I didn’t know what kind of help he received from the man.
Anyway, Yeon Woojeong tried to repay the man, but he couldn’t, so he chose the next.
That next must be me.
If this hypothesis was right, he really picked me up out of goodwill.
Still, it shouldn’t be based on pure intention.
He had to show it to this man after all.

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I genuinely felt sick.
… That I felt it was better if he had any other motives.
I couldn’t taste anything.

“You don’t like the food?”

Yeon Woojeong saw my plate and asked.
It was ridiculous of him to check on mine when he didn’t even finish half of his.
Did he even have any concern for me in the first place?

I felt like I would say something else if I opened my mouth.
I shook my head and got up from my seat.

“Where are you going?”

“Restroom.”

“Alright.”

I left the room without even glancing at Yeon Woojeong.
Only after I stepped into the empty hallway did I feel like breathing.

I walked fast to the restroom.
The face I saw in the mirror was coldly stiff.
I washed my hands with cold water.

Why do I feel nauseated like this?

I felt like I became a tool.
I felt like I was no more or less than a method for Yeon Woojeong to get that man’s acknowledgment.
He may not have even cheap sympathy for me.

Even if that was true, there would be no problem.
Even for me, Yeon Woojeong was only… he was only a method to keep away hunger and cold for the moment.

I kept washing my hands.
I turned off the faucet and wiped my hands when I felt my fingertips were about to get grazed.

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Anger without reason known was not a good emotion.
Why did I keep having irrational emotions? I looked at myself inside the mirror for a while and suddenly I got reminded of something, so I took out my phone.

[은사] 

(TN: Eunsa.
The ‘teacher’ word used for Mr.
Seok.
It has a somewhat different meaning from the normal teacher word (선생/스승))

I searched for the word on the internet and quickly opened a dictionary site.

An object the king gives… No.
Respected teacher… Is it? 

“Teacher…”

This time I searched for ‘은사님’ and numerous posts popped up.
All had the same definition.
However, there was no way a CEO of a company was Yeon Woojeong’s teacher.
It was hard to find out his relation with Yeon Woojeong through the title alone.

I left the restroom.
After walking the hallway, I was about to open the door, but then I heard laughter.
It wasn’t familiar even though I had seen and heard Yeon Woojeong laugh before.
I felt like an unwelcome guest here.
Though I did wonder if I ever belonged anywhere.

A feeling like being pushed afar.
Disgustingly helpless.
My fingertips were unpleasantly numb.

I brought my hand to the door handle and stayed still, but there was a footstep.
An employee was coming this way with plates, so I had no choice but to open the door and walk in.
I noticed Yeon Woojeong’s gaze while I sat, but I purposely didn’t look back.

The employee put plates of steaks on the table and then left.
Oddly, I didn’t feel hungry.
Well, in fact, I might have been feeling very hungry.
I took the fork and knife and then sliced the steak.
As soon as I chewed on the meat colored pink in the middle, the juice smeared on my tongue, and undescribable abundant tastes filled my mouth.
It was tasty, so it rather felt like it pushed me down.

Yeon Woojeong and the man occasionally talked to me, but I didn’t know what I replied to them.
I practically kept my mouth shut until I finished eating.

“How about we leave now?”

The man got up first followed by Yeon Woojeong and I was the last.
When we arrived outside, there was a car waiting.
It wasn’t Yeon Woojeong’s car, but it was Benz.
A vain laugh almost burst out as I clearly found out whose taste Yeon Woojeong’s car was.

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“Jiho.”

The man looked at me.
The finely brushed hair that didn’t make the white hair look shabby, the lush that could make up his atmosphere even though he got wrinkles around his eyes, and the high-quality coat.
Those things all stepped on me.

“It seems like you had a prior engagement with Woojeong, sorry for getting in suddenly.
I’ll treat you in a better and more comfortable place next time, so I’d like it if you let this one slide.”

It wasn’t a thing that really needed the man to be sorry for.
Nevertheless, the man apologized and smiled with his eyes curved.
He didn’t get weak even though he apologized.
The composure that couldn’t be hidden roamed around him.

He reached out his hand.
A thick hand with wrinkles.
I quietly stared at it, and then I grabbed it.
A perfume scent spread for a moment.
I unknowingly took a deep breath.
Spontaneously, I remembered the sweet scent coming from Yeon Woojeong’s shirt that night.
This was very different from that scent.
This scent wasn’t sweet and was rather bitter.
It was a very different scent, but the memory hit my mood hard.

