“Sit down over he…. Oh wait!”
Jiyoon felt very chaotic right now. After the last period ended and she came to the 5th floor, half filled with expectation and half filled with worry, she was greeted by an empty classroom. So not even one - just as she felt rather sad, she heard some sounds from the staircase. A bunch of first year students came at once. Five came at first, and then ten, then another three and two. People kept coming, and by now there were over forty people.
There weren’t enough seats in the classroom. This was a classroom left for the third year students who wished to stay behind and study, so there weren’t that many desks here. Just as she was flustered and did not know how to handle the students, Maru-seonbae had come up the stairs.
“Wow, I guess we lucked out.”
“Seonbae. What do we do? There aren’t enough seats.”
“Then they can just sit on the floor.”
Jiyoon nodded. She was so flustered that she thought that everyone had to sit down in chairs.
“What about Daemyung-o… I mean, seonbae?”
“You can call him oppa. I think they might be a little late. Their homeroom teacher seemed to be investigating something. What about Aram and Bangjoo?”
“Aram will be late since she’s on cleaning duty today. Bangjoo went to the cafeteria because we didn’t have enough drinks.”
Maru peeked inside the classroom before speaking in a loud voice.
“Hello everyone! I’m sorry to tell you this, but everyone will have to sit down on the floor. We’ll lay out some blankets so please leave the classroom for a bit.”
His voice was bright and clear. The juniors all left after hearing Maru-seonbae’s words. Jiyoon stroked down her chest in relief.
“You’re their senior. You are supposed to be leading them.”
Maru smiled and laid out the blankets. Jiyoon shook her head. It didn’t suit her to guide or lead someone.
“Hey, hey. Keep your voice down.”
Bangjoo’s loud voice startled the first year students and attracted attention. Some of the girls looked a little scared as well. Jiyoon frowned and slapped Bangjoo’s arm. Bangjoo avoided her gaze and laughed awkwardly.
“Well then, come back in. Sorry for making you all wait,” said Maru as he pointed at the classroom.
The first year students entered. After looking around for a while, they realized that it was no different from an ordinary classroom and just stared at Maru who was at the front.
“I guess we should start the event we do every year, right?”
Maru told her to wait before leaving the classroom.
Jiyoon made an awkward smile when the first year students all looked at her.
“Bangjoo, do something.”
“Should I do some falling moves?”
“N-no, that’s a little.”
“Should I sing then?”
“That’s a bit too….”
“Fine. Then I’ll talk to them for a while.”
“Uhm, everyone. Thank you for coming. Hm… nice weather today, right?”
The weather was gloomy since it had just rained. Jiyoon sighed and stood next to Bangjoo. It seemed that she had to step up here.
“I’ll be receiving questions since you might be bored until the seniors come. Does anyone have any questions?” asked Jiyoon as brightly as possible.
She was worried that no one would ask a question just like when they made rounds, but thankfully, that didn’t happen. Ten or so people raised their hands at once. Jiyoon felt a lot better when it looked like people were eager to participate.
“Over there, please ask.”
She decided to take a question from the girl sitting at the front.
“You said you participated in competitions right?”
“Yes. There’s one in the Summer and one in the Winter.”
“Have you ever taken 1st place?”
“Hm, unfortunately, the answer is no, at least for us. The seniors before got the grand prize a lot of the time, but from some time onwards, we didn’t get it anymore.”
Then what’s the highest place you’ve ever ranked? - A question came from the back. Jiyoon fiddled with her hair and replied.
“3rd place in the regionals. If we got 2nd place, we would’ve been able to advance into the nationals, but we didn’t make it. If you join us, we might actually take first place this year.”
She gained confidence after she talked for a while. Her shaking hands had calmed down somewhat as well. She took the next question from a boy sitting in the middle.
“The seonbae-nim that introduced the acting club to us during the day said that you can gain confidence through acting, right? Is it true?”
She could answer that question for sure. She nodded vigorously.
