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The Life of a Green Ridge Teen

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Post by Guest on Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:48 pm

(Around dinner time 6ish)

Na-Ri was setting the table in the dining room for dinner. In the Lee house all the kids had at least little chores to contribute to keeping the house running smoothly, with six kids there was really no other options. Yet, the teenager had more on her mind then her family. Na-Ri had been gathering courage for a while waiting for the perfect time to ask her father about the shooting on Green Ridge. –creak- A small noise sounded behind her. Surprised Na-Ri turned on her heel wondering if it might be her father. The small figured looking in the fridge was about three feet too small to be her towering father. Admittedly Na-Ri was already three inches taller than her father, but his presence alone could scare presidents out of a room.

“Sam-Hee- YAA that better not be a snack you’re looking for. Dinner will be ready in ten minutes tops.” Being caught red handed had taken the littlest one’s courage and sent him scurrying from her sight, before she could even finish scolding him. She giggled to herself as she heard Sam-Hee’s feet running towards the safe basement playroom. It seemed like a mystery if the toddler had thought of getting food himself, or if the twins had put him up to the sneaky endeavor. She sighed as she realized his fast escape had left the refrigerator door wide open. Crossing the room into the connecting kitchen Na-Ri went over and shut the fridge making sure it was tightly closed.

Since she was in the kitchen anyway, the eldest child went to the cupboard and pulled out seven glasses to finish the place settings. Why not multitask since she was in the kitchen? Carefully balancing several glasses in each arm she headed back into the dining room. She wondered when she would get a chance for a private moment when she could talk to her father. Now that Na-Ri had the courage she just needed the opportunity.


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Post by Guest on Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:41 am

Yong-Ji was usually home from work by five o'clock, even if he had to bring home a briefcase full of paperwork, and it was frequent that he got phone calls late into the night, although he made it a rule to allow the answering machine to take any calls made between six and seven. Dinnertime was family time, and if he could spend no other time with his children, that hour was sacred. Today, however, he had been delayed; now, running late but serious as a heart attack, Yong-Ji reentered his house, locking the door carefully behind him. The reassuring smell of cooking told him that Na-Ri had started dinner. The Lee family chore charts existed to ensure that if something like this happened--if he was late one night--things would still run smoothly and on time.

It took someone who knew him closely to tell, but Yong-Ji was worried. He had been delayed by the arrival of one of the security guards at St. Christina's facility, who had reported to the mayor and the council that a town resident had been seen talking to a patient through the fence. He had brought the security tape to show them, and Yong-Ji had watched quietly and impassively as his daughter spoke to a young girl. There was no audio on the tape, so he had no idea what had been said, but the guard had expressed concern. The patient was one of the Ward A adolescents, he said, and he worried that Na-Ri may have been attempting to help the girl escape.

He had not told the guard that he recognized the girl, only promised the mayor that he would look into the situation and report to the council the next day. He trusted his daughter and knew she wouldn't do that, but he did wish to discuss the situation with her. This was far more serious than his own personal ruling; he was impressed that she had found a way around it, although he would never tell her so, but if security considered her a risk he would have to do something about it. A completely innocent girl had been shot in the leg by one of the island officers for something as simple as being ten minutes late for curfew--the investigation into that was still ongoing--and the head of St. Christina's administration had taken a second bullet in order to prevent the girl being shot again. If Na-Ri was on a security watch list, she might be at risk for a bullet as well, and it may not be to the thigh...and there may not be anyone willing to take the second shot for her.

Entering the dining room, he found Na-Ri setting the glasses around the table. He crossed the room and did something rather uncharacteristic of him. Normally formal and somewhat reserved, he instead crossed to his daughter and embraced her from behind, giving her a light, fatherly kiss on the cheek. "Good evening, jagiya," he said quietly, releasing her. "Where are your siblings?"

He did not want the conversation to be looming over dinner, but if there was a risk that they were within earshot, he did not want them to hear the discussion he was going to have to have with his daughter. He would wait until they were washing up afterwards if necessary.


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Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:45 am

Cooking Spaghetti and meatballs wasn’t hard. It wasn’t a normal dish in the Lee household, but it was easy to prepare and would be delicious too. Luckily Na-Ri didn’t have to cook very often. She didn’t hate cooking, but she didn’t love it either, (hence why she chose such an easy dish) and she could think of other things she could be working on instead of a meal for seven. However, if her dad wasn’t home by 5:30 Na-Ri knew it was her night to cook.

She could have tried passing on the responsibilities to Yong-Sook, but he was really too young to start the oven by himself let alone cook a meal. Actually she had made cooking into a game for the little ones and they loved helping her toss the salad just like her mom had done when Na-Ri was little. She noticed a lot of the cherry-tomatoes seemed to disappear in the process, but that’s what you get for making the kids do it. They also couldn’t wait to get a turn at stirring the tomato sauce and had waited excitedly to be a big helper. Na-Ri had pondered when that thrill would wear off as she eventually had to shoo the kids out of the room to do the real cooking like placing the meatballs in the oven.

