[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/LTicg5y.png?1]][right [pic https://i.imgur.com/LTicg5y.png?1]][font "times" [size10 [I [center Our world is no more permanent than a wave rising on the [b [#742d19 ocean]].
all too soon they [b [#742d19 bleed]] into a wash, just like watery ink on [b [#742d19 p a p e r.]]]
[size22 [b [#742d19 I]]]t's summer and the [#742d19 [b kisaeng ceremony]] is well underway. Girls, from the age of fourteen are plucked from their sad impoverished lives and given the chance to become well [b [#742d19 respected entertainers]]. Parents are offered a generous amount of money from the government, then sent to live in the palace at the hill that meets [b [#742d19 Great Yeongnam Road]]. For most families that are poor, this is the chance of a lifetime. Families prepare for this day for years.
[size22 [b [#742d19 T]]]his is where we meet [b [#742d19 her]]. It has been years since she attended the ceremony, already toward the end of her journey. Now it is her sister’s turn and she is more than happy to finally be reunited with family, as she has not seen her family since leaving. Something is not right though, as she comes to realize her sister has not arrived with the other girls. There are rumors spreading amongst the girls, of the house in the back, where the girls who just aren’t [b [I [#742d19 pretty enough]]] are sent. With some careful snooping, she soon learns the truth and vows to rescue her sister and leave the palace for good.
[size22 [b [#742d19 H]]]e is an officer, in charge of overseeing the girls in his win; ensuring their safety and that they remain in the palace, unless they were chaperoned. He was born of very little money, gaining his position solely because of his [b [#742d19 blood line]]. The world these women lived in was not new to him. He once knew of a girl who came and never returned – almost as though she [b [#742d19]] vanished. He knows there is nothing he can say or do that would bring her back, and his loyalty remains to his country and fulfilling his duties. He notices soon though that things are [b [#742d19 not as they seem]]. One night he crosses [b [#742d19 her]] and a conversation sparks.
[size22 [b [#742d19 H]]]e vows to help her, hoping to avenge an old friend and along the way. She puts her trust in him, finding him a valuable in getting around the palace. Along the way, they find [I [b [#742d19 l o v e ]]].
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They finally had IDs. They would finally be semi legitimate. Plus once Kaito had fixed the car they could go wherever they pleased. Probably starting with the clinic as they were both more than anxious to know if their child was okay. Irene smiled when Kaito placed his hands on her hips and she happily took his hand to lead him inside.
Seeing Benjamin had helped himself to a sandwich, she chuckled softly. "It's fine. I made plenty and you have been helping us so much. It's the least we can do," she assured him before watching Ben give Kaito the folder. Kaito's reaction was heartwarming and she moved to place a hand on his shoulder. Irene was simply excited to have any of those things as she had never owned any of these things. Being handed her own identification was almost strange as she stared at it. This was hers. In a way it was like it validated her existence, even if fake. In the palace she had been locked away and if she had disappeared no one would have known or cared. Now she couldn't disappear. Irene felt tears prick at her eyes.
Hearing Kaito joke about teaching her to drive, Irene had to chuckle. "I know how to drive, just not how to obey street signs, traffic lights or go slower than putting the pedal to the metal, Mr. Ryan," she pointed out jokingly, not sure how comfortable she felt practicing to drive in the crowded streets of New York. Though she did like their last name. Ryan. If the child couldn't have either of their last names at least this one was good.
Irene looked up to Ben surprised when he said that the IDs were on him. She couldn't help herself as she walked over to hug him. "Thank you Ben," she said and after releasing him went to put the sandwiches on some plates so they could enjoy their food. She smiled at listening to the men talk, nodding. "Yeah, that should be good. With the ID we shouldn't have any problems now," she agreed as she placed her hand gently on her bump, "So far everything has been good Ben, thanks for asking. Well, as good as from what we can tell. It's still early enough that I don't actually feel anything and just keep growing." She chuckled softly.
Once Ben was gone Irene walked over to Kaito to wrap her arms around him. "Can't believe we are finally official," she mused, "I guess... Congratulations to us for getting married." She chuckled softly. "So you think the car will make it to the clinic?" she inquired, as he was still working on it she didn't want the car to have a malfunction. Still, she was a little nervous about the thought of finally going to a clinic. To know if their child was actually alright or if she might have caused it harm with everything that was going on.
