SS: Photo & At Home

It’s weird to leave the same names without feeling connected to the characters. As if Cat is supposed to be me, but clearly isn’t. Because I never get happiness.

[Idol’s Gaze]

Chapter 1: [SS: Writer’s Block]

Chapter 25: [SS: Time Moves Forward]

There is a missing chapter here?!?!? ACK! Apologies *full bow*

oops…. *cry*


There is a photo of every book taken inside the home. I tried for comparable photos to what is already public. He only showed so much though. Kevin helped me with some of my tasks. Others, he prefered his own thing. I’m here if he needs a teacher.

He probably needs to join a school. If we can find one that offers him the challenge he needs, it should work out. They won’t be comparable to the public schools of New Jersey.

I bake a cake. For Jiyong. Just because he likes them. It’s been a weekly thing. Over the course of the week, the cake is eaten. I’m eating quite a bit of sweets and various other foods and still haven’t put on weight. I’m keeping msyelf functioning. My body takes extra for the baby. To think if I ate less or less often, I’d be struggling.

That’s why I struggled before. One day of lapse judgment will lead to weeks of problems. I need to be extra careful. I won’t be pushing until I’m out of the dangers of pregnancy.

With the cake set aside, I go into the possible creation of tofu. With white beans not soy. It’s complicated and difficult. Not something I could try back in New Jersey. It wouldn’t be safe there. It will probably bother me here. I like things clean and neat. I get to have a space meant for mess. I warn Kevin to leave it alone while pulling up my computer. I have several pictures of my attempt. It’s a place to start.

It’s weird to have pictures with my recipes and cooking post. I do’t even have a recipe yet. An attempt. A post talking about my trial. How it’ll take more time than I’ve ever spent on anything.

I post about the cake. I’m pretty sure I have before. But now I have pictures of the plain cake. Then iced. I have two recipe within. A basic icing with a basic white cake. I don’t write a lot on my recipe posts. I’d rather focus on the important stuff – the recipe itself. Now I’ll add in pictures afterwards. And beforehand? Created for my husband.

I shake my head before posting. Nope. Can’t say that. Created for…? The special someone in my life. They’ll think it’s for Kevin. His birthday is soon. So is mine.

“I wonder if they were expecting a Thanksgiving post. But that isn’t celebrated here the same as back home.” I let that idea go. I don’t really celebrate American Thanksgiving. Has me thinking too much of genocide when it should be about family.

I smile at the posts. I schedule another with my various book pictures. I’ll need to post them on instagram. One a day until I clear them. And a poem to match. I already did Tsuba Ren. Should I do another? I shrug. Why not?

“Mom! I’m going out!” Kevin has his dobak on and carrying a bo staff. Either he’s using the outdoors for practice or he’s going to the dojang.

“Good luck!”

“I’ll call if I need you.” Kevin says while leaving.

I get to focus on me. I look at the mess of tofu attempts. It’s not pleasant. I don’t like it. I don’t know if it’s worth it. I pull out my phone and look through the texts. ‘Jiyong? Kevin’s thirteenth birthday is coming up. And mine.’

He doesn’t answer right away. It’s something to talk about though. I can make a meal and cake. Would he be interested in a party? Where would we celebrate it? The dojang? Is that something they do? Probably not. It’s just Kevin’s one outlet right now.

“Does he have friends?” I wouldn’t know. He goes out without me. Last time I went with, he got too nervous. I do not create ease for him. I wasn’t the one to bring him to the dojang the first time. I know where it is. But it’s safer if I stay in the condo not wander the world.

Sometime it feels as if I’m more captured sparrow than… I pause and think of my wording. “When did I think of sparrow…?” I exhale and move about the place. My mind has moved to Korea. It wasn’t just me. New Jersey isn’t my home anymore. Having that hit me… Feels weird.

I use Korean more than I ever thought I would. It’s not that I don’t use English, but there are times… I shake it off. I’m nottruly at home here, but this is now home. It’s weird to think of it that way. And home doesn’t equate to pain. There’s comfort in remembering my home. Where I live is full of love.

