“He is my teacher.
I’m sure you’ll like him once you meet him.”

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How could he be confident that I would like him? I wanted to retort right away, but I held on.
It was because I was reminded of him saying I acted like a baby or whatever it was.

The car stopped in front of a restaurant with a luxurious exterior.
As we got out of the car, an employee approached us and naturally took the car key from Yeon Woojeong.

The restaurant was placed directly onto the second floor from the entrance, with a red carpet on the stairs.
It was only an entrance, but the lights hung there were luxurious.
When we stepped inside, an employee in uniform approached us.

“Do you have any appointments?”

“Yes.
Seok Jungwon.”

“Ah, yes.
Let me guide you there.”

The employee guided us through the hallway.
If the exterior was modernistic, the interior was closer to classic.
It suited Yeon Woojeong, who wore formal attire, but far to me, who only dressed roughly.

We arrived before a door.
The person who booked a room in this luxurious restaurant.
They were a man by name.
Who, I wonder.

The employee then opened the door.
There was a man sitting inside.
He was a middle-aged man, and there was a domineering aura from his clothes and atmosphere.
However, the smile flashed on his lips was gentle.
The man got up from his seat.

“Woojeong, come in.
It’s been a long time.”

“You must be well, right? I should have visited you often.
I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry.
I know you’re busy.”

It was strange.
Yeon Woojeong was smiling like a kid.

It was the first time I saw him smiling like that, and I didn’t know that he could smile like that, so I felt like I was hit on the head.
Who is that man for him to smile like that?

That man’s gaze moved to me.
Yeon Woojeong opened his mouth with a suspicious look.

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“He’s Jiho, I told you before.
Kim Jiho.”

“Ah, that kid.”

“Jiho, this is my teacher.”

“I am Seok Jungwon.”

The man called Seok Jungwon reached out his hand to me.
Flashing a kind smile as though he knew everything about me.
The desire to stain his face twisted my chest.

As I didn’t greet him and only stared at him in silence, Yeon Woojeong coaxed me with a soft voice.

“Kim Jiho.”

“Haha, leave it.
I can see you had a plan, but you just brought him, weren’t you? You rascal, you should tell me if you have a prior engagement.
Then we would have met next time or gone to a better place.”

Yeon Woojeong pulled up the corner of his lips as though he got caught.
The man took something from his suit and then handed it to me.
It was a business card.
I stayed still, but then I slowly accepted it.

[DAWON CORPORATION

CEO SEOK JUNGWON]

I had heard the company’s name somewhere.
No.
It was a name that could be commonly seen inside the local convenience stores.
It even could be seen inside Yeon Woojeong’s refrigerator.

This company was the company of the lunch box Yeon Woojeong ordered.
When I visited online job sites, the names of restaurants and cafés owned by this company popped out everywhere.
I didn’t know for sure if the company was big enough to be called a conglomerate company, but I believed it wasn’t a small company.

How did this person come to know Yeon Woojeong? I wonder about his relationship with Yeon Woojeong.

“I’m giving it to you so you won’t think I’m a weird old man.”

I put the business card inside my pocket.
To me, it sounded like he was telling me to not act rude because he had his status. 

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While a silence roamed for a moment, an employee brought in the menu.
After scanning the menu, in which a portion of salad was close to 20,000 won, I glanced at Yeon Woojeong.

“You will have the usual, right?”

“Yeah.
It’s not easy for an old man to try new things.”

“You just really like this course.
Then, we will have two of that…”

I looked back at the menu because Yeon Woojeong turned to me.
I felt his gaze, but I said nothing.
Just, this situation was very unpleasant and annoying.
Suddenly, Yeon Woojeong’s hand came into my sight.

“We will have this, erm… the composition is good.
Do you want the same, or do you have anything else that caught your interest?”

“Just give me that.”

“Alright.”

The word ‘we’ irritated me.
It made me feel like I was coming between them.
I shoved my gaze to the plate, as it was hard to control my expression.

“I see you two have gotten very close.
I heard it hasn’t been long since you two met.”

How far did Yeon Woojeong tell him? Who is he that he told him about me? Does this person just accept that Yeon Woojeong picked me from the road?

