Chapter 18: If you don’t step, you get stepped on (1)

TL by Myoni

Edited by Myoni & Yoni


 

It felt like someone had grabbed my hair and was dragging me around.

That was how it felt as each day passed by hectically.

Outside the company, the photoshoot for Next K-Star’s poster, teaser video shoot and individual profile video shoots all started at the same time.

It was the process of getting rid of everything that had Lemon Girls and replacing it with Neptune. The day was so packed that the staff and ourselves felt like we were going to die.

In the company, it was meeting after meeting after meeting. From the PR team that I had met before to Neptune’s vocal trainer, choreographer and stylists… I think I had meetings with half the employees within a few days. I had already given up on trying to remember all their names.

During lunch and dinner time, I followed Hyunjo to his external meetings. Once our appearance on Next K-Star was guaranteed, other places started to bite.

That was why at lunch we would eat with some cable program’s producer, at dinner eat with an employee of an event agency and drink with reporters…

I realized the reason why managers would get into accidents by falling asleep while driving. This kind of schedule was something that could not be handled with a human body.

I couldn’t go home yesterday as well. In the few days since I started working at W&U, I was starting to become a poltergeist in the company. A movie I was really looking forward to was released, but I haven’t had the chance to go see it.

Did this make sense?

However, they said that this was only a decent amount of work. They said once Neptune becomes a hit and has nationwide schedules and international ones as well, I would miss these days… That was what Hyunjo told me.

A bastard even a grim reaper wouldn’t take. To call that support…

If you’re going to give me this much work, give me life risk pay! I might actually die!

“Gasp!”

I was so agitated; I was about to swallow my toothpaste.

Did I already get anger management issues…

I spit out the toothpaste and rinsed my mouth. I was deathly exhausted. My face reflected on the mirror had sunken to about half in a few days.

I didn’t care who, I just wanted someone to hit me. So I could rest at the hospital.

I was resting for a bit with my hands on the sink when I heard a noise from the entrance of the washroom.

“How far are you going to follow me for? Are you going to follow me into the washroom?”

“Hyung, ah, hyung…!”

Two men entered the washroom. One had a normal appearance while the other… The man who looked great even the washroom, Sung Dowon.

The man hesitated before telling Dowon.

“Just look at the synopsis, hyung.”

“Sigh… Stop pestering me.”

“I already read it and the synopsis is really good. Rumors have spread and there are already a bunch of people who want it. If hyung says he’s not going to do it, I bet someone will probably snatch it right away? Hyung, the director said if you agree, he can sign the contract for $7, 000 per episode.”

“Even so, I am not going to do any more dramas. It’s exhausting on my body and there are too many cases where the story goes astray.”

“This project is 100% written in advanced. That’s why I am telling hyung to do it. There’s even a Swiss on-site shoot. Hyung, you said you wanted to go on a trip to Switzerland.”

“Sigh… Okay. I get it so give me the synopsis. I’ll read it once.”

How envious. I envied that manager the most.

“Hello.”

Sung Dowon looked straight at me and greeted me. I clenched the hand that was holding my toothbrush.

“Yes, hello.”

“You look so tired. You should take care of your health while you work.”

“Ah… Thank you.”

He even had a great personality along with his looks. He has it all. Has it all.

When I was admiring Sung Dowon, his manager looked at me with an unhappy expression. Eventually, I left as if I was getting kicked out.

I wanted to see him more… No, it was a good thing. If I was there any longer, I might have grabbed Dowon and asked when he was going to ask me to be his manager.

He said, ‘I wish Mr. Sunwoo could be my manager.’

Then did that mean I was going to replace that manager? Or work under him?

Any way was fine, I just hoped that day would come soon. It must be coming. It was a conversation about how I helped Sung Dowon when he was facing an incident that could end his acting career.

Although I felt bad for Dowon, since it was going to happen, I wished it would happen soon.

I will help you with all my strength, so, please.

I thought that being able to see the future was a cheat skill that gave me the answers to all of my life’s problems, but since I only knew the answer and not the problem-solving process, it was really frustrating.

However, if it was certain I was going to be Sung Dowon’s manager in the future, I would be able to endure the current trial as though it was a passing typhoon.

When I entered the office, the traitor was already ready and talking to other employees with a smile.

“Oh, you came?”

Don’t smile, you jerk.

My body was exhausted, but whenever I see the traitor, even my mind felt like it was taking a hit.

“We’re leaving in 5 minutes. Since it’s our first recording, he said we have to go early and meet with the staff.”

“Where’s chief?”

“He said he had someone to call so he went down first.”

On our way to the elevator, I saw a whiteboard hanging on the wall. It was the various W&U’s celebrities’ schedules. On today’s date, it had ‘Neptune-Next K-Star Filming’. I was really happy when I wrote that at that time…

We met up with Hyunjo and drove the van to Neptune’s residence. I was the driver. Since we had to drive multiple times a day, I couldn’t just leave driving all to the traitor. So I eventually built up my courage to drive and when I did, it really wasn’t all that bad.

