16. Lights

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"You sure you don't need me to drive you or anything?"

I sling my bag with my money and extra mittens over my shoulder as Mom hovers over me, fussing.

"Yes, I'm sure," I assure Mom for the hundredth time. "Really, Mom, I can walk by myself."

"You're still limping, though."

The moment I announced I was going to the festival, Mom pounced on me, flooding me with questions on who I was going with, was my leg okay, was I sure I didn't want her to go with me, on and on.

"I'll have my phone," I show her that it's 100% charged so she knows it won't die anytime soon. "And I'll be with at least four other girls, so I'm not going to be by myself." And one boy, I add silently.

"When do you plan to come back?"

"I want to stay for the fireworks," I say thoughtfully. "So maybe no earlier than nine."

"No later than ten, then," Mom states firmly. "I'll be up and waiting for you when ten comes and I expect you walking in that door."

"Yes, Mom, I understand."

I am about to walk out the door when my phone buzzes.

"Hey, can you meet me at the store ten blocks from my house? I think they're selling tickets there," Yun-ji texts.

"And I'll be walking with Yun-ji," I tell Mom. "So she can help me if I fall or something."

"Wasn't she the one who pushed you in the first place?" Mom raises her brows.

I make my escape. "It's alright Mom, honestly," I call over my shoulder. "We know better now." I think.

It's about four and everyone has decided to meet at the bridge at five. I'll be meeting Jungkook at the bridge about four-thirty though. I was thinking of going to the festival, just the two of us, and asking Yun-ji to tell the other girls I was already at the festival, since it seemed like Jungkook was a bit nervous when I told him about the group of girls. 

I wanted to stay with him, and didn't want to scare him off or make him uncomfortable by making him be in a group of high school girls and their boyfriends. And yes, I also wanted to have him all for myself for a little bit.

The festival is taking place in Yeouido Park, a beautiful place that is divided into four theme-based sections: the Traditional Korean Forest, Grass Square, Culture Square, and Nature's Ecosystem Forest. It has many trees and areas to hang lights, hold games, booths, and a few bodies of water where the boat rides could be taking place. Perfect for the light festival.

I was not planning to meet Yun-ji before the festival. But she's texted me, and how can I turn her down?

"Yeah, okay. I'll be there." I reply.

I hurry to the small store where Yun-ji is already inside and in line. I wave at her through the window and she gestures for me to come inside.

"Hey, I'm meeting someone at four-thirty," I say when I come in and stand beside her.

"Who?" Yun-ji seems a little distracted as she counts her money.

"The friend who has my ticket."

"Does she go to our school?" Yun-ji glances at me.

"No. And it's a he."

Yun-ji pulls out what looks to be about ₩20000. "A he?" She crosses her arms. "Now who was complaining about boys the other day, I wonder?"

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