Secret Love Affair - In Tune

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The sound was perfect.

Sun Jae expected nothing else even from a rental piano. Still, he had barely taken the time to take off his shoes in the entrance before making his way into the living room and check the freshly tuned instrument.

"I love Paris, but I can't with the cab drivers. Why can we never find one who actually speaks English?" Da Mi whined as she brought her suitcase and his. "And thank you for your help."

Sun Jae smiled and walked up to her. Her frown didn't resist to the soft kiss he placed on her cheek. "Thank you for the apartment, thank you for the piano and thank you for taking care of everything. As always."

She playfully hit him. "I'm going to get settled in. Do you want to go out for dinner or..."

"Well..." Sun Jae glanced at the piano.

"Fine. Go on and play. I'll go out to get us something to eat."

"I'll take care of mine," he said, reaching for his suitcase. She ignored him and disappeared in the hallway leading to the bedrooms.

All Sun Jae had to do was to play and that's what he did, stress and exhaustion momentarily forgotten until Da Mi came back an hour later with dinner.

"Korean food!" Sun Jae said as she set the meals on the coffee table. "You didn't have to."

"I know." She slapped his wrist before he could pick up a slice of danmuji. "Wash your hands."

"Yes, mom."

In more ways than one, Da Mi had been a mother to him in the past ten years. The deal had been for her to get her college diploma, so he could hire her as his overseas manager. People allegedly wanting his best interest kept telling him it was a crazy idea, especially when she repeated the first year. Still, Sun Jae knew that this part of his own scholarship he sent her every month was a good investment. Behind the now 30-year-old elegant business woman, the teenage girl who could drink up to three bottles of soju and beat him up in high school was still here. And she never missed an occasion to remind him where he came from. This was something priceless.

"You have a rehearsal tomorrow morning for the gala concert. Be ready at 9. You have three interviews in the afternoon. Then another rehearsal at 8...," Da Mi said, reading her tablet while nibbling at her plate. "Since the gala at the Korean Embassy is the day after tomorrow I can get you a fitting session for a new Armani suit in the morning, if you want."

"You know how I feel about that."

"All your suits are from last year's collection and we want you to look at your finest." She briefly looked up. "You can wear this one for many other occasions anyway. I'm getting you the fitting session, but we'll probably have to go in very early. Also, have you thought about the deal with the-"

"This will be my last concert before a year at least."

"I know, but it would be a great opportunity for you. The New York Philharmonic wants you for five concerts. Do you realize what it means?"

"I told you. Moscow last week, Paris this week and this is it."

"It's the New York Philharmonic."

"I know, but I won't take their offer. I can't."

"More like you don't want to."

Da Mi sighed and looked away. Sun Jae only managed to force down three spoonful of rice before the unspoken reproach got to him again. Her ambition for him was what had given him his career, but he had made it clear that it wouldn't be always his priority.

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