Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Areum Min is the most popular girl at the Seoul National University, but all those fakes after her family’s money don’t matter to her. She’s working hard to take over the business her father has run for decades, even if that means she’ll be the co-leader of the mafia with her older brother. Ever since The Tragedy many years ago, the siblings have been deep in the world of killing and drugs. What goes on in the mansion of the biggest crime organization in the capital of South Korea is hidden to most, but top gangs are doing their best to take it down. Blood will be shed, sweat will stain clothes, and tears will waterfall down cheeks.
(This is coming from my Tumblr,, so go there to see moodboards and bios for characters if you like.)


3. Make-up Artist

        Blood. Blood. Blood.

          The crimson liquid pools around the middle-aged lady as she drowns in the substance that is meant to keep her alive. Her face obscured by her brown hair fanning out around her head.

          The smell is so strong that there is a taste of metal in the mouth of the little girl that has stepped in on this gruesome scene. It’s a familiar taste, but at that same time she can’t quite put her finger on it.

          “Mommy, why are you bleeding?” The little girl chokes out. Her pigtails seem limp as her stomach falls to her toes.

          It’s unclear where the wound that has gushed all the blood is on the body of the dead woman. Did someone slit her throat? Or was she shot multiple times? Maybe it was countless stab wounds in her torso. The little girl can’t even fathom what is going on in front of her.

          “Mommy, please, wake up,” the small girl chokes out as tears begin to cascade down her chubby cheeks. “Please, please, mommy.”

          In the next moment, the sky opens to mimic the child’s storm of tears. Thunder cracks out in all directions, and lightning lights up the darkness. Wind whips up out of nowhere, and the scene is changed in a second.

          A young man, blood splattered around the chair that he is tied to, blood staining his clothes. His head is limp, obscuring his identity; all the girl standing in front of him can see is his messy hair.

          “None of this would have happened if you just would have been a man, and came to me before going to her,” the young woman, hair up in pigtails, twirls a knife stained with the man’s blood. “All you had to say is you fell out of love with me. That would have been okay with me. I would have moved on in a week, and you could go off and be happy with her.”

          The man struggles against his restraints, a groan leaving his lips.

          “Instead, you went off, slept with her, and lead me along. A cheater, that’s what you are. Once a cheater, always a cheater,” she sneers. “Don’t worry though, your precious little girlfriend won’t be harmed. She already knows you were cheating on her as well. Thanks to my boys,” she smirks. “You know, when I saw you kiss her that day, my heart shattered into a million pieces.”

          “I said I was sorry,” the man chokes out through a mouth full of blood. “Stop this.”

          “And then, almost instantly, it was glued back together with the fury of what I was witnessing. You should have never messed with me. You mess with me, you mess with my brother, and all my friends. I have an army of boys to protect me. You fucked with the wrong girl,” she points the knife at the tortured boy.

          “Honey, please, don’t do this,” a lady’s voice rings out from all directions. “You don’t want to do this.”

          The girl quickly spins around, looking for the voice. “Of course, I want to do this.”

          “No, no you don’t. You are letting your anger get the better of you.”

          “What else am I supposed to do!” The girl bursts out, and in the blink of an eye she has returned to her younger self. A waterfall of tears streaming down her cheeks. “They took you from us, mommy. This is all I know to do. You can’t teach me how to be a girl. I just have to learn for myself. And it’s hard!”

          “You’re doing fine, honey. The ones who did this will get their dues.”

          Blood. Blood. Blood.

          It’s everywhere. Staining the walls, the floor, the clothes of the dead and dying. The smell so strong that it leaves a metallic taste in the mouth of the girl bawling on the floor. Even in the darkness, crimson is the only color that is visible. It’s maddening.

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          A scream tears its way out of my throat as I slingshot up in bed. The same nightmare I have been having for years slowly fading from my memory.

          Snow is in her fighting stance, growling at nothing in my room.

          “Stand down, Snow,” I sigh, slinging the covers off my legs. “A bad dream. No one is in the room right now.”

          Snow stops growling in a second, turning to look back at me with sad eyes.

          “I know, baby,” I ruffle the hair at the back of my head. “There’s nothing I can do about it, though. I don’t even know what’s going on. It’s all dark, and faces are blocked from my view. That poor girl in pigtails, she must be me.”

          Snow crawls up to me, snuggling into my side, a small whimper leaving her mouth.

          For years now, I’ve been having a recurring nightmare that leaves me with the taste of blood in my mouth. It used to have me in tears, curled up in bed as Snow licked at my cheeks. Now, I just wake up screaming in terror at the images I can’t even begin to explain.

