I Returned as a High School Girl

Side Story Chapter 2- What If (2)
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Side Story Chapter 2- What If (2)

Je-Woon, who was having lunch with Ji Han-Seok after two years, stared fixedly at him.

Han-Seok asked in confusion, “What? Is there a grain of rice stuck on my face?”

“No, you don’t look to be in the best of moods today, so I was wondering if something happened in the shoot.”

Han-Seok had been in a film shoot from early in the morning until just now, so Je-Woon was wondering if Han-Seok was just tired from overwork.

“No, it’s…” Han-Seok slurred. He had a different reason. “...Because of my dream.”

“Dream? Did you have a nightmare?”

Han-Seok shook his head as Je-Woon asked the same question as Kang Ra-Eun had.

“Ra-Eun appeared in my dream.”

“Ra-Eun? Then it’s not a nightmare, is it?”

Ra-Eun appearing in a dream would automatically be a happy one.

“So, what did you do with Ra-Eun in the dream? Did you dream about dating her?” Je-Woon asked.

“Beyond that.”

“Married?”

“Not that far. We were engaged.”

Je-Woon’s eyes were filled with envy.

“How nice. I want to have a dream where I match with Ra-Eun too.”

“You haven’t had a dream like that even once?” Han-Seok asked.

“I’ve been so busy with my international schedule that I haven’t even had the leeway to dream.”

“You sure have it hard.”

“It can’t be helped. Besides, I chose this occupation because I like it.”

Hence, Je-Woon rarely got stressed due to work. The same went for Han-Seok.

“Did you talk about your dream with Ra-Eun? I heard you two had a radio show recording this morning.”

“Not in detail. You know Ra-Eun doesn’t like to hear stuff like that.”

“I guess that’s true.”

Ra-Eun had become a lot more open-minded to romance compared to before, but it seemed like she still needed some time.

“You still like Ra-Eun, right?” Je-Woon asked.

Han-Seok expressed embarrassment. He looked around to see if anyone was listening, and then nodded.

“Yeah.”

Even if he was asked dozens, even hundreds of times, Han-Seok was confident that he would give the same answer. His feelings for her had only become more certain over time. Je-Woon also knew this very well; although they were friends, they loved the same person.

Despite that, they were as great of friends as ever. If Ra-Eun chose one of the two of them, they had already decided that the person who was not chosen would move on from their feelings. Of course, they knew how difficult that would be, but they did not want to lose both the person they loved and their friend.

“Ra-Eun might choose someone other than us, though.”

“I think I’d be a bit mad if that were to happen.”

Han-Seok laughed out loud at Je-Woon’s honesty.

***

Although Je-Woon had returned to Korea after a long time, he did not just lounge around at home. Korea had been the place that he had debuted as a singer and had given him the momentum to spread out globally. He couldn’t afford to neglect his Korean fans just because he had become a global star, so he had decided to participate in some Korean programs with the other Bex members.

They had a talk show program scheduled for today. Tae-Chan, who would be appearing on the program with him, brought someone to the waiting room.

“Hyung. Ra-Eun is here.”

“Ra-Eun?”

Je-Woon, who had been in comfortable clothes, quickly put on a jacket and fixed his hair in front of a mirror. Ra-Eun would also be appearing on the program with them. He had been planning on going to her as soon as he got the news that she had arrived, but he didn’t think that she would come to him so quickly.

“I don’t think I’ve expressed enough of my gratitude for treating me to dinner last time,” Ra-Eun said.

She pulled out a small paper bag. Inside it was a small box that was a bit too small to call a gift. Je-Woon wasn’t able to tell what it was since it was covered in wrapping paper.

“Can I open it?” he asked.

He was curious to see what Ra-Eun had prepared for him, so he asked for her permission first.

However, Ra-Eun answered firmly, “Not yet.”

Je-Woon had thought that she would say yes for sure, but he was a bit bewildered by the unexpected response.

‘Is Ra-Eun perhaps embarrassed?’

The almighty Kang Ra-Eun that Je-Woon knew was not the kind of woman to get red in embarrassment over something like this. He was curious, but she was adamantly telling him not to check right now.

“Okay. I’ll open it when I’m home.”

“Please, sunbae.”

Although it was nothing special, Je-Woon found Ra-Eun to be acting extremely weird today.

***

Je-Woon had been overseas for so long that he had been using English or a different language on TV programs. Hence, the Korean he was using felt awfully sweet and lovely. He had never thought that having no need for an interpreter or not awkwardly rolling his tongue for better pronunciation would bring him such peace of mind.

Tae-Chan also felt the same way, glancing at Je-Woon several times during the recording. Meanwhile, Ra-Eun was so used to such recordings that she expertly answered the host’s questions without getting flustered. After the recording, Je-Woon gave Ra-Eun his thoughts.

