Doppio Senso – Chapter 13.3


EunHa looked at Lieutenant Han in confusion and let out a ragged breath.

“So you all waited here in order to capture Kang SungHo? What about Shin KyungHyun?”

“Superintendent Shin is taking care of matters on Im SungJoon’s side. According to the plan, we were supposed to meet when he was finished.”

EunHa cut off Lieutenant Han’s frustrating words and grabbed her.

“Are you not aware that he is currently in danger? He got caught. He was captured by Im SungJoon and… He’s currently locked up inside the Chinese mafia’s hideout.”

EunHa swallowed back her cries and began to speak incoherently.

“I’m the only one who escaped. The gangsters began to come after us, and I’m the only one who… I’m the only one…”

EunHa finally made a decision and frantically grabbed Lieutenant Han. There was no time to explain.

“We need to go quickly. Let’s go to him. I know where he is.”

It wouldn’t take long to get to him if they took the tunnel she had climbed out of.

“Lee EunHa-ssi, calm down. We need to finish up over here before we can leave…”

“Is a criminal’s arrest more important than your comrade’s safety?!”

When EunHa screamed, Lieutenant Han looked at her in shock.

“Lee EunHa-ssi.”

EunHa let out a hot breath. She knew. She knew that Lieutenant Han wasn’t the one who deserved her anger.

“…I’m sorry.”

EunHa muttered and bit her lip. A tear began to trickle down from her eye. The confusing puzzle began to all come together in her head.

When KyungHyun had sent her away on her own, he already knew what would happen. He knew that she would go looking for Kang SungHo as soon as she escaped. He also knew that she would be in danger as she faced off with Kang SungHo. So when he gave her a chance to execute her revenge, he also made sure that she stayed safe.

Having finally realized this, a sob burst out of EunHa’s mouth. Covered behind her tangled hair, tears began to run down her cheeks.

“EunHa-ssi, are you alright?”

She couldn’t hold back her emotions anymore. She wouldn’t be able to see him ever again. Lieutenant Han looked helpless as she watched EunHa sob.

“EunHa-ssi…”

Although Lieutenant Han had only met EunHa a handful of times, every time she had seen her, EunHa always came across as a powerful woman. Seeing EunHa shed tears as she cried sadly, Lieutenant Han didn’t know what to do. EunHa opened her mouth and began to stutter.

“In order to have my revenge, I ran away without looking back. That man even gave me the gun and stayed behind all because of me. Even though I knew he’d be in danger, I ran away all by myself.”

Humans were all selfish. And she was no different. Until now, she had lived her life that way, and she had no regrets. However, not anymore. Even though she shot Kang SungHo, even though she watched him get arrested, she didn’t feel any better. Having her revenge by sacrificing another… She realized that she didn’t want to have anything to do with it. But it was too late now.

“Lee EunHa-ssi.”

Lieutenant Han tried to calm her down, but EunHa looked up at her with her bloodied face and begged her.

“You need to go there. That man… hurry up and save him…”

EunHa already knew it was too late. Even so, she didn’t think she could stand doing nothing.

“What do I do…? If that man is dead, what am I supposed to do from now on? I feel so sorry. How can I live with myself…?”

EunHa mumbled to herself as her voice trembled with her sobs. She felt as if her vision was going dark and her head was spinning. She would never love another man in this lifetime. She knew that there would be no other man strong enough to capture her in this world.

Kshhh.

Lieutenant Han was shocked as she held EunHa up, keeping her from collapsing onto the ground. General Manager Cha stood next to her and gestured to the walkie-talkie in his hand with his eyes. Lieutenant Han finally took off her bluetooth microphone and took out her walkie-talkie from her back pocket.

“Did you hear that?”

No sound came from the device. Lieutenant Han looked annoyed and opened her mouth once again.

“If you heard it, please say something. Over.”

Her boss, who had overheard all this through General Manager Cha’s walkie-talkie, finally answered.

– Ah, it was just getting good.

EunHa’s sobs suddenly stopped when she heard the voice through the small device.

– You have a terrible personality, Lieutenant Han.

EunHa’s wet eyes burst open. Her dilated pupils began to shake furiously. She felt as if a fog had lifted.

– You could have just told her quickly. Now you’ve gone and made the kid cry.

The staticky voice coming from the walkie-talkie was definitely KyungHyun’s voice.

“Hello?!”

EunHa burst up and snatched the walkie-talkie from Lieutenant Han’s hand.