“He’s right. It’s true. I was so nervous in my first year and I couldn’t imagine standing in front of so many people like this. I got nervous whenever I opened my mouth, and I would start shaking. I would freeze up when so many people paid attention to me, and I wouldn’t know what I’m talking about at all. No, in the first place, I would barely be able to speak. Is there anyone similar to me here?” she asked cautiously.
Quite a lot of the juniors raised their hands.
“You can’t help but become nervous the first time. Speaking is hard too. But if you continue acting, you’ll get into the habit of speaking in front of people. You’ll get more used to it, and from some time onwards, you’ll gain confidence as well. Oh, it doesn’t matter if you have an introverted personality. I’m really shy too.”
Jiyoon remembered back to what Maru told her during her first year.
“Being introverted means that you are just that more sensitive, apparently. It can also help with your acting since you are able to observe other’s emotions in more detail. You remember the seonbae that spoke for us during the day, right? That’s what he told me. So don’t think that you aren’t fit for acting just because you are introverted and shy. You can still do it.”
After taking a short breath, she looked at the first year students.
The juniors that looked at her in a daze soon started talking with the people next to them.
“I was really impressed,” Bangjoo said from the side.
Jiyoon nodded. She did not think that the juniors would start applauding or something like that. She thought that they would show at least a bit of interest though. She felt a little embarrassed and looked at the door. She wondered when her seniors would come.
Just then, she found a shadow cast on the door. After looking at the lights in the corridor, Jiyoon left the classroom thinking ‘no way’. The seniors were standing there with big grins on their faces.
“We were about to go in, but the atmosphere was so good.”
Maru appreciated her for her efforts before going inside. Dowook then followed and showed her a thumbs up.
“Uhm… well done.”
Daemyung patted her. Jiyoon felt her face go hot as though it would explode. She felt so embarrassed when she realized that everyone heard what she said.
“You should’ve come in immediately if you were here.”
She pouted at Daemyung. Daemyung only awkwardly smiled.
“What’s this? Was there something fun?”
Aram, who had just arrived, widened her eyes as she asked. Jiyoon did not speak. She didn’t feel much when she received questions from the juniors, but now that she looked back, she wondered how she was able to say all those words.
“Let’s go in for now. We should show them this as well.”
What Daemyung was holding in his hands was an album.
So that was it. Jiyoon realized what the ‘event’ was that Maru was talking about. She also remembered being surprised when she saw that album.
“Let’s go! Let’s look at our cute juniors,” said Aram as she pushed her back.
* * *
It seemed that their interest was piqued. Maru took a bite out of the choco pie as he looked at the acting club talking to the first year students. Yakult and choco pie. They could have bought something different, but they didn’t change the menu since it was somewhat like a tradition at this point.
The atmosphere in the classroom was very good. Daemyung, who began to talk to people after getting to know them, became a splendid presenter and induced everyone to talk. Ever since the mood became soft enough for the first year students to talk, they kept asking questions. If there were too few people, they might not have said anything out of shyness, but since there were more than fifty people here, they seemed to feel no pressure. There were around forty people when the conversation started, but quite a lot more had joined them after cleaning duties.
“Eleven? Are you even allowed to stay at school that late?”
“We can if we get permission. We stayed until 1 a.m. during the summer holiday. Buying food outside the school and eating it inside the school is a really nice experience.”
Daemyung enticed the juniors while listing things that couldn’t be experienced in other clubs. Of course, he also emphasized that it would be laborious. After all, there might be trouble if they made some of the first year students join without letting them know about the hardships.
Maru peeled off the yakult lid a little. He sipped on the drink as he looked at the clock. It was 6. Since there was no shoot today, he could take his time here. Starting tomorrow though, he would have shoots all the way into the weekend.
“You should say something too, seonbae.”
Maru, standing in a corner of the classroom, shook his head when he heard Aram’s words.
