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Till Kingdom Come

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The bass pounded in her ears, almost to a point that made her head ache, but it was bearable. For the countless months she’d worked there, it’d only taken a week or so to get used to the overwhelming and pushy atmosphere of a brothel. If you were up on the stage, or were there to watch, you’d have to be prepared to go out and beyond of your comfort zone. That’s how it works. Most of the dancers had given up their innocence long before they came here. It was no different for Chaesun. She’d hoped to be a dancer whilst growing up, but her parents weren’t exactly supportive; the only things they seemed to care about were money and drugs. So, with their mad obsession with these and having absolutely no love for their daughter, they sold her to an older man at the age of 8. She, like the other 5 girls, received the same sexual, emotional and physical abuse. This house was the place where she acquired the name stage name 'Jade', and she kept it, a mask to hid behind. The man was killed and the people who killed him sent the girls to a prostitution ring. She can still remember how the men said how the ‘clients would have to pay extra because little girls were rare to come by’. Life went on, being sold to whoever would pay the most, until she was paid off fully and was sent to work at Red Velvet’s Bad Boy. She considered herself lucky. She was pretty well off there.

But no-one cared about her past. No-one cared about her future. No-one cared about her.

Chaesun stepped on the stage, clad with fish nets, black shorts and an off-the-shoulder long-sleeve. Her hair down and crop in hand, she danced the only way she knew how. Behind the constant catcalling and loud and powerful music, it was completely silent in her mind. She didn’t feel happy when she danced. The only reason she started to dance was for herself. Now it was for everyone else; her feelings toward it were the last considered. The song finished while she was lost in thought, the blaring lights hurting her eyes. She did a small spin and exited the stage, a strong urge for a smoke circling her mind. 

“Nice work Chae, you’re getting better.” As she entered the dressing room, her mentor and best friend, Hyuna smiled at her, most likely waiting for her return.

“Thanks babe, but I could’ve done way better. I stuffed my transition from floor to standing. I looked like an electrocuted rat.” The red head laughed, not in a mocking way but rather at herself.

“We’ve all been there. Way back when, before I met E’dawn and even before I was in 4Minute, I remember rolling out of the splits and swinging my legs behind me to get on my knees, but I pushed forward too hard and fell flat on my face infront of my dance teacher and friends.” Chaesun was almost in disbelief. Hyuna was the best dancer she knew and probably will ever know.

“You’re lying to make me feel better.” Chaesun said, rolling her eyes to sell the point.

“I wish I was kidding, but I’ve never been able to live it down, Hyojeong gives me so much shit for it and I didn’t know he even existed then.”

“I think I heard my name…” The voice came from the stairwell, a pair of ankle-cut Doc martins on top of dog-printed socks, slowly came into view and soon the rest of his body.

“Hey baby boy.” Hyuna giggled as she walked over and gave their boss a fiery kiss. She dragged him back over so they could continue conversation but it seemed Hyojeong didn’t come down stairs to talk.

“Jade, I’ve been hearing good things about you, and you’ve been raking more money than you ever had before. What’s changed?”

“I guess I’ve gotten better. Hyuna has been teaching me a lot, so you should be thanking her.” 

“God no,” He groaned, “I fuel her praise kink enough in the bed, she doesn’t need anymore.” Hyuna whipped her head toward him as he said the word kink, a devious yet playful smile contorting her face.

“Says you! You’re basically begging for praise when you become sub.”

“Can you guys just take this upstairs?” They both looked at Chaesun in confusion of her sudden tone, “E’dawn, I know you didn’t come down for conversation, you came to get Hyuna so you could fuck.” Hyuna looked at him again, in a less-playful demeanour.

“What the fuck? Is it that obvious?” She whispered to them both.

“Yeah,” Chaesun snickered. “It kinda is.”

“Babe. Stop worrying. You’re my girl, and I’m the boss. None of the other girls give a fuck because I make sure they can pay their debts and stay off the streets.” Hyuna was fuming. As it was to her and also Chaesun, the streets weren't something to talk about when they were in earshot. It was their home, their school, their job, their hell; yet Hyojeong's words made it seem like he was referring to a bunch of vermin instead of his lover and employee.

