Category: Chapter, Angst, NC-21
Main Cast: Kang Seulri & Cho Kyuhyun
Supporting Cast: Ok Taecyeon
The nurses are taking over the doctor’s job, they now cleaning the remaining traces of blood in that’s left on her porcelain skin. The operation is done, the neurosurgeon and the rest of the doctors had tried everything they know and everything they could to help her, and all they can do now is wait.
Kyuhyun is the only doctor left in the O.R, he’s trying his best to keep it all together but his tears keep on falling down seeing the state she’s in. Kang Seulri doesn’t look like somebody that’s encountering any pain at all, only the absence of color on her lips that tells him about her being unwell, to him she looks like she’s having a very peaceful sleep.
Maybe that’s true.
Maybe she’s tired with everything that happened to her lately—or throughout her life, maybe Seulri really needs to take her peaceful sleep, this might be what she deserves after her ongoing battle in her life.
“May I do that for her?” Kyuhyun approaches the nurse and offers his hand to take the sponge in her hand.
“Ne?” She looks surprised.
Kyuhyun nods slowly and takes the sponge from her hand without waiting for her confirmation. “I want to do this for her, please, this person is very important to me.”
The nurse gives out the sponge in her hand and the other nurse that holds a patient dress also put down the hospital outfit she prepared for Seulri and they both nod before they leave the room for Kyuhyun and Seulri alone.
Kyuhyun dip in the sponge into the warm water bath, squeeze off the excess water then he gently dabs the moist sponge on her. Begins from her forehead, tries to avoid her gauze to get wet and slowly make his way down towards her eyes. He cleaned up the traces of her tears that still shown clearly on her cheek and he carefully makes his way around her mouth, erasing all the dried blood she kept on vomiting all night.
His hand is trembling badly the whole time he tries to clean her up, Kyuhyun does his best effort not to shed more tears but the more he pays attention to every inch of her feature, the more he feels like Seulri is currently punishing him by being in a coma.
He dips the sponge again to wipe off some of the tarmac dirt that still remains near her shoulder, he lifts her arms while making his way down to her palm that’s also covered in dried blood. Kyuhyun rounds the gurney to make sure he cleans every part of her and when he thought it couldn’t get any worse, he noticed something that she wears on her left ring-finger.
Still covered in blood, Kyuhyun saw the little silver ring that formed into an infinity symbol.
It’s the ring he bought for her on her birthday, it’s supposed to be the ring he used to propose to her, a ring that he tossed into the trash right after he figured out her mishaps. Kyuhyun feels like someone is choking him as he starts to gasping for air to get rid of the stuffy sensation he feels inside his chest, he feels like Seulri is now grabbing his heart and squeeze it hard with her own hand just by the look on that ring.
Did she picked it up without him knowing? Why he never noticed it before?
The rush of self-blame and regrets attack him one more time. He gives up to his own emotion and finally lost his own strength as he gradually falls into his knees while crying helplessly.
“Mianhae Seulri-ya!” He stutters in between his cries. “Oh my God, I’m so cruel to you, I’m a real jerk to you aren’t I? I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
He takes his time to mourn, pats his chest roughly to get rid of the pain he feels inside. He remembers what she just said moments ago, that she loves him more that he loves her and he knows it’s right.
Kang Seulri is the kind of person that gives her all into their relationship, she was the one that loved him unconditionally even after he torn her apart like that, while Kyuhyun was the person that always took a lot of consideration and judgement in their relationship.
Looking back now, Kyuhyun could imagine what kind of burden she had to encounter when they were having their affair, he tries to put himself in her shoes and he imagine what kind of fear that must have haunt her the whole time from hiding the truth from him. He knew that Seulri must have her own reason, it’s still wrong what she did, but Kyuhyun should at least listen to her when she tried to explain herself instead of shut her out completely from his life—and continuously hurt her on purpose.
