Memories… by pengtt

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									Memories by Rowena
Chapter 1
“Hey, move it, you freak!”

I stepped aside, allowing the person to pass through. I didn’t need to rack my brain to figure out who it was. I didn’t even need to look up to know
who it was.
Because it was always the same person. With a whole bunch of girls who made up his fan club. His stupid fan club.
The one and only, Lee Minwoo.
I averted my gaze from them and fixed my attention onto the floor. I could hear a few of the girls snickering at me as they passed by.
I stared after them in distaste. What was it about him that everyone found so attractive? Although he was good-looking, with perfectly chiseled
features and a deep set of brown eyes to go with it, he was probably one of the meanest and rudest people that I ever had the misfortune of
knowing. And yet, tons and tons of girls were practically on their knees begging him to bring them out on a date. Granted, he was rich. But
whatever happened to the old-fashioned way of falling in love with his personality and his heart rather than his wealth and looks? I shrugged. It
was none of my business anyway.
I headed to class, my hands overflowing with books. The moment I set foot into the class, the atmosphere became silent. The chattering all died
down as I placed all my books on my desk, located at the back of the class.

“So, MinJi, I’ve always wanted to ask you. Is that sweater you are wearing specially made for you or did you get it at the reject shop?” asks Ji
Yoon as the whole class burst out in laughter.

I rolled my eyes in annoyance. This was getting old. Every morning, it was the same thing. I sat down in my seat and attempted to arrange my
books into my desk, all the time ignoring their sarcastic remarks. Personally, I don’t know what made everyone hate me so much. I never did
anything to hurt their feelings. At least none that I could think of. But I didn’t mind being alone. In fact, I kind of liked it.

Chapter 2
The bell rang signaling the end of lessons. Chairs scraped on the floor as they were pushed backwards by students hurrying to get to the cafeteria
before all the food were sold out. Mr. Jang raised his voice to be heard over the noise.

“Remember, I want a 1000 word essay on the conflict between Iraq and Afghanistan by tomorrow.”

Groans were heard from every corner as everyone exited the class. I put away my books slowly. I didn’t have to rush for time. I hardly ate the
school food and I always had no difficulty getting a table. In fact, I’m beginning to think that the table right at the corner, where I usually sit is
always reserved for me seeing as how nobody ever sits there.
The cafeteria was filled with an excited buzz when I entered. I could hear snatches of people’s conversations around me.

“…who is he?”
“…doesn’t look familiar at all. He isn’t even in our uniform!”
“…he’s good-looking…”
“…what’s he doing here?”

I was curious but did not want to ask anybody, lest they might freak and blow up at me because I had just touched their expensive, imported
cardigan from Armani. Or something like that.
I froze in my tracks on the way to my usual table. Instead of it being empty, there were now 3 people, guys to be exact, seated there, with trays of
food on the table. I looked around the cafeteria for a spare table which was empty but found none. I groaned inwardly. There was nothing that I
can do except to go up to them and see if they would allow me to sit with them. Unless I was mistaken, they probably wouldn’t if they had
already heard those rotten rumours going around about me, which I am sure the people in this school would only be too happy to indulge with
them.
As I headed over to them slowly, dreading every second, the guy in the dark blue long-sleeved shirt looked up at me and grinned. It took me half
a second to register who he was before I was running towards him and crushing him in a large bear hug.

Chapter 3
I laughed in glee as I finally let go of him.

“Oppa! When did you come back? How come you never told me anything about it?” I say in delight.

“I just reached this morning. And how’s my little dongseng doing?” he smiled as he rapped me lightly on the nose.

“Fine. Thanks,” I giggled.

“Someone seems to be forgetting about me…”

I turned to look at the guy in the grey shirt. My mouth dropped open as recognition dawned on me.

“Jae Won oppa!” I ran around the table to give him a hug. “What brings you here?”

“Took you a while to recognize me, eh?” He exhaled a sigh and looked heavenwards. “Forgotten all about little old me huh? I’m hurt. Hurt that
you didn’t think of me all this while, whereas I kept thinking of you.”

I knocked his forehead lightly. “Did you forget to take your medication again? You’re talking gibberish.”
As I proceeded to sit down, I finally realized that there was another person who has kept silent all this while. I gave him a small smile and gazed
questioningly, first at my brother, then at Jae Won.

“Oh, this is my cousin, Danny Im. Danny, meet MinJi, the ever hyper person, with a man crushing hug and a lousy memory…” faltered Jae Won
as I gave him the evil eye.

I grinned at Danny and extended my hand towards him. “Hi, Danny. Nice to meet you. Don't ever listen to a word he says. He talks rubbish most
of the time.”

He grasped my hand. “So thats it! I always knew there was something wrong with him!”

We both burst out into laughter.

“There’s a reason why he’s here you know,” continued Jae Won, clearing his throat. “He’ll be studying here with you, while we settle down
here.”

“You’re moving here? For real?” I was beside myself with joy.

“Yes. We’re moving here. For real.”

Chapter 4
My brother and Jae Won had left us after we were introduced so that we could get to know each other better.

“So,” began Danny, “where are your friends?”

I winced. I knew this was coming.

“There’s something that I need to tell you but first you have to promise me that you would not breathe a single word to anybody else, especially
not to my brother.”

He gave me a quizzical look. “Alright. I promise.”

I took a deep breath. “You see, I don’t really have any friends here.” I could see his expression become one of surprise. “I’m not sure why either,
maybe it’s because I have a rotten attitude or something. I honestly have no idea. It’s just that people have always shunned me ever since I first
came here. I guess they don’t like the idea of a new face amongst all of them. But I’m alright with the whole thing. I don’t really mind actually.
And you can always go around making friends. You don’t have to worry about me at all.” I gave him a small smile.

He looked at me for a few moments. “Why don’t you want your brother to know about it? If you’re not happy, you can always change schools.”

I fidgeted with the hem of my skirt. “I don’t want him to worry about me more than he does now. He’s probably got a lot of things to do, what
with managing a whole company at the young age of 24. He does not need the additional stress. Besides, it’s been hard enough these past 3 years
without my parents. We’ve managed to come so far already on our own, and I don’t want it all to fall apart. I can manage it on my own. Don’t
worry so much.”

I had kept everything bottled up inside me for so long, and suddenly, I felt as though a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. Without
meaning to, tears began forming in my eyes, and I blinked rapidly to get rid of them. I bowed my head downwards trying to recollect my
thoughts.

For a moment, both of us were silent.

Then he spoke.

“I’ll be your friend.”

Chapter 5
“MinJi!”

I raised my head and looked all around me to locate who had yelled my name out so loud. Danny ran up to me, panting. “Hey! Morning. Wanna
walk to school together?”

I looked at him dumbfoundedly as he gave me an adorable grin. ”You want to walk to school with me? Do you know what other people might
think of you? They’ll probably treat you in a rotten way by not talking to you, constantly making fun of you, calling you all sorts of stupid names
and…” I bit my lip and trailed off at his expression.

“Okaaaay. I get the drift. But, so what? We’re friends right? And friends stick by each other no matter what.”

With that statement, he relieved me of my schoolbag, placed it over his head, across his chest and onto his shoulder. Then he turned towards me
and said, “Coming?”

For the very first time, ever since my parents died, I felt truly happy. As we walked together, side by side, I relieved him of some of his books
which he carried by hand. It was only fair after all. He helps me carry my bag and I help him carry his books.

As we talked and laughed on the way, a silver sports car, with its windows rolled down and the stereo on at full blast passed by us. It stopped a
few feet away from us, then reversed so that they were positioned right next to us. Ji Yoon stuck her head out and stared straight at me, “Walking
to school I see. Are you just practicing a healthy lifestyle or are you just so poor that you can’t even afford to take the bus to school? If you
needed to borrow some money, I’d always be glad to help. Just think of it as charity.” Minwoo, who sat in the driver’s seat just glanced over at us
and smirked. Then he revved up the engine and zoomed off in a cloud of dust.

“How come you didn’t say anything back to her?”

I gazed downwards. “They’re not exactly people you want to mess with, Danny,” I say in a small voice.

“Why not?”

“It’s bad enough that they’re mean but they’re also popular. Everyone looks up to them. They’re the IT couple. And if you offend any one of
them, everyone turns against you and things could get pretty ugly. Not that it’d make any difference to me, huh?” I say.

He pushed my forehead gently. “Stop thinking stupid things. Things will look up. Trust me.”

I gave him a small smile.

Chapter 6
I trudged towards my class, head bowed down, preparing myself for the hurtful remarks bound to be thrown my way the moment I entered the
class.

“Never ever let anyone walk over you, MinJi. Be strong. Always remember that whatever happens, I’ll always be here for you.” Danny’s words
played over and over again in my head. Somehow, I found little comfort in his words. If only he knew what it was like for me. But I knew he
meant well and that was all that mattered. I took a deep breath, and entered the classroom.

“…and he was so sweet about it. He bought me flowers, a hundred red roses to be exact! Not that I was surprised, I mean, which guy would not
fall for me? Of course, I had to turn him down. My Minwoo wouldn’t be too happy to know that I’d cheated on him, right?”

I rolled my eyes at what Ji Yoon said. A whole group of girls were sitting around her lapping up every single thing she said, while she sat, one leg
crossed over the other, on the table.

“Which reminds me, it’ll only be a matter of time before your precious little friend, Danny Im, comes after me, MinJi. Keep that in mind. And if I
were you, I wouldn’t get too close to him. Who knows, when he gets bored being friends with you, he might just dump you and that wouldn’t be
pretty, would it?”

Ji Yoon stared straight into my eyes, her gaze piercing me. For a while, I felt myself faltering. It was no secret that almost every guy had at least
fallen for Ji Yoon once. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. She had flawless features, with a fair complexion and silky, long black
hair that cascaded past her shoulders to compliment her. I looked away from her and began to unpack my bag. Too immersed in my own
thoughts, I had failed to notice that everyone had ceased what they were doing and all their attention were now focused towards the doorway.

It wasn’t until he spoke that I raised my head.

Chapter 7
“How long did it take for you to figure out all of this, Ji Yoon?” asks Danny, leaning against the doorframe, one leg crossed over the other, with
his arms folded.

“I never expected you to find out so early that I had feelings for you,” continued Danny, as he walked slowly towards her. Ji Yoon shot me a
triumphant smile and raised her eyebrows as if to say, “I told you so”. I was stunned. Stunned beyond belief. Things weren’t supposed to turn out
like that. I could only open and close my mouth in disbelief, all the while staring transfixed at what was happening in front of my eyes.

Danny placed both his arms on either side of her on the table and leaned towards her while she just sat there and smiled seductively. I was so sure
they were going to kiss. In fact, I was willing to bet a hundred on it. His face was just inches away from hers.

“Unfortunately, Ji Yoon, the feelings I have for you aren’t exactly bordering on love, you know. In fact, they’re pretty far from it. Sorry to
disappoint you,” says Danny, pulling away from her in a flourish.

I blinked my eyes in confusion. Wait a minute. Did he just say what I thought I heard him say? He glanced over at me and winked. I suddenly felt
an urge to laugh. Almost as if on cue, the whole class burst into applause and whistles can be heard. Well, almost the whole class anyway. All the
girls were shooting daggers at Danny, whereas all the guys were cheering and slapping him on the back as he strolled over to where I was sitting.

“Scared you didn’t I?” he asks, with a twinkle in his eye.

“Nope. Not at all. I saw it coming,” I say, my face deadpan. I managed to remain expressionless for a few more seconds before I burst out
laughing, till tears came out of my eyes. “You should have seen her expression! Nobody’s ever rejected her before, you know, and you came and
said it right in her face, you meanie!”
“So… did I do good?” he asks, laughing along with me.

“Stupido! What brings you here anyway? Aren’t you supposed to be in the other class which is 3 doors down?” I say, knocking him lightly on the
head.

“Not anymore. I requested for a change of class, and now I’ll be in the same class as you!” he says excitedly.

“Really? Why do you need a change of class?” I asks, suspiciously.

“So that no one will mess with you! So be grateful and don’t think so much!” he answered, pushing my forehead backwards.

Suddenly, an awful thought came into my mind. “Danny! After what you did, everyone’s going to treat you like trash! I knew you shouldn’t have
done something like that! Now you’ve gotten yourself in trouble!” I say, whacking him on the shoulder.

“So? She deserved it! She’s got a head as big as a hot-air balloon! It’s a wonder how she could have fit it through the door. And I’ve got nothing
to worry about because you’re my friend, and like I said earlier, friends stick by each other no matter what. So through my times of hardship,
you’ll be there for me, right?”

“Right!” I say, without hesitating.

Chapter 8
Surprisingly, we breezed through the first half of the day without any trouble. News about what happened had, of course, gotten out. Gossip flew
around this school faster than anything. It was everyone’s topic of conversation everywhere. Some of them were supportive of what Danny had
done, but some were not.

“…heard he said it right to her face…”

“…a bit cheeky of him to do it…”

“…serves her right…”

“…Minwoo won’t be happy about this…”

“…he sure showed her…”

“Uh-oh, looks like I’ve caused a pretty big commotion, huh?” Danny asked, as we sat our trays, laden with food, down at my usual table.

“Yeah,” I answered, in a worried tone.

“Maybe it’ll blow over in a week or so,” he said, trying to convince me.

“Not likely. I don’t think people are just going to forget about what happened that easily. Especially not Ji Yoon or Minwoo,” I say, surveying the
cafeteria crowd. I furrowed my eyebrows.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing! Nothing at all.” I smiled at him and proceeded to fill my stomach. The thing was, neither Minwoo nor Ji Yoon was at the cafeteria.
And they hardly ever missed lunch breaks. Almost never. Well, only once. And that was when somebody had messed up Ji Yoon’s shirt by
accidentally spilling paint all over it. The poor guy had returned to school a week later with a battered face and a fractured arm. It wasn’t hard to
figure out what had happened during that lunch break. But no harm would come to Danny, right? I gave him a small smile as he looked up at me
and offered me some of his apple pie.

Right?

Chapter 9
Trouble came in the form of a fist fight after school. We were both walking home together after school, with Danny carrying my bag and me
carrying his books. I was relieved that nothing had happened to him during the last few hours of school. I didn’t mind if it happened to me, but
not to Danny. Besides, it was all my fault that this happened anyway. I felt considerably happier as we walked and joked around. I felt nothing
could go wrong anymore for today.

Until I saw a silver sports car in the opposite direction.

Until I heard it swerve around and stopped a few feet behind us.

Until I heard the car doors opening and closing and footsteps approaching us.

“Well, what have we here? If it isn’t little MinJi and her precious friend,” sneered Ji Yoon.

I felt a lurch inside, as though I had just dropped twenty feet. I slowly turned around, only to come face to face with Ji Yoon and Minwoo. No
surprise there.
“You didn’t think you could get away with this so easily did you? I, Park Ji Yoon, have never been treated like that before. And in public too.
Surely, you didn’t expect me to let you guys off the hook just like that, because nobody, and I mean nobody, messes with me and gets away with
it,” she says.

“There’s always a first isn’t it?” retorted Danny. “I was the one who caused everything. If you want to settle anything, you do it with me. Leave
MinJi out of this,” he said, pulling me to stand behind him.

“Your wish is granted,” says Minwoo as he grabbed Danny by the collar. Before Danny could react, Minwoo had punched him in the jaw causing
his spectacles to fall to the ground. Next, he socked Danny in the stomach. It must have hurt a lot because Danny doubled over, crouching on the
ground. Blood dripped from the corners of his mouth. Before Minwoo could lay another punch, I ran forward and held his hand back in a bid to
prevent it from hitting Danny. Somehow, I must have done a pretty rotten job of holding it back because his fist connected with my jaw bone.

For a moment, everything froze.

Then I felt the pain course through me as the insides of my mouth filled with blood. Tears of pain filled my eyes as I held onto my jaw. “Leave
him alone,” I managed to choke out. I could see Ji Yoon smirking whereas Minwoo was just standing there, still as a statue. As I looked up at
him, silently pleading with him, I thought I saw something in his eyes. But it was gone in an instant. Instead, he turned towards Ji Yoon and said,
“Let’s go.”

I helped Danny get to his feet.

“Hey, are you alright?” he asked.

I nodded my head. “My jaw feels a bit off though.”

“I’m sorry I pulled you into this mess. It’s all my fault. I’m sorry.”

I knocked him on the head. ”What are you talking about? We’re friends, and friends go through everything together.” With that statement, I
picked up the strewn books and his spectacles. “Do you think you can walk?” I ask with a smile.

He smiled back at me. “I’ll need a little help.”

Chapter 10
“MinJi! Danny! Whatever happened to the both of you?” asked my brother, Jung Tae, rushing over to look at me.

“Oh, hey oppa! Heheh, we got into a fight,” I replied meekly.

“A fight? Of all the things you could have done, you got into a fight? Don’t you guys have anything better to do?” asks Jae Won, taking off his
shoes.

“It wasn’t her fault. I started the whole thing,” butt in Danny.

“Nonsense. I had every part in it,” I replied.

“What? But I was the one who said all those stuff!”

“So?”

“What do you mean, so? So you had no part in it!”

“Stop being so crappy, Danny. You know very well that it was my fault too! If it weren’t for me…”

All this while, both Jung Tae and Jae Won were observing us, their heads moving from left, then right, then left again and right again, as though
watching a tennis match.

“Enough!” they both yelled out simultaneously.

We both shut up immediately and looked over at them.

“Come over here, MinJi. Let me see your jaw,” my brother said, beckoning me with his hand while Jae Won tended to Danny. “That guy must
have given you quite a punch, huh? It’s all swollen!” he said, moving my head left and right, carefully inspecting my jaw. Then he lifted an ice
pack that the ahjoomah had prepared earlier and pressed it onto the bruise.

“Ow ow ow ow ow, watch it! Not so hard!” I whined.

“What happened anyway?” he asked.

I was silent. How was I going to explain the whole situation without him finding out what I was going through in school? Luckily, Danny was
quick to come up with something.
“I kind of offended some snob in the school and while he was…um…hitting me, MinJi decided to be a heroine and block one of his blows.”

“Heroine? I was not trying to be a heroine! You were being beaten to a pulp! What was I supposed to do? Stand there and watch? Aish!” I said,
throwing an ice cube in his direction.

He retaliated by throwing two ice cubes at me. I took a pillow nearby and flung it as hard as I could in his direction. The only problem was that it
hit Jae Won instead. Ooops.

“Could you guys be any more childish? You’re already 16! So behave like a 16 year old!” he mumbled.

I opened my mouth in disbelief. “Look who’s talking! You’re the guy who wears boxers with little golf balls all over them! And you’re supposed
to be 22! If that’s not childish, I don’t know what is.”

“Hey! That’s not childish! And how did you know I had those boxers? Were you looking through my things?” asks Jae Won, his face flushing red
with embarrassment.

“Jae Won oppa, you’re forgetting something aren’t you? While you’re staying here with us, the ahjoomah helps to clean your laundry. And where
does she dry the laundry? Out in the backyard where everyone can see it!” I replied, laughing.

“Yeah, yeah whatever.”

“Aren’t you guys going out tonight or something? Like, don’t you all have dates or a social event that you have to attend?” asked Danny.

Both Jae Won and Jung Tae exchanged glances.

“Nope. We have nowhere to go tonight. No dates. No nothing. Nada. So that means you’re stuck with us,” my brother answered, giving us a
small smile.

I looked over at my brother feeling a bit sad. The only reason why he hardly ever dated nowadays was because most of the girls who were
interested in him, or pretended to be interested in him, always had one eye on his wallet. And they always left him to pick up the pieces of their
relationship.

“I know what you’re thinking, little girl, and I’m fine,” Jung Tae said, looking over at me and pushing my forehead backwards with his finger.

“Aish! Why does everyone keep pushing my forehead backwards? You do know that each time you do that, I get a bit dumber, don’t you? Are
you all trying to make me dumber or something? Because it sure feels like it!” I say, whacking a pillow in my brother’s face.

“You did not just do what I think you did,” warned my brother.

I whacked the pillow in his face over and over again. Suddenly, he grabbed the pillow from me and held it threateningly over me.

“PILLOW FIGHT!”

Chapter 11
We entered class the next day, feeling beaten. Who knew that both Tae and Jae actually had so much energy in them? They were already in their
20’s, for goodness sake! They weren’t supposed to be able to jump around so much. Instead, they were supposed to be complaining about their
backs and how youngsters these days were such a rowdy bunch…or…maybe not. But still!

“Hyung, what happened to you?” asked Hae Young, one of our classmates.

“Oh, uh, I fell down the stairs,” Danny muttered.

“And you dragged MinJi down with you?“ piped up, Ji Won, looking at my jaw.

“No! Of course I didn’t!” protested Danny. “What do you think I am? A cow?”

“Then what happened to your face, MinJi?” questioned Jong Hyuk.

“I walked into a door,” I mumbled.

I could hear a few snickers around me, coming from the girls. I didn’t really mind that most of the girls had not warmed up to me yet because at
least, there were some people who had started to be nicer to me.

“Let me get this straight. You walked into a…door?” says Jong Hyuk.

“Yes,” I said defiantly. “I did. Anyway, I’ve got to get going now.” I turned away from them with a roll of my eyes and headed towards my desk,
stumbling a little. I dropped my books onto the table and slumped into my seat, laying my head down. That was when I saw it.

There, right next to me on the table lay a single red rose, with it’s petals in full bloom.
I jolted myself upright again and stared openmouthed at the rose. I racked my brain trying to figure out who could have sent me the flower.
Coming up with nothing, I surveyed the classroom, carefully noting everyone’s expression lest it was a prank that somebody wanted to play on
me. Much to my surprise, nobody paid any attention to me. All of them had their heads bowed down and were busy with their own work, namely
copying yesterday’s assignment from their friends before the teacher entered the class. Could it have been Danny or one of his friends? I looked
over in their direction raising my eyebrows at what they were doing. Nah, I concluded. It couldn’t have been either one of them. I mean, guys
who drew on other people’s faces while they were asleep wouldn’t exactly give roses to a girl. It just wasn’t their style.

I fingered the petals of the roses gently. I lifted it up, only to discover, a very small slip of paper hidden underneath the petals of the rose. Filled
with curiousity, I unfolded the paper and read what was inscribed on it.

Sorry.

My eyes widened at what I read. Well, that narrows it down to one person didn’t it? I was certain that it could not have been Ji Yoon because,
one, as I was surveying the classroom, I had noticed that the ostrich herself was missing in action and that her seat was empty. And two, nobody
knew what had happened to both Danny and I yesterday after school. If Ji Yoon was present, the whole school would have known about it by
now. There was no doubt about it. It was from him.

Lee Minwoo.

Chapter 12
I felt someone poking me in the sides.

“Go away!” I mumbled, stirring slightly so that I was in a more comfortable position.

“MinJi, wake up! Mr. Jang’s headed this way!” muttered Danny frantically, jostling my arm.

WHAP!

I jerked my head up, all drowsiness vanishing from me immediately.

“Miss Kim, I see that you’re sleeping in my class,” said Mr. Jang, peering at me over his spectacles which rested on his awfully large nose. “Any
reason why?”

I bit my lip and bowed my head. “No, Mr. Jang.”

“Good. I expect to see you in detention class at 3 o’clock sharp today. No excuses. And you, Mr. Im, I expect you to be there too.” With that, he
turned around and headed towards the front of the class again. Just then, the school bell rang signaling the end of the lesson.

“It’s all your fault I’m attending detention!” grumbled Danny as we walked to our next class.

“Aish… I’m sorry Danny. But Mr. Jang can be such a cow sometimes. You didn’t even do anything to deserve it!”

“Yeah, a cow in a shocking pink tube top and a black mini skirt!”

“With sequins all over!”

“And bright red lipstick to go with it!”

We both burst out in laughter.

“He’s got a nose so large I wonder how he manages to keep his head upright!”

Danny looked over at me with a weird expression.

“What?”

“You are such a retard!” he answered, pushing my head to the side.

Suddenly, a group of people who were playing in the hallway accidentally knocked into me, causing me to stumble backwards and drop all my
books upon the impact. As they mumbled numerous apologies, I bent down to pick up my books which were strewn all over the floor.

“Is this rose yours?” asked Danny, holding it out towards me.

I stared at it in dismay. Somebody had trodden over it and most of its petals had fallen off. The stalk had almost broken into two and one end of it
was now hanging limply. I took the squashed rose from Danny.

“You didn’t tell me you got a rose,” said Danny, feigning a hurt expression.

“It was just someone’s way of apologizing. No biggie,” I said, poking him on the nose.
I stood up and deposited the rose into a dustbin nearby. There was no use for me to keep it anymore.

“C’mon Danny! Let’s go! We can’t afford to be late to class and earn us another detention!” I said, dragging Danny behind me as we rushed to
our next class.

But little did I know, that someone else had seen me throw the rose away apart from Danny.

And as he stared into the dustbin where the crumpled rose lay, he clenched his fists as his expression hardened and his eyes became cold.

Chapter 13
We headed towards the cafeteria, our arms overflowing with numerous rags, sponges, and buckets, which we had managed to secure after
rummaging through the supply closet.

“Oooof!” I said, heaving all the things I carried onto a nearby table. “I’ll go get us some water by the pump in the back while you start sweeping
the floor, ok?”

“Sure thing.”

I headed out towards the water pump, swinging the bucket along in my hand. As our punishment, Mr. Jang had instructed us to clean out the
cafeteria. I had no whims about it. It was either the cafeteria or the toilets. The dirty, smelly toilets. Thinking about it made me want to hurl. As I
turned the corner, I saw Minwoo smoking a cigarette, with one of his legs propped up behind him on the wall. Without thinking twice, I ran up to
him.

“Hey! Thanks for the rose!” I smiled brightly.

He looked over at me coldly and I flinched inwardly. Did I miss something here? Without saying anything, he threw his cigarette to the ground,
ground it out with his foot and walked away from me, leaving me to stare openmouthed after him. What was it with him? I shrugged my
shoulders as I picked up his cigarette butt to deposit into a dustbin nearby before proceeding to the water pump.

“Danny yah! Help me carry the bucket! It’s too heavy!” I yelled, sloshing water everywhere as I walked.

After he relieved me of the bucket all the while laughing at me, I slumped into a seat nearby, trying to catch my breath. Then, I picked up a
sponge, dipped it in soapy water and proceeded to wipe the tables clean.

“Ji yah, did you happen to see Minwoo just now?” asked Danny.

“Yeah. He was out in the back. Why do you ask?”

“He crossed through here just now. He looked positively dangerous. Did you do anything to make him mad?”

“Of course not! You think I’m crazy? Making him mad is as safe as stuffing a porcupine up a bull’s nose!”

He threw a wet rag in my direction. “Babo!” he said, laughing. In retaliation, I flung my soapy sponge at him, which hit him right smack in the
face.

“Ahhhhh! My eyes!” yelled Danny, frantically trying to wipe away the soap. I quickly ran towards him splashing clean water from a bucket
nearby onto his face in an attempt to wash away the soap. He finally stopped his incessant whining and looked over at me, water dripping off the
tip of his nose. I took a step backwards as I noted his expression and finally realized that my frantic attempts to wash away the soap from his eyes
had resulted in soaking him from head to toe. A nervous laugh escaped from me.

“I’ll give you three seconds to make your getaway. Three!” he yelled, chasing after me. It wasn’t necessary for him to tell me that. Not necessary
at all. I was already sprinting as fast as I could away from him, trying to dodge around all the tables and chairs. Needless to say, he caught up
with me. I cowered on the floor with my arms over my head.

“You wouldn’t do anything to me right, Danny?” I asked.

“Of course not, Ji! You know I would never do anything to hurt you!” he said sweetly. The moment I raised my head to look up at him, a bucket
of water was thrown down upon me. It took me a second to regroup myself.

“You’d better not let me catch you!” I shrieked, getting up to chase after him.

Chapter 14
Days became weeks, weeks became months, which in turn became years. In the blink of an eye, four years had already passed us by. We had
managed to sail through high school and university together, our friendship never wavering, even for a bit. In fact, it had only gotten stronger
over the years. And in these past four years, I had always thanked my lucky stars every night for sending someone like Danny into my life.

“Ji, time to wake up!” whispered my brother in my ear, nudging me with his hand.

“Five more minutes,” I mumbled, diving deeper into my comforter.
“Five more minutes, and that’s it, alright?” I nodded my head in reply. I could feel my bed dip a little as my brother sat down beside me, stroking
my head gently. Just then, my door burst open to let in another two more people.

“Is she still asleep?” I recognized Jae Won’s voice immediately.

“Let her sleep for a little while longer,” my brother answered.

“Aish, hyung! You spoil her too much!” That was definitely Danny. Stupid cow. “Ji,” says Danny.

“What?”

“Ji.”

“What?”

“Nothing.”’

He paused for a millisecond.

“Ji.”

“What?” I asked, frustrated.

“Nothing.”

“Ji.” I decided to ignore him. He can go on saying my name for all I care.

“Ji.”

“Ji.”

“Aish! Alright! I’m up! I’m up! Now stop calling my name!” I muttered sitting up, as everyone laughed.

“Works every time!” said Danny triumphantly, throwing a fist into the air as I smacked him on the back of his head.

After I had managed to shoo them out of my room, I proceeded to go through my daily morning routine. I hesitated over what to wear for the day.
Today was, after all, a very important day for me. It was my first day of job hunting! Needless to say, I was excited. I was grateful that my
brother had been so understanding about the whole matter after I had announced it to everyone over dinner yesterday night.

“Why?” he asked, as all three of them put their forks down and turned to look at me. “You don’t have to go looking for a job. You can come and
work at Dad’s company. Our company.”

“I know. I know. But I don’t want to start working at the company just yet. I want to start out on my own first. Without any strings attached.” I
answered.

“Why?” Jae asked.

“I don’t want the workers thinking that I got the job handed to me on a silver platter just because I am the sister of the owner. That would make
everyone lose their respect for not only me, but also Tae oppa.”

“Why? Jae hyung worked at the company just like that too, and nobody was disrespectful towards him… or was there?” said Danny, earning a
knock on the head from Jae.

“That was because Jae has had working experience! I’m just a freshie, and I want to prove myself to everyone that I could make it without
anyone’s help,” I answered.

“Are you trying to imply something? After all, I am going to be working at the same company as them starting tomorrow, you know,” said
Danny, glancing sideways at me.

“Stupido! That’s different! You’ve had experience before. Remember the time when you got to be an intern at Han Corporations? Apparently,
you did so well that the manager just had to write you a recommendation letter for future reference!” I pointed out.
I managed to gain permission from my brother, after he made me promise him a number of things. Like, for example, here are just a few, over the
top of my head :

1. Call him whenever I’m free.
2. Remember to eat my meals.
3. Never try to hide anything from him, especially if it is trouble at work.
4. If the people there were treating me badly, I am required to quit my job and work at our company. No excuses.
So, yeah. He may have overdone the protective brother bit, but I knew he was doing it because he cared. I decided on wearing a pair of black
pants paired with a white long-sleeved collar shirt which had light pink crystals studded on the edge of the collar in fancy swirls, which I left
unbuttoned at the sleeves and folded up over my black coat. I opened the door, and stepped out, doing a little twirl for them to see my outfit.

“Aren’t you supposed to be wearing a skirt instead of pants?” my brother asked, walking over to my dresser to look at my vast collection on
sparkly bobby hairpins. Ever since I mentioned that I loved those kind of hairpins after receiving my very first pair as a present, they had taken it
upon themselves to buy me some every time they spotted a really nice one. Being the only girl in a household of three guys does have its perks.
He lifted a pair with little pink roses on it and gently clipped them onto my hair.

“Oppa, it doesn’t really matter whether I wear a skirt or not!” I told him, as Danny slipped a black beret over my head and Jae handed me my bag,
which I slung over my shoulders. “Anyway, I’m ready to go!”

“Breakfast first, little girl,” said Tae, guiding me to the kitchen.

I hurriedly finished a blueberry muffin and downed my orange juice, then I stood up. “Alright! I’ll be leaving now!” They walked me to the front
door, waited until I had pulled on my black heeled boots, then one by one, they took turns to kiss me on the forehead and wished me luck.

I stepped out into the crisp morning air, took a deep breath, crossed my fingers together and wished for the best.

Chapter 15
I peered up at the tall glass building, one hand shielding my eyes from the glare of the morning sun.
Lee Corporations.
The name had a familiar ring to it. As I stood outside the building pondering to myself whether I should enter or not, I suddenly snapped my
fingers as it came to me, earning me a few curious stares from passerby. I remembered Tae oppa telling me, a long time ago, how the owner of
Lee Corporations, who had now passed down the company to his heir and was now retired, had once been good friends with our father. This was
my chance. Since they were good friends before, Lee Corporations was definitely not a rival company with the Kim Corporations! I mentally
cheered to myself.

I pushed open the double glass doors and let myself in. I gaped in wonder at the sight before me. The whole place was filled with people. There
were men and women in expensive business attires everywhere, some with files under their arms and some talking into their mobile phones, all
looking important and purposeful. As I made my way towards the reception center, still feeling half dazed, I managed to hear snatches of other
people’s conversations.

“…valid assessment of the market…”
“…purchasing power parity…”
“…net foreign investment and the market for foreign currency exchange…”
“…logistical assessment…”

Oh…my…god…I am in trouble. I am in so much trouble. I don’t even know half of what they were talking about! Why didn’t I just take up the
offer to work at Tae’s company? Why? Why? Why? Why did I have to go and open my big mouth and tell everyone that I wanted to prove
myself first? I mentally kicked myself and it was all I could do from turning around and running straight out the double doors.

“Good morning, may I be of help to you, miss?” asked the lady behind the reception counter, smiling kindly.

“Um, yeah, I’m here to apply for the position as a junior marketing assistant. You guys posted an ad in the newspaper a few days ago,” I
answered, crossing my fingers behind my back, hoping against hope that it was not already filled.

“Alright, if you would just wait a few minutes while I double check about it…”

“Sure thing. Take your time,” I said, gazing around at my surroundings, as she spoke into the receiver.

A few moments later, she had directed me to the 30th floor, where I was told that I would be interviewed by the boss himself in a few minutes. To
say I was nervous was putting it mildly. I was a jumble of nerves. I settled myself onto a chair nearby and twisted my fingers over and over again.
It was a bad habit of mine. Whenever I got nervous, I would twist my fingers together. I could feel my palms begin to sweat. This was a bad idea.
A very, very bad idea. Just as I was about to get up and leave the place once and for all, a voice called out my name.

“Kim MinJi? The boss would like to see you now.”

Chapter 16
I mentally cursed myself as I followed her through a series of long corridors before coming to a stop in front of two large wooden doors. Ooooh,
nice! She knocked on the doors and led me in.

“Mr. Lee, this is Ms. Kim.”

“Alright, thank you. You may leave now,” he said. She let herself out, not before catching my eye and giving me an encouraging smile. After she
had left, I kept my gaze fixed into the richly carpeted floor, shifting from one foot to another.

“Please have a seat.” I made my way towards the chairs in front of his desk, shuffling my feet slowly, with my gaze still fixed on the floor. Oh no.

Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no –
“Look up,” he ordered. His voice was so sharp that I obediently raised my head, only to stare right into his piercing brown eyes. I blinked and
shifted my gaze away. There was something about his eyes that I just could not put my finger on.

“How old are you?”

“Twenty. Going on twenty one,” I answered.

“Any qualifications?”

“I have a degree in Business and Marketing from Dae Jhun Business University.”

“Work experience?”

“Well…” I stumbled, “none.”

“The job of a junior marketing assistant is not easy. Do you think you would be able to cope with it?”

“I could always try. Besides, as long as I’m happy working here, everything would work themselves out.”

“Why choose Lee Corporations?”

“Um…,” I stuttered. Why Lee Corporations? Why? Why? “…uh…because…because…because Lee Corporations is one of the most established
corporation and it would be an honour for me to work for it.” I gave myself a mental cheer. Yes!

“What high school were you from?”

I blinked my eyes in confusion. What kind of question was that? Nevertheless, I answered him dutifully. “Joong Kyung High.” There was a
moment of silence. Then he said the four magic words.

“When can you start?”

“Anytime,” I answered, breaking into a smile.

“Now?”

“Sure!”

“Jina, please tell Ms. Park from Marketing to come up to my office,” he said, speaking into the phone.

“Ms. Park is not in yet, sir,” came the reply.

“Then please tell Soo Jin to come up.”

As I sat there waiting patiently, I finally took in my surroundings. The room was really spacious and nicely furnished. Its walls were all wooden,
as was the writing table. Numerous books were stacked up neatly on the bookshelf behind his seat and on the left was a glass case filled with
awards and trophies, no doubt won by the corporation. To the right were couches with a glass top coffee table. Simple but nice was the only way I
could think of to describe the office.

A knock was heard at the door.

“Come in,” he said standing up, motioning for me to do so too. A girl in her mid twenties entered the room. She had shoulder length black hair
which she pinned up using a diamond hair clip. Her face was lightly made up and she was dressed in a simple black sleeveless dress with a silver
belt dangling at the hips. All I could think of was, wow, she’s beautiful, as she made her way towards us, her heels hardly making a sound on the
carpet.

“Good morning, Mr. Lee,” she greeted, bowing slightly.

“Morning. Soo Jin, this is MinJi. MinJi, Soo Jin. From now onwards, MinJi will be working as a junior marketing assistant here. Can you please
show her around the place and introduce her to everyone?” he asked.

“Sure, Mr. Lee,” Soo Jin answered smiling at me, as she led me out of the room. Just as we were about to reach the doors, I swiveled around to
face him again.

“I’m sorry, sir, it’s none of my business but are you by any chance on bad terms with Kim Corporations?”

“Kim Corporations owned by Kim Jung Tae?” he asked, furrowing his brows.

“Yeah! Yeah, that’s the one!”
“No, we’re on pretty good terms with them. In fact, we’ve done numerous joint ventures with them.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, sir,” I replied, bowing my head slightly before exiting the room.

He lowered himself back onto his chair and stared at the door which they had gone through as he thought to himself. It’s been four years, MinJi.
Four long years and you haven’t changed a bit. Don’t you recognize me? Most importantly, don't you remember me?

Chapter 17
After Soo Jin had showed me around the place and got me acquainted with everyone else, I headed towards my desk and whipped out my cell
phone. I dialed Tae’s number and waited patiently as it rang a few times before he finally picked up.

“Oppa! I got it! I got it! I got a job!” I cried gleefully into the phone.

“You did? Where?” yelled Tae, equally excited.

“Lee Corporations!” In the background, I could hear Danny and Jae yelling at my brother, asking him whether it was me on the phone and
whether I had gotten a job. I could hear scuffles going on, and it was a while before someone got back on the line.

“Ji yah! You got a job! See, I told you, you could do it!” yelled Danny before the phone was snatched away from him.

“MinJi! Congratulations! What are you working as?” Jae asked.

I could hear my brother threatening them in the background. Then he said, “Ji? You still there?”

“Yeah! I’m still here. Anyway, I’m working at the Lee Corporations as a junior marketing assistant. I know it’s not much but it’s a start!”

“Lee Corporations? Previously owned by Lee Jun Hyun but now taken over by his son?”

“Yeah! That’s the one! And I know he’s not a rival of the Kim Corporations because he mentioned that both of you guys have done numerous
joint ventures!”

“That's true. Anyway, when’s your lunch break?”

“Around 12.30. Why?”

“We’re coming over to pick you up for lunch. Hold on, Danny wants to speak with you.”

“Ji! If you look into your bag, you’ll see a little tupperware filled chocolate chip cookies. Eat it if you feel hungry or whenever you have one of
those mini breaks, ok?”

I ruffled through my bag and sure enough, there was a tupperware. “When did you put it in there?” I asked.

“When you weren’t looking. Duh,” retorted Danny.

“Aish! Thanks loads. You’re the bestest! Anyway, I need to go now. Wouldn’t want to be caught slacking on the job during my first day. See you
guys at lunch!” With that, I hung up, popped a cookie into my mouth and started to do my work.

Half an hour later, Soo Jin came over to check up on how I was doing. “Oh, and Ms. Park would like to see you now in her office. She’s the Head
of the Marketing Department.”

“Do you know why she wants to see me?” I asked Soo Jin, twisting my fingers nervously.

“Don’t worry, it’s probably nothing.”

Soo Jin showed me to Ms. Park’s office and gently patted me on the shoulder. I took a deep breath, knocked on the door and entered.

“Good morning, Ms. Park,” I said politely, bowing slightly.

“Good morning. Have a seat,” she said, gesturing towards the chairs in front of her. As I made my way towards them, I lifted my head to look at
her and immediately froze in my tracks.

“Ji Yoon? Park Ji Yoon?”

Chapter 18
She looked up at me in surprise. “Do I know you?”

“Um…I’m Kim MinJi. We went to the same high school together,” I answered.

She looked at me cluelessly for a few seconds. Then, as recognition finally dawned on her, her face contorted into a disgusted look as she
assessed me from head to toe, making me feel like a rare bug. Why didn’t I dress more nicely? Why? Why? Why? She was wearing a cream
coloured sleeveless dress, with a gold studded butterfly on the side, which looked extremely glamorous on her. I probably looked like a 16-year-
old kid standing next to her. “What are you doing here?” she spat.

I stared disbelievingly at her. Funny how one could change from nice to evil in the blink of eye. This is just further prove that looks aren’t
everything. That stupid hippo. “I’m your new junior marketing assistant. Didn’t anybody tell you that?”

“Who hired you?” she sneered.

“Mr. Lee,” I answered triumphantly. Hah! He’s the boss of the company, so that means the hippo can’t fire me for no apparent reason. I smirked
to myself.

“He hired you? Out of all the people who has applied for the job, he hired YOU? I’ve seen far better candidates. What does he see in you?”

Okaaaay. That was uncalled for. I didn’t even do anything to her! “Hey! What is it with you? You haven’t even seen any of my work yet. You
don’t have the right to judge me just like that. Besides, I think you should respect your superior’s decision to hire me.”

She looked over at me and sneered. I swear, if she keeps that up, her face would probably stay like that. “I don’t need to see your work to judge
you. I can already tell.” My jaw dropped. “Besides, Mr. Lee probably hired you because you were a high school classmate. He probably pitied
you.”

“Look, I wasn’t that desperate to get this job alright? It’s not like this is the only company…wait…what did you just say? Mr. Lee went to the
same high school as us?”

She gave me an amused look and raised an eyebrow. “I thought he interviewed you. Didn’t you recognize him? Or were you just lying about
meeting him?”

“I didn’t lie about it. You can always double check with him or Soo Jin,” I answered hotly.

“Oh, then how come you don’t recognize him? He was pretty popular back in high school you know.” She stared straight into my eyes. “And if
I’m not mistaken, he was the one who gave you that punch in the jaw. Pretty memorable moment that was. I don’t think I will ever forget that.”

My heart sank as I processed what she had just said in my mind. He was the one who gave you that punch in the jaw.

That punch in the jaw.
Lee Minwoo.

No wonder he looked so familiar. Or, at least his eyes did. Anger bubbled inside me as something else that Ji Yoon said flashed through my mind.

He probably hired you because you were a high school classmate.
He probably pitied you.

Well, you know what? I don’t need his pity. He can keep his goddamn pity. And I am going to show him just that.

Chapter 19
“Is Mr. Lee in?” I asked his secretary, Jina.

“Yes, he is. May I do something for you?” she asked. Without listening any further to what she had to say, I stormed towards his room. “Ms.
Kim! You can’t do that! You can’t just barge into…”

I pushed open his doors without even bothering to knock. Hah! That got his attention didn’t it? He looked up at me with surprise etched all over
his features. I headed towards the front of his desk, propped both my hands on the table and said very sharply, “What do you mean by all this?”

“Mr. Lee, she just ---“

“It’s alright, Jina. Everything’s fine,” he cut her off. After Jina had left the room, he stood up so that he was level with me, and looked at me with
a cold expression. “Don’t you know how to knock?”

“Don’t change the topic. I asked you a question, and you still haven’t answered me.”

He raised an eyebrow. “I don’t think that is the way an employee talks to her employer. And if you didn’t know by now, everyone here addresses
me as Mr. Lee, and you are no exception.”

“Oh, that’s pretty good to know. For a while back there, I was wondering whether you preferred to be addressed as Mr. Lee, or Lee Minwoo,” I
answered sarcastically.

He turned his head sharply to look at me. “So you knew who I was all along.”

“Frankly, no, I didn’t. So don’t flatter yourself. I only knew who you really were after Ji Yoon called me up to her office to see her. You do
remember Ji Yoon, don’t you?”
He took a long look at me. “What did you come here for?”

“I was just talking to Ji Yoon, your awfully friendly Head of Marketing Department and I was wondering, did you hire me because you pitied
me? Because you felt sorry for me? Because if that is the reason, let me tell you this. I don’t need yours or anyone’s pity. I can manage pretty
well on my own and I am going to show you just that. And if you want to fire me after this incident, just go ahead and do it. Your company is not
the only company that needs new workers.” With that, I turned around and stalked out of his office without turning to look back even once.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Minwoo looked at MinJi’s retreating back and he didn’t even flinch when she slammed the door. Then, he picked up his phone and pressed a
button which connected him with his secretary. “Jina, tell Ms. Park to come up to my office right now.”

It was a few minutes before a soft knock was heard at the door and Jina led Ji Yoon into his office. Without hesitating, Ji Yoon crossed the room
and sat down on the sofa. “You wanted to see me, Minwoo?” she asked, looking at her nails.

He made his way towards her and sat down opposite her. “What did you say to MinJi?”

At the mention of her name, Ji Yoon’s head snapped up. “What do you mean? Did she come to look for you?”

“That, is none of your business. I just wanted to tell you to leave her alone.”

“Why the sudden change of heart, Minwoo?” Suddenly, her voice became icy as her eyes were reduced to slits. “It’s her isn’t it? She’s the reason
why you broke up with me, isn’t it Minwoo? Don’t try to deny it.”

He was silent for a moment. “Drop the matter, Ji Yoon. It was over between us a long time ago. And just leave MinJi alone. Or else.”

“Or else what? What are you going to do to me if I don’t listen to you? Are you going to hit me? Like what you did to MinJi four years ago? Are
you going to punch me in the jaw too?”

He stood up and leaned over her. “Don’t try to do anything I wouldn’t do, Ji Yoon. You don’t want to mess with me.” Then he gestured towards
the door. “You may leave now,” he said in a cold voice.

Chapter 20
“MinJi!” hollered Chil Hyun from across the office. “A group of us will be eating lunch together. Want to join us?”

“I would love to join you guys, but I can’t make it today!” I hollered back, cupping my hands around my mouth. “I promised my brother, my
cousin and my best friend that I would have lunch with them today! Maybe next time?”

“Tomorrow! Your treat!” came the reply.

“Alright!” I laughed. I was beginning to like these guys. Not only were they welcoming and totally nice, they were also a wacky bunch of people.
Perfect for me. But I may have to leave them very soon, knowing that I’d probably get fired after doing that stint earlier. My heart sank a little at
the thought of it.

“MinJi, is your brother or anyone of them that you are meeting for lunch, cute?” whispered Hee Jin, poking me in the sides as we all headed into
the elevator together.

“Hee Jin!” everyone yelled.

“What? I was just curious!” she muttered as everyone laughed at her.

“What do you think?” I teased.

We all split into different groups at the entrance of the building. I craned my neck to try and spot the familiar silver sports convertible that my
brother drove, only to find it parked a few feet in front of me. Danny was leaning against it with his hands in his pockets and his gaze fixed
downwards. “Danny!” I yelled, running over to him and giving him a big hug.

“Whoa, little girl,” he said after I had released him, ”you missed me that much, huh?”

I pushed his head backwards. “Where’s Tae and Jae oppa?” I asked, leaning against the car next to him. He looked exceptionally good in his
black business suit which only set off his chiseled features more. His rimless spectacles made him look more intellectual and his streaked hair
made him look a bit rugged.

“They went to get something from a store nearby. So how is your first day at work?”

“It’s great! I have the wackiest colleagues that you could ever find. They were really really really nice and welcoming and I’ve managed to get
along with almost everyone at the office! Oh, which reminds me, you wouldn’t believe who is the Head of the Marketing Department and the
owner of this corporation,” I said, all in one breath.

“Who? Anyone I know?” he asked, putting an arm around my shoulders and looking down at me.

“Yeah! Try and guess!”
“ Park Ji Yoon and Lee Minwoo from high school?” he replied, looking into the distance.

“How did you know?” I asked, looking up at him in surprise. He nodded his head towards the entrance of the building and I followed his gaze.
Both of them were walking together side by side, probably headed out for lunch together. Obviously, they were still an item. Just then, Minwoo
spotted us and made his way towards us with Ji Yoon in tow.
Or that was what I thought.
The red sports car parked behind us bleeped, indicating that it was open. I bowed my head slightly as they both passed us by, and Danny
squeezed my shoulder lightly. When I raised my head again to look at them, I noticed Ji Yoon giving me a victorious glance before they zoomed
off. What is it with her?

“Hey! Sorry we’re late! Were you waiting for us very long?” said Tae, gasping for breath, as he ran towards us and handed me a plastic bag.

“No. Don’t worry about it. I had Danny to keep me company. Anyway, what’s this?” I said, peering into the plastic bag. To my delight, I found a
strawberry smoothie inside it. “Strawberry smoothie!” I exclaimed, giving Tae and Jae a big hug each. “You guys went out of your way just to
buy me this?”

Tae ruffled my hair. “We didn’t only buy you that,” he said with a gleam in his eyes.

“Then?”

“It’s a surprise!” yelled Jae Won.

“A surprise?” My eyes widened at the thought of it. “Awww, come on! You can tell me!” I said jumping up and down.

Tae opened the car door, motioning for me to enter. “You’ll know about it in a week. So be patient! And, there is no point trying to weasel it out
of us because we’re not going to tell you anything. Oh,” he adds as an afterthought, ”don’t try to torture Danny into telling you what it is, because
he doesn’t know either!”

I groaned as all three of them laughed. They’ve meticulously planned this all out, haven’t they? I leaned back in my chair huffily.

“Cheer up, Ji,” says Tae. “I’ll let you pick what we’re having for lunch!”

“Really? I can choose anything?” I asked, feeling myself brighten up.

“Yup! Anything you want!”

It took me a few seconds to make up my mind. “Japanese food!” I yelled.

Chapter 21
Minwoo weaved his car expertly in and out of traffic, maintaining his speed at a constant 100 mph. He hardly spoke a single word ever since that
encounter with MinJi and Danny outside the building. Questions that remain unanswered kept pounding in his head.

“They looked pretty chummy back there, didn’t they?” said Ji Yoon calmly, knowing that she had hit her mark when Minwoo increased the
pressure on the accelerator, raising it to a 120 mph. “There’s no point getting tied up in bunches over it. You knew it yourself. She and Danny had
been good friends ever since he entered the high school. Didn’t you think that they–“ She halted in mid-sentence when Minwoo suddenly stepped
on the brakes, causing the car to screech to a stop, narrowly missing the van in front by a few inches. He banged his fists on the steering wheel
and muttered a curse under his breath.

“Look, Ji Yoon, I’m not in the mood to talk about it right now. So just drop it,” he said icily, stepping on the accelerator again.

“No, you listen to me!” she said, raising her voice and turning in her seat to face him. “Stop hoping that she would actually come to you on her
own, without any reserves. You and I both know that she would never do that. Never in a million years. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if both
she and Danny were an item. Tell me, what have you ever done to make her happy? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Back in high school, you’ve never given
her any respect, going around calling her a freak and also given her a punch to the jaw. Do you remember that incident, Minwoo? Do you?
Danny, on the other hand, has respected her, come to her defense every single time she was in trouble and most importantly, he has always been
there for her. Always. What makes you think you can beat that, huh, Minwoo? Your money? Your looks? Stop living in your fantasy world and
face reality,” she snapped. “Let’s face it, she’ll never forget what you did to her in high school after that punch. Nobody’s that forgiving.
Especially not a woman.”

She got out of the car and slammed it shut behind her, not bothering to wait for him as she entered the restaurant. Minwoo sat in the car, staring
straight at absolutely nothing. What Ji Yoon said had struck a nerve inside him and anger and frustration began to bubble inside him. Finding
nothing to vent his anger on, he banged his fists once again onto the steering wheel before getting out of the car. He lit a cigarette and leaned
against the car, inhaling deeply, then exhaling again. He did this continuosly for a few more times before throwing the cigarette down and
grounding it out with his shoe. Then, taking a deep breath he entered the restaurant, only to be confronted by the sight of MinJi sitting at a table
with a group of people, laughing up at Danny Im.

Chapter 22
I glanced up when I heard the bell ringing over the door and my laughter immediately died down when I saw Minwoo standing in the doorway,
his icy gaze fixed on me. Sensing something amiss, Danny, who was seated next to me raised his head and followed my gaze to where Minwoo
stood.

“Mr. Lee.” I stood up and slightly bowed my head in greeting when he crossed our table. Not surprisingly, he brushed past me, his shoulder
knocking against mine, without even looking up. Okay, I pretty much expected that. You can’t expect him to be all goody goody and nice after
what I did today.

“Still haven’t lost his attitude from back in high school, huh?” Danny remarked.

“Who is that?” asked Tae, shooting curious glances at Minwoo.

“My boss,” I replied glumly.

“Oh? That’s the President of Lee Corporations?” asked Tae, sneaking another glance at him then turning back to look at me suspiciously. “And
he doesn’t get along very well with his workers, does he?”

“What? Why are you looking at me like that? Oh no, if you’re thinking what I think that you’re thinking, forget it. I didn’t do anything to him!
Honest!” Okay, so I lied. But they don’t really have to know about my stint, do they?

