🌼ALL THE WRONG OLACES🌼
Julianne had fallen asleep in Jin’s arms. When she
opened her eyes, she realized that it was already five in the
morning. It was dark in her room. Her head was still resting
comfortably against Jin’s broad shoulder. He was sleeping
quietly beside her.
She propped up on her elbow. As soon as she moved,
she felt Jin’s arms tighten around her and he woke up
She blinked back at him.
“Sorry,” he whispered as he loosened his grip on her.
“Are you okay?”
She nodded. “Jin, you need to go,” she said. “Soon,
the whole household will be up. They can’t see you coming
out from my room.”
He nodded in agreement. “Are you going to be okay?”
“I will be fine,” she said. “I’m used to this.”
“Used to what?”
She raised a brow at him. “You said you weren’t gonna
He took a deep breath. “Yeah. Right,” he said. “I’ll go.
You sure you’re fine now?” he asked, sitting up from the bed
and turning the bedside lamp on.
“That’s another question.”
He raised a brow at her. She sighed. “Yeah. I’ll be
okay.” She paused for a while and then she said, “Listen, Jin,
thank you. What you did… I needed that.”
He reached out to touch her cheek with his fingers
gently. “Whatever it is you’re going through, you’ll triumph
against it. Everybody around you loves you. That’s all the
ammunition you needed.”
“I know,” she said. “But I’m done getting people into
“You cannot be the judge of that,” he told her. “It’s the
other people’s choice when they will stop getting into
trouble for you.”
“No,” she said firmly. “They have done so much for
me. Sometimes, I don’t think I deserve their goodness. I’m
not worth it.”
Jin’s face hardened but he didn’t say anything. He
stood up from the bed. “Are you sure you’re gonna be
“Okay, I’ll go.” He headed towards the door.
“By the way, Jin,” she called.
“Yes?” He turned back to her.
“Why did Jared say that you slept in his room before?”
She raised a brow at him.
“Oh, that?” He asked, scratching the back of his head.
“Well, I stay the night here once in a while. I’m free to use
any of the guestrooms.”
“My son’s room isn’t one of them,” she reminded him.
“He saw me walking in the corridor once. It was
“Why would he be in the corridor at midnight?”
Jin shrugged. “He said he wanted milk. I walked with
him to the kitchen and we both drank milk. I accompanied
him back to his room and tucked him into bed. He asked me
to stay until he fell asleep. I guess, I just fell asleep beside
him. When I woke up, it was already morning.”
“He was walking the corridor in the middle of the
night?” she asked.
Jin nodded. “Next time, you should put milk in his
room. Just in case. Or doesn’t he have a mini fridge?”
“He’s six, Jin. Not twenty-six.”
“Right,” he said. “Well, he shouldn’t be walking the
corridors in the middle of the night.”
“I know. I will make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
He nodded. “Okay, I’ll go. You go rest some more.”
Jin opened the door. He did a quick check on the
corridors first before he slowly went out and closed the door
Julianne fell back into her pillows. Her sheets still
smelled faintly of Jin’s aftershave.
She had to admit, she felt a lot lighter when she cried
it out. She’d been bottling it all up for a long time.
Acknowledging your weakness didn’t really mean you were
weak. It just means you needed a break, a breather. And
then you would be ready to fight again.
Julianne decided to take the day off from work. She
spent the whole morning with Jared. He was progressing
well with his drawings. She was very proud.
“Look at this, Mommy,” he said, handing her a
drawing of a tree with blue and green background.
Julianne’s eyes widened. The drawing was very, very
“Did you do this?”
“Yep. Uncle Jin taught me. He was showing me how to
color properly,” Jared said. “He is so good, Mom! I want to
be like him someday.”
Julianne bit her lip. She reached out to ruffle her son’s
hair. There would be big changes in his life and she intended
to make it as painless as possible for him.
After lunch, she asked Adrienne if she could borrow
“Why not ask the driver to drive you wherever?”
“It’s okay. I miss driving,” she said.
“Okay. Where are you going?”
“Around the city. Just want to buy some stuff.” She
looked away from her cousin-in-law. She didn’t want to lie to
her. Adrienne was a very trusting person. She’s one of those
pure souls. And Julianne felt guilty about lying to her.
