“Are you Kim Insoo by any chance?" asked Hana, in a bit of a surprised voice.
He nodded at Hana, "You remember me?"
“Sure, I do. We’re high school alumni."
Actually his behavior as a person was registered more in her mind than of him as an alumnus.
Kim Insoo, in his capacity as a student, gave all kinds of expensive gifts to her, but his facial expression was so icy back then that she wondered if he really liked her.
Of course, she refused all his gifts.
Looking around, Kim looked at her again.
"Do you work at a place like this?"
She knitted her brows at his words.
"What’s wrong with this kind of place?"
She was an employee at a large company. She only helped his father on evenings during the week and weekends, but she did not feel it necessary to go to the trouble of explaining that to him.
At her curt reply, Kim smiled a gentle smile, one that she could never see during their school days.
"I was just curious. That’s all.”
Kim now directed his gaze at Suhyuk. The smile that he showed a while ago disappeared quickly. 'Even then, you guys always stuck together like this.'
Looking at Suhyuk quietly, he opened his mouth, "It’s been a long time since we last met."
"Yes, it's been a while. I heard you went abroad to study. You’ve since come back?” Suhyuk asked, wiping his lips slowly.
Kim nodded and then beckoned to him to sit down, saying, "Just enjoy the food that you’re eating.”
“Have you come here to eat lunch?” asked Hana, heading to the kitchen.
"Yes, I have come to eat," said Kim.
“Just wait here with Suhyuk,” said Hana.
Kim, who slowly nodded his head, sat down opposite Suhyuk, saying, "You became a doctor?"
‘How did he know? Maybe he heard it from Inbae or from the rumors going around. It does not matter, anyway.’
"I’m still an intern. How about you?"
At his question, Kim only stared at the rice with soup that Suhyuk was eating.
Then he opened his mouth, "Just... I’ve been lazing about idle like this.”
Though he said he was idle, he had been getting training to become the successor to his father’s business. Hana, who approached without them realising, put a pot of rice and soup before Kim.
"I think you came here on purpose, so have a lot," she said.
He, showing a slight smile, lifted the spoon and tasted a bit of the soup.
He frowned momentarily, but no one noticed it because it disappeared in an instant.
“Tastes good. Any alcohol?”
At his words, Hana frowned her pretty face, with her arms folded.
"You want alcohol at such a time during the day?"
Saying that, she brought out a bottle of soju.
Kim Insoo was looking at the bottle here and there briefly. Then he took the lid off and put it down in front of Suhyuk.
"Seeing as it's been a long time, let me fill your glass.”
Suhyuk, who showed some sort of hesitation, held out his glass.
He thought it would be okay to have a few glasses of soju.
Kim, filling his glass, asked both of them, "Are you two dating?"
"Hey! What nonsense are you talking about?” screamed Hana, suddenly surprised.
Kim, with a gentle smile, looked at her while filling his glass, saying, “Really?”
Though he said that playfully, his eyes were still calm.
"We’re not dating. Just friends,” said Suhyuk, offering a glass to him.
Then a voice popped out from behind.
"From a friend to a lover. When a man and a woman meet, they change their relationship in one way or another.”
It was Hana’s father.
"Dad, don’t speak such nonsense.”
Coming out of the kitchen, Hana’s father looked at Kim with a smile.
"Are you Hana’s friend?”
Kim bowed his head slightly. That was the end of the greeting.
"Okay, okay. Just enjoy the food a lot.”
He walked with a limp to the door to throw away the garbage.
"Dad, let me throw away the garbage."
“No, no, you just stay here and think about how to get married."
So, Suhyuk and Kim Insoo were left alone.
Kim, who slowly nodded his head in pensive mood, emptied his glass at once.
And then he, knitting his brows, looked at his glass.
“It tastes bitter.”
“One drinks alcohol because it tastes bitter,” said Suhyuk.
Likewise Suhyuk emptied his glass and refilled a glass for Kim.
"Are you having fun as a doctor?"
At his words, Suhyuk’s face hardened a bit, "Saving people’s lives is not for fun.”
His expression soon turned into a smile in no time. Both their eyes met momentarily and strangely got entangled in the air.
The first reaction came from Kim, who said, "Strangely enough, I can’t drink much today. I think I’ll get intoxicated if I have any more.”
Kim poured his remaining alcohol into the rice and soup pot and stood up.
At that moment, Hana and her father, who had gone out the door, came back in.
Hana, stared at him with a dubious look, asking, "Are you going already?"
"Suddenly something came up. How much?"
As soon as he took his hand to his suit pocket, she quickly opened her mouth, "Just go. I think you came here on purpose. Don’t worry about the check.”
“Okay, then. Thanks for the food. Let me stop by from time-to-time.”
Kim bowed slightly to her father and looked at Suhyuk quietly.
"I'll see you again," and he muttered, 'For sure, we’ll meet again.’
Kim Insoo left the store.
Suhyuk stared at the door where Kim disappeared from.