“Fuck you! You insolent son of a bitch!” Before turning on her heel, Hyuna gave him an impressive slap which translated to another ‘fuck you’. All the girls at the dressers gave a small look before hurriedly turning back to their respective tasks, while Hyuna stomped up the stairs, cursing before slamming the door at the top. Hyojeong looked pretty guilty. He knew he’d used a bad choice of words. Chaesun was about to console him, but he shook his head before she could put words in her open mouth. He headed toward the stairwell, looking to the ones on the left that lead to his room, but he shook his head again and took the ones on the right that lead to the basement.

 

~

 

Hoseok sighed whole-heartedly, taking another sip of his drink. Alcohol had always been there to wash his worries away. It always will be, and that thought made him calmer than he already was. The clock's ticking no longer on beat but mashed together, it's sleek hands pointing to 2:28. He straightened his tie and fixed his hair, but instead his fuzzy senses made it look worse. A clean and curt knock echoed through the door, then a silvery-haired man bustled through.

“Hoseok,” he hissed, even though there was no-one there to hear their conversation. “Why are you drunk? This isn’t a single guys Friday night, its a meeting!” Hoseok stood up and stepped toward the smaller man, a small smirk playing on his face.

“I’m the boss, I’m allowed to be.” Hoseok drawled a little too deliriously. “I don’t need a second mother, Jimminie.” Jimin blushed at the man's pet name before straightening up.

“Yes, you really do need a mother, save a second one. Now come on, we’re gonna be late.” Jimin sighed, standing closely behind so Hoseok wouldn’t stumble or trip. The two walked down the corridor in total silence, mind the few deep breaths that left Hoseok’s lips.

“J-hope, what took you so long?” Asked Jungkook, a tall and handsome brunette that had served him well for many years. The meeting room he’d just stepped into was as normal and unoriginal as it got. White-washed walls, grey carpet and a singular window for some natural light. Seoul stood outside, even more glorious than before Hoseok had stepped foot on it’s pavement. 3 men were seated at the conference table, while Jungkook who’d addressed him earlier stood against the wall quietly. Jimin poured him another drink, reluctantly, while Hoseok took a seat at the head of the table; signifying for someone to start talking.

“Nothing abnormal with any of the casinos, sir, but it might be worth mentioning that Whalein 52, Fire and Butterfly’s combined customer rates have increased by 7% since we knocked out GOT7 and EXO’s gambling establishments in the surrounding areas. Profits from those establishments have increased as well, by a very noticeable amount, might I add.” The man paused to take a sip of his whiskey, then continued. “Eun Jaeha, a frequent customer, tried to hack some of the slot machines, attempting to steal a couple million won. He was stopped, fortunately. He’s been prosecuted to the full extent of Bangtan’s policies.” The man put away the document he’d been reading off, and looked to Hoseok for a comment.

“That’s good. We could use some of that profit to put into more trade.” Jimin scribbled down what was being said without a moment’s hesitation. “But regardless, good work. I’m glad that someone like you is in charge, Namjoon." He grinned at the compliment, the dimples on his face dipping in the wider he smiled. The raven black-haired man coughed, dragging the attention in the room toward him.

“Everything is running smoothly. No hiccups in the paperwork. No shipment problems. We are getting the stock on time, and there aren’t any complaints. Although…” He dragged out the last word longer, implying to Hoseok that not everything wasn’t going to plan.

“Just tell me already." Hoseok sighed. Yoongi was good at his job. Everything went well, and if it wasn’t, Yoongi would beat the shit out of whoever was responsible.

“Those bitches from Red Velvet have been offering our biggest supplier an enormous sum to supply them instead of us. They don’t even do firearm trade, the only thing they’re good at is human trafficking. What do they want with a fuck ton of rapid fire guns and ammunition?” Red Velvet, huh? He slammed his palm on the table, the liquids swaying slightly.

