50. Midterm exam (13)
“There is a macaron place nearby…”
Jaune looks at the map on his cell phone as he leaves school.
In the search bar, there was a rather explicit sentence written, ‘desserts that women would like.’
‘Still, I’m making up, so I have to give something.’
I thought that giving a macaron set as a gift when making up after an argument would help soothe my angry feelings a little.
If it had been Jaune, there would have been no way he would have shown such a sensible side.
[Yes, I have something to talk about that happened last time.]
The laugh, which was unlike usual, was scary, awakened Jaune’s dormant survival instincts and gave him senses he never had before.
‘I don’t know why the child has become so strange, but if I talk to him carefully, he will be fine.’
Looking at the map, I saw that there was a fairly popular macaron shop not far away.
‘It’s towards the back door.’
A macaron restaurant is located a little further from the place where I first talked to Chae-rin Park.
I was a little curious as to why there was a store like this in a place where not many people go, but I didn’t pay much attention to it.
Jaune turns around the same way he came to the front door and heads toward the back door.
As I walked around listening to music with my earphones in, the building beyond the back door gradually became smaller and the number of people became noticeably smaller.
‘Ah, the smell of cigarettes.’
And gradually, the strong smell of cigarettes hits my nose.
I didn’t know because I had forgotten about it for a while.
The fragrant smell of cigarettes wafted into my nose, and I lost consciousness for a moment.
‘Tsk, I can’t save it anyway.’
Jaune passes by a smelly alley, pretending not to notice.
At that time, I glanced across the alley and saw a familiar face.
When I called her name, she looked at her phone and raised her head and made eye contact with me.
Nayeon’s pupils began to shake violently.
“Oh, uh, that.”
Nayeon’s hand that was holding the cigarette trembled slightly and she quickly threw it back and extinguished it with her foot.
“Wow, what a coincidence, we all ran into each other here?”
“… Iknow, right.”
You don’t have to turn it off.
Even though her personality has changed due to the lack of makeup, her nicotine-addicted brain has not changed.
She tried to pretend she didn’t notice, but when Jaune kept staring at her, she started making excuses.
“Well, I was just going to stop smoking until this point…”
Lies smokers always tell.
‘There’s no need to give me such lame excuses.’
Jaune said, smiling as best as he could at her.
“I’ll keep it a secret from my mother.”
“Oh, thank you…”
Nayeon didn’t seem particularly at ease even though she was told to keep the secret.
An awkward air passed between the two for a moment.
Jaune asked her what she was curious about.
“Don’t kids mess with you at school?”
“Ah… yes, I don’t know why, but it was quiet today.”
Unlike before, when I always heard people talking behind my back, it was very quiet this morning.
In fact, after I removed all the excess makeup, even friends who had never approached me because they thought I was scared started talking to me one by one.
For her, completely unexpected happiness came to her thanks to what she picked up.
“I heard them talking nearby, and I think they saw me and Jaune together.”
The children returned to the park after the siren sounded and no police car was seen nearby.
The scene that the group confirmed at that time was Joo-woon and a woman supporting Na-yeon.
Since I saw Jaune himself, not someone else, taking her away, I couldn’t touch Nayeon as easily as I did yesterday.
Jaune found it a bit surprising that the bullying disappeared immediately for that very reason.
“You scared me with that one thing?”
Are you asking because you really don’t know?
For someone who broke one of his arms for slapping his friend, he was very self-aware.
There was no reason why she couldn’t explain this, but because the person who was broken was her cousin, Nayeon, who was reluctant to talk, just vaguely explained it.
“Anyway, it’s thanks to Jaune.”
“… If that’s the case, I don’t have anything to say.”
Jaune passes over without thinking about it.
He said as he looked at the cigarette butt under Nayeon’s feet, with not even the slightest ember visible and only a little smoke flowing out.
“Since when did you start smoking?”
“yes? Ah, that’s…”
Nayeon hesitated for a moment and then lowered her head as if she was embarrassed.
“Since the first year of middle school…”
I smoked it too early.
It was hard for me to say anything because I was someone who smoked before my regression, but I still thought that smoking since middle school would be too harmful to my health.
‘Ha… it kills the smell of the seeds.’
I was about to preach something, but the smell of cigarettes, which I had forgotten, kept irritating my sense of smell, so my eyes kept looking at the cigarette butts.
