Ch. 9Wed Game
Dear Lee Saerom,
Congratulations! From a pool of over three thousand candidates, you have been selected as a contestant for Wed Game. Please visit the location of the office linked below to fill out some paperwork and sign some legal documents. The representatives there will direct you on further instructions.
Looking forward to getting to know you!
My jaw hangs open. I got in? My snarky, unserious application was actually accepted? There is no way someone read my application and decided “yeah, she’d be a great wife to one of the richest chaebols in the country.”
Nah. They must not have read my answers to the application questions. They probably just did it based on pictures or something…
But, gosh, even the photo I posted was a joke. I was sick in bed with a bloated face and scruffy hair. How did anyone look at that photo and give me a pass?
It must have been a random choice then, right??
Or maybe they think they can use my snide application to spice up their lame marriage game. I bet no other applicant decided to diss the chaebol straight out, so they thought it would make for some unique TV content. Probably planning to paint me as some kind of y villain.
Well, joke’s on them, because I am a and I don’t care who knows it.
Apparently, Mingyu also made it through. I don’t mind Mingyu much, but I really hope Seungkwan did not. If he did, he’s going to be a huge pain in my .
I wish he would just leave me alone, but he feels like he has to protect me. When I rejected his proposal, telling him I’m going to apply to participate in Wed Game and try to marry a chaebol instead of him, he got all anxious.
“Have you seen Squid Game, Sae? Why would anyone participate in something like that?”
“Oh please, that’s fiction,” I replied. “No one’s going to die in this game.”
“I can’t let you join a game show inspired by something so barbaric!”
“Well, Seungkwan, I hate to break this to you, but you’re not my mom or my boss. You’ve got no power over me!”
“Why are you doing this, Saerom? You hate Hong Pharmaceuticals, and I’ve offered you everything I have…”
“And I never asked you for it!” I snapped at him.
I feel bad for acting that way toward him. I am sleeping under his roof, eating his food, even wearing his clothes, but I don’t know. I hate feeling like I owe him, so I naturally just lash out.
Like I said, I am a .
But to be honest, he’s one of the main reasons I applied. I hate to admit it, but I do care about Seungkwan a lot. I want to pay him back for everything he’s done, and I don’t want to keep taking money from him forever.
By getting into Wed Game, I’ll be housed and fed for as long as I’m part of the competition, so I won’t be a burden on his household anymore. And I’ll be paid a bit for every day I’m part of the game, which means I’ll be able to pay for Seoyeon’s medicine. And if I win, I can actually pay him back for everything else he’s done for me until now.
I really want to do that.
More importantly, I wouldn’t have to marry him. Instead, he can be with someone he actually likes, someone he actually has chemistry with instead of tethering himself to a pitiful needy girl with a lot of emotional baggage. I want him to rest assured that I can take care of myself, and he doesn’t have to worry about me anymore.
But when I learned from Seoyeon that he applied to protect me, I felt guilty all over again.
I pray, for his sake, that he doesn’t get in.
“I got in,” he tells me that night when I come into his home late at 1am after a long shift at the chicken shop.
He’s stayed up to wait for me. He always does.
I sigh and curse in my head at my luck.
“Did you get in too?” he asks.
“I did. Going to the office tomorrow morning to sign all the papers.”
“You won’t reconsider?”
“I made my decision, Seungkwan.”
“You do realize you’re going to be signing your life away, right?”
“Don’t be so dramatic,” I huff at him. “This isn’t Squid Game. I’m not going to die. And you don’t have to sign the papers if you see it that way.”
“I’m coming with you, Sae,” Seungkwan says. “If you participate, then I will too.”
“That’s annoying,” I mutter. “I’d really like it if you just stopped inserting yourself in my business and following me everywhere like a stalker creep.” The irony of me saying this while at his house after he offered it to me because mine was destroyed by the floods was not lost on me.
“If you lose the game, then will you marry me?” he suddenly asks, looking me straight in the eye as if they are trapping me into an answer.
I don’t want to answer.
Because I don’t want to say yes.
But I also don’t want to say no.
Because marrying Seungkwan will probably be the best for me and my family, and I know it. Even if there’s no love between us, I know Seungkwan is a good person who will make our lives so much easier.
“If I lose the game,” I manage, “we’ll talk.”
“So there’s hope, then?” he asks.
“Yeah,” I mumble. “There is.”
At that, he smiles. There’s a small kind of relief in that smile, but nothing more. No love. No passion. No excitement at the prospect of marrying me. Just plain old relief, as if I were one of his troubling accounting files that he’s finally completed.
I hate this.
I dread the end of Wed Game when I have to face this fate head-on. I don’t want to face it. I want to run as far away from it as possible. That’s what Wed Game is to me: an escape from having to make these difficult choices that will alter my reality and take my life away from me.
And I will continue to escape. I will conquer Wed Game. I will stay in play for as long as I possibly can.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even win.