“What did you mean when you said from back in high school, Danny?” asked Jae Won.

“Oh, that. We used to go to the same high school but we never really got along,” answered Danny, shrugging his shoulders.

“And how come I’ve never heard of anything like this before?” asked Tae, putting down his chopsticks and looking at the both of us. “If I
remember correctly, every time I asked, the both of you would often tell me that I worried too much and that you guys were getting along with
EVERYONE in school.” I winced. Uh-oh.

“Well, when I meant that we never really got along…it was in the sense that…that we…um…” stumbled Danny.

“That we just didn’t click together. Like we didn’t share the same interests and…um…sports…and…uh…” I trailed off, shooting Danny a
desperate look.

“And…and…yeah! That’s about it. We just didn’t, you know, click,” finished Danny, lamely.

“Okaaaaaay. Well, that’s not surprising. I mean, the both of you were pretty rotten people back then.”

“Hey!” Danny and I yelled simultaneously. “Okay, so maybe we were just a little hard to handle, but that doesn’t mean we were rotten, right
Danny?” I said, turning to him for confirmation.

“Right!” he answered, nodding his head.

“Just a little hard to handle? That, has got to be the understatement of the year,” retorted Jae Won, turning in his seat to face Tae. “Remember the
time when they came home with bruises all over after getting beaten up?”

“We weren’t beaten up! We…we…just got caught up in a fight!” I said.

“Oh yeah! And there was this other time when the principal called up and said that instead of them helping to clean up the cafeteria as a detention
punishment, they had managed to turn the whole cafeteria into a…what was the word that he used?” said Tae, ignoring us.

“A soapy battlefield,” answered Jae.

“Ah yes, a soapy battlefield,” repeated Tae.

“That was totally out of our control! You see, Danny started it by throwing this really wet ra—“

“And then there was the time when he called up again to complain about both their behaviours in school…for going around and drawing on other
people’s faces while they were asleep!” Jae said, cutting me off.

“And also for starting a paint fight in the art room!” chimed in Tae.

“And throwing scrunched up paper balls at their history teacher.”

“It wasn’t intentional! It was actually meant for Ju—“

“And stuffing frogs in that girl’s bag…what’s her name again?” asked Tae.

“Ji Yoon,” replied Jae.

This time, it was Danny’s turn to defend us. “She deserved it. You wouldn’t believe what she was like back then. She was this really really rott—
“
“And blowing up the Chemistry lab.”

“And messing with the lightings for the yearly concert.”

“And cutting up th—“ Tae stopped in mid-sentence as I stuffed a piece of salmon sushi into his mouth.

“Eat,” I ordered, “and don’t talk.” I took a look at his shocked expression and burst into laughter, followed shortly by Jae and Danny.

“Mmmmph bmmmph rumphhh drumphhh” replied Tae, shooting daggers at me.

All throughout lunch, Minwoo’s eyes and attention were focused on their table. Noting how close both MinJi and Danny were, noting how she
always laughed at his jokes, noting how they always defended each other, just plainly noting their closeness. And as he continued looking at them
out of the corners of his eyes, he clenched his fists tightly under the table when he felt a sharp pain in his heart.


Chapter 23

“Morning! Guess what day today is?” I said, rubbing my hands gleefully as I sat down next to Tae and took a sip of my orange juice. There was a
flurry of activity as Tae folded up his newspaper, Jae closed his file and Danny closed his laptop.

“What?” they all said in unison.

I blinked my eyes a few times. “You mean, you guys don’t know?” I said, my heart sinking. They looked at one another blankly. “Okay, let’s put
it this way. What month is it now?”

“April,” they answered, promptly.

“And what date is it today?”

“16th.”

“So, doesn’t April 16th ring a bell?” I asked, crossing my fingers under the table for luck. To my delight, Danny’s face lighted up and he snapped
his fingers. Yes! I gave a mental cheer.

“I know! Today’s our big meeting with the Jung Corporations!”

“Oh! I totally forgot about it!” exclaimed Tae, hitting his forehead. “Thanks for reminding us, Ji. We would have screwed up the deal if it weren’t
for you,” he said, standing up and kissing me on the forehead. “Ready to go?”

I nodded my head and plastered a smile onto my face to cover up my disappointment. They totally forgot about my birthday! Those cows. I
exhaled a dejected sigh as I went to put on my shoes. On the way to work, the prospect of their new deal were the only topic of conversation. I
nodded my head at intervals, not really listening to what they were saying. Just as I was about to enter the building, Tae yelled, “Ji! Come home
early tonight so that we can all have dinner together alright?”

“Sure thing!” I yelled back, feeling my spirits lift. Maybe they haven’t forgotten about it after all. Maybe they just wanted to surprise me tonight!
I entered the office with a smile on my face.

“Why the happy face?” asked Chil Hyun, poking me in the sides and giving me a smile.

“Nothing that you should know about!” I replied, laughing as he pushed my head to the side.

“Alright everybody! Settle down and listen up!” came Ji Yoon’s voice. “As you all already know, the company has decided to branch out and a
new range of soft drinks have just been launched into the market. What I want you all to do is to create an eye-catching advertisement to promote
the soft drinks. All assignments have to be handed in to me before you leave the office. So get started on it!”

Groans and murmurs were heard collectively from around the office. I rested my chin on my hands and tapped my blue pen on the tabletop. This
was my very first assignment and I wanted it to be good. I wanted to prove to Minwoo that his decision to let me stay at the corporation was a
wise one and to Ji Yoon that I could produce good work just like everybody else. As I sat looking at everybody hard at work, inspiration suddenly
struck me and I quickly pulled out a sheet of paper and began drawing on it, putting my idea onto paper. I was so absorbed with my work that I
skipped lunch, conveniently breaking one of my promises to Tae. But he didn’t need to know about it. By 4.30, I had finished my advertisement.
I stretched my back and got up to get myself a cup of coffee from the coffee machine, stopping at some tables on the way to admire their work.

We all piled into Ji Yoon’s office together, commenting on each other’s work. As I placed my advertisement on her desk, everyone kept quiet,
waiting for her response. I crossed my fingers behind my back for luck.

Then, after an excruciatingly long moment, she looked up at me and said, “What kind of rubbish is this?”

Chapter 24

My jaw dropped open in disbelief. “Wh—What do you mean?”
“You call this work? It’s not even up to standard! Look at the drawings! Look at the colours! This looks like the work of a 12-year-old! What
were you thinking? That you were just completing an assignment for a high school project?"

“Um, Ms. Park, I think her work is better than most of ours,” says Chil Hyun, as everyone else nodded their heads in silent agreement.

“Yeah, hers is different. Special in a way and it gets the message across,” quipped Brian giving me a smile.

“Did I ask for any of your opinions?” she lashed out. “You,” she said jabbing her finger at me. “I want you to redo this advertisement. And you
may not leave the office until it’s on my desk. Get it?” I nodded my head numbly as I exited her room.

“Hey, are you alright?” asks Hee Jin, running up beside me.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Don’t worry,” I answered, giving her a feeble smile.

At 5 o’clock, everyone began packing up to leave the office.

“Need any help, MinJi? I could always stay and help you out,” offered Chil Hyun.

“Nah, it’s alright. I can handle it. Thanks anyway. Go out and enjoy your night,” I answered.

“You sure?”

“Positive.”

“Alright then, take care ok?” he says, patting me on the shoulder.

“Sure thing. You too,” I smiled.

A few moments later, Ji Yoon came out of her office, ready to leave. “Don’t even think of trying to get off early, MinJi. You’ll be in trouble for
disobeying my orders. And,” she said, pointing around the office, “remember to off all the lights and lock up when you’re done.” She strode out
of the office without even giving me another glance. I knew it was already no use trying to plead with her to let me hand it in tomorrow, so I
whipped out my phone and dialed Tae’s number to tell him that I couldn’t make it for dinner.

“Why?” he asks in a worried tone.

“It’s nothing, oppa. I just have to stay to complete some work. I’ll see you when I get home alright? Bye!” I say, clicking my phone shut.

By 9.30, tears of frustration began to prick my eyes. Wads and wads of scrunched up paper balls lay beside me, all over the tabletop and floor. As
I brushed the tears away carelessly, a dark shadow loomed over me. Immediately, I jerked my head up only to look into a set of deep brown eyes.
“Mr. Lee,” I mumbled, standing up and giving him a slight bow, all the while looking down and praying that he did not see my tears. He’ll
probably think that I’m a wimp!

“What are you doing here?” came his monotonous reply.

“Um, Ms. Park said my work wasn’t satisfactory enough so I had to stay back and redo it.”

He furrowed his brows and said, “Alright then. Continue with your work.”

Just as he was about to turn and walk away I tapped him on the shoulder and immediately let go when I saw his cold expression. “I was just
wondering whether you needed any help getting anything.”

“No. I’ll be fine.” With that he turned around again and headed towards Ji Yoon’s office as I sat down once more to resume my work. We
continued minding our own business until suddenly, the electric power got cut off, leaving the both of us in total darkness. A few minutes later, I
heard the sound of glass breaking and Minwoo muttering a curse.

I got out of my seat and made my way towards Ji Yoon’s office, groping around in the darkness. “Mr. Lee?” I call out tentatively. “Are you all
right?”

When he failed to answer me back, I quickened my pace, taking my cell phone out of my coat pocket and gripping it tightly in my hand, just in
case I needed to use it as a weapon. I mean, you never know what’s lurking out there in the dark, right? Like say, what if it was an intruder who
had managed to creep up behind Minwoo when he wasn’t looking and smashed a glass onto his head to knock him out? Or maybe there was a
homosexual rapist who had an obsession with him?

I entered Ji Yoon’s office and with the help of a shaft of moonlight streaming in through one of the windows, I managed to locate Minwoo, who
was kneeling on the floor with his back to me. No intruder. No homosexual rapist. I breathed a sigh of relief as I made my way towards him
slowly. As I began to near him, I noticed that there were shards of glasses littered everywhere beside him but what shocked me the most was the
fact that his left hand was covered in blood, a large shard of glass still embedded in his flesh.

“Oh my God,” I breathed, running over to him and taking his hand in mine so that I could take a better look at it. “What happened?”
“I accidentally knocked over a glass plaque when the lights went out,” he replied, wincing slightly.

“Hold on,” I say, getting to my feet, ”I’ll go get the first aid kit.”
“Wait,” he called out, handing me his cigarette lighter. ”Use this. It’s not much but at least you’ll be able to make your way across the office
without knocking into chairs and banging into tables.”

“Thanks,” I say, reaching out for the lighter. The moment our fingers touched, I felt a tingling sensation shoot through my arm and spread to my
entire being. Not wanting him to suspect anything was amiss, I grabbed the lighter from him and headed out the door, deep in thought.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Minwoo looked at her retreating back in silence, also deep in thought. The beeping of her cell phone nearby which indicated that she had just
received a message jolted him out of his reverie. He took a long look at the phone’s blinking screen, debating whether he should read it or not.
Curiousity got the best of him and he lifted the phone up which lay on the floor amidst the numerous shards of glasses and flipped it open.

Dear MinJi, it’s your aunt here! I dropped by your house earlier only to have Jae Won tell me that you were not back from work yet. It’s such a
pity as I was really looking forward to seeing you today. Anyway, I’ve left your present in your room. You didn’t think I’d actually forget, did
you? Give me a call, or better yet, drop by and visit me whenever you have the time okay? Oh, and before I forget, happy birthday, dear. Miss
you loads!

Before he could flip the phone shut again, a voice in the doorway made the blood drain from his face. “What are you doing?”

Chapter 25

He turned his head around to look at me. “Your phone kind of beeped while you were gone so I picked it up for you, only to find out later that it
was actually a message alert. Sorry,” he said, handing my phone back to me.

“Don’t worry about it.” I gave him a smile, motioning for him to sit on the couch nearby. “Um, anyway,” I said, biting my bottom lip, “do you
think you could pull out that shard of glass that’s sticking out of your flesh? On your own? I can’t bring myself to do it.”

“Sure,” he says, calmly reaching for the shard of glass and carefully dislodging it from his palm. I flinched when I saw what he was doing and
looked up at him to see how he was taking it. His face was a mask of concentration, and I was surprised to find that not even a flicker of pain was
etched onto his features. Doesn’t it hurt at all? I turned my head away from the sight in front of me. His hand was a bloodied mess and the more
the shard was being pulled out, the more blood spilled from his wound. Yet, his face remained determinedly cool.

“This might sting a bit,” she said, carefully cleaning the blood with a cotton ball dabbed with some antiseptic. It stung like hell but I was adamant
not to show it. To show pain would mean that he was showing weakness. And weakness is one thing that Lee Minwoo can never show. Not to
her. Not to anyone. So, to get my mind off the pain, I focused on her. Her long hair fell about her, hiding most of her face as she pored over my
wound, but I noticed that she had caught her bottom lip between her teeth and was clenching the pink flesh so hard I was sure it was beginning to
hurt.

“Oh no, there isn’t any more bandage in here!” I said rummaging through the first aid kit, then turning to face him. “What do we do now?”

“It’ll be fine without any bandages. I’ll just get it wrapped up later or something,” he replied, inspecting the wound.

“No! Hold on, I know what we’ll do!” I said, untying my cream scarf from around my neck.

“No.” The ‘no’ was refined, chiseled to perfection. A firm no.

“Don’t be stupid. It’ll get infected if it’s not bandaged. This will just have to do for the time being until you get a proper bandage,” I said, pulling
his hand back towards me and wrapping it up deftly. For a moment, both of us were silent.

“Thanks,” he says gruffly. I raised my eyebrows in surprise. Since when has Minwoo ever thanked anyone? Never.

“It’s no biggie.” I gave him a smile, then mentally kicked myself. What was I thinking? He probably couldn’t see it anyway. We were still in the
dark, for God’s sake.

Just then, the lights came back on. Aish! Me and my big mouth.

As I caught a glimpse of the time on the wall clock, I immediately jumped up from the couch. 10.30? I’ve wasted a whole hour just tending to his
wound? I let out a frustrated sigh, and brushed my fingers through my hair. At this rate, I would probably have to sleep in the office tonight. And
that was not what I had in mind to do on my birthday.

“If you may excuse me, Mr. Lee, I need to complete my work.” I hastily exited the room, not waiting to hear his reply.

“MinJi!” he called out after me. “Can you please come back in here for a moment?” I rolled my eyes in exasperation.

“Do you need any help, sir?” I asked, as politely as I could.
“Which one of these advertisement is yours?” he asked, pointing to the numerous cardboards stacked in one corner. “I want to see it.” I
rummaged through all the cardboards, one by one, finally coming across a familiar picture. I pulled my cardboard out from the pile and handed it
over to him. He looked at it thoughtfully, taking in the colours and the pictures. Then he looked up at me, gave me a long look and said, “You
may leave now. I’ll explain to Ji Yoon about this in the morning.”

I widened my eyes in shock. No way was he going to speak to Ji Yoon about it, or about anything for that matter! He’ll only worsen things
between the both of us. As if things weren’t going bad enough already. But he didn’t need to know that. Nope siree. “Oh, it’s alright, Mr. Lee. I
mean, I understand fully why Ms. Park insisted that I redo it. The pictures aren’t even up to standard, the colours are an awful combination and
the ca—“

“Did Ms. Park say that about your work?” he asked, sharply.

“N—no…I just thought that it wa—“

“Well, you thought wrong. You may pack up and leave. No excuses.” With that, he turned his back on me and continued to study my work.

I stared at him in disbelief. He is a complete cow. I swear. One minute he’s nice and the next, he’s mean. What is it with him? PMS? I grumbled
to myself as I headed out of the office. No doubt Ji Yoon’s going to be all mean and bossy to me tomorrow. I flagged down a cab and looked at
the time. 15 minutes to 11 o’clock. Which means that by the time I reach home, I’ll still be able to celebrate my birthday with the guys. Oh, and
I’ll be able to know what my surprise is! Finally! I felt my spirits lift at the thought of what lay in store for me. After all that I had gone through
today, I deserve it.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Minwoo looked at her work in surprise, tracing his hand over her drawings and admiring the blend of colours. He had never thought MinJi was
capable of doing something like this. His expression hardened immediately when he thought of what Ji Yoon had said about her work. Although
MinJi had denied it, he knew. He knew that Ji Yoon had said all those hurtful remarks about her work. He wasn’t surprised though. He saw it
coming. Ever since that day at the restaurant, he knew Ji Yoon wasn’t going to go easy on her.

He exited the office and just as he was about to switch off all the lights, he caught sight of the cream scarf that was wrapped around his palm.
With a jolt, he realized what he had forgotten to do. Or rather, say.

He had forgotten to wish MinJi a happy birthday.

Chapter 26

I paid my taxi fare, bid the driver good night and stepped out of the taxi, giving him a little wave as he drove away. Then, leaning against the
wall, I rang the doorbell and waited for the ahjummah’s familiar voice through the intercom.

“Ahjummah! MinJi here!”

I let myself through the now open gate and just as I was digging through my bag for my keys, the front doors swung open. I looked up to see the
ahjummah standing in the doorway, now a little breathless.

“Aiya, ahjummah! I can open the doors on my own next time. You don’t have to waste your breath and run around the house, just to open it for
me,” I said, giving her a huge hug. “By the way, where are the guys?”

“Out in the back,” she answered, her eyes twinkling.

I pushed open the French doors that led to the backyard. The ahjummah is such a liar! Nobody would sit out here in the dark! Just as I was about
to turn around to go indoors again, the whole place lighted up, almost magically. My mouth dropped open in disbelief as I stood there, stunned at
the sight that greeted me.

“Wow,” I breathed.

Rose petals covered almost every inch of the grass. Pink and white ribbons spiraled around the pillars nearby. In the center, a lighted birthday
cake sat on top of a garden table. Just then, a display of fireworks erupted in the sky above me. As I stood there, mesmerized by the many colours
and patterns of the fireworks, Tae, Jae and Danny joined me by my side.

“Surprise!”

I looked up at them, too happy for words. Then, I gave each of them a big hug. “Thank you sooooooo much!”

“So, does this mean that you like it?” asked Tae, putting an arm around my shoulders.
“Like it? I love it,” I said, grinning up at them. “But you guys shouldn’t have done it. All the trouble that you guys had to go through just to set all
this up…it’s just not worth it.”

“Who says?” asked Danny.

“Exactly. Of course it’s worth it,” piped up Jae.
“Yup. Anything for my little sister,” said Tae, kissing my forehead.

“Which reminds me, why did you guys have to play such a rotten trick on me this morning by pretending that you all couldn’t remember it was
my birthday?” I asked, punching Tae’s arm.

“It would spoil the whole surprise if we didn’t do it. Besides, the look on your face this morning was worth all the trouble. Definitely a Kodak
moment!” he laughed, earning a smack on the back of the head from me.

“Oi! Hurry up and blow out the candles!” yelled Danny.

“Wait! Make a wish first!” said Jae.

Obediently, I closed my eyes and made a wish, then blew out all the candles in one breath. After finishing my slice of cake, I jumped up to face
them.

“Alright! Time for presents!”

“Sure. But first, you have to put on this blindfold,” says Tae, throwing a strip of black cloth in my direction.

“Why?” I ask suspiciously. “You’re not going to dunk cold water on me, are you?”

“Well, come to think of it, that’s a pretty good idea…“ faltered Danny as I gave him the evil eye.

“No, we’re not going to do anything like that. Cross my heart,” replies Tae, knocking Danny on the head. Jae helped me put on the blindfold,
tying the ends really tightly. Then, with Tae guiding me, we began to walk. After what seemed like an awfully long time, Tae said to me, ”You
can take the blindfold off now.”

I ripped off the blindfold, and gasped in shock, my hand covering my mouth. There, right in front of me, stood a brand new red sports car.

“Is that for me?” I asked, just to be sure.

“Yup. All yours. And here are the keys,” says Tae, grinning at me. “By the way, it’s from all three of us.”

“Honestly, I don’t know what to say. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t even come close.”

“You don’t have to say anything. Your expression tells us all we need to know," said Tae, giving me a hug.

Chapter 27

I woke up early the next morning and smiled, remembering yesterday’s events. I ate a light breakfast, and left a note addressed to the guys telling
them of my whereabouts. Getting into my new car, I drove to the nearest florist to buy a bouquet of white roses before heading to the cemetery.

I came to a stop in front of a pair of familiar headstones, placing the bouquet of white roses down in front of the headstone bearing the name, Kim
Jee Hyun. I sat down hugging my knees, then turned my face up to look at the clear blue sky.

“Hey mom, hey dad. It’s been a while.”

The whole place was quiet except for the occasional chirping of the birds and the trees in the light breeze, and my voice, talking. Telling them
everything that had happened to me in the past few days.

Ever since they died in a car accident, Tae was the only person that I could talk to about it. In fact, I still ask him all kinds of questions about
them. There were moments when I felt guilty about my parents dying. If I had not insisted that they rush home on that rainy night, none of this
would have happened. So I had asked Tae, “Oppa, was it my fault that they died?” He smiled, and said, “You’re crazy.” He explained that our
parents dying was no one’s fault – that things happen for reasons that we do not understand. And if there was one thing that I had learnt from him,
it was to never look back because what is done, is done and there is nothing else that you can do to change it.

Sometimes, I would have dreams about them that felt so real. I still remember in one nightmare, I had opened both their caskets and saw that they
were still alive. I think that happened because I always wondered if there was anything else that we could have done to save them. Then one day,
Tae said to me, “MinJi yah, every time you speak to them, they are listening to you from up there. You may not know it, but they really are.”
From that day onwards, I find myself in my room telling them what was going on with me. I visit them at the cemetery during their birthdays,
during Christmas, and whenever else I feel like it.

The pain definitely gets easier with time and I still think of them a lot. I always picture them giving me hugs or smiling at me. Once in a while, I
still cry about what happened. But I have also tried to move on. I’ve been coping with everything, taking it in my stride for the past 7 years now.

I want to make my parents proud of me, because I believe that they are watching over me.

Chapter 28
I entered the office, feeling refreshed after my visit to the cemetery. Call me weird, but that's what I always feel after visiting my parents.

“MinJi!” hissed Brian. “Did you finish your assignment yesterday? The one that you had to work overtime for?”

“No. But I had a reason. Why?” I asked, alarmed at his expression.

“You didn’t finish it?” asked Chil Hyun, grimacing.

“Why? What’s wrong?”

“I hate to be the one to tell you this, MinJi, but I think you’re in deep trouble. Ji Yoon came out of her office a while ago to tell us of your
inability to complete work that is given to you. I think she’s going to fire you,” answered Chil Hyun, putting an arm around me, consolingly.

I felt my heart sink to the floor. “Fire me? But…but she can’t do that! Minwoo…I mean, Mr. Lee said he’d explain everything to her!” I looked
around the office, noticing all their sympathetic expressions. After a slight pause, I asked in a very small voice, “He didn’t come in here at all, did
he?”

As everyone shook their heads, realization finally dawned on me. That donkey. How could I have been so stupid? He probably thought it would
be fun to get me in trouble with Ji Yoon. In fact, I bet they had planned this all out together. I slumped down into a chair nearby. Why wasn’t I on
my guard? What made me think that they had changed for the better? Because, obviously, they hadn’t. They were still as mean as they were back
in high school. Now, I regret helping Minwoo clean his wound yesterday night. If anything, I should have pushed the shard deeper into his flesh.
And to think that I actually used my favourite scarf to bandage his hand! Stupid! Stupid!

“Kim MinJi. In my office. Now.”

I flinched inwardly at her voice. Nevertheless, I got up from the chair, straightened my clothes and walked towards her office, my chin held high.
There was no way I was going to enter her office with my tail tucked between my legs. I rapped sharply on her door and waited.

“Come in.”

I crossed my fingers behind my back then pushed her door open. She stood leaning against the table, her arms folded across her chest.

“Aren’t you going to greet me?”

I bit the insides of my cheek to keep myself from spitting an awful remark at her. “Good morning, Ms. Park,” I said, bowing slightly.

“That’s better. Anyway, you do know why I called you in here right?”

“Yes. About my inability to complete my work.”

“It doesn’t come as a surprise to me MinJi. I’ve always expected you to do something irresponsible like this. I did mention once, that I didn’t
need to see your work to judge you. You’re incapable of doing anything right. Why don’t you give me a valid reason as to why I shouldn’t give
you the sack after what you failed to do?” she sneered.

I met her gaze head-on. “Why don’t you ask Minwoo?”

“That’s Mr. Lee to you. And what’s he got to do with everything at hand here?”

“For your information, Mr. Lee was the one who exempted me from completing my work.”

The sneer began to disappear from her face and she flashed me an icy glare. “Oh really? Funny how he never mentioned anything to me.”

“Well, that’s just too bad. Why don’t you go and ask him about it?” I returned her glare.

Just then, she threw her head back and laughed, a mean and cruel laugh. One that sent shivers down my spine. And just as abruptly as she had
started, she stopped, smiling icily at me. “I’m sorry MinJi, but I wont be able to do that. You see, Mr. Lee left early in the morning to attend an
important meeting and I’m afraid he won't be back till later in the afternoon, which means that he will not be able to certify whether what you are
saying is the truth or not.”

“Haven't you ever heard of a telephone? You could always give him a call to certify it. But you know what? There's no use for that. It’s obvious
that you don’t believe me and you’ve made it pretty clear that you don’t want me working here. So you can sod off, because I’m resigning.”

Chapter 29

I cleared all my possessions and carefully placed them into a small cardboard box. With a heavy heart, I bid farewell to all the people with whom
I’ve become quite attached to while I’ve been working here.

“Hey, cheer up! It’s not like I’ll be leaving to someplace far away or anything. We could always meet up during lunch hours,” I said, trying my
best to smile. “Anyway, I’d like to thank all of you guys for being so nice to me while I was here. To Hee Jin, for always being there, Chil Hyun,
for always sticking up for me, Brian, for being your wacky self and the countless chocolate bars that you always gave me, and to Soo Jin, for
being the first person to befriend me here and get me acquainted with everyone. Thank you very, very much.”

There was a slight pause around the office after I had finished my mini speech. Then, chairs scraped backwards on the floor as everyone got out
of their seats to circle around me.

“Remember to call!” says Hee Jin, squeezing me so tight I couldn’t breathe.

“If you ever need any help, you know where to look for me,” said Chil Hyun, putting an arm around me.

“Always keep your head up high,” smiled Brian, tilting my chin up.

“All the best, MinJi. Take good care of yourself,” says Soo Jin, giving me a hug.

I wandered slowly towards the doors of the building and go out onto the street, heaving the cardboard box slightly, and smiling at the security
guard standing there. And then I stop. What am I supposed to do now? I didn’t really want to tell Tae and the guys what happened to me. They’d
be so disappointed! I blew my hair out of my face. I can’t stand still on the pavement outside Lee Corporations all day either. People will start to
think I’m a piece of installation art or something. So eventually I begin walking down the street, where my car was parked just round the corner,
thinking hard to myself.

After taking a few steps, a black sports car screeched to a stop right beside me. The driver got out of the car, and to my surprise, it was Minwoo.
What was he doing here anyway? He was supposed to be at some bloody important meeting till late afternoon. I ducked my head so that the
cardboard box covered most of my face, hoping against hope that he had not seen me. I did not feel like confronting him. All the energy I had
earlier was drained out of me already. I continued walking, pretending I had not spotted him.

“Where do you think you’re going?

Chapter 30

I kept my head bowed down, increasing my pace, totally ignoring him. Suddenly, he grabbed my arm from behind, and turned me around roughly
to face him. As a result, the cardboard box fell out of my arms, littering the pavement with all of my belongings.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked icily, whipping his sunglasses off with one hand.

I bent down to pick up the strewn items. “It’s none of your business.”

“Answer me,” he said, jerking me up by my arm to face him again.

“Look, I just resigned, okay? So I’m leaving.” Suddenly, I feel awfully tired. My arm was sore from all his grabbing and I was beginning to
suspect that a bruise was already forming there. I turned away from him and once again, bent down to pick up my things again.

“You can’t resign. You’ve already signed a one year contract with us. If you resign, you don’t get any pay.”

“So? I don’t care. You can keep the money. It’s not like I’m desperate for it anyway.”

“You’re also not allowed to work for any other company for the next 6 months. You do know that, don’t you? It’s in the contract.”

I was silent for a while. What? Nobody mentioned anything like that! I leaned my head against the brick wall and closed my eyes. What am I
going to do now? In the first place, what can I do? Suddenly, all the hurt and anger resurfaced within me. If it weren’t for him, none of this would
have happened. If he had told Ji Yoon about what happened yesterday night, I wouldn’t be stuck in this predicament. I opened my eyes and glared
at him.

“It’s all your fault I’m stuck in this mess! If you had told Ji Yoon that you had exempted me from completing the assignment this morning, I
wouldn’t be here arguing with you! I would be sitting back at my desk doing something!” My voice rises to a shriek. “But I suppose that you’re
so huge and important that you couldn’t even find two minutes to tell her that little bit of information, huh? Or maybe you just find some sort of
sick pleasure getting someone in trouble.
Either one, I’m not bothered. I’m sick and tired of the both of you treating me like trash.”

I closed my eyes again, and rubbed my face with my hands. “You know what? Just…just leave me al—Aargh! Let go!“

He was dragging me by my arm, back towards the building. “What…are…you…doing?” I asked, struggling to get out of his grasp. His fists were
clamped so tightly around my arm that I gave up after a while.

“Clear the things on the pavement,” he says to the same security guard that I had seen earlier.

We both entered the elevator, and he pressed the button for the 26th floor. The Marketing Department. We rode in silence. His face was a mask of
coldness and determination. As the elevator door pings open, he drags me towards Ji Yoon’s office. I could see everyone’s mouth drop open in
surprise at the sight of the both of us. That’s not surprising. I mean, if I were one of them, my mouth would probably drop open too, seeing the
boss drag one of his workers across the floor. Without even bothering to knock, he entered her room and slammed it shut behind us.
Chapter 31

“Mr. Lee! Aren’t you supposed to be at a meeting?” says Ji Yoon, standing up in surprise and giving him a slight bow.

He pulled me to the front of her desk, and I could see Ji Yoon begin to pale visibly. “I was the one who told her that she did not need to complete
her work,” he said, staring straight at Ji Yoon. “Any questions about it?”

“No, sir.”

“Good. Then MinJi can get back to her work, am I right?”

I opened my mouth to say something, but Ji Yoon beat me to it. “She already resigned, sir.” That cow. Okay, I admit it. I do want to continue
working here. I wasn’t thinking properly when I said I was leaving. It was just a rash decision. But I think Ji Yoon just ruined any my chances I
had of getting my job back.

“Oh really? Can I see her resignation letter?”

She looked up at him, her jaw dropping. “She…she didn’t hand in one. She…um...said that she was resigning.”

“Verbally?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “Ji Yoon, you should know better. Verbal resignations do not count. She has to send in a resignation
letter to make it official. And it has to be sent in a month before she can actually leave. I thought you knew all these. If there is nothing else,
MinJi,” he said, turning to me, ”you can go back to your desk now.”

At his words, I felt like jumping for joy. Yes! Yes! Instead, I kept my composure. “But…my things are…”

“I’ll have someone send it up to you later.”

I bowed to the both of them before exiting the room. The moment I came out, everyone rushed towards me, bombarding me with questions. I
raised my hands to silence them.

“The thing is, I got my job back. And right now, I need to go do my work. I’ll tell you guys what happened over lunch, okay?”

----------------------------------------------------------------

“Ji Yoon, I told you not to mess with her,” said Minwoo, his dark eyes cold and grave.

“Whether you believe me or not, I didn’t do anything to her,” replied Ji Yoon, looking him in the eye. “She resigned on her own free will. I didn’t
make her do it.”

“I’m sure she tried to tell you why she didn’t finish her work. If you had believed her, she wouldn’t have done it.”

“How was I supposed to know she was telling the truth? She could always make up some story to lie her way out of getting sacked, right? You
can never tell. She just might stoop to that level.”

He glared at Ji Yoon icily. “If I were you, Ji Yoon, I’d watch what I say. Oh, by the way, when I was in your room yesterday, I accidentally
knocked your glass plaque to the floor.” With that, he turned on his heel and made his way towards the door.

“Wait. Aren’t you supposed to be at a meeting? What are you doing back here?”

“Simple. I left the meeting to come back and explain things to you.”

“You just upped and left? Pretty irresponsible of you, Minwoo.”

“If I didn’t do that, MinJi wouldn’t even be working here anymore, right? Of course, I’m pretty sure that you were hoping I would’ve stayed at
the meeting.”

“You would sacrifice almost everything for her, won’t you, Minwoo?” sneered Ji Yoon.

Without answering her, he turned the knob and let himself out, slamming the door shut behind him. Ji Yoon stared after him, her eyes slanted.
She walked over to the glass windows and parted the blinds, looking down at the city below her.


Kim MinJi. You’d better watch out.

Chapter 32

All of us returned to the office, talking animatedly, our stomachs full.

“Oi, MinJi,” yelled Hee Jin. “There’s a gift on your table!”
I turned towards her, from where I was standing. “What?”

“Yup. Here it is,” answered Chil Hyun, lifting it up for me to see. It was wrapped in light pink paper, with a white ribbon fastened on the front. I
made my way over to them and fingered the ribbon. There was no card or any note that was attached to the gift.

“Oooooooooh, MinJi’s got a secret admirer!” sang Brian.

“Stupido! It might just be a belated birthday gift from someone!” I said, knocking Brian’s head lightly.

“Belated birthday gift? When was your birthday?” asked Chil Hyun, slanting his eyes.

“Oh…um…yesterday.”

“YESTERDAY?” everyone chorused.

I looked up at them with wide eyes. “Why the sudden excitement?”

“Why didn’t you mention anything?” asked Hee Jin.

“Um, I felt there wasn’t a need to…you know…tell everyone,” I answered, earning a smack on the back of my head by Chil Hyun.

Just then, Ji Yoon entered the office and everyone scurried back to his or her places to resume their work. I gave her a small smile, only to have
her glare at me. I sat down in my seat and pondered whether I should open the present or not. Before I could make up my mind, Ji Yoon came up
to my desk and slammed a whole stack of files onto the table, making me jump slightly.

“I want you to retype all these documents. They have to be on my desk by 8 o’clock sharp tomorrow morning.”

My jaw dropped open. She has got to be kidding me. There are about 6 files and thousands of papers altogether! “Ms. Park, why can’t I just
photocopy them? It’ll save more time.”

“When I tell you to retype them, you just do as I say. No questions asked,” she answered, her voice steely.

I heaved a sigh. After she had entered her own room, a scrunched up paper ball landed on my table. I carefully opened the note and read what was
inscribed on it.

It’s not safe to talk. She’ll probably bite our heads off if she hears any noise. In fact, I have a feeling she’s monitoring us through those blinds
that covers the glass panels of her office. Anyway, do you need any help in typing all those documents? We don’t really have much to do so don’t
hesitate to ask us for help.

-Brian and Chil Hyun.

I glanced over at the both of them and gave them a grateful smile. Then, with my pen, I scrawled my response just below their message.

Thanks for offering. I know you all mean well but I can’t possibly accept it. I know for a fact that you guys are laden with work. Don’t even try to
lie to me. She made you guys create another 5 advertisements, this time with a catchy song. So don’t worry about me. I’ll manage it on my own.
Besides, she gave me a dateline for tomorrow. I can always bring it home with me and type them out. Thanks loads though. I really appreciate it.

-MinJi


Making sure that Ji Yoon wasn’t peeking through the blinds, I launched the scrunched paper ball back towards Brian’s desk. Then, heaving an
extra huge sigh, I picked up the topmost file, opened it and began to type.

Chapter 33

After typing continuously for two and a half hours straight without any rest, my vision became blurry and I was beginning to feel a crick in the
back of my neck. I stretched my arms and stood up, carrying my now empty mug with me and headed towards the coffee machine.

As I walk past Chil Hyun’s desk, he asks me, “Alright there, MinJi?”

I gave him a smile and nodded my head, indicating that I was doing pretty well. After refilling my mug with coffee, I went back to my desk and
sat down, staring at my computer screen. Taking a sip of coffee, I decided to take a little break. To be honest, I was frustrated. Who wouldn’t be?
After typing for so long, I realized that I have not even completed a quarter of the first file.

Just then, I caught a glimpse of the present hidden under a pile of papers. I pulled the present out from under them and slowly, I began to pull off
the ribbons and unwrap it. A thrill of exhilaration coursed through me as I lifted the lid of the box and peered inside it. I gave a small gasp at what
I saw.

Inside the box lay a beautiful cream coloured scarf, with a discreet Hermès signature in one corner. I lifted the scarf and a small note fluttered out.
Thanks.


There was no doubt about it. It was from Minwoo. He was the only one I knew who left one word notes. I remember receiving something similar
from him back in high school. I let the scarf run through my fingers. The material felt so soft and silky against my skin. It definitely must have
cost him a bundle.

Suddenly, I remember all the hurtful things I said to his face this morning. How he stood up to Ji Yoon and how he helped me get my job back.
Oh my God. I feel like a grade-A heel.

You deserve it, a small voice in the back of my head piped up. After all, you did use your favourite scarf to bandage his wound. Maybe this is his
way of replacing your scarf. The one that he ruined.

I ignored the little voice. I still felt guilty about what I did earlier. Maybe it really just slipped his mind. I mean, he’s always really busy and
everything. He should be. He’s the President of a whole corporation. I bit my lip and thought for while. Coming to a decision, I placed the scarf
back into the box, got up from my seat and headed towards the elevator, the box tucked safely under my arm.


I had made up my mind.


The only noble thing to do was to go and apologize to him.

Chapter 34

I made my way towards Jina, who was Minwoo’s secretary.

“May I help you, Ms. Kim?” she asked, giving me a smile.

“Yeah. I would like to see Mr. Lee. Is he in?”

“Hold on a moment, alright? I’ll just make a call to him and ask whether he’s free.”

As I waited, I rehearsed what I was going to say to him, over and over again in my head, all the while twisting my fingers. To say I was nervous
was just putting it mildly.
“You may enter now,” says Jina.

“Thanks.” I straightened my clothes and took a deep breath, making my way through the familiar corridors that led to his room. I knocked softly
on his door and when I heard a distinct, “Come in,” I crossed my fingers behind my back for luck and hoped for the best before entering.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Lee,” I said, bowing slightly. When I raised my head to look at him, I was surprised to see that he was wearing silver
rimless spectacles. Funny. He never wore spectacles back in high school, but I suppose people change. Somehow, those spectacles only helped to
accentuate his chiseled features more, making him look…good. I shook my head slightly to clear my thoughts. What am I doing? I’m here to
apologize to him, for God’s sake, not dwell on his looks.

“Is there something you wanted to talk to me about?” he asked, his voice grave and businesslike.

I went up to the front of his desk and pushed the box towards him. He raised his eyes up to me questioningly. “I’m sorry, but I can’t accept this.
Thank you though,” I say, as sincerely as I could.

He got up from his seat and propped his hands on the table, looking at me straight in the eye. “Why?”

“Oh, and I’m sorry about what I said to you this morning. I really shouldn’t have accused you of all those things,” I continued, ignoring his
question.

“You still haven’t answered my question.”

I shifted my gaze away from him. Then, in a small voice, I said, “I don’t deserve it.”

He looked at me, with an amused smile. “And why don’t you deserve it?”

I looked at him with a strange expression. “After all that I have said and done to you while I was working here, you feel I deserve it?”

He raised an eyebrow and I took it as a sign to continue.

“I mean, on my first day here I just barged into your room and yelled at you, and just this morning…” I trailed off, wincing slightly.

“But you also helped to clean my wound yesterday night, and your scarf was ruined in the process. Just treat this as a replacement for your other
scarf.”
“Um, there’s no need for that. That scarf wasn’t expensive or anything.”

“Then treat it as a belated birthday gift.”

My head snapped up at those words. How did he know? I didn’t mention anything about it to him.

“Don’t look so surprised. I saw the message in your cell phone,” he said.

Oh, yeah. Now I remember walking in on him when he was looking through my phone. Aish! I mentally smacked myself. What was I thinking?

“But…this scarf is too expensive. I really can’t accept it.”

“Tell you what, why don’t you do me a favour by accompanying me to the dinner hosted by the Jung Corporations next week, and we’ll call it
even, alright?”

I thought about this for a while. “Alright,” I finally answered.

Chapter 35

“Guys! Oppa! I’m home!” I yelled, heaving all the files onto a couch nearby. I slumped down next to all the files and grabbed a pillow, hugging it
to my chest. Footsteps were heard as all three of them ran down the stairs.

“Tired?” asked Tae, sitting down next to me. I nodded my head in response, closed my eyes and laid my head on his shoulder for a while.

“Wow…that’s a lot of documents. Why’d you bring them home anyway?” asked Danny, leafing through one of them.

I raised my head and looked at all three of them. “I have to retype every single one of them by 8 o’clock sharp tomorrow morning!” I wailed.

“What? Why can’t you just photocopy it?” asked Jae, reaching for one of the files.

“That’s what I told her! But she insisted that I type it. So I thought I would photocopy the whole thing behind her back, but then I realized that
there are tons of typing mistakes in there. If I were to do it, she’d know for sure.”

“Ji Yoon?” asked Danny, raising an eyebrow.

I groaned and nodded my head. “Anyway, I’d better start typing again. I’ll be lucky if I could even sleep tonight,” I said, standing up and
sweeping the files up into my arms.

“Hold on,” says Tae, “I could help you type some of them. I’ve got nothing to do.”

“Yeah. Count us in,” said Jae, pointing to both him and Danny.

I looked at them skeptically. “Are you guys sure?”

When they all nodded their heads furiously, I dropped all the files again and gave each of them a hug. “You guys are the greatest.”

“Oh, you didn't have to tell us that. We knew it a long time ago,” said Danny, grinning at me.

“Alright, let’s get to work!” yelled Tae.

While Danny and Jae ran upstairs to fetch all our laptops, Tae cleared the flower arrangements from the dining table while I rummaged through
the kitchen for drinks and all sorts of junk food that we would probably need to keep us going through the night. When we were sure we had
everything we needed, we began typing away. We’ve practically set up a mini office in the dining room, the silence filled with the tapping of
keyboards and random conversations.

“Oh yeah, Tae oppa, are you invited to the dinner party held by the Jung Corporations next week?” I asked.

“Yup,” he answered, taking a sip of cola. “Why? Wanna come with me?”

“Um…I’m already going. Minwoo asked me to accompany him,” I say, blushing furiously.

Everyone stopped typing and looked at me.

“Minwoo asked you to go with him?” said Danny, astounded.

“Well, there was a reason actually.” I told them how I helped him to clean his wound, about him giving me the scarf then about his invitation.

“If he was the guy we saw at the Japanese restaurant the other day, I have to say, he doesn’t look bad at all,” says Jae, giving me a wink.
“Jae!” I yelled, throwing a popcorn at him, as everyone laughed.

“Anyway, Tae oppa, I need a favour from you.”

“Hmmm, I knew this was coming. What is it?” he asked, ruffling my hair.

“I need you to pretend we’re not brothers and sisters.”

“Why?” he asked, his eyes wide open.

“You see, Minwoo doesn’t know that I’m the sister of the President of Kim Corporations yet. And…” I trailed off.

He looked at me for a moment. Then, he smiled at me. “Alright. I’ll do that. But what are you going to do about the others? Most of dad’s friends
are bound to be there and they’ll recognize you almost immediately.”

“We’ll just have to think of something,” I answered, resuming my typing.

Chapter 36

I ran as fast as I could into the building, my hair in a wild disarray behind me and my arms loaded with files. I sprinted across the marble floor
and put out one free hand to stop the elevator doors from closing. I bowed to whoever was inside and murmured an apology, then pressed the
button for the 26th floor. I leaned against the walls of the elevator and closed my eyes, trying to catch my breath.

The three of us had stayed up almost all night trying to finish typing all the documents, and neither of us could get a shut eye until about 4.30 in
the morning. Too tired to go back up to our rooms, we had dragged ourselves to the living room and slept on the couches there. The ahjummah
had woken us up at 7.15, telling us to go back to our rooms to sleep. Not really knowing how I actually did it, I had managed to get myself ready
in 10 minutes and had driven at about 120 mph just to get here before 8 o’clock.

The moment the elevator doors pinged open at my floor, I made a beeline for Ji Yoon’s office, not bothering to knock. The only thing on my
mind was that I had to get those files to her on time.

“Ms. Park,” I said, heaving all the files on her desk, “here are the documents that you wanted.”

When I looked up, my jaw dropped open when I saw Minwoo standing there, one hand in his pocket and the other holding a file, leaning against
the cupboard looking at me, one eyebrow raised. No sign of Ji Yoon anywhere. I mentally kicked myself. Why is it that every time I make a fool
of myself, he’s always there to witness it?

“I’m sorry, Mr. Lee,” I said, bowing slightly, “I didn’t know you were in here.”

“It’s alright,” he answered, a strange expression on his face. “Were you in a rush this morning?”

I looked up at him in surprise. “Yeah. How did you know?”

Slowly, he walks towards me, until he’s standing just in front of me. I can smell the scent of his cologne, and hear the crisp cotton rustle of his
shirt as he moves. He lifts his hand and rakes his fingers through my messy hair in a bid to straighten them. I froze at his gesture, like a rabbit
caught in a pair of headlights.

My mind was in a jumble and I was unable to form a coherent thought. I look up and met his gaze, and feel a little jolt inside me. I can’t tear my
eyes away from his. I can’t even move my body. I’m completely transfixed. His fingers had stopped raking through my hair a while ago and he
was now leaning towards me, very slowly.

Just then, the doorknob rattled and we both snapped back into impassive expressions and move slightly away from each other. The doors open
and my stomach gives a lurch.

Ji Yoon’s beady eyes swept across the room, stopping first to look at Minwoo, then at me.

“What were you guys doing in here?” she asked, staring straight at me, her eyes blazing.

Chapter 37

I raised my chin defiantly. “We weren’t doing anything. When I came in to hand over the documents that you asked me to type yesterday, he was
already in here.”

She assessed me from head to toe, a disgusted curl forming on her lips.

“If there isn’t anything else, may I please leave now?” I asked, in a clipped voice. She dismissed me with a swish of her hand and without looking
at Minwoo, I turned on my heel and let myself out of her room.

I went back to my desk and put my head in my hands, a little confused. What exactly happened back there? Although I had never dated anyone
before, no thanks to Danny, whom most people often mistook as my boyfriend, I was certain that there was some sort of connection between the
both of us just now. It was as though an unknown force was drawing me towards him. I banged my head on the table. Oh my God. If Ji Yoon had
not burst in on us when she did…I shuddered to think of what might have happened.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

“Lee Minwoo,” sneered Ji Yoon, folding her arms across her chest, “what were you guys really doing in here? And don’t give me that crap about
not doing anything.”

Minwoo looked over at her coldly. “My affairs are none of your business,” he said, turning away. “By the way, you address me as Mr. Lee when
we are at the office.”

After he had practically slammed the door in her face, she walked over to her seat and sat down in a huff. She just didn’t get it. What did MinJi
have that she didn’t? Why was Minwoo so infatuated with her?

As she thought about all these, her fists clenched in anger and her eyes narrowed to slits. Well, if I can’t have Minwoo, neither can she.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Minwoo closed the door to his office and made his way towards the wheeled cart holding a tray of heavy crystal decanters filled with liquor.
Although it was only 8.30 in the morning, he poured himself a finger’s worth of vodka and went to sit at his desk after draining the glass in one
gulp.

He couldn’t focus his mind on business and that’s what was most troubling. Minwoo had long felt that one of his greatest assets was his ability to
concentrate on a single problem for endless hours, turning the matter this way and that to look at it from every conceivable angle. But now, he
was neglecting his duty shamefully, a thing that rankled a man as hidebound as himself.

He finally allowed himself ten minutes to think about MinJi, and mentally relived the encounter he had with her. Why did Ji Yoon have to come
in at that time and spoil everything? Does MinJi feel the same way that I do about her? He exhaled and ran his fingers through his own hair. The
ten minutes came and went in the blink of an eye. Ten minutes just wasn’t nearly enough to let his mind do justice to sort out all his thoughts and
feelings, so he allotted an unprecedented twenty minutes.

At the end of thirty minutes, Minwoo decided it was time to banish all thoughts of MinJi from his mind, and concentrate for a while on all the
business matters that were continually pressing in upon him. With all that on his mind, it should have been child’s play for him to forget all about
her. The problem was, no matter how many times he turned his thoughts toward the arcane business practices of the international banking
community, his focus faded and MinJi, once again, rose to the forefront of his consciousness, demanding his total awareness.

“I’ve got to concentrate,” he whispered to himself, rubbing his temples lightly, staring at the cover page of a contract on his desk.

Chapter 38

“Alright everyone, listen up!” yelled Ji Yoon, clapping her hands to try to get our attention. I hurriedly typed the last few words of my article,
then looked up at her. “Mr. Lee has called for a meeting with all of us at 10 o’clock sharp later in the conference room. Please do not be late. Oh,
and MinJi,” she says, giving me a sickeningly sweet smile, ”you wouldn’t mind helping to serve the teas and coffees during the meeting, right?”

“Of course not, Ms. Park,” I reply, evenly.

The moment she turned her back on us, I slumped back down in my seat and groaned. Ever since that incident with Minwoo in her room, I had
tried my best to avoid him at all costs. And I’ve been doing pretty well, if I might say so myself. Parking my car a few blocks away from the
building, burying my head in newspapers, ducking behind potted plants every time I spotted him walking in my direction…you know the works.
A thought popped into my mind just then, causing me to frown slightly. Three more days till the dinner. The guys seemed pretty hyped up about
the whole thing. In fact, I’m supposed to go shopping with them later in the day to pick out my dress and shoes, assuming that I could get off
from work early. Weird, huh? I never knew guys liked shopping either.

I blew the hair out of my face, stood up and headed over to the coffee machine to refill my mug.

Today is going to be a long, long day.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

I can’t cope with this. I just can’t cope. As I go round the table pouring out coffee and tea for the members of the marketing department, I’m
outwardly calm, smiling at everyone and even chatting pleasantly. But inside, I’m all unsettled and confused. I fixed my attention firmly on the
tea trolley, then went up to Minwoo.

“Would you like coffee or tea?” I asked, as blandly as I could.

“Coffee.”

“How many cubes of sugar?”

“One.”
I poured him a cup of steaming hot coffee, dropped a cube of sugar into it and stirred it a little. I could feel him looking at me from the corners of
his eyes. Carefully avoiding his gaze, I placed the cup on a saucer and put it in front of him.

“We need more lateral thinking, people,” Ji Yoon is saying. “The fizzy drinks are simply not performing as it should. Brian, you have the latest
research statistics?”

Brian stands up and I feel a flip of apprehension on his behalf. Poor guy. I can tell he’s really nervous from the way he keeps fiddling with his
pen.

“That’s right.”

He picks up a clipboard and clears his throat. Then, he presses his remote control and a graph appears on the screen behind him, and we all stare
at it obediently, while he began explaining. I stifled a yawn after a few minutes. Oh God. I know it’s Brian, the guy who’ve helped me through
hard times and who has always been a really great friend. But honestly, can’t he make this whole thing sound a little bit interesting?
I glanced around the table at everyone else to see how they were taking it. Hee Jin had jotted down brief notes on her notepad, both Chil Hyun
and Soo Jin were paying rapt attention to whatever Brian was saying, and even Ji Yoon’s gaze was fixed on the graph, her eyebrows furrowed in
deep concentration.

Am I the only one who finds this whole thing boring?

I shifted my gaze over to Minwoo and he raises his eyebrows at me. Immediately I flush, feeling disloyal, and shifted my gaze back to Brian,
trying as hard as I could to concentrate.

Chapter 39

“Alright, let’s all take a break,” says Minwoo, closing his file.

At his words, everybody began to stand up and stretch themselves. I rubbed my face a few times, trying to get rid of my drowsiness. Throughout
the whole meeting, I had only narrowly escaped from falling asleep. Every time I so much as closed my eyes, Brian would pinch me really, really
hard on the arm. Crazy wombat. Remind me never to sit next to him again.

“MinJi! Get up and serve the teas and coffees,” snapped Ji Yoon.

I threw her an irritated look, then got up and headed towards the tea trolley. I went round the table refilling everyone’s cups, occasionally making
small talk.

“MinJi, I want a new cup of tea,” says Ji Yoon.

I blew the hair out of my face, and rummaged around the tea trolley for new tea bags. I groaned, realizing that there were none.

“Ms. Park, would it be all right if you drank coffee instead? We’ve run out of new tea bags.”

She shot me an icy glare. “If you’ve run out of tea bags, go and get new ones.”

“But that means I have to go all the way back down to the Marketing Department and come back up again!” I whined.

“So? Do I look like I care?”

I shot her a glare, then turned on my heel and headed towards the Marketing Department. I searched high and low for new tea bags in our mini
kitchen, opening and closing drawers, but unfortunately, found none. I stood up and ran my hand through my hair, exhaling a frustrated sigh.
Stupid ostrich. She just has to drink tea.

I walked around the perimeters of the kitchen, thinking where I could find more tea bags when I remembered that Ji Yoon kept lots of them in her
room, on the coffee table. Well, if she wants some tea, she can use her own tea bags. I made my way towards her office, grabbed a few sachets of
tea bags and went out of her room. As I passed by my desk, my stomach gave a little rumble. Hesitating a little, I took out the little tupperware
filled with snacks that Tae had packed for me this morning, from my bag on the table.

