Just a heads up that the prologue is almost wrapped up in a chapter or two. We are very close to the present day story!
As promised, they visited every day, and as promised by Dr.Kim, Hyunbin had his stitches removed and took his first steps into his aunt's apartment a week later.
Over the next month, his cuts slowly faded away, only the scar on his shoulder remained to remind him of that terrible day.
But their aunt and Minhyun did fairly well helping them get over it and move on. Jessica always tried to distract them with the happier things in life, like ice cream and amusement parks. While Minhyun was there when their minds did flash back to painful memories. Jessica never knew what Minhyun did since he always wanted to be alone with his brothers when they cried but he must've been doing it right since they always seemed to be happy and cheery the next day.
It seemed to be the hardest for Daehwi, he cried every night, but it was becoming less frequent and it made Minhyun glad.
So when they all seemed emotionally stable, Jessica registered them for the local elementary school, education was still important. After hearing their story the principal was more than willing to let them in despite being a month late.
Daehwi and Seonho were still too young and would stay at home with Jessica while she worked.
The first day she brought them all in, their respective teachers were standing by the office eagerly waiting for the boys' that they've heard so much about it.
"Hyungs!" Daehwi wasn't used to the idea and upset about seeing all his hyungs leaving him. He was crying and making grabby hands but Jessica had to keep a firm hand on his shoulder.
"It'll be fine Daehwi, look you still have Seonho." She lowered Seonho down in front of Daehwi, oblivious to the tears, Seonho clapped happily upon seeing his brother.
"B-but what if h-hyungs l-leave forever?"
"No, we won't Daehwi." Minhyun gave him a kiss on his forehead. "You'll see us soon don't worry."
"Pinky promise." Minhyun curled his pinky with Daehwi's shaky one, he left with a hug and followed his teacher down the hall. The other three gave him a hug and left as well. Daehwi still looked sad as the trio left the school.
"You'll get to go to school next year Daehwi." Daehwi liked the sound of it and his mood changed almost immediately. Jessica laughed watching her nephew skip to the car.
And when school was finished, Jessica was glad to see all the boys okay. She was a little nervous about how Hyunbin's classmates were going to react to his smile but he couldn't stop smiling and talking about how cool they thought it was so she was okay with it. She thought she was.
Jessica didn't have a good feeling when she felt her phone buzzing in her pocket.
She was grocery shopping with Daehwi and Seonho while the others were at school. She grimaced at the identity of the school calling.
"Hi Ms. Jung, are you available to come to the school?" It was the principal.
"What happened?" Jessica watched Daehwi try to sneakily add a bucket of ice cream to the cart.
"There was a physical dispute."
"I'll be on my way." She'll let the ice cream slide this time. She rushed the cart to check out, she had finished most of the shopping anyway. She got in her van with the other two and left for the school.
She stopped as she was about to enter the principal's office.
"Mmmmm I shouldn't take you guys in." She left Daehwi and Seonho with the secretary. Who cooed at the little bundle of fluff in her arms and passed Daehwi a small box of children's books and toys. Satisfied with the scene, Jessica knocked on the door.
"Come in." She walked in to see Minhyun sitting in one chair, unharmed. However the boy on the other side had a bloody nose and a black eye, and his mother was trying to console him on the other side. "Good afternoon Ms. Jung."
"Can someone explain to me what happened." Jessica sat beside Minhyun.
"Your son assaulted my son!" The other woman got up and pointed an accusing finger at Jessica.
"He's my nephew, I want to know why he did."
"According to students in the hall and a teacher that witnessed it, Minhyun did attack Himchan first."
"I'm going to sue you for this!"
"Please calm yourself Mrs.Kim." The woman sat back down.
"Now I think I know what happened but we're going to have to ask someone else. Hey, Eunbi." The principal contacted the secretary through a device on his desk.
"Look at you Seonho, you're so cute OH! Mr. Yoo, what can I get you." Jessica could practically feel the secretaries embarrassment.
"Please send Hwang Hyunbin to my office."
"Sure sir *click* Excuse the interruption. Can Hwang Hyunbin come to the office? Thank you. *click* All done, he should be there in a minute."
