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Push & Pull
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| CHAPTER FIFTEEN |

Heart Punch

 

 

Did her breath smell bad?

Was she too ugly up close?

Was it the alcohol?

What was it? Jiwon wondered and wondered throughout the night. She didn’t have any interest in kissing him until that very second, she just couldn’t figure it out. Why did he run away? Why, of all people, would Byun Baekhyun decline a simple tipsy kiss? She stared at the man who sat two meters away across her on the big round table they were assigned in. Instead of sitting beside each other as dates, Baekhyun chose to sit beside Kyungsoo while she sat with Hara and her mother. Basically, men on one side and women on the other. Baekhyun hadn’t smiled since the late fancy dinner started, or at least Jiwon hadn’t caught him smile …

A light tap on her left made her turn. “You okay, girl? Is the food good?” Hara, as if some home hostess, asked. “Yeah, it’s excellent. I just feel a bit groggy since I’ve had a lot to drink.” Jiwon leaned closer to whisper her answer. She didn’t want the Park’s to just think she’s some alcoholic mess who attended this ball to drink the out of herself because the man who had been chasing her suddenly rejected a kiss from her. The more she thought about it however, the more she began feeling some kind of relief.

Technically, she almost gave in.

No, she was giving in.

It was the alcohol. She finally concluded to herself. Never in a million years would she have initiated a kiss with a womanizer like him, especially when she clearly knew his motives right from the start. What was she thinking? Within a split minute, she changed her whole perspective of the whole incident. No, she shouldn’t have had to feel bad about it. She should have been delighted, if anything. Finally, Byun Baekhyun was potentially giving up on his game.

She won.

Kim Jiwon won … right?

Again, her eyes found his direction. This time, he was looking back. Jiwon leaned herself more on the chair and folded her arms before raising a brow, giving the man a proud smirk. To her surprise, he smirked back, grabbed his glass of water and drank—his gaze never leaving hers. What the ? Was she seeing things? Nothing, like nothing at all, changed in his vibe. Just an hour ago, he disappeared like a bubble after that almost-kiss episode and only appeared for the kids’ performance and now for dinner. That fast? He went from a hundred to a zero and back to a hundred again? Was he bipolar or something?

“How has been work for you, Baekhyun? Any new exciting projects?” Mr. Park, Hara’s father, interrupted her thoughts when he spoke with a delightedly loud tone. Baekhyun’s signature shy laugh filled their table. Jiwon felt that familiar heaviness on her chest as she stared at him. “Well, aside from Hara’s and Kyungsoo’s special pre-nup photoshoot, none so far, sir. I mean, we’re talking about exciting projects so … that’s all I could think of that’s exciting enough for me.” He paused for a moment. “Actually, wait, there’s another project I could think of but that’s more of a personal one so I might have to keep it to myself until I’ve concluded it.” He then met eyes with her again. Shiver. Jiwon rubbed her bare arms and looked away.  

Please, someone tell her he was talking about an actual career project and not her.

Something in his gaze told her the latter theory. She rolled her eyes before taking another big sip of her champagne. He couldn’t have possibly moved on from that almost-kiss incident and just acted like nothing happened, could he? Jiwon adjusted herself on the chair and gave everyone a curious smile before throwing it to Baekhyun. “Oh, what’s the project called? C’mon, we’re Park & Co. family, it can’t be too personal, right?” She asked and everyone nodded along.

Baekhyun cleared his throat and obviously faked a smile as he put his glass of water down. “Uh, I’m sure to tell you guys once it’s going smoothly.” He nodded while looking at Hara’s parents. Jiwon chuckled. “Oh, it’s not going smoothly, I assume? How come? Can’t handle it well? You know, sometimes we start projects we realize later on that we can’t finish. I usually just give up on those and move on to more worthy projects.” She suggested, wiggling her eyebrows like the friendly and helpful co-worker she was. “That’s true, that’s true. Us, artists, can’t be wasting time on some projects. This industry is so fast-paced.” Mrs. Park laughed while patting her arm.

