“You think he’s telling the truth?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
The first one to break the silence was Choi Chang-Hyuk.
“No freaking way.” (Seon-Mi)
Choi Seon-Mi waved her hand around.
“Even if they work in the same place, Jeong Hae-Min is a superstar. Why would someone like that even want to come to a reunion like this?” (Seon-Mi)
“You think so?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“Besides, she probably doesn’t even have time for it. Just how busy is she, anyway? I heard that Jeong Hae-Min even spends her personal time to meet her schedule. Members of reasonably famous girl groups apparently collapse often from pushing themselves too hard and constantly going on tours, so are you telling me that a top trending megastar is willing to do something that won’t pay a single cent? No freaking way.” (Seon-Mi)
Choi Seon-Mi’s face was reddened slightly from all the excitement.
“And I still don’t get why she’s famous, to begin with.” (Seon-Mi)
“Everyone here knows, yet you don’t?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“It’s you lot who are weird, not me.” (Seon-Mi)
Choi Chang-Hyuk could only grin here. Sure, he had plenty of things to say, but saying something now and starting a verbal tussle with her was definitely not a smart thing to do.
“By the way….” (Jo Ji-Woong)
Jo Ji-Woong silently observing the proceedings until then finally opened his mouth.
“I did hear that Ji-Hyuk is friends with Jeong Hae-Min.” (Jo Ji-Woong)
“Uh?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Choi Chang-Hyuk’s brows rose up a little.
“They aren’t just work colleagues?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“I don’t have any concrete details on what happened, and everything I heard is all from the grapevine, but… I heard that Ji-Hyuk isn’t on good terms with Seo Ah-Young, but quite friendly with Jeong Hae-Min.” (Jo Ji-Woong)
“That doesn’t sound like something you’d hear from the grapevine, you know? That’s like the scoop on the inside story.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“To the people of the KSF, the NDF affiliated agents are like celebrities, you see. Just like how all of you are interested in scandals of celebs, the NDF matters are sources of gossip for us. So, we get to hear all sorts of stuff. I even know what colour Kim Dah-Hyun likes.” (Jo Ji-Woong)
Choi Seon-Mi ended up chuckling out.
“Hey, even I know that. It’s white, right?” (Seon-Mi)
“Eh? How do you know that?” (Jo Ji-Woong)
“Only a dummy wouldn’t know that.” (Seon-Mi)
Choi Seon-Mi clicked her tongue.
“And sure, it’s possible for her to show up. Fine. Not an issue. It’s not such a big deal, anyway. You’re all acting as if this is your first time seeing a celebrity.” (Seon-Mi)
Choi Seon-Mi’s words brought about a deep, deep sigh from Choi Chang-Hyuk.
“We have yet another without common sense here. Someone please go buy a pack of common sense.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“What’s the matter? Did I say something wrong?” (Seon-Mi)
“Of course you did. You are wrong by a country mile. You think we’re happy because Jeong Hae-Min’s supposed to show up here?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“You aren’t?” (Seon-Mi)
Choi Chang-Hyuk’s expression crumpled.
“Of course I am.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Seon-Mi started frowning heavily, prompting him to hurriedly wave his hands around.
“N-no, hang on a minute. That’s not right! No! That’s not the reason, I’m telling you, that’s wrong!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“Your power of persuasion is a bit….” (Seon-Mi)
“I’m serious, it’s not!! That was just a slip of tongue!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Choi Chang-Hyuk desperately defended himself until his face turned completely red. Who knew his true self would get revealed inadvertently like this?
“O-of course, I’m happy. I’m chuffed about the prospect, obviously! However!!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“Just stop. I don’t think I need to hear the rest.” (Seon-Mi)
“N-no, hang on a sec! The rest is where the important part is, so how can you cut me off like that!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“I think we heard everything that we need to hear from you already.” (Seon-Mi)
Instead of blabbing that out aloud, Choi Chang-Hyuk swallowed back his saliva as he sensed the icy-cold glares from the other females. If his next response came across as weird in any shape or form, then his image would instantly end up as an idol-obsessed nerd/freak for the rest of his life.
