He was dragging her along the street, after they got off the car. Her wrist still firmly in his grip, she was trying to keep up the pace and not falling on the ground when she decided she had enough. She dig her heels in, suddenly pulling her arm and angrily shouted at him. “Stop it, now!”
He turned around, a small smile on his lips, enjoying her fury.
“Do you think I’m some kind of doll, that you can take where you want? Now tell me what’s happening, or I swear I will start screaming so loud that the whole Seoul will wake up!”
He chuckled, still holding her. “That would be interesting. I would be forced to silence you then.”
He took a step at her, not allowing her to stand back and his voice lowered. “What would I do to hush you, Ga Eul yang? Do you want to find out?”
“You’re being childish, sunbae.” she narrowed her eyes, refusing to be scared again. “Can’t you drop this dark knight mask and just tell me what’s going on?”
“Fine.” he finally let go of her wrist and folded his arms on his chest. “I’m bringing you to my workshop because I want you to see something. You probably won’t like it, but since you seem so determined in dating me, you have to see it. Any questions?”
“Who was on the phone?” she asked in defiance, raising her chin. She was so angry with him she wanted to break something.
This suddenly calmed her down. She remembered the phone call, and the look of distress in his eyes and she lightly bit her lips, not knowing exactly what to say.
“Is… something wrong at home, sunbae?” she finally asked, uncertainly.
“That’s another story Ga Eul yang. I’ll tell you another time.” He tried to hide it, but she saw it anyway: that painful look in his eyes again.
“Fine.” she decided to let go just this time. Yi Jeong was suffering for some reasons, and she didn’t want the situation to get worse for him.
“Let’s go then, if you think I have to see whatever it is in your workshop.”
The lights were off and the warm darkness welcomed them as they walked in.
“Come with me.” his voice was so low she could barely hear him, but just when she was about to ask him to turn on the lights, she felt his hand slip into hers and Yi Jeong started moving in the workshop without hesitation.
Well, of course, she thought, he knows the place by heart. Talking about hearts, hers was furiously beating, pumping so much that she was surprised he couldn’t hear it. It never stopped from dinner, to tell the truth, when she realised they were having a fun time together, and he was being so relaxed in her company; it was a warm feeling, knowing she could make him smile and laugh like that and that it wasn’t a pretence this time. Too bad that phone call ruined everything. Who knows what his mother told him, to suddenly change his mood like that.
They reached a door she never crossed in all the times she had been there and she felt Yi Jeong breathing deeply. She lightly squeezed his hand, thinking about the paradox of her giving him strenght, after all the dragging and pulling that evening and he felt his pressing hers in return. Then he opened the door and turned the light in the new room on.
It was a bedroom. A gorgeous bed stood in the middle, dark blue silk sheets on it and there was a couple entangled in a passionate embrace just in the middle on the room, apparently ready to move on the bed.
The woman shrieked out, pushing the man away and turned over swiftly, buttoning up her blouse; she was beautiful, in her mid 20 and totally embarassed.
“Get out.” Yi Jeong ordered her, without so much of a glance in her direction. All his attention was focused on the man.
The girl wisely decided to run out, while the man slowly turned around, an annoyed look in his face. He didn’t even bother to fasten up his half opened shirt and just snorted.
Ga Eul was petrified, her face completely red. Yi Jeong was still holding her hand, his grasp tighter now.
She wondered what that meant: a way to draw strenght from her, or merely something to stop her if she tried to get away?
This was what he wanted her to see? A couple ready to have sex in the bedroom where he usually brought his own girls? And who was the man?
He was probably near his fifties, wearing elegant clothes, but his eyes were empty, she thought shivering.
It was like he was lifeless, just a body moving around with no soul inside.
“Son, you’re such a pain.” the man finally complained, staring at him.
And then Ga Eul knew why she felt those eyes were familiar. That was the look in Yi Jeong’s eyes when he was angry or in pain. That cold, empty stare. The man was his father.
She froze even more in place, holding her breath in astonishment.
“I told you not to come here. This is my workshop.” Yi Jeong’s voice was quiet, but his grip on her hand was almost painful now.
“Yes, I see this is where you come to do your work, son.” the man said looking at Ga Eul. He was clearly drunk, barely able to stand, but his eyes on her were focused.
“Care to share her, Yi Jeong? You ruined my evening, you owe me.” he smiled and she finally understood how a prey must feel in front of a snake. Helpless to break the eye contact, she knew she couldn’t move a step to save her life. She didn’t know why, but she was terrified.
“Don’t look at her.” the boy ordered, in a cold, threatening tone.
His father just laughed, low and husky and moved some wavering steps in their direction. “Why not? She’s cute and young and she looks innocent. Not your type son, but I can see why you like her. Tired of the club girls? You want to try something different?”
He raised a hand, lightly lifting her chin and the mere touch of his fingers made her stomach turns in disgust.
“What do you say, little lady? Willing to leave the kid and come with me? Or do you want to try us both?”
Ga Eul didn’t even realise the second Yi Jeong’s hand left hers to punch his father in the face. All she knew was that the next moment, the man was on the floor while Yi Jeong was towering above him, punching him with his left hand, his eyes gleaming in anger. Not satisfied with the streght of his blows, he stood up and started kicking him, more violently, while the drunk man just laid there groaning in pain, not able to stand up.
“Don’t touch her, you filthy bastard!” he was shouting. “Don’t you dare to touch her, to look at her, to even breath in her presence!”
She knew she had to stop him. His kicks were powerful and he could seriously hurt his father. Ga Eul finally broke her paralysis, moved to reach his arm and tried to call him.
“Yi Jeong sunbae, please stop! You will hurt him! Stop!”
He wasn’t listening. It was like he was in frenzy, shouting incoherent things at the man lying on the floor, not even looking at her.
And Ga Eul did the next thing she could think about: she threw herself between them, hugging Yi Jeong tightly, pressing her head to his chest and crossing her hands on his back. She could feel the crazy beat of his heart, his warmth, and all she wished in that moment was to be able to keep him safe forever from all the suffering and pain he was feeling.
“Stop it please.” she whispered “Yi Jeong sunbae, listen to me. Let him go. He didn’t do anything to me. Stop hurting him.”
She kept murmuring for some seconds, feeling the power of the kicks lowering until he finally stopped.
Silence filled the room, while Yi Jeong slowly calmed down. He slipped an arm around Ga Eul’s waist, holding her against him like a sheet-anchor, and didn’t move while his father slowly stood up, coughing and with one hand on his stomach.
The man looked at them with a painful grin. “So she’s the one, isn’t she?”
“Get out.” Yi Jeong hissed, his eyes still flaming. “Don’t ever come back here.”
Hyun Sub grinned again, resting against the door for some seconds before crossing it.
“So she’s the one.” he repeated.
Then he was gone.