TM Chapter 91

Chapter 91: Symbol of Happiness (3)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

When would we be scheduled for entertainment shows? What kind of concepts would they have?

Since we were really lucky with Star Manager last time, it would probably be too greedy to expect that much again. I didn’t know how effective playing their songs in the background or playing their music video for 15 seconds would be.

If there was a way to naturally show their songs during a program…

“Okay, cut!”

While I was lost in my thoughts, the filming director shouted with a satisfied expression.

I tapped my head a few times and cleared my thoughts. Due to thinking of the same thoughts at every opportunity during the past few days, my head felt so heavy that it was difficult to carry it on top of my neck.

“Good work everyone!”

As soon as the filming ended, dozens of staff members cheered with exhausted faces. Even the Neptune girls flopped on the grass, exhausted from shoots for magazines, TV, and behind-the-scenes footage for marketing purposes.

I checked the time when the filming director started a conversation with a shine in his small eyes.

“I was worried that the girls would be overshadowed because the background was so good today, but there’s nothing to edit. I heard all Neptune members had great appearances, but there’s nothing to throw out since they would be picture-perfect whenever we filmed them.”

“Thank you. It’s all thanks to your filming skills.”

“The new album concept, songs, and reactions were all good. Congratulations. I’ve been hearing Neptune’s name in the advertising industry these days. I know they worked hard, and now they’ll finally get to shine.”

I heard this wherever I went these days. I did my best to smile while thanking them and acting modestly. It would be great if the conversation ended here, but the director glanced at the girls and added,

“Since the shoot ended well, why don’t we have an afterparty to get closer to each other? With those businessmen over there as well. The Neptune members drink, right? A 3-month single advertisement becomes a 6-month one or even a year-long one at events like this.”

I also heard this a lot these days. Although it seemed there were companies who pushed their girl groups into these situations, our policy was to create an impenetrable defense.

“Ah, we have a schedule early in the morning tomorrow so it’ll be difficult today.”

After making an empty promise that we should schedule one when the opportunity arose, I distanced myself from the director. It seemed the advertising employees held some expectations as well as they were smacking their lips. There were a lot of men who didn’t act their age in this industry, wanting to play with girl group members who were young enough to be their daughters.

“Heeey, oppa.”

When I approached the girls, Im Seoyoung hesitantly called out to me.

“What?”

“We don’t have a schedule right after, right? Can we stay here for a bit longer?”

“Why were you hesitant when saying that? Since this was an advertising shoot, I cleared the schedule because we didn’t know when it’ll end so it’s fine, but isn’t it better to go home and sleep a little?”

Their schedule was packed tomorrow. I could take a nap by switching with the traitor, but the girls had to run around the stage in heels as though they were in their best condition regardless of whether they were sleep deprived or not.

“Sleep is good too, but we won’t be able to come here again.”

Im Seoyoung looked at the film environment reluctantly.

The grass field warmed by the sun. Splendid cherry blossom trees and a tranquil pond piled with cherry blossoms. This garden, which the location manager painstakingly chose for the commercial shoot, was as beautiful as an illustration in a children’s book.

Lee Taehee, who was lying on the ground like a plant undergoing photosynthesis, said while scratching her neck,

“I think it’ll be nice to relax for a bit before leaving. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen cherry blossoms up so close.”

“Oppa should rest too. You looked very tired these days.”

Lee Songha added. LJ silently looked at me, but her body was already stuck to the grass, clearly indicating she had no intentions of leaving.

“Okay, let’s do that then.”

After asking for the advertising team’s understanding, I bought a bit of time. Then I sat on a bench and took out my phone while the girls were resting on the grass. My fingers pressed the music website app on their own.

I clicked my tongue after confirming the ranks didn’t change much since last time.

A shadow dropped in front of me. When I raised my head, LJ was looking at me with her head tilted to the side.

As expected of a girl who did sports as a hobby, she could handle most schedules easily, but she seemed slightly different today. Should I say she looked stifled, no, it looked more like she was parched?

Seeing that sodas, which was the product they were advertising, were lying around, I was about to offer her one when-

“I’m suffering from frustration because of you, oppa.”

I dropped the soda and it rolled on the ground.

“Because of me? Why?”

“Er, smile a little. Everyone’s reading oppa’s mood more than the CEO’s.”

I unconsciously touched my face and blinked.

“Me? Why?”

LJ sat down next to me. She crossed her legs out of habit and placed her arm on the back of the bench, then she stared at me with narrowed eyes.

“You look like you’re disappointed in us.”

“… What?”

