“How the hell did you know my birthday?”

Shin Heejae seemed to immediately recognize the alertness in my silence.
He carried on in a soft voice. 

“When we exchange contact information it comes up on the app as ‘A friend whose birthday is coming up’.”




“Isn’t it your birthday? It seems right.”

Only then did I belatedly remember the useless features of the app.
I answered with a guilty heart. 

[Me: i thought you stalked me ㅡㅡ]


“It’s not stalking, it’s just etiquette.”

Shin Heejae laughed as if it was ridiculous.
I was the only one who thought him buying me a gift was excessive.

No, wasn’t it usually the basics of an online relationship to check every single one of these things? I’m the type of person who just goes out for drinks on my friends’ birthdays, so I wasn’t used to Shin Heejae’s way of thinking about picking out a gift.


Also, I had a bad relationship with my family, so I haven’t celebrated the birthdays of the people around me in recent years…

“Wait, is this bastard perhaps…”

I thought about it until then, but suddenly I figured out why Shin Heejae might have wanted to give me a birthday present.
I immediately refused.


[Me: never mind just don’t give anything to me] 


[Me: you’re trying to steal my address]

Shin Heejae asked me in a calm voice, even though he was angry at the cautious words.

“Um… Noona, you don’t have any friends, do you?” 

It was like he was asking in a way that seemed like I was clumsy in personal relationships and could not handle this kind of goodwill.

Of course, I became furious.

[Me: wanna die?]

“I mean… How can you say that to your boyfriend who’s going to give you a birthday present?” 


“Can’t we even celebrate birthdays while we’re dating?”


[Me: it’s not about the boyfriend thing, it’s about not trusting you]

Shin Heejae paused for a moment at my resolute words.
He asked me a strange question again. 

We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.

“Rbbcj, tjnf sbe fnfg vbcf bcilcf vjalcu yfobgf?”

[Me: are you crazy, why would i do that]

“Dfmjerf sbe’gf abb nlulijca… P atbeuta rbwfatlcu yjv tjqqfcfv lc atf qjra.”


It’s not about online relationships, it’s just because you’re the other person! But I couldn’t say anything back because I couldn’t tell the truth.

Ofrr atjc olnf wlceafr joafg atf jkxkjgv rlifcmf yfujc, Vtlc Lffpjf rqbxf mtffgoeiis jujlc.

“Ktfc P’ii pera ulnf sbe j mjxf uloa mjgv.
Ofa wf xcbk lo atfgf’r jcs oijnbg sbe ilxf.”


I was a little bothered by the way he seemed to be trying to change the subject and make me feel better.

Rather, if he kept insisting that I was right and tried to steal my address arrogantly, I would just curse at him.
But strangely, I felt guilty when he stepped down.
I wondered if he really was excited to prepare for my birthday…

Of course, there was no need to feel this way for Shin Heejae of all people.
But still…

[Me: I said it’s fine… I haven’t even eaten the chicken yet] 

[Me: thanks for the thought of it…]

When I gave a dispirited answer, Shin Heejae giggled.
Still, he muttered in a cheesy voice,

“Seyoung doesn’t know a man’s feelings… How can I just skip my girlfriend’s birthday?”

[Me: ah fuck just knock it off] 

“Seyoung-ah, Oppa broke into his savings account, so don’t feel burdened and tell me.”

[Me: are you breaking your savings to buy a cake?]


“Listening to this guy calling himself Oppa is really…”

Shin Heejae giggled and tried to act cool while I was swearing with the mute function turned on. 

I couldn’t be heard, so I cursed at him to my heart’s content.
When I came to my senses, it was over five minutes past my lunch break.

“I’m late because of you!”

[Me: ah ㅡㅡ I was 5 minutes late because of you]

I huffed and cursed while messaging him.
Shin Heejae whispered in my ear as I ran down the stairs. 

“You mean you lose track of time when you’re with me, right?”

I couldn’t immediately think of anything to retort with, so I just let out a ‘fuck’.

* * *

Time flew by as I worked vigorously and soon it was time to leave work. 

There were rumors that since it was Friday, there was going to be a dinner among the civil servants.
No one came to invite me.
It was not that I was being discriminated against because I was a “fixed-term” civil servant, it was because I hadn’t attended such events since I first came into the office.

This kind of atmosphere at work was just right for me.
You could act individualistically, and no one would really meddle.
Of course, there were exceptions, but usually I hadn’t been invited since I had declined once before.

