“Yes, happy new year to you too. Be healthy and I hope you earn a lot of… I mean, I hope you get good grades.”
Daemyung hung up from the other side of the phone while laughing. It was January 1st of 2005. Last year, he spent New Years at the hospital, but fortunately for him, he didn’t have to do that this year. He felt nervous even when he thought about that event now. If Daemyung and Dojin did not return back then, he wouldn’t be at the hospital, but somewhere much worse. Perhaps the woman in white might have come for him with a disappointed expression again. All while saying ‘you died again, huh’ or something like that.
“Oppa, I’m leaving.”
Bada was busy even on the first day of the year. She was probably going out to meet Dowook. The holidays began and the acting club no longer had any practice. Since all they had was time, it wouldn’t be surprising for the two to meet up. The two seemed to be getting along well as they had hung out frequently without fighting that much until now. Dowook complained to Maru about how Bada always wanted to go to idol concerts, but he seemed quite weak at heart from how he ended up going with her anyway.
‘I wonder if he’s okay though. He was going at it yesterday….’
He laughed to himself when he thought about how Dowook fainted while holding onto the toilet seat.
Two days ago, the results came out. When Taesik said that they didn’t make it, the club members smiled bitterly before sighing. The shock didn’t seem to be as big since they had expected it somewhat.
Suyeon, who joined them later, said that they should have fun precisely at times like those and took them to her apartment, where they had a wild drinking party like last time. Maru was unable to get any rest since he had to look after those that lost themselves, but he felt a little better after being able to help them, even if he got no rest. It was a twisted way of consolation as an adult. After that, he had to face Suyeon in drinking, and he could only get some rest after seeing Suyeon doze off.
In the morning, he cooked up some bean sprout soup for the half-dead students. When he returned home after sending the zombie students home, he realized that tomorrow was the next year.
“I hope there won’t be any accidents this year,” he said to himself before standing up.
Today, he had something to do. It was about time he got ready and left.
“Mom, I’m leaving too.”
“Are you going to be back late?”
“No, I won’t be that late.”
“Alright, be careful on your way.”
Ever since she quit her job, Maru’s mother’s complexion had definitely become better. Although it had only been a few days since she started resting, his mother no longer woke up in the mornings while coughing, and now woke up energetically and prepared breakfast. Maru’s father also really rejoiced when he found out that his wife quit her job. Maru could still remember how he had a smile on his face as he drank beer by himself during dinner. It would be great if he did that in front of his wife, but like any other breadwinner of his age, he was awkward at expressing himself in front of his family. Even so, though, Maru’s mother should’ve noticed already - about how worried he was about her.
Maru opened the door.
* * *
“I told you not to eat in my car.”
“Your car is already pretty dirty. A couple of crumbles shouldn’t make a difference. You don’t even clean your car often, but you’re acting like a clean freak. Hey, hey! There’s a car upfront!”
Miso let go of the wheel and reached out for Ganghwan, who sat on the passenger seat. Ganghwan screamed at her to look forward, but she did not bat an eyelid and grabbed Ganghwan’s hair before rocking it back and forth. Only when Ganghwan apologized and put down the bag of snacks did Miso loosen her grip.
“Should we get off and grab a taxi or something?”
“I think that is a wise choice, but I think you should ask if you can get off in the first place.”
Maru made a stiff smile. Geunsoo, who sat next to him, was the same.
“Men in the back seats. If we die, we die together. Alright?”
Miso giggled and stepped on the gas. Maru shut himself up before grabbing the handle above the window. Geunsoo put on his seatbelt.
The car, which was far from what was considered ‘neat’, was filled with all sorts of stage costumes, books, as well as cute dolls. Soojin was probably responsible for the dolls. Whenever Miso turned the wheel, the clothes and the dolls rocked left and right. No, ‘rolling around’ was probably a better expression.
“You should’ve brought your car.”
“I’m regretting that too.”
