Chapter 937.
Crank Up 5

“Good work.
I guess we have to wait for Lee Miyoon to come back to Korea now.”

Maru thanked the stylist who gave him the coat with his eyes before leaving the store.
Dongwook, who was eating on the other side of the phone, sighed slowly as he spoke,

-Things went well over the phone, but you never know.
She might change her mind if she meets up with me.

“She’s a cautious woman, but she shouldn’t have the room to look around since she’s been driven against the edge of a cliff.
If you emphasize that it’s a temporary alliance until you get Hong Janghae, you should be able to easily get her agreement.”

-She did seem quite willing.
I can tell that she’s suspicious of me, but she still showed willingness to go through with this.
It seems like she’s willing to take some damage as long as she can bring Hong Janghae down.

“I’m sure the fact that she can’t guarantee her actress life must have made her nervous.
Is Miss Mari doing well?”

-For now, she’s resting in a place I prepared for her with her man.
They seem to rely on each other quite a lot, and they didn’t look that unstable.
They’re quite cooperative too.

“Once you give me the information, I’ll try to persuade the ‘madam’ in Japan.
As long as we can get her to take her hands off it and place Lee Miyoon back in the equation, we should be able to proceed.”

-Looks like I’ll only be able to get some rest once I jail Hong Janghae and Lee Miyoon and whoever else is involved.
I’ve also scouted some reliable junior journalists of mine.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Lee Dongyeon before.

“You mean the one who keeps doing his thing despite being sued by SC once?”

-He lives on his toughness alone.
This one’s the real deal.
He will rush to any cases involving large business companies or politicians.
Though, thanks to that, he got divorced and lives a poor life.

“Please introduce him to me later.
I wish to get to know more about him.”

-If you get close to a guy like that, it’ll screw up your life.
An ordinary man will get stabbed by the villain if they stay next to the apostle of justice.

Maru smiled and looked at his watch.
It was about time for Byunchan to arrive.
He stood by the road in front of the store before looking around.
He saw Byungchan’s car held up by the traffic light.

“Hyung-nim, it looks like I must hang up now.”

-You said you had something to do.
The afterparty?

“Yep.
I’m in neat clothes too.
I’m not sure if there are any journalists willing to take photos of me though.”

-Walk boldly.
Isn’t your boldness the only thing you can boast about?

Dongwook then hung up saying that they should have another call tomorrow.
Maru put his phone inside his coat before waving his hand.
A black van slowed down and approached him.

“You look quite decent in neat clothes.”

He got on the van, listening to Byungchan’s compliment.

“What if no one recognizes me even though I’m wearing these clothes?”

“Don’t worry about that.
One of our journalists is waiting too.
When you go there, there should be someone who’s especially attentive to you.
You should wave your hand.”

“That puts me at ease.”

The car started moving.
Maru checked his hairstyle with his phone’s front-facing camera.
Perhaps it was because of the light, but he thought he looked quite young when he looked at himself at the shop, but now that he saw himself in a dark environment, he looked older than his peers.

“Should I reveal my forehead a little more?”

“Let me see.”

When the van got stuck at a traffic light, Byunchan had a look at Maru’s face.

“I think it might be better to raise your hairline by just a little.”

He took out some hair wax to do his bangs before spraying his hair.
It felt a little better with his eyebrows exposed.
The GPS navigation device notified them that they had arrived at their destination.
The parking lot for the galbi restaurant on the 2nd floor was filled with cars.
Byungchan followed the guidance of the parking manager and parked inside.

“Looks like we managed to get here before the older members.
There are quite a lot of actors who don’t want to go in before the juniors.
They want to pick up the spoons earlier than anyone else[1], yet they always want to appear late, sheesh.”

He got out of the van, following Byungchan.
He saw journalists waiting outside.
As the weather wasn’t that cold considering that it was early December, everyone had light clothing.

“I feel nervous now.”

“What’s there to be nervous about when you just have to walk inside? It must be harder to stand on a stage or something.”

“For me, events like this give me more pressure.”

“You should get used to things like this if you want to be an actor for a long time.
Go in now.
If there’s a journalist who acts like they know you, then wave your hand at them.
If you get photographed like that once, the other journalists will also think that you’re an actor and will start taking photos.”

After neatening his coat once, he was about to make his move.
Just then, a white van drove past the journalists and entered the parking lot.
Some of the journalists whispered to each other before raising their cameras.
Maru knew who was inside.
Indeed, the person inside was worthy of making the journalists fuss.

“Looks like I should go in right after that person.
I feel like it’ll be less embarrassing too.”

“Whose car is that?”

As Byungchan asked, the door to that white van opened.
Yoonseo, wearing jeans and a leather jacket, got out of the van.
A girl, who was a popular idol, and a successful actress, was then greeted by a ceremony of shutter sounds and flashes from the journalists.

“Yoonseo, huh? Looks like you would’ve been in big trouble if you tried to go in before.
They would’ve gone over there before any cameras shot you.”

“My words exactly.”

