Life, Once Again! - Chapter 332
Warning: Disturbing Chapter Continues.
The man turned on the radio. Coincidentally, the music that flowed out belonged to Blue. It was the title song of their first album. She had practiced it a lot to the point that she would subconsciously dance according to the rhythm just by listening to the melody. After the first verse, Chaerim’s solo started.
‘It was good back then too.’
Dayoon looked outside the window.
Now that their team activities decreased, Chaerim gathering attention from the media made the atmosphere within the team even worse. From some time onwards, the four of them started excluding Chaerim and hung out by themselves. As Chaerim was the youngest member, it was easy to ignore her. That didn’t mean that the relationship between the four of them was good. They just used each other for their own convenience to leave when they didn’t want to be with Chaerim.
Dayoon became uneasy. There were too many examples of what happened to idol bands with only one member gaining all the attention. She had to look for a way. She showed up on some entertainment programs a few times, but the results weren’t that good. Another team member, named Minji, did well on those shows and kept getting calls, while she didn’t get any calls at all. The gap between the members of the team kept widening. The two girls other than Minji and Chaerim also started activities in the form of releasing a solo album and doing a musical.
She was the only one left behind. She would become the ugly duckling at this rate. She didn’t want to go back to the days where she had to worry about getting new part time jobs. At that moment, she was reminded of that man again. It had been five months since she cut off contact with him. She tried sending him a message. Curiously, the moment she sent the text message, she remembered her past self that fell in love with the man. She thought to herself that those were the good days and waited for a reply. There was a reply. The man wanted to meet her.
Dayoon was happy that she got the reaction she wanted. He was the man that got her into Yellow Star. She was sure that he would prepare something for her this time as well. She met the man at the appointed place and carefully hugged him. Just like the old days.
However, she wasn’t the only one that had changed. The man had changed as well. There was no conversation to get into the mood, no shopping, no nothing. They went to a nearby hotel immediately and had s.e.x. It was rough s.e.x. He swore all the time. The man kept saying ‘someone like you dares to ignore me?’ and handled her body roughly. Dayoon was afraid and was crying, but she hugged the man even tighter. While doing that, she kept making excuses. She said that she was busy, that she only found the time to call him back now, that the fact that she reached out to him first was proof of that, that she really loved him.
However, the man didn’t let her off easily like before. He gave her money like before, but his eyes looked at her like he was looking at some hostess at a bar. Dayoon did not use that money and saved it up. She had already experienced firsthand the unpredictability of life. She had to save up that money for later.
Their relationship resumed for another half a year. During that time, Dayoon never appeared on TV. She showed up a couple of times as a group, but the number of individual activities was zero. She fell into guilt. The president of her agency consoled her, but she couldn’t rest at ease. The president was a scary man. He was a good man, but being good and being scary were two separate matters.
Dayoon had seen the president try to connect Ahn Joohyun to the president of a famous company. Although Joohyun was precious and the president gave way, what would have happened if it was her in that spot instead? He might have accepted and she would have had to drink with that president.
Since the president was the one that created such places in the first place, it was unknown when he would ‘sell her’ away. Dayoon felt that her desire and love towards the man increased the lower her self-confidence became. She was disgusted at herself, but the fear of failure was even bigger. Dayoon thought that the chances of failure were small as long as she kept hugging the man.
And today, she met the man again.
The buildings that whizzed past her vision gradually slowed down. The traffic light had turned red. She saw a hotel beyond the traffic light.
The hotel again, huh. I wonder how much he’s going to give me today. I wish he would give me around 3 million just like before.
Just as she was thinking that,
“Shoot a movie.”
A movie? At that moment, she thought of 3rd-rate e.r.o.t.i.c videos. So she was selling her body for real now. It would become quite an issue. Popular Idol Strips Her Clothes – something like that would make the headlines. However, what came out of the man’s mouth was something she was not expecting.
“An acquaintance of mine is shooting a movie, and I asked him if I can get you in.”
