“It’s been a while, hyung*”
(TL note: Hyung is how males address older males)
“You look good.”
When he learned Jo Jung Min had left the agency and became a backup dancer for M2M, Do Wook hoped that Jo Jung Min had had a change of heart.
To stop harassing people and turn over a new leaf.
However, Do Wook realized from Jo Jung Min’s expression and tone that what he had hoped for hadn’t happened.
Jo Jung Min patted Do Wook’s shoulder.
Do Wook silently stared at him. Jo Jung Min frowned. Behind Jo Jung Min, the backup dancers were whispering among each other about Jo Jung Min, who seemed to know KK’s Kang Do Wook.
“Where are the rest of the guys?”
“In the waiting room.”
“I guess that bastard Park Tae Hyung is doing well?”
“Did you become mute?”
Do Wook didn’t want to waste his breath on Jo Jung Min anymore.
‘I guess a person’s nature doesn’t change easily…’
Even after going from a trainee with his debut just around the corner to a backup dancer, Jo Jung Min seemed to still not have come to his senses. It wasn’t that being a backup dancer was bad. Jo Jung Min wasn’t a professional backup dancer, but a prospective trainee with Ara Entertainment.
Ara Entertainment was a large agency that had produced incredibly popular idols. The agency’s nickname was Star Gateway, so even becoming an official trainee was unbelievably competitive. It was to the point that people were saying that becoming an official trainee with them was as hard as debuting.
To become an official trainee at such a place, Jo Jung Min decided to make himself a prospective trainee by being M2M’s backup dancer.
Do Wook felt like if he had been in that situation, he would have been busy enough just trying to quietly walk his own path.
‘He can’t afford to be going around picking fights.’
Do Wook let out a sigh. Jo Jung Min was filled with rage at Do Wook sighing and had more to say, but held back.
It was because he heard the backup dancers greet the M2M members passing through the waiting room hallway behind him.
“We’ll see how long you stay successful.”
Jo Jung Min muttered quietly as he grit his teeth. Do Wook ignored it. He didn’t feel it was worth even giving him advice anymore.
“Do Wook! Here you are.”
It was Oh Bin, who was heading towards Do Wook as he exchanged greetings with the backup dancers. Oh Bin was passing by after using the restroom and headed straight towards them, when he saw Do Wook standing with his backup dancers.
“I heard KK will perform too and here you are!”
“Yeah. Have you been well?”
“Of course. I’m doing well! But do you know each other…?”
Seeing the two of them unable to give a clear answer, Oh Bin didn’t dig any further.
Jo Jung Min bowed to Oh Bin and backed off. Do Wook lightly shook his head as he watched Jo Jung Min rejoin the rest of the backup dancers.
Since the response to the ‘Rendez-vous project’ was extremely good, one or two surprise ‘Rendez-vous project’ performances were also held as a special event.
Thanks to that, they had a chance to meet up a few times even after the advertisement shoot was over, and he was able to become especially close with Oh Bin who worked in the same field. Oh Bin’s sociability also played a huge part.
Oh Bin was completely won over by the sincere and serious vibe he felt from Do Wook while they worked on the ad.
Do Wook felt a little uncomfortable becoming friendly with M2M. M2M was a rival he had to beat. They were also the object of his revenge.
However, he quickly changed his mind.
Beating M2M and taking the top spot in the music industry was a goal he had to have anyways since he became a singer. It was the same for the other KK members.
They weren’t out for revenge on M2M and held no personal feelings towards them, but after becoming rivals ever since they were both named nominees for the Rookie of the Year award, they often spoke of how they had to beat M2M.
‘Wanting to become the best is instinctive after debuting.’
It was probably the same for Oh Bin too, but he didn’t show it at all. Rather than him scheming something, he was making a clear distinction between the rival group he wanted to beat and personal friendships.
Even though Oh Bin could sometimes seem insincere because he was always laughing, especially because of his size, Do Wook admired him.