Ever since Kyuhyun figured out what kind of person she had become, he shut her out of his life completely. In the first few weeks Seulri still try to get in touch with him, forced her way to make him listen to her reasons if that’s still possible.
But his reaction had slowly shrunken her courage.
At first he just ignored her, Kyuhyun just passed through her as if she’s a ghost when she clearly waited in front of his door. The next stage of his rejection shown by him taken a lot of shifts and he insisted to use the on-call room in the hospital to sleep in so he didn’t have to return home to face her. Last week, Oh Jinae had return from her study and Kyuhyun made it clear to Seulri that she should stop trying to approach him by bringing Jinae to his home whenever he got a chance.
One morning Seulri got a news from Ahra that they both will move out from the building next month, when Seulri asked the reason why Ahra only lifted her shoulders with very apologetic look to Seulri. Ahra also told her that Kyuhyun now planned to get the same kind of research scholarship like Jinae did, so he could get himself far away from Seoul—and Seulri.
That’s the amount of time Seulri had to get her message heard by him. She knew this day will come, she even promised herself that she’d back-down slowly once Jinae returned. But in her plan, Seulri got to say her goodbye to him, in her plan she got a chance to explained herself and in her plan it supposed to be her that slowly vanish from his life, not the other way around.
Seulri lifted the last chair in the restaurant before she mopped the rest of the floor that night. She dragged herself around the restaurant as she cleaned up, tried to make herself as tired as possible so she could go home and fall asleep right away without having to think about him and what could’ve been. She’s done her work by ten but she only walked back to her home past midnight, she figured it’s the best time since she wouldn’t be able to bump into Kyuhyun by that hour so it’d be less awkward for them.
When she got into their building, she noticed his car was not in the drive way. Seemed like he’s been doing his best effort to avoid her too these days. Seulri was all worn out from the literal hard work she did so she didn’t bother to clean herself or anything once she got into her home.
She was about to crawl under her blanket when she got a call, it’s past midnight so it’d be an emergency call. Her heart sank once she saw Park Sora name displayed on the screen.
“Ne Sora-ssi? is everything okay?” She responded fast.
“Oenni, is it possible for you to get here?” Her voice sounded calm but there’s certain urgency in her tone.
“Is everything okay?” She came into alert.
“Everything is fine, but aboji wants to see you now.”
“What?” She stood up from her bed and began to walk around in circle.
“Aboji, he remembers you out of the sudden. I was just helping him to get into the bathroom and he asked who am I and where’s Kang Seulri.”
Seulri startled a little bit, “Did you say he really ask for me? As in he didn’t recognize you as me?”
She covered her mouth with her hand and quickly grabbed her purse, “Sora-ssi, I’ll be on my way now. Keep him alert okay? I’m afraid he’ll space out again if he sleeps. Please?”
“I’ll try my best, hurry get yourself here oenni.”
Seulri ran out of her door, climbed down the stairs and continued to ran towards the main street. It’d be difficult for her to find a taxi around this hour in the neighborhood but she could always try her luck.
“Tell me more Sora-ssi, tell me more about him, please.” Seulri kept talking on the phone while she’s taking a turn in the intersection, not paying attention to the road ahead of her.
“He’s now digging into the old boxes contained your photographs. This is really weird oenni, I’m amazed myself—“
“Who are you talking to?” Seulri could hear her father’s voice from the phone.
Sora seemed to paused for a while before she told him that she’s speaking with his daughter.
“Oenni, aboji wanted to talk to you.”
“Sure, put him on the phone.” Seulri took a turn and her steps stopped from the bright light that attack her cornea. A car was coming towards her and she was too busy listening to the voice in her phone than her surroundings.
The car brake at the right time, it stopped right near her knees and didn’t cause any harm to her but it shocked both the driver and Seulri herself.
Seulri bowed deeply towards the driver while she pressed her phone closer to her ear, ignoring the driver that’s now coming out of the car.
“Seulri-ya, why aren’t you home yet?” She heard the voice of her father from the phone.