The man touched the tip of his nose as he turned left with the car. They weren’t headed to the hotel. The car slowly headed to a famous restaurant. She had been here with the man before. The third floor only took reservations, and could only be accessed by the elevator. Privacy was taken seriously here.
Dayoon felt complex. After getting out of the car, she stood behind the man like a secretary. She did not do something like speaking first. She knew her position now. She tried analyzing what the man meant with the time she gained through her silence. Did he seriously get her into a movie? Or was he deceiving her with sweet words?
They were politely guided to a private room near the window. There was a deep brown wooden table in the middle and on the left was a painting of a famous artist. She had heard last time that each of those pieces cost dozens of millions of won. It was a world she couldn’t understand.
She sat down on a chair that the waiter pulled out and handed her hat to him. She thought that she would go to the hotel like usual and have violent s.e.x before parting again, but she was at a restaurant like the first time they met.
She was greeted with a glass of water that cost 10 thousand won per cup. 10 thousand won per cup just for water. This was that kind of place. The man sipped a bit of water before speaking.
“Have you tried acting?”
“No, not yet.”
“Why? I think the others had at least tried.”
“I went to entertainment shows before, and that didn’t turn out well. After that, I never got a call from anywhere….”
“So your popularity fell and none of the places called for you, huh.”
Dayoon barely stopped her mouth from twitching and replied ‘yes’ in a small voice. She felt thirsty. She hurriedly emptied the cup of water. Ten thousand won was shoved down her throat. Even though it was water, the texture was rough.
“Then you should try at this opportunity. I heard you’ll be a leading support role.”
“Is that… for real?”
Dayoon wanted to ask. She didn’t want to know what kind of role she had but wanted to know the genre of the movie. If it was really an a.d.u.l.t movie, it would really disgust her. Stripping in front of this man and stripping in front of the camera was on a completely different level. Her fear of poverty was big, but nor did she want to be the controversy that everyone talked about. Just thinking about being an a.d.u.l.t movie actress churned her insides.
“It’s not a strange movie.”
The man seemed to have read her expression as he spoke as though to relieve her. Dayoon’s heart sank when she realized that he found out what she was thinking. At the same time, she sighed in relief at the fact that it wasn’t some weird movie.
“Film noir, I think it was.”
The man explained. The movie was crime-themed. The movie was about two close friends that got involved with the mafia when young, but went separate ways as a.d.u.l.ts after quarreling. The man said that she had the role of a secret mistress of one of the main characters.
“He’s a fella with decent popularity. His first piece worked out so well, so most people thought that he would walk the path of success, but his following movie wasn’t that good. He was invited to some film festival overseas, but it was worthless since it wouldn’t give him any money.”
The man put a cigarette in his mouth. This was a restaurant that allowed smoking. There was an ashtray that seemed to be made of gold as well. The man puffed once before putting down the cigarette against the ashtray. He always had a habit of doing that. It was like he was burning incense.
“Try it. Acting is something anyone can do with enough willpower. It’s just wordplay anyway. It’s child’s play compared to business.”
“Was I really cast in a movie?”
“You don’t believe me?”
The man’s eyes twitched. Dayoon shut up immediately and put on her obedient eyes. She couldn’t go against him. He was still angry at her right now.
Considering how he was giving her this opportunity despite that, perhaps his anger had died down somewhat. The fact that he had brought her here meant that he had a change of heart. Dayoon brought out her courage and looked back at the man. He looked like he was dissatisfied with something. It was then that she thought of the events that happened in the car. The man looked annoyed when he covered the family photo that she was looking at. The man didn’t do that before. Even after having s.e.x with her, he called his wife in a loving voice. This man was someone that completely differentiated his home and s.e.x partners. But today, it felt a little different.
She took another sip of water before thinking about it. There was a need to improve their relationship. Now that Blue had started walking down the path to disbandment, she crucially needed this man’s help. As long as she could improve their relationship to that of before…
‘It’s disgusting and dirty. But it’s not like I have a choice.’
