HEART LIES

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PERSISTANCE PAYS

Sa-rang’s wrist in his grasp Ji-Seong pulled her into a hug; it was suffocating but warm. She tried to wiggle free, but there was no use. The man had no intention of freeing her; they stood there motionless until Sa rang’s coughing forced Ji-Seong to let go.

They stared at each other as if they just met, awkwardly almost shy, but it did not last as Sa-rang hurried to her toilets where she threw up blood clots and water. The painkiller’s side effects were atrocious; what worried her was the clots of blood were the distinct sign of an ulcer; she needed an MRI.

Ji-Seong stood in front of the door, where he watched the woman through the crack she left.

“Don’t even think about coming inside. I still have an ounce of dignity,” Sa-rang said between two coughs.

She got up, washed her face, and came out; she sighed at the sight of Ji-Seong, whose stare displayed resolve that one could not hinder.

“What are you going to do now? Whatever you expect from me, it isn’t possible.”

“Says who?”

“Don’t you see, I’m trying to save you some hassle?” Sa-rang said, bringing her hand to her forehead.

“You’re not a hassle.”

“I’m going toㅡ.”

“Are you hungry, thirsty? You want me to massㅡ.”

“Are you serious?” The woman said with a nervous chuckle.

“Listen, Sa-rang; you can boss me about at Yonsei. Treat me as you wish, but outside I’m just Chae Ji-Seong, a man, and you are Lee Sa-rang, a woman who I want to take care of, and I’ll take care of you regardless of your whining.”

“Ah, chum, and you think I’ll accept that?” Sa-rang said, crossing her arms in protest.

“You don’t have a choice because I’m not going nowhere.”

Ji-Seong approached and took her wrist.

“What are youㅡ.”

She did not have time to finish; she stood to stare at her wrist in dismay as Ji-Seong linked her bracelet.

“I think this belongs to you.”

Ji-Seong’s words danced in Sa-rang’s ears; there, she knew the battle would end with her loss.

This scene was foreseen, and she had not acknowledged it.

Sa-rang was the only one to blame, the instigator of this situation. Their eyes should have never crossed in that nightclub; her story, which was supposed to be played in five Acts, was getting a bonus sixth.

Ji-Seong scared her; the med student was not like In-Sung, subtle and calm. Behind his poised exterior, the young man was impulsive. Sa-rang already experienced the Ji-Seong effect. One could not calculate with a man who anticipated reading inside you.

“Ji-Seong, you don’t know what you are exposing yourself to.”

“Happiness, my own and yours; If men are programmed to search for happiness, then that’s what I’ll do holding your hand like this.”

Sa rang gazed at her hand again, he had not let go since, and she did not even notice.

“There’s no future; it’s a dead-end, dead,” Sa rang said, trying to convince herself more than the man in front of her.

“Leave me the choice.”

No reasoning was all the woman read in the Ji-Seong’s eyes.

Sa rang, turned her stare away, embarrassed and ashamed to admit having him there relieved her.

A week passed since Sonmi’s last altercation with Jae. No more messages arrived late at night, her dull life where she and her mother crossed each other without saying a word continued.

Eun Young filled the small room with the gifts Myeong gave her, causing our not the roaring jealousy of Hana.

And finally, Sonmi avoided appearing in front of Ji-Seong, feeling unworthy to be in his presence. There seemed to be reciprocity in the gesture for Ji-Seong too diverted course at the sight of her.

Does he know?

The thought gave Sonmi bellyaches; it was apparent Ji-Seong was aware of the situation. Jae was a good friend of his, yet something told Sonmi that Jae did not blurt it out like a cry of victory if confession there was.

Lost in her thoughts, Sonmi walked the street leading back to her room, Jae’s grim facial expression haunting every step.

“Sonmi.”

This voice.

“Sonmi, wait.”

Sonmi speeded up. How could he be there? She thought, seeing the end of the tunnel to the story, but here he appeared again.

Jae overtook her and blocked her passage.

Sonmi’s expression darkened, “Jae, I told you never to appear in front of me again.”

“Annyeong, Sonmi.”

“Jae.”

The young man looked around, spotting what he looked for. He grabbed Sonmi by the hand, “come with me.”

“What are you doing? Let go,” Sonmi said in protest.

Jae ignored her and dragged her across the street to Angel’s cafe. In a public place, Sonmi stopped trying to wiggle free as Jae stopped at the counter.

“I’ll have ice coffee and my friend,” he turned to glance at her, “what do you want?”

Sonmi looked away, Jae still held her hand, and from the outside, they looked like two quarreling lovers.

Without an answer, Jae chose “a Carmel macchiato for my friend, please” the waitress gave him a beeper so he could retrieve the drinks, and they went to find a table.

“What is this supposed to mean?” Sonmi said as Jae freed her from his grasp and held her by the shoulders to make her sit.

Jae sat down too and slid his phone across the table to her side, “we’re in a public place. You can scream when you want or use my phone to call the police, but before you do that, hear me out.”

The solemn tone of his voice forced Sonmi to listen even if she rolled eyes.

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