Nine: The One Where Everything Gets Complicated

Her presence nearly startled him as he keyed his car open. He had a hunch he was being followed. But what Song Woo Bin didn’t expect was to see an unwanted guest waiting just a few cars away.

“What are you doing here?” he said bitingly.

“Can we talk?” she replied eagerly, clearly not picking up on the icy reception.

His laughter was sarcastic.

“We have nothing to talk about -”

Disappointment flashed through her face. But she was persistent. “C’mon, for old time’s sake?”

“Stalking me won’t achieve anything,” Woo Bin made himself clear. “And after what you did at Jun Pyo’s wedding? Don’t expect a friendly reception from any of us.”

Seo Tae Ran was dumbfounded. Her words had no power over him anymore and she hated it. She had to be in control.

“My marriage was a mistake -”

“That’s your problem, not mine -” he spat, irritated at the pity card act. “Clearly you had no problem dumping me when your husband offered millions to make you his wife. So quit the act, Tae Ran. No one’s buying it.”

“Fine,” she answered, finally dropping the nice-girl facade. “But you’re not getting rid of me that easily. Not you, or that prissy chaebol princess.”

“Leave Jae Kyung out of this,” Woo Bin warned his former girlfriend. “Touch her and I’ll have the whole of Il Shin out for your neck.”

“You value her too much,” Tae Ran said haughtily. “Are you even sure she really loves you? You’re just the second choice.”

“I don’t see how that’s any of your business -”

“We’ll see about that.”

He didn’t know what to make of that last remark, but Woo Bin chose to simply ignore it. Tae Ran loved to bluff her way out of sticky situations she gets caught in. He furiously got in the car, started it and manoeuvred his way out of the parking lot leaving a bitter ex-girlfriend fuming mad.

~o~

They had dinner that evening at Jae Kyung’s apartment. She wanted to eat out; he insisted on ordering in. In the end, both settled for their favorite Chinese take-out in the neighborhood. It did not escape her attention, however, that he seemed to be bothered by something.

“Hey,” Jae Kyung waved her right hand over Woo Bin’s face. “Earth to Woo Bin?”

It snapped him right out of his reverie. “Huh? Mianhe,” he apologized. “You were saying something?”

“You’ve barely touched your food,” she noticed. “Is there something wrong?”

He continued playing with the Seafood Kung Pao pasta on his plate. “Tae Ran came to see me earlier -”

Jae Kyung raised an eyebrow at the mention of the name. “Was it before or after we had lunch?”

“After,” Woo Bin confirmed. “She was waiting for me at the parking lot. But I refused to have a word with her.”

She breathed deeply. “That woman is delusional -”

“I know -”

“Is she bothering you again?” she asked him. “Really now, her husband should learn to keep her on a tight leash.”

He took her hand and assured her. “Don’t worry about me,” he said. “It’s you I’m more concerned about.”

“You think I’d back-off from a tramp like her?” she eyed him playfully. “Not going to happen.”

Woo Bin beamed with pride at his girl. What followed next was a hot and heavy make-out session which totally erased any attempts by Woo Bin to tell Jae Kyung about the mafia’s part in the equation. He will have enough time to tell her, he thought. He just needs to keep her safe while he comes up with his own plan to counter Tae Ran’s threat. He had no doubt she was trying to manipulate her husband into doing her bidding by using his connections with the Chinese mafia.

~o~

“They’re here!” Hye Jin called out to her mom and sister as soon as she saw her brother’s car pulling up the driveway.

Madam Jeong and Hye Jin’s twin sister, Hye Rin, excitedly rushed out of the Song manor to greet the new arrivals. As the Lotus SC screeched to a halt, Ha Jae Kyung’s familiar figure emerged from the passenger’s seat. Behind her, looking extremely pleased to see his family as he slipped out of the driver’s seat, was none other than Song Woo Bin.

“Unni!” Hye Rin hugged her brother’s friend. “It’s so nice to see you again.”

“Same here, Rin-ya.” Jae Kyung replied. “How are you Jin-ya?” she asked, turning to the other twin.

“I’m doing well, unni.” Hye Jin said.

