Attempt 7: Step By Step

Honestly, I think life just likes to startle you. I think it just likes to scream, “Boo!” That’ll be right in your face, and indeed, I got one of the shockers of my life. I get distracted by eating Christie Arrowroot cookies, which were supposed to be food for after the famine. The other club members didn’t want them, so charitable food became my snacking source. That’s beside the point. The point is that I’m almost late to class because I get too distracted munching on cookies. That, though, works to my advantage. Why? Well, first, trust me on this one when I say that I am not stalking him. Kai just appears at the same time and place. Okay, so he uses the other entrance, which I have no idea how that works, but he just pops out in front of me!


I’m walking behind him, and for some reason, I know I have to surpass him. I take a shorter route than him and cut through the parking lot. I’m smart enough not to take a peek backwards. To act casual is the rule. As soon as I lift my head up, I find two sets of eyes looking at me. It’s my neighbours: Seungi and Wooyoung. I forget to mention that Wooyoung was my high school classmate; I’ve known him for several years now but we were never really close. I’m not exactly close with him even now. Trust me, I’ve tried my best. Heck, at the beginning of the year, I had one of the largest surprises. Who knew Wooyoung would be my next door neighbour? It’s just absurd! The two of us never talked about our living plans the year before. Then, after that, he kept hinting that we should work together for food. I knew he wanted me to ask him to be my cooking buddy. Surely, I wanted a grocery shopper, so I agreed. Make that one of my most educational and most regrettable decisions. Only one person can be in the kitchen at the time.

Despite our differences, we are still friends and members of the same club. Wooyoung is a good guy, but he’s not my type because he picks away at all the details, which drives me crazy. Still, I greet him with a smile, “Hey!”

I expect that to be the end of it, but Wooyoung always likes to add in the extra word. “Oh how was the famine?” Wooyoung asks.

“Good, it was good,” I quickly answer while walking forward. Wooyoung is still going towards our building, but he turns around to ask me something. I don’t hear him because of the wind. So I face him and sputter, “Yeah, I give you back your board game tonight or something.”

“Oh.”

Yeah, facing Wooyoung means facing . . . Kai! There’s Kai marching in my direction, and I get a little nervous. I manage to announce, “Oh hi!”

“Hey!” Kai responds with a cute smile that reveals his two dimples. 

Geez, why does he have to look so good? Okay, so I know I hate it when people wear the same thing over and over again. However, I think I won’t get tired of seeing his black leather jacket paired with dark jeans and sneakers. I also like how he wears a grey hoodie underneath that jacket. He looks good. Real good.
“So how was your weekend?” I ask as we walk together to cross the street. 

“Oh, it was good,” he answers in a mumble. “I just studied. You?”

“I was at the famine,” I tell him, “and I was going to give you a form but . . . I realized that I didn’t have your number. Say, what’s your number?” 

He gives a hushed chuckle, replying, “I actually don’t remember my number.” Then, he grabs out his cell phone and searches quickly to check for his information. I can’t help but let out a little giggle. So funny and so silly. How can anyone not know his or her own number? Funny guy. I think he hears me laughing because he adds, “Well, I know it’s 980 something  . . .”

980 is the area code for this city, which I think is more like a stupid town. It’s rather small with the bulk of the population being either university students or old people. I ignore that thought and concentrate on him. He’s a bit silly, but still very cute. 

“No worries,” I tell him while patiently waiting for him to tell me what to punch in.

“Okay, it’s 980-531-2349.”

I’m tempted to ask for his last name, but I decide not to. I’m not even sure if his name is really Kai now. What if I say the wrong name aloud? Oh god. Let me just scratch that thought out and cross the street safely. 

“All right,” I utter. “I got it. So, how’s the business report coming along?”

“Oh, it’s all right, I guess.”

“Do you know how we’d project sales?” I ask, walking straight ahead. He almost crosses me over, but I keep moving ahead. “I mean you can’t really say an arbitrary number and—“

“Which way do you want to go?” Out of the blue, he interrupts in a soft voice. I can barely hear him, and he’s a head taller than me. I believe he’s at least six feet and probably more. Me? I’m only five feet one on good days. I think I’m roughly 154 to 155 centimeters to be exact.

There are actually two ways to go. You can go straight ahead to cross another street or you can turn left. Honestly, I don’t really care, so I inform him, “Let’s just go whichever way that’s fastest.”

“They’re all really the same.”

And since I have been walking straight head, we keep it that way and cross the short crosswalk. He’s walking so fast that I can barely keep up. I’m definitely getting my cardio workout. I also feel like I need to jog lightly, yet that just looks stupid. I blame his long legs. 

