Life, Once Again! - Chapter 885
When he learned that Moonjoong was on the phone for an interview, he didn’t think much about it. He just thought that the elder was looking out for him. When Hyuktae, one of the hosts, mentioned Sungjae while asking questions, he just believed that he was lucky. However when even Kim Suyeon’s name was mentioned, Maru realized that this ‘coincidence’ was all designed. The first person that came to mind who might have given the information to the staff beforehand was Byungchan, but that guy wasn’t someone who would plan things so meticulously.
“Did you have a call with the president?” Maru asked Joohyun.
“Not really a call, but I did receive a text during my shoot. He told me that Chatterbox was being shot in the building next to me and that you are one of the guests. It seems like your president looks out for you a lot since he texted me.”
“That sounds like a lot of pressure on me. If I screw up the show, I might even get called by him.”
“I came all the way to support you, so if you don’t benefit at all, then you are worth a scolding.”
“Are you okay with the president now? I have always thought that you hated our president.”
“Did I look like I hated him? Well, I guess that’s not such a surprise. We stayed distant from each other when we needed to talk to each other. If I think about it, I was the source of the misunderstanding. I’ll tell you the details after the shoot. I think it’s fine if you know,” Joohyun finished her words there.
“Sorry about that. I had bad stomach cramps.”
Younghoon returned from the bathroom. The staff members also returned to their positions and got ready for the shoot.
“We’ll resume the shoot.”
After the producer’s words, the slate clapping could be heard. Younghoon picked up the question sheet slightly and spoke,
“Unfortunately, Miss Ahn Joohyun, who made a surprise visit to our show today, has to go because of her schedule.”
“Sorry about that. I’d love to stay here for the whole day, but I have things to do.”
“Then why don’t you join our show some other time? If you promise, we’ll give you a solo seat without any other guests.”
“Will you really?”
“I can’t make promises, but the director of our entertainment department can. Director, it’s about time you use the saved-up money.”
Maru applauded from the side in response. There was one additional thing necessary to ‘respond’ to someone’s words on a TV show. It was to do it properly. The studio was not that different from a theater stage. Small voices and movements were no different from being rude.
“It’s such a pity to send you off already, so can I ask for something?”
“I’ll hear you out first.”
“I heard that you and Mr. Maru over here have acted together in a drama once, right? I didn’t know about it, but one of our writers showed me a video just now. It was incredible. You looked like you were about to kill someone and bury the corpse in a mountain or something.”
“Oh, you’re talking about The Witness.”
Joohyun was surprised, asking where they had found something like that, but the writer had revealed everything to her beforehand. Even Younghoon’s commentary about it was predetermined to a certain extent. Scripting was as important for general TV shows as much as it was for dramas. It was definitely a difficult thing to rely on the reflexes of the hosts all the time for the show.
“I’d like to see that scene here. Originally, we were going to ask Mr. Maru to show his acting by himself, but since you’re here, you should do it together.”
“I’ve never acted on a TV show before. In fact, I don’t even show up in TV shows that much.”
Joohyun declined it once. This wasn’t scripted. Younghoon chuckled before acting cute with that burly build of his. He even made a nasal voice. Joohyun laughed out loud.
“Miss Joohyun. You laughed, so you better do it. I don’t do comedy like this anywhere, you know?”
“Alright. But even if you didn’t do it, I was going to do it anyway.”
“You should’ve told me beforehand. I don’t do this that often.”
“I’m sure there will be gifs floating online now.”
Joohyun stood up and hinted to Maru. Maru said he was not good around strangers and that he couldn’t do it, but he eventually stood in front of the main table, as though he couldn’t help it.
“Oh, but we need a desk. We need to be facing each other.”
“There’s a splendid table right here, so you can use it however you wish.”
Hearing Jay’s words, the hosts all stood up and moved over to the guests’ side. Maru faced Joohyun with the hosts’ table between them.
“It is a little embarrassing to do it so suddenly.”
“Hey, I don’t even have any lines and I have to shout like crazy. You’re better off than me.”
“Why did I project myself to this suffering….”
“Since you’re here, please do your best. You said you owe me. Though, I don’t remember anything like that.”
“I’m paying everything off with this, so remember it. You ready?”
“I’m always ready.”
“So I just have to do it?”
Joohyun placed her hands on the table and took a deep breath. The OST from The Witness flowed out into the studio. It was one of the soundtracks that came out a lot during urgent situations. Behind Joohyun, the faces of the hosts and the guests could be seen. Their expressions were varied. Expectation, jealousy, indifference. Maru also placed his hands on the table. This was no different from any other stage. The audience in a theater looked at him with similar gazes. There was only one thing he had to do, and it was to make their eyes stay with his acting.
“Don’t do it too roughly. There will be trouble if you bleed like you did back then.”
“And I was praying that I would bleed.”
“You’re taking this as an opportunity?”
“Sure I am. Someone great is supporting me, so I should receive it well.”
