Life, Once Again! - Chapter 69
The sound of the bell rang from the ceiling .
“Have a nice lunch . ”
Once the teacher left the room, the students all bolted for the front and back doors . They shoved each other, moving several times faster than usual .
Today, the cafeteria served fried chicken . The students all rushed there with as much strength as their legs could muster . Maru only stood up from his seat after some of the students disappeared .
“Well, that was terrifying . ”
“It’s not like the fried chicken would stop being fried chicken if you were late . Wonder why they’re in such a hurry . ”
Maru motioned Daemyung over, who walked over with a script in hand .
“Planning on practicing on the way over?”
“Yeah . I can’t waste time . ”
What a guy . Since when did he become so diligent again?
“Your script is going to fall apart into rags at this rate . ”
As he said this, Dojin ran over to grab his own script as well . How troublesome, the two of them made even Maru itching to practice .
“Actor Han, Actor Park, please . Let’s try to focus on food during lunchtime . ”
Maru dragged his friends by their shoulders outside . By the time they got to the cafeteria, all the running kids were neatly arranged in a line . Be it the past or present, it appears Koreans really went crazy for fried chicken .
Someone greeted them from behind, it was Iseul . The people around her were wearing gray shirts from other clubs, while Iseul was wearing Blue Sky’s T-shirt . Just like the three of them .
“Oh, I look better here!” the girl noted, stepping towards them .
Daemyung moved away from her slightly in response . No one noticed because it was so slight, but Maru realized right away, being next to the boy .
‘What a softie . ’
It didn’t look like Daemyung was awkward because he liked Iseul, rather his unfamiliarity talking to pretty girls . He was so casual with her when they practiced, too . He was probably just bad with actual social settings .
Maru pushed the boy towards the girl, away from him . Daemyung desperately sent signals for him to stop, but Maru just grinned even more in response .
‘This is all for the future, buddy . Girls aren’t people you should just avoid . They’re supposed to be people to get used to . ’
Daemyung’s face reddened almost immediately . Come to think of, it was pretty strange watching this guy become so confident on stage .
“How’s practice going for you guys?” Iseul asked .
“Perfect as always . You?” Dojin responded .
“Same old, same old . I’m just trying to make it fun for myself . And you, Daemyung?”
“M-me? W-well, I think it’s going well . Still need a lot of work, though . ”
“Why so humble all of the sudden? You were great last time,” Iseul said, nudging Daemyung a little .
The boy could only laugh saying ‘was I?’ under his breath .
“And Maru… You’re probably doing fine . Right?”
“I’m trying the best I can . ”
“Best? Haha . Doesn’t sound like you . ”
“What sounds like me, then?”
“Trying as little as possible to get by?”
“You got me . ”
The line got shorter while they talked . Once they actually entered the cafeteria, they found another group wearing the same shirt as well . The three guys from the design class, and one more person . Taejoon .
“Hello, men!” Taejoon greeted, getting the attention of everyone around him .
The attention made him silent, as he nursed an embarrassed smile .
‘He’s the type that likes to be loud, but also gets easily embarrassed,’ Maru noted .
“What are you doing here?” Iseul asked .
“What about you, then? What are you doing here?”
“Well… ok, fine . You got me there . ”
Maru sat down on the table, greeting the design kids appropriately . Geunseok and Yurim waved back lazily, and Soyeon told him to enjoy his meal . It didn’t look like they were still mad about what he did back then, but they didn’t seem to want to be close with him at all .
Maru was completely fine with that, it would honestly be a bit annoying if they tried to get overly friendly with him instead .
“This feels lIke I’m chewing on rock,” Dojin commented next to him, biting into his chicken .
‘They had to fry chicken for a thousand people, of course it’s going to be like that . ’
Maru was reminded of his times in the military, specifically that time they served fried chicken one day after the news of an avian influenza outbreak . The fact that the flavor of chicken from that time overlapped with the flavor of this chicken probably meant that the food here was really bad .
“This tastes good to me, though . ”
Daemyung was pretty much licking the bones completely clean, Maru decided to give his chicken to Daemyung as a result .
The club met outside after lunchtime, every member was holding a cup of hot chocolate in their hands .
“We start blocking today, right?”
It’s already been two weeks since they were given their scripts . By this time, the club members were strictly off book . Today, they would start moving according to the positions Miso assigns them to, and then say their lines .
Standing still and saying your lines was a completely different thing compared to actually moving around saying it . Walking and talking at the same time was a surprisingly difficult task . Maru understood completely, having actually seen the club do it multiple times .
Right then, he could feel the eyes of the club shift over to him .
“Don’t worry, I won’t be a bother . ”
He didn’t say he’d try not to be a bother, trying to imply that he wouldn’t fail . At times like these, it was just better for him to say he wouldn’t do something for sure . Plus, Maru had practiced enough to be sure of not making a mistake .
