Chapter 15: Start with Entertainment, Next K-Star (5)

TL by Myoni

Edited by Myoni & Yoni


 

Jonghoon’s manager was a gossiper. His lips wouldn’t stop moving. He had been talking about 7 years’ worth of problems for almost an hour.

Like how he bowed so much for the first few years that he got a slipped disc and how he used to get drunk after 5 glasses, but now, after drinking with entertainment reporters and producers every night, his limit had increased to 5 bottles. He talked about these things again and again.

At first, I actively responded, but I was getting exhausted.

“Really? We also…”

On the other hand, the traitor was the same as ever, smiling as he agreed with him.

It was one of two things. It was either he really found these stories fun or he was someone who was incredibly good at socializing. Of course, it was probably the latter. If he was normal, there was no way he would find these stories fun.

“Sunwoo.”

“Yeah?”

The traitor looked at his watch.

“Looks like we have to get the girls their food soon.”

“I’ll go and buy it.”

I quickly got up. The traitor handed me the credit card.

“I got this from the chief this morning. He said to always get the receipt after we use it.”

“Okay, I’ll be back.”

When I got my coat and was about to leave, I got called over.

“Hey, get us some as well while you’re at it. Here.”

Jonghoon’s manager handed me a $10 bill. He waved the bill in between his hairy fingers.

I should just… So this was why they say if you felt that something is unjust, you needed to succeed.

“…What would you like?”

“Things like soft drinks and chips. Ah, Jonghoon hyung likes potato chips.”

Keep it in. Keep it in.

I buttoned up my coat and exited the shop. Although it was a bit chilly, I felt like I could finally live a little. I thought I was going to die from suffocation.

I put my hands in my pockets and walked a few steps when the door of the shop opened.

“I’ll come with you.”

It was Songha. It seemed like she came out abruptly as she didn’t have any outerwear on.

“Why? Do you need something from the convenience store?”

“I want to pick the ones I want to eat myself.”

“Okay. But how urgent were you to not wear your outerwear?”

“Ah… do you think it’ll be cold?”

“Of course, it will be cold. If you go out like this, your bones are going to chill. I’ll wait so go in and wear something on top.”

Soon after, Songha who was burrowed in a jumper came out.

We kept a reasonable distance between each other. Though our clothes would occasionally brush against each other as we walked. I’m telling you it was just a natural reflex.

Maybe it was because they were going to an interview today, she seemed a lot more natural and prettier than yesterday. Her skin looked clean and dewy and her long, straight, black hair fluttered in the wind.

During the few minutes it took to get to the convenience store, Songha attracted the attention of the passing pedestrians. Male, female, old or young, no matter who it was, those that saw Songha would slow their steps.

And slowly, as they passed by us very slowly, they would admire Songha. After they passed us, they would look back once more.

It wasn’t that they recognized Songha, a girl group member. It was that she was just too pretty.

My face burned up. Although I was granted with foresight, at this moment I could read people’s minds. They were probably curious about the relationship between Songha and me.

After going through the common choices of friend, sibling and relative, they would think, ‘No way they are dating.’ They would look at how our shoulders wouldn’t meet even as we walked side-by-side and be pleased.

But, she must be tired of being the center of attention wherever she goes. Was she okay?

When I looked to the side, Songha was calmly playing with her phone. Was she mentally strong or was she just unaware? I thought she was looking at articles like Seoyoung, but I was wrong.

Either call history or text or messaging screen… Was she waiting for someone?

Ring.

“Welcome!”

The part-timer greeted courteously as we entered the store.

To Songha.

I picked up the yellow basket at the front and made my way through the store. Whenever I placed an item in the basket, Songha would be busy moving around and dumping 2 or 3 items in it. The basket was already getting heavy.

After placing Seoyoung’s zero calorie pudding in the basket, I was about to make my way to the counter, when my side felt empty. I didn’t see Songha. Just where did she go again… When I looked around, I saw her waiting for me at the counter already. No, she was staring at something next to the counter.

It was skewered fish cakes with hot steam rising from it. There were all sorts of things in stores these days. It definitely wasn’t here yesterday. She seemed to have good luck when it came to food as well as quite the appetite.

“Do you want to eat one?”

“Can I have two?”

“You can have as many as you want.”

It wasn’t like it was my money anyways.

“I would like this skewered fish cake. Do we have to pay before we eat?”

When I asked the part-timer, he didn’t even give me a glance as he explained to Songha.

That’s enough, you jerk.

“You can eat first and pay all at once later.”

“Okay.”

“Excuse me… but are you a celebrity?”

“Yes. I am Lee Songha of Neptune.”

“Wow, wow, no wonder! Can you take a picture with me later? I will be your fan.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

“Maybe two…”

Hey, she might choke while eating.

“Can you put these through first?”

Since he was bothering a girl who was eating, I handed him a heavy basket. The part-timer showed his dissatisfaction as he scanned the barcodes.

Songha ate 7 skewers where she stood. She ate so pleasantly, I kept glancing at her. So this was why people watched social eating channels… I wondered if it really was that tasty and had three myself. It was just average.

Anyways, since Songha suggested it, we packed a bowl of fish cakes to go. There was a mountain of food.

Since he handed me his phone, I took a picture of them. When he checked his phone while making a fuss, his expression stiffened.

Hey, just what were you expecting. It’s not my fault you turned out like a squid.

It was the same as before when we made our way back to the shop. People’s gazes gathered on us like magnets. Admiring stares at Songha and stares filled with interest, envy and jealousy for me.

