Reina’s life seemed to have that ‘hot one day, cold the next’ type of concept.
‘I’m not used to this pattern…’
To her excitement, it was only a few days ago that she finally got to meet Ethan.
But then, she was suddenly saddled with the group projects that she thought she wouldn’t be doing anymore.
Sighing, she stared at her group mates who were talking amongst themselves.
“Are you sure she’s that disgrace?”
“What a relief.”
“Lehman, it’s thanks to you that we can finish this quickly, wow.”
It’s all thanks to everyone’s hard work.”
“Being humble now, aren’t we?”
She observed her group mates as they complimented each other like that.
She unabashedly won herself a free ticket in this project—and with everyone’s full consent for it—but she felt a bit awkward.
‘That’s why I tried so hard to help.’
“Do I do it like this?”
“Ah… I should do it.”
“Should I move this here?”
“Ah… Let me move it.”
“Should I clean that up?”
“Ah… We’ll do the washing.”
“Should I turn down the heat now?”
“Ah… I’ll turn it down.”
Every single time she asked, she was shot down.
But no, no, do you think that’s all? They even kicked her out of the lab.
“Reina… Can you just go out for a bit? The lab is small so it’s a bit cramped to have all six people here.”
“…It’s an experiment that we all have to do together though?”
“We’ll call you when we need you.
Your main role is to assist anyway, right?”
Having been so thoroughly left out, at this point, she became confused.
Was she being left out because they thought she’d just be a burden to them, or was it because they’re just determined to ostracize her?”
‘Welp… Today’s the last day, so let me into the lab, but…’
She had no idea what they were doing, whether it was alchemy or what since they never explained to her what topic they’d been assigned to.
As she sighed out of frustration, Lehman, who was sitting next to her, turned sideways to glance at her.
What are you looking at, huh.
It’s not like I want to be like this either.
You guys didn’t even give me a chance to work on it.’
She thought it over again and it really was just unfair.
She tried to participate like any good, well-meaning groupmate would, but she had been constantly rebuffed.
She didn’t even do anything wrong here.
Of course, Lehman wasn’t one of the people who sharply cut her off throughout it all… But at the same time, he never defended her either.
‘This really is a free ride since I did absolutely nothing.’
But then, contrary to her expectations, Lehman said something that shocked her.
“Reina, can you do this for me?”
As she blinked in surprise, Lehman smiled wordlessly and handed over what he was holding.
“I don’t have enough hands.”
Somehow, this simple request stirred Reina’s emotions for a moment.
“…Did you just ask me for help?”
I should have let you participate even earlier, but since I’m the team leader, I was preoccupied with many other things.”
Rather, as soon as Reina saw how Lehman’s eyebrows were furrowed as he looked at her apologetically, she got flustered.
‘What the… Was I that twisted up about it that you noticed?’
Now that she thought about it, Lehman did regularly try to talk to her so as to take care of her somehow…
“It’s a bit late into the project, but we can do it together now.
I’m sorry I couldn’t take care of you sooner because I was so busy.”
“…No, no, I understand.”
Just one word could pay off a debt of a thousand dollars, as they say.
It’s only a small apology, but it was enough that Reina’s pouted lips unraveled.
Besides that, the vigilance she had stacked up against Lehman—as she was biased against him due to the original novel—practically dissipated.
‘To be honest, I know how thoroughly he used Reina in the novel, so I wasn’t excited about this project at first, but…’
Was it because they’re at least not engaged? Lehman was quite indifferent towards Reina.
Thanks to this, her guard she had around him gradually lowered.
He even asked her for help, after all.
“With the solution I gave you just now, add that to the beaker over there.
Do… you know how to use it?”
Reina raised the test tube with a confident face and worked hard to assist Lehman as he commanded.
Then their group mates, who had been organizing the tools until now, spoke from a short distance.
“Lehman, we’re going to bring these over to the warehouse.”
They looked at Reina and Lehman alternately.
They pursed their lips for a moment, looking as if they were in agony or something, then immediately advised her.
“We’ll be back soon, so Reina, please… please do well.”
“Don’t worry about it.
Reina’s doing well, you know.”
I’ll trust you.”
Although they still looked dubious, their group mates left the lab in pairs.
As they left, the only thing that could be heard in the lab was the sound of the solution bubbling up.
Listening to this, Reina had an epiphany.
‘Come to think of it, I think just avoiding the matter wouldn’t solve anything.’
Furthermore, since they’re not even engaged, was it really necessary to intentionally leave the main character, dubbed as ‘everyone’s lover’, all alone? Didn’t he just stand by her side and defend her from the other groupmates?
Just in time, Lehman glanced sideways and made eye contact with her.
At this, Reina carefully lowered what she was holding.
Since I’ve decided to change my mind here, let’s just get all buddy buddy with the main character.’
“Lehman, do you like croissant waffles?”
t/n: halp, why does this remind me of ‘do you like messi?’ hahaha
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