Maru recognized the woman that approached him, asking him if he remembered her. She was the woman who was standing with Yoojin during the get-together for Twilight Struggles. She was probably Yoojin’s mother. He nodded when she told him that he should come around often in the future. From the way she looked at him as though she was evaluating his worth for a brief moment, this woman didn’t seem as good as she did on the surface.
“You and Miss Joohyun know each other?” asked the lady who was doing his hair.
Maru explained to her that they shot a few scenes together before.
“You must be quite famous then.”
“It’s not like that at all. I only appeared for brief moments as minor characters.”
“But doesn’t it mean something when someone as famous as her recognizes you first? Try your best. Who knows? You might actually become famous one day.”
I want to become like that too - Maru smiled instead of replying and looked into the mirror. This was the first time he got a haircut in a place like this. He had been to many places like this as a manager in his previous life, but he had never actually sat in one of these chairs himself. As he thought that going to the neighborhood barber was the best option, being asked if he was okay with his current looks constantly by the stylist was stifling to him.
“You said that you were going to put on glasses, right? Wait a bit.”
He was going to tell her that it was okay, but the lady had already left. When she returned, she was holding a pair of round glasses in her hands. Maru remembered that one of the female employees here seemed to be wearing those. Did she get them from her?
“Try putting them on. You’re a friend of Yoojin, so we have to take proper care of you.”
Maru felt dizzy the moment he wore those glasses since they were very strong. The lady looked at Maru’s face from afar before nodding her head as though she had decided on a decision.
“Looks like we should reveal your forehead a little more. These glasses suit you as well. I think I’ll be done if I cut a bit more side hair, so wait a bit.”
Snip snip - scissors danced next to his ears. When he was told to open his eyes a while later, Maru opened his eyes slowly. His figure reflected in the mirror looked pretty good. The neat side hair was very much to his liking. Men really needed to cut their side hair short.
“I’ll wash your head.”
After washing his head, he had his hair dried with a dryer. The lady dusted his hair a few times and snipped a few more times with her scissors before taking her hands off, saying that she was done. After taking off the cape, Maru approached the mirror.
“It’s nice and neat.”
“You like it?”
“Yes, I do.”
He wasn’t saying empty words. His hair really looked good. Perhaps this was why people went to expensive hair shops. He had a brief thought that maybe the results would’ve been even better if he exchanged opinions with the hairstylist, but he came to the conclusion that that would’ve been useless since he didn’t know anything about hairstyles.
“I’ll be taking my leave since there’s a customer waiting for me. Your friends should be in the waiting room behind the counter. Tell me any time if you don’t like your hair. I’ll polish it up quickly.”
Maru said his goodbyes before going to the waiting room. When he went inside, he saw four people sitting around the table.
“That looks much better on you,” said Yoojin.
She, who was sitting next to her, quietly smiled before telling him that it suited him. Maru smiled awkwardly since he felt rather embarrassed.
“Then you three can talk by yourselves. Miss Joohyun, let’s go to my room.”
“Okay. See you two next time. And you too, Maru.”
Maru sat down as he listened to Yoojin’s mother say that they should take their time here. Maru strangely felt tired even though all he did was let someone else do his hair.
“You were dozing off and you’re still tired?” asked Yoojin as she offered him a cup of coffee.
“It’s because this doesn’t suit me.”
“You’ll have to become used to it.”
“That’s not good news.”
He took a sip. The bitter taste spread around in his mouth. His dreamy consciousness felt like it was coming back.
“Why is senior Joohyun here?”
“Apparently, the owner of the hair shop she’s a regular at went overseas to study,” she replied. After saying that, she yawned a little.
“Are you sleepy?”
“Maybe it’s because I warmed up. I’m a little sleepy.”
“If you’re tired, you can lean on me and sleep. I’ll sleep a bit as well.”
At that moment, Yoojin, who was watching them from the side, spoke,
“You guys really poke where it hurts.”
She and Maru chuckled.
“What are you going to do now?”
“I’m going to take him to some shops. The department store should be too expensive, so I’m probably going to independent shops.”
“Ah, you said you were buying Maru clothes, didn’t you? I wonder if I should join you guys. I need a place to kill time until dinner.”
“Then let’s go together. It’ll be less boring with the three of us.”
Maru narrowed his eyes and looked at her smiling face.
“Uhm, hello? Weren’t we supposed to be on a date today?”
“Who says only two people can go on dates? Also, I’m going to take you shopping all day today, so it’ll be better if Yoojin’s with us. She has a good eye for clothes after all.”
She seemed to have already come to a decision. Maru turned around to look at Yoojin. He signalled her to stay out of it, but Yoojin made a suspicious smile and said ‘let’s go’.
“Do you want to try the shops in front of the station first? There are a lot of stores on clearance so you should be able to get a lot for cheap. I saw them putting up a bunch of padded jackets for sale, so there’s probably some left.”
Yoojin walked ahead of them like their boss.
A cold wind blew past them as soon as they left the hair shop. Maru told her to put on the scarf.
“If it’s cold, you can just go, you know?”
“It’s suddenly not cold at all!”
Yoojin grinned. She, who was next to him, approached Yoojin and hooked her arms around her. Maru stuck up his middle finger at Yoojin who looked at him with a smug expression. The only thing he got back was a snort.
