Life, Once Again! - Chapter 306
Lawyer Park approached the Mercedes-Benz’s driver seat and knocked on the window. Only then did the window open. Maru was able to see a middle-aged woman with her hands tightly grabbing the driving wheel. It seemed that she was panicking.
“Uhm, ma’am. Take your foot off the brake pedal for now. As well as the accelerator pedal.”
“Because it’s dangerous. You must be nervous, but this is not a big accident, so first, calm down and take your hands off the driving wheel. You might end up causing additional accidents if you keep grabbing the wheel tightly like that.”
Lawyer Park was very calm as he spoke. The middle-aged woman also obediently followed his words.
“Are you hurt anywhere?”
“Fortunately, I’m not hurt either,” said Lawyer Park with a smile.
Gracefulness could be felt from how he talked to others. Although it wouldn’t be surprising if he got angry at the other party for her wrongs, he did not do so.
“Would you like to get out of the car and have a look at the collision?”
“Do I have to get out?” The middle aged woman asked back as she flinched back.
“Haha. There’s been an accident, so it’s better to have a look. It’s just a small collision, so there’s nothing big, so you don’t have to be worried about that. Do you have insurance?”
From the way she answered, it seemed that she drove a car that was under her husband’s name. The middle-aged woman told lawyer Park to wait a moment before making a call somewhere. After hanging up, the middle-aged woman just uneasily looked at lawyer Park and sat there obediently.
“Did you call the insurance company?”
“No, I called my sister. She’s here at school.”
“Ah, alright. That’s good.”
Lawyer Park treated her nicely this whole time. A few minutes later, a woman appeared at the parking lot. She had a slightly upset face though. Maru clicked his tongue when he saw the familiar face. She was in the group that scolded Woojoo for something that wasn’t his fault during the day. She had a big ring on her finger, and just walked right past lawyer Park, ignoring him and talked to the middle-aged woman for a brief moment. After nodding a few times, she looked at lawyer Park.
“What is going on here?” The woman with the ring asked, clearly on edge.
Lawyer Park replied with a smile.
“There was a collision accident. The driver was driving in reverse when this happened. It’s not a big accident, so if you don’t want to call insurance, I think I’ll end the case here by sending you the invoice for the repair fee.”
“Are you sure it was my sister that drove in reverse and hit your car? Are you sure you didn’t hit her instead?”
“Of course, you might think of it that way, but you can ask the driver and get a grasp on the situation.”
“My sister was panicking though. You didn’t shout at her or something?”
“I wouldn’t dare. I’m a shy man and I don’t even know how to raise my voice.”
Seeing lawyer Park reply to her so proficiently, the woman curled up her lips. Maru wondered if she was just being picky. He shrugged his shoulders while she wasn’t looking. Lawyer Park faintly smiled.
“Even though an accident happened, a woman will get scared if a man is staring at her from outside the car, don’t you think?”
“Hm. I guess that’s a possibility.”
“And also, it doesn’t look like your car costs anything much. You can’t threaten a person just because of some pocket change.”
Pocket change. For some reason, Maru was hearing that word several times today. This woman seemed like she wouldn’t be able to endure not putting her nose into other people’s business. Also, she sounded incredibly offensive with her words. It seemed like she had packed up her manners in a piece of paper and threw it in the trash. Maru wondered where her confidence was coming from. Was she not aware of the fact that it was the middle-aged woman that caused the accident?
“I guess I am a little big. I didn’t think about that,” Lawyer Park apologized with a kind smile.
Maru inwardly applauded. That flexibility was worth learning. The woman with the ring had to be feeling anxious right now. After all, the other party wasn’t being as submissive as she planned.
“Then should we proceed with what I just said?”
“Wait a moment, if you saw my sister driving in reverse, you should have gotten out of her way. Why did you not dodge in time?”
“I was waiting.”
“I don’t care if you were waiting or not. If you saw it, then you should’ve moved out of the way.”
“I thought that she’d take a long time pulling the car out of the parking space, so I stopped and was looking for an item in the glovebox, so I didn’t see her car approaching.”
“Then you admit that you have a share of the blame as well?”
“If this was an ordinary road, then it is most definitely entirely her fault. But I guess this is a school, and it’s near the parking lot. Considering that my car wasn’t in a proper slot, then we can say that I have about 10% of the blame. Then should I proceed with this?”
“Are you sure about that? I mean, you could’ve just gotten out of the way.”
“Hahaha,” lawyer Park laughed out loud. Maru intuitively realized that that laugh was his limit.
“Why don’t we just call insurance and take the easy way out?”
