Anyhow, I would like to give a warm welcome to Kuro Cavk, our newest editor to join us. His work was exceptional here, and I would like to thank him for both his speed and skills.
Editor: Kuro Cavk
I left the house early without seeing Yeon-hee’s face.
There was nobody in the classroom when I arrived at school. I took out the organized notes from my bag and started studying by myself.
Aside from greeting Sega briefly when he entered the classroom, I kept studying without talking to anybody.
I was used to it since this was my everyday life.
“Yu Yuyu. …Hmm, is she absent?”
Then during the homeroom period, the morning roll call caused a small stir.
Yuyu’s unexpected absence made everybody turn their eyes towards me. However, I ignored them and continued reading my notes.
“I’m sure everybody knows, but we're holding a National United Achievement Test today. Don’t let your guard down just because it’s a mock test. Think of it as the real deal and get your head on straight.”
After giving his advice, the homeroom teacher encouraged the class to attain good marks while pointing towards me again.
However, it would be difficult to get a good grade this time. I had forgotten about three months of studies, which was quite the amount.
Of course, I have been studying, so it wasn’t like my grade was going to drop sharply all of a sudden. But, since I have studied three months lesser than other high schoolers in the country, my ranking will go down a fair bit. A result significantly short of the first place in the country that the homeroom teacher wants was certain.
There was no way around it. I’ll make it up by increasing the amount of studying from now on. For today, I will do all that I can with my current skills.
And so, the mock test began.
The tense mood unique to the day of mock tests filled the classroom to the brim. Feeling at ease in that mood. I put my writing implements on the desk.
“It seems there’s an absentee.”
The first period was linguistics. The teacher in charge came in and commented on the empty seat.
But as if it was nothing, the teacher started preparing the test. The test sheets were distributed to the students, and a moment later the announcement notifying the commencement of the test was heard from the speakers.
The listening test broadcast would have begun right away in the past; however, due to its scheduled removal from the national university entrance test, we now start with solving paper questions first.
Beginning with question number one, they’re questions assessing one’s writing ability. Even if you had not studied comprehensively, it was perfectly possible to solve them with a grasp on their context and logical thinking.
However, grammatical questions weren’t so easy. There were parts that I felt like I had studied before, but couldn’t remember clearly. I probably had thoroughly memorized them in the last three months, but I was unable to solve them due to my memory loss.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t in my character to leave it unsolved and move on to the next question. In the end, after contemplating for a good while between the likely answers number two and four, I checked number two as the temporary answer and went on to the next question.
Read the following and answer the question. Literary questions started appearing.
‘This text, I’ve seen it somewhere before…’
I remembered immediately. It was from the mock test preparation printouts that Yuyu had lent me two days ago.
Given how the question did not show up too often, I was surprised to see it appear on the test just like this. The academy has a considerably high accuracy rate.
But I had no time to spare on random thoughts. I lowered my head and resumed solving the questions.
However, I felt oddly at ease.
Maybe because it’s a test, I could concentrate really well. It has been too long since I’ve solved problems with the right focus like this.
When I thought about it, there wasn’t a single time where I was able to study properly in peace since Saturday. My amnesia had also been constantly on my mind, but my life was too disarrayed. Since I had no way of knowing when and what would happen, I wasn’t able to keep my mind at ease.
‘Yu Yuyu, Han Ka-ryeon, and Yeon-hee…’
Because of their pestering all this time, I had wasted too much time. But that is all over now.
Yuyu won’t be bothering me any more now. The same goes for Ka-ryeon. It’d probably be best to quit my part-time job.
Things will be awkward with Yeon-hee for a while, but it should go back to the way they were over time.
Then everything will be back to normal. I’ll be able to study in silence. Continue attending school and study, do well on the national university entrance test, get into a university where I can receive an all-expenses paid scholarship, work more part-time jobs while studying in university so I can keep getting scholarship, send Yeon-hee to a good university, and then…
Live in peace and quiet without getting involved excessively with other people.
I raised my head up a bit and glanced at the seat where Yuyu should have been sitting.
There was nothing on the ownerless desk. Looking at the sight, I thought about Yuyu.
That was what I thought.
She was a girl who cared greatly about marks and ranks, and yet she was playing truant on the day of the national university entrance test. Has she lost her mind?
