au!girlee; taemin x eunsook
pg-13; 2950 words
pg-13; 2950 words
Eunsook was in distress. She’d been crying for almost an hour, the previously impeccable eyeliner and mascara now running in thin dark lines over her face. She couldn’t even reach into her pocket for a Kleenex, her hands shaking on her lap as she bowed her head and waited through probably the worst night of her life.
The door slowly opened and Eunsook fought the urge to look up. She knew the detective who would be interrogating her had arrived. She had watched in crime dramas how violent some interrogators can be and the thought made her almost throw up in fear. She focused her teary eyes on the table and willed herself to stop shaking. Maybe, if she told the truth, she’ll be let off easily.
She waited for the interrogator to bang the table or to demand her to look up at the camera. But instead of any violent movement, she felt something being slid towards her. Slightly looking up, she found herself staring at a steaming mug of coffee a plate of some cheap muffins.
“They’ve cooped you in here for more than an hour, I figured you’d be hungry,” came the voice across him. It was an unassuming voice–neither demanding nor scary.
Taking chances, Eunsook looked up and found herself staring at a young man she wouldn’t expect to be a detective. He seemed too young, dressed in a simple long-sleeved button-down and a dark blue tie. His hair was a bit mussed and he wore a stud on one ear. If Eunsook weren’t in a police station, she would’ve thought she’d meet this guy in a bar. Was this her interrogating officer?
The young man smiled as he met Eunsook’s eyes. He reached into his pocket, making Eunsook flinch, but it was only to retrieve a packet of tissues. “Here. I think you should uh…” the young man made a weird gesture with his hand. “…clean your face first.”
“Thanks…” Eunsook gingerly took the packet of tissues and started dabbing her eyes with it, wincing when black smudges came off. She should invest in waterproof eye makeup next time.
The young man settled back into his chair. “I’m sorry we were a bit harsh with you a while ago,” he started. “I’m the head investigator on your case, Lee Taemin.”
Eunsook swallowed a bit. Great, she just had to share her last name with the man who will probably arrest her. She decided to start her plea deal. “I…I…” she steadied her breath and wrung her hands under the table. “I really didn’t…I’m sorry…”
Taemin edged closer to the table, resting his elbows on it. “Miss Lee…”
“Please just call me Eunsook,” she pleaded after seeing the slight frown on Taemin’s face. It must also feel weird for him to share his last name with his.
“Okay, Miss Eunsook,” Taemin started again. “The man who was with you tonight is part of the escort service Boys Cloud. However, that service is known for illegal prostitution as well as kidnapping and stealing from ladies like you. We just wanted to ask you some questions about your reason for meeting up with a Boys Cloud member. However, you seemed to be distressed when we asked you at the front desk, so I decided to let you sit here. But you haven’t been talking.”
Eunsook wanted to sink into her seat.
Taemin took a deep breath and peered under Eunsook’s fringe, trying to catch her eyes. “We’re not going to file a case against you unless you’re part of them,” he gently said. “Looking at your reaction when you got arrested, you don’t seem to know of their other activities…”
“I don’t know anything at all!” Eunsook cried, tears springing into her eyes once more.
“Then please tell us why you’re speaking with Mr. Kim Jonghyun of Boys Cloud?” Taemin’s voice was lower this time, and a tad gentler.
Eunsook decided that she wouldn’t be able to leave unscathed if she didn’t say anything. As embarrassing as it was and as young as the detective before her was, an investigation is an investigation. “W…would the police keep quiet about it? Like…not show it in the news or something?”
Taemin thought for a while, hand on his chin. Eunsook found herself staring at the slender fingers. “No media had gotten wind of this matter,” he admitted. “But it’d be on TV in a few hours. The least I could do is keep your identity and alibi a secret.”
“Okay.” Eunsook took a deep breath. “Actually, I have this high school reunion…”
“What does that have to do with Kim Jonghyun? Is he a former classmate?”
Eunsook laughed hollowly. “No, no. None of that sort. It’s just that…” She let out a breath to steady her voice. “You know, high school reunion. I was one of the most popular girls in class then. I had good grades, I was in the choir, and I had a lot of friends.”
“I swear I have a point,” Eunsook said, raising her hand. Taemin nodded and she continued. “Um, basically, I’m what the people expect to be a woman who would have it all in the future, you know? I got into a good college, graduated with honors, got a good job…all those things. I did become the woman who almost had it all, except a boyfriend.”
Eunsook could feel heat rising to her cheeks. She was already an executive in her company and this…this sort of confession was like a blow to her. “I never had a boyfriend,” she whispered. “I mean, I was busy trying to be successful and I never had time to date and stuff. Almost all of my high school friends are now married or seriously dating.” She sighed. “I mean…haha… What would they think of me? I’m 26 years old and I’ve never even dated my whole life.”
Taemin searched her face for any hint of a lie. “So…you contacted Boys Cloud for a date?”
