You burst out laughing, step back and have to lean on the counter for support.
“Are you hitting on me?”
A dimple shows up in his cheek as he smiles down at you.
“I could be; especially if you and [HN] really are just friends. Although I still don’t understand how.”
You pat him on the shoulder as you pass by with the drink tray, “It isn’t for you to understand.”
He grabs the tray and puts it back on the counter, turns you by your shoulders to face him.
“In some ways it is. Explain it to me.”
You roll your eyes. “It really isn’t that hard. #1. I’m 10+ yrs his noona; I don't really need a #2 or to say anything more.”
“He likes older women. As evidenced in the fact that you’re standing before me and I know from talking to him over the past year that he's taken you everywhere with him for that entire year. No matter where, he takes you.”
You shrug, “Perhaps because I’m a mom without being his mother. Some men like being taken care of without having to worry about the attachment of sex or attraction.”
“He’s a guy, he likes sex.”
“Then lets add #2. No attraction. Remember I used to be fat, it’s a little hard to get that memory out of your mind when you’ve seen someone that way for a long time.”
“Nope, I'm not buying it. Even 'chubby' there was something about you and you've always been pretty. I don’t see it and you can’t tell me you aren’t attracted to him.”
You’re really getting sick of this conversation; it needs now. You have no idea why he demands you be with him but hasn't hit on you. Obviously, he doesn't see what his members claim to.
“Yes, I’m attracted to him. Myself and every red blooded female with eyes in their head. Happy?”
“Maybe I asked the wrong question. Let me try again. Why are you still around, your reason.”
“I told you, we’re friends. We enjoy each other’s company; inspire each other for our arts. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Now, if you’ll excuse me, he’s going to come try to find out where we are if we don’t get back out there. We’re friends, accept it or don’t; just don’t cause problems.”
As you try to walk past he says, “Do you love him?”
In order to avoid that privacy invasion you turn it back on him, “Do you?”
Just as he opens his mouth, the object of your conversation shows up in the doorway. “What’s taking so long? Did they not have things stocked correctly?”
You look over and smile, “Of course they did, you know your staff. I’m just a little slow today.”
You hand him the tray as you pass by, “ The pains of being an old lady remember?”
His group gets comfortable and everyone is soon joking and goofing around. You're still uncomfortable about the interrogation you received in the kitchen, so you excuse yourself to go back to your painting.
Within a few moments you feel someone behind you. Turning, you find another one of his members.
“Hey,” you comment, confused as to why he’s followed you, hoping you aren’t in for another third degree.
“Hi,” he smiles as he walks over to you. “I figured if you could escape, I could too. You don’t mind if I hang out in here with you do you? I love those guys but every now and then it’s nice to have space.”
He seems harmless enough; you shrug and go back to what you were working on.
In the other room the rest of the members are beginning an interrogation of their own.
“Dude, how long have you two been friends?”
“Doesn't she go everywhere with you? Is she why you don’t have a girlfriend or is she your girlfriend?”
“If she’s not your girlfriend can I have a shot at her? I don’t mind older women. Not when they look and act like that.”
The last comment has everyone laughing; everyone but [HN]. He pastes on a fake smile, “She doesn’t need to be used by you. She’s too good a person for that... stay away.”
“What and I’m not a good person?” The member huffs and puffs like he's offended but everyone knows he isn’t.
“Your conquests are known by everyone far and wide. She doesn’t want or need a player.”
“How do you know? I don’t think she’s interested in having kids anymore; she probably can’t anyway because of her age. Maybe she’s just looking for fun but is stuck with you.”
The leader has been silent until now, watching the emotions flit over [HN]'s face as the guys give him a bad time.
“So,” he interrupts, sitting forward with his arms on his knees. “What is she to you then?”
“She’s noona, she’s my best friend. Why do you guys have such a hard time with this?”
“It isn’t normal for men our age to have female ‘friends’ that are 'just friends', unless they already have boyfriends. You should be dating but instead, are hanging out with body guards and a noona that is obviously in love with you.”