The cold aura that had once surrounded him melted away as if it were a lie, and Kwon Taegyeom laughed like a mischievous boy.
His carefree demeanor was irresistibly charming. She knew that the charming smile that enchanted people was actually a trap set by him. There was no need to get upset about his childish teasing, which he throws out for fun.
Ignoring him in moderation should have sufficed, but strangely, it didn’t work very well. Her stomach rumbles, and something hot rises and falls, like she’ve swallowed a giant ember, before finally settling down. It was hard for her to understand why she found this situation so unbearable in the face of his carefree demeanor.
She thought of him as a difficult patient. Consider it a practice session and hypnotizing herself, she continued working in silence.
The wound had healed fairly quickly, compared to two days ago when she thought it would be better to get stitches for it. Considering he’s someone who pour out alcohol or peroxide onto his own injured hand with such damage, it was almost like a monstrous recovery.
As she was finishing up the wound in wonder, he tilted his head and said.
“Are you just going to ignore everything I say?”
“No… I’m just upset.”
“Then why are you talking without looking me in the eye?”
As she applied the dressing bandage to the injured area, Leeseo looked up.
“Is this okay now?”
When their gazes met, Taegyeom smirked in amusement. The corners of his eyes crinkled.
“It’s much better.”
Leeseo released Taegyeom’s hand and turned away. She brought a tray with breakfast to the table. The dishes were covered, and warmth still radiated from them.
“Eat your meal and then head to work. I told them I was going over to the annex, so they made you a meal in the kitchen.”
“Did you tell anyone you were coming here?”
Taegyeom asked, eyeing Leeseo as she set the dishes on the table. His hands were tucked casually into his pocket of his suit pants.
“I thought this was a secret between you and me, Hyun Leeseo. I’m disappointed.”
Leeseo paused in the midst of arranging the cutlery. With a faint sigh, she lifted her head to look at Taegyeom.
“Why do you keep saying weird things?”
“What do you mean?”
Leeseo’s forehead furrowed at his feigned ignorance.
“You’re saying weird things to me on purpose, like what’s sex got to do with it or that it’s a secret between you and me.”
Leeseo involuntarily twitched, hunching her shoulders as his hand unexpectedly reached out.
“That’s because your reactions are amusing, Hyun Leeseo. Your expression right now is hilarious. Don’t you realize it yourself?”
His long and slender finger lightly poked Leeseo’s cheek. Taegyeom openly chuckled as he watcher her round cheeks that had slightly sunken. Leeseo’s eyelashes fluttered as she looked up sharply, not out of pain but frustration.
There’s a limit to treating someone like a fool. Her insides were boiling. Heat rose to her face, making it difficult to breathe. Leeseo spoke through gritted teeth.
“You really have a strange personality.”
“Oh, you didn’t know? I grew up unloved.”
He stepped closer, suddenly and swiftly. It happened in an instant. Kwon Taegyeom, who had been standing a couple of steps away, was now right in front of her.
Her gaze snapped up. Leeseo held her breath and looked up at him. Kwon Taegyeom stared at her with his slightly slanted eyes. They were so close that their noses were almost about to touch.
“I warned you not to hesitate.”
His low, hushed voice whispered eerily. His breath hovered over Leeseo’s lips, causing a shiver down her spine. The fine hairs on her ear stood on unison.
Her mouth went dry, and she bit down on her parched lips. Kwon Taegyeom, who had been staring into her eyes, suddenly shifted his gaze downwards.
The moment she realized his eyes were on her lips, she felt her stomach tighten. Enduring this strange sensation, she raised her eyebrows and glared at Taegyeom.
But he just smiled nonchalantly, as if her stinging glare didn’t even bother him at all.
“You’re the one who caught my eye, and you’re the one who barged in here.”
“So you’re going to have to live with me being an asshole. Take responsibility.”
After his ridiculous rant, Taegyeom suddenly reached out and touched Leeseo’s earlobe. Startled by the unexpected contact, she froze.