“Hello? Are you… Are you okay?”

EunHa shouted into the device, her voice still filled with tears. EunHa chewed on her lip as she continued to raise her voice.

“Hello?! Shin KyungHyun! Are you really okay?! Answer me!!”

“EunHa-ssi, you need to press this button when you speak in order to…”

“What? Wha… What do I do?”

As Lieutenant Han kindly tried to show her what to do, EunHa looked confused as she tried to focus. Because of this, she didn’t realize that someone was approaching her from behind.

“Wouldn’t it be faster to check if someone’s okay or not with your own eyes?”

EunHa froze. The voice that was slowly coming closer was definitely KyungHyun’s. She quickly turned around. Her cloudy eyes finally saw his face so clearly. He was alive. He was bloody and bruised all over, but he was definitely walking over here just fine.

“……!”

She burst out of her seat and ran to him. KyungHyun grabbed her hips and pulled her to his chest. EunHa screamed as he held her to him.

“I thought you had died… I thought you were dead!”

“Why would I die?”

Embracing her, KyungHyun asked her with a laugh. EunHa felt it was more unbelievable that he had managed to fend for himself against a swarm of men who held guns and knives.

“A gunshot… I heard a gunshot. You didn’t have a gun. You weren’t holding anything.”

“I told you before. I can come out victorious in any brawl.”

EunHa clenched his bloody, torn shirt. She had so many things to say to him, but she couldn’t put it into words. So she just took a deep, ragged breath instead.

“Do you think I’m some kind of rookie or something?”

His forehead was covered in blood splatters. His bloody face came closer and closer to hers. His lips moved as he asked the question, gradually arching into a smile.

“Were you that sad and sorry because you thought I’d died?”

She tried to deny it, but she couldn’t. With an expression mixed with relief and resentment, EunHa merely nodded. Seeing this, KyungHyun whispered.

“You look prettier than usual today.”

EunHa’s face flushed as she gave him a reproachful look. She didn’t have to look in a mirror to know that she looked like an absolute mess right now.

“Ah, I can’t take it anymore.”

KyungHyun brought his lips to her dirty, bloody, and bruised face. It looked like this man wanted a kiss in a situation like this. She was right.

“Hmm…!”

His tongue greedily tangled with hers. Surprisingly, all the tension and worries faded away from her body like smoke. A few more tears trickled down EunHa’s face as she pulled him closer. Their breaths mixed together. He was alive. This man was really alive. KyungHyun nibbled on her lips and swallowed her mouth. He wrapped his arms around her hips.

“…I wish you would hold onto me like this whenever we kiss from now on.”

KyungHyun cut off the string of saliva between their mouths with his tongue and whispered in a husky voice. His arm was still keeping her body stuck close to his.

“If you keep looking at me like that, I feel like I can go back there and do it all over again in the nude if you told me to.”

“Stop speaking nonsense.”

“I’m serious.”

Just the thought of it made EunHa frown. KyungHyun softly caressed her cheek as if to comfort her. As he tilted his head back down to hers, EunHa blocked him. She grabbed him as she looked at him with trembling eyes.

“…How did you get out of there? Did you fight off hundreds of men on your own?”

“Kind of. Back-up came just in time.”

The police began raiding the scene right when Im SungJoon handed over the money and Li Kahui prepared the goods. The back-up arrived just as KyungHyun finished off the ninth Chinese gangster, completely drenched in blood.

If they had arrived any later, KyungHyun would have been in a precarious situation. This was because Im SungJoon had begun to charge at him with a knife. Thanks to the raid, the site of the transaction had plunged into chaos. And thanks to the Chinese police force, Li Kahui was also arrested on site.

“Take that bastard Shin KyungHyun too, you Chinese bastards!”

Even though KyungHyun and his team were cooperating with the Chinese police force, the Chinese police were known to be extremely difficult to work with. However, it seemed that even they acknowledged KyungHyun’s role in this operation. KyungHyun received the handcuffs and began to walk over to Im SungJoon. Im SungJoon looked at him with an expression he had never seen before.

“Fuck… You were a cop? A cop?! Shin KyungHyun, you son of a bitch!!”

Even as he was being handcuffed, Im SungJoon seemed to deny reality as he roared. EunHa looked at KyungHyun’s face as he recalled what had happened.

“How did they know… that you were over there?”

KyungHyun grinned and took her hand. He placed it on the back of his neck. She felt a small bump the size of a grain of rice against her fingers. EunHa looked at him with a peculiar expression.