          “I wonder if those are memories that I was forced to forget,” I run my hand over Snow’s head. “All those days in therapy for reasons I can’t remember, maybe these nightmares are memories forcing their way to the surface.”

          Snow whimpers, moving her head to lick my hand.

          After a few minutes sitting in my bed with the soft glow of my stars, I decide to get up and head to my bathroom. The metallic taste of blood too much for me to handle.

          Snow lets out a soft bark, wondering where I have decided to go after the horror she just saw me go through.

          “Just brushing my teeth, baby,” I lean over to scratch between her ears. “I’m not going far, and I’ll be back very soon. No need to worry.”

          She lays down, resting her head on her paws, as she watches me head off into a dark room.

          I flick the switch to turn on a small lamp, blinking to get used to the burst of light, even if it is only a dim glow. My reflection in the mirror shocks me.

          Not only do my eyes have bags, but they are bloodshot as if I have been bawling for a long while. My hair is a wavy, tangled mess, and dried blood seems to be residing on my bottom lip.

          “Looks like I did cry a bit,” I yawn, gathering up my toothbrush and toothpaste. “I’ll have to splash some water on my face.” I move a small towel closer, licking my lip to confirm the dried blood from some unknown cut inside my mouth.

          Not a single soul inside the mansion knows about the nightmares that plague me. Yoongi knows that after our mother died, I had bad dreams about being alone, but he thought I grew up and got stronger. I have a feeling that Sooyoung knows that I can’t sleep through some nights, but she never says anything. Everyone else is in the dark about the weakness that their future leader has.

          “If people knew that blood is what held me back, I would never hear the end of it,” I stick my toothbrush into my mouth. In an instant, the metallic taste is taken over by mint.

          It’s not necessarily the blood that has me screaming as I burst out of the images that my subconscious subjects me to. It’s more the person that is bleeding, and how I know that my mother isn’t the only loved one I will lose because of the life I was born into.

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          “You look like shit, you know?” Sooyoung tilts my head in all kinds of directions to get a clear look at all angles.

          “Thanks,” I give her a light jab to the stomach. “I know, though. Couldn’t sleep last night.”

          “Why can’t you just admit you have insomnia and go see Dr. Choi?” Sooyoung pushes me to sit down on the cushioned stool in my bathroom. “Damn girl, any reason to see the Doc is a good enough reason.”

          I roll my eyes, “How can you even say that? You’re in love with an assassin.”

          “I can appreciate other men,” she steps around to be behind me. “Besides, I haven’t even talked to Jungkook. I see him around the mansion, and during briefings, and at events, but never a good time to go up and talk to him.”

          “At least you have your eye on someone,” I nibble on my bottom lip. “I can’t stand any of the guys at uni, and if I even thought of dating a boy around here, Yoongi would lose his mind.”

          “He’d get over it. Yoongi is a big boy. If you feel a spark between anyone here, you let me know, I have to help a sister out,” Sooyoung runs her fingers through my hair, no doubt deciding what hair style to go with today.

          For as long as I can remember, Sooyoung and I have been the best of friends. A good chunk of my later childhood memories is of the times we would be together. We picked each other up as we experienced the worst moments of our lives. Both of us were pulled into the mafia at the same time, so being able to learn with someone else was a big plus. We were linked by fate, and it was just a matter of time before we found one another.

          Sooyoung is a fashion queen, using the mafia’s vast wealth to her addiction advantage. It’s very rare to see her in clothes without a designer label attached, and without elegant make-up that she’s been trained to apply. If her life hadn’t been a downward spiral that lead her to be taken in by my father, there’s no doubt in my mind she would have made it as a model.

          Her dark brown hair is lightened with blonde highlights, and cascades past her shoulders in the softest of waves. It’s an off day if she isn’t wearing a hat of some kind atop her head. Her light brown eyes sit perfectly in her tan, high cheekbone, oval-ish face. She has a nose the points slightly upwards, a big smile that crinkles her eyes, multiple earrings squished on her smaller ears, and is just a smidge taller than me. Both of us are a bit plump, but keep in shape thanks to the training of Jimin.

          “Once I get back into the swing of going to classes, we can start with coffee in the morning,” I yawn, forcing my eyes to stay open.

          “That would be nice, because you really need something to wake you up,” Sooyoung pats the top of my head.

          “Shut up,” I groan, reaching behind me to try and pinch my friend’s sides.

