Chapter 8: Operations 

When I said that the only thing that I saw in your eyes was sadness, I lied. I saw love.

If anyone could understand terror, then it would have been the poor doctor who was about to face his greatest misery. For now, footsteps taunted the freshly glazed ceramic tiles. Tick, tack, tick, tack. Those were the echoes of confidence from the low heels of black, leather shoes. Every passing person stared at this man in black aviators dressed in a fitted, grey checkered suit paired with a thin black tie. His hair was slick, spiked to show his sense of coolness and following that austerity laced with a touch of narcissism was his smirk. That delightful, devious smirk was up to no good. 

Indeed, Kobayashi Sou was up to no good, and the thought of wickedness made him lick his lips. Within a few steps, he had reached the office: 208. Fun, he snickered and stuck his folder under his arm. This was going to be fun, and with that note, he knocked on the door.

“Yes? Come in?” Sou heard the excited voice of a young, inexperienced doctor. “Is that you Kobayashi-san?”  

Of course, who wouldn’t have been excited to meet a member of the Kobayashi family? The power that this family had was too overwhelming not to stir one’s heart. Who wouldn’t have wanted to climb up that social ladder?

“Morning,” Sou greeted and took off his shades. Without hesitating, he sat in the chair across from this doctor’s cluttered desk. This was a work-in-progress office; Sou thought, it was no wonder that this guy wouldn’t cover his tracks. 

“What an unexpected surprise, Kobayashi-san,” the pale doctor who wear rounded glasses and had fat hands noted. He offered his hand to Sou, who completely ignored his intentions. Instead, Sou crossed his legs. “So, what can I—“

“You’re being redundant for one,” Sou cut the doctor’s words off. “Two, I want to make a deal.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Sou tossed a huge beige folder onto the edge of the doctor’s table. “Take a look,” Sou instructed with his arms folded together. As the doctor flipped open the folder, tons of photos were scattered across the table. 

“You!” The doctor's eyes were burning with anger. His hands were trembling, which made the photos tumble onto the ground.

“I know your secrets,” Sou proceeded to explain. “You sell your top clients’ secrets to the media to earn some hard cash, and that’s not all. You like to have sex with patients that are suffering from comas. Would you like to see one of your sessions?” Sou’s smirk grew wider after that question. 

“How’d you—“

“I’m glad my old man bribed the whole hospital enough to keep my file shut,” Sou snickered, “and I’m sure Jihyo’s father did the same. Now, I think I have the upper hand here. I can get your license revoked in too many ways or . . .”

“What do you want, Sou?” the doctor grumbled.

Sou stretched his arms out and blazed a gallant grin. “I’m not asking for much,” he clarified. “I just want to read Jihyo’s folder.”

“That’s doctor-to—“

“Cut that bullsh.it,” Sou interrupted. “I’m not even asking to keep those documents. I just want to know the facts.”

“Still, that’s—“

“Do you want me to send what I have to the media? I’m sure they’d love this even though they pay you. To be honest, I’m surprised they hadn’t sold you out yet. I guess you’ve just been providing them with so much gossip that they couldn’t possibly—“

“All right, all right,” the doctor muttered under his breath. 

Right there and then, the doctor phoned the nurse and within a few minutes, a young, slim nurse came rushing into the office with the required folder. As soon as she left, the doctor tossed the item towards Sou, who caught it just in time. Then, he opened it to find Dr. Lee’s notes along with another doctor’s handwriting. 

Patient is unwilling to talk after trauma. It was known from police that the patient was found covered in blood with a sharp, serrated kitchen knife beside her and the body of her deceased half-brother, Itsuki. Police reports indicate that this was out of self-defense.

The patient has become more reserved and secretive after the event according to her parents. The patient also shows no remorse and concern for her actions. 

Sou didn’t need to continue to read. There wasn’t much to offer. After all, Jihyo didn’t speak. Every session was useless. At least, he had an idea to the facts of the case. Now, he just needed that police file. That shouldn’t be too hard either.   

Still, Sou demanded, “I want a copy of this file.”

“You said that—“

“Well I changed my mind,” Sou butted in, scoffing. “I want a copy, and I want it now. You know what will happen if—“

“Okay. I’ll get you a copy.”