Whether in high school or now, there was something mysterious about him.
"What's going on? Kim didn’t eat it at all?”
She, like Suhyuk, looked at the door where Kim disappeared from.
A dark night.
Suhyuk was crossing a pedestrian overpass.
Underneath it, leaving behind long tails of the lights, cars ran past in with a loud noise.
‘Tomorrow’s surgery observation session is in order.’
He heard it from resident Lim Kyungsoo that the professor was going to invite all interns assigned to the thoracic surgery department to it.
Maybe it's a light surgery, judging from the professor’s mention of taking up the interns.
When he turned back, Hana, who had been following him, stopped with a short breath.
“Why did you follow me?"
When Suhyuk approached her, she reached out her hand. She was holding the cellphone he left behind at the store.
"Are you going to annoy me like this?"
Suhyuk, with a sorry look, received the cellphone.
"I forgot about it... thank you."
She, knitting her brows, looked at him, saying, “You just say ‘Thank you’ with words only?”
Suhyuk checked the time. It was 9 pm.
The bus schedule showed the last bus going to the hospital was still available.
"How about getting coffee?"
At his asking, she shook her head, "I have to go back to the store to clean up."
Suhyuk nodded, waving his hand and turned back.
She looked at his turning back prudishly.
Sometimes she made a friendly face to him, and sometimes she made a brusque one like now.
Her voice made him turn back again.
"Let me take a walk for a while with you. You get the bus down from there. Let's go.”
She started walking down the road ahead of him.
She seemed to be annoyed, but there was no way of him understanding it.
Suhyuk and Hana walked side by side on the stairs.
Suhyuk spoke first, "Do you like your job?"
“Which place? The Rice and Soup store? Or my company?"
"Yes, your company."
She swept her hair and shook her head, saying, "My popularity at the company never goes down.”
Her reply was far from a lie. It was common for her boss to ask her out for morning coffee or for lunch. And then after work, her peers or supervisors at the company would follow her to the bus stop asking for a drink or for dinner. Such a thing happened again now. She checked her cellphone messages and showed one to him. The message read like this: ‘It's cold in the air tonight. I wonder if I’m drunk as I keep thinking about you. Cover up with a blanket so you won’t catch a cold. See you tomorrow.’
Checking the message, he felt as if he was getting goose bumps.
"If he had a drink, he should go to sleep. Why is he thinking of you?”
Suhyuk took her cellphone lightly and then touched the screen a few times, returning it to her. Her eyes grew wider slightly after she checked it.
‘Kim Hana has a boyfriend already.’ The message was about to be sent with after pressing the send button.
Hana felt her face blushing, “What do you mean by this?"
Suhyuk laughed and said, "You said they’re annoying. So, you can just get a boyfriend."
"Where and how do I get a boyfriend when I don’t have one?"
"I can be yours.”
Her eyes looking at the stairs turned bigger. She felt her heart was throbbing as if it were about to pop out. Not to be caught, Hana took her hand to her left chest.
“If they harass you, just bring them to me. On such occasions, let me play the role of your boyfriend!”
At his words, she let out a little sigh. After all, what he meant by that was just playing a boyfriend role for her. ‘What a stupid guy… How a silly man like him entered a prestigious university and how he could become a doctor…’
When they went down the stairs without saying anything, a cold voice came out of her mouth, "Let me take my leave first, Good night."
Suhyuk made an awkward look at her walking back up the stairs, thinking to himself, ‘Did I do something wrong?’
At that moment.
Hana, walking up the stairs, and Suhyuk looking at her, turned their heads to the side quickly.
There was a blue light flickering on the crosswalk, and the bumpy wheel of a fallen bicycle was rolling loudly. There was a man in his early twenties who had been thrown out onto the crosswalk.
Suhyuk moved reflexively and approached him instantly.
“Are you okay? Can you hear me?”
At his asking, the man nodded his head and stood up.
At that moment, the driver who hit the bike owner ran towards him.
“Are you okay? Do you hear me?”
The staggering victim tried to lift up the bike, but collapsed on the ground weakly.
Suhyuk shouted at him, "How can you ride a bike when you’re like that?"
The man waved the victim’s shoulders gently, who collapsed as if he were wrapping the bike.
"Are you okay?"
He just groaned, but did not move at all.
“Call 119... No, we’re going to take him to the hospital. Open the back door!"
It was faster to move directly to the hospital by car than to wait for an ambulance.
The driver nodded absent-mindedly and opened the car door.
Suhyuk put his hand on the armpits of the victim and carefully pulled him.
The victim had a light scratch on his back and face, but he did not recover his consciousness.
He may have had his brain damaged or have abdominal bleeding. His condition was far from light.
“Let’s pull him together…”
The driver came to him and grabbed the victim’s two legs.
At that moment, Hana shouted, “Suhyuk!”
It was too late, though. He did not see a motorcycle dashing toward him like a bullet.
With the noisy sound of a loud klaxon horn from the motorcycle, he had his shoulders pushed hard to the side.