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    Loves Error

    Light Pink

    Everything around me was hazy, like a blurry filter had been applied, and the city sounds were muted. It all felt surreal. I couldn’t immediately grasp what I had just heard.

    If basic politeness hadn’t pushed me to respond, I might have stood frozen like a statue. In my dazed state, I managed to utter a single word that encapsulated my feelings.


    As soon as I asked, I snapped back to reality. My “why” was just a meaningless expression of my surprise, but it was the worst question to ask someone who had just come out.

    Despite still being in a surreal state, I was acutely aware of how ridiculous my question was. I closed my eyes tightly, trying to find words to explain myself.

    “Sorry, what I meant was…”

    “I was born this way.”

    I opened my eyes in shock. My breath caught for a different reason now. Understanding how painful and long the journey to self-acceptance can be for someone who likes the same sex, his answer hit me deeply.

    I must have been standing there with my mouth half-open, looking foolishly at him. Once again, he patiently waited for my response. Fortunately, it didn’t take long this time. The single word that finally escaped my lips was small and faint, like a whisper.

    “Me too.”

    Afraid he might not have heard, I licked my lips and, still looking down, said it a bit louder.

    “I was born this way too.”

    After answering, I looked at him properly for the first time. Our eyes met. It was a brief moment, but I could feel the warmth in his dark eyes. Once I realized that warmth, relief spread through me.

    We stood there looking at each other. The moment was short, but it felt long. Then, belatedly, the embarrassment of coming out hit me, and I looked away, nervously licking my dry lips.

    Shin turned his head to the side and ran a hand through his hair. A broad smile spread across his face, and he murmured as he exhaled.

    “Ah, I was nervous.”


    “Yeah, I was worried you’d say you weren’t.”

    Of course, it made sense he’d be nervous. Coming out to someone you’ve known for just two weeks is a big deal. Though, I had known him for much longer than that.

    He must have guessed I was gay from seeing the pen. That’s why he kept biting it.

    I didn’t realize and had even planned to throw it away… Suddenly, reality hit me. A fellow gay person. Wait, that means… I turned sharply to look at him.

    Someone so cool, so handsome, so tall? My heart started pounding like a war drum. Questions about why he was here at this hour faded away.

    “Let’s go. I’ll take you home.”


    I stupidly asked again, immediately regretting it and offering an excuse.

    “It’s fine. I’ll just take the bus.”

    “We’re heading in the same direction.”

    Right. We both go to the same neighborhood library. But I shouldn’t get in the car now. Sitting together in the cramped space would surely make him hear my heart pounding. Struggling to come up with another excuse, Shin opened the passenger door.

    “Get in.”

    His firm tone was hard to resist. With slow steps, I got into the car. He took my bag and placed it in the back seat, leaving me feeling exposed without my barrier.

    While he walked around to the driver’s side, the automatic closing of the passenger door and the ceiling lights twinkling like stars didn’t amaze me as they should have. Even though it was over 27 degrees outside due to the heat wave, I didn’t feel hot at all.

    On the contrary, the car was pleasantly cool, but I felt a chill. Shin, now seated in the driver’s seat, started the car immediately. It moved smoothly forward, gliding like a skater on ice.

    As the car exited the narrow street and merged onto the main road, there was no conversation. It was both a relief and a source of further tension.

    The car’s windows acted like soundproof walls, completely blocking out the external noise. Even the sounds from the car itself were minimal, making the silence seem especially profound. I was suddenly startled by a question.

    “Are you okay?”

    “Of course. Naturally.”

    I forced a smile, but he didn’t return it, merely glancing at me.

    “I was worried you might be shocked.”

    “…I was really shocked.”

    My heart still felt like it might leap out of my chest. I added, trying to sound casual.

    “Man, I felt like my heart dropped.”

    “Even now?”

    “Not now.”

    Instead, my heart, having dropped, was now bouncing up and down like a rubber ball. At that moment, the car stopped at a red light. The red light helpfully directed my gaze away, just as his right hand reached toward me.

    Before I could react, his right hand covered my chest. His hand was so large that it felt like it covered my entire chest. I instinctively flinched and tried to pull away, but his hand pressed down firmly.

    “Just checking if your heart’s in the right place.”

    His light tone made it sound like a joke, though it was a joke he rarely made, leaving me both confused and worried that he might hear my pounding heart.

