Life, Once Again! - Chapter 391

Chapter 391


“A meritorious vassal that calmed the national crisis, huh.”


The first thing that came to his mind when he read the title ‘Apgu’ was Apgujeong, and when he looked inside the script, he realized the meaning of Apgu was the same as what he thought it was[1].


“Oppa, dinner’s ready,” Bada burst open the door and spoke.


“I made some ramyun so come quickly.”


“What made you cook some ramyun all of a sudden?”


When he went to the dining table, he saw a pot of ramyun with eggs in it as well. There was also some kimchi and some leftover rice. It was the perfect combo. He looked at Bada with suspicion. There was always a reason behind her actions when she did things that she usually didn’t do.


“What are you doing? Eat already.”


“Did you do something wrong?”


“What the heck are you saying? Shut up and just eat.”


Bada was all smiles as she served a bowl for Maru. Although it was very suspicious, Maru decided to eat it anyway since he was hungry.


“How is it going with Dowook these days?”


“Why are you asking that all of a sudden?”


“No real reason.”


Bada glanced at him before sighing.


“I wanted to hang out with him but things happened.”


“Really? That’s a pity.”


“But why do I have to report to you about all this?”


“I need to know at least this much as the person that’s giving you all your dating expenses.”


“Geez.”


“If you don’t want to, I won’t ask anymore. Sorry if I made you feel bad.”


“...No, it’s not like that.”


After tapping the bowl with her spoon, Bada grinned before starting to talk about events that happened with Dowook. From how they started dating to how cute Dowook was. Bada endlessly talked about Dowook just like the Arabian Nights.


“TTO Sungjae versus Dowook. Who do you like more?”


“Of course, it’s Dowook-oppa.”


“Oh my word. It’s Dowook over Sungjae?”


“Well, it’s not like I’d ever get to date Sungjae-oppa.”


“You’re quite realistic when it comes to that.”


Bada giggled. She put down her spoon and swung sideways.


“But I never knew I’d talk about this with you, oppa. I became annoyed when I looked at you up until last year.”


“Really? That’s a bit too much.”


“What’s too much? You didn’t say a single word to me, had me run the errands, kicked me and…. But these days, you’ve changed a bit. Are you sure you’re not sick anywhere?”


“When you become a 2nd year in high school, you’ll mature.”


“Yeah, sure. Like I’d believe that.”


“Why don’t you grow up first?”


“We’re only two years apart. But hey, aren’t you meeting unni?”


“Well, your brother is very busy.”


“Phew, she’s so pitiful. The guy calling himself her boyfriend is like this.”


“I’m treating her extremely well so don’t you worry.”


After eating all the noodles, Maru poured some leftover rice into the broth. When he ate every last bit of food in the bowl and was about to stand up, Bada stopped him.


“I’ll clean it.”


“What?”


Household chores were always split between the two. If one did the cooking, the other would do the dishes, and if one did the laundry, the folding was done by the other. This was an unspoken rule they’d developed since both of their parents were working, but Bada broke that rule and did the dishes as well. After watching his sister wash the dishes while humming a TTO song, Maru quietly entered his room and changed his clothes. He had a hunch. Bada treated him well without a single reason?


“Yeah, right.”


He finished preparing to leave and carefully opened the door.


“Where are you going?”


Bada stood there with a suspicious smile on her face. In one hand was a book, and it seemed that it was her school textbook.


“What is it?”


“If you ate food, you must work for it.”


“It wasn’t free?”


“Nothing’s free in this world. Oppa, do you think the world is that easy?”


Aah, he could see signs that his sister would be successful in society. It was something to be happy about, but still. Maru glanced at the door, but Bada stepped in.


“If you keep doing this, I’m going to take away the credit card from you.”


“That won’t work on me anymore, you know? I know you aren’t going to take it.”


Bada had a bold expression. So this method didn’t work anymore. Maru became dejected and spoke,


“Alright, what do you need me to do?”


“Homework.”


“What homework?”


“Holiday homework. The day after tomorrow is the first day of school, but I haven’t done anything yet. It’s nothing hard. You just need to copy.”


“What are you going to do?”


“English homework.”


“There are two days left of your holiday. What have you been doing this whole time?”


“Don’t nag me and help me out already. If I don’t do this homework, the teacher will hit me.”


Bada pushed the textbook and the notebook to his hands.


“Instead, I’ll do cleaning and make dinner all of next week.”


