Episode 21


A horrified expression returned my gaze. I lowered my gaze, overwhelmed by the pain in them. C*m had escaped from underneath, wetting my panties, unbeknownst to me.

I drew my legs together, feeling unduly impaled even though he couldn’t possibly know. As if I could smell it, I gripped the hem of my dress.    

“Come on, come on. I need to rest.”

I shove him away, but all he does is gaze at me.    

“……I didn’t make a mistake, so don’t give me that nonsense about it being the tenth night.”

“Even if it wasn’t a mistake, even if it wasn’t the tenth night, it doesn’t change anything.”  

His hand, as it ran through his hair, displayed a subtle trembling. I kept my gaze fixed on him, attempting to appear nonchalant, though I couldn’t be certain if he perceived it that way. I looked at him with as much emotional detachment as I could muster.

As I approached the front door, he suddenly pivoted and extended his hand. I hesitated, and before I could pull away, his hand tenderly brushed against my cheek.

“You must be tired, get some rest, and I’ll see you tomorrow,” he remarked, and his hand retained the fragrance of my body wash, which made me blush unnecessarily. As I turned my head without saying a word, I absentmindedly twirled a lock of hair around my finger.

I was immobilized, like prey caught in a spider’s web, unable to move. His fingers descended, gently caressing my collarbone. The intimate touch caused a warm flush to creep up to the back of my neck.

“Let’s go!” I abruptly withdrew my hand, and he turned, as though comprehending my need for distance. Just before I opened the door and stepped outside, he softly whispered, “Take care of yourself. Thanks for the honey water.”

The door shut behind me, and I buried my face in my hands.

I wanted to spit my tongue out at the notion of what I’d done yesterday and how pleased I’d become. I asked him to squeeze me even tighter.

I bit his shoulder, wiggled my hips, and groaned lustfully. I went on top of him, my as$ thrusting up and down like a trigger.  

Shaking my head, I walk to the bathroom to clean up and notice the cup of honey water from the day before.  I’m not sure when I ate it, but the empty cup had been washed.

I hadn’t even known he’d had the honey water because I’d passed out from tiredness from all the s*x. I’d believed he’d slept out as well, but not.  

I came to a halt when I approached the restroom. I rubbed my brow and cocked my head, wondering if it was possible to have s*x when you were so drunk that you couldn’t control yourself.

Can you have a lot of s*x and for a long time? Do males behave in this manner? I opted to suspend my disbelief because he wasn’t the sort to lie about his sobriety.

I once felt so salty that I needed to wash my hands. Not only down there, but also on my thighs and abdomen…. No, my entire body was congealed with sperm, saliva, bile, and sweat.

I stripped down to my underwear and stood in front of the mirror. My eyes flitted around like mad. A red flower had grown next to my collarbone, where he’d just stroked his fingers in front of the front door.

It had left its imprint on my entire body. My mouth opened wide. The marks appeared to be imprinted all over my body.  

I bit my lower lip and grimaced in pain.  My lips were swollen from the prolonged kissing. They were similarly torn, with a crust of blood on top.

I turned on the shower and stepped inside. As the water flowed down my face, dripping with molten c*m, I gazed down at the floor.

As the liquid flowed down my thigh, I bit my lip hard. There was no one around, and I was dying of shame.  I hit my head against the wall.  

“Never again, you must have been drinking,” I chastised myself. “Foolish, Cha Se-yeon. Even inebriated, how could you make such a mistake… Insane, Cha Se-yeon.”

I shut my eyes tightly, trying to block out the image of the disheartened, tearful face that gazed at me with disbelief.

I splashed water on my face, yet the tears seemed never-ending.

I crouched down and inserted my finger in the hole to scrape it off.    

“Ugh!” I muttered in shame as the v*g*na s*cked my finger in. Water dripped down my finger as I stroked the liner a few times.

I jerked my hand away, unable to look at the wetness in my palm.


My v*g*na had grown so sensitive to my touch throughout the early morning that she clenched her fists tightly with only two fingers.

