Twenty-one

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When I woke to my alarm, Jae-won was already in the kitchen, preparing a meal. At first, we were both silent. We ate in peace without a single word. But then I realized the situation was quite unsettling in our already-awkward relationship, so I was the first to pipe up. I waited until he was cornered in the bathroom before walking in myself.

"How is it that you are super rich, yet we live in this tiny apartment with a landline and one bathroom?"

Jae-won turned his head, continuing to brush his teeth as he shrugged. "Ya mom maunted uth to stawrt small."

I grabbed my tooth brush from its holder, placing toothpaste onto it carefully. "What? Are you speaking Chinese?"

Jae's hand dropped from his brush as he gave me an annoyed look. "Mo." He took a moment to spit out the paste before answering. "I said your mother wanted us to start in a smaller area. She doesn't want you to become lazy."

"So dwas dat meen we can moof out fum day?"

He nodded. "Yes. We'll hopefully move into a bigger home. It would be more convenient for the both of us." Jae cleaned up his spot before working on his hair. "I believe your mother said after you graduate."

I also cleaned up myself and my area. "High school or just ninth grade? I don't think I can stand being in this apartment for very long." I made a face of disliking before shaking my head.

Jae fixed his dark blue tie as he answered me. "Well, it all depends. The agreement to our marriage was for four years," he explains with a quick glance at me through the mirror. "Afterwards, we choose what we do from there. My job contract also ends around that time."

I sighed. "So what you're saying is, after I finish high school, I have the option of staying married to you and getting a new house, or we divorce?"

"Correct."

"Well that's easy. I'll just stay with the rich nerd and get benefits," I reply with a smile. I looked to my husband to see his reaction, and I was not disappointed. His eyes glaring sharp daggers my way was too funny to ignore. "I'm kidding Jae, gosh."

"It was so funny that I couldn't laugh."

I grinned charmingly at him. "I know, I am quite a funny person." With a quick brush of my hair, I left the bathroom. "Be sure to lock the house when you leave today!"

I grabbed my backpack from the dinning table and dashed out of the house. I made sure neither of us had brought up a word about last night, worried it would cause an unnecessary problem. We left it unspoken and instead left for our school.

Bo-mi was waiting for me at her house, as usual. She stepped off of her porch, hands wrapped around her bag, and her mind set on getting to me. When she did, she hesitated on what to do next.

I smiled. "It's okay, Bo-mi. I'm alright." I sucked in a deep breath to calm my thoughts enough to properly speak with her. "I'll be alright."

She looked worried. "I'm sorry, Lil. I know how much he meant to you."

I bit my lip. "Like I said, I'm fine for now. If I don't think about it all day, I will be able to make it," I tell both her and myself. 

She nods in agreement and wraps her arm around me. "Okay. Then," she starts to say while looking to me. "Let's go stare at your beautiful nerd husband!" Her cheer was loud within the small neighborhood, causing me to clasp a hand over her mouth.

"Shh, Bo-mi!" I laugh lightly. "You're gonna wake the neighbors."

She shrugged. "It's time for them to wake up too. I don't believe us students should be the only ones awake at this hour," she reasons.

"By the way, how come you think Jae is a nerd?"

Am I not the only one who sees it?

"Oh, come one!" She laughs suddenly. "When you told me he was a different person at home than he was at school, it was hard for me to believe! But look at him now! He really is just a cute dork."

I recalled the first time we visited the apartment and the way he spoke to me. He seemed actually quite cool, although a little immature. I fully thought he would be someone different than what he was around our parents.

In reality, he wasn't any different. Sure, he wasn't as clean and well kept when it was just us, but he still didn't look like a slob. He didn't treat me any different than what I expected. The real change was his professional attitude to the child one that got excited over roller coasters and ice cream. In the end, he was still the same Jae-won.

"I think he read those lines from a magazine or something," I comment, scrunching my nose. "There is no way that little Chinese boy could be so arrogant and tough."

We entered the school grounds and headed towards the cafeteria, where most students gathered before class. Bo-mi quickly grabbed herself some food before dragging me to our home room. After sitting in the chair in front of mine, she handed me an apple juice box.

After awhile of silence, she finally spoke up again. "Lilla," she mumbles under her breath. "That kid is staring again."

I twisted my lips to the side before taking a glance towards the new kid. His eyes briefly met mine and I quickly turned away. "I see that."

She pointed a finger at me. "Be careful about him. Something about it gives me chills."

I giggled. "I thought you would always be my night and shinning armor?" I teased lightly.

Bo-mi nods. "I will. But I can't always be by you 24/7, Lil." She takes a bite of her bagel. "Just keep an eye on the creep and tell me if something happens. And listen to my words of wisdom because I am older: Tell Jae-won about this if it seems to get worse. He may not be able to do much, but I know he wouldn't let a guy take a pass at you."

I made a face. "He is like fifteen years old and scrawny. What is the damage he could possible do?"

"I don't know. Just be careful, okay?"

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