TL by Myoni
Edited by Myoni & Yoni
Sponsored by Myoni
“Someone wants your autograph, you free?”
“Then, of course, I will. Guys, I have to go!”
Seoyoung immediately waved her hand. I bowed my head, but the girls bowed more politely than me. No matter how I looked at it, in my eyes, they looked like really nice and bright girls.
However, when I saw that Seoyoung was relieved, I felt that there really was something going on.
So my eyes were definitely fish eyes.
“Where is he? Who do I need to give my autograph to?”
A voice filled with expectations. My conscience hurt a little. I should have used a different excuse.
I looked around the crowded area and embarrassingly said,
“…Where did he go?”
“What the hell.”
“He was here just a while ago. It was a guy.”
“What? I wanted to give him my autograph! This oppa is bad! My precious fan!”
Seoyoung smiled as her eyes formed half-moons.
“Unni! Taehee unni! Someone wanted my autograph.”
“But, do you know what the most important part is?”
“This oppa lost him!”
“That’s too bad.”
Taehee patted Seoyoung’s head and smiled. And briefly at me.
She was much younger than me, but why do I feel like I need to call her hyung?
“Who wanted your autograph? Did this oppa see a studio ghost?”
LJ teased her and the two started fighting again.
Hyunjo told us to go back without him, so Gunyoung and I took the girls back to the waiting room. I was about to lay my tired body down on the sofa when I heard a knock.
“Hello, seniors! We’re pretty, pretty Pretty Girls.”
Eight girls with long straight hair entered the room. They were the ones who were wearing a schoolgirl outfit under an apron.
Their manager who entered with them, looked at Gunyoung and me, before deciding to approach me.
“Hello. They are a newly debuted group. Their average age is eighteen, so they still don’t know a lot. I look forward to working with you in the future.”
You probably aren’t looking forward to working with me.
And what were they thinking dressing eighteen-year-old girls like that? These shameless adults.
“Please accept this.”
I was curious what he was handing out, it turned out to be a mini album. There were even autographs on the cover. Afterwards, Pretty Girls merrily chatted with the girls before leaving.
“I thought it was only tough greeting people, but getting greeted isn’t easy either.”
Seoyoung shook her head at my words.
“Receiving greetings is much harder.”
“We’ve gained seniority after we debuted, but we have nothing to show for it. How uneasy do think we feel when these girls that are younger than us come up and greet us?”
“What if they get more popular before we do? We don’t know how much longer our company will continue to promote us since they wouldn’t keep trying to fill a bottomless pot. We have these thoughts.”
I only opened and closed my mouth a few times. I didn’t know how to reply to that. Seoyoung shrugged her shoulders and smiled looking at my expression.
“Just what am I telling this new oppa.”
The atmosphere quickly brightened. The members were noisily chatting with each other while practicing their choreography. I just silently watched.
I was honestly surprised.
Unknown for two years. An unpopular group.
However, I didn’t feel that it was a serious issue. Those girls were only unlucky. Since they are young, pretty and have good personalities, they will be successful in other things. Those were my initial thoughts.
They are just products of an idol girl group factory, maybe I felt that way because of this bias. However, now I felt bad for having those thoughts.
The worries of a twenty-one-year-old girl were definitely no lighter than mine.
If I had the ability, I wanted to help them get a chance.
These were my thoughts.
A day in the waiting room was really just that. Wait after a rehearsal, wait while they recorded interviews with groups that had a comeback stage today. Wait until it was time for the live broadcast.
I wondered how people survived this without smart phones.
Neptune was the third group to go up. As the time for the broadcast approached, the members were busy. They changed into their stage outfits their stylists brought for them, fixed their hair and makeup. When they had some free time, they would practice their choreography.
“I’m going to go to the washroom.”
Why was it that I felt more nervous than them?
I dragged my stiff legs out of the waiting room. The hallway was still packed. I was barely able to pass through to the washroom when a man forcefully made his way out.
“Ah, fuck! This is driving me crazy!”
His face was red and it seemed like he was extremely angry, as he came out swearing endlessly.
Let’s avoid him.
I was about to go around him when I noticed what was on his chest. Employee Go Joontae. It was an employee card. I remembered Hyunjo’s words about greeting everyone who had an employee card. But, that’s a crazy bastard. Wondering if I should greet him or not, I was just like ‘it’s not like I was going to die’ and stepped in front of the man.
“Hello, I am Jung Sunwoo from W&U. I am currently working with a girl group called Neptune. Please take care of us.”
I was smiling diligently. He probably won’t swear at a smiling person.
Fortunately, the employee calmed down a little after looking at me. Was this a benefit of wearing a suit?
“W&U entertainment? You guys have girl groups? First time hearing about this, are they new?”
“They debuted two years ago. There are 4 members.”
“Is that so. What did you say the group name was?”
“It is Neptune.”
“Do you have a business card…”
I didn’t have a business card yet. Do I have to give him my phone number?
“I don’t have a business card…”
Someone hurriedly ran towards us. It was a young man with a big body of an athlete. He blocked the front of the employee and bowed his head, almost reaching his knees.
