Shuhua paces back and forth, thumb bitten anxiously between her teeth, and eyebrows meeting in the middle. The white walls of the hospital remained bright in her eyes, and the bustling of the health care workers made her distress worse.
Karina comes back to her with a worried expression, “the doctor says she’s fine. Just a small concussion, a bruised side, and her ankle is a little sprained. She’s still asleep, but I told them about Soojin’s ptsd, so they’re prepared for that.” A comforting smile was relayed towards the concerned Shuhua, and Karina tightened her suit jacket around the younger woman.
“She’s okay, beautiful. She’ll be okay.” Karina pulls Shuhua into her embrace, and a soft kiss is placed onto her forehead.
“I-I didn’t know… I didn’t know she was going through that.” Shuhua whimpers into a sob, and Karina soothes her.
“I don’t think a lot of people knew, Shuhua. Don’t feel guilty for not knowing.” Karina says in the best way that she could comfort the younger woman.
“Can I take you home? It’s almost midnight.” Karina pulls back, cradling Shuhua’s face into her hands softly. Her thumbs wipe away fallen tears, and she feels Shuhua’s head subtly shake in her hold.
“No,” Shuhua sniffles, “I’m staying.” She says firmly. “I need to be here when she wakes up. She’ll be scared, and I have to be here.” Shuhua softly says, eyes distant towards the room Soojin was currently in.
Karina only sighs, “okay,” and another kiss is placed onto Shuhua’s forehead. “Do you need anything? Do you want me to stay?” The older woman asks, gaze deep into Shuhua’s brown orbs.
“No, no I’m okay,” Shuhua takes a hold of Karina’s hand, “You’ve been so great. I had a wonderful time with you, and I’m sorry this is how our date ended.”
Karina waves it off with a soft smile, “I had a great time with you too, beautiful.”
“Oh,” Shuhua moves to try and take Karina's suit jacket off of her, but Karina holds it firmly around Shuhua, “no, you hold onto it. I’ll have an excuse to test my luck at the NYU library again.” She jokes, and Shuhua lets out a small chuckle.
“You don’t need an excuse to see me, Karina. Just come see me.” Shuhua says, pulling Karina into a hug, “I’ll probably want to see you too.” A sigh leaves Shuhua’s lips as Karina wraps her arms securely around her shoulders, lips attaching onto her temple in a soothing gesture.
“Probably?” Karina’s tone was playful, and Shuhua let out a whine, “okay, I’ll want to see you.” She pulls away and gives her a suspicious look, “you need to stop talking to Jeno. His bullying antics are rubbing off on you.”
“Aw, but he’s such a great wingman. He’s helped me get you to want to see me again.” Karina’s eyebrows bounced cheekily, and Shuhua rolled her eyes, “I think you did that all on your own.”
Karina smiles, satisfied, “good.” Her eyes lower to Shuhua’s soft smile, and only sighs, because she understands Shuhua’s confusion, and respects it. And although she badly wants to, Karina also thinks it’s best maybe not to right now.
But Karina is going to give her best to Shuhua like she said she would.
She’d be a fool not to.
“Well, okay then,” Karina pouts, swinging their hands in between them softly, “text or call me if both of you need anything.” She makes Shuhua promise, and the younger girl nods.
“And keep me updated about Soojin, please. She hates my whole existence, but I’m still worried about her.” Karina sullenly says, and Shuhua softly smiles, “she’ll come around, Karina. I’m really glad you’re trying to reconcile with her.”
“I need to make it up to her. I just need to. I was horrible.” Karina looks pained, and Shuhua could tell how genuine the older woman was about trying to make this right between Soojin and her.
“And you will. She’ll see that you’ve changed, and that you’re genuine.” Shuhua encourages her, and Karina looks at her so lovingly that Shuhua becomes even more confused.
“Alright, beautiful. I’ll call you later, okay?” Karina kisses her cheek, and gives Shuhua’s hand one last squeeze, before heading for the elevator doors at the end of the fourth floor.
Shuhua tried really hard to stay awake until Soojin woke up, but it’s been two hours, and past midnight since they’ve arrived at the hospital, and Soojin was still peacefully asleep.
