Ganghwan slowed down his car when he could no longer see Suyeon from his side mirror. He let out a sigh.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen you like that.”
Maru nodded confidently. Ganghwan looked absolutely terrified just a moment ago, which was very unlike him. The man was usually the one who surprised people, not the type to retreat like this.
“Was I that obvious?”
“You probably know the answer to that yourself, don’t you? You even looked kind of rude.”
“Why were you so surprised? She was pretty, too. Don’t you sing about wanting to meet pretty women all the time?”
“Yeah, she’s pretty. But I don’t know if I’m into her.”
“She’s younger than you, too. So why?”
Ganghwan was usually very friendly towards just about anyone he met, but he put up an immediate wall in front of Suyeon. Very odd, considering how pretty of a lady Suyeon was. Didn’t Ganghwan always talk about treating women nicely? Ganghwan opened the window slowly, letting the cold winter air in.
“How was Suyeon, in your opinion?”
“She seemed gentle. Kind of cute, considering how she seemed to want to get friendly with you.”
“By the way, you know you sound really experienced with women sometimes? Also what the hell’s up with you describing Ms. Suyeon like a kid? You know she’s six years older than you, right?”
Maru shrugged. He hadn’t been able to change his way of talking since he got back, so he gave up on it altogether. Whenever people asked him about it, he just told them he picked it up from his grandmother.
“Anyway! She looks really nice and pretty.”
“Nice body, too.”
“...You saw a lot in such a short time.”
“What can I say, men are naturals at this kind of stuff. It’s like how girls like to pick out changes from each other when they meet their friend after a long time.”
“Right. She has a great body, cute, and has a nice personality, so it’s all cool if I meet her at work, but...”
“I never want to see her in a casual environment.”
“Why not? She’d look great with you, coach. She resembles your ideal girlfriend a lot, too. Long hair, sexy boobs, nice body.”
“...You sound way too much like an old man right now.”
“I’m still a young lad in my teens, you know?”
“You’re a huge pervert, you know that? Wait, could it be, with that girl… you’re not going too wild, are you?”
That girl. Maru shook his head as he thought of her.
“I’m taking it slow. You should savor what you truly value.”
“Look at you.”
“Stop changing the topic and please answer me. What don’t you like about her?”
“Mm, if I had to put it in words, I’d say that she knows she’s charming too well.”
“She knows she’s charming?”
“Man, what am I saying in front of a kid?”
“I’m in my teens, I’m all grown up.”
“Didn’t you literally just say something about being a young lad?”
“People need to learn to be flexible with their words in society.”
“Give me your damn ID. You’re actually over thirty, aren’t you?”
Thirty? No way. Forty five was more like it. Maru just decided to grin lightly in response.
“That doesn’t sound like a bad thing though.”
“That’s true, but… No, it’s fine. I shouldn’t be talking about stuff like this.”
Ganghwan changed the topic right away. Maru caught the man’s expression pretty quickly, though.
“She’s a vixen?”
“Man, you’re too persistent.”
“I’m curious. I want to know what about her has you like this.”
Ganghwan let out a defeated sigh before brushing his hair upwards. The car came to a stop on a streetlight and Ganghwan finally started talking.
“First off, I don’t judge how other people live as long as they don’t hurt others. Got it?”
“That sounds like an excuse for whatever’s coming up, but okay.”
“Hm hm. Miss Suyeon uses the fact that she looks charming to the best of her abilities. Most men just fall for her right away. I worked with her once before in a play and there was an incident. It wasn’t her fault, but if you really dig into it...”
“She wasn’t really at fault, but she was the source of the problem?”
“Crime of passion, basically?”
“Where’d you learn something like that? You watch way too much TV.”
The light turned green and the car started moving again. Ganghwan drove towards the bridge nearby.
“Not that bad. Well, maybe it was. One of the writers and an actor both fell in love with her at the same time and that’s where the trouble started. They’re both pros, so the play ended well, but the two of them basically became sworn enemies afterward.”
“That sounds fair. Doesn’t sound like a big issue.”
“On the surface, yeah. It sounds perfectly normal.”
“Was there something more to it?”
“I learned this later, but the writer ended up moving to a project Suyeon was doing. Originally, he was supposed to work with the actor together on something else. That entire project went up in flames after what happened.”
“You think Suyeon destroyed their relationship just to take that writer with her?”
“Who knows? Suyeon actually looked very sorry about it when the thing actually went down. But then...”
Ganghwan narrowed his eyes a little, as if he was staring off into a point in the past.
“Something similar happened one more time. Also, I ended up meeting that same writer in a different project. Since the industry’s small and all.”
“I thought those two would naturally be going out together. After all, he was very deeply in love with her at the time. But they weren’t actually dating. They were just friends. He actually confessed to her beforehand, but she said she was afraid to get in a relationship. At the same time, one of the more famous actors in Hyehwa station followed Suyeon into her new project.”
“Because the actor was into Suyeon?”
“According to the writer, yes. The writer became uncomfortable watching the two acting like they were dating, so he just co-wrote one of the scenes and left the team. What’s scary is that immediately after he left, Miss Suyeon brought in a new writer...”
“A male one?”
“You get it now?”
“Yes. Sort of.”
