Who Are You?

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Chapter Three

I really don’t deserve Haize. He let’s me sit here and grow my leg hair out until it’s as long as his with no complaints... She smiles, running the razor up her left leg; the skin underneath becoming nice and smooth with each swipe. He accepts my body in all it’s natural glory, but I think today it’s time to get rid of it for a bit. I’m tired of wearing pantyhose to work.

Her foot splashes in the water as she goes to tend to the other leg, rubbing on some body wash before doing so. She likes these peaceful moments in the bath, smelling of lavender epsom salt and the sage candle burning over on the sink. The bathroom is one of her favorite places in their apartment. The floor is black and white tiles with the walls a nice cream shade. The shower and bath were large, capable of fitting both her and Haize despite their tall statures, with a built in shelf for her assortment of body washes and exfoliants. A black fluffy rug rested outside the bath to sink her feet into instead of the cold floor. Then it opened into a walk in closer that she simply adored, though it didn’t change the fact that she would still walk around the house in only a towel.

“Should I do my arms today?” She asks herself, eyeing the hair on her forearm. “Do I want to? Or should I be lazy?” Her phone starts to buzz beside her, nearly dipping itself from the edge of the tub into the soapy water below. A squeal escapes her throat as she grabs it just in time, the only repercussion being a bit of water freeing itself onto the floor.

“Hello?” Her voice is quick as she uses the fluffy shower curtain to wipe the water off the screen.

“You. Me. Valentina. Spa. 1 hour” a smooth voice says on the phone, causing a wide grin to spread on her lips.

“I’m in. Meet at my place or yours?”

“Val and I will come get you, pack a bag with some clubbing clothes after. I’m wanting to let loose tonight! I’m so tired of work.” She lets out a large sigh, breathing a bit into the phone.

“How is work, Zahra? Any hard cases?” Mona asks, catching on to the mood her friend has.

“Girl, it’s all hard. I can’t get into it, yet, since the case hasn’t gone public. But it’s way too much. Tell me again why I decided to be a child abuse lawyer? It never gets easier. There’s some sick humans in the world.” Mona nods to herself, sympathizing with her friend. She met Zahra when they were in law school, both top of their class. The only difference is Zahra went straight into practice after graduation, while Mona has waited. Gaining political knowledge in the field, being the servant of a politician.

“Yeah, there really are. Hey, I’m in the bathtub, so call me when you get here. I’ll hopefully be ready.”

“Oooh, is Haize in there with you?” Her voice lowers a little as she asks, a voice popping up in the background. “Is Haize in where with her?” The voice comes closer to the phone as Valentina pushes against Zahra to hear. “Y’all doing sexy things?”

“Oh my god, no. He’s not in here with me right now. This is a by-myself-relax-and-shave-moment. By the way, shave my arms or no?” Mona asks, lifting her leg onto the side of the tub and shaving the hair off her big toe. Hobbit toes.

“Shave them, shave them.” Valentina chants in the background, her voice growing quieter as she wanders off. “What she said. I’m going to go get ready, you finish up. We’ll be there in 50 minutes.”

“Got it, see you then. Love you, Zahra.”

“I know.” She says simply, causing an eyeroll from Mona as they hang up.

“Well, I’d better hurry. Shave my arms and jump out.” Right as she is about to put her phone back down an app notification pops up; it’s the news app.

"Famous political journalist and author, SiWoo Moon, said to be starting a much anticipated new book..."

“Yeah, not interested.” She says, throwing her phone onto the bath mat. While she goes back to shaving, her mind can’t help but think about him. Despite her attempt to block out any interest, he still sits in her mind. I wonder what genre he writes?

“Mona, Mona!” Valentina sings through the door, knocking on it over and over again until it’s swung open by a very annoyed Haize.

“Nice to see you, Valentina. You’re awfully... loud today.” He raises an eyebrow at her as she gives him a side smile. Her long brown hair blowing into her face as the breeze passes.

“You’re just a grumpy ass, move, please” she says pushing past him into the apartment, moving him easily despite her 5ft fun-sized body. Zahra gives him a shrug and he moves over to let her in as well.

“You know how she is, she’s on a mission.” She jokes.

“She always is. How late will you be out tonight? Will my girlfriend be coming home to me in one piece?” He crosses his arms as he looks Zahra up and down. She laughs a little and shakes her head, “of course she will, I’ll be there. I never let anything happen to her.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He watches her a little longer as she looks away. Her chestnut skin glowing under the harsh lighting of the entry.

“You scared to be home alone?” Turning to smile at him she notices his gaze, a feeling of uneasiness settling in her stomach. A deep weight always forms in her stomach when she is around him, a discomfort she can’t place her finger on.

“No. I’ll go out with some guys for a bit, maybe I’ll just have to have a little fun, too.” He laughs, bumping Zahra on her shoulder with his own. She laughs a little, brushing off her intuition.

“Not too much fun without me,” Mona smirks, walking into the living room with Valentina in tow. “It’s already 3, we should head out.” She’s wearing a standard tee and blue jeans, matching both Valentina and Zahra with the casual attire.

He walks over to her, his strides long and fast as he pulls her into his arms, “love you, babe. Have fun.” He puts his cheek against her temple as he kisses the top of her head. Val runs her hands through her hair and makes a sound of disgust, “ewww. Lovey things.”

She kisses him on the cheek and smiles softly, “you, too. I won’t be home too late.”

“We’re going to keep her all night!” Val sticks her tongue out at him, grabbing Mona’s arm and pulling her away. “Let’s go, let’s go! I don’t want to miss the massages. They stop doing them at 5.”

