Life, Once Again! - Chapter 68
Maru felt pretty odd . It was like feeling the reminiscent of meeting a friend he knew on the street, but he was unable to remember the friend’s name .
“ . . . Hey . ”
Dowook greeted him on the street awkwardly, Maru blinked a few times in confusion before passing by . He heard a ‘hey!’ come from behind him, but he decided to ignore it . Watching a guy who was always annoyed with him suddenly smile at him just felt way too weird . It felt like someone was tickling his nose with a feather .
He parked his bike and tried to dash inside, but Dowook caught up faster than he thought .
“You’re just running?”
“The Dowook I know isn’t the type to greet me with a weird smile like that . “
“ . . . Ugh, fuck . ”
“Yeah . Just swear instead . That’s a lot better . ”
Maru changed his shoes into the indoor ones with a smile . The two of them merged with the massive crowd of students to go up the stairs . Their class was, as always, right next to the stairs on the second floor . Maru stepped towards the door, wishing for another good day, but a group across the hall caught his attention .
The kids who were grinning at each other, spitting out the window . It was Changhu, the delinquent of his class, with the other delinquents from other classes . Dowook frowned as he noticed them, too . Changhu turned to look at the two of them .
The boy’s mouth moved a little . Maru couldn’t hear the him, but the boy was probably telling them to fuck off . Maru stopped Dowook from stepping forward .
“Pigeons don’t belong where crows hang . ”
“ . . . . . . . ”
“Didn’t you say you were done with the childish stuff? Just ignore them . It’s not like him staring at you is going to do anything . ”
Maru waved his hand with a grin at the Changhu gang as he said this . The kids on the window looked away, with ridiculing smiles on their faces .
“Doesn’t your pride get hurt when they do that?” Dowook asked, after they entered class .
“Your pride isn’t something so easily wounded . It isn’t even worth having if even kids can trample it . ”
Dowook clicked his tongue in annoyance and went to his seat . The boy didn’t get as annoyed as he did in the past, probably a sign of maturity .
“What happened?” Dojin asked .
“Nothing special . Did you memorize your lines, by the way?”
“Of course I did . I don’t want to die, you know . What about you?”
“I don’t have anything to memorize, dude . It’s just three lines . ”
“True that . ”
The club members became even more serious with acting after their evening in the cafe . Their method of practice had changed as well .
Maru looked at Daemyung, who was speaking his lines out loud from his seat . His friends were all listening to him . Maru and Dojin decided to move up to watch as well . Daemyung’s small voice started getting louder in response .
“What did I tell you? I told you that the new guy was really strange . Just you watch . That guy’s definitely going to cause trouble for himself . By the way… Are you really going to finish all that food by yourself?”
Daemyung turned to look at his friends after speaking about this much .
“It’s good, but . . . ”
“Is there something off?”
“Your expression is a bit too strong, I guess? I can focus, but it’s not funny . ”
“Really? How about this?”
Daemyung changed his expression a little bit, earning approval from his friends .
“Well, you’re working hard,” Maru greeted .
Only then did the boy respond to the two of them with a greeting on his own . He seemed way too engrossed in his practice to even notice . What amazing focus .
After the cafe test, it became standard for the club to practice in front of an audience . Daemyung, in particular, was asking his friends to help both in the morning and lunch . It was a good way of getting pretty direct feedback, Maru had to admit .
‘He’s really focused when it comes to acting . ’
Since the boy started taking practice so seriously, his friends were taking it seriously with him . Thanks to media nowadays streaming movies and dramas left and right, these kids had an eye for decent acting . They could easily catch if something was awkward or if something was good . Sure, they weren’t professional critics or anything, but they had no trouble pointing out basic mistakes .
It was like how someone said the line between porn and art was clear once you actually saw it . It was the same with these kids .
“I-is that so?”
Daemyung quickly jotted a few things down on his script . At moments like these, he really seemed like a pro actor .
‘Most people just end up confusing themselves when they get so many different opinions thrown at them, but it doesn’t look like Daemyung would do that to himself . ’
If you really wanted to improve, you had to first filter opinions and reviews to find the truly useful ones . Otherwise you’d end up straining your body too much and end up self-destructing .
“Thanks . Can you help me again at lunchtime?”
“Any time . ”
Maru noticed that Daemyung’s friends were starting to feel a little proud of what they were doing . After all, being put in a position to be able to judge was pretty satisfying . Since the right to judge was usually granted to those in positions of power .
Of course, these kids probably didn’t even realize that .
“You might actually get that main role when you’re in second year,” Dojin commented .
Maru peeked a little at Daemyung’s notes . Indeed, the entire script was filled to the absolute brim with notes .
“It’s fine if I don’t get to the Seoul Arts Center, but I do want to go to Dream Hall, after all . ”
The nationals in summer were held in the Seoul Arts Center, while the winter competition was held in a place called Dream Hall . In terms of size, Dream Hall was much bigger, since the students would perform in a massive theater that could seat more than a thousand .
“Dream Hall… was pretty cool . ”
Maru had to agree with Dojin . Miso took the lot of them there a few weeks ago to try and give them motivation . The club members spent a few minutes on stage looking down at the audience seats there .
‘It did feel pretty electrifying . ’
The entire auditorium was split into two floors . The air of the entire auditorium was enough to make even Maru get excited, not to mention the club members . As a matter of fact, Maru did remember seeing a fighting spirit start to burn in their eyes back then .
