By the time Minho got back to the waiting room, Manager Gong was tapping his feet.
“Mr. Minho Kang! All the designers were just called to the director’s room and there’s a big fuss about starting the track-down.”
Minho knew it was just going to be a normal meeting to settle on designs, and he spoke to calm Manager Gong down.
“I just walked past there and vaguely overheard, but I think the photoshoot is going to proceed after they reform the original design.”
President Im walked over looking surprised when she heard this.
“There are a lot of skilled people here.”
Minho returned the pen saying thank you but he didn’t mention that President Im was one of the skilled people he was talking about.
Taebaek Yoon went to meet with the photoshoot staff and came back with a schedule showing a normal plan starting from 1:00 PM, confirming what Minho said was true.
Sohee Im returned to her office relieved, and Manager Gong, who looked as if he had aged ten years, finally relaxed and said he would go buy some delicious lunch for Minho.
Minho returned the scissors back to their place and sat in the waiting room chair again.
Fatigue washed over him. He’d had to agonize about fashion, business analysis and carefree styling all together in a short amount of time.
He was yawning widely. Eunha, sitting next to him, whispered quietly,
“You went to meet Director Song in secret, right?”
Eunha’s accurate predictions made Minho think of her father. The two of them seemed so different by nature that Minho had forgotten she had the blood of a detective flowing in her veins.
‘But can that trait be passed down as well?’
“I got the feeling, earlier. You seem to have a good design sense as well.”
“Well…I was hoping the photoshoot would go well so I just went to talk with her for a bit.”
Eunha laughed silently as she watched Minho answer nonchalantly and stretch out his arms. For some reason, she felt like the problem had been resolved through something simple.
She continued to watch him and Minho felt embarrassed, so he awkwardly scratched his chin and spoke.
“The photoshoot is soon so teach me a pose that works well, sunbaenim.”
On the set, camera shutters clicked and lights flashed endlessly.
“Mr. Minho, lift your chin stiffly. Ms. Eunha is good the way you are~”
Minho was busy getting into poses. His mind was about to go blank because of the bright light shining everywhere and it wasn’t easy to keep his eyes wide open and adjust to the flashes.
“Shall we link arms?”
“Link arms? With who…”
Minho who was busy following the photographer’s orders realized that he was standing close to Eunha.
He managed to get through the solo photos completely engrossed in trying to look dignified, but attuning to another person while taking couple photos together was harder than he thought. Eunha, noticing Minho’s nervousness, spoke as she put her arm through his.
“Don’t try to force it, try to feel the mood. Being natural is good.”
As Minho was starting to become used to the couple shooting, the photographer directed them into an affectionate pose.
“How should I do that?”
Eunha whispered in a low voice in response to Minho’s question.
She put her arms around Minho’s shoulders. It was only a brief moment that he was surprised by her assertive actions. Minho soon followed her lead and posed with a comfortable smile.
Eunha who maintained a bright smile the whole time made not only Minho but all the staff smile contently as well.
“Mr. Minho, your shy smile is good too. Ms. Eunha, more daring!”
Eunha slightly puckered her lips at the photographer’s request. Minho felt his heart drop with a thump.
“Hearts popping from the eyes! Good~”
“Great work, everyone!”
It was 10:00 PM after the last male solo photoshoot ended.
Minho was utterly worn out as he said his goodbyes to the staff.
Eunha, who had given her utmost throughout the photoshoot, sat in the stand-by chair when her shooting finished and had been sleeping for 30 minutes. She must have been very tired, since she didn’t open her eyes even though the space was noisy with the staff cleaning up the set.
‘Shall I get ready to go?’
Minho put his original clothes back on in the dressing room and brought Eunha’s bag from the waiting room.
“Eunha, we’re all finished now.”
Eunha’s eyelashes quivered. She covered her mouth as she yawned and squinted open only one eye as if she was winking. Then she fixed her gaze at Minho standing in front of her.
She smiled and spoke, half asleep.
“Hmm. I look ugly when I sleep, don’t I?”
“Since you helped me a lot today, it’s no comment.”
Even when she was sleepy she was pretty. Minho had the thought that she was born to be an actress.
“Manager Gong said he’ll bring the car around so I think we can go right down.”
