Asleep Are the Dogs: Chapter 7

June 5, 2013 in Asleep Are the Dogs, moonrise31 by moonrise31

You can throw a stick for a dog, but you can’t make him chase it. And if by chance he bites, what will it take for him to let it go?

Chapter 7: Of Reading Between the Lines and Keeping Your Appointments

Hyoyeon looked down when her phone screen lit up. She put her chopsticks aside and read the text, suppressing a snort before returning to her food.

“What was that, unnie?” Seohyun asked, curiosity getting the better of her as she tried to peer over Hyoyeon’s shoulder.

The other woman grinned. “Sica said that at the rate you’re scaring off guests, you might as well just work for her fulltime.”

Seohyun’s expression turned indignant. “Unnie, they didn’t listen when I clearly stated that flash photography wasn’t allowed. It’s not my fault that they can’t follow directions.”

“Hello, Juhyun.”

They glanced up to see a man holding a cardboard box, two other men in suits and sunglasses behind him.

“Ah, hello, Jeongsu-ssi.” Seohyun stood up and bowed.

Hyoyeon followed Seohyun’s lead, giving the former National Assembly member a pleasant smile. Finally face-to-face with Park Jeongsu, huh? The youngest person to ever take an assembly seat—but I guess it was too good to be true.

“I’m glad you found a way to stick around.” Jeongsu cleared his throat. “I apologize for putting you in such a position.”

“It’s alright. Fortunately, I’ve been able to manage,” Seohyun replied politely.

Hyoyeon held back a snort. You tell him, maknae.

“Good, good.” Jeongsu’s gaze fell to the contents of the box in his arms. “I’m just back to grab the last of my things. Oh!” He brightened and lifted his head, locking gazes with Seohyun. “I noticed that you took the manuscript I left for you. I’m grateful.”

Hyoyeon’s eyebrow twitched. Manuscript? What manuscript?

“Ah yes, the one you left in your desk,” Seohyun said slowly. “It was an interesting read, Jeongsu-ssi. You’re quite the writer.”

The hell? What did he leave in his desk? Hyoyeon’s eyes suddenly widened and she covered her surprise with a cough. He’s talking about that bomb?

The corner of Jeongsu’s lip curved upward in a wry smirk. “To be honest, I had a really good editor. But to have Juhyun read it as well would be an honor. It’s yours, so you can always say that you have the original even if I manage to get it published.”

Hyoyeon hoped her frown wasn’t too obvious. I’ll bet the rest of my lunch that his editor is named “Ahn”.

Seohyun dipped her head once more. “Thank you, Jeongsu-ssi. I wish you well.”

Jeongsu sighed. “I’ll keep that in mind while I’m sitting in my cell. I doubt anyone would even buy my book after all of this.”

Seohyun shrugged. “Perhaps a pen name would work?”

“I’ve been thinking about that,” Jeongsu agreed, nodding. “Something simple. What do you think of ‘Leeteuk’?”

“Sounds perfect.” Seohyun smiled. I suppose the guy isn’t too bad, Hyoyeon decided, noting the sweetness and sincerity in the younger girl’s expression. Besides the whole accepting-bribes-from-the-drug-kingpins-of-Seoul thing, I mean.

One of the men behind Jeongsu cleared his throat, and the former assembly member’s face fell. “Well, pardon me, Juhyun, but I’ll be leaving first. I look forward to hearing more about you in the future. I know you’ll do great things.”

“Thank you, Jeongsu-ssi. Goodbye.” Juhyun bowed ninety degrees. He turned to go, but then she called after him. “Wait! One last thing.”

He looked over his shoulder. “Yes?”

Seohyun’s stare seemed to drill straight through the man who was once at the top of the world. “What was your editor’s name?”

“Oh, right.” A bitter smile crossed his face.

Hyoyeon bit her lip. This is it. Ahn…?

“Tisong. Ahn Tisong.”

“What the hell just happened?” Yuri muttered to herself.

Only thirty minutes before, she’d seen her last patient out the door and dismissed her receptionist shortly after. But then someone else had entered.

“Nothing much has happened at all, really,” was the reply. “It’s terribly boring, isn’t it?”

Yuri glared at the man idly lounging against the examination table across from her. “I wasn’t talking to you.”

He shrugged and gave her a lopsided grin, unfolding his arms and leaning back on them. “Right. Carry on with your self pep talk, Doctor. Is this how one goes crazy after a war?”

“It’s alright, Yuri. Sometimes people who aren’t worth much can do nothing but get on someone else’s nerves,” Yuri growled, eying the small remote lying beside the man’s hand. The one he’d been casually tossing and catching while she had tried to tell him that she was closed until after lunch. I do believe that it’s an emergency though, Doctor Kwon. At least, it will be one if I should press this button and suddenly release an unknown pathogen from all the vents in Jongno’s intensive care ward.

