Wuxiaworld > Empire of the Ring > 120 Fatima’s Wedding 2

120 Fatima’s Wedding 2

The process of grape cultivation and pruning trees was already automated but grape farming still needed people's touch. The pruning of the bottom sides of trees was still done by human hands. The work did not need to be rushed but it had to be done before the spring comes in order to get ready for the next fruits to grow. The process should be done anytime between October's completion of cultivation and March next year. A large-scale farm like Zeynep Farm needed workers all around the year and forty to fifty farmers from other small-scale farms around Baku came to work at Zeynep Farm every day to earn daily wages. Although the farm needed more workers, the farm could operate as normal because the security crew of Zeynep Security Service was helping out with the farm work. Likewise, the Charles farm was also crowded with twenty farmers working under the two North Korean defector families. Since 350 oak casks of 300-gallon capacity which was filled with wine should be replaced periodically, Youngho bought a forklift for Charles farm's use. As Youngho was going to hire cooks for the workers of the Charles farm, Kim Ilkwon's family stopped him and offered to treat them on their own. Knowing that they wanted to reduce Youngho's expense on the Charles farm, he accepted their offer. Although he was not sure if they could cook something that Azerbaijani people would like, he was glad that they offered to help. Ilkwon's family had changed a lot ever since they came to the farm. Since Youngho paid them as much as they worked, they worked hard to earn and save more money. It was something that they never felt in the communist society of North Korea. Their attitude toward Youngho was also changed, in the beginning, they only nodded and bowed to him but now they made eye contact with Youngho and answered his questions with ease. It seemed that they gained more confidence after Kim Ilkwon became a personal secretary of Zeynep company's boss, Youngho. *** The whole month of November needed the most manpower in order to have less trouble in the upcoming rainy season of the winter.Because the farm size had grown so much, he needed far more manpower than last year, so he had to hire people from the inner city of Baku. Although there were a lot of unemployed people in Baku, it was difficult to find common laborers due to the well-established social security system. People did not need to work since they had enough to live from what they received from the government. Frustrated by the situation, Youngho even complained to Sevan that the unemployment compensation should be lowered to motivate people to find jobs. After listening to Youngho's complaint, Sevan suggested to provide manpower for him, he had been watching for a chance to make money by real estate speculation for the lands around new railroad track to Iran but the railroad construction plan could not even be signed due to extreme terrorists. It was called a volunteer service when army soldiers helped out with civilian work or business. However, in Azerbaijan, it was conventional for civilians to give a certain amount of money to the army under the name of donation. Since Sevan used to be in the army, he was planning to be the middleman between the army and Zeynep Farm and take some percentages of the money for himself. Youngho did not have any reason to refuse his offer since he would be getting young and strong workers. Unlike in Korea, the Azerbaijani army refrained military drills during the winter season and soldiers did not have many things to do. The government had hired a large number of soldiers because of the dispute against Armenia but after recapturing lands around Nagorno-Karabakh, the high number of soldiers became a problem for them. The army, which was reluctantly maintaining their soldiers, sent three hundred army soldiers residing in Baku to Zeynep Farm. Receiving the army's aid for a month was a tremendous help. Even though quite a lot was spent on snacks and foods for the young soldiers, it did not compare to their achievement at the farm since they finished work of months ahead of time. The trimming work for grape trees was completed by the beginning of December. *** Baku's weather had gotten so cold that heavy jackets were necessary outside. The TV news and the reporter was broadcasting that it was an unusual weather for the beginning of December. In fact, this year's weather was strange. In the summer, they had high heat in a hundred years and it had snowed twice since December. It would seem normal since it was the rainy season but it had only rained last year without any snow. Since there had been already two falls of snow at the beginning of the winter, the media was making a fuss about it. Even though it rained a lot in Baku during the winter's rainy season, snow was rare to find. However, since it had snowed in Baku where it was not equipped with proper snow removal equipment, the downtown traffics paralyzed and many cars without winterization equipment were stuck on the road. At this moment, the most desirable car was SUVs and big cars like a hummer. Since there were two SUVs and a hummer on Zeynep Farm, the farm family did not have any trouble driving in the snow. Regular compact cars could not even dare to drive in the snow. Fatima who had gone out to downtown with Zeynep who was on the winter break got off from the hummer. "Oppa, it was a good idea to take a big car, downtown is so messed up now. I had to pull two cars on the way." Zeynep kept on talking with her cheeks turned red by the