fast forward...

ten years and counting

A/N: just a short special chapter. curse at me, ig lmao! sorry for the mistakes~ i hope yall wont get tired of tyac like how im still not getting tired of writing it.

 

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A kid around the age of six ran towards the candy aisle of the supermarket, her sparkly doe eyes gawking at different kinds of candies displayed on the gigantic shelves — her thin lips parted in astonishment. Her warm honey orbs sparkled in delight as she slowly ascended her gaze until the very top of the shelf, making her almost stumble backwards because she kept raising her chin. Thankfully, someone who was a lot bigger and taller than her managed to hold her, helping her balance on her feet with a click of tongue.

 

“Yujin-ie, you might break your neck,”

 

The child named Yujin pouted, raising her sparkly eyes to look at the said person. “Auntie,” called Yujin, pointing her little index finger at the shelves stocked with sweets. “I want some candies. Can Yujin-ie have some, please, please, please?” She whined, pleading, puckering her lips — starting to look like a duck’s beak.

 

A chuckle escaped from the older woman, shaking her head sadly but cooed at her precious niece’s adorableness. “No, Yujin-ie, you can’t. You already consumed a bar of chocolate plus, you and Yooeun shared eating the cotton candy. You know that your Mommy forbids you to eat too much sweets. Both of us are dead meat once she finds out that I still let you eat more.” She softly explained, patting the child’s head.

 

The kid pouted harder, blinking her glimmering eyes repeatedly. “Pretty please?” She tried, once more, hoping that it would strike the softness of her favorite aunt’s heart. “I promise, I won’t tell Mommy that you bought me more!” added the child, batting her eyelashes, giving her aunt puppy eyes that she wouldn’t be able to resist. “Pleaseee, Auntie Yujin~!”

 

Yujin gave her niece a tight smile, still the little girl’s hair as she stared at her, fondly. This kid really knew Yujin’s weakness, she knew that the woman wouldn’t be able to resist her pleading and cuteness so little Yujin-ie was taking advantage of it!

 

“Auntie Yujin, please! You know that you’re my favorite auntie, right? And I’m your favorite niece! It means, you should buy me gummy bears.” Yujin-ie was really persistent and determined to have some of her favorite candy. Her eyes were burning in desperation and determination.

 

Yujin pressed her lips together. “Minjoo will kill me, Song Yujin.” Her eyes narrowed.

 

“Mommy won’t know a thing, I swear!” The kid swore, even crossing her heart. The gesture made Yujin giggle.

 

Even though Yujin was afraid (and still unfortunately and helplessly, whipped) of Minjoo — she still loved her niece that she couldn’t even do anything but to sigh defeatedly as she grabbed a pack of her favorite gummy bears from the shelf, handing it over to the over-enthusiastic Yujin.

 

The little Yujin grinned at her favorite aunt, hugging the pack of gummy bears dearly. “Thank you so much, Auntie Yuj!” She chirped, approaching Yujin closer and hugged one of her long legs.

 

Yujin chuckled, just patting the child’s head. “Alright, alright. I’ll just get extra packs for your mom, and get some of her favorite apple juice for her too.” She cooed then grabbed five gummy bear packs, holding them tightly with a smile. When she turned to look at her niece, she was slightly surprised to see Yujin frowning adorably at her.

 

Hmm. She really frowns like her mother…

 

“What’s the matter?” Yujin asked, tilting her head.

 

Puckering her lips, little Yujin let out a huff. “Mommy is a hypocrite. She won’t let me eat candies because she said it’s unhealthy but she always consumes sweets, especially gummy bears!” She sulked, furrowing her brows adorably.

 

That made Yujin laugh out loud, making other people in the supermarket turn to her and eye her with dirty looks because she was noisy.

 

The little Yujin just let out another huff, wondering what might be funny at what she said. The unfairness! Aunt Yujin never forgot to buy her mommy a lot of sweet food but it always took Yujin-ie a lot of begging for her to buy her another piece of candy. Hmph. She was really sulking because her favorite aunt spoiled her mommy more than her, her favorite niece!

 

“And you always spoil her! Whenever we go out, you always buy her anything that she wants and favorites. You never even bat an eye. Meanwhile, Yujin-ie still needs to give you puppy eyes. Not fair!” The kid sulked even more, still hugging her gummy bears tightly.