I didn’t really care about the feeling of alienation, and I didn’t get close to anyone in the first place because there were a lot of women here.
Now that it was dull and nonchalant, it was more comfortable for me.

When I got up from my seat, a few eyes focused on me, but I only greeted them lightly and left.
No one caught on as expected. 


[Heejae: darling are you on the way home from work ㅇ.ㅇ?]

As I was reading the message from Shin Heejae in the elevator, I suddenly got a headache…

I was annoyed that I had to rush to find out what time I was going to leave work, and that I had to go through all my schedules.
I was grimacing and trying to figure out what kind of curse words I should send, when I heard an unwelcomed voice from behind. 

“Seyoung, aren’t you going to dinner today?”

“Huh! Ah, no…”


“How come you skip it every time? In a year and a half, I haven’t seen Seyoung participate in any dinner parties.”

It was Kim Namgu, who was appointed as a civil servant in the counseling office. 

This senior in his 40s seemed amiable, but he was not a good match for me personally.
Should I say he was a little bit of a ‘boomer’? The other office staff were not very interested in me, but he and a few seniors were very attentive to the office center’s younger workers.

Among these seniors, Kim Namgu, was the leader.
He was very nice to me on the first day, but after a certain point, he treated me negatively because I missed dinner meetings and avoided answering personal questions he asked.

Fortunately, my job did not involve consulting, so I rarely ran into this person.
But whenever we met like this, Kim Namgu would say something emotional to me.

We had to meet here of all places…

Each time I had nothing to say so I had no choice but to choose silence, and it was the same this time too.
Kim Namgu prompted me gently as I was making an ambiguous expression without saying a word. 

“There’s a reason why everyone finds Seyoung difficult.”


“You should make some time to socialize with young people.”

In a nutshell, he meant ,“why do I always skip instead of trying to be amiable while I was young?” … Every time I heard these words, I didn’t know what to say.
I wanted to say some perfunctory words, but I couldn’t think of anything to say strangely. 

No, to be honest, what was the point of dragging someone to a party that was not required of them to attend voluntarily? It’s not like the taste of meat would be lacking without me… Well, I could only guess the reason.

It’s just that you need people to attend to you…

To be a meat-grilling shuttle.
A shuttle that will put food in their stomachs.

I didn’t like meat that much (I didn’t really like troublesome dishes), I didn’t grill well, and I didn’t like alcohol. 

Why did I have to attend all the meetings and waste my time to please the uncles and aunts? I was already trying to endure it even if things were unfair at work.
Wasn’t that enough?

Anyway, as the saying went, ‘you can’t spit on a smiling face’, so I just kept smiling awkwardly.
Unfortunately, the elevator which was coming up slowly, was still on the first basement floor.
I should’ve just gone down the stairs.

Besides, Namgu didn’t step aside as if he had made up his mind today, so I tried making up an excuse.

“I have… a prior appointment today.” 

“Who doesn’t have stuff to do? I’m a busy person too.
Don’t you know that a dinner party is an extension of work? People these days.”



Ha, really…

I would have grumbled to myself, but I already knew very well that losing the goodwill of the senior of this office center would only put me at a disadvantage. 

How many people have already gone out of favor with this guy? …As I looked at the elevator that came up excruciatingly slowly today, I felt my stomach churn at the annoying “boomer Namgu”.

“I have an appointment with my lover today…”

I blurted that out without thinking.

Kim Namgu looked at me with suspicious eyes (Damn it) as soon as he heard what I said.
It was as if he was doubting that ‘a person like you” is in a relationship. 

Perhaps my expression was worth seeing too.
Because the moment I realized what I was saying, the voice of Shin Heejae who smiled softly and said, ‘lover~?’ sounded like an auditory hallucination.

I immediately felt my cheeks heat up.
Why did I even make up an excuse like this of all things to say?

“Oh… is that so?”

I… then I’ll get going.
I will see you next week.” 

“Hmm, sure… See you next week…”

And then I was able to get on the elevator that had arrived.

As soon as the elevator door closed, I had a gut feeling that Kim Namgu would go to a dinner party today and spread the word that I had a lover while I was left with a sense of desperation after that slip of the tongue.


[Me: fuck it’s all because of you]

[Heejae: ㅇ_ㅇ?]

[Me: die]

Of course, I did not forget to vent my anger and texted him.
Honestly, this happened because Shin Heejae had been contacting me too frequently. 

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