It’s almost 3PM on my watch. My heart just keeps on pounding hard. I really had a bad feeling about this. Seul-ri is still not here, and that adds to my nervousness. I try to calm down by taking a deep breath and close my eyes, focusing on myself. My late mother used to do this to calm herself down, and she said that it worked well on her. Somehow, I used to do it too, especially after she died 2 years ago. I am well alone now in this world, and Seul-ri is the only person I had. I could not imagine how it will be without the-exercise-loving person.
I open my eyes slowly and see Seul-ri coming from afar, heads shaking hard, what with the hand movement and all, like some kind of a dance or something. It might sound weird enough, but Seul-ri can fight or ‘exercise’ better with music, that sometimes it looks more like a dance battle rather than a fight. Indeed, it looked cool enough.
Today, Seul-ri wears an all-blue-and-black outfit, from the head to toe. My mother once said that Seul-ri is a cool kid with the cap on, yet would be very pretty without it. I bet that was why the cap never leaves the head. I myself never really see that face properly without the cap on, except if it dropped when Seul-ri ‘exercise’. I think that is some sort of comfort for Seul-ri, who has been alone in this world for many years before we met. This person has no family, they are all died in an accident, and Seul-ri is the only one who survived. The owner of the dojo near their home took Seul-ri in, and seeing the potential probably, teach some self defense, and become really strong indeed. The kind man passed away a few years ago, and Seul-ri moved out from the dojo, leave alone ever since, for the truth is that person is kicked out by the family, afraid Seul-ri might took over the dojo. Seriously, how can you expect a person like Seul-ri to take over a dojo? This person is too laidback to do such a job. Unless the job is promising enough, with money of course, then maybe Seul-ri will be interested. This person really loves money so much, that I prayed hard this friend of mine would not become a mafia or something, although the potential is there. Seul-ri had fought one of them before, and wins, for God’s sake, that I wonder how this person manages to come back alive. If you asked, there will be no answer, just the usual mysterious grin, and it really can make you feel cold all of the sudden. That is Seul-ri for you.
“Got a plaster?”
That was the usual question. I nod. That was the usual answer. Our meeting usually begins with this, especially if Seul-ri just finishes the usual ‘exercise’. There is a slight bruise at the left corner of the lip. Looks like a new one, perhaps. Seul-ri takes the plaster and covers the bruise immediately.
“How was it?”
“Awesome. I got to practice a new move.”
“You know, like this.”
Seul-ri stands on one hand, and kicks the air with both legs, like a break dance movement. I am sure I saw this move somewhere before.
“Remember? It hit the guy right under the chin, causing him to fall instantly. What an awesome finish. I am sure glad! By the way, the song for the day is O from TVXQ.”
“I learned that move when Junsu dance in one of the shows. It looked so cool when he did that, so I try to copy. Give some credits to him then!”
“No wonder your hand was all over the place when you came. So you were listening to that song just now, right?”
“You got me.”
Seul-ri really loves to copy dance movements and applied them all over while ‘exercising’, and usually the idol groups will be the ‘instructors’, for their dance movements are cool to use, as Seul-ri said. What’s more amazing is that this person can use them all up just after looking at it once! Yet the problem is it only will work when it is ‘exercise’ time, and the presence of music, of course.
The company is not really far from our neighborhood, so we just walk our way there. I wonder if Seul-ri is actually quite tired from the ‘exercise’ but probably the million dollars really manage to give an extra energy. In fact, the more we walk, the healthier this person is! Money really can drive a person for good.
I can notice the hint of excitement in Seul-ri’s voice. There are not many people around, probably because it is holiday today.
“A million dollar…boy, that’s a lot!”
What, this person has count it already? Oh dear…
“Come on, let’s go!”
Seul-ri already moves to the entrance happily and shows the guard the letter. He nods a bit and opens the big glass door to the building. The building is quite small than I expected, maybe because this is just a small branch of the company. Besides, there is no use having a big building around, this neighborhood is quite small and already packed with houses.
“Yong-jae, what are you waiting for, come on!”
