Your Warmth

1061500
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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10. Ten

Ryu Maeil's P.O.V.

"Hey, are we gonna go shopping today?  The dance is on Saturday and the game's tomorrow so this is our last chance to go," argued Min Yu while closing her locker.  I turned around and leaned my back onto the locker beside hers.

"Yeah, but there's so much homework today.  And I'm pretty sure Nae Jin and Ti Hyun will be too lazy or too busy to go," I answered with a sigh.

"But this is our first and last Homecoming dance!"  Min Yu sighed before she pulled out her phone and checked the time.  "It's 4 right now so if we go and shop very quickly, we'll be home by like 8 which is enough time to do homework."

I groaned as Min Yu began to cling on my arm and begged.  People started looking at us so I tried to pull her off of me but... it didn't work.  

"Okay, okay!  Go find Ti Hyun and Nae Jin.  I need to go to the office and get some paperwork," I said, finally giving in.

"YES!  WE'LL MEET YOU AT THE FRONT GATE," shouted Min Yu as she ran off.  I sighed and slapped my hand onto my forehead.  Her mental age decreases more every single day.

As I was walking down the hall, my phone vibrated in the pocket of my blazer.  I stopped on the side of the hallway so that I wouldn't block anyone before I pulled out my phone.

<Mother>

A package from the orphanage was delivered.

I sighed before replying with a simple "Ok." I can't believe that after all these years they finally decided to tell me that I was adopted. And it wasn't even a discussion. They were mad and then just blurted it out. It's been about a month and I've been doing everything I can to find my birth parents. I want to know who they are, if I'm similar to them, what they do. But mostly, why did they leave me? 

I exhaled a shaky breath before composing myself. My eyes were stinging due to the tears I was holding back. But it's not the time for me to be weak and cry. Taking in a deep breath, I started walking towards the office.  After getting what I needed, I walked straight down the hall to the front gate and waited patiently for the others. 

Since they were taking their sweet time, I decided to go to the mini-garden area and wait there. I sat down at a bench and enjoyed the view. I took out my earbuds from my bag and plugged them into my phone then blocked out all of the sounds, replacing them with gentle tunes. I pulled out a book and continued to read it from where I last left off. After a while, I felt a weight on the bench beside me. I thought it was the others but then I saw that they were wearing the dark blue pants that are part of the boys' uniform. I ignored the person's presence and continued to read my book until I felt their hand on my shoulder. I immediately looked up at the person only to see that it was Woo Young. I sighed before taking off my earbuds.

"Jeez, how loud was your music on," he asked. I put a thin sticky note on the page that I was reading before closing the book and putting it away.

"What are you doing here, Woo Young," I asked. He scratched the back of his head before answering.

"We just finished practice," he answered. I nodded to show that I was listening and it quickly got silent again. "Hey... I know I've already said this quite a few times but I really am sorry about last night."

And here comes the awkward part.

"It's fine, don't worry about it," I said with a small smile. Woo Young sighed before he stood up in front of me.

"It's not okay. I mean, first we crashed your shopping trip and then the thing with Seung Wook and Rae Shin happened and you girls couldn't buy what you need for the Homecoming dance which is this Saturday." I stared blankly as Woo Young continued to apologize. How does one fix this?

"Woo Young, seriously, it's fine. The past is the past. Let's move on," I said comfortingly. I sighed as he finally calmed down. It got silent again until I asked him about his most recent business trip and from that we just kept talking about random things. He was telling me about something stupid Seok Min and Jae Yeol did when my phone started vibrating and cut him off.

"Sorry," I said before standing up and taking a few steps away from Woo Young to answer the call from Min Yu.

Hello?

Yo, where are you?

In the min-garden. Where are you?

At the front gate where we were supposed to meet.

Alright, I'll be there in a few. Are Ti Hyun and Nae Jin with you?

(Ti Hyun and Nae Jin) Hi!!!

Bye!!

I laughed at the girls protesting before I ended the call and cut them off. I returned to the bench were Woo Young was waiting and picked up my bags.

"Are you going home," he asked.

"Nope. The girls and I are going shopping since we couldn't yesterday," I answered.

"I'm sorry, again, about yesterday," said Woo Young for like the hundredth time.

"It's fine," I said, once again as I started walking to the front with Woo Young trailing behind me.

"Hey, um...  Do you have a date to the dance...," asked Woo Young, surprising me and causing me to slow down.

"Um no.  The others and I were actually planning to just go as a group instead," I answered.  "Why?"

"Well...  I actually-"

"Woo Young!"  The two of us stopped and turned to the direction of the voice that interrupted Woo Young.  Cheol An was walking towards us and he did not look happy.  As he got closer, he glared at the two of us, mostly Woo Young.  "What do you think you're doing?"

I watched in confusion as the two of them exchanged deadly looks.  Cheol An seemed very annoyed and irritated while Woo Young seemed... different.  There was something about him that was very different from the Woo Young I used to know.  He gave off a cunning vibe.  Woo Young shrugged and smirked as Cheol An continued to glare at him.

