T/N: Although I have already added a warning in the description of this novel, I’ll add one here once again just to remind the readers.
Since the main character, Ha Joyoon, mainly works as a war correspondent, detailed descriptions and discussions of triggering instances such as bombing and war are inevitable.
A part of this chapter would be an excellent example of what I’m talking about.
I cannot promise that there won’t be any more mentions of such situations in the coming chapters.
For the sake of your own comfort, reader discretion is advised.
Thank you for reading!
Oh My Love, The Last.
“You look awful.”
It was a brutally honest comment.
The eyes of Shin Kwonjoo looking at the papers and laptops scattered on the table were fierce.
Even in midsummer, he had buttoned up his shirt all the way up to his neck.
Probably the type with a strong ego.
Joyoon’s eyes faltered as he looked down at the black cufflinks shining elegantly under the light.
After witnessing the scene of Kang Taejung and his lover, he cried for several days to the point his eyes were so swollen that he could hardly open his eyes.
Ha Joyoon, embarrassed by his poor condition, muttered as he fiddled with his laptop.
“I didn’t know you would call….”
“What does me calling you have anything to do with your condition?”
“Well, that’s true.”
He couldn’t help but vaguely respond to the male’s blunt response.
There was no need to explain his situation, and the man, himself, was not so great of a person to actually listen carefully to the reason.
Ha Joyoon, who looked at his face for a moment, turned his attention back to the screen.
There was a feeling of reminiscence in his eyes as he looked at the photos that filled the laptop screen.
Barren land, dark blood, people entangled with each other as their faces are mixed with distress and horror, smoky dust, sharp stones, and guns and knives.
There was everything in the photo.
Memories float in raging waves.
The photos of the lost time alone were desperate and hyper-realistic.
Like a piece of someone’s heart burned to the ground.
“Look here, Ha Joyoon-ssi.”
“If you’re not going to work properly, I’ll be on my way.”
“Sorry? Oh, it’s not like that.”
Ha Joyoon blinked in surprise at the voice that brought him back to reality in an instant without having any time to be immersed in bitterness.
The way he spoke was polite, but Shin Kwonjoo, who looked at him, was full of signs.
It didn’t seem like he was the expressive type, however, it was clear that something bad had happened.
Ha Joyoon, who was contemplating for a while, carefully presented his opinion.
“Um… Sunbae-nim, we could meet up another time if you’re not feeling well.”
The reason he couldn’t continue speaking was because of the eyes that flashed fiercely at once.
While being the recipient of a piercing stare, Ha Joyoon reflected on his actions so far after receiving a sudden notice of an appointment from Shin Kwonjoo last night.
Did he make a mistake? Is it because his eyes were swollen? But he didn’t think that the swelling of his eyes actually touched this guy’s nerves.
Then, is it because he was thinking about something else? But that’s not fair enough, since it was only for a few minutes, probably.
“By any chance, are you mad at me?”
Shin Kwonjoo rubbed the frown on his forehead in an irritated manner as he coldly cut him off yet again.
A blue shirt with a sharp line like a sword and a tight vest wrapped around him made the man look more urban.
As he moved his gaze along his elongated fingers, the ring on his ring finger suddenly caught his eye.
Is he married?
Ha Joyoon tilted his head and traced his memory.
At the time they worked together, it was no exaggeration to say that Shin Kwonjoo was a workaholic.
Except for sleeping hours, the people who worked under him had a hard time having a proper rest period, as most of them stayed at the office and focused on their work.
Among them was, of course, himself.
Even then, he was popular with female employees in the company because of his distinctive appearance.
Of course, most of them fell out of favor with that personality of his.
As if he noticed that Ha Joyoon’s gaze was embedded in his ring, Shin Kwonjoo’s own gaze moved slowly and then stopped completely.
And their eyes met.
It was black.
It was so dark that it was like a raven night that gleamed ever so brightly.
They were clearly living eyes, different from the dead and weary eyes that he saw every day on the battlefield over the past few years.
A strange heat rose faintly.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
“Mlgra alwf rfflcu j glcu?”
A sneer leaked out from the crooked corners of his lips.
