Life, Once Again! - Chapter 1007
Chapter 1007. Crank Up 10
“I’d like to say goodbye to the chairman before leaving.”
Secretary Kim told him to wait and went behind the staircase. Maru had heard that the chairman’s study was there. Kang Giwoo, who came down after him, blocked his path.
“Don’t be arrogant. You think everything will go the way you think, right? But you’ll soon find out that the world isn’t that easy.”
“I know very well that the world isn’t easy.”
He faced death and was approaching yet another one. He was incredibly well aware of how unfair and unjust the world is.
“No, you don’t know. You have no idea how heavy the words of people on our side are. But you’ll see soon enough, and you’ll think then that you should’ve listened to Kang Giwoo’s words. Don’t expect Han Gaeul to stay by your side after you lose everything. People are very evil. That woman is also bound to look for someone standing on the same level as her.”
“I see what you’re saying, so I hope you can shut that mouth of yours now.”
Maru was convinced after meeting Kang Giwoo alongside the chairman. He could tell where this guy’s source of confidence came from, and why he wasn’t the slightest bit worried while doing things that were against the law. He may look like a sturdy tree with green leaves spread around everywhere, making it look like he would last thousands of years to come, but in actuality, his roots didn’t reach far into the ground; they just skimmed the surface. A tree with deep roots would stay up even if something happened to the soil around it. However, this guy was so weak that without the super soil that was the chairman to hold him up, he might as well fall with just a simple push. The reason he stayed up until now was that the chairman supported him well, and also because Giwoo strongly believed that the chairman would continue to do so.
In his few encounters with the chairman, Maru became sure of two things. One was that the chairman was hard to look into, and the second was that he was just as frightening as he was deep. Giwoo asked him if he thought that he had become close to the chairman just because the chairman laughed with him a couple times. Maru wanted to return those words right back to him — perhaps you’re the one who’s forgetting that.
The chairman wasn’t someone who bestowed affection unconditionally. At first, Maru thought that he would love his own bloodline unconditionally, but he saw that the way the chairman looked at Giwoo was definitely not gentle. They were eyes that were looking at a puppy acting cute. If the pup could bring back the ball obediently, he would feed it and pet it, but what would happen if the pup didn’t do that?
“You’re leaving already?”
The chairman left the study.
“I thought I’d be inconveniencing you by staying too long.”
The chairman chuckled. Secretary Kim left upon his orders.
“And the two of you had a talk?”
“Yes,” Maru replied first.
The chairman’s eyes were on Giwoo now.
“From the looks of it, I seemed to have stepped out of line. Maru, you must have been rather uncomfortable.”
“Not at all. Thank you for looking out for me. I was just narrow-minded and wasn’t able to keep up with Giwoo.”
“I guess that’s how it is at first.”
Maru replied with both of his hands clasped,
“I think it’ll be hard in the future too.”
“Is our Giwoo that bad?”
“He’s not bad. It’s just that the two of us just cannot get along.”
“Giwoo, how about you?”
Giwoo sighed in slight disappointment before speaking,
“Like you said, grandfather, I wanted to get along with him, but it looks like it’s going to be difficult after all. Maru just said that we cannot get along, but actually, I tried to get along with him. But he says he doesn’t want to. I guess it can’t be helped. It looks like even your words are nothing to this fellow.”
Maru semi-closed his eyes and looked at the chairman’s chin. It wasn’t his desire to fall out with the chairman. While president Lee said that he could put the chairman in check, it shouldn’t be enough to completely block him. If he truly fell out with the chairman, he would indeed encounter storms in his career in the entertainment industry, just as Kang Giwoo said. Coming up with a suitable lie to avoid this situation was also a method. Maru even rehearsed it in his head a few times before coming down the stairs. However, the moment he looked at the chairman’s face, he scrapped that plan. If he tried bluffing in front of someone who could see all of his cards, he might not just lose the chips on the table, but the chips inside his pocket as well.
There was only one solution then. He just had to show him everything and leave it up to him. Maru believed in the chairman’s deep eyes. He trusted that frightening personality. If the chairman was doting, then his life might be in danger, but what could he do? The weak never had a choice in the first place.
“What kind of suggestion did you make?” the chairman asked.
Maru did not answer. Giwoo also did not speak easily. The chairman asked once again about what kind of talks took place. Giwoo hurriedly replied when the same question was asked twice,
“It’s nothing much.”
“I’ll be the judge of that. Tell me.”
