Chapter 1: His Hot Breath on My Chest
Quality Check: Lady Blue & Kai
First published on Ainushi.
Underneath the starless, night sky, a bus chugged across the Han River Bridge.
Inside the bus was a woman, who looked as if she was about to cry.
She was about to break up.
Actually, she was in the middle of realizing that the break up was pronounced long ago.
Such a fool.
She was such a fool for realizing only now that they had broken up.
She felt like her insides were rotting away.
She felt like her wounded heart was bleeding bright red blood.
She hurriedly flipped over the vibrating phone, but it wasn’t him. It was Yoo-jung.
“Hello, Ji-On Unni?”
Best friends always have a way of knowing that you’re about to cry, just from hearing a small breath.
“Are you crying?”
“No, I’m not crying.”
“You still can’t contact Im Tae-Shik?”
Those three words made Ji-On’s throat choke up.
Feelings of disappointment crazily stuffed her heart, so much that she suddenly couldn’t breathe.
“Ji-On Unni, a boyfriend that can’t be reached for two weeks, this has got to be a hundred percent break up, right? I’m telling you, he went into hiding and fled.”
“It…can’t be. He said he was busy because of a litigation. No way.”
He was an attorney.
Ji-On tried to understand his busy schedule.
It was probably because he doesn’t have time.
The time to call her, the time to meet her… and the time to remember her.
No matter how much he neglected her and put her last on his priorities, Ji-On tried to support this love. Because she loved him, and because she could endure for a bit longer.
“Ugh, naive girl. Pushover. Why do you still not understand that you were dumped?”
However, this was the reality that she tried to flee and ignored till the end. Now it was time to accept it. They had really broken up.
“Should I go to his law firm?”
“Don’t you dare, Unni. How pathetic do you want to become?”
It felt like the sincerity that she treasured so much had become a tattered rag. Ji-On miserably closed her eyes. A break up. It felt surreal. Suddenly, a hot fire ignited in her heart and tears gushed out. Flustered, Ji-On hurriedly wiped her tears and ran off the bus.
“I have to alight the bus. I’m hanging up.”
The street was empty. Walking down the street alone, her heart felt so empty. Ji-On increased her pace, so she could just go home and bawl. However, at that moment……! A silver Benz from across the street sped towards her.
Startled, she jumped back from the violent, thunder-like engine sound. Leaving behind a sharp wind, the car whizzed right past her. Who would be driving so dangerously in the middle of the night? In that split second, it seemed like she saw a young man sitting in the driver’s seat. But over there… a cute puppy was nonchalantly crossing the street. It was a snow white Pomeranian.
Based on the current situation, it was clear that the puppy was going to get run over by the crazy Benz. Before the startled Ji-On could even take a step,
‘Screeeech – Crash!’
A deafening boom was heard. The scared Ji-On closed her eyes and shrank back.
The heart-stopping yelp from the puppy sounded along with the loud crash. …What happened? Did the Benz hit the puppy? Slowly opening her eyes, a devastating scene was laid out in front of her. The puppy had been thrown to the other side and was covered in blood. The Benz seemed to have swerved, hit the lamppost, and was currently expelling black fumes. The scene was as shocking as seeing thunder hit a person’s heels. A car accident happened right in front of her eyes!
“……What do I do!”
With shaking hands, Ji-On took out her phone and dialed 112¹ with a whimpering voice. It was her first time witnessing a car accident this close.
“Ex- excuse me. There’s an accident here.”
“Yes, I have your location. What kind of accident is it?”
“A puppy was hit by a car. The car hit a lamppost…”
“Is the driver severely injured?”
Due to the severity of the accident, the driver might have actually died. Within a few seconds, a sad speculation grew into the worst situation.
She carefully approached the car and peered into the driver’s seat through the broken window. No way……! There was no one in the car. Glass shards were scattered across the seat as if no one had been there in the first place. No blood stains or evidence of a human sitting there existed. How did this happen?
“……There’s no driver in the car.”
There was definitely someone there before. What happened? If the door was crushed to that extent, the driver couldn’t possibly have gotten out. There wasn’t even enough time for that. However, there weren’t any silhouettes similar to a human’s anywhere near the car. It was like the driver completely evaporated. It confused Ji-On.
“First… would you send help fast please?”
“Yes, I understand.”
Nervously looking around, Ji-On screamed once more. ……Across the street laid the blood-covered puppy. It really was an adorable puppy, but seeing it lay lifelessly made her heart drop.
Trembling, she moved to the puppy to check its status.
“Ba-baby. Are you okay?”
Was the puppy dead? However, she could feel a very, very faint breath when she put her hand under the puppy’s nose. It’s still alive! It’s alive! Wh- what should I do? Even if the ambulance comes now, they wouldn’t try to save the puppy first. Let’s save this pup first.
