The Way We Are
“Hana-baby, your daddy is going to be home soon. Please be a good girl and put the dress on.”
“I hate that dress!”
“You love the color red and it’s a red dress.”
“I change my mind. My favorite color is blue.”
Lena tries to hold back her laughter. There is never a dull day with this little girl. She is passionately genuine. Never holding back her thoughts or suppressing her emotions. Having been Hana’s nanny this last eight months, she is now used to the little girl’s tantrums and quirkiness. She is very much like her father in that aspect.
“Okay, you sure? Hmm, I guess I could give it to Andrea, Mrs. Anson’s granddaughter. I think Mrs. Anson said she likes the color red.” She starts to leave the room with the dress. In seconds, Hana has snatched the dress from Lena’s hands.
“It’s mine!! Daddy bought it for me!”
“I thought you didn’t like it…,” as she tries to reach for the dress.
Hana hides the dress behind her and glares at her nanny.
Lena tries to reach for it again but Hana was faster. As fast as lightning, she has reached the other side of the room and is frantically pulling the dress on. She knows that is the only way to fend off her nanny.
Once she got it on, she smirks, shooting her nanny a smug look.
Lena suppresses a smile and picks up Hana’s hairbrush. “Want me to brush your hair?”
Hana plops herself down on the pink stool in front of the mirror. Eyes still glaring at her nanny.
Lena gently pulls the hairbrush through the little girl’s shiny, straight hair.
“So what will it be tonight? A little hairclip, a hairband or did you want me tie your hair up in a ponytail?”
Hana eyes the trinkets on her dressing table. It looks like her nanny has laid out a number of options for her to choose from. They are all so pretty. But her eyes keep resting on the pair of crocheted flower hair clips her nanny had bought her just a few weeks ago.
Lena notices the direction of her interest but will patiently wait till the little girl voices her decision. She knows if she were to pick it up now, Hana would instantly protest and choose something else.
Hana lightly touches the pair of hair clips, “This one I guess…”
Lena smiles and picks them up then clips them on. She looks at the little girl’s face slowly light up with a small smile. She is really a very pretty little girl. If only she would smile and laugh more. Lena feels a little twist in her heart and quickly shoves it aside. “C’mon, let’s go put your shoes on. Your daddy will be home soon.”
The little girl stands up obediently and walks to her closet. She picks a pair of shiny red shoes with a single flower and heads for the living room.
Lena follows her quietly, marveling a little proudly, how this 5-year old can have such good sense of style.
Jae walks in to his daughter sitting demurely in the huge armchair. She has a small crease on her forehead as she watches her nanny slide the red shoes on her little feet. He observes the pair quietly for a few minutes.
“So pretty!” Lena exclaims, admiring the finished picture.
The little girl smiles at her nanny, who smiles back, pinching her nose.
Jae smiles too. When was the last time he saw his daughter smiling? He doesn’t remember. She was always frowning or throwing a tantrum. But she is smiling now and it makes him very happy. He hates to disrupt the moment but he does need to get dress so he clears his throat.
Both his daughter and the nanny turns their attention to him. “I see you are all dressed. Very pretty.” Did he actually see Hana blush? “Daddy is going to get dress and then we can go, okay?” He almost reaches out to tousle Hana’s hair as he walks by her but stops himself, remembering how upset she got when he did that in the past.
Lena could not help keeping her gaze on Jae as he climbs up the stairs. She has been in love with this man for so long that she has lost count of the many times it made her feel pathetic and stupid.
When she took this job eight months ago, she was sure she could control her feelings for him. After all, she has not seen him in over five years and has been so preoccupied with other events in her life during that time. But she soon discovers that he seems to still have the same effect on her. She is almost thankful that his schedule has been so hectic the last eight months that she has probably spent only a total of two weeks in his company.
She sighs as he disappears from view and turns her attention back to Hana. The little girl is scowling. “Why the frown, little girl?”
“Why are you looking at daddy that way?”
