“I’ve told you. I’m asking your brother to step into the position.” Jumin simply placed another document to the side before starting to read through the next, but our eldest daughter crossed her arms, the cat at her feet walking in circles around her. “Father. It’s incredibly unfair. You just wish to give him the position because he is male even though he has no interest in it at all.” With that, she and her cat left my husband’s in home office. I simply closed the door behind her calmly before approaching him and wrapping my arms around him from behind his chair.
Jumin put his hands up to hold my arms and leaned back against my shoulder, his ever graying hair still dark but not in the way it had once been. His retirement was getting close, and it had made the entire household into somewhat of a mess of late. “Who am I really supposed to choose, MC?” I nuzzled his hair. “That’s not really my decision to make.” Of course, he would know that. My husband was as practical as ever, and I knew he wasn’t seriously considering giving the position of chairman to our son.
Out of our six children, our son was the youngest child and he had always been a sensitive thing from the very beginning. Jumin found it irrational how emotional he tended to be, but loved him every bit as much as our daughters, but it had been clear that there was no way he would ever succeed at C&R, and Jumin desperately wanted to hand the position on to one of our children. Each of our daughters was currently a head of a department, except for our eldest whom he refused to allow into the business despite how badly she wanted it.
“Don’t you think you’re being a little harsh on Kyung, though? You know how badly she wants to be a part of the business, but she’s always been babied thanks to her sight.” It was true, our daughter was blind, but she got around the house so easily, partly thanks to her cat, the eldest kitten of Elizabeth the 3rd, otherwise known as Philip, and she was the most like my husband in her practicality and business sense, but he had always been sensitive with her. Jumin had even stiffened at my question and now his voice almost dipped into that same business tone it would with others when he didn’t want to deal with them. “She’s not fit to work in such an environment.”
I let go of him and he let go of my arms reluctantly as I stepped away. Jumin pushed his chair back to get a look at me as I tilted my head at him. “Are you really going to shut down your emotions towards your own wife?” At this point it was almost impossible for him to get away with such a thing and it seemed he was already fully prepared for what I said, because he’d already shook his head. “My apologies, darling. Allow me to try again. I am worried for her. She’s blind, and knowing how fast-paced that environment is, someone I trust implicitly would have to be her advisor to read her everything that couldn’t be transferred over into braille and help her through the meeting and business trips. There is no such person.”
That was more like it, a practical analyzation still, but at least he was expressing his real feelings about it. “All of our younger daughters are wonderful, but they aren’t strong enough to lead an entire company. Their plates are at their maximum capacity as department heads, we both know this.” I was trying my hand at reasoning back to him, even if it wasn’t my forte’, but over the years I’d learned how his mind processed things, and I would do just about anything to help our children and their relationship with their father knowing just how happy family made him. “You really can’t think of anyone you trust? How about Zen and Jaehee’s son? He’s a fantastic young man and his mother was an excellent assistant for you before she left the company to start her cafe’. Surely he’s looking for an internship by now.”
It was pretty clear to me that Jumin had been planning to negate whatever suggestion for a person I made at first, but that he had actually started to think about it once I explained. He was playing with his cuff links like he had a tendency to do from the moment I had met him. “Perhaps…but that doesn’t solve the issue completely. She hasn’t ever worked in such an environment.” This made me giggle just a little before I responded. “Isn’t that somewhat the fault of her father for not letting her? She’s nearly as old as you were when we met and she’s never had a position in the company, but she was always delegating tasks to her younger siblings and she’s been making great strides managing my work with the RFA as well. You can hardly say she isn’t mentally prepared for running a business if she’s done so well from a young age and is even managing a charity organization.”
If that didn’t convince him, I didn’t know what would, but just at the moment, there was a knock at the door. Jumin didn’t break eye contact with me for a few more seconds, his eyes the same dark gray as always, before he turned towards the door. “Come in.” Kyung pushed the door open, her pale gray eyes looking straight forward, unseeing, as her dark black hair cascaded down her back. She held out a manila file, stepping forward exactly seven steps before placing it on the table. “I brought a list of my skills and relevant experience in a full resume’ as well as a list of the benefits and negatives of hiring me. I’ve also included arguments and solutions for the negatives. Please excuse me, father.”
Her keyboard had the braille letters on them, and she’d gotten quite good at typing, but it must still have taken her an excruciating amount of time to complete this task, so I was completely floored, as was my husband, as she simply left the room, closing the door behind her. Philip had waited for her patiently in the doorway, and once again we were alone in my husband’s home office. I heard him start to chuckle, a low sound that slowly became louder as he picked up the documents. “I guess she’s made my decision for me. So much for being the man in charge.” I had to admit, it was pretty comical. Really, I hadn’t needed to bother having this discussion with him in the first place, because of course Kyung would find a way to properly appeal to him in the end.
So, Kyung became the successor to the C&R company while her sisters continued to lead four of the main departments. Their youngest child and only son soon after took over MC’s place in the RFA, which he’d inherited from Kyung who had originally manned it. This was far more his style.
It wasn’t long after Jumin’s retirement that he and MC decided to move to a home outside of Korea. The other RFA members were all remaining where they’d always been, Yoosung working as a vet while Seven taught their son how to build games, Zen acting while Jaehee took care of their cafe’ and their son worked as Kyung’s personal assistant. The RFA was continuing to flourish and even doubled the numbers of MC’s last party.
All in all, MC and Jumin had helped raise billions of the twenty or so years since MC had joined the RFA initially and fell in love with the elusive ‘Korea’s most eligible bachelor’. Their life was one well-lived and well-loved. Their family was far from lonely, and that was probably the one thing they had missed when they’d moved to the vacation home, having their children running around in the house even if they mostly had their noses in paperwork. After a year or so in their new home, Jumin started to forget little things here and there, which eventually became more and more prominent. It was somewhat because of the fact that he wasn’t exercising his brain in the way he’d used to with all of the information he had to soak up in a matter of moments before meetings and phone calls, but they were also concerned that it was a symptom of the dementia that had caused his father to go crazy towards the end of his life. They had access to great medical care and invited a caretaker/nurse into their home once it seemed like that was really what was happening.
MC was by Jumin’s side even as he forgot who she was and constantly told her she was the prettiest and most honest woman he’d ever met, expressing how impressed he was that she wasn’t simply after his money. The birth of their first grandchild wasn’t something he could quite process, but he still played with the little one almost constantly when Kyung would visit. After a few years of this, his body gave out and he passed peacefully in his sleep.
It wasn’t long after this that MC caught pneumonia, and not wanting to fight it, she simply asked the doctors to make her as comfortable as possible. At first, the children weren’t fans of this idea, but after meeting with their mother and having her explain just how lonely she was without their father, they understood a little better, and recognized that sometimes when you’ve lived a long and happy life and achieved everything you ever dreamed of and more, there comes a moment when there’s simply no more to do and when your time comes after that, why try to fight the inevitable.
Jumin and MC were buried in the Han family graveyard not far outside of the city of Seoul and visited often by their children, grandchildren, the new RFA, and the old RFA alike. As much as Zen had once hated Jumin, he had to admit that the man had changed from their younger years, and even he missed the once seemingly cold and unfeeling man that they’d all come to know as a heartfelt and honest individual. He had mattered a lot more to other people than he’d ever thought he could thanks in part to MC’s help in tearing down his emotional walls and barriers.
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