“Wait a second, my stuff……”
Minho tapped the bag that was on his shoulders and Eunha smiled brightly and gave him a thumbs up.
They were on their way home in the van.
Eunha wasn’t able to overcome the fatigue and dozed leaning against the seat. Minho took the neck pillow from the front seat and tucked it against her cheek.
“Sleep comfortably till we get there.”
With a contented smile, she leaned her head fully against the seat.
Manager Gong who was watching this in the rearview mirror detected the pleasant mood between them and grinned. However, he knew that there was quite a high mountain for Minho to cross for things to turn out well with Eunha, beginning with Detective Chuljoong Seo. So Manager Gong could only carefully send glances to cheer him on.
He asked Minho, who was looking out the window as they stopped at a red light,
“How was today?”
Minho normally couldn’t even sew a button on a shirt by himself. He looked back on this day of experiencing a world he was never able to experience and replied,
“There are people who cry or laugh just because of one clothing design pattern.”
“It’s because the fashion industry is as cutthroat as the broadcast industry.”
“And also there’s someone who makes those designers laugh or cry.”
Manager Gong laughed because he knew who Minho was talking about.
“Oh yeah, the picture of you two that we uploaded on social media is already being written into an article. And the comments are good because you two look like you’re enjoying the photoshoot.”
“It won’t matter for me but will Eunha’s image be okay?”
“Everyone knows you guys are from the same company and it was posted on the official account so it doesn’t matter. Why? Are you going to really date her?”
Minho turned his head towards Eunha. The pressure to study and converse with her at her level had lessened since he had worked all day with her, but it was uncertain whether there had been further progress in their relationship.
“We’ll naturally find out as time passes.”
The van entered the alleyway that led to Eunha’s house. Eunha, who had been sleeping, lifted her head. She looked around to check the location and hastily spoke.
“Manager, please stop here!”
Manager Gong stopped the van.
Eunha opened the doors and spoke to Minho.
“Let’s go together.”
“We planned to have dinner. We’ll push it to next time if you’re tired.”
Eunha brought up the plan that he had assumed was forgotten since it was so late. Minho got out of the van in bewilderment.
He walked over to the driver’s side window and spoke to Manager Gong.
“I’ll get back to the gaming house by myself so you should head on in first.”
Manager Gong welcomed the idea of two smart people interacting with each other so he didn’t say much and nodded.
“Then rest up tomorrow and I’ll see you for the schedule the day after. Ms. Eunha, have a safe trip back as well.”
“Have safe trip, Manager Gong.”
Minho and Eunha waved to Manager Gong as he left.
“Now, shall we go?”
“But what are we going to eat at this hour?”
“There’s something that we have to eat at this hour for it to taste really good.”
Minho wasn’t able to easily move his feet because of Eunha’s playful laugh.
‘Please don’t let it be something terrifying to even look at!’‘
The street was picturesque under the hazy street lights.
Minho felt like he was on an unintentional date as he walked the streets of the residential area with Eunha.
“Starting from elementary school, all my schools were right around here. When I went to college farther away I finally felt like I could breathe.“
Her eyes were bright, probably because she had slept for a bit. She jumped up the small stairs and spoke as they left the alleyway.
“I lived in this neighborhood since I was born, so I know where everyone lives. The place we’re going isn’t far.”
“Where is it?”
She was drawing out the suspense. She looked at Minho who was going crazy with curiosity and smiled brightly.
“Tada! It’s right over there!”
Minho looked where she was pointing.
It was a Korean fast food joint that still gave off a delicious aroma even in the late night. The sign was worn but the space looked inviting.
“Are you disappointed?”
“Not at all.”
Minho was relieved because it wasn’t the food he was thinking.
Eunha opened the doors to the restaurant and entered inside.
“Grandma, I’m here~”
“Huhh? You look so pretty today.”
“Heh heh. I had a photoshoot today.”
The owner grandma with kind eyes welcomed Eunha gladly. As she saw Minho following behind Eunha she asked,
“No~, He’s an oppa who’s part of the same company.”
“You guys seem close enough, bringing him to a place like this.”
“Oh my, what do you mean a place like this? This is the most delicious place in the world!”
The grandma simply chuckled and looked at Eunha.
