TM Chapter 79

Chapter 79: Star Manager (3)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

I had thought this when I was at a loss for words at the first question.

“Manager Jung Sunwoo, who do you like the most out of the four members of Neptune?”

Who did I like the most?

I reflexively turned my gaze towards the girls sitting on the other side.

The girls, who had been diligently reacting to other celebrities’ remarks just now, were looking at me without blinking.

The other cast members commented jokingly with ‘what a difficult question’ and ‘you have to answer wisely’. Although there were annoying questions before this, it was the first time a question like this popped up. Ah, but we were the only ones who came on as a group.

“He’s at a loss for words. Of course, this is a sensitive question!”

“If you have four members, then there will undoubtedly be differences as humans.”

“Should we ask the members first? Who do you think your manager will say?”

Hong Sukwoo asked Im Seoyoung while smiling. Those guys, their eyes were gleaming with the intentions to do whatever it took to make this situation fun.

Im Seoyoung, who had been opening and closing her mouth as though she was thinking of an answer, shouted,

“I.. think, me! I vote me! Because the cheongsimhwan I gave oppa is still digesting right now!”

“You give your manager cheongsimhwan because you were worried he might be nervous. You guys are close!”

“Then Ms. Songha, who do you think he’ll say?”

Lee Songha, the second one to be asked, replied right away,

“I think it’ll be me.”

“Then I think it’ll be me too.”

LJ added in as though she found this interesting. Finally, Lee Taehee followed suit while scratching her cheek. I was very suspicious that the two MCs incited her to do so with their eyes.

“Wow, you must be in a bind.”

What bind? This was a question I could never worry about.

“I like all four of them.”

I said in a casual manner.

Hong Sukwoo smiled like a snake and looked at my hand.

“You like them all equally?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

“Definitely.”

I stole a glance at my hand which was placed on the lie detector. From what I knew, this device would measure the subject’s sweat or heartbeat to roughly estimate how nervous the subject was.

I wasn’t sure why, but it seemed there was an unknown change in my body.

I felt as though I was patting a porcupine.

This stung more than I thought.

“You’re the type of person to play tricks during poker, you are. I saw you flinch!”

Park Taepyeong approached to my side like a hyena that had found its prey. Hong Sukwoo’s eyes shined as well.

“Life is not fair so don’t lie and just say the truth.”

“Isn’t it Ms. Lee Songha? I saw the picture of you two not too long ago.”

I wet my lower lip and said,

“I’m not the type of person who lies on air. Aren’t you controlling this with a remote somewhere?”

“This guy’s quite stubborn. This should be giving you quite the shock. Doesn’t it hurt?”

I glanced at the girls again. Sitting close to each other, they were still looking at me like four meerkats.

I cleared my throat and said in a small voice,

“… Pain is fleeting, but the aftermath will last a long time.”

Hong Sukwoo giggled as he glanced towards the staff. A writer was holding up a sketchbook. In a large font, it read ‘Mention Mr. Sunwoo’s quadruplet nephews and nieces’.

I informed my brother and the kids ahead of time since this story might come up, but it came up as soon as we started. Was it to set a character for me?

“Hmm, I received questions like this quite a lot before.”

“Questions like this?”

Hong Sukwoo feigned ignorance as if he didn’t know.

“My brother has quadruplets. It was a question I received a lot while I was taking care of them, but I have never picked one of them. That was why I was able to stay safe until now.”

Hong Sukwoo laughed loudly, though I didn’t know whether he was really laughing or if it was for the broadcast.

“What sort of coincidence is this? A person who used to take care of quadruplets is now in charge of a four-member girl group?”

“How did you feel when you were first assigned to Neptune?”

To be honest, I thought that I was ruined.

“I felt like I could fl- Ah, this seems to be broken.”

Damn it, this device’s performance was quite good despite looking like a kid’s toy.

“What do you it’s broken? Anyone would think that that comment came from some script!”

“What do the Neptune members think? He just lied, right?”

At Hong Sukwoo’s question, Im Seoyoung gulped her saliva and replied in a clear voice,

“It’s only been four months since he started, we’re his first assignment.”

Reactions about how I only worked for four months erupted from here and there. Well, since I was already used to being misunderstood thanks to my appearance, this wasn’t anything new. Either way, maybe it was because she gained more confidence because of other people’s reactions, but Im Seoyoung continued to speak.

“He said that he originally wanted to be assigned to an actor instead of a singer. So he might not have liked it in the beginning, but it’s different now. He had a chance to be assigned to a top actor, but he declined and stayed with us.”

“Oh, a top actor? There are a few top actors that come to mind when thinking of W&U.”

“Since there are so many people aiming for him, I’m worried all day and night. It’s not like I can ask him to be bad at his job either.”

Im Seoyoung shook her head. Next to her, Lee Songha diligently nodded her head.