cold wind. Whenever Zeynep was being chatty, Youngho thought about the same thing that there would not be many people who would stay still when she acted like that. Although she tried to get out, he hugged her tight and kissed her cheeks. "Jeez, oppa. Your beard is scratchy! You need to hug my sister instead of slobbering on my face." Zeynep, who had been basked in people's love for the past few years, looked brighter than any other kids. "What did you go out in the snow for?" "Hehe, I can't say it yet. It's me and my sister's secret." Youngho did not try to dig up the truth for long but Zeynep was now so eager to tell the secret. "Very well. It's girls' secret and you can't tell it to a boy." "Oppa, aren't you curious?" "No, I'm not." "You're not going to ask me anymore?" "You said it was a secret." Zeynep was frustrated now since Youngho, who was supposed to keep asking was ignoring her now. "Oppa, really?" "Yeah." Since Youngho was stern, Zeynep now nagged at Youngho to make him ask her again. Fatima who had been laughing covering her mouth opened the back door of the car. There was an elegant white wedding dress hanging in the back of the car. *** They tried to make a secret since they were going to show the dress to Youngho on the wedding day, but in Korea, it was extremely natural for the bride and groom to shop the wedding dress together. In the customs here, the groom should never see the wedding dress in advance. It was a custom to leave it a mystery to the groom. Zeynep made a fuss saying that it was a bad luck to see the bride's dress. Not only Azerbaijan and Turkey's languages were similar but also their customs had a lot in common too, it was also shown in the way how similar women treated men after they get married. "You know in Korea, the bride and groom go shop together for their wedding dress and suit. It's alright." Zeynep was pretty upset. "Fatima unni, the shop lady said you should not show this before the wedding." "Hey, oppa is Korean so it's okay. Also, only Turks and Azerbaijani people can have many wives and it's illegal in Korea." Youngho laughed since he knew how Fatima subtly tried to push away the idea of having other wives for Youngho. He thought Fatima was cute knowing that she had been acting sassy and kind of feisty lately to keep him on his toes for her. "Hahaha…" He hugged Zeynep again for her worry for her sister. She hoped for the best in her sister's marriage. Being in the society that allowed polygamy marriages, Zeynep was insecure that Youngho might have someone else on his side in the future and he knew exactly what she was worried about. Fatima, who had been insecure for a while, was a little relieved after learning about Korean marriage culture. Insoo's wife, Sunghee, must have told her about that. If he had to share his loved one with someone else, it would be such a painful curse for him and it was well-shown in the history how humans' desire to possess could turn ugly. The custom also affected angel-like Fatima since she tried hard to follow other women in the culture. Although Youngho would never get a second wife, if he did, he thought that he would not survive from Zeynep's grilling and nagging. That night, due to Sunghee and Sangchun's mother's persistent request, Fatima showed off her dress in front of everyone. "Youngho, I've been to a lot of weddings but I've never seen a bride like Fatima. She's beautiful." Youngho could not close his mouth in awe of her beauty. Gazing about with a gloomy look, her long lashes shivered and her whole image was indescribable. It was not sure if she was deep in thoughts looking at the snow through the windows but Youngho inhaled a deep breath looking at her glamorous but innocent beauty. 'What did I ever do in my previous life to deserve a beautiful and wise woman?' Youngho realized that Fatima was in a sorrow, she looked so sad, so he called her quietly. "Fatima, you should take off the dress." At Youngho's voice, Fatima quickly wiped her eyes. "Yes, oppa." Youngho could guess what had made her sad, Fatima often showed the same face when she talked about her parents. The person who would be most delighted by a woman's wedding was her mother. However, this would be a wedding without her mother. Seeing the two quietly from behind, Sangchun's mother gently hugged Fatima. The two both without parents soon would get married. Youngho had Yunsuh's family but Fatima had not a single relative. They say women think of their mother the most when they get married, it would be weird if Fatima did not feel any sorrow now. Comforted by the mother's hug, Fatima's shoulders were shaking. Even though he knew why she was sad, Youngho could only watch her cry since he could not fill the empty space in her heart. Would having children fill the empty space? Maybe that was why Fatima was so eager to make children's rooms, to fill her empty heart. Youngho would try his best to make her and her siblings happy but he was frustrated that he might not be able to make her fundamental loneliness disappear. How long would it take for a broken heart to heal from the traumatic tragedy of the past? Thinking that he had never tried to understand Fatima's broken heart, she had been hiding the deep scar in her heart alone. He only helped her financially but it seemed that he never had an open-hearted conversation with her. Guilty and frustrated, he quietly left the porch. The farm was covered white in the snow. Snow from the sky was falling reflecting the lights from the security lamps standing sparsely. He suddenly thought of smoking which he had quit. 'This would be a good time for smoking.'