“I don’t care why,” Hoseok growled, “Just don’t let them win the company over. Offer twice as much.” Yoongi nodded and stood up, leaving immediately. “God, I’m too sober for this..” Hoseok downed his gin quickly, the itch to drink himself stupid crawling from the back of his head slowly but surely. “Seokjin, hurry up. I want to go home.”

“Opiates have been on higher demand, but I’ve made adjustments so we’ll get a little more. Pot has been as ever-popular. Popular stimulants has been a little down due to the searches that have been proposed by the government. Shipments have been fine, so has distribution. The new accountant has been having trouble getting up to date, but he should be fine.” Hoseok sighed in relief, fresh air rushing into his lungs as he drew back his breath. It felt like he hadn’t inhaled oxygen in years. And god, it made the room feel so much less suffocating.

“Thank god. Now you two surely have work to get back to. I have to speak with Jungkook.” The two men nodded in agreement, and excused themselves. Jungkook took the queue and sat opposite Hoseok. "Look. I’m impressed. You've been doing some great work as my runner boy, especially dealing with people like Minister Dohyun like you did last week."

"It was nothing." Jungkook said. 

"I know, and that's why I've decided to make you a bit of an investigator. There have been rumours surrounding Red Velvet, saying they are preparing for war. So, I’m going to focus you solely on them, I’ll get someone else to do my odd jobs.” Jungkook let the words sink in. Promotion, he thought, or suicide mission? “Jimin will give you everything you need to know. Do some digging, find out whatever they're up to. If I need you to get some bargaining leverage, I’ll get you a small team. Got it?” Hoseok smiled when Jungkook nodded in affirmation. “Good boy. Get right on to it. Come to me if you have any concerns.” Once Jungkook had left, Jimin stood and helped Hoseok up.

“You want me to compile everything we have on RV?” Jimin asked nonchalantly.

“Yeah that’d be great, make sure it gets to Jungkook by the end of the day.”

“Will do."

“Yes. And give Yoongi a hand with winning the company. That should be about all. Oh, wire some money to Jinbae for his good work.”

“Already done.” As they walked out into the hall, Hoseok mindlessly began to walk in the direction of his office, not registering that Jimin had stopped to talk further. “Hey! Are you even listening?” He turned to see Jimin glaring at him for the hundredth time that day, but it looked like his patience had worn to a singular strand.

“What the fuck? Of course I am.” His assistant didn’t look pleased or convinced with the answer Hoseok had provided.

“You’ve been so out of it recently Hoseok, what’s going on?”

“Jimin.” He snapped, walking back toward him. Jimin’s expression was a mix of fear and some kind of determination to seek answers. “I’ve told you. There is nothing of your concern. Now go back and do what I pay you to do.” Hoseok spat out. Jimin simply nodded and walked past him to his own office, but Hoseok could hear little sniffles coming from him that he probably wasn’t supposed to hear.  

 

~

 

Chaesun re-entered the backstage, this time heading down the side stairs toward the bar past the tables to sate her thirst for alcohol. 

“Hey Jadie.” Taemin smiled as she took a seat on one of the bar stools. “Martini? Daiquiri? Gin and tonic?”

“I don’t think I care but gin sounds good right about now.” He just laughed and turned to grab a bottle from the shelf behind him, pouring some into a glass adding what was probably tonic, a squeeze lime and some ice. She thanked him as she took a small sip, the cool strongly juxtaposed to the ever-lasting heat that always surrounded her in Bad Boy, but it felt pretty good.

“Nice moves up there by the way, you’ve gotten a lot better.” 

“Don’t wanna sound stuck up but that’s the third time I’ve heard it in half an hour.” He laughed while she broke a small smile.

“Yeah yeah, you narcissistic bitch. Keep your ego away from me.” He yelled behind him as he moved to serve another person. Chaesun looked around to the stage as another dancer replaced the one before her. Men hollered as she moved toward the pole and began her routine, the strobe lighting bouncing of her sheer sequinned dress.

