Chapter 574

The taxi drove off. Maru took a deep breath before lifting up the box with the videotapes. It wasn’t that heavy, but it was hard to walk because of the sheer volume. Just as he barely managed to carry the box, that got caught on his thighs every time he walked, to his house, his phone rang.

“Yeah, what?”

-Were you exercising? You’re out of breath.

“I was moving some stuff.”

-Stuff?

“I received some presents. Anyway, what’s up at this hour? Didn’t you say you were going to practice late into the night?”

Maru pushed the box in front of his house and sat down on the stairs. 9:10 p.m was the time when he checked his watch.

-I just finished.

“You have it hard.”

-Nah.

Her small laugh could be heard over the phone.

“If you just finished should I go pick you up? I think I have time to see you for around an hour.”

-You must be tired because of the shoot, so get some rest. Oh, I called you because a junior of mine wanted to see you.

“Junior? Junior who?”

-Junior at our school’s acting club. To be exact, it’s her sister who wants to see you. Do you know someone called Kim Bitna?

“Kim Bitna?”

He contemplated when he heard the rather familiar-sounding name. He remembered the small pretty girl who played the role of a beggar with him during the shoot for Apgu last summer. That girl’s name was Bitna. At the same time, he was reminded of Bitna’s mother, who wore sunglasses and drove with one hand. Even though he had only seen her once during the audition, she left a deep impression on him.

“I know her. I met her when I shot Apgu last year. She was a really polite kid, so the adults doted on her a lot.”

-Then that must be her. A junior of mine is her sister, and I heard from her that Bitna wants to meet you.

“Bitna wants to meet me?”

-Yeah. Looks like you two were close?

Maru thought about what happened last year. He couldn’t say that they were on really good terms. Unlike the other boys who he had gotten close to by living together with them for a while, Bitna always disappeared with her mother after the shoot.

“It wasn’t bad, I guess.”

-Really?

“I did treat her to some snacks from time to time, so maybe that’s how I scored in her heart?”

Maru reminded himself of the young Bitna who did the shoot without any complaints. Even adults found the weather hot, yet Bitna continued acting without crying even once. Her clear eyes left a deep impression on him.

Just then, he could hear her start talking to someone over the phone. He had waited for a while when the door to his house opened.

“Oppa, what are you doing here?”

It was Bada. Maru pointed at the phone.

“Oh, it’s unni. What’s this? It’s in the way here, so I’ll take it inside for now.”

Bada struggled to put the box inside. Maru thanked her in a small voice.

-What’s this thank you?

“I said thank you for being born.”

-What the hell was that so suddenly?

“This wasn’t the first time I’ve said that. Anyway, I thought you were talking to someone.”

-It’s the junior I was talking about. She’s next to me. How’s your schedule? Bitna apparently really looks forward to meeting you.

“No way. I’m fine with Tuesday. I wonder if Bitna is okay with that?”

-Wait a sec.

Her voice became smaller again. She seemed to be talking with her junior.

-She’s okay with Tuesday.

“Really? I’m fine with meeting her, but I don’t know what she wants to do. If it’s just saying hello, I can go over to your school. Bitna can do that too.”

-That sounds good. Then you should come on Tuesday, and I will send you the time by text.

“Okay.”

-I’m going to hang up then.

“You are?”

-What else?

“How disappointing. It’s the perfect time for a call, yet you want to just hang up after doing business?”

-If you don’t have anything to do, just sleep!

“How heartless.”

She hung up after wishing him good night. Maru smiled and closed his phone.

“Rather than that, Bitna, huh.”

That was unexpected. Just as they talked about, they weren’t on bad terms, but they weren’t close enough that they would meet up like this in person. At most, they would greet each other if they met each other on the streets. If it was one of the boys that rolled around the floor with him to act like a beggar, he might gladly meet them, but for Bitna, he felt more confused than happy.

What were they supposed to do when they meet? - he thought about it as he opened the door. He couldn’t think of anything to say to her when they met. There weren’t many things he could do with an elementary school kid. Maybe he should buy some food for her at a restaurant?

“Oppa, what’s all this?” Bada asked after opening up the box.

She opened one of the casings for the videotape.

“Are these movies?”

“No, some recordings of acting practices.”

“All of this? No, wait, 1988? These are super old!”

“They were taken a long time ago after all.”

“How many are there?”

“About sixty.”

“You’re going to watch all of this? How long is each one?”

“Probably at least an hour?”

“Then that means at least sixty hours, huh.”

“Do you want to watch it with me?”

“Forget about it. I need to study. But why’s there so many? Who’s in it?”

“An amazing actress.”

“An amazing actress?”

Bada tilted her head. When she asked who they were, he just replied to her that they were a nameless actress.

“An amazing, yet nameless actress? I don’t get it. But how are you going to watch it?”

“Don’t we have a videotape player at home?”

“We threw it out a while ago. No one was using it, and it was taking up space in the living room, so mom gave it away to a junk dealer if I remember correctly.”

“So it’s like that after all. Do we have to buy one then?”

Maru put the videotapes back in the box and took them to his room. It seemed that he had to look for a VCR first. Maybe he should visit Yongsan[1]?

“Ah, right, promise.”

