Life, Once Again! - Chapter 653
It was Bitna’s voice that stopped him in his steps. He could see Bitna’s mother smiling from afar. A year ago, during the historical drama, he was called ahjussi, but it seemed that his title was promoted(?) to oppa recently.
“Looks like I almost forgot to say goodbye to you, Bitna.”
“Are you going?”
“I have an appointment. You’re still shooting, right?”
“Yes. I think it will continue into the night.”
“It must be tiring.”
“It’s my work, so I can’t help it.”
Maru couldn’t help but smile whenever she sounded like she was a long time veteran. As she had been working as a child model since before she entered elementary school, perhaps it was natural that she seemed like a pro. The pivot of her life could be seen in her young eyes.
“I think unni wants to see you, oppa.”
Maru thought she was here to say goodbye, so it was rather surprising that he heard something else. He was curious about what happened to Yuna after that, but he didn’t know that he would hear her name from Bitna’s mouth.
“Can you give unni a call? Unni probably won’t be able to call you, probably.”
Bitna took out her phone from her small cross bag. She pressed some buttons with her little fingers before turning the phone around so that Maru could see. Yuna’s phone number was on the display.
“I know her number already.”
He got her number last time.
“Bitna, we should get going now.”
Bitna’s mother called out from behind. Bitna put her phone away and took a bow after grabbing her bag strap. Maru looked at Bitna running away before taking a bow towards Bitna’s mother. Bitna turned around after she reached her mother and waved her hand. Maru waved both of his hands in response.
“Looks like we won’t be able to meet today.”
He got a call from Gaeul as the car the mother and daughter were in disappeared into the distance. Hello? – before he could even say that, he was told that practice was going to end late today. She was panting. It seemed that she had called during practice.
“You don’t have to be sorry. We can just meet next time. It’s the holidays after all. We can just meet up when you don’t have practice. But rather than that, you seem to be quite passionate these days. Are you having fun with practice? Oh, you want me to look forward to it? Alright, I’ll have high hopes. Don’t push yourself though. You know that resting is just as important as practice, right? Yes. Since you’re doing this, don’t leave behind any regrets.”
He hung up. Gaeul was a girl who looked like a rabbit and liked rabbits, but her personality was more similar to a beast that would not let go of its prey than a docile herbivore. She didn’t show it usually, but during the important moments of her life, she would become a huntress. She would not let go of the opportunity she got by signing with an agency. She showed some hesitation until the moment of her decision, but once she decided on something, she would rush straight ahead like a racing horse. It seemed that something changed within her when she came to watch the videos last time. She didn’t explain anything, but Maru could tell from looking at her. All of her actions contained some kind of intention in Maru’s eyes.
He looked up at the skies for a moment. Since he was rejected, he had to change his destination. It wouldn’t be bad to go home like this, but he felt somewhat lacking. The conversations he had with the background actors reverberated in his ears. He needed more stories.
He opened the phone in his hand. He put his thumb on the menu button and thought for a moment. It was 8:10 p.m. It wasn’t that late to make a call, so he wondered if he should try calling. She might be at a loss if he called so suddenly, but he didn’t want to ignore her after he was asked to call her by Bitna. His thumb wavered between the menu button and the cancel button before it decided on a destination. He opened his contact list and called Yuna.
Once, twice, three times – the signal sound was repeated seven times, but she did not pick up the call. Since it was the weekend, it was likely that she was hanging out with her friends. Just as Maru placed his thumb on the end call button,
Hello? – he heard a hurried voice picking up the call. He put his phone against his ear again.
“Is this Miss Kim Yuna’s phone?”
-Yes, it is. Aren’t you Maru-seonbae?
“Yeah, it is me. I just asked just in case. You sounded like a different person.”
-Must be because I picked it up in a hurry. I ran because I heard my phone ringing.
“Ran? Are you outside?”
-No, I’m at home.
“Ah, I see.”
