Chapter 438

“Why’s he on the floor?”

“Because you made him drink, obviously.”

“But he only drank a bit of beer and soju.”

“Maybe he’s weak to alcohol.”

Ganghwan looked at Sooil, who was on the floor, with an apologetic expression. Maru tried poking Sooil’s waist. He twitched but didn’t wake up. Even after shaking him a couple of times, he did not respond. It hadn’t even been an hour since they popped open the first can of beer, yet one of them was wasted already.

“I thought he was good at it since he kept drinking.”

“Me too. I think he drank a bit less than one bottle.”

“He did keep drinking whenever we toasted. Looks like this is his first time drinking. He’s completely out of it.”

“Hey, hey, Yoo Sooil.”

Maru shook him a bit more violently this time. Sooil opened his eyes just barely and sat up. Maybe he came to himself?

“Look at him.”

Hanna burst out laughing. Sooil’s body was swaying from side to side like he was a pendulum. The rhythm was so perfect that it reminded Maru of a metronome.

“I think I need to take this guy home. Are we meeting up here at the same time tomorrow?”

Maru grabbed Sooil’s arm and stood up.

“Now that I think about it, Maru, this kid, is really strong, huh. Don’t you think so, oppa?”

“He really is quite strong. He always carries the heavy stuff when we’re moving props. Maru, you should really come over when I move houses to help out.”

After saying his goodbyes to Ganghwan and Hanna, who were talking about random crap, he left the practice room. The chilly night air of autumn greeted him.

“Hey, get yourself together.”

Lost consciousness after half a bottle of soju? It seemed that his ability to not gain weight after eating so much was compensated by the lack of the ability to break down alcohol. Sooil didn’t wake up no matter how hard he shook him.

“I really don’t like carrying men around on my back, so wake up quickly.”

He entered the convenience store he saw in front of him and bought some drinks that eased hangover. He had Sooil drink them, as he was half-asleep before waiting around 10 minutes.

“Phew, what was I doing until now?”

“You up?”

“I dunno whether I’m up or not to be honest.”

“If you don’t then you aren’t. Hey, where’s your house?”

“Uh… near Yeouido park.”

“Can you get there by yourself?”

“That I can.”

Sooil stood up and took a few steps before collapsing on the ground again. If Maru sent him home like this, he would probably end up sleeping on the streets somewhere. Moreover, some girls were approaching the two while seemingly aware of who Sooil was.

“Remember this. I wiped your ass.”

He couldn’t let someone with a bright future get caught up in controversy at such an early age. Maru carried Sooil and walked to the road. He grabbed an empty taxi and got on with him.

“Please take us to Yeouido Station.”

He stared at the taxi fare that was rising as the horse icon excitedly galloped before looking next to him. He saw Sooil sleeping as he bashed his head against the window.

Just as he was looking outside as he listened to the radio, he heard a dangerous sound next to him. Sooil suddenly bent forward with a ‘urgh’ sound.

“Hey hey! That’s definitely not good! Not here!”

The driver seemed to have heard the sound as well as he quickly handed Maru a black plastic bag. Maru received it and gave it to Sooil. After making a couple of vomiting sounds, Sooil swallowed something before becoming calm again. As for what he swallowed, Maru decided not to think about it.

“Sorry about that.”

“No, no. It’s understandable for young fellows to do that.”

Whether the taxi driver was a kind person in general or was acting that way because it was a long taxi ride, he smiled as he spoke.

“Here.”

Maru received the change and dragged Sooil out of the taxi. Sooil who waved his arms around before half-lying on the ground started causing a fuss about the weather being hot. He was weak to alcohol, and his actions when drunk weren’t that good either. Maru put him at the top of his list of ‘people he shouldn’t drink with’.

“Where’s your house?”

“Over, there.”

An apartment complex could be seen where Sooil was pointing towards.

“Looks like you’re pretty well-off huh.”

The apartment complex was near Yeouido Station and the park. Maru couldn’t even begin to imagine the real estate prices here. He supported Sooil, who was staggering, and walked.

“But are you sure you can show your parents what you’re like right now? I don’t care about you getting scolded, but they might swear at me as well.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. No one’s home.”

“Do they both work?”

“....”

Sooil didn’t reply. Looking at how his eyes lacked focus, he didn’t seem to be in the right mind to answer. They crossed the street together and entered the apartment complex. Only after Maru had Sooil repeat the building number and the apartment number several times could he find the right place, since Sooil was mumbling so much.

“Hey, type your passcode.”

He put Sooil down in front of the door before sighing. This guy was pretty tall so he was quite heavy. After a few beeps, the door opened. He dragged Sooil, who was about to become one with the floor and entered the apartment.

There were no shoes at all on the shoe racks. After glancing at the desolate shoe racks once, Maru dragged Sooil to the living room. He put Sooil down and straightened his waist.

“What a desolate scene.”

There was a large TV, a beige-colored sofa, and a black metal display that had various plaques on it. The veranda could be seen since the blinds were open, and some vases could be seen there. There weren’t any flowers or plants though. They were all just empty vases. There was no other furniture in the household. Not even a box of tissues which was typically seen in the living room. Even a household that just moved in would have more items than this.

“Get me some water.”

Sooil spoke in a dying tone. Maru walked to the kitchen, which was connected to the living room, and stood in front of the refrigerator. Even the refrigerator looked like an expensive, door-on-each-side one. He remembered seeing these in commercials. He opened it to see what was inside.

“Wow, your mother must be quite organized.”

The refrigerator was filled from top to bottom. He took out a container at the top. There was a memo that noted the day of the week as well as the food inside. The other containers were the same. He went down the stack thinking that Sooil’s mother was really organized, but the more he saw, the stranger he felt.