I’ve swallowed his c*ck so many times that I can’t even hold it in one hand anymore, but I’m spitting out my fluids, threatening to shatter my thin fingers.

My fingers are begging for help, so I clench my teeth and wriggle my inner walls.  I eventually opted against opening the shop on weekends and instead went to my parents’ place.

I felt as though I had been emotionally overwhelmed. While looking out of the window at the sparse trees, I anxiously ran my fingers along the steering wheel.

As time passed, I reflected on my actions from the day before. I couldn’t help but think about last night, no matter how hard I tried not to.  

I’ve been hungry for far too long. That’s all there is to it. We’ll have to pretend it never happened. I exited my car and parked near a familiar wall.    “

“I’ve returned home.”  

“You’re home?”

“Yeah. Where’s Dad?”

“In the bathroom.”    

It was uncomfortable to see my mother because it was the first time I’d seen her since I expressed my plan to live alone. I hadn’t seen her in a long time, and she’d smashed my upper limbs on the table.

I ate a skewer, thinking that it was a good thing I was still hungry after working out all night.

“Honey, we’re supposed to share!” I whimpered as my mother slapped the back of my hand and yelled at me. “I took one, but that’s not fair.” “Go outside and wait for me.”

I turned my attention to the table and made my way into the living room.

“Daughter, are you home?” my father inquired.

“Daddy!” I exclaimed, rushing to him with a smile, and I hugged him around the waist.

“My darling, it’s been a while,” he said warmly.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been around much,” I expressed with regret, and he comfortingly patted me on the back.

I glanced at my dad, who always supported me, and then I directed my gaze towards the kitchen. It seemed like my mom was being overly sensitive with me.

“I’ll assist you, Mom,” I volunteered, hoping it would expedite the meal preparation.

“You want to help me?” my mom responded.

“How may I assist you?”

“Hand me a spoon.”

“Okay,” I replied, handing her a spoon.

Even at that moment, I didn’t disclose my strong appetite. I carefully positioned the spoon and chopsticks on the table at a deliberate angle. When I asked if there were any other ways I could be of help, she suggested that I should serve the rice and soup.

“Oh, and I forgot to get my phone from the master bedroom,” I said as I took the spoon and chopsticks from my bag. I must have realized that I had placed three spoons and three chopsticks on the table, but she positioned them in front of me, perplexed.

“Did I place the spoons correctly Mom?” I wondered.

“I think You did, ” she said. I dashed into the master bedroom to fetch my cell phone. I couldn’t help but notice that she seemed more obsessed with her outfit today than usual. I opened the door to the master bedroom while suppressing my marks.

I ran into my mother’s bedroom to get my cell phone. I couldn’t help but notice that she appeared more preoccupied with her attire than usual today. While repressing my marks, I opened the door to the master bedroom.

I paused for a moment before approaching a vase of vibrant flowers. These were unquestionably the flowers I had made for him. My heart raced as his words replayed in my head, reminding me that I’d crafted them for someone who appreciated bright colors.

“Did you get my phone and use it?” I asked, pausing my steps.

“Why is it here?” she wondered, her voice full of curiosity.

“Did you leave it here?  She said.

“Not. It shouldn’t be here,” I said forcefully.

“With whom?” I wondered.

“Why do you want to know? It’s my private life,” she retorted, leaving my mouth parched. I instinctively stuck out my tongue to moisten my dry lips.

“Mommy, have you met him?” I asked. She couldn’t respond and averted her eyes.

“Why? Why would you meet him? How could you meet him?” I couldn’t shake the memory of his threatening voice, warning me to leave him or risk being alone. I glared at her, demanding an explanation: “How could you?”

“You told me to break up with him! So I followed your advice! But why? Did it hurt you when he said it was going well? Do you wish for us to reconcile? No? You don’t, do you?”


My emotions were racing high as I questioned. Mom stayed silent, and my heart felt like it was about to explode.

