4

Ready To Run
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Things were bound to change now, bound to be awkward, to be more accurate.

Fixing his tie was now some kind of a struggle. She looked forward to it every morning but then again, she didn't. She told her heart that she didn't care at all. Standing between his legs, she fumbled with the crimson tie, hands suddenly shaky. She avoided his gaze at all cost. "When do you leave?"

For the first time that morning, she darted her eyes to him. He blinked, glad that she finally looked at him. "In a week."

"What am I supposed to tell Mommy?" He asked next, shooting an unreadable gaze at her. "And the girls? How do you think Minji will understand?"

Sarang frowned, "You'll tell them," she answered softly. "They'll understand. I trust you on this."

Sehun scoffed, standing up all of a sudden. Sarang softly gasped, taking two steps back. "Minji will understand, Sarang? She's only three. Did you forget that?" He watched as she looked down, biting her lips. He felt lost looking at her, because she too looked as lost. Sarang knew what to do, nothing was impossible for her, Sehun had learned those in the weeks they had been under the same roof. Looking lost didn't at all go with her.

"And do you know how hard it is to make Minhye bend to your words? I do, and that is the most difficult job ever," Sehun continued, folding his arms. "But look at you making everything so easy. Minhye doesn't listen to me now, she listens to you, Sarang."

"Mr. Oh, it was stated in our contract that I am to leave when I get my house back. You signed it," she shrugged, "It is up to you how you'll make them understand. You asked me to take care of your daughters, I did my job. That's it."

"How will I do that even? I can't make them cry. You know how precious they are, you've taught me, Sarang," He groaned in frustration, "I don't have an answer for them. When Minji will wake up and not find you in the kitchen, what would I do then?"

"Be there for them," Sarang answered, "They'll forget me in no time."

Sehun wanted to smack some sense into her head. How was he supposed to tell Minji that Sarang wasn't her mother? that she'll never get a mother again? And that Sarang will never come back? She looked so small staring at the floor, looked like someone who was fragile, someone who needed the care, the affection, a hug. How would she live in that lonely house, Sehun wondered. Would she not be scared?

"That's where you're wrong," he spoked, "They'll never forget you."

"I can't stay," she stated, eyes wavering as he stepped closer. Hearts hammered, breaths hitched. "I have to go. You have to understand."

He stayed still for a couple of seconds. Sarang searched his eyes, which were gloomy as ever but she thought she could now see through those clouds in his orbs. There was a softness to this man now, a side that she was on the way of discovering. He was more like a father every passing day. Sarang was proud to have brought that gentleness in him.

Sehun moved away with a disappointed sigh, stepping back with his arms still folded. Sarang ran her eyes over his face. He really was different person than the one she had met in the cafe that day. "I'll get going then."

Sarang didn't have the time to even react when he kissed her. Eyes wide, she hurriedly grabbed his shoulders to keep balance. She could push him back, yell at him for what he was doing but her heart liked it. Her heart liked Oh Sehun. And her brain was what told her otherwise. Her heart jumped like a racehorse galloping over hurdles. Pressing her completely to his body, he kissed her as if he had been starved. Slowly closing her eyes, she melted in his embrace, unable to do anything else.

A gasp escaped her lips as soon as he pulled away, still keeping her in his arms. Blinking, she looked up at him, unable to process what he had just done and why he had done it. Chest heaving, she gulped. "Mr. Oh..."

He huffed, combing his fingers through her golden hair. "Fine. maybe I am asking you to stay."

Confusion raised in her eyes. "I-I need to go," she started, placing a hand on his chest. He arched his brows, disappointed once again, "t-to the kitchen." Sarang gripped his arm, trying to get out but not struggling.

He tightened those sturdy arms around her even more, causing her to gulp the lump in and give him those shy eyes. "So, I'll contact the lawyer, make some changes to our contract.

"No," was her outright answer. "It's not that easy Mr. Oh. I won't change my mind just because you kissed me. According to the contract, we are to have a no-strings-attached relationship."

"Sarang--"

"Let me go!"

He shook his head, firmly. Sarang released a groan, frustrated by his acts. "You'll be late, Mr. Oh."

"Ah, Mom."

Sehun looked sideways at his door. Minhye stood there with her wide eyes, blinking at the two of them. "I-I'm leaving. The bus...is here," she awkwardly waved at the two.

"Let me go!" She slapped his arms continuously, gritting her teeth, "Minhye! Your tiffin box is on the table! Take that with you!"

"Okay, Mom," she was surprisingly still standing next to the door, "A-aren't you going to walk me out?"

Sehun had to let her go, watching her sprint out of his room like a marathon runner.

"Hee, that's enough," Sarang sighed, placing the sleepy Minji on her bed. "Put that down," she motioned with her eyes at the large tabloid in the other girl's hand. Minji blinked her droopy eyes, placing a wet kiss on her cheek, trying to get her attention. Sarang passed her a little smile, gently loosening the rubber band that held her hair into a ponytail. She heard Minhye sigh before placing the device in her hand down. "Go brush your teeth," Sarang said, combing through Minji's hair, making the girl even sleepier. 