"Thank you Eunbi."
"You're welcome........ That word Daehwi? It says beautiful, let's sound it out Bee-yoo-tee-full. Good!" The principal laughed at his secretary.
"Turn off your microphone Eunbi."
"Oh my god I'm so sorry, oh are you Hyunbin. "Hyunbin Hyung!" "Yes Hyunbin Mr. Yoo is waiting for you in his office, go ahead." Eunbi switched off her microphone as Hyunbin poked his head inside. All it took for him was to make eye contact with Himchan for a second before he ran out of the office.
Mr. Yoo pressed his lips into a tight line, his theory seemed to be correct.
"Hmm, I don't want to come to a conclusion yet." He flipped on his microphone again. "Eunbi."
"Come back! Daehwi do you want to go get your brother? Go ahead but be careful. Yes, Mr.Yoo?"
"Send me the security camera recording for the hallway by the lower floor bathroom from the last hour."
"Of course! It should be fully uploaded to your computer in a minute."
"Hyunbin's back do you want him to come in or..."
"He can stay there with his brother."
"Okay, thanks." The voice cut out again. Mr. Yoo typed a few things on his computer, turning the monitor over to everyone else in the room after a minute.
"Now I haven't seen the footage but shall we watch it?'
"Anything to prove how victimized my son is!" Himchan's mother exclaimed.
"Very well." Mr.Yoo flipped on the recording.
"Come on! Smile! I want to see how ugly you look!" Himchan had Hyunbin cornered against the wall with a couple of his other friends.
Hyunbin muttered in rejection and shook his head
"Let's beat it out of him!"
"Good idea!" Himchan kicked Hyunbin in the stomach, drawing a yelp out of him and forcing him to the ground. "Are you going to show us that ugly smile or do you want another kick?"
"Don't lay another finger on him!" Minhyun showed up in the corner of the screen.
"Come and make me!" It didn't take another second before Minhyun leaped at him. Himchan's friends tried to pull Minhyun off of Himchan as he repeatedly punched his face. A teacher who was passing by ran over and got Minhyun off of Himchan.
"Don't you dare hurt my brother again!" Minhyun shouted as the teacher dragged him off screen. Hyunbin sat scared in the corner as another teacher appeared on the screen to help Hyunbin.
Mr. Yoo closed the recording and quirked his eyebrow towards Himchan's mom.
"See! He beat my son up!"
"And you didn't see what your son was doing previously?" His mother was tongue tied. The principal his microphone. "Eunbi can you send Hyunbin to the school nurse and tell her to check in his abdominal area."
"Of course Mr. Yoo! Come on Hyunbin, let's go to the nurse! Yes, Daehwi can come too....... oh and I should bring cute little Seonho." Mr. Yoo turned back to them after shutting off his microphone.
"It's against the school rules to bully someone, but it is also bad to physically hurt someone. But since Himchan committed both of those I'll give him 2 months of detention." His mother was flabbergasted. "You can't do that!"
"Oh yes I can, if you don't leave with him now I'll suspend him for a few days." She angrily got up and left with Himchan. "You're a terrible principle!"
"And you're a terrible mother!" He fired back as the door closed. He looked back to Jessica and Minhyun.
"Is Minhyun getting detention too?"
"I understand where he's coming from and the reasons for his actions but fighting isn't the answer. And I'm sure you don't have the time for him to stay after school for a detention. So here." Minhyun passed two pages to Minhyun. "You can fill out these reflection sheets on your actions and bring them to me tomorrow, then you won't have detention." He gave the two of them a wink.
"Oh thank you, Mr. Yoo." Jessica bowed graciously. Minhyun gave a tiny bow as well.
"It's my pleasure, your nephew reminds me of my childhood self." He placed his hand on Minhyun's shoulder. "Now if anyone tries to bully Hyunbin or your other brothers just come tell me okay? Or else I'll make you fill out another reflection sheet if you hit them."
"Thank you, you must've been through a lot today, you can take him home now if you want Ms. Jung."
"That would be nice."
"Do you want to take your other nephews home as well?"
