Life, Once Again! - Chapter 851
-Hello? This is Kim Bitna.
He definitely called Gaeul’s number, but someone totally different picked up. He thought he called the wrong number, so he took his phone off his ear and checked the name. The name ‘Han Gaeul’ was up on the screen.
-Sorry. This is indeed senior Han Gaeul’s phone.
The person on the other side seemed flustered as well, as her voice was quite shaky. She sounded quite young as well. Was Gaeul with a friend? He didn’t think it was her manager or her stylist. Just as he was about to ask the person on the other side to switch, he stopped. She just introduced herself as Kim Bitna. The name and the voice finally matched inside his head.
“Kim Bitna? Are you perhaps Yuna’s sister?”
-Yes. Do you remember me?
“I do. But why are you picking up Gaeul’s phone?”
-She’s driving right now.
Talk to Bitna for now – he could hear Gaeul’s voice over the phone. Following that was Bitna’s high-pitched voice that said ‘senior’ in a fluster. Maru could picture her being at a loss on what to say from just her voice.
“Have you been doing well?”
At times like these, it was better to talk to her first.
-Yes. But what should I call you? Should I call you senior Maru after all?
“You called me ahjussi the first time we met, so just keep calling me that.”
-I feel like the situation has changed since then.
“I was just joking. Call me what you want. You can call me senior if that’s comfortable for you, and oppa is fine too.”
-Then I’ll call you oppa. I also call senior Gaeul unni.
“That takes care of addresses. I didn’t expect you two to be together.”
-We met at the shoot for Doctor’s Office. I appear in it briefly.
“So you have continued working all this time. Did Gaeul treat you well?”
-Yes. She looked out for me a lot. Thanks to her, I had an easy time.
“If you have any difficulties, you should ask her for help without holding back.”
-I get plenty of help from her even now.
Whether then or now, her way of speaking was really mature. Maru could still imagine her when she was little, speaking the right words with her little mouth. She was a lot more grown-up than her sister.
“We haven’t met since we met with Yuna, have we?”
-Yes. That was the last time we saw each other.
“Man, time flies. That was already 6 years ago. Are you in middle school now?”
-I will be next year.
“It must be hard to work alongside school classes.”
-I’m doing this because I want to. Also, mom’s good at scheduling work for me, so I don’t think I’ll have a problem with school work. Things might change later, but for now, it looks okay.
“I’m sure you’ll be able to do both. But don’t push yourself too hard. Once you grow up a little more, you’ll be in an environment where you can work to your heart’s content. Before that though, spend more time with your friends and go to good places with your family. You’ve heard this many times already, haven’t you?”
-No. There aren’t that many people who say that to me. Everyone doesn’t say much because I can take care of myself. Even though I’m still young.
“At times like that, you can grab an adult next to you and throw a tantrum saying that it’s too hard. It’s one of the privileges you have when you’re at that age.”
-I can throw a tantrum?
“Of course. Good kids who take care of themselves are all the more okay to throw tantrums. A proper adult will look at what is troubling you and understand you. Like I said before, if you find anything difficult, tell it to Gaeul. The Gaeul I know is not a bad adult, so she’ll listen to you and sympathize with you.”
-She’s a good person after all.
“Yes, she’s a good person.”
Bitna, who became silent over the phone, eventually said that she’d hand the phone to Gaeul. Maru felt as though she had more to say, but he had no way of asking as the person in question had turned quiet. Gaeul picked up the phone.
“Are you driving Bitna home?”
-Yes. She said she lives in Banpo-dong too. So I was just driving her home on the way back.
“From what I remember, Bitna’s mother was always next to her.”
-It looks like she had something to do today. Bitna said she was going to take the bus home, but I had her get in my car.
“Well done. It’s late, so anyone would feel anxious to have a girl go home by herself at this hour. Even if it’s the city.”
-Exactly. Also, I bought a sandwich for you. A vegetable sandwich with avocados in it.
“I was just feeling hungry, so good.”
Gaeul said that it would be fantastic to eat it with half a can of beer but then suddenly turned quiet after saying ‘wait a moment.’ She seemed to have taken her phone off her ear as he could hear her talking with Bitna in a small voice. Thinking back, she was supposed to be driving. It seemed that she had put the phone down to drive.