“I know, right?” Eunsook said, laughing. “Of all the things, why did I have to contact a shady escort service?!” She placed her hands on the table, still wringing them together. “I just thought that an escort service would be better. I could get a date for a night then forget about it.”
“But what if they look for him the next time you meet?” Taemin asked.
“Then I won’t meet them,” Eunsook said with a wry smile. “It’s just that I can’t back out of this one so…”
The detective clasped his hands together and rested his chin on them. “Miss Eunsook, if they’re really your friends they wouldn’t really mind if you have a boyfriend or not, right?”
Eunsook rolled her eyes and gave Taemin a half-smile. “Detective, I figured you were young but not that naive. When you’re a woman of my age, everyone will pry into your life. Do you have a good job, a good fashion sense, a boyfriend or husband?” She tucked her hair behind an ear. “It doesn’t matter if I graduated from a good school or have a high position in a multi-national company. I’d still be a failure if I don’t bring a man with me. And I don’t want to be a failure in their eyes.”
Taemin studied her for a bit and Eunsook stared back, more defiant than when she was an hour ago. Suddenly, the detective cleared his throat and looked away. “Well, I guess you don’t have anything to do with Boys Cloud’s interior activities.” Eunsook shook her head firmly and Taemin nodded. “I guess we can let you go now.”
“Oh god, thank you!” Eunsook started to stand up.
Taemin walked towards her and handed her bag. “About your date um…I’m sorry. I wish I could help. It…didn’t seem really serious to me at all, to be honest. But if an accomplished and intelligent girl like you had subjected herself using an escort service then it must be a serious thing for you.”
“Thanks for rubbing it again on my face, Detective,” Eunsook pointedly said as she took her bag back. “I’ll just embarrass myself for the second time tomorrow.”
Taemin cleared his throat again and handed Eunsook a piece of paper and a pen. “If I could be a bit more rude, could you please write your full name, cellphone number, and whereabouts tomorrow night on this paper?”
Eunsook looked up, suspicious. “Why? I’ll be at the party tomorrow. Are you going to tail me?”
“No, of course not!” Taemin said, chuckling. “I just need to be able to contact you ASAP in case something comes up and we need your testimony again. The sooner I’ll be able to contact you, the earlier we can get off your case, so it’s really more of a convenience for you.”
“If you say so…” Eunsook took one last look at Taemin, who didn’t seem to be hiding anything like a surprise arrest, before signing the paper. She prayed she was right to trust Taemin because even if she embarrassed herself tomorrow for not having a boyfriend, it’d be even more embarrassing to be arrested right at the party.
Eunsook could feel herself shaking in her heels. It was barely halfway into the party and she’d run out of excuses to avoid people. She eventually got found by one of her previous friends and dragged towards a flock of similar women, all of them parading around their husbands and boyfriends. This is it, Eunsook thought as she wandered into the group, greeting everyone with a smile and a kiss on the cheek.
She waited until everyone had finished introducing their dates and their respectable professions, an idle talk or two slipping in between boastings of accomplishments. Soon, the girls latched on to Eunsook, who obviously didn’t have anyone with her.
“You told us you’d be bringing your boytoy, Sookie!” one of the girls said, and Eunsook found herself wincing at the term. “I thought he agreed to going with you this time since last time and the one before that he wasn’t available.”
Eunsook laughed, wondering if her smile looked pasted on. “I know, right? It’s just that…well, to be honest with you…”
“What?” Her other classmate said with a teasing tone. “Please don’t tell us you you broke up or something.”
“It’s because Eunsook is such a career woman, guys are scared of approaching her!” another one said, making the group squeal in laughter.
She smiled again. “N-no, that’s…”
“I guess it’s the payment for being super intelligent and accomplished,” one of the girls Eunsook barely remembered said. “Even if career women are the thing nowadays, every woman’s dream is to be a housewife and raise kids, right?”
“Not really,” Eunsook muttered under her breath as her friends agreed with the girl. She was bombarded with questions and commentary for a bit, and she could feel her eyes glazing and her smile freezing as she tried to talk her way out of the conversation. Just when she’s about to snap at someone for commenting that maybe Eunsook should attend a blind date they’d arrange for her, a voice called out from the crowd.
All of her classmates’ heads turned to the right like clockwork before she herself did. Slowly, Eunsook followed their gaze, eyes widening as she stared at the newcomer. Why was the detective here? And why was he calling her noona?
“Noona, sorry!” Taemin said, smiling widely as he reached her. He placed a hand on her shoulder, almost making Eunsook flinch. “I’m sorry I’m late. I had to do some overtime work.”
