Chapter 12:

An Unlikely Group

Annika Says No!

“Psst. Hey. Hey! Wake up!”

Gentle taps struck my shoulder.


The taps only kept coming, but this time they were getting stronger after each one. The taps turned into tugs on my shirt, and the tugs turned into slaps on my head.

“Wake up!”

“Lemme schleep…”

“Wake up…..boy.” A deep sultry voice whispered inside my ear.

I flicked upward and blinked my eyes.

“My, my. Didn’t think Prince Charming here could be a Sleeping Beauty, hehe.”

Turning my head to Annika, I realized that she wasn’t the one who spoke inside my ear, judging from her rose-tinted cheeks. My heart skipped a beat as I looked at the young brunette professor staring at me with her green eyes.

“P-Professor Juni!” I stiffened in place.

“I don’t offer….private lessons you know, so you better pay attention in class. I’ll be sending the lecture materials later, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen. You might miss something. Sleep at your own discretion.”

Max snickered on the seats next to me, so I gave him a look of annoyance.

It’s partly his fault I didn’t get any sleep last night. The lucky bastard didn't need that many hours of sleep due to his genetics.

The professor turned back, and I watched her hips sway from side to side like a pendulum.

Left, right, left, right. Tick, tock, tick, tock…….

A hand covered my line of sight, which interrupted my observations. I turned my head to see Annika with her finger waved, accompanied with some clicks from her tongue.

“I can’t help it.” I chuckled nervously. “My eyes just move on their own.”

“You stared at her butt for five seconds.” Annika flicked on my forehead.


“Time that could have been used to easily look away.”

“Well, come on,” I scoffed. “I’m a man. It’s in my biology to gawk at pretty women.”

“Your biology also allows you to move your eyes, pervert.”

That one hurt….I deserved that though.

I slapped my hands on my cheeks and took a deep breath.

Get your head in the game, Kwan! Take this thing more seriously! Keep your eyes only on…..

As I turned to look at my seatmate jotting down notes, I had found myself trapped in a state of trance. The snow-haired beauty focused her sapphire-tinted gaze on her notes, her hand moved in fluid synchrony. Black ink formed into strokes of beautiful letters, somehow all aligned perfectly in place. Even from the breaths of her mouth, to the blinks of her eyes and the subtle nods of her head, every movement she made appeared to be an elegant display of actions.

“Stop looking at me and listen to the professor,” she said, with her eyes seemingly still focused on her notes.

My cheeks felt a jolt of heat surge through, but I brushed it off.

“L-Looking at the professor is just gonna make me stare again,” I looked away.

“It’s not like you’re not allowed to look at girls entirely. Just focus on their face, nothing else.”

I scratched my head. “I just can’t get myself to focus on one thing for 10 minutes. It all just feels way too boring for me.”

“Then you should have considered taking notes. It keeps your mind active.”

I looked at my paper, which was filled with nothing but unorganized scribbles. “I don’t think I’ll be able to get everything.”

“You don’t have to. Just write whatever you think is important. What matters is that you’re able to stimulate your mind and engage with the topic to the best of your ability. That's why I’m doing it right now.”

Stimulating my mind……I guess I’ll try that.

What Annika said sounded helpful, but it wasn’t exactly the best solution. I still struggled to pay attention in class. At one moment I was writing words, the next my eyes were wandering around the classroom.. The lights on the ceilings, the circular wooden desks, the whispers of students, the scribble sounds, the keyboard clacks, everything around me was a distraction. On the bright side, the huge monitor on the screen that showed off the professor’s presentation was quite appealing to the eyes, so I still managed somehow.

“Ok, that’s it for today’s lesson everyone!” Professor Juni clapped her hands. “But before I dismiss you, I’d like everyone to group themselves into four.”

Groups of four huh…….

“Wanna be groupmates?” Annika asked me.

“Of course!” I swung my hand. “As if I’d say no to the greatest groupmate of all time!”

Annika blushed. “I-I’m not that great, you know.”


When it came to group projects, Annika’s skill set was always in high demand. With the ability to plan and organize everything out from ground zero, an insanely industrious work ethic, great communication skills and a sharp knack for critical thinking all in one package, you’d be a fool not to have her by your side.

“We’re only missing two more people.” Annika glanced around.

Before she had even mentioned that, my eagle eyes had already locked in towards a group of two women from a distance. Both cute ones too. I got my eyes on the prize. A group of 3 smart hot chicks, that was my ideal scenario.

“You sure are quick to look for girls, Kwan.” Annika squinted her eyes towards me.

“W-Well, wouldn’t it be more comfortable for you if you had girls for groupmates?” I gave her a sheepish smile.

“Sure. But that would mean you’d have to hold yourself back. Just don’t think about hitting on them, you hear me?”

“That sounds like something a jealous girlfriend would say.” I winked.

Annika rolled her eyes.

Don’t worry about it, Annika. I’m seriously not gonna hit on them. As long as I have my eyes on you, I won’t allow myself to fall into that path again.

I wanted to say those words to her, but I didn’t think that she had that much faith in me. Not after I showed how lukewarm my resolve is.

“Eyy, Kwan!”

Max walked over to us with another boy’s head locked in on his elbow. The familiar beanie-wearing boy let out a deep sigh and hung his body down in defeat.

“You’re looking for two people, right? Me and Frey just so happen to be on the same boat as well!”

Annika flinched a little as they got close. Max noticed this and stepped back. He let go of Frey and bent his body at an almost perfect right angle.

“I’m sorry for trying to hit you!”


An awkward silence ensued between the two, so Max decided to kneel on the floor.

“I’m truly grateful that you saved me from those hooligans! Please let me make it up to you by being your groupmate. I promise I’ll do anything to help!”

Annika raised her eyebrow and scratched her chin. Then, she whispered in my ear.

“I already forgave him for what he did, but can we rely on these two for group projects?”

“Believe it or not, these two idiots are actually good groupmates.”


“Yeah! Despite their appearances, they never failed to accomplish their assigned tasks on time.”

“Hey, we’re right here, you know!” Max twitched his eyebrow.

Annika breathed a sigh of relief and looked at the two.

“If Kwan says you both are reliable, then it’s settled. Welcome to the team.”

“Let’s go!” Max raised his hand up in the air.

“I think I can do this all by myself.” Frey looked away in annoyance.

“Come on, Frey! You’re in UniverCity now! Time for you to actually make some friends!”

“It’s such a hassle though.”

Max and Frey continued on with their mindless arguments, so I decided to check up on Annika. There was something on my mind I wanted to clear out.

“How can you just trust what I say? Did you forget that I broke our lifelong promise?” I asked.

Annika gave me a light smile. “Sure, you’re terrible at keeping promises, but you’re also terrible at lying.”

She stared into my eyes with her deep blue gaze, sparkling like the sea on a sunny day. I could not help but be pulled down into the depths of her sight. It was as if I had sunk deep into her very soul.

“Besides, I still believe in the little Kwan who made that promise years ago. I could tell back then that it was a genuine promise.” She patted my head.

"How can you say that? It's pretty clear that I failed you." I took a glance away.

"I don't know what led you down this dark path, but I'm sure that the little Kwan is still in there." Annika poked my chest. "I can sense it."

She giggled and turned away.

No, Annika. Little Kwan isn't here anymore. He already died a long time ago along with my promise.

It's my responsibility to atone for everything.

F.C Fondness