Paranoid Love Affair - Chapter 47
Paranoid Love Affair
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“What else this time?”
“…I mean … This keychain. I really like cats.”
Leaving the classroom and heading to Hye-rim’s house, Yoon-woo repeated the words of thanks again.
I was wary at the words of thanks coming out of Yoon-woo’s mouth.
It was because I was worried that none of my words might have been passed on to Yoon-woo with my original intentions.
Fortunately, the words that came out of Yoon-woo’s mouth were not like that.
But something was strange.
The atmosphere was eerie. Yoon-woo’s attitude toward me was clearly different from before taking the class.
If someone doesn’t know Yoon-woo, they will likely say that they don’t know what has changed .
Same gloomy expressionless expression and the same quiet and dull tone, what the heck is different from usual…
But I was certain.
It wasn’t an illusion.
Yoon-woo’s expression looking at me had a warmth that I had never seen before on his face.
He was still expressionless, but he was normally expressionless like he was holding back his tears, now he was expressionless like he was holding back his smile.
So was the change of conversation.
In fact, there was a part where Yoon-woo’s usual way of speaking secretly scratched my nerves.
But, like before, it was not possible for me to point out that ‘I don’t like this or that part’.
Those cold, sharp thorns hidden in the words of humility.
‘Don’t fall over, this is my seat.’
When I was in elementary school, when I sat down with my partner at a long desk, there were children who divided their own respective territories by drawing a line in the middle of the desk with the colors.
If you think about it, it’s pretty useless.
Do I still have to draw a line in the middle of the desk to know if this is the other person’s seat and this is mine?
Those who guard the territory do well even when there is no line, and those who want to invade the territory and cross the line regardless of whether there is a line or not.
But there are some vague parts.
For example, in the middle of the desk, an eraser that barely crosses the boundary of the area, the elbow that slightly crosses the line when you fall asleep on the desk… … .
I think a relationship that comfortably tolerates such things between two people is an intimate relationship.
There are people who beat other people’s hands with an iron hammer even if they slightly crossed that line, but Yoon-woo is not like that.
Rather, he is a human being who cannot say anything even if someone has crossed a large part of his area.
But for some reason, Yoon-woo was still madly obsessed with drawing a line in the middle of the desk.
If the person you think you’ve become close with, and the person you want to get to know more with, is drawing a line with a knife in the middle of a desk, there’s no way Ji-eun will feel at ease when she sees the ugly line that had been drawn.
Even when the three of us ate in a friendly way, when I saw Yoon-woo continuously drawing a line, I always wanted to shout out to him to stop…
But, still, it wasn’t today.
“Noona? What’s the matter?”
“Uh, huh? What, what is it?”
“You keep looking at the ground and walking. You have to look ahead. If you fall like last time…”
“Okay, I’ll be careful…”
“Perhaps, are you feeling unwell?”
“No! I’m fine…”
‘Is my face red? Ah…We will get there soon. Wasn’t it 3 minutes to Hye-rim’s house?’
Such was the distance from the main gate of the university to the entrance of Hye-rim’s room.
However, it took more than 10 minutes to walk down the stairs in the classroom and to wait for the elevator at the building in which Hye-rim’s home was located.
My face felt hot.
Yoon-woo was really different from usual.
There was more concrete evidence than the facial expressions or tone of voice.
It was his gaze.
It was difficult to look into Yoon-woo’s eyes.
When our eyes met, Yoon-woo quickly avoided my gaze.
It was the same when we were talking to each other.
Yoon-woo’s gaze was always facing downwards.
Even now, his gaze was looking downwards.
However, the completely different thing from usual was that even though Yoon-woo and Ji-eun were walking side by side, they were both doing it together.
From the moment she left the classroom, Ji-eun raised her head to make eye contact with Yoon-woo.
Strangely, he was walking while looking at Ji-eun’s face at that time.
“That… Hey, Yoon-woo?”
