Who Are You?

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Chapter Eight

“I have to finish what I started with this job. I need to secure myself, I have to. So if you truly think you can... How can you protect me from losing everything?”

SiWoo sighs deeply, turning to look at Mona sleeping in his passenger seat. Strands of her blonde curls fall from her updo and into her face, barely covering the mascara streaks that now line her cheeks.

“I don’t want to lose it all just to save my pride. Just to save myself.” This is more than just saving your pride and yourself. This is saving others as well, and giving you the justice you deserve. You don’t deserve to be treated like this.

“How can you protect me from losing everything?” That’s a good question, how could I do this? What steps can I take? The fear of losing everything comes from the fear of becoming a whistleblower, being the face of the justice. Your fear is never being trusted.

“How can I do this?” He pulls up to her house, looking over at her. His expression softening as he puts the car into park. “There’s something about you...” He reaches his hand out to brush her hair out of her face, hesitating an inch away. He turns away and pulls his wallet from his pocket, pulling out the sixty dollars she had left at the dinner table.

“Such a loud woman, making a scene so dramatically. If only I had known you couldn’t hold your wine.” He bends down and puts her money back into her purse, “but maybe we’re not too different in that regard.”

He watches her a moment longer, taking in her features. Her nose is small but prominent, lips full and pouty. Her eyelashes kiss her cheeks, ready to flutter open at any minute to reveal her soft hazel eyes. There really is something about you, Mona.

“Ms. Moore, wake up,” he says softly, shaking her shoulder gently to wake her up. “We’re at your house.” She wakes up slowly, looking around disoriented, trying to figure out where she is. Her gaze lands on SiWoo and she does a double take, sitting up straighter in her seat.

“Wait, where are we? Was I?” Did I really fall asleep in front of him?

“You weren’t asleep too long, just a quick nap on the way home. Why don’t you go in and get some rest, it’s been a long night.” He smiles at her and she nods carefully.

“Thank you for the ride home...” She grabs her purse, clicking her seat belt free from it’s confines.

“Don’t mention it, I picked you up. It’s only right for me to drop you off.”

She nods in response, not really sure what more to say to him. I just want to get inside, tonight has been a roller coaster. Mainly because of me, but I just... need to be out of his car.

She opens the car door, waving at him once before closing it and walking quickly to her front door. He waits in the road, wanting to watch to make sure she gets inside. Once she is out of side he sighs again, slamming back against the head rest. “This was a mess.”

“That was a mess...” She groans, pressing her back against the front door. “How could I do that? Talk to him like that? Then to go and fall asleep in his car like a drunkard?”

“So, I’m guessing it went badly.” Oh my god... She turns quickly towards the doorway to the kitchen. Haize.

“Babe, what are you doing up?” Looking him up and down she quickly notices his clothing, he is dressed to go out, not to go to sleep. “Where are you going?”

“I’m going to go meet with a friend at the bar, I haven’t seen him for a while. He’s an old doctor friend from school. How did the talk with that journalist go? Did you talk to him about everything with your boss?” Haize’s eyes pierce into her, gaze fixed on her as she fidgets slightly. “Have you been drinking? Did you drink with him?”

“It was 2 glasses of wine, I’m fine. And we didn’t really discuss it, I’m not ready-” as she talks he runs a hand through his hair, turning away from her and sighing heavily. Nervousness builds in her stomach as she stares at his back, sensing the air in the room change into a tense atmosphere.

He whips around, looking at her frustratedly, “stop making excuses and just do it. It’s always excuse after excuse, you’re not going to lose your career!” His voice is raised as he becomes increasingly more agitated, pacing back and forth in front of her. Her own irritation grows, offended by his immediate change in tone.

“Do you know how hard it is to be a woman in this field?” She says, voiced raised back at him. “I have to work so fucking hard just to be acknowledged, and even then I’m still only going to be credited for the way I look. But if I come out like some unloyal bitch who turned on her boss, who will hire me? They’re all corrupt, Haize! I won’t be able to-”

“Fuck them! What is your end goal, Mona? How will you reach it where you are now? You always say that this job will help you, but will it?” Tears start to fill her eyes, her lip quivering as she looks away from him, walking past quickly to the kitchen. He follows her, not finished with what he has to say. It’s been on my mind for too long, don’t try to stop me here.

“Are you sure you’re not hanging on to this job because you’re scared?” His words cut through her, making her stop abruptly, putting her hand on the kitchen island to steady herself she pushes out an unsteady breath. “You hesitate because you know it’s true. You know there are other options, but you’re too afraid, too insecure to try to aim for them. You stick with where you are because you’re afraid of failing-”

“So what if I am?” Her tone is low and cold, turning to look at him her eyes meet his in a glare. “Maybe I am scared, Haize. Maybe I’m scared that everything I’ve done is going to be for nothing. How wrong is it for me to want more security? To try to make the connections I need to move on? This isn’t something where I can just smile and rely on being a good person, I have to know people and-”

“Whatever, Mona. If you think that being the punching bag of that piece of shit governor and doing all of his wills even if they’re inhumane will help you some how with your career, then do it. But don’t come crying to me, anymore. I’m tired of trying to help you, then having you thank me by going back time and time again. Figure your shit out, come up with something. Because you’re on your own now. I’ll be back later, don’t wait up for me.” Turning on his heels, he walks out of the kitchen. She can hear him rip his jacket off the rack and swing the front door, allowing it to slam shut behind him.

“What is your end goal, Mona?” His words ring in her ears as she slumps down onto the floor, her body feeling numb and cold. “You stick with where you are because you’re afraid of failing.”

“You know my end goal,” she says softly, tears running down her cheeks as she stares idly at the wooden floor below her. “And I’ve always been terrified, I’ve always been scared of failing because I want to make him proud.”

I want to be like him, be like my dad. I want to make him proud, but what if I’m not cut out for this? What if I don’t have what it takes?

She wipes the tears from her cheeks, pulling her phone from her purse that’s still wrapped around her body. The contact is found quickly, a name she calls often when she is feeling upset. A source of comfort for her when she needs it. She hits call, listening to the rings on the other side as she silently begs him to answer.

“Hey!” His voice is happy, but full of sleep. “What’s up, Ivy*?”

“Kenta...” her voice is soft as her eyes start to brim with tears again, she can’t help it. Hearing his voice just makes her want to break down more.

“I don’t know what to do,” she starts to cry, her voice choking up as the sobs get trapped in her throat. “What do I do?”

“Tell me, what happened?”

*Ivy is a nickname given to Mona by her family. Only relatives and Kenta call her by this name.
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