Taemin leaned down, as if to give her a kiss, but instead brushed his lips against her ear. “You needed a date, right? Well, there’s one right here so use it!” He straightened up again and gave her another winning smile. “I thought we said we’d go together though, I feel a bit hurt that you left without me…”
Eunsook stared at Taemin’s smiling face, waking up only when she felt the detective prod at her arm. “O-oh,” she weakly said. “I…thought…I thought you weren’t coming…”
“Who is your friend?” one of Eunsook’s classmates had to ask.
Eunsook immediately turned to her small group and smiled. “Oh, um, this is Lee Taemin, my frie–” She let out a small squeak as Taemin encircled her waist with an arm.
She didn’t like the sudden skinship, but it seemed her friends loved it with the way their eyes were glued to Taemin’s arm around her. “Noona,” Taemin said, playfully whispering in her ear but loud enough to be heard by the group. “How can you call me only as a friend when we’ve done things done by more than just friends…” He then smiled at the group. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Eunsook-noona’s boyfriend.”
Eunsook almost choked at the statement, but her surprise was hidden with the girlish squeals her classmates gave. “Oh my god, Sookie, I thought you didn’t have a boyfriend?!” one of them said.
“Sorry for startling you!” another classmate said. “It’s just that, Eunsook didn’t really show a lot of interest in boys so we thought…”
Taemin nodded and pulled Eunsook closer to him, his other hand reaching for the drink in Eunsook’s hand so he can take a sip, too. “Well, she wouldn’t show interest in boys because she’s only interested in me. And I like keeping it that way.”
Eunsook could see her friends swoon.
Her friends started to quiz Taemin and ask him tons of questions, but she decided to spare the man who came to help him the stress of thinking of a backstory for them. “I better make Taemin eat something first,” she said shakily as she tried to get used to calling Taemin by his name. “He must be famished from work.”
“With the way he’s looking at you, I think he wants to eat something else, Eunsook,” one of her friends joked. Eunsook wanted to die of embarrassment.
But Taemin just grinned at the girl and gave her a thumbs up. “I am that kind of famished, too,” he agreed, making the girls swoon some more as he was dragged away buy a fiercely blushing Eunsook. “Sorry, was that overboard?” he asked as they were out of earshot.
Eunsook fought the heat creeping up her cheeks. “They loved it, didn’t they? You were amazing, don’t worry.” She walked towards the buffet table to pick up a plate. “T-thank you,” she said as she handed Taemin the dish. “I mean…you didn’t have to but you still went here to pretend for me.”
“Well,” Taemin scratched his temple as he accepted the food. “Actually…I didn’t want to pretend.”
Eunsook’s heart sank a bit. To think she’d made the man do something out of his comfort zone. “I’m sorry…”
“No, that’s not what I meant,” Taemin said, depositing the plate back to the rack and holding Eunsook’s arms. “I meant, I would like to end up like this without the pretense.”
“What…” Eunsook blinked. “Is this because you pity me? Because that would really suck. You know what they said, right? No guy would ever like me because I’m…”
“Did you look the mirror before you left the house?” Taemin said. “I’m wondering why their boyfriends weren’t falling head over heels for you! I’m wondering why no one seems affected and here I am…” he trailed off.
“W-what…” Eunsook dared ask. “Please don’t tell me you’re having some perverted images right now.”
Taemin blushed, catching her off guard. “I…I am, but I’m a gentleman.”
Eunsook laughed as she stepped back towards a window. “Please…you’re a boy.”
“That’s still five years away from me, young man. You’ll meet better girls, I promise. I am really thankful you helped me this once. But you don’t have to feel responsible for my feelings.” She waved her hand in dismissal.
Taemin sighed. “Why don’t you believe it when I say I’m attracted to you? I don’t care if I’ll meet more girls later on. I just want you!”
Eunsook pressed herself against the window as Taemin stepped closer. “T-taemin…?”
The detective leaned closer, placing a hand on the window as he tilted his mouth closer to Eunsook’s ear. “Would you like to know how much I’m attracted to you, Eunsook-noona? Because I can very well show you now,” he whispered.
Eunsook shivered, the proximity making her warm instead of uncomfortable. “I…I don’t…allow a lot of physical contact on the first date,” she stammered.
Laughing, Taemin moved away and gave her a smile. “Of course, noona. Then can we schedule a second date already? Because I dreamt a lot about kissing you last night and I kind of want to try.”
Eunsook felt her blush coming back. This brat! “W-we’ll see about that. Ma…maybe if you manage to impress me tonight then we’ll talk.” She pouted, defiant. “And you still have a chance to back out in case you see a bad side of me or something unattractive.”
Taemin laughed again as he held out a hand to lead Eunsook back to the buffet table. “Please, I’ve seen you with runny makeup and I still found you sexy. What could deter me?”
Eunsook didn’t want to admit it, but Taemin had impressed her already. But of course, she first had to make the detective work for the second date a bit.
Though a few hours later, as she found herself leaning into the arm around her shoulder and biting her lip at the sensation of a hand brushing against her bare knee, Eunsook wondered how long her scholarly resistance would last.