Chapter 174

“Yes, teacher.”

- Are you busy?

Suyeon could hear loud noises from over the phone. Was he at a set?

“Nope. I’m always free if you need me.”

- That’s good. I’m at Kyungbook. Can you come here right now?

“Kyungbook? Why?”

- I’m scouting out a location for filming, and you came to mind. You don’t have to come if you can’t.

“Calling me from Kyungbook on such a short notice? That’s a bit too much, don’t you think? I’m in Seoul.”

Even as she said this, Suyeon was already working the navigator. Junmin wouldn’t call people out without a reason.

“Where exactly in Kyungbook?”

- You’re coming?

“Why wouldn’t I go?”

- Juwangsan National Park. Call me when you arrive, I’ll give you the details when you’re here.

“Looks like I’ll be there in six hours. Do they provide meals when I get there?”

- Of course. It’s six right now, so you’ll probably be able to arrive before midnight if you leave right away.

“I’m going to take it slow. But scouting? Since when were you a location manager?”

- Well, I got a picture of a decent place I was told about, and I had a good feeling. So I came here to check it out for myself.

“I mean, that place is already famous for filming.”

- It’s a bit away from the actual park. Almost a wild mountain. Looks good, though.

“Ugh, you’re too much. I’m an established actress, you know that? Not a personal servant.”

- You don’t have to come then. Ah, put that over there.

A voice belonging to a different man spoke over Junmin’s, Suyeon felt one of her eyebrows twitching.

“Teacher.”

- What.

“Is there someone next to you?”

- People.

“I think I heard Mr. Geunsoo just now.”

- He’s here. He was my driver.

“How could you just use such quality people for menial tasks like that?”

- Because I pay them. Anyway, get over here. You might catch us leaving if you dally for too long.

“Fine! I’ll be there quickly, so don’t say something so scary.”

She revved up the engine after hanging up. She thought about her day thus far. She didn’t have much to worry about since her drama was over. It was the evening of a weekday, the highways should be clear right now. She should be able to get there before midnight. She bought some food from the convenience store before coming back to her car. Right then, her phone rang. Was it Junmin? Ah, Geunseok.

“Ah, there was him, huh.”

She forgot she even had a lesson with the boy and didn’t much care for it. She originally got close to the boy in the hopes of closing in on Geunsoo. At this point, she might not really need him.

“Yeah, Geunseok?”

- I’m about to arrive, coach.

“Sorry, something urgent came up today. I don’t think I can make it.”

She got in her car with her phone sandwiched between her shoulder and cheek, she could hear Geunseok’s surprised voice from over the phone.

- What? But today’s when we have the lesson…

“Sorry. Just rest for today. Maybe go play with friends?”

- Coach.

The boy was calling out to her desperately. Ugh. This was why kids were annoying to deal with, they just didn’t know when to give up. They wanted to always take, take, take from a give and take relationship.

“Geunseok, I’m disappointed.”

- What?

“You’re not like a man at all. I thought you were a gentleman who cared for ladies. I’m very disappointed.”

- No, that’s not it at all.

“Right? I’ve been mistaken, right? Anyway, don’t come over. I won’t be there.”

- Are you going far?

“What does that matter to you?”

- ...Never mind.

“I’m hanging up.”

- W-wait!

Suyeon hung up without hesitation, he was getting more and more annoying to deal with. Probably time to draw a line at this point.

‘And here I thought he was someone smart.’

She thought the boy would strike deals with the other side’s desires in mind. In the end, he just turned out to be a stupid gambler, one that chased after short-term gains. Suyeon mentioned Geunsoo in their meetings once or twice, Geunseok definitely noticed what she meant whenever she mentioned his brother. That’s when the boy was supposed to introduce her to Geunsoo, but the boy just kept pushing it away. Likely because he was afraid of losing her.

“Are they really brothers?”

She threw the phone to the passenger seat. It was still vibrating, but she didn’t even look at it. Geunsoo and Geunseok. They’re brothers in that they’re both very talented, but their personalities were vastly different. Geunsoo had a powerful aura to him, she knew the man would succeed when she saw the independent film he was starring in. He looked like a great person, so much that he is one of the biggest reasons for her six-hour drive. Geunseok wasn’t like that at all. He was talented, sure, and had some leadership qualities. That was it though, a genius with no charm at all.

Of course, life experience might change the boy, not she has the time to wait. Especially with all of the already magnificent men shining around her.

“I hope I get paid for how much I’ve worked so far.”

Junmin was calling her out, this might turn out to be a great chance for her to form a connection with Geunsoo.

“Being a delinquent is the best.”

Suyeon drove with a pop song playing on the speaker.

* * *

“Damn it.”

Geunseok fell back on his bed after coming back home. His silver lining for the week was gone, just like that. Suyeon didn’t tell him anything, either. She probably left the city. He was annoyed. Club work included, there wasn’t anything that was going his way. He called a few girls he knew out of frustration, a few of them readily agreed to come out.

‘Should I play?’

The girls were nothing special compared to Suyeon, but whatever.

“I’ll be out for a bit.”

