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Please Don't Talk to Me by bbangduksi. A shy woman is hiding behind a tipsy man holding a bottle of soju.

Please Don't Talk to Me

6

Chapter 6

19

1

The man gestured toward something behind me. “Carry that out.”


I turned to see where he waThe man gestured toward something behind me. “Carry that out.”

I turned to see where he was pointing and spotted a red toolbox. As I glanced back, the man had already snatched up the Philosophy Department’s package. He tucked it under his arm and walked away without another word. I wasn’t sure what he planned to do with the toolbox, but there was no time to ponder. The male student had already taken the man’s place. With a surge of uncertainty, I picked up the toolbox and headed outside.

The male student caught sight of me and hurried over. “Where are you going? We’re not done talking.”

My feet started backing away on their own. As he closed the gap between us, suddenly, it was as if an eclipse had occurred—his figure disappeared from my view. I leaned back slightly to see what was in front of me.

The man had positioned himself between us, sandwiching us close together. He reached back, grabbed the toolbox from my grip, and held it up to the student. “There’s a leak in the Humanities building. I’m off to fix it.”

The student took a step back, puzzled. “A leak?”

“Yes, a leak,” the man replied succinctly.

Silence fell for a moment. I couldn’t see their faces because the man was in the way.

A few seconds later, the man strode toward the Humanities building. Once he moved, I could see clearly again, and the male student looked slightly stunned. I quickly followed the man.

Behind me, I heard the student call out, “I’m not just going to let this go. I’m serious.”

I flinched but kept walking without turning back. I wasn’t sure how to handle the male student at that moment. All I wanted was to put as much distance between us as possible.

“He’s not going to do anything,” the man muttered, looking straight ahead.

What did he just say? I glanced up at the man. He spoke with a tired look on his face.

“It’s always the ones who do nothing who act like that.”

For a moment, I thought his words were meant to reassure me. But then, the expression he had made earlier, as if he’d seen something he shouldn’t have, came back to my mind.

I wondered what the man was thinking. Did he believe I was just putting on an act, pretending to be pathetic? Would it have been better to just listen to the male student earlier? No, wait. Did it even matter what he thought? There was no point worrying about some random person thinking I was strange. He was definitely a weird one.

I remembered the moments when the man had asked me odd questions and seemed to twist the situation to his advantage. As I gathered reasons to justify his strangeness, I felt a bit more at ease.

Besides, I probably wouldn’t see him again.

Hah…

As he climbed the stairs, the man tilted his head, a curious look on his face. “Those types of guys will keep coming,” he said, sounding a little troubled.

That might be true…

The unease I felt earlier when dealing with the male students flooded back. The thought of facing a similar situation again made me dread returning to the security office. I had thought that simply listening and ignoring their trivial chatter was enough, but it seemed it wasn’t as simple as I had hoped.

Then, leaning in slightly, the man said, “I know how to get rid of those kinds of guys.”

He sounded like a helpful ally in a drama, appearing just when needed. I was momentarily captivated. He suddenly stopped walking, and I halted alongside him.

“I’ll make sure those guys don’t come here anymore. In return, let me use the security office again.”

Ah, so that was it.

I understood now why he could say such dramatic things at such a critical moment. It was because he had carefully planned his approach. Clearly, his offer of help wasn’t purely out of goodwill.

“Just think about it,” he suggested before entering the building marked Department of Philosophy carrying the package.

I pressed my temples.

Either endure people constantly coming in, or let an unpredictable drunk stay in the room…

I felt dismayed that these were my only two options. It was like choosing between the lesser evil.

Watching the door the man had disappeared through, I concluded it would be better for me to handle the people rather than let the man stay in the office. After all, him being there was against the rules, but ignoring unsolicited questions wasn’t.

…But then, ‘people’ carried too many variables. Some might crack jokes, but others could react unpredictably, like earlier. Could I handle such people effectively? How many of them would there be? What could they say or do?

Just then, the man reappeared from the doorway. “What are you going to do?” His tone was indifferent. “Actually, I don’t really care about using the security room. You were the one who asked for my help. So, if you don’t like it, just say no.”

It wasn’t that I disliked the idea… I was still weighing my options.

He finished speaking and strode down the hallway. I found myself following him, realizing I needed to make a decision fast. It felt like any moment now, he might say, “If you don’t like it, forget it,” and just leave.

Initially, I thought this man was unpredictable, but having seen him a few times now, he didn’t seem that way. He knew what he wanted, and as long as he got it, he caused no trouble.