Now everything was ready and just simmering waiting for the meatballs to finish. That’s when her father shocked her. He gave her a hug out of the blue and a kiss too. Was he that excited about dinner? Still holding onto the glasses she didn’t even have time to respond before her father released his embrace. Trying not to lose her courage in the unexpected intimacy Na-Ri turned to her father and gave him a welcoming smile. At least he was home and she could ask him about the shooting. She had no idea about the questioning thoughts going through her father’s own mind or maybe she would have kept her mouth shut.

"Good evening, jagiya," "Where are your siblings?"

“Welcome home Apa. They are all downstairs trying to stay out of mischief.” She did not want to jump the gun and ask him a serious question if he was in a foul mood. Although his hug seemed welcoming enough, Na-Ri always tried to be cautious around her father. After all even words had consequences at times. Setting the last glass beside a plate she asked, “How was work Apa? It seems like you had a good day.” Na-Ri was testing the water after all if it was a good day at work she was sure she could question her father. Plus hugging meant he was happy right? If not Na-Ri could still ask, but she would have to watch her tongue like a mouse in a room full of sleeping cats.


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Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:20 pm

The delicious aroma of meatballs floated into the dining room. The Lee family didn't often have Italian food because Yong-Ji's stomach couldn't handle onions and his wife always insisted it wasn't real Italian unless it had onions. But he couldn't smell any and guessed that Na-Ri had remembered. If she had used any onion, it had been an infinitesimal bit and hadn't overpowered anything. Besides...he had left it up to her, basically, by being unexpectedly late. Usually if he knew he was going to be late he would tell her the night before and remind her in the morning before he left. But this had come out of right field. Anyway, he would just have to make sure he knew where his stomach powders were. Right now he had other things on his mind.

He only nodded when Na-Ri told him the children were downstairs. Good. That meant he would be able to speak to her alone--and before they ate. As she finished setting the table, he began mentally rehearsing what he would say to her. He would have to phrase it very carefully in order to make sure she knew he wasn't upset with her. The answer finally dawned on him and he was about to speak when Na-Ri asked him a question.

“How was work, Apa? It seems like you had a good day.”

It was an innocuous question--how often had she asked that very thing? But knowing what he knew, he couldn't help but wonder if she knew he had seen her at the fence and was trying to deflect his wrath. Or was she perhaps gearing herself up to confess what she had done that day? It didn't really matter. What mattered the most was how he was going to answer that question.

"I did have a good day, at first," he said finally. "We made a number of important decisions and came to some important conclusions. However, shortly before I was due to leave, a security guard from St. Christina's arrived at the office with a video, quite concerned." He chose his words with care. "It seems...it seems one of the more potentially dangerous patients in the adolescent ward was caught on security camera conversing with a Green Ridge resident through the electric fence. There was no audio on the tape--it was visual only--but the conversation went on for some time. The guard was concerned that, as the patient is restricted from leaving the grounds unaccompanied, that the resident may have been helping to plot an escape."

He raised his head and looked his daughter directly in the eyes. "What is your new friend's name, Na-Ri-yah?"


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Post by Guest on Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:25 am

Panic. That is what Na-Ri felt. Absolute panic. Her father knew all about her visit to St. Christina. As he started to talk about exactly what was on the video a knot formed within her stomach. She had no idea their were camera's surrounding the facility although the reasoning made sense. Where there cameras everywhere on Green Ridge?

Her own question was forgotten as quickly as a bird escaping from a cage as her father directly questioned her boring into her eyes with his own. Well it wasn’t like she was crazy enough to go inside the institute. Plus she had not broken any of her father’s rules, but she knew her father didn’t want her around that place. How could she get out of this mess? What could she possibly say to make this situation better?

Shuffling her feet a little Na-Ri looked away from her father. She started to place napkins under each fork glad for the distraction. The girl could not think of the right thing to say, and then a thought struck her. She had NOT broken any rules. She had simply met a new friend from behind a fence. She could defend her actions that way, it was the only option she had. Stepping back into her normal confidence Na-Ri looked back into her father’s eyes. Even with her confidence, this discussion was going to be difficult. Sometimes it was … hard to reason with him.

Determined she stated casually, “Her name is Ellen.” She couldn’t imagine Ellen hurting a fly. Even as they were talking she had insisted that violent people should be locked away so Na-Ri doubted that Ellen was a potential danger to anyone. Unless you counted the pencil she used to draw considering how full her sketchbook looked.

