༺ Finding Evidence ༻
After disconnecting from the call, I sat there staring at the monitor.
It never crossed my mind that I’d be in the same group as Taemin Oppa out of all the students who signed up for class A.
God was really cruel.
No, I guess the professor was the cruel one here.
Thinking that I had to look at Taemin Oppa’s face until the end of the semester made me feel depressed.
I leaned all the way back in my chair and looked up at the ceiling.
“Pull yourself together. Kim Doah.”
‘A few months have already passed, why does it still bother you?’
I cupped my hands together and wiped my face, but that wasn’t enough to wipe out the emotions I had been burying for so long.
There was a time…
When I thought of quitting streaming if it meant I could have a dreamy relationship with someone like Taemin Oppa.
I used to lose sleep because I fantasized how nice it would be to go to and from school clinging to each other, being all lovey-dovey.
But Taemin Oppa was a wall to me.
Not a door, but a wall.
After I learned that he wasn’t a door I could knock on, my expectations were brutally shattered.
The crumbling shards pierced my chest, leaving a nasty scar.
…It was sad.
No, maybe it was a good thing.
Thanks to that, I clenched my teeth and got myself to focus more on streaming.
I figured my viewers were the only ones who liked me despite my flaws, so I worked diligently to stream and plan more content to repay them.
After making sure that I had disconnected from Voicecord, I began singing the song I had practiced earlier.
“The warm sunlight and that blinding smile.”
It wasn’t good enough.
Of course, I wasn’t at the level where I came across as lacking to the average cover singers, but compared to the other candidates, I was clearly falling behind.
When I heard that one of the participants had a background as a musical actor joining the audition as well, I was baffled.
Like, why would an actual singer participate in an open audition for a virtual idol?
But in this industry, the winner wasn’t judged solely on singing ability.
As stated in the application guidelines, having a concept, character, and a good sense for streaming were important factors as a virtual idol.
“I can do it. I can do it.”
I shook my head to clear my thoughts about Taemin Oppa, and began rehearsing for the final audition.
Kim Doah… Kim Doah… Kim Doah…
I was looking for the chat when I last texted her. I scrolled down my phone until I reached the almost-deleted messages at the very bottom.
“Our last conversation…”
As soon as I saw it, it felt like a cold sweat would break out on my forehead.
No, why did I talk so rudely?
[oppa, do you have time tomorrow?]
[um… i want to talk about the material from the previous class..]
[Oh. 3pm then]
Well, I didn’t act any different from when I was talking to my friends, but I was talking to Luka here. That was incredibly rude!
It wasn’t a matter of gender either.
I’m just a dry texter.
Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that was when I met Doah at 3pm and rejected her.
I couldn’t bear to look at my phone screen anymore.
How could I… Towards someone who could’ve been Luka-nim… To commit this atrocity…
Should I just kill myself?
But I didn’t know back then.
The situation was completely different.
In my experience, girls would always cross the line and want to be more intimate with me whenever I spared some time to meet them privately.
And, I honestly thought that she wouldn’t be any different.
I mean, she also said something along the lines of wanting to have a serious relationship with me.
There was nothing wrong with my actions, and I didn’t need to apologize either, but that wasn’t it! I… With my own hands… To Luka…
“I’m so dumb…”
It felt like all negative emotions swallowed me whole.
All the world’s misery washed over me like sea waves.
Now I could only pray for one thing.
“That’s right… Doah might not be Luka…”
Maybe I was just mistaken, and maybe I was just deluded as fuck into thinking Doah was Luka.
Yeah… Right… Everything would go back to normal if Doah wasn’t Luka…
To deny reality, I needed to prove that Luka wasn’t Doah.
It wasn’t that hard to find evidence.
An hour before class began.
I watched Luka’s stream and noted down random facts about Luka before rearranging it.
From her favorite snack.
Her least favorite veggies.
To her favorite flavor of ice cream from a famous chain.
And lastly, her favorite song these days.
It wasn’t hard to figure those out because she normally spent a lot of time making small talk before she started playing her games or whatever content she had prepared for that stream.
Just yesterday Luka mentioned the drama she liked recently.
「Chat, have you seen that prosecutor show? The one that went viral recently?」
「I lost track of time when watching it since it’s so much fun.」
「It’s only on episode seven right now, so hurry up and watch it, guys!」
I stayed up all night to catch up on the latest episode of the drama since I thought it would be a good conversation starter that wouldn’t raise too many suspicions.
If she said she hadn’t seen it or didn’t know anything about it, then I could say safely that Doah wasn’t Luka.
Normally, Han-ssi, a.k.a. me, would take the seat at the back because I was always the last one to arrive, but not today.
“What the heck. Why aren’t you late?”
Yoonje, the clubber who seated himself in the back, greeted me in surprise when he saw me.
“What about it, man?”
“Nothing. I’ve always called you out whenever you arrive on time, didn’t I?”
“The bus came a little early today.”
It was the first offline class since the Voicecord happened.
We had to sit in groups, so I turned my back to Yoonje and looked around for Doah…
Junseok, the group leader, waved to me.
“Yeah, I’m coming.”
The group members were sitting in a row in the following order: Minji, Junseok, and Doah.
Naturally, the seat next to Doah, who sat on the far side, became mine.
Her dark brown hair fell like a curtain to hide her expression.
When Minji greeted me, Doah also took a slight glance at me.
But no matter how much I looked at her…
I couldn’t see her as Luka…
The vibes between Luka’s otaku persona she put on during streams and the Doah I was seeing right now were ery different.
In my memory, Doah wasn’t a cheerful girl.
Of course, I didn’t interact or hear a lot of things about her to tell that clearly, but at least from my observations, she wasn’t someone you could call active.
Anyone could tell that she wasn’t comfortable talking to me.
And that was completely normal.
Like, I myself wouldn’t be able to act all chummy with a girl who rejected me.
In any case, I should steer the conversation in the direction I desired before the class began.
Junseok and Minji were talking about something.
While Doah only looked down at the desk.
If I talked to her, I’d have a one-on-one conversation with her, but it wouldn’t be easy.
I wasn’t someone who’d come up to a woman and start a conversation with them to begin with.
Still, I couldn’t just keep my mouth shut and say nothing.
I tried to call her name as gently as I could.
As I called her name, Doah looked this way with a rather shocked expression.
“That… Well… You know…”
For some reason, my mind just blanked out.
I planned to bring up that prosecutor show, but a strange question came out of my mouth instead.
“Do you like banana milk?”
“Uh, you know, banana milk. The round one.”
This wasn’t exactly the question I wanted to ask, but I guess I could live with this one as part of the investigation.
Because Luka always had banana milk before she started streaming.
“Ah… yes. Well… I like it.”
And she would always emphasize that she drank the ‘low-fat’ version.
The low-fat ones were refreshing.
I honestly thought they were just the same thing, but it was a big difference to Luka.
“I only drink low-fat.”
As she sincerely answered my question, she wore this ‘Why are you asking about that?’ look on her face.
When I didn’t respond even after hearing her answer, she tilted her head.
My mind blanked out again, but there was this pressure that forced me to say something so that the conversation could keep on going, so I blurted out more nonsense.
“I was wondering, do low-fat versions actually help lose weight? It just doesn’t really seem that effective?”
At that moment, Minji, who had been listening to our conversation, chimed in.
“Oppa, Doah’s been on a diet, that’s why she’s drinking that.”
…But Luka-tan didn’t go into that much detail.
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