Suddenly, he seemed quite straightforward. He would probably just quietly drink until the male students came, shoo them away, and go back to drinking.

Wouldn’t that be better than constantly feeling anxious about what people might do?

I mulled it over. I could always kick him out if needed. If it looked like the guards might catch on, or if any other problems arose, I could just stop him from entering like I’d done once before.

Having created a way out for myself, I felt a sense of resolution. I quickened my steps, almost running, then reached out and grabbed the sleeve near his elbow. The man looked back at me, his eyes gleaming with a knowing look.

“Deal?”

His expression made me suddenly anxious about whether I had made the right decision.

But somehow, it seemed too late to change my mind now.

I nodded.

He responded smoothly, “Let’s go to the security office.”

We descended the stairs of the Humanities building. As he walked, the man pulled out his phone and showed me the screen.

“Look.”

It was the Yeonjung University community page. Posts were listed in order of most comments and likes. The man clicked on one of the top posts.

“This one’s your picture.”

The post was titled ‘Has anyone talked to our school’s security guard?’ and featured a photo of me taken at a distance.

The community is buzzing right now. They say there’s a cute security guard at our school.

This appeared to be what the male student had mentioned earlier. Seeing it felt strange; though it was a photo of me, it felt like I was looking at someone else entirely. The person in the image didn’t seem real but more like an artificial construct, just as flat as the screen it was displayed on, reduced to simple labels: guard, woman, quiet.

How many people had seen this? What did they think? The idea of strangers forming opinions based on so little information stirred my worst imaginings.

“Can she do her job properly?”

“Is she just seeking attention?”

“Did she pose for that?”

“How can she work if she doesn’t talk?”

“Is she going to give our school a bad name?”

“I don’t get what the big deal is.”

“People always find something to fuss about.”

Then, the screen vanished from my sight as the man took his phone back. Snapping back to reality, I saw him scrolling through his phone.

“You should leave a comment. Like…” He tapped the screen thoughtfully, then with a determined look, he said, “‘I can’t stand kids who hang around near the security office. I heard there’s a ‘coffee villain’ who gives coffee to pretty girls and then takes off. It’s honestly so distracting.’”

He looked at me with a questioning gaze.

“…”

“…”

Was he serious?

The air between us grew tense. He seemed to sense my hesitation and quickly added, “It’ll work. Trust me.”

“…”

“If it looks like it was written by a woman, it’ll be more effective.”

“…”

He sounded confident, but his expression grew anxious as he realized he hadn’t convinced me. He scrambled for more arguments.

“When I’m in the security office, I can chase them away myself, and when I’m not there…” He paused, looking upward as if expecting divine inspiration, then finished, “Just contact me. I’ll come.”

***

The moment we entered the security office, the man made a beeline for the fridge. The bottles of soju he had stocked earlier were still there. He pulled one out and, finding a corner, gestured for me to sit. I chose a spot some distance away. It felt surreal to be back in this room together.

With a crack, he opened the bottle of soju and took several loud gulps. The familiar scent of alcohol began to fill the room. He sighed deeply, a look of relief washing over his face as if he had just returned to his hometown.

His expression was strangely animated as he said, “So, dealing with the pests isn’t really the issue. The real problem is this.”

“…”

“Whether you keep your promise.”

“…”

“You have a history of kicking me out overnight.”

I glanced away, nodding slightly as if recalling a distant memory.

He seemed lost in thought for a moment, his eyes roving as if searching for a way to ensure I’d keep my word. Finally, his gaze settled on something.

“Could you hand me that pen and paper?”

He pointed to the desk behind me. Despite feeling uneasy every time he asked me to do something, I found myself obliging. I fetched the items and placed them before him on the floor.

With a solemn look, the man said, “Let’s write a contract.”

A contract…?

His suggestion sent a flurry of thoughts through my mind. I had intended to maintain the flexibility to kick him out if needed. By agreeing to a contract, wouldn’t I be relinquishing that control?

It seemed he had anticipated my plan to keep an escape route open. Since our last encounter, he had been a step ahead, countering every move I considered.

I watched him anxiously, scrambling to think of a reason to counter the idea of a contract.

Unperturbed, he began to write ‘Contract’ at the top of the paper.

“Better to have things clear,” he stated.

With his handwriting made sloppy by the alcohol, the man began writing out the clauses. He spoke aloud as he wrote each one.

