Chapter 83 - Will You Marry Me?
“That’s the toughest question I’ve ever heard,” Woojin admitted.
“But you’re the math expert here, Director Shin,” Hyein retorted.
The answer resided in Hyein’s mind, so no matter how many thousands or tens of thousands of times Woojin busied away at the calculator, he would never reach it. Hyein knew that too. “I wish this contract would end sooner, so we can just go back to the way we’ve lived for the past eight years…”
He interrupted suddenly, “Hyein, will you marry me?”
Her eyes widened in astonishment. She whipped her head towards Woojin, who seemed perfectly composed, but the tremble in his eyelashes gave away the chaos within. The bluntly spoken words starkly contrasted with its stupefying content. Hyein stuttered, “W-w-what are you talking about? W-why…?”
“I wonder if I have a hero complex or something. I see you and how you’re living, and I just can’t let you be like this.” Hyein eyed him cautiously as he continued defeatedly, “What the hell are you doing to me, hmm?”
Woojin leaned on her, body heavy like a sodden log, shoulders trembling slightly. This wasn’t like him at all. Where was the usual shamelessly confident—perhaps even arrogant in some sense—Woojin? So Hyein told herself not to forget her plight and sympathize with him as if he was a pitiful dog in need of rescue, and instead shut her mouth, refraining from saying what she was about to say.
The two of them had spent quite a bit of time together since they signed the contract, but it was rare for them to have an honest conversation or openly reminisce about their past. They had only talked with their bodies, and because of that, it had taken them this long, months later, to earn a slight peek into what each other was thinking.
Hyein hesitated before helplessly sliding her arm around his back to hug him back. The moment her hand landed on his wide back, she subtly felt his quiet, labored breathing on her skin. Why did he keep making her doubt herself? She felt that just like he had yesterday, Woojin was expressing that he still had feelings for her, rattling her heart.
Hyein had not expected how lonely she felt with the two of them lying in the same place yet having such different thoughts. She looked at the sleeping Woojin, feeling as if she was standing alone in a twilit, gloomy place even though he was beside her. She concluded that there was no meaning in them being together if this was how things were going to be.
She shook the back of her hand over his calm face and observed him as he continued to lay motionless. He had always been a tidy sleeper. She waved her hands a few more times in front of his elegant face, and still, he remained unresponsive. Only after she was convinced that he was asleep did she exhale a long, heavy breath.
Dead to the world, Woojin looked so docile. For some reason, Hyein thought that she was sharing a bed with Janus incarnate. ‘Why do you…’
Sometimes, Woojin would look at her, and in his eyes, Hyein would see a wounded beast. She wasn’t surprised that he felt betrayed as he had never been abandoned before. But, clearly he was the one who crossed the line first, so how could he have completely forgotten that and be so engrossed in the fact that she had hurt him?
Now that she was getting to know him again years later, she found that he wasn’t as savage and brutal as she had imagined. It confused her. The document denouncing her that her math teacher had presented a long time ago as evidence of his betrayal was obviously in his handwriting. Not only that, the header had his name written on it. It had been conclusive evidence that she didn’t even doubt. However, recently, she couldn’t help but remind herself that she didn’t know what sort of troubles Woojin might have been facing back then. The opposing tsunami and maelstrom inside her were both growing more powerful.
‘Could it be possible that there’s something that I’m not aware of? Could it have been a misunderstanding, something beyond us?’
Hyein tentatively reached out her hand and brushed the hair above his forehead that had just dried. “Who are you really? Why do I keep feeling as if you looked for me and located me?”
He had ruined her life. He had shamelessly deceived her for the three years she had been blindly in love with him, yet she didn’t sense any sign of remorse from him. To sum it up with one word, Shin Woojin was despicable.
Yet, when they met again, Woojin had done nothing but offered her a helping hand. He cared for her, helping her as if he had been waiting for this moment for a long time. She could only see his kind side. This was dangerously attractive, more than anything. Hyein was terrified that she would fall in love with him again, but this time she wouldn’t be able to pull herself out.
At first, she had thought that he was trying to deceive her again, but Woojin had nothing to gain from doing that. The first rule to a con was to extend a rotten cord to someone who could afford to give something in return. However, the rope Woojin had given her was priceless, while she had absolutely nothing to give him.
“Shin Woojin.” As soon as she called his name, she was overcome with the urge to call him by his previous address, “Sunbae.”
Because it had been so long since she had called him that to his face, it left a strange sensation in her mouth and made her uneasy. Wanting to be thoroughly sure that he was sleeping, Hyein looked straight at Woojin and called him as she had done in the past, “Woojin sunbae.”
She had unconsciously climbed up and leaned her face closer to his. His lips were slightly parted, breathing evenly when she lightly touched her lips to them. Mimicking Woojin’s habit, she puckered her lips, kissed him softly, and slowly pulled away. The color left her face as she thought in dread, ‘What the heck am I doing?’