Lost in her thoughts, Yi-soo walked mechanically, until suddenly, someone collided with her.
“My ice cream…!”
“Oh, my goodness! You rascal! Grandma told you to be careful in front! I’m so sorry, lawyer… Our child just made a mistake…”
Yi-soo lowered her head to see who had bumped into her. It was a boy, barely 8 years old, who looked like he had just started elementary school. His short, spiky hair was a mess, and he held an empty cone, sobbing as the ice cream lay scattered on the ground.
Her attention shifted to the elderly woman with snow-white hair, who was earnestly apologizing, and a middle-aged man with a golden badge standing nearby, observing the situation.
“It’s okay.” Yi-soo reassured the old woman, choosing not to correct her mistaken assumption about being a lawyer. The beige pants she was wearing now bore the telltale stains of chocolate-flavored ice cream.
Rather than getting annoyed by the mishap, Yi-soo bent down to meet the young boy’s surprised gaze. The child seemed taken aback by the unexpected collision, but Yi-soo didn’t mind the stained pants; they could easily be washed after all.
“You! Grandma told you not to lose focus! Quickly, apologize to the lawyer. Come on, hurry up…” The old woman reprimanded the boy.
Sniffling, the boy stammered an apology, “I’m s-sorry. I got ice cream on you…”
“No, it’s okay. Don’t worry. Just wash up in the restroom. I’m glad you’re not hurt. Grandma, it’s not a big deal, so please don’t worry too much.” Yi-soo offered a warm and reassuring smile to the teary-eyed child, a smile that could brighten anyone’s mood just by seeing it.
Her eyes, usually light and twinkling, now formed crescent moons with their lengthened shape. The pupils, like precious jewels, sparkled under the lobby lights. The boy finally seemed to ease up, glancing at his grandmother.
“I’m so sorry… about the ice cream.”
“It’s alright. If you just wipe it with water, it’ll come off quickly. Don’t worry and go ahead.”
Yi-soo’s smile extended to the grandmother and her grandson, reassuring them that everything was fine. As the elderly woman continued to fret over the ice cream stain on her clothes, a man who had been standing nearby took a step forward, approaching Yi-soo.
“Ma’am, I’ll cover the cleaning cost for this. Please don’t worry and go inside. I’ll see you again next week.”
“Oh, really? But… it’s really embarrassing to trouble a lawyer like this.”
Yi-soo looked at the man who had stepped in to help. He had warm-toned brown hair, semi-rimless glasses, and a kind and well-groomed appearance that commanded respect. His badge indicated that he was a lawyer from Yoon & Kang, indirectly confirming his affiliation.
Yi-soo smiled lightly at the grandmother and the child. “No, the cleaning cost is really fine. It’s quite hot out, so be careful going inside.”
“Oh my, thank you, thank you, sir. Oh dear, Min-woo, you should say thank you too.”
“Thank you!” the boy echoed.
The elderly woman expressed her gratitude with multiple bows and held her grandson’s hand tightly as they left. The man, with gentle eyes, turned his gaze towards Yi-soo. His voice echoed compassionately in the lobby.
“You must have been startled. Here’s my business card… If you contact me, I’ll reimburse you for the cleaning cost.”
“No, there’s no need for the reimbursement… and why is that?” Yi-soo was not expecting compensation from the start, and his unexpected involvement in the situation puzzled her. She raised an eyebrow slightly, but he remained composed and handed her the business card.
“Oh, he’s my client. It’s a pro bono case, but as the attorney handling it, I believe it’s my responsibility to look after my client’s convenience,” he explained.
Yi-soo examined the printed letters in bold font on the business card – Kang Jin-won, Yoon & Kang Senior Associate Attorney. Why would he offer to cover the cleaning cost, even if he was a client? Puzzled, she glanced at him, seeking an explanation. Jin-won responded with a light-hearted laugh and a shrug of his shoulders.
“Actually, that’s an unreasonable excuse. It’s impolite to say this from our first meeting, but I genuinely like you. If you have any thoughts, please contact me using the number on the business card. I’ll be waiting.”
Taken aback by his candidness, Yi-soo mumbled a response, “Ah, sure… I have something to do now, so I’ll go.”
“Of course. It would be nice to see you again if possible.”
She glanced disinterestedly at the business card, feeling that Jin-won’s objectively attractive looks might catch the attention of other women, but they didn’t quite captivate her. Besides, she really had to return to the newsroom.
Jin-won’s eyes curved softly as he moved toward the elevator, leaving Yi-soo to her own devices. “Kang Jin-won…” The name didn’t make a lasting impression. She carelessly stuffed the business card into her pocket and hurriedly left the Yoon & Kang building. Stepping outside, a warm breeze gently brushed past her hair.