I have a hard time focusing in class because all I can think about are my feelings for JR. Realizing that I like him made me question everything. It makes no sense. At first he treated me like I didn’t exist and when he noticed me he insulted me in every possible way. He has done and said things to purposely hurt my feelings. Why would I fall in love with someone like that? Who would like someone that can’t stand them? Only a crazy person would. I’m crazy!
I sigh and look out the window. I’m surprised to see JR sitting on the bench by the basketball court where Minhyun is now playing with some other boys. I rest my head in my hand and gaze at JR. A year ago I would only have looked at Minhyun and not noticed JR. Now it’s the other way around. I just can’t stop looking at JR. Just watching him sit there makes my heart race. What’s wrong with me? Do I really like him that much? I sigh again. No matter how much I like him it makes no difference. JR would never like me back. I can’t even tell him how I feel because he would probably laugh at me. I just have to act like I normally do and forget about him as soon as possible.
At lunch I sit by the usual table and wait for the guys. When they appear my eyes immediately find JR. My heart skips a beat and I quickly look down at my lunch.
“Hi Heejin,” Minhyun says as he sits down next to me. “Hi,” I say without looking at him. I expect Aron to sit on my other side like usual and I’m shocked when JR takes the seat next to me.
“Want to learn more sign language?” he asks and my eyes widen. “Now?” I ask. “If you don’t want to…” he says and is about to get up. I grab his arm and turn my head to look at him. “I want to!” I say before I can stop myself. But I guess it’s okay because I usually seek him out to spend time with him. This isn’t out of character.
“Okay,” he says and turns towards me. He teaches me simple questions like ‘how are you?’, ‘what are you doing?’ and ‘how was your day?’. He also teaches me how to answer them and understand the other person’s answer. Then he suggests that I borrow a book about sign language from the library. If I read it I will be able to understand the basic elements of sign language. Then he ends our ‘lesson’ just as a girl comes over to our table. She hands JR a lunchbox and he just takes it without a word. It’s not the first time a girl has made a lunchbox for one of the boys. Aron never brings his own lunch because a girl always brings some for him. And it’s a new girl almost every time.
The girl runs back to her friends and they all giggle really girly. I really hope I will never be like that because of JR. Smiling like an idiot I can accept but I refuse to turn into a little giggling girly girl.
JR opens the lunchbox and looks at its content. Then he pushes it away and I ask what’s wrong. “I don’t like tomatoes,” he says and I look at the tomatoes in the lunchbox. “Just eat around them,” I say but he shakes his head. “I’m not hungry anyway,” he says and I roll my eyes. Stubborn child. But I’m also a little relieved. Now that I realized I like JR I have also found out that I can get jealous when other girls approach him. I can’t let him know about that so I try and keep my cool even though my inside is on fire. Now I understand why girls that like JR and Minhyun hates me so much. Never thought I was gonna say that.
I jump in my seat when the bell suddenly rings and interrupts my thoughts. The boys clean the table and then we all go back to class.
After school I decide to watch Minhyun’s team practice. I need to get my mind off of JR. At least for a while or else I’ll go crazy.
I enter the gym and see that they have already started warming up. I walk over to the coach and he smiles when he sees me.
“Hallo Heejin. You came again today,” he says and I return the smile. “Of course. The team needs a cheerleader even when they just practice,” I say and he laughs. “True. The moral is always high when you’re here,” he says and then yells commands to the team, “and they have to work hard if we want to win the match in two weeks.”
“Manage them well coach,” I say and he grins. “Of course. After all they do everything I say,” he says and raises his whistle, “the whistle makes me their God.”
Just then one of the players falls over and it looks like he is in pain.
“Walk if off!” the coach shouts and then walks over. I guess he just wants to seem tough but really cares about his players. I sit down on the bench the team normally uses when there is a match. Normally a lot of girls come and watch but today the coach wants the boys to focus so they don’t let just anyone get in. Luckily I’m not just anyone and I was allowed to watch.
I watch the practice and when it’s over Minhyun comes over.
“I’m just going to shower and change really quick so will you wait for me?” he asks and I nod. “Sure,” I say and he smiles before he follows his teammates to the locker room. I wait patiently and a few minutes pass before my peace is disturbed.
“Look who we have here,” a girl voice says and I sigh. Do these girls never get tired of bullying me? Don’t they have anything better to do? I hear them come closer and I look at them. I recognize them as someone who has bullied me before.
“Waiting for someone?” one of the three girls asks and she is the ‘leader’. “Why do you ask?” I say and the girls look at each other. “If she can still be so cocky I guess she hasn’t heard the rumor yet,” one of them says and I raise an eyebrow. “If it was me I wouldn’t even have come to school,” another one says and I have no idea what they are talking about. They see my confusion and they all smile.
“I guess you really haven’t heard. Then I will tell you,” the so called ‘leader’ says, “there is a rumor about you at school and everyone knows about it. It says that you’re having sex with our English teacher to get good grades. The rumor also says that he got you pregnant and the reason why you are following Minhyun, JR and Aron around is because you are trying to blame them for knocking you up.”
I try to hide how shocked and hurt I feel. I can’t believe someone would spread a rumor like that. It’s absurd. Are people really that desperate to chase me away? Is it really that bad that I have friends that are popular? Apparently it is.
I do my best to keep a nonchalant facial expression and look at the girls.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” I say and they all look confused. “What is that supposed to mean?” the leader asks and I smirk. “It looks like I’m not the one who needs to sleep with a teacher to get good grades,” I say and get up, “see you tomorrow.”
