Life, Once Again! - Chapter 215
They went into practice with gusto after the sashimi. Sadly, a problem arrived when they started their reading. They just needed to read their lines, but Jiyoon wasn’t even able to do that. “Please do not… No, Please don’t look at me like that. I-I may sell alcohol… woman… but…” “Stop.” Suyeon gathered everyone’s attention with a club. Like always, she was in the middle of the circle of club members. Suyeon looked down at Jiyoon, who slowly began to lower her head. “Lee Jiyoon.” “…Yes.” “Do you just not want to do this?” “No.” “Is there some problem then?” “…No.” “Do I have a problem, then? You were fine just yesterday, and now you’re reading like this. You have the passion and you clearly don’t have a problem, so there must be something wrong with me?” “I-I don’t think that is it.” “Lee Jiyoon, raise your head.” Jiyoon slowly raised her head, she looked incredibly exhausted. “Do you have something to tell me?” “…..” “Alright, I can’t do this. I don’t think I’m trusted by you still, it can’t go on like this. We can’t do anything if you don’t even have the basics.” Suyeon grabbed her bag, her eyebrows were furrowed in incredible annoyance. “We’ll end here for today.” Suyeon tapped Jiyoon’s head before stepping out. Jiyoon seemed to have words to speak, but her mouth wouldn’t open. Maru asked Daemyung to take over and followed Suyeon. She was standing next to the third-floor staircase, she must’ve waited for him. “I’ve tried one on one before, but group work is way more tiring in comparison.” “Complaining when we’ve just begun?” Suyeon shrugged. “There’s an issue with Jiyoon. Unfortunately, I’m no good at taking care of girls her age. They require way too much extra care.” “Why couldn’t you scold her like last time?” “There are days when you can do that and there are days when you can’t. She had passion last time, but she just looked dead from the start today. She’d really get hurt if I scolded her. She needs someone to rest on at times like these, but I forgot how to be that someone.” Suyeon winked. “You care about her quite a bit. I’m surprised.” “I told you, this is homework on my end as well. I don’t want Junmin to be disappointed. But at the same time, I don’t want to think about profits and losses with a girl that age. She’s so cute, too.” “So it’s not that you just don’t want to get involved?” “Oh? Hey, don’t look at me so badly. I don’t try to hide from a girl that small. Besides that, you should try hard to console her. She’s really out of it today, it’s like she’s a completely different person.” Suyeon’s eyes started trailing upstairs. Maru had to agree, Jiyoon was stuttering even with the short lines today. She hurried to finish her lines like she was in a poorly scheduled interview and even got them wrong. Afterwards, she just dumbly gazed into her script. She wasn’t like this before. “Talk to her. I’m no advisor, so I can’t do much on my end.” “Why don’t you talk to her separately.” “It’s fine. I don’t think you guys noticed, but I did. She’s incredibly wary of me, I’d appreciate it if you could find out why for me. You saw her today, right? She lost her breath from such a short line. You know it yourself, she wasn’t that bad before.” Maru nodded. “I’ll help you as much as I can, obviously. But I’m not going to get involved in stuff I can’t handle. I came here to guide your acting, not console all of your lives.” “You won’t become a good teacher at all.” “Don’t want to be. I’m an actress. Anyway, get going.” Suyeon stepped down the staircase lightly. After watching her disappear from his vision, Maru walked back into the class with a bitter look. The class was silent, as he had expected. Jiyoon’s eyes were glued on the floor like some sort of a sinner, they definitely couldn’t continue with practice like this. “Lee Jiyoon.” Maru stared into her eyes as he approached her. He wouldn’t be able to reach her deeper thoughts, but perhaps he could get an idea of what was going on with eye contact. But no matter how deep he looked, he couldn’t get a word bubble out of her. That could only mean one thing, her mind was an incoherent mess. He couldn’t do anything here other than to buy some time. “Anyone want something to drink?”
