“Seonbae, aren’t you going home?”
“You guys can go first, I have something to do.”
“What is it? Do you need my help?”
Daemyung shook his head at Aram’s words. It was past 10 p.m. already. It was better to send her home before it got even later.
“Go home. Thanks for your work today.”
“Then I’ll be off first. Let’s go, everyone.”
Aram took the 1st year students and left the hall. Dowook had gone home an hour ago. It seemed that his family still hadn’t found a part time worker yet.
Daemyung turned around and saw Jiyoon standing there awkwardly.
“Aren’t you going to go home?”
“Sorry. I think you’ll have to go home first today.”
“Is it work? D-do you need my help?”
“N-no. I think it’ll take a long time.”
“I think we can finish it earlier if we do it together….”
“That’s true but….”
Both of them entered a state of silence. Daemyung looked at Jiyoon for a while before laughing. Although they were dating, they were still nervous around each other when the two of them were alone. Jiyoon probably felt the same.
“Alright, seonbae. I’ll go home first.”
“A-alright. Be careful on your way home.”
“You too. Uhm….”
“Can I call you at night?”
“Then I’ll call you later.”
Jiyoon smiled before leaving the hall in a cheerful manner. Daemyung looked at Jiyoon until the door closed before sighing.
“How the heck did I manage to kiss her?”
He wondered about it even now. If he was told to do it again, he probably wouldn’t be able to. When they met up with each other over the spring holidays to watch a movie together before going back home, he was suddenly reminded of a scene he saw in the movie, and when he came to himself, he saw Jiyoon’s face with her eyes closed right in front of him. Honestly, he didn’t remember what it felt like. It was just like how the contents of a dream were blurry after waking up. The sensation from back then had disappeared into the realm of forgetfulness.
Phew - Daemyung shook his head. The guide to romance he read said that the man should be leading, but that wasn’t so easy.
‘I think it might be better if I take it easy a little.’
Maru’s girlfriend had come to the school. He didn’t know the details, but it seemed that she was going to take Aram’s place in the film. He watched Aram to check if she felt disappointed, but fortunately, that didn’t seem to be the case. Well, she wasn’t someone who hid her emotions so he was probably worried for nothing.
Maru had held his girlfriend’s hand in front of many people without hesitation. Daemyung was surprised and had looked at Jiyoon. He was worried that perhaps Jiyoon was disappointed in him because of his shy attitude.
“...I’m being needlessly worried, aren’t I?”
He muttered that to himself as he left the hall. He never felt as complex as this in his life. Being president of the acting club, dating Jiyoon, and the writing class on top of that. He had seen a documentary on TV talking about the lifestyle of successful people. One man from that program said that he didn’t like playing because studying gave him more mental satisfaction.
At first, he thought that he was hearing some alien language. What the heck was he saying? His mom stared at him and said that he should follow his ways, but Daemyung didn’t listen to those words at all. Playing, that is, online games were things that gave him more mental satisfaction than anything else. They were his only window of venting the stress he received from studying and personal relationships.
However, he could understand that man’s words a little now. It wasn’t that he found games no longer fun. It was just that he found something just as fun as online games.
‘Actually, I don’t have any time to play even though I do want to play games.’
If he had the time, he had the confidence to spend three days and three nights playing games, but school homework, preparing for the acting club, as well as his personal studies and the assignment from teacher Bae Chulho, left him with no time. Thanks to those, he even lost a bit of weight. Though, it was only a single kilo.
Daemyung went to the container at the back of the school and opened the padlock before going inside. The stage background that Maru was making was leaning against the wall. As Maru was good with his hands, it was really well-made. Daemyung walked further inside and took out some clothes. They were trousers, skirts, and jegori. Since they were doing a historical drama, they had to be mindful of the clothing.
“I think it just needs a little stitching.”
If they didn’t have the clothes left behind by the seniors who graduated, the preparation for the play would have taken several times longer than what it took now. Daemyung looked at the clothes hanging in one corner. They were the clothes he used during his 1st and 2nd years. There were a few he had a hand in making. He felt proud when he thought about how the juniors would use them after he graduated.
