One moment, just one moment was enough. The moment Yeong-hwan felt Yu Na’s heartbeat was enough for him to feel relieved. Like him, the moment Yu Na felt Yeong-hwan’s embrace was enough for her to feel safe. The moment they were together, that’s when they felt safe. Yet it wasn’t long until Yeong-hwan started to question the reason behind everything that unfolded before their eyes.
‘Why did you run here, Yu Na? It could have ended so badly if I did not catch you in time. Who did you try to chase? Was that person a theft?’ in a soft tone of voice, Yeong-hwan asked
‘He stole my bag… if it were to have only my belongings, I would have let it go, but since it had the information about your contest, I couldn’t let it go.’
Upon hearing this response, Yeong-hwan got visibly mad at the girl. He frowned his eyebrows and thought of what response he should give to the girl. Once again, he heard of that damned contest.
‘You could have died! I don’t want to go to that contest! Look how unfortunate events happened right after I got the news about it! Your life is more precious to me than that damn contest! Didn’t I make it clear the first time?’ protested the boy
‘You’re right, it was a mistake, but I don’t regret it! If I can protect something precious to you, something that can make your life better, then I’ll try my best to protect it!’
Yu Na shouted her response, loud and clear. Then, it was a moment of silence, where they could only hear the whistling sound of the wind, and, one moment later, Yeong-hwan came back with a response to her statement.
‘You’re precious to me!’ yelled the boy back ‘You have to protect yourself first! Yu Na, I appreciate your thoughts, but I can live well even if I don’t take that opportunity, but I don’t know how I can live if someone dies protecting something that I like. Do you understand me?’ as he said those words, Yu Na felt sorry because she had hurt him once again with her reckless action.
Yu Na reached out and embraced the boy more tightly. He let his guard down and patted the girl on her head. Under his embrace, he could feel her trembling. As if he wanted to protect her from the colder wind of winter, he found himself tightening the embrace.
‘I do.’ softly mumbled the girl
‘Thank you. Please, let’s leave that conversation behind. We had it before, there’s no need to push it now. You must have been so scared, I’m sorry I got mad at you, I was blaming you for my reckless move from before. If I hadn’t let you alone, you wouldn’t have to deal with all of this.’ he said as he rested his chin on her shoulder
So much had happened in the past hour that both of them seemed to be exhausted. Undoubtedly, there was the need to reassure them that they were finally safe.
‘I’m fine now, because you’re here.’
‘Yes, I am here.’ whispered Yeong-hwan as he patted her back. ‘I’m afraid my fears are going to come true.’
There was once again a moment of silence. Yu Na bit her lip, afraid to ask the obvious.
‘Why do you say so?’
‘That theft, he dropped what he stole from you the moment you fell into the river.. As if he only wanted to lure you here.’
‘Don’t tell me… It can’t be… a guard? I thought they wouldn't bother us anymore… Why did he return now?’ Yu Na voiced out her concerts
‘Who knows, but one thing's for sure. I think we have to take action because this place may not be safe now, if they would go this far.’
Yu Na feared that this moment would come, as she tried to push it, it kept coming back like a boomerang. She knew that soon, she would have to confess to what she experienced some time earlier.
‘Yeong-hwan… I have something to confess. I don’t know if this information can truly be believed, but it’s all I have now.’
‘What is it?’ asked the boy as he looked at her sudden change of expression
‘I don’t think I did something bad. I think someone was trying to frame me. I’m not sure how and why, but I’m certain that it was real. It felt so real. I can hear those words even now: They’ll frame you for what happened tonight. When the time comes and they are caught, the true criminals, then you will be safe.’
‘What if it was only an illusion? You were struggling for your life, it must have been an illusion, what do you think?’
‘No. I’m certain it was true… Then it all clicks, why the guards let me go, why they stopped looking for me and now why this someone came into our life. They know that there is someone that can ruin their plan and want to finish off the job they started.’
‘Then it’s true that this place won’t be safe for longer. We have to get back, we’ll talk more then.’ he said as he helped the girl to stood up, now, he remembered that the bag was somewhere in the snow and went quickly to take it back
As he would have guessed, the bag that the thief stole from Yu Na was indeed left behind. If he had wanted the bag, he would not have left it behind. Those actions were a clear threat for the safety of both Yu Na and the boys.
‘See? Now it’s clear that someone tried to lure you… I should have known it sooner.’
As Yu Na acknowledged what he just said, there wasn't much left for them to do. So, they finally left home. As Yu Na looked back at it, she was still in shock that she could have lost her life right there for a piece of paper. She could only feel guilty, after realizing how easily she could have lost her life and made Yeong-hwan’s life a mess.
It was not long before they arrived home. Both of them felt as if their body was about to collapse, with that overwhelming feeling of tiredness, yet it looked like there was a problem awaiting at home. Hyun-woo was waiting at the entrance.
‘What happened to you, guys?!’ asked, shocked, Hyun-woo
‘There’s so much to tell, we’ll tell you after we get changed.’ tried to tell Yeong-hwan, but just as he said that, Hyun-woo snapped
‘It must be related to this announcement, then?’ asked Hyun-woo as he raised a poster, one similar to those that Yeong-hwan burnt in the first month after he met Yu Na.
Yeong-hwan went white upon seeing the announcement. He glared at the boy, then at Yu Na, and only after he saw the look on the girl’s face did he try to respond back.
‘Where did you get that, Hyun-woo?’ asked Yeong-hwan
‘What is that, Yeong-hwan?’ But soon, Yu Na figured it out, and her face became pale. ‘Why does something like this exist?!’ struggled Yu Na to ask, but after seeing this, it was harder for her to think straight
‘I wondered that, too! I wanted to ask my dear friend for a long time, but he seemed to think that lying to me was the right answer and I wanted to see how long it would take for you two to confess, but it seemed like you weren’t going to and I got too bored!’ mockingly replied Hyun-woo
There was tension between them. On one hand, there was an angry Hyun-woo who finally confronted his friend about a secret he was hiding, and on the other hand, there was a tormented Yeong-hwan who only lied to protect someone.
‘So you knew from the beginning? That’s why you were acting like that when you returned?’
‘Yes, yes! I wanted the best for you. You don’t know what is right anymore because you’re blinded by love! Is it love, I wonder?! You barely know each other!’ Hyun-woo left out the true feelings that he had, while struggling to sound angry, but failed as his voice cracked mid-sentence
‘My feelings for her aren’t something to be argued, Hyun-woo!’ protested Yeong-hwan
‘Then can I be mad at your actions?! Why do you have to protect her?!’
‘It’s the same reason why you tried to protect Ji-woo!’ shouted back Yeong-hwan
Upon hearing that name, Hyun-woo went furious. He found himself crying, the sudden wave of emotions was too much for him to hold on. He shouted back
‘It’s not the same!’
There was so much happening between the boys that Yu Na did not even find the chance to clear her name, or at least try. When she was about to speak, Yeong-hwan interrupted her.
‘It is! We can change history, we got the chance!’
‘I’ve lost Ji-woo! Why do I have to go through this again?!’ stammered Hyun-woo as he looked into Yeong-hwan’s eyes.