“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.
“What is it? Threatened by a pretty face and a nicer personality who has an equal IQ? Worried I might realize other women are not that bad.” He doesn’t look at me, just pulls it all towards him and starts flipping them open to sign. Rotating his shoulders before picking up the pen and flicking the lid off.
“When did you start taking impromptu visits from company personnel without an appointment? Is our CEO so accessible that any tramp can walk in off the street and get into our senior offices for a cozy couch to couch visit?” I bypass his scathing remarks I know are designed to hurt me. I know jealousy is at the root of this, insecurity, and how I’ve been feeling since last night. And yes, her attractive appearance too, which annoyed me from the second I looked at her, getting so intimate with Jyeon in here.
“When the personnel hits a ten on the attractive scale, I guess. We all need a nice view from time to time to relieve our daily stress.” He looks up at me this time, locks me dead in the eye with a serious tone and I know one hundred percent he’s only saying this to wound me because of this, last night, what yesterday was, but it still stabs me in the heart. We’re in the midst of the cold war once again and I swallow hard as my emotion gets the better of me.
“You’re an asshole, go screw yourself.” He touched a nerve; the one area of weakness I don’t think I could overcome; if he ever betrayed our marriage that way. I snatch the contracts from the top of the file he’s already signed, my hands shaking but my tone bitter and try my hardest to keep myself steady.
Jyeon catches my wrist and tugs me forward over his desk before I can make my moody getaway, pulling me so I stumble on my shoes and he stands up to meet me face to face, mere inches apart over the wooden surface.
“Have some professionalism, VP Park. We’re at work. Control yourself, stop acting like an immature and insecure jealous wife, because you lost that right a long time ago.” He tosses my wrist aside, so I lurch forward and have to palm slap his desk to save myself from falling over and glare right back into his face. Meeting cold and blank, and eyes so dark and honed in on me it makes me momentarily pause. Words falling out of my mouth as a sharp tool to stab him right back with.
“Yoonah told me to divorce you because he loves me, and I should start a new life with him.” I throw it out there, even though Yoonie has said it so many times before, but not once have I ever used it to wound Jyeon. Jyeon flinches, his eyebrow flickers, and his jaw tenses noticeably so one dimple appears, and I know deep down this isn’t because of me, but that his little brother would want to betray him that way. It cuts his heart deeply, even with their strained relationship, and I catch that sadness moving through his eyes for the briefest moment. A punch of guilt hits me low and I regret saying those words to him.
“Maybe if you married him in the first place then our lives wouldn’t be this shit. What exactly is your point in telling me this? You hoped it would make me jealous? That I’d care? You think I don’t know he’s been in love with you since we were young? Whether he does or doesn’t, I know you don’t feel that way about him, so it’s a moot point.” Jyeon stalks away from the desk, air thickening as his dark mood grows. He moves towards his window and stiffly stands as he stares out at another gloomy misty city day that seems to match my emotions lately. His posture is rigid and cold and I hate him as I stand here, filling up with so many conflicting emotions about what he makes me feel.
“You married me without feeling that way… why can’t I do the same. How about it? You want a divorce so I can be happy with the one Park brother who has a fucking heart?” I don’t mean it, but sometimes I just want to hit him with anything I can lay my hands on. No matter how petty it makes me, or stupid, or how pathetic I am by doing this. I just want to feel something from him beyond his resentment. I want to feel something inside of me beyond this emptiness.
“You think I’d let you move on to my brother to ruin his life and happiness the same way you destroyed mine? Over my dead body. You’re poison, Sohla. A dark invasive poison that infects and grows and never lets you go. Once you get into the bloodstream you’re lifelong cancer that can never be fully cured.”
Even for Jyeon, that’s the cruelest thing he’s ever said to me and the most hateful. In all these years he’s never outright been so nasty about me, especially not right to my face, and it knocks the wind out of my sails and leaves me speechless. Momentarily dazed and shocked that he has this kind of venom.
“I love my brother too much to inflict you on him. I hope he sees sense and finds a nice girl and forgets all about you in time.”
“Why are you still here then? Why are we still in this if you hate me so much? The shares of the company? This…?” I blurt out, tears welling up inside of me as I gesture around his office, knowing fully that our shares of equal parts are a major reason our families forced this marriage and pushed us three together.
I hold twenty-eight percent that my parents left behind, only rivaled by Jyeon inheriting all his father’s and mother’s on top of his inheritance to match me. So in terms of control, either of us could take the helm. Yoonha has eight, being the baby boy who was never born to take over and the board and shareholders have the rest.
Yoonha is soft and if I married him I don’t doubt he would give me his to overtake Jyeon and oust him from his own corporation if I wanted to be that spiteful over this. It’s been there in the back of my mind all these years, that Jyeon knows the only way to keep things as they are now, is to stay married and keep me on side. He leads because I let him. After all, he is my husband, and I was raised to respect the hierarchy in the marital home and family. Without a marriage, I could fuck him over and take everything away.
“We promised our parents we would marry. Even if it kills us. Till death do us part, baby. Ill-fated love and all that.” Jyeon sounds sarcastic, with a sneering hint in his voice and he throws me a cold glance over his shoulder.
I return to calm and indifferent as though he’s said nothing more than good morning and let it all slide back into that cage inside my heart where I don’t let things get to me. To shield me from pain and to numb the world away so nothing can get to me. It’s been failing these last few days and I know it’s making me crazy. I need to eat more, sleep more, and maybe I’ll be able to control it much better like I used to. I huff under my breath, unable to say anything.
“Pick up your food from Dee, don’t waste it. The last thing I need is you passing out in the strategy meeting because you bypassed another meal. You look like hell…. Go do something about that.”
And there it is, the swings and roundabouts of Jyeon Park. Delivers crushing cruelty in a few sentences and cold standoffish hate for me. Then in the next moment, he tells me to eat and points out I don’t look well, while still hiding behind his uncaring attitude. It’s no wonder I live with constant whiplash and can’t get a handle on whether I love this man or not.
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
I watch Jyeon from my seat at the board meeting. Sitting next to his chair at the head, he’s up and walking around as he talks out what he has on the projector, yet I can’t focus on what he’s saying. All day it’s been eating away at me, ripping me into pieces, and I can’t think of anything else no matter how I try. I’m distraught inside.I watch him closely for signs, changes, and anything to help clear this muddy mess out of my brain and find myself hating him for making me feel this way. Despising the very ground he walks on.He came back around two, and I happened to be in the parking garage when he pulled in. I wish I hadn’t been, but it was a coincidence as I was returning from an onsite inspection.I saw them. Together. That b