Life, Once Again! - Chapter 692
-Would Woosung Engineering Highschool please enter the waiting room.
There was an announcement. The club members, who were doing one last rehearsal, closed their scripts and started moving.
“Just do what you did during the preliminaries. I’ll treat you all to good things afterwards, so if you get nervous, think about the food.”
Miso clapped and patted the back of each member of the club as they went into the waiting room. It was up to the actors and the staff now. Maru looked at the club members calming their breathing inside the waiting room before leaving.
“Han Maru! Let’s move this stuff.”
He heard a voice from the parking lot. Dowook was waving a drink bottle above his head. He went down the stairs and stood in front of the truck.
“What’s all this?”
Maru looked at the box by Dowook’s feet. There was a box of sports drinks that each had a wrap that said ‘Good Luck’ on it. The box had just as many bottles as the number of members in the club.
“I said it wasn’t necessary, but my sister….”
Dowook slurred the end of his words and looked inside the truck. There was Soojin who was writing lines of encouragement on the wrap on the drinks in the driver’s seat.
Soojin smiled as she got off the truck with the bottle in hand.
“When did you get all these?”
“While you guys were practicing.”
Soojin gave him a bottle with the wrap.
“I’m a senior of Blue Sky too, so I wanted to do something.”
“We received plenty of help already. Thanks to you driving the truck, we managed to get here early, and we were able to get in plenty of practice too.”
Maru received the bottle and put it inside the box.
“I’ll get these to the others.”
“That’s what we should be saying. The older sister is much more helpful than the insufficient little brother.”
Dowook twitched when he heard the term ‘insufficient little brother’. However, he didn’t frown or swear like he would usually do. It was probably because Soojin was looking right at him. Even the monkey king would become docile in front of Sanzang.
“It’s going to begin soon, isn’t it?”
“Yes. We unloaded everything, so you should come and watch.”
Maru looked at the bottles as he continued to speak,
“And you should hand these out yourself. They’ll be more encouraged that way.”
Maru lifted the box with effort.
* * *
“It’s Woosung High.”
Hearing Choi Seol’s words, Gaeul reflexively turned her head to look in that direction. There were a bunch of students wearing a black hoodie that said ‘Blue Sky’ in front of the opera house. From how there were around ten or so people, it seemed that the actors and the main staff had already entered the building. Behind them were students wearing casual clothes. From the way they weren’t wearing school uniforms, they seemed to be students from Woosung High who came to cheer for them.
-Woosung Engineering Highschool’s performance will begin at 12:30.
As the announcement resounded, the students from Woosung High went inside.
“Well then. Don’t get distracted and keep moving! We’re going to change after we do a rehearsal here.”
The juniors got off the bus and got into a line. Gaeul looked at Yuna, who was standing at the end, before looking away. From the relaxed expression she had, it seemed that she no longer had any internal conflicts. She wouldn’t make a mistake on stage due to being distracted at least.
“Handle the background set carefully. When you carry it, do it with four people. Haeji, where’s the sprinkler?”
“Fill it up right now. We can’t forget it.”
After watching the junior run over to the bathroom, the checking resumed. Gaeul looked at the props laid out on the ground and checked the list.
“There are no problems. But do be careful when you move them. The smaller props will easily get lost, so the ones in charge of them should have their eyes on them at all times, okay?”
Gaeul wiped her forehead with her hand and went over to the next thing.
* * *
“Man, look at the sheer scale that Myunghwa High has.”
Dowook clicked his tongue as he looked at the students of Myunghwa High get off the bus.
“Apparently their graduates help them out a lot. You know they have a lot of graduates in the entertainment industry,” said Daemyung who was standing next to him.
“Don’t we have anything?”
“Instructor Miso got us a coach too.”
“Not that. I’m talking about whether the school does anything for us.”
“Unlikely, seeing as how they don’t like us in the first place. I’m actually glad that they let us take classes off.”
Daemyung ran off saying that he would go in first. He was probably busy helping the others behind the stage side curtains. Dowook walked over to Myunghwa High while fiddling with a drink bottle in his hand.
