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Chapter 772. Sequence 4
What is the probability of an opportunity that once escaped your hands landing in your hands again? Maru thought that it would be lower than what people commonly thought of as ‘extremely low’. It probably had around the same chances of a leaf on the ground suddenly flying up due to a gust of wind and landing on the same spot again.
When he let go of the opportunity in his hands, he had no regrets. He knew that it was an opportunity that wouldn’t return to him again, but he choose to have more time to look after himself rather than becoming successful through that opportunity. He tried his best to find his reason for living in the military and had become quite successful. He couldn’t gouge out Han Gaeul from his life entirely, but he managed to put some distance. His effort to become just an ‘acquaintance’ from being in a close relations.h.i.+p and to make her accept that Han Maru was not a part of her life was quite successful. He was now able to imagine a life without her.
Although he was empty-handed, he felt refreshed. The crux of his life, which had been swaying until now, had been set upright again. The gap that was his purpose in life remained empty after becoming vacant due to removing her from his life, but he gained the strength to proceed forward. He realized that he could still breathe in a life without a purpose. As he had talent, he managed to return to the field of acting quite soon, but he thought that he would never encounter a proper opportunity until he became 30. However, he had forgotten; there was a person who was willing to move the leaf that flew up due to a gust of win back to its original spot.
“You should earn your rent at least.”
Junmin’s words echoed in his ears. They were the words of a father that was worried for his unemployed son.
Maru put down his script. Thanks to Junmin’s introduction, he managed to land a drama supporting role without an audition. Although he didn’t appear that much per episode, he played someone who would release the dramatic tension and appeared every now and then. Unlike the characters he played until now, the role he was going to play was a frivolous guy who made others feel uneasy. He would jump around with coffee for his seniors and fall down, try to hit on a colleague but then get kicked in the knee, and causes a ruckus saying that he wants to hold a party. It was the prankster character who was hateful yet someone who people couldn’t help but look out for.
He picked up an empty cup and ran around the living room. He tried stepping the wrong way, tried stepping on his foot, and tried falling down quickly but then thought that it wasn’t right and fell down on his side. He rushed around for a while before looking at the mirror. A twenty-five-year-old kid, who was happy beyond comparison, was sweating. When he looked at his own expression during acting, he couldn’t help but admit that he had been swallowed up by acting ages ago. The ghost of Daehak-ro only smiled when he was acting.
He washed himself up and got ready to leave. There was half an hour until his appointment. Before he pressed the call b.u.t.ton, he got a call at a precise time which made him wonder if the person on the other side was watching the clock before making the call.
-Hyung-nim, you’re coming, right?
“I just put my trainers on. You’re as spot on as ever.”
-That’s the only thing I’m good at. I just woke my brother up and am on the way there. I think I might be a little late.
“Okay. He’s a famous actor and all. It’s fine even if you take it slow, so watch out while driving.”
-Yes, hyung-nim. See you later.
He left his house and grabbed a taxi. He arrived at the bar near Yeoui-naru station, where they promised to meet up at, and ordered some food beforehand. He ordered the things that had an extra zero on the price tag at the very end of the menu. They were precious items that he could only choose when he was being treated by someone else, or when it was on the company card.
“Sorry, I’m late.”
“You’re not late. I’ve only been here for five minutes. But where’s the one paying for all this?”
“He’s in the toilet. Anyway, it’s been a long time, hyung-nim.”
“Yeah, long time no see.”
Maru shook hands with Lee Haewon.
“You’re having a hard time. You have to do everything from A to Z to be a manager for that guy, don’t you?”
“I’ve been doing it since middle school, so it’s not that difficult. Though, it’s quite a pain when he gets all naggy about not wanting to do it.”
“Whenever that happens, smack him on the back of the head. You are definitely qualified to do so.”
Just as they opened the lid to the drinks, Lee Heewon came in. Maru waved his hand along with the bottle.
