Have a nice day.
I'll stop too, so you do whatever you want from now on.
Get drafted, emigrate, I don't care anymore.” Han Se-Yeon spat those words out and turned around fast enough to generate a gush of cold wind.
Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly watched her storm toward the entrance.
But she stopped just before it, then said her final goodbye.
“Enjoy your life.
For some reason, hearing her say that left a bitter taste in Kang Jin-Ho's mouth.
He faltered, then called out to her.
“Han Se-Yeon, wait.”
“What is it?”
“I don't understand why you're so angry at me, but can you forgive me? I'd like to apologize.”
Han Se-Yeon's face turned bright red.
“You’re apologizing when you don't even know why?!”
“You're angry at me, after all.”
“Don't you understand that what you're doing is making things even worse?!” Han Se-Yeon forcefully wiped the corners of her eyes.
“You're just unbelievable, you know that? Yeah, unbelievable! Why do you want to make me feel this miserable?”
She breathed heavily.
Her panting gradually weakened, and she finally muttered in a sorrowful voice, “I like you, Jin-Ho.”
“I like you.
From way back…”
Kang Jin-Ho quietly replied, “Yeah, I like you, too.”
Han Se-Yeon slowly nodded.
“Yeah, I know.
You like me, like how you like Yu-Min, In-Gyu, Tae-Ho, and Min-Jae.
I knew all that, but I still like you.
No, I liked you.
I think I can't deal with you anymore.”
Kang Jin-Ho clamped his mouth shut, unable to think of something to say.
What should he do in a situation like this?
“I've always hung around near you, but you never paid me much attention, and…
And I'm tired of doing that.
I want to find someone who likes me back, so I don't have to go through this again.”
Go and join the army.
I'll be gone from your sight from now on.
I won't bother you anymore.”
Kang Jin-Ho sighed.
This felt wrong.
“Be safe, okay? Stay healthy, too.
Don't get injured or get sick,” said Han Se-Yeon with a forced bright smile.
“It's been fun, Jin-Ho.
But it's fine now, so, bye.”
She opened the front gate and slipped inside.
The metal gate closed with a soft click behind her.
Kang Jin-Ho could only stare at that scene in silence.
For some reason…
it felt so bitter.
Bitter and lonesome, too.
He lost a friend just now.
At least he could tell that much.
That must be why he felt frustrated and bitter.
Maybe his anger level was rising up.
his emotions were trying to rush to his head.
It all felt so…
What was this emotion? He hadn't felt an emotion like this in such a long time.
It must've been…
A long, long time ago in the past, even before Zhongyuan…
He must've felt this emotion for a brief period of time back then.
'…Too late, aren't I?'
Indeed, he was too late to notice it.
A bitter grin slowly formed on his face.
No, much too late.”
Kang Jin-Ho turned around to leave, a rueful expression was frozen on his face.
In a way, this was good for him.
It was good that he had finally recognized this emotion welling up inside him.
He could have lived the rest of his new life totally oblivious to it, but now, he knew and recognized it, so what a relief it was…
'Even though it's too late…'
Kang Jin-Ho slowly trudged away.
From now, he…
A shrill cry hit him from behind.
“Hey, you dummy!”
“Uh?” Kang Jin-Ho let out a loud gasp unbeknownst to himself.
He had been too wrapped up in his emotions that he failed to notice the presence of other people around him.
That would have been unimaginable in the past.
“How can you be walking away like that?!”
Han Se-Yeon pushed the front gate open and was walking back toward him.
Kang Jin-Ho faltered.
“But, you told me to leave…?”
“So, you decided to actually leave?! Just like that? When someone pours their heart out, you're supposed to cling on to the gate and beg and apologize in a flood of tears, you know? Don't you know that that's the only way to spare me the humiliation?!”
“I-Is that so?” Kang Jin-Ho stood there in confusion.
While he dithered about, she strode quickly to his location and glared sharply at him.
