You hesitantly walked into your first class of the day. You felt nervous, understandably so, considering it was your first day of university.
You had taken a bit longer than usual getting ready, hoping you looked your best. Having always been a simple dresser, you were worried your forest green tee and the pair of light washed jeans with white runners would be a bit understated for your first day.
You took a deep breath before walking through the double doors of the study hall. What made you more nervous than attending classes was finding a new group of friends. Being your awkward self, you were never good at making friends. You had only a handful compared to others, but the ones that you did have, you were very close with.
As you entered the hall, you noticed a couple of cliques scattered around. One of them consisted of three or so girls, another two girls and yet another a group of five guys. While some of them looked like they were getting to know each other, the others looked like they already knew each other back in high school.
However, the clique that had your attention was the co-ed group with a lot of handsome and pretty faces at the front of the room. A kind and intellectual looking guy was seated on a chair with his arms loosely crossed in front of him, laughing at the conversation that was taking place. Next to him, there was a pretty girl with a high ponytail, who kept laughing and shaking her head at the jokes that were being told.
A cheerful girl who was speaking in an accented English was seated on the desk, giggling in between her story. Next to her, there was a cool looking boy with fluffy black hair and a cute giggle would escape his mouth whenever he laughed. He was turned away so you couldn’t get a good look at his face, but you were sure he was handsome.
You noticed that he had his arm loosely placed around the shoulder of the girl next to him as they talked and laughed away. You weren’t sure if that meant they were a couple or whether they were just close friends, but you wished that you could be comfortable around a guy like that one day.
You hadn’t realized that you must have been standing at the door for a while now, as curious eyes began to glance in your direction. Soon the boy with the fluffy hair turned to look at the door and he locked eyes with you.
You gasped quietly when you recognized his familiar face.
His cute rounded eyes also widened at your appearance, as he waved at you briefly.
You nodded in his direction to greet him before you slowly made your way over.
You stood a short distance away from him and his friends, tugging on your backpack straps to keep from giving away how nervous you were.
“Hi… it’s been a while… Minhyung.”
He nodded but before he could speak, the bright and cheerful girl next to him spoke up.
The kind boy who was seated chuckled lightly.
“That’s Mark’s Korean name, Herin.”
The kind boy gave you an eye smile.
“Hi, my name is Jeno. You must be an old friend of Mark’s?”
You nodded lightly.
“We were family friends since grade school.”
You turned to Mark and smiled at him.
“You grew so much I hardly recognized you.”
He bit his lip and patted the back of his neck lightly.
“Yeah, it’s been a while. I don’t think I’ve seen you since I left to Canada after middle school.”
He looked up to face you.
There was a pause as the others waited for him to finish his sentence.
“Like you. Still you.”
He chuckled softly as the others laughed.
The relationship between you and Minhyung or ‘Mark’, as he goes by now, had always been a little awkward. Although the two of you were the same age and your parents were really close with one another, for some reason there weren’t many words often exchanged between the two of you.
You had to admit that he had always been good-looking though, and you had a crush on him in middle school for a while.
Apart from having good looks, Mark had always been nice and friendly. Having an open mindset, it wasn’t a surprise to you when his parents told you they were going overseas. He would fit right in.
It wasn’t until middle school when you happened to come across the prettiest senior kiss Mark on the cheek did you realize that he was way out of your league.
You still remembered when you ran out, feeling dejected and embarrassed. He had followed after you and called your name, but you ran further down the hall.
The professor entered the room to signal the start of class. You scanned the room before spotting a quiet spot in the back of the room.
“Well it was nice seeing you again, Min- I mean Mark.”
You nodded before going to take a seat at the back.
“Where are you going? Sit with us.”
Jeno patted the seat next to him as the other two girls amicably agreed.
Your eyes locked with Mark’s for a short while before quickly taking a seat next to Jeno.
Jeno leaned over and smiled at you.
“What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you.”
In the next couple weeks, the five of you began to hang out as a group.
Specializing in the same program, you almost did everything with each other, from having the same classes to hanging out together for leisure.
The five of you were lazing around the grass outside during lunch break.
Jeno and you had the same temperament, so the two of you often sat side by side.
Herin twirled around as she danced and sang, being as outgoing as always.
Koeun was reading a book as Mark sat next to her, twirling her hair around.
She would frequently slap his hand away, making him break out in giggles again.