* * * He stepped out to buy drinks with Daemyung. As soon as they got to the staircase, Daemyung spoke with a wary expression. “I think I gave her the wrong advice.” Daemyung was clearly very agitated. “Speak slowly. What did you tell her?” “…It was family stuff. Also personal stuff.” “Well, what was it?” Daemyung paused with a closed mouth, he looked very troubled. He must be wondering if it was okay to talk about this. He was being very considerate and polite, but now really wasn’t the time for either of these things. “I can only ask her myself if you don’t tell me, but I don’t think that’ll be easy to do. Also, my mouth isn’t very light.” “Right, of course. Hah… I don’t think I should’ve done this, you would’ve been way better than me.” Daemyung stopped talking as he organized his thoughts, he only opened his mouth when they passed the front gates of the school. “She had some trouble with her parents. She didn’t explain all of it, but I think they’re too overbearing on her. Jiyoon also had some personal issues.” “What is it?” “She says she gets really nervous at important moments, especially during tests. Or whenever she’s the center of attention. She doesn’t know what to do because her heart starts beating too fast. I told her everyone gets that, but she said it was a little different.” “Is that all? That doesn’t sound so bad.” “…I gave her some advice regarding her parents.” “What did you say?” “That they were saying these things just because they cared about you. I know it doesn’t help, but I didn’t know what else to say. You think I made it worse by saying that?” Maru looked far into the distance, everyone says advice like that. Trouble between a child and their parent wasn’t an uncommon issue, not many kids maintained a good relationship with their parents throughout their entire life. If Jiyoon’s fight with her parents was what ruined her condition today, then they definitely didn’t fight over something normal. “Jiyoon didn’t look like she got hit anywhere, did she?” Daemyung blinked for a second until the question really registered to him. “Are you…” “It’s just a possibility. I didn’t see any bruises on her.” “Me neither.” “She must’ve been hit by something big if her behavior changes this drastically overnight.” “That’s… true.” Jiyoon was in an absolute mess today, almost as if she left her mind somewhere else. They shouldn’t approach her thinking it wasn’t anything special, they might end up ruining a family if they did so. “Alright, you should talk to her one more time. If she hides things, then don’t approach further.” “What? Maru, we should help her.” “There are limits to how much you can help someone. How much do you know about Jiyoon? I just know her surface personality and her name. Do you think it’s right to dig deep into her matters just because you know that much?” “I still want to help her.” Daemyung spoke with his eyes wide open. The boy just couldn’t let her go, could he? This was probably because of how much of himself he sees in her. Maru understood the boy’s feelings perfectly well, but it still wasn’t a good idea to pry so deeply into other people’s matters. Especially if the matter at hand was about family. Jiyoon was just a normal junior, so there was no reason for them to pry deeply into anything. Of course, things would be different if she was actively seeking help, but… if she wasn’t, there was no need to help. “We’ll help if she asks for it. But if she doesn’t, just observe.” “She might just not be talking about it because she’s nervous.” “You want to help her no matter what?” “…Yes.” “Will you take responsibility if something goes wrong?” “What?” “It could be way more serious than you think. If you end up making the situation worse, all you’d be doing is making things harder for Jiyoon. I won’t stop you if you really want to help, but don’t go about it lightly. Nothing hurts more than misdirected goodwill.” “…I still want to help.” “Of course.” It could just be a simple matter, all it really came down to was to ask the person herself. The two of them bought some sodas and headed back to school. As they passed the front gates, they passed a woman with purple hair. She was looking up at the school curiously, she turned to look at them. Unlike her wild purple hair, she had a very innocent looking face. “Eh? Eh!?” Daemyung shouted in surprise. Was this someone he knew? “What’s up?” “Don’t you know who she is?” “Who is it?” “Don’t you watch dramas?” “I really don’t.” “……” The purple-haired woman walked towards them with a bright smile, as if she found someone she knew. Upon a closer inspection, Maru found that the woman didn’t look as innocent as he first thought. She looked incredibly playful, probably someone difficult to deal with. “Are you guys in the acting club?” “Yes, we are.” Maru answered since Daemyung was busy hiding behind him. “Don’t you know me?” the woman asked, pointing at herself. “Do I need to?” Maru answered. “Wow, I haven’t gotten a reaction like that in a very long time! How fresh!” The woman wrapped her arm around Maru’s shoulder out of nowhere, Maru pushed her arm away with his hand immediately. “Do you have business with the club?” “You speak like an adult, that’s so cute.” She was looking all over him like he was a strange creature. It was rude, but it didn’t feel odd, probably due to her lack of malice. Looking into it, he found a small word bubble pop up. [This kid is fun.] It’s been a while since he saw someone who spoke exactly like how they thought. These people were typically the ones that can be trusted, but… “Do you really not know me?” They’re really annoying to deal with, Daemyung pulled Maru back by the shoulder. “She’s an actress, an actress!” “An actress?” “Ahn Joohyun! You really don’t know her?” “Ahn Joohyun?” The purple-haired woman grinned.
* * * There were two reactions when they entered the classroom. Most stared at her with a curious look, while one person shouted in shock. “B-big sis!” Maru guided Joohyun in as he heard Bangjoo’s scream, the woman looked around the room like she was doing a house tour. “Why are you here?” Joohyun completely ignored her brother as she observed each of the club members. “So this is where you act. I’ve never done this in high school, so I got curious. Nice atmosphere. But… You look like you’re going through something.” Joohyun leaned forward towards Jiyoon, Jiyoon looked around in absolute confusion. “U-um…” When they both looked at each other at eye level, Joohyun hugged Jiyoon and stroked the girl’s back gently. “Why do you look so troubled? You’re too young to go through emotions like this.” It was a warm voice that knocked any sense of nervousness out of a person, Maru pulled Daemyung back from approaching them. “What?” “Look at Jiyoon.” Daemyung relaxed after looking at Jiyoon’s face, the girl was breathing calmly. She still looked confused, but she looked much better than before. “It’s good to take deep breaths when things become difficult. Like this.” Joohyun started breathing very slowly, slowly enough to drive out all the negative emotions. Maru could see Jiyoon’s shoulders starting to relax, she looked comfortable for the first time today. Maru watched the two with his arms crossed, this Ahn Joohyun person was clearly not a normal person.