“It’s not going to take 2 hours to get there, we’re ok...” Zahra and Valentina bicker back and forth a little as they walk out of the apartment building and down to Zahra’s car, a bright red Honda Civic. Mona starts to zone them out as they climb inside, opting for the backseat so she can lay back against the soft, beige leather seats.

“I wonder what kind of books he writes,” she wonders to herself, her mind going back to the author. “He seems like the type to write something political or controversial. I can’t imagine it’s something I’d want to read.”

“Seriously, my boss brought in this super old man, had him get naked in front of everyone, then made us paint him. I felt I was in university all over again, it was terrible. At least in uni the models were somewhat close to our age. Have you SEEN a 70 year old’s ballsack? It’s fascinating.” Valentina is rambling when Mona tunes back in.

“What on earth are you talking about?” Her eyes widen as she leans over, looking at Val in the front seat.

“Ballsacks, what else?” Val looks back behind her at Mona and gives a wide smile.

“Yea, Zahra, want to take me home, please?” Mona laughs as Val tries to grab her foot that is perched up on the center console.

“You little shit, don’t act like you’re not interested-” she grabs her foot and pulls it toward the front of the car.

“No, no, Val, stop!”

“You two are grown ass women, stop it!” Zahra says frowning at the both of them, her dark brown eyes glaring at Mona through the rear view mirror before turning on Val in the passenger seat.

“Yes, mom.” Val snorts.

“I swear to god-”

“How much longer, mommm.” Mona teases from the backseat.

“I should have ran away from both of you in college. This is my karma for ever feeling pity for either of you and helping in classes.”

“I never needed help in classes,” Mona protests.

“I did. I kept failing maths.” Valentina huffs, her lips becoming a pout. “It was the professor’s fault. He was too hot.”

“That’s a you problem,” Mona retorts, kicking her foot free of Val’s grasp.

Valentina turns around and glares at her as they pull up to the spa. “Thank god we’re here, you two get your annoying asses out of my car.” Zahra says as she’s the first to jump out.

“I’m going to the sauna first, then a massage. My back is needing this, too much standing all day. Really strains my muscles in all the worst ways.” She bends over, cracking her back a little as they walk to the tall building with their bags.

“I’ve heard really good things about this place, it’s like a resort.” Mona says, looking over the large building. The style is modern and clean with a lot of white walls and decor. Once inside it opened up a large patio area with a pool and hot tubs. People lay out on the chairs, enjoying the sun.

They check in with the front desk, then go to the locker room to put up their things. Deciding to go their separate ways, Mona goes straight towards the massage area. “I can’t wait for this. My back is all healed, my muscles are all tight. This is going to feel incredible.” She walks into the room and is taken aback. It’s stunning. The walls are made of dark bamboo and it smells heavily of eucalyptus. There is a man laying face down on one of the 3 tables, a short woman massaging some sort of oil onto his back, it smells of a slight hint of chamomile.

They’re talking in a friendly manner to each other, the conversation casual enough to assume they were familiar with each other. Mona can’t help but watch, having not been noticed, yet. The man has a nice body, but his face is out of view. She looks away, walking over to the table farthest from him. “One moment, ma’am. Someone else will be in here soon,” the woman addresses her with a smile and Mona nods. “Lay on the table for now. On your back. We’ll get to you.”

She does as she’s told, laying on the soft fabric of the table. She looks up at the bamboo ceiling, yellow glowing light fixtures coating it like small fairy lights. The room is tranquil, but she has a feeling in her gut about the other patron in the room.

“How was your trip to Paris?” The woman asks the man on the table, her hands moving up his back and over his shoulders. His skin is light, with freckles here and there. It looks smooth and strong, despite his thin frame. Thin men don’t usually catch my attention, but... Mona thinks to herself.

He chuckles a little, his face out of view. His thick black hair moves back and forth as he shakes his head a little. “It was as chaotic as expected. There were so many photographers there, I never get used to it.”

“Were you there with Miss Collins? Or were you there alone?” She asks, her hands moving down to his waist.

“I was there with Ana, the photographers are never that interested in me. Only when a new book is coming.” Mona’s ears prick up at this, her attention deeping at the man laying beside her.

“Do I get any juicy details for it?” She teases, patting him on the back, a gesture to tell him he can sit up. Mona watches as he pushes himself up off the table, long lashes slightly covering his grey eyes. Her breath stops for a moment when she realizes it’s Mr. Moon. What was this reaction? Why do I feel so anxious?

Her eyes are glued to him as he laughs at the woman playfully, a wide smile on his face. “Not this time, sorry to say. It’s still a work in progress...”

Grinning back at him she nods her head, turning and grabbing a clean towel from the wooden table behind her. She tosses the fluffy material at him, tilting her head a little. “That means you haven’t started it then, huh?”

“So informal, should you be so careless with customers?” He jokes, standing up. The towel around his waist loosens a little and Mona quickly looks away, a deep blush forming on her cheeks.

“Only with you, Mr. Moon. Go get your manager, send him in.” She flicks her finger at him, and he puts his hands up.

“Alright, but don’t get your hopes up with him.”

He leaves the room and Mona can’t help but watch him leave. Wait. Before she can process what she’s doing her feet carry her from the room, following after him intently.

“Mr. Moon! Wait!” She says, causing him to stop and look back at her. His eyes pierce into her, searching her face then up and down her body. Stopping in front of him she takes a second to realize what she’s done. I just chased him down- and I’m only in a towel. I must look insane and he’s just staring at me. Say something, say something!

“Mr. Moon, I-” She starts.

“Who are you?”
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