Leeseo took the business card that the man held out, wedged between his thumb and forefinger. It read: “SH Holdings CEO Yoo Jinwoo.”

“If you have any questions, ask Taegyeom. Whether he’ll answer or not depends on his mood, though.”

Yoo Jinwoo checked his wristwatch, then turned away as if indicating he was running late. He headed for the door that led directly from the annex to the outside of the mansion. Most of Taegyeom’s guests from the annex commonly used that door.

Creak, the sound of the main gate opening. Yoo Jinwoo, who had partially stepped outside, abruptly halted and then jerked his head back inside.

“Oh, but… If possible, try not to catch Tae-gyeom’s attention today. Go back, lock the door securely, and close the curtains tight. He’s rather touchy today. It’s exhausting when he gets upset.”

Jinwoo, with a furrowed brow, glanced briefly in the direction of the second-floor windows and let out a light sigh.

“I thought about letting you walk in on your own, but my conscience got the better of me. I warned you, alright?”

Muttering incomprehensible words, Jinwoo sent a teasing wink towards Leeseo. It wasn’t clear if he was scaring her or teasing her. Leeseo alternately stared at the second-floor window and the gate through which Jinwoo had disappeared.


Seo, who had been looking up, flinched and huddled his shoulders. It was because of a deafening noise that sounded like something breaking. Following that, there was a shattering sound of glass. From above, he couldn’t tell what was happening.

‘Did Tae-gyeom called and told you he ripped his palm off again?’

Yoo Jinwoo’s joking words crossed Leeseo’s mind. She recalled the image of Tae-gyeom sipping his drink as blood dripped from his hand. Her expression twisted in disgust.

Whether Tae-gyeom couldn’t control his temper and wrecked the house or had blood somewhere on his body, it had nothing to do with her. But against her better judgment, her body was already heading for the annex.

It was late at night, and the atmosphere in the empty annex was eerie. The space, where people had been swaying and stumbling under the influence of alcohol and music, was now filled only with eerie air. The place was neat and tidy, with nothing particularly disheveled, but it felt strangely disconcerting.

Leeseo wrapped her arms around her goosebump-covered skin and took a moment to look around. She saw the air conditioner remote control on the living room couch. After adjusting the temperature to eighteen degrees Celsius, she went up the stairs.

When she reached the 2nd floor, Leeseo paused to catch her breath. Unlike the pristine first floor, this floor was a mess, as if a storm had swept through.

In the middle of the living room, a display cabinet had toppled over, spilling all the expensive knickknacks inside. The large, brand-new television screen had a clear crack across it.

A cloudy, transparent l*quid glistened on the marble floor as well as on the TV screen. A liquor bottle, apparently used to vandalize the TV, was shattered in half.

Passing through the disarrayed floor, Leeseo stood in front of the bedroom door. The loud noises and sharp cracks she had heard from downstairs seemed to have been her imagination, as the surroundings were now eerily silent. She slowly stretched out her trembling hand.

The bedroom door was partially ajar, as if waiting for someone. A inexplicable tension enveloped her, like standing in front of the den of a fierce beast. A moment’s hesitation froze her fingertips in place.

The door in front of her looked like a giant trap, ready to swallow her. Reasons like “Turn back now. That man is dangerous. He’s a bad person.”, whispered.

But reason was powerless in the face of intense instinct and curiosity. Leeseo pushed the door open, despite not knowing what awaits her in the other side of the door.


Kwon Taegyeom was chugging down a whole bottle of water. She could clearly see his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down as he gulped.

Sensing her presence, Taegyeom turned slowly to the side, slightly squinting one eye, and asked.

“Did I call for you?”


“I thought you wouldn’t come in here anymore.”

He casually tossed the empty water bottle aside.

“Coming and going as you please, do you find it cute to play with people, huh? Aren’t you just cheeky? I must be too lenient.”

Playing with people and treating them like fools, who did that sound like?

But Leeseo pursed her lips and stepped closer to Taegyeom. She grabbed his firm arm and pulled him closer.

