the foundation

"don't tell me you got yourself locked out again?" asks sunmi.
"no." seulgi chuckles. "i came here because i realised i don't have your number yet."
"wow. is kang seulgi asking for my number?"
"yes, i am. but aside from that, i have an important thing to tell you. i have a proposal to make."
sunmi gets more shocked. "you're already proposing? that's so fast, seulgi!"
seulgi rolls her eyes. "c'mon. i have little time today. joohyun and yerim will arrive in a few minutes."
"fine. such a killjoy," sunmi snorts, opening her door wider. "come on in."
seulgi steps in. she immediately finds the kitten eating from its bowl. "hey there, mango!" she stoops down to observe. "having a meal, huh?"
"wow. i can't believe you find my more interesting than me," says sunmi, her voice in the kitchen area.
seulgi grimaces. "why do you keep calling it instead of a cat or a kitten?"
"because i love how people get awkward whenever i say it. it's a hard habit to break now. been doing that for a very long time. deal with it." sunmi reappears in the living room with refreshments in her hands. "drinks?"
"i'm surprised you have an orange juice aside from beer and water."
"i had to include that in my grocery list now for a very special guest that might visit me."
"i'm honoured."
"don't be. i just don't want your nurse killing me if ever i give you beer again."
"c'mon. she won't do that." seulgi plops down the couch beside sunmi. "and she's not just a nurse. she's joohyun."
"joohyun. your ex. your nurse. the one you can't get over with. it's just one person. what's the difference?"
"whatever." seulgi sighs and rolls her eyes. she turns to face sunmi. "anyway, as i've said, i came here to tell you something."
"yeah. about the proposal, right?"
"yes. the proposal. the thing is, the discussion we had last time lingered in my mind, and i know i had to do something about it."
"which topic in particular?"
"remember you mentioned how you've been seeing those homeless animals scavenging for food in the streets?" asks seulgi. "well, joohyun and yerim drove me around town the other day, and i kind of have seen what you're talking about."
"what? the three of you went out?"
"yes. we had dinner together."
"sweet, huh? how did you feel about it?"
seulgi waves a hand. "can we not talk about that yet? i'm trying to make a point here."
"okay. okay." sunmi drinks from her glass, gesturing seulgi to continue.
"so, the thing is, i had a long talk with my manager yesterday. i asked for some advice about starting a foundation... and she says she's willing to help us out."
sunmi's brows furrow. seulgi takes it as a chance to continue.
"right after that, i reached out to the ex-sau chapter in this town to ask for some help. they had all the connections needed. they found a temporary shelter for those animals. they also started with the operation and rescued a handful of pets yesterday."
sunmi looks confused. "wait. are you saying you're actually starting a foundation here?"
seulgi nods. "my manager has connections who are willing to donate for this cause. i will also have a meeting with my accountants to arrange how a certain percentage of my revenue will go automatically as a donation to this foundation."
"that's... that's great." sunmi leans back. "but how does this concern me?"
seulgi smirks. "that's what the proposal is all about." she slides down the couch and bends on one knee.
"seulgi, careful! you're injured!" sunmi was about to help her up, but seulgi stops her.
"let me do my proposal right, okay?"
sunmi chuckles. "gosh. aren't you cheesy?"
"i don't care." seulgi clears and reaches out to hold sunmi's hands. "lee sunmi, the one who gave me this whole idea, the one who lit up a purpose in my life, will you do the honour of leading this foundation with me?"
"y-you're not serious, are you?"
"two-hundred per cent serious, my lady."
"gosh. seulgi. it's really an honour. but i don't think i'm fitted for this. don't get me wrong, i would love to do this but i--"
"we'll work on this together," says seulgi assuringly. "i'll be the face of this foundation so we can gather more donors. but i need help to run this here. and there's no other person i think will be more fitted to do it but you."
sunmi stares at her, speechless.
"once the initial budget has been finalised, we'll start the construction of the main office here. we'll look for staff who can work as our back-office personnel--of course, you and they will get paid for it. then we'll look for a bigger property that we can either rent or buy that will serve as the new home for those rescued animals," explains seulgi. "it's a win-win situation; we provide employment and we save the animals. and once we're smoothly running in this area, we'll also start chapters in other towns. everything has already been planned. the only thing that's missing is you saying yes to this."
sunmi tilts her head and smiles at seulgi. "you're an amazing person. has anyone told you that?"
seulgi feels something inside her twists after hearing those words.
it's the same line joohyun told her before.