“Hello!”

“Yeah, did you all have good dreams last night?”

“We practiced all night!”

Even though it was morning, all the Neptune members were filled with energy. And although they tried to calm themselves down, it was cute to see how their expectations for their first filming were clearly visible.

We definitely were busy together, but why was it while I was in this condition, the girls’ faces looked even better. They adapted to their schedule and once they learned that the first theme was singing, they even put more effort into their vocal training.

Just what was their secret? Was this the power of supervision?

After getting their makeup and hair done at the shop, we made our way to the film studio. I listened to the conversation at the back while driving. Hyunjo grabbed the girls’ attentions and was giving them advice.

“When you do the interview, think wisely before answering. You don’t need to rush to answer, so pick and choose your words carefully. Have you guys watched all the programs Producer Joontae has directed?”

“Of course.”

“They don’t just say it’s the devil’s editing process for no reason. When producers are editing the footage, they don’t care what intentions you had during the interview. They only care about the text. There are even some that ignore the context and just string various words together.”

“We know. We printed out sample interview questions and practiced with each other.”

“Good. I’m not worried about Taehee. Seoyoung and LJ, you guys make mistakes when you flustered so be careful and don’t lose your tempers. And… Songha, you’re the one I’m the most worried about.”

Hyunjo shook his head. When I saw Songha through the rear-view mirror, her blinking eyes showed that she couldn’t accept it. Even I, who was only around for a few days, could understand what Hyunjo was worried about.

“Why me?”

“You don’t express yourself a lot and your straightforward words could easily be misinterpreted. Even your words just now, you asked because you were curious, but if it edited with a weird timing, it could make you look bad.”

“…Me?”

“What’s the point. Your face will be enough so just stick close to your unnis[1] with your mouth closed. I’m also going to keep a careful watch, but you girls need to be careful as well. And when you girls are doing a group interview, try to make it so that it doesn’t get to Songha.”

“Okay. Don’t worry too much, oppa.”

“Sunwoo and Gunyoung. You guys keep an eye out for the girls too.”

“Yes.”

I wasn’t the type to watch a lot of entertainment programs so when I went to investigate them I was surprised. The Devil’s editing process was much more intense than back when I watched these programs.

It looked like they would edit aggressively and purposely create controversy. It even looked like they would plan to make one of the cast get insulted to increase the popularity of the program.

Because of this, there were a few that went on interviews crying while saying that they were the sacrificial lambs of the Devil’s editing process and also, some who took to social media to fire shots at the producers.

I hoped that it wouldn’t happen to Neptune.

I didn’t know if they received insults due to the aggressive article or if there was something else. I hoped that I could find some hints from the future, but there were no signs of that happening.

It was like it was teasing me, keeping me hanging.

Not much time had passed when we arrived at the Next K-Star studio. In the concert hall-sized studio, the staff were installing all the cameras, light and audio equipment and were busy making sure everything was working.

Since we came early for a preliminary interview, the other idol groups hadn’t arrived yet.

We made our rounds of greeting and were led straight to the interview room. Inside the room, two cameras and lights were installed and some staff, as well as Producer Joontae and a writer, were present.

While the members were putting on their mics, we talked with the producer and the writer. To be exact, Hyunjo was the one talking while Gunyoung and I stood beside him.

“Please take good care of us, Mr. Producer.”

“Why does everyone ask me to take care of them when they come for interviews? If you compared my program to others, I’m not that aggressive. It’s pretty much a documentary.”

Like hell it is.

And quickly Producer Joontae proved his words were false. He would first set them at ease by asking questions like, ‘What were your thoughts on participating in Next K-Star,’ ‘are you confident in getting a high score,’ ‘out of the other seven teams, who would you consider your rivals,’ and then he suddenly handed out a piece of paper.

“What does Neptune think the final ranking would be? From first to last, you just need to write down a rank for each team and why.”

“Wow… We need to write the reason as well?”

“Just a simple reason. It’s going to be anonymous so don’t worry.”

“Is this really anonymous? You’re not going to announce it as Nept— team or —Tune team, right?”

“Hahaha. We will ensure your anonymity. We are going to exclude the names and only announce the reasons. Just letting you know, five out of the seven chose Neptune as last place.”

Seoyoung who relaxed the mood with her charming mannerisms stiffened. Although she was able to quickly settle herself down once Taehee nudged her arm, it was probably caught on camera.

“I’ll read you just a few. ‘Neptune is a group with only looks. Without that, I don’t know,’ ‘They are participating not because of their potential, but because of their company’s influence,’ ‘They look like a group that appeals through looks rather than skills.’ Something like that. How are they?”

I was worried they might agree, fortunately, they were stronger than I thought.

This time, Taehee answered with a calm voice instead of Seoyoung.

“Just like how other groups think, not many viewers will have high expectations for us. In some ways, it’s good. A story is fun when it has a twist. Since we are able to leave a big impression solely through our efforts, I like to believe we received a chance that other teams didn’t.”

I didn’t know because she didn’t talk much, but she was really good at talking.

