TM Chapter 87

Chapter 87: When You’re Missing Pieces of the Puzzle (4)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

Was I blindly threatening the person?

After rubbing my chin, I shook my head. It didn’t seem that way.

My tone was similar to when I threatened Teacher Shim Kyungtaek. It didn’t seem like I was threatening because I was at my wit’s end, it definitely seemed like I possessed something that I could threaten the other person with.

What was it?

Even while I was mulling over this, the comments on Lee Joohwan’s post kept increasing.

Just what was Lee Joohwan, that crazy bastard, doing after taking a dump like that? Did he write that in a hazy, drunken state before collapsing? Or was he chuckling as he watched the internet’s reaction with a clear mind?

Anger surged up my throat just recalling his sleek face. If he was in front of me, I probably would have held him up by his collar and punched him.

My phone rang again. It was Team Leader Park.

-Is he an idiot? What kind of shit is he trying to pull?

As soon as I answered the phone, I heard her swear. It seemed her anger had reached its peak. Well, at least she didn’t have a mental breakdown. The back of my head ached even though I knew an incident would occur, to others, this was a bolt out of the blue.

-Did you know anything about this? Was there any sign that this might happen?

“Nope. I only learned about it just now because a reporter contacted me. He had been quiet ever since he confronted Songha during the recording last time.”

Team Leader said in a pissed voice.

-Lee Joohwan that crazy bastard. I don’t know what he’s up to, but he’s not answering his phone. The chief and team leader at his company won’t answer either. Not only are they not answering my calls, they aren’t picking up Mr. Hyunjo’s either. Those gangsters.

“Are you with the chief? He was on call.”

-We decided to meet at the company so I’m on my way there. Mr. Hyunjo is probably busy right now as well. There wasn’t a peaceful day last year, yet we’re really driving away the bad luck early in the year!{1}

“I’ll get ready and go to work too.”

I had my phone rested on my shoulder as I got ready when Team Leader Park said.

-I’m trying to stop the press the best I can, but it doesn’t seem it’ll last long. So you call Songha and confirm that there wasn’t anything going on between them. Help her prepare her heart as well.

“Yes.”

-No matter how we explain our position, there will be many netizens who are happily writing stories connecting Songha and Lee Joohwan together. Tell her not to go on the internet since there will be a lot of hate comments because Punchline has a lot of elementary and middle school fans.

“Yes, also, team leader,”

I stopped Team Leader Park, who was about to hastily hang up.

“Could you give me Lee Joohwan’s personal phone number?”

-I told you that bastard isn’t picking up right now. He’s not replying to texts either.

“I’ve met him before so you never know. I just want to try.”

-… Okay, you never know. Let’s do everything we can. I’ll send it by text.

While I was waiting for Team Leader Park’s text, I called Lee Songha.

Even though it was late at night, the call went through right away.

-Oppa?

It seemed she wasn’t aware of the situation as she talked in a puzzled voice.

I said a few things as if there was nothing going on before getting to the point.

“Songha, I’m only asking just in case, but there’s nothing going on with you and Lee Joohwan, right?”

-Who’s that?

I wasn’t suspicious from the start, but this was exactly the reply I wanted to hear.

“The guy who raps in Punchline, the one who tried to start a conversation with you last time. Nothing happened afterwards, right?”

-Ah… No. Oppa, you told me not to associate with him.

“Good job. That crazy bastard posted nonsense about you so it looks like it’ll be a little noisy for a while. So don’t go on the internet for now.”

It hadn’t been long since her ‘add-on’ and acting controversies. It would be normal to be nervous when thinking about them, but Lee Songha didn’t even ask what was going on.

-Yes.

That was all.

Her voice didn’t contain a shred of worry or fluster. The only thing I felt was firm trust.

Going out into the moonless sky, I said,

“Okay, don’t worry and wait for me.”

 

Just as I got in my minivan, I received a text from Team Leader Park.

It was Lee Joohwan’s personal contact information.

Exhaling a stuffy breath, I pressed the call button. A rap played out as the caller ringtone, burrowing into my ears.

