Just speaking of the results, Aram’s ‘help’ was successful. After all, the two started dating. Though, the perpetrator Aram had an expression of disbelief on her face.
After the play, the club members all separated. Maru watched some of the events that were held in the main building before going to the screen room on the fourth floor. The sound of a movie could be heard from the small computer speakers installed next to the beam projector.
It was a war movie. He could see the figures of American soldiers that ran along the beach within a rain of bullets. It seemed to be set in the Normandy Landings.
The beam projector seemed to be nearing the end of its lifespan as it turned grey from time to time. The scene where the man, who seemed to be the main character, got hit by a bullet greyed out as well, but no one was disappointed. That was because all the students in the screen room were sleeping. It was just as he had heard. He heard people say that the screen room was more like a sleeping room, and indeed, everyone here was sleeping. There were around six people here.
Maru put three chairs together by the window to make a makeshift bed. Sunlight shone through the gap between the curtain and the window. There was no better environment than this for a midday nap. He crossed his arms and closed his eyes. He could hear the laughter of students outside the window. They were burning their youth right now, so they must be having fun.
The sound of the movie and the occasional snoring, as well as the summer rays of the sun that tickled his eyes when the wind blew the curtains - all of these made him smile. He liked the festival, but he liked this leisure better.
* * *
When he opened his eyes again, the first thing he saw was a couple kissing each other. The movie had changed to something else. What time was it? He took out his phone and checked the time. It was 4 p.m. There was an hour until the end of the Woosung Festival. The outside was still noisy. Only the screen room was quiet like it was isolated from the rest of the world.
He turned around slightly to have a look at the screen room. There wasn’t a single student remaining in the room. It seemed that they had all left. He stretched his arms out and stood up. His waist ached a little.
“It’s the holidays!”
Someone’s shout could be heard. Tomorrow was the last day of school. The reason Woosung Festival was even more fun than usual was because it occurred just before the holidays. He yawned and looked at the movie that was rolling all by itself without an audience. Sometimes he needed solitude like this. Loud and noisy was good, but a time where he could organize his thoughts and calm down was also necessary.
He opened his phone which he put on the desk. He opened the message box and checked the message from Choongho. He wanted to see Maru at 4 p.m. tomorrow. A gym in Seoul was the location.
“If we practice after the closing ceremony… well, I guess there’s plenty of time.”
After that audition, he would practice for two days, and it would be the preliminaries. If the preliminaries and the audition went well, he would have to spend the month of August very busily.
Just as he was putting back the chairs in place, the door to the screen room opened and someone came in. That person walked to the beam projector and turned it off before starting to put it away. At that time, the speaker in the class told everyone to gather in the gym. It seemed like they were planning to end the festival.
* * *
“Where were you?”
“In the screen room.”
“Why did you go there?”
“To get some sleep,” Maru yawned and looked at Daemyung.
“Rather than that, who confessed first?”
Hearing that question, Daemyung made an awkward smile and avoided Maru’s gaze. From the looks of it, it seemed that Jiyoon confessed first.
“Should I transfer schools? Man, it feels lonely.”
The principal’s speech on top of the platform was nearing its end. When he walked down after saying that he’ll see them tomorrow, the students started whispering to each other, saying ‘we have to listen to this whole thing again tomorrow?’ or something like that.
“With this, I hereby claim the end of the Woosung Festival.”
The Woosung Festival ended along with the student council president’s proclamation. The teachers of each class took over from there. Although the festival was over, there was still cleaning up to do.
“Do we meet at the practice room after this?”
“Yeah. I messaged the others already.”
Each student took the chair they were sitting on and returned to their class. Everyone looked tired. They moved around busily under the sun the whole day, so it wasn’t that surprising.
“Don’t be late for the closing ceremony tomorrow. You’ll have to empty your desks and lockers, so make sure you take a portion of that today. The school might undergo maintenance during the holiday, so the school is not responsible for anything you might lose. Well done today and see you tomorrow.”
After a short homeroom, Maru picked up his bag and stood up.
“I’ll visit the container before I go. I’ll bring the props and shoes.”
“Do you want me to go with you?”
“I can take Dowook with me.”
“I’ll go as well.”
“No, you should go to the clubroom first.”
Daemyung was flustered about it for some reason. Dowook was also complaining about why he had to go. Daemyung dragged Dowook and climbed down the stairs.
Maru watched Daemyung and Dowook walk down the stairs before walking up to the fifth floor. The first years hadn’t arrived yet. They were probably still cleaning. It would take quite some time to put away the various equipment and things that were displayed on the 2nd floor.