Then I leave the gym and as soon as I’m outside I start running.
The place I end up is the gym where JR usually practices. Even though it’s close to the other gym where I was before this was the only place I could come up with. I feel like I can let myself go here and cry. Since JR usually doesn’t practice today I can be alone.
I have cried for about five minutes when I suddenly hear someone open the door. I hurriedly wipe my tears away and look at the person. It’s JR. He also looks at me and I know that my eyes are red and swollen. He can see that I have been crying. But he doesn’t say anything and just turns away from me.
“I thought you went home already,” I say with a thick voice and he just shrugs. Then he starts wrapping one of his hands in bandage like boxers always do.
“Did someone bully you again?” he asks and I look down. “Why do you care?” I ask and try to sound as cold as possible. “It’s not that I care. It’s not the first time it happens after all,” he says and really sounds like he doesn’t care. I guess all those nice things he has done for me lately didn’t mean that he started caring for me. Maybe he is just playing around with me. Making me think he likes me and then he is cold again. That’s why he can’t know that I like him. Then he will just make fun of me even more.
“But you didn’t care the first time either. You just turned your back on me and walked away,” I mumble but he hears me. “Are you getting mad at me?” he asks and I hadn’t really thought about that. But now that he mentions it I actually feel a rush of anger. I’m mad that he ignores me when I need his help and that he doesn’t appreciate my help.
“Yes I’m mad at you! Because you don’t care at all! I feel like all I do is give but I never get anything back. Our friendship is a one-way street where I keep giving and you only take. I worry about you, I care about you and I want to help you when you need it. But you don’t seem to care about me at all. Am I really nothing to you?”
I didn’t mean to tell him all that but I just couldn’t stop. And JR doesn’t seem very affected by my words. He just looks at me and then nods. “I see. So that’s how you feel,” he says and then turns away, “then just stop caring about me too.”
Then he walks away and leaves me alone to cry again.
I don’t know how long I have been sitting here crying when I hear Minhyun’s voice.
“Heejin what happened?” he asks as he kneels down in front of me. “It’s nothing. Just some girls picking on me like usual,” I say and try to wipe my tears away. “But you never get this affected by it. What did they say?” he asks and I bite my lip. “Something about me being pregnant and trying to blame it on you guys,” I mummer and avoid Minhyun’s eyes. Minhyun grimaces and says: “That’s nasty. It has never been this bad before. Maybe they’re doing this because of JR.”
“What do you mean?” I ask and frown. Minhyun scratches his neck and hesitates before he answers. “Yesterday when I was waiting for JR in front of his class I heard him telling some girls off because they talked trash about you,” he says and my eyes widen a little, “he stood up for you and defended you. Maybe because the girls found out that he now cares about you they wanted to hurt you even more.”
I stare at him with a shocked expression. “JR defended me?” I ask and Minhyun nods. At that moment my tears have completely stopped falling and I wipe my cheeks. “I have to talk to him,” I say and get up. I ignore Minhyun calling my name and start running. I have to apologize to JR.
I run all the way home and kick my shoes off. Then I quickly climb the stairs two steps at a time and run to JR’s room. I open the door without knocking and look inside while panting heavily. JR looks at me surprised and stops wrapping his hand in bandage. Apparently he was about to practice with his punching bag.
“I have to.. talk.. to you,” I struggle to speak because I’m still out of breath from all the running. JR’s expression has already returned to the cold and indifferent look he normally has. “Have you come to complain about my personality again?” he asks and I choose not to answer that. I step further into the room and close the door behind me.
“I have come to.. apologize,” I say and JR raises an eyebrow. “Now that’s unexpected,” he says and his tone is slightly sarcastic. I get a little frustrated because of his attitude. Can’t he just accept my apology?
“I ran all the way here when Minhyun told me you stood up for me yesterday,” I say and JR’s facial expression doesn’t change. “Then you’re not in a very good shape if you’re out of breath from running that short distance,” he says and smirks. He does this to purposely annoy me. I forget about my apology and explode.
“This is exactly why I got mad in the first place! I never know what’s going on inside your head! One moment you’re nice to me while the next moment you’re bullying me and making fun of me. You’re making my heart race and then you shoot me down with your indifferent attitude. You confuse me and I don’t know what to think,” I say and JR just watches me without saying anything, “you never let anyone know what’s on your mind and you rarely show any emotions. Can’t you just for once let me know what you’re thinking? Just do or tell me something. Anything!”
He is silent for a moment and then steps closer. “Fine,” he says and cups my face, “but remember you asked for it.”
Then he pulls me really close and presses his lips against mine. I’m so shocked that I can’t even push him away while I feel his lips move over mine. We’re standing so close to each other that I can feel the heat from his body and I’m sure he can feel my heartbeat which has skyrocketed. My heart is beating against his chest and he smiles slightly against my lips. After a few moments he pulls away and lets go of my face.
“You could use some practice,” he says and smirks arrogantly. I finally get myself together and gaze at him. My mind is still in a blur because of the kiss but I do remember how to speak.
“You.. can’t just do that,” I say and he shrugs. “Sue me,” he says and walks past me. “You can’t just take a girl’s first kiss like that!” I say and I hear him chuckle lightly before he opens the door and leaves the room, “yah! Kim Jonghyun! I hate you..”
I hear him walk down the hallway and then down the stairs. I raise my hand and lightly touch my lower lip with my index finger. He just.. kissed me. And surprisingly enough.. I liked it.