She suddenly got a lot of time, so she walked into the fruit juice store in front of her school.
“You’re early today.”
The owner lady noted.
“We don’t have practice today. That’s why I was going to go home early and eat out with my mom, but I just got the cold shoulder. Oh, a strawberry smoothie please.”
She ordered before sitting down. The sitcom ended around a month ago. As for the afterparty, they held one the day before the last episode aired. When she started off, she was worried if she could handle it, but she managed to finish the last shoot without any big troubles.
‘Though, there were a lot of trivial events.’
Lee Miyoon. During the early days of the shoot, she trembled just by thinking about that name, but she didn’t feel anything now. Becoming used to being scolded was just that scary. Ever since she glared at Miyoon and snapped back, the number of scoldings she got increased, but that died down around two months before the end of the final shoot. She didn’t know whether that woman was fed up or was no longer interested, but it was a small victory on her part. Thanks to that, her mental stamina became a lot better.
“Here you go. Strawberry smoothie.”
She bit on the straw with her front teeth. If it was a month ago, she would be reading the script for the sitcom, but there wasn’t anything for her to do now. The acting club was also on break from practice today, so the only thing that waited for her at school was an empty practice room. Her classmates had all gone to cram schools.
‘I should go to college, right?’
The strawberry smoothie climbed up the transparent straw. A fresh strawberry taste spread out in her mouth, but she wasn’t able to savor that taste because she was fixated on the words ‘3rd year of high school’. When she was a 2nd year, only half of her class went to cram schools. The friend that sat next to her said that after school self study sessions were enough. However, ever since she became a 3rd year, the number of people going to cram schools increased a lot. When she headed towards the acting club after school, most of her classmates left the school with their bags. That was because the students that went to cram schools didn’t take self-study sessions after school. There were only around three or four people remaining behind.
Whenever she looked at those people, she thought about her own grades. Her school grades were about average. As she was aiming to enter the department of theater and film through early decision, she studied whenever she had time while still going to the acting club. Since the amount of time she invested was quite small, she couldn’t rank any higher, but she maintained her grades so that they didn’t fall below average. Back in 2nd year, she didn’t have any worries about that.
She naturally thought that her school grades were enough for the early admission and that she would boldly enter the department of theater and film through early decision. However, when she became a 3rd year student, and the sitcom ended, she started worrying. Would she really be able to pass the practical test?
She had confidence in her acting. She always believed that she could do well, and she put in the effort, having faith in the words that effort never betrays. As a result, she got to play the main character for the school play and did the sitcom as well. That was good. Everything went smoothly.
‘But I’m starting to lack confidence.’
Phew - she sighed a little. If there was one thing that she felt while shooting the sitcom, it was that her acting had nothing special.
That right now was good - these were the words used by the director when praising an actor. She heard those words several times during the shoots. Of course, those words weren’t directed at her, they were directed at other people. She had never even once heard the director say those words to her. Cut, okay, next. These three words were the only words she heard during the half-a-year that she spent with the director.
It wasn’t that she was being arrogant when it came to acting. She thought that it was natural for there to be people better than her and that she should try to learn from them and aim to be like them. However, the fact that the director never praised her even once made her feel dejected.
Her peers who also appeared in the sitcom heard something from the director several times. If they did well, then they heard that, if they didn’t do well, then they heard that as well.
‘I really didn’t hear anything.’
She realized the fact that she didn’t even hear that she didn’t do well. Was her acting that ordinary? Or was it horrible to the point that it wasn’t worth mentioning at all?
On the other hand, Jiseok really shone throughout the shoots. The director also mentioned Jiseok’s name several times, saying that he was good. Even the picky Lee Miyoon said that Jiseok was someone who knew how to act. That was the first time she saw Lee Miyoon praising someone like that.
Department of theater and film at Chung-ang University. That was her aim. It was one of the top three colleges for theater in the country. She had been aiming for that ever since she was in middle school. Jiseok also said that Chung-ang University was his first choice.
-There are lots of kids who are as good as me in the academy I go to. Try going to Film later. You’ll roll your eyes if you see the kids preparing for the practical test. There are those that are practicing singing and even dancing. Oh, you know that Maru used to go there too, right? Try asking him.
Jiseok said those words to her.
Jiseok was praised by the director, and there were several people on a similar level as him aiming for Chung-ang University. As soon as she heard those words, the word ‘study’ came to her mind. She thought that perhaps she had a chance at regular admission since regular admission placed less importance on the practical test.
That was the reason she felt uneasy while looking at the people going to cram schools. Perhaps she should be getting her insurance ready for when she didn’t pass the early decision?
She blinked and looked at the straw. The transparent straw had become a faint white. That was the result of her chewing on it.
“Ah, right. I saw the last episode of the sitcom. You looked pretty in it, you know?”
She replied with a smile, but she couldn’t put any power into it. She returned the empty cup before leaving. Perhaps it was about time she seriously considered it. She would be able to increase the time she spent on studying if she reduced the time she spent at the acting club. Grade 3. That was the cutline for regular admission to the department of theater and film at Chung-ang University. She would have to take the practical test after that which would account for 70% of the admission test, but those that are really good at acting should have passed through early decision already, so the chance of passing that was definitely higher than early decision.
‘I got grade 6 in the mock exam I took in 2nd year.’
