Your Warmth

Arranged marriages, company dinners, school trips and dances. The factors of complicated romances. Four best friends, moving onto their fourth and final year of high school with low expectations, are dragged into chaos over and over again by the same people every time. What’s gonna happen to them? Will they make it through these difficulties and find their happy endings? Or will they fail to push past the troubles?

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4. Four

Ryu Maeil's P.O.V.

"Dae Hyun! Hurry up, you're gonna be late!" I shouted from the living room while I waited for my little brother to get ready for his swim lessons.

"I can't find my swimsuit! Noona, can you help me?" shouted Dae Hyun from his room. I sighed before going up to his room which was a mess with piles of clothes everywhere.

"You really need to clean your room," I said once I stepped inside.

"I'll do it later. Just, help me find my swimsuit," said Dae Hyun as he rummaged through his dresser drawers. I went over to his closet to check if it was in there but he stopped me before I could open the doors. "I already checked in there."

I knelt down and was about to open the bottom drawers of his closet but he stopped me again.

"I checked there too." I groaned then went to the nearest pile and looked through.

"Maybe it's in the laundry room," I suggested. Dae Hyun paused for a second and thought about it before he suddenly snapped.

"I remember now! I left it in Eomma and Appa's room after we went to the beach!" I sighed as Dae Hyun ran past me to our parents' room which was right across from his. "I found it!"

Dae Hyun ran straight to his bathroom after to change. He put spare clothes and a towel in his duffel bag along with his swim cap and goggled.

"Are you done?" I asked, leaning against the wall. Dae Hyun looked around his room to check if he forgot anything before nodding. "Let's go. We're gonna be late."

Dae Hyun and I went downstairs to put on our shoes and I grabbed my duffel bag from the couch before we both left and walked to the nearest bus stop.

"Noona, do you know which class you're coaching today?" asked Dae Hyun as he reached for my hand and held it while we crossed the street.

"No, not yet. They're gonna put up a list on the bulletin board so I'll have to check it when we get there," I answered.

"Oh," said Dae Hyun with disappointment. "I hope noona is gonna coach my class! You or Cheol An hyung. Or maybe even both!"

I chuckled awkwardly after he mentioned Cheol An. The best male swimmer at our program is actually a bully at my high school. Why does he act so different? At the program, he's so nice to everyone and keeps to himself but at school, he goes around bullying anyone he wants. It doesn't make sense.

"Noona? What are you thinking about?" asked Dae Hyun, making me realize that I was spacing out.

"Huh? Oh, it's nothing," I answered as we approached the bus stop. We sat down on the bench while waiting for the next bus to come. Usually, our driver would take us to practice but Mother and Father are doing something related to the company today so the driver is taking them around.

"Noona, do you like Cheol An hyung?" asked Dae Hyun making my eyes widen in surprise and pure shock.

"What? No!" I quickly answered. Dae Hyun giggled at my reaction.

"If you say so," said Dae Hyun. Sigh... 7-year-olds these days. "Some of my friends in my swim class said their old sisters like him."

"I'm not surprised," I mumbled quietly.

"What was that?" asked Dae Hyun.

"Oh, nothing, Look here comes the bus," I answered as I stood up, pulling Dae Hyun with me. I let Dae Hyun on the bus first but just as I was about to get on, a random guy shoved me and got on. I scoffed in annoyance when he didn't even apologize or anything for shoving me. I shook my head before getting on the bus after him and sitting down next to Dae Hyun. We were sitting quietly as the bus started moving. I was just looking out the window when my phone rang in my duffel bag. I unzipped a small part of it that was big enough for me to pull my phone out.

< Unknown >

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I'm back where I belong

And I really missed you.

Um. Who? What? I'm confused. I furrowed my eyebrows as I reread the text. Maybe they sent it to the wrong number... I examined the number carefully and tried to remember any numbers I may have forgotten when I got my new phone. 

"Noona, we're here," said Dae Hyun. I looked up and realized that the bus had stopped. I put my phone back in my bag and grabbed it before getting off the bus with Dae Hyun right behind me. The bus stop was about two blocks away from the swim center so we would have to walk the rest of the way. While we were walking, I kept thinking about the text from the unknown number. I don't think there were any numbers that I didn't add on my new phone. Besides, I don't think anyone I know would send me something like that. "Noona! Look it's Cheol An hyung!"

Dae Hyun grabbed my hand which made me snap back to reality and stop. I looked where he was pointing and saw Cheol An parking a black Lagonda Taraf in the huge parking lot. Before he even got out of the car, there were girls swarming around him. Some were even holding posters and they were all screaming as if he was a celebrity. 