Perhaps she hasn’t sorted herself out yet after yesterday’s event. Nonetheless, isn’t being absent like this contradictory? Her objective should be to bring down my grades and steal the first place in the school. It’s not a competition if she doesn’t even show up.
And if she wants to surpass me and place first in the school, the best opportunity is now where I’ve forgotten about three months of studying. Yet why in the world did she skip out today. I couldn’t understand.
‘I just can’t underst—’
There was just one more thing I couldn’t understand.
All this time, Yuyu had followed me around. She came to see me in the mornings, and we ate our meals together during lunches. She was so anxious about my activities that she had even come to my part-time job to spy on me.
Doesn’t this mean Yuyu was unable to properly study as well?
One more thing.
This time Yuyu had discovered that there were also two more girls who were actively approaching me.
If her goal was to bring down my grades by distracting me with romance, then there was no real need for Yuyu to take action in this situation. All she had to do was to take a step back and let Ka-ryeon or Yeon-hee to push me around. There was no need for her to personally take action and sacrifice her study time.
But Yuyu had continued to approach me. Not only that, she had even tried to keep Ka-ryeon and Yeon-hee in check, going so far as to put aside her studies.
“What is up with him?”
Some of the students who were doing the test looked this way from my blurting. The teacher in charge also turned his attention to me.
But I couldn’t care less about their stares.
Yuyu wouldn’t have gone about it this way if her goal was to bring down my grades and steal the first place in the school.
Then why did Yuyu do those things? Just why?
For what reason did she try to be my ‘real girlfriend’?
This raises second doubts about Han Ka-ryeon and Yeon-hee.
‘Yuyu, Ka-ryeon, Yeon-hee…!’
Did Yuyu lie to me in order to bring down my grades and steal the first place in the school?
Did Ka-ryeon lie to me in order to get someone who’ll support her for her whole life?
Did Yeon-hee lie to me in order to cross the line with her brother that might be blood-related to her?
Why did these three girls lie to me?
Where is the solution to this problem?
Kicking the desk, I got up from my seat.
The loud noise drew attention from more people than the previous time. No, almost everyone inside the classroom was looking at me.
With an expression of surprise on his face, the teacher in charge asked me.
I looked straight into his eyes and told him:
“Something urgent came up so I will be leaving early.”
Probably he’s one of the teachers who remember my face.
“Y-You’re Ahn Kyeong-hyun, right? What do you mean you’re leaving early because something urgent came up?”
“Then make it for a medical reason, please. I will inform my homeroom teacher later.”
In front of the teacher who had his mouth agape, I swiftly packed my bag. As I waltzed out of the classroom, all the students looked on with dumbfounded expressions. Sega stood out amongst them, greeting me with his hand in the air, but I had no time to respond to his encouragement.
“Hey, hey, where are you going…?!”
Ignoring the teacher’s voice calling me from behind, I walked down the hallway in strides. He won’t be able to leave the other students and chase me right away.
I have to confirm them, without a moment’s delay, what their true intentions are.
I’ll miss the test, but that doesn’t matter. What’s important right now is not that.
Because even if there’s a question I’m not sure of, I don’t skip to the next question— I’m the type of person who just has to find the answer ASAP.
“…Now that I think about it, I don’t even know Yuyu’s cellphone number.”
After leaving the school without hesitation, I encountered my first problem.
“But I have my ways.”
Right away, I walked to a nearby pay phone. I took out the notebook from my bag and opened it to the page where I had written down the contact information.
“Hello, this is Café S—”
“Manageress, it’s me.”
The place I called was Café Saint.
“Kyeong-hyun…? Shouldn’t you be at school right now?”
“Please tell me Ka-ryeon’s cell phone number.”
“Wh-What?!” The Manageress, whose voice had been drowsy, sounded surprised. “Hey, hey! Why are you trying to get my sister’s number?! Are you interested in Ka-ryeon? W-Why you…”
“It’s an important matter.”
When I responded with a serious tone, the Manageress became quiet.
“...Wh-What? What’s with the seriousness…? I-Is it really an important matter?”
“I-If you’re seriously interested in Ka-ryeon for real… If it’s a serious relationship and not a fling, then as her older sister…”
“Manageress, her cellphone number.”