“Item one, Dongju Choi shall have free access to the security office from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

Dongju Choi—that was his name. Until this moment, neither of us had shared or even asked about each other’s names.

“Item two, Dongju Choi may consume alcohol in the room.”

He paused, looking up at me. He then turned the paper toward me and extended the pen. His eyes flicked from the paper back to me as he said, “Put your name there.”

I looked down at where he was pointing. The contract read, ‘may consume alcohol in the room’ with a space left for my name. I hesitated, pen in hand.

This didn’t seem legally binding… Yet, I couldn’t help but worry that he might later use this document against me. I glanced up at him. He nodded at the paper, urging me to hurry. Feeling cornered, I worried about how he would react if I refused. He might interpret it as strange or suspect that I was planning to kick him out again, which could provoke him.

I felt pressured into signing, like a boat swept along by a rushing current. Finally, I wrote my name: ‘Woogi Kim.’

I reassured myself that, if necessary, I could retrieve the contract while he was drunk. I set down the pen and slid the paper back toward Dongju. It occurred to me that this might be the first time he actually learned my name.

Dongju, seemingly indifferent to my name, continued writing.

‘Woogi Kim will not disclose this to any external parties.’

Not disclose…

Phrasing it that way made it seem like I was someone who might spill secrets.

“Item three, the top shelf of the fridge is for Dongju Choi’s use.”

Dongju twirled the pen in his hand as if wondering if there was more to add. Then, pointing at me with the end of the pen, he asked, “Don’t you want to add anything? Since we’re writing this, why not include things each of us should adhere to?”

Hmm…

I reflected on the days Dongju Choi had spent in the security office. Nothing specific came to mind that I wanted him to do or not do; he mostly just drank and left. What’s more, he had never really asked me anything personal. People often ask probing questions when trying to get to know someone. Why don’t you talk? Are you hurt? What happened to you?

But Dongju Choi just drank. I could count on two hands the number of words he’d spoken to me all week.

Maybe he just wasn’t interested in me. Perhaps he saw me as nothing more than an NPC in a game, like the ones in shops or dungeons. An NPC watching over the security office, something like that. But even silent NPCs might spark some curiosity. What’s wrong with this NPC? Why isn’t it working properly?

Was he being polite by not asking, assuming I had my reasons? Yet, for someone trying to be polite, he could be quite rude. It didn’t seem intentional, though—it seemed more like he just didn’t think to ask. Was it possible for someone to be that indifferent?

“Ah, let’s add this.”

I snapped out of my thoughts at Dongju’s voice.

He seemed to have suddenly thought of something and scribbled it down on the contract. Turning the paper toward me, he said, “No initiating conversation.”

“…”

“And no criticizing me for drinking.”

I stared at the new clause. ‘No initiating conversation.’

I silently recited the words in my mind. The letters seemed oddly placed, as if I was seeing them for the first time. I scrutinized each character, and staring at them transformed them into almost separate pictures, like hieroglyphs.

Dongju snatched the paper back. I lifted my head.

He hastily scribbled what resembled a signature at the bottom, then slid the paper back toward me, saying, “Sign here.”

I scanned the contract again, from the word ‘Contract’ at the top.

My eyes paused again at the phrase ‘No initiating conversation.’

It was a strange sentence. As if mesmerized, I signed in the crooked signature line. Dongju took the contract, checked my signature, and casually folded it in half. I watched him do this.

Why would he include something like that in the contract? He said it was to avoid nagging, but he knew I didn’t talk. It seemed more like a promise that he, too, wouldn’t speak to me.

Could it be deliberate? Maybe it was his way of being considerate. Perhaps he was trying to avoid creating situations that might make me uncomfortable…

“It’s always the ones who do nothing who act like that.”

I thought of his statement from earlier. It was like he knew what worried me and was trying to reassure me. Was that why he helped me with the male student? I was holding the package, but he chose not to seize it forcefully, maybe as a way to help me.

On the surface, Dongju, always with a drink in hand, might appear rude, but maybe he was actually mindful of others. His knack for seemingly reading my thoughts suggested he was sensitive, perhaps even feigning his indifference…

“Ah, shoot.”

Just then, Dongju checked the time and let out an annoyed sigh.

I looked at the clock, too. It was 3:45 p.m. Fifteen minutes before the shift change.

Dongju opened the fridge and hastily pulled out two bottles of soju, almost dropping one. He placed one bottle on the floor and struggled to open the other, taking large gulps. His eyes darted between the clock and the other bottle. It seemed he was trying to finish the current one quickly and start on the next before my shift ended.