There was a moment of silence. Maru knew what he had to say, but it was hard to say. What happened after that? – asking that question made it seem like he was being too meddlesome. Though, telling her that he called because Bitna asked him to do so was also rather strange. Bitna seemed to want to keep her interference a secret.
-Sorry for leaving after just saying what I wanted last time.
Thankfully, Yuna spoke up first. This was why having a phone call with an unfamiliar person was rather difficult. If they were talking face-to-face, Maru would have had a much easier time talking to her since he would be able to watch her expression and mood. In Maru’s memory, Yuna was a big sister who looked after her little sister a lot; a student who had a passion for acting; and, at the same time, a little child who was fed up with acting. He couldn’t say anything much since he didn’t know much about her, so he was rather relieved that Yuna talked to him first.
“In the first place, you called me out for a consultation, didn’t you? Though, it started off with a lie.”
-I’m sorry about that as well. You were displeased after all, weren’t you?
“No, I said that to sound funny, but it looks like it wasn’t. It’s really hard to talk over the phone, especially when we don’t know each other that well.”
-Then can we see each other right now?
The conversation strayed off towards a completely unexpected direction. Maru stopped walking. His thought process also stopped as well. It was nearly 9 p.m. Not exactly the greatest time to meet up. Moreover, they weren’t close enough to set up an appointment like this so easily and meet each other. Maru was rather flustered when she told him that they should meet right now so easily.
-Is it not good after all?
“No, well, it’s not like that, but I’m in Seoul right now.”
-It only takes an hour by train.
“An hour is not entirely short.”
-Then what should I do?
It seemed that meeting was set in stone, just not the time. Maru started walking again for now. He thought about what kind of expression she had right now. Did she have an unspeakable worry like the first time they met? If it was like that, he could understand. After all, last time she was under pressure high to the point that she ended up bursting into tears on the spot. Perhaps she was in desperate need of an ear that she could say that the king’s ears are donkey ears to. Associating that with what Bitna said, he was probably right. Unni wants to see you – it must be that Yuna has another worry.
“If there’s something you want to say, you can tell me about it. I’ll listen.”
She was a junior that Gaeul cherished. Maru remembered that she was smiling pleasantly when she mentioned Yuna. He wanted to help her out with her worries if possible. Since she was a junior of his important person, it wasn’t a waste of time to allocate some time for her.
-Uhm, I did say that I’ll treat you to food last time, and I’m really okay with the time right now.
Was it a story that was important enough that they had to meet? She sounded rather urgent.
“Then let’s meet in Suwon. I’m going to go down anyway. You shouldn’t come all the way here.”
-I can be the one to go there.
“I have to go home as well, you know? But by the time I’m there, it’ll be 9 p.m. Are you okay with that?”
-Yes. I don’t care.
“Don’t you think your parents will worry about you?”
-She’s not someone who would become worried because of something like that. I’m alone at home right now, and I’ll be by myself until tomorrow because of my sister’s schedule.
“That’s true. I came across your mother by chance, as well as Bitna.”
“We met on a shooting set in Seoul. Bitna was as composed as ever.”
-She can be awkward at times. She’s quite stubborn at home, you know? Though, she never acts like that outside.
“She has to relieve her stress like that. She’s still young after all. Then see you in Suwon.”
-Okay. I’ll buy you dinner.
-Don’t refuse. I definitely have to do something I said I’ll do. I definitely want to buy you dinner.
Yuna sounded rather insistent. Maru felt like there was an unshakable wall right on the other side of the phone. A person like that would never go back on her words. She was the type of person who would do something if she had to. Maru said okay. He avoided being treated without any reason, but he did not refuse free food if there was a reason.
-Where should we meet? I think Suwon station should be good.
“Isn’t that place far from your house?”
-No, it’s close.
“I’m good with that.”
-Then give me a call before you arrive at Suwon station.
“Okay. Send me a text if you change your mind midway. It’s getting late, so don’t bother yourself.”
