- Rain - | Kim Seokjin

Park Ji Eun and her brother Jimin have it hard- their father's an alcoholic, and their mother's in the hospital with a rare case of leukemia. With no way to keep up, Ji Eun is forced to quit school and find a job in order to save both her parents. At the new café she gets hired at, she finds the one person who might be able to help her, and her family.

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2. - 2 -

    "Ji Eun!" says Jimin when I walk in. He whispers almost, trying not to gain the attention of our father. "Dad's been looking for you everywhere, and he's not too happy. I'd be careful, he's not in the best mood--"

    Too late. He comes barreling around the corner of the next room over, and there's fury in his eyes. He stops in front of me, and looks me up and down, noticing my café worker's uniform.

    "And just where have you been, byeongshin?" he asks, poking a finger into my shoulder. I can smell the alcohol on his breath, and see the hate in his expression.

    "Appa... please," Jimin says quietly, trying to stay on my side. He doesn't get tormented as much as I do. He actually has his own apartment, he just visits me here often to make sure I'm okay.

    I know it's not my dad's fault that he's so out of it all the time, and that he just got into a bad habit. An addicting, terrible habit. There isn't a day that I feel sorry for him.

    "Don't talk like that to me, Jimin, you're lucky I let you off the hook as much as you are." Dad sneers, and turns back to me. "Are you gonna answer me, Ji Eun?"

    "I was at work. I need the money. I can't just stay here." I look at my father, hoping nothing happens.

    "You backtalking me?"

    "No, appaji." I say formally. I'm met with a sharp slap to the face, tears stinging at the corner of my eyes. I keep my face turned, and don't look into his eyes. Beside me, my brother lets out a sigh. This situation is all too familiar to us.

    "Useless... sonofabitch..." Dad walks off, back into the kitchen, bringing the glass of whiskey to his lips. Jimin gestures towards me with his arms, bringing me into an awkward embrace. Jimin and I aren't that close, but we aren't extremely distant either. After he leaves, I walk upstairs to my small bedroom, closing the door behind me. I shower, study a bit, then sleep without eating anything. Tomorrow will be better, I can feel it.

- ONE WEEK LATER -

    When I leave for work in the morning, I follow the routine from every single day... Everything at work is going just as I like it, which is good. Jin showed me the ropes, and I even run some new things there.

     "Stay safe, okay?" Jimin texts me on the way to work. I reply with a simple "okay" and get driving. I wish things were easier, I wish they were back to normal, like when Mom wasn't sick, and when we were all so happy.

    The small bell above the entrance of the shop makes a cute little chime, making me feel a bit better. Seokjin doesn't seem to be here yet, so I'll have to take things into my own hands for awhile. I serve the first group of customers, and check the time on my watch. 10:30 in the morning, and he still isn't here.

    I hear the bell over the front entrance ring, and look over to see Jin there, with someone trailing behind him, fussing with the buttons on his shirt.

    "Eomma... it's fine." he whines, trying to get behind the counter. I walk back into the kitchen, and count all the supplies we have so I can make the next foodservice order. Maybe his mother is just protective? I'm not sure. When she leaves, I go back out into the dining area.

    "Aish... she never leaves me alone.." Jin says under his breath, smiling. Our eyes meet, and he smiles even wider. "Ji Eun, you're here early. You weren't supposed to be here until noon today."

    "Really..?" I say, surprised. I didn't know about it. I check my phone, and sure enough, there was the text message saying I could come in later today. I must not have seen it, I was probably too distracted. "Well, I just wanted to come in as usual. I had nothing to do this morning anyways."

     Seokjin looks up, and takes another customer's order. I head back to the kitchen to make the coffee and fetch the pastry, and start another brew of black tea. My phone rings in my pocket, and I check to see who's calling. My heart skips a beat when I see it is the hospital.

    "Hello?" I say quietly after a few seconds of silence.

    "Yes, is this Park Ji Eun?" asks a woman secretary from the other end.

    "This is she."

    "Well, we have some bad news about your mother, who is currently in the Intensive Care Unit. She's in critical condition, and we also may need to cut her off. The last few payments apparently didn't go through."

     I sigh, and pinch the bridge of my nose. Dad must not have enough money to pay Mom's hospital bill this month. If they cut her off, she could die. I try not to cry, especially here, but a tear drops down anyways. I sniffle, and continue with the call.

    "Thank you for letting me know. I will get the payment by the end of this week. Will that be okay?"

    "Yes, but any later than that and all medical care will be cut off."

    "Thanks again,"

    The line goes dead, and I stand there in the back room by myself. I cry even harder, knowing how this could end up. I don't want to lose my mom, she's all I have left right now other than Jimin. Suddenly, Jin walks in, and I struggle to fix my composure.

    "Is everything set? We need the orders for the..." he trails off, noticing my red eyes. "Ji Eun..."

    "Is it okay if I take the rest of the day off? I can probably make it up.." I walk towards the front counters.

    "Of course, what's going on? Are you okay?" Jin is really caring, which I've come to notice. He's so nice towards everyone, especially me.

    "Yeah, just some things going on at home, that's all." I try not to wring my hands together, a habit I have. I bite my lip.

    "Is there anything you want to talk about? I'm here if you need it." he steps closer to me, making two coffees. Great... I need a therapy session anyways. Plus, I just really need someone to talk to right about now.

    "Sure, I just need to find a place to start." I take one of the coffees he offers me, and we sit at a table in the back of the dining area. No one is here right now, since the lunchtime crowd just died down. I continue, forcing a tight-lipped smile.

    "There's so much I'd like to say,"

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