Baekhyun sniggered while adjusting his collar. “Oh, I’m going to finish it.” He nodded vigorously while staring back at her. “It’s worth it. Totally worth it. Wait and see.”

Jiwon looked away to clear before throwing him another one of her interrogating smiles. “Oh, wait, are you sure it’s not finished yet? Like, earlier—hmm, I think I finished it for you though?” She laughed. Now, the Park’s stared at each of them simultaneously, not getting what was happening at all. Baekhyun laughed just as loud as she was and looked away, remained quiet for a couple of seconds before looking at her again. “No, actually … it’s just one of my strategies. From what I’m observing, it’s working. Cause you tried to finish it, right? Or … you thought, you’re finishing it.” He nodded in the most irritating way Jiwon could possibly see it. “Are you guys … doing this project together?” Kyungsoo, who was beside Baekhyun, asked.

“No.” They both answered in chorus. “I mean, kind of, but I’m leading.” Baekhyun suddenly added.

Jiwon widened her eyes at him before chuckling heavily. “No, I’m leading—wait, no we’re not working on any personal projects together.” She straightened up herself the last minute.

It was obvious that everyone on their table were confused but no one argued any longer.

Thank god, Jiwon thought. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have known what else to say.

 

 

Jiwon didn’t think she would last that long. She felt so intoxicated and exhausted from socializing at the same time. It was almost one in the morning when they reached her home. With her purse clutched on one hand, Jiwon gripped loosely on the door handle. Without even looking at the driver, Baekhyun, she opened the door. “So, you live here huh? Very close to me, that’s … ing unexpected. Explains the grocery incident with my dad.” His voice faintly waved through her in a different kind of way.

He sounded quite genuine.

Genuinely frustrated for some reason.

Jiwon got off the car and turned around to look at him inside. “First of all, I don’t think that was an incident. It was a great encounter, your father’s actually pretty ing awesome, unlike you.” She made a point, even lifting her index finger up like a professor. Baekhyun rolled his eyes. “Yea whatev—”

He paused when his eyes landed near the entrance of her building, some men hanging out by the corner seemingly drunk and were all smoking and who ing knew what they were smoking? The thought made Baekhyun livid. He was guessing these guys lived in the building too and it’s very late so there was no one to really complain of them loitering around. Jiwon had to go through there to get inside. It’s one in the morning and there were no other people. “Okay, bye.” Jiwon closed the door of the car and turned around to walk away.

“She should … be fine, right?” Baekhyun blinked heavily. His chest pounded from the thought of her not being fine, however.

Without thinking any further, he parked his car and went out. He followed in through the tall entrance and picked up his pace until he saw them from far away. Some guys were whistling and one guy was standing right in front of Jiwon. Baekhyun clenched his fists. “This ing —"

“You. You. You. You. And you, off before I beat the out of you until you’re all crying back to your mommies. Are you guys even old enough to drink and smoke?” Jiwon warned with a deeper and sharper tone.

The men cheered and laughed, not taking the woman’s warning. The man in front of him then moved closer. “Maybe not, but we’re old enough to have some fun with you. You look like … someone we could have lots and lots of fun with, from head to toe.” His eyes travelled down to her body and Baekhyun watched it happen. Anger quickly escalated in his whole system and he began making heavy steps towards them until a loud aching groan echoed through the walls of the empty lot.

Jiwon kicked him right on the balls before walking fast to the entrance. The other guys didn’t bother to help their friend anymore and instead all laughed and took pictures.

Baekhyun then continued to walk until he reached the guys. “What are you looking at?” The man who just got balled grunted. “Hmm.” He thought for a second. “Nothing, I just feel bad … I don’t think you can have children after that, kiddo. Anyway, it’s past your bedtime, go the home.” He smiled before frowning back and walking to the entrance.

He soon realized he didn’t have a fob to get into the actual door. Instead, he just stood there staring at Jiwon’s back figure as she waited

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