She remembered there was a 24-hour animal hospital about a block away. She hugged the bloody puppy and started sprinting. Ji-On didn’t care about her clothes getting smeared with blood. Please just live. Please, please!
Still hugging the puppy, Ji-On frantically opened the hospital door.
“A huge car accident happened at the crosswalk out front. The puppy was hit by the car.”
The dozing veterinarian jumped up and took the puppy.
“Oh, I see. Come this way.”
The puppy was transported to the treatment room by the green-clothed veterinarian. It will live, right? Please, please. With a desperate heart, Ji-On paced back and forth, trying to calm down her racing heart.
‘Oh? What’s this?’
She looked down at her clothes and noticed something strange. They were way too clean. The puppy had definitely bled profusely. Her clothes should have been covered in blood, but how could they be so spotless? After a while, the veterinarian who came out of the treatment room said something even more unbelievable.
“This puppy doesn’t have a single wound on him.”
“What? What did you say?”
“Are you sure it was hit by a car?”
“I- I clearly saw it. It made a yelping noise.”
“Are you sure the car didn’t narrowly miss it?”
“No way. Then how could it bleed so much?”
The appearance of the puppy cradled in the nurse’s arms was startling. The blood stains from before disappeared without a trace. The only thing left behind was a fluffy and clean appearance.
“There was no damage shown on the X-ray either.”
Unbelievable. Her spotless clothes, the unharmed puppy, and the driver who completely disappeared. It felt like a dream. Starting from when the crazy Benz had charged towards her, it felt like she entered a surrealistic universe.
“Are you this puppy’s owner?”
“No. I witnessed the car accident as I was passing by.”
“Hmm, then it must be an abandoned dog.”
“What happens if it’s an abandoned dog?”
“It will stay here for a few days before it’ll be sent to a facility.”
Fa- facility? Those places keep the pets and then kill them if the owner doesn’t come pick them up within a certain period. But I worked so hard to save this baby.
“Seeing how well-kept it is, the owner may actually come soon.”
“D- do you think so?”
“You said you live in the neighborhood, right? Why don’t you take the dog and help find its owner? If it stays here, because of regulations, there will be a boarding fee.”
…Take this puppy? Ji-On bewilderedly looked at the veterinarian.
“I rent a one-room apartment and the landlady hates dogs.”
Right then, Ji-On and the pup in the nurse’s arms met each other’s eyes.
The pitiful and sad gaze touched Ji-On.
‘Don’t throw me away please.’
It was a heart-melting cuteness. There was probably no female in the world who could resist that gaze. In a trance, Ji-On spoke.
“I will take it home.”
Although the words spilled out because of the puppy’s drop-dead adorableness… no matter how objectively she tried to think, she could not leave the puppy here. She really, really could not.
“Although there was no direct physical damage, it probably was shocked. Please comfort the puppy.”
That’s how the puppy came into Ji-On’s embrace. Seeing the puppy up close really showed the squeal-worthy cuteness it had. The snow white fur was so soft. It felt like hugging a ball of fluffy wool fleece. Doll-like round eyes, black nose, jelly-like springy pink paw pads, gentle, innocent stares, and it even had the warmth of life that reached her heart. She wanted to endlessly guard its existence.
‘Sigh, what to do.’
Now that she was in front of her house, she was worried. The owner’s daugher, Sol, was a high school senior and she was allergic to dogs. The owner purposely went around the neighborhood to chase the dogs away with a broom as she was afraid that Sol wouldn’t be able to study if her allergies acted up.
The puppy that poked its head out from the bag after waking up, caused another heart attack by its cuteness.
“Sorry, stay in here for a bit.”
With a nervous and thumping heart, Ji-On hugged the puppy-filled bag and entered the gate.
“Oh, young lady. You’re coming home now?”
The owner lady just happened to be in the yard taking in the dried hanging laundry.
“Ah, yes. I’ve been finishing work late recently.”
“Still try to come in early. You’re a young woman. What if my Sol sees and learns from you?”
“Yes. I will be careful.”
Ji-On bowed her head and scampered away. The lady, wondering what she was hugging so preciously, discreetly tried to take a peek, but thankfully she didn’t ask what it was.
“Huu, thank goodness.”
Ji-On took a deep breath after closing her door. Her house was a studio-type one-room. Other than the bathroom, it was all open space and fine for a puppy to run around in.
“Come here. Let’s stay here for a few days before we find your owner.”
Ji-On slightly lifted the puppy’s legs; standing on two legs, the puppy’s chubby pink tummy appeared. This pup was a male.
“Aww, cute. Yo, you’re quite da man~.”
She asked as she blankly stared at the puppy’s round eyes.