          She is quicker than that, standing in front of me in mere seconds. “What kept you up last night? Are you lying about not seeing a boy? Is there someone at your university that has caught your eye?”

          “There’s no boy, I can promise you that,” I sigh, letting my eyes flutter close as Sooyoung gathers up the make-up she is going to use. “I just couldn’t sleep. My mind wouldn’t shut down. Not because of boys,” I add before she can tease once again.

          “Well, you can always go to your therapist,” Sooyoung is quick to start on covering the blemishes on my face. “He would let you come in for one session, I’m sure of if it. Then you can talk out all that’s on your mind, and maybe he’ll tell you that you do have insomnia. You’ll have no choice but to go see Doc, then. He can prescribe drugs as well as patch up the fighters.”

          “I don’t have insomnia, and there is no way in hell that I am going to see my therapist. He messed me up. There’s gaps in my memory. Gaps that would be better filled in.”

          “Okay, so you don’t have insomnia. I’ll believe that,” she taps my forehead so I open my eyes.

          “No, you won’t,” I chuckle, giving her a shove as she twirls an eyeliner pencil in her hand. “Every single time I don’t sleep well you blame it on a mental illness I don’t have. Sooyoung, come on, people really struggle with that, and it’s not okay to make fun of it.”

          “I’m not making fun of it,” she breathes out. “I understand how much of a struggle it is for people. That’s why I’m trying to get you help. You are my best friend, and I want the best for you.”

          “You are so annoying,” I roll my eyes, keeping them looking up. “Just finish my make-up, please. We still need to pick out an outfit, and I can’t leave without saying goodbye to Yoongi.”

          “You and your brother are so cute together,” Sooyoung carefully pencils in the bottom of my eye lid with eyeliner. “It’s sweet that he wants to send you off to school every morning.”

          “I just want to make sure he’s in a good mood before he starts his day as temporary godfather. Don’t need him ordering someone to death, or something crazy.”

          “I hope your father is able to seal the deal by going over to visit that guy.”

          “Me too,” I sigh, relaxing my face as Sooyoung takes a step back to look me over.

          “Another perfect look for those fakes,” she smirks as her hands rest on her hips, stepping to the side so I can look myself over.

          Most of my hair is pulled up into a bun on top of my head, the bottom most layer the only part that’s still down. Then my make-up is bright, trying to take the attention away from the bags under my eyes.

          “You are amazing,” I stand up, patting my best friend’s cheek. “Every day you do this, and I am always amazed at the result. Blemishes covered, and hair styled perfectly.”

          “We aren’t done yet,” she grabs my hand, pulling me out of the bathroom and over to my walk-in closet.

          I spot Snow and Lola, Sooyoung’s dark brown poodle, lying together on my bed as we pass by. Even our pets are close friends.

          “If only I didn’t have to wear a dress and heels,” I groan, plopping down onto a round, padded seat. “My feet hate me every time I slip into the devil made shoes. Just to impress those fakes, and make sure they talk us up to their fathers.”

          “It’s worth it, though, to get those partners, to give us money, and keep the cops off our back,” Sooyoung runs her hands over the dresses on the back wall. “Man, even though I am in here almost every day, I still can’t get over all the clothes you have.”

          “Enough to have a different outfit every day of the year,” I raise my hands above my head to stretch out my back. “Even if I wear the same thing on off days, and the same dress to events.”

          “That’s why I come in here and borrow clothes when I can’t find something to wear in my closet,” she pulls out a red and black plaid sun dress. “This is so cute,” she squeals. “Perfect with a white sweater, and black heels. Now I want to put a ribbon in your hair, and I wish you had more backpacks.”

          I wave her off, “No ribbon, and I like my backpack. I put up with the heels, so you have to deal with my backpack tastes.”

          “Sorry, I just like everything to match,” she tosses the dress over to me, going back to look for a sweater and heels. “Your backpack is super cute though. Like you are going-”

          “To go sailing,” I stand up, beginning to change into today’s outfit. “I know, I know. I’ve heard it before.”

          “The fakes?”

          “How did you guess?” I say as sarcastically as possible.

          “Just a feeling I had,” she throws a teasing glance my way. “They always compliment you like that. Not hard to figure them out after, like, a week.”

          I grin, squeezing the bun on top of my head. “If only I could ignore them like I do most people. They give me a headache. A ringing in my head.”

          “Maybe you won’t have to deal with them anymore if you and Yoongi lead well enough. Your father may back away.”

          I can’t help the laugh that explodes from my mouth.

