TL by Myoni
Edited by Myoni & Yoni
As soon as we returned to the shop, it seemed like the girls were really hungry as they welcomed us aggressively. We handed out the warm lunch boxes from the convenience store as well as other snacks and gave some to Kim Jonghoon and his manager as well as the shop employees.
The traitor and I asked for their understanding.
“Sorry. If we don’t eat now, we won’t have time to eat later.”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about us and eat. It’s not like we don’t understand your situation.”
We still nodded our heads. My neck and lower back weren’t able to rest since yesterday.
We opened up the lunch boxes at a corner of the shop. Mine was the bulgogi lunch box. As soon as I smelled the food, my stomach rumbled. I could even hear it growling.
Now that I thought about it, I skipped breakfast. I only had coffee up until now. Being full from looking at the girls’ faces only lasted for a moment.
My chopsticks moved quickly, as I gobbled up my lunch.
As expected. Bulgogi never lets me down.
The girls immediately continued to get their makeup done after putting down their chopsticks. Soon after, they changed into the outfits their stylists brought them and they were ready.
We quickly got in the van. Our destination was G-Today newspaper company which was located in Jongno-District. In articles, the pictures were normally taken inside a café with a nice interior, but was there a place to take pictures in this gloomy building?
I worried they weren’t going to be as photogenic when they rushed here without being able to eat properly. If there were embarrassing photos taken due to bad lighting or angles, controversy could pop up saying that they had plastic surgery done.
While the traitor was parking the van in the basement, I called the number of the reporter Hyunjo gave me. A young woman answered after a long while.
-Yes, this is G-Today’s Park Woojeong.
“I am Neptune’s manager. We have just arrived. Where should we go?”
-Gasp! Y-you’re already here?!
The appointment was at 2 and it was 1:40 right now. What did she mean by already?
“Isn’t the interview at 2?”
-That’s right, it’s at 2. But… Ah, damn it.
Ah, damn it?
-Euah, I’m sorry. Can you come to the fourth floor first?
I could hear her scrambling on the other end.
Just what was going on?
First I got off the van. The girls were taking their time fixing their makeup again. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong to me, but the makeup artists were hurriedly applying and touching stuff up.
Hyunjo called and said he was nearby so the traitor went to pick him up while the girls and I made our way up to the fourth floor. Although it was only for a while, since I was in a situation where I was the only one in charge, my body stiffened with nervousness.
Well, it was only for a bit. Nothing would happen, right?
There were a lot of people in the building. I couldn’t tell who was a reporter or not, so I greeted everyone I passed. The words, ‘Hello, I am Neptune’s manager, Jung Sunwoo,’ were now a habit.
“Hello, we are Neptune!”
Even the people who didn’t give me a glance when I introduced myself concentrated on Neptune’s bright and energetic voices.
“Who are they? They’re pretty?”
“Are they new? It looks like they’ve come for an interview.”
“I saw them somewhere… Ah, aren’t they them? Next K-Star.”
They must have thought they were whispering to each other, but I could hear them clearly.
While waiting for the female reporter, I took a peek at the world of reporters and it was mayhem. Papers, newspapers and post-its were everywhere and although there were many people on the phone, the surroundings were still noisy as phones were constantly ringing.
People stricken with complete exhaustion were the same here as W&U.
“Gasp, gasp! Sorry!”
A woman ran towards us. A tightly pulled ponytail and a face with no makeup. The woman who wore large glasses seemed to be in her mid-twenties.
And she seemed oddly familiar.
It was definitely my first time seeing her. And it wasn’t like she had a common face…
“You must have waited for a long time!”
“We had just arrived.”
“Uhh… what do I do? First, first, please come this way.”
The confused female reporter led us to a cramped office pantry.
“…We aren’t conducting an interview in here, are we?”
“No! We will have the interview in the interview room, but the person in front of you hasn’t finished yet. I checked everywhere, but all the other meeting rooms were full and this was the only place that was empty… I am really sorry.”
The female reporter brought chairs from different places, but we were still missing some. In the end, the girls who all wearing high heels sat while the reporter and I stood as we talked.
“If things moved as planned, the person in front of you should have been done by now, but that person wasn’t feeling well so he came a bit late.”
Once the door of the office pantry closed, the reporter was embarrassed as her face reddened.
“They say they will be done in 5 minutes, so please wait here until then.”
“Ah… Yes, I understand.”
“Sh-should I get you some coffee? We have instant and ground coffee as well as green tea.”
