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Its been a year already, huh?

 

Kim Jiyeon sits there, on the stool next to her kitchen counter, basking in the morning sunlight coming from the big windows on the wall. Her gaze lingers on the buildings around her apartment, while her hands busy themselves stirring her white coffee. Everyday, Jiyeon would savor these few minutes before she starts off her hectic day.

 

While she is sipping on her coffee, her ears perk up when she hears light footsteps behind her back. She turns around and smiles at the sight of her 6 years-old rubbing her eyes out of sleepiness.

 

"Good morning."

 

"Good morning, mummy." Kim Yeoreum replies, yawning at the same time. The little girl shivers at the cold morning breeze, and when Jiyeon opens her arms for her, she lets herself be embraced by her mother.

 

"Mummy how did you wake up so early everyday?" Yeoreum asks as she sits on top of Jiyeon's lap.

 

"Mummy is used to it, Yeoreum-ah."

 

The little girl nods her head even though she struggles to keep herself awake. Seeing that, Jiyeon pulls lightly on her daughter's hair to untangle them.

 

"Do you want to eat breakfast first or shower first?"

 

"Hmmm… I think I want to shower first." The little girl put her index finger to her chin, as if she's thinking about something.

 

"Alright, go then. I'll make breakfast. Is pancake ok?" Yeoreum hops off Jiyeon's lap and grabs her red towel.

 

"Pancakes are ok." Yeoreum says as she shows an 'ok' sign to her mother before she turns and heads to the bathroom.

 

Jiyeon smiles and shakes her head. As she's reaching out for the frying pan in the cabinet, she couldn't help but notice a drawing that was stuck to the fridge. Yeoreum drew them. Her school teacher has asked her to draw her family. Even though Jiyeon has looked at the drawing for like the nth times already, she couldn't help but notice it every time she opened the fridge. There's her, with her long light brown hair. Yeoreum with her dark brown hair and a wide smile. And lastly, beside Yeoreum there's a person, with black hair and bangs, holding a black and white cat.

 

Jiyeon would say that Yeoreum is good at drawing. Hell, even good at portraying people even if she's only 6 years old. Why did she say that?

 

Because the black hair person reminds her of Kim Hyunjung.





Kim Hyunjung wakes up to the sound of alarm blaring through her phone while the sun annoys her eyes, peeking through the curtains.

 

She grunts in displeasure as she reaches for her phone on the bedside table and turns off the alarm. She rolls around her bed before deciding to wake up and shower.

 

She puts on a navy blue suit with a white shirt underneath and black leather shoes.

 

After a few minutes, Hyunjung is already outside and in her Porsche. She starts off her engine and drives to her favourite cafe near her office building.

 

"Aww,look who's here!" Hyunjung could see a certain redhead peeking from the counter, smiling at her.

 

"You say that like I didn't come here everyday." The black haired woman says.

 

Chu Sojung laughs at the comment while she grabs an empty paper cup to fill it with white coffee.

 

"Well, you always seemed like you wanna kill someone so I thought I could brighten your mood by greeting you like that." The barista/cafe owner blurts out as she writes down Hyunjung's name and pours coffee into the cup.

 

"I don't." She says as she stares at Sojung.

 

"Yes you do." Sojung puts the cup on the counter, directly in front of their faces in order to block Hyunjung's stare.

 

"I don't. People just pisses me off so easily." She says, taking her cup and having a sip.

 

Despite being annoying, Sojung makes great coffee.

 

But not as good as hers.

 

She stares at Sojung and this time, the other girl stares back at her. They stay like that for almost a minute before they hear someone's voice.

 

"Excuse me, aren't you guys gonna include me in your intense staring session?" Hearing that familiar voice, Sojung burst out laughing, and they broke their eye contact. Hyunjung just shakes her head.

 

Park Soobin emerges from the cafe store and walks towards them with a box filled with packets of coffee in her arms.

 

"What were you guys talking about anyway?" Soobin says, putting the box underneath the counter.

 

"About how Hyunjung unnie hates everyone--"

 

"Nothing, just Sojung being annoying--"

 

They speak in unison and when they realize that, they glare at each other. Soobin eyes paces back and forth between the two and said,

 

"I believe in Hyunjung unnie 'cause Hyunjung unnie speaks the truth most of the time." Soobin nods eagerly, as if she had come to a conclusion and turns around to continue her work, leaving Sojung feeling betrayed by her and Hyunjung grinning in victory.

 

After talking for a bit, Hyunjung leaves the coffee shop and heads towards her office building.

 

She parks her car under the designated parking area and enters the 20 floor level building. The receptionist greets her and she nods at her. When she enters the elevator, she presses the 18th floor and nods along whenever someone greets her. Finally after arriving on the 18th floor, she heads towards her office. Outside, her secretary briefs her about any meeting or work she has to do today.

 

This is her everyday life. Everything is the same thing. She wakes up, goes to work, and comes back home and repeats again tomorrow, the day after and until she's incapable of doing work anymore. But even so, Hyunjung had achieved so much despite her young age.

 

She stops in front of her office door and reads the sign on the door.

 

Chief Executive Officer: KIM HYUNJUNG





Jiyeon feels like her phone is ringing for way too long. This is the second time she's calling and yet the person on the other line is not picking up her calls. She taps her fingers on the wooden table in her kitchen, anxiously waiting. She almost thought that maybe the person she's calling is already asleep and is about to hang up but then she hears the beeping stop.

 

"Hey. I'm sorry, I was in the shower."

 

"N-no it's okay."

 

Jiyeon thinks that it's been a long time since she hears that voice, but really, it's only just been a month. And she's done this a lot of times already, so why is she nervous. Unconsciously, she clears her throat.

 

"So, what are we gonna do this weekend?"

 

"I don't know. I'm okay with anything." The other one replies. Answers like this makes Jiyeon think if her own plan is too exaggerated or too boring.

 

"Then, is going to the theme park ok?" The light brown-haired girl asks the question with full anticipation. She's afraid of the answer she's going to get, whether it's 'i'm busy' or 'isn't that too childish?'.

 

But she knows that Kim Hyunjung would never say that.

 

Hyunjung always makes time for Yeoreum. She's their daughter after all. And right on queue, Hyunjung answers.

 

"Sure. We're going on Saturday right?"

 

"Yes." Because I know your only free time is Saturday.

 

"Alright. See you later."

 

"Y-yeah. See you later. Here." She says it as if Hyunjung is here with her. And then she couldn't hear anything after that, so she put her phone down and turned to look at Yeoreum. But the little girl's not in the living room.

 

"Yeoreum?" She yells as she walks around the house while picking up some stuff scattered on the floor. Yeoreum's crayon box, drawing book, school bag and some candies.

 

"I'm in here Mummy!" Jiyeon walks in on her daughter drawing on a piece of paper while munching on her favorite candy.  She sits next to Yeoreum and watches the girl as she starts speaking.

