Love for Love's Sake - Chapter 10
This was what a fire drill was like. If the mission was to avoid Cha Yeowoon for 300 days instead of making him happy, I would be totally screwed. There were no easy paths in life.
“Where are you going, Myeongha?”
For now I quickly left the classroom. If I was to create a scene like last time, my fate would be sealed if Cha Yeowoon was to catch sight of me.
While I was briskly walking down the 3rd year students’ hallway, my phone suddenly started ringing. Phones weren’t allowed in school. Once confiscated, not only would I not be able to see Cha Yeowoon’s face but also there would be no way to contact him. I would likely come to regret it later, but right now, my only thought was to avoid him.
– “Where are you?”
Cha Yeowoon took the initiative before I could even say hello. Surprised by his speed, I reflexively turned around. It felt like he would appear behind me at any moment.
“Me? I-I’m heading down to your class.”
– “Suddenly to my class?”
“Yeah. But where are you?”
– “…I’m in senior’s class.”
Ehm, I knew that. I was coming down to avoid you.
“We were thinking the same thing. It’s fate.”
– “Senior is still avoiding me.”
Damn. Cha Yeowoon wasn’t only fast at running but also incredibly quick-witted.
“No? I came down to find you.”
– “It would be odd that you avoided me yesterday but weren’t today. It’s a lie that you went down to the classroom to find me.”
Handsome and smart, what a scary fellow.
“Why did you come to my class?”
– “I wanted to see if you were still avoiding me.”
“Yeowoon, are you testing me? Scary.”
– “I was simply curious if you would avoid me again, just like how you did last time when I hadn’t even reached the classroom yet. How are you doing it?”
This time, I was genuinely scared. I barely held back from asking Cha Yeowoon how he had known.
“No. It’s not like that. How could I have known you would come up? It’s just a coincidence, coincidence.”
– “Then, would you like to have lunch with me?”
Who knew an invitation to eat together could be so threatening? I pursed my lips and chose to remain silent. Right, I didn’t think I could avoid him forever.
“Okay. But you’re a 2nd year student, so your lunch break starts 10 minutes later than ours.”
– “Senior can wait that much for me.”
“Are you my junior or master? Where should I wait? In front of the dining hall?”
I said it out of consideration for Cha Yeowoon. I was certain attention was drawn to us yesterday. Nevertheless, I wondered if there would be bad rumors if he was to meet me while I waited in the 2nd year students’ hallway.
– “I didn’t pay for lunch today, so I can’t use the dining hall.”
That could be true. I remembered skipping meals because I couldn’t afford school lunch a few times. I felt bad that Cha Yeowoon was going through this.
– “Senior can treat me in the canteen. You said you would repay me for the bus fare.”
Cha Yeowoon cornered me.
I couldn’t back out now after the bus fare I had owed was called out. If I did, even someone like Cha Yeowoon would be hurt.
Anyway, I had already been through two debuffs messages one after another, so I should be fine if I stayed on my guard this time.
Wait a minute. Then I wouldn’t be able to eat with Ahn Gyeonghun today?
I reached a quick conclusion. Considering Cha Yeowoon’s social skills and his favorability that might cause an unexpected situation due to the debuff, it would be ill-advised to have Ahn Gyeonghun join us.
“Okay. I’ll go to the canteen first and wait there. Take care of class.”
Cha Yeowoon hung up without replying. I chuckled while my phone was next to my ear. It was very familiar now.
Admitting defeat, I trudged back to our class. Cha Yeowoon had taken the initiative to suggest having a meal together, so he should be happy, right? Why did I feel like I had lost?
“I’m going to the canteen for lunch today.”
Ahn Gyeonghun’s expression quickly sullen when I sat in front of him and declared. As expected, it seemed he had no one else to eat with aside from me…
But it wasn’t possible to break the lunch plan with Cha Yeowoon or have all three of us eat together. Three really didn’t seem possible. I wasn’t confident I would be able to handle the mood that was already developing.
“Let’s have dinner together for sure.”
“Are you going to the dining hall?”
A tiny glint appeared in Ahn Gyeonghun’s glasses.
There was no way I had money to sign up for dinner. From what I remembered, although I was a senior in high school I didn’t have a part-time job.
“Just eat outside during dinner break.”
Ahn Gyeonghun’s face brightened at my suggestion. Like his glasses, my friend was transparent.
At that moment, I didn’t know how hard it would be just to eat lunch and dinner.
* * *
Was there ever this many people at our school?
Although there were also many people in the dining hall, at least there we stood in line. Here it was just a mess.
This was what high school students’ appetite was like.
What kind of canteen was packed as soon as lunchtime began? In 10 minutes, the 2nd year students would come down, worsening the situation.
“I didn’t pay for lunch today, so I can’t use the dining hall.”
Amidst my frustration, Cha Yeowoon’s voice rang out in my head.
I couldn’t let him go hungry like this. He had to eat to be able to run!
With a burst of courage, I advanced toward the bustling canteen. Three seconds later I immediately regretted it. Line 1 during rush hour was chaos.
After a war surrounded by fervor high school students who smelled like sweat, I had two pizza breads in my hands. My school uniform jacket had slipped off my shoulder at some point. And where did one of the buttons go?
“What is senior doing?”
