Chapter 44.2

Yi-soo wore a perplexed expression, finding this choice unusual. Sensing her curiosity, Hyun-seong continued, offering insight into his decision.

“It’s from Santorini,” he explained further. “It was a sunny day. Everyone was enjoying the crystal-clear beach, but this man was painting the nighttime sea while gazing at it. He mentioned that even in the endlessly refreshing sea, there’s an underlying sense of loneliness. Perhaps he said it to garner more money, but I was captivated by this painting. The concealed loneliness of the sea left a lasting impression on me.”

The painting depicted a vivid and azure sea beneath a midday sky adorned with fluffy white clouds. Yet, even within such a vibrant seascape, the inevitable hours of darkness lurked. Day after day, consistently.

The interpretation and emotions evoked by a piece of art could vary greatly from one person to another. There might not have been any inherent value in the painting to justify bringing it all the way to Korea. Suddenly, Hyun-seong posed a question to Yi-soo.

“Do you like the sea, Yi-soo?”

“Yes, I do,” Yi-soo replied with a wistful smile. “Just gazing at the sea makes you feel so rejuvenated, like it pierces right through your chest… But the last time I went was nearly 8 years ago. My most recent memory is from a trip to Busan with my college friends shortly after enrolling. I haven’t had the chance to go since then. When I was younger, our family couldn’t afford trips to the seaside.”

Her words carried a hint of nostalgia as she reminisced. Her eyes remained fixed on the painting before her, and it seemed to impart a quiet contentment, as though it whispered to her.

“I’ve been saying I should go again, but I keep postponing it… I’ve never witnessed the sea at night,” she sighed.

“Then let’s go see the night sea,” Hyun-seong suggested, his proposal catching Yi-soo off guard with its suddenness.

“With Attorney Yoon?” Yi-soo asked, her surprise evident in her voice.

Hyun-seong arched an eyebrow. “Is there something wrong with that?”

“No, not at all,” she responded, still slightly taken aback by the unexpected offer. A faint sense of anticipation welled up within her as she blinked and looked at Hyun-seong.

“Keep this Friday evening free. I’ll pick you up after work,” he said with a decisive tone.

“Where are we going? To the East Sea?” Yi-soo inquired, her excitement growing.

“Well, Incheon would be just fine,” Hyun-seong replied casually.

Yi-soo couldn’t help but smile at his nonchalant response. Even though it wasn’t too far away, for a junior prosecutor, even a short trip felt like a luxurious escape.

I keep pushing promises to myself further and further into the future, she mused. Just the thought of witnessing the night sea, if only for a brief moment, seemed to wash away the fatigue from her body. Above all, the prospect of quietly sharing the experience with Yoon Hyun-seong filled her with anticipation.

Yi-soo habitually brushed her hand across her palm and lifted the corners of her mouth. It was a tranquil evening, suffused with a pleasant sense of expectation.


The café nestled within the prestigious S Hotel in South Korea exuded an inviting atmosphere. Its ivory interior bathed in soothing green lighting provided a warm and welcoming ambiance. Despite the fact that it was a weekend afternoon, the café remained pleasantly uncrowded.

The soft strains of Chopin’s Nocturne Op.9 No.2 wafted through the ears of the patrons, yet it didn’t emanate from the speakers. Instead, a man who appeared to be in his forties, dressed in casual attire, graced the grand piano prominently positioned at the café’s center. It was a familiar piece, one that many might have encountered at some point.

With his long, slender fingers, the man caressed the piano keys with grace. Every keystroke he produced filled the café with a lyrical and melodious warmth. He wasn’t merely playing the sheet music as written; rather, he handled the instrument delicately, infusing it with the ambiance of the surroundings and his own deep emotions. The notes and rests on the sheet music seamlessly transformed into a harmonious auditory masterpiece.

Hyun-seong was seated across Mrs. Jang at a two-person table next to the pathway leading to an exclusive gallery reserved for hotel guests. It had been nearly two weeks since their last encounter. Their hectic schedules following the engagement ceremony had kept them apart. Despite the undeniable complexity of their relationship, categorizing them as family felt somewhat inadequate.

Maybe it was because they hadn’t fully come to terms with their biological connection, or perhaps In-hwa had spent a lifetime regarding her son as a mere tool.

“I’ve set aside an hour. You’re welcome to discuss anything you like,” Hyun-seong offered, punctuating his words with a sip from his white coffee cup. The smoky aroma blended with the distinct bitterness of the dark roast lingered on his palate.

With an extra double shot, the coffee’s flavor was deeper and more robust, carrying a mild acidity and the subtle sweetness of chocolate. He wasn’t typically a coffee enthusiast, but it was surprisingly palatable.

Seated across from him, Mrs. Jang enjoyed a cup of tea. She gracefully tilted the high-end teapot, worth tens of thousands of won, and poured the freshly steeped tea into her teacup. The faint crimson hue and the rich aroma were captivating.

The soft clinking of porcelain filled the air. After taking a sip of Earl Grey tea, Mrs. Jang, her lips adorned with a shade of red, finally spoke.

“Is that woman so busy that she can’t even spare a moment to show her face?”

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