As our hands parted, the man patted Yeon Woojeong’s shoulder and got in the car after saying farewell.
After the car left, another car arrived.
This time, it was Yeon Woojeong’s Benz.

Both the house and car weren’t Yeon Woojeong’s.
He cared to not even smoke there because he worried they would smell bad.
Not a family, but a relationship in which they could give a house and car.
It was an officetel located in Gangnam to boot, also a Benz.

“Let’s go.”

I mulled over as I sat on the passenger seat.
Lee Sugeol once said that the reason public servants accepted bribes was that their wages were low compared to their labor.
No matter how great a prosecutor was, they were still public servants.
Thus, I thought he was obviously born to a wealthy family.

But, if that wasn’t true… There is no goodwill without price, so what did that man get from Yeon Woojeong?

“Aren’t you hungry? You didn’t eat much.”

As I heard the low voice, I stared at him.
Yeon Woojeong skillfully operated the steering wheel with a hand with a watch on it.
Did that watch on his hand also be bought by Yeon Woojeong?

“Was it because it was uncomfortable? I’ll be more thoughtful next time.”

“Do I have to meet him next time?”

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“Erm, if you don’t want to, then you don’t need to.
Was it bad?”

It was a question as though he was surprised that that ‘teacher’ person was bad.
My stomach twisted.

“What’s your relationship with that mister?”

“Relationship? I’m not sure.
I can’t exactly say what our relationship is, but he helped me a lot.
Ever since I was a kid.”

“Then what did you give to that mister?”

Yeon Woojeong never talked about himself first, and in addition, he always answered with an answer that I couldn’t completely understand.

You don’t need to repay me, so help the pitiful kids.
Did that old man tell him something like that? How funny.
That it was said not for giving a beggar on the road a pack of choco pie, but for a house and a Benz.

The car stopped at the red light.
Yeon Woojeong stared at me.
I accepted his stare.
The eyes looked smoky.
The lips with vivid color.
The white nape below.

I am very angry like this, yet Yeon Woojeong is indifferent.
This is unfair.

An impulse rose.
At times like this, I should think rationally and close my mouth—because I had the talent to destroy everything.
Even though I knew better, I always ended up destroying everything.
So, I had to stay silent.
I thought so, but… I combined the words I saw and heard in my life in the worst way.
There was only one goal.

“Did you sell your body?”

I ended up asking it.
I wanted to wreck his calm face.

A complete silence landed down.
The atmosphere inside the car turned chill, and Yeon Woojeong’s face stiffened.

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My heart began to beat hard as if telling me to know my place.
Suddenly, fear rushed in.
He might kick me out.
I might have to roam around the street without any destination again.
I would starve again.

I’m sure he’ll hate me…

Yeon Woojeong’s eyes looking at me were different from before.
They weren’t playful, blatantly glancing or smiling eyes.
The dark eyes were cold and felt like they were glaring, no, watching their prey.
I thought I wanted to wreck Yeon Woojeong’s face, and I had achieved it to some degree, but I felt terrible.

I shouldn’t have said something that I would regret the moment I said it out loud.
So, I had to apologize to take it back.
However, I couldn’t come to talk.
I wasn’t like that man, who could maintain his standing and didn’t get weak even though he apologized.
The moment I apologized, it would become my fault.
Every wrongdoing had its price, and I wasn’t confident that I would be okay to accept it.

Although I stubbornly accepted Yeon Woojeong’s gaze, it was messy in my head.
The time for the red light to change to green light had passed, but Yeon Woojeong didn’t move the car.
It was a left turn lane, so if there was no car behind us, I had to endure this time until the signal changed once more.

Where should I go if I left Yeon Woojeong’s house? Now I truly had nowhere to go.
There was no place that would accept me after all. 

Suddenly, Yeon Woojeong’s gaze moved down.
I put my fists that I unconsciously clenched hard inside my pocket.
His eyes returned and then he smirked.
The coldly frozen air was melted by a laugh mixed with a sigh.

“You… You insulted me but you look like the one being insulted instead.”

“…”

“Making me can’t be angry.”

The car smoothly departed.
The hand with protruding veins handled the steering wheel, and the moment the green light turned yellow, the car had completely turned left.

“Where did that word come from?”

Yeon Woojeong’s hand approached me.
The moment I frowned and cower my neck, his fingertips reached me and then left.
Just, came and left.

The place touched by his hand was exceptionally hot.
It felt like burning.
I blankly stared ahead and read the situation.
He didn’t look angry, and he didn’t insult or hit me.

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