“Are you okay?” Cho Kyuhyun got out from his car, with his eyes wide open trying to hide his worry over his-almost-victim.
Seulri bowed to him, she was too overwhelmed hearing her father calling out for her that she ignored Kyuhyun in front of her.
“Appa, I’ll be home soon, ne?” She took a step back from his car but she lost her balance and fell on the tarmac.
“Seul? Did I hit you somewhere?” He asked her again, convinced himself that he did it only to try to be responsible if he really hit her.
Seulri lifted her face to look at him, “I’m okay.”
“Seulri-ya, can you grab me some bread on your way here? I want that banana bread you usually to get me.” Her father continued to talk to her.
She grinned widely, “Ne appa, I’ll find the bread for you. Now I’ll find a taxi and I’ll be there soon, arraseo? But you have to stay awake, ne? I’ll be angry if I come home and find you already asleep.” She negotiated.
“I will wait for you, my baby.”
“I’ll hang up now.” She put her phone away then help herself to get up.
Only then she recognized that the man in front of her was actually Kyuhyun. Seulri widened her eyes, felt slightly scared that she made another trouble with him yet at the same time relieved because she could get a glimpse of him.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see where I was going.” Seulri bowed deeply to him, “I’ll take my leave then.”
She was taking some steps when Ahra called her name from the inside of the car. “Oenni, where are you going this time of the night?”
“Home. Appa needs me.” She waived a little to his sister and continued walking fast.
Cho Ahra stepped out from the car and caught her arms quickly, “It’s late, you won’t be able to find a cab nearby. Let oppa drive you there.” She suggested.
Seulri shook her head, “I don’t need to burden him.”
“OPPA! MAN UP A BIT AND TAKE OENNI TO HER HOME!” Ahra ignore Seulri and shouted to Kyuhyun. She didn’t take any more excuses from Seulri as she force-dragged her into the car and shoved her into the passenger seat.
Kyuhyun rolled his eyes and glared sharply into his sister. This was not the kind of situation he wanted to be stuck in, he still pissed at the girl, he had nothing to do with her and nothing to say to her. Why would he be so kind to drive her around like that?
“Palli oppa!” Ahra now pulled his hand to get into his car, “You can be an asshole all you want, but you can’t let a girl run around past midnight all alone like that! Imagine if such thing happens to me! Come on, man up!” She hissed near him, using her ultimate threat that Kyuhyun never be able to refuse—what if such thing happened to his little sister.
He swallowed his annoyance and tried to think sense for once, he knew Ahra was right, the call sounded urgent and Seulri really looked like she’s in a rush, it’s past midnight and taxi was hard to find in their area. With that thought Kyuhyun finally got himself behind the wheel and ready to drove her to where she needed to be.
“Tell me where to drive you to.” He said coldly as he started to drive.
She still confused with what just happened so it took her a while to answer him. “My—my old house.”
He smirked cynically, “That’s where your father is? I thought you said he lived out of Seoul. Wow, you lied more than I thought.”
“Sorry.” She bit her lips, “You can just drop me there in the intersection, I’ll find a taxi from there.”
He ignored her and kept on driving past the intersection she meant.
“Any other lies I should know?” He said sharply. “Your father lives nearby, so I guess you live far away from him so he didn’t know your dirty job.”
She wanted to reason with him but at that point she knew it’s useless. Kyuhyun was mad and it’s his way to channel his anger.
“I have one more lie.” She admitted. “I never finished high school and I never got into college.”
Kyuhyun scoffed, “Thought so. No well-educated person would do a job that low.”
Seulri took a deep breath, felt the stronger urge to get out of the car more than before. She closed her eyes while slowly counting down in her mind to calm herself. If she got herself into an argument with him, the night would be longer and it could delay her arrival in her father’s house. With that thought in mind, Seulri stayed calm and prepared herself for another insult from him.
