“Thank you for your work!”
Sora clapped as she announced the end of the shoot. It was 9:40 p.m. It was pretty late, but everyone attended the shoot without a single complaint.
“I really got a lot out of today. This is going well even though it’s the first day. I’m sure that the film will turn out great.”
“Aren’t you being too optimistic?” Ando asked as he put away the camera.
Sora shook her head and pointed at the laptop.
“Can you still say that after looking at this?”
Tap - she clicked on the play button. The paused video resumed. The unni pushed Maru and glared at him fiercely. She focused on Maru but was distracted by Unni’s acting. Both of them did better than she had expected, no, they were perfect. She had played this footage back several times during the break. Their expressions, postures, voices - everything was exactly like the ideal scene she had pictured in her mind, so she wanted to put this into the movie without editing it at all.
“If the acting of the people around was a little more decent….”
Compared to the two, the acting of the 1st year acting club members left a lot to be desired. When the shoot just began, they dissolved into the film without looking awkward, but their emotions were broken the moment unni slapped Maru. The first year actors had become audience members.
“But we can’t use it because she is in it.”
Ando looked at the unni on the screen.
Sora was dissatisfied with that. She found the most ideal actress, but she just had to be from another school.
“Can’t we do anything about it?”
“I want to shoot with this unni. Aram-seonbae said she was okay with it as well.”
“I thought she went to another school.”
“That doesn’t really matter actually. It’s not like I’m handing this film in under the school’s name.”
“I guess that’s true.”
“The problem is whether that unni wants to help out or not.”
“She appears on TV. Wouldn’t she be busy?”
“That’s what I mean. Oh, but I should at least ask, right?”
Just then, unni came back to the classroom after changing her uniform. Sora ran up to her without hesitation.
“Unni. You really were the best today.”
“Thank you for saying that. I was feeling sorry because I felt like I was bothering you.”
“Bothering? Of course not! I got a good picture thanks to you today. Want to have a look?”
“Of course. You were in it. Let’s have a look at it together.”
Sora brought the unni to the laptop. The 1st year members of the acting club had all returned to the 5th floor, so the classroom felt rather desolate. She raised the speaker volume and played back the video in full screen. The two people on the screen became vivid and started moving again. Sora looked at unni’s expression through the corner of her eyes. As expected of a pro, she was focused on watching her own acting.
‘It feels like I’m about to get my grade card.’
She felt nervous for some reason. Eventually, the loud slap could be heard from the speakers. It was a scene that took away her breath no matter how many times she watched it. The unni’s eyes that were captured by the camera were, as much as she felt sorry about putting it this way, like those of a bad bitch’s. Meanwhile, Maru-seonbae was listening to unni’s words like some organic lifeform without free will. Sora decided to add the slapping scene after watching that scene. From still, to dynamic, to dramatic - she liked that sequence. If she could capture the other classmates looking at that scene in surprise, or perhaps even joy, it would be a dream-like classroom. The kind where it was hell for just one person.
“How is it?” Sora asked cautiously.
“Not bad. I thought it would look strange.”
“Of course not. You did so well. Especially this part. I really liked this part where you kept staring at Maru-seonbae. It felt like you were really treating him like a toy. It’s a malicious scene, but the person doing it didn’t seem to think that it’s a serious thing. I had a Eureka moment the moment I saw it.”
“My acting was okay?”
Unni didn’t sound confident for some reason. Sora firmly spoke,
“It was the best.”
Unni stopped talking and started tapping on the keyboard. She pulled the slider forward to look at her own acting before putting on a faint smile. For some reason, Sora felt relaxed when she looked at that smile.
“Thanks. This is the first time I got complimented by a director when I acted in front of the camera.”
“It’s true. I have never heard anything on the shooting set. Even if it wasn’t a compliment, I wished I could hear something about my acting, but I didn’t get to hear anything.”
“You didn’t, unni? The shooting set you’re talking about is the sitcom one, right?”
“That’s strange. I watched that sitcom often too, but your acting was really good. The cute girl that’s hungry all the time. You were good to the point that I thought you were actually such a person. Though, you’re actually really snappy in real life.”
