In the car, which was driving along the edges of the mountains, I stretched my cramped toes.
The place at the end of the destination was a villa, located in Gangwon-do.
Even though occasionally admirable sceneries passed by beyond the glassed windows, I was relaxed enough to adore it.
I was anxious about whether the long wig was still on my head, my ruffled skirt looked ridiculous or whether I would be able to walk in those tight, stuffy shoes.
Nobody said anything, but still, out of uneasiness, I pulled on the hem of my skirt.


I was living a difficult life by the summer of age 22.
Since I was born into a poor family, I had to give up a lot of things.
Whether it was school, friends, and other things as well.
With each centimeter my height, I had to give each item one by one and all I had left by the end of it was my maturity, my mother, and my younger brother.
I could endure it, even though I blamed it on our helpless state.
I held hope for a while that I would be able to achieve and experience many things once I would become an adult.
Since there was nothing left to lose, it would be better to achieve some change.


But I was still unworthy of that embellished imagination.


As my mother handled two sons on her own, the disease managed to manifest and settle inside her body.


“You are very late.”


The doctor, with a tired face, said nonchalantly.
Even though he discussed other ways of treatment he seemed to swallow the words, “It would still be useless.”


Even though the possibility was close to 0%, we still didn’t want to give up.
But even that small probability cost us too much.
I stopped Geonwoo, who wanted to quit school once and for all to provide the medical expenses.
However, I stopped him and worked on anything I could get my hands on.
When my body was about to crumble down from overworking and lack of sleep due to the workload I couldn’t get used to, a man wearing a crisp white shirt approached me.
He bought a picture of a familiar girl.


It has already been 10 years since the girl in the picture passed away.
Although, her name Han Jiyoung was clearly remembered.
When I was younger, we lived together like siblings in a shabby neighborhood.
She was my neighbor.
It was not that we did not become close because we got along well but the reason we stuck along was sole because of her grandmother.


When my mother would leave in the morning because of her work, the younger me and Geonwoo would be the only ones left behind.
There was no way I could look after an infant.
Jiyoung’s grandmother looked after us all day, then.
It was no different, for several years to come.


Since everyone was on a par in terms of struggles, it was a kind of neighborhood where everyone was cold.
However, in that same kind of place, it was unique to have Jiyoung and her maternal grandmother, who were kind.


Unlike us, Jiyoung had a father but they were not better off than us.
His father was an infamous scumbag in our neighborhood.
He would show up once in a blue moon and then prefer to be off the grid for the rest.


When that scumbag would choose to return for a day, both Geonwoo and I were unable to sleep because we would hear the cacophony of furniture breaking, echoing throughout.


Jiyoung and her grandmother died in that bastard’s hands.
When that man would return sometimes, he would break things without fail and beg for money.
But, when his fuss was up to no avail and there was no chance of receiving money, he couldn’t swallow his anger and lit the house on fire.


Since it would take time to maneuver through the neighborhood so by the time the fire truck arrived the house was already bursting into flames.


The man who visited me introduced himself as Jang Myeongsoo and I received his business card.
I know I would never have a relationship with him.


“Taewon Group’s Vice Chairman”.
The card I received was crisp and I stared blankly.
Jang Myeongsoo proposed something strange, that I should feign as Han Jiyoung and feed stories about her maternal grandmother to his father.


If I said so, it was a story as old as time.
In a chaotic time of his father’s life, he lost his parents early and Jang Myeongsoo’f father owed Han Jinyoung’s grandmother.
Now that he was not long for this world, he regretted how he couldn’t repay her favor and hence asked his son to look for Han Jiyoung’s grandmother.
Even if she had passed away, he at least wanted to see her daughter.


By the time Jang Myeongsoo set out to search for them, they had already passed away.
But he wanted to appear as a filial son so that his father wouldn’t be disappointed, his face wrinkled with worry as he thought of it.


He made a face that I understood, as he did not feel sorry for Han Jiyoung but was worried more about his father.
He was rather hinting at something obvious.
Along the lines of, do what you are told if you get what I am saying.


In conclusion, it wasn’t the moving love for his parent but the money that convinced me.
Even if the proposal was as persistent as it was, I had nothing to lose.
Jang Myeongsoo promised a good bag if I succeed, but if otherwise, I would get away with a small compensation.
But I was at the point where I would be able to sell my body if anyone wanted to buy it.
I replied that I would do any ridiculous work that was offered.


Even though I was skinny but not short enough to pass off as a woman.
Jang Myeongsoo remarked that his grandfather’s eyes were blurry, however, I secretly wondered if it would have been better if he prepared another stand-in.
Anyway, Han Jiyoung wouldn’t have many memories of her grandfather because the latter passed away when she was young.
However, if another woman was chosen and was taught the knack of things, she would have made a better Han Jiyoung.


