Life, Once Again! - Chapter 355
Until a while ago, the first thing she thought when she woke up in the morning was this: how should I endure through the day? She didn’t know this before she achieved her dream, but when her dream became true and her dream became everyday life, dreams were no longer emotionally touching but had become somewhat of a task she had to do every day. Her smile was a decoration, and her tears were just a skill. There was only one motivation that made her move, and that was the envy of the people that looked at her. Attention – she kept telling herself that she wouldn’t be able to endure if she didn’t have any to feed on.
But it was a little different now.
“Unni, can you really walk around like this?”
“I told you already. I won’t get caught like this. Just look. If I don’t have eyeliner on and no blush makeup on my cheeks, I look really different.”
“You still look similar though.”
“It’s only you who think that way.”
Chaerim took her cute junior to a clothes store. It wasn’t a brand-name store, but a small store on the street. The name of the store was Cinderella. When they went in, they were greeted by a lady playing with a kitten.
“Can we take a look around?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
Chaerim grabbed her hesitant junior’s hand and had her stand in front of the clothes hanger.
“The clothes here are pretty.”
Her junior also hesitated for a moment before starting to look through the clothes. Despite it being a small store, the clothes had decent style. That could be seen just from the clothes displayed. It was different from other clothes stores where they just put everything on display without considering the style.
“Can I try this blouse on?”
The lady nodded. Chaerim walked to the changing room at the corner of the store and tried on the blouse. The shoulder lines looked very good on her. She felt as though she found a treasure. When she walked out, she saw her junior fiddling with a shirt. It was a shirt with a checkered pattern, and the loose fit-style shirt looked like it would look good on her junior.
“Try it on.”
“Just try it on.”
She pushed her junior’s back into the changing room. A while later, she came back out with a faint smile, wearing the shirt. It also matched well with the jeans she was wearing.
“Excuse me, we’ll buy these two.”
She firmly refused her junior who said she wouldbuy hers and gave the lady her credit card. While the lady took her card and did the transaction, she stroked the quiet kitten’s chin. The way it purred was quite cute. Her junior also reached out and stroked its head.
“Come back next time.”
She came back out with a paper bag in one hand. This was a really satisfying shopping trip which she hadn’t had in a long time. She couldn’t even remember the last time she carefreely walked around the streets like this, visiting clothes shops and eating street food.
She grabbed her junior’s hand and walked towards a pojang-macha. She pointed at the menu and ordered assorted fries, tteokbokki, and soondae. Today was eat-everything-she-wanted day.
She dipped one of the fries into the tteokbokki sauce and ate it. The crunchy texture made her smile subconsciously.
“You should eat.”
Her junior was just looking at the food and not eating it.
“Did something happen?”
Hearing those words, Chaerim put down the soondae she picked up. A helpless chuckle escaped her mouth.
“Was it obvious?”
“Just a little.”
“I thought I was fine, but it looks like I’m not. Hm, let’s eat for now. It will taste like crap once it becomes lukewarm.”
Chaerim pushed the plate with the fries in it to her junior’s side. Her junior started moving her chopsticks. They didn’t talk for a while.
She thought she was okay, but it seemed that her face gave it away. They were just about to stand up after finishing things up when her junior quickly gave the owner the money.
“I could have paid for it.”
“I don’t like being treated all the time.”
As she understood how her junior felt, Chaerim put back the 10,000 won bill inside her wallet. They left the pojang-macha and walked on the commercial street. As it was the school holidays, there were a lot of people around their age walking around.
“They’re probably going to see the movie that was just released today,” her junior spoke.
When she asked what the movie was, she replied that it was a romantic movie with a super popular actor. It was an actor Chaerim knew. That actor was known for being incredibly handsome. The two talked about that actor for a while. However, that conversation didn’t last long. It was not a boring topic and they liked talking about such things, but Chaerim cut it off mid-way.
“Can I talk to you about some troubles of mine?”
She didn’t want to say those words. She just wanted to meet her junior and play around to her heart’s content. It wasn’t a problem she could solve by telling her junior, so she thought that she should just enjoy this time to the fullest so that she could forget about the problem, but it was hard to hide it after seeing her junior’s worried eyes.
