Chapter 140

“I like the ones with chocolate on top.”

“I like cream.”

Before she knew it, her hand was getting dragged around by Yoojin’s. She had a cup of coffee in one hand and Yoojin’s hand in the other, it almost felt like she followed her mom outside.

“Oh? It’s almost time.”

“You’re right.”

The two of them turned to head towards the civic hall. The sun was shining brightly above them, making the weather a little warm for winter. She took off her beanie and put it in her bag as she entered the building. Inside, she could see a bunch of high schoolers running around busily in their makeup. She became fired up because of it. The winter competition had finally begun.

“Why are there so many people?”

“No idea.”

This was just the prelims. A regional one, too. Most of the time, high school acting competitions never got attention. Unless a school takes all of their students out to cheer for their club, the audience seats were usually empty. Plus, this was a Sunday. No school would be able to force their students to go watch a high school play on the weekend. Except for Myunghwa high, of course. Her school was very generous to the acting club. Anyhow, that didn’t change the fact that there was an unnatural number of people in the building right now.

“Wow, are those cameras?”

Yoojin noticed the large cameras that were carried around by some of the people, she looked at the cameras strangely as well. A broadcasting camera, at an event like this? Why were there so many reporters as well?

“Is something else happening here today?”

“Probably not, it’s just going to be the competition all the way till 6.”

“What is this, then?”

“Did someone famous come?”

“Ah, maybe.”

She moved to the first floor, wondering if a TV star came. Since the event wasn’t anything special, you could sit anywhere you want. Except of course, for the reserved seats. Interestingly, there were a lot of reserved seats here today. She sat down on one of the middle seats, waiting for the next play to start. Right then, Yoojin received a call.

“Yeah, I’m in. What? You’re coming? Oh, so that’s what it was. Is big sis Joohyun coming too? Did she disappear in the middle? What the, and here I wanted to say hi.”

Even she knew who Ahn Joohyun was, she was a controversial actress. After hanging up, Yoojin continued talking.

“The people from the drama event are all coming here. Something as a celebration?”

“I see. So will there be famous people coming?”

“Don’t know. I think the actors are all gone because of something else, though. The people coming here are all most likely from the production crew.”

“That’s boring. You reckon they’d come on stage to talk about something boring?”

“Probably. They probably have the cameras here for advertising purposes too. Damn, and here I was all excited for nothing.”

Yoojin set her phone to vibrate with a tiny frown. She turned her phone off as well.

“We’ll introduce our next play now. This is the ‘People of Dalseok-dong’, performed by Woosung high. We’ll begin in ten minutes.”

Yoojin blinked her eyes in surprise.

“Maru was in Woosung high, right?”

“Yeah? Yeah.”

“Hmm, I should see how good he is.”

Yoojin let off a gaze like an experienced reviewer.

‘He should do well.’

She’s never seen Maru on the stage. All that she’s seen of him were during their practices, but she knew very well watching through practice and watching acting on stage couldn’t be more different. Maru’s acting, to her, felt calm. She occasionally heard instructor Ganghwan tell him to try and not get excited. She couldn’t understand what the man meant by that at all. Just what about Maru made him look excited?

“Yoojin.”

“Eh?”

“What’s Maru’s acting like to you?”

“Maru? Mm, he’s nice. His acting’s nice, but… It’s not eye-catching. Kind of like a floor that you know won’t give out?”

“So why did the instructor tell him to be calm?”

“Now that you mention it, I do remember him saying that. I don’t know. I don’t think there was a reason for it though? Maru never seems particularly energetic when he’s acting. Chuljin’s a really energetic character and Maru seems a little boring to watch when he plays the character.”

She must’ve thought similarly.

“But surely the instructor had a reason for saying that.”

Yoojin seemed to be pretty excited for this.

“He’s my rival for the nationals, but he’s also a partner for a play we’re working on. I hope Maru does well. If he doesn’t, that would just mean that he’s not suited to be my partner. Maru’s decent right now, but there needs to be something more. I want to act with someone who can charm me. Well, Maru’s a decent kid after all, so depending on how things go today...”

“Why are you talking about that all of the sudden?”

She cut off Yoojin right there in surprise. The girl was suddenly saying some dangerous words in front of her.

“What the, what’s with that reaction?”

“Eh?”

“I thought you didn’t think of Maru that way?”

“That’s….”

“What the, you like him?”

“......”

“That’s a surprise. I don’t mind, though. It’s not like we’re meeting people at this age to marry them. It’s natural to date someone because you like them and breaking up if it doesn’t work out. No, especially our age, I think we should get into very casual relationships. To develop an eye for men. Don’t you agree?”

“I do, but I think it’s better to just stick it through with one guy.”

“Well, that’s not bad either.”

Yoojin seemed to be an open girl. On the contrary, she’s never thought about boys like that before. This was the first time she’s come to like someone and the first time she’s ever confessed back to someone. Dating a different boy? She couldn’t imagine it.

