Life, Once Again! - Chapter 1008
Chapter 1008. Crank Up 10
“You have a younger sister, correct? She’ll be given a scholarship through the foundation. It even includes everyday expenses on top of tuition, so it should be decent. Your sister moved out of home, yes?”
The reply, that said ‘yes’, came from secretary Kim instead. Maru didn’t even have any time to be surprised because he was analyzing what was happening. Leaving aside the sudden display of goodwill, it was rather strange to see the chairman be so knowledgeable about his background. After all, it was way too trivial for the head of a super company to care about.
“Information possesses the opposite attribute to water. This one rises to the top from the bottom. That’s why, staying at the top, I hear all sorts of things even if I stay still and even if I don’t want to. If there’s anything I want to know, then that’s just as easy. Are you displeased that I know about your family’s information?”
Only then did the chairman laugh in a low tone.
“Actually, it doesn’t matter even if you’re displeased. I’m doing this because I want to. I created this business so that I don’t have to be conscious about what other people are thinking about me. If you dislike what I’ve done for you, you’re free to return it whenever. It’ll displease me, but seeing as how you’re bold enough to reject my proposal right in my face, I guess you won’t care about something like that.”
“That’s not true at all.”
“Now it looks like you’re being conscious of me. Well, fine. Actually, there are loads of people in the world who are conscious of me. However, it’s hard to find anyone who goes against me. Merchants are bound to feel attracted to things that are rare. Of course, if that rare thing is being arrogant despite not having any worth, they’ll just toss it in the trash.”
The chairman took a step closer. His body was rather frail as though to say that even with a large amount of money, he could not win against time, but his eyes were as bright as the rising sun defeating the darkness of dawn. Maru could see why Giwoo served him like a god. Having someone like that nearby would make anyone feel fearful. If president Lee was the quiet ocean that swallowed up everything without a word, the chairman was a storm that boasted its existence to the world. Both of them were the same in regards to the fact that anyone caught in it would die, but gaining the support of the storm would make anyone feel reassured.
“Still, what a pity though. It feels like I was not competent enough. If it was any other time, a boy like you would have kneeled down and started begging,” said the chairman.
Maru could instantly tell that he didn’t mean it. The chairman was blatantly showing his emotions. He seemed to want Maru to feel relieved and respond naturally. A joke naturally had to be responded to with a joke,
“One more minute and I might be on my knees.”
“Maybe I should’ve waited a little more.”
The chairman reached his hand out. Maru put the paper bags down and grabbed the hand back.
“If you’re born as a man, you should aim for the top. However, if there’s something you must protect before that, then you must protect that first. How can someone who can’t even protect what’s in his hands reach the top? Guts, that’s what a man needs. Guts to never yield what he must protect no matter what tries to shake them up. I like those kinds of people. They might seem foolish, but they do their worth.”
Maru inwardly sighed in relief. The chairman let go.
“Do your best in the future. You have to become a big man and be a good face for our products.”
“I’ll do my best.”
“Since president Lee has high hopes for you, I shouldn’t be worried. But don’t take too long. Achievements are better the quicker you obtain them.”
The chairman turned to the side. Giwoo’s expression started stiffening up the moment secretary Kim appeared with the paper bags. Maru was busy paying attention to the chairman, so he didn’t keep watch, but currently, Giwoo was a sight to see. He looked like a human who had seen fire for the first time. He was surprised, curious, uneasy, and afraid.
“I remember when you were young. You were a scaredy-cat, but not a coward. You might cry after fighting with your friends, but you didn’t criticize them. I didn’t really like that personality of yours. People like you are everywhere in this world after all. But I felt like it would be okay as long as I could put a fence around you. But then, one day, you changed. It was 17 years ago. I still remember it. You were in primary school. You told me that a girl broke an important pencil case. I was proud to see you not cry and talk to me clearly. I finally thought that you would achieve something. You immediately pulled the strings. Despite being young, you sneakily blew away your classmate. That in itself was good. But, you didn’t finish things off properly.”
Giwoo flinched backwards as though he was pushed by an invisible wall. The chairman frowned and clicked his tongue slightly.
“You should only cause an incident when you can take responsibility for it. It is nothing but a foolish thing to do if you put your hands in an area that you cannot control. That day, you should’ve told that girl straight to her face that you had her bullied because you didn’t like her; you should have told her that you were the one who made her transfer schools. You should have endured the consequent insults and anger and overcome them, but what you did was learn to hide. That was when I decided. I judged that the company, the path of a ruler, does not suit you. You’re someone who would run and hide the moment you have to take responsibility for something.”
