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Pride

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It is a matter of success and downfall, of life and death, of love and pride.

It's a game only one of us can lose.

And it's not going to be me.


 

 

Prologue

 

 

My hands are trembling.

In fear? No. Of course not. You fucking wish.

They're tightened into fists, ready to land on one of the faces in front of me. The smug looks they give me are very identical to their boss.

Like him, I'll strangle these idiots with my bare hands. I'll keep their boss for finale.

"You don't have plans of stepping aside, do you?" I grin.

"Boss doesn't have time for you, little kid. Go home."

"Tell him I don't have the time for his nonsense either." I say sharply, "You know what, I'll tell him that. Get out of my way."

I took one more step and all of them did the same, blocking my way even more.

"Do I look like I'm fucking playing with all of you now, sick bastards?" I hiss through gritted teeth, "Get out of my fucking way!"

They share glances with one another, taken aback by my sudden outburst. I try to walk in between them towards the door but they still refuse.

Another attempt and I yelp in pain when my bum falls on the floor as they push me harshly.

I grit my teeth harder. Okay. It's okay. Calm yourself...

"Fuck y—!"

"What is that ugly noise all about? I'm trying to work here."

My sharp gaze moves toward the attached speaker on the office door. The voice itself is enough to intensify every bit of rage I have in my system. His fake curious tone won't fool me. I know he's grinning from ear to ear while sitting on his million dollar desk. Probably even paid it with the money he scammed from us.

"Boss, there's just someone making a scene here but we assure you we'll make him leave shortly."

I chuckle sarcastically. Like you can, huh?

"Ah...roaches are really common these days, aren't they?" now the amusement in his tone is obvious, "Make sure to step on them before kicking them out of here, okay?"

How fucking dare him?

Now the guards barely notice how I swiftly made my way through the intercom, almost punching it with my fist.

"You're the only roach here you dumb asshole!" I shout angrily while I shake off all the hands trying to pull me away from there, "Why don't you face me coward?! Afraid I might break your face? Come out or I'll kill you with my bare hands!"

"Through what? The intercom?" he still has the guts to laugh again. Maybe he's not aware that I never joke about my threats, is he?

My chest is already heaving in frustration. I'm not up for any of his games anymore.

Never again.

"FACE ME DUMB SHIT OR I'LL SET YOUR BUILDING ON FIRE!"

I am already shouting at the top of my lungs. Another bunch of security people came to get me out of there. The employees from the other departments are already watching too but it's not something I should worry about. Actually, I don't give a shit about anything anymore.

I'm here to get what's mine and I'm not leaving until this scumbag gives me what I want.

"Do Kyungsoo...still as feisty as you were, huh?" he even emphasized my name. I am utterly disgusted, "Open the door and let him in."

The guards stop pulling me away when they hear this order, sharing glances as if making sure he said it right. They're really as dumb as their boss.

"He said let me in."

"But boss what if he—"

"I'll say something as your signal to come in once he tries to hurt me here. It still depends if I enjoy it too. If you hear him moaning my name then don't bother." he chuckles.

Disgusting.

"You fucking wish."

His laughter becomes a little menacing.

"If he tries to hurt me then make sure he doesn't make it out of here alive." my jaw clenches, "Let him in."

I stand still when I hear the danger in his voice. I never thought his words are the rules here. One wrong move may get me a bullet in the head.

Suddenly, all the bravery in me is nowhere to be found. I stand there as they open the door right in front of me, looking stiff and helpless.

And I hate it. I hate that he can see how his words can control me. I bet he's so fucking satisfied.

I'm never wrong, because he's right there, sitting on his luxurious chair in front of his luxurious desk in a fucking luxurious office like how I expected him to be. My heart frantically beats against my chest. I can almost hear it against my ears. I feel like I dry-swallowed a large pill and it's stuck in my throat. I can't believe I can be this furious at someone.

"To what do I owe you this pleasure?"

I grit my teeth once before taking a step inside, the doors finally closing behind me. I try to keep my composure even when I badly want to strangle him with my free hands. He sees my control and his grin becomes even wider.

"You owe me more than that so stop playing dumb."

He clasps both his hands and leans back even more. Now that I notice, his hair has gotten much longer since the last time I—no...I don't even want to recall. The gray waistcoat over his white polo hugs his figure well but that's beyond my concern. His playful eyes look at me from head to toe, making me feel scandalized. This prick.