 

"Hey there, sunshine." She nudges the little girl's head with her nose and drapes her left arm around her shoulder.

 

"Hey mummy. What's up?"

 

"Shouldn't I be the one asking you that?" Hearing that, Yeoreum laughs along with Jiyeon.

 

"Ah, well, I'm just here to tell you something." The mother grabs one of the candies on the table and unwraps it.

 

"What is it?" Yeoreum asks and bright eyes look up to Jiyeon's tired one. It's been a long day at work and all she really wants to do right now is just lay in bed and sleep.

 

"We're going to a theme park on Saturday!" Jiyeon tries her best to sound energetic, and it probably works because Yeoreum's eyes are now wide open as she smiles brightly and cheers.

 

"Really?" She asks in disbelief. Jiyeon only nods, which makes Yeoreum's grin grow wider.

 

"Mama is going too right?" When Yeoreum suddenly asks that, Jiyeon doesn't know what to feel.

 

"Yeah. Mama's going." She says and kisses Yeoreum on the cheek.

 

"Anyway, it's time for you to sleep don't you think?" She turns her head to look at Yeoreum who's clad in soft pajamas and to her surprise, Yeoreum nods. Normally, her daughter would put up a small fight before she goes to sleep, but Jiyeon guesses that maybe she's just tired like Jiyeon is. So Jiyeon tucks her in bed and kisses her goodnight and closes the door, but not before turning on the nightlight.

 

Jiyeon lingers around the apartment for a while, making sure the doors are locked, things are organized and finally she turns off the lights. She walks to her bedroom and half-closes the door, just in case Yeoreum needs anything. She lay in bed and is about to close her eyes but she remembers something. She glances at her fingers and takes off the silver hugging her ring finger, and puts it on the bedside table next to the bed. Finally she turns off the lights and closes her eyes.





She doesn't realize that the traffic on Friday could be busy. She thought that her move to leave the office early on Friday is going to go smoothly but guess she's wrong. The road is busy like it's weekend. Hyunjung stares at the red numbers on the traffic light as she listens to whatever music is playing on the radio. Hyunjung taps her fingers along the rhythm and finally presses the paddle when the light turns green. Her car speeds up, and after a few minutes, she arrives in that section of the town where there's a lot of apartment complexes with different lights in every building.

 

Hyunjung drives her car to the underground parking lot and nods to the guards that's standing near the barrier gate, opening them for her. She doesn't even have to give her ID anymore because she's here enough that the guards remembered her face. She smiles at the guards and drives past them, searching for the parking space designated for her.

 

Or so she said.

 

Finally, the raven hair girl turns off her car engine and steps out of the car, but not forgetting to take the small duffle bag on the passenger seat. Hyunjung has come here straight from work, hence the reason she's bringing extra clothes. She locks her car and steps into the apartment, pressing the 'going up' button. As she steps into the elevator as it goes up, Hyunjung couldn't help but think that it's been a while since she's been here. The thought of seeing her makes her nervous all of a sudden, but Hyunjung shakes the thought away.

 

The elevator dings made her snap out of her thoughts and she steps out, walking straight towards the only apartment unit she recognized. She used to be here all the time, but that's something she rather not thought of at the moment. When she's finally standing in front of the apartment door, she lets out a sigh before pressing the doorbell. She anxiously waits, looking around the luxurious apartment complex, eyes wandering around because she still couldn't get used to having a relationship like this. Then, suddenly the door clicks, bringing her attention back to it, and it opens.

 

Damn it.

 

Hyunjung forgets how breathtaking Jiyeon is. Even if she's not wearing anything fancy, just some old loose t-shirt that goes above her knees and some shorts, Jiyeon is still as beautiful as ever. With her round, curious eyes looking straight at her and brown hair that's hanging down her shoulder perfectly.

 

"Hyunjung." And Hyunjung forgets how she misses Jiyeon calling her name.

 

"Hey there." She replies. Jiyeon is kind of looking at her weirdly.

 

"You're...early." Jiyeon says with bewilderment in her voice.

 

"Yeah, I know."

 

After a minute, Jiyeon realized Hyunjung isn't going to explain her reasons for being here a day before the day they're supposed to meet.

 

Oh well, come in." Jiyeon steps aside to give Hyunjung space as the older woman steps inside. She is about to ask Jiyeon something when suddenly she is pulled in a really strong hug on her lower body. She looks down to see another brunette hugging her legs. Hyunjung smiles. Well, it's not Jiyeon the only one she misses.

 

"Mama!" Yeoreum smiles as she looks up to the raven hair woman, whom she recognizes as her other mother. Hyunjung pats her head and puts the duffle bag on the ground before lifting the little girl up in her arms.

 

Jiyeon lets the mother and daughter spend time together, so she picks up Hyunjung's bag and puts it on the kitchen counter. For a second she contemplates on whether to put it there or in her own room.

 

"Hi baby. I miss you."  She says as she kisses Yeoreum on the forehead, grinning at the same time. She notes how Yeoreum grew so much even though it's only been a month or less the last time she saw her.

 

"I miss you too, Mama." Yeoreum says as she relaxes her head on Hyunjung's shoulder, as the elder turns to look at Jiyeon who's back turns towards her as she washes the dishes.  She watches Jiyeon's back, working expertly in the kitchen and suddenly she turns around.

 

"Have you eaten?"  She asks as she wipes her hand on the napkin sitting on the kitchen counter. Hyunjung feels her arms getting tired, so she nears the kitchen counter and puts Yeoreum down.

 

"I've--" She looks at Jiyeon and sees her raising an eyebrow.

 

"--eaten lunch, but not dinner." She tells as she scratches her head. She doesn't know why it feels kind of embarrassing to admit that. Jiyeon nods her head and walks to the fridge.

 

"Do you want salad or spaghetti?" Hyunjung doesn't expect that she would get fed, but then again, Jiyeon is her ex-wife after all, it's only logical for her to care about her.

 

"Spaghetti,please. And thank you." Jiyeon closes the fridge door, taking out a bottle of orange juice and setting it on the kitchen counter, then going to the pots on the stove to take out the spaghetti and sauce for Hyunjung.

 

"Mommy, can I accompany Mama while she's eating?" Yeoreum mumbles as Jiyeon puts down the plate of spaghetti in front of Hyunjung, and is about to reach for the mug but Hyunjung beats her to it, nodding at her as a sign to say 'it's okay, I'll do it.'  Jiyeon retracts her hand and looks at Yeoreum.

 

"Sure. But you still need to sleep on time, okay?" She says with her best serious expression.

 

Yeoreum pouts, but nevertheless she nods and answers "Okay, mummy." as she moves to sit on Hyunjung's lap. She looks at Hyunjung who's already devouring her spaghetti, and Hyunjung looks up to her and nods. Getting reassurance from Hyunjung is enough, so she walks past them and towards her bedroom, hoping to do some work before going to sleep.