“Might be time I start venturing out.” I look out the window. The scene before me is a million dollar view. Seoul is beautiful from here. “Ask Jiyong for a date to a park or walk through town or something.”

I shiver at the idea of a date out. Not until we get our posts done. I need to have notes saying we’re together. It’s been months now. I rub my stomach. I didn’t think we’d be together at all let alone together months. “I still have so many questions.” I’m still savoring.

Dropping into a chair, I pull up my insta. I haven’t really posted since coming to Korea. A few minor posts with poems that give nothing away. Either because they’re old pictures or of something that has no background of danger. I was very careful. I had to be.

Now I don’t. I pull up the First Meeting picture we took. ‘First Meeting./ Friends of old/ -Family too-/ I cast you into/ A life different and new/ While things continue as normal would/ Meet with myths and creatures/ That nightmares may be made of.’

I grin at my poem. It suits the book. A collection of short stories where I gave my old family and friends a meeting with fantasy. I post it and wait. Shouldn’t matter. My background that matches Jiyong’s from several months back. It won’t be until he posts the book stack. Sitting in the middle of it is me.

We’re coming forward as a couple.

And one day soon, I’ll be known as his wife and mother of his child. I sigh savoring the idea. I’m in heaven. Jiyong is my heaven.

At Home

“You don’t mess with details.” Jiyong comments while we’re eating. He finally got the chance to see my posts. “Like these could be anyone’s kitchen.”

“Anyone rich.” I shrug. My pictures were meant to prove the attempt was made. It focused on the food. “The instagram ones would be more obvious.”

“Only because they’re a duplicate with a book in front.” Jiyong scans my actions. “You’re gonna need to buckle down. Or no one will know.”

“I’d rather it be harder to figure out. Until we are open.” I put my chopsticks down. “Can we go out tomorrow? On a date? Will you be able to find time for it?”

“Like a thirty minute walk? Sure. Either in the morning or at night.” He looks to me while putting his phone away. “We can go out now. It’s still early.”

Kevin stands up. “I’m gonna play games.” He leaves us for his room. I can hear the door shut.

“Something’s up with him.” Jiyong watches the door, but doesn’t seem too bothered. “Tonight? You and me? Wandering the area?”

“Without guards?” I smirk at him.

He weighs the options. “I know where it’s safe to go. This is my neighborhood.” Jiyong scans the table. We’re done eating.

“There’s cake.”

“For after our walk.” Jiyong moves to my side and offers a hand. “We can try for every night after dinner. I want to be seen with you. I want people to guess. I want them to see you and think, damn he got lucky.”

He really only knows how to make me feel better. “I’m in heaven and you’re acting like I am the heaven.”

“You’re a goddess descended.” Jiyong scans me. “And everyone will think that looking at you. I might not even be noticed when next to you.”

“How is that…?” I sigh and shake my head. “You’re off in lalaland.”

Jiyong only chuckles while we step out. The moonlight overhead calms. Jiyong has my hand. We’re going for a walk. Nothing fancy. Just the two of us together in the open air. “Do you feel at home here?”

“Yeah.” I lean against him and get an arm around me. “I shocked myself earlier by making a very Korean comment. I didn’t realize I was even picking them up.”

“This is your home now. I’m not letting you go.”

“Everything seems so perfect. I’m half in a mind to think my past wasn’t as tough as it was. How could I end up here? Who did I sell my soul to?”

“Me.” Jiyong grins. “And I’m keeping it.”

I laugh. “Jiyong, you don’t buy souls.”

“I can buy whatever I want. Thank you.” Jiyong taps my nose. “And your soul is worth the price. I think it was deeply discounted because the previous owner didn’t know what they had.”

My jaw drops. “That’s…”

“Completely true.” Jiyong nods. “Do you realize how valuable you are? How lucky everyone around you is? How did no one treat you well enough to gain all these benefits? Did they not realize your worth?” He stops to hold me close. “How did you not realize your worth? You’re amazing.”

I savor this. These words. This action. This place. “You are my home, Jiyong.”

