Maru lightly waved at the first years who greeted him with a loud voice.
“Did something good happen? You guys are full of energy in the morning.”
“Dowook-seonbae said that he’ll buy us something good after practice,” said Bangjoo while licking his lips.
Maru sat next to Dowook, who was doing stretches.
“Are you okay with that? You treated us last time too.”
“I quit smoking, and I don’t have anything else to spend money on. Above all….”
Dowook, who rotated his waist without saying anything, whispered in Maru’s ear that his sister kept giving him pocket money.
“What an endearing elder sister. Doesn’t Soojin-noona need another little brother?”
“I’ll think about it if he’s my younger brother as well. I’ll half-kill you first though.”
“That sounds horrible. Rather than that, is her business doing well?”
When he first met Soojin, Soojin said that she was doing various things. Making stuffed dolls that he thought she did as a hobby, was one of them, and he recently heard the news that she opened a stuffed doll shop. Apparently, she sold her items, created her items there, and even taught others there as well.
“There are a lot of customers. Apparently, there are rumors about the store on the internet.”
“It’s not good at all. At this rate, I might end up having to stick eyes on dolls.”
“The employment rate is low these days. You should treat your sister nicely.”
Dowook called him a lunatic, but his face was smiling.
“Do you think practice is going well?”
“This is easier than our summer one. Though the number of lines has increased.”
“You’re smart though, a few more lines shouldn’t matter that much. Keep doing your stretches.”
After patting Dowook on the shoulder, Maru approached Jiyoon, who was sitting against the wall, and Aram who was pushing on Jiyoon’s legs with all of her power.
“I told you, you need to do this much to do a split.”
“But even so!”
Jiyoon was having a hard time even though it was the morning. She was only able to escape Aram’s grasp after tearing up.
“Do you want to do it as well, seonbae?”
“I’m probably better than you though.”
“Well, I guess you’re flexible after all. But how can a boy be so flexible?”
“You should’ve learned under senior Miso last year.”
“That instructor did look a little scary.”
The two girls switched positions and Aram sat against the wall. Jiyoon, who was getting ready to push Aram’s legs, quietly stood up and whispered into Aram’s ears.
“Alright, you can go to the toilet. Have a nice poop!”
“It’s not that.”
Jiyoon was about to shout at Aram but made an awkward smile when she saw Maru.
“Go ahead. I’ll take care of Aram in the meanwhile.”
After nodding, Jiyoon quietly left the class.
“You should really stop teasing Jiyoon. She might end up bursting into tears.”
“Before, I wasn’t able to tease her properly since she looked like she was really going to cry. Though, I’m teasing her all I want these days since she receives it well.”
Maru grabbed Aram’s hand before slowly pulling it towards him. Aram’s torso softly came down before hitting the ground. Her legs stretched to either side didn't even move.
“Looks like you’re still going to the dojo.”
“Of course. I’m going to go even when I go to college.”
“Why didn’t you try your hand at being a pro? I think you would do well.”
“I thought about that for a brief moment in primary school, but I don’t think I’ll be able to cope with a group lifestyle with my personality. I’m the type of girl who would charge at full throttle when I see something unjust.”
“I know what that’s like.”
Aram slowly sat up.
“How’s practice? You said you were having a hard time memorizing a line.”
“I figured it out after practicing with Jiyoon a couple of times. It still doesn’t stick to my mouth, but I don’t make a mistake at least.”
Maru let go of Aram’s hand. After rotating her waist left and right, Aram groaned before standing up. Maru then called out to Bangjoo, who was reading the script.
“What are you doing? Sit down.”
“Since we’re at it, why not?”
Bangjoo stiffly walked up to him and sat against the wall.
“I thought you were practicing.”
“I couldn’t do it no matter what I did.”
“But Aram managed to, though. You can do it since you do sports just like her.”
“Flexibility is important in Judo as well, but there’s no need to do leg sp… seonbae-nim!”
“You’re aspiring to become an action actor. You should be able to utilize your body properly for that.”
Maru slowly pulled on Bangjoo’s arm. Since there was a risk of injury, there was no need to push it. Bangjoo also didn’t seem to want to make a big fuss as he stiffened up before focusing on his breathing. After lowering his torso to a point where he almost touched the floor, Bangjoo said.
“Seonbae-nim, can you press down my back a little?”
