Chapter 3 - Dark Day of the New Moon

“Did he leave?”

It was the topmost floor of the high-rise building where Sungyoon had made a commotion. This was a room that normal people could only see in dramas or movies. The furnishing made it quite obvious that this was the president’s office. The room was large, and there were a luxurious sofa and a coffee table that could be used to greet customers. An executive desk and chair was placed in front of the large window. An expensive nameplate was placed on top of the desk. It had the president’s name and position engraved on it.

A man was sitting behind the desk. At a glance, he looked to be in his mid-20s or early-30s. In reality, like Sungyoon, he was in his late-30s. However, he took care of himself. Therefore, he still maintained an athletic body and a firm skin that belied his age.

He was handsomely tall and had a well-defined face. On a scale of one to ten, he would register as an eight or nine. He possessed an appearance that people would compliment. The only thing that marred his face was his slightly upturned eyes. It made him look cruel.

He was the president and owner of this building. His name was Lee Jaeho, and Sungyoon had been trying to desperately get a hold of him.

“Yes!”

Jaeho’s secretary, who had been standing in front of him, gave a reply in a polite manner.

Jaeho clicked his tongue.

“He should be thinking about how to revive his company. Why the hell is he making a scene by coming here?”

Sungyoon named Jaeho as a friend. However, Jaeho didn’t treat Sungyoon as a friend. One wouldn’t ignore and show contempt towards a friend. 

“Are you sure this is fine? If he starts to respond through the legal system, it’ll cause quite a headache for us.”

“Hey, Secretary Kim. You can’t run a business if you are afraid of the law.”

Jaeho dismissed Secretary Kim’s words.

“Moreover, it might have been possible if he had done it earlier. Now, he has nothing. He is millions in debt. Also, do you think our team of lawyers will twiddle their thumbs in the meantime?”

“You are right. However, I’m afraid the chairman won’t look fondly at the mess being created.”

Jaeho agreed with that sentiment. He had used all kinds of dirty tactics. He had even stabbed a man who was known to be his friend in the back. Why did he do all that? It was to inherit the empire built by his father and grandfather. He had to achieve better results than his other siblings. However, a commotion might sour his father’s mood, and it wouldn’t matter if he had improved his record. His secretary was correct.

“That’s true. It is best to quietly wrap this up. Don’t worry. I have a powerful ally in this matter.”

“You have an ally?”

“Yes. She is an ally that is capable of taking complete advantage of his weakness.”

Jaeho thought about ‘her’.

“That is why you don’t have to worry about it.”

Secretary Kim bowed his head instead of answering him.

After dismissing Secretary Kim, Jaeho propped his chin on his palm as he tapped his desk. His thoughts returned to his college days.

『Hey! Lee Jaeho! Did you do all your homework?』

『Ah. Shit. The hangover is killing me. It feels as if someone is rattling steel balls inside my head.』

『Bastard! You went to a group blind date yesterday! That’s really cheap!』

The familiar voice ran through his thoughts. Jaeho placed no importance on that voice. Soon, the face of a man appeared alongside the voice.

He wore a graduation cap. He was merrily laughing as he held a bouquet of flowers.

『Ah ha ha ha ha! Let’s continue to be close friends!』

‘Hmmph! He doesn’t know his place.’

Jaeho snorted. Friend was a word that could be used amongst equals. He was from a rich family, and he was going to inherit a large empire. Sungyoon was beneath his notice. He freely admitted that Sungyoon was capable. He had built and run a successful company. However, his company was like a child’s toy that could be stolen by Jaeho.

Jaeho laughed at Sungyoon, who had deluded himself into believing Jaeho was his friend.

‘Still, I should clean up after myself.’

He had to avoid any commotions. He picked up the phone to quietly resolve this situation. Above all else, Sungyoon had a critical weakness that could be exploited. Jaeho called to contact his ally.

‘This will be a harsh life lesson for you. Well, you don’t have to thank me. You don’t even have to pay me a fee for this lesson. After all, we are friends, right?’

Jaeho’s narrow eyes curved to make a crescent shape. He let out a cruel laugh.

* * *

Sungyoon was sitting in a cafe. His appearance greatly differed from how he had looked in front of the building owned by Jaeho. It had only been a couple of days, yet he no longer looked like an invalid. He had cleaned himself up, shaved his beard, and worn clean clothes. His messy hair and his wrinkled suit were nowhere to be seen. However, he couldn’t hide his troubled heart. His cheeks looked a bit gaunt. But this made him look a bit like his younger self, so the women around him were glancing towards him from time to time.

Ring!

The bell rang as the door to the cafe opened. Sungyoon looked towards the entrance, and his face brightened.

A woman had entered the store. She looked to have put on a bit of makeup, and she wore a fluttering black one-piece dress. She had worn many jewelry items including earrings, necklaces, and rings embedded with many precious gems. She looked like a big spender. Still, she looked beautiful. At a glance, she looked to be in her late 20s. However, crow's feet were evident at the corner of her eyes. It was a sign that she was older than she looked.

Sungyoon raised his hand to make himself known to her. The woman had her chin up high as she surveyed her surroundings. She looked almost arrogant and snooty. She noticed Sungyoon’s presence.

Tap! Tap!

High heels rhythmically tapped the floor. She walked like a model, and most of the male customers kept glancing at her. Some couples bickered with each other when their significant other was caught stealing glances.

However, she and Sungyoon didn't pay attention to their surroundings. They were used to such reactions.

“Welcome.”