He measured the clothes using a tape measure and checked the number of outfits they had before grabbing out a lamp on the display to the right. The lamp, made with paper, had mold on it so it had to be taken care of. He went back up to the hall with his hands full with the clothes and the lamp. He placed the items against one wall before turning the lights off and leaving the hall. With that, the preparations were done. All that remained was for Maru and the juniors to start working on them tomorrow.
He left through the school gates and looked at the clock on his phone. 10:48 p.m. It had ended earlier than he had expected. The day would reach its end once he went home, did his homework, and crawled into his bed.
As he was walking to the bus stop, Daemyung suddenly turned around. His destination was the convenience store. He did eat some kimbap with the others at around 8, but that had been digested already. He thought that having a single roll of kimbap for a meal was something pretty cruel. Although he ate less than he used to, his stomach was still pretty wide.
Just as he put on a happy smile while looking at the new flavors of triangular rice balls, the phone inside his pocket started ringing loudly.
He wondered who it was since it was rare that someone would call him this late at night. Gwak Joon - that was the name on the screen.
Gwak Joon’s habit was to leave out all additional pieces of information. He had gotten used to him talking like that, but during the early days, he thought that Gwak Joon was upset, which made him worry needlessly.
“I’m in front of my school.”
-Come to the opposite side of the road from the school.
The call was cut off. Daemyung blinked several times before leaving the convenience store. He was walking towards the school gates which could be seen in the distance when he saw a car with its headlights on parked on the opposite side of the road from the school. It was a grey sedan. Daemyung knew who the owner of that car was.
“Hyung, what brings you here?”
Gwak Joon, who was in the car, gestured to him to get in. Daemyung sat in the passenger seat for now.
“Do you get scolded if you go home late?”
“No, not really.”
“You can drink a couple glasses of beer, right?”
“If it’s beer… yes.”
“I’m going to go meet Pilhyun hyung-nim. Do you wanna come with me? Hyung-nim said he wanted to see you, so I came to pick you up for now.”
“Mr. Ahn Pilhyun?”
Gwak Joon nodded. When Daemyung went to Bae Chulho’s house during the winter holidays, Ahn Pilhyun was there as well 7 times out of 10. The two of them would talk about the affairs of the world every night over a glass of beer and some fried chicken, and Gwak Joon and Daemyung were there usually as well.
“Is it okay for me to go?”
“If you’re okay with it. It sounds like we’re going to eat out somewhere pretty expensive, so I recommend you come.”
“Looks like something good happened to him.”
“A movie scenario he had been saving for a few years finally got sold. We talked about you when I talked to senior Bae a few days ago. It’d be good if we can meet during the day, but as you know, those that live on writing are mostly active around this hour.”
Daemyung checked the time on the clock on the car. It was 2 minutes to 11. Before, he would have refused with the reason that he was uncomfortable with such occasions, but it wasn’t that he was excited by such things now either. Considering that he had to go to school tomorrow, he wanted to go home and rest easy.
Daemyung put on the seatbelt. If there was anything he learned during the past two years, it was that he had to act if he wanted to change himself. Moreover, this was Pilhyun’s call. He was one of the two people he called teacher as he had taught him a lot of things. Such a person called him first, so he had to go.
“If it looks like it’ll get too late when we get there, let’s sleep over at his house. I’ll drive you to school in the morning.”
“I can take the bus early in the morning. It doesn’t take long from Seoul to Suwon.”
“I’m basically kidnapping you, so it would be absurd if I don’t do at least that.”
Gwak Joon started his car.
“But what were you going to do if I wasn’t at school?”
“I was planning to go to your house.”
“It would’ve been easier if you called me earlier.”
Gwak Joon yawned. His actions, as well as his questions, were unpredictable.
“Hyung, you’re tired, aren’t you?”
Gwak Joon usually managed himself meticulously, but he became a little dull once his fatigue went past a certain point. He saw Gwak Joon working on his manuscript for several nights without sleeping, and he had acted like he had left his mind at home, just like he did now.