Lena got a little flabbergasted by Hana’s question. “Huh, nothing….uhm, I think he looks a little tired... Did you want something to drink?” as she heads to the kitchen.
Lena smiles. It has taken some work to get Hana to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. She grabs a glass and pours Hana some water. “Slowly, okay,” as she hands the glass to Hana.
Jae walks into the kitchen as Hana is finishing her water. “Are we ready, Hana?”
Hana nods, handing the glass back to her nanny. She turns on her heels and steps towards her dad.
Lena watches her, wishing she would stop to say goodbye… And she does. She pirouettes around and waves then runs towards the front door.
Jae watches Lena’s face brighten with a big smile from his daughter’s quiet gesture. “We should be home in about two hours,” he tells her then turns and heads for the front door himself.
Lena hears the front door shuts. She suddenly feels lonely. This is the first time since moving into this house that she is left alone. She swallows a lump in her throat, takes a deep breath and starts to busy herself cleaning the kitchen.
Lena hears the front door. She pushes her sewing aside and leaves her room, running up the steps to find Jae with Hana asleep in his arms. She walks ahead of him and opens the door to Hana’s bedroom. She tosses the covers aside. Jae gently places his daughter in her bed. He sees Lena pulling out some pajamas from the drawers so he removes Hana’s shoes then tries to turn her on her side to unzip her dress. Of course the little girl starts to fuss in her sleep.
Lena giggles. “Here, allow me.”
Jae stands up to make way for Lena.
“Shh…it’s okay, baby,” she tries to soothe Hana, who slowly stops fussing. She gently undresses Hana. With Jae’s help, they manage to get the pajamas on Hana.
Lena’s heart softens as she watches Jae kiss Hana’s forehead, then whispers, “Good night, my baby.” She turns to leave the room. But stops, when he says, “Let’s talk a little.” Lena clutches Hana’s dress and quietly follows Jae to the kitchen instead. She watches as he grabs a bottle of wine and two glasses. She sits down on one of the kitchen stools.
“Some wine?” Jae asks as he opens the bottle.
“I don’t think I should.”
He pauses from pouring the wine to stare at Lena. After a few seconds, he resumes the pouring motion. Lena gulps. He slides one of the glasses towards her. “Thank you.”
Lena tilts her head inquiring, unsure of what he is referring to.
“Hana seems to have uh…acquired some manners.” Seeing that Lena is still staring at him, “She has learned to say please and thank you.”
Lena smiles and looks down at her fingers that have been nervously plucking at Hana’s dress. She scolds herself silently, “Stop, you are going to ruin this beautiful dress…. And give yourself away.” So she reaches for the glass of wine and takes a sip.
A smile curves his lips, Jae downs his glass and pours himself more. “I know I have been very busy and has left Hana with you for most of the last eight months. Hope she wasn’t too much of a problem.” He knows full well how much of a handful Hana can be. He didn’t lose fifteen nannies before Lena for no reason. Between having to deal with Hana’s tantrums, the little girl’s stormy battles with him and his moodiness, all the nannies have quit after enduring for less than six months. Lena has lasted the longest and seems to have made some progress with Hana’s unpleasant attitude and manners.
Lena knows she ought to say something soon. “She’s really not that bad,” deciding against what she really wanted to say, which was “She just needs some love and attention.”
He raises a brow. “Not that bad?” He wonders if she’s been spending time with a different Hana.
She takes another sip then stops, being reminded of what happened the last time she drank more than a few sips of wine. She pushes the glass away. “I’m sorry, I should retire now.”
Jae follows her with his eyes until her silhouette disappears behind the wall. He finishes his glass of wine. Then hers too.
It’s been two days since Jae's been back from his World Tour. He has been spending more time at home. He had breakfast with Hana the last two days and took her to the park one day and on a drive to the beach the next day. Lena packed them little picnic lunches both days. No compliments or ‘thank you’ from both father and daughter but she consoles herself that they must like their lunch since they cleaned the containers.
