This is the life.
Thanks to my father and his generosity over the years, my mother and I saved enough money to build our own haven. Our enormous house consisted of a basement with an indoor swimming pool, an exercise area and a downstairs bar and bathroom. On the first floor, there was the main foyer, three bathrooms, central kitchen, the dining room, game room, a small formal sitting room, the main living room and an attached guest house for extra guests although we didn't know that many people. On the second floor, there was an upstairs landing, lounge room, family bathroom and the four main bedrooms. Finally, the backyard featured a massive grand swimming pool, a fire pit and a large parking section for the numerous cars that we had.
Did I forget to mention that we were filthy rich?
“Someone came home very late last night?”
I recognised the voice as my mother’s. I opened my eyes, looked over to the side and placed my sunglasses at the top of my head. My mother stood above me, her arms crossed over her chest with a look of concern on her face.
One thing I’d like to say about my mother was that she was a very beautiful woman. Back in her younger days, she used to be a glamor model and did it for years. To this day, she is still famous in her birth-city, Korea. That was how my father found out about her. He was her number one fan and traveled all the way from America just to meet her.
Her thick, wavy, long black hair gracefully fell down to her shoulders, encircling her heart-shaped face. If you looked at her hair, you could see the way the light caught in it and shimmered as it flowed with her every move. Her beautiful face demanded attention. A golden suntan usually brought out her smooth, clear complexion and high cheekbones. Her cheekbones drew your eyes to the statuesque bone structure that underlined her gentleness. Her large, emerald eyes could pierce your very soul and derive your thoughts and feelings. And her small mouth was outlined by puffy lips that she often accentuates with a red coloured lipstick. When she smiled her well-formed and even white teeth brightened up her whole face. My mother was a truly stunning woman, and because of that, you’d never imagine someone like me being the daughter of a retired glamor model. Try to picture an average looking girl with Asian features. Long, straight bright blue hair and tons of black eye make-up.
I shook my head and immediately regretted it. I was so relaxed that I forgot my current state. When I woke up this morning, every muscle in my body was in complete and utter agony. Still was.
I placed one hand at the back of my neck and sighed. “Hello, mother.”
“Where were you last night? You came home late.”
Running a hand through my blue hair, I answer. “I know, I’m sorry. I had training with Vince.”
“Again?” My mother shook her head as she sighed. “What was it this time?”
I peered up at her, knowing she wasn't going to like any answer I had for her. “Krav Maga.”
She tutted. “Last week it was swimming, the week before that it was boxing, and the week before that you were track running.”
I nodded in understanding. “I know.”
“You’re doing too much.” She moved closer and ran her hand gently through my hair. “Don’t you think you’re working yourself a little too hard?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe. But I’m only doing what dad’s asking of me. There's got to be a reason why he's making me do all this training."
“Maggie, you need to slow down.”
I looked at her reassuringly. “Eomma.” (Mother) You don’t need to worry about me.”
“Worrying about you is all I do, darling. Just take it easy. Gwaenchanh-a?” (Okay?)
I answered her with a smile. “Okay. I promise.”
She smiled back. “That’s my girl.”
Thinking that this conversation was over, and that she was satisfied with my reasons for being late last night, I slid my sunglasses back onto my face, when I saw my mother reaching for the bowl of strawberries.
Something else was bothering her.
“Is everything okay?” I ask.
She nodded as she took a bite out of a strawberry. “Everything’s great. I just wanted to make sure that you’re okay being out here by yourself while I take care of a few things.”
“Yeah, I’m fine, really.”
She raised her brows. “Hwagsilhabnikka?” (Are you sure?)
I rolled my eyes as I sigh. “Yes, I’m sure, mother.”
Her tone hardened. “Maggie?”
“What!? I’m fine, honest.”
My mother puts both of her hands up in surrender. “Okay. Fine. I’m sorry that I worry too much about my daughter being on her own all the time.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Mother, you know that I can take care of myself. That’s why I’m training with Vince.”
Her eyes were saddened. “I know but I just wish you had some friends, that's all, to hang out with. I feel like I leave you too much.”
Not once had my mother cared about me not having friends. She knew that I could handle myself and that I liked to be alone. So, why was she bringing it up right now?
I stared straight ahead, still trying to wonder what she was getting at. “I do just fine on my own. Neodo al janh-a.” (You know that.)
“I understand that, but Maggie you’re always on your own and it saddens me that you don’t have any friends, especially now that you’ve got six weeks to enjoy. You should be doing teenager things like partying, meeting boys and going on dates, but instead, you’re here, at home with me.”
I turned and looked at her. “Mother, you know I’m not about that life. And besides, I’m not interested in partying or going on dates.”
“But you’re so beautiful.”
I rolled my eyes which caused her to chuckle. She knew I hated it when she called me that. She used to say it to me all of the time when I was a child and even then I hated it. Something about the word just made me recoil from it.
She pointed to the house next door. “What about the boys who live next to us?”
“What about them?” I ask nonchalantly.
She looked at me and wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
“What? Aren’t they your age?”
I was told to stay away from them.
“I think the youngest brother’s the same age as me and the other two are older. I think the oldest one is about twenty-three.”
“And you’re twenty-one, what’s the problem here?”
My eyes sprung open. “Mother, I’m not interested. I met them for the first time yesterday and they’re not nice people. Guys like that, you stay away from.”
“But they go to the same university as you, right?”
That’s what she took from that?
“Yeah, and they’re dicks who think they own the fucking school.”
“Maggie!" She took another strawberry and shoved it in her mouth. “Don’t say things like that. You don’t know them.”
“And you do?” I sighed in annoyance and got up from the sun lounger.
This was what my mother always did. Pester. And she wouldn’t stop until she felt like she’d gotten her point across, but she should know by now that I rarely listened to her. I only wanted some peace and quiet, but I knew that if I stayed here, I wouldn’t be left alone.
“What? All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because you always do that, Maggie.”
I grabbed the glass of orange juice and downed all of its contents. I then took the bowl of strawberries from my mother and started walking back towards the house.
“What have I said now?”
I closed my eyes, took a breath, exhaled and slowly turned around. “Nothing.”
My mother came to stand in front of me and playfully nipped my chin. “Liar. I’ve obviously upset you.”
“I’m not upset.”
I shook my head.
“Why were you leaving then?”
“I was going to have a lie-down and watch TV in bed for a little while.”
She smiles softly. “Okay, but I thought maybe we could have a walk along the pier and grab a bite to eat tonight.”
I bit my bottom lip. “I can’t tonight.”
She frowned. “Wae?” (Why?)
“I have a fitness class. With Vince."
She put her hands on her hips. “But it’s a Saturday. Take the night off.”
I shake my head. “I can’t.”
“Maggie.” She says my name in a stern voice. “Let me handle Vince. You’re going to cancel your fitness class and come with me to the pier. End of discussion."