Jacob brings his tray to the lunch table, bright and guileless smile decorating his face. “So,” he begins, tone too sweet for Sunwoo’s midday meal, “I heard something pretty interesting from Hyunjae earlier.”
“Anything Hyunjae hyung says is fake.” Sunwoo looks up to see Jacob still smiling. “Don’t tell me.”
“It may only be a rumor,” Jacob continues, unwrapping his sandwich and taking a bite, “but it’s quite an interesting rumor. Very interesting. Incredibly interesting!” He nudges Sunwoo. “If I don’t tell you, you’re bound to hear it from someone else and get angry.”
Sunwoo frowns. “Why would I get angry?” Jacob, senior and captain of the basketball team, is a good guy. He’s Sunwoo’s jogging buddy during summer training, too. He and Sunwoo are generally levelheaded, which is why they’re such good friends despite the difference in grade, so the assumption that Sunwoo would get angry at whatever Jacob heard is almost troubling. Almost, because Sunwoo doesn’t actually care that much.
“It’s about you,” Jacob answers. He sounds way too enthusiastic about this.
“That’s it?” Sunwoo plops a grape into his mouth. “I hear a lot of things about me. People hate me. People love me.” He shrugs.
Jacob’s smile grows wider. “You must not have heard this particular rumor yet,” he says, as if trying to get Sunwoo more curious. He’s doing a cruddy job at it, but Sunwoo lets him talk. “I don’t know where Hyunjae heard this from or how credible it is, but it can really turn some heads. Get someone’s attention. Change someone’s life, maybe. Can I tell you?”
Sunwoo sighs. “Okay. Go for it. I got nothing to lose except some brain cells.” He opens his milk carton and gestures for Jacob to come closer.
Jacob takes his time scooching towards Sunwoo, hiding his mouth from onlookers, and whispers, “Hyunjae heard that the soccer captain has a crush on one of the cheerleaders.”
Choking on milk is not how Sunwoo wants to die. It’s uncool and painful; he’s mildly thankful none of it comes out his nose. His throat stings, though, and he coughs to get the itch out.
Jacob looks as happy as can be as he slides a stack of napkins in Sunwoo’s direction. “Interesting, isn’t it?”
Sunwoo wipes his mouth with a napkin, grumbling, “Yeah, sure. You were right.” He clears his throat. “Haven’t heard that one before.” He covers his spill with napkins. “Were you the only one Hyunjae told?”
Jacob takes another bite of his sandwich. “Hm? He told the journalism club and whoever was sitting with him on the bus.” Sunwoo grimaces. “That’s not a lot.”
“Great,” he groans, annoyed. This is the kind of rumor that makes people want to talk, to find out the truth, to poke around in Sunwoo’s business like it’s their own. “Everyone’s gonna hassle me. Shit, I don’t wanna deal with this mess.”
“Hey, it’s only a rumor! The gossip will die down after a week, max.” Jacob pats Sunwoo on the back. “Unrelated question, but is there anyone you find cute on the cheerleading squad?”
“Are you kidding me?”
Jacob laughs. “Too early?” Sunwoo narrows his eyes at him. “Sorry, sorry. Won’t happen again until it’s socially appropriate.” He finishes off his sandwich, humming. “All your friends, still, know how much you hate them. The cheerleaders.”
“Fantastic,” Sunwoo mutters.
“Which is super weird, now that I think about it,” Jacob continues, “because your best friend is on the team. Unless...” He brightens, clapping his hands together in apparent enlightenment. “It’s the perfect cover! You bash on them constantly, but you secretly have feelings for the head cheerleader! Oh, what’s her name...”
Monotone, Sunwoo says, “You keep going with that thought and the basketball team is gonna need a new captain.”
“Hey, I’m joking!” Jacob assures, grinning brightly. Sunwoo frowns. “Oh, I see Juyeon coming. Juyeon, we’re over here! Here!”
The basketball player brings his tray to the table, sitting next to Sunwoo and looking concerned. “Is everything okay, Sunwoo?” he asks, cautious.
Sunwoo proceeds to frown harder. “What’ve you heard?”
Juyeon picks up a french fry. “You’re having an affair with three of the girls on the cheerleading squad. One is for love, but the other two seduced you and another soccer player. Super intense and weird, if you ask me. I try not to judge.”
“Wow, that escalated quickly!” Jacob chirps.
Holding back a sigh, Sunwoo claps a hand on Juyeon’s shoulder. “I know you’re as gullible as a five-year-old who still believes in Santa, but please tell me you don’t actually think any of that is true.”
There’s a pause.
“Santa... isn’t real?”
Well, shit. Sunwoo just killed Christmas.
Sunwoo isn’t even halfway through his okay, you potato sacks, let’s run some drills intro to practice when Eric, that pink devil, is shouting, “What’s it like dating a cheerleader?”
A chorus of snickers goes around the team, most of the boys hiding their heads. The stadium isn’t just the soccer team, because the track team is having their practice, too, so a few other students outside the team also laugh at Sunwoo’s expense. Damn runners. Sunwoo could trip them and then they’d be out a season. Weak.
“Sohn Eric, did you know that, at literally any point in time, I can throw your gym bag with all your clean clothes into a river? Have you ever thought about that?”
“Yup! Every time you remind me,” Eric beams. Sunwoo chucks the soccer ball at him, which he catches, making Sunwoo tsk disappointedly. “Hey, I’m the goalie, hyung. You can’t hit me with a throw like that!”
“One day,” Sunwoo warns, and he feels a tinge of satisfaction when Eric cowers. “Does anyone else have anything to say about a dumbass rumor going ‘round?”
“Good. Now, back to the matter at hand. Is everyone ready to sweat?”
The team choruses, “Yes, captain!”
“Is everyone ready for four grueling hours of practice?” Sunwoo shouts, louder, hands on his hips.
Sunwoo smirks. “Then what are we waiting for? Run two laps around the track under three minutes! Get hustling!”
All in all, practice goes well. The coach comes by after they’ve warmed up, and they try testing out the new defensive lineup in a practice session. Sunwoo is a midfielder, always on the green, ready to run his life away. The team is basically self-sufficient, able to follow the coach’s orders well and critique themselves, so they don’t need him around for long. He leaves Sunwoo in charge for cleaning up plays and formations, which takes up the rest of the practice time.
By the end, the players are all sprawled out on the grass and hydrating, out of breath. Sunwoo is among them, sweat trickling down his neck and soaking his shirt. He takes a long swig of water from his bottle and bounds to his feet.
