The woman was standing up with her 5 cm black heels, black women’s work suit, and coiled hair tried to shake her leg lessening fatigue in front of the mirror in the restroom. The nametag which tagged on her upper right suit was written with Son Jieun. She tidied up her makeup a bit before leaving the toilet.
Her phone in her left hand suddenly rang and she picked up in an instant.
“Hello,” she answered the call.
“Ms. Son Jieun, can you go to the hospital right now?” the woman’s voice on another line asked her in a calm voice.
“Pardon me? I am sorry.., but I can be there 3 hours from now. Is it fine?” She bit her lips on nervousness. Jieun had given so much trouble for her friend who stands beside her, because of her absents from taking care of her mother in the hospital these times.
“That's fine. Ms. Son Jieun, I am sorry for disturbing you. But make it sure you will come here as soon as possible Ms. Jieun ” The woman replied without further explanation.
“No, I am the one who should say sorry, I will be there in 3 hours. Thank you Miss Yang for your concern, thank you.” Jieun slightly bowed her back after troubling the nurse who is always beside her mother when she was away. The nurse ended the call and she withdrew the restroom to the receptionist’s desk.
“Jieun?” Lee Hyeokjae, a middle-aged man who was her manager called her after noticing her appearance coming out from the restroom.
“Yes... Manager ...” she greeted him while bowing her back. She grinned sheepishly feeling that he would scold her about her absents. Her ears naturally deafened after doing a lot of trials.
"Should I say, If you won’t do the work just write a resignation letter? Didn’t I?” he sarcastically said the words to her with his eyes widened while shaking his head. She couldn’t just agree with his words or disagree with his words either. She often put on absents and rescheduled her shift with her friends because of her mother’s condition. The fact that she was the only family her mother had, pushed her to do that at once.
“I am sorry...” she pouted her lips a bit and bowed once again.
“Every day, just sorry..." he muttered in his so-called English, then left her alone. She exhaled her breath heavily after he left. She was ready to give a punch behind his back when he turned his back away. Her manager's attitude often acted like a step-mother, definitely raising her blood pressure.
Jieun took a seat beside her friend Im Yuna, who was still doing her work on the computer. She pushed a cup of warm coffee to her desk, Yuna who was looking to monitor, glance at her motion, smiling earnestly. Jieun said ‘thank you' soundlessly to Yuna and back on her work again.
Yuna hid the coffee behind her monitor after she took a sip and back to her work again.
Son Jieun worked at HD Enterprise for 2 years. She used to get awards as the best employer for 5 months in a row. Unfortunately, her performance was dropping since her mother was hospitalized because of cancer that was diagnosed a year ago. The condition of her mother was at the worst when she first got hospitalized a year ago.
Jieun's mother should take chemotherapy and radiotherapy together after knowing it was in the terminal state. She should be hospitalized to get a plenary treatment and waited for enough money to get the surgery done. Even though the age of her mother matter so much, but Jieun should try it for her mother in any case. The doctor also said that her mother's condition indeed a good one so there was a slight hope for her to get cured.
The cancer treatment wasn’t cheap for Jieun, so she should make sure that her work stabilized and give up on her dream. It was always her mother on her mind. The monthly fee of her was enough for her mom’s chemotherapy treatment, even if she lowered her daily expenses and the other loan was helped by the hospital’s social assistance agency.
Jieun was being grateful for the help of the hospital’s social assistance agency, they cover up half of the hospital fee for the needed one. It lifted the burden on her shoulders a bit. A lot of absent she took lately, made her feel disrespectful to her company if she bravely tried to take a loan from it.
Jieun walked as fast as she can after changed her clothes from the locker room to go to the hospital. Along the way, she passed the heavy equipment on the right side of the company building. That was the day when the company expanded the main building. The lift that brought the materials to the top, made her worry because it staggered while she passed the way.
“Ouch... I should be careful!” she mumbled passing the staggering lift.
She walked to the bus stop and waited for the bus that would bring her to Hanse Hospital. The creaky sound that came from the lift, diverted her and attracted her to see the lift above.
