The Ichon-dong parents visited the Suwon’s household as soon as Gwihyeon’s grandfather was discharged from the hospital, fearing that Siyeon might reveal the truth she threatened to tell herself. They were afraid that if Siyeon spoke directly, everything they didn’t want would be revealed.
The Ichon-dong’s father called Siyeon and told her what he had told the grandfather. He said that they recently found out by chance that their daughter had been switched and that they informed Gwihyeon of this fact first. Surprisingly, their biological daughter, Eunhye, had been working in the same office as Gwihyeon.
He also said that he plans to organize Siyeon and their real daughter’s documents quickly within this week, and that fortunately, both Siyeon and Eunhye are taking this situation calmly. It was favorable news for all of them.
Of course, the grandmother’s story wasn’t even mentioned.
She apologized to Siyeon and suggested not to complicate things before Gwihyeon woke up, as he would eventually find out everything, but they both know very well that that is not her true intention.
In the end, Gwihyeon’s grandfather returned to the VIP hospital room just one day after being discharged. His grief was too overwhelming. For 25 years, he had loved Siyeon as much as his own grandchildren, so it was impossible for him not to be shocked by the fact that she was a complete stranger from another family.
Snow fell heavily throughout the night. Siyeon woke up at around 10 in the morning, saw the world outside her window entirely covered in white, and decided to get up.
Siyeon quickly got up, went to the second-floor living room balcony, and opened the door, stepping outside.
“Ooh, it’s cold!”
With the frigid wind hitting her, she shivered and rubbed her hands together before taking another look outside. The world was entirely blanketed in white, making it difficult to distinguish one thing from another.
As she was fully absorbed in the view, she heard a shuffling sound from somewhere. She turned her gaze toward the source of the noise. Her biological father was in the yard, brushing off the snow piled up there.
“No! Please don’t sweep!”
Siyeon found herself shouting unexpectedly. The sound of shoveling in the snow suddenly stopped, and her biological father turned his head towards her. Their eyes locked.
“I actually love it when the yard is completely covered in snow. Last winter, I even built a snowman!”
“I guess… it’s because I was born in winter.”
Her cheeks felt numb from the cold, but her eyes were welled up with warmth. Just as she thought she should go inside, her biological father made a very subtle hand gesture, signaling her to come down.
Hastily, Siyeon went inside, dashed through the first-floor living room wearing only her padded jacket, and ran outside.
“Did you sleep well?”
“Siyeon, you’re up already?”
Her biological mother’s cheerful voice reached her as she drank tea at the dining table.
When she opened the front door and rushed outside, her biological father was sitting with his back to her, crouched down as if he was working on something.
“What are you doing?”
Siyeon crouched down in front of her father. He was squeezing snow in both hands, gradually inflating the size of the snowball. Watching him, tears welled up in her eyes. Her father was building a snowman.
Siyeon sat there silently, holding back the urge to burst into tears.
Work had become challenging, and the daughter they had raised for 25 years had disappeared in an instant. The despair her father must have felt was beyond her imagination.
Seeing that Siyeon was strangely quiet, her biological father looked up and met her gaze. He stared into her eyes as if trying to see through to her soul.
She didn’t want to show herself crying, but her heartache was too much to bear. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
Her biological father remained silent, still unable to speak, and Suwon grandfather was re-admitted to the hospital due to shock. It all felt like her fault; it weighed heavily on her chest.
Knowing that her father would suffer even more if she showed her own distress, she wanted to appear strong, composed. But seeing him building a snowman so naturally, she crumbled in an instant. He must have made it a long time ago, perhaps for Eunhye
Seeing Siyeon cry, her biological father’s face contorted in pain. His eyes filled with tears in an instant.
Her voice was broken due to her crying.
“I’m doing fine now… I’m earning well, I’m healthy, and I’m living a good life.”
Her words were muddled with a mixture of sorrowful sobs, making her speech incomprehensible.
“So, what I’m trying to say is that… I’m doing okay, so if you want to see Eunhye… I can try to contact her.”
Her biological mother tried calling Eunhye every day, but Eunhye never answered. Knowing this, Siyeon contemplated going to Eunhye’s workplace to try and find her herself. She hoped that if she could bring herself to meet her parents, it might be out of appreciation for the life they had given her.
Shaking his head vigorously, her biological father finally burst into tears. Then he embraced Siyeon and sobbed deeply. Feeling his pain, she, too, cried out in anguish.
Her biological mother, who had come to the yard belatedly, stopped in her tracks, surprised by the sight of both of them crying and holding each other.
Siyeon’s biological mother later recounted that day, describing it as a day when her heart felt as if it had been torn to pieces.
* * *
A few days after that, a call came from Gwihyeon’s father, President Jeong. Siyeon was still feeling the impact of everything.
