11 The Butterfly“s Return
The blueness of the water glittered as he walked the length of the pool. "Da-da-da-da," the toddler in his arms gushed as he pointed at the Olympic size body of water his parents used to swim in with delight.
"You want to swim too?" Jinho asked his baby in amusement as he continued to walk. Unlike Yunjae who'd never returned to this place after the incident, he was a constant presence here.
To the new athletes, he was somewhat an idol, and since he was filthy rich anyway, Jinho decided to continue supporting the team by covering all its needs which money could buy. In short, he was the team's patron, had been since he became the president of his family's company.
"Da-da-da-da-da," Yuan answered in a singsong tone of voice and Jinho grinned at his son, taking his baby mutterings as an affirmative. "Don't worry, daddy will teach you. Daddy used to be a very good swimmer, you know?" he boasted, and he watched as the toddler's eyes so much like his widened. "Da-da-da?" Yuan asked – well kind of asked, making his father laugh.
"Well, you have to learn how to talk properly before that,"Jinho said, remembering how happy he'd been a month ago when he and Jae got married and Yuan suddenly called him Da-da. He could never forget how Jae and Yihan had laughed at him – most especially his embarrassment when Yihan's wife, Hana, placed a violet plushie in front of his son and Yuan called it Dada too. Not only that, Yuan called the TV, their car, his mother and everything and everyone the same: Dada. In short, his sons' vocabulary was way too limited.
Reaching the end of the pool, Jinho turned to the small door there and in no time stepped into an equally small office which wall was decorated with an assortment of trophies. The last time he came here, was six month ago, and the trophies were not yet there. Someone did some redecorating, he thought as he eyed the awards and noticed that some were his.
"Jinho!" a delighted baritone exclaimed and Jinho's jaw clenched as he turned around to face his reason for coming here. "Coach," he greeted back as he watched the man stand up with a blank expression on his face.
If it were him months ago, he'd have returned the man's smile and maybe gave the other a hug or two. But he wasn't. He'd changed. Retrieving his family and finding out the truth made sure of that.
Seeing Yuan, made the man pause. "Who's the kid? Yours?" the man asked and Jinho smirked. "Yes," he answered and the man he called coach looked at Yuan with delight. "That's good! He's gonna be a great swimmer too then," the man commented and Jinho's fake smile widened, his eyes glittered dangerously as he stared at the man he used to respect a lot.
"I'm sure he'd be. His parents are both good swimmers after all," Jinho retorted making the clueless man stop and look at him with a teasing expression. "Really? Is his mother an athlete too? Someone I know?" he asked and the businessman nodded.
"I'm sure you do. You haven't forgotten about Yunjae have you?" Jinho asked back casually and he watched as the man freeze, his eyes widening as he looked at Jinho's face, noting the ice behind those almond eyes which used to smile at him a lot before. "Y-Yunjae?" he sputtered as he turned to stare at Yuan's face as if searching for a resemblance.
"Yes, Yunjae, my wife," Jinho said coldly and he felt smug when the man seemed to pale. If anything, their coach who was a cruel man to others always spoilt Jinho. With his favorite turning against him like this, the man was at a loss for words.
Even if Jinho felt grateful to the man who had trained him hard years ago, he could never, ever forgive him for what he did to Jae. Because of this man's doing, he had wasted two years wallowing in anger while Jae and their son suffered alone, barely making ends meet with Yuan's illness.
"Based on your reaction, it seems you do," Jinho commented and the man started stammering. "I'm s-sorry," their coach said, clearly nervous. The bully knew Jinho could not be manipulated just like what he did to his wife years ago. "I did that because I was thinking of you," the man added and the businessman smirked once more.
"I know. You did that because of me," Jinho said softly. "That's why I won't punch you like I wanted to when I found out about what you did to Jae," he continued and he saw the man flinch. For the first time in years, his coach looked so old. But he was not in a very forgiving mood.
"Quit," Jinho ordered frostily, and when the coach looked like he was about to protest, his eyes turned to slits. "If you want this team to continue competing, you will quit," he threatened. "I've no qualms slapping you with a lawsuit."
"But there's nothing you can sue me for!" the man protested and Jinho snorted. "Not me, but it's not hard to find someone who will," he said confidently. It's known that a lot of people hated the man by the way he treated others, bordering on harassment. "And we all know what will happen to the team if there's a scandal involving its coach right?" he asked mockingly knowing how the team had become the man's life over the years. The coach would do everything to protect it, even if it meant leaving.
Watching the man sit back down in defeat, Jinho shifted Yuan in his arms and faced the door. "I hope when I return, you're already gone," he said and left.
As Jinho passed by the length of the pool on his way out, he couldn't help reminiscing the times he'd spent here with Yunjae years ago. This place was very sentimental, he thought as he heard echoes of their youthful laughter as they played within the water. He would continue helping out the new athletes and would continue to support this team, he decided.
Outside, a worried Jae met them with a frown. "What took you so long?" his wife asked. Earlier, when Jinho told her, he'd pay a visit to the coach, Jae refused to enter the building and opted to wait outside. It seemed his wife was still traumatized by her last time here, but that would change, Jinho thought. Soon.
"Sorry," Jinho apologized with a boyish grin as he held out a hand towards his spouse. "Let's go home?" he asked and Jae eyed him suspiciously for a while before she smiled and took it. "Let's go home," she agreed softly as they exchanged looks filled with tenderness.
As they crossed the street, the very same street where the event which changed their lives two years ago happened, their hold onto each other tightened as if assuring themselves that things would be fine this time that they're finally together.
Together. The word washed over Yunjae like a balm, soothing all the heartaches, insecurities and fear within her. If she and Jinho were together, she knew, no matter how strong the currents life would give them in the future might be, they wouldn't drown.
After two years of separation, her magnificent butterfly found his way back in her arms again.