“Stay still, got it?”
Han Se-Yeon suddenly slapped him on the face.
She then cocked an eyebrow.
“You didn't dodge that?”
“You told me to stay still, didn't you?”
“Did it hurt?”
“But, I wanted to hurt you, though?” Han Se-Yeon spat out a groan.
“Urgh, who am I kidding? I'm the idiot and the fool here, anyway.
Just why did I…
With this guy…”
Kang Jin-Ho felt lost and speechless.
He still didn't know what it was, but his gut told him that he had made a grave mistake somewhere.
Han Se-Yeon glared at him again.
“Be still, okay?”
Kang Jin-Ho slightly cocked an eyebrow but he stood tall without moving.
Noticing that he wasn't moving, Han Se-Yeon sneaked closer and hugged him.
“…Mm?” She tried to go on her tiptoes a couple of times before frowning a little.
“H-Hey, come down a little, will you?”
Just bend your knees or something!”
Kang Jin-Ho unknowingly bent his knees a little.
“A little bit more.”
“Just do it, will ya?!”
Kang Jin-Ho groaned and lowered himself a lot more.
When he did, Han Se-Yeon brought her face to his and kissed him on the lips.
This feeling, it…
How should he describe it? Kang Jin-Ho decided to stop thinking for now.
His gut told him that now wasn't the time for that.
A little while later, Han Se-Yeon broke off the kiss and stepped back.
“You can go now.”
“However, if you call Yu-Min first and not me during your first vacation, I'm gonna chase you down to the depths of hell and kick your butt.”
Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
He smiled wryly.
“Yes, I'll call you first.”
Han Se-Yeon nodded, then hugged him again.
“Have fun, you dummy.”
Han Se-Yeon kissed him lightly on his lips, then hurriedly ran back into her home with her face bright pink.
Kang Jin-Ho slowly touched his lips.
'What a strange feeling this is…'
Indeed, there was a strange feeling swirling in him right now.
So strange—in fact—that it was indescribable.
He glanced at the front gate, sensing that Han Se-Yeon's figure was still there.
She was leaning against the other side of the gate, quietly sobbing away.
“I'm sorry,” Kang Jin-Ho murmured, then he turned around to leave.
He instinctively realized that he should not linger any longer.
“Hey, Kang Jin-Ho!” A loud voice called out to him from the other side of the gate.
He glanced behind him.
“What is it?”
“I'm gonna ditch you and find a new guy, you dummy!”
Kang Jin-Ho chuckled softly at her yell.
Seriously, this girl…
She remained a handful until the end, didn't she? He walked away as the unexplainable feeling continued to swirl in his heart.
He could have used his movement technique to get home much quicker but he didn't feel like doing that right now.
For the first time in a while, Kang Jin-Ho walked alone on the streets under the stillness of the night, quietly reflecting on himself.
'Have I changed?'
Compared to when he returned to the modern era, yes, he had changed.
Quite a lot, in fact.
He acknowledged it.
'Am I at peace?'
Compared to his past, yes, his new life was filled with enjoyable things.
He might get angry sometimes and even get sad, but his life right now was definitely peaceful.
This was the life he had been longing for.
'…However, am I happy?'
He still hadn't found the answer to this question.
One thing was for certain, though—he was inching closer to the 'happiness' he had been wishing for.
He was sure about this.
'In that case, what a relief.'
What a relief that he could return to the modern era.
What a relief it was that he could escape from that hell.
What a relief…
that he could finally live the life he had been dreaming about.
'Just like this…'
He wished for the future to be like this.
Unchanging, and that it would remain the same—the same as now.
Kang Jin-Ho smiled quietly.
A smile that…
looked just a little tragic and a little rueful at the same time.
It seemed that the time wasn't quite right yet.
Perhaps he still needed a little more time.
Unfortunately, there would come a time for him to accept his situation whether he liked it or not.
Just like now…
The reality he had been ignoring until now began to creep closer.
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