“Okay,” Adrienne said. She went to the counter and
got the key to her Mini Cooper. “Take care of yourself,
Dressed in a pair of black leggings, a white knitted
sweater and knee-high boots, she grabbed her coat and
drove to the city center. She planned to look for a house
that she could rent.
She had some money saved up. She could afford to
rent a two-bedroom house. It had to be close to Jared’s
school and only a few minutes’ drive from her work.
a call from River Jefferson.
“How’s my dearest friend?” he asked.
“Good. At least for now, there is no need for
fabricating false emergencies and customs issues.”
“That’s very comforting to hear,” he chuckled. “Where
“Driving around Hyde Park,”
“Aren’t you at work?”
“No, I got stuck in White Rock for two nights. I had to
take the day off today,” she replied.
Memories of what happened between her and Jin at
White Rock came rushing in. It took her a moment to realize
that River had been talking on the other line and she didn’t
even hear what he said.
“Yes. Fine,” she said without thinking.
“I will pick you and Jared up tomorrow then. I hope he
likes to ice skate.”
“What?” she blinked back.
“Ian, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“No, you can’t.”
“Tell me all about it tomorrow. Four in the afternoon
okay with you? It’s a Saturday. Jared should be okay. Does
he have a pair of ice skates?”
“He does. Jeffrey gave him his old ones when it didn’t
fit him anymore.”
Yes. Jared enjoyed a lot of hand-me-downs from
Jeffrey. Adrienne took good care of her son’s clothes, shoes,
even toys so Jared could still use them.
“Perfect!” River said. “I gotta go. See you tomorrow.”
When she hung up the phone, she took a moment to
Did I just agree to go out with River Jefferson?
She felt uneasy. What would Jin Starck say about that?
Well, I’m not his girlfriend. And we agreed that what
happened between us will never happen again. He’s soon-
to-be engaged to a bitchy heiress to up his game in the
hotel business. I’m free to go out with whomever I want.
And besides, River is… as he said it… my best friend!
Julianne found a neighborhood with brownstone style
walk-up houses. She stopped by one that has a ‘For Rent’
sign on the front. She called the number on the sign.
A lady answered.
“Hi, I’m inquiring about the house you have for rent?”
“The brownstone at Hyde Park?”
“Oh, it’s the eighth time I’ve showed it to somebody
today. I just know it’s what you’ll inquire about,” the lady
said cheerfully. “Are you there?”
“Okay, wait for me. I’ll be there in five.” The lady hung
up, not waiting for Julianne to argue.
Julianne parked the car in front of the ‘For Rent’ sign.
She went out of the car and looked around the front of the
house. The side of the stairs was adorned with shrubs with
red flowers. The front of the house looked like it was
“No, you’re not. I can tell,” he said.
“How? You can’t even see me.”
“I’m your best friend, remember? I can totally tell.”
properly maintained. The neighborhood seemed peaceful,
with some small shops and grocery across the street.
A red BMW car parked behind her. A redhead wearing
a cream faux-fur coat stepped out of it. Julianne assumed it
was the broker.
“Hi,” she smiled at Julianne. “I’m Janis. We talked on
“I’m Ian,” she said, shaking the woman’s hand.
“This property is hot. Come, I will show you.”
Janis led Julianne up the steps. Using her key, she
opened the front door.
“This is a two-story apartment. Three bedrooms, three
full baths and an extra toilet near the entrance for the
guests,” Janis said.
The house was spacious with beautiful hardwood
flooring. It was flooded with plenty of natural light coming
from the glass windows. It had an open-style setup with the
living room and dining room being separated by a breakfast
bar. There was a beautiful marble fireplace. There was one
small bedroom on the ground floor.
Janis opened the door at the back and revealed a
private patio. It was secured with a high fence and tall trees
from the other side of the fence.
“See, this patio is empty. Previous tenant didn’t fancy
gardens. You can do a lot of gardening here with your
husband,” Janis said.
Julianne didn’t say anything.
“Sorry, you are married, right?” Janis asked. She
“No,” Julianne replied. Looking around the spacious
backyard. “I have a son. And that’s enough.” She smiled at
“Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry. I’m tactless sometimes,” she
smiled at her apologetically. “Well, you can have a small
playground here for your son.”
“That’s true,” Julianne smiled at her reassuringly.
“What’s on the other side?”
“Nothing. Just a private lot. Empty. The owner was
trying to sell that piece of lot. But the price was exorbitant,
especially since nothing’s on it.”