"Woah, hyung's so cool," said Dae Hyun as he stared in awe. I chuckled and shook my head before ruffling Dae Hyun's hair. 

"Let's go," I said as we continued to walk towards the swim center. I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't even realize how close we had gotten to the center. As we approached the parking lot to get in the back entrance, Cheol An got out of his car and the screams increased by like a million. He put on a pair of sunglasses and ignored all the girls as he locked his car and just walked right past them to the entrance with a duffel bag in his free hand. 

"Wait, noona! If Cheol An hyung is here too, does that mean you both might be coaching my class?" asked Dae Hyun with hope in his eyes as we walked through the sliding, glass doors and checked in. 

"Um, Dae Hyun-ah, everyone in my class is gonna be here today to coach a class," I answered. 

"Oh," said Dae Hyun, looking deflated. I bent down a little and ruffled his hair. 

"Sorry, kiddo," I said. Dae Hyun shook his head and smiled brightly as usual.

"It's okay! It's not your fault, noona. I'm gonna go meet up with my friends and get ready. I'll see you later!" I waved at Dae Hyun as he ran off to the boys' locker room. I sighed before walking to the girls' locker room which was across from the boys'. I put my duffel bag in my locker before going over the bulletin board to check which class I would be coaching. That's weird... My name isn't on here. I went to the office to ask about it since I'm pretty sure they said everyone would be coaching. When I went in, the lady at the front desk asked me what I needed and I asked about it.

"I'll check the system. What's your name?" she asked. 

"Song Ryu Maeil," I answered. I watched as her quick fingers typed my name and waited silently while she checked. 

"Hm, it doesn't say what class you'll be coaching but you are supposed to be. Maybe check with your coach when he gets here," she suggested. 

"Oh, okay. Thank you," I said before turning away. 

"You're welcome," she said as I walked out. If I'm not on the list, is it because there aren't enough classes? Or maybe I'm coaching next week? I looked down at the ground while I was walking but looked up when I bumped into someone that was walking backward. 

"Oh, sorry. I didn't see you." The guy turned around and smiled apologetically. Wait... He kinda looks like Woo Young. But Woo Young's in Daegu with the other guys. Right? "Um, Ryu Maeil?"

I blinked rapidly and snapped out of my confused state after he called my name. 

"Woo Young? Wait. Did you send me that text?"

Cheol An's P.O.V.

I swear... Those girls are so annoying. When I got here, they were all crowding around my car. How did they even know it was me? I should just use a different car from now on. Anyway, after I got inside, a bunch of girls that were already here started going up to me. Of course, I ignored them all and just kept walking to the boys' locker room where, thankfully, the girls aren't allowed. Well, they're allowed inside but they're apparently allowed to stand right outside and wait for me to come out... 

"Cheol An hyung? What are you doing?" I turned around and saw one of the younger students. I think I tutored him before. His name was Song Dae Hyun, right?

"Uh, yeah?" I answered. 

"What are you doing?" He asked looking at me oddly. Well, I wouldn't blame him. If I could look at myself in his eyes, I would think I was weird too. 

"Uh, nothing," I answered as I turned around to face him and casually leaned my back against the wall. Dae Hyun looked lifted his eyebrows, showing that he didn't believe me. I sighed before telling him. "Alright. I'm actually just hiding from those girls. They can get quite intrusive."

"Oh, yeah that makes more sense. My noona and I saw you outside in the parking lot. I couldn't tell if you were annoyed or not because of your sunglasses. Is that why you wore them?" he asked. Wow, this is a smart kid. 

"Yup, that's right. I wore them so that they wouldn't be able to see my reaction. Even though it annoys me when they do that, I don't want anybody to be hurt," I answered. I sat down on a bench that was right next to the exit and Dae Hyun sat down next to me. 

"Hyung, are you a bully at school?" he asked. Um... What? I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. 

"What do you mean?" I asked back. Dae Hyun hummed before he answered. 

"My noona goes to school with you and I hear her and her friends talking and I heard them talking about you," he answered. Oh, yeah that makes sense. Does his sister like me or something? Well, not to sound conceited but all of the girls at Wangjo High like either me or one of the others. "They said they don't like you because you go around bullying others."

Oh. 

"Oh. Really? So they don't like me? What about my friends? Did they ever talk about them?" I asked. I feel bad, I'm basically getting information from this kid. Oh, well. I probably don't even know his sister. 

