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    “Being born with a face like this is fortunate. Even if you have memory loss, it wouldn’t be hard to seduce you twice. Once might be challenging, but two or three times would be easier, right?”

    I was taken aback for a moment. On the surface, I was supposed to have memory loss… While doing my background investigation, I thought he knew I was terminally ill and had memory loss. However, hearing it like this made me wonder if I should say something in response. I hesitated briefly. This was a topic bordering on misfortune. It didn’t seem like he would dislike hearing it, but as I made up my mind, I decided to speak.

    “Hyung, actually. I really do have memory loss.”

    “Really?”

    “Yes. But it doesn’t bother me.”

    “That’s a relief.”

    Anyone who sees him would think he was responding calmly, but he was just pretending not to know. His acting skills were so superb that I almost wanted to learn from him. I should naturally respond like this too. After stroking my head for a while, he checked the time and then spoke up.

    “It’s already 1 o’clock. Aren’t you hungry?”

    “Oh, it’s already lunchtime?”

    I’d never realized I’d overslept. My eyes widened in surprise, and I shook my head.

    “I’m not very hungry… I just want some soup.”

    “You must be thirsty too. Have some water first.”

    “Ugh.”

    Unintentionally, I frowned at his remark.

    “Drinking water right after having alcohol is not a good idea.”

    “Damn it. I know that. Let’s just get some hangover soup.”

    Hangover… Even just hearing that word made me feel relieved. Following Tae Seong-je’s gesture, I looked around the room, and my eyes landed on the table I had seen earlier. It was filled with something exotic and luxurious, and it felt like a sense of foreboding was creeping up my spine.

    “Hyung, I don’t think that’s hangover soup…”

    “It’s a nourishing meal, which is the same as hangover soup.”

    “…Nourishing meal?”

    However, curiosity got the best of me, and I approached the table. Imagining something like duck or chicken soup (samgyetang), I lifted the lid, only to quickly close it again. What the hell was this? It was something dreadful and incredibly repulsive—no, it was more like food waste.

    I don’t particularly have strong likes or dislikes when it comes to food. Really. However, there was a natural aversion to food I’ve never tasted or seen before. Seeing that supposedly nutritious blood pudding was revolting, especially since I wasn’t feeling well to begin with.

    “Ugh…”

    “Even if you don’t want to eat it, you should. It’s good for your body.”

    Seeing my reluctance, Tae Seong-je flashed a bright smile. This guy, he intentionally prepared this, didn’t he? Is he seeking revenge for lying to him? Overwhelmed by visual torment, I pressed my head into the pillow and gagged. Even though my stomach was already empty, it felt like I should vomit something even more disgusting.

    “Because you’re making that face, it seems like you’re pregnant.”

    I shook my head in disbelief. He was saying it wasn’t his problem. His smug expression while joking annoyed me. I gritted my teeth and glared at him with a deathly pale face, but on the inside, I was raging with rage. My eyes lit up as a clever retaliation idea flashed through my mind.

    “Hyung.”

    “What?”

    “Your baby says it wants bean sprout soup. What should we do?”

    I could also crack a joke. However, I wasn’t as shameless as Tae Seong-je, so making this kind of joke felt a bit embarrassing. Moreover, my voice sounded muffled because I hadn’t woken up for a long time, and my throat seemed to have been strained.

    This guy will probably respond with something witty again. I grumbled internally, waiting for his response. However, strangely, there was no reaction this time. I sneakily observed his response, and until a moment ago, he had been smiling and chuckling, but now he was staring at me with a serious expression. What’s going on? Just as I blinked my eyes and observed his reactions, he suddenly reached out and covered my face with his hand.

    “Huh?”

    I was bewildered by his sudden action. Confused, I reached up and touched his large hand and thick forearm. It was a bit awkward. Then, Tae Seong-je spoke in a low, muffled voice.

    “This really makes me want to fill you up.”

    I softly smiled after meeting his heated gaze between his fingers. He always had the upper hand when it came to joking, but now, it seemed I had won. His inability to respond to my jokes was both refreshing and amusing.

    I lowered my head slightly as his palm gently pressed against my nose and lips. His palm felt rough and calloused, but it was unmistakably Tae Seong-je’s hand, which I found appealing. I held his wrist with both hands, lowered it slightly, and playfully nibbled on the finger that touched my lips, giving him a mischievous grin.

    “Because it’s been two weeks, you have to treat me well.”

    “I only saw your face briefly then, what do you mean two weeks?”

    “That’s true. I only held your hand briefly, and now we’ve become like this.”

    We briefly met two weeks ago while Tae Seong-je was passing by. To be honest, I had a double nosebleed the day before while eating at a restaurant, so I didn’t want to go anywhere other than home and school for the time being. It was especially embarrassing because it was a restaurant near a nearby house.