"Goonite, Mommy," Minji mumbled, falling to her bed as soon as Sarang finished braiding her hair. Sarang chuckled, pulling the blanket on top of her. She leaned down and pecked her nape, patting her on the back.

Sarang waited for Minhye. The girl liked to take a long time in the bathroom but Sarang didn't mind. She went over her homework, circling the mistakes with am HB pencil that Minhye could wipe off later easily. Sarang was doing what her mother had once done for her, patiently checking every line with care, making sure her daughter's homework was perfect. Sarang had learned that as tiring this job was to be a mother, it was as adventurous. At the end of the day, she was always so satisfied watching Minji and Minhye go to bed.

Leaving this lifestyle that had grown in her would be difficult. She loved these girls, she would miss them.

The knock on the door made her look up and sideways. "I need a cup of coffee," Sehun spoke, having his arms folded against his chest, leaning against the doorframe. She could see he had just showered. Sarang sighed, pushing the chair back just lightly as to not wake Minji up. Dropping the pencil on the desk and closing the copy, she twsited her hair into a bun. He was still there. Her heart picked up speed when he started walking towards the kitchen along with her.

Sarang silently started her work, going around the kitchen to grab a mug, feeling his eyes on her every move. He silently followed her, leaning against the kitchen counter with his arms folded. Pouring the warm water in the mug, she stood beside him, her eyes avoiding him at all cost. When it started to get really awkward, she huffed, "Go back to your study."

He looked away, "I'm just learning how you make coffee. Once you leave, I'll have to do it by myself." Sehun shrugged, appearing as if that didn't affect him at all.

"You don't even know how to make coffee," Sarang sighed.

"I'm rather surprised you do," he answered.

Sarang looked up at him immediately. "Why?"

"Because," he paused before continuing again, "Your parents used to treat you as if you were a princess. I thought the last thing you'd been required to do was making coffee. I'm surprised that you don't think twice before putting your mind to cleaning the house, and then cook and put the girls to sleep too."

"My mother used to be like that," Sarang smiled faintly. "She's like a role model to me."

"I can see that," he mumbled, looking down at her chipped nails, the way she had forgotten about herself after coming to this house. "Y-you know, what I did in the morning, it was just on an impulse. I wasn't b-being myself, I'm so sorry."

"Yeah?" Sarang stifled a yawn with her other hand. 

"Yes," he emphasized. "I...know you're not going to change your mind," Sehun felt his breath hitch when she looked up at him with a curious gaze. "I still want you stay. Not for me, but for Minhye and Minji."

Sarang sighed, shoulder's slumping. She went back to the mug of coffee, stirring the liquid. He cleared his throat, trying to gain her attention, not knowing that he already had all of it. "C-Could we be friends?"

Her fingers stopped, she looked up at him with a confused pair of eyes. "

"Sarang?" He said her name in such a tone, Sarang wanted to ask him if he was yet not himself. Was it really Oh Sehun she was looking at? Oh Sehun asking her to be friends with him.

"I don't think that's a good idea," she shrugged.

"Why--"

"You know why," she answered him before he could ask. "Don't stay up too late," she mumbled before turning her back to him, pushing the steaming mug of coffee more towards him. Sarang quickened her pace, not wanting to be watched. She thought her head could burst with the holes he was digging in it with his eyes. She wanted to escape this feeling. Being friends with him will be something she'd regret.

"Why don't you stay?" Minhye said, watching Sarang pull the blanket on top of her. "There's enough space for you."

Sarang passed her a sad smile, "Why? Are you scared?"

"Of course not," Minhye was quick to reply, "I'm a big girl now."

"A big girl who is scared of thunders?" Sarang chuckled lowly, turning the lights off.

"That's different, Mom," Minhye sang, calling her 'Mom' so casually. Sarang blinked at the way she said that, feeling both happy and sad at the same time.

"Wait, I'll be right back," She kept the door open, letting the light from the corridor seep in. Sarang returned with her pillow, placing it beside Minhye's. The bed was only meant for one so Sarang was not sure if it would fit her on it. Minhye threw her bony arms around her, hugging her tightly and it appeared that only one person was sleeping on the bed. "Did something exciting happen in school?" Sarang asked, smiling as he hugged the girl back.

Minhye shook her head against the crook of her neck. "You seem really happy."

"Because I am," Minhye said, her voice muffled. "I am very happy."

Sarang arched her brows, "Hmm, what happened that made my princess so happy?"

"I'm happy because of you," Minhye said, moving herself up to look into Sarang's eyes which were filled with confusion, "Thank you so much for even trying to mend this broken family, Mom. I can boast about it now, like all of my friends do," Her eyes shone in the dark, sparking adoration for the temporary mother. "I'm so sorry for every evil thing I've done to you. I couldn't trust you, I'm so sorry."

"I don't blame you," Sarang brushed her hair away from her eyes, "You must have had your reasons."

"I..." Minhye trailed away, thinking a little before burying her face into her neck, "Minji's mother...you know, she was a cruel woman. But Dad never understood. He didn't trust me when I told him of the many things she did to me when he wasn't home. When he would be home, she would change in a matter of seconds and sudd

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