Because she looked confident and cool without trying, she looked trustworthy in the interview. Like a generous type? I understood why Hyunjo wasn’t worried about Taehee.

But, that’s that. Although they said it was anonymous, their words were harsher than I thought.

Since they had to consider the images of the idols, I thought they would be easier than the survival audition programs with regular people. If it was like this, it was going to be tough.

When I looked to the side, Hyunjo’s expression wasn’t good.

“Jung Sunwoo.”

“Yes?”

“Go to the washroom.”

What in the world was he talking about?

“Go to the washroom?”

“Something good happened to you when you went to the washroom. Twice. Just in case, go to the washroom before they start filming.”

“…Are you serious?”

“I am grasping at straws right now.”

I was half-forcefully chased out of the interview room.

Well, I was going since he told me to, but I was at a loss for words…

I acted like I was deep in thought and walked around the entrance of the washroom two or three times, but nothing happened. There continued to be nothing from my foresight ability.

Damn it, let’s give up.

Since I was at the washroom, I decided to do my business. After washing my hands, I walked towards the interview room.

“Hey.”

At first, I didn’t realize that it was meant for me, but I stopped when I heard the next words.

“Hey, Neptune’s manager!”

When I turned around the man I saw previously, Lemon Girls’ manager, was swaggering towards me.

Since it was quite for a few days, I had forgotten about it, but he really did come.

“I came to see the faces of the terrible girl group that W&U planted in… when I saw someone familiar walking around. You’re that asshole from before, right?”

To come all the way here to fight with me, did this person have too much time on his hands?

“You’re that asshole that was watching in front of the washroom. Did you stumble in front of Producer Joontae and push your group? I saw the articles the next day, you must have been really busy that night, huh? Huh? Just where did this fucking bastard with no ethics come from? Did they teach you that in W&U?”

I was a bit surprised since it had been so long since I had seen someone provoking me so publicly.

When I looked at my surroundings, the only people present were that man and myself.

I wasn’t confident in fighting… But that didn’t mean I should obediently turn the other cheek when I was already sworn at.

“I don’t think that I did anything to get sworn at.”

“What, you asshole?”

The Lemon Girls’ manager tapped my chest.

“Just what did you say to me? Tell me again.”

“It wasn’t like I bribed Producer Joontae to replace Lemon Girls with Neptune, I only took the chance since it was there… When I think about it again, I don’t think I did anything that deserved getting sworn at.”

“What, you asshole?”

I said it again since you asked me to, you asshole.

“Why are you letting out your frustrations on a stranger?”

“Fuck, I was already pissed, but you pissed me off, even more, asshole. You want to get hit, do you? Huh? Are you going crazy to get hit?”

His figure looked even bigger now that I was in danger. With those thick arms and rock-like fists, it would probably hurt if I got hit.

Maybe… Just maybe, I might be hospitalized…

“Hit me, then.”

“What?”

“Hit me. So I can get hospitalized and get interviewed by a reporter.”

I’ll need to call Reporter Park Yoojeong.

“Just where did this crazy asshole come from?”

 


[1] Unni is what a younger female would call an older female.

 

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10 thoughts on “Chapter 18: If you don’t step, you get stepped on (1)”

  1. Hahaha. Weaponizing the bathroom break. They could create good publicity out of the opposing manager attacking their staff, or just use it as a distraction to stop the interview before it gets bad.

  2. Short analysis (but long-ass comment) of the washroom’s importance in Sunwoo’s career/life in the past 18 chapters.
    1) His 2nd foresight happened in front of the washroom. Go Joontae will become a Chairman in the future. Neptune joins Next K-Star because of that meeting. Did Producer Joontae’s future of becoming a Chairman happened because of the washroom incident? This will remain unsolved. Ref: Ch 7
    2) His 3rd foresight happened in the elevator after meeting Sung Dowon. Ref: Ch12. He later saw him again in the washroom. He was hounded by his current manager about joining a drama. Might have bearing to his dream from before.
    3) He got to know his future accomplice, Reporter Park Yoojeong, after she came of the WOMEN’s washroom (yes, the washroom connection has no gender-bias). She spilled an important information that further elevates his usefulness in front of Chief Hyunjoo’s eyes. Ref: Ch 16&17
    4) Chief Hyunjoo and the Neptune girls noted the significance Sunwoo’s washroom encounters (yes, the insinuation of that is enough for another mind gutter). Ref: Ch 17
    5) Chief Hyunjoo had expressly ordered Sunwoo to go to the washroom for no other reason other than to get whatever good shit he could get whenever he went there. Coincidentally, the manager of Lemon Girls is there. Will Sunwoo get some good shit like Chief Hyunjoo hoped for?

    😁😁😁Lmao Sunwoo and the washroom is like…it’s undeniable man….😁😁😁

  3. The power of the washroom and lack of sleep
    -Finds the Lemon’s manager.
    That’s the luck of the washroom.
    -Wants to get hit to get fame and rest
    That’s just plain ‘F it, I’m tired. I want to sleep. Hospitalize me.’

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