"Um, did something happen," I asked, pulling Cheol An's attention away from Woo Young.  He scoffed and put his hands on his hips.

"Yes, something did happen.  Your little boyfriend has been ditching practice and thanks to him, we've been on a losing streak.  Not to mention, our coach has been stressed out and is taking out his frustration out on the rest of us," answered Cheol An.  He was so angry that I could see his jaw line protruding and his muscles twitching.  He took a step closer to Woo Young and pointed at him accusingly.  "If you don't show up to practice tomorrow, you're off the team.  Understand?"

Woo Young's lip twitch before he started laughing.  "Yeah, okay.  If I'm off the team that means you lose your best goalie," said Woo Young confidently.  To his disappointment, Cheol An only smirked in return.

"Don't get too cocky.  While you've been taking your time relaxing, Yu Chan has been subbing for you and I think we can handle losing our 'best goalie'."  Now Woo Young was starting to get mad while Cheol An was satisfied.  I just awkwardly stood by the side while the two of them just continued to glare at each other.  They basically looked the same.  The only difference was that one of them was angry and the other was amused.

"Cheol An!"  I turned around to see Yu Chan, a student from our class, running towards us.  He cursed as he got nearer and saw what was going on between Cheol An and Woo Young.  "Oh, Ryu Maeil.  Annyeong."

"Oh, annyeong," I replied.  Yu Chan sighed and rested his hands on his hips while taking in deep breaths.

"Cheol An, we gotta go.  Coach needs to talk to us about the next game and he wants to come up with some new game plans and strategies," said Yu Chan.  Cheol An gave Woo Young one last sharp glare before he turned away and started walking.  He passed Yu Chan and just continued to walk without waiting.  Yu Chan scratched the back of his neck awkwardly before apologizing for Cheol An's actions and going after him, leaving me and Woo Young.

"I'm sorry you had to see that," said Woo Young after the two boys were gone.  I quickly glanced at him before walking towards the gate again.

"Things happen," I replied.  I could see Woo Young nod his head in agreement from the corner of my eye.  We continued to walk in silence.  A very awkward silence.

"Oh, there she is!"  I heard Min Yu's voice and looked up to see her with Ti Hyun and Nae Jin standing by the gate.

"Well, I guess this is my cue to leave," said Woo Young as he stopped, making me stop as well.

"Yeah, I guess so," I replied.  We both just awkwardly stood there until Woo Young finally said 'bye' and turned away towards the school.

"Wait!"  He quickly turned around and looked back at me.  "What did you want to say earlier?  Before Cheol An came."

Woo Young smiled awkwardly and forced out a light chuckle.  "I was actually about to ask you to be my date to the Homecoming dance," he answered.  My eyes popped and my eyebrows jumped up while my jaw dropped.

"Wait, really," I asked.  Woo Young nodded and bit his lip while nervously looking down at the ground.  I started to slouch as I realized how awkward this was about to get.  "I'm sorry but, I already agreed to go with the girls as a group so..."

Woo Young looked up and started waving his hands back and forth.  "Oh no, it's okay.  Don't worry about it.  I understand."

I nodded and apologized again before we both said our goodbyes and I went to join the others.

"What was that about," asked Min Yu.  I sighed and shook my head.

"I'll tell you later.  For now, let's focus on finding the perfect outfits for Homecoming," I answered, trying to change the topic which I did very successfully.

"Oh my God, yes!  So I was thinking..."  I started to zone out while Ti Hyun and Nae Jin talked about their ideas while we walked to Min Yu's apartment.  It was the same plan as yesterday.  We were gonna leave our bags there, change into comfortable clothes, and then shop till we drop.

"Wait, Min Yu can't you drive already," asked Nae Jin as Min Yu was locking the door to her apartment.

"Yeah, but we only have one car and my mom needs it," she answered. We started walking down the path to the floor level and if I'm being honest, I'm jealous of Min Yu's home. I would love to be living in a simple apartment and be able to walk down this path everyday. The path is surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees it's like walking through a mini garden. And I know Min Yu is definitely very grateful for this. I remember before her parents were divorced she would always complain about how she felt suffocated in the big mansion, always surrounded by maids doing everything for her.

We walked to the nearest bus top and waited while Min Yu checked the bus's schedule that was posted on a pole.

"The bus that stops closest to the mall is coming in half an hour. We could go to the cafe and get something first," suggested Min Yu. 

"Sure. The cafe is only a five minute walk so we should make it back on time," answered Ti Hyun. Min Yu and Ti Hyun started talking about some things as they led us to the cafe. When we got there, we ordered our usual drinks before going off the side to wait. 

"So, Ryu Maeil. What happened earlier with Woo Young," asked Min Yu while we were waiting. Nae Jin and Ti Hyun stopped talking and turned to face us.