“I have nothing to do with him, ever, so please don’t,” I told her. There was a deafening hush.

If you see him one more time, Mom, I won’t want to see you,” I whispered as I walked into the living room, past my mother, who was as still as a statue.

I observed my father standing there, looking worried, but I couldn’t summon a smile, so I quickly left the room. I fumbled for my car keys as I burst through the front door, my hands quivering and my heart pounding with each breath.

“Se-Yeon,” a sweet voice said behind me, tears flowing down my cheeks.


My shoulders trembled more violently with each passing instant as I wondered why he was there. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him, so I grabbed the car keys securely in my hands and sobbed quietly.

“Heh… it’s okay,” He said, trying to hold back my tears, but my chin quivered. I stood in front of the car, unable to bring myself to open the door, and sobbed for a long.

“Se-yeon, you’re cold,” he said, grabbing my arm and draping his coat over my shoulders. I stubbornly shook my head, still unable to meet his gaze, realizing I hadn’t worn a coat when I had hurriedly left the house. Fortunately, I had my bag with me.

“Let’s get in the car, okay?” he suggested.

I attempted to control my tears, but my efforts were futile. Once they started, they flowed uncontrollably, as if a dam had burst.

My shoulders trembled as I felt a muscular arm wrap around me. He clutched me from behind, whispering, “Please get in the car,” his voice choked with emotion.

Was he sad? Was he sick? Did he feel the same way I felt for my mother?

“, get in the car,” he urged, his arm quivering slightly around my waist. I cast a glance down at his trembling palm.

“Let’s go,” I whispered, clutching his wrist, and we both climbed into the car. He assisted me in fastening my seatbelt, and as he took the driver’s seat, our gazes briefly connected before I looked to the window, a prickling sensation in the corners of my eyes.

He turned down the heat and drove away, leaving the car in eerie silence. With incredible clarity, I could hear my breathing.

My breathing was erratic from crying so intensely. When I blew my nose, he offered me a tissue, but I shook my head to decline it.

“Are you finished crying?” he inquired.

I gave a small nod in response. He exhaled a sigh of relief and raised his speed. I wanted to ask him about where we were going, but I couldn’t think of anything to say.

Instead, I rested my head against the window and closed my eyes. I felt utterly exhausted. I sensed his gaze beside me, but I kept my eyes shut, unwilling to meet it.

I felt a wave of sleepiness wash over me, likely a result of the sleepless night I had spent with him. The warm heater and the gentle vibrations of the car made my eyelids droop.

I fought to keep my eyes wide open, attempting to stay awake, but they closed with a soft sigh. It felt as though pebbles were weighing down my eyelids, and my eyes kept opening and closing at a slower and slower pace.

My eyes closed as I felt someone gently shake me from beneath. When I awoke, I was wiping my eyes in bemusement, my brow furrowed as I looked out the window. His coat was slung over his crouched figure.

“Are you awake?” he asked, leaning his forehead on the steering wheel and giving me an incredulous look.

I stared around in astonishment, unable to speak. My pupils dilated and my lips hung open. This was the cypress grove I had visited in the summer, but it appeared to be another world in the winter.

I couldn’t tell how long it had been snowing, but everything was completely white. The trees were all dressed in the same immaculate white.

“Do you want to get out?” he said, and I nodded without hesitation.

“Wait,” he said, getting out of the car and opening the backseat door. Quickly, I circled around the car and opened the passenger door. A chilly breeze wrapped around me, and instinctively, he pulled my coat up to my neck.

“Put this on,” he handed me a black padded jacket.

“It’s so cold out here, you’ll catch a cold. Put this on and come out,” he urged.

“Okay,” I said, my voice hoarse from sobbing and sleeping. He looked at me sympathetically and reached out the puffer jacket, directing me to move my arm inside.

I agreed, and then he directed me to slip my hand through the other side. He zipped it up to my neck, and I could finally get out of the car.

“Aren’t you cold?” I inquired.

“Yeah,” he confessed.

