Updated: Jul 30
“Do not give way to useless alarm; though it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occasion to look on it as certain.” Edward Gardiner, Pride and Prejudice
Lee Yun Jeong’s POV
I’m sitting in my office at MYM entertainment, my chin resting on my hand as I think about the text message I just received.
What do I do?
Even though some time passed and not much came out of our initial conversation, I expected this to happen. To continue happening.
My brother is nothing but persistent and it’s clear to everyone that knows him well that he’s serious about her.
When did I know?
I knew Kim Goeun was special the day I walked in on my younger brother watching her dramas on repeat.
It happened months ago, during Christmas Eve of 2019.
I had just broken up with my boyfriend a week prior and going home to an empty condo did not seem appealing. Visiting my parents’ house was also not an option, since the first thing Omma would have done would be to freak out and ask me why I wasn’t with him.
That piece of scum.
She eventually did react that way when I told her, but that’s not the point of this story.
The point is that on that day, one of the most romantic days of the year, I ended up doing the next best thing…
I visited my baby brother unannounced.
Normally when I do this (which isn’t too often because hello, I’m a busy person), he’s never fazed and just greets me with a casual, “Oh, you’re here?”
This time when I padded across the spacious living room in a pair of house slippers and plopped myself beside him on the couch, he gave me a strange look. I ignored it and dropped the cake box I was holding on the coffee table.
He sat up from his sprawled position on the cushions and declared, “I think I should change my passcode.”
I laughed at first, not getting it. “Why would you change it? No one else comes here besides you, your staff, and me and Omma.”
His eyebrows narrowed at hearing that. As if all the banchan in his refrigerator just miraculously appeared from nowhere every week. Who does he think puts it in there?
“I'm definitely changing my passcode then.”
“Okay, change it, do what you want. Just make sure you tell me what it is.”
“No,” he said, an edge to his voice. “I’m a grown man, nuna. How weird is it that my sister knows the passcode to my house?”
“First of all,” I said, putting my feet up on an ottoman. “I’m not just your sister. I’m the CEO of your management company. Which means, I manage you. And to manage you, I need access to your place at all times in case of an emergency. Second, even if it wasn’t an emergency, it’s not like I’m going to walk in on you with your girlfriend since you don’t even have a girlfriend. So, what’s the problem?”
When he paused for much longer than necessary, the realization came to me.
I swivelled my head to examine my brother’s face. He looked slightly flushed. “Minho-yah, do you have a girlfriend?”
He scoffed at that and waved the remote control at the TV. “If I had a girlfriend, would I be home alone on Christmas Eve watching this?”
I followed the gesture of his hand and noticed the paused image on the large television screen.
Kim Goeun? Interesting.
“Isn’t she your…co-star? The one you’re filming with right now?”
“Do you like her?”
My eyes bulged at hearing his straightforward answer. “What? Really?”
“Yes, really.” My younger brother sighed and ran a hand through his dishevelled hair. “Don’t ask me when or how or why. I just do. I like her and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“Oh, I can tell you what not to do. Do not create a scandal. Do not allow the media to catch wind of this. That means no grand public confessions of any kind. And do not date her while you’re filming this drama.”
I thought he would be angry at my response but instead he just smirked at me. “Are you speaking as my sister or my CEO?”
“As both.” I threw my hands up in the air. “You know it’s not a good idea to get romantically involved while you’re on a project.”
He shook his head at me. “Do I look like a child? How long have I been in this industry? It’s a given that I can’t do any of those things… though handling the media is your responsibility, not mine.”
He added, “Besides, I don’t even know if she’d want to date me.”
“She will. That should be the least of your worries.”
“Yeah?” His grin was big enough to light up the entire room.
Aigoo, it was over for my baby brother. Love-struck, smitten, head-over-heels. The last time I saw him like this… it must have been years ago.
But this time felt different somehow.
I nodded, catering to my sibling who loved compliments. “Of course. You’re Lee Minho, the coolest and most handsome actor in Korea. Who wouldn’t want to date you?”
He laughed his big silly laugh. “She might not. She’s not superficial, nuna. She has so much depth and focus, but still fun to work with. You should see her on set. One minute she’s joking around with me and the next, she snaps into character and watching her act, it’s just… amazing. Goeun is… she’s…” His voice trailed off.
“She’s someone who might not want to be with me.”
Hearing him worry about this surprised me more than anything else we discussed already.
Lee Minho was worried a girl might not like him back? From birth until now, I had never witnessed my brother this uncertain over his love life before. Even when he pursued his previous ex-girlfriend, he always told me he was confident he’d eventually win her over. Is it because he’s older now and he’s being more cautious?
Or maybe… this girl might truly be out of his league.
“You really like her, don’t you?”
“I do. So much.”
“Because she pushes me to do better. I want to be better, because of her. A better actor, a better person. A better man.”