His mom gave him a bit of allowance on his way out, he has been getting first place at the academy he went to every week. His dad gave him a brand watch as a reward, there was a bit of pressure to take first place on the next test, but he wasn’t worried. He should be able to take first place easily with some work. He met the girls in front of a karaoke nearby, they all dressed up for the occasion, but they all seemed awkward.

“I’m paying.”

“Wow, as expected of Geunseok.”

He was letting out stress at the karaoke with the laughing girls. Right then, he got a call from her brother. It wasn’t a great call, but he took it for now.

“What?”

- I was just curious about how you were.

“Well.”

- Good to hear. How’s the club? I heard you guys were in a bit of trouble.

“Trouble? From who?”

- Maru.

“Why would you listen to an idiot like that? I’m in charge of the club and I’m telling you there’s no problem. I’ll take care of it, so you work hard yourself. How long are you going to chase your dreams? Dad is incredibly worried about you. With you rolling in the mud in the independent film industry and all.”

- Haha, true that. Good to hear that you’re focused. Mom and dad must be happy.

His brother sounded as positive as ever. Geunseok was sick of it.

“I’m hanging up.”

- Geunseok.

His brother didn’t respond even after calling him. Just before Geunseok hung up with a click of his tongue, a voice came through the phone.

- You’re doing acting because it’s fun, right?

“What are you talking about?”

- You’re acting because you’re desperate for acting and for no other reason. Right?

Geunseok let out a little laugh. What the hell was he on about?

“Is that important? I’m talented as all hell.”

He dropped the phone call and went back into the room, his annoying emotions disappeared as he heard the cheery beat inside. His worries were fading in an instant.

* * *

“The first movie I ever watched starred Jackie Chan, I still remember it very well. I actually watched it several times over in just one day. He was jumping over cars, beating people up with just clothes, and… when I learned that he was doing that with only practical effects, my mind was set. I want to be like Jackie Chan.”

The boy seemed completely serious. Well, at least he was passionate about what he wanted to do.

“We don’t teach stunts here though.”

“But I heard the training here is difficult. I learned that overexercising from a young age can ruin your joints or your growth. That’s why I planned on exercising in high school and joining a stunt school afterwards.”

The boy actually seemed to have a plan, thankfully. Maru was a fan of that.

“I don’t know how much we’ll be of help, but we’ll do our best if you join.”

“Thank you!!”

“Shh!”

Maru gestured at Bangjoo to lower his voice, the boy nodded with a shocked look.

“So you want to be an actor like Jackie Chan?”

“Yes. I know it’s a ridiculous dream. But that’s why I want to be here.”

Bangjoo’s shining eyes were a bit intense, Maru gave the boy another bottle of yakult to try to change the mood. The boy grabbed the bottle with his two hands. Now that he looked at it, he was pretty well-built. He must’ve exercised hard already.

“Are you exercising, by any chance?”

“I’m boxing a bit.”

“Really? I used to box too, just a little.”

“Is that true?”

The boy’s eyes were starting to shine again. Maru just responded with a “just a little bit” with an awkward smile.

“As I thought, judging by your physique.”

Bangjoo nodded in understanding. He must be living with his grandparents, judging by how he constantly brought up his grandmother as he talked. Well, at least his manner of speech was very polite.

“Um, senior. The others...”

“They’re all out because of personal matters. I’m here by myself today.”

“I see. Then, could you tell me how many other freshmen are here? I’d love to know how many comrades I have in arms.”

Bangjoo clearly seemed very eager to know. Maru hated that he’d have to tell this young lamb the truth of the club, but he had to. He explained the situation shortly to his junior.

“So if three people in total, including me, don’t join...”

“This place will disappear.”

“That can’t happen!”

“Um, don’t get too fired up. We still have four days, so we have time to think.”

Saturday was the last day for clubs to turn in their members list, Maru needed to bring the club registration forms from the new members to Taesik by then.

“Please tell me if I can help. I can do anything.”

Maru felt like he was about to get burned by Bangjoo’s passion, he was very interesting for sure.

“We need to promote the club. Ideas?”

“To promote the acting club… There’s no better thing than acting, right?”

“Mm, that’s true, but...”

Maru gave Bangjoo’s body another glance. He probably had a lot of stamina.

“Are you patient?”

“I’m very good at staying patient. My sister trained me in that department well.”

“Sister?”

“...Yes, I have an odd elder sister. You don’t have to worry. She’s odd, strange, and monstrous.”

Bangjoo shuddered like a mouse in front of a snake when he talked about his sister. Trying to know more felt like it would bring Maru trouble, so he decided not to pry.

“Can you stand still for about an hour?”

“Of course.”

“Alright, help me out tomorrow then.”

“I understand.”

“Ah, you might have to skip lunch. Is that okay?”

“......”

The boy looked the same as when he was talking about his sister, he must care about meals a lot.

“You can eat bread to take care of hunger.”

“That’s fine, then.”

He looked brighter already.

“But senior, what are we going to be doing tomorrow?”

Maru decided to give the boy the shortest, most direct answer.

“Performance art.”

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