Life, Once Again! - Chapter 691
Maru looked down at his phone. The call had been hung up so suddenly.
“What is it?” Daemyung asked.
“I made a call, but I was hung up on so suddenly. I did hear my name being spoken.”
“Maybe she accidentally pressed the wrong button?”
“I don’t think that’s what happened.”
If it was a mistake, he would have gotten a call back. However, his phone was very still right now.
“Now that I think about it, isn’t it about time for Myunghwa High to arrive as well?” Daemyung said as he pointed at the clock.
Maru checked the time as well and nodded. Since she said that they were going to depart after 2nd period, this was about that time. She was in her 3rd year, so she had a lot of things to take care of. She was probably busy on the way here as well.
“Uhm, seonbae! Can you watch over the rehearsal? Instructor Miso said the seniors should watch once,” Aram shouted towards them as she was opening the glass door.
Maru left the Jayu theater with Daemyung and went to the clearing next to it. In the clearing, from where they could see the Music Hall and the Art Gallery, there were students who had come from many parts of the country. Woosung High had also gotten a spot in a corner as well.
“You’ve all changed.”
The juniors had changed into their stage costumes and were holding their scripts while standing in a circle. The other schools were in the same situation. Students had finished dressing up and putting on makeup, and they were doing their last rehearsals in nervousness.
“You already did a run as soon as we arrived, didn’t you? I think that should be sufficient,” Maru remarked as he opened the script.
“But we have time left. Rather than dazing out and losing our tension, we should do something. Instructor Miso said that as well.”
“If the club president and the instructor say so, then I must comply.”
There were forty minutes until the start of the performance. Since the play was about 1 hour long, they would have to be quick to reach the ending scene. Maru looked at his juniors and spoke,
“It’s just before our performance. At this point, you shouldn’t change anything and should solidify what you already have. There are forty minutes until the performance, so I’m going to have you do it quickly. As you probably know from the preliminaries, going on stage is different from practice. The stage here is much larger than the one in Anyang City Hall. Above all, since it’s a place designed for performance, the lights are strong as well. Once you go up, it’ll feel completely different from anything you have felt before. Since there’s a change of environment, the practice you’ve done until now will be very important. Practice is about teamwork after all.”
Maru looked at the junior in front of him and gave him the signal. The junior took a deep breath before saying his first line,
“There’s a reactionary here!”
* * *
The bus shook up and down. Gaeul felt a light car sickness. Even though she had never felt car sick in her life, she felt rather bad today. The reason was probably….
Choi Seol stood up and shouted. Everyone’s eyes were gathered on her.
“We’ll be arriving at Seoul Arts Hall soon. Once we arrive, the staff in charge of the set should get off quickly to check the set and the large props. We don’t want the props to fall down during construction like what happened last year. Okay?”
“And actors. Grab your personal water bottles and scripts when you get off. We’ll start the rehearsal immediately. I’ll ask just in case, but does anyone feel sick?”
The only ones that raised their hand were the 3rd year students who had come for support. Everyone had prankish smiles on their faces.
“We can be sick. We won’t be going up on stage anyway. If you ever feel sick, have a sore throat, or something else, tell me immediately. I’m gonna kill you if you hide it and say it when you are up on the stage. Go up on the stage in perfect condition. That’s the first thing that actors must do. Understood?”
“Good. We’re going to do a read-through right now. Just think of it as a light vocal exercise. However, you have to be loud enough so that everyone in this coach can hear you. The Jayu theater may have good acoustics and many say that getting heard isn’t a problem, but if you don’t have the basic vocalization down, you’ll sound like a mosquito.”
Choi Seol uttered out a low hum after saying that they should exercise their vocal cords. The juniors followed suit. Gaeul looked at Yuna who sat next to her. They’d been talking about insignificant things ever since she got a call from Maru. To anyone else, it might not seem any different from usual, but Gaeul knew that both she and Yuna were avoiding the topic they had to talk about.
“You should practice.”
Yuna looked forward and exercised her voice. Gaeul inwardly scolded herself. How pathetic. The senior, who was supposed to help a junior relax, was instead giving her pressure. If Yuna ended up making a mistake on stage, it would be entirely her fault.
Gaeul hesitated. When should they talk about this iffy problem? Before Yuna went up on stage? After everything was over? Her hesitant heart floated on top of the sea of chaos. At the depths of this car sickness was probably her unstable heart.
The read-through began. The juniors were loud enough to engulf the sound of the engine. These juniors had spent the better half of the past half a year purely for the sake of this performance, and they showed their skills without holding back. The moment their efforts had materialized, Gaeul felt even sorrier for Yuna.
When she got a call from Maru, she should have not shown any emotion at all. It was her fault and mistake for provoking Yuna’s feelings with a provocative gaze and a scolding voice. It would’ve been fine to ask after the performance. Gaeul closed her eyes and sighed softly.
“Hey, Kim Yuna!”
Choi Seol’s shout burst out. It was before Yuna’s line ended. Gaeul was startled as though she was the one who was scolded and looked at Choi Seol. The friend that had protected the acting club alongside her all this time was looking at Yuna with scary eyes.
“Are you playing jokes on me?”
“Sorry? What the heck was that just now? If you made a mistake, I can understand. Anyone can make a mistake, and mistakes can be overcome on stage with the help of other people. But what was that just now? Do you not want to do this? What the hell is up with that puny voice!”