"Hey Mama, wanna see what I draw today at school?" Yeoreum says while Hyunjung's washing the dishes. With her back facing Yeoreum, Hyunjung only listens to her little girl who hasn't stopped talking since she sat on her lap a few minutes ago.

 

"Sure, where is it?"  Hyunjung says as she finishes washing her mug and closes the tap. She turns around and Yeoreum is gone, but then she's back in seconds, running from her room with a piece of paper.

 

"Here." She climbs one of the stools and sits opposite Hyunjung, who's standing and shows her the paper.

 

"Teacher Xuanyi said it's really pretty." Hyunjung looks at the paper, and the person reminds her of someone. With brown hair, round eyes and pink lips. It's none other than Jiyeon herself.

 

"Yeah." She lets out.

 

"You think it's pretty?" Yeoreum asks.

 

"Yeah it's pretty. It's Mommy, right?" She asks carefully.

 

"Yes! You recognize my drawing!" Yeoreum beams at her, making the smile that stretches across her face wider.

 

"Of course I do. You're good at drawing, you know that." She winks at Yeoreum and gives the little girl back her paper. Yeoreum sees that, but she pushes the paper back to Hyunjung.

 

"It's ok. You can keep it." The little ball of sunshine nods and out of a sudden she hops off the stool and makes her way to Hyunjung. Hyunjung watches her, walking towards her and then extending her arms while looking up at her mother.

 

"I think it's time for me to go to sleep now. Can I have a good night kiss?" She says as she rubs her eyes. Hyunjung's heart swells with fondness and warmth.

 

"Of course Yeoreum. Anything for my baby." She says as she bent her knees and hugs Yeoreum, at the same lifting the little girl up, who chuckles as she hugs her and kisses her cheeks. Hyunjung savors these kind of moments as best as she could because who knows, someday even Yeoreum would walk away from her too if she knew what had happened in the past that causes them to be in this kind of situation.

 

Hyunjung is proud. Of what she has achieved and of what she has become. But she is never proud of herself. And her own decisions. Especially the one that left bad outcomes. Yes, maybe her past self thought that what she did was for the best and for her own future. It's what she always wanted anyway. But her present self regrets her actions. She was immature, stupid and selfish. She always wishes she could just turn back the time and fix her problems. But what's done is done.

 

"Mama!" A high pitched voice next to her ear snaps her out of her thought and she turns her head to the source of the voice. Yeoreum is only an inch away from her face, but she still sees the worried look the little girl gives her.

 

"What's wrong?" Yeoreum's arms around her neck tightens.

 

"Nothing. I'm just tired that's all. Let's get you to bed, okay?" Hyunjung walks out the dining area and turns off the lights, with Yeoreum in hand. Even if Yeoreum isn't a baby anymore, Hyunjung always finds herself carrying the little girl whenever she wants to.

 

"Ah I see. Then go to sleep then." Yeoreum says as Hyunjung pushes her bedroom door decorated with animal stickers and a sign that says 'Yeoreum' .

 

"I know. I'm going to sleep after you go to sleep." As Hyunjung puts her down, she tickles her side, making Yeoreum roll around laughing as she emphasizes the word 'you' and laughs along with Yeoreum. They go on for about a solid thirty seconds before Hyunjung stops because Yeoreum was out of breath. Hyunjung stands up and tucks her under the covers and kisses her forehead.

 

"Good night, Yeoreum-ah."

 

"Good night, Mama."  She says as she cuddles her plushies and closes her eyes. Hyunjung doesn't forget to turn the nightlight on, and half closes the door. When she turns around, she almost yelps in surprise seeing Jiyeon standing behind, well technically now in front of her.

 

"God, you scared me. What?" She asks as she watches Jiyeon playing with her fingers.

 

"You'll be sleeping here tonight, right?"  She mumbles quietly, but Hyujung manages to catch it. Hyujung knows. How anxious Jiyeon is around her. She knows how hurt she is because of her. So she answers her with something she would be ok with.

 

"Yes. I'll sleep on the couch." Hyunjung says as she walks to the kitchen counter to pick up her duffle bag. Turning around she sees Jiyeon looking at her with wide eyes.

 

"I can't…" She says but she trails off and looks anywhere else because Hyujung was looking at her.

 

"Hm?" The older one lets out as she walks towards her.

 

"I can't let you do that." Jiyeon says carefully and looks up to meet Hyunjung's eyes.

 

Hyunjung's eyes that are full of things she couldn't quite understand. Hyunjung's eyes that pull her in whenever she stares at them. Hyunjung eyes that left her crying because she looked at them with full of hope but was returned with coldness.

 

"Jiyeon." She snaps out of her thoughts and stares at those beautiful eyes. She hated how she still finds them attractive. And she feels heat going up to her face.

 

Shit.

 

"It's okay. Just let me sleep on the couch. It's better for both of us." Even though saying that breaks a piece of her heart, Hyujung knows it's for the best. Both of them are still hooked up on the past to be thinking about fixing their future. She sees the hesitation in Jiyeon's eyes, and even the redness on her cheek but she ignores them. Finally, she sees a little bit of relief in the woman's eyes.

 

"Okay. If you say so." She turns around but stops midtrack.

 

"Hyunjung?" She calls, not turning around.

 

"Yes?"  She can feel Hyunjung's eyes burning through her back.

 

"Good night."

 

"Good night, Jiyeon-ah." With that she walks to her bedroom, not closing the door fully, but still enough for Hyunjung to have her privacy. She sighs and lays her head on the door frame, thinking of the woman in her living room.

 

What do you mean 'Jiyeon-ah'? Who asks you to call me that?

 

She screams internally at the nickname and thought that it's been a long time since Hyunjung called her that. After a few seconds, she spins her body and slumps herself on her queen sized bed and she turns off the light on the bedside table.

 

As she lays on her back and eyes staring up at the ceiling, Jiyeon thought that she's out of her mind. Why is she flustered because of Hyunjung? Well of course, she used to love Hyunjung and they used to be so happy. But now not anymore. She can't feel that way anymore. She refuses to feel that way. She's not ready to open up again to Hyunjung. And even if she does, it'll only end up with her getting hurt again. Not to mention there's also Yeoreum. What if they fight again? What will happen to Yeoreum? Jiyeon shakes those thoughts out of her head and closes her eyes. Now's not the time to think about that. They're about to enjoy themselves tomorrow. She couldn't ruin this just because she's too deep in her own thoughts.

 

After a while, she falls asleep.





The beeping sound coming from her left interrupts her deep slumber, making her grunts as she cracks open her eyes slowly.  Jiyeon turns around slowly, reaching for her phone and turns off the alarm. She sits up and rubs her eyes, and after a moment, she stands up and opens the bedroom door.

 

The first thing she notices is how the sun annoys her eyes, shining through the large window in her living room. Second thing she notices is Hyunjung, sleeping on the couch, still wearing her work attire from last night with her legs hanging from the armrest on the couch. Well, Hyunjung is taller than her after all. Unconsciously, she steps closer to the sleeping figure.