‘The object of my revenge isn’t M2M, it’s Seo Kang Jun.’
With that thought in mind, Do Wook opened his heart to Oh Bin a little.
Oh Bin looked around his surroundings as if he had something to say. The backup dancers had passed through the hallway and it was only Oh Bin and Do Wook.
There was a sense of ‘suspense’ that you couldn’t even imagine with the usual Oh Bin.
“Ah. I don’t know if I should tell you this. But now that I’m seeing you face-to-face, I feel like I should.”
Oh Bin groaned and pulled his hair.
“What is it?”
“Your company hasn’t told you anything?”
When Oh Bin saw on Do Wook’s face that he didn’t know anything, his expression became even more troubled. It would have been easier if Do Wook had known, because then he wouldn’t have to say anything.
“I don’t know the details either. The company keeps talking as if we’re definitely getting the Rookie of the year award…it’s strange.”
There were still about 2 weeks left for the internet voting, as well as the album sales. Nothing was certain.
“Honestly, of course I’d like it too if we won, but I don’t like feeling like something’s off.”
Do Wook slowly nodded. He felt like he understood what Oh Bin was trying to say. Oh Bin tidied up his hair that he had pulled on.
“You know how my company can be.”
There was a lot of meaning behind those words.
Director of Ara Entertainment, Seo Joong Won. It was common knowledge in the industry that Seo Kang Jun’s father was Seo Joong Won.
It wasn’t that Seo Kang Jun was able to debut because of Director Seo Joong Won.
He wasn’t the best singer or dancer when it came to skills, but Seo Kang Jun already had the best face.
Seo Kang Joon was proud of his ‘extremely good looks’, which were so good that it was hard to believe he was the biological son of the rough-looking Director Seo Joong Won.
He became Ara Entertainment’s official trainee because of that, and there was no gossip about him getting to debut.
Rather, the problem was after his debut.
The amount Director Seo Joong Won invested into M2M was significantly more than other groups. Ara Entertainment had enough capital, and M2M was definitely a group worth investing into, but there were still times it was over the top.
Also, Seo Kang Jun’s attitude that became condescending after debuting was a problem too.
He was butting heads with the other members by being thoroughly self-centered and adopting a selfish demeanor. However, they couldn’t even voice their dissatisfaction. Getting on Seo Kang Jun’s bad side meant also getting on the Director’s bad side.
This internal situation was being kept hush-hush by the people on the inside. If they accidentally let something slip, very bad things would happen to them.
“Manager, was the reason Director Seo went to SVS last time to negotiate?”
“Geez, yes. They’re meeting for golf today too. I heard he said he’s not going to let Sa Bang Shin Hwa make an appearance. That is, unless they give M2M the Rookie of the Year award.”
“Ah, then the rumors that were going around when Pinky Girls won the top award were true?”
“Don’t even start. You know he dotes on Ji Hye or whatever from Pinky Girls.”
“Oh my gosh…”
The two secretaries in front of the Director’s office were whispering amongst themselves and were busily gossiping about Director Seo’s backdoor dealings.
“Secretary Kim, you know to watch what you say, right?”
“Of course! I’m not looking for trouble. But it doesn’t matter if I’m careful. Rumors spread all over and people will find out anyway.”
“That’s true. I don’t know how those rumors are getting out.”
At that moment, the doors to the Director’s office opened and Director Seo came out wearing golf attire. The two people who had been whispering got up and greeted the director with a calm expression.
“Director, the car is ready for you in the lobby.”
While the manager briefly spoke with the Director about his next scheduled event, Secretary Kim quickly pressed the elevator button and got it ready.
“I’m going to head home after finishing the rounds of golf so figure out getting off work on your own.”
The reason Director Seo was able to negotiate with SVS to get M2M the Rookie of the Year award was because the gap between M2M and KK wasn’t large yet.
The Rookie of the Year award was an award that any singer or actor had only one chance of winning. It was that meaningful.
