Chapter 79

“I can’t take this….”

The fragrant aroma of the coffee tickled her nose, but Chelsea didn’t drink it. In the past, she latched herself onto Jimin so that her friend could buy her steak. She even had a steak song that she would sing. But right now, that woman was nowhere to be seen.

She had come here to apologize. If she took the expensive beverage, it would be putting the cart before the horse.

Sungyoon was calm as he pointed towards the store where he had purchased the coffee.

“I can’t get a refund.”

Chelsea had no rebuttal for his words, so she had no choice. She took the coffee.

Sungyoon, once again, sat down next to her.

“Were you waiting for me every day?”

Once Sungyoon went into a labyrinth, he had no idea when he would be coming out. There were times when he exited early like the present day when he had encountered something unexpected. Sometimes he stayed longer than usual, as the number of moonstones he had gathered was too low. It was the reason why there was no way Chelsea could have correctly guessed the date of his return.

In the past, he picked one day of the week that he designated as a rest day. Hence, Chelsea usually came on that day to meet him. But despite having a designated rest day, there were times when plans went awry in the labyrinth. It was why several of her trips had been in vain before. The current day wasn’t the designated rest day, yet, Chelsea had been waiting for Sungyoon before he returned to the Support Center.

It implied that she had been waiting for him every day.

As expected, Chelsea nodded.

‘What should I do about this?’

Sungyoon was lost as to what he should do. He really didn't hold an ounce of resentment towards Chelsea. However, the problem remained: she felt very responsible for what had happened to Sungyoon.

She really was an innocent and kind person.

‘If the world is only filled with assholes and bitches, that would be hell.’

If there really was a world like that, killing one’s life might be the only salvation.

“I’ll say this again, Ms. Chelsea. It wasn’t your fault.”

Chelsea was about to say something, but he raised his hand to stop her.

“Also, I’ve received your apology.”

He shook the empty paper bag in front of her eyes.

“If you aren’t satisfied with that, you can bring me food occasionally, and you can be a friend that I can talk to.”

“That isn’t enough...!”

“I'm telling you the truth right now. There is nothing more that you can do for me, Ms. Chelsea.”

Chelsea shut her mouth.

Her intelligent mind was spinning. However, she had no rebuttal for the connector's words. The only additional compensation she could think of was money. But although she was an elite, she was a mere researcher. Sungyoon was a beginner Connector, but he was a Connector nonetheless. He had massive income potential. It wouldn’t make sense for her to give him money. The sums of money that appeared large to her, weren't that large to Sungyoon. Moreover, this disparity would become worse as time passed.

Was there anything else she could give? Chelsea discreetly looked down at her body. Underneath her white lab coat, she had an ample bosom and a slim waist. Her hips had a gentle swell to them too. She placed her arms underneath her breasts, and her two weighty mounds slightly rose.

She knew about her looks. She knew how men viewed her. She didn’t have any experience, so she had no technique. However, she was still an above-average catch. It happened when she was having such thoughts.

“I can guess what you are thinking right now.”

She heard Sungyoon’s words sharply in her ears.

“Absolutely not.”

It didn’t sound as if he was saying no because of some moral objection. It really sounded as if he was disgusted. It was like a physiological reaction, and it almost made Chelsea angry.

“Also, you should never think about doing such a thing from now on. Do you know how upset your parents will be, if they knew about this?”

Just the thought of Shinhae doing something like that in the future made him want to faint. When his thoughts started to overlap between Shinhae and Chelsea, he felt an urge to speak out.

In the end, Sungyoon scolded her.

He sounded like a father talking to a daughter. Until now, he had always been emotionless, and his actions always looked mechanical. Chelsea had never seen the man speak so much. His current speech was longer in length than all the words combined from their previous conversations.

For a while, Chelsea couldn’t speak. She was like a child being scolded. However, she started to find her current situation ridiculous and funny.

“Pffft!”

In the end, she couldn’t hold back her laughter.

“Ah-hahahahahahaha!”

A laugh full of mirth rang out in the park.

“Ah. I’m... pfft... sorry.”

It really was rude to suddenly laugh out loud when someone was speaking. Chelsea stopped laughing, and she apologized. However, the corners of her mouth danced, and tears had appeared in her eyes. One could tell that she was still holding back her laughter.

Sungyoon awkwardly smacked his lips. He wasn’t offended. He also realized the ridiculousness of his actions.

“I'm sorry. I overstepped my bounds.”

Sungyoon lowered his head towards her, but she waved it away.

“No! Those were helpful words. Did you say those words with your daughter in mind?”

“Yes.”

“Hoo-hooht! Your daughter receives a lot of love from you. I want to meet her one day.”

She had seen a picture, but she hadn’t actually met Shinhae. She had gone through a lot with Sungyoon at this point in time. Chelsea wanted to meet the child named Shinhae, who received so much love from Sungyoon.

“When an opportunity presents itself, I’ll introduce her to you.”

He was proud of his daughter. There was no way he would avoid the opportunity to show off his daughter to someone else. It was what he genuinely felt.

Chelsea let out a shallow breath. It felt as if she had poured out all her negative emotions with her laughter. The oppressive emotion weighing down on her chest was gone. Of course, the feeling of guilt hadn't completely vanished. She still wanted to pay him back somehow. However, the desire to pay him back even at the cost of her own body, was completely gone now.

“So, you just want me to be your conversation buddy?”

She had regained her normally vivacious and cheerful self. She queried Sungyoon.