I swallowed my dry saliva. Even though I resolved myself to not depend so much on foresight multiple times and even though I told myself not to get hung up on an ability that can disappear as suddenly as it appeared, I was hoping for static to appear in my vision at some point.

However, there were no signs of my foresight ability activating even when the call went to voicemail.

After sending a message saying I was Lee Songha’s manager, I called him again. Even the second and third time, Lee Joohwan continued to be silent like Team Leader Park had said.

Thinking about it for a bit, I decided to call Reporter Park Woojeong.

I thanked her for telling me about the situation before asking,

“Are there any tabloids about Lee Joohwan?”

-Tabloids?

“Yes, a bad rumor or something that would make him tense. Anything like that.”

Something I could threaten him with to be exact.

-There are a lot of rumors about him. Please wait. I’ll ask my colleagues.

Not long after, Reporter Park Woojeong told me the rumors she had gathered.

They were about how he was a bit crazy even before he debuted and about how his company had a headache dealing with him because he was the type to do whatever he wants. There were a few others besides those. However, there wasn’t anything that perked my ears.

Finally, Reporter Park Woojeong cautiously said.

-Also, apparently, Lee Joohwan went on a date not too long ago.

“A date?”

-Yes, around two weeks ago. My colleague who told me this kept asking whether that person he went on a date with was Ms. Songha…

Although I was an atheist, at this moment I wanted to thank a god.

Reporter Park Woojeong’s voice became distant as my vision became dark.

 

I had never been so happy to see a static-filled vision.

Hoping it was related to Lee Joohwan, I concentrated more than ever.

I was inside a bar. The lights were gentle and dim. A beer glass and a glass bowl containing snacks were placed on top of a wooden bar in front of me. A somewhat familiar hip-hop song was playing.

My future self moved his hand and raised the cold beer glass. Then the refreshing beer went down my throat which was like a dry wasteland.

Perking my ears, I heard the conversation between two female bartenders.

“Lee Joohwan’s life has turned around. He’s been a hot topic for days now. Keeps going up and down on the real-time search rankings too. His public image has changed from all the sympathy he’s received, and Lee Songha’s image has crumbled.”

“Yeah.”

My future self acted like he was drinking as he carefully examined the woman who gave the short reply.

She looked pretty. She had short hair and a slim, curvy body.

“Lee Joohwan, don’t tell me he’s not going to even meet with us now?”

The other bartender secretly asked the short-haired woman.

“But, Hyesung, didn’t you say that you were seeing Lee Joohwan not that long ago?”

 

As soon as I returned to the present, I hung up the call.

I felt like I finally took a breath of fresh air after being stuck in a dark cave. Churning my brain, I assembled the information I saw and heard in the future.

So there was a woman that Lee Joohwan might have been seeing.

The woman my future self had found.

If this was certain, then it was a great material to threaten Lee Joohwan with.

Since this meant that Lee Joohwan, who targeted Lee Songha on social media acting like he was a hurt simplehearted man by saying that there was something going on between the two of them and how her eyes had changed, was playing around and going on dates with a completely different woman.

Thinking about it for a moment, I unlocked my phone again.

Then, as if baiting him, I sent a text message to Lee Joohwan.

 

-You must be busy. Flirting on set by yourself and going on a date with Ms. Hyesung.

*

Punchline’s residence.

Lee Joohwan was lying on the sofa while checking people’s reactions on social media on his tablet. While whistling, he said,

“Oppa’s too good for Lee Songha. Forget that opportunist and cheer up. Anyone wanna go hate on Neptune’s official homepage together? Oppa, only be hurt for today. Before W&U buries this, I’ll store it and spread it throughout the community… Wow, our fans are working hard so early in the morning. Hyung, have any articles been published?”

“None yet.”

The chief, who was sitting at the edge of the sofa, shook his head. There was a tablet in his hand as well.

Lee Joohwan frowned in dissatisfaction.

“Did all the reporters die? Why is it so quiet when I gave them such a huge story?”

