Chapter 18 - Are These Photos of Me?
Even so, it did not feel great to hear. Something about it did not sit well with him. A corner of his heart stirred about slightly.
“Don’t erase them.” He blurted out without thinking. Heerak was surprised at himself, and he quickly added more to it. “You said you feel better when you see my pictures.”
Doseon nodded firmly a couple times. “You’re right.”
“I appreciate hearing that. Thank you.” Heerak winked and said playfully. “Let’s end this discussion here then. Is that fine with you?”
Heerak felt completely washed out after overcoming this one hurdle. He forgot all the questions he meant to ask, and even if he squeezed his brain dry, he did not think he could remember them.
Heerak stared intently at the expressionless face that was looking down. In his head, he tried to recall the short episodes of his memories of that night. The first thing that came to mind was the flushed ears after he interlocked fingers. The tingling feeling that he felt then was still fresh on his mind. He started to wonder if maybe he liked people with a certain fresh charm about them.
As he was reminiscing about that night, Heerak suddenly let out a short, “Ah, Mr. Yoon.”
Doseon lifted his head in response to his name, and their eyes met. “Yes?”
“That night, I asked if we were having consensual s*x. Remember? Right after I asked if it was rape.”
The squirming lips couldn’t answer straight away. It was a similar situation to that night. Heerak was thinking that it was strange when he heard a soft reply, “Yes.”
Heerak asked in the lightest tone possible, to avoid making it seem like he was interrogating the other man. “You answered immediately when I asked if it was s*xual assault, but when I asked if it was consensual, you hesitated, like just now. You remember that too?”
“Why did you hesitate?”
After a moment of thinking, Doseon answered carefully. “Because it wasn’t completely consensual. You were drunk. You didn’t know who exactly your partner was. If you think about it, I used this situation to my advantage.” There was a pause. “I apologize again, Executive Director.”
This last part was so quiet that he had to strain his ears to hear.
His mood dampened. Heerak felt an unexplainable bitterness and found himself looking for cold water.
It was the same as last time. Doseon used every opportunity to apologize again and again. Heerak felt like the reasons for which Doseon was apologizing were logical. But then again, he felt like this was becoming a complete mess.
There was one thing for certain though.
Heerak did not like this situation at all.
He especially did not want to hear another apologetic whisper from Doseon. If he heard one more apology, he felt like his insides would churn.
“Did you give it a second thought?” Heerak decided to change the topic.
In a way, he pretty much brought up the main issue to resolve. He did not ask that question to turn the atmosphere heavy. He would rather quickly resolve the situation than try to remember all the questions he wanted to ask.
“What do you mean?”
“Is there anything you want from me? Anything you wish for?”
“There’s none that I can think of.”
Heerak scoffed. He was ready this time. “Just 40,000 won and memories. There’s a limit to how low of a pit to throw me into.”
Doseon looked a bit surprised and his eyes widened. “Excuse me?”
“Ask for more.” Before Doseon could respond, Heerak quickly continued. “When you say you only want 40,000 won from me for that one night, doesn’t that also imply that that night with me was only worth 40,000 won to you?”
The other man’s face became flustered in embarrassment. It was a good sight to see. “Director, that’s not what I…!”
“If not, then what? That’s why you should ask for more. Please just do that, for the sake of my inner peace.”
Doseon’s eyes shook for a moment, but then he answered resolutely. “I’m really sorry, Director, but I can’t do that.”
“I don’t think I could stand myself if I received anything material from you. Even now, I can’t think of that night in a merely positive light. It’s because of the reason I said just a moment ago. If I receive something from you, I think I will feel like complete trash.”
“Please reconsider this, Director.” Doseon bowed down deeply. “I’m truly sorry to cause troubles for you because of my impulsive decision. But I am going to act like I did not hear that offer.”
He received another apology.
Then, Heerak said in a tone that he could only describe as extremely irritated. “Then what if I just shoved money in your paycheck? What are you going to do about it?”
Doseon replied without hesitation. “Then I will ask my manager to return it and quit my job at Hodie.”
“Wow…” Heerak laughed hollowly, exhaling like a balloon losing air.
If Doseon quit his job at Hodie, it would not be good for Heerak in the end. He needed to keep Doseon within his sight to keep watch over him to see if he tried something funny. Nothing would make Heerak more anxious than if Doseon suddenly disappeared from his radar.
“I get it. I understand everything you said. But since you’re drawing the line, I have no choice.” Heerak muttered in a dry tone. “Doseon, I need to tell you something.”
His transparent face became extremely frigid. His cold eyes looked straight at the face of the man sitting across from him.
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