Life, Once Again! - Chapter 73
In the streets, a cold wind blew . A small store could be seen under the blinking lights . In front of the lights was a small table, and in front of that, a young man passed by .
The young man had one hand in his pocket, and his other fiddling with the phone . Under the blinking lights, the man looked around for a bit before eventually looking at the front .
After staring for about three seconds, the man finally spoke .
“Um, who are you guys looking at?”
After looking around confusedly for a few more seconds, the man eventually pointed at his own face .
The man walked sideways like a crab, after exclaiming with a surprised look . After disappearing from the view, the man’s head poked back out to ask ‘Really? Me?’ one last time before disappearing .
* * *
Maru could only be described as a natural once he was on stage . After exiting the green tape, the boy waited for his next scene very calmly .
‘Hah… How do I get him to be desperate?’
Three weeks ago, Junmin gave her some insight into Maru .
[Maru’s not the type of person who’d move from outside influences . He needs an internal motivator, he’ll only display his true worth when he finds the motivation . So I’d suggest that you stop talking to him for now . Just watch . ]
Miso asked what would happen if Maru decided to do something else after that, but the man just responded with a ‘well, that’s just life’ .
‘He’s a good guy, but he’s even more stubborn than me when it comes to recruiting actors . ’
Maru shone like a star as soon as he started acting . It was hard to see right now, but it still was a very clear difference from the other actors on stage . Then again, even Junmin had recognized Maru’s talent .
‘He said Maru was amazing . ’
The weight behind Junmin’s words was different . Just as how a flower described as ‘beautiful’ carried a different weight between a person who saw it for the first time, and a person who saw it for the hundredth time . Junmin praised Maru as ‘amazing’ . Just what would Maru look like, then, if he got proper practice?
‘If only something would happen to shake that kid . . . ’
Miso nervously bit her thumb . She found a diamond in the rough, but she couldn’t touch it . It was driving her crazy .
Miso decided to focus on the run for now, they only had two weeks . After that, they needed to act out their play at the festival .
* * *
“Good work . Make sure to stretch before you sleep . Also, gargle with some warm water as well, and try to avoid hot water . It’ll dry your skin too much . We have two weeks left, so maintaining your health is just as important as practice . Got it?”
“We’re definitely going to the finals in the winter . Alright, off you go . ”
Miso put a hand forward saying ‘Blue Sky’, to which everyone else responded with a ‘fighting’ . With expressions of having completed another satisfactory day, the club departed one by one .
“Alright, let’s go . ”
Maru stepped out first with his bag, Dojin and Daemyung followed him down the stairs .
“Neither of you got scolded today, huh?” Dojin said with jealousy .
Today, Dojin managed to do his hundred pushups . Fifty for every time he made a mistake . It wasn’t such a horrible day for him in that regard, actually .
“Well, Daemyung aside… Maru, are you getting tutored or something?”
“No way, my character is just easy . ”
“Heh… That character definitely isn’t easy, the way I see it . Right, Daemyung?”
Maru waved away the two’s curious looks .
“You’d be better than me if you took my character . ”
“No way . ”
The three of them said their goodbyes to their seniors as they left, leaving the school grounds . Dojin and Daemyung turned left here, to get to the bus station . Maru was just about to head off to the right on his bike .
“Maru . ”
Maru got off the bike after hearing someone call for him . It was Joonghyuk . Did something happen? The boy clearly ran over here to speak to him .
“Let’s talk . ”
“Sure . ”
“We can do it while we walk . Do you live this way?”
“Yes . What about you?”
“Me too . ”
The two of them walked next to each other . Maru looked at Joonghyuk as he pushed his bike with one hand . The two stopped talking to each other one on one after their conversation about what happened at the beginning of the last semester . After walking silent for a few minutes, Joonghyuk finally opened his mouth at a red light .
“Acting… Are you okay with it?”
“I’m trying my best not to be a drag . ”
“Drag? No way . ”
Joonghyuk looked up at the sky for a second, making Maru look up as well . The moon was shining brightly . Maybe it was a super moon? They could even spot the craters on it .
“A year ago, when we weren’t even able to participate in the competition due to the fire… Yoonjung and Danmi cried a lot . ”
“I’m surprised to hear that even Danmi cried . ”
“Right, I was surprised too . ”
The light turned green .
“I thought a lot back then . Props are just as important as the acting . That’s why I tried to be a stage manager when I went into my second year . Though that idea obviously failed thanks to instructor Miso . In any case, I made up my mind to help these friends not cry next time . No matter what happens, I’d take them to the finals . ”
“But it didn’t work out . ”
“That’s right . Well, at least we got to the prelims, so it’s a lot better than last year . Honestly, if Geunseok didn’t cry that day, Yoonjung and Danmi would’ve . They were holding back trying to cheer Geunseok up . ”
Maru smiled awkwardly, imagining his two seniors crying in his head .
“Once we become seniors, we won’t be able to focus on plays anymore . Everyone wants to stay in the club, sure, but we wouldn’t be able to invest as much of our time anymore . We need to start getting licenses and look for jobs . Plus, three of us are looking to get into college . This is probably our last chance at fully immersing ourselves in the club . ”
“What about you?”
“Me? Well, our family runs a store, so I’ll just take over . Iseul is probably thinking the same, right?”
