Chapter 68

Sungyoon’s steps were light. Even though the lesser gravity of the Moon was no longer influencing him on Earth, he still felt as if he could jump into the air six times higher than normal.

One hundred thousand! It was one hundred freakin’ thousand dollars. Even during Sungyoon’s heyday, it was a large sum of money. And now that he had fallen to the bottom of the sewers, the sum of money looked bigger than ever.

If he continued at this rate, he would be able to pay back his debt in no time.

Sungyoon thought about where he should use his money in the near future.

‘First, I want to dine out with Shinhae as a celebration. I’ll buy her more clothes. I haven’t given her a present in a while, so I’ll buy her a toy that she wants. I’ll have to take her to the amusement park again. Should I buy a car while I’m at it? I’ll need it if I want to go out for some fun with Shinhae. Ah! If I’m able to maintain this level of income, should I move us to a bigger house? We can move to a house with many rooms, so Shinhae can have a bedroom, a playroom, and a study room. What else can I get her?’

He was an idiot for his daughter. All his ideas for spending his money were related to Shinhae.

While he was coming up with a list of expenditures for Shinhae, he reached his home.

His daughter hadn’t come back from her kindergarten yet. It was time to eat lunch, but he once again decided to skip lunch. He didn’t need to limit himself to taking the minimum amount of nourishment for his body, but he felt full right now.

Sungyoon laid down on his bed. He still hadn’t come up with a concrete plan on how to spend his money. Of course, he wanted to use it on his daughter. It was a given that he would put a good portion of the money into a savings account for Shinhae. He would also use it on himself, but it would amount to a very small percentage of it. 

‘Now that I think about it, I have another place that I have to spend it on.’

It wasn't as important as Shinhae, his life, or his promises. But it was still something he had to do now that he had some breathing room.

Sungyoon stood up.

* * *

Jiyoon was once again volunteering her time at the orphanage. For some reason, no men could be seen hovering around her.

The men in her club had hit on her several hundred to several thousand times, yet she hadn’t fallen for any of them. This was why almost half of the male members had given up on her, and they quit the club. Still, half of them still remained. They buzzed around her like bees gathering around a flower. They were still trying to attract her attention, and they were still annoying. It prompted her to cut back on her club activities. She now preferred to volunteer by herself. This was also true on that day. She didn’t have any classes going on, so she had come to volunteer at the orphanage.

“Noona!”

“Unni!”

She walked while holding a basket of washed clothes. Children followed her. The kind and pretty unni/noona frequently came to the orphanage, and she played with them. So, of course, no one hated her.

The children kept pulling at the hem of her shirt.

“Play with us~!”

It was a bit of mischievous behavior, but these children were starved for attention. They were doing this to get her attention. It wouldn’t be hard for her to play with them, but she had to hang laundry to dry right now.

“Unni is going to hang the laundry to dry. Can you guys wait a little bit?”

“No~~!”

The children were being unreasonable. They crowded around her and begged her to play with them. She was afraid of hitting a child with her basket, so she lifted the basket higher as she let out a bitter laughter. She was having a hard time moving forward.

“You rascals!”

Someone walked towards them at a rapid pace. She was the strictest nursing teacher, and all the children were scared of her. In a flash, the children moved away from Jiyoon.

“I said I’ll scold you guys if you cause her any trouble!”

The nursing teacher raised her hands like a ghost, and she ran towards the children. The kids let out a merry shriek as they dispersed into the surrounding. It happened in a flash, and Jiyoon could finally breathe.

“Thank you very much.”

“It’s nothing. This is nothing compared to what you’ve done for us.”

The nursing teacher waved her hand as if Jiyoon was talking nonsense. She looked towards the building. The children, who had run away, were peeking out from behind the building. She once again raised both hands in the air and screeched, as she ran towards the children, who let out a shrill shriek as they made themselves scarce.

Jiyoon laughed as she saw this play out.

The children were like mischievous sprites. After she had escaped their clutches, she started hanging up the laundry.

The sky was blue, and the sun was out in full force. There was a slight breeze that teased her hair. The breeze left after it playfully tousled her hair. It was such a bright and sunny day that it could blast away any sad feelings in one go. It was a great day to hang up laundry.

Tap! Tap!

She dusted a white towel with all her might and placed it on a clothesline. This was all she had to do. The rest of the work would be done by the warm sun in the sky and the soft winds.

The sight of her putting laundry on the clothesline underneath the clear sky looked like a scene out of a beautiful oil painting. Even the busiest of men would come to a stop and endlessly look at this sight. However, the orphanage was surrounded by a wall, so this scene was hidden from any outside gaze. The only regret was the fact that this scene wasn’t seen by others.

However, not all men would gawk at this sight. The prime example was the man that had walked through the front gate of the orphanage.

Of course, the first one to see him was Jiyoon, who was putting up the laundry in the yard.

“Oh?”

She had hung up all her laundry and was about to head inside with the empty basket when she caught sight of him.

“Hello, Shinhae’s father.”

She had a pretty smile on her lips as she greeted him.

An eye-catching beauty held a laundry basket, and she had a pure smile on her lips. She looked like a family-oriented girl. Any other man would have stumbled through his words. However, Sungyoon remained brusque.

“Oh! It’s Ms. Jiyoon. How have you been?”

Thankfully, he had met Jiyoon through Shinhae several times, so he didn’t avoid her. Still, his attitude towards her was not friendly. 

However, she wasn’t bothered by it, and she just inwardly nodded. This was like him.

“Do you know where the director is right now?”

