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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2. Two

Ti Hyun's P.O.V.

"Why did I have to come with you?" I asked oppa as he parked his car in his reserved parking space.

"Appa said something about meeting someone," he answered. We got out of the car and started walking towards the 7-floor building. When we entered, everyone greeted us formally and it still feels weird. Oppa and I walked silently. I was just looking straight forward while he was completely focused on his phone. He was so focused, he almost walked straight into a wall.

"Who are we meeting?" I asked as we entered the elevator.

"I don't know. Probably some of Appa's business partners. Again," oppa answered. I nodded in reply but then realized that he couldn't see since he was still playing games. We got off of the elevator on the top floor where Appa's office was.

"Hi eonni," I greeted Jenny, Appa's secretary. She's the older sister I never had. I mean, she could be my sister if she was with oppa. But, I could never imagine her with oppa. Eonni is so sophisticated and professional and oppa is just... I don't even know how to describe him. Let's just say he's too childish to date someone as mature as eonni.

"Hey! How are you? I'm so sorry for being distant this summer. I was swamped with work," said eonni as she got up from her seat and gave me a hug.

"Oh, it's okay! It must be hard since you have two jobs and you're still in college," I replied, returning the hug. Eonni leaned back and smiled at me before releasing me from the hug. When she did, I could feel her dry hands scratch my skin and I felt bad that I couldn't help her. She told me about her past and I'm surprised how she handled her problems and situation so well at such a young age. Another reason why she and oppa would never work.

"Anyway, what are you doing here?" she asked going back to her seat.

"Appa wants us to meet someone," I answered. "At least, that's what oppa said."

"Oh, he's actually in a meeting right now and it might take a while. I can't tell you what it's about but it's really important for the future of the company. Anyway, I'm sure you would prefer waiting somewhere else instead of this boring old office, right?" asked eonni. I nodded and smiled sheepishly.

"It's okay. There's a cafe just down the block. Why don't you wait there instead? I'll call you when the meeting is about to end and then you can just come back here," suggested eonni.

"Sounds good. Where are you gonna be, oppa?" I asked, turning to face oppa who was texting someone with a very serious expression. Actually, it looked more angry than serious. I'll ask about it later.

"In my office, where else?" he answered with his attention still on his phone. I sighed and shook my head in disappointment. He's always in his office. I mean there was a time when he practically lived there for like a month. I had to come almost every single day to bring a change of clothes and food.

"Anyway, do you guys want anything from the cafe?" I asked.

"Iced Caffe Latte," they both answered. That's weird. Oppa usually gets an Iced Caffe Americano. I noticed eonni give oppa a weird look. I guess I'm not the only one that noticed this change.

"Alright then. Well, I'll get going now. I'll see you guys later," I said before walking to the elevator with oppa following me. He's still texting. Now I'm getting really curious.

"Who are you texting?" I asked.

"None of your business," answered oppa. Fine. I see how it is. I'll just steal his phone later in his office. After a while of silence, oppa finally turned off his phone and sighed.

"Sorry about that. I'll tell you about it later," said oppa.

"It's okay," I replied and right afterward, we reached the 4th floor where oppa's office was.

"Come right back here after you get the drinks and go straight to my office after you give Jenny her coffee, alright?" instructed oppa. I nodded in reply and oppa left, leaving me alone in the elevator. After I got to the lobby, I walked straight to the cafe and on the way there, I got texts from Eun Sang, a member of the student council. The student council has been meeting for the past 2 weeks or so to prepare for the new school year. We've already planned the speeches and activities for the orientation and after the school year starts, we'll start having meetings about dances and field trips and all that stuff. Honestly, I never wanted to be on the student council but Eomma made me since it would benefit me in the future.

< Eun Sang >

I HAVE THE MOST SHOCKING NEWS!

I JUST SAW JIN HYUN LEAVING THE CAFE NEAR SCHOOL WITH MIN YU! 

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!

YOUNG HAN WAS RIGHT BEHIND THEM AND WHEN THEY STOPPED AT THE PARK NEAR THE CAFE, A RIDICULOUSLY HOT GUY SHOWED UP!

