Fighting with Ji Tae was no big deal. In fact, almost every time I fought with him, I promptly forgot about it... or at least I forgot it till the next time I saw him. But this time, I just couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t honestly believe what he’d done. How dare he try to force his views on me? And who the hell did he think he was?
“Don’t take it out on the cup,” Yun Ah cautioned, permeating my thoughts.
I looked down and loosened my grip.
“What’s your problem? You’ve been acting weird all day.” She tried to hide it but I could tell that she was worried.
“Yeah, what’s the matter, Nuna?” Ki Won asked. He usually teased me because he knew how much I hated hearing him call me that since I wasn’t even up to a month older than he was.
I knew not reacting would raise a red flag so I weakly elbowed him in the side. He let out an exaggerated yelp so I smiled at him. It was nice to see that sweet boys did exist on the planet.
A few minutes after the ajumma brought our meals over, just like she normally did, Yun Ah announced my ‘best friend’s’ arrival into the restaurant.
But unlike most other times, I pretended not to hear her.
“Hey, Hee Soo, did something happen between you?” she whispered.
"What could happen between them?" Ki Won cut in.
I eyed her. “Exactly."
“But why does he keep looking over here?” she asked, looking at him then at me.
I feigned ignorance. “I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh my God, oh my God! I think he’s coming over here!”
Fcuk. I shut my eyes and begged for divine intervention.
“What are you doing here?” Umma screamed, barging into my sister’s room.
“I’m studying.” I said innocently. Since Ji Tae had refused to get the hell out of my room, I decided to leave it for him. Luckily for me, he hadn't spoken to me at lunch and I was hoping the silence between us would become permanent.
“What happened to your room?”
“Nothing. I just think I concentrate better here," I said it the geekiest voice I could manage. Besides, maybe it was time for me to apply myself and try the genius thing. I turned the page over and hoped it made me look focused.
My mom looked at me curiously. “Does Ji Tae distract you?”
I nodded enthusiastically. “I think it’ll be better for him to stay in the study but he won’t leave because of what you said. I even think it might be affecting his studies too," I said in a very concerned voice. I was thinking of rubbing my chin for effect but decided against it.
“Okay, I’ll go and talk to him.”
A few minutes later, my mother came back and told me that I could return to my empty room. Mission accomplished!
I was lying down and watching television when my mother practically kicked my door off. I quickly got off the bed and stood next to it.
She nodded knowingly. “So that’s the kind of studying you’re getting distracted from?” she asked with her arms folded.
“Umma, I was just taking a break. My studying has already improved.”
“Really? Then how come your sister says that the only reason you were studying in her room was because you'd had a fight with Ji Tae?”
That little... I smiled weakly and shrugged. “Mom, I always fight with him – it’s not a big deal.”
“Really? Then why don’t I just ask him to come back?”
“Umma, please. Isn’t it better to study alone?”
She walked into my room and shut the door behind her. "Look, I really don't have time for all your nonsense. I don't want him to study alone because I want him to be comfortable when he's here."
“Mom, he’s comfortable. Believe me – he acts like he’s part of the family. He even came swimming with Mi Soo and I last week. He doesn't need any special treatment, okay?”
My mom looked me up and down then turned around. I didn’t know what she was going to do so I sat on my bed and waited. About 20 minutes later, I heard a knock at my door.
“It’s me,” Ji Tae said. Or at least I hoped the male voice that wasn’t my father’s was coming from Ji Tae. I picked up my shoe just in case I was wrong.
“What do you want?”
The person hesitated then said, “Can I come in?”
I walked up to the door and opened it but made sure my body was blocking the entrance. “What do you want?”
“Look, I’m sorry, okay?”
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever.” He could stuff his 'sorry' in the same orifice most of his words came out of.
“But you didn’t have to break the CD. It cost money, you know?” He pouted and looked down.
He actually looked sorry, and even though I didn't really want to admit it, the fight was using up a bit too much of my energy.
“Did I ask you to spend that money?”
He shook his head. “But that's no reason to break it.”
I shrugged. "I can't allow you to force things on me."
He leaned in to me. "Giving someone a gift is forcing something on them?"
"When it's something they said they don't want, yes." I had to break away from his gaze. Stupid, freaking lashes!
"What?" I said, looking back at him.
He looked uncomfortably around the hallway. “Can I come in?”
I shook my head.
He sighed. “But are we cool?”
“Were we ever cool?”
He hissed. “Why do you have to be like this?" He put his hands in his pocket. "Since I’m here so much, can’t we just be friends? I'm getting tired of this.”
I smiled. I was slightly comforted that it was taking some energy out of him too. “Friends might be stretching it. I don’t even like you.”
“What’s not to like?” He asked half-seriously.
He started doing the pierce eye thing so I backed away a few inches. I could feel my heart beating slightly faster. I made a mental note to get him sunglasses for Christmas.
"So tell me what you don't like about me."
I laughed. “Do you have all day?”
He looked down and stubbed his toe against the carpet. “I get it. But let’s just try to be civil. If we can't be friends we can still be civil, right?”
Exasperated, he said, “Alright, Hee Soo. I better go back to the study – I have some work to do.”
When he turned to leave, I said, “If you feel like a break, you can come here and listen to some Clazziquai.” If he was going to offer an olive branch, the least I could do was take it. He really wasn't that bad of a person.
He arched his brow. “Your pirated songs?”