Episode 23


The situation was utterly terrifying. I found myself frozen, unable to even breathe or swallow. Every hair on my body bristled as my uncle approached.

“You’ve been with him all this time, haven’t you?” My uncle’s eyes blazed as brightly as the blade he held. “You’ve been involved with the guy who destroyed my company, haven’t you?”

“Uncle, it’s not what you think…” I stammered in response, but he abruptly cut me off with, “Shut up! It was you, wasn’t it? You conspired with that jerk to ruin me.”

  I understood that no matter what I said, my uncle was beyond reason. My face grew pale, but I couldn’t remain paralyzed with fear. I desperately tried to compose myself and think of a way to escape.

“Don’t even think about trying to escape,” my uncle said as if he could read my mind. He moved closer to me, closing the distance until he was only an arm’s length away.

“Your life is already ruined, I’m going to kill you, and you’re going to die,” he grumbled, sending shivers down my spine.

“Uncle, please… Don’t do this,” I begged, my voice shaking.

“Imagine, if you were in my shoes, my company destroyed, my wife’s infidelity, and my daughter leaving home without any way to contact her. Why would I want to live? You’d be hanging yourself to death,” he added in a voice filled with sadness and hopelessness.

 My uncle raised his hand, the blade ominously pointed toward my face. His hand trembled with an uncontrollable rage.

“Why have I become like this? I had fame, money, and a good life with nothing to lose! Because of you, because of that bitch!” he raged. I wanted to ask why it was because of me, but I wisely kept my mouth shut, knowing that provoking him further was not a good idea.

I took a quick check at my phone and managed to switch it on without him noticing. Fortunately, he was too preoccupied with his mutterings.

Allow him to be distracted, I silently prayed. Please. Please.

“Bitch!” he yelled in fury.

The knife-edged perilously close to my eyes as my furious uncle talked, then moved away, then closer again. I was terrified, tears streaming down my cheeks.

“Please, please, calm down,” I begged, my uncle’s hand precariously close to my throat, poised to strike at any minute.

“I’ll Kill you first,” he said.

“Please… Gah!” I exclaimed, searching for words.

My uncle abruptly raised his hand, holding the knife high.

“Cha Se-yeon!” he exclaimed.

The firmly closed door swung open suddenly, and simultaneously, a hand reached out, yanking me backward.

I found myself sitting on the hallway floor, dazed and confused. What was happening? Why was Han Si-hyuk in front of me?

Standing protectively before me, he shielded me from the knife my uncle had been wielding. The sight of the knife in his hand sent a scream escaping my lips.

I desperately wanted to get up and stop him, but my legs felt weak, and my attempts to move were futile.

I could hear people rushing in after hearing the commotion. I tried to crawl toward Han Si-hyuk, but my arms lacked the strength.

“Cha Si-yeon! Go outside! Get out and close the door!” he urged urgently.

“Si-Hyuk…..” I stammered.

“Hurry!” he insisted.

I shook my head wildly. I couldn’t let go and shut the door.    “You bastard, my life is ruined because of you! Let go of me, I’ll kill you and I’ll die too!”

“You stole money from me and expanded your business greedily, but you’re the one who went broke, so why do you blame others? If you’re going to die, die alone!”

He punched his uncle in the shoulder snapped his wrist, and seized the knife from his grasp. He was no match for his diminutive, frail uncle.

As my uncle lost his grip on the knife and crumpled to the ground in sobs, the distant wailing of police sirens grew closer. It was an unbelievable scene, almost like watching a movie.

Tears streamed down my face as I couldn’t believe what was unfolding. To my astonishment, Han Si-hyuk swiftly removed his coat, sheathed the knife, and threw it to the floor. He then walked over to where I sat in the hallway and knelt.

“Heh… breathe. Oh… deep breath,” he urged, his voice trembling with concern. “Are you okay?” he asked, despite his bleeding hand.

Relief washed over me, but the sight of him covered in blood brought tears to my eyes.

“Are you hurt?” I asked with a worried shake of my head.

His arms trembled as he lowered himself to the floor and encircled me with his protective embrace. I could feel the tension and fear in him.