As Herin sat down, she tugged Mark’s arm lightly.
“Could you put my hair up for me? It’s starting to get warm.”
Mark nodded as she passed him a hair tie and he easily gathered her long black hair, tying it in a loose ponytail.
Your eyes couldn’t leave the sight in front of you as Jeno nudged your arm lightly.
Your cheeks immediately warmed up.
You weren’t sure how Jeno had found out, but he had discovered your resurfaced feelings for Mark.
You nodded your head before looking away as he leaned closer to whisper in your ear.
Jeno placed his arm over your shoulder, similar to how Mark had placed his over Herin’s the first day of class.
Your eyes widened.
Koeun lifted her brow as she closed her book.
“Well that’s new. I’ve never seen you initiate skinship before, Jeno.”
“I guess we should learn to be more open like our friends from overseas, Mark and Herin.”
Koeun laughed, shaking her head in response.
You noticed that Mark had started to look uneasy.
“Quit it Jeno, _________ doesn’t like that.”
Jeno smiled as he turned to you.
“Is that right, _______? You don’t like skinship?”
Your cheeks turned a deeper shade of crimson as he ran his fingers through your hair lightly.
“Mark, do you want to help _______ tie her hair up too?”
Mark hesitated as the others looked at him.
He stood up slowly before taking a step towards you, his round eyes never leaving your gaze.
Your eyebrows furrowed.
Why was it that he treated you so different from the other girls? Why was he so comfortable around them but so awkward around you? Did he not like you?
Before he could take a seat next to you, you stood up abruptly, face close to his.
You saw his eyes widen as he bit down on his bottom lip.
“If you hate me that much, you could have just let me know.”
You took one last look at him, hurt evident on your face before walking away from the group.
You heard Mark call your name as he ran after you.
“What’s wrong? __________!”
He held your arm lightly, turning you around to face him.
“Let go, Minhyung.”
He tightened his grip.
“Not until you tell me what’s wrong.”
You didn’t answer him as he tugged on your arm lightly.
He brought you to the side of the school where it was quiet.
He let go of you as he leaned against the wall, running a hand through his hair.
“What’s wrong, why are you upset?”
You crossed your arms.
“I told you. If you didn’t like me you could just say so. Why did you let me hang out with your friends?”
He was slightly taken aback.
“Why would you think that way?”
“You’re close with the others, but you’re uncomfortable around me. Is it ‘cause I’m not pretty? Too plain?”
He took a step forward.
“It’s not like that… you’re pretty! Very-”
Although you were a bit shocked that Mark called you pretty, you placed your hand up.
“I don’t need an explanation.”
You turned to leave as he held on your arm one more time, raising his voice.
“It’s ‘cause I don’t know how to act around you.”
You turned back to glare at him.
“I’ve known you for a long time and you’ve always been that way.”
You pushed him away lightly as he sighed, speaking his next line in a quiet voice.
“It’s 'cause I like you… I don’t know how to act around you.”
You couldn’t believe what you were hearing.
“W-What do you mean?”
“I don’t have a problem being comfortable around other girls… but I feel nervous around you. It’s the first time I felt that way. I thought the feeling would leave but it never did.”
“Well does feeling comfortable around girls include letting them kiss you?”
Mark lifted his hands up.
“What? Of course not! Why would you-”
“Wait… are you talking about that time you walked in on that senior and I?”
He smiled mischievously.
“How come you still remember that? It was ages ago.”
“Could you possibly…”
You tried to open your mouth to speak but he beat you to it.
“Like me too?”
Even if you tried to hide it, you could feel the warmth spreading across your cheeks clearly giving away your feelings.
“Well, it’s not like I plan on dating a player anyway.”
He shook his head.
“Never been in a relationship. And if you’re jealous over that senior kissing my cheek, that was her confessing to me. I was a kid, I was shocked okay? I tried to run after you but you just left. I thought that meant you weren’t interested in me, so… I was pretty down for a while.”
He pressed his lips lightly with his fingers.
“These are lips that have never been touched.”
The two of you laughed lightly together, eyes gazing at one another.
“You know… this is the first time we talked so much Min- I mean Mark.”
“You can call me Minhyung. I like it when you call me that.”
You smiled, nodding.
“So… what do we do now?”
Mark took a step towards you, arm reaching out to pat the side of your head lightly, smiling lovingly at you.