Jae also read Hana bedtime stories both nights before retreating to his studio to work on his music. Lena would hear the strumming of his guitar or tinkling on his keyboard late into the early mornings, his soothing voice lulling her to sleep since her room is next to his studio. She can only imagine the thousands of fans who would love to be in her shoes, to have Jae sing them a lullaby every night. If they only knew how sorrowful that could be for some.
She has been stirring the abalone porridge slowly so that it doesn’t get burn. Seeing that it is boiled to the consistency she was looking for, Lena turns off the stove. Knowing that Hana is not a big fan of abalone, she has planned to mask it with some shredded chicken. She cuts a piece of abalone into very tiny pieces before tossing them with the shredded chicken, hoping Hana would not notice.
She hears footsteps coming down the stairs and Hana giggling, which makes her smile. Hana’s transformation the last eight months has been amazing.
When she first moved in, Lena was shocked and sadden at how insolent the little girl was. She would pick fights with Lena all the time, which got very exhausting for both of them. And of course for Hana, her weariness gets manifested by her tantrums later. It got so bad some days that Lena had to send her to bed without dinner, which totally broke her heart but she was determined not to let the little girl get away with throwing her dinner on the floor when it was not to her liking or if she was upset for some other reasons.
Once, she was so upset with Hana that she spanked her. The little girl was stunned at first but soon recovered and raged on about how she was going to have her dad fire her. Lena was shocked, not because of her reaction but that this five-year-old understood how her nanny can be fired by her dad. Lena called AJ, Jae’s manager immediately who cursed at first for he knows how much Jae dotes on the little girl even if he does not show it. But he roared with laughter after and said, “Wow! You sure have got some guts.” He assured her that he will alert Jae and smooth things out before he hears about it from Hana.
Lena is not sure if that was the turning point. But Hana must have realized that the same power she had over her other nannies did not apply with Lena and her new nanny absolutely did not fear her or her threats and tantrums.
“Good morning,” Hana calls out as she climbs onto the stool at the kitchen island.
“Good morning, Hana.” She places a bowl in front of Hana and a bigger one in front of Jae, seated next to his daughter.
“Thank you,” father and daughter say in unison.
Both the nanny and daughter stare at him but he is oblivious to the shock on their face. Not till Hana says, “Does daddy get a kiss too?” that Jae chokes on his breakfast.
Lena blushes but quickly replies, “That’s just a game that applies to the two of us.”
“Why? Doesn’t daddy have to learn manners too?”
Lena stares at the little girl. She remembers muttering under her breath one day that Jae needs to learn some manners and that’s probably why his daughter lacks manners too. Did Hana hear her? She thought the little girl was asleep.
“Adults learn manners differently.”
The little girl looks a little confused but her stomach growling turns her attention back to the porridge in front of her. She starts to devour her breakfast.
Jae is still a little surprised by Hana’s earlier question but is now amazed that she is eating the abalone. “Hana, don’t you dislike abalone?”
“Mmm, hate it,” as she scoops another spoonful into her mouth.
Lena clearing her throat makes Jae turn his eyes to her. He sees her gesture, warning him not to say any more to Hana. So he continues eating his breakfast, occasionally glancing at Hana finishing the bowl of porridge.
“Thank you for breakfast.”
“Go clean up and get ready for your bath, okay?”
“Okay.” Hana turns to head upstairs. Lena is happy and glad that the little girl is in such a good mood. But is startled when she hears Hana call out to her dad before running away, “Daddy, if you remember to say all your ‘thank you’ all day, you get a kiss from Lena.”
Lena almost drops the bowl from her soapy hands, which Jae catches. “Is that how you got her to say ‘thank you’?”
He is standing next to her and she thought she could hear the beating of her heart get louder.
“Compose yourself,” she scolds herself. “We..ll, it just somewhat evolved to that. It started with dessert if she remembered all her manners. But she started asking for kisses one day for the ‘thank you’.” She suddenly notices that Jae has taken over washing the dishes, “Please, you don’t have to. I got them.”
“I rather do it so you don’t break any of the bowls unless you’ve fully recovered from your shock.”