I placed my hand over my mouth. Whoa, boy. Those heart-racing comments are something else.
My brother was definitely made for the romance genre.
We were quiet for a few moments, both just staring at Kim Goeun’s image on the TV again.
Then I asked, “You’ve been filming together for three months and you already like her to this extent?”
“I’m sitting here watching Cheese in the Trap, aren’t I?”
We both burst into laughter. “What the heck is wrong with her hair?”
“It’s in the manhwa. You haven’t read it?”
“Listen, when you’re the CEO of two companies, you do not have time to read manhwa comics. Why are you even watching this? To learn more about her?”
“No. Because I miss her.”
I threw a couch pillow at him, the cheesiness level of this conversation becoming too much. He caught the pillow easily and flashed me that charming smile he always puts on when he wants something.
“Nuna, I promise I won’t confess my feelings to her while this drama is filming,” he said, “but do I have your support on this? Will you help me later if I need your help?”
I sighed. This is why they say family and business shouldn’t mix. “As your sister or as your CEO?”
There was only one way I could answer this. “Of course.”
“That easily?” He looked at me as if he couldn’t believe his ears.
“You said it yourself, you’re a grown man. You’re thirty-three, almost thirty-four. Who am I to stop you from dating or wanting to get married? Just be careful, please.”
“I will and thank you, nuna. You’re the best.”
Then, all of a sudden, he gave me a thorough once-over, as if just noting my business clothes and the cake I’d purchased.
“What’s with the cake and why are you here?”
“Everyone eats cake on Christmas, dummy.”
“Not with their siblings they don’t. Shouldn’t you be on a date with your boyfriend?”
“Ugh, I don’t want to talk it!”
We did end up talking about my failed relationship that night, and more about Kim Goeun, as we devoured the cake and I had some wine.
After that night and besides a brief conversation we had during Seollal, my brother and I didn’t discuss his relationship again. He was extremely busy with filming and in all fairness, I had a lot on my plate too.
I katalked him from time to time, but mostly I checked in with his staff to get a feel of how things were going on set.
The reports were consistent with what my brother and I had discussed. The two leads were getting along well, and it appears that he liked her a lot. As for her side of things, the staff weren’t sure.
I know the staff knew much more than they were letting on. Our staff and KGE’s staff had gotten close from what I could tell from their reports, but I didn’t press them further since I know the importance of loyalty and keeping your mouth shut.
It wasn’t until months later, two weeks ago today, that I got an unexpected phone call from my sibling.
“Minho-yah. What’s wrong? Why are you calling me instead of your manager?”
“Nothing’s wrong, but remember what we talked about in December? On Christmas Eve? About you helping me when I need you to?”
I held my breath, waiting for some bomb to explode. “I remember.”
“I’m going to post a photo today and I want our social media team to leave it alone. Don’t remove it, don’t flag it. Just leave it alone okay?”
A photo? I released the breath I was holding. A photo might not be so bad, but… which photo?
“I’m not sure this is a good idea,” I replied, massaging my temple with my fingers.
He laughed and said, “I won’t do anything stupid. You trust me, don’t you?”
“I do. Okay, I’ll let the team know to keep their hands off.”
As soon as our call ended, I dialed a number and gave instructions to our social media team. Then I pulled open my Instagram and searched for my brother’s account.
A few minutes later, the screen displayed his latest Instagram post.
I saw it and couldn’t help but smile. Like the thousands of other doting fans, I went ahead and clicked ‘heart.’
That was just the beginning of so much more to come.
Two weeks after that phone call and several minutes ago, I received a message from Minho.
Nuna, I want to post more photos. It might get some reaction, just warning you. The team knows to leave my Insta alone, right?
I sigh and reread his message. Some reaction, he says. What sort of reaction should we expect?
I stare at the wall and agonize over what to do. I mean, it’s his life, right? If he messes up, we can fix it… right?
Other management companies might disagree with my decision, and I might be the worst CEO in the world, but I think giving him his freedom is the best decision.
Like the good sister that I am, I type back, Yes, they know from last time not to get involved. Your Instagram is yours.
Then I wait.
I want to kill that boy because he takes an hour to post the photos, but when I finally see them, a sense of peace comes over me.
I can tell, just from the photos, that he’s happy.
And his happiness is all l can ever ask for. As his sister and as his CEO.
Wanting to show my support, I take it a step further and leave a message under the photos.
Thanks to you, we saw something beautiful.
1) Sorry - this isn’t KGE’s POV that I promised. I just got side-tracked and wrote this instead. I hope you’re not too disappointed though as this was fun to write.
2) Christmas Eve / Christmas Day is celebrated differently in Korea as it’s seen as more of a day for couples. Do some researching if you’re curious. The cake thing is true too. Manhwa is the Korean version of manga. And katalk refers to Kakaotalk, their preferred messaging app.
3) Let me know what you think!