Suddenly, her eyes caught a glimpse of a toddler with her pink jacket was running around the lift. The creaky sound also attracted the kid who was growing up in a curiosity state.
“Yah... Kid..! No.. she might don’t know what I am talking about.” Jieun bit her lower lip nervously. She glanced to the appearance of the bus which came closer.
The bus stopped in line and opened the door. She didn’t know what to choose.
“Aisshh…” she cursed to the staggering lift.
The workers around the building focused on the lift and they didn’t seem to know the appearance of the little girl wandering around the creaky lift. The little girl’s eyes which glued on the lift, full of curiosity, burdened her more. The creaky sound didn’t stop and make the workers panicked, suddenly the lift couldn’t hold the weight any longer.
“Kid...Be careful! “ she chose to run toward the toddler then entered the bus.
Son Jieun ran toward the toddler and hold her in her embrace running away to avoid the lift before the big crashed sound of materials dropped off, startled the people around the building. The worker of the project, approached her in hurry knowing that she passed them when the lift was dropped.
“Are you okay, Ms?” The man approached her, asking her condition in worry.
“ I am okay. “ Jieun nodded lightly while suddenly she heard a loud sound of crying from her embrace. Naturally, she tapped the little girl's back lightly to give reassurance. Fortunately, there were no people injured in the accident.
“NANA!!” a man's voice screamed from another side of the building. He ran reaching the toddler she hugged, Jieun widened her eyes in a second realizing the man is her CEO.
“Director...” she stuttered and suddenly take a bow, still hugging the little girl. The little girl kept crying out loud and hug Jieun even tighter.
Jieun caressed her back lightly, coaxing the little girl. He almost lost his breathe to approach her.
“Thank you very much..” he gasped out of breath after running.
“Yes, Director...” she stuttered while looking for the first time the CEO of the company that close. He stretched his hands trying to hug the little girl back.
The little girl hugged her and didn’t want to release her hug on Jieun's. Jieun was feeling uneasy.
"Director..." the worker bowed lightly feeling wrong about the incident.
"Just talk to secretary Baek about this incident. I don't want this accident to happen in the future..." the CEO glared at the worker. His cold voice gave the worker a shiver which made the worker bowed in repeat before he left the CEO and Jieun alone.
“Nana.. Aunty should go somewhere, come to Daddy, Nana!” he persuaded the little girl to get out of Jieun's. However, she cried even louder. Jieun kept calming on her while looking at her boss feeling uneasy.
“I am sorry Director, Can I go somewhere with Nana, seems like she doesn’t want to let go of me that fast? I am sorry I am in a hurry, Director.” Jieun felt the little girl's hug that tightened, growing up awkwardness between her and CEO. “I will bring her back here after she calmed, but still I need to go as fast as possible... Director..." She added after seeing his uneasy face.
“No, I can’t let Nana go without me! I will accompany you! Wait here!” he ran out fast to the basement. The dominant yet soft voice froze her.
“No… Director...” she wanted to stop him but he was already gone. “Ssshhh…Nana, That's fine. Aunty is here..sshhh..” she calmed the little girl with her soft voice.
Suddenly, a black SUV came out from the basement and he was in the driver seat. He let her enters the passenger’s seat, motioning with his head.
“Where are you going?” he asked Jieun in hurry. She thought for a while feeling the biggest difference between the CEO and the front officer. She gulped still caressing the little girl’s hair. “What are you thinking about? You need to go fast!” his dominant voice brought her back to reality.
“Ahh.. yes Director... I.. will go to Hanse Hospital!” Jieun mentioned the place she would go and she entered the passenger seat carefully. “Thank you, Director...” she stuttered still coaxing the little girl who was still crying shocked from the accident. Jieun then took a bottle of water from her bag and lead the little girl to take the water slowly, when she was a lot calmer. The little girl still sobbed and hugged her tightly on her chest.