Lena blushes. “I just didn’t want you…”
“Don’t worry. Adults learn manners differently, right?” He is watching her intently, then whispers, “Kisses are child’s play. I would want more than mere kisses.”
Lena hears her heart thundering in her ears. Her mouth fell slightly agape from shock. She could not take her eyes off his.
But his eyes are now drawn to her full lips. They look so inviting and delicious. He quickly looks away. “So, what did you put in Hana’s bowl? Was there really no abalone in it?” he changes the topic.
Lena is still reeling and it took her almost half a minute before answering, “I cut them up into tiny pieces and mix them with shredded chicken.”
Jae laughs. “Very clever. The other nannies would just try to force her to eat it.”
Lena sighs. “I did too at first. But realized that it’s just going to bring on an exhausting battle and simply just thought of other ways to get her to eat food she doesn’t like.”
He is now leaning against the kitchen island, hands folded but appears relaxed. “Like kale in her smoothies, mashed bananas in her pancakes, carrots in her tomato sauce… I mean the list goes on.”
“Are you planning to tell her eventually?”
“Yea, but not just yet.”
Jae smiles, amused.
“Lena, where are you? I’m ready for my bath!” Hana is yelling for her.
“I got it,” Jae says as he starts to head upstairs.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” he calls back, already climbing up the stairs.
The peace in the house did not last long. Hana wanted her dad to take her shopping or to the amusement park but Jae adamantly says no. The little girl flew into one of her tantrums and was wailing that her dad never takes her shopping or to the amusement park.
Jae just left her crying in her room and slams his bedroom door behind him in frustration. He knows she is right. And he hates himself for telling her no. But he cannot risk being seen with her at the shopping mall or the amusement park. The press and his fans have no idea he has a daughter, and worst, a daughter out of wedlock. And then there’s the issue of the child’s mother. What is he going to say if they ask him about her? Tell them he doesn’t know who the mother is?
When Hana was barely six months old, AJ found her at his door step. She was wrapped in a fuzzy, pink blanket and was sleeping peacefully in a baby carrier. It wasn’t until he unwrapped the blanket that he found a note saying the baby’s father is Jae and to please return her to him. Jae and AJ kept the baby a secret from his agency until the DNA test proved that Hana was indeed his daughter. Representatives from his agency warned him that if this news is leaked to the press, it could mean the end of his career and it could affect his band mates too.
Jae had spent days and weeks trying to figure out the best course of action. His two bandmates were supportive. They told him they would stand by him no matter what. But he finally decided that he could not throw away everything they have worked so hard for. It would be too unfair for his bandmates to be dragged down by his mess. So they decided to keep Hana a secret.
He quietly bought a home in a very exclusive gated community in the suburbs, where the identities of the residence were a hush-hush since his neighbors included politicians with scandalous relationships that have to be kept hidden from the world. None of the neighbors spoke to each other. Everyone’s home is far from one another. Tall and lush trees help provide privacy and anonymity.
He has maintained his villa in the city to avoid suspicions. But that is also where he spends most of his time when his schedule is hectic, which was a lot of the time. He has no doubt this has had a negative effect on his relationship with Hana. She has spent most of her time with the revolving door of nannies and very little time getting to know her father. When they are together, harmony tends to be short-lived. They just seem to feed on each other’s frustration.
Yes, he is frustrated. Very frustrated. He hates living this double life. He wants so much to tell the world about his adorable daughter. He wants his fans to embrace her like they have embraced him. He wants his parents to be able to dote on the grandchild they have always wanted. And most of all, he wants Hana to have a normal life like other children. But he can’t. Or can he? He has increasingly lean towards just coming clean with everyone but something keeps holding him back.
The mother of his child. He has to find her or figure out who she is. His lawyers have tried looking for her to no avail. AJ has told him to give up. “What’s the point of finding her? If she wanted to be found, she wouldn’t have abandoned Hana or she would have showed up by now.” That’s right. She abandoned Hana. And he wants to know why. At least so he knows if he should forgive her before he crushes her into pieces. How could she be so cruel as to abandon a helpless baby in front of someone’s doorstep? What if someone else had found her? What if AJ was on tour and the baby had died from starvation or hypothermia? He gets so angry just thinking about her selfishness and cruelty.