She was innocent. It was the dark truth of reality that was pushing her back. The word self-justification appeared in her mind but she tried her best to ignore that word. Right now, she had to focus on capturing this man’s heart again.
“Uhm…,” she spoke carefully.
She was planning to stop if the man looked back at her with a vicious glare.
“Is something wrong?”
The man made a surprised face before smiling in vain. A lot of different emotions flashed past his face. Fortunately, it didn’t feel that negative.
“If I go to Gangnam, I can meet younger and prettier girls than you. I can be safer, and they are more obedient. There are even some girls that would lick my feet if I tell them to.”
The man loosened his tie a little as he continued speaking.
“Do you know why I’m meeting you despite that? Why I take the risk to meet you?”
“…Is it because you like me?”
The man neither confirmed nor denied her opinion. In that silence, Dayoon saw hope. Affection, whether good or bad, was still affection. This man still had regrets about her.
“Is something perhaps not going well with your wife?”
“I don’t like quick-witted women that much.”
“S-sorry. I overstepped my bounds. I will be careful in the future.”
She lowered her head as she spoke. She was excited for a moment, but there was something she had to be clear about. It was that that man was the superior here. There is no longer a hierarchical society? Everyone was equal? That was bullshit. This era had one of the most hierarchical societies in the history of mankind.
“You don’t need to be that scared.”
The man reached out to her with his palm facing up. Dayoon subconsciously reached out and put her hand on top of his. She was like an obedient puppy. Looking at that action, the man put on a genuine smile. He seemed really happy.
“Yes. That’s right. You just need to do what you’re doing right now. We were in a good relationship back then, weren’t we? So let’s be like that in the future as well, yeah?”
“Yes. I will do that.”
At that moment, there was a knock on the door before a voice said if they could come in. When the man permissed, the waiter opened the door carefully and entered the room.
“You have a guest. Shall I lead him here?”
The waiter left. Dayoon looked at the man. A guest?
“The director of the movie. You have to meet him.”
The man nodded. A while later, a man in his forties entered the room. He was wearing a casual-style suit and had a tidy beard. He was rather handsome-looking and different than the chubby and messy hair image that Dayoon had of directors.
“Long time no see, hyung-nim.”
“Like hell it has. Sit down.”
The director in a suit took a seat. After that, he talked to Dayoon.
“Miss Dayoon, right? I enjoyed your songs.”
“Ah, yes. Thank you.”
“Do you know who I am?”
Hearing that question, Dayoon’s hands, which were under the table, clenched hard. She didn’t know who he was. It would be very rude of her to say that she didn’t know.
“I’m Park Joongjin. Perhaps you might be more familiar with ‘Spring Calendar’?”
The director revealed his name first. Dayoon widened her eyes and nodded. Spring Calendar – that was the title of a movie at the peak of popularity 10 years ago, that is, when she was in her third year of middle school. Dayoon remembered playing the videotape over and over again. At that time, girls weren’t capable of holding a conversation without mentioning that movie.
“Let’s shoot a good piece together.”
Joongjin reached out.
To Dayoon, that hand looked like Midas’s Hand. The magical hand that would turn her into gold. Dayoon grabbed that hand with both of her hands.
* * *
“Wow, so big.”
Maru had a look at the large building in front of his eyes. He had read from the internet that this place was a modified factory, but he didn’t realize that it would be this big. When the two entered, he saw various structures. Some of them looked like fences and walls. There were mats and parallel bars as well.
“Oh, you’re here.”
Choongho, who stood in front of what seemed like a recreation of a collapsed building, waved his hand as he approached the two. Maru told Bangjoo that he was the action director.
“Good morning! I am Ahn Bangjoo!”
His unique loud voice rang throughout the whole building. The people who were practicing stunts in front of various obstacles gave them a glance before going back to practice.
“Haha, your voice is promising.”
Choongho smiled and told the two to follow him.