          “I know I have some bad ideas, but there’s no need to laugh,” Sooyoung has a pout in her voice.

          “It’s not that,” I take a deep breath. “I do believe Yoongi and I will do a great job leading. It is what we’ve been learning to do ever since the mafia was revealed to us. What made me laugh was that you think my father is just going to step down. There’s no way in hell that my father is just going to hand over the business that he has built up over most of his life. It’s the second most important thing in his life. These people are like family to him. That’s what the mafia is. One big, happy, ruthless, killing, extended family. Something is going to have to kill my father, and even then, he will fight hard to keep control of Bangtan.”

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          “Joonie, can you please take my heels to my room,” I hold my shoes out for Namjoon to grab as we walk in the mansion from the garage. “Or to the shooting range. Whatever you want to do, really. Burn them for all I care.”

          “You don’t need to hurt yourself to impress those girls,” Namjoon takes the heels from my fingers. “Stop wearing heels if you don’t like them. You always look so uncomfortable in them. Out of your comfort zone.”

          “I do what I have to for the sake of the group,” I shrug. “If I have to dress up so those girls tell their fathers how great the Min’s are, then I have to dress up and endure the pain of heels. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”

          Namjoon pokes my cheek, “Whatever you say, Bambi.”

          I break away from the boy, heading down the path to one of my favorite rooms in the mansion: the kitchen. It’s not just because I love food, and boy, do I love food. No, the reason the kitchen is my favorite part of the mansion is because of the man in charge.

          “Seokjin,” I whine, walking straight to the island with two bar stools.

          The kitchen is bare; lunch having ended a few hours ago, and dinner not close enough to start cooking. The only person is Seokjin, planning the meals for tomorrow, no doubt.

          Seokjin looks up at me, his dark brown eyes softening the second they land on my defeated face. “Using my full name, I see.”

          I hop up onto a barstool as he hops off of his. “Yeah, well, it’s been one of those days.”

          “Oh no, what’s wrong, Pumpkin?” Seokjin pouts his plump lips, walking around the kitchen gathering ingredients for his go-to drink for me. “Spill while I make you some of my famous hot chocolate.”

          I slightly smile, “University, that’s what’s fucking wrong.”

          “Do you have homework?” He glances back at me, running a hand through his straight, light brown hair.

          “It’s not that,” I slide my backpack off my shoulders, lifting it up onto the island. “Homework is the least of my problems.”

          “You know you can tell me anything. I won’t make fun of you, I promise. No matter how girly your problems are.”

          I lowly chuckle, “It’s nothing like that, Jin. There’s these girls at uni that don’t leave me alone. Don’t you remember? I told you about them, like, all last year. They make my head ring when they talk to me, and there were days I went to the library to get away from them.”

          “Oh yeah, I know who you’re talking about. You gave them a special name, if I remember correctly.”

          “The fakes,” I grumble, clenching my hands into fists.

          “Tell me what they did today. You need to get it off your mind. Let it all out to me so you can get over it. Come on, spill it all to me,” he pleads.

          I take a deep breath, focusing on the events of today before I begin rambling.

          Seokjin hasn’t been the head chef at the mansion for a terribly long time, joining a few years after it was revealed to me that I was a mafia kid. It wasn’t hard to see that he was scared to come in and be a part of the mafia. I knew that feeling, and I did what I could to calm him down.

          Years have gone by since our first meeting, and are relationship has been shaped into a sibling type. He’s the big brother that will listen to my problems, cook me anything I’d like, and give me advice without even having to be asked. He is a different kind of brother than Yoongi; Seokjin can never say no to me.

          “Jin, can I have extra marshmallows?” I pout, pulling out the school folders to get started on homework.

          “Of course,” Seokjin smiles as he begins pouring the hot chocolate into my favorite penguin mug. “Anything to cheer you up, Pumpkin.”

          I giggle, “You are the best.”

          “I know, I know.”

          On top of being the best chef in Seoul, as evident by him running a restaurant before being caught in the middle of a mafia scuttle, Seokjin is also incredibly confident. As he should be, as he is one of the most handsome men in the mansion. His slender, oval face, with the puffy cheeks that should be chubbier with all the food he eats; a button nose that fits perfectly on his face; subtle bags under his eyes that show how hard working he is, even if they are genetic and he can’t do much to make them go away. He also has tan, smooth skin that I would kill for, just not him.

          “Here you go, sweetheart,” Seokjin slides the mug over to me, taking a seat in the empty barstool. “Now, do you feel better after spilling your guts to me about your day?”