“Are you really okay with that though?”
“Since I’m doing it, I might as well.”
“Don’t push yourself.”
He might injure Bangjoo if he pushed with rebound, so he pressed slowly according to his breathing. Although Bangjoo couldn’t do a perfect split like Aram, he was definitely better than his peers.
“What happened to asking your sister to teach you acting?”
Bangjoo, who was groaning, replied with difficulty.
“I wasn’t going to at first, but after I heard you, I thought it would be a loss to miss a good teacher so I told her about it. She said she’ll look after me when she has time. She’s busy with a drama these days.”
“Do your best to learn from her. Her acting skills are the real deal after all. How’s practice? Are you not stuck on anything?”
“I keep messing up my movement lines. I’m confident in using my body, but I can’t memorize things well.”
“Well, moving around consciously definitely is quite difficult.”
Maru tapped on Bangjoo’s back. After sitting up, Bangjoo smiled brightly saying that he felt refreshed. While Bangjoo was talking with Aram, Jiyoon returned to the classroom. Maru grinned and pointed at the wall.
“There’s no one other than you though.”
“...Please go easy on me.”
“Don’t worry. You won’t die.”
While looking at Jiyoon’s posture, Maru asked a question.
“Is pronunciation practice coming along well?”
“Yes. I’m practicing with a pencil in my mouth like Daemyung-seonbae told me. I think I’ve improved my pronunciation when I speak fast.”
“Keep it up. You’ll become even better.”
“But isn’t it better to call Daemyung, oppa instead?”
“Fine, you can decline to comment.”
Jiyoon leaned forward as much as possible with her stiff body. She struggled to lower her body, but the only thing that straightened out was her fingers, not her waist.
Daemyung, who entered the classroom with a large insulated bottle, said that to everyone. Maru told Jiyoon that she did well before standing up.
“Barley tea. It was pretty cold in the morning, so I made some. Everyone, have a drink.”
Daemyung poured some hot barley tea into some paper cups. Maru felt his body, which had frozen up slightly due to the cold air, warming up thanks to the tea.
“Daemyung, see me for a sec.”
Maru pointed at the window with the cup in hand. Daemyung handed the insulated bottle to Jiyoon before coming to the window.
“Everyone seems to be doing well with practice.”
“Because the prize is big after all. You should’ve seen what their faces were like when they heard that the grand prize was 10 million won.”
“I guess that’s the motivation down. Oh, you should look out for Bangjoo during practice. It seems like he’s still confused with his movement lines. Also, Jiyoon seemed to have gotten some confidence because of the practice you made her do.”
“That’s good. I thought she was getting depressed because of her pronunciation even though she’s doing well.”
“Aram and Dowook are doing well by themselves. Dowook seems to be a little nervous because of the number of lines, but practice is the only thing that can solve that.”
“I should have him practice more so that he can become used to it before we go on stage.”
Daemyung nodded and thanked him before going back to everyone else. Maru quietly looked at everyone talking to each other with Daemyung as the center. Everyone’s gears were fitting well with each other with Daemyung as the central pivot.
“Maru-seonbae! We’re going to the meat buffet in front of Suwon station after we finish practice a little early. You’re coming with us, right? Apparently, they just opened!” Aram shouted with excitement.
Maru made a circle with his fingers and nodded.
* * *
“It’s so cold. On days like these, I should really stay in bed.”
“Seonbae, you should really move around.”
“It’s too cold to move around.”
Heewon tried to pull a blanket over him, but his junior took away the blanket.
“You’re so mean.”
“Stand up and do some stretches. You’re the club president. You’re supposed to be leading everyone. Why are you acting like that?”
“I told you I didn’t want to be the club president….”
At that moment, the door to the clubroom opened and a bunch of people came in.
“Chansoo, do you wanna be the club president?”
“There you go again. You do it.”
“Inho, how about you? You suit this position more than me.”
“Forget it. Also, you can give it up now. There’s no one other than you.”
“But why me?”
Heewon made a sad face as he reached out for the blanket.
“There! We rested enough so let’s start practice.”
Inho encouraged everyone and had them stand up. Seeing that, Heewon thought that Inho was really the right man for the president position.
“You should stand up as well. We’re going to the practice room.”
“Can’t we do it here? The practice room is so cold because it doesn’t have a heater.”