Kaito had hopes that once they got the car running he could maybe drive around or take Irene out. Especially considering that he wanted to get her and himself to the clinic finally and check on the pregnancy. He looked up when Irene came bouncing out of the door of the apartment building, a smile on her face. She had a glow about her that made her even more beautiful. He placed his hand on her hip.
“That’s a relief,” he told her as he followed her into the building and upstairs. Benjamin had been sitting at the table, enjoying a sandwich he had prepared for himself. He blushed.
“Couldn’t help myself,” he admitted before taking another bite. On the table sat a manilla folder. He dusted his hands then and reached for the folder to hand to Kaito.
Kaito opened it, there was a passport, driver’s license, and social security card as well as birth certificates if need be. Benjamin had surely gone through great lengths for them
“Wow,” he said in surprise. He had to sit down from the slight bit of shock at the realization that this was real. In a way he felt like they were in some kind of witness protection program, but at least they had the security that should they need to get anywhere they had some identification to get them by. “Guess I’ll have to teach you how to drive Mrs. Ryan.” Kaito teased as he handed Irene her own items. “how much do I owe you?” He asked then. Benjamin was pensive before waving his hand.
“It’s on me. I wouldn’t feel comfortable charging you guys in the position you’re in.”
“Thanks, it really means a lot.” Kaito had got up then and headed toward the sink to wash his hands of the oil before enjoying lunch.
“How’s the car?” Ben asked then.
“it’s getting there, just have to get the motor fixed. I was thinking we go into the city to head to the clinic and then maybe I can find an auto shop or something.” He suggested as he looked to Irene.
“There’s a spot about maybe three blocks from the clinic I think.” Ben suggested. He came to a stand then. “Well don’t let me keep you. Glad to help. Oh! Irene, how’ve you been so far? Pregnancy going well?”
Irene was more than aware of Kaito watching her. She wondered how odd it must be for him to watch her change, to know that it was his child in there. He couldn't feel it like she did, but did it make it any different? She smiled softly at him drawing her close and nuzzling her as she relaxed against him. It felt good to hear that they were doing good, like it validated her assessment. That he likely knew more than her and if he did believe that that it just be true. Either way, it made it so that she fell asleep relatively easy.
It was a whirlwind week that followed. Irene was happy that Kaito got the job at the diner and she had accepted the modeling job. Unfortunately, there hadn't been any prospects on her own job so that she ended up spending quite a bit of time at Amanda's shop preparing for the shoot. It was fun, coordinating outfits, finding places to shoot. Who would have thought learning to coordinate events at the palace would help with that? Being creative was something she was actually good at. While Amanda wasn't actually able to offer a lot of money, she had agreed to let Irene look through the last season's clothes and take what she wanted, which would definitely help stock up her wardrobe. A friend of Amanda's even said she might be interested in using her as a model as well, if she showed promise. The shoot would be soon and she was a bit nervous about that.
Today however, she watched Kaito fix the car, assisting in the few ways she could, but it definitely was interesting to watch and perhaps even a little sexy to see Kaito fixing a car, though she would openly admit that. She was just fixing them some sandwiches when there was a knock at the door. "Ben," she smiled, at seeing him, "Kaito is just working on the car. What brings you here?" When he explained that he brought their IDs she grew excited. Motioning for him to follow her, they made their way down to meet Kaito. Irene moved over to kiss Kaito's cheek. "Ben has our IDs," she said softly to him. It did feel good to know that soon they wouldn't be quite as in the grey as before.
Kaito had removed his shirt and pants and got under the covers. He looked toward Irene, watching her admire and inspect her features before changing into her nightgown. Kaito drew her in close to him, his nose nuzzling against the soft small hairs at the back of her neck.
“We’ve done quite well.” He admitted to her and it was relieving to say it aloud. It felt more true, despite the fact that Kaito worried so much what their life would be like these next coming days, months – hell years. He just wanted the best for them and especially their child. He held Irene a little tighter then. “Well whatever it is I don’t mind.” It would only be in theory that they were married, but Kaito wondered if he should actually propose to Irene. He didn’t have that much money though, no ring to offer her worthy of anything the general had he was sure. He knew it wouldn’t matter, but he felt that she deserved normal moments that were nice and planned – not rushed and just as a means of survival. He loved Irene and Kaito wanted her to know that any way he could besides vocal.