Again, he called in the same nurse, who retrieved the file from Sou’s hands. Soon, Sou received what he wanted, and as he walked down the hall, he found Frederick sitting in a couch placed against the wall and reading some newspapers. Newspapers, Sou chuckled. There’d definitely be news for tomorrow.

“Young master, you finished?” Frederick looked up to ask. Then, he folded the papers back properly and set them aside on the coffee table beside him. As he stood up, he noticed a file in Sou’s hands. “So we can leave now? Where to—“

“Not that soon,” Sou uttered. “You did what I asked right? Fifteen minutes after I’m in—“

“Yes, young master,” Frederick answered. 

“Good.”
 
“But is that a wise decision? He had already listened to you.”

“He should have been punished from the start,” Sou explained. “He doesn’t deserve to be a doctor in the first place. I was just giving him a chance to redeem himself. He rejected it, so he caused his own downfall.”

“Young master, what if word gets out that you—“

“Whose side is the media on, Frederick? My father’s or this doctor’s?”

“Of course it is with the master’s.”

“Then, there won’t be any problems,” Sou cocked his head to say. 

As they approached the counter, Sou smiled at the receptionist, who blushed till no tomorrow. Then, he began his story: “I’m really sorry, but I’m really worried about my girlfriend, Jihyo. She is . . . so reluctant about therapy, and I really want to make sure that she doesn’t skip this appointment. It’s just that she always lies about them, so I was wondering if you could please tell . . . me her appointment time?”

The timid, sweet receptionist muttered, “But that’s . . .”

“I know, I know, but I’m really worried for her,” Sou added while furrowing his eyebrows. “I really can’t lose her. I’ve already lost my mother to a tragic accident.”

“Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry. Okay, what’s her name?”

“Song Jihyo.”

“Ah, Ms. Song . . . funny, she never mentioned that she had a boyfriend,” the receptionist chirped while tapping away on her computer.

“Well, our parents don’t really approve of us, so that’s . . .”

“It’s okay. Oh, you’re in luck! She should be here for her appointment today at two.”

“Thank you.” Sou handed her another gentle grin. “Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome! I hope your girlfriend gets better. It’d be a shame for her to lose someone like you.”
Marching with his hands in his pockets, Sou found his way to a window to the right of the couches that coincidentally showed the scenery outside. He couldn’t help snickering as he saw every person with a photo in his or her hand. Not to mention, there were parked vans and several reporters standing at the entrance of the hospital. They were already doing their jobs, and all Sou had to do was to provide them with invaluable evidence and information. They’d suck it in like sponges, hungry to unearth the latest tragedy or scandal.

“So . . . what now, young master?” Frederick wondered aloud.

Sou, shifting his gaze to Frederick, answered, “We wait. We wait for the prey.” Then, Sou made his way back to Frederick, who took a seat on the lounge. Sou plopped his bottom on the leather cushion, and with his hands behind his head, he leaned back, confessing, “Well, I want to take a nap first. You be on the lookout.”

---

She gave the coldest stare anyone could experience. Sou was certain that he would remember that look till the end of his life. The evening was supposed to be joyous and lively. It was a masquerade, hosted by Jihyo’s family and amongst all the laughter she was the only one that seemed to have been struck by sternness. Sou had just spotted her smiling to the guests and soon after, there was the gaze again. Her long, violet ball gown swept the floor gracefully as she inched closer the ledge of the balcony. She looked at the full moon as if bedazzled by its beauty. Was she crying? 

There was no way that Jihyo could cry. Of all the people in the world, Jihyo had one of the toughest hearts. She did indeed have a heart made of diamond.

Sou was tempted to walk towards her, but he didn’t. He only watched while he clutched tightly onto his champagne glass. His eyes never left her until she finally turned around and started to walk in his direction.

“What were you watching?” she asked. Sou almost dropped the glass. How did she know?

“I was looking at the moon,” Sou half lied. “And you?”
 
“I wasn’t looking at anything. I was thinking,” she muttered as she brushed along his arm.

Sou grabbed her arm, harking, “Thinking of what?” 

Her head turned a little, and . . .

Their eyes had met.

He recognized what she meant and said no more.

“What are you doing here?” she frowned immediately.

Sou almost fell off from his seat. Rubbing his eyes, he looked up. He then positioned his body to lean forward while his arms swung behind his head. “I should be asking you that question,” he replied coolly.

