Crank Up 1
“I’ll be going outside then, so that you two can have a talk.”
Park Okhwa apologized to her daughter who left the house after greeting the guest.
“A lot has happened recently.
It’s been a while since she got to rest, so she must have been sleeping.”
“She does look tired.”
Okhwa offered Janghae some tea.
It was Japanese matcha.
Looking down at the slightly foaming tea, Janghae lifted up the cup and put it against his mouth.
“It’s bitter and yet savory.”
“I brought it from Hoshino.
I’ve been tasting a lot of traditional tea I could give out to customers at the shop, and this one was the most suitable for Korean people’s tastes.
It’s moderately bitter, so it’s easy to drink, and it’s a brand-name product, so it satisfies the vain desires of my customers.
As you know, the main customers of our shop have a slightly different perception of money.”
“Looks like I must not leave it unfinished.”
“If you’d like, I’ll give you some as a gift.”
Okhwa drank some tea as well.
Beauty and styling techniques definitely had their limits.
Even the most well-known stylists had no special skills when observed closely.
There might be a difference in speed or the talent of touching the hair, but after a certain level, the difference was trivial.
Winning against the competition required putting effort into things that weren’t just techniques with the hand.
Okhwa realized this twenty years ago.
The shop she opened in Cheongdam-dong was the start of that.
She didn’t create a shop that just touched someone’s hair; she raised the entire person.
While many of her competitors who believed that hair stylist shops simply needed to focus on doing the hair well started closing down, she managed to increase the number of her stores.
One thing she realized while managing those shops was that there were unexpectedly a large number of people who wanted to spend their money in ingenious ways.
“I heard that you are going to open a shop in Ginza soon.”
“How did you know?”
“Just some rumors here and there.”
“You must have a lot of ears, president.”
“The nature of my work requires me to be sensitive to rumors, so I can’t help but put a lot of ears everywhere.
In any case, congratulations.
I have heard that yours is the first brand to have opened a shop in that field in this country, director.
No, should I be calling you president now?”
“Just call me director.
I’ve been using that title my whole life, so being raised in status to president or whatnot is not of interest to me.”
Janghae put down the cup.
As for his teacup, it was empty.
“Looks like we should get straight to business.
I’m here to talk about the hotel in Omotesando.”
“I thought it would be about that.
There’s nothing else that might bring you to me after all.
I have heard about it too.
The situation seems complex.”
Janghae nodded and reached into his inner pocket.
What came out was a cuboid case, and it seemed to be an electronic cigarette.
It seemed he had done it out of habit as he put it back inside his pocket.
“It is okay to vape.
Vaping doesn’t smell that much, does it?”
I had quit smoking for a while, but ever since I got this as a present, I started smoking out of habit.
Especially when it’s a matter that’s hard to deal with.”
Janghae turned on the electronic cigarette and waited.
Okhwa spoke as she looked at the blinking LED on it,
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart.
It is rare for one of ours to cause trouble.
I wonder how things turned out like that.”
“From what I hear, she needed some quick money.
It seems she has gotten involved with private gambling organizations.
Apparently she persuaded the man who was in charge of delivery that she would marry him if he helped her out this time.”
“What a typical and boring story.
So the middle man and that girl are trying to pull off a joke with the photo she took?”
“That’s how it is.”
“Did you get her?”
“I’ve sent my men out to search for her.
They’ll be looking around places she might go to, and we’ve also got her close contacts, so it won’t take long.”
“What a pain.
I didn’t know she would do something reckless like that.
And to you too, I can’t begin to imagine how to apologize to you.”
She felt a headache.
He was a guest when they were on good terms, but he would become a very annoying enemy if their relationship went bad.
Her customer this time was an old man nearing his seventies, so he valued his pride a lot, but if a photo of him rolling around in bed with a woman in her twenties was exposed to the media, then he would very likely cause a ruckus while foaming at his wrinkled mouth.
“Did you get them?” Janghae said as he picked up his phone.
From how he leaned back as though he could sigh in relief, it seemed that the daring runaway couple were caught.
“Take their phones away immediately and check if they uploaded anything on the internet.
You can take the man to your office and explain to him so that he can understand, and as for the woman….”
Janghae gave her a look.
Okhwa asked if she could take the phone for a moment.
Janghae spoke a few words to the people on the other side of the phone before giving her the phone.
“Hello? Is this Mari?”
“Just what were you doing? You aren’t the type of girl who would do this.”
-I’m sorry, unni.
It looks like I had gone crazy for a minute.
Oppa told me that we just needed to do it this once.
I won’t ever do it again.
You know how much I cherished you.
You possessed a large sum of money that other people your age couldn’t possibly have.
Did you graduate from a good college? Do you have a great background? You have neither, and the only thing you could trust in was your decent-looking face and your body.
Why can’t you understand that? I told you, didn’t I? Don’t try to use your brain in cunning ways.
I told you that keeping secrets is the number one priority when it comes to our jobs.
Did you think that all the money was yours after taking on chaebols all this time? Did you think that the money in your hands was small?”
-Unni, I’m sorry.
I will never do it again.
“Mari, you don’t have to be sorry.
