Show Me Your Smile (I Really Like You)

Show Me Your Smile (I Really Like You)

Everyone wanted to protect that smile. The type of smile that lit up a room, the type of smile one could never be too sad after seeing, the type of smile that had everyone swooning. Hong Eunchae owned that smile. She had an explosive presence on stage, a soft yet mature voice, boundless amounts of positive energy, and an extremely pretty face to boot. No wonder so many people were attracted to her. Ever since she debuted people had been coming up to her telling her how cute she was and how much they loved her. She was of course flattered by all of the praise, always responding with a “thank you,” as a slight flush rose on her cheeks. Her shy nature made her humble in that way. 


Later on, however, it wasn’t just off-handed compliments by idols in the company as she walked by or fans in the street as LE SSERAFIM embarked on schedules, she started receiving genuine questions asking her out. It started back when she first became an MC for KBS Music Bank in February 2023. How she managed to turn down at least five people in the span of two years before she finally gained some courage to ask out the person she had actually liked all that time eluded her, but that was the thing about feelings, they were hard to figure out sometimes. 




The 10th of March 2023. Eunchae had been working with actor Lee Chaemin as the second MC for KBS Music Bank for a little over a month. After finishing this week’s episode, she walked back to the MC room she shared with Chaemin. She sat at the desk she had and looked at herself in the mirror for a few moments before grabbing her diary out of her bag. Opening it to a fresh page, she started writing down her thoughts and experiences of the day. 


As she wrote, she came to realize just how tough this job was. While being extremely rewarding, being an MC was not for the faint of heart. Keeping her composure on stage while announcing the award winners for the week and interviewing idols for her show was a skill that she had to learn very early on. And, she did all of that on top of being an idol herself. It was not the kind of job any ordinary person could handle. She knew she was special to be given this opportunity after applying. They thought she could handle it. So, she wasn’t about to let them down any time soon. 


She finished writing her diary entry and closed it as Chaemin walked in with a small bouquet of flowers and some sweets. Whoever they were for was a lucky person. Chaemin was a really nice person from what she observed. Anyone would be grateful to receive gifts like those from him. 


“Eunchae-ssi, these are for you. I really like you, please go out with me!” Chaemin confessed. 


The gifts were for her. That was unexpected. She was flattered, but dating was just not something she thought about with everything else in her life currently. She was also still quite young. 


“It’s okay if you say no. I understand. Just accept these as a token of friendship then.” Chaemin handed Eunchae the flowers and sweets. 


Eunchae took them with a sincere nod and smile. “Thank you, Chaemin-ssi. I’m sorry. I’m not looking to date someone right now.” 


“It’s okay. I’m just glad I was able to tell you. Can I hug you?”


Eunchae set the flowers and sweets down on her desk and got up to hug Chaemin. “Of course, you can.” 


“I’m really happy I get to be an MC with you.” 


“Me too.” 




The 3rd of August 2023. Episode 18 of Eunchae’s Star Diary. An episode with another 2006 liner, Kang Haerin, from fellow HYBE group, NewJeans, following their comeback. They had a fun time together talking and answering questions that the fans sent. They had passed by each other and greeted each other a few times at the company, but never really talked until now. Eunchae was glad to have another same-age friend as her to talk to, since before this point, she only had one idol friend the same age as her. 


So, imagine her surprise when she was witness to a confession after filming. Haerin admitted to her that she really admired and liked her and wanted to go out with her sometime. She apologized, saying she didn’t like her like that, to which Haerin waved her arms in alarm and said it wasn’t anything like that. She just wanted to meet up and have a meal as new friends. 


“I’m sorry,” Eunchae apologized, looking down in embarrassment. 


Haerin chuckled. “It’s okay. I’m sorry for confusing you. I swear I just want to get to know you better as friends. I actually already have someone else I like like that.” 


“Really? Who?” 


“Someone in the company. Can you keep it a secret?” 


Eunchae made a motion zipping her lips. “Your secret is safe with me.” 


“Thank you. I’ll see you soon?” 


Eunchae smiled. “Yeah, I’ll see you, Haerin-ah.” 


“I’ll look forward to it, Eunchae-ah.” Haerin left the room. 


‘Someone in the company, huh? I wonder who it is. Must be someone older,’ Eunchae thought. 