As I crouched on the ground, trying to find my lost button, I heard a somewhat pitiful voice from above.
Cha Yeowoon, slightly furrowing his brows, was looking at me. He looked around, bent his knees, and lowered himself.
In no time, Cha Yeowoon handed me one of my buttons.
How did he manage to find it? It was impressive.
“You have really sharp eyes.”
“Yes, somewhat. Senior is more defenseless than I thought. Despite how you look.”
“You shouldn’t judge people solely by their appearance.”
Cha Yeowoon, who had put the button into my school uniform pocket, gestured as if telling me to dust off my jacket.
“Is one of the pizza bread mine?”
“Yeah. Let’s eat over there.”
As I immediately replied and pointed to a bench in a corner far from the canteen, Cha Yeowoon made a strange expression.
“Why? You don’t like pizza bread?”
“No. When I said to eat in the canteen I didn’t think you would risk your life to the point of losing a button.”
“It’s all to feed you.”
“Why? I want to.”
As we sat down and I said the obvious, Cha Yeowoon stood still for a moment. I couldn’t help but smile at his bewildered expression, as if he had been struck. I definitely knew what response was suitable for his twisted dough-like personality.
“Sit down. Are you not going to eat the pizza bread?”
Cha Yeowoon sat down next to me with a slightly irritated expression. It was cute watching him opening and eating the pizza bread without saying a word.
“Yeowoon, why do you hate me?”
Since it had come to this, I decided to ask him instead of asking others. Find out why he disliked me, then fix it. Ask how I could improve and then do it. It was the basics among the basics.
“What are you talking about?”
“You don’t like me.”
Unexpectedly, Cha Yeowoon had an expression like I was really saying something out of the blue.
He wasn’t the type to flatter someone, and if he disliked me, he would have told me why right away.
“What I said last time about liking and such I don’t know what senior is thinking, but that’s not it.”
Suddenly, a guess crossed my mind.
This guy, could it be…
“Actually, compared to others, you’re not that bad.”
Was negative 10 Cha Yeowoon’s typical favorability toward those around him…?
It was just a guess, but it seemed plausible. Maybe the average was lower than negative 10.
In other words, the favorability displayed in the system window wasn’t an absolute value but a relative one. I, who was negative 7, might be quite high up when it came to Cha Yeowoon.
Was it really possible to receive a positive impression to the extent that a buff would trigger from someone like him? I wasn’t even the heroine.
Suddenly, I wanted to lose my mind at the frustrating difficulty of my target. Swallowing my indignation, I resolved myself again.
It probably wouldn’t work.
I needed to change my strategy. Something stronger.
Now wasn’t the time to waste my efforts on such a strange title like dating. Anyway, no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t seem like he was going to like me that much.
Nevertheless, I should avoid negative points and try something.
“What type of person do you like?”
“Actually, I know what kind of girl you like. So, as a human being. What are the types of people you like on a human-to-human basis?”
“Senior is really talking strange. I don’t know what you’re trying to say.”
“I’m asking you with my life on the line. Tell me.”
“I even bought you pizza bread.”
Cha Yeowoon crumpled the remaining pizza bread and put it all in his mouth while looking at me with a look of absurdity. He had eaten the pizza bread as eagerly as a hungry deer. As expected of a high school student.
Should I pack a lunch box? The pantry at home wasn’t very well-stocked, but maybe I could make do by using my cooking skills from my time living alone and gathering some ingredients here and there from the store. I would probably have to get a part-time job too.
My thoughts quickly jumped again. Since this was really like a game, I hoped my affection score would go up every time I gave him a lunchbox. When you offered food to the animal village residents, their affection would quickly increase. However, it seemed Cha Yeowoon wasn’t impressed by pizza bread.
“A trustworthy person.”
Cha Yeowoon, who had been munching on the pizza bread for a while, suddenly spoke.
“Yes. Someone who can be depended on.”
Surprisingly, it was a serious and ordinary answer. People usually preferred someone they could trust.
“That’s totally me.”
“Tae Myeongha himself.”
He wasn’t listening. Eat bread, eat my word, and eat well. That was Cha Yeowoon.
“Do you want my pizza bread too?”
“Eat it, okay? Please.”
The frowning Cha Yeowoon reluctantly accepted my pizza bread.
I had given the pizza bread that the resident liked. Favorability should increase by one. It would have been very nice if everything was this easy, but Cha Yeowoon’s expression actually seemed to have sunk.
“Why do you want to win my favor?”
Cha Yeowoon, who had nearly finished eating the pizza bread, asked bluntly.
“Because I’m your fan.”
It was absolutely true. Because he was my favorite I had fallen into this suspicious world and now even facing the threat of death.
“Have you always liked track and field?”
What should I say to this?
Honestly, I wasn’t interested. I watched soccer and baseball occasionally. Even boxing and wrestling sometimes. But track and field was foreign to me.
If this was a dating simulation game, saying yes would have been the correct choice.
But this wasn’t like a game, and lying about liking something wouldn’t help.
A gust of wind blew from my side toward Cha Yeowoon. The leaves rustled and the shadows swayed.
“I just like when you run.”
I loved the Cha Yeowoon who never stopped running, and even when he became injured, he continued to sprint through life and love at his own pace.
Cha Yeowoon stopped munching on the pizza bread. The last piece in his hand fell to the ground.