As I waited for the elevators to arrive, the position of my bag, which I had found it in earlier, struck me as odd, but I couldn’t quite put my finger
on it. I dismissed the thought with a shrug, when the elevators arrived. I had more pressing matters on hand, such as filling my stomach.

Chapter 40

In just a matter of minutes, the cookies that Tae had packed for me were gone. I had decided to share them with everyone else because if I was
hungry I was sure that they were too. The meeting went on for another 3 hours, before it finally ended. There was a flurry of activity as everyone
closed their files and stood up. I stretched myself, then proceeded to clear all the cups from the table.

“Leave them alone. The ahjummah will be up here to clean it,” says Minwoo, tightly.

I was only too happy to follow his orders. After all those tea and coffee pouring, my arms were pretty sore. Whoever knew the pots were so
heavy? I followed everyone out of the conference room and headed towards the elevators. Once inside, Hee Jin pressed the button for the 26th
floor. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Ji Yoon and Minwoo huddled together in one corner of the elevator, talking in low voices. No
doubt talking about business.

When the elevator doors pinged open, we all stepped out, heading back to our own desks while Minwoo followed Ji Yoon into her room, still
talking. I slumped down in my seat, and closed my eyes for a while before resuming the work that I had left earlier. Neither of us had opened our
mouths to speak to each other because we didn’t want to show the President that we weren’t work oriented. The tapping of keyboards and the
sound of files opening and closing filled the silence.

Suddenly, a loud curse was heard from Ji Yoon’s room and the door flung open to reveal a very disheveled and a very angry Ji Yoon.

“Which one of you stole my watch?” she ground out.

We looked at her in bewilderment. Minwoo came up next to her to try to calm her down, but she ignored him.

“I said, which one of you stole my watch? My diamond watch! The one that I left on the table before going for that meeting. Who did it?” she
asks, her voice rising to a shriek.

We all looked at one another and shook our heads.

“How could one of us have done it? We were all at the meeting with you,” says Chil Hyun.

“Okay, if none of you wants to own up, we’ll just have to search everybody,” yelled Ji Yoon, moving towards Brian’s desk which was closest to
her. She thoroughly searched through everyone’s desk, bags, and coats. Finally, she reached my desk. The only desk that she had not checked.

“Why don’t you just return it to me and we’ll pretend none of this ever happened?”

I looked up at her defiantly. “Are you trying to accuse me of stealing?”

“Well, I’ve searched everyone else and found nothing. Who else could have done it?”

“I didn’t do it,” I say shortly.

“Very well. We’ll see about that.” She began rummaging through all my drawers, creating a big mess in the process. Finding nothing in there, she
straightened herself and searched through my coat pockets, then my bag. As she dumped everything inside my bag onto the tabletop, her diamond
watch fell out, amidst all the other items. I stared at it in shock. She lifted the watch up triumphantly, for everyone to see. Then she turned to face
me.

“So, how do you explain this, Kim MinJi?”

“I really didn’t do it,” I say, hotly.

“Oh really? Then what is it doing in your bag?” she asked, sneering.

I was at a loss for words. How did it get in there? I looked up at all my other colleagues, and I could see that they were pretty gob-smacked as
well. Minwoo came over to stand next to Ji Yoon, his face grave and his eyes hard.

“Did you do it, MinJi?” he asks, in a very cold voice.

My jaw dropped open in disbelief. “I didn’t do it! How many times must I repeat that? I didn’t do it!”

“Maybe it’s just a little mix-up,” says Chil Hyun, coming to my defense. I silently thanked him. “She couldn’t have done it. She was with us the
whole time. Right, MinJi?”

I nodded my head.

“Then, how did you get those new tea bags, MinJi? Because if I’m not mistaken, those tea bags are mine. I personally bought them myself. Didn’t
you think that I’d notice?”

“I only went into your room to get those tea bags. You were the only one who wanted tea, and you refused to drink coffee when I told you that we
had run out of tea bags. There weren’t any in the kitchen drawers. Where did you expect me to get new ones? Go out and buy?”

“What did you do after taking the tea bags?” asks Minwoo.

“I exited her room, then when I passed by my desk, I decided to take out the tu—“ I stopped in mid sentence. Now I knew what was wrong with
the whole picture earlier. Someone had shifted my bag. I had slung it over my chair before going to the meeting but when I came in to get those
tea bags, it was on my desk. This whole thing was a bloody set-up. And there was only one person who was mean enough to do it.

I looked up at her, my eyes cold. “Somebody wants to frame me.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Don’t put the blame on others, MinJi.”

“It’s up to you whether you want to believe me or not. And I’m saying this for the last time. I did not do it,” I say, emphasizing every word.

Just then, Minwoo stepped in. “MinJi, you are suspended for three days while we investigate this matter.”
“Fine,” I answer, evenly. “Oh, and you can go to that stupid dinner yourself, because I never wanted to go with you in the first place."

With that, I hurriedly shoved all my belongings back into my bag and stalked out of the office, not wanting anybody to see the tears that were
pricking my eyes.

Chapter 41

I walked along the streets towards my car, furiously wiping away my tears. I bleeped my car open and got in, closing my eyes and resting my
head on the steering wheel. After composing myself, I revved up the engine, stepped on the accelerator and guided my car to Kim Corporations.

I swerved into one of the parking spaces specially reserved for the President and the directors of the corporation. The security guard made his
way towards me, no doubt telling me to park elsewhere, just as I was getting out of my car.

“Miss, you can’t park here,” he says.

“Yah, don’t you remember me?” I ask, flashing him a grin. He took a good look at me and his jaw dropped open when recognition finally dawned
on him.

“Miss Kim, I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was you,” he answered, bowing slightly.

“It’s alright. No harm done. You were just doing your job.”

I walked up the steps and entered the large building. The insides of the building were impressively done, with marble floors and glass windows.
Right in the center of the concourse floor was a water fountain, and if you were to tilt your head upwards, you would be able to see outside,
through the skylight. I headed towards the elevators and pressed the button for the 36th floor. When the doors shut themselves, I closed my eyes
and leaned against the walls. What was I going to tell the guys?

I walked up to Tae’s secretary’s desk, only to find that she was nowhere in sight. Not bothering to wait for her to return, I made my way over to
Tae’s room and knocked on his door softly. After a few more knocks and still no reply from him, I pushed the doors open slowly, only to find
that the room was empty. I closed them behind me, and made myself comfortable in his tastefully decorated room.

After what seemed like hours, I had finished off more than 3 cups of coffee and read every single magazine that Tae has in his room. Due to my
boredom, I had even gone to the extent of arranging all his files and documents in alphabetical order. I was sitting in his chair playing solitaire on
his laptop when I heard the sound of footsteps approaching. Before I could even move a muscle, the doors flung open and Tae stood there, frozen
at the sight of me.

“Hey, oppa!” I say, getting up from his chair and bouncing over to him. “Surprised?”

“What are you doing here?” he asked, delighted.

“Long story. I’ll explain later.”

Just then, a middle-aged man entered the room. He took one look at me and grinned. “Crystal studded hair clips. You must be Miss Kim MinJi.”

“Uncle Jung!” I cried, running over to him to give him a hug. “It’s been so long since I last saw you!”

“That’s true. So, how have you been?” he asks, leading me over to the couches, with Tae following suit.

“Fine, thanks!”

“Jung Tae’s been telling me a lot of things about you.”

“No doubt, all the bad stuff,” I say, pinching Tae lightly on the arm. Uncle Jung is probably one of the closest people to me, after dad died. I have
always looked up to him as a fatherly figure because he always took great care of both Tae and I after that fateful day. Whenever we had
problems or anything, he would always be there to listen to us and help us find the solution.

“Well, I did hear from him that you were going to attend the dinner this Friday,” he says, smiling at me, “with a certain someone.”

I could feel myself blushing. “I might not go after all. Some things have come up. Which reminds me, how come you gave Tae an invitation but
you never gave me one?”

He raised his eyebrows. “I did invite you! If you actually bothered to look at the card, you would see that it’s addressed to Mr. Kim Jung Tae and
Ms. Kim MinJi. And I don’t care what your reasons are, I want to see you at the dinner this Friday. No excuses.”

I pouted. “What if I still don’t go?”
“Then I’ll come and personally drag you there,” he says, laughing.

After Uncle Jung had left, we made our way towards Jae and Danny’s room, which were also located on the same floor. Then, all four of us piled
into Tae’s car and we sped off to a nearby café.

“How come you got off from work so early?” asks Danny, blowing at his cup of cappuccino.

“You guys told me to get off from work early today!”

“When I meant early, I didn’t mean at around 3 o’clock! I was thinking more to 4.30!” replies Danny.

I giggled. “Oh well.”

“So, MinJi, why did you tell Uncle Jung that you might not be attending the dinner?” asks Tae. At his words, both Jae and Danny dropped
whatever they were eating and stared intently at me.

“Oh, um, something came up.”

“Which is?” Tae prodded. “Don’t even think of trying to lie to me, little sis.”

I let out a frustrated sigh, and told them everything. From me getting framed, to my suspension from work and my suspicions of who could have
done it.

“I knew something like this was going to happen,” says Danny, biting into his sultana crossly.

“Why didn’t you tell her who you were? If you did, I’m sure she’d swallow her words in an instant. You have more money than she could ever
hope make in her whole lifetime. In fact, I’m sure you could buy a million of those watches and still have enough money left over for three
generations!” says Jae.

I lobbed a crumpled up tissue paper at Jae. “Come on, you guys, lighten up. It’s no big deal. I mean I know I didn’t do it. And the truth is bound
to come out sooner or later.”

All this while, Tae had been sitting quietly, thinking to himself. “I would personally like to meet this Ji Yoon girl. But don’t worry, I won’t do
anything to her. I just want to know what she really is like,” he added quickly after seeing my expression. “Anyway, don’t think you’re going to
be able to weasel out of this dinner. Uncle Jung is really hoping that you would be there and you don’t want to let him down, do you? Besides,
Jae and Danny got invitations too and it would be great if we could all go together. Alright, MinJi?”

I bit my bottom lip and thought for a while, then nodded my head slowly, bringing a smile to their faces.

Chapter 42

“I would like to try on that pale yellow dress with the crystal studded butterfly in the left corner,” says Ji Yoon.

“Oh, that dress has already been bought by someone else, miss,” the sales girl replied.

“What? But it’s just hanging over there, behind the counter!”

“It has been reserved by someone. He’ll be coming to collect it later.”

“Do you have another dress similar to that one?”

“I’m sorry, miss. That dress is the only one that we have. It’s one of a kind. Nobody else has it.”

“You don’t understand,” snapped Ji Yoon. “I have a dinner this evening and I want that dress.”

“I’m sorry but we can’t do anything about it. Why don’t you try on a different dress?” asks the sales girl helpfully.

“I don’t want to try on any other dress. I want that one!”

Just then, the little bell hanging over the door jingled, and a tall, good-looking man stepped into the store. He gave Ji Yoon a small smile, then
turned towards the sales girl.

“Is the dress ready yet?” he asks.

“Yes, sir. If you would just give me a few minutes while I wrap it up for you,” replies the girl, rushing to the back of the counter, and taking the
dress off its hangers.

“Look, mister, I don’t know who you are and you don’t know who I am but I was just wondering, would it be alright if you bought another dress?
I have a formal function tonight and I really want that dress that you’re buying,” says Ji Yoon, putting on a sweet smile.
He turned to look at her with an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry, miss, but I can’t do that. You see, I’m buying this dress for a very special person.
After everything that had happened to her over the past few days, I’m sure she would be really pleased to receive this dress.”

“I’ll pay you more than what you paid for the dress,” she pleaded.

“No can do, miss. I’m sorry,” he says, paying for the dress, then turned on his heel and walked out of the store, as Ji Yoon stared after him in
disgust.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

“MinJi! I’m home!” yelled Tae, as I bounded down the stairs to greet him.

“Oooooooh, what have you got in that bag?”

“Your dress,” he says, handing the carrier bag over to me.

I took the box out of the bag and opened it. “Wow,” I breathed. “It’s beautiful.” It really was beautiful. It was pale yellow with crystal-studded
butterflies in one corner. It is held up by two thin straps and fell about in soft folds just slightly above the knees.

“Now, we’ll just have to call Andy over to help get your hair and make-up done,” says Tae, smiling at me.

I winced. “Must we?”

“Yup!” he says, reaching for his cell phone.

Moments later, Andy had arrived with a crew of 6 people, carrying kits of all kinds. He sat me down on a chair and draped a large black cloth,
which covered me from my neck downwards.

“Wait, Andy!” I yell, lifting my hand up. “Before you do anything to me, I just want to tell you three things that you cannot do to my hair. No
cutting, no colouring and no perming. Deal?”

He pushed my head to the side gently. “Spoilsport.”

As he went about fixing my hair, his crew of people applied make-up on me, gave me a manicure and a pedicure. I felt rather pampered at all the
attention given to me. After an hour, they stood back to let me look at myself in the mirror. I was pretty surprised at my reflection. I didn’t look
that bad after all. They had applied very faint make-up, giving me a very natural look. My hair was stylishly made up, with sprinkles of glitter
over them. One of the crew had gone through my jewelry case and had chosen a pair of silver hoop earrings to clasp onto my ear. I turned to look
at Andy who was grinning at me, and gave him the thumbs up.

Next, Tae ushered me into my room to put on the dress. I slipped it on and found that it was a perfect fit. The dress was made of a very smooth
and silky material, which clung to my body like second skin, accentuating all my curves. After I was done, I opened the door to find the guys
already dressed up in their own tuxedos and were leaning against the wall, waiting for me to come out.

“How do I look?” I ask, giving them a little twirl.

“Wonderful.”

“Fabulous.”

“Beautiful.”

I grinned at them. “Thanks loads!”

We spent another ten minutes picking out my shoes, finally deciding on a pair of black strappy heels. When we were all ready, we piled into two
different chaffeur driven cars, me and Tae in one, and Jae and Danny in the other. Not before long, we pulled up at the entrance of the hotel.

Chapter 43

I held on to Tae’s arm as we entered the hall for the cocktail party. To say I was nervous was putting it mildly. I, for one, was definitely not
looking forward to meeting Minwoo here. His accusing words still rang over and over again in my head whenever I thought about the incident.
And I still had the impossible task of informing everyone who knew me to pretend that I was not Kim Jung Tae’s sister. I groaned slightly.

“Jung Tae! MinJi! You guys made it. And so did Jae Won and Danny,” says Uncle Jung, making his way towards us, a smile on his face. He took
a step backwards and surveyed me from head to toe. “You look beautiful, MinJi.”

I could feel my cheeks getting hot. “Thanks, Uncle Jung. You don’t look too bad either.”

He laughed. “Make yourselves comfortable alright? I’ll be with you in a second.”
“Oh, Uncle Jung, there’s a favour that I would like to ask from you,” I say, twisting my fingers.

“What is it, dear?”

“Um, could you, like, pretend that Tae oppa and I are not brothers and sisters?”

“Why?” he asks, bewildered.

“You see, I’m working for the Lee Corporations now to gain experience and I don’t really want the President finding out that I’m the sister of the
President of Kim Corporations. It would just complicate matters. So, would you help me? Pretty please?”

He shook his head and sighed. “I should have known that you were going to do something like this. Alright, I’ll do it. And don’t worry about the
other people who might recognize you. I’ll fill them in about the whole thing.”

I gave him a relieved smile. “Thanks, Uncle Jung. I owe you one.”

“Now, you guys go ahead and enjoy yourselves tonight. You and I both know that you all need it,” he says and all of us nodded our heads at him.

---------------------------------------------------------------

“Presenting, Mr. Kim Jung Tae, Ms. Kim MinJi, Mr. Kim Jae Won and Mr. Danny Im,” came the emcee’s voice as we descended the stairs to the
ballroom. Oh my God. This is so embarrassing. I could feel my face flush as everyone turned around to look at us. Why does Uncle Jung have to
hire someone to announce your presence? I lifted my gaze up from the floor when we reached the bottom of the stairs and scanned the room.

“Jung Tae and MinJi, how have you been?” says a voice behind us. We both whirled around simultaneously.

“Uncle Woo!” I say, giving him a hug as Tae smiled and shook his hand.

“What’s this I hear about us having to pretend that you, MinJi, is not related to Jung Tae, but you’re supposed to be his friend at this dinner?”

“Oh, Uncle Jung’s told you already?”

“Yes, he did. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, he went around murmuring that in everybody’s ears. Assuming a double identity, eh, MinJi?”

I gave a little laugh. “Kinda.”

Just then, the emcee’s voice boomed across the whole ballroom, telling us to sit down at our assigned tables because the dinner was about to start.
The four of us made our way towards our table, which happened to be one of the VVIP tables, located in the front. We finally spotted it and as I
was pulling my chair out, the chairs opposite mine made a loud scraping sound against the wooden floors as it was being pulled out too. I raised
my head with a smile, but it disappeared almost immediately.

Because there, in front of me, stood Minwoo, with Ji Yoon on his arm.


-----------------------------------------------------------------


The dinner went smoothly, if not a little quietly at our table. Another 4 people had taken their seats at our table and they were the ones who were
talking most of the time. Although my gazed was fixed on my food most of the time, I could feel the tension at our table. And whenever I did
look up, Ji Yoon would shoot daggers at me. I was so glad when they announced that we could leave our table and mingle with everyone else for
a while before proceeding on to the dance floor, that I practically jumped out of my seat.

“You know, Ji, I met that Ji Yoon girl at the store where I bought your dress,” says Tae.

I raised my eyebrows at him. “Oh really? What happened?”

“She wanted to buy your dress but I declined.”

Now I understood why she kept glaring at me. Just then, a group of people came up to Tae. I bowed at them slightly and moved away, allowing
them the privacy and space that they needed. Danny and Jae were nowhere in sight, no doubt, gone to flirt with some girls. As I stood in one
corner surveying the crowd, a pair of warm hands covered my eyes.

"Guess who," he says.

Chapter 44

I removed his hands from my eyes and turned around to face him. My eyes widened in shock and surprise.

“Jongieeeeeeee!” I squealed, throwing my arms around him, as he laughed.
“Still the little girl I know, eh?” he says, pinching me lightly on the nose.

“What are you doing here?” I ask, composing myself.

“Meet the future President of Oh Corporations, Mr. Oh Jong Hyuk,” he says proudly, grinning at me.

“You?”

“Who else?”

“I didn’t know you were that capable!” I laugh as he shot me a hurt look.

“By the way, where’s Danny?”

“Somewhere around here. Probably flirting with some girl. You know, Jongie, you should cut your hair,” I say, eyeing his shoulder length hair.

“No.”

“But it makes you look like a girl!”

“No.”

“Plus, it’s practically covering half your whole face.”

“No.”

“And you’re probably wasting a lot of money buying shampoos and conditioners.”

“No.”

“But yo—“

“No.”

“Let me finish wha—“

“No.”

I threw my hands up into the air and sighed. “Fine. Be that way.” Just then, a slow song boomed through the speakers and people began pairing
up to dance. Jongie threw a sideways glance at me and raised his eyebrows while I inched away from him, slowly.

“No, Jongie. No. No. No no no no no no no.”

“Come on, MinJi. Just one dance. That’s all I ask,” he said, moving closer towards me.

“No! Let go,” I muttered, trying to free my wrist from his grasp as he pulled me onto the dance floor. “I can’t dance, Jongie, and you know that,”
I mumbled, trying desperately to get off the dance floor. In one swift motion he curved his arm around my waist and pulled me close. The fingers
of my right hand held gently on to his left while my other hand rested on his shoulder. My whole body felt stiff as we started to dance, my feet
constantly bumping into his.

“I told you I didn’t know how to dance!” I hissed staring down at my awkward feet, my face flushed red with embarrassment.

“Don’t look down,” he said as we continued to sway. “It’s easier if you keep your head up.” He twirled me around a couple of times and I
stumbled a little, trying to regain my balance. This wasn’t so bad after all, I thought as I began to get the hang of it.

“You’re doing pretty well for a beginner,” he says, smiling down at me.

“I learned from the best, you know,” I say, laughing.

“Well, that’s quite true.”

Suddenly, somebody bumped into me from behind making me stumble a little. I stopped dancing and turned around, only to lock gazes with
Minwoo.

“Sorry,” he said, shrugging his shoulders, then turning back to face Ji Yoon. I stared after them in utter disbelief, as Jongie led me off the dance
floor.

“I didn’t know the ice prince and ice princess was here too,” he say, handing me a glass of red wine which he had whisked off the tray of a
passing waiter.
“Ice prince and ice princess?” I ask, cocking my head.

“Minwoo and Ji Yoon,” he answered, winking at me and taking a sip of his wine. Just then, his cell phone rang and he excused himself to answer
the call. I stood there alone, taking small sips from my glass and looking out onto the dance floor. I didn’t notice Ji Yoon making her way towards
me, also holding a glass of red wine, until she was practically in my face.

“Hello, MinJi. I wasn’t expecting to see you here,” she said, assessing me from head to toe.

“Yeah, well, I got an invitation from Uncle Jung and I thought I might as well come since I didn’t have anything planned,” I answered in a cool
tone.

“Well, just out of curiousity, where did you get the dress from? It looks positively hideous,” she says snidely.

I raised an eyebrow at her. “Oh really? Funny. My br—I mean, my friend claims that he saw you in the same store where this dress is from and he
told me a very interesting story. He said that you were so desperate to get this particular dress that you even offered to pay more for it. I believe
you’ve already met him too. He was sitting on my right throughout dinner just now.” I could see the muscles in her jaw tighten dangerously.

“He got the wrong person,” she answered tightly.

“Oh? Maybe I should call him over and ask, eh?”

She glared at me. “Don’t mess with me, MinJi, or else.”

“Or else, what?” I challenged.

To my horror, she took a step backwards but at the same moment tilted her glass a fraction of an inch, causing red wine to splash all over the
front of her white silk dress. Then, throwing me a menacing smile, she let out an ear-piercing shriek that reverberated throughout the entire room.

Chapter 45

The music ceased immediately and people turned to look at us.

“Why did you do it, MinJi?” says Ji Yoon, feigning shock and sadness..

“I didn’t! Honest! I wasn’t even near her!” I say, turning to look at everyone.

“Why must you always do something to make me look bad, so that I won’t upstage you?”

“I didn’t do it! You and I both know what happened. You deliberately spilled the wine on yourself! Stop putting the blame on me!”

She shot me a pitiful gaze. “MinJi, stop trying to lie your way out of this and embarrass yourself any further. Nobody is going to believe you.
Why would I deliberately pour a glass of red wine over a thousand dollar dress?”

Murmurs were heard from the people around us and I closed my eyes in utter disbelief. I knew that no matter what I say or do, nobody is going to
believe me. I mean, what she said is pretty true. Who would throw a thousand dollars into the drain just like that? I know I wouldn’t. When I
opened my eyes again, I could see Tae, Jae and Danny pushing their way towards the front of the crowd. Minwoo was already standing next to Ji
Yoon, gently wiping away her tears. I couldn’t even bring myself to look up at him. Just then, Jongie spoke up from behind me.

“I can vouch that she didn’t do it.”

By now, the guys had already reached my side and Tae put a protective arm around me. As I looked at the sea of faces around us, I suddenly feel
so tired. I had no more energy left in me to go through an ordeal like this. I put my hand on Jongie’s arm to stop him from saying anything more.

“Don’t, Jongie. I know you mean well, but it’s no use. The damage has already been done.” Then I turned to the guys and said in a very small
voice. “Let’s just go home.”

Tae guided me out of the ballroom with Jae and Danny in tow. I wasn’t in the mood to talk, and I was glad that Tae didn’t ask me anything. He
gave my hand a gentle squeeze, telling me without words that he believed me and that everything was going to be all right.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Once at home, I took off my shoes and headed upstairs to my room, without saying anything. I turned on the shower and hopped into the bathtub,
washing away all the make-up and hair gel that Andy and his crew had applied onto my face and hair. After I was done, I toweled myself and
changed into a pair of comfortable sweats and a t-shirt, before plopping myself down on my bed. Up until now, I was surprised that I had
managed to keep my tears from falling. I closed my eyes for while, and just lay there, silently. I could hear the guys’ worried voices next door, no
doubt, talking about me. I ran my fingers through my wet hair, then hopped off the bed and made my way to Tae’s room, where they were all
huddled.

“Hey,” I say, going over to sit cross-legged next to Tae on his huge bed. There was an uncertain silence before Danny spoke up.
“You alright, Ji?” he asked, looking at my face.

“I would be lying if I said I am.”

“If it makes you feel any better, we know you didn’t do it. You’re just not capable of doing something mean like that. I’m sure most of the guests
over there thought the same thing too,” says Jae, giving me a small smile.

I gave him a feeble smile in return. “Thanks guys. That means a lot to me.” I drew in a shaky breath that immediately, helplessly, tuned into a
sob. Suddenly, tears were streaming down my face.

“Ji?” asked Tae in alarm.

“It’s nothing. Don’t worry. I just do—“ I trailed off as a fresh flood of tears came.

“Shhhhh. It’s all right. Stop crying, okay?” says Tae, wiping away my tears.

“Yeah. If you don’t stop you’ll get wrinkles and look like a granny faster,” says Jae, squeezing my hand.

“Come on, Ji. Don’t cry. You’ll make me want to cry too,” says Danny, with sad puppy eyes. I giggled through my tears at his comical
expression.

“Yesss! She laughed! Did you guys see that? I made her laugh! Me. Danny Im,” he said punching his fist into the air.

“So, does this mean you’re feeling better?” asks Tae, smiling at me.

“Yes, I’ll be fine,” I say, smiling at all of them. It may be a lie, but it was a lie that we all needed to hear at the moment.
Chapter 46


Back in the ballroom, the crowd began to disperse leaving Jong Hyuk facing Minwoo and Ji Yoon.

“I’ll just go and clean myself up a little, then we can leave,” says Ji Yoon to Minwoo. At her words, Minwoo just nodded his head. The moment
she turned her back on them, Jong Hyuk took a few steps forward until he was directly in front of Minwoo, his dark eyes boring into Minwoo’s
brown ones.

“You know that MinJi didn’t do it.”

Minwoo shifted uneasily, not knowing what to say or do. He couldn’t be sure, but it looked to him like Ji Yoon had spilled the wine on herself.
The thought had crossed his mind several times. Why? Because MinJi’s glass was still half filled whereas Ji Yoon’s glass was almost finished.
“No matter what Ji Yoon has said to you, deep down, you know that MinJi didn’t do it.”

His eyes hardened. “How would you know?”

“In all the years that I have known her, from high school up to now, I am certain that she is not the kind of person who would inflict hurt on other
people. Her soft heart is just not capable of such things. I’m surprised at you Minwoo. I expected you to know better.”

“And why would I know about these things?” he snapped.

“Because you like her.”

Minwoo laughed mirthlessly while Jong Hyuk just looked at him in amusement. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jong Hyuk.”

“You can deny it. In fact, you can deny it forever if you want. But you and I both know the truth. If you didn’t like her, you wouldn’t keep
glancing at her out of the corners of your eyes, thinking that none of us would notice. You wouldn’t clench your fists so hard seeing her talking
and laughing with another guy. You wouldn’t deliberately bump into her while she is dancing with someone else. Do I have to say more?” asks
Jong Hyuk, raising his eyebrows.

“Why are you keeping tabs on me?” Minwoo asks quietly, then narrows his eyes. “You’re not interested in her, are you?”

“That’s solely for me to know. Right now, I just want to tell you something. All you have to do is just to listen, and listen well. You are not the
only one, nor the first person to have feelings for MinJi. There are many eligible guys out there who have shown her just how they feel about her.
If you’re going to keep up that attitude of yours, I believe you’re going to lose in the competition.”

“Why are you telling me all this?”

“Because I know that you’ve had feelings for her ever since we were in high school.”

Minwoo was silent for a moment. “It must have been pretty obvious, huh?”

“Not really. Let’s just say I notice things that other people don’t. By the way, I know what happened between MinJi and Ji Yoon in the office and
how you handled the whole situation. If you want to find out what really happened, check the security cameras. I’m sure a corporation as big and
successful as yours will have installed them everywhere. Funny how you haven’t thought of that before. One more last thing, if I ever hear
anything about you hurting MinJi in any way, you can be sure I won’t give you any more chances. I’ve given you enough to prove yourself to
her. A sweet girl like her doesn’t deserve someone who can’t treat her well.” With that, he turned on his heel and made his way through the
crowd, leaving Minwoo to stare after him.

“Minwoo, we can leave now,” says Ji Yoon, coming to stand by his side, linking arms with him. Minwoo turned to look at her, his eyes scanning
her face.

“Sure.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------

When he reached her house, he cut off the car engine, then closed his eyes and leaned against the headrest while Ji Yoon fidgeted with the hem of
her dress. Neither of them spoke for a moment.

“Ji Yoon, did you pour the glass of wine on yourself, to deliberately frame MinJi for it?” asks Minwoo, his voice icy, as he turned his head to
look at her profile.

“Why would I want to do something as low down as that, Minwoo? This dress doesn’t come cheap you know. I don’t know what Jong Hyuk had
said to you while I was gone, but whatever it is, I didn’t do it.”

“Then why was MinJi’s glass still full while yours was almost empty? If she had poured the wine on you, won’t her glass be the one that’s empty
instead of yours?”

Ji Yoon looked out of the car window, desperately trying to think of a logical explanation. “I—I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about,
Minwoo.”

“Don’t lie to me, Ji Yoon. You know perfectly well what I’m talking about. Didn’t you think that other people would have noticed that little
point? Didn’t you think that they, too, would have found it weird?”

“Are you trying to say that I did it, Minwoo? Are you accusing me of doing it?” she asks, turning in her seat to face him, her eyes slanted into
slits.

“Yes.”
She was a little taken aback by his answer. His face was stretched taut and his voice was so cold that she shivered a little. Not wanting to be under
his accusing stare any longer, she opened the door and stepped out into the chilly night. “Fine. If you don’t believe me, I can’t do anything about
it.” She slammed the door as hard as she could, then walked across the gravel to her house, stumbling a little in her heels.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Minwoo sat in the car, looking at her retreating back in silence. Then, knowing that she had safely entered the confines of her own home, he sped
off, heading towards Lee Corporations.

“Get me all the tapes which were recorded from the Marketing Department on Tuesday,” says Minwoo to the security guard, who was working
on overnight shift.

“Yes, sir.”

When he had gotten all the tapes that he had asked for, he went back to his own office located on the 30th floor. He poured himself a glass of
vodka, popped a tape into his VCR and settled himself comfortably in his chair. After a few hours of numerous fast forwards, his eyes suddenly
widened at what he saw on the television screen. He leaned forward in his chair, while he pressed the button to slow down the video. He rewound
the tape and watched the same scene for three times, just to be sure. Then, after ejecting the tape, he leaned back and rubbed his face.

Chapter 47

I groaned as the incessant ringing of my cell phone woke me up from my slumber. Drowsily reaching for my phone, I flipped it open and
mumbled, “Hello?”

“Good morning. May I speak to Kim MinJi, please?” said a smooth voice on the other end of the line which I did not recognize at all. I jerked my
head up almost immediately and checked the number on the screen only to find that it was an unfamiliar number.

“This is Kim MinJi speaking. May I know who’s on the line?” I asked, fully awake now.

“Lee Minwoo.”

“Oh,” I muttered, a little deflated. “What do you want?”

There was an uncertain pause before he spoke. “Meet me in my office at 8.30 later in the morning. This is regarding the incident that occurred on
Tuesday.”
“Sure.”

“Alright then. I’ll see you later.”

“Right.”

I flipped my phone shut after he had hung up, wondering how he had managed to catch hold of my number. I glanced over at the clock on my
table and groaned. Forty-five minutes till 8.30. I laid back down onto my pillow and burrowed deeper under the warm comforters, my eyes
closing. Just five more minutes, I thought to myself, slipping into slumber once again.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

“Ji, wake up.”

I stirred a little, and opened my eyes slowly.

“Morning, sleepyhead,” says Tae, kissing me on the forehead.

“What time is it?” I ask, yawning.

“8.15.”

I rubbed my eyes, then got out of bed and headed towards the bathroom. While I was halfway through brushing my teeth, my eyes suddenly
widened and my toothbrush fell with a clatter into the sink.

“What time did you say it was again, Tae oppa?” I yell, running to my wardrobe and randomly pulling out clothes.

“Now it’s 8.20. Why in such a rush?”

“I’ve got a meeting at 8.30 in the morning!” I replied, my voice a little muffled as I changed in the bathroom.
“And you only wake up now? Aish!” says Tae, packing my things into my bag.

As I put on my coat and scarf, he helped me brush my hair and pinned a pair of crystal-studded hairclips onto it. I greeted Jae and Danny as I
dashed down the stairs, hurriedly put on my shoes and kissed Tae on the cheek before I ran towards my car and sped off, not bothering to eat my
breakfast.

It was already 9 o’clock by the time I reached the building and I made a mad dash for the elevators. Once inside, I doubled over, clutching my
hips, trying to catch my breath back. When the doors opened on the 30th floor, I made a beeline for Jina’s desk.

“Mr. Lee wanted to see me at 8.30,” I say, panting a little.

“Oh yes, Miss Kim. Please have a seat. He’ll be seeing you in a while.”

I crashed onto one of the chairs nearby, glad that I could finally rest. Self-consciously, I ran my fingers through my wind blown hair, in an
attempt to straighten them. Thinking about what happened the last time we were in Ji Yoon’s office made me blush a little. Just then, Jina came
up to me, breaking into my daydreams.

“Mr. Lee would like to see you now.”

I gave her a smile and thanked her, then made my way through the now familiar hallway that led to his room. I had only walked a few paces
when I saw Ji Yoon exit from his room. The moment she turned away from the door, she stopped short and glared at me. We stared at each other
silently, our eyes slanted and our arms folded across our chest. Then, she broke off the gaze and walked past me, her shoulders brushing hard
against mine, making me stumble backwards a little.

I rapped sharply on the door, then waited patiently, one shoulder propped up against the doorframe. After a lot of shuffling around from inside the
room, I heard him call out, “Come in.” I pushed open the heavy wooden door and stepped in, my shoes sinking a little into the thick, plush carpet.
I bowed slightly when I reached the front of his table.

“You wanted to see me?” I asked in a small voice, my gaze fixed on his tabletop.

“Yes. Please have a seat.”

I sat down stiffly opposite him and twisted my fingers together. After a long uncomfortable silence, I decided to speak first.

“So…”

“There…” he said at the same time.

I gave him a small smile. “You go first. Mine isn’t of any importance.”
He cleared his throat before starting. “We’ve managed to find the culprit who took Ji Yoon’s watch.”

“Oh,” I say, not in the least bit surprised. “That’s great.”

He looked at me strangely. “Don’t you want to know who it is?”

I shook my head slightly. “There’s no need for that. I think I already know who did it.”

“Right. I believe you do.”

We lapsed into another uncomfortable silence.

“Anyway,” he began, “I wanted to apologize to you. For not believing that you didn’t do it.”

“It’s no biggie. Don’t worry,” I say, smiling at him.

“So, if there isn’t anything else, you may go back to work now.”

“Okay. Thanks,” I say getting out of my seat.

“Oh, by the way, how come you were at the Jung’s dinner party on Friday?”

I froze at his words. “Oh…um…” I say, racking my brains for an explanation. “You see, Danny got an invitation and he asked me to accompany
him.”

“Really? Where is he working now?”

“Kim Corporations,” I answered proudly.
“What about Jong Hyuk?”

“Jongie? I didn’t know you spoke with him. He’ll be taking over Oh Corporations pretty soon.”

“Oh. Right. You may leave now. Thanks.”

“Wait. You know that incident that happened on that night? The one where I supposedly spilled wine over Ji Yoon’s dress? I didn’t do it. She
deliberately spilled it over her own dress.”

His face hardened almost immediately. “Let’s not talk about that. And please do not tell anybody who had taken the watch. It might tarnish her
reputation and she will be stripped of all respect.”

“She should have thought of the consequences before doing it,” I retorted icily, slamming the door to his room.

Chapter 48

It was great to be able to see everyone else again and I was glad that they did not shun me because of that one incident. Encounters with Ji Yoon
today were pretty scarce. Although I was constantly being pestered to reveal the identity of the culprit, I kept my mouth sealed. I didn’t want to
subject Ji Yoon to what I had to go through in high school before Danny entered the picture. I wouldn’t wish that kind of treatment on anybody at
all, no matter how mean they were to me. At the end of the day, I bade everyone goodbye and headed over to the corporation’s underground car
park, where I had parked my car for convenience. I skipped happily towards my car, jingling my keys as I went. Suddenly, without warning, I
jerked to a halt, after catching sight of my car.

My wrecked car.

The windscreen and all four of its windows were smashed, with pieces of glass littered all over the ground. The body of the car was dented badly
in various places, probably hit with a baseball bat. As I neared it, I noticed that all four of its tires were punctured too. I leaned my forehead
against the cool top of the car, close to tears. My brand new car! I barely had it for a week! After standing motionless for about 20 minutes, I
resignedly pulled out my cell phone and rang a tow truck company, telling them to pick up my damaged car.

I trudged down the streets, my head hung low and my body lifeless. What am I going to say to the guys? All the effort that they had put in to earn
enough money so that they could get me this car had gone to waste. Just thinking about it made my throat clog up and tears began to sting my
eyes again. As I make my way home it starts to rain, big splashy drops, which puddle in the gutters and drip off canopies. They spatter on my hot
cheeks and wet my hair and make marks on my suede black boots. But I barely notice them. I was just too upset to care.

I entered the house, dripping wet, leaving behind a wet trail as I made my way across the living room. I looked up when I heard the sound of
footsteps coming down the stairs, bracing myself. Danny emerged from around the corner, and at the sight of me, the folder that he was holding
dropped onto the floor as he ran over to look at me.

“Where are the rest?” I ask quietly.
“Out. They won’t be home so early. Come on, Ji. Go up and take a shower. Then we’ll talk,” he says, guiding me up the stairs, as his folder lay
forgotten on the floor.

I took a long, hot shower and I could feel myself relax immensely as the warmth of the water surged through my cold body. After I was done, I
toweled myself and put on a pair of sweats and a long-sleeved sweater, to keep myself warm. I carefully combed my wet hair, then padded my
way across the carpet to Danny’s room. He was typing furiously on his laptop, but when I entered, he immediately stopped whatever he was
doing and handed me a glass of water. Then he left the room, telling me that he had to get something from downstairs. I sat cross-legged on his
king size bed, hugging a pillow to my chest. When he re-entered the room, he settled himself comfortably next to me on the bed and handed me a
box of white chocolates. Managing a feeble grin, I gratefully accepted the chocolates and popped one into my mouth, savouring the taste. Thank
God for Danny and his thoughtfulness. We just sat together in silence, eating the chocolates.

“So, would you like to tell me what’s bothering you, or do you want to just talk about things for a while?”

I paused a little before answering. “Danny, would it be alright if we sat out on the roof?”

“Sure thing,” he says, going over to open the large windows, letting himself out first, and then turning to me to assist me. After he was sure that I
was safely seated on the roof, he ducked back inside his room for a few seconds, then reemerged with a thick blanket, which he wrapped around
my shoulders. I looked up at the sky, mesmerized by all the stars twinkling against the dark background.

Without looking at him, I say, “My car got smashed up today.”

I could see concern written all over his face. Not concern for the car, but for me. “Are you okay, Ji? Did they hurt you?”

I turned to give him a small smile. “I’m fine, Danny. I wasn’t anywhere near the car when it happened.”
“Thank goodness for that,” he says, breathing a sigh of relief.

“You guys must have used a lot of money to get me the car, huh? And I couldn’t even keep it properly for one whole week.” I could feel the tears
come again but I blinked them back furiously.

“Ji,” says Danny, putting an arm around my shoulders. “It doesn’t matter how much money we used. What matters most to all of us is that you’re
safe. That’s what’s important.”

I leaned my head on his shoulder, letting the tears drop, one by one, as the stress from the events of the past few days all resurfaced at once.

Chapter 49

I woke up the next morning feeling a little feverish, but nevertheless, I got dressed and headed downstairs to the kitchen to eat my breakfast.

“Morning oppa. Morning guys,” I say, yawning, as I took a seat at the table. I spread some butter onto a piece of toast, took a bite, the put it down
again.

“Ji, are you alright?” asked Tae, concern evident in his eyes.

“Yeah. Don’t worry. I just don’t feel like eating. You guys go ahead without me,” I say, taking a few sips of my orange juice.

“Anyway, Ji, do you still want to continue working at Lee Corporations after all that had happened to you?” asks Tae. “I really wish you’d come
and work with us. That way, I can keep a look out for you and not worry my heart out all the time. Even Jae and Danny worries about you
constantly.”

I was silent for a few moments, deep in thought. Finally, I said, “I’ll think about it.”

“Right. Take your time. There’s no rush. Anyway, I’ve hired a driver for you. He will send you to work or anywhere you wish to go. He will be
on standby at all times, until you come home. Apart from that, he will also act as your bodyguard and ensure that no harm comes to you while
you’re out.”

“Um…don’t you think that’s overdoing it a bit?” I ask.

“Nope. Not at all. In the light of recent events, I don’t think I’m overdoing it.” Tae turned to look at me. “You’re the only person I have left, Ji. If
any harm comes to you, what am I going to do?”

I smiled warmly at him. “Thanks, oppa. I know you mean well…but do you think we could scrap the bodyguard thingy? I really don’t want
someone following me around everywhere. Please?”

He laughed and ruffled my hair. “Alright. If you insist.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------

“Please hold the lift!” I yell, running towards it, my arms loaded with files. As the day wore on, I could feel myself being drained of energy and I
was beginning to have a killer headache. My complexion had become chalky white and I was feeling awfully cold. I stumbled into the elevator,
leaned my forehead against the walls and closed my eyes in the hopes that it would be able to stop the world from spinning around in my head.
As fate would have it, the elevator ground to a sudden halt and the lights overhead flickered for a little while. The only other person in the
elevator began cursing under his breath. I could hear him yell into his cell phone to tell the management department to send people up to fix the
problem and get him out of here. This wasn’t the first time someone had got stuck in an elevator during a power cut. It usually took about 2 hours
to get the whole system up and running again, and until then, the person was stuck inside there.

Too tired to continue standing, I slid onto the floor of the elevator, the files dropping out of my hands in the process. I hugged my knees to myself
and buried my pounding head in my hands, wiping away the cold perspiration that was beginning to form on my forehead.

“MinJi,” says the guy. “Are you okay?”

The voice sounded oddly familiar but I couldn’t place my finger on who it belonged to. The pounding in my head became worse with each
passing second, and I didn’t even have the energy to raise my head to look at the guy. I shook my head slowly, as though I needed a lot of effort
just to do that simple action. I heard him mutter a string of colourful expletives under his breath, then felt a warm jacket being wrapped around
my shivering body. Then, he positioned himself next to me so that I could rest my head on his shoulder. All I could think of before I drifted off to
sleep was that when I was feeling well again, I had to thank this guy thoroughly, whoever he is.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Minwoo sat there, staring down at her sleeping profile. Upon closer inspection, she wasn’t as pretty as all the other model-like girls that he had
dated before. Nevertheless, he still felt a deep attraction for her, though he hardly showed it. He lifted his hand to brush her damp hair away from
her forehead and froze, when she stirred. He let out the breath that he had been unconsciously holding when he felt her relax against him again.

He opened his eyes from his nap when he felt the elevator moving again. Carefully, without waking MinJi, he lifted her up into his arms and
carried her all the way to his car, ignoring everyone’s curious stares as he went. There was only one thing on his mind right now and that was to
get MinJi to the hospital.

He drove as fast as he could, expertly weaving in and out of traffic. Bursting through the double doors that led into the hospital, he yelled to one
of the nurses standing nearby to help him. He slumped down onto a seat nearby and loosened his tie after she had safely entered the doctor’s
room to be examined.

“Excuse me,” says the doctor, coming out of the room. “Are you her family or relative?”

“Neither,” he answered. “Anyway, how is she?”

“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to speak directly with either her family members or her relatives.”

“But…but…I sent her here. Can’t you at least tell me what her condition is?”

The doctor looked torn. Finally, with a resigned sigh, he says, “Alright. She has a very high temperature and it seems that she hasn’t been getting
enough sleep in the past few days. If you would like to see her, she’s in room 542.”

Minwoo headed over to room 542, and knocked softly on the door, so that he would not wake her up in case she was sleeping. Hearing no
response, he pushed the door open and let himself in, as quietly as he could. He stood there, looking at her fragile form on the bed. Then,
whipping out his cell phone, he punched in Danny’s number.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Danny jogged down the hallway, frantically searching for room 542. He flung the door open and ran over to the bed only to find that MinJi was
sleeping. He placed his palm over her forehead and immediately pulled his hand back, after realizing how hot it was. He pulled the blankets up
higher, tucking it securely under her chin. Then, turning to Minwoo, he says in a very cold voice, “Let’s go out.”

“What happened?” asked Danny, his voice steely.

“The elevator broke down and we were trapped inside it. Suddenly, she just crouched down in a corner and after I realized that she wasn’t feeling
well, I sent her here immediately as soon as the system started working again.”

“This is all your fault, do you know that? If it weren’t for you and that stupid cow who goes by the name of Ji Yoon, MinJi wouldn’t be in here at
all.”

“Take back what you just said, Danny,” Minwoo says, his voice low and menacing. Although both him and Ji Yoon were no longer together, he
still felt protective towards her. He hated people who insulted her, especially when they say it right to his face.

“No,” says Danny firmly, and at his words, Minwoo’s fist came flying at him. Thanks to his quick reflexes, Danny was able to duck from the
punch. Regaining his balance, he shoved Minwoo as hard as he could by the shoulders. “What gives you the right to hit me? Huh? What?” Both
guys stared at each other, their face full of hatred.

“Let me tell you something, Lee Minwoo. Ever since MinJi started working at your bloody corporation, she’s never been happy at all. She came
home every night, upset. Why? Because your precious girlfriend wanted to make her miserable by making life a living hell for her while she was
working there. She hardly gets enough sleep. Do you know why? She was too stressed out by everything that had happened. First, there was the
incident about her stealing the watch and then the other one about her pouring wine all over Ji Yoon’s dress. Oh, and not forgetting the time when
Ji Yoon made her type more than 20 documents, giving her a dateline by the next morning. She couldn’t photocopy any of them because Ji Yoon
had deliberately made thousands of typing errors in there, so to help ease her burden, we decided to help her. We ended up staying up all night
trying to finish typing all of it by the given dateline. We, as in me, her, her cousin and her brother. And do you want to know why she’s lying in
there feeling so ill? Because somebody smashed her car in the parking lot yesterday. So she walked home in the pouring rain, feeling guilty. Do
you know what she was worrying about? She was worrying about how we would take it. Why? Because we bought her the car as a birthday gift
and she felt really bad because we had used so much money getting her the car and she couldn’t even keep it in tip-top shape for a week. She
cried to sleep over it yesterday night. Did you know that? Huh? Did you? And unless I miss my guess, I bet Ji Yoon was the one who did it.”

As Danny vented out all his frustration and anger by shoving Minwoo roughly with every accusing statement, Minwoo just stood there, stunned
at what he was hearing.

Chapter 50

I stirred slightly then opened my eyes as the sunlight streamed into the hospital room through the blinds. I tried to lift my hands up to rub my eyes
when I realized that someone was holding on to my left hand. Craning my neck a little, I saw Danny’s sleeping form, his head on my bed while
the rest of him was seated on a chair, which looked pretty uncomfortable to me. With his angelic face and tousled hair, he looked like an adorable
ten-year-old boy. Carefully, so as not to wake him, I wrenched my hand from his grasp and just as soon as I had freed my fingers, he awoke with
a start. Oops.

“Morning, Danny!” I say, ruffling his hair.

“Morning,” he mumbled, taking off his spectacles to rub his face.

“How long was I in here?”

“Just the night. I’m all kinked up!” he complained.

I gave a little laugh. As he stood up and stretched, I realized that neither Tae nor Jae was present. “Where’s oppa and Jae?”

He stopped stretching slowly, then, carefully avoiding my gaze, he bent down to straighten my blankets.

“What are you not telling me?”

“They don’t know you’re here.” I raised my eyebrows at him, as he continued. “They’re in Japan now. You see, they had this really wonderful
opportunity of expanding the business there and I didn’t feel like telling them what happened to you. You know how they are. Once they hear
about what happened, they’ll drop every single thing and come back just to see you. Chances like these don’t come by every other day and I just
didn’t want them to miss this one. I know it’s pretty selfish of me to do what I did. I’m sorry.”

He looked so dejected with his head hung low. “Danny,” I say, putting my hand over his and giving him a bright smile. “I’m glad you didn’t tell
them. Really.”

I could see him breaking into a smile too. “So, what do you want to do today?” he asked.

“Don’t you have to go to work? It’s already 9.30.”

“I could always enter the office a little later. Don’t worry.”

“Really? Let’s get me checked out and then we’ll have breakfast, okay?”

“No way, no how. You’re staying here for another night.”

“Why?” I whined. “I don’t want to stay here for another night!”

“Sorry, girl. No can do. I’m not taking any chances. You’re staying here until you’re perfectly fine again.”

I pouted and muttered under my breath. “Look,” he says, “I’ll stay the night with you, okay? I'll sleep on that ratty, old, dirty, smelly,
uncomfortable couch over there.”

“Promise?” I ask, extending my pinky to him.

“Promise,” he replies, laughing as he linked his pinky with mine.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

“Hi, unnie, hi, oppa,” says the little girl, smiling up at the both of us, her long hair tied messily into a ponytail. After having our breakfast, we
decided to sit out in the garden, which was located at the back of the hospital. The place was filled with joyous laughter, which came from the
mouths of little children playing together, garbed in the hospital’s gown. There were also a few elderly people who just sat around, reading books
to pass the time.
I smiled down at her. “Hello. What’s your name?”

“Sumin.”

“And how old are you?”

“Six,” she replies, scrambling up the bench to sit between me and Danny.

“So, what are you doing in here?” asks Danny, patting her head affectionately.
“I broke my leg the other day while I was playing hide and seek,” she says, showing us her bandaged leg. “But it’s alright now. Anyway, unnie,
can you help me tie my hair? Please?”

“Sure thing,” I say, turning her so that she sat with her back facing me. “Why don’t you play with this oppa while I tie your hair, okay?”

She nodded her head in reply as Danny engaged her in a game of rock, scissors and paper. I carefully raked my fingers through her hair to
straighten them, then proceeded to braid them, as best as I could so that she would be happy. I secured the little pink rubber band tightly then
said, “Alright. It’s done!”

She turned back to face me and grinned widely, touching her hair. “Thanks, unnie!” Then, as though catching sight of my sparkly hair clips for
the first time, she got up on her knees to get a closer look at it. “Oooooooooh,” she gushed. “They’re so pretty!”

Self consciously, I raised my hand to touch them. “Really? Do you like them?” I ask, as she nodded her head furiously, still admiring them.
Without thinking twice, I unfastened both the clips from my hair, and pinned them onto her hair as she giggled in utter delight.

“When must I return them, unnie?” she asks, clapping her tiny hands together.

“You don’t have to return them to me. It’s for you. Just treat it as a present from me,” I say, pinching her cheeks softly.

“Okie! Thanks unnie! I’m going to show the others what I got!” she said, scrambling down from the bench and running across the garden to
where a group of children sat. As I stared at her retreating back, I heard Danny mumble a few incoherent sentences under his breath.

“Now what?” I ask, turning to face him.

“Why, of all the clips that you could have given to her, you choose to give the ones that I had bought for you? Why couldn’t you have given away
the ones that Jae or Tae hyung bought for you?” he whined.

“Don’t be stupid, Danny. Those were the only clips I had on me. The others are back at home! Don’t be so sensitive!” I replied, whacking him on
the head.

“I’m not sensitive!” he said indignantly.

“Yes, you are!”

“No, I’m not!”

“Am too!”

“Am not!”

“Am too!”

“Am no—what are you doing here?” he suddenly says, his voice cold and icy and his brooding gaze fixed a few feet behind me.

I whirled around to see who had caused the sudden change of mood in him, only to find Minwoo standing there, holding a big bouquet of red
roses.

Chapter 51

“What’s he doing here?” I hissed to Danny.

“No doubt he’s come to see you,” he replies, still glaring at Minwoo.

“How does he know I’m here in the first place?”

“Oh…um…he was the one who sent you here.”

“WHAT?”

“Yeah. Sorry I didn’t mention it earlier. I thought you knew,” he says, turning to me with a surprised look.
“How was I supposed to know? I was conked out due to my high temperature. Remember?”

“Good morning Danny, MinJi,” says Minwoo formally, bowing slightly.

I jumped up from my seat and bowed back politely whereas Danny stood up slowly and continued glaring at him. Minwoo tried to hand me the
flowers but Danny slapped his arm away. “What are you doing here?” he asked sharply. I stepped as hard as I could on his feet, trying to tell him
without words, not to be so rude.

“I’m here to visit MinJi,” Minwoo replies, a little amused.

“Right. She doesn’t need you to visit her. Didn’t I tell you to stay away from her the other time?” says Danny in suppressed anger, moving
towards Minwoo threateningly.

“Danny,” I say, putting my hand on his arm. “Don’t.”

Danny turned to gaze at me for a few moments, searching my face. Then, he nodded his head slightly and moved away from Minwoo. He came to
stand next to me, embraced me in a warm hug and said in a low voice, “Call me if anything happens.” I nodded and gave him a smile, indicating
that I would be fine and watched him walk across the garden, until he was out of sight. Then, taking a deep breath, I turned to face Minwoo.

