Sometimes Fate Plays Tricks – Chapter Two
Mila strode into her office, cheerfully greeting everyone. She had landed her dream job, working as a graphic designer for an ad agency in Seoul. It had been two years since she left a lucrative position in Clermont-Ferrand, France, to try her luck in South Korea. It had taken some time to get used to the difference. The French city was nestled between long-dormant volcano peaks, in a flat valley. The tallest structure was a hulking twin-spired cathedral. In Seoul, tall skyscrapers were the norm, blotting out most of the surrounding hills. Everything was neon-light bright, almost frenetic in the constant movement of vehicles and people.
But she loved the differences; it was this environment that fired her creative juices. With an occasional twinge of homesickness for the taste of Navarin D’Agneau, she never regretted her move.
As she settled down into her office chair, her boss breezed in. An American ex-patriate, Mel had brought bohemian resourcefulness and New York City practicality to this business, and was the head of the Specialty Division at Se Jamae Corporation.
Today she was wearing a long brown skirt crisscrossed with strips of blue silk and a colorful peasant blouse. “Good morning, Mile. Ah, yay!” She reached out and grabbed a cup with a familiar green design. “My Frappuccino! You’re a lifesaver.” Despite her years in South Korea, there was no mistaking that nasal Brooklyn accent. Mila laughed. Her boss’ love of Starbucks and Chai tea was legendary in their section; so was her ability to deliver a quality campaign no matter how unusual the client was.
Mel propped a hip on the edge of the desk. “Mila, I’m going to need you to step up the completion date for the Jeju Tourism proofs. The girls gave me a heads-up on a very lucrative food campaign they are negotiating, and if it gets accepted, then all of our efforts will be focused on that contract.”
Mila nodded. Changing deadlines were nothing new in her line of work. “No worries, boss. I should have all three panels completed by the end of the week. DP Lee has already chosen the haenyeo for the CF, so production can start almost immediately.”
“Excellent!” Mel took a sip of her frosty drink. “It was a brilliant idea to focus on the female sea divers on Jeju, instead of the usual tangerines and warm weather.” She smiled as she straightened up. “I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything more on the new client.” She sailed out of the office, the long skirt making a whispering sound that sounded like the river currents the night before.
Mila thought back to what she now called The Great Ice-cream Loss. It was silly, really, to have run like that, just because of some stranger. She promised herself that if it ever happened again, she would stand her ground. Or, at least, take the bowl with her. She smiled to herself and bent down to her work.
Hours later, Mila leaned back in her chair and sighed at the cracking noises along her spine. She was stiff from sitting still too long hunched over her drafting table. Her stomach protested the length of time. Checking her watch, she decided it was the perfect time for lunch.
She walked down the corridor to the main office, and smiled at Kyun-soo, the administrative assistant. “Director Shuk is still in a meeting,” she said, “probably for a while longer.”
No reason to wait then for Mel then. Mila headed for the stairs in order to work the kinks out her legs. Their office was only on the third floor, so it was an easy way to exercise, as well as to avoid a crowded elevator ride.
She depressed the panic bar and pushed the heavy metal door hard. It swung open partway before stopping suddenly. The shock tingled up her arm; at the same time she heard an ‘oof’ from the other side.
She slid out from the partial opening to see someone about her height, in a gray business suit. His face was obscured by one hand, no doubt checking to see if his nose way intact. The other was against the wall of the building, holding the stranger up.
“Sorry, I am so sorry.” At the sound of her voice, the man dropped his hand and looked up. Even with watery eyes the man was handsome; deep brown eyes with flecks of gold and a generous smile. Mila’s dismay turned into happiness.
“Jung-dae Oppa!” she laughed, and launched herself for a hug, inadvertently bumping his chin. He winced before he laughed, before his arms came around for a quick hug.
“Where is the fire, Mila? I thought I’d come by and take you two out.” He smiled down at her. She released him and stepped back.
“Mel is in a meeting for a while, so I thought I’d head out for some kimchi jigae. You’re going to buy, na?”
He gave her a mock-punch to the arm, “I think you should buy, since you broke my nose.” Mila laughed good naturedly and linked her arm in his.
“Okay, you big baby. My treat.”
Woobin looked at the GPS map on the dashboard. He was already twenty minutes late to a scheduled meeting, but the press of fans had made it a real effort to escape the theater. Luckily, his car was parked in a side alley, so he managed to dodge everyone and leave. He was still getting used to this vehicle. He normally drove a Volkswagen EOS, as a fun zippy car, but because of his fanbase, his agency gave him a black American sedan for this afternoon. The anonymity was the best feature; there were Chevrolets like this everywhere in Seoul.
“In two kilometers, make a right to your destination,” the voice intoned. Of course, in the heart of the city, that could mean five minutes or a half-hour. Sure enough, a red light again brought him to a standstill. Rolling down the windows, he put his head out and breathed in the urban air of Seoul: exhaust, hot pavement, street foods. Somehow it always made him feel more alive.
At the crosswalk, Mila and Jung-dae stepped off the curb when the pedestrian tone sounded, walking around a wheeled fruit cart. They were halfway across when several girls started screaming. Instinctively Jung-dae grabbed the young woman’s shoulders and pulled her close in a protective gesture. Whirling around, he saw several high-school age girls pointing at a vehicle and running into the street.
“What the…?” Mila followed his line of sight to a black Impala at the front of the waiting vehicles. The driver looked vaguely familiar; he must be some sort of celebrity to have the girls zigzagging heedlessly through the traffic.
Woobin ducked back inside and hurriedly rolled the window back up, but the damage was done. He made sure the doors were locked, and prayed the light would change quickly.
The couple made it to the other side of the intersection, but the vending cart was partially in the road, slowed by the need to dodge the other pedestrians. The crosswalk sign turned red and the signal light turned green.
“Stay here!” Jung-dae ordered before he sprinted the short distance to the cart. Grabbing the front end, he towed it as quickly as possible towards the curb, heedless of the ramp.
Just before the first girl touched his car, the light turned green. Woobin stomped the gas pedal and accelerated through the intersection. A pickup truck attempted a right turn in front of him, and he was forced to hit the brakes and swerve. The truck fishtailed and struck the corner of a cart at the edge of the crosswalk, but Woobin barely paid attention. With jerk to the steering wheel, he straightened out the Chevy and continued down the street, breathing heavily from his almost-accident.
Mila could only stare in shock as the fruitstand cartwheeled and flipped over, sending an arc of produce flying through the air. Jung-dae tripped on the curb and fell backwards, unable to protect himself from the large pineapple looming over his head. A moment later, all he saw were stars.
“Jung-dae!” Mile screamed before dropping to her knees next to him. “Are you okay?” She gingerly touched the red mark on his forehead, as he struggled to catch his breath and sit up. A crowd quickly gathered around. Several people helped the fruit ahjumma collect her produce.
By now the truck was nowhere to be seen, having fled during the chaos. As Jung-dae made it to his feet, weaving slightly, several police officers arrived and began investigating the situation.
Posted on March 20, 2015, in My Fan-Fictions and Novels, Sometimes Fate Plays Tricks (A Kim Woobin Fanfiction) (2016) and tagged fanfic, fanfiction, Kim Woo Bin, Kim Woobin. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.