TM Chapter 86

Chapter 86: When You’re Missing Pieces of the Puzzle (3)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

I sobered up.

I recalled information regarding Chief Kim’s company, Taeum Management. Compared to W&U, it was small, but it was a stable company. While it seemed like there were other celebrities, they focused mainly on actors. I didn’t know any more details besides that.

Why were they giving this offer to someone who hadn’t even been a manager for five months?

After racking my brain, I straightforwardly asked,

“Is it perhaps because of Songha?”

Chief Kim laughed out loud.

“We are well aware that Ms. Songha is part of a girl group and has a lot of time left on her contract, do you think we want to be sued? It’s not like that.”

“Then why are you giving me this offer?”

When I asked, Chief Kim exhaled white steam similar to cigarette smoke from his mouth as he said,

“Well, they said they heard a lot of good things about Mr. Sunwoo.”

“From who?”

“I don’t know any more than that. Either way, the company said that they would like to meet with you if you are willing. You are probably aware we aren’t some third-rate company as well. This is a good offer.”

That was why it was so strange.

The thought about the future which I had suppressed was slowly crawling its way up. Thinking that this might be related to the incident in the future, I added it to my list of suspicions.

Either way, it wasn’t like I was thinking of changing jobs. While the conditions were good, they weren’t good enough for me to leave Neptune and everything I had built up at W&U behind. Since I felt that there was no need to test the waters, I shook my head.

“While I am thankful for the offer, I do not have any plans on changing companies at this moment.”

“Then… Contact me if you change your mind.”

After candidly retreating, Chief Kim took out his business card from his wallet and handed it to me.

I received and casually put it in my wallet when Chief Kim smiled as he said,

“I feel like she’s going to bore a hole in my face. I’ll go in first.”

“Pardon?”

Chief Kim gestured with his chin as he passed me. When I turned around, I saw Lee Songha standing there with a shocked expression. She seemed to be taken aback when our eyes met as she quickly pressed the button of the coffee vending machine.

“Did you hear our conversation?”

When I asked after walking to her, she shook her small head left and right.

“No.”

“I think you did.”

“To be honest, I did hear a little. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, I only heard it when I came to get some coffee.”

While insisting she was innocent, Lee Songha licked her lips slightly.

“But oppa…”

“Yeah. I’m not changing companies. Don’t plan to.”

I replied before she even asked.

Smiling silently, she raised a paper cup filled with coffee. Then, as if emptying a shot glass, she drank it all in one go. Since her actions were so natural, I only became surprised two seconds later.

“Wasn’t it hot?”

“… It was.”

Her face instantly turned red. It looked like steam would escape from her lips.

I quickly got her a glass of cold water and she gulped it down in one go. She was acting a bit strange. When I looked at her closely, her expression was fine, but her eyes were wet and wavering like the moon reflected on the water.

“You seem drunk. Did you drink more?”

“Chief Lee gave me some.”

That guy.

When I looked at Chief Lee Bongjoon, his eyes were already half-closed. Seo Jijoon would probably take care of him. After explaining the situation to people who were asking me why I was leaving already, I left the restaurant with Lee Songha.

Leaving the driving to the substitute driver{1}, I got in the back seat with Lee Songha. As the heater warmed the minivan, it seemed she also became drowsy as her long neck leaned to the side.

I placed a neck pillow under Lee Songha’s neck. Since her quiet breathing was ticklish, I turned my head and looked out the window. The sleet on the window melted and dripped down.

How long was I like this? I felt like I had fallen asleep temporarily so I stretched my waist when I heard a vibration coming from Lee Songha’s clothes pocket.

When I left it alone, it stopped soon after before ringing again. On the third time it rang, I shook Lee Songha’s shoulder.

“Songha, wake up. I think it might be important.”

Since it didn’t look like she would wake up anytime soon, I took out her phone.

It was her family again.

Concerned that something might have happened to her family, I answer the phone with one hand while shaking Lee Songha with the other. As soon as her phone stopped vibrating, I heard the sighing voice of a middle-aged woman.

-Just why haven’t you answe-

“I answered the call for her. I am Songha’s manager.”

-Her manager?

“Yes. I am Jung Sunwoo. It seems Songha is tired since she is sleeping. I answered the call for her in case there was an emergency.”

-Jung Sunwoo… Ah, you’re the one who appeared on the Lunar New Year’s broadcast, right? The one who told Songha to act. I am her mom.

Her scolding voice instantly became gentler.

