Life, Once Again! - Chapter 916
His lips trembled as a result of curling up his lips by force. His palms were sweaty as well. He felt like he had climbed on top of the railing of a high-rise building without any safety measures. Yoo Jiseok wiped his hands against his pants. He was worried that Miyoon might be suspicious of him, but thankfully, she didn’t notice anything. The excuse he came up with just in case she asked turned out to be unnecessary.
After seeing Miyoon walk off, he made a call.
“I thought my heart was going to fail.”
-Don’t you ever say that even as a joke. I’m not sure about anyone else, but when it comes to you, heart failure sounds too realistic.
“I wasn’t joking. It would’ve been an interesting sight if I fell over because of tachycardia.”
-Sorry I asked you to do something that’s bad for your heart.
“As long as you know. I listened to your request just because of Gaeul.”
-Don’t tell Gaeul any of this.
“Of course. She’ll cause a mess if she finds out.”
-Since your heart is fine and you’re alive, seems like things went well?
“I was really nervous. It’ll be a pain in the head if she starts suspecting me. For now, I told her what you told me to tell her.”
-How’s her reaction?
“She might be just saying it, but she said she’s willing to join hands with an enemy in order to get rid of the enemy in front of her. She says she wouldn’t need to worry about being betrayed if she’s careful.”
-That’s more than enough. The words she uttered will remain inside her head and influence her future course of action.
Jiseok returned to the bench that Miyoon left and sat down.
“She definitely looks like she’s being chased by something. Leaving her terrible personality aside, her acting skills were indisputable, but recently, she’s doing terribly. Just today, we had to take three breaks just because she kept making mistakes on the same scene continuously.”
-I don’t know the specifics, but it looks like a big portion of Lee Miyoon’s business had been stolen from her. Her mind is elsewhere, so there’s no way she could do well in acting.
“A business she’s involved in, huh? Are you talking about her porridge restaurant or her barbecue restaurant?”
-The other one. The one that only people in the know, know about.
“You mean selling people?”
Jiseok clicked his tongue. The bad rumors about Lee Miyoon were enough to make most people feel disgusted. Even Jiseok, who tended to believe in people’s good hearts, could not believe in Lee Miyoon.
-I’ll tell you more once I find out.
“It feels like it’s going to be a very gloomy story. Are you sure you want to tell me? What are you going to do if I tell other people about it?”
-If you’re the type of person to do that, you would have long lost your place in my contacts list.
“That makes me feel grateful. The social media star Han Maru is telling me that. I saw that you know? The one where you sang inside the restaurant. You were on top of your chair, acting all cute….”
The phone hung up there. Jiseok could almost hear an ‘f’ just as the call ended. He smiled and gave a call again.
“Don’t be so embarrassed. It’ll all come back to you as a promotion and will work in your favor. I went to Instagram and saw those hashtags. I think at least ten thousand people have seen it already since senior Joohyun shared it on her account. Thanks to that, I think many people are getting to know about it.”
-Do you know something called the right to be forgotten?
“The right to laugh is bigger than that. I also had a good night’s sleep after I watched that. It’s stress-relieving.”
-Fine, laugh all you want.
He could picture Maru’s indifferent-looking face. As much as he wanted to tease him more, he felt like his number would get erased off Maru’s contact list if he went any further, so he decided to hold back. There was something he needed to tell him too.
“I heard that Yoojin’s coming back to Korea on December 2nd.”
-That’s the day after tomorrow.
“Yep. She called me a few days ago and told me that she got in touch with you. It seems like she was quite frustrated that she didn’t know that you and Gaeul got back together.”
-Don’t tell me you bragged that you knew about it?
“Hey, I may love laughing, but there’s no way I would test my friendship in order to laugh, is there?”
-So you did brag. You sound like you’ve bragged about it to death.
“Yoojin told me that she’ll beat you and Gaeul half to death once she comes.”
“I’m included too. I had fun talking about it, then I got hit with a counterattack right at the end. And anyway, we’re all doing pretty well huh? Gaeul is doing well all the way up there, while you and I keep doing actor work. Yoojin’s also working in her own way while continuing to try out as an actor.”
-It’s good that we aren’t doing nothing. You said you’re graduating next year?
“Just barely. I didn’t even go to the military that other people go to, yet I still haven’t graduated yet.”
-It’s not like you were doing other things, you were working, so it shouldn’t matter. Oh yeah, my mother told me to get your autograph. She’s enjoying your weekend dramas.
“I’m thankful that she’s looking at me in a good light even though I don’t appear that much.”
Jiseok checked the time. It was about time for him to return.
“Leave me a message if you need me for anything. I’ll listen to the specifics once I meet you in two days.”
-Thanks for listening to this difficult request. I’ll pour you some good drinks when we meet in two days.