“It looks like W&U has a hand in it, but it’s useless. Once an article pops up, tons of articles will follow behind it.”

Just then, the phone on top of the table vibrated. Lee Joohwan smirked when he saw the screen.

“If I don’t answer, you should just give up. So persistent. At this rate, I’ll memorize all the W&U employee’s numbers. But why is hyung’s so quiet?”

“I turned it off since it said the battery was low.”

“Should I turn it off too since it’s annoying?”

“Just leave it. Even though we’ve already stuck our heads in the sand, it’s too obvious if both our phones are off.”

Punchline’s main vocal, who was rummaging through the fridge behind the sofa, joined their conversation.

“But, even if it’s noise marketing, isn’t this coming on too strong? How are you going to deal with it tomorrow?”

“Too strong? It’s not like I said Lee Songha’s name outright and swore at her. Also, in my perspective, there really was something going on between us.”

Lee Joohwan said while raising his shoulders proudly.

“Things might have gone well if she hadn’t suddenly become so popular. When I, the person in question, think that way, what are they going to do? Sue me?”

Lee Joohwan chuckled as if just thinking about it was funny.

The chief clicked his tongue as he said,

“You just stay quiet. I’ll settle it in the morning.”

“What are you going to say?”

“It’s not like the fact you’re hard to handle is a secret. I’ll appeal to W&U by swearing at you a ton. I’m going to tell them that I’m going to make you take the post down so you make sure to take it down on time.”

“Okay. There are going to screenshots floating around by tomorrow morning anyways.”

Lee Joohwan said in a ridiculing manner before picking his phone up again. The vibration this time was short. He initially thought it would be similar to the overflowing number of messages he had received so far, but then he jolted up from the sofa.

“What is this?!”

“Why? Who is it?”

The chief got up as well and asked.

However, Lee Joohwan didn’t reply and raised his phone to his ear. He paced back and forth in the living room nervously with a stiff face.

Soon, the dial tone stopped.

-Yes, this is Jung Sunwoo.

“What is that text? What kind of nonsense is that?!”

Lee Joohwan asked immediately.

After a momentary silence, he heard a laughter-mixed voice.

-Nonsense is what your post was. No, seeing as you called me after understanding that, I guess it does seem like nonsense.

“What?!”

-You were so busy flirting by yourself on set and going on a date with another woman. Ah, is this industry simply like this? How dirty and painful.

“Date? Just who went on a date with who-!”

As soon as he licked his lips to stop-

-Ms. Hyesung. The bartender with short hair.

Lee Joohwan stood rigidly. His face turned rotten instantly.

The chief, who had listened to their conversation from the side, hurriedly turned on his phone.

-Don’t you think it’s better if to handle the situation by taking down your post and posting an explanation? Your fans are causing a fuss by saying that they feel sorry for you. I think your young fans will be disappointed if you got caught going on a date with another woman when you talked about how someone’s eyes changed and how lonely you felt.

While his tone seemed calm, the content of his words was no doubt a threat.

Ruffling his hair, Lee Joohwan looked at his chief. As if saying there was nothing else they could do, the chief sighed and nodded his head. Kicking the sofa, Lee Joohwan held back his swears and said,

“Umm. I’ll, I’ll take it down right away. The post. I made a mistake while drunk.”

After making an excuse, he asked while hiding his nervousness,

“… But how do you know Hyesung? Are you the only one who knows?”

The other side paused for a moment before replying.

-No. I only heard about it.

Lee Joohwan ended up swearing eventually.

*

It seemed he was in quite the hurry as Lee Joohwan took down his post from his social media at a frightening speed. After confirming it, I called Reporter Park Woojeong again.

Her voice was still serious.

-Mr. Sunwoo, I think the article will go up soon-!

“I think it’s been resolved well. All thanks to you.”

-… Pardon?

She said, perplexed.

“As thanks, I’ll give you something article-worthy.”

-Article-worthy?

“Yes, about Lee Joohwan’s scandal.”

 


{1} Experiencing bad luck now for better luck in the future.

 

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