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    Loves Error

    Deep Pivot Episode 34

    Cha Jeong-woo went through the discharge process three days later. Once he signed the discharge consent form, everything moved forward smoothly and almost comically quickly.

    For years, he had wanted to move to a bigger hospital but couldn’t because he didn’t have the money. Yeon-woo watched Jeong-woo prepare for his first significant relocation.

    The first things he packed were his thread sticker book, colored pencils, and sketchbook. He still had a bundle of snacks he had recently received as a gift from Seo-joon. Having never left this hospital before, he looked both excited and a little nervous.

    “Are the people there nice?”

    “Hmm… I haven’t met them yet, so I can’t say for sure.” 

    Yeon-woo replied, sitting beside Jeong-woo, who had finished packing his bag.

    “Is there a friend my age in that ward?”

    “I don’t know that either.”

    Yeon-woo thought back to the conversation he had with Hee-min three days ago.

    Kang Hee-min had suggested that Jeong-woo be treated at the medical facilities within the Center. They offered full coverage of not just the hospital bills but also all treatment-related expenses.

    He even provided Yeon-woo with detailed information on the Center’s medical system and the specialist in charge, so he wouldn’t feel anxious. He emphasized that they had a renowned specialist in genetic diseases who was a researcher at the Awakener Center, and that receiving treatment there would be much more beneficial.

    Even though Awakeners were typically guaranteed certain healthcare benefits, wasn’t this going a bit too far?

    Despite the doubts, Yeon-woo couldn’t refuse such a fortunate offer. When he was certified as a guide and could start earning money, the first thing he wanted to do was to have Jeong-woo treated at a better hospital.

    “Have you packed everything?”

    After bidding farewell to the other patients who shared the hospital room, they headed down to the parking lot, where Jang Song-hee was waiting to pick them up. Yeon-woo, holding Jeong-woo, greeted her as they approached.

    “Yes, we’ve packed everything.”

    “You don’t have much stuff, huh? Hello, Jeong-woo.”

    Song-hee waved at Jeong-woo as she carried his breathing aid. Jeong-woo nodded in greeting over Yeon-woo’s shoulder. She unlocked an SUV with a click.

    “Load Jeong-woo in here.”

    “Thank you.”

    After securing Jeong-woo and his breathing device safely in the back seat, both of them got into the car.

    “Nice car, right? The team leader lent it to me.”

    Song-hee bragged about the car as she shifted gears and slowly turned the wheel.

    “Did you borrow it just for us?”

    “No, my car was wrecked in a parking accident, so it’s in for repairs.”

    Yeon-woo thought he’d heard something similar before, but as he pondered it, a scraping noise suddenly came from the side mirror.

    “Oh, it’s scratched. Well, whatever.”

    Despite scraping someone else’s car, she remained unperturbed. Yeon-woo figured that Team Leader Jin Cheong-o would likely brush it off without much fuss.

    Song-hee chuckled awkwardly.

    “I’m really not good at driving. Sometimes, people just aren’t good at certain things, you know?”

    “Yeah… that’s true. But you’re much better than me.”

    “You have a driver’s license, Yeon-woo?”

    “…No.”

    He hadn’t expected her to ask if he had a license in response to his attempt at comforting her. He worried he might have been unintentionally rude, but Song-hee laughed.

    “Yeon-woo, you’re really funny.”

    “…”

    “But your face is the funniest. No matter what you say, I can’t help but smile.”

    “…You’re funny too.”

    “Miss?”

    Song-hee burst into laughter again. She seemed to be someone who laughed a lot. Yeon-woo, unable to see what was so funny about what he had said, could only blink in confusion.

    “I’m 25.”

    “You said you were an intern.”

    “Yeah, I’m an intern, but not in the medical staff. I’m just a student assistant, helping Director Kang Hee-min with his research.”

    “Oh… so what should I call you?”

    “People usually just call me by my name. Now that I think about it, it’s rare to find people younger than me. Just call me ‘noona’ (older sister).”

    “Okay, noona.”

    Another familiar burst of laughter followed. As Song-hee drove out of the parking lot, she scratched the side mirrors a couple more times.

    Since Yeon-woo didn’t have a driver’s license and was simply hitching a ride, he couldn’t say anything about it. Instead, he quietly checked that Jeong-woo in the back seat had his seatbelt on securely. As they entered the road, Song-hee suddenly asked.

    “You two don’t look alike at all, huh?”