Julianne noticed the tall wall on the right side,
separating the house from the neighbor’s house.
“Someone lives there?”
“Yes. Your landlord. He owns two units. This one and
that one. That one’s a corner lot. Three bedrooms plus a
servant room. It’s a lot bigger than this. Don’t worry. He’s
not nosy. You can do whatever you want in your place as
long as you keep it intact and do not damage his property
permanently, he’ll be cool,” Janis replied. “Now, let’s go and
see the bedrooms.”
The wooden stairs were colored white. The steps were
covered with gray carpet. The walls on the second floor
were painted dark beige with white trimmings. The doors
and closets were all white.
The house was already fully furnished. The main
bedroom had a California king bed. The two other bedrooms
both had queen beds. The kitchen was equipped with a
black side by side fridge, an oven, all other appliances. The
living room had a white L-shaped sofa with a dark brown
coffee table in the center.
“This house is ready to move in. Water is included in
the rent. The neighborhood is convenient and quiet. Plenty
of parking space up front, but one is reserved for the
tenant,” Janis said. “And like I said, you’re the ninth viewer
today. And it only went on the market yesterday.”
Janis gave her the monthly rent amount. “I know it’s
over the average rental on the market for a three bedroom.
But sweetheart, this apartment is the sweetest!”
The amount is still less than twenty percent of what
Julianne makes in a month. But she was actually hoping for
“Plus, if you have a kid, this part of the neighborhood
is family friendly. Police station is just a block away. It’s fairly
safe this part of town,” Janis said.
Julianne nodded, looking around the place some more
but calculating the figures in her head.
“Where do you live now?” Janis asked.
“Lincoln Park,” she replied.
“Lincoln Park?” Janis echoed. She sounded shocked.
“What are you doing looking for a place here?”
“It’s not my home,” she replied. “I live with my
cousins in a huge house. It’s time for me and my kid to be
on our own.”
“Well, in that case, you came to the right place. This
neighborhood is good for new beginnings. Not to mention,
it’s way more affordable than where you’re coming from.”
“I know. I want something comfortable but also
affordable. Raising a kid on my own is not a joke,” she said.
“I gotta start saving for his college too.”
“I know,” Janis nodded. “I was a single mother once
too. I feel you. After my divorce, I needed all the help I could
get. Anyway, I can reduce the rent by five percent. But
“That’s very kind of you,” Julianne smiled at her. “I’ll
She knew this would be a huge adjustment for Jared
but she believed this was the right thing to do. It was time
to be brave. Justin and his family could not be in trouble
because of her. She was done having other people solve her
problems for her.
She wrote Janis a check for the deposit and the latter
promised to clean up the place and have it ready in a
Julianne thought that she would need a car. Adams
Industries had a car plan for its employees. She just never
availed of that benefit before because Justin assigned a car
and a driver for her. She also grew up being driven around,but everybody has got to admit that she’s no longer a part
of that family now. She’s been banished by her father,
stripped of her heiress status and all the privileges that
came with it.
Well, I don’t see a problem with that!
In fact, a part of this adventure excited her. She just
hoped Jared would not have a hard time adjusting to this. No
more nannies, no pool, no game rooms, no expensive,
When she got home, she went straight to her son’s
bedroom. He was painting using watercolors. He put the
brushes down and hugged her excitedly when he saw her.
“Mommy, look!” he said, pointing at a huge Rubik’s
cube sitting beside his bed.
“What the hell is that?” Julianne asked. She absolutely
had no idea what her son was pointing at and how it got
Jared laughed. “It’s a Rubik’s cube, Mom!” He rolled
his eyes as if he’s unable to believe that his mother didn’t
know what a Rubik’s cube was. He ran to his bed and took a
Rubik’s cube, the real one that you play with your hands.
“Like this! You play it to make sure you match the colors on
“Okay, this cube, I am aware of,” she said. “But how
on Earth are you going to play that big one?”
Jared laughed again. “It’s not a toy, Mom,” he said.
Then he went over to the giant Rubik’s cube. He pulled at
one corner and it opened up into a small fridge. “I got my
own fridge! Look, it’s full of milk and bottles of water and
some juices. Can I offer you a drink, Mom?”
Holy mother of cow!
“It’s okay, sweetie,” Julianne forced a smile on her
face. “I’m okay. I’m not thirsty at all. But I need to find…
Jared beamed at the mention of Jin’s name. “He’s at
the gazebo with Aunt Adrienne.”