“She’s been a good student lately,” Madam Jeong proudly told the new arrivals. “No more involvement in school mishaps,” she winked.

“Ommuni!” a flustered Hye Jin tried to stop Madam Jeong from going further with her stories.

Jae Kyung laughed and realized she missed the family banters. This was her first visit back with the Songs after Jeju and her return to the JK Group. The twins were as bubbly as ever while Madam Jeong looked like she hasn’t aged since the last time Jae Kyung saw her.

“Ommuni,” Woo Bin greeted. “I’d like you to meet my…”

“Your girlfriend?” Yeon Hwa finished for her son. “Oh, I knew it all along! Come here, you two.” Both Woobin and Jae Kyung barely had time to react as Madam Jeong quickly swooped them for a hug.

It was Jae Kyung’s turn to look flustered. “I guess you found out through the grapevine, huh?”

“We already had our suspicions before,” she chirped. “But I didn’t want to pre-empt my son from introducing you himself to the family as his girlfriend.”

“I’m so sorry we couldn’t come any sooner,” he apologized. “We’ve been so busy with work and I didn’t want to impose by making an unannounced visit.” He swung both of his arms around his sisters’ shoulders as they walked inside.

“Are you going to be visiting more often?” Hye Rin asked Jae Kyung.

“We’ll try,” she replied. “As your oppa mentioned, work can take pretty much most of our time these days. But during weekends that we’re free, I’ll see to it that we can drop by.”

“We’ve missed you, unni.” Hye Jin added. “It wasn’t the same just having oppa around.”

“Hey,” Woo Bin jokingly warned. “Watch your words, young lady. I’m still your big brother after all.”

Both the twins playfully made a face at their brother and they burst into fits of laughter before the butler interrupted with the advise that brunch has been served in the garden.

~o~

“What is taking us so long to secure the contract with the Seonam Estates?” Ha Yeong Dal asked his Vice-President, Nam Shin Woo, over the conference call he had scheduled that weekend.

“They are holding out the signing, sir.” Mr. Nam admitted. “Word has it that they’re being talked out of the deal by LXF who’s fielding a competitive offer to the proposed pieces we agreed to design for their units.”

“They are trying to sabotage this deal,” Mr. Ha fumed. “LXF’s primary market is not into furniture designs!” A worried look creased over Mr. Nam’s features while his boss continued. “Email me a copy of the contract as soon as possible so that I can review it. I’m flying to Seoul next week to deal with Seonam Estates myself.”

“Ye, sajangnim.”

“Have Ms. Ha look through the contract as well when she gets in by Monday.”

Mr. Nam agreed and the call was adjourned soon after. They had to get the contract signed. Seonam Estates was a top priority for the company because this would be their first major project in Asia. It was a make or break deal that will dictate the course of their expansion plans for the next few years.

~o~

It was a brunch feast prepared by the Song’s chef for the family and their visitor. Owing to the fact that both President Song and Madam Jeong spent some time of their growing up years abroad, they opted a more Western upbringing for their three children. Served on the table were French toast, bacon, muffins, tea and coffee. Woo Bin was seated right beside Jae Kyung while the twins took the seats across them as Madam Jeong happily led the discussions on the table.

“Please tell me if your parents are in town so that we can invite them for dinner,” she fondly told Jae Kyung. “I know they’re busy too, but it’s always nice to get to know your future in-laws, don’t you think?”

“Ommuni!” Woo Bin protested. He didn’t want to give Jae Kyung the impression that his family was being too forward. They were still at the early stages of their relationship and marriage had never been discussed yet.

“Why not? You’re of marrying age already!” Madam Jeong said to her son. “One of your friends just got hitched, another is getting married next year while one is practically tied to his childhood sweetheart. Sweetie, I think it’s about time you consider settling down.”

Hye Jin and Hye Rin were giggling at the sight of their brother squirming in front of his girlfriend. They were already used to their mother picking the inopportune time to ask awkward questions. Jae Kyung, on the other hand, seemed to play along and was even laughing vibrantly.