    Then, he curled his fingers slightly, pressing into my skin. It was a small motion, but if we hadn’t been in the car, I might have jumped back like a spring. I quickly grabbed his hand and pushed it away.

    “Of course. My organs are fine, even if I look rough on the outside.”

    I placed his hand back on the steering wheel and quickly pulled my hand away. My fingertips were trembling—had he noticed? I swallowed silently, focusing on the red light that soon turned green. I felt relieved, thinking he’d focus on driving now, but the car didn’t move.

    Looking over, I saw his right hand gripping the wheel so tightly that his veins were visible. He had turned his head away, so I couldn’t see his expression. Before I could ask if we were going to go, the car started moving. Wondering if something was wrong, I was reassured when he casually asked.

    “What’s wrong with the outside?”

    “Someone once said I looked like I’d get my organs stolen.”

    It was the head of the general affairs department, who treated me like a younger brother. A capable woman who handled all kinds of paperwork and managed the finances, she was tough in any confrontation.

    She had always been kind to me, probably because she saw me as somewhat naive. Still, she believed in me when I left.

    ‘You’re more capable than you look, Song Yeonwoo. You’ll do well wherever you go.’

    But perhaps I needed to be even more capable, considering I couldn’t even control my heart from racing just by being in Shin’s car.

    “I might look naive, but I’ve never been scammed. I’m very practical.”

    “How are you practical?”

    Well, I hesitated, searching for an answer.

    “I give up on what I want if there’s something else I need to do.”

    Ever since my family fell on hard times, that’s how it’s been. I never prioritized my desires. I hardly ever spent even a single ten thousand won note on myself. Maybe it became a habit.

    I suppress any desire to do what I want. Even now, I’m not sure if studying is what I truly want. Sometimes it feels like a chore I should have done a long time ago. I felt his gaze on me. I added, almost as an excuse.

    “That’s life. You can’t just do what you want.”

    There was no reply. As the car entered the Olympic Boulevard, I pretended to watch the rapidly passing scenery, still tense like a robot. I tried to relax by rubbing the seatbelt, but I stopped at Shin’s reply.

    “Then you just have to want it desperately. That’s how you won’t abandon reality.”

    His voice sounded cold and sharp, making me glance at him warily. It might have been my imagination. He usually spoke so gently and kindly that this felt completely different. Did he think my lack of response meant I disagreed? He smiled and looked at me.

    “It’s a joke. Just do everything.”

    “Do what?”

    “Everything you want, and everything you need to do.”

    He looked at me, still staring blankly.

    “That’s what I’m going to do.”

    Despite my protests, Shin insisted on driving all the way to the bus terminal.

    “I’ll take you all the way home.”

    “No, it’s okay. The alley is too narrow for your car.”

    He chuckled softly.

    “I’m good at driving.”

    Not just driving—his looks are top-notch, too. I suddenly found myself admiring him again and quickly suppressed the thought. If I let it show, he might notice. I resolved to stay on edge and get away as quickly as possible.

    “No, really. You need to get home soon, too. I’ll get out here.”

    I spoke firmly, and he reluctantly opened the door. The thick, heavy door opened smoothly, and I quickly stepped out. He also got out of the car and walked over. Sitting side by side in the dark car had become familiar so quickly that facing him now felt awkward and embarrassing.

    I turned my gaze to the car and finally noticed the emblem on the hood. In that instant, the small object seemed magnified in my vision. Only then did I realize. What kind of car was I in? Unable to hide my shock, I blurted out.

    “That’s an incredibly expensive… nice car.”

    “I was visiting my grandfather.”

    I was puzzled about why that explained my comment. He gave an awkward smile.

    “He likes it when I use things he bought.”

    “Your grandfather is very generous.”

    His lips curved into a wide smile.

    “Thanks. My father thinks it’s the vulgar display of a nouveau riche.”

    Is it okay to say that about his father-in-law? Feeling like I had glimpsed some family discord, I didn’t respond. He casually added, looking at the car.

    “That’s why I deliberately use it more.”

    From the few bits of information, it was clear he didn’t get along well with his father. Driving an expensive car to annoy his father—thinking that far, I suddenly stopped.

    “Why do you take the bus to the library?”

    He looked down at me. The atmosphere felt heavy, like he was about to say something important, making me tense up. But then he answered lightly.

    “Parking is inconvenient.”

    True, libraries often don’t have ample parking.

    “Okay, take care getting home. Thanks for the ride…”

    “What time are you going to the library?”