-Not at all. I’m really okay with it.
Yuna’s voice became higher. It seemed that she had a lot to talk about. Maru pressed the end call button.
* * *
Yuna threw her phone before getting up from her bed. The phone bounced off the mattress and fell on the floor, but she couldn’t care less about that. She had to do her hair first. She puffed up the flattened parts with a hairdryer before using a hair iron to groom her hair. Her hair, which had been scattered everywhere, looked decent now. She put effort into her hair, more than when she took an audition three days ago, before opening her closet.
“Why are there so few clothes?”
She looked at the clothes hanging in the closet before picking a few she liked and putting them on her bed. Black was too stifling, gray was too dusky, pink looked too childish. It’s summer, so a bright one might be better, but it’s the night, so perhaps a darker color would be better? She groaned and barely managed to choose her clothes. An ivory round-neck shirt and a pair of jeans. She wondered if she should wear a skirt, but she wasn’t feeling confident for some reason. She put on her clothes and twirled around in front of the full-body mirror. The combination that the coordinator-unni, that worked with her mother, picked was really to her liking. The clothes themselves looked rather bland, so she accentuated herself with a wristwatch and a bracelet.
She smiled at herself when she looked good before sighing. There was no reason to be so excited. She was just buying dinner for Maru, who gave her consultation. It would be fine as long as she wore something that wouldn’t embarrass her. She should just wear things that she would wear when she hung out with her friends.
However, unlike what she was thinking, her hands were already reaching out to the cosmetics on the cosmetics desk. She usually didn’t put on any make-up unless it was for a special occasion or for an audition because she sweated during practice, yet she was pondering about her facial tone more seriously than ever before. What if it didn’t look good?
She finished off her make-up with a light-colored lipstick as the final touch. The make-up was very light. Yuna looked at the mirror before making an embarrassed smile. She found her actions rather laughable. It wasn’t that she had any special feelings towards him. In fact, she would feel very embarrassed if she saw Maru’s face because of all the things she did last time. She ended up bursting into tears all of a sudden, hugged him even though it was their first time meeting, and even smudged his shirt with make-up. It would be normal if she felt like she didn’t want to meet him, but she said that she wanted to see him while they were on the phone.
“No way, it can’t be, right?”
Yuna shook her head. There was no way romantic feelings would arise so easily. The reason she felt rather nervous, despite looking forward to it, was probably because she felt apologetic and thankful to Maru. It was obvious that once she met him today and thanked him after treating him to dinner, these inexplicable feelings would go away. Yuna thought as such and looked at the mirror. The make-up on her cheeks was a little off. She hurriedly took out a make-up sponge. She tapped on her cheeks until she thought that she didn’t look too bad.
After doing everything she could, Yuna sat down quietly and stared at the clock. She felt like the second hand was ticking backwards. She wondered if time always passed so slow. She gulped down some cold water before looking at the clock again. Only 20 seconds had passed. Maybe the clock was broken? – she seriously thought about that possibility. She turned on the TV, but nothing entered her mind. Her favorite comedian was making a funny face but her smile only reverberated deep within her. The TV, the clock, her phone. Was time being sucked into the Bermuda Triangle formed by those three? Only 30 minutes had passed, but she felt like 4 hours had passed. Just as she walked around the living room, feeling a strange thirst, her phone rang. Yuna picked up the call, getting surprised at herself for being able to move so fast.
-We’re going to return tomorrow night, I think. Don’t skip your meals.
“Huh? Oh, okay.”
-Why do you sound like you’re out of energy?
“Nothing, it’s just hot.”
-Yeah, it is pretty hot. Turn on the air conditioner. Don’t forget to turn it off when you go to sleep.
She sighed before hanging up. Was Maru-seonbae’s call not coming? Just as she was thinking about that, her phone rang. She immediately pressed the call button and waited with her breath abated. Hello? – it was Maru’s voice.