Track No. 03 – On the Melody (1)
The end of term exams passed by safely. My marks weren’t bad. Except for the fact that I had unexpectedly gotten a lot incorrect in English, which I was confident in.
The second day after the beginning of winter holidays, I hurriedly got out of the study space when my phone rang while I was solving some questions in my workbook. To my surprise, the person who called me was my homeroom teacher.
「Jun. This is your homeroom teacher; can you talk now?」
“Ah, how are you? Of course I can.”
「I’m sorry if you were studying. It’s just that…I was wondering if you had received any calls or something like that from Ahyoung.」
The homeroom teacher’s voice sounded somewhat nervous.
「Yes. Kim Ahyoung. Did you receive a call or hear anything from her?」
“I didn’t get anything. Is something going on?”
「No, that’s fine, then. It’s nothing. Anyway, I noticed that your english marks had gone down in the finals……」
Afterwards, the homeroom teacher dragged the call on and on with talk about my marks. Just about when irritation started to boil, the call ended with his request to call him right away if I had reached Kim Ahyoung.
Did something happen to Kim Ahyoung?
The day after the threatening incident, Kim Ahyoung came to school like nothing had ever happened.
Once in a while, she would throw a glance towards me without anybody noticing, but her general attitude towards me also did not change. That would be evidence that I had acted with care. In the end, I could say that the whole thing had gone smoothly, considering the fact that I was threatened by an international star. At the very least, I would not have to be nervous during the holidays.
When I gave myself to the 200 won’s worth of warmth that was dispensed from the vending machine, my phone rang once again.
(TL: 200 won is ~20 cents.)
「Yo, Yu Jun. You got a call from Homeroom, right?」
It was Kyungho.
“How do you know that?”
「I also got it just now. I told him to try calling you, since you were close to Ahyoung.」
How about I just report this bastard to the police for dissemination of false information?
「So, you don’t know anything? Really?」
“Why are you asking me? I’ve never been close to her.”
「What the hell are you talking about? It’s not just a few times that I’ve spotted you and Ahyoung talk. I think during the exam period, from my memories. Didja lure her into studying with you, after pretending that you weren’t interested? Didn’t she also ask you questions often?」
“Kim Ahyoung just asked everyone who studied quite a bit. She went to you often, too.”
To confess, the frequency of conversation between me and Kim Ahyoung did rise after the day she threatened me. Kim Ahyoung was the one who approached me, perhaps to continuously pressure and observe me, but it might’ve looked different in the eyes of other people who did not know this inside story.
「I’m first place in this school and you’re not, though.」
…… This rotten bastard was annoying me.
「So I even spread a rumour that you had probably clasped her weakness.」
“So it wasn’t spread, but you spread it?
「Is that the important thing right now?」
It is really important to me, y’know?!
However, I could not bring myself to interrupt him after hearing the serious words that followed.
「What’s important now is that something’s happened to Ahyoung. Otherwise, there’s no way that Homeroom would be so secretive and call everyone individually. Is there really nothing that you’ve heard or anything?」
“No. I also told Homeroom that there isn’t. Rather, didn’t you get along with her better than I did?”
It seemed like his voice had diminished a little when I answered gruffly. Despite how he seemed, that Kyungho bastard excelled academically and had good social skills, so he was definitely closer to Kim Ahyoung than I was.
“There’s no way that you called to tell me your personality. So in the end, you don’t know either, do you?”
「That’s why I called, man. Who knows, maybe you’re really her hidden boyfriend, though you pretend not to be at school.」
“Then. I will be hanging up.”
Ignoring Kyungho’s desperate cry to not hanging up, I closed my cell phone. Cunt, saying useless stuff when he doesn’t even have information. I took out the battery, as the vibration sounded before long.
I was kind of worried that he might spread even this as a weird rumour, but it seemed like there wouldn’t be a huge problem, seeing how the person whom the rumour concerned did not notice the rumour going around the school.
Did something really happen to Kim Ahyoung? Like Kyungho had said, it made no sense for me to receive a call when there was nothing happening.
I chugged down the lukewarm coffee in one go.
There was a hand held high up in the air. Unsatisfied by that, it was being spun around. The fancy accessories that hung from her wrist sparkled. Although it was probably an action done because of her acknowledgement of her own shortness, it was also an action that drew the eyes of the passersby.
I approached Sangah-noona with a dissatisfied expression. On the contrary, she jumped into my arms, smiling brightly. The guitar slung over my back lightly hit the back of my head, unable to withstand the rebound. Since I could feel how happy she was to see me, I loosened my scowl and lightly scolded her.
“Stop doing that embarrassing stuff when you’re always at the usual meeting place.”
When I subtly imitated Sangah-noona’s gesture, she frowned and stuck out her tongue. Her eyes became fierce when I flicked her forehead while she was off guard like that. The error was the fact that she wasn’t scary at all.
However, Sangah-noona quickly loosened her frown and rejoiced at the guitar that hung from my back.
“You brought it? What’s up with our Scaredy-Jun?”
“You told me to bring it with me.”
Noona narrowed her eyes once again at my gruff reply.
“What’s that attitude to your older sister, who you’ve just met after a long time?!”
“I didn’t tell aunt anything yet.”
“Oh, my sweet little brother. You devilishly pretty thing.”
I wondered if the word “devilishly” could be used as a compliment. However, I followed Sangah-noona without saying anything, as it seemed like the right thing to do as the younger brother to just overlook it, not to mention that she mellowed down right away.
