Life, Once Again! - Chapter 689
“Maybe I should’ve joined the acting club too.”
“Hey, I heard that Aram stays behind at school until 10 or 11 every single day. If taking a single day off from classes means I have to spend every single day like that, I’d rather not do it.”
“Really? Then I don’t wanna do it. The acting club’s that hard huh. Aram, you must have a hard time.”
“Good luck with the competition. Though, we won’t be able to see it.”
“The first-year students will watch it for you. Good luck!”
Aram shouted ‘fighting’ to her friends, who waved at her whole wishing her good luck for the competition. This week was the last week of September, and today was the day of the National Acting Competition Finals in Seoul. Last year, the finals were held at the end of August, but it was delayed by a month this year. Apparently, the Korean Drama Association, who was supposed to be the host of this competition, had delayed it due to rental problems, but no one knew what really happened.
As soon as she left her classroom, she heard a loud voice. It was Bangjoo who was waving in the corridor. There had to be some kind of device that was amplifying his vocal cords or something.
“Thanks to you, the entire 2nd year knows my name.”
“Feel thankful now?”
“Yeah, I’m soooo thankful that I’m embarrassed.”
She reached out to grab his sleeve in order to deal him a blow, but Bangjoo lightly stepped back to dodge her. It was like that during their first year as well, but Bangjoo was getting more and more agile by the day. Apparently, he was learning Jiu-jitsu as well. He seemed like he would become a fighter before he became an action actor.
“Let me shoulder-throw you once.”
“You’re a wuss for a boy.”
Just then, Aram saw Jiyoon who was leaving her classroom while waving her hand shyly. It seemed that her classmates were wishing her luck as well. Aram ran over with all of her might and hung her arm around Jiyoon’s shoulders. She smiled when she saw Jiyoon flinch.
“Oh! That startled me.”
“I wonder when our cutie will stop being surprised.”
“Anyone would be surprised if you suddenly do that from behind them. And hello, Bangjoo.”
Aram pointed at the stairs. She had gained a lot of worries ever since new students joined the club and she became the leader of the club, but thankfully, they managed to advance into the finals.
“It was a little unexpected that Hwasoo High didn’t pass the preliminaries. Their stage was also not as good as last year’s,” Bangjoo said.
“It’s not a surprise. That seonbae wasn’t there. You know, the one that was dazing out all the time. Everything died without him on the stage.”
Jiyoon mentioned his name for her.
“Yeah, him. The reason we lost last year is because of him if you think about it. He was no joke, wasn’t he? On a stage with more than 10 people, only he caught people’s eyes. He practically won their grand prize and he also won the individual prize. He did everything by himself.”
“That’s true. He even won against Myunghwa High.”
Bangjoo smiled bitterly as though he was remembering what happened last year. Last summer was a season filled with disappointment since they didn’t even pass the preliminaries.
“It might have been a different story if Maru-seonbae was there,” Bangjoo said with confidence.
“I’m not so sure about that,” Aram said as she thought about Hwasoo High’s stage that she saw last year.
Maru-seonbae was definitely good at acting. When she watched him from time to time, she had the feeling that an eagle was playing around in a flock of chicks. Heewon-seonbae from Hwasoo High also gave off that feeling.
“Are you saying that Maru-seonbae is worse than that seonbae?” Bangjoo said poutily.
Aram shook her head.
“Do you think I’m capable of evaluating the two? I can only tell that both of them are really good. That’s for sure, but, let’s say the roles they play are different.”
“Look here. The seonbae from Hwasoo High is in a sense, a ‘general’. The strong champion wearing a fancy helmet stirring enemy front lines.”
“I heard you were into historical dramas lately, and it sure shows, huh,” Jiyoon commented with a chuckle.
Aram shrugged. Like what she said, Aram was currently deeply mesmerized by a traditional historical drama that was being aired on KBS. Yesterday’s episode was about a general who was marching forward with the intent to conquer the enemy castle, and Heewon had a similar image to that general.