He didn’t have the luxury to refuse when he was being fed. ‘You could’ve started ages ago’ – When Gaeul mentioned those words, he just smiled it off, but he was actually quite conscious of it. It wasn’t that his repeated lives took away his desires. Just because his life was going to be reset didn’t mean that he became an extreme skeptic. Maru wanted to live fiercely. Gaeul was a strong woman who did not need his support. Now that there was no need to pursue financial benefits for her sake, what Maru desired the most was a stage which he could throw himself into. Ironically, such stages were always tied to capital. Rather than dying in a deserted alley acting by himself, he wanted to act in front of the world. In order to do that though, there was a need to raise his value. He had to give the production companies the notion that putting this actor in a set that was made practically of money was a good idea.
Joohyun flicked her eyebrows once. It was her signal telling him to get ready because she was going to start acting. It was also a form of encouragement to receive her act. Maru nodded. After sending off the express train to success that was Flaming Lady, he finally got this chance. This strand of opportunity, which started off from the drama Doctors, was something that he could not afford to let go of. Even if he became sick after being fed too much, he had to receive all of it and let out everything he had. This show might become a foothold to that after all.
“Open your eyes,” Joohyun said.
* * *
How did things come to this? Hamin looked in front of her. Joohyun was in the driver’s seat, and Han Maru was sitting next to her. A pop song she didn’t know the name of resounded inside the car.
She thought back to what happened an hour ago. There was a get-together scheduled after the shoot. The participants were the cast, the producer, and the writers. It was a great opportunity to make new connections. Just as she was about to say that she was definitely going to go, Han Maru apologized and pulled out.
“I’d love to go, but I have a prior engagement. I might not be attending today, so I will definitely treat you all out next time.”
Younghoon said that it was a pity and sent Maru off after a handshake. Hamin looked at him going towards the parking lot before leaving the group as well.
“I also have something to do. I’m so sorry everyone.”
While she was walking towards the parking lot after leaving the group, Hamin regretted it a lot. She felt like she had wasted an opportunity to become close to those people. However, to just laugh and eat together with those people, what Maru said to her tugged her mind too much. She felt like she would have a hole in her stomach if she didn’t tie up the ends properly. So, she followed Maru. She lingered around the parking lot filled with cars looking for Maru. Only after she climbed up to the third floor did she find Maru leaning next to a pillar. She called out to him and approach him. When she got closer, she found a person behind the pillar. It was Ahn Joohyun. Hamin looked at Maru and the surroundings alternately before freezing up on the spot. She thought that Maru would naturally be by himself, but someone unexpected appeared in front of her.
“Do you have business with him?”
She couldn’t explain the reason she came looking for Maru, and since she couldn’t explain, she would look suspicious. Hamin was not so proficient at smiling things off in such situations and avoiding the topic. She eyed Maru looking for help, but he looked away as though it was not related to him. He even smiled, not knowing how she felt.
“So you do have something to talk to him about. Then do you want to go eat together?”
Hamin sighed. She thought that she had to reply ‘no’ to that question, but she ended up nodding at the strange hope that she might be able to eat with Joohyun. The result was that she was sitting in the back seat awkwardly like this.
“Miss Hamin. How was my acting back then?” Joohyun suddenly asked a question while humming along with the pop song.
Hamin sat up stiffly. She felt like she had to reply with her utmost effort.
“It was the best.”
“There are no cameras here, so you can just tell me honestly. I can only learn if I receive criticisms too.”
“I mean it when I said it was the best. I was just watching from the side, yet it made me shake in nervousness. It was the ideal acting that I’ve always imagined about.”
She wasn’t lying. The reenactment of The Witness that she saw at the studio was freakishly good. Hamin did not even breathe until Joohyun and Maru’s skit ended. Joohyun bared her teeth like a murderer herself in order to interrogate a crazed killer, and it felt like she showed what charisma was. When she grabbed Maru by the hair and smashed him down on the table, she honestly thought that it was a mistake. It was just that realistic. She even worried that Maru might have been injured.
“I’ve ridden along with the flow again today,” Maru said from the side.
Hamin moved her gaze, which was on Joohyun’s face, to Maru this time. This guy was surprising as well. The way he growled while his face was smashed against the table made him look like a crazed dog. The violence and cruelty could be seen in his eyes, and he felt like he would rush out and bite the throat of a human if he was not on a leash. The question sheet the hosts placed on the table fell on his body. The whole thing was so dynamic that the producer and the writer almost interrupted halfway. It wasn’t surprising that the production staff were surprised. They probably didn’t know that the two would go so far.
When the act ended, both the hosts and the guests forgot to applaud. Only after the soundtrack flowing through the speakers came to an end did they awkwardly praise the two.
It was so stunning that they took another break just ten minutes after they resumed. Everyone was in a daze. When she came to, the first thing Hamin felt was displeasure; as though she had seen a real interrogation scene, and as though she had seen a real killer. The other guests had similar expressions, so they probably felt similar things.
“But hey, did I butt in between you two? If it’s like that, then tell me quickly. I’ll get out of your way quickly.”
“No! Absolutely, definitely not!” Hamin replied while waving her hands in the air in a flurry.
She didn’t want to get misunderstood by her idol. Maru also replied that it wasn’t like that.
“Then I guess we can take our time eating. Miss Hamin. What would you like to eat? This must be fate, so we’ll go with whatever you like.”
Things were going in a weird direction, but Hamin subconsciously said ‘cream pasta.’ After blurting those words out, she slapped down on her own lips.