“Hey. Jade.” Taemin had returned again, carrying his phone. “Hyojeong sent me a text, he needs you downstairs to help with serving.” Chaesun almost rolled her eyes out of her head at the last part.

“Can he think about this before he books the room out?”

“I’m not the boss,” He said, “But you should get down there.”

“I’m going, I’m going.” She mumbled, waving to Taemin before heading to and down the stairs where she’d last seen Hyojeong. Sure enough, he stood in front of the door at the end of the hall, looking only slightly worried. 

“Hyojeong. What the fuck.” He whipped his head around, blond locks covering most of his face except the part in the middle. He ran over, grabbing her shoulder and pulling to where he stood before.

“Jade. Listen to me. Lily started munting everywhere before she got onto the bar, so I sent her home. Taemin is obviously busy upstairs and you’ve got some experience with drinks”

“I’m meant to be heading home in like, 10 minutes, you can’t expect me to do another shift!” Chaesun barked.

“You don’t have a fucking choice. There’s some very important people in there and we’re all fucked if this isn’t up to standard.” Hyojeong looked pretty desperate, which was a side she never usually saw from him.

“Fine, you fucking bastard.” She pushed passed him, but her grabbed her hand before opening the door.

“I’ll pretend you didn’t say that just because Hyuna likes you.” He snarled, his words icy and menacing. Ah yes, she thought, there it is. His desperateness had been replaced with raw anger like nothing happened, an anger that had made many girls fall victim to things they didn’t deserve. “Now get the fuck in there.” He opened the door and shoved her inside, Chaesun almost tripping over her heels as he did.

 

She’d been the event room before, but only for small functions. There was a table that stood in the middle of the room with 6 or so men around it. Even more men stood up against the walls or behind someone seated. They all looked at her. 

“Gentlemen, please forgive me for the wait. This one will be working the bar for you all this evening.” The unmistakeable voice of Hyojeong sounded behind her. “Jade, get behind the fucking bar.” He whispered into her ear as he pushed her toward the small bar on the other side of the room. He then smiled and left the room, and again all eyes were on her. Chaesun straightened her shoulders and walked to the side of the table, then reaching the bar. A blond-haired man at the end of the table cleared his throat, catching almost everyone’s attention, but few remained with their eyes still trained on her.

“We are all here tonight to discuss some… matters that have been concerning the area.” The blond man smiled. “As Hui can’t be here tonight, I’ll be hosting.” Everyone nodded in affirmation before he continued, while Chaesun poured a few glasses of whisky, giving them to each person seated who had given her a nod. They all went around talking about each individuals finances and issues, then going through people that needed to be 'taken care of'. As she circled around taking each man's request, moving back to the small bar before her fishnet's snagged on something, or someone as she turned around to free herself. An orange haired man, in a deep blue suit smiled up at her as she stared at his finger hooked in her tights.

"Hey there, sweetheart." She plastered a smile and swivelled to him.

"Can I get you anything Sir?" Chaesun spat while reaching to unhook his curled finger, the men beside her reaching for their guns before the orange-haired man waved them off.

"Some more whisky, and maybe a kiss from you as well." She gave him a glare and tore his hand from her, hearing him laugh behind her.

The blond man stood up again causing everyone to quiet down. “AOA has put their paws back in and they want their old territory back.” A few snorted in disbelief while the rest of them chuckle quietly.

“Kino, don’t underestimate them. They’ve been around a lot longer than you have.” This time a shorter, lime-green haired man spoke, and he got everyone’s attention, including hers.

“Jiyong, I haven’t heard you so sensitive, well ever.” He laughed to himself, while others quietly whispered to each other like it was middle school. 

“Their youngest. Chanmi. She put Seungri in hospital for 2 months.” They all shut up. “They got married, as an offer of peace. And Seungri was so happy because Chanmi was the woman he’d always wanted. A goddamn week after the ceremony, she beat him to near death and stabbed him 8 times. We didn’t see it coming.”

