Chapter 5

* * *

It took 10 minutes for the car to arrive at the southern wharf, where a colorful cruise ship was anchored waving a Baekcheon flag.

 

A party held on a luxury cruise ship. She was once again amazed by Baekcheon’s wealth and its gigantic scale.

 

She was asked to arrive first, however Baek Hawon was already standing in front of the bridge leading to the entrance of the cruise ship. She was ready if not wondering how he arrived first.

 

The tall man wore a luxurious suit that was noticeable even from a distance.

 

Neatly trimmed black hair, and a black tie under the stiff collar of his shirt.

 

A blue cufflink peeked out of the end of his right sleeve, covering his watch.

 

The gaze of a man framed with a halo of the burning sunset.

 

She walked towards him as if mesmerized by the dizzying illusion of being in a movie.

 

“…”

 

The moment their cold gazes met, a hand was held out in front of her. ‘Hold on’, even if he didn’t say it with his mouth, his eyes seemed to be pressing down on her, conveying their meaning.

 

Once an obsessive maniac, always one.

 

The hand that was reluctantly held, was as cold as his gaze.

 

The cruise ship illuminated by the sunset glowed red as if it sailed over a blazing fire. The waves were clearly visible under the transparent bridge that Baek Hawon was crossing while holding her hand, doubling the dizzying effect, perhaps even worsened because of her high heels.

 

Wow.

 

The entrance to the cruise ship was as large and ornate as the hotel lobby. It was an awe-inspiring sight, with a sparkling chandelier and red carpet spread beneath your feet.

 

It was gorgeous and extravagant.

 

Right now, it wasn’t a bad feeling walking on the red carpet while holding the hand of the male lead in a novel that she once liked to the point of being completely immersed in it.

 

“Boss.”

 

Jiwoon, who was walking behind her, whispered something to Baek Hawon she couldn’t hear. Seeing Baek Hawon’s narrowed frown, it didn’t seem to be good news.

 

“What is it?”

 

When she asked, pretending to be relaxed, Baek Hawon seemed to think for a moment.

 

She didn’t expect him to answer in the first place, but seeing his face made her even more curious about what was going on.

 

“Don’t leave Jiwoon’s side.”

 

The words that came out of his mouth were unexpected. She tilted her head.

 

“Jiwoon only sticks to you, boss.”

 

“Today he will stick to you.”

 

What does this mean?

 

She was filled with curiosity at the strange command, but when she saw that they had no intention of telling her, she foolishly closed her mouth.

 

There was no need to be offended like this.

 

She will end the party today safely and never get involved with Baekcheon or Baek Hawon again.

* * *

 

The horizon drew a beautiful line and the pouring fountain sparkled in the light.

 

Under the dark night sky, as if black paint had been released, the ornately decorated deck was suddenly filled with people. All of the people were dressed in fancy clothes, raised excited voices, made elegant gestures, and were drunk on wine.

 

“CEO, nice to meet you! I am…”

 

“Representative, do you remember me? I met you during the K Project.”

 

There was a constant stream of people around Baek Hawon, who would call him representative instead of boss.

 

The desire to gain something was clearly reflected on their faces. Baek Hawon’s smile while dealing with them was something she had never seen before.

 

Early on, she took a seat in a corner where there weren’t too many people and leaned against the railing. She tried to ignore the subtle gazes directed at her.

 

Fortunately, or unfortunately, no one approached her. To the point where it felt a little strange.

 

While thinking that, she took a sip of wine when the sound of high heels clacked in her ears.

 

“Long time no see?”

 

Dark red hair was cut short enough to reach her ears, and she wore a tight black miniskirt. A woman with a strong impression similar to Cha Yeon-byeol smiled, twisting her red lips.

 

Who is this? 

 

Looking at the hot eyes that threatened to burn her to ashes, it seemed like they knew her very well, but she could not say the same.

 

“What’s with that confused face?”

 

The woman’s thoughts seemed to show on her face as she burst into laughter, as dumbfounded.

 

Before she knew it, everyone’s eyes were focused on them. It’s like everyone but Cha Yeon-byeol knew why this woman was doing this.

 

“I think my head still hurts from getting ripped off by you last year.”

 

What? I felt like people were avoiding me. Was there a specific reason for that?

  

The way she looked at Yeon-byeol revealed her desire to rip her hair out at any moment. Without realizing it, she took a step back and bumped into Jiwoon, who was standing  behind her the whole time.

 

“Shall I handle it?”

 

When their eyes met and the words were thrown out indifferently, she momentarily forgot what she was going to say.

