Chapter 11 - Official Occasions
Muyeol looked at his mother again. He was curious this time, unlike the previous meetings when he’d just sit and listen to her talk. Madam Kang was different from Yiyoung. Yiyoung always smiled at nothing, but Madam Kang never did so without a reason.
‘What made her so happy? She’s never shown such an expression before. Why is it that she can’t stop smiling?’ Muyeol thought.
Madam Kang finally realized Muyeol was staring at her. She touched her face and asked, “Why are you staring at me?”
Muyeol squinted and decided to be direct. “Why are you so happy today?”
“I’ve never seen you make such a happy expression before.”
“Oh, that’s because…” Madam Kang seemed hesitant to speak for some reason. She opened her mouth, looking like she was ready to talk, but soon closed it shut again. “Um… so…”
Muyeol patiently waited for her to talk, but she kept trailing off. Eventually, he said, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I’m just glad to see you so happy.”
As if she was waiting for his words, she finally started talking about it. And as if she had been waiting for Muyeol to say that, Madam Kang finally said, “Muyeol, listen.”
“You are going to have a younger sibling!”
Muyeol frowned instantly, unable to believe what he had just heard. “What? A sibling? Are you thinking of getting back together with Mr. Cha…”
“Don’t even mention his name,” she snapped, and Muyeol shut his mouth at once. She continued, “I’m going to have a small wedding ceremony with just close family members. He and I both want it that way. So if you don’t get invited, please understand.”
He was her son, and yet he was not going to receive an invite to his own mother’s wedding. A void expanded in his heart, and somehow, he felt like he was being choked. But that wasn’t the worst thing.
“You’re really pregnant?” Muyeol croaked.
“Yes, I am! That’s why I was running late. I just came back from my appointment.” Madam Kang pulled out a sonogram from her bag to show Muyeol. “This is your sibling, Muyeol.”
Now Muyeol not only had an older half-sibling but a younger half-sibling as well. Muyeol blankly stared at the sonogram. It wasn’t clear at all, the blurry image only displaying a small, bean-sized figure. He didn’t want to believe it. Madam Kang’s face was positively glowing, all because of this tiny thing. A lump formed in his throat; she had never been like this with him. Tears pooled in his eyes, and his heart ached. The void inside him became so big that he felt empty inside.
The food was served, and Muyeol could not taste anything. Madam Kang was the complete opposite, though. She tremendously enjoyed the food and chattered excitedly about her new marriage and baby. She went on and on about where the ceremony would be held, where their new house would be, and the possible names for her baby. She spared no detail about her exciting new life.
Once the dessert was served, she finally stopped talking, and Muyeol took the chance to speak up. “Mom.”
“Yes?” she hummed.
“Is there anything you want to know about me? Are you curious at all?”
“Why? Did something happen?”
“Why are you asking then?”
She used to ask about how he was doing at school before, even if she wasn’t really curious. And she had never failed to add a long speech afterward, about how he shouldn’t turn like his father. But today was different; there were no questions for him. Her entire focus on the baby.
“Isn’t the baby pretty?” she circled the topic back to herself.
Muyeol didn’t respond. Such a tiny bean couldn’t possibly be pretty.
“I hope I have a daughter!”
“Will you receive more money if that’s the case?”
“How much are they going to give you this time?”
“What are you talking about?”
Muyeol lifted his head and looked right into Madam Kang’s eyes. “You received a part of the company stock because you had me. So much are you going to be paid for this baby?”
“Why? Is the father poor?”
“How can you say—”
“Your life will be unfortunate if you marry a poor man.”
“Mom is pregnant! I should only look at good things and listen to nice words. How can you say such things?” Madam Kang whimpered.
Muyeol knew that she had traded her love with money and there was no way he would not know that and Muyeol was well aware of how she had traded her love for money when she gave birth to him. There was no way he wouldn’t know. So Muyeol felt angry, empty, and it hurt him too. But he disguised his feelings behind mockery and looked down on Madam Kang instead, carefully controlling his expression.
“Why are you being so mean? Think of it in a good way! You really are the son of your father. I was just telling you about the good news…” Madam Kang spat out furiously.
“I never asked for another sibling. Don’t talk as if it’s something I wanted.”
“How did you feel when you gave birth to me? Were you pleased? Sad? In despair? What exactly did you feel?” Muyeol spat out a slew of questions, his hands clasped tightly under the table.
“How can you—”
Muyeol went on, “Earning those shares must have made you happy, but you probably weren’t so… glad. When you opened the door and came in, I thought that sunny smile was for me. Because you looked so bright and radiant…”
His mouth snapped shut all of a sudden; Muyeol could feel the tears building.
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