The ship has sailed, and there’s no turning back.
How old are you this year again? Twenty-five?”
Mari replied ‘yes’ in a small voice.
“What can a twenty-five-year-old do without a degree? In the end, you’ll go back to being a call girl again.
But do you think you can sell your body in Korea after getting three to four million won per session all this time? Probably not, I think.
Mari, I always told you, didn’t I? That we are high-class, premium products.”
“Snatch a good man and get married.
That’s the only method you have now.
You don’t have the persistence or the ambition, and you don’t even have the right mindset, so that’s the only way out for you.”
Okhwa turned off the phone.
Janghae was putting his electronic cigarette inside the case after turning it off.
“Fortunately, things worked out.
It would have been a pain if this dragged on.”
“It is a result of taking action early.
Nothing seems to have been uploaded on the internet, so it seems like there will be no further trouble.”
“I’m glad that you took care of it well, president.”
“It looks like you must give them a warning.
I get that letting them walk around freely is easier to control, but as things have gotten to this point, I’ll have to ask you to be more mindful about it.”
There was no room for excuses.
Janghae was the one who created the bridge for her to take charge of VIPs’ trips to Japan.
Only livestock would return grace with harm.
Okhwa did not want to be one.
“I’ll tell the head manager about it.
I’ll also check them again when I bring them to Japan.”
“Anyone can make mistakes, and that includes me.
What’s important is to not repeat them.
You’re someone I trust, director, so I will not worry about this again.
Let’s close the case here on our end this time as well.”
“I’m grateful for your words.”
Okhwa brought out a tea set gift.
It was something she had prepared when Janghae had contacted her.
“It’s the matcha you drank before.”
“I appreciate it.”
“Don’t drink it too fast.
It is quite thick.”
Okhwa did not explain that there was something other than tea inside the packaging.
Janghae did not say anything either even though he must have known that he wasn’t just getting matcha tea.
Okhwa liked Janghae for this.
He was neat and clean in the way he worked.
She sighed in relief after hearing briefly about the customers that would visit next month as well as a list of people to manage.
Things had ended.
Janghae also smiled comfortably and ate a senbei that she had brought with the tea before.
“I heard that your eldest son is starting another movie.
It must be good to have a son that many people want.
I saw that my child too seemed to have talent in that area and brought her around a lot when she was young, but it seems like not anyone can become stars.”
“I don’t boast about my children because it makes me look foolish, but I do feel rather proud when I hear about them.
Geunsoo, that boy.
I knew he had it in him.”
“He must take after you a lot, from how he’s on his path to success.”
“His skills are one thing, but I believe that there was a lot of luck involved as well.
As you know, becoming a popular actor doesn’t happen through skills alone.”
“It’ll be great if he can join his father’s agency.
How long is your eldest child planning to stay in JA?”
“He’s very independent, so he will probably try not to come into my wing.
It’s a bit of a pity, but I intend to be content watching him grow.”
“What a reassuring son.
Is your second son also preparing to do something in that area?”
“No, my second son has talent in studying, so he went to Soohan university.”
“Your eldest son is a famed actor, while your son goes to a prestigious university.
I want to boast about my child as well, but you’re children are too great that I can’t.”
“Your daughter seemed like she could splendidly take care of herself from what I saw before.”
“I still need to watch out for her.
These days, we get into fights a lot.
She was very obedient when she was young, too.
How is it for you, president? Are you getting along well with your children?”
Janghae brightened up as though he felt good just thinking about his sons.
“Both I and their mother weren’t able to look after them a lot because of work.
Maybe because of that, there was a chasm between us by the time they matured.
It’s all because of my shortcomings.
I wasn’t even able to fight them.
We were just indifferent to each other.
But I thought that it wasn’t good like this, so I tried to reach out to them and understand them first.
Things got resolved rather easily.
My boys accepted me as though they were waiting for it as well.
Right now, they are my best drinking buddies, whether it’s the eldest one or the second one.
Sometimes, they act so close that it’s a bother.”
Janghae laughed as he stroked his hair.
I’d love to talk it out with my daughter.”
“It’s the first time that’s difficult.
Once you get through to her, parents and children will become like friends.
That’s just how things work.”
“I hope it’s like that.”
After conversing for a while, Janghae checked his watch.
“Looks like you have business to attend to.”
“I’d love to stay here and talk about my boys with you, director, but yes, I do have something to do.
Thanks for the tea today.
I’ll give you a call once the matters in Korea are settled.”
Janghae stopped as he was standing up with the tea set.
“Should I just let the girl known as Mari be? We’ll take care of the man, but the young lady worked under you.”
“If it’s possible, can you just let her go? I’ll reach out to her later.”
“That young lady must be blessed to meet a good person like you.”
“Just as you said, president, anyone can make mistakes.
She must have learned her lesson, so she will listen to my words now.
It’s such a pity to let go of someone like Mari.
There are a lot of customers who look for her.”
“Then we won’t touch her for the time being.”
Okhwa saw Janghae out and closed the door.
There were many things she had to take care of in a short time.
The first thing was to contact the head manager and reeducate the girls.
“Head manager Oh? Have everyone gather up.”
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