Being a woman that values order and monotony when it comes to her business practice it isn’t very common for Joo Hyun to allow a text from a patient to simply sit on her work phone, taking up storage space and not much else. Although the extra space for impersonal data related to her job is the whole reason she bought the second phone and forked over the extra money to buy a family plan. It makes her bank statement look like she actually interacts with people outside of her patients and employees, but anyone that knows Dr. Bae Joo Hyun knows that she’s married to her work and the ceremony happened the moment she walked across the state at her college graduation. But the handful of people that know Joo Hyun as the woman and not the esteemed owner of a obstetric-gynecology clinic that she had to cry tears of blood to build up from just a small building with a handful of rooms to the bustling high rise it is today knows that she’s lonely. No family plan bought to save data even though her bank account is splitting at the seams with excess funds or awards for her contributions to the field can do anything to keep her warm at night in the uptown condo that feels like a showroom and not a home.
Both her phones rest on the grey and white marble countertop–her interior decorator has a taste for monochromatic decor–but only one is unlocked. Of course, it’s her business line, but it’s curiously opened to a text that was received a week and a half ago. Joo Hyun remembers the date even though her read receipts are smartly turned off. Had it been a text from any other annual check up patient she would’ve added the appointment to her calendar after confirming the date and time with her secretary then promptly deleted it as to not distract herself from newer messages. But [Name] was not just any patient.
It was only Joo Hyun’s luck that she had the wherewithal in hindsight to see how her unparalleled beauty and studious habits could’ve easily won her the girl of her dreams. But by the time Joo Hyun was cramped into a backstage hallway, shoulder to shoulder with strangers she’d spent the last four years with she realized she’d lost her chance with you. At first, it took her some time to get over the heartbreak of falling in love with a lovely underclassmen flower that had yet to fully bloom, but realized her moping wouldn’t change the fact that she’d never see you again. It’s was a colossal coincidence that out of all the clinics specializing in female health you walked into hers three years ago, effectively reopening the wound Joo Hyun had convinced herself was fully healed. She was a grown woman with a business and a life, not some lovestruck teenager. Yet somehow seeing your face, albeit, just a bit more mature had put a crack in the dam she built to be unbreakable. Now the crack has turned into a leaking fissure as she reads your text over and over from behind the lip of her coffee cup.
I’m pregnant! Do you have any appointments available at my usual time next Tuesday? In actuality, she hadn’t had any slots open, but she canceled her four o’clock and five thirty appointments to be sure she had a wide breadth of time to work with you. Although pregnancy confirmations and preliminary check ups don’t usually take much more time than the average visit, Joo Hyun was giving herself a cushion of time in case she decided to do anything she should. Now as she’s glaring down at the blue and white message she can feel the darkness that’s been lingering in the back of her mind finally take shape as she reads the message again and again until the happy news just becomes a jumble of letters. Joo Hyun’s always played by the rules and her clinic has never been investigated, but one of those things is going to change today, she’s sure of it. She greets her assistant and secretary with the usual idle prattle before ducking into the supply room to go through the fridge full of jars marker with nearly impossible to pronounce scientific names. Her fingers glide between two before grabbing the jar with a blue cap and sliding it into the pocket of her lab coat.
She doesn’t put it back in the fridge, but she also doesn’t put it in the cabinet with the rest of her on-hand medicines. It stays in her coat, in a sort of purgatory until four thirty rolls around. As expected, you arrive a bit early, but today you’re on the arm of some handsome boy Joo Hyun vaguely recognizes from her yearbook she used to constantly flip through in search of your face. Even with the generic blue backdrop and blown out lighting, you’d managed to make your school photo look stunning. But it’s nothing compared to the ethereal glow that seems to be emitting from your skin as you talk with who she assumes is your boyfriend since neither of you are wearing wedding bands. Joo Hyun sniffs at that from behind the door separating the offices from the waiting room. She blames him for not taking advantage of his blessing and marrying you earlier. The two of you have obviously been together for years. Joo Hyun tightens her grip on the jar in her pocket as she watches the two of you talk, wishing she were beside you instead of him. With a scorned huff, Joo Hyun stalks back to her office and deposits the jar in the cabinet it definitely shouldn’t be in, but she’s done living an almost perfect life. Especially when the final piece of the puzzle is within her grasp.
