Chapter 563

Geunsoo opened the door to the shabby-looking Soondae-gukbap restaurant, the place of his appointment. Two flies buzzed past his ears. The electric fans installed on the two walls of the restaurant made pitiful noises as the fans rotated around. There didn’t seem to be any air conditioning. An alleyway split this part of the area into a forest of buildings and a shanty town. Perhaps Seoul was built to show what the gap between the rich and poor was like?

“Over here!”

He saw someone wave from one of the seats inside. Geunsoo smiled and walked over.

“I’m honored that journalist Kim Dongwook has called for me, but isn’t this too shabby for an interview?”

“Should we meet in a high-class restaurant next time then?”

“I was just joking, hyung. So this is the restaurant you come to a lot, huh.”

“You won’t know when this place will disappear.”

The lady chopping up spring onions at the table in front of the TV said ‘bullshit’ in a loud voice as though she had heard what Dongwook just said.

“See that? I’m one of the main sources of income here, and yet that’s the treatment I get.”

“Your job is to get sworn at though.”

“Right. Journalists get sworn at by others. Only then can they live a plentiful life. Journalist Awards and things like that aren’t that good since most people that get them are probably injured. Receiving back-hand money and treats to meals while writing is the splendid standard of a journalist. Oh, you haven’t eaten yet, have you?”

Dongwook shouted ‘one gukbap please!’ in a loud voice. A reply came from the kitchen, saying ‘shur’. It seemed that the owner here was quite old.

“I heard you’re doing a movie?”

“There was no official announcement, so I’m surprised that you know about it already.”

“Of course I do. Your president told me everything so that I can release articles at the right time.”

“Oh, my president? What does your president do?”

“My boss? I’m guessing he must be looking at some papers while drinking some tea for his health?”

“What a coincidence. My president should be doing business while drinking tea now too. Is that tea perhaps red ginseng tea?”

“What a coincidence indeed. My boss likes red ginseng tea too. He likes to smoke and drink but drinks red ginseng tea for his health. How romantic is that? Moreover, he is so patriotic that he likes to buy alcohol and cigarettes, the two most taxed items in the country. He’s the taxpayer of the year.”

Geunsoo laughed silently. Junmin did say things like that from time to time; that he looked after his health in order to drink and smoke.

“I haven’t seen you lately at the company. Where have you been?”

“Our president Lee Junmin is quite picky, you know? He instructed me to do so many things that I haven’t had time to come to the company. I wonder why I joined JA in the first place. I should’ve just stuck to internet writing.”

“Who was it that liked it when he got a fat paycheck and even an office-tel to live in?”

“That, I must agree. Though, I don’t like how I have to leave the house to smoke.”

“Why don’t you take this opportunity to quit?”

“Why don’t you tell me to die instead? It’s too cruel to tell me to quit smoking when even the strong president Lee can’t do that.”

Just as Dongwook grabbed the cigarette he placed on his ear, the soondae-gukbap came out. Just looking at that steaming food made Geunsoo sweat.

“Try eating it without the additional condiments. It’s really good. Even Maru, who has childish tastes, emptied it in one go, so don’t worry about the smell.”

“Maru might be a kid, but I’m not sure about him having childish tastes.”

“Is that so? Well, I guess that’s true. I subconsciously end up ordering a bottle of rice wine if I eat gukbap with him. If I do, he puts out his glass so boldly. It’s flabbergasting. But what’s even more absurd is that I end up pouring one for him. I want to see him drunk once, but I’ve never gotten the chance.”

“Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Maru drunk. I had a chance to drink with him a few days ago, but his facial color didn’t change at all.”

“Hey, you leaving me out like that? Are actors bullying journalists or what?”

“Suyeon was there too. Should I have called you?”

“She was there too? Then forget it. I’m a bit scared of her.”

“Isn’t ‘scared’ going a little too far even though we belong to the same company?”

“Like you haven’t said the same thing until a while ago. How’s it these days?”

“How’s what these days?”

“What do you mean what? I’m talking about your progress. If you’re going to date someone in the company, then tell me beforehand. Oh, also the marriage announcement.”