“Excuse me… Why were you looking at me like that before?”
“Uh? Oh, sorry… ”
“Nope! It’s not bad… I’m just curious…”
“What? What’s wrong with my face? Is there anything else? But, I didn’t eat anything before the class…”
Come to think of it, it seems that Yoon-woo’s gaze was on my own lips. So, Ji-eun hurriedly rubbed her lips with her hand.
But nothing came out.
“No, not that… Actually, Noona and I have a bit of a height difference…Isn’t that right?”
“Just a little bit… You can just say it comfortably. I don’t mind it. But why?”
“So if you just look in front and walk, I won’t be able to hear what noona is saying… As I try to listen well, my gaze naturally…”
“So you were looking at my mouth?”
‘You’re so focused on what I’m talking about…uhh…’
‘Uh? But wait… … .’
“Hey, isn’t it weird? Did you usually walk while looking at me like this?”
“So, normally… You can’t hear me well, but you just pretended to listen and jotted?”
“… … .”
“You bastard… … .”
“I’m sorry… … .”
Thinking about it, I understood.
I am happy now because he was happy.
This is also because Yoon-woo felt much more friendly than usual.
I don’t know what triggered him, but when Yoon-woo was talking with me, he was no longer looking at the line on the desk, but at my face.
What did that cat’s key ring swaying in Yoon-woo’s bag do?
However, Yoon-woo seemed to have no idea what I was thinking of when I gave him that key ring.
Because I also said that I like cats.
Yoon-woo didn’t seem to know at all that the black cat’s name was Jiji.
Jiji is always on Kiki’s side no matter what.
Even though Kiki loses all her witch powers, and Jiji’s voice can only be heard in Kiki’s ears as the cry of a cat, Jiji does not leave Kiki. Whether Kiki is good at her job or not, whether she is a witch or not, it doesn’t matter to Jiji.
A black cat for a witch.
Although it looks like a mascot character that was introduced to highlight the image of a traditional witch, Jiji is not just a workhorse.
Jiji isn’t the one who likes only the part where she’s a witch in Kiki.
She won’t like only one part of Kiki even if the parts break down into pieces.
She just likes Kiki.
So, Kiki would have known too.
Even if Jiji’s voice had now sounded nothing but a meow to her, she would’ve known Jiji was saying something to her.
In fact, Ji-eun in the morning didn’t just choose a present for Yun-woo.
She even changed her own cell phone case.
On her changed cell phone case, there was a picture of Kiki and Jiji sitting together on the moon.
I don’t know if the target I am migrating to is Kiki, or Jiji.
In fact, at the end of the movie, Jiji starts a happy family with a white cat.
Still, of course, Jiji is by Kiki’s side.
She may be a cat with a servile heart.
However, her thoughts about anime had progressed to that point.
Whether Yoon-woo dates Hye-rim or someone else and starts a family… … .
Even if he became like that, I was thinking that I would like to be like a Kiki or Jiji to him.
But maybe Hye-rim, who is quick-witted, can see my intentions by looking at the Jiji key ring on Yoon-woo’s bag and the changed phone case of mine?
Ji-eun had such a thought when she arrived at Hye-rim’s house, and she was so nervous that she was holding her phone tightly so that the back of her phone could not be seen.
She was kind of worried.
But, Hye-rim was noticeably excited about her tomorrow’s promise.
“Yoon-woo. Are you good at scary things?”
“Huh? What do you mean by good at scary things?”
“That… For example, when a scary or startling scene comes up, can you keep looking straight ahead without covering your eyes or turning your head?”
“Oh, you mean ‘look’. If it’s too bad, I press pause and watch it again, but the movie theater won’t do that…I’ve never seen it in a movie theater, so I’m a little nervous.”
“So… Wouldn’t it be less scary if the two of us were together?”
“Is that so?”
“Then, it’s decided! If you are too scared in the middle of watching, you can hold my hand and watch.”