"Yeah! What happened? Woo Young looked so disappointed before he left," added Nae Jin.

"Well..."  I sighed.  I opened my mouth to start telling them but then my name was called and following were their names.

"I'll tell you after we shop," I said as we all picked up our drinks and walked back to the bus station.  "It's not that important anyway."

Min Yu shrugged before agreeing.  We got on the bus and sat in the very back.  I sat with Ti Hyun while Min Yu and Nae Jin sat on the bench across from us.  As soon as we got to the mall, the first thing we did was look for dresses.  It took like hours but we finally found dresses that we liked.  After that, we went for a snack break and got drinks.  We found an empty table and sat down to rest our feet.

"Hey, you need to tell us what happened," reminded Ti Hyun as I was sipping on my milk tea.  I put the drink down on the table and sighed.

"It's nothing important.  Woo Young just asked me to be his date to the dance but I said that we already agreed to go together, as a group," I answered with a calm shrug.

"Seriously," asked Min Yu, leaning forward in her seat.  "That is important!  Why did you say no?"

I looked at weirdly.  Is she serious right now?  "Why would I say yes?"

"Yeah.  In case you haven't noticed, he's a lot different now than before.  And I don't mean like he's more mature.  His personality is different," clarified Nae Jin.  Ti Hyun nodded in agreement while Min Yu just stared down at her drink.

"But, I thought he liked you," said Min Yu, confused.  The three of us sighed and I shook my head.

"How can you still be slow when it comes to boys," I asked.  Min Yu smiled sheepishly while Nae Jin and Ti Hyun smiled in agreement.

"It's true, we thought that he might like Ryu Maeil because of the way he acts towards her.  But, based on his new personality, if he does anything about it, I personally don't approve," said Ti Hyun.  Nae Jin nodded in agreement then turned to Min Yu.

"Do you understand now," she asked, laughing a little when Min Yu nodded.  After resting for a while longer, we got up, threw our empty cups away, then continued looking around for other things we might need for the dance.  When we finished, it was already really dark outside.  And really cold too.

"Ugh, I should've brought my windbreaker," I said, shivering, as we walked down the street to the bus stop.

"We're almost at the bus stop," reassured Min Yu, laughing a little.  She took out her phone and directed the camera at the three of us.  "Smile."

The three of us smiled and waved as she took the picture for her streaks.  After sending it, she went through her social media.  When she suddenly gasped and stopped, we all stopped and turned to face her.  She put her phone up to our faces, showing us a post from yesterday.

"It was Seung Wook's birthday yesterday," asked Ti Hyun, shocked.  I had to lean forward to make sure I was reading the words correctly and it definitely said 'Happy birthday to our beloved quarterback from the cheerleaders'.  Min Yu pulled her phone back and scrolled down some more showing a picture of Cheol An, Seung Wook, Soon Jae, and Jin Hyun together on the school roof during what looked like sunset.  What were they even doing at school that late?

"But, it was so calm during school," said Nae Jin as we started walking again.  Min Yu put her phone away and shrugged.  "I kind of feel bad for not knowing and not saying anything."  

Ti Hyun agreed with her then brought up yesterday's incident.

"Doesn't that mean he was almost forced into an engagement on his birthday," asked Ti Hyun.

"What if that was his dad's 'birthday present' for him," added Nae Jin.  Min Yu inhaled sharply and her eyes widened.

"Best birthday present ever, am I right," she joked, making the three of us laugh a little.  We changed the topic and continued walking to the bus stop which was just around the corner.  We sat down on the empty bench and waited patiently.  I continued to shiver while Nae Jin and Ti Hyun were perfectly warm in their sweaters.  Min Yu, on the other hand, was somehow fine in her thin hoodie t-shirt.  When the bus came, I was the first to rush in.  I could hear the others laughing behind me but I didn't care.  I wasn't gonna freeze to death out there.  I sat down first and Min Yu sat down next to me while Nae Jin and Ti Hyun sat down in front of us.

"Hey...  Isn't that Woo Young," asked Nae Jin who was sitting in the window seat.  The four of us looked where she was pointing and saw a guy wearing all black standing with a group boys that were also wearing all black.  I watched as a boy from the group held out something to the guy that looked like Woo Young.  He looked around first before nodding and taking the item.  After that, the group of boys left while the guys stayed behind.  I looked closely at him, trying to see his facial features.  But, he was wearing a black face mask so I couldn't seen anything.  Instead, I tried to see what he was holding.  It looks like an envelope.  He opened it and looked inside but I couldn't see what was it was.  What if it was money?  Or drugs?

"That can't be Woo Young," I said as I forced myself to look away.  The three of them looked at me weirdly and I sighed.  "I know he's been acting different lately but he wouldn't do things like that."

I looked out the window again and the guy was gone.  In the corner of my eye, I could see Min Yu, Ti Hyun, and Nae Jin exchanging looks before the bus started moving.  I sighed again.  He wouldn't be involved in those types of things.  Right?

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