“I’m good at listening.”
Her junior smiled back with a flawless smile. She felt thankful just for those words alone. It had become customary for her to hide everything inside her because she had no one to talk to, but now she finally had someone she could talk to. After looking around, her junior hooked arms with her after pointing at a café on the 2nd floor of a building.
“Let’s go there.”
The café had some jazz music playing. Unlike the tattered sign, the interior was very clean, and thanks to that, the customers were mostly young.
“Strawberry smoothie for me.”
They put in an order before grabbing a table. They were by the window. When she looked down at the streets, she saw a clown on stilts handing out balloons. There were a lot of children around.
“What is it?”
She became dazed as she looked outside, but her junior’s words made her turn her head.
How was she supposed to put this? She felt that talking about it from the beginning was like being whiny, but it wouldn’t relieve her to talk about just the main points. Her junior thankfully waited for her to speak without urging her on. She was a really good girl. For some reason, she felt that this girl was too good for Maru.
The things they ordered came out. Her junior stood up and brought the coffee and the smoothie.
When she grabbed the cup filled with warmth, she felt like her thoughts were getting cleared up.
“Don’t tell this to anyone.”
“Of course. My lips are sealed.”
Her junior zipped her lips.
“I think we’re going to disband.”
“Blue. I think it’s over for us.”
“There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that we aren’t as close as we were before. Of course, that’s not the only reason. There are more complex things than that. Everyone wants to go separate ways, and there’s an unni that already started doing that. There’s also the contract.”
“Is it… serious?”
“I’m not sure. Until just a while ago, I felt really uneasy. I even started taking stomach medicine again. Is Blue going to disappear forever? Can I continue living in the entertainment industry? What will happen to me? I felt like my head would burst from all the worries. But I’m not as uneasy as I was before. Though, I’m still worried.”
“Is everyone going separate ways then?”
“I think so. The president said that he’ll gather our opinions, but I think there’s practically zero probability that all five of us will want to remain in Blue. I talked to the unnis yesterday after a long time of not talking to them, but they don’t seem to have any attachments to the group. Perhaps I got infected with their attitude.”
Chaerim sighed. Actually, she wasn’t okay at all. She almost told her that she was worried to death. She didn’t want to cause her to worry. Despite that, it was too hard for her to handle this alone so she put it that way. She couldn’t say these words to anyone, not even to her parents. If she told them, they’d probably just tell her to try convincing the unnis.
She looked down at the coffee mug without doing anything. Just then, her junior’s hand’s approached hers. She grabbed her hand.
“Don’t worry, unni. Everything will go well.”
“Let’s stop the depressing talk here. Sorry, I told you something so unnecessary.”
“Not at all. Call me anytime if you feel worried. I have a lot of free time.”
“Can I call you even while you’re on a date with Maru?”
“You really can’t hide your emotions, huh.”
She smiled and was about to sip her coffee when a girl’s voice from the next table over caught her ears. As they suddenly shouted after speaking in a small voice, she could hear them clearly.
“I told you it’s real.”
“Really? Did your friend really see her?”
“Yeah, she did. She acted so meekly on TV, but she’s actually a s.l.u.t?”
“My friend also didn’t think that it was her at first, but she looked too alike.”
“Hey, but still. A motel with a man in his fifties? Didn’t she see wrong?”
“I said it’s real. Just look at that Kwon Dayoon’s face. She looks totally devious. The man must be a rich company president or something.”
“No, I’m sure it’s her sponsor. Didn’t you see the news? It said that there are actresses and idols that receive money in compensation for their body.”
“Do you think that’s what’s happening?”
“I’m sure of it. I mean, there are rumors about Blue’s crisis these days. I knew this would happen someday. I was suspicious when there was news about them dating my oppas.”
Who? For a moment, she thought that she heard wrong. However, there was only one Kwon Dayoon that belonged to Blue in this world. She couldn’t believe it. Her relationship with Dayoon-unni had deteriorated as well and she didn’t talk to her in depth anymore, but she wasn’t the type of person to do that sort of thing. They had to be mistaken.
