Destructive Desires Chapter 11

DD Chapter 11

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“When our Yeonwoo goes to school later in Seoul, Grandpa will pick you up and go back and forth on the West Coast Expressway like this.”

The farm had to be closed before the deficit widened, but there would still be money left over to pay for Yeonwoo University’s tuition and rent a house to live in Seoul.

“I’m not going to Seoul to go to school. I’ll study in Suwon and commute from home.”

Without knowing Moonguk’s will, Yeonwoo insisted on going to an agricultural college in Suwon.

“This child. An old saying is that people need to go to Seoul to succeed[1]. I’ll only be able to face your father and mother if you go to a good school and become successful.”

“You’ve raised me so well. I’m sure that’s enough for them.”

“Easy for you to say.”

As Moonguk focused on shifting lanes, Yeonwo made an adult-like remark. “Grandpa, you struggled to raise me while farming. You must be sad that the farm is closed, but please take care of yourself.”

“You, my treasure, are next to me, so what is there to be sad about? Even if the farm is closed, you’re healthy next to me, and that’s enough.”

Moonguk always called Yeonwoo a treasure. Yeonwoo was also well aware that it wasn’t just flattery; he truly valued her as his treasure. 

Although his grandfather usually wore shabby work clothes because he worked on the farm, he stood tall among young parents in an old ironed suit at kindergarten arts festivals and elementary parent observation classes.

Compared to the younger parents, he had gray hair and wrinkles on his face, but her grandfather, who had been farming all his life, had broad shoulders and a good physique.

Yeonwoo’s life was full and overflowing just with her grandfather’s love. So whenever she looked at her grandfather, she would think, ‘I have to be nice and filial to Grandpa.’

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Yeonwoo’s dream was to go to an agricultural school and study flowers.

Although her grandfather closed the farm because of bad economic conditions, she dreamed of one day becoming a seedling expert like her grandfather, setting up a farm, and making him proud of her.


When they arrived at the Chairman’s house, Jaesik went out without even wearing a coat to meet them. 

He stared at Yeonwoo, who had come to the house for the first time, with curious eyes. “Is this child Yeonwoo?”

He had heard Moonguk was raising his granddaughter alone, but Jaesik never thought that she had already grown into a lady.

In Jaesik’s eyes, Yeonwoo seemed like a cheerful child with a bright face. He felt that Moonguk had raised his granddaughter well.

“Yes. Yeonwoo, say hi. This is Jaesik Lee, the Chairman of Mirae Construction.”

“Hello, Chairman.”

Yeonwoo raised her head and met Jaesik’s gaze. Jaesik, who was the same age as her grandfather, was a gentleman who wore nice clothes and had a relaxed expression.

“I’ve heard a lot about you through my grandfather, but you’re much cooler than I imagined.”

“Your voice is so sweet. You can be an announcer later,” Jaesik patted Yeonwoo on the shoulder, pleased with her.

When constructing the greenhouse, Moonguk and Jaesik spent several nights sharing drinks and talking about their lives. 

At that time, since Jaesik had heard about Yeonwoo, he gave her a backpack and a congratulatory envelope when she started middle school a few years ago. He did the same when she entered high school.

“Thank you for sending me presents every time.”

“You’re welcome. Did you like it?”

“My schoolmates were envious because I bought something very expensive.” Yeonwoo turned to show her back and showed her bag. 

“Oh, you’re wearing it well. I’m glad you like it. I should buy you a nice bag when you graduate from high school.”

Then the door opened and Jeongae came out.

“!”

Jeongae, with her hair up, wore a two-piece ivory outfit and looked like a Madam in a drama. It was Yeonwoo’s first time seeing such an elegant person, and she couldn’t take her eyes off her.

“Father, I prepared refreshments in the drawing room.”

“Okay, well done. Mr. Seo, you’ve come a long way, so let’s go inside and have a cup of tea before starting work.”

“Yes, Chairman.”

Jeongae neatly put her hands together and greeted them politely. “Hello. Thank you for coming.”

Moonguk and Yeonwoo also bowed their heads toward Jeongae.

“This is my daughter-in-law.”

“It’s nice to meet you.”

“Likewise, Mr. Seo. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Jeongae, Jaesik’s daughter-in-law, came into this house as Jaesik’s son’s second wife. 

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She had an affair with Myunghoon, who had separated from his wife, for nearly twenty years. Then, when Myunghoon’s wife committed s*icide due to depression, Jeongae married into the family and brought along her daughter.

Two years after the death of Myunghoon’s first wife, Jeongae succeeded in entering the house.

She had heard that Seokheon’s mother had looked close to madness because of deep depression, so Jeongae wanted herself to look elegant and noble.

As soon as she became the wife of the President of Mirae Construction, she quit her job at the university and worked hard to solidify her position as the wife.

After a brief chat, Jeongae turned and headed into the house. She walked silently on the stone road that ran across the garden to the house.

‘How can a person be so elegant.’

Yeonwoo watched the woman, amazed by her timid speech and clean appearance.

In Yeonwoo’s eyes, Jeongae looked like the most perfect woman in the world.

When Jeongae, who guided the guests to the drawing room, stepped out of the door, Yeonwoo stood up and followed suit.

“Excuse me, Ma’am.”

“…”

Jeongae turned at looked at Yeonwoo. Yeonwoo, who met her eyes, stopped. 

Usually, it was easy to read a person’s emotion in their eyes, but Jeongae didn’t show any.

Yeonwoo drank a lot of water on their way to Seoul and asked where the toilet was. Jeongae, who had been staring indifferently at her, moved ahead.

“Follow me.”