A week had passed and by luck Kaito had gotten a job at the diner. Cleaning tables and doing dishes was a far ways from what he was normally used to, but it made decent money and occasionally he served tables which meant tips. He’d finally had a day off which usually he would use toward sleeping in, but today instead he was putting in work on the car that Benjamin had offered. It wasn’t in the greatest shape, which is why he could see why he offered it to him for so cheap. Still, it was slowly getting into working condition.
Upstairs Benjamin was heading to their apartment. He had finally managed to get them a set of ids and was dropping by to deliver them.
Aisha. Even from so far away she knew how to put a smile on their lips and help them as much as the physical distance would allow. Irene bit down on the inside of her cheek, to keep from crying at how touched she was, the stupid hormones not making things easy for her at times. "Well, you did a good job following instructions," Irene mused softly.
Still, she couldn't bring herself to eat more than the portion she had put on her plate, though was glad to see Kaito eat more. Irene worried about him, which in a way was ironic considering that he worried about her constantly. However, she knew he wouldn't pay attention to himself, if she didn't. That and she was fairly sure he would still try to keep things from her and try to shield her from a lot of things to not upset her in her condition.
His plan made her nod. "That sounds good. Gives us more of a chance to see the neighborhood as well," she agreed. In a way she was both excited and nervous to see the city. Excited, because she had never seen anything like it, but also nervous because it would be so very different from what she knew.
When they were done with dinner Irene smiled back at Kaito. "Bed," she agreed as she got up from her chair and took his hand, making her way to the bedroom. There she slipped out of her clothes, not being able to resist looking at herself in the mirror. Somehow it felt like her body was changing every day and she couldn't keep up with the changes. Though Irene imagined those would get even more when she actually exploded. Slipping on her nightgown, she got under the covers and once Kaito was beside her, she cuddled against him. "We're doing okay so far, I wouldn't so, no?" she said softly to him. It could definitely be going a lot worse than it was, which was a relief to know. "I wonder what name our ids will have," she mused, knowing it didn't really matter, but it was strange to think that she and Kaito would theoretically be married then, no that it made any difference with how things were now.
With all that was going on for the couple, Benjamin was glad to give them some sense of peace and a bit of taste of home. “Aisha of course walked me through every step,” he admitted with a chuckle. He had finished his meal, assuring the couple that he would come by with the ids as soon as he could before leaving them to themselves. Kaito was much hungrier than he thought and ended up with a second serving. He was halfway through his meal when Irene had suggested the idea of going shopping. So far all they had bought was food and a few household items, but they would need more things soon. He was sure Irene would need clothes to fit her changing body and Kaito would need more than the few outfits he had brought along with him. He also needed to get Irene a phone, especially if she was seriously considering the modeling job which he was sure she was. He didn’t like the idea of her being ay and if he was working, there was no way he could be watching her. He realized then the terrifying thought of having to leave Irene alone and knowing that she would be okay.
It made his stomach hurt honestly. Though he had hoped she had picked up something during their time together and she did still have his father’s knife should anything get out of control.
“How about tomorrow after dropping off the applications we head downtown. We can stop by the clinic and I’m sure there’s much more in the heart of the city as far as stores.” He knew it would be a bit more crowded than what they were used to, but at least they didn’t have to worry about sticking out. With Kaito’s ability to always pay attention, he was sure they’d be safe.
After finishing dinner he collected the dishes and placed them in the sink. He turned to Irene and offered a smile. Honestly despite all the madness, he thought they were truly doing well for themselves. All that mattered was that they were together.
“Bed?” He suggested.
Nodding, Irene got Ben some water, placing it before him before she moved to sit down. How long before even that would be tiring? She wasn't lookin forward to it, but there was hardly any escaping it now. Hearing that the city was expensive was disconcerting to hear. They didn't have a lot of money as it was and they still needed to live. Of course, it would be nice to do something fun together, especially before she was a whale, but Irene thought that as long as they were together she didn't mind not having grand outings and the like.