I feel that there’s a silence coming up, so I proclaim, “So what parts are you doing for this project?”

“I’m kind of here and there. I’m done the analysis for competitors and legal issues,” he explains, “but my group wants me to do the finance part for the presentation. They seem to think that I have a face for that.”
I laugh at his phrasing; I think he has blushed too or maybe it’s just too cold in the winter. Either way, his eyes are squinting and his lips are trying to hide a smile.   

“I think you kind of do,” I can’t resist teasing. “You do look like a numbers person.”

“What about you?”

“I’m kind of like you. Jumping around, and I’m definitely not doing the math.” Again, he reveals that seductive smile. I try not to stare, and I can’t really. We’re moving too quickly that I can only focus on the speed of my legs. They’re dying. Those poor babies. Now, he opens the door for me, and I think I forget to thank him. Oops. I don’t remember. I try my best to keep a conversation by asking, “So have your midterms started yet?”

Kai turns his head slightly towards me, replying, “Yes, I had one on Friday.”
 
“Oh, was it hard?”

“Nope, it was easy.”

“Was it for economics?” I’m guessing around.

“Yes, it was about labour.”

“Were there numbers?”

“No, it was just theory.”

“Oh good!” I exclaim while walking down the stairs outside. “I wish the economics I took last term were like that. Instead, I get . . . tons of Calculus. I should have been like you. Sigh.” I think I see a sly smile creep from his lips again. I’m not sure if he thinks I’m a silly girl. I’m just glad that he’s grinning. I’m not boring him, I hope?

Then, why is it that we are walking in silence? We have passed several buildings and are now almost finished making our way to the next street. There’s that familiar set of long stairs that will guide us to our hall. He seems to be gaining speed, yet he manages to ask, “So, have you started looking at electives?”

“Electives? We’re supposed to know already?” My eyes almost leap out. I know my program well enough that we select electives in our last year of college, but still, maybe he knows something that I don’t.

“Oh no,” he murmurs.

“So what electives are you thinking of taking then?”

“Easy ones so I can boost my GPA. I’m planning on going to law later.”

“Why not the combined program at our school?”

“Oh, it’s not as you know . . .”

Yes, I know it’s not as good as what he’s probably aiming for, so I quickly add, “Yeah, you’re right. I was actually thinking about going to law abroad, hoping for Oxford or Cambridge?”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” he notes.

“So what are the easier electives?”

He carries on explaining with much ease, “Oh you know, leading people. Communications. Stuff like that. Not the finance stuff.”

I unexpectedly argue, “Well I guess it depends on the person. Like some people are really good at numbers. Like my friend, Kibum, is already in his third year and he thinks the finance section is really easy! Obviously, I won’t follow his footsteps. I’ll just do the opposite of him!” 

Kai somehow replies, “I’m thinking that worst off I’ll do accounting.”

“Really? Accounting? Accounting is so boring!”

“Yeah, it is but I didn’t do too badly on our business exam,” he holds the door for me and declares.

“Oh wow. I wish I were like you. For me, if it’s too boring, then I end up not doing it,” I openly profess. “I really admire that about you. What do you call that? Determination?”

“Well,” he corrects me, “it’s not really determination. I mean, I didn’t do any cases.”

“What? You didn’t? Then how’d you study?” I gasp and raise my eyebrows.

“I just have experience doing those things,” he informs me as we make our way into the lecture hall. “I was a bank teller over the summer.”

“So did you take accounting classes in high school?”

“Nope. My program didn’t offer it.”

“Oh, what was your program?”

“I did AP.”

The class is filling up already, and we’re left with mediocre seats. I end up asking him, “I see. So, where do you want to sit?”

Almost in a whisper, he states, “Oh, anywhere is fine.”

I see two seats empty close to the end of the row so I just move there. I think he’s letting me in first because he just follows me. I take a seat second to the aisle whereas he chooses to sit beside me right at the aisle. Good, I think. I’m not being separated by backpack! Score!

I’m settling down now and the awkward me can’t really lift up the movable writing surface attached to my chair because Kai’s legs are too far apart. I read in a body language book that if a guy’s legs are really far apart that means that he wants people to pay attention to that . . . area, but I don’t think that’s the case. I mean, he just has really long legs. I swear it. 

“Sorry,” I mumble really quietly as the desk hits his knee. I think he says something, yet he’s too silent that I can’t hear him clearly. Kai really likes to mumble, and I think it’s rude to ask him what he said. He’s just a quiet guy, so quiet that there are these pauses between us. I’m thinking that I should say something. It’s just so weird for us to sit there while other people around us are still conversing so nicely. What to ask? What to ask? “Where are you living next year?” I blurt aloud. 