‘It’s all just for one.’

Even the side dishes were organized into small containers for just one person. This would make it incredibly easy to eat since all Sooil had to do was take out those containers every day, but….

As Maru didn’t have a habit of poking through others’ refrigerators, he did not look anymore and just took out a bottle of water. He grabbed a cup that was above the kitchen sink.

‘Why is there only one of each?’

One spoon, one pair of chopsticks, one set of plates, and one cup. This didn’t look like a family of three at all. After looking around the extremely clean kitchen, he poured the water in the cup before bringing it over to Sooil.

“Do you perhaps, by chance, live alone?”

After drinking half of the water, Sooil made a loose grin before nodding. He lived alone in this wide apartment that looked to be around 40-pyeong[1]. He looked around the desolate living room when he heard the electronic beeping sound from the door lock. The door opened and a lady holding plastic bags entered the apartment.

“Oh, didn’t know there was a guest here.”

“Hello.”

“Hello.”

The lady who walked with quiet steps and a kind smile put down the bags on the table before starting to walk around busily. She gathered what looked like clothes for laundry into a basket and went inside each room before coming back to the kitchen.

“Please don’t mind me,” the lady spoke with a smile.

For now, he understood that she wasn’t Sooil’s mother. From the way she acted, she looked like a housekeeper. She naturally prepared food and threw some out from the refrigerator as though she had done this for a long time. The lady, who moved busily, finished cleaning the kitchen and left the house with the basket of laundry clothes. When she left, she was walking backwards and closed the door very quietly. She was acting like a maid at a royal palace that was leaving the royal chambers.

Maru looked at Sooil. He had woken up a while ago. He was watching TV on the sofa, but the TV was on mute. The program on TV was a comedy program where the actors never failed to laugh. Even though the people inside the screen were laughing, their laughs did not escape the screen at all.

“You okay?”

“Yeah.”

Sooil was a bit more chatty than boys of his age, though, not as much as Jiseok, yet he only gave a short answer. He was showing that he wasn’t in a state where he wanted to talk; whether through his expression or his posture.

“I’m going then. Drink plenty of water, and don’t turn the temperature on too high when you take a shower. I don’t want to see an article talking about the early death of an actor.”

“Okay, I’ll do that.”

Sooil faintly smiled and waved his hand.

Maru put on his shoes before leaving. Through the gaps of the door as it closed, the desolate scene of the living room entered his eyes once again.

‘I guess not everything is how it seems, huh.’

The house was a space that showed one side of a person without filtering. That house, which went beyond minimalistic and looked even desolate, was a stark contrast to Sooil’s cheerful attitude. Not to mention hiring a housekeeper for one, an apartment in Yeouido itself was too much for a high school actor, who had made a not-so-bad name for himself, to afford by himself.

The reason he didn’t ask anything about such a strange combination of elements was, one, because they weren’t that close enough to talk about such things, and two, because Sooil’s expression clearly told Maru to not ask anything.

As he went down, he got a text from Sooil. It was a text filled with emojis. There was a faint suggestion that he would be smiling like usual if they met tomorrow. There was also the request that told Maru to just treat him normally - not in words, but subtly in context.

Maru glanced at the apartment before turning around.

“Well, he’s well-off, so I guess that’s that.”

It was better than seeing him dirt-poor with ‘seize’ stickers plastered all over the furniture, so perhaps this could be considered fortunate? Maru texted Sooil back with the words’ 50 thousand won’. That was the taxi fare. There was no reason to care about someone well off, so he had to get what he had to. He did think about putting 70 thousand won instead to include labor fees, but he decided to be generous. He decided to put it on Sooil’s tab for when he became successful later.

“Ah, my wallet.”

When he sent the text message about the taxi fee, he realized that he left his wallet on the sofa. He returned to the apartment and pressed the button to call the elevator.

“Wait.”

Just as the elevator was about to close, a woman stopped him from the entrance. Maru pressed the open button. The woman slowly walked before getting on the elevator. Maru could smell the faint scent of cigarettes.

He pressed on the 7th floor. The woman glanced at him. It seemed that she was going to the same floor. The door opened, and Maru got off first before standing in front of Sooil’s apartment. Just before his thumb was about to press the bell button, the woman interfered before sliding up the door lock lid and typing in the passcode.

“Are you a friend of Sooil’s?” The woman asked.

“Yes, perhaps.”

“What a strange answer.”

The woman opened the door before telling him to go in first. Was she Sooil’s sister? He thought that Sooil was a single child, but it seemed that he was wrong. Sooil wasn’t in the living room. It seemed that he was taking a shower. He grabbed his wallet from the sofa before leaving again.

“Hey.”

The woman, who was standing in front of the door, called out to him. The woman opened her clutch bag before taking out a cheque. It was a 100 thousand won cheque.

“Please get along with Sooil in the future. Here, take it. It’s pocket money.”

Maru stared at the cheque before lowered his head.

“He’s the type of guy who can have fun by himself so I don’t think there’s any need for me to do that.”

“Well, I guess that’s true. But hey, aren’t you going to take this?”

“No, I’m okay.”

“Why? Is it not enough for you?”

She took out another cheque as she said so.

“No.”

“Then why aren’t you taking it? I told you it’s pocket money.”

“Someone I know told me that it’s not right to take money without reason. Then I’ll take my leave now.”

He got in the elevator he came up on. The woman snorted while throwing the cheques on the ground. Maru lowered his head to greet her one last time before pressing the close button. The moment the two cheques landed on the floor, the door closed as well.


[1] 130 square meters or 1400 square feet

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Hm, wonder who that is.

Editor's Note:
Hmmm, maybe his mom considering Sooil hinted before that his parents kinda suck. Also, protip, lists of who not to drink with are very important.