2

Ready To Run
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Sarang never really went out of her way to be Minhye's mother after that incident at school. After all, the arrangement was only temporary. Even though, she would agree leaving Minji behind would be very difficult for her. It was as if the little girl had grown on her. Minji in such a short time had become her whole world, filling that void in her chest that her parents had left behind.

Once Sehun got to know about the situation at school, Minhye had received another round of harsh scolding. He has asked Sarang to not go to the school again and said his driver would do the job. "Just ignore her," he had shrugged before slamming the door to his study.

However, today was different. Minhye came home late; also, with a visitor. Bae Joohyun. Joohyun seemed to know her way around the house. She hadn't bothered to look twice at Sarang before storming into the house with a very angry Minhye following her in. Sarang wondered what went wrong. "Where is Sehun?"

"He's not home yet," Sarang gulped at her furious gaze. "Would you mind waiting a little? He usually comes back by this time," she continued. Sehun initially returned home after one in the morning but now he came back by evenings. He also made sure to check up on his daughters which was close to a miracle.

"Call him. Ask him to get back now," The older girl demanded. Minhye stood with her arms crossed by Joohyun's side. Sarang blinked at the two of them, wondering what was so off about the situation. Then it hit her hard—Minhye and Joohyun looked almost the same. Her eyes widened a little as she hesitated. "Can you not hear me?" She raised her voice at Sarang.

"That's not a good idea, Joohyun-ssi," Sarang muttered, wondering how to tell her she didn't have Sehun's phone number as weird as that sounded.

"Call him," Joohyun looked at her with her icy glare, her unfriendly tone making Sarang gulp. "I don't want to repeat myself thrice, Kim Sarang."

Sarang frowned, "Joohyun-ssi, you have to understand." A shuddering breath left her lips. She heard little footsteps in the otherwise silent house. Turning to Minji's door, she caught her little eyes staring up at the scene. "Minji, go back to sleep, dear," Sarang waved her hand but Minji stayed glued to the spot.

"Mommy," with her wobbly feet, she reached Sarang's side. "They bad people," her troubled eyes shone with tears as she hugged Sarang's neck. "Hee Unnie bad."

Sarang shook her head, "No, Minji. You don't say that."

"You play Mommy well," She heard Joohyun's voice again, "How about wife? Do you play that role well too?"

"Joohyun-ssi—"

"I think that's for me to judge."

Sarang sighed at the voice. Relief flooded her body as she turned to face the person at the door. Her eyes met Sehun's calculating ones. He darted his eyes away from her to Minhye and then settled on Joohyun. "Why are you here?" His voice was laced with ice, Sarang hadn't heard much of that tone these days.

"You know why, Sehun," Joohyun stood her ground. "Why are you doing this? You think I'm buying this stupid marriage?"

"You can buy whatever you want," Sehun remained as nonchalant as ever. "Now, get out." Inside those calm eyes, Sarang could sense a fury. Was it only her? He walked in as if Joohyun didn't exist, which had clearly offended the teacher. "Sarang, could you get me a cup of coffee?" Sarang blinked at his words before nodding and turning to leave immediately.

"J-Joohyun-ssi," the other girl didn't bother to look at her, "I'll make a cup of coffee for you too."

"Excuse me--"

"My mother used to say that we shouldn't let our guests leave unattended," Sarang cut in, "So, please. Take a seat. It would only take me two minutes."

As she strode off to the kitchen, she missed the little smile oh Sehun's face. He moved his gaze from the kitchen to the door, spotting a fuming Joohyun glued to the spot. Beside her, Minhye seemed to look a little offended too. Joohyun's eyes met his amusing pair. "Go on. Sit," Sehun said with a smile before disappearing into his study again.

"You shouldn't just let anyone in," He commented that night as he dropped his fork on his plate at the dinner table. "Especially not Joohyun."

Sarang looked up at him, "She stormed in. I didn't let anyone in, I swear," she stabbed her vegetables, not really in the mood of eating anymore. "She's somewhat scary. How do you know her?"

The look on his face after she asked him the question was something that made her think if she had asked something very wrong. He blinked at her but before he could open his mouth, Sarang beat him to it, "It's okay if you don't want to tell me. It doesn't matter anyway."

"You might have noticed," he looked down at his plate, seeming to be a little embarrassed, "Joohyun is Minhye's mother. Biological."

