Chapter 94: Keep Barking At It (10)
Jung So-Mi’s heart sank. She barely managed to endure the endless mocking from Park Kyung-Wook since the bun-haired girl situation, but the words she heard just now from Park Kyung-Wook were different.
Park Kyung-Wook was blatantly asking her to resign.
“Can’t you see that the company is in a mess because of you? The writers are leaving us one by one, our sales are dropping, and you’re just spending company money on entertaining the writers when there’s nothing else going on. Now you’re spending money just to add gilts of the final volume mark on the book covers? How dare you!”
Jung So-Mi’s head drooped as she trembled. Indeed, she had committed a mistake, and she was extremely apologetic for it. However, everything else that Park Kyung-Wook had mentioned wasn’t her fault. Angry tears threatened to roll down her face as all the blame was pushed onto her.
She would never boast that she was the best, but she had definitely worked hard. The continuous overtime had pushed the limits of her stamina, and she had been doing her best to clear the enormous workload a.s.signed to her.
As for the company money she had spent to meet writers, it was a measly 14,000 won.
Deputy Lee was trembling in fury while cursing Park Kyung-Wook.
She couldn’t bear seeing Jung So-Mi shaking like an aspen tree.
“Sigh, who else can I trust to lead the editing team?” Park Kyung-Wook returned to his seat, shaking his head, expressing his disappointment.
Jung So-Mi wasn’t moving, so Park Kyung-Wook glared at her and said, "Edit Rooftop Necromancer volumes 1 and 2 by tomorrow."
"..." Jung So-Mi remained silent.
Deputy Lee turned pale. The t.i.tle that Park Kyung-Wook had just mentioned had never been edited. a.s.signing four editors to a single volume wouldn’t even guarantee that it would be completed in a day. Park Kyung-Wook’s impossible instruction meant that he really wanted to fire her.
“Ms. Jung So-Mi, did you not hear me?”
“You understand? Ha, seriously.”
Park Kyung-Wook picked up his coat and left the office. He decided to leave because his father—Park Jae-Gook—the President of Star Books wasn’t around.
What was he doing these days that he wasn’t in the office for most of the day?
“Ms. So-Mi, what are you going to do?” Deputy Lee scooted over to Jung So-Mi when Park Kyung-Wook finally left.
Jung So-Mi squeezed a smile and replied, “I’ll have to work overtime, of course. My home computer isn’t fast enough to handle a lot of things, so I have to stay here and work overtime.”
“How will you be able to complete this alone?” asked Deputy Ko while scratching his head.
He had always been bootlicking the editor-in-chief and neglecting Jung So-Mi as well as the other employees, but it seemed he still had a bottom line, seeing how he couldn’t bear to overlook the current situation.
“Ms. So-Mi, should I help you out for a bit?”
“Oh my, what brings you here?”
“We can help each other out since we’re on the same team. I’ve also been receiving lots of help from Ms. So-Mi for quite a while…”
Her colleagues peeked their heads up from behind their part.i.tions as well.
“I’ll help too.”
“Deputy Yoon, too? Did you finish Vampire Maid?”
“I’ll be done in two hours. Ms. So-Mi, just treat me to a meal next time, alright?”
Jung So-Mi started crying buckets while facing the floor. She was filled with overwhelming grat.i.tude toward her colleagues.
“What a crybaby. Are you not going to stop crying?” Deputy Lee patted Jung So-Mi’s head, consoling the younger girl.
Jung So-Mi looked up after a while with her tear-stained face. She smiled brightly and shook her head before saying, “I’ll just do it on my own.”
“It’ll be finished by tomorrow morning if everyone helps me, but it’s just a stop-gap. I think I have to complete this on my own regardless of the result. I’m really thankful to everyone for the offer, but I have to do this on my own.”
Jung So-Mi’s words pulled everyone back to reality.
They realized that there was nothing they could do to help her.
The ensuing silence seemed to depict the true colors of the working society.
Tadadak! Tadadadak! Tadak!
Jung So-Mi stayed back alone in the dark office, struggling with her work. It was already 8 p.m., and everyone else had already gone home. The only noise that could be heard in the office was the sound of her keyboard.
