“Stop the car.”
At Woo-hyun’s sudden order, the chauffeur quickly pulled over.
As the car stopped at the entrance of the shabby neighborhood, Woo-hyun pushed the door and got off.
Jun-kyung, who had an absurd expression on his face because he couldn’t say what he had to say, got off after him.
“See you tomorrow.”
After he politely said goodbye, Woo-hyun was already far away.
For a long time, Jun-kyung stared at the spot where Woo-hyun had quickly disappeared.
Suddenly, it started raining.
The world submerged in rain suddenly felt strange.
And the distant Woo-hyun, too.
Rain poured down in the old and worn-out alleys.
The cold, winter raindrops that poked his whole body were like needles.
The alleys quickly turned dark in the rain, and, enveloped in the darkness, he was not distinguishable.
Woo-hyun went up the alleyway where two adults could barely pass side-by-side.
When he was passing the alleyway, thinking that by the time he got home his clothes would be soaked, Woo-hyun’s steps came to a halt.
Someone holding an umbrella was standing one step away from the reddish light that was coming from the streetlamp.
She was not confident enough to stand where the light touched, but she was hanging around the light in case he didn’t recognize her.
From that figure, he could understand how Yoo-hwa had been living her life.
Yoo-hwa, who had belatedly noticed Woo-hyun because she was staring at the floor, hesitated.
Woo-hyun gave her a light smile, like usual.
The dry coldness quickly disappeared.
“What are you doing here Are you going somewhere”
Yoo-hwa, who gave him an answer, finally moved.
The slow and cautious steps slightly increased their speed and she stood in front of Woo-hyun.
The rain that was hitting his whole body stopped.
The sound of rain changed.
The pit-pat quickly turned into a splatter sound.
Woo-hyun’s gaze reached Yoo-hwa, who was standing opposite him.
Yoo-hwa had an uncomfortable expression.
And yet, she was stubbornly offering her umbrella.
While her fingers trembled slightly.
Woo-hyun could understand everything from the look Yoo-hwa was giving him, her actions, and her gestures.
That it was something she thought for a long time and acted upon.
And that even at this moment, Yoo-hwa was mustering up both the courage she had, and the courage she didn’t have.
Her brown eyes, which were exceptionally bright when illuminated, were glowing red today, under the streetlamp.
“I wanted to give you this.”
Yoo-hwa reached out her hand.
It was a hot pack.
“It’s very cold today…”
“I thought it would be even colder when you returned from work.
It’s raining too.
A smile gradually appeared on Woo-hyun’s face as he stared at the hot pack Yoo-hwa was giving him.
She was anxious about being short on money, she had to be courageous every time she went to the mart, and she was standing like this on a rainy winter night just to give him this kind of thing.
Woo-hyun’s gaze slowly climbed up Yoo-hwa’s body.
The carefully stretched arm and the hand that was preciously holding the hot pack, in case its warmth escaped; her distance, one step away in case he would be uncomfortable with her bravery; and at the same time… an expression that contained the feeling that she hoped he would be happy.
“Because it hurts.”
The expression Yoo-hwa had when looking at him, which looked like she was about to cry, overlapped with her face.
From that day on, Yoo-hwa changed.
If they had been far from the starting point of their relationship until now, they were now standing on it.
Whatever the relationship, he realized her determination to keep going.
And Woo-hyun was strangely unwelcome of that determination.
Why was he uncomfortable with her when he has to welcome her, who will come out after opening the door to her feelings If she were a crazy, bad person.
If she were a quick-witted human being like him.
If she were a person that didn’t know sincerity was something precious.
If she hadn’t instilled any sense of guilt in someone like him, who had no tolerance for sincerity; if it wasn’t for that, would he not feel uncomfortable
Woo-hyun, who was making unnecessary assumptions, reached out his hand unconsciously.
I was cold.”
Woo-hyun tried to smile as he held the hot pack handed to him by Yoo-hwa.
However, his hardened eyes did not curve as before.
His mask was about to break.
At that moment, Yoo-hwa stood next to Woo-hyun.
Because of that, she couldn’t see his face.
Let’s go inside.”
Yoo-hwa’s voice became brighter.
I’ll take it.”
Woo-hyun grabbed the umbrella Yoo-hwa was holding.
“I’m sorry that I only have one umbrella.
It would have been more comfortable to walk separately.”
At Yoo-hwa’s apology, Woo-hyun, who was looking ahead, had an indistinct expression.
The hand holding the hot pack was hot.
It wasn’t a temperature that he could cherish and hold on to.
Unless he wanted to mess up his palms.
“Don’t apologize for everything.”
“It’s not something to be sorry about.”
Woo-hyun realized only after he said those words.
He had just realized that he had spoken sincerely to Yoo-hwa for the first time.
Yoo-hwa let out a very low, “Yeah.”
As Yoo-hwa said, it was a narrow alley that was hard for two people to walk alongside.
While they were walking, the tip of the umbrella scraped against the wall, making a scratching sound.
There was another strong sound coming from somewhere.
It wasn’t coming from the umbrella, but he believed it was.
It should have been.