Reunion Chapter 27
The wet towel covering my face slid down. The eyes that met came closer little by little. I had been suffocating as if the oxygen around me had suddenly decreased.
Still, I couldn’t avoid the eyes of the man I faced. My heart rattled, nervous that my secret had been revealed.
I felt like I wanted to run away, overshadowing the decision that Jang Yoonsung might have repeated that dozen times just that day.
When I felt like I couldn’t breathe in the narrow gap, a clear feeling brushed my lips. His firm hand pulled my chin and there was a strong grip around my waist.
“Can we do it one more time? Kiss.”
Even while he was saying that our lips brushed against each other several times. When I hesitated, Jang Yoonsung added.
“I think only then I can remember something.”
I would be too cold-hearted if I didn’t listen. So I relaxed my tense body and closed my eyes tightly. Soon, the soft flesh of his lips touched my lips.
The kiss gradually and cautiously became dense. Jang Yoonsung tried to reach his memory by deeply kissing me. Every time, a lump of mushy flesh stirred in my mouth and a wet sound rang in my ear.
My legs lost balance in the spirit of the moment. Pretending to hold on to my shaky body, Jang Yoonsung’s hand dug under my clothes.
The touch of my warm hand touched my body was strange yet cool. I pushed Jang Yoonsung without realizing but he didn’t budge. Jang Yoonsung only came closer again and pushed me back, barely falling behind. I wondered how many steps I was pushed behind that my back touched the wall with a thud. My heart was palpitating at the touch more than ever.
Wait a minute, I wanted to say but as if he would not listen to me, he persistently followed me and kissed me, turning his head from side to side. There was no place for me to retreat to, so I slid down the wall while Jang Yoonsung supported me by squeezing in between my legs.
I didn’t sit down or lie down but was crumpled in an awkward position as we kissed for a long time. The hand came under my clothes and felt my skin here and there. I couldn’t stop it with with the force I accumulated, just enough for him not to get hurt. In the end, I pushed hard and the persistent person barely parted away from me. My clothes were already wrinkled up.
I straightened my tee.
Jang Yoonsung stared at me without saying sorry. No, he was looking at me but didn’t seem to be looking at me. Did something come to his mind?
Even if he thought about Han Jiyoung, he had to pretend not to know. If he hadn’t remembered Han Jiyoung yet, it meant there was no evidence left of her so I persuaded myself to ask him, pretending that it was none of my business.
“Did you…remember something?”
Jang Yoonsung didn’t say anything. I was stiff as if I had forgotten to breathe. I wanted to wait until I came to my senses, but my posture was uncomfortable because I was trapped in between the person and the wall. In the end, I wiggled a little and Jang Yoonsung blinked confusedly a few times and then slowly wrinkled his eyes and laughed.
“You believed me?”
“You are easier than I thought. It’s okay with me but if you fall that easy for another man’s tricks, I would feel a little uneasy.”
That pathetic voice he used earlier was just an excuse to kiss me. It didn’t sound right and I didn’t like the way he spoke so I kicked him in the shin.
“Was it a lie? About the girl’s face as well?”
“I meant that but I thought if I kissed you, I would remember her. But now that I see it, you do not look alike at all.”
The face he was talking about was that face, but it couldn’t be possible otherwise. Nevertheless, Jang Yoonsung pretended to look closely at my face and parted away sourly before straightening his wrinkled clothes and reaching out to me.
I got up holding his hand. His hands were still soft and warm.
“Aren’t you hungry? Deokgu is also safe so let’s have dinner.”
Jang Yoonsung said as if to wrap up that day’s scuffle. I was hungry because of how I wandered around the mountain earlier.
As soon as I thought of dinner, I remembered the table outside in the garden. I left my cell phone there as well as our dinner.
The rain was still pouring heavily. I quickly took the umbrella and went out, as I witnessed the messy table. I couldn’t blame anyone because I brought this on myself. While wiping down the drenched cell phone on the hem of my clothes and plunging it into my pocket, Jang Yoonsung, who followed me outside, piled up the plates one by one. It was fortunate that I hadn’t taken out the meat earlier. We decided to grill the meat in a pan so we went inside.
While I rummaged through the refrigerator and found something to eat, Jang Yoonsung grilled the meat on the pan. I thought he would be better than me, however, Jang Yoonsung was staring at the pain, in low spirits, as the pan burned. So how much was a pack of meat?
“Maybe it’s because I am not used to the pan.”
I looked at him blankly but Jang Yoonsung shrugged as if it was nothing. Then, in the end, the beef which was overcooked until it was burned was piled up on the plate and served on the table. I thought I could understand why so I ate rice with the meat without complaining.
It was too overcooked to the point I couldn’t eat it. The person who made the meat watched me eat, holding his chopsticks.
“I’m happy that Lee Hakyung eats well whatever I make you.”
He seemed to have been staring at my face with that thought. As if I would eat everything he couldn’t eat. I answered as if I was sulking, wondering if he was making fun of me.
“I don’t eat because it’s delicious. I eat to live.”
It turned out to be a tough word. Even after abandoning Jang Yoonsung and losing my mother, I only thought about living. Fortunately, Jang Yoonsung didn’t remember being abandoned by me and my mom…would still tell me I did well. I stuffed too much in my mouth that it was hard to swallow. Jang Yoonsung laughed as if his words teasing me previously weren’t persistent enough.
“Never mind, tell me what you remembered.”
Jang Yoonsung pretended not to know, saying, “Huh?” and eventually replied, “That’s all.”