The reporter made coffee while trying read Neptune’s mood. Her face said that if they want to swear to just get it over and done with, but the girls had no complaints staying in the cramped office pantry. Instead, they were discussing what they should say during the interview and what kind of poses they should make during the photo shoot.
And Seoyoung got up to help make the coffees.
“Miss Reporter, will you be interviewing us?”
“Pardon? Yes, that’s right. I will be doing it.”
“Please take care of us.”
“Of course, definitely! I will pull an all-nighter to write Neptune’s article.”
“Sorry? You look really tired… Don’t work all night.”
“I haven’t slept for three days so I feel like I’m going to die, but I’m going to die after I write Neptune’s article.”
The reporter seemed to like Seoyoung’s charming mannerisms.
“Neptune is going to get their big break this time. Your songs are good and you’re on Next K-Star as well.”
“Really? You’ve listened to our songs?”
“Of course, I listened to the songs of the group I am interviewing. I listened to them continuously on my way to work today.”
Although we waited a lot longer than the 5 minutes the group ahead of us was supposed to take, the mood was peaceful and pleasant.
The female reporter seemed captivated by the Neptune members. Especially Seoyoung. She even boasted how well she could write Neptune’s article.
During that time, Hyunjo and the traitor arrived. Hyunjo was speechless when he looked at the girls gathered in the office pantry, but seemed satisfied after listening to the reporter’s boastings.
We finally came out of the office pantry after 30 minutes. The reporter led us to the interview room. The interview room was much larger and more comfortable than the office pantry. The girls sat in a line while Hyunjo, the traitor and I took our seats as well.
“Then, shall we sta…”
The reporter was talking when a man in his thirties came in.
“Park Woojeong, you go and keep writing those Lemon Girls’ articles. It doesn’t look like that will drop from first place for a while. Finish 20 articles before you go home today.”
“Pardon?! But senior, I am conducting an interview right now?”
“I’ll do this for you. I am going to check tomorrow’s traffic, so don’t slack off.”
“What are you doing, go quickly!”
Eventually, the female reporter stood up with a depressed face. Her lips were tightly shut as she held herself back. Although this was unfortunate, there wasn’t anything I could do. Even Seoyoung could only half-get up, she wasn’t sure what she could do and she too was unable to keep do anything.
We weren’t in a position where we could point out a reporter’s actions.
“Eeyah, how dazzling. You’re Neptune, right? I am Reporter Hwang Junggu.”
“Yes… Nice to meet you.”
“You must have waited a long time. The one in front of you was the artist Lazy. It took longer since that friend wasn’t feeling well. I heard you guys were waiting in an office pantry. I should have been the one to lead you, that girl is a probationary employee so she doesn’t know much…”
The leaving reporter started. Reporter Hwang Junggu was laughing loudly while discussing briefly with Hyunjo when he was surprised to see the traitor.
“Huh? Weren’t you Blackout’s manager?”
“That’s right. I was reassigned to this team yesterday.”
“Wow, you have great timing! Neptune will be a hit soon.”
“Haha. Thank you.”
While Reporter Hwang Junggu was talking with the traitor, the female reporter left the room. Reporter Hwang Junggu didn’t care as he spoke.
“But, chief, you should have let us know about Neptune appearing on Next K-Star first. There was also the incident with Lemon Girls, there must have been a lot going on yesterday.”
The interview commenced. Questions asked by Reporter Hwang Junggu were mostly about Next K-Star. How they were cast, how they felt when they knew they were cast, their resolution for appearing on a competition program.
And once in a while, a sensitive question was asked.
What they thought about Lemon Girls’ DUI incident, if they were confident in doing better than Lemon Girls… As soon as the girls were having difficulty, Hyunjo answered in their stead or they just glossed over it with smiling faces.
The interview went on. When I saw the traitor return from the washroom, I silently got up. As I walked around with my aching shoulder, I coincidentally met with the female reporter coming out of the women’s washroom.
She still looked mad.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes… How’s the interview? Is it going well?”
The reporter smiled slightly.
But why did I feel like I’ve seen her before? It was unsettling.
Before I could ask if we’ve seen each other somewhere, I suddenly remembered.
Where I had seen her.
“Sorry, but what did you say your name was?”
“Park Woojeong. Here.”
The reporter took out her wallet and handed me her business card.
If that face aged twenty years and if black lipstick was applied on her lips and her hair was dyed blond and cut short.
Who I saw in the future, the one who came to interview me.
 Bulgogi is fucking great. Grilled marinated beef. Link here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgogi  District in Korea