"They don't like your friends either. They said Seung Wook hyung is too arrogant and goes around flirting with all the girls, Soon Jae hyung is just annoying because he's always causing trouble for everyone, and Jin Hyun hyung is always getting into fights," answered Dae Hyun. 

Wow.

"So they really don't like me or any of my friends? At all?" I asked. Dae Hyun shook his head 'No'. Nah, I bet they're just acting. Girls never really mean what they say and do. 

"Hyung, classes are gonna start soon. Shouldn't you go check the bulletin to see what class you're coaching?" suggested Dae Hyun. How did he know about that? His coach probably told him during his last practice. 

"Yeah, probably. Do you want to come with me?" I asked as I stood up. Dae Hyun nodded excitedly before standing up after me. How old is this kid? He looks really young but he talks like he's older than that. We went to the bulletin board to check the list. "Looks like I'm coaching class 2A."

"Really? Hyung, that's my class!" I looked down at Dae Hyun who looked really excited and started jumping up and down. "I'm gonna go tell noona and ask her what class she's coaching. Bye hyung! I'll see you in class!"

I chuckled and waved at Dae Hyun as he ran off to his sister. I went back to my locker and put on the team jacket to cover my body since I didn't want to be around those girls without a shirt on. I went outside and as I expected they all surrounded me again. I acted like Jin Hyun and just kept a straight face as I continued walking past them. I glanced behind me and they were all following me like lost puppies... Great. I sped up a little and thankfully when I made it to the pool area, they were all told to stay back by one of the coaches since they weren't part of the program. I heard a familiar voice and looked across the pool where I saw Dae Hyun with a girl that looked a little familiar and... No way. You've got to be kidding me. I knew he was back but did he really have to be here of all places? Without realizing it, I was staring at them. I was about to look away when Woo Young suddenly looked over at me. We made eye contact and Woo Young smirked at me with an evil glint in his eyes. I glared at him in return before looking away and walking over to the instructor of class 2A, Dae Hyun's class. 

"Hey, you're Jung Cheol An, right?" asked the instructor. 

"Yes," I answered with a slight nod. The instructor gave me a clipboard the names of the students in the class and then under that page was the agenda for today's session. 

"So when class starts, I'll introduce you to the class then I'll sit on the side and just watch while you teach. If you need any help or it starts getting a little out of hand, I'll come over," said the instructor. 

"Okay, sounds good. Thank you," I replied. He nodded before he walked away, leaving me to look over the papers. 

"Hyung! This is my noona, Ryu Maeil!" I turned around and saw Dae Hyun running towards me while dragging Ryu Maeil. Behind her was, ugh, Woo Young. He pulled on my shirt and waved for me to come closer. I leaned down for him to whisper something. "Don't tell her what I told you earlier. About what she and her friends said about you and your friends."

I held in a chuckle and nodded at his request. Dae Hyun then ran back to his sister and pulled her even closer to me. 

"Noona! This is Cheol An hyung! He's coaching my class today. Did you find out which class you're gonna be coaching?" asked Dae Hyun who was standing right in between us. 

"Um, actually Dae Hyun-ah, I was assigned to show a new student around and guide him for a while so I won't be coaching any classes. This is Woo Young. You met him when you were only 2 so I don't think you remember," she answered. She got down on her knees so that she was closer to Dae Hyun's height. She smoothed down the hair on the back of his head and smiled apologetically. "Mian. I know you really wanted me to coach your class."

Dae Hyun looked straight ahead at her and sighed the nodded. They started whispering to eat other and I'm guessing it was private family-stuff since they didn't want anyone else to hear it. After they finished, Ryu Maeil stood up straight again pat Dae Hyun's head with a proud smile. 

"Noona will be here when I'm done, right?" asked Dae Hyun, looking up her. Ryu Maeil nodded.

"Of course I will," she answered. Dae Hyun nodded back at her before turning around to face me. 

"Hyung! Let's get to class!" I laughed at his enthusiasm before nodding. 

"Okay, sounds good to me. Let's go," I said as we both started walking to the rest of his class. On the way there, a bunch of girls that were sitting on the benches around the pool started screaming and running up to the railing. I swear, they're crazy. When we got to his class, Dae Hyun ran off to his friends while I stood there waiting for his instructor to come. 

--------

After the class ended, Dae Hyun asked me to walk with him to the locker rooms. He talked about how well I did coaching the class today and kept praising me. 

"Well, you can't give me all the credit. You and your classmates are also good swimmers," I replied while rubbing my nape. 

