Prologue Words: 2942 ReaderxHenry Warning: The subject matter of this story can be considered sensitive to some. Please be advised.
It had been a while since you felt the warmth of the sun kiss your skin. You kept your eyes closed as you listened to all of the sounds around you. Nothing was more beautiful. “Young miss we need to head back to the house.” You tried to block out your caretaker’s voice as you took in a deep breath. ‘The sun. It feels so warm,’ You thought, feeling a small smile breach your lips. “Young miss, we really should be heading home. It appears a storm will be coming in soon,” your caretaker called again. You listened as her footsteps came close to you and you could sense her crouching next to you. “Young miss?” You took in another deep breath, keeping your face pointed to the sky. “I heard you Mari, I’m just not ready to leave,” you said back to her. You felt the grass move as she sat down next to you. “I understand young miss but we really must be going. If you don’t head back soon your mother will start to worry.” Bringing your arms up above your head you took in another deep breath and let it out slowly, feeling your chest fall. “Mari,” you started, “lay down next to me.” “Young miss, I-” “Just do it.” The grass adjusted to Mari’s body laying next to yours and it made you smile. “Close your eyes,” you said. Judging by the annoyed breath that Mari exhaled you assumed she had listened to you. “Now listen Mari. Listen to the rustling of leaves as the wind blows, the laughter of the children, the birds singing together, isn’t it beautiful Mari?” Her breaths were slow and steady leading you to believe she had fallen asleep. Feeling the soft grass between your fingers one last time you stood up. “Geez Mari are you going to sleep all day? We really should be going. It feels like a storm is coming,” you said loudly to wake Mari up. You laughed as you heard her let out a shocked breath as she quickly got to her feet. “My apologies young miss. I must have fallen asleep,” Mari said hurriedly. You laughed and listened as she smiled at you. “Oh it’s fine Mari. Come on, let’s go back to the house.” “Of course.” You put your hand out and felt Mari’s gentle grasp around it. She moved so you could wrap your hand around her arm. After making sure you had a good grip she started walking leading you up the hill. Once you reached the top you stopped walking and let go of Mari’s arm. “The colors are so beautiful Mari,” you gasped as you looked around. The smear of yellows, pinks and reds traced the sky while greens, browns and many other colors covered the ground. You looked over at Mari noticing she looked the same as always, dark clothing and light skin smeared together. “I wish I knew what a true sunset looked like,” You said, feeling yourself pout. “I’m sure your sunsets are just as beautiful, if not more so, young miss. Now come, we really should be going home.” Mari helped you slide into the car then she slid in next to you. The car started to move and you made yourself comfortable in the back seat staring out the window. As usual the car ride was quiet. Nobody ever spoke about anything. This was why you took every chance you could to go to that place. You weren’t sure if it was a park or just some patch of grass, but it had become your favorite spot. Letting out a heavy sigh you laid your head back in your seat looking up. The small sound of rain started to ring in your ears as it beat against the metal of the car. “Mari my birthday is coming up,” you said hoping for a response other than the usual. “Yes it is young miss.” ‘The usual,’ you thought. “I’ll be 20 this year Mari. Do you think I’ll be any different?” “We will be home soon young miss.” You let out a small aggravated sigh and turned your attention back to the window. ‘Nobody ever wants to talk,’ you thought. The car made it’s last turn and slowed it’s pace as it pulled into the long drive of your home. The car door opened and the sound of rain rang through your ears. A small splash was created by your feet as you walked making you smile. “Young miss please wait for Mari. We don’t-.” With a quick turn you started running in the rain. The uneven stones beneath your shoes, the rain beating on your skin and the crisp cool air kissing your cheeks made you want to run faster. You looked out in front of you unable to see as everything was a giant grey blur. “Young miss!” you heard Mari scream. Your breath was quickening as you ran and it made your smile grow larger. Someone grabbed your arm making you slip and fall to the ground. “Ah!” you screamed as you felt your ankle twist. “Young miss you shouldn’t be running,” Mari said as she helped you stand. When you put pressure on your injured ankle you winced slightly. “Are you hurt young miss?” “No, I’m fine Mari.” Another worker ran over to you and Mari to hold an umbrella above you. Though it was pointless, you could feel your rain soaked clothes cling to your skin. Mari carefully helped you climb the few steps to the house and lead you to your room. She sat you on your bed while she left to grab you a towel to dry off. “Young miss, you really should be careful. You know you can’t see, yet