Park Taepyeong said,

“If you wanted to be assigned to an actor, you’ve fulfilled your wish. Ms. Songha is gaining popularity through her drama these days. There has been an outpour of praise saying how she’s like a sudden shower in the drought of actresses.”

The topic smoothly changed to Lee Songha’s story.

Since it was something we had talked with the staff about beforehand, Im Seoyoung was the first to talk.

“But that too was because of oppa. Just a few months ago, Songha didn’t have any thoughts on acting, let alone appearing on a drama. If oppa didn’t catch her as she tried to flee and told her to act, I don’t know how things would be now.”

The cast members murmured amongst each other.

“You had no thoughts on acting originally? But why?”

“I saw the drama too, and you were amazing at acting?”

To be honest, today’s broadcast was not only the commemorative day Neptune appeared on a public network but also the stage to leak this truth as naturally as possible.

I met Lee Songha’s eyes.

I nodded while smiling. If cameras weren’t currently filming my face right now, I would have shown the sinister smile I revealed in front of Kim Hyunjo previously.

Under the flood of gazes focused on her, Lee Songha began to speak.

They were the words we hadn’t been able to speak out into the world even though we had been exploding with anger.

“I did receive acting lessons in the past, but the acting teacher told me I sucked at acting. He said that people like me shouldn’t act and to not even dare think about it so I thought that I was really bad at acting.”

“What sort of nonsense is that? Just where does a person like that come from?”

“Haaa, you were caught by a complete quack!”

Reactions erupted like bustling bees.

It seemed that they thought a story as great as this wouldn’t be edited out as the cast members remarked using the most aggressive and negative words allowed on public networks.

Although I wanted to say that his name was Shim Kyungtaek, it was still a little satisfying mentioning him on a public network since all I could do last time I went to him was threaten him.

Still, since we were already screwing him over, why not screw him over to our hearts’ content?

I tossed another comment for the indignant cast to bite on.

“I looked into it because Songha wasn’t so terrible at acting to listen to such words and found that the teacher held unpleasant feelings towards her.”

“Really? Wow, complete trash!”

“There are people who can’t stand others becoming successful. Still, as someone who calls himself a teacher, really. I don’t know who he is, but what a worthless man.”

While inwardly smiling, I observed the commotion. It was no different from a hazing. If there was an object known as ‘acting teacher’ here, it would already be rolling around in tatters on the set.

After cursing him for a while, the cast members spoke words of encouragement to Lee Songha. Once this story went on air, it would undoubtedly become a hot topic. This was why we were leaking this before the Cat Guardian Ghost fever was over.

It would definitely be a positive influence on Lee Songha’s image.

And it would screw Teacher Shim Kyungtaek over.

I wasn’t certain why the company told us to leak this on the broadcast. They might have taken measures so that Teacher Shim Kyungtaek couldn’t bring Son Chaeyoung down with him or CEO Baek Hansung had some other thoughts.

However, what was certain was that, even if the press didn’t directly expose Teach Shim Kyungtaek’s name, this would be a publicly known fact to those in the know. If that happens, he wouldn’t be able to go around acting arrogantly and being called a professor like now.

Also, he would become more nervous the more famous Lee Songha became. Whenever Lee Songha’s name was mentioned in the press, he would be trembling in fear in case his past would resurface along with it.

“Then it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that your manager changed your life.”

It seemed like he thought this was enough as Hong Sukwoo asked this to wrap up the situation.

Lee Songha nodded her head with shining eyes.

“Yes, that’s right. If it wasn’t for oppa, I wouldn’t have done the drama and known that acting was this fun.”

 

Even after the large commotion passed, the recording continued.

The MCs asked me a few more annoying questions. Especially Park Taepyeong, he kept coming back to me and asking me questions like a bird that had found a bird feeder. Of course, it was good since it would increase our airtime, but my palm already felt like a pincushion.

Just as we got rid of those god-forsaken lie detectors, Hong Sukwoo abruptly looked at the celebrities and shouted,

“Now, who know their manager’s birthday? If you know, raise your hand!”

Around half of them raised their hands.

Lee Songha did as well.

She raised her hand so quickly that it surprised Im Seoyoung, who was sitting next to her.

“Ms. Lee Songha, you were the quickest! Do you know his birthday?”

“Yes. July 22.”

Lee Songha replied without a moment of hesitation.

“Manager Jung Sunwoo, is she right?”

“… Yes, she is.”

At my words, Lee Songha smiled with a proud expression.

But how did she know my birthday? Did I ever tell her?

While I was tilting my head, Hong Sukwoo listened to the replies of other celebrities. Then Park Taepyeong smirked as he said,

“There are definitely those who prepared for logic quizzes since we told them that there would be a quiz corner, but you’ve done quizzes on common sense, capital cities, and stuff a lot on other shows. That’s why we won’t be doing them.”