“Thanks,” I say, as I accepted the roses that he lifted up to me again. “So…” I trailed off as we both took a seat on the bench.

“How’re you doing?”

“Recovering. If it weren’t for you, I don’t know what would have become of me. Thanks again,” I say, giving him a small smile.

He smiled back at me, then tilted his head up to look at the clear blue sky. We were silent for a few moments, then he spoke. “Are you unhappy at
work?”

“Huh?”

“Are you unhappy at work?” he repeated.

“N—no.”

“Are you lying to me?” he asks sharply.

“No.” I repeated firmly. Sure, Ji Yoon can be a cow sometimes but I do feel happy working there. “Why do you ask?”

“Just wondering.”

“Oh.”

There was an uncomfortable pause.

“Anyway, have you found out who wrecked my car?” I ask tentatively.

“No,” he replied, unconvincingly.

“What are you not telling me?”

“Nothing.”

I turned to glare at him furiously. “You know who did it. And I have a right to know.”

He leaned forward with his elbows resting on his thighs and his fingers clasped together. “Yes, that’s true. But first, what do you plan to do the
person who did it?”

“Report him to the police,” I answered immediately.

“Is there any chance that you would forgive this person and let him go?”

“No.”

“Even if the person does come and apologize to you, face to face?”

I turned to look at him in surprise and followed his gaze. My blood froze and anger consumed me as I saw who was walking towards us.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
“You,” I say furiously, my body trembling slightly. Minwoo had stood up to stand next to Ji Yoon protectively as she lowered her head. “Why
did you do it?”
“I’m sorry, MinJi. I just wasn’t thinking at that time,” she says, her voice wavering and her eye brimming with tears.

“What do you mean you weren’t thinking?” I lashed out.

“I—I’m sorry.”

“Don’t think that just because you came to apologize, I’m not going to take any action. I’m still going through with my plans. And you know
what, it serves you right. You deserve everything bad that comes your way.”

She sniffled and Minwoo put his arm around her shoulders. “That’s not very nice, is it?” he snapped.

“What she did wasn’t very nice either, was it?” I retorted, meeting his gaze head on.

He glared at me, his face a mask of suppressed anger. “She came all the way just to apologize to you and you don’t even appreciate it. It takes a
lot of guts to come right out and admit that you are wrong. Besides, it was only a stupid car. You could replace it with another one any day.”

Something in me snapped at his words. “Look, it wasn’t only a stupid car as you put it. That car means a lot to me. It’s easy for you to say that I
could replace it because you have rich parents who are willing to buy anything and everything for you. I don’t, okay? I don’t have any parents
anymore. They died when I was 13. The only family I have left is my brother. And he works his ass off day and night just to ensure that I’m
living comfortably. Sometimes he’s so busy that I hardly even get to see him in a whole month. The money that he earned from all his hard work
went into buying me that car for my birthday. Although my cousin and Danny chipped in together, the amount that each one of them had to pay
still wasn’t little. You of all people should know. You drive a sports car. Things don’t get handed to us on a silver platter. We work hard for them.
So just lay off, okay?”

I abruptly turned on my heel and walked away from them, letting the tears fall, leaving behind a stunned Minwoo and a sniffling Ji Yoon.

Chapter 52

True to his word, Danny stayed for the night on the hospital’s couch, just to keep me company. When morning came, I happily stuffed all my
belongings into the little bag that Danny had brought my change of clothes in, glad to be able to finally leave the place.

“All ready, Ji?” he says, coming around to stand next to me.

“Yup!”

“Where would you like to have breakfast?” he asks, heaving my bag onto one hand and guiding me towards his car with his other hand.

“Ummmm…” I say, thinking hard. Suddenly my whole face lit up and I began to jump up and down excitedly. “Ahjummah’s place!”

“Okay! Okay! Don’t get over-excited!” he says, laughing as he bleeped his car open.

I climbed into his car and settled myself comfortably, laughing and joking all the way to the little restaurant.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

“Ah-jum-mah!” I yell, as I spotted her. She turned around sharply and scurried over to where we stood, beaming at us. With her hands on my
shoulders, she turned me around.

“MinJi, have you not been eating properly? You’ve gone so thin. And you’re looking so pale,” she says patting my cheeks gently. “Have you not
been getting enough sleep?”

“Aiyah! Ahjummah! Don’t worry about me! I’m fine. Look,” I say, giving her a little twirl. “How’re you?” I ask, linking my arm with her as she
led us towards our table.

“Me? I’m getting fatter. Hwanhee’s been making me eat a lot!” she says, patting her tummy and laughing gaily as I joined her.

“Here. You all have a seat first, alright? I’m going to tell Hwanhee you’re here. He’s going to be really happy to see the both of you.”

As she bustled off, we both settled down at our table.

“Awwwww, Hwanhee’s coming over!” grinned Danny.
I slanted my eyes at him. “What are you getting at, Danny?”

“Well, everyone knows Hwanhee has a thing for you,” he says, winking at me.

“What rubbish,” I say, blushing a little.

“It’s true! You’re the only one who doesn’t know!”
“Come on, Danny, he’s just a friend. A really, really sweet friend.”

“Hi!” says Hwanhee, approaching our table.

“Yo!” replies Danny.

“Hwanheeeeee!” I yelled.

He pulled a chair from the next table and sat down, folding his arms on the table. “It’s been quite a while since I last saw all of you. Where’s Jae
hyung and Tae hyung?”

“They’re in Japan right now,” I say, smiling at him. “And I’ve been so busy with work and everything that I didn’t have time to come here and
eat.”

“Me too!” piped up Danny.

“Oh, where are you working, MinJi?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Lee Corporations.”

He furrowed his brow for a moment, deep in thought. “Lee Corporations headed by Lee Minwoo? A little short, wears suits 99% of the time,
currently sporting brown hair and drives a sports car?”

“Yeah,” I say, turning to him in surprise. “How’d you know?”

“He eats here sometimes.”

“Oh,” I say, a little taken aback.

“Speaking of the donkey,” mutters Danny under his breath, his face hard and his gaze fixed on the doorway of the little restaurant.

We whipped our heads around to see who had entered and my heart sank a little at the sight that greeted me. Why is it that everywhere I go, he’s
always materializing in front of me one way or another? I slid a little lower in my seat, hoping that he wouldn’t be able to spot me. No such luck.
As he headed towards the only other available table in the room, which unfortunately, was just next to ours, his cool eyes locked with mine for a
full second, before he turned away. I closed my eyes and sighed, burying my head in my hands.

“You don’t like him very much, do you?” asked Hwanhee, with an amused twinkle in his eyes.

“Is it that obvious?” I ask, scrunching my face a little.

As Danny and Hwanhee both nodded their heads in unison, the door to the restaurant shut with a loud bang, and once again we turned in our seats
to see who had entered. I grimaced as I saw Ji Yoon standing there, scanning the room, her hair a little windblown and her clothes perfectly
pressed. Now this was one person that I really did not want to see. As her gaze swept over me, her face contorted into a disgusted look, as though
she had just stepped on horse manure. I dropped my gaze when she walked by our table and sat down opposite Minwoo.

“You don’t like a lot of people, do you?” asks Hwanhee, his eyes twinkling.

“Well, Danny doesn’t like her either!” I say defensively as the both of them laughed.

“Right. Right. Laugh all you want. I don’t care,” I say folding my arms across my chest.

The door opened again to let in another person and I squinted my eyes at the figure that had just entered, trying to determine whether it really was
him. When he took off his hat, my whole face lighted up and I jumped up from my seat, cupping my hands around my mouth.

“Jongieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” I yelled. His head whipped up immediately at his name and when he saw who had called him, a wide grin spread
over his face as he made his was towards us.
Chapter 53

Minwoo stared out the window, while Ji Yoon ate silently. He had barely touched his food. He just didn’t have the mood to eat. MinJi’s words
from yesterday played over and over again in his head. Had he done the wrong thing? Guilt had been eating at him after the incident. And he
hadn't slept a full minute last night either. Every time he closed his eyes, he remembered her hurt expression. Sure, he had said some pretty harsh
and insensitive words to her, but how was he to know that her parents weren’t living anymore? It wasn’t as though she had told him or anything.

Of course she didn’t tell you, a nagging voice in the back of his head said. She didn’t have a chance. When she was 13, you were already making
her miserable by taunting her in school everyday. Besides, why would she want to tell you about it? Just so you can tease her more? Just so you
can think of more mean names to call her? What have you ever done to make her believe that she could confide in you? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. In
fact, if I were her, I’d steer clear away from you.

At the next table, he heard her laughter, mingling with Jong Hyuk’s and Danny’s. Then it struck him. In all the times that she had been with him,
she had never laughed before. She did smile, but that was only for the briefest of moments. He turned his head a little, trying to look at her as
discreetly as possible. Her face shone with happiness as she laughed with her face turned up a little.

“Minwoo,” says Ji Yoon, breaking into his reverie. “Why aren’t you eating?” she asks, gesturing to his bowl.

“I just don’t feel like it,” he answered.

“Are you feeling sick?” she asks leaning across the table to place her palm on his forehead. But before she managed to touch him, he pulled back
and replied with a terse, “I’m fine.” Picking up his chopsticks, he began filling his empty stomach, not really tasting the food.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

After both MinJi and Danny had left, Jongie got up from his seat and made his way over to Minwoo’s table.

“Hello, Minwoo, Ji Yoon,” he says, giving them a small smile. “I’m sorry to interrupt but may I please have a word with you, Minwoo? Alone?”
he added, when he saw that Ji Yoon wasn’t going to move. Reluctantly, Ji Yoon stood up and told Minwoo that she would be waiting for him
outside. “Thanks, Ji Yoon. This won't take long,” he says, sitting down on the chair that she had occupied earlier. When she was safely out of
earshot, he turned to Minwoo.

“Still not getting on well with MinJi, are you?”

“What did she say to you?” asked Minwoo, a frown forming on his face.

“She didn’t mention anything to me, although Danny did. I’m not really clear about what happened between the three of you yesterday, but if it
has something to do with Ji Yoon, I could pretty much guess what it is. I can tell you never heeded any of my advice. That’s not surprising. I
really wasn’t expecting you to actually follow someone else’s words. But there is something that you need to know.” He paused for a second. “If
you still plan on getting her, you’d better straighten out your priorities. You can’t go running to Ji Yoon every time she beckons to you. You can’t
keep siding with Ji Yoon even though you know that she’s in the wrong. That would be plain unfair to MinJi. I know the relationship that you
share with Ji Yoon is a very strong one even though you guys are not together anymore but sometimes you have to open your eyes and look at
things from a different perspective.”

“Why are you telling me all this?”

Jong Hyuk gave Minwoo a small smile. “Because it would be unfair to you if I didn’t tell you all this. Besides, I did have a head start of 6 years.”
With that, he stood up, bowed slightly and walked out of the little restaurant, leaving a stunned Minwoo to stare after him.

Chapter 54

The doors to our office burst open suddenly, making me jump a little. As I bent down to pick up my pencil that had fallen to the ground, I heard a
familiar, deep, male voice and immediately whipped my head back up.

“Alright, everybody. Listen up!” says Minwoo, clapping his hands together to get our attention. “As you all know, our company has been offered
a partnership with another company based in New York. Since Ji Yoon has not been feeling well over the past few days due to fever, it would be
pretty inconsiderate of me to insist that she follow me over to New York to discuss about the plans to market this new product. So, is there
anyone here who would like to volunteer for this job?”

We looked at one another in silence, uncertainty etched all over our faces. Sensing our hesitation, Minwoo spoke again.

“Let’s put it this way. Who do you think is the most capable person of completing this task and making a good job out of it?”

It took everyone about a millisecond to make up their minds and as though they had planned this together behind my back, they all pointed in my
direction. My jaw dropped open and I pleaded with them with my eyes, trying to tell them telepathically not to pick me.

“MinJi is the person you’re looking for,” says Chil Hyun, grinning at me as everyone else nodded their heads in agreement, while I shook mine
furiously.

“Yeah, I agree with what Chil Hyun said. MinJi is definitely the one,” quipped Brian.

“Right. MinJi it is then. Any problems?” Minwoo asked, turning to me.

“Ye—Ow!” I muttered as Hee Jin stepped on my foot.

“No, Mr. Lee. I’m sure MinJi doesn’t have any problems,” she replied sweetly.

“Sur—Ouch!”

“Please don’t mind her,” she says again, smiling radiantly at him while I rubbed my arm where she had pinched earlier.

“Right,” he says. “Anyway, how fast can you pack all your things, MinJi?”

“When are we supposed to leave?”
“Today. By 5 o’clock.”

I blinked, trying to absorb all this at once. “Oh. Right. Okay. Great.”

“So, roughly at what time do you think you could be ready?” he asks, giving me a weird look.

“Oh, ummm…just give me about 2 hours. I’ll be ready by then.”

“Great. Would you like me to fetch you to the airport from your house?”

“NO! I mean, no, there’s no need for that. I can come back here or we can just meet at the airport or something,” I say, shuffling my feet
nervously.

“Whatever suits you. Why don’t we meet at the café around the corner at 3 o’clock? That’ll give you about…” he trailed off, looking at his
watch, “three hours and thirty minutes to get ready. Would that be okay for you?”

“Yeah. Oh, how many days should I pack my clothes for?”

“Enough for 2 weeks.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------

“Oppa,” I say, nudging the huge lump buried under the comforters. He shifted a little, muttering under his breath and then fell asleep again.
“Come on, oppa,” I say, pushing him a little harder this time. “I know you’re feeling pretty tired from the plane ride back but please, please get
up. This is important!”

Abruptly, he sat up straight and looked at me, a frown marring his features. All thoughts of sleep had vanished from his mind. “What’s the matter,
Ji? Are you feeling sick?” he asked, putting his palm up to my forehead.

“No, silly,” I say, swatting his arm away. “Why is it that you always think that there’s something wrong with me? Anyway, I wanted to tell you
that I’ll be leaving for New York tonight.”

“WHAT?”

“Aish! Don’t yell! I’m just one foot away from you! It’s a business trip and I’m the lucky one that got chosen to represent the Marketing
Department. So, wanna help me pack?”

“Whoa! Hold up! My brain can’t input so much information at one shot. You’re leaving on a business trip to New York tonight. When will you
be back?”

“Ummm…about two weeks.”

“TWO WEEKS?”

“Ouch! Oppa! Think of my poor eardrums! Yeah, two weeks.”

“Do you know how long two weeks is? It’s 14 days. 336 hours. 20,160 minutes. How am I supposed to go through 2 whole weeks without seeing
you, without knowing how you’re faring? I’d be worried sick!”

“Aiyah, oppa! I promise I’ll call you every day so stop acting like a six-year-old. Come and help me pack. My flight leaves at 5 o’clock,” I say,
pulling him out of his bed, while he complained continuously about how boring it was going to be without me. Oh God, I thought, rolling my
eyes.

Chapter 55

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. My name is Jung Hwa and I’ll be your pilot for today. You are aboard flight
K5246 from Seoul, Korea headed for New York. The time now is 5.30 in the evening. It will take about…”

As the speakers crackled overhead, I leaned forward to look out of the little square window, at the twinkling lights of Seoul, thousands of feet
below. So awed by the sight that greeted me, I grabbed Minwoo’s arm excitedly and pointed.

“Look, Minwoo, Seoul looks beautiful from up here,” I say, finally turning to face him, only to stare right into his cold eyes. They say it takes
roughly about thirty-six muscles to smile. Ten of mine must have failed to work as my face dropped like a wet towel. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled,
releasing my grip on his arm.

Sighing, I turned my back on him and gazed out the window again. Sure, it was great to be able to fly in business class and everything but having
a seat partner who is as prickly as a porcupine just kills the mood. It really does.

Minwoo inclined his head just a little and observed her out of the corners of his eyes. Through her reflection in the window, he could see that she
was a little downcast, probably at his reaction earlier. He cursed inwardly at himself. He felt like a grade-A heel for being so cold towards her. He
could see that she was trying her damnedest to relieve the tension between the both of them and he knew he wasn’t doing anything to help things.
He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration then turned his attention back to his laptop and began typing, desperately trying to blot her out of
his system.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After what seemed like hours, Minwoo leaned back in his seat, took off his spectacles and pinched the bridge of his nose lightly. He rotated his
shoulders and moved his head sideways to help ease the tense muscles there.

“Excuse me, sir,” says a stewardess, smiling down at him and handing him a menu. “What would you like to have for dinner?”

He hurriedly scanned the page. “I would like to have the chicken set, please,” he replied, closing the menu.

“What about your friend?” she asks, nodding in MinJi’s direction.

He shifted his gaze to look over at her, surprised to find her fast asleep in a very awkward position. Turning back to the stewardess, he said,
“She’ll have the same thing, thanks.”

“Sure. Dinner will be served in half an hour,” she answered politely, walking away.

He slowly pried the book away from between her fingers, memorized the page number then slipped it into his bag. Leaning over her, he carefully
unfastened her hair clip, letting her long hair fall in wisps around her. Then, lifting the wrapped up blanket from the floor, he roughly tore the bag
open and tucked the warm blanket securely under her chin, making sure that she was fully covered from neck to toe. Satisfied with what he had
done, he lifted his hand to switch off the reading light. Now if only she would wake up when dinner is being served.

Chapter 56

“Wow,” I gushed, taking in the sights around me. During our two weeks here, we would be staying at the Four Seasons Hotel. I’ve heard from
various sources that this hotel was really expensive and was one of the best-rated hotels in New York, next to the Plaza Hotel but I wasn’t
expecting its interiors to be so…so…fantastic. For a start, the reception area was all limestone and marble and amazing high ceilings.

As we approached the reception desk, a concierge in a trendy jacket smiles at us. “Good morning, Mr. Lee,” he says. “And Miss Kim. Welcome
to the Four Seasons. I’ve put you both in adjoining rooms 19 and 20,” he continued, as Minwoo starts to fill in a form. “Overlooking Central
Park.”

“Great,” says Minwoo.

“Thanks,” I say, smiling at the concierge and he smiled back warmly.

“If there is anything else that you require, Mr. Lee and Miss Kim,” says the concierge, “please don’t hesitate to let me know.”

“We will, don’t worry,” I say, as Minwoo hands the forms back. The concierge hands him two sets of room keys, and summons a porter to help
carry our bags up.

We walk along an opulent corridor in complete silence – then the porter swings open the door to room 19 and ushers us into a spectacularly
beautiful room, furnished with a big double bed with an enormous waffle duvet, a state-of-the-art music system, plushy chairs and a paneled
dressing room. He places both our bags on the luggage rail, then Minwoo gives him a note and he disappears.

While Minwoo crossed over to his room through the adjoining door, I made my way over to the bathroom and pushed open the door, stunned at
what I saw. Inside, there was a huge great sunken mosaic Jacuzzi with the hugest shower that I’ve ever seen above, and a whole rack of gorgeous-
looking aromatherapy oils.

Suddenly, I remembered my promise to call Tae. Rushing over to where my bag stood, I rummaged through my clothes, searching for my cell
phone. Whipping it open, I quickly punched in Tae’s number forgetting about the difference in time zone.

“Helwfrow?” he said groggily.

“Hiya, Oppa! Ji here! Just to let you know that I’ve reached safely. And I’m sorry I called at the wrong time. I forgot that it’s night over there,” I
say, giggling a little.

“Frit’s awglight, Ji.”

“Right, oppa. Go back to sleep. I’ll ring you at a saner hour. Night!” I say, shaking my head as I flipped it shut.

“MinJi?” Minwoo called out, poking his head around the door. “Did you, by any chance, bring along a cocktail dress?”

“Umm…no. Why? Are we attending a formal dinner?” I ask.

“As a matter of fact, we are. And it’s tonight.”
My jaw dropped open. “Oh my God. What do we do?” I ask, feeling panic rising within me.

“Go and take a shower. After that, we’ll go shopping.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As they sat in the back seat of the cab, side by side, Minwoo couldn’t help but notice how much her spirits had lifted. She looked so energetic and
radiant, wearing a pair of dark blue jeans and a plain white three-quarter sleeved shirt. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, fastened securely
with a pale pink ribbon. When she happened to look his way, she smiled warmly at him, a smile that was sincere and unguarded. Just as he was
about to smile back, memories from the day at the hospital flooded into his mind. He felt a sharp pang of guilt remembering all the hurtful things
that he had said to her. Since he still hasn’t apologized to her about his behaviour, now was a good time as any to do it.

“MinJi?” he called out quietly.

“Yeah?” she asked, turning in her seat to face him.

He paused for a moment, looking out of his window at the blur of colours whizzing past him. Finally, he turned to look into her questioning eyes.
“I’m sorry for all the hurtful things that I’ve said to you the other day at the hospital.”

It took her a few minutes to register what he was talking about. “Oh, it’s alright,” she answered, fidgeting with her bracelet and averting her gaze
away from him.

“No, it’s not alright. I’m sorry. I really am. I shouldn’t have been so insensitive with my words.”

She gave him a small smile. “Apology accepted. Don’t dwell so much on it. I never took what you said to heart.”

He knew she was lying, but he allowed her her small deception. An uncomfortable silence engulfed the both of them. “Anyway,” he said. “It’s
obvious that we had set out on the wrong foot together. Why don’t we start over? We can pretend none of those rotten things had ever happened
and, you know, just get to know each other better. Well, it’s just a thought. You don’t have to go through with it if you don’t want to,” he added
hastily.

It took a full five seconds for her to make up her mind. Breaking into a smile, she extended her hand towards him. “Hi, my name is Kim MinJi.
What’s yours?”

Chapter 57

“Good morning,” says a girl with a name badge, smiling at us, as we entered the little boutique. “Can I help you with anything?”

“Actually, there is. We will be attending a dinner tonight and we need to look good. Could you please help me to choose a suit and a dress for the
lady here?”

“No, wait,” I say, putting my arm out to stop the girl. “You can help him choose a suit. I’ll just look around for a dress myself.”

I wandered off to the numerous racks of dresses while Minwoo settled down comfortably on one of the suede couches while the girl went around
the shop gathering clothes for him. As I fingered all the lovely evening wear, one particular dress in the back stood out, demanding my attention.
I parted all the other dresses so that I could get a better look at it and gasped softly at what I saw. It was an inky purple dress, with a low back and
glittering straps. I fingered the smooth fabric lovingly, and then turned over the price tag. My eyes widened in shock as I counted the numbers
with my fingers. Oh my God. Although I was rich and could afford to buy anything my heart desired, I was careful about money. I didn’t go
around spending it on things that I didn’t need. Why? Because we didn’t get the money by simply resting on our laurels. Sure, our father had left
most of his possessions to the both of us in his will, which amounted to a very large sum in money and assets, but we never took any of it for
granted. Not even once. Tae worked awfully hard, managing the whole corporation with the help of Jae, and now, Danny, just to ensure that I was
living comfortably. Abruptly, I turned my back on the dress and made my way over to where Minwoo sat.

“Minwoo,” I say in hushed tones, leaning in closer towards him. “Do you actually KNOW how much the outfits in here cost?”

He turned to look at me, frowning a little. “I’d have to say…about a thousand plus?”

“Not even close. There’s this dress which costs about four thousand! Four whole thousand! Just for a dress! Who would be crazy enough to buy
something that expensive?”

“Oh? Which dress is it?” he asks, suddenly interested.

“That one in th—“ I stopped suddenly, and slanted my eyes at him. “Why do you want to know?”

“Umm…curious? I’ve never come across a four thousand dollar dress before, you know,” he says, grinning at me.

“Right, Minwoo. Nice try. You nearly got me there,” I say pinching him on the arm.

Frankly, I’m glad that I took the chance to start over with him. He is much more open now compared to when I first met him, and definitely less,
less colder. In fact, he seemed to smile more often too…or maybe that was just me.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“How’s this?” he asks, coming out of the dressing room and coming to stand in front of me.

I lifted my chin from my hands and looked up at him with a bored expression. “Minwoo,” I whined. “You’ve tried on more than a hundred pairs
of suits. Can’t you just randomly pick one?”

“Of course not! We have to look our best tonight, MinJi. First impression is everything.”

“I know, but still! Don’t you think that trying on so many suits is overdoing it a little? Besides, they all look the same to me, so it doesn’t really
matter which one you pick. And hurry up while you’re at it, okay? It's illegal to bore a person to death.”

“If you’re feeling bored, it means you’re a boring person.”

My jaw dropped open in disbelief. “Oy! You try sitting here and watch me change into a hundred different dresses. Then you can talk.”

“Okay!” he replied, coming to sit down next to me. “Go ahead and pick your dress!”

I shot him a weird look. “What are you up to now?”

“Nothing! Honestly, woman. Why do you always see an ulterior motive in all my gestures?”

“Because you’re always up to no good! Now, stop wasting my time and pick out a suit!” I say, pushing him away.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Excuse me, I’d like to buy these,” says Minwoo, handing over his items to the girl. As he waited while she rang up all his purchases, he stole a
glance at MinJi. He felt more at ease now, knowing that she didn’t harbour any kind of hate towards him. And though he wouldn’t admit it to
anyone else, he was glad that he had finally managed to work up the courage to ask whether they could start over. Spending two weeks alone with
her, while they were on good terms suddenly seemed like the most perfect thing that could ever happen.

Smiling to himself, he let his eyes roam over the little boutique. As though being pulled by a magnetic force of some kind, his eyes seeked out the
purple dress that he had caught MinJi staring at during intervals when she thought he wasn’t looking. The four thousand dollar dress.

Suddenly, he felt like getting her a gift. Something that she wouldn’t be expecting at all. Something that would make her face light up with
happiness. Without hesitating, he leaned over the counter to speak to the girl.

“If it isn’t too much trouble, could you please wrap that dress up for me? And matching shoes to go with it?”

Chapter 58

“Minwoo, wake up!” I say, jostling his arm frantically.

“What is it?” he asks, rubbing his eyes and raising himself to rest on his elbows.

“It’s almost 5 o’clock and I still haven’t got a dress for the dinner! This is all your fault, you know,’ I say, nudging him in the sides when I saw
that his eyes was beginning to close again.

“MY fault? You were the one who overslept!”

“True, but if you hadn’t insisted on coming back to the hotel to get some shuteye, none of this would have happened! Stop trying to go back to
sleep! We have a crisis at hand here!”

He gave a sigh and plopped back down onto his bed. “Tell you what…go back to your room, take a shower and after that, apply your make up.
As for your dress, I’ll think of something, okay?”

“You’re not going to dress me up in curtains or anything like that, are you?” I ask, looking at him suspiciously.

“What? You don’t like it?” he asks, deadpan.

“Minwoo!”

“Okay! Okay! So, using the curtains is definitely not an option. What about the cleaner’s uniform? Maybe we could pass it off as the latest
fashion created by some eccentric designer.” I whacked him on his forehead while he laughed. “Look, don’t worry about the dress. I’ll come up
with something. Just go and get ready, alright?”

The moment she closed the door to her bathroom, he leapt out of bed and rummaged through the carrier bags for the dress and the shoes that he
had bought earlier. Finding the right box, he carried it across to her room, careful not to make any noise. It was a good thing he opted for
adjoining rooms, he thought wryly, then chuckled softly as he thought of her request that they leave the doors open at all times unless either one
of them was changing because she was scared of living in such a huge room all by herself. He surveyed the room for a while, then finally decided
to leave the box on top of her bedcovers, and the shoes, at the foot of the bed. He stood back and gazed at it one last time before walking back to
his own room to get himself ready for the dinner.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I shuffled out of the bathroom, toweling my hair. Now, for the tricky part…to dry my hair and style it. As I headed over to the dresser, I stopped
short. A pair of glittery dark purple heels stood proudly at the foot of my bed while a rectangular white box sat on top of my bedcovers. I turned
the box over and over again in my hands. The logo engraved at the right hand corner of the box looked awfully familiar. Hesitating a little, I lifted
the lid of the box and peered inside, gasping audibly at what I saw. I ran over to Minwoo’s room and was about to knock on his bathroom door
when it opened, revealing a topless Minwoo.

“Aack!” I say, turning my back on him, my cheeks flaming hot.

“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, MinJi. I’m wearing pants. And, guys walk around without wearing a shirt all the time. It’s pretty
normal,” he says, chuckling as he buttoned up a shirt.

“It’s not normal! It’s indecent exposure!” I exclaimed.

“Right. Anyway, is there something that you wanted to see me about?”

“Yeah!” I say, whirling around to meet his gaze. “Why’d you buy the dress?”

“Why shouldn’t I?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Minwoo!” I say, putting my hands on my hips.

“Must you ask?”

“Yes! I have a right to know!”

“Well…I noticed how you kept stealing glances at the dress, so I bought it for you.”

“You bought it just because I kept looking at it?” I asked incredulously.

“No! I bought it for you because I wanted to. I really did. I thought you would be happy,” he said, looking down at his shoes.

I bit the insides of my cheek and mentally kicked myself when I saw a flicker of sadness cross his features. I walked over to where he stood and
gave him a warm hug. “I am happy, Minwoo. Thanks.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Are you going to come out on your own, or do I have to go in there and drag you out?” yelled Minwoo.

“Wait!” I hollered back. “I’m not done yet!”

“But you’ve been in there for almost 20 minutes. You don’t need 20 minutes just to slip on a dress! I’m coming in!”

“If I come out, you have to promise not to laugh, okay?” I ask, poking my head around the door.

“Okay! Okay!”

I bit my bottom lip and stepped out from behind the door. The dress fit snugly, accentuating my curves to perfection, and stopping just above my
ankles, which fed to my high-heeled strappy sequined sandals. My dark, brown hair had been pinned up into a bun, with little strands falling out,
framing my face and only a smidgen of make-up had been applied onto my face.

“So?” I ask, twisting my fingers.

It took him a while to regain his composure. “You look wonderful,” he says, giving me a smile.

Chapter 59

I slipped my arm around the elbow that Minwoo offered as we swept down the stairs that led to the hall where the cocktail party was being held.

“There’s so many people here!” I whispered to him through my smile.

“Just take things slowly. There’s nothing to be afraid of,” he whispered back, giving my arm an encouraging squeeze.

“Easy for you to say,” I mumbled.

I gladly accepted the glass of champagne that a passing waiter offered to me and took a few generous sips to calm my nerves. The entire place
was filled with men in expensive suits and women in beautiful dresses, all standing and chatting animatedly.

“Lee Minwoo,” says a middle-aged man heartily, shaking Minwoo’s hand. “Glad you could make it. And who’s the lovely lady here?” he asks,
giving me a warm smile.

“Mr. Ahn, I wouldn’t miss this dinner for anything. This is Kim MinJi. She will be in charge of the project to help market the new products,”
replies Minwoo.

“Hello, Miss Kim. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise, Mr. Ahn,” I say, returning his smile.

Just then, the heavy double doors that led to the dining room opened and Mr. Ahn turned to face us. “Well, shall we proceed?”

He led us over to one of the tables situated at the front, made sure that we were comfortable, then left to see to his other guests.

“He’s really nice,” I commented to Minwoo.

“Yes, he is,” he replied, agreeing with me.

“Where is h—“ I began.

“Lee Minwoo.”

I turned around in my seat to see who had interrupted me. A tall, thin guy, with blond hair, holding a glass filled with red wine stood behind my
chair, grinning widely at Minwoo.

“Shin Hyesung!” says Minwoo, standing up and smiling warmly at the other guy, his whole face filled with happiness. “What are you doing
here?”

“Attending a dinner. Just like you,” he replies, lifting his glass, then taking a sip from it.

Slowly, but uncertainly, I stood up too. “Oh, Hyesung, this is Kim MinJi. MinJi,” he says, turning to face me, “meet Shin Hyesung.”

I grasped his extended hand and shook it warmly. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Shin.”

“Aaack!” he says, wagging a finger at me. “Hyesung. Not Mr. Shin.”

I giggled a little but immediately covered it up with a cough. “Right, Hyesung.”

“And how would you like me to address you?” he asks with a twinkle in his eyes.

“MinJi,” I replied.

“Hmm…MinJi…Kim MinJi…that name sounds awfully familiar…” he trailed off, thinking hard. “That’s it!” he exclaimed suddenly, snapping
his fingers. “Kim MinJi! You’re the girl that Mi—“

“Hyesung, why don’t you take a seat?” cut in Minwoo, a little loudly.

I looked at the both of them curiously, first at Hyesung, then at Minwoo. I could tell that they were hiding something from me. “What is it that
you’re not telling me?”

“It’s a guy thing,” answered Hyesung, as he took a seat next to me.

“A guy thing?” I ask incredulously.

“What’s so surprising about that? If girls can have girl things, then why can’t guys have guy things?” he asked with annoying male logic.

At his words, I shook my head and laughed. “You are just so adorable.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Come on, let’s dance,” says Hyesung, pulling me to my feet after the waiters had cleared the tables.

“You guys go ahead,” I say, pulling my hand out of his grasp. “I can’t dance.”

“Liar! You were dancing pretty well with Jong Hyuk the other day,” says Minwoo accusingly.

“That was different!”
“How is it different?” asks Hyesung with an eyebrow raised.

“He was teaching me how to dance!”

“Right,” they said at the same time, rolling their eyes.

“Honest!”

As though on cue, the emcee’s voice boomed throughout the entire hall. “Ladies and gentlemen, please proceed on to the dance floor. Anyone
caught not dancing will have to sing all of us a song!”

My jaw dropped open in disbelief as both Minwoo and Hyesung looked at me with wide grins. What kind of an emcee is he? I fumed.

“May I?” asks Minwoo, his eyes twinkling as he extended his hand towards me.

I blew the hair out of my face and slowly, placed my hand in his as he led me to the dance floor.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hyesung stood in a corner, sipping his wine and observed the both of them dancing together. He noticed the happy glow on his best mate’s face.
It had been such a long, long time since he last saw Minwoo so happy and at ease with himself. A smile spread across his face. A lot of people
had always assumed that Minwoo was a cold person, earning him very few friends. But he knew better. Deep inside, Minwoo was insecure, just
like everyone else. Past experiences had turned him into a bitter person. But all that was going to change now, he thought, as he shifted his gaze
to look at MinJi, the girl who Minwoo had been hopelessly in love with for the past four years.

Chapter 60

Over the next few days, we existed on a diet of late nights and coffees. Every morning, we had to wake up early to attend meetings with Mr.
Ahn’s team to discuss about things. Our schedule was hectic. We barely had time to eat, but somehow, we had managed to cram in a few hours of
sightseeing.

We had built on the fragile trust we’d begun by sharing our thoughts, opening ourselves to each other, and exposing vulnerabilities, guardedly
testing the limits of our delicate new bond. Although I was surprised at the sudden change in him, I couldn’t say I wasn’t pleased. He was much
more easy to be with and definitely much nicer. His smile and the twinkle in his eyes came more readily now. His laugh was awfully contagious
and his presence always brought a smile to my face. I appreciated all the little things that he did, like waking up early to pick up all my wake up
calls so that I didn’t have to wake up so early, going out in the middle of the night just to buy me food because he knew I was hungry, and
making sure that I was asleep before him. And in these two weeks, bit by bit, I fell for him.

The past two weeks had to be one the best times of his life. Although they were constantly laden with work, it gave them a chance to get to know
each other better. While working, they often talked to pass the time and it was through this, that he got to know the many facets of her life, and
her, his. He regretted deeply for not taking this step earlier. After spending so much time together with her and seeing what she really was inside,
the feelings he had for her for the past four years came stampeding back with twice the force. He was powerless to do anyting to stop it from
happening and neither could he deny the truth any longer. He had fallen for her again, and fallen hard.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Minwoo!” I say, skipping into his room, feeling refreshed after my hot shower.

“I’m in the shower! Just take a seat first, alright?” came his muffled voice.

“Oh, okay! Take your time! There’s no rush!” I say, making myself comfortable on one of the plushy chairs. I picked up a magazine on the coffee
table nearby and flipped through it absently. Feeling bored, I put it back down and sighed, looking around his room. With a start, I sat up straight.
I never really noticed how neat his room always is. Sure, it was cleaned daily by the housekeeping team, but still, I’ve never seen any of his
things out of place before. His clothes was always hung up in the cupboards provided, magazines, newspapers and files always stacked neatly on
the coffee table, shoes placed in one corner of the room, and the sorts. Compare to his, my room looks as though it has been hit by a tornado.

“Minwoo, you’re such a neat freak,” I say to him as he came out, toweling his hair.

“What?”

“It’s true! Everything in your room is so…proper! Look at my room. It’s more natural, more comfortable!” I say, standing up and deliberately
messing up his neatly stacked magazines.

“So I like to be clean. Sue me,” he says, raising an eyebrow at my actions.

“Are you trying to imply something?” I ask, putting my hands on my hips and slanting my eyes at him.

“No! Not at all,” he replies, looking at me innocently, his eyes twinkling. “So, what did you want to see me about?”

“Must it always be something? You’re beginning to sound like my oppa!”

“Well, what else am I supposed to say?”
“Hmmm…good question. I don’t know either,” I say, giggling a little.

“So…what do you want to do, seeing as this is our last day here in New York?”

“Sightseeing is out of the question as it’s probably too dark out to see anything at all. Shopping is not an option either as I’m sure all the shops are
closed by now. Ummm…why don’t we just sit down and talk, or something?” I ask.

I look up and meet his eyes, and a tingle travels down my spine at his intense gaze. Slowly he walks towards me, until he’s standing just in front
of me. I can smell the scent of his aftershave, and hear the crisp cotton rustle of his shirt as he moves.

“We could just talk, or something,” he echoes, and slowly lifts his hands until they cup my face. “We could just talk. Or something.”

As he leaned in closer, I pulled back from him, my eyes wide. ”W--we shouldn’t be doing this, Minwoo.”

Minwoo bit his lip and looked down at his shoes. He knew he shouldn’t be doing this. He tried hard to remind himself of who he was and what he
was doing, but it was useless. His heart was calling all the shots now. “Just once,” he whispered, reaching out for me. “Just once.”

And then he kisses me.

Chapter 61


His mouth was on hers, gently parting her lips as his hands encircled her small waist, pulling her tightly to him. She was so small, and her curves
fit so perfectly in his arms, emphasizing his masculinity.

The careful brush of his mouth caught me off guard. Surprisingly, there was nothing lustful about his caress. Instead, it was a mingling of quiet
breath, a tentative exploration. I tasted uncertainty, a mute questioning, as if all his defenses were down and he were lying bare a vulnerable and
lonely soul.

Just then, I snapped back to my senses and broke away, placing both my hands on his chest to push him back. “You know, Minwoo, we should
forget about whatever just happened. There…there was probably some kind of…attraction between the both of us during that split second due
to…due to the stress that we had undergone for the past few days. Yes…that must be it. Stress,” I say, focusing on the buttons of his shirt.

“Is that what you think?” he asks, his voice awfully quiet.

“I don’t know. I don’t know, okay? I don’t know what to think anymore!” I say, rubbing my face.

“Hey,” he says, grasping my chin lightly and bringing it up until I had nowhere else to look but into his eyes. “I know this is probably not the
right time to say this, and that you probably don’t even want to hear this right now, but I need to tell you about it. I need to get it out into the
open.” He took a deep breath. “I love you.”

I froze at his words. “What?”

“I love you. All right? I love you,” he says, now grasping both my shoulders firmly and shaking me lightly. When I didn’t speak, he continued.
“Ever since that day I gave you that punch to the jaw, I felt an instant attraction for you. Sounds weird, but that’s exactly what happened.”

Silence enfolded us as my brain worked overtime, trying to interpret what Minwoo was saying.

“I want us to have something more than just friendship. I can give you all the love and laughter you can handle, but there are other things that I
can also give you. I’ll listen if you want to talk, I’ll be your rock if you just want to lean on me…whatever you want, whatever you need, I’ll
always be here for you,” he said, looking deeply into my eyes so that I wouldn’t miss the seriousness of his point.

I looked down at my feet and squeezed my eyes shut, tightly. Reopening them, I braced myself to look straight into his eyes. “Minwoo, I don--”

“Look, before you come to any decision, just…just think about it, okay? Please?” he asks, pleading with his eyes. “You can take all the time you
want to make up your mind. I won’t pressure you or rush you or anything like that. I promise. But please, please think about it.”

I bit my bottom lip, and then slowly, I nodded my head. “All right. I’ll think about it,” I say softly. As I trudged back towards my room, deep in
thought, what Minwoo said next made me stop short in my tracks.

“If I had one wish, MinJi, I would wish for me not to have fallen in love with you, so that I wouldn’t have to go through so much pain and torture
every day. You don’t know this, but I die a little bit each time I see you smile at another guy, your whole being radiating with
happiness…knowing that you would never smile at me like that, knowing that you’d probably never be mine.”
Chapter 62

“MinJi!” yelled Tae, jumping over chairs, pillows and Danny, who was lying flat on his stomach, flipping through some papers, in his rush to
reach me.

“Oppaaaaaa! I missed you guys so much!” I say, as he gave me a big hug and ruffled my hair. “Danny, get up off the floor,” I say, nudging him in
the sides gently with my foot as I walked past him to take a seat on the couch.

“So,” says Danny, bouncing up and down on the couch. “Any presents?”

“Is that all you can think about?” I ask, irritably. “I don't see you for two whole weeks and the only thing you can ask me after I come home is
whether I bought you any presents?”

He blinked at me. “Yup!” he says after a momentary pause, ducking almost immediately, as a pillow went flying in his direction.

“So?” asks Jae, looking at me.

“So, what?”

“How was it?”

“Oh, it was so tiring! I don't how you guys keep doing stuff like this so often. Working from day to night. Waking up extra early just to have
meetings. Staying up all night trying to complete assignments. Bleeeeeeeh!” I say, sticking my tongue out.

“Awwww, you poor, poor girl,” says Tae, putting an arm around me. “Hungry?”

“Yeah!” I say, rubbing my hands gleefully.

“What would you like to eat then?”

“Ummmm…” I say, alternately closing my right eye, then my left eye. “I know!” I shouted suddenly, causing all three of them to jump a foot in
the air. “Ooops, sorry,” I say, giggling a little. “Anyway, let's all go eat at a po jang ma cha nearby!”

***

“Ahjushi! A bottle of sake, please!” yelled Danny, waving his hand in the air, putting it down only after the ahjushi nodded in his direction.

“Danny! You do know you shouldn't drink so much right? It'll damage your kidneys and then you'll have trou—“

“Nae, umma!” he says, pushing my head back.

“Aish, Danny!” I say, pinching him on the arm.

“Oi! Kim MinJi!”

I looked up to find Jongie, standing a few feet away from our table, grinning happily.

“Jongie!” I say, jumping out of my seat and running over to him.

“Hug?” he says, extending his arms as I neared him. I shook my head a little, laughing at his childishness, as I stepped into his embrace. “Where
have you been these past few days?” he asks, after releasing me.

“New York. Business trip,” I say, grimacing a little. Just then, I noticed his friend, looking at our exchange with an amused expression.

“Umm, Jongie,” I say, jerking my head in his friend's direction.

“Oh!” he says, slapping his forehead. “Taeng! This is MinJi. And MinJi, this is Tae Hyung. You can call him Taeng for short.”

“Hi!” I say, smiling brightly at Taeng.

“It's great to finally meet you, MinJi. I've heard a lot of things about you,” he says, smiling warmly at me.

“Oh really?” I say, turning to look at Jongie suspiciously.

“I didn't call you a piggy, if that's what you're thinking!” he says, lifting both his hands up to protect himself from whatever form of bodily harm
that I may decide to inflict on him.

“Yes, you did!” says Taeng, laughing.

“Jongie!” I yell, smacking him on the back of his head.

“Owww! Taeng, you traitor! Anyway, I thought it was cute!”

“Piggy? Cute? Aigoo, Jongie, you're such a weirdo! Anyway, were you guys planning to have supper or something?” I ask, looking up at the both
of them.
“Duh! Use your head, MinJi. What else would we be doing here?” says Jongie, pushing my head to the side.

My jaw dropped open and I stared at Jongie. Blowing my hair out of my face, I linked arms with Taeng and led him away from Jongie, towards
our table. “Taeng,” I say loudly, so that Jongie would be able to hear me. “You're welcomed to join us for supper. And you, Jongie,” I say,
turning to look at him. “You can sit and rot somewhere else,” I say, sticking my tongue out at him.

Taeng decided to rub salt in his wounds, like any other good friend would. “I'd be honoured to join you for supper, MinJi. Have fun eating by
yourself, Jongie!” he says.

“OI!”


Chapter 63

The next morning, I arrive at work with exactly one aim. To try to avoid Minwoo. It should be easy enough. I mean, the Lee Corporations isn't
exactly small. It is a big, big building with a very huge expanse of marble floors and potted plants. Besides, he'll be really busy with the amount
of work that he has that he won't have any time to take little walks around all the other departments. That's the way, MinJi! Just keep thinking that
and you'll be fine. Even so, as I approach the big glass doors, my pace slows down and I could feel panic begin to rise inside me.

“All right there, Miss Kim?” asks the security guard, coming to open the door for me with a concerned look. “You look lost.”

“No! I'm fine, thanks!” I say, giving him a small, nervous, laugh, my eyes darting about the foyer. Okay, no sight of Minwoo. This is great , I
thought to myself. Things are definitely looking up. Now, if only I could get to my department without bumping into him.

“Minwoo!” I suddenly hear as I'm halfway across the lobby. “Here's the statistics that you requested the other day.”

“Really? Thanks.”

Oh. My. God.

I spotted him a few feet away, talking to Brian. I bit my bottom lip in panic and hurriedly looked left and right, searching for the perfect hiding
place. Out of the corners of my eye, I finally found it. Immediately, before either of them could catch sight of me, I lunged behind the huge potted
plant and crouched down silently, hoping the gigantic leaves would be able to hide me. I mean…I'm not that fat!

“MinJi?” asks Chil Hyun, looking quizzically down at me.

Okay…so maybe I am.

“H-hey!” I say, straightening my hair consciously. “What are you doing here?”

“I should be the one asking you that. Why are you squatting down on the floor?” he asks, raising an eyebrow at me.

“Oh…um…I was looking…for…the…um…squirrel! Yeah, the squirrel!” I say, grinning broadly up at him. “You do know what a squirrel is,
right? It's like this small, usually brown and furry animal that darts about really fast and ea—”

“I know what a squirrel is, MinJi,” he says, chuckling a little. “But why in the world would a squirrel be in here?”

“Honestly, I have no idea,” I say getting up and avoiding his gaze. “Maybe it got lost and decided to come in here,” I say, shrugging my
shoulders. “Anyway, don't you have work to do?”

“Oh, this?” he asks, looking at the file in his hand. “I just have to send it to the Sales Department.”

“Right. Why don't you go ahead and do whatever you need to do? You don't have to worry about me and the little squirrel,” I say, giving him a
slight push.

“Okay, MinJi. Whatever you say,” he says, giving me a small wave before walking away.

Not spotting Minwoo anywhere in sight, I could feel myself relax. I begin to head once more across the lobby to where the elevators were before
I stopped short abruptly and turned on my heel, when I spotted him walking towards me. I slapped my forehead with my hand and trying to look
as casual as possible, I ducked behind the only other thing in sight…the reception counter.

“Don't you think it would be a better idea…” says Minwoo as he walked past.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Yes! He's gone! As I did a little victory cheer behind the counter in my crouched position, a voice behind me
made my blood freeze.

“MinJi? What are you doing?”

I grimaced slightly before turning to look up at the person. “Oh, hey, Yoon Jung! I was just…um…looking for my earring,” I say, patting the
ground beside me in an attempt to convince her.

“Earring?” she asks, frowning a little as she too, got down on her knees and began to pat the ground beside her. “What does it look like?”

“You know what…you don't have to look for it,” I say, giving an uneasy laugh. “It wasn't expensive or anything. Besides, it's going to be pretty
hard to look for it. Thanks anyway, Yoon Jung. I'll catch up with you later, all right?” I say, backing away from her.

I made my way over to some of the couches situated nearby in the corner. Once seated, I began to hit my forehead continuously. Stupid! Stupid!
After what seemed like five whole minutes of doing just that, I stood up, smoothed down my skirt and turned around. Before I could even take a
step, I sat back down, sinking lower, and lower in the chair when I spotted him talking to Yoon Jung.

This is totally absurd.

As I stared at the magazines stacked neatly in front of me, a fabulous idea began to form inside my head. Grabbing the first one of the pile, I
flipped it open to a random page. Standing up once again, I lifted the magazine so that it fully covered my face, and proceeded to walk across the
lobby, for the third and hopefully the last time.

“Ow!” I say, as I accidentally bump into someone. I lower my magazine to see Minwoo staring at me, an amused expression on his face. “Sorry,”
I mumbled, my face turning red.

“It's all right. Do you always walk without looking where you're headed?”

“No! Of course not! I only did it because I wanted to av—“ I caught myself just in time. “Forget it. It's nothing.”

We stood facing each other, an awkward silence enveloping us.

“So, would you like to have lunch with me?” asks Minwoo.

I raised my head in surprise. “Lunch?” I echoed, just to be sure.

“Yeah,” he says, giving me a small smile.

“Oh…” I say, a little taken aback at his invitation. I didn't expect him to be so nice even after we were back in Korea. I always assumed that after
we left New York, he would turn back to the cold Minwoo again. But it seems, that I was wrong.

“Well?” he prompted.

“Oh, umm…sure,” I say, smiling warmly in return.


Chapter 64

“Minwoo?” I say, knocking on his door. When it remained quiet inside, I knocked a couple of times more before pushing the door open slowly,
only to find it empty. Okay, so maybe he left for lunch already. I mean, I am 30 minutes late. I gave a little sigh, then turned around and let
myself out of his room. And I was really looking forward to have lunch with him too.

I stepped out of the building, looked left, then right, and gave a little gasp, clutching at my heart. Minwoo stood a few feet away, his gaze fixed
on the ground in front of him. He was leaning against the marble wall, one leg propped up behind him, smoking a cigarette. I walked up to him,
pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and dumped it into a dustbin nearby. He looked up at me, surprise etched all over his face.

“You shouldn't smoke so much, Minwoo. It's bad for your health. Anyway, what are you still doing here? Weren't you out for lunch or
something?”

“I was waiting for you.”

“Oh...sorry to have kept you waiting. You see, I had to finish this little piece of work before lunch and I guess I got carried away…” I say,
grimacing a little.

“It's all right. At least you're here now,” he says, smiling warmly down at me. “So, where would you like to eat?”
“Ummm…why don't you choose? I can't really think right now. Hunger causes my brain to die.”

“Right,” he says laughing. “What about Japanese food? If I'm not mistaken, you love Japanese food.”

“Hey! You remembered!” I say gleefully.

“I remember everything you say,” he says softly, gazing intently at me.

I looked down at my feet as my face flushed a bright red. Why is it that I always get caught up in awkward situations where I don't know what to
say or do? Why? Why? Why?

“Come on,” he says, pulling me by my hand. “Let's go eat.”


***


“Eat this,” says Minwoo, putting a piece of sushi on my plate.

“But Minwoo! I already ate so much!” I say, trying to put the sushi back on his plate.

“Eat!” he says, putting it back onto my plate.

“Okay! Okay! I'll eat it!”

Suddenly, he claps a hand on his pocket.

“My mobile,” he says. “Would you mind if I took this?”

“Of course not,” I say. “Go ahead.”

When he's gone, I immediately picked up the sushi from my plate and put it back onto his plate. I leaned back in my chair and peered around the
little restaurant to see whether I could recognize anyone.

“Guess who,” says an unfamiliar voice, putting his hands over my eyes from behind me.

“Umm…uh…give me a hint?” I ask.

“My name starts with a T.”

“Teddy? Tony? Tae Joon?”

“No, no and no.”

“I give up! Ow!” I yelped as he bonked me on the head.

“Kim Tae Hyung,” he says. “Forgotten about me so fast, huh? By the way, who's Teddy and Tony and Tae Joon? Ex-boyfriends?”

“Taeng! Don't be silly,” I say. “Hey! You're a Kim too!”

“Yup!” he says, grinning, and sitting down in Minwoo's seat. “Who're you here with?”

“Minwoo. And don't get any ideas,” I warned as he raised an eyebrow at me. “We're just friends. What about you? Who are you with?”

He turned in his seat and pointed to the right corner of the restaurant. I craned my neck to look at where he pointed and my eyes widened in
surprise. “Who's that girl sitting there? You're eating with your girlfriend?” I ask, looking at the back of the girl's head, hoping that she would
turn around. Her shoulder length hair prevented me from catching glimpses of her face.

“A girl?” he asks, surprised. “Are you looking at the right table?”

“Isn't it the one near the window?” I ask, sitting upright so that I could get a better look.

“Yeah, that's the one. But why on earth is a girl sitting there?” he asks, turning to look once more. Just then, he burst out laughing hysterically.

“What? What's so funny?” I ask, slapping him on the arm.

“Hold on. Let me…catch my breath…back,” he says, clutching at his sides, an occasional giggle escaping from his mouth. When he had finally
sobered up, he stood up, turned around so that he was facing the other table, and yelled, “Jongie!”

My eyes widened in shock and my jaw dropped open when Jongie turned around to look at us. Automatically, my hand flew up to cover my
mouth. “Oh my God,” I say, as Jongie walked over to us. Taeng burst into another fit of hysterical laughter when he approached our table.

“What's so funny?” asks Jongie.

“Nothing! Absolutely nothing!” I say, plastering a smile onto my face.

“Jong! You…gotta listen…to this. She said…you look…” he trailed off, unable to complete his sentence as he started laughing again.

“Look like what?” says Jongie, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at me.

