“I’ll start over with you. We can make it work. We were always closer than you and Jyeon…he doesn’t love you, but I do. I’m not a kid anymore.” His words stop me in my tracks, and I mentally count to five and try and reel in my internal reaction. Breathing slowly as my hands start to tremble and I stop the impulse to yell at him that he still behaves like one.
The wounding pain of knowing that, no, Jyeon doesn’t love me, and I’ve known it since forever, but I still don’t want to hear it. This isn’t the first time he’s said these words to me, and it angers me that despite telling him not to say it anymore, here we are again. I don’t want to hear them; I don’t want the burden of his feelings on top of me along with everything else I carry every day and I don’t need his reminder that his brother married me out of duty and never once felt more than resentment for it.
“You’re drunk. Go to bed. I’ll see you in the morning. Let it go.” I don’t wait for his response or to give him time to follow me and march out of the room and through our lounge to head for the main winding staircase. I pass by Emily on the way and snap a command as a way of releasing the pressure.
“I’m going to bed with a migraine, don’t disturb me. See to Yoonha, he’s drunk.”
“Yes, Miss.” She nods, seemingly wary of my dark mood, and bows as I swing up the stairs and head straight for my room without pausing to take a breath. Not even hungry despite not really eating and bubbling up inside with so many emotions that lean more to anger than upset. Keeping my mind off the obvious was hard enough and Yoonie goes and makes it worse. Today has been shit from start to finish and I pull my cell phone from my pocket and check the time as I get to the upper landing.
Eight Pm. This day is needlessly dragging, and I hate that I have to endure four more hours before I can chalk it up to another year gone by. I thrust it back into my pocket and shove my bedroom door open, stopping with a startled pause as I see Jyeon’s clothes discarded on the bed. The ones he was wearing at the office earlier and have a mild moment of panic and then a flash of hope he came home after all.
Looking towards the bathroom door I see it sat open with no lights on so know he’s not in there. I turn to the study where he sleeps. The door is closed tight so I walk over and push it open, heart in my mouth and nerves jangled despite the fact that this is his bedroom too, but such is the impulse to always have more from him than I get. The room is silent, pitch black, but he’s definitely been here to change. I turn around and head for the walk in closet along the other wall, finding it too in darkness and no signs of him at all.
His aftershave lingers in the air in here as he must have refreshed it and it knocks me off guard for a moment, reminding me of his smell. His past closeness because he’s never switched it out in all these years, and my throat closes up with a sudden surge of pain.
If his plans were business related he wouldn’t have changed his entire suit to go out. He keeps spare shirts at the office with ties to suit all the outfits he owns, and definitely would only come here to pick out casual clothing. He avoids coming home at all costs. He would never meet a client dressed that way either, and my head goes into overdrive at where he might be and what he might be doing.
He casual dresses once in a blue moon since becoming President of OLO. Jyeon is a workaholic who spends his entire life dealing with the company and dedicating his time there. His friends rarely see him and when they do it’s never a weekday like this, so he’s always in work mode. So much so he owns so little non formal clothing.
I turn back into the walk in wardrobe and head right to the back where the security screens are located. Typing in the passcode and select the garage camera to show where our cars are parked. I was dropped off by my driver at the front door today as I never took my own this morning, so I didn’t see if Jyeon had taken his.
I press the control panel to have the camera scan the downstairs underground parking and his spot for his Range rover is occupied with his navy four by four. That can only mean he switched out his car for the Bugatti Centodieci.
He only owns two vehicles and always drives himself. It’s his pride and joy, and his toy that rarely leaves the garage except on special occasions when Jyeon deems it fit.
My stomach flips over and I try not to think too much about the unusual actions of his behaviour this evening. Coming home before eight to change, and taking that car on a Wednesday night, when I know he’s up to his eyeballs in work this week. It’s not like him.
“He’s gone to let off steam, because of what today is…” I say it out loud, choked up with this weird ache in my gut that tells me he’s doing something I would hate and refusing to ponder or guess at it as it will only hurt me more. As much as I pretend I don’t care, and don’t intervene in his life, I depend on the fact he’s always working and rarely does anything else. It’s my stable safe where I can keep tabs on him and know he’s not doing anything to bring shame to our shambles of a marriage.
It’s how I can continue living like this even if he never touches me or shows me a modicum of care or affection, because he’s not giving it to anyone else. In the last four years there’s been no scandals, rumours, or signs of him doing anything that would out us as a fake couple, but this feels off tonight.
Sixth sense, a woman’s intuition maybe, but my heart pounds through my chest and my stomach aches as it twists inside of me. My legs go weak like they’re made of putty and my hands shake uncontrollably.
I know he wouldn’t go to the grave with that car, I know that much, and he’s not been there once since the first year to my knowledge. He might have arranged to blow off steam with Bryant, but I hope not, because that eternal bachelor only knowns how to party himself into a stupor while surrounded by loose women who don’t see a wedding ring as a reason to keep their hands to themselves. Jyeon usually only sees him for lunch dates, or sports time, never evening meet ups when Bryant is always on the hook up.
