“…I heard that’s the case.”

“And you said you wanted to stay home today because you’re not feeling well.”

“No, I didn’t say anything like that.”

It was a lie. Her Ichon-dong parents hadn’t even suggested that she should go with them, and she had never made such an excuse herself.

“So, did aunt lie to my brother? Why?”

“That… I don’t know.”

“Then why do you think your grandmother called my brother?”

She knew the answer but couldn’t bring herself to say it. Grandma had called Gwihyeon, as a potential son-in-law Eunhye, not herself.

But Ijun, unaware of this, was reprimanding Siyeon for hesitating to reveal the true nature of their relationship while continuing her supposed relationship with Gwihyeon.

“… Siyeon. Sometimes, I wonder what you’re thinking.”


Ijun’s gaze intensified. Siyeon looked at him with a complicated expression, but said nothing.


* * *


Ijun and Siyeon had their first argument. They hadn’t raised their voices, but the heavy silence that followed made them part ways earlier than usual, and today had turned into a mess.

Meeting him while keeping their secret relationship hidden was a situation that would eventually come to light. Ijun probably thought she’s torn between him and Gwihyeon, that she’s walking on two legs.

The night grew deeper, but there was no contact from her parents. Her Ichon-dong father had only sent her a text saying that they were staying overnight in Hannam-dong.

Seated at her desk with her laptop on, Siyeon stared blankly at the blinking cursor on the document screen. She had come home early and had some time to work on her manuscript, but her mind was too tangled up to write a single word.

She knew how strange and audacious it was to ask Ijun to keep their relationship a secret for the next five years. She knew that the best way to handle their relationship was to break up, but she didn’t want to part ways with him. She had already given him too much of her heart.

Before she knew it, midnight had passed. Siyeon fell asleep with her phone beside her, and no one came looking for her.

The next morning, as soon as Siyeon woke up, she checked her phone, but there was no message from Ijun.

Is he really planning to leave without contacting me on the day he’s supposed to return to the military?

The thought made her nostrils flare with anger.

“…He must be really upset.”


Siyeon muttered weakly as she looked at her phone and then got up with a resigned expression. She had breakfast prepared by the housekeeper, and then started sorting out the things she needed to discard and the items she would take to her new home. Despite living in this house for twenty years, there weren’t many things she wanted to take with her.

Siyeon opened the top drawer of her desk. Inside were various sentimental items she had kept to remember by, including a pen, a case with friendship rings, and other odds things.

When her gaze landed on a hairpin inside a transparent plastic bag, Siyeon looked at it briefly and then took it out.

“…I told you, this isn’t mine.”

She muttered to herself as she looked at the item in her hand. She should have returned it to Ijun, even if it meant forcing it on him, when they met in Hannam-dong two years ago.

With a deep sigh, Siyeon separated the items she would take from those she would leave behind. Siyeon moved the item to the pile of things she intended to take with her. She couldn’t leave it behind in this house, knowing it would be thrown away.

Even after roughly packing her belongings, it wasn’t noon yet.

With her mind in turmoil, Siyeon put on her long-padded coat and left the house without any specific destination, carrying only her wallet and phone. She felt that if she didn’t move her body somehow, her thoughts would become even more overwhelming.

Ijun still hadn’t contacted her, and her parents hadn’t returned home since meeting Gwihyeon at Hannam-dong house yesterday. These thoughts had been unsettling her.

Siyeon walked aimlessly, her gaze fixed on the ground. It was at that moment when she felt like someone was approaching her from the opposite side, so she turned her body to avoid them.

“Where are you headed?”

Siyeon’s movement, as she turned to the side, abruptly stopped. Her heart sank and then began to race rapidly. She slowly lifted her gaze. When her eyes met Ijun’s, her eyes were filled with redness.

Today was the day Ijun was supposed to return to the military. She would have to wait a long time to see him again after today, and it was difficult to hold back tears every time she thought about it since last night.

“When did you get here?”

“This morning. I thought you might call.”

It seemed like he had been waiting in front of her house, so they could meet immediately if she had called. He would have to leave this place in an hour or two to make it back to the base by evening, and it hurt her chest to think of the time she wasted while her emotions were in turmoil.

“Would you have called if I hadn’t come?”

