“And she said he had a really small penis,” Jieun said, tittering obnoxiously.
Sangwoo chuckled and nodded, but he had tuned out his girlfriend ages ago. She always talked about the dumbest shit. But he wasn’t dating her for her brains. He was dating her for her connections. Her father was the president of a large, successful pharmaceutical company and he was hoping that he’d be able to score a cushy job by marrying into the company. Although, after a few months of dating Jieun, he was beginning to regret that decision. After all, he was smart enough and charming enough to get a good job without putting up with her bullshit. But marrying her would probably get him the whole company when her father retired. Still, it was hard to stay the course.
“Oh, gross. What’s he doing here?” Jieun muttered, glaring at someone behind Sangwoo.
Sangwoo was curious enough to glance over his shoulder. The only guy in the line of the coffee shop was a pale scrawny guy that kept glancing over at them nervously. “Who’s that?” he asked. “An ex?”
“As if!” Jieun snapped. “It’s my disgusting half brother.”
Sangwoo blinked. That’s the first time he’d heard of that. And he’d done a lot of research on this boring bitch. “Half brother?”
“Yeah. My dad fucked his mom before he married my mom and he happened. He’s super gross,” she complained. “When she died, my dad let him live with us! Can you believe that?”
“Well, it is his son,” Sangwoo said reasonably. It was was clearly the wrong answer as Jieun shot him a venomous glare.
“He was a smelly depressed bedwetter that my dad suddenly pretended to care about. He doesn’t deserve all the nice things dad does for him,” Jieun insisted.
“Does he do more things for him than you?” Sangwoo asked. Because from what he could see, Jieun was one of the most spoiled bitchy brats he’d ever met. He didn’t get that impression from her half brother at all. The guy looked way too meek and unsure to be in the same league as Jieun.
“Dad sent him to therapy and shit because he’s such a failure of a human being,” Jieun said.
Sangwoo frowned. “So you want to go to therapy too?”
She stared at him. “What? No! I’m normal! I’m just saying that my dad does too much nice shit for him.”
Sangwoo nodded in what he hoped was a sympathetic manner, but really he wanted to throttle the dumb bitch. Lucky for her, they were interrupted by the appearance of her half brother at the table.
“Hi Jieun. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. Have you been well?”
Sangwoo glanced up that the guy. He’d seriously expected him to stutter and was surprised when he didn’t
“I was better before you came over, loser,” Jieun said sourly.
“Ah, looks like you’re on a date with your boyfriend. Sorry about that.” Her brother gave an awkward little bow as he glanced at Sangwoo.
“Hi. I’m Oh Sangwoo,” he said, offering the man his hand. He ignored Jieun’s dirty look as they shook hands.
“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Min Bum. I’d give you the usual big brother speech about breaking her heart, but I think you could break me in half.” Min Bum chuckled. “Or she will.” He glanced at his sister a bit nervously. “I think that’s my cue to leave. It was nice to meet you. Have a good date.” The man bowed again and made a quick exit, heading straight for the coffee shop’s door.
Sangwoo couldn’t help but notice that Min Bum had a way better ass than his sister. His eyes followed it till the man disappeared outside. “He seemed nice,” Sangwoo said, looking back at Jieun.
“He’s disgusting,” she snapped. “And you touched him. You need to go wash your hands.”
Sangwoo raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you a little old to believe in cooties?”
“He’s a homo,” she said distastefully. “You shouldn't let his gross homo germs stay on you or your dick will go limp.”
“I don’t think that’s how it works,” Sangwoo said.
“You looked at his ass after you touched him, so I think it is. Go wash your hands,” she ordered.
Sangwoo did get up and go to the restroom, but only so he didn’t put his hands around her throat and choke the life out of her in front of so many witnesses. Why did he think this was a good idea again? A cushy company position was nice, but he’d be stuck with that dumb bitch! If he could barely sit through coffee with her, how could he marry her? He suddenly wondered if her brother was single. He seemed nice enough, easy to handle, and he had a better ass than Jieun. Maybe he needed to do a little research on Jieun’s mysterious brother.