Jo Ji-Woong quickly came to Choi Chang-Hyuk’s aid.
“Don’t be like that. Isn’t it fine to like idols?” (Jo Ji-Woong)
Choi Chang-Hyuk’s brows shot up high when Jo Ji-Woong tried to provide fire support.
Indeed, liking idols in this day and age wasn’t to be faulted upon. As a matter of fact, there should be a few folks present today who could easily recite the names of every new idol making their waves in the scene off the top of the head. Sure, they currently weren’t saying anything that could potentially make them stand out, but they were definitely here.
However, openly making noises about such a topic did pose a problem. Especially when you were in an event like this one and womenfolk were glaring daggers in your direction and all.
Choi Chang-Hyuk’s survival instinct quickly went into overdrive.
“Of course!!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
His voice grew many decibels louder.
“The event of Jeong Hae-Min showing up today will no doubt be a wonderful occasion. Sure. It’ll be wonderful, alright. But!!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
He then pointed at Seon-Mi.
“What she said is right, you know?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
She looked utterly confused as she asked back.
“About what? Not needing to hear the rest?” (Seon-Mi)
“No, not that one!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Choi Chang-Hyuk desperately held onto his dangerously-wavering consciousness and continued on.
“This should be the busiest time in Jeong Hae-Min’s life. So busy that she can barely get a good night’s sleep, probably. Hyuk-Jae over here should be able to corroborate that, since he’s been an idol otaku from his high school days.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
The man named Hyuk-Jae nodded his head.
“During their most active period, most mid-to-top tier idols don’t even have guarantees on their sleeping hours. And if you’re talking about someone on the level of Jeong Hae-Min, then she must be seriously busy and stuff. She should be touring the whole country, unable to even catch a wink of rest.” (hyuk-Jae)
Choi Chang-Hyuk nodded his head.
“….Did you waste all of our time just to tell us something that is bleeding obvious??” (Seon-Mi)
“N-no, hang on. That’s not….” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Choi Chang-Hyuk hurriedly said something else in order not to get pushed back by Seon-Mi.
“Do you think it makes any sense for someone that busy to come to a measly little reunion like this one?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“Of course not. And that’s what I’ve been saying all along.” (Seon-Mi)
“That’s right. Right, so if she does come, then that means she’s really close to Ji-Hyuk, doesn’t it?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“If she can humour a request like that, their relationship is not to be scoffed at. Have you thought about the possibility of that?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Choi Seon-Mi spat out a grand sigh.
“You think people in this place are too dumb to even guess that?” (Seon-Mi)
“W-wait, is that how it is?” (Jo Ji-Woong)
Jo Ji-Woong muttered out softly in a confused voice.
Choi Chang-Hyuk quietly stared at Seon-Mi and spoke.
“There’s someone.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“….Yeah, sure thing. One person.” (Seon-Mi)
Yet another sigh accompanied her words.
“Anyone can guess that much. And that’s why I’m saying she won’t show up. Why would someone like Jeong Hae-Min get into such a relationship with Ji-Hyuk, anyway?” (Seon-Mi)
“Eii, that’s not strictly right, though?”
The one to put the brakes on Seon-Mi’s assertion was a woman named Min Ye-Jeong. She and Seon-Mi had been on bad terms even back in their school days, and perhaps unsurprisingly, she decided to trip the arguments of her rival today, as well.
“What’s so wrong about Ji-Hyuk?” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“….What do you mean?” (Seon-Mi)
“If you input his details in a matchmaking website, you’ll definitely get an S grade, wouldn’t you say? He’s so young, yet he’s making millions, isn’t he?” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“Millions in annual wages isn’t all that special, I’ll have you know.” (Seon-Mi)
“No, it is special. Sure, it may not be as special as you say, but don’t forget – just how many men in Ji-Hyuk’s age group can boast making millions every year?” (Min Ye-Jeong)
Seon-Mi could only concede at this point, although she didn’t look pleased in the slightest. She couldn’t fight against Min Ye-Jeong’s logic, at least not right now.