“See. Soul bought. And it’s being kept.” We’re back to walking. “Bargin basement prices for that.”

I shake my head. It doesn’t matter. This is happiness. “I want to tell the world we’re together. That we’re married. That we’re starting a family.”

“As much as I want to say same, it’s dangerous. Let’s leave a few clues. Our child needs to come into this world unknown. I know that won’t last. But I want to give them a chance at freedom from media.”

I stop the walk so I can gain his kiss. I need his kiss. His desire to protect his family. “We will do whatever is necessary to give the child their desires. If that’s the stage, they’ll step into it. If it’s freedom from notice, we’ll figrue that out too.”

“The stage is the easier of the two.”

“We will figure it out. Because the child’s life deserves to be lived the way they want.” I cup his chin reveling in him being with me. “I’m already public. I have a penname. I may have to remove myself from the public, but currently I always stand there. I’m facing media even if media hasn’t found me yet. Kevin too. That Kukkiwon certificate isn’t a pansy title. And his writing career is also something that will bring him spotlights. You’ll only make it a guarantee. We aren’t afraid of that spotlight. We’ve already accepted it. Our child will get the choice to be known far and wide as your child. As the great superstar’s first born. Or, we will let them find the shadows calming.”


I tap his nose and grin. “I will do absolutely anything required for our children. Promise. They won’t be known if they don’t want to be. I can be the bully if required. Media doesn’t know who I am yet.”

Jiyong shivers. “You’ll do anything. For them.”

I nod. “Of course. This one and any others we have.”

Jiyong exhales. We walk with the calm air. “Any others we have…”


“Yeah. How that sounds beyond amazing. We’re only working on one and I’m hoping for more.”

I lean against Jiyong. Our walk is amazing. Just like he is. “As big a family as you desire. Even if it means my work outside of the home never exists.”

“Author is work outside the home.”

“Not really. It’s work from home. It’s different.” I would never need to leave my home for it either. Book signings and conferences are hug deals for authors, but I don’t need them. They’re not required to be an author. “I will put aside even my writing for the sake of our family. Because I want us to work more. I want our children to have everything they need more. I desire that. Out of all my aspirations in life, mother and wife are top tier. So trust me when I say I’ll fight tooth and nail to give them their desires.”

“I believe you.” Jiyong looks at our building. We’re safe here. “I don’t want you wandering out of the house without someone.”

“Are you coming to Doctor’s Kim’s visit?”

“Planning on it. I told them I’m off for it. I want to see.”

“And the birthday parties?”

“I don’t know. We can have cake and celebrate, but… A party? See if Kevin’s interested. Are you? And if there’s a gift desired…”

I wrap my arms around him. “You are my desired gift.”

Jiyong kisses my head. “Goddess descended.” We move into our home. The place I make a home. “Think about it. If you want people to celebrate or if you want a gift. I can’t offer your friends from New Jersey, but anyone here would be possible.”

“Dami would be nice.”

“Nuna would take grave insult if I didn’t invite her.” Jiyong drops into a chair with a book. “I’m gonna read a little. Let the ideas swim in my head.”

I pull one of my fluffy romances from the shelf. “Try this.” I hand it over.

“I don’t need ideas.”

I tap my lips. “I wonder what names we should look into.”

Jiyong stops me from wandering itno the kitchen. “It’s proper to have the grandparents pick out names. I mean, we get final say, but…”

“It’s a special gift given from the previous generation.” I smile at him. He relaxes. “Sure. Let your parents pick out names. I don’t think I could manage that.”

“Goddess.” Jiyong goes back to his chair while I go about my work. It really feels as if I have too much time on my hands. With everything settled for the night, I grab my computer to write. Jiyong offers me a smile while we sit in silence together. My typing and his page flipping giving the atmosphere comfort.

I’m at home here. Nothing compares to that feeling.

Love it? Check out more of my work []. Or just love me with tips: []; [$CatHartliebe]

Chapter 27: [SS: The Public Knows]

3 thoughts on “SS: Photo & At Home”

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