“I lived with something like that buried in my body for 12 years. It came in handy a few times before.”

A GPS body chip needed to be replaced periodically. And now, he would never have to do that again. EunHa swallowed her sigh of relief and looked at him with narrowed eyes.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“There wasn’t time to tell you.”

“…I was worried.”

“I know. That’s why I’m in a good mood.”

EunHa pounded his chest with her fist. He didn’t even know how she felt and continued to say things like that. KyungHyun grunted at the impact and his brows furrowed. She saw his expression change as she felt something warm on her hand. Shocked, EunHa pushed him away. She looked back and forth between her wet hand and KyungHyun, her face full of worry.

“You’re bleeding!”

She shouted when she finally discovered the bloody bandage wrapped underneath his shirt. Now that she had a good look at him, she realized that KyungHyun was a total, bloody mess.

“I only need about twenty stitches.”

“Were you stabbed?”

“I’m fine.”

He didn’t mention that he had almost been beheaded by an axe as he was fighting the men barehanded. EunHa glared at him, her eyes full of concern. When KyungHyun met her eyes, his heart began to race inside his chest.

She looked so lovable to him, flustered with worry. He could finally understand what people meant when they said small animals were cute.

“You’re not fine at all…”

EunHa bit her bottom lip to the point of pain as she looked at him with reproach.

“Let’s quickly go the hospital. Hurry.”

“This is more urgent right now.”

He swallowed her lips once again as she tried to push him away. Dawn was breaking in the sky of the harbor. A line of police cars and ambulances entered the bustling scene, sirens blaring. The long night was over, and the dark night sky was gradually brightening.

“Today’s headline. The police have issued an arrest warrant for Kim MinSuk, the mayor of Seoul. Video footage of a close aid of Mayor Kim entering the private room of Noh HyungChul, the leader of the major criminal organization ‘YongSung’, has been released in various portal sites and shared throughout the country. It looks like an investigation can no longer be delayed. In the video, the conversation between Mayor Kim’s aide, Mr. Song, and Mr. Noh reveals a history of bribery and embezzlement which began years ago when Mr. Kim ran for a position in the ruling party’s National Assembly. In an emergency press conference this morning, Seoul Mayor Kim stated that this was a political attack coming from his opponents due to the imminent election and that he was going to face the political scandal head-on.”

Lieutenant Han sat opposite of EunHa. She gazed at EunHa, who was currently looking out the window. Lieutenant Han opened her mouth and began to speak.

“Lee EunHa-ssi, this is your new ID card and passport.”

Like a cat basking in the sun, EunHa continued to languidly look out the window as she listened to Lieutenant Han’s explanations. They had covered up the fact that she had shot Kang SungHo from their superiors. Thanks to that, they told her that she was no longer going to be questioned in this investigation. It was an undue result of helping finish this operation that had dragged its feet for over 10 years to clean up the city of crime.

“There shouldn’t be any obstacles for you if you plan on leaving the country. Now all you need to do is live the life you’ve always wanted to live.”

“The weather’s quite nice today. It doesn’t feel like winter.”

Instead of answering Lieutenant Han, EunHa stretched her neck to the side as she smiled at her.

“Yes, it is.”

Lieutenant Han lifted her coffee cup. The ring on her fourth finger sparkled as it reflected the winter sun. After taking some time off, Lieutenant Han and General Manager Cha… no, he had been promoted to Inspector Cha JoongWon… had finally settled on a date to get married. Lieutenant Han had also been praised for her own performance and was promoted to team leader.

“Ah, also…”

Lieutenant Han handed her something that looked like a car key.

“This as well.”

“Are you seriously giving me a car?”

She’d rather have taken money instead… EunHa thought jokingly. Lieutenant Han shrugged.

“Superintendent Shin was the one who prepared this.”

After completing his undercover mission, KyungHyun made a grand return to the police force. After booking Mayor Kim MinSuk and YongSung leader Noh HyungChul, KyungHyun was busy digging out all of the illegal businesses run by Serim one by one. He was so busy every single day that even EunHa had a hard time seeing his face these days.

“I think that man likes me too much. If he’s like this, it causes the recipient to feel exhausted. But he doesn’t even know that and continues to suffocate me.”

Even though EunHa said this in jest, Lieutenant Han didn’t laugh and brush it off. Instead, she looked at EunHa and asked.

“Isn’t it the same for you, EunHa-ssi?”

