Passing through the gate, Suhyuk suddenly turned back.
The director was soothing Heyjin who was hesitant.
He felt some sort of hesitance from her attitude, as she seemingly did not want to move.
What kind of harassment did she go through?
There were marks of bruises all over her body. Even her belly, which doesn’t normally get bruised, showed sign of ecchymosis.
At his voice, she slowly lifted her face.
“If you don’t change now, nothing will change.”
Suhyuk waited for her quietly.
Then his cell phone buzzed. It was a call from Im Gyungsu.
Suhyuk took the phone at a distance from Heyjin.
“Yes, this is Lee Suhyuk.”
“Where are you now?”
“I’m off today.”
“What the heck are you doing now? Are you seeing patients even when you’re off? Why don’t you bring the patient here?”
Im could hear from Prof. Han Myungjin that Suhyuk took vacation leave, telling him something.
“We can’t treat her at the hospital…”
“Hey, Park Sungjae! Collect blood from patient Jung Bogyong...”
Heyjin looked at him, hearing the scolding voice from his cell phone.
She was a patient that they could not treat at the hospital. Her condition was urgent enough that if she did not get treatment right now, her life could be put at danger.
A girl with a broken heart.
Like those harassed by violence at school, she might make an extreme decision.
‘Before she did so, I have to hold her hand, who’s now standing alone in the darkness.’
“Anyway, come back quickly. Do you think I shouldhave to take care of this intern as a senior resident?”
Hanging up the phone, Suhyuk came to Heyjin, “Let’s go.”
She held her school bag tight and nodded her head slowy.
The hallway was crowded with students coming to school.
Some were staggering their way to the classrooms, rubbing their sleepy eyes, while others were greeting their friends, waving their hands.
Heyjin was walking among them with her head held down.
Then, three girls in the front were walking toward her.
They were pretty, with an air of being rich girls.
Seeing them, her pupils trembled.
They scrutinized Suhyuk and the director, as if they were asking who are these strangers.
Then, they said to Heyjin, “See you later.”
They left, but Heyjin’s shoulders were still trembling.
The director pressed on Hejin to move, while soothing her.
“Let’s go, Heyjin.”
She moved again, and glanced at Suhyuk next to her.
‘Right...Unless I change, nothing will change.’
Sensing that she was looking at him, Suhyuk showed a smile at her.
It was a very reassuring smile.
They soon arrived at the staffroom of the school.
Looking inside, Suhyuk asked Heyjin, “Who is your homeroom teacher?”
“That man over there…”
He cast his eyes at the man pointed in the direction of her fingers.
A man in his late 40s was sitting on a chair.
Was his name Choi Jaechul?
Suhyuk came up to him and said, “How are you?”
Choi, working on something, turned his head, responding with, “Who are you…?
Confirming his face, Suhyuk slowly nodded his head.
This was her homeroom teacher.
When Heyjin’s hair had milk poured over it, she plucked up the courage to visit the staffroom.
This Choi called those students responsible for that act, and got them together for reconciliation.
She said it was not the first time. Repeatedly they had done so.
Suhyuk opened his mouth, “I’d like to see the principal.”
“What do you want to see him for?”
Then Heyjin and the director came to him.
Choi said, rising from the seat, “How are you? Why did you come here suddenly without contacting me?”
“Because Heyjin was allegedly being harassed.”
Choi’s eyes became wide, and he looked at Heyjin.
“I didn’t hear that from her. Is it true? Why didn’t you tell me about it?”
Suhyuk said again, “I want to see the principal.”
Heyjin’s teacher did not care enough about her. Of course, he might not have got a scent of it or felt her a confounded nuisance. Thinking the teacher is closer to the latter, Suhyuk could not let him take care of her matter.
“Can you talk first with me?”
“Do you want me to call the police?”
“You don’t have to call the police on this kind of play among the students. Let’s talk between us. Heyjin, come here and sit down.”
“Did you say it was prank among the students? Looks they are playing even to the point of getting bruises all over their bodies these days. Do you want me to search for the principal by myself or do you want me to call the police?”
At Suhyuk’s rising voice, other teachers cast their eyes at him.
Choi knitted his brows, because if the police came, it would make the school embroiled in trouble and the principal would blame him for it.
It would be better for him to escort him to see the principal.
“Please follow me.”
The principal’s office was not far. When they opened the door, a woman in her early 50s rose from her seat. Her expression was not good as she had been tipped off by Choi.
“Have a seat.”
Suhyuk, the director and Heyjin san on the sofa.
The principal said first, “I’m sorry. I’m just ashamed. Heyjin, you have gone through a lot of hardship, haven’t you? I wish I had found out about it sooner. I’m really sorry.”
She could know her name because Choi tipped her off on it in advance.
Then, Suhyuk put down a piece of paper on the table.
