After pushing up the glasses that slid down, he turned over the page.
There was no greater joy than reading a book on a soft sofa under the fan that spun with a low hum.
These days, reading could be done on the PC or the phone, but he never got used to reading a book on a screen.
It would hurt his eyes if he kept reading like that.

Above all, he couldn’t feel the sensation of turning each page over.
The vertical presses of a key didn’t feel right when moving to the next page.
Only when feeling the sensation of paper rubbing against each other as he turned the page did he feel like he was properly reading.
To borrow the younger generation’s words, he was ‘behind the times’.

“Hey, I gave you food just a moment ago.”

Yoon Moonjoong watched Dalgu as he wagged his tail by his feet and eventually closed his book with a smile.
He hadn’t been taking him out on walks recently.

He put on a leash and opened the door.
It was August 21st.
The sun was scattering rays of heat as though to boast that it was nearing the end of summer.
As soon as he took a step outside, he missed his spot in front of the fan, but he couldn’t win against Dalgu, who was urging him to go with his tongue sticking out.

“Let’s go slowly.”

Dalgu was becoming stronger by the day.
Moonjoong wondered if he found some ginseng or something in the mountains without him knowing.
When he climbed the slow slope, he saw his neighbor who had come out to buy some groceries.
She was a fine lady that moved in not too long ago with her husband and handed out some rice cakes[1].

“Hello.”

“Ah, hello.”

“Looks like you’re going on a walk.”

“This fella was probably feeling itchy.
He was urging me too much to go.”

Dalgu would be happy to meet strangers, even if it was a thief that got into the house, so he wagged his tail.

“Uhm, sir.”

“Yes, please speak.”

“If it’s not too much of a bother, can I take a photo with you? My mom’s a huge fan of yours, and she says she wants to come to my house when I told her that the actor Yoon Moonjoong lived next to me.
And she lives in Daegu as well.”

“Haha, do take a photo and send it to her.
Don’t make her come all the way here.”

She took a photo of him with Dalgu in it.
The newlywed lady politely greeted him before leaving.
The reason Moonjoong never left the house he moved in with his wife for more than ten years was because of the warmth of this place.
Even people that just moved in would become a single family with the rest of the village.

He took Dalgu and strolled around the village.
As Dalgu was even more popular than him around here, anyone they passed by gave him food.
Perhaps this was what Dalgu was aiming for.

“Since we’re here, let’s go see your mother.”

They started climbing the paved mountain path.
When they first moved in here, the path was made by the people, but after some time, the road was properly paved with cement and a mountain trail was formed.
The sturdy and stable footing was good as well, but he sometimes missed the smell of soil that he walked on with his wife.

After climbing a bit, he left the official trail.
He greeted the climbers that were going to the mineral spring and then took a path that led slightly downwards.
There was a bulging grave amidst the flat grassy terrain.
It was his wife’s.
Dalgu, who always wagged his tail, would obediently roll his tail up in front of that grave.
Looking at him, who would sit obediently in front of the grave, Moonjoong realized why people considered dogs better than humans.

After sitting down on the dry ground, Moonjoong stroked Dalgu’s head.
Next to the grave of his wife, who gave Dalgu his name, was a smaller grave, and that was Dalgu’s mother’s grave.

“Hey, is it cool in there?”

Moonjoong sat in front of the grave and looked down at the neighborhood for a long time before standing up.
He took Dalgu and climbed down the mountain.
Dalgu obediently followed him.
It seemed that he also wanted a rest.

Arriving at his house, Moonjoong looked at the clock.
It was 11 a.m.
Almost time for his schedule.
He went to the bathroom to wash his hands before changing clothes.
Since that person was very accurate when it came to time, the bell would soon ring.

“Sir, it’s Park Changjin.
I’m here to pick you up.”

It was just as he had expected.
He told Dalgu to wait quietly and opened the door.
Park Changjin, the manager Junmin assigned to him, was waiting for him.

“Are you ready?”

“I am.
Mr.
Park, have you had breakfast?”

“Yes.
I had a fulfilling one.
Have you had breakfast, sir?”

“I also had a fulfilling one.”

Led by Mr.
Park, he sat in the back seat.

“Then I’ll start driving.”

Just as Moonjoong nodded, the window opened slightly.

“I’ll turn off the air conditioner.”

It seemed that he remembered that Moonjoong disliked the wind from the air conditioner.
The car departed softly.
Moonjoong took out his glasses from the glasses case.

“The script is in front of you.”

“Oh, I left empty-handed, thanks.”

He took out the script from the pocket behind the passenger seat.
The title was on the cover.

‘Apgu.’

Moonjoong turned the page and started reading the script.
Today was the day of the first read-through.
He would return to his acting career again.
He was cast in a historical drama, though he didn’t have an important role.
A writer he was acquainted with, had requested for his appearance and he accepted after seeing the scenario and the role he had.
His screen time on camera didn’t matter.
The question was whether he wanted to do it or not, and Moonjoong really liked his role that appeared for a brief moment at the beginning of the piece.

“We’ve arrived.”