The teenager didn’t know what to say next. What if she said something that crossed a line and put her father over the edge? When he was in a good mood she could read her father perfectly, but sometimes, when he was anxious or angry Na-Ri had taken one step too far and she didn’t want that to happen right now. He hadn’t asked for anything besides Ellen’s name and at the moment Na-Ri wasn’t about to offer free information to condemn herself.


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Post by Guest on Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:50 pm

Bbadori, Yong-Ji thought, extremely uncharacteristically, although he would never have uttered the curse aloud, mild though it may have been. The panic on Na-Ri's face was unmistakeable, and entirely unintentional. He had, after all, come at the issue all wrong. He had used the wrong buzzwords: security, dangerous, electric fence. Now she thought she was in serious danger. That she was worried he might be angry at her never crossed his mind; it was so obviously an insignificant worry in the face of the greater consequences that any intelligent mind should have gone instantly to the worst.

Ellen. Yong-Ji had, of course, been given not only the girl's name but as much of her history as the guard knew. Having heard it all, he was not entirely certain the girl could be considered "dangerous", but that was the label that both the guard and the mayor had insisted on hanging on her, based mostly on the fact that she was a Ward A patient. Even as much as Yong-Ji felt that the mentally ill should be segregated from the general population, it was clear to him that Ellen Underwood was in Ward A of St. Christina's more to protect her from the rest of the world than to protect the rest of the world from her.

He was about to answer, but suddenly he recognized the slightly defiant look in his daughter's eyes. She did think he was angry! She was trying to silently communicate that she didn't feel she'd done anything wrong. A sigh escaped his lips. "Na-Ri-yah. Daughter. I am not angry with you for speaking to Ellen," he said heavily. "Nor am I angry with you for visiting St. Christina's. I did make sure to ask the guard where, exactly, the camera was located around the perimeter, and he informed me that it was on the side closest to Daisy Bank Farm. You may recall that when I gave you your instructions on where you were not permitted to go on Green Ridge, I told you not to traverse down St. Christina's Way. You did not do so. You approached the facility from the farm road, did you not?" He looked at her and a slight half-smile rose reluctantly on his face. "I commend you, both for your ingenuity and your restraint. I had expected you to make your move as soon as I extended your curfew."

The smile faded, however, and he gestured for his daughter to take a seat before taking one himself, facing her as seriously as he would a business associate or a fellow councilman. "No, Na-Ri, my concern is for you, personally. The security guards at St. Christina's are, by and large, a fair lot, but then again, I would have said the same about island security before--" He stopped himself. The incident with Emily Rothwell still preyed on his mind, but he did not feel the need to burden his daughter with it. "Before recent incidents brought them to my concern. If you are spotted talking with patients at St. Christina's and a security guard should spot you personally, and if that patient is deemed a flight risk..." He let the sentence trail off.

Na-Ri was intelligent. She would understand what he was getting at. Perhaps not as explicitly as he had in mind, but close enough. Let Na-Ri believe she would be thrown into prison, restricted in curfew, forbidden to come closer to the facility, or even confined there herself. He would keep his fears close to his heart--thoughts of his daughter crippled for life with a bullet wound in the leg or the arm, or, heaven forbid, lying in a pool of her own blood as the life ebbed slowly and painfully from her body...

No, let Na-Ri come to her own conclusions. Yong-Ji would keep such mental images to himself.


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Post by Guest on Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:53 am

Being a teenager the last thought that ever crossed her mind was that she could be in mortal danger. Teenagers were invincible especially one as stubborn and adventurous as Na-Ri. The only real danger was her father. In her mind all consequences were laid out by him (at least for a fourteen year old). Yes realistically she knew how the world functioned, but emotionally, no one mattered, but her Apa, the man who could give you respect or see you as a huge disappointment. Being a disappointment was the worst consequence for the girl and even bullets couldn’t compare to her father.

But as Na-Ri was keeping her courage and trying to stay determined she was shocked by her father’s words. He wasn’t angry with her? He was even complementing her. A smile played on her face in response to her father’s. She wondered if he was ever a trickster as a kid, after all he seemed to know the edges of rules were often fuzzy. As she wondered about all those other times she was caught his smile faded. He had directed Na-Ri to sit and so she sat down. Even if he was impressed by her planning he still seemed serious about something and Na-Ri wasn’t sure he would like what she was going to say.

He was saying that security guards could be numskulls and decide to go all vigilantly on two teenage girls. The story Ellen told her about the shooting in the woods must have been true, otherwise her father would not be so serious right now after a compliment. But that wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair. Na-Ri started to fill up with rage again as she balled her fists up under the table. Why was the world so unjust? She wanted to finish her father’s sentence, but she knew it wasn’t what her father wanted to hear.

Staring calmly at her father she stated, “If that patient is deemed a flight risk, than the security guard should figure out the situation calmly and rationally. If the security guard can’t than they shouldn’t be security.” She knew this would ruffle her father’s feathers, but it was true and Na-Ri couldn’t stop herself form saying it. Security was supposed to be modern day knights in shining armor. If they are not going to be gentlemen then they shouldn’t be allowed to carry weapons. Guns are a lot more dangerous than swords anyway.