“Wait, wait,” says Taeng, lifting a hand up while he took a sip of my water to calm himself down. He took a deep breath, then began again. “You
see, she asked me who I was eating with so I pointed to our table. And do you know what she said? She said, who's that…OW!” yelled Taeng,
holding his ankle, where I had kicked him.

“What did she say, Taeng?” asks Jongie, tapping his foot impatiently.

“She said…OW! Stop her from kicking me, Jong!” whines Taeng. “She asked me who was that girl sitting over there and whether I was eating
with my girlfriend,” says Taeng in one breath, jumping out of Minwoo's seat as fast as he could before I could kick him again.

“You WHAT?” asks Jongie, turning round to throttle me.

“Aaack! It…wasn't…my…fault! You…do…look…like…a…girl…from…the…back!”

“Say that again!” he says, pinching my cheeks.

“Ow, ow, ow, ow! Jongie! I'm sorry," I say, pouting and rubbing my cheeks. "Honestly, Taeng, you're such a cow.”

“Did I miss anything?” asks Minwoo from behind us, causing all of us to whirl around and look at him.


Chapter 65

“Oh, hey, Minwoo,” I say, straightening my clothes. “Umm…we bumped into each other by coincidence. It just so happens that they were eating
at that table over there,” I say, pointing to their table.

“Hey, Minwoo,” says Jongie, giving him a warm smile.

Just then, a felt a sharp jab in my ribs. “Ow!” I say, turning to look at Taeng, who jerked his head in Minwoo's direction. “Oh! Minwoo, this is
Tae Hyung. Kim Tae Hyung,” I say.

Minwoo raised a perfectly arched eyebrow. “Are the both of you related?”

“Me? And him? No way, no how. Not possible,” I say, shaking my hands in front of me, earning another sharp jab to the ribs from Taeng.

“Hello, Minwoo. Nice to meet you,” says Taeng, grasping Minwoo's hand firmly in a handshake.

“Likewise,” says Minwoo. “So, are we ready to leave, MinJi?”

“Yeah,” I say, picking up my bag. “Bye Jongie, bye Taeng,” I say, giving each of them a hug. “Take care, all right?”

“Wait,” says Jongie suddenly. “I'll be having a dinner this coming Friday night and I would like to extend an invitation to the both of you.
Actually, the invitation cards will be coming around to you guys soon but I thought I might as well just tell you guys about it first.”

“A dinner? What's the special occasion?” I ask.

“He'll officially be taking over Oh Corporations on Monday,” interrupted Taeng.

“Really? Awww, Jongie…you're a big boy now!” I say, giving him another hug. “Congrats!”

“Thanks,” he says, blushing a little. “Make sure you come, okay, MinJi?”

“I will. Anything for you, Jongie,” I replied, grinning.

“Oh, and tell Danny, Jae and Tae hyung for me, okay?”

“Sure thing!”

“Thanks for the invitation. I'll try to be there,” says Minwoo tightly.
***

After that incident with Jongie and Taeng back in the restaurant, Minwoo seems to have undergone a whole personality change and had reverted
back to the old Minwoo. Throughout the entire journey back to the office, the tension in the car was so thick, you could practically cut it with a
knife. I tried to rack my brain for what I might have said or done wrong but I always came up with nothing. I glanced at him out of the corner of
my eyes. He was expertly weaving in and out of traffic, his eyes fixed on the road in front of him and his jaw clenched really hard, a frown
marring his features.

He swerved into a parking space in front of Lee Corporations and slammed the door behind him after he had gotten out. Doing the same, I put my
hand out to stop him just as he was about to pass me by. I was mildly surprised that he actually stopped as I had half expected him to continue
walking.

“Minwoo, what's wrong? You weren't like this earlier,” I say softly.

“It's nothing,” he says, jerking his arm out of my grasp.

“Look, if I said or did something to offend you or anything, I'm sorry, okay?” I say, a little irritated at his behaviour. I made an attempt to stalk
past him, but before I could even get a few feet away from him, he grabbed me by the arm and whipped me around roughly.

“Is there something going on between you and Jong Hyuk?” he asks, his gaze piercing me.

“What?” I ask, dumbfounded.

“Is there something going on between you and Jong Hyuk?” he repeated, his voice steely.

“What kind of a question is that? Jong Hyuk and I are close friends. What's it to you anyway?” I ask, trying to free my arm from his grasp.

“Do friends go around saying stuff like, ‘anything for you, Jongie'? Do friends go around hugging each other so often? I don't think so!” he says,
his face hard as his vice-like grip tightened some more.

“Stop it, Minwoo! Stop it!” I say, using my free hand to push him backwards. “Why does it matter so much to you what I said to Jongie? Why
does it matter so much to you how many times I hug Jongie? I've been friends with him for more than six years already. Don't you think that we
would be closer to each other? Giving him a hug once in a while shows him without words that I care about him. That I value our friendship. That
I'll be there for him whenever he needs me. So what if I'm more open with my feelings towards other people? What's wrong with that?”

Minwoo was so stunned by her outburst that he was unable to speak.

“You know what? I am so sick and tired of all this. Just when I've finally made up my mind, I get second thoughts about it again. Stop being so
capricious, Minwoo,” I say, giving him one last look before walking away.

***

“Having trouble, Minwoo?” asks Ji Yoon, coming up to stand next to him after witnessing the little fight between him and MinJi earlier, a smile
playing on her lips.

“It's none of your business,” snapped Minwoo.

“Oh, it is all right,” she says, putting an arm out to stop him from moving any further. “I need to know what happens between the both of you.”

“Why?” asks Minwoo sharply, turning to look her in the eye.

“Let's just say that it's a source of entertainment to me. Look at you now, Minwoo. You used to date models and girls from the upper class. You
could get any girl you wanted without any difficulty. But you choose to degrade yourself and go after a non-entity girl named Kim MinJi. It's
pretty hilarious, don't you think? There are so many other girls out there who are way better than her. She isn't pretty, she isn't rich. And honestly,
I don't know what you see in her.”

“Looks and money aren't everything, Ji Yoon. What matters most is her personality, what she is inside. Didn't anyone tell you that? And what
happened to you, Ji Yoon? You weren't like this last time. Now, you're a whole different person.”

“Oh, that's an understatement, Minwoo. I've always been like this. The only one who has changed, is you. Ever since MinJi came back into the
picture, you've avoided me like the plague. Why?”

“You know, I don't need to hear all of this. I've got better things to do,” says Minwoo, shaking her hand off his arm.

“Just keep this is mind, Lee Minwoo. I don't take lightly to being bested by another girl. And you can't do anything to stop me from hurting her.”


Chapter 66
Minwoo stormed into his office and slammed his door shut so hard that the picture frames hanging on the wall rattled a little. He poured himself a
quarter of a glass of vodka and downed the whole thing in one gulp, letting the liquid burn his throat and welcoming the warmth that spread
through his entire body.

He settled down comfortably on one of the couches and picked up the latest issue of Biznews, which was on the coffee table. He flipped through
the pages absently, his mind elsewhere. Just then, a picture of Jong Hyuk smiling up at him with the caption ‘Future President of Oh
Corporations’ below it, caught his attention. He slowly scanned through the whole article, his brows furrowed together in deep concentration.



Oh Jung Man, President and founder of Oh Corporations, will officially hand his business down to his one and only son, Oh Jong Hyuk, this
coming Monday. Oh Jong Hyuk, is said to be a person full of caliber. During his teenage years, he studied in the prestigious Joong Kyung High
School, which also produced many other successful people such as Lee Minwoo of Lee Corporations and Park Choong Jae of Park Corporations.
He then moved on to graduate from Seoul University with First Class Honours, majoring in Economics and Finance. Not only does he excel
academically, but he also does so in sports, soccer and tennis being his favourite. Apart from that, he also dabbles in…



He read to the end of the piece, and gaze for a few seconds at Jong Hyuk’s picture, smiling confidently up at him. Then, in fury, he flung the
magazine as hard as he could across the room, where it hit the wall and fell into a heap on the gound. He walked over to his window and looked
down at the busy streets, something that MinJi said earlier playing over and over again in his mind.



Just when I’ve finally made up my mind, I get second thoughts about it again.



I get second thoughts about it again.



Had she actually decided to give him a chance? He clenched his fists and slanted his eyes broodingly at the thought that he had ruined it…all
because of his temper. After staring out the window for a few minutes, thinking hard to himself, he finally made up his mind.



He was going to apologize to her.



And he was going to make sure that she listened to every single word, whether she liked it or not.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


“Bye, everyone! I’ll see you tomorrow morning!” I yell as I headed out of the office.

“Are you sure you don’t need a lift?” asks Chil Hyun, falling into step beside me. “It won't be any trouble.”

“Yes, I’m sure,” I say, giving him a grateful smile. “Thanks though.”

“But it’s dangerous for a girl to be out alone at night,” says Hee Jin, squeezing in between me and Chil Hyun.

“You took the words right out of my mouth!” quips Brian, putting an arm around my shoulders.

“No, it’s all right. I can take care of it,” I say, trying to convince them.

“Okay then, if you insist. But remember, never stop to talk to any strangers,” says Chil Hyun.

“Avoid walking in back alleys and places that are dark,” says Brian.

“Yell if anything happens to you. If not, just make a run for it,” says Hee Jin.

“Oh, and always be aware of your surroundings. Note all the suspicious people and make sure you stay away from them,” says Chil Hyun.

“Guys, I can take care of myself! Honestly, you’re making me feel as though I’m a six-year-old on my first day of school! I’m twenty-two, for
goodness sake!” I yell, exasperated.

“True, but we can’t afford to have anything happen to you. You’re too precious to us,” says Brian, giving me a warm smile.

“Awwww…I feel so loved!” I replied, grinning up at them.

“How come you guys never said any of these things to me last time, when I took public transportation to work and back?” asks Hee Jin, glaring
accusingly at both Brian and Chil Hyun.

“Uh, well…” begins Chil Hyun.

“You see…” says Brian, scratching his head and averting his gaze.

“You’re…I mean…we…”

“What?” asks Hee Jin, glaring menacingly at them.

“Well…no harm would ever come to you, would it?” asks Chil Hyun. “I mean…”

“You’re as strong as ten men, Hee Jin. Which guy would be crazy enough to mess with you? Besides, you don’t exactly…um…act very much
like a girl…do you?" says Brian, ducking his head almost immediately to avoid Hee Jin’s fist from connecting with his head.

“Say you’re sorry!” says Hee Jin, pinching both Brian and Chil Hyun on the arm.

“Ow ow ow ow ow ow…we’re sorry! We really are! Let go already!” cried Chil Hyun, rubbing the spot where Hee Jin had pinched, the flesh fast
becoming red. “She’s such a she-man,” he grumbled under his breath, darting furtive looks in her direction to see whether she had heard him.

“Right. Anyway, we’d better get going now. It’s getting awfully late. Sure you don’t want to hitch a ride with one of us, MinJi?” asks Brian.

“Yes, I’m sure. Now go already.

“Remember what we said earlier, okay? And give me a ring so that I’ll know that you’ve reached home safely,” says Hee Jin, giving me a hug.

“Alright. I will. Bye!” I say, waving to them as I walked backwards, out through the glass doors into the cold, windy night. I whirled around so
that I was facing the front again and stopped dead in my tracks.



Because there in front of me, stood Minwoo, leaning against his car, one leg crossed over the other, both hands in his trouser pocket and his gaze
fixed directly at me. Chapter 66


Minwoo stormed into his office and slammed his door shut so hard that the picture frames hanging on the wall rattled a little. He poured himself a
quarter of a glass of vodka and downed the whole thing in one gulp, letting the liquid burn his throat and welcoming the warmth that spread
through his entire body.

He settled down comfortably on one of the couches and picked up the latest issue of Biznews, which was on the coffee table. He flipped through
the pages absently, his mind elsewhere. Just then, a picture of Jong Hyuk smiling up at him with the caption ‘Future President of Oh
Corporations’ below it, caught his attention. He slowly scanned through the whole article, his brows furrowed together in deep concentration.



Oh Jung Man, President and founder of Oh Corporations, will officially hand his business down to his one and only son, Oh Jong Hyuk, this
coming Monday. Oh Jong Hyuk, is said to be a person full of caliber. During his teenage years, he studied in the prestigious Joong Kyung High
School, which also produced many other successful people such as Lee Minwoo of Lee Corporations and Park Choong Jae of Park Corporations.
He then moved on to graduate from Seoul University with First Class Honours, majoring in Economics and Finance. Not only does he excel
academically, but he also does so in sports, soccer and tennis being his favourite. Apart from that, he also dabbles in…



He read to the end of the piece, and gaze for a few seconds at Jong Hyuk’s picture, smiling confidently up at him. Then, in fury, he flung the
magazine as hard as he could across the room, where it hit the wall and fell into a heap on the gound. He walked over to his window and looked
down at the busy streets, something that MinJi said earlier playing over and over again in his mind.



Just when I’ve finally made up my mind, I get second thoughts about it again.
I get second thoughts about it again.



Had she actually decided to give him a chance? He clenched his fists and slanted his eyes broodingly at the thought that he had ruined it…all
because of his temper. After staring out the window for a few minutes, thinking hard to himself, he finally made up his mind.



He was going to apologize to her.



And he was going to make sure that she listened to every single word, whether she liked it or not.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


“Bye, everyone! I’ll see you tomorrow morning!” I yell as I headed out of the office.

“Are you sure you don’t need a lift?” asks Chil Hyun, falling into step beside me. “It won't be any trouble.”

“Yes, I’m sure,” I say, giving him a grateful smile. “Thanks though.”

“But it’s dangerous for a girl to be out alone at night,” says Hee Jin, squeezing in between me and Chil Hyun.

“You took the words right out of my mouth!” quips Brian, putting an arm around my shoulders.

“No, it’s all right. I can take care of it,” I say, trying to convince them.

“Okay then, if you insist. But remember, never stop to talk to any strangers,” says Chil Hyun.

“Avoid walking in back alleys and places that are dark,” says Brian.

“Yell if anything happens to you. If not, just make a run for it,” says Hee Jin.

“Oh, and always be aware of your surroundings. Note all the suspicious people and make sure you stay away from them,” says Chil Hyun.

“Guys, I can take care of myself! Honestly, you’re making me feel as though I’m a six-year-old on my first day of school! I’m twenty-two, for
goodness sake!” I yell, exasperated.

“True, but we can’t afford to have anything happen to you. You’re too precious to us,” says Brian, giving me a warm smile.

“Awwww…I feel so loved!” I replied, grinning up at them.

“How come you guys never said any of these things to me last time, when I took public transportation to work and back?” asks Hee Jin, glaring
accusingly at both Brian and Chil Hyun.

“Uh, well…” begins Chil Hyun.

“You see…” says Brian, scratching his head and averting his gaze.

“You’re…I mean…we…”

“What?” asks Hee Jin, glaring menacingly at them.

“Well…no harm would ever come to you, would it?” asks Chil Hyun. “I mean…”

“You’re as strong as ten men, Hee Jin. Which guy would be crazy enough to mess with you? Besides, you don’t exactly…um…act very much
like a girl…do you?" says Brian, ducking his head almost immediately to avoid Hee Jin’s fist from connecting with his head.

“Say you’re sorry!” says Hee Jin, pinching both Brian and Chil Hyun on the arm.

“Ow ow ow ow ow ow…we’re sorry! We really are! Let go already!” cried Chil Hyun, rubbing the spot where Hee Jin had pinched, the flesh fast
becoming red. “She’s such a she-man,” he grumbled under his breath, darting furtive looks in her direction to see whether she had heard him.

“Right. Anyway, we’d better get going now. It’s getting awfully late. Sure you don’t want to hitch a ride with one of us, MinJi?” asks Brian.

“Yes, I’m sure. Now go already.
“Remember what we said earlier, okay? And give me a ring so that I’ll know that you’ve reached home safely,” says Hee Jin, giving me a hug.

“Alright. I will. Bye!” I say, waving to them as I walked backwards, out through the glass doors into the cold, windy night. I whirled around so
that I was facing the front again and stopped dead in my tracks.



Because there in front of me, stood Minwoo, leaning against his car, one leg crossed over the other, both hands in his trouser pocket and his gaze
fixed directly at me.
“MinJi!” yelled Tae, jumping over chairs, pillows and Danny, who was lying flat on his stomach, flipping through some papers, in his rush to
reach me.

“Oppaaaaaa! I missed you guys so much!” I say, as he gave me a big hug and ruffled my hair. “Danny, get up off the floor,” I say, nudging him in
the sides gently with my foot as I walked past him to take a seat on the couch.

“So,” says Danny, bouncing up and down on the couch. “Any presents?”

“Is that all you can think about?” I ask, irritably. “I don’t see you for two whole weeks and the only thing you can ask me after I come home is
whether I bought you any presents?”

He blinked at me. “Yup!” he says after a momentary pause, ducking almost immediately, as a pillow went flying in his direction.

“So?” asks Jae, looking at me.

“So, what?”

“How was it?”

“Oh, it was so tiring! I don’t how you guys keep doing stuff like this so often. Working from day to night. Waking up extra early just to have
meetings. Staying up all night trying to complete assignments. Bleeeeeeeh!” I say, sticking my tongue out.

“Awwww, you poor, poor girl,” says Tae, putting an arm around me. “Hungry?”

“Yeah!” I say, rubbing my hands gleefully.

“What would you like to eat then?”

“Ummmm…” I say, alternately closing my right eye, then my left eye. “I know!” I shouted suddenly, causing all three of them to jump a foot in
the air. “Ooops, sorry,” I say, giggling a little. “Anyway, let’s all go eat at a po jang ma cha nearby!”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Ahjushi! A bottle of sake, please!” yelled Danny, waving his hand in the air, putting it down only after the ahjushi nodded in his direction.

“Danny! You do know you shouldn’t drink so much right? It’ll damage your kidneys and then you’ll have trou—“

“Nae, umma!” he says, pushing my head back.

“Aish, Danny!” I say, pinching him on the arm.

“Oi! Kim MinJi!”

I looked up to find Jongie, standing a few feet away from our table, grinning happily.

“Jongie!” I say, jumping out of my seat and running over to him.

“Hug?” he says, extending his arms as I neared him. I shook my head a little, laughing at his childishness, as I stepped into his embrace. “Where
have you been these past few days?” he asks, after releasing me.

“New York. Business trip,” I say, grimacing a little. Just then, I noticed his friend, looking at our exchange with an amused expression.

“Umm, Jongie,” I say, jerking my head in his friend’s direction.

“Oh!” he says, slapping his forehead. “Taeng! This is MinJi. And MinJi, this is Tae Hyung. You can call him Taeng for short.”

“Hi!” I say, smiling brightly at Taeng.

“It’s great to finally meet you, MinJi. I’ve heard a lot of things about you,” he says, smiling warmly at me.
“Oh really?” I say, turning to look at Jongie suspiciously.

“I didn’t call you a piggy, if that’s what you’re thinking!” he says, lifting both his hands up to protect himself from whatever form of bodily harm
that I may decide to inflict on him.

“Yes, you did!” says Taeng, laughing.

“Jongie!” I yell, smacking him on the back of his head.

“Owww! Taeng, you traitor! Anyway, I thought it was cute!”

“Piggy? Cute? Aigoo, Jongie, you’re such a weirdo! Anyway, were you guys planning to have supper or something?” I ask, looking up at the
both of them.

“Duh! Use your head, MinJi. What else would we be doing here?” says Jongie, pushing my head to the side.

My jaw dropped open and I stared at Jongie. Blowing my hair out of my face, I linked arms with Taeng and led him away from Jongie, towards
our table. “Taeng,” I say loudly, so that Jongie would be able to hear me. “You’re welcomed to join us for supper. And you, Jongie,” I say,
turning to look at him. “You can sit and rot somewhere else,” I say, sticking my tongue out at him.

Taeng decided to rub salt in his wounds, like any other good friend would. “I’d be honoured to join you for supper, MinJi. Have fun eating by
yourself, Jongie!” he says.

“OI!”

Chapter 63

The next morning, I arrive at work with exactly one aim. Try to avoid Minwoo. It should be easy enough. I mean, the Lee Corporations is a huge
company in huge building. He’ll be busy in other departments. He’ll probably be tied up in loads of meetings. He’ll probably spend all day on the
30th floor or something.

Even so, as I approach the big glass doors, my pace slows down and I find myself peering inside to see if he’s about.

“All right there, Miss Kim?” asks the security guard, coming to open the door for me with a concerned look. “You look lost.”

“No! I’m fine, thanks!” I say, giving a relaxed little laugh, my eyes darting about the foyer. Okay, I can’t see him anywhere. This is going to be
fine, I thought to myself. He probably isn’t in yet. He probably isn’t even coming in today. I straightened myself and walk briskly across the
marble floor, and start to walk up the stairs.

“Minwoo!” I suddenly hear as I’m nearing the first floor. “Have you got a minute to spare?”

“Sure.”

It was him. Where on earth—

I turn around, bewildered, and spot him on the landing above, talking to Brian. My heart gives a huge jump, and I clutch the brass banister.
Damn. If he looked down now, he’s definitely see me. Anyway, why does he have to stand right there? Doesn’t he have some big important
office he can go to? I thought irritably. I quickly racked my brains for a different route. Very slowly, I take a few steps back down the stairs,
trying not to click my heels on the marble floor or move suddenly in case I attract his attention. Chil Hyun walks past me as I’m carefully
stepping backwards and gives me and odd look.

“MinJi?” he says.

“Shhhhh!” I say, putting my finger to my lips, signaling him to keep quiet. “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. Go ahead and do whatever you need
to do. Go on!” I say, giving him a slight push.

As soon as I’m out of Minwoo’s view, I feel myself relax. I walk more quickly back down to the foyer and headed towards the elevators. I step
confidently across the floor, and I’m right in the middle of the huge expanse of marble when I freeze.

“That’s right.”

It’s his voice again. And it seems to be getting nearer. What was going on?

“…think I’ll take a good look at…”

My head swivels around and my jaw dropped open as I saw him coming down the stairs. Without thinking twice, I almost run to the glass doors,
push them open, and hurry out of the building. I scuttle down the steps, run about a hundred yards down the road and stop, panting. This is so not
going well.

I stand on the pavement for a few minutes in the morning sunshine, trying to estimate how long he will stay in the foyer, then cautiously approach
the glass doors again. I have decided to walk to my office as fast as possible. So fast that I would not be able to catch anyone’s eye. I will simply
stride along without looking left or right.

The moment I stepped into the building again, without meaning to, I turn around on my heel and walked back down the steps and along the street
again when I spotted him talking to the security guard. Oh my God. This is getting ridiculous. I can’t stay out here on the street all day! Just then,
I caught sight of a man selling newspapers on the opposite street, and a brilliant idea came to me.

Minutes later, I approach the doors of Lee Corporations for the third time in the morning, totally engrossed in an article in papers. I can’t see
anything around me, and no one can see my face. I push the door open with my shoulder, walk across the foyer and up the stairs, all without
looking up. As I stride along the corridor to the marketing department, I feel a rush of exhilaration. Yes, I did it!

“Ow!” I say, as I accidentally bump into someone. I lower my paper to see Minwoo staring at me, an amused expression on his face. “Sorry,” I
mumbled, my face turning red.

“It’s alright. Do you always walk without looking where you’re going?”

“No! Of course not! I only did it because I wanted to av—“ I caught myself just in time. “Forget it. It’s nothing.”

We stood facing each other, an awkward silence enveloping us.

“So, would you like to have lunch with me?” asks Minwoo.

I raised my head in surprise. “Lunch?” I echoed, just to be sure.

“Yeah,” he says, giving me a small smile.

“Oh…” I say, a little taken aback at his invitation. I didn’t expect him to be so nice even after we were back in Korea. I always assumed that after
we left New York, he would turn back to the cold Minwoo again. But it seems, that I was wrong.

“Well?” he prompted.

“Oh, umm…sure,” I say, smiling warmly in return.

Chapter 64

“Minwoo?” I say, knocking on his door. When it remained quiet inside, I knocked a couple of times more before pushing the door open slowly,
only to find it empty. Okay, so maybe he left for lunch already. I mean, I am 30 minutes late. I gave a little sigh, then turned around and let
myself out of his room. And I was really looking forward to have lunch with him too.

I stepped out of the building, looked left, then right, and gave a little gasp, clutching at my heart. Minwoo stood a few feet away, his gaze fixed
on the ground in front of him. He was leaning against the marble wall, one leg propped up behind him, smoking a cigarette. I walked up to him,
pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and dumped it into a dustbin nearby. He looked up at me, surprise etched all over his face.

“You shouldn’t smoke so much, Minwoo. It’s bad for your health. Anyway, what are you still doing here? Weren’t you out for lunch or
something?”

“I was waiting for you.”

“Oh...sorry to have kept you waiting. You see, I had to finish this little piece of work before lunch and I guess I got carried away…” I say,
grimacing a little.

“It’s all right. At least you’re here now,” he says, smiling warmly down at me. “So, where would you like to eat?”

“Ummm…why don’t you choose? I can’t really think right now. Hunger causes my brain to die.”

“Right,” he says laughing. “What about Japanese food? If I’m not mistaken, you love Japanese food.”

“Hey! You remembered!” I say gleefully.

“I remember everything you say,” he says softly, gazing intently at me.

I looked down at my feet as my face flushed a bright red. Why is it that I always get caught up in awkward situations where I don’t know what to
say or do? Why? Why? Why?

“Come on,” he says, pulling me by my hand. “Let’s go eat.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Eat this,” says Minwoo, putting a piece of sushi on my plate.
“But Minwoo! I already ate so much!” I say, trying to put the sushi back on his plate.

“Eat!” he says, putting it back onto my plate.

“Okay! Okay! I’ll eat it!”

Suddenly, he claps a hand on his pocket.

“My mobile,” he says. “Would you mind if I took this?”

“Of course not,” I say. “Go ahead.”

When he’s gone, I immediately picked up the sushi from my plate and put it back onto his plate. I leaned back in my chair and peered around the
little restaurant to see whether I could recognize anyone.

“Guess who,” says an unfamiliar voice, putting his hands over my eyes from behind me.

“Umm…uh…give me a hint?” I ask.

“My name starts with a T.”

“Teddy? Tony? Tae Joon?”

“No, no and no.”

“I give up! Ow!” I yelped as he bonked me on the head.

“Kim Tae Hyung,” he says. “Forgotten about me so fast, huh? By the way, who’s Teddy and Tony and Tae Joon? Ex-boyfriends?”

“Taeng! Don't be silly,” I say. “Hey! You’re a Kim too!”

“Yup!” he says, grinning, and sitting down in Minwoo’s seat. “Who’re you here with?”

“Minwoo. And don’t get any ideas,” I warned as he raised an eyebrow at me. “We’re just friends. What about you? Who are you with?”

He turned in his seat and pointed to the right corner of the restaurant. I craned my neck to look at where he pointed and my eyes widened in
surprise. “Who’s that girl sitting there? You’re eating with your girlfriend?” I ask, looking at the back of the girl’s head, hoping that she would
turn around. Her shoulder length hair prevented me from catching glimpses of her face.

“A girl?” he asks, surprised. “Are you looking at the right table?”

“Isn’t it the one near the window?” I ask, sitting upright so that I could get a better look.

“Yeah, that’s the one. But why on earth is a girl sitting there?” he asks, turning to look once more. Just then, he burst out laughing hysterically.

“What? What’s so funny?” I ask, slapping him on the arm.

“Hold on. Let me…catch my breath…back,” he says, clutching at his sides, an occasional giggle escaping from his mouth. When he had finally
sobered up, he stood up, turned around so that he was facing the other table, and yelled, “Jongie!”

My eyes widened in shock and my jaw dropped open when Jongie turned around to look at us. Automatically, my hand flew up to cover my
mouth. “Oh my God,” I say, as Jongie walked over to us. Taeng burst into another fit of hysterical laughter when he approached our table.

“What’s so funny?” asks Jongie.

“Nothing! Absolutely nothing!” I say, plastering a smile onto my face.

“Jong! You…gotta listen…to this. She said…you look…” he trailed off, unable to complete his sentence as he started laughing again.

“Look like what?” says Jongie, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at me.

“Wait, wait,” says Taeng, lifting a hand up while he took a sip of my water to calm himself down. He took a deep breath, then began again. “You
see, she asked me who I was eating with so I pointed to our table. And do you know what she said? She said, who’s that…OW!” yelled Taeng,
holding his ankle, where I had kicked him.

“What did she say, Taeng?” asks Jongie, tapping his foot impatiently.

“She said…OW! Stop her from kicking me, Jong!” whines Taeng. “She asked me who was that girl sitting over there and whether I was eating
with my girlfriend,” says Taeng in one breath, jumping out of Minwoo’s seat as fast as he could before I could kick him again.
“You WHAT?” asks Jongie, turning round to throttle me.

“Aaack! It…wasn’t…my…fault! You…do…look…like…a…girl…from…the…back!”

“Say that again!” he says, pinching my cheeks.

“Ow ow ow ow! Jongie! I’m sorry," I say, pouting and rubbing my cheeks. "Honestly, Taeng, you’re such a cow.”

“Did I miss anything?” asks Minwoo from behind us, causing all of us to whirl around and look at him.

Chapter 65

“Oh, hey, Minwoo,” I say, straightening my clothes. “Umm…we bumped into each other by coincidence. It just so happens that they were eating
at that table over there,” I say, pointing to their table.

“Hey, Minwoo,” says Jongie, giving him a warm smile.

Just then, a felt a sharp jab in my ribs. “Ow!” I say, turning to look at Taeng, who jerked his head in Minwoo’s direction. “Oh! Minwoo, this is
Tae Hyung. Kim Tae Hyung,” I say.

Minwoo raised a perfectly arched eyebrow. “Are the both of you related?”

“Me? And him? No way, no how. Not possible,” I say, shaking my hands in front of me, earning another sharp jab to the ribs from Taeng.

“Hello, Minwoo. Nice to meet you,” says Taeng, grasping Minwoo’s hand firmly in a handshake.

“Likewise,” says Minwoo. “So, are we ready to leave, MinJi?”

“Yeah,” I say, picking up my bag. “Bye Jongie, bye Taeng,” I say, giving each of them a hug. “Take care, all right?”

“Wait,” says Jongie suddenly. “I’ll be having a dinner this coming Friday night and I would like to extend an invitation to the both of you.
Actually, the invitation cards will be coming around to you guys soon but I thought I might as well just tell you guys about it first.”

“A dinner? What’s the special occasion?” I ask.

“He’ll officially be taking over Oh Corporations on Monday,” interrupted Taeng.

“Really? Awww, Jongie…you’re a big boy now!” I say, giving him another hug. “Congrats!”

“Thanks,” he says, blushing a little. “Make sure you come, okay, MinJi?”

“I will. Anything for you, Jongie,” I replied, grinning.

“Oh, and tell Danny, Jae and Tae hyung for me, okay?”

“Sure thing!”

“Thanks for the invitation. I’ll try to be there,” says Minwoo tightly.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After that incident with Jongie and Taeng back in the restaurant, Minwoo seems to have undergone a whole personality change and had reverted
back to the old Minwoo. Throughout the entire journey back to the office, the tension in the car was so thick, you could practically cut it with a
knife. I tried to rack my brain for what I might have said or done wrong but I always came up with nothing. I glanced at him out of the corner of
my eyes. He was expertly weaving in and out of traffic, his eyes fixed on the road in front of him and his jaw clenched really hard, a frown
marring his features.

He swerved into a parking space in front of Lee Corporations and slammed the door behind him after he had gotten out. Doing the same, I put my
hand out to stop him just as he was about to pass me by. I was mildly surprised that he actually stopped as I had half expected him to continue
walking.

“Minwoo, what’s wrong? You weren’t like this earlier,” I say softly.

“It’s nothing,” he says, jerking his arm out of my grasp.

“Look, if I said or did something to offend you or anything, I’m sorry, okay?” I say, a little irritated at his behaviour. I made an attempt to stalk
past him, but before I could even get a few feet away from him, he grabbed me by the arm and whipped me around roughly.

“Is there something going on between you and Jong Hyuk?” he asks, his gaze piercing me.
“What?” I ask, dumbfounded.

“Is there something going on between you and Jong Hyuk?” he repeated, his voice steely.

“What kind of a question is that? Jong Hyuk and I are close friends. What’s it to you anyway?” I ask, trying to free my arm from his grasp.

“Do friends go around saying stuff like, ‘anything for you, Jongie’? Do friends go around hugging each other so often? I don’t think so!” he says,
his face hard as his vice-like grip tightened some more.

“Stop it, Minwoo! Stop it!” I say, using my free hand to push him backwards. “Why does it matter so much to you what I said to Jongie? Why
does it matter so much to you how many times I hug Jongie? I’ve been friends with him for more than 8 years already. Don’t you think that we
would be closer to each other? Giving him a hug once in a while shows him without words that I care about him. That I value our friendship. That
I’ll be there for him whenever he needs me. So what if I’m more open with my feelings towards other people? What’s wrong with that?”

Minwoo was so stunned by her outburst that he was unable to speak.

“You know what? I am so sick and tired of all this. Just when I’ve finally made up my mind, I get second thoughts about it again. Stop being so
capricious, Minwoo,” I say, giving him one last look before walking away.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Having trouble, Minwoo?” asks Ji Yoon, coming up to stand next to him after witnessing the little fight between him and MinJi earlier, a smile
playing on her lips.

“It’s none of your business,” snapped Minwoo.

“Oh, it is all right,” she says, putting an arm out to stop him from moving any further. “I need to know what happens between the both of you.”

“Why?” asks Minwoo sharply, turning to look her in the eye.

“Let’s just say that it’s a source of entertainment to me. Look at you now, Minwoo. You used to date models and girls from the upper class. You
could get any girl you wanted without any difficulty. But you choose to degrade yourself and go after a non-entity girl named Kim MinJi. It’s
pretty hilarious, don’t you think? There are so many other girls out there who are way better than her. She isn’t pretty, she isn’t rich. And
honestly, I don’t know what you see in her.”

“Looks and money aren’t everything, Ji Yoon. What matters most is her personality, what she is inside. Didn’t anyone tell you that? And what
happened to you, Ji Yoon? You weren’t like this last time. Now, you’re a whole different person.”

“Oh, that’s an understatement, Minwoo. I’ve always been like this. The only one who has changed, is you. Ever since MinJi came back into the
picture, you’ve avoided me like the plague. Why?”

“You know, I don’t need to hear all of this. I’ve got better things to do,” says Minwoo, shaking her hand off his arm.
“Just keep this is mind, Lee Minwoo. I don’t take lightly to being bested by another girl. And you can't do anything to stop me from hurting her.”

Chapter 66

Minwoo stormed into his office and slammed his door shut so hard that the picture frames hanging on the wall rattled a little. He poured himself a
quarter of a glass of vodka and downed the whole thing in one gulp, letting the liquid burn his throat and welcoming the warmth that spread
through his entire body.

He settled down comfortably on one of the couches and picked up the latest issue of Biznews, which was on the coffee table. He flipped through
the pages absently, his mind elsewhere. Just then, a picture of Jong Hyuk smiling up at him with the caption ‘Future President of Oh
Corporations’ below it, caught his attention. He slowly scanned through the whole article, his brows furrowed together in deep concentration.

Oh Jung Man, President and founder of Oh Corporations, will officially hand his business down to his one and only son, Oh Jong Hyuk, this
coming Monday. Oh Jong Hyuk, is said to be a person full of caliber. During his teenage years, he studied in the prestigious Joong Kyung High
School, which also produced many other successful people such as Lee Minwoo of Lee Corporations and Park Choong Jae of Park Corporations.
He then moved on to graduate from Seoul University with First Class Honours, majoring in Economics and Finance. Not only does he excel
academically, but he also does so in sports, soccer and tennis being his favourite. Apart from that, he also dabbles in…

He read to the end of the piece, and gaze for a few seconds at Jong Hyuk’s picture, smiling confidently up at him. Then, in fury, he flung the
magazine as hard as he could across the room, where it hit the wall and fell into a heap on the gound. He walked over to his window and looked
down at the busy streets, something that MinJi said earlier playing over and over again in his mind.

Just when I’ve finally made up my mind, I get second thoughts about it again.

I get second thoughts about it again.

Had she actually decided to give him a chance? He clenched his fists and slanted his eyes broodingly at the thought that he had ruined it…all
because of his temper. After staring out the window for a few minutes, thinking hard to himself, he finally made up his mind.
He was going to apologize to her.

And he was going to make sure that she listened to every single word, whether she liked it or not.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Bye, everyone! I’ll see you tomorrow morning!” I yell as I headed out of the office.

“Are you sure you don’t need a lift?” asks Chil Hyun, falling into step beside me. “It won't be any trouble.”

“Yes, I’m sure,” I say, giving him a grateful smile. “Thanks though.”

“But it’s dangerous for a girl to be out alone at night,” says Hee Jin, squeezing in between me and Chil Hyun.

“You took the words right out of my mouth!” quips Brian, putting an arm around my shoulders.

“No, it’s all right. I can take care of it,” I say, trying to convince them.

“Okay then, if you insist. But remember, never stop to talk to any strangers,” says Chil Hyun.

“Avoid walking in back alleys and places that are dark,” says Brian.

“Yell if anything happens to you. If not, just make a run for it,” says Hee Jin.

“Oh, and always be aware of your surroundings. Note all the suspicious people and make sure you stay away from them,” says Chil Hyun.

“Guys, I can take care of myself! Honestly, you’re making me feel as though I’m a six-year-old on my first day of school! I’m twenty-two, for
goodness sake!” I yell, exasperated.

“True, but we can’t afford to have anything happen to you. You’re too precious to us,” says Brian, giving me a warm smile.

“Awwww…I feel so loved!” I replied, grinning up at them.

“How come you guys never said any of these things to me last time, when I took public transportation to work and back?” asks Hee Jin, glaring
accusingly at both Brian and Chil Hyun.
“Uh, well…” begins Chil Hyun.

“You see…” says Brian, scratching his head and averting his gaze.

“You’re…I mean…we…”

“What?” asks Hee Jin, glaring menacingly at them.

“Well…no harm would ever come to you, would it?” asks Chil Hyun. “I mean…”

“You’re as strong as ten men, Hee Jin. Which guy would be crazy enough to mess with you? Besides, you don’t exactly…um…act very much
like a girl…do you?" says Brian, ducking his head almost immediately to avoid Hee Jin’s fist from connecting with his head.

“Say you’re sorry!” says Hee Jin, pinching both Brian and Chil Hyun on the arm.

“Ow ow ow ow ow ow…we’re sorry! We really are! Let go already!” cried Chil Hyun, rubbing the spot where Hee Jin had pinched, the flesh fast
becoming red. “She’s such a she-man,” he grumbled under his breath, darting furtive looks in her direction to see whether she had heard him.

“Right. Anyway, we’d better get going now. It’s getting awfully late. Sure you don’t want to hitch a ride with one of us, MinJi?” asks Brian.

“Yes, I’m sure. Now go already.

“Remember what we said earlier, okay? And give me a ring so that I’ll know that you’ve reached home safely,” says Hee Jin, giving me a hug.

“Alright. I will. Bye!” I say, waving to them as I walked backwards, out through the glass doors into the cold, windy night. I whirled around so
that I was facing the front again and stopped dead in my tracks.

Because there in front of me, stood Minwoo, leaning against his car, one leg crossed over the other, both hands in his trouser pocket and his gaze
fixed directly at me.

Chapter 67

“MinJi,” he says, straightening himself and making his way towards me. My eyes darted around, looking for a possible escape route. As luck
would have it, I couldn’t find any. Either that, or I was just really slow. In just a matter of seconds, he was standing right in front of me, blocking
my view entirely. Involuntarily, I took a step backwards, clutching the straps of my bag tightly, till my knuckles turned white.

“What do you want?” I ask softly.

“To apologize,” he says, moving forward one step.

“There’s no need to,” I reply shakily, taking another step backwards.

“Are you afraid of me?” he asks, his eyes dark and cold.

“N-no,” I stammered.

“Then why do you keep moving backwards?” he asks, his eyes boring into mine.

“It’s…it’s getting late and I should be on my way before the guys start worrying. So if you’ll excuse me…” I say, swiftly moving away from him.

“Wait,” he says, reaching out to grab my arm.

“Ow!” I say, flinching a little. I jerked my arm away from his grasp and inspected the bruise that had formed there due to his tight grip earlier in
the day.

“What’s that?” he asks sharply.

“Nothing!” I say, moving my arm out of his view and mentally cursing myself.

“Let me see…no, let me see,” he says, forcefully pulling my arm while I struggled with him. There was no doubt as to who would have won the
little fight. He was, of course, way stronger than me. His eyes widened at the sight of the purple-black mark on my arm. Then he raised his head
to look at me, his eyes searching my face. “Did I do this?” he asks quietly.

“No!” I say, shaking my head furiously. “Of course not.”
“Then how did you get it?”

“I…uh…Chil Hyun bumped into my really hard today while he was carrying this whole stack of files…and…yeah…the bruise just came,” I say,
trying to convince him.

“You were never really good at lying, MinJi,” he says after a pause. I bowed my head and averted my gaze away from him. “Come,” he says,
pulling me gently by the wrist.

“Where are we going?” I ask, following his lead.

“I’m sending you home.”

“Oh…no, there’s no need for that. I can get back on my own.”

He stopped in his tracks and turned to face me, gripping both my shoulders gently and staring intently into my eyes. “If you don’t let me send you
home, it means that you don’t forgive me.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but unfortunately, nothing came out. Slowly, I nodded my head in resignation, bringing a small smile onto
his face.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“So, where do you live?” he asks, looking sideways at me while he steered his car around expertly.

“Euljiro Street,” I answered.

“Euljiro Street?” he asks, frowning a little.

“Yeah, why?” I ask, turning to look at him.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” he says, giving me a small smile. “By the way, what’s your house number?”

“Twelve.”

A few minutes later, he pulled up right in front of my house, without any help whatsoever from me.

“Thanks,” I say, smiling warmly at him. Just as I was about to step out of the car, he placed his arm gently on my wrist. I turned to look at him
questioningly.

“I’m sorry for everything, MinJi,” he says, his voice filled with guilt and regret.
“No biggie,” I say, grinning and getting out of the car. “Good night, Minwoo. Thanks for the ride,” I say, before closing the passenger door.

“MinJi!” he yelled as he scrolled down the window.

“Yeah?” I say, turning around.

“Good night to you too. Sleep well,” he says.

I stood there looking at him for a few moments then burst out giggling. “You know, Minwoo, I like you better like that,” I say, before entering
my house.

Minwoo watched her back until he was sure that she had safely entered the confines of her own home. He took in the structure of the house and
noted the sheer size of it. His mind was filled with unanswered questions as he drove back to his own home. Everyone knows that houses on
Euljiro Street were so expensive that only millionaires were able to afford them. Granted, he was one, but even he wasn’t willing to spend so
much money on a brick structure. And by the looks of her house, he was sure that it definitely didn’t come cheap. He remembers her mentioning
that she lived with her brother, her cousin and Danny, and that her brother was the one who supported her all this time ever since her parents died.
How did her brother get so much money to buy such an expensive house? Or if her parents were the ones who bought the house, they must have
been pretty successful and well known. He searched his mind for any possible matches, but came up with nothing. He frowned at the thought that
suddenly popped into his mind

Was MinJi hiding something from him?

Chapter 68

“Danny, wake up!” I say, nudging the lump under the comforters gently. He grunted, turned over on his side, and continued to sleep.

“Danny, come on…get up!” I say, nudging him harder this time.

“Go away, MinJi,” he mumbled into his pillow.

“Danny, wake up already! It’s time to get dressed for Jongie’s dinner,” I say, poking him in the ribs.

He sat up, rubbed his face a few times, then looked over at me, his eyes on the verge of closing again. “Can I not go?”

“Of course not!” I say, ruffling his hair. “Jongie’s expecting all of us to be there. You wouldn’t want to let him down, do you?”

“But I’m so tired!” he groaned, leaning his head on my shoulder, his eyes closed.

“Aish! Danny!” I say, pulling him out of bed and shoving him into the toilet. “Hurry up and wash your face, then get dressed, okay?”

“Aren’t you going to get ready?” his muffled voice came through the door.

“Andy isn’t here yet,” I say grimacing. “But I suppose I should go and change first. I’ll see you downstairs!” I say, closing the door to his room
behind me softly.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Tae oppa!” I say, running down the steps and giving him a hug.

“Awww, you look so pretty!” he says, looking down at me fondly.

“Of course she does,” says Andy, beaming proudly at him. “I fixed her up!”

“Self praise is no praise, Andy,” I say, laughing.

“Okay, I’m he—ooooooooh…so pretty! Like a snowdrop!” says Danny, grinning.

“A snowdrop? But I don’t want to look like a snowdrop!” I say, mortified. “ANDY!” I yell accusingly.

“What? What’d I do?” he asks.

“Where’s Jae?” asks Tae, laughing.

“Coming!” he yelled, running down the stairs and fixing his tie.

“Slow poke,” says Danny, sticking his tongue out at his cousin.

“Whatever,” retorted Jae. “Anyway, how do I look?” he asks, turning to look at me.
“Great,” I say, giving him the thumbs-up.

“You don’t look so bad yourself either,” he says, giving me a wink.

“Like a snowdrop,” says Danny.

“No! Anything but a snowdrop!” I say, whacking him on the arm.

“So, Jae,” says Tae, clearing his throat. “Why so conscious of how you look? Anyone you want to impress over there?”

“Ooooooh…Jae’s got a crush, Jae’s got a crush,” I chanted, skipping around him in a circle.

“No! I don’t have a crush,” says Jae bopping me on the head. “I just want to look my best.”

“OI! Don’t mess up her hair!” yelled Andy, coming over the inspect the damage.

“Okay, everyone ready? Got all your things with you?” asks Tae as we all nodded our heads. “All right then, let’s go!”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“I don’t understand why people actually like to attend all these formal dinners,” I say grumpily, holding on to Danny’s arm as we entered the
dining hall.

“Well…for the guys, you get to check out pretty girls, and for the girls, you get to check out good-looking guys. Simple,” says Danny.
“Nobody’s that desperate, Danny.”

“Are you trying to imply something?” he asks, glancing sideways at me.

“What? Me? No! Of course not!” I say, looking at him innocently, earning a pinch on the arm.

“MinJi! Danny!” says Jongie, making his way towards us through the throng of people. “Oh, hello, Tae and Jae hyung. So glad you could all
make it!” he says grinning happily.

“We wouldn’t miss it for anything, Jong,” says Tae. “Anyway, congratulations!”

“Thanks!” says Jongie. “Anyway, make yourself comfortable, okay? If there’s anything you need, just tell me.”

“Sure thing. We’ll catch you later,” says Jae.

“Danny, looking good as always. And MinJi…what can I say? You look beautiful.”

“Like a snowdrop,” says Danny.

“Stop it with the snowdrop thing already!” I whined.

“A snowdrop? Why a snowdrop?” asks Jongie. “Anyway, are you sure you’re not trying to upstage me, MinJi? Because you’re making me feel
like the wallpaper over there.”

“You’re so full of nonsense, Jongie. You look pretty good. Way better than Danny,” I say, sticking my tongue out at Danny.

“Thanks for the compliment,” says Jongie, laughing.

“Anytime. Where’s Taeng?” I ask.

“Who’s Taeng?” asks Danny, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, he’s this really, really nice guy. Awfully fun too. You should meet him!” I say enthusiastically.

“I heard my name,” says Taeng from behind me.

“Taeng!” I say, smiling up at him. “Meet Danny! He’s my bestest friend.”

“Hello,” says Taeng warmly. “You must be Danny Im. Jong Hyuk’s told me loads about you.”

“Jongie seems to be talking a lot about us behind our backs, you know,” I say to Danny. “When I first met Taeng, he said that he has heard a lot
of things about me from Jongie. And now, when he meets you, he says the same thing. You tend to wonder what sort of gossip Jongie has been
telling his friends, huh?”

“Do I look like an ahjummah who loves to gossip, Danny?” asks Jongie, feigning a hurt look.
Danny glanced down at me and I looked up at him. After a momentary pause, he looked at Jongie. “Yup!” he says, laughing.

“Chi! And the both of you are supposed to be my friends,” says Jongie, pulling a face. “Oh, I need to get going now. It’s about to start soon,” he
says, checking his watch. “Listen, MinJi. If things seem a bit strange today…just go with it, okay?”

“Is there something I should know about?” I ask, giving him a sideways look.

“No…none that I can think of,” he says, putting on a blank look. “Catch you guys later!”

Chapter 69

“I don’t know why people love to dance so much. Don’t they have anything better to do than twirl around in their dresses and on high heels too?”
I grumbled.

“It’s fun to dance once you’ve gotten the hang of it,” says Danny.

“Bleh,” I say, sticking my tongue out.

“Ladies and gentlemen! I hope that you’ve enjoyed your meal tremendously. You should, because the Oh’s have gone through a lot of trouble
just to make sure that everyone will enjoy the food,” says the MC, earning a few laughs from the guests. “Anyway, on to more important things.
I’m sure this is the time that everyone has been waiting for, am I right?”

“No,” I mumbled under my breath, amidst the positive cheers of all the other guests.
“Right. Just as I expected. Well, to make this a more memorable moment, why don’t we invite our star for the night to lead the dance first? What
do you all say?”

“Danny,” I say, pulling his sleeve, not really paying attention to what was going on. “Do you have any sweets on you?”

“Yup,” he says, digging through his pockets. “Sherbet lemon,” he says, handing one over to me.

“Unfortunately, Jong Hyuk here does not have a partner. Would any of the lovely ladies out there like to dance with him?” asks the MC as
another cheer erupted from the crowd. “Or maybe we should let him choose himself. Should we?”

I happily unwrapped the candy wrapper and sucked on it, scrunching my face up a little at the sour taste.

“Alright, ladies and gentlemen! Our man here has made a choice! The lucky person is…” he says, as drumrolls were heard.

Just as I was about to stuff the candy wrapper back into Danny’s jacket pocket, a bright spotlight shone on me, blinding me for a while.

“THAT LOVELY LADY IN THE WHITE DRESS!” yelled the MC into the microphone, as everyone present either cheered or clapped.

“What? What’s going on?” I muttered to Danny, as Jongie stepped down from the stage and made his way towards me.

“Just dance!” he mumbled back.

“May I?” asks Jongie, winking at me and offering me his hand. I looked around at the sea of faces looking back at me expectantly, waiting for my
reaction. Not knowing what else to do, I placed my hand in his and began to dance to the slow ballad.

“Jongie! What do you think you’re doing?” I muttered under my breath as he guided me across the dance floor.

“Dancing?”

“No! You know what I mean!” I say, glaring at him.

“At least I warned you!” he replied, smiling down at me.

“That’s beside the point! You know I can’t dance!”

“You’re doing pretty well right now, aren’t you?”

“Jongie!”

“Okay! Okay! Look, my dad came up with this idea just before the dinner started, and I didn’t know what to do. I mean, look at me. I’m not
exactly a lady’s man, am I? Then I saw you, and I thought, MinJi would do it.”

“Why me?” I ask, peering up at him.

“Well, you’ve always helped me out when I got into sticky situations like these in the past…so I figured you wouldn’t really mind this time,” he
says.
“Aish!” I say, rolling my eyes. “Oooooh, remember the time when you were being stalked by this girl? And she wouldn’t leave you alone no
matter what?”

“Must you remind me of that incident?” he groaned.

“After what just happened…yeah,” I say, grinning up at him.

“Ish! You’re such a rotten friend!” he says, pushing my forehead gently.

“At least I saved you from that girl!”

“Yeah! By saying that I had six toes!”

“It was the only thing that I could think of at that time!” I say, trying to refrain myself from laughing out loud.

“Right. I’m sure,” he says, shooting me a sideways glance. “Six toes! Did you see how fast she ran once you said that?”

“Lighten up, Jongie!” I say, giggling. “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have been able to get away from her.”

“I’m sure I could have come up with a better solution!” he retorted.

“Jongie, your brain works so slow that I’m sure it’d take you about 6 years just to get rid of her. Besides, you should thank me for helping you
out. She was scaring you so much that you were barely sleeping!“

“Hey! You’d feel pretty freaked too if somebody suddenly sent a message to your phone telling you to off the toilet lights right after you just
finished using it! And she wasn’t even living anywhere near me!” he say, defensively.

“Right, right,” I say, rolling my eyes.

Just then, Minwoo came up from behind Jongie and tapped him lightly on the shoulder.

“May I?”

Chapter 70

“Hey,” I say softly, as he took my hands in his.

“What was that all about?” he asks, raising an eyebrow and smiling warmly at me.

“It was Jongie!” I say. “He needed a partner to dance with and…well…he picked me because I was his friend.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t because you’re the prettiest girl in the whole room?” teased Minwoo, with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Of course not!” I say, blushing furiously, and averting my gaze away from him. “There are so many more prettier girls in here,” I mumbled.

“To me, you’re the prettiest one,” he says, lifting my chin up until I had nowhere else to look but into his eyes. “So, what do you think about us,
MinJi?”

I stared at the top button of his shirt, conflicting thoughts and emotions warring inside me. I know I’ve taken an awfully long time, from that day
in New York up till now, to make up my mind and that it wasn’t very nice of me to keep him waiting for so long. Taking a deep breath, I braved
myself to look up at him. “Well, we could give it a try,” I say, giving him a small smile.

“Really?” he asks, almost unbelievably.

“Yeah.”

“Thanks,” he whispered, his arms encircling my waist as he kissed me on the forehead.

“Wait…I can’t guarantee that it’ll actually work out between the both of us…so don’t get your hopes up all high and everything, okay?”

“Sure,” he says, smiling warmly down at me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Ji,” says Tae, as I settled down comfortably on his bed after taking my shower. Danny lay on the floor, flipping through a magazine while Jae sat
cross-legged in front of the television, totally engrossed in his video game.

“What?”

“You know that guy you were with almost throughout the entire night? That Minwoo guy?”
“Yeah, what about him?” I ask cautiously while both Danny and Jae stopped what they were doing and turned to look at me.

“Are you guys…you know…together?” asks Tae.

“Umm…kinda,” I say, my face flushing a deep shade of red.

“Awwwww…MinJi’s got a boyfriend!” teased Jae, grinning widely while Tae laughed.

“He’s not exactly my boyfriend! I mean, I just said that we could give it a try,” I protested.

“Now she’s trying to cover it up! Ish!” says Jae, throwing a pillow in my direction.

“When did it happen?” asks Tae.

“Aigoo, oppa! You’re beginning to gossip like an ahjummah!”

“No! I’m just looking out for my little sister! What if he turns out to be a serial rapist or something? Or if he has a criminal record? Or if he is a
psychopath out to kill girls who has the surname Kim? Or if he was this really cra—“

“Okay, okay, oppa! I get the point!”

“You’re still not answering the question, Ji,” says Jae. “When did it happen?”

“When we were in New York,” I say, resignedly.

“Did you guys do anything there that you weren’t supposed to do?” asks Tae, slanting his eyes at me.

“OPPA! Of course not! What do you think I am?” I say, whacking him on the back of his head.

“Just checking!” he say, rubbing his head. “And?” he prompted.

“And what?” I ask.

“What else happened?” he asks.

“Nothing much. Honest!” I say, seeing the look on Tae’s face. “He just told me about his feelings and asked me to think about it. And that’s that.”

“And you left the poor guy hanging until now?” asks Jae, shocked.

“Well…I needed time to think about it, right? And he said I could take however long I want!” I say, defensively.

“Yeah…but to keep him waiting that long…” he trailed off. “You are one cruel girl, MinJi.”

“Aish! Oppa! Jae’s being mean to me!” I say, shaking Tae’s leg.

“Jae,” he said, in a warning tone, then burst out laughing almost immediately, indicating that he was only playing around. “Danny, why are you
so quiet?”

Danny turned to look up at me. “Why Minwoo?”

“Well...it’s hard to explain. Look, I know the both of you don’t exactly get on well with each other, but do you think you could make an
exception for me? Please, Danny?” I ask, pleading with him.

He sighed loudly. “Does it look like I have a choice?”

“Thanks, Danny! You’re the best!” I say, ruffling his hair.

“But,” he says, holding up one finger. “I can’t promise you anything just yet, although I will try my very best not to sock him in the face every
time I see him.”

“At least it's a start,” I say, laughing.

"And if he ever does anything to hurt you, I swear, he will not get away with it," says Danny. "And that's a promise."

"Same here," says Tae.

"Likewise," says Jae.
Chapter 71

“Kim MinJi! Time to wake up,” says Tae, shaking my shoulders gently.

“I don’t want to,” I whined into the pillow, burying my head deeper into it.

“Aigoo, Ji,” says Tae, propping me up by my shoulders. “You’re going to be late for work if you don’t move now. Go and wash your face, then
come down for breakfast, okay?”

I took my own sweet time washing my face, took a quick shower, got dressed and slid down the banisters into the waiting arms of Danny.

“You know, MinJi, you shouldn’t do that so often. You might get hurt,” says Danny, ruffling my hair fondly.

“Nah, I won’t. You’ll always catch me at the bottom of the stairs!” I say, grinning up at him.
“That’s because I can predict you’re going to do something dangerous like that. What if one day I totally forget, do you know what will happen to
you? You’ll fly down the banister and hit, smack, against the wall. You’ll end up with a very squashed nose, you know. Would you like that?”
asks Danny, raising an eyebrow at me, a smile playing on his lips.

“You will never forget something like that, Danny,” I say, wrinkling my nose.

“How would you know?”

“Because you care so much about her that you’ll make sure she doesn’t get hurt any way. Sliding down banisters included,” says Tae, leaning
against the doorframe that led to the kitchen, grinning at the both of us.

“There is your answer, Danny!” I say, giving Tae a hug.

“Morning, hyung,” says Danny. “Where’s Jae?”

“Out jogging.”

“JOGGING?” yelled Danny and I at the same time. “Since when did Jae jog?”

“He claims he was getting fat, but I’m pretty sure he’s trying to impress someone,” says Tae with a secretive smile.

“Oooooh…who is it?” I say, jumping up and down in excitement.

“I would tell you if I knew…but, unfortunately, I don’t. Jae’s been a secretive cow lately,” says Tae, ushering us into the kitchen. “Eat up, Ji, or
else you’ll be late.”

“Who’s going to send me to work?” I ask, munching on a piece of toast.

“The guy waiting outside our house,” says Jae, entering the kitchen, still clad in his jogging outfit.

“WHO?” chorused the three of us in unison.

“Well, didn’t you know that there’s someone waiting outside our gates?” asks Jae, taking out a quart of milk from the refrigerator. “A certain,
special someone who drives a sleek silver sports car,” winks Jae, looking over at me.

“Are you sure?” I ask, getting out of my seat.

“Yeah, exactly. Why would anyone want to wait for an ugly looking eggplant like her?” asks Danny, furrowing his eyebrows as though in deep
concentration and pointing at me.

“Aish!” I say, bopping him on the head.

“Well, it could have been any one of your friends. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Minwoo,” I say.

“Umm, Ji…why would a guy want to wait for either one of us outside our gates?” asks Tae, gesturing to both him and Jae.

“Maybe because he thought you guys were gay!” says Danny, snapping his fingers. “I mean, you guys haven’t been dating for quite some time
now, and…who knows? You might have given them the wrong impression or something.”

“Wait,” I say, holding up a finger. “You guys are straight aren’t you?” I ask, glancing suspiciously at the both of them.

“JI!” they both yelled out simultaneously, while I exchanged a high-five with Danny.

“Well, aren’t you going out to meet your boyfriend?” asks Danny, nudging me in the sides.

“You don’t have to sound so anxious to get rid of me, Danny,” I say, slinging my bag over my shoulders. “Alright, guys, gotta run!”
“I’ll see you later for dinner, okay?” asks Tae, walking me to the door.

“Sure thing,” I say, kissing him on the cheek. “Bye oppa! Bye Jae, bye Danny!” I yell.

“BYE!” came their reply and I smiled to myself, shaking my head slightly.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I found Minwoo leaning against his car, one hand in his pocket, and the other, twirling his spectacles expertly.

“Minwoo!” I say, running over to him. “What are you doing here?”

“Waiting for you,” he says, straightening himself and pocketing his spectacles.

“Why? Did something happen?” I ask, frowning a little.

“No, nothing happened. I just thought I’d send you to work, since you don’t have a car and everything…” he trailed off, smiling down at me.

“Oh, you didn’t have to go through so much trouble. One of the guys could just drop me off at work.”

“Are they your boyfriend, or am I your boyfriend?” he asks, tucking my hair behind my ears. “Come on, get in,” he says, opening the passenger
door for me.

Chapter 72

As we pulled up outside Lee Corporations, I hurriedly stepped out of his car after he had cut off the engine, slamming the door behind me. My
eyes darted around, checking to see if any one who worked in the office was nearby. I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that there were
none.

“Thanks for the ride, Minwoo. I’ll catch you later,” I say, walking past him.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold it right there. Why the sudden rush?” he asks, locking his car and turning to face me.

“I…just don’t want to be late!” I say, putting on an innocent look.

“We’re fifteen minutes early! I know you’re not telling me something and unless you do so, there’s no way you’re going to enter the office,” he
says, catching hold of my wrist.

“Minwoo!” I say, pouting.

“Nah-uh. Feminine wiles aren’t going to work on me. So tell me, what’s bothering you?” he asks, grinning broadly.

“It’s nothing, really,” I say, trying to release my hand from his grasp.

“Tell me. I want to know,” he says.

“Umm…I just don’t think it’s a good idea for us to be seen together in the office.”

“Why not?” he asks, frowning a little.

“Well…you’re the President of Lee Corporations, and I’m your hired hand. Don’t you see something wrong with the whole picture?”

“Frankly, no.”

“Okay, let’s put it this way. New workers don’t exactly go out with their bosses after starting work for only a month.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Minwoo! Everyone’s going to think I’m a…” I trailed off. I wanted to say the word slut, but I held myself back, biting the insides of my cheek.

“They’ll only think what I tell them to think,” he says, taking me by the shoulders and bending low so that he could look straight into my eyes.
And if anyone says anything bad about you, I’ll have them thrown out of here before they can take a second breath.”

“No, don’t do that. Let’s just see how things go first, okay?” I replied quickly.

“If you insist,” he says, smiling down at me, then drawing me close so that he could place a gentle kiss on my forehead.

“I’ll see you after work,” I say, smiling.

“You promise?” he asks, gazing intently at me.
“I promise.” As soon as I had taken about two steps towards the entrance of the building, I immediately turned around and walked back to where
Minwoo stood.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, concerned.
I glanced around, making sure that we were alone, then stood up on tiptoes and kissed him lightly on the cheek, all the while blushing furiously. I
caught sight of his shocked expression and burst into small giggles.
“What are you laughing at?” he asks, grinning.

“That’s for me to know, and for you to keep your nose out of! Bye, Minwoo!”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Got your points ready?” asks Brian, coming to stand next to me.

“Yup!” I grinned, patting my file. “It’s in here.”

“All ready to do the presentation?” asks Chil Hyun.

“I guess,” I say. “Hee Jin! Stop pacing so much! You’re going to wear out the carpet!”

“I can’t help it!” she cries, flinging her arms wildly. “I’m too nervous!”

“It’s only a presentation, Hee Jin,” says Soo Jin, tapping a pencil against her cheek.

“Yeah, but it’s a presentation with the board of directors of Ahn Corporations! Ahn Corporations!”

“Stop worrying, Hee Jin. I’ve met Mr. Ahn before and he’s really nice. I’m sure his board of directors aren’t that bad either. Just be yourself!” I
say, trying to calm her down.

“Okay, everyone!” says Ji Yoon, interrupting our little conversation. “It’s time to head over to the conference room. They will be here any
minute.”

“Where are you going, MinJi?” asks Hee Jin, gathering all the things that she would need for the presentation into her arms.

“I just need to go to the ladies to freshen up a little bit. You guys go ahead without me. I’ll meet you there,” I say, heading towards the restrooms.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ji Yoon waited patiently for everyone to file out of the office. Then, she made her way over to MinJi’s table and fingered the pink file that MinJi
had so carelessly left behind, craning her neck a little to check that no one was re-entering the office. In one swift motion, she took out every
single sheet of paper containing important notes and figures that MinJi had so carefully and meticulously typed out. Her eyes scanned through the
papers quickly, then, smiling maliciously, she proceeded to rip them up into small pieces, dumping them into a trashcan on her way out.

Chapter 73

“I’m sorry,” I say, bowing slightly as I hurriedly sat down in my seat.

“It’s all right, Miss Kim,” says a familiar voice.

I raised my head in surprise. “Mr. Ahn!” I say, smiling. “I wasn’t expecting you to be here.”

“Yeah, well, me neither,” he says, chuckling softly. “I’m here for a few days to check up on things and when I heard about this little meeting, I
thought I might as well come. Good to see you again, Miss Kim.”

“Likewise, Mr. Ahn.”

“Right, back to business,” says Ji Yoon, clearing her throat a little. “We have done numerous researches in the past few weeks about how to get
about promoting our latest products. The response that we got from our surveys shows us that this new product might be a big hit with the people.
MinJi?”

“This graph here shows us that…” I trailed off, opening my file. My eyes widened in shock and I had to blink a couple of times just to make sure
my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me.

“Anything wrong, Miss Kim?” asks Mr. Ahn.

“No! No! Nothing is wrong,” I replied, flustered. I closed my file almost immediately, not wanting anyone to see its empty contents.
“Okay…um…basically, in our latest survey, about 2000 teenagers were questioned on…on…aspects of the new products. Unfortunately, the
results were inconclusive.”

“The figures, MinJi?” asks Ji Yoon, calmly.
“Um…uh…about seventy-four percent of…uh…” I say, scrunching my face up, trying hard to remember.

“Why don’t you check your notes?” asks Mr. Ahn, pleasantly.

I blushed a deep shade of red. “Uh…actually…”

“You did prepare for this meeting, didn’t you?” snapped Ji Yoon sharply.

“I did! It’s just…uh…the papers kind of…um…went missing,” I say quietly, wincing a little.

“Oh…it’s all right. It’s no big deal. Let’s proceed on to something else,” says Mr. Ahn, smiling warmly at me. As Hee Jin stood up to present her
work, I excused myself from the table and it took me every ounce of my will power to refrain myself from bolting out the door.

Once outside, I closed my eyes and leaned my forehead against the cool surface of the wall. What exactly happened to my notes? I was sure that I
had filed all my papers for the presentation. Was it possible that I had taken the wrong file? No, I thought, shaking my head. There was only one
file on my table. Just then, Chil Hyun stepped out of the room.

“You all right, MinJi?” he asks, concern evident in his voice.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I say, straightening myself and giving him a small smile.

“Hey,” he says, coming to put an arm around me. “Cheer up. Mr. Ahn was pretty understanding about the whole thing. I don’t think you’ll get
into any trouble at all.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“Come on, MinJi. Show me that bright smile of yours,” he says, making funny faces at me. I burst out laughing at his childish actions. “There.
See, you’re so much prettier when you smile.”

“Hyunnie, you do know that I did my work, don’t you?” I ask.

“I know you did. You’ve always been a responsible person,” he says, giving my shoulder a light squeeze. “Let’s go back in, okay?”

“Okay,” I say, nodding my head. Somehow, I had a gut feeling that Ji Yoon had done something with my papers, but I decided to keep my
suspicions to myself. It was just not worth it to get into another fight with her.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After work, I decided to pop by Minwoo’s office to see whether he was ready to leave.

“Minwoo?” I called out, pushing open his door and poking my head in. I gasped at the total chaos that his office was in. Papers and graphs of all
sort covered almost every inch of his table. Books and files were littered all over his floor.

“Minji!” he says, getting up from his seat and making his way towards me.

“What happened in here?” I ask, closing the door behind me.

“Just doing a little work,” he says, wrapping his arms around my waist, and resting his head on my shoulders.

“A little?” I ask, raising my eyebrows, surveying the room.

“Okay, then. Maybe more than a little,” he says, tightening his arms around me.

“Are you tired, Minwoo?” I ask, caressing his back gently. He nodded his head against my shoulder. “Why don’t you let me help you with
whatever you have to do?” At this, he shook his head furiously. “Why not?” I ask, pouting.

“I don’t want to tire you out,” he says, putting his forehead against mine. “You’ve been working for 9 hours now. You deserve to rest. Which
reminds me, I have to send you home, don’t I? Just give me a few minutes to get ready, all right?” he says, pulling away.

“Minwoo,” I begin. “Let me help. Please? I’m not tired at all. Honest!”

“Are you sure?” he asks, frowning a little.

“Yes, I am,” I say, raising my hands to smooth out the creases between his eyebrows.

He looked at me for a while, his eyes searching my face. After a while, he broke into a smile. “All right then. But first, let’s go out and have our
dinner.”
Chapter 74

“Tae oppa,” I say. “I’m coming home late today, so don’t stay up for me, okay?”
“Why?” he whined over the phone.

“Because I’m going to help Minwoo with his work.”

“Ooooooooooooooh…are you sure you guys aren’t going to do anything apart from work?” he teased.

“OPPA!”

“Okay, okay! Just playing! Don’t come home too late, okay? And please, do take care.”

“I will, oppa. Tell Danny and Jae I said hi.” I flipped my phone shut and headed back into Minwoo’s office, shutting the door softly behind me.
“Boo!” I say into his ear, as I crept up behind him while he stood, flipping through a thick folder. “Right, so what do I do?” I ask, as he turned
around and flashed me a grin.

“For starters, you can look through this whole stack of files and jot down all the figures and also the year, which are highlighted in yellow. Would
that be all right for you?” he asks, leading me to one of the couches.

“Yup,” I say, nodding my head, as I settled down on the couch and picked up a file. “No problem.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“I’ll get that!” yelled Danny, jumping over the coffee table in his rush to reach the door.

“WATCH OUT!” yelled Jae and Tae in unison, as Danny came close to knocking over a crystal vase.

“Got it!” yelled Danny triumphantly, throwing open the door. “Hey Jongie, hey Taeng. Come on in!” he says, beckoning to them.

“Hey!” says Tae, clearing the coffee table which was littered with papers.

“Are we disturbing you?” asks Jongie, frowning a little. “Because if we are, we can always come another time.”

“No, no. It’s all right,” says Jae, brushing their comment off easily. “It’s not important.”

“Are you sure?” asks Taeng.

“YES!” chorused Danny, Jae and Tae.

“Okay!” says Taeng, raising his hands in front of him. “Just checking! Don’t need to shout!”

“Drinks, anyone?” asks Tae, laughing.

“Anything will do,” says Jongie, smiling. “Thanks.”

As Tae went off to get the drinks, both Jongie and Taeng sat themselves down on the carpet around the coffee table, forming a little circle.

“So, what brings along this unexpected visit?” asks Danny.

“Oh, we came to see how you guys were doing,” says Jongie.

“And?” prodded Jae.

“And…what?” asks Jongie, looking at Jae innocently.

“Don’t look at me like that, Jongie. I know you’re up to something,” says Jae, wagging a finger at him.

“Hyung! Why must you always think that I’m up to something? I went out of my way to see how you guys are doing and you accuse me of being
up to something? I’m hurt,” he says, pouting while Taeng rolled his eyes.

“Right. I’m sure you're only planning to do just that,” says Jae, laughing.

“Anyway, where’s MinJi?” asks Jongie, looking around.

“HAH! See? I knew it! I knew you weren’t here to visit us! You’re here to look for MinJi!” exclaims Jae. “Anyway, she isn’t home. She’s
helping Minwoo with his work, so she’s coming home late today.”
“Minwoo?” asks Jongie.

“Yeah. Didn’t you hear? They’re together now!” says Danny.

“Together?” repeated Jongie, his face dropping a little.
“When did it happen?” asks Taeng, eyeing his friend out of the corners of his eyes.

“At the dinner that you hosted!” says Danny. “Unexpected, huh? Didn’t MinJi tell you about it?”

“No...she didn’t mention anything about it to me,” says Jongie, absently.

Tae stood at the doorway that led to the living room, watching the whole exchange between the four of them. He took one look at Jong Hyuk’s
forlorn figure and shook his head slightly, then turned on his heel and headed back towards the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and swapped
the cans of cola that he had taken earlier for beer instead. Somehow, he had a feeling that Jongie was going to need it tonight.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After a few hours of looking at figures after figures, my eyelids seemed to be getting heavier and heavier by the second. I rubbed my eyes to try
to stay awake and took a few sips of my already cold cup of coffee, which did absolutely nothing to help matters. Minwoo sat next to me on the
couch, busy scrawling down figures and punching numbers into the calculator. Unable to bear the drowsiness any longer, I closed my eyes and
laid my head gently on Minwoo’s shoulder, and drifted off to sleep.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minwoo felt a light weight being pressed upon his shoulder and turned his head sideways to see what had caused it. He quickly glanced at his
watch and mentally kicked himself when he saw how late he had kept her up into the night, completing his work for him. As he looked down at
her sleeping form, he was filled with a sense of protectiveness and tenderness. A feeling that he thought had long vanished from his heart.
Carefully, so as not to wake her, he laid her down on the couch. He held his breath when he felt her stir a little, then let it out, when he felt her
relax again. He grabbed his jacket which was slung over the arm of the couch and covered her with it, so that she would not feel cold. Feeling
satisfied with what he had done, he bent over her and kissed her gently on the forehead.

“Good night, MinJi. Sweet dreams,” he whispered.

Chapter 75

I woke up and groaned as I felt a little kink at the back of my neck. As I moved my neck sideways cautiously, I caught sight of Minwoo, sleeping
peacefully, with his head on top of the coffee table. I couldn’t help but smile at how adorable he looked. Sitting up, I took his jacket off me and
wrapped it around his shoulders. Then, I reached for his spectacles and slipped them off his nose. Just as I had folded them properly and placed
them on the table, his eyes fluttered open and he blinked a few times at me.

“Oops,” I say, giggling a little. “I didn’t mean to wake you up. Good morning anyway.”

“Morning,” he says, reaching for my hand, and holding it tightly in his.

“What time is it?” I ask.

“About…” he trailed off, checking his watch. “8.15.”
“Oppa must still be asleep,” I murmured to myself. “Minwoo, can you please send me home?” I ask, smiling down at him.

“Sure thing,” he says, returning my smile, then getting up and tugging me by my hand.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I slipped the key into the lock and pushed open the door as quietly as I could so as not to wake the entire household. “Ahjummah!” I say, giving a
little start as my hand automatically came up to cover my heart. “You gave me a fright! What are you doing, standing behind the door anyway?”

“I heard the key, dear. And please lower your voice. The boys are still sleeping,” she says, putting a finger to her lips. “And how come you’re
only coming home at this hour?”

“Umm…that would be my fault,” says Minwoo, poking his head in. “I made her do some work for me and I guess I didn’t know how time flew.
She fell asleep on the couch, and I didn’t feel like waking her up…so…I let her sleep. I’m sorry,” he says, rubbing the back of his head and
looking down at his shoes.

“It’s all right,” says the ahjummah, smiling up at him. “Come in and wash your face. I’ll send some clothes up for you to change after you’ve
taken your shower.”

“Oh, no, that’s really not necessary. Honestly,” says Minwoo.

“I insist. Treat it as a token of appreciation from me for taking care of MinJi and bringing her home. And you will, of course, be having breakfast
with us.”

“Yeah,” I say, grinning. “Come on, Minwoo.”

He looked, first at me, then at the ahjummah. Blushing a little, he said, “All right then. Thanks.”

As we walked past the living room I caught sight of five huge lumps, all lying sprawled out on the living room carpet, beer cans littered all over
the place. “Ahjummah,” I say, frowning a little. “Who stayed for the night?”

“Oh, that would be Jong Hyuk and Tae Hyung. They drank quite a lot yesterday night and I guess they all passed out on the floor.”

Shaking my head a little, I made my way over to the linen closet in one of the guest rooms and pulled out five thick blankets, as the ahjummah
led Minwoo to one of the bathrooms. Walking back to where they lay, I covered each and every one of them with a blanket, making sure it
covered them from head to toe.

As I bent over Jongie, I noticed that he had dried streaks of tears running down his face. I bit the insides of my cheek, feeling awful, knowing that
he had probably come over to talk to me about what was bothering him, only to find out that I wasn’t home. Pulling the blanket around him
tightly, I quickly wet a tissue and wiped his face gently with it. When I was done, I ruffled his hair slightly and smiled to myself. I stood up, took
one last glance at the five of them, then headed back to my room to wash my face and to take my shower…not realizing that Jongie had already
woken up and was staring at my retreating back in silence.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jong Hyuk sat alone in the living room quietly, staring off into space. Everyone had already woken up and had went to take their showers. The
Kim’s place was so huge that they had more than enough toilets for every one of them. He, however, had decided to stay put. Just then, out of the
corners of his eyes, he saw a shadow flit past.

“Minwoo,” he called out.

“Hey,” says Minwoo, coming to sit down next to him. “I didn’t mean to disturb your…musings.”

“Nah, don’t worry about it. Anyway, congratulations! I heard the good news about you and MinJi getting together,” he says, smiling warmly at
Minwoo.

“Oh, thanks,” says Minwoo, returning the smile. “Ummm…no hard feelings or anything right? I mean…you…you know…” he trailed off.

“No hard feelings, Minwoo. No hard feelings,” replies Jong Hyuk after a slight hesitation. There was an awkward silence before he spoke up
again. “You sure changed a lot, Minwoo.”

“Hmmm? How so?” asks Minwoo, turning in his seat to face him.

“Back in high school, you were such a jerk. A big, fat, meanie is what MinJi always called you. And now, look at you…totally transformed.
Successful, rich and famous. You were always blessed with good looks, so it doesn’t really count. But what stands out the most is that you’ve
undergone a whole personality makeover from the last time I saw you. Not that I’m complaining or anything, mind you.”

Minwoo gave a little chuckle. “I guess I do have to thank a special someone for it.”

“Which reminds me…there are a few certain things that you have to know about MinJi. First,” says Jong Hyuk, clasping his hands together. “She
cries an awful lot. When someone has said something hurtful to her or when she has a fight with someone, she cries. Although she’ll never show
it to anyone, it’s pretty obvious after a while. Second, she cares more about other people than herself. She can’t bear to see other people in pain
and she would try to do everything in her power to make that person happy again. Third, she loves anything to do with strawberries. From
smoothies, to ice-cream, to lollipops…to whatever you can think of which has strawberries in it. Got all that, Minwoo?”

“Yeah…but I still don’t get one thing. Why are you telling me all this?” asks Minwoo.

“Because she’s your girlfriend now,” says Jong Hyuk, matter-of-factly.

“Thanks, Jong Hyuk,” he says, after a pause. “I really appreciate it.”

“Anytime, Minwoo. Anytime. Just promise me one thing, okay?”

“Sure. What is it?”
“Treat her well and don’t hurt her in anyway. You can do that, right?”

“Yeah, I will,” says Minwoo sincerely. “Don’t worry.”

“It’s important that you keep this promise, Minwoo…because you’re her first.”

Chapter 76

“Guys, come and have your breakfast!” I say, yelling at the top of my voice.

“Last one down is a rotten, smelly and squashed turnip!” yelled Danny, thundering down the stairs. A few seconds later, the thumping of many
feet down the stairs could be heard, as both Minwoo and Jong Hyuk entered the kitchen first, followed shortly by Danny, Jae and Tae.

“Where’s Taeng?” I ask, setting seven colourful plates down on the table.
“I’m here!” says Taeng running in, his hair, dripping wet.

“Ewwwww…you’re a rotten, smelly and squashed turnip!” says Jongie, backing a few steps away from him. Taeng turned to glare at Jongie,
then, smiled evilly, before shaking his head left and right, causing little droplets of water to pelt all six of us.

“TAENG!” I yelled, whacking him on the arm.

“Serves you guys right,” he muttered, taking a seat at the table and piling pancakes on his plate.

“WAIT! Don’t eat yet! We haven’t done the proper introductions yet!” says Tae, slapping Taeng on the back of his head.

“Ow! Did I suddenly turn into a punching bag or something?” growled Taeng, breaking into a grin a few moments later. “Hey, we met before,”
he says, smiling warmly at Minwoo.

“Kim Tae Hyung, right?” asks Minwoo, returning the smile.

“See,” says Taeng, shooting us a triumphant look.

“And you already know who we are,” says Danny, pointing to both him and Jongie.

“Right. So that leaves the both of us,” says Tae, grinning. “I’m Kim Jung Tae, MinJi’s brother,” he says, extending his hand towards Minwoo for
a handshake.

“Lee Minwoo,” replied Minwoo, grasping Tae’s hand.

“And I’m Kim Jae Won, her cousin,” says Jae, also shaking Minwoo’s hand.

“All right, now that everything’s settled, LET’S EAT!” yelled Danny.

As Minwoo sat at the table, joking and laughing with them, something at the back of his mind kept nagging at him. The name Kim Jung Tae
sounded awfully familiar. If only he could pinpoint exactly where he had heard it before…

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“You know,” begins Danny, folding his arms on the table after the dishes were cleared. “It’s a good thing you guys fell asleep at the office on a
Friday night. Imagine if you were caught together, still clad in the same clothes as the day before by all your workers.”

“Yeah…it’s pretty hard to clear up those kind of rumours,” says Jae, shuddering a little. All six pairs of eyes turned to look at him. “What?”

“Have you been caught before, Jae?” I teased.

“Were you doing something with your secretary?” asks Danny, poking him in the sides.

“No, I wasn’t!” exclaimed Jae, turning a deep shade of red.

“Oh really?” drawled Tae, grinning broadly at him.

“Stop it, hyung!” wailed Jae.

“Anyway, don’t the both of you have things to do and places to go? It’s a Saturday!” says Tae, ruffling my hair. “You honestly weren’t planning
on staying home, were you?”
“Not really. As a matter of fact, I think we should be leaving now,” says Minwoo, pulling me up and leading me to the door. "Thanks for
breakfast. I'll have these clothes cleaned and sent back to you."

"No problem, Minwoo," says Tae. "Take your time in returning them. It's not like we need it in a rush or anything."

"I will, thanks again!"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Where are we going?” I ask, as I fastened my seatbelt securely.

“To meet someone,” he says, grinning at me.

“Ooooooh….who?” I ask, clapping my hands together.

“You’ll see,” he replied secretively.

“Wait, you’re not bringing me to meet your parents or anything like that, are you? Because if you are, you’d better turn back. I’m not dressed
properly AND I didn’t prepare a gift for them,” I say nervously.
“No, I’m not bringing you to meet my parents. Don’t worry!” he says, controlling the steering wheel with one hand, and reaching for my hand
with the other.

“Umm…don’t you want to change your clothes first?”

“Nah. I have spare clothes over there. Just sit back and relax, okay, MinJi?” he asks, smiling at me.

“Okay!” I say, leaning back in my seat and making myself comfortable.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We came to a stop in front of a beautiful white cottage, which was situated at the end of the road. It had a red slate roof and a dark green front
door. There were yellow roses and honeysuckle, growing up a lattice round the door and the leaded windows, and in the big garden, a huge cherry
tree stood in one corner.

“Wow,” I breathed, getting out of the car. “It’s beautiful!”

“It is, isn’t it?” says Minwoo, coming to stand next to me. “What are you waiting for? Let’s go in,” he says, pulling me by my hand.

“Don’t we have to ring the doorbell first?” I ask, as he pushed open the little white gate.

“No. Not really,” he says, winking at me. Then, he turned the knob of the front door, stepped inside the house and yelled, “YAEJIN!”

I heard a little girl squeal from upstairs, then the clicking of her shiny black shoes against the parquet as she ran down the stairs and straight into
Minwoo’s arms.

“APPA!” she yelled delightfully.

Chapter 77

I was rooted to the ground, my jaw wide open in disbelief as I stared at what was happening right in front of my eyes.

“So, how’s my little girl doing?” asks Minwoo, lifting her up into his arms. “Have you been good?”

“Yup!” she replied, nodding her head furiously, causing her curls to bounce up and down on her shoulders.

“Did you eat all your meals?”

“Uh-huh,” she says, still nodding her head.

“Did you listen to Aunty Chae?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Really? I’m going to go ask her,” says Minwoo, tapping her lightly on the nose.

“Appa…” she trailed off, looking at me. I hurriedly plastered a smile onto my face but I guess something must have showed because Minwoo set
the little girl down on the floor almost immediately and took a step towards me.
“It’s not what you’re thinking,” he says in a rush. “She’s not my daughter. Honest!”

“Okay…” I say doubtfully.

“I’ve always tried to get her to call me oppa but she always ends up calling me appa,” he continued.

"Okay…”

"I think she may have some problems with her brain or something...maybe it's some sort of deficiency that causes her not to be able to
differentiate between OPPA and APPA."

“All right! All right! I get the drift. She’s not your daughter!” I say, laughing. Bending down so that I was eye level with the little girl, I smiled at
her and extended my hand towards her. “Hello there. I’m MinJi. What’s your name?” She quickly ran behind Minwoo and peeked out from
behind his legs, ducking almost immediately when she caught me still staring back at her. Okaaaay. I know I look hideous, but she doesn’t need
to be THAT scared of me! I mean, come on, the mirrors don’t crack every time I look into them, do they?

“YaeJin, don’t be shy,” coaxed Minwoo, trying to get her to come out from behind his legs. “She’s really nice. Come on out. If you do, I’ll let
you eat ice-cream later!”

“Promise?” she asks, extending her pinky towards him.
“Promise,” replied Minwoo, linking his pinky with her. Then, after pinching her lightly on the cheeks, he pushed her gently in my direction. She
took a few tentative steps forward, often turning to look back at Minwoo who kept encouraging her to come closer towards me.

“Hi, unnie,” she says, looking down at her shoes, her right hand holding on to the edge of her skirt while she twisted her body left and right.

“Hello, YaeJin,” I say, tilting her chin up so that she was looking at me. “You look very pretty today.”

“Really?” she asks, her whole face lighting up.

“Really,” I say, smiling at her.

“Unnie,” she says, looking up at my hair clips. “I’ve got clips which are sparkly too!” she says, pointing to her own clips.

“Oh? Where did you get yours from?” I ask, admiring her clips.

“Appa bought it for me!” she grinned, pointing in Minwoo’s direction, who slapped his forehead at the title.

“Why do you call me appa but you call her unnie? If I’m appa, she should be halmoni!” says Minwoo.

“Nope,” says YaeJin, shaking her head then picking up a red crayon and a sheet of paper nearby. We both crowded round her to see what she was
writing.

Minwoo = old + take care of me = appa

MinJi = pretty + nice = unnie

“Aigoo, YaeJin!” says Minwoo, bopping her lightly on the head, while I laughed.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“So, Minwoo,” I say, leaning back on the couch. “Whose child is she?” I ask, looking over at YaeJin who was playing with both our cell phones.

“Well,” he began, coming to sit next to me. “Are you sure you want to know about it? It’s a pretty long story.”

“Why not? I’ve got the entire day!” I grinned.

“Right. But you have to promise me one thing, and that is to never tell a single soul anything that I’m going to tell you now, okay?”

“Okay,” I say. “Do you want to link pinkies with me?” I ask, extending my little finger towards him.

“It wouldn’t hurt, would it?” he replied, all the while grinning broadly while he linked his finger with mine. “It all started when…”

Unknown to the both of them, little YaeJin had accidentally pressed the call button on Minwoo’s cell phone, enabling the person on the other line
to listen in on their entire conversation.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ji Yoon rummaged through her handbag for her ringing cell phone. She whipped her phone open and her smile widened when she saw Minwoo’s
number blinking on the screen.

“Hello?”

When there was no answer, she called out again.

“Hello? Minwoo? Are you there?”

Just as she was about to disconnect the call, thinking that Minwoo had probably pressed the call button without knowing it, she heard his voice
through the phone, loud and clear.

"Two years after my mother died of cancer, my father had an affair which resulted with this child."

"I’m sorry," came another voice, which sounded awfully like MinJi’s, causing Ji Yoon to frown a little. "By the way, where’s her mother?"

“She ran off with another guy and left her daughter here.”

“Oh dear…why didn’t you all just raise her in your own home? Wouldn't it be more convenient?”

“We couldn’t. It would tarnish my father’s reputation, and it would set all the reporter’s tongues wagging if they found out he had an affair. So,
we hired a nanny to take care of her here.”
“Wouldn’t she feel…lonely?”

“Well, Hye Sung brings his little cousins over to play with her once in a while, and I make it a point to come and visit almost every day. Apart
from that, her nanny often brings her nieces over too, just to keep her company.”

Feeling that she has heard enough, Ji Yoon flipped her phone shut and her smile widened some more. So, the Lees have an illegitimate child, eh?
This will teach Minwoo and MinJi never to mess with Park Ji Yoon, she thought as a plan began forming in her head.

Chapter 78

Ji Yoon sat in her office, twirling in her chair. She felt awfully elated that she had found a way to cause hurt to both Minwoo and MinJi. MinJi,
for taking Minwoo away from her, and Minwoo, for dumping her. They both deserved it.

Feeling bored, she stopped twirling in her chair, when she caught sight of the latest issue of Biznews on the table. She reached for it and began to
flip through the pages absently, only coming to a stop on the page with the heading ‘The Fifty Richest Bachelors in Korea’. She scanned through
the pictures, stopping only at the good-looking ones to read their information.

Number 31
Name : Shin Hyesung
Age : 24
Estimated wealth : 25 million
Position : Chairman of Shin Corporations
Siblings : One younger brother, Shin Seok Hyun
Status : Lives in New York; currently single.

Number 24
Name : Lee Minwoo
Age : 22
Estimated wealth : 40 million
Position : President of Lee Corporations
Siblings : None
Status : Lives in Jonbu Street; recently split from girlfriend, Park Ji Yoon.

She clenched her fists in anger at what she read, but she calmed down quickly. Minwoo will be hers, eventually, anyway. After MinJi is out of the
picture.

Number 16
Name : Oh Jong Hyuk
Age : 22
Estimated wealth : 48 million
Position : President of Oh Corporations
Siblings : None
Status : Lives in Onchin Street; currently single

My, my, my, she thought. This is surprising. I never knew Jong Hyuk was so capable…so…rich.

Number 12
Name : Kim Tae Hyung
Age : 23
Estimated wealth : 52 million
Position : Chairman and major shareholder of UN Foods Corporations
Siblings : One older sister, Kim Eun Jin
Status : Lives in Onchin Street; currently single

Number 8
Name : Kim Jung Tae
Age : 27
Estimated wealth : 65 million
Position : President of Kim Corporations
Siblings : One younger sister, Kim MinJi
Status : Lives in Euljiro Street; currently single.

Number 3
Name : Yoo Ho Suk
Age : 26
Estimated wealth : 66 million
Position : Pres—

Suddenly, she jerked her head back up to look at Kim Jung Tae’s picture. He seemed oddly familiar. She scanned through the little bit of
information again and inhaled sharply at what she read. Kim MinJi. She zeroed in on his picture and tried to recall where she had seen him
before. In a flash, it came to her. First, at the boutique and later, at the Jung’s dinner party, with Kim MinJi. The ends of her mouth curved
upwards in a sinister smile. So, our dear little Kim MinJi has been keeping a secret, eh?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Miss Park?” asks Soo Jin, poking her head into Ji Yoon’s office. “There’s a man waiting outside who claims that he has an appointment with
you at 11.30.”

“Send him in, please,” she says, getting up from her seat and clearing her table.

“This way, please,” says Soo Jin, ushering him into Ji Yoon’s office, then closing the door behind her.

“Good morning, Miss Park,” bows the man.

“Good morning, Mr. Kang. Please have a seat.”

“Did you want to see me about something?” he asks, seating himself directly in front of her.

“There are two people that I would like you to check out for me. I want every little bit of information on them. Do you think you can do it?” she
asks, sliding a picture of MinJi towards him.

“You said there were two. Where’s the other one?”

“There’s a little girl that she’ll be visiting some time soon. That, would be the second person.”

“How much are you offering?”

“Just name your price,” says Ji Yoon, taking out her chequebook.

“Twenty-five thousand."

“Deal,” she says, signing the cheque with a flourish and handing it over to him. “How soon would I be able to get their information?”

“In a week.”

Chapter 79

“Guess who?” says Minwoo, covering my eyes from behind me, and leaning close to whisper into my ear.
“Minwoo!” I exclaim, pushing him away. “We’re still at the office!” I say, darting a furtive look around to see if anyone saw what we were
doing.

“But everybody’s gone home!” he whined. “It’s way past working hours and I am willing to bet that there aren’t that many hardworking
employees here who are willing to stay back and work for extra hours, voluntarily,” he says, putting extra emphasis on the last word.

“Really?” I ask, hurriedly putting away my things. “What time is it anyway?”

“6.30.”

“WHAT?” I cried, whirling around to face him.

“Yup! It’s 6.31 now. Why? You have a date or something?” he asks, his eyes twinkling as he came over to wrap his arms around me.

“Oh, how did you know?” I ask, playing along with him. “Are you stalking me?”

“Possibly…” he trailed off, cocking his head to the side. “Who’s the lucky guy?”

“It’s a secret,” I say, grinning up at him.

“Then I’ll just have to hunt him down myself and beat him up for messing around with my girl,” he says, kissing me on the forehead. “So, want
to have dinner together?”

“Not tonight, I can’t.”

“Why not?” he pouted.

“Oppa’s bringing us out to eat tonight,” I say, shooting him an apologetic grin.

“Can’t you skip this one meal?” he asks.

“Nah, I shouldn’t. I’m sorry, Minwoo. I promise I’ll make it up to you tomorrow.”
“But today’s my bi—“

“Your what?” I ask, turning to look at him questioningly.

“It’s nothing. Forget it,” he says, shaking his head. “Come, I’ll send you home.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Minwoo pulled his car to a sharp stop in front of his house, crunching gravel beneath his tires. As he entered his house, he smiled at the servants
that bowed to him in greeting. Upon reaching his room, he took off his jacket and flung it onto his bed. Then, he unbuttoned his collar, yanked his
tie off him and rolled up his sleeves, slumping down onto a nearby leather couch miserably.

He slid his hand into his trouser pocket and took out the blue velvet box. Slowly, he lifted the lid and gazed at the pair of silver rings which lay
inside. He took out the thinner silver band and held it up against the light, closing one eye so that he could read what was inscribed on it.

Minwoo & MinJi

He dropped the ring back into the box and snapped it shut, slipping the box back into his pocket. He had bought it a few days ago, hoping to put it
on her finger today…on his birthday. But, it seems as though MinJi had forgotten about his birthday. Either that, or she didn’t care. He leaned his
head back and closed his eyes, massaging his temples gently.

A few minutes later, his cell phone rang shrilly, jolting him from his little nap.

“APPA!” came YaeJin’s happy shriek.

“Hello, YaeJin,” he said, smiling. “And it’s OPPA, not APPA.”

“But I like APPA better,” she whined.

“Okay, okay! Now, what did you call me for? Did something happen to you?”

“Nope. I just wanted to wish you a great, big, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

“YaeJin, dear, you don’t have to yell. I can hear you perfectly fine. At the rate you’re screaming, I’ll be deaf in 2 minutes.”

“I’m sorry,” she says, giggling a little. “Anyway, do you want to come over and celebrate your birthday wi—YAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

“YaeJin? YaeJin? This is not the time to play tricks. YaeJin, answer me,” cried Minwoo into the receiver frantically, but all he got in return was a
dead line. Leaping to his feet, he hurriedly ran out of his room and hopped into his car, driving as fast as he could towards the little cottage.

Chapter 80

Minwoo got out of his car and his heart dropped at what he saw. The little picket gate that led to the cottage was left ajar. Flowers with broken
stalks were strewn all over the garden, as though someone had carelessly trampled over them. As he neared the door, he noticed it was left open
too, and that the lock had been tampered with. The insides of the house were dark, and Minwoo stepped inside carefully, moving his hand along
the walls to guide him. Worry began to assail him from all sides when he could not feel a single presence inside the house.

“YaeJin?” he called out. “Aunty Chae? Are you guys all right?”

He stumbled a little and cursed audibly when he banged his hip against the sharp corner of a table. As he straightened himself, he drew in a sharp
breath and froze, all his senses alert when he heard something…a distinct click, as though the trigger of a gun was being pulled back.

He made his way across the room, to where the light switch were as quietly as he could, his heart thumping against his rib cage and blood
pounding through his head. He finally found the light switch, and with sweaty palms, he pushed it upwards, flooding the entire place with light,
blinding him for a moment while his eyes adjusted themselves to the sudden brightness.


“SURPRISE!”


Minwoo nearly jumped out of his skin at the chorus of all his friend’s loud voices. He stood rooted to the ground, scanning the eager and happy
faces of five of his closest friends, namely, Hyesung, JunJin, Andy, Eric and Dongwan. Just then, YaeJin squeezed between their legs and came
running towards him.

“APPA! Were you scared?” she asks, giggling, when Minwoo lifted her up into his arms.

“You’re getting naughty, YaeJin. Trying to scare your oppa like that. Do you know how worried I was?” he asks, pinching her cheeks.

“Those oppas made me do it!” she says, pointing at the laughing guys.
“You guys are rotten, do you know that?” asks Minwoo, laughing as he walked over to them. “Already in your twenties and still playing childish
tricks on other people. When will you guys ever grow up?”

“Ooooooooooh…that’s mean!” says Andy, folding his arms across his chest and pouting. “We planned this surprise party for you and all you
could do is just scold us? You meanie. Right, Wannie hyung?”

“Yeah! Meanie Minwoo,” says Dongwan, sticking his tongue out at Minwoo.

“Awwwww, come on. I was just playing! Honestly, the both of you are sooooo sensitive!” laughed Minwoo. “By the way, thanks for all these,
guys. I really wasn’t expecting it.”

“You thought we would forget, eh?” says Junjin, patting Minwoo on the shoulder.

“All right, then. Now that he’s here, we can all start eating!” yelled Eric, ushering everyone into the dining hall.

“No!” says Hyesung. “There’s still one more person.”

“Who?” chorused everyone, turning to look at him questioningly.

As if on cue, the front door burst open and a girl with her hair in a wild disarray behind her ran towards them. “All right, I’m here!” she panted,
gasping for breath. When she got her breath back, she straightened herself and looked around at the small crowd, finally catching sight of
Minwoo. She bit her bottom lip, and scrunched her face up a little. “I’m a little late, aren’t I?” she asks, meekly.

“Yes, MinJi, you are,” says Hyesung, grinning at her.

“I’m sorry. I got caught in the jam and the cab driver couldn’t do anything about it. I’m really, really sorry.”

“It’s okay. What matters most is that you’re here,” says Minwoo, coming over to stand next to me. “I thought you had to attend some dinner with
your brother.”

“Oh…that…umm…I lied,” I say, my face flushing red with embarrassment.

“Oh? Lying to your boyfriend, eh?” teased Minwoo.

“BOYFRIEND?” yelled Eric, Junjin and Dongwan.

“Oh, yeah…guys, meet Kim MinJi, my girlfriend. MinJi, this is Eric, Junjin, Dongwan and –“

“ANDY!” I yelled, totally flabbergasted.

Andy, who was happily munching on a little cupcake looked up at me in surprise. His jaw dropped open in disbelief as recognition finally
dawned on him. “Kim MinJi? What are YOU doing here?”

“I should be asking you that!”

“I’m Minwoo hyung’s friend!”

“And I’m Minwoo’s girlfriend!”

“Girlfriend? Minwoo hyung doesn’t have a girlfriend! Do you, hyung?” he asks, turning to look at Minwoo.

“Yes, I do, Andy. If you had been listening to our conversation earlier, you would have known that she, is my girlfriend. By the way, I didn’t
know you guys knew each other.”

“I didn’t know you knew him!” I say, pointing at Andy.

“And I didn’t know you knew her!” he says, pointing back at me.

“Okay, this is weird,” says Eric, watching our exchange with an amused expression.

“Exactly. How did you guys meet anyway?” asks Dongwan.

“She’s my client.”

“He cuts my hair.”

“Umm…do you think you guys could answer, ONE AT A TIME? My brain can’t interpret so much information at one shot,” says Junjin, looking
at the both of us.
“That’s because you have a really small brain, Jin,” says Dongwan, tapping Junjin on the head lightly.

“Whatever. You’re just jealous,” he retorted, walking towards the dining hall.

“Excuse me?” yelled Dongwan, walking after him. “Why would I be jealous of your small brain?”

As they argued all the way towards the dining hall, the rest of us laughed as we shook our heads at their childish display.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“MinJi,” says Minwoo, slipping an arm around my waist. “Let’s go out and take a walk around the garden.”

“Okay,” I say, smiling up at him. “My ears need a break from all this noise anyway.”

As they walked side by side, he reached for her hand. Her fingers curled into his and he wished that he could stay handclasped with her until
dawn. The moonlight cast dark shadows all around them and the only sounds that could be heard in the still night air was their silent breathing
and their thudding footsteps.

“Oh, Minwoo,” I say, turning to face him when we had reached the large cherry tree.

“Hmm?” he asks, turning to look at me.

“Well…I bought this for you. As a birthday gift,” I say, as I pushed a little wrapped parcel into his hands. “It’s not much though. I didn’t know
what to get for you.”

“May I open it?” he asks, grinning at me.

“If you want to,” I say. “But don’t expect anything great…”
“I won’t,” he promised. As he tore open the wrapper and lifted the lid of the box, I crossed my fingers behind my back for luck. “Thanks, MinJi,”
he says, giving me a warm hug. “I really like it. It’s by far the nicest gift anyone has ever bought for me.”

“Don’t lie!” I say, punching him playfully on the arm. “Did you see the gifts that Hyesung, Jin, Dongwan, Andy and Eric bought for you? It was
like…whoa…”

“But I still like your one best.”

“Awwww…thanks Minwoo,” I say, smiling up at him. He lifted the silver, rectangular key chain from the box and attached it to the bunch of
keys which he always carried around with him.

“There,” he says, flashing the side of the key chain with his name engraved on it, at me. “Now everyone will know these keys belong to me!” he
says, laughing. “By the way, I’ve got something for you too.”

“Something for me? But it isn’t my birthday!”

“It doesn’t have to be your birthday for me to buy you a gift,” he says, tapping me gently on the nose. “Now close your eyes and give me your
hand.”

“You’re not going to put a bug in my hand or anything, are you?” I ask fearfully. “I hate creepy crawlies!”

“No, I’m not. Now hurry up and close your eyes!”

Obediently, I did exactly what he told me to do. All I could hear was the rustling of his clothes as he moved around. Finally, I felt him hold onto
my hands and slip something cold onto my finger. I snapped my eyes open and stared at what he had put there. I raised my head up to look at him
questioningly.

“It’s a couple ring,” he says nervously. “Almost all the couples have one.”

“Where’s yours then?” I ask.

“Right here,” he says, showing me the silver ring on his own finger.

“Thanks, Minwoo,” I say, standing up on tiptoe to kiss him gently on the cheek.

“That’s what I’m supposed to say, MinJi,” he says, holding me close to him. “Thanks for everything.”

Chapter 81

“Young lady,” says Tae, switching off the television. “Where do you think you’re going?” he asks, walking towards me.

“Ummm…work?” I say.
“Eat,” he says, pointing towards the kitchen.

“Oppa!” I whined, stamping my foot. “I’m going to be late!”

“So?” he asks, propelling me towards the kitchen. “You still have to eat your breakfast. I can’t have my little sister feeling weak and tired when
she works.”

“But, oppa, I’m feeling pretty hyper today!”

“No excuses,” he says, tapping me lightly on the head.

As I sat down at the table to eat some French toast, I noticed Danny and Jae’s empty seats, and gave an audible sigh.

“What’s wrong?” asks Tae.

“I miss Danny and Jae!” I say, pouting.

“I miss them too, Ji,” he says glumly, propping up one elbow on the table to support his chin. “Maybe I shouldn’t have sent them all the way to
the States to sign the deal. I should’ve picked someone else.”

“Don’t worry too much, oppa. I’m sure they’re having loads of fun there,” I say, reaching over to pinch his cheeks. “When are they going to be
back, anyway?”

“This coming Friday,” he says, brightening up a little. “That’s only about 4 days from now, isn’t it?”

“Yup!” I say happily, taking a sip of orange juice. “They’ll be back in no time!”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Come in,” says Minwoo, after a few knocks.

“Good morning, Minwoo,” says Ji Yoon, smiling brightly at him.

“Oh, Ji Yoon,” he says, motioning for her to sit down. “Good morning.”

“You look well, Minwoo.”

“You don’t look too bad either, Ji Yoon. You seem very...together.”

“Yeah, well, I’m coping, I guess,” she says, looking up at him. “Is that a couple ring?” she asks, catching sight of the silver band on his finger.

“Oh, yeah, it is,” he says, laughing a little and twirling the ring on his finger.

“Things must be going well between the both of you, huh? You never bought me a couple ring when we were together,” she says bitterly. “But
it’s all right. That’s all in the past now,” she says, giving him a small smile.

“Did you want to see me about something, Ji Yoon?” he asks, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.

“Oh, right. That reminds me. There are some documents that you need to sign,” she says, putting several files on his table. “You can take your
time to go through them. Just hand it back to me before lunch, okay?”

“Sure. Thanks, Ji Yoon,” he says, after a slight pause.

“No problem, Minwoo. Friends?” she asks, extending her hand.

“Friends,” he says, taking her hand in his and shaking it.

As Ji Yoon let herself out of his room, she smiled to herself. Just you wait, Lee Minwoo. Just you wait. After reading that file, I don’t think you
and MinJi will even be on talking terms anymore. Friends? Hah! You’re going to be mine again. You should know, Minwoo...I always get what I
want.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Minwoo put his pen down on the table, took off his spectacles and pinched the bridge of his nose a few times. He poured himself a glass of water,
and then sat back down at his table. Feeling that he needed a small break from reading documents, he picked up his phone and dialed MinJi’s
number.

“Hello, good morning. I’m Kim MinJi of Lee Corporations. How may I help you?” came her voice over the receiver.

“Good morning,” says Minwoo, trying to change his voice a little so that she wouldn’t recognize that it was him. “Well, yes, could I place an
order for six toilet bowls to be fixed in my new home?”

“I’m sorry, sir, but could you please repeat that?”

“I would like to place an order for six toilet bowls to be fixed in my new home. Would that be possible?”

“I think you must be mistaken, sir. We don’t provide services for…installing toilet bowls.”

“Well, then,” says Minwoo, trying his hardest not to laugh. “What about basins? I’m sure you do basins?”

“I’m sorry, but we don’t do basins either.”

“You don’t? Well, what do you offer then?

“Ummm…we have a range of sportswear, dr—“

“Sportswear! You must do undergarments too then!” says Minwoo. “My wife…needs…new…” he says, laughing out loud.

“MINWOO!” she yelled.

“Hello, MinJi. How’re you doing?” he says, still laughing.

“Fine,” she mumbled. “I can’t believe you played such a rotten trick on me!”

“I’m sorry. I was feeling bored!” says Minwoo, twirling his pen with his fingers. “Tell you what, how about I make it up to you by treating you to
lunch?”
“Chi! Who wants to have lunch with you?” she teased.

“You do,” he says. “I’ll wait for you outside the building at 12.30, okay?”

“Okay!”

After they had both hung up, he leaned back in his chair and smiled to himself. Just then, he caught sight of the stack of files that Ji Yoon needed
signed before lunch. Heaving a sigh, he put his spectacles back on, grabbed the first file off the stack, opened it and began to read.

Chapter 82

Minwoo lifted the sleeve of his shirt to take a look at his watch and he groaned when he saw that he still had half an hour to lunch. Why does time
seem to be moving so slowly today? he wondered. He reached for the last file, which Ji Yoon had sent him earlier and opened it.

His forehead wrinkled a little when he saw a little clipped picture of MinJi at the top right corner of the paper. His eyes scanned down the entire
page, surprised that Ji Yoon had mistakenly sent him the file of MinJi’s profile, which all employees had. Just as he was about to close it, he
noticed another sheet of paper sticking out from underneath the first paper. Curious, he pulled it out and read what was written on it, his eyes
becoming wider and wider with disbelief with each passing second.

Kim MinJi

- born on the 16th of April, 1986 at the Seoul Hospital
- daughter of the successful Kim Tae Chun and Kim Jee Hyun who died in a car accident
- younger sister of Kim Jung Tae who has headed Kim Corporations at 18 years old
- studied at Joong Kyung High
- graduated from Dae Jhun Business University with first class honours in Business and Marketing
- lives on Euljiro Street with her brother, her cousin, Kim Jaewon and her best friend, Danny Im
- shares an estimated wealth of 65 million with her brother

Several newspaper clippings and magazine articles were attached behind the paper. With shaking hands, he sifted through them one by one, only
reading the headlines of every article.


Kim Tae Chun and Kim Jee Hyun’s Fatal Accident

Many Condolences and Best Wishes to Kim Jung Tae and Kim MinJi

Kim Jung Tae to Head Kim Corporations at 18

Kim Jung Tae and Kim MinJi Does Their Parents Proud

Kim Corporations to Donate 100,000 to Charity

Kim Corporations Rated the 3rd Most Successful Company
50 Richest Bachelors in Korea

His eyes roamed down to number eight, which was circled in black marker.

Number 8

Name : Kim Jung Tae
Age : 27
Estimated wealth : 65 million
Position : President of Kim Corporations
Siblings : One younger sister, Kim MinJi
Status : Lives in Euljiro Street; currently single

Unable to continue reading any longer, he slammed the file down on the table and leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes and massaging his
temples. Just then, he heard a loud knock on his door. Before he could say anything, the door was flung open and Ji Yoon rushed in.

“Hey, Minwoo,” she says, flustered. “I left a very important file in here which you don’t…need…to…sign…” she trailed off, catching sight of
the open file on the table. “Oh…”

“This?” he asks, lifting it up with one hand.

“Ummm…” she says, fidgeting a little.

There was an awkward silence before Minwoo spoke.

“Call MinJi up,” he says, his voice cold and hard.

When Ji Yoon did not move a muscle, he repeated it again, this time even more colder than before, if that was even possible. “Call MinJi up,
now.”

“Yes, Minwoo,” she says, bowing slightly before exiting the room, smiling sinisterly to herself.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Minwoo?” I say, poking my head in, catching sight of his back as he stood, staring out the large window, down at the busy streets of Seoul
below. “Ji Yoon said you wanted to see me about something.”

It was only after a while that he turned around to face me and gave me a penetrating gaze. “Are you hiding something from me?”

“What?” I ask, raising my eyebrows in confusion.

“Are you hiding something from me?” he repeated, his eyes hard.

“Minwoo, what a—“

“JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION!” he yelled.

“N-no…none that I can think of,” I stuttered, fear washing over me.

“Oh really?” he asks, glaring at me. “Then what do you have to say about these?” he asks, chucking the file at my feet.

I bent down to retrieve the file and flipped it open immediately. “Minwoo, this is my emplo—“

“Turn the page.”

I looked up at him, and then turned the page over. My eyes widened and my jaw dropped open as I read the second sheet of paper. I didn’t need
to look through all the newspaper clippings and magazine articles to know what it contained. I raised my head and looked pleadingly at Minwoo.

“Minwoo, I’m sorry. It’s just that I di—“

“You don’t have to apologize to me,” he says, and I flinched at the tone of his voice. “I mean, I didn’t ask you who you really were after all. I
always assumed that you would never hide your identity.”

“Minwoo, do—“

“But I guess I was wrong, huh? And even after we got together, you never bothered to tell me. What a fool I must have looked like in front of all
those people. Lee Minwoo, dating Kim MinJi, whom he thought was just a normal person, just like everybody else, but who was, actually, the
daughter of Kim Tae Chun, founder of Kim Corporations.”
“Just he—“

“When exactly were you planning to tell me this, MinJi?” he cut me off.

I closed my eyes tightly, wishing that the floor would just open up and swallow me whole. I reopened my eyes again, only to find Minwoo staring
straight at me, his eyes piercing me.

“Trust obviously never entered our relationship even once.”

“No, Minwoo,” I say, tears beginning to well up in my eyes. “I didn’t mean to keep it a secret from you. All I wanted to do was to prove to
everyone that I could be successful on my own, without people knowing my true identity...that things didn’t come handed to me on a silver
platter. I really didn’t mean for things to get this far.”

The betrayal and hurt that Minwoo felt deafened him to her pleas. It killed him to know that she didn’t trust him enough to tell him who she really
was in the beginning. Not able to face her any longer, he turned his back on her. “Maybe it’s best we both take a little break,” he says quietly,
breaking the silence.

It took her a while to answer him. “Yeah, I think that would be best,” she answered shakily, before turning on her heel and letting herself out the
door.

Chapter 83

I walked around the busy streets of Seoul, feeling hungry and dejected. After that little scene with Minwoo, I had grabbed my bag and walked out
of the office, not bothering to talk to anyone. I didn’t plan on returning to the office after lunch hours either. Ji Yoon can fire me if she wanted to.
I just didn’t care.

I came to rest on an empty park bench. As I sat there, a happy couple walking hand in hand passed me by, talking and laughing gaily. We were
once like that too, I thought sadly, twirling the silver ring on my finger. I leaned back on the bench and raised my head upwards, towards the clear
blue sky and closed my eyes.

Feeling as though I really needed someone to talk to, I hurriedly looked through my bag for my cell phone. As I punched in Danny’s number, I
remembered that he was in the States. Sighing, I flipped my phone shut again. I pinched the bridge of my nose a few times. Calling Tae oppa was
out of the question. He doesn’t need the additional stress. Jae and Danny were in the States. Hyesung? Nah…he’s Minwoo’s friend. He’s
probably busy anyway. Hee Jin? Nope…she’ll probably get everyone in the office worried.

Then it came to me.

I hurriedly punched in his number and crossed my fingers for luck, hoping that he wasn’t busy or anything.

“Hello?” came his voice.

“Jongie? MinJi here,” I say.

“MinJi, hey!”

“Hi! What are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m out with Tae Hyung. Want to join us?”

“Oh, no…it’s all right then.”

“MinJi, did something happen? Are you all right?” he asks, concern evident in his voice.

“No, nothing happened. I’m fine. Don’t worry.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, Jongie. Anyway, sorry for bothering you. Tell Taeng I said hi, will you? Thanks and bye!”

Without waiting for an answer, I hung up on him. The longer I sat there, the more dejected I felt. There was only one other place for me to go to
drown my sorrows. Getting up, I hurriedly flagged down a cab and gave directions to the cab driver. I leaned back in my seat and looked out the
window at the passing streets, a tear rolling down my cheek.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Who was that?” asks Tae Hyung, taking a sip of his coffee.

“Huh? Oh, it was MinJi,” answers Jong Hyuk distractedly.

“Why? Did something happen?”
“I don’t know. She wouldn’t tell me, but I could tell that she had been crying.”

“What are you waiting for?” asks Tae Hyung getting up from his seat and slapping a ten-dollar bill on the table. “Let’s go!” he says, putting on
his jacket.

“Where to?” asks Jong Hyuk.

“To look for her!” he says, running out the door.

“But I don’t know where she is!” yelled Jong Hyuk, running after him.

“Think, Jongie. Where do you think she would go to whenever she’s feeling down?” asks Tae Hyung.

“Well, she usually looks for Danny, but Danny’s in the States now. Ummm…she would never disturb her brother because she doesn’t like to
trouble him…” trailed off Jong Hyuk, thinking hard. “Where else? Where else?” he muttered under his breath, chewing his bottom lip.

“Park?” asks Tae Hyung while Jong Hyuk shook his head. “Café?”

“No.”

“Bookstore?”

“BOOKSTORE?” he asks incredulously.

“What?” says Tae Hyung defensively. “Different people have different styles.”

As he shot his close friend an amused look, it suddenly came to him. “I know where she is!” he says, running towards his parked car. “Hurry up
and get in!” he yelled.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Okay,” says Tae Hyung. “I know I mentioned that different people have different styles, but…why a CEMETERY of all places?”

“Shhhh!” says Jong Hyuk, motioning for him to keep his voice down. “She comes to visit and talk to her parents very frequently. It’s her way of
keeping her parents alive in her heart and a part of her life as she grows up.”

“Oh...” says Tae Hyung, suddenly feeling sorry for MinJi, for all the sorrow and the pain that she had to go through. Someone sweet like her just
didn't deserve all those.

“There she is,” whispered Jong Hyuk, pointing into the far distance where a lone figure sat with her back facing us. We stood a few feet behind
her, so as not to disturb her, but near enough for us to listen in on what she was talking about.

“…I just didn’t expect things to turn out this way. All I wanted to do was to prove myself…to prove that I could do it on my own…that I was
good enough. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone at all. I really didn’t. I knew I should have told him from the start, but I just didn’t know how to begin.
Every time I tried to, my mind drew up a blank. I wasn’t expecting him to find out about it like this…he must have thought I was deliberately
doing it to make fun of him…but you know I wouldn’t do that, right, mom, dad?”

When she paused to inhale a deep, shaky breath and to wipe away her tears, Jong Hyuk felt that he needed to do something to comfort her, so he
crept up behind her and put his jacket around her shoulders. Surprised, she turned around to look up at him.

“Jongie! And Taeng!” she exclaimed, trying to hide her tears. “What are you guys doing here?”

“Here to see you,” says Tae Hyung giving her a warm smile and sitting down next to her. “By the way, from what I heard so far, I personally
think Minwoo’s a cow.”

“How long were you guys standing behind me, anyway?” she asks, slanting her eyebrows at them.

“Ummm…long enough to hear someone has made you upset,” says Jong Hyuk squatting down in front of her. “Tell you what, why don’t we all
sit down together somewhere and have something to eat? You can tell us what’s bothering you or we can just talk about other things, okay?”

“You guys came all the way out here just to ask me to eat with you guys?” she asks incredulously.

“If you want to put it that way,” says Tae Hyung. “But we really came out here to see what we can do to cheer you up.”

“Really?” she asks, her eyes tearing up again.

“Really,” says Jong Hyuk, giving her a warm hug.

Chapter 84
“Come on, MinJi,” pleads Jong Hyuk. “Smile already!”

I lifted the ends of my mouth in a bid to smile but I guess I must have failed terribly when he deliberately banged his head on the table a few
times, earning a few curious stares from the people sitting at tables nearby.

“Aigoo…what am I going to do with you?” he whined.

“I’m sorry, Jongie,” I say apologetically, reaching over to ruffle his hair.

“I don’t get it,” begins Tae Hyung, propping an elbow up on the table to support his chin and prodding me gently with his free hand. “Why are
you moping over that sorry excuse for a guy when you’ve got two eligible bachelors right in front of you?”

At his words, the corners of my mouth twitched a little and I could feel myself breaking into a small smile.
“Oooooooh…finally smiling, eh?” teased Jong Hyuk, pinching my cheeks. “Uh-oh,” he says, as he caught sight of Tae Hyung’s expression.
“He’s up to something.”

I turned to look at Tae Hyung and he grinned broadly back at me. Then, picking up his fork and spoon, he began to hit them on the table, creating
a beat, and catching everyone’s attention. Jong Hyuk listened intently for a moment, then picked up his own fork and spoon and joined Tae
Hyung.

“What are you guys doing?” I hissed, slumping down lower in my seat, my face flushing red with embarassment.

“So no one told you life was going to be this way… your job's a joke, you're broke, you're love life's D.O.A…it's like you're always stuck in
second gear…well, it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year,” sang Tae Hyung, winking at me.

“But, I'll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour…I'll be there for you, like I've been there before...I'll be there for you, cause you're there
for me too,” chimed in Jong Hyuk, singing along with Tae Hyung.

“Jongie,” says Tae Hyung. “Your turn!”

“You're still in bed at ten, the work began at eight…you've burned your breakfast, so far, things are going great…your mother warned you there'd
be days like these…but she didn't tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees,” sang Jong Hyuk.

“That, I'll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour…I'll be there for you, like I've been there before…I'll be there for you, cause you're there
for me too,” they sang together.

“No one could ever know me, no one could ever see me…seems like you're the only one who knows what it's like to be me,” says Tae Hyung.

“Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with…someone I'll always laugh with, even at my worst, I'm best with you,” says
Jong Hyuk.

“It's like you're always stuck in second gear…well, it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year…but, I'll be there for you,
when the rain starts to pour…I'll be there for you, like I've been there before...I'll be there for you, cause you're there for me too…” they sang
together, ending the song to the many cheers coming from their audience. They stood up, gave a small bow and sat back down again, grinning at
me.

“What did you guys think you were doing?” I ask, glaring at them.

“Singing?” asks Tae Hyung, raising an eyebrow at me.

“You know what I mean,” I say, rolling my eyes.

“Cheering you up!” says Jong Hyuk, smiling at me.

“By singing in public?” I ask incredulously.

“Well, it worked, didn’t it?” asks Tae Hyung, taking a sip of his drink.

I bit my bottom lip and looked at the both of them gratefully. “Thanks, guys. That performance was unbelievable,” I say, giving each of them a
radiant smile…my first real smile for that day.

“Anytime, MinJi” says Jong Hyuk, returning my smile. “Anytime.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minwoo poured himself a quarter glass of whisky and went to sit down on the couch. He had long abandoned all his paper work after the incident
with MinJi. He just couldn’t concentrate. He felt bad for blowing up at her like that. He knew he had the world’s worst temper and it was his
rotten temper that had prevented him from listening to any of her reasons, no matter how rational they sounded. Just as he was about to call her to
ask for her forgiveness...beg, if he had to, a faint knock was heard at the door.

“Come in,” he says, rubbing his forehead and standing up.
“Hey, Minwoo,” says Ji Yoon, slipping into his office and closing the door behind her quietly. “How are you doing?”

“Not to well,” he says, trying to smile.

“Give it some time. I’m sure things will work out between the both of you,” she says, feigning concern.

“Thanks, Ji Yoon. Anyway…has MinJi returned yet?” he asks, after a slight pause.

“Oh…umm…” she began, looking down at her hands, which lay folded in her lap.

“She hasn’t, huh?” asks Minwoo, running his fingers through his already messy hair.

“Come on, Minwoo. You can’t expect her to be able to face you so quickly after what happened, do you?” she asks, getting up and moving to
stand in front of him. “Here, let me just…” she trailed off, reaching up to try to fix his hair, but before she could even touch him, he took a step
backwards.

“It’s all right, Ji Yoon. Just leave it like that,” says Minwoo, giving her a small smile.

“Oh…right…” she says, trying to keep her rising temper in check. “Anyway, I’d better get back to work.”

“Sure,” he says. “Oh, and Ji Yoon…”

“Yeah?” she asks, turning around hopefully.

“Can you please send word up to me when MinJi comes back? I would really appreciate it.”

“Of course,” she says tightly. “No problem.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ji Yoon stormed into her office, fuming.

“MinJi, MinJi, MinJi. She’s all he ever thinks about!” she shrieked throwing a file across the room.

As she sat down huffily in her chair, her anger not diminished even by a little bit, she caught sight of the telephone directory lying on her table.
The longer she looked at it, the more she felt like doing it. Minwoo’s words played over and over again in her head.

"Can you please send word up to me when MinJi comes back? I would really appreciate it."

Feeling anger and hatred towards MinJi surging through her entire being, she reached over and grabbed the telephone directory, flipping through
the pages roughly, only coming to a stop on a page labeled K. She ran her finger down the page quickly, her keen eyes searching for the right
number. Finally finding it, she picked up the phone and punched in the numbers, not hesitating even for a moment.

“Hello? Korea Times? I’ve got a story for you.”

Chapter 85

I woke up to the sunrays hitting my face, and rolled over onto my back. I glanced at the little clock sitting on my bedside table and wondered why
Tae still hasn’t jumped on me to get up yet. For the next few minutes, I lay in bed staring up at the ceiling, my mind going over yesterday’s
events...wondering if Minwoo would have calmed down by now and if he was willing to listen to my reasons. Sighing and with much effort, I
pulled myself out of bed, and began my morning routine.

“Oppa!” I say in a singsong voice as I skipped down the stairs and into the kitchen.

“Morning, Ji,” he says, giving me a very strained smile which I failed to take notice of.

“Oooooooh…pancakes!” I yelped in delight, taking a seat opposite Tae.

“Here, you have to eat more,” he says, piling pancakes onto my plate. “Don’t think I don’t know that you’ve been skipping meals.”

“I have a valid reason for that!” I whined.

“And what’s that?” he asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Ummm…I was busy with work,” I say, pouring maple syrup over the pancakes

“Right. Anyway, hurry up and eat or you’ll be late.”

“Okay! Just let me go get a carton of orange juice,” I say, getting up and heading over to the refrigerator. As I turned around to head back to my
seat, I noticed Tae sitting on the newspaper. “Oppa!” I say, laughing out loud. “Why are you sitting on the newspaper?”

“What newspaper?” he asks, looking blankly at me.

“This one!” I say, trying to pull it out from under him.
“Oh…well…just leave it there. No wonder the chair feels so comfortable today,” he says quickly, avoiding my gaze.

“But, oppa, I want to read the news!”

“No, you don’t. Now hurry up and eat.”

“Yes, I do!” I say trying to yank it out. “What are you trying to hide from me?” I ask suddenly, narrowing my eyes at him.

“Nothing!” he says quickly...almost too quickly.

“Don’t lie,” I say, pulling harder at the paper. As soon as it came free, Tae snatched it away from me. “Let me see…no…let me see!” I say,
struggling to grab the paper back from him. Finally getting hold of it, I unfolded the newspaper and I could feel my heart sink as I read the front-
page heading.

“THE LEE’S BEST KEPT SECRET, REVEALED”

Seoul, Korea : Lee Tae Woo, founder of the successful Lee Corporations, is said to have an illegitimate daughter, the result of an affair with
another woman, two years after the demise of his beloved wife. He first met the girl’s mother at a formal dinner hosted by one of his business
affiliates, and they bumped into each other on several other occasions, before embarking on a whirlwind romance. However, after giving birth,
the girl’s mother had eloped with another man, leaving Lee Tae Woo to raise the little girl all by himself. For the past nine years, both father and
son had managed to keep this matter under wraps by raising the little girl in a cottage on BuJin Street. A source close to the Lee family says that
Lee Minwoo, has accepted the little girl as part of the family. It is believed that he often visits her during his free time and has brought some of
his friends over to meet her. Shin Hyesung, Chairman of Shin Corporations, who is said to be one of his closest friends could not be reached for
any comments. The identity of the girl cannot be revealed as she is under age.


I felt numb with shock and disbelief after I had finished reading the whole article. I could feel all the blood drain from my face as realization
finally dawned on me.

“Ji?” asks Tae softly. “Are you okay?”

“He’s going to think I did it,” I say shakily.

“Did what?” asks Tae, frowning a little.

“I’ve got to go look for Minwoo,” I say, turning on my heel and running out the door.

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“LEE MINWOO!” boomed his father, slamming his door open.

“Appa?” asks Minwoo, sitting up on his bed and rubbing his eyes. “What’s wrong?”

“WHAT’S WRONG? YOU DARE TO ASK ME WHAT’S WRONG?” yelled his father.

“Look,” says Minwoo. “I’ve had a really rough day yesterday and I’m really not in the mood to play games with you, so cut me some slack,
okay?”

“Don’t talk to me in that tone, Lee Minwoo,” threatened his father. “Why don’t you take a look at what I found in today’s paper?” he asks,
throwing the newspaper onto Minwoo’s bed.

Taking one look at his father’s grim expression, Minwoo unfolded the newspaper and his eyes widened in disbelief at what he saw. He scanned
through the article quickly, all thoughts of sleep vanishing instantly from his mind. “How did they find out?” he asks through clenched teeth.

“That was exactly what I wanted to ask you.”

“But, appa, none of the guys would do it. You know they wouldn’t,” says Minwoo, frowning.

“Are you sure you didn’t tell anyone else about it?” asks his father, looking sharply at him.

“I’m sure the—“ he began, but stopped suddenly in mid-sentence. “Kim MinJi,” he whispered, so softly that his father couldn’t catch what he had
just said.

“So,” says his father, taking one look at his expression. “It is one of your friends after all.”
“I’m not sure whether she did it or not, okay? Don’t go around accusing others until it's proven,” snapped Minwoo irritably.

“Well, you’re the one who got us into this mess, so you’re going to get us out of it,” says Minwoo’s father cuttingly.
“Look who’s talking. If you didn’t go around having affairs with other women, we wouldn’t even be in this mess in the first place.”

Chapter 86

“BuJin Street, please,” I say to cab driver, drumming my fingers nervously on my lap.

“BuJin Street?” asks the driver. “Everyone seems to want to go there today. I just fetched a few reporters there earlier in the morning.”

“Re-reporters?”

“Yeah. Didn’t you read the papers today? The scandal involving Lee Tae Woo? All the reporters are trying to get a picture of the little girl.”

“But the article didn’t mention the house number or anything!” I say, exasperated.

“Someone tipped them off about it. I overheard the three of them talking,” says the driver, looking into his rearview mirror at me. “All I can say
is, the person who leaked the story out to the presses is one cruel person.”

“Why do you say so?”

“A scandal like this would not only kill the reputation of Lee Tae Woo but would also affect the share prices of Lee Corporations. Apart from
that, the little girl wouldn’t be able to grow up properly. She would be hounded by reporters everywhere she go,” he says, shaking his head
slightly.

“Oh…” I trailed off.

“Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Whoever leaked the story out to the presses deserves to be whipped for making the girl’s future so bleak. Anyway,
miss, we’re here.”

“We are?” I ask, leaning forward in my seat to look out the window.

“Yup. See all the reporters crowding around that house? I bet they’re waiting for her to come out. Stupid people. Trying to ruin other people’s
lives just for the sake of money and publicity. Oh, and that would be six dollars, miss.”

I handed him a ten-dollar bill. “Keep the change,” I say, getting out of the car. I ran towards the group of reporters and tried to push my way
through them to get to the cottage.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?“ says a guy rudely, turning around to glare at me. “Hey! Aren’t you Kim MinJi, sister of Kim Jung Tae?”

Suddenly, all the reporters turned to look at me, their cameras poised. Before I knew what was happening, flash bulbs began clicking in my face.
Mikes were being shoved in front of me and questions were being asked, one after another.

“What are you doing here?”

“What is your relation with Lee Minwoo?”

“There are rumours going around that you’re seeing each other. Is that true?”

“Do you know who is half-sister is?”

“What’s her name?”

“Is it true that sh—“

I was too busy covering my eyes from those bright flashes that I didn’t see anyone coming up from behind me until he yanked me away from
those crazy reporters. I looked up gratefully at Hyesung and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Mr. Shin! How did you meet Miss Kim?”

“Can we please see the little girl?”

“Is there anything special between you and Miss Kim?”

“No comments,” he says coldly, pulling me towards the cottage and slamming the door shut behind him. “Stupid ostriches,” he mumbled under
his breath.

“MinJi unnie,” says YaeJin, running up to me, her eyes brimming with tears.
“Shhh,” I say, trying to soothe her as I lifted her up into my arms. “Don’t cry, YaeJin.” I walked towards the couch, where Andy, Dongwan,
Junjin and Eric all sat, with grim expressions. “Where’s Minwoo?” I ask quietly.

“He’s on the way,” says Jin.

“Oh…do you know who did it?”

“None us here would have been so cruel to do it…unless…” trailed off Eric, looking at me sharply.

“No!” says Andy and Hyesung almost at once. “MinJi isn’t the kind of person to do something like this,” continues Hyesung.

“Even if she wanted to, she wouldn’t be able to bring herself to actually put it into action. She cares too much about other people’s feelings,” says
Andy.

“Right…I’m sorry, MinJi,” says Eric, smiling apologetically at me.

“No harm done, Eric,” I say, returning the smile. “You were just looking out for Minwoo.”

We all lapsed into another bout of silence, while YaeJin rested her head on my shoulders. The only sounds that could be heard were our faint
breathing and YaeJin’s quiet sniffling. Just then, Dongwan spoke, causing all of us to jump at least a foot in the air.

“He’s here.”

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As Minwoo stepped out of his car, the six bodyguards that he had brought along made sure the reporters were kept at bay, while me made his way
towards the cottage.

“Mr. Lee, what do you have to say about the news?”

“How is your father taking it?”

“Are your share prices still holding up?”

“What do you have to say about the whole thing?”

“DAMN IT!” he yelled, slamming the door behind him.

“Hyung,” chorused Andy, Jin, Dongwan and Eric, all of them getting up from their sitting positions.

“Hey, Minwoo,” says Hyesung quietly.

“You wouldn’t believe what those reporters are doing outside,” he rambled to Hyesung. “They’ve practically set up camp outside this place. How
did they managed to find it anyway?”

“Why don’t you calm down a little first?” says Hyesung, patting him on the back.

I stood up slowly, still carrying YaeJin, who had fallen asleep. “Minwoo,” I say softly.

He turned to look at me, his face set, but I could see his eyes change from surprise, to relief, to hope, then, to blazing anger. “YOU!” he yelled,
coming to stand in front of me. He grabbed YaeJin roughly away from me, causing her to jerk awake. Once she saw Minwoo, she wrapped her
arms around him tighly and sobbed.

“Appa!”

“It’s all right, YaeJin. Here, go upstairs and rest first, okay? I’ll come up later to see you,” he says, his eyes never leaving my face. YaeJin nodded
her head, causing her pigtails to bounce up and down on her shoulders. Then, when Minwoo had set her down on the floor, she scurried up the
stairs, her black shoes clicking against the floor. When he was sure that she had entered her room by the bang of the door, he wasted no time in
slamming me.

“What do you think you’re doing here?” he asks, his voice cold and hard.

“I came to see how Yae—“

“She doesn’t need you.”

“But I was just tryi—“

“Don’t you think you have done enough damage already?”
“Hyung,” began Andy.
“Andy, it’s between the both of us.” Slowly, Andy closed his mouth and shuffled out of the room, following the rest of the guys. “So, Kim
MinJi,” he drawled, emphasizing on the word Kim.

I flinched but nevertheless, I kept my chin up. “Look, Minwoo, whether you believe me or not, I didn’t do it.”

“Really? Then tell me, who could be the culprit?”

“I—I have no idea.”

“You do know, that apart from the guys, you are the only other person who knows about YaeJin?”

“Yes,” I say quietly.

“And I am willing to bet my life on it, that none of the guys did it. So, where does that leave you?”

“Like I said earlier,” I began my voice wavering just a little. “I didn’t do it.”

“How do you expect me to believe you, MinJi? After all, you did hide your true identity from me. And like a fool, I trusted you with my biggest
secret,” he said angrily, his eyes flashing.

“You know what? This is getting nowhere. I am so sick and tired of this whole thing. I’ll just say this for the last time and I hope it gets into that
thick skull of yours,” I say. “I didn’t do it. Why would I want to do something so mean and cruel in the first place? YaeJin never did anything to
hurt me. As for you, I can’t really say much,” I say, turning on my heel. Just as I was about to walk out the door, I turned to face his back. “Just
one word of advice Minwoo. When you finally realize that I didn’t do it, let’s just hope it isn’t too late already.”

Chapter 87

“Here, Minwoo,” says Hyesung quietly, handing him a cup of chamomile tea. “Drink some of this.”

“Thanks,” he says gratefully, accepting the steaming mug.

“I hope you didn’t mind me eavesdropping on your conversation earlier, but personally, I think you should have put more trust in MinJi.”

“What?” asks Minwoo incredulously. “Are you out of your mind, Hyesung? Why are you siding with her all of a sudden?” he asks, turning to
look at his friend.

“I’m not siding with her, Minwoo.”

“If she didn’t do it, who could have done it?”

“I don’t know. But what I do know is, she didn’t do it. Andy says she’s not capable of doing something like that, and he should know better. He’s
known her for years now.”

“Hyesung, Andy cuts her hair. He doesn't live with her!”

“Yeah, but he knows how she carries herself around people. That should be enough, isn’t it, Minwoo?”

“Maybe she’s putting on an act!” he argued.

“Look, Minwoo,” says Hyesung calmly. “Just take your time and think about it. Don't jump to conclusions so easily. And, you’d better call her up
and apologize to her soon…before you lose her.” Giving his friend a small smile, he turned and exited from the room.

Minwoo stared into his mug, thinking hard. Then, in fury, he lifted the steaming mug and hurled it towards the wall, where it smashed into pieces,
hot tea spraying everywhere. But he didn’t care. He just stood there, staring at the glass shards littered all over the floor. Back in the kitchen, the
five guys who heard the sound of glass breaking looked at each other and shook their heads in dismay.

The old Minwoo was back.
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“Jong Hyuk! Tae Hyung!” exclaims Tae in surprise, after he had swung open the big door to their insistent knocking. “What brings you guys
here?”

“Have you read the news yet?” asks Jong Hyuk.

“Yeah.”

“Has MinJi?” asks Tae Hyung.

“Yeah.”
“Where is she now?” asks Jong Hyuk.

“I have no idea. After she read it, she just bolted, without eating her breakfast. Would you all mind telling me what’s happening?”

“No time to stay and chat, hyung! I’ll call you later!” yelled Jong Hyuk, running back towards his car, with Tae Hyung right behind him.

“Okay, where to now?” asks Jong Hyuk, expertly reversing his car out of the Kim’s driveway.

“Umm…cemetery?” asks Tae Hyung, raising an eyebrow at him.

“Possible…or she might still be at Minwoo’s half-sister’s place. Let’s head over to BuJin Street first. And could you please try to get through to
her cell phone again, Taeng?”

“Sure. No problem.”

After a few minutes, they pulled up on BuJin Street.

“Ten dollars to guess which house it is,” mutters Jong Hyuk under his breath. The moment they got out of the car, the reporters came flocking
towards them. Before they could open their mouths to say anything, Tae Hyung raised his hand for silence.

“No comments. And if you guys don’t make way for us, I’ll send you flying across to the other street.”

All the reporters backed away slowly, each of them knowing that Tae Hyung had attended self-defense classes a few years back and had
performed exceptionally well in it.

“Minwoo, open up!” yelled Jong Hyuk, banging on the door. The door swung open allowing both Jong Hyuk and Tae Hyung to enter. Once
inside, Minwoo accosted Jong Hyuk up against the wall.

“What do you think you’re doing here?” he snarled. Tae Hyung, who was nearby, tried to pull the both of them apart.

“I’m not here to see you. Where’s MinJi?” asks Jong Hyuk, straightening his clothes.

“She left.”

“What do you mean she left?” he asks, his eyes piercing Minwoo.

“She’s not here anymore,” says Minwoo, shrugging his shoulders. Jong Hyuk, angered by Minwoo’s attitude, grabbed him by the collar.

“I trusted you would treat her well, Lee Minwoo. I really did. Now, I’m not so sure anymore. If I find out that you’ve hurt her in any way…you’d
better keep a 10 meter radius away from her, or else.” With that, he let go of Minwoo’s collar and shoved him backwards roughly, before exiting
from the house.

“You know, Minwoo, although I don’t know you that well, I think you’re an ass for making MinJi cry and go through so much pain. You’re
ruining the life of one of the sweetest girls who ever lived. I hope you’re proud of yourself,” says Tae Hyung, shaking his head at him, before
walking out the door.

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“Kim MinJi!” panted Jong Hyuk, running up to me, with Tae Hyung in tow. “Did you know, we searched EVERYWHERE for you?”

“Hey, guys,” I say, trying to muster a smile, for their sake. “Did something happen?”

“You all right?” asks Tae Hyung.

I heaved a long sigh and sat down on the grass, in the middle of the park miserably. There was no point trying to lie to them. It seems like they
already knew anyway. “No.”

“Want to talk about it?” asks Jong Hyuk, plopping down beside me.

“You sure you actually want to listen to my ramblings?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.

“Why not? It’s not like we have anything planned for today. Besides, if it’ll make you feel any better, I’d be glad to listen to anything you have to
say,” says Tae Hyung, sitting down next to me and giving me a radiant smile.

Chapter 88
“Morning, Jong Hyuk, morning Tae Hyung,” says Jung Tae, stepping into the kitchen. “Did you guys sleep well?”

“Morning, hyung,” they chorused together. “And yes, we slept well,” says Jong Hyuk, grinning up at him.

“Glad to hear that. Where’s MinJi?”
“Still asleep, I guess,” says Tae Hyung, running his fingers through his hair.

“Aish, that little girl! You guys go ahead and start eating first. I’ll go wake her up,” says Jung Tae, walking out of the kitchen.

“You know, Taeng,” begins Jong Hyuk. “There’s something wrong with the whole picture, don’t you think?”

“What, about the whole MinJi thing?”

“Yeah. Think about it. First, her identity is revealed, and the next day, Minwoo’s secret is all over the papers.”

“What are you getting at?” asks Tae Hyung, his forehead creasing a little.

There was a slight pause before he spoke. “I think she was set up. And I’m pretty sure I know who did it,” he says grimly.

“Set up? Why would anyone want to se—”

“Morning, MinJi!” piped up Jong Hyuk suddenly, shooting Tae Hyung a warning look. “Finally up?”

“Yeah,” I groaned. “No thanks to Tae oppa.”

“Right…blame it on the poor guy,” says Jung Tae, taking a seat next to her. “You’re the one who still wants to go to work after all that has
happened!”

“Well, it’ll be pretty irresponsible of me to just drop work like that, wouldn’t it?” I ask, rubbing my eyes.

“You don’t have to continue working there, you know. You could always come back to Kim Corporations…or…you can go work at Oh
Corporations!” says Jung Tae. “I’m sure Jong Hyuk wouldn’t mind!”

“Of course I wouldn’t,” says Jong Hyuk, smiling.

“Or you can come work at my place!” offered Tae Hyung.

“Awwww…you guys are so sweet,” I say, smiling up at them.

“Anyway, hurry up and eat, or you’ll be late,” says Jung Tae, buttering a piece of toast for me.

“Hey,” says Jong Hyuk suddenly. “Why don’t I drop you off at work?”

“Are you sure?” asks Jung Tae. “Wouldn’t it be a little troublesome for you?”

“Nah, don’t worry about it. I’d be glad to do it.”

“Thanks, Jong Hyuk. I really appreciate it,” says Jung Tae gratefully.

“No problem. Anyway, MinJi, do you think I could borrow your tape recorder?”

“Sure thing. Why do you need it for?” I ask, looking at him quizzically.

“Just for something that I need to do,” replies Jong Hyuk, smiling warmly at me.
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“Okay, Jong Hyuk,” I say, tapping his shoulder. “You can drop me off over here.”

“No, I think I’ll walk you up too. Just in case something happens,” says Jong Hyuk.

“Aigoo! Nothing’s going to happen! This is the office!” I exclaimed.

“I’m not taking any chances. Nope siree,” says Jong Hyuk, holding the glass doors open for me. “Ladies first,” he says, bowing.

“Thanks,” I say, giggling a little.

“So…” says Jong Hyuk, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “Do you think Ji Yoon will be in so early in the morning?”

“Why?” I ask, a smile appearing on my face.

“It’s not what you’re thinking,” he says, bopping me on the head. “I just thought I’d drop in and say hi, since I’m here and all.”

“Are you sure that’s all you’re going to do?” I teased.

“MINJI!” he yelled.
“Okay! Okay!” I say, laughing. “You can always follow me in to check. Come on, I’ll bring you to her room.”
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“Come in,” says Ji Yoon when she heard a few knocks on her door.

“Hey, Ji Yoon,” says Jong Hyuk, stepping into her room and shutting the door behind him quietly.

“Oh Jong Hyuk?” she exclaimed in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

“Here to talk to you about some things,” he says, taking a seat directly opposite her.

“Like what?” she asks, her suspicion aroused.

“I know you set MinJi up,” he says calmly, looking straight into her eyes.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she says, busying herself by arranging the files on her desk.

“I’m sure you do. No point trying to pretend, Ji Yoon.”

She stopped whatever she was doing and leaned back in her chair, her hands folded across her chest. She assessed him from head to toe, then the
corners of her mouth lifted in a thin smile. “You’re a very smart person, Jong Hyuk,” she says.

”Why did you do it?”

“To take back what rightfully belongs to me.”

“Minwoo doesn’t belong to anyone.”

“Yes, he does. He was mine, until MinJi came into the picture. She ruined everything!” says Ji Yoon, her voice rising up a notch.

“If that’s what you think, you lost him to MinJi four years ago, Ji Yoon.”

“That’s why I did it. I had to ruin her. It serves her right, anyway. She shouldn’t have tried to take Minwoo away from me.”

“So, you hired a private investigator to find information on her.”

“And also on YaeJin,” she says, smirking.

“How did you find out about YaeJin? If I’m not mistaken, only a selected few were informed about it.”

“Pure luck,” she says, laughing. “Minwoo accidentally dialed my number without him knowing it and I overheard the entire conversation he had
with MinJi.”

“Then you decided to use everything you had to break them apart, am I right?”

“Exactly,” she says. “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

“Why aren’t you trying to deny any of this, Ji Yoon? Aren’t you afraid I might tell Minwoo about it?” asks Jong Hyuk.

“You can try, but I doubt Minwoo will believe either you or MinJi anymore. Besides, you don’t have any proof,” she says, grinning at him.

“You play the game well,” he says, getting up. Just as he was about to turn the door knob, a distant click was heard.

“What’s that sound?” she asks sharply.

“What sound?” he asks, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly.

“Don’t play stupid with me, Jong Hyuk.” Suddenly, she zeroed in on the little bulge in his pocket. “What’s that in your right trouser pocket?” she
demanded.

“What, this?” asks Jong Hyuk, producing the tape recorder from his pocket. “This, Ji Yoon, is proof.”

With that, he let himself out of the room, leaving Ji Yoon to scream and throw whatever she could get her hands on, at the closed door.

Chapter 89
“Hello again, MinJi,” says Jong Hyuk, coming to stand behind my chair.

“Hey! So, what did you see her about?” I ask, turning around in my chair.

“It was nothing, really,” he says. “Anyway, aren’t you going to introduce me to your colleagues?”
“Oh, right,” I say, jumping up immediately. “Guys, I would like you to meet my friend, Oh Jong Hyuk,” I say, gesturing towards him.

“Hi,” says Jong Hyuk, bowing slightly and giving everyone a warm smile.

“That’s Hee Jin, Brian, Chil Hyun, and Soo Jin,” I say, pointing to each of them as I called out their names while Jong Hyuk shook their hands.

“Nice to meet you all,” he says bowing again. “Anyway, MinJi, would you mind showing me to Minwoo’s office? I’d like to talk to him about a
few things.”

“Minwoo’s office?” I ask, frowning a little. “What do you want to go see him about?”

“Don’t worry, Ji,” he says, lowering his voice. “I won’t beat him up or anything. I just want to have a guy-to-guy talk with him. Is that all right
with you?”

“I guess,” I say, twisting my fingers. As I followed Jongie out of the Marketing Department, I felt a tug on my shirt sleeve when I walked past
Hee Jin.

“That’s a really, really good looking friend you have there,” she whispered, her eyes twinkling.

“Interested?” I ask, giggling.

“Is he…” she trailed off, her face flushing red.

“He’s single,” I say, nodding my head. “Anyway, I should get going. He’ll probably think I fell into the dustbin or something, if he doesn't see
me.”

“So, what was that all about?” he asks, raising an eyebrow at me as we rode the elevator up.

“Someone has developed a little crush on you!” I say gleefully.

“In a time period of two minutes?’ he asks incredulously.

“What’s wrong with that?” I ask, “You don’t look too bad…maybe just a little flabby on the tummy,” I say, walking around him in a circle,
assessing him from head to toe.

“YAH! KIM MINJI!”

“Oh! We’re here!” I say, ducking from his outstretched arms. “Hey, Jina! Is Minwoo in?”

“Morning, MinJi. No, he hasn’t entered the office yet. Is there something important that you would like to hand over to him?” she asks.

“Oh, no,” I say, shaking my head, my entire being flooded with relief. “My friend here just wants to talk to him.”
“Would you like to leave a message?” she asks, turning to face Jong Hyuk.

“No, it’s all right. Maybe I’ll drop by another time. Thanks anyway,” he replied, smiling warmly at her.

“Bye, Jina! Thanks!” I say to her as we headed back to the elevators.

“Oi, Kim MinJi,” says Jong Hyuk, poking me in the ribs. “Do you have any plans for lunch today?”

“Why?” I ask, looking sideways at him.

“I just thought maybe we could have lunch together!” he says happily, grinning at me.

“Who wants to eat lunch with you?” I ask, wrinkling my nose.

“KIM MINJI!”

“Aigoo, Jongie. I was just kidding. You’re so ultra-sensitive, you know that?” I say, pushing his head to the side. “Where are we going to eat?”

“Ummm…sushi bar?” he suggests and I nodded my head in reply. “That’s settled then. I’ll come pick you up at 12.30 later. Just wait for me at
the front of the building, okay?”

“Okay!” I say, stepping out of the elevator at my department level. “Oh, and Jongie?”

“Hmmm?” he asks, looking up at me from the elevator buttons.

“Your treat!”
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“Hey, Minwoo,” says Ji Yoon, poking her head into his office. “Let’s go out and have lunch.”

“You go ahead,” he says, not looking up from his paper work. “I’m not hungry.”

“Come on, Minwoo,” she says, walking over to him and closing the file. “You can’t go on like this.”

“Just leave me alone, Ji Yoon. I’m not in the mood.”

“There is no way I’m going to leave you alone. Now get up. You’re following me out for lunch whether you like it or not,” she says, tugging him
on the arm. Feeling defeated, he just stood up and followed her, taking his jacket with him on the way out.
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“Okay, we’re here,” she says, pulling to a stop in front of Sho’s Sushi Bar. “Minwoo, why don’t you go down and get us a table while I park the
car?”

“Sure,” he says absently, slamming the passenger door behind him.

She made a few rounds around the block, squinting against the sunlight to try to spot an empty parking space. To her delight, a car was just
reversing out of its parking space and she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel while she waited for the driver to take his leave.

As she grabbed her purse and prepared to step out of her car, the number plate of the black car parked in front caught her attention.

NKW6-1311H.

Her forehead creased a little and she leaned back in her seat slowly when she realized whose car it was.

Oh Jong Hyuk.

She chewed on her thumbnail thoughtfully, then got out of her car and opened her car trunk. She hurriedly rummaged through the toolbox, which
she kept in there for emergencies and her eyes gleamed when she caught sight of the edge of the little saw. Making sure that no one was around,
she took the little saw with her and made her way over to the front of Jong Hyuk’s car.

Trying to act nonchalant, she lifted the hood of his car, then, with a sudden, sharp movement, she sliced his brake line in half. Slamming his hood
back down again, she quickly disposed the saw by slipping it into a drain hole nearby and walked towards the sushi bar.

Don’t blame me, Oh Jong Hyuk. You were the one who brought this onto yourself.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Jongie! I can’t eat anymore!” I whined.

“But you ate so little! We need to fatten you up!”

“Fatten me up? I’m not a Thanksgiving tur—“ I stopped abruptly, catching sight of Minwoo who had just stepped into the restaurant. “Oh no,” I
muttered, slumping down lower in my seat.

“What?” asks Jong Hyuk, turning to look over his shoulder. “Oh…” he trailed off, looking back at me. “I’ll go pay the bill. Just sit tight for a few
minutes and we’ll be off, all right?”

“Yeah,” I say. “Thanks.”

As Minwoo scanned the busy restaurant for an empty table, our eyes met. It was as though time had stopped. Everyone else just seemed to fade
away, leaving only the both of us. We must have been staring at each other for quite a while before he spun on his heel and walked out of the
restaurant, breaking the gaze. I heaved a sigh, then stood up and walked over to where Jong Hyuk stood.

“All done,” he says as I approached him. “You feeling all right?” he asks, as we head out onto the streets.

“Yeah. Don’t worry,” I say, giving him a warm smile.

“Right. Just wait here for me, okay? I’ll go and get the car.”

“It’s all right, Jongie. I’ll walk with you.”

“No, you stay put. It’s a little far. Just wait for me!” he says, running off.

I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, fiddling with the buttons of my jacket. Just then, I caught sight of Minwoo with Ji Yoon, walking
round the corner across the street, arm in arm. I averted my gaze quickly, pretending as though I had not seen them.

I stood up on tiptoes and tried to look for Jongie’s black sports car. Spotting it cruising down the road, I walked towards the front of the sidewalk,
preparing to get in. But, to my utter surprise, he did not stop. And as he passed me by, I could see worry etched all over his features. It could have
been my imagination...I wasn’t sure.
My eyes widened in shock as I stared after his car. As though in slow motion, I watched him as he swerved to the right sharply to avoid colliding
with an oncoming truck, only to crash into the brick wall opposite. The echoes of screaming tires and the sound of glass breaking kept playing
over and over again in my head. Before I knew it, I was running towards the wreck, tears streaming down my face.

“JONGIE!”

Chapter 90
“Dear God, I don’t wish for anything more. Please, just let him be safe,” I prayed silently, sitting on the bench outside the emergency room. I
squeezed my eyes shut and clasped my hands together tightly, repeating the same sentence, over and over again in my head.

“MinJi,” came a breathless voice from down the corridor.

“Oppa,” I say, running towards Tae. I buried my head in his shirt and sobbed, my tears wetting his crisp silk shirt.

“Shhh…” he says, trying to soothe me. “He’ll be fine,” he says, his voice wavering slightly.

“What if he doesn’t?” I ask, raising my head to look up at him. “What if he doesn’t make it?”

“He will,” says Tae Hyung, coming up from behind Tae, his eyes red. “I know he will. He won’t disappoint any one of us.”

“You okay?” asks Jung Tae, patting Tae Hyung on the back.

“Yeah,” answers Tae Hyung, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. Then he turned to look at me. “MinJi?”

“Coping,” I say, as a fresh flood of tears streamed down my face.

“Hey,” pants Danny running up to us, with Jae Won right behind him. “We came directly from the airport after your call, hyung. How’s Jong
Hyuk?”
“Still in there,” I answered, pointing to the closed doors of the emergency room.

“Damn,” he exhaled, running his fingers through his hair. “Come here, MinJi,” he says, enveloping me in a warm hug and kissing me on the top
of my head. “Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be all right.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The moment the doors to the emergency room slammed open, all five of us jumped to our feets and ran towards the doctor.

“How is he?” asks Tae Hyung.

“There is nothing to worry about. He’s in a stable condition now. He just suffered a few minor cuts and bruises here and there.”

“Thank you,” I say gratefully, breathing a sigh of relief. “Thank you so, so much.”

“When will we be able to visit him?” asks Danny, putting an arm around my shoulder.

“Not now, preferably. He needs a lot of rest. Why don’t you all come again tomorrow? I’m sure he’ll be up by then. By the way, have you all
contacted any of his family members?”

“Yeah, I already have,” says Tae Hyung. “They’re on a plane ride back from Las Vegas.”

“Oh, all right then. Sorry to trouble you.”

“It’s no trouble at all,” says Tae Hyung, bowing slightly.

“Come on,” says Jung Tae, ushering all of us out of the place. “Let’s go get some much needed rest. You can all crash over at our house.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I groaned and rolled over onto my side, awaken from my nap by the incessant ringing of my cell phone.

“Aigoo, MinJi,” grumbled Danny, who lay sprawled out on the couch. “Pick it up.”

“I’m looking for it,” I say, yawning while I searched through my bag for my phone. Finally finding it, I flipped it open and frowned slightly at the
unfamiliar number. Just then, a pillow came flying towards me, hitting me squarely in the face.

“Yah, Kim Tae Hyung!” I yelled.

“Serves you right,” he mumbled. “Now, will you please pick up the phone?”

I stuck my tongue out at him before speaking into the receiver. “Hello?”

“Hello, may I please speak to Miss Kim MinJi?”
“This is MinJi speaking,” I say. “May I know who’s on the line?”

“I’m Sang Hyuk, from Song’s Car Workshop. You sent in a black sports car bearing the plate number NKW6-1311H earlier in the afternoon, am
I right?”

“Oh, right. Is there anything wrong?”

“As a matter of fact, there is. I think it would be better if you came down here and take a look at what I found.”

“All right. I’ll be there in half an hour,” I say, scrambling out of bed and jostling Danny’s shoulder.

“Okay, I’ll see you then,” he says, before hanging up.

“What is it?” asks Danny, rubbing his eyes.

“The man at the workshop called me up. He found something wrong with Jongie’s car.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Excuse me,” I say, tapping a guy in blue overalls, with his back facing us, on the shoulder.

“Yes, miss?” he asks, turning to look at me. “May I help you?”
“Yeah, I’m looking for a person named Sang Hyuk.”

“You must be Miss Kim,” he says, grinning broadly, extending his right hand towards me, after he had rubbed it a few times on his overalls. “I’m
Sang Hyuk.”

“Just call me MinJi,” I say, smiling back at him. “And this is my friend, Danny.”

“Good to meet you, sir,” he says, bowing slightly.

“You don’t have to be so formal,” says Danny, chuckling a little.

“So,” I say. “What was it that you wanted to show me?”

“Oh, follow me,” he says, leading us to where Jongie’s wrecked car was parked. “Look at this,” he says, lifting the hood of the car and pointing to
where a long black rubber was cut into two.

Frowning a little, Danny leaned forward and held onto one end of the rubber, inspecting it closely. He chewed his bottom lip thoughtfully, before
straightening himself. Then, he turned to look at me, his eyes clouded over with surprise. “It was cut.”

I raised my eyebrows at him questioningly, not getting what he was trying to tell me.

“The brake lines were cut.”

Chapter 91

“Jongie?” I ask, walking into his room.

“Hey, MinJi,” he says, smiling brightly at me.

“How’re you doing?”

“Pretty good. Where are the rest of the guys?” he asks, patting the empty space on his bed. “Come and sit.”

“They said they’ll drop by later,” I say, plopping down on his bed. “By the way, I brought you some chocolate chip cookies!”

“Awwww,” he cooed. “So sweet of you! But do you know what would really make my day?” he asks. “If you checked me out of the hospital this
instant!”

“No way, Jongie. The doctor says you need to stay in here for at least one week and today is only your third day!”

“Come on, Ji,” he pleads. “I’m doing pretty well. Can’t you at least ask him to let me out early, if not today?”

“Nope. Even if he did, I wouldn’t let you,” I say, smacking his forehead. “Just in case.”

“Aish, watch where you hit!” he says, covering his bandaged head with both his hands. “By the way, here’s your tape recorder. I’m sorry it’s such
a wreck. I promise I’ll get you a new one,” he says apologetically, handing me the wrecked piece of machinery.

“Nah,” I say, brushing his comment off. “It’s all right. It’s not like I really needed it anyway.”

I fiddled around with the tape recorder, trying to muster up enough courage to ask him about the accident.
“Jongie…” I began.

“Hey, Ji…” he says, at the same time.

We both turned to look at each other and burst out laughing.

“You go first,” he says.

“Okay…well…” I say, twisting my fingers together. “It’s…it’s about the accident.”

“What about it?” he asks, raising his eyebrows at me questioningly.

“How did it happen?”

“Oh, it was nothing, really,” he mumbled, avoiding my eyes. “The road must have been wet at that time, causing me to lose control of my car.
You know, the tires are pretty old after all.”
“But you just changed your tires two years ago! Look, after the accident, I sent your car to the workshop to see what they can do about it, and
they found out that your brake lines were cut.”

“What?” he asks, turning to look at me.

“It came as a surprise to me too, but that’s beside the point,” I say. “Can you think of anyone, anyone at all, who might want to cause you harm?”

He looked uncertainly at me for a few moments before averting his gaze once again. “No,” he answered in a soft voice.

I could tell he was hiding something from me, but I didn’t press the matter any further. “It’s all right then. Don’t worry about it,” I say, squeezing
his hand.

“Hey, Ji,” he says, after a pause.

“Hmm?” I ask absently.

“I need you to promise me a few things.”

“What for?”

“Just because.”

“Well…let’s hear it first, then.”

“If…let’s just say, if…something happens to me, and I may not be able to be by your side anymore, promise me you won’t cry, okay?”

“What are you talking about, Jongie?” I ask, frowning.

“Just hear me out, first, MinJi. It’s important.”

“Right,” I say softly, nodding my head.

“You’ll have to eat all your meals, and never skip any one of them no matter how busy you are. You’ll have to take good care of yourself,
especially of your health. Try not to do anything that may risk you getting hurt. Don’t be too saddened by my leave. You have to be strong and
bounce back, okay? Never give up hope, even when you’re down to all your last resorts. And most importantly,” he says, taking a deep breath.
“Don’t forget me.”

“Jongie,” I began.

“Promise, MinJi?” he interrupted, scanning my face.

I closed my eyes and bit the insides of my cheeks. I was at a loss for words.

“MinJi?”

I reopened my eyes slowly and gave him a small smile, which I managed to muster, with a lot of difficulty.

“I promise, Jongie.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Hey, I’m going out to get some coffee from the vending machine outside. Want anything?” I ask, nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie.
“Get me a cup of whatever you’re having,” he says, smiling warmly back at me.

“Alrighty!” I say, getting to my feet. “Wait for me, okay? I’ll be back really quick.” Just as I was about to shut the door behind me, he called out
to me.

“MinJi!” he yells.

“Yeah?” I ask, pushing the door open again.

“Remember your promise.”

“I will, Jongie. Don’t worry,” I say, assuring him.

I put some coins into the vending machine and pressed for a cup of café latte. I tapped my foot impatiently while I waited for the little cup to fill.
Taking it out, I inserted a few more coins into the machine and pressed for another cup of the same type of coffee.

I walked back towards his room slowly, so that the coffee would not slosh all over the floor. Just then, from behind me, I heard the sound of many
shoes tapping against the floor in a hurried manner.

“Make way, please!” yelled a nurse. “This is an emergency!”

Jumping to the side reflexively, three doctors ran past me, while another 3 nurses trailed behind them. As they brushed past me, I caught snatches
of their conversation which made my blood turn cold.

“…patient in room 219…”

“…critical condition…”

“…out of the blue…”

The conversation I had with Jongie earlier played over and over again in my head.

“If…let’s just say, if…something happens to me, and I may not be able to be by your side anymore, promise me you won’t cry, okay?”
“You’ll have to eat all your meals, and never skip any one of them no matter how busy you are. You’ll have to take good care of yourself,
especially of your health.”
“ Try not to do anything that may risk you getting hurt.”
“Don’t be too saddened by my leave. You have to be strong and bounce back, okay?”
“Never give up hope, even when you’re down to all your last resorts.”
“And most importantly, don’t forget me.”
Don’t forget me…
Don’t forget me…

Both the coffee cups fell to the ground, splashing hot coffee all over my jeans and shoes, but I didn’t care. I just stood rooted to the spot, staring
at the open door of room 219.

Chapter 92
I stood to the side, watching people swarm in and out of the place, paying their last respects to him. Six years of friendship, all gone…just like
that. I closed my eyes and leaned against the wall, thinking back to what the doctors said.

“We’re sorry,” says one of the doctors, shaking his head apologetically. ”We couldn’t do anything to save him.”

“What happened?” I ask softly, tears streaming down my face.

“We’re not very sure. We’ll have to do more tests to determine his cause of death.”

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE TO DO MORE TESTS? YOU TOLD ME HE WAS FINE! THAT HE ONLY SUFFERED FROM MINOR
CUTS AND BRUISES!” I yelled. “You told me that he was going to be all right,” I whispered, sliding down onto the floor, my face buried in my
hands.

“We’re very, very sorry. We wanted to save him as much as you did.” After a slight pause, he spoke again. “I know this is going to sound weird,
coming from a professional doctor like me, but it was almost as if he knew his time was up. His body temperature was fine. There was no
indication of any internal bleeding or blood clot. And that, was what baffled all of us.”

“Wh-what d-do you mean?” I ask shakily.

“There was almost nothing, that could have caused him his death.”

“And why…why did you say that it was almost as if he knew…knew, that his time was up?”

“When we got to him, he was already gone. But, he had a small smile on his face and he looked very peaceful…very serene…almost as if he
knew.”


“MinJi,” says Mrs. Oh softly, coming to stand beside me. “Are you okay?” she asks, scanning my face.

“Yeah,” I say, nodding my head. “I’m fine. Was there something you wanted to tell me?”

“Oh yes, the service will begin in a few minutes.”

“Right,” I say, clasping my hands together. “I’ll be there in a few moments.”

“MinJi,” she says, reaching out to cover my hands with her own. “Thank you for doing all this. Jong Hyuk would have wanted it.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Thank you all for coming,” says Mr. Oh, as he took his wife’s hand. “We’re very honoured at all the support you’ve given to us by attending this
service. We’ve also reserved today to give everyone an opportunity to remember Jong Hyuk, my son – to share with everyone present all the little
ways he touched our lives.”

“Please, anyone who wishes to say something about Jong Hyuk, just come up to the podium and speak,” says Mrs. Oh. “This time is for you.”

After a moment of uncomfortable silence in the crowd, Danny stood up. “I considered Jong Hyuk as one of my best friends. He was always ready
to listen whenever I needed someone, and he would help me lighten up when I got too down on myself or confused. He was an amazing person,
always putting others before himself.” He stopped speaking for a moment, scanning the sea of faces, all concentrated on him. “Jong Hyuk was
unique,” he finally said simply. “There was nobody else like him, and there never will be. All I know is that I will miss him very much.”

Danny sat down again and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees and he rubbed his face a few times. Jae Won reached over and put an arm
around his shoulders, trying to console him. I wiped the tears from my eyes as Tae Hyung stood up.

His face was slack, and his brown eyes were filled with tears. “I knew Jong Hyuk not through articles or interviews,” he told the crowd. “I knew
him as the guy I could call on when I was having trouble changing a flat tire – and as someone who would say, “Stay right there, I’ll be there in
ten minutes.” He was the guy I could ask if my tie was correctly knotted or what his thoughts on the stock exchange were. He was someone that
would check his character judgements with me and someone who would start whispering to me a hilarious idea in the middle of a boring meeting.
Jong Hyuk was a unique individual. He was quiet and perceptive, although he could be loud when he wanted to, kind and honest, possessing a
quick wit and a questioning mind. In this land of minute friendships started at events and held up by lunch meetings, I’ve experience two
emotions that are equally impossible to describe…happiness, to have called him my friend and the overwhelming, all-devouring sense of loss.”

I nodded and wiped away a tear as Tae Hyung sat down. Before I could even think about what I was doing, I stood up myself. Shaking with
nerves, I walked to the podium. For a few seconds, I stood still, taking in deep breaths to try to calm myself. Then, in a loud, steady voice, I
spoke.

“I first met Jong Hyuk way back when we were in high school. We didn’t immediately click together at first, but somehow, along the way, we
became best friends. It didn’t matter to him how ugly I looked. It didn’t matter to him that nobody else wanted to talk to me back then, except for
Danny. It didn’t bother him that people were beginning to shun him because he was mixing around with me. He didn’t believe any of the gossips
that went around about me either. He just brushed them off carelessly and said, “People these days just have too much time on their hands, don’t
they?”

I pushed my hair off my forehead and took a deep breath before returning to my speech. “He saw a side of me that nobody had ever seen before.
The days I spent with him were one of the best ones in my life. He saw what was inside me, and he worked hard to keep inspiring my
soul…which he did every single day. And that’s what was so incredible about him. He could see the best thing in about everybody that he met.
He could look deeper, into your heart, and talk to that place where you were your best self possible. He always had a smile for everybody.”

I bit my bottom lip and closed my eyes for a few seconds. “The world is a worse place without him, but it will never be a terrible place because of
all the love he shared when he was here. I will miss him always, but I’m glad…glad, that I got to know him, as a best friend should.”

Just as I was about to head back towards my seat, a thought struck me. I headed over to the pianist and whispered something into his ear, to which
he nodded in reply. Walking back towards the podium, I paused hesitantly, before speaking. “There is this song, which I would like to sing…in
loving memory of him.” I nodded at the pianist and a soft melody began to fill the entire place.

It must have been cold there in my shadow,
To never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s you way,
You always walked a step behind.
So I was the one with all the glory,
While you were the one with all the dreams.
Beautiful face without a name, for so long,
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.
Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything that I would like to be.
You’re everything I would like to be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
But you are the wind beneath my wings.
It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
But I’ve got it all here in my mind.
I want you to know, I know the truth, of course I know it,
I would be nothing without you.
Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I would fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.
Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, I can fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.
You are the wind beneath my wings.

Halfway through the song, I couldn’t struggle against my tears any longer. They started to run down my face, but I paid them no attention. I was
almost done, and it seemed right to cry for Jong Hyuk, whether I had promised him or not…for all the love that he had showered on me…for all
the love that I had lost. I knew I would feel the pain of his absence forever, but it was so important that I’d had the chance to say good-bye.

Chapter 93
“Mr. Lee Minwoo?” says Jong Hyuk’s mother, coming to stand next to me.

He shook his head slightly and with great difficulty, tore his gaze away from MinJi, who stood in one corner, crying into Danny’s shoulder.

“Mrs. Oh,” he says, bowing slightly as a form of respect.

“You don’t have to be so formal, dear,” she says, laughing a little.

“It’s only right of me to do so,” he replied, smiling back at her.

“Anyway, thanks for coming. I really appreciate it,” she says, looking out at the crowd. “Jong Hyuk would have appreciated it,” she says after a
slight pause, turning to look at him.

“He was a great guy…a truly wonderful person,” he says quietly.

“Yes, he was,” says Mrs. Oh, tears brimming in her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he says, hurriedly handing her a tissue. “I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“It’s all right. Nothing to worry about,” she says, gratefully accepting the tissue and dabbing gently at her eyes. “By the way, Jong Hyuk wanted
me to give this to you,” she says, handing him a brown envelope.

“What’s this?” he asks, raising an eyebrow questioningly.

“I have no idea. He left behind a few envelopes addressed to different people. I found the whole lot of them in his bedside drawer in the hospital
room when I cleared his things the other day.” She turned to look at him. “It must be something important, because in his letter to me, he stated
very clearly that I was to hand it to you personally, no matter what.”

“Right. Thank you very much,” he says, pocketing the envelope securely. “If you don’t mind my asking,” he begins hesitantly. “How…how did
Jong Hyuk…” he trailed off, unable to finish his question without making him look stupid in front of her.

“I know what you’re trying to ask,” she assured him, patting him gently on the arm. “I don’t really know what happened either. But what I do
know is that he knew…he knew that he didn’t have much time left.”
With that, she walked away, leaving Minwoo standing by himself, deep in thought.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Do you know where his room is? Or would you like someone to escort you up?” asks Mrs. Oh gently, turning to look at me.

“Oh, that wouldn’t be necessary. I know where his room is,” I say.

“Wait, MinJi,” she calls out suddenly, halting me in my tracks. “Jong Hyuk left this letter for you.”

“A letter?” I ask. “H-how did he…” I trailed off, staring bewilderedly at the light blue envelope.

“You’ll understand things better after you’ve read it,” she says, smiling warmly at me, then giving me a slight push towards Jong Hyuk’s room.

I walked down the carpeted hallway, my feet sinking into the thick, plush carpet. When I reached the door that led to Jong Hyuk’s room, I
paused, my right hand resting lightly on the doorknob, and my left hand clutching on to the envelope. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and
pushed open the door.
The moment I stepped into his room, I caught a faint whiff of the cologne that he always used. I closed my eyes at the familiar scent and smiled.
Slowly, I walked around the perimeters of his room, letting my fingers trail lightly over his belongings. I finally came to a stop at his bedside and
sat down gently on it. I picked up a framed picture of him, Danny and I laughing together, which sat on his bedside table and gazed longingly at
it, remembering all the happy times we had. A lone teardrop fell onto the picture and I wiped it off gently, before replacing the picture frame back
to its original position.

Finally realizing that I still held the envelope in my left hand, I turned it over slowly, and tore it open, as carefully as I can, making sure that I did
not rip anything. This was the last thing that Jongie left behind for me and I intended to keep it in good condition. I unfolded the paper inside and
began to read.

To my dearest MinJi,

By the time you read this letter, I wouldn’t be by your side anymore. I’m sorry that things had to end this way. I really am. But, if I were given the
chance to turn back the hands of time, I still wouldn’t change a single thing. Why, you may ask. The answer is pretty simple, actually. If I didn’t
get into that accident, whether it was planned or not, someone else in the world would have gotten hurt. It’s fate. I’d rather be that someone than
another person, because God knows, I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through what I had to go through while I was in the car. And I’m also
thankful, that you didn’t follow me to the car that day. It would’ve killed me to know that you had gotten hurt…all because of me. By the way, I
hope you didn’t kill any of the doctors for not being able to save me. It wasn’t their fault. Besides, I knew I didn’t have much time left. Even
though they told me I was only suffering from minor cuts and bruises, deep down, I knew something was wrong. Intuition, you might say.

There’s this other thing, which I’ve kept bottled up inside me for 6 whole years, which I’ve always wanted to tell you about. I’m sorry I never
mustered up enough courage to say it to you personally until it’s too late because somehow, whenever I took one look at you, the words just died
on my lips. Yeah, yeah…I’m a coward. Sue me. Anyway, in the past six years that we have been friends, somewhere along the line, I fell for you.
Incredulous as it may sound, but it’s true. I don’t blame you for not returning any of my feelings though because one, you are so innocent that
you didn’t suspect anything, and two, because I know that you love Minwoo with all your heart. The reason why I’m telling you this is not to
make you feel guilty, but so that you’ll learn something from it. Never hide your true feelings, MinJi. Don’t wait until it is too late to tell that
special someone that you like him. Do what you feel is right. Do what your heart tells you to do. And in case you don’t realize it yet, Minwoo is a
keeper. Though he may have the world’s worst temper and may seem suspicious of you at times, it’s because he’s insecure. I can tell, from the
way he looks at you, he really does love you. Don’t ever let him go.

Before I end this letter, I want you to know that meeting you was one of the best things that happened to me. I mean it…from the bottom of my
heart. Thanks for always being there for me. Please do take good care of yourself, MinJi. You mean the world to me. Enclosed with this letter is
the necklace which I always wear. I want you to have it, because I know that you’ll treasure it as much as I did. Oh, and remember that white cap
that you always liked? It’s yours now. Go ahead and take it. At least you’ll have something to remember me by.

And MinJi, please don’t forget me.

I’ll be watching over you.

With love,


Oh Jong Hyuk.



“You are such a babo, Jong Hyuk,” I say through my tears, to no one in particular. “A big, big babo.” Just then, I heard a faint click and to my
surprise, music began to fill the entire room.

No mountains too high, for you to climb
All you have to do is have some climbing faith, oh yeah
No rivers too wide, for you to make it across
All you have to do is believe it when you pray

And then you will see, the morning will come
And everyday will be bright as the sun
All of your fears cast them on me
I just want you to see...

I'll be your cloud up in the sky
I'll be your shoulder when you cry
I'll hear your voices when you call me
I am your angel
And when all hope is gone, I'm here
No matter how far you are, I'm near
It makes no difference who you are
I am your angel
I'm your angel

I saw the teardrops, and I heard you cry
All you need is time, seek me and you shall find
You have everything and you're still lonely
It doesn't have to be this way, let me show you a better day

And then you will see, the morning will come
And all of your days will be bright as the sun
So all of your fears, just cast them on me
How can I make you see...

I'll be your cloud up in the sky
I'll be your shoulder when you cry
I'll hear your voices when you call me
I am your angel
And when all hope is gone, I'm here
No matter how far you are, I'm near
It makes no difference who you are
I am your angel
I'm your angel

And when it's time to face the storm
I'll be right by your side
Grace will keep up safe and warm
And I know we will survive

And when it seems as if your end is drawing near
Don't you dare give up the fight
Just put your trust beyond the sky...

I'll be your cloud up in the sky
I'll be your shoulder when you cry
I'll hear your voices when you call me
I am your angel
And when all hope is gone, I'm here
No matter how far you are, I'm near
It makes no difference who you are
I am your angel
I'm your angel

I'll be your cloud up in the sky
I'll be your shoulder when you cry
I'll hear your voices when you call me
I am your angel
And when all hope is gone, I'm here
No matter how far you are, I'm near
It makes no difference who you are
I am your angel
I'm your angel

“Goodbye, Jong Hyuk. Rest in peace. I’ll always remember you,” I whispered. Through my tears, I smiled, then, I laughed a little. And when I
laughed, I felt a light flutter against my cheek and my smile widened.

I had just been kissed…by an angel.

Chapter 94

“Ji?” asks Danny, shaking my shoulders gently.

“Hmmm?” I mumbled, my eyes still closed.

“Do you want to go to work today?”

I opened my eyes slowly and looked up at the ceiling above me. Heaving a huge sigh, I sat up.

“Are you feeling better?” asks Danny, sitting down beside me. “Look, I’ll just call in for you and tell them you’re sick, okay? Then you can stay
home and get more rest.” He ruffled my hair fondly and then made a move to get up but I grabbed hold of his hand.

“Danny…” I say.

“What is it?” he asks, sitting back down.
“Can you send in a resignation letter for me?”

“What? Why?” he asks, his eyes filled with concern. “Did Minwoo do something to you? Or was it Ji Yoon?” he asks, his eyes suddenly cold and
hard.

“No, they didn’t do anything to me,” I assured him. “I just don’t feel like working there anymore.”

“Oh, okay then,” he says. “Wait…does this mean that you’re coming to Kim Corps to work?” he asks excitedly.

“Maybe, but not anytime soon,” I say, laughing.

“Why not?” he whined.

“Because I won’t be here,” I say softly, looking up at Danny.

“Wh-what do you mean?” he asks.

“I’m going away…for a little while.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Good morning, Mr. Lee,” says Jina, getting up from her seat and bowing slightly.

“Morning, Jina. Any messages?” he asks.

“Jun Corps would like to know what you think about the proposal as soon as possible. The meeting with Ji Hoon about the amusement park
project has been postponed to next Thursday and I’ve already set up the meeting that you requested with Hyun Jun for tomorrow at 12.30. Oh,
and there are some files on your desk which needs to be signed.”

“Right. Thanks, Jina,” he says before entering his office.

He set his briefcase down on the floor and took off his jacket, flinging it over the arm of a chair. Then, he loosened his tie, flung it over his jacket
and unbuttoned the first two buttons of his shirt. Slumping down onto another chair nearby, he heaved a sigh and massaged his temples gently.
He looked over to his desk which was stacked with numerous files and sighed again. Just as he was about to look away, he caught sight of the
brown envelope which Jong Hyuk had addressed to him, laying there on the one spot that wasn’t covered with files and papers.

Curious, he got up and made his way over to his desk. He picked up the envelope and went back to where he had sat earlier. Carefully, he tore
open the envelope and dumped all its contents, which fell with a clatter, onto the glass top of the coffee table. He did a double take when he saw a
cassette being one of its items. He reached for the folded letter and hurriedly scanned through it.

Hey, Minwoo! Surprised? Hahaha…you’re not the only one! Anyway, you would have probably seen the tape by now, enclosed with this letter,
which I left behind for you. I’ve thought about it very long, before making up my mind to send it to you. After listening to it, I hope you’ll do the
right thing. Treat MinJi well, okay?
Oh Jong Hyuk.

Minwoo picked up the cassette and held it between his index and forefinger, deep in thought. Steeling his resolve, he stood up and walked over to
where his stereo sat and popped the cassette in. He grabbed the remote and poured himself a glass of vodka before sitting down again. He ran his
fingers through his hair then pressed the play button.

“Hey, Ji Yoon.”

“Oh Jong Hyuk? What are you doing here?”

“Here to talk to you about some things.”

“Like what?”

“I know you set MinJi up.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I’m sure you do. No point trying to pretend, Ji Yoon.”

“You’re a very smart person, Jong Hyuk.”

”Why did you do it?”

“To take back what rightfully belongs to me.”

“Minwoo doesn’t belong to anyone.”
“Yes, he does. He was mine, until MinJi came into the picture. She ruined everything!”

“If that’s what you think, you lost him to MinJi four years ago, Ji Yoon.”

“That’s why I did it. I had to ruin her. It serves her right, anyway. She shouldn’t have tried to take Minwoo away from me.”

“So, you hired a private investigator to find information on her.”

Just then, there was a knock at the door and Ji Yoon let herself into the room. “Hey, Min—“

“And also on YaeJin.”

“How did you find out about YaeJin? If I’m not mistaken, only a selected few were informed about it.”

“Pure luck. Minwoo accidentally dialed my number without him knowing it and I overheard the entire conversation he had with MinJi.”

“Then you decided to use everything you had to break them apart, am I right?”

“Exactly. I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

“Why aren’t you trying to deny any of this, Ji Yoon? Aren’t you afraid I might tell Minwoo about it?”

“You can try, but I doubt Minwoo will believe either you or MinJi anymore. Besides, you don’t have any proof.”

“You play the game well.”

Certain that the cassette had stopped rolling, Minwoo stood up numbly and turned to face Ji Yoon who had turned so pale, that she could have
blended in with the colour of the walls.

“Park Ji Yoon,” he says, so coldly and so sharply, that she flinched. “What is the meaning of this?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she says, avoiding his gaze.

“I’m sure you do,” he says quietly, glaring at her. “Explain.”

“I-I-I…” she stuttered. Then, she lifted her chin and looked defiantly back at him. “So what if I set her up? She deserved it, Minwoo. She should
never have messed with me in the first place. She brought it onto herself.”

“I’m disappointed in you, Ji Yoon,” he says, grabbing his jacket.

“If you’re thinking of going after MinJi, you’re too late,” she says, giving him a radiant smile. “Her resignation letter came in this morning,” she
says, showing him the white envelope.

“You know, Ji Yoon, you’re a sorry excuse for a human being,” he says, brushing past her roughly. “I never want to see your face, ever again.
Either you leave this company on your own, or I’ll just have to fire you.” With that, he slammed the door behind him.

Chapter 95

“Damn,” Minwoo muttered under his breath, slamming his hands onto the steering wheel when he got caught up by a traffic light. “Damn, damn,
damn, DAMN!”

His stomach twisted as he thought back to all the accusing things he said to her.

“What do you think you’re doing here?”

“I came to see how Yae—“

“She doesn’t need you.”

“But I was just tryi—“

“Don’t you think you have done enough damage already?”

“Look, Minwoo, whether you believe me or not, I didn’t do it.”

“Really? Then tell me, who could be the culprit?”

“I—I have no idea.”
“You do know, that apart from the guys, you are the only other person who knows about YaeJin?”

“Yes.”

“And I am willing to bet my life on it, that none of the guys did it. So, where does that leave you?”

“Like I said earlier, I didn’t do it.”

“How do you expect me to believe you, MinJi? After all, you did hide your true identity from me. And like a fool, I trusted you with my biggest
secret.”

“You know what? This is getting nowhere. I am so sick and tired of this whole thing. I’ll just say this for the last time and I hope it gets into that
thick skull of yours. I didn’t do it. Why would I want to do something so mean and cruel in the first place? YaeJin never did anything to hurt me.
As for you, I can’t really say much. Just one word of advice, Minwoo. When you finally realize that I didn’t do it, let’s just hope it isn’t too late
already.”

When you finally realize that I didn’t do it, let’s just hope it isn’t too late already.

Isn’t too late…

The moment the lights changed to green, he stepped so hard on the accelerator causing his car to zoom past so fast, that if you blinked, you would
have missed it. He had to find MinJi and apologize. Right away.

Before he lost her forever.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He skidded to a stop in front of the shiny black gates and rang the doorbell continuously. “Come on, already,” he muttered under his breath.

Just then, a plump ahjumma came running out to the now open gate. “Yes, may I help you?” she asks warmly.

“I’m looking for Kim MinJi,” he says in a rush.

“Miss Kim? May I know what your name is, sir?” she asks, her brows furrowing.

“Minwoo. Lee Minwoo.”

“Ah, Mr. Lee,” she says, shifting uncomfortably. “You see, Miss Kim…”

“What? What about her?” he asks anxiously.
“She already—“

“Ahjummah!” yelled Danny, running over to her. “I’ll talk to him. Why don’t you go inside and resume your work?” he asks, smiling warmly
down at her.

“All right, Danny,” she says, returning the smile before bowing and leaving the both of them alone.

Once Danny was sure that the ahjummah was out of earshot, he turned to glare at Minwoo. “What do you think you’re doing here?”

“I came here to see MinJi,” replied Minwoo, leveling his gaze with Danny’s.

“No,” says Danny sharply.

“Look, I don’t have time to play these games with you, okay? I’m here to apologize to her, so if you’ll excus—“

Before Minwoo even had a chance finish his sentence, Danny had delivered a punch to his jaw, so strong, that he stumbled a few feet backwards.

“What the hell was that for?” he yelled, wiping the blood off his lip with the back of his hand.

“That, is for you being such an ass.”

He walked towards Minwoo and punched him again.

“That, was for not trusting MinJi. And this,” he says, throwing another punch at Minwoo. “Is for hurting her.”

With great difficulty, Minwoo stood up to face Danny again. “If you’re done, can I see her now?” he asks, blood dripping from the corners of his
mouth.

“You can’t,” replied Danny grimly.
“Look, I’ll do anything you want me to do, okay? Just let me see her, dammit!” yelled Minwoo angrily.

“She’s gone.”

“What do you mean she’s gone?”

“She’s not here anymore. Not here as in not in this house, not in this city, and not in this country. Got that?”

“No…” whispered Minwoo, looking defeated.

“Oh, and she left behind something for you,” says Danny, reaching into his pocket and flipping the item into the air. It landed right at Minwoo’s
feet with a soft clink. Danny turned on his heel and headed back towards the house. “You have no one but yourself to blame, Minwoo. You had
your chance and you blew it.”

Minwoo bent down to pick up the silver ring, the one that he had given to MinJi on his birthday. He tilted it slightly so that the sunrays glinted off
the sides of the ring. And as he read what was inscribed on the insides, a lone tear escaped from his eyes and fell onto his hand.

Chapter 96

**1 YEAR LATER**

“Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing shortly. Please remain in your seats and fasten your seatbelts. Thank you.”

I leaned over to look out of the window of the aeroplane, down at the busy streets of Seoul below and heaved a small sigh. It’s been one year
since I left this place. One whole year. I do wonder whether anything has changed. I closed my eyes and leaned back against my seat when I felt
the landing sequence begin.

After retrieving my luggage and checking out, I headed over to where numerous taxicabs were parked. I waved to a friendly looking ahjushi
nearby who hurried to my side almost immediately.

“Good morning, miss,” he says, bowing slightly as he took hold of my suitcase.

“Good morning,” I say, smiling politely back at him.

“Where did you come back from?” he asks, opening the door and ushering me in.

“From Paris,” I answered, after he had settled down comfortably behind the steering wheel.
“Wow! I heard it’s a really nice place. Were you there on a business trip?”

“Yeah…it’s a really wonderful city. I was there for a break.”

“That’s good,” he says, nodding a little. “Everybody should learn not to take things too seriously. People should go out and have fun once in a
while. Making money isn’t everything, you know. Anyway, where are you headed, miss?” he asks, looking at me through his rearview mirror.

“Kim Corporations, please.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Everyone stared at me as though I had suddenly sprouted two antennas and was currently sporting cow spots all over my body as I made my way
across the marble floors of Kim Corporations, with my suitcase making a noisy clattering sound behind me as it was being pulled. Shrugging my
shoulders a little, I headed over to the elevators and pressed the button for the 36th floor. I tapped my foot impatiently as I waited for the elevator
to make its slow ascend up. The moment the double doors opened, I hurriedly pulled my suitcase along with me and walked up to Tae’s
secretary’s chair.

“Excuse me,” I say, smiling warmly down at her.

“Oh, good morning,” she says, getting up from her seat and bowing slightly. “May I help you, miss?” she asks, eyeing me up and down.

“Umm…is Kim Jung Tae, Kim Jae Won or Danny Im in at the moment?” I ask.

“Yes, they are,” she replied. “But they are in the middle of a meeting right now.“

“With?”

“Oh, just between the three of them. But they did tell me not to let anyone disturb them.”

“Would you please tell me which room they are in?”

“Why don’t you give me your name, miss? I can call in to ask whether they would like to see you right now.”
“I’m Kim Jung Tae’s sister,” I answered, smiling at her.

“Oh…” she trailed off. “I still can’t let you in just like that. Why don’t you tell me your name, miss, so I can double-check it with Mr. Kim first.”

“Nah, you don’t have to trouble yourself,” I say, turning on my heel and heading over to Tae’s office, with the secretary calling out to me
urgently. Not even bothering to knock, I pushed open the doors and just stood there, smiling radiantly at the three surprised faces that greeted me.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Kim,” says the secretary, running up to stand next to me, looking flustered. “She just barged all the way in and when I asked for
her nam—“

“It’s all right, Hye Min,” says Jung Tae, getting up from his seat. “You may leave.”

After she had closed the doors behind her, I turned back to look at them and realized that all three of them had gotten to their feet and were
staring at me almost as if they couldn’t believe their own eyes.

“Hey, guys,” I say. “Hug?” I ask, extending both my arms.

There were a few nanoseconds of silence before all three scrambled towards me, jumping over chairs, tables and files in the process.

“MINJI!” yelled Tae, as he lifted me off my feet and twirled me around.

“Hi, oppa!” I say, hugging him back tightly once he set me back down on solid ground. “I’ve missed you so, so, much.”

“Move over, hyung,” says Jae Won, trying to squeeze himself between us. “I missed you loads,” he says, hugging me warmly.

“My turn, my turn!” yelled Danny, shoving Jae Won. “JIIIIIIII!” he says, squeezing me so tight that I could barely breathe.

“I missed the both of you very much too,” I managed to choke out.

“Ummm, Danny?” asks Tae, tapping him lightly on the shoulder. “I believe you’re squeezing her a little too tight. When did you get back
anyway?” he asks, turning to look at me.
“Just only,” I say. As I stood there looking at all three of them, I could feel myself grinning broadly at them. “It feels good to be back.”

“And there’s a lot of things that we need to catch up on,” says Danny, giving me another hug.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I walked across the grassy area until I reached the spot where three familiar tombstones were situated. I took my sunglasses off, bowed my head
then placed the three different bouquets of white roses on each of their tombstones.

“Hey, mom, dad, Jongie. How have you guys been?” I ask softly, sitting down. “I’m sorry I haven’t been visiting you at all in the past year. I was
in Paris, taking a little break. You all don’t mind, do you?” I took a deep breath and tilted my head to look up at the clear blue sky above. “I miss
you guys a lot. Especially you, Jongie. I miss you the most. It’s so much harder for me to face the days now that you’re not here. But I’m trying
hard,” I say, as a tear ran down my cheek. “I’m trying hard to move on. I really am. While I was abroad, I studied fashion designing. And guess
what? I won the top scholar award. If only you were there to see it, Jongie, it would have made all the difference.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Umma!” says a little boy, pointing in MinJi’s direction.

“Yes, dear?” asks his mother.

“That unnie over there is sitting next to a man that has wings! Big, white wings!” he says, jumping up and down excitedly.

The little boy’s mother raised her head to look at the direction her son pointed to and her hand flew up to cover her mouth in surprise. As she
continued looking, she smiled at the sight before her.

“That’s an angel, dear. A real, guardian angel.”

Chapter 97

“Hah! This must be for me!”

“No, that should be mine, hyung!”

“No way!”

“Why would she want to buy something so nice for you in the first place?”

“Aish! Pass me that one over there then.”
“Nah-uh! That’s mine!”

“Then that leaves me with nothing, you greedy cows!”

“Excuse me? You’re the one who’s slow!”

“Fine…I’ll take that little rabbit over there.”

“No, that rabbit isn’t for any one of you,” I say, rubbing my eyes and sitting up in my bed.

“Umm…did we wake you up?” asks Danny, coming to sit on my bed.

“What do you think?” I ask, raising an eyebrow at him.

“But we were whispering!” whines Tae.

“Whispering really loudly,” I say, looking pointedly at them. “You guys can’t even wait for me to wake up before going through my stuff?”

“Hey…it’s been one whole year since you left and we just couldn’t resist looking through your things to see what you bought for us!” says Jae
Won, smiling impishly up at me.

“Aish!”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Thanks. I’ll call you again when I’m ready to leave, okay?” I say to the driver, whom Tae has appointed to fetch me wherever I want to go.

“Yes, miss.”

The moment I stepped out of the car, holding the little rabbit in my arms, I was greeted by a very astounding sight. For a moment, I stood on the
sidewalk, just to admire the view. Tied to the many branches of the cherry tree in front of the cottage were little white ribbons. I smiled and shook
my head to myself. She must have been awfully bored.

As I stepped up to the white picket gates, the little girl, who had been drawing out in the garden lifted her head up to look at me. Then, squealing
with delight, she ran towards me and wrapped her arms around my waist, enveloping me in a warm embrace.

“Unnie!” she yelled happily.

“Hello, YaeJin,” I say, lifting her up into my arms. “How have you been?”

“Good. What about you, unnie? It’s been sooooooo long since I last saw you!”

“I was just really busy. But look what I got for you?” I say, handing her the rabbit.

“Oooooooooooooooh,” she cooed, hugging it tightly. “It’s a stuffed toy!”

“So…” I begin tentatively. “How has your Minwoo oppa been?”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

She looked at me quietly for a few moments then scrambled down from my arms. Once on the ground, she slipped her small hand into mine, and
with her other free hand holding on to the stuffed animal, she guided me over to where the cherry tree stood.

“Isn’t it pretty?” she asks, swinging my hand back and forth.

“Yes, it is,” I answered sincerely.

After a quiet pause, she spoke up, her eyes focused on all the ribbons. “Oppa’s never been happy ever since you left, unnie. He drinks soju all the
time, he hardly eats anything, and he cries himself to sleep sometimes. You see all the white ribbons up there?” she asks, pointing at them.

"Umm-hmmm."

“There are 374 ribbons altogether.”

“How do you know?” I ask, turning to look at her questioningly.

“He ties one ribbon for every day that you’re not by his side, unnie,” she says, looking up at me. I turned back to look at the tree, speechless.
“Come, unnie,” she says, pulling my hand. “There’s something else that I want to show you.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
She led me into the house, up the stairs to the second storey and pulled me into a room. It was decorated very simply, with parquet floors and all
of the furnitures were made from mostly wood. She made me sit down on the bed while she went over to the wardrobe. She opened it, pushed all
the clothes aside then stuck her head inside. After a few moments of fumbling around, she reemerged with a light blue box in her hands. Coming
to sit next to me on the bed, she handed it to me.

“Here, unnie,” she says, beaming up at me.

“What’s this?” I ask, shaking the box slightly.

“You’ll have to open it and see for yourself,” she replied, giggling up at me.

I pinched her cheeks lightly before turning my attention back to the box. Slowly and carefully, I lifted the lid and gasped at what I saw. “Wow,” I
breathed, as I trailed my fingers lightly over the assortment of sparkly clips inside. “There must be hundreds of them in here.”

“Yup!” she says, smiling adorably up at me. “374 clips, to be exact. And all yours.”

“All…mine?” I ask uncertainly.

“Yup!” she repeated, nodding her head. “Oppa buys one sparkly clip every day and he puts them into this box. He told me, that when you come
back, he’s going to give them all to you.”

“Oh…” I trailed off, placing the lid back onto the box.

“Please get back together with Minwoo oppa, unnie,” says YaeJin softly. "He really needs you."

Chapter 98
“Ji,” says Tae, jolting me out of my reverie. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah,” I say, smiling up at him. “I was just thinking about something.”

“Anyway, do you have anything planned for later in the afternoon?”

“No. Why?”

“I need a big, big favour from you,” he says, looking up from his document.

“Sure. What is it?”

“I have a lunch meeting with some guy from Shin Corporations about the hotel proposal I was telling you about the other day. Do you think you
can go in my place?”

“Uh…what am I supposed to do, oppa?”

“Well, you can weigh the pros and cons about the proposal, then make up your mind on whether we should take up their offer or not.”

“But oppa!” I say aghast. “It’s such a big decision for me to make!”

“You’re going to have do it someday, Ji,” he says, coming to sit down next to me. “Kim Corporations doesn’t belong to me only. It’s yours too.
Besides, I trust your judgement in things. So why don’t you give it a try?”

I chewed my bottom lip thoughtfully before answering. “Okay.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Since I still had about an hour before the lunch meeting, I decided to pop by Hwanhee’s little restaurant. The bell hanging above the door jingled
as I pushed it open.

“Good afternoon, miss,” says the ahjummah, bowing.

“Ahjummah!” I yell, running to her and enveloping her in a big hug.

“MinJi?” she asks incredulously, holding me at arm’s length. “Kim MinJi?”

“In the flesh!” I answered, my eyes twinkling.

“Where have you been?” she asks, knocking me on the head lightly.

“Aigoo, ahjummah!” I say, rubbing the spot where she had hit. “I was in Paris.”

“Paris? Why so far away?”
“I needed to get away from everything,” I say, giving her a small smile.

“You poor thing,” she says, patting my shoulder consolingly. “Come on, don’t just sta—“

Before she could finish her sentence, the door burst open and a guy stumbled in, bumping really hard into me.

“Hide me!” he whispered, pulling me to stand in front of him.

Still in a state of shock, I let him maneuver me around, so that I was standing directly in front of him while he cowered behind me. A few seconds
later, a group of girls waving huge posters and yelling something that was barely audible from inside the restaurant, ran past.

“Umm…just to let you know, the group of girls are gone now,” I say, after a few moments.

“Really?” he asks, peering over my shoulder and breathing a sigh of relief. “Oh, by the way,” he says, flushing a deep shade of red. “I’m sorry
about that. It’s just that I se—Kim MinJi?”

I turned around to face him fully and my eyes widened in surprise as I broke into a huge grin. “Brian!” I yell, throwing my arms around him.

“Hey! It’s been almost a year!” he says. “How’re you doing?”

“Fine, thanks!” I say, finally releasing him. “What about you?”

“Great,” he says, pinching me on the cheeks.

“Why were you being chased by a group of girls?” I ask, slanting my eyes at him.

“Oh…that…” he says, scratching the back of his head as he looked away. “I’masinger,” he mumbled.

“You’re what?”

“I’masinger.”

“Brian, stop mumbling! I can’t hear what you’re saying!” I say, pushing his forehead backwards a little.

He took a deep breath and let it all out again. “I’m a singer,” he says, looking at me.

I blinked at him then burst out laughing.

“Stop laughing!” he says, stamping his foot. “Stop it, MinJi! It’s not funny!”

“H-how…did…you become…a…singer?” I ask in between laughs, clutching the sides of my stomach.

“I went for an audition and I was chosen. And just so you know, I’m not in a boy band,” he says, whacking me on my arm as I continued
laughing.

“Right, right,” I say, trying to sober myself. “That’s good…I mean, you being a singer and everything. Congrats, by the way,” I say, giggling a
little.

“Thanks. And stop laughing already!” he whined.

“Okay, okay! I will,” I say, holding up both of my hands. “Are you a solo singer? When are you giving me your albums?”

“I’m singing with this other guy and we make up the R&B duo called Fly to the Sky,” he says excitedly. “As for the albums, drop by my place
anytime you’re free. I’ll give you an autographed copy!”

“Thanks, Brian,” I say. “Who’s your singing partner?”

“Oh…hey! You can meet him right now! He kind of owns this shop!”

“But doesn’t this shop belong to an ahjummah?” I ask, furrowing my eyebrows. Then, my jaw dropped open. “No way! You can’t mean Hw—“

“YAH, KIM MINJI! YOU ARE SO DEAD!” yelled HwanHee, charging towards me. Before I knew what was going on, I was lifted off my feet
in a huge bear hug.

“That’s him!” says Brian happily.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Tae, hyung?” called out Danny, poking his head around the door.

“Hey, Danny! Anything wrong?” asks Tae, looking up.
“Not really. I just wanted to talk to you about MinJi,” says Danny sheepishly, closing the door behind him and taking a seat opposite Tae.

“So...what about MinJi?” asks Tae, raising an eyebrow at him.

“Well, don't you think we should set MinJi up so that she'll bump into Minwoo or something? I mean, even after one year abroad and everything,
it's obvious that she still cares for him,” says Danny, shrugging his shoulders.

“I know what you mean, Danny,” says Tae, running his fingers through his hair. “That's why I sent her today.”

“Send her where?” asks Danny, leaning forward in his seat.

“To the lunch meeting with Shin Hyesung, about the hotel proposal.”

Chapter 99
“Oppa?” called out YaeJin. When she didn’t hear a reply, she pushed open the door to his room, tiptoed inside, and closed the door behind her
quietly. She walked across the room to where Minwoo lay asleep on the couch, her right hand clutching tightly onto the ears of the little bunny
that MinJi had given to her earlier, trying her hardest not to make any noise.

“Oppa?” she whispered softly, leaning over him. When she still didn’t get any response from him, she carefully slipped the little bunny between
his arms, trotted over to where his bed was and pulled the comforters off it. Slowly, she made her way back to where he lay and spread the
comforters over him gently, so that it covered almost every inch of his body from his neck downwards. As she ducked under the comforters to
retrieve her bunny, he woke up.

“YaeJin?” he called out sleepily. “What are you doing?”

“Getting my bunny back,” came her muffled reply.

“What bunny?” he asks, throwing the comforters off him and YaeJin.

“That bunny!” she says, pointing at the white furball in his arms.

“This?” he says, bringing it nearer to his face so that he could take a closer at it. “Where’d you get this from? I don’t remember buying anything
like that for you.”

“Oh…um…” says YaeJin, fidgeting with her skirt.

“YaeJin?” asks Minwoo, sitting up and patting the empty space on the couch next to him. She climbed up and sat down next to him, pulling her
bunny from his grasp.

“MinJi unnie gave it to me,” she says, so softly that it was barely audible.

“Who?” asks Minwoo, leaning closer towards her.

“MinJi unnie.”

“MinJi unnie?” he says, scratching the back of his head. “I don’t remember an—“ He stopped suddenly, fully awake now. “YaeJin,” he says,
catching hold of both her shoulders lightly. “This MinJi unnie…was she the one who came to our house last time?”

“Uh-huh,” she says, nodding her head furiously. “It’s the same MinJi unnie.”
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I walk up the street towards the café where the lunch meeting was supposed to be held, feeling elated. It really felt good to be back. I pushed open
the door to the café and almost immediately, a waiter came up to me and bowed.

“May I help you, miss?” he asks politely.

“Actually, you can,” I say, biting my bottom lip. “You see, I’m here for a lunch meeting with someone, but I forgot his name,” I say, blushing
furiously.

The waiter smiled understandingly at me. “Don’t worry. Why don’t you give me the name of the company of the person you’re meeting with? I
can help you check the reservation book.”

“Shin Corporations,” I answered.

“Oh, you’re in luck,” he says, smiling warmly at me. “There was another guy who came in earlier who also claimed to be meeting with Shin
Corps too. Come, I’ll show you your table.

I followed behind him, twisting my fingers in nervousness.

“That’s your table, miss,” he says, pointing to a table occupied by only one person.
“Thanks,” I say. I took a deep breath then walked over to the appointed table. “Good afternoon,” I say, bowing slightly. “I’m Kim MinJi,
representing Kim Corporations. I’m sorry I’m late.”

“MinJi?” says the other guy, standing up. “Kim MinJi?”

I jerked my head up to look at him and broke into a wide grin. “Kim Tae Hyung! What are you doing here?”

“I’m supposed to be the one asking you that!” he says, laughing as he embraced me in a warm hug. “When did you get back?”

“I just got back yesterday and I’m here for the lunch meeting with Shin Corporations about the hotel proposal. You?”

“Same. The hotel proposal,” he says, grinning back at me.

“I didn’t know there were so many people involved in this proposal,” I say, seating myself next to Taeng.

“Didn’t any one of guys inform you about it before sending you here?” asks Taeng, frowning slightly.

“Nope,” I say, shaking my head. “So, who else is involved in this proposal?” I ask.

Just as he was about to open his mouth to speak, we were interrupted by a third person.

“Good afternoon,” he says, bowing. When he straightened himself, my eyes widened in shock. “MinJi,” he says, surprise etched all over his
features. “It’s been a while.”

“Hey, Hyesung. How have you been?”
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“So…” I say, breaking the silence. “Can we start now?”

“Not really,” says Hyesung, smiling warmly at me. “There’s still one more person. Didn’t you know?” he asks, raising an eyebrow at me.

“Not really,” I say, my face flushing red with embarassment. “Oppa didn’t tell me who was involved in this proposal.”

We lapsed into another bout of silence before I spoke up again.

“So…” I begin. “How’s Ji Yoon?”

Both Tae Hyung and Hyesung turned to look at each other uncertainly.

“She’s in the mental institute,” says Hyesung, after a slight pause.

“The what? Why?” I ask, truly shocked.

“She became unstable after she was charged for murder,” says Tae Hyung, putting an arm around my shoulders in a comforting manner.

“Mu—murder?”

“She was found guilty, for tampering with Jong Hyuk’s brake lines,” says Tae Hyung.

“Oh my God,” I muttered to myself, closing my eyes tightly. “Why did she do it?”

“Jealousy,” came Hyesung’s quiet reply. “And because Jong Hyuk had proof that she leaked the story about YaeJin, out to the press.”

“Proof?” I ask, lifting my head to look at him.

“Jongie taped a conversation he had with Ji Yoon earlier where she confessed about selling the story out to the press, and I guess she wanted to
destroy the tape before it got to Minwoo,” says Tae Hyung. “She just didn’t realize that what she did would have cost him his life.”

“Hey,” I say, massaging my temples lightly as I could feel a headache coming on. “Would you guys mind if we continued this meeting on another
day? Please?”

“No problem,” says Hyesung getting up. “Are you all right, MinJi?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I say, also getting to my feet. “I just need to get some rest.”

“I’ll send you home,” offered Tae Hyung, putting on his jacket.

“No, it’s all right. I-I can manage fine on my own. Thanks,” I say, giving both of them a warm smile. After gathering all my belongings, I turned
around on my heel and stopped short. Because there, in front of me, stood the one person that I’ve always longed to see for the past year.

The one person that I always dreamt of in my sleep.
The one person whom I always imagined giving me hugs.
The one person who stole my heart.
And the one person who hurt me the most.
Lee Minwoo.

Chapter 100
Our eyes locked together for a few brief seconds before I broke the gaze.

“Excuse me,” I say shortly, bowing slightly, before brushing past him coldly.

Without a backwards glance, I walked out the door, clutching the straps of my bag tightly. Once outside, I walked down the street and waited
until I had turned the corner before leaning against the wall and exhaling a huge sigh. Why now? Why do I have to bump into him again? I stood
there for another few minutes, my eyes closed and my face turned up towards the sky.

After recollecting my thoughts, I decided to cheer myself up by wandering over to a flea market nearby. The vibrant colours of the market
brought a smile onto my face. The market was cosidered to be a tourist attraction, but plenty of Koreans frequented it too, and I was one of them.
I’d often gotten amazing deals on some fabulous vintage clothes.

They may be tatty, I thought as I held a 1940s-style rayon floral dress against my slim figure. But they do have a certain style. I walked over to a
dusty cheval mirror that was draped with beads and studied my reflection.

“I’m no judge of clothes, but I’d say that you looked stunning,” a familiar voice whispered in my ear.

I stiffened almost immediately. The mirror now showed two reflections…standing behind me and smiling warmly was…Lee Minwoo.

“What are you doing following me?” I say, whirling around, my face a mask of fury.

“I…I just wanted to talk to you,” he says, taking a step backwards. “MinJi…” he began, his voice dropping several octaves. “I’ve really mis—“

“I don’t want to hear it,” I say, cutting him off sharply and putting the dress back into the bin.

“MinJi,” he says. “Let’s go somewhere to sit and talk. There’s a lot of things that I want to tell you about,” he pleads.

An image of sitting in a small café with Minwoo, talking and laughing like the old times, flashed through my mind, but it was immediately
replaced with a vision of the time when he had used really harsh words to accuse me of leaking the story about YaeJin out to the presses…the
time when he didn’t trust me enough. And that, somehow, steeled my resolve to steer clear of him.

“No!” I exclaim, using both hands to push him away from me. Even if I wanted to, I simply couldn’t afford to get involved with him. I didn’t
want to be left picking up the pieces of our relationship with a broken heart again.

I was dimly aware that Minwoo was racing after me, but the crowd was an effective deterrent, and I was outpacing him. I turned around briefly
once to look and I could barely see his figure through the throng of people.

Well, that’s that. I nodded to myself. I’d lost him. I should be relieved, I thought, trying to convince myself. I should feel relieved, I repeated
firmly. So why do I feel worse than ever?
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I had been walking around aimlessly for the past hour and a half or so and I was so deep in thought that I did not take notice of my surroundings
at all. When I finally cleared my mind, I was surprised to find that I had ended up in a housing area, quite a far distance from the city center.
Somehow, the streets seem oddly familiar. I squinted my eyes to try to look further down the street and my jaw dropped open in surprise because
just a few houses away, stood the huge cherry tree, with it’s white ribbons billowing in the gentle breeze. Without me realizing it, my feet had
brought me straight to YaeJin’s place…where Minwoo might be.

I took a few tentative steps towards the direction of the house, then stopped. I looked down at my shoes and pondered whether I was doing the
right thing. Shaking my head, I slowly took a few steps backwards, and when I suddenly turned around on my heel, I ran smack, into someone’s
chest.

“I’m sorry,” I say, looking down at the ground, my cheeks flushed red. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t see you there.”

“Kim MinJi,” came his soft voice.

I jerked my head up immediately and my whole body froze. “Minwoo,” I say stiffly.

“What are you doing here?” he asks, gazing at me intently.

Feeling uncomfortable, I looked past his shoulder. “It’s none of your business. If you’ll excuse me,” I say, making a move to walk past him.

“Wait,” he says, blocking my path.

“Look, it’s been great bumping into you and I’m glad to know that you’re doing well. Now, will you please move out of my way? I have
important things that I have to attend to,” I say coldly, trying to side-step him again.
“Just give me five minutes, and I’ll let you go,” he pleads.

“This is so not like you, Minwoo. Whatever happened to that cold facade that you always wore? Anyway, I don’t have five minutes to spare.”

“Why won’t you hear me out?” he asks, following behind me.

“Because there is nothing to talk about,” I answer shortly, quickening my pace.

“But I have something to tell you.”

“Let’s put it this way then. You have nothing to say that I want to hear.” Suddenly, I felt myself being whipped around, and my back slammed
against the hard brick wall. “What do you think you’re doing?” I ask sharply, when he put both his arms up against the wall, just above my
shoulders.

“I’m sorry I had to do this, MinJi. I really am. It was the only thing I could think of. Now that you’re a captive audience, will you listen?” he asks,
a sad look flickering across his face.

“Fine,” I say, looking straight ahead.

“I just wanted to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry, for all the trouble that I’ve caused you. I’m sorry, for not believing in you. I’m sorry, that I was
never by your side when you needed someone. I’m sorry, for not being a person that could make you happy. And last of all, I’m sorry…for
hurting you.”

I could feel my heart sink with each sentence. Although I would have liked to stay angry at him, I found myself being drawn to him. However,
past experiences had dealt me a big blow and I didn’t want to go through any of it again.

“Done?” I ask, folding my arms across my chest and raising an eyebrow at him.

His eyes widened a little at my indifference. “Yeah,” he says softly. “I’m done.”

“Then can you please release me now?” Slowly, his hands slid down from the brick wall to his sides. “Thanks,” I say.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured, as I brushed past him. “I’m really, really sorry.”

“You don’t have to be,” I say coldly. “When I stepped onto the plane bound for Paris last year, I swore to myself that I would start anew, that I
was going to forget all the bad memories I had back here. And I was so close to succeeding. So very close. But you, you just had to enter the
picture and ruin everything again. I hate you, Lee Minwoo,” I lashed out.

“I hate you too, Kim MinJi,” he says, halting me in my tracks. “I hate you, for making me worry about you so much. I hate you, for leaving me. I
hate you, for making me want you more than anything I’ve ever wanted, and most of all, I hate you, for making me fall in love with you.” With
each statement, he took a step closer towards me. Upon reaching me, he embraced me warmly and tightly from behind, one arm around my waist,
and the other, slung loosely around my neck. By now, tears were streaming down my face. “Please don’t leave me again, MinJi,” he whispered
into my ear. “I need you.”

Slowly, I turned around to face him. He brushed away my tears gently, giving me a small smile as he did so. Just then, the sunlight glinted off the
surface of something shiny hanging from his neck. Lifting my hands up shakily, I parted his collar just a little and my eyes widened at what I saw.
Hanging from a thin, silver necklace were our rings. Our couple rings. The one that I had passed to Danny to return it back to him. I raised my
head up to look into his eyes.

“Y-you kept it.”

“Of course,” he says, kissing my forehead lightly. “You didn’t think I’d throw them away, did you?” he asks, unclasping the necklace from his
neck. He took out both the silver rings and held on to them tightly. “MinJi,” he began, looking into my eyes, making sure that I did not miss the
seriousness of his point. “You know I love you, don’t you?”

I flashed him a small smile and nodded my head in reply because a lump had begun to form in my throat, making it hard for me to speak.

“And you forgive me for all the grief that I’ve caused you, right?”

Again, I nodded my head. Slowly, he grasped my hand tightly in his and slipped the ring back onto my finger.

“I love you, Kim MinJi,” he whispered, leaning his forehead against mine.

After a slight pause, I spoke up, my voice surprisingly steady. “I love you too, Minwoo.”

When he pulled me close towards him, I knew, right there and then, that there would be no more hurt or pain in his safe arms anymore. I could
feel the strength of his undying love, with every heart beat. And as we stood there in each other’s embrace, with the gentle breeze caressing our
cheeks, I could have sworn that I heard the faint laughter of someone familiar.
“Do you hear that, Minwoo?” I ask, lifting my head from his shoulder.

“Hear what?” he asks raising an eyebrow at me.

We stood together in silence with our ears perked up.

“I don’t he—“ began Minwoo, but he stopped suddenly and then, I heard it again. That same laughter…that belonged to Jong Hyuk. But this
time, it came with a simple, barely audible message…a message, that was filled with sincerity.



“Be happy…”

								
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