“I should have told you plenty of times. There are many more people in the world that you don’t get along with than those that you do. You can’t even bring someone like that to your side, so how can I expect you to do much more?”
“From now on, you’re free to do anything by yourself. I won’t care what it is.”
“I was in the wrong, grandfather. I’ll try again.”
“Leave it. 25 years was plenty of time to watch you. You’re a child who cannot even break. Since you cannot break, you’ll have to live in the world that you have achieved thus far. I also had a look at the works that you played in. I could already feel a sense of mannerism from the titles alone. I’m not entirely knowledgeable about the entertainment industry, but I’m sure the same rule applies there that an item with no special value will not be sold.”
Maru stepped aside. Giwoo stood in front of the chairman.
“Grandfather, I will never disappoint you again.”
“Forget it. I no longer want anything from you. Just take care of yourself from now on. Also, I’ll make this clear just in case, but you won’t have a position in the company. Stake your life in that acting career.”
“You didn’t expect there to be a seat for you, did you? Chances of that were chopped in half when you left after saying that you want to be an actor, and now that you showed your rock bottom like this, I no longer need to say anything. From what I have heard, it seems you have told your little runts that you’ll succeed one of the logistics lines after becoming successful as an actor and will become one of the pillars of this nation’s economy, yes? Well, I’m not too sure about that. I can’t be sure of anything that might happen after my death, but as long as I’m alive, such a thing will not happen.”
Giwoo tried to speak. He was probably desperate. If he could not stand up for himself here, it was all too clear that he would no longer be in the chairman’s interest. However, Giwoo shut his mouth after a nod from the chairman. The chairman stared at Giwoo for a long while. Giwoo’s eyes slowly moved down.
“Yes, that’s the kind of kid you are. Someone so weak that without your shield, you’re nothing but pathetic. Why are you afraid of being hurt? It’s fine for you to break down tragically at least once, or resist and go against the flow. You’re a man, but you don’t have the slightest bit of resistance in you.”
Hearing the chairman’s words, Giwoo raised his head back up. However, that was it. His mouth did not open. When the chairman locked his hands behind his back and stared at him, Giwoo moved his eyes down again.
“Secretary Kim, see the guest out for me. Maru, be careful on your way home.”
The chairman returned to the study. Maru stood on the porch with the paper bags. Before he left, he looked at Giwoo, crouching down on the stairs. He’s done for — those words reverberated in his mouth.
“Giwoo must know what the chairman wants. However, he’s not bold enough to carry that out. The chairman knows that as well, and that is why he no longer expects anything from him.”
Those words were from secretary Kim. Maru walked across the garden with the paper bags.
* * *
How would it have been if he was outright cursed instead? Giwoo looked at the mirror in a daze. His grandfather’s words had no ups or downs. He spoke as though all the emotions were removed from him. He didn’t have a shred of feelings for his grandson, nor any disappointment or resentment. It felt like he said ‘this is a flawed product, so take it out.’ That was it. That was all he amounted to.
Giwoo left the bathroom and picked up whatever caught his eye. It was a hair dryer. But just as he was about to throw it down on the floor with all of his might,
“Why are you afraid of being hurt?”
The voice held his hand back. Giwoo put the hair dryer down and went to the bathroom. He looked at the mirror again. He could see the smooth skin. The face he never felt was insufficient before somehow looked dissatisfying. What did he need?
Giwoo took off his clothes. He stood in front of the mirror naked. He grabbed the wall with both of his hands and put his forehead against the mirror. It was cold. He felt like his forehead would be glued to the mirror at any moment. He slowly took his head back. He was once again greeted with a face that looked incomplete. He took a deep breath and put strength into his neck before smashing his head into the mirror. Along with a loud crack sound, the edge of the mirror shattered. His face was reflected on a fragment that fell into the sink. He had a pretty decent expression on.
Bang, bang, bang.
He did not know how many times he smashed his head. When he came to himself, the sink was already glistening with blood. He put his hand against his forehead. It stung as though he was scorched by fire.
“You’re right, grandfather. Being hurt is a natural thing. And it’s also something that I must not avoid. I just had to do it with my own hands. With these… hands.”
Giwoo picked up a piece of broken shrapnel. He put the sharp edge against his cheek and pressed strongly. Screams uncontrollably escaped his mouth. Giwoo waited for a bit while covering his ripped cheeks. Curiously, he got used to the pain. It became bearable.
He checked his face with the mirror fragment that stabbed him.
“Now that looks more like a man. He’s more gutsy looking too.”
Giwoo threw away the broken mirror and covered his face with a towel.