The familiar face turns to her with a smile, and Shuhua is still stunned, her brain was mush and was not in the right state to tell her body to get the hell out of there.
“Yeh Shuhua,” Tzuyu says her name, it sounded sultry, but Shuhua knows how venom laces everything this woman says.
“W-What—, W-Why..” Shuhua stammers, taking a small step back in instinct.
“Your parents extend their greetings by the way.” Tzuyu says in their mother tongue.
And Shuhua sees red.
Her nose flared in anger, and her hands ball into tight fists. Shuhua looks at her with a glare, one that she wishes could fulfill the true meaning of ‘if looks could kill.’
“What do you have to do with my parents?” Shuhua says between clenched teeth. The realization hits her, and she’s baffled. “D-Did… Did they send you here to follow me around like some creep?”
Tzuyu’s eyebrows raise, and her lips form a thin line. “They’re worried about you. Says they’ve heard you cozying up to someone they don’t approve of.” And the tilt of her head is as mocking as the smirk on her lips, “again.”
“What? Did they give you a big check for this too?” The words come out forbearing, a little sarcastic, but Shuhua’s body shakes with anger.
Tzuyu only shrugs, “Shuhua, you know the power your parents have. It would be best to just follow their orders.”
“I am not a ing puppet, Tzuyu.” Shuhua doesn’t want to let her know that she still affects her in any sort of way, so her voice remains calm and steady. “And frankly, I’m sorry if you’ve decided to become one for my parents, I know how much of a ing gold digger you are.”
The tall woman chuckles, “ouch, love.”
“Don’t call me that.” Shuhua shakes her head, anger rising.
When familiar hands fall around her waist, Shuhua releases a breath that she feels she’s been holding far too long. She watches Tzuyu’s eyes light up, her gaze averting to Soojin who eyes her back suspiciously.
“Who’s this?” Soojin asks her, and Shuhua can see her guard rise over both of them in the way the older woman’s eyes harden, to the way Soojin’s body becomes rigid against hers.
“This must be her.” Tzuyu grins.
Shuhua gulps, taking the hand that was possessively clutched onto her waist, “h-hey, I think we should go.”
Soojin looks confused, but like she said, it isn’t hard to read Shuhua, and the fear and anxiety was heavy on her expressions. She doesn’t question it, so she glances at Tzuyu one more time, before letting Shuhua pull her away.
“I’ll see you soon, Shuhua.” Tzuyu calls out to her.
Shuhua freezes, taking a deep breath, before continuing in a haste out the door. Soojin is dragged through her need for escape, and Shuhua doesn’t stop to breathe, the grip on the latter’s hand tightening by the second.
“Shuhua,” Soojin calls for her, but the younger woman doesn’t slow down. She has to apologize on Shuhua’s behalf for all the people they almost run into in their path to god knows where.
Soojin clicks her tongue in frustration, twisting her arm out of Shuhua’s tight grip, and catching her by the waist. “Hey, breathe.” Soojin twirls the younger woman around to face her, and is surprised to see her tight-lipped, and tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Shuhua,” Soojin sputters, eyes widening slightly, filled with concern. “What happened?” She immediately cradles Shuhua’s face, “was it that woman? What did she do?”
Shuhua sobs, “I want to go home.” Her fingers clutch onto the hem of Soojin’s shirt, “please take me home.”
“O-Okay, yeah, of course.” Soojin stammers, still confused, but body filled with overwhelming concern at Shuhua’s sudden surge of tears and extreme fear.
Soojin pulls Shuhua against her, arm tight around her waist. “You’re okay, baby. You’re safe.”
Yuqi bursts into Shuhua’s house, unwrapping herself from the thick jacket she wore, and the scarf around her neck. Her face and body language screamed with overprotective maternal instincts, and Soojin thinks this is where Yuqi is the scariest.
“W-Well, we were out. She’s been feeling very alert lately, I’ve noticed. She said she feels that there’s someone watching, o-or following her all the time.” Soojin’s body is still filled with panic, and she stammers over her words, trying to get every detail across. “A-And then she ran into this woman while we were at the art store. That’s where this started.”
“Woman?” Yuqi’s eyebrows met in the middle.
Soojin shrugged, “I-I don’t know. She was tall, brunette. They were speaking mandarin, so I couldn’t understand anything… but she seems scared, Yuqi, but she won’t tell me why.”
“Tall, brunette…” Yuqi repeats, and her mind whirls with questions, as she continues her rush back up the stairs.
When she entered the room, Shuhua was where Soojin had left her, under the covers and facing away from the door. Yuqi can tell the younger woman was still crying by the way her shoulders slightly shook.
“Oh, sweetie..” Yuqi sighs, and she senses the fear that Soojin was talking about, by the way Shuhua startles from her voice, even in the comfort of her own home. Shuhua immediately rises from the bed upon seeing her older cousin, running into her arms for comfort.
“Tell me what happened.” Yuqi rubs soothing circles on Shuhua’s back.
Soojin heaves a relieved sigh when she sees Shuhua start to calm down little by little with Yuqi by her side, and when she tries to quietly escape to give the two some privacy, Shuhua breaks away from Yuqi, clutching onto Soojin’s shirt to keep her from leaving.
