“Acting? My son?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“My, I’m a bit shocked.”
It’s only been a few days since he told his son not to take after his older brother.
“I think I’m good with having just one son stray off the right path.”
“I’m not forcing it, of course. I’m just asking you to open up to the possibility of letting your son try acting for two more years. So that the boy has options to succeed.”
“Success… Do you think Geunseok has what it takes to be successful in acting?”
“For now, yes.”
“As you know, Geunseok doesn’t really have a process. He has the motivation to become successful, but he doesn’t really know what he wants to do.”
“He’s not matured, after all.”
“That’s why I’m asking you. I understand that Geunseok wasn’t taking his studies lightly even when he was acting?”
Janghae smiled slightly in pride.
“He always placed first.”
“I don’t know if you know this, but the team Geunseok was in charge of won the cultural recognition award in their last national acting competition.”
“I never heard of this.”
“It wasn’t first place, but he did manage to earn the acting club its first award in a few years.”
“Hoh, he did?”
“So he really might have talent after all.”
Janghae took a sip from his oolong tea, he was wondering what Junmin was thinking of right now. Did his younger son have that much talent?
“What do you think about letting him do acting so long as it doesn’t interfere with studies?”
“I still think that time would be better spent on studying instead.”
“Grades don’t linearly improve with the amount of time invested. It’s best to think about efficiency.”
“If you allow it, I’ll arrange a good teacher for Geunseok. They’re people who studied abroad, so I’m sure you’ll take a liking to them.”
Junmin took out a small folder without saying any more, inside were documents detailing several people who graduated from famous foreign colleges.
“I’m confident that this wouldn’t negatively impact Geunseok’s grades.”
Janghae closed the folder to look at Junmin. He was starting to become increasingly suspicious. Why was this man so desperate to have Geunseok become an actor?
“Is Geunseok really worth this much investment?”
“He’s definitely worth it, but there’s something else as well.”
“Yes. Sir, what do you think a person needs most when they grow?”
Janghae didn’t even hesitate with his answer.
“Indeed. I agree.”
“You think my son will become a hardship for someone else?”
“If I were to be direct, then yes. It won’t be a bad contract though. If Geunseok follows my curriculum well and decides to go into acting after high school, I plan on giving him my full support. I promise you that I’ll raise him with every method I have available to me. I’m a bit embarrassed to say this, but… With my name value, it’s not that difficult to have your son appear on every major TV channel.”
Janghae stroked his chin. He did take his time researching this Lee Junmin in his spare time, he knew very well that this man wasn’t bluffing right now.
“And even if Geunseok loses interest in acting, I won’t cut my support for his education. What do you think, isn’t this an alright deal for his current value?”
“It’s not just alright. It’s amazing. It does make me curious. Just who are you planning on raising to use my son as a stepping stone?”
Janghae continued with a small pause.
“Also, what would you do if my son reverses the outcome?”
“I just have to raise Geunseok in that case. No need to think that hard.”
“Weren’t you planning on sacrificing my son because you cared very much for the other side?”
“Sacrificing? No way. I like Geunseok. I like people with value, not people who can’t do anything even after taking my money. If you can’t rise up, then you’ll only get trampled on. I want to lead the people who are capable of rising up.”
Janghae had to change his impression of Junmin. He thought the man was just a nice, gentle representative of a management company last time. Completely different from the man right now who was incredibly cold and calculating. He was showing his kinder qualities to Geunsoo, who succeeded, and coldness to Geunseok. Janghae emptied his glass of alcohol before letting Junmin pour some more.
“Fine. Let’s do it.”
“Please take good care of him. Geunseok’s a bit frustrating, but he does make good results as long as he focuses.”
“I am well aware.”
Janghae emptied his new glass immediately.
* * *
Junmin took out his phone after meeting Janghae.
- Yes, senior?
“Where are you?”
- I went to Maru’s school to pick him up. I think it’ll take some time though.
Junmin received word of Maru’s situation through the phone.
“Alright, I’ll take care of it, so take Maru down there as soon as you can. You’ll be there by dawn if you leave now.”
- You care about him a lot, huh?
“I care about him just as much as I cared about you. At least he didn’t leave home like someone else. There’s no helping the fact that I’d care a lot more about him than someone else who ran away penniless.”
- Wow, sounds like one crazy dude. You’re talking about Ganghwan, right?
“Shush, just hurry up. Teacher’s probably waiting.”
Junmin took out his notebook and checked his schedule. Thankfully, he was free until next weekend.
Junmin took out his phone again and called Lawyer Park, he immediately hung up after getting a voice message. Just a few minutes later, he got a call back from Lawyer Park.
- What’s up?
“Do you have time?”
- Time? What do you mean by time?
“You remember meeting the chairman of this one high school because of Maru’s case?”
- Chairman? Oh! Of Woosung High? Of course, I do. We drank quite a bit together.
“I was wondering if I could see him today. For a favor.”
- A favor? Are you planning on branching out into schools now?
“Not at all. Just come to restaurant Yongjung for now. You like their fried rice, don’t you?”
- Are you trying to flex on me? Meeting at a place like that just for fried rice?
“So? Not coming?”
