TM Chapter 50

Chapter 50: A person who found something to protect (1)

TL: emptycube


 

Lee Songha’s name dropped out of the real-time rankings after two full days.

It wasn’t that the controversy had died down. The reason why there were fewer people searching for her name was because everyone who wanted to know already knew about this incident.

When you searched Lee Songha’s name, you would be met with countless similar articles trying to inflate their views, and whenever a comment about her came up on a forum, there would be an argument spanning hundreds of comments beneath it.

So Lee Songha practiced her script in her residence for the past two days.

Meaning, this was her first outing since the incident.

“Taehee unni came back from the convenience store, and she said a lot of people recognized her.”

“Really?”

“Yes. So she said she took a lot of pictures with them and gave them her autograph.”

When I looked through the rear-view mirror, Lee Songha’s chin was propped up on the windowsill as she looked outside. Her long, lush hair fluttered in the wind. When I looked at her eyes underneath her hair, it was difficult to tell what she was thinking about.

Other people relaxed a bit since she was so calm and since it didn’t look like she was mentally shaken, but I was constantly worried.

Since it wasn’t that she was fine but that she didn’t show it.

“Seoyoung unni came back after going home, and she said her family and relatives created a fuss. They told her they had to give gifts to people they knew so she left 50 autographs there.”

Her voice subsided slightly.

Lee Songha moved away from the window and leaned forward before asking,

“Oppa. There will be a time when I sign autographs soon too, right?”

When I glanced at her, I saw her downcast face. She seemed quite serious. This was her first time making that face since the incident blew up.

Since it seemed she was very unhappy, I replied immediately,

“Of course. There will be tons of opportunities.”

“Ah, there’s a big problem,’

She mumbled,

“I forgot what my autograph was…”

Her shoulders drooped. It was hard to make head or tails with her.

“You just forgot your autograph?”

“The company said my signature looked like scribbles so they made me one when we debuted, but since there was no need for it during the past two years, I forgot how to write it. What do I do? I need to practice it overnight.”

“Don’t stay up all night for that. The script reading is tomorrow so you need to rest up.”

I said exasperatedly as we arrived at the company. When I tried to enter the parking lot like always, around ten people were gathered together. The majority of them were young women wearing thick padded coats. No, there were even young girls there as well.

When I perked my ears, I heard a mix of both Korean and Chinese.

What’s this?

Maybe it was because I was driving with Lee Songha, but I was more aware of other people’s gazes as there were many people who were protecting her and tons who were cursing her as well. I was worried there were people who swore at Lee Songha out in public and not only on the internet.

We just entered the parking lot when two girls cautiously approached us. Perhaps they thought I couldn’t hear them, but their conversation was worth listening to.

“Hey, you ask him. Quickly.”

“No, he looks mean. I think he’s going to swear at me. You ask him.”

“Ah, damn it… Excuse me, mister.”

I frowned at the shocking title they called me and was only barely able to accept it looking at their school uniforms.

Yeah, to them, even those in mandatory military service are misters.

“Are Blackout oppas coming to the company today?”

Although I sort of guessed it considering they were all women, but as expected, they were Blackout fans. The 11-member boy group I hadn’t seen yet even though I had come to work for over a month. The ‘ChoTongLeong{1}’ of the idol world.

In the news, I heard they had just finished their Asia tour and were arriving in Korea today. It seemed that they were waiting in front of the company to see them.

“Can’t you tell us whether they are coming or not? Please? We are going to go after we check that the oppas are healthy, really. We won’t be annoying and look at them from afar.”

“We didn’t get to see their faces properly at the airport because there were just too many people. Someone even pushed me, and my elbow got scrapped.”

Although that was unfortunate, they were talking to the wrong guy.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know their schedu…”

I was answering them politely, but they weren’t looking at me. They were both blankly staring to my side.

To be precise, they were looking through the open window and at Lee Songha.

When I was about to hastily roll up the window, a girl mumbled,

“Oh my god. She’s freak…{2}

Freak?

“Freaking pretty.”

