Chapter 201

6am. Bangjoo opened his eyes and turned off the beeping alarm right next to his head. It was early dawn, well before sunrise. Bangjoo folded his blankets and put on his running clothes to exercise.

“Good morning.”

“Running again?”

“Of course.”

It’s become a routine task for him at this point to greet the neighboring lady that went out to pray every morning. Bangjoo began running after some brief stretches with the sharp, cold air grazing past his cheeks dispelling his sleepiness. He turned at the park right behind his home and did a lap around a nearby hill before coming back home. It took him exactly 40 minutes. Compared to the 80 minutes he used to spend to complete this run, it was a significant improvement. It was a bit annoying how he wasn’t able to get any faster, but he wasn’t about to exhaust even more energy just to tire himself out for the rest of the day.

After taking a shower, he put the soup he made last night on boil. After scooping some rice from the rice cooker, adding some side dishes his sister made, and the soup, he got himself a very nice breakfast. By the time he finished eating, it was 7:30am. He quickly finished washing the dishes and stepped outside. It took him about 40 minutes to get to the school, Bangjoo put earphones in his ear and set it to the local radio to start his commute. It was 8am, and the radio show had just started.

- They say morning people are the symbol of success. That’s why whether you’re a student or a businessman, you are to wake up early each day. Maybe in this day and age, those that are really happy are the night owls? I for one am in support of the night owls. Good morning. I’m…

“What a liar.”

Bangjoo raised his speed as he shook his head.

* * *

“Um… Grandma, let me help.”

Jiyoon shook her head looking at her wristwatch, then approached an old lady next to her. She had to walk to school since she missed the bus. At the same time, she discovered an old lady struggling to carry her luggage across a pedestrian bridge.

“Shouldn’t you be heading to school?”

“I-I’m fine.”

She felt a little agitated looking at the clock, but she didn’t want to leave an old lady by herself. She grabbed the lady’s luggage before heading up the bridge. She was slowly getting further away from the school. Even so, she was happy that she could help someone out.

She made her way down the other side and gave the luggage back to the old lady, the old lady expressed her thanks multiple times before moving forward. The lady looked so perilous walking by herself that Jiyoon decided to help the lady all the way to the bus station. Unexpectedly, the weight of the luggage made it pretty hard for her to walk.

‘What do I do?’

Right then, someone called out to her from the back.

“Lee Jiyoon?”

It was Bangjoo. She wasn’t very close with the boy, but it was only a matter of time due to their shared club. Jiyoon was incredibly glad to see the boy.

“C-can you help me with this?”

“This?”

Bangjoo stepped closer and picked up all of the luggage like it was nothing, the boy was incredibly strong despite his height. Was it because he was a guy? Jiyoon and the old lady followed right behind Bangjoo.

“Grandma! Is this good enough?”

He had a loud voice for sure. The old lady complimented Bangjoo, saying he had the voice of a general.

“Here, have some of this.”

The old lady gave both of them candy big enough to completely fill their mouth, Jiyoon accepted the candy with a bow.

“Thank you very much.”

When she accepted the candy, she immediately noticed the clock at the bus station. 8:10am. She was reminded that she needed to get to school by 8:30am, the scary looking disciplinary teacher flashed by in her head.

“We might be late. What do we do?”

“Just run.”

“I can’t run.”

“Want me to carry you?”

Jiyoon shook her head quickly, if her friends saw her being carried by a boy in the morning… She didn’t even want to think about it, she’d get teased for a month straight.

“We’ll just have to run like hell, then.”

Bangjoo looked oddly excited, Jiyoon sighed before chasing after Bangjoo.

* * *

Aram, who was riding her bike with a yawn, suddenly came to a stop to take out her MP3 player. It had a radio function, so she dialed into her favorite station and checked the time. 8:16am. Sixteen minutes since the show started.

“Ugh, I’m late.”

She put the earphones in and started listening.

- Alright, and now we’re back with our usual affair. We got a lot of messages to work through, so let’s just take a look at a few.

This was a radio show hosted by her favorite actress, so Aram always listened to every episode. She sent out a lot of messages as well, although none of her messages got chosen so far. Aram quickly sent a message through her phone as she stood.

- I’m an office worker working in Seoul. The street’s so clogged on my way to work. Ugh, going to work is a great pain. But having a job in itself is something to be happy about. At least, compared to the unemployed.

Ah, that cynical response. Aram lived for this stuff, she loved how direct this actress was. There were several people online who criticised the actress for being rather rude, but Aram thought that was what made her so charming.

- I’m a student. I have to study earlier in the morning because of math. That’s why I’m at school an hour before everyone else. Ugh. Math. Why do we even learn it? If you don’t like it, you should just give up on it. But if you don’t have the courage to? Then just study. If you don’t see a way to start earning money for yourself right now, then you should just shut it and study. Life isn’t nearly as easy as you might think it is.

“Ugh, so cool...”

Aram got ready to hear the next message as she pedaled on.

- This is from a student as well. You know this isn’t a very good show for students, right? Well, whatever. I’m going to school on a bike right now. I listen to your show every day. Love you, sis! Is what it says. Hm, I’d have preferred to get a message like this from a boy, but oh well. I’m happy that a nice junior in life respects me so much though, so I’ll be giving this listener a gift. I’ll be calling you a little later, miss, so get ready for a call!

