The La-Iin Series
As soon as she woke up, La-Iin could smell food cooking. Without getting dressed or even checking the time, she got out of bed and head downstairs, yawning. Choungetsu, who was sitting in front of her door, followed her downstairs with his tongue lolling.
When she arrived downstairs, Mit-Sun was setting down plates, a wide smile on her face. She continued to smile when she noticed La-Iin, though her tone sounded contrary to her expression.
“How come you’re still in pajamas? Don’t you usually get dressed before you come downstairs?”
“What time is it?” La-Iin yawned.
“It’s pretty early. Earlier than we normally get up. I felt energetic, so I decided to make breakfast now. We’ll probably have plenty of time before we have to leave, but I’m sure even if we stay home a little later than we should you’ll still make it to school on time. You have the benefit of wings and legs on your side. So I don’t think it matters.”
Mit-Sun’s smile deeply unsettled La-Iin. “Why are you so happy?”
“Oh, just things that have happened.”
“Like what things?”
“Hey, you’ve been happy lately too. Why am I getting interrogated about my happiness?”
“Because mine makes clear sense. Yours doesn’t.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes, but her smile persisted. It only made the unsettled feeling in La-Iin stronger. “Well, my Papa–I mean Father–Father got out of the hospital recently. And also I’ve just been feeling pretty happy lately. Things have been going good for me, it seems. And that’s good. I really thought I was going to become one of those ‘dedicate your life to your kid’-type parents. I’m glad to see I can enjoy my own life as well as take care of you.”
La-Iin gagged. “Your happiness is astoundingly sickening, Mama. Somehow it’s even more intolerable than your half-assed goody-goodyness…”
“Oh, be quiet. I’ve been trying to think positive. Things have been great for me. You’re happy, even though you’ve been acting up, our life at home is fine, my Father is fine, even Asul-Zenza’s been less annoying lately.”
“You, complimenting Dami!?”
“Well, he’s trying his best, and he does love you, so I’ll give him that. But not to mention, Mrs. Eteibreit gave me a raise! It isn’t much, but it just seems really weird, because she’s been so grouchy lately! But you know what, I’ll take any goodness I can get. If even Mrs. Eteibreit is being nicer to me, then I’ve got to have some sort of luck on my side. That’s definitely reason to think positive in my book. And if I do, maybe if things start going downhill again, I’ll know how to handle them better.”
La-Iin nearly vomited. ‘It’s intolerable! A happy Mama is one thing. This is a whole nother! I need to knock her down soon. I don’t know how long I can take this!’
The two finished their breakfast, Mit-Sun quicker than La-Iin, who continued to gag throughout the meal.
“What, you don’t like it? Am I really that bad a cook?”
“No, this is one of your better meals. Unfortunately you brought something to the table that destroyed my appetite…”
Mit-Sun checked all of what was on the table and the floor. The only thing she could assume La-Iin was talking about was Choungetsu, who stared at her intently. She beckoned to Choungetsu and he ran over to her, though La-Iin continued to gag even after he had left.
The two got ready for school and work. They were ready long before they had to leave, as Mit-Sun had said.
“I don’t know about you, but I have a little something to do.”
As if on cue, someone knocked at the door. Mit-Sun ran to answer it.
“Papa!” She hugged him close.
“Hi, Mit-Sun.” He hugged her back.
“I’m so glad to see you. Are you sure you’re feeling okay, though? I know it wasn’t that bad, but–”
“Don’t worry about me, Mit-Sun. I know I’m older now, but I’m not that old. I’m not even seventy yet. And I was able to walk all this way, see?”
“I see,” she chuckled, relief evident in her tone. “Still, it’s good to see you. I’m glad you came over. I’ll have to go to work soon, though.”
“That’s alright. Remember what you said?”
“Yes. It’ll be good for La-Iin if someone else is home when she gets back from school. Who gets home first isn’t consistent.”
“Speaking of, hi, La-Iin!” Beht-Soh waved at her. La-Iin blinked up at him.
“Hello, Granddami. Tell Mama to stop being so cheerful for me, okay?”
“I think she’s a little annoyed by me being in such a good mood. I’ve been trying to tell her it’s not fair, but well, that’s La-Iin for you.”
“You do look pretty happy. You’ve been smiling almost nonstop since I got here.”
“You just got here,” La-Iin said. “I’ve had to see her doofy smile for longer.”
“What has you so happy? Did something good happen?”
“Oh, not particularly, I’m just trying to think positive like I told La-Iin. And there’s a lot for me to be grateful for. I may not have many friends, but the friends I do have are good friends. I may not like Asul-Zenza, but as annoying as he is he’s not a bad man, and he does love La-Iin. I have things to look forward to, my boss gave me a raise, I’m able to take care of La-Iin and she’s been happy…I have a lot to be grateful for, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with my life from here on out. I still haven’t decided.”
Mit-Sun glanced at La-Iin. “It’s weird. I used to think life would work better with your plans. And now I’m having to replan what I expected. It might be weird, but it is an interesting experience. I guess you could just say I’ve enjoyed the past few months and the future seems bright.”
“Oh, cut that out.”
“Not until you cut out your obnoxious cheerfulness. And you obviously know nothing of planning and replanning judging by your talk!”
Mit-Sun’s face twitched in agitation. “You just don’t want me to be happy, do you?” The words were said with an odd cheer, and they sent a shiver up Beht-Soh’s spine.
“Not like this, I don’t.”