“Stop thinking and go to bed.” I chastise myself loudly, wavering and push it all back down. Taking slow deep breaths and reminding myself that from time to time I feel this way. I get scared and I momentarily think the worst and yet he’s never yet done anything. He’s too upright and solid to hurt his family name or OLO with something dirty.Impulsively I pull out my cell and dial his number before I can stop myself, otherwise I might go crazy and imagine the worst and rip my brain to shreds with the fear of the unknown. It rings three times, and he picks up. Something that despite our years of strained interaction that he’ll always do. He never ignores my rare calls. No matter how mad he is at me. Texts, calls, emails… Jyeon always replies to me within minutes.“What is it, Sohla?” he sounds pissed off, his tone low and husky and I can tell he’s had a dri
I tap my nails on my desk in agitation as I watch the hands of the clock tick on and on in what feels like slow motion. It feels like this morning is dragging more than a month in a jailhouse, and neither Yoonha nor Jyeon has shown up for work at all yet. I’m listless, I can’t concentrate or focus and nothing I do is easing the tightly wound ball in my abdomen that I know is stress. It’s after ten, and I’m pissed at both of them for this impromptu AWOL behavior when we have so many things going on before lunch.I have a pile of documents six inches thick that need both of their signatures next to mine, and we’re supposed to have a strategy meeting with senior staff in under an hour. We run our own departments and we need to regularly bring one another up to speed. They never miss them and now, more than ever it’s important we stay on top of it with all the new investments these few months.I’ve resisted calling Jyeon to find ou
“Pleasure’s all mine.” I reach out and shake it briefly, my cold hands are like ice cubes compared to her warm velvet skin and despite having no reason, I instantly dislike her. There’s nothing obvious standing out, it’s just a feeling.“Oh, you’re so cold. Do you have indigestion? That can really mess with the circulation in your hands. I have some antacids in my bag if you’d like some.” She smiles widely, soft, sweet, and overly caring, and I shake my head, sensing this is an act to redeem herself to me. I didn’t eat today so my blood sugar is low and has nothing to do with acid if my body temperature is low. I’m so used to it that I don’t notice anymore.“I…”“You skipped breakfast, didn’t you? How many times have I told you not to do that?” Jyeon cuts in, his tone aggravated and stern and he eyes me with a furrowed brow before I can speak. Getting up,
“You just can’t help yourself, can you?” Jyeon throws the words my way as he walks to his desk and not back over here. Making it clear he’s not bothered about my presence and he’s no intention of talking to me. All warmth gone from his tone now she has too, and I get up, snatching the files, and march over to him instead. Tossing them on his desk with a show of aggravation and hating the change in him now we’re alone.“Did I interrupt your cozy little meeting? Might want to call Dee back and cancel the food you so thoughtfully ordered me, now the act is over.” I spit back and pick up his fountain pen from the holder before tossing it on top of the paperwork in a brisk manner.“I need those right now.” I order him, inwardly hostile and not sure why I’m feeling this way from the second I got up this morning. It’s like a growing storm in my belly that I can’t stop from expanding.“W
I stare absentmindedly ahead in the elevator as I travel down to the ground floor to go and meet Yoonha outside for lunch. It’s been a few days since his drunken confession, and two days of his AWOL childish behavior passed before he finally showed face to act like an adult once more. And like every other time, we never mentioned it again because this is what he does. Back into the swing of our ordinary lives, and it’s brushed under the table as though it never happened and became just another absurd ritual in my life.I’ve barely seen Jyeon all week as we’re all so swamped in work with three new company investments to launch by the end of the month that’s taking all our time. I’ve had an average of two hours sleep a night, missed so many meals from overtime, skipped lunch breaks that I’ve dropped a dress size. Hence my lunch date and making time to hang out with my little brother, forcing me to
He starts laughing at me waves his hand in my face as though I’m talking another language, and he isn’t interested in anything I have to say. He lifts his arm and waves it around to get the attention of fellow protestors, and I’m aware of some turning this way and pushing in slightly to form more of an arc facing our building instead of away. Eyes are coming my way, and some quiet down to listen.“She says it’s not their problem!” he yells out loud for them all to hear in a snarly tone and thumps his board on the ground so that I flinch. Many more of them follow suit and pound their boards too, creating a buzz of bangs and murmurs as their voices blend into one. I catch more security filing outside from the doors in my right line of vision and know that upstairs will have been notified of this going on by now.“Bullshit!” he leans into my face and spits it out, s
“Jyeon? Are you okay?” I reach up for his face to turn him to me, catching his jaw in my fingers and pulling him down. My insides are aching, and genuine fear is gripping my soul as I try to inspect him for wounds. My body shakes all over as adrenalin kicks in, and he pulls me with him away from the doors at speed.“Are you hurt? Did anything hit you? Are you cut anywhere?” Jyeon slices through my question with his own. Pulling me into the elevator and letting go of me before sliding his hands over my head, brushing back my hair, searching through my scalp with his fingertips, and frantically searching over my body and face, for any damage. His eyes narrow, and his breathing labors as he pulls my jacket open and skims every inch of my shoulders and neck, and face to see if I have even a tiny scratch. His warm, firm hands skim my skin, leaving a burning path wherever they touch, even through the fabric of my cloth
“Mrs. Park is in the games room with guests. She asked you to come in when you arrive home.” The housekeeper greets me with kind eyes and a gentle voice as I wander in, heavy with the tiredness of the day and home late. Dealing with the protest fallout on top of so much else these past few days has me exhausted. My shoulders ache, my neck is stiff, and I have a headache coming on. I’m nowhere near in the mood to entertain her guests, but I’m obedient to a fault. I was raised in the good old ‘thou shall obey my parents’ of my culture, and I grimace and paste on a fake smile. Sighing and knowing I should get it over and done with. It’s a show-off move to remind her friends how magnificent her family is.“Where’s Yoonie? Is he home?” I ask with a raised brow, seeing as he left the office hours ago. I already know it’s pointless to ask about Jyeon, who was still burning the o