The next morning, I spend the first day of the holidays sunbathing at home. I showered, dressed in a mustard bikini and placed myself on a sun lounger right next to the pool. Beside me, I have a glass of orange juice that was freshly squeezed this morning and a bowl of fresh strawberries.
This is the life.
Thanks to my father and his generosity over the years, my mother and I saved enough money to build our own haven. Our enormous house consists of a basement with an indoor swimming pool, an exercise area and a downstairs bar and bathroom. On the first floor, there's the main foyer, three bathrooms, central kitchen, the dining room, game room, a small formal sitting room, the main living room and an attached guest house for extra guests although we don't now that many people. On the second floor, there's an upstairs landing, lounge room, family bathroom and the four main bedrooms. Finally, the backyard features a massive grand swimming pool, a fire pit and a large parking section for the numerous cars that we have.
Did I forget to mention that we're filthy rich? 'Someone came home very late last night?'
I recognise the voice as my mother's. I open my eyes, look over to the side and place my sunglasses at the top of my head. My mother stands above me, her arms crossed over her chest with a look of concern on her face.
One thing I'd like to say about my mother is that she's a very beautiful woman. Back in her younger days, she used to be a glamour model and did it for years. To this day, she's still famous in her birth-city, Korea.
That's how my father found out about her. He was her number one fan. He travelled from America just to meet her.
Her thick, wavy, long black hair gracefully falls down to her shoulders, encircling her heart- shaped face. If you look at her hair, you can see the way the light catches in it and shimmers as it flows with her every move. Her beautiful face demands attention. A golden suntan usually brings out her smooth, clear complexion and high cheekbones. Her cheekbones draw your eyes to the statuesque bone structure that underlies her gentleness. Her large, emerald eyes can pierce your very soul and derive your thoughts and feelings.
And her small mouth is outlined by puffy lips that she often accentuates with red coloured lipstick. When she smiles her well formed and even white teeth brightens up her whole face. My mother is a truly stunning woman, and because of that you'd never imagine someone like me being the daughter of a retired glamour model.
Try and picture an average looking girl with Asian features. Long, straight bright blue hair and tons of black eye make-up. That's how I've spent my first day of holidays doing - dyeing my hair. And before you say that I am in fact a girly girl because I wear make-up. I'm not. I only wear eye make-up because I like to accentuate my green eyes.
I shake my head and immediately regret it. I was so relaxed that I forgot my current state.
When I woke up this morning, every muscle in my body was in complete and utter agony.
I place one hand at the back of my neck and sigh, 'Hey, mom.'
'Where were you last night? You came home late.'
'I know, I'm sorry. I had training.'
'Again?' My mother shakes her head as she sighs, 'What was it this time?'
I peer up at her, knowing she's not going to like any answer I have for her, 'Krav Maga.'
She tuts, 'Last week it was swimming, the week before that it was boxing, and the week before that you were track running.'
I nod in understanding, 'I know.'
'You're doing too much,' she moves closer and runs her hand gently through my hair, 'Don't you think you're working yourself a little too hard?'
I shrug, 'I don't know, maybe. But I'm only doing what dad's asking of me.'
I couldn't tell you how many skills I've learnt over the years, but what I can tell you is that I know a shit-ton of skills. Don't ask me on why I have all of these skills because I don't know either. I know just as much as you. All I know is that my father wants me to learn all of these skills. Maybe I'll never use any of them but perhaps one day they'll come useful to me. Oh well, at least I know how to defend myself if some idiot decides to fuck with me.
'Maggie, you need to slow down.'
I look at her reassuringly, 'Eomma, you don't need to worry about me.' (Mother)
'Worrying about you is all I do, darling. Just take it easy. Gwaenchanh-a?' (Okay?)
I answer her with a smile, 'Okay. I promise.'
She smiles back, 'That's my girl.'
That was short and sweet.
Thinking this conversation is over and that she's satisfied with my reasons for being late, I go to slide my sunglasses back onto my face, when I see my mother reaching for the bowl of strawberries.
'Is everything okay?'
She nods as she takes a bite out of a strawberry, 'Everything's great. I just want to make sure that you're okay being out here by yourself while I take care of a few things.'
'Yeah, I'm fine.'
She raises her brows, 'Hwagsilhabnikka?' (Are you sure?)
I roll my eyes as I sigh, 'Yes, I'm sure, mother.'
Her tone hardens, 'Maggie?'
'What!? I'm fine, honest.'
My mother puts both of her hands up in surrender, 'Okay. Fine. I'm sorry that I worry too much about my daughter being on her own all the time.'
Where's all this coming from?
'What's that supposed to mean?'
Her eyes sadden, 'I just wish you had some friends that's all, to hang out with. I feel like I leave you too much.'
Not once has my mother ever cared about me not having friends. She knows I can handle myself and that I like to be alone. So, why is she bringing it up right now?
I stare straight ahead, while still trying to wonder what she's getting at, 'I do just fine on my own. Neodo al janh-a.' (You know that)
'I understand that, but Maggie you're always on your own and it saddens me that you don't have any friends, especially now that you've got six weeks to enjoy. You should be doing teenager things like partying, meeting boys and going on dates, but instead you're here, at home with me.'
Did Natalie get to my mom or something?
I turn and look at her, 'Mom, you know I'm not about that life. And besides, I'm not interested in partying or going on dates.'
'No? But you're so beautiful.'
I roll my eyes which causes her to chuckle. She knows I hate it when she calls me that. She used to say it to me all of the time when I was a child and even then I hated it.
Something about the word just makes me recoil from it.
She points to the house next door, 'What about the boys who live next to us?'
'What about them?' I ask nonchalantly.
She looks at me and wiggles her brows suggestively.
I grimace, 'Mom. No!'
'What? Aren't they your age?'
What's that got to do with anything?
I close my eyes and think, 'I think the youngest brother's the same age as me and the other two are older. I think the oldest one is about twenty three.'
'And you're twenty one, what's the problem here?'
Does she not listen to anything I say?
My eyes spring open, 'Mom, I'm not interested. I met them for the first time yesterday and they're not nice people. They're the type of guys you stay away from.'
'They go to the same university as you, do they?'
That's what she took from that?
'Yeah and they're dicks.'
'Maggie!' She takes another strawberry and shoves it in her mouth, 'Don't say things like that. You don't know them.'
'And you do?' I sigh in annoyance and get up from the sun lounger. This is what my mother always does. Pester. And she doesn't stop until she feels like she's gotten her point across, but she should know by now that I rarely listen to her.
I only wanted some peace and quiet. I know that if I stay here, I won't be left alone. I might as well just lock myself in my room and not come out for a while.
'What? All I'm saying is that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover because you always do that, Maggie.'
I grab the glass of orange juice and down all of its contents. I then take the bowl of strawberries from my mother and start walking back towards the house.
'What have I said now?'
I close my eyes, take a breath, exhale and slowly turn around, 'Nothing.'
My mother comes to stand in front of me and playfully nips my chin, 'I've obviously upset you.'
'No, I'm not upset.'
I shake my head.
'Why were you leaving then?'
'I was going to have a lie down and watch TV in bed for a little while.'
'Okay, but I thought maybe we could have a walk along the pier and grab a bite to eat tonight.'
I bite my lip in anxiousness, 'I can't tonight.'
She frowns, 'Wae?' (Why?)
'I have a fitness class.'
She puts her hands on her hips, 'But it's a Saturday. Take the night off.'
I shake my head, 'I can't.'
'Maggie,' she says my name in a stern voice, 'You're going to cancel your fitness class and come with me to the pier. End of discussion.'