"How is Jihoon doing with your case?" His mother asked at the breakfast table. Sarang looked sideways at her, pushing the plate in her hand towards Minhye. "I haven't been in touch with him for almost a week."
"It's fine. I'll get my house back soon," Sarang smiled at the thought. "That's all he said. He never lets me in on any other detail," She passed Wendy a smile as she watched the girl rub her eyes and walk in. "Good morning!" Sarang cheerfully greeted her, motioning her to take a chair and sit.
"Bad morning," Wendy grumbled. "I only slept for two hours," A yawn escaped her lips as she looked at the two sisters. "These devils... watched movies all night even after I asked them to sleep."
"Oh," Sehun's mother's eyes widened just slightly before she turned to the two sisters with a soft glare, "You two shouldn't have done that." Minji chuckled at her grandma's stern eyes. Her eyes softened when she looked back at Wendy, "Once Sarang gets her house back, we can spend the holidays there. It will be fun."
"Yeah, you have a really big yard," Wendy smiled up at Sarang who poured juice in her glass with an awkward smile, "And your mother used to tend to flowers in her free times. Minhye loves flowers," She chuckled, looking at the twelve year old. Sarang nodded, silently, before her eyes landed on Sehun, leaning against the doorframe of the kitchen. "Oh I would love to visit your house, Sarang," Wendy went one but Sarang barely heard that.
He was back from his morning jog, sweaty with his shirt sticking to his body. She managed a little smile at his way, looking away when she found his eyes grow a little too intense for her. Minji greeted him at the table with her cheery 'Papa!'. He smiled at her, ruffling her hair. "Good morning, Hee," he said, taking the girl by surprise.
Minhye looked at her father with a weird expression before saying, "Morning, Dad," a little too softly, completely taken aback. Sarang watched the exchange, sharing a look with his mother. The both smiled at each other, knowingly.
"You were talking about?" Sehun turned to Wendy who passed him a large grin.
"We were talking about Sarang's house. Her mother used to manage a garden. I will help Sarang do it too," She spoke with such enthusiasm, Sehun couldn't help but feel sorry for his best friend. "We'll visit whenever we want," Wendy sang, making him chuckle. He darted his eyes towards Sarang who was back at the kitchen counter, perhaps fetching him a plate.
Sarang got out of the apron around her waist before joining them at the breakfast table. Sehun pushed the chair beside him, making a little sound that made Sarang turn to him when she was about to sit beside Wendy. She understood what he meant and sat beside him instead. Wendy cleared , looking down at her plate with a sly smile.
Sehun gulped down the glass of orange juice as his younger daughter started her storytelling that morning. This morning, it was the same story of the bug, but with a modified end. This time, the bug found its parents who took him home. Also, the bug slept on a bed, and wore pajamas. She was going to say more but his mother pushed a piece of omelette into , shutting her up.
Wendy was the first to get up, "Thanks for the breakfast, Sarangie. It was delicious," She said, wiping her hands on the napkin. Minhye stood up too and pronounced a little 'thanks' that warmed Sarang's heart.
"There are clothes in the washing machine, right?" Sehun's mother looked at Sarang who nodded silently, taking a little sip of her juice. The old lady left the three of them in a hurry.
"You're going to work today?" Sarang asked, looking ahead at Minji as she ate clumsily.
Sehun shook his head, "I've decided to stay home," he answered.
"Oh, that's new," she smiled.
Sehun stayed silent then opened his mouth after a few seconds, "You don't want me to stay?"
Sarang immediately looked at him, into his blank eyes that merely gave out any emotion, "I...this is your house, Mr. Oh. It's really your wish. I was just saying that it's new. You don't stay much at home so..." She trailed away when he looked back at his food. "Mr. Oh--"
She was cut off with a loud shriek. Sarang's eyes widened when she couldn't spot Minji on her chair. A gasp escaped her lips as she dashed towards the other side of the table, eyes wide like saucers. Sehun followed, not knowing why. He found her daughter crying, on the floor, her head on Sarang's lap and was rather amazed at the Sarang hugged her little body to herself. Perhaps if Minji's mother wasn't as cruel, she would've done so too.
Minji had fallen down from her high chair, Sehun realized as he knelt down beside his daughter. "Where did you get hurt?" He reached out for Minji who pointed at her head. Sarang sighed, rubbing the area on her head. "I'll get you some ice," he stood up and strode over towards the fridge.
"It'll be fine. You're fine, Minji," he heard Sarang. as he pulled open the door of the refrigerators, the cold air hitting his face.
