“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.
“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, he marches to his desk and renders me speechless by hitting the intercom.
“Yeah, get us a breakfast box serving for the VP, and coffee with extra sugar and cream. Make it snappy, thanks, Dee.” He calmly commands his assistant and turns to head back our way, and despite myself, it pulls the rug from under my feet, and I don’t know how to feel or react. Like a slap in the face, he bowls me over with the unexpected request. It’s not just the food, but the fact he still remembers how I drink my coffee even though we haven’t shared one in years.
I avoid his eye contact when he comes back, pasting a smile on my face as though this is his everyday loving nature, although I can’t figure out if this is for her benefit or if he genuinely is in the mood to give a shit about me. We play-act the perfect happy couple for anyone that isn’t family so much and this is probably an extension of that. I shouldn’t overthink it.
“You know me too well, Darling.” That is all I can force out without it sounding strained, pushing that fake adoring smile his general way and I catch her lingering look at him as he settles himself back down to his previous position. It’s a flicker of a moment, less than a half-second, but I catch it. The undeniable appreciation and admiration for a handsome man and how his care of his wife melts her heart. It makes me uptight, suddenly suspicious of her motives for showing up here like this, and I focus back on the documents on my lap. Mentally chastising myself for being this stupid and knowing that my insane thoughts lately are starting to become a problem. Maybe it’s because we’ve become more irritable towards one another, colder and crueler of late and I feel like he’s slipping further away.
“I only came to hand you these, we need them processed quickly. I’m awaiting signatures to get the ball rolling. I wasn’t aware Biochem was sending someone so soon when the ink hasn’t been applied to the agreement yet.” I raise a brow her way, and then at him, and wonder how exactly this wench got in here when I was the one dealing with their male liaison only a week ago when digging through their financial projections. I don’t have a clue who she is. They didn’t inform me of a liaison replacement.
“I hate to admit, but I wanted to come and introduce myself face to face. I’m recently recruited to biotech and have been following OLO’s success for several years. I admire what you two have done to your company and how far it’s come in such a short space of time to become an industry leader. I shamelessly came to meet in person my idol who put his company on the number one spot.” She oozes honey with every word and her eyes keep straying to my husband, making it clear that despite saying it’s both of us, it’s him she wanted to meet. Jyeon smiles back, but there’s nothing in it and it doesn’t reach his eyes. Just a mere polite acknowledgment and it makes me feel a little less tetchy and paranoid. If he was enamored by her I think my current state of mind would have me ripping her hair off.
“So, you have a thing for my husband… well, his brain?” It’s an off-the-cuff remark, through a half laugh, steeped in fake jest, and I smile so brightly I pass it off as friendly banter. I catch Jyeon in my linear sight flexing his jaw subtly and signaling he knew it was a catty remark and didn’t like it one bit. Not understanding where this bitchiness has come from when I only just met the woman. His shoulders hunch forward slightly to signal he’s moving to a bad mood because of me.
“You could say that. I could learn a lot from someone Like Jyeon Park, top of his field, and infamous in investment banking …..and of course you, Sohla.” Her response is equally veiled but over-dusted with the same fake humor as mine. Leaving my recognition as an obvious afterthought to point out she caught my meaning.
“My apologies, Miss White. We have a meeting soon, so you can leave all this with me, and I’ll be sure to email you if I have any questions. When we have a definite on the investment decision I’ll reach out to you for a proper meeting. It’s nice to put a face to the name on the emails and hope to be working alongside you very soon.” Jyeon is playing mediator and it’s obvious he’s in no mood for this or me. I can feel his static sizzling in the air and know as soon as she leaves I’ll get his cold shoulder and harsh words.
He stands up to signal she should go, and I know it’s because I have pissed him off, not her. I cut their brief meeting short and I’m not even sorry. He doesn’t like entertaining when I sour his mood and knock him off his charm game. I’m like a black cloud to him every day. No one else is ever in the wrong beside me, no matter the scenario when it comes to him.
“I’ll look forward to it.” She stands too and I follow, all passing polite handshakes and empty pleasantries as she is escorted out of the room by Jyeon in a hasty manner and he doesn’t give her time to linger for chit chat. I stand my ground and sit back down, with no intention of leaving here, picking up the documents I brought with me, and steeling myself for a showdown when he comes back. I mentally tell myself I did nothing out of order here, even if my gut says otherwise. He’s my husband, I have a right to walk in here anytime I choose and challenge women giving him the eye.
“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
“Ask his wife. No one knows better than her what he’s doing or where he is. They have an excellent relationship.” She chimes back without a heartbeat of hesitation, and my face numbs with this pasted expression that churns my stomach up. I feel Yoonah tense beside me.My sweet, big brown-eyed puppy dog, boy, cuts in by pulling a card from my hand and tuts loudly. My savior.“Play this one, and you’ll win. How can someone so smart and observant suck this much at a card game? Why did you throw that one, you empty head.” He grins, patting me on the shoulder, and retrieves the card I had put down to switch it out.“I know, right. I guess I can’t be talented in all areas of life.” I softly smile his way, catching his eye and meeting the warmth always there in him. The complete opposite to his emotionless brother, who serves me only ice
“Here, Vice President Park. These are all the current files needing a signature.” I sit back and let my new assistant Veronica lay them out for me. In a fit of rage two days ago for a missed document and a lax attitude to timekeeping, I finally cut loose the girl of five years. I have no patience for people who waste my precious time and make mistakes, and this one has all the new and shiny enthusiasm to do a good job. I know it won’t last.“Did you archive all last month’s?” I lift a brow and pull the first black folder on top over, flicking it open.“Yes, Ma’am. I sorted through, copied, and saved digital files to the central server and then organized the paper copies in the building file room.“Why is this missing President Park’s signature?” I pause my pen over the budget request for one of our sub-companies. Irritated for the oversight. The very first one I open, and it’s not even compl
“This is new, right?” I walk forward, pasting on a smile, and pull at his collar as though it’s twisted and I’m being helpful while it’s an excuse to drag out this conversation. Checking closer that I genuinely have never seen this jacket.“Hmmm” He pulls the fabric out of my hands, shrugging me away as though he can’t stand my closeness, and fixes it himself, stepping away from me. The wall is going up, and his signals are screaming that he wants space.“When did you pick it up. It’s not a brand you normally shop for.” I eye up the branded bag, not recognizing it at all, but the quality seems high-end and not high street.“It was a gift. Nothing wrong with trying something different for a change.” He turns and throws me a brief, strange look. A weird glance as though telling me something but not committing to look at me and then walks off. Leaving me in here as he goes back into his o