“You shouldn’t be here,” Jihyo reminded. 

What was Sou doing here anyways? He didn’t seem to have any problems. Did something happen to him over the summer? Why was he behaving so oddly? Wait, she shook her head as she thought. She shouldn’t be even caring about him.

“I don’t think you should be here either,” he said. 

She was unsure of what to do at first, but after a moment of hesitation, she decided to ignore all thoughts and to take a seat next to him.  There was, after all, only one empty seat left in this building.

“Why are you here?” she asked again, crossing her legs and her arms. She kept her gaze straight ahead at the white wall. There was no need to be polite to him and make eye contact with this rascal.

“It’s none of your business.” Sou’s lips pursed together, forming a tiny pout.

“Even if you come here, it won’t help,” she advised him. 

His body now leaned back into the chair as he stretched his arms out. “It’s not as if I’m coming here by choice,” he answered bitterly.

“You do have a choice,” she argued in a flat tone.

“Then, why are you here if you think it doesn’t help?”

“If I didn’t come here . . .” she paused and stood up from her seat. “I’ll be going now.”

“Wait,” he urged, suddenly tugging at her sleeve. 

Jihyo was stunned by his action. They never had any physical contact with each other. They weren’t supposed to invade each other’s bubbles. She knew she had to move on, yet her feet were firmly planted to the ground. “What?” she finally glared at him to ask.

“Could I live at your place?” he suggested. 

She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Kobayashi Sou was asking her for a favour. Never in a million years did she think that that would be possible. Sou never begged for help. He was always the independent sort with an arrogant attitude. He never used the word, please. He didn’t have to anyways for he always got what he wanted. 

 “Don’t you have a home?” she jeered.

“I don’t have one anymore,” he admitted. 

In front of Jihyo, there was nothing to hide. She didn’t care about him in any way. Plus, they had known each other for so long that he wasn’t afraid to tell her the truth. She would be able to tell if he was lying too.
“What makes you think that I’ll let you stay at my home?” she taunted.

“If you don’t, I’ll tell people about your condition,” he scoffed. Her head hung low now. His body leaned forward and his head tilted upwards to see her expression. His right hand pushed her flowing hair backwards and behind her ear, without touching her cheek. “You should see yourself now,” he whispered with a smirk. The devil smirk that he would portray was always his signature look. This was what most people never saw from Sou; they regarded him as the one who had the million-dollar-smile. She was probably the only one who could recognize his malice and mischievousness, that dark hidden part that secretly consumed him. 

She couldn’t believe herself though. Her cheeks were starting to turn red and because of the fact that it was Sou who saw her at this state, she could feel her fists harden and her teeth clench. “Like you’re so good yourself,” she mumbled and rolled her eyes. 

“You know I read your folder,” he spoke proudly as he stood up and even yawned. “You’re worse than me.”

“Where’s your evidence?” She finally shifted the weight of her body towards him. Her eyes shot right into his, almost giving him a shudder.

He tried continuing. He felt himself gulping. That look was awfully scary. “You killed Itsuki,” he said in one breath.

“Say what you like. I don’t bloody care,” she responded without any sense of emotion. 

He had stepped backwards; she was too cruel. He needed to be in control. After all, he needed a place to stay. He could have asked Youngmin, but he was sure that Youngmin would ask too many questions. There was no one left, except for her. He knew that she would never question him; she would never care about anything. The only thing that would be in her mind was herself, and only herself. 

He licked his lips quickly and responded as brutally as he could, “Then, why did you have your head down when I said that I read your folder?” She didn’t say anything for a while, so he continued to attack, “You secretly do care, don’t you?” Again, she was silent. He taunted even further. He was determined to make her crack. “You care too much that you can’t even admit that you care, right?” his eyebrows twitched.
Finally, her lips parted and out came the words, “You can stay at my place. You know the rule.”

He smiled. He had won this battle. The only rule that he had obey was to keep his mouth shut about the contents of her folder. His smile grew wider. He hadn’t decided to use the rumour that was circulating around school. That was his latest attempt at winning and it worked. Who knew rumours could hold some truth? Perhaps, the arrival of rumours was the sprout of truth that had deviated into a fatale hyperbole.
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