Life, Once Again! - Chapter 894
“Unni, your eyeshadow got a bit smudged. Wait a sec.”
Gaeul closed her eyes and waited. It was a scene where many people were running down the corridor, and the director seemed dissatisfied and was increasing the number of cuts.
“Unni, would you like some water?”
“I was just about to ask. Do you have anything cold?”
“I do. Look at you sweating despite it being winter. Looks like the director has set his mind on it today. The reversal in viewing rates really hits big, huh.”
She drank some cold water given to her by Mijoo. Doctor’s Office ended up yielding its first place to Doctors. The staff members of Doctor’s Office whispered to one another that it was the rebellion of the side characters. Doctors received a strange amount of attention starting episode 8, caught up to Doctor’s Office at a steady rate, and ultimately passed it.
“Lift the reflector properly,” the director shouted.
From what she heard, it seemed that he had gotten an earful from the head producer. Apparently, he was laughed at by a fellow producer he was discreetly competing with, in the department. He usually preferred using gentle words of consolation even when someone made a mistake instead of chiding them, but today, he was properly getting angry. It seemed that he had a very high-stress level. Gaeul also did her best not to create NGs and focused especially harder than before. After all, the more delayed the shoot became, the tighter the schedule would become, and the stricter the director’s voice would be.
“I watched Chatterbox yesterday. Maru-oppa was pretty amazing, yeah? Even my friends are talking about it. I told my friends that someone I know is going to be on it.”
“Well done. But what did your friends say exactly?”
“Apparently, he’s so cute because he’s weirdly cute. He looks cold at a glance, but he looks interesting.”
“Popularity sure works wonders. If it was before, people would have said that he gives people a bad impression.”
“Maru-oppa does have quite a cute face if he smiles. Though, he is a bit menacing when he glares. Chatterbox has gotten more viewing rates than usual, so I’m sure your boyfriend will become popular now.”
“I wish that would happen.”
Mijoo, who was smiling, suddenly turned rigid.
“Kang Giwoo’s coming.”
Mijoo organized the cosmetics and left the place. Gaeul had told her to leave the place naturally once she caught sight of Giwoo. In cases where she couldn’t help it, she just told her to stay smiling.
“It’s not cold at all today.”
“I’ve been running since morning, so there was no time to feel cold. I can’t even feel that it’s winter.”
They say you get used to smelling disgusting things, and indeed, it had gotten a lot easier to talk to Giwoo. It was much better compared to before when she had to put her mind into acting every time she faced him.
“So I kept thinking about it, and I think I’ve done something wrong after all. If not, I just can’t understand why you’re acting cold towards me.”
She felt that what was coming had finally come. Last time, when Kang Giwoo invited her out to a meal, she had hammered the final nail in the coffin, saying that she had no leisure to date anyone right now. After that, he did not talk to her for a while, but his gaze became a lot more persistent. She held out well until now with minimum conversations because she had to act with him, but it seemed like this was the end of that. Gaeul reminded herself that she had to respond calmly before speaking,
“I told you. I want to focus on acting for now. I’m not saying that I hate you or that you made some mistake that made me want to distance myself from you. I’m saying that I want to invest more time into myself.”
“Then alright. I know better than anyone that your desire for achievement is strong.”
Her lips twitched. You know me well? – she almost urged him to recite all the things he knew about her. If she hadn’t remembered Maru’s obedient smile when she parted her lips halfway, she would have caused a ruckus in the set. She couldn’t just shout at him and regret it later.
“It’s as you say. I’m a lump of self-improvement, so I don’t plan to do anything else for the time being. So let us each focus on the piece we’re doing. The director’s already on edge since we got overtaken.”
“I was surprised after seeing the viewing rate chart last time. I thought that we would be in the lead even though they caught up, but it was reversed. Maru is amazing after all, isn’t he? He was the start of it all. He’s getting more spotlight than the lead characters. He seems busy with interview requests and all.”
“You seem quite knowledgeable on what Maru is up to recently.”
This guy was way too cautious. Despite ‘knowing’ that they had broken up, it seemed that he had not excluded the possibility that they were still dating, from how he kept bringing up Maru every time they talked. Gaeul responded with indifference. After all, not many people would be interested in talking to a wall.
“I saw Maru on Chatterbox last night. He was good in TV shows too. I’m sure the entertainment program producers will want him now.”
Gaeul also watched Chatterbox yesterday, alongside Maru in the living room. The ‘insane’ self-introduction that Maru showed her on the day he recorded the show came out on TV without a single edit, alongside funny subtitles and sound effects. It was something she greatly enjoyed watching, but she couldn’t express that in front of Giwoo.
“I didn’t watch it because I was sleeping. It’s not a program I enjoy watching anyway.”
“I have always wanted to know, did you two get into a fight? These days, you two don’t seem to be talking to each other.”
“I could say the opposite to you. You always seem to be talking about Maru recently. It’s like you’re Maru’s newsletter.”
She retorted because it felt like there would be no end to this if she just kept listening. It was something that would make Giwoo’s eyes flip with all the hostility he had towards Maru. Just as she expected, Giwoo smiled. It wasn’t the relaxing smile that he made out of habit. It was a defense mechanism that hid his discomfort. Now that she had experienced it from up close, she could tell the difference easily. She understood what Maru said when he talked about how Kang Giwoo was still too immature. Gaeul could easily see the errors that normal people would not find if they look at him with goodwill.
“I just want you two to make up,” Giwoo said.
He seemed to have gotten himself together in that short while, and the uncomfortable smile had disappeared.