He only flipped a few pages, but he had already arrived at the TV station.
He got out of the car and went to the 4th floor of RBS.
He saw journalists waiting outside.
There were quite a lot of people as well.

“Hello, sir.”

“Hello.”

He lightly nodded towards the journalists that greeted him.
He also saw some familiar faces.
Mr.
Park opened the door to the room that said ‘Idea meeting room II’.
He saw the other actors waiting inside a long room.

“Am I late?”

“Not at all, sir.
There’s still time left.”

He shook hands with producer Han Changsung, who approached him and greeted him with a bright smile.
The young challenging mindset of the producer who was nearing 40 in age, could be felt from his hand.
Next to him, another good-looking producer greeted him.
He introduced himself as Kim Jinhyuk.

“He’s the assistant director.
He’s in charge of directing the B team so you should be able to see him quite often.”

“Hello, I’m Yoon Moonjoong.”

After shaking hands with Jinhyuk, he went inside.
A man in his fifties, who sat at the head seat, smiled and approached him.
Writer Bae Chulho.
He was the writer for the drama.
He knew the writer personally, and he was also the one who asked him to appear in this drama.

“You’re here, Hyung-nim.”

“So you’re here as well.”

“I should be.
This is the first read-through after all.
I’ll only be able to change the script if I know what it feels like if it’s actually said.
Well then, please come this way.”

Moonjoong sat next to the producer.
The young actors also introduced themselves to him.
They all had clear eyes and were good-looking.
He felt rather proud when he thought that these kinds of juniors would lead the industry in the future.

After talking for around ten minutes, all the empty seats were filled.
When the people carrying cameras entered the room as well, the door closed.

“Hello.
My name is Han Changsung, and I will be directing this drama.
Although there were many ups and down, we’re finally at the starting point.
I don’t think the elders will like it if I talk too much so I’ll just get to the point.”

Moonjoong smiled and listened to Changsung’s words.

“I only have one thing to ask you of.
I hope you stay healthy until the end of the shoot.
Well then, let’s begin the read-through.
As for the procedure, we’ll take a break after reading each scene.
Writer, please say a word or two.”

Changsung passed the baton to Chulho.

“My name is Bae Chulho.
I will not tell you to follow the script to the tee.
I hope we can respect each other and create a good piece of work.”

The actors all applauded.

“Then lastly, a word from our elder.”

Changsung pointed at Moonjoong politely with both of his hands.
Moonjoong waved his hand saying that it was unnecessary, but the other actors in the room started applauding.
In the end, Moonjoong had to stand up from his seat.

“I haven’t shot dramas in a long time.
I don’t have as much stamina as I did before, but I will do my best so that I will not leave behind any regrets.
I hope everyone here can do their best until the very last cut and create a piece of art.
Though I only appear for a brief moment at the beginning, so I can’t be with you till the end.”

“But you definitely need to come to the party after the last shoot,” someone spoke.

The other actors who were older than the rest here also spoke out.
Moonjoong said that he’ll go before sitting down.

“Let’s keep up this atmosphere and start right away.
The drama, Apgu.
Let’s do our best,” Changsung said as he opened the script.

* * *

“3rd of September?”

-Yeah.
That’s the date of your shoot, so come to the 5th exit of Yoido station.
It’s at 7 so don’t be late either.
If you’re late, you’ll have to get there on your own, so you definitely must get there on time.

“Are you driving me there if I’m late?”

-Hey, you’ll kill me.

“I’m just joking.
You must be busy, so hang up.
I’ll save the time on my phone so I won’t be late.”

-Alright.

After finishing his call with his manager Byungchan, Maru saved ‘September 3rd, 7 a.m.’ on his phone.
The movie that was supposed to be shot at the end of August was delayed to early September.
It was probably because of the schedules of various actors.

“Looks like I’ll become busy.”

The drama was going to start soon as well.
Although the company was managing his schedule, he had to take care of transportation by himself.
If the shoot was in Seoul, he could get Byungchan to give him a ride provided that he had the time, but in the case of shoots in the countryside, he would have to take the coach rides provided by the TV station.

‘They’ll only give me the full treatment once I become full-fledged.’

Although he officially signed a contract with JA, full-time management would only start after he graduated high school.
Although he would receive a personal car and a manager if he managed to score himself a good piece, Junmin was not kind enough to assign so many resources to a highschool student, who wasn’t even profitable.

There was barely any interference from Junmin’s part which was just as much as the part he had to take care of by himself, so it wasn’t that bad.
Once he started his actor activities, he would have to digest all the events that the company required him to do, so he wouldn’t be as leisurely as he is now at that time.

Maru pushed his phone to the side and opened the script that Byungchan gave him yesterday.
The script was bound properly with a smooth cover to boot.
Although he had come across many drama scripts, this was the first time he entered one through an audition so this felt rather new to him.
After staring holes into the characters ‘Apgu’ on the cover, he flipped the page.
The act he was supposed to do should be there.

[1] Handing out rice cakes to neighbors after moving in was a tradition in Korea.
It is mostly discontinued in the present day.

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