It sounded aggressive. Why is he treating me like this? The vexatious way of speaking seemed to be getting worse and worse.
Ha Joyoon asked straightforwardly, without even thinking of hiding his embarrassment.
“Gb sbe tjaf wf?”
Ktf ragjluta ojmf kjr rilutais kglcxifv.
Pa kjr remt jc fzqgfrrlbc atja tf xcfk lwwfvljafis ktja atf wjc kjr atlcxlcu fnfc klatbea tlw rjslcu la bea ibev.
Lj Absbbc, ktb tjv yffc ijslcu ibk obg j ktlif, rlutfv j ilaaif jcv mibrfv tlr ijqabq.
“You just seem uncomfortable all the time.
I’m not that perceptive but… I can tell that you’re not too fond of me.”
“I feel uncomfortable too.”
Shin Kwonjoo raised his eyebrows with his arms folded as if he wanted him to repeat whatever he said one more time.
“I’ll contact Boyle directly for the photos.
I have to contact him regarding the reinstatement matter anyway.
And when I was looking at the ring, I was just wondering if you were married.”
The man’s posture remained unchanged until he finished speaking slowly but clearly.
The cold air from the air conditioner made his nose tingle.
Ha Joyoon, who was waiting for the other person’s answer, soon realized that it was unlikely to come out, and began to organize his luggage with sloppy hands.
By that time, a calm voice came out.
“I’m not mad at you, Ha Joyoon-ssi.”
Getting mad would be an occurrence if something regarding important matters took place. He added with a cold smile.
Shin Kwonjoo’s sharp eyes were slightly bent.
“Today, an office worker suddenly got hurt, leaving a gap for several months, which is a bit of a headache.
This is just how I usually talk.
Please try to understand.”
“A few other things weren’t up to par today so I felt irritated.
I apologize for being on the edge today.
Please open up your laptop again.”
He didn’t look apologetic at all, but it was an apology that was so clear that it was embarrassing no matter what.
Ha Joyoon, who stood in an awkward position for a while, soon nodded his head with an embarrassed look. Okay. After the brief answer, silence passed between the two again.
The picture is displayed on the screen that came back.
Amid the silence, the noises produced by clicking the mouse continued.
Aside from the ongoing cold reaction, the eyes looking at the photos were serious and sharp.
Sweeping the tip of his chin with the other hand, Shin Kwonjoo opened his mouth again after a while had passed.
“Is he dead?”
The photo he pointed to showed a man lying in a bizarre shape on the ruins of a house and his family crying around him.
Recalling the tense scene at the time of filming, Ha Joyoon answered carefully.
“He’s not dead.
Although he was shot by government forces, he was given first aid, and his life was saved.
But after that, the shells fell again, killing most of the members of The White Helmets who were saving the wounded.”
The screen moved to the next picture without any feedback.
The ruins of a house that had been completely destroyed by a terrorist organization and the figure of an old man who was sitting blankly in front of it appeared.
The bodies of children were scattered around him.
The man’s gaze seemed to be fixed on it for a long time, but soon his brows furrowed briefly.
“It’s a mess.”
“This is Aleppo.
There was a civil war with FSA, and the government forces and terrorist organizations shelled them one after another.
There were many casualties.
The houses in the back left little trace.
The situation wasn’t good.”
“That’s what it looks like.
This method is often used by most terrorist organizations.”
As ever, without much response, the screen moved on to the next picture.
It was the image of a boy running toward people with a bomb wrapped around his body for suicide bombing.
“Was he part of the government forces?”
“No, he was a member of the UAF.
At that time, boys between the ages of 10 and 13 were intensively nurtured as members of suicide squads.
I don’t know if it’s still like that, but… Since he’s a child, it’s easy for people to be careless, so the damage was even greater.”
“… Suicide squads made up of children have recently grown in size.
Quite facetious how both sides look like that.
Recently, the suicide bombing of boys in Aleppo has emerged as a serious social problem.”
Most of Shin Kwonjoo’s queries were brief but sharp and determined.
While looking through the photos silently, whenever a new scene appeared, he asked about the situation, which Ha Joyoon would then proceed to explain at the time.
