⠀⠀⠀| uninvited visitor
ACCESS CODE: ２０４８１８－７７２
The crowd of the capital city was suffocating even at the early hours of the spring morning as everyone rushed to either their work or school. Each of them with a classy bag in their hands and their attention on everything but the people around, the familiar scene of the crowd could easily be mistaken for a piece of monotonous melody that one could listen without a bother. It was the well-known daily life, as many called it, anyway, nothing unusual.
The traffic light displayed the colour of green for pedestrian and the group of people rushed to pass the way just so they could reach for the seven AM train. Among them walked a young woman, contemplatively. Her mind - the perfect reflection of the chaos - and her eyes as dull as the morning rain, she was not even aware of her surroundings, therefore, she allowed her feet to just led her towards the station. The place that she memorized by heart and no way could lose even when she did not focus on her destination.
So as she knew that sooner or later she would arrive at the station, she tried to not think much about the day that awaited her, which she believed that would bring her major disappointments. She had to find some hope or at least expect something that could raise her mood but her expectations never really met her experience until then and that alone was more than enough reason to ruin her whole mood.
“Did you forget to drink your morning coffee, Oh?” asked a rather familiar, masculine voice as she technically threw her tired flesh on the nearby bench and waited for the arrival of the train. She could not even manage to force a smile on her lips upon the arrival of her company but at least tilted her head back to take his attire under her vision.
“I doubt that even coffee can save me in this point, Tae,” she said with a rather deep sigh and earned herself a chuckle, as the other, Taehyung skipped his steps to occupy the empty seat beside her. His famous box – smile graced his lips only for a brief second before he allowed it to slowly vanish and looked at his best friend from close up.
“Damn, Dae, you look like a corpse,” he could not help but say as her rather pale appearance actually hit his sense of apprehension.
Taehyung was very well aware of the hours Dae spent in her shift lately just so she could get at least a day off in a week. However, she did not even use that day to rest and instead, looked for the job that could grant her longterm dream. Therefore, that only caused her to tire herself without further notice of the danger. At this rate, Taehyung feared that she would collapse in the middle of the way and would have no one to help her.
“That bad,” commented Dae with a questioning tone before she let out a sigh for the nth time ever since she woke up. She knew that she was not in her best attire, yet hoped that the makeup would cover up her flaws and at least give her a decent enough image for job interviews.
“That bad,” repeated Taehyung to emphasize how serious he was. Then, he parted his lips to protest the way Dae controlled her schedule lately, however, was not given such a chance because of the train that arrived just on time. It caused Taehyung to abandon his self-made mission and instead, follow Dae inside the train, where they both hoped to find an empty compartment.
“I don’t understand how they can reject your application,” said Taehyung as he followed Dae into a compartment and sat across her, right beside the window. “You graduated with the perfect grade and internship training, how can they let you slip through their fingers.”
“No one cares about grades anymore, Taehyung,” said Dae as she pressed down the back of her hand to her lips and yawned. Then her hand moved to her nape and she rubbed it in a way to relax her tension. “They want news, something interesting enough for them to put on newspaper.”
“You can find that news if they ever allowed you to work with them,” said Taehyung even if his fuss was not directed to Dae. He just simply and sincerely did not understand how those big and small companies not even call her back when she had every trait they could expect in an employee.
Besides, it quite pained him to see Dae in a situation that disappointed her greatly. She gave her years to be able to graduate as a top journalist of the university. Taehyung could even count the days she did not sleep to prepare the best presentations with nothing but her future job in her mind. Now, she just worked as a caretaker in a nursing and rehabilitation centre for old people. Not that she complained about it, she actually liked the old people around there and had quite a lot memories to share. However, the absence of her dream in her life seemed to swallow the whole energy she had.
“Let’s hope one of them to discover me today then,” mumbled Dae before she held back another yawn. She knew that she could sleep on her nearly one-hour long trip, yet did not want to risk her make up with her drool. Not to mention, she could snore really loudly once she got tired and currently she had no intention to scare anyone else that travelled on the same train with her.
“Let’s hope so,” said Taehyung before he decided to lighten the conversation’s mood as Dae needed it anyway. “How is Jimin?”
By the mention of her boyfriend, a small smile reached Dae’s lips and she did not even notice it. Taehyung, on the other hand, did and he just managed to shake his head in disbelief. As it was rather amusing for him to see that despite the years they all left behind, Dae still loved Jimin like teen girl loved her crush and maybe even more.