“No, it’s okay. I can…”
“Then, if I’m too scared to see the scene, can I hold your hand?”
“No? Is it no?”
“Oh, no, of course not… Do whatever you want.”
“… … .”
‘Hye-rim, you’re so blatant… Did you forget I’m sitting here too?’
I know it’s not with bad intentions. That’s what she’s looking forward to doing.
I couldn’t imagine the men who were coldly kicked by Hye-rim, but in fact, she is a person who is innocent and child-like on the inside.
She doesn’t like anyone or dislikes anyone.
However… Even so, won’t it seem too obvious to do that to him?
Won’t Yoon-woo notice that enough?
Yoon-woo said that it is definitely good to have someone who likes him.
He also offered the condition that he would like that person to be a person similar to him, in order to have the belief that the other person would not leave him.
But if you think about it, there is no need to renew such a condition for Hye-rim, right?
Hasn’t it already been 10 years since Hye-rim liked Yoon-woo?
It is said that she is hiding the fact because she failed to resolve her childhood misunderstanding with him. And, she only needs to resolve the misunderstanding.
No matter how hard someone works, even if someone claims that they really like you and that they can affirm all aspects of you, can you convince Yoon-woo that she (someone) will continue to like him more than Hye-rim, who has only thought of him for 10 years?
If you think like that, Hye-rim was in a better position to win Yoon-woo’s heart than anyone else.
There are applicants lining up to win Yoon-woo’s heart, but a newcomer with experience appears between them.
Besides, 10 years of experience!
It felt complicated.
Ji-eun is getting increasingly uncomfortable being in the same room with Hye-rim and Yoon-woo.
It has been decided.
Now, I am an uninvited guest.
I felt like I am a friend who wants to eat at the newlyweds’ house.
I seem to have bipolar disorder.
Looking into Yoon-woo’s eyes and talking privately with him, I was thrilled and happy when I walked up to here, but now…
Ji-eun is working hard to manage her expression so as not to have a pout face and not to look depressed, but for some reason, Yoon-woo suddenly asked Ji-eun.
“But, Ji-eun’s noona…Is it really not okay tomorrow?”
It was really unexpected.
This is because Yoon-woo is good at answering other people’s words and is also good at joking around, but he’s not good at opening his mouth and talking to someone first.
“That, I… I can’t really see anything scary.”
“As Hye-rim said, wouldn’t it be less scary to see it together?”
‘Why is he doing this all of a sudden? Why all of today, really…’
It was the first time that Yoon-woo strongly recommended this.
Is it really thanks to my support?
Yoon-woo’s attitude toward me was as friendly as ever before.
I should pretend not to win him, and fall for his words, put a plate on my face and went to watch a movie together.
Before such thoughts could flow out of her mouth, Ji-eun quickly spit out what she should have said.
“No. Even if we go together, I… I really don’t want to see anything cruel. You guys just go by yourselves.”
Actually, that wasn’t the problem for me.
The content of the movie was pretty good.
It didn’t matter as long as Yoon-woo was with me even if he showed a documentary about the ecology of centipedes in a movie theater and showed the squeaky scenes of the jingling centipedes for 1 hour and 50 minutes.
The problem was Hye-rim.
‘Unnie, why don’t you just go with us? I’m sorry that we had dinner together before, but I’m sure Unnie would want to watch a movie with Yoon-woo too…’
It was yesterday evening that Hye-rim talked like that on the phone.
‘Why all of a sudden? Didn’t you want to go on a date with Yoon-woo?’
‘But a little…Because lying seems disrespectful.’
‘Lie? What’s a lie?’
‘It’s a lie to say that I really want to see that horror movie, and also that I didn’t want to see it with Unnie.’
‘I really hate cruel things.’
‘Still, if I insisted you come see me because I was scared, you would have gone with me, wouldn’t you?’
‘…Don’t worry about it. I’m fine. Find someone to drink with and play with sometimes, and you’ll have a good time. Have a good time, you two.’