 

It’s not a joke. 

 

The realization that this could really happen was reflected in her dry eyes.

 

That’s why they say you shouldn’t deal with people you don’t know.

 

The moment she opened her mouth to respond to Jiwoon, a woman’s high voice cut through the sound of the waves.

 

In an instant, people started whispering along with the sound of laughter.

 

When she turned her head and met those malicious eyes, she felt nothing.

 

She was different. There was no reason to be angry because there was no need to empathize with Cha Yeon-byeol.

 

Here, there was no reason to make a hurt face and or to get angry, as the woman wanted.

 

She just thought with a small smile.

 

Is this why you got your hair ripped out by Cha Yeon-byeol last year?

 

“Stay right behind me.”

                                

She rolled up the corners of her mouth towards Jiwoon, half closed her eyes, and smiled. Jiwoon’s face hardened.

 

Jiwoon pursed his lips as if to say something, but she had already turned away from him and looked at the woman.

 

She slowly sipped from the wine glass in her hand, and when she finally opened her mouth, the surroundings became quiet.

 

“Ah, looking at your wine-colored hair reminded me.”

 

“…”

 

“I forgot for a moment. My memory isn’t great these days, so I tend to forget insignificant things.”

 

A bright, innocent smile appeared on her face. But the woman’s face shifted from smiling sarcastically, to turning cold.

 

“Even if you were as unique as me, you might have been memorable… but I don’t think that’s the case here, right?”

 

“I beg your pardon?”

 

The woman shouted in a sharp voice as her face distorted.

 

She walked closer to her. The woman flinched and took a step back.

 

Eyes wide with embarrassment, she started to shake nervously. Seeing her like that, a cold smile emerged and she whispered softly in her ear.

 

“Don’t worry, I won’t bite you this time.”

 

The stupid-faced woman’s pupils trembled. She lowered her eyes and tilted her head toward the woman.

 

“But this is not to my brother’s taste.”

 

She raised the corner of her mouth at an angle and lightly touched the woman’s hair, and the woman’s face became quite entertaining to watch.

 

It was expected. The reason she was bothering her was because she was attracted to Baek Hawon, and Cha Yeon-byeol got on her nerves.

 

If that was the case, there was nothing she could do. How ugly and weak was a heart that covets what it cannot have.

 

The woman trembled with her lips pursed. It was a predictable situation, so it was almost boring.

 

There was nothing more to do here, so she can go back to quietly watching the party. She turned towards Jiwoon with a reassuring smile on her face.

 

Then she realized that all the eyes of the people who were watching the fight were now focused on her.

 

She rolled her eyes awkwardly. This kind of attention was burdensome.

 

The moment she wondered how to get out of this situation.

 

Clink-!

 

A waiter suddenly came out and passed between her and the woman, then stumbled and pushed her.

 

If Jiwoon hadn’t caught her when she lost her balance and stumbled from her high heels, she would have been in a worse situation, as she didn’t realize that there was too much force for this to be considered an accident.

 

The wine glass in her hand fell to the floor and shattered. The wine bottle the waiter was holding also broke, leaving a red stain on her dress.

 

“Miss, are you okay?”

 

Jiwoon stood her up straight and asked. She held onto Jiwoon, regained her balance, and raised her head, as she brushed her flowing hair.

 

The waiters were all wearing white masks that covered half of their faces.

 

“Oh, sorry. What should I do about this?”

 

The voice that came out from behind the mask had soft laughter mixed in, without any hint of apology.

 

Through the hole in the mask, folded eyes were visible.

 

For a waiter, his gloved hand touched ears that were covered with expensive earrings.

 

She felt a chill for an unknown reason.

 

Time seemed to slow, as hair that seemed to contain melted moonlight swayed clearly in the wind.

 

“Yu Gyeom…”

 

She was startled by the words that flowed out of her mouth like a whisper based on instinct and intuition, so she immediately closed her mouth.

 

Fortunately, no one else could hear her thanks to the classical music that filled the party hall.

 

It was a place where you couldn’t even set foot without an invitation. In this confined space, where the only place to escape was the dark, cold sea below?

 

That can’t be possible.

 

“Miss, I think you need to wash your hands. I will guide you.”

 

A hand with a white glove was held out in front of her.

 

Even though there was nothing she could do about the dress, seeing her sticky hands made her feel like she needed to clean them.

 

Instead of holding the hand that was extended to her, she took a handkerchief from Jiwoon and wrapped it around her wet hand.

 

“Then please guide me.”

——♦ ⋄· 🜲· ⋄ ♦——

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