People looked like ants. Suyeon looked down at the streets while putting her hand against the window. She was just staring at a yellow bin that a street cleaner was dragging around when,
“What are you doing?”
A cold hand touched her lower stomach. The palm was filled with calluses. After stroking her stomach for a while, the hand slowly climbed up towards her chest. Suyeon grabbed the hand and took it off her body.
“It’s about time we leave.”
“Already? Let’s stay for a little bit more.”
“I have work to do.”
Suyeon put on the bra that she hung on the chair as though she was hanging laundry.
“I wonder when we can meet again.”
“I don’t know either.”
“I think it’ll be quite good if we can meet more often.”
“I thought you had a person that you’re seriously going out with. Looks like I heard wrong?”
Suyeon put on her blouse and reached into the back of her blouse to take out her hair. The man on the bed gave her the skirt which was on the floor.
“She’s a good woman.”
“There you go then. As for us, we’re just a business relationship, aren’t we?”
“A woman that clearly draws the line isn’t that charming, but you’re different.”
“Maybe that’s because the women you’ve met until now didn’t know how to draw a clear line.”
The man put his arm around Suyeon’s neck and tried to kiss her. Suyeon put her fingers between the two pairs of lips.
“Don’t bring bed labor outside the bed.”
“You consider that labor?”
Suyeon smiled instead of answering. The man made an empty laugh before stretching his arms out.
“Who else do you meet other than me?”
“Oh, my. You’re asking a lady that? You’re an impolite one.”
Suyeon took out some cosmetics from her bag and put them on the dressing table. She drew her eyebrows and put on some lipstick. Just then, she heard a flint sound from a lighter from where the man was.
“You aren’t meeting me once I get married, I guess, right?”
“I don’t want to pull out another woman’s hair on the streets like in dramas. I’m a law-abiding woman, you know.”
“You should get married soon and find a place to call home, producer. How long are you planning to be a migratory bird?”
“I guess. The woman this time is kind and above all, likes me.”
“She fell for you?”
“I think so.”
“That’s good then.”
Suyeon stood up with the bag in hand.
“I’ll be leaving first then. Please take care of the checkout.”
She put on her shoes and pulled down on the door handle slightly when the man hugged her shoulders from behind.
“I think it’ll be good to live with you, too.”
“You’re a bad guy.”
“She’s a kind woman, but she’s no fun. I feel like she’ll raise the kids well, but at the same time, I feel like she’ll make my life dull.”
Suyeon sighed and turned around. The man was standing there with a grin on his face and she grabbed him by his stuff. The man groaned and flinched back.
“I’ve never considered myself as a clean woman. I’m dirty and underhanded. If people knew about me, they'd insult me. But still, I don’t cross the line. We had fun, didn’t we? You put in your energy for me, and I shook my ass for you in bed. I told you the first time we met, didn’t we? That we shouldn’t put any emotions on the line.”
Suyeon loosened her grip. The man stepped back with a stiff expression.
“If you know someone good, then go to her. Don’t bring emotions into business. Well, then, producer. I had fun until now. I hope you can greet me nicely when you see me on set. If you invite me to your wedding, then I’ll attend. If you don’t, then well, that’s that.”
Suyeon waved her hand before leaving the room. As she walked towards the elevator, she took out her phone from her bag. The first thing she did was to erase the messages she exchanged with that producer. Her bodily relationship with him was over, but she might meet him again with business matters, so she left behind his number.
“Now then, what do I do?”
Although she said that she had work to do, she was free for the next two days. She would get busy once she started shooting a drama starting next week, but she wasn’t that busy until then. She thought about going to Busan for the next two days by herself, but she soon changed her mind.
She hummed as she called Geunsoo.
-Yes. This is Hong Geunsoo speaking.
“My name should pop up on your screen. There’s no need to answer so stiffly, don’t you think?”
-Yes. This is Hong Geunsoo speaking.
“Sheesh, you really are cruel. So then, Mr. Geunsoo.”
-What is it?
“Wanna go on a date?”
-Hm, I do, but I have something to do.
