Side Story 28. Kim Hannah vs. Seol Jinhee

Seol Jinhee headed to her old college early in the morning. Although she had already graduated, she had a meeting with a professor regarding job hunting.

Seol Jinhee’s complexion wasn’t the brightest. Like all job seekers, her head was in a jumble.

‘I don’t want to do any additional specialized training…. Should I just bite my tongue and enter grad school? No, I’d rather just get a job….’

Seol Jinhee walked out of the main gate while mulling over her career path.

“?”

Then, she came to an abrupt stop.

She was already in a foul mood, and now seeing the person standing in front of the main gate, she got more annoyed.

“Ooh, Jinhee.”

Seol Jihu, who was looking up at the sky while leaning on the wall, waved his hand with a smile.

Seol Jinhee scowled.

“You… What are you doing here?”

Seol Jihu lowered his hand at his sister’s not-so-kind attitude.

“I texted you this morning. Did you not see it?”

“....”

She did. She just ignored them. There were other times when Seol Jihu offered to take her out to eat or go shopping. He must have come directly because she disregarded his previous messages too.

Seol Jinhee sighed. She tried to walk past him, but Seol Jihu quickly got in front of her.

“What are you doing? Move.”

“C’mon on, let’s go eat~ We can go to the mall afterward, get some new clothes, take pictures together, and…”

“What are you on about? Why would I eat with you? Wait. Take pictures? Are you crazy?”

“I have no choice. I have to send pics to prove that I did it.”

“?”

“Father said to send him pictures by the end of the day….”

Seol Jinhee raised her eyebrows.

“Ah~ So you don’t want to do it, but Dad is forcing you to.”

“No, that’s not what I meant.”

“It’s perfect then. Just tell him I said no. I’m sure he’d understand since you made the effort of coming all the way to my school.”

Seol Jinhee snorted and walked past Seol Jihu. However, she couldn’t help but come to a stop as Seol Jihu again obstructed her path with a strange dance.

“What are you doing, idiot!? Aren’t you embarrassed?”

Seol Jinhee shouted while looking around in a hurry.

Seol Jihu did not stop. He continued to block Seol Jinhee’s way while singing, ‘Food~ Food~!’

“Ugggh! Are you actually crazy? What do you think you’re doing in broad daylight!?”

“Food.”

“You… Argh, okay, okay! Fine! We can go out to eat and take some pictures!”

“Clothes.”

“Clo…. Listen, don’t go too far. Do you really want to go at it?”

Seol Jinhee grunted while glaring at Seol Jihu. However, Seol Jihu was unresponsive.

“If you don’t go out on a date with me today, I’ll lay down in front of the gate and scream, I’m Seol Jinhee’s oppa!!!

“Crazy bastard. Do it then.”

“I’ll also hide under your professor’s desk and put post-it notes on his back that say I’m Seol Jinhee’s oppa! in a large font."

“Do it! I dare you! People will think you’re the crazy one, not me!”

“Okay, you said so.”

Seol Jihu immediately got down on his back.

“I’m…!”

As he opened his mouth to shout, the frightened Seol Jinhee hurriedly bent down and blocked his mouth.

“Are you… serious….”

Her throat trembled.

Seol Jihu blinked.

“Huuuuu….”

Seol Jinhee dropped her head. She bit her lower lip and then slowly got up.

“...Fine, you asked for it.”

She looked down at Seol Jihu with a cold, resolute gaze.

Sensing that something was about to happen, Seol Jihu quietly got up.

“Alright, let’s do it. Food? Clothes? If you’re so desperate to take me out, I don’t see why not.”

Seol Jinhee said arrogantly before curling the corner of her lips up.

“You’re not going to back down after going this far, right?”

“Of course not! Anything you want to eat, anything you want to buy, just tell me, and I’ll get them for you!”

Seol Jihu spoke squarely.

Seol Jinhee snorted.

“Can I call my friends?”

“Call them! Call however many you want!”

“Oh, really?”

Seol Jinhee immediately took out her phone. She called her friend and spoke.

