- - - - - - - - - - -
A big white bowl of full of rice was served to Seungwan by Mrs. Bae, and now hands the fattest fish she grilled for breakfast to the doctor.
“M-Ma’am! Don’t give me the biggest part! I’m fine!”
“Ayyy, doctor please don’t be humble! We rarely get visitors here…and handsome on top of that! So please don’t turn it down please!” She giggled.
“C-Can I get more rice too, ma’am? For being cute?” The boy who had a huge appetite who was salivating at the grilled fish raised his two small hands.
“Of courseeee, we appreciate cutie protégés here!”
She puts more rice for the bowl of Seunghoon.
“Thank you ma’am!!!” Seunghoon says with a grateful smile.
Joohyun who was retrieving the pitcher of water they were going to use for drinking as they will eat their breakfast, saw the interactions the boys were having with her kind mother that she cannot help but feel thankful again with how just the presence of Seunghoon…and Seungwan, most of all, had made even her mother’s worry filled days and nights better.
“Joohyun...I mean Joohyun-ssi! Let me help you with that!!!!”
“Me too! I wanna help, noona!”
The doctor and protégé, notice that Joohyun has been carrying a lot of stuff to the dining area of the humble home she and her little boy has decided to crash.
“Doctor and Seunghoon it’s fine, it’s fine, just go sit and let the women do the work.” She giggled at how adorable the two Seungs were so concerned for her.
“Doctor Shon, please don’t underestimate the Bae women, we might be women but me and my daughter certainly can take care of ourselves!”
“I…well…it’s not…I’m not underestimating you ma’am…my protégé and I just wanna help since we did crash your house…without any prior notice.”
“Aigoo….doctor, stop that, if you keep being nice and sweet, I might ship you with my daughter.” The mother now grins excitedly.
“Hyung and noona already held hands, ma’am.” Seunghoon added fuel to the fire, so casually as he ate his grilled fish and rice.
“Seunghoon!” The blushing doctor shouted.
“I mean they haven’t held hands…m-ma’am!”
The very sorry boy now felt so guilty, and the blushing Joohyun now pats his head to comfort him.
“Seunghoon, just eat your breakfast…okay?” The top gisaeng’s wrinkling twitchy smile made the boy nod so fast repeatedly and now kept shoving the rice on his mouth.
“Ah, let me just get the apples I sliced, Seunghoon can you help noona?” Joohyun now asks the boy.
“Deh!” Motivated to make it up to his noona, Seungwan stood diligently and saluted.
- - - - - - - - - - -
The top young beautiful gisaeng was slicing the apples on the counter when Seunghoon who was still fidgeting at how guilty he was, finally called for her name.
A very apologetic cute voice spoke, Joohyun turns around to see a shy little boy looking at the floor, she puts down the knife and now crouches to meet Seunghoon’s eyes.
“Seunghoon-ah…it’s fine, thank you for apologizing but I’m not mad…don’t feel so worried over these things okay?”
“You’re not mad?”
She shook her head.
“Aigoo, I’m not mad Seunghoonie…it’s just…next time, let me and Seungwan…share those things…when we are both ready…especially it’s my mom we are talking about here okay?”
She pokes his soft cheek.
“Okay, Seunghoon understands!” He gives diligent salute with his small hand to his noona.
“Although…I’m going to ask a favor from you.”
“Do you know what is the occupation of noona?”
“Shhhh.” Joohyun shushes him.
“A gisaeng.” He whispered.
She nodded and now stared seriously at the boy, as she was finding the right words to tell the little lovely boy, he would understand.
“That’s right…I’m a a gisaeng but…I haven’t told my mom about it, and I would really appreciate it, if you can keep it a secret for now…and pretend to her that I’m a nurse in the Makdong clinic….please?” Joohyun begged.
The little boy was just staring at her.
“I know…it’s bad to lie, Seunghoon…but noona has reasons…and I will one day explain it to you more clearly…and tell my mother…but…now it’s just….not the right time.”
“Okay, noona…Seunghoon understands, as you said…you will tell the truth when you are ready…so no need to explain more, I have your back, I promise.”
He gave his little finger to create a pinky promise to his lovely kind noona, Joohyun who didn’t expect that the little protégé will take her side without any further questions…which made her so surprise and felt more guiltier at making Seunghoon lie and now instead of doing the pinky promise she embrace the boy with all her gratitude.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Mrs. Bae and Seungwan were left in the dining table they shared, she was just politely smiling at the doctor but the handsome doctor himself didn’t know how to explain things since he was quite guilty and was afraid that the mother would ask more questions about the real nature of her relationship with Joohyun.
She got surprised as the old woman herself took her hand.
“Doctor Shon…thank you for coming to visit my daughter….”
