Crank Up 5
He suddenly craved a cigarette.
Maru twisted his dried-out lips.
His head boiled like a furnace, and his throat felt prickly as though a beard was growing inside.
He was confident in lying with a smile on his face since it was his specialty, but it drained him of energy since he was up against Lee Miyoon.
He had inwardly shouted at her to leave several times.
He only came back to the store after giving Lee Miyoon’s car one last glance after even the rear lights couldn’t be seen anymore.
Choi Miyeon was sitting at the table, her head lowered and her hands clasped like she was praying.
“Did she leave?”
“Yes, she left.”
It was a short time that didn’t even last ten minutes, but it seemed to have been an eternity for Miyeon.
She had shriveled up like a hydrangea flower that hadn’t been watered for days.
Maru took out some water from the store’s fridge and gave some to Miyeon.
“I wonder why she came here so suddenly.”
“It probably wasn’t a coincidence.
She looked like she knew I was here.”
Miyeon looked at the vase she placed in the display case next to the entrance.
It was the vase that Lee Miyoon left as a present.
Maru picked up the vase and placed it on the floor.
“Should I throw it away on my way home?”
I should leave it here since that woman may come and look for it later.
Also, the cactus would be wasted.”
Miyeon gulped down the water in one go.
She was probably confused by Lee Miyoon’s presence which had appeared suddenly like a traffic accident.
Maru closed his mouth.
He couldn’t tell her that this was a foreseen event and that he had come here in order to prevent the worst-case scenario from happening.
“Are you okay?”
“I thought my heart would stop when she first came in, but I became better soon.
It seems like time is really a cure for everything.
I thought I’d pass out or charge at her upon seeing her, but I managed to hold back.”
She’s someone who would enjoy it instead if you went against her.
Ignoring her might be the best thing to do.
She went back obediently today.”
“But why did she come looking for me so suddenly? We made no contact until now.”
Miyeon was in deep thought as she pressed between her eyes before turning her head around.
She looked like she had noticed something.
Maru asked if she had an idea without showing any ripples on his face.
“No, it’s nothing.”
Although she had long since put down her pen, she was a journalist who had once almost pushed him to a dangerous boundary.
He couldn’t look down on her intuition, so he had to be careful, and he also had to watch his choice of words so that her intuition did not reach Dongwook.
Things would only go smoothly if Miyeon stayed still.
If she found out that Dongwook was heading toward a dangerous area like her in the past, she would probably stop it at all costs even if it meant that she had to reveal everything.
Maru stayed next to her for around ten more minutes before picking up a vase to take home and standing up.
“I think you should close the shop early and get some rest.”
“I think I should.”
“I’ll place the vase you picked for me at home.
Thanks for consulting me about various things today.”
“No need for that.
Just come again later.
I don’t know that much about interior design, but I can give you consultation when it comes to aesthetic plants.”
He put the vase inside a paper bag.
He also received some fertilizer and some plastic ropes used to hang the vase on the ceiling before he left.
Miyeon followed him out.
“Please go back inside.
The air is chilly.”
“There’s nothing going on with Dongwook seonbae, right?”
It seemed that she hadn’t put away her suspicion.
Maru asked back with a questioning look rather than a smile,
“Something going on? There’s something going on with hyung-nim?”
There was nothing harder to face than a pair of eyes without any shaking.
Miyeon’s eyes looked like crystals embedded deeply in the ground.
They were crystals that would not shake no matter how much they were hit with a hammer from all sides.
The sudden appearance of Lee Miyoon, Han Maru’s late night visit asking for a consultation about interior design for around an hour, as well as Kim Dongwook who hadn’t contacted her even once for the past while — all these clues seemed to have allowed her to make her own conclusion.
Did he have to tell her the truth? Or lie to her until the end? If he avoided answering right now, the conviction she had in her heart would probably turn into the truth.
Should he persuade her at this opportunity and have her participate in this matter? — that option was scrapped before he could even blink.
If Miyeon could be with them on this, they would have never acted so discreetly in the first place.
Above all, Dongwook would not want her to get involved in this matter.
If a person who had already collapsed once becomes ruined again, attempted suicide probably won’t be the end of it.