 

Jiyeon takes a seat next to the couch, positioning herself right in front of Hyunjung's face. She studies them because it's been a long time since she had a proper look at her. Her hair has grown out. Her eyelashes are still neat. Her bangs are perfectly trimmed. And her lips still look soft and kissable.

 

Holy shit, Jiyeon. What are you thinking?

 

Suddenly, she sees her eyelashes move. Hyunjung stirs a bit but before she can open her eyes, Jiyeon stands up and walks as fast as she could towards the kitchen. She pretends she was doing something when she sees Hyunjung sitting up and stretching her limbs. Poor her, her back must've hurt.

 

Jiyeon takes out eggs from the fridge and a packet of bacon. She hears her bathroom door being pushed open, so she thought that Hyunjung is probably going to shower. While she's busy cooking scrambled eggs and frying bacon, she lets them be for a while to cook so she turns and walks to one of the cabinets to take out a mug. Apparently, she is watching the bacon so that it's not going to be overcooked so she lets her hand roam around the cabinet. But then she feels something cold touches her hand, making her turn her head and she blushes. Hyunjung is looking at her, while she's reaching for the mug too, and now their hands are touching. As Hyunjung stares at her, Jiyeon takes the opportunity to reach for the mug and breaks their eye contact.

 

Suddenly she realizes something. Hyunjung's wearing it too. She's wearing their wedding ring. And seeing that warms Jiyeon's heart, and she carelessly lets herself be happy about it.

 

Oh, and she hates how Hyunjung looks so good with wet hair. And she smells nice too.

 

God, this is gonna be a long day.




"Hyunjung! Yeoreum! Let's go!" Jiyeon shouts after the staff hands her some guides and a map of Lotte World. She watches as the two walks towards her, with snacks in their hands and headbands, the sight fills Jiyeon with happiness.

 

"Mummy, look! We got you this too!" And by this, Yeoreum means a headband with bunny ears on them. But, she couldn't believe that Yeoreum managed to convince Hyunjung to wear one. The older woman is wearing cat ears while Yeoreum wears tiger ears. She chuckles at how silly the three of them look like right now. Yeoreum raises her arms which hold the headband, and so Jiyeon bends her knees and kneels in front of Yeoreum to let her put them on while Hyunjung puts the snacks in Yeoreum's small bag.

 

After she puts it on Jiyeon's head, Jiyeon stands up and says "Alright. Let's go, shall we?" She offers her hand to Yeoreum and she takes it, but she's also holding Hyunjung's hand on her other hand, so they walk hand in hand together.

 

The day passes by without them noticing. They go on rides together and run around a lot, watch some of the performances and play more games. Jiyeon is more energetic than Hyunjung so she keeps up with Yeoreum who runs around, looking like she wants to try every ride and everything there is around them.  

 

Jiyeon is sitting on one of the benches next to the area where there's a carrousel, and she watches as Yeoreum forces Hyunjung to ride it with her. But even if she's being forced, Hyunjung never declines Yeoreum.

 

It's evening now, and the sky is turning a beautiful shade of blue, orange and red. Purple even. As Jiyeon watches the carousel slowly start to move, she observes the smile on Hyunjung's face, and thinks about how she used to see that smile everyday. The fact that she used to be Hyunjung's only source of happiness and now she's, whatever. Jiyeon stays there as she thinks about her past, and how she and Hyunjung could've led a better life for both of them and Yeoreum. It was all fine, and suddenly the next day, it was a disaster, and it was one of the darkest moments of her life. Jiyeon keeps on thinking about her past, repeating the scene of that day in her head, the day everything falls apart. Suddenly, she feels like her anxiety is back as she fiddles with her fingers, but she knows she's not having a panic attack because she's still breathing properly. She's just overwhelmed as she remembers how devastated she was. She cups her face and rubs her eyes, but then she hears footsteps approaching her, making her look up and sees the person that's been occupying her mind all the time. Hyunjung, looking down at her, with her big, bright eyes with the orange sky behind her.

 

For a moment she thought that there's only the two of them there.

 

But she snaps out of her thoughts quickly and stands up. She sees the worried look that flashes through Hyunjung's eyes for a second, but she ignores them.

 

"Are you guys done?" She asks, picking up Yeoreum's bag and putting it on her shoulder.

 

"Yeah! It was fun, Mummy! Why didn't you join us?" Yeoreum asks while holding onto Hyunjung's hand.

 

"It's ok. I'm tired already." She smiles, but then she hears a low growling noise. She looks at the source of the sound, and Yeoreum grins shyly at her, while Hyunjung chuckles.

 

"Let's go eat dinner, ok?" Hyunjung says, as she looks between Yeoreum and Jiyeon, who nods her head in agreement.

 

It's almost dark now and they walk leisurely through the crowds, heading towards the cafe near the entrance of the theme park, holding hands with each other with Yeoreum in the middle.




Jiyeon is having a conflict with herself. She's sitting on one of the stools near her kitchen counter as she rubs circles on her forehead, trying to ease the dizziness.

 

Should I? Or should I not? I shouldn't. But it's dark already.

 

The sound of door closing makes her stop thinking for a while and she watches as Hyunjung stands in front of Yeoreum's door, sighing to herself. She rubs her eyes, and looks up to see Jiyeon looking at her. She walks towards the living room couch and starts to pack up her stuff in her duffle bag.  When she's about to zip her bag, Jiyeon's voice pierces through the silence in the apartment.

 

"Hyunjung." She calls, drawing Hyunjung's attention.

 

"Yes?" Hyunjung turns to her, and Jiyeon realizes she's already slinging the bag around her shoulder.

 

"It's….late already." She hesitantly says, waiting for Hyunjung's reaction while she stares at her hand.

 

"Yeah. I know." Hyunjung says as she nears the kitchen counter, putting the duffle bag down. Jiyeon could feel her burning holes through her with how intense she's staring at her.

 

"So,"

 

"stay."

 

She says softly. It is silent for a while and when she looks up, Hyunjung is staring at her with a bewildered expression.

 

"I'm...not sleeping on the couch again you know? So no, I'm going back." She says as she goes to the living room, searching for her car key. And at the same time, Jiyeon stands up and walks towards her. Hyunjung's back is facing her. Slowly, she reaches out and touches the older's hand.

 

And at the moment, Hyujung stops moving. But she doesn't turn around.

 

"I said, stay. Please. " Jiyeon doesn't know why she's so keen on letting Hyunjung stay even though the woman was wrecking her brain so much. Then she feels Hyunjung turn around, so she looks down, not wanting to make eye contact with her. Hyunjung stays silent for a minute, and Jiyeon is starting to regret her actions.

 

"Okay." She says.

 

"Yeah?" Jiyeon asks as she looks at Hyunjung's fingers.

 

"Yeah. But where do I sleep?" Hyunjung notices Jiyeon is playing with her fingers, meaning that she's still looking down and not meeting her eyes. Hearing Hyunjung's question makes her more anxious than she is so she uses Hyunjung's fingers as a distraction.

