credits to dolcee.
From the look of your eyes, I never knew that you were in pain. I always thought you were just like ice, harsh, cold and cruel.

The typical reaction of students entering the school gates for the first day of school would have been anxiety, fear or perhaps even happiness. Jihyo, however, felt nothing. There was nothing to fear. There was nothing to like. There was certainly nothing that passed her mind. This would be like every other day full of pain, boredom, and suffering, except this time, every day would include an audience. This audience would be her classmates.

She could feel their eyes trailing her every step, hounding her and hoping that she would make some mistake. She would never allow another mistake to occur. There had already been too many errors in her life. There were so many that they seemed to be in a ceaseless loop. They seemed to penetrate her mind each day, reminding her of her guilt and of what would have been. In fact, she could always hear a breath of his voice that lingered beside her ears and that was enough to have forced her to take sleeping pills every evening. If she were awake, then he would be with her.

She could hear their nonstop chatters, whispering in each other’s ears about her news. Her former classmates were introducing her to the new students, telling them of what they knew about her or rather, what they thought they knew about her. Frankly, Jihyo was a mystery. People had snippets of her life, yet there were not enough pieces to resolve their puzzle. She had always remained an enigma, especially after her year-long break from school.

After what had happened, the school permitted her to continue her studies at home until she was emotionally capable of living by herself. They had to allow her anyhow; her parents had donated a large sum to support the school’s construction of a new library. She, thus, seemed to have total control of the school, like a goddess secretly hiding in the clouds while toying with other people’s lives. Of course, everyone knew about her wealth and her social status. Who didn’t know of the Song family? They had been a well-known consulting company ever since the early 19th century. Moreover, her birth mother’s side had kinship with the Imperial family of Japan and had been a well-known actress in Japan before marrying to her father. Jihyo, therefore, was bred for supremacy.

Supremacy, like all things, had opportunity costs. This would have included Jihyo’s lack of friendships. She had always been deemed as the Ice Queen, the untouchable, the snob, the stuck-up . . . The names were never-ending, but she had grown accustomed to them. In part, they were true. She had chosen to ignore most people. She felt they were a waste of her time. She, however, had kept one friendship intact over the years and it was that of Park Gyuri’s.

Park Gyuri was not particularly special. She had plain looks with small, beady eyes, a button nose, and round cheeks. She wasn’t especially smart; her grades were significantly lower than Jihyo’s. She wasn’t even equivalent in terms of social standards. Gyuri’s father was only an owner of a camera shop, while her mother worked as a seamstress. 

How did this friendship develop then? 

Why, naturally, of course. They had been forced to sit beside each other for homeroom and for most of the year, they had not spoken a word to each other. How could have Gyuri approached Jihyo? Jihyo was always so distant, so detached from this world. With her small, oval face, Jihyo had not the largest eyes, but the most condescending, chestnut ones. One look from her could be fatal for Jihyo had a way with glaring at someone and making that victim feel absolutely worthless and vulnerable. It was more than a look though. Her nose was straight, yet pointed at the end, and her lips seemed to be always pouted. Most of all, she rarely smiled. It was as if Jihyo’s mind had wandered to another planet in which no other human being was even eligible to enter. 

It was not until Gyuri had to use someone’s cell phone to phone home did she first talk to Jihyo. Everyone had left for home, and Jihyo was the only one who remained in the classroom. Gyuri had stammered over her own words and had to repeat herself twice for Jihyo to understand what she had wanted. 

When Jihyo offered her cell phone to Gyuri, Gyuri saw the display background that she had used and out of the blue asked, “Is that your dog?”

“Yes,” Jihyo coldly responded.

“Wow, he’s cute and you’re so lucky to have a Norwich terrier!” 

Gyuri had never seen a Norwich terrier in real life. They were rather rare for a dog breed, and being a dog fanatic, her meeting an extraordinary breed was one of the most exciting feelings.

To Gyuri’s amazement, Jihyo’s eyes lit up. With much exhilaration, Jihyo exclaimed, “You . . . know about Norwich terriers?”

That one question led to multiple questions and to many, many coffee sessions. Sometimes, all it took was for one person to ask something and then the rest would be forgotten. Sometimes, even the beginning of a friendship would be lost through all the other important events. What mattered, though, was that this sort of friendship was meant to last, or so, it seemed.

“Jihyo . . .” 

Suddenly, Jihyo heard the sound of a bike crashing to the ground, and so she turned to see who had called her. A sunken feeling filled her chest. She didn’t want to see anyone anymore. She just wanted to be alone.
“Jihyo!” Gyuri called out again as she realized that Jihyo was walking faster. “You don’t even know who I am anymore?”

Jihyo’s footsteps abruptly halted. She did know who Gyuri was. How could she ever forget her best friend? However, she could not stop. She had to carry forth with her life. She had to abandon all of her memories, and her past to return to her old ways. She would revert to solitude, where she was safest. No one could interrogate her. No one could try to comfort her. 

In the end, Jihyo persisted to march, leaving Gyuri absolutely perplexed. Although Gyuri had an idea as to why Jihyo was so upset, she still couldn’t believe that her best friend would ignore her now. Friends were supposed to speak to each other about their problems. They weren’t supposed to keep secrets.

