The rain poured down from the sky like a torrent, quickly washing away her tears. It felt as if the heavens were instructing her not to cry, and a lump formed in her throat.
Until this moment, she had struggled to shed tears, even when she desperately wanted to. But now, the tears flowed freely, cascading down her cheeks.
“Hmph…ugh,” she let out a sound of frustration, her emotions overwhelming her.
Yunseul stood there, drenched in the rain, and then, as if all her strength had been sapped, she fainted. She crumpled to the ground, crying like a helpless child.
Crawling across the lawn, she howled like a wounded animal, her love and sorrow for her baby moon pouring forth like a relentless storm of tears, aching with longing and grief.
Her tears mingled with the pounding raindrops, and the warmth of her tears, unlike the cool rain, felt like burning embers as they etched their presence into the backs of her hands, a poignant reminder of the love and pain she had experienced.
Yunseul’s hands were muddied. Yunseul hit her chest in anger, unmoved. It was back then. The water droplets that had been hurting her skin stopped.
What was it? Yunseul, who had been crying with her head down, lifted it and looked upwards. The rain had clearly not stopped yet it wasn’t falling where she stood.
“…Yunseul,” a gentle voice from behind her whispered.
Yunseul turned her head slowly.
He appeared right behind her with a black umbrella, and as Yunseul took in the sight of him, her shoulders trembled. Something intense and hot throbbed and surged deep within her chest.
She wiped a tear from her face with a muddy hand, all the while maintaining her gaze on him. He lowered himself to one knee, meeting her eyes, but his expression remained wordless.
She didn’t like the sadness that filled his eyes.
“Get up. Let’s go inside,” he finally said, his gaze still locked onto her.
Yunseul couldn’t comprehend why he was staring at her like that, why he was acting as if he held some kind of guilt. Her frustration and emotions boiled over, and in a burst of anger, she slapped the umbrella he was holding, causing it to clatter to the ground.
The rain seemed to stab her in the chest, the cold droplets like blades all over, inflicting pain and anguish. She wished, in that moment, that he could feel the same torment she did, the relentless agony of blades, and the tearing pain that consumed her.”…There was.”
He didn’t bother lifting his umbrella, just stared at her face, drenched. He doesn’t even close his eyes, his pupils etched with himself.
“It was all there……. It was all there!” the beast’s cry erupted from her throat.
“That a baby, smaller than a fist, had……. It had arms, it had legs…. fingers, toes…. Hmph, it had a heart!”
Yunseul raised her voice, hoping to reach his ear through the showers.
“You don’t understand, you don’t understand, you don’t understand!”
When she was thinking about her baby moon, she felt a surge of sadness. The only vision she had of her baby flashed before her eyes.
She scratched her left thigh furiously. That wasn’t enough for her, so she clenched her fist and hit herself all over.
Her entire body should have hurt, but curiously, only her heart did. She felt she was going to die.
Yunseul was screaming and twisting, her chest pounding, when he took her wrist. Yunseul’s bloodshot eyes met him.
She hates the expression on his face when she is unsure what he is thinking. She knows he’s sad, but what is he thinking?
“Let’s break up. I’m going to die if I stay here……. I can’t stop thinking about it, it’s driving me crazy!”
She grabs his biceps, begging with him, and slaps his chest repeatedly when he doesn’t answer.
“Does this hurt, does it hurt?” she asked.
“No. You’re a cold-blooded man who doesn’t know what it’s like to be miserable.”
She wanted to beat him harder, to make it hurt more, but she didn’t have the strength in her hands. She grabbed his clothes and pushed him, though with little force.
It’s strange how his body sways back and forth.
“What do you think our baby was like, torn to pieces and left dead? !”
The strain of screaming caused her voice to crack. She let it all out for the first time in her life, and it didn’t matter if she was forcing herself on him.
Her entire body felt as if it was on fire. She feels as if she’s going to crumble and blow away.
“You don’t know……. You won’t know when I die…. Hmph…”
He hugged her close, unmoved by her slaps and screams. She heard his voice from above her head, but it was muted by the rain, and she passed out without hearing him.
