Chapter 13 – Lost Memories
When their eyes met, the man furtively smiled. Yuri, shying away from the stranger’s kind gesture, shook her head and said, “Ah, no. It’s fine.”
“Come on. It’s really okay. I also like shrimps, so it won’t be a problem.”
She was about to refuse again when the clerk, seeing the long line behind them, gauged her to accept his offer, “You’re too kind, sir. Thank you.”
“My pleasure. You see that quote up there?” He pointed to a dangling piece of paper plastered on the wall, “It is better to share delicious food with others. And the food here is excellent if you might ask me.” He grinned.
The man winked at Yuri and, to her surprise, continued to converse with her.
“Do you remember where we met before?”
“Pardon?” She looked up at his face and narrowed her eyes, trying to see if his face would indeed ring some bells. Is he hitting on me?
Seeing her confused and clueless face, the man felt disappointed. Hence his eyes lost its cheer. “We met a few days ago, on your way out of the office of head director.”
Oh, I remember. He was the man who was holding an item which looked like a painting covered in paper!
Putting on a small smile, she nodded, “I remember you now.”
“I think it is destiny so, why don’t we ask each other’s name? I’m Jae-won Lee, and you are?” He confidently prodded, his face bright as he expected an immediate answer.
“I’m Yuri Han.”
“Ms. Han, will you go to Si-yeon’s… Ah no, the head director’s office today? I’m asking because I’ll be visiting her office later.”
“No. I don’t have a reason to go to the head director’s office today.”
“Ah, really. Too bad,” said Jae-won while scratching his head in embarrassment.
At that time, the clerk from the counter gave Yuri a box of dim sum and a couple of take-out orders to Jae-won. When she got the tray, she turned her head at the generous man, who winked at her again, “Enjoy your meal.”
Yuri nodded and emitted a small thanks.
He held many packages on both of his hands, but still, he was able to wave one hand to Yuri.
Left alone to her peace, at last, Yuri sat on the corner and followed Jae-won’s retreating figure with her gaze. He was heading out of the store in wide strides like he was in a hurry.
What is his position that he could call the name of the head director so casually? With his looks and confidence, he doesn’t look like an ordinary employee.
It wasn’t long when the scent of the dim sum wafted up to her nose, and her stomach grumbled in protest–she was quite famished. Hence, she picked up the chopsticks while she continued to think over the man she just encountered.
Ms. Si-yeon, the head director, is already engaged. Is he her fiance then?
With this, came the image of the diamond ring that glinted on the fourth finger of Si-yeon. That must’ve cost a fortune, she thought to herself.
While her mind drifted, she unconsciously began cutting the fat dim sum into half with her chopsticks.
When Yuri lived in Jinseong, her dad sometimes brought dim sum from Seohwadang on his way back from work. But… he had long left her alone–her father was already dead.
What was more, distressing was the fact that she had no memories of his death. According to her uncle, who arranged the funeral, it was a car accident. He was intoxicated when he drove his car one unfortunate night. It was such a tragedy–which she couldn’t quite recall.
Her memory was vague, as if a dark veil covered it. Hopefully, coming back to her hometown would help her regain her lost memories.
She heaved a sigh and decided to start on her meal. However, when she gazed at her plate, she was dumbfounded–the aligned dim sums were all divided into half.
Am I the one who did this?
[It’s too hot, let me cut these for you] As if on cue, a manly voice suddenly sliced through her head. Her hands shook, and the chopsticks fell from her grip.
What was it just now?
The voice was familiar yet; she couldn’t figure out who its owner was. In her past, far long buried with her memory loss, there was someone who knew how she loved the dim sum from Seohwadang. That person used to bring her these treats and divides them for her into half, so the heat dissipates.
From the short memory that rose to her head in a flash, Yuri felt nauseous. Eventually, she felt the bile coming up her throat. Covering her mouth, she headed towards the comfort room in wobbly but rushed steps.
* * *
When Jae-won went to the head director’s office, he thought Secretary Kim would greet him as usual, but surprisingly, another man, whom he knew very much, was also in the room. When their eyes met, Mr. Lee stood up and bowed his head to him. Jae-won returned the gesture.
“Oh, Mr. Lee, you are also here! Is my cousin, Mr. Seo, here too?”
“Yes, with his fiance, Ms. Si-yeon.”
Not a surprise at all.
Upon his engagement with Si-yeon, Tae-jun was pushing his business in full gear. However, Si-yeon proved to be his match–she was not just an ordinary, foxy woman who would risk everything. A true tactician, she didn’t give it all without earning a massive profit on her end.
The two were indeed fit for each other, people said. Their upcoming union would be a win-win situation for both of them–and their families, of course. Their engagement gave birth to the steel partnership of two powerful companies.
Yet, in terms of genuine affection between the couple, no one was certain if it ever existed between them.
Not that it was necessary. Love isn’t needed in flourishing a wealthy empire, isn’t it?
This fact made Jae-won wonder if compared to them, he could be considered abnormal. Why not? In this kind of world, he couldn’t afford to do the things they do.
With a broad smile, he offered one streaming box to Mr. Lee, “Are you hungry? I brought dim sums with me. Try some! I bought a lot,” Ms. Kim then appeared in the doorway, “Ah, Ms. Kim, these dim sums are from Seohwadang! It’s still a good business.”
Two years ago, Si-yeon, in search of profitable business partners, went to Jinseong to try the dim sums from Seohwadang. A tiresome transaction which led to fruitful results–Seohwadang dim sums are now offered in Daejin Department Store. Ms. Kim, who was aware of her boss’ efforts, smiled and nodded her head.
“It still has the highest rank in sales in the food court. I heard that Seohwadang dim sums were introduced by Mr. Jae-won Lee?”
Jae-won was indeed the one who introduced the delicious dim sums to Si-yeon, but he was not the first one to have seen potential in the small, dull shop in Jinseong–it was none other than Tae-jun.
Five years ago, Tae-Jun would travel to Jinseong, which was 2 hours away from Seoul, just to buy the dim sums of Seohwadang. In the long run, he also invited Jae-won to try the said delicacy.