“Good job, guys! I’m seeing great improvement, myself included. We’re shaping up nicely for the next game.” He grins. “Any questions before I call it a day?”
Eric’s hand shoots in the air, eyes bright. “Who’s your GF on the cheerleading squad? I got money on Doyeon.” The inquiry elicits immature hollering and a few shushes, but Eric looks mighty satisfied at the annoyed expression on the soccer captain’s face.
Sunwoo clears his throat. “Everyone is free to head to the locker room except Bubblegum over here. You’re doing suicides until I say stop.”
Zero sympathy is given to the sophomore, who groans as he gets up to run, while the rest of the team walks to the locker room.
Perching himself on the bench, Sunwoo scrolls through his phone as Eric continues his punishment. Every now and then he looks up to make sure Eric is still running. He’s two pages into reading an article about mercury in tuna when there’s a tap on his shoulder.
Haknyeon’s smile is stretched wide, one of his arms clutching onto the strap of his messenger bag. He’s wearing a hoodie, strings dangling uneven. There’s a light sheen of sweat on his face, though nothing compared to Sunwoo’s soaked shirt. Cheerleading practice must’ve finished early.
“Are you ready to go?” Haknyeon asks. “The sun’s going down.”
“Yeah, just one sec.” Sunwoo pockets his phone, grabs his water bottle, and stands. He sees Eric, dragging his feet across the grass, and shouts, “Run faster! Don’t think just ‘cause I’m not looking means I’m not paying attention!” Eric yelps and speeds up, much to Sunwoo’s surprise. “Oh, shit, he actually started going faster.”
“You’re such a dick,” laughs Haknyeon.
Sunwoo shrugs. “He rightfully deserves this punishment. I swear on it.”
“What’d he do? Cut you in line for the water cooler? Steal your dribble?” Haknyeon leers. “Witnessed you fall on your ass and cry? I can imagine that.”
Rolling his eyes, Sunwoo grumbles, “There’s this... rumor going around.”
“You don’t pay attention to rumors,” Haknyeon notes, interested. “Is it a bad one? Do I need to throw these hands? I’ll do it. Don’t tempt me, Sunwoo.”
“You’ll hurt yourself,” Sunwoo says, chuckling. Haknyeon puts down his hands but persistently nudges Sunwoo with his elbow. “After I clean up! Hold your horses, man.”
“Okay.” Haknyeon nods his head to Eric. “Hey, before you go, are you gonna tell Eric to stop? He’s practically the same color as his hair.”
Sunwoo blinks. “Oh, right. Almost forgot.” Haknyeon scoffs as Sunwoo yells, “Eric, you’re done! Nice job today!”
Immediately, Eric collapses to the ground, curls into a ball, and shrieks, “God bless!”
Haknyeon waits for Sunwoo to gather his things from the locker room. Sunwoo changes clothes and tries to wipe down as much sweat and grime as possible. Deodorant helps, but not much. He borrows Eric’s watermelon-scented hand sanitizer from the boy’s open locker, just for kicks, and meets Haknyeon outside to walk home together.
“So, this rumor...” Haknyeon says, not long after they’ve left the threshold of the school. He lets the statement hang in the air, glancing expectantly at Sunwoo. He knows Sunwoo won’t answer him right away, so he just waits, hands in his pockets, for the boy to answer on his own.
“Apparently,” Sunwoo begins, some minutes later, paused at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to turn green, “I have a crush on one of the cheerleaders.”
Haknyeon doesn’t cross when the light changes. He’s rooted in place, unmoving. Sunwoo rocks on his heels, not meeting his eyes, as Haknyeon lets out a stifled, “Oh.”
“That’s...” Haknyeon takes Sunwoo’s wrist and hurriedly pulls them across the street before the light can change back to red. When they get to the other side, he makes sure to let go. “Uh, that’s something.”
Haknyeon is no good at words, no good at saying what he feels, but Sunwoo can tell, even when Haknyeon can’t voice it aloud. Sunwoo can practically feel the nervous energy radiating from the other boy, who purses his lips in thought. Gently, Sunwoo bumps Haknyeon’s shoulder with his own, getting Haknyeon to push back and show a sliver of a smile.
“It’s a rumor. I don’t know who started it, but I’ve only started hearing it today,” Sunwoo says. “I wanted to tell you in person, in case you haven’t heard about it already.”
“I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention.” Haknyeon bites his lip. “Are— Are you gonna do anything about it?”
Shrugging, Sunwoo says, “What’s there to do? Rumors are rumors. You can’t stop them. I can only hope they fizzle out on their own.”
“But will you be okay? We’re—” Haknyeon goes silent, looking down at his shoes.
“It’ll blow over,” Sunwoo assures. Haknyeon brings his head up, expression unsure. Sunwoo wants to brush the frown off his face, replace it with a smile, but he can’t. Instead, he gives Haknyeon’s hand a quick squeeze before they turn the corner.
When they reach Sunwoo’s house, Haknyeon lets out a despondent sigh. He still smiles as he reaches to hug Sunwoo, wrapping his arms around the younger boy’s sides, tucking his chin on Sunwoo’s shoulder.
“Sorry,” he whispers, and it breaks Sunwoo’s heart into pieces.
“Don’t say sorry,” Sunwoo chides. Haknyeon’s hand tightens on the back of his shirt. “Nothing’s your fault.”
Sunwoo wishes that he could be stronger, be braver, be better for Haknyeon. He wishes he could shout from the rooftops, say all the things hidden in his heart, but he’s not ready. All he can do is send Haknyeon off with a wave and a sad smile, hoping Haknyeon isn’t too disappointed with his cowardice.
As far as anyone can tell, Sunwoo doesn’t have feelings. He’s quick-witted and sharp-tongued, not one to express many sentiments to the public. He’s known to get easily frightened by scary movies and the like, but he can play that off, no problem, with some smooth talking and blackmail. Possibly empty threats, too, that he would never intend to execute. That’d be a lot of work to do, anyway, and frankly he doesn’t have a clue as to where the nearest river is.
Sunwoo has a great poker face, feelings practically nonexistent to the untrained eye. So, by extension, as far as anyone can tell, no one has a clue he’s been dating his best friend since the beginning of summer.
It’s not a complicated story.