“…I know…she must have told you that she had to rush back home…because of my youngest daughter’s disappearance…”
“…I truly didn’t wanna bother Joohyun…because I feel guilty enough that because her weak mother isn’t capable enough to raise her two daughters properly after their father’s death, she had to work for us…”
“…and now I’m even piling up her problems by adding because of her sister’s disappearance…”
The matriarch of the house held Seungwan’s hand tighter, she looked like she was about to cry but held it in.
“So…thank you, because your mere presence…has made our home even brighter…and you have made her smile…the first smile I saw from her since she got back here….and that’s enough to make me feel at ease too.” Mrs. Bae smiled at Seungwan.
- - - - - - - - - - -
The little backyard farm the Baes had.
Joohyun decided to tour the handsome young doctor by the land her family owned, while Seunghoon assisted her mother by washing the plates they used for today. She led Seungwan to an upper part of the farm she and her family inherited from her presumed to be deceased father, where you can see the rice fields of the farmers and the pink flowers her mother planted before.
“It’s a nice view isn’t it?” She smiled.
But Seungwan couldn’t help but notice the playful lively eyes Joohyun had before were gone, it was as if Weonju out all the happiness she had and now was forcing herself to look joyful in front of the doctor, he walked next to where the young woman was and stared at the countless green fields below them.
“It is beautiful.”
Chirps of the birds who were also just starting their day, were the sounds that accompanied them. Both were just silent, as if the two didn’t know how to start conversation unlike the continuous bickering and flirting they had in Hanyang. If only both knew how frustrated each other were since they just shared the same feeling of missing each other.
But now, both didn’t know who should start the conversation since Seungwan realized there were things she didn’t wanna overstep and wanted to ask first, while Joohyun wanted to explain but was afraid that the doctor would change her impression of her, if she pushed forward with her revelations.
Seungwan finally managed to start the ball rolling.
“You know…just barging in, here…you said you will explain when you get back in Hanyang…but here I am just coming here unannounced, without even thinking about your privacy and your family.”
The doctor felt so ashamed but she wanted to confess more what she should have said when she saw Joohyun packing her stuff in the House of Pink Blossoms.
“B-But, I worried for you…I know I’m in NO position to interfere…e-especially when…we haven’t even defined what we really have…but I’m here, and I wanna…help…even if just as a friend…if you allow me to.” She stared at Joohyun.
Seungwan didn’t know how to read the expression on the top gisaeng’s face, since she just looked at the handsome doctor in silence, when she realize that Joohyun was actually trying to stop herself from bursting to tears as her eyes started to water that she quickly wipes for herself, she now began smiling…it was still a bit forceful, but now it was more genuine since she was smiling and tearing up, at the sweet gesture and warm words of the doctor, she dearly missed.
“I know…I said, thank you already…but Seungwan-ah, I’m really thankful…of you, because you don’t know how much I needed someone…to just tell me they are there for me….and I feel better already, since it’s one of my favorite person who said it to me too.” Joohyun smiled again.
The doctor showed a playful pout and “threw” a small fit, as she gives her new handkerchief to Joohyun, to make her stop wiping with her own hands her tears.
*The doctor seems to be always carrying handkerchiefs for people she makes emotional shfsjfksjfsf.
“Yahhh, one of???? It means there are others?”
“Of courseeee, I got my mom…m-my sister…”
She stopped for sec, but sensing the doctor was looking at her with concern, Joohyun lifts up her mood again.
“Miyeon! Sakura, Chuu…Seunghoon…and then, there’s you!” She began giggling.
“What the heccckkk! I’m last?” Seungwan cutely pouted.
“I didn’t say you’re last! I just named my favorite people randomly Doctor Shon!”
“So it was a list without much thought I see Miss Bae.”
Seungwan now gives a cute teasing glare, Joohyun was about to some more when she noticed a rainbow butterfly landing on the pointy nose of the handsome doctor.
“Oh don’t move! Look at the beautiful rainbow butterfly on your nose!” Joohyun drew closer to the doctor to stare at the wonderful creature on his nose.
“You know it’s rare we get these kind of butterflies to visit us…”
She was smiling with joy at seeing the rare thing on Seungwan’s nose.
“…isn’t she so beautiful?”
A sample of the rainbow butterfly.
Joohyun asked, unaware that the handsome doctor was just staring and finally easing his own worries, for how vibrant the top gisaeng he saw that was full of sadness a while ago, finally was becoming.
“You’re much more beautiful, Joohyun-ah.”
The butterfly finally flew away for the doctor moved and spoke…and the gisaeng?
Well, her defense was too low that she can’t help but suddenly get red at the sudden praise Seungwan gave to her and now was so red. She expected that the doctor would follow it by cracking a joke but he didn’t and just kept staring at her like she was the world itself for him, so all she can do to contain her fluttered emotions was to turn around and began blabbering words.
“For god sakes Seungwan-ah….y-you should…really stop saying those…stuff…since…my mom might…think…we are dating…when we haven’t…even…cleared…things…between us….”