When lawyer Park took out his phone, the woman with the ring approached the lady in the car. After a short conversation, the woman with the ring spoke,
“Insurance is no good.”
She made her intentions clear. It seemed that the woman in the car did not want to call insurance. Perhaps she didn’t want her husband to find out that she caused an accident.
“Fuu, then give me a phone number I can call. I’ll contact you once I get a proper estimate on the repair fee.”
“There’s no need to do that. We’ll just deal with it here. How the hell do I know if it’s safe to give you my number?”
The woman with the ring had a look at the part where the accident happened before suddenly taking out five 10,000 won bills from her wallet.
“This will do, won’t it? It seems second-hand too.”
“I have to replace the front bumper and repaint this part here, so that’s not enough.”
“How much are you planning to spend for a car like this?”
“Even cheap Korean cars need more than 100,000 won if you factor in the labor costs. And that’s not considering the paint job.”
“You’re going too far here. Do you see this car? It’s a Mercedes-Benz. How much do you think the repair is going to cost? I was going to do this the nice way, but I guess I’m at my limit. Be honest here. You thought that you got lucky because the car you saw was a super expensive one, didn’t you? Also, you wanted to rip money off my sister because she looked scared. It’s obvious without even looking. This is why people are no good.”
“What’s no good?”
“Do I have to say it? Anyway, either you take the 50,000 won I’m offering you right now, or else, we’re going to send you the invoice for our repair fee as well.”
The woman was really obstinate and did not listen to words. She even had a smug smile on her face as though she felt that she had won this battle.
Maru had a look at lawyer Park. Lawyer Park sighed and redid his tie. He even redid the top button of his shirt and even put on a necktie pin, cleaning himself up.
To Maru’s eyes though, he seemed like a knight from the middle ages putting on his armor. He was preparing for battle. The woman with the ring frowned before taking out another bill from her pocket as though she was being extremely benevolent.
“Here. Let’s come to an agreement with this.”
Lawyer Park smiled back at her and refused her money. Just then, a group of middle-aged people came to the parking lot. It seemed that the parents were going back as well since the students were leaving school. People gathered around. They all asked the woman with the ring what happened as they seemed acquainted with each other.
“There was a bit of a problem. This dude here treats me like an idiot.”
The man who was looking at the woman with the ring then had a look at lawyer Park. Lawyer Park, who had tidied himself up with his back towards them, turned around. Then, the man visibly brightened up before greeting him.
“Lawyer Park. You couldn’t be seen anywhere. So you were in a place like this.”
When the man cheerfully greeted lawyer Park, the woman with the ring immediately became uneasy.
“Ah, it’s been a long time. We met during a group dinner, didn’t we?”
“Yes. So you remember me.”
“Of course I do. So your child goes to this school as well?”
“Yes. Yours too?”
“That’s a coincidence. My daughter goes to this school.”
“I see. Why don’t we have dinner together as a family one time? I hope my daughter can befriend your daughter.”
“Haha, alright. Let’s meet at the restaurant from back then one time.”
“My, it’s an honor.”
The man shook hands with lawyer Park with both of his hands. Maru saw that the woman with the ring was slowly walking backwards.
“But it looks like there was a misunderstanding here. You’re not someone that would treat anyone badly, lawyer.”
The man tried to resolve the situation in lawyer Park’s favor. He knew the woman with the ring, so he didn’t want to make a big deal out of this either. Had he come earlier, lawyer Park would have smiled back and have done as the man said, but how about now?
“Oh, no, of course not. It was just an accident.”
“Ah, I see….”
“Looks like I should call insurance then.”
Lawyer Park gave a nod to the woman with the ring before approaching the woman in the car. The woman in the car had left her car. It seemed that she had realized that lawyer Park was not someone to be looked down upon from the attitude of everyone here.
“Uhm, I’m sorry. This is the first time I got into an accident, and this is my husband’s car so I wasn’t used to it. I should’ve apologized immediately. Sorry about that.”
“Not at all. You don’t need to apologize. Insurance will handle everything.”
“S-sir. I’ll pay you all the repair fees, okay? It will be really bad if my husband finds out about this.”
Lawyer Park looked at the woman with the ring as he said that. The driver immediately grabbed the hand of the woman with the ring and made an apologetic expression.
“She didn’t have any bad intentions either. I mean, the world we live in is not safe. That’s why she overreacted a little, so I hope you don’t get mad at her for that.”
The driver jabbed the woman with the ring. The woman with the ring apologized unwillingly.
“I’m sorry, but….”