The mention of IDs had clearly thrown him off. She supposed that wasn't surprising as they were clearly a lot of trouble and in trouble anyway. All she could hope was that no one would ever bother to look for them. Irene gave a soft nod at what Ben said. "We were thinking that we should get the same last name so that things didn't look too suspicious and less questions would be asked," she explained, indicating lightly to her stomach. When it came to actually marrying Kaito, she honestly hadn't given it too much thought as her mind was more than enough occupied by the present to not think that far ahead.
Hearing about the clinic, Irene did give a relieved sound. A lot of her concerns centered around her and the baby for one, but also Kaito and his stitches. Well, his stitches should be fine, but she would prefer it if a professional looked at them and did the work than her. "Then maybe we should go there soon," she suggested to Kaito, feeling like they likely both wanted to know that their child was okay.
Once they sat down for food, Irene took a bite and couldn't help a small content sound. "This is delicious Ben. Thank you for bringing it," Irene told him, purposefully eating slow to prolong the food. It reminded her of Aisha in a way and at the same time it was definitely a lot better than anything she or Kaito could make. It was a piece of home in these crazy times. "We should look around if we can find a secondhand store around here. That way, we can get some more clothes and not pay so much," Irene suggested to Kaito, remembering how they had first gone shopping together in that huge mall. That felt like it was years away. Though Irene was hopeful that she would find something there for her expanding body. As maternity wear only had a certain span of use, she imagined she could easily find something there. Perhaps even some things for their child, another thing they would have to think about at some point.
“Water would be fine,” Ben suggested with a smile. “Thank you.” Kaito had taken a seat at the table as well. Irene had already vocalized much of what needed to get done for the couple. “Jobs, that’s Important. New York is a pretty expensive city, even for this side of town.” Kaito wasn’t surprised to hear that. He figured they wouldn’t really have that much of an opportunity to do anything that would cost them a lot of money, but he hoped he could plan something special for Irene. Since them being together they hadn’t been able to really enjoy what most couples did. Their relationship hadn’t started off so normal and now that they were getting into the more serious aspect of it, he didn’t want there to always be that awkwardness when it came to them transitioning.
Benjamin was a bit thrown off by the suggestion of them needing identification. Though when he spoke with his niece, she had given him all the info he needed to know about the couple, more than Kaito’s vague description as to why they were together. He brushed his hands through his hair, pensive in thought.
“That may be a bit hard to do, but I might be able to get someone who can help. It’ll be a bit pricey but it will be legit enough for you the not to have any trouble.” Kaito knew that this would mean they would have to settle on a last name, maybe something common like Smith or the likes which would not make them stand out too much. Of course, the idea of actually marrying Irene stood out then. It wasn’t necessarily something that the two of them had discussed before.
Though now that she was pregnant it was something he thought he and her should actually consider. “There’s a clinic downtown. They don’t ask too many questions and you should qualify for their free insurance.” He could tell it would be a hard and shaky start into this new way of living for the couple; Ben hoped he could help as much as possible. Though some part of him did worry that the trouble they had escaped from would follow. The timer announced the end of the meal and Kaito stood to get everything settled.
On the other side of the world, the mistress sat with the General. He’d been disappointed to know that Irene had been gone, but as far as he was concerned he wanted Irene. He had grown obsessed with her and hated the idea that she had slipped through his grips. As far as he was concerned, he would stop at nothing until he had Irene in his possession. The mistress didn’t care as long as she maintained her money, besides she wanted to rip away every sense of joy the woman would have considering what she had done to her.
Irene tilted her head, allowing Kaito to kiss along her jaw as she gave a soft sound. Melting gently against him, it did feel good to be held and comfortable. She wished she had Kaito's optimism that someone would hire her. It was just frustrating knowing that the only reason she possibly wouldn't even be able to get a server job was because she was pregnant. Not that she would want to get rid of the child, but it was difficult at times to think positiv. If she wasn't pregnant, it would be easy to find something with her sweet smile, she knew that. Resting her hand on her stomach, she rubbed it thoughtfully. At least she had learned enough about cooking and other housework to be able to keep this tiny apartment afloat. That had made their stay with Aisha a gift. Plus, with its tiny size it likely wouldn't be too hard to at least keep that clean, even when bigger.
