The first thing her mom asked her when she said she was going out on a Sunday morning was, ‘Are you going on a date?’ She couldn’t answer. All she could do instead was to run out the door. As she went down the elevator, she checked her scarf and stockings for any tears. She was good, thankfully.
She puffed out a breath of white against the chilly winter air before pulling the beanie she received from Maru down to her ears. She felt warm again pretty quickly. Once she got on the bus, she took a look at the time. It was ten o’clock. The play would begin at noon, so she had plenty of time. As she watched the scenery pass by out the window, she grinned. She didn’t tell Maru that she would be visiting today, he would definitely be surprised if she visited him in secret.
After getting off the bus, she turned to take a look at the community center. It was filled to the brim with high schoolers and cars, cars filled with stage props.
Everyone was moving in such a hurry. She’d become one of them next week as well. She still had an hour till the play, so she headed to a convenience store nearby. She could visit Maru while she had the time, but she didn’t want to bother him when he was so close to starting.
“I’ll buy this.”
A high schooler in a costume was buying a hot drink for himself. The poor boy looked incredibly nervous. She muttered ‘good luck’ under her breath. They all had to fight for the ticket to the finals, but that didn’t make them sworn enemies.
As she sat down to drink some coffee, she saw a familiar face walk towards the store from the hall. The girl didn’t seem to have recognized her even as she walked into the store.
“Yoojin,” she called out first.
Lee Yoojin. The girl was someone who practiced in the amateur acting class with her. Yoojin smiled as soon as she discovered her.
“What the, you are on today?”
“No, I’m just here to watch.”
“Really? That’s the same as me, then. Ah, I’m here to spy I guess?”
Yoojin grinned. Spy, huh. What a funny way to put it.
“Did you come here with your club?” Yoojin asked.
“No, by myself.”
Yoojin looked a little confused, most people wouldn’t be coming here by themselves. It felt a little embarrassing to say that she was here to see Maru, so she just said she had business here. Yoojin continued despite her confusion.
“I came with my mom.”
“Yeah. There’s apparently this drama event happening around here. She said she had work to do there, so I just followed her.”
“Wow, your mom works in the drama industry?”
“She runs a hair shop, but she’s involved one way or the other. That’s how I managed to become a child actor, to begin with.”
“I see. You must’ve seen a lot of celebrities.”
“Sure. From afar.”
She knew that Yoojin acted as a child actor, but she had no idea that Yoojin’s parents were involved in the industry as well. They must be pretty close to the actors if they were involved in events like this. Or maybe it was the producers instead?
“Oh, by the way… You look really mature, you know that?”
“Yeah. Didn’t you greet a lot of people for the event, too?”
“Sure. My mom would introduce me, I’d bow, and leave afterwards. I just managed to escape it.”
Yoojin spoke with a tired voice. She put her chin over her hand as she sighed.
“It’s not that bad if you consider it an investment for the future. It might be tiring now, but this is just an opportunity for later.”
Yoojin sounded very calm about it, which was pretty amazing. As expected of a real actor, the girl emanated the energy of a pro.
“When does it begin?”
“So it’s started already, huh. Why aren’t you going in?”
“I’m here for the one that’s going at 12.”
“We still have time, then. Did you have lunch?”
She looked down at her empty can of coffee as she muttered, ‘this is lunch.’
“Good lord. That’s lunch? Are you on a diet?”
“Not really. There just isn’t much for me to eat here. I don’t really want instant noodles either.”
Yoojin tapped her lips for a second before widening her eyes.
“There was a katsu place nearby. Want to go?”
Katsu… she liked it, but she didn’t have the money today. She only brought enough to be able to go back home.
“By the looks of it, you need me to pay, don’t you?”
“I’m fine, really.”
“I’m not. I don’t want to eat alone. Can you come with me? Eating alone feels awkward.”
Yoojin approached to put an arm around hers. Were they this friendly with each other before? Well, whatever. She just smiled. She wasn’t the type that got uncomfortable by something like this. Plus, the girl was offering food.
“I’m going to get the one with cheese!”
She followed Yoojin into a restaurant behind the hall. It was a place decorated with logs on the outside. Once she entered, she let out a small exclamation of surprise.
“It’s so pretty.”
It must’ve been a popular place considering how many seats were filled. There were a lot of couples inside. The restaurant didn’t have seats left on the first floor, so they had to go up. Thankfully, they could find a seat quickly on the second floor.
“A window seat! Lucky!”
Yoojin put her bag on one of the chairs as she sat down. Only then did she notice Yoojin’s bag, it was a very expensive looking clutch bag. Noticing her gaze, Yoojin started showing off the bag.
“I got it as a gift.”
“It looks expensive.”
“It was from a regular in our shop who runs a jewellery shop. I couldn’t ask for the price either since I was too scared to ask. That lady drives around in a Maserati...”
“What’s a Maserati?”
“It’s just this car thing. It looks better with older men, but the regular told me she really likes it.”
Yoojin didn’t talk all that much in the acting class, but the girl was really going off today. She must be very sociable outside of work, they might even be able to become good friends. She took a sip of water with those thoughts in mind.
“That hat looks good on you.”
She smiled as she put a hand over her hat. To be honest, she did want expensive clothes and bags. She’d get it if she could, but more than that, she wanted a gift that had thought behind it. That’s why she liked this hat Maru gave her much more than the clutch that Yoojin carried around. It’s something Maru bought this for her with the hopes that she wouldn’t get cold.