“How are you? You’re bleeding… a lot…,” I choked out.

“I just want you to be okay. Thank God,” he replied, his voice filled with both relief and concern.

The police arrived shortly thereafter. As they led my uncle away, he sobbed desperately, insisting he had done nothing wrong.

 My focus shifted back to Han Si-hyuk, who had lost color in his face. I held him tightly, my heart aching.

“Over here! Someone’s hurt!” I called out to the paramedics as they arrived. Han Si-hyuk’s body grew limp, and he slumped to the side. I clung to him, crying out. 

I despised my uncle deeply. I had thought I would never see him again, but then I realized that he was the one responsible for the cigarette butts that had been accumulating in front of our house.

As I stood by Han Si-hyuk’s side while he was being loaded into the ambulance, I prayed to every deity in the world, pleading for his safety. My heart ached as I watched him, slumped and helpless.

* * *

We arrived at the emergency room, where they performed all the necessary tests and carefully stitched up his torn palm.

My heart sank as he remained unconscious. The doctor reassured me that he would wake up soon, but the waiting was agonizing.

I sat beside him, my gaze fixed on his peaceful face as he lay on the emergency room bed. Tears streamed down my cheeks uncontrollably.

My eyes shifted to his bandaged hands, and I pressed the backs of my hands against my tear-soaked eyes. I had always admired his strong, outstretched hands in secret, but now, with those indelible scars etched upon them, I felt like a sinner.

 “Ugh… Ugh…” I called out, my heart racing as I watched him. “Han Si-Hyuk! Are you okay? Han Si-Hyuk!..”

He slowly opened his eyes, and my heart soared as he searched for me. I held his cheeks and showed him my face, eliciting a chuckle from him.

“I fell. I fell… This is a hospital…” he muttered, and I babbled on, not even sure what I was saying. He gripped me by the nape of my neck and pulled me closer, our eyes locking.

“I’m fine,” he reassured me.

I couldn’t hold back my tears. “How can you not cry? Why did you show up there? He had a knife in his hand!”

I buried my face in his chest, sobbing like a child. As my cries grew louder, doctors and nurses gathered around.

“Please don’t do that again,” I pleaded.

He held me close and said, “If the same situation arises, I’ll do the same. I’ll protect you without hesitation.”

My heart flooded with joy. I’d been so scared, and it was nice to know he’d always be there to protect me. I gently caressed his damaged hand while keeping an uncertain eye on it.

“I am okay,” he told me.

In astonishment, I blinked. “How did you know?”

He spoke with a stutter. I silently urged him to continue by softly rubbing his bulging eyelids with my fingertips.

“I usually turn on the lights as soon as I get home, but for some reason, they weren’t working, so I went upstairs to check,” she said.

“What’s the password?” I asked.

He was unsure. “I already knew it.”

I lifted an eyebrow in curiosity. “How did you know?” I grabbed his wrist as he closed his mouth, just as he was going to depart.

“You saved that house with Miho, didn’t you?” he blurted out.

“Yeah,” I confessed. “She said it was a house where a woman lived alone, so it seemed safe, and we decided to save it together. Why do you ask?”

“Miho told me,” He said.

“What?” I asked. “Miho, you scoundrel. You don’t share such things with me. You can’t even tell me someone else’s password?”

“Don’t be too hard on Miho,” he said back.

“Miho, Miho,” she grumbled. “You two must have gotten pretty close.”

“One minute you’re calling him an as$hole, the next you’re calling him an as$hole,” I said, my face growing tense.

He bit anxiously on the inside of his cheek, unable to resist a smile. I couldn’t help but laugh, happy that he knew the password and had come to rescue me, but I also appreciated Miho’s contribution.

“And because you’re my lover, I wanted to see you one more time,” I told him.

“I can’t live with myself,” he admitted, his emotions on display.

“Why can’t you live? Stay by my side for as long as you want,” I said.

I patted him on the shoulder gently, and he claimed to be unwell, accusing me of hitting him. I admitted him to the hospital with great resolution, fully intended to dismiss him as soon as possible.