OH AND DID I MENTION?

JIN HYUN AND MIN YU WERE HOLDING HANDS!

Wait... WHAT?!

IKR! THAT WAS MY REACTION AT FIRST!

ANYWAY, YOU NEED TO COME LIKE NOW!

I can't. I'm at my dad's company building across town. I'm supposed to be meeting someone.

Aw! That sucks!

Oh, I think I was supposed to tell you something about the student council. 

Okay, what is it?

I forgot.

... Good job.

Thank you! 

Anyway, I need to keep watching them. This is more interesting than a drama!

Okay. But, you have to tell me everything when it's over, alright?

You got it!

I sighed and put my phone away before I started thinking about what she said. Why would Min Yu be with Jin Hyun? She hates him. She would never be near him. I mean, when she thought she was in the same class as him in 9th grade, she requested to be transferred. That's how much she hates him. Oh and don't even get me started on field day last year. Since they both played tennis and were the co-captains, they both had to be at the tennis stand and Min Yu kept a distance of at least 5 feet the whole entire day. She wouldn't even talk to him about anything, even if it was related to the event. She would just write notes to him and that's it. But before she agreed to work the stand with Jin Hyun, she tried to get me to do it instead since I also played tennis. Thankfully, I was able to get out of it since I'm on the student council and they needed me somewhere else.

When I entered the cafe, the strong scent of freshly crushed coffee beans surrounded me. The line was pretty short so it only took about 2 minutes before I could order.

"Can I get two Iced Caffe Lattes and a-"

"A Strawberry Acai Lemonade and a Cappuccino." I turned around to see who interrupted me. How did they even know my usual order?

Oh. My. God. What is he doing here?!

"That'll be 22,556 ₩," said the cashier which distracted me from the person standing next to me. I took out my wallet from my bag and right before I could give the money, he paid. "Thank you. Can I have a name for the order?"

"Ti Hyun," I answered.

"Your order will be ready in a few minutes," said the cashier. I nodded with a polite smile before moving out of the way and walking towards a table with him following me. We sat down at a table for 4 next to a glass window that was near the exit. He sat down across from me and smiled innocently. I glared at him in return.

"What? Why do you look so scary?" he asked. I stayed silent and continued to glare at him. He thought I spaced out and started waving his hand in front of my face. "Ti Hyun? You there? Ti?"

My eyes widened and I slapped his hand away. "Don't call me that," I scolded.

"Why not? I called you that all the time when we were younger," he argued.

"Yeah, when we were younger. It's been 5 years, Seok Min," I countered. He nodded in agreement and I sighed while shaking my head in disappointment.

"So, how have you been?" he asked.

"Good. And you?" I replied. This is so awkward.

"Good. Daegu was fun, minus all of the business and work." I nodded and it got awkwardly silent afterward. It's been so long that I honestly don't know what to say. It feels like I'm talking with a stranger but at the same time, there's sense of familiarity. I looked out the window at the street. This would be a great time for the order to be ready.

"I'm really sorry." I looked away from the window and turned my attention back to him.

"For what?" I asked. He opened his mouth and was about to answer but then a worker called out my name. Really? Now the drinks are ready? I smiled apologetically before standing up and going to the pick-up station. I got all of the drinks in a bag, including Seok Min's, and went back to the table.

"Sorry. Continue," I said as I sat down and handed him his drink.

"Thanks. I wanted to apologize for leaving the way I did back then. And for making it so uncomfortable now. I know it doesn't help but, I really missed you. More than you could imagine." Seok Min reached across the table and held my hand then starting caressing it tenderly. I felt my cheeks warming up at his action and wished I could run and hide in embarrassment. "I really hope you can forgive me."

"It's okay. You don't need to apologize. You didn't do anything wrong. And it's not like you had a choice back then. Your parents basically made you go to Daegu. It's okay," I said before taking my hand out of his grip. "Anyway, I should get back to the company now before oppa comes looking for me."

