The sun is rising in the city; it’s coming through the curtains through Grace’s apartment. The two adults are sitting on the round table, sipping their cups of coffee. Nothing is said, they just share the silence together for a moment. Jamie’s phone vibrates on the table. He picks it up to view the notification and puts it down. He sighs in a frustrated manner; Grace takes a look at Jamie as she sips her coffee. Jamie looks at Grace.
Jamie: Ari texted me and told me not to come in today.
Grace raises her eyebrows in question. Jamie notices the reaction.
Jamie: Ya, she was the one that got my number from you.
Grace dismisses it. She lifts her mug and continues to sip her coffee.
Jamie: Did you tell her about what happened last night?
Grace: That you got your ass beaten up and look as fucked as you currently do? Absolutely. She was with me last night when I was losing my shit.
Jamie: *stern* Did you tell her to call me out of work today?
Grace: No… I told her to tell you that you can work from home so you can recover.
Jamie smiles at the thought. He looks down at his mug and takes a sip from it. He winces in pain from the cut on his lip. Grace immediately tends to him with a damp cloth.
Grace: Are you okay? *examines the cut* Jamie, it’s bleeding, the coffee is fucking hot.
She dabs the cut as Jamie sits there quietly. He tries not to smile, but he can’t help himself.
Jamie: Super-Mom is here.
Grace rolls her eyes and rinses the cloth to continue caring for the cut.
Grace: Shut up, I’m just–
Jamie: Taking care of an issue that wasn’t your fault?
Grace backs away and doesn’t say anything.
Jamie: It’s not your fault that what happened, happened. It was mine.
Grace doesn’t respond. She just rinses out the cloth and proceeds to go back to the table to finish up her coffee. Jamie watches her as she scrolls through her phone, drinking her coffee.
Jamie: Why do you blame yourself for things out of your control?
Grace: *looks up* What?
Jamie: Why are you always blaming yourself for things that weren’t your fault?
Grace sits back in her seat, confused at what’s happening.
Grace: What makes you think that?
Jamie: You blame yourself for what happened last night. You put other people’s decisions on your shoulders and you shouldn’t have to. You’re in control of your own decisions, not anyone else’s.
Grace: You make it sound so easy. You make it seem like I want other’s decisions on my shoulders. It just happens to be on mine because I’m the common denominator.
Jamie: You did not put a gun to those people’s head and tell them what to do, Grace.
Grace is beginning to get agitated at the conversation.
Grace: In the situations that I know are my fault–
Jamie: They aren’t–
Grace: *louder* That I know are my fault…
Jamie doesn’t say anything.
Grace: I take personally.
Jamie: What happened last night is not your fault.
Grace starts to fidget in her chair, annoyed at the conversation at hand. Jamie is not letting her get the last word.
Grace: I can’t just unlearn these habits, Jamie. I always think it’s my fault that something went wrong or if something is going bad. Like, it seems like the people closest to me always end up hurt or fucked up and it somewhat comes back to me.
Jamie: Well those people need to take responsibility for their own actions and stop putting their bad decisions on you.
Grace: What if you know you’re the reason your parents divorced in the first place? What if you were finally told that your mom had to make a decision between her career or her family and she ultimately chose her career? What if you carry that shit your entire life and try so hard to prevent it from happening to you but you end up just fucking up someone else’s life up and your own kid?
Jamie slams his hand on the table; Grace stops talking.
Jamie: You are not a bad person for knowing what you need in certain points of your life. You can make selfish decisions, but you are not a bad person for making them. You are not a bad mom, Grace.
Grace doesn’t say anything back. She just continues to drink her coffee and scroll through her phone. Jamie doesn’t say anything back; he simply continues the morning on a silent note.
Grace: You left your wallet open on the nightstand last night. I thought I was reaching for my glasses.
Jamie continues to drink his coffee.
Grace: You look… interesting with dark hair.
Jamie chokes on his coffee.
Grace: *playful* What, was that photo taken like 10 years ago?
Jamie looks at Grace as she giggles to herself.
Jamie: It was about 5 years ago.
Grace: *teasingly* Aww! Such an innocent baby! Jaeminininini!
Jamie’s eyes widen in Grace’s direction. Grace’s laugh trails off when she notices that Jamie isn’t laughing back.
Grace: I-I’m sorry, Jamie, I–
Jamie: If you’re going to say my Korean name, at least learn how to say it. Jae Min. Jaemin.
Grace: *repeats* Jae Min.
Jamie: Ah, majayo. That is correct.
Grace smiles and leans forward in her seat.
Grace: Is there a reason why you call me Gracie instead of Grace, or is that just the cute nickname you gave me?
Jamie: *laughs* Grace in Korean is not Grace in English. In Korean, “Grace” is Eunhye. Gracie is Gracie.
Jamie: I would rather call you by your name instead of Eunhye.
Grace: Perhaps that’s my secret identity: Kim Eun Hye.
Jamie: *teasingly* You now have my last name?
Grace embarrassingly shakes her head. Jamie smirks.
Jamie: Don’t be embarrassed. It has a cute ring to it. Kim Eunhye.
Grace smiles to herself and clears her voice. She ultimately changes the subject.
Grace: So is Jamie just your preferred name, or…?
Jamie: *tilts his head* Preferred?
Grace: Like, it’s not your real name, just a name you like?
Jamie: … it’s my English name.
Grace: They give you one of those?
Jamie: *dumbfound* Grace… I chose my English name. I use it when I’m in America or in any English speaking places where they won’t get my name wrong.
Grace: And it’s just as valid as a real name?
Jamie: Quite frankly, yes.
Grace takes in the information to herself until she hears Jamie talking again.
Jamie: My mother told me that if I wanted to ever travel outside of Korea, I should have an English name. I didn’t think of it at first, but I decided once I got into law that it would be better to have an English name; clients won’t judge you with a name like “Jamie”.
Grace: Are you the only one with an English name?
Jamie: One of my sisters also decided she wanted one as well. Her Korean name is Minji, but really liked the name Julia. We call her Lia for short.
Grace: And your other sister?
Jamie: She’s quite traditional so she kept her name; Mina.
Grace looks genuinely interested in the conversation.
Grace: So if I go to Korea, I’ll be able to pick out a Korean name?
Jamie: You already did, Eunhye.
Grace rolls her eyes and gets up from the table and takes both her and Jamie’s mugs off the table and places them in the kitchen sink. Jamie wasn’t finished with his coffee.
Jamie: *laughs* I wasn’t finished with that, Eunhye!
Grace: You were taking long to finish the sip you had left, Jaemin.
Jamie gets up from the table and walks behind Grace. He hugs her from behind and attempts to lift her up away from the sink. He forgets he’s pretty bruised and winces in pain when he tries to carry up.
Grace: Fuck! I’m so sorry, Jamie! I didn’t–
Jamie shushes Grace as he holds his ribcage.
Jamie: That was completely my fault and should’ve known better.
Grace looks at Jamie and grabs his hand.
Grace: Morning couch chilling time?
Jamie: *smiles* Lead the way, jagiya.