Sou tried to take in as much air as he could while he passed the school gates. There needed to be a fabrication of the truth. The lies would shield him from any harm. Yes, all the lies that he would have to tell . . .
His head suddenly turned to the right once he saw a bicycle plummeting to the ground. There was a girl who called out a familiar name. No, it was not just a familiar name. It was a name that he had always known, Song Jihyo. They had known each other ever since they were three. Their mothers happened to be close friends and had forced them to be playmates, but that didn’t mean they would become best friends. They were far from being friends. They were more like strangers to one another. Sure, he knew her name and she knew his and he had also talked to her, yet those were formalities, and only formalities.

His formalities ended when it came to Jihyo’s half-brother, Lee. Lee was bright and cheerful, the complete opposite of Jihyo. Lee had a friendly, amiable aura, which ultimately increased his popularity at school. Sou too had to admit that he had been intrigued by Lee’s personality. Lee was so charismatic and charming that he had become the president of student council during his senior year. He too had been the captain of the basketball team. Sadly, the two of them had not kept in touch with each other after Lee graduated three years ago. 

Although people denied there was such thing as a generational gap, Sou knew that they were at different stages of their lives. Lee had become a university student, and as expected of him, he would be involved in his schoolwork, extra-curricular activities and work. Sou, on the other hand, was still stuck in high school, trying his utmost to stay awake in classes and to at last, apply himself for once. 

Ever since his mother and his father’s marriage had disintegrated, Sou’s life had torn to shambles as well. What appeared to be the perfect bond between two well-known celebrities was actually the worst pairing. Many of Sou’s childhood memories were made up of his parents arguing about . . . everything. They fought over fame, over alleged affairs, and over Sou. 

Why Sou? 

Sou scoffed while glancing at his reflection from the school’s glass doors. His face was the issue. No, it was more like everything about him. He looked nothing like his father. His face was angular and square, particularly defined at its edges, just like his mother. His skin was also blessed with a sprinkle of tan, which was yet another trait he had inherited from his mother. Sou’s elongated eyes were mysteriously burnt orange with a hint of bistre and were separated by a straight, yet flatly hooked nose. These were what differentiated him from his parents. There was also the fact that he behaved neither like his mother or his father. He lacked his father’s ambition and determination and his mother’s diligence and enthusiasm. He preferred to be in the darkness than in the spotlight. He would have preferred too if no one knew of his parents. However, who could have forgotten his memorable visage and of his last name, Kobayashi? Not to mention, he already had an unofficial fan club, where members would post pictures of his daily life and basically, stalk him.

What was that called? An ulzzang? 

“Yo!” A skinny, pale boy slapped Sou’s back with enough force that made him shrivel. “Long time no see! I heard about your vacation in Hawaii! Pretty exotic, huh?” It was Youngmin as expected. Cho Youngmin was the one who had the most to say. Sou couldn’t help, but chuckle. The lie was now Hawaii. “What are you smiling about?” 

“Nothing. Hawaii was great. I tried water-skiing for the first time,” Sou replied hastily. 

As soon as they entered the school, they hiked up the stairs to the second floor, where their lockers resided. Youngmin struggled to keep up with Sou’s large strides. “Wow! I’m jealous! You sh-should really take me there one day. I mean you have all the money to do so and I’m not that big. I could fit in a luggage and then—“ Youngmin rambled on.

“Perhaps,” Sou interrupted.

He made a sharp turn to the left. However, just as he was doing so, someone had bumped into him. Sou was flung on his back, whereas, she had landed on top of him with her head leaning close to his chest. His eyes glimpsed up to see who this girl was. He was horrible with faces, never remembering people whenever they greeted him, but he had to remember this girl. His back had hurt too much. As she slowly lifted her head up, Sou recognized who it was. 

“Jihyo?” he found himself whispering.

Jihyo peered at him and glared. “What do you want?” she demanded impatiently. Sou was still the same as ever. Stupid. Foolish. Slow.

“Nothing,” he sighed. “Well . . . could you please get off of me?”

She didn’t know why she was so mad. She felt like grasping his neck and compressing it in her hands. She felt like breaking him. Instead, she chose to let her arms pin him even harder to the ground while her spine returned to its upright position. Sou winced a bit in pain; his ribs still hurt from the incident, but he didn’t dare voice his pain. Who knew what she would have done to him in that case?

“It hurts, doesn’t it?” she scoffed with another glower. “Coward.” 

She pushed herself up with all her force and then proceeded on her way. Sou had to perform a sit up to erect himself, despite his aching bones.

“Are you okay, Sou?” Youngmin nervously wondered. “That’s so typical of Jihyo . . . cruel yet eerily beautiful.” 

Sou thought that he had heard Youngmin heave a sigh, but he decided to shrug off that thought. No one could possibly like her in that way. She was in a realm of her own. 

“I’m all right but . . . you said she was beautiful?” Sou at last regained his balance. Youngmin nodded and blushed. “She’s evil, I say,” Sou rambled. “She’s . . . the classic, evil bitch.”