“I’m a bit tired since I haven’t slept for two days, and I just came up from Busan.”
“There’s a writer’s office over there. I tried going there to focus, but it wasn’t that good. I wrote one page, and stared at the wall for the rest of my time there. I’m just coming back from there.”
“Why don’t you go home and get some re….”
“The stingy hyung-nim is treating me, so I can’t miss that. If I go and drink and daze out for a while, I’ll recover.”
Gwak Joon narrowed his eyes and turned the wheel. Daemyung gulped before grabbing the side handle. For some reason, he felt like they were speeding up.
“The car feels a little slow, doesn’t it?”
“N-no! You’re driving at 140 right now.”
Only then did Gwak Joon slow down. Daemyung sighed inwardly. He had ridden Gwak Joon’s car several times before, but he had never seen him go this fast. He always drove slowly, so it felt relaxing to ride next to him, but just now, he drove like a complete speed freak.
After that, Gwak Joon drove past 100 km/h from time to time, but fortunately, he slowed down soon enough.
The car stopped. Daemyung sighed in relief before getting out of the car. The two of them left the parking lot and walked towards the entrance. There was hanja written on the front of the building, and a small ‘Izakaya’ was written underneath it in the English alphabet. He followed Gwak Joon inside.
“There’s someone waiting inside.”
“May I have a name?”
“Ah, okay. Please wait a moment.”
While Gwak Joon talked to the employee, Daemyung looked around. A large hall could be seen behind a large glass wall. Everyone was drinking quietly. There were a lot of couples and most of them were young. To the left was a long bar, but there weren’t any customers sitting there.
When he sniffed, he smelled some charcoal. The hunger he had forgotten about made his stomach rumble again.
“Allow me to guide you to the 2nd floor.”
They followed the employee to the 2nd floor. Unlike the 1st floor, the 2nd floor only had individual rooms. Alcoholic drinks he had never seen before filled one wall, and unfamiliar paintings were hung up along the wall as well. At a glance, they seemed to be landscape paintings from Japan. Going past a curtain that replaced a drawer, they arrived in front of a private room with a sliding door. Noise could be heard from the inside. Some men and women were talking loudly.
“Isn’t this voice him?”
“I think so.”
Daemyung thanked the employee before standing behind Gwak Joon. Gwak Joon slowly opened the door. The loud noise inside died down in an instant.
Pilhyun was sitting on the left. Since he was supposed to be here, that wasn’t strange at all. However, who could the two ladies on the other side be?
“Ah, oh! You’re here? Oh, fatty’s here too.”
Pilhyun, who looked very drunk, ran up to Daemyung and grabbed his cheeks. Daemyung coughed slightly due to the smell of booze.
“Well then, sit down.”
Daemyung was dragged inside.
“Ahn-hyung. Who are they?” asked the lady sitting on the left.
Daemyung looked at the person in detail unintentionally. He felt like he had seen this person somewhere.
“My little brothers that I cherish!”
“But this one’s too young to be a little brother?”
Daemyung smiled awkwardly at the lady that pointed at him. He had no idea what was going on here.
“Then let’s make him my son. Well, then! That’s not the important part. Drink for now. Let’s talk after we drink!”
Pilhyun raised the glass over his head while shouting. Daemyung looked at Gwak Joon with a look that meant ‘send help’, but Gwak Joon was half-out-of-it as well and had already started drinking. It seemed that fatigue numbed his brain functions.
‘I don’t get it anymore.’
Daemyung picked up a glass as well.
 Traditional Korean clothing. They are also parts of hanbok
Not sleeping for two days in a row and driving 400km.. Sounds like a great idea
The author is really promoting underage drinking huh.
Translator: I actually disagree with you (editor) on that. Drinking is supposed to be done 'responsibly'. This is why minors aren't allowed alcoholic drinks in most countries. Drinking with adults will allow you to learn how to be responsible when drinking. Usually, the problem is when minors go drinking by themselves.