you run off like that. Here is a towel to dry off. I’ll go grab the doctor to see your ankle,” Mari said before leaving the room. You looked around your room hearing and seeing nothing. A sigh left your lips and you let yourself fall back onto your bed. “I want to leave this place,” you said aloud to yourself. A loud bang came from your door followed by your mother’s voice, “[Y/N], what on earth are you doing running off in the rain like that? Don’t you know how dangerous that is? You’re lucky that all you hurt was your ankle.” “Mom, I’m sorry,” you said quietly. “Stop this nonsense and start acting your age [Y/N].” “Yes mother.” You heard more footsteps enter your room so you sat up. “Hurt again are we [Y/N],” Dr. Jung asked as he approached. You smiled and held your foot out to him. “Of course doctor! You know me. Always getting into trouble.” He laughed as his hand lightly touched your ankle. Even though you were unable to see him you looked down as he examined your ankle. “It looks like a minor sprain. You should be fine in a couple of weeks. Now let me see your eyes,” he said as you looked straight ahead. The light was bright but it never hurt your eyes to look at. Dr. Jung quickly looked at both of your eyes then put the tool back into his pocket. “Is there any difference doctor,” you heard your mother ask quietly. “Let’s talk in the hall,” he said quietly as well. Shuffling footsteps and the click of your bedroom door let you know that your family had left. You limped your way to your door and cracked it open so you could listen in on their conversation. “Her eyes have gotten worse,” Dr. Jung said. “What do you mean they have gotten worse? You can tell from that simple examination?” your mother asked concerned. “Well I would have to do a more detailed examination to tell you in full but it seems she will be fully blind a lot sooner than I originally thought. The muscles are weakening in her eyes.” “She can’t see now anyway!” “She can at least see certain colors. They may not make sense to her but she can see them.” Hearing your mother’s shaky breath and what the doctor said made your heart hurt. You slowly closed your door trying not to make a sound and put your hand to your chest. ‘Am I really going to lose the colors,’ you thought as you felt your heart beat. “What’s causing it? She hasn’t had cancer since she was a child. They said it was gone,” you listened through the door as your mother cried. “Let’s have this conversation in another area,” the doctor responded. You took a few steps away from the door not wanting to listen anymore when Mari suddenly walked in. “Young miss we have prepared a bath for you.” You held out your hand for her to wrap around her arm and guide you to the restroom. You knew where it was and how to get there without her help but with a hurt ankle you wanted the extra support from Mari. “Mari,” you asked while you two walked slowly, “Am I pretty?” “You are the most beautiful young miss I have ever met,” Mari said almost sounding robotic. Even if it felt as if her answer was programmed it still made you smile. You finished your bath and once you had changed into your pajamas you called for Mari, who you knew was waiting outside the door, to take you to the dinner table. Eating dinner with your family wasn’t exciting. It was mostly quiet and lonely. You heard your mother join you at the table and start eating. “[Y/N], you have an appointment tomorrow with Dr. Jung to check your eyes and ankle more thoroughly,” your mother said soundly weak. You nodded in response as you continued to eat. Silence took over the room only being broken by the sound of utensils hitting china every once in awhile. “Mom,” you started. “Yes dear?” “There is an art school I want to attend. Will you allow me to go?” “Why do you want to attend art school [Y/N]? Isn’t school about to start anyway, it’s probably too late for you to attend.” “Actually I already submitted my application and work and got accepted. I had Butler Kyungmi help me apply.” Your mother’s utensil hit the china plate with a loud clang. “What?” “I asked him to help me and he did. I didn’t actually think I was going to get accepted but I did. They really liked my paintings mom. Can I go?” Her scoff echoed in your ears. “Well what school is this?” “Korean National University of Arts.” “That school is in Seoul! No I don’t feel comfortable sending you to the city alone.” “Mom, please-” “We are no longer talking about this.” The loud screech of the chair scratching against the wood floors made you wince. You stared down as your mother left the room. Sitting your spoon down you called for Mari to help you back to your room. “I’m sorry everyone,” you called to the house staff who were probably standing in the room. Mari helped you to your bed and tucked you in then left without a word like always. ‘I’m going to that university. I won’t sit here and rot alone.’ You picked up the phone next to your bed and felt the buttons. You dialed a number quickly and waited for them to answer the phone. “Hello?” “Hi daddy!” “[Y/N]! How is my little girl doing?” “I’m good daddy! How’s America?” “We are busy as always. Though I miss you very much. How are you feeling?” “I’m feeling good. Still healthy!” “Good!” “Hey daddy? Would you let me go to art university?” “Of course! If that will make you happy.” “Even if the school is in Seoul?” “What, Seoul? That’s so far. Do you think you will be okay?” “I figured we could find me a place to live that’s close to the school and Mari could stay with me.” Your father let out a long sigh. “I don’t know. It has me worried.” “Daddy, please? I don’t want to be stuck in my room forever. I want to experience the world more, and it’s only a few hours away from home. It’s not like I’m going to another country.” “Have you talked to your mother about this?” “Yeah.. but she wasn’t happy about it.” Your father let out a few chuckles and you could hear the smile in his voice. “Well she doesn’t like a lot of things that you do. She worries about you.” “I know she does...” “Alright, I’ll get things arranged for you and I’ll talk to your mother. But you will have to promise me you will listen to Mari when you go. And don’t give your mother grief about this.” “Of course daddy! Thank you!” “I love you [Y/N] now get some sleep.” “Um... daddy?” “Yes?” “I have an appointment about my eyes tomorrow...” “Are you nervous?” You mad a small choked noise as you tried to keep your tears held in. “Don’t be scared sweetie. It’s just the routine checkups as always okay? I’ll be home soon and when I am I’ll take you out to a play just like I used to okay?” You nodded. “Now get some rest. You will need to be up early tomorrow and it is already so late there. I love you [Y/N].” “I love you too daddy. Good night.” You hung up the phone and rolled over on your side in your bed. ‘Daddy is right, everything will be fine. It’s just the routine check up. I knew I would lose the colors eventually... I’m just not ready.’ You reached for another pillow and held it in your arms as you breathed in the scent of fabric softener as you drifted to sleep. Mari woke you up the next morning and helped you get ready. “Are we ready to go,” your mother asked as she walked into your room. “We will be in a moment madame,” Mari answered back as she finished your hair. As always you sat silently until you were lead to the car that would take you to the hospital. Once you arrived Dr. Jung was there to greet you. He lead you, your mother and Mari into a room where he started to run tests. You were unsure what all the tests were that he did but they usually took about an hour or so to complete. The final one was always getting your blood drawn. This used to hurt you when you were younger but you have had this done so many times by now it was only routine. “All right, well that concludes the tests for now. We will look into them and get back to you on if we find anything suspicious,” Dr. Jung said as you felt the nurse put a bandaid on your arm. “Thank you Dr. Jung,” your mother said. “And [Y/N] be sure to ice your ankle and stay off of it for a couple of days.” You nodded in response. “Good. Be safe getting home.” As all of you exited the hospital you reached for your mother’s hand and held it. “What are you doing,” your mother asked in surprise. “It’ll be okay mom. Don’t worry,” you said as you squeezed her hand in yours. “Don’t cling to me. Mari will help you to the car,” she said as she took her hand from yours. You stopped walking and held your own hand, ‘As cold as ever.’ “Young miss, let’s go,” Mari said as she took your arm and dragged you behind her. The car ride on the way home was quiet as usual. By this point you knew better than to try and have a conversation with your mother or Mari. If you talked to your mother she would either ignore you or tell you to stop bugging her. If you tried to talk to Mari she would give you back robotic answers as always. ‘My life is cold and grey,’ you thought as you looked into nothing. “You’re father called me this morning,” your mother said suddenly surprising you, “He said he wants you to go to this school you spoke of. I’m against it but your father said it was best for you. I’m going to talk with Dr. Jung about getting a doctor lined up for you or seeing about getting him transferred there.” “Wait are you saying I can go?” You could feel your heart racing in anticipation. “Only because of your father. If it were my decision you would be staying home.” “Yes!” “Mari and some of the other staff will be moving with you to make sure you are well taken care of. I would go with you but I need to stay at the main residence.” “That’s fine mother. Thank you. Thank you very much.” Your mother didn’t speak again but you didn’t mind. You couldn’t help the smile that engulfed your face. It didn’t take long for your father to get everything arranged for you in Seoul. Your mother was still furious at the idea but because Mari and a few other caretakers would be staying with you she was willing to put up with it. Your test results came back fine and before you knew it, Seoul was your new home and school was starting soon. The sounds and smells of the city were unfamiliar and somewhat frightening but you were beyond excited for this new adventure and what it could hold for you.
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