She felt hurt. His cold cheeks and red knuckles made her chest ache.

“If you hadn’t kept ignoring me, maybe I would have.”

Ijun seemed to have intended to wait for her call until it was time for him to return to the base. While she hadn’t been stubborn or thrown a fit, she had ultimately made a mess of his leave by not contacting him.

“Have you eaten?”


“Then let’s go eat.”

“I didn’t come out to eat with you.”

Siyeon’s words were filled with frustration.

Even as she looked into his eyes, his stern expression didn’t soften. She was upset with him, but at the same time, she couldn’t help but feel relieved to see him standing in front of her house. Although he knew he had to return to the base soon, he had been waiting for her to contact him all morning, which was a waste of time. So, she was also a little frustrated with him.

“I like you.”


“I said I want to know what you’re thinking.”


At that moment, his rigid expression slowly crumbled. Ijun silently gazed into her eyes.

“Do you want to hold hands and go find somewhere to eat?”

As Siyeon extended her hand forward, Ijun eventually smiled. He couldn’t help but feel both foolish and happy about how easily he had given in.

“Hug me and comfort me.”

Ijun, who had quickly regained his composure, stretched out his arms wide. Siyeon nestled her face against his chest, as if saying she had been waiting. Ijun patter her back.

“It seems like I’m destined to be tormented by you for the rest of my life. I won’t have a single unscarred day inside and out. I’m just lucky that I’m mentally healthy.”

He muttered into her ear.

“I’ll try harder so you don’t hesitate.”

His words were a bit hard to understand.

“So that you don’t regret choosing me.”


It was only then that Siyeon truly understood his words.

His statement meant that he would make sure she didn’t regret choosing him over Gwihyeon.

A storm raged in her heart.


* * *


Meanwhile, in Suwon, at the Jeong residence.

Gwihyeon had finished lunch and was playing a game of Go with his grandfather.

“Are you distracted today, or did you really prepare for this?”

The chairman, who had lost a few times in Go, glanced at Gwihyeon with a displeased expression. Normally, Gwihyeon would play along and let his grandfather win or quietly concede, but today, he was winning repeatedly.

“I’m sorry.”

“What’s there to apologize for? Are you apologizing for not letting me win on purpose?”

“No, Grandfather.”

Gwihyeon awkwardly smiled, lifting the corners of his mouth.

“Gwihyeon, did something happen at Professor Kim’s house yesterday?”

“What do you mean, Grandfather? I had a nice meal with her Grandmother then came back.”

“But why does your complexion look so bad? Why did you bring up the idea of waiting for a few more years before tying the knot?”


Gwihyeon lowered his gaze. His hidden emotions were dark, but his grandfather remained unaware.

“How about waiting for a few more years? Siyeon isn’t going anywhere. When I talked to her, I realized that she knows very well where she belongs. The relatives may be eager for her to get married and have descendants, but that’s their business. They may pester her but we can just ignore them.”

The family elders occasionally expressed their disappointment that Gwihyeon hadn’t married yet and had children. However, they saw Gwihyeon as a grandson separately from his role as a company executive.

Being shareholders of Baekya Food, they subtly favored Ijun over Gwihyeon, comparing their leadership qualities. They believed that Ijun was more suited for Baekya Foods.


“Yes, go on.”

“Am I worthless without Siyeon?”

Gwihyeon slowly raised his gaze to meet his grandfather’s eyes. It was a cold stare devoid of warmth.

“Why are you suddenly saying such things?”

“Throughout my childhood, you always told me not to go to deep places, to avoid high or contentious places. You always gave me easy tasks that I could easily handle. But it was different for Ijun. You let him swim in deep waters and climb to high places, letting him solve difficult problems on his own. You wanted me to feel inferior to him. Of course, I understand that you did it because you care about me.”


Gwihyeon had never mentioned this before. Chairman Jeong, with a pale face, only gazed at him.

“The only thing I’m better at than Ijun is playing Go. When Ijun used to wander outside, you used to sit me down and play Go with me every day. When Ijun expressed curiosity about learning Go, you opposed it. You were worried that Ijun might surpass me even in Go.”

Chairman Jeong closed his eyes tightly and let out a deep sigh.


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