Of course there were situations where those who didn’t even get nominated for the Rookie of the Year award became successful and won a top award later on.
However, M2M, who bore the title of Ara Entertainment’s ‘top talent’ to continue Sa Bang Shin Hwa’s popularity, losing the Rookie of the Year award would damage Ara Entertainment’s reputation.
It would hurt his pride as Ara Entertainment’s Director, and it wouldn’t make sense considering the amount of capital they poured into M2M.
In fact, to start with, the fact that there was a group that threatened M2M’s position this much didn’t make sense. However, this group called KK was threatening M2M.
‘We absolutely have to win the Rookie of the Year award so that the situation doesn’t get any bigger.’
Director Seo believed that people would then think M2M’s popularity was superior to KK’s and see M2M as a cut above the rest.
[Do Wook, Hello!!!
I don’t know if you’ll read this letter. ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ
I’m Ji Young, who loves you very much!!!
I’m saving up my allowance, but the autograph session is very expensive so I don’t think I can go to that.
And I thought you might not receive it if I send a letter to the company. ㅠㅠ… Sorry.
But I really really wanted to send you a letter and a gift.
It’s 1000 flowers that will grant your wish lol.
I was so happy while making this!
I really hope KK will win the Rookie of the Year award this time. ㅠㅠ
I think I’d be happier than you if I could see you smile from winning the Rookie of the Year award…
So I’m voting hard every single day!
I can sleep well when I listen to your song and I get energized when I see your face…
You are my herbal tonic and nutritional supplement and vitamin and reason for living. ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ
I love you very very much. ㅠㅠㅠㅠ I can’t recall my life before I knew you.
Please continue to make good songs!
I’m sure you’re tired, but cheer up. ㅠㅠ I’ll stay positive too! I love you. ♡♡]
In the car on their way back to the dormitory, Do Wook was reading the letter he had just received.
On their way back to the parking lot after the concert ended, a fan who had been waiting for him at the parking lot got past the manager and the security guards and handed him a letter and a gift.
You could tell at a glance by the school uniform she was wearing that she was a young middle school student.
It wasn’t an appropriate place to give him a letter or a gift, but she was a young student and he knew that her intentions were innocent, so Do Wook accepted the letter for now.
As he accepted it, he told the female student who was getting kicked out to never do it again. The female student nodded her head about a hundred times while getting dragged away.
Of course the content of the letter was very cute. The gift she gave him was 1000 origami flowers.
Designer accessories, clothes from expensive brands, electronics, even herbal tonics. Among the predominantly expensive gifts, gifts prepared thoughtfully felt even more special.
“This is really impressive. Is there actually a thousand?”
Ahn Hyung Seo asked as he looked at the flowers in the glass vase.
“Should we count it?”
Kim Won offered to help Ahn Hyung Seo. They seriously intended to count it when they got to the dormitory.
Inside the dark car, as he reread the fan’s letter Do Wook recalled what Oh Bin said.
‘Ara Entertainment is definitely scheming something. I can’t just do nothing…’
Do Wook looked at Oh Baek Ho who was driving.
The next morning, Do Wook organized his thoughts while doing his morning exercise, and talked with Oh Baek Ho privately.
Oh Baek Ho was briefly surprised to hear that Ara Entertainment was planning something, but promptly concluded that it was definitely plausible.
“In that case…Director Kwon might know.”
“Yes. He probably knows, but there might not be a way to solve it.”
What he meant by the latter was that compared to Ara Entertainment, they still lacked power. Do Wook and Oh Baek Ho became dejected.
At that moment, Oh Baek Ho’s cell phone rang. It was a call from Production Director Kwon Heung Jo.
“Huh, did he put a security camera in the dormitory or something?”
Manager Oh Baek Ho muttered as he pressed the call button.
“Yes, Director! I was about to call you too…”
Do Wook patiently waited to hear what their call was about.
Oh Baek Ho, who was listening to what Director Kwon had to say, had a surprised expression and asked.
“Huh? Good news?”