-It so happens I was hoping to meet you in person after watching that broadcast. What a coincidence. Could we meet in person later?

“In person? What might the reason be…”

-I think that Songha should quit the girl group and focus only on acting. Wasting her time…

Suddenly, a hand shot out from beside me and took the phone away.

Even though it was dark, I could clearly see Lee Songha’s frowning face.

“I’ll call you back.”

After saying that, she hung up. Since we arrived at Neptune’s residence, I asked the substitute driver to excuse us for a moment. Once he said he would have a smoke and left, Lee Songha immediately said,

“You don’t need to see her. Don’t see her. I’ll talk to her.”

“Is this why you’ve been avoiding her calls?”

Lee Songha nodded her head. After a moment of silence, I heard a low voice.

“We fought about this since the Lunar New Year’s long weekend. It seems she was suddenly dissatisfied with lots of things. I looked into it, and it looks that this is a common occurrence in celebrity families. It’s not just us.”

“You should have said something. If she keeps saying that, the chief or I co-“

“I’ll handle it on my own since it’s my family matter.”

A few thoughts brushed my mind.

A girl group that only now began taking steps, and a member who came under the glamorous spotlight thanks to a historic drama. Problems concerning personal schedules and how to calculate their earnings.

I had thought that we were lucky since there wasn’t any disharmony within the group, but there was a family matter.

Currently, Neptune was on a roll, and even putting the contract aside, if there was discord in the team against Lee Songha, it wouldn’t do well for their image.

The incident in the future wasn’t related to Lee Songha’s family, right?

While I became suspicious again, Lee Songha mumbled,

“To be honest, since I was so frustrated… I wanted to call oppa during the long weekend.”

“You should have. Why didn’t you? You know my number.”

“If I talk about work, it’ll bug you when you’re resting for a change.”

“That’s not work. You can call me next time.”

At my words, Lee Songha stared at me. Since it seemed like she would ask me if what I said was true, I nodded. Then a smile slowly bloomed on her calm face.

*

As though the raining sleet last night was a lie, the day was bright this morning.

However, in this room covered in thick curtains, the bleak atmosphere of yesterday remained. There were broken vases and appliances, and books were scattered all over the room. Only the mirror above her dressing table was intact.

Son Chaeyoung stood in this mess.

She looked like she would explode at any moment. Her distorted face was convulsing, and her eyes gave off a fierce aura. Son Chaeyoung glared at the wall as though she would rip someone to shreds if they were present.

Soon, the phone in her hand rang.

The dial tone rang out in the dark room.

 

“She might really get a mental illness at this rate, team leader.”

Chief Jo, whose eyes and cheeks were sunken in, said as he glanced at his phone. On the constantly vibrating screen was the name ‘Son Chaeyoung’. Clenching his head, he said, as if pleading, to the team 2 leader sitting in front of him,

“She’ll probably act more terrifyingly from now on. I feel like I’m going to suffocate.”

“What is Chaeyoung doing right now?”

“She’s probably smashing appliances again. I can’t even work up the courage to check up on her.”

Chief Jo mumbled as if frightened.

The team 2 leader clicked his tongue as he said,

“That’s probably true considering her temper. Snatching other people’s stuff, maybe, but she’s not the type of person to have her things snatched away. But it wasn’t just one but a bunch of them. On top of that, she had them taken by Lee Songha, someone who she tried to bury in secret… That’s why I told you to keep her in check, you!”

Surprised by the team leader’s irritated shout, Chief Jo prostrated himself.

“But will Chaeyoung still renew the contract even now?”

“Don’t you know what kind of person the CEO is? She’s only smashing appliances because he’s got her on a leash. If not, she would have already ripped the contract apart. No, still, why is the CEO going this far…”

As if he couldn’t understand, the team 2 leader frowned.

“In any case, there hasn’t been a quiet day since Jung Sunwoo that guy joined our company.”

He muttered before suddenly rubbing his beard. Not long after, he opened his mouth.

“Since Chaeyoung won’t be able to work on any projects in her current state for the time being, do you want to be in charge of Lee Songha?”

“Lee Songha?”

Even though he had looked like he was about to die just now, Chief Jo’s eyes widened.

“I was going to talk about it with the director anyways, but we can’t let Jung Sunwoo continuously be in charge of Lee Songha. While it seems like he has a good eye, he’s still a chick who doesn’t know the ways of the industry.”

“That’s true.”