* * *
Yunseul was sick for days after getting caught in the rain and giving it her all. He had to nurse her because she was unable to get out of bed.
She didn’t want to be nursed, but he was always there when she opened her eyes, so she eventually gave up.
He can’t tell her how happy he was that he was working from home, when all he knew was work. Instead of being excited about the change, she felt awkward and uncomfortable.
* * *
“Yunseul, hurry up, why are you so lazy?”
Yunseul, who was crouching with rubber gloves and placing kimchi seasoning in her kimchi, turned to face her sister-in-law.
She raised her chin and wondered what she would do if she heard it. Yunseul noticed sweat trickling down her brow and raised her arm to brush it away.
Her sister-in-law kept talking when she didn’t say anything.
“Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to go to do community service by myself when you said you wanted to do it, and then it happened?”
A cool air brushed against her n*ked br*asts. Yunseul’s features tightened slightly before returning to normal.
“So why are you pretending to be nice to your mom when you didn’t want to do community service? You’re even bothering me.”
Her mother easily agreed when she expressed an interest in doing community service. She asked Hyungsoo to go with her because she was willing to engage in any voluntary work.
She got angry for a moment while everyone else was doing other things, as if she had a plan.
She tried to smile at her sister-in-law, who was suddenly revealing her true colors, which was reasonable with her fear of being evicted.
She will not be evicted. She is going to leave with dignity.
She proceeded about her day as if nothing had happened after her diatribe, and her relationship with him remained unchanged.
She notices the occasional gaze, but she completely ignores him.
Yunseul’s lips curved up as she remembered him leaving work with two hands full of shopping bags the day before.
Hearing the laughter of the nursery school children in the far distance, she said. She decided to volunteer because she couldn’t fall asleep while walking and wanted to do something more strenuous.
But she had no idea she’d end up at a childcare school. Yunseul, unable to approach the youngsters, was handed the most difficult task of all: making kimchi.
“It’s what the youngest ones do.”
She spread the spice on Kimchi carefully, thinking that if she was tired she could have been able to sleep for a while at night.
As if it weren’t bad enough, her sister-in-law began grabbing the pods.
“Apply it properly. Did you come here to serve as a show-off and think you won’t get kicked out if you do that?”
She ignored her sister-in-law and moved her hand with zeal.
“Tsk. I don’t know how you became the daughter-in-law of the Seoju Group.”
“With nothing to show for it.”
She doesn’t hear her sister-in-law’s sarcastic voice. Her ears are occupied only with the laughter of the nursery school youngsters. She hurriedly hung her head as she saw the happy smiles on their cheeks.
She thinks her baby moon may have left to find her own happiness. Would she have been happy if she had been born? She became unsure all of a sudden.
“It’s hot, isn’t it? Look at your sweat.”
When they were done taking pictures, the tycoon’s daughters-in-law, who had brought a reporter with them, faked phony smiles.
Everyone who came to volunteer here was truly there to serve. She was one of them, just a tool for using her body so she could sleep comfortably at night.
“Sister-in-law, take it easy,”
Yunseul smiled warmly at her sister-in-law’s sudden concern, who had been sitting so contentedly.
“Thank you, Hyungsoo.”
The people who were next to her made up comments about her and her sister-in-law’s good relationship. Yunseul smiled as deceitfully as they did.
“Hyungsoo, let’s go have coffee later.”
Hyungsoo’s eyes expanded slightly as she pondered what kind of tea it was. She thought she should be frightened because this was the first time she had ever asked her sister-in-law to go somewhere in their three years of living together.
“Yeah, I know a coffee shop that’s famous for its desserts.”
“Yeah, I’m coming with you.”
She knew she couldn’t say no because everyone would be watching.
“Okay…. Let’s go.”
She couldn’t say no and forcedly nodded. She only smiled when the chaebol people asked where it was.
She and Hyungsoo must go to the coffee shop together. The chaebol’s daughters-in-law came near, bringing Nadina with them.
They said they’d take images of us doing volunteer work, but other people would do it. Yunseul removed her rubber gloves.
Even if she did more, it would be useless. It would also make the workers uncomfortable.