The temperature wasn’t frigid, but pleasantly cool. I took a deep breath and exhaled, feeling the refreshing sensation of cool air filling my lungs. It was as though a weight had been lifted from my chest.

He pulled on his coat and offered his hand, warning, “Watch out, the snow can be slippery.”

I silently stared at his hand before reaching out to take it. He encouraged me to grab it tightly, and the ice and warmth that raced through my cheeks surprised me.

White snowflakes clung to the slender branches and scattered in the wind, creating a beautiful scene that grabbed my attention as if it were whispering to me that I had arrived at the right place. Despite the cold, I felt strangely at ease.

I took his hand in mine and we set off into the woods.

Our interlaced hands sweated, but neither of us let go first. As we reached the hill, a wooden chair awaited us, providing a spot to sit and enjoy the expansive view of the entire forest.

The climb was difficult but surprisingly manageable. I let go of his hand and sat in the chair. A cool breeze brushed past my palm, prompting me to automatically grip my hand, fearful that the warmth might fade.

I dipped my head to look at my hand in my lap, then raised my gaze to see a gigantic pair of shoes in front of my feet.

He knelt in front of me and looked up at me with such tenderness that I was stunned. His jet-black eyes were filled with compassion and concern for me.

“…I heard about it from your mom,” he eventually admitted.

“…When did you see my mom? Did she come to visit you?” I queried, my words conveying my relief that he was okay.

His hand, which had been moving delicately through my hair, trembled slightly. The cool wind seemed to take all of the heat from my palm. I tried to keep my face serious, but I couldn’t help but smile regretfully.

My lips twitched as I battled to find the appropriate words to speak. I encouraged him to rise from his kneeling position, but he simply shook his head, his eyes brimming with emotion.

“Your friend told me about it, so I went to visit your mom,” he said.

“…Miho?” I said, and he nodded in agreement. My mouth became dry and scorching all of a sudden.

“…I’m sorry,” I said, my voice breaking with sadness.

“Sorry about what,” he asked, his gaze fixed on mine.

“Because I didn’t tell me the truth… but for me, it was the best choice,” I admitted, my voice trembling under the weight of my decision.

I had regretted it countless times throughout the day, but even if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change my mind.

“It’s okay, don’t be sorry,” he said.

I cupped my hand in my lap and ran it lightly on my cheek. I pondered removing my hand, but I could feel his warmth, so I stayed motionless, just like he did.

“Look at me, okay?” He urged me to do so, and I unwillingly opened my eyes.

“Se-Yeon, I need you to look at me properly,” he demanded, his voice determined.

My trembling eyes gained strength as I glanced up at him, finding his face firm.

“Stay in close to me, please stay by my side,” he said heartfeltly.

“I am,” I said.

I swallowed, my throat appearing to be dry. After a brief pause, she added, “I’m not looking for a relationship or marriage.”

My voice quivered slightly, and he soothingly patted the back of my hand.

“I’m not asking you to do anything right now,” he assured.

I remained silent, and he added, “I’ll do my best to make you want to be in a relationship.”

Despite my best efforts, I had no desire to progress beyond dating, and this held for any man.

“Come on, find someone else, have a relationship, get married,” I pushed, thinking he was too good to waste his time for me.

He was a capable man who was capable of having a relationship if he so desired. He was a man who had everything. I smiled wistfully as I remembered his happiness while holding Jimin’s baby.

“How can I meet another woman when there’s only you in my heart?” He asked, and I hammered my chest in despair.

“You’re the only woman I’ve ever had, and I’ve never had anyone else in my life,” he said.

I remained silent, overcome with relief and grief at finding that he had not been with anyone else all these years. Our separation had been difficult for both of us.

“Slowly, I’ll try to let it sink in. I don’t want to force you; I just want you to have me by your side and me by yours. If you don’t want a relationship or marriage, just let me be by your side,” he said.