“He’s young, he’s a civil servant, gets paid a lot – that’s pretty much perfect, isn’t it? And he’s good-looking too.” (Min Ye-Jeong)
Choi Chang-Hyuk raised his hand.
“Objection.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“Overruled.” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“Che.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Choi Chang-Hyuk started booing with a simmering expression.
“Sure, well. In that case, I’ll revise that to ‘not a bad-looking face’, how’s that? Anyways, doesn’t that make him pretty high-levelled in everyone’s book? I can’t see any problems with him hanging out with Jeong Hae-Min at all. Don’t you agree?” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“….Even then, there are different classes.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“Aren’t idols a bit unsuitable to hang around Ji-Hyuk? I mean, their fame only lasts for about fifteen minutes, right?” (Seon-Mi)
“But they make as much during that fifteen minutes as what others make in their lifetime.” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“Even then, would it be as high as a man in his 20s working for the NDF?” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“The NDF where you don’t even know when you’ll end up dying.” (Seon-Mi)
Choi Seon-Mi didn’t want to acknowledge right until the end, prompting Min Ye-Jeong to snort grandly.
“You may think that, but it looks like Jeong Hae-Min doesn’t agree with you, does it? She’s supposed to be on her way here, right?” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“She’s not coming.” (Seon-Mi)
“So, you’re saying Ji-Hyuk lied to everyone?” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“I don’t even have to be there to know that he begged her to come, and she probably said something in the line of willing to make time for him, but then, he ended up interpreting that as a definite yes or something. I mean, let’s be honest here, he’s not the type to figure out what other people are implying, is he?” (Seon-Mi)
“Mm….” (Min Ye-Jeong)
This time, it was Min Ye-Jeong’s turn to retreat.
Choi Chang-Hyuk watching these two’s verbal back-and-forth while sipping on his drink decided now was the good time to jump in.
“By the way, why are we even discussing this?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“What do you mean?” (Seon-Mi)
“He’s gone to get her, so the truth will be revealed sooner or later, right? Whether she comes here or not, all we have to do is wait for a little while so why all this bickering for something so minor?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“You still don’t have a girlfriend, do you?” (Seon-Mi)
“….What’s that got to do with anything?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“I can already tell why you don’t have one.” (Seon-Mi)
“Stop hitting me with fact bombs!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Choi Chang-Hyuk got triggered and he loudly yelled out.
“Besides, you lot also don’t have boyfriends, so what gives?!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
“And how do you know that? Did you hire an investigator or something?” (Seon-Mi)
“What a stalker.” (Min Ye-Jeong)
It was right then that the truth of letting others pummel you being a better alternative when in times like this hit Choi Chang-Hyuk like a tidal wave.
“But, why is he so late?” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“He’s probably busy talking to her on the phone right now. And she most likely blew him off, saying there’s no opening in her schedule. Still, they are acquainted enough to share phone calls, so there. It’s a problem with men that they think you’re interested in them just because you decided to talk to them for a bit.” (Seon-Mi)
“I said, stop hitting me with fact bombs!” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Although it was Yi Ji-Hyuk being slandered here, for some reason Choi Chang-Hyuk felt his own moods souring quite rapidly.
Just from listening to her talk, it felt like the dark history he had buried deep, deep inside his subconsciousness was threatening to ooze out.
“What’s wrong? Pricked a nerve?” (Seon-Mi)
“Let’s end it at pricking today, okay? Before you come up with skewers or something. How can anyone be so cruel, anyway?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Choi Chang-Hyuk agreed wholeheartedly with Seon-Mi’s opinion.
