Jihun was returning home, kicking stones on his way. He was thinking round and round about the deal he just made with this crazy old man.
Today Jihun became Elder Park’s son. What was worse, a heir. It seemed that Elder saw in Jihun somebody, who could change his family. Jihun had a different opinion. But he couldn’t refuse, or they would harm the only family he had left. For some reason he believed in every threat, but not in every word. He decided (not loudly, of course) that he will stay as so called Park Jihun for a week and then he secretly report them to the police. Well, they promised they didn’t do illegal things and Jihun, as a son, only had to live in Elder’s villa, show with the family from time to time, and have an eye on his second son.
“He can’t be that bad...” he thought out loud, talking about that son, supposedly his new ‘younger’ brother. Although Jihun was two years younger, his role was the older son. “I really don’t like it...” he muttered, entering home. “I’m back.”
“Jihun-ah, come here,” grandmother called from her room.
Jihun opened the sliding door (they were living in an old, small traditional house) and sat down before his grandmother, waiting till she stop preparing the tea. He drank it and after he put down the cup, he got nervous. Always, when grandma was preparing a tea, there was something serious to discuss. For a second he thought that she knew where he was and found out that he was beating up people.
It turned out that he was partly right.
“Today will be your last night here,” grandmother said, when she drank her portion.
“Yes, grandma,” Jihun answered automatically, but then froze. “Wait... what?”
“I got a call. You’ll move out to a new home.”
“You’re joking, right? Are you talking about that prank call? Forget it! That was just...” He stopped in mid-sentence. “... a prank, and of course I don’t know anything about it.”
Jihun was surprised that she didn’t look neither shocked, nor confused. Wait, she really knew everything? But how?
“A friend of your parents will be taking you in,” grandma explained.
He’s not a friend, especially of my parents, thought angrily Jihun.
“And I agreed on that.”
“You did WHAT!?”
Grandmother looked at him sharply.
“You’re only in your early twenties, Jihun-ah. You have a whole future before you, so you need a good environment to study and live.”
“I like everything here! I’m not leaving you!” Jihun stood up, clenching his fists. “I’m staying.”
“You’re leaving, young man, and that’s the end of the discussion!”
“You... Why are you throwing me out!? I didn’t do anything wrong... lately. I’m doing my best not to cause you trouble!”
“You have to live normally, without mixing me into this. Someday I’ll be gone and you’ve to have some point to start anew from.”
Jihun moved back. He couldn’t believe these words came out from his grandmother’s mouth. She never thought about leaving him. And now... Was he really that awful that her patience ended and she had enough of him?
“You... You’re the same as they were...” he whispered.
“Who?” she asked surprised.
“They... They left me too. You’ve told them not to go, but they ignored it, and... and left me.”
She suddenly understood that Jihun was talking about his parents.
“Jihun, it’s not that... I just –”
“NO!” Jihun shouted, covering his ears with hands. “I don’t want to hear excuses! So it’s today, huh? Now you finally have the courage to say to me that I should leave? I was wondering when that day will come. I could at least prepare myself. But now... I didn’t prepare anything and you just... freaked me out, you know?”
In his grandmother’s eyes were tears. He considered them as another excuse.
“Am I really that bad, grandma... ?” He clenched his teeth, trying not to cry himself. “I... I tried really hard, you know? I admit that I fight sometimes, but only the bullies to protect the weak. And I’m one of the best students at college! You always wanted that, right? So tell me. Why?”
Grandma was covering her face with hands, choking with tears. She couldn’t answer that. He couldn’t know the real reason why she was trying to chase him out. She really thought she was doing it for his good.
“I understand.” Jihun went to his room and packed a few things into his backpack. He put on a cap and put the headphones around his neck. “You don’t have to be worried anymore. I won’t spend even night here. I’ll leave now. Be in good health.”
“Jihun, wait –!” grandmother cried, but he already left, slamming the door. “God... what have I done...”
Jihun ran until it started raining. He slowed down. After a few steps he stopped abruptly, staring at the puddle on the street. He saw his miserably reflection in it and stepped in the water with anger.
Jihun walked down the street for a few more minutes, then he heard the thunder. He stiffened and then run to the nearest wall, trying to hide before the storm. But there was nowhere to hide. He sat down beside the wall and curled up, hoping the storm will soon be gone.
Suddenly the rain stopped. Jihun glanced around, but it was still raining, so why...
He looked up and saw a tall guy in leather jacket with hair the color of the wine, who was leaning toward Jihun, and staring at him in disgust. Then he smirked.
“I found a dirty puppy,” the guy said and threw a punch.