Swallow One’s Breath – Prologue

That day marked one year since the two of them met.

She knew he didn’t take such anniversaries seriously.

The 100th and 200th days had just passed by, but this time she wanted to give something commemorative.

Over the past two months, Se-eun had saved up money to buy the cufflinks.

Sometimes, when Do-won came out in a suit, the cuffs adorning the sleeves didn’t suit his striking appearance.

The ruby ​​on one side of the cuff was the same shade as the stone on the necklace he gave her a while ago.

To be honest, she wanted to buy a couples’ ring, but she didn’t have the courage to choose it herself.

She thought he should buy it first, but she pushed her heart down hard to hide her desires.

“I hope you like it as a gift,” she murmured.

On the way to the meeting place, she stopped and checked her reflection in a mirror at the bus stop.

Unlike her usual attire of jeans and a blouse, she wore a dress she had saved for today and put on makeup with care.

She felt awkward in high heels, instead of the sneakers she always wore, but she kept her back straight and headed towards her destination.

As she thought about his reaction to her new appearance, her heart pounded like it did on their first date.

The meeting point was in the city, at the bar of S Hotel.

Since she arrived about 15 minutes earlier than the appointed time, Se-eun thought she would have to wait a little longer for him to arrive.

But he was already there.

And he wasn’t alone, but with a friend.

She was a little nervous as she approached Do-won from behind, she wondered if he had met his friend for a prior engagement before meeting her.

It was her first time seeing any of Do-won’s friends.

Was she going to meet his friends now? As she thought about it, her heart fluttered at the feeling that she had become even more intimate with him.

But as she approached him, she heard the sharp voice of the person sitting next to him.

“So, aren’t you going to tell her that you’re engaged?”

“Is there any reason for that?”

His friend grinned at Do-won’s dry reply.

“Cruel bastard. You said you’ve been dating an innocent kid for a long time. What are you going to do if she ever finds out?”

“What do you mean? What does my engagement have to do with Jeong Se-eun?”

“She wouldn’t see it that way. Don’t you know how sensitive women are to such things?”

This time Do-won laughed.

“I didn’t meet her with the future in mind. I never spoke about marriage in front of Se-eun.”

“You two have been seeing each other for a long time now.”

“That’s true.”

“Then tell her out of courtesy. You don’t look innocent at first glance, but she would be quite shocked to find out that you’re still dating her after you’re engaged.”

“Still, she won’t be able to break up. Jeong Se-eun really likes me.”

“A robber or you, I’m not sure who’s the cruel bastard”

At first, she didn’t understand what he was saying.

He’s engaged? Do-won? Does that mean he continued meeting me while hiding it?

‘Did I hear it correctly?’

Se-eun shook her head in disbelief.

No, it couldn’t be.

Although Do-won was stingy with his expression of affection, he was honest and caring.

He’s very considerate and always understands when she’s busy with her part-time job and burdens…

“Hey, it’s time. Go before Se-eun comes.”

At Do-won’s words, his friend muttered abusive language once more and got up from his seat.

“Cruel bastard, be nice to the girl you like. You’ll be punished later.”

“Whatever.”

The next moment, the friend who turned around, saw Se-eun’s pale expression and frowned. He tapped Do-won on the shoulder and clicked his tongue.

“Hey, you’re screwed.”

When Do-won got up and approached Se-eun with a rare, bewildered expression, she took several steps back. Seeing this, he put a smile on his face and grabbed her arm.

“Let’s go up and talk.”

“What? Talk?”

She didn’t want to follow.

However, her head was full of confused thoughts, and no strength in her legs, so her feet moved as he led her away.

Do-won took Se-eun out of the bar without saying a word.

And only after entering Suite 1223, where they always stayed, did he open her mouth.

“What did you hear?”

Se-eun ignored those words and asked with a trembling voice.

“Are you really engaged?”

“Yes.”

“Since when?”

“Last Friday.”

Last Friday.

She had a short phone call with Do-won as she went home after tutoring.

He said he went to meet-up with his friends.

He told her that he would be out late, to not wait for the phone call, and to go to bed early. He spoke in a voice full of kindness.

‘Then you were actually at the engagement ceremony.’ 

She felt out of breath.

Se-eun clenched her fists as she tried to speak without a trembling voice.

“Really? You weren’t going to tell me?”

“Because it has nothing to do with you.”

“Because I’m not worthy enough to marry you?”

“Yes.”

It was an answer said without a moment of hesitation.

She stared at him, biting her lip.

She knew.

As he had told his friend earlier, Do-won had never once spoken to her about marriage.

He never talked about an engagement or the future.

So Se-eun was aware to some extent.

‘This man doesn’t see a future with me.’ 

Still, I liked him, so I feigned ignorance and kept seeing him.

All while thinking that Do-won liked her to some extent. And believing that’s why he’s been in touch with her for over a year.

Maybe she was wrong for assuming the feelings of another person.

She should have dated him with a clear idea of what she was expecting from the beginning.

Yes, that was her fault.

Do-won must have been able to hurt her this much because she showed her feelings, since she liked him so much.

“It’s true that I liked you a lot.”

Se-eun’s voice was still trembling as she spoke.

“But I don’t want to meet you and pretend not to know that you’re engaged. I don’t think so.”

Do-won frowned at those words. He looked like he didn’t understand.

“Why?”

“Because that’s a cruel thing to do. To me, and to her, too.”

Then there was irritation in his voice.

“Don’t be childish. There’s no reason for our relationship to change just because I’m engaged.”

It was only then that Se-eun realized she didn’t know anything about Kang Do-won

She didn’t know he could be like this. That he was the type of man to continue a relationship with her casually while being engaged. A man who thought that even after the truth was revealed, that he could still continue meeting with her like before. It was then that tears began to well up.

“I don’t think so. And other people, most of them won’t think like you.”

“So, you’re saying you want to break up with me?”

It had to be said, but her lips wouldn’t move to say the words. While biting her lower lip to the point of bleeding to hold back the tears that threatened to fall, Se-eun pulled out a small box from her bag.

“…It’s yours.”

Do-won accepted the box silently while frowning.

“It may be insignificant compared to the things you’ve done for me, but I bought it for you, so please accept it. And …”

Se-eun swallowed her tears and said in a trembling voice.

“Thank you for all this time. Be happy with your fiancé.”

The door to the suite closed silently, as always. She couldn’t even hear the sound of her shoes because of the thick carpet in the hallway.

So, Se-eun bit her lips harder to hold back her tears. It would have been much sadder and more miserable if the sound of her cries could be heard resonating loudly in this quiet place.

 

 

❤️ Note❤️ : I noticed that the raws I received previously were not complete, so I went back and translated the rest of the prologue and added it. I’m sorry about that!

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