“Be careful with the costumes. Check the buttons and zippers especially. If you find any problems, tell me immediately so that we can get them fixed. The wigs too, check the pins inside.”
Maru’s girlfriend could be seen amidst the students taking care of the props away from the main group that was practicing. She was looking alternately at the items in the plastic box and the sheet of paper in her hands.
“Come to think of it,”
Dowook thought about what he talked about with Maru. Maru said something about how she suddenly hung up when he called in the morning.
“Should I tell him that Myunghwa High is here?”
Dowook took out his phone.
* * *
“There, gather your hands together.”
Aram reached out her right hand. Everyone reached out and formed a tower of hands.
“Let’s do our best just once. We’ll win the grand prize.”
“Focus. There should be many people in the audience seats, so watch out and do not freak out. Go up thinking that you’re going to have a blast up there. Blue Sky!”
As they raised their hands energetically, the door to the stage opened.
“Woosung Engineering Highschool, please come up to the stage.”
The staff from the hall gave them the signal. Maru clapped twice and wished them good luck. The actors went up first, followed by the staff who were going to set up the background and the items on the stage. Daemyung was in charge of the tempo control in Aram’s stead, since she had a role to play on the stage. The overall instructions would come from Miso who would be watching them from the control room.
“Good luck,” said Maru as he pushed Daemyung’s back.
Daemyug put on his in-ear monitors and started moving. Maru started cleaning up the waiting room which had become empty. The next school would enter soon. The other club members were getting ready to watch from the audience seats along with the other students that came to cheer them on. Watching was an important way to study after all.
He finished cleaning up and told the staff about it. The next school immediately occupied waiting room A. Maru stood in the corridor that was to the left of the Jayu theater with chairs in each hand. He could hear the murmurs dying down.
“I hope they do well.”
He left through the door in the corridor. As Seoul Arts Hall was located right next to Mt. Woomyeon, he saw the green forest in front of his eyes. He unfolded the folding chair that he brought out and sat down. He could finally take a breather. He drank the sports drink that Soojin handed out and was relieving his fatigue when his phone started vibrating. He got a text message.
-Myunghwa High is here. I can see your gf too.
Maru stood up with the chairs. When he went around to the entrance of the opera house, he saw students from Myunghwa High standing in a group. The number of students was at least several times that of the other schools. They seemed to be here to cheer for their team as none of them seemed to be from the acting club.
He went over to the truck with the chairs. He couldn’t keep carrying these around after all. As he was loading the chairs onto the truck, he saw Dowook walking over.
“You didn’t go inside?”
“I watched them multiple times already, why would I need to see it again?”
There was a trash bag in his hands. The hosts told each school that they should take care of their own trash. Maru reached out and told him to hand the bag over. He tilted the trash bag against one wall of the truck.
“Then why are you here?”
“I was cleaning up the waiting room.”
“Both you and I are having a hard time taking care of the others, huh. Rather than that, have you met your girlfriend yet?”
“No, I haven’t seen her yet.”
“Well, she did look busy. Myunghwa High looked all serious this year as well. I mean, just their prop vehicle was a 2.5t truck. It was a boxed truck too.”
Maru looked at the 1t truck that he was standing on.
“They have a lot of members after all. As far as I can tell, there’s around 100 of them, I think?”
“That’s one hell of a lot.”
Dowook opened the door to the passenger seat and went inside. Maru jumped off the back of the truck.
“Are you going to stay here?”
“I’ll look after the luggage and the trash. You should go watch.”
“Aren’t you gonna be bored here?”
“Like hell. I’m going to sleep.”
Dowook tilted the chair backwards and closed his eyes.
“Alright, get some sleep. Thanks for all the work since morning. The juniors will all look at you with respect.”
After hearing those words, Dowook put up his middle finger with one hand and waved with the other. Maru faintly smiled and walked over to Myunghwa High’s buses.
* * *
“Good. We’ll take a 10 minute break and practice again afterwards. In the meantime, you should all visit the toilet. The first years should get some rest while looking around, okay?”
