Chapter 2 - A New Student
“Muyeol doesn’t think we have the same social status as him.”
“What? What does that mean?”
“His family owns ‘S Corp.’ You know the major S company, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I’ve seen the commercials.”
“He’s the son of the S group’s CEO. Now do you realize what kind of family he’s from? He always rejects us. So…”
“So, try to avoid him. He is completely different from us.”
‘How bad can he be? Aren’t these kids the ones who treat him differently?’ she thought.
Yiyoung’s classmates were extremely interested in her. They asked her an endless amount of questions, their curiosity getting the better of them since they hadn’t had a transfer student in a while. But none of the questions were too difficult to answer. By the 6th period, Yiyoung was good friends with some of them, happily chatting away.
‘It was a good first day. I think we can all be friends, except Cha Muyeol, of course,’ she mused. Ever since their interaction in the morning, Yiyoung had not been able to look at Muyeol’s face properly. He either looked straight ahead or looked outside through the window, not moving a single inch from his seat, even during intermissions or the lunch break. He didn’t excuse himself to the bathroom either.
But she couldn’t tell if that was because he was trying to ignore her, like the other kids had said he would. In the end, the decision to make friends or not was up to him. Who knew? What if he was just an introvert?
Anyway, she felt great. She believed she had a good start.
‘I’m going to call dad as soon as I get home.’
Yiyoung couldn’t suppress the smile blooming on her at the mere thought of calling her dad. As she rushed home, she recalled the events of last winter, conjuring deep-rooted memories…
* * *
Bright, shiny eyes looked into the mirror as Yiyoung combed her hair. She had carefully parted her hair in the middle before twisting her locks into two braids.
“All done! Mom’s favorite hairstyle for Yiyoung is done!” Joongho, Yiyoung’s dad, had complimented as he handed over a hair tie from behind, “Yiyoung is the best! She can do her hair all by herself!”
“Of course. Who do you think I am?” Yiyoung had bragged, jutting her chin out with pride.
Joongho had been overwhelmed by his daughter’s cuteness, hugging her tightly and rubbing his cheek against hers before responding, “You are mom and dad’s daughter!”
“Dad! Hair, my hair!”
“Oh, yeah. Okay.”
Yiyoung seemed to have sulked for a moment before her lips curved up into a smile. Then, she stood up suddenly and said, “It’s your turn now, Dad. Sit down here.”
Joongho had laughed as he sat down in front of the mirror.
“What kind of hairstyle would you prefer, dear customer?” Yiyoung had asked mischievously.
“I’d prefer to have hair like a hot k-pop idol.”
“Yeah, an idol. You know, those hot guys out there.”
“You want to impress Mom that badly?” Yiyoung had laughed out loud.
“Of course. For your mom, your dad is always the number one.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll try my best. I’ll make you look like the hottest idol out there!”
The father and daughter made the perfect pair. Soft sunlight filtered into their small room as Yiyoung carefully combed through her father’s hair. It had seemed like a good omen then, as if they would soon hear the news of Mom’s recovery.
Joongho soon broke the silence, “But Yiyoung, did you think about it?”
“You know what.”
“Yes, about you transferring.”
Yiyoung had pouted. She hated the thought of it. Joongho had been aware of how she felt about it, but he had still hoped that, for her own good, she would make a wise decision.
“Yiyoung, listen to Dad.”
“It scares you. And you’re worried. Dad knows it too.”
Yiyoung had pursed her lips. They had been sick of moving around, but the situation was different this time. They needed to move again. They had been pushed to the edge of the cliff.
“But you can do it. Because you are a genius.”
“Don’t ever say that. I get goosebumps.”
“Why not? It’s true. Your homeroom teacher only had endless praise for you. If only you would change your mind, your future would have a guaranteed road to success.”
If she had decided to transfer to the other school, they would have needed to move immediately. The new school was too far from where they used to live. After finding out they needed to move soon, her homeroom teacher had immediately contacted Joongho.
“Yiyoung must attend a college,” her homeroom teacher said.
“Of course, I want that too. But Yiyoung is…” Joongho hesitated as Yiyoung made her decision at an early age. She wanted to graduate from a technical high school and start working right away in order to earn money.
“No, Mr. Yoon. Don’t let her do that. I’ve never seen a student as brilliant as Yiyoung. But she’s too kind. She’s only thinking about earning money for her mother. Don’t allow her to do that. She has a lot of potential. To be honest, the school she’s planning to transfer to is not a great fit for her.”
“Transfer her to a different school. An elite private elementary school, if possible. There, she’d finally be able to discover her brilliance.”
“Yes, but I’ve done nothing for her so far. I’m not sure how to talk about this with her.”
“Just tell her the truth. Tell her it’s for her own sake.”
“I already told you I want to earn money. I have to,” Yiyoung sulked.
“Okay, go ahead and earn money. Do you think I would disapprove of that? But your career will depend on where you graduate from. So start earning money after you graduate from college.”
Yiyoung had frowned at her father’s response. Her dad’s friends had helped them out financially to ease the move, again. So Yiyoung felt it was her duty to earn money. She needed to do it as soon as possible, and attending college would have delayed her plans.
“You are so brilliant, but why are you acting so naively?”
Yiyoung snapped out of the trance and stopped reminiscing about the bittersweet memories.
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