“You’ve gotten even better in the time I haven’t seen you.”

Ra-Eun softly giggled at his thoughts.

“I’ve done so many things that I have talk shows down to a T.”

Even she could tell that she had gotten better at TV appearances.

“Are you done for the day, sunbae?” Ra-Eun asked.

“Yeah. I’m thinking of working out at the fitness center before going home.”

“Really? Then can I join you?”

“You too?”

“Yes. I don’t have any other plans either after this.”

There was no way that Je-Woon would refuse.

“That’s fine with me. Let’s go together. What about your manager?”

“I’ll tell her that she can clock out for the day. I’m sure Miss Manager will be happy.”

Je-Woon would be having a fitness center date with Ra-Eun after two years. He had not even begun working out yet, but his heart was already beating fast.

***

Je-Woon had come to realize something else while working out with Ra-Eun. She had not only gotten better at TV appearances, but her physique had also gotten far better than before after two years because she had consistently worked out regardless of whether she was on-season or off-season for productions.

“Good, hold that position. Just a bit more!”

Ra-Eun held her breath while lifting the barbell up high as Je-Woon said. Drops of sweat were trickling down her sharp jawline and falling on the fitness center floor.

“Down.”

Ra-Eun finally let the heavy barbell down and panted heavily. Je-Woon was proud of Ra-Eun’s progress.

“Good job. You’ve raised your lifting load in the time I haven’t seen you.”

“I just happened to get greedier the more times I did it.”

It was nothing compared to Je-Woon, but Ra-Eun was in a very high percentile in female standards. People would even mistake her for a trainer or even a bodybuilder. She had also participated in a fitness competition one time, but she had no intention to switch her career to a bodybuilder anytime soon. She was already having enough fun with what she was doing now, so there was no reason to try another job.

It had truly been a while since they had helped each other in their workouts, but their chemistry was perfect as if they had been working out together every single day. Je-Woon checked the time after noticing that it was dark outside. It was 10:30 PM.

“Shouldn’t you be getting home?” Je-Woon asked.

“Yes, I should.”

“How are you planning on getting home?”

“I’ll just take a taxi.”

“A taxi? Didn’t you have chauffeurs?”

Team Leader So Ha-Jin or Ma Yeong-Jun would come pick her up without delay as soon as she called either of them, but Ra-Eun shook her head.

“I don’t want to go home tonight.”

“What do you mean?”

Ra-Eun turned her gaze toward Je-Woon.

“Sunbae… no, oppa. Could I stay at your place tonight?”

Je-Woon choked on his saliva.

Cough, cough!

Only after coughing a few times was he able to get a hold of himself.

“R-Ra-Eun, that’s a bit…”

“You don’t want me to?”

“N-No, it’s not that. Rather, I would love for you to, but… How should I say this? It’s a bit too early for us…”

“But I like you, sunbae.”

“...”

Je-Woon was lost for words at Ra-Eun’s straightforward confession. From what he was aware of, Ra-Eun had never approached a man so assertively. She placed her small hand on the back of his hand.

“I’ve been waiting for you to come back for the last two years, sunbae… no, oppa.”

Ra-Eun’s passionate gaze and the warmth of her hand jumbled Je-Woon’s mind. Now that the thing that he had hoped to happen all this time was actually happening, he couldn’t think straight. Just then, Ra-Eun mentioned what she had gotten for him before.

“Do you still have the gift that I’d given you earlier?”

“That? Yeah.”

“You can open it now.”

Je-Woon pulled out the small gift box that he had put in his bag. He doubted his eyes the moment that he ripped apart the wrapping paper. It was a drug for men that worked wonders for a very specific purpose. Ra-Eun’s eyes gleamed. Her sweet voice as seductive as that of a succubus strangled Je-Woon.

“Don’t even think about sleeping tonight, Je-Woon oppa.”

As Je-Woon’s sense of reason was about to snap, the fitness center shook as if an earthquake was happening. Tae-Chan’s loud voice echoed throughout the fitness center.

“Hyuuuuung!!!”

***

“Hyung, you shouldn’t be sleeping when the recording is about to begin!”

Je-Woon came to his senses and sighed in disappointment after realizing that it had all been a dream.

He said to Tae-Chan reproachfully, “You should’ve woken me up a bit later.”

“How could I when the recording is about to begin?”

“Sigh…”

Je-Woon reluctantly got up from his seat and followed Tae-Chan out of the waiting room. He happened to meet Ra-Eun in the hallway.

She greeted him first, “Hello, sunbae.”

“Oh… hi.”

Ra-Eun felt something was off as Je-Woon avoided her eyes.

“What’s wrong, sunbae?”

“Nothing. Nothing at all.”

He had been envious that Han-Seok had dreamed about being engaged with Ra-Eun, but felt extremely awkward now that he was face to face with her after having a dream just as stimulating.

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