I’m not feeling well medically. I didn’t give this character seizures. There are a few disabilities I have, Cat the character does not. A few details about me that does not show up in the story. I streamlined things to make it easier.
So it’s self insert, but only so far.
The seizures have been forcing me in bed. I haven’t been keeping up with anything well.
Which should mean this story is going slower than it could be. Although…? It could be faster. I’m not hitting my top speeds. I mean I’m rounding to 50k words now. At 8 days. I’ve gone faster by a bit. But this is by no means slow.
I hate being unable to do. And yes part of it is internalized ableism. Yes, part of it is the abuse of my family getting verbally worse when I cannot do.
The lack had me writing more and less. Because my life is horrible. There’s no way I can have this wonderful happily ever after. Princes don’t save the disabled princess.
I’m being hit heavily with hopelessness. While writing fluff. I suck at writing fluff. How am I managing this at all?
Chapter 1: [SS: Writer’s Block]
Chapter 26: [SS: At Home]
The Public Knows
Jiyong hasn’t posted the book stack before the morning. But when I open my instagram for a quick scan in the morning, there are comments about it looking like Jiyong’s. Did I manage to stage it? Steal his photo? Something. How do I…?
“Ignore the comments.”
Jiyong shakes his head. “I’m posting the book stack today. Let them stew for now.”
I put the phone down. It wasn’t well known. A few comments. I can still read through them. Jiyong can’t. Focus on breakfast. Focus on getting everything ready for the day. “Do you really…?”
“They’ll pick up on it. And we won’t deny. I’ll have an article written up about it. We’ll be fine.” Jiyong happily eats. Food prepared for him. As my first gift of the day. “Even if things fall apart, we won’t. We’re fighting for this. Right? That’s part of the marriage papers we signed.”
I exhale. Yes it was. That we’re not going back on each other. There were so many questions we were asked. As if I could be just an incubator and move on. But this isn’t something we want to move on from. We want to be a family. Be each other’s support. Closing my eyes I imagine the worse case scenrio. My published works get one star bombed. I don’t have the fan base yet. I never pushed for it.
“Are you all in, Cat? Even if you are just a writer and not an author? If we have to sink her?”
I nod slowly. “Even if I have to erase Cat Hartliebe’s presence from the world.” I look at him. His relief over the words. “I’ll be your everything. You are mine.”
Jiyong moves his plate to the counter. He’s done with breakfast. He offers me a light kis in passing. “I’ll let you listen to the song I wrote for you. The one in the next album. Tweaks are about done.” His grin means the world to me.
Who cares if I lose Cat Hartliebe?
Me. I care. She was created to give myself a way out. Do I have to close that door? Never to open again? If… No. Jiyong would never put me in the same position as my family did. “Jiyong.”
“I don’t want to just be a stay at home mom.” I rub my stomach. Even if right now it’s my safest option. I don’t want to just Jiyong to be my world. I need my world to include something beyond him. “If Cat Hartliebe falls apart… I need something.”
I shake my head. It’s not a specific thing. “I’ll tutor if the option comes up. Modeling has been something I’ve desired before, but never thought I’d succeed. I’ll do anything to stand on my own two feet. I need that.”
Jiyong looks to my waist. “Right now?”
“I’m terrified they’ll ruin Cat Hartliebe. If she’s gone… I’m… Trapped.”
Jiyong pulls me in for a hug. “I never want you to feel that way. It’s important we put the family and home first-“
“That I put the family and home first. You have a bigger job. One I can’t pull you from.”
Jiyong pauses letting the words settle. “Yes. Okay. That…” He sighs. “That isn’t my plan.”
“It is. You aren’t going to give up GDragon. Which means you’re time won’t magically appear. I need to give more time to the home and family then. I know you’ll pull your weight when there is weight you can pull. I can carry the rest.”
“Goddess descended.” Jiyong holds me close. “Right now, I want you focus on staying healthy. We’ll figure out the rest after the baby is born. If Cat Hartliebe has been destoryed, we’ll figure out the next option. Your next desire. Whatever you can manage while also being the proper mother and homemaker.”
“And wife.” I smile at him. It gets me kissed. “I’ll ignore the comments for now. Let me know if there’s something I need to post and where.”
“Or if you need to pull something.” Jiyong nods. “Now. You get to deal with things here. I need to go in. Tell Kevin good morning for me.”
“Always.” Final good bye kiss. I watch him disappear out. He has an early morning. It’s more likely than not. I may see him for a long lunch. He’ll be back at some point after dusk. It’s a long day. It’ll go on like this for months. I know that already. There are ways to slide things and get space, but he’s busy. “Kevin!” It’s time to start on the difficult part of the day.
I shut off the notifications for instagram. It became too much after a while. It’s clear Jiyong posted the stack. People saw my posts after he pointed me out. Now… I cannot do anything until I am given word to. We’ll have a public announcement. We’re pointing things out.
I need to trust him.
I refuse to look at my accounts for Cat Hartliebe. I write when I have free time. All my accounting and business parts to being an author can be ignored. It’s more monthly worry. I can ignore it a long while.
Terrifies me to think of what it may look like.
I cook. I bake. I work on the tofu. I build a new post for the blog, but will deny posting it until Jiyong gets home. I make sure Kevin has progressed in his studies. Suggestions of schools are coming forward. It’s a new test to study for. To prove he is capable of handling the school. The Korean part is going to hit him hard. There may be ways to swing entrance even with bad Korean scores.
This is us being all in.
The public should find out.
“Mom!” Kevin slams the door which has me yelling at him. “No. The dojang was mobbed. They knew who I was.” Kevin shows off pictures on his phone. So many people. Some with signs. Others with questions.
