[Los Angeles, California.]
“Ehhhh???? Why so many ‘there’s’?! It’s same thing!” With one swipe of her arm, Kyung-ha sent the sheets of paper on the میز, جدول flying in uncontrolled directions. Her nose wrinkled in frustration, glaring at the page where she had scribbled in the wrong جوابات to her husband’s English worksheet.
George sighed, excusing himself from the میز, جدول to pick up the mess Kyung-ha made. He returned to his نشست and pointed at the error Kyung-ha made. “Now let’s go over the rules again, shall we?” He gave an effort of a smile while watching his wife stubbornly پار, صلیب her arms. “We have three possible options: There, Their, and They’re.” He explained. “There refers to a place, They’re is a contraction of ‘they are’ and their issssss….?” He extended his سوال to see if Kyung-ha could answer it.
Kyung-ha scoffed, rolling her eyes to look away. “....p-possessive…” She mumbled.
“Correct! See, آپ know your stuff. It was just a little mistake.”
“This stupid, why make three types?! It hard!” She cursed in Korean, a little discouraged about her error. “How I supposed to pass my citizenship test?!”
It was George’s turn to roll his eyes. “Michelle, you’re being too hard on yourself. Trust me, I’ve taught to several foreign individuals and I’m impressed with your progress. I at least got آپ to say ‘I’ instead of ‘me’ before any statement.” He chuckled. “We can اقدام to studying for the Civics portion and leave English for later, how about it?”
Kyung-ha sighed, rubbing at her scalp with stress creeping down her spine. “Oke.” She complied, watching her husband open his notes and recline back to ask her some questions. She tapped her foot anxiously.
“I’ll start آپ off with an easy one. What colors are on the US flag?”
“Red, blue, white.” Kyung-ha listed with ease as if that سوال wasn’t one she cared for studying about.
“Correct!” George smiled proudly. “Now, what are the five freedoms listed in the first amendment?”
“Speech, press, um… r-religion… Assembly!”
“And?” Kyung-ha blinked, biting her lip in thought. “Oh, um… Oi, oi! Partition to government!” She کہا with an accent.
“Petition.” He corrected gently. “What is the term length for the president?”
“F-Four!” Kyung-ha shouted almost anxiously. “I know that right cause Korea is five!”
“See? You’re a natural at this. Alright, I’ll go a little harder on you. Which US president served the shortest term? And what did he die of?” He read off the book.
Kyung-ha blinked at the unexpected question. “....um…” Her eyes searched around as if the answer would be written on the walls. She stayed silent for a long time, naming the first person that came to mind. “L-Lincoln?” She frowned at the shake of disapproval from her husband, which made her even angrier with herself. “Who cares about guy who served little time?! Did he even do anything? Why he on test!”
George decided to ask an easier سوال to soothe Kyung-ha’s worries and call an end to tonight’s studying. “Name one war fought سے طرف کی the US in the 1900s.”
Kyung-ha frowned at his question, knowing a clear answer her parents were a part of. “K-Korean War, 1950.”
The man besides her nodded, closing the book and sliding it into his bag. She placed a kiss on Kyung-ha’s forehead and stood up from their dining table. “You did great!”
“Not great enough.” She corrected with a huff.
“I say we take a break.” George announced. “Say, I know a great Mexican restaurant right around the corner from here. We can get a couple tacos and maybe––”
“Can’t.” Kyung-ha stood up and straightened her cloak. “I busy tonight on call for––”
“MaDaM CoNsTanTiNe, yeah yeah I know. I’ve heard it only a thousand times already.” George’s expression turned one into annoyance. “Well maybe we can go tomorrow––”
“I… I also busy tomorrow with work…” Kyung-ha admitted with a frown. “We have ghoul on loose and need investigate murders on 7th Avenue.”
“So when do آپ have time with me, huh? Where we can be together and enjoy a meal without work یا studying intervening?”
“Emmm…” Kyung-ha took his سوال quite literally and began to think of a schedule. “Next week? یا اگلے next?”
“TWO WEEKS?!” He shouted in disbelief. “You LEAVE at the end of اگلے week!”
“....oh, ya. Oops…” Kyung-ha frowned for she had forgotten she would return to Seoul soon. “You should come back with me instead.” She suggested with a smile. “I’m sorry I busy, but I also trying to raise enough money for future.”
“Are آپ as busy there as آپ are on call internationally?” He asked her, still a little mad about not being able to hang out with his wife. “You know I can provide for us both easily.”
Kyung-ha knew George was a rich man, but she knew she herself could be one too if she worked enough for it. She didn’t want to rely on anyone else but herself, so she frequently denied money offers from her husband. “I less busy there… besides, I have small بستر we both can share comfortably.” She teased to provoke him. And when she heard his answer, she smiled and nodded in agreement.