“Hey, come to the school's main gate. Right now.”

—Hm? What’s gotten into the stingy friend of mine?

“I’ll treat you to all the expensive food you can think of, so shut up and get your butt over here! Bring other people too!”

Seol Jinhee then made several more similar calls.

Soon, people began to gather in front of the school gate, the number quickly reaching a couple dozen.

Seol Jihu became dazed. His sister could get so many people to come along at a moment’s notice? He began to wonder what kind of a position she had at college.

“Guys~”

Seol Jinhee gave a gorgeous smile while looking back at everyone. She then glanced at Seol Jihu and announced aloud.

“My second brother wants to buy us lunch! And a re~ally expensive lunch, at that!”

A loud cheer erupted.

Seol Jihu, who was staring with a blank face, grinned. He took out his phone while everyone was watching and made a call to a restaurant.

“Yes, I’m the person who called to make a reservation a while ago.”

He then spoke.

“I want to rent out the whole place for lunch. Is it okay?”


*


About two hours later, Seol Jinhee had a completely stumped expression. She wanted to see Seol Jihu’s troubled face. But to her dismay, he really took them to a restaurant and paid for everyone’s meal. The bill was well over 80,000 won per person too!

The atmosphere was good. No, it was great. Seol Jinhee’s friends were either job-hunting students or recent grads, and Seol Jihu was a senior who had already assimilated into society.

‘Oh right, that bastard went to a good college.’

As a graduate from Soyoung University who was also working at a rising corporation, Seol Jihu naturally became a mentor to these younger juniors, and they talked about all sorts of things.

After lunch, Seol Jinhee, who had been dead silent the whole time, gritted her teeth and headed to the mall. She picked out everything she found decently good, including clothes, shoes, make-up, handbags, and other things. Many of them were for her friends as well.

She was very obviously trying to make things hard for Seol Jihu, but he swiped his card on each purchase as if it was no big deal.

Seol Jinhee gasped in shock, seeing Seol Jihu buy millions of wons worth of products at once.

“W-What? Are you crazy?”

“Oppa, aren’t you spending too much money?”

He was spending so much that even Seol Jinhee’s friends were feeling uncomfortable.

“Oh, it’s fine. I have lots of money.”

Seol Jihu spoke with a childish smile.

“It’s been a while… but you remember the Sinyoung incident, right?”

“Of course! It was huge news back then.”

“I was an employee of Sinyoung. And one of the victims too.”

“Ah….”

Gasps rang out from the surroundings. Seol Jihu continued as if it wasn’t a big deal.

“I received a lot in compensation.”

“But still….”

“It’s fine. Really. I didn’t want the money anyway, but it also didn’t feel right to decline it. Holding onto it gives me bad flashbacks, so I figured I might as well use it like this.”

“....”

“Besides, I have a lot that I’m sorry about to my sister….”

Seol Jihu sighed with a bitter smile. While Seol Jinhee’s friends gave him sympathetic looks, the surrounding atmosphere turned solemn. Some began giving sidelong glances at Seol Jinhee, who was treating Seol Jihu disrespectfully.

‘T-This son of a bitch.’

Seol Jinhee clenched her teeth. Before she noticed, she had become an evil bitch who was squandering the money her older brother made by risking his life.

“It would be a shame to say goodbye now. Do you guys want to get some coffee? I know a really good dessert cafe.”

Seol Jihu broke the awkward silence and tried to liven up the mood.

In the end, Seol Jinhee had no choice but to tag along with Seol Jihu for the rest of the day.


*


Seol Jinhee used the excuse of going back with her friends to escape getting a ride home. Seeing her phone vibrating incessantly, Seol Jinhee made a dumbfounded face.

—Jinhee~ I had a great time today, thanks to Jihu Oppa. He gave me a lot of great advice and even gifts. I want to thank him, so can you talk to your oppa about me?

—Yo, your oppa was really cool. Can you give me Hyung’s number? And if possible, what he’s into too….

“Crazy bastards.”