“What did you do?”
“Follow Master. He said get to class, and I did. After class was over, I left by a backdoor and acted a ninja.” He holds up his hands. “I figured it out to stop gawkers. I very much look like I don’t belong.”
“Now they’ll know why we’re here.”
“I love Abba. His fans on the other hand…” Kevin hisses. “I’m getting a shower.”
“I’ll get you something to eat for when you’re done.”
That only means the truth has come forward. The public knows. I exhale. I’m not looking until Jiyong gets here. I need his backbone to handle the fans. How could he pick a poor single mother from New Jersey? Even I would be upset at him. Still… I can only hope they want him to be happy more than they want him following their perceieved ideas.
“Please say that.” I switch my focus to cooking. Cooking is safe. And I do need to eat. And I do need to feed my family. Jiyong should need extra tonight.
I am setting the table when the door opens. Jiyong makes a comment in Korean too fast for me to understand. A feminine voice answers. I smile. He should’ve let me know about a friend visiting. “Welcome home. How was work?”
“You’re adorable.” That’s the female. I don’t know them. Must be someone who works at YG. I’d say camera person given they are currently holding a fancy model. She holds up the camera and looks around. “I’m here for pictures.”
“And dinner.” I tap a chair. “I can make another setting.”
“Sorry for the last minute message.” Jiyong winces.
I look at Jiyong. “I didn’t notice a text.”
Jiyong pulls out his phone and sinks. “I forgot to hit send.”
It has me chuckling while prepping. “Kevin was working on his schooling.”
“Probably gaming by now.” Jiyong looks to the room that has a closed door. “I’ll go chat with him. Explain things.”
“Require him to wear proper clothes.” I comment as Jiyong seeks my child. I spot his smirk before knocking and entering. “What’s your name?”
The cameraperson scans the food I’ve started setting out. “This looks amazing.”
She places the camera safely away from the table before sitting down to eat. “I’m Lee Suwon.”
“Welcome.” I let her eat while moving through my tasks.
Jiyong closes Kevin’s door while I am sitting down. “He’ll be another moment.” He eyes me. Kevin wasn’t getting ready for a camera. “We’ll want to get a professional photo at a later date.”
“Easy as pie if you just bring your family to YG.” Lee punches Jiyong’s arm lightly. “And damn, this is delicious. What am I eating?” Jiyong shrugs. He never asks. Besides asks for seconds. “Bok choy. My favorite.”
“I love it too.” I grin at her. “It’s just a random collection of food over rice.”
“This isn’t soy sauce.” She holds up an item covered in a liquid that looks similar.
“I’m allergic to soy. And many other things. I build the sauce using coconut aminis as a base.”
“Build…” Lee exhales looking to Jiyong. “Is she available for hire?”
“No. She’s carrying.”
“I’m still going with liar.” Lee waves her chopsticks in the air.
The door closing has me notice my child looking proper instead of disheveled. He properly sits at the table with us.
“How was taekwondo?” Jiyong asks.
“Mobbed by bystanders. Glad Master Chang knew what he was doing. No one was allowed to enter if they weren’t involved in the class.” Kevin shivers looking to me. “Still not sure what to do about tomorrow.”
“Go as normal.” Jiyong nods. “The fad will die down after a while.” Jiyong grins at me. “We get to on a nice walk tonight. Kiss under the moonlight.”
“With a follower. I’ll guide you so the pictures look amazing.” Lee takes more of the stir fry I made. “First we want a few shots of three of you. Family dinner makes sense.” Her plate is done far too quickly. Probably used to eating quickly. She moves everything into the kitchen. her setting is gone so quickly. She isn’t quick to return though. I hear her curse. “What are you making?”
I blink and get up. She’s staring at the tofu. “White bean tofu. I can’t have soy, but wanted to try-“
“You’re doing what? In a kitchen?”
“Yeah… It’s not as difficult as it sounds.”
Lee’s jaw is on the floor scanning my attempt. “This is amazing.”
“I haven’t fully figured it out yet.”
Lee Suwon scans me now. “You are definitely nothing like I imagined.”
“You’re welcome. Now, sit down. Act cute. We’re going to have proper pictures.” Lee taps my chair while going for her camera.
How do I act cute? I think I only manage nervousness with her hovering. Still I follow the guidance offered. Jiyong catches my eyes. His smile has me calmed. We’re supposed to just be ourselves. It’s not ‘act cute’; it’s act myself.
We’re not playing parts before the camera. Her guidance keeps us from hiding in the shadows. The smiles are real. The laughter is real. Us beign a family is real. The love the camera can catch is real. Because this is us. I want there to be an us.
Walking together on the same path as last night has me calm. Jiyong is by my side. Who cares how the world will respond to us being together. We’re together. We’re fighting for this. If my author career is put on hold, so be it.
Right now, this life I have is enough. Everything about right now works. I’m happy. “I love you.” I whisper and steal a kiss. Pulling back has me grinning. There’s nothing like seeing his response to that. To see his love shining back at me. I get picked up and spun.
Jiyong’s whispered return has me dizzy. I’m floating. This is heaven. This is cloud nine. He’s my world. He’s my everything. I’m beyond happy. “Let’s go home.”
I nod settling in his arms. Everything else can be figured out later. Right now I want to savor. Everything feels so perfect.
“See you tomorrow, Suwon.” Jiyong waves to our companion. She waves while looking through her camera. “I want to get you in bed.”
“Where we’re safe.”
Jiyong leans in closer so only I can hear, “Where I can get you screaming.”
I’m calmed. Completely calm. Because this is our normal. It’s our most desired action. This is a normal I want.
Chapter 28: [SS: Friendship]