Chapter 553

Giwoo had a pleasant smile on his face as he got on the van. However, manager Kim did not get deceived by that smile. He even nervously checked whether he made any mistakes when he saw that smile through the rearview mirror.

“Shall we go?” he asked carefully.

Giwoo was looking outside the window. Eventually, a car passed by in front of them. Manager Kim knew that that car belonged to actress Kim Suyeon. The car became distant and Giwoo’s gaze fell from the car to his phone. Manager Kim stayed quiet. This was a sign for him to wait.

He took out a mint candy. The plastic wrapping didn’t come off easily. Tschk, a violent ripping sound could be heard. He felt all of his senses tingle and immediately looked at the rearview mirror. Giwoo was looking at him with a bored expression.

“Manager-hyung.”

“Y-yeah.”

“Can you be quiet for a moment? I have to send a text.”

“Sorry, should I get off and come back later?”

“You don’t have to, but I’d be thankful if you did.”

Manager Kim nodded before quickly getting out of the van. He felt much better now that he escaped that stifling atmosphere. If he didn’t have the ambition to succeed in this field of work, he would have long since given up on being Giwoo’s manager. Whenever his eyes met Giwoo’s, which felt frosty despite the smile on his face, he was reminded of manager Cha, who was fired without a single word.

‘I wonder who he’s texting all the time though.’

Giwoo did not care who was around when he made or received calls, but he was strangely wary of his surroundings whenever he texted. He once approached Giwoo from behind when he was writing a text, and Giwoo looked at him as though he would kill. Ever since then, he looked away as much as possible whenever Giwoo was texting.

“Hyung, get back on.”

“Alright.”

He got back in the van. Giwoo thanked him for his work today. He knew that those were just empty words, but manager Kim smiled as brightly as he could as he nodded.

“Let’s go then.”

“Yes.”

He ignored Giwoo’s phone that was reflected on the rearview mirror as much as possible before starting the car.

* * *

“How’s the acting club going?”

“Going pretty well. Let me open the window a little.”

“You feeling hot?”

“I’m just a little stifled.”

Maru opened the window about halfway. A wind strong enough to hurt his eyes rushed in through the window. Listening to the loud noise of the wind, he felt as though his head had cleared a little.

“I’m cold though.”

The window closed. Suyeon was the one who did it. He got some fresh air, so he wasn’t dissatisfied.

“Miso-unni is quite strict, isn’t she?”

“She is. She’s going to be even stricter starting next week. The actors have been decided after all.”

“Are you in it as well?”

“No, I decided not to since I don’t think I’ll have the time.”

“Daemyung must be disappointed then.”

“It’s not like that.”

“I guess I should come over some time to have a look.”

“Come when Miso-noonim isn’t here so that you don’t get into a fight.”

“We’re pretty close now.”

“No way. A dog will never get close to a monkey.”

“Who’s the dog and who’s the monkey?”

“Which one do you like?”

“Me? Monkey.”

“Then you can be the dog.”

“That’s good, I actually like dogs better. I thought you’d tell me that I was the dog when I say I like monkeys.”

Maru stared at Suyeon in a daze before laughing.

“Where’s Geunsoo-hyung?”

“He’s nearby. You know the plan, right?”

“The plan?”

“When we get there, you leave after you eat a little. I’ll spend the rest of the time enjoying sweet moments with Geunsoo-oppa.”

“I happened to have a lot of time today. Tomorrow is Saturday as well.”

“You’re going to school though.”

“I just have to go to school after staying up all night. Don’t look down on the stamina of a teen.”

“Let’s form an alliance.”

“As a man like Geunsoo-hyung, I want to protect Geunsoo-hyung instead.”

“Why did I even try?”

Suyeon turned the wheel. As it was Friday night, there were a lot of people on the streets. The restaurants and various stores were busy with the golden time sales. The energy of drinking in the air felt like it could make any sane man drunk.

“It’s over there.”

Amidst the hazy lights, there was a building that gave off a calming purple light. The word Izakaya entered his eyes.

“There’s a lot of standing bars these days, huh.”

“It seems to be a trend. They keep popping up. But this place is pretty decent. On the first floor, you can play around with a bit of energy, while the 2nd floor is for talking quietly.”

Suyeon walked through the automatic door that opened by itself. Maru looked at Suyeon on the spot.

“What are you doing? Come in.”

“This place will have to stop doing business if patrols show up. In the first place, I probably won’t even be allowed in here.”

“Only the restaurants that high schoolers target have that sort of problem. Excuse me, it’s fine if I take this guy in, right?” Suyeon asked an employee.

The female employee nodded with a smile.

“Sheesh, you’re worried about strange things. Let’s go.”

Maru walked into the restaurant, thinking that it should be fine since they asked. He walked past the 1st floor, which was a wide open space, and went up to the 2nd floor. Seeing Suyeon’s confident steps, it seemed that she was a regular here. After walking past a few rooms, Suyeon greeted in kind before turning around.

“Oh, Geunsoo-oppa. You aren’t alone,” Suyeon said.

Maru followed her into the room. Just as Suyeon said, there was another person in front of Geunsoo. Maru greeted him since he knew the person.

“Sungjae-hyung is here too, huh.”

“Hi, Maru. It’s been a long time.”

Ahn Sungjae, who was sitting opposite Geunsoo, greeted him.

“It’s good to see two handsome men together. Didn’t you guys order anything? There’s nothing here.”

Suyeon naturally smoothly sat next to Geunsoo, which left Maru to sit next to Sungjae.

“I called you to see you after all this time. Are you doing well?”

“I’m doing fine.”