"Oh, I'll walk you back," offered Seok Min, standing up with me.

"No, it's okay. I can go by myself," I replied.

"Ti Hyun. I'll walk you back," said Seok Min firmly. I felt nervous as Seok Min approached me. Why am I nervous? I was never nervous around him when we were little. I held my breath when Seok Min was right in front of me. He leaned forward and then to the side and I realized he was getting the bag with the drinks. I finally started breathing again after he backed away with the bag in his hand.

"Oh, right. I'll pay you back for the drinks," I said as I moved to get my wallet out of my bag.

"No, it's okay. You can pay me back next time," said Seok Min.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"I'm sure," he answered. I nodded in reply and we started walking towards the exit.

"So, spill the tea. What happened the last 5 years?" he asked as we walked down the street.

"Let's see, 7th grade was terrible. The story behind that is super long so I'll save it for next time. 8th grade was better but the drama from 7th grade continued. 9th, 10th, and 11th grade were boring but productive for us. We worked hard and now we're already completely prepared for college," I answered with a proud smile. 

"That's good. I'm proud of you guys. Was there any boy drama?" added Seok Min. I turned to look at him.

"No, of course not," I answered. I smiled at him playfully. "And what about you? Was there any girl drama in Daegu?"

"Well... There is a girl...," he started. I skipped a little while walking and lightly slapped his arm.

"Who, who, who?" I asked, excitedly. "Do I know her? Can I meet her? When did you start liking her? Why do you like her? What does she look like?"

Seok Min smiled then chuckled lightly. "Chill, I'll answer your questions. Let's see. Yes, you know her. Yes, you can meet her. Before I left for Daegu. Because she's the most amazing person ever. She looks like a princess," he answered with a rosy color on his cheeks. He's blushing! I was getting more and more excited. I mean, who wouldn't? Your childhood friend comes back and there's a girl he likes. Why wouldn't you be excited?

"So... Who is she?" I asked, growing impatient. 

"You know her very well. Basically for your whole life," answered Seok Min, smiling mischievously. 

"Really? And you started liking her before you left? Oh my gosh, that's 5 years!" I exclaimed while slapping his arm. This time it wasn't very light. "When can I meet her?"

"You already have."

Soon Jae's P.O.V.

"Soon Jae-ah, I know you're upset about your sister but, you've been in your room for the past 4 days. You've haven't been going out at all. Please, at least go out for a jog or something," pleaded Eomma. "You can't just stay in here."

I didn't reply and seconds later, I heard Eomma sigh before she stood up and started walking towards the door.

"Call me if you need anything," she said softly before she left. I sighed and pulled the blanket up to my neck, covering my whole body. I turned so that I was laying flat on my back and stared up at the ceiling. How could they expect me to act like everything is okay when it isn't? She was supposed to come back. Even if it was just for a week. She was supposed to come back. After a while longer of spacing out, I got out of bed. It's already 10:00. After I finished washing up, I got texts from Jin Hyun.

< Jin Hyun >

Hey, hyung remember that time I helped you out with that girl that wouldn't leave you alone after you broke up with her?

Yeah, why?

And then you said you owe me a favor and that you'll do whatever I want.

... I don't like where this is going. 😕

Well... I kind of need a favor. 🙂

Okay, what is it?

Do you think you could like run over to our usual cafe right now?

Probably. Why?

Well, you see. There's someone I'm trying to avoid and she won't leave me alone.

Really? Who?

Guess.

Wait. Is it Young Han?

Yup. 

Wow. But I thought you only date her for the first quarter. 

I do. But something unbelievable happened and well, let's just say I was forced into this. Anyway, are you gonna help me or not?

Something unbelievable, huh? You're planning to tell me this unbelievable thing, right?

Yeah, of course. Just... Not now. Maybe later. 

Alright. So, what do you need me to do?

I don't know. I just need you to get her out of here because she is driving me crazy.

That's all?

Yup. That's all. That's not hard, right?

Well, if she was like any other girl then no, it wouldn't be hard. But this is Young Han we're talking about. The girl that stalked you for months in 9th grade. She's pretty crazy when it comes to you since you're like her one true love or something.