"Oh! I have an idea! Hyung, why don't you come with me and noona? We usually go out to eat after swim practice and today we're going to an amusement park too," suggested Dae Hyun with a hopeful and right smile. What do I do? I mean there are soooooo many reasons why I SHOULDN'T go. 

1) Woo Young is probably going to be there.

2) His sister doesn't like me.

3) I DON'T WANT TO.

But there's also a very important reason why I should go.

Dae Hyun wants me to. 

I mean, this kid looks up to me. I can't disappoint him. I sighed before nodding. 

"Sure. But you should ask your sister first," I replied. Dae Hyun suddenly started jumping and whooping with excitement and happiness. I chuckled and watched as he ran off to tell his friends before he came back. 

"Let's hurry up and change! Noona's probably waiting!" I nodded in agreement before we both started walking to our lockers.

Ryu Maeil's P.O.V.

"I'm gonna go and get changed. You can just wait by the entrance and Dae Hyun and I will meet you there," I said before turning around to leave. 

"Wait." Woo Young suddenly grabbed my wrist and turned me around to face him. He held my wrist tightly and stared straight into my eyes, making the blood rush up to my cheeks. 

"W-What...?" I asked as I tried to look anywhere else but at him. I could feel his eyes staring at me as I looked down at my feet. 

"Oh, nothing. Just that you had a leaf in your hair from when we were walking outside earlier," he answered as his hand went up to pull the leaf out of my hair. "There you go."

"Um, th-thank you," I mumbled. Woo Young let go of my wrists and rushed into the locker rooms. As soon as I got to my locker, I leaned against it and finally started breathing normally again. I always knew he was a bit of a flirt but, he never did that kind of stuff to me before.

"Um, Ryu Maeil? What are you doing?" I snapped out of my thoughts as one of my swim buddies approached me and looked at me oddly. 

"Um. Nothing," I answered before casually regaining my posture. It's only been an hour and he's already messing with my mind. I quickly started changing after remembering that I promised to take Dae Hyun to eat and to an amusement park today after practice. After I finished, I went outside to wait for Dae Hyun. "He's taking so long today."

"Do you want me to go inside and check on him?" offered Woo Young. My eyes widened and I panicked on the inside. Dae Hyun's my brother so I know what it looks like when he doesn't like someone and he does not like Woo Young. 

"No, it's okay. I can just wait for him," I declined. Woo Young furrowed his eyebrows at my rejection but nodded. 

"Are you doing anything after this?" he asked as we both sat down on a bench. 

"Yes, I am actually. I promised Dae Hyun I would take him to eat and then to an amusement park afterward. Since school is starting soon and I'm probably gonna be pretty busy, I wanted to spend some time with my little brother," I answered with a small smile. 

"Oh," said Woo Young. We continued to sit there silently and very, very awkwardly until Dae Hyun finally came out with Cheol An behind him. 

"Noona! Can Cheol An hyung come with us?" asked Dae Hyun as soon as he saw me. Um, what? I looked down at Dae Hyun who was smiling brightly while jumping up and down then at Cheol An who was awkwardly standing behind him. When he saw that I was looking at him he shrugged. "Please, noona? Please!"

Seeing his bright smile and how happy he was, I had to agree. I mean, I would be a monster to say no. I sighed before answering.

"He can come," I said with a nod. Dae Hyun suddenly hugged me tightly.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! You're the best sister in the whole world!" shouted Dae Hyun, making me quite embarrassed. People started to look at us so I removed his grip and leaned down to his height.

"You have to promise to behave though, alright?" I said as I pat his head. Dae Hyun nodded excitedly before turning to face Cheol An. I don't think he even heard me. I shook my head and sighed and watched as he bonded with Cheol An. 

"Do you mind if I come along too?" My eyes widened as I turned around to face Woo Young. Dae Hyun and Cheol An turned their attention to him too. Dae Hyun looked a little confused and I was getting confused too when I saw how Woo Young and Cheol An were glaring at each other. The only difference was that Woo Young was smirking while Cheol An just looked pissed. I cleared my throat so that it wouldn't get any more awkward and intense than it already was. 

"Um, Dae Hyun. What do you think?" I asked as I turned to face him. I could still feel the tension between Woo Young and Cheol An behind us. 

"Um, since he's noona's friend, he can come," answered Dae Hyun. I smiled and pat his head. 

"Great. Then let's go," said Woo Young as he went up to me and put his arm around my shoulders. I furrowed my eyebrows and looked at him. Before I could say anything he started walking and I had to as well since his arm was around me. I could hear Dae Hyun and Cheol An talking behind us and feel their eyes staring at us. This is gonna be a long day.

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