A knock on the door jolts him from his thoughts. “Come in!” he growls.
Lena pokes her head in. She sees his clenched fists and gets a little anxious. “Uhm, if you don’t mind, can I take Hana shopping?”
He stares at her. His eyes blazing.
Lena bites her lips. He is scaring her. She’s wondering if she should just leave but she can still hear Hana sobbing. The little girl is no longer throwing her tantrum. Lena managed to calm her down some by telling her that maybe they can go shopping without her dad since he wouldn’t know much about clothes for girls anyway.
Jae is trying to calm himself down. He cannot believe how much effect that woman’s action still has on him after so many years. His anger and perhaps hatred should have subsided by now, as AJ said. But evidently not. “Fine,” he says with repressed fury.
Lena quickly closes the door and exhales.
When they arrived home that night, Jae was nowhere to be found. It took Lena almost an hour to try to console the little girl. She bought her dad a new shirt and was so excited to show him it and all the pretty clothes Lena bought her. She was sad and angry that he was not home to see them. She finally fell asleep crying, probably from being emotionally exhausted.
Lena had very quickly fall asleep herself after taking a quick shower. She felt emotionally, mentally and physically drained. But she is woken up by the loud banging of doors downstairs followed by laughter and giggles from a very annoying female voice.
Jae has a separate studio downstairs that he uses to entertain friends. At least that was what AJ told her. He didn’t want his social life mixed with Hana’s. He also didn’t want her seeing him drunk or having a drinking revelry. But tonight, it didn’t sound like a drinking party. She could make out only two distinct voices. Jae’s and the annoying female.
She can hear their conversation clearly. They must be in the living room with the patio door open and their voices have carried up to her bedroom directly above. She gets out of bed and slams her patio door shut to drown out their voices. Almost the same time she did that, she hears what she thought to be Hana’s voice crying for her dad. She opens her bedroom door and listens for a few seconds. She hears Hana’s voice again and dashes up the two flight of stairs to the little girl’s bedroom.
Hana is crying in her sleep, kicking her legs like she normally does when throwing a tantrum. Poor baby is having a nightmare. And in her nightmare, she is still very angry with her dad. Lena picks Hana up and cradles her, rocking her while whispering to her that it’s okay. That her daddy loves her. And other words she felt would sooth her.
Tears start to run down Lena’s face. Her heart torn by the little girl’s sobbing. How much she wants to feel love from her dad. And how much her heart breaks from feeling neglected by her dad. How could he be so selfish and cruel? Lena was getting angrier by the minute. Her tears are no longer tears of pain. But of anger. How could he be thinking about fucking some cheap whore while his daughter is crying for him? How could he?? Lena hugs Hana close to her, crying quietly, “My poor baby.”
“What was that?” the girl asks, jolted by the slamming of the patio door.
“Damn it, Lena!” Jae curses in his mind. “Nothing,” he says to Mari, and continues to fondle her luscious breasts as he ravages her neck.
“Mm, can’t you be gentler. My poor boobies are going to be so sore tomorrow.”
“That’s not the only thing that’s going to be sore tomorrow,” as he savagely twists her nipple while the other hand reaches underneath her skirt.
She giggles. “You’re so naughty.” She unbuckles his belt and starts to undo his jeans. “I want you.”
“Patience, you’ll soon be wishing you didn’t say that.” He pulls her underwear down and she gasps.
“Are you sure the nanny is not listening in? I get pretty loud… I mean we don’t want her to be upset, do we?” She giggles again.
Jae lifts his head from Mari’s bosom. He looks at her for a long minute. Then, he extracts himself from her. “Get dressed.”
“I said get dressed. I’ll have someone take you home.” He zips up his jeans and picks up his shirt from the floor.