“You’re not a good person either. We were just talking behind your back and you just had to come in.”
“Talking behind my back?”
Heewon looked at Haewon. Haewon looked away and fidgeted.
“Stop overworking your brother. 3 years is enough, isn’t it?”
“The day Haewon quits as my manager is the day I quit my acting career. But hey, you look like you’ve gained some weight in the past year.”
“I’ve had good food and good sleep. The role I was playing in the play was also a rather chubby one, so I gained some weight. Thanks to that, I feel like I've been dying for the past month.”
“Losing weight? I hate that too. I wonder why there aren’t any roles that require a fat man. Sleeping and eating, sleeping and eating. That sounds like a dream.”
“Hey, imagine getting fat with your face. Who would let you play the main character?”
“My face is better than yours. You look way too dry. I at least hear that I’m cute quite often.”
Heewon lost his posture as soon as he sat down. Putting a squid down on a chair might look like that. Haewon nagged him to sit upright.
“I was totally surprised when I saw your face during the get-together.”
Haewon mentioned something that happened a while ago. It was a small get-together with the director, the writer, and the important actors. Maru also sat in the very corner.
“I also didn’t know you two would be there either. I just happened to show up at the last minute without any information.”
“When did you decide to partic.i.p.ate in the drama?”
“Well, it’s kinda funny for me to say this since I was given the role, but I don’t know when my role was decided either. It was the president’s power after all.”
“I see. Anyway, I’m happy for you. When I heard that you were going to the military after not hearing news of you for a long while, I honestly thought that you were going to leave the industry. I was worried and slightly disappointed too.”
“Back then, I wasn’t entirely right in my mind.”
“And now you are?”
“I’m not an idiot who would reject an opportunity that landed in my hands for the second time. So I should do it to the death. If I don’t do what I get paid for, I feel like I might really become an unemployed man.”
Heewon spoke as he put a large piece of peach in his mouth,
“Being unemployed is the best. My dream is to become a rich unemployed man.”
“Hey, didn’t you save up quite a lot of money?”
“I did, for the past 4 years. I bought a building as well.”
“Owning a building at 25, huh. You won’t have a problem living the rest of your life even if you quit right now.”
“I want to do that too, but a certain someone keeps nagging me about how humans have to do labor.”
Heewon glanced at Haewon.
“Why are you using me as an excuse? I’m of the opinion that you can quit right now if you want to quit. But instead, I would lose my job and live every single day in despair.”
“See that? He keeps las.h.i.+ng out at me like this. How can I quit? This guy changed after he tasted what money was. No wait, he’s been writing the accounting book since he was young, so he hasn’t entirely changed. He just became more tenacious.”
“What are you saying? I’m always on your side.”
Heewon looked for drinks saying that he wouldn’t be able to win with words, but Haewon told him that he could only have three gla.s.ses. When he grumbled that he couldn’t drink or eat how much he wanted, Haewon just told him that he could do so as long as he could exercise to compensate for the part he ate. Heewon looked at the gla.s.s hesitantly for a while before putting his hands under the table. That sloth found more joy in not doing anything than the joy of eating.
“You two haven’t changed at all.”
“What do you mean we haven’t changed? You don’t know how frivolous this guy became.”
Heewon protested like someone who received an unjust sentence. His voice sounded like he was really wronged. Haewon just smiled, saying that such a thing never happened. In Maru’s eyes, that was a business smile that he could rate 15 points out of 10. The innocent brother that wished for his bigger brother’s well-being above anyone else, had now become a tow truck that dragged his brother to the field of labor when the brother’s wish was to play around for all his life.
Heewon, who was grumbling by himself, reached out for the drink bottle before sighing and pouring water into his gla.s.s instead. Unlike the protest on his face, he was listening to his little brother’s words to the tee. Maru thought that the creation of the actor Lee Heewon was more thanks to Haewon’s management rather than Heewon’s natural talent at acting.