Wearing sneakers, she lightly walked past the journalists.
Celebrities who were used to the photo line definitely had leisure when they walked, whether it was their demeanors or their expressions.
Maru fidgeted with his hand.
So, he had to walk in naturally like that? It was nothing much, but it made him very nervous that it bothered him.

Just as Yoonseo was about to walk past the journalists and head inside the restaurant, she stopped.
Maru saw that her eyes were directed at him.
When he looked around, he saw that the only other person around him was Byungchan.
Yoonseo waved her hand and walked over.

“Why is Yoonseo coming here?”

“Why is she indeed?”

“Then I’ll back off now.
You’re on your own.”

Byungchan returned to the van.
Maru looked at the cameras that followed her wake.
They seemed like sunflowers chasing the sun.

“What are you doing here?” Yoonseo asked.

“Getting ready to go inside.”

“Are you waiting for someone?”

“No.”

“Really?”

Yoonseo turned around.
When she did, she had on an idol’s smile that seemed to show what ‘experience’ truly meant.

“Let’s go in together then.
I was just feeling depressed because I got stood up.”

Yoonseo grabbed Maru’s arm and took a step backwards.
Being dragged by that hand, Maru left the scope of the van.
The moment he misstepped, camera flashes bombarded him from everywhere.
He stood to the back left of Yoonseo and walked in front of the journalists.
When they arrived at the end of the photo line, a microphone blocked their path.
The symbol of YBS was on the microphone.
There was a reporter holding out a wireless microphone and a cameraman holding a camera that had the label ‘The Entertainment Show Weekly.’ Yoonseo stopped and said hi to the reporter.
The reporter was a woman he had seen many times on TV as well.

“Miss Yoonseo! Congratulations on the afterparty.”

“Thank you.
You promised me you would come last time, and you actually did.”

“I have to work if I want to make a living.”

The two of them lightly joked with each other.
The reporter asked if she could do a light interview.
Yoonseo nodded and stood in front of the camera.

“What do you think the viewing rate is going to be tonight?”

“I wish it would hit 30%.
I’m not sure many people know, but I made a pledge for hitting 30%.”

“Oh, I know about that.
You’re giving out free hugs in Myeong-dong.”

“Yes.
I want to hit 30% and try doing that.”

Maru walked out of the angle.
He couldn’t exactly daze out behind her when she was having an interview.

“Miss Yoonseo.
Who’s the one that came with you?”

The reporter’s eyes moved.
She seemed happy that she got more interview material.
For now, Maru smiled.
He couldn’t afford to be on TV with a gloomy-looking face.

“You don’t know him? Mr.
Maru here is quite famous, you know? From Chatterbox.”

Before Yoonseo even finished explaining, the reporter exclaimed in realization.

“So it was Mr.
Han Maru.
Your image in dramas, entertainment shows, and here are all different.
I thought you were a completely different person.”

Haha — Maru could only laugh dryly.
Yoonseo reached out before pulling him by the sleeves a little.
Before he knew it, he was standing right next to Yoonseo in front of the camera.

“The performance he showed on the talk show was too funny so many people might remember him for that, but actually, he’s an actor who showed better concentration and acting skills compared to anyone else.
Everyone started applauding when Bigfoot exited the drama.”

Yoonseo’s words were picked up by the reporter.

“I remember that.
The viewing rate spiked up back then, and he even made it to the search term rankings.
Mr.
Han Maru, Miss Yoonseo is giving you so much praise, so you should pay her back.
How was Miss Yoonseo during shoots?”

Maru lowered his head towards the wireless microphone before replying,

“She was an actress who put in a lot of effort.
She has a lot of persistence as well.
I’m sure everyone who watched the drama must know that her acting became better with every episode.”

“That sounds like someone wrote that line for you.
Did Miss Yoonseo perhaps ask you to say that?”

“Was it obvious?”

Yoonseo smiled and waved her hand.
The reporter seemed to be satisfied with her content and put her thumb in the air outside the camera angle.

“Miss Yoonseo, see you later, then.
You too, Mr.
Han Maru.
Don’t ignore my greetings once you become famous.”

Maru sighed in relief as he entered the restaurant.

“I can’t say I’ve paid you back in full for your grace, but please shave it off a little,” Yoonseo said in front of the staircase.

Grace? When he made a puzzled face, Yoonseo explained,

“You recommended Senior Ahn Joohyun’s film to me.
You may not think much of it, so you must’ve forgotten, but it really helped me out a lot.”

“Ah, I remember now.
It’s not really something to call a grace.”

“What is grace? If I feel grateful, then it’s a grace.
Also, you were good with the interview back there, you know? There’s no way you actually prepared for that.”

“I’m quite good at flattery and lies.”

Yoonseo laughed out loud, but then her laugh was overshadowed by a loud voice.
It was producer Jayeon, who raised her hand in the air and shouted at them to come over.
Yoon Hyungseok could be seen at the table next to hers.

“Let’s go.
She’ll make us drink if we’re slow,” Maru said as he took off his coat.

[1] In Korea, it’s customary to wait for the elders to pick up their spoons before the younger members start to eat.
Table manners of sorts.

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