– It’s strange ㅡ I can’t hide it this heart ㅡ What should I do ㅡㅡ
From the video, Lee SamSoon’s figure of singing and high five-ing the crowd flowed out.
The figure of Lee SamSoon going into the crowd, having fun and even playing around with them broke their impressions of the ‘countryside’ Lee SamSoon. The boyish charm kept attracting attention.
KangYoon spoke while the video was playing.
“Lee SamSoon has a charm which attracts the crowd. If it’s like that on the street, then I think I don’t even need to mention her star quality. I selected her due to this possibility. An ingenuous country girl, but a 180 degrees turnaround when she grabs the microphone, an onion like girl who has a new side to her the more you peel. There are countless marketable elements. I think it’s a loss for the company to let this opportunity go.”
As if it was all planned, the video ended as KangYoon finished speaking. Silence flowed for a moment. The Directors all whispered to each other to share their opinions.
Director Jung HyunTae, who was enduring his anger, seemed to have calmed down as he spoke quite calmly.
“First, I applaud Team Leader Lee for digging out a talented trainee like that.”
“To think you dug out a buried trainee like that… I feel that your eyes are amazing. Even so, if we consider time and money, I think it’s better to use an already bloomed talent rather than blooming hidden talents. Isn’t it good if we can catch the preparation period, funding, and even the intention of planning?”
KangYoon instantly realized Director Jung HyunTae’s intentions. He indirectly said what he said last time in his office. It was just toned down, but he was basically saying – ‘why don’t we change her?’. KangYoon endured the fire flaring inside his heart and calmly spoke.
“The time now is not the time for saving but a time for investment. Wasn’t MG Entertainment a company which invested in its singers in the beginning, no matter who the singer was?”
“E… even so, isn’t it better if we save and bring out the same effect? Please consider it. Everyone, I know a good trainee.”
This time, Director Jung HyunTae tried to induce agreement from other people, but everyone just clicked their tongues. KangYoon decided to strike the nail. A breach of rights like this would surely happen again in the future. KangYoon put down the laser pointer he was holding.
“Director. I provided a reason and sufficient proof that trainee Lee SamSoon has the ability and the possibility for growth. I will consider it if you provide me a clear reason. However, isn’t saying that Lee SamSoon is no good right now the same as not having listened to my story? I think this is no good.”
Director Jung HyunTae’s voice rose abruptly. However, KangYoon was still calm.
“Please tell me the reason why you recommend that trainee. Then, I will compare her with trainee Lee SamSoon and consider a more worthy selection. This is my job. If the directors have the rights to approve and disapprove, then the rights for selection is mine. I appreciate the advice you gave me, but I respectfully decline your request.”
“Wha, What?! You?!”
Director Jung HyunTae abruptly rose up from his seat. KangYoon spoke calmly, but he was basically saying ‘you don’t have any reason behind your words’. This was an insult. A conference where the one with the biggest voice won only happened in small companies. It didn’t work in a place like this.
“Sit. Director Jung.”
“I…. I’m sorry.”
“See me later.”
In the end, Director Jung HyunTae, who raised his voice in agitation, had to close his eyes due to Chairman Won JinMoon’s low voice. He was too agitated that he went overboard. Even a Team Leader was, in the end, an employee. He thought that KangYoon would die down a little when a Director talked to him, but KangYoon instead talked back like nothing happened. The results of blurting something he shouldn’t have due to his agitation were serious. His shoulders drooped thinking what kind of consequences and wrath he had to bear later.
Chairman Won JinMoon turned his eyes towards KangYoon.
“I already approved. They all have sufficient reason. Especially, using a visual material like a street performance to show us her possibility. That was interesting.”
“Thank you, Chairman.”
“It’s your turn now, President Lee.”
Chairman Won JinMoon passed the baton to President Lee HyunJi.
“I was doubtful even when I was signing this plan after receiving the report. I also judged that Lee SamSoon was an element of worry. I originally planned to decline this paper until this worry disappeared. Although I did sign, I was quite unsettled… but you blow away our worries like this, huh.”
President Lee HyunJi was satisfied. KangYoon didn’t disappoint her like he did last time. She seemed satisfied as she lightly clapped and gathered attention.
“How is it, everyone? Do we need another Directors’ meeting? Let’s decide it here.”
At President Lee HyunJi’s words, the Directors all shook their heads. They didn’t want to have another meeting due to the same matter. Even Directors hated meetings. They were all workers too. Having gotten an approval from everyone, President Lee HyunJi turned her gaze to KangYoon.
“From today on, I approve of the next generation girl group project. Team Leader Lee KangYoon. Please do your best.”
Along with President Lee HyunJi’s declaration, the Directors’ claps rang out inside the conference room. KangYoon coolly turned something that may have been his first crisis into trust and ended the meeting.
