Chapter 69

“What can I do for you, Ms. Jiyoon?”

The director exited after Sungyoon did. She asked the question as she closed the door.

“It is about time for me to go. I came to say goodbye.”

“Oh my! Is it already that time?”

The director opened the door once again to check the clock on the wall of her office. It really was around that time when Jiyoon's volunteer work finished. She always left around this time. No, actually, she had stayed later than usual that day. It seemed that the delay happened because she had waited for the conversation between Sungyoon and the director to come to an end.

“You should have just left. It really isn’t that important to say goodbye to this old woman.”

Jiyoon vigorously shook her head from side to side.

“It is really bad manners if I don’t.”

As she said those words, Jiyoon glanced towards Sungyoon.

“Also, I had a question I would like to ask Shinhae’s father.”

“You have a question for me?”

She didn’t have much of a relationship with him. They were basically strangers with Shinhae as the only common point between the two of them. They talked to each other if they had to, but for the most part, they ignored each other’s presence. Their relationship could be described as being indifferent. At the very least, it was like that for Sungyoon.

There was only one reason why she would want to talk with him.

“Does it perhaps have anything to do with Shinhae?”

If that was the case, it was a different story. Did something bad happen to her without him noticing it? Sungyoon’s face hardened as he put on a fierce expression. He pushed his face towards Jiyoon.

If it was any other man, she would have backed away in disgust. However, she just turned her head as she blushed.

“Ah. It is nothing like that. It is a personal matter. You had told me about the Moon last time. I was wondering if I can hear a more detailed account.”

‘What? It isn’t about Shinhae.’

At that moment, he remembered that Jiyoon wanted to take the state examination, and she wanted to get assigned to the Moon. His rapid interest quickly turned into disinterest. It was a bit of a funny sight. Jiyoon and the director quickly reaffirmed one fact as they watched Sungyoon’s face.

Unlike his normal self, when it came to Shinhae, he was a very easy person to read.

Sungyoon became conflicted for a brief moment. However, he had no reason to be troubled by her request. She wasn’t asking for a difficult favor. Moreover, he still owed her a lot for what she had done for his daughter. It wouldn’t be difficult to create some time for her.

“That won’t be too difficult. I just have to warn you that I’ve only been a Connector for less than half a year. I’m a beginner. I know less than you think. Are you ok with that?”

“Yes. That’ll be enough.”

She had few personal connections to people who had business ties to the Moon. This included her parents. However, the only Connector she knew was Sungyoon. Even if he was a beginner, he had gathered moonstones on the Moon. His perspective on the subject would be a great help to her.

“Let’s do that.”

Sungyoon checked the time on his wristwatch.

“First, I have to go pick up Shinhae. If I head out right now, I’ll arrive around the time when the kindergarten bus drops her off. May we have this conversation after that?”

“Of course.”

Jiyoon didn’t hesitate as she agreed. She would be seeing that cute child once again, so it wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it lit a fire within her. She wanted to touch Shinhae’s soft cheeks to her heart’s content.

“Ho-hooht! It sounds like a date.”

The director, who had witnessed everything from the side, spoke up in a playful manner.

Both of them had opposite reactions. Jiyoon’s face slightly reddened, while Sungyoon looked baffled as if the director was speaking nonsense.

“Why don’t you take this opportunity to just date her?”

“I’m already in my late thirties.”

“You are a Connector. You’ll live for a long time in a youthful body.”

The director’s eyes glinted with a mischievous light. Of course, she wasn’t being serious. It was what old people liked to do. It was like a game to them. They tried to play matchmaker to people they liked.

“What do you think about each other?”

Her questions were slowly getting more mischievous. Jiyoon stole a glance towards the man. 

She had never thought about him like that until now. However, the director’s question made her think about Sungyoon once again.

He was a divorced man with a daughter. In society, those two characteristics were considered negative. However, a cute child like Shinhae wasn't a burden. She thought that the little girl was a plus factor. Jiyoon adored her that much.

Also, even though Sungyoon wasn’t the most handsome man, he looked handsome enough to enter into the entertainment world. He was cold and disinterested when it came to strangers, but towards his family, he was loyal and loving. That was a plus. Moreover, he didn’t show interest in other women even if they were beautiful.

His occupation was dangerous, but a Connector made a lot of money. He was a bit older, but his appearance would remain youthful throughout the duration of his long life. His age wasn’t a negative factor at all.

‘Huh? Now that I think about it, this person isn’t so bad?’

If one went by societal standards, he would receive a high valuation as a marriage candidate.

It was sudden and unexpected, but she was reassessing Sungyoon. However, the man was firm with his answer.

“I don’t like her because she is pretty.”

It was such an unexpected answer that Jiyoon and the director were struck speechless.

Unlike the baffled director, Jiyoon felt another emotion alongside the bafflement. 

It was a feeling of displeasure.

“I don’t like you either!”

She reflexively spoke in a sullen tone. However, her words couldn’t hurt him at all, and it made Jiyoon more irritated.

But unlike her, the director quickly regained her composure. She had lived for a long time, and her past experiences weren't without substance.

The smile on the director’s lips remained as she asked the question.

“You don't like her because she is pretty. That’s a first! Is there any reason behind it?”

“It isn’t complicated. My ex-wife is trash, and she's also very pretty.”

“Mmm! I see.”

Sungyoon spoke as if it was nothing. But from Jiyoon and the director’s perspective, they were having a hard time accepting his logic.

“Ah. Excuse me...”

