Nicole followed Wooyoung. What else could she do? Wooyoung led her into a junkyard, theother 3 were right behind her. They reached a clearing where Wooyoung let go of Nicole's elbow and turned to look at her. Nicole looked around the junkyard, someting about the place brought a rush of deja vu to her.
"Who are you? Really?" Wooyoung began to interrogate her.
"And this is important why?" Nicole put her hands on her hips. "You two," she gestered to Wooyoung, then Hongki, "were just fighting in an elevator on school grounds. First of all, violence solves nothing. Second, you could easily get suspended. And third..."
"Would you just shut up and answer my question?" Wooyoung cut Nicole off.
Nicole snorted. It wasn't something she liked to do, but her temper was boiling now. She took a breath to calm herself before looking Wooyoung in the eye. Then she slowly but confidentally looked the other 3 boys in the eye before speaking. "I didn't think that leaving for 11 years was going to turn each of you guys into complete jerks. Fighters? Acting tough? Wooyoung, you used to be a little boy begging the neighborhood ajummas to make you ddeokbokki. Hongki, you were the jumpy boy that pretty much strived at making even the mute laugh. Jonghoon, you were our neighborhood musician. A child prodigy. But you were easily scared. A fly made you yelp. And Key, you were the goody goody. Mister Always Right. You 3 were amazing friends. Ones I would never forget. But now, I'm starting to wonder. This junkyard, you think I don't remember? It's our old playground. We lived a field away from here. I figured if I ever came here again, it would be a wonderful reunion. Too bad those so-called friends of mine are now major jerks. If that's the kind of person you want to be, then so be it, but I'm done." Nicole truned on her heels and walked out of the junkyard. Over her shoulder, Nicole yelled, "And if that didn't help you, the name's Nicole." Then she departed with tears tugging at the corner of her eyes.
The next few days saw Nicole avoiding crossing paths with the boys. After a week, it became a natural thing. They would see each other in the halls and never acknowledge the other's existance. It was to the point where Nicole was practically invisible.
After school one day, Hero brought up the topic of jobs. "So I noticed you being all distant for the past week. I figured it was because I wouldn't let you get a job. So I dropped by the restraunt and confirmed your job. You start tomorrow."
"What?!" Nicole jumped out of her seat.
"Not the response I was expecting, but glad you're excited." Hero blinked. "That job must be important." He added on a side-note.
Nicole gave out a big sigh and retreated to her room. "Serves me right for making such a big deal about this." Nicole knew her brother was trying to do the right thing, so decided she would endure the suffering of having to work with a member of the Jerk Cult, or so she decided to call them.
"Don't forget! Tomorrow right away after school." Hero called before turning off the lights and retreating to his own room.
"How could I forget." Nicole exclaimed, hoping Hero wouldn't pick up on the heavy sarcasm. "After all, it is my torture."
School could not have been faster. The entire day, Nicole dreaded that last bell. To think not wanting to leave school would make it longer, but no, the day went by even faster.
Nicole walked to the restruant and checked in with the manager, her new boss. She slipped into the bathroom to change and then droppe off her clothes and bag in her cubby.
"Nicole, come here." said her boss, Mr. Kim. Nicole made her way to the kitchen where Mr. Kim stood with the one and only Jonghoon. "This is Jonghoon, he will be your coach for the first week. He will show you how everything works here." Nicole could feel Jonghoon staring at her, but she kept her gaze on Mr. Kim.
"Sure thing sir." Nicole replied.
"Jonghoon," Mr. Kim turned to Jonghoon, "start with the cashier." And with that Mr. Kim retreated to his office. Jonghoon rolled his eyes at Nicole and headed to the counter. He demonstrated how to use the cashier 3 times before handing it over to Nicole as he hovered.
"Break." Jonghoon said after an hour. He made his way back to the kitchen, with Nicole following behind, as another guy took over. "So, finally decided to stop hiding?" Jonghoon said as he passed Nicole a glass of milk.
"Hiding from who? The bogeyman? Excuse me but that was you." Nicole said as she rejected the glass and filled up a glass of juice instead.
"Not funny." Jonghoon mummbled. "I meant us. Finally done with avoiding the major jerks?" he emphasized the phrase 'major jerks' with an eye-roll and a high pitched voice.
"My turn to say not funny. First, I sound nothing like that and second, " but Jonghoon cut her off.
"You know, you used to answer a question very simply."
"And you nevused to be kind and polite."
"I still am."
"Sure doesn't look like it."
"Maybe it's because I'm mad."
"Over something that happened a few days ago?"
"No, I'm mad at myself for letting you go." That shut Nicole up. She was caught off guard by the response.
After what seemed like an hour of staring at each other, Nicole recovered and said, "You make it sound like we broke up or something."
"Maybe not like that, but our friendship sure did."
"All it takes is an apology."
"Well then I'm sorry. Really."
"And maybe a cake." Nicole teased.
"How about ice cream." Jonghoon chuckled.
"Sounds like a deal, friend."
"It feel good to hear you say that, friend." Jonghoon smiled genuinly. "But before all that sweets, we got 2 more hours of work. Come on."
"Right behind you!"