What moved her, when she looked like she wouldn’t budge until she heard an answer, was a phone that rang inside the store.
Miyeon turned around and walked over to her phone.
Now that he had gained some time, he had to come up with an excuse so that there wouldn’t be any trouble.
The word ‘senior’ popped out of Miyeon’s mouth when she picked up her phone.
Was it Dongwook? That was great timing.
Maru looked at Miyeon calmly.
She, who had been prepared to interrogate him, walked around the store with her phone.
Come around one time.”
After finishing her phone call, Miyeon let out a sigh and spoke,
“Did you know that he was preparing to start a business?”
The masters of excuses inside his head started working quickly.
Maru smiled awkwardly and replied,
“Was that him just now?”
“So I guess you must’ve heard then.
I only found out a little while ago that he was preparing to start his own personal business.
I only heard that he was incredibly busy.
Actually, I wanted to tell you about it, but he told me to stay quiet because you might be worried.”
“So that’s what it is.”
“Looks like things have settled somewhat since he’s calling you.
He said he’ll visit you later, didn’t he?”
“You’re more experienced than him when it comes to starting a business, so you should help him if he asks for help later.
Anyway, thank you for today.
I’ll go back now.”
“Have a safe trip home.”
After saying goodbye, Maru turned around.
He heard the automatic door closing as he took his first step.
Thanks to the suitable timing of the call, her suspicion was directed at something else.
She would probably treat what happened today as a mere coincidence.
He took out his phone to contact Dongwook, who helped him out at the golden time.
Just then, a car parked on the side of the road while flashing its high beam.
The intense light blinded him for a moment.
He frowned and looked inside the car that came over.
Dongwook was in the driver’s seat.
“No wonder your timing was so godly.
You were watching us.”
“I rushed over as soon as I got a text from you.
I couldn’t exactly stay still when she’s with Lee Miyoon.”
Thanks to you, I managed to get myself out of a predicament.
She also seemed rather suspicious, but she seemed to have resolved her suspicions thanks to your call.”
He got in the passenger seat.
He could smell the thick smoke of cigarettes.
The whole box of air fresheners wasn’t able to do anything.
“How was Lee Miyoon?”
“She seemed to have come to probe her out.
I was wondering if she would really come, and she really came.”
“Looks like it was a good thing that I listened to you and prepared for it.
It would ’ve been very difficult if Miyeon was by herself.”
Dongwook laid back against the backrest as though he was relieved.
He was stroking down his face while laughing like a fool, and he looked tired like he had stayed up for days on end.
“How did things go with Lee MIyoon? Looks like it went well from the way she acted at the store.”
“We decided to join hands for the time being.
She was convinced that an enemy of an enemy is a friend.
I practiced a few times, but I was still nervous.
Had I been a little more inexperienced as a journalist, she would’ve found out.”
“That’s why I told you to just tell her the truth.
She’s been selling people for decades, and she would’ve instantly seen through you if you lied to her.
I’m sure she was won over because it is true that you are moving because of revenge, and that you have noonim in your heart.”
“I don’t think it’s true when you say that she’s in my heart.”
“If what you’re referring to is something like a deep bond between a man and a woman, then you’re wrong.
The only feeling I have towards her is apologetic.
Had I watched out a little more, she would not have had to go through that.
If she resented me and cursed me, I would’ve retorted to her that it was her own fault, but she didn’t even do that.”
“I thought you’d confess your love once you’re done with this matter.”
“She’s not my ideal type.
Also, I’m a celibate.
I don’t even know how I feel, so it would be hell to live together with an even more complex creature than me.”
“Marriage has its funs.”
“How would you know when you didn’t even get married?”
“There are things you can know without doing it.”
“Thanks for that weird nonsense.”
Since they had pulled Lee Miyoon to their side, it meant that the foundation had been laid out.
They probably wouldn’t go against each other until the roof was built.
The only thing left was to create a place for Lee Miyoon to take.
“The thing I’ve talked about will be handled quite soon.
There are rarely any people who would hold onto things while risking their life.”
“Do it as soon as possible.
Lee Miyoon is probably urgent right now.”
“I will,” Maru said as he fidgeted with his phone.
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