In a way, Shuhua should be relieved, but at the same time, the overwhelming concern and swirling thoughts in her head convinced herself that she shouldn’t even rest her eyes because what if Soojin would wake then, and she’ll have a full blown panic attack after realizing where she was.
Shuhua doesn’t want her to experience such fear without being prepared, herself, to be able to soothe and comfort Soojin.
Shuhua was a few seconds away from drifting off to sleep, eyes growing heavy, and body about to give in to her exhaustion when the door opened, revealing worried eyes of strangers she’s never seen before.
She jumped onto her feet from her seated position, freezing in her spot as they all started to enter the room.
“Who are you?”
Shuhua blinks at the short woman. She had short brunette hair, and bangs like Soojin did. If Shuhua wasn’t so hazy in the brain right now, she’d think this woman kind of resembled Olaf, which was pretty ironic given that he was her favorite Disney character.
“I-I’m S-Shuhua… I—, uh..” Shuhua blinks the sleep away some more, clearing , “w-who are you?”
The brunette’s expression softened into relief, as if automatically recognizing that there is definitely no need to be so alert.
“We’re Soojin’s family.”
Shuhua stands stunned, “f-family? I-I thought—,”
“Well, not by blood, but who says being family is only by blood?” The brunette raises a challenging eyebrow at Shuhua, and the younger woman stutters, clearly intimidated, “n-no, I-I mean, I didn’t s-say—,”
“Wendy, for sakes.” The taller woman out of the three rolls her eyes and pushes Wendy aside, “hi, sweetie, nice to finally meet you. We’ve heard a lot about you from the kids. I’m Seulgi, and this is Wendy.” Seulgi points to Wendy who stood all pouty on the side with her arms crossed, “and this is Irene.” The said woman offers Shuhua a kind smile.
“The kids?” Shuhua furrows her eyebrows in thought.
“Yoon and Soojin. They talk about you endlessly.” Seulgi says, and Shuhua looks surprised. Irene snorts, “Soojin would kill you right now if she heard you tell Shuhua that.”
“Well, she’s unconscious, so she can’t do to me.” Seulgi retorts back to Irene.
Shuhua watches them joke around, and casually just take their seats on the couch and spare chair next to Soojin’s bed.
“Wha—,” Shuhua tries to say, and all conscious pairs of eyes look at her curiously, waiting for her to say what she wanted to say. “Aren’t you worried? This—, she’s—,” Shuhua turns to look at Soojin, beaten and asleep on the hospital bed, “she’s not okay. Soojin… she’s not okay.”
Shuhua meets all three older women's eyes, “we know she’s not okay, sweetie.” Irene was the first to respond to Shuhua.
“Then why am I the only one freaking out? You guys are acting like this is some kind of routine, a normal ing Saturday—,” Shuhua doesn’t know when her awareness of her behavior had flew over her head. She usually wouldn’t curse in front of people she had just met, well, she generally didn’t have a potty mouth to begin with, but there was a rising feeling of frustration and stress throughout her body.
“I’m sad to admit it, but it’s happened more times than our fingers and toes can count.” Wendy softly says, and Shuhua’s while being depleted at her words.
“What?” More tears fall from Shuhua’s tired eyes, “w-why—,” a hand rises to roughly wipe at her damped cheeks, “why hasn’t anyone done anything?”
“Look, we’ve tried all that we could, okay? But at the end of the day, Soojin is in control of what she wants to do with the situation. I don’t even think you know the full story.” Wendy grows protective and defensive again, and Irene has to place a hand on her fiancé’s thigh to prevent her from going off on the poor girl.
Shuhua grows mum.
Wendy was right. Shuhua didn’t know anything.
Shuhua sighs, “I’m sorry, I-I just—, I-I’m worried, that’s all.”
Irene and Seulgi softly smiled at Shuhua’s statement, but Wendy only stared elsewhere blankly.
“You care about our Soojin?”
Shuhua raises her gaze to Wendy, who had asked the question. Shuhua didn’t expect Wendy to have been more intimidating and uptight, she didn’t suit that image, if Shuhua was being honest. Wendy gave off a more soft and sweet impression, but Shuhua now understands the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ saying.
“Yes, I do. We care about each other.” Shuhua didn’t hesitate to say.
