Chapter 17 - Are These Photos of Me?
He felt extremely terrible.
It was laughable, but he also felt betrayed.
Even though he yelled at Seokchan that he couldn’t trust Doseon, Heerak must have thought deep inside that Doseon couldn’t be hiding something from him. Despite talking about how he made a memory he would treasure for his lifetime, maybe on the inside, Doseon wanted to use evidence from that night to extort him for money.
Doseon seemed to notice the change in Heerak’s expression. “Are you asking me if I have pictures of you in my phone?”
Doseon asked in a composed tone, but Heerak sensed some hesitation in his voice. Heerak clicked his tongue to himself. There was no way he would welcome the hesitation coming off of that question. Doseon could not give a clear no. There was only one conclusion. Doseon probably wanted to bring it up after testing the waters and making sure he had the upper hand. Heerak could only think that the other party was taken aback by the fact that Heerak brought up the pictures first.
Heerak asked again, sharply, “Do you have pictures of me?”
After a brief pause, Doseon answered, sounding glum, “Yes, I do, but…”
He couldn’t take it any longer. Heerak yelled loudly, “What? You do? Wow. Fantastic.”
Good thing he asked. That was a close call.
He wanted nothing more than to immediately call up Seokchan and shout, “A decent person, my *ss. He’s definitely something else!”
Heerak attempted to cool his head by gulping down cold water while Doseon bowed and apologized. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think to do that, but I should have erased them.”
As he slammed the glass on the table, Heerak’s fine fingers flinched.
He should have erased them?
This was fresh. It was also unexpected.
Doubt soon replaced the anger that was ablaze in his eyes.
Heerak stared at the man on the other side. The deadpan expression was coming apart. That, he liked. His constantly blank expression looked shaken up, and that was probably not an illusion that stemmed from a misunderstanding.
“Well, let me see the picture.”
Doseon quickly swiped his pattern to unlock his phone and then handed it over to Heerak. Heerak quickly found the photo gallery and looked over the folders in the album. There were only three or four folders and not a lot of pictures in each. This was a massive difference compared to his own phone, which had hundreds of photos in various folders. It was a shock to see a photo gallery with no selfies at all. He couldn’t help but scoff at the shoddy gallery, filled with screenshots of subway schedules and maps.
‘Oh, hang on…’
He felt his head spin.
As he opened folders here and there to see where his photo was, he finally found himself looking in a folder labeled “Downloads.”
‘Hold on, these are…’
There were about three photos of him. After swiping through each picture, Heerak became stiff. He couldn’t move a single muscle. “Mr. Yoon.”
“Are these the photos of me that you mentioned?”
Heerak shoved the screen in front of Doseon. Doseon glanced down to confirm and nodded. “That’s right.”
Heerak let out a deep sigh of relief and slumped over. His forehead touched the cool surface of the table, but that didn’t cool his headache and the heat in his face down.
“Executive Director?” Doseon asked in a worried tone, but despite hearing it, Heerak had no energy to respond. He felt truly drained. A weird groan escaped his throat because his tension suddenly left his body.
A moment later, Heerak sprung back up. Doseon’s shoulders jolted in surprise.
“I was so scared!”
Doseon looked at him with puzzled eyes and tilted his head. “Sorry?”
“You said you had pictures of me so I…! Wow, I thought you meant that you took pictures of me dead drunk and lying around naked on the motel bed!”
“You thought that I would take a picture of you sleeping, without your consent?”
Heerak felt a sting of guilt, but he tried to hide it and retorted, “I never said that! I didn’t say I thought you took pictures of me. I only asked if you had them. But imagine how I felt when you said you did have pictures.”
He said like he was making a long list of excuses. Heerak felt a bit hurt, but he had no other choice right now. It was momentary, but it was good that this was a one-sided misunderstanding.
“I never did such a thing.”
“That’s a relief to hear… but wait.”
Heerak sat up properly and lowered his eyes to the phone in his hands. He tapped the dimming screen before the phone locked itself to make it bright again. Heerak’s radiant smile filled the screen.
“So, did you download these pictures?”
Doseon hesitated a bit and said yes in a very quiet voice.
Then, Doseon smiled faintly and answered, “I feel better when I look at them.”
The smile disappeared in a few seconds, as it always did. His face became impassive as if he never smiled, which displeased Heerak. His brows furrowed unconsciously.
Doseon seemed to misread the change and rushed to add, “Sorry, I’ll erase them immediately.”
“No, no. That’s, well…” Heerak dragged out his words. “You don’t have to erase those, right? I won’t force you to erase those. Those aren’t the photos that I expected to find anyways. Anyhow, what I mean is that these pictures are fine to keep.”
Thankfully, Doseon seemed to understand. As he continued to talk in his anxiety-filled voice, his face visibly softened.
Doseon mumbled very quietly, “Will that really be fine? I don’t want to cause trouble for you, Director.”
“It’s fine. Rather, why would it cause trouble? There’s no way that it would.”
“I thought that you might be uncomfortable if the one-night stand you wanted to forget about kept pictures of you. I can understand if you feel unsettled about this. My apologies.”
If someone else had said this, Heerak would think that they were being sarcastic. But from the few exchanges they had, Heerak could easily tell that Doseon did not intend to say that with sarcasm.
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