Chapter 175

“Ugh, my back.”

Long distance driving was as exhausting as always, Suyeon stepped out of her car to take a look around. There was a single villa standing in the middle of nowhere, this was supposedly where Junmin was. The ground was slightly muddy below her, Suyeon frowned as she looked at her suede shoes. She actually liked these shoes, so she couldn’t bring herself to set her foot down on the ground. Just as she started looking around in hesitation…

“Ms. Suyeon?”

Someone appeared before her, it was Geunsoo holding a flashlight.

“Oh? Hello.”

“So it is you. I was told to step outside since you arrived. The ground is quite the mess, isn’t it? It rained a lot.”

“Yes. I’m not sure how I should go inside.”

“I’ll bring you some sneakers.”

“Can you just carry me instead?”

She made it sound like a joke so as to not pressure him, Geunsoo thought for a bit before stepping towards her.

“Here, get on.”

“Woww.”

It was a good start. Up close, Geunsoo had an aura of playfulness about him like a child, to think that someone like this would turn into a madman on the stage. Suyeon was a fan of this aspect of Geunsoo, and even loved him, to an extent. She wanted to add him to her collection.

“Heavy, right?”

“Yes. You should consider losing weight.”

“Wouldn’t a gentleman tell me I’m light?”

“Sorry, I’m terrible at those things.”

Geunsoo put Suyeon down in front of the villa. She rubbed her chest against his back pretty hard on purpose during the piggyback ride, but it didn’t elicit much of a reaction from him. As she thought, he was just as difficult to manipulate as the rumors said.

“I was surprised how good Geunseok was at first when it came to acting. I understood right away when I heard your name though.”

“My brother never learned anything from me. We just watched plays together a few times.”

“......”

A hurtful smile. Something was wrong. Did the two not get along well? She should stop talking about Geunseok in that case. Still, she decided to pry a tiny bit further.

“Looks like Geunseok wants to take after his brother.”

“He doesn’t want to be like me. He just wants the attention I have on stage. I thought he finally found a dream of his own when he went into the acting club at school, but...”

Geunsoo shrugged with a smile.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t bore you with family drama. Just teach him well, please. He’s talented, as you’ve already seen. I’m sure he can turn out to be a good actor as long as he can grasp his strengths.”

It seemed that she picked the wrong topic to talk about, Suyeon started regretting the amount of time she poured into Geunseok. The two didn’t even get along.

“I’ll do my best. In any case, I didn’t think there’d be such a nice villa in a place like this. No wonder Mr. Junmin was so impressed.”

She quickly changed the topic from something other than Geunseok, but Geunsoo just walked forward without responding to her. He passed through the front gates and entered the building, the first thing Suyeon saw as she entered was a wooden staircase upstairs. Next to the staircase was the living room, which already had a few people inside.

“Hello.”

She didn’t know any of them, but there was nothing to be lost from saying hello. There were all sorts of people, ranging from ages 20 to 50.

“Hello.”

“It must’ve been a difficult drive here.”

None of them was surprised, they probably received word of her coming here a long time ago. The carpet on the floor was littered with poker cards, she could spot quite a few bottles of alcohol as well.

“Here, follow me.”

She went up to the second floor with Geunsoo. There wasn't anyone else inside the villa, they must’ve rented it for the day. Geunsoo knocked on one of the doors located further away from the staircase.

“May we come in?”

“Sure, come inside.”

She could hear Junmin’s voice inside. Suyeon entered the room with a slight smile, but froze up completely when she saw who else was inside.

“You should say hello.”

She finally came back to her senses after hearing Junmin’s words and greeted the other man in the room.

“Hello, senior Yoon Moonjoong.”

“You know me?”

“Of course. I was inspired by your performance at the Myungdong Art Theater.”

To think someone so influential would be here… Aside from him, there was also someone else in the room, he looked to be in his late 20s. The man was looking at her with his hand on his black horn-rimmed glasses, his gaze didn’t look very kind.

‘Who is it?’

The man couldn’t be someone normal, especially if he was with Junmin and Moonjoong here. Suyeon greeted him with a bright smile.

“Hello, I’m actress Kim Suyeon.”

The man gave her a silent nod.

“Please understand. He just doesn’t like talking. Or maybe he’s embarrassed about talking to pretty girls.”

“That’s not the case at all.”

The man refuted Junmin immediately. Suyeon felt her stomach twist inside at the thought of getting ignored, but she still maintained a smile.

“Do you not like me? We could at least trade names. Are you an actor?”

He’d probably be an incredible rookie if he was an actor.

“I’m not an actor. Just a writer.”

“Writer? Then a scenario...”

“I just published a single book so far. No more, no less. Is that enough?”

“...Um, did I do something wrong by any chance?”

“You didn’t. I just talk like this, so please don’t take offence. Or just ignore me. It’d be better if you don’t talk to me entirely. Since I don’t like talking.”

The man ended his sentence with the same expression he started speaking with. Wow, this one will be difficult. She didn’t even want to approach him any further, guys like this were hard to take down with just words. She would’ve just ignored him like he said if he was a normal person, but…

‘He has this vibe.’

The man took a sip from a can of beer in front of him. Suyeon changed targets and asked Junmin a question.

“So who’s this mysterious writer right next to me?”

“The original writer of the movie we’ll be producing. Did you hear of a novel called ‘Twilight Struggles’?”

