Life, Once Again! - Chapter 324
She said she was here for a part time job. Chaerim replied yes before scanning her from top to bottom. She had seen her exercising in the practice room of the acting club from time to time. Her body was very flexible and elastic, probably stemming from regular exercise. She was comparable to her in that regard even though she herself spent half a day practicing. Up until a little while ago, she thought that she just had a pretty body, but after that incident before, she saw her with a bit of annoyance. She had a small worry that this child might overtake her presence here. Though, the chances of that were slim.
“That uniform is a little too big for you.”
“I looked for one that fit me, but everything was too big. I had to go with the second best option.”
“You would’ve looked prettier if the uniform fit you. What a pity.”
“Not at all. I’m just an extra after all.”
“Extras appear on screen as well. Who knows? You’re quite cute so some people might recognize you after the episode goes live.”
“Geez, seonbae, stop teasing me.”
She laughed with a bright smile. Chaerim faintly smiled as well. It hurt her pride that she saw this girl as someone she should be wary against even for a little while.
“Uhm, they told you to get prepared.”
One of the staff carefully approached her and spoke. Chaerim nodded.
“Do you still have a shoot?”
“I’m waiting for now. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
“I hope we get to appear in the same scene. I’ll see you later if we can. Do your best.”
“Yes, seonbae. Good luck!”
Chaerim left after her junior told her good luck. Today, the shoot was at the school. Although there was a scene outside the school, it shouldn’t take that long since they were just shooting scenery.
“Oppa, my script.”
She headed to the school gates while reading the script given to her by her manager. The actors were getting ready as well since the equipment was almost finished being set up.
Woomin greeted her. Next to him was Yu-ri who could be said to be the main heroine of this drama. She was combing her long straight hair again today. Just as the three of them were talking about trivial things, Gangha, who would become her boyfriend in the drama, waved his hand as he approached.
“Chaerim. I saw your photo book.”
“Yeah, through an article. Wow, you’re doing well these days.”
As the four of them had debut around the same time, they decided to become close. Of course, in terms of popularity, Blue, the group she belonged to, was the most popular. The groups that these three belonged to had never been first place in any rankings.
“But doesn’t she look a little cheap? I mean, it was practically underwear. Though, she was still pretty,” Yu-ri spoke.
She was combing her hair with her finger.
“Well. The people around me were fussy about how s.e.xy I was. Oh, you don’t know since you haven’t tried such a thing, have you? You’ll see once you do a photoshoot. You’re getting quite popular now, aren’t you? Were you in 8th place?” Chaerim replied with a snort.
She wasn’t on good terms with Yu-ri ever since their debut. They didn’t meet that many times, and there was no reason for them to get on bad terms, but for some strange reason, they started finding flaws in each other and made sarcastic remarks whenever they met. It was normal for them, so neither minded that.
“There you go again. Let’s be friends with each other, yeah? You two are too hostile that I can’t even talk to you.”
Gangha interrupted. Chaerim just turned her head away. It would be annoying to explain anything.
“Main actors! Let’s do a rehearsal.”
Hearing the director’s call, the four of them stood in front of the camera. This was a scene where Chaerim blocked the path of the pair of lovers going home from school and sneakily telling a bad rumor to the boyfriend. This scene was where the love rectangle would properly surface. There were various comments on the internet predicting each person’s crush starting last week. The script had been changed to satisfy the majority of the audience.
Chaerim took a deep breath and stood behind the school gates. Now, she just needed to block Woomin and Yu-ri, who were coming from the school and say her line. As they did the rehearsal, the background actors were placed around as well. They were acting as other students going home from school. Her junior was mixed with them.
She thought of the line in her head and said it to herself in a small voice. A boy entered her eyes. It was Maru, who was receiving a pair of glasses from the staff. He had the role of a boy who gave in to her threats and feigned ignorance even though he knew the innocence of the heroine. Maru was having a conversation with a staff member. They looked quite friendly. From what she heard, he helped out the staff last time when there was a quarrel between staff members, but she didn’t know the specifics. At that time, the lead actors were all waiting inside their cars.
Chaerim glanced at Maru. She was aware that not everyone liked her, and in fact, she knew that more people hated her than liked her. However, there were extremely few people that expressed that to her face. If she thanked, they thanked her back, and if she smiled, they smiled back. Even her anti-fans were like obedient sheep once they stood in front of her.
When she tried to say thanks through Jiseok, she thought that she would naturally get a call. After all, she revealed her presence. Of course, she did not plan to tell him her number either. It was just an excuse after all. She was going to thank him and forget about him. But he ended up hanging up first.