"Yes." Mr.Yoo pressed a green button before turning on his microphone "May Hwang Seongwoo and Hwang Jaehwan please come to the office, and bring your belongings."
After the other two arrived, they all left Mr.Yoo and headed to the nurse's office to visit Hyunbin while Minhyun filled the duo in on what happened.
"Pfft really? Your classmate tried to beat up someone 6 years younger than him? How pathetic." Seongwoo guffawed and received a slap from Jaehwan.
"What if Hyunbin is really hurt?"
"Knowing how pathetic that Himchan guy is he probably tickled Hyunbin with his foot."
"You're right!" The two ended up laughing until they reached the door of the nurses' office, both faces turning into worry as they got a peek at Hyunbin who was looking down on the bed.
"He wouldn't let me check." The nurses said. "But I let Daehwi do the check up instead and it doesn't seem to be anything bad. Just a light bruise that's delicate to touch. Just don't roughhouse with him and he should be fine."
"That's great! Let's go home and Auntie Sica will make her famous kimchi stew to make you feel better." Hyunbin immediately ran up to Minhyun and hugged his leg. It was only when Minhyun picked him up did they realize that he was crying.
"T-thanks for h-helping me h-hyung."
"Of course Hyunbinne." Minhyun patted his back. "And if someone wants to make fun of you again tell hyung and he'll beat them up."
"No, he'll tell the principal so he doesn't get detention." Jessica reminded him.
As a kind gesture, the nurse handed the boys lollipops and they were on there way out of the school.
**Later that night**
Jessica lazily slapped the baby monitor off, must be time for one of Seonho's feedings. She climbed out of bed after a minute and walked to the kitchen to grab a bottle of the pre-made formula.
"Isn't that good Seonho?" Jessica stopped when she entered. Minhyun was already there feeding Seonho with a tired grin.
"Minhyun you're awake?" The said boy took notice of his aunt and smiled at her. "It's late Auntie Sica why don't you go off to bed?"
"I should be saying the same thing it's 3 am!"
"It's fine I know you're tired from taking care of all of us."
"Oh, Minhyun...." Jessica gazed at how content Seonho looked in Minhyun's arms. "You know you're a really good big brother."
"I try my best."
"I can tell they all look up to you."
"Are you sure you don't want me to take over? You must be tired."
"I'm fine, tomorrow's Saturday anyway, I'll just be sleeping a bit longer."
"If you say so Minhyun, good night." Jessica walked back to her room and climbed into bed.
She left her bedroom door open so that she could listen to Seonho's soft giggles to the quiet, sweet nothings Minhyun whispered in his ear.
~~~~~~~2 years later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Now Mrs. Kim, would you let us in on the secret to your success."
"Well, it certainly wasn't luck." The two laughed on the T.V. "But all I did was work hard, expanding our cafes across the country."
"That's really nice Mrs.Kim, but you must've had a few obstacles on your way to fortune, mind filling us in on any?"
"Well there was one obstacle a couple of years ago, but I can't fill you in on that. But I was able to overcome and it's what allowed me to move to Seoul with my family to grow my business."
"Mrs.Kim that's lovely! Are you sure you don't want to fill us in on that obstacle?"
"Haha, my lips are sealed."
"Also congratulations on your acceptance into the National Assembly." The reporter offered a gentle round of applause.
"Thank you for the congratulations."
"How is that like Mrs.Kim? Balancing your cafe and political life?"
"It may seem tiring, but it's very pleasant and there is no struggle whatsoever in balancing the two."
"And if I'm correct you're married with 3 kids? How's that too."
"You are correct, my family is doing great. My kids do enjoy watching over our cafes while my husband manages everything when I'm busy."
"There have been rumors going around that you plan to be president one day, is that true?"
"Why yes, it is. Who wouldn't aspire to lead such a wonderful country."
"That's wonderful Mrs.Kim, oh looks like that's all the time we have for now." The reporter turned back to the camera.
"And there you have it, folks, our lovely interview with affluent cafe owner and possible future president of South Korea, Kim Taeyeon has come to a close. Coming up next, A car pileup on highway 50 has occurred, injury amounts will be broadcasted when received. So stay tuned."