“I’ve no intention of judging people with this, of course. Everyone has their own ways of living, but she’s definitely not the type of person I would work well with. So I’m trying to distance myself from her, I’m only okay with her in a work relationship.”
“She’s quite charming, isn’t she?”
“She is. That’s why people follow her.”
“Why don’t you just go for it anyway? Who knows, you might turn her into a princess just for you.”
“Nothing good ever comes from gambling.”
Maru nodded. He understood what kind of a woman Suyeon was. Every person had a weapon of their own and Suyeon’s weapon was her charm. Knowing what he did about the wars waged in the name of this woman… Her weapon was very powerful.
“How’d we start talking about this, anyway? I had so many other things to tell you today.”
“Stuff like this is nice to talk about every once in a while. Knowing how the rest of the world works can also help with my acting.”
“Did you grease your tongue with oil or something? Since when did you have such a smooth tongue?”
“It smells very nice, doesn’t it? I used butter.”
“Damn it, give me your ID. I actually need to check your age.”
Maru grinned as Ganghwan pinched one of his cheeks.
* * *
Junmin glanced at his friend, gesturing to speak a little later. His friend, the director, nodded before getting ready to leave with his assistant.
“You should stay, sir,” Suyeon said with a smile.
“We have no place in actors’ talk. We’re much more comfortable talking about the backstage.”
Junmin asked his friend to wait outside for just a little bit.
“Why did you call me out yourself? I was surprised.”
“I was wondering how you were doing.”
“Very well, as usual. I’m teaching that kid you introduced me.”
“I see. How’s Geunseok?”
“He’s alright. He has a great sense for things and he knows exactly what he needs to do to make me happy.”
“Sense, huh. Of course. That’s what he was raised for.”
Junmin nodded. After asking a few more questions about the boy, he changed the topic.
“The filming for the drama’s over now?”
“Yes. I’m annoyed that it isn’t doing too well on TV. It’s getting pushed back by all the other shows.”
“How many episodes left until the end?”
“6% for the ratings, was it?”
“It’s a total failure.”
“You must feel quite depressed about it.”
“Very. It was my first time as one of the more important side characters, but the show’s not getting any views. It almost feels like my fault.”
“Heh, was I that obvious?”
Suyeon smiled cutely, Junmin had to wonder how many men she charmed with that smile. He knew Suyeon very well. The woman knew how to grasp the hearts of men, she was born with the talent. The only reason why Junmin took her under his wing was because she knew how to use that charm of hers for acting.
“By the way, Teacher.”
“Why did you stick that kid of all people to me? I was surprised.”
“Do I ever tell people the reason for why I do certain things? Find out for yourself. Anyway, what happened to your movie audition?”
“I’ll have to work hard for it in my own way.”
Junmin nodded. He silently wished luck towards the director of whatever that movie she was auditioning for was.
“There’s a person from the Woonjung theater company on the first floor. Go greet them if you can.”
“Yes. Ah, Teacher.”
“Would you like to have dinner today?”
She accentuated her chest a little bit as she spoke, her usual innocent self was gone and in her place was someone a bit more erotic. Junmin took a sip of his tea as he blinked once.
“I have a meeting with that friend over there.”
“Man, I got rejected twice today already, boohoo.”
“Yes. I met Ganghwan outside and he just avoided me. I’m pretty mad about it.”
“Anyway, I’ll go meet that Woonjung person now.”
Suyeon stood up from her seat and walked towards the stairs. Her hips swayed sideways naturally. It didn’t feel erotic or anything, but rather very controlled. She looked like a total model.
“I’m impressed that you’re managing to keep her with you.”
Junmin’s friend came back. His assistant wasn’t with him anymore, probably got sent to do work elsewhere.
“Everyone has their uses somewhere.”
“I don’t think this often, but man you’re evil.”
“I’ve worked here for 30 years now. This industry’s littered with people who only look nice.”
“I heard you put one of your kids with her?”
“Isn’t that dangerous? I feel like she would just rip apart a young boy who hasn’t even matured yet.”
“That’s the hope, actually.”
“The boy’s still in his shell, he doesn’t even know why he’s acting just yet. He started because of Geunsoo and that can’t continue as his motivation. Not only that, the boy often acts subservient in front of you, but he’s actually laughing at you behind your back.”
“Rotten to the core, is it?”
“He has talent, though. He’s Geunsoo’s brother, after all. I don’t want to throw away something that has potential. That’s why I stuck him with Suyeon.”
“What if he turns into a puppet?”
“That’s just his luck. I’m not a nice person. I like to help people, but only if I profit off of it. Why would I keep someone who has no value?”
“The maestro’s actually a very cold person, is that it?”
“Don’t look at me too badly, I’m doing pretty nice things too. I just don’t like people who like to try to leech away my time and money.”
“What about that kid called Maru, then?”
“...I have no idea about that kid, actually. Haven’t felt like this in a long time. The boy’s finding answers by himself. He has his reason for being confident, he’s not overconfident, though. But it’s not like he’s conservative about his actions. It’s odd. Very odd.”
“He’d get along with my Mintae very well.”
“They’d probably become very good partners.”
Junmin’s friend nodded. Junmin opened his notebook to check his next schedule. Time was, to him, equivalent to people. Junmin couldn’t miss a person even if his life depended on it.Previous Chapter Next Chapter