She was angry because she felt like she was ignored. However, after thinking about it carefully, she came to the conclusion that the other party might be too embarrassed to do so. After all that was said and done, he helped her out during the shoot. The sharp pain and words left a deep impression in her even now. Chaerim thought that she had to be more honest when she saw his face. Saying thanks to him was just an excuse. She just wanted to talk to him.
Liking him? She didn’t know yet. However, she definitely didn’t hate him. It was more like curiosity. The curiosity towards a boy that looked at her coldly.
They met eyes. Chaerim smiled faintly. Maru nodded once before continuing to talk with the staff member. She felt flabbergasted. Her prediction that he would approach her and greet her was very much off the mark. Maru just nodded as though that was enough as a greeting.
She almost ended up leaking a laugh. What curiosity? Chaerim looked ahead of her and got ready to act.
After the camera started rolling, the two main characters started walking from the other side. The camera which was on a rail slowly moved along and maintained the distance between it and the main characters. Chaerim waited until the two approached the school gate and stepped out just in time.
“You look good.”
Her acting was smooth perhaps thanks to her annoyance. She said her line in a very sarcastic manner. She moved according to the plan and walked up to the main heroine. Then cut.
“Good. Chaerim, you’re in a good condition today.”
She got praised starting from the first scene. Chaerim smiled and thanked the director. The nervousness she felt last time wasn’t there. She only had endless confidence. The camera director stood behind the main heroine with the camera on his shoulders. Chaerim looked right slightly so that the camera could capture the left side of her face more. Her left side was prettier after all.
The shoot began again. She said her line without making a mistake. Since she truly wasn’t on close terms with Yu-ri she could say her words sarcastically with intention. Seeing Yu-ri’s mouth, which wasn’t captured on camera, twitching, she inwardly smirked at her on the inside. You’re still far from reaching me. Whether it’s popularity or acting skills.
“Chaerim, you’re good.”
“It’s all thanks to you, director.”
As they said good words, the atmosphere on set seemed brighter as well. Chaerim now had the luxury to look after others and she looked after the staff. When nervousness got the better of her and she had a narrow vision, she got annoyed at them whenever something happened, but that didn’t happen right now. She had the luxury to improve her image. Her manager handed out the snacks and drinks that they prepared beforehand. Even the staff that didn’t look at her in a good light thanked her since they received something. These small actions would change the evaluation of her in the long run.
After a small break, the shoot resumed. This was a scene where Maru, who appeared from outside the school, ignored what was happening even after seeing the main heroine quarreling with someone.
The cue sign fell. Chaerim made an arrogant expression and looked at the main heroine, Yu-ri. The camera, which shot her as well as behind her, should have caught Maru already. The steps got closer. Eventually, Woomin, who was on the other side, stopped Maru.
“Class prez, is this all true?”
Yu-ri claimed innocence while Maru knew the truth. Maru looked at the two interchangeably with shaking eyes before not saying anything. Chaerim, who was watching all of that happen from the side, unintentionally exclaimed in a small voice. Maru’s cheeks were trembling. He was flinching back like someone who was really nervous. Even though Maru had a decent build, he looked very feeble right now.
“I’m asking you a question here.”
Maru looked at her. Chaerim almost uttered something else instead of her line after seeing Maru’s eyes that desired sympathy from her. She calmed down and thought about the script before saying her line.
“If you have anything to say, say it.”
Maru shook his head before powerlessly saying ‘I don’t know anything’. Even though it sounded as though all of his energy was being drained, it was very clear. It was curious. Was it a difference in vocalization?
The director shouted cut in a brighter voice than ever. Maru, who looked like a herbivore about to be eaten, took a deep breath before putting on an expressionless face. He returned to Maru from being the class prez.
“Let’s keep this pace and shoot the parking lot scene. We should end it while we still have a good flow.”
The staff started moving the equipment again. The actors moved to the parking lot as well. The shoot resumed in the recycling area in the corner of the parking lot. Chaerim gave the script she was holding to her manager. This was a scene where she threatened the class president to scheme against the main heroine. She greeted the other supporting actresses that she hung out with in the drama before getting into position.
Maru was being instructed something by the action director. In this scene, the class president would fall over into the pile of trash with a kick.
“Let’s try that.”
Maru, the action director, and the supporting actress that had to do the kicking stood in front of the pile of trash. First, the action director and Maru showed a demonstration. The action director put his foot against Maru’s stomach and pushed him forward, and due to the force, Maru was pushed back and fell into the pile of trash. He fell over with a big frown as though he was kicked really hard, but his expression was as calm as ever when he stood up.
The supporting actress nodded before kicking Maru just as the action director told her to. Although it looked like she put in a lot of effort, it looked too awkward. In the first place, how many girls would have experience doing such a kick? It was natural for her to look awkward.
“You can push a little harder. The receiving fellow will take care of everything.”