He now had a TV drama that he showed up regularly on. If he received more work on top of this, he would barely be able to show up at the club at all. That was why he was planning to go home after doing the trivial stuff. He neither thought about receiving the senior treatment nor acting like one. He was planning to stay as the guy that only helped out the club every once in a while, so it would be better if he wasn’t remembered. He would practically be a ghost member after all.
Aram made a sour expression before turning around.
After the lightweight talk was finished, the serious stuff began with the album. The ones that decide to join and those that decided not to would probably be decided after this. It wasn’t like they could accept everyone here anyway. There was no limit to how big a club could be, but having too many would become uncontrollable.
Daemyung wanted around twenty-five to thirty. If all of the juniors gathered here decided to apply, about half of them wouldn’t make it.
‘The clubroom is a problem too, huh.’
They couldn’t use the self-study classroom as their clubroom forever. If anyone came around wanting to study, they would have to vacate the classroom without complaining. As for the clubroom matter, they would have to consult with Taesik about it. It would be great if they could get an empty classroom, but Maru wondered if that was even possible. After all, the acting club had a horrible reputation among the teachers.
“Will Maru-seonbae over there teach us acting if we enter the acting club?”
Maru raised his head. He had heard his name being mentioned among the juniors. He looked at the girl that looked at him straight in the eyes in a daring manner. He remembered her. It was the girl that asked if he knew Sungjae.
“I was curious about that too.”
“You are on TV, right?”
The people that glanced his way, thought that this was an opportunity and all started speaking. Maru looked at them. Even the people that didn’t know about him started talking about it.
“For acting, we’ll invite an instructor to teach you. There will be a great person coming so you don’t need to worry about that.”
“But you’re an actor too, seonbae.”
“I’m not good enough to teach anyone else. At most, I can give you some advice.”
“Ah, I see. Also, can I ask you a personal question?”
“What landed you as a supporting character in New Semester?”
“I took the audition.”
“Then you can become a supporting character if you take the audition?”
“You must be lucky too, and skilled.”
“Then was it your skill that got you the role? Or luck?”
“I’m not sure. I never asked the producer that picked me, so I can’t say for sure.”
“No way. Can’t you tell us more confidently if you have confidence in your skills?”
“I don’t have that much confidence.”
“Then it’s luck after all?”
“Yes. I think it was luck.”
Maru finished the conversation with a smile. She had a slightly offensive tone in her words. She sounded like she wanted to dig into him, so he just stopped there. The girl grinned as though she had expected this before turning around again. The juniors that took interest in him turned around to focus on Daemyung again, seeming to have lost their interest.
That was rather good for Maru though. It would be quite a pain if someone entered the club because of him. From their expressions though, no one seemed to be like that. Well, it would be weird if there were any.
“There are many times when you get exhausted, and sometimes, you might regret, thinking about why you started this, but if you still want to try acting despite that, please write your name and self-introduction on the application form here.”
When Daemyung handed out the application forms, the fifty-plus first year students all stood up and took the paper. Maru exclaimed in a small voice. He didn’t think that all of them would take a form.
Was the three-year-long member problem finally solved? Maru stuck his thumbs up at Daemyung who made a happy expression.
 As in ‘is this club strict and make you reply to your seniors in a loud voice?’ kind of scared.
Heck, after thinking about it. I think I should just post my speculations.
I think the girl is a friend of Bada. (Bada should be in high school now too). Maybe she's one of those that teased her about how her brother is just 'fake'.
Also, I think the usual plot progress from here on would be 'teachers tell students not to apply to the acting club since they're a bunch of trouble makers' and suddenly a bunch of them withdraw their applications the next day. Maybe that's too much of a 'youth drama' plot. I'm not sure. Author might skip it entirely and focus on Maru's part with New Semester.
Again, this is pure speculation (I haven't read ahead as of writing this). I'm also curious about what you guys think.
Maybe this girl will become Maru's first fan or something. The author could pull anything tbh. The Bada's friend theory seems like a good bet.