The car with the four people in it climbed up a hill. After climbing on a wobbly road for a while, the car stopped on the side of the road. As soon as the car stopped, Maru opened the door and rushed out. Geunsoo and Ganghwan did the same.
He was sweating profusely. He knew that Miso’s way of driving was quite harsh, but today, it reached the level of a circus. He had his suspicions when she stepped on the gas while panting heavily on the driver’s seat, but he never imagined that she would be this rough.
“Apparently, she fought with the man that’s going to be her husband,” Ganghwan quietly whispered as he looked at Miso making a refreshed expression.
Maru and Geunsoo nodded their heads while saying ‘ah’. Miso said that she was going to get married this May. He could still remember how Miso acted a little embarrassed when she said that she was going to be a bride of May.
‘She should be busy right now because of that.’
The wedding wasn’t such a heavy occasion in itself. It was just that the process of getting there was quite tiring. She was probably starting to prepare now if she wanted to reserve a wedding hall she liked for May. Taking into account the photoshoot, honeymoon as well as the most important residence, it would be strange if a fight did not break out.
“A civil servant versus a famous acting instructor. In my opinion, I think it would be Miso noo-nim who should be buying the house and Mr. Taesik who should be marrying into her family,” Maru sneakily added.
“From what I know of her character, I’m sure she has saved up an enormous amount of money. Who knows, she might already have an apartment in Gangnam. No, I’m pretty sure she has one. I’m sure of it.”
Ganghwan’s words contained conviction.
“I still can’t believe that she’s getting married. If I think about how she was during high school…. phew.”
Even Geunsoo, whose moniker was the lunatic during his time at Woosung High, seemed to be helpless in front of Miso.
“I still can’t believe it.”
“Mr. Taesik is a really good person. Maybe she knows his weakness or something?”
“That sounds plenty plausible. Maybe his household isn’t doing well financially.”
“Aah, so he’s being sold out, huh. Tsk, tsk. He gave me a good impression too.”
Just as they were whispering to each other, Miso approached them asking what they were doing. Maru and Ganghwan immediately looked up at the sky, while Geunsoo took out his phone and put it against his ear.
“Let’s go in. He should be waiting for us.”
Miso pressed the bell. A dog barking could be heard closing in on them before Junmin showed up at the door.
“The door’s open.”
Junmin walked back in again after saying those words. Geunsoo opened the front door and entered. Maru waved at Dalgu, who was jumping around in joy in the front yard. He seemed to have remembered his scent as he wagged his tail around him.
“I think this guy hates me.”
Miso reached out, attempting to stroke Dalgu’s head, but Dalgu turned his head away and stared at Miso’s hand. Miso reached out again to touch Dalgu’s head, but Dalgu didn’t allow it so easily. Watching that, Ganghwan and Geunsoo tickled Dalgu’s neck for Miso to see before going inside. The two were grinning.
“Alright, this is only the second time, so I’m not surprised he’s wary of me. But at least welcome me properly next time, alright?”
Miso waved at Dalgu before going inside. Maru and Dalgu crossed the main door together. The warm air and the smell of doenjang. The elder’s house hadn’t changed at all.
“So you’re all here.”
The elder was sitting in the kitchen while Junmin was brewing some tea.
“It’s really uncomfortable when there’s no one below me. I mean, I have to make the tea and everything.”
“That’s how it works.”
Junmin placed the tea on the table.
The four of them greeted the elder before sitting down.
“What made you come all the way here in this cold weather?”
“Of course, to say hi for New Years,” Ganghwan said.
The elder laughed and thanked him.
“I heard that Miso’s getting married?”
“Yes, sir. I decided to hold it in May.”
“I see. Congratulations. You must be busy right now if you’re planning on May.”
“Don’t even talk about that. She has been on the edge since the morning and she….”
As soon as Ganghwan tried to say something, Miso pressed his thighs with her elbow. Ganghwan groaned and made a teary face, and the elder laughed out loud while nodding.
