Chapter 9. Yuri : Accusation.
“I left for five days and the company already downgrade my driver.” I took the front seat, bumping my fist with my best friend's. “If I leave for two more days, Seunggi might end up on the driver seat and we know he doesn't drive stick well.”
“Eyyyy.” Choi Minho started the car. “If it's not for Jinyoung seonsaeng-nim's order, I won't waste my Saturday to pick you up.”
“He told you to pick me up?”
“Yeah. I'm here to take you celebrating the huge success in Qatar. Jinyoung's order. We're going to eat at the most expensive restaurant in town then spoil our sore eyes and body in his recommended massage parlor.”
I scoffed. “I'm coming home a hero now? After Jinyoung and his fellow gentlemen of the board threatened to take the CEO seat from me barely a week ago?”
“Yep. The beauty of business.” Minho grinned. “Now. Eat first or massage parlor first?”
“Just drive me home.”
“Oh come on. Don't sulk like a baby. Enjoy your victory and all the benefits that come with it, man.”
“I'd rather be home with my wife, Minho-yah. Save you your Saturday too. Areum and Sooyoung need you more than the pretty women of the parlor.”
“Are you sure? Jinyoung might get extremely offended if he knows we trade his generous offer for some family time instead.”
“Like I care. I want to spend more time with Jessica. We should have celebrated our 7th anniversary together two days ago.”
“Really? Happy 7th anniversary to you guys. I'm glad everything seems to be alright again with your wife. Sooyoung said she & Jessica have planned an all-girls trip to LA together.” Minho stopped at the red light. “Straight to your place then?”
I nodded, my focus shifted to my ringing phone. The call was from my mother.
“Hello, Mother?” I answered the call immediately.
“Yuri, where are you?”
“On my way home. I have just arrived from Qatar.”
“Come here instead.”
My heart skipped a beat, afraid that something wrong had happened to my parents. “What's happened? Are you, okay? Is Father well?”
“We're all alright. We just need to talk.”
“But I've just arrived, mother. Let me see Jessica first. We'll come for dinner tomorrow instead, alright?”
“Come here right now, Kwon Yuri.” She ended the call, leaving me staring at my phone.
“Your mother?” Minho asked as he made a left turn. “Is something wrong?”
I shook my head in confusion. “She asked me to meet her right now.”
“Have no idea. She said they are fine though. Drop me here, I'll take a cab.”
“No. I'll drive you there. Should we go extra fast? Is it an emergency?”
“I don't know, Minho-yah. I don't know.”
I saw a familiar car on the driveway of my parents' house, a black Hyundai with plate number that I was sure I had seen before. The house seemed as quiet as usual but when I entered the living area I saw my parents and two other persons.
It was Kangin and his wife.
Kangin was my father's only sibling who could be quite a pain in the sometimes. He was a disastrous combination of womanizer and gambling addict rolled into the mind of an obnoxious alcoholic. For as far as I had known him, he only came to my father when he needed help, money, or most of the time, both.
I greeted my father and kissed my mother on the cheek before taking my spot on one of the leather chairs.
“Here comes your spoiled son, hyung.” Kangin spoke to my father. The corner of his lips tugged into a sly smile. “Teach him a lesson or two before I get my hand on him first.”
“What's happened?” I calmly asked, thinking that this was only one of Kangin's usual plot to milk money from my father. He had been nagging my father for age, claiming that he should be the one who ran the company instead of me. The fact was he had lost all part of his inheritance from my grandparents due to all his problematic behaviour.
“Drop the act of innocence.” Kangin frowned “You're such a disgrace to the Kwons. Don't think you can sit like that like a little prince after getting your hand on someone else's wife. I demand full responsibilities and direct compensation.”
“Get my hand on someone else's wife? What do you mean?”
“Hara here claimed that she's pregnant with your child, Yuri.” My mother stated like it was nothing but a weather report.
“What? That's not even possible.” I stared at Hara then at my mother, hoping for one of them to say that this was nothing but a big cruel joke. “We're not even that close. How could I end up impregnating someone without laying a hand on her first?”
“Are you saying that for the past few months you haven't gotten close to my wife, Yuri? Because that will be a big lie.”
“We're close because I hired her to organize a few parties for the company. The job that I had given to Hara to help your family out of the endless financial problem, Kangin-ssi!”
“And in one of those parties, you hadn't got drunk and hadn't ended up bedding her, is that what you're trying to say?”
It me like a lightning, the reality. I did get drunk in one of those parties, so drunk I could only remember waking up in a hotel room in my underwear the morning after. I hadn't made much of the situation that time, thinking that Minho or Seunggi had helped me to the room and got me off my soiled clothes.
“Is that true, son?” My mother, still as calm as a stone, looking at me now.
“I... I don't.” I gaped, grasping for memory of what actually had happened that night but failed miserably. I could only recall the many shots of Vodka and blaring music. “I think I would have known if I had touched her that way.”
The truth was, I had felt so stressed that day. It was the day when the board members of my company had demanded a quick action regarding the crude oil supply deficit while at home, my wife was knee deep in her own black hole and kept on ignoring me.
