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of hide and seek games and not so lost daughters

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"Are you sure you can do this?", Dongil asked his brother Donghyon who nodded his head. "Sure I can, hyung. It isn't like Jimin is some kind of monster only you can take care of, you know? She's my cute and adorable niece who can't hurt a fly. It will only be for two hours anyways. You can pick her up when you get back from your meeting." He patted his brother on the back and turned around to look at the four-year-old currently sitting at his kitchen table and drawing a picture.

"Daddy, where are you going?", the little girl asked when her father opened the door to leave the apartment. "Daddy has work to do, but uncle Donghyon will take care of you as long as I'm gone. Okay, princess?" Dongil walked back into the kitchen to give his daughter a kiss on the forehead before turning again to finally leave. "See you later!", he called out and the door fell shut behind him. "Let's do this.", Donghyon said to himself and plopped down onto the couch before turning on the TV.

About half an hour later Jimin got bored. She started crying and Donghyon didn't know what to do. He didn't have any toys to give his niece, and food didn't seem to make her happy. He decided to go out with her and visit a nearby playground he had often passed by on his way to work.

The playground wasn't very crowded, only two women were sitting on a bench near the jungle gym where two children were playing and an older man helping his granddaughter on the swing. Donghyon sat Jimin down in the sandbox and sat down next to the two women so he had a clear view on his niece.

He was lost in his thoughts when a voice got him back to reality. "You are cute." He looked around in confusion and saw a little girl standing in front of him, a little older than Jimin. She gave him a big, toothy smile and Donghyon smiled back at her, although a bit unsure. "Uh… thanks?" He didn't expect the girl to hug him as a response, nor did he expect her to climb onto his lap. "I like you.", she stated and started playing with his dark hair.

"Young lady, I don't think you should sit on a stranger's lap. What would your mother say if she saw you right now?", Donghyon said to her, but the girl didn't move. "I don't know what my mother would say. Do you know?", she asked curiously and looked up at him with big, brown puppy eyes. He groaned and tried to take the girl off of him, but as soon as he sat her down on the ground, she hugged his leg. Unsure what to do, the man looked around to maybe find a mother or father who was searching for their child. He also checked on Jimin who was still playing happily in the sand. "Can we be friends?", the girl asked and Donghyon ran a hand through his hair. "Where are your parents?", he asked but the girl had already started climbing onto his lap again.

"I don't know where daddy is. I'm Grace by the way."

"Okay Grace, I'll help you find your daddy, let me just-"

"Daddy will find me by himself. We are playing hide and seek, it would be a bit embarrassing if I was searching for him even though he has to find me, right?"

One of the women looked at him and raised one eyebrow at the scene beside her, but Donghyon tried his best to ignore her while Grace found interest in his ear piercings.

"Daddy has some, too!", she exclaimed joyfully and started examining Donghyon's ears. "Could you please stop that?", Donghyon said and, to his surprise, Grace actually listened to him and instead hugged him. He felt relieved but that only lasted a few seconds until he realized the girl in his arms was crying. Relief was replaced with panic and he awkwardly stroked her back. "What's up, Grace?", he asked, checking on Jimin who was building a sand castle with the two kids that were playing on the jungle gym before.

"Everybody has a mummy and a daddy, but I only have a daddy. I want to have a mummy, too.", Grace cried as she looked at Donghyon.

"Oh, I'm sorry…"

"And you're very pretty. I know that you are not a woman, but…"

"I don't understand."

"Grace!" Grace and Donghyon looked at the direction the new voice was coming from. A tall man was standing on the other hand if the playground, his eyes searching for something. Probably his daughter, Donghyon concluded. Grace's face lit up and she scrambled down from Donghyon's lap to run towards her father. "Daddy! Look, I made a new friend. His name is… uh… Well anyways, he is very pretty and nice!" Donghyon stood up and walked over to the pair to introduce himself. When he stood in front of the other man, he realized how handsome the other was. "My name is Donghyon.", he said and smiled at the man who looked at him critically. "But I swear I didn't plan on having a random girl hug me and climb onto my lap and all that stuff!"

"You climbed onto his lap?"

"Yes daddy. But he is just so pretty! And he has those thingies in his ears, just like you!"

"Yes, I see that, but still. You can't just harass a stranger."

"But daddy!"

"I'm very sorry for my daughter's behavior.", the man then said to Donghyon. "My name is Pyeongchul, by the way." Okay, now he had a name to that handsome face. "How can I make it up to you?", Pyeongchul asked and Donghyon confusedly stared at him.

"Make it up to me?"

"Yes. Grace must have bothered you a lot. I deeply apologize."

"But it wasn't that bad."

"Still. How about I invite you for dinner. I'll pay!"

"Wait, what? Dinner? With you?"

"If you don't want to, that’s fine! I could also just buy you a coffee or something, just tell me how I can make it up to you."

"Okay… Dinner sounds fine. But it doesn't have to be expensive, honestly. Just buy me a burger or something, that's enough."

"No. I want to do it the right way. Can you give me your number so we cam find a day where we can meet?"

"Yeah, sure, but-"

"No 'but'."

"Alright, here."

"Thanks! I'll text you later, handsome!"

And with those words, Pyeongchul took Grace's hand and walked away, leaving a dumbfounded Donghyon behind.

***

"You didn't actually play hide and seek, did you?"

"No."

"And you told Grace to come to me?"

"Yes."

"So Grace doesn't really think I'm pretty? I'm heartbroken."

"Oh, she does. I didn't tell her what to say."

"Oh."