"Break... up?" she repeated softly, looking up at him with wide eyes. "Wh-- What?"
He squared his shoulders, mentally telling himself that this was the right thing to do. "You told me that you were happiest back when you were acting. That you feel alive when you're on set. That--"
"I did," she said. "B-But what does that--"
"This is the moment you have been waiting for, Oh Yoon Seo. For people to accept and love you again. I will not--" He took a deep breath, tried to speak despite the painful lump in his throat, "I will not stand in your way anymore."
A single tear rolled down her cheek, and hastily she wiped it away, "I d-don't understand," she said. "You just said I made you happy, didn't you? Then why-- why are you doing this? Why are you--"
"It's for the best."
It's for your happiness.
Not long ago, he had told himself that he would commit into doing the best he could, for her sake.
It, unfortunately, included letting her go.
She shook her head, her tears falling in earnest now. "No. No, this isn't-- you're kidding, aren't you? This is-- this is not--" She reached for his sleeve, clutching at it as though it was her lifeline. "Please, tell me that you're just--"
He placed a hand over hers. For a moment, he entertained the thought of holding her, telling her that he was taking it all back, proclaiming that this bullshit he was spewing was all a mistake. For a moment, his resolve wavered, especially at the sight of her in pain.
For a moment, he hated himself that he was causing her to feel this way.
Ultimately, he steeled himself enough to pry her hand off his sleeve. "I'm sorry," he said grimly. "I've already decided." He then turned to go.
"Is that it?" she cried, after he had taken a few steps away. "You've already decided?" She emitted a laugh that sounded too harsh and painful to be genuine. "Why is it that you always get to decide what we should do? You decided that we should date and now--"
He curled his hands to fists. He should have expected that she would put up a fight; she had been so brave when dealing with Lee Kang Joon in her own way, wasn't she? Absurdly enough, he could feel a tinge of pride for her becoming so strong.
He just wished, with everything in him, that he could see more of it.
More of her.
If people find out that two of you were dating, they might start doubting her sincerity.
Can you break up for her sake?
"I didn't want to have to tell you this," he said, "but seeing you in your world - the reporters, the press, your fans - made me realize that it's something I don't want to be a part of."
Turning fully to face her again, he continued, "You said I was sensitive and yes, I admit I am. But surely you must also realize how much I value my privacy. How much I value truth. Having to constantly lie to people and deny what I feel for you - what would that make me? Should I sacrifice my integrity just so I can keep dating you? Should I give up my honor as a man just to make you happy?"
God, what was he saying? They all sound so empty and baseless to his own ears.
But seeing their effect on her, however, made him realize otherwise.
"And breaking up with me," she said, wiping her cheeks again, "will that make you h-happy?"
A thousand times no.
"It's for the best," he repeated instead, feeling more and more hollow inside.
Forget me. Forget this.
This, he supposed, was the natural end of their fairy tale, after all.