“He is doing good, got a promotion just yesterday,” she replied with a proud smile, whereas Taehyung dramatically placed his hand on his chest, right on his heart.
“And he didn’t even tell me about this,” said Taehyung and actually caused Dae to snort out loud. Such that, her hand immediately reached her mouth to cover it even if it was already too late.
“You’re such a failure for a girl,” said Taehyung as he made a face at her even if both of them knew that he did not mean it in a bad way. He liked Dae way too much to actually judge her manners.
“I’m a girl of the twenty-first century, deal with it,” said Dae with a shrug before she leaned her head against her seat and almost fell asleep right then and there. That was if the door of the compartment did not open just then to reveal an elderly woman, who gave them an apologetic smile for interrupting the conversation.
“Would you like to drink anything?” and she did not even have to ask twice. After all, it was the perfect time for a good morning coffee.
Dae and Taehyung parted their paths on the last station as whereas Taehyung had his own work to do, Dae had a long day in front of her with more than one interview that waited for her arrival. Therefore, as soon as her feet stepped out of the station, she said a quick goodbye to Taehyung with a promise to see him again soon. Then, she just dashed through the crowd like a wind and occasionally checked the time to be sure she was not late.
Deep down Dae knew that she tortured herself with empty hopes, which suddenly rose in her but she just could not help it. Being a journalist was a dream she fought for, something that she could not simply abandon. So every time she stood in front of a company for an interview, she promised herself that it would be the last, either they accepted her or not. In both cases, she failed.
She was rejected more than she could keep the track of and still never managed to give up on what held her on her pair of feet until then. She just kept going on and on stubbornly and waited for that one day the miracle would happen.
One day, definitely.
By the time Dae sat the last interview of the day, she was overly exhausted and not less dehydrated. As she did not even have a proper lunch to not miss any of her job interviews, she ignored herself for the whole day and suddenly felt the regret for that. Neither of those interviewers gave her a positive answer anyway and by then she learnt well that ‘we’ll call you later’ only meant that they wished it to be last time they met Dae, in a more larded way.
“Yes,” she said as she stood on her feet to reveal herself. She passed by the curious eyes that watched her in the corridor and approached the woman that called her name just seconds ago. “That’s me.”
The woman smiled rather sweetly once Dae stood right in front of her, sweet enough to trick one that something good might happen. However, Dae had enough experience to know that smile did not prescribe a good sign and doubted that she actually wished to hear whatever the other had to say.
“We’re quite pleased with your background both personal and academic level,” explained the woman, whereas Dae just stood there, unaware of the fact that she did not even breath. As at that time she just prepared herself for the worst.
“However...” yet, she still felt the bitter sadness when the words that she memorized from the previous interviews slipped off the other’s tongue.
There was not an interesting news that Dae could present to prove herself that she could actually do some good job.
“I understand,” and so Dae said before she slightly bowed to display her respect and immediately turned on her heels to leave. She did not have any patience to stay and listen to some cliche excuse the woman prepared for her. As simply, they did not accept her and that was all.
“Screw it,” huffed Dae as she left the company behind and walked out to greet evening sun that directly hit her face.
She then raised her hand to loose her tight bun and ran her fingers through her long hair before another couple of colourful words slipped off her tongue. She just could not control herself at that moment, the stress and pressure of the day, not to mention the big failure at the end tired her greatly, so that she did not even bother to put a filter on her mouth. At least, that was until the familiar tone of her phone echoed in her ears.
“Hello?” sighed Dae as she pressed the phone against her ear and kept it between her shoulder and face as she searched her bag for her wallet.
“Hello, love,” replied Jimin from the other side of the line with a soothing tone as he wished to test the waves of tension that bothered Dae. “Am I allowed to ask how your day was?”
Dae sighed for the nth time and even she, herself found it absolutely annoying. She had to find a way to get rid of that habit of hers.
“You’re,” she replied, “but don’t expect an original answer from me,” she warned beforehand, which helped Jimin to understand that it was another day that Dae would return the home they shared with empty hands.
“I’m sorry,” said Jimin with such a sincere tone that it was impossible to not imagine him with a small frown on his features.
“Don’t be,” said Dae as she finally found her wallet and began to walk towards the station, her phone now held by her free hand. “It’s not something you can change.”