Lee Songha looked at me once before sticking her head out the window and greeting them,

“Hello.”

“Wow, unni, you’re Lee Songha, right?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Holy cow. Unni, you’re so pretty! You don’t look human!”

A short-haired girl continued to admire in an agitated voice. The girl next to here kept tapping her phone, perhaps taking pictures. Since the two were creating a fuss, even the group of people muttered amongst themselves as they looked this way.

“Who? Who is it?”

“The girl from Neptune. The one who’s doing a drama with Seo Jijoon. There’s a big fuss about her right now.”

“Amazing. Her face fits on my palm. How can she look like that? It’s like she’s from a different world.”

Fortunately, there was nothing to worry about. Of course, there were some who gave her critical looks. However, those people stood far away and simply chatted amongst themselves. The ones who were talking to her up close were all smiling brightly.

I let out a sigh of relief. I was already worried since we would have to go around in public starting tomorrow due to her schedule. If it was only this much, I could handle it.

“Unni, cheer up! I’ll watch your drama for sure!”

“Can I please get a picture with you?”

“I saw Son Chaeyoung going in a while ago, but unni is so much prettier!”

I had been watching happily until I flinched at the last phrase.

Why did Son Chaeyoung come here?

Before I could think about it, the girls began to hand me their phones and begged me to take pictures. Well, my superiors did tell me to allow autographs and pictures if possible.

When I nodded my head, Lee Songha got out of the van and posed for the pictures with them. She took pictures with girls in their school uniforms as well as with girls holding luggage, who seemed to be Chinese tourists.

Of course, I was the one who took the pictures.

“Ah, mister… I became a squid{3}. Was this the best you could do?”

“It was the best I could do.”

“Wow, how blunt.”

I really did my best to take that picture. Although the result was regretful.

Since the girls seemed so torn up about the two-shots with Lee Songha, Lee Songha gave them autographs as well. She focused extremely hard as if she was creating a work of art, but it really was a serious problem. I thought that I could do better with my eyes closed and my left hand.

The Chinese tourists were even filming her like this. They kept saying something, but I couldn’t understand any of it. Looking at how they kept sticking their thumbs up, it seemed like they were saying she was pretty.

After doing all she could, we finally went into the parking lot. I parked the van and undid my seatbelt, when I suddenly heard faint laughter behind me. When I turned around, Lee Songha was staring at me while laughing.

Although, strictly speaking, they weren’t her fans, but maybe she was happy nevertheless?

“You’re that happy?”

“They said oppa looked mean.”

“Huh?”

It was an unexpected reply. Now that I thought about it, they did say that.

I was about to say I heard that a lot when she got out of the van first.

Leaving one word behind.

“You’re not.”

 

The reason why we came to the company today was because of Team Leader Park.

Because CEO Baek Hansung finished talking with TVL in the morning, a behind-the-scenes team would stick next to the Cat Guardian Ghost production process from now on.

This meant the script reading tomorrow would be the first ‘bait’.

Since it was both Lee Songha and my first script reading, we heard a few words of advice. We needed to leave a favorable impression as it would be a place where the main and supporting actors, as well as other related parties of the drama, would be present.

After our chat, I got up as Team Leader Park said she needed to talk with Lee Songha separately, but I suddenly heard an unfriendly name.

“Ah, right. Son Chaeyoung is probably still in the company. Silently avoid her if you see her. She’s a ticking bomb right now.”

“Why?”

“An article about Mermaid out of Water’s script reading came out. But she whined for an hour about how it was buried under Lee Songha’s incident and didn’t get first in the real-time search rankings. I’ve seen many unusual celebrities, but she’s unusual even among them.”

Team Leader Park shook her head, displaying a tired expression. I nodded and went down to the lounge.

It seemed everyone was busy with work as there were plenty of empty tables. I bought a can of coffee from the vending machine for myself and was in the middle of choosing a sweet drink for Lee Songha.

Suddenly feeling a chill down my spine, I turned around. Damn it.

Speak of the devil, Son Chaeyoung was glaring at me.