 

"W-with me. In my bed."  And another moment of silence as she keeps fiddling with the older woman's hands. Hyunjung's hands are cold. And hers are a bit too warm for her liking.

 

"Are you comfortable with that?" Jiyeon wonders how Hyunjung's voice doesn't even waver.

 

"Yes." She says, finally looking up at her. And, oh, wrong move. She isn't prepared for the stare she gets.

 

Has she been staring since I hold her hand?

 

"Okay. Let's sleep then?" Hyunjung raises an eyebrow and Jiyeon nods her head, walking past Hyunjung to her bedroom with Hyunjung following behind. When she steps in, she realizes Hyunjung doesn't have anything to wear to sleep. She walks to her wardrobe and pulls out an oversized t-shirt and a sweatpant that is too big for her. Maybe it could fit Hyunjung. She turns and almost bumps into said girl if it isn't for Hyunjung stepping away.

 

"Here. Change into this." She hands them over and Hyunjung thanks her, going into the bathroom to change. She gulps nervously as she waits for Hyunjung to be done, and when she does, Jiyeon speaks up.

 

"You still sleep on the left side of the bed, right?" She asks.

 

"Yes." Hyunjung says, nearing her. The sweatpant fit her just right and even her oversized shirt looks normal on Hyunjung. She nods and stands up to go to the bathroom, glancing at Hyunjung who's laying down. Not going to lie, she kinds of misses sleeping with Hyunjung.

 

As she finishes brushing her teeth, Jiyeon glances at herself in the mirror. She's wearing only an oversized shirt, with...only her underwear underneath.

 

It's fine. It's nothing. Nothing's gonna happen.

 

She steps out of the bathroom and closes it slowly. Hyunjung is already asleep. Which is kind of a relief for her. She doesn't have to deal with the awkwardness. So she turns off the lights and lay down next to Hyunjung, turning her body to face her. With a slight opening from the curtains, moonlight shines down on Hyunjung's face, making it visible for Jiyeon to stare at. It just occurs to her that after all these years, she really loves looking at Hyunjung's face. There's something about her face that gives Jiyeon comfort, happiness and love altogether. She was in love. They were in love. And then that happened. She wonders how can it happened when they used to be so in love with each other, so accepting of each other.

 

Chapter Text

A year ago.

 

She sits there, tapping her feet on the floor anxiously as she stares at the middle aged woman whose eyes are paced back and forth between her and Hyunjung. She recalls what had happened a few days back as she listens to whatever is coming out of the middle aged woman's mouth. 

 

 

 

"Jiyeon-ah, listen to me." Hyunjung says as she grabs hold of the said girl's hands, pulling her so that she's looking at her. 

 

"No! Let go of me!" Jiyeon squirms in her touch.

 

"Listen to me, Jiyeon! Let's talk this out!" She says, hands gripping tightly onto Jiyeon's. Jiyeon feels the pain around her wrists and tries to wriggle out her hand. Eventually it is starting to become unbearable, so she hits Hyujung on the shoulder.

 

"Stop! You're hurting me!" She hits Hyunjung's shoulder as strong as she could, and finally she felt the grip on her arms loosen.

 

"I'm sorry. But can you just listen to me?" Hyujung says, still holding onto Jiyeon's hands as Jiyeon evens her breathing and drops her head to Hyujung's chest, too tired to fight back.

 

"There's nothing for you to explain. I don't wanna hear it anymore." Tears are starting to well up in Jiyeon's eyes. She grips Hyunjung's shirt as her eyes sting and starts to get watery. 

 

"Jiyeon, please. I'm doing this for our own good." Hyujung doesn't even know anymore. She doesn't know what to say anymore so that Jiyeon would stay. Jiyeon is silent for a while, and for a second Hyujung thought they're finally okay. But of course they're not.

 

 "Bullshit." Jiyeon whispers, head still looking down and Hyujung doesn't really catch it.

 

"What?" She asks.

 

Jiyeon raises her head, and it makes Hyunjung's heart wavers. Jiyeon, with tears-filled eyes, looking up at her with despair and anger in her eyes. Her grip on Hyujung's shirt tightens and her hands ball up into a fist. Not only is her eyes hot, but her skin is also flushed. For a second, Jiyeon stops breathing, and she pulls herself away from Hyunjung, all the while Hyunjung's staring at her. She steps a good few centimeters away from Hyunjung and speaks slowly, like it's only for Hyujung to hear even though there's nobody there except them.

 

"It's bullshit. Whatever is going out of your mouth as of right now is bullshit." She says as she wipes her eyes, but the tears wouldn't stop flowing.

 

"You think it's ridiculous? I'm just making our life easier. A few months from now, You, me and Yeoreum can live however we want." She tries to reason, staring at Jiyeon with hopeful eyes.

 

"It's not about the life we're living right now." 

 

"Then? If it's not about that, why are you so against it? Can't you see? I'm doing this for our own good!" 

 

"It's the fact that you choose that job over me and our daughter. You hesitated when I asked you which one meant more to you."

 

She sighs. 

 

"You see, I want you to appreciate the people around you more. Put us first before anything. I just want us to live a normal life, Hyunjung, I really do. It's just that you're making it hard for me to cooperate with you." Jiyeon sounded like she has fully given up on this relationship, but deep inside, she still has hopes that her words will get through Hyunjung's head. 

 

" I just want you to spend more time with Yeoreum. I want you to be a good parent figure for her. You're already so busy, and now you're making it worse. Do you understand what I'm saying?" Jiyeon is trembling while she wipes her cheeks using the sleeves of her shirt. 

 

"You know that it's always going to be that way, Jiyeon. Whatever you say or whatever you do, I'll stand with my decision." She whispers as she rethinks about the offer her father had given her earlier that day. 

 

Jiyeon knows, one day, Hyujung is going to become the head of her father's company, but she doesn't expect that it's going to be this early. Out of all the times, why does the offer stand when they're about to start a family with Yeoreum? Why does the offer stand when Yeoreum needs both of her parents the most? Yes, she's not her biological daughter, but even though she's only been with Yeoreum for a few months, Yeoreum already has a special place in her heart. The same situation cannot be said with Hyunjung however, since all that she's thinking about is the position offered to her so easily. 

 

"Forget it then. You choose." Hyujung who is looking down on her feet, with gears working through her brain, fixes her gaze on Jiyeon, and seeing how red her eyes are isn't helping her control her emotions at all.

 

"Don't do this to me, Jiyeon-ah." Hyujung steps closer to her, making the said woman step back instead.

 

"Don't." Her voice shakes. 

 

"I'm asking you. Me,"

 

"Jiyeon--" 

 

"Me!" She cries out, pointing at herself while her swollen eyes look at Hyunjung's restless ones.

 

"Or that stupid fucking position." She breathes out, her chest heaving. 