If there was one thing that was different than before, it was that our shoulders were slightly brushing against each other. Was it because we ate fish cakes together, it felt like the awkward distance between us shortened a bit. Very little. Around half a step?

While we were walking, Songha checked her phone again. Call history. Text. Talk[1]… I didn’t think much of it before, but I suddenly recalled what the PR team leader told me. To check if they were dating or not.

Maybe…

“Are you waiting for someone?”

“My mom and dad.”

So it wasn’t like that.

“Thank you.”

Songha unexpectedly thanked me.

“For what?”

Don’t tell me it was because I bought you fish cakes.

“I didn’t buy it with my own money.”

“No, it’s not that… getting us into K-Star. I heard from the chief.”

Ah, that.

It wasn’t easy to read, but was she thinking about K-Star all this time?

“Well, it was only natural. It’s my job.”

I tried my best to not show joy in my voice and expression, but it seemed like I failed. It’s my job? It’s my job? Was this something a new recruit who only worked for two could say? On top of that, in terms of working in society, she was my superior.

“Because of oppa, I am able to work.”

“Hmm?”

“I really wanted to work this whole time…”

“You have always been working.”

“Until now, there were more rest days than work days, but from now on, we have a regular schedule. I like that. I hope Next K-Star doesn’t fail and is successful.”

“Don’t worry. It’s going to be a huge success.”

Since it will have an incredible viewership rating and will continue to have more seasons afterwards.

“Really?”

“Yeah. I have really good senses.”

It was actually going to get good to be exact.

Now that I thought about my foresight ability, I was curious about Songha’s future. Everyone could clearly see she was meant to be a celebrity.

I wondered what her future would be like 20 years from now? Even if Neptune was popular and continued on for a while, by then they would have retired.

What were past girl groups doing these days? There were some who became someone’s wife, someone’s mother and would appear on child care shows. Some that have continued on as a musical actor or a solo artist. Others who have switched to acting… Wonder what path Songha would walk?

Although I was curious, since my ability didn’t help me, there was nothing I could do.

“Then what place do you think we’ll be?”

“I heard it would be hard to place in the top since girl groups tend to lack votes… but why do the rankings matter?

“Aren’t rankings important?”

“Although it’s good if you place high…”

For Neptune whose popularity was at rock bottom, it would be considered a success if they could get their name out there. If they were lucky, their buried albums might even be rediscovered.

It was too greedy to ask for first place on music charts, but it was good if they became a group who were known to sing these kinds of songs.

And if one of the members became a hit with the viewers and became super popular, it would really be like winning the lottery.

“Besides that, I think it’s more worrying that you guys have to constantly compete against other team members.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Wouldn’t it be hard? Psychological warfare and stuff… Seoyoung said it last time. That if you were in another team, you wouldn’t have been able to endure and would have cried and given up.”

Although, it was hard for me to imagine her of all people crying… Well, there was that incident with Sugar Cats yesterday too. It didn’t seem like something that could be glossed over.

Ah right, I learned about it late, but Sugar Cats were also appearing on Next K-Star. I was worried that something might happen on site.

“Oppa, you said you had four nieces and nephews, right?”

“Right.”

“Same with me. Two older sisters and one younger sister, there are four including me and we were all born a year apart.”

That household’s parents seemed to have gone through a lot as well.

“I endured in there, so where wouldn’t I endure?”

That, I agree with. My nieces all had max level fighting power, so they never came home after getting bullied.

“Four at home and four in the residence. You must have adapted well to your new lifestyle.”

“Compared to home, it’s heaven.”

“It’s that bad?”

“In the residence, no one touches the ice cream I write my name on.”

My first real conversation with Songha ended with stories about eating.

 


[1] Kakao Talk

 

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12 thoughts on “Chapter 15: Start with Entertainment, Next K-Star (5)”

  1. I like the feel of this chapter. No real progress, neither in plot nor new foresights by MC but just the simple interaction between him and one of his charge. Personally, I’d prefer him not to have any romantic loveline with any of the Neptune girls because he is in a working relationship with them and I honestly think that while he acknowledges them as being attractive looking, he most probably see them as older versions of his nieces. That’s only my humble opinion of course. The author might have different ideas on that.

    1. I think it’s unlikely – unless the author wants to make it a scandal. Korean and Japanese fandom gets pretty fanatical about their imaginary girlfriend popstars dating anyone. It’s almost as if they treat the girls as 2d rather than 3d, and finding out that their dream girl might actually have had sex makes them aware she’s a person rather than a fantasy.

      That’s why his boss is trying to find out if the girl is actually dating that singer. She will likely lose fans if it’s found out to be true – plus pick up antifans who are fans of the singer.

      So it would likely be a career killer for any newbie to the scene of star management to actually date one of his popstars. From the pov of his company he’d be decreasing the value of the asset he is meant to be managing.

      1. Oh, I agree that it would be a career killer indeed for MC who had only started his first ever dream job (tho not with his dream actress/actors lol) to engage in such a scandal with any one of the girls. It’s really not the place and time for that kind of shenanigan to happen plus, his own future (parallel) success depends on him having a good working and professional relationship with all the artists and non-artists mentioned so far.

    2. Yup! Although the beginning chapters are slow, I really like how the author builds up different plots at once. Another thing I appreciate is that it’s in first person perspective, so readers are always guessing along with the mc. 🙂
      -Myoni

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