Life, Once Again! - Chapter 925
“What do you mean change?”
“It’s just like it sounds. As long as we change the person, we can solve it smoothly. Perhaps it’ll be even better.”
“Change the person? You said it’ll take a long time to persuade Yoojin, so that wasn’t an opinion. Heck, if a person can be changed with words, we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.”
“Right. It’s difficult to persuade Yoojin. She will not be able to accept harming her mother or saying something to her. That’s why we’ll change the target. Instead of Yoojin’s mother, we’ll put Lee Miyoon in that spot as the middlewoman.”
“Change her to Lee Miyoon?”
Gaeul thought back to what she had just heard. If she wasn’t wrong, Lee Miyoon had already lost all support. The reason she lost her restraint and caused a ruckus recently was also because she had been thrown away. Switching Yoojin’s mother out with Lee Miyoon would be the same as returning her authority back to her, and Gaeul didn’t think that that was something that an outsider could do.
“If we fan Lee Miyoon’s desperation, we might see a way. It might not go the way we expect it to, but we should try to do something.”
It was unknown if it would work or not, but Gaeul felt relieved that Maru found a way. Due to that relief, her knees gave way after being tense all this time. Gaeul sat down on the bed. She was just catching her breath when she heard Yoojin’s laughter. It seemed that something funny appeared on TV, and she seemed to be laughing more exaggeratedly since she felt sorry for stiffening up the mood. It was great that Jiseok was there to follow up. Had she been left by herself, she might have started thinking about bad things, but Jiseok seemed to be consoling her quite well. The two of them always growled at each other every time they met, but they seemed to be more worried about each other than anyone else. Though, it didn’t seem like they would ever develop past the point of being friends.
There was a solution, and there was laughter. Perhaps thanks to feeling relaxed after being tense all this while, Gaeul felt the word ‘responsibility’ fill her head when she had been trying to ignore it all this time. Yoojin was a friend of hers, and she thought that it was natural for her to think that her friend should not suffer. Anyone would think like that after all. However, was it a good thing to just let Yoojin’s mother be free for a reason like that when she was involved in illegal trade? Maru said he would switch her out. If things go well, would that mean she would lose all charges against her?
Gaeul didn’t think that putting Yoojin’s mother on trial would make her relieved. It was simply a matter of conscience. Could she turn a blind eye to those crimes for the sake of lessening her friend’s pain? Did she even have the right to do so?
“Did your sense of justice come back to you after all this time?” Maru asked as he crouched down in front of her.
Gaeul shook her head before eventually replying that it did.
“If your plans go well, Yoojin’s mother will go scot-free, right?”
“If things go perfectly, it might be that way, but actually, I can’t say anything for sure. It’s true that she dipped her feet into this. If things really go well and all of the related personnel get investigated by the prosecutors, then she’ll become a prime witness or a defendant. Still, that’s a better option than being thoroughly investigated.”
“So even if things go well, there’s that possibility, huh.”
“This is all just a hypothesis. There’s the possibility that nothing might happen at all, and there’s also the possibility that she might get investigated. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, much less what will come after that.”
Maru grabbed her hand and continued,
“Honestly speaking, I don’t really care about whether Yoojin’s mother gets sued or if she gets excluded from the case without a charge. Anyone can end up doing bad things in life. If they don’t get caught, that just means they are living an experienced life, and if they get caught, they’ll just get punished for it. If a child teases another in jealousy, they’ll get reprimanded. If you violate traffic signals just to go a little early, you’ll have to pay fines. If you deal with the sexual trafficking business, you’ll have to pay fines and serve sentences. If she did something that goes against the law in order to live a comfortable life in this world, then she must be prepared to get caught.”
“Also, South Korean law is very lenient and it is normal to receive a smaller sentence than what you deserve for your trade. That’s why scams are everywhere. Yoojin’s mother is a talented businesswoman. She should not have dipped her hands into a business where she would make losses. She must have started that business because she judged that she would gain a lot of things even if she does get caught.”
It was a dilemma. The mind of the law-abiding citizen as well as her sympathy towards her friend clashed head-on. Her views on rights and wrongs directly contradicted her views on what she liked and what she didn’t. Gaeul pondered about which way was the best way out.
“What are you going to tell Yoojin?”
“I’m going to tell her to help her mother.”
“What do you mean help?”
“Help her mother take her hands off that business. If we change the nuance of our words a little, Yoojin should accept it, readily. She should not go against her mother and try to guide her back to the right path, but she should help out since her mother might be put in danger.”
“Are you going to tell her that right now?”