“What?”

“From how I see it, I don’t think your feelings for Superintendent Shin are that much smaller.”

At Lieutenant Han’s soft reply, EunHa was at a loss for words. Then she nodded her head.

“I guess that’s true. That’s why it’s quite tiring.”

“I don’t think Superintendent Shin is the type of man to get tired of something like that.”

EunHa smiled bitterly and shook her head.

“No. I was talking about myself. I’m tiring myself out.”

Lieutenant Han glanced at EunHa. EunHa kept silent for a while before she shrugged her shoulders and continued nonchalantly.

“To be honest, I… I never thought there’d come a day when a man made my heart twist. You may think that it’s quite cocky of me to say this, but…”

EunHa lowered her voice.

“It’s been that way until now.”

EunHa never wanted to go through the emotions she had felt when she thought KyungHyun had died ever again. A sense of loss, fear, and loneliness. These emotions took over her body and made it almost insufferable.

Now that she had returned to a normal life, she felt this even more. KyungHyun was now a man busy with many things. When EunHa realized that she was the one waiting for his call every time, she almost didn’t recognize herself. During the series of events they had gone through together, a man named Shin KyungHyun had completely captured her heart. That much was true.

Once everything was over, her emotions showed no sign of ending along with it. She thought her feelings couldn’t possibly grow any bigger, but it was still growing, and it scared her.

Ever since she had grown up, she had only looked out for herself. However, a man with a huge presence had cut in and was now taking over. She was scared that she would begin to completely lean on him at this rate.

It was true that she had wanted to get to know him better, and that hadn’t changed. However, she felt that if he ever hurt her, she wouldn’t be able to recover from it.

“Just… things like love and dating… I just feel that it doesn’t suit someone like me.”

Before Lieutenant Han could say anything, EunHa picked up her luggage and got up from her seat.

“But I’ll gladly take this.”

She would just think of it as his last gift to her. Knowing that the man she liked didn’t have an empty wallet gave her a touch of comfort.

“He said that you can just throw it away if you don’t like it.”

“Ey, of course not.”

EunHa happily looked down at the car key and gazed at the glimmering logo of a famous car brand.

“Where’s the car?”

“Over there by the riverside.”

As they came out into the garden, a Lieutenant Han’s large dog jumped up with joy. EunHa bent down and began to stroke the dog’s soft fur. Behind her, Lieutenant Han suddenly spoke up.

“There’s nothing in this world that isn’t suitable.”

“……”

“An undeserved joy or happiness that one mustn’t pursue… There’s no such thing like that in this world, EunHa-ssi.”

Lieutenant Han felt that EunHa was happy and that she was afraid of losing that happiness. In some ways, she was probably correct.

Kang SungHo was in prison to pay for his crimes, and there was no longer any need for EunHa to put herself in danger. KyungHyun was busy, but every time they met, he fiercely embraced her as he whispered sweet nothings in her ear.

She experienced this ‘normal life’ she’d never had before, and her heart throbbed, bringing her as close to happiness as she’d ever been. The problem was that EunHa was afraid to accept this normal life.

“Thank you for the kind words.”

This was probably going to be the last time she saw Lieutenant Han. EunHa grinned at her. Suddenly, a question popped into her head. EunHa hesitated for a moment before she decided to ask Lieutenant Han this question.

“There’s something I’ve always wanted to as you…”

“Go ahead.”

“If I ask, will you give me an answer?”

“If I can give you an answer, I’ll do it.”

Lieutenant Han gave her a comfortable smile and nodded her head.

“Back then, in China…”

“Yes?”

“Why didn’t you arrest Kang SungHo sooner?”

“……”

“After Kang SungHo admitted to the crimes he committed 10 years ago, you could have arrested him right then and there. I mean, I thought that’s what you’d do, but you just watched as I shot Kang SungHo.”

Lieutenant Han remained silent for a moment. The wind blew her hair astray, so she lightly swept it back as she opened her mouth to answer.

“Because I’m still a human and a woman before I’m a member of the police.”

“……”

“I thought he was a man who deserved more than death. I’m sure Inspector Cha and Superintendent Shin also felt the same.”

Lieutenant Han gave EunHa a faint smile. EunHa silently met her eyes and gave her a smile back before she bowed and turned around. Lieutenant Han watched EunHa’s back as she walked further and further away. However, she didn’t call her to stop. Either way, this was all something EunHa needed to figure out on her own.

