| CHAPTER SIX |
Fair and Square
Jiwon leans by the trunk of the tree, her hands lie flat on the laptop sitting on her lap. She put a towel down the grass and sat on it. Fresh summer breeze at the agency’s backyard events garden hit her face delicately as she looks ahead – kind of warm but still relaxing to the contact. She wipes her tears clean, crying for a minute or two is usually enough for her, always giving herself a time-limit on her ‘weak Kim Jiwon’ mode.
Before her aunt passed, they have been planning to go visit South Korea after so many years – main reason it took them a while to be able to even plan it was money. They were struggling for a bit when they were newer to Canada plus all the bad that had happened to Jiwon during her younger years definitely did not help their case.
It only got better for the both of them when Hayoung finally got promoted from her cashier position to management at a Korean grocery store and Jiwon finished college and was hired in POSE where she also did her internship.
Jiwon held her smile for a little longer as she glued her eyes down her phone. “I’m here now, Aunty. It’s pretty nice here, a lot has changed but it still sure feels the same.” She stared at her phone screen as if she were really talking to her, from the pictures. “I’m officially twenty-eight … can you believe that?” She sniffed a few times, trying to hold her tears this time.
She looked up the summer sky. “Now, our dream to go visit home together after so many years … I’m trying to make that happen now with only myself but it just feels like a complete nightmare, hm? You’re unfair, Aunty. We only had the two of us. You have Eomma with you now, who do I have though?” She laughed at herself for lecturing her dead aunty.
Just then, she heard rustling sounds behind her making her immediately turn.
There she saw Baekhyun standing behind the tree, on the other side. “I swear to god I didn’t see Kim Jiwon talking to herself. I just got here.” He sniggered, his hands both behind him like a good boy all of a sudden. Jiwon looked straight again, frown coming back to her face. “I wasn’t talking to myself and please, leave me alone. How many times do I have to tell you th—”
She was about to close her eyes to avoid his existence when a bouquet of flowers popped right at her face. It’s a variety of colors; yellow, lilac, green and orange. It has a very summery vibe. She really liked it; she likes flowers very much. “No, I’m not going to eat out with you if that’s what you’re trying to do.” She rejected immediately, shoving the bouquet away from her face. She heard him groan before taking a few steps closer, the sound of his movement making her shudder in anger. “Don’t worry, it’s not from me. It’s from POSE.” He placed the bouquet down the grass and simply stood there beside her, one hand in his pocket while the other held a black bag.
“Oh.” Jiwon grabbed the flowers and looked at the card on it. A smile reached her lips easily as she read the greeting from them in English. Despite that she didn’t really like her boss in POSE, she made many friends there and they were all very nice and polite – she enjoyed her time there until her aunt passed away when she kind of lost it. She put her laptop aside on the grass in exchange of the flowers on her lap. She then opened her camera on the phone and started taking shots of it so that she can send it to them and thank them.
She lifted her hand higher to get a better angle when a plastic bag joined in the shot on the screen, placed right beside her legs. She stopped and looked up to Baekhyun who just walked away after putting the bag down. “What the hell is this?” She asked, turning to look at his back figure.
“You said not today, so not today then. Whatever, cutie.” He simply said faintly since he’s already at a distance.
Baekhyun rushes into the building and back at Kyungsoo’s office. “Ugh, ing Jesus Christ.” He groaned as he flopped down the couch. “What did you do this time, Baekhyun?” Kyungsoo asked in concern. With another groan coming out of him, Baekhyun takes out something from his pocket. It was a silly-string spray. “Nothing, don’t worry. Just gave her the flowers and got her a cheap cake from the grocery store.” The man leans back on the couch and started slapping her face, left and right, to release the frustration that has built up in him. Kyungstoo left his table and grabbed the bottle of spray. “What’s this? Isn’t this the annoying thingy that comes out and stuff and it’s hard to remove when sprayed on you? My siblings used this one me before.” He asked.
Baekhyun gave himself another one big slap before talking. “Yeah, I was gunna piss her off with that but … I don’t know—I don’t ing know! Jeez, can you stop asking me these stupid questions? For s’ sake, Kyungsoo. You can be quite annoying sometimes.” He suddenly hissed, sharply enough to make the other man flinch in fear. He then stood up and walked out of then office again, making a loud thud from the door slamming close.
He went to lock himself up in the studio, taking literal blank shots of the black backdrop in front of him. He needs to release all the stress that waved into his body when he heard Jiwon talking and crying to herself—or pictures—and he just couldn’t do what he was planning to do.
From what he could figure out from that encounter, she’s talking to her Aunt who apparently passed. Also, he had figured out that her mom is also dead – just like his. “This is ing dumb.” He stopped taking blank shots and put the camera down. As much as he really wanted to pull off another game with her, he just couldn’t seem to do it. She looked way too pitiful earlier at the garden, he didn’t like seeing that side of her at all. It really made him uncomfortable. Kim Jiwon to him is the tough, sophisticated careerwoman he’s challenging himself to toy with and that’s definitely not what he saw just now. It bummed it out really badly.
His thoughts were then interrupted by a phone call from his Aunty.
“Hm. Aunty Jooyoung. What’s up?” He asked, masking his inner frustration with a delighted tone. “What?” He stood up as soon as she spoke on the other line. “Where did he fall? Is it bad—no, I’m coming there? Take him to the hospital, now, please aunty.” He ran out of the studio, sweats already forming around his forehead. “What do you mean he doesn’t want to—no, tell him I said so. Aunty, he’s being cray right now, just take him to the ho—can you give him the phone, please?” he groaned constantly as he walked past all the employees, brushing against some of them as he brisk walked.
Just then, he bumped into Jiwon who just came out of the break room. “Oh, Baekhyun.” She called his name, calmer than usual. “About the cake, uh, thank—”
“Shush.” Baekhyun shut her up and put his palm up to block her from getting any closer before walking away completely. “Appa, what is wrong with you? Can you just go to the hospital now, please? It’s going to take me a while to get there, I beg you just go to the hospital, get your hips checked—no, I’m not asking you, I am telling you to go. What do you mean it’s no big deal? No, it doesn’t matter if it’s just four steps, three steps, two steps. I don’t care, you still fell!” he continuously hissed loudly as he walks out, employees looking nosily as they walk by the distraught man yelling on the phone.
Jiwon turned and watched him leave, distress was evident on his face. She’s never seen that side of him before. Despite that she should be quite offended from being Shush-ed by him just now, she just can’t seem to after seeing him act that way. “His dad fell? Oh god.” She muffled to herself, she always had a soft spot towards parents.
It always reminded her of her mother and her aunt. Parents will be parents and that’s one thing she wasn’t really given much chances to take care of having – she never met her biological father which she’s always been curious about, she was never really close to her alco