"I believe the discussion was long over." his gaze finally settles on my face when he speaks, "I've already talked to your father. He agreed. I already gave my conditions too. Now if any of you doesn't agree, suit yourselves."

"My father was not in his best condition and you pressured him!" I exclaim, "He probably wasn't even in the right mind but you fooled him. After everything he's done for you! You should've just waited for me so I could decide for him!"

He chuckles in disbelief.

"Everyone's time doesn't revolve around his spoiled brat of a son. Whether you were there or not, you wouldn't be able to do anything." he raises his brows, "It's not my fault you're having the time of your life in New York when your father was facing his greatest dilemma."

I knew. I was aware that this will never be easy. This man probably despises me as much as I do to him. But at this very moment, my frustration has reached its highest extent.

I am Do Kyungsoo, and begging this jerk in front of me has always been the last thing I'd do. I would rather kill myself.

But now I'm just desperate. I refuse to admit that he's finally ahead of me, worse is in the most important aspect of my life. I realize that the thing I'll lose to him is more important than the hatred I've kept in me for so long. He knew that ever since. So here he is, trying to use it as his biggest advantage.

I fight the urge to cry because of frustration so I keep gulping. Nonetheless, I maintain a straight face no matter how unconvincing it would look.

"My father owns that."

"He used to own that." he said as-a-matter-of-factly, "And now I'm saving it from its downfall."

"Bullshit." I chuckle as I cuss through gritted teeth, "Saving it my ass. You've always wanted it from the very beginning."

He finally stands up from his seat, lips curved in a taunting smile as he walks around the desk.

"Think whatever you want. I couldn't care less." he says with finality, "I've already given you one last option. Either take that or get lost."

I shut my eyes as both my fists on my sides clutch into fists. When I open them again, I see him looking at me with both amusement and anticipation.

"You want me to work for you in our own company?" I chuckle in disbelief, "Right. Of course you want to use my skill for your own advantage."

"My own advantage? Honey, you'll get all the credit for your works, I assure you that."

"Then how does it help you?" this is beyond unbelievable, "I don't believe you're not gaining something from this. I know you have something up in your sleeves."

His laughter echoes within the room. He seems so satisfied of my responses, convincing me that my hunch is right.

My chest heaves deeply.

"Is it simply the satisfaction then?" I ask in a low voice, "To humiliate me and get the fulfillment of seeing me as your inferior? That's it, right?"

His hooded eyes are directed at me, the side of his lips curved.

"What makes you think I need that?"

I give no response. I'm panting on my spot, trying to make sense out of his proposal while being distracted by his intent gaze.

"Don't worry about my advantage anymore, you won't even be bothered by it, trust me." he takes slow steps towards me, "Just think of that as my gift of gratitude for your family. Your designs will make your father's legacy remain with the brand, isn't that your goal?"

I lose my strength when he said that. I was reminded of the exact reason why I'm here. What I'm desperate for.

Spacing out, I didn't notice him lessening the huge space between us.

"Come on, Soo." I feel a sudden jolt all over me when I feel his hand reaching for mine, "For old times' sake?"

I pull my hand away and pushes him with all the might left in me. He takes a step back and smiles at my response.

"Don't fucking call me that. You have no right."

My heart won't stop rummaging again and it makes me angrier. I can't believe I am affected by that. The room is suddenly so suffocating for me and I need to leave.

"I'll wait for your decision."

With still heaving chest, I needed to face him again to pull something out of my chest that I've been wanting to say for eight years now.

"Rot in hell, Kim Jongin. Go fucking rot there!"

I turn away as fast as I can; my biggest dilemma finally dawning on me like a wildfire. I can't believe this. My father didn't do this to me.

"I expected such words of defeat from you, Soo."

I refuse to look at him again but his words are enough to slow down my pace.

"Your pride won't get you anywhere. Forget that and take whatever help is offered." the certainty in his tone irks me even more, "Accept it when you lose in the end. It lessens the damage, I swear."

My jaw is hardened as I throw him one last look. The seriousness in his face pinches something in my chest, and I refuse to accept even that.

I hate him with every bit of me, and I'll never lose. Not to him, at least.

Lose in the end, huh? We haven't even started.