    “Same as usual. But on Mondays, I leave before dinner.”

    Got it. He nodded. This should have been the moment to say goodbye and part ways, but I found it hard to speak. I was too nervous to look at him properly, yet I also felt reluctant to leave. Shin must be tired; what am I thinking? Scolding myself, I quickly turned away.

    “See you later.”

    I didn’t hear his response properly and hurriedly walked toward home. Only after rounding the corner did I stop and take a deep breath. Then I realized I’d forgotten my bag. Embarrassed, I rushed back. Thankfully, Shin’s car was still there. Maybe he remembered my bag? He was standing by the open back door, and I ran faster upon seeing his back.

    “Shin, huff, huff, I left my bag.”

    When I called out, he turned around, and it looked like he quickly put something into his pocket. However, I didn’t pay much attention to it as I was busy taking the bag he handed me.

    “Sorry about that. Go on inside.”

    I heard his response, but he averted his gaze, not looking directly at me. I also didn’t really look at his face, just took the bag and ran home. I felt like I needed to get inside my house as fast as possible.

    By the time I got home, thanks to the scorching heat, sweat was trickling down my neck. Yet, I didn’t think of showering right away. Perhaps because I was in a safe place, I felt my energy drain, and I involuntarily let out a sound.

    “Wow, what the heck was that?”

    Seriously, how could this be happening? Shin is gay too?

    “Wow, this is insane.”

    I couldn’t sit still and paced around the room several times. It was hard to calm down from the excitement that followed the tension.

    “Hah, this is unbelievable.”

    The person I’m interested in is gay? Does that mean it’s okay for me to like him? Wow, amazing. What is this, a hidden camera prank? It’s not some new April Fool’s joke, right? Even while checking the date on the calendar, I couldn’t stop my jaw from dropping.

    This was the biggest stroke of luck I’d ever encountered. No, it was a miracle. It was the first time someone made my heart flutter, and that person turned out to be gay!

    I wanted to jump for joy, but I barely managed to keep myself grounded. Of course, Shin probably isn’t interested in me. He’s so perfect; why would he be interested in someone like me? It’s not really something to get overly excited about.

    My rational mind sharply warned me, but my goofy smile persisted as I took off my clothes and tidied up the house. The only time I briefly returned to reality was when I reached into my bag to get my handkerchief.

    Since childhood, my mother had always made me use a handkerchief, so I’d wash it as soon as I got home. But the handkerchief I’d put in the front pocket of my bag wasn’t there. Huh? Where did it go? I rummaged through the bag, but it was nowhere to be found. I hadn’t put it anywhere else.

    Normally, I would’ve sat down and retraced my steps from the day to figure out where the handkerchief had gone. But that day, I shrugged it off. It would turn up later. My mind was completely occupied with Shin’s confession. I couldn’t stop grinning like a madman, even while showering.

    Usually, after work, I’d feel so tired that the shower would almost make me melt, but that day, I felt like I could dance under the shower. Of course, I wasn’t expecting anything to happen with Shin.

    Yeah, I might not know much else, but I do have a conscience. I know the boundaries I need to keep. I won’t do anything to interfere with his studies now that he’s quit the police force and is pursuing what he wants. I won’t let my feelings show or make him uncomfortable.

    …So, it’s okay to like him secretly, right? I stopped scrubbing myself with the shower sponge. Eh, why not? He’s gay! I smiled broadly as I covered myself with foam again. Uncharacteristically, I even started humming a song. I didn’t know why that particular song came to mind. It just did.

    “I had a foolish dream~~ Hehe, your smile~~ Hehehe, waiting for you~~~”

    Despite sleeping only a few hours, I woke up early to go to the library, unlike my usual groggy mornings. I woke up five minutes before the alarm went off. Usually, I would hit the snooze button several times, but that day, the thought of seeing Shin at the library got me out of bed excitedly.

    I quickly washed up, dressed, and even had time left after breakfast. But there was one more thing to do. I went to the bathroom to wet my spiky hair and flatten it with my hand. Once I was satisfied, I looked at my clothes. With only a few outfits in rotation, I hadn’t noticed how shabby my wrinkled T-shirt and sweatpants looked.

    I rushed to the wardrobe and flung it open. With no other sweatpants to wear, I tried on a pair of jeans and checked the mirror. Whoa, wait. I always wear sweatpants. Wouldn’t jeans seem too dressed up?

