At last, the day arrived when Lee Ji An was to see her ahjussi, yet in her darkest nightmares, she had not anticipated the horror that awaited. Her life had been a tapestry of trials and tribulations, yet the thought of standing beside the bed of a battered, burned, and unconscious Park Dong Hoon had never crossed her mind. Tension gripped her so tightly that morning coffee was all she could stomach, despite Jeong Hui’s pleas.

„You must gather your strength, dear… This won’t be easy… Try to eat something…”

„I can’t, I’m sorry unnie, but really, nothing will go down,” she implored with pleading eyes to her older friend. „I’ll make it through. Don’t worry. I won’t faint. Calmly.”

„Well, it can’t be helped,” Jeong Hui conceded, resigning herself to eat the day’s first meal alone.

They reached the hospital without issue. Gi Hoon had precisely explained where his brother’s VIP room was located, so they quickly found themselves in front of the door marked with patient Park Dong Hoon’s name. Along the way, they picked up a beautiful bouquet and some tasty food for the family keeping vigil. Upon arrival, Ji An seemed to stiffen and pale once more.

„Can you do this?” Jeong Hui whispered, taking her by the arm in her usual manner.

„Ne…” Ji An responded, but her eyes betrayed the pain and terror she felt, and how desperately she wished to hide it from those she would soon meet inside.

„Let’s go in,” Jeong Hui gently knocked and opened the door upon hearing permission from within.

Inside, at that moment, were Dong Hoon’s mother and wife. After politely introducing Ji An to the elder lady and warmly greeting her with Jeong Hui, Yoon Hee led the newcomers to her husband’s bedside. Both stood shocked at the sight before them.

Dong Hoon’s face was completely obscured, wrapped in bandages, even over the eyes. Having recently experienced a similar moment, Yoon Hee understood what the two friends of her husband were feeling and began to calmly explain why he was so thoroughly bandaged.

„I know the sight is shocking,” she glanced sideways at the younger woman, „but Dong Hoon suffered deep burns from very close proximity. In such cases, bandages are used that cover the entire face, including the eyes. The primary purpose of such dressing is to protect the damaged skin from infections and to maintain proper moisture and conditions for wound healing. These dressings are designed to allow the skin to breathe while protecting it from external elements. Apparently, if burns include the eye area, medical care tries to balance the need for protection and wound healing with the need to preserve visual function. That’s why special dressings and ophthalmic ointments were used for Dong Hoon to prevent eye damage and support the healing process. Fortunately, his eyes were not completely damaged, and doctors believe he will see.”

„Aigoo!” Jeong Hui was the first to express her shock. „Dong Hoon, how could this happen to you, of all people?”

„Will…,” Ji An struggled to ask something, „Will ahjussi be able to speak? What about his face? Does he feel pain?” As soon as she spoke, a cascade of questions tumbled from her lips, directly from her clenched heart.

„The professor who operated on him says that Dong Hoon will be able to speak, yes, but…” Yoon Hee looked intently at the women.

„But what?” Jeong Hui asked anxiously.

„His face will not be the same… He is facing several transplants and a long rehabilitation.” She saw the impact of this information on them. „We need to focus on the fact that he survived and will stay with us, so let’s reconcile with this and be there to support him when he regains consciousness.”

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