Chapter 106: Chapter 106
Daebong Park, the president of Aurum, knitted his brows because of one problem that was really hard for him to solve. Aurum was growing by leaps and bounds every day thanks to Daebong’s aggressive investment, which carried risk, as well. One of the risky areas was the luxury goods department of Aurum. With an ambition to make Aurum’s products look high-end, Daebong created the department to change the consumers’ perception that they were low-quality though they’re cheap.
He expected losses in the initial stage of the luxury business, but there was no sign of things getting better as time went on, and the deficit was becoming bigger.
Daebong had been agonizing over it for some time.
What should I do now? Do I need to give it up at this point?
He felt the quality of the luxury products was good enough, but the problem was the consumers’ perception. The company name Aurum was not compatible with ‘luxury’ goods, and he could not set up a separate company specializing in luxury goods since he created the department to change the company’s perception among the consumers rather than to make profits.
After some hard thinking, he convened a meeting of the managers. As the meeting would affect the fate of Aurum, he informed them of the topic of the meeting and asked them to bring some good ideas to tackle the issue.
However, the atmosphere of the meeting room was bleak. Though all the managers attended the meeting, nobody came up with any good ideas. What they proposed at best was more aggressive marketing.
It was natural that the president got upset.
“Don’t you feel sorry for getting paid for working like that? Don’t you feel ashamed before your men? I’ll give you one more week to bring me some ideas. If you can’t, there will be no bonus this year. Get out!”
Every manager left the meeting, with a downcast look on their faces. Youngsu Park was no exception. As soon as he came back to his office, he called his team members.
He explained to them about the outcome of the meeting and the assignment due one week later. It was felt like pressure on the team members to come up with a good idea to revive the luxury department.
His team members were aware of the luxury department’s gloomy situation but didn’t know that it was causing a large deficit.
“Today is Friday, so let me convene another meeting next Tuesday. Bring me your ideas by then,” said Youngsu and left the office.
His Deputy Manager, Yonggu, immediately called a meeting, and the meeting was supposed to be a brainstorming session in which every team member could speak freely.
Hyunwoo and Suji walked to the conference room side by side. When Hyunwoo was seated, she naturally sat beside him, and Sangho then sat beside her.
Almost all the members pointed out that the goal of the luxury business was wrong. How can Aurum change the consumers’ perception when the company’s image had been engraved in their minds for so long? Hyunwoo was of the same opinion.
“I think we should separate it as an independent entity that has nothing to do with Aurum,” said Hyunwoo.
“I know what you mean, but the president ruled out that option. As the original purpose was to change the company’s image, the luxury department should do its business under the company name,” said Yonggu, who made an embarrassing expression on his face hearing Hyunwoo’s remarks.
Despite everything, there was no other way in Hyunwoo’s mind. The thing was how to persuade the president. Hyunwoo felt it would be much easier to persuade the president than trying to come up with a good idea to revive the luxury department.
Okay, let me focus on that.
In the meantime, Hyunwoo felt something strange about Sangho and Suji.
The atmosphere of the meeting was good, but Suji looked at Hyunwoo whenever she had a chance. She talked, looking at Hyunwoo when she spoke her mind but also while asking for Yonggu’s opinion, but she never turned her head to Sangho. Even when he tried to attract her attention, looking at her while expressing his opinion, she never paid any attention to him.
She looked as if she was angry at him, but no one didn’t take it seriously, given their relationship up to then. In fact, both were on friendly terms in the office. It was not they were dating, but Sangho was trying hard to win her heart. As there was rumor among the team members that Minhye lost interest in Sangho and Younghwan Koh, everybody understood Sangho’s feelings.
Though Suji didn’t let him in her heart, she didn’t reject his good intention heartlessly, so their colleagues in the office thought both of them were getting along well, but Sangho couldn’t understand Suji’s icy attitude.
Why is she acting so mean to me?
What made him all the more puzzled was her attitude toward Hyunwoo. Though others did not notice it, Sangho saw it clearly.
Suji is showing interest in Hyunwoo.
As the meeting continued, Sangho’s face hardened more and more.
The meeting lasted almost an hour. Though they presented several ideas, they were all impractical.