“Yes. She should be in her office.”

As she gave the answer, she discreetly looked down. He held two black plastic bags in each hand, each the size of a human’s torso.

She had become worried for a brief moment. Maybe, his situation had turned for the worse. She wondered if he was here to drop off his daughter, but that wasn’t the case.

“Thank you very much.”

Sungyoon gave a nod to her and then headed towards the director’s office. Jiyoon’s puzzled gaze was planted on his back.

It was quite easy for him to find the office. He had visited the office at the time when he had entrusted Shinhae to the orphanage. He had gone inside once more when he came to pick up Shinhae for good. He greeted all the teachers, and the children looked at the stranger with wary eyes. He walked past them to reach the director’s office.

Sungyoon stood in front of the white door, and he got emotional.

In the past, he had completely fallen to the bottom. He had opened this door, and he had to leave Shinhae in the care of the orphanage. At the time, it had felt like a gut punch, and when he thought about the pain, his body subconsciously shook. However, now, he was a completely different person as he stood in front of the same door. He couldn’t help but feel emotional.

However, he couldn’t continue to be in his feelings. He couldn’t stand there indefinitely.

Knock! Knock!

Sungyoon knocked on the door. The large plastic bags rustled when he knocked.

“Please enter!”

He heard a familiar voice from beyond the door, and he opened the door and entered the office.

“Please excuse me!”

The room looked very spartan. No, it was more apt to call it run down. The director would rather invest all the money into the children, rather than buying slightly more expensive furniture. That was her policy.

“Oh my! It’s Shinhae’s father.”

She still had a warm face. Her surprised eyes looked towards Sungyoon.

“It has been a while.”

Sungyoon bowed his head.

“Yes, it has indeed been a while.”

She put down the documents she had been reading and stood up from her chair.

“Please sit! Would you like some coffee?”

“Yes.”

Before Sungyoon could bring up his business for coming here, she had already moved to the corner of the room to turn on the pot for hot water. The water slowly boiled.

Sungyoon sat down on the guest chair. He had sat in this exact seat when he came to entrust his daughter to the orphanage. At the time, he had a dazed expression as if the sky had been falling down. The first thing that the director had done at that time was to give him a warm cup of coffee. He had been on the verge of breaking. Her kind smile and the cup of coffee had put some warmth back into his heart.

Clack!

The coffee cup holding cheap milk coffee was placed in front of Sungyoon.

“It isn’t much, but please drink.”

“I’ll drink it with thanks.”

Sungyoon drank the coffee. He felt the cheap taste that was unique to instant coffee. It was the same as before. Sungyoon slowly savored the taste. 

“So, what brings you here today? Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like you are here to place Shinhae in our care again.”

“That’ll never happen again.”

Sungyoon was forceful with his words. He had let go of his treasure once. Once was enough.

“Hue hue! As expected, you are a good father. What brings you here?”

“I’ve gained some income as a Connector. I owe you and the orphanage a big debt. I am here to repay that debt.”

Sungyoon placed two plastic bags on top of the desk. The content of the bags spilled out onto the desk.

There were notebooks, pencils, sketchbooks, crayons, etc. It was all items that could be used by children.

“Oh my!”

The director unpacked everything, and she looked at the items. All normal children possessed these stationery products. If they needed anything from these, their parents would buy it for them. If they lost it, it would be no big deal for normal children. However, the orphans were being supported by funding from the government and private donations. This was why these items were very needed for the children in the orphanage.

A big smile blossomed on the director's face.

“It really is a good present. It feels as if this old woman has received an early Christmas present."

However, that wasn’t all he brought. Sungyoon took out a small envelope from his pocket, and he pushed it towards her. The director put down the stationery back into the plastic bags, then she took the envelope. She opened the envelope, and she slowly took out the content.

There was a crisp check within it.

“I bought some items that I thought the children might need. However, I’m sure these items aren’t the only things they need. Please use this money towards running this place.”

She counted 4 zeroes on the check. Her eyes widened.

“Are you sure? The amount is too large.”

“It is nothing compared to what you did for Shinhae. You took care of her.”

Sungyoon knew the orphanage had done a very good job of taking care of his daughter. He had heard all about it from her and Jiyoon, whom he had occasionally met. The world was full of crappy orphanages. The director and the teachers of this orphanage had taken good care of his most important treasure. They deserved his thanks. It was well deserved.

“I won’t say no.”

The director placed the check into her pocket. If she wanted to raise the children in a better environment, she needed money. When it came to the children, the director didn’t hide her greed.

“How’s Shinhae doing these days? Is she doing good?”

“Yes. She is still cute.”

“Hue hue hue! You are still the same as ever. I’m sure Shinhae is doing very well.”

While he continued to be an idiot for his daughter, Shinhae would live a happy life with her loving father.

The two of them conversed with each other. However, the conversation didn’t last long. The director was a busy woman, and Sungyoon no longer had any business with her.

“I’ll be going now.”

“I’ll see you out.”

“No, it’s fine.”

“Please don’t turn down my gesture. We’ve received a big gift. If I don’t see you out, the guilt would eat away at this old woman. It’ll send me to my coffin faster.”

It was really hard to counter an old person when they joked about their own mortality. The director cackled when she saw Sungyoon’s awkward expression.

The two of them exited the director’s office.

“Ah!”

Someone was leaning against the wall outside of the room. For all intents and purposes, she looked as if she had been waiting for their meeting to come to an end.

“Are you done with your conversation?”

Jiyoon smiled as she asked the question.

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