I’ve always loved romance novels. Like, literally always, LOL. I’ve been reading them since before I fully understood what was happening in the love scenes.
I started reading Harlequin Presents. You’ve probably seen one or two of those old school white paperbacks with the circle in the middle bearing the hero and heroine’s picture? Those formula romance tales cemented my love for a good romantic tale. But in order for the story to resonate, the characters have to be fully formed. They can’t just fuck.
The story has to be there, you know? You have to know each character, become invested in their actions, empathize with their feelings. Most important, you have to understand who they are so you can understand why they do or don’t do what makes the story move and the love unfold.
In this unedited snippet, which picks up where last week’s leaves off, Tan is giving Sinna his back story. Whaddya know, it too is romantic. Le sigh… What can I say? I’m a sucker for love.
Oh, and the picture is of South Korean actor Ha Seok Jin. Do yourself a favor and watch 1% of Something. His deep voice and skill with a kiss is guaranteed to give you alllll the feels. *winks*
“Well, I was born in Athens, Greece. My mother met my father on vacation, and he convinced her not to go home when it ended. They were married two weeks after they met, and I was born nine months later. They were a true love match,” he said proudly.
“My father’s family was comfortable as they had a trucking business. He died in an accident when I was eleven. My mother might have stayed, but one of my uncles decided that he wanted to marry her, and the rest of the family seemed to think it was a good idea. To avoid being forced into something she didn’t want, my mother brought my brother and I back to South Korea.
“At first, we lived with my grandmother in Busan. But she too wanted my mother to marry again quickly, so my mother found a job with an American company based in Seoul, and off we went. Things were hard at first. My mother made good money as an executive assistant, enough for the three of us to live decently, but she has a mild form of dyslexia, and I didn’t know it.
“Our landlord routinely swindled her out of thousands of won. She’s also very kindhearted. Our neighbors were always borrowing this and that and never repaying it. To make ends meet, she picked up a second job working in a grocery in the evening.
“I watched her grow thin and tired, but she remained cheerful and loving, and I did all I could to help, taking care of the apartment and my brother.
“Then a man scouted me in the street. I was tall for my age, and he asked me if I wanted to train to be an idol. I considered it, but I knew I would have to leave my mother and little brother alone a lot, and I worried someone would make her marry a man she did not love. Plus, I’d heard about the contracts many trainees have to sign, and even at that age, I was cautious.
“So, I explained that I had to watch over my family, and I told him no, thank you. But he came around again, this time with an offer of a part in a movie. I listened to his offer, looked at the script, and negotiated my fee up by 450,000 won. I knew because I was successful that he was probably taking advantage of me, but I saw the opportunity. It wasn’t much work for what seemed like a lot of money, and I reasoned that I could make more if there was a next time.
“He tried to make me sign a contract saying that he was my agent. But I was smart and very kindly refused. We could not afford a lawyer to look it over, and I would not have him put me into another version of an idol contract.
“I flattered him and fawned over him with gratitude, saying who else could I trust but him to help me? – that was my first acting job really – and I managed to convince him to let me work with him without a contract, and we worked together happily for four more projects, with my fees and popularity increasing each time.
“My focus shifted to work so I could help to feed my family. I did my school work, took care of my little brother, and I was a child actor. Things were good.
“I figured out my mother’s learning disability and took over our finances. I read our lease and was able to stop our landlord from cheating us, and when my mother told the neighborhood borrowers that I handled the family funds, that stopped that. She was able to give up her second job, though we continued to shop there. They had been kind to us, and my mother and I agreed to do so to show respect and gratitude.
“She was happier. She gained weight. When I was 14, I was scouted again to be an idol. I’d sung in a movie and done a song on the soundtrack that got some attention. But again I refused. My acting was doing well, and I figured I could make that a career. I was also modeling and had done a few commercials abroad.
“Then my mother met a man…”