Chapter 20 - Why Don’t You Join Us?
It definitely seemed intentional now. God wasn’t just being mean to her, he was clearly out to get her considering how much she was being harassed by his meddling. Now not only could she not ignore the man’s handsome face, but the comforting words he’d said in that deep voice of his came to mind as well.
“So anyone who lost their parents is pitiful, and she’s even more pitiful than that because of how poor she is? You know you can just keep those thoughts to yourself instead of telling me that as well, right?”
She knew that what he said wasn’t specifically for her, but she found herself much more comforted by his words than she expected.
Normally, she would be happy to meet the man that never left her thoughts, but instead, she felt horrible. It was just so embarrassing that she was caught sitting alone at a plastic table, wallowing in misery. Sun Ha could count on her fingers the number of times she went drinking, but he was probably thinking that she loved to go to bars and drink like this. It was so unfair. Even though he might not really care, she couldn’t help but want to make excuses for why she was there.
Professor An spoke, “Yes, it makes me glad to see you here. I’m actually a regular. How come a young lady like you is drinking in a somber place like this? You should go out drinking with friends somewhere else instead.”
“Well…” Sun Ha trailed off.
“If it’s okay with you, Sun Ha, why don’t you join us? You’re okay with that as well, right Do Ook? You’ve met before, after all.” Though he was trying to be courteous and ask permission, Professor An had a pretty impatient personality, so he pulled out a chair for her before she had even agreed.
Sun Ha moved her gaze slightly to the side and tried to see how the man was reacting. The man simply sat down on the opposite side of Professor An as if he didn’t care one way or the other. Though he didn’t look happy to see her join them, he didn’t look as if he wanted to refuse either, so she hesitantly moved over to their table. She was already a little tipsy because she was a lightweight, but Sun Ha sat bolt upright in her chair due to how nervous seeing the man made her.
Professor An opened a bottle of soju and filled up the two glasses that the man and she had to the top. It was difficult for Sun Ha to bring herself to decline Professor An from pouring more drinks, so she ended up emptying a few more glasses. As she did, Professor An chuckled and said that she was better at drinking than he’d thought.
On the other hand, his nephew Do Ook just kept quietly sitting there as if he wasn’t related to either of them.
As the mood began to become more relaxed and drunk, a tipsy Professor An started to become nosy again. “Sun Ha, are you also worried about something? Why are you drinking alone on this cold and lonely winter night? Is there something you’re having a problem with?”
“N-No, I don’t,” Sun Ha told him.
“If you ever want to just tell me what’s weighing you down or if you need any help at all, you can call me whenever you want. I even brought my nephew over here to the university deliberately because he had some headache-inducing problems of his own that I wanted to give him advice about.”
Seeing how the man in question was making an annoyed expression, she was sure that Professor An had gone through a lot of trouble to bring his nephew here and force some advice on him.
‘But in any case, a headache-inducing problem? What could it be?’ she began to wonder, but Professor An blathered on about his nephew’s problems before she could even ask.
“Well this boy over here, he’s in quite the bind. Because of his grandfather’s wishes, Do Ook has to basically grab the first person who’s willing and marry them. He’s only 29 and so bright, so why would that elder…” Professor An sighed, “Well, I do sort of understand his grandfather since the old man learned he has terminal cancer recently. He just desperately wants to see his precious grandson get married before he passes on.”
Professor An was quite drunk at this point as he kept running his mouth about his nephew’s personal business to a girl Do Ook barely knew.
Do Ook cocked an eyebrow, but, perhaps because one of Professor An’s pupils was right there, he didn’t berate the professor for talking way too easily like he’d done the last time Sun Ha had seen him.
Professor An prattled on, “But he’s being too picky. Everyone’s saying that he goes to all the marriage interviews and leaves before even 30 minutes are up, so it’s understandable why his grandfather is so exasperated. Hey, Do Ook, do you even have any intention of marrying? You’re not just going to humor your old man and then not actually do anything, are you? You’re not going to keep putting it off and telling him you ‘will one day’, right?”
“He said he won’t let me inherit the company if I don’t follow his order, so of course I’ll have to do it.” Do Ook answered, but annoyance was clear on his face.
Sun Ha was so surprised she hadn’t even heard what he just said. ‘He’s… He’s going to get married?’
He wasn’t even going to marry someone he’d fallen for. Instead, he was just throwing himself into the marriage market to please his terminally ill grandfather. If it had just been that he was already taken, Sun Ha could have let all her vague, built-up feelings fall to pieces. Instead, hearing that he had to enter a loveless marriage filled her with regret and also absurd desire.
‘What kind of person would his bride be?’
Whoever she was, she wouldn’t be anything like Sun Ha. No, Do Ook’s wife-to-be would be someone who had grown up wanting nothing, beloved, and showered with affection wherever she went.
Sun Ha had a bitter smile on her face as she emptied another glass of soju. As she did, Do Ook’s quiet gaze fell upon her face.
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