“Yes . Iseul wants to take over her parents’ restaurant . ”
“Honestly, I couldn’t imagine her doing that for my life . ”
“I agree . ”
Iseul was pretty enough to look like a movie actor . To think she would don an apron and work in a restaurant…
‘Wait, maybe this could work . ’
A restaurant with a pretty woman running it… It sounded like a great opportunity to make money . Maybe Maru could ask to work together in the future? As he was thinking about such things, Joonghyuk suddenly stopped walking .
“I want you to be the club president next year . ”
Maru stopped his bike to look at Joonghyuk . In truth, Joonghyuk had hesitated for a long time before he could say these words . It wasn’t a particularly difficult thing to say, but in front of Maru, he hesitated .
“I thought of this for a long while . It’s not something that I just came up with either . All of us second years think you should be the president . We wouldn’t have said a thing if you kept being on the sidelines, but… Now that you’re participating, I think you should be the one taking over . ”
“I’d recommend that you ask some . . . ”
“Of course, if you refuse, I’ll ask someone else . We aren’t forcing this on you . ”
“Why me, then?”
“Because you were the only one who could say the right words for the club . ”
“I was just being arrogant back then . ”
“I heard what happened from Taesik . Oh, of course, I pressured him until he told me . He wanted to keep it a secret . ”
Joonghyuk overheard Taesik talking about Maru at some point . Afterward, he kept trying to get information from the man . In the end, he discovered how Maru took on the role of a villain for the club . Of course, he had an idea that this was the case from the beginning, but he only realized that this was the truth thanks to talking with the advisor . Joonghyuk told the rest of the second years about this, he thought they deserved to hear about this .
As a result of his actions, they had the idea of making Maru the president for next year . Once they become third years, they wouldn’t be able to work with the club anymore, so it has become a tradition for the club to choose a new president around this time .
“ . . . You should definitely recommend the position to someone else, then,” Maru said .
Joonghyuk shook his head .
“If it was in the past, I definitely would’ve . Since you were always the spectator . But that’s not the case anymore . Aren’t you getting more serious about acting?”
Just before summer, Maru was more like an audience member in the club . Someone who did participate, but not by much . All of that changed in the fall . At some point, Maru started acting himself, and involved himself pretty deeply within the club as well . He had changed . Sure, Geunseok and Daemyung showed talent as actors, but Maru far outclassed the two in pretty much everything else . The boy even reminded Joonghyuk of his elder brother at times .
‘No, Maru’s pretty comparable to those two in terms of acting as well . ’
Just looking at Maru's performance would set the scene for the play splendidly . Plus, the way he was so natural on the stage allowed even the actors to become engrossed into the play . There was something about him that attracted attention .
Maru was mature, good at acting, and his words often carried weight . Who could be better at assuming the role of a president than him?
“I’m not telling you to make your decision right now . I just wanted to let you know that this is what the club is thinking . ”
Joonghyuk pat Maru’s shoulders a few times before turning away . He wanted Maru to be president, but who knows what might happen? All he could do now was wait .
* * *
“President, huh . ”
The one thing Maru wanted to become in his previous life, just thinking about it made him laugh a little bit . Maru shook off the excess water from his hair and sat down on a chair . Any other time, he would’ve just refused Joonghyuk right there and then, but he couldn’t do that today .
“Talent . . . ”
Three weeks ago, Maru ended up seeing inside Junmin’s mind .
[This guy has talent . Enough to make me want to raise him . But he has no interest himself . ]
Three weeks ago, Maru tried searching for Lee Junmin on the internet to no avail . Same with JA Production as well . To begin with, searching for Lee Junmin only gave him results about an idol with the same name . But once he dug a little bit further, he could find the man in certain celebrity articles . He wasn’t mentioned a lot, but whenever he was, the nickname ‘maestro’ always followed .
Maru realized that this man was much more famous than he initially thought . The man was a producer, one that dug up famous newbies all the time . One of the articles even mentioned that the female lead of the most popular drama on TV right now was raised by him .
The man wasn’t very famous amongst civilians, but in the acting scene, he was pretty much Midas . That very man thought Maru was talented . Thanks to that, Maru ended up thinking and thinking for the past three weeks . He was given a choice . A choice he didn’t have in his previous life .
“What happens to my future if I choose this path?”
He wouldn’t be a road manager or an office worker, that much was certain . There was merit in becoming an actor, yes . But at the same time, he was nervous . He already experienced failure many times in life .
“I guess I’m just old, huh . ”
And one more thing .
“I should’ve asked her for her phone number . ”
He didn’t know what would happen to his and her future if he made this decision . These were the two things he was nervous about . He couldn’t take care of his nervousness just yet, obviously, but he could somewhat make do with what would happen between him and her . As long as he could come to meet her earlier this time…
‘I’ll make you happy this time . ’
Maru wanted to give her the gift of a bright life . Especially because of the dreams she had to give up on in the previous life for their family . In that case… In this life… Maru wanted to give her the world that she wanted, a world where she could do anything she desires .
“I should meet her first, though . “
He needed to show the others she was taken before anything else .
“She’s way too pretty for her own good . ”
Maru realized right then, that the ship that was his life just took a slight turn .