgive her for what she posted.
-Admin: What do you think about the Bamboo Forest?
Their tone seemed unusually gentle. Perhaps that is why, at some point, she wasn’t replying as Anonymous69 but as Seo Yerin.
-Anonymous69: It’s fun. You can do whatever you want without anyone knowing who you are.
-Admin: Right. Although some use that in a bad way, I too like that aspect.
-Anonymous69: Did something happen today?
Because, why all of a sudden?
Why was this guy sending her such a text, and that too in the 1:1?
But even so, Seo Yerin was engrossed in conversing with the admin.
In the dark room.
With the conversation on the phone as the sole source of light.
It came to her like a single ray of light in the dimness of the day.
-Admin: I complained a bit because being an admin is tough. You are the one I talk to the most in the 1:1, and the one who gave me the hardest time.
-Anonymous69: I’m sorry.
-Admin: But, you know. You are also my favourite user.
The phone accidentally slipped out of her hands. Her nose was numb upon touching but she hurriedly checked her phone again.
-Admin: Sometimes you cross the line, but you are one of the people who enjoy the community the most and it is a proud thing for me to say as the admin.
-Admin: I don’t know who you are.
-Anonymous69: I don’t know who you are either.
-Admin: Yes, that is true.
We could be friends.
That one sentence.
Why did it touch her heart?
Without even looking at the appearance, qualifications, or the personality of the girl named Seo Yerin.
Merely hiding behind anonymity.
Yet, it was genuine precisely because of that. It was a truly mysterious experience. And a touching moment.
It seemed like they were offering comfort, but at some point, she was the one being comforted.
-Admin: I’m sorry, I had a bit too much to drink and ended up getting emotional. I’ll be back to normal by tomorrow so don’t post any weird photos.
-Anonymous69: I’ll try.
-Admin: Good night.
With that, the talk with the admin came to an end. She wanted to wish them a good night too, but for some reason that was hard.
Tears welled up, and her vision blurred so she couldn’t see the keyboard.
After lightly wiping her eyes with her hand, Seo Yerin calmly closed her eyes.
The end of a not-so-good day.
Suddenly it felt like it turned for the better, while also bringing back a forgotten part.
“I should apologize.”
To Kim Woojin, who was misunderstood because of her.
‘I should also say thank you.’
Even though it was just pouring out her own emotions, she still wanted to express her gratitude.
She wanted to do that for Kim Woojin.
She wanted to do it right away; she felt strongly about it.
‘Check to see if I have Seo Yerin’s number or even a Kakaotalk message.’
She recalled Kim Woojin’s words.
She didn’t have Kim Woojin’s number nor had she put up a chat room with him in it.
She thought about adding him as a friend in the group chat right away. But she stopped herself.
Right, tomorrow, when she goes to class.
‘I’ll ask him for his number.’
She’ll try doing that.
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