“What, the festival is over?”
The one that came in like it was her room was Yoojin. She sat down with a disappointed face. She was wearing a white t-shirt and blue overalls.
“Are you on holiday?”
“Yeah. Rather than that, don’t you guys have practice? Why’s no one here?”
“They went to get some things. Rather than that, you should’ve gone to play with your friends or something. Why are you here?”
“I came here after playing a lot with your girlfriend so don’t worry about that.”
“Really? Where did you go?”
“We went shopping, I had her hair done at my mom’s shop, and we watched a movie together. How about it? Feeling envious yet?”
“Yeah, I feel very envious.”
At that moment, his phone started ringing.
“Yeah, what is it?”
-I’m planning to buy some things to eat while I’m here. Are the others there?
“Not yet. Oh, there’s one more person, so buy more than usual.”
“Yeah. She brought a lot of things too.”
Maru spoke as he looked at the box that Yoojin brought. It seemed like a container for makeup. Daemyung said ok before hanging up.
“How leisurely. The girls at my club have been practicing since morning.”
“There’s not much time left, so what good is being so nervous about it? Rather than that, why did you bring that here?”
“The competition is just a few days away. So I’m planning to practice before the competition.”
“When are the preliminaries for the Seoul region?”
Maru opened the makeup box as he asked.
“Ours is this Saturday. Isn’t yours Saturday or Sunday as well?”
“When is it?”
“Saturday. Is this the foundation?”
Maru picked up a round container as he spoke.
“Yeah. I’ll need to touch up your face with that first and apply makeup according to the contour of your face. While we’re at it, let’s do you first.”
“Stay still and close your eyes.”
He couldn’t say no to Yoojin so he just closed his eyes obediently. He could hear some rustling noises. The smell of powder flashed past his nose.
“Don’t open your eyes. This thing will hurt your eyes badly.”
“I get it so be careful.”
He waited with his eye closed, but Yoojin didn’t start for a long time. Just as he was sighing, a cotton wool-like sponge touched his cheeks.
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll stay completely still, so make me pretty.”
The touch on his cheeks disappeared before something more moist touched his face. When he flinched due to the cold sensation, Yoojin told him not to move.
“You do know how to do this, right?”
“Well, I do.”
The answer was a little strange. He became anxious. He was worried that he might have become a clown when he opened his eyes.
“Pucker your lips.”
He puckered his lips as instructed. A lipstick touched his lips. The sensation of lipsticks put on him by someone else wasn’t that good. It was ticklish and somewhat embarrassing.
“I can put lipsticks on by myself.”
“Just stay still. Trust in this master and stay still.”
“What color is it?”
“...Please don’t joke with me.”
“Don’t talk. It’s ruining things. I’m going to go over your nose now.”
When doing makeup for a stage play, the makeup on the contours like the cheeks was quite thick. This was done on purpose in order to emphasize the outline of the face of the actors when they stood under a strong set of lighting. Ordinary makeup would make the impression of the actor faint when they went up on stage. Thinking about it like that, the makeup of the actors was like a mask. It was like how the actor put on the mask of the character; putting makeup on their face was a way of putting a different personality on the face.
“What did you do during the festival?”
“Nothing. I just slept.”
“Sleep? Even though it’s a festival?”
“Only youngsters with stamina should play around.”
“You sound like a 70-year old grandpa.”
A finger touched his forehead. Something was being spread around on his forehead. At that moment, he heard the sound of footsteps. Maru wondered if the first years were here.
Perhaps they found Yoojin’s presence here surprising. The one that Maru assumed to be Jiyoon, voiced out in surprise.
“You guys should watch.”
Yoojin spoke. There was a prankful tone in her voice. At this point, Maru was sure that she was playing a prank on his face.
“Can I open my eyes now?”
“If you open them now, it might hurt more than toothpaste entering your eyes.”
He had no choice but to endure. Following that, he heard the voices of Aram and Bangjoo. They all voiced out in surprise before laughing in a small voice. Had he become a clown already? Since it was like this anyway, he hoped he had a cool-looking teardrop mark on his face.
The hand that stroked his forehead and nose slipped. Maru frowned.
“Hey, aren’t you putting too little effort into this?”
“Stop talking and just wait. Working hard here.”
‘Sure you are.’
He sighed inwardly as he waited patiently. The makeup seemed to be done as he heard a small sigh.
“Is it done?”
“Can I open my eyes?”