“You’re disappointed because our album performance isn’t up to your expectations. How can we not notice after experiencing multiple failed albums?”

My words hovered on top of my tongue.

“Taehee unni has difficulty bringing it up because her song is a title track. Lee Songha’s just digging a hole for herself. And Im Seoyoung’s expression distorts like a rain-soaked mouse whenever you check the music charts.”

While shaking her crossed leg, she clicked her tongue.

“That’s why teasing her is not fun anymore. That was my greatest source of energy. I can’t relieve my frustration these days. I might cause trouble like this.”

Although she joked at the end, it wasn’t a joke.

I felt like cold water was poured on me. I turned my gaze and looked at the other girls. Lee Taehee and Lee Songha were talking to each other while lying down leisurely, and Im Seoyoung was enjoying herself by gathering cherry blossoms and scattering them over the girls.

When I thought back, her words seemed to be true.

The girls seemed stiffer around me recently. I didn’t know they were concerned about my actions. Since they didn’t look any different, no, because my mind was complicated, I seemed to have glossed over it by thinking they were the same as usual.

“Sorry. I thought the song was really good and felt regretful when looking at its rank. It’s because I was greedy. I’m not disappointed in you girls. I didn’t know you girls were minding me so much. Thank you for telling me.”

“I read your mood too even though I’m not the type to.”

She said apathetically before getting up and brushing herself off. Then she joined the other girls and pulled Im Seoyoung’s hair. Annoyed, she grumbled irritably before glancing at me. Lee Taehee and Lee Songha were looking at me as well.

I smiled out of reflex.

The concerns and worries that entangled my mind dispersed.

I had been a bit impatient. The reason why I changed the present was to pioneer a better future, but when a situation turned worse, I became preoccupied with the thought of having to correct the situation. I became so focused on the future that I didn’t see the present.

The girls worked very hard and their current performance was great enough that they should be happy and proud, but I almost ruined everything.

I stood up while scratching my head. I walked towards the girls and sat on the grass. Their clear eyes, which made me wonder why I hadn’t noticed until now, stuck to me. I stretched before lying down on the grass.

“Let’s watch the cherry blossoms to our fill before going. There are too many people at the cherry blossom road in Yeouido that we won’t be able to go together. And it’ll be troublesome if people recognize you and swarm around us. It’s great your album’s a hit, but this part’s a little regretful.”

At my words, my surroundings temporarily became silent. Soon, Lee Songha rolled over towards me. Then Im Seoyoung said with twitching lips,

“Umm, oppa. I talked with my mom on the phone and she said that she heard our song twice when she went out yesterday.”

“Really? I should go around some time. Oh right, I don’t have the time.”

“Also, the members on our fan page increase a ton. When I secretly go check when they are chatting, the fans…”

Im Seoyoung’s voice gradually became livelier. Soon, other voices joined in and their laughter tickled my ears.

We lied on the grass for almost an hour while chatting about all sorts of things. After I explained that I had been overly greedy because it was my first album, the mood became even more livelier.

I thought while lying relaxed and watching the fluttering cherry blossom trees.

To take it slow.

To not be so impatient and nervous because of the future.

 

Well, that was that.

My thoughts on doing whatever I could, even appearing entertainment shows, didn’t change.

If we were lucky, we might be able to gather a good reaction from the public, and if that happened, we could take the Sugar Cats, who walked around with their noses in the air, down a notch.

“It’s been a while.”

The Sugar Cats members smiled as they entered our waiting room. They all had expressions that they couldn’t endure their desire to want to boast. I glanced at Im Seoyoung, and she greeted them with a soulless face.

I did expect this sort of situation since I heard that Sugar Cats would have a comeback performance today. However, even though I knew, it still made me lose my appetite.

Han Saetbyeol of the Sugar Cats blinked her caterpillar-hair-like eyelashes and smiled.

“We saw the entertainment show you went on with Simon Lee. You were really working hard, but it was a shame you were edited out so much. Are you appearing on another entertainment show? We’ll monitor it for you.”

Like hell, you would.

I got up to make them leave before they upset Im Seoyoung any further, but LJ suddenly stood up before I could and closed the slightly opened waiting room door. She then looked at the Sugar Cats members and abruptly asked,

“Why did you come to the music broadcast?”

“What do you mean why did we come? Don’t you know we’re making a comeback?”

“You released an album, I guess?”

The Sugar Cats members, who were standing close together, showed angry expression.

“Do you live without seeing the music charts? Our song is above yours, you know?”

“Ah, that. BYG’s song you’re featured in?”

