Life, Once Again! - Chapter 446
The sensation that brushed his lips still remained. When he looked at her face that approached his like it was in slow motion, he ended up closing his eyes. He ‘received’ the kiss nervously as though he was a little kid being teased by a girl older than him. When their lips parted, Maru almost let out a breath of nervousness. He barely held himself back from doing so.
Until the very moment he arrived back home and laid on his bed, Maru was dazed. And then, when he covered himself with a blanket and looked at the moon-shaped glow-in-the-dark stickers on the ceiling, he burst out laughing from the bottom of his heart.
“Looks like she got me this time.”
She one-upped him so pleasantly that he would welcome it at any time. Strictly speaking, this was the first kiss. The first kiss that she did forhim.
He chuckled and grabbed his phone. He was about to call her but saw that it was late and texted her instead. Since she was someone who would sleep like a log, she would probably check the text tomorrow morning.
-Wasn’t that too hot?
After sending the text, Maru closed his eyes. He felt as though he was going to smile throughout his sleep.
* * *
“I’m going to have a look at your individual acting in an audition-like format next week, so be prepared for that. Prepare your clothing as well. Consider it as a real audition. Okay?”
Miso stood up with her coffee mug.
It was 8 in the evening. Wednesday’s schedule was now over. Maru stretched his neck left and right. He was on edge after acting as an angry person the whole day. The emotion known as anger required not just the voice, but all the bodily muscles, so it was really hard to do. Even now that he had relaxed his body, his emotions were still on edge, and didn’t easily calm down.
“Gosh, that’s killing me.”
Gwangseok got his bag and stood up.
“Hyung, I’m leaving first. I’m going to play with the girl at the mixer today. Look forward to my review. The two of you, see you next time.”
“Does he really have to be like that?”
As soon as Gwangseok left, Gyunglim clicked her tongue. Sungjae just smiled without saying much.
“Girls who like those kinds of guys need some mental consultation.”
“Why don’t you shoot a fighting scene with Gwangseok-hyung? Kick his a.s.s in the name of practice.”
Gyunglim seriously thought about it. Maru shrugged before turning around to Sungjae.
“Hyung, you know today’s the day, right?”
“We just need to buy some pork belly and some soju.”
Gyunglim, who was listening, interrupted.
“Where are you two going?”
“I have an appointment with Sungjae-hyung.”
Gyunglim hesitated for a while before speaking,
“I can’t join you?”
Maru scratched his eyebrows. Normally, he would take her, but he wasn’t making the decisions for this one.
“Sorry, Gyunglim. We’re meeting some a.d.u.l.ts, so Maru will be in a tough spot if he brings someone that wasn’t planned to attend.”
Just as Maru was about to explain, Sungjae spoke first.
Gyunglim immediately shut her mouth in an awkward fashion after saying those words. It seemed that her habit of blurting out what was on her mind was not going to be fixed anytime soon.
“Then let’s eat together next time. We’re going to have a drink today. Noona, how about it?”
“Don’t mind me. I’m completely fine. ……But when specifically?”
Maru and Sungjae laughed at the same time. Sungjae asked if this Saturday was good. Gyunglim said that it was okay with a bright face.
“Maru, how about you?”
“How busy can a high school student be? It’ll be two when my club activities finish, so why don’t we meet up at five? But you can’t just go to any restaurant, can you, Sungjae-hyung?”
“We’ll just drink over at my house then. As fellow actors in the making.”
“Don’t call Gwangseok over.”
Gyunglim firmly spoke.
Gyunglim replied yes before standing up first.
“See you then!”
Gyunglim waved her hand in excitement as she left the classroom.
“Geez, that noona.”
“That was unexpected. I thought Gyunglim didn’t like hanging out with people.”
“She probably does. She must just… have her own circ.u.mstances.”
“Let’s go as well. We’ll be just in time once we visit the nearby supermarket. Wow, I’m really nervous though.”
“We’re just going over to have a drink. You don’t have to be so nervous.”
Sungjae seemed like he really looked forward to meeting the elder. Maru faintly smiled as he watched Sungjae’s slightly childish side.
After leaving the classroom, the two headed to the parking lot underneath the building. They left the parking lot in Sungjae’s car and went to a nearby supermarket. Sungjae had to wear a hat and press down the shade deeply to hide his face. After watching him put some items in the cart, Maru spoke,
“You don’t need to buy so much.”
“I’m going to meet Sir Yoon, so it would be rude to go with nothing in my hands.”
Saying those words, Sungjae put a box of red ginseng gifts in the cart. Red ginseng, dried persimmons, traditional sweets, and even high-class soju. Maru had to drag Sungjae to the meat corner from the well-being corner. If he left Sungjae alone, he might have piled a tower of well-being foods.
“Is pork belly really okay? Isn’t beef better?”
“Pork belly is fine.”
“Is this really fine?”
Sungjae looked very worried in front of the counter.
‘Dude, this is nearly 500k worth of items.’ Maru clicked his tongue as he looked at the number keep ticking up. The red ginseng set was 270 thousand won. The Andong soju-in-a-gourd set was 80 thousand. The Sangju dried persimmons and the Naju pears also took a significant portion of the final tally.
“You bought too much.”
“I should at least do this much.”
“Are you marrying in or something? Geez.”
They went back to the car with their hands full of items. Maru had a hard time preventing Sungjae from picking up some oriental medicine items on the way out.