The action director seemed to trust Maru quite a lot. The supporting actress kicked once more. This time, it looked like she put in more strength. She swayed after finishing her kick.
Maru was lifted into the air for a moment before getting himself dumped into the pile of trash. Along with a popping sound, some of the trash bags made of paper burst.
“Isn’t he injured?” Chaerim spoke in surprise.
That kick just now went too far. The supporting actress also became pale and rushed up towards Maru.
“That just now was good. Do the exact same thing during the real deal.”
Despite that, Maru was just standing up while dusting off the paper on his clothes. After dusting off his stomach, he put on his school uniform again. Perhaps he had learned to do stunts?
“Are you okay?” Chaerim asked first.
She was there, so it would be somewhat wrong to just ignore him.
Maru replied as shortly as ever. Chaerim felt obstinacy welling up inside her. Although she had decided to ignore him, Maru seemed a little too disinterested in her.
“Thanks for last time.”
“I heard from Jiseok.”
“But why did you not call me?”
“I got my message across, so there’s no need to call. Also, you must be busy, so you don’t need to mind me.”
“Aha, really? Then okay.”
Chaerim snorted and turned around. Now that she looked at him, he looked like someone who didn’t know courtesy at all. She just decided again that she shouldn’t care about him when someone else approached him.
“Maru, something’s on your head.”
Chaerim turned around. What entered her eyes was the figure of her junior that was dusting off Maru’s head. Then, Maru, who was looking at her junior with a completely different expression than when he looked at her, entered her eyes. At that moment, she remembered when the people at the acting club said that her boyfriend had appeared in the drama they were watching. The name she heard back then was also Maru. She thought that she had heard the name somewhere, but it turns out it was from back then.
After watching the conversation between the two for a while, Chaerim hurriedly turned away. She did that because her junior tried to look at her.
“It looks like the shoot is going to begin. See you later.”
Her junior went back to where the background actors were. Chaerim sighed in relief only then. At that moment, annoyance welled up inside her. Why did she turn away like she did something wrong? She was the senior here, she was the main character here.
She was about to kick a pebble by her foot to shake off her weird feelings. Just as she was about to kick the pebble with her right foot, she saw a staff member walking past with heavy equipment in hand. She was startled and changed the direction in a hurry. Thankfully, she didn’t kick the pebble, but her body was tilted. She swayed like a drunkard for a moment before getting balanced again. She felt the supporting actresses around her look at her like a strange girl. She felt embarrassed. She raised her head and looked around her. The supporting actresses that met her eyes coughed awkwardly before looking away. It was clear that they saw her. Some of the staff giggled as well before changing expressions in a hurry. They had seen her as well. More annoyance welled up inside her and she felt like she wanted to shout.
Just then, she met eyes with Maru, who stood behind her. Just as she was about to feel more embarrassed, Maru faintly smiled. He didn’t hide his expression like the others. He just blatantly laughed at her.
“If you want to kick, then kick it that way. You’ll get others injured.”
Maru kindly pointed out the pebble she was about to kick as he said so.
Chaerim felt embarrassment die down in an instant in her mind. She laughed in vain once before calming down completely.
“It was within my vision.”
“If you tell me not to laugh, I’ll stop,” saying that, Maru stiffened his mouth.
Seeing that, Chaerim chuckled instead.
“You are the person that’s about to hit me, so it would be strange if we were awkward with each other.”
“Please end the shoot as early as possible. Work hours are best kept short.”
As soon as Maru’s words ended, the director approached them. The rehearsal began. As there was no big difference in movement lines, they started shooting immediately. Chaerim was flabbergasted when she saw Maru who looked very submissive. It was as though he was a man with different masks. Everything about him was different from moment to moment. After the much-practiced kicking, Maru fell over in a grand manner before the cut sign fell. They got an okay sign in one go this time as well.
Chaerim approached Maru, who had fallen over. Maru was about to stand up, but he fell back over again. Seeing Maru in the pile of trash, Chaerim smiled brightly.
“Aren’t you getting up?”
“Do you need help?”
“No, I’m fine.”
Chaerim extended her hand. Maru glanced at her before putting his hand on his knees to push himself up. Even though she looked rather awkward, she didn’t feel that bad.
“Han Maru, was it?”
At that moment, Chaerim felt her junior looking at her from behind. When she sensed that gaze, she, for some reason, took a step closer to Maru. Then, she dusted off the pieces of paper on Maru’s head.
Maru blinked once before dusting off his own head.
“You were good at falling over.”
“That’s because someone kicked me well.”
Saying that, he just walked past her. Chaerim looked down at her palm. There was a strange sensation from the part where Maru pinched last time. Chaerim did not turn around to look at her junior. That was because she felt that she shouldn’t for some reason.
 Love quadrangle? Love square? Love quadrilateral? I don’t even know…