“It must be my mistake for thinking that that something to do just came up seconds ago, right?”
-Fortunately, it's scheduled work. I can be at ease since I don’t have to come up with excuses on the spot.
“What work is this?”
-Being a driver.
-There’s a shoot away from Seoul, as you know. I have the important mission of taking a treasured actor to the shooting location.
“A treasured actor? Do you mean Sir Moonjoong?”
“Then who is it? Senior Taeho?”
“Then who is it? You can tell me that much, right?”
“...You’re driving him there?”
-Yes, I owe something to him and I want to check something with him as well.
“Are you taking him to Mt. Juwang again?”
-Well, no, but it is located in the same province. Oh, I’ll hang up now, we have to get going soon.
“Wait a sec.”
Suyeon put her phone in her other hand and hurriedly continued speaking.
“I guess there’s an empty seat at the back right?”
“I said there should be an empty seat at the back.”
-Well, no, we have to take air with us as well.
“I’ll tag along then.”
-Hanging up. See you later.
“I’ve already decided that I’m following. I’ll be obedient if you take me, and if you make me take my car there and meet at the set, I’m going to cling to you for the whole day. What’s your choice?”
A groan of hesitation could be heard over the phone. At that moment, there was a small voice that said ‘let me take it’ before a bunch of noises could be heard. After that, a new voice talked to her.
-There’s nothing beneficial for you there. Why are you trying to follow us?
“It’s been a long time, Maru. How are club activities going? I’ll be going starting next week so look forward to that.”
-Don’t change the subject on me. It’s a little far to be considered a walk in the park, so why are you trying to come with us?
“Why, you ask? Because I have nothing to do. And Mr. Geunsoo is going there too, isn’t he? I’m telling you this beforehand, but I have a car, okay? We’ll be meeting on set anyhow. If you leave me here, then I’ll annoy you for a lifetime. It’ll be fun if I make some jokes in front of the others, right?”
-Why don’t you try becoming an adult instead? I heard that becoming mature is the trend these days.
“I am an adult. I became one a long time ago.”
After a moment of silence, she was notified to come to Suwon station. Suyeon smiled as she took the elevator to the first floor lobby.
* * *
“To think that you’d have to drive five hours for a single scene. That’s the sadness of rookies for you.”
Maru looked back at Suyeon, who was in the back seat. She took off her sandals and was half-lying down across both of the seats.
“Who told you to join that pain?”
“It’s fun to do so. Isn’t it, Mr. Geunsoo?”
“No, not really,” Geunsoo replied as he tilted the wheel slightly. It had been two hours since they got on the highway. There were two hours to go until they arrived at their destination.
“Since it’s getting boring, should we do a word chain game?”
As soon as Suyeon said something, Geunsoo opened the windows. The wind was very loud since the car was going at 120km/h. The loud noises made Suyeon, who was chatting non stop from the back seat, become quiet with a dumbfounded expression.
Maru raised his thumb up at an angle that Suyeon wouldn’t be able to see. No matter how loud the wind was, it wouldn’t be as loud as a woman’s chatter. After driving across the wind for a while, Geunsoo pulled out to a service area.
“I skipped breakfast so I’m getting hungry. Let’s have our lunch here.”
Geunsoo left the car. Maru followed him out. They entered the service area building while talking about the set. As this was the weekend, there were quite a number of people.
“I’m going with Sanchae-bibimbap.”
“I’ll take that as well.”
“Should we order a bowl of ramyun as well?”
“Sounds good to me.”
They put an order in and got back a meal ticket. They grabbed a table and waited for a while before a number signifying their ticket flashed on the noticeboard. Maru stood up from his seat and got the meal in place of Geunsoo who went to the bathroom.
Just as he grabbed his spoon to start eating, he felt a hand grabbing his shoulder. When he turned around, he saw Suyeon, wearing a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses.
“...Are you a celebrity?”
“Yes, despite what you think I am. But you really didn’t wait for me, huh. Where’s mine?”
“One should take care of their own meals.”
“What’s that then?”
“It’s senior Geunsoo’s.”
“Really? One should take care of their own meals, huh.”