“Ms. So-Mi, stop working and come with me.”
“…?!” Jung So-Mi was caught off guard and looked up.
She saw a gloomy Park Kyung-Wook staring at her.
“Grab your bag with you; let’s go have dinner.”
“I’m fine, I'm not hungry.”
“I overreacted earlier. Let’s have a meal and talk about the things that have been happening in the team.”
Jung So-Mi was perplexed by the sudden change in Park Kyung-Wook’s att.i.tude.
“It’s going to be quick.”
To be honest, she didn’t want to eat with him. She had long heard of the encounters Deputy Lee had with the editor-in-chief, but this was a job she valued, and he was still her boss.
Jung So-Mi was new to the working society, and she ended up following his instructions.
Park Kyung-Wook brought Jung So-Mi to a fusion j.a.panese restaurant located at the building arcade. He didn’t bother asking for Jung So-Mi’s preference and ordered a tuna platter as an accompaniment to some sake.
“Have a gla.s.s.”
“No, I won’t be able to work if I drink.”
“How are you going to complete all of that by tomorrow? I said it out of anger, so just forget about it. Here.”
Jung So-Mi could not refute and ended up accepting the offer.
Jung So-Mi glanced at Park Kyung-Wook and realized that he was already drunk because his face was flushed red. She didn’t see it earlier since it was dark in the office.
“Ms. So-Mi, you should be more flexible at work,” Park Kyung-Wook said as he poured sake into an empty cup.
“Flexibility and working smart are important. I know that you’re a diligent worker, Ms. So-Mi, but you aren’t flexible enough. Well, it’s just your first year in the working society, so let’s close one eye on that. Mm, I know that.”
Park Kyung-Wook suddenly reached over and grabbed Jung So-Mi’s hand.
Jung So-Mi froze at his sudden action.
“Why are your hands so cold…? You should wear gloves while working in the office. If you’re uncomfortable with anything, just let me know, okay?”
Jung So-Mi felt a s.h.i.+ver down her spine, and she finally realized that Park Kyung-Wook’s change of att.i.tude earlier was just a facade.
Jung So-Mi trembled, and she felt as if there were ants crawling all over her.
Park Kyung-Wook reached out with his other hand and ma.s.saged her hands.
“Shall we finish up here and go for a second round? I know of a bar with good vibes. Now that I thought about it, I don’t really know much about you aside from work. Hahaha.”
Just then, her phone left on the table started vibrating.
The name on the screen caught Jung So-Mi’s attention.
The words Ha Jae-Gun were reflected into her eyes and was engraved on her mind.
“What are you doing now? You’re an editor.”
“Please turn me into canned food.”
“That’s doable. It’s slightly small, but let’s go.”
“You draw quite well, so why do you say that you have no talent in it? Aren’t you too harsh on yourself?”
Like stars in the sky, Ha Jae-Gun’s face and voice shone brightly in her mind. The ants that had been crawling all over her disappeared as her courage grew stronger upon being reminded that Ha Jae-Gun was on her side.
Jung So-Mi immediately regained strength in her fingers.
“Owwww!” Park Kyung-Wook screamed in pain and looked up.
Customers looked at them in shock, and Jung So-Mi stood up after twisting his fingers.
“Oww, Ms. So-Mi! Why did you suddenly—” Park Kyung-Wook quickly wrapped his fingers and staggered up.
Jung So-Mi bit her lips and glared at him before slapping him across the face.
Park Kyung-Wook saw stars as his head was forcibly turned to one side.
However, Jung So-Mi wasn’t done just yet. She wasn’t wearing her usual sneakers, so her pointy heels did additional damage when she kicked Park Kyung-Wook in the s.h.i.+n.
“Arrrrrgh…!” Park Kyung-Wook collapsed on her knees.
The customers weren’t just watching them anymore.
They had already stood up at their tables to watch Jung So-Mi’s counterattack.
“Do you have nothing else to do at your age? You don’t even do anything at work, yet you dare to act condescendingly just because you’re the president’s son. You’re so incompetent that I’m ashamed to call you editor-in-chief. Do you have any idea how much I’ve been struggling to call you that t.i.tle?!”
