TW: abuse, violence
When Shuhua was fourteen, that’s when her anger started to grow, which inflicted her rebellion. She wanted so badly to get the attention of her parents, and she thought that maybe if she made bad decisions, that would spark some interest from them. Or at least get them to leave their office to actually become parents to Shuhua. Whether Shuhua was getting yelled at, or lectured in a way she would learn, she didn’t care. She just wanted her parents to actually be her parents.
She purposefully didn’t attend class, ditching to hang out at the park or go to the mall, but after her school called home, it wasn’t Shuhua’s parents who came to the parent teacher meetings, but Mrs. Wang instead.
Mrs. Wang was the head maid of the Yeh household. She was very kind to Shuhua, and if Shuhua was being honest, sometimes she wished Mrs. Wang was her mother instead. She always treated Shuhua like she was her own anyway, doing things for Shuhua that parents were supposed to.
Mrs. Wang tried her best to make Shuhua see things in another perspective. That Shuhua’s parents weren’t as heartless as Shuhua sees them to be. That they were always working because they wanted what was best for Shuhua and that they loved her.
And maybe at some point, Shuhua allowed herself to believe that.
It was only when Shuhua purposefully got caught vandalizing at the mall, that her parents actually gave her any sort of attention, and that was only because the media didn’t take long to put out to the public that the daughter of Taiwan’s richest family was not actually the nation’s sweetheart like she’s been displayed to be.
Shuhua was surprised to have her parents storming into the house that night.
Mrs. Wang looked scared for her, but Shuhua didn’t pay any attention to that part, and actually welcomed her parents with a smile despite the resentment from all the neglect she’s faced.
But when her mother stormed up to her with a hard slap on the face, before Shuhua could even greet them, all of Mrs. Wang’s persuasion that they were good people, flew out the window.
Shuhua was certain that her parents were evil. Driven by money and greed.
“Do you know how much of a pain you have been, Shuhua? The media has you plastered on ever single newspaper and news channel in ing handcuffs.” Her mother growled, pacing in front of her with a distressed expression.
Shuhua held her reddened cheek with shaky hands, tears not holding back from her wide eyes. “I-I…” Shuhua didn't know what to say. It was foolish of her to think her parents would come to her with open arms and comfort because normally, fourteen year old girls would be traumatized after being handcuffed and thrown behind bars even for just a few hours.
“Everyone, leave.” Her father waved at the maids who quietly stood in their places, head down to the floor respectfully.
Shuhua turned towards Mrs. Wang, eyes begging for her to stay, but it seems Shuhua wasn’t the only one who was afraid of her parents. Mrs. Wang only gave her an apologetic look, disappearing behind the tall white walls like the rest of them did.
“Do you know what this can do to our family name? Our business? Our partnerships?” Her mother’s voice rose in frustration, and although it was Shuhua’s first time hearing it, she decided that she never wanted to hear it again.
“Yeah, because that comes first! Not the fact that your daughter could be traumatized, or if your daughter is okay—,” Shuhua’s shriek cut her words off, and it was her father’s hand that landed on the same cheek this time.
“You do not talk to your mother that way.”
Shuhua wiped the blood dripping from the gash on her cheek. “Mother?” A bitter laugh left her lips, “my mother?”
Shuhua got back up on her shaky legs, light headed and vision blurry. “You have no right to call yourself that.”
Her mother seemed offended, and Shuhua wanted to laugh.
“It would be offensive to all the other mothers in the world.” Shuhua looked her mother straight in the eyes.
And maybe after the second hit, Shuhua became numb, or maybe Shuhua had already been numb for a long time. Either way, Shuhua didn’t feel the next slap that landed on her face.
Shuhua thinks that maybe she took her parents’ absence for granted. That it was definitely better to be alone, then to suffer from their evil wrath.
Evil. They were pure evil.
Shuhua blinked out of her reverie, the sound of a book dropping in the distance interrupting her thoughts. She looked down at the open psychology textbook in front of her and let out a sigh, dropping her head onto the unread pages.
“I don’t think that’s a very good studying technique, beautiful.” A low chuckle prompted Shuhua to lift her head up from the crease of her book, wide eyes staring into amused ones that smiled at her.
“I was just—,” Shuhua paused, looking down at her book, and scratching her head. She didn’t bother explaining herself, and just looked up at the older woman with a sheepish look.
“What are you doing here, Karina? Juilliard’s library ran out of books again?” Shuhua’s playfulness was timid, but comfortable at the same time.
Karina chuckled, shrugging, “perhaps... Or maybe I was testing my luck in hopes to run into you again.”
Shuhua grinned, “consider yourself lucky then, because here I am.”
Karina’s smile was soft like always, and Shuhua allowed herself to hold the warm gaze that Karina was giving her.
“May I?” Karina gestured towards the seat in front of Shuhua.
“Oh, yes, please sit.” Shuhua immediately replied.
“You do know that you have my number, right? So you don’t have to test your luck, and you can just shoot me a text or call.” Shuhua grinned at Karina.
“That’s true, but isn’t this better?” Karina grinned back, eyebrows dancing playfully.
“I suppose you’re right,” Shuhua hummed, crossing her legs and leaning back into her chair, “it seems you’re always here to save me when I’m in need of a study break.”
Karina looked at the book in front of Shuhua, “I can also be here for you when you need someone to study with… or if you let me, I can be here for you whenever you need me to be.”
Shuhua blinked, “that’s a very serious commitment.”
Karina smiles, “I’m aware of that, beautiful.”
Shuhua nods slowly, “oh, you’re aware? Then you’re probably just crazy then.”
Karina laughs genuinely, covering , keeping herself aware of the quiet tension surrounding the library.
