HEART LIES

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SMOTHERED

“Where’s the information?”

“I told you, I don’t have time for that?”

“Ya imma, who do you work for?” Hyeon yelled in her car, making the driver stare in his rearview mirror.

It was rare to have the pretty primed boss lady scream, but she had this effect on Hyeon Ju.

The collector was probably the only person on earth who brought the color of anger to Hyeon Ju’s cheeks.

“Ya, Ahjumma, please, I told you I’m busy these days. I don’t have time to stalk your son or your runaway knight.”

“Ah-Ah-Ahjumma, you say, I’m no Ahjumma, you michin nyeon,” Hyeon said, taken aback by the title the woman gave her.

“Driver, stop the car,” the collector said.

Hyeon Ju gave the driver who pulled up a dark eye, “ya, which of us pays you? You’re not going to listen to her, are you?”

The collector got out and leaned over, poking her head in the car, “remember, I’m a freelancer. You’ll have your information; just be patient.”

Hyeon Ju pursued her lips as the collector slammed the door and walked away.

Once the collector heard the sound of the engine and tires, the woman took the USB key from her pocket and tossed it in the air as she walked.

There was nothing she loved more than making Hyeon Ju sweat. All the information SK’s boss needed was in this key within the collector’s hand.

The young woman smiled as she passed the doors of Yonsei’s hospital to face another day of rotations.

No more Rendez-vous for Silent Knight, no more moments with Sa-Rang, Ji-Seong found himself with too much time on his hands.

For once, the man wished he was a little dimwitted so he could at least ponder on some books. Unfortunately, Ji-Seong couldn’t even have the leisure to cry over a complicated thesis.

Ji-Seong was bored; if only he had a little distraction, someone seemed to hear his prayer as his phone buzzed. He hurried to pick up just to roll eyes at the caller’s name.

He got up and left the study table, where all eyes followed his stride.

“Wa, Chae Ssineun ga cheongmal meossiso,” [Chae is genuinely cool, handsome].

A few female students sitting at the surrounding tables gave silent nods of approval while the guys muttered and conjured.

“Ouch, Oppa wahéle, why do you always get all jealous as though you have a sis-con syndrome?”

“Neo michin-.”

Dae Jung nodded.

“Dae Jung, why are you nodding, chukulaé?” [do you want to die?] Gong Won threatened.

Dae Jung smiled, “no, seriously, Gong Won, you prevent guys from approaching your sister, you follow her about, and you are always asking about where Soo Hae is.”

“I do not.”

Soo Hae turned to face her brother and patted him on the back, “you do, Oppa, you know I love you, but you and I is just not possible.”

“Neo-neo-neo, you are crazy. I’m not going to spend one more minute with you crazy people.”

A few seconds later, Gong Won had gathered his belongings and left.

In the meantime, Ji-Seong was trying to wiggle out of a sticky situation,” No, I can’t do it.”

“I’m asking you personally, Ji-Seong, it’s just dinner, please.”

“Alright,” Ji-Seong hated hearing the woman plead.

The call ended Ji-Seong headed back to their group’s table,” where’s Gong Won?”

“He’s somewhere sulking; he just realized siblings couldn’t get married,” Dae Jung said with a smirk while giving Soo Hae an accomplice grin.

“Okay, guys, whatever, we better get going; otherwise, Sa-the drill sergeant is going to make us camp at the morgue again.”

It was a close call accustomed to addressing himself to Sa rang in familiar terms Ji-Seong almost slipped up.

As expected, Sa-rang was in a foul mood; the students even got the impression she was crankier than usual.

The truth was Sa rang had a difficult time controlling her temper due to the side effects of her medication, and Ji-Seong could see it.

Sa-Rang’s mood could change in a split second. Also, the man knew that the sight of him drove the woman up the wall. They had not solved their misunderstanding, and Sa rang didn’t leave the man the chance to talk to her.

Ji-Seong too camped on his beliefs, Sa-rang’s approach to her disease was ridiculous. He had no intention of apologizing, but he wanted to woman to realize the effect of her decision on her family and friends.