“If you keep doing this, I’ll just leave, okay?”

“There you go again. It’s not like you are completely opposed to it.”

“Family members shouldn’t do that.”

“Tell me honestly. Do you really have no thoughts about it at all?”

“At this current state, well, I just got an uncute little sister.”

“You never know what might happen between a man and a woman. Little sister this, little sister that might eventually become honey this, honey that.”

“Why are you doing this to me? Hey, you seemed to be meeting that other journalist frequently these days.”

“That other journalist? Who?”

“Miss Choi Miyeon from Sharon, was it? The pretty journalist who’s wasted on you.”

“Her? Don’t make me laugh. She’s a junior of mine, and I’m hanging out with her only because of some headaching matters. After that’s done, I’m not going to meet her again.”

“A certain someone said that junior this, junior that will become honey this, honey that.”

“Sheesh. Do the people at JA drink olive oil for breakfast? Why are they so good with their tongues?”

“You aren’t better off. I mean, you belong to JA too.”

They stopped talking and Geunsoo focused on eating for a while. He didn’t add any additional condiments, but the savory taste filled his mouth.

“How about some drinks to go with it?”

“I brought my car, so I can’t. Didn’t you bring your car as well?”

“I’ll be the only one drinking then, so take me home later.”

“What about the opposite?”

“What a cruel guy.”

“I can say the same thing to you. Also, drinking when the sun is still high up in the sky is a bit, you know. Plus, looking for alcohol when you aren’t supposed to be drinking is negligence of duty.”

“It’s already well-known in the industry that drinking one glass increases business efficiency. Even a renowned medical journal talked about it.”

“Which medical journal?”

“Kim Dongwook medical journal.”

“What a quack medical journal.”

After finishing off the food, Geunsoo made two cups of stick coffee before coming back to the table. After giving one to Dongwook, he drank a sip.

“But hey, what are you really doing these days? I feel like it’s even harder to see you than when you weren’t in JA.”

“I told you. The president has me do a lot of things.”

“Junmin-seonbae told me the opposite though.”

“What did he say?”

“That he’s not telling you to do anything because you look busy. Apparently, he’s not interfering with your work because of the freelancer-like contract. What do you think about that?”

Dongwook drank the coffee without saying a word. Geunsoo noticed that something was going on.

“Are you still chasing that president of the production company?”

“That’s my normal schedule. It’s still one of the big topics for journalists who have set foot into the film industry.”

“The police still haven't announced anything, have they?”

“There are a few, but they’re all useless. The individual investors who got ripped off by that company have been nagging the involved department for nearly a year now, so the police must be having a hard time too.”

“Maybe he fled the country?”

“That’s a big possibility, but one of the rumors floating around says that it’s likely that he’s still in the country. That he’s not getting caught because some bigshot is looking after him.”

“Looking after a scammer like that?”

“The investment funds from the forgone movie are mostly from individual investors, right? It’s almost 10 billion won too. 10 billion isn’t a small amount to hide a criminal. We live in a world where murders happen because of a million won.”

“The people that shot like mad didn’t get anything out of it too. How sad.”

“You and Sooil were just unlucky. But at least you got a commercial movie again, right? Ahn Sungjae from TTO will mean that it’ll go past the break-even point at least. Just take the number of his fans and multiply it by two. How many views is that?”

“That’s why I’m going to rely on Sungjae this time.”

“Yeah right. You and Yang Ganghwan are both lunatics crazy for acting, aren’t you?”

“Journalist, your selection of words is too beautiful.”

“I know a lunatic when I see one. Are you surprised by my precise choice of words?”

“Fine, I lost. I shouldn’t have tried.”

Geunsoo smiled and put down the paper cup.

“But that’s not what you’re busy with. The journalist from Sharon shouldn’t be chasing the 10 billion won scam incident, so, what are you two up to?”

“All I can say is that I’m trying to help out a junior with a just mindset. That girl is reducing my lifespan by the second. It’s a vague problem to release to the public, but she keeps going at it like mad. Thanks to her, only I’m having a hard time.”

“Is it something I shouldn’t know about?”

