Beginnings were always awkward for me. Whenever I started something new my stomach would tie itself into a nervous knot.
I had gotten up early, been for a run, showered, and eaten breakfast. Some tunes played from the laptop that sat on my bed as I peered into my wardrobe wondering what to wear. I wanted to make a good impression on my first day. This is seeing as most of my past 'first days' hadn't worked out so well... Those memories weren't something I wanted to dwell on so I swallowed them down.
My eyes skimmed over a cute light blue dress that fell below the knee. I thought about it for a second... Would this be too much?
Oh well. Let's just do it, zero regrets, right?
I grabbed it and slipped it on. After taking a glance in the mirror I felt confident about pairing it with a long thin embroidered blue and white cardigan and some cute thin bracelets.
Okay, Jia. You've got this, let's go!
I closed my laptop, cleaned up the few loose lyric sheets laying on my bed and then grabbed my bag. Some low wedges were by the front door so I slipped them on. Making sure I have everything I need, I leave the apartment. The door clicks shut behind me.
The walk down the hall was a few strides away from the elevator and the wait time wasn't long. As I stepped out of the apartment block I felt the warm rays of the sun. A light breeze ruffled the bottom of my dress. It was so refreshing that I couldn't help but smile. Luckily the campus wasn't far, after about five minutes of walking down the somewhat busy city street, a more open area came into view;
Two of the buildings were connected by a large pond, giving it a modern yet peaceful, traditional feel. The campus was so huge that even from this view I couldn't see all of it. But from what I could see it was very aesthetically pleasing. I grabbed my phone out of my bag and checked my timetable. The building I needed wasn't far so I made my way there. I got to the classroom I was looking for quite easily.
As I walked in I saw that there weren't as many people as I'd expected. Perhaps everyone came at the last minute or this topic wasn't very popular.
As I looked up the aisles, I noticed a set of free seats. It was close enough to a small group of girls that I might be able to talk with and make friends. I walked up the small steps of the isle. As I shuffled into the row and sat down a few of the girls looked my way, so I smiled and gave a brief wave. But they turned their backs and started whispering...
Had I done something wrong?
I decided not to worry about it. I'm sure there would be more opportunities to make friends. With that in mind, I started thinking about the class subject which was the Korean Language. This subject was an important one for my major so I should probably just focus on that.
I began to take out my things and set them up to take notes. Suddenly I saw the chair beside me being pulled back as if someone was about to sit right next to me. I turned my head slightly to see a blonde guy. He looked back at me plainly before breaking out into an endearing smile.
"Hey there, sorry didn't mean to startle you" He rubbed the back of his head.
"Is it okay if I sit here?" He questioned. Pausing for a moment for my response, still smiling lightly.
"Oh! Of course, it's okay! Go ahead" I quickly reply, making sure to return his smile. The way he sat down and set his bag on the ground was mesmerising. Even the way he extended his hand out to shake mine.
"Thanks, I'm Jimin" his eyes connect with my own. I had to force myself not to get lost in them.
"Jia," I say, taking his hand in mine and giving it a short shake before going to take out his notepad from his bag. Jimin has a cheeky air about him. I was surprised he'd so willingly sat next to me. Suddenly, someone else takes the seat beside Jimin. His vibes are stronger, not in the light way that Jimin came across, more of a cool customer.
"Tae?! What? Why are you here? Are you stalking me, Hm?" Jimin lightly laughed. It was obvious that they already knew each other. Tae gives him a mischievous look.
"Nooo. I wanted to surprise you so I didn't tell you we were in the same class" His expression smugly changed. I had to admit, his features were... really something else. He was slightly larger in frame than Jimin but, they both had good muscle definition. Wait, why the hell am I thinking about this?
"Ahh, You should have just told me! I was worried this class was going to be boring," Jimin laughed, hitting his shoulder playfully.
Tae's gaze fell to me, lingering for a moment. I had no idea what emotion was behind them but it was strong and it caused my chest to tighten. He'd perhaps noticed I was looking their way. But, Jimin caught on, glancing back at me.
"Oh yeah. This is Jia" He added casually, as to introduce us.
Tae's flashed a faint smile, reaching over Jimin to shake my hand. The warmth of his palm lingered despite being brief. What started as one brand-new face had quickly turned into two. I didn't want to make it obvious. But, I was feeling a tiny bit self-conscious.
"I'm Tae-Hyung. Just call me Tae though, it's easier," he said, plopping back into his seat lazily.
"Sure. So, are you both friends from High School or?" I asked. Jimin tilted his head in my direction, running his hand through his hair.
"Was it Middle School? I can't remember," he feigned momentarily.
"We are both trainees at the same entertainment company, we also take the major in K-Culture together" he glanced back at Tae who nodded in agreement. He is now taking things out of his bag as well.
"That's cool, must be why you guys seem so close," I smile, moving on to tell them more about myself, "I'm a Communication Major. I was thinking of doing K-Culture but, I decided on Communications instead."
Tae looked up from his bag. The two of them were focused, perhaps wanting to know more. But, there was something else that began to nag at me.