“Sorry. I am really sorry. Sorry. I don’t have any other words to say!”
“Ah, it’s fine.”
“Really, I should have kept an eye on the girls better…”
Was he a manager?
“It’s fine. Don’t raise my blood pressure and leave. I’m busy trying to clean up the pile of shit your company took!”
“Mr. Producer, Mr. Producer!”
“Then, our broadcast…”
“What do you mean broadcast! A twenty-something-year-old girl group member got a DUI with her boyfriend, how can I let her on the broadcast! There will be articles all over the internet tomorrow! Sigh, talk about ungrateful. You guys just sprayed poo water all over a set meal. I need to start filming this week if I want to have the broadcast out in time, it’s driving me crazy…!”
“I-if we went with noise marketing, it might even be bene…”
“This is a crime! Do I have to get bashed on before I even start?!”
Eventually, the producer left while swearing. The man left behind kicked the washroom door.
“Damn bitch! Dirty bitch, does she know how hard it was to get this chance!”
What lovely words. It was because of people like him that managers are stereotyped as gangsters. If I was to make a comparison, Hyunjo was an angel.
“What are you looking at?! Think it’s a show or something?!”
The man glared at me. What a surprise.
“You are blocking the path.”
I thought that he would vent on me, but he quickly left in a different direction.
“What kind of person is that.”
At that moment, my vision darkened.
Was I dreaming again?
I was once again in my forties. Chairman of a management company. A successful me who used a huge freaking office and wore a high-quality suit. It was the same dream I had in the morning. Director Park and Reporter Song were smiling in front of me.
It was definitely a dream… but, that wasn’t possible.
Just a second ago, I was in front of the washroom.
If not a dream, what was this?
What was it really.
“You met Chairman Go Joontae on your first day?”
The name flowing out of Reporter Song’s lips seemed familiar. Chairman Go Joontae. The man I met just now. It was the name on the man’s employee card. Although, he wasn’t a chairman.
“At that time, Knet was about to launch Next K-Star. It was a competition program with eight new idol groups. Since it was a long time ago, Reporter Song might be too young to know.”
“I know it too. Wasn’t it the first season such a big hit that it ended up going on for several more seasons?”
“That’s right. It was a few days before the first filming… One of the appearing girl groups got in trouble. So, Producer Joontae was in a situation where he had to find a new girl group to replace them. I met him at that time.”
“My god. You really have great luck. So did you get a spot on that big program on your first day? Neptune appeared on that program.”
Wait, what? Neptune appeared on that program?
Although the situation was confusing, I strained my ear to closely listen to the conversation. It felt the right thing to do.
“Hahaha. Reporter Song, if things went that well, why would I say that the path of hardship opened on my first day?”
“Then what happened?”
“At that time, I didn’t know much about Entertainment Producers. Obviously, I didn’t know who Go Joontae was and that he was leading such a huge program. So that’s why I asked a friend I worked with. ‘I met a producer named Go Joontae and it seemed like one of the girl groups appearing on his program has to be replaced. Since they are looking for a different group, maybe we should introduce Neptune to him,’ is what I said.”
“That friend told me that it probably wasn’t possible. The program he’s producing only had new idol groups, so they wouldn’t accept Neptune, who debuted two years ago. Also, if we were going in as a replacement, the company wouldn’t allow it in the first place.”
“Don’t tell me you believed him?”
Yeah. You didn’t, right?
But, why did I feel like I believed him.
“I believed him.”
That’s right. Bad premonitions were never wrong.
“So while I believed him, that friend found Producer Joontae and pushed Neptune. ‘Neptune members are like this, their schedule is free, we can join at any time.’ And that was successful. That friend was nicknamed Bokdongee for bringing such a big program on his first day and when I confessed it was unfair, I was branded as the foolish guy who couldn’t even take care of himself. It was then when I first realized life was a battle.”
“Haha. I told you my first day was dynamic.”
“By any chance, do I know that friend?”
“This will be off-the-record, right?”
“Choi Gunyoung. It was Choi Gunyoung.”
“Oh my, that person…”
“So he was like that even then.”
I saw Gunyoung in front of my eyes. And I was standing in front of the washroom.
“What are you doing, standing here? It’s almost time. The chief says to come quickly.”
I unconsciously stepped back.
“What? Why do you have goosebumps?”
Let’s just say I saw a different side of you. It wasn’t like that happened in real life, but it felt like it would happen for sure.
“Do you happen to know a producer named Go Joontae?”
“Yeah. Next K-Star. It’s hot right now. Why? Did you see him”
It felt like my hair stood straight up. It was so hair-raising, my hands and feet were all tingly. Maybe this was how people felt when they are struck by lightning during a rainy day.
Just what was happening to me?
“Why are you like this?”
“Something really important just came up.”
“Tell the chief I am going to solve this first before I go. Tell him I’m sorry.”
“What?! What happened, the girls are going to go up on the stage in a bit!”
My head was messy, but it was clear what I had to do.
I ran in the direction Producer Go Joontae left towards.
 Bokdongee means Lucky Charm