I was not relieved to see him collapse. On the contrary, he was admitted to the hospital with a promise of staying at his side, so she seemed to be delighted. Even now, as he relished a tangerine, he smiled broadly.

“What’s so great? I’m going to start the new year in a hospital,” he said.

“You’re here,” I responded tenderly.

The honesty in his voice warmed my heart and made my cheeks blush.

“I don’t care where I am as long as I have you… Ah…” He said, opening his mouth to request an orange. I couldn’t help myself. I laughed and offered him an orange.

“I think it tastes better when you give it to me,” he said with a smile.

“You’re quite the charmer,” I said, smiling. “But… there’s something I want you to do, and it’s been bothering me that I can’t.”

I noticed tears welling up in his eyes as they widened. It bothered me that he was smiling despite his misery. I stopped slicing the oranges and looked at him, noticing a lack of energy in his face.

“What do you want to do? Tell me,” I said.

“If I tell you, will you do it?” he asked.

“What can I do…?” I started, but before I could complete my sentence, he reached out and seized me by the nape of my neck, leaning in to kiss my lips. His lips brushed against mine, and in an instant, he pulled away. I was left in stunned surprise.

“You can do this for me, can you?” he asked, licking his lips.

“Huh?” I was taken aback by his request, and he kissed me casually, waiting for a response. I gently cupped his cheek and pressed our foreheads together.

“I’m in a hurry, and you don’t even have the presence of mind to answer?” I chided him, my fingers caressing his face.

A mischievous smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he pressed his lips together as if sealing a promise. His lips parted, and his tongue was poised to slip inside.

“Ugh, why is it snowing so much…” I began to murmur, but before I could finish, the sound of the door opening froze us both in place.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I don’t even know what you’re doing,” my mother said as she entered the room.

It was an unexpected interruption.

I stood there, dumbfounded, watching my mother go out the door. I had to cover my mouth to keep from shouting. I was at a loss for words, and he couldn’t stop laughing, his shoulders quivering with delight.

“I don’t know… I don’t,” I mumbled, still stunned. I sank on the bed, my mind racing, trying to figure out how I was going to face my mother again. There was a knock on the door just then.

“Daughter, finish what you’re doing and come out; I’ll be waiting,” my mother said from the other side.

As I realized I had to cope with this unpleasant scenario, I muttered a string of “no’s” in fear.

I felt like biting my tongue in shame, especially on behalf of my mother. He still wore that smug grin, and it was getting on my nerves.

“Are you laughing now? No more kissing!” I reprimanded, my face flushed with shame.

“Si-Yeon, Si-yeon, don’t say such nasty things!” he teasingly exclaimed. I ran out of the room without turning back in a fast retreat.

I extended the coffee can to my mother, who was sitting in a chair in the hallway. After she saw me kissing him earlier, I was acutely aware of how unpleasant the situation had become.

I pretended nothing had happened and took a seat near her in silence.

“…” There was a tangible tension in the air as we sat there.

We sat in silence for a bit, and she fiddled with the coffee can absentmindedly. She was aware that he was wounded at the hands of his uncle and paid him daily visits to the hospital.

However, anytime she tried to talk to him, he pretended to be alone or needed to go to work, so they hadn’t had a chance to talk in the five days he’d been in the hospital.

My mother finally broke the silence. “What would you like to know?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I pondered. “They told me you had sent Si-Hyuk abroad for study.”

She seemed surprised and asked, “How did you find out?”

“Does it matter?” I asked.

I caught a glimpse of my mother’s hands as she fiddled with the coffee can.

“I didn’t tell you because it wasn’t genuine. I said it to help you, out of goodwill, and with a sincere hope that you would part ways.”

I fell silent as I took in her words. “But Si-hyuk was doing well academically, and it seemed like a waste,” my mother said.

‘I didn’t want the future of someone I cared about to be ruined. Who could have predicted our family’s falling apart?”

I couldn’t understand all of her complex emotions, but I noticed that I wasn’t harboring the same hatred toward her as previously.

“And don’t get me wrong. Si-hyeok did not come to see me. He came to see you not long after you left for America.”

“Si-Hyuk?” I inquired, shocked.

“Yes,” she said emphatically.

As I listened to her story, tears welled up in my eyes and my nose began to run.

“I broke his heart,” I muttered. It was a difficult conversation, while no tears were shed, my emotions were running high.

“Afterward, we visited Dad’s hospital and traveled together,” she went on to say.

“I see,” I said, getting a better understanding.

“Si-hyuk acted like a son while you were away, but that rotten scoundrel turned him…” She was wallowing in rage. “I won’t let him get away with it. The moment he steps out of his cell, I’ll have him sent to a mental hospital.”

I laid my head on my mother’s shoulder, experiencing a range of feelings as she vented her rage and frustration at my uncle.

“He’s a disgrace,” I agreed, but I didn’t back away from him. My mom’s smell calmed me, and the corners of my mouth lifted slightly.

“I’m a terrible daughter, aren’t I?” I confessed.

She groaned and said, “I know, I know.”

There had been times when I yelled things without thinking and even shouted that I didn’t want to see my mother.

“Ironically, I’m saying this, but you’ve made mistakes too, and I can testify to how wonderful Si-hyuk is,” she said.

“You don’t have to be a mom to see that,” I pointed out.

Her next words caught me off guard. “Then why don’t you get married?”

I took a drink of my coffee while remaining silent.

“Dad is alone, so I should go” 

“We were supposed to watch the bell ring together,” she blurted out.

“Yeah, go ahead,” I said.

“I told you I’m getting out of the hospital tomorrow. “

“Tell Se-hyuk to come over for dinner when he gets out,” she went on to say.

“Sure. Goodbye, mom…” I murmured as I kissed her goodbye.

My mother jumped up quickly, a look of anxiety in her eyes. “Happy New Year.”

“You too!” I replied, and for the first time in a long time, I noticed her smile.

My nose kept running, and I groaned as I got on the elevator. I stood in the corridor, watching her back until she vanished. I drank the last of my coffee and entered the hospital room.

“How’s my mother-in-law?” he inquired as he lay on the bed, scrutinizing my expression.

“Mother-in-law?” I questioned, taken aback.

“Oh… yeah,” he replied.

“Who’s calling my mom your mother-in-law?” I whined, and he looked at me with an awkward smile. I couldn’t help but find his expression endearing, and a small grin played on my lips.

“When you’re discharged from the hospital, you’ll be home long enough for a meal,” I said.

“Why didn’t you look at my face?” I retorted, teasing him.

I had the urge to pinch his cheeks as he adopted a more serious tone. “You mentioned you had plans with your dad.”

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to having a meal with your mother-in-law, but don’t you think I’ve changed?” I asked.

“Changed?” he inquired, genuinely curious.

“Yeah,” I replied, shaking my head and my eyes gleaming.

This time, I scrutinized his entire appearance, not just his face, but from head to toe, and I couldn’t discern any significant changes.

“I don’t know,” he confessed.

“You’re not interested in me,” I teased, a playful smile on my face.

His lips puckered, and I couldn’t help but smile, unconsciously parting mine. His eyes glistened with mischief.

“Come here,” he whispered, and when we were alone, he leaned in closer. I raised an eyebrow at his secretive behavior, and in response, he stuck his tongue out and lightly licked my lips. His touch sent a sudden rush of heat through my body.

“I’ll show you what’s different,” he declared. Despite my feeble protests, I found myself standing in front of him far too easily as he grasped my wrist and pulled me to my feet.

Before I could react, he cupped my face and planted a quick, teasing kiss on my lips.

My eyes widened as I stared at him, and I instinctively raised a hand to cover my mouth. My ears burned and felt like they were about to explode.

“What… what are you doing?” I stammered.

“I just brushed my teeth,” he explained, a mischievous grin on his face. “So, did brushing my teeth make a difference?”

I blushed deeply and playfully punched him in the shoulder. “Really!”

“Ouch! I’m a patient! I’m a patient!” he protested, rubbing his shoulder.

I kissed him back, firmly and intentionally, making sure to savor the moment. As we kissed, he giggled and mentioned how good it felt to kiss me.

“Since you’re not allowed to kiss me, I can kiss you instead, right?” I asked, unabashedly.

