Chapter 64: The Most Important Thing in This Industry, Decision-Making (2)
TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir
It felt like I was hit on the head with a hammer.
I gripped the steering wheel. I felt my heart, which had stopped in surprise, beating restlessly. Lee Songha’s words echoed in my mind. ‘The song Taehee unni made was good too. The song Taehee unni made…’
That’s right. Lee Taehee also wrote songs!
Why didn’t I think of this until now? When I had first promoted Neptune to Producer Go Joontae, I had even said that Lee Taehee was skilled in both writing songs and lyrics with my own mouth.
Was it this?
Was this song written by Lee Taehee the title track from the original future?
“What kind of song is it?”
My lips felt dry. My voice sounded a little hoarse. It seemed she didn’t notice anything weird about me as Lee Songha gently placed her chin on the back of the passenger seat. When I glanced towards her, I saw Lee Songha’s eyes under the dim lights. Her eyes, which had been cloudy due to accumulated exhaustion, became gentle.
“I really like it.”
“It’s a fun, fast song, but for some reason, I feel that it’s our song whenever I hear it.”
“I think about the unnies, and I even recall the times we were sad and gloomy because our albums constantly failed even though we tried really hard. I recall how much of a fuss everyone made when we got a call from oppa the day we were cast for Next K-Star. I remember us not sleeping a wink that night in fear the decision would be reversed. Also… The times I ran away when oppa kept asking me to act.”
Lee Songha, who had been talking quietly, looked at me and revealed a faint smile.
“Maybe it’s because of this, but I feel like I can sing that song really well.”
The entire time we were going to the film set, I brooded over Lee Songha’s words.
My thoughts that it might be a possibility slowly became more concrete. A song that made one recall Neptune’s past. If that was the case, it also matched what Director Park had said about how it was a song that suited Neptune.
But why didn’t she put it out during the time they were looking for songs?
Did she feel pressure in showing off a song she personally wrote during this important time? That shouldn’t be the case. Maybe if it was a digital single, but we were preparing a mini-album this time. Even if it wasn’t the title track, there was still a chance it could appear on the album.
Why didn’t she say anything?
After fumbling through my own thoughts, I shook my head.
I wouldn’t be able to come up with an answer by thinking about it myself.
I had to meet Lee Taehee and talk with her first.
It was 10 p.m. when we arrived at Neptune’s residence after we finished filming the night scenes.
I woke Lee Songha, who was wrapped up in such thick clothes it made one confused whether it was thick padding or a sleeping bag, up. As we entered the residence together, Lee Songha, who had been wobbling, tilted her head as if abruptly coming to her senses.
“You’re going to go in too?”
“Yeah. I want to listen to the song Taehee made. You said it was good.”
Lee Songha’s eyes widened at my words. Soon, a silent giggle escaped her lips. It seemed she was in a good mood as her padded sleeves, which were as long as a scarecrow’s, shook back and forth.
As soon as we pressed the passcode and entered, Im Seoyoung, who was lying flat on the rug, seemingly rolled to a stand. It seemed she had been watching a rebroadcast of Next K-Star as the faces of the three judges appeared on the screen. While my eyes were momentarily fixed on Simon Lee’s face, Im Seoyoung came up to us.
“You worked hard! It was really cold outside, Songha, you must be frozen solid. Quickly go take a hot shower. You’re qualified to use as much hot water as you want.”
They seemed to have heard us chatting as Lee Taehee and LJ came out from their own rooms. Walking leisurely, Lee Taehee brushed Lee Songha’s hair with her fingers. Her hair, which had become tangled due to sleeping in the van, was tidied smoothly.
Im Seoyoung asked,
“But why did you come together? Are you planning on reading the script this late at night?”
“No, I came here because I wanted to talk about something with Taehee.”
Lee Taehee tilted her head at my reply.
“Songha said the song you made was good, so I was curious.”
I summarized the conversation we had in the van.