She cleaned up and wrote in her diary before leaving as well. 




The 23rd of February 2024. 


“And the winners are xikers!” Eunchae and her new MC partner announced. 


They handed the award to the group and Eunchae stood with that smile everyone loved as they gave a short speech. She had inevitably grown used to this over the past year. It was the same routine she came to enjoy very much.


After everything finished, she started walking back to her room, but was soon stopped by xikers member Lee Yechan. 


“Do you need something Yechan-ssi? Did you forget something?” Eunchae asked.


“Eunchae-ssi, I—I really like you. Will you…” Yechan started. 


Eunchae put her hand up, cutting him off. “If you’re trying to ask me out, you can stop. I like someone else.” 


Yechan looked down at his feet. “Oh. Okay. Thank you for telling me.” He walked past Eunchae, sulking. 


Eunchae sighed. She hated that she had to do that. But, it was true, she realized over the past couple of months that she indeed liked someone. She sometimes wished she had the courage these people who confessed to her had. She knew how much of a risk it was to confess to someone, so she envied people like Lee Yechan who could bring themselves to do so. 


She walked to her room and sat at her desk, putting her head down. This day ended up being far more exhausting than she originally thought. 




The 24th of October 2024. Eunchae’s Star Diary episode 75 with Enami Asa from BABYMONSTER. She now had three idol friends the same age as her. Three was an achievement given that she had been doing this show for about a year and a half, and the majority of idols she had on were older than her. So, it was nice getting to interact with another person the same age as her once in a while. They got along quite well with each other.


But, when Asa asked her out after the cameras were off, and not in the way Haerin had, she felt that same sinking feeling she did when she had to reject Yechan. She didn’t like rejecting people. Destroying people’s hopes like that hurt her. 


“I’m really sorry, but I already like someone else,” Eunchae said with a heavy heart.  


“It’s okay. I’m just really glad I finally got to be on this show. I’ve watched nearly every episode and I just really like and look up to your work. Thank you for letting me confess,” Asa said with a small smile. 


“I guess that’s more than I can say for Yechan,” Eunchae muttered. “I’m glad. Can we still be friends?” she asked, a bit louder.


“Of course! I’ve been wanting more idol friends. I’ll talk to you later?” 


Eunchae waved, a soft smile on her face. “Yeah. See you soon.” 


Asa nodded and walked away, leaving Eunchae alone to her own thoughts.




 The 5th of March 2025. As Eunchae walked through the company building, she took a few moments to admire everything around her. She had spent almost three years with LE SSERAFIM and over two years being an MC for Music Bank. When she first started, she never imagined that she would be at this point. Being at HYBE felt like a fever dream in the beginning, it was far beyond anything she had expected. However, now, it was her reality. She was in the same company as her extremely talented seniors BTS and SEVENTEEN. That was a feat she would cherish for the rest of her life. 


“Hong Eunchae!” someone called out to her. 


She turned to see a labelmate and another friend of the same age, Kim Woonhak from BOYNEXTDOOR. They had met before a few times in the company and had gotten lunch together once. He was nice and she was happy to finally have a guy friend who was the same age as her.


She knew the group had a comeback recently, so maybe he was here to ask her to film a TikTok challenge with him. She would be happy to do that. Boy group choreography was always fun. 


“Good morning, Woonhak-ah,” Eunchae greeted. “Can I help you with something?” 


“I’ve been wanting to say this for a while,” Woonhak said. 


“What is it?” 


“I really like you, Eunchae-ah.” 


“Huh? What are you saying?” 


“I want to go out with you!”


“Oh. I’m sorry, I like someone else.” 


“Ah, it’s okay. I’m sure whoever that person is would be lucky to have someone like you. You have a great heart.”


Eunchae thanked Woonhak and he walked past her. She sure didn’t feel like she had a great heart. She hated herself for having these feelings, even though she knew that it was okay to have them, because turning people down made her feel like the worst person in existence. 


Tears started falling down her face as she walked to LE SSERAFIM’s practice room. It was uncharacteristic for her usually happy and cheerful self to cry, but she couldn’t help it. 


The other members were having a conversation, but stopped and turned to her when she entered the room. They saw her tears and immediately came up to her, concern painting their faces. 