Jessica smiled, Kim Taeyeon seemed so wonderful, she remembered seeing her in her first cafe a couple of years ago in Busan.
"Ahh, I hope I get to see her again." Jessica walked to the living room. "Breakfast time!" Jessica called out. Immediately 6 heads popped out of their rooms and raced for the kitchen. Seonho tripped on his stubby legs but Jessica caught him.
"Going too fast there little guy, let's get you seated in the kitchen." She carried Seonho to the kitchen to see Jaehwan and Seongwoo fighting over the same chair again.
"You got to sit here yesterday!"
"You sat here for a whole week in a row!"
"Calm down!" Minhyun's voice silenced them. "Jaehwan you sat there yesterday so Seongwoo can sit there," Jaehwan grumbled and sat beside Hyunbin.
"Aren't you all excited for school?" Jessica ruffled Minhyun's hair. "Are you excited for high school?"
"Not really, I don't want to leave them." Minhyun looked glum.
"Don't worry, I'm sure Seongwoo will do a good job watching them right?"
"Of course!" Seongwoo sat up proudly.
They ate their breakfast happily, then they all loaded themselves into the van and took off.
Everyone looked reluctant to leave Minhyun in the car.
"Don't worry guys, I'm sure it'll be fine." They all left after hugging Minhyun, Seongwoo leading their group into the main doors of the elementary school.
They pulled up in front of the high school.
"You'll be okay Minhyun." Jessica gave his shoulder an assuring pat. "Do you want me to come out with you?"
"Ba ba hyung!" Seonho cheerfully called out.
"Bye Seonho, bye Auntie Sica." Jessica watched Minhyun enter the high school alone, it was definitely a foreign sight to see just one Hwang alone.
"Ow...." Jessica clutched her chest again as it throbbed in pain. It had been like that the last couple of weeks.
"I should really go see a doctor." She grumbled to herself, might as well do it today. "Seonho what do you think about visiting the doctor?" Seonho's eyes grew wide.
"Fun!" Seonho always liked seeing people.
"Okay, then we'll give the doctor a visit." Jessica revved up her engine and drove in direction of the clinic, hoping to get a prescription for her chest pains.
Yoona sighed as she watched Dongho and Minki doing homework together in the kitchen. No one had adopted them yet she was getting worried that the government would kick them out of the orphanage in a couple of years.
They acted happy but Yoona knew every time another kid was adopted, she'd hear Minki's silent cries and Dongho's comforting whispers in the middle of the night when she got up to grab some water.
"How's the homework going?" Yoona placed a small plate of cookies in front of them.
"It's easy today, Noona?"
"I want to talk to Minhyun..."
"I know I'm sorry." They used to have weekly chats, but after Yoona broke her phone and had to get a new one 8 months ago, she had lost Jessica's number.
"Here, a cookie will cheer you up." Minki shoved his unfinished half into Dongho's mouth. He gagged at the loose crumbs that shot into his throat.
"Thanks *cough* Minki."
"I'll tell you what, I'll go look for that sheet Jessica gave me, and if I can find it, I'll tell you so that you can call."
"That's great Noona! Hope you come back fast." Dongho called out to her as she left the kitchen.
Yoona practically trashed her room in search of that phone number, she was resting in her pile of belongings when someone rushed through the door.
"Junyoung fell and cut his knee."
"I''m a little busy, how about you go tell Dongho or Minki hyung so that they can help." The little boy nodded and ran out, slamming the door shut. The wind from by the slam caused a pile of papers in the corner of the room to scatter about.
''Aish...." Yoona reached over to organize the papers when her hand stopped at the tiny piece of paper in front of her. It was Jessica's phone number.
"Perfect." Yoona typed the number into her new phone, but she wasn't going to tell Dongho just yet, she had other intentions.........
It's been 2 years but I still can't find you.... A boy thought as he looked out the window sadly.
"KIM JONGHYUN!" The boy flinched at the source of the voice, he turned around slowly. Taeyeon was looking at him angrily. "Did you touch my computer?!?!?"