Sora looked at the laptop. An unni who could act so well didn’t get praised for her acting? Sora spoke after she slightly scrolled the slider.
“Isn’t it like this? A shooting set for a TV program must be the world of pros, right? And it’s natural for pros to do well. So what I’m saying is that the fact that the director of the sitcom had no comment about you should mean that you are doing really well as a pro. I might be wrong, but if I was the director, I would be like that. I would leave the people who can take care of themselves alone and take care of those that need care.”
“Are you consoling me?”
“No, I’m not good with things like that. Do you know what my nickname was in middle school?”
“What was it?”
“The cocky girl. Everyone who hated me called me that. But I don’t care. There are a lot of people in this world. I’m busy enough already taking care of the people that like me, so there’s no need to suck up to the people that hate me, is there? Also, I honestly liked the nickname. When you call someone cocky, you do that because you envy that person, right?”
“It’s cool of you to think that way.”
“You’re cool too, unni.”
“Can’t you keep shooting this film with me?”
“Yes. I was touched after seeing this scene. I have a really good feeling about it. All I can think of now is that it has to be you.”
“I’m thankful to you for telling me that but….”
“You must be busy, aren’t you? I can understand that, you’re on TV and all.”
“It’s not that I’m that busy….”
“Really? Then can you do it?”
“But Aram was supposed to play this role.”
“No, the only character we decided on for sure was Maru-seonbae. As for the others, we decided that I will decide the roles after a test. Seonbae, I'm not going to do something like ruining my good work because of formalities. I saw Aram-seonbae’s acting in the acting club. She is not that awkward with the role, but you go far beyond that.”
Sora stomped her feet in unease. She had a feeling that this unni wanted to do it. If she wanted to grab her, now was the right time. She might change her mind later.
“Please wait a moment.”
Sora ran up to the 5th floor. She knocked on the door to the hall before peeking inside. The people from the acting club were resting. It seemed that they were just about to wrap up practice and go home.
She greeted Daemyung-seonbae before walking up to him.
“What is it?”
“Are you practicing right now?”
“No, we just finished. We’re going to take a small break and then do some stretches before going home. Why do you ask?”
“Can I borrow Aram-seonbae for a moment?”
Daemyung called for Aram. Aram hopped her way over.
“What is it, seonbae?”
“Sora seems like she has something to say to you. Go with her.”
Sora thanked Daemyung before grabbing Aram’s hand and running towards the stairs. Aram started speaking when she stepped on the first staircase.
“What? What is this about?”
“Aram-seonbae. How desperate are you in wanting to appear in my movie?”
“Actually, not that much. I just went because Maru-seonbae told me to.”
“As expected of you. You’re so clear-cut when it comes to this. I didn’t expect you to say that you wanted to do it even for etiquette.”
“That’s how I roll. Aren’t you similar?”
“Yes! I am.”
Having returned to the 3rd year classroom, Sora put Aram in front of the waiting unni.
“Aram-seonbae. Please watch this for now.”
She played the video she recorded. Aram quietly looked at the screen. After the short video was over, Sora spoke,
“Aram-seonbae. If you do play the role, can you do this much?”
The answer came immediately.
Aram looked at unni.
“Unni, you were going to refuse this role? It’s fine if you refuse it because you have something else to do, but - this shouldn’t be true but - if you are refusing because of me, I’m going to feel hurt.”
Then, Aram watched the video again after asking if Maru was hit for real. Sora looked at unni. At that moment, Maru-seonbae came through the back door.
“Do you like Aram-seonbae more or unni more?”
“Are you asking about my taste in girls?”
“No! I’m asking who you would prefer as a partner in the shoot?”
Maru made a ‘hm’ sound before looking at Aram.
“Aram. Do you think you can hit me like what happened in that video?”
“If it was real life, I would gladly do so, but acting? I don’t think I can do that.”
“Don’t you want to try shooting this movie?”
“You’re asking the same question she did. Hello, seonbae? You know? I always had my way with the things I wanted to do since I was young. Do you think I’m the kind of girl who would try to read the mood and say pleasing words?”
“There you have it. That’s cleared up now, right? I’m going back up. I just got an earful from the club president for my pronunciation. I have my hands full solving my homework right now.”