Aram shouted in excitement while biking. This was the first time she was chosen! A gift as well, on top of that? Today was going to be a great day. Right then, she saw a familiar girl in the distance walk with tired puffs.

“Eh? Isn’t that Jiyoon?”

Aram turned towards the girl immediately, she noticed Bangjoo was next to Jiyoon as well.

“What are you two doing?”

“Hah… Hah… Aram...”

Jiyoon was sweating bullets and Bangjoo was looking at the girl with troubled eyes.

“Leave… Go… You’ll be late...”

The poor girl looked pitiful. Aram looked at her phone, 8:23am. If she pedalled like hell, they could just barely make it in time.

“Get on!”

“Eh?”

“Get on.”

She tapped the back of her bike with her hand. Jiyoon shook her head with a pale face, she knew the girl would refuse.

“You’ll get hit by that wild dog if you’re late though.”

She called the disciplinary teacher that because of how persistent the man was. She was originally going to call the man a rabid dog, but changed her mind after being told that was a bit too rude from a friend.

“I-I can’t.”

“Trust me.”

“I’d r-rather be late.”

“Hey!”

Aram gave Bangjoo a glance, hoping that the boy would catch on and put the girl on the bike. But the boy just stood there blinking his eyes. Ugh, he just didn’t have any sense, did he?

“Just get on!”

Only then did Jiyoon get on with a scared face, Aram immediately started pedalling when she felt the girl’s arms around her hips.

“You just run!”

It’d be fine if Bangjoo gets punished for being late, but Jiyoon would probably collapse if she got punished. Aram pedalled wildly while thinking that. Right then, she felt something pass right next to her. It was Bangjoo. the boy clearly wasn’t lying about wanting to be a martial arts actor.

“I’m not gonna lose.”

She started feeling competitive. This was something she couldn’t lose at. Even in Judo, she’d lose sleep every time she lost. She always had to get payback if she wanted to sleep well. She could hear Jiyoon scream right behind her, but she couldn’t stop here. Not until she caught up to Bangjoo!

* * *

Dowook, who was pedalling slowly all this time, sped up right when he saw a boy and a bike zoomed past him. He was never one to stand a bike passing him.

“Aram!”

He realized that the girl that was screaming on the bike was a club member, Dowook didn’t care. He sped up looking at the one who was pedaling the bike. She was good, but couldn’t speed up much with that extra luggage. Dowook caught up with ease and passed right by. Right then, he heard someone shout right behind him.

“Jiyoon! You better hold on tight!”

* * *

Maru had to wipe his eyes for a second before taking a look again. What in the world did he just see? He could see Dowook pedaling ferociously, right behind him was Bangjoo running with a grin, and behind that was Aram biking with a massive frown. Poor Jiyoon was pale as a ghost on the back of Aram’s bike. The four of them charged right into school in that order. At the same time, he heard someone roar at them in anger.

“Which bastard decided to charge in with a bike! And you! I told you not to run when you come to school!”

It was the disciplinary teacher, Maru had to organize his thoughts for a bit before walking towards the gate himself. He could see the four students all lined up kneeling in front of a bike. Maru’s eyes met with theirs as he passed by, he grinned at them before promptly ignoring them. He could hear them call out, “hey” and “senior” right as he walked by, but he knew they weren’t talking to him. Of course they weren’t, Maru changed his shoes as he thought about how difficult practice was going to be from now on.

* * *

Suyeon slept very deeply for the first time in a long while. It was 4pm. The stress she accumulated at the villa must’ve vented in the form of sleep.

“My head hurts.”

It felt like a massive hangover, she put a hand over her throbbing head and gulped down some cold water. She thought about spending the rest of the day doing nothing like a jobless person before remembering what Junmin had told her.

- It starts today.

“Hah...”

Suyeon took out workout clothes from the closet and put on sunglasses, she didn’t want anyone noticing her. She thought about checking herself in the mirror before deciding against it, she’d just be going to meet students anyways. She drove straight to school in that outfit, it was a little past five when she arrived at Suwon. She didn’t even have makeup on, but she was pretty confident that she looked stunning without it. It’d be nice if she parked right inside the school, but she didn’t want to make things annoying so she just parked nearby.

On her walk towards the building, she came across a few students. Suyeon sighed, surely they’d ask for her signature.

“Want to bet on who pays for the PC bang?”

“Let’s go.”

A group of boys passed by her saying that. Suyeon took off her sunglasses with a small smile, surely they’d recognize her now.

“Let’s go play pool. I know the owner, so he might order food for us.”

“Oh, hell yeah.”

Another group of boys passed by without even looking at her. Suyeon didn’t lose her smile as she walked straight into the school, not a single student recognized her.

‘This is kind of annoying.’

At the same time, she realized just how far away she was from becoming famous. She really should take up more jobs. She can’t afford to be lax, she should take care of this teaching business as fast as she can before her next audition.

She stepped up to the fifth floor calmly, they were supposed to meet at a classroom on the fifth floor. Just as she turned to the hallway on the fifth floor, she ran into Maru.

“Surprise.”

He probably didn’t know who was coming, a great chance to tease this troublesome kid. Maru stared at her dumbly out of surprise before smiling.

“It really is a bit of a surprise.”

He pointed at her forehead as she spoke, Suyeon put a hand on it out of confusion. Something fell from her head right then, it was a pink hair roller that had turned completely flat.

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