Sarang expected things to be something like that too. She nodded, going back to her food. Then, how about Minji? She wanted to ask but thought staying silent would be much better. he stood up after that and left immediately after placing his plate on the sink. Sarang stopped eating and raked a hand through her hair. Three months now and she realized she was going out of her way. His life was none of her business.

Sarang stealthily stepped into Minji's room, the little girl curled in her arms, sleeping soundly. She had thought Minhye would be asleep already since the lights were off but the bed across Minji's was empty. Her eyes then fell on the door that led to the bathroom, the switch for the light was on so Sarang concluded Minhye was inside. Gently laying the little girl don on the bed, Sarang covered Minji with her blanket. Minji mumbled something under her breath as Sarang kissed her forehead.  With a smile on her face, Sarang closed the door to the room.

Sehun had asked her to just leave Minhye alone so Sarang thought she should stop bothering her. Turning the lights of the living room off, Sarang turned towards the corridor once again, thinking of heading towards her room. The door on her left was like always, shut. It was his study and she didn't dare to go in there. The room beside it was his as well. She got the one down the corridor and to the right, just beside the two girls.

"Sarang."

She gasped, clutching onto the vase that was nearby on the tall glass table. Sarang looked up at the man with wide eyes, clutching onto her chest because he was always so unexpected when coming in front of her. But he obviously ignored the fact that she was surprised, his face remaining as blank as ever. "I need another cup," he said.

"I'm going to sleep," she said, "And that's not a healthy habit, Mr. Oh."

He arched his eye brows at her, looking a little intimidating. Sarang gave him one last glance before turning away. She heard the door close behind her back. He would always stay awake, doing his paperwork and not rest for even a bit. If he fell ill because of so much of coffee consumption, his mother would come and slit . It wasn't because she cared about his health but because she really did care about herself.

She stopped on her way when she heard the muffled weeping coming from the room beside hers. Standing there, glued to the spot, she tried to hear more. It had to be Minhye because Minji never really woke up in the middle of her slumber. Minhye was crying and Sarang wondered if it was about her mother. Perhaps she missed the woman, like she missed her own mother and no matter what no one would be able to take a mother's place in life, Sarang knew it by heart.

With a thumping heart, Sarang pushed the door open, catching the other girl in surprise. Minhye looked at her with wide eyes, trying to wipe her tears away. "H-Hey..." Sarang in a huge breath, "Minhye." The girl's look turned murderous. Sarang stumbled on her way into the room with her eyes widened with concern. She had really tried hundred times to not care about the girl, just like Sehun had said, but Sarang had always failed. Now would be one of those moments.

"Are you okay?"

"Leave," Minhye's voice cracked. It wasn't as stiff as it had been. "Don't come near me."

"Hey, you can always tell me," Sarang reached Minhye who was seated on the window seat, the ray of the moon falling on her face and illuminating her tears. She refused to look at Sarang and appeared so weak. "Minhye, is it about your Mom?" Sarang asked, kneeling down beside her.

"N-no, go," Minhye was sweating as well. "Go away!" She avoided Sarang's eyes, looking out through the window with her chin on her knees.

"It's okay," Sarang's hand trembled as it reached out for Minhye's quivering shoulders. "Tell me. Just so you know, I don't have my mother. So, I'll understand what you're going through, I really will."

"Get your hands off me, you witch!" Minhye curled more into a ball hearing Sarang's words. "You will never understand. You're trying to kill me," she gritted out with a teary glare. Sarang's brows quirked, orbs turned into balls of confusion.

"K-kill you?" She repeated, "What are you saying, Minhye? Why would I do that?"

"Because you hate me. I'm your only obstacle to Dad and you want me out of the way."

Sarang's eyes widened. "What is it, Minhye?" She tried to maintain her soft tone throughout the conversation despite the way her mind was yelling at her to shout at the girl because those accusations were very wrong. "How exactly am I trying to kill you?" It really showed that she was trying to keep her cool.

"Y-you," Minhye looked up at her, "I-I'm bleeding," Tears swelled out of her eyes when she said that, "I'm going to die. All because of you!"

"You're bleeding?" Sarang mumbled, "Where!" Her brows rose in concern as she checked the girl from head to toe, "Where are you bleeding, Minhye? You could tell your Dad if you didn't want to tell me."

