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Picked Up In Winter - Chapter 25

Published at 29th of October 2019 09:23:07 PM

Chapter 25

Picked Up in Winter <25>


Since then, I didn’t know how long I stayed like that .

After meeting an ‘acquaintance’ at school, I felt so unsettled that I escaped . I don’t know why I felt more and more anxious after hearing his earnest tone, so I desperately ran .

You-Your mother─…

The last word I heard, it had broken off with a subtle interruption .

I ran like a madman . Ran, ran and ran some more . I thought I could genuinely escape, get away from hearing his voice . Therefore, I continued running .

What finally caught my eyes while running was Jun Hyung . At that moment, I felt as if I had found a refuge that I had been longing for, I felt overwhelmed beyond words . It felt as if you had finally seen a ray of light after being stuck in a cave for a long time . I ran madly toward him like I was resolved to get out, and bumped hard against him .

 

“Is it over now? So can we go?”

 

…… And when I have come to my senses, this was the situation .

After fixing my hair quickly, I raised my face and stared blankly at his friend who spoke before . He was lightly discussing with his friends by his side while they looked at me . His expression was the same as that of the auntie’s from the snack stand . Finally, I saw Jun Hyung, who stood before me, looking at me with only concern in his face .

 

“Happy…… . ”

 

Jun Hyung called me . His voice finally woke my mind completely .

I came back to reason, what had I just done…… I thought . Then, because of the burning face due to embarrassment, facing him became uncomfortable . I was also afraid to look at his friends and that madam at the snack bar behind him .

 

“Why did you come here?”

 

As he asked, he looked down at the two umbrellas I had been holding in my hands .

 

“Umbrella… you came to give?”

“…… . ”

 

I nodded wordlessly .

 

“But why are you wet like this?”

“…… . ”

 

I didn’t reply this time . He just stared at me for a while, then calmly opened his mouth .

 

“Want to eat tteokbokki?”

“… Yeah . ”

 

 

 

 

“I thought I’d die from the cold . ”

“We can finally eat . ”

“It’s our crime to be friends with a weirdo, well . ”

 

All the way into the store, I had to listen to his friend’s grumbling . Essentially, I wasn’t the type to care about the noisy chatter, and since I had been feeling guilty of my mistake, I walked silently .  (?complicated clause, not sure I understood right . Rephrased it, what do you think? Perfect) I don’t know, but perhaps they became more interested in the tteokbokki in their hands and focused on that afterwards .

 


“What? It’s tasty . ”

 

I was deeply sympathising with his friend, who said that . The red tteokbokki from which thick white steam was emanating, the crispy fried dishes, they looked so delicious that it made my mouth water before I realised . Only then did I know that my hunger had increased .

 

“Happy, wipe . ”

 

I was so preoccupied with eating that I was surprised when a roll of tissue paper appeared before me . I turned to look, and Jun Hyung was holding out a tissue . Ah, come to think of it, I got drenched in the rain…… . I took it and adequately wiped off my face and hair .

 

“But, Jun Hyung always has been a weird guy, so whatever, but what’s with this one . ”

“He’s not easy, huh…”

“But what should we call you? No way that we, too……”

“Happy . ”

 

Before they could even finish their anxious premonition, Jun Hyung intervened . Jun Hyung—who ended their doubts with a low and determined voice—started eating the tteokbokki in front of him, ignoring his friends who looked at him in shock .

 

“…… You’re kidding, right?”

“You want us to put such an embarrassing name in our mouth?”

“Hey, Jun Hyung . ”

“Then, don’t say . ”

 

Despite the pleas of his friends, he answered in a curt voice .

 

“Uhm…… . I get it . Th-then…… that…… Ha, Ha…ppy??”

“…… . ”

 

One of his friends coughed once and then awkwardly called me . Because of that, I thought that I’d get indigestion from the tteokbokki I was chewing .

When I silently stared at him, he became even more embarrassed and began to talk gibberish .

 

“Eh, so, that…… So I’m Oh Junghwan . Well, first of all, I’m this guy’s friend… Well, I think you should at least know my name . ”

“…… . ”

 

……He really can’t conceal his embarrassment on this topic .

I nodded a bit awkwardly, at which his face instantly brightened . In succession one by one, his friends began to introduce themselves . I would forget it soon anyways…… I thought as I silently listened to their introductions .

Now that I notice, I had met his friend once before . His name… Was it Han Sangryul? That guy had instead shamelessly called me Happy, Happy . At that time, all the friends standing beside Jun Hyung seemed odd .

But now that I was here, that guy was indeed on the weird side .

 

“Do you want to play with us after we finish? Isn’t it too stifling to stay at home?”

“…… . ”

 

One of his friends asked abruptly . I raised my head at his suggestion while eating tteokbokki .

 

“…… . ”

 


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Uhm…… .
What… should I do?

I peeked at Jun Hyung, only to see that he was eating tteokbokki in silence .

 

“Yeah, let’s go together . Ha-Ha…… ppy…… . ”

 

One guy awkwardly called me .  

When I looked at him in silence, the one next to him promptly interfered .

 

“If you go then Jun Hyung won’t be able to say no . ”

“…… . ”

 

So that was their aim . I don’t know if it would be okay though… . I thought . Staying at home wasn’t particularly stifling, but sometimes it wasn’t bad to play around, unrestrained .

While I was thinking this, they kept chatting among themselves . I looked at them, looked at the half-eaten tteokbokki and fried food, then I gazed at the rainfall outside, in our school, through the transparent windows .  

