“I hope summer vacation comes early.”
“There’s not even a month left now. It’ll come soon.”
“Did you already get the permission to go to the concert?”
“I don’t think mom will ever allow me if I told her honestly. Like I said, we should just say that we’re just going to hang out. The concert starts at five on Saturday and since it’s 3 hours long, it should be eight when it ends, right? I don’t think she’ll say anything if I just tell her that we’re just going to hang out together.”
“Right? Then what do we tell her?”
“The obvious choice is the theme park.”
“That’s a good one. A theme park, huh. We went there last year, so I don’t think mom will be suspicious.”
Bada giggled with her friends. They were talking about TTO’s concert for the past few days. When she first talked about the ticket, her friends did not believe her. However, when she showed them the six tickets that her brother gave her, she was treated like a hero. Ever since then, they spent weeks devising the ‘perfect plan to go to the concert’ every time they met up.
“But hey, where did your brother get those six tickets? It shouldn’t be easy getting any tickets, much less six in a row.”
“Oh, I didn’t ask, so I don’t know.”
“Really? Well, what’s important is that we’re going to the concert. Still, your brother’s amazing.”
While Bada’s friends talked about what clothes they should wear to the concert, Bada pondered about that question. Just how did her brother get his hands on the autograph and the tickets?
“How much does an R seat cost?”
“I heard from my cousin that she spent 160 thousand on an R seat ticket when she went last time.”
“It’s actually 100 thousand, but she couldn’t get the tickets in time, so she had to buy it second hand. I heard that R seat tickets are really hard to get unless you buy them second hand.”
Bada thought of the six tickets that she left at home. 6 tickets that cost 160 thousand won each, after calculating in her head, she blinked several times due to the absurd number. She didn’t think about it that much when she received them since she was so happy, but now that she thought about it, she thought that she shouldn’t have accepted those tickets so easily. She was aware that her brother saved up some money during vacation doing a part time job, but would that be enough to get his hands on something that cost nearly a million won?
‘Now that I think about it, there’s the credit card as well.’
She was spending around 100 thousand won every month with the card that he gave her. It had been around 10 months since she started using the card, so that would add up to another million won. In total, it would be around 2 million won. Also, Maru only worked for one month at the petrol station during the summer, and he was hospitalized throughout winter.
“Can you earn 2 million won by working at the petrol station for one month?” She asked her friends. One of her friends who worked at a fast food restaurant said that it was impossible.
“My hourly wage is 2,300 won, so if I want to save up 2 million with that… Nope, not happening. I can work all month and it wouldn’t be anywhere close to that figure.”
“Is it hard?”
“Yeah. If I could earn 2 million won per month doing a part time job, I would love to do it. But why do you ask?”
“Nothing, just curious.”
When the bell rang, the group split up and went back to their seats. Bada took out a pink wallet from her pocket and had a look at the card inside. Just where did her brother get so much money? He wasn’t doing anything shady, right? - she wondered.
Perhaps it was related to him leaving during the weekend saying that he had a read-through or something. Now that she thought about it, he even stayed the night out around half a month ago. He said that it wasn’t due to club activities, but that he was going to a shoot, and he seemed so laid back about it so Bada didn’t think much about it.
‘Wait, a shoot?’
Maru once said that he was going to read the script with some actors. At that time, she thought that it was a joke. Bada groaned in a low voice before putting the wallet back inside her pocket. What if her brother was not joking back then? What if he was really shooting a drama or something?
“No way. That can’t be right.”
Bada chuckled. She went too wild with her fantasies. Maru did change from his middle school days, but him, an actor? He didn’t have a bad face objectively speaking, but nor did his face suffice to become a celebrity. She was aware that he liked acting to the point that he injured himself but still….
Just as her thoughts reached there, she remembered the faces of the people that she met when she went to visit him at the hospital. She met Suyeon-unni there, an actress that only appeared on TVs. Her brother didn’t seem to like her that much, but considering that she came to visit him in the hospital, the two were probably on close terms.