“Hey, what happened? Are you okay?” Chaewon asked. 


“Who did this to you? I just want to talk to them,” Sakura said. 


“I’m not afraid to throw hands,” Yunjin backed up Sakura’s sentiment. 


“Let’s maybe not do that?” Kazuha told Yunjin and Sakura. “Are you okay?” she asked Eunchae. 


“I’m sorry!” Eunchae cried. “I’m sorry! I like someone! I’m sorry!” 


The other members hugged her. 


“Why are you apologizing for that?” Yunjin asked. “Liking someone isn’t a crime.” 


“But, then why does it feel like it is? I feel so bad for the people I’ve had to reject. Turning them down made me feel terrible,” Eunchae said. 


“It’s okay. If they don’t understand that you like someone else, that’s on them. I’ve had my fair share of rejecting people too.” 


Eunchae wiped her tears. “Really?” 


“Yeah. I know. I’m very popular.” Yunjin flipped her hair. 


Eunchae chuckled. “Thank you. You guys are really like my second family.”


“Aww!” the other members cooed and hugged Eunchae once again. 


Eunchae smiled. At least she knew, if all else failed, she had her members to count on. 




The 26th of May 2025. Jang Kyujin’s birthday. Kyujin was the person Eunchae liked all this time. She had dreamed up many different scenarios, like what if they had been under the same company, or not even been idols at all? What if they had met in a different way, and she confessed while they lay in bed together late at night watching a random k-drama on T.V. as roommates in university? She imagined Kyujin would respond that she liked her too and she would finally be able to know those lips. All of those were just fantasies though, the reality was that they were idols of different companies, and finding a time to even just meet in person was decidedly difficult. 


But, luckily, it seemed like fate was in their favor today, as they were able to meet up after their morning schedule and have lunch together at this new restaurant they’d been meaning to try. They met outside of the restaurant, and when they walked in, they were greeted by a sign that said to seat themselves.


As Eunchae hung her bag on the chair and sat down, she remembered that she decided she was going to finally confess today. She hoped it would go well.


“Hey! It’s been a while. How have you been?” Kyujin asked as she took a seat in front of Eunchae. 


“I’ve been good! How about you?” Eunchae asked. 


“Good! I’m glad we finally had time to get together.” 


“Same! Happy birthday, by the way.” 


“Thank you!” 


“How is your group doing? I heard that you guys are working on a summer comeback. How’s that going?” 


“They’re doing good. It’s always fun with them. And, yes! Our comeback is going well! We’ve been working on it and I think it’s shaping up to be another great release.” 


“That’s great!” 


Then, a waiter came by to give them menus and asked them if they wanted any drinks, to which they both responded with coke. The waiter nodded and left to get the drinks as they looked at the menu. 


“Do you know what you want to get?” Eunchae asked. “A lot of these look really good.” 


“Yeah. I’m not sure. Do you just want to get a few dishes and we can share them?” 


“Sounds good to me.” 


The waiter came back with their drinks and they ordered some dishes for them to share. After the waiter wrote everything down and left again, they made light conversation until the food came. They shared their meal, and occasionally, their utensils touched or their arms brushed when moving to grab the same thing. 


Eunchae saw how Kyujin seemed to flush slightly whenever it happened, which seemed like a good sign. Maybe they felt the same way. She would find out soon enough. 


Once they finished eating, Eunchae paid the bill, even though Kyujin insisted she could pay it. She wasn’t about to let her do that on her birthday. 


They left the restaurant and went on a walk around the city for a while before Eunchae finally built up the courage to confess. 


“Kyujin-ah. I have something to say,” Eunchae said. 


“What is it?” Kyujin asked. 


“I’ve been meaning to tell you, for the longest time. I really like you, and I want you. I’ve been so in my head about it, but I think it’s time that I finally say it. I really, really, really…” 


Eunchae was interrupted with a kiss. Kyujin was kissing her. She tasted cherry and pepper from the spicy tteokbokki they ate earlier. It was a weirdly addicting flavor. 


“I really like you too. I want you too,” Kyujin confessed when they parted. 


Eunchae smiled and kissed Kyujin again. Kyujin wanted her too, and that was everything she could’ve ever dreamed of and more. 

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