Changhu glared at Maru, still caressing his aching wrist. He’d never felt this humiliated in his life.
“Is your wrist okay?”
“It’s nothing. I was just surprised. Fucker’s trying to act cool.”
He felt incredibly annoyed, but he still smiled in front of the girls. He could just step on Maru later. He was here to play, so he wanted to do just that for now.
“I’ll just kill him later.”
His friends started smiling as well.
“What happened?” The girls asked, as soon as they entered.
Changhu said it was nothing special and started grilling the meat.
“You guys want to drink?”
The sis raised her hand to call for an employee. A woman in her early twenties entered. Probably a part timer?
“Hey sis, can you get us four bottles of soju, and shot glasses for everyone here?”
“Damn it, can’t you listen? Four bottles of soju, shot glasses for everyone. Okay?”
“Um, excuse me, but these people look underage?”
“Underage my ass. They’re grown boys, so just bring on the alcohol, sis.”
Changhu sent a wink to his big sis. She was a great person to have on his side, for sure.
“Um, excuse me, can I check your id…?”
The part timer turned to Changhu and his friends. Changhu swore under his breath in annoyance. Hearing that, the part timer stiffened a little bit.
“Changhu, sis’ll handle it.”
“Sis, you’re too kind. You need to be more tough on the businesses that take light of their customers.”
“I know, I know. I’m too kind. So, Ms. Part timer? Why don’t you bring the booze while I’m still being nice?”
“Fuck, whatever! Just bring four bottles of soju and four shot glasses! You think we’re a total fucking joke, don’t you?”
“N-no, I don’t.”
“Then why can’t you just bring it when we tell you to, you fucker? You think you’re the boss of this place or something? Huh?”
“...No, I don’t.”
“Bring it over, then. What the hell’s wrong with you?”
Changhu gave his friends a little glance, and they all started clapping in unison. The big sis flipped her hair back, as if what she did wasn’t anything special.
* * *
The voices from the room were heard by everyone in the hallway, making the rest of the customers shake their heads.
“They don’t seem to be your friends,” Junmin commented.
“Wait, are you actually getting bullied right now? Isn’t this bad?”
“I’m not dumb enough to get bullied by them.”
“Well, that’s a relief. But man, kids nowadays are scary.”
Right then, they could hear one of the women inside screech. She was screaming at the part timer to bring the alcohol, and the part timer stepped outside with a pale face.
“Those uncultured motherf...”
Ganghwan stood up. This was not good. To begin with, Maru gave Changhu’s group money to keep them quiet. The time he was spending with these two people was valuable. Having that time wasted by delinquents wouldn’t be good, so he gave them money, but… the real problem turned out to be the girls that they came with.
‘Likes attract likes, huh.’
That saying never felt truer to him than now.
“I’ll go have a word with them.”
Just as Maru was about to stand up, Ganghwan pushed down his shoulder.
“No, these kinds of idiots only listen when you go wild. Senior, I’ll be back in a bit. I’m not much of an upstanding citizen myself, but at least I don’t act like trash to business owners.”
Junmin stopped Ganghwan from leaving himself.
“Don’t try to start trouble. Getting mad so easily isn’t a good attitude to have.”
“But, as a person...”
“You’d start a fight as soon as you head over, I just know it. That’d be worse for the business owner. I know the man somewhat, so I don’t want to trouble him. Just watch. I’m sure the owner has his way of dealing with this.”
“You’re way too cold about this kind of stuff, Senior.”
“I’m simply choosing the path of least resistance. So just eat. The meat’s about to burn.”
Maru nodded. He agreed with the way Junmin handled this. It was fine to get yourself involved in a situation like this, but you couldn’t let yourself be affected so much by your own emotions. Besides, this was a business. If you worsened the mood of the restaurant by starting a fight, you’d only be putting the owner in more trouble. Junmin said he knew the owner, that was probably what made him so calm.
“Well, if you say so.”
Ganghwan sat back down after glaring at the room for a second. After a bit of time, the restaurant became quiet again. The room was still pretty loud, but since they were just laughing amongst themselves, it was fairly easy to ignore.
“Here you go, some plum tea.”
“Oh, you didn’t have to.”
A man who seemed to be in his mid-40s brought out a pot of plum tea for them. Probably the owner, by the looks of things.
“You’re a regular, this is the least I can do. Please come again.”
The owner left after a short greeting. Maru took a sip of the tea. It was a blend of slightly sweet and sour. Delicious.
“This is good.”
Ganghwan seemed to be a fan as well.
“The meat’s good here, but this is honestly the real reason why I come here,” Junmin mentioned with a smile.
Maru listened to the man talk about the Myungdong Art Theater after the meal was over. After a bit of time, four girls and four boys stepped out of the private room near them. Maru could feel Changhu glaring at him, but paid him no mind. The owner stepped out to handle the bill. Probably because the man knew that this wasn’t going to be easy.
“Even if you say that...”
The owner was speaking in a troubled voice. What happened? Maru turned around with a curious look. The four girls were standing in the back, while the four boys were saying something to the owner.
Ganghwan got angry again, Maru stood up too. This time, he didn’t want to stand back. These people were just continuing to eat away at his precious time one way or the other.
“They really don’t like listening to words, do they?”
Even Junmin started walking to the counter. For now, Maru decided to watch what the man would do.
“What’s wrong?” Junmin asked.
The owner smiled awkwardly, saying it was nothing special. Maru looked at the owner, Changhu’s confident expression, and the amused girls at the back before realizing something.