“Forgive me Jiyong, we will make sure to bring them down and make sure they stay down this time.” Kino said putting his hand over his chest.

“You have our support, but in return you bring Chanmi, unharmed.” Jiyong muttered, facing away.

“Sehun?”

“We want Hyejeong and Yuna. We’ve got people who’d pay a pretty price for those two.” The orange haired man, Sehun, was well built and with arms that near about tore through his suit.

“We can do that. What about you J-hope?” All the attention turned to him, and he certainly caught Chaesun’s attention as well. J-hope leader of Bangtan. The very gang that ruled the majority of Seoul. He had chestnut hair and a strong and set jawline.

“They should all be thrown in the Han.”

“Really? And why is that?” J-hope moved in his seat slightly before looking over to Chaesun.

“Did any of you actually see them die? Sehun? EXO was the group that took them down before.” Sehun glared at him, his muscles tensing.

“They were dead. My men assured me of it.”

“Then why are they alive? They probably got your men off in exchange for freedom.”

“You fucker!” Sehun growled, standing up. Quickly guns were pulled out and everyone stood still waiting for someone to shoot first.

“Gentleman, please. Is this how we act infront of a lady?” Jiyong said, eyes going to him and then drifting toward Chaesun. She stood straight trying not to do anything stupid as there were guns out.

“You. Bitch. Come here.” Sehun snarled, pointing his gun at her. Chaesun moved out from behind the bar and walked toward Sehun, timidly yet hurriedly. All the guns were lowered and everyone had drawn back, except for the pistol that was aimed right between her eyes. As she got about a metre away from him, a pair of hands pushed her as she fell into his chest. Sinking down to her knees as he made no attempt to stop her from dropping, she felt a foot kick into her back that would for sure bruise. Chaesun hid her face between her knees as more kicks were given to her side.

“Get up.” She heard Sehun say. “I said get the fuck up!” He grabbed her black locks and pulled them so her whole body except for her knees were straight. He angled her face toward his by pulling her hair to her upper back, her tears now visible to him and everyone else.

“Now be a good girl and sit in my lap.” She subconsciously got up from her knees and did as he said, not want to be hurt anymore. Sehun’s arm glided around her waist and it kept her locked there, while his hand grabbed a hold of her chin.

“You’ve been hearing our conversation haven’t you?” He smiled in her ear. “So who are you gonna tell then, huh?”

“N-no-one, sir.” Chaesun stuttered, almost to the point of screaming as the arm around her waist pressed harshly into the marks of abuse she’d gotten before.

“Is that so?” Sehun asked, voice gravely and harsh.

“She’s fine, Sehun. E’dawn runs the place and he’s with us.” Kino spoke again, and she let her muscles relax slightly. Sehun just grunted, but he still held onto her tight, his hand letting go of her chin and sliding down toward her thighs, caressing them.

“If you all are so insistent on not killing them all together, then you can sell them off to other gangs. I don’t care. As long as Shin Jimin, their leader, is killed.” J-hope mused, “They’re pretty much sitting ducks without her.”

“It’s settled then. We knock out Jimin and take the rest. You with us J-hope?” Kino looked to him.

“Looks like it.” He said.

“Excellent. That’s all I have to say. Meeting adjourned.”

“Wait.” Sehun said, making all those who rose from their chairs freeze. “How about a performance from this cute little thing.” He smiled darkly as his eyes locked onto hers. Chaesun tried to push her way out of his hold but he stood up and threw her onto the table, pulling out his gun once more. “Dance.”

“I can’t, I need to ask Hyo-“ 

“Fine by me.” Hyojeong said from his spot near the door. He must’ve come in while she was on the floor. The pink haired man behind Sehun whistled at her and it set off the rest of them. The lights dimmed and were replaced with deep, red strobe lighting. She wanted to cry her eyes out but the gun that was aimed at her pushed her tears back and moved her limbs as her signature song began to play. They were all staring at her, mouths curved into wicked smiles and eyes roaming her body. The only one who didn’t seem interested at all was Jiyong, who just picked at his fingernails like he had better things to do. Kino and the men behind him kept whistling and yelling, much like the men behind Sehun and Jiyong. But J-hope didn’t crack a smile, but just stared, his eyes hungry. Chaesun was distracted by their intensity and kept her own trained on them the whole time.