Seol Jinhee let out a dumbfounded chuckle. The effect of the lunch and shopping trip was too much.

“How does this make any sense?”

Seol Jinhee expressed her frustration at her best friend, who was walking beside her. They had been friends since high school, and she knew a bit about Seol Jinhee’s family background.

“Yeah, I think you’re right. It’s obvious that he’s trying to get on your good side.”

“Right? Right?”

“Of course, you can also see it as him trying to make up for his past wrongdoings, but how can you trust him? He might be trying to buy your trust to backstab you again! If he betrays your trust again, you probably won’t be able to endure it.”

“Exactly!”

“Jinhee, as your best friend, I fully understand your worries.”

“I knew I could count on you! You have no clue how much I—”

“I know. So calm down. I’ll help you out.”

“How?”

Seol Jinhee turned to her excitedly. Then, she blinked.

It was because her best friend carefully slid her phone toward her.

“First, give me Jihu Oppa’s number. I’ll meet up with him for you and have a talk.”

Seol Jinhee stared at her best friend fixedly…

“Damn you!”

...before shoving her to the side.


*


“Oh, you’re back?”

When Seol Jinhee got home, she was greeted by her father, who was happily staring at a display stand of foreign liquor. Seol Jinhee threw her shoes off and then fixedly glared at her father.

“So, how did it go with Ji…”

Noticing her gaze, her father immediately shut his mouth. He slowly got up, let out a light cough, and then disappeared into his room.

“Welcome back, Jinhee. Did you have lots of fun with Jihu?”

Next, her mother came out of the kitchen to greet her.

“Argh! Why did you and Dad have to do that!?”

Seol Jinhee yelled angrily.

“Oh, what are those? Did Jihu get them for you?”

“Don’t ask! I don’t know! I’m annoyed!”

“You say that, but at least your body is honest.”

Seol Wooseok, who was eating dinner at the dining table, chimed in. He was staring at the shopping bags in Seol Jinhee’s hands. Of course, he averted his gaze when she glared back at him.

“Anyway, don’t push too hard on him. You can tell he’s trying hard.”

“You’re just like the rest.”

“?”

“Everyone’s the same! Being all giddy and forgetful just because he bought you some gifts!”

“Don’t say that. You know it’s not about the gifts.”

“Whatever. Did you forget what that bastard did in the past?”

“How could I? I was just as much of a victim as you.”

Seol Wooseok spoke while munching on rice.

“I did my fair share of investigations to confirm that his change is real. It’s reasonable to be suspicious. All I’m saying is that you should be open-minded.”

“Hah!”

Seol Jinhee stomped up the stairs as if she had enough. She threw the bags in her room and jumped onto her bed angrily.

‘He says he’s busy all the time yet skips work for a whole day…. Wait, hold on….’

Seol Jinhee furrowed her brows while thinking about what happened today.

Didn’t he say he was on a paid time-off after coming back from a business trip to Detroit recently?

After thinking it over for a bit, Seol Jinhee took out her phone and made a call.

“Yo, bro.”

—Jinhee? This is a surprise.

“You’re still in public service, right? Part-time?”

—Full-time.

“Anyways, you’re still working in my neighborhood?”

—Yeah, why?

“Then can you check my older brother’s passport records?”

—I can… but why?

“You don’t need to know why. Just hurry!”

—I can’t just look at someone’s record like that.

“He’s my older brother, my family! Just do it!”

—Okay, okay! Stop yelling!

Grumbling noises came from the other side of the phone, along with the sound of keyboard tapping.

—Oh, here it is. Seol Jihu. He went to America recently.

“...The record’s there? Really?”

—Yep. Our records match the Military Manpower Administration records too. I’m sure of it.

Seol Jinhee asked multiple times, but the same reply came back. After hanging up, Seol Jinhee smacked her lips.

To be honest, now seemed to be a good time to believe in him. But for some reason, she couldn’t. It wasn’t just because of the trauma from being betrayed countless times.

