Love for Love's Sake - Chapter 11
“Yeowoon, your pizza bread fell.”
“Do you want to eat it? Do you want me to pick it up?”
“Senior, please stop trying to make ridiculous jokes.”
Really, what was Cha Yeowoon saying? Such a cold-hearted guy.
When I turned to look at him, he had his hands clenched and was looking down at the ground. This child had a killer side profile.
Anyway, was it too impolite of me to only buy two pizza breads for two high school boys? Should I have bought four? Was it okay to train after eating two? Would he collapse?
As I thought about this, Cha Yeowoon’s round ears seemed to have turned red.
[ Calculating Cha Yeowoon’s favorability. ]
[ Favorability: -5 ]
I inadvertently blurted out.
Did it increase? Just now? There was no way I could ask Cha Yeowoon, so for no reason, I found myself staring at him.
At that moment, the wind blew in the opposite direction.
The wind, which was colder than before, swept across the back of my neck. My hair stood on end.
[ Debuff triggered due to negative favorability. ]
A debuff right after the favorability increased…
Ashen shadows resembling raindrops fell from the tree leaves. The dripping shapes looked dangerous.
I thoughtlessly pulled Cha Yeowoon closer to me and raised my arm to block it.
“What is it?”
Cha Yeowoon, who was beside me, pushed me away in a flustered manner.
[ Debuff reversal. ]
The shadow suddenly moved to my feet.
A chilling and sharp sensation crawled up my spine. It felt like a cold hand was gripping my insides.
The shadow beneath Cha Yeowoon and me rippled like waves. As I suddenly stiffened, he looked at me with confusion.
Following the vibration from my phone, small ripples formed in the shadow.
While my feet were in the gray puddle, I checked the incoming call.
[Ahn Gyeonghun] : Myeongha
I had an ominous feeling.
[Ahn Gyeonghun] : Now
There was no follow-up message. Instead, I received a phone call.
I vaguely anticipated the development that would come next as I answered the call from Ahn Gyeonghun.
“Tae Myeongha, where are you right now?”
As expected, it was a voice I had never heard before.
* * *
Accompanied by a gusty wind, teenagers in questionable attire were surrounding a male student wearing glasses.
And then there was me.
What was with this nostalgic sentiment? Ever since I climbed to the rooftop as instructed, I couldn’t quite adapt to the atmosphere and found myself shivering.
The boy who had been waiting for me, the foremost of the four, gestured to me.
“Hey, Tae Myeongha.”
Who was this guy?
He looked me up and down and raised an eyebrow.
“Did you mess with my Jungyeong?”
His dialogue was really incredible. It was very sentimental of the early 21st century, seriously.
There was no other Jungyeong here, so he must be talking about Tak Jungyeong.
“I haven’t done anything to him?”
I genuinely hadn’t touched a hair on his head.
If we reviewed the events of that day, it went something like the following.
“Are you Tak Jungyeong?”
“Are you bullying Cha Yeowoon?”
That was it. It really ended like that. There was nothing more to say.
“But what do you mean your Jungyeong? Are you two dating?”
“Well, love doesn’t have borders. Why are you getting worked up?”
Boys and girls could be couples. It was the current era after all. But my sarcastic remark had triggered a sharp response.
“My brother! Brother!”
The guy who claimed to be Tak Jungyeong’s brother pointed to his name tag. Tak Junho. Considering Tak wasn’t a common surname, he seemed to be telling the truth.
“Oh. So he had a sibling, but anyway, why is Gyeonghun here?”
Was he some kind of hostage? Ahn Gyeonghun was crouching behind Tak Junho and another male student.
I had casually pointed it out, but something caught my attention. The problem wasn’t Ahn Gyeonghun, rather, it was the person next to him.
A very handsome guy sat beside Ahn Gyeonghun, appearing disinterested as he stared at his phone. His legs were frighteningly long, his sides profile were well defined, and he simply resembled a model in a school uniform.
Apart from his face and height, the one peculiar thing was the shadow underneath his feet.
The texture was different from the one I had seen earlier with Cha Yeowoon. It was like an oil painting coated in thick layers of paint.
I had a bad feeling about this. I didn’t know what it was, but it couldn’t be good.
“Him? It’s his fault for having the wrong friend.”
Tak Junho, who was somewhat obnoxious but didn’t give off a particularly bad vibe, had a sly smile as he gestured toward Ahn Gyeonghun.
Friends, I understand what kind of scene you wanted to create, but please let Ahn Gyeonghun go. This was no place for violence. Children playing soccer in the schoolyard could be heard from here.
“Lunchtime is almost over, so what are you planning to do?”
Were they really planning to start a fight here on the rooftop? Was this some kind of cartoon?
I couldn’t take the situation seriously from the moment I arrived, which seemed to have irritated Tak Junho. He clenched his fist and walked toward me.
Could it be for real? Seriously? When there was a teacher patrolling downstairs? Weren’t we in our 3rd year of high school?
