Late in the evening, Ji An arrived for her shift. This time, she was relieving the youngest of the brothers, who had called her before she reached the hospital to inform her about the day’s events. He didn’t want her to experience another shock upon entering Dong Hoon’s room. But it turned out that her sister-in-law had already informed her, and the girl was mentally prepared for the seemingly minor, yet significant changes for all of them.

Dong Hoon was still sedated, as his partially healed wounds had been tended to, but from a distance, changes in the bandages were visible. Especially his hands were almost completely uncovered, which made a profound impression on his loved ones. They could see the extent of the burns and changes in his skin and could imagine the pain he endured during the explosion and then during the healing process. On the other hand, the removal of the bandages on his hands was a sign of optimism and proof that everything was moving in the right direction.

Ji An, as usual, knocked gently on the door and entered at Gu Hoon’s invitation.

Oh, you’re here! – he greeted her with a note of sympathy.

Good evening! – Ji An didn’t even look at him, for from the moment she entered, she was magnetically drawn to the sleeping Dong Hoon.

Well! Hyung is making progress, as you know – Gi Hoon walked with her to the bed – look, his hands are uncovered, and the openings for his eyes and mouth are a bit larger.

Ji An did not respond. She stood motionless and thought intensely. Gi Hoon felt the need to address this awkwardness and gave her a condensed version of today’s events. Including how scared the older hyung was when he came here and saw the empty bed. However, she seemed unimpressed. She was lost in her thoughts. Gi Hoon stepped back and observed her reaction with the interest of a director.

Hmm – he murmured to himself – she really is unique – he thought – so genuine in her behavior. Nothing is for show, yet she controls everything within herself. He liked to analyze her movements, looks, words, and the way she spoke. He planned to use this in creating one of the most important characters in his new project.

Ji An – he finally addressed her.

Yes? – surprisingly, she heard him.

Will you be okay? – he asked quite seriously.

Yes, please don’t worry – she assured.

Hyung is still on sedatives, and doctors can’t accurately determine when he will start regaining consciousness. He may feel pain then, and their support will be necessary – he told her this, closely watching her reactions, especially the very subtle, non-verbal microexpressions of Ji An that fascinated him.

I’ll remember that and notify the doctors when he wakes up – she said calmly and confidently.

In that case, I’m off – Gi Hoon gathered his directorial paraphernalia and closed his laptop – Have a peaceful night, Ji An! – he said as he left the room.

Good night! – she replied with a bow, but he neither heard nor saw it.

They were alone. Finally.

Ji An relaxed a bit when she no longer felt the watchful gaze of the youngest brother, who was unaware that she knew just how closely he was observing her. She wasn’t really doing anything to pretend, but subconsciously she controlled herself and stiffened. She was still unsure of what he knew, what he thought, and what his intentions were regarding her and her relationship with Ahjussi.

She leaned over Dong Hoon and listened to the familiar sound of his breathing. Gently, she touched his exposed hand, its healing skin wrinkled and rough.

Ahjussi – she whispered – does it hurt a lot? – and two large tears rolled down her cheeks, then onto the sleeping man’s bed.

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