Yonggu announced that the meeting was over, and as it was the closing time of the office, the team members began to leave the office, but Hyunwoo had to do some more work in the office. Though it was Friday, there were some others who stayed late in the office such as Suji and Sangho.
“Do you have lots of work to do?” asked Hyunwoo.
“No, a little more,” replied Suji.
“Me, too,” seconded Sangho.
Suji and Sangho replied at the same time as if they agreed to do so. Grinning a bit, Hyunwoo focused on work. Less than thirty minutes after he resumed work, Hyunwoo got a call from Dukwoo Jang.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing particular. Nami wants to see you..”
It looked like Dukwoo cooked up a plausible reason, suggesting that he needed Hyunwoo’s help. Hyunwoo could take care of the remaining work next Monday. He felt good when he thought of meeting this lovely couple Nami and Dukwoo after such a long time.
“Okay, I’ll be joining you soon. Let me finish the work and see you guys.”
As soon as he hung up the phone, he organized the papers.
Surprised a bit, Suji looked at Hyunwoo, “Do you have an appointment?”
“I had none, but someone wants to see me. Let me leave then.”
Suji showed a lonely expression on her face as if she had been expecting some great time with him. Hyunwoo felt sorry to notice it, so he asked, “Do you want to go with me?”
“Do I know them?”
“Not really, but you can make friends with them. It’ll be beneficial to you to know them.”
For a moment, Suji was a bit agonized over it, but shook her head soon, “I’m going to eat at home. Instead, can you give me a ride back home?”
“Sure, no problem. Let’s get out then.”
At that moment, Sangho cut in abruptly, “I was going to leave the office, too. Can I give you a ride, Suji? As I have to eat dinner alone, can you dine with me?”
“No, I’d like to go with Hyunwoo,” said Suji resolutely, rejecting his offer.
Her rejection was so resolute that even Hyunwoo felt sorry for Sangho, but Suji was a courteous woman in Hyunwoo’s mind, so he felt that there might be some reason for Suji to act like that.
Hyunwoo pretended not to see or hear them, just waiting for Suji.
After she organized her desk, she approached Hyunwoo and held his arm as if she wanted to fold his arms. Hyunwoo felt very embarrassed at the moment.
The staff of the purchasing team thought Sangho and Suji’s relationship was not casual, and Hyunwoo thought so. Sangho treated Sangho special, and Suji also followed him affectionately. Hyunwoo thought she treated him coldly because of her close relationship with Sangho, and that’s why Hyunwoo was trying to forget about Suji because he would certainly get hurt by having his heart set on her.
Now, the situation has completely changed. Suji suddenly began to feel affectionate toward Hyunwoo, even in the presence of Sangho.
In Hyunwoo’s mind, there was only one reason: her display of resistance to Sangho was supposed to be taken as ‘Be good to me as I’m not your girlfriend yet!’
Hyunwoo felt bitter for no particular reason. It looked like he was caught between the lovers’ quarrel. Pretending not to know that, however, Hyunwoo left the office with Suji.
After he gave Suji a ride back home, he headed straight to the appointment place where Nami and Dukwoo were waiting. It was a Japanese restaurant with compartment rooms.
As Nami was already a famous entertainer, it was difficult for her to date her boyfriend in an open place. When she went out, she wore thick and large sunglasses, a hat, and covered her face with a mask.
When he got there, Nami was sullen, as if she had a quarrel with Dukwoo while dating.
“I took time out for him though I was very busy, but he’s complaining that I have not seen him often enough since I became a TV talent.”
“Sorry. It’s because I wanted to see you, honey,” said Dukwoo and offered apologies quickly.
He was at a loss what to do or say to her.
Watching them quietly, Hyunwoo suddenly felt bitter. Dukwoo and Nami, or Sangho and Suji were playing at love, but Hyunwoo felt he was alone with no girlfriend.
Suddenly, Hyunwoo thought of Suji. Just like Dukwoo was teased by Nami, Hyunwoo wanted to be irritated by Suji.
Whenever Hyunwoo thought of Suji, Sangho’s image also appeared in his mind.
Though Sangho and Suji didn’t hit it together today, they looked so close and affectionate in the office until recently, which made Hyunwoo feel all the more bitter.