‘Okay. You should also drink in moderation this friday, right?’
I had no intention of drinking.
I just felt weird.
I intervened between Hye-rim and Yoon-woo, and I spent time with Yoon-woo several times without Hye-rim.
Only the two of us drank together, slept in the same bed, went to a coin karaoke room, took a walk, and I even broke into his room to sleep.
However, instead of being jealous of me or getting angry at my actions, Hye-rim is rather concerned about my heart.
She said it was disrespectful to lie…
It wasn’t because of my pride that I couldn’t lose Yoon-woo to her.
It’s because Hye-rim is a really nice and pure person, and she respects other people’s feelings.
There, I could say, ‘Yeah? Then, shall I go too?’ But, I was not brave enough to say it.
These days, I’m already starting to think that I’m the only one out of these three people who has trashy personality,
Yoon-woo and Hye-rim were too busy taking care of each other, but in the meantime, only I seemed to be taking care of my own greed.
Hy-rim said she respected Yoon-woo’s heart.
She didn’t seem like the me who would hesitate, she herself could easily do that.
Oppositely, if she’s convinced that she can make Yoon-woo fall in love with her by devising some disgraceful and evil scheme, will he be able to withstand her seduction?
But still, she was far more inclined to abhor the filthy self than to follow the temptation route.
“I don’t like that… I can see things like Paranormal Activity. It’s scary, but it’s not cruel…”
“Oh, that was fun. I like that too.”
“Then, next time… When a horror movie that isn’t so cruel and scary is released, let’s go see it together…three of us.”
In answering that, Yoon-woo’s face seemed to have a slight smile on it.
Thinking that that smile was directed at her, Ji-eun’s mind became more frustrated.
“It’s early, would you like to stop by a cafe?”
When the table was finished, Hye-rim asked.
“I…I’ll go first.”
Saying that, Yoon-woo rejected Hye-rim’s offer.
“It’s only 12:40 pm, are you leaving already, Yoon-woo?” Hye-rim asked.
“Huh? I have to go to the hospital today, and there is an economics and math quiz. I’m going to go back and review what I’ve learned so far.”
“Oh? If that’s the case, you don’t have to help me organize the notes and go first…”
“No, it’s okay.”
Ji-eun knew that Yoon-woo was busy on Fridays.
As for what Yoon-woo was thinking when he made the timetable like that, she didn’t think about it clearly.
The class starts at 2pm and ends at 4:45pm.
But it was the first time he was told he had to go to the hospital… … .
Hye-rim seemed to know what it was.
“Hospital? What hospital? Where did Yoon-woo get hurt?”
Ji-eun asked Yoon-woo.
“That… There is a hospital I usually go to… I’ll tell you later.”
In fact, just imagining Hye-rim and Yoon-woo eating a sandwich together made Ji-eun feel miserable.
And, there was a secret they shared between them that she didn’t know of…
She thought Yoon-woo had become more friendly to her, but he didn’t tell her what hospital he was going to…
If she thought soberly, of course she would know that he was in a hurry because he didn’t have time for the economics and math quiz, but the mind precedes the thoughts.
Ji-eun, impatient with her sad and frustrated heart, spoke to Yoon-woo, who was wearing his shoes.
“Excuse me! Yoon-woo!”
“That… I’m confident in economics and math. I attended last year and got A+. Professor Kim’s class, right?”
“Did you get this by A+? Professor Kim’s class was even more difficult to understand because he is strict… That’s great.”
“Isn’t it? So, if you don’t know anything, feel free to ask. I took a lot of statistics classes, so I’m confident in that. Because you helped me a lot too…”
“Thanks. Still, things that were difficult to understand were starting to come out.”
“After all, if I go to another class, I only use the derivative, and the class is difficult for nothing.”
“That’ll be good to ask. If there’s anything I don’t know later, I’ll ask.”
“Okay! Ask me anytime!”
“Hmm. Bye. See you later.”