I jot down the number from the Manageress in the notebook. The Manageress said “Y-You two can’t have sex yet! If you really want to do it, make sure to use contracep—!” at the end, but I didn’t reply and hung up.
I called Ka-ryeon immediately afterwards. Hearing the dial tone, I realized that she was also in the middle of the linguistics portion of her test, but the call connected shortly after.
“You guessed right.”
Somehow, Ka-ryeon had sensed the call was from me even before I spoke. Her intuition was something else.
“Sorry, but can you tell me Yuyu’s cellphone number?”
“…Why do you think that I would know Miss Yuyu’s cellphone number?”
“You came to my house with Yuyu on Saturday as well, and after that you had lent my house key to Yuyu after hearing her story. There’s a possibility you had used your cellphone to contact her.”
Ka-ryeon let out of a sigh.
“…I will tell you her number.”
Was she searching through her cellphone directory? After a momentary silence, Ka-ryeon told me Yuyu’s number.
“Sunbae, what do you plan on doing?”
“I’ll have a talk with you soon, too.”
With those last words, I ended my call with Ka-ryeon. Although I was searching for Yuyu’s whereabouts right now, I wasn’t going to delay settling the issue with Ka-ryeon.
…But how did she answer her cell phone during the test?
I phoned the number that I’ve obtained. I don’t know if she’ll answer it or not, but I had to call her.
However, the call quickly went through.
I stopped myself from calling Yuyu’s name right away. The voice didn’t belong to Yuyu.
“Hello? Did you call Yuyu’s cell phone?”
The voice was that of an old lady.
…Is it her mom?
“…May I ask whom I’m speaking to?”
I asked while trying to sound as mature as possible.
“Ah, my daughter went to school with her cell phone at home today… By the way, may I ask who this is?”
After making something random up, I hung up the phone.
Right now, Yuyu wasn’t at home. And her mom said she went to school.
“…Time to find her.”
It’d be hopeless if she went somewhere far; however, considering the kind of girl Yuyu was, she wouldn’t have wandered far. Her prep school was around here as well, and she didn’t seem to be the kind of person who had a wide range of movement.
It was already past ten o’clock. The mathematical portion of the test was going to start soon.
Even though an earnest desire to immediately return to school and solve the latest questions was stirring inside me, I started walking in the opposite direction of the school.
I’ll find Yuyu and uncover her true intentions. Even to my own surprise, the desire to do so was far stronger.
But no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find a trace of her. I searched the library intensively, thinking I’d go there if it were me, but to no avail. I searched everywhere else but there was no sign of her.
I thought she’d be in this neighbourhood that was divided from other areas by a creek and a national highway. Perhaps my thinking was wrong.
Realizing that it was lunchtime even before I knew it when I saw the clock inside a store as I passed by it, I became hungry. Come to think of it, I haven’t had any breakfast this morning.
But still, I was reluctant to get something to eat with the present situation at hand. Just as I was thinking about the matter, I heard a voice besides me.
I turned my head to see Ka-ryeon standing next to me in her school uniform.
“Why are you…”
My eyes widened at the sight of her. Then my eyes opened even wider when I saw the girl standing behind her.
Standing there was Yeon-hee clad also in her school uniform. She was staring me with a stern look.
“Why are you girls here…? You first-years also have an test today.”
Sweeping her hair up, Ka-ryeon replied to my question:
“I didn’t want to write the test, so I’m playing truant for today.”
Is this girl also skipping school like Yuyu is doing?!
“Hey, you shouldn’t be doing that.”
“Oh my, but I’m a delinquent. I don’t normally study at all.” Said Ka-ryeon, while smiling with an innocent face. “You’ve lost consciousness before after seeing my midterm test report card. Apparently you have a constitution where you faint upon seeing terrible marks, Sunbae.”
“You ravished me throughout the night that day, saying ‘naughty girl who neglects her studies needs to be punished!’ I was scared, but it was a little exciting.”
Although I regard studying as being important, there’s no way I would’ve done such a thing… is what I’d like to believe.
…And here I thought I’d never have this sort of conversation with Ka-ryeon anymore.
“Yeon-hee… You didn’t go to school, either?”
Yeon-hee lowered her head with an expression of discomfort.
“Yuyu, and now you girls. Why are you all skipping the test?! Do you or do you not realize that you’re test-takers?!”