“All you can think of is her face?”
Jang Yoonsung seemed to have regained his usual coolness and looked straight at me as if they weren’t lies. But I saw it. The face that was hard to see in Jang Yoonsung, that too, twice.
“How much does she look like me?”
“I couldn’t remember clearly.”
Indeed, a memory buried for seven years would have been worn out already. It wouldn’t come to mind as clearly as a picture at once.
I swallowed a sip of beer and put a piece of meat in my mouth. I thought it would be better to cook it slightly crispy on the outside rather than soft and undercooked.
As I chewed the mouth and savored it, Jang Yoonsung slipped another plate in front of me with a proud expression.
“You don’t like undercooked food. So a fried egg.”
He added as if he knew what I liked well. Well, he decided to give it to me as if he half intended.
Even after the meal, the rain didn’t stop. It wasn’t bad to sit around the sofa listening to the rain. While watching the TV along with snacks and cheese on the table, Jang Yoonsung put down a bottle of whiskey and cans of beer.
The bar didn’t only serve beer, so I also guessed how much Jang Yoonsung alcohol Jang Yoonsung bought. If I ever told Sungwook hyung how much he drank, his eyes would be wide open. I wanted to drink it but it was also a waste.
“If you are not drunk on that, why do you drink? Such a pity.”
“How do you know whether I am drunk or not?’
“I saw you at the bar. It was as if you were pouring water into the bottomless pit.”
“I didn’t know you were so attentive.”
I was in such a hurry to avoid meeting him that I never looked at him closely but I heard Jungho and Jongmin talking once. Jang Yoonsung usually drinks lightly but if he made a bet with Seo Kijoon, he would catch fire for some reason and the sales from the table would jump tremendously that day.
“It’s not like that…”
Somehow Jang Yoonsung seemed very moved so I was embarrassed and dragged the blanket that was placed in one corner of the sofa under my chin.
Maybe since it was not the city, it was colder at night. Jang Yoonsung sat next to me as if he was exhibiting his body warmth and we watched TV together. A celebrity was traveling on a famous salt desert, and there were many “Wow” exclamations. I had seen it several times on the TV or the internet but it was a scene that made me admire it every time I saw it.
“Oh, can ordinary people visit that place?”
How could I get to the middle of the desert like that? I wouldn’t be able to go there anyway but I was still curious and brought it up.
“You can go.”
“Yeah, a few years back. Let’s go together next time. If you are okay with a satisfactory hotel, that is.”
I pretended not to hear that I was asked to come with him next time. I thought it would be okay to pretend not to listen to what he was rambling after that. I wasn’t the type to be picky about things like that to start with.
Pointing to the whiskey bottle Jang Yoonsung bought, I asked, “Can I drink that?” Jang Yoonsung nodded and filled the glass and handed it to me. I had something to brag about to Sungwook hyung so I continued the conversation as I accepted the glass from him with excitement.
“Can you sleep in such a hotel?’
“Of course, I can’t.”
Jang Yoonsung smiled as I was asking something obvious. I knew it. Even though I laughed at him, he told me the story of his trip in a calm voice. He had probably been here and there but the place he was talking about now was not a famous tourist destination but a place not many people have been to. Whether it was because he was a rich man and had a lot of money, he seemed to have traveled everywhere and even to remote places, unaware of the place where he was heading. There was no adventure I heard of, but some stories of how Jang Yoonsung was infected by a bug, got lost in a place where he couldn’t communicate properly, and was almost trapped on an island…all of those stories, Jang Yoonsung recited in a dry voice.
After listening to it with interest for a long time, I suddenly realized that Jang Yoonsung was the main character in all of those trips. Was Jang Yoonsung that kind of person? Come to think of it, I didn’t hear those stories seven years ago. Did that mean that all of that happened after that? The drinks in the glass I was holding shone brightly.
“It must have been fun.”
The hint of sleepiness was evident when I muttered those words. But, I wanted to say how great it was. Now that I knew the name of the drink I had in my hand and how expensive it was. Just as Jang Yoonsung’s world has expanded over the past seven years, I have learned that I became even more afraid than before. It was as if once I was cut, after that if I came across the same knife, whatever resolution I had, I was even more scared of the threats that came with it.
So Jang Yoonsung, who experienced a lot of things, was great. Although he didn’t add any denial of affirmation to my words, I guessed it must have been fun.
If Jang Yoonsung found all the memories and discovered that I was Han Jiyoung, would he be angry as he was then? Just like that day, my attitude suddenly changed. I remembered everything I went through in the villa, but I didn’t want to reflect on the days when Jang Yoonsung treated me coldly.
The days when I was afraid that Jang Myeongsoo would lose what he had promised me and I would end up disappointing Chairman Jang. I didn’t know everything I knew now. At that time, I was afraid that Jang Yoonsung would turn his back on me forever. Funny how I didn’t want to be hated by him but I didn’t want to be caught even more.
Jang Yoonsung, in my shaky vision, stole the glass I was holding in my hand. It had been hard for me to wander the mountain in the rain so even though it wasn’t bedtime yet, I fell asleep.
He tilted my heavy head towards his shoulder. He was willing to lend me his shoulders. I managed to capture Jang Yoonsung’s face in a rapidly narrowed field of vision.
He stared at the glass he had taken from me and sipped it. Jang Yoonsung’s lips were moving as if he was talking with me or muttering to himself.
“What should I do if it’s not…”
I didn’t think you’d like it then. In the distant consciousness, a low, cold voice rang in my ears.
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