 

Hearing that, Yujin’s laugh slowly faded, and her grin turned into a soft smile instead, staring at the kid who was scowling while pouting. Even the kid noticed how Yujin acted around her mother. She couldn’t help but to bite her lower lip, giggling to herself. Ahh, Ahn Yujin — still a fool for Kim Minjoo… for Song Minjoo.

 

With a sweet smile, Yujin answered, “Because I love your mom.” The words struck Yujin’s heart, the numb ache was back again but it was dull.

 

The little girl squinted her eyes at her aunt. “And you said you love Yujin-ie too!” She fired back.

 

Shaking her head in amusement, Yujin just grabbed another candy, handing it to little Yujin with a soft smile. “Stop sulking about that. I love you both, equally. Okay?” She said softly, and instantly — Yujin’s frown vanished as the older woman gave her another candy, it was then replaced with happiness; her eyes lit up, and squealed, taking the candy away from Yujin’s hold before she could take it back.

 

“Yay, okay! Aunt Yujin loves Mommy Minjoo and Yujin-ie a lot!” shouted the kid delightfully, grinning at Yujin so brightly.

 

Yujin snorted, grinning ear to ear as she stared at her niece. This kid really looked like her mother in many ways; they have a very identical smile, same doe eyes, warm honey orbs — little Yujin was just Minjoo when she was just a child. The only trait Yujin didn’t get from Minjoo was her nose — the kid got Jihyeok’s nose and charisma but the rest? Only Minjoo’s, even the behavior, personality, and attitude. Their favorite was gummies too.

 

Song Yujin was indeed Minjoo’s daughter. One could tell within a glance.

 

“Alright. Enough now, we still need to get your mother’s favorite drink.” Yujin said, and the kid beamed, hopping lightly on her feet then nodded — she then rushed towards the drinks section with fast speed.

 

“Oi, Song Yujin! Don’t run! You might trip, oh god, your mother is going to kill me if I ever take you home with a bruise!”

 

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Yujin pulled over the car on the roadside, turning off the engine, and unbuckled her seatbelt — Yujin-ie did the same, fumbling over it before she finally released herself; she didn’t even wait for her aunt and unlocked the door, opening it to hop out of the car. She just waited for her auntie at the sidewalk, humming to herself, very satisfied that she ate a lot of candies.

 

The older woman took the bag full of sweet treats and juice for Minjoo from the back seat then locked the doors of the car, double-checking before nodding to kid Yujin to enter her house already.

 

The security guard greeted them as he opened the gates for them — the kid waved at him happily, and Yujin just nodded as she stepped inside. The aunt and niece duo skipped their way towards the veranda, and they immediately spotted a figure seated in one of the chairs, reading a book.

 

It was Minjoo — the woman was reading a novel that she was recently into; dressed in her casual fit, no trace of make-up on her face, and her black short hair gently dancing with the gentle wind. She looked focused, and a little bit tired — most probably from her night to morning schedule for a photoshoot.

 

Yujin drank in the sight of her as she walked at the cobblestone pathway with her niece three steps ahead of her. She actually wanted to halt and just stare silently from there — maybe she would, if she was still that young, broken Yujin who only knew how to yearn for Minjoo’s warmth. But now, she wasn’t that Ahn Yujin anymore; she was a stronger and a lot better Ahn Yujin.

 

Minjoo probably heard the steps and finally noticed them, turning her attention from the book, and curiously took a glance. Yujin noticed how her doe eyes lit up at the sight of them — hmm, like mother like daughter, indeed.

 

“Mommy~ I missed you! How’s your schedule?” Yujin-ie greeted, waddling towards her mom, and gave her a hug. Minjoo grinned happily, hugging her daughter tightly, pressing a kiss on the side of her head.

 

Yujin stood by the corner, not wanting to interrupt and just watched silently. She and Minjoo exchanged brief glances. The actress broke the hug, ruffling her daughter’s hair.

 

“I missed you too, my baby~ It all went fine.” Minjoo answered, pressing a kiss on her daughter’s fluffy cheek then scrunched her nose up. “Hmm. You stink already, my beloved. You should get a shower first before we talk about your day, alright?” She then softly said.

