Well, this chapter is continuation of the one before. It is very much Tae Soo-centric and for him it covers that night when he was drinking. I'm very interested in your opinions about this chapter, you will see why, once you read it. I'm working on the next one. I'm going to post daily as before, because I just can't stop writing about them! Thank you so much for reviews! I will be reading your comments eagerly, as soon as they hit my mailbox.
Angie was dying from curiosity. She was a bright young woman and the way Tae Soo acted earlier indicated only one thing – it had nothing to do with work and probably had everything to do with mysterious mood swings the night before and dare she guess – a woman. She had to unravel the secret behind her boss' erratic behavior. If he were to successfully proceed with the project, he had to be in the right frame of mind. So all the distractions had to be eliminated or taken care of. Either way, she prided herself in taking on such challenges.
"Pick me up!" Shouted her phone annoyingly in Korean, managing to elicit a laugh and a huff out of her every time.
She was not very surprised at the request and quickly texted her boyfriend that she might not be able to make it on time for their date tonight, again (sorryJ), because of her job. He was a patient man and she truly appreciated all of his finer qualities. She will definitely try to deliver her expensive package to the hotel in one piece and might even have a chance to jet across town for the date.
. . .
Tae Soo was cautiously drinking himself into oblivion. He was a responsible drunk, having arranged for the aftercare, he still wanted to track his progress by lining up all the beer glasses on the counter in front of him.
Hana, dul, set, net, net, net ... The numbers jumbled in his head. So he started from right to left: Net, set, dul, hana, hana, hana AGAIN? He waved at the bartender, "Friend, tell me if I'm wrong, when I count left to right – one, two, three, four, then why is it four again? Or is it four, three, two, one, one, one and more ones?"
It appeared that after 'four' his vision consistently merged all the transparent and identical vessels into one, since he was tilting his head and squinting from the same odd angle.
The bartender not phased one bit by the helpless and clueless customer kindly smiled and pulled out a small dark bottle with Chinese label. He poured amber liquid into a glass number "one" on Tae Soo's repetitive list of ones, adding a few cubes of ice and slid it over to the customer. "Have this. I'm calling your assistant."
"Don't! Call Giselle. I have to apologize to her!" Tae Soo added and frowned heavily, to add more credence to his request.
Tae Soo made an incoherent sound, dropping his incredibly weighty head on his arms and wondered about the overpowering smell of beer that made him nauseated.
. . .
. . .
"Did I catch you at a bad time?"
"No. I'm actually making progress. I decided to find Tae Soo and tell him off in person. Do you like this idea?"
Lena laughed wholeheartedly, this plan sounded as convincing as Giselle suddenly being able to speak Chinese fluently because she thought she could.
"Mock away," growled the author, "We shall see..."
Lena did not waste any time entertaining fantasies, she jumped right to business. "Have you tried dryer therapy yet?"
"It did not work," complained her friend.
Lena choked on a fit of giggles. The question was a joke, but apparently Giselle has been trying innovative approaches to dealing with extreme discomforts of being left in limbo. "I told my husband to program it to respond with more empathy."
"Shut up!" Yelled poor girl, finally embarrassed even in front of her friend who had seen all kinds of crazy and pathetic and then some. "This is not funny!"
"Of course," responded softly Lena. "I'm glad you can joke and I bet your face is hurting from smiling, now, am I right?"
"Whatever," hissed more meekly Giselle. "I am going to speak with Shklovsky and get Tae Soo's number. Then... Then... you can call him and get all the intel we need." She finished, suddenly feeling lighter and happier, now that she did not have to face the situation on her own.
"What friends are for? I'm sure he will be thrilled to hear from you and will be apologizing for hours, begging for forgiveness."
"How do you know?"
"I just have a feeling."
"Then why did not he call me first?!"
"I'm sure he is trying his best. Trust me. I have a good feeling about it."
"I don't." Sighed Giselle with resignation. She would rather be ready for a serious blow to her ego, than trustingly allow hope to wash away all the pain and suffering she had to endure. That hope was an annoying little thing, it kept tickling her from every possible angle and sneaking quick glances into Giselle's eyes, right from her own reflection in the mirror. It also seemed to add beautiful rosy blush to her cheeks, and even her long straight hair seemed to get glossier, shining with that said insistent hope. Giselle had to protect one organ in her body that could not be allowed to be invaded by such a dangerous virus – her heart. Oops, it was too late. Her heartbeat was racing, hope chummy and unwilling to evacuate, sitting comfortably for a long hall smack in the center of it.
Giselle took another critical look at herself. Hope did wonders for her complexion. With that hope, she could climb the mountains and cross the oceans to get to her final target – normal, basic, human happiness of a simple kind – the kind she felt during those languid and humid days of summer with Tae Soo at her side, loving her and her loving him back.
. . .
. . .
Tae Soo was a mess. "A gorgeous mess, even when drunk", Angie noted in her head. After she had seen him shirtless, it was difficult to regard him with neutrality. Despite smelling like a beer keg, he was steady on his feet, only leaning lightly on her shoulder. It seemed that alcohol mainly affected his brain function, not touching the rest, more physical duties of his body, such as walking and holding his head up. He was mumbling in some spankonglish, which she had never heard before – it was a weave of English, Spanish and Korean, so tangled that without a drink one would not even begin to decipher the mangled word salad.
