seulgi turns at the call and sees yerim dashing towards her. the kid's parents, along with seungwan, are at the waterski entrance.
"wow. someone looks excited to see you, huh?" says jisoo. "should i be jealous?"
"she's just a kid. and don't deny you find her cute too." seulgi bends down to receive yerim jumping into her arms. "hey, sweetie. you're here to ski too?"
yerim nods. "daddy promised..."
"hello, baby. looks like you're already prepared, huh?" says jisoo, noticing the purple rash guard the kid is wearing.
"hello..." yerim gives jisoo a kind smile before her curious eyes catch seulgi's already damp hair. "you've already skied?"
"yeah. with some friends." seulgi nods in the direction of amber and some of their previous sau comrades.
"whaddup, seulgi?" says seungwan. "hello, miss jisoo. i'm seungwan, seulgi's friend."
"no need for formality..." jisoo offers a hand. "it's a pleasure to meet you. i've heard a lot of things about you."
seungwan raises an eyebrow, shaking jisoo's hand back. "didn't know seulgi talks about me."
"course i do. i'm proud of my doctor friend," says seulgi. "are you joining us?"
"hmm. well..." seungwan's eyes scan the area, spotting eunji talking to amber and krystal. "yeah... i'm here to try waterskiing..."
seulgi sends her friend a knowing smirk. "that's good. you can join eunji and the others now."
"oh. i surely will. catch you later..."
"... the water seems deep..." seulgi hears joohyun's voice as the woman approaches them along with her husband.
"it's fine. they have life vests," says junmyeon.
joohyun clasps her hands on her chest, coming closer to tidy her daughter's hair. "is it safe here?"
seulgi isn't sure if joohyun intends the question for her. but since she's carrying the kid in her arms, she answers, "yeah. a lot of kids are even doing it on their own." she gestures towards the water.
joohyun's eyes wander to observe the kids up on the waterskis. she turns to her husband. "i can't allow yerim there. it's too deep. it looks dangerous."
"hey, relax." he puts his hands on her shoulder. "let's watch first so you can calm down, okay?"
"captain! it's your turn again!" shouts eunji. "come join seungwan here!"
"coming!" seulgi shouts back. she puts yerim down. "you stay with your mom for now and be a good girl, okay? don't come near the water unless your mom allows you. you hear me?"
"okay." yerim nods and smiles.
seulgi looks up at the still-pouting joohyun--secretly smiling knowing that's how the latter looks when she's worried.
"i'll go for another round. catch you later," seulgi tells jisoo.
"go ahead. enjoy!"
the next thing happening is seungwan's screams echoing through the island and far off in the distance.
seulgi is drying her face with a towel when she hears footsteps approaching.
she looks up and sees joohyun. "oh. hey..."
"um..." joohyun fiddles with her fingers nervously.
knowing there's no way joohyun would approach her first in this situation, seulgi shifts her eyes to where joohyun's family is and sees yerim crying, throwing tantrums while her dad tries to calm her down.
"they... um... they went for it but junmyeon had cramps. the instructors brought them back..."
"oh. and yerim still wants to go back into the water?"
joohyun nods with a pout. "she's persistent. she's using the promise card against her dad."
"hah. bright kid." seulgi lightly chuckles. she gets to her feet, pulling the towel from her hair. "i can go with her."
"a-are you sure?" joohyun blinks. "i wanted to ask you that, but i don't want to impose if you're busy."
"i don't mind."
"y-you sure? if we're interrupting something, just let me know. i mean, i know you went here with someone. we'll just head back to the room if ever."
"ahh. no. jisoo's having a mini-meeting with the management of this resort to discuss a project."
"oh. that's nice." joohyun scans seulgi. "you got something here." she reaches out to pluck two leaves from seulgi's hair.
"i'm sorry for bothering you. it's just that i don't want to entrust yerim to other people."
seulgi feels something warm inside her chest. "don't worry. i got her."
