— Flashback Begins —
About six months into cohabiting with Tae-jun, one night, Yuri was awoken to the sound of things falling around. It was dead into the night, and when she had gone to bed she had been alone. When she went to the living room downstairs to check, she found a piss-drunk Tae-jun, staggering, grabbing anything that he could hold onto to steady his out of control body in vain.
Hair out of place, unkempt clothes, reeking of alcohol, he looked every bit the roadside drunkard at the moment.
When he noticed her standing by the stairs, he waved to summon her. Yuri was kind of intimated because she had never seen Tae-jun this drunk before.
- Help me undress.
Huffing and puffing, he was tugging at his tie that was seemingly annoying him. Yuri gingerly drew closer, undid his tie, and took his jacket off. As she did, a whiff of an unusual scent took her by surprise. It was easy to miss the fragrance of candles coming from under the dominant smell of spirits, but it had still adhered to his clothes. It was now that her attention was drawn to his clothes. He was dressed for a funeral.
What’s been going on?
As she slowly unbuttoned his shirt, Tae-jun pulled her closer. In an instant, she fell onto his body. After a moment his warm tongue glided into her mouth. The taste of bitter alcohol seeped into her mouth. Then he let go of her lips and embraced her, resting her head on his chest.
She could distinctly hear the frantic beating of his heart. It invoked a strange sensation in her, somewhat unsettling.
- … The Villa President that I talked about? That’s my father. Today is the day that man died, the man who abandoned his wife and his son for some woman.
He murmured about his father as if he were sleep-talking.
- Nevertheless … I sometimes miss my father … the man who abandoned me.
With that, he fell asleep while hugging and petting her.
Yuri stayed still for a while in his arms. She hesitated, but then gently brushed through his hair. It was her first time touching him with sympathy. She started to feel pity for him. The grown man who seemed so strong and intimidating was no different from an immature and unstable boy.
It was from this moment on, that his impregnable exterior started to crumble and the dark hell that lay behind came into view.
— Flashback Ends —
It was Tae-jun’s voice that stopped Yuri from zoning out.
“Enough with my story, it’s your turn. Tell me what did you remember? How astonishing was it for you to make you jump into the river?”
“I didn’t jump into the river. I just forgot that I was in an area where the ground could potentially sink.”
Yuri hesitated, she had yet to make up her mind about whether it was okay to tell him the truth. There was nothing to be certain of except for one fact: Tae-jun Seo would never do any harm to her. The man was many things, but somehow she could not see him as someone pushing her into danger. She decided to follow her instincts.
“…… That was where Hye-yeon Jin died. And if I’m guessing correctly, I think I witnessed it.”
Although it was a few measly words, the weight they held was enormous. Unable to bear the burden, Yuri fell asleep in an instant. In truth, she had passed out. The dip in the river, the struggle to stay alive … her energy had been sucked dry.
Tae-jun gazed at the slumbering figure as his mind wandered around the confession she had made.
- I was the last person whom Hye-yeon Jin encountered before she died. After that, I witnessed her death … It was definitely not suicide. Somebody murdered her.
Somebody murdered Hye-yeon Jin? He made a mental note to take a deeper look into this claim.
Tae-jun examined the two phones he usually carried around. One seemed to be dead but luckily his personal phone was waterproof. He bit on his damp cigarette and called Jin-wook .
The man immediately responded.
- “Yes, Sir.”
“We need to look more deeply into Yuri. Find out what happened to her after she went missing.”
- “Do you mean 4 years ago?”
“Correct. And you told me that you’ve met the officer who was responsible for Hye-yeon Jin’s case? Were there any peculiar details?”
- “What do you mean by peculiar details?”
“The last person Hye-yeon Jin saw before she died was Yuri. Yuri witnessed Jin get murdered.”
- “Did Ms. Han regain her memories?”
Jin-wook was speechless for a minute. He cautiously talked about the stories of the past.
- “To be honest, the officer did throw some questions during his investigation. She drowned but her lungs weren’t full of water. It was logical to suspect murder in regards to all the evidence, but back then I believed that it had nothing to do with Ms. Han, which is why I did not report it to you.”
“If there were proofs of murder, then why didn’t the police investigate into it?”
- “A person of high authority pressured them to end their investigation. It didn’t even reach the National Forensic Service. Mr. Jin wanted to keep things quiet too. They even skipped the funeral and cremated the body.”
“By high authority you mean …”
- “You’re right. It’s In-bae Lee.” He completed his boss’s words for him.
He’s in this again, In-bae Lee. Tae-jun chewed on his cigarette.
“If it was a murder, then who killed Hye-yeon Jin, and for what reason?”