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Chapter 40: A most unexpected proposal

The Midnight Lotus was the last place where Jessica had been seen alive. She had been in the company of three small-time entertainers who were responsible for the drugs she'd been given. Rather than taking her to the hospital when she began overdosing, they dumped her body in a lake.

Now Ji-ho was once again sitting in their midst as Jessica. The magic of makeup, a wig and glasses allowed her to pass off as a young aspiring model.

"Baby, what did you say your name was?"

"Yu-ri," Ji-ho said with a smile that didn't reach her eyes.

___________

It was midnight when Ji-ho, now changed out of the wig and dress, stood beside Seung-ho as they watched the police handcuff and arrest the three men outside the Midnight Lotus. After being tipped off anonymously about a large amount of cocaine being transported, a few members of the department of Narcotics had swooped in to investigate the vehicle whose license plate number and location had been shared. True to the tip-off, half a kilogram of cocaine was found stashed in the car.

"Will Jessica be satisfied with this?" Ji-ho asked the reaper.

"She has to be," he responded. The vengeful spirit had wanted their deaths but no one aside from the reaper could take their lives without karmic retribution. Speaking of which, Rael had a few more lives to reap before leaving. One of them lived on the other side of the world but now that Gabriel already knew he was here, there was no need to use human transport for getting around.

"What about Blue?" Ji-ho glanced at him. "Has he been punished sufficiently?" There had been no news yet of the singer.

"Sure," the reaper said with a rather feline smile. "You've done enough for Jessica's satisfaction. If she still refuses to move on, there are ways to force it."

"Seriously?" Ji-ho asked. If that was the case, couldn't he just have done that from the start?

"It's better this way," she was told. "The cycle of incarnation requires willingness and acceptance from the spirit. If I forcefully booted out every unwilling spirit, we'd have a big problem on our hands."

"Fascinating," Ji-ho commented. "Have you ever forced a spirit to move on not having found their peace?"

"A few times." The reaper abruptly gripped Ji-ho's wrist. "We should leave."

Together, they winked back to Seung-ho's apartment.

"What was that about?"

Before she could even finish the question, the reaper had already disappeared again in a mist of black.

____

Ji-ho was up early the next morning. Bathed and dressed for work, she came downstairs to find the reaper already up and about. A pair of silk pyjama pants snugly hugged his waistline. Wearing only a night robe open at his chest, he was standing over a table; a coffee mug in his hand and the newspaper spread out on the table.

So many women would kill to see Seung-ho in his natural habitat, tight abs all exposed and looking relaxed. Ji-ho was feeling lucky. She swallowed her saliva and looked away from the delicious sight.

"Good morning," she wished him.

Seung-ho turned to her, eyes a normal warm amber colour. "Let Tae-Hyun know that you won't be needing an apartment."

Ji-ho blinked at him. "Why?"

"You're staying with me," he replied as he turned his gaze back to the paper. "I'll have your things brought here."

"But- I'll be seen coming and going from your apartment." The media and the public would go crazy if it got out that Sun Young-mi was living with Seung-ho.

"Does that bother you?"

If she was being honest, it did bother her just a little bit. By doing this, the public perception she'd created for Jessica would change.

"They'll think Sun Young-mi is dating Seung-ho, and call her a gold digger and a social climber. I don't like it," Ji-ho confessed.

The reaper placed his coffee mug down. "Okay. But that won't happen if we're engaged."

Surely she had heard him wrong.

______

Ji-ho was inside Tae-Hyun's office, still in disbelief as she stared at the blue 8-carat diamond ring on her finger. Seung-ho had dropped $4 million on a real ring for a fake engagement, all to protect Sun Young-mi's reputation.

Even Tae-Hyun was slightly concerned when she told him she was engaged to Seung-ho.

"Aren't you two moving a little fast?" He asked. "You've only gone on one date so far."

Ji-ho cleared her throat, feeling shitty about having to lie to Tae-Hyun. "Honestly, I've loved him for a very long time. I can't say if he feels the same way but I want to give this a try." All these lies because the reaper wanted her to live with him for some reason.

Tae-Hyun took off his glasses and placed them on his table. The news had shocked him and he feared that if the relationship went south, Sun Young-mi would be the one coming out of it with a heartbreak.

"If you're sure about it then I can only support your decision," he told her. "Does Seung-ho intend to make an announcement?"

She had no idea. "I guess," Ji-ho replied.

Lee Tae-Hyun wordlessly stared at her for a few seconds.

"I'll call Seung-ho. Give me a moment," he told her.

______

When Ji-ho left S.S., she waved at the few members of the paparazzi who she had befriended.

"Miss Sun is that ring what I think it is?!" One of them exclaimed excitedly. They'd arrived to confirm the rumour about her dating Seung-ho but this was an even better scoop. Unless Sun Young-mi had woken up and worn a new ring on that finger by mistake, it meant there was big news to be printed tonight.

"Oh, this?" She held up her hand, smiling like a Cheshire cat, and allowed them to take pictures. "My fiance bought it for me. Don't forget to mention in the article that he proposed because an annoying actress who is in love with him has been harassing me."

____

By the time Ji-ho got into the car, the articles had already been published online.

"SUN YOUNG-MI ENGAGED TO MYSTERY FIANCE!!"

"SUN YOUNG-MI'S ENGAGEMENT RING."

And not even an hour later, Seung-ho's official Koka account made an announcement that shook the nation from its core.

*Engaged to the love of my life.*

Uploaded with it was a picture of their hands held in such a way that the engagement ring was shown obviously; the same ring that Sun Young-mi had been showing off to the paparazzi.


CREATORS' THOUGHTS
winterblossom winterblossom

This arc will end soon. :)

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