Now that was a rather attractive proposal. How hard would a middle school-level homework assignment be? And how much could she have? If he could be free from preparing dinner and cleaning with a couple of hours of investment, it would be worth it.


“You can’t go back on your words, okay?”


“What do you take me for? Well then, you’re doing it?”


“I get it so give it to me.”


Just as he thought that he should finish it up quickly and research more about the era that the drama was set in, Bada rushed into her room and came back out with a pile of books. It almost definitely didn’t seem like it could be done in a day.


“All of that?”


“Yeah.”


Bada put down the books on the floor with an innocent smile. Did middle schools give so much homework for the holidays?


“You can’t go back on your words, okay?”


Why did he suddenly think of the saying ‘a tiger father does not beget a dog son’. Maru, who just received the same words he said to Bada, scratched his eyebrows and thought about ways he could escape this situation. Persuasion, flattery, or getting angry. He didn’t think that any of them would work. Bada wasn’t someone who would be persuaded with words, nor would she be tempted because of some flattery. If he got angry, she would shout back at him, so he didn’t have a choice.


He was going to spend the last weekend of his summer holiday while relaxing and reading his script, but it seemed that it was out of reach. Just as he was about to start his wrist labor, he thought of a solution from Bada’s face, who was grinning.


“Fine, I’ll do it.”


“Really? You’re doing all of that, okay?”


“Okay. Well, it’s just copying and simple problem solving, right?”


“Yeah. There’s nothing hard.”


“Alright, that should be easy.”


Bada clenched her fist before shouting ‘yes’.


“If you can’t do it by tonight, you can finish it off tomorrow.”


“Since I’m doing it, I should finish it today.”


“That’s good for me.”


Bada sat down in the living room and started writing something in her notebook. Seeing that, Maru quickly took out his phone. He scrolled through his contacts and called the person that would save him.


-What is it?


“What are you doing right now?”


-I’m cycling.


“Come over to my house.”


-What the heck are you talking about?


“You should come right now. Bada wants to see you.”


-What?


“Are you coming or not? Our parents aren’t at home right now. So come and play with her a little. It’s the holidays and she’s staying at home all the time.”


-Why would I….


“I thought you two were dating?”


-Huh, what the heck is that about?


“You’re not? I saw you walking together last time, heck, you were even locking arms.”


Dowook fell silent, even though the first thing he would usually do in such situations was to swear.


“Hey, don’t chicken out and come. You know where we live, right? I’ll give you the address. 30 minutes, then?”


-Do I really have to go?


“Yes, you really have to go.”


-I’m really going, okay?


“You should really come, okay?”


He hung up and looked at Bada. She seemed to have heard that he was calling someone as she was looking his way.


“Who is it?”


“Is this the first time you saw me calling someone?”


“Who did you call?”


“Let’s respect each other’s privacy, okay, young lady?”


“...Alright, so please get started. I’ll get into trouble if I don’t finish it.”


It seemed that the teacher that gave her the homework was a strict one. Bada started focusing on the homework. Had she studied like that usually, she would have gotten great grades. She didn’t have a bad head, but she just didn’t try.


‘Wait, I think I heard that somewhere before.’[2]


Maru smiled and spoke,


“Han Bada.”


“What is it?”


“Why don’t you go wash yourself? Oh, and change your pants too.”


“Ah, why should I? I’m staying at home the whole day. Also, these pants are comfy.”


“I think it’ll be better if you do. Also, you should tidy your hair a little.”


“What are you on about all of a sudden?”


“Dowook is coming over.”


“...What?”


“I said Dowook is coming over.”


“Who?”


“Kang Dowook.”


“WHY!”


When Bada abruptly stood up, Maru pointed at the bathroom for her. After glaring at him and panting for a while, Bada went to the bathroom. Some loud noises could be heard.


“He’ll be here in around 30 minutes.”


Maru called Dowook. Dowook was panting when he picked up.


“Are you rushing?”


-Why do you ask?


“So you are rushing. When will you be here?”


-Soon!


“Wow, that was quick. Hey.”


-Argh, why!


“What do you like about Bada? She’s not pretty at all.”


-Shut up, and also, I’m in front of your apartment.


“You’re here already?”


He went to the veranda and looked down. He saw Dowook who was looking up at the building while sitting on a bicycle. It seemed that he was cycling in a nearby park.


“Bada, Dowook is here.”


“Hey! Han Maru! Tell him that he can’t come in right now!”


“You’re calling your brother by name?”


