Love for Love's Sake - Chapter 30
Apparently, it was someone else who had been ignoring my texts for days. While I wasn’t checking my phone, texts from Cha Yeowoon had accumulated. I thought back to the Cha Yeowoon I knew from the novel.
It seemed like he showed a completely different attitude toward someone he favored to someone he didn’t. Was this the advantage of having gained his favorability?
[Tae Myeongha] : Cleaning~
[Cha Yeowoon] : You’re not in the classroom?
He had never answered so quickly before. After diligently avoiding him all this time, now he had come all the way to the classroom to find me.
[Tae Myeongha] : I’m in the teachers’ office
[Tae Myeongha] : Almost done
[Tae Myeongha] : Where are you?
My punishment for being caught at the scene with Tak Junho was to clean the teachers’ office.
Despite the harsh nagging and the subtle threat of calling my grandmother if I did it again, somehow the punishment was after school cleaning. This was all possible because Ahn Gyeonghun had advocated hard with the homeroom teacher on my behalf.
I heard that the school now hired cleaning services, so why was our teachers’ office so dirty? Were the teachers that dirty? I lamented as I organized the cleaning supplies.
[ Entering Love Supremacy Zone. ]
Ah, it was Cha Yeowoon.
[Cha Yeowoon] : On my way to the teachers’ office
[Cha Yeowoon] : The 3rd year teachers’ office?
[Tae Myeongha] : Yeah, but I’m leaving now
As I was leaving the room, engrossed in my phone, a shadow appeared right in front of me.
“Is practice already over?”
When I raised my head, I saw a handsome guy.
Maybe I had been staring at Tak Junho’s face for too long. Suddenly, I realized how beautiful Cha Yeowoon’s features were.
Right, sometimes it was necessary to see the ugly to appreciate the beautiful…
“What is it?”
Cha Yeowoon’s face was distorted.
He was staring at me with a piercing gaze. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I faltered for a moment.
Why again? Wasn’t our mood improving? What was wrong with him?
Before I could ask Cha Yeowoon what was wrong, he grabbed my chin.
“What’s wrong with your face?”
What was I supposed to say to that? Cha Yeowoon’s expression was so grave that I wondered if something serious had happened.
“Did you get into a fight?”
“Not really. Just played around a bit.”
“How did you play to get your cheek swollen like this?”
It wasn’t that swollen. Cha Yeowoon touched the other side of my face worriedly.
There was a stinging sensation.
It didn’t hurt much when I was hit. But I wasn’t made of iron, so it would be strange to be fine after getting punched in the face.
“Who did this?”
“There’s a reason for it. You don’t need to know.”
I tried to brush it off lightly, but the atmosphere didn’t ease up.
“Why do you never give a straight answer to things like this?”
“When did I not answer you properly? What does it matter?”
“Who did it?”
There was a harsh sound of teeth grinding.
Cha Yeowoon, seemingly resigned to not receiving an answer from me, suddenly turned away. It wasn’t just a matter of being upset; I could feel a violent surge coursing through his entire body.
“Cha Yeowoon. Why are you so upset?”
I hastily grabbed Cha Yeowoon. I had a gut feeling. If I left him like this, this punk would undoubtedly get into some trouble.
My current state of mind was like that of a dog owner desperately holding onto the leash of their excited dog as it tried to bolt away.
Contrary to me who had finished cleaning and was preparing to go home, practically everyone in the 3rd year classroom was having night study. If I didn’t stop him, I had a feeling he would go there.
“Why didn’t you tell me you got hurt?”
“Because I wasn’t really hurt?”
Rather, wouldn’t it have been strange if I had told Cha Yeowoon? I wasn’t going to divulge every little detail and say I was punched. But he seemed resentful that I hadn’t told him.
“It’s fine. I intentionally got hit. It doesn’t hurt that much.”
“Why would you intentionally get hit? Senior likes getting hit?”
“When you’re challenged, if you get hit, you’ll at least have an excuse for self defense, and at worst, you might gain some respect. Hey, where do you get off acting so cocky? Ease up on the eyes, will you?”
“So you got hit and I should just ignore it?”
“Is this the same as that?”
“What’s the difference?”
“You’re a child, and I’m not.”
Cha Yeowoon stood tall and held onto me.
I wondered if I should at least scold him and drag him away if he persisted, but I was struck dumb when I saw his expression.
His eyes’ pale hue gave him a melancholic appearance. Despite being upset just a moment ago, now he looked to be on the verge of tears.
I was the one who got hit, so why was he like this?
“I’m really not hurt.”
My words slipped out awkwardly. It was more difficult to deal with Cha Yeowoon when he was emotional than when he was venting his anger.
After Cha Yeowoon ran off somewhere, he soon returned with a small towel soaked in cold water. He wrung it out before awkwardly switching hands and pressing the towel to my injured cheek.
“You carry a hand towel with you?”
“I’m on the sports team.”
Right. In my awkwardness I had asked a silly question.
“Give me your bag.”
“What…My arm is fine. It’s my face where I got hit.”
“I said give it so give it to me.”