 

She's tired. And scared. She's scared that Hyunjung's answer is going to be what she expected it to be. She backs up, and sits down on one of the couches in the living room. Hyunjung remains silent as she lets Jiyeon cry her eyes out while she's holding onto her forehead.

 

"Fine."

 

 She hears after a minute of silence. She looks up, frowning at Hyujung who's now standing in front of her.

 

"What?" Her voice is quiet and she's breathing unevenly.

 

"Fine."

 

"You're asking me to make a decision right?" 

 

Jiyeon nods her head slowly, not getting where this is going.

 

"Let's get a divorce. It'll solve everything." 

 

 

She hears her heart shatter in pieces after those words leave Hyunjung's mouth. Her eyes hurt like hell, her nose is runny, her face flushed, her mouth struggles to let something out. She wants to say something now. She doesn't care what. Anything. Anything at all to ask Hyunjung to take back her words.

 

But I love you.

 

When she lay her eyes again on Hyunjung, something in the older's gaze had changed. It turns darker. It becomes colder. 

 

Jiyeon can't bring herself to say anything. She looks down because she couldn't bring herself to look eye to eye with Hyunjung. Her words are stuck in her throat, her hands tremble with fear and anxiety is eating her up. She lets the tears flow down and it drops onto the hardwood floor underneath. She sucks in a deep breath as she cups her face. A lot of things are going on in her mind now.

 

How could Hyunjung say that?

 

How could Hyujung do this to her after all those years they've been through together? 

 

Does Hyunjung care? 

 

Does Hyunjung even love her?

 

Hyunjung who is sitting on the couch opposite of her is startled when Jiyeon suddenly stands up, wiping away whatever's left out of her eyes. She stands there, for a while, choosing her words carefully and finally, she says,

 

"I--" Jiyeon practically feels Hyunjung eyes boring holes through her, while she refuses to look at her. Suddenly the hardwood floor looks more interesting than her lover.

 

"I need some time alone." For the last time, and she's tired of it, she wipes her eyes and starts to walk towards the front door.

 

"Inform me when everything's ready." She tilts her head a bit before picking up her handbag and her shoes on the shoe rack. 

 

Hyunjung follows Jiyeon to the front door, but before she can say anything, the door shuts in front of her face. She stops in her track, right in front of the door, and sighs. She shuts her eyes and leans her head on the door. 

 

"Great." Her voice comes out as a hiss. Her eyes are starting to sting. She's been holding herself from crying in front of Jiyeon and it just dawns upon her now.

 

"I'm so stupid." A hit to the door, pain surging through her fist.

 

The reason that she does that impulsively with her already frail hands is whether to make her realize her selfish action or just because she wants to hurt herself just like how much she had hurt Jiyeon, she doesn't know. But she feels like she deserves it.

 

She cries her heart out, and turns around while she gasps for air as she slides down to sit and lean on the door, her body too tired now. 

 

"Jiyeon-ah." She mutters.

 

"Jiyeon-ah. I'm sorry." She ducks her head and lets her tears fall down on her lap.

 

"I'm sorry."

 

"I love you."

 

"Please stay with me." 

 

She sits there, motionless as tears fall down her cheeks and she knows it's not going to stop any soon. Her hands shake violently because of the guilt that's eating her up from the inside. She really just broke their relationship like it's nothing to her, when in fact, that's all there is to her. Her relationship with Jiyeon is the only thing coloring her tedious life. Instead, her life has gone back to being plain black and white. 

 

 

 

 

Jiyeon parks her car in front of a double story bungalow. As she shuts her engine down, she stays still for a while, bringing up her hand to her face and pressing her forehead on the steering wheel. Yes, it was dangerous of her to drive late at night while crying. Hell, she could barely see anything while she was on the road. She almost drove into a cat a few minutes ago. Jiyeon tries hard to even her breathing, before finally stepping out of the car, locking it as she walks to the front door. She grabs the set of keys in her handbag and unlocks the door, stepping in and taking off her shoes. 

 

"Jiyeon, is that you?" She hears as soon as she closes the door.

 

"Yeah. It's me." Her voice sounds hoarse, and it's not a good sign. Her eyes are puffed up too. Guess she can't get away from her mom when she looks like this. 

 

"Is Yeoreum asleep?" She asks. She still hasn't seen her mother, assuming she's in the kitchen.

 

"Yes. What brings you here? Isn't she staying until Sunday?" In the corner of her eyes, Jiyeon sees her mother's head pokes out from the kitchen wall that's dividing the kitchen and living room, where she's standing right now. Her mother doesn't budge though, so she takes it as a sign for her to go to the older woman instead. She breathes in, preparing herself for the questions that's about to shoot at her. 

 

"Yeah. She's staying until then." Jiyeon plops down on one of the dining chairs and sighs. Her mother, who's apparently baking cookies at, what, 10 p.m.? looks at her weirdly.

 

"What happened to you? Why are you here? Aren't you going to spend time with Hyunjung?" 

Being asked that, she feels like crying all over again.

 

"Y-yeah. About that…." Mrs.Kim, who is busy searching for a container in a cupboard full of them, turns around when she hears her daughter's voice crack. Quickly, she drops everything she's doing and sits opposite Jiyeon, who's looking down on the table, hair covering her face. 

 

"Jiyeon-ah, what's wrong?" The elder reaches out to hold her daughter's hand, which is trembling with coldness. She hears her gasps and slowly, ever so slowly, she sees a drop of tears landing on the dining table. That does it for her. She stands up and pulls the chair besides Jiyeon, sitting down and pulling her close to her.

 

"Jiyeon-ah, why are you crying?" Tears fall down Jiyeon's cheeks more prominently now. It just doesn't seem to stop, the anguish and the miserable feeling in the pit of her stomach. Her head has gone back to hurting.

 

"H-Hyunjung." She manages to let out as she buries her head in her mother's shoulder. Her breathing turns shallow.

 

"What? What did she do to you?" The older woman asks rather angrily, rubbing her back in circles, trying hard to comfort her. Jiyeon sobs painfully, her mother's shirt wet with her tears. And after a few moments, she stops and starts telling her mother about what happened between her and Hyunjung. She recalls the words they threw at each other and how hurtful those words were. She remembers Hyunjung's transparent eyes and the way she snaps at her. She's weak. She knows that. She's weak underneath Hyunjung's stare. 

 

Jiyeon tells her mother everything. She talks as she cries desperately on her mother's shoulder, while her hands tremble and her voice turns hoarse.

 

"It's okay, Jiyeon-ah. It's okay. Just let it out." Her mother lets out while sitting next to her. Jiyeon is no longer in her arms, and instead weeps on her own, trying hard to hold back the tears from falling.

 

"You know," Mrs.Kim's voice pierces through the silent sobbing of her voice, grabbing her attention. 

 

"I've never really trusted Hyunjung." Hearing that confession almost makes Jiyeon snap her neck looking up at her mother, but her mother remains still, looking at the oven that's baking the cookies. 