“Life must be incredibly tough for you… but it would be good if you could meet the chairman at least once.”
He explained that the Grandfather had grown weak, reaching a state of utter helplessness. With his older son still not awake, and now Siyeon’s situation revealed, his will to live had weakened considerably. He added that even though Ijun and Eunhye would visit every evening, but the grandfather still couldn’t muster the energy to respond.
The next morning, Siyeon woke up early and had breakfast. Since her biological mother had found out about everything, Siyeon tried to share every meal with her parents.
Her biological mother would cry even during meals, displaying signs of anxiety, her father no longer beat his chest in despair. He gradually began to regain his composure.
Yesterday, he had even visited the factory for a while. The loyal employees had persevered through difficult circumstances, and seeing their dedication, her biological father seemed to decide it was time to regain his composure. This was truly a relief.
“It seems like we should visit Chairman Jeong of Baekya Foods today. He was quite surprised to hear about the switch between Eunhye and me. Even if not for that, I wanted to thank him for everything.”
As soon as the words “Baekya Foods” were uttered, her parents’ expressions darkened.
“He has been very kind to me. I’m genuinely worried because he’s unwell.”
Her biological parents exchanged uneasy glances, but neither said anything to Siyeon.
“Then I’ll get going. You two have a good meal. I will let the chairman know about our situation when I visit him. And if you’re wondering about Eunhye, I’ll also tell you everything I know.”
“Also, Yoonsoo said he is coming over for dinner tonight. If I come home early, we can have dinner together, but if I’m late, please go ahead without me.”
Her half-joking, half-serious remark made her father faintly smile. Yoonsoo mentioned he was coming to discuss the factory work with her father, but he would be surprised with shocking news as soon as he arrived.
“…By any chance, was the eldest son of Baekya Foods originally… the person you were dating…?”
Her mother’s voice quivered slightly as she asked. Baekya Foods’ chairman had been particularly fond of Siyeon, so it was reasonable to speculate that Eunhye had started meeting him with the assumption that they would eventually marry.
“He wasn’t the person I was dating, but… the chairman did consider me as a potential granddaughter-in-law from an early age.”
“I, I don’t quite understand. Eunhye has been dating the eldest son for a very long time now… She even got a job in the Baekya Foods headquarters’ secretary office and planned to get married to him in the spring. So, does that mean Eunhye has known this for a long time? She knew and still kept it hidden from us…?”
Internally sighing, Siyeon set aside her meal and neatly folded her hands on her lap, looking at both of them in turn. Her father, who knew everything, had a worried look in his eyes.
Siyeon took a deep breath and spoke.
“I’ve known about it for a very long time too. To be frank, I was the first one to know. There was a reason I couldn’t tell you right away… I’ll explain it gradually. And, there was absolutely nothing between me and Baekya Foods’ eldest heir, so you don’t have to imagine that I was hurt. What I want is for Eunhye and me to go back to our respective places as soon as possible.”
Explaining the past all at once was physically and mentally impossible. Siyeon wanted to draw the line at this point.
* * *
Lunchtime had passed, and they arrived at the hospital. When Siyeon saw the grandfather’s name on the door of the VIP room, her heart grew heavy. However, on the other hand, she felt relieved that she no longer had to pretend.
She cautiously opened the door to the room and entered. He was lying still, staring at the ceiling. Even Even though he sensed her presence, he didn’t turn to look at her.
“Grandfather, it’s me, Siyeon.”
At that moment, he jolted and his face contorted. His thin eyelids quivered. However, his gaze stubbornly remained fixed on the ceiling.
“I’m sorry for adding to your worries when you’re already not feeling well. I understand you must be very surprised and bewildered. But I hope you can put all this behind you now and get well.”
“If Gwihyeon oppa saw you like this, he would be deeply saddened. He… is sleeping right now, but he probably knows everything unconsciously.”
Tears welled up in her eyes and soon trickled down her cheeks. Siyeon looked fragile, an unfamiliar sight.
He moistened his dry lips.
“… My child… How painful it must have been for you to hear that story. You must have been so surprised and heartbroken that it wasn’t you. That’s probably why the accident had happened. When I think about Gwihyeon’s suffering… my heart aches so much that I can hardly breathe.”
He was speculating that Gwihyeon had been suffering and the accident had happened due to the shock. Having lived his entire life believing that Siyeon was his spouse, the revelation shattered his understanding. Unable to overcome the shock, he was convinced that it led to the unfortunate incident.
Siyeon said softly but firmly. She had to correct this misunderstansding to reduce the pain he was going through.
” Gwihyeon oppa knew long before… way before all of this.”
He slowly turned his head towards her, his eyes widening in surprise.