“This is a popular item at our school.”
She received a cup of hot chocolate from Maru. She was supposed to be relaxed by the warmth coming from her hands and the sweet smell, but she had no choice but to focus on Maru’s cheek in unease. It was red. There was a clear trace of her hand. She slowly reached out to touch Maru’s cheek and she sighed bitterly when she felt the skin that felt a little rough like it had rashes.
“About what? Oh, this?”
Maru pointed at his cheek and laughed. She couldn’t just take that laugh as a joke. She was immersed in acting with the sole purpose of concentrating. She became absorbed into the character and managed to act in a way that didn’t look embarrassing. However, from some time onwards, she was unable to control her emotions. As a result of that, she injured Maru. Even after she hit him, she did not realize that what she had done was not in the script. Only after the shoot stopped did she realize that her hand felt a little hot, and after looking at Maru’s cheek, which would hurt even more than her hand, she gulped.
“How’s the hot chocolate? The cafeteria lady manages the machine, and she puts a generous amount of powder in it. That’s why it’s better than the hot chocolate from most cafés.”
She kept looking at Maru’s swollen cheek. It had become even redder than when they were in class. It suddenly came to her that it was irresponsible of her to just say ‘sorry’. This was clearly something that shouldn’t end with just an apology.
“Why do you look so dark?”
Maru walked up to her before sitting down. Having a hard time looking down at the gaze coming from below, she turned her head away a little. She felt sorry just looking at him.
“If you’re going to keep avoiding me, please tell me, so that I can keep looking at you.”
“I’m sorry. I really mean it.”
“Do you feel that sorry?”
“Will you stop feeling sorry if I say I’m okay?”
She looked at Maru when she heard those words. Maru was smiling as though nothing had happened.
“It happened while we were acting. Anyone can do that if they get absorbed. Also, it didn’t hurt that much.”
“It’s still red.”
“That’s because I don’t have good skin.”
Maru smiled nonchalantly. She faintly smiled back. She couldn’t help but smile because she didn’t want to put Maru even more at unease. She had to smile it over and put an end to it here. She just had to joke with Maru like usual and apologize to him refreshingly before returning to the class. Then, she would finish the shoot as though nothing had happened. As for worries and regrets, she could just go home and deal with those by herself.
“What the, it didn’t hurt? I was really worried because it looked really painful. Looks like I was worried for nothing.”
She drank the remaining hot chocolate in one gulp.
“Let’s get going now. We need to finish the rest of the shoot.”
Even though it had to be quite painful for him, Maru worried about her more than he did about himself. She couldn’t keep things awkward. Maru would only be at ease if she was as well.
Just as she was about to throw the paper cup into the trash can and leave the cafeteria, Maru grabbed her hand.
“It’s still break time.”
Let’s go back to the shoot - she couldn’t utter those words. The moment she looked at Maru’s eyes which were calmly looking back at her, she realized that her lies had been exposed. She sat down as she felt her pretentious smile break apart.
“How was the afterparty? It’s too late to ask now, huh. Sorry for being an inattentive boyfriend.”
“...Why are you sorry?”
“Because I thought saying sorry was the trend these days. Rather than that, how was it really? Was it fun?”
She looked at Maru again and thought that he was really unpredictable. Until just a few seconds ago, he was like an adult who looked like he could accept anything, but right now, he was excited like a child. It wasn’t a pretense nor acting. It all felt real, which made her curious.
She tried to clear her messy mind up before giving up. When talking to this guy, sometimes it became meaningless to keep thinking about something. At times like this, it was much better to just speak what was on her mind.
“It was both refreshing and a bit disappointing. When I first started the shoot, I was wondering when it was all going to end because it was hard, but just as I feel like it’s doable, it’s the end already. I don’t know what I did, nor whether I did well or not.”
“I don’t want to be grumbling in front of you. Can we stop here today? I feel like I’ll say something really depressing if I keep talking.”
She meant it. It would be easier on her mind if she consulted Maru about it, but she couldn’t always rely on him for everything. This was a path she had chosen to walk. She wanted to arrive at an answer herself with her own philosophies when it came to acting.
“You’re being really unfair. Some Mr. Han-something-Maru from somewhere bawled his eyes out in front of you. I know that I’m not reliable, but….”
“It’s not like that at all.”
She cut off Maru’s words. When she did, Maru made a sneaky smile and asked,
“So I’m actually very reliable?”
Maru shrugged and spoke in an annoying way. She buried her face in her hands. Would she ever win against this boy with words in her life? Looking at that nonchalant smile of his, it felt like she was stupid for worrying about this by herself.
However, she soon realized that it had always been this way. Maru never urged her to speak. He did not tell her to speak about her worries, nor that he’d solve all of them. He just kept watching after placing the foothold for her to speak first. That process was so relaxing, which made her talk about what was on her mind, while Maru just listened to her. For some reason, most of her worries no longer became worries when she put them into words, which made her finish her conversation with Maru with jokes.
He looked immature, but he was more serious than anyone. However, she knew. She knew that even such a person suffered by himself endlessly and cried. She did not know Maru’s worries nor could she solve them, which caused her to be disappointed in herself because of that. She found herself pathetic for not being able to support Maru like he did for her. That was why she didn’t want to rely on him this time, but when she looked at this nonchalant consultant, the lock on her mouth opened by itself.
At school, she was mostly on the listening side when it came to consultation. For some reason, a lot of people came to her to discuss their worries since she was young, and through those people, other kids came to her to listen to their worries. You’re relaxing for some reason - those were the words from the people that talked with her. That was probably because she inherited the warm eyes from her father.
‘But in front of him, I just….’
