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 high heels, jiang / silver
NOH HA NEUL
 Posted: May 9 2016, 10:45 PM
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few people had the gall to accuse ha neul of having a sense of humor. whether the humor in question was good or rather poor made no difference. the accusation of its existence in any form was unfathomable enough. but there were brief moments when the prickly woman was actually tempted to laugh...though the difference between humor and delirium was sketchy. late nights provided the perfect atmosphere for this mood, as the night had a tendency of bringing out the numerous absurdities in her life. with an oversized sweatshirt over her dress and her black stilettos in hand, ha neul slowly walked down the sidewalk leading to her apartment complex, carefully stepping with on her tiptoes. for someone who spent most of her week in high heels, there were few people who lacked as much grace as ha neul. it was always an uncomfortable fit for the woman, adjusting to the unnatural arch of her feet. like a small child wearing her mother's shoes, she walked with her eyes glued to the ground, mindful of the tips she had acquired from observing others small steps. heel to toe. one in front of the other until she had adjusted enough to walk with a reasonable amount of stability (ideally, natural-looking stability).

the shoes were the problem, she thought with a scowl. the black pumps were an extravagant purchase, one she had shied away from making, for obvious reasons. though her job paid well, at the end of the day, her earnings were poured into necessities. there were daycare expenses for byul, and of course, educational supplies she needed from day to day. there were clothes, groceries, and bills (not to mention the miscellaneous expenses her stingy sister charged her for). and what wasn't spent went straight to her savings. but the shoes were a work expense, she had reasoned. after all, there was no way the shoes from hell would be useful in her personal life. it was an attempt to play the part, modeling her style off her more stylish co-workers. but seeing her current predicament, it was clearly hit or miss. "they better give me a refund," ha neul grumbled, watching the ground for broken glass or any other nasties her feet would be better off avoiding. her scraped heels were painful enough. the last thing she needed was another wound. "stupid shoes. what's the point of brand names, then?"

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ZHAO JIANG
 Posted: May 10 2016, 03:36 PM
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Jiang had been waiting on the corner for what felt like hours, though in all likelihood it had probably been closer to twenty minutes.  Despite the warmth of the spring evening his dark hoodie was zipped up and the hood covered his head.  He slouched against a lamp post, hands shoved into his jeans pockets, looking every bit as shady as people usually assumed he was.  It was late enough that there weren't many people out. Not in this neighborhood at least.  After  eleven pm, the respectable folk tended to stay in.  Those that did happen to pass by him gave him a wide berth.  He wore his annoyance prominently, a scowl firmly planted on his face.  He would have been entirely content to spend his night at home.  A quiet night in, those were few and far between and  were to be relished when they were possible. Maybe reading a book or playing a game for a few hours.  But that plan had been ruined and instead he was stuck waiting for some asshole who didn't even have the courtesy to be on time.

A friend had called looking for a favour.  Though friend isn't quite the right word.  The man was one of his associates, one of the young thugs who made his living dealing out beatings and selling drugs for their boss. A man who wasn't as smart as Jiang who had managed to pull himself to the fringes of the gang.  The guy still got his hands dirty on a daily basis.  Which had lead him to a common predicament.  He was catching too much attention from the cops.  He was a low level grunt, not carrying enough product to get him in too much trouble, but enough that it would land him behind bars for a few days while the police decided if they had enough evidence to prove he had intentions to sell, not just enough for his own personal use.  It was a situation that Jiang had found himself in plenty of times in the past, and was happy he no longer had to deal with it.  The favour was simple.  Jiang just needed to hold onto some stuff for him  just until the heat died down a little.  The young man really wasn't all that bothered by it.  Sure he would rather not have the perfectly portioned baggies of coke in his apartment, but so long as he didn't have to go out and sell the shit, he would deal.  Besides, just because he wasn't one of the little hustlers anymore, you couldn't just say no when someone asked you that kind of favour.  What he was bothered by was having to stand around like a jackass, waiting.  When the little shit decided to actually show up, he was going to regret turning up late.