"Mommy," Minji spoke through sobs, little fingers pressing to her head where she got hurt. Sarang pulled her body up onto her lap and hugged her, "Don't cry, you're a big girl, princess," Sarang decided to take her to her room. Sehun placed the ice cubes in a towel before looking back at her. She was struggling to get up with his daughter.
"I'll take her to her room," he lent a hand. Sarang readily agreed, carefully placing Minji in her father's arms. Minji let out a little whimper, sniffling into her father's sweaty shirt. Sarang nodded at him, asking him to go. She soon exited the kitchen with the ice cubes wrapped with the towel. Minji's sobs had died down drastically. She heard the father from the corridor, comforting his girl in a rather awkward tone.
"I'll tell you a story," he cleared his throat. Sarang stopped by the door, the ice cubes melting in the hands. "Once, there were two rats. One lived in the city, the other in a village. So, one day, the city rat visited the village rat."
"Are they flends?" Minji asked, interrupting him.
Sehun must have nodded, "The city rat was pleased to see the village. The two friends were very happy to see each other. The village rat led his friend to a tour around the village. Once they returned, both ate a lot of fruits because they were hungry."
"Rat have pajamas?" Sarang quietly chuckled at Minji's question. Minji loved to include pajamas in her every story. Sehun laughed at the question, the sound strangely sounding so calming.
"The city rat asked his friend to go along with him to the city," Sehun continued, "And so the two friends traveled to the city. The city rat lived in a big house. The village rat was very surprised. That evening, they ate a lot of different foods. The village rat thought city life was better. He was very happy to see all the food."
"They eat cheese. Like Jerry."
"Yeah, like Jerry. But then," Sehun paused, leaning towards Minji with a wicked smile. Minji looked up at him with her wide sparkly eyes. "Then, they heard a meow."
"Ah, Tommy cat! Eat rats, papa."
"Exactly. Now the village rat had never faced a cat. He was very afraid. The city rat quickly hid the two of them behind the cupboard. He said it was a part of the city life. The village rat was so afraid that he left all the food and his friend and ran back to the village."
"Papa, story finish?"
"Yup, that's it," he paused, "Where is your Mom?" he mumbled before yelling out her name. Sarang looked down at the watery mess in her hands before quickly moving away from the door to fetch a fresh batch of ice cubes.
"Coming!" she shouted back. Happiness surged through her, she felt satisfied and so happy for the first time after her parents died. She couldn't help but smile at every little progress the father was making towards the two daughters. She could see him trying and pushing himself and she could also see that he didn't regret.
The heavy iron bound door gave way into the enormous church. The grey stones stacked together so elegantly, tinted glass windows depicting the many gospels, the bell tower, Sehun was reminded of the last time he stepped into this building. He looked around, observing the people as he stood up for the last prayer. The books of prayer were dusty by the back benches, mostly because everyone preferred to sit at the front rows. The large chandelier hung upon them, its rays pointless in the bright sunshine seeping through the long windows. He looked sideways and frowned when he couldn't spot Sarang beside him.
People turned to look at him when they heard his thundering steps. He left the church in a jiffy, looking around, mind racing. She was just there, even some seconds ago, right by his side. The panic that rose in his throat, he didn't know what for. Sehun quickened his pace, only stopping by the gate that led to the cemetery. If not there, then he didn't know where she would be.
The cemetery was a jumble of stones, as if the burial places were chosen by throwing the shovel in the air and digging where it landed. Under the soil was nothing but more soil, even bones didn't last that long in the damp ground. The dead laid to rest, grave stones in promise of not being forgotten, but a promise which was always broken. He found her there, her pale dress almost molding into the background, but he spotted her.
The burial of her parents had been done in the very corner of the graveyard. Sarang told him on the way that she was the one to suggest that so that her parents are never really disturbed, so that they always stay under the shade of that pine tree. He felt sorry for her. She had grown up in such a happy family, with dreams and ambitions, love to fulfill her everyday. He was sorry that she was stuck with him.
Sarang was weeping silently, sitting on the ground with her legs crossed, her face hidden in her hands. She looked up when she heard him call her. "Oh," Sarang quickly wiped her tears, clearing as she stood up. "Let's go home," she said in her groggy voice. Sarang gave him a look when he didn't move. "Mr. Oh."
"W-we could stay a bit a longer," He stuttered, looking at her puffy eyes and the stains of tears down her cheeks. And yet she looked beautiful. "Sit," he mumbled, taking his shoes off to sit beside the spot Sarang had been occupying. She looked down at him, blinking. Sehun patted the space beside him for her. She sat down, pulling the hem of her dress as she looked away.