"thank you." joohyun finally smiles. "it's hard to handle her when she's being stubborn."
seulgi hums. "sounds like someone i know."
joohyun smirks, the smirk seulgi always finds seductive. "aren't you tired yet? you've gone around for like ten times now..."
"it's fine. really." seulgi shrugs. "it's yerim. you know how she's got me wrapped in her palm."
joohyun rolls her eyes. "that's the reason my daughter likes you now more than she likes me. she sees you as her playmate. while me, i'm someone who always tells her no."
seulgi raises her palms up. "not my fault. not my problem."
there was a slight smack on her arm after.
joohyun immediately wraps the kid in a towel. "how was it?"
yerim jumps. "fun!"
"thanks for going with her," says junmyeon. "i dunno if it's because of my lack of exercise or if i'm getting old. but yeah, cramps got me. i hope we didn't bother you that much."
"you're not old." seulgi taps his arm. "you just need to stretch out a bit."
he chuckles. "guess you're right."
seulgi couldn't believe how she can talk to junmyeon like they have been long-time friends.
"seulgi is really cool, mom!" says yerim.
"oh, is she?" joohyun smiles as she dries her daughter's hair with the towel.
yerim hums. "she taught me how to ski properly."
"and she's dashing on the water like an action star in the movies!"
the kid turns to her dad. "daddy, why do many people want to sleep with seulgi?"
yerim's parents blink. seulgi massages her temples in embarrassment.
"hmm? what do you mean, baby?" asks junmyeon.
"while we were skiing, some women were shouting, saying, 'hey, kang seulgi, sleep with me tonight...'" the kid puts her fingers around to mimic the women from earlier.
"oh... that kind of sleeping, huh..." junmyeon looks at seulgi, sniggering.
seulgi's face turns beet red.
"and what did seulgi say to them?" asks joohyun.
"she laughed and continued teaching me how to ski," says yerim. she tugs her mom's sleeve. "mommy, can i sleep with seulgi too?"
at this point, seulgi already wants to disappear from the surface of the earth.
"no. you can't, baby. you're too young for that." junmyeon cackles. "besides, seulgi's sleeping with her roommate tonight. you can't just barge in there like that."
junmyeon laughs. "she doesn't understand it, babe. don't worry."
"what is it mommy?" asks yerim.
joohyun stands up, glaring at her husband. "nothing, baby. as what your dad said, seulgi's already got a roommate. you can't stay there."
"but i still want to play with seulgi..."
joohyun rolls her eyes at seulgi. "look at what you've done to my daughter."
"hey. i got nothing to do with that. i'm just being cool. right, yerim?" seulgi fist-bumps the kid. "anyway, i need to go back and change."
"you're leaving already?" yerim pouts.
junmyeon crouches on the floor to level his daughter's eyes. "seulgi needs to rest, baby. you can play some other time, okay? and we need to go back now too to rest and ready ourselves for the jungle adventure tomorrow. we'll be seeing some baboons along the way."
"yes! and i want to eat banana roti!" yerim claps.
"yes. we'll buy you that banana roti you've been craving, okay?"
yerim turns to seulgi. "will you join us tomorrow?"
seulgi pats the kid's head. "we'll see about that, kiddo. but i'll be around. i'm sure we'll bump into each other."
yerim turns to her daddy. "can we invite seulgi for dinner instead?"
"sure we can," says junmyeon, making joohyun look at him. "it would be a pleasure and honour if you would join us for dinner tonight. feel free to bring jisoo if you feel like."
a small crease forms on seulgi's forehead, unsure of what to respond.
isn't he and joohyun having problems lately, which according to seungwan may be seulgi-related?
does that mean it's fixed now?
and why is joohyun giving him that look?
"c'mon. consider that as our gratitude for skiing with yerim today," junmyeon insists. "we'd love to have you around. i owe you a lot from two years ago. my family and i owe you a lot."
joohyun doesn't look like she agrees with her husband's invitation. seulgi was about to decline, but little yerim hugs her around her waist.