Moderate silence, necessary conversation, and photography were all there was.
The man’s smooth and outstretched hand pressed the mouse indifferently and did nothing more.
The string of tension, which had been taut with the strange comfort, gradually loosened as well.
“The photos are detailed overall.
The compositions are rough but accurate.”
“… Thank you.”
“They’re good enough.
A lot of them are still useful.”
I like them. The man gave out a satisfactory smile as he swept his sharp chin.
Ha Joyoon looked at him quietly and thought. How odd.
It’s polite but still cold. He doesn’t even think about breaking into the line he’s drawn, let alone pay any unnecessary attention.
That part made him feel rather comfortable.
The unfounded belief that this person would somehow objectively judge any situation jumped out.
This was the reason why a question that had absolutely nothing to do with the context came up.
“Is there room for a serious relationship while doing all this?”
The black eyes that were staring intently at the screen moved.
His eyes looking for the meaning of the question were sharp.
The lobby of the office, which had only two people left after everyone left work, was filled with nothing but silence.
For some reason, his throat felt dry so he drank some coffee.
“What are you talking about all of a sudden?”
After a long silence, Shin Kwonjoo asked a question instead of giving an answer.
A low voice that sounded moderately heavy.
There was also a bit of annoyance over the interruption of the time of appreciation.
Ha Joyoon knew that he was not at all suitable as a counselor, but he wanted to find an answer to the pain in his chest that had continued for several days.
“There’s a person who’s precious to me….”
Curiosity was overlaid on the monotonous eyes.
For the first time, Ha Joyoon revealed his honest intentions at the signal that the other person was a little focused on his words.
“They said that they can’t meet me anymore.”
It was a word that omitted all the before and after relations, but there was no question about it.
It was rare for a man to continue conversations outside of work.
“Were the two of you in a relationship?”
Yes. Shin Kwonjoo smiled as if he was dumbfounded by the short answer and looked at him.
“They must’ve gotten sick of it.”
“… I don’t think that’s the case…”
“It’s just what I thought.
Is the other person the same age as you? How old are you, Ha Joyoon-ssi?”
He replied while thinking that the only thing this man remembered about him was his name.
“I’m thirty one.”
Hmm, Shin Kwonjoo, who was thinking about something for a while, shrugged his shoulders indolently.
“It’s a marriageable age.
Your conditions are not all that good for a woman of that age.
Since it lacks stability.
And it’s been five years since the two of you had seen each other, right? Rather, wouldn’t it be strange to expect a normal relationship regardless of all that?”
An objective assessment, nothing more, nothing less.
Shin Kwonjoo’s expression of boredom rather than curiosity all of a sudden supported that fact.
Blood rushed to the tightly closed lips along with the tangled emotions. He hadn’t even heard a word of relief from the fact that he came back alive.
It was just bewilderment, surprise, and hardship, but it was a hopeless relationship.
Suddenly, he felt really foolish for wanting to hear words of affirmation from anyone.
“But… I still really like them.”
“That’s just your side of the story.”
Shin Kwonjoo concluded briefly but clearly.
“It ends the moment one gets tired of it anyway.
Even between parents and children, it ends when they turn around for a moment, so isn’t it ridiculous to expect more from someone who has been tied up with only one emotion regardless of anything?”
“But if I can’t give up that easily….”
“Till when will you keep going on about the dating situation?”
He took out his cigarette with a sullen face and shook his hand indifferently.
“If you really can’t get over them, say that you want to stay as a sex partner.”
“… I am not interested in that.”
“That? You mean sex?”
It’s not my favorite.”
Shin Kwonjoo’s eyebrows subtly raised as he responded sincerely to some rather perverse words. Hmm. A short breath melts on the smoke.
Looking at the neat face sitting so helplessly calm, he let out a stark evaluation.
“I guess you prefer to be devoured rather than to devour.”
After a brief dismissal, the man took another puff from the cigarette.
“We don’t have time, so let’s stop the dating talk.”
After repeating the same move a couple more times, he soon stubbed out the cigarette that was left in a perfunctory manner.
A relaxed smile hung over his sharp eyes, but it never felt like he was actually smiling.
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