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His mother fussed about it all morning.

She insisted on cleaning the house from top to bottom, and tidying up the tables and shelves, and since Seok-woo wasn't going to let the elderly woman tire herself out, he ended up doing most of the work. When Su-an had gotten herself out of bed, she joined in.

Seok-woo found himself peeling oranges with his daughter while his mother shuffled to and fro in the background, fussing about having everything ready for guests.

"Appa, what's a play-date?" Su-an asked him while finessing her small fingers underneath orange skin, her brows furrowed in focus.

"Uh," Seok-woo said, "A friend of Appa's friend has a daughter, a little girl, the same age as you. She is coming over to play. Su-an, you're going to be the best-behaved little girl, right? She is going to be our guest."

Su-an nodded emphatically. "Mhmm!"

When the doorbell rang, just a few minutes past noon, the whole house was ready, and Seok-woo went to open the door, while his mother wringed her hands behind him and Su-an craned her neck to get a better look at the new guests.

Lee Everett extended his hand in greeting as the door was opened and put on a bright smile. "Hi! I'm Lee. We met at the-"

"At the mixer, yes, please come in," Seok-woo said, returning with a polite smile and indicating that the two should step inside the house. "And this must be..."

Clementine stayed behind Lee in the frame of the door until Lee gently nudged her forward with one hand. "Go on, Clem, say hi." Then she stepped a single step forward and looked away, holding her hands behind her back. Lee shot Seok-woo an apologetic smile. "This is Clementine. She's a little shy around strangers."

Seok-woo looked back at Su-an, who saw that it was her cue. She came right up to Lee and Clementine. "Hi, Mister Lee," she said first, inclining her head to him. "Hi, Clementine," she said next, "My name is Su-an. It's nice to meet you," she said as if proudly reciting her lines in a monologue.

Clementine looked up slightly. "...Hi."

Su-an reached out and took her by the hand. "Let's go to my room! I'll show you my toys," she said, and led Clementine away. Clementine followed, a little hesitatingly, while the two men watched them go from the doorway.

"너를위해차한잔붓자!" said his mother, patting Seok-woo on the back as she headed for the kitchen.

"Ah, let's sit down and have something to drink," said Seok-woo, smiling as he directed Lee into the house.

 


 

"Wow," said Clementine. "You have a lot of toys."

Su-an looked around her room and shrugged. "My Appa is working a lot, so he's afraid I will be lonely. So he buys me lots of toys." She walked right past the electronics stacked neatly by the TV and picked out a few floppy books from the bookshelf. "Do you like colouring? I have a lot of different colours."

"Yeah. Hang on," Clementine said. "Is that... the newest video game system? Whoa... My parents would never let me get one of these."

"Do you like it? I haven't played with it very much." Su-an took the controller from its shelf and flicked on the switch. She took a seat on the floor in front of the television and Clementine joined her, peering at the controller in awe.

"Wait... you don't even have any of the good games on it." Clementine reached out her hand and Su-an handed the game controller to her gladly. Clementine hesitated, her finger over a button. "Won't your dad get mad if we spend his money on this?"

Su-an inclined her head and thought for a moment. "No, he definitely won't be mad," she said.

Clementine's eyes lit up. "Alright, I have to show you this new game, it's so cool..."

 


 

In the kitchen, Lee and Seok-woo had sat down for tea, and Seok-woo's mother had fussed about a while before leaving to bring fruit slices to the girls. The men chatted about work.

"It's always the same," Seok-woo said, waving his hand in dismissal but with a cheery tone nonetheless. "The company branch is still settling, you know, so of course there is always more work to be done. It is so difficult to take a day off."

"I hear you," said Lee. "It must be difficult moving about with a young kid, too, how is your family settling in?"

"Su-an is such a strong girl," said Seok-woo. "She works so hard at school. But schools here, are different from back home. I worry about her making friends. So I am very grateful for you and Clementine."

"Don't mention it," Lee said, chuckling. "Clem and I have had our upheavals ourselves."

"Family is so important during difficult times," said Seok-woo, taking a sip from his tea.

"Yeah," said Lee. "The family you have, and the family you make, too."

Birds sang in the spring branches outside the kitchen window as a thoughtful silence enveloped the conversation.

 


 

In Su-an's room, her grandmother had come and went and the girls were munching on the orange slices from earlier. She had also scolded the girls about playing with the television too much, so Su-an had her coloring books laid out over her desk, as well as her assortment of markers.

"Clementine, do you like to draw too?" Su-an asked, working hard on a picture on one side of the desk.

"You can just call me Clem. It's what my friends call me. I don't have a lot of friends though," Clementine said, scribbling away at a picture as well, opposite Su-an.

"Ok, Clem," said Su-an. "I don't have a lot of friends, either. I think that they think I'm weird."

"Me too!" said Clementine, colouring particularly hard on a section of drawing.

"My Umma tells me that people who call other people weird, are just hurt, and we should feel sorry for them about it," said Su-an. "I like my Umma a lot. I go and see her every week."

"I used to have other parents, but I don't anymore. It's just Lee now," said Clementine, putting on the finishing touches on her drawing.

"I'm sorry to hear that, Clem," said Su-an, turning to her. "Do you miss them?"

"Sometimes. But I'm glad Lee is here," said Clem, smiling at her and holding up her drawing. "And I do like to draw."

Su-an gasped. "Wow! What is that?"

"It's a type of crab that lives in the ocean," said Clementine. "They come in all sorts of weird colours and they eat weird stuff too, I saw it on the internet."

"Cool!" said Su-an. She held up her drawing to show Clementine. "I drew a cherry blossom tree, because we have some outside the window of our school, and they're very pretty."

The girls looked at their drawings, and then Clementine took her paper and sort of angled it up against Su-an's. "Look. The crab is climbing up the cherry tree."

They looked at each other and burst into giggles.

 


 

"Thank you both for coming," Seok-woo said, and both he and Su-an bowed lightly to their guests as they were leaving. Clementine and Lee sort of tried to return the gesture, out of reflex.

"Next time we'd love to have all of you over to ours," said Lee, gesturing to Seok-woo's mother as well, who smiled and waved from further inside the house.

"Of course, it would be our pleasure," Seok-woo said.

Clementine put her hand to Su-an's ear and whispered. "If you come, you have to bring your game, okay, I want to show you what happens next in the story."

Su-an giggled. "Okay, Clem!"

As they watched the two drive off in Lee's car, Seok-woo's phone buzzed, and he turned his attention to it with an apologetic glance at Su-an. Su-an returned to her room and took out her own phone. She pulled up Google. She dialed her mother.

"Umma, I met a nice girl today, she told me about this kind of ocean crab..."