She finished filling in all the applications, though she hadn't given a last name as she wasn't sure what they would name themselves. They hadn't really discussed it after all. It would he interesting to appear married, even if she doubted that they would often be asked about it. Though the thought of their child having a name that didn't have anything to do with either of their surnames was a little sad, but that couldn't be helped.
The knock on the door made Irene look up surprised and a little. Surely the palace couldn't have found them that easily. Kissing Kaito back, she allowed him to get up before settling on the now empty chair. "Be careful," she replied softly, though was soon relieved to find Ben at the door. A small smile crossed her lips. "Thank you, that's very kind," Irene said before seeing Kaito's sheepish expression, "We'll call her as soon as possible." She didn't want to imagine what Aisha thought might have happened to them.
Once Ben had sat down Irene got up to gather up the applications to put them away. "Can I get you something to drink?" she asked as she got out some plates for the casserole later. Thinking on the question, there were only two things that came to mind that were truly important. A phone for her or clothes and the like were secondary. "Well, we're working on getting jobs," Irene told him, nodding towards the stack of applications, "I guess the most important part would be getting identification. Considering I don't have any identification regardless that might be even more complicated." The palace was no help at all. Then of course, there was the other part. "And maybe you could direct us towards a clinic?" she asked, both for her but also for Kaito and his stitches. Irene would definitely prefer them being taken out by a professional. "Anything else that might be important for now?" she inquired, looking to Kaito unsure. He had more of a plan than she did.
Kaito happily welcomed Irene into his lap, his lips kissing along her jaw. “Of course someone would hire you.” He could understand the stress though, there were a lot of skulls that Irene had that at this moment didn’t really hold any weight or value. The palace had always been about grooming the women to be housewives, women you had on your arm when attending important charity events or galas. He wasn’t surprised that there was a sense of lack of opportunity for someone with her affluent nature. That said, there were also some skills not taught like serving and cooking and cleaning. Aisha in some sense had been a godsend as if they both didn’t have any cooking sense Kaito was sure they would starve. Well that or live on canned foods. Irene was smart though and had she not been pregnant he was sure that his company or business would think twice about hiring the enigmatic beauty. But she was already so far along, it wouldn’t be long before she wouldn’t be able to do much without tiring and he wasn’t going to risk the life of her or their child.
As though expecting them to reach out to him, Benjamin knocked at the young couples door , in his hands a casserole. He had spoken with his niece and she had told him much more than Kaito had regarding their sudden move to the states. It hadn’t changed his mind about helping the couple as he had left for somewhat of the same reasons – to not be tied down by tradition and ignore the faults within their system. He’d always found the palace to be a weird place. Kaito was cautious, but figured there were only a few people who knew if their place if living. He kissed Irene before gently removing her from his lap as he came to a stand.
“I’ll check on it.” He was relieved to find it Benjamin who entered the apartment.
“Just thought I’d send some dinner and check on you two. Aisha has not stopped calling all day.” Kaito had realized then that the phone had died. He could Only imagine she thought the worse had happened. “So, how can I be it help?” He asked as he was already warming up the Oven.
It wasn't that she was keen on modeling, though it did sound fun. After all, wasn't she once more, just like in the palace, being judged solely on her appearance? She could do so much more. It was frustrating, but if modeling got her a job for now and maybe she could find a more permanent job with someone who wouldn't mind that she was pregnant.
Irene smiled softly at Kaito kissing her forehead. "It's okay. I just want... to help... as much as I can and this could be a good start. Maybe I can even get some clothes for a discount," she told him, knowing that she would need new clothes soon and that would be expensive, "I just don't want those ads to be the reason they find us." Though that seemed unlikely, considering that it was for a small store that not a lot of people knew so likely not a lot of adds would be printed. Would anyone even try and find them? The mistress likely only because she had shot her. As for the general? He had been keen on marrying her and she wasn't sure if he now knew about her situation.
Nodding, Irene happily followed him home, though it was clear Kaito had a lot of things on his mind. She wished he would talk to her about them. The suggestion of finding a clinic made her nod once more as she gently placed a hand on her stomach. "That would be good," she agreed, "Maybe Ben knows a place." She didn't think anything was wrong, but she worried. A lot. There was a constant level of stress which couldn't be good for her child and while she knew that she should be gaining weight, Irene felt like everything was causing her to lose it instead. Plus, there were likely a million things that she didn't even know about being pregnant that she should be adhering to.
