"We got the registration forms for now.”
Maru handed the forms over to Taesik. There were four third years who were just there by name, two new first years, and four second years.
“Oh, new kids from our class.”
“Yes. I just wanted to fill in the numbers for now.”
Clubs with less than ten people didn’t have the luxury of a clubroom, so Maru met the quota using ghost members.
“You must be thinking of finding other members next week.”
Taesik leaned backwards with a troubled look.
“Is there an issue?”
“The rules have changed, unfortunately. The school recently had a meeting about this after they received a request from a student.”
Taesik got up from his seat and walked out of the teacher’s office, Maru followed behind him. Taesik ordered two cups of coffee from the vending machine next to the school store before walking over to a corner.
“The faculty talked about how some clubs had clubrooms since the beginning of school. The principal seemed oddly willing to talk about this topic for some reason. Usually, he leaves this kind of stuff to the school council.”
“...Could it be...”
“The school council decided to let other clubs try having clubrooms as well and the faculty agreed. So they decided to perform an investigation on all clubs that had clubrooms for more than five years. Ah, sorry, they already finished the investigation and made their decision.”
“So what happens to the acting club?”
“We’re losing the clubroom. The reading, music, and toys club get to keep their clubs due to their results in various national competitions, but not us.”
“So the winter competition wasn’t appealing enough.”
“I couldn’t say anything to the school wanting to let other students have a chance at getting their own clubrooms. Especially since they are right.”
Taesik gulped down the chilled coffee, Maru finished his in one gulp as well.
“How long do we have?”
“The third week of March.”
“It’s going to take a while to move all of the props.”
“Worse, finding a place to keep all of it.”
“You don’t happen to have a storage room somewhere, do you?”
“Of course I don’t. What made you think I would?”
“I was just asking out of false hope.”
Maru was reminded of a time when the landowner decided to raise his rent. It must’ve been an obvious decision to the landowner, but Maru recalled the feeling of having his world crumble around him when he heard it. It almost felt like he got betrayed by his own house, even though that house was never actually his, to begin with. It was the same with the school, the clubroom wasn’t actually theirs. It was the school’s and there was nothing they could do about the school’s decision.
“We’ll have to find a new place first.”
“I’ll help as much as possible.”
“Do you know of a storage space the school doesn’t use?”
“Don’t know. I’ll take a look around.”
Maru returned to the classroom after finishing his conversation with Taesik, Daemyung greeted him with a bright smile.
“How’d it go? Did it work?”
“Nope, we’ll have to leave.”
“The rules have changed. Can’t do anything about it. We’ll have to leave.”
Maru gave back the registration forms he collected from his classmates.
“What the, what’s going to happen to you guys then?” Dojin asked worriedly.
“We’re screwed, obviously.”
“...Is it because I left?”
“You’re definitely not enough to influence this decision, so don’t worry. Explain to the others as well. We’re doing this because the school’s telling us to do it, not because you guys left.”
Maru didn’t want the former members feeling guilty over this, they left because they all had their own paths to walk. Maru didn’t want to place any unnecessary burdens on them.
“So how did this happen out of nowhere, then?”
“Well, that’s the odd thing.”
The principal probably took a liking to the school council’s suggestion. After all, the man disliked the acting club as is. But why did the school council speak out against it to begin with? Maru tried asking the vice president’s friend, but he didn’t get a decent response.
“I just know that the idea came out and it reached the principal’s ears.”
Was it just coincidence?
“Let’s head to the clubroom after lunch. We’ll need a plan if we want to move everything out.” “So we really are leaving, huh,” Daemyung sighed.
It was a done deal, so they couldn’t help it. They’d be better off trying to plan things out as fast as possible. On their way to the cafeteria after their fourth period, they ran into Taesik.
“They said there wasn’t a good place inside the school.”
Bad news never comes alone, does it? The school didn’t even have a single storage room to spare.
“Thank you for looking.”
“I’m looking for clubs willing to give up their clubrooms, but this isn’t easy either.”
“You probably won’t find any, since people dislike letting go of things they have.”
“Right. But I still have hope for now.”
“We’re going to organize the clubroom after lunch. We’ll start with the heavier stuff close to the door first.”
“And we’ve moved everything just two months ago too.”
“We can’t help it, I guess. Please enjoy your meal.”
Outside the school… Maru didn’t have a very good place in mind. Just as he walked with a deep frown on his face, his back suddenly turned hot with a loud slapping noise. Yoonjung was smiling awkwardly behind him when he turned around.
“D-did it hurt a lot?”
She seemed to misunderstand the reason behind his expression.
“It’s fine. I was just frowning because of something that happened. Did you have business here?”
“...I heard the news about the clubroom.”
“Did you find a place yet?”
“Mr. Taesik couldn’t find a good place, so I’m a bit stuck. We’ll have to move out.”
“Out? Out where?”
“That’s the issue.”
Maru scratched his eyebrows. There were only residences next to the school, was there a building that could house their stuff nearby?
“What about a tent?” Yoonjung asked with her index finger pointing to the air.
A tent, huh.
“We could get a shipping container.”
