Chapter 264

[I got them!]

That was the post from a close friend of Bada’s on Cyland. Bada’s friend, who was in the photo, was laughing brightly with two tickets in her hands. Bada looked at the photo with envy before scrolling down to the comments section. Her friends had commented that they were envious as well.

“She has it good.”

She rested her chin on her hands and blankly stared at the monitor. The two tickets in her friend’s hands were much more envious than a good grade card right now. Bada slightly turned her head around to look at the poster of TTO on her wall. There were five oppas in various poses. Bada was especially looking at the young man standing on the left, Ahn Sungjae, as she sighed.

“I wish I could go, too.”

Ever since she started liking TTO, she visited music program live shows without telling her mom, wrote fan letters, and was even active on the fan cafe, but she had never once been to their concert. Up until a year ago, she was fine with just reading reviews of the concerts, but these days, those reviews made her thirst even more.

She faintly brought up this topic half a year ago to her mom and asked if she could go to their concert, but she was refused because of the ticket prices. Well, they were expensive after all. Moreover, it was hard to buy them at their regular price, so most of the time, they had to be bought with more money. To top it all off, she was no longer able to bring up anything remotely related after a news broadcast about failing safety measures in concerts.

“Aah! I wish I could go there too.”

She lied down on her bed. If she went to the concert, she would be able to see her oppas up close. If she was lucky, she would even receive a gift from them as well. Bada rolled around in her bed for a while before calling up the friend that just posted that she got two tickets.

“Hey, how did you get those tickets?”

-My dad told me he would get them for me if I do well on the tests this time, and he really did.

“Really? That’s incredible.”

-Yeah. I feel like I might cry. You know, don’t you? The things I did in order to go to their concert.

“I do, I sure do. Haa. I want to go as well.”

-Didn’t you tell me that you might get them if you do well on your tests this time?

“...I’m doomed. I screwed up English.”

Bada and her friend chatted for 10 minutes non stop before hanging up. Bada couldn’t ask her to bring her along. From the looks of it, she already had a friend she planned to go with, so she didn’t want to make their relationship awkward.

Then, she thought that she could ask them for posters and the wristbands. Bada was about to text her when she remembered that there was still quite a long way to go until the concert.

‘I really did my best this time, too.’

Although she had to see her grade card to be sure, it seemed like getting into the top five of her class seemed out of reach this time. Up until yesterday, the fifth place was a hair’s breadth away, but the English test ruined all that. She put the most amount of effort into this, yet she screwed up badly.

“They helped me out a lot, too.”

There were quite a lot of TTO fans in her class. When she told them about her circumstances, they started helping out as though it was their own matter. They showed her the notes they made during classes, and even had study sessions together after the tests.

We won’t make it, so you should make it at least - was what they said as they looked after her so much during the exam period, yet it was all ruined.

The concert. Yes, strictly speaking, it wasn’t anything much. It wasn’t like the TTO oppas were of any help to her life, and it was also possible to relieve her frustration through watching videos online. However, wouldn’t everything be pointless when you think about it that way?

To Bada, TTO was a refuge. At first, she fantasized about dating one of those oppas, but now, she was at the stage where she was fine with just watching over them. She knew the difference between reality and fantasy.

However, she just wanted to watch them up close for just once. She wanted to sing her lungs out, and wanted to jump around. All of her friends that went to the concert even once all said that it was worth going there at least once. They said that it felt as though their minds were cleared.

Bada blankly stared at the ceiling as she listened to TTO’s new song on her MP3 player. She could hear the front door opening.

‘Is he back?’

Her brother had gone out early in the morning. He said something about reading the script with the other actors, and seeing that, she felt that her brother was rather unfamiliar. She always thought that her brother would always play games at home or play soccer with his friends, but ever since he entered high school, he acted as though he was a different man, and right now, he looked as though he had entered society.

That didn’t mean that she didn’t like him. In fact, she was thankful since he was so considerate of her and looked after her in various ways. There was no way she disliked her brother who secretly gave her a credit card for her to use.

However, as he changed so drastically within just one year, she felt strangely worried. Before, whenever she talked with her mom, she would always say something along the lines of ‘I wonder when your brother will mature’, but these days, none of that happened.

‘In fact, she says that to me.’

It wasn’t that she was displeased because she was compared to her brother, but that she felt rather powerless when she looked at her brother since it made her feel like she had to do something productive. When he said that he would help her go to TTO’s concert, she thought that he had changed a lot.

Was that the difference between a high school student and a middle school student? Would she also mature and forget about TTO and start studying or do productive things?

Probably not. Some of her friends, who had older brothers, always told her that they got into fights all the time and said that they were terrible brothers who shouted at them and made them do errands all the time.

She heard a knock on her door. She stood up and spoke.

“What is it?”

“Have you eaten yet?”

“No, mom said she’d be late.”

“You should’ve eaten regardless.”

“...I wasn’t hungry.”

She was well aware that she had nothing against him, yet her words were slightly sharp. She herself thought that she was childish.

“Then come out and eat some food.”

“Eat?”

She heard rustles from outside the door. She started sniffing. It smelled of something savory. She got off her bed and opened the door to find a white plastic bag in front of her. Her brother was setting up a table in front of the living room TV.

“Father said he’d be sleeping at the factory, right?”

“Yeah. But what’s that?”

“Whole-fried chicken.”

“Really?”

Bada smiled cheerfully and sat in front of the table. She no longer felt depressed at all. Inside the yellow paper bag were two whole fried chickens. Just as she was drooling in front of it, her brother poured the pickled radish into a bowl and poured the coke.

“There’s sauce as well, so you can dip them if you want.”

Bada nodded and grabbed the chicken leg. The chicken was still steaming hot and a little too hot to touch. She was flabbergasted at herself for changing so drastically in front of food, yet she couldn’t stop grinning.