Ha. You're funny. I'm not her one true love. Do you know how many other boyfriends she has?

Is that a little jealousy I'm sensing? 😉

Hyung. Are you insane? 😑

Alright, alright. I'm kidding. 

Anyway, I'll be there in about... 15 minutes?

What?? But that's so long!!!

Are you kidding me? 😑

What? I'm impatient, alright? Leave me alone. Can't you come in like 5 minutes? 

Why 5 minutes?

Because I've been hiding in the restroom for the past 10 minutes.

... Yeah, I'll be there in 15. 🙂

HYUNG!

Yes? 😇

... Please? ☹️

Ughhhh! Fine. 5 minutes.

Yay! Thank you! Love you hyung! 😘

You're disgusting. 😑

I'll text you when I'm at the cafe.

I put my phone back on my nightstand before I went to change into something casual as quick as I could. When I finished, I put my phone in my pocket along with my wallet and keys then rushed downstairs.

"What's the rush?" asked Eomma from the dining room where she was reading a newspaper with a hot cup of coffee in front of her.

"Jin Hyun needs help dealing with this annoying girl," I answered honestly as I walked past her to the shoe rack next to the front door. Eomma sighed after she heard my response and followed me, holding the coffee.

"You boys need to stop this ridiculous act," said Eomma with a tinge of disappointment which made me feel guilty. She's right and we've been thinking about it a lot but, we just need to go through one more year with this and then we're done.

"Just one more year, Eomma. Then, I can go back to being your adorably childish son," I replied, smiling like a kid as she softly brushed my hair back and pat my head.

"You'll always be my adorably childish son. No matter how you act to protect yourself," said Eomma with a tender look in her eyes. I smiled softly before continuing to put on my sneakers, then my coat.

"I'll be back around lunch," I added before I left, locking the door behind me. I walked towards the car noona got me for my birthday last year and felt my mood go back down. Before I could get all depressed again, I reminded myself that Jin Hyun needed help and unlocked the car. The cafe was about 2 minutes away by car, without traffic. After I parked the car, I texted Jin Hyun to let him know I was here. I entered the cafe and looked over at the corner booth Jin Hyun and I usually sit at with Cheol An and Seung Wook hyung.

... Wow. This is probably the most interesting thing that happened all summer. I cleared my throat before approaching the table. Jin Hyun was sitting with his back facing me so he didn't see me walking towards them. I was just one booth away from them when Young Han started talking so I stopped there and just listened from where I was standing. Actually, I'm gonna sit down.

"Oppa, come on. Tell me the truth. This girl means nothing to you, right?" asked Young Han pointing at a girl that was sitting next to Jin Hyun. I could only see her from the back so I have no clue who that is. But she actually does look a little familiar. I feel like I've seen her before. Well, her back. Anyway, as far as I know, Jin Hyun's only had two girlfriends in his whole life, including Young Han, and I've known him for basically his whole life. Anyway, both were total gold diggers. Jin Hyun sighed before he leaned back in his seat and put his arm behind the girl sitting next to him, resting it on the back of her chair.

"How many times do I have to tell you, Young Han? We're over. I was never interested in you and I never will be. I only invited you out today because I was forced to, understand? Now can you please leave? I was planning to spend a peaceful day with my girlfriend and you ruined it," said Jin Hyun. So, she is his girlfriend! But, wait. Why didn't I know about this? I feel betrayed! I thought we were best friends, man!

It was silent until someone that was sitting in the seat across from the girl scoffed. Dude, I didn't even notice this guy until he- Oh man holy shit. Why is Jae Yeol here? I thought he was in Daegu with the other annoying jerks.

"You guys aren't dating," said Jae Yeol, glaring at Jin Hyun who gladly returned it.

"And how would you know?" asked Jin Hyun who was clearly annoyed. I mean, I can see the veins popping out on his arm from here.