Even though this snack shop was in front of the school yet I had never been here before . Moreover, I couldn’t even imagine coming here with so many friends .

Of course, I prefer quietness, which was the case even now . But sometimes……I think, being this noisy wasn’t bad .  

He sat beside me while his friends sat in front of me . Although we didn’t talk a lot with them yet the atmosphere felt comfortable .   It felt as if we blended with the rain in the background, it helped settle my thoughts .  

I enjoyed spending quality time with Junhyung in the room but that was getting harder now……It was getting harder to stay by his side, with him doting on me, treating me like a pet……

I didn’t want to return to that place .

 

“…… I’ll go . ”

 

After coming to that conclusion, I looked at them and slowly replied .

 

“Oh? You’ll really come?”

“Waa~ Thanks, Happy! Quickly, eat . Eat a loooot . ”

“…… . ”

 

I just said that I’d go and it ended up causing an uproar . As I looked at their faces that brightened in an instant, I remembered what I had heard from his friend back then .

‘In short, I want to look good to him . ’

When I glanced at Jun Hyung from the corner of my eyes, I found that he had stopped eating and looked like he was lost in thoughts .

 

 

 

 

“Ah, I’m full . ”

 

One of his friends said as we walked out of the shop .   His name…… I had already forgotten . There’s no way I would be able to remember the introduction of each member in that big group .

 

“Let’s hurry up and go to class, get back the test papers, and go play!”

“To where? Game room?”

“Let’s go around while we decide~”

 

…… Too lively .


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Watching them behave like that, I stood blank for a moment, not accustomed to it . I wondered if this was what an ordinary high school student should be like . Since I had always lived between home and school, I wasn’t able to hang out with a bunch like this . Even when I came to school, I just silently sat at my desk, listened to the lessons, ate lunch, again listened to the lessons, and simply went back . It was my daily routine .

Well, this wasn’t the first time I had to spend time with his friends…… .

 

“…… Happy?”

“……?”

 

As I stood absent-mindedly by his side, Jun Hyung called out to me . It was only then that I realized that I was holding two umbrellas .

 

“… Ah . ”

 

Startled, I quickly handed him an umbrella . He looked at the umbrella once then gave it to his friends . After that, he looked at me again .  

 

“…… . ”

 

…… Ah, then, I would have to share an umbrella with him .

When I realized that, I felt a bit awkward . All the heat in my body seemed to creep towards my nape . However, I pretended to be calm and opened the umbrella . In the thin stream of rain, a sky-blue umbrella stretched out broadly . Considering his height, I lifted the umbrella a little high, and he came under it .

 

“…… . ”

“…… . ”

 

He was silent after he came under the umbrella, I also didn’t say anything, and so we left the snack shop .  

I walked a little far from him in embarrassment, which inevitably led to him getting rained on . His shoulder, which was exposed, seemed to be completely drenched . I tried to tilt the umbrella over to that side a little .

 

“…… . ”

 

When my arm brushed against his body, he recoiled a bit in surprise . It seemed he was pondering over something deeply and was diverted from it by my small movement then he looked at me . He looked down .

 

“Happy . ”

“……?”

“With those guys……, you want to play together?”

“……?”

 

I was confused as I didn’t understand what he was talking about .

 

“Why?”

“……?”

 

When he asked that, he had a pretty serious face with his eyebrows furrowed .

 

“…… . ”

 

At first, I thought he was simply asking for my opinion, but when he asked ‘Why?’, I realized that he wasn’t .

‘Do you like Min Hyung more than me?’


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He was making a face similar to the one he had when he asked me that .

 

“…… . ”

 

I hesitated for a moment about what to answer .

Of course, that wasn’t why I wanted to play with them . I wanted to get along with them, show them…… I wanted to show them that I wasn’t just a pet receiving love in your house, that I was a person just like you . I just wanted to show you that I can get along with them…… .

Once we return to his home, I would become completely “Happy” .

When I didn’t answer, he opened his mouth again .

 

“If you want to play outside, I’ll take you out later……”

“…… . ”

“Today, let’s go back home . ”

“…… . ”

 

I kept quiet and stared vacantly at the falling rain .

What did he mean by saying that? You don’t want me to socialize with them?

But why……?

Because you would realize that I was human? Because I wasn’t happy…… was that why?

However, I’m not a dog . I’m not Happy . You should know that better than anyone else .

 

“…… . ”

 

Feeling bitter, I silently nodded . He grinned and patted my hair then took the umbrella from me and held it .

 

“…… . ”

 

It was no different to what you would do to a dog .

I was unsettled . He called out to his friends in front and started talking with them . I raised my trembling hand and gently touched the hair he had just patted, then lowered my hand to stroke the mark which he had left on my nape .   

‘I was thinking about giving Happy a reward……’

 

“…… . ”

 

I swallowed my breath as I clenched my hand which was holding the umbrella before .  

His attitude had changed .
Certainly, it had changed .

Even though I wasn’t treated above a pet, yet now you don’t have that look anymore . Although you know I’m a human, you don’t want to consider it .

…… Was he regretting it?

He who had done such a thing that night .

 

“…… . ”

 

However, there was no indication in his behaviour that he thought so . Not a bit .  

His friends were furious when he said he wanted to go home but he was still as calm as ever .  

As I looked at him from the corner of my eyes, I felt endless sadness .

 

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