“High schoolers are something else these days.”
Before I could finish my admiration, Tak Junho swung his fist. I instinctively dodged the sudden, unprovoked punch aimed at my face.
His fist went past me. Seemingly carrying quite some weight to it, he stumbled forward as well.
Tak Junho’s desperate punch missed its target, causing him to suddenly yell. Maybe he wanted to vent his frustration on my eardrums since his fist couldn’t connect.
“Let’s avoid fighting and have a talk instead.”
I proposed politely. Of course, Tak Junho and his gang didn’t even acknowledge my suggestion.
With four against one, they could easily overpower me if they all rushed at once, but Tak Junho stepped in from behind, preventing the others from getting involved. Although they were delinquents, they seemed to have some honor.
Honestly, it was absurd, but if all four of them confronted me here, it would only escalate the situation. I wanted to avoid getting suspended in my second time of being 19.
I grabbed Tak Junho’s arm as he attempted to deliver another punch.
Although I hadn’t started learning boxing and jiu-jitsu until I was in my twenties for the sake of fitness, the situation would have been similar even if I had been my original self at 19.
It seemed that Tak Junho couldn’t fight. I didn’t understand why he was taking the lead, but he clearly wasn’t skilled. It was evident just by looking at how I had his wrist as he struggled.
“Let’s talk, Junho. I’m asking seriously.”
“Hey! Let go! Let me go!”
“If you listen to me.”
Unable to convince Tak Junho, I let go of his arm and grabbed his ankle as he tried to use his leg. He lost his balance and staggered like he was about to fall. I held onto his waist with my other hand.
One arm on his waist, the other on his leg. We found ourselves in a sudden romantic posture as if we were about to dance a tango.
A small spark flickered between our gazes. There was even a rosy stain on Tak Junho’s cheeks…
Tak Junho in a fit pushed me away, and we quickly distanced ourselves. Then, seemingly as a surprise attack, he tried to throw a punch at me again, but I dodged it once more.
I was starting to feel concerned for his pride, but I couldn’t just let him hit me. What would I do if I ended up with a bruised face? Who would take responsibility for my grandmother’s heart, who was thrilled to see me reformed?
As I looked at Tak Junho’s reddened face, I was seriously contemplating whether I should let him land one punch on my body.
There was a sudden clap. When I turned to see where the sound was coming from, the flamboyant guy, who had been burying his face in his phone until now, was showing his teeth and smiling in our direction.
To be precise, he was smiling at me.
He stood up and strode toward me. His long legs narrowed the distance between us in an instant.
“Tae Myeongha? Brother is damn awesome.”
Even from a distance, his features were distinct, and as he approached, his facial attributes became even more impressive. If Cha Yeowoon had a pure vibe, this flamboyant guy had a playful handsomeness.
So, what was going on here?
The shadow beneath his feet stretched in my direction. I felt a chilling coldness rising up from the soles of my feet.
“I heard you used to rule this place back in middle school, is that true? I thought it was just a rumor. Tak Jungyeong is still doing well, so I thought it was a lie to seem strong.”
His smiling face was bright enough to feel unnatural. He was lighthearted, even whistling as he talked about my middle school days.
“Brother, let me try too.”
He came up to me suddenly, bumping his shoulder against mine.
His eyes glistened as he looked at me. No, they sparkled. What was wrong with this bastard? It was as if he had found something delicious.
“Hey, hey, Cheon Sangwon. What’s the matter all of a sudden?”
Cheon Sangwon seemed to be this guy’s name. Judging by Tak Junho’s face, which was about to burst into flames, an estimate had been reached. This guy was the craziest among them all.
This guy, with a smile as bright as it was unnatural, didn’t even acknowledge Tak Junho and kept his gaze fixed on me. His stare didn’t move an inch.
“If brother won’t start, should I?”
Cheon Sangwon’s pupils which were curved with a hint of playfulness dilated as if on some kind of drug. The chilling sensation I felt earlier was now creeping up my calves.
I had a feeling. The feeling that if we fought here, things would go very badly.
“I don’t remember having a brother.”
But I wasn’t too worried. Because…
The rooftop door suddenly slammed open.
“What are you all doing here?! Who allowed you to come up to the rooftop like this!”
Standing at the doorway was a teacher in gym clothes. His shout echoed, and my rooftop friends who had been brimming with confidence until a moment ago now looked clearly flustered.
Well, except for the flamboyant guy with crazy eyes.
“We’re sorry. The door was open, so we just came up here to hang out, sir.”
Cheon Sangwon, who had been looking at me with crazy eyes, suddenly smiled and flirted with the teacher. The change in attitude was immediate.
“You brats! Who gave you permission to play on the rooftop!”
“Don’t get so mad. Wrinkles will form on that pretty face of yours.”
Crazy. Cheon Sangwon was saying such a thing to a middle-aged man in his 50s.