“There you go again. You know I can’t drink. Just get some protectors ready. Yoojin seems like she’s going to hit hard.”
Jiseok hung up and stood up.
* * *
“She was probed out in passing, so it’s likely that it’s close to what she truly thinks. She should have been reminded of the situation she was in too,” Maru said to Dongwook as he put his phone down.
“It’ll be great if things go the way I think they will, but I should prepare just in case it doesn’t. She wouldn’t have gone that far in the first place if she was gullible.”
Dongwook stabbed the table with his pen.
“Now, we should be able to make some progress as long as we create a contact point with her.”
“We should find out what situation she’s in before that. If we don’t prepare ourselves, we might get used instead. It’ll be easy if Lee Miyoon helps us out. Even greater if she could testify alongside Mari.”
“Can that Mari person be trusted?”
“It doesn’t matter since our relationship is not maintained through trust. We’re only cooperating since we want something from each other. Anyway, I’ll get in touch with Lee Miyoon once I get a full grasp on her situation.”
“So the general picture looks like Hong Janghae screwed Lee Miyoon over, right?”
“It’s pretty much a given since Hong Janghae is in full charge of Japan. That will also explain why Lee Miyoon is acting frantic right now.”
“What’s your final objective? I’ll be satisfied as long as I can get rid of Lee Miyoon from my sight.”
“I’ll go as far as I can.”
“Are you going to continue keeping it a secret from Miyeon-noonim?”
“Why would I tell anything to an outsider? She’s managed to settle in her job, so I should let her continue living like that.”
“You might need her help later.”
“If things reach that point, I might as well take my hands off this matter. I’m not doing this because of some petty sense of justice. How about you, what are you going to do?”
Maru put down the glass of water he was just about to drink.
“I’ll go along with whatever you do. I’m going to run the moment I feel it’s dangerous though.”
“Then I’ll notify the president. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I don’t think lying is going to work on that man. If the president tells you to take your hands off, then you take your hands off.”
“He’ll understand since I won’t let it affect work. It’s not like I’m going to be doing the work myself. Rather than that, you should look out for yourself. You said Hong Janghae has people who kidnap people.”
“I’ve been doing this job for 20 years. I’ll be running the moment I smell anything fishy so don’t worry. You know what I say all the time. I’m the ultimate self-preservationist.”
Dongwook put away the notepad and the pen and stood up.
“So you focus on your work for now.”
Dongwook left the café. Maru sat back down and organized his thoughts. He would have to wait to see the results, but he had a general grasp of the situation. The rabbit is the king of a mountain without a tiger. Although she had been using other people’s names in order to do her business, she had lost that business right, so that must have made her go crazy. If they could make use of her decreased reason, they might be able to easily procure physical evidence. It wouldn’t be easy since she had been betrayed once already, but people were bound to grab the opportunity given to them if they were desperate. It was also rather probable that she might take drastic action in order to regain her reputation as an actress, which had been damaged by attacking Gaeul, another actress.
The problem was with timing. If they could give Lee Miyoon what she wanted at the most important time, they might be able to easily exploit her.
While Dongwook worked hard to get the practical stuff done, he had to observe Lee Miyoon. Thankfully, he had no lack of eyes and ears on her. If he asked for help, he could easily get a grasp on Lee Miyoon’s situation.
“Rather than that.”
Maru quickly swiped his phone. The dance he did while half sane at the kal-guksu restaurant was going around on the internet. Just as Jiseok said, it was on Joohyun’s Instagram account as well. He had been getting text messages nonstop since yesterday, and every one of them talked about it. He didn’t realize that his friends would be the very people spreading it around on the internet.
He looked at himself on the screen in a daze before turning his phone off. He could see people giving him glances from another table. From the suits they were wearing, they seemed to be salarymen from a nearby company. He slowly looked away and stood up. He walked towards the counter with the two empty cups when he felt the back of his head itch. Just as he had imagined, a gaze was persistently following him; one moment, on the phone, then on his head the next.
Maru returned the cups to the counter and turned around. There were less than ten steps away from the door.
A woman blocked his way after another four steps. She looked at him in puzzlement before smiling. She seemed convinced.
“You are Han Maru, right?”
He never knew that she’d mention his name. He couldn’t say no, so he replied yes. The people in the café all started showing interest.
“Can I take a photo with you?”
The moment he realized that he could not run away from this, his businessman mindset took over. The experience of smiling at an unpleasant business partner in his previous life shone through. He just had to take a photo and leave the store quickly.
“Senior! It’s him!”
The woman in front of him called out to the others elsewhere. They were just like her, salary women wearing suits. At the same time, he could hear other voices. He looks like a celebrity, I don’t know him, but should I take a photo with him, etc….
“Please take care of me in the future,” he said out of reflex.
Take care of him how… he did not know either.