    She was talking about Jeong-woo and him. Yeon-woo replied with an awkward smile.

    “Yeah, I get that a lot.”

    “Maybe one’s inherited from the mother’s side and the other from the father’s side. Which side are you from, Yeon-woo? Your mother? She must have been beautiful, right?”

    “…I’m not really sure.”

    Jeong-woo, who had been listening from the back seat, chimed in.

     “The nurses said we look alike. They said my brother and I have the same expressions.”

    “Ahaha, really?”

    Song-hee replied with a laugh. She was good with people and quickly built rapport with Jeong-woo, chatting with him about his favorite comics and snacks. Meanwhile, the car had entered District 1.

    “Is Team Leader Jin at the Center right now?”

    Yeon-woo, who had been quiet, suddenly asked.

    “Of course. That’s why he lent the car.”

    “…What about Lieutenant Ji?”

    “Lieutenant Ji? I’m not sure about him.”

    Yeon-woo checked Seo-joon’s message thread, which he had opened and closed countless times. It had already been ten days since the incident at the Yeonsun My Park Mall Theater Gate.

    In the message thread, which had seen no exchanges during that time, he had written and erased countless texts. If the Lieutenant knew, he would probably laugh…

    Ji Seo-joon

    [Yeon-woo, where are you?]

    4:39 PM

    At that moment, a new message suddenly appeared. Startled, Yeon-woo frantically tapped the back button. The tapping sound, “taptaptap,” was loud enough for Song-hee to hear beside him.

    “What happened? Did you see something scary?”

    He was so shocked that he dropped his phone while tapping the screen. He picked it up from under the passenger seat.

    “No, nothing…”

    Despite his response, his heart was still racing. It feels like he’s been caught stealing something he shouldn’t have. But the message was already read, and the “1” indicating an unread message on Seo-joon’s phone would have disappeared.

    Taking a deep breath, Yeon-woo reopened the message thread. “Yeon-woo, where are you?” “Yeon-woo, where are you?” “Yeon-woo, where are you?” Such a simple question felt more challenging to answer than any other sentence in the world.

    What should I reply? What should I say…?

    ✽✽✽

    Cha Yeon-woo

    [I’m here in District 1 now]

    [I brought Jeong-woo with me]

    4:43 PM

    [Are you in District 1 too, Lieutenant?]

    4:45 PM

    “They’re almost here.”

    Seo-joon, checking his messages with a paper cup in his mouth, said to Hee-min beside him.

    “Thanks, Hyung.”

    “You better be grateful. You’re probably the only esper using the Awakener Center lab this freely.”

    Today, Cha Yeon-woo’s brother would be admitted to one of the empty labs in the high-security zone. Despite not being used for a while, it was well-equipped with medical devices, ready for immediate occupancy.

    Hee-min had converted the space into a private room for Cha Jeong-woo, preparing all the necessary equipment per Seo-joon’s request.

    “It was vacant anyway. Is buying you that premium beef not enough?”

    “Once isn’t enough. Maybe if you buy it ten times.”

    Despite his words, Hee-min had a relaxed smile on his face.

    The medical staff at the Awakener Management Center were originally well-known specialists in their respective fields. They would often see family members or acquaintances of Awakeners who asked them for favors.

    This was the first time, though, that they’d brought in a long-term patient like Cha Yeon-woo’s brother.

    “He’s only being given this special permission because it’s Yeon-woo.”

    Given what Yeon-woo had gone through at the last incident, this was hardly a special favor. He had proven to be more valuable than expected. Otherwise, Hee-min wouldn’t have granted Seo-joon’s request so readily.

    “But won’t you tell Yeon-woo about it? I feel a bit guilty about paying off his overdue hospital bills. That’s more than what the insurance would cover.”

    “Didn’t know Dr. Kang had a conscience to be pricked.”

    “Come on, it’s a bit much. It isn’t even fully covered by insurance. Why not just tell him? What are you, a mysterious benefactor? You are older than him.”

    Seo-joon, still holding the paper cup in his mouth, replied after a pause.

    “…Just.”

    Ding. The elevator light came on at the end of the hall.

    “I don’t want any unnecessary misunderstandings.”

    Seo-joon, gazing at the elevator directly ahead, added. Soon, the doors opened, revealing Song-hee stepping out.

    “Oh, Lieutenant Ji is here too?”

    Seo-joon looked past her to see Yeon-woo exiting the elevator. Their eyes met as he adjusted his hold on Jeong-woo.

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