“W-what are you…?!” Park Kyung-Wook rubbed his cheek and s.h.i.+n. He was stunned by the sudden outrage, and he looked up at Jung So-Mi with an incredulous look. It seemed that he felt as if he were in a dream.
Jung So-Mi had always been obedient and a pushover, so he didn’t expect that she would fight back.
“Oh, there’s something you do. You’re always flirting with the female employees at the office. Thank you for letting me resign with peace of mind, and please get a grip. Please work on editing your character first rather than the novels.”
Clap! Clap! Clap!
Someone stood up to give her a round of applause.
He was a fellow office worker wearing a long necktie. The nearby drunk office workers also cheered and clapped for her. It seemed that Jung So-Mi had just popped a stress cider for them.
“Good luck at work, and enjoy the rest of your tuna.”
Jung So-Mi picked up her bag and left the restaurant.
A drunk diner stumbled over to Park Kyung-Wook, who was still lying on the floor. They slapped Park Kyung-Wook’s lips and cursed at him for a while before finally pouring alcohol over his head.
“Blegh! What are you…” Park Kyung-Wook yelled and grabbed the other party by their collar.
Meanwhile, Jung So-Mi was already walking down the streets of Seoul with confident strides. She decided that she wouldn’t be afraid of anything anymore.
Jung So-Mi’s pace didn’t slow down as she imagined Ha Jae-Gun waiting for her at the end of this road.
The filming of A Writer’s Study from EBC Channel started in Ha Jae-Gun’s one-room apartment. His room was tiny, so it was exceptionally crowded today.
EBC’s announcer and show host, Park Hye-Sang, and her producer as well as their staffers were in the room, along with Oh Myung-Suk. There were also pa.s.sersby gathering around the entourage of vehicles parked outside the building.
As the face of EBC Channel, Park Hye-Sang’s intellectual beauty permeated with her elegant dress and charming voice. Park Hye-Sang was the face of EBC Channel, and she was an intellectual beauty sporting an elegant dress.
Her voice was charming as well as she asked, “When did you start writing?”
Ha Jae-Gun was sitting across from her. Ha Jae-Gun felt a bit overwhelmed because of Park Hye-Sang’s beauty and the surrounding cameras, but he still managed to answer her question.
“Aside from school work, my first work was probably back in middle school Year 1.”
“What was it about? Was it a novel as well?”
“You could say that… It was a martial arts novel featuring some of my cla.s.smates from back then. It was set in a modern-day school, unlike in the Central Plains like the typical martial arts stories. I liked the movie Volcano High a lot back then. Do you know that movie?”
Park Hye-Sang smiled and nodded. “Yes. It was quite an innovative movie at the time.”
“Yes. My novel was a parody of that movie, but it should actually be called a copy of it. I was excited about writing it when my seat partner asked me to read it one day. They said it was interesting and kept laughing while reading it. Soon, all of my cla.s.smates ended up reading it as well…”
Park Hye-Sang and everyone else in the room chuckled.
“I was happy to see my friends enjoying it. They were also my first readers, so I continued writing. Most people would draw cartoon characters and pa.s.s them around, but since I’m not good at drawing, I chose to write instead.”
Ha Jae-Gun’s nervousness disappeared as time went on. To be honest, the interview didn’t feel that different compared to his interview with Navin last year for Foolish Woman.
“Let’s take a fifteen-minute break.”
Oh Myung-Suk and Ha Jae-Gun stepped outside for a while during the break. With a cup of coffee in each of their hands, they started talking while hanging out behind the quiet building.
“It’s just a twenty-minute segment, but there are a lot of questions. The questions are getting longer as well.”
“This is normal. However, it’ll still end in an hour, so please hang in there for a while more, Mr. Ha.”
However, the interview wasn’t the end of it. Ha Jae-Gun still had to do a recording for the remaining thirty-minute segment of the show on another day. The recording will probably take even longer than today’s session.
“Oh, Mr. Ha. Have you already heard of the panelists?”
“Yes, have they been decided?” asked Ha Jae-Gun as he brought the cup to his mouth.
However, Oh Myung-Suk’s answer almost made him spit his coffee.