Wendy nods once, averting her eyes to look into Shuhua’s nervous brown orbs, “do you love our Soojin?”
Shuhua’s eyes widened, “l-love?”
“Yes. Do you love her?” Wendy repeats.
Seulgi and Irene were now looking at her curiously, and patiently waiting for an answer.
Shuhua stammers, “t-that is... l-love.. I-I don’t k-know—, l-love is a s-strong… very s-strong w-word…”
“But you have feelings for her. That’s why you broke off your arrangements?” Seulgi piped in, thinking back to her conversation with Soojin at the photography shop.
“Y-Ye—, u-um.. t-this conversation is a little personal… a-and I-I just met you guys, so..” Shuhua scratches her head, giving a sheepish smile.
Irene snorts, “they’re just ing with you, Shuhua. Trust me, Wendy is not like this at all. Soojin will tell you how much of a dork she actually is.”
Wendy uncrosses her legs and arms, foot stomping on the floor in a fit, “babe!”
Irene turns her head slowly towards Wendy, eyebrows raising, and a small smile gracing her lips. “Yes, love?”
Wendy only groans, and Seulgi laughs at her friend's adorable antics. “Wow, how whipped are you? I’m kind of sad Soojin’s asleep right now. She would’ve had a field day with this.”
Wendy curses Seulgi under her breath, earning a hard smack on the back of her head from the taller woman. “.”
Shuhua stands in her spot awkwardly, but a small tilt to her lips was caught on by Irene, and a smile of her own forms on the older woman’s lips.
They were all very protective of Soojin, especially Wendy. And ever since they started hearing about this Shuhua girl from Yoon and even from Soojin, although it never had gotten anywhere past joking around because Soojin chooses not to delve into those kinds of topics much; none of them have ever doubted that this Shuhua girl was someone they needed to be alert with.
“Thank you for taking care of our Soojin, Shuhua. We appreciate it.” Irene interrupts the childish argument happening next to her.
“She usually doesn’t let herself be taken care of, I hope you know that means something, Shuhua. No matter how cold and y she likes to be perceived on the outside.” Irene continues, a chuckle leaving her lips. The soft smile she gives her makes Shuhua lower her guard down.
“And cocky. Don’t forget, cocky.” Shuhua muttered, a subtle chuckle leaving her lips. That statement was supposed to be for herself, but the three women heard it loud and clear, amusing smiles on their faces.
“Definitely, cocky.” Irene nods.
Shuhua exchanges knowing smiles with the three women who seemingly didn’t have any second thoughts about letting their heavy steel guard of protection for Soojin to lower, especially when it was Shuhua knocking on the front door. They figured that there was nothing to worry about when their Soojin was so stupidly, and although oblivious; undeniably smitten for this Yeh Shuhua.
“You’re the one that got Soojin to almost step foot into a hospital willingly? And the one to stop her from sleeping with multiple women? I gotta say, I’m a fan of your work.” Wendy chuckles, nodding her head in acknowledgment.
Shuhua freezes, eyes widening, “w-wait, what?”
Wendy also freezes, mirroring Shuhua’s expression, “what? What’d I say?”
“S-She’s… Soojin was exclusive to only me? I-I, um… I didn’t know that.” Shuhua blinks, eyes shifting to softly gaze at Soojin who was still peacefully asleep.
Wendy opens to say something, but a dragged out “uh” was the only sound that came from the shorter woman, eyes darting to the other two who were rolling their eyes at her.
“Soojin is going to kill you and your big mouth.” Irene hissed at her fiancé, slapping her on the shoulder.
“No one is going to tell her it came from me! You, Taiwan, keep your mouth shut, okay?” Wendy pointed at Shuhua, and the younger girl became flabbergasted, only nodding rapidly in agreement.
Wendy huffs when Seulgi starts to laugh at her again, “what do you think Soojin will say when I tell her that her most annoying guardian is scared of her?”
Irene laughs, “Soojin will take that to the grave with pride.”
“I am not the most annoying, and I am most certainly not scared of her.” Wendy stands onto her feet, a confident look on her face, as she rolls her eyes.
“Now if you useless guardians will excuse me, I am going to speak with the doct