There are three things that Kwon Eunbi would never do in her life:
- Skip work unnecessarily,
- Stand outside a shop suspiciously, and
- Hire a random stranger to talk to her younger sister, Nako.
And yet here she was, doing those exact three things. On any other day, Eunbi would have laughed at herself, finding her act quite ridiculous. She was a successful businesswoman, for goodness’ sake, with too many things on her plate and not enough time to complete them. So why was she awkwardly hovering outside a bakery a good distance away from her office?
The answer to her question was standing at the bakery register, arranging breads and cakes in carry bags while conversing with said random stranger that Eunbi had paid on a whim. In her defense, though, it wasn’t as if she could just waltz into the bakery at this time of day. Nako would throw a fit if she knew Eunbi went out of her way just to observe her on Nako’s first day of work.
Which was exactly why Eunbi was hiding outside the bakery in her business suit, peering in through the display window. It was amazing how cute Nako looked in her simple uniform - a grey button-up shirt and a straw-coloured apron with the bakery name monogrammed on it - and with her light brown hair tied up in a neat ponytail. But then again, it was impossible for Nako to not look cute. She was just born that way, born to be the most adorably precious human ever.
Her gaze drifted to the female customer talking to Nako. Just minutes ago Eunbi had spotted her staring at the cakes on display from outside the bakery and recklessly attempted to persuade her to “make friends with the petite girl standing there, you see, over there at the cash register”.
Of course, the woman instantly it turned down, convinced that Eunbi was some kind of weirdo. “Who even are you?” the woman asked.
“I’m Eunbi.” She grinned at the woman in an attempt to be friendly. “And you are…?”
“Suspicious of you, lady.” The stranger stared at her with dark, soul-searching eyes. “How do I know you’re not some criminal or creepy stalker trying to get me to also creepily stalk someone?”
“Because…” Eunbi fished around in her wallet and came up with a couple of ten-dollar bills. “I’ll pay for whatever cakes or breads you want?”
The stranger’s eyes widened at the offer. “I’ll take it,” she immediately said, grabbing the cash and rushing into the store. “Be right back.”
As she waited for the stranger to exit the shop, Eunbi quickly checked her phone for any new messages. There were twenty new texts, but they were all from her personal assistant who, if she was being honest, had a tendency to panic when Eunbi wasn’t around during her specified hours. She supposed she should give her PA a call, since by the looks of it, the stranger wasn’t coming out of the bakery any time soon.
“Hey, Sian, what’s up?”
“Kwon Eunbi!” her assistant screeched from the other end of the line. “Where are you? Did you forget you were supposed to have a meeting with one of your distributors ten minutes ago?”
“Ten? No way, it can’t be…” Eunbi glanced at her wristwatch. “Ah. Shit. Alright, I’ll be there soon. In the meantime, distract them.”
“Distract them? And how am I supposed to-”
Eunbi quickly ended the call, not wanting to face the wrath of her PA. She straightened up when the stranger bounced out of the bakery, a bag chock-full of bread swinging from her hand. “Well? How is she?” Eunbi demanded.
“Chill, she’s doing fine,” the stranger said, chomping down on a melon bun. “It’s her first day at work, and she’s liking it so far. She’s really cute, we’re already friends. Maybe I should drop by more often.”
“She’s so cute, isn’t she?” Eunbi gushed. “My wholesome baby sister, the love of my life.”
“She’s your sister?” The stranger laughed through a bite of bread. “I would never have guessed. You two have totally different auras.”
Eunbi pulled a face at the stranger. “Anyway, I need to go. My assistant needs me. Thanks for making friends with my sister, I guess, um…” She trailed off, prompting the stranger for her name.
“Hyewon,” the stranger answered. “Kang Hyewon.”
“Right. Well, bye… Hyewon.” Eunbi awkwardly nodded at her before dashing off to her office.
So Eunbi was thirty minutes late to her meeting. It wasn’t too big of a deal, she knew, especially since her brand was the sole reason this particular distributor was even surviving in the ever-changing fashion market. Plus, she really enjoyed seeing her PA’s flustered expression when they wrapped up their meeting ten minutes in.
“Was I too good at my job?” Eunbi teased her assistant, Sian, after the distributor was escorted out of their meeting room. “Too efficient?”
“Yes!” Sian blustered as she retrieved all the papers she had painstakingly printed out for the meeting only to see them not being looked at even once.
“Oh, come on, Sian, you know they need us more than we need them.” Eunbi reached up and twirled Sian’s long mocha-coloured hair around her finger. The blush that spread across Sian’s face never failed to amuse Eunbi. Gently patting Sian’s reddening face, Eunbi stood up and brushed imaginary dust off her suit pants. “Any other meetings today?”
“No, but you have to attend a fashion show tonight,” Sian stated, pulling up Eunbi’s schedule on her tablet. She chuckled when Eunbi rolled her eyes. “You RSVP’d two weeks ago, remember?”
“Dammit all. I wanted to go home and accompany Nako tonight,” Eunbi whined, slumping over Sian, her face buried in Sian’s neck.
Sian tensed under Eunbi’s body as she tried her best not to freak out. Eunbi was a difficult boss to work with, not in the sense that she was a bad boss, but because Sian had a crush on Eunbi and couldn’t do anything about it. As far as she knew, Eunbi only had eyes for one person in her life: her younger sister, Nako.
So as Sian tried not to gay panic, she mumbled, “Well, you could always attend the first ten minutes, and then mysteriously vanish after going to the bathroom.”
“No, I’ve used that excuse one too many times,” Eunbi said, sighing. Disappointed, she sent a quick text to Nako.
Eunbi: Nako, I’ve got something on tonight, and I don’t know what time I’ll be back. Will you be okay by yourself?
Nako: Yep! I’ll get one of my friends to hang out with me instead.
Eunbi: Alright. I promise I’ll be back by eleven, okay?
Nako: ^-^ Gotta get back to work, bye!
If Sian could wipe the crestfallen look off Eunbi’s face, she would. She settled for patting Eunbi’s arm encouragingly. “Nako’s grown up now, she’ll be fine. How about we get some dinner delivered to your place for her tonight?”
Eunbi nodded. “That’s a great idea, Sian. Guess this is why I love you so much.”
Those words had never been more heartbreaking. Sian forced herself to muster a smile before looking away. “Yeah. Love you too.”