Life, Once Again! - Chapter 56
Yoonjung put down her chopsticks as she watched Maru leave . The meat was sizzling on the grill, but she didn’t dare pick it up .
“Maybe I should’ve invited him to the last party after all,” Yoonjung whispered .
Her voice was small enough to be buried by all the noises around them, but it was still heard by all of the club members on their table .
“He left because he didn’t like it . It would’ve been weird to call him,” Geunseok said .
The boy regained his confidence again after the competition . As a matter of fact, he was able to show off even more skill than in the regionals . They didn’t slip even once, and thanks to it, they were able to get first place .
A few members agreed with Geunseok’s words . The first to speak was Yurim . The brown-haired girl picked up the pork belly Geunseok gave her as she spoke .
“Geunseok’s right . Things would’ve been awkward if Maru was here . I mean, didn’t you see what just happened? He has no shame . He just ate a few pieces of meat and left without even saying sorry . He ruined the entire mood . He’s too much . ”
Yoonjung wanted to retort, but couldn’t .
‘I have no right to say anything to them . ’
That day, Maru picked a fight with the club members . He used all the right words to get them all mad . Like a woodpecker who kept pecking at their wounds . After that event, the club members got to practicing again .
At first, they began practicing to reclaim their lost pride, but at some point, they practiced to prove Maru wrong . Back then, Yoonjung didn’t even know what their problem was .
‘No, I knew all along . I just decided to ignore it . Because if I didn’t… I would get attacked . ’
Maru told them to look . He told them to stop pretending, and look at the club for real . Thanks to him, the club was able to examine the problem properly for a brief second .
‘ . . . He had to make us act, in order to make us look at the problem . ’
The main reason why they started practicing again was because the play they performed that day was horrible . Maru told them to look at it directly . Yoonjung had to wonder, what was Maru thinking when he told them that? It didn’t seem like he said those words just because he was mad . That would be very unlike him .
Maru was a spectator . He was never the type to step in aggressively to taunt the rest of the club .
“Yoonjung,” Joonghyuk called out at her .
He was smiling, but his smile had no trace of happiness in it . It looked like a mask to hide his current feelings with .
“Let’s eat . ”
Only then did Yoonjung snap back to reality . She noticed the club members looking at her now . Even Geunseok and Yurim seemed troubled by her . All of the sudden, Yoonjung felt like she stepped into foreign territory . Was this really the acting club?
“Y-yeah! Let’s eat!”
That was the only thing she was able to say . As she stuffed meat into her mouth, she thought to herself for a second . She finally realized what made her feel so nervous when instructor Miso asked the club to meet up .
* * *
“Come back to your senses . You’re an adult already, don’t you feel embarrassed?”
“Who said I’m over thirty?! I’m still twenty nine! I’m not in my thirties! I’m not!!”
“ . . . . . ”
Maru had to wonder why he was reminded of the time he had to carry his boss back after a company meal . He dragged Miso to a nearby playground, absolutely convinced that people’s weights nearly doubled after getting fully drunk . After arriving at the old playground, Maru laid Miso down on one of the benches .
“Phew . ”
The unexpected workout tired him out completely . He wiped his forehead and looked around . Thankfully, there was a convenience store right next to them . Maru gave Miso a short glance .
“Nothing should happen while I’m gone . . . ”
He ran over to the convenience store to buy Miso a hangover drink, and a soda for himself .
“These things are expensive as always . ”
The tiny bottle cost him 5,000 won . During the time when a full bowl of soup with rice would only set him back by 3,000 won .
“Take this, instructor . ”
Maru handed the bottle to Miso, but the woman didn’t budge . Maru didn’t want to waste time . He pinched Miso’s cheeks to open her mouth, and stuffed the drink into it . Miso coughed once after drinking it, and sat up with a small moan .
“You have no manners . . . ”
“Just drink this already . What do you even think you’re doing in front of a student?”