Jaune was in a serious conflict and was looking at Nayeon with a serious expression.
She still couldn’t make eye contact and just counted the pebbles on the ground.
After a moment of silence, Jaune carefully called out to Nayeon.
She answers the call by chewing her tongue.
One step, one step.
I had no idea what he was thinking as he slowly approached me with a meaningful expression and only asked me when I started smoking.
“Why, why are you like that…?”
Her heart was filled with both excitement and nervousness as she suddenly approached her with a serious expression.
The dark alley made the unfamiliar feelings even more frightening.
While I was preparing to listen to the sermon, I wondered what kind of improbable situation this was.
He said as Nayeon was spinning all kinds of delusions in her head.
“Could you please lend me a cigarette?”
As expected, the dream and reality were far away.
“Thank you, please come again.”
A variety of macarons to choose from after entering the store.
Just looking at it made my eyes happy with the variety, but my insides didn’t.
‘Oh, I smoked it for no reason.’
A precious cigarette given to me by Nayeon, who looked embarrassed.
I lit it up on the spot and took a sip for the first time in a long time, but I didn’t take it properly because I was still in my body before I started smoking.
Nayeon, who was next to me, asked me in a worried tone, as if this had caught the eye of others.
“are you okay? “Your face has been looking bad since a while ago…”
“It’s okay, it’s been so long since I smoked that I don’t feel like taking it.”
She looked quite surprised when Jaune mentioned asking her for a cigarette.
‘I didn’t think you had that weird-looking face.’
Jaune took a quick gulp of the cold Americano he bought at the store and then spoke to her with a somewhat refreshed expression.
“But I didn’t know it was the same academy as Park Chae-rin.”
“We’re not in the same class, so we don’t know each other very well.”
This is what I just learned after having several conversations with her while smoking a cigarette.
She and Park Chae-rin attended the same academy.
By coincidence, they end up going to the academy together.
While we were walking down the street together, I had a moment of doubt and asked her.
“But Chae-rin Park said the academy ends at 8 o’clock…”
She hesitates and cannot confidently answer what I say.
Looking at that, I could clearly see what it was like even without hearing the answer.
‘Why are there only people like this around me?’
The problem is not so much the person who skips classes as much as the person who doesn’t study.
Jaune had given up on his studies for several years and had only recently started again, so he had nothing to say in good conscience.
He just smiled and said.
“I have a lot to keep secret from my mother.”
As we walked and chatted, we arrived near the academy.
“Then see you tomorrow.”
“Okay, see you tomorrow.”
Nayeon enters the building and takes the elevator up.
As it was already past 8 o’clock, I turned on my cell phone and called Chaerin.
The dial tone did not last long and the call was connected right away.
Chaerin’s voice was heard.
“Are you done with school?”
-Yeah, it’s been a while since it ended.
A voice as fresh and lively as when it spoke to me after school.
An uneasy feeling wrapped around the back of my neck again at the strangely happy atmosphere I could feel even over the phone, but I tried my best to pretend not to notice and asked.
“Where is it?”
-Right behind you.
Jaune immediately turns his head in response to her answer.
As soon as I turned around, a brightly smiling Chaerin greeted me.
I’m more surprised that she still has such a bright expression than the fact that she was behind me.
Even though I saw this face just after school, I couldn’t get used to it.
Chae-rin approached Joo-un, who was looking at her blankly, and lightly crossed his arms.
“Hey, wait a minute.”
Now I’m thinking about her with a serious heart.
My thoughts stop as a soft touch suddenly wraps around my arm.
At that moment, she took a deep breath and frowned.
“Smell of cigarettes…”
With those words, Jaune immediately pushes her away.
Chae-rin was helplessly pushed away and stared at him with clear eyes.
“Wasn’t it a lie you said you smoke?”
“… I just happened to smoke for the first time in a while.”
Although I was filled with embarrassment on the inside, I spoke without showing it on the outside as much as possible.
Chaerin looked at Jaune for a moment and then smiled again.
A mystery hidden within a playful face.
Jaune walked over before she could say anything.
“Whatever we want to talk about, let’s do it while walking.”
Chaerin snuggled closer to me to see if the smell of cigarettes wasn’t that unpleasant.
The faint scent of orange that I felt for the first time in a long time brought me happy feelings and made me walk faster.