Chapter 21 - Difference in Ethics
The precarious atmosphere grew heavier, sinking deeper and deeper into the floor.
* * *
Drip, drip. The droplets of water trickled down his silky chin, falling into the drain. Yoonshin stared back at his reflection; the rims of his eyes were bloodshot and red.
“Nobody at the firm calls you by your name anyways. They all call you the nepotism hire.”
Surprisingly, what Sehun told Yoonshin at that time was a hint of sorts. A partner with Sehun’s level of influence was apt to need assistance from a junior lawyer on small tasks, but he had never said a single word about work demands for an entire month. Yoonshin wasn’t being neglected because he couldn’t do work. It was most likely because Sehun wasn’t certain if Yoonshin was a man of Doguk yet.
“No wonder he kept calling me Fourth-year this, Fourth-year that.” Yoonshin assumed that the older man wanted to damage Yoonshin’s pride by using a weird nickname instead of his real name on purpose. However, that was not the case—Sehun truly saw Yoonshin as a lawyer who drifted outside the firm for four years. That was quite humiliating.
Yoonshin did his best for the past two days so as not to make an embarrassment out of himself. He really tried. But ultimately, he suffered indescribable humiliation which made him feel like shit. He was partially at fault, but even so, the other’s initiation ceremony was too merciless. The afterimage of Sehun inexorably casting aside two days worth of Yoonshin’s fruits of labor just moments ago lingered in Yoonshin’s eyes.
“Sadist,” Yoonshin mumbled as he pulled out several sheets of paper towels and dried his hands. For some reason, he suddenly remembered when Sehun wiped away the dampness in his eyelashes and transferred it to his lips. He scrubbed his blameless face ruthlessly.
“If he saw through my thoughts, then he could have gone easy and taught me from the beginning. Is his hobby to humiliate people? Or is he a scumbag to begin with? There should be a limit to how trash someone’s personality is.”
“Probably both?” another voice interjected.
While Yoonshin was distracted by rubbing his face roughly, someone approached him before he knew it.
At first, Yoonshin thought that the dulcet yet familiar voice was pleasant to the ear, but in a span of a few seconds, his thoughts flipped 180 degrees. He shouldn’t hear this voice right here and now. His stiffened neck barely managed to turn to face the source of the voice. Yoonshin saw the sculpted figure of Sehun with his jacket sleeves rolled up and approaching the sink.
‘I’m screwed.’ Yoonshin turned blue, and his face was full of chaotic emotions.
How much did he hear?
“Unfortunately, I was here starting from ‘sadist,’” Sehun, who was washing off his hands stained with fountain pen ink, replied to the unvoiced question.
Yoonshin paled in horror and stared at the other’s face in utter devastation. “Senior Attorney, do you perhaps read minds?”
“If I did, my life would have been so much easier. Wipe off your face gently. Your good looks are a weapon that you can use to your advantage. I might have a use for it in the future, so don’t waste it.”
Yoonshin clenched the wet towel tightly, imagining it was the other, then finished wiping himself up. Soon after, he wordlessly gawked at the other with a complicated face. Sehun must have felt uncomfortable with the gaze because, even though he was ignoring Yoonshin so far, he finally glanced at Yoonshin through the mirror.
The two men exchanged looks with the glass as a medium. The mirror was clear and transparent; it almost felt like it could reflect not only the physical world but also the inner workings of the mind.
At that moment, Sehun frowned, his face contorted even though he was always so composed despite hearing explicit insults. He didn’t try to hide his displeasure and asked, “Why are you looking at me like that? I don’t like it.”
“Because I’m confused.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“You’re helping me even though you’re the root of my problems. You humiliated me just moments ago, and now you’re saying you’ll use me later.”
“You call that help? I see you’re easy. I don’t get along with easy kids.”
“You know, saying that to a person to their face is sadistic.”
“At least I’m an honest sadist, unlike you, bad-mouthing people behind their backs.”
Oh. Yoonshin recalled what had just happened and apologized immediately, “I’m sorry about that. I just… felt angry. They say anyone can speak ill of their country when nobody is listening, so please forgive me.”
“This bastard… I don’t know if he’s shameless or just brainless,” Sehun said to himself and shook his head, unwilling to further associate with the younger man as he dried off his cleanly washed hands on a paper towel. He turned to leave, ignoring Yoonshin.
However, Yoonshin stepped in front of Sehun, blocking his way and making him stop. “If you had instructed me with exactly what you wanted, the result would have been different. You’re right that I approached this simplistically, but it’s also true that you just wanted to nitpick. That was mean of you.”
Surprisingly, Sehun readily admitted to Yoonshin’s accusation. “The courts are like that. If you submit evidence, all you do is nitpick, nitpick, and nitpick each other. Winning and losing are decided by who demonstrates their point and refutes the opposing party the most convincingly. That’s why I told you it wouldn’t be helpful even if I attended. You should have heeded my warning.”
“All right. I don’t know what will happen in the future, so I’ll keep it in mind that it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
“I don’t know. You seem exactly like the type to continue misbehaving. I don’t have zero expectations of you. I told you the other day. Just do what you’ve been assigned to properly. Don’t be a nuisance to me,” Sehun stated.
Sehun just told him to simply do what he was told, but at other times, he scolded Yoonshin for only doing exactly as told. Yoonshin couldn’t figure out how to interpret Sehun’s instructions. “Do you want me to just do what I’m told or do other things I’m not told to do? I can’t figure out your intentions.”
“This is also a test. Find the answer yourself.”
Oftentimes, clients lied.
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