“Ah, oppa!”


“I’ll tell him to take his time, so you can take your time as well. Also, have Dowook help out with your homework. This brother of yours needs to go out for a bit.”


The bathroom suddenly opened. Bada, who had shampoo on her hair, was glaring at him as though she was looking at a madman.


“Why would Dowook-oppa do that?”


“Because he and I are friends.”


“Goddammit! How can I possibly have him do such a thing?”


“Are you discriminating?”


“You’re so dead. I’m not letting this go.”


“Sure, sure. I get it, so you can continue washing. Mom and dad will be late so there won’t be any problems, right? You two can finish your homework and play around together. Whew, where can you find a better brother than me? I’m even considerate about your love life.”


Bada slammed the door shut. The sound of the shower could be heard for a while before Bada left with her hair wrapped in a towel.


“Is Dowook-oppa here?”


“He’s down there.”


Bada’s face paled. She carefully walked to the veranda and looked down before quickly hiding behind the fence.


“Oh my god! He’s actually here!”


Maru handed her a hair dryer since she was dusting the water off her hair with the towel.


“Take your time.”


“You really are….”


“Dowook came immediately when I talked about you, you know? I mean, I think he had other plans too.”


“R-really?”


“Yeah. I just called him and he was panting. It looks like he came here without rest. Man, someone has it good, with a passionate boyfriend and everything.”


Maru probed Bada out. Bada, who was glaring at him and was about to snap at any moment, shut her mouth and started tidying her hair. So she was a girl despite being so young, huh. Maru took his phone and wallet and left the house. He was able to dodge an annoying matter this time. He took the elevator to the first floor. He saw Dowook locking his bicycle.


“That was quick.”


“I thought you wanted me to come quickly.”


“Looks like the sun will rise from the west tomorrow, I mean, with Kang Dowook listening to another person and all. Hey, wait here for around 10 minutes before going to apartment number 502. No, actually, come with me to the supermarket for a bit.”


He took Dowook to the supermarket. He bought a lot of snacks, drinks, and ice cream for Bada and handed it to Dowook.


“When you go up, tell her that you’re here to help with her homework.”


“Homework?”


“Yeah. Man, Bada has it good, having a boyfriend like you.”


He pushed Dowook’s back when he looked at him with a questioning look. Nothing good would come out of explaining too much. He said ‘don’t cause any accidents’[3] into the elevator before turning around.


‘Well, people have their own lives.’


Although his sister ended up getting divorced in his previous life, he had to respect her choices.


Life would never flow the same way. Bada would choose what was best for herself. That was why he should just leave it to her to make her decisions. He thought that he should just help out when she thought that she was in the wrong and was in agony. He now knew that life was something that did not go the way he expected.


After standing under the sun for a while, Maru opened his phone.


“Daemyung.”


-Yeah, Maru.


“What are you doing?”


-Watching TV.


“Wanna go boxing?”


-...N-no. The master is too scary.


“Just joking. Let’s go to the jjimjilbang[4] together.”


-Jjimjilbang?


“You have plans?”


-No, it’s not like that.


“Then come. Wash my back for a bit.”


-Haha, alright.


Maru thought that friends were beings that he could go to the public baths with. He decided to have a long talk with him in a warm spring. Also while at it, he thought that he should ask about the drama that Daemyung was helping to create the script.


Maru looked at his house before walking.



[1] According to the [Korea Creative Content Agency, KOCCA], The Apgujeong(lit. Gull-friendly gazebo) was built in the area that eventually became the Apgujeong-dong in present day Seoul (The gazebo no longer exists). It was built by a person named ‘Han Myung-hoe’, who became a powerful official after helping Sejo take over the throne. Apparently, he also ‘gifted’ his daughters to Kings Yejong and Seongjong to get appointed as a powerful official four times in his lifetime. Apgujeong was his pen name. Also, despite its name, gulls never visited this area, and some scholars used a different hanja for ‘Ap’, which changed the meaning to ‘gull-suppressing gazebo’. The drama is probably set in this era. Han Myung-hoe was also titled the ‘meritorious vassal that calmed the national crisis’, which appears at the beginning of the chapter.


[2] Not sure about other countries, but (some) Korean moms always say this about their children.


[3] This, along with ‘don’t overspeed’, refers to ‘getting her pregnant’, or in this case, NOT getting her pregnant(...), when said in Korea.


[4] Korean dry sauna. Usually attached to public baths. Wikipedia for more details.