“Shuhua,” she playfully scolded the younger woman.
Shuhua also laughs, “I’m just saying.”
Karina clicks her tongue, “why is it hard for you to believe that I’m serious about this? About you?”
Shuhua shrugs, “because...well… my last and only relationship ended horribly, and you’re offering the same exact things that she once promised.”
Karina only smiles again, “is that why you’re a bit hesitant to answer my question?”
“Among other things… yeah.”
Among other things.
Karina notices the sullen and conflicted expression on Shuhua’s features, and her lips formed a habitual thin line. “Anyone would have been a fool if they didn’t give their best to try and hold onto you.”
Shuhua softened, absolutely, and yet again, swooned at Karina’s words.
“And I am no fool, Shuhua.” Karina takes a hold of Shuhua’s hand on the table, “that’s why I’m asking you to just give me a chance. At least, let me show you my best, and if it ends up not working out, then we can just be friends.” Karina offered, watching as Shuhua stared at their conjoined hands.
“One date, beautiful. That’s all I’m asking for.” Karina raised her eyebrows at her expectantly. Shuhua pursed her lips to the side, in thought.
“Okay? As in, you'll go on a date with me?” Karina wanted to make sure.
Shuhua notes the way Karina’s eyes grow wide and so does her smile. She giggles, nodding her head in confirmation.
“Yes. I’ll go on a date with you.”
Karina’s smile disappeared into a sudden frown, “is Soojin going to be okay with it? I-I mean, I don’t know the dynamic… between you two besides … but…”
Shuhua blinks, eyebrows furrowing. “She’s in no position to not be okay with this, Karina. And I’m quite surprised that you’re taking into consideration what Soojin thinks. I was given the impression that the two of you have despised each other ever since you guys were young.”
“I’m surprised that you’re not worried about what Soojin thinks.” Karina states, which makes Shuhua frown. Her eyes stare at the wood of the table in thought, “well, she’s given me many reasons as to why I shouldn’t.” Shuhua quietly says.
Karina only nods, “I’m aware of Soojin’s ways.”
“I don’t hate her, Shuhua. Though I can’t say Soojin feels the same. I wasn’t the most pleasant person growing up, I admit, but people change. I’ve matured and realized how horrible I’ve been to her.” Karina explains. Shuhua raises her gaze and sees the genuineness in the older woman’s eyes, and she believes her.
“Did you ever want to make things right between you two?” Shuhua curiously asked. She felt that she shouldn’t ask about the details of whatever went down between Soojin and Karina. Even if Karina had no problem spilling everything, Shuhua feels that she would be hearing things about Soojin that the latter might not be comfortable with Shuhua knowing.
“Of course I do.” Karina confesses.
“You should,” Shuhua encourages, “I think she would really appreciate it if you do.”
“Auntie Wendy, I saw Soojin kissing Shu the other day! They’re girlfriends!” Yoon bursted through Wendy’s house with an excited squeal.
“Yoon!” Soojin clicked her tongue in annoyance.
Wendy paused midway from her path to the kitchen, a hand going to her hip. “You saw what?”
“She wasn’t supposed to see anything.” Soojin reasoned, trying to save herself from the nagging that she knew Wendy was about to give her.
“And Yoon, what did I say? Shu and I are just friends, okay?” Soojin told her little sister who only looked at her with wide eyes.
“Friends who kiss?” Yoon questions with a tilt of her head. “So I can kiss my friends?”
Soojin’s eyes widened, “no! No, Yoon. You will not be kissing anyone for another thirty years.” Wendy rolls her eyes at the overprotective side of Soojin, but smiling in fondness, nonetheless with a shake of her head.
“I mean, she does have a point, doesn’t she, Soojin? Maybe your seven year old sister can teach you a thing or two about how relationships work, yeah?” Wendy says, a teasing tone to her voice.
Soojin growls, “ out of my relationships, grandma.”
Wendy wears an offended look, “call me a grandma again! I dare you!”
Soojin scoffs, crossing her arms, hip jutting out sassily. “Grand—,” before she could finish saying the word, a soft pillow gets thrown hard against her face.
gapes, and she stares at a snickering Wendy with a hard glare. “You bitc—,”
“Uh uh! Don’t you dare curse in front of your little sister, Soojin. I will not tolerate it.” Wendy warns, a threatening finger in the air pointed at Soojin.
The latter huffs in frustration, glancing at Yoon who looked at the both of them in a giggling fit. “Yoon, baby, can you cover your ears and count to ten for me, please?”
Yoon nods, placing her hands over her ears tightly, “one, two—,”
Soojin charges at Wendy, “you !”
Wendy’s eyes widened as she rounded the couch that Yoon was sitting at as the little girl counted to ten as she was told to do.
“Respect your elders, Soojin. Respect your elders!” Wendy shrieks, running the opposite direction from where Soojin continues to charge towards her.
“You say to respect my elders, but get offended at me calling you grandma?” Soojin growls.
“Those words do not have the same meaning, you brat!” Wendy groans, a stomp to her feet.
“Either way, they both mean you’re ancient!” Soojin retorts.
“—nine, ten!” Yoon squeals the last number, lowering her hands from her ears.
Soojin rips her glare from Wendy, facing Yoon with a wide smile. “Okay, now cover your ears, close your eyes, and count to one hundred.”
“One hundred?!” Yoon squeaks in surprise.
Yoon shrugs, closing her eyes shut and covering her ears with her hands again. “One, two—,”
“Come here, !”
“Hey, stop cussing in my household!” Wendy fleed once more, opening the glass doors that led from the living room, to the huge grassy backyard.
“Wait! Jin! The sprinklers are on, don’t—,”
Wendy turns to only see Soojin advancing towards her despite h