Her sister-in-law followed her as she went to wash her hands.
“A coffee shop? Is it time for us to sit down and drink coffee?”
She asked, unsure of when she would be kicked out and unable to appear to be on the same level as the Suzhou Group’s daughter-in-law.
Yunseul’s face became cold.
“You’ll have to join me,” she said coldly, causing Hyungsoo to stop.
“I have something to tell you.”
“Something to talk about? What is it?”
She asked, examining her face as if trying to read her mind. Yunseul tilted her head slightly.
Her eyes narrow and her forehead wrinkled.
“No way,” she says.
“Let’s go to the coffee shop and talk.”
“I’m not going. Are you kidding me sister-in-law? Do you think I’m worthy?”
She demanded that if she had something to say, she say it now.
“Can I say it now?”
“Really, can I say it right now?”
She didn’t notice her sister-in-law’s eyes dancing around like mad. This is why people shouldn’t live in sin.
She shuts her mouth, as if she’s sensed something.
“You want to go to a coffee shop, right?”
“A place with good desserts,” Yunseul said, widening her smile at Hyungsoo.
Yunnseul’s eye corners folded up beautifully.
* * *
She and her sister-in-law went to a run-down coffee shop after the service project. She had told her that it had excellent desserts, but Yunseul had never gone to this restaurant before; she simply chose it because it was quiet.
“What do you want to talk about in a place like this?”
She looked at her sister-in-law, who was frowning and glancing around, as if she didn’t like her idea of being in such a poor place.
“What do you want to talk about, making people feel bad and subtly threatening them?”
She sat with her knees crossed and her arms folded in front of her.
“Do you realize how weird are you?”
At the very least, she was being unusually vocal, but something was bothering her, and Yunseul knew what it was, so she hardened her face.
Normally, she would have got up and got away, saying that there was nothing to talk about in a poor coffee shop.
Yunseul prevented the corner of her mouth from rising.
“Come on, talk to me. You’re stifling me.”
Hyungsoo’s sharp eyes pierce her lips as she wonders what words will come out of her mouth. Yunseul’s tightly closed lips part slightly. Her eyes narrow.
“Did you think I wouldn’t know?”
she asks, her shoulders shaking. She unclenches her arms and looks around quickly.
“What, what are you talking about?”
Yunseul’s voice became more and more frustrated while her sister-in-law became increasingly angry.
“Talk straight, sister-in-law, what are you doing?”
Is she aware that her voice is shaking? She doesn’t appear to notice in her delight.
Yunseul responded calmly. Her eyes widened and she began to cry. She stood there, unable to speak, watching Hyungsoo’s mouth open and close.
“Ooh, my Junhyuk?”
She swallowed dryly, her throat feverishly bobbing up and down.
“Yeah, I’m talking about Junhyuk.”
She smiled at her sister-in-law as she tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. She never imagined herself despising blackmail and then blackmailing someone else, but she wanted her to fail.
“My Jun Hyuk, what? What! You really can’t use me? What are you going to talk about with a child? It’s creepy. I don’t want to talk about it…….”
She interrupted her mid-sentence. She took in a breath and leaned over her, still frozen in place, as the word “blood type” filled her face with fear.
She spoke in hushed tones that only Hyungsoo could hear.
“I guess I have to say it out loud, you know,”
She said, echoing her tone. Her sister-in-law, who usually goes on a rampage, was dumbfounded.
She had no intention of backing down because this was her last chance, so she spoke with hatred in her voice.
“How could you cheat like that?”
As she swallowed dryly, Hyungsoo’s eyes tremble like crazy. She was frightened that if she said anything, everything she’d worked for, especially her plan to make Seo Jun-hyuk the successor to Seoju Group, would fall.
She hated the expression on her sister-in-law’s face. Yunseul spoke in low voices.
“Hyungsoo, I need you to help me.”
Hyungsoo’s eyes widen as she wonders what that means.
“Junhyuk should make a successor.” He won’t?
This is how she uses the blackmail she got from her father, stepmother, Yun Ina, Hyungsoo, and her mother-in-law.