“Why? I thought we were…”
“Are you a fucking psychopath? One minute you’re telling me we are going to fuck till morning and the next you are telling me to leave?”
“If I’m a fucking psychopath, shouldn’t you leave now? Aren’t you afraid of what I might do to you?”
Mari swallows. A little afraid of the menace in Jae’s voice.
“Or would you like to find out?” He inches towards her threateningly. She quickly finds her underwear, slipping them on and finishes adjusting her skirt and top as Jae ends his phone call to AJ.
After seeing her out and handing her over to AJ, Jae climbs up the flight of stairs to the second floor.
Lena almost jumped out of her skin when she saw the silhouette in the dark. “Freak, what are you doing here in the dark?”
“I should be asking you that question.”
“Hana had nightmares so I was up in her room.”
“Is she okay?”
“Yea, she has stopped crying and is asleep now…” Talking about Hana is making Lena a little angry again. She sees him nodding. The moonlight gives the room a soft hue. “I’m going back to bed.”
“Why did you slam that patio door?”
Really? “I was trying to sleep and you…and your friend was making too much noise.”
“Is that all?”
“What else could it be?” She grabs the railings and starts climbing down the stairs, upset to hear the irritation in her own voice.
He catches up to her at the bottom of the stairs and twirls her around with one swift move. “That wasn’t why you slammed that door shut.”
His face was so close, Lena was having difficulty breathing and keeping her heart from jumping out. “Fine. I don’t need to listen to you two fucking each other’s brains out.”
Jae laughs. “If I recall correctly, that was the two of us,” his voice lowered to almost a whisper.
Lena’s breath hitched. “Let go,” she asks softly.
“Let go? Because of you, I lost my chance of getting laid. Hell, I haven’t gotten laid in months. And you just ruined it.”
Lena sniggers. “Is that so important to you? Getting laid? More important than your daughter? She was crying for you while you were busy with that filthy whore!” Seeing that he is stunned, she continues, “You don’t deserve her. All you do is break her heart. All she wants is your love but you can’t even give her that! You are not fit to be called her dad!!” She twists her wrist from his grip and hurries down the hallway to her room.
He gets to her before she could get into her bedroom. In a split second, he has her pinned against the wall. His hands holding hers captive next to her head. She could only gasp as she felt her back hit the wall. “What about you, Lena? Wiggling back into her life after all these years?” He sees her eyes widen in shock. “If you think you can make amends now, you are sorely mistaken. You abandoned her four years ago!” He slams her wrists against the wall again, making her wince. “You have no right to come back for her. You are no more a fitting mother than I am a fitting father. But at least I didn’t abandon her. I gave her a home and I tried so hard to be a good dad. So damn hard!” Tears are starting to pool and threaten to spill over. He dips his head to stare at the ground.
“I didn’t have a choice,” Lena manages, her voice sorrowful. She takes a deep breath then continues, “When I found out I was pregnant, I was so scared. I didn’t know how to tell you. I was afraid of losing Hana. There was no way I could fight to keep her if you decided you wanted only her so I ran. But…” Tears start to stream down her face. “But I found out I had cancer.”
Jae lifts his head to look her in the eyes. “Doctors wanted me to abort Hana and start treatment right away but I couldn’t. I loved her already. And…and she was ours.” She pauses to breathe. “After she was born, we found out the cancer had spread. I tried to work and support her while going for treatment. But I was getting weaker every day. I became fearful. If something happened to me…” Lena is crying now. “She would be all alone.”
Jae has loosen his hold on her wrists.
“It was the hardest decision…but I knew you would love her. It was too impossible to get her to you directly. The only person I could trust was AJ. So I wrapped her in a blanket and left her outside his door. I waited until I knew he was home and didn’t leave until I saw him take Hana inside. It was heartbreaking. I felt like I lost a big piece of me that day. I was in a daze for weeks. I didn’t think I could live without her. I stopped going for treatment. One day, I woke up in the hospital. I had passed out at home and the lady I was renting the room from called the doctors. She saved my life. She told me if I wanted to see Hana again, I will have to fight this cancer and win.”
