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more than friends, less than lovers

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Something shifts in their relationship and Jipyeong doesn’t know why.

The first Friday she missed, Jipyeong didn’t think about it too much. He knew how occupied she was with the SHINWA BANK’s project. Besides, they have already met on Tuesday.

The second Friday, Jipyeong started to wonder. But he still kept his hope up and he could always meet her when he went to the other building of the company.

But when he didn’t find her again for the third time in the row in the bar, he started to wonder if there was something wrong that he did to make her avoid him.

“For one, Sir?” It seems like not only Jipyeong who is left wandering, he smiles to himself.

“Yes.” He nods to the bartender. The bartender is smart enough not to question him again and leaves him alone.

He glances at his phone on the table, wondering if he should contact her. A few times he manages to gather some courage to draft a message for her only to delete it afterwards. 

In the end, he spends the night drinking alone, hoping that the alcohol can help drown his misery.

What he just realizes is how Injae has become a big part of his life.

 

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Injae is about to go to Dalmi's office when she sees Jipyeong is walking towards her. Luckily, he is busy with the files on his hand and doesn't see her.

She quickly goes into the women's bathroom which is located nearby, and goes inside one of the stalls, hiding herself from Jipyeong.

It has been three weeks since their last meeting and Injae isn't blind to see Jipyeong's effort to see her.

She is aware of the glances that he throws at her from outside the office whenever he walks in the corridor to visit one of his mentees. 

She is also aware of the hollow feeling inside her heart whenever she thinks of him.

Injae closes her tired eyes and sighs loudly, wondering if she has made a big mistake.

She is sitting on the toilet lid, waiting for a few minutes to pass so she can sneak out from the toilet when two ladies enter the toilet. Not having time for a meaningless chit chat, Injae decides to wait a little longer by checking her phone.

She is in the middle of scrolling her Instagram feed when she hears Jipyeong's name being mentioned.

"Are you serious, Sohyun-ah?! Director Han is dating someone in Sandbox?" 

"Of course! I heard it from Hyojung from his team!" The other woman replies confidently.

"She said Director Han is behaving strangely these past few weeks. She also mentioned his outburst because of jealousy."

Han Jipyeong? Jealous? Of who?

There are so many questions that Injae wants to know, so she listens to the conversation intently, hoping that she finds answers.

"Omomomo! He was jealous? Of who?"

Yes, ask her, Injae silently agreeing with the first woman.

"I don't know! She just mentioned that he was jealous because his girlfriend went for a lunch with another man."

"Omo! The great Han Jipyeong finally finds love? It's a shame someone as gorgeous as him stays single but I guess it's finally the time to let go of our office crush." The second woman says, Injae could even hear her pouting.

"You mean find love again, right? Don't you remember how much a mess he was when he was chasing Seo Dalmi?"

Injae is putting her ear on the door now, trying to hear more clearly.

"Yeah, that girl is a fool for choosing Nam Dosan over Director Han. Although Nam Dosan is also cool, our Director Han wins over him at any time!"

Our Director Han? Injae wants to scoff at them.

"Agree! Anyway, whom do you think his girlfriend is? Any guess?" 

Injae holds back her breath. Did someone know about them? Is it her that they are talking about?

"Do you know Im Yoona?"

Injae feels like someone has punched her in the stomach when she hears the name. She is familiar with the name of course, Im Yoona is one of the CEOs in the latest batch who Jipyeong personally mentored.

"Omo! Isn't she the CEO of Beauty with Purpose?" 

"Yes, she is. She is the perfect match for him, tall, gorgeous, and smart. If she is really his girlfriend, I can let him go peacefully." 

"Why do you think it's her?" The other woman asks again.

"Don't you realize that Director Han comes to this wing more often nowadays? And he always goes to CEO Im's office. Isn't it enough of a sign?"

Injae can't believe her ears. Her eyes blurred and her stomach felt sick. She has to feel her way to sit her shaky legs back on the toilet lid.

 

So he comes often to go to Yoona's office? 

Do they really date?

Does she make a fool out of herself? 

 

Injae wants to laugh at her own stupidity for believing that he comes for her. So much for the sleepless nights she wasted thinking of him. 

"Ah, you are right. I hope the rumour is true. They look good together." The second woman replies.

"Yeah, anyone would look good together with him aside from that foolish girl, Seo Dalmi." The first one adds.

It's the second time she calls Dalmi a fool. And as heartbroken as she is, Injae would never let someone badmouth her sister. Not when she hears it.

So she wipes the tears on her cheeks on her sleeves, takes a deep breath, puts on her resting bitch face, and opens the door. 

Injae wants to laugh at those women's faces when they see her, eyes wide, so shocked that they can't lift their eyes to meet hers. 

She calmly walks over to wash her hands, ignoring the women who are looking embarrassed at being caught gossiping about her sister red handedly and nudging each other to apologize first.

"CEO Seo, we are sorry. We didn't know you were there." The one that she knows as Yoo Sohyun bows down first and another one follows quickly.

She looks at them coldly, "You are not sorry for gossiping my sister, you only sorry you got caught." 

"If you have so much time gossiping, then you also have time for more work. I will have to talk with your supervisors about this."

Being the most successful Sandbox graduate to date makes her well respected among Sandbox employees and mentees alike and Injae is going to make use of it now for her own advantage.

 

Because no one can't badmouth her sister.  

And it seems like a queen has to make her own path to the crown and forget everything about romance.

Men are a nuisance anyway.

 

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