There was also the fact that she took the test lightly because she didn’t think it was important, but even if she did take the exam seriously, the results wouldn’t have changed that much. Raising her grade from 6 to 3 in 8 months clearly didn’t seem like something she could do while participating in acting club activities. That could be seen from the kids remaining behind in class to study. Just as how she was putting her all into acting, those people were putting their all into studies. Yet their grades still did not rise.
Perhaps she should make some time to study after all. If she quit the acting club right now, she would have a considerable amount of free time. If she asked her mom to send her to a cram school, it wouldn't be impossible to raise her scores. She never thought herself to be dumb, so maybe there might be visible results if she invested as much time into studying as she did in acting.
“Cram school, huh. I heard that that place was really good.”
There was a cram school that the classmate sitting next to her praised endlessly. There was definitely potential if she raised both her school grades and prepared for the CSAT. She felt a little sorry towards the others in the club, but that was an inevitable choice, wasn’t it? In order to go to a better college, it would be better if she focused on stu….
“What am I thinking?”
She looked at her reflection in the show window of a clothing store. A girl with a really dry, bland expression was standing there. She slapped her own cheeks loudly. She then started pulling those cheeks outwards. It hurt to the point that she screamed just a little. She felt the passersby staring at her.
She turned around completely to look at the show window. The reflection of herself in the window had a better expression now. She smiled brightly to the point that her lips ached a little.
Do not run away - she said those words with a muffled pronunciation. She started acting because she liked it. She dipped her feet in acting because she liked the vibe and the plays she used to watch with her father. Chung-ang University. It would be great if she got in, but it was no good if that was her dream. She was mistaken. What she had to chase was acting, not college.
If she focused on acting a little more than she did now, she should get results that fit her the best. She didn’t want to look away from the important thing for better results. She should be able to pass if she managed to find a way to pop out like Jiseok. If she didn’t reach that standard, she would just simply choose another college.
Let’s study if my acting isn’t up to par - it horrified her to think about how her friends would be disappointed in her if they found out she was thinking such a thing. The opposite was true as well, if someone told her that they wanted to focus on studying because their acting wasn’t up to par, she would’ve fought that person in anger. She would ask if acting only amounted to that for that person.
She turned her wrist to look at her watch. It was 20 minutes before 6. She felt drained of energy because of all the thoughts that flashed in her mind. It would be really depressing if she went home right now and then ate by herself. Just then, she was reminded of Maru. The text her mom sent as a joke mentioned that she should eat with Maru.
“I wonder if he’s busy today.”
Today was Wednesday. Since the drama shoots mostly occurred on weekends, he would be busy with his club activities if he was busy at all. Maru did say that he wouldn’t play any roles in his 3rd year, but he also said that he would go to the acting club to look after his juniors and make some props, so it was likely that he was at school now.
She opened her phone but then hesitated a little. Was it really right for her to call when she was in a bad mood? She didn’t want to become a naggy woman at all, so she was worried that she would start telling her worries to Maru if she met him right now.
“Should I just eat by myself today?”
Eating by herself. She realized that she had never eaten by herself ever since she entered high school. She would usually eat dinner with the acting club, and on days she didn’t have practice, she would come home and eat with her mother.
It suddenly came to her that her mother always ate dinner by herself. She suddenly felt very apologetic. The table at home was very large. Thinking about how her mother would eat by herself at such a big table, she felt a little sour in the nose. Today was very weird, so she decided to call today the emotional day. She texted her mom that she loved her. She got a reply back soon.
-Mom’s drinking with a junior from college! Kya!!!!!
There were five exclamation marks after it. She wondered what that was about. Rather than that, drinking? Her mother was drinking? It was likely that something good had happened. After all, she only drank when there was something good happening.
-Did something good happen?
She sent that text. About a minute later, she got a reply.
-No!!! It’s a total mess!!! Writers are shit, and my junior is so pitiful!!
“A total mess?”
She stared at her phone for a while before sighing. It seemed that her mother was drunk.
What to do now, then….
After hesitating a little, she sent a text to Maru asking if he was practicing.
-No, I’m doing a shoot.
-You’re shooting the drama even though it’s not the weekend?
-No, one of my juniors is going to apply for the film festival, so I’m helping out.
-You must be busy then.
If he was doing a shoot, it would be better if they didn’t meet. Just as she was about to text ‘do your best’, she got a reply.
-I want to see you. Do you want to come over?
She wrote down ‘I’m going to go home’ before quickly erasing it and sending another text.
-Come. Let’s eat dinner together.
That couldn’t sound more welcome.
-Wouldn’t I be a nuisance?
-An actress is coming so of course not. We’re running out of actors actually. Everyone will like it if you come over, you know? Come quickly. I want to see you.
She folded her phone before turning around. The bus stop was on the other side of the road.
 In South Korean colleges, they look at school grades + practical test (optional depending on the department) + interview for early admission , and CSAT grades + practical test (optional depending on the department) + interview (optional) for regular admission. So some people strategically choose to enter schools with kids with bad grades so that they can get a higher score (All high schools have relative grading).
 Top 11 to 23 percentile.
 Top 60 to 77 percentile.
CSAT = College SAT = Korean way of calling SATs, if that wasn't obvious already.
They honestly have such a cute relationship. Maru is prob going to get her to confess then kiss her like the chad he is.
P.S. I'm starting to get a little busy so I'm changing the rules of when I'm going to italicize.
1) Other people that use she/her pronouns in the same chap as CSH (so not this chap)
2) She is referred to as She/Her (so not during chapters in other people's perspectives like Yoojin and Bunbun)
3) Other people are referring to her (So not when she calls herself she/her)