[21] i'm free (for a week, at least)

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"Good morning, mom," I greeted as I walked into the kitchen with a fake smile on my face. She smiled back at me and returned my greeting.

I poured myself some cereal before sitting down at the table, and ate it in silence. The air was thick in awkwardness; it always was. My mom broke it. "Nabi... I need to tell you something."

I froze and looked up at her.

She and dad were divorcing? (I knew it.)
She was pregnant again? (I knew I heard something the other night...)
She was—

"I'm leaving."

"What?" I responded, unsure what she meant. "What do you mean?"

She laughed lightly before explaining, "Your dad was invited to a business... thing in Brazil, and I'm going with him. One of your cousins is coming over to watch you."

I hoped the relief of her and dad being gone wasn't evident on my face. "You don't need to have someone watching me. I'm sure I"m old enough to—"

Within a second, my mom's attitude changed, and she yelled, "Do you think I'm insane? You should be glad I'm letting you stay here, you ungrateful brat!"

I was shocked at the outburst but wasn't surprised. I knew my mom was a bipolar bitch sometimes.

I refrained from rolling my eyes as I said, "Okay, okay. Chill. When are you guys leaving?"


This time I really was surprised.


"I know it's really soon, but this is urgent." Yeah, right. "We're leaving in around"— she glanced at the clock— "an hour, and your cousin will be here in the evening. I trust you won't invite anyone over or do something you know wou're not supposed to?"

Fuck your rules, mom, this is the first time I'm getting the chance to be a teenager. Of course I'm inviting someone over.

"Yeah, of course," I told her innocently. She didn't need to know what I was going to do.

"Alright, then," she said. "I'm going to finish packing."

"I'm going to, uh, get some milk from the convenience store after I change. I'll be back soon!" I told her before going to my bedroom. Once I quietly closed the door behind me, I screamed (quietly).

I was never given this kind of freedom; my mom was always a shadow that loomed behind me. But maybe this week things would be different. Maybe I'd be a teenager for once.


I quickly put on a pair of denim blue boyfriend jeans and a grey hoodie with Mickey Mouse drawings all over it. Sure, I still looked fat, but I felt good.

I left the house as fast as I could, running to Jeongin's house. I knew we didn't need milk; I just wanted to get out of the house. Before I could get to his house, however, I ran into someone else.

"I'm sor— oh! It's just you, Bae," he smiled, and I felt butterflies in my stomach. I smiled at him (like :]).

"Hey," I greeted. "How are you?"

"I'm good," he responded. "You seem to be in a good mood. What happened?"

My eyes sparkled as I told him, "My parents aren't gonna be in Korea for a week!" I knew he didn't understand why I was so happy about that, but he still hugged me happily.

"I'm happy for you, Bae," he whispered in my ear, and I hugged him back tightly, smiling. I wasn't sure why, but something about this just felt right. Like me in his arms was perfect.

I think... I like him.

We both finally let go, still grinning. "Where were you going, Hwang?" I asked him, and he laughed at the name.

"Nowhere, actually. I was on a walk because I had nothing to do."

I thought about what I was going to say before I finally said it. "Do you wanna come over? My parents leave soon."

He smirked at me. "Of course, Bae. Anything for you." I blushed before hitting his arm. He laughed again before saying, "Lead the way, mademoiselle."

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