He looks to the left, then to the right. No sign of you. Good, it would be hard to explain what he’s doing here if you showed up. Jumin feels so weird wearing casual clothes in front of so many people , but coming to a classroom in a suit would drive attention, the last thing he wants for today.
He feels like loosening his tie, but there is no tie, it’s just a polo shirt. Ugh… he needs to pull himself together, act naturally, if he doesn’t believe he is a regular student, nobody else will. Yes, he is disguised as a student watching a marketing class, no, not disguised, he is a student in a marketing class. He is.
It’s quite exciting, actually. Could this be what Zen feels when he’s performing? Or what Luciel feels on an undercover mission? Luciel… he seems pretty close to you these days, are you dating? Oh… but that bruise on his mouth, is he a client? No, it couldn’t be, could it? Luciel is interested in this? Or is he interested in you? And… are you interested in him?
“We’re all mediocre people.” The blond woman standing on the pulpit states, giving an overall look to the class. “Humans are mediocre, no matter how you look at it. Even with technology and society’s development, there’s nothing extraordinary in any of us, not on me, not on you, not on any famous person, dead or alive. We’re all common, regular, ordinary.”
Jumin disagrees. No, not all people. If this was true, what about brilliant scientists, artists, sportsmen? What about… Rika? Jihyun? Luciel or you? Luciel and you… how is that even working? He doesn’t seem like your type! He’s so different from Jumin, oh… could that be the reason you would like him? Because he is different? See, professor? If we’re all ordinary, Luciel and Jumin would be the same, it wouldn’t make a difference to you, you wouldn’t be with him right now.
“And, in that sense, our duty as advertisers is make people think they are all extraordinary in their own way. Is your skin dry? Here, buy this moisturizer, your face will look like the purest silk! Do you need money? I have just the great pyramid scheme for you to get rich in a matter of weeks! Can’t get up? Try this pill, it will make women climb over you! It’s all about making people think they’re special, unique. It’s making them believe their opinion matter. Which, at least to us, advertisers, it really does.”
He curls his lips as he takes notes, it’s part of blending and looking like a student. Jumin had marketing strategies lessons in college, but nothing he learned was this harsh and… mean, at some level. Of course, he knew it was all about selling, and people are customers, but is it really necessary to manipulate customers like this? This woman has a very negative point of view on customer/seller set ups, she shouldn’t push her twisted ideas on young students like this is an absolute truth. Tsk… to think she is your mentor! What kind of ideas has she put in your head? Do you also believe in that?
“This sounds harsh, I know. But this could be applied to all of us, advertisers. Think of all the great ideas you had for some campaign. There is a high chance it’s already been done. I’m not talking about copy, I’m just talking about the fact people can’t truly owe an idea, especially when it’s already out there. Who can owe the rights on creativity? Nobody. Advertisers are mediocre as well, a great innovative campaign can have some inspiration in something that’s already been done.”
Ah, he can agree to that. Jumin saw many advertisers pass through C&R all ovet the years. It doesn’t matter where they graduated, how long it took, many of them think similarly, like there is a pre-shaped mold for marketing students and success comes if they fit into this mold. Oh… so the talking about mediocrity was actually a critique to her own field? She’s making their students see what’s wrong with themselves in order to make them get out of the mold? Clever. This woman is clever.
She looks like she’s in her 40s, or maybe even in her 50s, if she’s well preserved. According to his research, she has been teaching marketing strategies here for almost seven years. She is quite renowned, having a considerable amount of works published. The other things he can recall came from you: She’s demanding, pushes her students a lot, can be a little rude when she gets impatient, but overall, she’s kind to the students who show their efforts, even shamelessly protecting her “pets”. Yes, that was exactly the word you used. Were you her favorite…pet? That’s why she decided to teach you how to dominate?
There was nothing about BDSM in his researches, but this wasn’t exactly a surprise. You told him how discreet you were, being able to hide this persona completely even when you’re someone who stands out was probably one of the lessons. You learned this one well, apparently.
“You should have added a cap, if you want my opinion, it’s tacky, but it’s more accurate for a student.” That’s the first thing she says when Jumin approaches her after class is over. “Jumin, isn’t it? Glad to meet you.” She leans to shake his hand.
“We’ve met before, I suppose.”
“I heard so much about you is almost like I do know you, indeed. Which is why I’m surprised you would try to look as a student just to come to my class, it doesn’t seem like something you would do, at least not from what she told me about you. How is her internship, by the way?”
“I don’t have a direct contact with the creative department, I wouldn’t really know. Although she would be a great PR.”
“Yes, it suits her more. Protecting her clients from embarrassing questions with sweetness and firmness, she has the skills for that.”
“Yes, she could be really devoted to her clients.” he doesn’t even feel like blinking as he watches her pour some water and lean on her desk.
“Why do I feel this has nothing to do with the internship anymore?” she asks, meeting his gaze.
“Because you are smart.”
“You are very smart as well, young man. Another thing I already knew from what she told me, and believe me, she told me a lot about you.” He wonders if there is any sexual innuendo here, now that would be quite embarrassing, and he can’t get embarrassed in front of her. “But coming to see me doesn’t seem very smart.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I’ll tell her that you came to me.”
“I didn’t expect it to be different. Which is why I’ll be brief: why her?”