“Ugh . You remind me too much of my dad . So annoying . ”
“I’ll leave then, if I’m so annoying . You should go back home on a taxi . ”
“Hey, hey! Where do you think you’re going?!”
“It’s 10pm . I need to go home . ”
“ . . . Ugh . ”
Miso stumbled forward and grabbed Maru’s arm .
“Don’t leave yet . ”
“If you want to rant, I can call someone for you . Taesik’s good, right?”
“Youu! If you call him! I’m going to cry! Ugh . . . ”
Watching the usually strict instructor act like this was actually quite cute . Come to think of it, as long as she closed her mouth, she was quite the looker . It was just her blonde hair that made her look intimidating . Without it, she’d have the appearance of a proper lady .
Maru shook his head and walked back to the bench . There were a lot of people outside, since the night was cool . Even this old playground had a few visitors . The last thing he wanted to deal with was a crying woman in front of all these people . Experiencing that once in his life was more than enough already .
“Can we rest for a bit?”
* * *
After saying their goodbyes, Yurim quietly made her way over to Geunseok . The boy grabbed her hand gently .
“Want to walk for a bit?”
“Sure . ”
Yurim liked Geunseok’s hand . Grabbing the boy’s big hand tended to calm her down . After she started grabbing his hand, the time she spent on her phone drastically decreased . It felt like his hand was making sure she wouldn’t get nervous without her phone again .
‘Warm . ’
It was a hot summer, but she didn’t feel hot at all . As a matter of fact, she wanted to get closer to Geunseok . The boy changed his grip to clasp her hand gently . That calmed Yurim down even more .
Geunseok was like a tree . A tree to lean on .
“It was a bit awkward a moment ago,” Geunseok said .
Yurim had to agree .
“For real . I didn’t think he’d really come out . ”
“Is it really that difficult to say sorry? He almost managed to split the club apart back then . ”
“Yeah, yeah . He was saying all sorts of strange stuff . Especially about practice . We were going to practice anyway in a few weeks, but he acted like he knew everything . ”
“He probably wanted to try sitting in a pedestal or something . ”
“Yeah . I thought well of him until then . Turns out he was a total fake . ”
Yurim looked up at Geunseok after speaking . The boy was looking down at her with a proud smile . What a beautiful smile . Yurim couldn’t be more proud of the fact that Geunseok was her boyfriend .
“Let’s not hate on him too much though . He’s a friend . ”
Geunseok gently rubbed her cheek . What a thoughtful boyfriend . To think he’d still care so much for Maru after that…
“Okay . ”
Yurim tightened her grip a little more around Geunseok’s hand . Right then, she felt her phone vibrate inside her pocket . It was Soyeon .
“Give me a second,” Yurim picked up the call . “Yeah . Soyeon?”
– Where are you? I thought we were going back home together .
“Oh, really? I’m going back with Geunseok . ”
– Really? You should’ve told me .
“Sorry . I forgot . ”
– . . . You’ve been forgetting a lot .
– It’s nothing . Have fun . But don’t show off too much in front of me, you hear? I don’t want to die of jealousy just yet .
Soyeon hung up with a small laughter . Yurim felt even better after her best friend’s call .
‘She must be a bit jealous . ’
Then again, anyone would be jealous of having Geunseok as a boyfriend . He was good at studying, good looking, and he was good at acting . The boy was just good at everything .
“Want to go to a karaoke?” Yurim asked, shaking her hand .
“I can’t sing though,” Geunseok smiled nervously in response .
How cute . Yurim could easily tell that despite looking so reliable, Geunseok was actually a little child inside .
‘I’ll take care of Geunseok . ’
Yurim relied on Geunseok . She could also tell that the boy was relying on her as well . Geunseok only managed to look so firm and upstanding because of her . What an amazing relationship . Geunseok meant the world to her, and she must mean the world to Geunseok as well .
After the day she almost got kidnapped, Yurim started relying on different things for her survival . At first, it was her phone . After she entered high school, it was Soyeon . But things were different now . Geunseok needed her . She was no longer someone who needed to rely on something else to survive . She was a reliable tree that others could lean on .