“Oh, it’s starting.”

Yoojin turned her attention back to the stage. She threw away her needless thoughts as well. Thinking about other things during a play was very rude to the actors. Plus, she knew that Woosung high swept all the nationals until eight years ago. Not only that, she also knew that one of the graduates of the club was the one teaching the club right now. She wanted to cheer for Maru, but she also needed to know just how good Woosung high was.

Just as much as she liked Maru, she also liked acting. Competing with someone she liked was fun, but she also had no intention of losing. In the end, Myunghwa high would be the one to make it to the finals.

* * *

‘She’s quite something as well.’

Yoojin was impressed with how the girl next to her was focusing so intently. In their region, Myunghwa high was known for its acting club. Their club even had an admissions test for the students. Receiving such an important role in a club like that and then winning at the previous nationals meant quite a lot. Yoojin wanted to assemble a nice portfolio for her future. In that sense, this competition was very important to her. As such, there was no helping the fact that she could only be wary of the girl next to her.

‘She’s kind of cute, though.’

It was painfully obvious that the girl was going out with Maru. But since the girl was refusing to admit it, she could only assume that the girl was a newbie to romance. It was honestly great fun to tease the girl about it. They talked pretty much for the first time today, but she was appreciative of the girl’s view on acting.

“Maru’s kind of tall, too, huh?”

The girl looked at her with wide eyes when she asked the question. How adorable. The girl probably had no idea what she even looked like whenever they talked about Maru.

“Pft.”

She should stop with the teasing here, though. They had a play to watch.

* * *

Geunseok took a deep breath. He thought back to a small accident that happened in summer, the day that got completely ruined because of some small kid.

‘It’s nothing. I got over it already.’

He calmed himself down to allow himself to focus, very different compared to his past self. He even managed to win at the college competition after the summer nationals, he didn’t have trauma from that incident.

“You must be nervous.”

Yurim came to talk to him, her cheeks were slightly reddened. The girl didn’t have the charm that big sis Suyeon had, but he did think it was good that he had her with him.

“A little. You?”

“I’m trembling.”

“Don’t be too nervous. We’ll be up there together.”

“...Right, together.”

They held hands tightly together before letting go. Just as Geunseok flipped through his script one last time, he got a call.

- You’re about to go now, right?

Big sis Suyeon. A smile automatically formed on his face. Yurim looked at him a little oddly, so he turned away from her to hide his face.

“Yes, we are.”

- Good luck. If you pass, I’ll hold a little party for you or something.

“Really?”

- Yup. Good luck.

He could hear the sound of a kiss from the other side. Geunseok trembled a little bit.

“Who was it?” Yurim asked.

Geunseok frowned a little bit. So boring. Suyeon’s face was still fresh on his mind. Compared to a woman like her, Yurim was a total child.

“My instructor.”

“Ah, I see.”

That smile’s kind of cute, though. Geunseok closed his eyes. Yurim probably wouldn’t talk to him like this. Thankfully, she went elsewhere after telling him to work hard.

‘Good, my emotions are at an all-time high. I can do this. I’m experienced and I’m better than everyone else in the club. I just need to believe in myself.’

He was getting drunk on confidence, he just needed to push through like this.

“Let’s do well.”

“Fighting.”

The seniors all gave him words of encouragement. They all looked at him with trust as well. In the end, he really was the only person the club could rely on.

“Alright, let go of your scripts. We’re five minutes away from starting. It’s meaningless to look at it any more,” Miso said.

Geunseok let go of his script. Despite that, it felt like he was still holding it in his hands. He felt great today. Things should go very well for him.

“You practiced harder than anyone. I swore at you and got mad at you during practice, but I don’t even bother doing that to people who I don’t even see talent from. You know that, right?”

“Yes!”

“We worked for four months. In that time, you all definitely improved. Have confidence and run wild.”

They all gathered in one place before chanting Blue Sky under their breath. Geunseok felt his heart start to beat, he loved this nervous air and the eyes that were focused on him.

‘Is this why people act?’

He grinned. It was time to show people his talent. The other schools that came before them? They were clearly all trash. They were awkward and pathetic. This club wasn’t that good either, but they were better than… that. Plus, this club had Hong Geunseok. The boy who was recognized by everyone, whose brother was a talented actor.

‘I’m not going to be cast at a real play right here, am I?’

It seemed possible. He heard something about some very famous people from the industry coming today. He saw cameras and reporters outside. If he gets in the eyes of someone like that…

‘I can rise even without Lee Junmin.’

Lee Junmin, Geunseok didn’t actually like this man that much. He was thankful to the man for introducing Suyeon to him, but that was all the goodwill Geunseok held towards him.

‘He should support me more, especially with my talent. Just you watch, I’ll leave the moment I find something better.’

Making himself known through his brother shouldn’t be bad as well. Geunseok imagined the reporters all flocking towards him as he waited for them to get called out. Then…

“Woosung high, please come to the stage.”

The staff gave him the go-ahead.

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