Maru slowly opened his eyes. In front of him was Yoojin holding a hand mirror. Behind her were the first years, and they all had strange expressions. It looked like they were all holding their laugh. He was sure that his face was messed up.
He received the hand mirror and had a look at his face. Unexpectedly, the makeup was decent, if he didn’t count the lipsticks that had smeared past his lips, that there was a black dot under his eyes, and that his cheeks were too red.
“Are you really able to take care of all of us like this? It’s a little disappointing.”
“What are you dissatisfied with?”
“This place and this place. It’s not symmetric either.”
“So you don’t like it?”
“I don’t. If you were going to do it, you should’ve done it properly. Have you really learned how to do this?”
Hearing those words, Yoojin made a faint smile and crossed her arms. She looked triumphant for some reason.
“There you have it.”
Yoojin looked behind him as she spoke. Behind? Maru turned around. There, he saw her who was smiling bitterly. There were a bunch of cosmetics in her left hand.
“It’s bad, right?”
Maru didn’t say anything and looked at Yoojin again. He did find a few points strange: the fact that she came here by herself despite saying that they played together, the fact that the preparation time took strangely long, and the fact that she said ‘Well, I do.’ He laughed. Now he understood why the first years were surprised.
“She’s my helper. We’re going to go together on Sunday.”
Helper? Maru turned around and looked at her.
“How about Myunghwa High’s preliminaries?”
“It’s on Saturday.”
“Are you sure it’s okay for you to come? We’re both south Gyeonggi, you know?”
“I don’t think our school will fail just because I helped with makeup.”
She looked confident. Maru smiled faintly.
“So you’re the one who called Daemyung and sent him away?” He asked Yoojin.
She nodded as though it was natural. At that moment, Daemyung and Dowook entered with some food. Dowook looked at Yoojin and her alternately before making a confused expression.
“Well then! Gather round. Let’s do your makeup. Let’s see what suits you. Oh, she’s Maru’s girlfriend and she’ll help me with your makeup for your play,” Yoojin spoke heartily.
* * *
“Go slowly. You keep poking my eyes.”
“Geez, you talk too much. I should just draw on your face.”
“Hey, I’ll see you after this.”
Dowook and Yoojin growled at each other.
“They’re on good terms, right?”
Maru looked at her, who was next to him. She was smiling as she looked at the two.
“They’re like enemies. Rather than that, don’t you have practice to do? Can you come here like this?”
“We already finished ours in the morning. We decrease the amount of practice starting a week prior to the competition.”
After saying that, she hesitated and touched her hair. She had long straight hair when they met on Sunday, but today, it was a little shorter. Also, it had a wave to it. He wondered if he should act like he noticed. Looking at her sullen face was fun, but today, he decided to tell her that she was pretty.
“Your hair’s pretty.”
“Doesn’t it look awkward on me?”
“Not at all.”
“Really? I feel awkward though.”
“Why don’t you try short hair once? It will look good on you.”
“I think short hair will look strange on me though.”
“No, it will look good on you.”
Because I know all too well. I saw you with short hair a lot after all. Maru smiled and brushed up a bit of her that flowed down.
“Ah, that’s right. I actually have something I want to boast about.”
“Something to boast about?”
“I passed the first audition for a sitcom.”
“Sitcom? A TV program then?”
“When did you prepare that?”
“It hasn’t been that long. A graduate of our school works in an agency and asked me if I wanted to do one. I didn’t think I’d pass. Though, it’s still just the first step.”
“That’s good. Will I see you on TV then if you pass?”
“Yeah. I’m appearing as a friend, so even if I do pass, I won’t get to appear that much.”
“You never know. You might end up becoming the main character.”
“Nah, no way.”
Maru congratulated her. Good things would happen as long as she kept piling her career. If there was one thing that worried him, it was that she only stood in theaters until her mid twenties in his previous life.
‘So it will be a series of split paths from here on, huh.’
Maru grabbed her hand tightly. He didn’t know how life would turn out in the future, but he would be there for her.
“Over there! Dating is forbidden within school grounds!” Yoojin shouted.
Maru smiled and pointed at Daemyung who sat in front of him. Daemyung was flinching as soon as he heard the word ‘dating’.
“You should tell that to him.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Ask him yourself?”
Maru chuckled and looked at her. She made a confused expression before making a smile.
‘This is a decent end to the festival.’
A festival with her by his side. Nothing would be better than this.
 I dunno what happened. I thought Woosung High’s round was on Saturday as well…?
Hm, according to my memory, Woosung High's preliminary round is held on a Sunday... (from reading ahead)
But they said in the same chapter it was on Saturday........