“It’s just that you look so happy.”
The unassuming Seung-won’s tone was uncharacteristically calm, but Da-hee recognized the sharp edge in his eyes.
“Don’t say that. After what happened to Hye-Joo, why should I be happy?”
Throughout dinner, Da-hee tried to distract Seung-won from his thoughts. But once again, it was the three letters Oh Hye-joo that caught Seung-won’s attention.
Seung-won didn’t see them, but Da-hee did. A sinking feeling of discomfort settled in her chest.
“I’m a little sad to hear that. Do I look like the kind of person who revels in a friend’s misfortune?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
Da-hee stuck out her lips and pretended to pout.
Seung-won, who would normally have patted her cheek and said he was sorry, somehow said nothing. He was nervously picking at the tips of his fingernails with unbearable anxiety.
“Da-hee, about our couple ring.”
“Yes! Did you see the link I sent you?”
Da-hee’s face lit up at the words that came out of Seung-won’s mouth. They’d been talking about matching for a while, and now she was finally getting around to it.
“Have you decided where you want to buy? I think the first shop is the best, right?”
“I’m sorry, but I think it’s better if we don’t get engaged for a while.”
Her heart dropped. Seung-won lowered his gaze and answered.
“You’re going to start a lot of rumors, and I’ve got a lot of business with you and me, and there’s no point in talking about it.”
“What’s the big deal? Is it a bad thing for a single guy and a single girl to date?”
“I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just saying it’s not the right time yet. You and I have only been dating for a short time, and…….”
“It’s not the right time, or is it me?”
Da-hee asked, squeezing.
She already knew the answer, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to hear the truth from Seung-won’s mouth.
What could she do now, after ten years of being an idiot who couldn’t see into my heart?
Nothing would change.
After glancing at Seung-won, who didn’t answer, Da-hee burrowed into his arms like a squirrel.
As always, Seung-won stretched out his arm and patted her back, but there was no more warmth in his touch.
“But…… you’re not pushing me away. You still care about me, don’t you, Seung-won?
Da-hee fiddled with the ring in her pocket, trying to soothe her rising grief.
It was the ring she’d shown to Hye-Joo. She didn’t feel sorry for deceiving her.
‘Since you’re like this, I can’t help but be toxic.’
Da-hee bit her lip as Seung-won patted her on the back.
The metal in her pocket felt cold.
A few days passed.
Hye-Joo hadn’t had any run-ins with Joo-Won, so she’d been going about her business pretty smoothly.
Of course, she hadn’t been avoiding him on purpose. After the knit incident, Hye-joo became very reluctant to see Joo-won.
It wasn’t because she resented him for asking her for expensive clothes or because she didn’t want to waste money. It was because she couldn’t stop thinking about his abs in the CEO’s office.
‘It’s time for some mental training.’
I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about it, even though it’s not like my life was ruined by that one glimpse. Hye-Joo thought it was entirely a matter of my mental state.
It’s been too long since I’ve been in a relationship. Moreover, I recently ended a passionate crush. That’s why I’m so fascinated by a man’s body.
‘It was like a sculpture…….’
Hye-Joo pushes it out of her head, and before she knows it, she’s looking at his six-pack abs. A curved body that seems to bend and break under the touch of a drop of water. I thought such a body could only be seen on TV, but I unintentionally indulged myself.
“No, no, no, no! Eye terror, eye terror!”
Hye-Joo threw her hands up in the air and lowered her gaze to the monitor.
The monitor was open to the report she was working on. It was for a seafood company that had recently contacted her about doing some research on industry trends, customer preferences, and other market research.
[The company, named Sunfood, was a strong Jiangsu company that specialized in seasoned seaweed and had been awarded the Export Merit Tower by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. It started as a family business, and although it was small in size, its sales reached 100 billion won a year thanks to its tremendous export performance.]
Datas Korea was a typical B2B company. It was a business-to-business transaction system, where companies that needed research would request it, and DataS Korea would use its own analytics modules to produce the results they needed.
While the marketing department’s job was to analyze the needs of each company and come up with a plan to stimulate them, the business team’s job was to find new customers based on that.
In other words, it was up to the business team to target real customers and close deals.
Hye-Joo sent proposals to a few companies based on the data handed over from the marketing department, including Sun Foods.
It was a research proposal about [researching the most important factors for customers in choosing seasoned seaweed and export country preferences]. I wasn’t expecting much, as most of the proposals I send are read and skimmed, but I got a reply from Sunfood.
They were asking about an annual contract!
Hye-Joo almost jumped for joy on the spot. If she won the annual contract, she would be able to fulfill 10 percent of the business team’s quota for the year in one fell swoop. It was that important and that big.
“Oh, I’m finally getting it! Nice!”