“You were hell drunk. You wouldn't have known if you have forced yourself to my wife.” Kangin spat. “Right, Hara?”
“Hara?” My mother now inquired the blonde sitting across my seat. “Only the mother of the child can tell who the father is. Is Yuri your baby's father? Had he done the unspeakable to you?”
“Y... Yes... Omonim.”
“Why come to us now then? Why didn't you tell us before?”
“She was afraid.” Kangin glared at my mother now. “What do you think? If haven't questioned her for behaving so strangely, the truth wouldn't even come out today!”
“Fine.” My mother inhaled deeply, closing her eyes for a moment before speaking again. “We need to sort this out.”
“First.” Kangin stood up. “I want compensation for this humiliation. I want Yuri to pay for my lost.”
“Mother, I think we need to prove-” I tried to interject because this accusation seemed too impossible despite the fact that I had no evidence against Kangin's words.
“What kind of prove do you want, Yuri!” Kangin snarled. “Do you want the baby to be born first to see if it has your ugly face? This humiliation is almost too much to bear for my wife and you still have the guts to doubt her?”
“Sit down, Kangin.” My mother ordered. “Let's talk about this like respectable people we are.”
“I'm not gonna sit down, Sister-in-law. You are lucky enough I haven't beaten the life out of your only son. So shut your pie-hole as I tell you respectable people what I want.”
“Treat my mother with some respect, Kangin!” I also stood up, barely held my anger at bay.
“Respect.” He laughed. “Don't you dare talking about respect. You can't even respect your woman enough to stop yourself from touching my wife. Now your wife is probably crying somewhere, losing every bit of respect she has on you.”
“You told my wife?” My self-restrain snapped into two at Kangin's words. I grabbed him by the collar, pushing him against the wall. “You told Jessica?”
“Of course I told her. She needs to know what kind of filthy man her husband is.”
I couldn't hold it anymore. My fist came in contact with Kangin's jaw, sending the man to the carpeted floor.
Jessica was just getting better. This man probably had ruined all the efforts to bring her out of the dark depression. I could imagine Jessica falling back into the black hole. Her heart broke and her peace disturbed once more.
Kangin should have been more sensible. He could have told me before he decided to tell anyone else.
I turned to left the room. My wife was my priority and I needed to be with her right now.
“Yeah, right. Leave.” Kangen laughed mockingly. “Treat me like a garbage and I'll bring the media into this chaos. See if the world will still respect you after they know about this. See if your wife still want to see your face tomorrow.”
I turned around, arm raising ready to give Kangin another taste of my anger.
“Kwon Yuri! Stop!” My mom coldly ordered. “And sit down. You too, Kangin.”
“But mother, Jessica-”
“Sit. Down.” My mother took a cup of tea from the table, handing it to my father who was eerily silent in his wheelchair. “And nobody is talking until I ask to, understand.”
I sat back on the chair, staring at my mother who was busy tending to my father. My father hadn't been the same since he had gotten a heart attack five years ago. But his eyes showed anger and I had no idea if he was mad at me or at his brother.
“This is how we will sort this out.” My mother spoke after a while. “Kangin will get the compensation for the heartbreak and humiliation. 5% of our share in SK-K enterprise along with family assets worth of ten billion wons.”
“10% share and twenty billions assets. Not taking less here.” The grin on Kangin's face made me want to punch him some more.
“Fine 10% and twenty billions.” My mother nodded, her hand went to caress my father's hand. “Hara will stay here with us until the baby is born. We'll provide anything she needs and also give her allowance, let's say one million wons a month.”
My gaze fell on Hara. She didn't grin like her husband, just staring down at her shoes. One of her hands was resting on her stomach and I wondered if I had really done it with her on that damned night.
“Yuri will marry Hara immediately.”
The order came like thunder. I was ready to protest but my mother raised her hand, silently telling me to shut up.
“This baby is the heir we've been wanting for so long, she or he needs to be born under this family's name.”
“I don't think it needs to get that far, sister-in-law.” With his grin slowly faded from his face, Kangin spoke to my mother. “We're more than willing to take care of the baby on this family's behalf. You can just give Hara the allowance and facilities. She's my wife after all, I can't just let Yuri marry her.”
“No. Let me repeat myself. Yuri will marry Hara, and she have to stay here with us until the baby is born.”
“But-” It was Hara who tried to protest now but my mother cut her words short.
“Once the baby is born we'll have a DNA test conducted. If the baby really is Yuri's child, we'll take the baby under our care and you both will receive greater compensation. Wealth you can't even imagine before. Yuri will then divorce Hara so she can get back to you, Kangin. She can also have all the money and facilities we have given to her. But the baby stays.”
“No. I can't-” Hara tried to stand up but Kangin held her still.
“But if the baby doesn't belong to Yuri. I promise you, Kangin, and you too Hara. There will be price to pay. And I'm not talking about money here.” My mother stared sharply at Hara now. “My side of the family know so many people. All kind of people, the good and the bad. One word for me and there will be men ready to make your life miserable.”
Hara was now shrinking on her spot. Both of her hands wrapped tightly around her midriff.