Movement from the block ahead had Jiang looking up, squinting to see who was coming down the road.  His attention  was lost quickly enough when it was apparent that the outline was of a woman.  Not who he was waiting for.  Though someone should probably tell her walking home alone at night was not exactly a stellar plan.  He dismissed her entirely, going back to his previous state of silently bitching and imagining all the various ways he could instill punishment for having been made to wait.  As the woman got closer, his musings were interrupted by the sound of her voice angrily grumbling to herself. He looked over, eyebrows raised slightly. So a nut job then.  He was all but prepared to dismiss her again when she crossed under a street light and her face was illuminated.  Ha Neul looked as though she had had better nights.  He was used to seeing his neighbor with her little brat (a term of endearment I swear) in tow.  Not wandering the streets alone at night. A small smirk played on his lips as he took in her bare feet.  He straightened out, stepping out towards her.  "Shoes tend to work better on your feet you know."

NOH HA NEUL

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NOH HA NEUL
 Posted: May 10 2016, 04:42 PM
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fear was a familiar foe, but ha neul never placed her worries in the streets. perhaps when she was young she was wary of the neighborhood creeps, the strange men who always seemed to be lurking in the shadows for some unsavory business. as a high schooler, underdeveloped physically and emotionally, the leers and taunts she expected propelled her to walk faster. she would have to simply deal with it, she learned. her sister never seemed too bothered by the potential threat they posed to a defenseless young girl. so she tolerated it for as long as she had to. when hyun min was by her side, all of those worries dissipated. there was no need to feign bravery when he was there ready to pummel anyone who so much as breathed in her direction. and now, left alone to her own devices, she simply lacked the willingness to care. fear was a waste of the very little energy the woman had to get through the day. but her carelessness didn't eliminate her need for fear. each night she returned from work, she understood the risk it entailed.

in the distance ahead, ha neul could see a figure illuminated under a street light. though seeing activity in the early morning hours was unfathomable in most neighborhoods, she had grown accustomed to the one or two bodies she would see going about their business as she returned to her apartment. of course, it was always unsavory business. and seeing anyone posted at the corner typically meant they were there to sell drugs, something ha neul was familiar with but wanted no part of. with a stern frown, she glared ahead at the stranger, who she would have to pass on her way to the apartment. if he was smart, he would keep to himself. taking a shoe in each hand, ha neul tightened her grip around the shoes. as frustrated she was with her predicament, the stranger at least presented the opportunity for her to work her frustrations out, through potentially beating him to death with her stilettos. of course, damaging them in the process would likely diminish her chance for a refund, but it would be satisfying in its own way. justice.

approaching the man, ha neul continued to stare ahead, attempting to avoid the conflict she secretly craved for the sake of stress management. it was all a daydream, of course, her desire to beat the shady individual. when the man actually stepped in her path, ha neul's eyes widened, startled by the intrusion. on instinct, she cocked her hand back, ready to strike the man with her shoe, if he came any closer. but as her eyes actually took in the stranger's face, she let out a huge sigh of relief, placing a shoe-wielding hand over her rapidly beating heart. "yah!" she shouted, at the not-so-stranger in front of her. out of all the shady individuals to happen upon, jiang was at least a shady individual who was unlikely to murder her. "you were this close to finding out how useful they are for stabbing someone's eye out," she said, glaring at her old friend...well, friend of sorts. "i should beat you anyway...selling drugs. go home or do it somewhere else. that's the last thing this place needs. more kids hooked on that garbage."

