Hyun-seong’s gaze lingered on Yi-soo, finding it hard to believe that the woman before him was once a timid girl. Prosecutor Seo Yi-soo now exuded confidence and strength in every aspect, a far cry from her past self. He couldn’t forget the self-assured presence she displayed at the bar, the very reason he was drawn to her.
Yi-soo continued to share her story, her voice betraying a hint of emotion as she remembered the Chief Prosecutor’s guidance and support. He had taken the time to explain the path to becoming a prosecutor, sharing his own experiences. His visits to the orphanage became regular, and he soon became a father-like figure in Yi-soo’s life, someone she couldn’t imagine living without.
As her memories flooded back, Yi-soo felt a lump forming in her throat, but she gathered herself and halted the overwhelming emotions. There were countless stories to tell, but she shifted the focus away from herself, turning her attention to Hyun-seong.
“Let’s stop talking about me, Attorney Yoon.”
Just then, the waiter interjected with a cautious tone, breaking the flow of their conversation. “Excuse me, I will bring the main course now.”
The plates were placed before them, revealing a tantalizing sous-vide cooked beef tenderloin steak, accompanied by smoked shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and a side of mashed potatoes. The light buttery aroma wafted invitingly to their noses.
“The 2016 vintage of Insignia,” the waiter said as the cork popped, releasing the rich aroma of red wine into the air. She politely declined the waiter’s offer to fill her glass first, preferring to have Hyun-seong’s glass filled instead. With a smile, he watched the deep red liquid cascade into his glass.
“You’re not having any today?” Hyun-seong inquired.
Yi-soo responded, “They say sudden changes can be dangerous.”
“The aroma is irresistible. It’s a shame you won’t be enjoying it,” he remarked, lifting the wine glass to his lips. The smoky and dry scent enveloped his senses.
As he took a sip, the wine’s rich dark fruit flavor spread through his mouth. Hints of vanilla, oak, and spiciness followed, with smooth and abundant tannins. He felt content with leaving the wine selection to the waiter without specifying a type.
“It must have been tough to withstand the pressure at the District Prosecutor’s Office, Seo Yi-soo,” Hyun-seong joked.
She nodded, reflecting on the early days, “It was indeed challenging. I even thought I shouldn’t miss the welcome party; I had to be part of the celebration. But it’s not like I have a low alcohol tolerance.”
The legal profession, like many others, had its fair share of social drinking. Although things were gradually improving, there were still occasions when they had to endure unwanted drinking sessions. For Yi-soo, who wasn’t great with alcohol, such situations must have been challenging.
As she sliced into the perfectly cooked medium-rare steak, the pinkish-red center was revealed. Taking a bite, the rich juices tantalized her taste buds, complemented by the flavors of butter and coarse salt. Expensive things are indeed delicious, she mused.
Observing Hyun-seong, she wondered if he dined on such luxurious food every day. Although she couldn’t easily reconstruct someone else’s life, her curiosity grew. Hyun-seong appeared to be adept at enjoying this sophisticated atmosphere.
Yet, Yi-soo wasn’t one to openly express her inner thoughts. She had social skills, but she preferred to keep certain reflections to herself. As she savored the cream-colored mashed potatoes with a spoon, a fleeting thought crossed her mind.
Yi-soo raised her head and looked at Hyun-seong with an “Ah” of realization.
“By the way… the defendant assigned to me this time. He’s being defended by Yoon & Kang,” she said.
When someone belonged to a third-generation chaebol family, it was typical to have a legal team handle their matters. The team would handle a constant stream of new requests daily. Despite this knowledge, Yi-soo couldn’t help but wonder if Hyun-seong was familiar with the lawyer representing Seo Jae-young, the defendant in her current case.
“He’s the son of Geumseol Construction’s president,” Yi-soo mentioned.
“I know, Seo Jae-young,” Hyun-seong replied.
“Are you also aware of this case? Are you the one defending him?” Yi-soo inquired, her curiosity evident as she laid down her knife. Hyun-seong tilted his glass and finished the wine inside.
With each sip, his Adam’s apple moved, drawing Yi-soo’s attention to the sculpted profile of his jawline and nose, like the work of a meticulous artist.
Eventually, Hyun-seong lowered the empty glass and a slow smile formed on his lips.
“It’s me,” he revealed.