Jimin sits across from the chief of surgery, hands clasped on her lap, and slightly quivered under Dr. Kwon’s steely gaze.
“That’s a big deal, Dr. Yu.” Dr. Kwon says after a moment, “accusing Dr. Jeon of such things.”
Dipping her chin, Jimin acknowledges her boss’ words. “I wouldn’t have come to you if I didn’t feel strongly about it, Dr. Kwon. I’ve observed it in front of me and if you spoke to any of our female interns, residents, or even nurses, you’ll see that my accusations of Dr. Jeon is a fact, and it is absolutely disgusting.” Her jaw clenches with great tension, “you don’t want someone as pathetic as he is working in your hospital, ma’am. He doesn’t deserve the privilege of being a surgeon.”
Dr. Kwon crosses her legs, leaning back in her chair. Jimin observes the heavy thought on the chief’s face, and she gulps.
“I certainly don’t want him under my roof.” Dr. Kwon shakes her head, “but of course, I would need proof. I can’t just report and fire him without an investigation. ual harassment is a serious offense, Dr. Yu.”
Jimin nods, “I understand.”
“Nor do I have a replacement for him in the meantime.” Dr. Kwon shrugs, “if I start an investigation, Dr. Jeon will be suspended until he is cleared. Who will take his surgeries, Dr. Yu?”
A small hint of a smile graces Jimin’s lips. “Dr. Im Nayeon is currently on a plane back from Indonesia. She agreed to sign a three month contract as a locum tenen. That’ll give you some time to find new replacements. Maybe even offer her a permanent position as the head of the neurosurgery department. If she’s willing to give up her current lifestyle, that is.”
Dr. Kwon raises an amused brow, smirking. “You seem to have all the answers, Dr. Yu.”
Mirroring her smirk, Jimin dips her chin with pride. “I always come prepared, Dr. Kwon.”
“Alright. I’ll look into it.”
Minjeong glances at Soojin’s steely gaze. She shifts uncomfortably in her chair, poking at her salad. The air was tense, even Mark and Shuhua could tell.
Shuhua bites her nail nervously, eyeing both women, before smiling nervously. “D-Do you guys want to hear about what happened to me this morning? Well, I was on my way to work—,” her words stop abruptly when Soojin speaks over her, “how’d you get Dr. Jeon in your good graces again?”
Taken aback, Minjeong’s eyebrows bounce upwards. “What?”
“He told me that he was giving you charge of the intern work for his research. It used to be under my supervision. I thought he hated you?” Soojin scoffs, “what’d you do? Sleep with him? He definitely wouldn’t have passed that up. He’s a total ert.”
Minjeong’s eyes widened, “excuse me?”
Shuhua and Mark’s eyes widened at Soojin’s words. Smacking Soojin on her arm, Shuhua’s voice comes out louder than she wants. “Jin! Watch your words!”
The older woman doesn’t flinch, her steel gaze unmoving from Minjeong.
“I-I didn’t—, h-he didn’t tell me—,” Minjeong stutters, putting down her fork. She gulps, before finally finding her voice. “I didn’t know he would do that.”
“Yeah, right.” Soojin scoffs, “isn’t that what you asked for?”
“N-No, I—,” Minjeong glances at all the eyes on her, “I just wanted him to teach me. I mean, yeah, being part of the research would have been nice, but I didn’t need to be in charge—,”
Soojin rolls her eyes and scoffs.
Minjeong’s lips pressed together firmly upon Soojin’s reaction. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—,”
“Don’t apologize, Minjeong. You did nothing wrong. Stop being such a pushover. Defend yourself, come on. Girl power.” Mark cuts her off, and narrows his eyes at Soojin who sits across from him. “And you.” He points his finger at her, “you need to stop with that stick up your agenda, okay? I’m not having it.”
Soojin’s expression doesn’t change, blankly staring at Mark with crossed arms.
He then waves his pointed finger between Soojin and Minjeong. “You will be seeing each other pretty often, so stop arguing all the time.” He lets out an exasperated sigh, “it’s starting to annoy me.”
Minjeong frowns, shoulders depleting. She peers up at Soojin, who scoffs at Mark’s words.
“He’s right, you know.” Minjeong mutters to the latter. “This isn’t a competition anymore. We both deserve to be here, so why don’t we just support each other instead—,”
“Everything’s a competition.” Soojin cuts her off. “We’re interns, Minjeong. It’s not the time to make friends and lay on the white sand beach.”
“We have to fight for surgeries. For the attendings we want to work with.” Soojin uncrosses her arms and leans forward, “I don’t know what it’s like to grow from mommy and daddy’s money and fame, but it seems like everything is always in your favor, isn’t it, Dr. Kim?”
And again, Mark and Shuhua’s eyes widened at Soojin’s harsh words.
“Hey—,” Shuhua clicks her tongue when Soojin abruptly pushes her chair out, and walks away. Heaving a sigh, Shuhua looks at Minjeong apologetically. “I’m sorry, Minjeong. She didn’t mean that. I swear, Soojin is a softie and very kind hearted, but she just—,”
“Has a stick up her ?” Mark finishes for her.
Shuhua glares, “you’re not helping, stupid.”
Mark shrugs. “Wasn’t meant to help anybody. Just stating facts.”
Scoffing, Minjeong smacks his shoulder. “Shut up, Mark.”
He zips his mouth, throwing his hands up in the air. “Never speaking again.”
“You just did, .” Shuhua throws a grape at him.
“Go chase after your woman!” Mark throws it back to her. “Pull that damn stick out!
Shuhua’s eyes widened, “right. Gotta go!”