“Is it okay for you to not be in the concert venue?”
“It’s just for a little while. I’ll just consider this as a break. Though, it seemed to be getting busier and busier.”
All the more reason you should help out.
I flicked her forehead once again, but this time she didn’t show much reaction. Instead, her pace became faster as she walked right beside me, perhaps feeling guilty at my words. I abruptly started a conversation with her back as she walked a little past me.
“Aren’t you cold?”
Sangah-noona stopped, looked back at me, and looked down at her own body. Inside her black leather jacket was a glamourous tank top embedded with cubic zirconia that were arranged in an outrageous pattern; the neck was low-cut, emphasising her curvy torso. Her tight miniskirt was full of gaudy decorations, giving me an approximate idea of the atmosphere of today’s performance.
“Weather is not a problem to rock!”
(TL: Rock as in the genre of music, not an actual rock.)
Although Sangah-noona rolled her hands into a small fist and said that with vigor, it probably wasn’t only because of her small figure that she looked pitiful. I undid my scarf and wrapped it around her.
“What are you gonna do if you catch a cold, when you have to perform soon?”
“Rock stays together with the cold, too. It doesn’t abandon anyone. Hehe. It’s warm.”
Sangah-noona buried her nose into the scarf I gave her and laughed with satisfaction. See? It would be weirder if she wasn’t cold, since it was January the day after tomorrow.
“My little brother grew up enough to worry about his older sister. This older sister is very touched. My little brother must be popular, too! Right?”
“Well, apparently I’m rumoured to be a jerk who holds onto girls’ weaknesses.”
Though it was doubtful as to whether or not that rumour was properly spread.
I knocked on her head again as Sangah-noona made a commotion, screaming and squealing things like “Those bitches! I’ll never let them eat up my little brother! Not before I get dirt in my eyes!”
Don’t call people you don’t know bitches. Nobody tried to eat me up. And what does holding onto somebody’s weakness have to do with me being eaten? Should I actually spray dirt at her? Moreover, don’t do that in the middle of the street and embarrass me.
Before those countless nagging words, I realised that I had said something unnecessary. More than anything, you don’t have the luxury to act so relaxed, woman.
As she rambled on noisily about how women were dangerous creatures and that I must never live my life enslaved, I half dragged her and hurried to the performance venue.
I pushed Sangah-noona into a building with a familiar sign. When we stepped into the entrance of the venue after a long walk into the basement level, I could see people moving busily about in the still frigid air.
“You pass as a manager. Good job dragging the escaper back here.”
A giant shadow approached us first, but before anything else, I refuted what he said, since it did not please me.
“I’m not her manager…”
Anyway, I see this person really sneaked out secretly.
Myungjoo-hyung ruffled my hair and turned up the corners of his lips at my edgy answer. It was something that only this guy, who well exceeded 190 centimetres, could do casually, as I wasn’t on the short side, either. Due to his height, it was a great sight to behold when he stood next to the somebody who was hopping beside me.
“Don’t act so stiff when we’ve met after such a long time, man. Come and show yourself more often.”
“I’m in twelfth grade now. I can’t hang around all that freely.”
“Wowㅡ really? Y’ ain’t human.”
I am human.
“Then is it all right for you to come out like this? Don’t you have to be stuck in the library or at school?
“That’s why I came secretly. I told them that I was going to the library. I figured I sometimes need a little change of pace and some pocket cash.”
Myungjoo-hyung’s eyebrows twitched cheekily at the word “sometimes”, but I decided not to pay attention to it. His mouth seemed to itch, wanting to somehow tackle my words, but it would be the correct answer for me to just take it at my pace and ignore him. I was taught that I would lose if I was bothered by every petty little thing.
However, it was Sangah-noona, who was sticking tightly by my side, who tackled me in the end. Noona pointed her finger at me and laughed craftily.
“I’m gonna tell youngest aunt! Auntie~ Jun~ said that he was going to the library~ and came to play~.”
Sangah-noona began to tease me with gestures that were cute in their own ways. However, in my eyes, all I could think was that it was unseemly, and in front of so many others, too.
“What do you say? If you plead for my forgiveness, I’ll at least think about lessening it to filling her in with just a few bits and pieces.”
I answered Sangah-noona, who was posing proudly with her arms crossed.
“Then I’ll tell her that I couldn’t help it, since it was your earnest request.”
“When did I ever?!”
“Let’s see, the text that I received last night……”
Sangah-noona quickly admitted her defeat.
“Hey, over there! Stop goofing around and get to work!”
Angry scolding rang out from inside. It was Jinhee-noona, who was working diligently as usual. We all raced to the stage head-to-head at the angry voice that echoed through the venue.
A loud cheer filled the building when the splendid lights turned on. Sangah-noona’s resonant voice followed the rough echo of the guitar. Her high-heeled boots, which emphasised the beauty of her curves, hit the ground in rhythm, and her short hair that shook repeatedly awoke the liveliness onstage.
I was enjoying her performance, sitting on the short flight of stairs right beside the stage that connected the stage and the waiting room. Although, the audience would only be able to see black fabric.
This place that Sangah-noona showed me was one of the best locations in [Club MM]. Although there were two drawbacks in that I couldn’t make a loud noise and that I had to twist my body back, it was a place that allowed me to watch and feel the heat of the stage more clearly than anyone else. The vibrations of the bass drum that Myungjoo-hyung played caused a numbness to run up my hips.
+ Author comment: Start of chapter threeeeeeeeee