They soon reached the first-floor guest bathroom, and Jeongae gestured toward the door.

“Thank you,” Yeonwoo said, bowing before going into the bathroom. 

Before the door closed, Jeongae’s gaze shifted down to the bag Yeonwoo carried.

“…”

Jeongae succeeded in bringing her daughter into this house, but that daughter was no longer with her.

Her daughter was born with a poor heart. Because of that, Jeongae did everything she could to get the child recognized by her family.

She engaged in social activities and revealed to the world that she was having an affair with a married man because that man was the President of Mirae Construction.

She thought it was better to have a father who was a president of a large corporation, even if it came from an affair, than not to have one at all.

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Thanks to her strong backer, she achieved success in society and raised her child without worrying about money, but the label of the affair always followed her.

She did her best to join this family so that her daughter, Ira, could escape the same label that followed Jeongae. Unfortunately, however, Ira died a week after she was diagnosed with acute heart failure last year.

When Jeongae and Ira entered the house, Jaesik focused on Seokheon and did not show affection to the granddaughter Jeongae gave birth to.

Her daughter was the same age as Yeonwoo.

Jaesik didn’t even spare them 10,000 won[2], yet he sent Yeonwoo a bag.

Jeongae was the one who chose the bag, so she immediately knew that the bag Yeonwoo carried was the gift from Jaesik.

Her daughter stayed here for two years, longing for her grandfather’s affection from afar, but Yeonwoo smiled without hesitation in front of Jaesik. Jeongae felt repulsed by her.

She felt as if Yeonwoo had what her daughter deserved and that Yeonwoo took all of her daughter’s share of life.

With a click, the bathroom door opened, and Yeonwoo came out.

“You’re still there?” Yeonwoo’s eyes widened when she saw Jeongae standing in front of the bathroom door.

“Yes. I was afraid you’ll lose your way.”

“Me? The drawing room is right next door. Thank you for waiting for me, though.”

The truth was Jeongae was standing guard to make sure Yeonwoo, who came from a poor family, didn’t enter another room.

Yeonwoo remained blissfully aware and thought the woman was kind. 

“Then, you should head back to the drawing room. I’ll go prepare lunch.”

“Yes.”

As she did earlier, Yeonwoo stared awestruck at Jeongae’s back.

She was impressed with her slender figure and elegant face, neat body, and noble words that seemed impossible to imitate. She also thought it would be great to have a mother like her.


On that day, the house gate of Mirae Construction’s owner, which could not be easily opened, was wide open.

Rather than simply opening the gate, they opened a lock that secured the door frame to allow the truck to enter the garden.

Since Jeongae and her daughter moved in three years ago, this was the first time the gate was unlocked to allow a vehicle to enter the property.

Moonguk parked the truck next to the lawn, went to the compartment, and unwrapped the insulation and plastic that covered the plants. 

Fortunately, the orchids weren’t damaged even in the midwinter weather. It was a good thing he chose a snowy day to travel. The temperature was relatively high on a snowy day, so he purposely came to Seoul that day.

Jaesik climbed onto the truck and pushed the tray that held the orchid to the edge. Yeonwoo approached them, pulled the tray, and held it to her chest.

“Grandpa, why don’t we bring it to the greenhouse over there?”

“Okay. Don’t leave the door open for too long. Letting the cold wind in could damage the orchids.”

“Got it!”

Yeonwoo, staggering across the garden, opened the door to the greenhouse. The greenhouse, heated in the middle of winter, smelled damp.

Yeonwoo entered the glasshouse and looked around curiously. 

“Wow…”

Unlike the outside, the greenhouse, set at 25 degrees Celsius, was full of flowers. 

The greenhouse, roughly 20-pyeong[3], was filled with colorful Phalaenopsis orchids. Starting with the white orchids, the flowers were arranged like a gradient of colors that reminded her of sunset. 

Inside the greenhouse above the green garden, it was a different world.

“He even turned on the photosynthesis lamps.”

Her Grandpa’s farm was a place where seedlings were grown and sold, so it was a barren landscape with vinyl, nursery pots, and bland-colored thermal materials.

On the other hand, the greenhouse here was built with clear glass that could be seen through the outside, and all the orchids inside were planted in high-quality pots.

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Yeonwoo knew that most of the orchids here were sent by her grandfather, but it was so nice to have them on display like this.

Behind her, Jaesik and Moonguk followed into the greenhouse, carrying pots with them.

Even though Jaesik didn’t have to get his hands dirty, he took the initiative and carried the orchids himself. It was his way of expressing his gratitude for the sincerity of the guests who came from the countryside to help him.

“How can I just accept something you raised so preciously?”

Moonguk brought nearly 30 kinds of orchids. Among them, Im-soon, named after his wife, was raised with special care, and three flower stalks appeared on one plant. On each stem were sunset-colored flowers that looked like a flock of butterflies.

“Please take it. You helped us so much when the farm was struggling.”

“It’s nothing compared to the help we received just before my wife passed.”

The last years of Jaesik’s wife were comfortable thanks to the orchids.

It was the first time Jaesik had seen her so happy, so Jaesik thought of Moonguk as a benefactor who came to them when things were difficult for them.


[1] What Yeonwoo’s grandfather said came from this Korean proverb “말은 나면 제주도로 보내고 사람은 태어나면 서울로 보내라,” which translates to “Send a horse to Jeju Island, and a person to Seoul.” Jeju Island is a good environment for horses (for feeding and grazing). Following that logic, Seoul, the capital of Korea, is a good environment for people to flourish
[2] 10,000 won is about 8 US dollars.
[3] Pyeong (평) is a unit of measurement that’s about 3.3 square meters