“Ooh, is it from a guy?”
She was embarrassed to admit it, but she didn’t want to deny it. So she just closed her mouth.
“I’m so jealous. Who is it? I feel like it’s from someone who likes you, you must get a ton of confessions thrown your way.”
“Confessions? No way. I don’t get a lot of those.”
“Liar. You said ‘a lot’, so you do get them.”
“What about you? I feel like you would’ve gotten a lot as well.”
The two of them stopped talking for a second before smiling awkwardly. If they were better friends, they would’ve started cracking silly jokes here. But well, they weren’t good friends just yet.
“You must be really interested in acting, by the way. Especially if you’re coming to watch on a day off.”
She did enjoy watching people act. That was the one hobby she used to share with her dad, but she definitely came here today for personal reasons.
“Is Myunghwa high aiming for the first prize this year, too?”
“Of course. Our seniors are ready to go all out. We might get overtaken by Bosung girl’s high if we aren’t careful.”
“What the, you guys were watching out for us? Then again, we’re getting ready to beat you guys, too. Ugh… Our seniors are scary. They’re so nervous now that we’re a week out from the prelims. Hold on, if you guys win this one… You guys would be winning four nationals in a row, right?”
“You’re right, now that you mention it.“
“Can’t you go easy just this once?”
“No way, never.”
“Ugh, you’re too greedy.”
Yoojin smiled playfully. The server walked over to serve them the food they ordered. It came on a heated stone plate, vastly different from the katsu stores near her school.
“It’s not that expensive, so don’t feel too bad about it.”
“Was I being too obvious?”
“Very. You have a pretty cute side to you, don’t you? I thought you’d be really stiff when I saw you in Myungdong.”
“Same here. I thought you’d be awkward, too.”
“Hm, then again, we never really talk to each other. After all, I’m… the main character. Hehe.”
“Ugh, good for you.”
She did want the role of Seulmi, the character that’s often paired with Maru’s. She had to admit that Yoojin fit the role better, so she gave up. She didn’t want to ruin the mood of the place with pointless greed. In the end, she wanted to get along with the rest of the crew.
“Ah! Come to think of it, isn’t Han Maru acting today? He was in Woosung high, wasn’t he?”
“Right, you guys are always together, too! Are you guys going out?”
Her mouth twitched a little. But before she could say anything, Yoojin spoke first.
“No, you didn’t seem all that interested when I saw you two at the bbq last time. You guys live in the same direction, right?”
“I thought so. Maru doesn’t seem to be the type that’d get along with girls. No, he’s changed a bit recently. He always seemed to be thinking about something before, but he started speaking a lot more now. He doesn’t seem as hard to approach as before.”
“Really? I had no idea. He honestly goes around saying so many silly things.”
“Silly? Huh, interesting. I never got that from him. Ah, right. Did you know? Maru’s actually really thoughtful. He’s really hardworking when it comes to acting, too. I saw his script last time, and wow… I’ve never seen more detailed notes on a script. It was pretty cool.”
“Cool? Maru’s not cool, he’s just really stubborn about everything he does.”
She felt a little offended for some reason. She should be happy since the person she’s dating just got praised, but she didn’t feel that way at all.
‘Hold on, we are dating, right?’
They confessed to each other and now they were going places together, so they were… dating, right?
‘Come to think of it, he never gave me a proper response!’
Suddenly, it felt like she was losing out. The boy shook her after coming to her house at night, then called her again later. Did she ever get a single word out of him about how he felt then?
“Why did you become so dazed all of a sudden? Your food’s gonna get cold, let’s eat.”
She started eating for now, just like Yoojin said. All the while thinking about what she would say to Maru.
* * *
“This is unrelated to dramas, but I just have to ask this, given the number of rumors. Ms. Suyeon, are you dating anyone? I heard you were very close with actor Choi recently.”
“Ah… For now, I think hearing such rumors are a great honor for me.”
“By that you mean?”
“Mm, honestly, I would love to date someone. But who are you talking about? Actor Choi? There’s quite a lot of actors with that last name.”
Suyeon passed the reporter’s question with a bright smile. The reporters let her go with laughter as well. This time, a different reporter asked a question.
“You have some great wit, actor Suyeon. You’ve been a rising icon in the industry. Did you know about that?”
Suyeon pointed at herself in surprise.
“Yes. You recently got very good reviews on the drama that you finished, ‘Blue Sparks’. It didn’t get that many views, but many of the reviews said that it was a pleasure watching you.”
“I’m very grateful for those reviews, but that’s also quite a bit pressure. I would rather not be called an ‘icon’ or anything of the sort when I’m just starting out in the business.”
“Isn’t ‘just starting out’ an inaccurate description? I heard you were very famous back in Hyehwa station.”
“Dramas are very different from plays, after all. In this world, I am nothing but an outsider and a student trying to get better. Again, I’m grateful for all the attention, but I really do think the term ‘icon’ isn’t befitting of me just yet.”
“By ‘just yet’, do you mean that you would become an icon in the future?”
“Mm, yes. I’m not trying to be arrogant here, only greedy. I want to shake up the viewers after I mature a bit more as an actress.”
“Thank you for your response.”
The actress sat back down with a grin.Previous Chapter Next Chapter