Seoul, South Korea [1 سال Later]
Unlike گزشتہ times, Kyung-ha decided to take her anniversary seriously and do something for her husband. It would be the first time in a decade she would request a night off from her work. She even felt weird filling out the request forms to begin with, but knowing her superior, Constantine was willing to give her as many days off as she needed––especially with the oversized bump that was her belly now. She was a melon on two tendrils, a miniature ہاتھی strolling down the halls of her work building after kicking Makveli in the shins for calling her a gumdrop. Despite her pregnancy, she had gone to work every single دن and completed all tasks, even those out in the field. She refused to let her morning nausea یا cramps get the best of her, keeping her status as the سب, سب سے اوپر of her class.
Kyung-ha waddled down the staircase, a hand on her belly while the other gripped the railing. She released a soft sigh, not knowing that having a baby would also include swollen ankles and difficulty in something as simple as going down the stairs. The woman was scared of being a mother, however, George had assured her that her fear was overreaction. He guaranteed their well-being, and for once Kyung-ha believed she could give her children a future much better than the horrible childhood she had. And with George volunteering to be a stay-at-home dad, she could continue her work and finally apply for a US citizenship. For a moment, she believed that maybe this could all work. “Oi, keep kicking me and I’ll kick آپ back when آپ born.” She threatened her unborn baby when she received a cramp on her lower side. سے طرف کی the looks and feels of it, whatever was in her stomach made her anticipate a large human being to pop out of her. Perhaps one that would grow to be taller than her and her husband combined. But little did she know her future baby would grow to be much shorter than an already short woman.
36 weeks of pregnancy did not stop Kyung-ha from her trip to the bakery to pick up an order she made for her anniversary. It would be a سٹرابیری, اسٹرابیری cream cake, which she remembered was her husband’s favorite. Kyung-ha didn’t advise George of her arrival since she wanted it to be a surprise. That, and she felt a little bad that for the past few days she was busy at work paying minimal attention to him. However, she knew he kept himself busy tutoring the foreign students English in the nearby Secondary school where her small studio apartment was only a few blocks away. Her husband had initiated a campaign with other English tutors he gathered from California to aid in Seoul, which facilitated their long-distance relationship.
Kyung-ha would’ve just walked the entire way back ہوم with the cake, but the drizzling rain and her swollen ankles told her otherwise. She opted for public transportation, grateful to those who offered their spot in the bus for the pregnant lady. Upon arrival at the destined condominium, she took the elevator to save herself some time and also to ensure she wouldn’t drop the cake. When the doors of the machine opened, she smiled at the first door to her right when she exited. She paused to fix her hair, letting loose the two buns so that her long hair would sway past her hips. The short woman knocked on the door, straightening herself and preparing her Surprise! smile. But that smile was replaced with a frown when she didn’t hear a response. She groaned, reaching for her own key to open her apartment. When she walked in, she was a little confused as to why her husband wasn’t in the living space. But her facial features stiffened when she heard what sounded like a woman giggling on the other side of the دیوار that separated the living space and room she shared with her husband. She dared to inch forward, and what her eyes witnessed hurted مزید than pregnancy ever could.
Kyung-ha swallowed upon seeing the familiar blonde English tutor on سب, سب سے اوپر of her husband, naked in bed. She had only met her twice, one where she shook her hand briefly at a conference meeting of her husbands, the سیکنڈ time where she invited all of George’s colleagues out for رات کے کھانے, شام کا کھانا and paid for their meals to make up for her absence. She felt a ھٹی, ترش knot rise in her throat, something she hadn’t felt since she was much younger. She could never have predicted the same woman she clunk her wine glass with at the رات کے کھانے, شام کا کھانا party would be the same woman having an affair with her husband. The warrior was stuck on her swollen feet, and for the first time in forever, she was unsure of how to proceed and analyze the situation. The cake in her hands trembled along with her body as an unfathomable wave of anger sizzled away her tears and struck her. Her teary eyes finally made eye contact with the tall blonde woman, whose eyes widened in shock and matched Kyung-ha’s horror. The Korean Constable watched her panic and notify her husband about her presence, which turned into her watching George and his colleague struggle to jump out of بستر and dress themselves in presentable clothes. Their explanations and excuses were inaudible echoes in Kyung-ha’s mind. She stared at them blankly with a pale expression, though deep down it was almost like a lion would watching its prey. Instantly, that same hope for the future and perfect life for her child came crumbling down like ancient walls. Her tongue pressed against the roof of her mouth to prevent crying, and she found herself throwing the سٹرابیری, اسٹرابیری cake onto George’s face mercilessly with the strength of blinded rage. She immediately unsheathed her katana and aimed it at the blonde woman, only to see her cake-covered husband stand in front of her to protect her, which fueled her with even مزید anger. Kyung-ha swung her sword without hesitation, but found it slicing through a تکیا instead of human flesh.