“No,no…See you later.”
The Jiji keyring was not visible from the bag Yoon-woo was carrying on his back.
Seeing that only the chain part of the key holder was visible, it was probably hidden in the bag in the process of opening and closing the zipper.
That fact alone made Ji-eun depressed.
Even though Jiji was married, she continued to stay with Kiki and was supportive of her.
That’s how Ji-eun put her heart (thought) in the key ring.
But, that’s just her own wish.
Considering the relationship between Ji-eun and Yoon-woo, Yoon-woo may see it by a completely different meaning.
“Why are you so dazed?”
“Then, are you in pain?”
“No. I’m fine.”
“Then, why don’t we go to a cafe and have a cup of coffee?”
“… Nope. I just want to go home and lie down.”
“Okay? Well… sure. But, are you sure you are not really sick?”
“Hmm, I’m not.”
The truth is, she didn’t want to be with Hye-rim.
She didn’t want to face Hye-rim who was pure and good, nor did she want to think badly about her.
She wanted to forget everything and go to sleep.
So Ji-eun grabbed her bag and put on her shoes.
“Are you coming in the evening?”
Whether she is quick-witted or has a sixth sense, Hye-rim is strangely aware of the subtle hints of her.
Ji-eun was looking for an excuse not to come here in the evening.
Because she doesn’t want to see the excited Hye-rim… … .
Ji-eun’s expression was depressing.
When I took out the cell phone, there were four messages, one from the senior, two from the classmate, and one from the junior.
Ji-eun postponed replying to the messages and clicked on Yoon-woo’s profile picture.
Yoon-woo’s profile picture was a basic picture with nothing.
She clicked a one-on-one chat with Yoon-woo, rereading each conversation she had on Wednesday, one by one.
Still, she didn’t feel better.
Looking at it before, I couldn’t stop smiling, but right now, it looked like I was about to cry.
If Yoon-woo says these pretty words not because he has a crush on me, but because of his personality, wouldn’t he say these things to Hye-rim as well?
If I am a person who was nothing special to Yoon-woo…
The thought made her feel worse than before she pulled out her cell phone.
I missed Yoon-woo’s warm embrace.
I missed that soft voice.
No matter what scheme I devised, I wanted to lie in Yoon-woo’s arms again and fall asleep while holding Yoon-woo’s arm tightly.
In that state, I hope Yoon-woo whispers pretty words to me with that voice.
Until I fall asleep…
But, perhaps, such an opportunity may never come.
In my imagination, Hye-rim will take all the places where I was.
Touching Yoon-woo’s body and hearing Yoon-woo’s voice in her ears will all become Hye-rim.
The traffic signal changed several times, but Ji-eun did not cross the intersection.
She looked so lonely and pitiful that even the fact that she was standing alone at the crossroads made her sad.
She stood still and wept over a long time, while continuing to fiddle with her earrings.
The Yoon-woo that Ji-eun can feel now may not be 36.5 degrees Celsius anymore.
[ T/N: The normal human’s body temperature is between 36.5’C to 37.5C. But, considering the meaning of context, I think she wanted to mean that he’s not alive anymore meaning the person she is holding now is dead. ]
It may be only alive to Hye-rim.
Ji-eun may have to live in that spacious lecture hall, where it was suffocating with people’s breath, looking for the faintly mixed breath of Yoon-woo.
When Hye-rim and Yoon-woo are mouth-to-mouth and directly exchanging their breaths!
If it was going to happen anyway, I would not have returned the coat.
I hugged it tightly and put it down on Yoon-woo’s bed.
I even thought I’d lie down for a while on it.
If it was impossible for me to come into contact with Yoon-woo directly, if only indirect means were left for me to come into contact with Yoon-woo, I wanted to have something in which Yoon-woo’s presence remained.
‘… Uh? Wait a minute. A thing?’
‘Yoon-woo is definitely in class until 5pm today… … .’
‘And, I know his house password… … .’
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