It seemed Giwoo didn’t have a way to prevent the colossal giant’s curiosity. Maru could practically hear the factory inside his head working busily. Maru gave him a glance, hinting that he would say it instead if it was too hard.
“There’s a girl who’s dating him. But I’ve liked her for quite a while. That was why I told him to give me an opportunity. It was nothing much.”
Giwoo laughed it off, as though it truly wasn’t anything much. The chairman nodded.
“Break up with that woman.”
As soon as the chairman’s words ended, Giwoo’s expression became brighter. Maru scratched the ceiling of his mouth with his tongue. So he was the doting grandfather after all? And to these two, relationships were something so light that they could break them up with just a word from their mouth?
“Why, you don’t want to?”
“Chairman. How should I answer this question?”
“It’s simple. I like fair trades. If I want to request something from someone, I should exchange it for something worth it. You felt that your publicity had gone up after shooting that commercial, right? That should have changed people’s treatment of you. If you don’t stop here and do more things in the future, what would it be like then? If you receive the support of both I and president Lee, you will soon climb to the apex, Maru. If you’re born as a man, you should reach the peak at least once. And once you’re at the top, you’ll see that your eyes have changed as well. Right now, the woman that might seem like your everything might seem meager when you’re up there. Of course, I admit that your talent is not ordinary. However, the world does not recognize talent. The ones that do are people like me. What do you think will happen if the top-tier actors are stuffed in a third-rate theater troupe in the middle of nowhere? Do you think the world will soon recognize their talent and bring that person back to the top? Absolutely not. Of course that won’t happen. A talent in the middle of the mud pit will at most end up shining brightly within that mud pit. If talent was truly the element of success in this era, this country wouldn’t be in this state.”
It was a tempting offer. Anyone would be swayed by it. A promised success in exchange for breaking up with the woman he was dating? If it wasn’t for Gaeul, he might have been shaken. It was that sweet after all. It would be a lie to say that he wasn’t greedy for it. However, the answer was already set in stone. There was no room for greed to butt in.
“I do not wish to buy your ire, chairman, but no matter how hard I think, I cannot think of a way to decline politely. I apologize.”
“Meaning, you decline my offer, yes?”
“It might become difficult for you. There’s a limit to president Lee covering for you. That man’s quick to calculate as well. Once he deems that he’ll be overinvesting in order to protect you, he’ll soon give up.”
“At that time, I’ll just give up on acting and start driving a bus or something. I’m confident in that.”
“You can drive a bus?”
“Yes. I don’t have a license yet, but I can get one pretty quickly.”
“From an actor to a bus driver, huh? Won’t you feel disappointed?”
“I will, and I’ll struggle with my best effort. But if I still cannot continue my acting career despite that, then I’ll give up. There’s one thing I must hold on to even if it means I have to put down everything else.”
“You are strong-minded, but you don’t know your place. If a truck is rushing towards you, you should be thinking about avoiding it. If you crash head-on, what other outcome is there other than death?”
“I might be lucky enough to survive. Or, the truck driver might stop right in front of me.”
“Trucks have elevated seats, so they can’t easily see people right in front of them.”
“That’s why I’ll jump up to the best of my ability so that even a single strand of hair might catch their attention.”
The chairman did not speak. Maru just watched his mouth. It was hard to raise his head to look at his eyes. He could see Giwoo smiling on the side. They were blood kins after all, and the only thing left for him now was to brace himself so that he didn’t get smashed.
“I can’t hold back someone who’s unwilling.”
“Thank you for your hospitality until now.”
Along with a rustling sound, secretary Kim appeared. There were paper bags in each of his hands. Maru quietly looked at the paper bags that secretary Kim held out to him before accepting them.
“It’s red ginseng. I had some too, and it’s really good. President Lee also seems to like it.”
Maru looked at the chairman with the paper bags in hand. He was neither smiling nor angry. He just plainly continued to speak,
“Your father works in Joojin Tech, correct? And he should be in the countryside right now.”
Maru nodded in response to the sudden question. He soon realized that it was rude of him and said ‘yes’ to confirm.
“Secretary Kim. Call that man.”
Secretary Kim, immediately took out the phone and used it. After a few lines of conversation, he gave the phone to the chairman.
“Director Baek. You know the one I mentioned before, right? Yes, that man. Ask for his opinion and call him to Seoul if he wants to, and if he says he’s okay over there, give him a managerial position. If there’s anything that’s inconveniencing his work life, then set it straight.”
The chairman gave the phone back to secretary Kim.