“Let me go to the toilet for a bit.”
Heewon, who ate like he had been starving for a few days, got up.
“Isn’t he supposed to be on a diet?”
“He just has to quit his snacks. He doesn’t eat proper food and always looks for snacks. That’s the problem.”
“I wonder if he can get married.”
“If I ever meet my sister-in-law-to-be, I am going to grab her hands and thank her. I would also tell her not to abandon him.”
Maru grabbed the drink bottle before letting go and pouring soda in Haewon’s gla.s.s instead.
“It must have been a while since you drank.”
“I drank on my high school graduation day and never after that. I thought that I would definitely regret it if I become unable to do something when I absolutely have to, so I thought that I might as well not drink in the first place.”
“How can you brothers be so different?”
“Maybe because we’re not related by blood.”
“Blood isn’t important. The fact that you are brothers is. But hey, did you give up on college entirely? Heewon told me when we met a year ago. You apparently pa.s.sed into Seoul University but didn’t get admitted.”
Haewon, who looked like he wouldn’t flinch no matter what he heard, trembled for the first time today, to the point that he almost misplaced his gla.s.s on the table.
“Did he say something like that?”
“When you weren’t here. Do you remember how he started wailing after drinking back then?”
“I kinda found it suspicious because he kept apologizing to me, but I guess he knew.”
“You should’ve gone to college. The t.i.tle of Seoul University isn’t like a business card you see thrown around a lot.”
“It was an important period for him. Of course, it was an important period for me as well. I don’t regret it. Prestigious colleges are nothing compared to my family members doing well. Also, I’m not someone who makes losses. I know that him doing well means me doing well; that having a famous brother is much better than going to Seoul University. That’s why I gave up.”
“When you lie, you should look in the other person’s eyes. Only then would you sound believable. Who would be fooled if you look uneasy like that?”
Haewon brushed his bangs with his hand and spoke,
“My brother did.”
“He’s just pretending. He’s d.a.m.n good at acting after all.”
“That might be true.”
“You should rip a lot off him in the future. Get about half of what he owns and do what you want with it. Being a late college student is good but being a store owner is good as well.”
“I like being my brother’s manager. About this, I’m not lying.”
“Uhm, hyung-nim. Can I also ask you a question?”
“What is it?”
“Why did you break up with Gaeul-noona?”
“This is unexpected. Do you like gossip?”
“No, I’m just purely curious. Back then, Gaeul-noona looked like she was half out of it. I only found out later that you two broke up. It was to the point that even my brother, who rarely gets worried about others, came to me for consultation about her.”
“Haewon, do you have a girlfriend?”
“No, I don’t have one right now.”
“So you had one before?”
“Why did you break up?”
“Things happened and….”
“That’s the same with me too. Things just happened and we just happened to break up. There is no grand reason for it.”
“Well, I guess that must be true.”
“Do you still see Han Gaeul these days?”
“Yes. The president loves to hold meetups with the people at the company. Even if it’s not for that, Gaeul-noona calls from time to time, so we see each other quite a lot. Though, most of the time, I’d be listening to her worries.”
“So you became famous as a consultant. I guess it’s not surprising since you’re looking after Heewon.”
Maru spun the drink in his gla.s.s. Why was it that that name kept popping out in unexpected places when he tried so hard to become distant? Was the force of attraction that the curse of reincarnation applied to him still forcing him closer to her? Even after distancing himself so much?
“Anyway, did this dude drown in the toilet or something? Why isn’t he coming back?”
“I’ll go have a look. I found him sleeping on the toilet during the last get-together before.”
“Bring him back quickly.”
He emptied the alcohol while looking at Heewon getting up from his seat. When the door closed and he heard footsteps becoming distant, he barely muttered in a quiet voice,
“So, does Gaeul look okay now? Does she look hurt anywhere? Doesn’t she cry?”
After saying those words, he waved his hand in the air in a flurry so that no traces of his question remained.