'you're an amazing person. has anyone told you that?'
seulgi rubs her eyes to shake the feeling off.
"so, are you going to say yes or not?" she asks sunmi. "my legs are about to give out now."
sunmi chuckles and helps seulgi get up. "of course, it's a yes! it'll be my pleasure!"
seulgi raises a hand in victory. "she said yes!"
she stares at sunmi's phone number on her screen before turning to the door and stepping out to the hallway.
"i'll call you, okay? if you're free later today, we can visit the temporary shelter so you can see the animals there."
sunmi scrunches her face. "mm. maybe it's better if we do it tomorrow? i have a patient that i need to home-service before dinner."
seulgi raises an eyebrow. "are you sure it's a patient and not just some guy you're flirting with?"
"she's a fifty-five-year-old woman who survived a mild . okay?"
seulgi laughs. "fine. besides, i need to tell joohyun about this so she'd know what i'm up to."
"i see. still possessive, eh?"
"shut up."
sunmi chuckles. "anyway, i need to get ready." she reaches out to kiss seulgi's cheek. "thank you." she kissed the other cheek. "thank you."
"seulgi!" yerim's voice echoes through the hallway. she's striding towards them, still in her school uniform, her mom tailing her.
"wow. is the nurse your ex or her daughter?" sunmi whispers. seulgi grunts.
yerim finally arrives and pulls seulgi by her hand. "seulgi, let's go play inside!"
"yerim, careful of seulgi's injury," joohyun reminds. "and where are your manners? shouldn't you be saying hi to our neighbour first?"
yerim stops yanking and stares at sunmi first with a straight face before bowing. "hello. i am kim yerim."
"awe. isn't she cute?" sunmi's hands were on her chest. she bows in return. "hello. i'm lee sunmi. it's nice to meet you."
"has seulgi told you she's gonna marry me someday?" asks yerim. seulgi coughs.
"yerim..." joohyun warns.
"oh. is she?" sunmi looks at seulgi, amused. "then i wish the best to the two of you."
"you know what, let's go inside now and play." seulgi holds yerim's shoulders and turns the kid around. "thank you, sunmi. i'll see you soon."
sunmi winks and closes the door to her apartment.
"mommy told me before that we kiss the people who are important to us," says yerim. she and seulgi are at the dining table, waiting for joohyun to serve dinner.
"okay. and what's your point?" asks seulgi.
"why are you letting the neighbour unni kiss you?"
seulgi lets out an unamused laugh and glances at joohyun in the kitchen who has been silent this whole time.
"look, sweetie. it was a thank-you kiss," explains seulgi. "i did something yesterday, and she's so happy when i told her the news. so, she thanked me."
yerim continues to glare at her. "do you think our neighbour is pretty?"
"yes, i do."
"do you want to marry her someday?"
seulgi laughs. "hyun, a little help here?"
joohyun shakes her head as she puts down a plate in front of yerim. "not my fault. not my problem."
"aish. look, yerim. i like her, but not in a way that i would want to marry her. those two are different things. i like her as a friend. friend."
"are you sure?" asks yerim. this time, joohyun is putting the plate in front of seulgi.
"yes, i am. now stop acting like a jealous girlfriend." seulgi looks at joohyun and whispers the next words, "you remind me a lot of my ex-girlfriend."
joohyun lightly smacks her after that.
"what the hell..." sooyoung looks around the shelter, her ears feasting with the continuous bark of the dogs in the background. "and you have done all of this in just two days?"
"it's not just me." seulgi steps forward. "i got help from ex-sau chapter here and other volunteers." she taps seungwan, whose mouth is still hanging open. "you okay there?"
seungwan turns to seulgi, eyes still in shock. "i know i told you it would be an excellent idea to adopt a pet. but i never imagined it would be this..."
"extreme?" sooyoung continues, chuckling. she places an elbow over seulgi's uninjured shoulder. "you know our seulgi here has always been extreme."
"but this is fast," says seungwan. "how can you come up with something this big given your situation? where did you get the idea?"
"i have connections, doc." seulgi motions to sunmi. "and the idea came from this pretty lady here, lee sunmi. she's my next-door neighbour."