They barely got the car going and drove towards Yeonhui-dong.
“I wonder if Sir Yoon still remembers me.”
“He does. He permitted you to come because he remembers you. So please calm down already. Sometimes I wonder how you are still a singer.”
“It’s not anyone ordinary but Sir Yoon. It’s someone I really wanted to meet after all.”
He looked like a child on the night before a field trip. Maru shook his head and opened the window slightly. The car was being driven at a slightly fast speed that reflected Sungjae’s excitement. Thanks to that, they arrived earlier than they expected.
Sungjae parked the car in front of the house and they took out the items from the back seats. They had bought so much that just carrying them could be considered labor.
“The lights are off. Perhaps he’s sleeping?”
Like Sungjae said, the house behind the fence didn’t have any lights on. No human presence could be felt. Just then, Maru heard a dog barking from the hill. When he turned around, he saw a yellow dog wagging his tail as he ran towards him. Oh, was it a Shiba-inu?
Anyway, Maru knew the name of the dog.
Dalgu seemed to have remembered his scent and came right up to Maru and wagged his tail. Maru reached out and tickled Dalgu under his chin. Dalgu raised his head while barking.
“The fact that you’re here means that….”
Maru turned around to look at the hill again. He saw a person walking towards him calmly under the faint moonlight. Dalgu barked before running back to that person.
Maru greeted after putting the items on the ground. Sungjae did the same. The elder, who walked to his house along with Dalgu, greeted them back in kind.
“Oh my, why did you bring so many things?”
“Sungjae-hyung over here went a little overboard because this is his first time visiting you.”
Maru took a step back. Sungjae looked at the elder with a nervous expression.
Sungjae greeted with a shaking voice. The elder pushed up his rectangular gold-rimmed glasses and smiled gently.
“So we meet again. Nice to see you, Mr. Ahn.”
The elder reached out his hand. Sungjae smiled brightly and grabbed the hand with both hands.
“Well then, we shouldn’t stay here instead of going inside. Maru, you should come in as well.”
They grabbed the items and went into the house. The elder’s house hadn’t changed at all since the last time Maru came here. The worn-out sofa, the old table, as well as the cutting-edge laptop that looked out of place among all the other old items. The smell of doenjang circulated inside the whole house.
On one corner of the sofa was a pile of books, and next to those were some scripts. Sungjae looked around the room once as though looking at treasure, and then at the scripts.
“You might burn a hole with your eyes.”
“Ah, yes. Sorry about that.”
The elder laughed before walking towards the kitchen. Maru followed behind.
“The portable stove should be around here.”
“I put it over there the last time I came here.”
Maru opened one of the cabinets and took out the portable stove.
“For some reason, you know your way around here better than me, even though I’m the one who lives here.”
“True. Just sit down. I’ll get things ready.”
“Alright. Let me receive the king treatment after all this time. Oh, when is Ganghwan coming?”
“He should be here soon. He’s never late to an appointment for a meal.”
“Indeed. That boy might as well jump into a pit of fire if there’s food in there.”
The elder laughed and headed to the living room where Sungjae was. Maru stuck his head out and looked at Sungjae. Sungjae was stiff like a statue as he faced the elder.
‘Does he find it that good?’
For today, it seemed that he was no longer the idol, but the fan meeting the idol. Conversation could be heard from the living room. The elder seemed to have spoken first. Hearing Sungjae reply in an excited tone, Maru smiled as he got things ready. He laid out some newspaper on the ground of the living room before coming back to the kitchen to chop up some spring onions. He made some sesame oil-and-salt sauce, and some ssamjang before washing some vegetables. He also prepared a handful of crispy peppers that the elder liked.
Just then, Ganghwan’s voice could be heard along with the sound of the door opening.
“Oh! A popular idol!”
Those were his first words. It was just like Ganghwan. As they had met before, Sungjae didn’t get fl.u.s.tered and replied with a greeting. Maru heard this as they came here, but apparently, Sungjae liked Ganghwan to the point that he watched many of Ganghwan’s plays. Though, last time at Film was the first time they met.
Ganghwan peeked inside the kitchen.
“Here you are.”
“Yeah. Need help?”
“Please carry these out for me.”
Sungjae said that he would help out as well, but the elder stopped him. You’re here as a guest, so stay still – those were the elder’s words.
“Ooh, Andong soju, huh. Sir, can you give me one of these?”
“I got them as a gift. How come you’ve never bought me any gifts even though you’ve visited me several times?”
“Sir, I’ve learned that I should stay further away from materialistic gifts the closer I am to someone. I always do what I learned.”
“You and your tongue again. Fine.”
The living room was filled with laughter. Maru brought the side dishes and meat to the living room.
 Beef is more expensive in Korea than Pork, and hence considered as more ‘luxury’ food.
 Meat is measured in ‘geun’ in Korea, with one ‘geun’ being 600g. Curiously, the character is the same as the Chinese character for ‘jin’, but one ‘jin’ is 500g while one ‘geun’ is 600g. So here, 10 geun is 6 kilos, while 3 geun is 1.8 kilos.
 The italicized words are all location names in Korea, and are known for producing high-quality items that follow the italicized words.
 In Korea, when an elder offers you a handshake, it’s considered etiquette for the younger person to grab with both hands, especially when the two are far apart in age.