Even though I wasn’t sad, I nodded slowly and tears welled up in my eyes. He rose from the floor and reached down to surround me in a warm embrace. His arms trembled, expressing the depth of his emotions.

The snowfall had increased, making it increasingly impossible to move.

“Let’s get our heads down,” he urged.

“Yeah,” I said. With the possibility of slipping and falling, descending the hill was twice as difficult as ascending. We held hands and made careful steps to avoid disasters.

The sun had already fallen by the time we arrived at my car, and I glanced out the window at the darkening sky with a lighter heart. The heavy snowfall was beginning to clog the roads.

“It’s snowing so heavily,” I mused, watching as the snow kept falling, reducing visibility to a minimum. Anxious, I bit my lip, and he comforted me with a reassuring pat on the shoulder. I knew he was correct, but how could we, as ordinary individuals, foresee or manage the forces of nature?

They announced the road closure due to heavy traffic, leaving us with no alternative but to spend the night at a nearby lodge. The snowfall was so significant, and the cold was too intense for it to thaw.

I worried about the potential for my car to break down, so I pulled into the nearest motel. Others had the same idea, and the room we found was the last one available.

I had stayed in hotels before, but never in a motel, or, for that matter, a place like this. The red lighting made me break out in a cold sweat, and the room felt incredibly cramped.

The door closed with an eerie creak. I stood uncomfortably in the center of the room, unable to bring myself to sit down when he came in and started unfolding the covers. “Sit down,” he encouraged.

He must have left the heater on in an attempt to retain some warmth, but the room was still cold enough for my breath to create visible puffs, and the floor was icy.

My feet were numb, so I cautiously moved onto the futon, even though I didn’t want to be a burden. There truly was no alternative to sleeping.

“Do you want to freshen up?” he asked.

“No,” I said, and he smiled. The back of my head had turned a rosy color. When I tried to stand up, he grabbed my shoulders and softly but forcibly guided me back down. The smell of his body odor was a little overpowering, but I complied and sat on the futon. The cold had also turned his nose crimson.

“Come upstairs,” he instructed.

I was surprised. “Huh?”

“You’re cold. Come up here.”

I wasn’t meant to get a cold, and I found myself making up reasons that didn’t make sense. I massaged the back of my neck, embarrassed. We sat on the small, colorful futon designed for one person, our shoulders brushing against each other. It felt slightly uncomfortable between my legs as if I had overexerted myself the day before, but when his shoulder brushed mine, I got a tingling feeling. It was more of a tickle than anything.

“Lean,” he said as he caressed my shoulder and placed his head on mine.

“It’s okay,” I said, though my tone may have sounded tight.

“Get some sleep. You’re tired.”

“I slept in the car, I’m fine.”

“Really? Then I’ll get some sleep.”

As he put his head on my shoulder and closed his eyes, I couldn’t respond. My shoulders, which had been frigid just minutes before, emanated warmth, making my teeth tremble.

“What are you doing for Christmas?” he said, his voice calm and sweet. I did the same and closed my eyes.

“I’m thinking I’ll just… work,” I said.

His breathing slowed gradually. “Would you like to go on a date with…?”

“A date?” I inquired.

“Yeah, eat something nice and watch a movie.” My breathing slowed to match his.

“Okay,” I said.

He drew closer, I leaned into him, and we drifted off to sleep.

The corners of my mouth curled into a smile as I felt the warmth enveloping me. I savored the comfort and snuggled in closer and closer.

It offered a soothing contrast to the chilly air outside. In my half-awake state, I opened my eyes and found myself gazing at his face, which momentarily gave me pause.

I watched him sleep peacefully, looking weary yet serene, before closing my eyes once more.

How much time had elapsed? When I woke up once more, I had the sensation that I might suffocate from the heat.

I hadn’t anticipated a fully functional heater in a shabby motel that appeared as though it might collapse at any instant, but the floor was so scorching that I could have cooked an egg on it, and I was perspiring profusely.

I removed my padded jacket to cool down, but it didn’t offer much respite from the overwhelming heat.