The cut on his palm had healed well, leaving only faint scars. Leeseo carefully examined Taegyeom’s large palm, which was as large as her entire hands combined, and then turned it over. There were some minor scratches on the back of his hand, but fortunately, there didn’t seem to be any tears or cuts.

“What are you doing?”

Taegyeom grumbled, his handsome face colder than necessary.

“You were watching me, right? Standing over there by the window.”

Taegyeom’s eyes followed where Lesseo was pointing. Then, he chuckled as if finding it absurd.

“What confidence you have.”

With a smug mutter, Taegyeom’s eyes swept over Leeseo from head to toe.

From her hair, tied loosely into a single ponytail, to the exposed round and delicate shoulders, to her flowing white skirt and shapely ankles. Slowly, his gaze drifted back up to her eyes and lingered a moment longer.

Tae-gyeom met her gaze and spoke in a cold tone.

“Actually, I just looked at you house. I looked at where you live, to be precise. I just wanted to see how someone like you manages to live in a place like that. Does it matter? But who told you that you can come and go as you please?”

Leeseo believed that he was deliberately trying to make her feel embarrassed with his chilly words. She recalled the large silhouette of Kwon Taegyeom standing by the window earlier. But it didn’t matter whether he was really looking at her or not, she was here for another reason.

“It’s Mr. Yoo Jinwoo. I saw him at the Seoul Detention Center during the day and saw him again just now. When I asked him what he was doing there, he just shrugged and told me to ask you, Mr. Kwon Taegyeom.”

At Leeseo’s calm words, Taegyeom’s face turned sour. His handsome eyebrows twitched fiercely, and his demeanor changed in an instant, as if he were about to kick her out.

“What do you want with Yoo Jinwoo?”

A strong hand grabbed Leeseo’s shoulder.


Her body jerked in response. The force was strong enough to make her shoulder tingle. Naturally, her expression contorted.

She was taken aback and didn’t know what had suddenly made him so angry. She’d always known him to be a man of mood swings, but it was usually just for fun, and he rarely lost his temper.

In Kwon Taegyeom’s sharply piercing eyes, there was not a hint of his usual humor. The hand that had gripped her shoulder slid up to her collarbone and wrapped around her neck. A flicker of fear ran through her. The man’s large hand closed around her slender neck.

“……Why are you doing this?”

“Just because.”


“Why am I so annoyed?”

Taegyeom arrogantly muttered, his low voice sounding cold. Even though she knew he wasn’t exerting any force, her body stiffened.

“Let me go.”

Leeseo’s pale lips trembled slightly. She wasn’t sure if she was scared of angry, perhaps both. His sudden change in attitude was unfamiliar and unsettling.

Taegyeom continued to stare intently at her lips and whispered.

“Don’t go around talking to just anyone. Everyone here is just a bunch of lightweight guys.”

There was a nuance in his words, as if he were jealous. But Leeseo knew that there was no deeper meaning to Taegyeom’s words, he was just speaking carelessly.

She was fed up with the man that kept throwing out words that confused her. Leeseo spoke back in a sharp tone.

“He’s you friend, isn’t he? So, what about you, Kwon Taegyeom?”

In response, Taegyeom leaned in so close that their noses almost touched. Their breaths mingled, tickling Leeseo’s lips.



“How do you see me?”


“I’ve been kind enough to tell you all along. If you keep recklessly messing around in front of trash like me, your life will get even more messed up.”

The hand that was gripping her neck, preventing her escape, stroked the nape of her neck. Heat rose along the path where his long, straight fingers brushed.

The intense desire she had once seen in his eyes was now swirling furiously within his dark brown irises. The moment she recognized it, her stomach clenched. She understood that the same desire that Taegyeom possessed was dangerously simmering within her as well.

A gasp escaped her, breath hitched. His arm was now wrapped around her waist like a vine.

“What are you doing? Stop.”

His lips moved just inches from her, almost touching. A faint, tantalizing current coursed between their barely-touching skin.

“I’m going to kiss you now.”


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