Clenching her teeth, Minjeong groans when she makes another mistake on the cadaver that she was operating on with the Da Vinci machine.
After her fifth mistake, Minjeong pulls away from the machine and throws her gloves away in the trash can.
She looks visibly upset, and she feels like her body is starting to give up. Minjeong depletes against the wall, sliding down until she’s sitting on the ground. Her hands come to cover her face, head banging on the wall lightly.
“Stupid, stupid.” Minjeong’s palm hits her forehead continuously as she mumbles the degrading terms to herself.
“Minjeong.” A firm voice calls her name. When she looks up, Minjeong sees Jimin standing at the door of the skills lab. The older woman’s eyebrows were furrowed, hands in her scrubs pocket.
“Stop that.” Jimin says.
Lowering her hands, Minjeong’s arms come around to hug her knees to her chest instead.
“Nothing.” Minjeong looks down at the floor.
Jimin sees the set up, and sighs. “Shouldn't you be at home? Resting?”
“I can’t afford to rest.”
Sighing, Jimin enters and closes the door behind her. “You also can’t afford to make mistakes during surgery because you’re working yourself to death.” She gives her a soft, concerned look. “Rest is important, Minjeong.”
“I’m not working hard enough.” Minjeong almost laughs as she points to the cadaver on the table, “I can’t even use the machine correctly.”
If people continued to disregard Minjeong’s achievements and shadow her behind her parents, how could she think that she was doing enough? She just needed to work harder to gain people's respect. Even her own.
Jimin looks at the machine, and back to Minjeong who was staring at her with unreadable eyes.
Instead of telling Minjeong that she was putting too much pressure on herself, that interns are meant to learn everything they should as they push through the program, Jimin kneels onto the floor in front of her.
“I’d be honored to teach you.” Jimin offers in a whisper, “if you’ll let me.”
Minjeong forces herself not to look below Jimin’s eyes, “I’m not really in the position to say no to my attending.”
Jimin shakes her head. “I’m not offering as your attending. I’m offering as… Yu Jimin.” She opens her palm between them, offering her hand for Minjeong to take.
Minjeong stares at Jimin’s hand.
Minjeong’s eyes were tear filled. Her girlfriend was looking at her with the gentlest smile, eyes sparkling down at her with pride.
“I’m proud of you.” Jimin tells her, “even if you’re not proud of yourself. I’ll fill in those empty spaces with my pride, so you won’t feel so regretful.”
Shaking her head, Minjeong wipes at her eyes. “I placed second.” She pushes her bow away from her, unlatching the arrow holder from her waist.
“You know what they say, right? Second is the best, first is the worst.” Jimin tries to lighten the mood, but as expected, did not do much.
Minjeong frowns, but doesn’t say anything.
Jimin smile is small in contrast to Minjeong’s frown, “hey.” Her voice sounded like a warning, and there was a nagging edge to it. Her palm comes up to softly rest on top of Minjeong’s head, fingers tapping in a domino pattern. “Get out of that negative thinking up there. Focus on me, my love. Hear my voice. Look only at me.”
“Your optimism isn’t working, Jimin. It’s not making me feel better.”
Jimin’s smile doesn’t leave, only leaning forward to place a quick kiss onto Minjeong’s forehead. “Then what else can I offer?”
Pouting, Minjeong crosses her arms and throws her glare at Jimin. It wasn’t necessarily because she felt annoyed at Jimin, more so sulking at the current situation, and Jimin found it cute.
Minjeong opens her palm between them, nodding her head towards it. The older woman snorts, but threads their fingers together and pulls her in.
“Holding my hand makes you feel better? Aren’t you adorable?”
“Not if you’re going to tease me about it.” Minjeong whines, turning her face away from Jimin and settling it against her shoulder instead. “Meanie.”
Still pouting, Minjeong swings their connected hands at their side. “It’s comforting.”
Jimin chuckles, bending down to kiss Minjeong’s cheek. “You’ll always have my hand to hold, my love. If that’s what eases your heart and your mind.”
“And dessert?” The words were mumbled against Jimin’s skin.
The older woman cups Minjeong’s chin, raising her head from her shoulder, so that they could meet for a quick, chaste kiss. “What kind of dessert?”
Minjeong hums in thought, quite adorably, and Jimin can’t resist kissing her again. And again. And again.
“Ice?” Kiss. “Cream?” Kiss.
Jimin smiles. “Okay.” Kiss. “Dinner first, baby.” Kiss. “I love you.” Kiss. “I’m proud of you.”
Minjeong doesn’t take her hand, but she does place her pointer finger on Jimin’s palm, tracing one of the lines on her skin, before looking up at Jimin who watches her curiously.
“You made a lot of promises to me in the past.” Minjeong softly said, “this… was one of them.” Her finger taps on Jimin’s palm, before her hand is retreating again, hands tucked between her chest and her knees.
Jimin takes in a breath, releasing it slowly. She sits in front of Minjeong, crossing her legs criss-crossed.
Minjeong rests her chin on her knees.
“When I get scared or anxious, the first person I think of is you. Because it made me feel safe. When I feel lonely or sad, I lay in bed and try to dream of you. Because in my dreams I can pretend to be happy if you’re in it.” A small, weak chuckle leaves Minjeong’s lips. “I always wake up crying and heartbroken, though. Because reality always caught up to me, and I remember that you didn’t want me anymore.”
“Minjeong.” Jimin says her name, “I meant everything I said that night at your apartment.”
“That doesn’t change what happened.”
“But I can make it up to you going forward.” Jimin says desperately, “if you’ll let me.”