Eventually, he had to take off his heavy-knit tee, and he still felt warm, dressed in only a short-sleeved t-shirt. The temperature kept fluctuating throughout the night, alternating between cold and intense heat.

Every time we attempted to doze off, the changing temperatures would rouse us. Then, in the early hours of the morning, I finally managed to drift off to sleep.

I struggled to open my eyes in the early morning light, experiencing a tight grasp around my waist. When I met his gaze, it was with a scorching intensity that shocked me awake.

My legs twitched reflexively as a tingling feeling coursed through my lower abdomen. I averted my look, unable to bear the intensity of his stare.

“Ugh! Now, wait a minute!”

He jerked back to his feet. My eyes opened as I caught sight of his lips, but I quickly closed them. The sound of saliva mingling was unmistakable. The floor was now scorching, and their lips, which had been parted for a second while he moved up her body, reunited once more.

My tongues swung together even faster than before, and I felt a tingle between my legs that reminded me of last night’s sex. I couldn’t tell if it was the scorching floor or the kiss that was making me hot.

Our tongues blended as if they were one. I take a deep breath as if I’m about to tear my tongue out. He put his hand inside my T-shirt while his tongue circled in my mouth.  

He strokes my back to reassure me as I shudder. He licks the back of my neck, starting at the top and working his way down.    

“Hmph!” I exclaim in pain as he gently squeezes my br*ast above my bra. I snort and bite my lip, and he proceeds up from s*cking around my collarbone to nibble on my lower lip.

He plunged his tongue in anxiously as my lips parted. “Ha…ah.”    

I stared at him with my eyes wide open as he bit, s*cked, and touched every inch of my body until I couldn’t breathe anymore.

He acted like an animal, not concealing his arousal. In a kiss, his lips parted.    

“More, harder, I’m dying, ha-ha-ha!” 

As if he were right in front of me, he could hear my moans as well as the sound of skin slamming against flesh.

His face was very red. He tensed in surprise when she gazed up at him with trembling eyes. I’m at a loss for words as he pulls me into a full-body embrace.    


I couldn’t say anything. A woman’s eager voice could still be heard in the adjacent room, now joined by a man’s moaning.

I writhe in his embrace as he puts his powerful arms around me.    

“Not here, don’t worry.”    

I raise my eyes to gaze at him, curious about what he’s saying.    

“I won’t let anyone hear you moan, so we won’t do it here.”    

His expression widened even more as he lowered his gaze. His heart was thumping so hard against my cheek that I thought it could burst. My attention was drawn to his heartbeat as I nodded slightly.

Then I encircled my arms around his waist. He took a break before patting me on the back.    


The hardness poking his lower tummy widened my eyes.    

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” he groans before apologizing.    

“I’m just bloated because you’re so pretty…….”

“Pfft.” I glance at the noticeable hole in my ear and burst into laughter.

“Don’t laugh. I’m trying to keep it together,” he says.

My seriousness cracks the tension.

“You’re, you’re too attractive, that’s the issue.”

“You’re not kidding.”

“I’m not kidding. Can’t you tell by the way she’s reacting?” he whispers in a low voice, as if he’s finally realizing he’s in trouble after all these years.

I snarl at him and hit his chest playfully. He grabs my wrist and gently puts his lips against the inside. My heart is racing like crazy this time.

I look away from the sound of my racing heart, afraid it will burst. He wraps his arms around me and kisses the back of my neck.

I twitch my shoulder in response to the tickle as he softly licks my earlobe. 

I can’t stop giggling at his tickling, even though I know I shouldn’t, and I can’t hear the moaning in the other room.    

* * *

“Go back inside I’ll call you.”


“Go back inside. You’re tired, right?”

My head shook. I slept in his arms until he told me it was time to depart the motel. I wasn’t tired, just drowsy. When we arrived at his house, he insisted on my calling him before getting out of the car. I looked at him, perplexed.

“Why?” he inquired.