But Kyuhyun didn’t say anything more, he just put all his energy into the road ahead of him. The awkward silent filled the car in the remaining trip towards her father’s place. Kyuhyun obviously unwilling to make any kind of small talk with someone that he despised most at that moment and Seulri’s mind was filled only with the thought of her father. This moment is the kind of miracle moment the doctor once talked to her about, a moment where he would recall some of the important memories he had and the moment where he could recognize things as it is.
“Op-oppa,” She whimpered in fear, “You can drop me off in that 24 hours store, I have to grab some breads for him. Thank you for the ride.”
Kyuhyun didn’t take his eyes off the road but stopped his car in front of the place she pointed and he waited for her as she bought the breads she was looking for, then continued driving her to her old house.
Seulri thanked him one more time when they arrived at the house and she quickly ran inside. Park Sora opened the door for her and for the first time since forever, Seulri felt welcomed in that house.
“Uri ttal!” Her father spread his arms to hug her.
Seulri grinned widely, steeped closer into him then kneel in front of his wheelchair before she hugged the old man she missed so much.
“My baby has grown so much.” Her father mumbled, “Let me see you.”
Seulri got up and made a twirl around to show herself to her father. “I’ve become prettier aren’t I appa?”
He nodded and smiled widely. “Of course! Where have you been? I miss you a lot.”
Seulri felt the lump in her throat was forming, “I’ve been busy working, I’m so sorry.”
“Ah, your boyfriend is here also.” He looked past Seulri to the man that just entered his home. “Come here son-in-law! You haven’t visit me in a long time also.”
Seulri turned her face in surprise, why would Kyuhyun followed her inside? Did she forget to thank him earlier? She glared at him in fear, this was not the condition of her family that she wanted him to see.
Kyuhyun in the other hand, had to take in a lot of information in such little period of time from what’s displayed in front of him. Kang Seulri never told him what happened to her father after the accident that took her mother away, she always said that he’s fine. But the wheelchair was the first indicator that her father wasn’t okay. Another thing was, Kyuhyun trained to notice little symptoms shown from a sick person and he knew that her father was far from healthy.
But despite all that, Kyuhyun did the main thing he needed to do, bowed deeply towards the old man and greeted him.
“How are you doing, abonim?” He greeted him politely and faked a smile, “It’s been a long time since we saw each other.”
“Ne, you moved out last year to the med school and now you rarely visit me. Seulri here also busy finishing her high school and working part time to support this pathetic old man.” He replied with a chuckle.
“Ne?” Kyuhyun noticed a weird statement in his words but Seulri already stomped her feet onto his, signaling him to shut up.
“Appa, here’s the banana bread you asked earlier. There were only two left, so I got you only these two but I’ll buy you more tomorrow.” She diverted the conversation.
“Let’s eat it together then.” He smiled happily to them.
“I’ll get you some water.” Kyuhyun found a reason to excuse himself out of the living room. Earlier he saw another girl in the house and he’s more curious on what the girl was doing in here.
He left Seulri and her father to catch-up while he looked around the house, trying to find the girl he saw earlier.
“Can I help you?” Park Sora stood by the edge of the kitchen table while writing something into the diary she and Seulri used to write down his development.
Kyuhyun nodded and approached her, “If you don’t mind, can I ask who you are and what are you doing here?”
She smiled, “My name is Park Sora, I’m Mr. Kang’s social worker. As you can see, he needs assistance doing most of his activities around.”
“How long has he been like that?”
“He’s been in the wheelchair long enough but I don’t really know, I worked here only a year ago when oenni really couldn’t handle his tantrum anymore.” She explained, “But who are you?”
“Ah, it’s very rude of me.” He scratched the back of his head and smiled politely, “My name is Kyuhyun, I know the man well because..”
“Ahhh so you’re Kyuhyun oppa! He talked about you a lot!” Sora got excited, “You’re the one that’s doing a med school right? Oenni’s long-term boyfriend.”
Kyuhyun wasn’t sure how to react to that.