Maru lightly shook Geunsoo’s hand. This was the first time they had met up since New Years at the elder’s house.

“But it was rather unexpected to see you two together.”

Maru looked at Geunsoo and Sungjae alternately. Although both of them did appear in Twilight Struggles together, as far as he knew, the two never met each other.

“Oh, Maru shouldn’t know about it yet, huh.”

“Know what?”

“That I’m doing a movie with Sungjae,” Geunsoo said with a smile.

Maru looked at Sungjae. He never met up with Sungjae after Miso’s classes at Film, but he did text him from time to time. They exchanged texts a while ago, and he didn’t mention anything back then.

“It hasn’t been that long since it was confirmed. I can’t exactly go around telling people about it when it’s not even set in stone,” Sungjae said as he stroked his chin.

“Are you two really going to be starring in the same movie?”

“Yeah. I got to shoot with Geunsoo-hyung.”

Congratulations - Maru said with a smile. The two of them were in the same movie, huh. Geunsoo’s acting skills went without saying. His skills, consolidated in the independent movie, were well-known throughout Chungmuro. In his distant memories, he remembered the middle-aged Geunsoo in a talk show, but he couldn’t remember the contents. From how he appeared in talk shows though, it should signify that he had gained some popularity.

‘I think there was something with Ganghwan too.’

Geunsoo and Ganghwan. He thought that these two, as a pair, had something about them, but it felt stifling because he couldn’t remember it properly. Were they known for their deep friendship in the industry? He thought that there was a much larger impact than just that, though.

“What are you thinking about?”

Suyeon asked from in front of him. Maru shook his head and said that it was nothing.

‘It’s becoming fainter and fainter, huh.’

Until just a while ago, he thought that he remembered what the future held in store for Ganghwan and Geunsoo, but right now, his memories were fuzzy like a tangled up lump of thread. The one thing he was sure about was that the two were friends even 30 years later. He somewhat remembered that young people were going to the national theaters to see plays, but he didn’t know what they were about.

Just as it was about to feel like ants were crawling around his head, causing him pain, the door opened and an employee came in. It seemed that Geunsoo had called for one. When he heard Geunsoo’s voice and the employee’s reply, the stifling feeling in his head disappeared. At that moment, Maru realized that the remnant of memories that caused his headache had disappeared completely.

He still had a vague feeling about it because memories weren’t independent, but Maru could feel that it was going to disappear completely when he woke up tomorrow.

Maru decided not to mind it so much. There was no need to try and cling onto that memory. This was something about the future that didn’t happen yet. He had his share of explanations when he got this life, so there was no need to feel uneasy about it.

‘If I can write it down, it would be good, but I can’t do that.’

It was only natural. He had to be thankful that he got to live a second time. If he was too greedy, he might receive divine retribution. Didn’t he check already? He had just thought about investing in real estate when the price of the land that he thought about buying fell to rock bottom. God was very fair.

‘My family. It’s fine as long as I remember just that.’

He had the confidence to not forget about his love towards her, even if all of his memories disappeared. Just then, he had this thought.

‘But… why did I get this life again?’

He thought that he had someone’s help, but did even that disappear now? He still remembered the woman in a white suit clearly. That was probably thanks to the fact that she was a spiritual being.

‘Now that I think about it, that woman is as pretty as her.’

He smiled faintly as he thought about the woman in a white suit. It seemed that he was quite love-struck. He was thinking that a woman who could be described as a heavenly beauty was around the same as his wife.

“Maru, what are you going to eat?”

“Anything that can fill me up.”

Geunsoo smiled and ordered the rest. The employee checked the orders before quietly leaving.

“Anyway, what’s it about?” Maru asked Sungjae.

Sungjae pointed at his own face and said ‘new detective who’s passionate.’

“And Geunsoo-hyung is a corrupt detective.”

“What?”

Maru looked at Geunsoo. A corrupt detective, huh. Geunsoo looked pretty gentle on the surface. He was far from the ‘lunatic’ nickname he got when he was in school. If he wore some neat-looking glasses and asked other people what job he looked like he had, most people would probably reply with lawyer or doctor.

That was precisely why the title of a corrupt detective quite suited him.

“I’m pretty good when it comes to being corrupt,” Geunsoo said as he crossed his legs.

“Then I’m the tragic woman in love with the corrupt detective?” Suyeon softly placed a hand on Geunsoo’s shoulder.

Geunsoo replied with a ‘I’m not so sure’ and a smile. Geunsoo would have refused her touch before, so it seemed that the two had gotten closer.

“When does it start?”

“The crank-in is set to be in August.”

“There’s quite a lot of time until then, huh.”

“I should gain some muscle until then. I’ll have to quit drinking and start learning action acting again.”

Hearing Geunsoo’s words, Sungjae breathed out heavily as well. Rather than a sigh, it looked like he was getting resolved.

“That’s why today’s the last day for drinking.”

“Looks like you should drink a lot then,” Maru said with a smile.

As they were talking about recent matters, the door opened and the food came.

“Let’s talk further after we drink a little. I’ll tell you a few of Sungjae’s episodes. That will be very interesting.”

“Hyung, stop it.”

“I’m going to bring this up for the rest of my life while drinking. Ahn Sungjae, the actor burning with passion!”

Hearing that, Sungjae leaned back against the door as though he had given up. It seemed that a lot of interesting events happened between the two. Maru received just a bit of alcohol in his glass before picking up his chopsticks. He wanted to eat first.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

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Editor's Note:
O Sungjae came back. Nice. Also, taking off my bias'd glasses, as the novel continues you can really tell how much closer Maru and Suyeon have gotten with each interaction. This goes for other character relationships as well.