I was the one who was told to screw off when we first met, but why was she glaring at me? Since I felt something was fishy about the acting teacher, it was uncomfortable looking at her face.

However, I wasn’t sure, and this person was a prominent actress in our company.

I hid my inner thoughts and casually greeted her,

“Hello.”

The tapping sounds of her high heels came closer. Son Chaeyoung glared at me with unfriendly eyes before passing by. She didn’t go far. She sat at the table directly behind me and opened the script for Mermaid out of Water.

I was dumbfounded.

With her temper, what mermaid? She should be a witch.

Since I had already heard Team Leader Park’s advice and knew that my mood would spoil if I stayed any longer, I was about to leave when I heard a voice mixed with laughter.

“An ‘Add-on’ controversy? So embarrassing. Was her name Songha? How’s her mentality? Tell her to do well so that the image of other actors in W&U don’t fall. But, with all this fuss right from the start, will the drama even be good?”

My boiling insides, in the end, calmed as if doused with cold water.

Instead, I wanted to feel how the hairdresser felt when he shouted, ‘The king has donkey ears!’{4}

Maybe I should go up to the roof and shout,

‘Before you worry about us, you should worry about your own drama that will only get 3% viewership ratings!’

But when I suddenly thought about it… I was lucky.

I first met Son Chaeyoung in this lounge. Back then, Son Chaeyoung and Chief Jo showed me two synopses and asked me which one I thought would do better.

If Son Chaeyoung took my words to heart and didn’t choose her current project.

And if I had suggested Cat Guardian Ghost to her.

If that happened, how different would this current situation be?

I might not have asked Lee Songha if she would try acting, I might not have seen a future about Lee Songha, and I might not have followed her around, trying to persuade her. If that was the case, Lee Songha wouldn’t have begun acting either.

That was a close call.

I was so lucky to be told to screw off back then.

“Our drama will be good.”

When I intentionally replied with a smiling face, Son Chaeyoung frowned.

Then the elevator stopped on the fourth floor.

When the doors slid open, Lee Songha looked around. When she discovered me, she hurriedly ran towards me.

“I made you wait.”

“No…”

That moment I found out that Son Chaeyoung’s expression was strangely distorted when she looked at Lee Songha. When Lee Songha followed my gaze and discovered Son Chaeyoung, she halted in her tracks.

Their gazes met each other in mid-air.

And, for the first time, I saw loathing in Lee Songha’s eyes

 


{1} It’s been a long time since it’s been mentioned. ‘ChoTongLeong’ is a made-up word that means ‘President of Elementary Schoolers’. Let me know if you guys prefer the English version?

{2} So this is a bit strange in English. Some people say 더럽게, which means filthy, dirty, etc, to emphasize a certain trait. A better example in English would be something like ‘She’s filthy rich.’

{3} ‘Became a squid’ – When someone is so pretty/handsome/good-looking, they make the other person look ugly.

{4} Not sure how many people know the story ‘The King with Donkey Ears’. Basically, a king had ears shaped like a donkey’s. He told his hairdresser never to tell anyone. Unable to keep the secret, the hairdresser dug himself a hole and shouted, “The king has donkey ears!” He felt better… (Google the full story if you’re interested.)

 

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Comments 10

  1. Thanks for the chapter! I think english for ChoTongLeong might be better even though I’m kpop fan and watch lot of korean stuff I still didn’t understand the term. If you think that’s too wordy then putting them down in the footnote would be okay I think?

  2. Thanks for the chapter 🙂

    Same as non, I forgot what “ChoTongLeong” meant and if you continue to use it I’ll most likely need a footnote as well 😀

  3. Racket up the heat.

    Face fits on a palm? Is that an expression for doll-like, or are tiny faces considered beautiful in Korea, or both?

    1. It’s literally just complimenting the size of her face since tiny faces/heads are seen as pretty over there lol

  4. Uh? I was sure I commented already😅
    Thanks for the chapter:)
    I like more and more this story,totally addicted since a long time.

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