I want to bash my head against the table. I sound like a stalker. I do! I do, but now is the most important time to find housing. Luckily, our eyes meet, and I notice that I was wrong before. He has light green eyes that remind me of fresh lemongrass. They’re not very big, but they’re thin slits of double eyelids. I think I should make myself look at his eyes more often. I’m supposed to see if his pupils dilate when he sees me so I know that he is interested in me. I forget to take note of that.

Fortunately, he says, “Probably on residence.”

“Have you submitted the application form then?”

His eyes instantly widen, and he reaches for his cell phone to check. “It was due?” 

“I think it’s due soon. I mean, my friend is applying to be a residence advisor and she said decisions for all residences are made on February 15.”

“But last year I applied in March . . .”

“I’m not entirely sure then because I just submit things really early,” I utter. “If I don’t, I end up forgetting about them.”

“Oh.”

Then, there’s another pause, which is driving me crazy. I know I have to ask some other question, so I shoot away, “Have you started reviewing for law?”

“We have a midterm?” Again, he gawks at me with a pair of beady eyes.

“No, but some people preview or review beforehand?”

“Oh, I don’t do that,” he casually remarks. “I did fine on the last final anyways.”

Mhm, so there’s no sense in asking to study with him. The man doesn’t study till last minute. Great. So much for a study date. There’s no sense in asking him for help either because the dude doesn’t touch his books till last minute. That smart ass. Darn it! 

There’s another set of silence, and I comment, “I’m hungry. I think I should have had a snack before this. I think I’m going to get a donut after this.”

Kai puckers his lips together to form that typical sly smile. I think he’s secretly thinking how silly I sound. Class now starts, and I’m already busy taking notes. My elbow occasionally touches with his, and every time that happens, he ends up hugging himself with one arm. I’m not sure why that is so. I read in that book that self-hugging means that he’s insecure or unsettled. I hope I’m not making him uneasy. I hope I’m not reading too much into things, but it takes him a while to return to his original position where our elbows are almost touching.

My eyes end up examining his slender fingers. He has a set of long, beautiful hands. They’re just like I like them. I wonder what they feel like. How can I touch them? It’s too early to be touching any part of him, I remind myself. But, but, but . . . his hands look so . . .

Already, it’s the end of class. I think that this time, we can walk home together, yet he stands there for a minute. Then, bolts off? I don’t get this! I really don’t! I’m trying my best to keep up. However, the distance is too great that I give up. Whatever. I’m going to go get my donut!

I end up losing sight of him because I’m too busy adjusting my phone. There’s no music coming out from my cell phone, and after a few minutes of playing around, I realize that I accidentally muted it. I look up, and Mr. Ninja is nowhere to be seen! What is this? Argh.

But it’s okay. I’ve ordered a sweet valentine donut. It’s in the shape of a heart with pink sprinkles. It’s absolutely adorable and tasty as I take a huge bite into it. There’s even strawberry jam! I think I’m in love, and despite the harsh winds and cold weather, I feel warm. This donut makes me feel at home. This day can’t get any better, I think. It’s even sunny!

I think to myself that may be he will show up. Perhaps, Kai will be somewhere. He should be heading home anyways knowing him. I’m at the front door of the building now. I’m inserting my key to unlock the door, and for some reason, I feel like turning around. I see Kai on his way towards me. He’s looking down at his cell phone but as soon as he gets past the first door, he looks up and sees me. I’m still holding onto the door, and as we walk together, he greets with a sunny smile, “Oh hey.”

I lift up my donut, stating, “Hey! I went to get my donut!”

There he goes chuckling again. He’s not even waiting for me as he walks down the corridor. Before he disappears though, he mumbles, “See you.” He says something else too, but I don’t know what.

“See you too!” I holler. 

I’m tempted to see which room he goes into, but I know better not to do that. I don’t want him feeling like I’m spying on him, so I press the button to go up. Once the doors open and I enter, I immediately cheer really loudly. I’m screaming all the yeses. I’m even singing too to the latest song that has popped in my head and dancing around like a fool.

Baby, turn it up, turn it up! Baby turn it up, turn it up! Baby turn it up, turn it up! Baby turn it up, turn it up! It’s special summer time—

Wait . . . it’s not even summer. It’s frigging February with deadly winds and snow days. Oh well, I think. There’s nothing wrong with a happy song, especially when I’ve had a good day! Then, I suddenly remember that . . . he doesn’t have my number! Kai doesn’t have my number! That means I have to text him, but what to say? 

Oh my god!

Texting!
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