Very, very objectively, Joo Haknyeon is the most beautiful boy Sunwoo has ever met. Sunwoo met him in middle school, when Haknyeon moved to the city from the countryside. They turned out to be next door neighbors, so Sunwoo’s parents told him to show the kid around and get familiarized with the neighborhood.
Haknyeon was more than happy to befriend Sunwoo, who was amazed at the cute boy kissed by the sun with a smile even brighter. He’d grown up on his family’s farm, with his sisters and parents, tending to the pigs and piglets when he wasn’t at school. His house was right next to the fields, and every morning a rooster’s crow would wake him. Although he was young, he had a load of responsibilities and didn’t have much time to play with kids his age. With his family moving to the city, the farm now in the care of a trustworthy uncle after his father passed, Haknyeon told Sunwoo he wanted to experience as much as possible and live life to the fullest.
Naturally, Haknyeon became Sunwoo’s best friend. Sunwoo had a lot of friends, but none could compare to how close and comfortable he began to feel with the new boy in town. Haknyeon was enigmatic — an avid reader, dancer, self-proclaimed food connoisseur, straight B student, jazz listener. He wasn’t much like Sunwoo at all, but Sunwoo enjoyed having that new perspective around. Nobody could be Joo Haknyeon except Joo Haknyeon.
High school changed a few things. Sunwoo joined the soccer team, wowing the coach and players with his abilities; Haknyeon tried his hand in the cheerleading squad. Practice upon practice filled their schedules, so outside of classes they rarely had time to meet. Sometimes they would see one another at the soccer games, but circumstances didn’t let them speak. Haknyeon started to hang out with the gymnasts and other cheerleaders, and Sunwoo soon found he wasn’t the priority anymore.
Of course he didn’t like it. He was Haknyeon’s best friend. Sunwoo’s mood unintentionally became sour whenever someone mentioned cheerleaders, which is where the belief that he loathes the group came about. He never bothered to correct it, mostly out of pettiness. Jacob was the one to come to the conclusion anyway, and correcting Bae Jacob even when he’s wrong feels like a felony.
The end of the first semester marked the end of soccer season, but cheerleading was year-round. Sunwoo took matters into his own hands, then, and reached out for Haknyeon more. He wanted to take more of his time to hang out, study, or do nothing with his best friend. Sunwoo just wanted to be with Haknyeon. And Haknyeon, like they’d never had a single obstacle in their friendship, let Sunwoo bleed back into his life, ever so simply.
The feeling that came along with being with Haknyeon, indescribable and fuzzy, was something Sunwoo wasn’t sure what to make of. So he didn’t make anything of it, didn’t question the butterflies sitting in his stomach, the blush on his cheeks, the steady drumbeat of his heart. He didn’t want things to change, wasn’t sure if he had it in him to change, so he kept quiet.
After the school year concluded, summer break in full swing, Haknyeon took Sunwoo to his farm in the countryside for a visit. His mom drove him and his sisters, the three youngest squeezed in the backseat. Haknyeon shared snacks with Sunwoo on the way, inevitably falling sound-asleep on Sunwoo’s shoulder.
Haknyeon’s family farm was nothing like Sunwoo, born and raised a city slicker, had ever experienced. He saw the fields, acres of land that were dedicated to harvest. Watermelons, tomatoes, corn... The air felt too good for Sunwoo’s polluted lungs, but Haknyeon’s mother slapped him on the back and promised he’d get used to it fast.
The sun bore down on them as they helped with miscellaneous chores. Sunwoo was taught how to harvest the watermelons (cut a centimeter from the stem) and where to bring them (the warehouse across the road). Both he and Haknyeon were doing a variety of things, all over the farm. Working with Haknyeon was rewarding in its own way. They talked a lot, or maybe not at all, depending on how tired Sunwoo was. After seeing Haknyeon carry three boxes of tomatoes at once, without even breaking a sweat, Sunwoo understood why Haknyeon was able to lift the cheerleaders in the team so easily and keep up his energy. While Sunwoo’s strength lies in his legs, Haknyeon’s is definitely in his arms.
Several days into their visit, Haknyeon gleefully introduced him to the pigs and piglets, and Sunwoo had to admit that they were pretty cute, save for the squealing that made Sunwoo startle. Haknyeon would chuckle every time Sunwoo flinched, patting his head and reassuring him they wouldn’t bite.
Haknyeon was holding a sleeping piglet in his lap, letting Sunwoo stroke the fur on its tiny legs, when he asked the question.
“Do you wanna go out with me?”
They were sitting under the shadows of a tree, lounging without anything to do. Sunwoo looked up, blinking. “We’re out right now,” he replied, matter-of-fact. The joke hid how taken aback he was at the proposition. “The fresh air is poisoning me. I can barely breathe.”
Yet, Haknyeon saw right through Sunwoo’s facade. “You know what I mean.” He looked away, and Sunwoo noticed how red his ears were, not from the sun’s spite but from bashfulness. “You can say no. I— I won’t be sad.”
Sunwoo didn’t say anything at first. He continued to pet the piglet, stuck in thought, Haknyeon’s low humming going through his ears. After a minute or so of contemplation, he made an easy conclusion of his feelings for his best friend.
Sunwoo liked Haknyeon. Of course he did. More than he cared to admit, really, and the thought of holding his hand, going on dates, kissing him...
The blush on Sunwoo’s face must’ve been telling when he brought his head up to meet Haknyeon’s gaze, now shining with hope.
“I don’t wanna tell anyone,” Sunwoo responded, soft. He was scared of what others may say, what others may think.
“That’s not a no, Sunwoo.”
Sunwoo nodded. “Yeah,” he said. Haknyeon sighed. “It’s a yeah, but. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to...” Sunwoo nodded again. “Yeah.”
“Take your time,” Haknyeon said. He smiled. “I can wait as long as you need it.”
So here they are, almost half a year later, happily in a relationship that no one but them two are aware of. Sunwoo has had doubts about whether Haknyeon would really want to stay with him like this, but Haknyeon keeps to his word and waits and waits and waits. Their romantic relationship is the kind that doesn’t appear that different from their friendship, so no one suspects a thing, which is good. Should be good.
With the new rumor going around, Sunwoo isn’t so sure anymore. Haknyeon looks more uneasy nowadays, and Sunwoo knows it’s because he’s being more careful. Sunwoo appreciates it, but at the same time...
It doesn’t feel right.
