As god as his witness, Sungyoon could talk for a week if he was boasting about Shinhae. He wouldn’t even need a break. He wouldn’t get tired of talking, because he would be talking about his Shinhae.
He was a father overflowing with love for his daughter, and Chelsea had given up halfway as she listened to him. However, time was always an unavoidable obstacle for humans. In time, everything had to come to an end.
The announcement rang out. The spaceship bound for Korea was getting ready to lift off.
“It is time.”
He acted as if he hadn’t been bragging about Shinhae all this time. He stopped abruptly. He had fun talking about his daughter, but it couldn’t hold a candle to actually meeting her. Sungyoon wanted to get on the Korea-bound spaceship as soon as possible.
Chelsea spoke those words as she got up. She grabbed her stuffed luggage as she got ready to move, but Sungyoon looked confused when he saw this.
“I thought the US-bound spaceship isn’t ready yet?”
He hadn’t heard any announcement indicating the US-bound spaceship was getting ready to leave. There was no reason why Chelsea should be getting up.
He wondered if she had come to see him off, but she was holding her luggage. She wasn’t here to simply see him off.
“Oh? Didn’t I tell you? I’m going to Korea.”
As she spoke, a brilliant smile appeared on her lips.
“This is my first time going to Korea ever since I accompanied Jimin there one time. It has been a while since I’ve gone on an overseas trip. I’m feeling really good about it.”
She wanted to unwind all the stress she had accumulated in Armstrong. She was eager to do so in Korea.
“Is that so?”
That was all Sungyoon said.
He could have asked why she was going to Korea instead of her home, but he didn’t. He wasn’t interested in the answer.
Sungyoon and Chelsea got on the spaceship, and they returned to Korea.
* * *
Jimin had once again brought Shinhae to the space center. The little girl was used to this now. She was happy and excited to meet her father soon, but as expected of someone her age, she was also full of curiosity. This was why she explored the space center.
Jimin slowly followed Shinhae around. She made sure the little girl didn’t do anything that would be considered a nuisance to other people, and she stopped her from going into off-limit areas. Aside from that, she didn’t stop the child from roaming around. A Connector had an unmoving heart, and they were provided stamina through magical energy, and Shinhae looked like a Connector receiving energy from an outside source. Her stamina was endless as she roamed around the space center. She was displaying the boundless energy of a child, and it was a mystery as to where all the energy came from. However, Jimin didn’t complain at all as she followed after Shinhae. To everyone that saw them, they were the ideal picture of a mother and daughter.
However, it only lasted until Sungyoon’s spaceship arrived.
Soon, the broadcast announced the spaceship would be landing soon. Before Jimin could call out to Shinhae, the little girl ran to her side.
“Unni! The spaceship is here!”
The space center stimulated her curiosity, but it was nothing compared to her meeting her dad. Shinhae almost dragged Jimin’s arm as they went to the spot where they always waited for Sungyoon.
The place was full of people like Shinhae. They were lining up to greet people coming back from the Moon. Of course, the volume of people couldn't be compared to the crowds that could be found within normal airports.
It didn’t take too long. The people, who had returned from the Moon, came out in ones and twos. Shinhae didn’t want to miss her father coming out, so her eyes were wide-open in concentration. She looked over each person that came out.
Shinhae yelled out loud. Her father, whom she wanted to see, had finally come out.
A bright smile appeared on Sungyoon’s lips when he heard his daughter's voice. He opened both of his arms. Shinhae didn’t hesitate. She ran with all her might and jumped into his arms.
“How are you?”
It had been a while since he had felt the warmth of his daughter. She was still warm.
Jimin slowly followed behind Shinhae, who had disappeared from her side in a flash. She walked towards where the father and daughter were having a reunion. However, Jimin’s eyes weren’t on those two. She saw someone unexpected. A person was standing behind Sungyoon, and there was a playful expression on her face.
She spoke a bit haltingly when she spoke in Korean. Chelsea waved towards Jimin.
“Chelsea? What are you doing here?”
“This is my first break in a while, so I wanted to see you.”
Shinhae, who had been in Sungyoon’s embrace, raised her head when she heard the conversation between the two unnis.
“Ah. It’s the pretty unni from Moon.”
“Hello! You are Shinhae, right?”
Shinhae had seen Chelsea before. Moreover, the two of them had enjoyed a very good time playing outside of Armstrong in a spacesuit. Sungyoon had driven everyone outside using the Lunar Surface Vehicle. This was why Shinhae wasn’t shy around Chelsea. Still, she didn't show any signs of separating from her father. She just kept her gaze on Chelsea.
Sungyoon let out a little grunt as he raised his daughter into his arms. Shinhae let out a little scream, and she burst into laughter. Chelsea watched the sight with shock in her eyes.
‘As expected, I can’t get used to this sight.’
They had come here on the same spaceship, yet he hadn’t been friendly at all to Chelsea. Now he was pulling all the stops to act charming in front of his daughter. Normally, he had a poker face. Sometimes, she wondered if he was capable of moving his facial muscle. Yet, he was making all kinds of faces currently, and looked silly.
“You received your vacation pretty quickly. Weren’t you supposed to stay another month or two?”
“It got pulled up. I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
“You don’t have to go home?”
Jimin asked the question as she walked to Chelsea’s side. She was Chelsea's friend, so she had dutifully asked the question. It was a topic that Sungyoon had blatantly ignored.
“You know what’ll happen if I go home. They’ll ask if I have a boyfriend, and then, they’ll ask when I’m getting married. They’ll ask me to go out on dates. That’s all they’ll ask.”
She scratched her head as she grumbled.