“Anyway, the seonbae from Hwasoo High has that image. The other members are merely sidekicks. With his bow and arrow, he shoots down enemies while trotting on a horse. He can lead the whole battle by himself without any help. It’s like this – you can win the battle as long as you have him.”
Bangjoo and Jiyoon nodded at the same time.
“I guess you do get that feeling.”
“I’m not saying that the people from Hwasoo High’s acting club are bad or anything, but it is true that Heewon-seonbae’s acting is eye-catching.”
Aram climbed the stairs and continued,
“Meanwhile, Maru-seonbae is more like a strategist. He doesn’t get any attention himself, but he brings out the best of those around him. I can still remember my first stage during 1st year. It was when I had to say my line. I felt really confident because I practiced a lot, but when it actually became my turn, my head just stopped working. I felt nervous even though I’ve never felt nervous during Judo competitions. I couldn’t remember what my line was, and my turn was approaching. I was just beginning to wonder what I should do when Maru-seonbae told me my first line and to not worry. He looked like he understood what I was going through. Curiously, when I heard him say that, I could remember my lines clearly again.”
It was quite dizzying to think about it even now. Had she stuttered there, she would have been the one to ruin the play they’d been practicing for months.
“Right, Maru-seonbae gives that feeling. I also received a lot of help from him. He tells me what I need to do when I get stuck on something, so I feel I can always rely on him,” Jiyoon said.
“That’s not always the case. He might act like that when he’s with us, but when we went to the movie shoot with him, he was always proactive. And you know that drama, right? The one where he comes out briefly as a murderer,” Bangjoo interrupted.
“You mean The Witness?”
“Yeah, that one. Take that. His acting skills don’t lose out even when he’s up against my sister. Maru-seonbae definitely is capable of going wild if the stage is right.”
“That’s true. But if I had to classify him, I feel like the seonbae from Hwasoo High belongs in the spotlight. Maru-seonbae suits that position as well, but for some reason, he looks like he doesn’t want that,” Aram said.
They did not hear any details, but apparently, Maru participated in club activities but avoided going on stage. He only got on stage after Miso, the instructor back then, had painstakingly persuaded him, but apparently, he never showed up to practice during summer.
“Even if you look at him now, Maru-seonbae has never wanted the main character position even in his second year, has he?” Aram questioned as she looked at Jiyoon.
After thinking for a while, Jiyoon spoke,
“Last year, there were only seven people in the club. Dowook-seonbae was in a different club in his 1st year, and he just switched over last year too.”
“Ah, right. Speaking about him, Dowook-seonbae should be coming today, right?”
“Well, I’m not sure. He didn’t show up at all last week, so he must be busy?”
“That seonbae has it hard. He might have a bad nature, but it is definitely reassuring to have him around.”
Aram sighed. Just then,
“Hey, if you’re gonna insult someone, do it when that person is not present.”
They heard a voice as they were climbing up to the 5th floor. Aram raised her head. Dowook was standing there with a frown on his face.
“You were insulting me just moments ago, yet now you call me seonbae?”
“You shouldn’t mind that between us. Also, are you coming with us today?”
“It’s a great opportunity to skip classes, so what do you think?”
Dowook entered the hall while yawning.
“What the, he’s tagging along to skip classes?”
Aram made a sour expression and entered the hall. The 1st year students, who had arrived before them, greeted them.
“All the 1st years are here, right?”
“Today’s the finals, so I’m sure you must feel nervous. Also, you’ll become even more nervous once you get there. But there’s nothing you can do about it. Nothing will prevent you from getting nervous after all.”
Aram gave a cursory glance at the 1st year students.
“But we passed the preliminaries after months of practice, and we’re going to the finals with that skill. We’ll be up against people from all over the country. You should’ve heard this when you first joined the club, but in the past, Woosung High used to sweep all the prizes. Recently though, we’ve never been close to winning. That’s why, let’s win one this time. Let’s show our seniors that we are better than them by winning the prize!”
