When Dr. Kwon calls Minjeong to her office, she did not expect to see her parents sitting across from her boss with grins on their faces.
“M-Mom, Dad…” Minjeong blinks in surprise, “you didn’t mention you were visiting…”
Her mom stands to greet her with a hug, her dad only dipping his chin down to acknowledge her. Minjeong’s dad was the less affectionate, and tough love kind of father. He exerted more pressure on Minjeong on how he wanted his daughter’s life to be, rather than her mother, who has toned down over the years.
“We were just saying hi to an old friend.” Baekhyun nods towards Dr. Kwon. Furrowing her brows, Minjeong glances towards Dr. Kwon. She had no idea her parents were acquainted with her boss, but she shouldn’t be surprised. Her parents held a very high status within the medical field. They must acquaint themselves with many brilliant people within medicine.
“We were just talking about you, sweetie.” Taeyeon motions for her to take a seat on one of the chairs.
“I heard the cardiothoracic surgical program here is the best.” Baekhyun says, and Minjeong’s heart almost beats out of her chest. “There hasn’t been any campaigning for it though. Who’s leading your numbers, Dr. Kwon? They must be recognized.”
Dr. Kwon chuckles, “campaigns aren’t really my priority, Dr. Byun. My hospital has already built its name, and so has my staff. They are brilliant people.”
“And so why haven’t I heard anything about your incredible cardiothoracic team? It shouldn’t be a surprise that I, a fellow heart surgeon, is interested, right?” Baekhyun shrugs, his smile ever so kind that it sort of scares Minjeong.
Dr. Kwon returns his smile and leans back into her chair. “My chief of cardiothoracic surgery doesn’t like the spotlight. Prefers to save lives just for their passion alone. Like most of my staff do.”
Minjeong feels the air in the room churn into cold ice. She watches her father’s expression tighten.
“What are you insinuating, Dr. Kwon?”
Her boss shrugs her shoulders. “Nothing, Dr. Byun. I just don’t know what you’re asking.”
Releasing a sigh, Baekhyun taps his fingers against the leather of his seat. “I just want to make sure that Minjeong has good mentors to learn from.”
Dr. Kwon glances at Minjeong. “I was under the impression that Dr. Kim wanted to go into neurosurgery. She’s been very passionate and persistent about it thus far. Despite my encouragement for exploration.”
Minjeong avoids her father’s steel gaze, while her mother doesn't seem surprised, though disappointed.
“Nonsense.” Baekhyun laughs, “she’ll build a name for herself as a cardiothoracic surgeon. Like her parents.”
With a laugh, Dr. Kwon tries to hide her disbelief. She glances at Minjeong one more time and meets her eyes. “Don’t you think Dr. Kim can decide for herself? She’s an intern. This is the year for exploration and discovering where that feeling of passion for surgery comes from. That’s not something someone else chooses for a surgeon.”
Another curt chuckle comes from Baekhyun as he rises from his seat. He glances down at his daughter briefly, hands on his pockets, before walking towards Dr. Kwon’s wall of achievements.
“Impressive wall, Dr. Kwon.”
Dr. Kwon notices the way Minjeong’s hands are tightly intertwined together in her lap, a troubled expression on her face that she was so badly trying to hide.
“Thank you, Dr. Byun.” Dr. Kwon responds, looking away from Minjeong to focus on her colleagues. “It’s no Nobel prize, but I’m proud of the career that I’ve built.”
“You should be.” Baekhyun acknowledges, “not many can say that.”
With his hands clasped behind his back, Baekhyun twirls around with a smile. “My wife and I would like to donate ten million dollars to your cardiothoracic surgical unit.”
Minjeong’s head snaps up, mouth almost falling open at the sudden offer. Dr. Kwon does not seem as surprised as Minjeong was, her eyebrows only lifting in amusement with a small smile on her lips.
“The ten million is yours if you can assure my daughter will flourish as a cardiothoracic surgeon. I want her to learn from the best and to be the best.” Baekhyun lays out his terms.
“Dad.” Minjeong interferes.
Baekhyun ignores her, eyes focused on Dr. Kwon and awaiting a response.
“So this is a bribe?” Dr. Kwon almost laughs, “you want me to force your daughter to want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon?”
“Not force.” Baekhyun corrects, “she will become one.”
Dr. Kwon eyes her two colleagues, the muscle in her jaw jumping. “I do not force surgical interns into a specialty, Dr. Byun. That’s how you birth a bad surgeon, when you don’t lead them to their rightful passion.”
“Ten million, Dr. Kwon.”
“Dr. Byun.” Dr. Kwon says firmly, and Minjeong can see the patience slowly leave her boss’ body. “I take my hospital and my staff seriously. Most importantly, I take my career seriously. This is quite offensive.”
Minjeong couldn’t stand the tension that was surrounding them. She tried hard to remain professional at her place of work and in front of her boss.
“Please excuse my father—,”
Baekhyun crossed his arms. “I happen to recall donating seven million dollars for you to accept my daughter into your surgical program. If this is how your program actually is, then I’ll have to pull my daughter out and put her into a better hospital.”
Dr. Kwon smiles, picking up the pen next to her hand to click and unclick it.
“You bribed Dr. Kwon to accept me into my dream surgical program?” Minjeong whispers, voice defeated and in shock.
“I do recall ripping up a check that was sent to my office for that same amount. Was that yours, Dr. Byun? I don’t even think I looked at the name that the check was under.” Dr. Kwon crosses her legs and looks up at Baekhyun with a calm expression.
Minjeong stands up from her seat, fists clenched at her side. “I-I have to get back to work.” She mutters curtly, not waiting for a response from anyone in the room.