"What's wrong?" Baekhyun appeared and placed his hand on Jonghyun's shoulder.
"Some of my files are gone!!" Taeyeon was pointing at a blank spot on the laptop she was holding.
"Maybe they never existed?"
"Don't throw bull at me Baekhyun! But maybe they just got deleted." Taeyeon rubbed her forehead with her free hand. "But if someone gets their hands on those I'm-"
"It's nothing." Taeyeon stormed out of the room.
Jessica felt weak as she plopped onto her couch.
"Ms.Jung I'm really sorry." The doctor in front of her scanned his papers.
"I know you've been on chemo for 6 months and your cancer seemed to be controlled. But for some reason, it didn't disappear and it has now excelled to stage 3 and almost to stage 4." Jessica hung her down and started to cry, the boys didn't deserve this too.
"Do we have any other option?"
"No, because surgery is way too life threatening for you at this point."
"You'll be lucky if you make it 3 months at the most Ms.Jung."
"I guess that's enough time."
"Do you still want to continue chemo maybe you'll last longer-"
"No, it's pointless now." Jessica got up slowly, "Can you help me to my car?"
"Of course Ms.Jung."
"They don't deserve this." Jessica took off her wig and looked at it shamefully. Her nephews didn't even know, she would wear her wig and apply enough foundation to make her skin look healthy. She used up all her daily energy to make them happy, and most days she handed Seonho in the care of one of her friends because she was always too tired to watch over him after dropping the boys off at school. She just wished that she had received different results after she got her chest pain checked on Minhyun's first day of high school.
Jessica reached for her cellphone and answered it.
"Hello?" She croaked out weakly.
"Hello is this Jung Jessica?
"Yes it is, why may you be calling?"
"This is the police....... we've happened to find someone who's in relation to you."
"And who may that be?"
"We've identified her as Hwang Tiffany."
"Yes but we have unfortunate news."
Jessica's phone fell on the floor, she couldn't believe it, she spent so long searching for her and it all came to this. She didn't even have the energy to cry anymore.
"Hello? Hello?" She could still hear the officer's voice from the phone on the ground and picked it up.
"Sorry, could you give me more details?"
"Her body was found in the morning buried. A passing witness saw her hand sticking out of the ground while they were going for a jog. Would you like to come and see the body?"
"No. I'll see her soon."
"Oh and one more thing officer."
"Anything I can do?"
"Do me a favor and don't release it on the news or media. I'd like this to be private." Jessica couldn't imagine the horror of the boys finding out, they had already grown accustomed to the idea that she was dead before so they didn't need this shock.
"Fairly well, we'll keep it disclosed, anything else you want?"
"No it's fine thank you."
"One final thing Ms.Jung."
"It is also true that her husband died a couple of years ago?"
"And their children are legally under your care?"
"We've been withholding the Hwang's fortune ever since the husband died because we were never sure if your sister was dead. But now that they've both been deceased we are transferring it to you.'
"We've sent a lawyer over to your place to organize everything."
"Yes thank you officer have a nice day." She was about to put the phone away until she saw the blinking notification in the corner, new voicemail,
She clicked on it.
"Hi Jessica, it's Yoona. Sorry for not talking for so long I changed my phone and lost your number. Ummmmmmm, remember how you mentioned adopting Dongho and Minki? Well...... it's been a couple of years and they're still here. You know I'm just worried....... they're at that point where no one wants to adopt them because of their age and the government might kick them out soon. If you could do anything..... please. I won't pressure you if you want to call me and talk about other things we can do that. Thanks, hope to see you soon Jessica!"
Jessica sighed and pulled the phone away from her ear.
She was going to adopt them, but there was no way she would be allowed to do it in this condition
knock knock (Insert Twice song)
Jessica practically crawled to the door and opened it.
"Hello Ms. Jung, I was sent to transfer the Hwang's fortune to you. My name is Jinki."
"Oh hello." A smile played on her lips. "Could you perhaps help me with a few other things.
"Then come inside and make yourself feel at home, I have a few things to discuss."
Maybe she could get something to work.
Next time on I love you a Latte (One day I'm going to hurt you):
"Why are the police here?"