“It’s not like that, but it’s not something good to hear as you’re working in the same pool.”

“So it’s about actors, huh? Some scandal?”

“Scandals look cute in comparison. Once dear journalist Choi Miyeon procures evidence and witnesses, it’ll become really noisy. Well, actually, it’s likely that it’ll be put under the bus like before. Some actors will have to leave the industry for good.”

“Sounds like a problem with sexual service?”

“Good intuition.”

“The only things of issue in this field are either sex tapes or sexual services. A female journalist is digging into this?”

“She’s a fearless kid, that’s for sure. She doesn’t get at all that things will go really bad if she takes the wrong step. You should know that many actor agencies also have ties with mafia groups. There was one a while ago right? An actor who was threatened regarding switching agencies.”

“There was.”

“The world sure has gotten scary. Before, when you talked about the mafia, they were mostly just big burly guys who let their fists do the talking. Of course, there were some who went around swinging sashimi knives. Anyway, it was visible violence, right? Usually, there was no need to go as far as swinging around sharp objects. That was why it was usually a matter of getting beaten up a couple of times. If you get beaten, you can go to the police. Of course, there would be a few problems after that, but at least it didn’t threaten your life.”

Dongwook smiled bitterly.

“But what about now? The thing in the mafia’s hands is not a sashimi knife but money. You are at least better off if they have sashimi knives. At least you can try to dodge it if you see it coming. With money, you can’t do that. You can’t see it, yet it strangles your neck. Legally, too.”

“Do you think that actor can return to the TV media?”

“Probably not. The opposing agency is pretty big. If that agency declares that programs would not have access to the actors in their agency if that actor showed up on TV, who would the producer of that program listen to? People use money fairly, as well as underhandedly. How can an individual win against that? Anyone other than a top star wouldn’t last.”

“I’m not sure about the TV media, but it’s quite a dirty place, isn’t it?”

“It is. Advertisers are businesses while the mafia are the ones who decide which actors go where. Actors are powerless to do anything about it. In that sense, perhaps people like Suyeon are wise instead. At least she’s created her own net of safety.”

“Maybe. But is this different to the sexual service accident from before?”

“Take what I’m going to tell you from now on as all lies. Don’t talk about it anywhere either.”

Geunsoo nodded.

“You know Lee Miyoon right?”

“Of course I do.”

“We’re acting under the assumption that that woman is the broker. There’s nothing I can say for sure since all I have is circumstantial evidence, but if the things we found out until now turn out to be true, it’ll become interesting.”

“Doesn’t sound that interesting to me.”

Geunsoo finished the remaining coffee in one go before standing up.

“Where are you going?”

“To pick up my uncute junior.”

“Junior who?”

“Maru. The director wanted to meet him.”

“The director of the film you’re about to shoot?”

“Yes.”

“Maru was cast in it as well?”

“No. He just wants to see the boy personally. Are you going to stay here longer?”

“I also have an appointment in a while. I’m going to loiter around here before I go there though.”

“Then I’ll take my leave first. Also, if it’s dangerous, be careful out there.”

“Don’t worry about that. Unlike missy junior with a just mindset, I’m very worried about myself. I’ll go find you for an interview not too long from now, so try to come up with some things to talk about. I’ll write you up a good one.”

“Isn’t that supposed to be the interviewer’s job?”

“Let’s not mind that when we’re the same family. Oh yeah. What’s your relationship with Mr. Hong Janghae?”

“Legally, I’m his son.”

“I see.”

“If that dude went around doing something, please tell me about it. I’ll tell you all I know.”

“That escalated quickly. I’m asking because I was reminded of an interview I did with him. You have a splendid father, eh?”

“He’s splendid, in many ways. Let me take my leave now.”

Geunsoo made a bitter smile before leaving the restaurant.

It was 2 p.m. on a Sunday. According to the schedule, Maru’s shoot should have finished by now. Geunsoo got in his car and started it up. It should take around 30 minutes to get to the middle school where the shoot takes place.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

So, what do other people think about Geunsoo x Suyeon? Yay or Nay?

Editor's Note:
Absolutely. Full send. I've been waiting for eons.