Before she could continue, the driver cut her off. Lawyer Park also didn’t seem to have any intentions of dragging this out any further, so he relaxed his expression and settled the deal by sending them the repair invoice.
“Sorry for the commotion.”
“Not at all, sir. A skirmish here and a quarrel there is what makes living fun. Don’t worry about this and please take your leave.”
“Then, I shall take my leave first then.”
“Yes, yes. Go ahead.”
Seeing lawyer Park’s signal, Maru got in the car. He saw the group of middle-aged people through the rearview mirror and saw that they were all smiling.
“You must be someone great, lawyer.”
“You should become one too if you feel envious.”
“I told you I’m not good at studying.”
Lawyer Park started driving with a smile.
* * *
Lim Bitna clicked her tongue as she saw the car leave. She didn’t like the fact that the man was talking back to her at every turn, but things went in the wrong direction.
“Is that lawyer someone that great?”
Bitna spoke to the man that resolved the situation. She was on close terms with him since they lived in the same apartment building, so she did not like what he did just now.
“Watch your words, lady. If he’s just any lawyer, then I wouldn’t be like this. He’s different.”
“Because he’s a former prosecutor superintendent. He got that position when he was in his mid forties, so do you get how amazing he is now?”
“Is that something to be so amazed about?” Bitna asked because she didn’t know.
The man frowned in frustration.
“Anyway, you don’t want to get on his bad side, so smile at him the next time you come across him. You don’t know what will happen in life.”
“But he’s still a mere lawyer. Someone we use our money to hire.”
“Oh gosh, don’t go saying that to anyone. You might get in big trouble.” The reason why lawyers and doctors were respected was because they earned a lot of money. Only peasants without money call them respectfully, and people with money just considered them as someone they could hire. Bitna snorted. She had consulted a lawyer due to some problems with deposit. At that time, the lawyer treated her like a queen. What was so amazing about a job that people could use money to hire?
She ignored the words of the man who told her to be careful and left the place after saying that she’d go over to her sister. She had an appointment.
“Yes, head manager Park.”
She got a call when she stopped in front of the traffic lights. It was from head manager Park who was in charge of managing the ‘rooms’. One of the girls who worked there wasn’t coming to work because she was sick.
“Go check up on her. They don’t even have their periods, they can’t be sick. If she really seems bad, then take her to the hospital. But dammit, the rotation rate on the tables is not that high if she’s not around. Do we have any others that are on par with her? We do? Then contact her and have her fill the other girl’s place. Give all the TC to her as well. But you have to bring a girl that’s actually decent, okay? You know that our store is known for being one of the best places that have great girls. Okay, thanks.”
Bitna lit up her cigar. When a prominent girl gets sick, they would make a call. Bitna got very angry whenever girls like them got sick leaves when they made dozens of millions of won each month.
“Goddammit. I’m annoyed as it is because of that dude.”
Just then, she saw a man staring at her from another car. Bitna opened the window and shouted.
“What? Is it your first time seeing a woman smoking?”
The young man turned his face around. The traffic light changed and Bitna tossed the cigarette outside the window and drove off. She calmed down and checked her face in the mirror. The guest she had to meet today was someone she couldn’t show her ugly side to.
After arriving at the store in Cheongdam-dong, Bitna got out of her car and went into the store. It was about time the guest was arriving. She changed her clothes and sprayed some perfume. Her figure in the mirror was still decent to look at despite the fact that she was in her forties.
“Unni, is darling coming today?”
“Girlie. Don’t mind me and just manage the table. Also, did you gain weight?”
The girl left with a smile. Bitna wore the shirt that the guest bought for her. That man liked shirts for some reason. She was waiting quietly in an empty room until the door opened without a knock. Bitna smiled after looking at the guest, and waved at the head manager to go.
“What brings you here today?”
“I wanted a drink.”
Bitna stood up and received the jacket that the man took off. Then, she undid his tie for him. She brought the man, who seemed tired, to the sofa. The man yawned.
Bitna stroked the man’s stubbly beard as she asked,
“Why does my dear Mr. Hong Janghae look so tired today?”
 While this says ‘dongsaeng’ (younger sibling). It does not necessarily mean that the two are blood related. It's quite confusing even in the Korean text. So I'll use sister here.
 This may sound awkward, but there’s this weird ‘custom/habit’ of Koreans where when two people shake hands, the one who’s trying to suck up to the other party grabs the hand with both hands. So in this case, ‘the man’ is being ‘submissive’ to ‘lawyer Park’.
 I had to look this up… TC stands for ‘table charge’ and it refers to the tip that a customer has to pay the ‘table girl’. So yeah, you know where this is going.