“Your son doesn’t seem to be the marrying type,” she joked, earning herself a mock glare from the boyfriend. “We can be forever boyfriend-girlfriend if that’s what he wants.”

“Oh nonsense!” Yeon Hwa smilingly waved off the suggestion. “He just isn’t used to having a girlfriend over. He thinks I’m trying to intimidate you.”

“You mean he’s never introduced a girlfriend to the family before?” Jae Kyung asked. She knew Tae Ran never set foot in the manor from what Woo Bin told her, but she never asked about his previous girlfriends.

“Nope, you’re the first.” Hye Jin answered matter-of-factly much to Jae Kyung’s surprise. “This is why we believe that you’re special for him.”

“Did I miss the notice that this was “gang-up-on-your-brother” day?” Woo Bin interrupted.

“Hye Jin was just telling the truth, oppa.” Hye Rin defended her twin. Sensing that they were no longer needed in the discussion, she continued… “Can we be excused, ommuni? We still have some homework to finish.”

She was met with a surprised look from Hye Rin who immediately understood after a few seconds that it was their cue to leave the two alone. After politely dismissing the twins, Madam Jeong then excused herself saying she still had some designs to finish in her study. Conveniently left alone in the lanai area, Jae Kyung turned her attention towards Woo Bin.

“What?” he asked with a deadpan expression.

“Why me?” she asked in return, her eyes full of questions.

“But why not you?”

“You could’ve picked anyone -” she quipped. “Jun Pyo never chose me.”

“I’m not Jun Pyo,” he smiled, cupping her face with his hands. “Would you rather say it’s destiny that we found each other after all these years?”

Jae Kyung raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t know you believed in destiny, mafia boy.”

“I like to surprise people,” he winked.

They ended up staying for the entire weekend much to Woo Bin’s relief. The manor was well-guarded with security personnel and it was situated in the outskirts of the city, a location that no one would waste stalking for a four-hour drive (two hours, back and forth). By the time they returned to the city, Jae Kyung simply asked that she be dropped off at her apartment and prodded Woo Bin to go home and rest since they both had work the next day.

“I’ll call you when I get home, okay?” he said as he walked her to the front door.

She playfully pushed him away. “Go,” she answered. “It’s not like we weren’t together for the past forty-eight hours.”

“So you’re getting sick of my presence now?” Woo Bin tried to look offended and ended up smirking after a few seconds.

“Nice try,” Jae Kyung retorted with a smile.

Along the further end of the hallway, a person’s lips curved into a smile when he saw familiar figures outside of Unit #416. He quickly dialled a number on his mobile to report the news.

“They’re back,” he confirmed to the one who picked up the call.

“Good,” a female voice answered on the other line. “Now go and make yourself less visible. We haven’t met and we don’t know each other, got it?”

The man laughed. “Understood, boss.” He hung up quickly and counted the thick wad of cash he got for his services. The lady he spoke with clearly had an axe to grind with whoever occupied that unit but he figured it was nothing of his concern. ‘Rich people make mountains out of mole hills,’ he thought to himself as he left the building.

~o~

“You’re the young lady from 416, right?” a lady, whom Jae Kyung recognized as one of the residents on her floor, asked her as she was on her way to the parking lot.

“Ye. Anyeong,” she greeted.

The old lady motioned for her to lean closer. “Listen,” she started. “I know it’s none of my business, but you should at least be aware that a man had been asking around for your whereabouts over the weekend.”

“My whereabouts?” Jae Kyung wondered. “Did you at least get a clear look at the person, ahjumma?”

“He looked to be at least in his thirties,” the lady continued. “When I tried to ask for his name, he would then politely excuse himself. Truth be told, I was thinking of calling security if he came back again today but I haven’t seen him around so far.”

She couldn’t be more thankful for having such a concerned neighbor at that moment. “I really appreciate you telling me this, ahjumma. You have my permission to call security if you see that man again.”

“No worries, child. I figured it’s the least I can do as a neighbor,” she said.

“Mianhe, I didn’t mean to be rude… but I never got your name?” Jae Kyung asked politely.