After a week of being hounded by upperclassmen, underclassmen, and even teachers (how on earth Mr. Kwon knows about Sunwoo’s “love life” is completely beyond him) Sunwoo has had absolutely enough.
“Holy shit, when is this rumor gonna die,” he groans, self-consciously popping his collar as a duo of juniors snicker at him as they pass by to check out books. “God, people suck. Everyone sucks. I hate high school. High school sucks.”
“Look on the bright side,” Hyunjoon says. Sunwoo waits for him to go on, but the younger boy just scratches behind his ear with the back of his pencil. “You know, Sunwoo, I don’t really know where I was going with that. Nevermind.”
Sunwoo kicks at him under the table, but Hyunjoon is nimble enough to dodge it. “Asshole.”
“I’m here for moral support,” Hyunjoon proclaims, but he’s not very convincing. “You can’t score a touchdown without someone blocking you.”
“That— That’s football. I play soccer. Are you even trying?”
Hyunjoon shrugs. “Apples and oranges are both fruits,” he says. Sunwoo stares blankly at him. “I’m a gymnast. I do the pommel horse and floor exercises. Don’t expect me to know team sports, okay.”
“Fake,” Sunwoo accuses weakly. “Fake student athlete. We stand in solidarity. You’re fake.”
Hyunjoon rolls his eyes. “When’s Haknyeon coming?”
Sunwoo checks his phone and scrolls through his messages. “Two minutes.” Haknyeon is going over a routine with the cheerleading captain, hashing out details to be executed tomorrow at practice. “In Haknyeon time, that’s another ten.” Hyunjoon snickers.
True to Sunwoo’s prediction, Haknyeon enters the library a little over ten minutes later. He’s grinning brightly as he plops his bag on the floor and slides into the seat beside Sunwoo.
“I’m here!” he announces, only to be shushed right after by the librarian. He slaps a hand over his mouth and says, much quieter, “Oops. My bad.” He grins again as he takes out his things. “What’d I miss?”
Sunwoo rests his head on his hand, lips thinned. “Everything. Hyunjoon and I just graduated. Our diplomas are being process. You missed out on the whole ceremony. I was the valedictorian, obviously, Jacob hyung cried—”
Haknyeon stuffs a Chocopie into Sunwoo’s mouth, effectively silencing the bullshit he’s spouting. He takes a bite of his own snack and asks again, to Hyunjoon, “What’d I miss?”
“Nothing at all,” Hyunjoon replies. He grimaces when Sunwoo gets chocolate crumbs on his Geometry textbook. “You disgust me.”
Sunwoo snorts, mouth full, “Good.”
Haknyeon picks up his pen, ready to start outlining his history paper, when he gets distracted by the novel sticking out of his bag. “You guys! Wanna hear about the book I’m reading now? It’s called The Girl on the Train, and boy, is it messed up.”
“Literally don’t care,” Hyunjoon says.
Sunwoo, on the other hand, turns to Haknyeon and and says, “I’m ready.” Haknyeon beams. “Give me another Chocopie, too. One wasn’t enough.”
Haknyeon raves on about the book, animatedly explaining climactic moments with his whole body. His voice tends to raise without him realizing it, so when he gets too loud Sunwoo taps him on the cheek to quiet. In all honesty, Sunwoo could care less about some psychological thriller fiction Haknyeon is reading, but the key phrase to pull out is that Haknyeon is reading it. Sunwoo cares that Haknyeon likes it, so he sits and listens for a full fifteen minutes before Hyunjoon throws an eraser at Haknyeon to get him to shut up.
The three get to studying, pencils scribbling away on the pages, buttons of their calculators clicking. A while later, after he’s finished his Geometry homework, Sunwoo stretches his arms and lets out a groan. He feels Haknyeon tug on the back of his shirt, and he looks at the other boy, confused. “What’re doing?”
“There’s... a note on your back,” Haknyeon says, holding a neon yellow post-it between his fingers.
Even though it’s facing away from Sunwoo, he can read the outline of the words — Cheerleader Chump. Haknyeon stares hard at the note, expression stoic. Hyunjoon brings his head up to see, but Sunwoo swiftly snatches the note and crinkles it into a ball.
“Are you kidding me? What year is it? Did the ‘90s call?” Sunwoo shoves the paper deep inside his pocket, clucking his tongue. “These sort of things lack creativity. I’m disappointed.”
“Of course you would criticize the method people go about to bully you,” Hyunjoon sighs. Haknyeon laughs at the comment, albeit slightly restrained.
Sunwoo shakes his head. “God, people suck. I hate people.”
“Except for me?” Haknyeon chirps, lips curling into a sly smile.
“Except for you,” Sunwoo affirms. Haknyeon quietly pumps his fist, looking pleased.
Hyunjoon rolls his eyes. “Would you two just date already? I hate third-wheeling.”
Sunwoo and Haknyeon’s eyes dart to Hyunjoon, who continues to write in his notebook like the statement wasn’t the slightest bit odd in any way, shape, or form. Haknyeon laughs a second too late, as does Sunwoo, and the three go back to doing homework. Hyunjoon doesn’t make any comment like that again, but it still rattles Sunwoo’s composure.
If Haknyeon intentionally scoots his chair a few inches farther from Sunwoo, then Sunwoo pretends not to notice.
The “crush on a cheerleader” rumor gets further away from the spotlight as the soccer team focuses on their next game. Sunwoo forgets about it entirely, much more occupied drawing up plays and practicing his dribbles. (And school work, too, but he’s not as worried about that.) The rumor, as well as his secret relationship with Haknyeon, is way at the back of his mind, which luckily doesn’t cause him any trouble.
Unfortunately, he gets a friendly reminder from the overbearing cosmic force in the sky that Kim Sunwoo doesn’t ever get it lucky.
It happens the night of the second to last game of the season.
The soccer team is playing at home, so they have the pep band and the cheerleaders at the sidelines along with the crowd. The bleachers are moderately filled, families and friends cheering them on. The other team has quite the reputation, one of the top schools in region, known for their good stamina and power. However, Sunwoo shows no sign of worry, giving his team a short, motivational speech to hype them up.
Sunwoo walks onto the field, turning back to scan the bleachers. His eyes land on one boy, waving excitedly, voice loud and clear. Haknyeon, donned in his red and black cheerleader uniform, is amidst dozens of others, but Sunwoo sees him right away. Brightly, Haknyeon sends him an okay sign with his fingers, which Sunwoo returns with a shy smile. It’s a tradition they’ve established before either of their competitions, and it feels like Haknyeon is sending him his luck from the other side.