KangYoon, who left earlier than usual, called HeeYoon right away to come to a famous department store.
“It’s so good to walk hand in hand with you, oppa.”
Under the bright light of the department store, HeeYoon’s already white face shined even whiter. Her white face without blemish even without makeup, and the thin body was a symbol of a girl who needs to be protected.
“Do you need anything?”
“I’m alright, alright. Let’s buy your suit first.”
“Oppa has a lot of clothes.” (T/N: If you haven’t noticed, KangYoon is referring to himself as ‘oppa’)
“Lies. I already saw that your closet was empty.”
He called her here to buy clothes for her, but HeeYoon was stubborn in buying her brother’s clothes first. In the end, KangYoon was dragged by HeeYoon from the women’s corner to the men’s corner on the floor above.
“Your brother’s so handsome. You must be proud.”
“Of course I’m proud.”
KangYoon’s heart became warm when he saw HeeYoon confidently boasting about him to the store staff while choosing clothes. Although, he had to go through suffering of having to try on countless clothes thanks to that…
KangYoon said to come again later since he didn’t have money but HeeYoon was stubborn to the end and they ended up buying a shirt. Of course, it was KangYoon’s. KangYoon, after buying his clothing headed to the women’s corner again. He planned to buy clothes for his sister no matter what happened today.
“Huh? Lee HeeYoon?”
But then, KangYoon and HeeYoon met 4 female students in uniforms in front of the store. They were wearing the same uniform as HeeYoon. They were lively high school girls with pins in their hair and wearing sweaters.
“Are you HeeYoon’s friends?’
“Who are you?”
KangYoon was about to say that he was HeeYoon’s older brother but HeeYoon suddenly grabbed his hand.
“Oppa, let’s go.”
KangYoon was dragged by HeeYoon who strongly pulled him suddenly. At the unusual figure, KangYoon was confused.
“HeeYoon? What is it? Aren’t they your friends?”
“They’re just classmates.”
KangYoon felt something strange from HeeYoon’s words. So he asked further.
“HeeYoon. Are they perhaps bullying you?”
“It’s not like that?”
“…They aren’t bad people.”
HeeYoon tried to not talk anymore. HeeYoon always did her best to show her bright side to KangYoon and KangYoon knew that well. But to think she would become this down… KangYoon’s heart ached.
As a change of mood, the two sat down in a café. After ordering a cup of coffee and a sweet smoothie, they chatted a lot before KangYoon stood up to go to the toilet.
But then, he heard something strange while heading towards the toilet.
“Hey, hey. What’s HeeYoon doing here?”
“I don’t know. Did she come here to eat?”
“Hey, hey. I don’t know about anything else, but someone buy some clothes for her. Those old clothes are so dirty.”
“Leave it. I heard that her household is so poor that they barely have enough money for her dialysis. Let’s not tease her for her clothes.”
“Wow, lady. You’re so cool, aren’t ya?”
It was HeeYoon’s friends from last time. The girls didn’t recognize KangYoon as they were absorbed in chatting.
‘HeeYoon’s uniform. It was a hand-me-down, wasn’t it.’
They didn’t even have enough money to afford a uniform so HeeYoon’s uniform was found from the uniforms her seniors left behind. They fixed and sewed the uniform for her to wear for 3 years so it was as old as it could be. KangYoon’s heart ached when he thought about his sister’s tattered sleeves. He hated himself for not noticing things like these.
KangYoon headed straight back without doing his business.
“Oppa, what is it?”
“HeeYoon. Let’s go.”
HeeYoon was dragged by KangYoon to the 5th floor without even getting to finish her coffee. It was a uniform store within the department store. KangYoon took out his card and bought a uniform for HeeYoon.
“Oppa, why are you buying a new uniform for me?”
“They are too old.”
“I’m alright, oppa.”
However, KangYoon didn’t speak anymore. No.
This was the start.
“Oppa, this is too expensive.”
“Oppa, how can we buy this?”
“Oppa, it’s alright.”
KangYoon started going around all the clothing stores while grabbing HeeYoon’s hand. HeeYoon put down the clothes even if it was pretty after looking at the price tag, but KangYoon was different.
“Please give us these.” (T/N: slightly vague here. I don’t know what EN people say in clothing stores, but basically saying ‘I will pay for these’ to the store staff.)
He picked up anything and everything that HeeYoon seemed to like. He bought enough for the old closet at the house to become full. HeeYoon was shocked and kept holding him back, but KangYoon repeatedly said that it was alright.
And after 2 hours passed, KangYoon’s hand was full of HeeYoon’s clothes.
“Oppa, let’s return this all tomorrow.”
HeeYoon said worriedly while leaving the department store. However, KangYoon shook his head.