“Sunbae, take a look in a mirror.”
I was skipping, too… Though, technically, it wasn’t truancy in my case.
“Looks like we’re a group of four delinquents.”
“B-Be quiet. …But really, what are you two doing here?”
“I was just about to take a nap in a nearby park when I got your call, Sunbae.”
You really have a laidback life…
“But I figured it wasn’t the time to be napping after I got your call, so I called Miss Yeon-hee right away and met up with her. “
“Why would you call Yeon-hee? And how did you find out her number?”
“You’ve given me Miss Yeon-hee’s cellphone and home telephone numbers before to get in contact with you in case something happens. The reason why I contacted Yeon-hee was because…”
Ka-ryeon’s turned her eyes to Yeon-hee.
“I thought it was a bit unfair for only me to know about this situation.”
“And things have become urgent for me, as well.”
“Sunbae.” Said Ka-ryeon, without answering my question “This love rectangle had started with you and us three gathered together. And yesterday, it fell apart with you and us three gathered together.”
With a light smile, Ka-ryeon continued.
“Then don’t you think we all ought to gather together when settling this matter?”
Although I couldn’t comprehend them, her words felt oddly persuasive.
While eating a plate of rabokki for lunch after entering a nearby snack bar as per the girls’ wishes, I explained the current situation where Yuyu has gone missing.
“You couldn’t find her no matter where you searched…” Ka-ryeon, who was listening to the story while eating a roll of cheese kimbap, nodded her head, seemingly lost in thought. “There are only a few locations around here that a high school girl would likely go to. You’ve searched all of the possible places, and we’ve also went around everywhere searching for you but we didn’t see Miss Yuyu.”
Yeon-hee, who was eating a bowl of udon next to her, nodded her head.
“…So she’s gone to a different neighbourhood?”
“I don’t think that’s the case.”
“Why is that?”
“Call it a woman’s intuition.”
Ah… Is that so?
“Sunbae, women will never run away to place where truly nobody can find them in these situations.”
“Is that so?”
Seeing how Yeon-hee is nodding her head in agreement, I guess it’s true.
“Does any place come to mind, Sunbae?”
“I’ve pretty much searched everywhere.”
“A place of memories that only you and Miss Yuyu know of… Don’t you have a spot like that?”
“There’s no way such a place would exist… The only places we had met outside of school were the hospital, our home, and Saint. If there’s a place that we went together within my lost memories…”
While muttering so in my head, a thought flashed across my mind.
“Does something come to mind?”
“No, it’s that…”
If I’m right…
“Ah… For heaven’s sake.”
I scratched my head hard.
The proverb “it’s always the darkest under the lighthouse” rang true.
Since we couldn’t go in right away, we had to wait for quite a while outside.
It was about 3 o’clock when we entered the school, after the start of the fourth period of the test. The hallways were devoid of students.
“…I knew it. Her shoes are inside the shoe rack.”
Having confirmed her presence by checking the shoe rack, we walked up the stairs together.
“This is exciting.”
“Exciting, my ass.”
Paying constant attention to see if anyone’s coming at the front, I grimaced at Ka-ryeon’s carefree comment.
I told Ka-ryeon and Yeon-hee to wait outside but they tagged along anyway, saying it’s too late for that now. It’ll become an issue if they find out that a student from another school snuck inside the school during the test…
“Are we there yet?”
“We’re almost there.”
Our destination was the local history study room on the top floor of the school.
To be precise, it was the Audiovisual Reference Prep Room inside the space.
“…This is the place.”
Having stepped inside the local history study room, we stopped in front of the iron door to the preparation room. I stood still with a variety of exhibits behind me.
“What do you plan on doing?”
“…Let me first check.”
I grabbed the doorknob, but the door didn’t budge. It was locked from the inside.
There was no answer; however, certain that Yuyu was inside, I called her again.
“Yuyu, you’re in there, right?”
There was still no answer.
“Why did you skip the test today? Not just any test, but the National United Achievement Test. A girl with good grades like you shouldn’t be skipping out on this.”
“…You have better grades than me. You’re the number one in the school.”
At last, a subdued voice was heard from the other side of the door.
It was definitely Yuyu's voice.
“First place or second place, there isn’t much difference.”