          “So much better,” I smile, turning to look at the man next to me.

          Seokjin is a whole four years older than me, towers over me like Namjoon at 179 centimeters, and makes me jealous as he doesn’t have to worry about gaining weight as he’s never gone over 63 kilograms. He’s not a boy like all the other males I interact with.

          “How does it feel to be a godfather, then?” Seokjin tucks a loose strong of hair behind my ear.

          I take a tentative sip of my hot chocolate, placing the mug down when the hot liquid almost burns my mouth. “Well, I haven’t really done anything godfather like. Yoongi had Namjoon brief me in the car ride home, but nothing really happened today. Training for everyone, and no meetings with CEOs, or the like. Just a normal day. Nothing to worry about, nothing to do.”

          “I’m sure you’ll be doing something important soon. It’ll take your mind off those girls that drive you crazy,” he chuckles as I finally take a sip of the hot chocolate, only to fan my tongue as the drink is still too hot. “Calm down, the drink won’t go ice cold in a split second. Now your mouth is burnt.”

          “Shut up,” I frown with the tip of my tongue stuck outside my lips. “It’s so good, and I want it so bad. I want to be lost in its taste so I can forget today.”

          “Just be a bit more patient,” Seokjin pats the top of my head. “Talk to me to keep your mind off those horrible girls. We can talk about anything you want. Even if that means we have to talk about boys.”

          I giggle, “You and Sooyoung always wanting to know about my love life.”

          “You’re like my little sister, so I need to know every detail about your life,” he smirks.

          I shove Seokjin’s shoulder, rolling my eyes. “There’s no boy. Yoongi would never allow me to date someone he hasn’t checked out for mouths, perhaps even years. Besides, no one has caught my eye. The only person on my mind is the hacker that Yoongi has let me know has been keeping an eye on me. It’s like he doesn’t trust me.”

          “You know he trusts you. Hackers watch over everyone. They have eyes in the kitchen, for god’s sake. What are any of us going to do in here? We can only order what the man in charge lets us. I understand though, that they need to protect everyone in any way that they can. It’s smart, having the hackers watching over it all.”

          “I don’t think I’ve ever met a hacker,” I spin in my seat as the other workers in the kitchen begin to file in. “Maybe once, but that was years ago, when he was just taken in, and beginning his training.”

          “I’m sure he’s still here, and still checking in on you from time to time.”

          I shrug, finally able to drink the hot chocolate made specially for me.

          Workers shuffle around, beginning to prepare on the evening meal. It looks like organized chaos for anyone who doesn’t know the way that Seokjin runs his kitchen. The shouting, jokes, even flirting, that is being thrown around just shows how close knit the kitchen family is. It’s a warm and inviting place to be when you need it.

          “You are welcome to stay,” Seokjin stands up, taking my empty mug and walking over to the sink. “Finish your homework, and even taste tonight’s meal. All up to you!”

          “I’ll stay!” I smile, looking back at my homework.

          “Then get to work!” A lady shouts from the other side of the room.

          Even with all the chaos going on around me, I still manage to get a lot of my work done. A skill I pride myself in is being able to block out any unneeded noise. It’s how I can recharge in a large crowd of people, even if strangers drain me.

          “Areum! Are you in here!” Yoongi’s voice rises above all the noise.

          All commotion in the kitchen halts, and everyone turns to look at the entrance where Yoongi is standing. His arms crossed over his chest, and no emotion on his face.

          “I’m here,” I call out, placing all my schoolwork back into my backpack. “Do you need me for something?”

          “An assassin just got back from a mission, and I need you to be there as he recounts what went down.”

          I sigh, “Just when I was about to start my last classes work. Okay, I’m coming.”

          “Finally, you get to be godfather,” Seokjin comes over to me, kissing the side of my head. “Go get ‘em, Pumpkin.”

          I giggle, sliding off the barstool, and slinging my backpack over one shoulder. “Thanks for everything today, Jin. I’ll be back soon for more hot chocolate.”

          “Good, I look forward to it,” he grins.

          “Before the sun sets, Bambi,” Yoongi rolls his eyes.

          “I’m coming, I’m coming,” I stick my tongue out at my brother. “Back to work, everyone!”

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I’m so sorry that it took so long for this chapter to come out! Been busy with lots of different things. Everything is slowly coming together, and almost all the characters have been introduced. Hope you liked it! Feedback is always appreciated! Chapter Four will hopefully not take this long. :D

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