“He always told me to study hard so one day I could get into college and won’t shame him once you and your parents come to propose.” She continued, “And I didn’t mean it to be me. He thinks of me as oenni most of the time, so he talked to me as if I’m Seulri oenni.”
He curls his brow in confusion. “Is he having a trouble remembering Seulri?”
“You’re a doctor now I assume?” Sora asked.
He nodded and still tried to get a grasp of the facts.
“Then I’m sure you’re aware of the term of dementia.” Sora lifted the book on her hand, “I write every day here so Seulri oenni still can see how her father loves her, even though he didn’t recognize her most of the time. He only remembers names and past events but he barely recognized faces, and he thought I am Kang Seulri.”
Kyuhyun’s jaw dropped, he wasn’t sure on what he felt. He’s mad again with Seulri for not telling him any of this, yet at the same time he felt big sympathy for her. It mustn’t be easy for her to know her father barely recognize her anymore, that explained the rush she was in earlier.
“He used to throw a lot of tantrum whenever she showed up, I don’t really know why. Tonight was a weird case, I just finished help him to go to the bathroom and he suddenly remembered about oenni. I’m sorry that I called and bothered you both at this hour.” She bowed a little to him.
Kyuhyun lifted his hand to cover his mouth and stole a glimpse of Seulri and her father that’s still catching up in the living room. For the first time he was able to see all the burden put on her shoulders, her face might smile brightly but the emotion clearly didn’t reach her eyes.
“Do you happen to have his medical record?” Kyuhyun put his attention back to Sora.
She nodded, “Do you want me to grab it?”
“If you don’t mind.” He smiled politely.
He looked around the kitchen as he waited for Park Sora, noticed that nothing had changed from the way the house was decorated. Kyuhyun was checking the magnets on the fridge when he heard a loud shout.
“GET OUT! YOU’RE STEALING IT FROM MY DAUGHTER!” Her father’s voice heard clearly.
Kyuhyun took his steps away from the kitchen and Park Sora stepped out of her room with a file in her hand, both tried to get into the source of the voice. He was bewildered seeing the sight in the living room. The sweet father-daughter moment that happened earlier had turned into a violent scene. Kang Seulri was no longer smiling, she was opening her mouth while she gasped for air, her father that used to talked sweetly to her now busy straggling her neck.
“Abonim!” Kyuhyun reached into them quickly did his best to loosen his grip on her neck.
“YOU RUINED MY FAMILY AND YOU STEAL FROM SEULRI! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!” He tightened his grip on her neck.
Park Sora stepped in also, she tried to distract Mr. Kang by stepping in between a little space available between him and Seulri.
“Appa, please stop it. Stop it, you’re harming her.” She shouted in panic.
His grip around Seulri’s neck loosen as he recognized Sora. “But she stole the necklace I gave you, she’s wearing the necklace I gave you, Seul.”
“No she’s not, we just happen to have the same necklace.” Sora grasped the fact quickly, “Please let her go appa, don’t hurt her.”
“BUT SHE RUINED OUR FAMILY!!” He shouted.
“No, no she’s not. Please appa calm yourself. You’re scaring me.” She negotiated more while Kyuhyun still tried to untangled his fingers around Seulri’s neck.
Kang Sooha let go of his grip around her neck, he was touched by Sora’s plead and in his mind, he just didn’t want to scare his daughter.
“Seulri-ya, tell her to go while I’m still being nice.” He gave his command to Park Sora. “And tell her not to show up in front of me ever again.”
Kyuhyun kneeled beside Seulri, tried to support her body with his arm while she’s gasping for more air as she filling her lungs with air like a fish out of water. Kang Seulri tried to get up but she lost too much power from the lack of oxygen she experienced earlier, she took several deep breaths before she gave her second try to finally stood up on her feet.
“Then I’ll take my leave.” She bowed to her father in soar voice, “Thank you for remembering me.”
“GET OUT!” He threw the bread that’s on his lap to her face with full rage on his face.