"You're finally having it your way, huh?" Minhye raised a finger at her, "My mother would see the end of it."

Sarang clicked her tongue, getting on her feet. Minhye raised her brows at her, the stains of tears on her face shining in the light. Sarang didn't spare her another glance and sprinted towards the bathroom. Switching the lights on, she dashed into the space, eyes searching. A flush of realization washed over her when her eyes landed on the blood-soaked skirt that Minhye wore to school. She darted her eyes to the soaked and the balls of wet tissues on the tiled floor. Minhye must have tried to wipe the blood with those. "Oh," she thought, "Minhye, you're just having your first period."

Minhye blinked at Sarang who had a little smile on her face. "It's fine. Every girl goes through this every month. You will from now on."

Hearing that, Minhye broke down even more. Sarang grabbed her soiled clothes before heading towards the door. "Hey!"

She stopped by the door, turning to look back at Minhye. "W-Where are you going? Fix this," she said as her shoulders shook, "Please." Sarang sighed, a little smile on her face. The look on Minhye's face was something she had never seen before. She looked like a kid now, that Sarang could take care of like she had wanted from Day 1.

"I'll drop these in the laundry bag," She said before disappearing down the dak corridor. Minhye's sobs grew louder. She squeezed her eyes shut, moving more towards the wall as she kept her knees tucked under her chin. The excruciating pain in her stomach was not stopping. She thought she would die if it continued for another minute.

"Hee."

Minhye gasped, pulling her knees even closer as she snapped her head towards the door. She didn't know who was standing there but she had never heard the voice so late at night. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Minhye made out the silhouette of her father, the ever-so calm eyes staring right into her with worry that he hid well behind those orbs. "Dad," a breathy whisper escaped her lips.

Her father arched his brows, setting foot in his daughters' bedroom after decades. He hadn't done so in a very long time, didn't even remember when he had done so the last time. "What's wrong?" He turned the lights on, sporting those round glasses that didn't do very well to hide the bags under his eyes. "Why are you crying?"

She couldn't speak. How was she supposed to explain? "I heard you shouting at your Mom. Did she scold you?" He walked closer to her but stopped at a distance. Minhye squinted her eyes, adjusting with the sudden bright light. Her lips quivered as she looked away from her father.

"Minhye, if it's nothing than go back to sleep," he spoke before patting her head twice. "Stop crying now unless there's a reason," Minhye looked up at him, breaking more into tears. She wished her father could hold her in his arms and offer her a little more comforting words. He strangely reminded Minhye of a robot.

"Good night," he turned to leave, looking down at the floor wondering what had gotten into him that he had stepped out of his room in the middle of the night. He had never done so before, not even for any of his daughters. As he was walking out of the room after turning the lights off, he bumped into a little figure. His eyes widened as by the next second, he found himself on the floor, clutching to a bunch of blonde strands. Sehun really had thought he would withstand the little force from the figure but perhaps he was just too tired.

"Ey, that hurts!" Sarang winced at the pain from her scalp while her eyes remained closed. She looked down, realizing she was in a very awkward position with her husband below her. Her cheeks reddened as she looked into his wide eyes. His fingers let go of her hair as he muttered an apology that she could barely hear because of her fluttering heart. Sarang frowned at the way she was reacting as she gathered herself off from him. "I'm so sorry. I wasn't expecting you to be here. I thought your were a-already asleep. I'm so sorry if that hurt--"

"It's okay," he muttered in his usual tone before sitting up. Sarang looked down, eyes searching for the packets of the sanitary pads she had brought from her own store. "My glasses.." she heard him say as he too started a search on the carpeted floor. Sarang's hand wondered on the floor as she tried to spot the packets in the dark. "What are you looking for? I can find my glasses by myself," He spoke. Sarang want to scoff at his words. At times, he could act like the most self-centered human to walk the surface of the world.

"Minhye..." She started, a little shy, "Minhye's having her first period."

Sarang looked back down, feeling his stare on her. He blinked at her before looking back at his daughter with a dumb look. "H-Huh?" He sat there, rooted to the space. Sarang looked up at him after gathering the plastic packets in her arms.

She extended her hand towards his and Sehun blinked at it in confusion before taking his glasses from her palm. Sarang felt the rough pads of his fingers brushed past her tender skin before she withdrew her hand, looking away. She stood up with the least bit of noise she could m

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