The game is exhausting. Sunwoo can feel his legs burning as he chases after the ball, trying to take it for an opportunity to score. The teams are neck-and-neck, neither one yielding to the other. The offense and defense of the teams are outstanding, but they’re all wearing themselves out. Even Eric, who’s undoubtedly the most energetic on the team, is getting out of breath by his post at the goal.
Despite the crowd rooting for the home team, despite Sunwoo’s team giving it their all, they lose. To Sunwoo, the captain of the crew, it’s devastating. Any loss is a low blow to the stomach. There’s really nothing for Sunwoo to do aside from accept it, shake the other team’s hands, and move on.
As the captain, he gives his team several words of encouragement before the coach sends them off to the locker room. Sunwoo stays behind for a few minutes to talk to the other team, telling the players how great opponents they were and how they’d like to meet again next season. Hyunjae, a reluctant friend and member of the journalism club, does a brief interview with the opposing team’s captain and asks how it felt to be so evenly matched. To Sunwoo’s satisfaction, the response is an exhausted sigh and an amicable punch to Sunwoo’s shoulder.
When Sunwoo gets the locker room, nearly all of the team has left. He gets it; none of them are in the mood for tomfoolery. There’s nothing to celebrate, no good news to share fizzy drinks and chicken wings over. Sunwoo sees someone standing by the lockers, back turned, though the pink hair is a dead giveaway.
“Hey, Eric,” Sunwoo greets.
Eric spins around in place, nearly tripping over himself in the process. He catches himself on his locker, eyes wide. “H-Hyung!”
Sunwoo regards him warily as he goes to sit on the bench. “You haven’t left yet?” he asks. He notices something in Eric’s hand and frowns. “Wait, is that my phone?”
Eric squeaks. He wipes his face with his sleeve and stammers, “It— It went off. It was there on the bench, so I— I checked it. But it wasn’t on purpose, I swear! Uh, well, a little bit, maybe...”
“What’s the big deal, man?” Sunwoo interjects.
“I didn’t mean to peek.” Eric looks like he’s about to cry as he holds out the phone for Sunwoo. “Cross my heart. I’m sorry, hyung.”
Sunwoo takes his phone from Eric, who looks down as if he’s awaiting a scolding. Confused, Sunwoo checks his phone and gets the oh moment right away. There’s a single text sitting prettily below the time and date.
joo hakking (20:38)
even tho u didnt win tonight ur still #1 in my heart :)
Mom needs me to help her with laundry tonight so I’ll see u tmrw
text me before u sleep babe!!!
Had it been any other circumstance, Sunwoo would’ve smiled and swiped his thumb to reply. Now, all he can do is swallow and try to calm his unease. “You didn’t see anything,” he remarks quietly.
Eric brings his head up. “Hyung? What do you mean?”
“This—” Sunwoo gets to his feet, jaw clenched, and holds his phone in front of him. “No one can know about this, Eric.”
“All due respect, hyung, but we won’t judge you for actually dating a cheerleader.” Eric sounds more sure of himself, despite being much more reserved than his usual bouncy self. “Haknyeon hyung is cool! Cheerleaders aren’t so bad.”
“That’s not what I’m afraid of people knowing,” Sunwoo mutters. He shoves his phone in his pocket, pushing it out of sight.
“What? Why else would you be—” Eric stops. His eyes widen. “Oh. Oh, I see.”
Sunwoo scratches his neck, waving his hand aimlessly. “Please, man, I... I’m not ready to... you know.” He clears his throat. “Yeah.”
Eric opens his arms wide. “Hug,” he says. Sunwoo stares at him, but Eric wriggles his fingers with a charming smile and Sunwoo, walls crumbling, reluctantly goes towards his embrace. He relaxes in Eric’s arms, the comforting nature of Eric’s hold, and wonders how much he needed this.
“It’s okay, hyung,” Eric soothes. “Everything will work out. I just know it.”
Sunwoo feels a burst of relief, but he doesn’t voice it aloud. Instead, he lets out a bland, “I’m sweaty.”
“Shh. You’re ruining the moment.”
It only seems fair for Sunwoo to tell Haknyeon about it. Haknyeon is fifty-percent of their relationship, and keeping a secret within a secret is way too messy for Sunwoo to deal with.
Sunwoo decides to tell him the day after the game, when they’re walking home from school.
The timing is bad. They’re halfway to home, but Sunwoo hadn’t wanted to interrupt Haknyeon’s story about Ms. Kim asking the class for online dating profile tips. (“She showed us headshots of herself. Plural.”) That may’ve been an excuse to stall, too, on Sunwoo’s part.
Haknyeon, given no context, is understandably puzzled. “Knows about...?”
Sunwoo looks across the street. The traffic light three blocks away turns yellow. “About us,” he says.
A terse second passes, as if the world has been forced to a standstill. “What?” Haknyeon’s voice is quiet yet pressed. His face gives away his panic. “H-How’d he find out?”
“After the game he saw your text to me,” Sunwoo elaborates. Haknyeon bites his lip. “I think it’s okay. I told him not to tell anyone. I mean, it’s Eric. He’s, like, half beagle so I know he’ll listen to me.”
They keep walking, though Haknyeon stays quiet. Sunwoo takes the chance to tell him about his day, trying to steer the topic away from Eric. Sunwoo mentions how Jacob brought waffles for lunch, with that maple syrup from his hometown in Canada (“I got it checked at customs. How cool is that?” he’d bragged). The anecdote makes Haknyeon crack a smile. Sunwoo says that Jacob can give them some next time they visit his house. Haknyeon’s weakness is food, especially the kind that’s homemade and full of love. Somehow, and Sunwoo trusts this fact sincerely, Haknyeon can taste the difference.
Haknyeon pokes his finger into Sunwoo’s jacket pocket, stopping him. “Do you still hear that rumor going around?” he asks. They’re in front of Sunwoo’s house. He keeps glancing at the windows. “The one about you dating a cheerleader.”
“Every so often,” Sunwoo admits. Mostly teasing from the soccer team, the occasional jab from classmates, and playful nudging from Juyeon and Jacob during lunchtime. “It doesn’t bother me.”
The answer doesn’t seem to satisfy Haknyeon, who draws his hand back and purses his lips. “Maybe... we should take a break,” he suggests, hushed.
Sunwoo stares at him. “What?”