Cha Yeowoon snatched my bag from me without warning. Even after leaving school, he was unusually cautious of our surroundings.
His worried expression was tiresome. My grandmother would worry and nag me when I got hurt, but it wasn’t as affectionate as this.
After I graduated and started working, I tried not to show pain, even if I was hurt. I worked several jobs, and if I suddenly got hurt, my source of income would be cut off. I was the only one responsible for myself.
I was too busy with other concerns to worry about minor injuries. So, I had never really worried about myself.
“What if it bruises?”
“Senior already looks like you’ve been in fights, and this will make it worse.”
“Yeowoon, are you thinking of picking a fight?”
“I don’t like it when senior pick fights with other people, that’s all.”
“Today as well, needless to say, that’s why you got hurt.”
“Should I buy you a crystal ball?”
“Don’t just laugh it off.”
“I can’t help it.”
This was probably the first time in my 29 years of life that someone had made such a fuss about my injury.
It was after school hours, so the bus was more than half vacant. As if it was only natural, Cha Yeowoon pulled me into the seat next to him.
Since the favorability was positive, I had wondered if he would go to such lengths, but…It was a strange feeling when my child suddenly changed. Him wanting to sit next to me would have been nonsense just a few days ago.
“Are you really not going to tell me who did it?”
Cha Yeowoon seemed to have quieted down earlier, but now that we were on the bus, he brought up the topic again. He was quite persistent.
“What are you going to do on your own?”
“I’m going to kill him.”
Cha Yeowoon’s response took a sudden dreadful turn.
Kill someone just for a punch? Was this the vigor of being 18? I was speechless, so I just looked at him and patted his head.
“Goodness. Be nice, be nice.”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m teaching you not to bite people. Just bear with it. Understand?”
“As long as senior doesn’t get hit, there’s no problem.”
Cha Yeowoon pouted as I touched his disheveled hair. Didn’t he ask me not long ago if I had ever fought with other children?
“From now on, don’t compromise on anything. Don’t think it’s better to get hit… I’ll even lend you money if necessary.”
“Where’s your money?”
“I’ll earn it and give it to you.”
“Hey, I understand. I won’t get hit.”
I quickly answered because I noticed Cha Yeowoon’s expression turning subdued. He still had that determined look in his eyes.
“It’s your stop.”
To change the subject, I pointed out the window. Cha Yeowoon shook his head.
“I’ll walk senior home.”
“Again? Why? I’m fine.”
Stubborn. If someone saw me being supported like this, they would probably think my arms and legs were broken.
Seeing Cha Yeowoon’s persistence, I began to feel uneasy, wondering if he would find out who had hit me.
“Instead of following me home, promise me you won’t do anything even if you find out who did it.”
“You shouldn’t do something strange because you’re angry for no reason. Cha Yeowoon, got it?”
“Hey, answer me.”
“If you cause trouble, I won’t go home with you again.”
Was this too presumptuous? No matter the extent in which Cha Yeowoon was following me right now, he wouldn’t have wanted to go home with me that much…
“I get it. Even if I find out who did it, I won’t do anything.”
…He really wanted to go home with me that much.
We got off the bus at the final stop, and Cha Yeowoon made his way to the pharmacy. Of course, it was to buy medicine for me.
“I already have medicine at home.”
“It’s not going to expire soon, so just stockpile it, then.”
My cheek was only slightly swollen, yet Cha Yeowoon was carrying a bag full of various medicines. There was ointment for wounds, bruise cream, bandages, and even vitamin candies.
I felt more dazed from this than when I got punched by Junho. While I was frozen, he placed the bag on my wrist and ran ahead.
“You’re not going home?”
The way Cha Yeowoon looked back at me was annoyingly handsome.
By this point, I was curious.
His favorability was only at 11, so what would happen if it increased further?
Could the maximum favorability be around 20? How else could he be listening to me so obediently already?
“Going up and down the hill is strenuous, so you can stop here.”
“I’ll greet your grandmother and go.”
Was Cha Yeowoon always this polite? He went out of his way to greet my grandmother, just as he said. It seemed like my grandmother’s mood had improved after seeing such a well-mannered and handsome guy, so it was all good.
“See you tomorrow, senior.”
As we said our goodbyes in front of my home, Cha Yeowoon suddenly added.
“Senior, don’t just neglect your injuries because they’re minor. Apply the medicine properly.”
What was Cha Yeowoon saying?
I couldn’t say anything and just stood there.
He didn’t turn around until the moment I entered my house.
In my room, I opened the bag he had given me and took out the medicine one by one.
I counted how long it had been since someone bought medicine for me. I recalled when the owner of the bar where I worked part-time had bought medicine for me after I got hit by a customer.
That was when I was 27, so two years ago?
It was funny that I could recount these things clearly. It was just medicine.
But it was a rare occurrence for me. Receiving kindness that I had shown others was a rare occurrence, so I remembered it all.
I had a feeling I would remember this one for a long time, too. With that premonition, I pressed the sore spot on my cheek. It felt a little cool and sore like pressing a cold towel.