Life, Once Again! - Chapter 963
He couldn’t remember when he fell asleep. Maru looked at the phone by his head. He vaguely remembered listening to Gaeul humming. It seemed that he passed out after humming along to the familiar tune. He clutched his hazy head and sat up. Although he was tired from the all-nighter, he felt a lot better. He checked the duration of the phone call. It turned out that he had been listening for twenty minutes. There was no way he hung up first, so it meant that Gaeul had been humming for him for twenty minutes straight.
Maru made a call, but Gaeul didn’t pick up, as though she was sleeping after eating lunch. He left behind a text message thanking her for last night since he didn’t want to wake her up.
He washed up lightly before checking the time. It was 1 p.m. Maru thought back to what the assistant director said before and looked outside. The sky was pretty clear considering it spat out a bunch of snow yesterday. He looked at the intermittent clouds before looking at the floor. It was a world of white. A man ran towards a vehicle parked in front of the hotel and Maru could tell from a glance that the man was annoyed.
He didn’t get any text on his phone. Perhaps the shoot was on hold today just as the assistant director said since it had snowed. Maru looked at the road, which the snowplow had already cleared. The hunger he had forgotten about came back to him. He got on the elevator, intending to eat some light breakfast at a convenience store.
He met director Park Joongjin at the hotel lounge. When he approached him, he smelled a faint fragrance of coffee. It seemed that the coffee and scone from the café in the hotel was director Park’s lunch.
“Did you have a good sleep?”
“I practically passed out. It was 1 by the time I opened my eyes.”
“So you woke up just now. I presume you haven’t eaten then, have you?”
“I was going to get a rice ball and some milk outside. I haven’t found any decent places around.”
“This hotel does food. If you’re okay with it, then you should eat here.”
There was a counter where he pointed. The hotel provided various tea and coffee, alcoholic drinks, snacks, and even food. Maru had a cursory glance at the menu and ordered nakji fried rice and a cup of mojito without rum.
“I forgot to give you my card. Actors’ food costs are included in the production costs.”
“Had I known earlier, I would have ordered steak instead.”
“You can order it now if you want.”
“I was just joking. I’m not that hungry either.”
He put a spoonful of the nakji fried rice that the hotel employee brought him into his mouth. He didn’t have any appetite, so he was originally planning to just fill his stomach, but by the time he emptied half of the bowl, he started seriously considering ordering steak. He went to the counter with the plates that the employees would take away for him if he left them. He ordered some scones and coffee from the employee who received the plates while thanking him. This time, he ordered with the card that director Park gave him. There was no reason to hold back from using it since it was in the production costs.
“There’s good news,” director Park said when he split the scone in half.
He waited while eating the scone.
“We can shoot today too. There isn’t a lot of snow at the dog shed, so it can be cleared out quickly. They also finished maintenance on the generator that was causing trouble yesterday early in the morning, so you should be able to focus today.”
Maru originally thought that they were going to take a break today from how there was snow piled outside and from how director Park was acting leisurely, but he turned out to be wrong. He dampened the dry scone with some coffee before swallowing. A part of him wanted to rest, but it wasn’t like he would shoot any less just because he postponed the shoot. It wouldn’t be bad to shoot as much as possible in the early stages of the shoot when he was the most nervous and most concentrated.
“Looks like I should go back up and practice.”
“Don’t practice too much. If the character becomes too consolidated, you will have less room to appear. I believe that you’ll control it well, but my job as the director is to be naggy.”
“Then I’ll practice moderately.”
“Splendid. You can only fill something up if there’s a gap.”
The director then raised his coffee mug. Maru told him he would go back first and turned around.
“He’s supposedly coming soon.”
Director Park’s words suddenly flew at the back of his head. Who’s supposedly coming? Maru didn’t know what that meant and turned around to look at him. Just then, there was a commotion in the lobby, which had been quiet until now. He turned around to see the source of the commotion. He then realized what director Park was listening to. The ‘he’ was coming.
“Maru, it’s been a really long time.”
If anyone wanted to know the golden ratio smile, Maru would tell that person to learn from this man. Maru lightly grabbed the hand the man extended. He could feel strength from the hand. Smiling eyes and the hand that’s gripping with the intent to crush. Maru didn’t refuse and gripped back with enough strength that his veins bulged. Unless it was an Olympic athlete, Maru would never lose to someone in terms of physical strength. He did receive God’s blessing after all.