It felt odd that he told his acquaintances about me.
It felt like he really had no ulterior motives, and he really would take responsibility for me.

“Woojeong told me about you, Jiho.
He said he saw a very beautiful kid, so I got curious.
He may not seem so, but this rascal is a man of few words.”

“Why did you talk about it in front of the said person? Making me embarrassed.”

Yeon Woojeong was being cunning even though he wasn’t embarrassed at all, and that man laughed.
Looking at how Yeon Woojeong was being comfortable in front of the old man, I could tell that the two were close.
It only added to my curiosity about their relationship.

“Is Woojeong kind to you? This brat can’t even take care of his food properly, but a kid at the growth period needs to eat well.”

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“I take care of my food.”

I myself thought that was a sharp tone, but I didn’t feel like correcting it.
I had no reason to give a good impression to this man, and I was annoyed with how he smiled kindly, acting like he knew everything.

It was understandable for him to get mad, but the man only smiled as if he understood everything.
Instead, Yeon Woojeong’s gaze returned.
Our gazes met as I turned my head.
His eyes didn’t seem like he was blaming me, but observing.

“Hoho, it feels like seeing the young you Woojeong?”

The man once again took away Yeon Woojeong’s gaze.
Something ran wildly inside my head.
Yeon Woojeong lowered his head slightly and laughed.
The young Yeon Woojeong.
Things only two of them shared.
His time that I didn’t know of.

A strange impulse of wanting to know about it yet at the same time not shook me.
The Yeon Woojeong in front of this man didn’t seem like he that I knew.
A clear expression that didn’t need to look for the intention behind it.
Goodwill.
Kindness.

I could sense the solid trust in his words that I would like the man once I met him.
Yeon Woojeong was an unjust man.
It just didn’t apply to me.

“Time sure is fast.
It feels like I just met you yesterday…”

“So do I.”

“Back then, my hair wasn’t white like this.”

“You’re always young, sir.
In your heart.”

The one who ended that cheesy talk was the employee who opened the door.
A bowl of salad was placed before me.
The salad had shrimp in it.
I tried to taste it as I was curious if there was gold inside the salad that was close to 20,000 won, but it wonderfully didn’t taste good.
In the first place, vegetables were vegetables.

While Yeon Woojeong was nibbling, the man ate a big chunk of salad.
Well, he had to eat well if he wanted to keep his appearance.

“By the way, Damwoo noona is doing well, isn’t she?” (TN: Noona, older sister)

“Of course.
Although she’s busy taking care of her child and working.”

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“Is that so? What about her husband?”

“He took paternity leave a while ago.”

“Ah~”

“Hoho, you act well as a brother-in-law.”

Yeon Woojeong smiled lightly.
That smile was strangely odd.
The two continued to talk about that ‘noona’ person.
Noona.
A title that didn’t suit Yeon Woojeong.
It seemed like that person was this man’s daughter, but… it didn’t seem like Yeon Woojeong was this man’s blood relative.
Although he asked about the man’s family, he felt distant.

Then, the empty plates went out and other plates came in.
I thought it was a mushroom, but when I bit it, it was clam.
A dish I had never tasted.
It was tasty.
It was indeed tasty, but it didn’t go in because I felt I was eating faster than them and I remembered the man was paying for the food.

“Speaking of which, I think it’s already the time for you to bring in good news.”

“Ah, are you collecting the allotment for today?”

“Of course.
We met after a long time.
I actually thought you would bring in a good young lady first.”

“Is the house can only be filled through marriage? I should bring in a more important person, considering the one who gave me that house.”

“Kid, just say you have no plan to marry.”

Considering the one who gave me that house…? The fork scratched the plate.
That man’s gaze landed on me for a second at the faint sound.

“Yeah, it’s fine, as you have brought in an important person.”

The man stared at Yeon Woojeong as if he was proud; as if he was looking at a good kid.
Yeon Woojeong smiled lightly.
It was like… he was shy from getting praise.

My mood turned worse in an instant.
Concurrently, I remembered Yeon Woojeong’s voice for a moment.

“I received help in the past.
I try to repay that, but… I was told to repay it to the next, and to the next.
And so, you’re that next one.”

The one Yeon Woojeong tried to repay the debt to.
I intuitively realized that person was this man.

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