‘It’s curious that he managed to get an autograph from Sungjae-oppa as well.’
Perhaps he was actually doing a shoot with known celebrities?
“Open your textbooks.”
That was the first thing the teacher said when he entered the class.
For now, Bada stopped thinking about it. She could just ask her brother during break. What if her brother really did work in the entertainment industry?
No way, that can’t be… right?
* * *
“Didn’t mom tell you that I signed a contract?”
-Then why didn’t you tell me anything about it?
“Did you ask?”
-...That’s absurd. Then when you said that you were going to a shoot a while ago, did you really go to a shoot? As in, like, standing in front of the camera, and having photos or videos taken of you?
“That did happen.”
-What is it? A drama?
“It’s a movie.”
-A movie? It’s not a drama but a movie? Which movie is it? Who’s on it?
Maru frowned and took his phone off his ears. He felt annoyed because his sister was shouting at him non stop. He did feel uneasy when her name appeared on his phone screen as well. Maru looked at the phone with a sour face.
“What are you doing?”
At that moment, he saw Dowook come back from the school cafeteria. Maru grinned and handed the phone over to him.
“Here, take it.”
“Who is it?”
“Just take it.”
He handed the phone over to Dowook and calmly watched him. Dowook, who received the phone with a suspicious gaze frowned after listening to the voice over the phone. Maru thought that he would throw the phone immediately, but Dowook unexpectedly continued the call. After replying with short answers, Dowook hung up after saying ‘okay’.
“Both of you siblings are just… urgh, forget it.”
He threw the phone at Maru.
“What did you talk about?”
“Shut up. I have a headache because she was too loud. Why does she have such a loud voice?”
“I don’t know. But rather than that, you seemed rather obedient. I knew it, there must be something going on between you…,” Maru did not finish his sentence because he saw that Dowook was glaring at him while holding his mechanical pencil like he was about to stab him.
“There you go again. What is it now?”
Daemyung, who appeared with a piece of bread in his hands, took the mechanical pencil away from Dowook’s hands.
“Had I not received that guy’s help, I would have beaten him up already,” saying that, Dowook then put his face against the desk.
Maru shrugged before accepting the bread from Daemyung.
“You should really stop teasing Dowook. Now that I think about it, you’re only doing it to him as well.”
“Consider it the feelings of a brother caring for his sister.”
He saw Dowook flinching. Maru smiled and switched the topic.
“The date for the acting competition is out, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it’s at the end of July. If it goes like how it went last year, then ours will be in early August.”
“So the acting competition is here, huh.”
Maru glanced at Daemyung. He was looking at the clock with a serious expression.
“How is it? Can you see it?”
“The prize. We got the gold prize last year, so we must win the grand prize this year, don’t we?”
“Th- that’s not that easy.”
“But you know you want it.”
“Yeah, sure. After all, it’s the biggest competition you can participate in as a high school student.”
Maru nodded his head. Daemyung definitely had the desire to win. That could be seen from just how he asked the first years if they could stay for thirty more minutes in practice, when he was someone who hated inconveniencing others.
“We’re busy since there aren’t as many members as we had last year, but honestly speaking, I think the skill level this year is better. The first years are following us well and Dowook is doing well, too.”
As the control tower did not waver like last year, there was no disharmony. Compared to last year, where there was distrust between members as well as that event, this year’s acting club was really unified.
“When we started 2nd year, we weren’t in a position where we could want something. After all, we were talking about shutting the club down back then. But now, everyone’s doing so well, and I now want to present them with the prize. The grand prize might be impossible, but just a gold or a silver prize is fine. The feeling of receiving a prize on stage is just…,” Daemyung did not finish his sentence.
He seemed to have remembered what happened last year. During the award ceremony, Maru was watching from the audience seats.
“Let’s get one together this year,” Daemyung smiled as he spoke.
