Just like that time, her heart hammered against her chest.
This was the moment she was waiting for.
She even induced the situation to end up like this, but she didn’t know what she was saying now.

She supposed only people with experience did these kinds of things.
She regretted not learning anything beforehand and nervously fingered the ends of her nails.

“I like you more and more the longer I stay with you.”


“It’s not easy to be a secretary for five years even for a workaholic like me.
Forgive me for saying this but you know you’re not someone easy to work with.
But I liked taking care of you with my own hands and being the first to see you in the morning… I always woke up excited at the thought.”

Kwon-woo wore an unreadable expression.
He looked as if he was suppressing anger, or as if showing contempt.

“I just realized you are a terrible judge of character,” he told her.

“I disagree.”

“There are men who are gentle and don’t rack you with worries.
Yet you leave them all for someone like me? What is this, a straight-A student with feelings for some thud? If I was your parent or your brother you would have gotten a nice slap on the back to wake you up.”

“All I’m hearing is you care for me that much,” Se-ha retorted.

“You’re very bold, making a situation like this in a hotel room with just the two of us.”

He knew, even through today’s little game.
Her ears burned up at the thought of being read like a book.
She straightened up while trying to smile.

“Do you not like me?” she asked.

“There’s nothing to like.
Secretary Hong is Secretary Hong.
That’s it.”

“You have never thought of me as someone to go out with? We’re both single, and thankfully there is no one arranged for us.” Se-ha’s eyes passed over to the bed before she knew it.
“All I’m saying is… I could be one of the women you meet.”

Kwon-woo followed Se-ha’s gaze and let out a smirk as if at a loss for words.

“Don’t you know how I treat them? So, what you want from me… is a one-night stand? I can’t believe you were this sort of person.”

“I don’t know what you mean by that.
All I want is to spend a night with the person I like.”

Baffled at her words, he rubbed his eyes and cheeks with his large hands in confusion.
In that moment, Se-ha didn’t miss the slight tremble in his gaze. 

“For adultery by force in the workplace, imprisonment for five years or a fine not exceeding 15 million won…” Kwon-woo began.

“Excuse me?”

“You know more than anyone how noisy it will get when this sort of thing leaks.
I thought how troublesome it would be every time it happened.
Even if I met every woman in the world, I would never touch a hair of my subordinate.
I never see them as women.”

As your aide I can unquestionably block one type of gossip.” Se-ha pretended not to see what she saw and calmly smiled.
“Are you going to fire me?”

“Why do you ask?”

“You said you never see your subordinates as women.
I can’t help but look at my boss as a man.
Are you still going to keep me by your side?” Se-ha asked.
“If I were you, I wouldn’t.
I would get rid of anything that has a chance of becoming a bomb.
Although it’s funny I’m the one telling you this.”

As if facing a nuisance, Kwon-woo pressed down on his temples.
It was a habit whenever he was anxious.
As a person who usually had no difficulty looking straight into other people’s eyes, he was bluntly avoiding her gaze.
He was agitated.

It has been five years.
Together, they arrived to work in the morning and left at night, working all day in an enclosed office.
They spent more time together than they had with their families.
It was impossible not to know each other at a much deeper level.

I’m not going to fire you.”

“Director,” Se-ha tried to interject. 

But Kwon-woo was adamant.
“It’s a simple problem that can be solved if you push aside your feelings for me.
I heard too many times that it’s because of the skillful Hong Se-ha that the scoundrel Jang Kwon-woo is able to provide salaries to the hotel staff and lead headquarters 2.
And I agree.”

“You overestimate me.”

“You’re a talent that I can’t afford to lose.
Insight, initiative, diligence, you have it all.
How many do you think wants you working under them? Only an idiot would let you go.”

“I don’t want to hear a job assessment right now.”

Cast aside your feelings and keep working as my secretary, or lie and tell me that you don’t like me anymore and keep working as my secretary.”

Se-ha smiled bitterly.

“What you’re saying is… You want to keep Secretary Hong Se-ha at your side but not Hong Se-ha, the woman.”

She slowly lowered her head, staring at the glass table so that Kwon-woo would not see her face.
She could see him slowly lean forward.
The distance between them was narrowing.
A little more.
She raised her head and looked at Kwon-woo, trying to hide the agony of anticipation.

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