“Don’t lie to me.”
“Anyhow, though it’s impossible to do the test today since it’s already late, you should at least take the test paper with you. Also, we have to talk to our homeroom teacher about today’s unauthorized absence and get it sorted out. So let’s hurry and—”
“…Why are you saying that?” Said Yuyu in a dark voice. “Why did you come to see me?”
I hesitated for a moment. I didn’t know the right words to say.
In the end, I gave the easiest reply.
“Because we’re going to keep going to school together and keep seeing each other.”
“…I’m going to drop out of school.”
“Hold on, why of all a sudden—”
“Because I have no reason to be at school. Starting next week, I’m not going to come to school.” Yuyu’s subdued voice continued, “I have no friends anyway, and I even lied about you being my boyfriend. Even if I stay in school, nothing good will come of it.”
“S-Still, you should at least graduate from high school… And get your parents’ permis—”
“I’ll quit school and take the General Education Development tests. I can take the SAT test after studying at home while attending a cram school. My mom will give me permission if I tell her it’s because I want to focus on studying for the SAT test.”
“Yuyu, you should still…”
“But then you’re not going to have lunch with me anymore …!”
As I kept talking to her despite my confusion, what reached my ears was Yuyu’s woeful voice.
“I’m not your girlfriend, and I’ve even lied to you… There’s no way you would have lunch with me!”
“Is that… important?”
“It is important! To me, it is…”
Even without seeing her face, I had a feeling Yuyu was crying behind the iron door.
Alone, she was crying.
“Because the lunchtimes I was spending with you were the happiest times for me…! I was coming to school in order to see you…!”
Listening to Yuyu shouting at me, my eyes opened wide.
“I definitely confessed to you. I confessed, saying that I liked you and wanted to go out with you. That was last Friday.”
I swallowed my breath, realizing its significance. That was the day I had gotten into the car accident.
That day that I had thrown myself to save Yuyu, I had received a confession from her?
“Originally, I had planned on pulling a prank on you. But while confessing to you, I could no longer tell if I was really confessing to you to entrap you or if I was confessing to you for real.”
Yuyu continued to let it out in a heavy voice.
“But you turned me down. Of course you did. You’re Ahn Kyeong-hyun, who only knows studying and has no interest in girls. Even if a girl devoid of charm like me were to confess to you, you wouldn’t have gone out with me. I kept asking you out while not knowing if the words I was saying were from my heart or not, but you kept turning me down. …It would’ve been better you had outright told me that you had no intention of dating a girl like me. Then I would’ve been able to get angry for being ignored and hate you again. But you didn’t even do that for me. Gently, admonishingly… You told me that you weren’t worthy of dating another person as though you were sorry. That’s why it was even more painful.”
It was likely that it had been her first confession.
She had confessed while not knowing if her words were for real or not, and she was turned down.
I wondered what thoughts she had and what emotions she had felt at that moment.
“But what really pained me wasn’t your rejection. I was unbearably sad that I could no longer spend time with you and the thought that you wouldn’t have lunch with me from now on…” Yuyu said as she was close to tears. “That’s why I wanted to talk to you again. Seeing you leave early for your part-time job, I also left school in a rush and chased you. I was about to cross the road in a hurry after spotting you on the other end of the crosswalk. Having noticed me running up to you hurriedly while calling your name, your face changed color and you came running towards me. …I was happy deep down at that moment, since it was me who you came running after.”
…But that was to save Yuyu who was about to get struck by a car, and it was the incident that caused all this.
“And you got into a car accident. My head was about to burst— How was I going to apologize when you wake up? But I was surprised that you couldn’t remember anything. I was sad that you couldn’t remember our times together that were so precious to me, but then an idea came to my mind.`
“So that’s why… you did that.” I said with parched lips.
“Yes, I’d thought of becoming your girlfriend by exploiting this opportunity.” Yuyu continued in a self-deprecating voice. I was confident that I could be good to you. Treat you really kindly, make you happy and help you to make you glad that you have a girlfriend… I’d thought how nice it’d be if I could make up even a little for the inconvenience that I’d caused you. And that maybe even after your memories returned, how nice it’d be if you continued to treat me as your girlfriend…”
But Yuyu’s plan went awry from the beginning.