“We prepared some food for you all, so eat if you feel hungry. But don’t eat too much, it will make your head work less. Okay, we’ll meet again in 10 minutes.”
Yuna uttered out a short breath. Perhaps because the opera house was right in front of her, she felt her nervousness intensifying.
“Yuna. We’re going to go inside the opera house, wanna come with us?”
“I’ll stay outside. I don’t think my heart can handle going inside right now.”
“Oh right. You said you weren’t feeling well, didn’t you? You’ll feel better if you get some more fresh air.”
Her colleagues went inside. Yuna stretched her arms out and shook her hands and feet lightly. She was in her worst condition inside the bus, but she felt better than ever right now. It was probably thanks to Gaeul-seonbae’s encouragement.
Seonbae is so cool after all – Yuna thought back to Gaeul who had a firm expression on her face. It wouldn’t be surprising if she snapped out, yet Gaeul-seonbae consoled her instead. Yuna was able to feel Gaeul-seonbae’s firm faith in Maru-seonbae at that moment. That was when she realized that she wouldn’t be able to wriggle her way between the two. She was finally able to put down her feelings.
‘I’m just a junior and a little sister.’
Neither Maru-seonbae nor Gaeul-seonbae made a big deal about it. It meant that Yuna herself wasn’t someone charming enough to threaten their romantic relationship. While she felt bitter about it, she also felt like this was a better ending. Feelings would go away someday – the two seonbae said those words in common. Yuna decided to believe in those words.
She drank some water and took a stroll around the art gallery. Just then, she discovered a student walking up the stairs from the parking lot. That student also noticed Yuna. Yuna hesitated for a moment before greeting him cheerfully,
Maru, who was at the top of the staircase, waved back at her.
* * *
“Gaeul, there are no problems with the costumes, right?”
“Wait a sec, I just need to put this on.”
“Did something fall off?”
“One of the buttons is loose.”
“Those first-year students, they said there weren’t any problems yesterday,” Choi Seol said as she tensed her eyes.
Gaeul tapped on her forehead when rage got the better of her.
“It might have come loose from all the shaking on the way here. It’s something I can fix easily, so there’s no problem. Here, it’s perfect, isn’t it?” Gaeul said as she put down the needle.
Choi Seol tried pulling on the buttons before nodding.
“We’re now going to get changed and do one final rehearsal.”
“Do you need my help?”
“You should get some rest now. You were even busier than the first-year students.”
“I didn’t participate in practice, so I should at least make up for that.”
“You did enough, so stay still until the performance begins.”
Choi Seol left the bus with the costumes. Gaeul sighed softly before leaning back. She felt tired for some reason. She was dazing out, and her eyes felt blurry as well.
“Geez, what’s up with me….”
She pondered how she would deal with Yuna in the future. Today, she acted boldly and glossed over it, but just as the ‘one inside her’ said, she felt very uneasy. Of course, Maru wasn’t some item that belonged to her. If he changed his mind someday and left her, that would be it. However, bad thoughts kept appearing in a corner of her heart. They were telling her to stay wary of Yuna and block her. There was a part of her that told her to not let the relationship between the two people get better.
Perhaps ‘her’ words were right. A greedy hypocrite. Gaeul rested her hands on her chin and looked outside the window. At that moment, she found Maru standing at the top of a staircase like it was a lie. At the same time, she was reminded of the phone call they had in the morning. She had forgotten about it because she was busy with all the work.
For some reason, she felt happy. Naturally, Maru was in this place and she might run into him, but it felt like a miracle that he appeared right at the moment she wanted to see him. Gaeul opened the bus window. She poked her head out and tried to call him. That is, if she did not see Yuna running over to Maru.
She blocked her voice from escaping her mouth by blocking her mouth with her hands. She immediately crouched low and got away from the window. She did nothing wrong, yet she clutched her racing heart. She couldn’t understand why she had to hide, but her body proactively got away from the window. On top of the staircase, which she could see from a diagonal angle, she saw Maru and Yuna greet each other. The phone she placed on her thighs fell down. Gaeul stared at that phone for a while.