Chapter 51: A person who found something to protect (2)
Sponsor: C. C.
[TL/N] While reading this chapter, I decided to change ‘hostility’ to ‘loathing’ in the previous chapter.
The first one to act was Lee Songha. She bowed to Son Chaeyoung before immediately turning her gaze away as if she wouldn’t look at her any longer.
In Son Chaeyoung’s case, her expression changed as soon as she received Lee Songha’s greeting. Her agitation disappeared without a trace and her lips curved upwards.
Lee Songha quickly walked up to me.
Meaning, she ignored Son Chaeyoung.
“Oppa, we have to hurry.”
Grabbing the coat I was holding, Lee Songha pulled me in her direction.
“Okay, let’s go.”
I nodded first and got in an elevator with Lee Songha. During the few seconds it took for the elevator doors to close, I felt as though I would be suffocated by their gazes. In front of me, Son Chayoung, who had been ignored, was glaring at me.
It was like a scene from a horror film. No, a scene in a horror film would at least pass quickly. This was like a horror film with lag.
Just then, the elevator started to move.
Lee Songha, who was still holding onto my coat, mumbled,
How did she have the same thoughts as me?
Besides that, Son Chaeyoung definitely said, “Was her name Songha?” as if she didn’t remember her name properly.
“Songha, do you know Son Chaeyoung outside from work?”
“I hate that woman.”
Lee Songha said while looking at the corner of the elevator. I felt hostility beyond the loathing from before. It was a voice I hadn’t heard outside of when she acted as Jung Haewon.
“How do you know her?”
“… I saw her a few times when I was getting acting lessons.”
It was as if the thing I felt was fishy had taken shape and crawled out.
Although Lee Songha didn’t say anything and kept her mouth shut, she said she hated her with her calm personality.
If they saw each other when she was receiving acting lessons, there was no way they met under friendly terms. The suspicion that the acting teacher and Son Chaeyoung might have taken some action against Lee Songha solidified.
The elevator soon stopped. I was on my way to the van while thinking about how I could get the truth out when my side was felt empty. When I turned around, Lee Songha stood still in the elevator, not getting out.
Just when I thought she was worrying about something, she asked,
“Will something bad happen to oppa because I ignored that woman?”
“If that’s the case, I’m going to go up and say goodbye again.”
I stared at Lee Songha with absentminded eyes before grinning.
Did my expression look that serious? Was that why she was thinking that?
To be honest, it wasn’t like I wasn’t anxious at all.
It wasn’t that I was worried that I would be sworn at but because of Lee Songha.
Although this was my first time properly functioning in society, I had learned a few things from mandatory military service and part-time jobs. No matter how crazy your superiors were, if you blindly butt heads with them, you would be the only one worn out at the end of the day.
Especially Lee Songha, she was a celebrity who was always put on the spot. We were fortunate that we were at work and there weren’t any watching eyes. If not, it might have become a problem.
If it was any other situation, I might have said this to Lee Songha, however,
Son Chaeyoung was an exception. If Son Chaeyoung made a fuss to my superiors and I had to pay the price, then hell, I’d pay it.
“Let’s go. Before the witch chases after us.”
When I mixed a joke into my words, Lee Songha’s expression relaxed. Then, with light steps, quickly came next to me.
I let Lee Songha in the van first before calling Kim Hyunjo.
Even if I were to pay the price, I couldn’t be the only one.
After a quick greeting, I went straight to the point.
“Chief. Did you find anything about Songha’s acting teacher and Son Chaeyoung?”
-Not yet. But Son Chaeyoung tried really hard to protect that teacher last time. As if she had a guilty conscience. I found it a bit suspicious so I’ve been looking around, checking whether this happened to other rookies as well…
I rubbed my thumb against my lips a few times before saying,
“That Shim Kyungtaek teacher. Could I meet with him once?”
-Hey, if you try to corner that man without any evidence, you’re going to be hit with backlash. If Son Chaeyoung makes a fuss, then the company will be a mess. Do you have the confidence to get Teacher Shim to admit, ‘Yeah, I purposely fucked with her’?
“There’s… a method I want to try once.”
My face burned as did my back. To be honest, my entire body tingled so much I felt like I became a human dartboard.
It wasn’t even lunch time yet, but more and more people started to gather in the TVL lobby. While they were definitely looking at us, perhaps it was because we were at a broadcasting company as they simply talked amongst themselves, no one came up and asked for an autograph or a picture.
Fortunately, there wasn’t anyone who was speaking ill of us either.
When I looked around me, I glanced at the person in front of me. Lee Songha seemed like a person oblivious of the people’s gazes around her as her eyes were fixed on the script. Seeing that her lips moved subtly, it seemed she was reading the script on her own.
Although it was a script I read countless times, perhaps it was because it was almost time for the group reading session, but the mood felt completely different. I felt that she was more absorbed in it than any other time. I didn’t want to disturb her so I quietly watched her.
When around 5 minutes had passed, our surroundings suddenly became noisier. I even heard a high-pitched scream. When I turned my head, as expected, like an ocean splitting, two people moved through the crowd.
It was Seo Jijoon and his manager, Chief Lee Bongjoon.
I suddenly recalled the time I first met Seo Jijoon.
It was shocking.