“I want things to go back to normal,” Haknyeon goes on. “I know you don’t like it when people talk about you. And I don’t like it either.” He exhales shakily. “Stopping this charade for a while would be good for us.”
“We don’t have to,” Sunwoo says hastily. With Haknyeon, things should be easy. Things shouldn’t be like this, where it feels like Sunwoo’s world is falling apart around him. “Kids are always talking. Rumors are rumors. With time, it all should—”
“Sunwoo, that’s the thing. It’s more than just a rumor.” Haknyeon takes a hold of Sunwoo’s hand in both of his, rubbing his knuckles as he speaks. “I want some time to myself. And... I want you to figure out if this is really what you want, being with me.” He smiles and lightly pinches Sunwoo’s cheek. “Don’t look so sad. This isn’t a breakup.”
“What is this, then?” Sunwoo squeezes Haknyeon’s hand by his face and the hand in his. He holds tight because he’s afraid to let go.
Haknyeon closes his eyes. He sighs. “A pause.”
“You’re lookin’ pretty glum,” Juyeon notes, joining Sunwoo at the lunch table. Jacob isn’t here, staying with the student council during their meeting to give Sangyeon his lunch, so it’s only them two.
Slouched down, Sunwoo doesn’t bother lifting his head to properly greet the junior. “Thanks, Sherlock, I had no idea. You amaze me with your unrivaled powers of deduction.” He glances at Juyeon, who’s slumping dejectedly, and regrets everything. “Sorry. That was harsh. I’m just... not feeling it.”
Juyeon nods. He starts to mix his applesauce with a spoon. “Do you wanna talk about it?” he asks.
Sunwoo does. Only a couple of days have past since Haknyeon decided to put them on a break. In these couple of days, Sunwoo has been more lonely than ever. He and Haknyeon don’t walk to or from school together anymore. They don’t wait for one another’s practices to end, and they don’t treat one another to after school snacks that are unhealthy but delicious. Still, Haknyeon greets him when they see each other, but there are no subtle touches and glances that Sunwoo relishes. The feeling is reminiscent of the first semester of freshman year, which makes Sunwoo scowl to himself at the thought.
Sunwoo wants to relay his problems to Juyeon, pour out his heart, but he’s not used to that. He trusts Juyeon, mutual friends through Jacob, but Sunwoo... Not yet.
“I don’t know,” Sunwoo mutters. He sits up abruptly and holds out his hands. “Okay. Hypothetical scenario.”
“I’m not good at those,” says Juyeon.
“Just... hear me out.” Sunwoo clears his throat. “Say there’s this... guy.” He glances at Juyeon, who’s now moving around the containers on his tray, placing his box of apple juice in front of Sunwoo. “What are you doing?”
Sunwoo gives him a blank stare, and then clears his throat again. “There’s this guy, who’s dating... this person.” Juyeon places Sunwoo’s bottle of orange juice next to the juice box. Sunwoo continues, “They haven’t been dating for a long time. They were friends for a few years beforehand, so this is relatively new to them.” He pauses. “No one knows that they’re dating.”
Juyeon frowns. “Why?”
“This guy—” Sunwoo lifts the juice box, “—wants it to be a secret, so this person—” He lifts the orange juice, “—goes along with it. It’s been fine for the last few months, but it seems that this person wants to be open with their relationship. And this guy doesn’t know if he can do that yet.”
“That doesn’t sound good,” Juyeon says. “What’s stopping him? The guy.”
“I—” Sunwoo clamps his mouth shut. “I think he’s afraid,” he amends. He holds onto the juice box, flicking the straw. “When he opens up, he’s afraid that people will judge them. This guy doesn’t have the best rep, and he doesn’t want this person to experience any misjudgment because of him.”
Juyeon hums. He takes the juice box from Sunwoo and takes a sip. “That sounds pretty selfish.”
“What? How?” Sunwoo has thought that, if anything, his actions are partially selfless.
“Well, this guy thinks that he’s completely responsible for whatever happens to them after they come tell people that they’re dating. One-sided, don’t you think?” Sunwoo remains quiet, which allows Juyeon to go on, “That doesn’t even sound like he’s considered how this person would feel about it. What if this person is only following this guy’s wishes because they’re hoping that, one day soon, he’ll spill the beans himself?”
“The other person just let the guy decide it on his own,” defends Sunwoo, but as he says it aloud he realizes how that’s exactly Juyeon’s point. “Shit.”
“Maybe the person was scared of saying what they really wanted from the beginning: honesty and happiness. But they were scared of possibly losing this guy in the process.” Juyeon puts down his juice box, shrugging. “That’s my interpretation, anyhow.”
Sunwoo tries to process it all. Juyeon, despite how much of an airhead he is most of the time, has really dropped some truths on Sunwoo’s existence. Sunwoo wants nothing but the best for him and Haknyeon, to achieve the coveted happily ever after, but he has yet to do something to get there. He knows, has known what Haknyeon really wants for months: to hold his hand between classes, to give him a hug in a crowded room, to kiss him with not a single regret.
Because that’s what Sunwoo wants, too. Sunwoo wants all that and more. Sunwoo’s heart is so full of Haknyeon, and he concludes that Haknyeon deserves so much more than what Sunwoo is giving him.
“What if this guy told the truth?” Sunwoo, idly stroking the cap of the orange juice, turns to Juyeon. “Would that make this person happy?”
Juyeon rests his chin in his palm, elbow resting on the table. “What do you think? You’re probably more familiar with this hypothetical scenario than I am.”
Chuckling, Sunwoo nods, knowing that he doesn’t need any more advice for what he wants to do. All the materials are there, laid out in front of him; he just needs to put the pieces together and build something beautiful. It’s been a long time coming.
Sunwoo watches Juyeon move more of the items on his tray to surround the juice box and orange juice. “What’re you doing now?”
Shaking the ketchup packet, Juyeon says, “This is me.” He does similar motions to each item as he puts down an M&M cookie, the dish of pineapples, a spoon, and a chicken nugget. “This is Jacob, Hyunjoon, Eric, Hyunjae—”
“Why are you putting yourselves in the scenario?” Sunwoo asks, amused.
“I think we belong there.” Juyeon grins. “Don’t you?”
Sunwoo feels the corners of his lips rising. This time, he says what he feels. “Yeah,” he admits, accepting the friendly handshake Juyeon offers. (It only makes him a little self-conscious that Juyeon’s hands are gigantic.)