It was a quite neighborhood with no one around. EunHa walked slowly, stepping on the dry grass. The car Lieutenant Han had mentioned was parked on the riverbank of a serene river that was sparkling under the sunlight.

What the hell.

A white puff left her lips as she let out a forced laugh.

She looked at the well-known brand logo on the car, but all of her expectations had flown out the window. The car was an old model, and she wouldn’t have driven it even if someone paid her. It was completely rundown.

Was this his new way of joking around with her? She couldn’t help but laugh. Would the engine even start in this thing? EunHa decided to find out. She opened the driver-side door but suddenly froze.

“Breaking news. In the middle of the night, the leader of the violent organization ‘Serim’ has escaped his escort vehicle as he was being transferred to a detention center after his arrest. The police have sent out a search party of about a hundred men in order to find out Mr. Kang’s whereabouts. They are asking the residents of the area to take caution and cooperate…”

The anchor’s steady voice recited the news on the radio. In the driver’s seat, Kang SungHo was handcuffed in a prison uniform, tape covering his lips. He was securely tied to the seat. She could obviously tell that he hadn’t escaped on his own. She couldn’t tell what he was saying as he screamed. Kang SungHo’s bloodshot eyes looked up at her pleadingly.

“……”

EunHa raised her hand and ripped off the tape covering his mouth. Paying no attention to his smarting mouth, Kang SungHo quickly called out to her.

“EunHa, can you untie me? Hmm? EunHa, Princess, hurry.”

There pungent smell coming from inside the car. EunHa took in a short breath and frowned. She looked over to the passenger side and saw a white gasoline tank. There was nothing else inside the car. She finally realized that this strong smell was coming from the car which had been doused with gasoline.

“Let’s start from the very beginning. You and me. Let’s start over. Ahjussi will treat you well. EunHa!”

“…How will you treat me well?”

As soon as EunHa asked, Kang SungHo looked like he’d been thrown a lifeline in a desolate sea. He looked at her and raised his voice.

“Anything! I’ll do anything you want…!”

“What do you think I want from you, Ahjussi?”

EunHa asked him as she looked down at him meaningfully. Kang SungHo’s eyes shook. He realized that he had said the wrong thing and began to stutter.

“Y-You said so yourself. That Serim was the only home you could return to. I’m the same. I lived my life for the good of Serim. I wanted to make our organization stronger so that we could do whatever we wanted! I loved you in my own way. I wanted to create a sturdy home that could keep you safe. So I did whatever I could to make that happen.”

“You loved me?”

EunHa asked softly as she gazed at him.

“Yeah…!”

Kang SungHo nodded violently. His limp hair also gave off the smell of gasoline. Almost as if someone had poured gasoline over his head until he was completely drenched. EunHa didn’t have to think too hard to figure out who this person was.

“I’ll let you have your revenge. I’ll capture Kang SungHo and bring him to you.”

EunHa smiled bitterly as she realized that this man, who was just as stubborn as her, had ultimately kept his word. KyungHyun could have killed him right away, but he didn’t. And the reason he didn’t do that was because he wanted to leave the choice in her hands. And it didn’t take EunHa very long to make up her mind.

“All right, Ahjussi. I’ll consider our past relationship and help you out just this once.”

EunHa laughed softly. SungHo’s scarred brow twisted as he looked at her like a child. A thin stream of tears began to trickle down from his eye. A glimmer of hope flashed through his pupils as he watched EunHa with joy. EunHa continued on.

“This long, unrequited love of yours… I’ll end it for you.”

EunHa whispered sweetly into his ears. She stuck the tape back over his mouth. SungHo began to scream, but EunHa didn’t understand what he was saying. She felt that it was only natural she couldn’t understand the groans of a beast.

Click.

She closed the car door and slowly walked away. Then she opened her purse. She took out her last cigarette and lit it. She took a drag and exhaled, and the smoke flew away with the cold, winter wind. The sun was shining, and there was no person in sight. Every time the wind blew, she heard the rustle of dry grass.

EunHa chuckled softly as she savored her cigarette. After this cigarette, she felt that she could quit smoking.

Whoosh.

The finished cigarette flew away with the wind. It lightly fell onto the roof of the car Kang SungHo was trapped in. The small embers of the cigarette traveled down the car. It only took a moment for the whole car to burst into flames.

EunHa began to run with all her might in her slick heels. She wasn’t going to look back anymore. She said this to herself as she laughed joyfully like a child.


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