Choi Seol looked very upset. Gaeul looked at her friend and her junior alternately. Yuna was a feeble girl. While she might look bold, it was clear after some time that she was someone who got hurt easily. Such a girl was given tremendous pressure just before the performance. Gaeul clenched her eyes shut. Even she herself felt car sick from that conversation. It would have been a massive pain for this child.
Gaeul saw Yuna bite her lower lip. Yuna was unable to raise her head. She looked like she was on the edge and felt like a candle that was about to flicker off at any moment. Gaeul reached out. She grabbed Yuna’s hand which was clenching the script to the point that the script was being creased.
“I gave her some milk a while ago, and it seems like that was the problem. I feel a little bad as well.”
“What? Hey! How can you give her something like that inside a vehicle!”
“Sorry, I’m really sorry.”
“You…. Hey, Kim Yuna. Do you feel sick?”
Gaeul grabbed Yuna’s hand. When she did, Yuna replied ‘yes’ in a small voice.
“Is it bad?”
“No! It’s nothing serious. I’m sorry.”
Choi Seol undid her hairband and shook her hair loose.
“Taehoon! You fill in Yuna’s spot for now. Everyone, focus and continue.”
After saying those words, Choi Seol knelt down next to Yuna.
“Give me your hand.”
“I said give me your hand.”
Yuna put out her hand. Choi Seol frowned and started massaging Yuna’s hand on the part that connected the palm and the wrist. Yuna flinched as though it was quite painful.
“Endure it. This is the best thing when you have a bad stomach. There are cases where medicines give you side effects. How do you feel? A bit better now?”
“Gaeul, do the other hand for her.”
“Sorry for shouting.”
“It was my fault. I know that eating something inside a moving vehicle is a bad idea, but I still gave it to her.”
“Yeah, you’re a problem because you are so generous to others. Kim Yuna, do you think you’re getting better?”
Yuna quickly nodded.
“For now, keep massaging it. Close your eyes as well. Unless it was actually bad food, you’ll feel better when you get off.”
After massaging for a while, Choi Seol picked up the script and led the read-through again.
When Choi Seol walked away, Yuna spoke. She looked like she had a lot to say. Gaeul looked at her eyes. Her eyes contained unease, nervousness, and even a sense of guilt. What would happen if Yuna confessed again and she heard the same thing she heard last time? She probably wouldn’t be able to laugh it off like a character in a movie. Confessions required courage beyond imagination. And after a confession, the confessor would become uneasy because of the potential aftermath.
Was Yuna in a situation where she could endure that storm? Gaeul would have to shake her head to that question. What this junior needed right now was the concentration to go up on stage and the energy to release on the stage. If she wasted energy apologizing and making excuses for a vague matter, she would have little energy on the stage.
“I saw hearts in your eyes as soon as you heard Maru’s voice just now.”
Gaeul looked at Yuna’s expression. There were a lot of complex expressions on her face, but the biggest one of them was confusion.
“You still like Maru, don’t you?”
“Eh? No, that’s, uhm….”
“Don’t get stiff because of something like that. Do you think I would care about something like that?”
Yuna blinked several times. Her lips melted after being frozen from all the nervousness.
“You can stay close to him. You don’t have to mind me.”
“I was like that too. There was an oppa I liked in middle school, and he had a girlfriend. But what could I do? My feelings for him didn’t disappear immediately. Also, it’s not like Maru and I are engaged or anything, so you don’t have to feel so much guilt. That’s just how everyone gets by.”
The moment she finished those words, she heard a voice.
-Pretending to be an adult, pretending to be generous, pretending to have good endurance, pretending like it’s for her sake, pretending to be cool about it. What a good pretender you are.
Gaeul was unable to reply to that voice. That was because Yuna, who looked like she was about to cry at any moment, had a smile on her face. She looked liberated.
“Sorry, seonbae. I still like Maru-seonbae. That’s why I felt scared whenever I saw you. I felt sorry. I knew that I couldn’t be like this.”
“It’s okay, it’s fine. Don’t fret over something like that. You’re going to be acting together in that drama anyway. I heard you two were lovers in it, right? Being close to him is natural.”
“I said I don’t mind. Right now, Maru and I are dating because we get along, but you never know what the future holds. You know, I think it’s somewhat funny to tell other girls not to get close to him just because I’m dating him. I mean, that just shows that I’m not confident, right?”
Gaeul took out some tissues from her bag and gave them to Yuna. Yuna dabbed her tears and put on the relaxed smile she had when she just joined the club.
“Do you feel okay now?”
“I don’t have to worry about the stage, right?”
Gaeul smiled and patted Yuna’s shoulders. It seemed that the sense of guilt that weighed down her body had mostly lifted.
-Hypocrite. In the end, you still appealed to her that you are the one dating Maru; to not to touch him. You just did it in an indirect way so that she doesn’t catch on. You are really evil. You always were. You always had to have everything. You want to stay in a good relationship with your junior, but you don’t want what is yours to be taken away. But you know what? People only have two hands. If your hands are full because you’re greedy, you won’t be able to grab the important thing when it truly matters.
Gaeul looked outside.
She didn’t want to listen to that voice.
-You will have to face it without dodging it. Whenever it is or whatever it is.
Shut up – Gaeul told ‘her’ those two words with difficulty.