“We never fought in the first place. We’re just both busy and don’t contact each other that much. Also, I have no reason to monitor each and every single one of his TV shows. It’s fine as long as we know that we’re doing well, isn’t it?”
“If you say so.”
“Done talking now?”
“I said everything I came here to say. So, I’m thinking if there’s anything else I should talk about. Also, I’m wondering if eating with me without any ulterior motives is such a hindrance to you.”
“It’s because you act like that that I have no choice but to act like this. It’d be a pain for both of us if we got awkward. If you need someone to date, why don’t you look for someone else? I’m sure you have a lot of women in your contacts.”
“I don’t have anyone I contact in private. I’m quite awkward when it comes to things like that. Do you know what made me flustered the most? It was when someone called me a playboy.”
“You are seeing me like one too? Is that why you’re distancing yourself from me?”
“No, I said this many times already, but I just think that now’s not the right time to be in love. You might think differently, but love is something you can do anytime. But as for my career, it will be over for me if I don’t get as much as I can now.”
“Isn’t it tiring to just keep working?”
“It is. I mean, what isn’t tiring work in this world? I’m just doing it because I enjoy it to the point that it doesn’t matter if it’s tiring.”
“I understand you.”
Giwoo nodded, seemingly in agreement. He was being obnoxiously persistent today. Was he getting the misconception that she was just pushing him back and not actually rejecting him? Or was he a pervert who gained joy from being excluded? Regardless of which, it was a pain in the head that he wasn’t leaving and was sticking around. She stood up and changed spots. The rest was becoming long because the camera was being put onto a different rail. She left the hospital because she didn’t like the stuffy air. She saw people who had come to watch the set. It was natural for people to be here since there were bright lights on at 9 in the evening.
“Gaeul-noona! I love you!”
A bunch of loud shouts could be heard. It was a bunch of high school boys. Gaeul waved his hand. The bunch of boys, who were taking photos of her and creating heart shapes in the air, suddenly stopped and looked to the left. She had a bad hunch about it. Just as she had expected, Giwoo was approaching. When she tried to leave because she didn’t want to get involved, Giwoo blocked her way.
“You should give them a little fan service.”
She subconsciously frowned. Did he set his mind on it today? She seriously considered if she should tell him to get lost and wondered if that would wake him up a little. Just then, Giwoo grabbed her wrist and raised it in the air. She was about to shake him off when she caught sight of the people who were taking photos. She forced herself to smile and waved her hand. Journalists had latched onto the drama because of the falling viewing rates. If she gave them any more sights, they would use their blabbermouths even more.
“Tell me if you want to fight with me. I like fighting,” she whispered to Giwoo in a small voice.
Only then did he let go of her hand and apologize. She rubbed her wrist as she returned to the hospital. She was originally going to get some fresh air, but she ruined her mood instead.
“I didn’t know you’d hate it so much. I’m sorry.”
“Are you a kid? Or what, were you annoyed that things didn’t go your way? I told you, didn’t I? I want to focus on work right now.”
“I just wanted to show our fans something good.”
“If it was like that, then you could just wave your hand. Or at least, tell me about it in advance. If you think that you can grab my hand without permission, then you’d better fix your thinking. I’m telling you, there will not be a next time.”
She wanted to vent her anger, but she held back because it might impact the shoot. This guy was truly more annoying than Lee Miyoon. Seeing him smile with a pretense of goodwill, she might as well have an easier time fighting it out with Lee Miyoon.
“Gaeul, are you upset?” Giwoo approached her and asked.
Gaeul did not want to reply. She desperately wanted to go home. She wanted to hug Woofie and lie down on the sofa without thinking about anything. She wanted to hear Maru’s humming.
“I’m sorry. It looks like I was too immature. I made a mistake because I’ve never truly liked someone before.”
She suddenly felt like a pair of cold hands touched her. She felt a chill running down her back. Gaeul looked at Giwoo. He, who she thought would look nervous or apologetic, was instead looking at her with sharp eyes. There was a smile that she had never seen before on his mouth. It was a smile that made her guard go up the moment she saw it. Gaeul intuitively realized that Giwoo was seeing her as a ‘toy.’ He had been watching from the side cautiously for months and must have finally made the decision today. That would also explain why he was being so persistent. What she found the most detestable was that the affection Giwoo showed seemed genuine. What could be more freaky than that man loving her?
“I’m sorry, but I will not harbor romantic feelings for you.”
“I know. But you never know what will happen when it comes to love.”
“That’s not true, I think. Most of the time, love is clear-cut. It’s so clear in fact, that you can’t possibly be wrong.”
“Maybe. But I still don’t want to give up. You still have a lot that you don’t know about me.”
“Just because I get to know something I didn’t doesn’t mean that my feelings towards you would change.”
“But that means that there is a possibility for change. I understand. I respect your decisions. And I did go too overboard. Let me apologize.”
He was a spiteful guy. He actually pulled out at the most decisive moment. If he was just a little more persistent about it, she would have walled him off properly so that he would never be able to talk to her in private again.
“But seeing you annoyed looks fresh and new. I like it.”
Giwoo walked past her. Her jaws felt tired. It was probably because she did not get to say what she wanted to say. Would she be able to get through the shoot properly? She clutched her aching mind when she saw the face of a woman that wasn’t too welcome in the distance.
“What a day.”
Gaeul looked at Lee Miyoon, who entered the hospital while hanging her coat on her arm. It would be great if she could just walk past like she didn’t see her. Maybe it was because she looked for God, who she usually didn’t look for, that made Miyoon, who was walking forward boldly, suddenly turn her head. They locked eyes. God, Buddha, whoever, isn’t this too harsh? – Gaeul smiled brightly and nodded.