But those smug thoughts disappeared without a trace when I met Jang Myeongsoo’s father, Jang Chulwoong.


I anxiously began to make up all sorts of difficult scenes inside my head.
It should be a touching rendezvous with a gray-haired old man wearing socks.
However, in reality, the old man sitting in a wheelchair looked with a morphed expression.


“You are Han Jiyoung?”


As if he was interrogating me, his voice was pressuring.
I had the smothering feeling of being caught.
Perhaps it was because of the shoes I couldn’t get used to that I stumbled out of the car.
But if I think about why I participated in this ridiculous show it was because I couldn’t be helped by those discouraging jobs forever.


“Yes, grandfather.
I am Han Jiyoung.”


I tried my best, by fixing my tone and greeting politely however the old man just guffawed.
He, who was looking for the caretaker’s daughter for so long, didn’t seem the least happy.
The old man reprimanded Jang Myeongsoo, who was standing beside me.


“I see you don’t even have the sincerity in you to find a similar child anymore.”


I could roughly gauge why he said that.
There were many others before me.
That was why I was forced to dress up as a woman, for a ruse.
Even though I might have not been related by blood, he desperately needed someone who was close to Jiyoung’s grandmother as she was.
Jang Myeongsoo was flustered, as he tried to persuade his dad.


“No, father.
This time, it’s real.”




Chairman Jang replied sarcastically and then asked me.


“Where is your grandmother’s birthplace?”




“Then birthday?”




I couldn’t even remember my grandmother’s birthday so how would I remember someone else’s grandmother’s birthday, who even passed away 10 years ago?


As I cluelessly tiptoed around what to say, the impatient old man clicked his tongue and shook his head.
Even though I knew there wouldn’t be a confirmation, it was different from what I imagined.


I darted my eyes at Jang Myeongsoo.
He assured me before that if I spoke like Han Jiyoung that would be enough, but it wasn’t mentioned that I would have to go through an audition for the role of Han Jiyoung.
But Jang Myeongsoo was looking at Chairman Jang’s expression.


Chairman Jang scrutinized me multiple times before rolling his wheelchair and disappearing inside the villa. Should I chase and persuade him or it’s okay if I return like this?


I knew that the world is a complex place and a few words were enough to receive compensation.
As if Jang Myeongsoo read my mind, he tipped his chin and said.


“Still, I will have to see how it plays out over three to four days.
So you can go in.”


Jang Myeongsoo’s secretary carried out two carriers from the trunk and lent them to me.
The paraphernalia inside were all the things needed for the dress up and that was all.
I received them, thinking that one carrier would be enough, after determining the prior atmosphere.


Whether I would be reliable or I should set my expectations aside entirely, I wondered.
Jang Myeongsoo tapped my shoulders as if to cheer me on, and returned back to Seoul.
I was left alone in the large garden.






“I understand you.
Until now, No…I already know.
I don’t even believe it anymore.”


The helper lady who helped out with house chores wore a complex expression.
I was a guest only in name, and I was left alone at the large dining table.
Unlike what Jang Myeongsoo expected, Chairman Jang was sure that I was a fake so he didn’t have his first meal with me.

“What number am I?”


“The fifth, most probably?”


The woman, wondering if the sixth will follow soon, replied bitterly.


There were four people.
It was such a number that even Chairman Jang had enough of, and I had nothing else to add.
But alternatively thinking, he might have been so desperate to meet Jiyoung, that he ought to give the fifth a try.


It was the same for Jang Myeongsoo as well.
Even though he failed several times, he continued for another time, and it was certain there must have been a great reason behind it.


As Jang Myeongsoo remarked he would see it play out for three to four days, Chairman Jang didn’t kick me out as of yet.
But I didn’t bump into him.


Since the old man had an age almost nearing his death, old Chairman Jang lied on his bed most of the time.
Even if I did see him from time to time, there was no chance to talk to him.


I could have tried talking to him but I was stubborn in not telling Chairman Jang that I was half-real.
It wasn’t because of my nonsensical conscience.
The fact that I wanted to be accepted as the real one and to confess that I am fake, wasn’t that different.
I was unconsciously waiting for a chance to reveal myself to not.


On the third night, I was informed by the helper to see myself out by the next day.
If I didn’t use my chance then, I wouldn’t have an opportunity in the future to do so.


I approached Chairman Jang who was out for an evening walk.
Chairman Jang was aware of my presence, ho

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like