As they walked towards the station, they saw a lot of independent stores just like Yoojin said. Flyers advertising cheap off-season products were rolling on the ground.
“Should we try that place first?”
The two girls opened the door to a shop with glee on their faces. Maru thought about it for ten seconds before deciding that he should not be entering the store. However, his decision was mercilessly trampled upon by the two that left the store to get him. Being dragged inside the store, Maru had to try on clothes like a lab rat. Resistance was out of the question.
“Is this better?”
“No, I think this looks better.”
Maru glanced at the clothes she told him to try on before speaking,
“I tried this on before.”
“But then why do I have to do it again?”
“Just try it on.”
“...We are planning to buy things here, right?”
Hearing that question, she avoided his gaze and started humming to herself. Maru saw a small tremble in the corner of her eyes. He fell into the trap. It was the discount sale trap that all married men went through. They would be dragged around to all sorts of places under the excuse that ‘there was something to buy’ and end up buying a bunch of useless things.
Telling the wife to just go home after buying a few things would only result in ‘why don’t you just wait in the car’ along with a fierce glare. It was a one-sided match that men could never dream of winning.
Not only that, there was another girl fanning the flames here.
Was this hell?
“There aren’t any pretty things here.”
“You’re right. Let’s try the next store.”
Maru tried to shake off her arm with a slightly dazed expression, but her gripping strength was quite considerable, not matching her cute face. In the end, he was dragged to the next store, and the same thing repeated again.
“This looks good. I want this.”
Under the pressure that the day would end fruitlessly at this rate, he ended up choosing clothes he liked, but that was the wrong move.
“See? This guy only likes stuff like this one.”
“Hey, this looks exactly like the ones ahjussis wear to hiking every weekend.”
“This is not good. I can’t trust this guy anymore. Yoojin, let’s tell Maru properly what kinds of clothes he needs to look for.”
“Good. I’ll gladly join you for that one.”
Haha - Maru laughed dryly as he put down the padded jacket in his hands. The padded jacket, which was a mix of red and grey, and had sufficient padding inside the jacket fell on top of the counter. The price was only 25 thousand won as well. It was really good for the price.
“Should we go to Dongdaemun after all?”
“That is definitely a better option, but-”
What the heck was this about? Maru interrupted their conversation. He tried to persuade the two that there should be good clothes here as well. If he was dragged all the way to Dongdaemun by them for clothes, they might as well drag him to Namdaemun for a pair of cosmetic glasses. His plan to spend his date in leisure might actually become out of reach.
“Well, I guess going to Dongdaemun doesn’t really make a difference.”
“It’s a pain to confront the owners there too. I was there last time, and they were scolding me for staring at the clothes for a while.”
“Right, right. They really scare us and look down on us just because we’re young.”
Thankfully, they seemed to have decided that going to Dongdaemun wasn’t the right idea.
Maru smiled powerlessly as he looked at the two girls walking into the next store. If he knew things were going to be like this, he should’ve told her that they should meet at home.
Maru put his hands inside his padded jacket. A box could be felt by his fingertips. He bought a necklace as a Christmas present, but the right time to gift it to her wasn’t coming. He couldn’t give this to her as long as Yoojin was around. He couldn’t leave her with teasing material for another year.
“Hey, what are you doing! Come in!”
Yoojin opened the door and shouted at him. All the passersby stared at them. Maru palmed his face and sighed in a small voice.
* * *
“Hm, this looks good.”
“Then let’s go with this, okay?”
“Han Maru, why does your face look so unwilling, huh?”
“Me? When did I look like that? Can’t you see me smiling? I’m so happy right now.”
Sure - Yoojin remarked while bursting out into a laugh. She was covering her mouth and laughing as well. He thought that everything was over when they managed to buy a padded jacket, but there were the glasses left.
Maru took off the large horn-rimmed glasses. Looking at her, who kept making him wear uncomfortable glasses and then laughing at his looks, he felt bitter and happy at the same time. Nothing relieved Maru more than her laughing at ease.
“Stop playing around, I think this is good. What about you, Yoojin?”
The pair she was holding was just a rim with short legs. The part where the lens was supposed to be was mostly round but was slightly angled at the corners. It was a mixture of silver and black.
“Wouldn’t that make him look old?”
“I thought that too, but look closely.”
She approached Maru and changed his glasses. Maru sat down upright and looked at her and Yoojin. After making a ‘hmm’ sound, Yoojin clapped.
“It does look good on him.”
“He looks mature. Not like, the old kind of mature, but, hm, hm, good.”
Yoojin raised her thumb. She laughed and told him to look in the mirror. Maru looked in the mirror next to him. His eyes that made him look cold looked a little softer now because of the glasses. He could tell that his impression had changed a lot at a glance.
“What do you think?”
“This looks okay. I’ll ask the producer if I can wear them during the shoot,” Maru said as he took off the rims.
He could see her with a satisfied smile on her face.
He had been dragged around for many hours today, but he felt that it was all worth it when he looked at that smile. If she was happy, then he was happy as well.
“Don’t mention it.”
Maru held out the rims to the optician.
“Please give me these.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Something tells me Yoojin's mom's habit will get her into trouble one day.
Man, I can't wait for Bunbun's fluffy reaction to the necklace.