 

The kid hummed, nodding obediently. “Okay! I want to have a shower too. I’ll be right back! I have stories to tell~” answered Yujin then turned to her quiet aunt at the side, smiling at her. “Auntie Yuj, I’ll be back! Don’t go home yet, okay?” She said, and Yujin could only chuckle.

 

“Sure, sure. How can I say ‘no’ to my favorite niece, hmm?”

 

Little Yujin playfully squinted her eyes at her auntie but grinned brightly before rushing inside the house, shouting her nanny’s name and sweetly yelling that she would take a bath. With that, Yujin and Minjoo were left together alone in the quiet veranda.

 

Minjoo was still smiling even when her daughter was out of sight already, and turned to Yujin, gesturing to her to take a seat across from her. She closed the book, and placed it on the table as Yujin walked closer to her.

 

The older woman was surprised when Yujin handed her a plastic bag — Minjoo gingerly took it, checking what was inside, and beamed happily when she saw that they were her favorites. She turned to Yujin who was seated already on the other chair, watching her fondly.

 

“Thank you, Yujin-ah.” Minjoo murmured softly.

 

Yujin cracked a smile. “No problem.”

 

Minjoo took a pack of gummy bear and a bottle of her favorite apple juice. She opened it, and happily took a piece of the gummy — humming in delight; she noticed that Yujin was still watching her softly with her gentle gaze so she offered her the treat but the younger woman refused.

 

“Thank you too for accompanying Yujin today. She kept insisting to be with you and stroll around instead of staying in the house.” Minjoo said after chewing and swallowing the candy, taking a sip from her juice afterwards.

 

Yujin shrugged it off. “Nah, it’s alright. I have nothing much to do anyway. Plus, it’s fun spending time with that kid, even though she can be a brat sometimes. I just love her too much.” She said with a smile, shaking her head in amusement.

 

Minjoo chuckled, nodding, and took another piece of gummy bear, and ate it.

 

Silence took over them but it was comfortable; Yujin looked away from watching Minjoo eat, not wanting to look like a creep, and stared at the mini garden, admiring the beautiful and colorful flowers. The quietness made her recall memories again, it was always like this anyway…

 

It had been years since she and Minjoo got close again. After their closure, they became close friends that relied on each other. They treated each other as best friends, but they saw each other as more than that. Even though, there were still obvious lingering feelings. Even though it still hurt — Yujin stayed, and stood by Minjoo’s side, almost looking like a fool again.

 

She gladly watched how Minjoo’s life unfolded before her eyes, and she was always there; bearing the pain that had already turned into numbness.

 

When Minjoo got pregnant, Yujin was there to tend her without a complaint — buy her cravings, buy her needs and wants, and be at Minjoo’s side when Jihyeok wasn’t able to. She never said a thing and willingly did that for her, she didn’t resent Minjoo for that, and she never hated the child; she had come to love the little child the moment Minjoo hesitantly revealed that she was bearing a child, her and Jihyeok’s child.

 

She wasn’t angry or upset that Minjoo wanted to name her child after her. Instead, she was honored and happy. She never asked the reason why.

 

Yujin was the one who sent Minjoo to the hospital when she was about to go on labor, and she held and cradled little Song Yujin in her arms before her father. She shed a few happy tears that moment because little Yujin looked so innocent and peaceful as she slept in her arms. Indeed, a blessing.

 

All in all, she didn’t regret everything that happened these past years. She was happy now, they were all happy. Pain and regret should be gotten rid of, so Yujin did. Although, she didn’t get to fully move on — she still took a step forward, and she wasn’t pitiful and pathetic anymore. She was content that she was near Minjoo, that was enough.

 

“Where’s Jihyeok?” Yujin asked when the silence was getting suffocating and awkward already. Jihyeok wasn’t a sensitive subject between them, although it was sometimes awkward to talk about him — he was still Minjoo’s loving husband and little Yujin’s father.

 

Yujin never held a grudge against him because he was a great man, he was so good that she couldn’t even find a flaw that Yujin could use to hate him. But recently, he was forgetting his duties as a husband and father because of his work.

 

Minjoo turned to look at her, almost ridiculously, she took another sip from her bottle, and answered, “Still overseas for his movie filming, he might take a while.” Yujin hummed, nodding a bit.

