Chapter 549

“Why is she so frustrating?”

“Who?”

“Who else? Kim Okseon of course. How can she lack sociability so much? I’ve never seen her speak of her own accord first. That’s not the only thing. She always eats alone, away from the rest of us unless we’re all in a restaurant or something. It’s like we’re ostracizing her.”

Dongho shook his head. Joomin, who had been listening, spoke,

“Okseon doesn’t necessarily lack sociability.”

“Noona, what do you mean?” Dongho asked as he turned around.

Maru also closed the script and looked at Joomin.

“You guys don’t know huh. Well, I guess so since you have never followed her before. Okseon is actually a bright girl.”

“No way.”

“I think it was around a month ago when I tried to talk to her since I was quite worried as she kept eating by herself. That was when I saw her talking to senior Kim Suyeon in a nice manner. She also talks a lot with the other seniors as well.”

“Now that I think about it, sir Hwang Joonghoon also greeted Okseon first, right? I thought it was a coincidence, but after hearing that, it doesn’t seem like it was.”

Dongho crossed his arms and frowned.

“So what. She doesn’t say a word when she is with us, and yet she talks to the seniors, huh? That’s absurd.”

“Is it really so absurd?” Maru asked as he opened the script again.

From his experience with Okseon yesterday, it wasn’t that surprising. Though, he might have been surprised if he didn’t know about it before he heard this.

“It is absurd. We tried to treat her so well, didn’t we?”

“Do you have to get back as much as you did for others?”

“No, not really.”

“Then just let her be. Let’s look at it from the opposite direction. Do you think you’ll feel good if Okseon comes and talks to you in a friendly manner right now?”

“That sounds freaky in its own way.”

“Unless you have feelings for her, just forget about it. Let’s have another look at the script.”

“Wh-why would I be concerned about her!”

“From the way you’re shouting, I think you’re serious here. What do you think, noona?”

“Well, as much as I want to tease him, he might get upset if I actually do, so I’ll just let it slide.”

Joomin smiled and picked up her script. Dongho, who was announcing his innocence also eventually quietened down and opened the script.

“It does feel a little disappointing though. Like what Maru said, there’s no need for us to be on close terms, but I wish that she’d at least reply to our greetings.”

Joomin had a tired smile on her face. Maru glanced at her. It was probably only Joomin who could express her disappointment in Okseon’s cold attitude. There was no one else who put as much effort into getting close to her after all. Even Giwoo, who consolidated his position as the group leader, had given up on talking to Okseon, yet Joomin kept trying to talk to Okseon with some coffee in hand. Maru had seen her do so several times.

“So the bullying episode comes out after all,” Dongho said as he looked at the script for episode 14.

As soon as the main characters of the drama went through a sweet love story, the main story became one about bullies, the cancer of the classroom.

“It’s somewhat awry to end it like that. What do you think, noona?”

“I think it’s better than ‘and then everyone lived happily ever after’ like fairy tales. Writer Lee Hanmi used to write revenge stories, right? New Semester isn’t supposed to be a light-hearted youth drama, so I think this kind of ending is pretty okay. Though, the viewers might think otherwise.”

Maru nodded as he listened to Joomin’s words. If the bullied student eventually led a healthy school life in other youth dramas, New Semester seemed to be trying to break that fantasy and show the reality.

“That’s why I hate it even more. This is way too vague, isn’t it? Like, what’s this about? Is it saying that the bullied kid became happy because he transferred to another school? Or is he still sad?”

“It’s not a happy ending, but I think the conflict is resolved at least,” Joomin said.

“Noona, look at this last part. There’s a letter of apology, but the bullied kid never expresses anything after reading it. If it’s supposed to be a sad ending, then it would be much better if it was clear about that. This just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”

“I think the emotions get across though. He does call at the end.”

“He does, but the script says that he just hung up without saying anything. How do you know if he wanted to say words of forgiveness or curses?”

“According to the flow, it should be forgiveness. It’s not a perfect happy ending, but isn’t it an acceptable ending?”

“I would’ve poured insults.”

“I would’ve forgiven.”

“That’s why you aren’t good enough. I’m sure that he tried to swear at the bully, but hung up because he was scared.”

“It’s because he became emotional. He did receive a letter of apology after all.”