"Well, for one thing, I know Min Yu a thousand times better than you and I know that she would never be interested in someone like you," answered Jae Yeol. Wait, wait, wait. Did he just say Min Yu? As in Lee Min Yu? One of the most popular girls in the whole entire school? Jin Hyun has a lot of explaining to do.

"Opposites attract. You of all people should know this, right?" replied Jin Hyun. Jae Yeol scoffed before he leaned back in his chair with an amused smile.

"Of course I do. But, I'm sure you know it much better than I do, right?" asked Jae Yeol with a smirk. Okay, that's it. He needs to leave.

"Alright, that's enough," I said, as I stood up and walked to their booth. I lightly shoved Young Han out of the way so that I was standing right in front of the table. I leaned forward and rested my hands on the table, making myself lean forward a bit.

"You." I pointed at Jae Yeol. "Leave."

"And why should I?" he asked, looking up at me with a smirk. I returned his smirk before standing up straight again.

"Because you don't want to be sent to Daegu again, right? Or maybe this time they'll send you to  Busan since it's farther," I answered. Jae Yeol's lip twitched in annoyance. I knew that would work. Jae Yeol rolled his eyes before he stood up and approached Min Yu but before he could, I stopped him.

"And what do you think you're doing?," I asked, eyeing him from the corner of my eye.

"I'm not leaving without her," protested Jae Yeol. I groaned and rolled my eyes. Always trying to be the hero.

"Yah, just go before he gets annoyed," said Jin Hyun, waving him off. Jae Yeol sighed and whispered something to Min Yu before he left.

"Now, to the other problem," I said as I turned around to face Young Han who still looked very mad. "You heard what he said. He's not interested in you."

Young Han rolled her hands into fists and squeezed them very tightly while shooting a death glare at Min Yu before she stomped her way out of the cafe. I sighed before sitting down where Jae Yeol was sitting. I glanced at Min Yu and she didn't look very happy.

"Can I leave now?" she asked while staring at the table very intensely. She looks mad. Like really mad. 

"Did I tell you to stay?" retorted Jin Hyun coldly. Min Yu scoffed before she stood up, grabbed her bag, and left. Yikes. I feel like I just witnessed a couple breaking up. I cleared my throat after Min Yu left and looked over at Jin Hyun who looked bothered. 

"What?" he asked. 

"Well? Aren't you gonna tell me what happened?" I replied. Jin Hyun sighed before leaning forward and resting his forearms on the table with his hands folded.

"My dad engaged me to Young Han," he answered. 

"What?" Jin Hyun sighed and leaned back in his seat then ran his fingers through his hair which is what he does when he's frustrated. Well, that and ruffling his hair. And sometimes tugging on it. The point is, he does stuff to his hair when he's frustrated. 

"Based on how she acted today, I don't think she knows yet. But when she does..."

"School is gonna be a living hell for you," I said, finishing Jin Hyun's sentence. I sighed before leaning back in my seat too. Wow, that's gotta suck. "What are you gonna do?"

"What can I do? If I try to do anything, my dad's gonna threaten to send me abroad like he always does," he answered. "All I can do is accept it. That and hope that a miracle will happen and I'll be lucky enough to get out of this marriage."

"Anyway, how have you been? I heard about noona and how you've been locked up in your room for the past 4 days," asked Jin Hyun. I sighed and threw my head back to look up at the ceiling before looking back at Jin Hyun which is what I do when I'm frustrated. I stare at the ceiling. 

"Honestly, it sucks. I miss her like crazy. And I hate him even more. How can someone be so selfish?" I answered with a sigh. I rolled my hand into a fist on the top and clenched it so tight that I could feel my nails digging into my palm.

"I think we've met enough people to know how selfish humans can be in this era," said Jin Hyun. We grinned lightly at each other before going back to silence. This is what I needed. A moment with one of my bros. Right when our moment passed and we started getting goofy, my phone rang. 

Hello?

Soon Jae-ah, your father just called. He said to get ready. He's coming home to pick us up to take us to meet one of his business partners. I need you to come home right now.

Yeah, I understand. I'll be home in a few.

Arasseo. Drive carefully.