Intuition… a sixth sense… was more like it. Seol Jinhee’s keen senses were screaming that something was off and Seol Jihu was hiding something.

‘I feel like there’s something….’

She tapped on her bed before clenching her fists.

She had time to spare now that she graduated. She figured she would trust her intuition, investigate Seol Jihu’s secrets, and reveal his true face to the world!


*


Striking while the iron was hot, Seol Jinhee set out a few days later. She first went to Seol Jihu’s apartment.

“Aigoo~ Don’t even ask. The poor boy works hard both day and night that I barely see him! He goes out to work early in the morning every day and comes back late. He sometimes staggers back home in his loose suit. You don’t know how much I pity him!”

The property owner clicked her tongue and spoke as if she felt sorry for Seol Jihu. Although Seol Jinhee asked to be let inside his apartment, the landowner firmly refused, saying it wasn’t possible without the home owner’s permission. Of course, Seol Jinhee did not know that the property owner was paid a large amount of money to say all this.

Seol Jinhee did not make any gains by ambushing Seol Jihu’s apartment, so she decided to go with a more frontal approach next.

She had barged into his workplace.

‘The building looks nice….’

After checking again that she was dressed professionally, Seol Jinhee marched toward the building. It wasn’t difficult to get inside. There weren’t many people since it was lunchtime, and Seol Jinhee joined another group of people entering the building.

Of course, she was met with a security guard soon afterward.

“Excuse me, but what brings you here?”

“I came to meet my older brother.”

Seol Jinhee retorted without batting an eye.

“Pardon?”

“Seol Jihu. Doesn’t he work here?”

The security guard’s eyes narrowed.

“Assistant Manager Seol?”

Hearing this, Seol Jinhee’s eyes widened slightly.

“...Yes. He said he forgot something at home. I came to drop it off.”

“I did not hear he was expecting a guest.”

“Oppa must have forgotten. I tried calling him, but he didn’t pick up.”

Seol Jinhee lied through her teeth. The Seol Jihu she knew was incredibly crafty. He would surely make preparations if she called beforehand. It was best to catch him by surprise.

“I can deliver the missing item to Assistant Manager Seol.”

“No, it’s okay. I’ll deliver it myself. That’s what Oppa told me to do.”

Seol Jinhee refused with a sweet smile. The security guard’s expression also sank as he noticed this girl wasn’t so easy to deal with. Of course, he didn’t show this outwardly.

The security guard was also an ex-Paradise personnel.

“Alright, then can you take a seat and wait a bit? I will contact his department.”

“Yes, thank you. I can wait here, right?”

Seol Jinhee shrugged. The security guard quickly disappeared.

In a way, this was a bit of a dangerous situation. After all, Seol Jihu currently wasn’t inside the building. The saving grace was that there was someone in the building who could get in contact with him. And this person just happened to be Paradise’s greatest, unrivaled vixen.

“Huh? Who’s here?”

“It’s Mister Seol Jihu’s younger sister….”

After hearing the report, Kim Hannah immediately headed to the security room. She stared at Seol Jinhee, who was obediently sitting in her seat.

‘She came all the way here without saying a word?’

Given her relationship with Seol Jihu, it was obvious why she was here. Kim Hannah could tell just by looking at her. Though she was sitting there like a prim, well-mannered girl, her eyes were scanning her surroundings.

“Oh?”

Kim Hannah smirked.

“Look at that. How cute!”

A wide smile bloomed on Kim Hannah’s face. It wasn’t that she had nothing else to do, but she wasn’t the type to turn down a challenge. Not to mention, her opponent was the younger sister of Seol Jihu. They must surely share the inexplicable genes that made up the latter’s craziness.

In any case, she was Seol Jihu’s Inviter. It was her duty to provide a safe environment for him to enter and leave Paradise.

“Alright, come at me. It’ll be fun if you’re half as abnormal as your brother.”

At that moment, the security guard stepped back with a flinch. Though it shouldn’t be possible, he felt like he saw nine tails bloom from Kim Hannah’s butt.

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