Even if he looked emaciated, Sungyoon appeared happy as he greeted her. When she sat down, she placed her handbag on the next seat. The handbag had the logo of a famous brand on it, and it was even shining.

“What do you want to eat?”

Sungyoon looked at the menu placed atop the counter. However, she shook her head from side to side.

“It’s fine. I’ll buy my own. You are short on money.”

“I still have the means to buy my wife a cup of coffee.”

Sungyoon raised his voice slightly as if his pride had been hurt.

Her name was Lee Miyun. She was Sungyoon’s wife.

They had met each other during college, and they had been a famous couple on campus. Sungyoon was handsomely tall, and he had the classic good looks. Lee Miyun was the beauty queen of the campus. They were a handsome couple. They had started dating in college, and it led to them marrying each other after school finished. They were a couple that everyone envied. They even had a beautiful daughter named Shinhae. When Sungyoon’s business started to take off, the envy around them got stronger. At that point in life, Sungyoon boasted to others that he regretted nothing in life. He had a beautiful wife and a cute daughter. He had succeeded in business. The only shortcoming was that Miyun was loose in how she spent their money. However, he hadn’t cared because he was making a lot of money. As a man, he thought it was his duty to support her luxurious spending to a certain degree.

“It’s fine.”

He didn’t know what was wrong, but Miyun was unusually cold to him today. She glanced at the empty spot on the desk in front of him. She got up. It was as if she was criticizing his current state, so his cheeks reddened a little bit. He immediately shook his head to shed his embarrassment.

‘Yes. She’s speaking that way for my sake.’

If he was being honest, he didn’t have any money. It was the truth. His wife had to go to her parent’s house with their daughter. Repossession tickets were placed all over his house. The money she was using right now was probably allowance given to her by his father-in-law and mother-in-law. Her parents were quite rich. The jewelry and the designer handbag had all been provided to her by her parents.

He decided she was acting this way, because she was worried about him. He berated himself. He was probably letting his hurt pride put her actions in a negative light.

After his business failed, he had been stabbed in the back by his friend. He had been traumatized, so he had relied a lot on Miyun. Still, it was clear that something was amiss. Her husband was on the run from debtors, yet she was wearing expensive pieces of jewelry and a designer handbag. He made an effort to overlook it.

It didn’t take long for Miyun to come back with two cups of coffee. She pushed one towards Sungyoon.

“Thank you.”

Sungyoon wordlessly grasped the cup. It was a cold ice coffee, so there was a lot of condensation around the cup. His hands were getting wet, but he didn’t pay attention to it as he fiddled around with the cup. He had said he had enough to buy his wife a cup of coffee, yet when it came down to it, he hadn’t even bought coffee for himself. He didn’t want to waste his money.

He placed the straw between his lips and sucked in the liquid. The coffee was cold and bitter. Miyun also used a straw to drink her coffee.

“So why did you want to see me?”

Sungyoon let go of the straw as he asked the question. He was constantly on the move trying to salvage his fallen business. He was also busy trying to get his revenge on Jaeho, who had stabbed Sungyoon in the back. This was why he hadn’t been very happy when he received a call from her. Still, he had caused a lot of trouble for Miyun when he got in debt as his business failed. He owed it to her to make some time for her.

Miyun put down her coffee cup. The cream atop the brown coffee jostled a little bit at the impact.

“I want a divorce.”

She spoke coldly as if she was cutting the thread of their relationship with a knife.

“... what?”

Sungyoon looked dumbfounded as he repeated her words.

“D... divorce?”

“Yes. A divorce.”

Unlike the flustered Sungyoon, Miyun didn’t show any emotions as she spoke. Her words put Sungyoon in a corner.

“W... why are you suddenly saying this?!”

Sungyoon abruptly stood up. He had been pushed to the edge by the betrayal of his friend and the failure of his business. Miyun’s request was like the final nail in his coffin.

“Please sit.”

Miyun looked at her surroundings as she spoke. Sungyoon’s shout had drawn the attention of the other customers. Half of the cafe was surprised, and the other half was curious as they focused their gazes on the two.

However, Sungyoon wasn’t in a state where he cared about the gazes of others.

When Sungyoon showed no signs of sitting down, Miyun let out a sigh. She picked up her handbag as she got up.

“Let’s talk outside.”

She didn’t even look back as she walked towards the entrance of the cafe. Sungyoon looked at her back with a blank expression on his face. It was as if he had just woken up from a dream. He quickly followed her as they left the cafe.

The two half-empty coffee cups remained in front of their empty seats.

* * *

The two of them arrived at a quiet park. The sun was high up in the sky, so not many people were visiting the park. At most, a couple of old people were taking advantage of the slow hours to do a brisk walk around the park. Sungyoon and Miyun moved far away from the seniors.

Miyun faced Sungyoon.

Her husband looked betrayed, but his face still held a glimmer of hope as he looked at her. There were traces of his old self left, but he looked completely like a middle-aged man. He had a potbelly, and light wrinkles had appeared all over his face. She had no regrets. Miyun shifted her weight to one leg as she looked at her husband.

“‘I'll say this once again. Let’s divorce.”

As expected, he hadn’t heard wrong. Sungyoon’s expression became desperate.

“This request for a divorce is so sudden! Is it because of my business?”

“Yes.”

Sungyoon shut his mouth. Miyun didn’t beat around the bush as she told the truth, and her words stabbed deep into his heart. He wanted to make some kind of excuse. However, no words came to his mind. He knew what kind of situation he was in. 

He owed millions of dollars. In society, it was said that human life was more important than money. However, no one honestly thought that. It was a material world. Millions of dollars could determine if a person would die or not.

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