“Then it looks like we should be getting into the final spurt then. Instructor Suyeon is coming this week, right?”
“Yeah. She said she’s coming tomorrow.”
“Then I guess we have to get as much as we can out of her.”
Maru wanted to give this friend of his the grand prize. He didn’t have any schedule until the acting competition, so they might actually be able to aim for the grand prize if they practice enough during this time.
“Should we do that?”
“The thing Miso-seonbae taught us.”
“She didn’t teach us just one or two things.”
“I mean the café. Do you remember? She drove us there.”
“...Oh, you mean that place? Of course I remember. How could I forget?”
Last year, Miso drove them all to a café and had them all do a monodrama. It was great at improving instantaneous responses to unfamiliar environments, watching out for pronunciation according to different spaces, as well as understanding what a stage was.
“I think it’ll be good if we do it, but….”
“Then let’s make a call.”
“Should we? I would feel sorry if she’s working right now.”
“Don’t worry about that. She doesn’t have a job for the foreseeable while. It’s very likely that she’s sleeping now as well. Or, she would be bashing her head against the wall thanks to a hangover.”
“How do you know that?”
“Well, I belong to the same company as her.”
Hearing those words, Daemyung pondered for a moment before coming to a realization. Maru took out his phone immediately. If they could borrow that café area to do that training again, it would definitely help the first years out a lot, especially for Jiyoon, who was shy around strangers. It was also a great opportunity for Dowook, Aram and Bangjoo to experience what it feels like to act in front of strangers.
Maru immediately called Miso. It was nearing one in the afternoon. Normal people would receive the call, but there was a chance that Miso, who had her night and day swapped around thanks to recent work, might not receive the call. When he called her last time to say hello, Miso was sleeping at 2 p.m.
Just as he was thinking that it was no good, someone picked up the phone.
Her voice sounded hoarse and monotone. It seemed that she just woke up. Just as he was about to tell her that it was time to wake up, a man’s voice could be heard over the phone.
-Who is it?
The voice belonged to no one other than Park Taesik, the teacher in charge of the acting club. Maru scratched his head and fell silent. Miso made an awkward laughing sound as she started speaking gibberish. Maru did not bat an eyelid as he listened.
-Uh, eh, hm, uh, Maru? Hello? Hey, I said hey! It’s not what you think it is. It’s not! I’m telling you, it’s not! Hey! Say something!
“Yeah, yeah. I understand perfectly. I get it so please spare some time for us.”
-Time? What time?
Miso replied immediately since she didn’t want to talk about that topic anymore.
“I’m really sorry for asking this all of a sudden, but do you remember the café you took us last time? Can we go there again?”
-...Aha~ahn. That place, huh?
She seemed to have caught on already.
-It’s my cute junior’s request, so there’s no reason I can’t.
-I’ll give you a call once it’s ready. You guys get ready as well.
Maru didn’t forget to add before he hung up.
He heard a shout saying ‘hey’, but Maru quietly closed his phone.
“Wh- what is it?”
“Kids don’t need to know.”
Maru made a suspicious smile.
 So, this is related to wedding customs in Korea. The organizers of the wedding prepare a banquet for the guests to celebrate the happy occasion. In the early days, people used to eat noodles, to signify that they should have a ‘long lasting relationship’. Then, it changed to Galbi-tang, because it’s seen as a luxury food back when that custom began. These days, it’s replaced with a buffet most of the time.
Also, there’s the custom of ‘gifting congratulatory money’ to the newlyweds. Though, these days, more and more people consider it as the ‘price for the meal ticket for the buffet’.
I did the maths: You need to work for 869 hours and 34 minutes (rounded up to the nearest minute) if you want to earn 2 million won by earning 2300 won an hour. That's more than 36 days if you work 24 hours a day, and 108 days if you work 8 hours a day. About three and a half months with zero spending...
What could Miso and Taesik be doing at 1 in the afternoon that they were sleeping? (╭☞´ิ∀´ิ)╭☞