Yurim grasped Geunseok’s hand even harder out of pride .
“I’ll teach you, don’t worry . ”
“You better . I really can’t sing . ”
“No worries . ”
Yurim grinned . She could feel Geunseok’s warm gaze on her face .
“I’m so happy,” Geunseok said .
“Of the fact that I met you . ”
“Psh, you just realized?”
That day when Maru messed up the club, Yurim chased after Geunseok as if she was possessed by something . Then, she hugged him . She didn’t know where that courage came from . But she somehow knew that Geunseok would look at her if she did so .
The result? They ended up becoming a great couple . In that sense, Yurim was a little thankful towards Maru . If he didn’t do what he did that day, they wouldn’t be couples now .
‘I guess I’ll be a little nicer to him next time we meet . ’
Yurim started walking with Geunseok’s hand in hand . Under the dark blue sky, the two didn’t seem to have a single worry in the world .
* * *
Soyeon put her phone back in her pocket . If she remembered correctly, Yurim was the one who asked to go back together to begin with . She forgot that? It was a bit disappointing to hear, but the girl wanted to go back with her boyfriend . There wasn’t much Soyeon could do about that .
“What are you doing here?”
Soyeon heard a voice from behind her . It was Dojin and Daemyung .
“What, you’re still here?” Soyeon asked .
“Yeah . Well, it’s still vacation, after all . I told my mom I’d be coming in late already . ”
Dojin responded with the ever-happy face he always put on .
“Um, Soyeon . Are you going home?” Daemyung asked .
It’d be nice if this guy could show some confidence . It was pretty weird how skilled he became on stage .
“I was thinking of going home, yeah . Why?”
“Well, if you aren’t in a hurry, I was wondering if you would like to join us for karaoke . Ah, there’s a senior joining us as well . ”
Soyeon looked behind the two of them in curiosity . She could see Danmi coming out of the convenience store . Joonghyuk, Yoonjung and Minsung were elsewhere .
Danmi came running towards them, frantically waving her hand . To be honest, Soyeon was a pretty big fan of Danmi . Yoonjung was too energetic to deal with, and the two male second years were a little difficult to deal with . Out of everyone, Danmi seemed to be the most casual out of all of the second years .
“You’re coming too?”
“Yeah . Let’s go . I don’t want our meeting to end on a weird note just yet . ”
Soyeon found herself nodding . Thank goodness she wasn’t the only one who thought that .
“Maru… I wonder if he’s ok . ”
Perhaps she shouldn’t have opened her mouth about the subject, but she was worried .
“Don’t know . I actually don’t know much about Maru . Don’t know what he thinks, don’t know what he wants . ”
“Agreed . ”
“Yeah . ”
Dojin and Daemyung agreed pretty much instantly . The three of them said Maru was ‘definitely a good guy, but hard to predict’, before moving onto instructor Miso for a bit .
“Well, in any case, we should really be going to that karaoke . You coming, Soyeon?”
“Yes, I will . ”
“Let’s go sing our hearts out . Also, Soyeon, you need to go on a diet with me . ”
“Come on, I told you I don’t really care about weight . ”
“No . I don’t want to diet by myself, so I want you to join me . Yoonjung just doesn’t get fat to begin with, it’s frustrating . ”
“That’s true . Yoonjung doesn’t gain weight at all . She eats more than me, too . ”
“Seriously! God is so unfair . ”
“Yeah . Wait, I don’t care about my weight, so I don’t want to diet . ”
“You look cute that way, but I totally look ugly if I gain weight . ”
Danmi dragged Soyeon away, blabbering away as she went . Soyeon realized that Danmi was being a little unnatural . Almost as if the girl was trying her best to clear out the awkward air that Maru created .
“Fine, I’ll go, I’ll go!”
Soyeon stepped out to the front of the group with Danmi, trying to stop thinking about Maru and Yurim for a little bit .