April 3, 2021 - 37.5665° N, 126.9780° E - Seoul, Korea
"Yes yes, I've already packed my things. What do you mean? It's just a new school year, it's nothing new. Yes, I got the money you gave me, it's more than enough."
While talking to her mother on the phone, Minji is cleaning up the plate and utensils she used for breakfast.
Hwang Minji - an 11th grader attending Seoul National University's Senior High School - lives all by herself in Seoul. Her parents and younger brother are in Busan, but Minji was able to get a scholarship at the prestigious school thanks to her outstanding grades, numerous achievements, and participation in various organizations.
Many people would feel sorry for her lonely life, but despite living alone, she has her friends and her dream - the 2 things that make life away from her family a little less lonely.
"Sunoo lives near me mom, we basically go to school together every time. No need to worry about me." she assured her mother.
"I know, just be careful okay? And most imprtantly-"
"Most importantly stay happy, yes mom I know, you say it all the time. I'm happy, no need to worry okay?" Minji smiles as she said those words.
"I need to go now mom, Sunoo's probably waiting and we might be late. Bye, love you, talk to you soon!" she says as she drops the call, leaves her apartment unit, and rushes to the bus stop.
"Took you long enough. I was almost going to call and ask if you suddenly dropped out of school." Sunoo jokingly teased Minji, to which she replied with an eye roll and a laugh.
Both of them hopped on the bus - tapping their student id on the scanner. A perk of studying in one of the most prestigious schools in Korea is that the school pays for your transportation fees to places within Seoul.
"Sooooo, Kim Sunoo."
"Yes Hwang Minji?"
"What are your plans this school year?"
"You're asking me what my plans are? Minji, you know I don't do sports or other clubs. I'm just going to do the same things."
Minji raised one of her eyebrows at him.
"Run for student body president, maybe vice president too in case I don't become the president. Hmmm, join a few special classes to prepare for University. Oh I forgot, I promised I'd help Ni-ki with his social media accounts, guess I'll be his manager for a while." Sunoo giggles with excitement.
"Wow you make me feel so unsuccessful with my life" Minji thought to herself as she envies Sunoo's eventful life.
"How about you? Anything new you're doing Minji?"
Minji stayed silent for a while. She realized she hasn't done anything new for a long time. Yes her school life seems pressuring because she's a scholar, but she would still like to explore and do all the things she can and wants during her highschool days.
"Well...I heard the faculty is looking for new volunteers to guide new students within the first week of classes, maybe I can do that??" Minji thought.
"Aww, like a little babysitting service, cute." Sunoo said with a laugh.
Minji just glared at him, trying her best not to choke him in public.
"Heeseung hyung!!" Sunoo shouted.
From the bus stop where Minji and Sunoo were, he saw Heeseung entering the campus gate. He ran to Heeseung as fast as he could, leaving Minji behind.
Sunoo quickly became emotional, tears of happiness flowing down his eyes as he hugged Heeseung.
"Hyung!! You're still here! I thought you were going to leave us!" Sunoo said with teary eyes.
Heeseung laughed and smiled awkwardly at the younger, ruffling his hair.
"Of course not, I already told you the other day, I'm going to study college here."
"I thought you were joking because it was April fools!" Sunoo sniffed and pouted.
As Minji finally catched up, she and Heeseung greeted each other.
"I see you're finally able to wear anything you want since you guys don't wear uniforms." Minji told Heeseung.
"Nice coat. H&M?"
Minji nod her head, impressed with Heeseung's fashion taste.
After he had finished crying tears of joy, Sunoo finally remembered what he was going to tell Minji and Heeseung.
"Oh! By the way, we guys need to come have lunch together later, Ni-ki said he has a few friends he'd like us to meet. Something about them being 12th graders? They'd like to meet you Heeseung hyung."
"Oh you know, probably to ask about college life."
"But I just started-"
"Just come!! Also you Minji!"
"What- why me?"
"I dunno, Ni-ki said in his text, "make sure that Minji comes". Ooooo, maybe he's trying to set you up on a date!!"
"Please, I am-"
"Hey! She's too young for that!" Heeseung cut Minji off.
There was an awkward silence for a while, Minji weirded out by Heeseung.
"Oppa, I know you're protective of me, Sunoo and Ni-ki, but you're not my dad." she laughed.
Heeseung opened his mouth. He was about to say something, but he blurted out words different from what he really wanted to say.
"A-ah, yes, but you know, just be careful. No need to rush to find a boyfriend you know, just take your time, the right boy will come hehe." Heeseung said awkwardly, his hands and soul were trembling though.
Minji cringed at his words. "Ewww, you sound just like my dad."
Sunoo just kept his mouth shut, trying to stop himself from smiling.
"Anyways, I have to go to the faculty room. I should get there before the new students arrive. Sunoo I'll see you in class. Bye dad, I mean, Heeseung oppa." she said with a laugh before leaving.
As the two boys have seen her go far away from them, Sunoo looked at his hyung and started shaking his head.
"Soooo, when are you telling her?"
"But you need to do something at least!! What if she finds a hotter, taller, kinder, more talented-"
"Shut!!" Heeseung said as he looks at Minji from far away.
"Yes sir, that's me." she said to the registrar for confirmation.
"Alright, please wait outside, I'll call the new student that you'll be assisting."
Minji nod her head and proceeded to wait outside.
While she did that, she opened her phone to check her schedule once more. Since it was still 6:30 AM and classes don't start until 7:30 AM, she thought that maybe she could give the new kid a quick tour of the highschool building.
The faculty room's door opened and the registrar came out, followed by a boy.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Minji this is Yang Jungwon, a new student at 11th grade."
"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Minji."