After a week of running endless errands for Park Jimin and waiting on him hand and foot, you’re excited to finally take a break. It’s your day off, and you deserve it more than anyone.
You shower, wash your hair, and apply a face mask, laying in a soft robe as you feel the product tightening the skin around your cheeks and drying with a cooling sensation. You’re so relaxed you could fall asleep. . . Until your phone rings.
Annoyed, you roll over and grab the device from the nightstand. It’s an unfamiliar number, so you silence the ringtone and toss it aside. Settling into bed once more, a persistent ringing alerts you of another caller. This time, curious, you clear your throat and answer.
“This is she,” you answer hesitantly. It better not be a spam call selling fake car insurance. You get too many of those.
“Why aren’t you here?”
You take a moment to think and carefully select your next words.
“Mr. Park? I don’t take business calls on my day off. I appreciate your concern, and I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.”
Does he not check the schedule? He’s been in office for a week now. You prepare to disconnect, but his serious voice forms an urgent response.
“I need you to come in.”
“Uh. . . “
“I’ll pay you overtime,” he says.
You roll your eyes and feel the skin of your forehead struggle to move under the dried face mask. You should rinse it off and moisturize.
“Hmm. . . ” You trail off. “I’ve already planned a few things I need to do today.” Like washing off this face mask.
“I’ll pay you double.”
You give thought to it. You could use the extra money, especially considering that the company isn’t likely to promote in-network employees. They always seem to hire outside the company for power positions. Park Jimin is a perfect example.
“Okay, but you have to be nice to me,” you say.
He finally breaks and lets out a small laugh. “Deal.”
You wash off the face mask and reluctantly dress in work attire, sadly eyeing your recently removed robe and wishing to nap in it. Halfway out the door, you remember your responsibility and run back to your room with a cup of cool water and kneel beside the window.
“My precious, I know we didn’t get to talk today, but I’ll be back shortly,” you assure, stroking the lone green leaf and slowly pouring water into the dark soil. You’ve been caring for this plant since you started living alone. Rather than providing solace in solitude, it’s become your companion in isolation. Perhaps that’s the reason it struggles to grow more than one lousy leaf.
Later, when you make it into the office, your coworkers turn to you with big eyes. Everyone knows not to bother you on your day off. Seri taps a pen on her desk to get your attention.
“I’m a hoe for the money,” you vaguely say.
“He offered you overtime?” Seri asks with a shocked expression, dropping the pen.
Really, you’re getting paid better than overtime, but no one needs to know that. “Yeah, and I didn’t have plans today anyway,” you elaborate. This is wholly true, but you still wanted to spend your time lounging at home and catching up on TV shows, dozing off with a bag of snacks cradled in your arms. “I should meet with Mr. Park. Apparently, he really needs me.”
Seri gags and shudders with disgust as you tread to Park Jimin’s office with your heels clicking nicely against the floor tiles. You smoothen your clothing and adjust your hair to fall over one shoulder. You’re not sure why, but you want to look your best. You knock on the wooden door and gently push it open, wanting to seem neither eager nor moody.
“Hi,” you sing. “At your service.”
He leans back in his chair with arms rested on their respective armrests. His black hair parts on the side, gelled back to fully show his handsome face. He intently stares at you for a few seconds, eating you with his eyes. It’s enough to make your mind do flips, wondering what he’s thinking. Maybe he’s conjuring ideas for tasks he knows you’ll just hate.
“I need these papers faxed,” he says, cocking his head to the side, referencing a medium-sized cardboard box filled to the brim with documents.
Your shoulders drop in despair. “Mr. Park—”
“Have it finished by noon,” he interjects. And without another word or glance, he dives into his own work, vigorously signing documents.
You trudge to the cardboard box and struggle to lift it in one go. He notices and swoops down to assist you, easily scooping the box in his arms. Embarrassed, you tuck your hair behind your ear and avert your gaze. He chuckles and heads to the fax machine in the break room, only a few steps away. You trail behind him, cursing your physical weakness. You don’t want his help. In the break room, he sets the box on a chair and pushes it to the machine.
“Fax to HR,” is all he says.
He turns to leave, but you stop him. “Mr. Park, why am I doing this? Shouldn’t everything be digital by now? This could all be an email attachment.”
He smirks and chuckles, not for your amusement but his own. “This is a year’s worth of documents. Empty folders await them at HR’s office. Moving forward, everything will be an email attachment.”
You nod, absorbing this information. “Well, why hasn’t anything been faxed for a year?”
His jaw clenches as he bites down, likely forcing himself to hold back from cursing you. “I have no idea. Don’t you think that’s why I’ve been appointed now? To get things done.”
You cross your arms and become serious. “The employees are doing all the work.”