Naturally, she caressed the little girl's hair and kept repeating the word ‘it's okay’ and hugging her tightly. Her way of coaxing Nana caught his attention, he glanced at her appearance along the way to Hanse Hospital. No one of them tried to break the ice except Nana’s sobbed that filled the awkward silence between them in the car.
After she reached the hospital, she went to nurse Yang who called her on her rest time. The little girl was still on her hug and sobbing.
Jieun went to the isolation room directly, which was the room her mom’s body was laid. She couldn’t come inside because of her unstable condition and she should wear a protector on her, in case she could make her mother's stance worse. The protocol that she couldn’t do, because she still hug the little girl. She only got to see her mother's appearance through the glass window.
“Ms. Son, let's have a talk!" Nurse Yang came to her with a worried expression.
The nurse Yang, who seemed to be in hurry since in the morning, leads her to the nurse's desk and gave her an explanation about her mother’s condition. Her mother's condition was unstable this morning when nurse Yang called her.
“Your mother should do surgery as fast as it can, Ms. Son. The condition this morning could make her in a dangerous state soon. Fortunately, she passed the dangerous state fast, so it is better that she got the surgery as soon as possible. If it doesn't matter for you, it should be done by tomorrow to keep the other organ in a good condition. We should do it fast before the metastasis took all over her body."
Jieun nodded her head, slightly knowing that condition will be coming soon, but her saving would never be enough by today.
“Excuse me, but for surgery how much should I pay?” Jieun asked her carefully.
“I will lead you to administration, lets get this way!” the nurse let Jieun took the way she leads. Her heartbeat fast knowing that the surgery should be done by tomorrow. The thought of the loan that she would have after the surgery kept bothering her mind, but it should be okay it was for her mother.
“Excuse me, Ms. Son I am just knowing that you have a daughter.” Ms. Yang smiled at her, walking to the administration. That was the first time she brought a little girl with her that arouse Nurse Yang's curiosity.
Jieun just let out a smile didn’t know how to react. Her mother’s health was beyond everything that she couldn't even expect to answer those kinds of questions. She would do everything she can, even if she should take a loan from her company. ‘Is it possible?’
Jieun let out a small sigh after the meeting with the hospital administrator. She kept caressing the child on her hug who was asleep, tired of crying. She strayed her sight on the hospital building, taking a seat on the bench, in the hospital garden.
“Excuse me..” a deep voice brought her to reality. She looked at the handsome man who wore a black suit with a cold drink on his two hands, greeted her. She tried to stand up, want to greet him politely, but he stopped her ways.
"It’s okay, just sit!” he smiled and took a seat beside her, he opened a can of chocolate drink and lend it to her. Jieun was amused at first and felt a dejavu when she reached for the can.
“ Thank you, Director...” Jieun took the can slightly bowing. Juwon let out a slight smile while opening his drink and take a gulp.
“I must be the one who says thank you,” he smiled looking at the can in his hand. “I don’t know what drink you will like, so I take chocolate instead. It because I couldn’t think of any kind of drink other than chocolate.." He chuckled.
“ It’s fine, Director...” She took a gulp of the drink he gave in a manner way in front of the CEO.
“Ah, right! I don’t know your name yet.” He added.
“ I am Son Jieun, Director!” she said nervously.
The thought of meeting the most important person in the office would be a dream for her, no one would be brave enough to meet him. The high-class personality, a sculpture-like face, skill, and power turned everyone around him, feeling as they were nothing other than him. The daughter of him shocked her. She didn’t even know that her CEO had a child, even his wedding wasn’t something that would be heard in the company. The workers just knowing that he was single. Mysterious indeed.
“Let me take Nana to the car. She must have made you tired this whole day. She is asleep though.” He took Nana from her hug and lead her way to his car.
“Be careful on the way, Director!” She stood up and bowing to him. He looked back at her and gave her a questioned look. He tilted his head aside.
“I will take you to your house with me. Since it is dark already!” he said to her with a smile pointing his finger to the dark sky.
“No, It's fine. Director.” He dragged Jieun’s hand and brought her with him to his car.
“ I won’t let someone who saves my daughter be in danger.” He smiled.