I looked at the girl of seemingly delicate constitution standing behind me, staring this way without an expression on her face.
“But I wasn’t the only one who wanted you. When Han Ka-ryeon, that girl who looks way prettier than me, said she was also going out with you… I felt betrayed. Why was he going out with another girl when he wouldn’t go out with me? At the same time, I felt the possessive desire to steal you and make you mine alone.”
And in such a situation, my sister had driven her further into the corner.
“And even your sister started claiming that she had an intimate relationship with her brother. My mind was in complete disarray. The thought of wanting to be good to you after becoming your girlfriend had vanished somewhere, and I was in constant fear of losing you to another girl and drifting apart from you completely. That’s why … I tried to create an unbreakable relationship while pretending to be your girlfriend.” Yuyu said in a feeble voice. “This is my real ‘truth’. I went out of control, unable to keep my emotions in check, and caused you trouble. It’s not something that can be forgiven.”
Then, Yuyu offered a word of apology.
“I’m sorry, Glasses. You lost your memories because of me, and you couldn’t study properly… I’m truly sorry. I’ll disappear from your sight from now on; I won’t pester you anymore, so…”
She began sobbing in a muffled manner inside the preparations room. The sound of her cry was so sorrowful that it pained my heart to listen to it.
No longer able to bear it, I opened my mouth.
“No, Yuyu, I…”
It was that moment.
I heard a stiff voice from behind my back.
What I saw when I turned around was Yeon-hee looking at me with a pale face.
“Oppa, are you going to go out with that girl?”
Yeon-hee had kept silent until now. However, the question she asked me was absolutely unexpected.
“What are you… talking about?”
“I, I don’t want that…!” Eyes glistening with tears, Yeon-hee shouted. “No! No! No…! I don’t ever want you to get a girlfriend!
“No, Yeon-hee! That’s not what we’re talking about—”
“You’re lying! You were just about to say kind words to that girl! If you say those things, that girl is going to like you even more!”
I swallowed my breath at her unexpected comment.
“In such a situation, can you just act like it didn’t happen? After making a girl fall head over heels in love with you, will you not take responsibility?!”
I was struck speechless. I should be denying what Yeon-hee was saying, but I was confused as to how to go about it.
While I was lost in confusion, Yeon-hee ran into my arms and cried out.
“No! No! Yeon-hee will become your girlfriend if you need one, I’ll quit being your sister and become your girlfriend, so don’t go out with anyone else…!”
Just like Wednesday night, Yeon-hee had completely lost her composure again.
“What’s wrong, Yeon-hee? This isn’t like you.”
“But, but…!” Hitting my chest with her fists, Yeon-hee cried out. “I may not be your real sister, so if you get a girlfriend, if you find a girl you like, if you find a girl that you want to spend your life with… I’ll end up alone…!”
Then, in a grief-stricken voice, she continued...
“I may not be related to you by blood and we maybe aren’t a family. You’re definitely going to leave me!”
“What are you saying? Even if we’re not blood-related, there’s no way I would—”
“Really? Even if we turn thirty, even if we turn forty, are you still going to live with me?!” Yelled Yeon-hee while looking up at me after she had stopped hitting my chest. “That’s impossible. We can’t live like that. You’re looking after me while we’re living together like this right now, but someday you’ll think that we should live independently. Then you’ll find your significant other and start a new family.”
Looking up at me with eyes filled with tears, Yeon-hee continued.
“If we’re a real family connected by blood, then we can keep being connected even if you start a new family. But if we’re not, if there’s nothing connecting us, then our relationship will be completely severed in the end.”
“No, Yeon-hee, there’s no—”
I desperately tried to deny it, but Yeon-hee wouldn’t listen.
“I’ve always been afraid ever since I realized that I may not be dad’s biological daughter after finding mom’s notebook. I was so scared that you might find out about the truth. It may be useless even if I were to hide it. Our mom who’d vanished might return, and a person claiming to be my real father might appear. If that were to happen, and you were to learn that I’m not your real sister, then I’d lose my place as your sister…”
“Yeon-hee, why… Why are you so fixated on me?”
I spoke in a trembling voice. Then, Yeon-hee replied heavy-heartedly.
“Mom ran away, and dad’s in his grave… The only person I could rely on in this world was you. You were my sole family, and you were my everything… I couldn’t stand being separated from you.”