“These. Are all yours.”
HeeYoon still seemed to not believe the clothes on in KangYoon’s hands as she had a dumbfounded face. She clearly knew she couldn’t even dream of this due to the dialysis fee and medical fees, so no surprises there. Moreover, every single piece of clothing was expensive. Brand name products that she couldn’t even think about normally were lined up in front of her.
“HeeYoon, Oppa earned some money this time. You don’t need to worry about anything and just wear it. You know the work I did with JooAh last time? I received a special bonus from that.”
“Then you should’ve saved it. Didn’t you use too much money today?”
“It’s alright. We need some clothes for you anyway. And…”
HeeYoon nagged him but KangYoon was all smiles. Only the little sister worried about her older brother. KangYoon tightened his hands grabbing HeeYoon since he liked that warmth.
“We. Are going to move soon.”
“You know that the previous work went so well. I’m looking for one. We’re going to move to a closer place to the school and workplace. It will be soon, so endure it a little longer, okay?”
HeeYoon’s eyes teared up. It wasn’t simply because of the clothes and the house. It was because she thought about how much her brother had suffered to buy all these things. HeeYoon silently hugged KangYoon. (T/N: So sweet ;-;)
“Oppa, you worked hard.”
“Let’s become happy. Oppa will send you to college to.”
“HeeYoon, you should live however you want. I will cure your illness to. Okay?”
HeeYoon teared up.
This kind of older brother. Where would she meet another one? Her tears wetted KangYoon’s back.
“Don’t mention it. Let’s go.”
HeeYoon tried to carry some of the stuff but KangYoon didn’t let her. He didn’t want to see HeeYoon carrying luggage with her feeble hands. HeeYoon spoke to KangYoon to give her some of the luggage the entire time, but KangYoon refused till the end.
Like that, the siblings slowly headed home. The wind was cold, but their hearts were warm.
“I have something I want.”
“What is it?”
“JooAh-unni’s signed CD.”
KangYoon already gave her a signature. But a signed CD… Perhaps due to the influence of KangYoon working with JooAh, but HeeYoon also felt familiarity with her. Admiration that JooAh pioneered her path confidently unlike her also played a role.
“I understand. It seems like HeeYoon likes JooAh a lot nowadays.”
“JooAh-unni is awesome. Cool. Especially, the Japanese songs were so awesome. Is it because you made it, Oppa?”
“You can kiss-up too?”
“Oppa, it hurts.”
KangYoon hung his arm over HeeYoon’s shoulders while playing around. HeeYoon poked KangYoon’s waist as a form of fighting back. When KangYoon turned pale, she laughed loudly.
“And you know? JooAh isn’t ‘unni’. You two are of the same age.”
“I just want to call her unni. Isn’t she cool?”
KangYoon and HeeYoon headed home while playing around
Early morning, HeeYoon headed to school after bidding KangYoon farewell. Her house and school were far apart so when she entered the classroom, most of the students were already in their seats.
HeeYoon opened the door to the classroom and entered. However, today, a lot of gazes directed at HeeYoon was strange.
‘Look at Lee HeeYoon’s clothes. What’s up with that?’
‘Look at her bag. Isn’t that Raccoon? The 1 million won (≈870USD) bag?!’
‘Lee HeeYoon, her looks ain’t half bad now.’
HeeYoon was surprised when she saw that her classmates were all looking at her with strange gazes when they didn’t even spare a glance before. Usually, she would be treated like a non-existent person, but today was different.
When she sat, her seat partner approached her.
“Why? Something up?”
Her seat partner didn’t even talk to her usually. But to think she talked to her now… HeeYoon turned her head away.
“You’re so pretty today. You should’ve done this from the start.”
That was just the beginning. At breaktime and lunch time, people who didn’t usually approach her started gathering around her one by one. The neat and luxurious looking uniform along with HeeYoon’s long hair appealed to everyone as a weak girl and provoked their protective hearts. They were curious about her until now, but the tattered uniform and the poor image prevented them from approaching but all that changed now.
HeeYoon didn’t even act weak even though she was ill. That was important. They distanced themselves from her, but they didn’t hate her so the classmates all came to HeeYoon to converse with her and they became her friends. From clothes, they moved onto famous celebrities and they became friends in no time.
‘Oppa. Thank you.’
Even while talking and laughing with her friends at school, HeeYoon still thought about her brother who should be working hard right now. The brother that brings her happiness like these, KangYoon. HeeYoon was thankful that she had an older brother like this.
Regular Chapter 1/3
Haha! Left you hanging! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to leave you hanging in the next two…
Btw, some Korean comments are like ‘is MC’s imouto being ill a setting’? and they’re complaining, but to slightly spoil a bit, MC’s imouto will play an important role in the future.
Thank you for reading!