Still stuck in her own head, it didn’t dawn on her that she could get hurt. In her anger Na-Ri didn’t even imagine the consequences that her father could give like groundings or restrictions. She knew she could find a way around whatever barriers her father set up, or at least she would try like she had when she met Ellen. She isn’t risking anyone else in her adventures right? Plus she is a teenager, what consequences would she fear?


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Post by Guest on Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:55 pm

A slight smile rose on Yong-Ji's face in response to the small one Na-Ri gave when he commended her. For a fleeting moment, he wondered if this was the time to tell her about Yong-Myung and the bear pits...but he decided against it. After all, that would likely make her think that he had set her up for a fall, the way his father had, and he wouldn't do that to his daughter, especially not now when they were establishing some kind of rapport.

The smile disappeared, however, when Na-Ri answered him back. However calmly, however rationally she spoke, she was still answering him back. And she still didn't understand. Did she honestly think that the security guards here were so sensible? Yes, some of them were...mostly, though, those guards were working at St. Christina's proper. The island security, from what little Yong-Ji had seen of their files, were nut jobs. The sheriff's answers to his application stopped just short of insolence, the female officer who had come from Hadley was a drug user, the male one had been arrested twice for driving while intoxicated, the new male officer seemed pretentious to the mayor's assistant, and he wasn't even going into the female officer. The thought that he was basing his opinions on a combination of a cursory glance through six files and the fact that Officer Summers had gone on to shoot a defenseless girl never passed through his mind. He had tarred all the island security with the same brush.

His jaw tightened, and he struggled to keep his voice even, although he could not keep the anger out of it. "The problem, daughter, is that only about half of the security guards on this island know any of the patients at St. Christina's. Do you know where many of those children came from? A place called the Hadley Institute for Troubled Teens. Some of the security guards came with them, and only a few are at the facility." He began ticking off names on his fingers, knowing they meant nothing to his daughter but not particularly caring. "Tracy Ames. Killian Orr. Lorenzo Corsi. Christiana Keeble. The rest at St. Christina's were hired later, or else earlier. And only three of the island security came from Hadley--Sheriff Lance, Officer Strickland, and Officer Kastelic. They do not know the patients, Na-Ri. Now I can tell you, I have read your friend's file, and I know she is not a flight risk. Ames, Orr, Corsi, or Keeble would have known that, too. The officer who brought the security footage to my attention did not. If he had been patrolling the grounds, he may have decided Ellen was trying to convince you to help break her out. Maybe he would have decided you were not complicit, but he could have punished Ellen severely."

He folded his hands tightly together and leaned forward slightly. "But what of island security? They would have been on your side of the fence. Island security will not touch a student behind the fence, but you would have been fair game."

Standing up, he began pacing around his daughter's chair, his hands clasped behind his back, the agitation evident in his eyes. That in and of itself should probably have clued in Na-Ri that something was wrong; Yong-Ji did not show emotions. "Your mother and I agreed at first that we should keep this from you, but your actions and your words show me that you need to know. Island security is armed. The officers from Hadley are not accustomed to carrying guns on duty--merely sedatives and such--but here on the island all officers are provided a gun and expected to carry it on duty. I am certain many would give ample warnings before firing, but there is at least one that would not, and did not."

He took a deep breath. "Shortly after we moved here, Na-Ri, a woman was murdered. Curfew is being enforced strictly for children and St. Christina's patients, to protect them, and also as a precautionary measure, as we do not know the identity of the murderer. It was less than a week after the murder that a patient from St. Christina's, in the C ward--the ones given the most freedom--was visiting the park. She laid down to take a nap and was caught ten minutes after curfew by a security guard. The girl's intentions were innocent--she had merely overslept--but the guard decided to use her for target practice." Yong-Ji's Korean accent, which he had long ago eradicated from his usual speech, was reappearing, as it often did under stress. "She was shot through the leg. The guard was preparing to shoot her a second time when the head of psychiatry at St. Christina's arrived on the scene. He, too, was shot, defending the girl."

The fate of the guard was unnecessary to mention. His emotions spent, Yong-Ji dropped back into his chair, looking with haunted eyes at his beloved daughter. "The doctor survived, as did the girl. Both had to undergo some rather serious surgery. But had the doctor not arrived when he had, the girl may have bled to death...and had one of the competant officers not happened to drive past and hear the second gunshot, the doctor might have died as well. Do you understand, jagiya? They could have died. That could have been you."

He reached a hand out to his daughter, pleadingly, seeking to grasp her hand. "Please, Na-Ri-ya. Don't take such a foolish risk again. I cannot lose you."


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