Life, Once Again! - Chapter 971
Chapter 971. Crank Up 8
This was unexpected. Although she was on the list of nominees for the best actress award, she believed that she had no chance of actually getting it. She thought that she would only be able to get it after another couple of drama series since she already got the new actor award through Flaming Lady not too long ago.
Gaeul stood up while looking at her fellow actors who applauded her. She was taken aback. The stage was just a few steps away, but it felt really far away. After she walked in a daze, she found herself standing in front of the microphone. She couldn’t see the audience because of the intense lighting. However, she could faintly make out the banners from her fans cheering for her. She always thought that she would be rather calm when she stood up on the stage for an award. After all, it was like that when she received her new actress award.
She had to close her mouth as soon as she spoke. Her throat tightened in on itself, and she couldn’t speak. She felt like she was shooting an intense crying scene. She felt like tears would roll off her eyes if she relaxed just a little bit.
Calm down, it’s supposed to be a happy moment.
She heard a big round of applause. The cheers from her fans became louder. The emcee smiled and said that she needed more encouragement.
Gaeul tapped her lips with her palm. Whenever she caused NGs, she would tap her lips like this to get herself back together. The jolt of pain calmed her down.
No need to hurry, there’s plenty of time.
She could feel that the venue had quietened down. Her body had also gotten ready to speak.
“First of all, thank you for letting me receive this prize.”
She wet her lips before continuing,
“I never thought I’d receive it even in my dreams, so I’m still rather taken aback. But now that the trophy’s in my hands, it really feels real now. I’ve always wanted this award, and I’ve always desired it. It was my dream to receive an award in front of people ever since I started dreaming of becoming an actress. When I received the new actress award, I thought I achieved that dream, but hey, right now, I’m feeling just how big greed can get. Now I got this one, I want the one above it.”
The table where the actors for Doctor’s Office were sitting burst out into laughter. Senior Choi, who always welcomed her like her own father at the shoot, senior Park, who always encouraged everyone around him with his witty jokes when everyone was tired from overnight shoots, senior Yoo, who, despite being scary, always showed her the path an actor must walk, and finally, Yoohyuk, a colleague who always told her to hang in there, even though it must have been tough for him. She decided to ignore Lee Miyoon, who was smiling for some unknown reason.
“I thought I wouldn’t be shaking or crying if I received an award, but I’m barely holding myself back right now, even though I couldn’t get myself to cry no matter how hard I tried when I was acting.”
Gaeul raised her hand to wipe her eyes with the back of her hand. She found it funny that she was worried about the makeup being ruined even at that instant. She continued speaking with an ease of mind,
“I have a lot to say, but now that I’m here, I can’t get them out of my mouth. First of all, thank you to all the viewers at home who supported Doctor’s Office, and I want to say I love you to my mother, who might be working at home, or watching this right now. I want to say thanks to the director and the staff, who had been working hard for months, as well as my senior and junior actors, who I respect. Thanks to you all, I managed to get awarded this important prize.”
She took a step back and took a bow. She was just about to walk down while clutching her shaking heart, but then the microphone entered her eyes. She recalled that she had not said something. She hurriedly put her head in front of the microphone.
“Can I say one more thing?”
“You can say two or three more things. I’ve just been told that we have leftover time. Oh, in fact, they want you to drag for time as much as possible.”
Gaeul thanked the senior actor in charge of emceeing and cleared her throat. The shaking that she had forgotten about came back to her. Would he be watching? She hoped he was watching.
“Dad, if you’re watching from heaven, I became an actress who’s getting prizes. You should definitely boast about me to your friends up there since the little girl you took to Daehakro when she was little has gotten a prize. Also, I wish to say thank you to the precious friend of mine who always supports me.”
She had a hard time suppressing her impulse to change the ‘friend’ to ‘lover.’ If she didn’t think about the president’s face, who would be getting a flood of calls, or her mother, who would glare at her and nag her for getting Han Maru again, she would’ve been more than willing to do it.
She came down from the platform under people’s applause. She almost lost her strength and fell down on her way back, but thankfully, she managed to regain balance and sit down. As soon as she did, her fellow actors congratulated her. Some said that they knew she would win it, and some said that she was theirs (for their next work) and that others should get in line.
“I also got the prize at your age. Good times,” said Lee Miyoon.
The actors laughing on either side smiled awkwardly before turning around to look at the platform again. Gaeul placed the trophy on the table.
“You’re right. Good times.”