Today is the day. Sunwoo wakes up with a purpose. He eats an apple for breakfast, sending a text to Haknyeon to make sure he comes to the game tonight. He’s worried that Haknyeon won’t see it, but he gets a reply a few minutes later.
joo hakking (07:02)
the cheerleading squad will be there!!
Although it lacks the usual fondness and intimacy Haknyeon puts into his texts, at least it’s something. Sunwoo misses Haknyeon’s random messages throughout the day — stuff like buy me some bread!! TT or I bet I can convince Juyeon hyung that elves stole his wallet. Sunwoo is giving Haknyeon his space, yes, but he knows Haknyeon. He knows that even this short amount of time makes Haknyeon lonely. Or maybe that’s just Sunwoo, maybe Haknyeon is better off without him, maybe—
“Don’t do this, Kim Sunwoo,” he murmurs to himself, slapping his cheek. “Don’t quit on yourself. Don’t doubt Haknyeon.” He inhales. Exhales. “We’re in this together.”
The school day passes too slowly for Sunwoo’s liking. He’s jittery in every class, bouncing his leg, chewing at the end of his pen. Hyunjoon calls him out for it, scowling in disgust, so naturally Sunwoo steals the younger boy’s pencil during free period to gnaw at the eraser. It earns him more scowling and a graceful kick to the knee, making Sunwoo curse. Hyunjoon claims he hadn’t hit hard enough to render him injured, but it still hurts.
When school ends, Sunwoo heads home. There is no practice; the coach wants them to save their energy for the game. Since it’s the final match of the season, they all want to make it count. Sunwoo sends an encouraging message into the team group chat and takes a nap on his couch, setting an alarm before sprawling out.
Later, he gets ready with trembling hands. The anxiety of the impending game and what he wants to achieve afterwards is getting to him. (That, and likely the three chocolate bars he’d stress-eaten moments earlier.) He tries to stay calm as he packs his bag, making sure he doesn’t forget anything. Once everything is all set, he gets his mom to drive him back to school. She’s completely serene as she gives him a kiss on the cheek and wishes him luck.
Sunwoo must look like a hot mess, because while he’s getting out of the car she leans out the window to yell, “Don’t be so worried about it, sweetie! I’ll support you no matter what happens. I love you for who you are.”
It’s an embarrassing sight, causing Sunwoo to flush, but he knows she has good intent. “Thanks, Mom. See you after the game.” She drives off, leaving Sunwoo at the curb.
The soccer team prepares in the locker room. It’s easy to fall into routine, joking around like it’s just another game, when in actuality it’s the final one of the year. Sunwoo sees the seniors, congratulates them for their acceptances into college with soccer scholarships. He also tells them not to break an ankle or else they’ll have to pay tuition, which gets a few towels thrown in his direction for being cheeky. All the seniors laugh and tell him if anyone’s getting hurt tonight, it’s going to be Kim Sunwoo because of multiple counts of friendly fire.
A few minutes before the game, while the team is waiting for the announcer to call them out to the stadium, Eric approaches Sunwoo and pulls him aside.
“Hey, hyung,” he whispers. He licks his lips. “Um, are things okay with you and Haknyeon hyung? I don’t wanna stick my nose in your business...” Sunwoo gives him a pointed look. “Okay, so I do, but! Because it might be my fault.”
Sunwoo sighs and puts a hand on Eric’s shoulder. “Me and Haknyeon had a talk. Things are rough. I’m working on it.” Eric whimpers, distraught. “And it’s not your fault.” The moment Eric brightens, Sunwoo adds, “Well, maybe a little.”
Snickering, Sunwoo shakes Eric and ruffles his pink hair. “Get ready, goalie. We’re about to head out.”
The team exits the locker room and steps onto the field. Sunwoo doesn’t even spare a glance at the other team, instead scanning the bleachers and trying to find Haknyeon. He sees him, with the other cheerleaders, red and black streaks painted on his face. Haknyeon is grinning brightly, laughing along with the others, cheering for the soccer team. He must catch Sunwoo’s eye, then, because his grin falters momentarily.
Sunwoo takes his first chance. He does an okay sign with his fingers, holding it high in the air, heart racing. He waits and waits and waits and waits and—
Haknyeon returns the gesture, timid, hand close to his chest, biting back a smile. It’s enough for Sunwoo.
The game starts.
Compared to the last game, Sunwoo has a better idea of how to handle the opponent. He and his team run through the same plays they’ve done dozens of time in practice, focusing on a strong offense more than anything else. The other team finds holes in their formations every so often, but Eric successfully blocks all the shots they try to make. Sunwoo yells for them to keep their cool, try not to get worked up by mistakes on either side.
The first point goes to Sunwoo’s team. He’s not the one to make the shot, but that doesn’t matter. It’s towards the middle of the game, after halftime, when there’s nothing but zeroes on the scoreboard. He screams loudly and hugs his teammate, a trustworthy senior who wants to go to medical school, for the goal — a beautiful arc, missing the goalie’s fingertips by mere centimeters.
They fight harder. Offense is still their priority, but Sunwoo and the coach encourage them to watch their defenses as well. Eric is practically hopping from excitement, drumming his gloved hands on the goalpost while the ball is on the other side of the field. Sunwoo reprimands him when he sees this, but Eric is too giddy to be deterred.
The other team makes two goals after that. Sunwoo’s team makes two, too, one of which is Sunwoo’s. His is the last goal, twenty seconds before the end of the game, and when the referee blows the whistle it’s over.
The game ends. Sunwoo’s team wins.
Right now, he’s captain of the winning team. Eric tackles him to the ground, which instantly causes a dogpile that crushes all the air from Sunwoo’s lungs. It’s the feeling of breathlessness, like he’s flying amongst the clouds, with not enough oxygen, too much exhilaration. A cacophony of noise is coming from all around him, screams and cheers and trumpets, deafening.
Eventually, the hype begins to slowly subside. It’s not like they’ve won the championship, which they weren’t qualified for anyway, and it’s not like they were that much better than their opponents, who actually have a better record than them. They show good sportsmanship, shaking hands and saying “GG” or “you worked hard.” As the other team leaves to their bus, and Sunwoo’s team visits the bleachers to please the crowd, a familiar(ly annoying) junior rushes to Sunwoo, wielding a pen and notepad.
“If I could take a moment of your time! I am Hyunjae of the school newspaper—”
“We’ve been friends since grade school and Hyunjae isn’t even your real name,” scoffs Sunwoo.
