Chapter 32.1

“Ahju… Chief Prosecutor?”

“Chief Prosecutor…! Oh my.”

The visitor who arrived promptly after Su-bin’s departure was none other than Park In-seong, the chief prosecutor of the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office. As Yi-soo was about to casually address him as “Ahjussi,” she abruptly realized the presence of onlookers.

She made a swift attempt to address him as “Chief Prosecutor,” but the words felt unusually awkward on her tongue.

Mentioning “Chief Prosecutor” piqued the curiosity of Ho-yeon, who had been at her desk, causing her to rise swiftly and scrutinize In-seong’s countenance. Chief Choi, who had been clutching the doorknob, widened his eyes and parted his lips in surprise. In-seong seemed somewhat familiar, but why had the Chief Prosecutor made this unexpected visit?

In-seong, his hair streaked with silver, quietly closed the door. Then, he directed his gaze towards Yi-soo, releasing a slight chuckle.

“My apologies, Prosecutor Seo. Since I received no response, I opted for an unannounced visit. I have a matter to discuss. Is this an opportune moment?”

“…Certainly. Please, come in.”

“Um, Chief Prosecutor… Would you like something to drink?” Chief Choi offered.

“Oh, no need to trouble yourself with that. I won’t be staying long,” In-seong interjected, gesturing with his hand as if to emphasize its unnecessary nature. Eventually, In-seong and Yi-soo ventured into the inner room.

The instant the door closed behind them, Chief Choi and Ho-yeon exchanged knowing glances, rendering words superfluous. The situation was crystal clear to all present without the need for verbal communication.

Yi-soo gently pushed aside the paper cups she had given to Su-bin and settled onto the couch beside In-seong. Before she could inquire about the purpose of his unexpected visit, In-seong preemptively spoke.

“The engagement ceremony is only three days away. I wanted to see you before that. I hope I didn’t make things awkward by coming unannounced.”

“No, it’s perfectly fine. In any case, everyone will soon know… It’s alright. But, Chief Prosecutor, are you truly okay? You don’t appear well.”

It had been a month since Yi-soo had last seen In-seong. During that time, he had visibly shed weight. Worry filled Yi-soo’s eyes as she sighed, “Are you still neglecting your meals because you find them bothersome these days?”

In-seong chuckled softly. “Hehe, it’s not that. It’s just that there’s been a lot on my mind lately, that’s all. Nothing too major to worry about, so please don’t trouble yourself. Are the preparations for the engagement proceeding smoothly?”

“I heard that the preparations on Attorney Yoon’s mother’s side have already been completed,” Yi-soo shared. “I merely selected a dress for the occasion. They mentioned it would be a simple ceremony with only a few guests invited.”

“I see… You getting engaged, it feels peculiar. It’s as though I’ve known you forever.”

In-seong offered a warm smile and extended his hand towards her. Yi-soo responded with a wistful smile. She couldn’t even confide in In-seong, the person she trusted and admired the most, about the full story of the engagement.

She had contemplated sharing the truth with In-seong, but the fate of this engagement had already been sealed. She saw no reason to burden even her adoptive father with her concerns.

“Yeah. Attorney Yoon Hyeon-seong… he treats you well, right? Are you thinking about marriage?” In-seong inquired.

“Yes, he’s a good person,” Yi-soo nodded. “As for marriage… I haven’t really considered it yet. Chief Prosecutor, you don’t need to place too much importance on this engagement.”

“…How can I not attach importance to it?”

In-seong wore a gentle smile as he regarded Yi-soo with affectionate eyes. Deep wrinkles at the corners of his mouth, etched by the passage of time, added character to his visage.

Examining every facet of Yi-soo’s countenance with warmth in his eyes, he continued, “Yi-soo, my dear.”

“Yes, Chief Prosecutor.”

“Although we may not share the same blood, Yi-soo, you’re like a true daughter to me.”

His voice, subdued and solemn, evoked strong emotions. Yet, Yi-soo managed to maintain her composure and nodded. Regardless of what anyone said, he was her parent.

If her distant memories of her birth father had brought her into this world, In-seong had nurtured her with love and care to this point. He had also significantly influenced her career as a prosecutor. Emotions welled up in her eyes, and she lowered her gaze slightly.

“I always say this, but the most important thing is yourself. If you can find happiness, then I’ll respect whatever choice you make, no matter what it may be. I’m not placing any expectations on you as a parent. My only hope is that when you face difficult times, you’ll remember that I’ll be there for you, Yi-soo.”

In-seong continued, “Don’t feel like you have to bear everything alone. I just wanted to express that before the engagement ceremony. I’ll take my leave now.”

In-seong, who had risen from his seat, gave Yi-soo’s shoulder a comforting pat. Throughout her childhood and into the present, she hadn’t been able to show him much affection. Could she ever reveal her most vulnerable self to him, just as she had with her biological father?

As the door closed, silence descended once more. Yi-soo, who had been gazing at the closed door for a while, let out a long sigh.

Father. Those three syllables she hadn’t managed to utter yet lingered on her tongue, concealed. Would she ever find the words to say them? She leaned against the sturdy door, avoiding eye contact.



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