Not logically, but he did want to side with Choi Seon-Mi at least emotionally. Because, he was not a generous man who’d celebrate the fact that a fellow classmate he didn’t even like was about to show up to a reunion with a super-famous celebrity as a date. You were supposed to go green with jealousy if your cousin ended up buying expensive real estate so his thought process couldn’t be helped at all.
“I’m telling you, you don’t know that.” (Min Ye-Jeong)
Both Seon-Mi and Choi Chang-Hyuk decided to cleanly ignore Min Ye-Jeong. Too bad, she had an unlikely ally in this place.
“No, hang on. I definitely heard that those two are really friends.” (Jo Ji-Woong)
Jo Ji-Woong butted in, displaying how slow he was on the uptake in the process.
“Even if they’re friends, you think she’d come to a class reunion of all things?! If she really did, then forget about being friends, might as well set a wedding date, then!” (Seon-Mi)
“You said you heard it through grapevine, so how can you be so sure?” (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Jo Ji-Woong looked dissatisfied, but the public opinion had already swayed away from him.
It was then, Yi Ji-Hyuk could be seen trudging towards the reunion venue outside the window.
“Eh? There’s Ji-Hyuk.”
“….He’s alone, though?”
Choi Seon-Mi formed a deeply triumphant grin.
“Told you.” (Seon-Mi)
“Well, d*mn. Now that’s a pretty good picture to look at.”
Yi Ji-Hyuk seemed to be making a really crumpled expression from what they could spy through the window, which could only mean that things did go according to Seon-Mi’s predictions.
She glanced at Min Ye-Jeong and snickered derisively.
“Busy showing off when you don’t even know anything. That’s why you don’t have a boyfriend.” (Seon-Mi)
“A pot calling the kettle black, is it? You don’t have one all thanks to your rubbish personality.” (Min Ye-Jeong)
“What was that?!” (Seon-Mi)
Just as flames were about to erupt from the eyes of these two females, someone cried out in a loud voice.
“H-hey, hang on a second!”
“Ng?” (Seon-Mi & Min Ye-Jeong)
“S-someone is behind him. She’s following him, it looks like?”
The gazes of everyone here hurriedly shifted outside the windows once more.
“Uh? T-that, isn’t that??”
A woman with a face they all had seen before somewhere was hurriedly trotting after Yi Ji-Hyuk and grabbed onto his sleeve. He jerked his arm back while clearly looking irritated, but this woman didn’t let go and walked side by side with him.
“She, uh, she definitely looks like Jeong Hae-Min, doesn’t she?”
“She’s really short.”
“Jeong Hae-Min’s famous for being a real-life hobbit, though.”
“….I-it must be true, then? Look how small her face is. That’s not the face of a regular person, you know??”
Choi Chang-Hyuk’s jaw slowly dropped lower and lower.
‘What kinda dog sh*t is this??’ (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
That was Jeong Hae-Min.
Not just anyone, but Jeong Hae-Min the idol, one of the hottest, most trending celebrities out there. Such a personage wouldn’t come to Yi Ji-Hyuk’s class reunion because she didn’t have enough on her plate, now would she??
It, it simply couldn’t happen.
But it was happening for real right now.
“She, she’s coming inside?”
Everyone stared at the door with nervous expressions.
‘N-no, it can’t be.’ (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
They must’ve seen it wrong.
Even if they did see it right, it still couldn’t be.
Finally, the door opened with a loud ‘Du-ru-ruk!’ and Yi Ji-Hyuk walked inside with a cantankerous expression etched on his face.
And right behind him was….
‘Is she an angel?’ (Choi Chang-Hyuk)
Jeong Hae-Min smiling shyly but brightly also entered the venue and waved her hand.
“Hello, everyone.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
This was the moment that Choi Chang-Hyuk’s world came crashing down.
< 365. I better stop being jittery -5 > Fin.
(TL: Everyone, please take care of yourselves as this c********** pandemic sweeps across the globe. Experts say you shouldn’t panic, and I agree, but that doesn’t mean you should be lackadaisical. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and hope for the best.)