White liquid poured down from the porcelain teapot towards the brown mixture in the hot mug. The liquid rippled in contact as the aromatic blend lightened in color.
Kang Jinho watched silently as Yihan stirred his coffee seriously with his teaspoon like he had all the time in the world, making him clench and unclench his fists on the table several times. His lips remained pressed together as he observed the other man, but his mind was in utter chaos with the plethora of questions he wanted to be answered, and the man in front of him was the only one possible to satisfy those queries.
He was testing him.
Jin Yihan, from the moment Jinho admitted his involvement with Yunjae had been doing his own observation, the businessman surmised. Though the other man had casually dealt with him earlier, Jinho knew the man still wanted something, still looked for something. Based on how those intelligent eyes underneath the other's pretense of indifference measured him up, he knew it would not be easy to earn his approval.
If this was any other day, Jinho wouldn't have given a damn. But this wasn't an ordinary day and theirs was far from an ordinary circumstance.
Brother. Until now Jinho couldn't believe that the man he had thought was Yunjae's husband was, in fact, his lover's sibling. The one he had been jealous over was not someone he should have been jealous of at all, and it left him weak as soon as he found out.
The arrival of nurses in the room had sent the men towards the cafeteria where Jinho had planned on quizzing Yihan. So far, however, since his mind was still reeling from the revelation, he was not yet able to start asking.
"What is it?" Jin Yihan suddenly spoke without lifting his eyes from his coffee and Jinho started. Again, his observation that the other man was not someone he could deal with easily was proven.
When he remained silent, the other man spoke again. "You look like you have a lot of things you want to know," he mentioned casually, and the businessman finally decided to throw diplomacy away.
Jin Yihan would put him in more confusion with his vague answers which Jinho was sure the other would bestow him if given a chance. He decided to be frank.
"Jae never mentioned you to me," Jinho said bluntly which made the other look up at him. Instead of being offended, however, amusement danced in the other's eyes.
"Well, my sister never mentioned you to me either, so I guess we're even," he retorted in equal bluntness and Jinho grunted as he smirked. The guy's smartass answer reminded him of the sarcastic Yunjae years ago when they first met.
Even if they did not share a physical resemblance, this kind of warped humor must run in their family, Jinho thought.
"But don't let it bother you. Jae's not someone who liked to talk about her family," Jin Yihan then condescended as he took a sip of his coffee. "If you want to know though, I'd gladly tell you," he continued and Jinho was relieved the guy had no qualms in telling him things.
"When our parents divorced, even though the two of us were closer to our dad than our mom, Jae was forced to live with our mother. She didn't take it lightly and became distant. For a while, when we were kids, she even hated me, since I was able to go and live with our dad. That's why she never introduced me as her brother and never called me oppa, in spite of that fact that I'm four years older," Yihan enlightened him, his eyes lit with amusement.
"She didn't hate me enough not to call me all the time when she had trouble or when she needed a gopher when she's competing though. I used to carry her things," he added good-naturedly and Jinho remembered the time when he saw Yihan at the first competition he and Jae participated in together carrying his lover's bag.
"Anyway, if you're worried about my sister's personality, don't be. Since leaving college, Yunjae had changed dramatically for the better," Yihan informed him and Jinho swallowed hard. "College?" he asked and the other nodded, his amusement vanishing replaced by a guarded expression.
It was the first time Yihan had been tensed in front of him and Jinho felt that he had to push. "What about college?" he asked carefully and watched as the other turned his attention back to his coffee which meant that whatever happened that time, it wasn't something good nor it was something the other would effortlessly talk about.
But Jinho already had an idea about what happened. He now also knew that it was his own misunderstanding that led him into walking away which resulted in Jae running after him and then the accident.
Yunjae was not at fault that Jinho couldn't swim competitively anymore, he realized that. But the accident and his not being able to swim wasn't the one which pushed him into taking revenge in the first place. It didn't matter to him. What mattered to him – what caused his anger was the fact that he had been abandoned.
Yes, he wouldn't still be able to get his coveted championship, but it didn't matter as much as Yunjae leaving him. Why did she vanish? Why didn't she explain? Why?
The businessman couldn't understand why his lover didn't visit him at the hospital and cleared things up. Why didn't Jae see him even once while he was recovering? If she did, it wouldn't have been like this.
"Tell me…" Jinho requested, and when the other hesitated, he continued his appeal. "It's okay to tell me. I was involved with Jae back in college. I was in the same swimming team. I want to know what happened at that time. Why did she vanish suddenly without a trace? Why did she leave me?"
With his words which he had delivered laced with the anguish he felt during that lonely period of his life, he watched as Yihan's eyes widened in realization. "My God, you…." he said as he studied Jinho's face. "You're Jae's boyfriend back then? You're that swimmer…Kang…Jinho?" he asked in bewilderment and the businessman nodded.
"Yes, I am. So please, please tell me what happened," he entreated, and after watching the man change expressions as if weighing things, Jin Yihan humored his request.
"Jae didn't want to leave but she had no choice," Yihan informed him. "She disappeared because of Yuan…"