 

"She always strikes me as that type of person. No, not only her. The whole family, actually. They're all about money and power and stepping on other people's lives. God knows what they have been doing behind our backs." Her mother spits as she turns to stare at Jiyeon, who's looking at her like she couldn't believe what she had just said. The woman continues.

 

"You're better off without her."

 

Head pounding, veins appear clear on her forehead, Jiyeon scoffs, but she doesn't say anything. Her heart hurts, and her mother's words aren't helping either. As a matter of fact, it only made it worse. She looks away, not wanting to meet her mother's eyes as huge tears roll down her cheeks, angry at the statement her mother just made. 

 

Even if Hyunjung's family is well off, they have always remained as humble as they can get. The first time Jiyeon met Hyunjung, she had never guessed that the older girl was going to be the heir to one of the richest manufacturing companies in South Korea. 

 

"Hyunjung is not like that." She mutters under her breath while she stares at the painting hanging on the kitchen wall. She plucks at the strings of her shirt. Now her mother scoffs at her.

 

"Oh Jiyeon, honey. Why are you defending her after what she just did to you? She just asked you for a divorce, for goodness sake! And who's gonna take care of Yeoreum? You! Who's gonna send her to school? You! Who's gonna feed her? You! All of it is going to go to you. I don't trust Hyunjung to take care of Yeoreum." Jiyeon has always been an obedient daughter, but right now, all she wants to do is to tell the woman to shut up before Jiyeon's headache starts to get worse. And it's silent for a while before she starts to speak up.

 

"Hyunjung is more than that." She blurts out, softly.

 

"You don't know her, mom. You only see what you want to see. And she shows you, what she only wants to show you. But I know her. She's more than what you've just said." Jiyeon doesn't know why she's protecting Hyunjung. Why is she defending someone that a while ago hurt her? 

 

And realization dawns upon her at that exact moment. Despite all that she had been through an hour ago, Jiyeon's love for Hyunjung is unchangeable. There's a part of her that wishes Hyunjung would just burst through her mother's door right now, apologize to her, hug her tight and promise her that she'd never hurt her again. 

 

Love does weird things to people.

 

She's about to speak up again, but suddenly her phone vibrates in the pocket of her jeans. She pulls it out and reads the new messages.

 

The day after tomorrow. 11:34

 

Meet me here. 11:34

 

[Location attached] 11:35

 

"Jiyeon-ah," Her mother starts, but she stands up, pushing the chair back and starts walking towards a certain room. She opens it slowly, stepping inside and a weak smile creeps on her face. Jiyeon steps closer to the sleeping figure on the bed, and carefully, she kisses the little girl's forehead. She stares at her daughter, feeling guilty for what she's about to make her go through.

 

"I'm sorry, Yeoreum-ah. It's going to be a little bit lonely after this, but I hope I'm enough for you." She caresses Yeoreum's hand, holding back her tears then moving it to put it under the covers. She stands up, giving Yeoreum one last look and then walks out of the room. Walking to the front door, she glances at her mother who's looking at her while sitting on the dining table.

 

"Good night, mom." She smiles weakly at her mother before stepping out through the mahogany door. Droplets of water are starting to wet her coat and hair. It's raining. But even so, she's not rushing to her car, walking slowly as she lets herself be engulfed by the coldness surrounding her. 

 

 

 

 

 

She snaps out of her thoughts when she hears her name being called. Jiyeon looks up to see the middle aged woman staring at her, while to her right, there's Hyunjung, sitting silently. The first thing she noticed when she entered the gloomy looking building through the glass door was Hyunjung standing while looking at her phone, and to Hyunjung's bandaged hand. Hyunjung didn't say anything about it. 

 

"Jiyeon, are you there?" Jiyeon averts her gaze to the middle aged woman and nods her head.

 

"Yes, I'm sorry. Can you repeat that again?" She asks. The woman nods her head, and explains the terms for their divorce, and one of that includes Hyunjung providing money for Jiyeon and Yeoreum since Jiyeon's the one taking care of their daughter. They also agreed on letting Hyunjung meet Yeoreum once every month. As the woman babbles on, Jiyeon lets her eyes wander to Hyunjung, staring at her as she stares and nods once in a while as she listens to the middle aged woman. She looks calm, but at the same time troubled. Cold but at the same time warm. 

 

"And so, if you two have come to an agreement, I would like for you to sign this document." Immediately, Jiyeon snaps her head at the woman, then her eyes travel to the document, in which Hyunjung is already grabbing a pen, ready to sign on top of her name.

 

Jiyeon contemplates not agreeing, but she doesn't want for this to continue anymore. She doesn't want to keep hurting. And she knows, it's better for them to stay away from each other for a while, if Hyujung even considers getting back together, but she pushes the thought away as far as she can to the back of her brain. God, they're about to get a divorce and she's already thinking of ways to pull Hyunjung back into the family. So she respects Hyunjung's decision or whatever bullshit she's on. But she couldn't really apprehend how everything looks so easy for Hyunjung. It's like she has erased everything that happened between them in just one night. Every hour that they had spent together, all those years, it seems like it means nothing to the older woman.

 

Something pokes her side, and when she turns, Hyunjung's looking at her while holding out the pen for her. She stares at her, hoping her best to try and find something in her eyes. Fear. Uncertainty. Anxiousness. Anything. Anything at all. 

 

Jiyeon takes the pen from her, making their fingers touch on purpose. She brings her hand down, and scribbles her signature on top of her name. 

 

She's having mixed feelings. She doesn't know what to do anymore. What is she going to tell Yeoreum? She couldn't bear the feeling of Yeoreum asking her questions about Hyunjung. 

 

Putting a full stop at the end of her signature, Jiyeon drops the pen on the table and glances at Hyunjung.

 

Jiyeon and Hyunjung are nothing now. 

 

 

 

 

 

That was a year ago. A year ago, and a lot has happened since then. At least from her perspective. She lays there, and she doesn't know when, but her fingers are caressing Hyunjung's face. She lets them glide slowly, from pushing her bangs back to reveal her forehead, to her soft cheeks, to her slightly ajar mouth, and then to her neck and her collarbones that's poking out of Jiyeon's white shirt. 

 

She stares at Hyunjung's sharp features, but then she sees her stirs, and it is supposed to make her retract her hand, but Jiyeon lets it linger there, tickling the older girl's neck, making her eyes flutter open. 

 

They stare at Jiyeon, through a half lidded, sleepy gaze, wondering what's bothering her. Hyunjung blinks, and then again, frowning at her, but then it disappears immediately, replacing them with a confused look.

 

"What?" Hyunjung croaks out, her voice raspy as she rubs her eyes tiredly. Jiyeon notes how she doesn't slap her hand away.

 

"Nothing. Just go back to sleep." She lets out quietly, as she stares at Hyunjung's dark pools. The moonlight reflects in her eyes in the darkness of her room, making Jiyeon concentrate only on them.