Tuesday was his only day off but he had already made an appointment. The only other day he could take off was Thursday when he had acting club practice. However, he hadn’t been to practice a lot lately thanks to shooting the film and the drama. Although practice was lower on his priority list, he had talked to Daemyung about it, and considering what he had to do as a senior, he probably shouldn’t miss out on any more practice sessions.

Should he try to borrow one at school? Maru thought about Taesik. The school probably had a VCR, and it was probably in some storage room somewhere because it wasn’t in use. He might be able to get this resolved quite easily if he asked.

‘Let’s leave that at that.’

Let's wash up for now - he was drenched in sweat after moving some heavy stuff. He decided that he should think about other methods after having a shower.

Maru looked at the box with the videotapes pleasantly before opening the door.

* * *

“Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it. I can do this much. Here, drink this.”

Yuna accepted the strawberry milk while bowing. Her seonbae also went with strawberry milk. They were in the convenience store in front of the school. They naturally came here as they talked to each other.

“The seonbae who graduated used to take me to this place a lot,” her seonbae spoke.

She had a bright smile on her face.

“You’re talking about the one who came for the welcome ceremony for the club right? The one with the short hair.”

“Yes. That’s her. You didn’t know that Seol cut her hair short following her, did you?”

“Oh, did she?”

“Yeah. Seol really liked the former president. Well, you can say the same thing about me. She always asked if we were okay when we were having a hard time. She was really scary when it came to practice, but she was kinder than anyone once practice was over. This is the place I used to talk to her a lot. I think everyone in the acting club drank with her here at least once.”

“She must be a good person.”

Yuna said as she grabbed the strawberry milk with both of her hands. Just from her seonbae’s words, she could tell just what a warm person the former president was. Likewise, the seonbae that brought her here like the former president had to be a good person.

Yuna bit her lower lip and looked at her seonbae. Actually, she had told her a lie. It wasn’t her sister who wanted to see Han Maru-seonbae. Well, she did say it from time to time, but she never desperately wanted to. At most, it was just ‘there was this interesting oppa’. It was her who fanned the flames. When she heard that her seonbae knew Han Maru-seonbae, Yuna thought about it for a long while before talking to her about it.

“Yuna, you said that you wanted to become an actress, right?”

“Yes.”

“Is your sister the same?”

“My sister’s popular. She showed up quite a lot in dramas, as a child actress.”

“Really? It wasn’t just Apgu?”

“She was actually a child model, but she started acting because mom said she should try. She’s really good at acting. I started practicing acting ever since I entered middle school, but my sister debut when she was five. She’s a senior in that regard.”

“Yuna, you’ll become a splendid actress too one day. I managed to, you know? You’re much better than me, so there will come a day when you will be able to display your skills.”

Yuna couldn’t lift her head due to embarrassment after hearing that. She felt extremely happy that the number one seonbae she liked in the club was complimenting her. She felt like the fatigue she got from practice was melting away.

“Ah, do you like strawberry milk? I forgot to ask and ended up buying what I like.”

“I really like strawberry milk.”

Yuna gulped down the strawberry milk.

“Take it slow. You’ll choke.”

As soon as she said those words, Yuna choked on her drink. She coughed and wiped her mouth with her sleeve. She felt embarrassed.

“See, I told you to be careful.”

“Sorry.”

“There’s no need to be sorry. Do you want some tissues?”

“Oh, I have some with me.”

Yuna took out some tissues from her bag and wiped her mouth. She then carefully looked at her seonbae. She was leaning against the chair and looking at the sky as she drank.

‘Wow.’

Yuna subconsciously gasped because her seonbae looked nothing like the character she played on television. She was good at acting, kind, gentle, and…. Yuna thought that it was the best choice she ever made to come to Myunghwa High, purely because of the acting club alone.

In Suwon, Myunghwa High was well-known for two things.

One, a school where celebrities attended, and two, a school with a great acting club. Most people who had an interest in this field knew that the alumni of the acting club at Myunghwa High were powerful in the entertainment industry. Yuna also chose Myunghwa High because she wanted to become an actress.

“If you’re having a hard time, then tell me or Seol about it. Or you can go to the other seonbaes about it. They’ll all help you like it’s their own matter. The acting club is no different from family after all.”

“Yes, seonbae-nim.”

“Then shall we get up? Oh! You can meet Maru at 6 on Tuesday. We don’t have practice that day, so that’s a good thing, isn’t it?”

“Thank you.”

“What are you going to do for your sister? Can she come to the school by herself?”

“I’ll go pick her up. We live nearby, so it’s fine.”

“Then I guess there are no problems. I’ll tell him to treat Bitna well. He’s not someone who would play pranks on children, but he’s quite weird.”

“Weird?”

Yuna blinked her eyes and asked. However, her seonbae didn’t seem to have heard as she kept tapping away on her phone. Yuna smiled and no longer spoke. She couldn’t care less about the trivial stuff. What was important was that she got to meet Han Maru-seonbae in person.

“Let’s go, Yuna.”

“Yes!”

Yuna walked right next to her seonbae.


[1] Popular electronics district in Korea.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Okay then. Predictions on what Yuna (or Bitna for that matter) is going to do when she meets Maru?

Editor's Note:
Maybe a new love rival???? I'm not going to lie, I have no idea.