She was irritated when she found how simple it was to blackmail someone without thinking. Maybe if she hadn’t known her blood type, if he hadn’t collapsed in front of her that day, if Hyungsoo hadn’t had a long-distance appointment, she wouldn’t have been able to threaten her, and she wouldn’t have thought of a way to get a divorce.
“Don’t worry. If you help me properly, I won’t tell anyone your secret.”
Her eyes narrow at the promise of secrecy, but her face is plainly brighter than it was a moment ago.
“You’re going to help me, aren’t you?”
“……Help? what do you want me to do? Help you by how?”
She leans forward, interested in knowing what she will have to say.
“Well, I’m breaking up with him.”
“But?” she asks, as if everyone who’s ever been kicked out is unaware.
“You know, he’s not letting me go.”
She nods gently, as if she understands. It’s surprising that she doesn’t know, given that she’s surrounded by bodyguards. They’re still standing outside.
Yunseul casts a glance out the window before returning her eyes to her sister-in-law.
“Even if mom kicks me out, you know I can’t break up with him unless he lets me, and even if I sue him, I’ll probably lose.”
“He’ll do anything he sets his mind with, right?”
She was still worried, to be honest. Even before the miscarriage, she had a feeling he’d changed a little. Of course, he was acting like a completely different person now.
She wouldn’t have felt so insecure if he hadn’t changed. Just in case she know, just in case.
What if he clung to her for ridiculous reasons? What if he insisted on their never breaking up?
“Is there any way? Ji-hyuk is always so stubborn. He’s too upright.”
She thinks she’s mistaken. She thinks he’s just feeling sorry for herself since she’ve lost a child.
“I simply want a picture with him.”
“A picture? You want me to take a picture, you want me to be photographer?”
She scratched her brow in perplexity.
“Yes, I want a picture.”
She thought simply escaping. She knew it would be difficult to escape the guards, but it wasn’t impossible, but she didn’t want to live on the run.
Why should she, when she hadn’t done anything wrong? She was strongly against.
She wanted to be able to live anywhere she wanted and be proud of it. So she decided to make her an impostor wife.
She would gather irrefutable evidence and convince him to sign the divorce papers. She felt horrible for him, but she knew if she didn’t go this far, he wouldn’t let her free.
“I just need a picture of you and Mr. Ji-hyuk going into the hotel.”
“In a hotel?”
“Yes, call him to go to the hotel room, I’ll get the person, you just need to call him and be with you int the hotel room.”
She said quietly that she’d look after the photo.
Yunseul let out a sigh of relief as Hyungsoo’s words washed over her, saying, “…okay.” But a lingering worry remained, nagging at the back of her mind.
“But if mom finds out, you’ll have to tell her…….”
She reached out and clutched a cup filled with ice, the coldness hitting her like a refreshing wave. The bittersweet coffee slid down her throat, causing an intense shiver.
“Don’t worry. She’s on my side,” Hyungsoo assured her.
Yunseul couldn’t help but think about her mother-in-law who was desperately seeking a divorce. She knew her mother would turn a blind eye to what she had done and perhaps even marry him off to a wealthier woman, one who could give him children.
The thought of it sent a surge of emotions coursing through her, and in one swift, determined gulp, she emptied the remaining contents of her coffee cup.
After regaining her senses, Yunseul decided to confide her future plans to her sister-in-law.
* * *
Yunseul stared down at her phone screen, a sense of frustration welling up within her. There were no messages from him while he was out, and now she was bombarding him with texts about his tardiness. Her lips curled into a slight frown.
She found herself perched on the couch in the master bedroom, her knees drawn up, and her legs tightly huddled together. She had just finished a call with her mother’s caregiver and couldn’t help but feel a glimmer of hope.
Thanks to the efforts of the best doctors, her mother was making great progress in her speech and putting in tremendous effort during her rehabilitation.
As Yunseul looked out at the dark landscape, she contemplated her decision. If she had chosen to run away instead of getting a divorce, her mother might have pursued her, but now, with the divorce option, she could still be a part of her life. She resolved not to regret her choice.