 

But immediately, Hyunjung breaks their eye contact, and turns her body 180 degrees, letting Jiyeon stare at her back instead. Maybe that's for the best. Maybe this is all that remains of them now. 

 

 

 

On the next day Jiyeon opens her eyes again, she sighs quietly to herself as she looks at the empty, cold space next to her, zero traces of the person that was lying there the night before. She expected this, really. Moreover, she hates the fact that Hyunjung's scent is still faintly lingering on the bed sheet. 

 

"Mommy?" Yeoreum peaks her head through the door, looking at her mother with her bright, big eyes, full of curiosity. When she finds Jiyeon awake, she steps inside and climbs up the bed that seems to be a little too tall for her. 

 

"Do you need help?" The mother asks, offering her hand, ready for the little girl to hold onto it. 

 

"No, it's ok. Mama told me that sometimes I need to be independent." At the mention of Hyunjung, Jiyeon freezes, but recovers quickly when she feels Yeoreum's small figure sitting next to her. The little girl lays her head on her lap, snuggling comfortably.

 

"Is that so?" 

 

"Yeah! She also told me that I could be an artist when I grow up." 

 

"I think so, too." Jiyeon grins unknowingly. Maybe she can start sending Yeoreum to art classes to make use of her talent. 

 

"You do? Mama said that for a six years-old like me, my drawing is pretty good." She looks up and flashes a thumb up to her mother, to which the woman responds with the same gesture. 

 

Couldn't contain her curiosity, she asks. "Speaking about Mama, has she gone back?" 

 

Threading her fingers in Yeoreum's hair, the two of them bask in the morning sunlight that shines through the curtain of Jiyeon's room. 

 

"Yep. This morning I woke up early and had scrambled eggs and sausages with her. Mama said to tell you sorry for using the kitchen without your permission." 

 

And how does she manage to sleep through all that? She doesn't know. But she's grateful to Hyunjung for at least taking care of Yeoreum for her. Well she would do so anyways no matter the circumstances. 

 

"It's okay. What time did you wake up?" 

 

"Seven!" 

 

"Mama?"

 

"I don't know, but when I woke up, Mama was about to go out already. But she saw me," Yeoreum grins, before continuing, "and she made me breakfast, and we ate together." If it's even possible, the little girl's smile grows wider, which makes Jiyeon do the same as well. 

 

Comfortable silence, warmth shared with each other, the nice feeling of waking up after a good sleep, makes Jiyeon's smile less forced despite the unwanted memories she remembered last night. 

 

Yeoreum sits up suddenly and scoots closer to Jiyeon, which makes her stretch out her arm voluntarily, pulling her daughter close.

 

"Mommy, can I ask you a question?" The girl ask as she stares at her mother hesitantly. Her fidgety fingers don't go unnoticed by Jiyeon. 

 

"Yes baby, of course. You know you can ask me anything, right? Oh except for that Play Dough set you've been wanting. That will have to wait until your birthday." Jiyeon taps Yeoreum's nose lightly, which makes her giggle. But a few seconds later, she goes back to being nervous, which makes Jiyeon worry about the question that lingers in the girl's mind. 

 

"Hey, Yeoreum, what is it? Is it something serious?" To Jiyeon's expectation, Yeoreum nods, looking down on her lap, not daring to meet her mother's questioning gaze. Her worried tone isn't helping the child either. 

 

"Is it really okay for me to ask about anything?" 

 

It brings anxiousness to Jiyeon considering how hesitant her daughter is being right now. What can possibly be so hard for her to ask? She can't help but reach out to grab hold of the small hands. Jiyeon rubs the back of Yeoreum's palms instinctively in order to soothe the fear of asking a single question. 

 

"Yes Yeoreum-ah, go ahead.I won't get mad, or laugh, or criticize you or anything." 

 

She takes a few deep breaths before asking though, which makes Jiyeon stare at her in amusement. Did she break one of Jiyeon's flower vases? Last time she checked, everything was still in place. Did she get into a fight at school? No, Yeoreum would never do that. Or would she? She's always had that rebellious side to her. 

 

"Did you get into a fight--" 

 

"Do you hate Mama?" 

 

To say that Jiyeon is surprised isn't enough. She doesn't expect that at all. Out of all the questions Yeoreum could've asked, she chooses to ask a question that'll surely make Jiyeon wonder what's the best answer she can give to a six years old girl. 

 

She knows she can't stay silent forever, it will just make Yeoreum and her anxious more than they are at the moment. But she doesn't know how to answer that question. Does she? She should have hated Hyunjung for what she did to her, but she couldn't bring herself to. No, she'd never hate Hyunjung. The Hyunjung that had always been there for her all the time. Hyunjung who had always comforted her in the past whenever she got a low grade on one of her university tests. Hyunjung who always held her hands because she couldn't stand the cold. Hyunjung who had told her countless times how much she loves her. 

 

"I don't."

 

And now, Yeoreum is looking at her weirdly. What did she expect Jiyeon to say? That yes, she despises Hyunjung?

 

"If you don't, then why aren't we living together like we used to?" 

 

Ah. 

 

Jiyeon doesn't blame Yeoreum for being curious. In fact, she'll also feel that way if she's in her place. So Jiyeon tries her best. To find the most suitable answer. To find an answer that will make Yeoreum understand but at the same time not question it.

 

"Well," The six years-old is looking at her so attentively that it almost makes Jiyeon's words get stuck in her throat.

 

"Some things are just meant to be that way."

 

"Why?" It's not that the little girl is unsatisfied, but she's genuinely curious. If Jiyeon's reading her right.

 

"Why?" She asks herself as well. 

 

There's a period of silence to organize her words before she continues, "Maybe because life is never fair. You see, not everything can go back to the way it used to be. In this case, Mama and I are like that. Even if we love each other, we can't go back to being together. It just doesn't feel right. Do you understand?" Jiyeon speaks with such slow, careful words in order to not make it sound as heavy as it is. She knows that eventually, one day she or Hyunjung has to be the one to break it to Yeoreum and explains to her about the cold and harsh reality of life. It's just that Jiyeon doesn't think that Yeoreum will start asking at such a young age.

 

It takes a few seconds before Yeoreum could nod her head gradually. She looks down on her palms, fumbling with it again because she's starting to feel guilty about asking her mother the question that has been on her mind for quiet sometimes now. Jiyeon notices that. Really, she notices everything about her daughter, that it doesn't waste her any seconds to pull the child close and wrap her arms around her body.

 

"It's ok, Yeoreum-ah. I'm not mad." Despite saying that, she heard her own voice cracks. Maybe Yeoreum saw how she's struggling to explain what had happened between her Hyunjung. Or maybe Yeoreum noticed how her eyes were starting to water. She shouldn't cry in front of Yeoreum, not when Yeoreum viewed her as the strongest, smartest, coolest person in the world. 

 

Jiyeon should be tough, because she and Yeoreum only have each other to rely on.