"it's nice to meet you two." sunmi shakes their hands.
"thank you for taking care of our seulgi here. glad you gave her this idea."
"it's my pleasure. seulgi and i haven't known each other for a long time but i can say she's a wonderful person."
"that's good to know. are you, by any chance, single?" asks sooyoung.
"park sooyoung!" seulgi protests. "what the hell!"
sunmi laughs. "yes, i am single. but it seems seulgi here still can't get over a certain ex."
"oh. don't worry about that." sooyoung waves a hand. "if she can be exposed to someone like you all the time, i'm sure she'll eventually forget her ex."
"what? i'm just saying the truth. and sunmi here agrees with me, right?"
sunmi gives seulgi a knowing look before she turns to sooyoung. "totally agree."
"so, what's joohyun's reaction after you told her all about this advocate of yours?" asks sooyoung, grabbing a slice of pizza from the table. she, seulgi, and seungwan are now back in the apartment.
"not much." seulgi shrugs. "she nods and says it's okay as long as i take care of myself."
"is she okay with that?" sooyoung throws a look at seungwan, who's grabbing another slice from the pizza box.
"why are you looking at me like i got the answer?" seungwan leans back and takes a bite. "i am not joohyun."
"we know. but we also know joohyun tells you all her thoughts, more than what she's even telling her husband," says sooyoung. "spill now, doc."
seungwan heaves a sigh and throws her hands in the air. "okay. she doesn't agree to any piece of this whole foundation thing. you happy now?"
seulgi leans over. "what? why?"
"look, before the two of you jump to conclusions, may i remind you that joohyun is a nurse, and her main concern is always seulgi's recovery," explains seungwan. "she's not against seulgi's advocate but she's worried it may stress seulgi out. plus i don't think she trusts your pretty neighbour that much yet to let you hang around her that long."
sooyoung whistles. "ooh. jealous."
seulgi eyes sooyoung before going back to seungwan. "then why didn't she say anything when i told her last night?"
"she doesn't want to step outside her boundaries. if you know what i mean." seungwan takes another bite of her pizza. "as much as she wants to stop you from doing that, she knows she can't. she doesn't have the right to. so she lets you. but she asked me to come with you to make sure you're okay and just so i can report to her what happened. if she doesn't have work and mommy duties, she would have come with you instead."
"and i assume you've given her a good report today?"
"of course i did," seungwan answers immediately. "including how you and sunmi seem to have good chemistry to work on this project together. don't get me wrong. i want her to trust sunmi."
"speaking of that, what's up with you and your neighbour, huh?" sooyoung asks seulgi. "you two seem to be very close for someone who just met a few days ago. did you guys already ?"
seulgi hides her face in her hand. "c'mon, sooyoung. you know me better than that!"
"what? i'm just asking. i mean, you and jisoo started that way, right?"
"and how can she even do it with that injury hers?" seungwan cackles.
"duh. there are lots of positions they can try. sunmi looks flexible to me," says sooyoung. "if seulgi had done it with jisoo there's no doubt she can do it again."
"stop. that." seulgi grunts. "it's different with jisoo, okay? and sunmi's not like that. she's a good friend of mine."
"a good and a hot friend," seungwan adds. "joohyun says she and yerim saw you two kissing in front of sunmi's door yesterday."
"we're not kissing!" seulgi almost stands up from the couch. "well, she kissed my cheek to thank me because i offered her a position in the foundation. but it's just a friendly kiss!"
"friendly kiss my ." sooyoung snorts. "don't deny it. you find her hot too."
seulgi throws a crumpled table napkin at sooyoung, hurting herself in the process after straining her injured shoulder. "damn you, sooyoung."
"oh. c'mon. you love me." sooyoung laughs. "tsk. tsk. tsk. what are we gonna do with you, seulgi? it seems that even you're injured, women are still flocking over you."
"i can't wait to see what will happen." seungwan shakes her head as she picks and eats the pizza crumbs in the box. "i can already feel the tension. this will be interesting."
"same." sooyoung picks another slice of pizza and looks at seulgi before taking a bite. "would love to see how this story will unfold."
seulgi can only slump on the couch and pout.
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in case you missed reading the foreword, this is a sequel story. if you haven't read untouchable yet, i suggest you go over that before proceeding with this.

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