There was a pause that Dae could not read, the silence that did not bother her much, not until Jimin interrupt it anyway.
“Then I’m sorry for what I’m about to say,” mumbled Jimin, which caused a frown to spread on Dae’s features.
“You talk like that you’re about to leave me or something,” mused Dae, “what, a day after you get a promotion, they are sending you out of the city?”
She meant it in a joking manner and even chuckled at her own joke. That was until Jimin’s silence told her that she actually had a point in what she said.
“Apparently one of the seniors had to stay here to manage some project and they asked me to go to Busan instead of him for three days,” explained Jimin with a careful tone as if he feared to broke Dae. Then, maybe he already did as just when she needed him the most, he called to inform about the sudden business trip and that probably hurt Jimin more than it did Dae.
“Visit your parents as well then,” said Dae, however, as she approached the situation rather comprehensively. “I bet they missed you so much.”
“Aren’t you angry?” asked Jimin as he interrupted her. He did not wait for her to be so understanding, even if through the years he knew Dae, he had to guess that she would act exactly in this way. However, he still expected her to show a kind of reaction that could reflect her disappointment in him.
“Of course not, Jimin, this your job. I respect you for your hard work,” said Dae even if deep down she slightly felt bitter. However, she was aware that Jimin needed to her mature side at the moment, not the childish girl that would whine and ask him to stay.
“Just promise me that you’ll take care yourself and not overwork.”
“You’re a fine one to talk,” said Jimin as his smile almost could be heard from the other side of the line. “Take care yourself as well, Dae. I love you.”
“Love you too,” replied Dae and was about to end the call when Jimin called out her name.
“You’ll be alright, right? Do you want me to call Taehyung?”
Dae almost laughed at his sweet apprehension.
“I’m a big girl, Jimin. I guess I can handle living alone for three days,” and after another brief goodbye, Dae ended the call.
She knew she was not supposed to expect Jimin to home tonight as since he already had some clothes in his parents’ house, he would probably directly look for a ticket to Busan. Therefore, Dae made a quick decision to buy takeout instead of preparing dinner and found her way back to the home, her shoulders dropped and her heart bitter.
The long train trip drained Dae more than she was before and once again caused her to mutter every colourful word the dictionary came up with or soon to find out. Her bag lazily on her shoulder, her pair of high heels in her hand, because at that moment she did not even care about walking barefoot on the alley, Dae almost fainted from the joy when she finally caught the sight of her home. She even made a good attempt to run towards the door, however, came to a sudden halt when she caught a shadow right in front of the garden’s door.
She was supposed to be scared at that moment but her exhaustion gave her such an unbelievable courage that Dae did not even hesitate to approach towards whoever wandered around her house. She put a deep frown on her face and tried to appear as minacious as possible before she walked under the dim light of the street lamp and only then managed to catch the full sight of the other.
The young man looked around her age, give or take a couple of years from what she saw at his side profile and appearance. His hair was coloured in the morning sky and he was clothed only with a long shirt that barely reached his thighs. Also, from what Dae could see under the dim light, that was the only thing he had to cover himself as he was practically naked.
“Who are you?”
There was a hesitation in her voice yet Dae still managed to question the other. She held the strap of her bag a bit tightly and tried to appear unbothered as she waited for the other to fully turn and face her. However, unlike what she expected, the young man just stood still and did not even seem to hear her.
“H-hey,” called Dae once again and quietly scolded herself for stuttering. She was not supposed to show her weakness at that moment, at least if she wished to survive this incident alive. As she still did not know the other and believed he could be an attacker.
“Who-” before Dae managed to complete her question, the young man suddenly collapsed under her feet and caught Dae completely off guard. Yet, she still managed to move out of reflex and grabbed his arm before he hit the ground.
“What the- what happened to you?” she asked as if the other was in the state to answer her. She tried to tap his cheeks lightly and even shook his figure a bit to wake him or see if it was an act of the stranger. Yet, despite her many attempts, the other stood still and instead, allowed his weight to fell on Dae’s shoulder. She later noticed that he did not appear as heavy as he was supposed to be as she easily managed to drag him towards her house. And though the way, she questioned her sanity, luck and everything about the sudden decision she made.
However, one thing for sure, Oh Dae definitely did not expect an uninvited guest to appear in front of her door, barely dressed in a thin shirt.
“Where the hell did you come from?”