- No, of course I am. By the way, what would you even have done if I didn’t have a retainer agreement with you? Do you think you can just call people like me out in an afternoon?
“I know you’re not that busy with your current case, so get over here. You can leave your current work to someone under you.”
- Ugh. So, you’re planning on seeing that chairman now?
“I mean, it’s dinnertime. Might as well meet him here.”
- I’ll try asking him then.
“Don’t ask. Make him come here.”
- I hate how you always make such troublesome requests.
“But you always do them.”
Junmin closed his phone and waited. Lawyer Park was a very straightforward person, he always told you what he could and couldn’t do. If the man was hitting back with a joke like he did just now, then it meant that he could do it.
Junmin drank from the tea the employee gave him as he waited. After about thirty minutes, Lawyer Park entered the room. The man took off his blazer immediately and hung it over his chair.
“So hot. It’s Spring already.”
“It’s just March. Isn’t Spring still a bit of a way off?”
“I get hot easily.”
“Anyway, the chairman?”
“He’s coming soon. He didn’t understand what I meant by the CEO of JA production, so I just told him you’re someone big in the entertainment business.”
Lawyer Park complained about the lack of food immediately after taking a sip of cold water.
“I’ll order a full course once the chairman arrives, so be patient.”
After about twenty more minutes of waiting, the chairman arrived as well. The man had a smile on his face, but his eyes were betraying his true feelings. Junmin stood up to greet the man with a smile.
“Hello. The name’s Lee Junmin.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Cha Iltae.”
Junmin ordered the food immediately as the chairman sat down. Since he ate with Janghae earlier, Junmin settled on some fruit for himself instead.
“I’m a bit shocked by the sudden call.”
“I apologize. I should’ve scheduled a meeting at a later time, but I wanted to see you in a hurry, which is why I contacted you through him.”
Junmin pointed at Lawyer Park as he spoke, who smiled as he picked up a piece of chicken.
“I see. But why did you want to see me…?”
“You’re probably very busy, so I’ll cut straight to the chase. It’s about the acting club.”
“Acting club? Woosung High’s acting club?”
“What about it?”
“I wanted your help regarding them.”
“Help… Are they disappearing or something?”
“Not necessarily, I just heard that the school’s kicking them out of their clubroom. So I wanted to get a shipping container into the school to give them some storage space. I was wondering if that would be okay.”
The chairman gave Lawyer Park a little glance. The two of them started off on an incredibly bad footing, but they ended up becoming good friends by the end of the school violence incident.
“This friend pays people back in multiples. If it doesn’t harm you much, I think it’d be good to take him up on his request.”
“If you say so, Lawyer Park. There’s space for a shipping container behind the school, so the acting club is free to use one.”
“Thank you. Oh, and one more thing.”
“What is it?”
“Could you pass along a message to the principal?”
“To allow the acting club to split in two later on. A student will probably request for such in the near future. I hope you can allow this to happen.”
“Two acting clubs? Why?”
“Well… Let’s just call it greed.”
“Mm, it’s not very difficult, so I can easily do it. Is that really enough?”
“Yes. More than enough.”
“Haha, I was actually quite nervous. Lawyer Park introduced you as someone amazing, so I thought your request was going to be equally troublesome.”
The chairman became noticeably more relaxed.
“I can fulfil requests like these anytime, so please contact me whenever you want.”
“Thank you. Ah, let’s get back to eating, shall we? Before the food gets cold.”
* * *
“I’ll be back either late Sunday or early Monday. Yes. Please don’t worry. It’s like… camping.”
“Please don’t worry, mother! I’ll take care of Maru!!”
Geunsoo was shouting right next to Maru, who hung up after hearing his mother tell him to be careful.
“Juwangsan National Park? At this time of day? Mr. Junmin’s a bit too much sometimes.”
“You can sleep on the ride, but I have to keep driving. Ugh, what a life.”
“Want me to take over?”
“I’m not planning on an early grave.”
The car slid down the highway with ease, a sharp blast of wind whistled into the car through a small gap through the window.
“What’s Senior Moonjoong doing over there, by the way?”
“Getting his feel for acting back. You’ll see when you get there.”
“What am I supposed to do once I’m there?”
“The auditions for the movie’s starts next month. Weren’t you preparing for it?”
Maru nodded. Auditions. Auditions for the movie adaptation of the book Moonjoong gave him… so it was this close already, huh.
“Teacher probably wants to demonstrate how he prepares. I think he wants you to snag a role.”
“That’s quite a bit of pressure.”
“That’s why you need to work hard. There’s a lot of people counting on your success.”
“Me? But I didn’t even do anything.”
“Eh, there’s probably a reason why all the bigwigs have their attention on you regardless. They probably saw something inside you that you can’t see yet.”
Maru looked down at his hand. It was nice knowing that he was in the spotlight, but it really was a bit stressful. He wasn’t very confident just yet, acting on a stage was entirely different from an audition.
“Ah, Ms. Suyeon’s going to be there, by the way.”
“That’s not good news.”
“I don’t want to get close to her. Her personality isn’t compatible with mine.”
“I-is that so.”
“You’re very direct, aren’t you?” Geunsoo smiled awkwardly.Previous Chapter Next Chapter