He opened the passenger seat and let her entered his car. He turned into the backseat to let Nana sleep on her baby car seat and soothed her. After he was done with Nana, he took a seat on the driver's seat and drove the car past the night.
“Son Jieun, the front officer, right?” he said out of nowhere breaking the ice.
“ Yes, Director!” she mumbled. Jieun was surprised that he knew her job. Every morning, when her boss was coming, all the workers would greet him, but she wouldn’t even dream to be recognized by him.
“Thank you so much, Miss Jieun. It’s a relief knowing that Nana was saved. It almost makes me got a heart attack.” He chuckled trying to break off the awkwardness.
“It's fine, Director.” Jieun still keeps her eyes down not knowing how to do.
“Mommy…” the little girl cried loudly which echoed in the car.
“Who is Mommy?” he suddenly mumbled while driving, until he realized that Nana woke up from her sleep. He stopped the car sideways near the bridge. They looked back to Nana in unison. Nana cried and lifted her arms to Jieun. “Who is Mommy, Nana-ya?” his voice tried to calm her while his hand patted her chest lightly, but she cried even louder and signed that she wants to be hugged by Jieun.
Jieun pulled out the seatbelt and in hurry came to Nana. She hugged her in a time and caressed Nana’s back to see the view of the night. Fortunately, the car stopped on the bridge where lights were hanging through and built a nice romantic view.
“Look at that Nana, Isn’t it pretty?” Jieun's hand pointed out to the lights made her cry turned into sobbing. Nana hugged her tightly and rest her head on Jieun's shoulder. Jieun wiped her wet eyes and kept on soothing her. “Are you having a bad dream, Nana? Its okay aunty is here.” Jieun said swinging her body slightly.
Juwon was touched, once he saw the whole scene and came closer to them. He couldn’t just ask Jieun to soothe his daughter for a whole day, right. It was non of her business.
“Nana… Come to Daddy! Aunty is tired, let's go home! Our pretty daughter..” he did some cute movements to grab Nana's attention, which made Jieun want to burst into laughter. Of course, she holds her laugh with her lips shut tightly, he was her boss anyway.
The 28 months old girl was sitting down on the sofa, watching the cartoon. She focused on television while her dad Juwon, cleaned up the whole apartment by himself after the daughter’s things finished.
The babysitter that he put the trust in Nana, who was the daughter’s name, betrayed him hard. Once, he found that her daughter’s hand had bruised, and sometimes when it was late at night and he slept in Nana’s bedroom, he found out some bluish-red color on her body. He couldn’t stand with the babysitter and end the contract after informed of the incident of the babysitter’s agency and made a report to the police.
He also ended the contract of the assistant who helped him do chores. He was still being traumatized by the accident. Because in the fact, the assistant knew the whole story but she didn’t do anything. At least, little action like informing him would help him to end the babysitter's contract faster.
He decided to move on to the small apartment which was smaller than his house, in case it can be handled by himself for some time ahead before he found a trusted nanny for Nana. He let his house was being handled by a property agency, and if it was being sold, he will let it be because he couldn’t handle it all by himself. He needed to be focused on Nana and his company too.
He changed his clothes after he cleaned up the apartment and came to Nana.
“Mommy...” Nana’s voice surprised him.
“Who is Mommy Nana?” he controlled his voice to be the kid’s friend since she was born. He sat beside her who was still focusing on her television.
“Mommy...” her little finger pointed to the television. He turned his face to the television. The picture of a baby bee was being hugged and caressed by a bigger bee, which is known as the baby bee’s mother because the baby bee called the bigger bee with ‘Eomma’. He gulped his throat uneasily and turned off the television when it finished.
“Nana… we should stop watching television for today, Come to Daddy...” she threw herself to him and clanged onto him. “Now, Daddy will go for work. I am sorry... Daddy should bring you with Daddy, but I promise there would be a lot of dolls in Daddy’s room.” She nodded lightly and Juwon gave her favorite barbie doll. He lifted her and a bag filled with her things on him also his work bag before leaving the apartment.
-to be continued-