Hye-Joo excitedly started writing her report. Big new contracts were supposed to be reported to the CEO’s direct line because it was better to move quickly.
Therefore, the recipient was Joo-won.
[Reporting on a new contract with Sunfood].
It started with the subject line “Reporting on the new contract with Sunfood” and attached various matters related to Sunfood and future plans. It concluded by stating that the company would like to meet soon and requested a reply as soon as possible to ensure smooth contract progress.
Hye-ju, who had sent the email at the speed of light, flapped her hands and stretched.
‘I wonder what kind of expression Kang Joo-won will have when he receives this email? I’m sure he’ll think I’m a talented person, and if I’m asking for a contract like this, shouldn’t I give him an incentive?
Hye-joo was so happy with her achievement that she couldn’t get over her excitement for a while. When her coworkers heard the news, they were overjoyed and cheered her on.
‘I wonder if they read it?’
Excitedly, Hye-joo clicked on her inbox.
When she saw that the email to Joo-won had been ‘received’, she was elated.
Now that he’s seen it, she should be getting a call soon. It’s not a small contract, it’s an annual contract, so as a representative, I can’t help but pay attention.
As she read through the email again with pride, Hye-Joo’s eyes locked on one spot.
She senses a discrepancy in the email.
Something is off.
Hye-Joo rubbed her eyes and looked at the email again.
Her eyes widened in horror.
The last sentence of the ambitious email read.
[We have some matters to discuss prior to our meeting with Sun Foods, so we would like to have a meeting as soon as possible].
My breath caught in my throat like a lump of sweet potato.
Hye-Joo stared at the monitor in disbelief. This was the first time in her four years at the company that she had made such a mistake in an official email.
No, this was not a mistake, this was a major accident. She could hear Kang Joo-won’s sneer as he checked his email.
‘This was my chance to make fun of Kang Joo-won, but why did I make a typo…… Why did I make a typo that doesn’t look like a typo!’
Hye-Joo shuffled her feet under the desk.
A muffled chant echoed beneath her feet.
As expected, there was no response from Joo-won.
She had written ‘meeting’, but it was clear from the context that she meant ‘reply’, and she hadn’t gotten a response. Hye-joo stared at her inbox, anxiously waiting for an email, and when the clock struck six, she jumped to her feet.
‘I’m going to run away. What is this?’
I thought about sending him a separate message to say that it wasn’t a meeting, but a reply, or going to the CEO’s office, but in this situation, it was best to avoid confrontation.
Given his personality, I was sure he’d make fun of me, and I’d be lucky if he didn’t laugh at me to my face.
At least I wrote it in a way that made sense in context, so he’ll get back to me when the time comes.
“I’ll go first!”
After saying goodbye to her colleagues who were still at work, Hye-Joo grabbed her bag and headed out, looking everywhere in case Joo-Won was near the elevator.
Only after she safely boarded the elevator did she breathe a sigh of relief.
“Whoa, we made it out.”
I had to admit, I was skeptical, even as I scurried along like a burglar cat. Why did I care so much about a typo that cost me my job?
Hye-Joo herself knew the answer. Her opponent was Kang Joo-won.
She had already created black history in front of him many times. A long history that started with a pair of panties and a knit.
Although they were all technically their own mistakes, the mistakes that could have been buried became ‘accidents’ the moment they were connected to Joo-won. It’s a kind of catalyst, like a chemical reaction that causes things to escalate.
“So it’s best to avoid him for now.
Hye-Joo repeated to herself and quietly walked out of the lobby.
Opening the glass doors, she felt a rush of fresh air, the kind of after-work relief that any office worker can feel. Straightening her hunched shoulders and taking in a deep breath of air, Hye-Joo took a step outside.
She wondered if it was an illusion to feel an intense gaze from somewhere.
‘It can’t be, I was the only one who came down the elevator…….’
Feeling a chill run down her spine, Hye-Joo lowered her head. Through her crouched gaze, she saw someone’s shoe.
A bruise. A bruise.
A pair of dust-free saccharine shoes stepped on the ground, foot by foot. At first glance, it had two elongated legs. Hye-Joo walked diligently as if she hadn’t seen them. But then.
“Where are you going?”
The voice from overhead was aimed squarely at her. Hye-Joo’s head snapped up at the low, chuckling voice.
“Uh, Mr. ……?”
“You’re here at the crack of six. You must have been in a hurry.”
“Who’s in a hurry? Were you waiting for me?”
“You said you wanted to have dinner.”
“That too, as soon as possible.”
Hye-Joo stared at the corporate card that Joo-Won slipped between her fingers.
A gust of wind blew.
Joo-won’s hair blew slightly, revealing a flat forehead.
“Come on, let’s go to dinner.”
My heart vibrated.