“What is this?”
“It’s a medical certificate for Heyjin. Bring the students here. I want them punished.”
The reason he did not go to the police station first was to get their sincere apologies from them.
“Sure, absolutely. Heyjin, name those who harassed you.”
She looked at Suhyuk, who then nodded to her.
“Lee Subin, Oh Yerim, Kim Mina.”
The principal’s eyes became a bit wider.
Subin’s mother was the president of the school’s Mothers’ Association.
That meant she contributed a lot to the school. She had replaced the air conditioners in the staffroom, principal’s office and the break room. And she gave the principal kickback money every month.
“Yes, it’s natural you get apologies from them if they did you wrong.”
When the principal picked up the phone, Suhyuk’s calm voice came into her ears,
“It’s only natural that they should apologize. It’s also natural for them to be punished.”
What was she thinking? Showing a bit of hesitance, the principal called somewhere.
“Mr. Choi, please bring Lee Subin, Oh Yerim and Kim Mina to my office.”
Sitting back on her chair, she made a regrettable expression.
“I’m sorry. As the principal, I should have…”
She continued to talk, but mostly focusing on her own responsibility.
Then the door opened, and in came the three students.
They were the very students who greeted Heyjin with a frown, in the hallway.
“Did you guys harass her?”
At the principal’s asking, the three made a puzzled expression.
Then Subin with her long straight hair opened her mouth,
“We’ve never harassed her.”
The principal turned to Heyjin who was looking down at her feet.
The reply came from Suhyuk who had been looking at them.
“Apologize to her.”
“What the heck is he talking about?”
The three students took a glance at him, murmuring among themselves. Though their voice was tiny, it still could be heard.
“Did you hear them? They have no manners at all.”
“Please call my mother.”
At Subin’s words, the principal took the phone.
After a short conversation with her mother, the principal opened her mouth,
“I think you can understand that from the perspective of teachers, children can sometimes fight, and they get too close in the process. And it’s like growing pains.”
Then the principal looked at the students with a soft smile.
“Why don’t you apologize?”
Suhyuk stared at Heyjin, but made a smile soon after.
“I’m sorry, Heyjin.”
“Let’s be friends again.”
Suhyuk just made a contemptuous smile at them.
And he said to the principal, “Punishment. What are you going to do? I think expelling them is the right punishment.”
Actually that kind of punishment is rather light, compared to the harassment Heyjin had undergone, who thought the world of those at the orphanage.
“Please don’t focus on that kind of bad thing…”
The principal continued on and on.
And then a woman decorated with a famous handbag and other accessories appeared.
Looking around sharply, she opened her mouth,
“Who is it? Who slandered my daughter Subin?”
The orphanage director sprang to her feet, demanding,
“Slander? Our Heyjin is such a good girl. Your daughter created an atmosphere to outcast Heyjin!”
“Are you this girl’s mother?”
Scrutinizing the director from head to toe, she opened her mouth again,
“Tut, tut, tut. That’s why those with no proper education at home are making trouble!”
“What the heck are you talking about?”
They were raising their voices higher and higher.
Tears were dropping from Heyjin’s eyes, who sat with her head down.
“Calm down. Just take a seat first.”
Rising from the seat, the principal tried to mediate between them.
“Subin, come here. Looks like she was very surprised by this sudden situation. Let her take early leave, or whatever.”
The three students moved closer to her now.
Then Suhyuk opened his mouth, “If you leave like this, you’ll regret a lot.”
Subin’s mother smiled contemptuously, and so did the three students.
“So, you’re going to report us to the police?”
Suhyuk said curtly, “Yes, I will.”
“Do whatever you want! I won’t sit idle, either. I’d sue you on charges of defamation. Do you know who my daughter is? She is the only daughter of the president of Mirae Electronics Co. Let’s go!”
Suhyuk looked at them quietly. Mirae Electronics, Mirae Electronics.
He heard it many times before. Was it a promising company?
It was not. Suddenly Suhyuk thought of one thing.
‘It’s called Mirae Electronics, which I’m putting a lot of investment into...’
A long time ago Mr. Kim Hyunwoo mentioned it to him.
Suhyuk approached Heyjin sitting on the sofa without moving at all.
Bending his knees, Suhyuk made his eyes meet hers, and wiped her tears with his thumb softly.
She was suppressing her crying, wiping tears with her both hands.
“Okay, you’re doing fine,” said Suhyuk.
It was not Heyjin who would shed tears, though.
Suhyuk rose from the sofa, and went to the window side.
The playing field and the school building came into his view.
Suhyuk took out his cell phone from his back pocket.
Can this school or the people here manage the upcoming misfortune?
He called somewhere. “It’s me.”
And then Suhyuk talked with three others over the phone.
And then they began to move.