“Y/N, I like you better when you don’t talk,” he says coldly, turning to leave without looking back.
Now you’re alone in the break room, accompanied only by the whirring noise of the old fax machine. Your lack of control under his authority makes you feel small and useless.
All you can do is cycle the papers through the clunker and hope you don’t miss a sheet or dial the wrong number. Over time, the predictable hum of the machine hypnotizes you into a tranquil trance. As you work, your nerves settle. It’s ironic how one copes with stress by performing chores.
At the halfway point of your box, you hear footsteps behind you. Is it noon already? Maybe someone is here to heat their lunch. You spin to see the visitor, but it’s just Park Jimin carrying a large cup of coffee. Mmm, you could go for a coffee, too.
He extends his arm and presents the cup to you. You long for it and smile faintly. “I love coffee.”
“It’s yours,” he says.
A bit confused, you shake your head. “It’s not mine.”
He emphasizes his gesture. “I noticed you drink coffee every day.”
Your eyes focus on the cup and light up. It’s like a gift from the heavens. You receive it with gratitude and take that first sip. Yes, it’s warm and delicious.
Park Jimin smirks and turns to leave.
“Thank you,” you quickly say, almost forgetting your manners as a result of the shock that he’s actually done something nice for you.
He nods. “Don’t forget to finish by noon.”
You smile and set the coffee aside, falling back into the groove of work. Just before noon, you replace the faxed forms in the original cardboard box with a feeling of accomplishment. You lift it without help, hugging it and managing to slide your fingers into a good grip despite the heaviness. You rush to Park Jimin’s office, but of course, the door is closed. Lightly tapping the door with your foot, he tells you to come in, but you’re unable to turn the knob.
“I need you to open the door,” you admit.
You wait nearly five seconds for him to cross the floor of the office and reach the door. Five seconds is not a relatively long time, but considering the weight of the box, it’s an unbearable amount.
When the door opens, you begin to enter but quickly lose your handle and start to fumble the box, clumsily leaning forward and letting it slip from your hands. You try your best to regain some form of grip, but you lose balance and fall forward in the frenzy.
Park Jimin’s strong hands hold you tightly, one of which is around your wrist, stopping you from reaching for the box that is now beyond your grasp. His other hand clutches at your waist, stopping your momentum so you don’t crash to the floor. You look up at him as the papers spill like water from the threshold.
“It was tremendously heavy,” you explain.
“I know,” he says, tightening his hands around you. “That’s why you should’ve called for me.”
“I wanted to do it myself.”
“What do you gain from carrying a heavy box on your own? Ask for help when you need it,” he scolds and releases you from his death grip.
You tuck your hair behind your ear, embarrassed again. “I’m sorry. I’ll clean the mess,” you humbly reply.
He kneels and scoops papers into a pile, dumping them into the box.
“Uh. . . ” You stutter. “You don’t have to. It’s my fault.”
He looks up with a tired expression. “Let’s not argue over trivial things. Just help me.”
You bend and grab as many papers as you can, trying to hurry out of here to escape this unfortunate moment. Your hands brush as you reach for the same paper, and you pull away nervously but not without injury. You suffer from a paper cut, and a sharp pain stabs your fingertip.
Park Jimin grabs your hand and observes the pooling blood threatening to drip from your flesh.
“Y/N, please be careful. We can’t work efficiently if you keep making these kinds of mistakes.”
You suck the blood from your finger and wince. “It’s okay, let’s finish up.”
He rises and goes to his desk, leaving you alone on the floor. Gosh, why is he so mean? After a minute, he returns and lowers himself on one bent knee over the few papers still scattered on the floor. He grabs your hand and takes the injured finger.
“Are you pulling my finger?” you joke, but he doesn’t crack.
Instead, he wraps a small band-aid around the wound and drops your hand. “Don’t damage yourself any further. That was the only band-aid in my drawer.”
You caress the bandage and wonder what’s caused him to be so temperamental. Who is he, really? And why is he like this?
“Thank you,” you say quietly.
He collects the remaining mess and tosses it in the box, lifting it without an issue. “You may leave,” he says blandly, taping the box and stacking it along the wall with other identical, untitled boxes.
You slowly rise to your feet and smoothen your skirt, noticing your shirt is untucked where Park Jimin grabbed at your waist earlier. You tuck it back in nicely. Though he pays you no mind, you bow your head in respect and turn to leave the office.
What a way to spend your day off.
Kitty Aikens is a resident of the U.S. with roots stretching across the globe to South Korea and Vietnam. Although not a professional writer, she enjoys creating stories and sharing them with eager readers who share the thrill of literature. Her own stories are derived from personal experiences and sincere emotions rather than pure imagination, but fiction is her favorite genre to read and write! She has four published works on Wattpad, but expect many more to come.