“Used ones go for about two million won, so it should be a short term good solution. Oh, it might actually be a bit cheaper around now.”
Just as he was thinking a little more about the solution, he heard Yoonjung let out an exclamation of surprise.
“You really know everything, Maru.” “Yes, well.”
“You should’ve been the president after all.”
“Mm, that’s how things turned out.”
“Really? What about Geunseok?”
“Something happened to him. He left.”
Yoonjung widened her eyes, then left saying that she’d be talking to the boy.
“She’s the same as ever.”
“She’d be popular with the boys too if she wasn’t so energetic all the time.”
Maru could only nod at Dojin’s statement.
“A container, though? Can you even buy that?” Daemyung asked.
“There’s quite a lot of supply. If we ask the right people, we could even get it delivered for free. It could be even cheaper if all we’re looking for is a waterproof one.”
“B-buying one? You said it was over two million.”
“Well, if we can get permission from the school, there’s no reason not to.”
“What about the money?”
Maru smiled at Daemyung.
“Alright, we found one solution, so let’s eat.”
“No, but what about the money?”
“Let’s go. Noodles for lunch.”
“What about the money?!”
Daemyung chased after Maru with a confused expression.
* * *
“Who was that girl at lunch? She was pretty.”
“Someone who’s into me.”
Geunseok shrugged at his friend. Yoonjung came to ask him why he left during lunchtime. He was annoyed at her for asking so many questions, so he just told her that he found the club annoying. He led her on a bit because it was cute watching her asking him to come back, but he had no intentions of going back. Well, not that he could to begin with. His dad wouldn’t allow it.
Nothing bad happened on the day his dad found out, thankfully. But he was told to give up on acting completely. Geunseok knew that he wouldn’t be able to change his father’s mind at all.
“Hey, Hong Geunseok.”
He met his friend right in front of the council room, it was the council’s vice president. A few days ago, he gave his friend a little suggestion. To change the rules so that more clubs would be able to use clubrooms.
“Your request went through.”
“The senior really liked it. The principal was a fan too.”
“Why did you ask for a change like that out of nowhere?”
“Just because? Fairness, I guess?”
“What the hell are you talking about? Ah, I was going to hang with a few girls, want to join?”
“Fine. Food’s on me.”
He felt better already. He’d need to wait to hear the specifics, but the acting club would probably have to move out because of this. Geunseok walked up to the fourth floor through the central stairs. He noticed that the acting club’s door was open. Looking inside, he could see the club members moving several props.
“What are you doing?” Geunseok asked, suppressing a laugh.
“They said we need to move out, so we don’t have a choice. Want to help?”
“You think I’m as free as you people?”
He almost let his laughter slip out, Geunseok turned around after wishing them luck. He felt good already watching them being put to work, it’d take a lot of effort to move all of those props.
‘Should’ve acted tame from the start, fucker.’
Geunseok took a look at the sign of the acting club before stepping downstairs. Acting was pretty fun. He didn’t have many regrets about stepping away from it, it definitely had its own charm. Too bad his father didn’t allow it, it wasn’t like he could rebel against the man anyway. Only crazy people like his brother did that, thinking about his brother made Geunseok’s stomach twist. His brother managed to get recognized, disgusting. The person who couldn’t even chase after his shadow was now acknowledged by his father.
“I hope you fucking fail. All of you.”
Geunseok took a step forward with a bitter frown.
* * *
“I didn’t think you’d contact me out of nowhere like this.”
“I happened to have the time and I also happened on some troubling news.”
Hong Janghae took a sip of the porridge a fancy waitress had brought him. This multi-leveled Chinese restaurant wasn’t that big, but it was a place that many celebrities frequented. Janghae knew very well how difficult it was to reserve a seat here.
“Geunsoo told me that you enjoy Chinese food.”
“Yes, quite a bit. This is a place I’ve been meaning to visit for quite a bit. I didn’t think my first time here would be for such an occasion.”
He came thanks to Junmin’s invitation today, Janghae was a fan of the food and the quiet environment here.
“Do you drink?”
“I enjoy it.”
Junmin put in an order after hearing that, a golden bottle of alcohol arrived shortly after.
“Please, have a drink.”
He took a glass from Junmin. The orange lighting of the restaurant attached an ethereal quality to the alcohol, Janghae poured Junmin a glass, too.
“This drink is good as an appetizer. Let’s talk after our meal.”
Janghae didn’t refuse, he was hungry. He slowly savoured each dish from the courses. The tantan noodles in the jade dish were the most inspiring. Once the meal ended, Junmin opened his mouth to speak.
“I heard Geunseok left the acting club.”
“I made him do it. Geunsoo is a very stubborn boy. I wasn’t able to stop him because of that, but Geunseok’s different. He listens to me very well. He returns to his rightful path with just a few words.”
Janghae let go of the glass he was holding just a moment before. He had the feeling he wasn’t going to like what he was about to hear.
“I dislike small talk.”
“Me too. So I’ll cut straight to the chase.”
Junmin put his two hands on the table.
“What do you think about letting Geunseok continue acting?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter