dly agreed with his two brothers. “Aaron has gone too far. This is harming Jo.
Hearing the three of them, Steven was bewildered. Why were all three of the brothers blaming their brother? “Don’t you think their actions were too intimate?”
Without hesitation, Andrew replied, “Not at all. Look at Aaron. He’s just consoling Jo. When Jo feels wronged, we comfort her like this too.”
Jodie was their sister, and this kind of intimate comfort only proved their close relationship. He really saw nothing wrong with it.
Steven had been busy with the group’s affairs for the past few years, spending only about three days a week at home on average. They only had dinner together, and each of them was working during the day. So, he didn’t really know how his sons and adopted daughter interacted.
Is this level of comfort necessary for comforting a sister? Am I just getting old?
He asked sternly, “Do you also hug and kiss Jo like this?”
Reuben and Titus realized their father’s expression wasn’t quite right.
They were about to deny it, but Andrew, wearing a self–assured expression, said, “Of course, what’s wrong with it?”
Reuben and Titus exchanged a look. Andrew was straightforward.
Seeing Andrew’s attitude and hearing his words, Steven was furious. He raised his hand again and smacked the table hard. “You’re siblings, for heaven’s sake! This is outrageous; you’ve gone too far!”
Andrew argued, thinking his father was overreacting. “It’s precisely because we’re siblings that this is a sign of a good relationship between us. Dad, can you please not overthink things?”
Steven was speechless. How can I not overthink it? The crucial point is that even if I don’t, others will! If people in our circle find out, I’ll be a laughingstock!
Narrowing his eyes, he asked, “Do you treat Simone, your real sister, the same way?”
Andrew shook his head. “How could we treat her like that? Our relationship with her isn’t that close. Besides, she would never initiate such intimate contact with us.”
Simone would normally be warm and considerate but never initiated intimate contact with them. She wasn’t like Jo, who relied on them.
Seeing Andrew’s unyielding response, Steven was so angry he nearly had a heart attack. “Simone’s actions are how a normal sister should act, okay?”
When he saw that they weren’t listening to him, he could only turn to Salma, blaming her. “Look at the
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fine children you’ve raised.”
After saying this, he got up with a stern face and went straight to his study. He needed to think carefully about how to handle the relationship between his sons and adopted daughter.
Salma looked at her displeased husband storming off, feeling very wronged. She knew her sons and adopted daughter had a good relationship, but she really didn’t know they were so close in private.
Looking at her three sons, she said, “Jo is still young, and she doesn’t understand these things yet. You’re all older brothers, so how can you be so intimate with your younger sister?”
She emphasized, “After Jo comes back, you’re not allowed to hug her, let alone kiss her on the face.”
Andrew was still unwilling to accept this. Why couldn’t they be caring and doting brothers to their little sister? Just as he was about to argue, Reuben held him back.
Looking at Salma, he said, “Mom, we understand.”
Their parents were getting older and couldn’t accept this kind of intimacy. It was fine. They could still be close to Jodie behind their backs, just not as carelessly as Aaron.
Seeing Andrew’s dissatisfied expression and the perfunctory response from Reuben, Salma felt a vague sense of annoyance toward Jodie for the first time. She’s a girl, so why isn’t she more self–respecting? Why is she so intimate with her brothers?
Simone wasn’t like Jodie. She always kept her distance from men, including her own brothers. Thinking this, Salma sighed. Apart from wanting to steal Jodie’s identity and possessions, Simone, her biological daughter, was better in other aspects.
“Handle this matter quickly, and don’t let it blow up,” she told Reuben and Titus again. “Otherwise, if people in our circle find out, our family’s reputation won’t be able to bear it.”
They nodded. “Yes!”
Salma felt tired and got up to rest in her room.
Reuben and Titus took out their phones and began making calls non–stop. One went to have the trending topic removed, and the other to have the fan accounts release some major gossip about other celebrities to divert attention.
After making the calls, they both felt mentally exhausted. They were starting to regret letting Aaron bring Jodie onto the variety show. Ever since they joined, it had been one mess after another, and they were the ones left to clean it up.
This time, it had nothing to do with Simone, and both of them blamed Aaron for being too careless.
However, things didn’t unfold as they had hoped. Just as the videos and trending topics about Aaron and his sister’s intimacy were taken down, new videos with modified titles and trending topics emerged, quickly rising in popularity. The gossip about another celebrity that was brought out also didn’t completely steal the limelight.
Moreover, because of the intimate video of Aaron and Jodie, the online discussions about who the real siblings were became even more intense.
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In the courtyard, after Jodie finished speaking, the assistant director, along with the cameraman knocked on the doors of the other guests‘ rooms and conducted interviews with them.
Everyone kept their responses brief, sharing their feelings. This made Jodie’s earlier statements seem excessive and overly calculated.
After asking each guest about their feelings, the production team once again ended the broadcast and left the courtyard.
Seeing the live broadcast end, Titus couldn’t help but call Aaron and express his frustration.
Aaron felt inexplicably wronged, wondering why he was being scolded so late at night. Jodie was worried and anxious, which was why she had sought comfort from him.
This was their normal way of interacting with Jodie, and she enjoyed being cared for in this way. How was he supposed to know the production team would make a surprise visit? Moreover, how could his brothers blame him? He argued with Titus over the phone, and they ended the call without resolving anything.
Titus, looking at the public opinion online, was equally frustrated. He had planned for Aaron to solidify Jodie’s ‘nice girl‘ persona by participating in the variety show and subsequently gaining popularity. Following this, he could continue to provide resources for Jodie, aiming to propel her to the ranks of top–tier actresses next year.
Little did he know, things had completely backfired. Not only did Jodie fail to rise to stardom, but her reputation also suffered greatly in comparison to Simone.
He was at a loss for how to resolve this situation. Sitting in his study, he pondered late into the night and suddenly came up with an idea. He immediately called Aaron.
Aaron, unable to sleep and tossing and turning in bed, answered the phone when it rang.
“Why are you calling so late, Titus?”
Titus didn’t waste any time with small talk. “I need to discuss something with Leon. Please pass the phone to him.”
Aaron was quite puzzled. Why would his brother be looking for Leon in the middle of the night? Nevertheless, he didn’t ask too many questions and called out to Leon.
Leon had already been awakened by the ringing phone. “What’s up?”
Aaron handed him the phone, saying, “Titus needs to talk to you.”
Leon was unaware of the live broadcast incident involving Aaron and Jodie in the courtyard. So, finding it all quite confusing, he took the phone and asked, “Why are you calling so late? What’s going
Titus recounted the previous events, as well as the ongoing discussions online.
“There’s only one way now to divert everyone’s attention,” Titus announced.
Leon frowned, wondering what this method could be. Considering the late–night call from Titus, he
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speculated that it probably involved him.
As expected, Titus quickly followed up. “We’ll publicly reveal that you and Simone were in a relationship