“It doesn’t even make sense that an apology can make up for it.”

“I believe that the kid was kind and gentle at heart.”

The biggest change during the past 4 months should be how they interacted. Dongho and Joomin always disputed over the script whenever it came out. Maru would’ve stopped them if it was meaningless, but they were constructive and helpful when it came to interpreting the work, so he opened his ears to their conversation when they started talking. He thought it was quite fun to watch the two people using their different values to dispute with each other since it felt like he was learning about human nature.

“Han Maru, what do you think?”

“What’s your opinion?”

After going round and round, the question arrow didn’t find a target so it shot itself at Maru instead. This happened all the time, so Maru just looked up at the ceiling and spoke in a small voice.

“I think it’s a compromise. If we show the real state of bullying on TV, the forums will be on fire, but if we go with a happy ending, the writer won’t be satisfied with that. I heard that censorship of TV media was really harsh these days, so maybe that’s why the writer just went with the ‘I will leave the interpretation of the ending to you’-ending.”

After saying those words, Maru looked at Dongho and Joomin again. A moment later, the two spoke simultaneously.

“The bullied kid must be sharpening his sword of revenge!”

“I’m sure he’s a kind boy and has forgiven the bully!”

Phew - Maru sighed as he shrugged.

This kind of discussion never reached one clear conclusion. It even made him wonder why they were having this dispute even though they never cared about what the other party said. Well, it was helpful for him, so that wasn’t an issue.

“But did something happen to the writer? We haven’t finished shooting episode 13 yet, but we got the script for the 14th one already.”

“It’s a good thing, but it does feel strange,” Dongho and Joomin conversed as they looked at the script for episode 14.

Maru did not say anything. There was no reason to make matters worse after all.

“Actors, please be on standby!”

The staff opened the door to the classroom and spoke. Maru stood up with the script. It was 7:40 p.m. The shoot finally began again today.

* * *

“Cut! Let’s move on to the next scene after a 10 minute rest,” producer Park Hoon shouted.

The lights that lit up the classroom to make it seem like day were switched off, and the line-men started collecting the cables.

‘Just one more scene.’

He would get to go home once he waited for the main characters’ school field scene to end and shot the going home from school scene. He wished for the going home scene to be done first since that involved all the characters, but it probably wouldn’t happen because of the schedules of the main characters. He still had to wait a long time even though he was a supporting character instead of a background character.

He left the crowded classroom and stood in the corridor. He saw the leader instruct the background actors to go home. Maru said goodbye to all the background actors that walked past him. He couldn’t look down on them since he was aware of their efforts.

“See you next time. Yes, noona. You, too, hyung-nim.”

Since it was a youth drama, a lot of the background actors and minor actors were around the same age since they had to fill up the classroom. Most of them quit after just once, considering it as a part-time job, but there were some who participated in the drama until the end. It had been four months since he started working with them. He got used to calling them.

After saying goodbye to the leader, he was about to go to the waiting room on the 1st floor when he saw Okseon looking inside the classroom from the middle of the corridor. At that moment, Suyeon walked out of the classroom.

Unni - Maru was a little surprised when he heard Okseon’s voice hit his ears. So she can act cute. As Joomin said, Okseon seemed to be quite sociable in front of Suyeon and the other senior actors and actresses.

“What are you doing? Let’s go down and get some rest.”

“Yeah, we should.”

He nodded and walked down the stairs.

“Did you see her just now? Kim Okseon, that girl was talking to senior Suyeon.”

“Yeah.”

“I didn’t think she was like that, but she’s really sneaky.”

“What’s so sneaky now?”

“She’s so expressionless when she’s with us, yet she’s smiling like that as soon as she’s in front of a senior. I was wondering where she was all this time, and it seems she couldn’t be seen because she was looking good in front of the seniors.”

“So, you feel jealous?”

“Me? No. I am going to become an actor who lets his skills do the talking. I don’t want to suck up to others like that to get something. That’s how an actor is supposed to be, right?”

“You were a lot cuter when you grumbled by yourself. Don’t you feel embarrassed saying that out loud?”

“Wh-what? Don’t you think so too? If you’re an actor, you should battle with acting.”