Once they were home and she had slipped out of her coat, Irene smiled softly as he drew her in. "I love you too," she replied and sat down on his lap to give him a kiss. "How about... I still apply for a normal job, but do the modeling one? It's a one time thing anyway so maybe it can tie over a bit until I do find something. Surely, someone would hire me," she suggested, looking to him and then the applications. It seemed fair. Irene took her applications and started to fill them out, not moving from Kaito's lap. She didn't want to be apart from him right now, though likely at the latest when he had a job that would be the case.
Kaito knew that Irene wasn’t going to let him stop her from deciding to pursue this and she had made valid pints. He was just concerned for their safety, but it was something and right now that counted for a lot. Kaito brushed his hands through his hair. He knew he could be a bit annoying with how much he worried, but Irene had to understand he only felt that way because he loved her of course, her and their child. His hand reached to brush against her face as he kissed her forehead. “I’m sorry. If you want to do this you should. I mean we can’t let fear stop us from living.” Who knew, maybe they’d end up lucky and have enough downtime before they were tracked, if they would be tracked.
With Irene now no longer a virgin and pregnant, he wondered if the mistress still felt she was worth pursuing, even despite all the money that had been lost due to Irene’s leaving.
“C’mon, lets head back home.” He suggested as he took her hand. He figured he’d fill out the applications and hope for the best. The diner seemed more promising and he was sure he could probably even score a few free meals for them here and there. With that in mind at least, he also knew that they had to work on getting some identification. He figured Ben might know something about that considering ho he had come into the country.
Something like that was bound to be expensive, but with the proper id it would lead to less worry should they find themselves needing it or in trouble for any reason. “We should also try to find you a clinic.” Kaito knew Irene hadn’t been getting the proper care since her pregnancy which worried him. He wanted to assure she was still doing fine and the baby was alright as well. Once reaching the apartment, he headed toward the small dining table and laid down the applications. He reached his hands out for Irene to draw her in.
“I love you.” He’d said. They were in this together.
Irene wanted to work. At least as long as the baby would allow it. She knew they could use all the money they could get and right now she was still able to. Though she had the feeling Kaito didn't want her to. Of course, once the baby was there she couldn't really work and at some point they would have to weigh the option of her working and the cost of a kindergarten or some other place to keep the child while she worked. Though those seemed like conversations they would have in the distant future.
She couldn't help feeling Kaito's presence, as he wasn't too far off. She supposed that she should be thankful that no one considered him a stalker. Irene was fairly sure that even if she told him not to, he would not be able to turn off his training. That and with her now pregnant with his child, she had noticed that he was even more overprotective.
It was quite clear that Kaito wasn't thrilled about the job offer. "Yeah, for some ads for the shop," Irene explained slowly, trying to gage how he would react. His first answer was quite clear, though he revised it, but it wasn't that much better. "I know it's a risk. I told them I needed a day to think about it," she told him before sighing, "I just... worry I won't exactly find anything else. Amanda, the store owner, said as much. With my state I'm a risk and by the time I might be properly trained could be too big. You saw the amount of applications in the dinner. If he has the choice between someone who is pregnant and who isn't, who do you think they will choose?" Irene looked to the side, hating this truth. Couldn't Kaito understand that this was almost depressing for her?
Though, the idea of modeling sounded almost fun. Sure, she had no experience, but Amanda seemed hopeful. "I know it would only be a one time thing, but it's better then nothing," she went on. After all, once they had the shots, she wasn't needed anymore, but maybe it would get her a foot in the door.
Kaito didn’t want Irene to have to work, but he knew she was not going to stay in the apartment waiting around for him and it was selfish of him to even consider that. He looked through some of the items. He wanted nice things for Irene, he wanted to give her and their child a nicer place to live. It was unreasonable with their finances and she would tell him it didn’t matter, but deep down Kaito didn’t want their child bouncing from shady apartments and going without. He knew what it was like the be poor or without wealth and he would already be so different from those because of his background. The only leg he had was the fact that at least he would be born in this city like the other kids.
