He had not been able to watch TV ever since he first shot something that would go on public TV.
Watching his own face on the TV was unexpectedly very embarrassing.
Even though he knew that he should be monitoring himself, he was overwhelmed with embarrassment when he stood in front of the TV, as though people were looking at him naked.
It took quite a lot of time for him to get adjusted to the embarrassment.
His aim to fix his mistakes erased his embarrassments.
Showing others that he was terrible at acting was something even more shameful than watching his own acts after all.
Maru calmly watched his own act.
Erasing a person’s nature when acting might look simple at first, but the lack of personality that Jayeon requested of him was a little special, making it a little tricky to act out.
A person who’s extremely normal yet also someone who one couldn’t help but be attracted to – these were the words he heard from Jayeon during the shoot.
To him, that sounded similar to ‘a yellow apple’, or a ‘red banana’, or ‘chocolate that tastes like fish’.
After trial and error, he discussed the character with Jayeon and changed the abstract concept into a few keywords.
As this was her first work, Jayeon wanted to fit in all the keywords she wanted, but she soon realized that it was a mistake on her part and focused on removing them.
In that process, the character became a lot clearer.
This was the first scene where he talked to the ‘Yoon Jihae’ that Yuna played.
This cut took an abnormally large number of cuts because of Yuna’s habit of smiling when she met eyes with him.
As a last resort, they started the shoot after Yuna pinched herself on the thigh, and that managed to get an okay because her expression looked unexpectedly decent.
“It really hurt back then, you know?” Yuna said with a chuckle.
She could only laugh now because it was something that happened in the past, but back then, she kept sighing because she couldn’t control her emotions properly.
Yuna replied with a cold gaze.
Her character looked stable.
Putting too much effort into acting would make it look off like they were wearing clothes that didn’t suit them, but Yuna had none of that.
Yuna, who was watching TV from the other side, was half-dazed.
Whether she felt curious about her own figure on the screen, or she was just recalling the events that happened back then, Maru did not know.
However, her slightly curved lips expressed her excitement.
“You guys had it easy.
If you shot in a classroom, there must have been a heater.
I thought I was freezing to death because I kept shooting outside,” Ganghwan grumbled, as his main stages were the cramped room and the pojang-macha.
The shoot started in October and lasted until early December when it started snowing.
As Ganghwan appeared in most of the outside scenes, he always had hot packs with him.
Even while saying that he was not in a good financial situation, he always bought enough hot packs for everyone to use.
“I think if we combined the money you spent on all those hot packs, we might have been able to put a couple more oil heaters in the scene.”
“Oh, those? I nagged the president for them.
Where would I have the money?”
Maru imagined Junmin giving him the money with a bitter smile.
The two people on the screen looked at each other with the sunset through the windows as the background.
Maru liked that scene.
This scene, where two people who had nothing in common other than the fact that they were in the same class, was something that seemed plausible yet not that common; a fantasy, so to speak.
Fantasy in the real world.
Perhaps that was what Jayeon wanted.
“Honestly speaking, I didn’t have high hopes.
But you two did really well,” Jayeon said as she looked at the TV.
“Man, that disappoints me.
I think I tried pretty hard too.”
When Ganghwan said that in a small voice, Jayeon glanced at him before speaking,
“Because you’re supposed to do well.
Had you not done well, I would have showered you with a barrage of cuss words.”
“Don’t call me to do a drama next time.
Hey, I might as well put your number in my spam folder.”
I’ll visit your company and call you out myself.”
Ganghwan said that was no good and put down his phone, saying that he didn’t want that.
While the two exchanged jokes, the drama switched over to the kiss scene between Byungjae and Mira.
Maru thought that it was a rather bold editing decision to switch over to a deep kiss scene between two lovers from a sweet romantic scene between students.
“I should have played that role,” Ganghwan said.
Yuna looked at Ganghwan, her mouth slightly agape.
Her eyes had widened as well.
Seeing her expression, Jayeon picked up the menu next to her and swung it at Ganghwan.
“You are such a perv! Don’t say that in front of our pure Yuna.
Yuna, block your ears.
You shouldn’t listen to words like that.”
“Is love something perverted? Is kissing perverted? I thought it was you who said that the Korean drama scene should be more liberal like the western ones.”
“I’m talking about work, while you are just full of indecency.
This is why people should find a partner when they’re old enough so that they can gain some peace of mind.
Hyung, you are going to become a flasher at this rate.
Do you want me to introduce you to someone?”
“One of your friends? Oh please, I’m not going to put myself into hell.
Also, I’m quite popular, you know? There are people who recognize me in Daehak-ro and ask for an autograph.
Why are you looking down on me so much?”
“Like hell you do.
Such a popular guy isn’t even dating and doesn’t have a partner for marriage?”
“I would get married soon if I had the financial leisure, but I don’t have any money saved up.
There’s no way a woman would want to marry a poor actor, is there?”
Seeing the two quarrel, Maru drank some of his soda before quietly speaking,
“Since you’re at it, why don’t you two start going out? I’ve been watching you two, and it doesn’t look like you two have zero feelings for each other.