“Were they saying something about selling alcohol to underaged kids?”
Right then, Changhu and his friends started glaring at him. Bingo. The owner waved his hands as if that wasn’t the case, but the man’s gestures looked too unnatural.
‘Well, this is pretty obvious.’
Maru knew very well that there were many high schoolers that enjoyed screwing over restaurants like this. In Korea, only restaurants ever got punished for stuff like this. If a restaurant that sold alcohol to underaged people were to get caught, they had to pay a fine. If it was a repeat offense, they would just get shut down entirely. Just a single report was a critical hit to these restaurants as a result.
Maru turned to look at the girls, they were still looking at this with amused expressions. What idiots. If they had anything left in their heads, they wouldn’t even have thought about doing this. To think they’d act like this even after turning into adults…
‘They’re the type that’ll try to play this off as a joke if things go wrong.’
Right then, Junmin opened his phone and made a call somewhere. It was something about having lunch, but the contents of the call seemed pretty interesting.
“Ah, yes, lawyer Kim, lawyer Lee. I’ll see you here. There’s something interesting going on. Ah, you have a customer as well? Haha, bring him over! This is a nice place, and this just sounds like a great opportunity to expand your networks. Yes, yes, I’ll see you soon.”
Junmin loudly closed his folder phone, Maru shook his head silently.
‘Man, this guy.’
The man knew very well what it was like to crush people with status. Indeed, as soon as he put the word ‘lawyer’ in his mouth, the group of eight all turned completely pale.
‘He’s a great person to have on your side, for sure.’
In his previous life, Maru was always on the receiving end. But in this life, Maru had a very, very powerful man by his side. Life was quite strange, indeed.
“Well, would you like to wait a little, or?”
As soon as Junmin finished, one of the women quickly took out her card.
“We’re not involved in this at all, this kid was just trying to show off. We were going to pay from the start. There’s no problem, right?”
“Did I ask?”
The woman turned bright pink, the owner quickly took the card and processed the bill. The four girls glared at Changhu and his friends before leaving first.
“Take us with you.”
And with that, the group of eight were all out of the building.
“Thank you for helping, sir.”
“This is a good restaurant. I’d rather not see any bad things happen to it. Ah, could I get some plum tea for the guests coming for dinner as well?”
“Of course. But didn’t you say they would come now...?”
“Oh, that? I was lying.”
“I-is that so? Ha, hahaha.”
The owner laughed. Maru couldn’t help but laugh a bit as well.
“What would you have done if they didn’t leave?” Ganghwan asked, sighing in relief.
Junmin answered with a very calm look on his face.
“Well, I could just make them show up a bit early for dinner, then.”
“What? Then those people you mentioned… were they real?”
“You get into a lot of trouble in this business. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with getting on the good side of a law firm.”
“So that thing just now...”
“Apparently a pretty famous person just joined their law firm. They wanted me to join them for dinner.”
“Wow, Senior. It’s like you live in a different world compared to me.”
“Is that so?”
“Can you help me out if I get into trouble in the future?”
Ganghwan got out of the restaurant with a grin.
“Hey,” Junmin called out to Maru, “was my acting all right just then?”
“Haha, I couldn’t believe you used to be a no-name actor.”
Junmin smiled proudly.
* * *
“Ah, fuck off. So annoying.”
Changhu grit his teeth as he saw the girls leave.
“Dude, Changhu, didn’t you say this would work?”
“This usually works. It was about to, since the owner looked dumb as shit, but they had to intervene...”
Changhu was more annoyed at Maru than anyone else right now. If that kid wasn’t here, his night would be a lot more fun right now
“So, what now?”
“What do you mean, what now? We don’t even have cash, so we might as well go home.”
Right then, one of the friends smiled as he raised his hand.
“Yo, we got cash. Remember Maru?”
The boy fished out 100 thousand won as he spoke. Changhu smiled bitterly as he grabbed the bills.
“Want to go play billiard?”
“Let’s go to karaoke instead. Billiard fucking sucks if you go to the wrong place.”
“That’s true. Let’s just go wherever, then. We can have some drinks afterwards.”
Changhu looked around for a second before trying to find a karaoke bar.
* * *
Dowook finally understood why his dad was being so awkward all this time.
He looked at the woman in front of him, who was just looking straight down at the floor all this time. It was Kang Soojin, his sister. The sister that he hadn’t seen in a decade. His dad coughed nervously. Dowook sat down, biting down on one side of his cheek. His sister was still looking at the floor.
He could hear his dad say something in the background, but he didn’t really understand anything the man was saying. Dowook ignored his dad and said something to his sister. Really, he just spat it out.
“You make me sick.”
“So, you’ve been talking with dad all this time.”
“I’m leaving, dad.”
Dowook stood up instantaneously, He felt disgusted with annoyance. He could hear his dad call out to him, but he didn’t stop.
Dowook grit his teeth in anger.
* * *
“This is too expensive.”
“Too late, you bought it. Also, it’s pretty.”
Bada held up her shopping bag with a smile. She managed to buy some nice clothes, and a present for her brother as well within her budget.
“Where to, now?”
“My legs hurt after walking so much.”
“Should we rest somewhere, then?”
“Rest my ass! Karaoke! Gogo!”
One of the more energetic friends immediately walked forward. Bada shook her head as she followed her friend.
“I saw a place that does student discounts near the theater. We should go there.”
That’s good. She was running kind of low at this point, too. Bada walked as she started thinking about which songs she wanted to sing.Previous Chapter Next Chapter