Hyunjae coughs, furiously scratching out a line on the page. He resumes his cheerful demeanor. “Congratulations! You’re closing out the season with the best record for the soccer team in the last five years. How do you feel?”
Wiping his face with the front of his jersey, Sunwoo chuckles. “Incredible. First year as captain and I get to experience this. It’s incredible.” He exhales. “I’ve poured my heart and soul into this game, our team. All of us have. We’ve been cultivating our seeds, tending to the thorny stems, and now we’re left with a blooming garden of roses.”
“Very poetic! I’ll quote you on that.” Hyunjae jots down another note. “So what’s the plan after this?”
“Immediately? A shower. More in the long-term? Attempt to maintain my GPA so I can transition smoothly into junior year. Geometry kicks my ass.”
Hyunjae chortles. He flips the page and then smirks. “The hottest question, in my opinion! In light of recent rumors, is there anyone you would like to dedicate your win tonight to? Someone significant, perhaps?”
Ah, so this is it. The perfect opportunity. Sunwoo takes his second chance.
“Yeah, there is.” Sunwoo climbs on top of the bench, the metal clanging under the weight of his cleats and insecurities. Trying to ease his erratic pulse, he cups his hands around his mouth and shouts to the bleachers, “I have a confession to make!”
It gets the attention of mostly everyone. Some don’t care and continue filing out of the stadium, but the ones who stay turn to stare at the soccer team’s captain. The students. The cheerleaders. His teammates. Hyunjae is eagerly sitting on the edge of the bench, pen and notepad ready in hand, looking up at him.
And Haknyeon, ethereal in every possible way, watching him with wide eyes.
“I don’t hate the cheerleading squad!” Sunwoo exclaims. He swallows, watching as people stare at him in confusion. “The cheerleading squad is actually pretty dope, if you ask me. I could never flip or cartwheel or— or be that peppy. Ever. They do great stuff.”
(Hyunjae is snickering. Sunwoo hates him.)
“So that rumor about me, the one where I have a crush on a cheerleader—” Sunwoo takes a deep breath, clenching his fists at his sides. “It’s true.”
The resounding gasps and chatter that result from the announcement remind him of a studio audience at a melodrama recording. (“I knew it,” Hyunjae murmurs, hand rushing to write.) The response makes Sunwoo feel ridiculous, holding in a snort, but he has to (try to) be serious.
“We’ve actually been dating for a few months,” Sunwoo goes on. (Another exaggerated gasp, which sounds suspiciously like Jacob.) “I know I’m a terrible boyfriend for making this a secret, but—” He sighs, “—I wanted to be honest.”
“Who is it?”
“Is anyone recording this?”
“Shut up! He’s still talking!”
Sunwoo looks straight ahead, unwavering. “Joo Haknyeon!” he yells, putting all his passion into the name, his ears burning red, sweat beading at his temple from exhaustion and fear.
The spotlight is pointed at Haknyeon, now, who slowly descends down the steps of the bleachers to lean over the edge of the railing. He has the perfect poker face, barely raising an eyebrow as he asks, at an equal volume, “What are you doing, Captain Sunwoo?”
Hopping off the bench, Sunwoo pushes past people to meet Haknyeon at the edge of the bleachers. He takes a step, and another, then long strides until he’s face to face with Haknyeon, who’s waiting on bated breath for Sunwoo to speak.
Sunwoo grasps Haknyeon’s hand in his, fitting their fingers together, and rests his other hand on Haknyeon’s cheek, cold to the touch, sizzling to life in the warmth of Sunwoo’s palm. Haknyeon, unable to help himself, breaks into a grin as Sunwoo leans in close.
“I’m pressing play.”
Haknyeon’s lips taste of cherry chapstick and fruity gum as opposed to Sunwoo’s, chapped and marred with sweat, but Haknyeon isn’t complaining. Sunwoo has missed the sensation of Haknyeon’s brilliant smile, mouth molding into the kiss. When Sunwoo tries to pull away, Haknyeon chases his lips with a whine. Haknyeon’s grin is blinding, mesmerizing. The crowd around them roars, whistling and applauding, yet the couple pays them no mind.
This was never about the crowd, never about the attention. This was about Sunwoo, Haknyeon, and everything they could be in between. This was about what Sunwoo wanted to be and what Haknyeon knew they already were. This was about young love, learning how to exist, learning how to blossom.
Sunwoo has taken his third and final chance. With fingers intertwined with Haknyeon’s, the other boy gently fixing the strands of Sunwoo’s hair, he knows for a fact he won’t need any more.
LOVE on the GREEN
by Lee Hyunjae
Last Friday night, the beloved soccer team closed the season with a win, 3-2. The seniors (pictured above) competed for the last time, making both scouts, fans, and family proud. Everyone’s favorite pink-haired sophomore Sohn Eric, who has gained much attention for his bubbly attitude and natural talent for sports, blocked four kicks and nearly split his lip diving for the ball. “I’m glad no one got hurt,” he declared, sighing in relief. “Especially me, since I have to try out for the baseball team in the spring!” The sophomore captain Kim Sunwoo also had this to mention in relation with the team’s journey: “[The team] has been cultivating our seeds, tending to the thorny stems, and now we’re left with a blooming garden of roses.” The coach, visibly touched at the end result of the season, was too emotional to supply us with a coherent interview.
While the win itself was amazing for the school, the most notable occurrence happened after the whistle blew. Out of nowhere, aforementioned captain Sunwoo revealed his current relationship status with best friend and sophomore cheerleader Joo Haknyeon — boyfriends! Having been the center of recent rumors, Sunwoo turned the tables and took a stand for love (pictured below). Indeed, the scene was straight from a Hollywood movie, the Snapchat flash in the background a staple of modern-day high school romance.
This revelation was a shock to many. Students and teachers alike have been talking about it for days. The morning after the spectacle, Haknyeon had this to say in response: “Sunwoo’s a big softie at heart, but he’s not that great with feelings. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that at all! Can’t believe he embarrassed himself in front of the whole student body for me.” When Sunwoo was asked to comment, he said coolly, albeit red in the face, “I’m gonna take him on more dates now. To the movies, bowling, ice cream... He owes me pizza, too.”
Although this article must end, best wishes go to the future of the school’s soccer team and the newly discovered couple, whose stories are only just beginning.
(photos taken by Kim Younghoon)