“Are you not going to drink that?” Heewon asked.
Maru handed him the cup ramyun container.
Heewon stuck his nose against the container and started drinking the soup.
“Did you not eat anything?”
Why do you ask?”
“Because you look like you’ve been starving for days.”
“I get that a lot.”
Maru looked at Heewon who was gulping down the soup.
Daemyung and Inho went into the opera house together with the shared opinion that they should help their juniors as much as possible.
Dowook went back to the truck, saying he wanted to get some sleep.
“Myunghwa High is at 2, right?” Heewon asked as he threw away the empty container in the trash can next to the bench.
It seemed that he had downed the soup which had filled more than half of the container.
“If it doesn’t get delayed, then yeah, 2 o’clock.”
“Gaeul is from Myunghwa High, right?”
“Is she in it?”
“No, she’s a staff.”
“Then I guess there’s nothing to see.”
Heewon lay down on the bench.
The bench was quite small, but he looked quite at ease.
He looked pretty used to doing that.
“It’s the perfect weather to sleep.”
Heewon’s eyes lost focus quickly.
Maru also nodded.
The sunlight seeping through the gaps in the leaves was just warm enough, and the wind was just cool enough.
He stared at the round roof of the opera house for a while before speaking,
“How’s Gaeul doing during lessons?”
“She’s doing too well.
I’m receiving harm because of her.
She’s way too enthusiastic.
She can take it easy, but she’s practicing like there’s no tomorrow.
I can’t really rest in fear of being compared.”
Heewon’s eyes contained resentment.
He truly looked rather troubled.
“Help her out a little.
She’s someone who likes acting.”
“Hell no, too bothersome.”
“Sheesh, you are one thing.
That personality of yours didn’t change after joining a company.”
“You tell me.
I thought I’d change if I became busy, but it looks like my laziness is on a completely different level.
I was running for an entire day because we were shooting an ad, right? Not gonna lie, I wanted to run away.
That was way too much for me.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t.”
“If I did, Haewon would find me and scold me.”
“You should really put a stop to that, you know? Your brother needs his own time.
How long are you going to make him look after you?”
“It’s been a while since we met, yet you’re on about that as well? Why are there so many hardworking people around me? There’s Haewon, Gaeul, you, and even Inho.
There should be just as many lazy people like me to make the balance right.”
“It’s because you are beyond easygoing and more of a sloth.”
“Is that how it is?”
Heewon yawned before standing up.
“Talking to you made the sleepiness run away.
I feel like I made a loss.”
“You should sleep if you’re tired.
Once I see that you’re asleep, I’ll just walk away.”
“I don’t think I can sleep after that… hey, is that school Myunghwa High?”
Heewon pointed with his finger.
There were students heading towards the opera house.
A hundred or so students wearing black t-shirts moved in unison, which made the spectators around look at them in a daze.
“Yep, that’s Myunghwa High.”
“That’s a lot.
I think there’s more than a hundred in just the acting club alone.”
“You’re probably right.”
“20 people was a pain already, yet they have 100? Looks like Gaeul does an incredible job huh, being a seonbae in a club like that.”
“But you’re the club president of Hwasoo High, aren’t you?” Maru asked as he looked at Heewon.
“That’s because Inho pushed that title onto me so that I can take care of the annoying stuff.
I didn’t do anything this year as the club president, but I still am.
Does that even make sense?”
“Looks like you have everyone’s trust then.
Oh, come to think about it, you didn’t participate at all, huh? In the competition, I mean.”
“You want me to participate in the acting club alongside those lessons? I can’t do it.
I have to give up on one of the two.”
“Gaeul is taking those lessons with you, isn’t she? Gaeul applied to be a staff member after saying that she had quite a lot of free time.”
“I pulled myself out early.
If I participated in the club as well, I would have no free time for the entire week.
Also, what fun is there in a club that relies on one person for everything? I pulled out for the sake of the members.”
“So you were pretending to be busy?”
“Well… I guess you can put it that way.
It’s a white lie?”
Thanks to you, we managed to pass the preliminaries easily.”