A blossom of heat spread along the spot where his fingertips traced and as he gently grazed her soft skin, Kwon Taegyeom licked his lips as if savoring the sensation. Leeseo shuddered and slapped Taegyeom’s hand away coldly.
With the sharp sound of contact, Kwon Taegyeom narrowed his eyes. It was his right hand, the one with the dressing bandage. Leeseo, who had accidentally struck his injured hand, looked up at him with panic in her eyes as she wrapped her own hand around it.
He hummed mockingly and then turned away without a second thought, leaving the rigid Leeseo behind. She stared at Taegyeom’s departing figure with a dumbfounded expression.
As if nothing had happened, her existence was just a form of entertainment to him. In the end, without looking back, he left the annex.
* * *
Kwon Taegyeom was an utterly unpredictable man. Every time Leeseo crossed over to the annex to check and tend his injuries, he changed his behavior like a man who switches personalities.
Some days, he would meekly offer his hand and gaze at her with soft eyes, as if willing to let her examine him thoroughly. Other days, he would confront her with a stern expression. There was never a proper explanation. She was left puzzled, not knowing what had caused his mood to change, and the awkwardness of being shooed away was entirely on her part.
And then, whenever he felt like it, he would summon her to the annex at his whim. When she received a call from an unfamiliar number on her phone for the first time, she never thought that the caller would be Kwon Taegyeom.
Even as his low voice came through the phone, she hadn’t considered it.
- Come over now, to the annex.
The audacity to abruptly call and hang up without any pleasantries, the arrogance that expected the other party to know who he was without even revealing his identity—his lack of phone etiquette was as outrageous and shameless as it got. The way he assumed everyone would naturally recognize him was typical of him.
How did he even know my phone number?
Leeseo thought as she held the disconnected phone before letting out a wistful chuckle. There was nothing he couldn’t find out if he set his mind to it.
‘Stand there and fan me a bit. It’s so hot I might die.’
Summoning someone as if there were urgent matters to discuss, only to command them to fan him like a servant, was the extent of his request. Even while sprawled out on the living room couch with the AC running 24 hours a day.
His reasons for summoning her were often absurd, and the ways he tormented her were diverse. Kwon Taegyeom really acted like a human being who was used to treating people like fools.
The phone she had left on the nightstand vibrated. Leeseo, who had been sitting on the bed leaning against the headboard, reading a novel, reached out to check the message.
The message was from Taegyeom. The clock on her phone was approaching midnight. There were no rules or patterns to when he called her. He was an arrogant man who believed she would come running like an obedient dog whenever he beckoned.
Leeseo let out a short sigh and closed the book she had been reading. Getting up from the bed, she glanced briefly out the window. The annex was emitting its usual bright light.
If there was anything out of the ordinary, it was the fact that instead of creating a buzzing noise, the entire building was immersed in a steady silence. Why is it so quiet?, she thought, as she prepared to leave.
As she crossed over to the annex, she found Taegyeom sprawled on the living room sofa in his usual carefree manner, holding a drink in his hand.
Leeseo frowned at the brown tinted bottle, noticing that it was even liquor.
“Come quickly when I call you. I’ve been waiting for you.”
“I came right after you texted me.”
“You’re a good talker.”
Kwon Taegyeom looked quite amused as he spoke. The corners of his mouth stretched loosely then he swirled his drink. Seeing that he hadn’t touched the snacks on the coffee table, it seemed like he had called her over just for entertainment.
Ignoring him, Leeseo went to the pantry. When she came back with a first aid kit from the shelf, Taegyeom gestured to the seat next to him and said.
“Let me look at your wound, give me your hand.”
“Open your mouth.”
Leeseo was taken aback at the absurdity of his request.
“Open your mouth.”
Suddenly, something cold and slick presses against her lips without warning. Taegyeom, holding a large and round cherry, firmly pressed it against her lips, demanding that she open her mouth.
In disbelief, Leeseo pursed her lips tight and glared at. In response, his eyebrows wiggled dangerously.
Taegyeom stifled a laugh and applied more pressure with his hand.