 

‘Urin geochimi eopji’ 

 

She struck her final pose as the song ended, to be welcomed by cheers and more hollering. The lights faded back to normal and Chaesun was ready to collapse. They began filing out, throwing some snarky disgusting comment as their parting gift.

“Let me give you a hand.” Sehun said, giving his hand as an offer. He helped her down only to push her into two guys who locked her arms behind her. J-hope looked over and shook his head while his black haired friend took a call. 

“How much for her? To keep.” Sehun yelled over to Hyojeong who hadn’t left his spot next to the door.

“She isn’t for sale, Sehun.”

“I’ll give you 5 million won.”

“She’s one of my best. I said no.”

“And I didn’t give you a fucking choice.” Sehun spat, eyes narrowing as he pulled out his gun for the third time that night, aiming for Hyojeong’s head.

“He said no, Sehun.” Sehun turned, his gun still trained on Hyojeong, to face J-hope, who’s face was still the same calm it had always been. “Put the gun down. We don’t want any casualties.” Sehun muttered something under his breath, before motioning for Chaesun to be let go.

“I’ll be back for you, whore.” Sehun whispered before leaving with the rest of them. She turned to thank J-hope but he’d gone already, leaving only Hyojeong. Chaesun opened her mouth to speak, but Hyojeong just walked up placing an envelope in her hand.

“I’m sorry, Chaesun. You can take the next few days off if you want and that’s 500,000 won in there.” He just walked off, guilty as anything, leaving her bruised and humiliated. 

 

~

 

“Wendyyyy~” Irene groaned, “When can I have dessert..?” The violet haired girl whined as she sat in the corner of the dining room. Wendy sighed.

“Only big girls get to have dessert. Naughty girls don’t get any.”

“Imma big girl! I am! I am! I am!”

“Big girls eat their vegetables, Irene.” The girl in the corner huffed in protest as the word ‘vegetables’ was mentioned. Wendy left Irene to sulk, she needed to take a deep breath and-

“I want dessert!” The girl cried again. Wendy turned her attention to Yeri, who’d been twisting her knife into her short, red locks.

“Yeri! Stop that right now!” 

“Make me.” She replied, sticking her tongue out in a jeering way. Wendy was ready to scream. The two were impossible to control unless-

 

~

 

Joy opened the front door, glad to get out of the light drizzle that had accompanied her home from her office. But her relief was soon washed away as yelling immediately reached her ears. She rubbed her temple, wiping her shoes on the door mat and placed down the umbrella she was holding to dry. Joy walked down the hall, the yelling getting louder. She opened the door to be met with mess. Irene sat in the corner, knees tucked into a foetal position huffing occasionally, while Yeri ran around the kitchen table with fork in her hand, being chased by Wendy.

“Wendy, you sit down. I’ll deal with them.” Wendy almost fell in relief, sitting down and finally getting a bite of her now cold stir-fry. 

“Yeri. What have I told you about running inside? Especially with a fork in your hand?” Yeri’s smile dropped from her face as she slowed to a stop in front of Joy.

“You said it was dangerous.” Yeri looked away, clearly embarrassed to admit to her crimes.

“Do you think that’s acceptable?”

“No…” Yeri frowned.

“I’ll think about your punishment, but for now go eat your dinner.” Joy’s gaze didn’t falter, but Yeri didn’t move. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s cold.” She whined, still not meeting Joy’s gaze.

“You should’ve thought about that before you decided it was a good idea to waste Wendy’s and now my time.” Yeri sniffled slightly before hopping up onto her chair and putting her fork into the cold beef stir fry. It was clear Irene had noticed the silence because she turned around and reached out, hands grasping for Joy.