The harsh fluorescent lights seem to soften when her nurse ushers you into the room. It forms a sort of halo around your head as Joo Hyun looks up at you from her low stool. The angelic vision is completed by the smile you can barely contain as she pretends not to notice you practically bouncing with excitement. Once it’s clear you won’t be forced out of your joyful mood by a cold demeanor, Joo Hyun sets down the clipboard Soo Young handed her and indulges you with her congratulations. It’s an empty platitude, but you don’t seem to notice. She lets you prattle on about it only taking a few tries and it being the perfect time in your lives to start a family, but truly Joo Hyun wants your usual tranquility. This is the most hyper she’s ever seen you to date and it’s an annoyance no matter the justification. It’s the last nail in the coffin as her resolve finally cements itself.
“Since it’s so close to your annual check up how about we get that out of the way then move on to the prenatal exam.” Joo Hyun hands you a flimsy examination gown before you can rebut her and steps out so you can change. She doesn’t go far. Usually she’ll use the window of a few minutes to go check with her assistant to see if there have been any cancellations or just stretch her legs after being seated in a low chair for so long, but with you there’s an almost magnetic force that refuses to let her move away from the door. The image of you stripping down to your bare skin sends a stir of heat through her body and Joo Hyun presses her knees together in an attempt to stave it off. After another minute she knocks on the door with an unsteady fist.
“Come in.” Joo Hyun takes a steadying breath before opening the door. You haven’t moved much but your clothes are now folded in a neat pile next to the bed. Her eyes catch sight of your underwear and notes how they’re not a matching set. Joo Hyun swallows the spit that’s started pooling in her mouth and goes through the cursory questions that she asks everyone at every visit. Your answers are always the same, but it’s protocol to ask them anyway.
“Okay, can you lean back and lift your left arm for me?” You do as instructed, hiking the gown up your thighs with the sudden movement. Joo Hyun pretends she doesn’t notice as she tugs on a pair of gloves. “Oh, before that, let me give you your prenatal shots.” She doesn’t know why she said it, but you’re already sitting up with a question poised on the tip of your tongue.
“Prenatal shots?” Joo Hyun waves away your curiosity with an empty smile.
“Yes. It’s just a boost to help your body keep your hormones at the right levels. If you’re deficient in too many so early in your pregnancy you could be at higher risk for miscarriage.” Lies. She’s not even sure what she’s saying, but as the only one of you with a degree in the subject it’s easy to manipulate your trust with a well worded lie. She doesn’t even look over any of the labels for a hormone remotely related to pregnancy. Instead she reaches for the sedative she planted just before you walked in. It’s still warm from riding around in her pocket all day, but she doubts you’ll notice the temperature when there’s a syringe in your arm. She sets the jar on the counter and grabs an wipe to clean your arm with. Your face holds no mistrust as you watch her fill a syringe with an unknown substance.
“It’s better to administer it toward the beginning of the appointment so we can see how it will effect you.” More lies, but they’re a necessary evil to prevent you from freaking out once your mind starts clouding. “The most common side effect is drowsiness and slower reflexes, but it’ll pass in an hour or so. No need to worry.” You nod along, wincing as she pulls the needle out of your arm and presses a bandaid on the pinprick of blood.
“Now you can raise your left arm.” Joo Hyun laughs after properly disposing of the sedative she had no provocation to use. It’s satisfying to watch how quickly your movements become lethargic as you slowly raise the specified arm. She knowingly gave you a higher dosage than necessary to be sure you stayed cloudy-headed through what she’s about to do. Of course, she still presses two fingers against your breast, feeling for cancerous lumps, but the heavier your eyelids get the more adventurous her hands become. After thoroughly examining both breasts, Joo Hyun still takes her time to weigh your chest in her hands, relishing the way your nipples pebble as the cold air rushes over them. It can’t be comfortable for you. She can see the soft tremors of chilled shivers wracking your frame ever now and again as she continues her exploring. The latex of her gloves makes it difficult to truly feel what she’s touching but she still traces her fingertips down your stomach just to watch a trail of goosebumps rise in her wake. She stops just before reaching the apex of your thighs just to pretend she’s still following protocol. Joo Hyun carefully lifts each of your legs into the stirrups and proceeds with your annual exam, and even finishes all of her prenatal tests without violating another code. It’s not until she’s finished the exam that she decides to take advantage of your vulnerable state.
It gives her a sense of power that she’s never felt before. Anything remotely related to romantic relationships has always been a pipe dream for Joo Hyun. She’s never truly been given the chance to express her adoration for anyone in a physical sense and now she has you–the girl of her dreams–beneath her and practically brainless. It’s hard for her to even consider stopping. So she doesn’t. With your legs still hanging loosely from the stirrups, Joo Hyun is privy to the little gates of heaven that reside between your thighs. You’re still slick from the lubricant she used when inserting the speculum and Joo Hyun takes full advantage of that fact. A soft sigh leaves your parted lips as she presses an experimental finger inside you. Enraptured by the little noises you make as she slowly undulates her finger inside you, she adds another.
Your face is vacant and eyes half lidded as the sedative empties your head of anything outside of basic instinct. You don’t even have the wherewithal to keep your jaw closed. Each little breathy moan slips out without a thought as Joo Hyun risks her job for her own personal gain. There isn’t even much time left to procrastinate on sending you back out to your awaiting boyfriend. Before too long Soo Young or someone else will realize how long she’s taken on a task she’s completed with ease many times before and come sniffing around for answers. Her speed quickens in the hopes of at least getting to watch you come apart on her hands before sending you away with only the thought of seeing you in a month for another checkup to keep her going. In your half-lucid state your body has no reason to resist her and your walls clamp down on her fingers with the promise of your impending release.
It’s written on your face in the sweat beading at your hairline and the blush dyeing your cheeks. Joo Hyun makes a mental note to dab away the evidence of her wrongdoings before sending you staggering back into the arms of a man that doesn’t deserve you. As if to spite the man that will never know, Joo Hyun kisses your open mouth, swallowing the sound of you coming around her fingers. It gives her a dark sort of satisfaction as she calls your name and gets no response. You’re so lost in your own head, hyped up on misuses sedatives. If anyone finds out what happened in her office it’ll be because Joo Hyun told them and she most definitely doesn’t plan on implicating herself in such a way. Especially not when she can do it again in a months time. Joo Hyun dabs away your sweat with a tissue then carefully dressed you. Your absolute subservience while still drowning under the drug’s influence is almost addictive. If only you were this easy to control back in high school, the two of you wouldn’t even be in this mess. But she’s oddly glad for it since your annual visits will become more frequent, although she isn’t happy with the cause. If she could, Joo Hyun would make it so you could never have kids again. No man wants a broken woman. But she’s still want you. She’d still love you.
The sedative is obviously wearing off as she guides you back to the waiting room with a hand on your waist. You lean heavily against her, stumbling over your own feet every so often. It’s a slow go, but Joo Hyun wishes it had taken longer as she pushes the door to the waiting room open. Your boyfriend is seated where you left him, fiddling with his phone. He’s easily distracted by your disheveled appearance.
“Don’t worry, she’s fine. She’ll just be a little foggy for a bit, but it’ll pass soon. I had to give her a shot to balance her hormones and she passed out. Has she eaten recently? Usually she’s fine with needles.” Joo Hyun speaks lowly in view of the cameras, making a note of the time displayed on the clock above the front desk to be certain of what footage she’ll need to erase should any of this come back to haunt her. He accepts your pliable form into his arms with a pensive look.
“I wanted to stop and get her food before we got here, but she insisted on arriving early.”
“I suppose punctuality is one of her strong suits. Just make sure to get some food into her soon and she’ll be fine. I’ll schedule her for the same time next month. Text me if you need to change the time, she has my number.” Joo Hyun asks Ye Rim to clear her schedule during the same time frame next month before attending to her next patient. It’s exceedingly less interesting than your visit and nothing illegal happens once the office door shuts. She doesn’t even open her drug cabinet again. It feels like she’s crashing and Joo Hyun is desperate to feel that high again. After just one try–an experiment really–she’s utterly addicted to you.
You’re an unwitting participant in Joo Hyun’s selfish game. Playing right into her hands month after month. She’s almost upset that you’re pregnancy is going so smoothly since it gives her no reason to see you more often than needed. Although in the middle of your second trimester she wishes she’d never met you in the first place. The fourth finger of your left hand, the same one she usually scorned for being pitifully empty, suddenly has a gorgeous ring on it. It isn’t the typical engagement ring, all gemstones and spiraled silver, but you confirm that you’ll be married soon after your baby is born. Joo Hyun has taken extra care to make the needle insertion painful that day. You’d made a lovely squeaking sound and tensed your entire body, but it didn’t take long for the sedative to relax you. She’d taken great pleasure in edging you until tears streamed down your face, but it’s doubtful that you’d even realized you were crying in your near catatonic state. It’s the last time she saw you cry until today.
You’re a shrieking, sweating mess and you can’t seem to lie still in your hospital bed, but Joo Hyun doesn’t blame you. It’s almost time for you to start pushing and you refused any sedative in favor of having a natural birth. Joo Hyun has enjoyed the irony of you turning down the option to be drugged into a stupor, but Soo Young just thought she was being odd when she caught her smiling to herself. She’s the only one smiling as your grip your fiancé’s hand like a lifeline and arch off the bed with a hearty scream. His fingertips are steadily growing closer to an unnatural shade of purple with each passing hour and Joo Hyun wouldn’t be surprised if your death grip had broken one of his fingers. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.