Min Bum was Min Jiuen’s complete opposite. He was quiet, smart, and hard working. He worked at his father’s pharmaceutical company in the research and development department, but he worked there because of merit, not nepotism. Apparently, he was a lead researcher for a new anti-anxiety medication. While Sangwoo couldn’t exactly confirm the therapy, or any of the other nasty crap Jieun had spewed, Min Bum seemed like a fairly well balanced and productive member of society. That was more than he could say for Jieun, because he knew for a fact that she was flunking out of school. They had quite a few of the same classes. He’d made his initial approach by offering to tutor her. That had failed spectacularly, but he’d managed to hook her interest with his looks.
Dating Jieun was a challenge. Her spoiled bratty personality was hard to deal with. Trying to influence her was useless. He could only indulge her and get dragged along in whatever she wanted to do. He didn’t even get the benefit of sex, because the bitch didn’t want to put out! She was a total cock tease who had no problem rubbing up against him and flirting with him, but when it came time to do the deed, she suddenly got prudish. Luckily, it was easy enough to drop her off at home and go pick up an easy lay for the night, but it was still a pain in the ass. He was more than ready for a change.
It was with that in mind, and a good bit of research under his belt, that he “accidentally” ran into Min Bum in the coffee shop. Min Bum was a regular at the shop and it only took Sangwoo a few days of staking it out to end up in line behind the man.
“Oh, you’re Jieun’s brother aren’t you?” Sangwoo asked.
The man startled a bit as he turned. Recognition flashed in his eyes and he smiled at Sangwoo. “Oh, hello again,” he said. “Is she with you?” He looked around warily.
Sangwoo chuckled. “No, don’t worry. I’m alone today.”
Min Bum relaxed. “That’s too bad,” he said. “It’s nice to see her, even if she doesn’t like seeing me.”
“It’s ok, you can say she’s a bitch. I don’t mind.”
Min Bum looked startled, mouth half open in protest before he snorted. “Yes, she’s the princess of the family. Father and Mother gave her everything she ever wanted. I can tell they’re starting to wonder where they went wrong.”
“They didn’t give you everything you wanted?” Sangwoo asked.
“Father does, but I didn’t grow up with him, so I appreciate it more. Father is wonderful,” Min Bum said smiling fondly.
“He seems very nice,” Sangwoo agreed. “Though, I’ve only met him once.”
“Oh? Jieun brought you home? Must be serious then,” Min Bum said. “She doesn’t usually take her boyfriends home.”
Sangwoo felt pleased by this, despite his wavering resolve with his original plan. He shrugged and grinned. “I guess. I’m not sure how committed she is. It feels like she’s just playing around,” he confided.
“She’s still young. She’ll either figure it out or she won’t. But you’re a handsome young man, I’m sure there are plenty of fish in the sea begging for your attention.” Min Bum smiled.
Sangwoo chuckled. “You sound like an old man. You can’t be that much older than me,” he said.
“I’m 7 years older than Jieun,” Bum said.
“So that’s only 6 years between us. Not enough for you to sound like an ahjussi.”
“Oh hush,” Min Bum said, blushing. He stepped to the front of the line.
“I’ll pay for this,” Sangwoo offered.
Min Bum glanced at him and shook his head. “You’re just a college student, I’ll pay for yours,” he said.
Sangwoo blinked, not expecting that answer. Despite having more money at her disposal, Jiuen tended to make him pay for everything. She would grudgingly put money in now and then for group activities, to show off her wealth. But for the most part, she preferred to make Sangwoo spend money on her. “Thank you,” he said, ordering a large coffee with cream and sugar.
Min Bum ordered a frappe and a pastry and the moved off to the side to wait for their order. “So what are you studying in school?”
“I’m studying business,” Sangwoo said. “I was hoping to become a salesman or company man in the future.”
Min Bum nodded. “Sounds like a solid plan. If Jieun ever drags you to one of Father’s company parties, be sure to network as much as you can. Even if you don’t end up marrying her, you can get your foot in the door.”
“Ah, yeah, it’s a little early for marriage,” Sangwoo said, scratching the back of his neck.
“Yes, but never too early to start working those connections.” He turned as their order was called and collected the drinks. He handed Sangwoo his coffee and Sangwoo felt hyper aware of the man’s cool hand touching his in the brief bit of contact between them.
“Did you want to sit down?” Sangwoo asked.