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ZHAO JIANG
 Posted: May 12 2016, 11:06 PM
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Perhaps it wasn't the smartest idea, startling someone walking along this particular street at night.  Jiang couldn't even say he was all that surprised when the young woman's hand came up, apparently ready to turn a shoe into a blunt instrument  to beat back a would be assailant.  Not that he was all that worried about it, maybe it was out of cockiness, but he was confident that had she brought that shoe towards him, that heel ready to bludgeon him, reflex would kick in and she wouldn't get more than one good hit.  Someone should probably mention that to her.  Hell, he didn't even feel completely safe hanging around, and that was even with most of the little shit disturbers knowing not to fuck with him.  Anyone determined to give her a hard time wasn't going to be put off by a damn shoe.  That of course, wasn't his problem.  If she wanted to end up mugged or worse that was her deal, no skin off his back.  But then, there was that little drool factory of hers to think of.  Who would take care if the little diaper drager if she got herself killed? Again, not his problem.  These were teh thoughts occupying his mind in the seconds it took for recognition to light in her eyes and for her posture to go from defensive to startled.

His hands were shoved back into his pockets, for all it seemed, he had not been in the least bit bothered by her knee jerk reaction.  His eyebrows raised at her statement, she didn't look nearly as fierce now with her hand clutching at her chest, which rendered any potential threat a little flat . "Ah yeah.  The terrifying threat of a shoe to the face.  I nearly lost my life there. Close call. Thank goodness you managed to hold yourself back. I may have needed one, no wait, two, band aids to patch myself up" He said in the flat tone reserved for most interactions with anyone outside his closest circle. "Though in my defense, there really wasn't much I could have said that wouldn't have startled you. Kind of goes with the territory." His shoulders lifted into a shrug and a trademark sardonic smirk playing on the edges of his lips.  He probably shouldn't have found the glare she was leveling at him as amusing as he did.

The traces of his amusement vanished as she continued on with her little tirade.  It was a fair assessment.  If she had jumped to the conclusion that pretty much anyone else she ran into was selling drugs, she wouldn't be far from the truth.  Hell, had it been a few years earlier, it would have been every bit as true for him as well. Jiang projected an image, one that made it all to easy for people to judge him and leap to the wrong impression. It was an image he was all to aware of and didn't usually do much to dissuade.  And yet, despite that, he still found himself annoyed when the worst was assumed about him.  That he was technically waiting there for drugs was besides the point.  He wasn't selling them specifically, just holding on to them for the person  who eventually would.  "Are you the judge for the moral high ground then?" He replied, his voice still even, even with the flicker of his temper ignited.  He wasn't bothered enough to lash out because of the statement though .  Even if a part of him longed for an air of legitimacy, he really didn't give two shits if Ha Neul thought the worst of him.  Or so he told himself.  His next words told a bit of a different story. "Seems like a pretty high and mighty thing for someone to say when it looks like they spent the night in a tiny little skirt and stilettos.  Been doing a lot standing on street corners yourself tonight? Probably best not to have the neighborhood kids hooked onto that kind of garbage either." He said with a click of his tongue. "Or maybe you're just coming home from work at the bar, which would explain the hour and the clothing choice.  Probably best if I don't make assumptions, huh? Crazy idea.

He shrugged again, the picture of indifference. "Though none of that explains why you aren't actually wearing your shoes."  He said as he pulled his phone out of his pocket, checking the time. ”You’re likely to step on broken glass out here” he said, half distracted as he checked his phone. No text from his buddy.  Screw it  he wasn't waiting around longer.  Besides, wrong assumptions or not, he really didn't feel comfortable letting Ha Neul walk on alone. She could assume he footwear was a good enough defense mechanism, but there was a tiny, chivalrous voice in the back of his head saying that he really ought to walk her home.   "I'm actually done waiting. At this point if who I am waiting for turns up, I’m probably just going to do something to him that will land me in trouble.. I’ll walk back with you.”[/b]” it wasn’t really an offer, since he intended to do it regardless of what she said.