[We have three months left . ]
He recalled Miso saying .
“Three months . ”
“Yeah, three . ”
Dojin put down Daemyung’s script, and grabbed his own from his seat .
“Daemyung, can you help me practice?”
“Of course . ”
The two were, as always, very hard at work .
“Work hard . ”
“What about you?”
“I’ll do enough to look good, so don’t worry . ”
Maru took out his book after returning to his seat . It would be rude for him to just join in casually when the two of them were so serious about this . He would help them out if they needed a practice partner, but for now, it looked like they were doing pretty well by themselves . At times, the two of them were even going as far as to act out other people’s lines .
If the practice for their first play was sort of forced by Miso, this second play was entirely filled with their own motivation and desire .
‘They’re going to improve fast . ’
People who were motivated often achieved more than what even they thought they were capable of . Perhaps the club really might be able to perform in Dream Hall this year .
Maru closed his novel with a sigh, and took out his own script . He should at least try to put in an effort . Just because he was only there for the ulterior motive of romance, it didn’t mean he could be lazy .
Just because he couldn’t be a reliable support for the club didn’t mean he had to be a complete letdown . In that case…
‘I should at least be better than average . ’
Since the character himself had very few lines, he would probably get by even with little practice .
“Oh, you just moved in? Welcome, welcome . ”
Maru went straight into practice, with his pencil tucked a little into his mouth .
* * *
“Did you guys drink together?”
“I made her drink quite a bit, but she was fine . She has a strong tolerance . ”
“Dude, I told you . You have to mix coke for it to really work well . Or just make her drink something sweet . It costs a lot, but that’s the way to go . ”
“Next time . My wallet isn’t looking so good . ”
Changhu split up with his group after checking the time . The lot of them had a party with the girls from the neighboring school yesterday, but no one managed to get anywhere .
“Hah, she was pretty, too . ”
“The girl who was smoking that whole pack?”
That was the first thing Changhu heard when he stepped into class . It didn’t sound like any casual talk from a student . Ah, it was the acting club kids practicing again .
“They try so hard,” he commented .
“Maybe I should’ve gone to the acting club . The girls there were pretty . ”
“Oh dude, yeah . Pretty sexy . ”
“The senior who came to our class last time was super cute, too . ”
“Not my type . ”
Changhu sat down on his seat with his hands in his pockets . He could feel the two cigarettes he brought from home inside them . Since one of his friends had a lighter, he had to make do by smoking it during lunchtime outside school . There were still fifteen minutes till class started and since he stayed up late playing video games last night, he got ready to nap .
“Hey, be quiet . You’re fucking loud . ”
Of course, he didn’t forget to say something to the two kids out in front . Daemyung was a total coward, so he shut himself right up when Changhu just glared . Dojin, though, really needed some verbal communication to understand .
Ah, silence . Very peaceful . Perfect for sleep .
But just as he was about to drift off into dreamland, he started hearing something annoying again . It was Daemyung and Dojin . They were quieter than before, but they were talking .
‘Those bastards . . . ’
Did they really have to annoy him? He was tired . When he raised his head, he could see the two still practicing .
“Hey! Couldn’t you hear me?”
Daemyung flinched and shut his mouth immediately, but Dojin just smiled in annoyance .
“What, did you buy up the entire class or something? We lowered our voice, so just go to sleep, why don’t you?”
“Hah, fuck . Your voice is still loud, so why don’t you shut that stupid mouth of yours?”
“God damn, do you think we’re in a library or something? Just put on your damn headphones if you’re so bothered . ”
“You son of a . . . ”
Dojin was an annoyance to Changhu from the start . Changhu tried to go light on the guy since he looked like he was a delinquent in the past, but there was no helping him now . The boy gave a few of his friends around him a quick glance . There were four friends of his in this class . All people he was friends with since middle school .
“You’re acting out too much, especially when you’re smaller than my fucking dick . ”
“Hah, are your guys’ dicks a 170cms or something?”
Dojin didn’t miss a single beat . Changhu was not a fan . The guy really needed a lesson . Of course, he had no intention of starting a fight in class . This school has too many crazy teachers .
Instead, he would try to annoy the kid a little bit .
His friends all started walking forward with him . The kids around Dojin and Daemyung all stepped back nervously .
“You should speak a little gently, don’t you think, Dojin? You’re not a delinquent, are you?”
“No, you . Also, what do you think you’re doing? You going to hit me? You want to become pandas together? Is that what you want?”
Changhu signalled his friends . Dojin was the type to hit back, so hitting was a no go for now . Daemyung on the other hand, was a perfect target .
“Daemyung… Did I do anything to make you mad before?”
But just before Changhu could get any further,
“Guys, the teacher’s coming,” someone said .
It was Maru, who was looking outside through the back door .
“I’ll have a word with you next time,” said Changhu, returning to his seat .
Not even he wanted to go at it with the teacher who always had a PVC pipe handy . But even after a minute of waiting, nothing happened .
Changhu turned to look at Maru in confusion . Their eyes met . And…
Maru just shrugged with a grin .
“Sorry, think I saw wrong . ”
Changhu felt his lips twist a little bit . His mood was totally ruined for the day, he just knew it .