“Why me?” you adjust yourself in your seat, trying not to show how disappointed you were for getting another question as an answer “My field of work is not directed to PR, miss MC. Haven’t you checked professor’s resumes to see one more adequate to your interest?”
“I did.” You look away, embarrassed. “None of them were available, professor.”
“So I’m your last option?” her eyes gleam as she chuckles in annoyance. “You know this won’t really convince me, miss MC. Much on the contraire.”
“I thought so. But I read some of your works, professor, and there is this term paper you did correlating publicity to communication in general and… well, PR is communication, so I thought I could give it a shot.”
“Because you are desperate for a scholarship.”
“Yes, I… well, I’ll be honest. I need to graduate, professor, and I won’t be able to afford graduation if I don’t get one of these incentives to research the university provides. I know that my grades aren’t that impressive, and I’m basically a mediocre student right now, but I think this work on PR and publicity could really be… innovative, somehow.”
“It could be innovative. It… it will be, if you let me.” There is a solemn silence as you do your best not to sit on the edge of the chair, waiting for your response.
“You know the incentive for research doesn’t pay that much and you will get the money in at least two months, correct?”
“Yes, I do.” You didn’t.
“Which means that, if you don’t pay your debts, you could lose your registry here before we even try your idea.” Oh, is she… is she considering your idea?
She leans back on the backrest of her chair, analyzing you.
“What other works of mine have you read, miss MC?”
“Advertising patterns and how to get to know your target, selling strategies over the decades, oh, and I really liked that one when you wrote about advertisers on the 21st century, professor. That comparison you did between sex and advertising is so… unexpected and… innovative!”
“You think so?”
“I do! It’s amazing! ‘Sex brings out the mediocrity in all of us, so does advertising’, this is so… so true.”
She leans forward, uh oh… you shouldn’t have mentioned this, should you? She gives one more attentive look at you before reaching for the drawer in her desk. Throwing a book in your direction, she smiles.
“Write a critic review about this book.3.000 words to the end of the week.” Shit! You feel like groaning before taking a look at the cover of the book.
“BDSM? I… I’m sorry, professor. I don’t see what this has to do with publicity, or… sex, for that matter.”
“If you think this, it’s already a great start, miss MC. Write a good review and I’ll take you as my pupil, if you don’t write it… there will be punishable consequences.”
“Like losing my registration?” she laughs in amusement. “Thank you, professor. I won’t disappoint you.”
“You better not, miss MC.”
“And did you do a good job?"
“The book was terrible. And I wrote about that.” he laughs in amusement.
“So you used to be a broke student and she was a bored woman looking for something exciting, so she taught you how to do… all of this?”
“It’s a way to put it. I want to think she had sympathy and tried to give me an alternative that would give me money in short-time while we worked on this paper.”
“Do you really think she would do all of this just for a paper, MC?”
“You don’t know her, Seven. But that woman is obsessed with her career as a teacher, she takes this very seriously. You can say she is a little bit of a sadist going through a middle age crisis taking an innocent desperate girl under her wing and enticing her in a very… unorthodox job. But the way I see it, she saw I’m not that ordinary and I could help her doing something different in the academic environment, and in return, she gave me something I could be really good at and that could give me some financial stability.”
“And did you like it? I mean… do you… like it?”
“I… never thought so much about it, you know? I like everything I conquered through this job, but lately, I… I’ve been learning how to enjoy it. And you, Luciel Choi, is the one to blame.”
“Me? I’m just a catholic innocent boy, lady!”
“Yes! Also, you don’t judge me, you’re very interested in what I have to say and…. You make me feel comfortable about talking about this. The only person I could confide this was my teacher, but she was there just to teach me.” You look away, fumbling your hands in the sheets. “I can’t really… share about this, you know?”
“I’m glad you’re sharing it with me.” He hugs you timidly.
“So am I.” you look at him. “What about you? When will I get to know more about you?”
“Me? There’s nothing interesting for you, actually.”
“Hmmm… really? I’m pretty sure you’re lying.”
“Oh, I totally am, but it’s for your own good, believe me.” He chuckles as you glare at him. “Seriously now, MC. Don’t… don’t think much about me. You know how you just told me how you never got to share about being a domme? You can share it with me, I’ll listen to everything, your struggles, your doubts, your clients, I really want to focus only on you, so… focus on yourself. Trust me and focus on yourself, that’s all I’m going to ask you.” You almost don’t recognize this guy in front of you, so serious, almost cold, somehow.
And as much as you don’t want to think about this at all, it’s so hard not to see a little bit of Jumin on him right now. Yes… Jumin once told you to be selfish and focus on yourself. No, but this is different, you couldn’t focus on yourself when Jumin needed you so desperately! Seven doesn’t need you, does he? This is just a casual thing, it’s nothing like you had with Jumin, and… you shouldn’t be comparing them.
“Can I call you later?” he asks, standing in the door. You nod, chuckling as he takes your hand to give it a kiss. “So, see ya! Go… go get them, MC!” you both laugh as he gets embarrassed at his attempt of cheering for you in your work.
Now you need to find your phone and confirm your next session. You feel a shiver going down your spine as you see a couple of messages from your teacher. She rarely texts, which means it could be urgent, is it something about your paper?
But your concern turns into confusion as you see two texts from someone else:
Please, give me a call.
Nothing weird, don’t worry. I just have some business to go over with you.