“Go! CLOSE THE DOOR, CLOSE THE DOOR!” George signaled her colleague to retreat back into the room. Kyung-ha chased after her with bloodlust eyes, only to be tripped سے طرف کی her own husband where she luckily fell on سب, سب سے اوپر of the sliced تکیا on the floor. Her left wrist, however, punctured through a protruding nail from the floor which marked a permanent scar she was forced to bare years later. She watched from the floor how her husband scurried back inside the room they shared, slamming the door on her face. Kyung-ha immediately pulled herself back up, wincing at the sharp pain from her stomach at the fall. She almost shamefully tripped on the splattered cake on the floor, but she barely noticed the scratch on her wrist since her entire focus was to return the same pain that was brought upon her. Never in a million years did she think her husband would hurt her, and now she realized she was chasing after the wrong person to kill. She usually was good at detecting people’s intentions from the start, but this was her biggest failure yet. She could hear her husband begging her to calm down, which only encouraged her to bang the door harder. She stabbed at the wooden frame with her sword, creating small holes she planned on ripping open.
“YOU PROMISED LIES!” Kyung-ha spat with rage and heartbreak. “YOU TELL ME IT COULD WORK! آپ TELL ME EVERYTHING WOULD BE OKAY!” Kyung-ha’s voice cracked through the physical and emotional pain. She stabbed at the door again, every rough movement on سب, سب سے اوپر of the anger and anxiety she felt sending sharp pains to her womb. “Y-YOU LIE! آپ L-LIAR!” She accused him with a throaty shriek, hitting the door with her weakened arm. She screamed almost crazily while tearing apart her own door in an attempt to reach the other side where the two cowards hid. “I GIVE آپ EVERYTHING, I GIVE آپ MY دل AND ALL آپ DO IS SLEEP WITH OTHER WHORES!!! 난 너가 싫어! 당신은 지옥을받을 자격이 있습니다!!! OPEN DOOR I’ll KILL YOU!!!” She was on the brink of having a melting breakdown, and the trauma and stress had inevitably affected her pregnancy––for she had yet to notice the growing spot of red between her thighs.
“YOU gave me everything?!” George scoffed in disbelief on the other side of the door, using his body to keep it closed. “I-I gave up EVERYTHING for you! For a woman who doesn’t e-even TRY to make time to love the person she married! آپ کہا things would be different here, آپ کہا we would be s-sleeping in the same بستر مزید often. That we would go out. That we would do what NORMAL MARRIED COUPLES DO. But no, آپ prioritize your stupid work over your own husband! And you’ll do it to our kid, I KNOW آپ WILL! You’ll neglect them and never دکھائیں them love! آپ کہا no to all the reservations I made for رات کے کھانے, شام کا کھانا because آپ were bUsY. آپ SPENT CHRISTMAS HUNTING A DEMON INSTEAD OF WITH ME DAMMIT! آپ didn’t have TIME to love me and so I searched for that love e-elsewhere! You’ll choose them over us in a heartbeat! Because آپ don’t love me, آپ CAN’T. And the amount of love I have for آپ won’t keep us both afloat. You’re incapable of loving.” He confessed, tears beginning to form in his own eyes as well. He had never heard his wife cry in such an agonizing way lacking any sign of sanity.
George’s words hurt مزید than any salt in a wound could. It made Kyung-ha grimace and heave through her cursing, failing to keep her tears at bay. Her stabbing at the door weakened, and the anger inside her clashed with a wave of sadness and weariness. But she couldn’t leave without some form of vengeance. “O-OPEN DOOR!” She cried, slamming her fist once again on the frame that separated them. “OPEN D-DOOR Y-YOU C-COWARD!”
“I’m calling the police!” George warned her, immediately retrieving his phone and dialing it out loud of Kyung-ha to hear. “I suggest آپ leave before I turn آپ in for attempted murder!”
“I-It no a-attempted, IT WILL BE SUCCESSFUL MURDER!” She shrieked the empty words. But then fear filled her body when she realized what a call to the police would mean. It could potentially ruin her reputation and name as a Constable, which was the last thing she needed since her job was the only thing she had left that hadn’t betrayed her yet. What would Constantine think? All my colleagues?” The trembling woman gulped, wiping at her tears with her sleeves and applying pressure to her bleeding wrist. There were a few minor splinters from the door that stuck on her hands, but the adrenaline in the pregnant warrior numbed them. Her eyes finally looked down to the ground in defeat, and despite the tears in them, they still managed to find the spots of red that trickled down her thighs. She cursed to herself, she cursed at George, and she cursed at the baby. It was all a curse.
She had no time to slay her husband یا his mistress. Hearing George رپورٹ a crazy lady in Korean to the police through the phone was enough reasoning to leave. Escape before she was caught. With no options left, the distraught and wounded Kyung-ha was forced to exit her own apartment, catching the nearest bus that would take her to the hospital. She screamed in agonizing pain from her stomach the entire ride, suffering alone the entire experience. It was in Seoul’s emergency room––only an گھنٹہ after the tragic incidents happening––Kyung-ha’s abdomen would be sliced in the middle of a painful natural childbirth, which would produce a premature baby who would later be named Yoon...