Yunseul turned to face the window just as she heard him returning. His footsteps outside were unmistakable. She released her legs from their tight embrace and straightened her posture, awaiting his entrance.
There was a brief pause when he entered the room, and she could sense his surprise as he saw her in the dimly lit room. “You didn’t even turn on the light,” he remarked wearily.
Yunseul slowly turned her head to meet his gaze. He was dressed in a black suit, appearing fatigued as he fiddled with his tie. Their eyes locked in the quiet of the room.
Without a word, Yunseul extended the envelope containing the legal papers she had set beside the couch. “I want a divorce,” she declared with a firmness in her voice.
Yunseul expected a strong reaction from him, perhaps laughter or an attempt to tear the divorce papers apart. Yet, she found it strange that he remained silent.
His heavy footsteps drew nearer, and he stopped before her to accept the envelope. She couldn’t help but think that if he looked sad, it might be because she hadn’t turned on the light.
But Yunseul was not about to entertain any objections. “Don’t even think about saying no,” she declared, her voice laced with cold determination. She turned on her phone and slammed it onto the table for emphasis.
His attention snapped to the table at the sudden noise. “What is this?” he asked, his tone strangely composed, as if he already knew the answer. His serene expression turned toward her.
Yunseul’s eyes narrowed, wary of his tone. “It’s a picture of you walking into a hotel room with your sister-in-law,” she replied bluntly, revealing the evidence she had found.
“If you don’t divorce me, I’ll tell your mother and spread it to the reporters. It’ll bring shame on Seoju Group, so just divorce me,” Yunseul warned him, her tone resolute as she revealed her leverage.
She had been concerned that he might question the significance of walking into a hotel room, but he simply stared at her without uttering a word. The silence stretched on until he finally broke it.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” he inquired after a long pause.
Yunseul replied with a touch of bitterness, “Do what, get a divorce? That’s called a question.”
“Of course,” he responded.
A bitter laugh escaped her, bewildered by his somber demeanor and his head dropping. But then he surprised her with his words. “…Okay. Let’s do it, divorce.”
Yunseul’s eyes remained wide in astonishment as she sought confirmation. “Really?” she asked, her disbelief evident.
“Yes, I’ll fill it out now and bring it back,” he responded with a sense of resignation.
She watched in silence as he walked into the room with the divorce papers. She couldn’t help but wonder why it seemed so easy. If divorcing him was this straightforward, she questioned why she had been so adamant about avoiding it. Doubts crept into her mind despite the momentous decision.
A short while later, as he returned with the papers, his eyes were moist. Yunseul gazed into his reddened eyes and shook her head, puzzled by the tears. If one didn’t know better, it might seem as though he was crying because his heart was broken over the divorce.
“Well, I’ll leave in the morning,” Yunseul stated, her concern about any potential attempts to reverse the divorce prompting her to leave as soon as daylight broke.
“Don’t worry about my mom anymore. I’ll take care of her,” she assured him.
He inquired, “Where are you going? Have you decided?”
“Yes, don’t think about hooking up with anyone,” she replied firmly.
“Well, I’m getting divorced, so why would I stick around?” he responded with resignation.
“I’ll send a lawyer to the courthouse when I get divorced, and I hope this is the last time I see you,” Yunseul stated, finalizing her intentions.”…Okay.”
His voice quivered as if he were on the verge of tears, and Yunseul couldn’t help but notice. “You can keep the alimony,” he said, puzzling her with the unexpected offer.
“That’s my gift to you,” he added, emphasizing it as a gift.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said through gritted teeth, his emotions clearly in turmoil.
Yunseul hesitated for a moment, unsure of how to respond. However, since it was their final interaction, she decided to break the silence. “…I hope you have a good life,” she offered sincerely.
She had initially considered suggesting he find a good woman, but she realized that it would be crossing a line, so she refrained from saying more.
Turning away, Yunseul made her way into the dressing room, where her pre-packed luggage awaited her.
The weight that had burdened her for so long was finally lifted, and although the situation was heavier and more emotional than she had anticipated, it felt like a good thing.
The stone that had weighed on Yunseul’s shoulders now felt as though it had disappeared.