Rushing out of the office, Minjeong abruptly bumps shoulders with someone, causing her to fall onto the floor.
“Woah,” a hand comes to touch her elbow. “Sorry, I didn’t see you there.” Minjeong looks up to see a kind smile. “Are you okay?”
Another touch lands on her other arm and Minjeong turns to see familiar worried eyes staring back at her.
“Minjeong, are you hurt?”
With furrowed brows, Minjeong looks at the two people at her side.
“So you’re Minjeong.” The woman tells her, “Dr. Lee mentioned you.”
Minjeong shies away from both of their concerned hold, “s-sorry, I… uh… I need to go.” She sniffs, pushing herself up and not bothering to meet Jimin’s worried eyes.
Jimin watches her walk away in a rush, concern bellowing through her features. Nayeon is attentive, the corner of her lips rising slightly. “Dr. Kwon is waiting for me to sign those contracts, Dr. Yu. Shall we?”
Clenching her teeth, Jimin forces her eyes away to look at Nayeon. “Yeah.”
Nayeon stares at her, not moving despite her words. Jimin only stares back with confusion, but it was evident that her focus was elsewhere.
“Dr. Im?” Jimin calls out for her.
“That’s her, huh?” Nayeon smiles in realization.
Jimin’s lips press together tightly and Nayeon doesn’t need a verbal answer. She dips her chin in acknowledgment, eyes averting to where Minjeong had disappeared to. “She’s cute.” Is all she said, before turning and continuing her journey towards Dr. Kwon’s office.
When they enter, the both of them are confused to see guests in Dr. Kwon’s office.
“Woah, full house.” Nayeon says, blinking at the three doctors in the room. “Dr. Byun, Dr. Kim.” She acknowledges them, “big fan.”
Jimin’s eyebrows bounce at the names, and peeks inside. Indeed, familiar faces hit her with nostalgia. Not the good kind. She leans against the frame of the door, hands dipping into her pockets as she stands behind Nayeon who stays by the door.
Jimin meets eyes with Baekhyun, but her expression remains neutral. She wasn’t going to hand out free compliments like her colleagues did, kissing up to these two figures. Sure, they were incredible in the medical field, but Jimin knew them outside of that world, and there was nothing to praise.
“Pleasure,” Baekhyun nods towards them. “A familiar face.” He smiles tightly towards Jimin. “Dr. Yu… has a nice ring to it.”
Dr. Kwon smirks. “You wanted to meet my chief of cardiothoracic surgery. Here she is.”
Baekhyun extends his hand towards Nayeon. “I’ve heard good things.”
The latter looks down at his hand and laughs. “Oh, no. I’m not a heart surgeon. I’m the chief of neurosurgery.” Nayeon waves her hand, before pointing behind her towards Jimin with her thumb. “Dr. Yu is the one you should be eager to meet.”
Baekhyun’s smile falls and Jimin finds joy watching it disappear. Her lips lift into a smile of smugness, “greetings, Dr. Byun.” Jimin dips her chin, “Dr. Kim. It’s been a while.”
Realization washes over Jimin, finally understanding why Minjeong had rushed out of Dr. Kwon’s office. Her growing concern doesn’t erase the confidence that surrounds her, wanting to feel powerful in front of the people who once stepped on her like dirt.
It was obvious Baekhyun wasn’t too happy to hear that Jimin was the person he had been praising blindly.
“What are you doing here?”
Jimin scoffs. “To be fair, Dr. Byun. Don’t you think it’s rude to ask someone that under their own roof? You are the guest here. This is my hospital.”
The fumes were practically rising out of Baekhyun’s head. Jimin’s eyes glanced towards Taeyeon who only sat quietly at her seat.
“I see nothing has changed with you, Dr. Byun.”
Before Baekhyun could respond, Dr. Kwon stands from her seat. “It was nice having you visit, Dr. Byun, Dr. Kim. I do have a meeting with my team, so I have to ask that our conversation ends here.”
“Very well.” Baekhyun straightens his suit and gives his wife a look. “We’ll come back to settle this conversation.”
Nayeon and Jimin make space for the two doctors to take their leave. Dr. Kwon loses her professionalism and flops into her chair, eyes rolling in annoyance.
“I despise their pretentiousness.” Dr. Kwon mutters, throwing her pen onto her desk, “how is Kim Minjeong the product of their horrible personalities?”
Jimin snorts, nodding her head. “I think about that a lot, Dr. Kwon. She’s too good to have parents like them.”
Nayeon smiles to herself.
“What did they want, anyway?”
Dr. Kwon sighs. “They were trying to bribe me into convincing Minjeong to pick cardiothoracic surgery as her specialty. Ten million to be exact.”
Jimin’s jaw clenches.
“Wow.” Nayeon shakes her head. “That’s a fat number.”
“They tried to give me seven million to accept Minjeong into this surgical program too.” Dr. Kwon mentioned, sighing again in disbelief.
“What?” Jimin’s eyebrows bounce in surprise.
“And you took it?” Nayeon questioned.
Dr. Kwon shakes her head, “of course not. She was already accepted before I saw their stupid check on my desk. Kim Minjeong was my first pick. She’s a brilliant young woman.”
Jimin lets out a breath of relief. The look of gratitude she gives to Dr. Kwon was underappreciated, mostly because Dr. Kwon didn’t know just how special Minjeong was to Jimin.
“You guys talk. I need to be somewhere right now.” Jimin motions to the both of them, before making her way towards the door. Before opening it, she turns around and smiles at Dr. Kwon.
“Thank you, Boa.” J