“Marriage is always a noisy thing. You find out that your ideals and values might be different just before marriage, and you may get into a fight because of that. As long as you talk to each other a lot and adjust yourselves, and you listen to each other more than you listen to the others around you, these harsh times will become an opportunity to tie you closer together.”
I will - Miso slowly nodded as she replied.
“Give me an invitation once they’re out. I will definitely make some time to go.”
“Of course I will. But uhm, sir, I’m really not good at being roundabout, can I ask you to officiate for us?”
The elder seemed a little startled as well by her bold request as he didn’t say anything for a while.
Maru didn’t think she’d ask him to officiate at their wedding when she was here to greet him for New Years. He inwardly smiled as he looked at Miso.
“If you’re alright with me, I guess I can but… did you talk about this with your partner?”
“Yes. My fiancé also told me that it would be really great if you could do it.”
My fiancé - Maru almost burst out laughing when he heard that word. When he looked next to him, he found that Geunsoo and Ganghwan were also clenching their teeth trying not to laugh. Even Junmin was scratching his forehead, trying to control his twitching lips.
“I see, if you have already come to an agreement, I shall do it for you. But I’m worried if the parents of both of you are okay with it.”
“Sir, please don’t worry about that. Actually, you might have to prepare yourself. My mom might run up to you and ask you for an autograph halfway through the ceremony.”
The elder laughed and sipped his tea.
“How are you doing these days, Geunsoo?”
“I’m reading through a few scenarios I got. I seemed to have gotten lucky last year and there have been some talks.”
“Rather than luck, it must be because of your skill. I hope you encounter good work. Only when you do well will the guy next to me smile brightly for me.”
The elder pointed at Junmin with his chin.
“I was just going to find someone to do a ritual to wish that everything goes well. It would’ve been great if I started on that movie, but that went down the drain.”
“There are a lot of fraudulent people in this field whether in the past or now.”
The elder turned around to Ganghwan.
“As for you… I just hope you don’t cause an accident. That’s all I want from you.”
“No way, sir. You should say some good words for me too.”
“I saw you just a few days ago. What would saying a few more words do? I already told you everything over a drink.”
“That’s not true.”
“Just don’t cause an accident, and get married after meeting a good woman like Miso. If you do, you’ll be able to have a good year. Are you thirty-two this year? That’s the perfect year to get married.”
“Sir. I can acknowledge everything but the fact that Miso is a good woman. You should really see what she’s really like. She’s only obedient and humorous in front of you, you know?”
“Boy, what’s bad about Miso? Don’t speak nonsense and find a good woman to get married to. Geunsoo, you too.”
“Haha. I’ll do my best.”
The elder’s gaze was directed to Maru this time.
“I see that you’re fortunately intact this year.”
“I had the same thought yesterday.”
“Yes, yes. Health is always the priority. Don’t push yourself just because you’re young and you should be careful in the future. Don’t get close to alcohol and smoking like a certain someone.”
“I will bear that in mind.”
“However, you should drink on a day like this. Ganghwan. There's ginseng wine in the cupboard. When would I open it if not on a day like this. Bring it here.”
The elder laughed heartily. Ganghwan quickly stood up and went to the kitchen. Maru also stood up. He got the drinking glasses and looked for light side dishes in the refrigerator.
“Drinking during the day is the best kind of drinking.”
Ganghwan said as he put the ginseng wine on the table. The thick yellow color made it look like it was brewed properly. At that moment, the bell rang.
“I’ll go get the door.”
Maru put his shoes on and walked outside. Outside the main gate was Suyeon, who was wearing a white sweater and jeans. He could also see Sooil yawning on the side.
“Open the door!” shouted Suyeon as she waved her hand above her head.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Lol, this is going to be interesting.
SUYEON, GEUNSOO, GANGHWAN, MISO, MARU ANTICS! YES! LETS GOOOOO!