78 Happy One Day Pt.3

    "Chun Chun, why can't we talk to Papa anymore?"

    The scruffy lass scowled at her brother before snapping, "How many times do I have to tell you? He's not your Papa." She stomped off to the other side of the room, where a cushion was vacant. Huffily, she sat on top of it with her thin brows furrowed. "We can't rely on him anymore, Gulnar. He's one of them."

    Gulnar appeared doubtful. "But Papa has never treated us badly-"

    "But that doesn't mean we should let him fool us!" she retaliated.

    Gulnar blinked in surprise. He fidgeted with his tattered sleeve as he tried his best to understand what was going on. But alas, Gulnar was too young and innocent to understand the intricacies of betrayal and deceit. All he knew was that he liked Taehyung. Taehyung was his Papa. And to Gulnar's eyes, Taehyung could never do anything so wrong that would make him hate him.

    He eyed his sister. Why is Chun Chun so angry? He kept pondering. While he held Taehyung with high regard, he knew that Chun Chun always had his best interests in mind. After all, she was his sister. She had taken care of him for as long as he could remember. Before Gyuri came along and became their Mama, Chun Chun's face was always the first one to pop into his mind as his primary caregiver.

    A knock on the door interrupted Gulnar's thoughts.

    "Mind if I come in?"

    Gulnar and Chun Chun stood up attentively as Gyuri peeped through the crack in the door before sliding inside. "Tae... wants to speak to you" she informed them.

    "Papa does-?"

    "No," Chun Chun quickly rejected.

    "But I want to speak to him!"

    "We have nothing to talk about" she retorted. She addressed Gyuri, "Tell him we don't want to."

    "You mean you don't want to!" Gulnar clarified.

    Gyuri watched as the orphans started bickering with each other, their high-pitched voices grating her ears as they competed in a screeching contest. She was about to shout for them to stop when someone else beat her to it.

    "That is enough!"

    Chun Chun and Gulnar stopped immediately and shifted their gaze towards the owner of the voice. It was Taehyung. He let out a long sigh as he entered the small office, his gaze sweeping across the two orphans, who were stood rooted to the spot.


    With woeful eyes, Taehyung gave Gyuri a weak smile. "Will you leave us for a moment?"

    Gyuri nodded understandingly.

    Once Gyuri had left, he turned to the orphans again. "I guess I owe both of you an explanation."

    At this, Chun Chun scoffed. "You needn't bother, Tae. Gyuri explained it to us already."

    "Really? What did she-?"

    "You lied to us" Chun Chun interrupted. "You lied to us and told us you were an orphan. That you were one of us."

    Taehyung watched as she reached her hand out to Gulnar, who shifted his gaze from Taehyung to Chun Chun confusedly. Hesitantly, he inched closer to Chun Chun, who immediately steered him further away from Taehyung.

    "You're one of them" she continued to say. "You're one of the people who took our parents from us."

    Taehyung took a tentative step forward. "Chun Chun I-"

    "Stay back!" she yelled.

    Taehyung halted, a wounded expression on his face.

    "How can we ever trust you, Tae? You hid the fact that you were a noble from us."

    "What else was I supposed to do?" he asked. "I knew that you would react like this. I knew that you hated my kind and believe me, I never wished to be born a noble either."

    Chun Chun looked away, hesitant to believe anything that Taehyung said.

    "I am sorry for hiding it from you" Taehyung continued to explain. "If only things were different, I would never have lied-"

    "But you did!"

    Taehyung looked down ashamedly.

    "Tae, our mother and father are gone because of your kind" she cried, her voice wobbling. "They were serfs that worked for a family just as wealthy as yours."

    Taehyung and Gulnar watched as tears started streaming down her big brown eyes, staining her cheeks with miniature rivers. "They're not with us today because the lord sold our father to the mines and our mother to another lord."

    Seeing his sister cry, Gulnar too, started sniffling. Soon, both orphans were blubbering in sadness at the harrowing reminder that they were all alone. It was like their fragile illusion of happiness had shattered and reality had finally hit them: they were parentless, homeless and living in poverty.

    "We-we no longer have a family because- because..." Chun Chun's words were drowned away by her crying that only seemed to grow stronger the more she thought about their situation. "We-we don't even know if they're- they're alive..."

    Before they were separated from their parents, Chun Chun had promised them that she will be brave. She had Gulnar to care for and for a while, she pretended that everything will be okay. But while she allowed Gulnar to cry and express his emotions as any healthy child would do, Chun Chun, on the other hand, bottled hers up. She wanted to believe that by sparing Gulnar of the burden she had to carry, he will grow up happily, oblivious to the pain she experienced at the loss of their parents. By taking it upon herself to fill the emptiness they had left behind, she had forgotten that she too needed someone to care for her.

    And when she met Taehyung, she was relieved to be treated like the child she was. For a brief moment, she needn't tackle all the problems she faced, at the tender age of seven, alone. She had an older brother to rely on.

    Taehyung approached the orphans determinedly and wrapped his arms around them. At first, Chun Chun squirmed under his embrace but with every shaky gulp, she soon conceded, and her small hands grabbed onto Taehyung's plain robes while she cried into his chest. Gulnar too, swept by his sister's outburst, sobbed into Taehyung's clothes, his runny nose mixing with the saltiness of his tears.

    "There, there" Taehyung comforted the orphans while rubbing their backs. "I am sorry for what my kind has done to your parents. Nothing that I say can ever make up for what happened to them." He spoke soothingly, "But all I can do is make it up to you." He pulled himself away from their embrace as he swore, "I will never let anything bad ever happen to you. To both of you."

    With puffy eyes and a runny nose, Chun Chun sobbed as she replied, "But how can you- how can you be sure of that?" She hastily wiped her nose with the back of her hand. "You're a noble. On top of that, you're one of the Kims-"

    "You have no reason to fear me" Taehyung insisted. "I may be a Kim but, I am no different from you." He smiled feebly. "You and Gulnar and Gyuri... you are my family, remember?"

    Hearing this Gulnar leapt into Taehyung's embrace again and wrapped his tiny arms around his neck. Surprised, Taehyung hugged him back. No words were needed for Taehyung to understand that Gulnar had already forgiven him. He eyed Chun Chun and inspected her expression. Seeing the reluctance in her features, he prompted her with a kind smile, his arm outstretched as he beckoned for her to join in.

    "There is still room for one more."

    At last, Chun Chun joined them and soon, the orphans were enveloped in the warmth of their beloved Tae. In him, they found an older brother and a father, both of which they were deprived of due to the cruel nature of the world they lived in. As Taehyung hugged the orphans, he experienced a strong surge of protectiveness, one that led him to chant in his mind repetitively that he will protect them no matter what.

    With determination, he told them, "Chun Chun, Gulnar, always remember that I will never abandon you." He pulled them closer as he promised, "As long as I live, you will never have to walk alone again."
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