She closed her eyes before opening them again. Maru was still smiling in front of her. She lost. She could just turn around and run away, but it was likely that he would chase her all the way to her house if she did so. No, she was 100% sure of it. Han Maru’s specialty was to come to her house all of a sudden, wasn’t it?
She talked about the story she had wrapped up inside her heart. The mood at the set, the distrust towards acting she gained because of that, and the connected college admission problem. After listening, Maru spoke.
“I don’t think it’s too bad.”
“Yeah. Especially the way you hit my cheek.”
“Are you going to make me feel sorry like that?”
“It’s not a joke. I mean it. Normally, people only say that they’re desperate but they don’t take action. Something’s hard, something’s not working right, big trouble occurred, or things like that.”
Maru shook his head slightly.
“Let’s say that your house is on fire. What would you do?”
“Get out of the house of course.”
“But there’s 1 billion won in cash in the room next door.”
“1 billion? Wouldn’t I have to bring that with me?”
“Of course you do. 1 billion isn’t someone’s kid’s name. But what if the fire is really strong? What if you might get engulfed by flames if you didn’t leave immediately?”
“Abandon the money of course. Survival comes first.”
“Yes, that’s what desperation is. If you’re desperate, you only see one thing. In the face of desperation, there are no excuses. That’s because there’s no room to think about anything else because the problem in front of you requires solving. This is also why desperate people are more prone to scams - because they’re desperate.”
Maru shrugged once.
“But being desperate isn’t always a bad thing. It means that you’re very sensitive. I got the feeling that you were concentrating really hard when I acted with you before. It scared me a little.”
“Tell me honestly. You didn’t realize what was wrong when you hit me, did you?”
She nodded honestly. Back then, she had forgotten about the script. She was so absorbed in the delinquent character and only thought about toying with the weak toy in front of her.
“I couldn’t find a flaw in that acting. Do you remember everyone falling silent when you hit my cheek?”
“Yeah, a bit.”
“That’s because your acting was real, at least for that moment. Everyone felt shivers run down their back despite knowing the fact that you were acting. Your acting had the charm to attract everyone to the point that they stopped their own acting and looked at you. The motivation for that acting was probably, desperation.”
Maru grinned before stroking his cheek.
“Though, you’ll probably run into trouble if you do this elsewhere.”
“It still hurts, doesn’t it?”
“I think I might become okay if you kiss me to heal it.”
When she brought her face closer, Maru leaned backwards.
“Looks like you regained that leisure.”
“Thanks to you.”
“I won’t tell you to always tell me about your worries. You probably won’t like that either, based on your personality. However, if it’s something that drives you into a corner to the point that you can’t look at anything else, I hope that you can tell me about it. Talking about it with me doesn’t mean that you’ll always arrive at an answer, but you know what they say. Happiness is doubled when shared, and worries are halved when they’re shared.”
“Isn’t it supposed to be sadness?”
“I don’t think it is though?”
“Then we’ll just add it. Sadness and worries are halved. You shouldn’t think that you’re burdening me by sharing your worries with me. It doesn’t make you irresponsible if you do so. We’re going to see each other for the rest of our lives, so it’s a shared worry in the first place.”
“See each other for the rest of our lives?”
“Didn’t I tell you that I already booked the wedding hall?”
“You really don’t get tired of that joke, huh.”
“I’m not joking though?”
“You’re really going to marry me?”
“I told you the first time we met. I’m going to marry you.”
His face didn’t contain the slightest bit of pretense or falsities. She felt her face heat up. If he was just joking, she could just joke back, but she didn’t know what to do if he talked about such a thing so seriously.
“Why do you think I’m working so hard? It’s so I can take the position of your husband before anyone else does.”
“This is killing me.”
“Think about me and keep living.”
“Weren’t you going to kiss me? Is this how you’re going to treat me?”
“Then this is separate too.”
“You won’t lose a word against me huh.”
“I am going to once we get married, so don’t worry about that.”
“Who’s marrying you!”
“No, well… we’ll have to see that later….”
“I can guarantee you that there’s no better husband material than me.”
“Why do you sound so confident?”
“Why? Because it’s fate.”
She looked at Maru. There probably wasn’t a word that didn’t suit him more.
“You believe in something like that? You don’t look like you do.”
“I didn’t, before anyway.”
“When is before?”
“Hm, I don’t know. Maybe my previous life?”
“There you go again with that. Previous life?”
“You don’t trust me? It’s true, you know? You confessed and proposed to me in my previous life.”
“Forget it. I’m going to consult you about every single worry I have, so stop. Now it’s about previous lives. Sheesh.”
She pushed against her knees to stand up. It was about time they returned. The problem was still there, but she didn’t feel troubled by it. She gained courage when she heard that desperation could become motivation. Make some room and walk forward - Maru probably wanted to tell her those words.
“You should finish what you started.”
Maru stuck his lips out in a cringy fashion. She frowned and stepped back before sighing.
“Fine, this is the consultation fee.”
But aren’t my lips chapped at the moment? - she had some trivial worries as she put her lips closer to his.
“Maru-seonb… uwaaaak! No, nothing!”
She looked at the tall boy standing at the entrance of the cafeteria. His name was Ahn Chihwan if she remembered correctly. Maru grinned before walking over to Chihwan.
Let’s creep everyone out - Maru said those words.
She looked at the two people before bursting out into laughter.
She suddenly thought that it was the right decision to come here today.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Worries are big and sturdy like a rock, and can't be pushed away nor be broken. That's why we sit in front of the rock and think. What do I do in order to go past this rock?
The wise one knew the answer.
"Hey. Why are you wrestling with a rock when there's a completely open road right next to it?"
End of author's note.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. CHIHWAN NOT ONLY R U ANNOYING AS HELL U ALSO HAVE TO BE A COCKBLOCK. BSHBABDHGD