“The name’s Hwang Dong Ja,” the lady introduced herself, extending her right hand in return. “We live just four doors away from your unit.”

“It’s very nice to meet you,” she said, happily shaking Dong Ja’s hand.

“Looks like you’re running late for something,” Dong Ja noticed. “I don’t want to hold you off.”

“No it’s okay,” Jae Kyung replied. “I was just on my way to work. But now that you’ve mentioned it, I think I’d have to go ahead.”

“See you around -”

“You too -” she waved to her new friend.

Jae Kyung felt her day was off to a great start as she chirpily hummed to her favorite song while walking. She was in for a shock, however, when she realized that someone had vandalized her SUV which was parked at the farthest end of the lot.

Spray-painted on the windshield, in huge white lettering was the warning “WATCH YOUR BACK!“. The front tires were both slashed and the side-mirrors broken. She shook her head in disbelief and annoyance. Whoever did this must not have realized that she isn’t the type to be scared that easily into a corner. She calmly dialled the number of the nearest police station, gave them details of the crime and asked for an officer to come over and check the scene. Once the call was over, she dialled Woo Bin’s number next.

“Hey, it’s me,” she started. “Are you busy? I need to show you something.”

“Is there something wrong?” Woo Bin asked. “You sound like you’re trembling. Hold on, I’m in transit but I’ll be at your place in five minutes.”

“Thanks,” Jae Kyung answered. “I’ll meet you out front.”

Clicking her phone shut, she returned to the building and decided to wait it out at the lobby. She had held her peace for some time, but she wasn’t going to take this incident sitting down. Whoever was behind the surveillance on her clearly ordered the vandalized threats.

“Jae-ya?” Woo Bin’s concerned tone knocked her back into reality. He must have driven as fast as he could after he received her call.

As she felt his arms close in on her, Jae Kyung didn’t realize the tears flowing from eyes. She wanted to stay strong and vent as she showed him what happened to her car.

“Shhh…” he stroked her back. “It’s all right. It’s only your car. At least you weren’t harmed.”

“I don’t want to point fingers,” she said, wiping away the tears. Her moment of weakness was over. “But who could have done this?”

Woo Bin held his breath. Tae Ran couldn’t be this desperate… right? But then again, he also believed she was never capable of betraying his love before. Look where it got him after that.

“I think I have an idea who -”

Jae Kyung’s eyes met his and he knew at that instant that they were both thinking of the very same person.

Seo Tae Ran.

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8 Responses to “Nine: The One Where Everything Gets Complicated”

  1. Hanazaki January 24, 2010 at 8:32 AM #

    ohmygoodness!
    Tae Ran is such a b*tch! Dang it! I freaking hate her already~!
    I hope nothing gonna happen to Jae Kyung~!!!
    Can’t wait for the next one!

    Thanks for the PM at soompi anyway!!

  2. caicruz04 January 25, 2010 at 7:24 PM #

    thanks so much for the update and the pm. i really appreciate it.

    i love “little dates” of jae kyung and woo bin. it just shows that they really are serious with each other. the mommy and siblings of woo bin are just too cute! they simply are the in-laws that every girl wishes for! seo tae ran is such a b.itch! i hope nothing bad happens to jae kyung.

    please update soon. thanks. πŸ˜€

  3. mamae January 26, 2010 at 6:43 PM #

    the story gets better and better, i hope to read more about the other f3s and their partners too, please update soon!

  4. Mikaelv March 8, 2010 at 8:28 AM #

    I like Woobin and Jae Kyung. Hope you update soon.
    Am also reading a story about them under Fanfiction.

  5. aikahonse March 15, 2010 at 7:20 AM #

    i love itt πŸ™‚
    hope you update soon…. please!!

  6. Meg Munich March 19, 2010 at 6:02 AM #

    I love this it is so good. They are so cute together. Can’t wait till you update. πŸ™‚

  7. WooBinJaeKyung March 22, 2010 at 11:30 AM #

    So cute please update soon.

  8. aikahonse March 24, 2010 at 3:07 PM #

    you didn’t update anymore
    so sad 😦
    please update .. i love the story
    and i really really love woojae β™₯

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