“What took you so long to come back for her?” Jae’s voice is gentle now.
“I had to make sure the cancer was really gone. Doctors told me five years. If I was in full remission after five years, chances are I will be fine. I called AJ as soon as the five years hit.”
“I asked him for a job. I didn’t care what it was. I just wanted to be close to you…so I could find Hana. Heaven must have been looking down on me. Your last nanny quit and AJ, without knowing, suggested me for the job.”
“Is your cancer really gone?”
“I’m in full remission. They don’t see any cancer cells but it doesn’t mean there are none. And it doesn’t mean it won’t come back again. But the prognosis is good and I feel healthier than I’ve been in many years.”
“Are you going to run away again if your cancer comes back?”
Her heart constricts. “I can’t. Hana needs me now. She is so forlorn.”
“That’s my fault.”
She shakes her head. He has freed her hands and she lifts one to his chest. “No, I know you tried. I’m sorry I was so harsh just now. I was just angry. She was so excited to show you all the clothes we bought and you were nowhere to be found. She cried herself to sleep.”
Jae feels his heart breaking.
“And then…I hear you with that, that… Anyway, she was having nightmares and instead of being there to hold her and comfort her, you were…holding some stranger.” She sounded disgusted towards the end.
He lets out a small laugh and lifts her chin with his finger. “Are you sure you weren’t just a little jealous?”
“Why should I be?”
She answered just a little too fast. “Because if I remember correctly, you told me you love me many times over.”
Her eyes widen again. “But, you couldn’t have…”
“Heard you? Because I was drunk?” He laughs. “I wasn’t that drunk, baby. I remember everything you said. And I remember everything we did that night.”
“You do?” Lena is so embarrassed. She just wants the ground to open up and swallow her. But before she could act or say more, she feels Jae’s lips on hers. She fights for a few seconds but realizes how much she has missed those lips. She gives in, kissing him back.
He snatches her up in his arms, wrapping her legs around him and carries her into her room. They tumble into her bed, still passionately kissing. How they have missed each other. How they have missed touching and holding each other. That one night of passion they shared has haunted them for five years. No other women could satisfy him the way she did. There was always something missing. She has not let another man touch her since. No one would compare to him anyway.
Jae runs his palm and fingers all over the curves he has missed. They seem fuller but that didn’t matter. He is relishing their bodies being molded together. He wants this night to go on forever. The same way he felt five years ago. This time, he is not letting her walk away from him. He is going to tell her how much he loves her. That he always did.
They made love till morning. Jae was gentle and deliberate at times, telling her he loves her over and over again. Other times, he was rough and impatient, swearing that he was going to fuck her brains out. She loves him either way and wonders what could have happened if she never did run away as they fall asleep satiated.
Jae had the presence of mind to text AJ before he fell asleep. He told AJ to up pick their housekeeper, Mrs. Anson early so that she can be here when Hana wakes up. And instructed him to have Mrs. Anson take Hana to the park or zoo or somewhere for the day. After receiving a confirmation text from AJ, he drew Lena closer to him and fell asleep blissfully as the sun starts to peek through the horizon.
Hours later, he is woken by Lena stretching next to him. Then suddenly, she sits up abruptly. “Oh no, Hana! What time is it?”
He smiles lazily. She is oblivious to her nakedness so he reaches out to tweak one of her nipples, which hardens immediately. He sniggers.
“Jae, this is no time for that! I have to see to Hana...”
Before she could jump out of bed, Jae quickly wraps his arms around her and pulls her towards him. “Don’t worry, Mrs. Anson already got her. They are probably at the park now.”
“Did you really think I’m that irresponsible of a dad? One who neglects his child?”
Lena blushes, remembering her rant last night. “Sorry…”
He sighs. “You are right, though. I should spend more time with her. I’ve been thinking of telling the fans and the press about Hana. It’s…”
Lena turns in his arms and places a finger on his lips. “No, think about it before doing it. This could have negative consequences on your career and on Hana.”
“What about you?”