He wasn’t sure what work Irene could get, but he just hoped it was something that she enjoyed and made her happy. He watched as she talked to the woman, the conversation seemingly not going well as she turned with a pout, but the woman outstretched her hand and Irene was soon coming over with a bit more of a hopeful look. Though, the words that befell weren’t exactly ones he was sure he could agree with. He’d tried not to hover, but his presence was quite noticeable. He could see the others in the store watching him and realized he may have been hovering over Irene in a not so subtle manner – at least he suspected they thought maybe she a woman of importance the way he watched over her.
“Model?” He asked her with a raised brow. They’d exited the store then and he had to stop and look at her. “Don’t think that’s such a good idea Irene. I mean we can’t –“ Kaito paused then, realizing of course he was ordering her around. He sighed. “I’m not sure it’s that good of an idea, but I mean it’s something.” They would need money soon and this was an offer literally placed in their lap.
America was so different. Everything seemed larger, louder and smellier. Irene was kind of glad she hadn't been here during the very beginning of her pregnancy as she imagined nearly all the smells would have triggered her all the time. Nothing here really reminded her of home. Though at least it didn't remind her of the palace either. Perhaps both was a good thing so that she didn't feel homesick all the time.
Irene gave a soft smile at the kiss on her temple, which only grew at the suggestion of going right now. She gave ab enthusiastic nod. The park was nice and at least it had a semblance of the country side where Kaito's mom lived, well very abstractly at least. Either way, it was nice to see more green than just on the few trees at the side of the road. It seemed to be huge and Irene mentally made a note that she would have to explore it more at another time. For a brief moment she forgot about the depressing idea of job hunting.
Though it soon returned once they were back on the street. They passed a big assortment of restaurants and stores of all kinds. Irene took it all in, though wasn't sure what would suit her best. When Kaito stopped in front of a boutique, she looked at the clothes in the store. They were pretty, and while not expensive were way out of their league right now. Still, it was clearly popular with the amount of customers in it. "Sure," she agreed as they stepped inside, smiling a small thank you for him opening the door.
Laughing, Irene gave him a look. "I could totally see you advise someone on what pants to buy," she teased before giving a nervous nod, "Okay." How could she not be nervous? She had never held down a job before. Still, the woman walking over to her gave her a smile which helped. "Anything I can help you with?" she asked. "I was wondering if you were hiring," Irene answered, hoping she sounded semi confident. Once more eyes flitted over her body, though she also seemed to be examining her clothes. "I mean as a cashier or sales person," Irene clarified, feeling like she had to say something.
The woman mustered her a moment longer with thoughtful eyes before questioning, "How far along are you? Three, four months?" Irene simply nodded as she had no real idea. "Listen, this is nothing against you, you seem sweet and nice, but I'm not sure anyone would be willing to hire you. You are too much of a risk and by the time you are properly trained you would be... well, not so agile anymore," the women told her. Irene gave a depressed nod, thanked her and turns to leave. It was horrible hearing exactly what she had assumed. That she was unlikely to find any job.
"Wait, I might have a job for you." Surprised Irene turned around. "Well, a job might be saying too much, but... I'm working on some flyers and ads for the new collection. Anyway, you are really pretty and just have a very different aura about you," she went on. Irene paused, pretty sure Kaito wouldn't think it's a good idea, but at the same time the prospect of any job right now was something, even if modeling didn't exactly seem respectable and long term, but better than nothing. There was one problem though. "I mean, you just pointed out I'm pregnant... Not sure that makes for a very good model," she pointed out slowly, resting a hand on her stomach.
The woman looked at Irene, mustering her chest and then stomach with a professional gaze once more. "I mean, it's not that big yet. We get some more layering or stretching clothes, maybe some maternity clothes and it's fine," she told her, "Plus, you have a very distinct way of carrying yourself." Irene didn't quite understand what she meant, but assumed it might have something to do with her training front the palace. She had noticed that people didn't really stand very straight here.
"Could I... think about it? For a day?" Irene asked, unsure if Kaito would like the idea of images of her being printed when they were supposed to be keeping a low profile, though she kind of really wanted to do this. "Sure, no problem. Just swing by tomorrow," the woman replied, "Oh, I completely forgot. I'm Amanda." "Irene," she replied before turning to walk back to Kaito. "So... they asked me to be a model for them," she told him softly, unsure how much he had heard. Irene was more than a little curious what he thought of that.
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