“Oh, I can’t. I’m just getting this little snack before I go back to work to finish my day. It was very nice chatting with you though.” Min Bum smiled.
“You too. Thanks again for the coffee.”
Min Bum nodded. “See you around,” he said before turning and heading out. Without Jieun around, Sangwoo got to stare at his ass the whole time without feeling guilty. It really was a great ass.
Sangwoo continued to run into Min Bum at the coffee shop. Not every day, because then he’d look like a stalker, but enough so that they could have a quick friendly conversation. Min Bum even let him buy one day. Once he found out that Sangwoo was an orphan though, he never let him buy again. He always asked about school and work, not seeming interested in his relationship with Jieun. Which was good, because he relationship with Jieun was feeling rockier and rockier. It was after a month and a half of these run ins that Min Bum asked him about a work party.
“It’s the twenty fifth anniversary of Father becoming president. They’re going to have a big company wide party. You mentioned it was almost time for an internship right? This would be a great opportunity for you,” Min Bum said.
“Jieun didn’t mention this at all,” Sangwoo said, annoyed. His goal in dating her was a leg up into a good job and she didn’t even bother telling him about something potentially important like this.
Min Bum sighed. “Yes, she hates them. They can be pretty boring. I don’t stay for too long, but it’s great for networking. If you’d like, you could come as my guest.”
Sangwoo perked up. “Yes please,” he said. This could work two fold. He could spend time with Min Bum, and do a little groundwork for a potential career in the company.
“Oh good, we can trade contact info and I’ll email you the details,” Min Bum said, pulling out his phone.
Sangwoo nodded as he pulled out his own phone and traded with Min Bum so they could enter their info in each other’s phones.
“Do you have a suit?” He asked, accepting his phone back from Sangwoo.
“I do,” Sangwoo said.
“Great, I’ll send you the details later. It’s in two weeks on Saturday, so clear your calendar ok?”
Sangwoo nodded. “I will.”
Clearing his calendar meant canceling some plans with Jieun, which lead to a huge hissy fit and her not talking to him for a few days. It was nice to have a break from her. He went out and got a fresh haircut for the party. If this thing with the Min siblings didn’t pan out, this was still a great opportunity that he planned on taking full advantage of. Min Bum picked him up at five in a dark blue sedan.
“Nice car,” Sangwoo said as he slid into the passenger seat.
“Thank you. Father insisted I have a car, though I don’t drive it often. I mostly use it to pick up groceries.”
“Jieun was just whining about not having a car,“ Sangwoo said.
“Of course she was. Father told her that she needed a license to drive, but she keeps failing the test. Plus, she’s already gotten into three accidents. One car was totalled,” Min Bum said with an air of suffering.
“She totalled a car?” Sangwoo asked. He hadn’t heard of that.
“She drove it into a river,” Min Bum said. “It was a miracle she got out. The car was a total loss of course.”
“I knew she was bad at studying, but failing three times? Is there anything that she’s good at?” Sangwoo asked.
“That’s an unkind thing to say about your girlfriend isn’t it?” Min Bum asked with a frown.
Sangwoo internally grimaced. He tended to forget that Jieun was Min Bum’s sister and he still cared about the bitch for some reason. “Sorry. We just fought recently. I had to cancel some plans she made for today and she was very angry. I didn’t tell her I was coming out with you. I thought that might make her more angry. I wouldn’t put it past her to retaliate against you.”
Min Bum sighed. “Don’t worry about what she does to me. I’m a grown man. I’m sorry that I’m causing strife in your relationship.”
“It’s not you,” Sangwoo assured him. “It’s her and her constant demands. It’s fine as long as I go along with them, usually. But if I don’t, it’s an ordeal.”
Min Bum nodded sympathetically. “She is quite the handful.”
“You can say that again,” he muttered.
They lapsed into silence for a while. They were at a stop light when Min Bum spoke again.
“Singing,” he said.
Sangwoo frowned. “Excuse me?”
“You asked if there’s anything Jieun is good at. She’s good at singing. She has a lovely voice. But father is wary about exposing her to the entertainment industry. No one talks about it enough, but it’s predatory and it grinds up young talent and spits out their bones. He didn’t want that to happen to her.”