“Lee Songha, she seems like a real gem the more I see her. Before she becomes difficult to handle like Son Chaeyoung, we need to manage her by assigning a proper manager to her. It’ll be good for her as well if a veteran takes care of her.”

“I’ll be happy to do it.”

Chief Jo nodded his head repeatedly.

Even though they were getting ahead of themselves, their conversation continued for a long while.

*

It was noisy.

When I opened my eyes a crack, it was still dark in my room. The cause of the sound was my phone on my table.

Seeing as the sun hadn’t risen yet, it seemed to be early. Did I set my alarm for the wrong time?

I fumbled to unplug the charging cable and looked at the screen. It wasn’t an alarm but a call. It was Reporter Park Woojeong. Looking at the time, it was a bit past 1 a.m.

Did she call me by accident?

While yawning, I answered the call.

“Hello, reporter?”

-Ah, Mr. Sunwoo! Sorry for calling at this late hour. Still, I thought I should tell you this quickly!

My eyes jolted open on their own when I heard her urgent voice.

“What is it?”

-Do you know someone name Lee Joohwan? From Punchline…

“The guy who raps. I know.”

I quickly got up and turned on the lights. Reporter Park continued to speak.

-He posted something on his social media just now, but no matter how I look at it, it seems to be aimed at Ms. Songha.

“Please wait, I’ll check right now.”

With my phone against my ear, I quickly went online.

Then I checked Punchline’s Lee Joohwan’s social media account. Like Reporter Park had said, there was a new post.

A shitty post that made me doubt my eyes the moment I saw it.

 

A lonely night.

While meeting each other fleetingly on the set over the past few months, I believed there was something real between us. Just what is success that makes a person’s eyes change so much? I turned the drama off in the middle because it was difficult to see your face. Was I foolish? Or was the industry simply like this? How dirty and painful.

 

“What kind of crazy-!”

I was so taken aback that I swore.

Met on the set for the past few months, success, drama, he only didn’t reveal her name, but anyone would think he was talking about Lee Songha. Looking at the comments on the side, Punchline fans were already buzzing.

They commented about how this was Lee Songha no matter how you looked at it and that she ignored him as soon as she became successful.

Each comment mentioned Lee Songha.

Reporter Park Woojeong cautiously asked.

-Ms. Songha, does she really have something with Lee Joohwan? Even if she does…

“No. He’s speaking nonsense.”

-Then you need to deal with this as soon as you can. When an idol scandal breaks out, only the girl’s side suffers. This is pretty much publicly screwing her over. Since it’s still early in the morning, it’s quiet for now, but it’ll become a huge topic soon!

“Thank you, reporter. I’ll call you back.”

I hung up and called Team Leader Park. She was in the middle of a call. Kim Hyunjo was in a call as well. Did they hear about it already? I sent them a message just in case and let out a big breath.

Was it this?

The incident I saw in the future. Was this bastard the bomb?

I did tell the person to hold an interview and explain. The situation fit perfectly.

In the future, I was undoubtedly threatening someone. It wasn’t a request. I threatened the person by saying that they needed to fix this if they didn’t want to roll in the mud with me. During that time, the other person couldn’t say a word.

If this was the incident, then what did I threaten him with?

 


{1} Not sure what the proper term in English is, but basically, in Korea, you can call someone to drive your car for you when you’re drunk or something. This is to prevent DUIs. It’s like a taxi, but the driver comes over to drive your car for you.

 

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Comments 10

    1. I dislike the whole veteran vs. merit system. Just cause you’ve been there longer doesn’t mean you can just take all of the ‘gold’ parts while leaving the scraps for the newbies. It just feels like spite. Like they themselves were treated as such early on, so they ‘obviously’ have to do the same to everyone else. Did Jung Sunwoo actually do anything to warrant a switch?

      The worst part is that this small event will probably act as a reason to tear him from Songha. Ha~… That ‘veteran’ couldn’t even handle Son Chaeyoung yet they use her as the example of why her manager should take care of Songha? That logic…

  1. i love how his “cheat” is so unwieldy…it gives him an edge, but is far from being OP (at least for now)…the best example so far have been these last 2 chatpers, where he was looking everywhere, wary of where a threat might come from

    thanks for the chapter!

  2. Someone to drive a vehicle for you – Chauffeur is the closet English equivalent. Though it doesn’t have anything to do with the person they’re driving being drunk or not. Another option would be a parking valet (though in this case a driving valet), as the term Valet refers to any “gentleman’s servant”.

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