“Don’t say that in front of Inho.
He might try to kill me.”
“He probably knows already, you know? I mean, Haewon has access to your entire schedule.”
Heewon made a shocked expression before muttering ‘is that why they dragged me here?’ by himself.
This guy was quite unpredictable.
Looking at his acting, he had the skill to gain anyone’s applause, yet the person himself lacked the will to make use of that.
He was the complete opposite of Gaeul who put her best effort into everything she did, so those two might have quarreled with each other quite often.
“Are you getting along well with Gaeul?”
“There’s nothing to say about that, really.
She’s like a bull who can only charge forward.
If I want to be friends with her, I need to be working hard towards something as well, but I don’t wanna do that.”
“You’re taking those lessons anyway, so try to get some fun out of them.
And help Gaeul out when you can.
If it’s your acting, she might feel a lot of things after looking at you.”
Heewon made a bored expression after yawning.
“Now, I wonder about that.”
“What do you mean?”
“What you’re telling me is that my acting will be helpful for improving her own skills, right?”
“My acting will not be helpful to her.
No, she doesn’t need my help at all.
When I first saw her, I didn’t feel much about her, but she has changed a lot recently.
The teacher is telling her off a lot less too.
It’s somewhat strange to say this, but she seems like a changed person.”
Heewon stared at Maru.
“For example, when I first saw your acting, the feel you gave off was a thick blue.”
“I think I said this before, but only you can understand that color theory in this world.”
Heewon scratched his head.
“To put it in a different way, you’re stuck-up.
Your acting style is like a rock.
It’s hard and heavy.
If people keep watching, they might get a sense that it’s tiring, but it’s fundamentally flawless, so it’s something you can keep watching.”
“Sorry for being tiring.”
“It’s just a form of expression.
It’s quite peculiar.
I had to explain what thick blue is in words.
In any case, when I first met Gaeul, she was yellow.
She was shining beautifully.
But, that was it.
There was no fun in her acting.
I can feel her intention of showing something, but that didn’t influence her acting.
It was to the point that when I blinked, I would forget what she was doing just moments ago.”
The criticism was rather severe.
Maru couldn’t entirely agree with him, but he did nod when he heard that her acting was no fun.
Gaeul had splendid skill in interpreting the script, but she lacked character.
This was something that Ganghwan pointed out in the amateur acting class 2 years ago.
“But it’s different these days.
It’s quite curious.
She’s a rainbow.
One moment, she would be red, but then she would leap to blue the next moment, followed by green.
It's a chaotic and unsettling type of acting, but she draws attention until the very end.
If you tell me to do that, I can’t do that.
That’s something like having bipolar disorder.
Her emotional mood swings are way too extreme.
And yet, she looks natural.”
“I’m surprised you managed to understand all that.”
“It’s just a gut feeling.
Anyway, the type of acting she does these days is like skipping back and forth between ages from a newborn to a granny.
That’s why the teacher is having so much fun these days.
And thanks to that, it’s more tiring for me.”
Maru looked at the opera house.
Gaeul’s acting had changed, huh.
He couldn’t get a feel of what that would be like.
He had never seen her act recently after all.
“In any case, I get that she’s doing well.”
“She’s doing too well.
I want her to be a little lazier, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”
“Why don’t you learn from her and change your habits? Who knows? You might change that lazy nature of yours.”
“You want me to live a busy life like her? If I start making money in the future, I might have no choice but to do that, but no, I don’t want to do that now.
I’m going to embrace this leisure as much as possible.
What do you have left if you live a busy life when you’re a student? Dying after working your entire life sounds way too sad.”
“If you become a workaholic, even working should change into something fun, you know?”
“What’s a workaholic? Sounds like a magic spell from a game to me.”
Maru stared at Heewon before chuckling.
“Anyway, look after her for me, will you? I think I’ll be more at ease knowing that you are taking care of her since you’re by her side every day.”
“Even if I don’t do it, Haewon is doing it as well, so don’t worry about it.
Geez, this is the problem with couples.”