The end of the day rang like salvation for everyone except Ji-Seong, who was to live another endeavor.

At 8 PM, he entered the Silla hotel for dinner. The waiter took him to the table where Mi-Kyung and his father waited.

From the expression on the older man’s face, Ji- Seong knew the dinner wasn’t his initiative but his stepmother’s attempt to make the men get along.

“Good evening.”

“Oh, Ji-Seong, how your face has shrunken. Are you eating well?” The woman asked as he took a seat.

“I’m eating well.”

Mi-Kyung smiled, “you should come home sometimes; eating homemade food is always better for the body.”

The woman tried; Mi-Kyung always did her best to play the part. Her intent was genuine, but it made Ji-Seong uncomfortable.

His stepmother was at the prime time of her beauty, thought Ji-Seong. Mi-Kyung was around Sa-Rang’s age, she could have married a man who would have given her children, but instead, she chose his father.

Chae Gyeong Taek huffed, “If he doesn’t want to come, leave him. He’s a grown man. He can fend for himself.

“Abeoji, is right, don’t worry, I’ll -.”

“But still, you should come to see us.”

Ji-Seong could see Mi-Kyung was desperate; without many friends, there wasn’t much to do, shopping, sports clubs, private clubs, and charity work. After 12 years, the activities lost their superb even to someone who craved to live the good life.

Ji-Seong wondered why the woman didn’t divorce and eat half of his father’s revenues, but the answer was there in Mi-Kyung’s stare full of admiration, but also love for the stern man who was Chae Gyeong Taek.

The dinner would have been silent if it wasn’t for Mi-Kyung asking questions.

“So is professor Lee as smart a people say?”

“Nae, she’s impressive, especially in the operating room.

For the first time since the beginning of the meal, Gyeong Taek lent an ear to the conversation.

“I don’t understand why she isn’t at Seoul University if she’s the best,” pursued Mi-Kyung.

Gyeong Taek took a sip of his wine before cutting a portion of his filet mignon, “what’s this surgeon’s name again?”

Ji-Seong smiled, “her name is Lee Sa Rang, Professor Lee Sa-Rang.

Gyeong Taek’s eye started to throb as the information soaked into his mind. He took another sip of wine, “where did this professor of your study?

Ji-Seong took his napkin and wiped the corners of his mouth before answering, “Seoul U.”

“Where did she first practice?”

“SNU Hospital.”

Gyeong Taek’s eyes were bloodshot, and his breathing deepened.

“Yeobo [honey], are you okay?” Mi-Kyung asked, seeing how her husband’s expression changed from sleeping bull to raging.

“I’m okay, call the waiter. I think it’s enough for tonight,” the man said, getting up.

Mi-Kyung stretched out her hand to hold her husband’s, “but we haven’t even had dessert.

“I SAID IT’S ENOUGH!” The older man yelled. His reaction made heads turn.

Mi-Kyung pursed her lips and got up, beckoning the waiter to come over with a nod.

They left the restaurant. Mi-Kyung stood a minute to bide Ji-Seong good night while his father sat in the car waiting for his wife to get inside.

“I’m sorry about tonight, Ji-Seong. I don’t know what got into him; it has been a while since we ate together, I thought-.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong. Good night Mi Kyung.”

It was true; it was he who provoked his father’s wrath by bringing up Sa rang, fully aware that his father had not forgotten about the last surgeon his mother saw.

Mi-Kyung got in the car where Gyeong Taek didn’t even turn his head when Ji-Seong leaned to the window to say good night.

As the car roared, Ji-Seong realized he forgot his phone in the restaurant, he headed back, and it was there he saw her talking to a man who seemed twice her age.

“Soo Hae,” the words came out on their own and made the woman freeze on the spot before hurrying towards the hotel entrance Ji-Seong followed. Soo Hae ran the last meter to climb in a familiar car.

Ji-Seong, stunned by what he witnessed, remained in front of the hotel.

“Seolma, Soo Hae can’t be a knight, can she?”

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