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, so he almost grazes my nose, and I pull my face away and turn to the side to pat my mouth and nose in disgust. His breath stinks of stale booze and ash, and my stomach lurches as I fight the urge to gag.
“This is an illegal protest, and I asked nicely. Now it’s not MY problem.” I turn back to him and nod to the army of black-suited coming towards me. I smile salaciously as if to say I’m done here, and you’ll regret it, as they begin to start shoving those on the ends and pushing, pulling, them out of line. A sweeping sea of suits against lumberjack shirts. The bear-man turns to me with an angry growl and snarls right into my face once more.
“We came expecting a fight, Girly. Just watch us.” He laughs again, a hearty and arrogant noise like a bellowing animal, and I turn and nod to my escort that they should deal with this. Moving out of the way as my men collide with theirs, I skirt around them and head for the open end to get out of here and still meet my appointment time. There’s no other way to deal with these types other than brute force, and I can guarantee the staff inside have already called the police to come break this up soon enough. I don’t need to involve myself any further. There’s nothing to negotiate as OLO is not at fault. It’s not our problem.
I duck my head and dodge splaying arms of my men wresting with theirs and scoot by with a confident walk until I’m around them and on the other side of their human wall. I start looking for the car that I requested to be brought to the front door. Many vehicles are abandoned on the sidewalk haphazardly, of all makes, colors, and models, and it irritates me that they have congested the road. I’m guessing most are from them and clench my fists in anger while looking around to try and locate mine.
“Sohla, move.” The raspy and urgent male shout comes at me from my left side, and before I can turn around and see who or where it came from, I’m yanked backward, spun into a warm body, and hugged in tight as I’m pulled sideways. A hand reaches over the top of my head, pushing me down in a crushing manner into the cocoon of his body, and covers my skull. At the same time, the black wool coat of my protector is pulled around me to conceal as much of my body as possible. Debris rains down on us from further back, and I squeal as I realize what’s happening.
Bottles, boulders, cans, and a manner of hard and heavy objects fly around, over, and at us from all angles. Coming for people and the building, I’m overwhelmed in panic mode to find we’re right in the epicenter, like a cyclone of weapons flicking around and smashing at our feet.
I cling onto my bodyguard, ducking my head, and close my eyes tight as he steers me and turns me to take the brunt of everything hitting us. Jerking with him and feeling the repercussions through him as he takes a battering and it pushes me into further terror. My body shakes, and my legs turn weak as I don’t know what else to do, allowing him to move me in whatever direction he deems safest and trusting he’ll protect me.
My fingers dig into his under jacket and shirt, feeling hot body temperature and firm muscles, and I blink up, unsure who this even is. He’s tall and using every inch of him to keep me shielded and safe while moving us around and dodging the worst of it. I can’t see anything because of my forced position, facing him, and hunched over inside his dark clothes.
He pushes my head back down and yanks his jacket back over me like a fabric roof before pulling us into a run, and I become disorientated at not being able to see where I’m going, stumbling, but he has me held fast and takes my weight. My nose ends up pressed to his chest, and it’s then as I inhale his body scent and aftershave that it hits me that I do know this body. I should have known it from a single touch, yet I was too shocked by what was going on that I didn’t even realize it. I should have recognized his voice.
Jyeon hauls me as fast as he can into the side end door of the main building, as security flanks us and gets us inside of the doors before locking it behind us. He stops and turns to bark orders at those standing in the hallway watching without relinquishing his vice-like grip on me.
“Get the police out here and tell them they’re throwing things. Call security from all floors and get them outside to deal with this. Keep all regular employees away from the glass in case they smash it.”
“Yes, President Park.” A male voice answers in urgency, and I lift my chin to try and take a glimpse of Jyeon, scared that he’s hurt after enduring everything I felt pounding us. My entire focus was on his body, and I start scrambling inside his clothes, my heart hitching up that he was being assaulted all over. It hurts my soul to think about what he just endured while protecting me.
“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
The heavy silence is, of course, I know, all men turning to look Jyeon’s way in question that he would act so personally with a spokesperson of a company we haven’t yet taken control of. There’s a process to things, and it’s known that my job as VP is that I should be the one taking her to lunch when the time is right. This raises so many questions for him.“Claire White? Why is that name familiar?” Yoonha forgets this is a board meeting and verbalizes his thoughts. It's a bad habit he’s had since he was a kid, and it’s why he’s unable ever to keep himself in his own lane when it comes to Jyeon’s and my problems. “Let’s call it a day and reconvene when we have more definite answers. Sohla, my office. We need to talk about this.”
“What’s going on with you two lately? It feels like the frosty atmosphere between you is more glacier than normal, and neither of you is speaking up about it.” Yoonha prods me in the back of the head as he passes behind me at the breakfast table. Being his usual annoying self. I tense up, but act flippant, not ready to share anything with him yet. If Yoonha knows, he will make everything worse, and I need to get a handle on what I’m going to do when I know for sure. I don’t even know what to do.“Nothing. You know how it is when we get into the new financial year. So much more stress for a few weeks. It’ll pass.” I brush it off and focus on pushing oatmeal into my mouth despite my zero appetite and can barely swallow it. I’m in jogging clothes as it’s my day off, and my routine is an early morning workout, followed by breakfast, and then a run. I’m trying to stay as normal as possible to keep up appearances.