 

“I see. Yujin mentioned that she misses her father a bit but she understands that he needs to work so she isn’t asking much,”

 

“She won’t miss her father that much as long as she has your company, you know that.”

 

Yujin almost laughed at what Minjoo had said. If she was being honest, it felt like little Yujin was more attached to her than her father who was never really much home. They spent more time together because Jihyeok was a busy man, but he was busy for the sake of his family, so they could live comfortably.

 

Minjoo wasn’t that busy, she rarely took drama offers because of her daughter, and if she wasn’t there — Yujin would always take care of her lovely niece. She didn’t have anything to do in life anyway, she was mostly in her cafe, helping around. Jahyeon also went back to New York to pursue her degree anyway.

 

They talked casually more after that, talking about Yuri’s new boyfriend until little Yujin came back, freshly showered.

 

The trio played around, talking and teasing each other relentlessly until little Yujin whined about her aunt’s favoritism — talking that Yujin spoiled her mother more than her which earned triumphant smirk and teasing from Minjoo.

 

“Because your Auntie Yujin’s real favorite is me. She loves me the most,” Minjoo answered at her child who was ready to throw a tantrum because of that; the little kid and her mother loved to bicker over Yujin’s attention, competing over who Yujin loved more between them.

 

Yujin snickered at that, “True.” She wanted to say.

 

After an hour, Yujin finally decided to go home. Little Yujin gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek before rushing inside the house, saying that she was going to miss her favorite cartoon show so Minjoo walked Yujin out of the house.

 

When they reached outside, Yujin unlocked the doors of her Benz, and turned to face Minjoo who was looking at her. “I’m going to go home now.” She said, and was about to open the car, and hop in when she felt Minjoo grabbing the hem of her jacket — tugging her to face her again.

 

Yujin looked at Minjoo in confusion, the older woman was looking down on the ground, refusing to meet her gaze. Something was wrong. “Hey, what is it?” asked the taller woman softly.

 

“Can I be selfish and ask you a question?”

 

Yujin froze at that but gave Minjoo a tight smile. “Yes.” She answered, even though she knew she shouldn’t have.

 

“Do you still love me the most?”

 

A laugh of disbelief escaped Yujin, staring at Minjoo in amusement. The older woman looked like a pouty, bratty child who wanted affection and assurance that people still loved her.

 

With a smile, Yujin pulled Minjoo closer by her wrist, hugging her gently — caging her in her arms. Her heart stung yet fluttered at the same time. It was still lucky of her that she got to hold Minjoo close like this.

 

“Of course,” Yujin honestly admitted, tightening her hug. “I still love you the most, you know that.” added the woman, whispering as her breath hitched. It was the truth, she could never lie. They were very open to each other despite what was happening in the present.

 

Sometimes, Yujin and Minjoo didn’t know the boundaries, or just ignored them or forgot them; they were humans after all, they — too — got lost in their emotions quite often but in the end, they still stood at the very edge of that boundary. Never daring to cross but always trying to reach for each other.

 

“You’re just one step ahead of Yujin, remember that. Don’t tell her I said this. I told her earlier that I love you both equally.” Yujin then tried to light up the mood, and it worked. Minjoo chuckled, her breath hitting Yujin’s neck — feeling her smile against her skin.

 

“Noted, Ahn,” Minjoo murmured before pulling away from the hug. Yujin missed her warmth almost immediately. “You should go home now, it’s getting dark.”

 

Yujin hummed, smiling at the older woman before finally getting inside her car — she buckled her seatbelt, and the engine of her car, placing her hands on the wheel and gear stick. She turned her gaze on the mirror, seeing that Minjoo was still standing there on the sidewalk — waiting for her to drive away while hugging herself.

 

With a bitter smile, Yujin maneuvered her car to the road, she pressed the horn a bit to signal Minjoo that she was going — and she could only watch the woman from the mirror, her figure getting smaller and further away, until she couldn’t be seen anymore.

 

Taking a deep breath, Yujin focused on driving instead.

 

She knew a lot of things were wrong, and they should be apart from one another. But this made her happy, this made the pain less unbearable. Foolish, Yujin knew that — but then, could one blame her undying love for Minjoo?

 

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