From the corner of my eye, I noticed the girls from earlier. They were giving me side stares and gossiping about something out of earshot. Despite not being able to make out what was being said, experience had taught me a lot. It most likely wasn't anything pleasant either.
I remember when I was in High School; in the beginning, a lot of people didn't talk to me, gossiped or just blatantly made assumptions about me because of my looks. My features aren't completely Korean, my hair is blonde and my eyes are blue. You'd think that standing out would be a nice thing. But, it led to some horrible things happening...
I accidentally sigh. Turning back to the boys. Their gaze averts curiously towards the girls behind me.
"Huh? What happened? Do you know them?" Tae questioned. I shook my head. Jimin on the other hand had picked up on what was going on. He was sharper than he'd initially let on.
"Don't worry about it. Jealousy is ugly, isn't it?" he muses. My face flushes at the suggestion. Did I have anything to be that jealous of? "Jealous? Wait, what?" I laughed. Awkwardly. Trying to play it off, his comment has disarmed me.
"Ohhh," Tae mouthed in realisation.
"Hm. You're really pretty, it's obvious they're just eyeing you off to try and compensate for their own low self-esteem," Jimin contemplates as he examines my features. Tae also steals a glance.
"Don't take that the wrong way though! I'm not trying to hit on you" He waves his hands and laughs innocently. This was doing nothing to settle the heat in my cheeks. I just laughed along too.
"I'll take it as a compliment, don't worry." Luckily my attempt to brush over the topic casually seemed to have worked. Before any of us could say anything else the teacher walks in and addresses the class. He captures the class easily with his voice that echoes throughout the room.
"Good Morning class, welcome to the Korean Language. My name is Professor Kwon. I'm going to start by giving you this terms assessment information." I followed along as he read through the units and assessments. My eyes dropped onto the next line: group report.
"Now, before we go any further, I want to assign groups for the report. Don't waste any time getting them done" He picked up a folder, pulled out a list, and began reading out the groups by calling students' names.
Finally, I heard my name being called so I raised my hand. The teacher's eyes spotted me.
"Park Jia, you'll be with Park Jimin and Kim Tae-Hyung" his eyes scanned the class to find the people he'd called out. Jimin shot up quickly with impeccable reflexes. After confirming his name he sat back down and flashed me a subtle yet confident look. His personality is so eye-catching. To show he was with the rest of his group, Tae raised his hand.
The professor continued to go over the outline of the upcoming units for the semester until eventually, the class had come to an end. I started packing up my things. As I did, I started to think about the group task again and an idea came to me instantly.
"So... Should we have a group chat or something maybe?" I asked the boys beside me. It was a fair reason for me to message them, but I felt myself shrink a bit when they both looked over at me. Asking for boys' numbers wasn't something I usually did.
"You're smart, that's probably a good idea" Tae contemplated before pulling out his phone. They both added me on Kakao, no one uses numbers these days anyway. "Let's figure out a time to meet later" Tae's deep voice hummed smoothly.
"Sounds good," I nod before grabbing my bag and standing up. Jimin follows, pushing in his chair before turning to face me.
"So, where are you heading now?"
"I don't have anything until the end of the day so," I took a second to think it over, "I might grab some coffee and start researching for this assignment."
The three of us slowly started walking down the aisle towards the door. "Wow, Jia, you're such a reliable team member" Tae sighs in content, giving a playful pat on my back. When he was in such close proximity and touched me, it was enough to make me feel shy. I just laughed, rambling to try and cover it up.
"Not a big deal really! I'll just do a bit of it to make it easier for us later!"
Jimin playfully slapped Tae's hand away from me. The taller one mumbled a cute ouch in response before Jimin went on.
"Really? Isn't it too soon? Don't do too much of it until we meet, okay?" Jimin appears a bit worried but it was only momentarily.
"Okay. I'll only do a little bit I promise."
Seemingly reassured he let it slide. As we reached the hallway, we said our goodbyes. I head off campus and across the road to Starbucks. After grabbing an Iced Americano I made my way to the library. I walked up the few steps and through the oversized double doors. It was grand, but in a modern way. I found myself a seat at an empty table in a quiet side section and started to read over assignment details. Only noticing an hour or so had passed when my phone buzzed from my pocket. On my front screen I see the time and a newly received message.
It was a date request from the dating agency I signed with. It was meant to help pay for university. I opened up the message which had details of the guy who requested to hire me. Oh, it's for tonight!
I didn't have any prior plans for tonight. So, I replied saying I'd take the request. About five seconds later I got another message with details of the meeting place. With a short sigh, I leaned back in my chair and looked up at the high ceiling for a moment.
The same nervousness from this morning tangles in my stomach. This would be another first for me in one day. I knew there were services where you could hire girlfriends and such, although I never thought it would be something that I'd do. But, desperate times call for desperate measures.
I needed to pay for university and this job paid fairly well. Much better than any other kind of part-time job I could get at this point. My dad paid for my apartment for the first month. But, that time will pass quickly. The sad truth was that my parents couldn't afford it. Being an adult, having to worry about supporting yourself whilst also trying to figure out which direction to go in life... It was a struggle. I have to keep moving forward though.
I let those thoughts disappear only to be replaced with another.
What will tonight be like?