TL by Myoni
Edited by Myoni & Yoni
We arrived at their residence 15 minutes later. It looked dull when I saw it yesterday, but now that I was looking at it under the bright sunshine, it was completely different. Its white walls covered with ivy had a charming appeal to it.
I pressed the doorbell when we got to the 5th floor. I didn’t know the door passcode yet. Since it looked like they’ve been through a number of managers and since they would have had to change the door passcode every time a manager quit, it seemed like they don’t reveal the passcode easily.
“Who is it?”
Seoyoung peeked out as the door opened to the length of the safety chain.
“It’s us. Chief’s busy so we’re the only ones who came.”
“Wait a bit!”
After the door closed, it opened up widely. We carefully entered. Although it was our second time, we still weren’t used to it. The traitor’s arms and legs were already stiff. Was he really nervous or was it just his thing?
“You guys came?”
“Yup, good morning.”
The members huddled around the living room as they greeted us. And they stared up at me, the both of us. I guessed the reason why they looked more energetic than yesterday was because of Next K-Star.
A morning greeted by dazzling beauties. Even without sleep, I was energized and felt full without eating.
If the future I saw really happens, then I guess I would miss this scene.
“Although we heard from Hyunjo oppa and Team Leader Park over a hundred times on the phone… I still think I have to hear it in person to really feel that it’s happening. Are we really going on Next K-Star? As a permanent member?”
Seoyoung asked while fiddling with her fingers. Both her eyes were shining and her lips were sealed shut. It wasn’t just Seoyoung, but Taehee and LJ who were on the sofa and Songha who was laying on the rug were waiting for our reply.
Both the traitor and I said simultaneously.
Seoyoung jumped up and down. Her chest underneath her loose t-shirt bounced along with her. She was really cute. I have to take a picture of this. I quickly took out my phone and took a picture. Of course, above her shoulders.
As soon as they heard the shutter sound, all the girls looked at me.
“I did it because the PR team leader told me to take a lot of pictures.”
I confidently gave my reasoning and took more pictures of the girls gathered in the living room. They were indeed celebrities, as soon as the lens faced their direction, their poses and expressions changed. When I checked to see how the pictures turned out, there was nothing to throw out.
“What do I do, I’m so happy. I kept thinking it was a dream and constantly searched for articles.”
Seoyoung was still holding her phone in her hand.
“Don’t look at it too much, stupid.”
LJ kicked Seoyoung’s leg.
“There are mean comments as well.”
“I like the mean comments, though. It’s our first time getting attention, who are we to discriminate?”
“Let’s see how long you like it.”
“Stop acting like you’re so calm. I know you called your parents to tell them this morning. You spent two hours on an international call when your dirt poor!”
Seoyoung smirked while provoking her. LJ had a fit and suddenly got up from the sofa.
“I’m not the one who called. My mom called when she saw the article! And it’s not that I am acting calm, I’m being cautious!”
From the looks of it, the one who looked really calm was Songha. I didn’t know if she had nerves of steel or if she looked that way because she had a poker face.
At the moment, she was eating chips while rolling about on the rug. Crumbs fell on the rug. Well, she was better than my brother’s kids as she cleaned it up.
By picking up each one and emptying in her mouth…
“I think we need to start getting ready.”
The traitor gestured towards the clock.
“We don’t have a lot of time since the interview is at 2.”
“We’re ready. We can go.”
Songha was the first one up. The other members went to their rooms and brought things like bags and hats with them. They did well by themselves. I was worried because it was only the traitor and me, but it seemed like everything would progress smoothly even without Hyunjo.
Though Seoyoung almost fell twice while looking at her phone and it did get quite noisy when LJ stole it.
We got in the van as we exited the apartment. The traitor took his place in the driver’s seat.
“The shop address… it’s this one.”
I set the GPS to the shop address and put on my seat belt. When I looked back to the rear seats, I saw that none of the members put on their seat belts and were preoccupied practicing what they would say in the interview.
“Everyone should put on their seat belts when they get in a van.”
As soon as I said that, I did a double take. Did I act like a man with 4 kids again?
Whenever my habits from taking care of the quadruplets popped out, my friends would humiliate me by calling me Jungjumma, Jung-Parent, Jung-Mom.
When I glanced back, luckily the members seemed to just go along with it. They lowered their heads and put on their seat belts.
I felt relieved as I took a picture of that scene as well.
The boredom of waiting at the shop was endurable today. While the girls were getting their makeup and hair done, the traitor and I sat on the sofa gathering information from articles on Next K-Star.
The name of the program was ‘Next K-Star’.
It was the follow-up to the survival audition program that was just finishing its seventh season. It seemed like the program was filling in since it took a long time to prepare for audition programs.
Although I didn’t know as I was uninterested, there was a lot of interest in Next K-Star considering it was a new program.
Did the appearance of idols have a positive effect?
From the looks of it, it was because their looks were much better than average and although they were all new, there were some boy groups who already had a fandom. If you were to take into account all the buzz on social media and community sites, there were a considerable number of fans promoting Next K-Star.