“It’s not like Okseon lobbied anyone, so why are you overreacting? You’re being really strange now. Are you really sure you have no feelings for her?”

“Me? For her? For that block of ice? That’s funny.”

“There’s an old saying that goes ‘strong rejection is strong affirmation’....”

“Shut up!”

“I don’t think my voice was that loud. In fact….”

Maru did not finish his words and just pointed at the top of the stairs instead. Some staff members, who were carrying down some equipment, were looking at them. Dongho was startled and quickly apologized to them.

“Ah, youth.”

“...It’s embarrassing, so let’s get going quickly.”

He followed Dongho to the 1st floor waiting room. The three main characters, as well as the minor actors that appeared in the next scene all moved to the school field.

The lights were installed on the school field and drove out the darkness from it. As he was looking out the window, he got a text. Come to the back of the school - it was from Okseon.

Maru immediately replied.

-Why?

He got another one 5 seconds later.

-I told you to come.

Maru could somehow hear an upset voice. He closed his phone and put it in his bag.

“Should we go through the script for episode 14 together?”

“Again?”

“We should do it until we become proficient at it. It’s a bit wasteful to daze out while we’re on break, isn’t it?”

Dongho sighed and opened the script. Joomin was shooting on the field.

“So, do we start from scene 3?”

“Let’s start and go from there.”

They took turns doing the lines. They had to make guidelines for themselves about the emotional state of their character during the read-through. It was impossible to bring out emotions during the real deal without having handled the emotions even once. They had to polish it during the read-through and burst out with them during the shoot. A lot of the top-tier actors often had sharper emotional expressions during read-throughs than the actual shoot. If 100% of their skill came into effect during practice, 80% was practically the limit for the real shoot. This was why it was necessary to break that limit during practice if one wanted to bring out 100% of their skills.

“Don’t you think you should say that a little slower?”

“You think so?”

Just as he was about to say his line again while keeping Dongho’s remarks in mind, the door to the classroom quietly opened before Okseon walked in. Maru smiled at Okseon faintly before focusing on the script again. Okseon, who sat at the edge of the classroom, did not say anything.

Instead, Maru got a text.

-What are you doing? You’re being childish. Why are you ignoring me when I’m trying to help you?

Maru sighed a little and told Dongho that they should take a break. He left the classroom. When he leaned against the wall in the corridor, he saw Okseon stepping out.

“Han Maru, you….”

“If it’s about Kang Giwoo, let me make this straight. You go tell him to stop copying me.”

“What?”

“If you mind it so much, and if it’s for me, then you tell him. If Giwoo is a considerate person, he should change his ways.”

“Why would I? This is your problem.”

“Like hell it is. It’s yours, not mine. I can tell that much from how you’re so hung up over it even though I’m saying it’s okay. I’ve been wondering, but do the senior actors compliment Giwoo a lot?”

“...That’s.”

“If that’s the reason you’re being hasty, then try to solve it by yourself, because I sure don’t plan to say it. Also, if you want to ask me to do something in the future, tell me in person. One more thing. I’m fine with you thinking that I’m childish, but please stop thinking that I will blindly listen to whatever you have to say and do everything that you want me to do. You should know with a bit of thinking that I have zero reasons to listen to you.”

“I told you, your character is….”

“Okseon. Your words don’t sound that attractive to me. Didn’t I tell you yesterday? If you want to lure me into doing something, then get a suitable bait for it. I’m an idiot, one that only moves when there’s food to catch.”

Maru yawned.

“Oh, and while we’re at it, let me tell you one more thing. Don’t try to act kind in front of the actress Kim Suyeon. It doesn’t matter if you’re really honestly talking to her, but if you have other thoughts, she might just bear her poisonous fangs at you.”

Maru bore his own canine tooth at her before turning around.

“If you have anything else to tell me, let’s do it with words. Text messages cost money.”

He shook his hand before returning to the classroom.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Wow author, way to go. You really know how to make a character hateful huh.

Editor's Note:
Oh man oh man oh man. I can't wait for Maru to destroy Okseon. This pretentious delusional brat. Also, "Why are you ignoring me when I’m trying to ignore you?" I'm dying. 

Translator: Sorry, my bad, it says "Why are you ignoring me when I'm trying to HELP you". It's been fixed.