“I’ll see you guys later . ”
With that, the club split up . After school, they would meet again in the auditorium .
* * *
Dojin noticed someone annoying once he entered class . It was Changhu and his group of friends, sitting at Maru’s seat . Dojin spoke up first with a frown .
“What do you think you’re doing . ”
“Well, I just wanted to talk . ”
“Can’t you just fuck off?”
“Can you shut up, Dojin? I’m not trying to talk to you . ”
Maru stopped Dojin from stepping forward, Dojin didn’t take too kindly to that .
“Maru, guys like that learn through beatings . ”
“Stop it, and go to your seat . You’re not a kid, stop trying to solve things with violence . ”
Calm down . Maru pat Dojin’s shoulders a few times, making the guy step back with a glare . Daemyung stood next to Maru with a nervous face . How brave of the boy .
“So, what do you want to tell me?”
“Well, I just wanted to get along, you know?”
“Nice . I hope we can, too . ”
Maru extended his hand, catching Changhu off guard .
“What the hell are you?”
“What do you think? I’m Maru . ”
Changhu watched Maru’s hand and face repeatedly before standing up . Dojin was about to shout again, but was stopped by Maru . Changhu grinned seeing that .
“Good good . Dojin, you should really learn from Maru . You have no sense at all . ”
Changhu walked back to his seat after giving Maru a few pats on the cheek with the back of his hand . Man, he’s learned a thing or two from movies, hasnt he?
How cute .
Maru actually had to stop himself from laughing out too loud . But right then, Dojin grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back .
“We need to talk . ”
What was up with this guy, now? Maru stepped out into the hall, scratching his face . Daemyung followed the two of them with a troubled expression . Fifth class had yet to start just yet, so there were a lot of students still outside .
Dojin spoke in a hushed tone amongst the other noises around him .
“Have you no pride? Why did you just sit taking it?”
“Why are you getting riled up again? Just endure it . ”
“No, dude . I can just ignore it if he was just bothering me, but… Ugh, it’s so annoying, what he does . Trying to bother literally everyone around him . ”
Dojin seemed ticked off about what happened this morning, especially from seeing his eyes glance over at Daemyung for a second . He was probably worried about the boy after what Changhu did .
What a nice guy, he had every right to be angry . After all, in terms of the animal kingdom, Changhu wasn’t even a hyena . Closer to a wild dog, actually . The type of animal that attacks everything from insects to animals in a pack, but wouldn’t dare to approach the real predators . The guy probably didn’t even know how to act in front of someone that was actually strong . Guys like them were surprisingly easy to deal with, actually . You just need to bite back a little bit .
Just one fight is enough to solve the issue, but…
“Still, be patient . ”
“Why? Are you . . . ”
“If you’re going to be childish and ask if I’m scared, I’d stop right now . ”
“Dojin, we only have three months left . ”
“Don’t you want to go to Dream Hall?”
Maru turned to look at Daemyung, to emphasize his point a little bit . The acting club already had a bad track record, especially when taking note of the fire incident in the auditorium . Thankfully, Taesik managed to cover it up as an accident that happened due to an argument between the students at the time . But due to this, the faculty ended up getting a bad opinion of the club . The reduced budget for the club was evidence enough .
What would happen if another fight broke out now? Surely, one of the faculty members would step up to say something . Especially the hanja teacher . After all, he was the person who came to the club room most often to complain . The man would be the first to try to hurt the club when he got an opportunity .
Standing out right now was an especially bad idea, with the competition about to start so soon . Maru would’ve done something himself if it wasn’t for this . But right now, ignoring the group was the best thing he could do .
“You know Changhu tries to look good in front of the teachers too . ”
“ . . . . . . . ”
“If things get bad, we’re both going to get beat up by the teachers, but the club’s going to get hurt as well . The school’s going to try and disband us by pointing out our violent tendencies . ”
“But . . . ”
“No buts . Did you forget that we need the school’s permission to go to nationals? Who knows what might happen if you get into a fight? If you can ignore it, just ignore it . ”
“Hah . ”
Dojin finally seemed to understand what was happening, the frown on his face melted as well .
“Delinquents would beat up students at school, all the while looking all nice and sheepish in front of teachers . Not even our homeroom teacher thinks well of our club, so just endure it . And . . . ”
Maru glanced at Changhu through the window for a second before lowering his voice .
“If he comes in to hit you, just take it . ”
“The dogs that bite don’t bark first, it’s the same with delinquents . The guys that are really screwed up wouldn’t even say a word, they would just swing the chair at your face . The guys that talk only fight when they really have to, because they’re scared . If you just act like you’re willing to take the punch, he’s going to walk away . ”
“ . . . Maru, were you a delinquent or something in middle school?”
“I’m a well-mannered citizen . Don’t be turning me into something weird now . ”
You’ll understand soon enough how stupid it is to fight with fists later on, buddy . Maru dragged his two friends back into the class .