“She’s dilated,” Soo Young says after emerging from between your legs. Joo Hyun has been raging against her jealousy since you arrived. It’s Soo Young’s job to check your dilation in preparation for pushing, but Joo Hyun feels possessive of you in ways she admittedly shouldn’t. Those magic words are all it takes for Joo Hyun to shove her out of the way she take her rightful spot between your legs. The whole ordeal doesn’t take long as the average pushing times go. It takes thirty-four minutes for you to finally push out your son and Joo Hyun is the first person to hold him.
For a moment, she considers dropping him as she remembers he’s half of your fiancé, the man that stole you from her, but then he cries and she remembers he’s also half of you. So instead she hands the shrieking thing to you and a pair of scissors to your fiancé. It’s a picture of familial bliss that always pulls at Joo Hyun’s heartstrings, but it feels different this time. Instead of happiness for a new life being brought into the world, she can only feel jealousy. It should be her marrying you, her holding your hand as you give birth, her last name being written on your baby’s birth certificate. It’s not fair that he gets to have you when Joo Hyun has wanted you since the beginning. The feeling festers inside her long after she’s left you to your rest after the last cursory examinations. She leaves the three of you to your little slice of happiness until she hears Soo Young laughing with Seul Gi above how you broke your fiancé’s pointer finger and he didn’t notice until a few hours after it happened. A quick walk past the nursery tells her that you’re in your room completely alone and she pounced on the opportunity.
It isn’t fair that he gets to live happily with you when it should be Joo Hyun in his place. He didn’t know your value, no one did. Only Joo Hyun could see that your perfection is heaven sent. And yet he dared to desecrate the holy ground that is your body and taint your child with his unworthy genes. Though the thing had been no more than a bundle of damp flesh in her arms Joo Hyun noted how the curve of his tiny nose was identical to his father’s. She couldn’t make out a single trace of you in the newborns features and it angered her. Joo Hyun is doing what’s best for you. Removing your ability to be tainted by any other unworthy offspring. She’ll take it away, then take you away. None of them deserves you. Only she can see how truly angelic you are and it makes her sick. You should be worshipped as a goddess, not forced to bear an unfitting man’s child. She’ll fix it. She’ll fix you.
She’s aware that what she’s about to do is wrong, but like with most things involving you, she doesn’t care about the morality of it. There’s a familiar jar blinking against a scalpel in her pocket as she eases your door open. It’s dark inside as you peacefully sleep off the waning labor pains. She’s seen the hard sleep women fall into after birth and appreciates the almost coma-like strength of their fatigue. The needle enters your arm with ease and you remain still, chest rising and falling steadily. Joo Hyun waits the few minutes for your system to accept the drug it’s become so acclimated with before pulling your hospital issued blanket down and shoving your gown out of the way. The taunt swell of your stomach has loosened some without your son inside you to take up the extra space. It’s almost sad that Joo Hyun will never see you swollen and glowing like this again, but she doesn’t dwell on it. Instead she locates the spot she knows by heart and sliced open your stomach. You shift to lay on your back, but your eyelids remain heavy and unmoving. Joo Hyun is thankful for it since she didn’t think past the act of slicing you open. There was intent, but no concrete plan. It’s too late to back out now.
Her hands shift your entrails around, rooting around for the distended sack buried beneath your intestines. It feels gross and slimy in her bare hands and Joo Hyun bemoans her lack of gloves, not sure what type of contamination she’s causing by fishing through your gets with only soap to protect you from contamination. It’s like her vision has narrowed to that of a pin and her mind has blocked out anything but you. All her years of training, all the other women she’s performed this operation on, fade from her mind as she clumsily slices at the general area of separation. She misses and only nicks you uterus, doing nothing to completely remove it from your body. The most damage she manages is a widening of her entry incision as the opening door causes her to jump while she’s wrist deep in your abdomen. Your fiancé slips halfway through the door, see her, then screams.
Everything after that point is a maelstrom of light and sounds as doctors and security pour into the room to pin Joo Hyun to the floor and attempt to salvage the battlefield that has become your stomach.
“You can’t take her!” Joo Hyun screams but it’s to no avail. The men holding her down are strong and the needle pumping liquid into her arm is stronger. For the first time she feels the fogginess you must feel whenever she puts you under, but Joo Hyun isn’t about to go down without a fight. “None if you deserve her! She was meant for me! You can’t have her!” Her words are becoming increasing slurred as ink blots cloud over her vision. The last thing she see before succumbing to the darkness that’s threatening to drown her is a sparkle of light glinting your engagement ring as your arm hangs limply over the side of your bed. She’s uncertain of your death, but she wishes for it. If she can’t have you, no one will.