Mit-Sun sighed. “I guess I’m not going to change your mind. Well, we’ll have to leave soon, Father, but would you like some breakfast?”
“Alright. Thank you, Mit-Sun!”
“It’s no problem.”
At work, Mit-Sun’s cheerful mood was still obvious. Her coworkers noticed her carry out work she normally hated with a smile, greeting some of them as she went along her way. It stirred up quite a bit of confusion.
At least, among the coworkers that didn’t know her as well.
“I still can’t believe Mrs. Eteibreit gave you a raise! I wish she’d do that for me,” Leirhyn sighed.
“It’s something that probably only happens once in a decade,” Mit-Sun sighed.
“Well, I think you deserved it. As much as I would have liked that raise, you’re the one with a child to think about.” Uil-Cur said.
“I don’t know why she gave me a raise, but I’m glad for it. I have been in a good mood recently. Maybe all that rubbed off on my work.”
“Maybe!” Leirhyn said.
Focused on talking to her two friends, Mit-Sun was oblivious to Eteibreit’s presence behind her until her boss stroked her with her tail.
“Cahongyun,” she said, her tone taciturn. “It looks like you’ve completed work for the day. How perfect that you haven’t gone home yet.”
“Yes. I was going to ask you if you’d come to my office.” She glared at Leirhyn and Uil-Cur, though her gaze lingered on the latter as she said, “Don’t you still have work to do?”
“I actually finished that and then some, Mrs. Eteibreit. Mit-Sun has been here for a while.”
Eteibreit huffed. Mit-Sun waved to her two friends, then followed Eteibreit to her office. Despite her resolution to think positively, she couldn’t help but get a bad feeling.
‘Mrs. Eteibreit calling me to her office is never anything good…I just wonder if it’s the disturbing kind of bad or the detrimental kind of bad.’
Eteibreit sat down.
“I’ve noticed you’ve been in a good mood lately, Cahongyun. Care to explain?”
Mit-Sun was confused.
“Well, yes. There’s been a lot for me to enjoy lately. A lot I’m grateful for.”
Eteibreit’s nose wrinkled. “I see.”
“Is something wrong, Mrs. Eteibreit? You don’t look all that happy.”
Eteibreit closed her eyes for a short while; then, she said, “Of course I’m not.”
“The person I just gave a raise made a grave mistake, after all.”
“Yes, you messed up something important while doing your job yesterday, Cahongyun. How disappointing.”
“B–but I was paying close attention! What did I mess up!?”
“Tsk tsk. You don’t even know the fatal mistake you made.”
“What is that!?”
“Go and find it yourself, Cahongyun. Prove your competence to me.” By now Eteibreit was smiling. To Mit-Sun, it seemed a sadistic smile. “Prove you are worthy of your raise by finding out what your mistake is by yourself!”
Mit-Sun had a bad feeling. She rushed out Eteibreit’s office and passed by Leirhyn and Uil-Cur.
“Sorry, something urgent came up!”
She checked the records of all she had done yesterday. Then, she checked the papers on her desk, the papers for tomorrow, and even went to the extent of checking all the papers she had sorted, all she had gone over and certified. Nothing seemed out of order, and she was starting to feel frazzled.
She returned to Eteibreit’s office.
“Mrs. Eteibreit? I looked through everything I did yesterday and I couldn’t find the mistake you were talking about. I don’t think I made a mistake, but if there’s something I messed up, you have to tell me! You can’t just threaten me and not even give me a hint as to…wait a second…”
Eteibreit was smiling. Her shoulders were shaking slightly, as if she was holding back laughter.
“You tricked me, didn’t you!?”
“Ah, I said it would prove your competency. I should have said your incompetency. You never fail to disappoint me, Cahongyun. At least in how disappointing you are, that is.”
“Just for that display of stupidity, I’m docking your pay.”
“Try thinking positively about that.”
“Is this what this is all about? Why is that making you so angry? In fact, why have you been so angry lately, Mrs. Eteibreit?”
“This is how I always am, Cahongyun. Say what you will, but you already know that.”
From the look in Eteibreit’s eyes, Mit-Sun could see there was no further room for complaint. Frustrated, she left Eteibreit’s office and stomped back to her friends.
“What happened, Mit-Sun? You seem frazzled.”
She sighed. “It’s nothing. Nothing bad enough to get me down, anyway. I just really need to look for another job. But no matter what Eteibreit tries to do, or what La-Iin says, I’m not going to stop trying to think positively. Things have been looking up for me. And if I keep thinking positively, I’m sure there will be a better payoff than if I stopped!”
“She’s certainly fired up about this whole positive thinking thing,” Leirhyn said.
“She is. I should take her advice. I could have used it some months back…”
“Still, makes you wonder what happened with Mrs. Eteibreit to get her more fired up like this!”
“Hello, La-Iin. Father.” Mit-Sun stretched. “Would you two like to go out somewhere?”
“Why are you asking?”
“Because my pay got docked for Thursday and Friday and it’ll throw a bone into my shopping budget,” she sighed. “We might as well do something fun while I still have the extra vuyong.”
“What are you planning?” La-Iin asked, her tone almost accusatory.
“Nothing, really. I was hoping you two had suggestions.”
Beht-Soh raised his hand. “Well, how about we go to the enigmatic part of town? I’ve heard there are whole parts of Bledger that are on the border of other cities that have some really interesting places to go.”
“Hm….as long as it’s not near Iecation.”
“Why not that one?” Mit-Sun asked. “But sure, that sounds like fun. But let’s plan it out a little more first, alright?”