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Chapter 908. Crank Up 2
She suddenly felt like she had gotten old. She no longer had the confidence to defeat those who shook her while scoffing at them. It was like that now too. The moment she heard those words from a man all too young, blood rushed to her head and she lost strength in her legs. If it was before, she would have grabbed his head or tackled him down.
Lee Miyoon hugged her handbag. Was the chairman really behind this? She was extremely angry when she had a call with head manager Park, but she had a sliver of hope, thinking that there must have been some kind of mistake, that it would be all okay if she met up with him and talked to him. However, she got shot down by Kang Giwoo. What the chairman gave her was truly poison.
If it was Hong Janghae’s independent action, she would have room to attack, but if that was done by the chairman, she really couldn’t do anything. She could bring a few people down with her to their graves if she used the ledger, but that would put her in the grave as well. It would be meaningless if she didn’t survive. She would not put filth on herself just so that she could go down with a few people.
Miyoon neatened her messy hair. She also dusted her clothes. While looking dirt poor, she would only be able to come up with poor ideas. She slowly walked a lap around the opening behind the set, where no one came by. Would she die as the ‘national mother’ following the chairman’s words to live obediently as an actress? Or should she die as ‘madam Lee’ who smoked alongside the authoritative figures of the country and talked about politics? Madam Lee was better than the actress. The occupation known as actor was too meager. She did not want to meet her end in a petty world where the roles actors could play would become limited when they were old regardless of skill.
After walking for a while, Miyoon looked at the tall building in the distance. No matter how hard she thought about it, going against the chairman was suicide. She had to regain her authority without going against the chairman. The chairman would acknowledge her if she managed to take down Hong Janghae with her own skills. After all, that man judged people based on their achievements.
The people she commanded had all left her, and the people who backed her up had also cut all contact. She had returned to how she was 30 years ago when she jumped into a pile of garbage with nothing but her own body.
Getting an earful from Kang Giwoo helped her in a way. The overflowing anger instead helped her calm down. She felt like she could do anything as long as it did not go against the chairman. She felt like she could even bury someone alive right now.
She returned to the set. The staff that met eyes with her frowned outright. Something unimaginable had happened in front of her eyes, but she could understand. This was reality. Now that the only thing she had left was her sh.e.l.l as an actress, she wasn’t able to do anything to a single staff member. If she set her mind to removing this nuisance from her vision, she might be able to do it, but now that even the station’s president did not pick up her calls, she could not make a big deal out of it.
“Senior, please return for the day.”
The director stopped her. Miyoon barely managed to curl up her lips.
“I’m not that foolish, so get out of my way for a moment.”
The director walked next to her, as though to tell her that he would be watching her actions. Miyoon walked up to Han Gaeul, who was staring right at her in the distance.
“So you visited the hospital?”
“Thanks to you. I guess that was the first time ever since I fell over.”
“I’m sorry about that before. I was out of my mind for a moment. It hurt, didn’t it?”
“Not really. Everyone goes through this at least once, right? Not that I ever imagined a senior would do this to me on a set of all places. Is your handbag okay? You always told me that I had a thick face, so I was worried that I might have damaged your leather handbag.”
“It’s fine. It didn’t seem that tough. Tell me how much you had to pay at the hospital later. I’ll pay for it.”
“Even if you didn’t worry about it, I was going to give you the receipt anyway. I heard from someone I know that setting monetary problems should be done properly.”
“That’s good. I’m asking just in case, but you’re not going to make a big deal out of this, right? The Han Gaeul I know is not a junior who would cause trouble like that.”
“So you’re calling me a junior for things like this, huh? Don’t worry. I don’t want to ruin a drama that’s just about to finish because of some random scandal. But please, bear this in mind: Don’t come to the set when you don’t have a scene in the future. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I’ll find it extremely displeasing. It’s a cheap price to pay for injuring someone’s face, don’t you think?”
“You will have to. Otherwise, even I can’t be sure what I might do. It wouldn’t be fun if two actors working on the same drama got into a scandal because of some violence, right?”
Gaeul smiled. She wished to spit at that face and sneer at her, but she did not have the energy to. She just told her good luck before turning around. She walked towards the dark exit where the lights had been turned off before turning around. Kang Giwoo was looking at her with sharp eyes. Lee Miyoon smiled and waved at him. While that boy made her guts twist in anger, he was still the grandson that the chairman doted on so much. However, she would soon tell him that a woman’s obsession would multiply with age.
* * *
“Why are you so persistent? I’ll report you to the police.”
“Go ahead if you want to. I’ll just stay there for a few days. But keep this in mind: Even if I come back out, I’m going to come looking for you again. In my prime, I used to be called Mr. Persistent. Also, I’m sure reporting me will get you into trouble too.”
The woman scanned him from top to bottom before turning around. Dongwook s.n.a.t.c.hed the plastic bags that the woman was holding.
