Life, Once Again!

Chapter 911. Crank Up 3
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Chapter 911. Crank Up 3

Only after petting for thirty more minutes did the Pit Bull’s stiff muscles start to relax. When he let go, the Pit Bull stared at Maru for a while before going next to Woofie under the table, aggressively looking at the water bottle as he did so. Maru picked up the water bottle and took out some dog gum from the cabinet. It was something that made Woofie stand up and move whenever Maru started the vacuum machine as she would just flop on the ground without budging otherwise. He couldn’t just give the Pit Bull one, so he placed one in front of Woofie as well. Not seemingly aware of the human’s cheap tactic of buying him off with snacks, the Pit Bull enjoyed the dog gum.

“Hello?”

He picked up his phone after watching the dogs enjoy the dog gum with it between both of their front paws. Hey – he heard a voice coming from the other side, and he felt like he could smell alcohol from the sound alone.

“Are you drunk?”

-No.

The immediate response made it clear that she was semi-drunk. Maru looked at the time. It was midnight. The three musketeers calling at this hour were very likely to become uninvited guests. Without the fence known as Han Gaeul, they would have barged in without even calling. Maru spoke to Suyeon, who was snickering like crazy,

“You should go home if you don’t want to be on the news tomorrow as a celebrity who was found sleeping on the street in the middle of winter.”

-I have two reassuring bodyguards so it’s fine.

They were the three musketeers after all. It seemed that Ganghwan and Guensoo were with her. Or maybe, forced to be with her.

“Don’t make other people suffer and go back home.”

-I want to do that too, but the two people next to me are very busy people. It’s been ages since we met up and drank like this.

Geunsoo’s voice sounded over Suyeon’s giggling words. He grumbled about how he couldn’t even drink because he had to drive. It seemed that there were two drunk people, not one. That was for the better as if Geunsoo was sane, he would probably get the other two home safely when they shout for more.

“You should go back home after getting something nice and warm. Don’t bother Geunsoo hyung-nim too much. Tell Ganghwan hyung-nim too that he should look after himself since he’ll be performing the day after tomorrow.”

Suyeon transmitted the message to Ganghwan. Ganghwan shouted something, but Maru couldn’t hear it that well. From the looks of it, he seemed to have said something like don’t worry.

-The two men are being so stingy. Before, we would go for three rounds minimum whenever we met up, but now they’re coming up with all sorts of excuses to not go. How can they leave behind such a beauty like me to drink alone? I’m the number one actress that men want to go traveling with, you know?

Despite being drunk, she kept boasting about herself.

“They say you shouldn’t do that to family members. Anyway, why did you call me?”

-They don’t like drinking anywhere else, but the two men said they’re okay drinking at your house.

“You know what the deal is already though. I don’t live by myself anymore. You know who’s at home.”

-The cutie sweetie pretty tender refreshing Gaeul who’s without a doubt wasted on you?

“Yes, that cutie sweetie whatever-you-just-said Gaeul is living with me so please mind your manners. I’d also love to drink with you and the two hyung-nims, but my cute Gaeul needs to rest after work. It’s my job to take care of the breadwinner when she gets home. You know what I mean, right?”

Drinking with the three musketeers was something that he would gladly do, but it would be a different story if the place was his house. Whenever he looked at the mess that had become of his house, he felt his heart breaking. It was especially worse whenever the three of them came to his house semi-drunk as his house would turn into something akin to a pigsty. The drunk Ganghwan would make a mess out of the bedsheets, while Suyeon took out everything inside the bathroom cabinet. It was good that Guensoo didn’t get drunk easily, but when he got drunk to the point he wouldn’t be able to recognize his parents, he would cook pancakes on the floor.

-Did Gaeul say she’s tired?

“She must be. You know how it is towards the end of the drama. It’s practically a live feed. She’s staying up all night and whatnot, so she’s totally hectic. So I want to let her rest quietly when she’s at home.”

-That’s so thoughtful of you, Maru. I guess I can’t help it then.

“Let’s drink next time. At that time, I’ll serve you well.”

-Next time, when?

“I guess some time in the future.”

Though, as long as the place was his house, it was closer to never. He stood up with his phone and opened the door to the bedroom. He quietly said ‘go back to sleep’ in a soft voice at the empty bed.

-Is Gaeul sleeping?

“She seems to have woken up, but she’s gone back to sleep. It looks like she heard me on the phone.”

-Looks like I woke her up. Tell her I’m sorry.

“It’s fine.”

-There’s no place better than your house to drink comfortably, what a pity. It’s peculiar, isn’t it? Whether it’s Ganghwan oppa’s place, Guensoo oppa’s place, or mine, it doesn’t feel the same as drinking at your house.

Grudges and complaints welled up inside him, but he held back and instead spat out a thin, long breath. Well of course it wouldn’t feel the same. Drinking at their places meant they would have to clean up afterward, while drinking here would mean they didn’t have to move a finger and could just go home. The charity work he had provided them until now had produced this terrible situation. He should have locked his door the first day the three musketeers barged in.

“You should come later.”