Although they were proceeding towards their disbandment, and they fought whenever they saw each other, they had still been together for several years. She couldn’t forgive them for slandering that very effort.
She almost stood up. She wanted to go to those girls and shout at them that they shouldn’t judge a person based on rumors. Just what did they know about her?
At that moment, she saw her junior standing up. She looked very upset. Her junior told her to stay still and walked to the students sitting at the table next to them. Her smiling eyes looked very upset right now. Her expression was very cold as well. It was surprising that a girl like her could make such an expression.
The chatting girls stopped talking and looked at her junior. They didn’t say anything because of the pressure.
Her junior had gotten angry in her stead. When she looked at that, she felt thankful, while on the other hand, she felt funny. She wanted to scream at them just now out of anger, but now, after calming down, she only thought that she should stop her junior.
Her junior went out strong. Chaerim quickly stood up and grabbed her junior’s arm. She shook her head when her junior looked at her straight in the eyes.
“…Please be quiet.”
Her junior changed her next words. The girls that were around their age just nodded. Everyone in the café was looking at them.
She took her junior and left the café. As soon as they left, her junior sighed before shaking. It seemed that she was scared.
“Are you okay?”
She faintly smiled.
“Are you good at fighting?”
“Then why did you do that?”
“Because they clearly went too far. No matter how much of a pushover they think celebrities are, talking like that is just…,” her junior looked at the 2nd floor as she spoke.
“It’s not like this happened just one or two days.”
“You heard things like that as well?”
“It’s everywhere on the internet. Who slept with who, who was a delinquent in school, who’s scheming against who, and things like that.”
“I guess not anyone can become celebrities.”
“You get used to it after a while. Though… getting used to it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. But what can I do about it? I chose this path.”
Chaerim dragged her depressed-looking junior out to the street. She hadn’t enjoyed shopping like this in a long time, so she didn’t want to waste time talking about things like this. Although bad thoughts about Dayoon kept creeping up in her mind, she suppressed them as much as possible. Actually, they sometimes talked about such things when she fought with the unnis. Whether they got into the group because they poured booze for someone else. They usually quickly apologized thinking that they went too far, but Dayoon didn’t say anything every time they talked about that topic. Dayoon-unni’s style was to go through each and every point and retort, but only at that time, she maintained her silence.
“It shouldn’t be.”
“Nothing, just talking to myself.”
They gained their positions and success through effort and practice. There was no room for deceit there. The rumors about Dayoon were just that – rumors. No, it was just nonsense. They had to be wrong. It had to be that way.
* * *
Although he had been running the action school for a long time, this was the first time he saw someone so good.
“Try twisting your waist a little more from there. Try to make the bottom of your shirt flutter.”
After nodding, Maru got into position. The ones that acted in tandem also took their positions as well. They were going around acting out the protagonist's role each and only Maru looked any decent. Since the movie had a high ratio of action scenes, they had to be able to use their bodies. In that sense, he could give Maru a pass.
They seemed to have finished their preparations as they exchanged glances. Everyone looked serious. The more serious the students were, the more motivated Choongho became to teach them.
Just like how he told him, Maru first ducked to avoid the first attacker’s right punch and did a forward roll. The others quickly charged towards him. One of them was too quick and the lineup became messy, but in that short moment, Maru adjusted his timing so that they didn’t screw up the action. The arms and legs all brushed past him. If the camera shot him from behind, he would look like he got a solid hit.
The short exchange ended. As they were still in the beginning stages, Choongho had no plans on teaching them to act together and just showed them an example since they looked a little bored. However, they were digesting it well. He thought about raising the intensity of the classes.
“That’s it for today. Do you think you can grasp what acting with others is like?”
“Once you’re more comfortable with using your bodies, we’ll change courses and practice acting together. However, before that, you need to build your foundation. Even at the smallest heights, you’ll get injured if you fall the wrong way. Since we’re at it let’s go back to practicing falling techniques again,” Choongho pointed at the mat as he spoke.
Just then, someone entered the building. It was the man who always had a mysterious smile on his face, Joongjin.
 As in another boy idol, not her actual brother. And yes, somehow it’s multiple…