When she heard Lee Songha’s thoughts on it, Lee Taehee looked at Lee Songha with a warm gaze. Then she tangled up the hair she had just brushed. Although it looked like she was slightly hesitant, she eventually led me to her room.
Though I had glimpses of her room through the opened door occasionally, this was my first time entering it. It was clean, no, desolate overall.
Then something strongly grabbed my attention.
She had a desk the size of a bed with a laptop and a mini keyboard on top of it. Next to them were beer cans. One, two, three… There was no doubt she drank them like soda. This wasn’t dangerous, right? As if she saw my gaze, Lee Taehee coolly dumped the cans into the trash.
She plopped onto her chair and gestured to her laptop screen.
At a glance, I could see it was filled with complicated looking tools. I stood right behind her chair. Lee Songha, Im Seoyoung, and LJ gathered around me. It seemed they had all listened to the song before as their expressions showed they weren’t dying to see it, but the expectations in their faces were clear.
I waited after preparing myself. Even if it wasn’t the song I was thinking of, I couldn’t show any traces of disappointment.
Lee Taehee clicked her mouse a few times.
Sound began to flow out from the speakers.
The song currently didn’t have any lyrics and only Lee Taehee’s sweet humming was heard. The other members hummed along with it while bobbing their heads. The moment the clear sounding music and the music I heard in the future overlapped, shivers went down my spine.
This was it. There was no doubt.
This was the song I heard in the future.
Neptune’s first hit track, the song that took first place in music broadcasts, and the song which one thought of first when thinking of Neptune was precisely this song.
The moment the song ended, I began to rack my brains.
What to do now?
We already had Simon Lee’s song in our hands. There was no way I could propose we use Lee Taehee’s song over his without a proper reason.
As it was a great song that the traitor had spent a lot of effort getting.
If I was in his place and my colleague turned down the song I spent a lot of effort getting, I would swear a ton. He would be considered a son of a bitch unmatched under the heavens.
On top of that, there was no doubt that our relationship with Simon Lee, who gave us the song, would become uncomfortable.
How about we pushed Simon Lee’s song and Lee Taehee’s song as double title tracks?
Artists these days would push for a double, even triple title tracks as long as the songs were good. If we shot music videos for both songs and promoted them equally, and while it might split the public’s interest in the songs and end with lackluster results if done badly, if done well, both songs could get good results.
There were real-life, successful cases where multiple songs had entered the top ranks.
If we did that, there was a high chance that Lee Taehee’s song could get first place in music broadcasts as expected, and if Simon Lee’s song also received good reactions, it would be better for us. It was like getting another oar when you needed to row intensely on a boat.
While I was lost in thought, Im Seoyoung, who had come to her senses after getting caught up in the song, suddenly said,
“It’s better than when I listened to it before. Why don’t you put this in the album?”
“I know, right? Besides the title track, there will still be four additional songs.”
I also asked the question that had been on my mind.
“Yeah, it sounds good to me too. Why didn’t you reveal it when we were collecting songs? Didn’t you make it with the goal of putting in the album?”
“I was planning to…”
Lee Taehee suddenly scratched the back of her head. Her complexion became gloomy. I even saw an illusion of miniature dark clouds hovering over her head. I was taken aback as this was my first seeing Lee Taehee like this. While getting heavily rained on by the illusionary dark clouds, Lee Taehee replied,
“I’m not happy with it.”
“There’s something I’m not happy with about it, but I can’t figure out what it is.”
I didn’t expect this sort of answer.
I spent all night thinking about it and went to work with a fried brain.
Just yesterday, I had felt like I could fly with the success of the drama, but today felt like I was going around with a bowling ball in place of my head. It was damn heavy.
I found the song I was looking for, but it wasn’t finished yet.
Although I did tell her to hurry up and finish it, I couldn’t be certain she could complete it before it was too late. As this was a creative work, it wasn’t like someone could finish it for her.