“Good. We’re going to go once the instructor arrives, so get your costumes and scripts. Staff, look out for the props so that they don’t get damaged. Once the truck arrives, we’re going to load them there. If you break one in a hurry or something, that’ll be worse than anything, so take it slowly and safely. Okay?”
Aram nodded as she looked at the first-year students replying. They would get good results as long as they did what they did during the preliminaries.
The 3rd year students came in through the door. They looked tired for some reason.
“The speech was so good that we didn’t dare interrupt midway,” Maru said.
Aram crossed her arms and laughed.
“Why are you so late when you are in your 3rd year?”
“Daemyung, the club president is mad. Let’s be quick.”
“Huh? Yeah. We should.”
Aram grinned as she looked at the 3rd year students who were lining up behind the 1st year students.
“The instructor said she’ll be here by 9:10, so let’s do some vocal exercises and stretches until then. We’re 2nd, so when we get there, we won’t have time to do anything. We need to prepare ourselves here.”
Aram did some stretching exercises like usual. The first-year students all followed suit. They were used to these exercises by now. Miso arrived around 20 minutes later.
“Yes, I’m here. You look good, everyone. Well, I guess we did beat Myunghwa High in the preliminaries, so it’s not that surprising. Do just that and get the grand prize again today, alright?”
“Then let’s go down. I’ll come once I get my honey.”
People booed when she said the word ‘honey’. Of course, when Miso glared back at them, they all shut up.
“Aram, get everyone downstairs. I rented a coach, so you can get on it.”
“Really? I thought we were going by train.”
“I spent some money as a graduate of Woosung High. So bring me that grand prize. It hurts me to see that this school didn’t get any grand prizes after I graduated.”
Miso left the hall with a smile. She probably went looking for teacher Taesik.
“Looks like we’ll have an easier time getting there. Everyone, go down. We need to get the props from the container.”
“Uhm, seonbae-nim. I went to the parking lot before I came here, and I saw all the props loaded on a truck?” one of the first-year students wondered.
“What are you saying? The truck is supposed to be here at 9:20.”
“If I didn’t see anything incorrectly, the truck was already here, and all the items were loaded as well.”
Aram exchanged gazes with Bangjoo and went down to the 1st floor. There was a 1t truck parked outside the school gates. She lifted the weatherproof sheeting and looked inside. The props for the play were all lined up neatly.
“Who did all this?”
Just as she was wondering, the coach arrived. Miso and Taesik waved at everyone to get on. Aram had the first-year students get on first. There was a rental coach, and the props were loaded already. Thanks to that, it seemed like they would get some leisure time when they arrived. Perhaps they would even be able to get a proper rehearsal done.
At that moment, she saw the 3rd year students get on the truck while yawning. In the driver’s seat was a woman she had never seen before, and she was smiling in joy as she looked at Dowook. Not only that, she was pretty to boot. Dowook seemed to have a hard time around that woman, but he eventually put a smile on his face.
“Look at that. Dowook-seonbae is smiling.”
Aram stopped Bangjoo and Jiyoon from getting on the coach. They also watched the smiling Dowook with their jaws agape.
“Who is that?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’ve never seen Dowook-seonbae smile like that before. Look at that! He’s acting embarrassed, too!”
“I’m not sure what that’s about, but let’s take a photo for now.”
The three of them took out their phones at the same time. They took photos of Dowook smiling shyly in secret. This was something they couldn’t see even if they had to pay.
“I guess we’re lucky today for seeing something new?”
Aram looked at Maru and Daemyung who had fallen asleep inside the truck already. From the way things looked, it seemed that those three were the ones to check the props and load them onto the truck. She remembered how Dowook was yawning when she came across him at the staircase. It seemed that they were still seniors after all.
“Let’s get in. We might be able to get a rehearsal done if we get there quickly,” Aram said as she clenched her fists.