What was more amazing, Tae Soo remained a perfect gentleman when she reminded him about who she was and why she was here, thanking her in Korean with proper honorifics before he added in English that he was not feeling well and required her assistance to the hotel. He blankly stared out the window, dozing off a few times, before they reached the valet. Angie motioned to the driver to continue inside the parking garage and slipping a five dollar bill to the parking attendant, explained that a VIP guest needed to be discretely escorted to his room. The man nodded knowingly and directed them to the back elevator. Angie shook Tae Soo half-awake and explained that he had to walk just a bit more and then he would be home. He looked at her with unwavering trust in his glossy with drunkenness almond eyes and followed her into the freight elevator.
. . .
"Don't leave," he asked softly after she had deposited him on his bed and kneeled in front to pull his shoes off. She might as well take care of his shirt since she had already seen what lay underneath. She paused to think whether such measures were necessary.
A woman in her could not deny the attraction she felt toward her boss, although inappropriate and obviously not reciprocated. She thought "no harm, no foul" – she was just going to take advantage of the situation innocently – he will sleep better and she will have a story to brag to her friends later about an anonymous celebrity whom she helped dress and undress.
Angie unbuttoned three of the top buttons, but when she reached his stomach, she began to reconsider. It was a bit too much and was crossing the boundaries of innocence into a more gray territory. Tae Soo was hot and sexy and also very drunk. She pulled at his shirt, deciding to just to leave it untucked and go before she did something that would cause her a job or even more.
But the actor held onto her arm, almost frantically. She lifted her head taken aback. "Tae Soo-shi, you need to sleep it off. I will turn off the light and go." She got up, thinking of how to politely free her hand from his grip.
"Stay with me," he pulled at her waist, enfolding her into a tight hug. Angie breathlessly tried to push his arms, but he was strong and insistent.
"Please," she urged him with a voice that shook with uncertainty, "let me go."
"I missed you. I've waited for all these years. I'm sorry I was late. I'm sorry for everything," he murmured, hot beer breath hitting her ear. "I don't want to be alone tonight."
She did not feel threatened by him, as in his desperate embrace, she could see a very gentle soul underneath, a sad soul, a lonely one. His embrace was pleasantly arousing and exciting going against all the rules of professional conduct, but Angie never felt more fragile and vulnerable than next to this man. She felt her stomach flutter and surrendered.
His eyes were closed. As Angie stopped fighting against him, he smiled lightly and whispered, "Thank you." His hands slowly slid to her hips and she felt the kind of things she should not be feeling, having a boyfriend and working for Tae Soo. He had long and strong fingers that wrapped around her curves and stilled.
"You are too skinny, Querida. Have you been eating well?" He asked with concern.
Angie rose her brows, infuriated. He was groping her and complaining about her size? But Tae Soo did not stop there, his eyes slowly opened and fell onto her chest. He appeared to be measuring her cup size, as he strained and pulled back to better see in the dim light flooding low around the bed. "It's not right. You looked bigger before. Much bigger," he mumbled in confusion. He moved his hands back to her waist and sent her just a step a ways.
"You lost too much weight since yesterday. Not healthy, cariño. Not good," he babbled warmly, now stroking Angie's hand with care.
Mixed with frustratingly unavoidable pleasure she received from his touch, she felt guilt that she took somebody's place and his display of misguided affection was becoming burdensome. It was obvious he was not seducing or making advances on her. It was another woman that he hoped to see next to him. If she did not stop him, she would be a horrible person.
"Tae Soo-shi. I'm Angie. Angie Song, your assistant," she leaned closer to make sure he was looking at her face. "Remember me?"
"Angie," he said listlessly. "Where did she go? She did not want to stay, did she? I asked her to stay," he sounded progressively sadder with each spoken word and then closed his eyes again, dropping his head down. He finally let go of her hand and Angie felt both relief and embarrassment for not revealing her identity earlier.
Lee Tae Soo was a tragic character she discovered. She was slightly pissed and slightly in awe at how she let herself slip into his charms so easily. Right there and then she vowed to wipe this evening out of her memory. Tonight her boyfriend was going to meet one very horny and dissatisfied lady in his bed and he better do a good job!
"Get some sleep. I can help you find this woman tomorrow." Whoever that person was – she was lucky to elicit such loyalty from the irresistible Lee Tae Soo. She turned to leave, but stopped and muttered, "Beer, really? A classy man like you?" She shook her head in disappointment.
"Sorry," he hiccupped and smiled. "I can't hold hard liquor." He inhaled his own beer fumes and wrinkled his nose. "I smell like a salary man after a paycheck," he added remorsefully.
Angie looked over him with pity. He was harmless and appeared oblivious to his previously inappropriate moves. She helped him back on the bed and covered him with a blanket.
After she had left, Tae Soo stirred in the darkness, reaching out for an invisible hand he wanted to hold. "Giselle, I will come to you," he murmured. "Please wait another day."