Seul-ri has already step inside, the guard a few steps ahead, ready to show the way, perhaps. Boy, this person really can hardly wait! I smile a bit at the guard as I got in. He has a strong, well-built body. His face is quite hard, the eyes are dark brown and small. The hair is darker and short, a military cap on top of the head. I guess he is thirty-something, or more. He replies my smile with a friendly one yet somehow, I can notice that his eyes are not actually smiling. The bad feeling came back to me but as I walk on I try to push it away, so that Seul-ri will not notice anything. Too late though.
“No…nothing at all! Why do you ask?”
I put on a smile and try to act normal, but I momentarily forgot, this person is really good in reading me.
“Don’t acts like a fool; you know your face tells all.”
Seul-ri stops walking and stares at my face, there is something in the pair of black eyes that make me speechless. Somehow, it calms me down. Seul-ri let out a sigh, put an arm on my shoulders, and starts to walk, pushing me along.
“Don’t worry, I’m here.”
There is nothing I could say upon hearing that. Really, I could never win against Seul-ri, be it in study or argument. No need to say fighting, this person is already on a class of its own. Also, this person just has a very good brain. Imagine getting a full mark in Math when you skipping class for 3 months straight or the highest mark in class in History when all you are doing is sleeping soundly when the teacher is teaching in front. Many people doubt it, saying Seul-ri was cheating or something, but try asking some questions and this person will answer it straight away. Yet the teachers are not surprised though, they might already know about this all along. If Seul-ri does not overslept on the last day of the exam, The-Invisible-Han might be the top student in the whole school! Who would have guessed that, seriously? Sometimes I am jealous of Seul-ri; this person got almost everything I wanted in this world, yet I know being jealous would not bring me anywhere, so I just drop it off. Besides, if you look real close, there is no happiness in those black eyes, and it hurts me enough each time I saw it. Seul-ri might be hiding something from me, but I do not mind much. As long as this person is fine, I would not mind anything at all. Anything.
Seul-ri take his arm off my shoulders when we arrives at a room, the name on the door says The President, Lee Jung Hwan. Somehow, Seul-ri cannot help but to stare at the name. The guard knocks the door, goes inside for a moment, and come out smiling, opening the door to us. Again, his eyes do not smile at me, but look so cold, that it makes me shivers a bit.
“Finally, I have been expecting you, Kim Yong-jae.”
The president, Mr.Lee extends his hands to me. He is not a tall guy, just a bit taller than me, perhaps. He is quite chubby on the face, with a square spectacle on. The eyes are so small I can hardly see it open when he smiles. Still, with the white shirt and red tie, I can tell he is not one to be taken lightly, he might be just in his mid-thirties. The room is spacious, stacks of papers arranged neatly on the table, and the combination of black, grey, white and brown on the furnitures and the wall gives off a powerful aura of a president. I can feel his presence surrounding us, like the dark colour of the wall, reflecting upon the table, back to man in front. I take the hand and shake it a bit. I wonder though, how did he know I am Yong-jae? Of course I could not ask him that, so I just keep silent.
“Have a seat, both of you.”
The president keeps on smiling that it makes me calm down a bit. He looks like a nice guy, and smart too, with his spectacle on. We both take a seat on the chairs but Seul-ri remains standing, the eyes fix at Mr. Lee. Still smiling, he asks.
“Is there anything wrong, I wonder?”
“Indeed. There is.”
There is something in Seul-ri’s voice that makes both of us exchange looks. It sounds so cold, and it reminds me of our first meeting near the field, the exact same feeling, for it almost left me frozen here on the chair. I saw Seul-ri got angry a lot of times already, but this is different, totally different. For a moment I think I could see a deep anger in the eyes, ready to explode. Why though? I could not think of any reason but I think it has to do somehow with Mr. Lee.
“May I ask what is it, then?”
“Tell me, just who the hell are you?”
That question makes Mr. Lee laugh hard. Indeed, that is a weird one to ask. The look on Seul-ri’s face hardens and suddenly Seul-ri hit the table with a hand, causing a loud noise, and stops Mr. Lee’s laugh.
“Don’t play around. Answer me.”
Mr. Lee leans forward, both elbows on the table, hands supporting the chin, his eyes looking straight into Seul-ri’s.
“I am Lee Jung Hwan, the president for this branch.”
“No, you’re not.”