Han Saetbyeol’s eyes turned fierce at LJ’s ridiculing words. I stealthily looked around the waiting room. Well, it was fine if there were no cameras. Since she closed the door, no one would hear since it was so noisy outside.

Im Seoyoung simply looked at her with flustered eyes. Lee Taehee and Lee Songha didn’t look like they would stop her either.

“Can’t you read Korean? BYG’s featured on our song!”

“Really? I thought it was the opposite since BYG’s part took up over half the 4-minute song. Seeing as how BYG’s fans are swarming outside, it seems you are performing together, but people might think you are background dancers. Tell the staff to put the name ‘Sugar Cats’ really big on the screen.”

“You!”

Han Saetbyeol shouted. The other girls tried their best to stifle their laughter.

“If you’re so jealous, why don’t you ask Blackout to feature on your song? Our song will take first anyways.”

“Sure. Leave if you’re done talking.”

LJ gestured with her chin. Then, as though she suddenly thought of something, she added,

“Ah, also, I’ll monitor the broadcast to check if you look like background dancers or not.”

The Sugar Cats members yapped for a while longer before leaving as though they were being chased out. I had imagined LJ, who always bickered with Im Seoyoung, as a cat, but I thought I was seeing a predatory cat today.

LJ raised her brows when she saw Im Seoyoung staring at her.

“Why? What?”

“… Nothing.”

Im Seoyoung shook her head. The edges of her lips twitched.

LJ flopped on the sofa and smiled while saying,

“I wish a big star made a comeback so that they can’t get first.”

*

Chopsticks grabbed yukhoe{1}.

Choi Gunyoung took a few bites before setting his chopsticks down.

“You didn’t hear from him after that?”

“I gave him my business card, but I didn’t hear from him again. It’s already done anyways.”

The man sitting in front of him said while drinking alcohol.

“We offered Jung Sunwoo those conditions because you said it would be useful to have him when contracting Son Chaeyoung, but it looks like Son Chaeyoung can’t leave W&U easily. CEO Baek, what a scary guy.”

“So he didn’t even contact you, huh?”

Choi Gunyoung frowned slightly.

“If he contacted you, I was going to tell people he was thinking of switching companies.”

“But that guy’s quite impressive seeing as he’s unscathed while working with you for almost half a year. No, he’s not just unscathed. I hear that he’s the one in the spotlight, right?”

“Still, I won this time. Though the song is not performing as well as I hoped.”

Choi Gunyoung placed his arms on the table, rested his chin on his hand and smiled.

Seeing his nonchalant smile that revealed his dimples, the man shook his head.

“Since you both brought a title track, the album has double title tracks, right?”

“Yeah. If they appear on entertainment shows a few more times with Simon Lee, then the company should focus on promoting Simon Lee’s song.”

“But, you, what went on between you and Simon Lee?”

“What do you mean what went on between us? I worked hard to persuade him.”

“To you, working hard means by any means possible.”

The man smirked. Choi Gunyoung shrugged.

“Isn’t that obvious?”

“It’s only obvious for someone like you.”

At the man’s words, Choi Gunyoung’s smile thickened.

“Also, in this industry, it’s guys like me who succeed.”

*

It was already the middle of the night when I arrived home after finishing today’s schedule.

Yawning, I took out my phone. I was about to set the alarm a little later because the traitor was going to handle tomorrow’s morning schedule when my phone vibrated.

It was the writer who texted me not too long ago.

 

-Mr. Manager. Your chief contacted us. We will go forward while thinking your appearance is confirmed. You might be a bit flustered by the concept, but there’s no need to be so worried. We won’t ask for any more or less, just as much as Star Manager!

 


{1} Yukhoe – Korean-style raw beef seasoned in various sauces and spices.

 

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Comments 13

  1. i think the autor made a mistake with choi gunyoung.that character could have been more interesting.now that seems he will just be a generic schemer villain:/ i expected more of this character.
    anyway,nice chapter.thanks:)

    1. Did you want Choi to become an equal to Jung Sunwoo sorta like Elizabeth and Dantalian? No matter how good his connections, capabilities, and amorality, he can never match someone with a very convenient foresight ability.

  2. I guess Choi Gunyoung was scheming since way before he even worked with Blackout. I’m guessing he may have prompted the company to try to steal Jung Sunwoo from W&U as well as blackmailing Simon Lee to produce a song.

  3. Ehhh I had to think hard for a minute to remember who Choi Gunyoung was. tbh “the traitor” rolls off the tongue much more satisfactorily. Siighh just waiting for this guy to get his due. “Guys like you” might be successful certainly, but it only lasts so long as everyone is willing to play along. Thanks for the chapter!!

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