You’re at ease with each other, get along well, and even look like friends.
I think you two are perfect to marry each other.”
He said that as a joke, but their reactions weren’t what he expected.
Jayeon, who had been shouting until now, had turned silent in an instant, while Ganghwan, who was exaggerating his actions, clasped his hands quietly.
It turned quiet in an instant.
Maru looked at the two people alternately before scooping some food from the jjigae.
“If you two ever start a good relationship, buy me a suit.”
Hearing his words, the two people made stiff smiles.
He thought he did enough; it looked like things would go awry if he went any further.
“I also think the two of you really suit each other.”
Yuna threw a bomb in a nonchalant manner.
Being caught up in the explosion, the two people just poured some beer and started drinking.
They looked like they wouldn’t speak a word until alcohol got the better of them.
“You are pretty strong at times, you know that?”
“Nah, forget I said anything.”
The deep kiss scene was over.
The lovers, who were drinking beer and eating dumplings in front of a convenience store, implied that they were an old couple to the audience.
Maru rested his chin on his palms as he looked at Mira and Byungjae on the screen.
He drank like that with Gaeul before they got married.
When he had a deep pocket, he would buy frozen chicken and boiled pork with snacks or ramyun that was discounted.
It was enjoyable to drink with her.
“Are they doing that kiss for real?” Yuna said those words after throwing a bomb at Ganghwan and Jayeon.
Maru put his lips on the glass and quietly looked at Yuna.
Those words probably didn’t go through a filter in her brain.
As proof, she was startled immediately after saying those words as though a block of ice touched her back.
“No, wait, I didn’t mean to say that.”
“Why are you so surprised? Also, you saw how it looked.
It was shot up close.
If that was fake, I have to say it’s a win for Korean CG.”
“You know, you are quite perverted yourself.”
“Me? No, I’m not.”
“They say a strong rejection is an affirmation.”
Yuna pouted when he teased her.
Maru just laughed it over.
He wanted to maintain a good colleague relationship with Yuna.
Although the future was uncertain, he felt like Yuna would become well-known as an actress from how she was enthusiastic about everything she did, and from how she tried to fix her mistakes.
What Maru wanted for her was to throw away the ‘once unrequited love’ title on him in her mind by herself.
“They’re all having good reactions.”
Maru looked over Yuna’s shoulders.
The customers at the next table over were focusing on the drama.
Other tables were the same.
Ever since all three TVs started airing ‘Pojang-macha’, the customers would focus on the drama even after chatting for a while.
“I hope the viewing rates are good.”
Anyone would want the work they appeared in to do well.
He hoped that it would receive good reviews, and beyond that, influence him positively.
Maru faintly smiled as he watched the drama.
* * *
She untied the towel around her head.
She wrapped her still-wet hair with the towel and squeezed it together.
Ever since she heard that using a rough-textured towel to shake off the water from her hair would damage her hair, she started using this method.
Once it dried a little, she would use an electric fan or the hairdryer in cold mode.
The things she didn’t think about much before had turned into things she should be concerned about.
Gaeul took her hands off her hair and picked up the remote.
She raised the volume and focused on the screen.
The school field could be seen, followed by the figures of Maru and Yuna.
This was the scene where they were walking towards the school gates with an awkward distance between the two.
Yuna was being chased by time, while Maru was following her footsteps, and they looked well-coordinated as though they had been practicing together for a long time.
The scene also looked much more vivid as though a different camera was used for this scene.
Gaeul hugged her knees.
The two of them looked so good together.
She thought that the two of them suited each other.
She also had the desire of ‘what if I was in that position instead?’
“Yuna’s pretty good.”
She looked different from when she was practicing at school.
Yuna always lacked something despite trying her best in everything she did, but in the drama, she dissolved into the character so well that it was hard to find a flaw in her.
There was no need to mention Maru.
From a roaring psychopath murderer to a completely normal student, he showed a vast range of acting, yet he looked stable every time.
-You can also be like that.
Gaeul smiled when she heard the rabbit’s words from her heart.
If it was before, she would think ‘could I really?’, but it was different now.
She could feel that she was improving.
Gyeonmi, who was always scolding her, was complimenting her instead, so there was no need to doubt that.
She was steadily heading towards her goal.
“Thanks for the help.
I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.”
The rabbit didn’t reply, seeming embarrassed from hearing such words.
Only after a long while, did she say ‘don’t thank me’ in a faint voice.
“Of course I should thank you.”
-There’s no need for that.
Rather than that, why don’t you move around if you have the time for this? Flexibility decreases at a frightening rate with age, you know?
After I watch this.”
-You can see Maru’s face later whenever you want.
Let’s focus on work for now, yeah?
The Maru on the screen was mumbling in front of Yuna.
He was even good at looking clumsy.
Gaeul nodded once before turning off the TV.
-The two of them really suit each other, right?
-You know? Don’t you think they’re dating right now?
“What are you saying?”
-Nothing, just saying.
That’s how love between kids goes.
The rabbit no longer said anything after that.
She looked at the TV screen that had been turned off.
She remembered Maru, who was smiling as he looked at Yuna’s back figure.
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