Of course, even the studio was spending a lot on promotions as well. As the viewership of audition programs which brought a boom to the cable industry was steadily declining every season, the studio was probably quite desperate to find another hit program.
Maybe it was because the studio had already sucked out as much as it could from audition programs that they were now directly pushing a head-to-head competition between idols.
It was a concept where 4 girl groups and 4 boy groups, 8 teams in total, would compete against each other and one would come out on top to receive the title of Next K-Star.
They competed in various themes. In the article, it stated that they would compete in fields like singing, dancing and modeling as well as their performance on entertainment programs.
After the competition, the winner would be determined by the group who received the highest score from guest judges and the text message votes from viewers. If the staff were successful in just raising the groups’ popularity, there was no way it wouldn’t be a topic of interest.
The prize for winning was a 7-part reality TV series produced by Knet and the right to attend the esteemed Knet’s Asian Music Awards, where only outstanding Kpop stars could attend. From my eyes, it looked like it would be a considerably good chance for them.
“Fans are probably going to fight a lot during the viewer voting process.”
They would probably go crazy trying to make their teams win.
The traitor nodded in agreement.
“Well, they put viewer voting in there for that. It raises the show’s popularity. Since the voting process will be in a league of their own.”
“If girl groups are pitted against boy groups, the girl groups’ fandoms will lose out, so the winner should be from one of the boy groups. Even the audition program never had a female winner for its past 7 seasons.”
“Really? Then I guess we need to give up on trying to win and focus on gaining popularity.”
“Producer Go Joontae is a really aggressive editor so if we’re unlucky, we might only receive tons of insults.”
That’s right. There will always be a sacrificial lamb in a devil’s editing process. Since it said that Neptune received a lot of insults, the girls must have gotten into some sort of trouble. I had to keep my eyes wide open and watch out for whatever it was.
Someone entered the shop. It wasn’t a big party like us, only two people. I didn’t know the man who was leading the way, but the man wearing the black snapback looked familiar.
He was a hip-hop artist who debuted a long time ago. Since I listened to his songs back when I was in high school. Although he seems to have switched his job to an entertainer from an artist.
When I was living with my parents, so when I still had a TV, Kim Jonghoon was a permanent member of an entertainment show I used to watch frequently.
Seoyoung with only half her hair curled instantly got up. The other members followed suit and greeted him. Kim Jonghoon looked like a regular middle-aged man surrounded by girls as he waved his hand smiling broadly.
“Wah… I think I am going to come here at this time from now on. Girl group?”
“We are Neptune!”
The charming Seoyoung who was the best at talking took the lead as she introduced the group and her members. Jonghoon’s face became more and more relaxed. While they were introducing each other, the traitor and I also introduced ourselves. Though our target was the manager.
“Hello. We are Neptune’s managers.”
“Yeah, hi. I’m Jonghoon hyung’s manger.”
He had a shaggy beard and I was unsure if he was drinking until morning, but he emitted a strong smell of alcohol every time he breathed.
“They are the ones who are going on Next K-Star, right? There were a lot of articles about that today.”
“Yes, you’re right. Please take care of us.”
“There isn’t anything to ask of me. But, it looks like you guys will be really stressed soon.”
“Aren’t there eight teams?”
“Then if they all gather in one spot, there will probably be like 50-60 people. It’s not like it’s an idol track meet or anything, fuck. I wouldn’t be able to handle that.”
50-60 people. I didn’t think of that.
During the music broadcast yesterday, it seemed like there was an invisible tension among the groups. I guess Next K-Star would be much worse? Since it wasn’t like we were stuck in our own waiting rooms like during the broadcast, everyone would have to face each other.
This wasn’t a problem of just the fans, it looked like there really could be a fight amongst the teams.
Jonghoon’s manager lowered his voice.
“The girls who dropped out because of the DUI, their manager is that asshole, right? The large bastard with the appearance of a dirty gangster.”
“I am just letting you know just in case, be careful of that bastard.”
“I saw him a few times, he doesn’t come from a good crowd. If we meet at the studio, he never greets me. Bastard. There are even rumors about him beating the girls he’s in charge of. Rumors of him threatening other managers as well. Anyways, there aren’t just one or two dirty rumors about that bastard.”
He did look that way. Just looking at the way he called a girl he’s in charge of a damn bitch and rag-like bitch… and without any hesitation even though I was watching him.
He really did glare at me for a long while. It probably was due to the suit, if I showed any hints of being a new manager, I think the atmosphere would have turned much more brutal.
“He probably got busted for not taking care of the girls properly, so do you think he’ll look at you who replaced them in a good light? What I’m saying is he could try to let it out on you guys. Just keep that in mind.”
“Yes, thank you.”
“What do you mean thanks… if that bastard really does try to do something, call some reporters.”
Not the security or police?
“Reporters work best against bastards like him. Since if they are unlucky, their company’s image could fall with a single article. You guys probably have one or two entertainment reporters you’re familiar with, right?”
The traitor answered. Damn it. The person the Lemon Girls’ manager was most likely going to fight with seemed to be me, but why was it that the traitor the one on friendly terms with a reporter.
…Nothing will happen, right?