"dinner with me, please?" yerim looks at seulgi with hopeful eyes.
joohyun's face softens. she shakes her head and lets out a small smile.
seeing this, seulgi feels it's safe to agree now. so, she did.
seulgi lowers her head so yerim can feed her again. "mmm! delicious!"
"awe. she's really fond of you, isn't she?" says seungwan across the table.
"try sleeping over with us one night, and you'll get tired of hearing her talk about seulgi," says joohyun's mom. "she even brags about it in school, now that seulgi's endorsements are everywhere."
"wow. if she ain't a kid, i'd really think of her as a competition." jisoo looks at seulgi. "for some reasons, she's so attached to you."
joohyun clears . her mom looks down at her food. junmyeon stays silent.
"it's just a typical reaction," says seungwan. "these two shared a traumatic experience two years ago, causing a bond to form between them. it has a stronger effect on yerim because she was still little and helpless. it was only seulgi, amber, sooyoung, and krystal who comforted her. won't blame her if she looks up at them as heroes."
"also, yerim has always admired sau even before that accident," joohyun's mom adds. "she can't get enough of them, particularly seulgi."
"how did yerim get to know about sau at a very young age?" asks jisoo.
"tv." junmyeon looks at his wife. "her mom was a big sau follower. they watched together for updates."
joohyun nods to acknowledge, but continues eating her food in silence.
"wow. that's cool," says jisoo. "i mean, no offence to seulgi here, but i haven't been following sau or aef updates before."
"none taken," says seulgi. "i understand. the government created that channel for anyone who wants to get updates, especially the ones with families involved in aef or sau."
"that makes sense. i never had a relative or a loved one involved in aef before." jisoo nods. "were any of your family members part of aef?"
there is a brief silence. joohyun's mom eyes her daughter.
"uh... well... joohyun and i were close friends with seulgi and sooyoung way back university days," says seungwan. "we all studied in aef university. i and joohyun were focussed more on the medical side while sooyoung and seulgi were on the military side."
yerim turns to joohyun. "mommy, is it true that you and seulgi were roommates?"
"mmm? who told you that, baby?" asks joohyun, fixing her daughter's hair.
"grandma told me. she said when you were a student, you used to share a room with seulgi."
"yes, we did. but that was a long time ago now, baby. and you'll get the chance to do that too once you enter university."
"ahh." yerim nods, taking it all in. "so, does that mean you slept with seulgi too?"
seulgi coughs. joohyun blushes profusely.
"what did she say?" asks joohyun's mom.
"i'm sorry, it's my fault." junmyeon chuckles. "while they were skiing earlier, yerim heard some women asking seulgi to sleep with them. i didn't give her the proper explanation about it."
"look at what you're teaching your daughter." joohyun glares at her husband.
"c'mon. you know yerim won't understand stuff like that."
"daddy also said jisoo and seulgi are roommates now, so they are sleeping together too," yerim adds, much to seulgi's horror. seungwan and jisoo both laugh.
"bright kid!" says jisoo.
"seulgi seems to sleep around with a lot of women, huh?" seungwan adds.
"can i go home now?" seulgi says in a very little voice, covering her ears.
"baby, stop saying things like that, okay? it's not proper," says joohyun.
"why is it not proper?" yerim asks. "you and daddy always say sleeping a lot is healthy."
"yes, sleeping is healthy, especially for growing kids like you," says joohyun, trying to divert the topic into the more wholesome side.
"if you slept with seulgi before and jisoo sleeps with her now, i want to sleep with seulgi too, mommy."
seungwan and jisoo laugh harder.
"okay, kiddo. let's stop talking about that sleeping thingy, shall we?" says seulgi, making the kid turn to her. "you better finish your food now so you can rest tonight and be ready for your adventure tomorrow, okay?"
yerim smiles. "okay!"
joohyun lets out a relieved sigh.
"that was fun," says seungwan. "it's awkward hearing it from your own kid, right?" she asks joohyun.
joohyun smiles. "yeah."
"it's even more awkward when your daughter made it sound like you actually slept with a former roommate," jisoo butts in, chuckling.
the other four adults join in the laughter, pretending nothing like that happened before.