“No, we should just sleep for the night. I’m going to talk about it after I set up everything so that Lee Miyoon can fill the blank left by Yoojin’s mother taking her hands off the business.”
“That leaves me with one thing to do. I should help her so that she can power through no matter what happens.”
“Try talking about it starting tonight. If she can say that she cannot escape her mother’s shadow, then it shows that she knows what the problem is. Knowing the problem also means that she can fix that problem. As long as you let her understand that children are supposed to become independent from their parents, she should widen her vision.”
Gaeul nodded. She could picture what would happen in the future. In the middle of that was the figure of a mother and daughter living as usual after having escaped the case contrasting the figure of her friend in pain as she looked at her mother enveloped in trouble.
“Honestly, I thought I would be able to cool-headedly report any wrongdoings no matter who did it. I believe that’s the shortest path to righting what’s wrong. But now that it’s actually about a friend of mine, I’m thinking about whether there’s an escape route first.”
“What can you do about it? That’s just how people work.”
Maru patted her back. Gaeul calmed her breathing and left the bedroom.
* * *
“I guess not everything gets resolved cleanly in this world like it does in cartoons. But still, this incident might work in Yoojin’s favor. It’s about time she takes off her momma’s girl badge.”
“If she looks like she’s in pain later, you should look after her a little. I saw that Yoojin smiles a lot when you’re the one talking.”
“That’s one hell of a difficult thing you’re asking me to do. Maru, you should pay money when you ask others to do something like that.”
Maru crossed his arms. After finishing off the warm honey tea he bought from the convenience store, the cold overwhelmed him once again. He didn’t plan on talking for long, so he only put on a cardigan before leaving. Had he known that it would be this cold, he would have put on a jumper instead.
“I wonder if the girls are sleeping now.”
Jiseok raised his head. He seemed to be counting the floors in the apartment. Maru turned around. The bedroom light was still on. It seemed that the ladies’ talk was going to become deeper as well.
“But hey, it’s hard to time it right. That will only work if Lee Miyoon can fill in the vacancy right as Yoojin’s mother takes her hands off it, won’t it?”
“That’s why keeping up to date will be important. I’m sure Lee Miyoon wants to strike a blow on Hong Janghae. I think it might work if we tell her to bend her pride for the sake of revenge. After all, seeing how she’s acting lately, it looks like she places more importance on the power she lost to Hong Janghae than her own pride.”
“You’re right, that senior has become semi-crazy these days. There are rumors floating around that she might end up retiring as an actress soon.”
Maru threw the empty bottle in the trash. The plastic bottle hit the wall with a low thump before being tossed into the trash can.
“It’s a good thing instead. Hong Janghae is one thing, but I have business with Lee Miyoon. She might have been exempted from this case, but if we tie her in like this, she’ll get punished for sure.”
“You seem rather angry because of the scratch on Gaeul’s face.”
“Don’t even start. Gaeul appeared in front of me while calling me like it was no big deal, but she had a gauze attached to her face. I thought she got into an accident. But hey, who would’ve known that Lee Miyoon scratched her face with her bag?”
Jiseok crossed his arms.
“I heard from a friend of mine who was at the scene, and apparently, Gaeul was super serious that day. She got injured on her face, but she didn’t bat an eyelid and told senior Lee to obediently leave the set. Heck, she might have asked her to leave on the surface, but she basically told her to fuck off, right? Had it been anyone else, that person might have lowered themself to ask if there was nothing wrong with the bag, but in that situation, she just erupted. Apparently, she even said that she would sue her for assault if she didn’t leave. That friend of mine said he felt like it was stress relief. Thanks to that, Gaeul is being treated like a hero on the set for Doctor’s Office.”
A hero, huh? Maru laughed out loud. He originally wanted to find out the details of the incident through Mijoo, but Gaeul seemed to have warned her heavily as he was unable to find out about anything. He did expect her to have responded boldly, but he did not imagine that she would boldly warn her in front of everyone else.
“She’s like that, but she can’t say it firmly since Yoojin’s involved in this. If you think about it, both you and Gaeul are similar in that aspect. You two are both incredibly harsh on yourselves but very generous towards others.”
“Probably not. You probably think that because you’re a friend of mine.”
Jiseok clapped twice in realization.
“That’s true. I should stay close to you in the future too. I might get blown to smithereens without knowing anything if things don’t work out with you,” Jiseok said with a smile.
He then pointed at the apartment. When Maru looked around, he saw that the light in the bedroom had been turned off. It seemed that the ladies had gone to sleep after finishing their talk.
“It’s cold. Let’s go back too.”
Maru followed Jiseok, who stood up first, back to the apartment.