    Feeling self-conscious, I put on the old sweatpants again and instead focused on finding a better T-shirt. Rummaging through my mostly neutral and navy clothes, my hand stopped on a light pink T-shirt. My sister had bought it for me. She always told me:

    “Oppa, you look terrible in deep blue and green. You should always wear pastels. Light pinks and yellows make your face look brighter.”

    But I’d always dismissed it, thinking, “How can a guy wear pink?” I’d never worn it before. I hesitated but finally took out the T-shirt.

    Hah, a man has to have pride… I tried it on. The round neckline was wider than I was used to, but aside from a small pocket on the chest, it was plain and surprisingly neat.

    However, while studying, I had lost some weight, and the T-shirt felt a bit too big. When it shifted to one side, my collarbone showed, but the color was a bigger issue. I had never worn something in this color before, so I spent a long time in front of the mirror, deliberating.

    Then I glanced at the clock and realized I was late. Damn it, Song Yeonwoo. I rushed to the bus stop, but even from a distance, I could see that my bus had already left. Ah, I needed to catch that bus to ride with Shin. All this fuss over picking a pink T-shirt, and I missed the bus. Penny wise, pound foolish. I stopped running and stared blankly at the departing bus. Penny wise and pound… what was it again?

    I couldn’t even remember the idiom I memorized yesterday. I trudged slowly to the bus stop, feeling like the most miserable student in the world. But I had to stop a few meters away because there was a tall man standing at the stop.

    He checked his watch and looked around before his gaze settled on me. His face lit up with a smile when he recognized me. Thump, thump, my heart raced just from that smile. Was it because I was seeing him differently? Today, he looked more handsome than usual. Come to think of it, did he style his hair with wax?

    “Why are you here?”

    “I wanted to go with you.”


    I looked up at him, puzzled. He gave me a somewhat bittersweet smile in response to my confused gaze.

    “There’s parking available at the library now. I wanted to give you a ride.”

    Suddenly, there was a parking spot?

    “You don’t need to worry about me.”

    “I’m not worried about you.”

    His firm denial left me speechless. I hesitated but followed him, still feeling burdened. I couldn’t casually accept a ride in a car that was several times more expensive than my own home. But the car parked not far away was different from the one we took early this morning.

    “Get in. It’s not an extremely expensive car, so don’t feel burdened.”

    The fact that there were two cars only added to my unease. Moreover, it was still more expensive than my house, so I couldn’t help but ask.

    “Are you rich?”



    “Yeah. I’m not.”

    His firm answer left no room for further doubts. Is this car leased?

    Worried, I walked through the door he opened for me.

    I climbed in, using the automatically lowered step, and sat down. Shin was about to close the door when he stared intently at the area below my neck. It seemed like he was looking near the neckline, but I couldn’t confirm by looking down. Maybe it was because of the pink T-shirt. I quickly spoke, not wanting him to think I was self-conscious about my clothes.

    “I did the laundry, and I didn’t have anything else to wear.”

    The excuse I practiced at home came out smoothly. He stood there without reacting, then suddenly closed the door and walked around to the driver’s seat. When the car started and began to vibrate, he spoke in a low, suppressed voice.

    “You look pretty today.”

    Hey, pretty my foot. I mumbled a reply and turned my head as far as I could to the side. My face must have turned as pink as the T-shirt.

    Kim Shin

    Kangho grumbled as he arrived at the meeting spot called by a friend. Damn it, don’t these guys ever sleep? He passed through security, went through the identification process, and got into the elevator. Checking the time made him even more irritated.

    Friday night, 1:10 AM. He wasn’t particularly fond of these people, so he wasn’t keen on being here. But it was a necessary meeting.

    He had met these guys during a private club in college, and like other groups he participated in, they shared a similar background with him.

    Especially this group, which his father liked, so he initially joined reluctantly. After all, their similarities were mostly in background only. These guys were the so-called elites. Unlike him, who barely managed to enter a prestigious university after numerous attempts and with the help of money and privileges, they had both good backgrounds and brains.

    They easily achieved the things Kangho’s father desired. So Kangho disliked them. In his early twenties, he mostly hung out with a crowd that was the complete opposite, doing all sorts of reckless things.

    Penny wise, Pound foolish: a situation where someone is overly concerned with saving small amounts of money (the pennies) but overlooks or neglects larger, more significant expenses (the pounds).

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