That was why Yeon-hee couldn’t approve the existence of her brother’s girlfriend who appeared out of nowhere one day.
If Yuyu or Ka-ryeon is really her brother’s girlfriend, then she’d lose her brother. Furthermore, in her brother’s room was evidence of him having an intimate relationship with a girl.
So Yeon-hee lied about being a sister not related by blood and having already crossed the line long time ago. Then seducing me, she tried to create an unbreakable relationship… so that she may keep on being connected with me.
“So, oppa… I don’t want you to get a girlfriend. Yeon-hee will become your girlfriend if you need one; I’m fine with ceasing to be your sister and becoming your girlfriend…”
What should I say…? I didn’t know.
While my lips quivered shut, a serene voice reached my ears.
“Then may I speak now?”
Ka-ryeon, who’d been observing the situation in silence, took a step forward.
“Han Ka-ryeon, now’s not the—”
“No, I must say it now.”
Contrary to her seemingly delicate appearance, Ka-ryeon interrupted me with a forceful manner.
“I’m not your fiancée as you have pointed out, Sunbae. You had turned me down, like you did on Wednesday night. ‘Put on hold’ might be the more appropriate phrase to use, but a rejection is a rejection.”
“But nevertheless, I wanted to have you.” Ka-ryeon said in a definite voice, “So I lied about being your fiancée and seduced you, similar to Miss Yuyu and Miss Yeon-hee.”
Placing her hand on her chest, Ka-ryeon seemed as though she was in pain.
“Right now, I’ve listened to both of their stories. I know that they both have desperate circumstances. In comparison, my circumstances aren’t that desperate.”
Smiling gently, Ka-ryeon spoke. Her smile was truly beautiful and otherworldly.
“My desire to become your bride is true. I’ll never lose to anyone when it comes to this desire. I want you from the bottom my heart. So…” She continued in a heartfelt voice. “If you reject me, I’ll definitely be hurt. Like how the other two girls will be hurt, the same is true if you assume an ambiguous stance.”
After saying that, Ka-ryeon let out small sigh.
Only then I realized that her shoulders were slightly trembling, and that she was feeling nervous.
“Then, Sunbae… You’ve heard enough about us now, right?’
My mind recalled last Saturday where I’d listened to their stories at my home. These girls who had gathered at my place that day and had lied about their relationships with me were now telling the truth this time around.
Unlike yesterday where they pointed out each other’s contradictions at the café, they were laying the truth bare and were trying to determine their relationship with me.
“Then, please decide.”
“Decide? What do you—”
“That should be obvious.”
Yuyu behind the iron door, as well as Yeon-hee in front of my eyes, were waiting for my answer breathlessly.
“Please decide… who you’re going to choose among the three of us.”
Ka-ryeon’s voice ate into my heart.
If I choose Yuyu and make her change her mind, it’s inevitable that I become close to her. Then I’ll have to leave Yeon-hee one day, and I won’t be able to grant Ka-ryeon’s wish.
If I choose Ka-ryeon and start dating her on the premise of marriage, it’ll be difficult making Yuyu change her mind. Not to mention, I’ll drift apart from Yeon-hee.
If I choose Yeon-hee and decide to live with her now and forevermore, then I’ll have to turn the other two down here clearly, once again.
Having said that, it was impossible to choose none of them and ambiguously move on.
Then, what is it that I should do?
My quivering lips opened before the three girls awaiting my answer.
I wanted to say, “Give me some time to think”. I wanted to postpone it.
I’ve lived my life until now only studying while keeping complicated human relationships at a distance. I’ve never wanted to have an intimate relationship with another person. Yeon-hee was a family member I’ve lived with, and Sega was a lame excuse of a friend that I’ve never had a deep conversation with. Uncle Muhyeok was close to a stranger.
And now for some inexplicable reason, I was put in a situation where I have to choose one of the three girls. What’s worse, if choose one, I would hurt the other two.
There was no way I could properly solve this kind of problem.
It was at that moment.
“What are you kids doing here?”
Sternly stoic and heartlessly cold, it was a familiar voice.
Having stepped inside the local history study room, it was none other than my homeroom teacher, as well as my legal guardian, Kim Muhyeok, who had a fierce look on his face.