“No kissing, and no touching, not even a strand of hair!” he responded, sounding like an obedient puppy.

No, he wasn’t like a small puppy; he was more like a big dog. I let out a sigh and tried to act as if I didn’t notice that he wasn’t eating.

“Are you going to sleep there?” he inquired.

“Yeah. Don’t make me say it twice. I’m going to sleep,” I replied.

I settled down on my guardian’s bed and pulled the covers up to my nose. I had to hide the smile that kept threatening to appear.

“It’s almost New Year’s. Are you going to sleep there?” he asked.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I responded.

“Come on up. Huh?” I remained silent, and then I felt him shift onto his back. I kept my eyes closed, avoiding his intense gaze.

He let out a heavy sigh. “I’m dying for a hug, and I don’t want to start the new year feeling deprived!”

I couldn’t help but find it amusing to see him so eager for a hug. It was quite entertaining to witness this typically confident and self-assured man squirming in front of me.

I opened my eyes slightly and saw him seated on the bed, staring down at me. Our gazes locked, and I strained to keep a neutral expression on my face.

“Just once, just once. It’s been days since I’ve done it,” he begged, sounding very shameless.

“Are you out of your mind? This is a hospital room,” I said.

“We won’t see each other until tomorrow anyway… Do you think I’m going to die… Are you kidding me?” he exclaimed as he abruptly took down his patient pants.

My pupils dilated as if they were about to jump out of their sockets. I looked nervously at the hospital room door, but he didn’t appear to notice.

“You’re insane, dude! Pull those up!” I told him.

“Look at you. You’re still standing there like that. Are you okay?” he asked, swinging his hand up and down as if directing an orchestra. I unintentionally brought my legs together.

“He’s drooling, so he must smell, and it’s weird how your butt responds to the smell of… you know,” he grumbled, making me cringe.

“Don’t say that!” I exclaimed.

I snarled, keeping my voice as low as possible so no one could hear me.

“How about this, when you say dirty words, he reacts like he doesn’t like it,” he said.

“When did I say that?” I shot back.

“I didn’t!” I exclaimed.

“Then let’s go check it out,” he said.

He grabs my arm, pushes me down into the bed, and then he’s on top of me; I try to scream, but his palm clamps over my mouth.    

“Shhh! What if someone’s coming? Be quiet.”    

The more I think about it, the more I realize who caused me to shout.   

 “I’m going to check, and if you’re wet, I’m going to f*ck you”

My eyes flit. My pants were still dripping wet from earlier.    “Shh, no!” I yank my pants and underwear off at the same time and throw them on the floor.

He pushed his face between my knees before I could dry off, so I covered his mouth with my hand.    “Ha. How long has it been……. Oh, you’re driving me crazy.”

He talked right in front of her, his hot breath on her cunt. She gurgled as her hole tightened. As he relished the flavor, the corner of his mouth twitched upward.

As if he knew it would happen. He even grins.  I bite my lower lip and cover my mouth with my hand, but a moan escapes. His tongue l*cks the space between my labia.

I raise my legs like a deer in its final battle before being devoured by a beast, yet it’s just a child playing with the beast. It sticks its snout in and s*cks and s*cks like a voracious beast.  

As he bit on my clit, tears welled up in my eyes, as if to cry, how dare you, you rebel.  In the hospital room, we had s*x twice in a row. My throat ached from swallowing the sounds.

He’s busy holding me n*ked and comforting my sobbing, but he won’t let me dress.    

“I want you to stay n*ked.”

“Because you can do it whenever you want, pervert!” He laughed low and pervertedly.    

“How did  you know?”

He lasciviously licks her n*pples. He’s a wolf in bed, and it’s driving me insane. After the third time, I’m in his arms, listening to the night’s chimes.  

He whispered as he touched my hot body.    “Let’s get married. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“……I’m sorry.” I bite my lower lip, unwilling to meet his gaze, and he holds my chin and tilts it up.

I’m relieved to see his jet-black eyes waiting for me to say something.    

“I, I lost my child…….” I stutter and close my eyes, as he pulls me closer.    

“I know.”


“……You knew.”

Maybe he knows- I thought, and he did.

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