Julianne leaned forward and kissed her son. “I’ll be
right back, sweetheart. And don’t enjoy the Rubik’s cube
fridge too much. We may need to return it.”
“What? Why?” Jared pouted, clearly disappointed.
“Because normal kids don’t have Rubik’s cube fridges
in their rooms, Jared,” she said. “They go to the kitchen
when they want to drink something. Like the rest of the
“But Uncle Jin said he doesn’t want me going down
the kitchen in the middle of the night. It’s not safe.”
“I know it’s not safe. But why do you need to go down
to the kitchen at night? Why can’t you drink your milk
before going to bed?”
“I do,” Jared replied. “But sometimes, I wake up thirsty
or hungry. Please, Mommy! I want to keep it! It’s so cool!
Jeffrey wants one too! And Uncle Jin promised to buy one for
“Jared…” she sighed. “Mommy can’t afford it.”
“But you didn’t buy it. Uncle Jin gave it to me.”
“Let me speak to him.”
Jared nodded, but Julianne could see the tears welling
up in his eyes.
“Sweetheart,” she said. “We cannot keep accepting
gifts from people. Especially things that are expensive.
Mommy is working hard so you will have what you need. But
we need to save up for the more important things in life.”
“Like school. And college. And… a new house.”
“But we already have a house.”
“This is Uncle Justin’s house,” Julianne said, in a
careful voice. “We need to have one on our own. You will
“Why can’t we stay here?”
Julianne took a deep breath. This was getting more
and more difficult to explain.
“Remember, we used to live with Uncle Mason and
“Then we moved here to live with Uncle Justin,” she
said. “We live with your uncles because I didn’t have
enough money to get our own house then. I needed to save
up first. But we were always meant to get our own.”
“And now we have enough money?”
She nodded. “I will let you pick your own bed. It can
be as cool as you want.”
“I want a Rubik’s cube bed! Please Mommy!”
Julianne sighed. “Okay. I’m sure we can find one.”
Jared beamed and hugged her. “Now, we can keep the
fridge because it will match my bed!”
Did my kid just outsmart me?
She hugged Jared and kissed his forehead. “Let me
speak to Uncle Jin, okay?”
Julianne stood outside Jared’s bedroom for a moment,
taking a deep breath to calm her nerves. Then she went
down to the garden to look for Jin.
She found him sitting in the gazebo alone. He was
reading something on his phone. She stood in front of him,
both arms crossed across her chest.
He looked up and saw the stern expression on her
face. He stood up from his seat and held both hands up in
the air, as if in surrender.
“I know. I know,” he said. He didn’t even let her speak.
“Can we not fight about this? He loved it! And you have to
admit, it’s practical and it’s safer for him. I don’t want to risk
him going up and down the stairs in the middle of the night
just to get milk.”
“I know. But I don’t want my son to get used to these
luxuries that I can’t afford!” she said.
“I can afford it!” he countered.
“I know you’re rich. You’re Jin Starck,” she said,
slightly raising her voice. “But normal people like us do not
have expensive fridges in our bedroom! He’s six, I don’t
want him to think having these things are normal. I don’t
want him to get used to the luxuries that normal people
cannot afford to have.”
“But Jared is far from being normal!” To her surprise,
Jin sounded offended. His voice was slightly raised and he
had an annoyed look on his face.
“What?” she asked, blinking back at him.
He took a deep breath and then he turned his back on
“Jared is your son,” he said. “He’s Justin’s and
Adrienne’s nephew. He belongs to this family too. You grew
up to this life. Why won’t you allow him to have the same
Julianne bit her lip. Guilt came to her in waves she
wasn’t expecting. Was she really depriving her son the best
things in life?
“He did love the Rubik’s cube fridge. And now, he’s
now asking for a Rubik’s cube bed, thanks to you,” she
managed to say. “But this is the last time you’re going to
buy him something behind my back, Jin. I mean it!”
Then she turned around and walked away.
In a way, she knew that he was right. She did grow up
to a lavish life. She went to the best, expensive schools in
the country. She had a nanny, a butler, a driver. Even in the
university she had a chauffeur.
But not anymore. She would do everything in her
power to give Jared what he needed. She would work day
and night to give him a bright future. Jared may not be an
heir, but she would do everything to give him a comfortable