The United States was the land of the free. From the outside, people thought Americans were very contemporary and progressive in nature. However, the US was a melting pot of races, cultures, and customs from all over the world. There were a lot of progressives and liberals in the US. However, there were a surprising number of conservatives living in the US too. Koreans had a conservative culture, yet they would be surprised how conservative some of the people in the United States could be.
Chelsea’s parents didn’t hold any extreme views, but they held conservative values.
However, Jimin knew conservative values weren't the only reason why Chelsea’s parents spoke about marriage.
“I can understand why they are worried. Age is age. Aren’t you turning 30 this year?”
They had greeted the new year not too long ago. Chelsea had barely been on that line where she could still call herself to be in her 20s. Jimin knew Chelsea could no longer do that. However, Chelsea grabbed Jimin’s shoulder in anger, and she shook her.
“I’m 28 years old! I haven’t celebrated my birthday yet! You are adding one year to my birth age, and you are automatically adding a year as soon as January 1st arrives! Korean age system is the one that is weird! I’m American!”
It was taboo to talk about a woman’s age. It was a bigger taboo when the front number was about to change.
“Hmm! You are 28 years old in American age. I’m 28 years old in Korean age.”
“I haven’t seen you in a while, but do you want to throw down right now? I’ll fight you, friend.”
“Isn’t your birthday in April? It won’t be long before you will be 29 years old in American age.”
Chelsea charged towards her friend and put her in a playful headlock. The two of them let out squeals of joy. Two beautiful women were laughing, and they were being playful with each other. Their antics drew the eyes of everyone in the surrounding.
“Dad, the unnis are weird.”
Shinhae’s eyes had become round as she pointed her finger towards the two women.
It seemed Chelsea’s indignation had gone away a bit, so she moved away from Jimin.
Jimin tidied up her slightly messed up hair.
“Still, you should go and have a talk with your parents. You know it is hard for you to meet a man in your working environment.”
She was on Moon where she couldn’t have some fairytale-like encounter with a guy. In fact, she was holed up in her lab, so she barely met any new acquaintances. It was understandable as to why her parents were worried. She had studied ever since she was young, and she only focused on her research when she grew up. She didn’t have any dating experience. She didn’t have much societal experience either.
“In terms of dating, you are in the same boat as me.”
Chelsea had been too busy with her studies and research to date. Jimin also didn’t have the time to date as she had to run her company. However, Jimin just shrugged her shoulders.
“I’m still 28 in Korean age. Moreover, my birthday is in August. I have time.”
If they were talking about age, Chelsea was two years older. There was no way she could win against Jimin. In the end, Chelsea let out a big sigh.
Until a moment ago, Chelsea looked like she would shed bitter tears as she bit her handkerchief. However, she changed her expression as she spoke. She now had a kind expression on her face. She looked like an older sister looking at a younger sister, who was high maintenance.
“Yes. In the past, you wouldn’t have been playful like this. You always looked like someone that was standing at the edge of a cliff.”
In the past, her playfulness merely consisted of her threatening Chelsea about not buying her food. However, the current Jimin was much brighter and cheerful when being playful with Chelsea. Of course, she maintained the expression of an ice queen. However, the ice in her face had melted a little bit, and as her old friend, Chelsea could see it.
Jimin placed her hand on her cheek. She found her gaze abruptly turned towards Shinhae, who was still in the arms of her father. Her already large eyes were opened wider as she looked at Chelsea and Jimin. Shinhae’s blinking eyes were too cute.
Jimin once again moved her gaze. She looked at Sungyoon, who was holding his daughter.
Chelsea and Jimin had caused a big ruckus, and everyone nearby was staring at them. But Sungyoon was the only one, who wasn’t looking at them. His gaze remained on his daughter.
What if Chelsea was right? If she had changed, she could think of only one reason that would have brought on this change.
“In the beginning, I was suspicious. I thought he would stab you in the back. However, I’m relieved he is the Connector contracted to your company.”
She remembered the instance where Sungyoon had protected her from the trash named Nicholas. His life was put in danger thanks to that incident, yet he didn’t blame her. After that incident, Chelsea completely trusted his character.
Before she knew it, this man and his daughter had started melting the ice within her best friend.
She didn’t know the exact details. She didn’t know to what extent Jimin’s heart had changed. However, Jimin looked a bit shocked as she looked at Sungyoon and Shinhae. Chelsea could guess what Jimin’s stance was towards the two of them.
“Shall we go?”
Chelsea spoke in an energetic manner. She pushed Jimin by the back, and called out to the father and daughter. They started to go through the process of exiting the space center.
Soon, they arrived at the booth where Sungyoon would have to hand over his Devices and Gems for storage. Sungyoon handed over the Devices and Gems one by one. Jimin’s face turned sharp when she witnessed it.
“…the number increased again.”
How come this guy brought more Gems and Devices each time he came back from the Moon? It was very difficult to find Devices and Gems. Each time he destroyed what she considered to be common sense.
Of course, the increase in the quantity of Devices and Gems was a good thing for a Connector. Even if a Connector couldn’t use them, they were worth a lot. The problem was the fact that Sungyoon seemed to gain Devices and Gems when his life was in mortal danger.
She wanted to ask, ‘Did you almost die again?’ However, she was barely able to stop herself. If Sungyoon and Chelsea were the only people here, she might have asked it. However, Shinhae was here. She had just turned 6 years old. There was no way Jimin would let the little girl hear that her father might have died.
“Hmm? Isn’t it good that he has more Devices and Gems?”
Chelsea didn’t know the exact situation, so she spoke those words. Jimin quietly explained the problem to Chelsea, so Shinhae couldn’t hear her. When Chelsea was brought up to speed, her expression didn’t look good either.
“I’ll hear your story at a later time.”
Jimin spoke in a cold manner. Sungyoon had no choice, and he silently nodded.Previous Chapter Next Chapter