Heewon stood up from his seat and checked the time.
Maru also took out his phone to have a look.
It was nearing 2 o’clock, the time he was supposed to meet up with the others.
“Looks like I should get going.
Inho told me to come inside by at least 2.”
“I also need to go.”
“Okay, see you later.”
Heewon, who walked off while moving his hands back and forth, suddenly stopped and turned around.
“Oh, I almost forgot.”
It’s thanks to you that I joined the agency.
If I ever become big later, I’ll treat you to something good.”
“Did Haewon tell you to do that?”
“You really are quick-witted.
As expected of thick blue.”
“Away with your color theory.
I don’t understand anything.”
“But don’t you get a feel of what it is when I say thick blue? Like ‘wham’ or something? Why don’t other people get this?”
“Whim or wham, I don’t care, so don’t go saying that to others.
You might get reported to the psychiatric hospital.”
Heewon nodded and turned around.
* * *
“You did well, you did well.”
Gaeul consoled the crying junior.
They were reaching the climax point without any accidents when something happened to one of the first-year juniors.
One of the high-heels worn by her to represent a ‘bold new employee’ had snapped off right in the middle of the stage.
As this was just her second time going up on the stage, that accident was something hard for that junior to bear.
In the end, she froze up, and a character that wasn’t supposed to be there had to hop out from behind the side curtains and bring her out.
Thankfully, nothing happened after that, but the junior who was at the center of the accident was still trembling.
“You were just unlucky.
Don’t worry about it.
Well then, let’s clean up,” said Choi Seol.
The juniors started moving.
The shaking junior also helped the others after calming down a little.
It was colleagues who were helpful when people had it hard, so there were many first-year students gathered around her.
It should be fine now – Gaeul sighed before helping out with the cleanup.
It was when she was sweeping the sticky notes scattered on stage with a broom.
She saw someone wave towards the stage.
It was Maru, wearing Woosung High’s acting club hoodie.
Gaeul barely managed to smile and wave back.
What happened back at the bus still remained in her heart.
Honestly, she didn’t have the confidence to face Maru right now.
After that short greeting, Gaeul walked around the stage in a busy manner.
She wasn’t that busy, so it made her feel pathetic to pretend that she was, but she wanted to avoid Maru even if she had to do that right now.
Her head was filled with the thought that she had to calm her heart and go see him next time.
She looked at the exit after a long time.
All the students had left.
Maru wasn’t there either.
Just then, she got an alert from her phone.
She got a text message.
-You seemed busy, so I just left.
Actually, I wanted to keep waiting, but the instructor was noisy about getting food.
Gaeul put her broom between her arm and her waist and quickly sent a reply.
-Don’t feel sorry.
It was me who was in a bad condition and snapped out.
Have a nice dinner and see you next time.
Hope you feel better soon.
If you get really annoyed or something, call me and vent it on me.
She felt like she could hear Maru’s plain tone from the text.
It was her who had dodged him, yet he was the one apologizing.
This made her sigh.
It should be fine to look at him straight and to chat with him, but why did that become so hard?
-It’s because of your guilty conscience and jealousy.
It’s also the difference between a mature kid and a kid pretending to be an adult.
That voice suddenly spoke up.
Gaeul ignored it because she couldn’t retort.
When she didn’t retort, the voice faded away as though it had lost interest.
“It’s so hard,” Gaeul uttered to herself on the stage after all the juniors and the audience had left.
She didn’t want anything amazing.
All she wanted to do was to act alongside Maru on a stage like this.
Watching Maru’s acting, which had become so distant, she wondered if that day would ever come.
She stared at the empty stage for a while before turning around.
“Today, you’re a depressing sky blue.”
She suddenly heard a voice from the audience seats.
She stared at the dark corner towards the right.
“Yeah, it’s me?”
Heewon looked back at her in a questioning light as though asking why she called him.
Gaeul chuckled when she saw that.
He was the one who called out to her first, yet he had an expression like that.
“You laughed, so it means I took care of you, right?” Heewon said from below the stage.
She couldn’t understand a word he was saying.
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