Jiyoon quickly spoke.

“I said I didn’t like you… I would like to cancel those words.”

It seemed she felt guilty after hearing Sungyoon’s words. She was hesitant as she tried to take back her words. She looked like a little puppy, and the sight of Jiyoon made the director subconsciously reach out towards her.

Of course, it didn’t work against Sungyoon.

“Understood.”

That was the end of it. It seemed Sungyoon hadn’t taken her words to heart, so she inwardly let out a sigh of relief. However, it was also proof that he really wasn’t interested in her.

‘Mmm! I can’t quite put a finger on it.’

Until now, she had liked it when a man didn’t show any interest in her. It made her life easier. So, why was it different right now? It felt as if a thorn was pricking at her heart.

She tilted her head in puzzlement. The director could guess what was happening within the girl's heart, so she let out a satisfied smile.

‘It is good to be young.’

There was a sweet yet bitter scent coming from Jiyoon. Alongside her beauty, it created a scene that could bring a smile to one’s face.

Of course, it wasn’t love. She hadn’t known Sungyoon for a long time. There was no way love would have developed within her heart.

However, a very small seed of interest towards Sungyoon had started to sprout within her. It was obvious.

She didn’t know what had been the catalyst. It might have been his handsome face, or it might have been the indignation created when he showed no interest in her. She had never been treated this way, so it might be curiosity. It might have happened when she saw his undying love for Shinhae. Maybe, it was all of the above.

The director was sure of one thing. She didn’t know if it would be a good or bad experience for Jiyoon. However, this experience would allow her to take one step forward in her maturity. If her prediction was right, Sungyoon was the ideal partner for Jiyoon to go through this experience.

‘If the worst comes to pass with this man, he would just leave her with the pain of a broken heart.’

If the best possible scenario comes to pass… 

Jiyoon was taken aback when she was swept up by her newly discovered emotion. Sungyoon remained brusque. The director let out a deep and meaningful smile as she watched both of them.

She had told them to date in a joking manner earlier. Her words were half-joking, but she had also been half-serious.

* * *

Jiyoon inwardly wondered how things had turned out like this? She had been doing her best in her volunteer work at the orphanage when she had coincidentally run across Sungyoon. So she had tried to take advantage of the opportunity since she wanted to know more details in regard to the Moon.

She intended to keep it simple. They would go to a cafe with Shinhae. While she drank coffee, she would harass Shinhae a little bit by touching her soft mochi-like cheeks, and she would listen to Sungyoon’s story. That had been her plan.

However, her plan had gone awry by a lot. She wasn’t in a cafe. She was in an unfamiliar place.

Tap! Tap! Tap!

She heard the sound of someone not used to using a kitchen knife. Jiyoon stretched her neck as she tried to see where the sound was coming from.

Sungyoon was chopping something. At a glance, she could tell that he wasn’t used to cooking. He looked awkward in the kitchen. There was a cookbook open next to the cutting board, and he kept looking at it before cooking. Each ingredient was measured in a measuring cup. It was obvious that he was a novice at cooking.

“Unni?”

Shinhae had been in Jiyoon’s arms as they read a book. The little girl looked at her with questioning eyes.

“Ah! I’m sorry!”

Jiyoon had taken her eyes off from the book for a brief moment. She went back to reading the book to Shinhae. Her sonorous voice rang out as the smell of food started to wash over them.

This place was Sungyoon’s house.

She had planned on going to a cafe, and she was going to leave after a short conversation. However, her plan went awry as soon as she met Shinhae.

Of course, Shinhae became glad to see Jiyoon. If others saw this sight, one would think Jiyoon was a young mother.

However, Sungyoon and Jiyoon’s plan started to go wrong from that point on.

‘Can unni go after she eats dinner with us?’

Shinhae’s innocent eyes were planted on the two.

Recently, Sungyoon was learning how to cook. The reason being that he wanted to make Shinhae delicious and nutritious food with his own hands. It had been a mess at the start, but he had lived on his own during his college days. He thought back on those memories, and he was able to make decent tasting food. 

The problem was the fact that Shinhae really liked Sungyoon’s cooking. He had been taken aback by this fact. However, he was also happy that Shinhae liked the food that was cooked by him. Still, he was certain his food didn’t taste very good.

This was why Sungyoon came up with a theory. No, it wasn’t a theory. It was a fact. His daughter didn’t like the taste of the food. She liked the fact that her father had cooked for her. Miyun hadn’t been a mother to her. She was a subhuman that didn’t even bother to cook for her own daughter. Moreover, Shinhae had experienced her mother abandoning her, and she had to be separated from her father for a brief time. This was why she was happy when eating food cooked by her father. It didn’t matter to her that the food wasn’t tasty.

Of course, this made Sungyoon put all his love and concentration into his cooking. Shinhae’s happiness and excitement was the ultimate motivation for him.

He wanted Shinhae’s happiness to grow and amplify. He wanted to be at a level where she would want to boast to others about his food.

Of course, when the little girl proposed the idea, Sungyoon and Jiyoon tried to say no. However, they became conflicted when confronted with Shinhae’s sad face. She had lowered her head, and her voice had become full of sadness. Sungyoon was the first to change his mind. He officially invited Jiyoon to dinner. Of course, Jiyoon couldn’t turn down the invitation. She hadn’t met him that often, but she’d never seen him make such a desperate face.

As a result, Jiyoon was playing with Shinhae, while Sungyoon was in a desperate struggle to prepare dinner. This was how they had arrived at their current situation.

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