Watching him, a realization struck me.

I got it. This man wasn’t being considerate at all.

A faint smile crept onto my lips.

He only thought about drinking.s pointing and spotted a red toolbox. As I glanced back, the man had already snatched up the Philosophy Department’s package. He tucked it under his arm and walked away without another word. I wasn’t sure what he planned to do with the toolbox, but there was no time to ponder. The male student had already taken the man’s place. With a surge of uncertainty, I picked up the toolbox and headed outside.


The male student caught sight of me and hurried over. “Where are you going? We’re not done talking.”


My feet started backing away on their own. As he closed the gap between us, suddenly, it was as if an eclipse had occurred—his figure disappeared from my view. I leaned back slightly to see what was in front of me.


The man had positioned himself between us, sandwiching us close together. He reached back, grabbed the toolbox from my grip, and held it up to the student. “There’s a leak in the Humanities building. I’m off to fix it.”


The student took a step back, puzzled. “A leak?”


“Yes, a leak,” the man replied succinctly.


Silence fell for a moment. I couldn’t see their faces because the man was in the way.


A few seconds later, the man strode toward the Humanities building. Once he moved, I could see clearly again, and the male student looked slightly stunned. I quickly followed the man.


Behind me, I heard the student call out, “I’m not just going to let this go. I’m serious.”


I flinched but kept walking without turning back. I wasn’t sure how to handle the male student at that moment. All I wanted was to put as much distance between us as possible.


“He’s not going to do anything,” the man muttered, looking straight ahead.


What did he just say? I glanced up at the man. He spoke with a tired look on his face.


“It’s always the ones who do nothing who act like that.”


For a moment, I thought his words were meant to reassure me. But then, the expression he had made earlier, as if he’d seen something he shouldn’t have, came back to my mind.


I wondered what the man was thinking. Did he believe I was just putting on an act, pretending to be pathetic? Would it have been better to just listen to the male student earlier? No, wait. Did it even matter what he thought? There was no point worrying about some random person thinking I was strange. He was definitely a weird one.


I remembered the moments when the man had asked me odd questions and seemed to twist the situation to his advantage. As I gathered reasons to justify his strangeness, I felt a bit more at ease.


Besides, I probably wouldn’t see him again.


Hah…


As he climbed the stairs, the man tilted his head, a curious look on his face. “Those types of guys will keep coming,” he said, sounding a little troubled.


That might be true…


The unease I felt earlier when dealing with the male students flooded back. The thought of facing a similar situation again made me dread returning to the security office. I had thought that simply listening and ignoring their trivial chatter was enough, but it seemed it wasn’t as simple as I had hoped.


Then, leaning in slightly, the man said, “I know how to get rid of those kinds of guys.”


He sounded like a helpful ally in a drama, appearing just when needed. I was momentarily captivated. He suddenly stopped walking, and I halted alongside him.


“I’ll make sure those guys don’t come here anymore. In return, let me use the security office again.”


Ah, so that was it.


I understood now why he could say such dramatic things at such a critical moment. It was because he had carefully planned his approach. Clearly, his offer of help wasn’t purely out of goodwill.


“Just think about it,” he suggested before entering the building marked Department of Philosophy carrying the package.


I pressed my temples.


Either endure people constantly coming in, or let an unpredictable drunk stay in the room…


I felt dismayed that these were my only two options. It was like choosing between the lesser evil.


Watching the door the man had disappeared through, I concluded it would be better for me to handle the people rather than let the man stay in the office. After all, him being there was against the rules, but ignoring unsolicited questions wasn’t.


…But then, ‘people’ carried too many variables. Some might crack jokes, but others could react unpredictably, like earlier. Could I handle such people effectively? How many of them would there be? What could they say or do?


Just then, the man reappeared from the doorway. “What are you going to do?” His tone was indifferent. “Actually, I don’t really care about using the security room. You were the one who asked for my help. So, if you don’t like it, just say no.”


It wasn’t that I disliked the idea… I was still weighing my options.


He finished speaking and strode down the hallway. I found myself following him, realizing I needed to make a decision fast. It felt like any moment now, he might say, “If you don’t like it, forget it,” and just leave.


Initially, I thought this man was unpredictable, but having seen him a few times now, he didn’t seem that way. He knew what he wanted, and as long as he got it, he caused no trouble.


Suddenly, he seemed quite straightforward. He would probably just quietly drink until the male students came, shoo them away, and go back to drinking.