“Yes. That’ll be enough.”

“Understood. I’ll leave it at that for now.”

Sungyoon had wanted to end this situation as soon as possible. However, Chelsea had said something ominous as if she was going to do something in the future. After saying those words, Chelsea stood up. She twirled around to face Sungyoon.

“I’m sorry for causing you trouble in so many ways.”

“You didn’t cause me any trouble.”

“You are a really good person, Mr. Sungyoon.”

Her beautiful eyes curved as she let out a bright smile. She took the empty paper bag that Sungyoon had been holding.

“I’ll head back now. Shall we meet next time at the time we usually do?”

“Let’s do that. Please get home safely, Ms. Chelsea.”

Chelsea once again smiled. Then, she turned around and exited the park. Her footsteps looked extremely light. He probably no longer had to be worried about her.

‘Worried?’

Sungyoon became surprised at the sudden thought. Was he worried about the woman named Chelsea Strobe? He suddenly had a realization. It hadn’t been too long ago that he had decided to think only about Shinhae. However, now he was worrying about a woman that he had met not too long ago. It gave him grave apprehension about himself.

‘Do I fancy her?’

Chelsea was such a beautiful woman that he might have subconsciously fallen for her. Sungyoon assessed the state of his heart.

However, that wasn’t the case. His guard against women was still up, and he still mistrusted beautiful women. When he thought about becoming an item with Chelsea, it didn’t make his heart race. In fact, he got goosebumps.

‘What was it?’

He went through various possibilities, and he came to one conclusion.

It was natural for him to be worried about her. The woman had been ridden with guilt, and at one point, she even thought about being careless with her body. She was someone’s daughter, and maybe, there was an overlap between Shinhae and her.

When he reached this conclusion, he became very surprised.

In the past, he had been betrayed by his so-called friend and wife. When he had been crawling at the lowest point in his life, he wouldn’t have cared about Chelsea. The thought of spending his precious money to buy coffee for her wouldn’t have even entered his mind. In fact, he would have felt annoyed at Chelsea, who had been trying to apologize. 

‘No, I did feel a troublesome emotion.’

It seemed his emotions weren't as extreme compared to the time when he didn’t have any breathing room in his heart.

Sungyoon placed his hand on his chest. He still couldn’t hear the beat of his heart; however, he wasn’t trying to find his heartbeat. It was a stance to check on his emotions and feelings.

‘Is my resolve faltering?’

He wanted to live and die only for Shinhae. She was his driving force.

That hadn’t changed. The driving force was still there, and it was the principle that guided all his actions.

However, it wasn’t like before where he only had eyes for Shinhae. If it didn’t cause harm to his daughter, he was starting to look around his surroundings. He was starting to develop other feelings to a limited degree.

His wound was healing.

The wound in his heart was so very deep and large. If that wound had manifested on anywhere else in his body, he would have instantly died before he could have even been administered emergency measures.

The progress was very small and slow, but the wound was starting to mend itself.

It was said that time cures all. Or was it because he had more breathing room now? No, that wasn’t it. Even if these factors contributed to his wound mending, his wound was healing too fast.

Sungyoon had a vague idea as to the reason behind it.

‘… is it because of those meetings?’

It was said that every cloud has a silver lining. He had met the worst kinds of people before he fell to the lowest point in his life. Maybe, there was an opposite reaction for every action. After the lowest point in his life, he had only met kind and trustworthy people.

It was only for a short amount of time, but the director of the orphanage had taken good care of his daughter. Then there was his greatest savior, Jimin. Jiyoon treasured Shinhae like her little cousin. Chelsea had been suspicious of him, but she had helped him in many ways. Finally, there were Tim and Emily, who looked at him with admiration in their eyes.

‘No! Not yet! I can’t trust them all yet.’

Sungyoon scolded himself. He knew that they were all good people. In the past, he would have been proud of the fact that he had met these people. However, he wasn’t like that anymore.

Until his friend and wife had revealed their true nature, they had been ‘good people’.

‘But in hindsight, there were subtle signs.’

He frowned as he thought about his ex-wife Miyun. It seemed that he had wool pulled over his eyes.

Generally, these changes were good things. It was supposed to be welcomed. The people around him would welcome it, and if he went to a psychiatrist, the doctor would say it was a good development.

Sungyoon knew there was something wrong with him. He was abnormal. If he wanted to go back to being normal, he might need to find his humanity once again.

However, there was a part of him that resented the change.

‘I’m abnormal. So what?’

At the very least, it would be better for him to be abnormal, if he wanted to live his life only for Shinhae. It allowed him to be able to ignore everything. He worried that this change might mean that he would no longer be able to focus solely on Shinhae. His money was supposed to be only for Shinhae, yet hadn’t he spent it on useless things today?

However, he didn’t like the idea of ignoring his slowly recovering emotions. Even if he treasured Shinhae, wouldn’t it be better if he could return to what he used to be? 

It didn't matter how long he thought about it. He couldn’t come up with a clear answer that he felt satisfied with. In the end, he decided to make one more resolution. He would keep this resolution as a way to deal with this change. 

‘It doesn’t matter what happens. Shinhae is my first priority.’

The thoughts inside his head had been tangled up like a ball of thread. After he made this new resolution, he felt at ease.

Sungyoon got up from the bench and immediately walked towards his lodging.

His head was in a daze because he had agonized over his troubled thoughts. He wanted to go back to his ridiculous room inside the Chicken Coop.

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