They sat at the table and the grandma brought out a dish without them even ordering.
“Enjoy your meal.”
It was hefty dish filled with red tteokbokki. Minho was hungry and his mouth immediately started watering. Eunha handed him a toothpick.
Minho picked a soft rice cake of the tteokbokki and put it in his mouth. It was wonderfully chewy in the sweet and spicy sauce.
“How is it?”
“Wow! This is really delicious.”
Eunha put a piece in her mouth as well and chewed happily.
“I used to go to the girls’ high school right by here. We would be crying with hunger after studying late into the night, but there was no other place that tastes this good, or gives you this much food.”
Eunha’s reminiscences of her school days when all she did was study were unexpectedly full and interesting. It might have been because she lived in this place for a long time. Her father did judo and Eunha was a black belt holder as well thanks to him. Minho flinched slightly when he found this out
Eunha looked at Minho and laughed.
“I babbled too much, didn’t I? I remember chattering with my friends every time I came here.”
“No, It’s fun to listen.”
“Since I talked a lot, it’s your turn.”
“How has life treated you? I’m very very curious.”
It was a night Minho didn’t want to leave his seat.
The conversation between the two people didn’t stop and continued until the tteokbokki was gone.
Miranda dressed the mannequins with the five new products that were newly redesigned today and admired them slowly.
“The report came in that they’ve finished cleaning up after the photoshoot.”
Miranda nodded at Soyoung’s words and checked the time as she spoke.
“It’s late. You can go home now.”
“What about you, Chief Song?”
“I’ll go once I finish straightening up.”
“You worked really hard today.”
Soyoung bowed her head and went home. Miranda turned her head towards the mannequins.
Shortly after, the sound footsteps came from far down the hallway.
Chief Choi came into the office and clapped.
“I didn’t even dream you would reform it that way. I was surprised. Of course, it’s Miranda.”
She only asked a one word question in response and didn’t move her gaze from the mannequins. Quite a bit of time passed. Chief Choi was looking at Miranda’s back anxiously.
“You changed your cologne?”
Finally Miranda opened her mouth.
“You said you didn’t like it.”
“You have something you feel guilty about?”
Chief Choi barely was able to keep his face composed.
“Of course I feel guilty. I should have had some safeguards in place before something like this happened. I didn’t give it any thought because I was busy with my own work. I’m sorry, Miranda.”
“I thought about it. And there was always someone who came to watch when we designed the main lines.”
Miranda lifted her hand to the scarf around a mannequin’s neck. Chief Choi flinched and stepped back when she tightened it tightly.
“The reason you wanted to mess up my design collection was because you wanted the executive director position?”
“We….. well about that.”
Chief Choi’s eyes grew wide as he groped for an excuse.
“What would happen if the news spread that the person who leaked the designs is someone in this room?”
“Yo-you don’t even have proof.”
“Is there really no proof? If something like this happens again, not only me, but all the designers underneath me will leave TRUE FASHION. There are plenty of places that have offered positions. When I leave, I’ll make sure to use the suspect who leaked the designs as an excuse.”
“Not that. Please.…”
Miranda continued to talk as Chief Choi’s complexion turned pale.
“The director doesn’t seem pleased with the expenses of sustaining this design studio. Did you hear anything about it?”
Miranda loosened and straightened out the scarf as she spoke.
“I’ll reconsider if you become the executive director and hold the director back. Isn’t that what friends are for?”
The calm high-pitched voice pierced Chief Choi’s ears.
Miranda, who was a friend yesterday and a rival today, was saying she would be the puppet master controlling the puppet. She was so absorbed with only fashion–who would have thought she would have a change of mind to this extent?
It was clear that he would get cut off from the company politics if he didn’t stay on the director’s good side. But Chief Choi had to nod to save himself right now.
“I’ll do it. I will. Whatever you say, Miranda.”
“Good. Then you may go.”
Chief Choi went outside.
Miranda fixed her gaze again on the five designs that had brought a fresh impression to her fashion sense.
“Minho Kang…… I’m looking forward to the winter season.”
Tteokbokki – A popular Korean food made from chewy rice cakes stir-fried in a sweet and spicy sauce. Fish cakes, boiled eggs, and scallions are some of the most commonly added ingredients