Suyeon smirked before pulling the tray over to her side. She picked up the spoon with a happy expression and mixed the contents of the bowl before scooping a big spoonful and eating it. Geunsoo, who just came back from the bathroom, saw what was happening and went to the ticketing booth to get another one as though nothing had happened. Seeing Geunsoo come back with another tray of Sanchae-bibimbap in hand, Suyeon thanked him by saying ‘thanks for the meal’.
They continued on with their meal as they talked. Most of the time, it was Suyeon chatting, and Maru just asked Geunsoo some things he was curious about from time to time. Just as they finished off their meals, Maru caught something strange. He found some men who were looking at them with some hesitation.
“I think they noticed who you are.”
Suyeon turned around a little. The men brightened in an instant and approached her quickly.
“Uhm, excuse me. Aren’t you Miss Kim Suyeon?”
One of the four men, who seemed to be in his mid twenties, carefully asked. Maru saw that Suyeon had a kind smile on her face and inwardly thought that she was an actress after all. She could switch to her actress mode in an instant.
“Ah, yes. I am. You know who I am?”
“Wow! I was right. Ah, I’m a fan of yours, Miss Suyeon. I’ve never missed an episode of ‘Blue Spark’.”
Suyeon became shy and put her hand above her chest and twisted her body. That shy gesture made the men smile subconsciously.
Maru looked at Geunsoo and shrugged his shoulders. Geunsoo smiled back at him. Thanks to the four men causing a fuss, other people in the building started gathering around Suyeon.
Returning his tray, Maru spoke,
“She’s a celebrity alright. Many people recognize her.”
“She’s an actress that’s making a name for herself after all. Her mini series did well too. And there’s that new drama that she’s doing with Joohyun-noona. It’s a work that’s receiving a lot of attention, so it’s not that surprising that people recognize her.”
“Oh, you mean the one that was supposed to be done last winter but delayed because of an accident?”
“You know about it?”
“I remember hearing it from a friend of mine.”
Maru had heard that from Yoojin. She said something about how she was dejected because a drama she was looking forward to got delayed.
“She looks busy, so let’s just go by ourselves.”
“I want to do that, but I’m scared of the consequences. You know, she’s a scary woman.”
“That’s true. Oh, senior. I’m asking this just in case, but you aren’t actually interested in her, are you?”
“I don’t have that much luxury. I’m really busy these days, you know? I’m told to prepare for the next movie, leave some time for an interview, and that’s not the end of it.”
“It looks like the president is really making the most out of you.”
“Don’t even start. I’m working away like a slave since the moment I joined JA Production. You’ll be in my shoes in a little while. You should get ready for it. Senior Junmin really does make you earn back the money he paid you.”
“That, I can agree on. Rather than that, I wonder how long she’s gonna stay there. Oh, we’re eating out of the same pot now, aren’t we?”
Suyeon was struggling to escape the people who were asking for autographs. She was signalling for help from time to time, but neither Maru nor Geunsoo wanted to run into that crowd.
“Let’s get some rest in the car. She should be here soon enough. She’s a famous actress after all.”
Maru bought three canned drinks from the convenience store before going back to the car. Geunsoo and he spent around 20 minutes talking about Geunseok when they saw Suyeon limping towards the car from afar. She greeted her fans that followed her for one last time before getting in the car. Getting in the car, Suyeon undid her top button on her blouse before lying down.
“I can’t keep this up anymore. I should have just gone with the unapproachable image,” she grumbled as she fanned herself with her hand.”
Maru tossed her a drink.
Geunsoo started driving again. There were still two hours to go until they arrived at their destination. The sun would start setting once they arrived, and that would be when the shooting began.
Maru stretched out his arms with his hands locked. He felt nervous already. The tingle behind his neck made him smile subconsciously.
“You should get some sleep.”
Hearing Geunsoo’s words, Maru closed his eyes. Geunsoo told him that it would be better to preserve some energy since the shoot may continue late into the night.
Closing his eyes, Maru pictured that scene once again in his mind.
 They’re paid by the same company.
That's karma for you, Suyeon