Sangwoo nodded. They’d gone to karaoke enough to know that Jieun did have a decent voice. She was always wanting him to do romantic duets with her. But given the spoiled princess that she was, it was unlikely she would survive in such a grueling industry that would treat her merely as a commodity to make money off of rather than a talented star to worship.
“If you get an internship tonight, will you let her down easy?” Min Bum asked.
“If you secure an internship tonight, will you let my sister down easy? She’s an awful person, but she’s still my sister,” Min Bum said, glancing at him, then back at the road.
“What are you talking about?” He asked nervously.
“You’re hardly the first person to have approached Jieun trying to get in with our father’s company. You’re not the first person to approach me either. Though, you are the first to try to switch from her to me. You’re also the first person I’ve felt deserved a little help. I know how rough it can be for an orphan. I was lucky that my father decided to take me in. Not everybody is that lucky. Jieun seems to like you, so you can’t be playing the boyfriend part too badly. I’m going to help you out tonight, but when you hit your tolerance level of Jieun, would you please let her down easy?”
Sangwoo stared at him.
“You’re not the only person that can use a search engine to look someone up. Also, my boyfriend is a police detective. I have him run a background check on all of Jieun’s boyfriends.”
Sangwoo continued to stare at him, not sure what to say. He didn’t want to give himself away, but it seemed like he’d already been caught. Min Bum was a formidable opponent. He huffed out a small laugh. “That bitch doesn’t deserve you.” He shook his head. “That first time we met, she told me to go wash my hands to get rid of your homo cooties.”
“She’s still my sister. I’m going to keep looking out for her,” Min Bum said.
“You’re too nice. Now I’m worried about people taking advantage of you,” Sangwoo said, shaking his head in disbelief at the kindness of this man. He knew what Sangwoo was up to and he still wanted to help him. He was looking out for that awful excuse for a sister, despite the terrible way she treated him.
“Don’t worry. I grew up wary of people. People always hurt me. It was only with the help of father and my therapist that I was able to open up. But not too much. People can still hurt you after all. Even as a child, Jieun would bully me. I was older than her, but I felt like it wasn’t my place to resist. I was just a guest in the house.”
“So you just let her bully you?” Sangwoo asked, frowning. It was one thing when a parent was knocking you around. He was pretty helpless against his father when he’d beat he and his mother, but Min Bum was seven years older than his sister. He could have shut her down easily.
“I didn’t know anything else,” Min Bum said. “At that point, it was normal to me to be abused. But luckily, it didn’t stay like that. Father’s wife wasn’t happy that I was there, but she is not a cruel woman. When she saw what was happening, she would step in. Jieun didn’t like that. She saw that as her mother taking my side. So her mother tried to focus on her more directly, but that just seemed to inflate her sense of importance, her mother giving her constant attention, her family wealthy. Honestly, I’m not sure what went wrong. It’s not as if Father and Mother didn’t care what she became. I hate to say it like that. She’s not a monster, just a monstrous brat.”
“You can say that again,” Sangwoo said. “She doesn’t know how good she’s got it.”
“You’re right. She doesn’t. But I hope she never has to face that realization because of some tragedy. I don’t wish that on anybody, least of all my sister. But anyway, we’re pulling up now. Get your game face on, we’re going to secure you a nice internship and then you can gently escape Jieun’s clutches and live happily ever after.”
Sangwoo chuckled. “All right, game face on.” He grinned at Min Bum as they pulled up to the fancy hotel. A valet appeared to take the car and they both entered the extravagant hotel.
“There’s my boyfriend,” Min Bum said, pointing to a tall serious looking man in a smart suit and glasses waiting by a pillar in the lobby. He waved and the man’s serious look melted into a fond smile. Min Bum walked over to him and they indulged in a small embrace, nothing flashy. The man leaned down as though to whisper something in Min Bum’s ear and there was definitely a small kiss exchanged. When the two drew apart, the man’s full attention was on him and it was intense.
“So you’re Oh Sangwoo?” The man gave him an once over and offered his hand. “Yang Sungbae.”