Aram waved her hand before leaving the classroom.
Sora’s jaws gaped slightly as she watched Aram leaving. So cool - she wanted to chase Aram.
“But are you okay with time? You have practice at your own club, don’t you?”
Maru asked that as he looked at unni.
“3rd year students don’t go every day. The stage is usually created around 1st and 2nd year students. Only then would we keep the trophy even if we graduate.”
“That’s just like Myunghwa High. Why don’t you do it with us then? I think it will be good if you do it.”
Nice, Maru-seonbae - Sora inwardly shouted. Since there was support fire, she just had to get an answer from her.
“Unni, please help me. We’ll really get the grand prize if you help us.”
“Are you really okay with someone like me?”
“It’s not about being okay. It has to be you!”
Sora stared holes into unni. Unni closed her mouth and looked around the classroom before speaking,
“Alright, I’ll try.”
* * *
“The night’s still cold, huh.”
“It still feels like winter.”
Maru reached out his hand. She grabbed his hand with a smile.
“It’s getting late. I’ll take you home.”
“Forget it. Also, 10 isn’t that late.”
“You don’t know how scary the world is. You should always be careful at night.”
“It’s so bright here. You’re being needlessly worried.”
Her lips twitched before she took out her phone. She seemed to be texting someone. A moment later, the sound of a message arriving could be heard from her phone.
“She’s still drinking?”
“What’s that about?”
“It’s my mom. She left around lunchtime to meet a friend, but I think she’s still drinking. She’s not coming back tonight.”
“Maybe she went to attend a funeral?”
“No. She said that she was going to get something good to eat. I got a couple of texts after that, but I can’t understand anything. She is suddenly saying that writers are shit, that her little sister is pitiful, and now she’s asking me if I know the pains of a writer….”
“I guess she did send such texts whenever she got drunk.”
“Hm? What was that?”
Maru smiled faintly and shook his head. From the content of those texts, it seemed that she was consoling a friend of hers who was complaining about life. It shouldn’t be anything major.
“Since it’s like this, should we go over to your house?”
“Forget about it.”
“Do you know that you sometimes have a really perverted expression when you speak?”
“Do I now?”
“There! You’re doing it again!”
Maru shrugged before walking. When he pulled on her hand slightly, she sighed before following him.
“It’s good to walk together like this.”
“Is it that good?”
“It is. It’s even better now that we have a public reason to see each other.”
After walking wordlessly for a while, she spoke in a small voice,
“The film, do you think I can do it?”
“Why are you suddenly running out of confidence?”
“I wonder about that too. I was never worried when it came to acting until now. Maybe getting paid for it really does make a difference.”
“Opening someone else’s wallet isn’t easy, whether it’s through acting or anything else.”
Maru looked at her walking by his side. She had stopped speaking and was looking up at the sky. There was only a half-moon in the sky without any stars.
“I want to continue acting in the future.”
Maru tensed the hand grabbing her hand as he heard those words. He would make her. He would pave the road for her so that she could do everything she wanted in life.
“Then I guess I’ll do the housework. You can earn the money, with your acting.”
“Hey, you’re the man.”
“Hey, men and women are equal in this era, aren’t they?”
Maru placed his lips on hers when she kept staring at him. Their lips touched before moving apart again. She looked at him with widened eyes before making an expression as though she had remembered something.
“Ah, right. Dinner. You were supposed to treat me.”
She looked at him with dissatisfaction.
 For some reason, Sora calls Maru’s GF ‘seonbae’ here, instead of the usual ‘unni’.
I know, the 'unni's in narration look really awkward, but they're written from Sora's perspective, and there's no other way to call Maru's girlfriend other than 'unni'...
So cute. I almost lost hope after Chihwan cockblocked them. Chad Maru never disappoints. Also, I like how she's just immune to him now. Cute.
P.S This is a mentioning of what I said in an earlier chapter due to being late with edits. I'm changing the instances when I italicize CHS pronouns
1) Only when there are other people with pronouns she/her in the same chapter
2) Only when she does not have a proper name while in someone's perspective (I.e Bunbun during Yoojin's or Unni during Sora's)
3) When she isn't referring to herself.