Kyuhyun bowed to her father, with his mind still filled with many questions. What he needed to do that time was to get Seulri out of the house before the tantrum gotten worse.
Kang Seulri only managed to keep her head up high until she reached the front gate, she stumbled on her own feet and almost fall into the ground not long after. Kyuhyun grabbed her arms and pushed her to leaned on the wall while she’s finding her balance. She touched her own neck, felt like her father’s hand is still strangling her and she gasped for more air.
“Let me see that.” He stood beside her to check the red mark around her neck.
The bruise wasn’t as bad as he thought it’d be, but the look on her face did. Kang Seulri only looked ahead with a blank stare in her eyes, she was breathing so fast as her effort to calm herself from the shock, and Seulri tried to chough to get rid of the remaining choking feeling in her throat.
“Mianhae.” She whispered.
Kyuhyun didn’t answer but he helped her to walked and assist her into his car, put on her seatbelt and immediately drove away from that place.
He’s not sure of what he felt, he’d be lying to himself if he said he didn’t waver seeing Seulri caught in her weakest moment. He wanted to help her and he wanted to forget what happened between them. He knew she needed support and he could be that person that provide her with it.
But that night, when he witnessed more of her flaws, saw the condition she had to fought to, and all the wrong turn she took to make-up for what she lost, he realized that love wasn’t just about forgiving. It’s not just about accepting someone as they are, but love mostly contained pride that demanded perfection.
If he loved her unconditionally, he wouldn’t need her explanation, he wouldn’t be so disappointed at her, he wouldn’t be this angry with her. But the truth was, the scene he saw on the video shown to him always haunted his nightmare. His idea of her had drastically shifted and there’s no going back for them. Seulri had chosen her way and apparently her path won’t ever cross with his no matter how many detours they took.
He took a glance into her, she still stared blankly into the window on her right, sometimes she touched her neck to get rid of the unconfutable feeling that still lingered. All those dramas and the girl still hadn’t shed a single tear. He knew it’s not a good sign, she bottled it up and that could burst out anytime soon.
“You can cry if you want, you know?” He mumbled in a cold tone. “Stop trying to be strong, I had enough of your lies and pretending.”
Seulri stayed in silent, took some deep breaths while considering his words.
“Don’t you think I want to?” She whispered softly, “I tried, but nothing came out. I bet I’ll feel better after I cry it all out loud, but I can’t.”
He looked ahead while carefully paid attention to her words. Kyuhyun was too tired from his shift, he’s too fed-up with her lies and now too bewildered with some new facts he just figured out about her.
In his eyes, Seulri used to be the perfect girl that adored him and loved him wholeheartedly and in the last few weeks he’s been trying and fighting his own conscience, he wanted to forgive her, he wanted to accept the fact that Seulri had turn into the worst version of herself and he really wished he could forget what happened between them. But the stronger he tried, the more his hatred grew toward her. The more Kyuhyun negotiated with himself, the more he wanted to avenge her for breaking his heart and shattered his dreams.
“I’m sorry, oppa. You had to see all of those, I’m truly sorry.” She continued, felt more ashamed of her reality than she already was.
He should calm her down, he should tell her that it’s okay and that he’ll be beside her when such thing occurred again. But he’s the man with a sharp and quick tongue that put his pride above everything else and he needed her to know that verbally.
“Guess I know why you sell your body that way now. With a broken family like that, uneducated and broke, sure that was the only thing that’s still valuable enough for you to sell out.” He replied coldly. “It won’t happen again, I’ll move out far away from you as soon as I can.”
Seulri’s heart clenched to his harsh words that’s flowing smoothly out of his mouth. Since when Kyuhyun capable of hurting her like this? Did he hate her that much?
She got out of his car once they arrived in their building, thanking him one more time before she ran towards her rooftop house. Seulri had enough that night and being near him these days seemed to bring her more pain than joy, she needed to hide away from him and as she promised herself, she needed to vanish slowly from his life.