I had thought about it for a long time, wondering what was different from this song and the song I listened to in the future, but I couldn’t figure it out. My rotten memory. If I could listen to it once more, I could figure out what part Lee Taehee wasn’t happy with.
Where did the gears become misaligned?
I thought it was most likely one out of the two.
Either, because I changed the present, the release of Neptune’s album was pushed forward, or the hardships they endured from Lee Songha’s controversies and other related events had an effect.
In the original future, Neptune did appear on Next K-Star as well, and thinking that they would probably rush to release a new album before their accumulated popularity crumbled like a sand castle, I felt that the latter was most probable.
I felt like I was about to go crazy.
This was something a lot of people were involved with and were preparing for, so I couldn’t suddenly push the album back.
How about I let Kim Hyunjo and the team 3 leader listen to the unfinished song and try to persuade them afterwards? If those two liked it, then we might be able to wait a little longer for the song to be finished and release it as one of the double title tracks…
While I was thinking about this, a spoon moved side to side in front of me.
When I looked up, I saw the traitor.
“The food’s here.”
Unknown when it came out, an oyster gukbap, topped with plump oysters and a plentiful amount of chives, was steaming on top of the table. My hungry stomach rumbled as soon as I saw it. We didn’t have a lunch schedule for a change and had gone to a restaurant in front of the company. I came to my senses and quickly picked up my spoon.
After a few spoonfuls, the traitor leisurely started a conversation.
“Your face looks like a corpse’s. You might even give the chief a run for his money.”
“You weren’t so different not too long ago.”
“You suddenly started smoking a whole bunch and went around like a corpse.”
Looking at the traitor’s face, I continued,
“All that was to get Simon Lee’s song. You really worked hard. You’re amazing.”
This much was sincere since this was something I couldn’t help but admire.
Maybe it was because of the name ‘star songwriter’, but Simon Lee was someone who had his head held up high. If it was a song he planned on giving to a girl group at a similar standing to Seraphic on top of that, then he probably didn’t find Neptune worthwhile. How hard must it have been to persuade him?
Could I have persuaded him if it were me?
The traitor gave a smile before staring at me.
“Well, I tried to asking him and persuading him. I tried all sorts of things to try to get that song in my hands. It’s good that it worked out in the end. To be honest, if this didn’t go well… I even thought about changing teams or quitting.”
My spoon halted in mid-air.
The traitor continued,
“Since I haven’t really lost to anyone in anything, I was quite confident with work, but things didn’t go the way I thought here. My thoughts became complicated since everything you brought became a success as if you were possessed by a god or something… In the end, since I was able to do it because of that, I should be the one thanking you.”
I suddenly took notice of the traitor’s, Choi Gunyoung’s face.
The reason I had been prejudiced against Choi Gunyoung was because of the future I had seen through my foresight ability on my first day of work. The information that Choi Gunyoung lied to me and snatched the opportunity from me, and Reporter Song’s words asking if he had been like that since then.
Because of that, I had considered him as someone who might backstab me some day.
And to not let down my guard, I called him a traitor.
However, Choi Gunyoung had yet to show any traces of attempting to backstab me and had never revealed his dark intentions. Instead, he even received a song from Simon Lee through his own efforts. While I had been swept by my prejudice and had branded Choi Gunyoung as a traitor, he had been working just as hard as me.
Choi Gunyoung smiled as he said,
“Let’s do our best from now on as well.”
I had a thought not too long ago.
That a person could change.
That the Choi Gunyoung in front of me might not be the Choi Gunyoung who backstabbed me.
Although I acknowledged the possibility, I believed I couldn’t truly trust Choi Gunyoung despite it.
However, perhaps, perhaps…
Just as I opened my mouth to reply, my vision suddenly turned black.
 ‘Gukbap’ is a soup with rice added in it. ‘Guk’ is soup and ‘bap’ is rice.