“Pumpkin, what’s the matter? Why are you so upset?”

“Mummy, Wendy was being mean.” Joy picked up the girl, placing Irene on her hip. She rocked the girl slightly before speaking.

“Irene, Wendy was doing what I asked her. It’s important you eat your vegetables.” Irene whined as Joy set her down in her high chair, the plate infront of her only holding some rice and a few stalks of broccoli. “Come on now. Don’t be silly.”

“No broccoli for Reene.”

“Don’t be like that.”

“I don’t want any! No broccoli for Reene!”

“That’s a shame,” Joy said looking away, hoping if she overdramatised, Irene would be convinced. “Seulgi made chocolate cake for dessert tonight. I guess you won’t be able to have any.”

“Noooo!” Irene yelled out.

“Wendy and I’ll eat the whole thing.”

“Mummy, no!”

“Do you not want me to?”

“Please don’t eat all the cake Mummy!” Tears began to well in Irene’s eyes as the idea raced around her head.

“Do you know what you have to do?” Joy asked, lifting Irene’s hair from her face and tucking it behind her ear.

“I have to eat my vegetables.” Irene looked down disappointed, her bottom lip jutting out slightly.

“You can have cake as well, you just have to eat the broccoli.” Joy pushed, giving the blue plastic fork to her.

“I want mummy to feed me. It tastes better.” 

That seemed to do it, because Irene motioned to her untouched vegetables. Joy took the fork from her little hands and began to feed the greens into her mouth. Her face contorted from the bitterness but she chewed thoroughly and then swallowed. She’d just eaten her last piece, but Joy didn’t think she’d realised it.

“Look, Irene! You can have cake now!” The girl squealed in happiness and surprise as Joy stood up to attend to the promised cake. She plated a big piece and put it on the table connected to the high chair for the girl to eat. 

“Air-plane, Air-plane!” The little girl yelled and Joy chuckled as she picked up a clean spoon.

“Brrrrrrrr,” Joy said as she swerved the spoon up, down and side to side as the piece of cake sat on it. “Coming into land..” As the spoon headed toward Irene’s mouth.

“Yummy! I love Soo-soo so much!” Irene giggled after she’d swallowed the cake. The repeated it a few more times, both of them laughing and giggling away, until Irene stifled a small yawn.

“Bedtime, huh?” Irene gave a small nod as Joy wiped her mouth and pulled her out of the high chair. “Seulgi! Can you come here please!”

An orange head of hair popped through the door a few seconds later, walking toward the two.

“Hey Reene,” Seulgi whispered as she took Irene from Joy’s arms, “How bout I read you a story?” Irene’s arms soon found their way around Seulgi’s neck as she snuggled into her shoulder.

“Yes please Soo-soo.” Seulgi stopped at the door way, turning so Irene was facing Joy. “Nigh nigh Mummy.” They disappeared down the hall, and Joy could finally relax. She picked up the dishes from the table and wiped it down, fixing the chairs as she went. She began to wash the dishes, and was in the middle of Irene’s plastic fork when her phone started to ring. Joy dried her hands and picked it up, pressing the answer button in one swift movement.

 

“Hello?” 

“Joy? Nice to meet you, my name is Seo Yuna.”

“Very nice to meet you, Yuna-ah. How can I help you?”

“I’m here to relay a message. Shin Jimin couldn’t be here right now but she’s told me to tell you this.”

“I’m listening.”

“Jimin said she wants to discuss alliances with you.”

“I am aware of that.”

“Directly.”

“Ah.”

“But she offers you AOA, myself included, to help with any endeavours you might need our assistance for.”

“Excellent. Tell her to come see me at my workplace any time she feels necessary, although I am only there from 9 through to 6.”

“I’ll be sure to tell her that, Joy-ssi.”

“Very good. Give her my thanks.”

“I will. Thank you for your time and have a good night Joy-ssi.”

“You too Yuna-ah.”

 

She doesn't get a response before the line goes quiet.