‘Yes. I’ll just do some part time work and earn my own money to buy the tickets.’

When she thought about it like that, she felt much more at ease. She bit into the chicken leg and started chewing. Just then, her brother turned on the TV, and TTO just happened to be on it. They were doing a fundraising event for those in need.

Her brother raised the volume before giving the remote to her.

“You’re going to watch, aren’t you?”

“Huh? Yeah.”

Her brother ripped off a wing and started eating it while he looked at his phone with the other hand. This would be unimaginable if he was still in middle school. He would instead steal the remote from her saying that he had a video game show to watch. On top of that, he would have teased her for liking people like them.

“What did you do today?” She swallowed the meat in her mouth before asking.

“A read-through, a ritual, and ate some food.”

“There are rituals as well?”

“Sure. It’s not pocket change that goes into creating the film, so it should be better to pray to the gods for help, don’t you think?”

“Is that how it is? But wait, do you believe in stuff like that?”

“Yeah.”

That answer was rather unexpected.

Bada kept chewing as she watched TV. Coincidentally, Sungjae was singing on TV. He had strong eyes that did not fit his skinny face, and the long bangs that slightly covered the eyes looked very cool.

Her dear Sungjae-oppa was in charge of Charisma within TTO. He was really cool.

“What happened to your tests?”

She almost choked when she heard those words.

“W-well, I did not too bad.”

“You don’t sound that confident. I heard top 5 was easy for you?”

“When did I say it was easy? I said… that it might be doable.”

“Your scores are not as high as you expected?”

“I dunno!”

Bada started chomping on the chicken with a pouty expression. She had never been as focused as this time during tests. She even went over her answers three times. There weren’t any possibilities of putting her answers in the wrong questions[1], so there was no way the scores she self-scored would change. In other words, it was impossible to get in the top 5.

“And you did your best?”

“My best… I did. I mean it.”

She wanted to talk about the efforts she put in; about how she had study sessions with her friends and the like, but decided not to. It was over anyway, she didn’t want to sound like an obstinate child.

“So the concert is a no-go?”

“Even if I did get in the top 5, I wouldn’t have been able to go anyway. There’s no way mom would allow me, and also, the tickets are really expensive. Your part-time job is nowhere near enough.”

“Well, they were expensive, alright. It was over 100 thousand won.”

“You looked into it?”

“I tried. After all, I did promise to send you to one if you got into the top 5,” Maru spoke as he rolled around the neck bone in his mouth. She found that rather unpleasant.

“I’ll do my own part time work and earn my own money and buy them. I’m going to work this summer.”

“I don’t think middle school students are allowed though.”

“Not allowed? Why?”

“Because people would rather hire high school students instead. Also, consent from a legal guardian is necessary for a middle school student, I wonder if mom will let you do it.”

Crunch, Maru chewed on the crust of the chicken.

Why did he look so full of himself today? Bada made a pouty expression before poking him on the waist. Maru, who was sitting cross-legged, fell over to the side just like that.

“She’ll tell you to study if you have the time for that. I’m 100% sure.”

Her brother still spoke regardless. It felt as though they were back to the old days again. Bada chomped on some pickled radish as she watched TV. There was no point in talking to him any more. If her mom won’t let her do a part time job, then she could just save up on pocket money.

Thanks to the credit card that her brother gave her, she had saved up quite a lot. She had around 40 thousand won. Though, that was nowhere enough to buy a ticket…

“What do you think your average will be like?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Just curious.”

“...Around 92, I guess?”

“That’s good. Your average for your 2nd year finals was 80 wasn’t it? You put in some effort.”

“What good is that? I didn’t get in the top 5. There are a lot of smart kids in my class, you know?”

“Then without them, you’d be in the top 5?”

“Probably.”

“That’s good progress. Congratulations.”

“....”

Bada pouted as she changed the channel. She found herself childish for feeling happy when she was congratulated, and she also found herself pathetic for expecting something.

‘That’s right. I should do it with my own powers.’

Whether saving up pocket money, which her mom gave her, was ‘her own powers’ was up to debate, but she had no choice but to do well if she wanted to get what she wanted.

“Next time, try to motivate yourself, okay?”

Saying that, Maru stood up with the coke in his hand and entered his room. Bada was about to say ‘aren’t you gonna clean up?’ but decided not to. He was the one who bought this, so it would be shameless of her to ask him to clean up as well. She was putting the bones into one pile and was picking up the empty cups when she found an envelope where Maru was originally sitting.

Hm?

Bada reached out and grabbed the envelope. When she had a peek inside, she found a rolled up piece of paper.

“Hey, you left something.”

She called out to her brother out loud, but there was no reply. Out of curiosity, she took out the piece of paper. As the piece of paper slid out, something fell on the floor as well.

“...Oppa!”

The things that fell on the floor were tickets, tickets to TTO’s concert this summer. Moreover, there wasn’t just one, but a whole six of them. Bada then looked at the rolled up paper as well. The inside of the paper was pink, and she found these words on it.

[Thanks for cheering for us.]

Bada kept staring into the names below those words. Sungjae, and then Bada. This was Sungjae-oppa’s autograph!

“Wow! Oppa!’

Bada jumped around and held up the tickets against the lights. She could hear her brother saying ‘be quiet already’ in a small voice.


[1] Questions are multiple choice, and answers are marked on a separate sheet, so it’s possible to mark wrong answers despite getting the answer right

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

For some reason, author changed Sungjae's surname to Park (is originally Ahn) for the next few chapters. I looked ahead to see if there were two 'Sungjaes' in the group, but nope, one Sungjae, two surnames... I'll stick to Ahn for everything.

Bada, you're falling into a trap... once you go to the concert, you'll start craving for more...