And now they were here, locked in one of her examination rooms, waiting for…what?

“Perhaps you’re right, Doctor,” the man commented nonchalantly. “At the very least, you’re in agreement with the rest of the people in my life who thought that I wouldn’t amount to anything.”

You clearly think otherwise,” Yuri shot back, acutely aware that she really had no reason to believe anything this guy said. But she didn’t dare ignore that tiny, minute chance that he was actually speaking the truth. “What do you want, anyway?”

He chuckled. “I’m not sure yet, to be honest. But you’ll wait patiently til I decide, right, Doctor?”

Both of them started when a loud rapping came from the other side of the door. “Yul? You’re in there, right?”

Yuri tried not to exhale too loudly even as relief flooded through her body. But then the man’s finger twitched, and she was sharply reminded of what was at stake. “Taeng, what are you doing here?”

“You’re late for lunch, is all,” came the cheerful reply. “What’s keeping you? I’m gonna make you pay if I have to wait any longer, Kwon.”

“Sorry, Kim Choding, but I’m still wrapping up with a patient here. You’ll have to go without me today.” Yuri closed her eyes. He might know Taeyeon’s last name, but thank goodness that she and Hyoyeon have the same one. Now please take the hint and get out of here.

There was the slightest pause, and Yuri could imagine Taeyeon rapidly processing the fact that she had just used the wrong nickname and what that might entail. “Yuri, who’s your patient?”

The doctor withheld a curse. Idiot! Are you trying to get us all in deeper trouble?

“Ahn Tisong at your service, Doctor Kim,” the man spoke up before Yuri could say anything.

“Ah, hello, Tisong-ssi,” Taeyeon replied amicably. “May I ask the reason why you’re keeping my good friend from her afternoon nourishment?”

Ahn looked amused, and the expression made Yuri’s stomach queasy. “I’ll let you know as soon as I find that reason, Doctor Kim.”

“If it’s a hostage you’re looking for, I’m at least nine times better than Doctor Kwon,” Taeyeon offered. “Therapists are the real deal, you know. The mind can’t be healed with only a few stitches or a Band-Aid decorated with miscellaneous cartoon characters. It’s a bit trickier than that.”

“Is that so?” Ahn’s smile became wider. “What are you suggesting, Doctor Kim?”

“I’m sure you’re quite aware, Tisong-ssi, of my impressive patient register,” Taeyeon answered smoothly. “Would you like to know what drives Hwang Tiffany, the lone woman who’s been breathing down your neck for months? What about how Lee Sunny has been doing since she stopped defusing your bombs on the borders of North Korea six months back?”

“What the hell are you doing, Taeng?” Yuri blurted before she could stop herself.

“Saving your butt like always,” was the answer from the other side of the door. “Reminds you of back when we were in university, doesn’t it?”

“Very well, Doctor Kim,” Ahn interrupted. “I’ll let you in and Doctor Kwon can go. It seems that you, at least, will be willing to explicitly hold a conversation with me.”

Yuri clenched her fists as Ahn unlocked the door and swung it open, revealing a solemn-faced Taeyeon. Why don’t I keep guns in here? I’ll go through all the legal junk and everything. Maybe I should just hit him from behind right now and hope he doesn’t have time to press that stupid button—

“Hey, Yul.” Taeyeon grinned and grabbed her arm, pushing the taller woman out of the room. “I’ll see you later, alright?”

“You idiot,” was all Yuri could manage, ever mindful of Ahn’s hand tapping playfully at his remote. There’s got to be some other alternative why can’t I think please think Yuri for goodness sake just think!

“Hey, no stealing Sica’s line now, please.” Taeyeon winked at her. “I’ll give you permission to eat my ice cream once you get back — any flavor you want. That’ll make everything better.”

“I’ll see you later as well, Doctor Kwon,” Ahn called as Taeyeon shut the door. Yuri instinctively grabbed the knob, but her fingers slid helplessly off the metal when she heard the click of the lock. She stood there for a few more seconds before swearing under her breath and storming down the hallway, the image of Ahn’s delighted smirk engrained into her memory and Taeyeon’s departing words echoing in her head.

“Idiot,” she snarled as she flung open the door to her practice, stepping into the sunlight. “That dukong-obsessed, cereal-bar-terrorizing, lovable, amazing, incredibly brave idiot.” Ignoring the curious looks of passerby, she stepped to the curb and flagged down a taxi.

Hang in there, Taeng. We’re gonna save you.