    Still, since it was an opportunity to meet, I dashed over without a second thought. We only spent about thirty minutes together that day, sharing stories that were mostly pointless in Tae Seong-je’s car. We didn’t do much other than holding hands and sharing a kiss before parting ways. To anyone else, it might sound odd, but I felt content. It was simply satisfying. The reason I clung to that specific day was for this very reason.

    Thirty minutes seemed like both an eternity and a waste. How comforting was the warmth that I hadn’t felt for so long, and how sad it was to see him leave. Nobody but me would understand how precious that moment was. Remembering that moment, I smiled secretly within the confines of Tae Seong-je’s palm.

    As he moved his hand away from my face, Tae Seong-je said, 

    “Then I guess hyung has to take responsibility.”

    “Are you going to take responsibility?”

    “It’s not that I lack conscience, it’s that I don’t lack a sense of duty.”

    He held my cheek and leaned in closer. I instinctively closed my eyes and parted my lips. Whether it was due to the quiet surroundings, the cozy atmosphere, or the way our tongues were gently intertwining, my body started to heat up. As a result, I tried to follow his retreating lips, but I snapped back to my senses a moment too late and blushed.

    “Then take responsibility.”

    I struggled to suppress my heavy breathing, but my voice sounded suggestive no matter who heard it. As I was fiddling with my wet lips in embarrassment, he took out his cell phone and asked.

    “So. Is that all you need?”

    I was puzzled by his question at first, but when I realized he was talking about the hangover soup, I nodded eagerly. Without saying anything, he began making a phone call. Asking for bean sprout soup didn’t quite match the luxurious ambiance of the hotel room. It might have sounded absurd, but I was quite serious and poked him in the side while he was on the phone.

    “Hyung, that.”

    “What.”

    “The spicy one…”

    I felt bad for stumbling over my words, but I really wanted the cool soup with spicy green peppers. I couldn’t just boldly make the request, so I whispered softly into Tae Seong-je’s ear, hoping only he would hear.

    “Please ask for a lot of spicy green peppers.”

    “Hey. Put a lot of spicy green peppers.”

    Tae Seong-je laughed and ruffled my hair roughly before hanging up the phone. I felt a bit sorry for the subordinate who would be teased into making this request. I waited leisurely while imagining the warm soup soothing my stomach. Tae Seong-je brushed his warm hand against my slightly heated cheek and spoke.

    “It feels like just yesterday you were studying with a face that looked like you were about to die, and now it’s already the vacation.”

    “I’ve never looked like I was about to die…”

    I was a little embarrassed. Usually, I was known for managing my condition well, especially during exams. But during the final exams and even before the end of the semester, I couldn’t sleep properly because of Seo Seung-joon. And that wasn’t all. Thinking about Kwon Joong-hyuk also made me anxious, so I often lost my appetite. In that state, what kind of exams could I take? Of course, I did well in the end, but…

    Tae Seong-je asked while gently rubbing my frowned forehead with his thumb, 

    “Are you going home?”

    “What? Home?”

    “It’s vacation time. Aren’t you going?”

    “Oh. Um, about going home… I’m planning to go next semester.”

    I blurted out excuses that he hadn’t even asked for, worried that not going home might seem strange.

    “I have a certification I want to obtain this time, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to concentrate at home. So, during this vacation, I thought of just going to the library to study…”

    Everyone who heard it would think it was an excuse not to go home. Ah, I hate to lie, but what else can I say… I looked directly into his eyes, but he remained silent. He just looked at me as if asking if that was all. It’s not like I’ve changed or anything. Why is he acting like this? I couldn’t help but be puzzled, and then Tae Seong-je spoke again.

    “So, you’re planning to study at the library during the vacation?”

    “Yes. I’m going to work hard.”

    “Sure. But it’s a 15 minute walk to school, won’t it be hot?”

    “What, walking to school? That’s perfectly fine.”

    “That’s hard to believe. Walking 15 minutes in the scorching sun, and you think you’ll have the energy to study?”

    It sounded like he was teasing me, so I asked seriously.

    “…Hyung, are you still mad, by any chance?”

    Did he feel bad about having to deal with the clean up? Did he have a lingering resentment? Is he still angry? Well, even for Tae Seong-je, this might have been a first-time experience, inducing vomiting by sticking his finger in someone’s mouth just because they couldn’t handle their liquor.

    “It’s me, hyung. I never pull this kind of stunt after drinking. This is really the first time for me. I usually handle my drinks well, but I drank more than usual this time… I promise I won’t do this again next time. I can promise.”

    “…”

    “…I promise?”

    I raised my pinky finger slightly, and Tae Seong-je looked at me as if he was evaluating the most wretched person in the world and clicked his tongue.

    “Anyway, you used my concern to your advantage.”

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