“What’s your name? You must have originally had a name.”
Gyuu~, while tilting its head left and right, the puppy gazed at her more adorably.
“Hmm, you probably can’t tell me your name. How about Dae-shik while you’re here? Since you’re a male.”
She wondered why the name Dae-shik³ popped up. Suddenly, what Yoo-jung said on the bus came back.
‘Still can’t contact Im Tae-Shik?’
Right, I broke up. With that bastard Im Tae-Shik. I forgot because of the craziness, but today was the day that I had to accept the separation. Fatigue spread through Ji-On’s body, so she went to bed without even changing her clothes. An indescribable depression fell over her. She stared at the empty message screen until her eyes burned. Her eyes brimmed with tears. As if he knew she was soundlessly crying, Dae-shik came over towards the bed and whimpered.
“Why, Dae-shik. Do you feel strange here?”
The pup must have not felt comfortable either after suddenly separating from his owner and almost ending up in a big accident. Ji-On picked Dae-shik up onto the bed and hugged him.
“Do you miss your owner? Wait just a bit. I’ll find your owner for you.”
Without knowing, a tear rolled down. Dae-shik licked up the tear and stared at her with worry.
“Kiddo, you know how to comfort women too.”
After a bit, the smiling Ji-On buried her face in his small body and bawled her eyes out. Like a dependable brother, Dae-shik silently let her cry on him. Somehow, she felt a sliver of relief. What was this tiny dog? It wasn’t even a human… but she cried herself to sleep. When she woke up, the sun was shining into the room indicating that it was morning. Still drowsy, she touched something soft.
‘Ah, it’s Dae-shik.’
Because Dae-shik was there, she felt less lonely last night. In a section of her heart, his existence gave her strength. With her eyes still closed, Ji-On pulled the soft clump to her chest. However…… it didn’t feel like dog fur. Why did it feel like human hair? Also, it felt like a human was breathing between her breasts. What was this? Why didn’t it sound like a breathing dog? Wait, what was she touching? It felt like a human’s neck. Ji-On opened her eyes as she sensed something was wrong.
The first thing that appeared in her eyes was black fur. Dae-shik’s fur was a snow white, so what was this? Was she hugging… a person? The startled Ji-On rubbed her eyes and checked properly…
Surprisingly, she really was hugging a person! And a sturdy, tall man at that! Because of Ji-On’s movements, the man flipped around, letting the sunlight shine on his fair face.
Thick eyebrows, a tall nose, a manly jawline, firmly closed lips, and over-perfectly placed sideburns. Really, he was a body-freezing handsome man. She had never seen a sculpture-like face this close before. It was as if a god had descended from the sky and had fallen asleep in her arms. It seemed as if Heaven’s theme song was already playing.
However, the most surprising part was that the man was COM.PLETE.LY NAKED! And Ji-On had just pulled that naked man into her bosom. In fact, they had slept stuck like glue together the whole night! Finally, she unfroze! Having been frozen solid from his overwhelming beauty, Ji-On finally focused.
As she screamed for the whole neighborhood to hear, she kicked him right in the chest.
The man who suddenly received a high kick fell off the bed with a short yell. Although it was only a short yelp, the man had such a good voice. It was the type of voice that had just the right amount of low-pitched vibration.
“Wh-what the heck!”
The guy looked at her with disbelief as he jumped up from the floor.
What the heck, this was just a male god! With shoulders as broad as the Pacific, solid small muscles, blue-ish veins protruding on the arms, and a slim waist, he was overflowing with dazzling sexiness.
‘No, stay focused!’
No matter how handsome he was, this bastard was a crazy pervert. And the king of perverts for acting on a sleeping woman! She was not sure what she saw, but as her eyes moved down, her screams got louder.
The man finally saw his own nude body and was shocked.
He yelled as he hurriedly grabbed the blanket to cover his body.
“What are you! Why did you strip me!”
Wh- what? Ji-On’s mouth dropped from the amazing amount of absurdity she felt. Who stripped who? Who was the one that fell asleep without any clothes here, in her house, and in her bed?!
“This woman, you’re a pervert, aren’t you?!”
There had never been a moment as preposterous and unjust as this.
“Wh- who did you say was the pervert? Not you, but me?”
1) 112: The common emergency number for Korean police while 119 is more for fire and ambulance. I read that 112 is used in a lot of countries as the standard emergency number. So if you’re ever in an emergency in a foreign country, try 112. Even America redirects 112 to 911.
2) Gyuu: The sfx for the cute whine puppies and dogs make. Or just used to describe anything acting cute.
3) Dae-shik: A very common Korean name like Bob or John. Also, it is very similar to her ex-boyfriend’s name. Thus, she thought of her ex-boyfriend after contemplating how she came up with the name.