“Once you move around with all your might, you’ll start sweating and no longer feel cold.”
“I don’t want to do that though.”
“Everyone, let’s carry our president.”
Hearing those words, the juniors approached him with suspicious smiles. Heewon thought that their faces looked even more malicious than the devil’s. He struggled until the end, but he couldn’t win against more than ten people. In the end, he was dragged to the next building.
“This place is way too cold.”
Heewon put his hands in his armpits. This separate building, which was used as an indoor gym as well as a lecture hall, was cold enough that his breath turned white. If he stayed here for a long time, he would catch a cold, and if he caught a cold, his brother would nag him worriedly.
“We should really….”
“Well then, let’s start running,” said Park Inho while clapping.
The juniors started running laps inside the hall in two lines. Heewon wanted to stay out, but his arms were being held, so he had no choice but to run.
After running five more laps, he felt his body heating up.
“Let’s do some stretches before starting the read-through.”
Heewon yawned and secretly walked into a corner, but his juniors didn’t know any mercy and dragged him to the center of the stage.
“Let’s follow what Heewon’s doing,” said Inho.
Seeing everyone’s eyes focus on him, Heewon had no choice but to start stretching. After some light stretching, he looked at Inho again. Inho made a satisfied smile as he spoke,
“We were defeated by Myunghwa High in the summer, but let’s take the grand prize this time. We got the best actor award, so there’s no problem with that.”
After saying that, everyone shouted ‘fighting’.
Thinking that they were really synchronized, Heewon was about to shout ‘fighting’ a beat later but awkwardly had to put his hand down.
“I heard that the grand prize is 10 million won for the winter competition. What happens if we win it?”
“We split it according to our headcount.”
“That means at least 700 thousand won for each of us.”
“700 thousand huh. I’m upgrading my PC.”
“I’m getting new clothes.”
The juniors seemed to be filled with expectations.
Heewon said in a small voice after looking around at the club members.
“If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have done my best during the summer competition.”
“What are you talking about, seonbae. You got 100 thousand won because you got the best actor award.”
“It’s only 100 thousand. My brother took most of it as well. I only got to use 20 thousand.”
He felt a little depressed when he wondered where the 80 thousand went and wondered if he should tell his brother to raise his pocket money a little.
“You should be thankful that your brother is Haewon, seonbae. Otherwise, you would’ve been in big trouble.”
“Right. You should be thankful that Haewon has a meticulous personality. If he was like seonbae… urgh it’s horrible just imagining it.”
The juniors of the acting club, who were the same age as Haewon, spoke with a smile. Heewon mumbled before sighing. He couldn’t retort since what they were saying was entirely correct.
“Let’s start the read-through. Oh, before that, I have something to tell you all.”
Inho coughed before speaking.
“If we manage to finish practice early today and not make any mistakes, we’re going to eat out.”
Eat out? Heewon widened his eyes. His stomach grumbled when he heard those words.
“Where are we going?”
“A meat buffet.”
“I’ll do my best today,” said Heewon as he clenched his fist.
“Are we going to go to the place we went to last time? That place wasn’t that good.”
“We’re going to Suwon.”
“Suwon? That’s a bit far.”
“It’s right below Seongnam, it’s not that far. Actually, my father opened a store there. He told me to bring everyone over once, so that’s why we’re going.”
“Then it’s free of charge?”
“Do you want me to have you guys pay?”
Heewon was all smiles. A free meat buffet! At that moment, a face popped up in his head.
“Ah, uhm, Inho.”
“I’m sorry about this, but can I call one more person?”
“You mean Haewon?”
“Yeah. He’s by himself at home. Can I call him?”
“I was going to call him even if you didn’t. He helped us practice over the summer, so of course we’re going to call him.”
“Yes! I knew I could count on you.”
“But let’s do our best during practice today, okay?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll never make a mistake,” said Heewon as he raised his chin.
He couldn’t remember the last time he went to a meat buffet. He could practically hear the meat sizzling already. His brother should like it as well.
“Well then, let’s start practice,” Inho said as he straightened out his shoulders.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
The lazy genius, huh? So many new people. I wonder how many of them will stick around.
I mean, we haven't heard back from Geunseok (aka Geunshit) for quite a while...
Hmmm, I can't tell whether I like this new dude or not, but I can relate. Nothing better than your fluffy warm blankets on a cold day.