"You don't have to stay. I'll go home by myself," she mumbled, looking down on her lap. She caught him shaking his head. "When was the last time you came here?"
Sehun sighed, making her look at him. "Twelve years ago..." he trailed away, "When Minhye was just of two months. Now you'll ask why."
Sarang smiled, nodding, "Why?"
He turned to her, holding her gaze as he spoke, "I was here for my wedding," he shrugged as if that wasn't a very important detail of his life, "But she never came. And since then, I didn't come to the church." Sehun observed her confused eyes, the perfect long eyelashes that still held little drops of her tears.
"Minhye's mother?" She asked, he nodded, "Why did she not?"
Sehun shrugged, "She wanted to pursue her dreams but she was already a mother. I guess she didn't care much about Minhye or me," his voice took a deeper turn, by that time, he was whispering, looking as if those events were being played right in front of his eyes. "Because her ambitions came first. She was still my girlfriend back then, when Minhye was born. We decided to get married even though Mommy didn't like her. I was ready to do all that for her but she threw everything away. Never showed up."
"That's...sad," Sarang spoke with an uncertainty in her voice. "She wanted to be a teacher?"
"No, she was going to pursue acting. Well, she's pretty but guess her skills lacked. When she got denied in the many trials, she came back to me but I had already changed my mind," He sighed, "I loved her," he ended, looking away, turning his face from her. "I really did."
It would have been ironical to hear that from him even some weeks ago, because back then, Sarang didn't know he had this side to him. She had somehow failed in realizing that he too was a human, not a robot and very capable of having feelings. Not her fault when he acted like stiff rock around her. Sarang felt a little happy with the fact that he was comfortable enough to let her in on these details of his life. She thought they could make good friends.
"It's embarrassing to go after what you threw away," he mumbled, fingers busy playing with the grass by the stony grave. Sarang observed his profile, realizing for the hundredth time that she was married to a rather handsome man, however temporary it was. Her heart picked up, it always did these days. He had agreed to come with her in a heart beat, she couldn't be any more grateful to him. Perhaps she would've liked to be alone with her parents right there but she felt better with someone sitting beside her.
"Your parents...they were good people," Sehun said with a nod, "I feel bad for giving you the job to take care of my daughters. You're only twenty, you deserve better than being a babysitter."
"Don't feel bad about it," she said, "I enjoy doing what I do. Your daughters are so precious, they need all the love in the world," Sarang let out a little chuckle, smiling through her teary eyes. "So, Mr. Oh, do me a favor and spend some time with them, get to know them and love them, not because you have to but because you want to."
Sehun nodded, staring blankly at the short fences that separated the church school from the cemetery, a faint smile playing on his lips. "You'll make a great mother, perhaps even better than yours and mine." He looked sideways when she didn't respond to him, only to find her biting her lips, forcing herself to not break down another time. He slowly reached out to pat her arm, having forgotten how to comfort people in any other way. Sehun refused to look at her when a sob escaped her lips. A mention of her mother always made her so weak and pale, he had observed so in many occasions.
She tried to make it as silent as possible but her every whimper rang loudly in his head. Sehun looked back at her, quietly enveloping her hand with his on the grass to make her notice him. "Do...do you want to hear a story?"
"Jaehyun, I swear if it was you--"
"It wasn't me!" The guy shrieked like a girl, his wavering eyes looking back into Sarang's glare. "I promised you I won't leak anything about you two. Believe me! I always keep my words!"
Sarang tightened her hold on his collar, pushing him more into the wall by the sidewalk. "Now if someone catches you assaulting me in the middle of a sidewalk, it will be another news, Kim Sarang," Jaehyun hissed, wrapping his long fingers around her wrists and gently tugging on them. "It will be in the breaking news section. Only heir of Aphrodite, Kim Sarang, caught assaulting a young innocent man for no reason at all."
"No reason at all?" Jaehyun yelped when his head collided with the uneven surface of the wall. "No reason at all?! I have every right to kill you at the moment. How could you do this to me?!"
"I didn't!" His jelled bangs fell over his eyes as he shook his head for her to release him. "I am innocent. You have to believe me. It might just be that you two went somewhere together. And someone saw you with him, which is quite suspicious. Moreover, he's fifteen years older than you."
That morning, a very bright Wednesday, had just gone down the gutter when Minhye turned the TV on and started flipping through the channels like she did every morning. And a certain, rather large report informed the world that Sehun and her were up to something; something very suspicious. It strongly disagreed that they could be family friends, or any ty