Wouldn’t that be better than constantly feeling anxious about what people might do?


I mulled it over. I could always kick him out if needed. If it looked like the guards might catch on, or if any other problems arose, I could just stop him from entering like I’d done once before.


Having created a way out for myself, I felt a sense of resolution. I quickened my steps, almost running, then reached out and grabbed the sleeve near his elbow. The man looked back at me, his eyes gleaming with a knowing look.


“Deal?”


His expression made me suddenly anxious about whether I had made the right decision.


But somehow, it seemed too late to change my mind now.


I nodded.


He responded smoothly, “Let’s go to the security office.”


We descended the stairs of the Humanities building. As he walked, the man pulled out his phone and showed me the screen.


“Look.”


It was the Yeonjung University community page. Posts were listed in order of most comments and likes. The man clicked on one of the top posts.


“This one’s your picture.”


The post was titled ‘Has anyone talked to our school’s security guard?’ and featured a photo of me taken at a distance.


The community is buzzing right now. They say there’s a cute security guard at our school.


This appeared to be what the male student had mentioned earlier. Seeing it felt strange; though it was a photo of me, it felt like I was looking at someone else entirely. The person in the image didn’t seem real but more like an artificial construct, just as flat as the screen it was displayed on, reduced to simple labels: guard, woman, quiet.


How many people had seen this? What did they think? The idea of strangers forming opinions based on so little information stirred my worst imaginings.


“Can she do her job properly?”


“Is she just seeking attention?”


“Did she pose for that?”


“How can she work if she doesn’t talk?”


“Is she going to give our school a bad name?”


“I don’t get what the big deal is.”


“People always find something to fuss about.”


Then, the screen vanished from my sight as the man took his phone back. Snapping back to reality, I saw him scrolling through his phone.


“You should leave a comment. Like…” He tapped the screen thoughtfully, then with a determined look, he said, “‘I can’t stand kids who hang around near the security office. I heard there’s a ‘coffee villain’ who gives coffee to pretty girls and then takes off. It’s honestly so distracting.’”


He looked at me with a questioning gaze.


“…”


“…”


Was he serious?


The air between us grew tense. He seemed to sense my hesitation and quickly added, “It’ll work. Trust me.”


“…”


“If it looks like it was written by a woman, it’ll be more effective.”


“…”


He sounded confident, but his expression grew anxious as he realized he hadn’t convinced me. He scrambled for more arguments.


“When I’m in the security office, I can chase them away myself, and when I’m not there…” He paused, looking upward as if expecting divine inspiration, then finished, “Just contact me. I’ll come.”


***


The moment we entered the security office, the man made a beeline for the fridge. The bottles of soju he had stocked earlier were still there. He pulled one out and, finding a corner, gestured for me to sit. I chose a spot some distance away. It felt surreal to be back in this room together.


With a crack, he opened the bottle of soju and took several loud gulps. The familiar scent of alcohol began to fill the room. He sighed deeply, a look of relief washing over his face as if he had just returned to his hometown.


His expression was strangely animated as he said, “So, dealing with the pests isn’t really the issue. The real problem is this.”


“…”


“Whether you keep your promise.”


“…”


“You have a history of kicking me out overnight.”


I glanced away, nodding slightly as if recalling a distant memory.


He seemed lost in thought for a moment, his eyes roving as if searching for a way to ensure I’d keep my word. Finally, his gaze settled on something.


“Could you hand me that pen and paper?”


He pointed to the desk behind me. Despite feeling uneasy every time he asked me to do something, I found myself obliging. I fetched the items and placed them before him on the floor.


With a solemn look, the man said, “Let’s write a contract.”


A contract…?


His suggestion sent a flurry of thoughts through my mind. I had intended to maintain the flexibility to kick him out if needed. By agreeing to a contract, wouldn’t I be relinquishing that control?


It seemed he had anticipated my plan to keep an escape route open. Since our last encounter, he had been a step ahead, countering every move I considered.


I watched him anxiously, scrambling to think of a reason to counter the idea of a contract.


Unperturbed, he began to write ‘Contract’ at the top of the paper.


“Better to have things clear,” he stated.


With his handwriting made sloppy by the alcohol, the man began writing out the clauses. He spoke aloud as he wrote each one.


“Item one, Dongju Choi shall have free access to the security office from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.”


Dongju Choi—that was his name. Until this moment, neither of us had shared or even asked about each other’s names.


“Item two, Dongju Choi may consume alcohol in the room.”