“Don’t leave.” Shuhua tells her, pleading with her eyes.
Soojin soothes her with a smile, unclasping the younger woman’s grip from her shirt, and into her own. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Shuhua?” Yuqi raises a brow worriedly, and the latter sighs, “okay, okay.”
Shuhua goes to sit on the bed, fiddling with her fingers. “I-I ran into T-Tzuyu..”
The reaction that Shuhua received from the two women seemed very animated, eyes widening simultaneously, mouth hung to the floor.
“She, who shall not be named?” Yuqi gasped.
“That was Tzuyu?” Soojin seemed angry more than shocked.
Shuhua bit her lip, nodding her head.
“What is she doing here?” Yuqi questioned, “I swear if she tries something with you, I will—,” Shuhua sighs, eyes closing, and stopping her older cousin from voicing out her threats that Shuhua knows were never empty. “Yuqi, please.”
Soojin crosses her arm in disbelief, shaking her head. “So that’s your infamous ex, huh?”
Shuhua huffs, “don’t be jealous.”
Blinking, Soojin looks at her in offense, “I am not jealous.” She glances at Yuqi who looks at her with a knowing look, “I’m not! In fact—,” Soojin points a finger to the ceiling, “—I..I am angry.” She nods, trying to sound as convincing as she could. “She made you cry. Of course, I’m angry.” And she managed to turn her denial to the truth.
Yuqi tilts her head, turning to Shuhua, and pointing her finger towards Soojin. “Is it just me, or she became much lamer after sleeping with you?”
Shuhua gasps, cheeks tear-stained and all, “hey!”
Soojin only glares.
“Did I say lamer? I’m sorry, I meant tamer.” Yuqi snorts, waving the glare off of Soojin’s eyes.
“Oh, wow.” Soojin crosses her arms, “it’s like a warm hug.” She says sarcastically, and it manages to elicit a small giggle from Shuhua.
“I’m serious. The old Soojin would’ve raised hell on earth if someone messed with someone she cared for dearly, but now… you’re all… patient and reasonable… it’s boring.” Yuqi grimaces jokingly.
“What can I say? I’m a great influence.” Shuhua says, which makes Soojin roll her eyes. The younger woman wipes at her eyes, a small smile reaching her lips, and seemingly having calmed down at Yuqi and Soojin’s witty banter.
Yuqi rolls her eyes, “anyway, sweetie,” she wags her hand towards Shuhua to catch her attention again, “why are you so scared about her? She’s not going to come near you. We’ll make sure of it.”
Shuhua sighs, “my parents sent her.”
“Aunt and Uncle?” Yuqi looks confused, “I thought they hated her? Isn’t that the reason why they offered her money? To leave you?” Shuhua doesn’t appreciate the way Yuqi nonchalantly opens the door to the past, but she just shrugs it off.
Shuhua glances up at Soojin, “they found out about us.”
“Homophobic bastards.” Yuqi mutters under her breath, rolling her eyes in annoyance. “They can’t do anything about it, Shuhua. You’re an adult now. It’s different. And Soojin is nothing like Tzuyu.”
Shuhua chews on her lip nervously, “you don’t understand, Yuqi…”
Soojin’s eyes bounce from the two women, feeling a sort of tension slowly rising in the air.
“What do you mean?” Yuqi questions, growing much more concerned seeing just how nervous Shuhua was to tell her. “What aren’t you telling me, Shuhua?”
“I…” Shuhua frowns, looking down at her hands. “They…”
“Shuhua?” Yuqi presses.
Shuhua looks up at Yuqi, and her eyes are filled with pain and tears again. Her breath grows raggedy as she tries to get the words out.
“T-They hurt me, Yuqi.”
The change in Yuqi’s expression was not hard to miss. Soojin sees her tense, like a brick wall, eyes mixed with disbelief and pure rage. She expected nothing less from the younger woman. Soojin knew just how scary Yuqi could get when it comes to Shuhua’s wellbeing.
“T-They…” Yuqi doesn’t finish her sentence, blinking her angry tears away from forming. “When? For how long? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I love you.” Shuhua reasons, “anyone who gets involved just… t-they just get hurt…” she sobs at the thought, shaking her head. “They won’t let me live, Yuqi. I thought that coming here to New York was my ticket out, but it was foolish of me to think that they wouldn’t care anymore, which is very ironic because they don’t give a about me. But everything I do apparently tarnishes their name to the public.”
Yuqi, and even Soojin, takes it all in.
“I am your family. You’re supposed to come to me when you need someone. I-I.. I could’ve helped you.”
Shuhua sighs, “no, you couldn’t have.”
Yuqi pushes for it, “yes, I could have. I would’ve—,” but Shuhua doesn’t let her, “—no, you couldn’t have! I wouldn’t have let you. If you tried to do something, the same thing that happened to Yiren would’ve happened to you!”
“Y-Yiren?” Soojin raises a brow, “the maid’s daughter who gave you swimming lessons?”
“What happened to her?”
Please Subscribe to read the full chapter