Chapter 19 - Here We Go Again
“Doseon, it might be easy for you to avoid feeling like trash, but your rejection will make me extremely worn out. Now and in the future.”
Doseon could not seem to be able to keep a straight face anymore either. His composed expression seemed to blur out. “I’m very sorry.”
At that, Heerak raised his voice in his answer. “Stop apologizing.”
“Look at the state of this situation. How do you think I feel when you apologize like that? I would only think, “Why would you do something that you’d be sorry for?’” He said that to make himself feel better, but after those words left his mouth, he felt worse. Heerak tousled up his hair, sparkling under the light, and then sighed.
No words came out. The silence in the room was stifling.
Heerak hung his head, looking very solemn, and glanced up. What he saw made his eyes widen.
Doseon’s face was stiff as always. That was not what surprised him.
What caught Heerak’s attention was the color around Doseon’s eyes. When he saw the red rims around Doseon’s eyes, Heerak’s mind went blank. The other man was not crying. But it looked like he was trying desperately to suppress his emotions. Even though Heerak was observing it from a distance, he could see how Doseon was feeling.
‘I’m the one who wants to cry here!’ he yelled on the inside. He felt pretty upset now.
Instead of conforming to his inner thoughts, Heerak stood up from his seat. The chair made a noise as it was pushed back. Across the table, Doseon was glaring intently at his cup, but at the noise, he lifted his chin in surprise.
Heerak approached Doseon. He pushed lightly down on Doseon’s shoulder, who was rising from his seat in surprise, and sat him back down. “What I said just now was a bit harsh. I’m sorry.”
It was a sincere apology.
That surprised Heerak himself.
Throughout his professional life, Heerak did not have the habit of apologizing for everything. The first thing that came to his mind when he saw Doseon’s eyes and pallid face was that he should probably apologize. The next thought was that he was the one who wanted to cry more. He slapped himself for using a sharp tone in his burst of anger. He even regretted snapping at Doseon to this extent.
“No, I’m the one who’s sorry.”
Heerak patted Doseon’s shoulder, as if to comfort the other man. He didn’t know if this was just a feeling, but the more he touched, the stiffer Doseon’s shoulders grew. Maybe the sudden contact made the other man nervous and panicked. Although he thought that, it wasn’t easy to take his hands off. Rather, he even thought that he wanted to rub the other’s shoulders until they became soft and loose.
Heerak laughed to himself.
Right at this moment, he felt a tingling sensation similar to the time when they interlocked fingers, although less intense.
The ups and downs of his emotions were drastic today. All because of this one person.
After that burst of anger and annoyance, he felt at a loss for what to do. This emotional fluctuation was novel to him. He never felt like this before with another person. It was novel, but it was also quite shocking to him.
The mood in the room signaled to Heerak that further discussion was impossible.
The two got up from the table. Doseon looked like he wanted to return to Hodie at least now to go back to work. Of course, Heerak replied with “I’ll drop you off at your place.” He was firm despite the complaints from Doseon. The unyielding attitude of the executive director eventually made Doseon oblige.
“Oh!” Heerak exclaimed as he took one more glance back at the table before they left.
Doseon’s cell phone was still on the table.
“Haha!” He let out a laugh. He was completely in over his head, but it seemed like the other man was too. He picked up the phone and turned. His eyes fell on Doseon’s back.
Heerak peered down for a moment. After looking at it in close proximity, he could overlap this image with that from that night.
Heerak reached out and grabbed the other’s wrist. Under his palm, he could feel the other man tremble slightly. The sudden contact seemed to make the man completely frozen in surprise. He slowly turned his head to look up. Heerak lifted his eyes from the man’s nape onto the other man’s gaze.
“I just thought of a question, so I’ll ask.”
“You didn’t want your face to be seen that night. Why?”
If the answer was “I was feeling shy” or “I felt embarrassed,” Heerak thought he would feel his heart tug a bit. He felt like his spine would tingle if that was the reply he heard from the voice that he wanted to hear that night.
However, Doseon was truly an unpredictable man.
After a pause, the answer he got was completely out of the range of ones he could foresee.
“I can’t really say with certainty. I think I was feeling a bit guilty and anxious.”
“Anxious? Guilty?” Heerak echoed back in a blank tone.
“That night, I felt like I was in a dreamlike state. So if I met eyes with you, I… I thought that this whole turn of events would just end. I also felt guilty that I couldn’t refuse you in a moment of selfishness… There were a lot of thoughts going through my head. And that’s why it was hard for me to look into your eyes when my thoughts were so chaotic.”
As he said all that, Doseon’s tone was very dry. It was not monotonous because he was composed but from his nervousness. The short sighs he let out between his words made his tone uneven.
‘I ended up paying attention to his voice. Before I even knew it,’ Heerak chuckled to himself.
※ IP licensed to WordExcerpt. The rights of this work belong to the copyright holders. No portion of this work may be reproduced, transmitted, copied, duplicated, or modified in any form without written permission from the copyright holders.