NOH HA NEUL

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NOH HA NEUL
 Posted: May 13 2016, 02:37 AM
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all of five feet and five inches with a slight frame, ha neul was hardly the most imposing figure. no matter how high she held her chin or squared her shoulders, there was little she could do to hide this fact. if anyone wanted to cause her harm, there was little she could do but put up the best fight she had in her. her sharp tongue and stern features were the only weapons she knew how to wield. in the event she was truly confronted by danger, a shoe would likely be just that, a shoe. never one to fight her own battles, ha neul had never been forced to defend herself. but if she had to, she would sure as hell try. that was life, wasn't it? there would be no one to defend her, no one to defend byul. it was her responsibility to protect her little family. and as silly as she looked, she resented the idea of being looked at as a failure. in other aspects of her life, maybe, but she would be tough if she had to be. "what territory? looking like a predator?" ha neul scoffed. there seemed to be a simple solution to not looking like a criminal: ...not looking like a criminal. lurking under street lights, anyone was bound to look threatening, though she supposed it went with the business of being up to no good.

raising her eyebrows expectantly, ha neul met the man's severe gaze, her jaw clenched as she anticipated a harsh reprimand. the words by themselves were sure to rouse her ire, but her frustration was aimed almost exclusively at his cool expression. it was more insulting, the ease with which he could dismantle her. if she had it in her, his calmness would have been enough to hit him with her shoe. as he spoke, ha neul could feel the tension in her jaw tightened. rendered silent by the accusation, she absentmindedly pulled at the hem of her dress, the end result appearing no different. it was a sore spot, her appearance. maybe she was self-righteous, thinking she was above any woman desperate enough to sell her body, when very little separated them. no one respected her more for her occupation. very few customers seemed to acknowledge any difference between the server and the average street walker, having the nerve to look surprised that she would reject, let alone take offense, to their humiliating advances. but...that was the point, wasn't it? point taken.

"i get it," ha neul sighed, relaxing as she released the tension she had been carrying. "just because you look like a drug dealer, it doesn't mean you're actually out dealing drugs. right." it wasn't every day she was scolded by a (not so) common criminal, but he was a clever pain in the ass. under more fortunate circumstances, ha neul suspected he could have made a better life for himself with that brain, but under less fortunate circumstances, it likely served him just as well. looking down at her bare feet, ha neul turned her ankle slightly, responding to his curiosity with a visual. the backs of her heels had been rubbed raw, the uncomfortable fit scraping away at the skin to form two sore circles. fortunately, the bleeding had stopped, though hours of wear had left bloodstains dried brown (which she would agonize over as she thought of her refund). "it hurts," she said simply, pouting at the remaining soreness. until it healed itself, the scrapes would likely bother her. and the last thing she wanted to think about was another night in heels.

glass was the least of ha neul's concerns. undoubtedly, as she walked along the sidewalk she was careful to avoid the telltale glitter of broken glass, a common sight on her daytime walks. but she was more concerned about other items that may have been hiding under the night --- cigarette butts, razor blades, or discarded needles. "it's fine," ha neul insisted, slightly annoyed. annoyed because she wasn't stupid. but seeing as she had survived the walk picking up only grime along the way, she imagined she could make the rest of the way home without stepping on broken class. as endeared as she supposed she should have been, jiang's veiled chivalry only earned him a sharp glare. didn't she tell him? she would be fine. uninterested in his petty dealings, which she would not assume was drug-related...but was certainly illegal, ha neul took it upon herself to begin her walk home. with the building in sight, an escort was unnecessary.

besides, she had walked alone every other night, and other than the frights she brought upon herself, she hadn't encountered anything that made her doubt her safety (for more than five seconds). "you can go home now," ha neul called over shoulder, resuming her position on her tiptoes. wincing at the pain brought on by the arch of her foot, she silently cursed the annoyance, glowering as each small step reminded her of the inconvenience. "and i better not see you out here again. even if you're not out here selling drugs, haven't you heard that saying, nothing good happens at night? ...just stay home from now on, okay?"

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