“Lying to us about such delicate matter will bring you more harm than you have ever expected before, Hara.” These coldness and fierceness in my mother's eyes, I had never seen them before. I watched in amazement as my mother leaned forward threateningly while focusing on Hara. “So tell me, are you even pregnant? Does the baby really belong to my son?”
“You can't threat her like that.” Kangin stood up again, looking extremely annoyed. “We're here because we care about this family. We could have just spread the news to the media and see you guys crumble.”
“You are the one who will crumble once the truth comes out.” My mother spat her words coldly at my father's younger brother before turning to look at Hara again. “This is your last chance before things get too far, Hara. I can sense something is wrong when Kangin was the only one who talked. And his talk was all about money. Not once he showed he cares about you, his wife.”
I took a deep breath, starting to see where the conversation was heading. I shouldn't have doubted my brilliant mother.
“You probably can't see it yet but your husband is a fake and a fool, Hara.” My mother continued. “He only cares about himself. He'll throw you under the bus if it can give him more money.”
“He said...he said that we'll get quick money.” Hara's glanced at Kangin before looking down.
“Shut up, Hara!” Kangin glared at his wife now.
“He promised me this will be an easy lie. That you won't want anything to do with the baby and we'll end up with enough money to pay the mounting debts and to raise our child.”
I could see Hara' lips trembled as she spoke. I felt bad for her but it didn't stop me to clarify. “It's not my baby then?”
“It's not. Forgive me Yuri. I found you passed out after the party and thought it would be safer if I got you checked in at the Hotel, but Kangin came to pick me and he said things.” Hara's hands went to cover her face now. She was obviously crying. “He planned this. I was so desperate for better life I have agreed to him just like that.”
“You idiot!” Kangin yelled at his wife now. “You just have no idea when to shut your mouth, you bi-!”
Kangin was about to slap his wife, his hand was lifted up to the air. I immediately jumped up to stop him but someone beat me to it.
A tea cup flew across the room, hitting Kangin's square on his temple before falling to the floor and broke into pieces.
Kangin yelled in pain, blood started to seep from the small slit on the side of his head. The rest of us just gasped in shock.
I turned and I saw my father trembling in his wheelchair. His hand was shaking as he pointed at his brother. “Go!”
“Yeobo.” My mother came to my father's side, wrapping her hand around his shoulder. “Calm down. Mind your blood pressure.”
“Go!” My father yelled again. It was the loudest I had ever heard of him since the heart attack.
“Scram! You shameless bastard! Stay away from my family or I will kill you!” Even with his hoarse voice I could tell that my father meant every word he say. He was heaving in anger now.
“You... you can't do that to me hyung.” With his hand covering his bleeding temple, Kangin tried to stand for himself. “I'm your brother. And-”
“Call the police.” My father spoke to my mother now, a lot calmer then he was a few seconds ago. “And our lawyer. My late mother will hate me for this but I swear on the name of my father, may he rest in peace, that I will teach you a lesson today, Kangin!”
Kangin seemed about to put up a fight but the fire in my father's eyes probably made him think smarter. He turned, pulling at Hara's hand.
“Hara can stay.” It was my mother's turn to speak. “If she promise to do good, we'll help her raise her child. It's my husband's niece or nephew that she's carrying anyway.”
“No! She's my wife. She comes with me. Hara and the baby are mine!”
“No.” Hara shook her head. “I'm not going to let you corrupt my baby's mind like you have done to me, Kangin. I'm sorry. I'm staying.”
It was easy to recognize the defeated look on Kangin's face. I waited, ready to take action if he decided to harm Hara or my family. But he just huffed, then turned to look at me.
“All of these should have been mine, spoiled brat! The company, the name, the honor and the wealth. A kid like you shouldn't have inherited my father's lifetime hard work just like that. You don't deserve this.”
“No. Uncle.” I shook my head. “I never think I deserve this. That's why I work hard to prove my worth. To my father. To my late grandfather.”
“You've told my wife a lie and God knows what she think of me right now. So please just excuse yourself in peace before I beat you into pulp with my fists.”
Kangin left. His car roared on the driveway, leaving me sighing in the living room. My head pounded as I sat back on the chair while inside, my heart beat fast at the thought of Jessica.
“Yuri.” I felt my mother's hand on my shoulder. “Go home, son. Go to your wife.”
“Mother, I don't know what to do.” I looked away. “Jessica is just getting better. This lie. I'm afraid it might-” I couldn't even finish my sentence.
“If... If needed, I can explain to Jessica.” Hara spoke from her spot, eyes still looking down at the floor. “ I will apologize. I will make her see the truth.”
“The damage has been done, Hara-ssi. The truth is not even matter anymore.” I stood up, bidding my father goodbye before kissing my mother on the cheek and asked her to wish me luck.
“You love my daughter-in-law so much and I know she loves you too” My mother rubbed my arm as she let go of her hug around me. “Both of you will find a way.”
“I hope so, mother. I hope so.”
___ tbc ___
Author's note : I was happy to know that most of you guys put your trust on Yuri. Now I want to know your thought on Jessica's reaction. Will she crumble? Will she not? Tell me your opinion, please. It might change the course of the story at some points. ^^