I Need Romance - Old Flame (1/2)

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Home sweet home, Bae Sung Hyun thought as he walked through the Incheon airport gates.

"Welcome, sir," the chauffeur, a short and probably not even over 25-year old man, croaked and dropped the sign with RH hotels written on it. His hat fell on the floor too when he bowed.

Sung Hyun only had to remove his sunglasses to cut off the flow of apologies from his chauffeur. "Name?"

"Oh Dong Gu, sir," he stuttered.

"Are you new to the job?"

"I started a month ago, sir."

"And who assigned you to be my chauffeur?"

"Director Hwang Hong Min."

The expression of guilt on Dong Gu's face was brief but real as he glanced down. Sung Hyun put back on his sunglasses. "Let's go," he said as he stepped aside to let him push his cart.

The one-hour ride to the hotel was enough for Sung Hyun to check one more time the latest declining profit reports of RH Hotels and for Oh Dong Gu to tell him about his big plan to buy back the bar his grandfather, he called Mrs. Oh (Sung Hyun decided not to ask further clarification), had to sell to pay for his cancer treatment ten years ago.

"I have it all planned. Three years from now, I can have enough money to make a loan and then..."

Sitting on the backseat, Sung Hyun look from his tablet. "Are you confident you can manage it and not lose it again?"

"Well... I'm attending this night course management and I have a friend who can help me out. She's so smart."

"As long as you can trust her..."

"See, Ha Na and I grew up together. We're like best friends. I can trust her."

"What about you? Are you trustworthy?"

The stuttered answer sounded more like a yes than a no, but no word were exchanged until they reached the downtown hotel.

"We're here, sir," Dong Gu said, looking back.

Sung Hyun sighed and lightly knocked on his window. Dong Gu quickly apologized and went out to open the door.

With a wave of his hand, Sung Hyun kept the luggage handler on put as he turned to Dong Gu who was unloading the truck. "Here's my offer. I will personally train you for the next few weeks. I'll make sure you get your evenings free so you can attend your classes. In exchange, I want you to be my eyes and my ears."

Dong Gu looked down. "I'm not sure I understand what you're asking me, sir."

"Do you know why I'm here?" Sung Hyun asked and went on when Dong Gu remained silent. "Do you know what happens when hotels are closed down?"

"Employees lose their job."

"Employees lose their job, indeed. I'm here to prevent this from happening. If you're not going to help me, don't get in my way at least. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, sir."

***

It seemed like time had stopped. If the quick tour of the hotel he hadn't been enough evidence, the suite booked for Sung Hyun was exactly the same as when he left fourteen years ago. It was no surprise they were losing clients while their rivals kept upgrading.

"I know, son. I know," his father quietly agreed as he motioned him to pour him a glass of water. The machines he was hooked on beeped at a steady pace. "That's why I asked you to come back. At this point, you're the only one I can trust."

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