Stricken, Jongin’s mouth started parting, his eyes widening. Hurriedly catching himself when Munho glanced at him, Jongin grinned, stuck a hand out, “Nice to meet you. I’m Kim Jongin.”
Munho darted his attention fast and quick toward his offering. Briefly touching his hand, he withdrew. “Sure.” Focusing more attentively on Namjoo, he urged, “Your parents are waiting. You shouldn’t make them wait.”
Once his back was turned, Namjoo released him.
“You could have warned me,” he whispered.
Namjoo shot him a similar narrowed stare then headed up without waiting. Jongin went after her curious what other trick she might pull without warning.
The home was intricately beautiful. Jongin felt like he’d walked right into a museum. All the fine furnishings made his mouth gape wide open idiotically. Shiny walls, marbling floors, huge rooms beholding giant fireplaces, stone waterfalls as a stylish backdrop. Namjoo spared him no time to sightsee hushing him along impatiently. Jongin was unable to keep track of which rooms he traveled through until they reached what appeared to be a banquet hall.
Maybe Namjoo needn’t bring him to a luxury restaurant. It was right here in her home. Shiny deep brown-red table topped with glorious silverware. Big, oval dishes filled to the brim consisting of today’s entrées. Small bowls and plates scattered around.
His fingers twitched when Namjoo pulled him toward the table. Her hand thin but warm and a soft caress to his skin. Two elders he took as her parents studied him closely. Too closely. Neither appeared impressed. The woman carrying the most critical stare that lingered until he sat.
“Well,” Madam Kim started, voice icily laced. “What is this, Namjoo?”
“Mom, dad this is Kim Jongin.” Namjoo formally introduced. Grinning big at Uncle Namhee, “Uncle Namhee has already met him, so there’s no need for introductions. And, Munho, too. They’ve just met.”
Munho’s lingering stare quivered just slightly. Gosh. Any time now and Jongin was going to start sweating buckets with all this attention zeroed on him.
“Hello, it’s nice to meet you.” He politely greeted.
Uncle Namhee scoffed. “It’s a sin to lie to your parents Namjoo. A boyfriend?! What about your engagement to Munho? Are you trying to embarrass your parents? This is not right, young lady.”
Jongin turned to look at Namjoo. Seeing on her other side the man he’d faced earlier. Now it made sense. The unwanted vibe. He was getting it from everyone in the room. He’d never experienced such unease before. Not in the courtroom. Not anywhere else.
“It’s the exact reason I came back.” Namjoo glanced at him. Smiling so surely. So…lovingly. “I came back for him.”
“Namjoo!” her mother cried out.
“So, you’re a prosecutor,” Senior Kim lowly stated ignoring everyone’s reactions.
“Yes, sir.” he replied.
“I don’t like it,” the elder man shook his head. “Your profession is not a line suitable for my daughter. Surrounded by crime all day, heavy court work that will take your time away from her. Break up with her right now.”
“You have no right!” the man viciously rebuked his daughter. “If not for your uncle, I would never have found out you’re cheating right behind Munho’s back! He is going to be your husband!”
His throaty voice flew up like soaring flames to the ceiling, vibrating thunderously, “How dare you?!”
The man was seething blood and fire. Right beside him, his small wife remained unaffected, sharing silent agreement.
“You would be married right now if not for what you pulled five years earlier! Your mother and I have allowed you to rebel too long. Enough!” her father screeched. “Have you not thought about Munho’s feelings at all?! He’s right next to you! Have some shame, Namjoo! I did not raise you to be like this!”
The pastor nodded. Reasoning, “It must’ve been lonely abroad, Namjoo, so you connected with a mutual friend and turned it into something else, but flings don’t last. Munho has always been here for you. Your parents always know what’s best for you. You need to stop being angry now. Listen to them, please.”
Jongin wasn’t in the spotlight, but damn if it wasn’t the worst thing to be stuck witnessing a family battle. This was so uncomfortable.
“ it all.” Namjoo breathed.
“What did you say?” her father hissed.
Raising her head a level up, Namjoo spoke louder, “I said, fork.”
Her father testily stared her down.
Sawing the chicken steak on her plate, Namjoo unemotionally asked, “Since when should I start worrying about feelings? I wasn’t raised to think about that.” Putting a slice into , Namjoo said, “Thinking back…neither of you were really concerned about our feelings. Do well, look proper, don’t disappoint.”
Her voice held unhidden pretentions the next round, “Oh! What about when mom brought my brother to the doctor about a mysterious injury. He winced at every step, but right, it was not serious. Deal with it.” She spread her hands out, “Then, it was forgotten.”
Her father’s face went superbly red. The pastor shifted in his seat.
“And then you went back to work and mom continued to throw dinner parties. And I was forced to go back to ballet class when I said I didn’t want to.” Namjoo sing-songed.
“Why, you!” her father slapped the table. His eyes jumped onto Jongin warily. “How much do you want?”
Senior Kim’s hands disappeared below the table. Numerous cash was tossed his direction. Half a twenty-bill sunk into the soup. “Everything you heard today; you will forget. And you will leave my daughter.”
Jongin’s face almost turned a shade red like the elder man’s. Highly insulted.
“Take it all.” The man gruffly ordered. Chastising his daughter malevolently, “You will apologize to Munho, again, and your uncle. Your behavior is unacceptable. If I hear any more of the prosecutor, you will move back home until you marry.”
“Very well then,” Namjoo easily gave up confusing him. Weird how she spoke with no heat left in her voice at all. “I’m sorry for my r