The tip of Kang Giwoo’s lips twitched like a fish that got caught. He seemed to be planning to loosen his grip and pull out, but Maru had no intentions of letting him go. A fight that he so wanted was given to him. He could feel bones being squeezed together in his hand. Giwoo’s lips were not just twitching, they were nearly at the level of convulsions.
Director Park stood up. Only then did Maru let go. Giwoo quickly hid his pale hand behind him.
“It was snowing, and I didn’t want to be late, so I came early.”
“Your shoot is tomorrow, but you’re quite passionate.”
“One of my intentions was to cheer for Maru. I also wanted to see how you shoot, director.”
“I see. I never knew you liked me so much, Mr. Giwoo. Had I known, I might have seriously considered it when some important people reached out to me. Many people have bothered me to use you as the lead character.”
Director Park blatantly mentioned the lobbying. It wouldn’t be strange if Giwoo was flustered, but he just smiled calmly and spoke,
“I was also surprised after I found that out. Rather than me, there are many people who go overboard to catch my grandfather’s attention. It is quite embarrassing to request something like that in a world where skill is everything.”
“Sounds like you didn’t know about it.”
“I want to be proud when it comes to acting. Above all, even if I managed to get a role through shameless requests, I am bound to lag behind and fall if I don’t have the skills to digest it, so it’s all useless. I believe that people will reach out to me first if I learn more and display my skills.”
His face beamed with confidence. If he was in an election, he should be able to win quite a number of votes based on that face alone. Maru inwardly applauded. Kang Giwoo could be considered a natural. If his improvisation was on that level, it was quite something.
“You sound as though you’ve prepared that line beforehand. You’re quite stuck up unlike what I heard from the rumors. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing. It’s just different from the image of you I had in my mind.”
Giwoo grabbed director Park’s extended hand. While the two exchanged a handshake, the number of people in the lounge started increasing. When the visitors at the hotel who followed Giwoo from the lobby were convinced that it was indeed Kang Giwoo, they took out their phones first, and that attracted even more guests. The man who seemed to be Giwoo’s manager told them politely not to take photos, but they wouldn’t have taken out their phones if that was enough to deter them.
“Things have gotten rowdy here. Mr. Giwoo, you should go up first. We should talk later once you get some rest.”
“Okay. And also, thank you again, director. I’m happy to be working with you.”
“Don’t mention it. An actor of your caliber wants to play an extra if possible, so I have no reason to refuse. I can’t change out the lead role at this point, but if it’s just an extra, I can be flexible.”
So Kang Giwoo proactively revealed his intention to participate? Maru met eyes with Giwoo just as he lowered his head and turned around. He looked excited like a kid on the night before a picnic. Maru desperately needed his petty ability here, but no matter how much he tensed his eyes, no speech bubble appeared. While limited, the ability allowed him to look into the hearts of others, but now even that was impossible.
The Bible said that a thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. While Maru couldn’t look into his heart, his intentions were dead obvious. However, what concerned Maru was that Kang Giwoo’s aim was unclear. There was no way he came all the way here to give him a gift, so it meant that he was up to something.
“See you later.”
Kang Giwoo got on the elevator after saying those words. Maru could see his smirk between the closing doors.
“I heard you two were friends, right?”
“How did it look? Did we look like friends?”
Director Park did not speak. Though, from his expression, he seemed to have a vague understanding already.
“I was going to send him back if you found him uncomfortable, but after seeing you act like how you did, I changed my mind. So Mr. Giwoo is someone who makes you uncomfortable. He has the talent to bring out a side of you that I did not see.”
“If you get close to him, you’ll find out more surprising things. He’s a very interesting fellow. Just as you said, there’s no one better than him when it comes to switching my emotions up. He’s very talented in rubbing people the wrong way.”
“It seems like he’s similar to me, then.”
Director Park left the lounge, saying that he looked forward to the afternoon shoot. Maru emptied the remaining coffee before taking out his phone. He didn’t have that much leisure to wait. He wanted to listen to that guy’s reason for coming.
“Shall we talk for a bit?” he said to Giwoo who picked up the call.
 Small octopus
 John 10:10