I will. Bye.

Bye.

"What's wrong?" asked Jin Hyun as I stood up from my seat.

"I gotta go home. He's taking us to meet one of his business partners again," I answered. 

"What? You're leaving me alone?" Jin Hyun pouted at me and I laughed before smacking his head. 

"Yes, I am. Just go home or something," I said as we both started walking to the exit. 

"I can't. My dad said he wants me to spend the whole entire day with my fiance," said Jin Hyun. I laughed before patting his back.

"Well, I gotta go. Good luck with your situation," I said before running off to my car while Jin Hyun sulked and walked to his very slowly. When I got home, I quickly rushed up to my room and changed into a slightly formal outfit. I was putting on my coat when I heard the front door opening downstairs and the familiar sound of his many keys hitting each other as he put the keychain on his hook. I quickly put my phone, wallet, and keys in my coat before rushing downstairs where he was waiting with a disappointed look.

"I gave you 15 minutes to get ready. You should've been waiting down here with your mom by the time I got home," he said with his low, hoarse voice. I bowed before apologizing formally.

"I'll do better next time," I said. I watched with anticipation as he stood up and walked towards me. He stopped when he was right in front of me and I honestly thought he was going to hit me again but instead, he reached for the collar of my coat and fixed it.

"Since you took so long, you could've at least looked nice," he said in a low tone. When he stepped back, I bowed and apologized again. 

"Get in the car," he ordered Eomma before pointing at me. "Follow us in your car."

I nodded before following him and Eomma out of the house. Since I was the last out, I locked the door behind me before getting into my car and following him to a tall 7-floor building that was probably a company. I parked right next to him in the underground parking lot and followed him and Eomma to an office on the top floor of the building.

"Mr. Lee! You're early," said the secretary who was sitting at a large desk right next to the door of the CEO's office, I'm guessing.

"Yes, well, in business, early is on time and on time is late," he replied. I rolled my eyes internally.

"I'm afraid the CEO is still in a meeting. Would you mind waiting for a few?" asked the secretary. She seems very professional but also very young. I mean, not as young as me but like, young for someone so professional and mature.

"Of course not." Father turned around to face me and Eomma and signaled us to follow him, which we did, to the waiting area. He and Eomma sat next to each other on one couch while I sat on the couch across from them. After a while, the door opened the three people exited, two males and one female. One male that was dressed in casual formal clothing was shaking hands with the other male and the other female so I'm guessing he's the CEO. The other two were dressed in completely formal clothing and looked very professional. Once they left, Father stood up and walked towards him with Eomma and me following.

"Mr. Lee! It's great to see you again!" said the CEO, shaking hands with Father. "Please come in!"

The three of us followed the CEO into his spacious office. Father and Eomma sat down in the two seats in front of the CEO's desk so I had no idea where to go until the CEO told me to sit on his couch in the corner of the room. 

"Your son is very handsome," complimented the CEO.

"Step-son," corrected Father. 

"Ah, I see. Well, either way, it's great to have him here. Let me just tell my secretary to call my family up here and then we can start the meeting," said the CEO before pushing a button on his phone system. "Jenny, please call my family up here."

"Yes, sir," replied Jenny. The CEO then turned to face Father and Eomma.

"Should we discuss the basics?" suggested the CEO.

"Yes. So, we've agreed that your daughter will become part of the Lee family, correct?" asked Father. Uh, what?

"Yes. She will marry your son and he will then be eligible to work in your company and control a branch," answered the CEO. Hold up. Marry? I never agreed to any of this!

"And your daughter will help my son to better the company after I have passed it on to him," said Father, concluding their discussion. I didn't agree to marry anyone! I opened my mouth to say something but before I could get anything out, there was a knock on the door. The CEO stood up and walked towards the door and opened it to reveal three people who I'm guessing are his family.

"This is my wife, Kim Soo Young. My son, Kim Han Sol. And my daughter, Kim Ti Hyun," introduced the CEO. "Ti Hyun-ah. These are your in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Lee. And this is your fiance, Lee Soon Jae."

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