The probability of his request for personal bankruptcy being granted was slim. Sungyoon was able to borrow so much money because he had used the clout of Jaeho and his company. It wasn't that most of the lenders lent him money because they trusted his company. The truth was that they had their eyes set on Jaeho’s company when they did such an act. However, Sungyoon’s words had become untrustworthy when Jaeho stabbed him in the back. Jaeho had completely cut ties with him. He had suddenly turned into a charlatan, and Korean law wasn’t lax enough to forgive the debt of a despicable con artist.
The result of his bankruptcy claim hadn’t been finalized. However, he had half given up on his bid for bankruptcy.
Moreover, there was something more serious that he had to deal with.
He kept feeling pain in his heart. The pain only lasted several seconds at a time, but it was beyond imagination. It was clear that something was wrong with his heart.
He desperately told himself that it was nothing. However, the frequency of the pain increased as if it was going against his hope.
Sungyoon had already been terminated from one construction site thanks to pain.
In the end, he had to accept the fact that his body was broken. The most important organ in his body was broken.
At this rate, he wouldn’t be able to live with Shinhae. The probability of him not seeing Shinhae grow up was increasing. He couldn’t live a peaceful life with Shinhae with this body.
Sungyoon felt Shinhae’s body temperature for a long time, then he let her go.
“It is time for you to go back now.”
Shinhae was close to tears as she nodded. Sungyoon looked at Jiyoon since he had to entrust Shinhae to her.
He saw the beautiful face in front of him. He had dated pretty women even before he had met Miyun. However, he had never met someone that matched Jiyoon in terms of beauty.
If he were any other man, he would have tried hard to talk more with her. He wouldn’t have looked at Jiyoon with a black heart, but he would have wanted to carry on a conversation with her.
However, Sungyoon had been stabbed in the back by Miyun. This was why he didn’t show interest in the goddess incarnate in front of him. He was guarded in front of her. The woman in his life before meeting this goddess incarnate was Miyun, and she had been very beautiful too. This was why his wariness had a direct relationship with how beautiful a woman was.
If there wasn’t a connection between the two of them through Shinhae, Sungyoon would not have been friendly towards Jiyoon. He would not have even tried to talk to her.
“Please look after Shinhae.”
There wasn’t a single evil intention in his words. He just wanted happiness for his daughter. Sungyoon bowed towards Jiyoon.
Jiyoon was in a bit of an awkward situation. She wasn't a daycare teacher. She was just a regular college student. However, the father was making this request for his daughter’s sake, so she couldn’t say no.
“Yes. Yes. I’ll do so.”
Jiyoon awkwardly laughed as she answered him.
“Ok, Shinhae. You have to go with, unni.”
Sungyoon grabbed Shinhae’s hand, and he almost had to drag her to Jiyoon’s side. The little girl didn't look happy as she walked, but she didn’t make any objections and followed her father’s instructions. Then, she let go of her father’s large rough hand and grabbed Jiyoon’s slender and soft hands.
Sungyoon rooted around his pocket, and he took out his wallet. There was a luxury brand logo on the wallet. It was one of the few remnants of his past wealth. The wallet was pricey, but its content was trivial in comparison. There were a couple of crumpled ten-dollar bills within the wallet. Sungyoon took them all out.
“I want you to buy snacks with this. You can eat it with your friends.”
Shinhae’s small hands took hold of the bills. She was getting an allowance, so she should have been happy. However, no reaction appeared on her face. The few bills in her hands couldn’t suppress her desire of wanting to stay with her father.
“I’ll see you next time, Shinhae.”
“Ok, dad. You have to come quickly next time!”
After he spoke those words, Sungyoon turned his back on them. Shinhae tightly held her cotton candy in one hand and used her other hand to wave towards her father. She was waving so hard that her body was swaying to the side.
Sungyoon kept looking backward as he waved his own hand. It was a heartwarming yet sad scene between the father and daughter. It continued until Sungyoon got on the bus and left.
Shinhae started to sob, and tears started to fall from her eyes. Jiyoon had a feeling this would happen, so she wasn't taken aback by the girl's reaction. She crouched next to Shinhae and used her white and slender hand to wipe away the tears.
“Stop! Don’t cry. If you cry, your dad will be worried. You don’t want your dad to be worried, right?”
Shinhae kept opening and closing her mouth. She sounded choked up. She wanted to say something, but she couldn’t get past the lump in her throat. Instead of speaking, Shinhae nodded. She wiped away her tears with one arm and hardened her expression as she tried to stop crying.
She looked so cute that Jiyoon almost let out a small laugh. However, there was no way Shinhae would like it so Jiyoon desperately held back her laughter
She was worried she would burst out laughing, so she quickly got up. She took Shinhae’s hand, and they started walking towards the orphanage. The little girl tightly grasped her unni's hand as she followed her. After Shinhae stopped herself from crying, her expression had hardened.
However, she still occasionally looked back at times. Her eyes took in the sight of the bus stop where she had departed.