She furrows her brows. “It doesn’t affect me. They don’t know I exist.”
“Oh, yes, they will.”
“I can’t tell the world I have a daughter and not tell them who her mother is.”
Lena is panicking just a little now. “No, we cannot.”
“Why not? I just have to tell them I fell in love with my wardrobe coordinator and we secretly got married. You quit when you got pregnant and we have a five year old daughter.”
Lena gasps. “You don’t think that’s going to hurt you or your band?”
He shrugs. “I won’t be the first. Other stars have done this. They are still doing well and their fans still love them.”
She is amazed that he has thought about all this. “When did you plan all this?”
He laughs. “From the moment you stepped back into my life eight months ago.”
Lena is surprised. “How did you know?”
“I didn’t. I had a hunch but when you showed up, the puzzle seems to fit better. Did you know she has the same smile you do? And of course I did a DNA test.”
“What?? So how long have you known?”
“Yesterday afternoon. When you and Hana were out shopping, I got the results.”
“It messed up my mind… That’s how I ended up bringing Mari home. I really wanted to punish you, to hurt you. When you slammed that door shut, it took some of the wind off my sail. And of course she was stupid enough to antagonize me more.”
“I have to admit I got really jealous and upset.”
He chuckles. “So it worked.”
“Oh yeah, it did,” remembering how she overheard him telling her how sexy she was and that he was going to fuck her all night. And her moaning and urging him to suck her nipples harder.
“Was she really that sexy? Were you really planning to, you know, fuck her all night?”
Jae is roaring with laughter. “For sure, she is not as sexy as you.” He draws her nearer so he can plant a kiss on her breast. “And secondly, I’ve only made love to one woman all night.” He flips her over, his hand sliding over her belly and down further. “And that’s you.”
“Hana, want to go to the amusement park today?”
Hana looks at her father in disbelief. “Are you sure?”
Jae smiles. She speaks like Lena too. “Yes.”
“I’m done with breakfast.” She gets off the stool in a second and runs off up the stairs.
“Hana-baby, be careful, please,” Lena scolds, then gasps as she feels Jae wrap his arms around her. “Hana might see us.”
“She’s upstairs, busy getting ready.” He kisses her neck, right under her ears.
“Are you sure about the amusement park?”
“Yes,” he’s serious again. “I don’t want to hide anymore.”
“Did you tell the agency?”
“Yes, and they have statements prepared in case anyone spots us today.”
“I’m still scared.”
He turns her around and hugs her. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. We are fully prepared for all questions and I promise, I will protect you and Hana at all cause.”
She hugs him back. She knows she shouldn’t doubt him. She knows he wouldn’t do this unless he is 100% sure and is confident about protecting her and Hana.
“Now, can we please tell Hana you’re her mummy?”
Lena pushes off, “No, we cannot. Not yet. She’s going to be traumatized.”
He searches her eyes. He thinks she’s being too cautious. He knows Hana likes her. She told him that herself the day they were at the beach. She asked if she was going to get a mummy and he asked her why.
“All my friends have a mummy,” she sulked.
“I see. One day, you will have a mummy too.”
He was shocked. “You want her as your mummy?”
Hana looked down at her dress and said softly, “I like her better than all the rest.” He knew she was referring to her nannies.
“But if she’s your mummy, you are going to have to live with her forever.”
The little girl thought for a little while then said, “Okay… As long as she doesn’t leave me and you.”
“But do you think she likes daddy to want to stay though?”
Hana wrinkled her nose. “Daddy, can you please use manners?”
“What?” He was amused.
“Lena likes people who have manners. And she doesn’t think you have manners.”
Jae laughed. “Okay, I will,” he promised.
As they were walking to the car, Hana suddenly said, “Lena likes you.”
“How do you know?”
“She looks at your weird when you are not watching.” Jae smiled, and then laughed again when she said again, very adamantly, “But you have to have manners, daddy.”
Jae is brought back to the present by Hana yelling, “I’m ready for my bath!”
“Coming!” Both Lena and Jae answer in unison.
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