At this point, it wouldn’t be strange even if she gave up on coming after all the hints Maru gave her, but instead, Suyeon kept expressing that she wanted to come to his house. Her tenacity was on the level of synthetic rubber. Maru went to the veranda as he listened to Suyeon’s chatter. He saw a car come into the parking lot through the night air. Now that he thought about it, he remembered that he promised Gaeul to go traveling together. As she had a strict schedule and was exhausted physically, they went grocery shopping together when she had a day off to replace dates. Perhaps he should take her to a ski resort once she came back from her vacation.

The car made a lap around the parking lot. It seemed that it couldn’t find an open spot. Maru could see an empty spot in a corner to the right, but it was behind a truck, so it wouldn’t be easily spotted by the driver.

-Why don’t I see a spot?

Suyeon, who was praising seafood stew until mere moments ago, suddenly changed the topic. Maru followed the car that was driving laps around the parking lot. He suddenly felt a chill run down his back. It must be because of the cold night air. It couldn’t be, right?

-Isn’t that one right there right behind the truck?

His left cheek twitched. As soon as Suyeon said those words, the car slipped in right behind the truck. Maru grabbed the banister and narrowed his eyes. There was a reason his eyes were drawn to the car that entered the parking lot. It turned out that the car was a model that he saw quite a lot.

-Anyway, the seafood stew you cooked last time was so good that I just can’t go anywhere else. I’m not joking. I’m totally serious. On a night like this, we should drink some soju alongside seafood stew!

The car opened and a person got out. He couldn’t see because of the dark, but the silhouette was definitely that of the woman. The opening of the car door was precisely in rhythm with the last accented ‘stew’ syllable. He tried to deny reality, saying that there was just no way, but no matter how hard he thought, it was extremely improbable that the woman who just got out of the car was a different person from the person on the other side of the phone. The silhouette stood under a street lamp. The one looking up at the veranda with her phone against her ear was Suyeon after all. They made eye contact from dozens of meters away. Maru almost dropped his phone under the veranda.

-That’s you, isn’t it?

“No.”

-The one that just turned around and is turning off the lights is not you?

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I turned off the lights a while ago and was getting ready to sleep for a while now.”

-Really?

“Yeah. Rather than that, you are going home, right?”

-Yes I am. I see the elevator in front of me. It’s building 204. What an affectionate number, 204.

“That’s a familiar number. You aren’t perhaps at my house, right? I don’t want to think that you are such shameless people, seniors.”

-Of course. We’re doing our best to respect your privacy. I’m the one who’s stopping the other two from trying to go to your house. As a woman, I should be the one to look out for Gaeul, right?

“Right? There’s no way you’re coming, right?”

-Of course. If Gaeul is resting at home, then I would never go there. Unless I got permission from her beforehand.

There were parts that she strongly emphasized. ‘If’ she was resting at home and ‘permission from her beforehand.’ Maru stared at the door. When he focused with his breath abated, he heard the elevator arriving at his floor. The Pit Bull and Woofie also looked at the door, proving that he didn’t hear wrong. He heard the doorbell. He checked the interphone. Suyeon’s face filled up the screen. She had a bright smile on her face, as though demanding him to open the door this instant.

-The mistress of the house told me that she wasn’t going to be at home today. Curious, isn’t it? You said Gaeul was home. Maybe she’s a clone?

Suyeon spoke directly into the interphone. She was practically a police officer with a search warrant. She looked like she would bust the door open if he didn’t open it for her. He obediently unlocked the door. The three musketeers were outside. Each of them was holding plastic bags that had supermarket logos.

“How dare you try to deceive us,” Suyeon said as she took off her high heels.

She seemed to have found the Pit Bull while coming in and stopped on the spot.

“So this is the one. I did see a photo that Gaeul sent me. He used to be in a dangerous place, right? Does he bite?”

“Watch out. He bites hard. You’ll bleed.”

“So he doesn’t bite.”

Suyeon approached the Pit Bull without hesitation and crouched in front of him. The actors who worked under president Lee Junmin all knew how to greet dogs. It was to reach their hand out so that the dog could smell them and then petting their heads softly after making the dog aware that they weren’t an enemy. Suyeon was the same. The Pit Bull was wary at first, but after seeing the owner being completely indifferent, he seemed to have finished checking and let Suyeon pet his head.

“How smart. Unlike the owner, that is.”

Guensoo and Ganghwan entered as well, saying that they were intruding just out of formality.

“I couldn’t forget about the seafood stew you cooked for us,” Ganghwan said.

“Me too, I craved that today. I couldn’t stop them. Sorry about that.”

Despite apologizing, Geunsoo showed off the seafood stew ingredients stuffed full in both of his hands. Maru covered his face with both of his hands and buried his head on the sofa.

“Mister! Cook us one quick,” Suyeon shouted.

Ganghwan and Geunsoo were already waiting in the kitchen. They said with their eyes: chef, what shall we do?

“There’s a good seafood restaurant right in front of my house.”

“We chose to come to this place over a hotel restaurant.”

Suyeon hugged the Pit Bull and sat on the sofa as though no further conversation was acceptable. A chuckle left his mouth. It was a chuckle that came out when he had the premonition of defeat.

“We’ll clean up before we go,” Geunsoo said.

He said those words last time as well and did not keep them. Where was the pot again? It was better to accept his fate obediently when resistance was futile. He found Gaeul rather coldhearted today for not coming home.

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