Lee Miyoon scoffed and turned around, as though she had no intentions of picking a fight on a day like this. Gaeul also stayed quiet. The award ceremony was short enough as it is with so many people to congratulate. There was no time to get into a quarrel.
“So who’s that friend of yours?” an actress, who also played a doctor, asked in a small voice, saying that he or she must be no small acquaintance if she went out of her way to mention that person.
“I want to ask you more about it, but I’ll hold back for today. If there’s a celebratory occasion in the future, then tell me about it first.”
“What celebratory occasion?”
“You know it. Don’t you dare say it’s a girl. It’s written all over your face.”
Gaeul rolled her tongue back in. Was it that obvious? She was so out of it and said what she said because Maru came to her mind, but it seemed that her expression gave it away.
“Would the journalists say something?”
“It’s not that obvious. It’s just a hunch that the people who have been watching you for a long time can get. But seeing you so nervous, you really do have a partner, huh.”
“I won’t sound believable even if I say no right now, right?”
“If you say it isn’t, then I’ll believe you for now. But introduce him to me later. As an elder sister, I’ll judge whether he’s suitable for you or not.”
The conversation ended with her tapping on Gaeul’s shoulders. Gaeul put her phone below the table. She quickly sent a text using her fingers and checked. She saw a few typos, but she sent it, instead of fixing it.
Only now was she released from the nervousness that filled her body. She arrested her back against the chair and loosened her strength from her knees. Did he see the text? Or was he in a shoot right now? Mijoo said that it was snowing outside, so perhaps the shoot would have ended in Ulsan, if it was snowing there as well.
Although the ceremony was in full swing, her mind had already started drifting towards Ulsan. Thinking about how she would meet Maru on New Year’s eve, in a place that Maru least expected to, made her look forward to it already. The phone in her hand vibrated. Gaeul pulled in her chin and looked down. She saw a text from Maru.
-Congratulations on the prize. You looked really nice in the dress. If I was with you, I would’ve cooked your favorite spicy fish stew, but I’m a little too far away. I’m done with the shoot and I’m resting. Call me when you have time later.
It seemed that it was snowing in Ulsan as well. Gaeul smiled and sent a reply.
-How was my speech?
The reply came soon.ｆ𝓇𝗲ℯ𝙬𝑒𝐛𝚗𝐨νel.c𝑜𝓂
Her eyes twitched. Old fashioned, huh? She twitched her mouth and tapped on the screen. Just as she was about to press the send button, she got another text.
-I was joking. It was good. I was looking at you through the screen, but I could feel how truthful you were to the point that my nose felt a tingle. Anyway, who’s the friend you mentioned at the end?
-Do you really not know?
-I just wanted to hear it from the person herself. There are times when my guess can miss. I need to be sure about this.
-Of course it’s Mijoo who always helps me out.
-I knew it. I almost mistook it for me. That’s right, there’s no way it’s me.
Gaeul, who was holding back her laughter at the joking text, saw her face appear on the screen and quickly calmed down. When she smiled brightly towards the camera, she heard the cheers from the fans. After checking that the screen had switched to something else, she checked her phone.
Those six letters made her nose tingle. A short encounter, a long time apart, and a new beginning for the two. She was sometimes happy, sometimes bored, and sometimes sad, and those feelings seemed to be contained in those six letters. She immediately wanted to go to Ulsan. She wanted to go see him. She wanted to go see him and tell him; she wanted to tell him that she was thankful too.
She wrote a long message with shaky fingers, but she eventually erased it. She didn’t want to say it through text. There were too many things that plain old text simply couldn’t convey. She wanted to be under that cold air, looking at his eyes, and feeling his breath when she whispered to him about it.
-See you after the shoot.
She put aside the words overflowing within her and sent a plain-sounding text. She kept wanting to stand up. When was the ceremony going to end? She wished for the grand prize to be announced quickly and for the ceremony to end so that she could go. She decided to leave the venue as fast as possible once people started applauding for the closure. There was no time to get changed. She would throw the trophy on the passenger seat, pull the dress up to her knees and step down on the gas pedal. She felt like the distant Ulsan was already in front of her eyes.
-Unni, you’re going to go right away, right?
It was a text from Mijoo. She had already told her beforehand that she would be going to Ulsan. She texted her back, asking her to take care of the aftermath. There wasn’t much to do since she already said that she would not be able to attend the afterparty.
Gaeul looked at the platform while gripping her phone. The grand prize was being awarded.