Oh my.

While protests erupted here and there, I checked Im Seoyoung’s condition first. She looked like someone who had lost their country. As if comforting her, Lee Taehee, who was sitting next to her, patted her shoulder.

“We are going to quiz you about your manager. Although it’s a given that managers know a lot about their celebrities, we need to check how much celebrities know about their managers in return!”

The cast members’ eyes gleamed. Should I say they reminded me of goldfish that barely managed to reach the surface after fighting each other for food? Also, among those goldfish were Neptune goldfish. Of course, the goldfish who looked like she was overflowing with eagerness was Lee Songha.

The MCs looked at their cue cards as they began the quiz.

“Who knows their manager’s hobby?”

Once again, Lee Songha’s hand shot up.

“Watching movies and dramas.”

“Who knows their manager’s nickname during school?”

“Jung Jumma.”{1}

Goldfish Lee Songha didn’t stop. It was so bad that Park Taepyeong, with a tired expression, told Lee Songha that it would be better if she just kept her hand up in the air until the end.

“Who knows their manager’s zodiac sign?”

The four of them answered this question together.

Our team was in the lead. It was good. It was good since it meant they were interested in me, but this situation where we were beating those who worked together for years was a bit baffling.

The other cast members looked dumbfounded, especially Kim Dongho, who was sitting next to me. The look he gave me when he glanced at me hadn’t been pleasant for a while now.

“Hey, Neptune’s too good at this.”

“It’s Ms. Lee Songha who’s too good. Isn’t it to the point it feels like they’re family?”

“Lastly, a chance to turn the tables! We’ll do a 50-point bonus question. The most shocking team wins this. Who knows their manager’s embarrassing or dark past?”

What?

Amongst the people shouting, I quickly found Lee Songha.

Fortunately, her hand was still. Just as I was relieved that her expression read, ‘Dark past? He doesn’t have something like that,’ LJ raised her hand out of nowhere and said,

“I saw him practice smiling by himself while looking at a mirror before.”

… When did she see that?

My face burned. It felt like the cast members and even the staff members were staring at my face. When I glanced at Kim Hyunjo, his lips were stretched up to his ears. If he wasn’t on set, his expression said that he would be rolling on the floor laughing.

Fortunately, thanks to the other cast members bringing up darker pasts, my trivial story was quickly buried under them. I was paying sharp attention to them in case one of them raised their hand, but Im Seoyoung kept glancing my way.

Then, in the end, she avoided my gaze and stealthily raised her hand.

What? What? What does she know?

“Euaah, oppa, I have no choice for the points! Th-there are things in life that just can’t be helped!”

“No, Seoyoung. There isn’t anything that can’t be helped.”

I tried to calm Im Seoyoung down.

Park Taepyeong and Hong Sukwoo were giggling in front of me and the cast members and staff were laughing at our back-and-forth for a while now, but it was more urgent to stop Im Seoyoung from spouting whatever bomb she was about to.

“We’re going to lose like this!”

“I’ll buy you that damn beef! I don’t know what it is, but don’t say it.”

My family is going to be watching this!

*

In the beginning, the mood of the staff was as though they were in a funeral home.

Producer Yoon aged in real time as he watched the managers in total confusion, unable to get a sense of the broadcast.

When the title of the broadcast was ‘Star Manager’ and the majority of the managers talked as though they were reading from a Korean textbook, continuing like this would undoubtedly result in failure. It might even be picked as the worst program among the Lunar New Year’s specials each broadcast company had ambitiously prepared for.

However, it was different now.

Producer Yoon and Writer Park were looking at the set with smiling faces.

“Wow, I was worried we might have to edit this whole part out, but it was revived.”

“I know, right? When we go record outside, we should add another cameraman to that team.”

“I didn’t hope for much besides Lee Songha’s story, but I didn’t know their chemistry with each other was so good. I had thought that I should at least insert a bunch of their reactions if they can’t get any airtime, but doesn’t it seem like they’ll be cast for a ton of entertainment programs when this airs?”

At Producer Yoon’s words, Writer Park replied while rubbing her chin,

“But, it seems like that a lot of it is because of the manager?”

 


{1} Don’t know if you remember, but his nickname is a combination of his name (Jung Sunwoo) and Ahjumma (Korean word for an older woman)

 

Prev / ToC / Next

Comments 14

  1. Aw their interactions with each other really are sweet. I can’t believe it’s only been four months though, time sure flies by quickly!

    Thank you for the chapter ^_^

  2. hard to read on a phone or tablet,that crash several times per chapter^^
    so i comment late:) thanks for the chapter!

    now i think about that i don’t know any manager name irl,none.

    nice chapter

Leave a Reply (No Spoilers)