six

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i sat in front of the easel, my paintbrush stroking the nearly blank canvas. depicting the seoul sunset was proving to be more difficult than i expected, mostly because there were so many different colors to paint.

i touched my tongue to the inside of my cheek, concentrating. it's true when they say that painting can be somewhat therapeutic, and as long as i was alone in my room with my paintings, wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants,  there were no other things in my head and i didn't worry about a thing.

of course, the moment wouldn't last very long, because roughly thirty minutes after i started, there was a knock on my door.

"come in," i sighed, turning slightly so i could face my very flustered mother.

"stasia, you need to get up, put some decent clothes on and we're going shopping," she said, walking towards me and almost pushing me towards my closet.

"hey hey, wait, what's all this about?" i stood up and looked at her, crossing my arms.

"i have just been invited by my bosses to a dinner at their place in roughly three hours, and we need to go buy something fancy to wear and still make it in time to their house," she explained, without slowing her pace.

i held in a sigh. "why do i have to come with you again?"

"moral support," she replied, and i lifted an eyebrow. "please, stasia?"

i huffed. "fine, but i get to pick whichever clothes i want."

"deal," she clapped her hands once as i undid my ponytail and reached inside my closet for a pair of jeans and a white top. "be down in five, we need to hurry," i nodded as she once again rushed through the door.

it was only when i was midway through slipping on my clothes that i realized who would also be attending this dinner.

***

my eyes took in the sight in front of me as we walked through the gates of the kim mansion. it was a beautiful, tall house, with gardens that looked like they cost a million dollars. and the beautiful roses surrounding the house from the outside were just a hint of the ones inside the gates.

i tucked a strand of loose hair behind my ear. my mom had graciously braided the top half of my hair, leaving the rest of it flowing down my back. i was wearing a blue sleeveless dress that had a sweetheart neckline, and which ended just below my knee. not too conservative, but also nothing that could cause my mother's bosses to have a heart attack.

i felt my heart beating faster as we approached the door and my mother rang the doorbell. we were greeted by a maid and lead through the hallway to the living room, where the three members of the kim family were already waiting for us.

i would be lying if i said i didn't look at him first. it was the first time i actually saw him with his shirt all buttoned up and his tie secured tightly around his neck. he was wearing an expensive looking earpiece, but his usual headband was nowhere to be seen, instead his hair covering his forehead and stopping just over his eyebrows.

mr. kim was the first one to move, giving both me and my mom a firm handshake. "welcome to our home," he said, quite formally, before both mrs. kim and taehyung bowed slightly. we mimicked their actions.

"it's very nice of you to invite us over," my mom spoke, smiling gently. mrs kim smiled and shook her head.

"it's really our pleasure, ms tanner," mrs kim smiled warmly. the more i looked at her, the more she reminded me of a much nicer, feminine version of taehyung. they had the exact same expressions.

"follow us to the dining room," mr kim spoke and me and my mom followed after. taehyung held the door open for the adults to pass first, me staying slightly behind. he gave me a look.

"fancy seeing you here," he spoke ironically. i rolled my eyes.

"don't screw this up, please," i said, walking past him and following everyone else to the dining room.

"i said i wouldn't," he muttered, walking next to me.

as soon as we got to the dining room, i was once again in awe by what was surrounding us. they sure seemed to have a lot of money, and the way every single corner was carefully decorated only further proved it.

i took a sit next to my mom and in front of taehyung. his mother sat next to him, with his father at the head of the table.

i ate in silence, only speaking up whenever a question was directed to me, afraid my korean wouldn't be up to par. taehyung's mother was nice enough to sometimes speak english to me, and i couldn't help but notice just how smart she seemed to be.

the rest of the discussion were work plans for my mother, new ideas for the firm, in between other things that i didn't quite understand.

"i propose a toast," mr kim stood up, grabbing his glass of champagne. we all mimicked him, even though all my glass contained was orange juice.

"to a new chapter for our company and a lot of success for ms tanner," he spoke, and then everything happened very fast.

my head turned just in time to see the glass slipping from mrs kim's hand, and taehyung basically lunging forward to hold his mother as she closed her eyes, helping her sit back on her chair. the glass hit the floor and broke into a thousand pieces.

"mrs kim are you okay?" my mother quickly rushed to her side as taehyung and his father exchanged a look.

"yes yes dear, it's probably just my blood pressure," she smiled weakly.

"let me help," i said, bending down and picking up the pieces of glass. of course, i had to be my normal clumsy self and one of the pieces actually ended up cutting my finger.

although it was a small cut, finger cuts are the worse when it comes to the mess they make. blood started dripping down my hand and taehyung noticed it. a rush of staff quickly took over what i was doing as i stood up.

taehyung quickly exchanged places with his father as he walked over to me and grabbed my arm. he pulled me out of the room and towards a bathroom.

"sit," he said and pointed to the counter. i did as he said, watching him grab a first aid kit.

"it's just a finger cut, it's nothing," i said as he grabbed a band-aid and some desinfectant.

"truth be told, you wouldn't want to stay there," he spoke as he dabbed a cotton ball into the desinfectant and then rubbed it all over my finger. i winced as it stung a bit, and he rolled his eyes. "this doesn't even hurt, pabo."

"yeah i'm just not really that good with blood," i chuckled.

"for someone who's not that good at it you sure seem to hurt yourself a lot," he said as he wrapped the band-aid around my finger.

"thank you," i spoke. "and yeah i guess i'm just clumsy."

"just clumsy? we're past clumsy at this point," his voice had such a serious tone to it that i almost  doubted it was him speaking.

"is your mother... okay?" i asked, cautiously. i didn't want him ti speak about something that he didn't want to talk about.

"yeah," he simply said, and i decided not to push it.

i hopped off the counter and looked at my hand. the scar from the other day was barely visible, but now i'd be adding another one to the collection. "it seems like all i do is hurt myself around you."

"you're not the first and you won't be the last," he muttered, and i had flashbacks of the other girl dumping a whole water bottle on him. it was probably something that happened often, due to his reputation.

we exited the bathroom once again only to find my mother already standing next to the front door. "stasia, we should be going now."

only mr kim was present, and so we thanked him for the dinner. we walked through the doors and i looked over my shoulder at taehyung. he had a pensive look that had my mind racing.

i don't know why, but i hope you're okay.

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