Her words kept stuttering.
“…Also I-I s-said! D-Don’t move! And yet you did! N-Now, the rare beautiful butterfly i-is gone!”
“Joohyun-ah it’s fine! I captured the best one yet!”
He shouted and now used his hands he held together into a form of circle and now “captured” Joohyun and placed it by her small waist but not enough for it to meet with Joohyun’s body itself (he has polite hands).
“Ooff you meant butterfly, didn’t you? I’m sorry.”
He now pulls away and moves to his side and now was giggling at the still red young woman he wanted to cheer up. Joohyun was just too weak today and all she can do is cover her red face from the greasy lines and actions the sweet doctor was doing to her.
“Seungwan wanna go on the swing set we have?”
She points at the old big tree that had an old swing set she and her younger sister use to play with.
- - - - - - - - - - -
“You go sit, I will push.” Joohyun tells him.
“Are you sure you can push? You…look…”
Seungwan shrug her shoulders.
“I didn’t say anything!”
“We use to borrow a cow from our neighbor to tend our fields, before we converted it by planting our apple and lemon trees! Don’t underestimate me Doctor Shon.”
She rolled her eyes at the doctor who finally laughs and now hops the wooden swing.
“Fine, I trust you then.”
The first push was done by the beautiful top gisaeng.
“You have a beautiful house.”
She pushes the swing that returned to her again.
“Yeah, my father owned this land, he was planning to actually use the soil to plant his medicinal herbs.”
“Your father is a medical professional too?”
Seungwan turns her head and smiled at the gisaeng who was pushing the swing as it came back to her again.
“Yeah he was.”
Seungwan remembered that her mother has also said her husband had passed away, which made the doctor realize how she didn’t know much about the past and struggles that the gisaeng had. The swing that Joohyun was pushing has now stopped as she stopped pushing too, she sits on the empty swing that was beside the one Seungwan was sitting.
“He disappeared when I was younger…we never found him nor his body…we just assumed after a long decade of being gone, that he was dead. Bad finances and a sickly mother, made who I am today…Seungwan.”
And with those few words, as the top gisaeng heavily sighed, Seungwan didn’t need to further ask why Joohyun became the gisaeng she is now known in the capital.
“My mom thinks I’m working as a nurse for years now….like my sister.”
She leaned on the rope of her swing and now showed one of the fake grins she would do earlier before Seungwan cheered her up, and it made the doctor unknowingly ache again for the woman she wanted to always make happy.
“Turns out Jimin travelled to Hanyang to surprise me…the kid was always so rebellious and playful…but she never was that disobedient…”
A pain in her chest made her stop for a sec.
“But she travelled because she said she misses and worries for me…”
- - - - - - - - - - -
A tall long haired beautiful girl was making her way in the town square she approaches the sellers in the busy market.
“Excuse me! Do you happen to know where’s the Makdong clinic?” She asks the middle age woman scaling off the fishes she will sell in a few hours.
“Ah yes, just walk by the part of the town that has cherry blossoms, you will reach the Makdong clinic in a few.”
“Oh thank you! You see I’m gonna surprise my unnie, since she has been working too much and couldn’t go home!” She bowed in gratefulness.
The girl was making her way when she heard the men carrying sacks of rice talking.
“Yahhhh! Be careful the sack almost fell on me!”
“I’m sorry, I lack a bit of sleep cause I stayed up late just enjoying the beautiful music Miss Bae in the House of Pink Blossoms played!”
“Aish there you go again spending your montly wages on a gisaeng! That’s why I can’t blame your wife for throwing stones at you!”
“Eyyy, shut up! And just help me carry these sacks so we can finally have lunch!”
The same girl who just heard their conversation from afar, called for them.
“Who and what are you talking about? Miss Bae?”
“The most beautiful and best gisaeng in Hanyang! Even in Joseon! Bae Joohyun!” The rice store owner, an old man shouts.
The countless men began giggling as they agreed to the old man’s words, but the young girl with a mole on her lower lip can’t believe it all and now began shaking her head.
“B-Bae Joohyun?...sh-she…isn’t she a nurse in the Makdong clinic?”
Thunderous laughter from both the men and women in the market began bursting at the innocent stupid young girl who blurted out what she thought Bae Joohyun was.
“Huh? Young girl you must be crazy? Bae Joohyun is the top gisaeng in Hanyang!” A woman who was selling vegetables shouted at her.
“YOU’RE LYING!” She shouted back in anger.
“For godsakes, if you don’t believe us then go to the House of Pink Blossoms tonight, Bae Joohyun usually has private sessions with the richest citizens and high officials, but she does a show sometimes in the pagoda for all the audience who can afford and interested to see her play her *gayageum for a few hours.” The man who was carrying the rice sacks laughed.
*Korean string guitar
- - - - - - - - - - -
“…I searched for my sister by asking our neighbors and friends, as soon as I got home he