My worry about whether Seo Jijoon would be able to act foolishly was thrown out the window 30 seconds after meeting him. I completely understood what Team Leader Park said about how Seo Jijoon might be a divine move for the drama.
I stood and greeted them. Lee Songha, who had been focused on reading the script, followed my lead and greeted them with a blank expression. After Seo Jijoon and Chief Lee said hello to Lee Songha, they both looked at me with the same look.
“You look a bit… excessive today.”
I bashfully scratched my neck at Chief Lee’s words.
Because it felt weird to wear a suit to a script reading session, I took out all my clothes and seriously thought about what to wear. Then I picked a turtleneck sweater, slacks, and a classy wool coat.
I thought it wasn’t bad up until then. The problem was what came after.
When the hairdresser I saw more often than my family asked, ‘Mr. Sunwoo, should I style your hair a little?’ I shouldn’t have said okay and sat in the chair.
I really thought she would only style it a little.
“This sort of happened.”
“No, no. It’s not bad. You look good.”
Chief Lee said while waving his hand.
“It looks like I need to use formal speech when talking to you. It’s good. When you meet with the staff, don’t tell them you’re a manager. Say that you’re a team leader, no, tell them you’re a director at W&U.”
Then he held his stomach as he laughed while slapping my shoulders with his frying-pan-sized hands. He kept laughing the whole time we were making our way to the script reading room on the 6th floor. When I said that it wasn’t so bad that he had to laugh so much, he laughed even harder.
Eventually, Seo Jijoon clicked his tongue and said,
“You shouldn’t laugh like that. Hyung, you should dress like him too.”
“Let me feel what it’s like to be cared for by a director.”
No, instead of trying to stop him, he laughed along with him.
“Hey, you. Clothes like that don’t suit me.”
“It’s not that they don’t suit you, they probably won’t fit.”
When Seo Jijoon said this while staring at Chief Lee’s round belly, Chief Lee snorted,
“You just don’t know since you’re so young. In your thirties, your belly is your character.”
“If your belly is your character, then hyung should be Gandhi already.”
Then they both started laughing again. They were quite the unusual pair.
Around the time their laughter died down, I glanced behind me. It seemed Lee Songha was still thinking about the script as her head was lowered while she followed us. I grabbed Chief Lee and said in a quiet voice,
“Chief, please take care of us today.”
“No, director. It is I who should ask you to take care of me.”
“It’s a joke. Don’t look at me like that, it’s scary.”
Chief Lee coughed and scratched his head before saying in a serious voice,
“The higher ups already told me to pay attention. And even if they didn’t, Jijoon and I would have done so anyways. It’s not like we’re not at fault for this mess either since the things grew out of hand because we joined the project you had already chosen.”
He said as he clicked his tongue. Even Seo Jijoon, who was in the lead, nodded his head. I received a call from them about how they were sorry after the incident broke out, but it seemed they continued to bear it in mind.
I shook my head. Seo Jijoon simply chose a good project. The one who should be cursed from this incident was Producer Go Joontae.
Chief Lee continued,
“Also, don’t worry so much. Nothing will happen. Did you get the lineup of who was cast for the drama?”
“The director chose a great cast. Everyone’s good at acting, and from what I know, they are all good people. While doing this project, I don’t think we’ll be stressed because of people in the project?”
I knew that they were good at acting. The majority of actors were people I was impressed with after seeing the dramas and movies they appeared in.
However, I was concerned with how they were in real life. Although their images were good, an actor’s outer image was precisely just that, an image. I clearly learned this after meeting Sung Dowon, Son Chaeyoung, and Seo Jijoon during the past month.
Chief Lee rubbed his nose and continued,
“Also, our situation is a bit unique. If it’s so noisy outside, then there are many cases where people on the inside become more tightly knit. So don’t worry.”
Relieved, I nodded.
Not long after, we arrived at the script reading place on the 6th floor. Seo Jijoon and Chief Lee Bongjoon nonchalantly entered the room.
There were quite a few people inside already when I stole a glance through the open door. There were staff members setting up the cameras and lights as well as familiar actors I had seen on TV.
I stopped in front of the door and took deep breaths.
While being Neptune’s manager for over a month, I had personally experienced the entertainment world. I experienced music broadcasts, entertainment program filming, events, magazine interviews, and photo shoots. I had countless experiences.
So I thought that I had become used to this glamorous yet also dark world.
But, for some reason… my heart was pounding right now like my first day at work.
When I turned around, Lee Songha still had her head lowered. Her hair, which fell naturally, created a shadow over her face, and I couldn’t clearly see her expression.
There was no reply even when I called out to her.
Was she nervous?
“Songha, are you okay?”
When I called out to her again, Lee Songha slowly raised her head. That moment, I was at loss for words.
Her prickly mood made it difficult for people to approach, and her gloomy eyes seemed to be suppressing something. It wasn’t the look of Lee Songha but of Jung Haewon, who I had met many times over the past few weeks of script reading.
No, it was similar yet different.
Although there was never I time I didn’t admire when seeing her like this, even among them, right now was-
As if she was actually possessed by Jung Haewon, her expression completely changed.
Lee Songha blinked her eyes twice and said,
“Sorry. I was confused for a second.”
 The hairdresser is probably Neptune’s hairdresser.