“You really don’t come out of your house once you hole up, huh? I know it’s heavy, so let me carry it for you.”
“Please, just go. I don’t have anything to tell you.”
“Excuse me, missy. I’ve been in this field for 20 years. I may not be able to smell good things, but I’m incredibly good at catching stinky things. Of course, not that I’m saying that you’re stinky, miss Mari.”
“My name is not Mari.”
“Yes, it is.”
Mari’s eyes twitched as she got ready to shout, but she eventually stayed quiet. A couple walked over from the other side. Mari could not take her eyes off them. Dongwook talked to her.
“The man who came with you from j.a.pan, don’t you want to find him? You seem to like him a lot.”
“Who likes who now?”
“You’re obviously in love. I’ll have to hear the details from you, but I do have a bit of information. I know why you quit your work in j.a.pan and came over here.”
“What are you really?”
“I’ve been telling you for over a week now. I’m an ex-journalist. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’d like to tell you that I want to help you.”
“If you are really a journalist, then I really can’t tell you anything. How am I supposed to tell anything to trash?”
“Trash, huh? Right, I’m trash. However, unlike the incompetent trash, I don’t suck out the sweet juice and then spit things out. You can see from how I came to find you. I’m pretty good at investigating. Room 301, right?”
Dongwook carried the bags as he got on the stairs. He put down the plastic bags in front of room 301 and dusted his hands. Mari, who followed him here, sighed and opened the latch to the door lock.
“You should get going now. I really don’t have anything to tell you.”
“Then I’ll come back tomorrow. I saw that all you bought today was instant noodles, snacks, and drinks. Are you eating properly? In the short term, it might be okay for you to eat like that, but if you keep that up, you’ll ruin your body. I know it must have taken a lot of effort to groom your body like that, so it’s such a waste.”
Mari, who was looking at Dongwook in displeasure, touched her wrists discreetly. Dongwook did not miss that small gesture of hers. This was the first time she reacted to his words. This was a contrast to the ‘I don’t know, go away, be quiet’ responses that he got until now.
“It’s true that I want to help you, miss Mari. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t have kept coming like this. Heck, to put it bluntly, have you seen anyone just return obediently? Even after they found out where you live? I’m just waiting until you’re ready to talk. But you should spend your time looking after your body. Your life’s not over yet. I’m sure you’ve had a meticulous self-management scheme until now. You should keep that up.”
“I know that you’re thinking of me as a dirty woman who sold her body as her job.”
“What relation is there between me thinking that you’re dirty and you actually being dirty? I’m not going to express any opinions about your occupation. Heck, look at me, I’m one of those trash journalists. Who am I to say anything about anyone? Don’t you think?”
Mari smiled. It was a self-loathing smile that did not express any of her true emotions, but to Dongwook, that looked like a fanfare.
“Smiling makes you look much better.”
“Are you always so reckless?”
“I’m like this because I’m in a similar situation you’re in. I have a junior who just won’t listen to my words that I still cherish, but that girl got caught up with a case. It is closely related to Hong Janghae. I’m sure you know that name too, Miss Mari.”
“I do. I may not know who was superficially in charge, but I do have to know the name of my true boss to talk to people.”
Mari quickly entered the pa.s.scode on the door. After an electronic ringtone, she pulled on the door. Dongwook put his hands in front of him and waited quietly. Mari turned around after putting her bags inside. Her hand was on the doork.n.o.b.
“You should look after your health. These days, good instant rice can be gotten easily. Tomorrow’s a weekend, so I’ll come back on Monday. Don’t try to go missing on me. I found you with difficulty. I’m sure you don’t want things to end like this too, right?”
Mari gave him a glance before closing the door. There was a reaction, but was today a failure as well? The door shut closed with a thud. Dongwook looked at the iron door with the gray paint on it while putting a cigarette in his mouth. There was nowhere else for her to go, so she would be staying here for a while. He had the person a.s.signed to him from Lee Junmin wait in front of her house so that he would be able to catch her tail if she decided to leave in the middle of the night. He reached into his pocket looking for a lighter. He could touch a hidden lighter underneath the crumpled receipt. He took it out along with the receipt, but the lighter caught onto his trouser and left his hand. Just as he sighed while looking at the lighter strewn on the floor with the receipt, the firmly shut door opened.
“Hey, you know how to cook?”
“I do, I’m good. I’ve been living by myself for twenty years, so you can count me on it.”
“Then come inside and cook for me. We can talk a little too.”
“Of course, let’s do that. We’ll eat and talk a bit too.”
“But can you really help me?”
“Looks like you haven’t been listening to a word I told you in the past week. I told you that we should strive to achieve a good result by helping each other. Well, then, please excuse my intrusion.”
“Come in. It’s a bit messy inside.”
Dongwook sighed and went inside.