The one who spoke was Bitna.
-We’ll go to your house right now, oppa.
* * *
Bitna hung up and put the phone down.
“He said I can come.”
She was quick to work, and even quicker to think. She wasn’t that mindful when she talked about the sandwich. She thought that Bitna would consider Maru and her as just friends without thinking that they had a relationship of a boy and a girl.
“Are you two dating?”
She almost dropped her phone when she said those unexpected words. She took her phone off her ears in a hurry and asked what she meant by that. Bitna said that she just speculated; she deduced that they were in a special relationship considering what she had heard from her sister, the way they talked over the phone, as well as her going over to his house with food late at night. She also said that she was convinced after seeing her reaction after listening to that question. Bitna soon looked down at her clasped hands before asking if she could go to Maru’s house cautiously. Gaeul said that she should ask the person in question first and soon received permission to go.
“Sorry I suddenly said I want to go.”
“No, it’s fine. It doesn’t matter to me at all. I was going there anyway. But Bitna, you heard about me and Maru from Yuna?”
“No, my sister never said anything in detail. She may be a chatterbox, but she’s not someone who carelessly talks about privacy,” Bitna said as she grabbed the seatbelt with her left hand.
“Unni was crying at home. I asked what was up, and she said that she still felt a little sorry for Gaeul-unni, but it had been resolved and that she was happy. Unni said that she liked someone she shouldn’t. Back then, I didn’t know what she meant by that. But I understood after seeing a call for you from Maru-oppa and your expression, Gaeul-unni. From what I remember, my sister had a very long first love. When she cried, her first love came to an end.”
By the time she finished those words, Bitna was holding onto the seatbelt with both of her hands.
“Gaeul-unni. Please don’t hate my sister.”
“Bitna, I’ve never hated Yuna. No, I guess I was jealous of her before, but definitely not now. She’s a precious friend and a sister of mine. I will never hate her.”
“Even though she did something bad?”
Gaeul forgot because she was so good at logical deduction, but Bitna was still young. She seemed to know the complexity of people loving each other and breaking up but not the fact that the happenings that might happen throughout couldn’t simply be categorized into ‘good’ and ‘bad.’
“She didn’t do anything bad. Your sister just didn’t know anything.”
“Mom told me that the police wouldn’t be necessary if not knowing about it is an excuse for being innocent.”
“That’s a bit of a different problem, but still, Yuna just liked a person. Yes, if someone has sinned, it lies with Maru.”
How was she supposed to respond to that? The sin of being too charming? The sin of shaking a woman’s heart by being overly kind? Every one of those reasons was hard to say out loud. Just as she was wondering if she should just gloss things over, she saw Bitna smiling while covering her mouth. The moment she saw her expression, she thought that she had been one-upped.
“Bitna knows how to tease her unni, huh?”
“Sorry. I thought that my sister knew everything and still did that because she had something bad in her mind. But you said that she didn’t, so it put me at ease. But seeing you flustered also made me want to know what would happen next.”
“Looks like I have to get myself together if I want to talk to you next time so that you don’t tease me.”
“I won’t do that from now on.”
“If you want to tease me, then do it any time. We’re close after all. Uh, we are close, right?”
“Are you going to be angry if I say no?”
“According to your answer, I’ll decide whether I’ll tickle you or not. You won’t be able to breathe once I start tickling you on the sides.”
“Then I’ll say we’re close. I’m really bad at handling people tickling me.”
“I feel like I’m getting duped here, but I’ll let you go this time.”
Bitna let go of her hands holding the seatbelt as though she felt relieved.
“Did you and Maru-oppa start dating when you were in high school?”
“How did you know that?”
“My sister liked Maru-oppa back then. It happened a long time ago, but I still remember it. She had me lie so that she could see Maru-oppa. She said that I wanted to see him.”
“She must have gotten Maru’s number through a certain senior at school.”
“And that was you?”
The smart girl nodded as though she understood everything.
“But why do you want to go to Maru’s house so suddenly?”
“To throw a tantrum.”
“I’ll tell you when we get there, about the things I couldn’t tell you during the day.”