* * *
Sungyoon was in a very good mood today. Even though he had a lot of debt and a horrifying past, he didn’t care about that today. Today, he had spent time with his daughter, whom he loved. She had filled his sad day with sparkling light. His arduous life would start up again tomorrow, but he would be happy today. He wouldn’t punish himself.
After he got off the bus, he didn’t immediately go to his home. He took out a picture from his wallet. It was a photo, and part of it had been cut away. It was a picture he had taken with Shinhae. Sungyoon was happy and laughing in the picture as he held Shinhae’s hand. Originally, it was a picture where Shinhae was in the middle and a person was on either side of Shinhae. However, he had ripped one side of the picture and put Shinhae at the edge of the picture.
Of course, the one on the ripped part of the picture was Miyun. When he picked up this picture, he ripped away her to cut away his painful memories and history.
Sungyoon was happy as he looked at the photo. He brushed his hand over the picture as he lovingly touched Shinhae. However, his hand never strayed to the torn edge of the picture.
Sungyoon’s steps had lightened as he headed towards his cheap room. The sky had been clear for most of the day as he played with Shinhae, but it was starting to get dark. He had to go past downtown to reach his cheap room. So, he avoided the foot traffic as people were coming out to enjoy the night.
Sungyoon became surprised. He heard loud heartbeats in his ears.
Ba dump! Ba dump!
It was as if someone had pressed max volume on a speaker, and the sound of his heartbeat was put on blast near his ears. It was a silly and meaningless thing to do.
Sungyoon looked around to find the source of the sound. However, he couldn’t find any electronics that could make such a noise. Other people went along their way as if they couldn’t hear the sound. In fact, people oddly looked at Sungyoon when he suddenly started to look all over his surroundings.
Ba dump! Ba dump! Ba dump!
The sound of the heartbeat was getting faster. Finally, Sungyoon had a realization. The sound wasn’t coming from an outside source. It was the sound of his own heart beating.
Pain found him. It was the extreme pain that had tortured him recently. However, Sungyoon knew something. This pain was different from his past pains.
He clutched at his heart. He could feel the rapid beating through the hand placed over his heart. It was as if his heart was asking for his help. It was letting out a cry before its death.
He fell to his knees. He could no longer stand up.
“Huh-uh! Huh-uh! Huh-uh!”
He was breathing rapidly. Saliva fell from his mouth, but he couldn’t see to it in his current condition.
People were starting to talk around him. They realized something was wrong with him.
“Hey. Are you ok?”
A woman, who was walking with a child, grabbed his shoulder. Sungyoon raised his head to look at her.
He couldn’t see properly, and his whole world had turned white.
“Huh-uhk! Huh-uhk! Huh-uhk! Ooh-ehk!”
In the end, he threw up. It had been a while he had eaten delicious food, but he had done so as he played all day with Shinhae. He threw up all the food he had eaten.
He could hear people screaming from around him. People frantically moved away from him.
‘This is odd.’
His consciousness was fading away, yet he was conscious of the fact that something was off.
‘How much time has passed?’
The pain should have stopped already. Normally, the pain lasted only a couple of seconds. However, the pain was continuous.
Sungyoon realized something at that moment.
‘In the end, it broke.’
His heart wasn’t just calling out in pain. It had been crying for help. It was the heart’s death throe. It was the ominous bell that alerted the end to his life.
He let out a curse in a despondent manner. He once again heard people scream around him.
“Hey! Hey! Wake up!”
Someone was shaking his body. However, he was having a hard time telling if his body was being shaken or not. Sungyoon’s mind was far away.
“911! Someone call 911!”
There was a frantic energy around him. It seemed the people realized something serious was occurring right now, and they started to panic. Several of them took out their cell phones and they called 911.
Sungyoon pressed down on his heart.
‘Run! Keep running! I want you to keep running!’
He couldn’t die so early. At the very least, he had to pay off his debt. If he died right now, his massive debt would automatically be ‘inherited’ by Shinhae. Shinhae didn’t know about procedures to relinquish her inheritance. His debt would automatically squeeze around her neck.
‘I can’t let that happen!’
He should have told the director of the orphanage about it.
‘I don’t need a lot of time! I just need to make sure the debt doesn’t pass on to Shinhae……!’
He was feeling his own death, yet he only thought about his daughter’s future.
The loud beating of his heart, which had rung in his ears, was fading away. It had been beating crazily, but now it was starting to slow down. Sungyoon knew it. His heart wasn’t going back to its normal state. He had burned the last flame of his life, and everything was coming to a halt.
Sungyoon had an intuition. His heart would never beat again.
‘I promised… I would come see her early....’
His breathing was slowly coming to a stop.
‘Still… I was able to see Shinhae for the last time.’
At the very least, that thought brought him comfort. He had felt his daughter’s body temperature. He desperately grasped at the memory of her voice and expression. She was his last angel left in this world.
He spoke the name that he longed for, and he let go of his mind.
A man was shaking him. However, he was like a log with no consciousness. He was like a slim bamboo being shaken by the wind. Sungyoon’s body had lost all strength.
As if it was expending its last power, Sungyoon’s heart let out a thump then it stopped moving. It was quiet and still.
After that day, Sungyoon’s heart never beat again.Previous Chapter Next Chapter