“Nice to meet you,” Sangwoo said, shaking his hand. The man had a strong grip, but he let go after they shook hands. He’d half expected they’d get into some sort of macho male posturing match. Instead, Yang Sungbae simply wrapped an arm around Min Bum and tucked him into his side. It was an obvious message. ‘He’s mine, back off.’ Sangwoo held his hands up, showing that he didn’t intend to fight that claim. “I hear you’re a police officer,” he said.
Yang Sungbae nodded. “Detective Yang Sungbae.”
“I actually met him at Father’s company. He worked as a security guard for the company while he was still a student,” Min Bum said.
The man nodded, smiling down at Min Bum. “I had no idea the shy guy in a lab coat that I met in the cafeteria was the President’s son.”
“Lucky for me,” Min Bum said, looking up at Yang Sungbae fondly. “But enough about us. Let’s head into the party and we can pass you around.”
“Am I going to be some sort of arm candy that gets passed around like a party favor?” Sangwoo asked, bemused.
“Probably. You’re easy on the eyes, so don’t be surprised if that happens. But we’ll try to steer you to the people who are most likely to be useful for securing an internship,” Min Bum said as he gently escaped from Yang’s grasp and headed towards the hallway where a sign indicated which ballroom the event was being held in. He turned back to make sure they were following him, then headed down the hall.
“What happened to your eye?”
Sangwoo looked up from his cup of coffee and grimaced at Min Bum. “Your sister didn’t want to go down easy,” he said.
“Is that a sexual euphemism or you saying you broke up?” Min Bum asked, pulling out the chair across from him and sitting down.
Sangwoo snorted. “We never did it. I did what you said. I tried to let her down easy. I did the whole “It’s not you, it’s me” thing and she went crazy. She accused me of going gay and sleeping with you and she hit me!”
Min Bum sighed. “I’m sorry about her,” he said.
Sangwoo shrugged. “You’re not her keeper. Shit happens. So we broke up. Which leaves me a lot of free time to work on my internship.”
Min Bum perked up and smiled. “Which department did you end up going with?” he asked.
“The accounting department actually. They sounded more like they wanted to teach me things and not just have me fetch coffee. I liked the manager the most, so I’ll be starting there next week.”
“That’s wonderful news. Congratulations.”
“Thanks. But it’s all thanks to you. If you hadn’t taken me to that party, I’d still be playing boyfriend with Jieun.”
Min Bum smiled. “You’re welcome. Hopefully your next relationship will be a more successful one based on chemistry.”
“Yeah. How’s Officer Yang doing?” Sangwoo asked.
“Good. He was worried about me helping you out, but I think he likes you well enough after meeting you. He said if you get passed over for the intern position, he can put in a good word for you with the security division.”
“You guys are both way too nice. How do you survive this shitty world?” Sangwoo shook his head in disbelief.
Min Bum chuckled. “We get by. We’re not exactly angels or anything. We’re helping you, but just think of all the other guys before you that we had to run off. I can be pretty creepy when needed.” He dropped his head forward, letting his hair cast a shadow over his face. His eyes took on a manic quality as he grinned up at Sangwoo with a smile that promised things that made Sangwoo’s gut churn uncomfortably. “Between myself and Sungbae, we make a pretty convincing argument to leave Jieun alone,” he said in a soft tone so saccharine sweet that Sangwoo actually shivered.
“Ok, enough,” Sangwoo said, leaning back. “It looks like you’re possessed by the Ring chick or something.”
Min Bum sat back and laughed. Once he’d calmed down, he sipped his coffee and sighed. “Unfortunately, I need to go back to work. Text me if Jieun keeps bothering you or you need help with the internship. I’m sure I’ll see you around.”
“Yeah, you’re part of my network now. Gotta hold onto those connections.” Sangwoo said.
“That and you seem to enjoy staking out my favorite coffee shop,” Min Bum said, standing and pushing in his chair. He gave Sangwoo a knowing look.
Sangwoo shrugged. “What can I say? I enjoy the view.” He raked his eyes down Min Bum’s figure, settling on his ass with a smirk.
Min Bum huffed. “I’m going to wear my labcoat next time I come,” he muttered. He placed his hand on Sangwoo’s hair, ruffling it viciously before he headed out.
Sangwoo laughed as he turned to watch that ass bounce out of the shop. Maybe he couldn’t touch it, but he could still admire the view.