“Huh? Do you have something to say?” He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, my eyes gleaming as he encouraged me to speak.

“Don’t tell my mom.”


“…I don’t want people to know yet. It’s not like we’re in a relationship…”

I hadn’t made up my mind about being in a relationship, and even if I had, I didn’t want anything more than that. So, I told him the truth. He gazed at me silently for a moment, and then the corner of his mouth lifted.

“Okay, whatever you want to do,” he said, his eyes warm, and my heart swelled in my chest.

“Slowly, let’s take our time. I don’t want to rush you.”

I nuzzled my cheek against him as he caressed my hair and drew me closer.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. But I’d like you to have dinner with me.”


“I’ll cook,” he said, planting a tender kiss on my forehead, encouraging me to leave the car so we could go eat.

I smiled and hopped out of the car, looking forward to his cooking and our Christmas date. A small, nagging feeling of anxiety, on the other hand, was growing in the back of my mind.

He’d urged me to take things slowly, but I couldn’t help but worry if I was making things more difficult for him, given that I didn’t know how long he’d be ready to wait and that we weren’t going to marry.

I grumbled and entered the code for the shared entrance door, but something caught my foot. I knew it was a cigarette butt when I looked down. Someone at the villa appeared to have lighted a cigarette and dropped it carelessly.

I returned to my flat, freshened up, and collapsed onto the couch. I felt a strong need for a beer, but I refrained because I knew I was going to dinner with him. I checked my phone and discovered a missed call from my mother. In annoyance, I threw the phone on the table and brushed my wet hair back.

I couldn’t help but feel animosity toward my mother.

* * *

It was already Christmas, and I stood in front of the mirror, sighing. None of my clothes seemed suitable. I couldn’t believe I was going on a date and I hadn’t even chosen an outfit.

I felt guilty for not considering it earlier due to my busy schedule. He had been so patient when he asked me to take my time.

He never rushed me, even though I continued to work at the store every day. Just like Han Se-hyuk in the past, he always radiated warmth. When I thought of him, my jaw dropped.

Then I glanced at the pile of clothes on the bed, and my shoulders slumped. I had told myself not to develop feelings for him, but I couldn’t understand why I felt so excited, like a young girl preparing for a date.

I opted for the first outfit I had tried on since I was running out of time. I put on the coat, examined myself in the mirror, and felt satisfied with how I looked.

Deciding to apply a bit of makeup, I began to remove the coat when my phone rang. Hoping it was him, I checked the caller ID, but the number wasn’t familiar.

“Hello?” I listened to the sound of his breathing for a moment.

“It’s me, Se-hyuk’s mother,” she said, her lips curling up at the corners before slowly returning to their normal expression.

“Oh, yes.”

She responded with a slight delay.

“Can I see you for a moment?” Her eyes dropped to the ground.

“Of course. Where would you like to meet?”

I brushed my fingers over the lipstick on my vanity which he had given me to put on before he left earlier that day. I closed my eyes for a moment before opening them again.

Ultimately, I decided to phone him and inform him that I had an urgent appointment and would be unable to make it today. Since his mother’s phone call, my heart had been racing.

Should I be relieved that I’m not in a relationship with him? I bit my lower lip hard, remembering the agonizing occasion when his sister came to visit and broke my heart. I couldn’t pretend it didn’t matter.

My legs felt shaky as I descended the stairs. Why was I remembering his recommendation to bring a scarf and gloves because it was cold outside? The bitter wind burned my face as I stepped outside without a scarf or gloves. I grimaced at the heap of cigarette butts in front of the front front door.

“It’s Christmas, I’ll see you tomorrow,” I thought as I stared at the crushed cigarette butts, which seemed to represent my heart.

In the distance, I could see the cab I had booked. A white puff of air emerged and disappeared into the sky with each breath I took. I couldn’t help but wonder how she’d harm me this time if she’d break my heart as his sister had.

Even though I had never met her, the woman I had seen at his house stayed with me. My chest felt as if it were weighed down by a large boulder.

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