He paused, looking up at me. He then turned the paper toward me and extended the pen. His eyes flicked from the paper back to me as he said, “Put your name there.”


I looked down at where he was pointing. The contract read, ‘may consume alcohol in the room’ with a space left for my name. I hesitated, pen in hand.




This didn’t seem legally binding… Yet, I couldn’t help but worry that he might later use this document against me. I glanced up at him. He nodded at the paper, urging me to hurry. Feeling cornered, I worried about how he would react if I refused. He might interpret it as strange or suspect that I was planning to kick him out again, which could provoke him.




I felt pressured into signing, like a boat swept along by a rushing current. Finally, I wrote my name: ‘Woogi Kim.’




I reassured myself that, if necessary, I could retrieve the contract while he was drunk. I set down the pen and slid the paper back toward Dongju. It occurred to me that this might be the first time he actually learned my name.




Dongju, seemingly indifferent to my name, continued writing.




‘Woogi Kim will not disclose this to any external parties.’




Not disclose…




Phrasing it that way made it seem like I was someone who might spill secrets.




“Item three, the top shelf of the fridge is for Dongju Choi’s use.”




Dongju twirled the pen in his hand as if wondering if there was more to add. Then, pointing at me with the end of the pen, he asked, “Don’t you want to add anything? Since we’re writing this, why not include things each of us should adhere to?”




Hmm…




I reflected on the days Dongju Choi had spent in the security office. Nothing specific came to mind that I wanted him to do or not do; he mostly just drank and left. What’s more, he had never really asked me anything personal. People often ask probing questions when trying to get to know someone. Why don’t you talk? Are you hurt? What happened to you?




But Dongju Choi just drank. I could count on two hands the number of words he’d spoken to me all week.




Maybe he just wasn’t interested in me. Perhaps he saw me as nothing more than an NPC in a game, like the ones in shops or dungeons. An NPC watching over the security office, something like that. But even silent NPCs might spark some curiosity. What’s wrong with this NPC? Why isn’t it working properly?




Was he being polite by not asking, assuming I had my reasons? Yet, for someone trying to be polite, he could be quite rude. It didn’t seem intentional, though—it seemed more like he just didn’t think to ask. Was it possible for someone to be that indifferent?




“Ah, let’s add this.”




I snapped out of my thoughts at Dongju’s voice.




He seemed to have suddenly thought of something and scribbled it down on the contract. Turning the paper toward me, he said, “No initiating conversation.”




“…”




“And no criticizing me for drinking.”




I stared at the new clause. ‘No initiating conversation.’




I silently recited the words in my mind. The letters seemed oddly placed, as if I was seeing them for the first time. I scrutinized each character, and staring at them transformed them into almost separate pictures, like hieroglyphs.




Dongju snatched the paper back. I lifted my head.




He hastily scribbled what resembled a signature at the bottom, then slid the paper back toward me, saying, “Sign here.”




I scanned the contract again, from the word ‘Contract’ at the top.




My eyes paused again at the phrase ‘No initiating conversation.’




It was a strange sentence. As if mesmerized, I signed in the crooked signature line. Dongju took the contract, checked my signature, and casually folded it in half. I watched him do this.




Why would he include something like that in the contract? He said it was to avoid nagging, but he knew I didn’t talk. It seemed more like a promise that he, too, wouldn’t speak to me.




Could it be deliberate? Maybe it was his way of being considerate. Perhaps he was trying to avoid creating situations that might make me uncomfortable…




“It’s always the ones who do nothing who act like that.”




I thought of his statement from earlier. It was like he knew what worried me and was trying to reassure me. Was that why he helped me with the male student? I was holding the package, but he chose not to seize it forcefully, maybe as a way to help me.




On the surface, Dongju, always with a drink in hand, might appear rude, but maybe he was actually mindful of others. His knack for seemingly reading my thoughts suggested he was sensitive, perhaps even feigning his indifference…




“Ah, shoot.”




Just then, Dongju checked the time and let out an annoyed sigh.




I looked at the clock, too. It was 3:45 p.m. Fifteen minutes before the shift change.




Dongju opened the fridge and hastily pulled out two bottles of soju, almost dropping one. He placed one bottle on the floor and struggled to open the other, taking large gulps. His eyes darted between the clock and the other bottle. It seemed he was trying to finish the current one quickly and start on the next before my shift ended.




Watching him, a realization struck me.




I got it. This man wasn’t being considerate at all.




A faint smile crept onto my lips.




He only thought about drinking.




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