Chae-woo swiped the key card and opened the door, pushing Lee-yeon against the wall as soon as he set her down.
He had been working so hard to keep his cool, but now his cold expression was shattered, an angry snarl taking its place.
“What was all that about?”
He ground his teeth together as if he were chewing glass. The shoulder that had slammed against the wall stung, but Lee-yeon didn’t dare to breathe at the sight of his fierce expression.
“You just can’t help but drag people into your problems. And you go ahead and say that I’m not your husband, we didn’t get married, it’s all a misunderstanding? What the fuck, you think you can just use people however you like?”
He rested his forehead irritably on his arm which was pressed against the wall. In doing so, his face was covered in shadow, but she could still clearly make out his furrowed brow and clenched jaw.
Lee-yeon leveled her shoulders and held her breath as her heart beat rapidly against her chest. She knew he couldn’t understand that she had done it to protect him, and his harsh words stung.
“…I told you. I didn’t want to get you involved.” Her voice wavered, but she held back her tears. Her chest just swelled lightly like that of a small bird. “What, what kind of woman does that to her own husband?”
“It was my shame to bear. You’re just starting to build up your social reputation. Do you want everyone to think you’re married to someone who was born illegitimately? You know that would just bring you down with me.”
“On the outside people might pat your back and show you sympathy, but you know what they’d be thinking on the inside. Little by little they’d start to laugh about you behind your back. I didn’t want you to suffer from that kind of ridicule. That’s why I said what I did, because of the consequences!”
She must have been overwhelmed from her speech because she felt tears rolling down her cheeks.
A momentary smile flashed across Chae-woo’s face as he silently stared at her pitiful state. It was just there for an instant, but it was clearly a laugh.
He wiped away Lee-yeon’s tears, a smile on his face.
“When did you become so sincere?”
“What?” she replied, wondering at the odd insinuation.
“But what can I do? I don’t have an ounce of appreciation for your little sacrifice”
He placed a large hand over her swollen cheek and lip. When his hand touched her skin, she felt the stinging, throbbing pain of where she was hit.
“Did you think I’d say thank you for lying for my sake? I get upset when someone messes with my dog, but to hit my woman…”
He couldn’t tear his fierce gaze from the bruises on her face. He inhaled deeply, clenching his jaw tightly.
“Don’t you ever let me see you like this again.”
His warning reverberated through his cold stare.
“Don’t beg for no reason and don’t get hit for no reason. And I’m sick of lying and hiding like this, too, so just stop.”
“I would do it all again.”
“If this were all to happen again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” Lee-yeon stared at him with wide eyes. Her look was stubborn and unfaltering. Chae-woo let out a breath and nervously swept his hair back.
“Even if the same thing were to happen again, I still wouldn’t say you’re my husband in front of everyone.”
Chae-woo’s expression hardened at her words.
“Everything my cousin said was true. It’s the filthy past I’ve carried with me since I was born.”
“Fuck, doesn’t that guy have a name?”
Lee-yeon paused, shutting her mouth and lowering her eyes and his sudden outburst.
“This is my problem, not yours. So, I lied, big deal. It may seem cowardly to you, but this is how I’m choosing to handle it.”
His heart throbbed at her words as though he’d been infected by her emotions. He couldn’t help but notice how beautiful her eyes looked as they glistened beautifully with tears which threatened to overflow at any moment. To be honest, it was pretty effective at tugging his heart.
But as he listened to her laughable declaration of resolve, he couldn’t help but grind his teeth in irritation. He was upset at himself for being bothered by the scars Lee-yeon still carried with her because of her cousins and her birth. His stomach was in knots.
He felt the urge to worm his way into her obstinate world and carve out a bigger scar than that. As he imagined this, his sadistic impulses took over and surged out of control.
“Listen, if you really want to make it up to me—”
Chae-woo lifted her chin roughly and forced her to look him in the eye.
“Let me bury myself deep inside you. So deep that I can’t escape, and even deeper then.”
“I’m ready to be manipulated by you.”
Lee-yeon could feel the heat in his gaze as she stared into his dark eyes, her palms growing clammy. A feeling, neither hot nor cold, was spreading throughout her, awakening her body. Her heart was beating frighteningly fast.
“I’m the one who took your virginity. Did you really think I’d be bothered by your past?”