“I didn’t, unfortunately.”

Junmin took out a book from his bag. The cover was decorated with black and grey.

“You like books, right?”

“Well, now I do. Should I read it?”

She was getting greedy to read it already, Junmin definitely didn’t call her here for nothing. Perhaps he was thinking of casting her in this film?

“Finish it by tomorrow morning.”

“You’re too much. It’s 1am, you know?”

“So you aren’t going to read it?”

Suyeon grinned and waved the book in front of her face a little. She didn’t enjoy reading very much, but she still read during her spare time. There were no better tools for self-improvement than books, after all.

“So she’ll be taking on that role?” Moonjoong said.

“No, sir. I’m just taking her out for a test run. You’re going to have a huge say in terms of casting, sir, so please tell me if you happen to have anyone in mind for a role.”

Suyeon smiled, making sure no one saw her doing it. A movie Moonjoong was starring in, with Junmin as the casting director… This was going to be big. It didn’t even take her a second for her to realize that this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

“Please take care of me from now on, sir.”

“I’d have to ask the same of you if we work together from now on, miss.”

“Please drop the formalities. I want to be adored, too.”

“Haha.”

Suyeon bowed at the two teachers and nodded at the young author, the author didn’t even spare her a glance as he continued sipping on his drink. Ah well. It was a shame, but it was about time she left. She closed the door as she exited.

“That guy’s a bit sensitive around people. He’ll at least greet you if you get close with him.”

“Are you close with that author?”

“I don’t really know. He isn’t very expressive.”

“I see. Are you participating in this project as well, by the way?”

“I’m not sure. I’ll consider it when the auditions begin.”

“So you really came here for a leisurely drive today?”

“I told you from the start. It must’ve sounded like a lie to you, Ms. Suyeon.”

Suyeon felt thorns coming off of Geunsoo’s voice, he clearly didn’t have a very good impression of her.

‘Maybe he heard rumors about me.’

She knew she was being called a queen bee behind her back, she didn’t deny it, it was true. Yet the men who knew fell when she approached them. Men were all foolish like that.

“You’re not mad because of it, are you?”

“Of course not.”

Geunsoo let it pass smoothly, he was going to be a hard one to tackle. Suyeon followed the man into an empty room.

“There’s not much that’s going to happen till 1 o’clock tomorrow, so please rest.”

“Doesn’t look like I can even if I want to, because of this.”

Suyeon lifted her book, garnering a nod from Geunsoo.

“It won’t be boring, at least.”

Geunsoo slowly closed the door, Suyeon turned on the bedlight and lay down on the bed.

“Alright, let’s take a look,” she said, as she flipped open to the first page.

* * *

Daemyung looked at the clock nervously, it was almost lunch. The teacher was looking at his wristwatch from the front of the classroom.

“I’ll let you go five minutes early today, so don’t run. Alright?”

“Yes!”

The students in the classroom pushed their chair back, getting ready to run. The math teacher organized his textbooks and gestured to the class rep. The class rep got up and shouted “stand”, which signalled for each chair in the room to scrape against the floor all at once. The math teacher waved at the students with a wry smile.

“Thank you.”

“No problem. Enjoy your meals.”

With that, the students ran out of the room. Daemyung immediately turned to look at Maru.

“Let’s go!”

Maru grabbed a large bag next to him and ran out at full speed, Daemyung had to hold his breath as he followed after the boy.

‘Why’s he so fast?!’

Maru zoomed right through the empty hallway, he was so fast that Daemyung immediately lost hope in trying to follow him. He huffed his way down the central stairs as he watched a smaller kid catch up to Maru.

“Let’s go, senior!”

The boy had a massive voice. Maru and the small kid ran together, so Daemyung tried to follow behind as much as possible. He heard someone shout ‘don’t run!’ behind them, but Daemyung couldn’t, at least not today. Before they knew it, they were the first students in the cafeteria.

“Alright. Just an hour, Daemyung.”

“Got it.”

Maru took out a sign from his bag, the type that you could hang over your neck.

- Acting club. Looking for members. Please take a sheet! First years welcome!

Daemyung stepped forward after hanging it over his neck.

“Senior! My name is Ahn Bangjoo! Please take care of me!”

“Ah, yeah, sure.”

This must be the junior Maru mentioned this morning, the boy was wearing the same sign as well. Instead of standing like Daemyung, the boy was posed as if he was running somewhere. It seemed hard to maintain balance, but Bangjoo looked confident.

“Alright, then.”

Maru posed as well. He put the box of paper down in front and reached as if he was picking up money.

“Won’t it be hard, Maru?”

“I can just change my pose a little every once in a while.”

“Why can’t you just stand…?”

“It’s not impactful that way. But anyway, you guys both remember your actions, right? Do them whenever someone takes one of these. Remember, this is a battle of patience. Try not to move as much as possible.”

“Got it.”

“Yessir!”

Daemyung sighed and looked forward, he could see the two goalposts outside the building in front of him. A few minutes later, he started hearing noises coming from his left. There were students running their way.

“They’re coming. Let’s try to get as much attention as possible. Don’t smile.”

“Y-yeah.”

He was nervous despite this not being a stage. Daemyung tried to cheer himself up as he told himself that stillness could be more stressful than just moving as Maru told him. Finally…

“Hey! Get my plate too!”

“Got it!”

“First place!”

The others have arrived.

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