As the staff prepared to move to the next location, Suhyeon approached where Seohan was standing.
He was not just an actor he admired; he also wanted to emulate his thoughts and actions.
When he realized that his much-admired sunbae and role model had watched him act, his excitement only grew.
“Sunbae, did you stay because of the next schedule?”
“…I had some work.”
Seohan replied with the same gentle smile he had shown earlier.
But this time, the sharp thorns that subtly pricked him previously were nowhere to be felt.
In contrast to the noisy and frantic surroundings, silence descended between Suhyeon and Seohan.
Suhyeon was calculating what topic to bring up to get closer while Seohan kept his mouth shut in slight embarrassment.
Looking back, I was really childish and narrow-minded.
Seohan reflected as he looked down at the round top of Suhyeon’s head.
He had applied the same strict standards to both adults and children alike.
Naturally, no child actors met his expectations, and he was often criticized for being harsh.
Those words piled up and became the reason Seohan started to avoid child actors.
Even so, I shouldn’t have belittled their effort.
Seeing Suhyeon’s talented acting and small body that still couldn’t keep up with that talent, Seohan realized his mistake.
It was indeed harsh to demand adult-level expertise from children whose vocal cords and muscles weren’t fully developed yet.
“…You acted well. You’re good.”
“Oh, thank you!”
“Both your emotional expression and dialogue delivery are good. Just be careful not to be too conscious when trying to utilize the camera.”
On seeing Suhyeon’s bright response, Seohan subtly looked away.
The more he saw his bright attitude, the more he was reminded of his childish behavior.
It was difficult for him to face him because of his pricking conscience.
If it weren’t for the small voice that stopped him, Seohan would have run away, using schedule as an excuse.
“Can I get your autograph? Only one?”
When Seohan hesitated, Suhyeon tried to pressure him with his biggest puppy eyes.
Suhyeon had honed his acting basics by imitating the productions in which Seohan starred, and he molded his acting philosophy from reading his autobiography.
No matter how they were colleagues and potential future rivals, right now, all he wanted was his autograph out of admiration.
Seohan stared at Suhyeon silently. Then he sighed lightly and smiled.
“Sure, of course.”
As soon as he got the permission, Suhyeon rushed to fetch his script, which he had left in the corner.
Seohan’s autograph and a word of praise took their place on the worn-out script that had been used for practice.
“You managed to have fun without me, Suhyeon? That makes me sad.”
As he was gazing at the autograph Seohan had left, Chaemin, who had popped up out of nowhere, pushed his face close to him, wearing a disappointed expression.
Despite his expression, his eyes were full of mischief.
“Was it you, hyung?”
“No! Why are you always suspicious of me?”
Chaemin expressed his grievance at the sudden suspicion.
Of course, Suhyeon didn’t fall for his act.
After all, Hyung was the one behind the water truck incident, and he was the one who often ended the schedule that was about to be extended.
Though the staff treated him like a fleeting star, the producer and some middle-aged actors either stayed away from Chaemin or found him difficult.
Hence, it was highly likely that Chaemin had interfered and made Seohan, who was supposed to leave, stay and watch Suhyeon’s performance.
Besides, denying right away when asked an unexpected question is something only culprits do.
While Suhyeon was lost in his thoughts, Chaemin pretended to cry and covered his eyes.
It was clearly a “pretense,” but the words that followed struck Suhyeon’s heart.
“I just held back sunbae out of my fondness for my cute junior.”
“That is… thank you.”
“I may not be as into it as you are, but since Seohan-sunbae is an actor I quite like, I won’t mess around.”
“Wait. Does that mean you fool around with other people?”
“Hmm, if necessary?”
For a moment, Suhyeon felt sorry and glared at Chaemin with a sour face.
Having such tender feelings toward Chaemin felt like an insult to his emotions.
“Bad expression? I think everything’s ready, so you should get going.”
“…Yes. Hyung, thanks for handling sunbae’s case today.”
With a composed expression, Suhyeon left a mischievously smiling Chaemin behind and returned to the set.
There were still three scenes left to shoot.
To finish on time, he needed to avoid making mistakes.
* * *
“Suhyeon, this is your first work, right?”
It was after the filming had ended.
As Suhyeon prepared to leave, aiming to be home no later than 9 o’clock, he found himself puzzled by the unexpected praise.
Seated on a chair that was taller than her, with her feet dangling, Seora watched him with a somber expression.
“What is it?”
“When I act with you, I never get criticized for being too emotional. I can’t help but laugh and feel flustered without even realizing it.”
“Uh… Thank you?”
The conversation awkwardly ended, and Seora hung her head.
Whether it was because of her bangs, a shadow fell over her face.
There’s still a little bit of time left…
After briefly checking the time, Suhyeon climbed onto the empty chair next to Seora.
And then he pressed his cheeks with both hands.
It’s warm and squishy. This is why adults love to play with my cheeks.
“Oh, sorry. Your cheeks are so bouncy.”
“…Can you let go of them now?”
Startled by her half-frightened eyes, Suhyeon let go of her cheeks.
While his hand cleanly fell away, regret was clearly visible in his gaze.
“Ahem. Anyway, Seora, do you have something bothering you?”
“How did you know?”
Suhyeon quickly changed the subject to hide his embarrassment.
Seora’s eyes widened, not knowing the cowardly skills of adults.
Kids will be kids.
Seora was shocked and looked exactly like a child her age, different from how she appeared in front of the camera.
She looked like a mere seven-year-old who hadn’t even started school yet.
At that age, you should be crying and making a fuss, not smiling like that. Is it because she has been exposed to society too early? Or is there another reason?
Only then did Suhyeon seriously consider Seora’s behavior.
Seora was a child who lacked a lot of childlike aspects.
She prioritized adults over her own convenience and smiled even in unpleasant situations.
Suhyeon suddenly thought that there might be another reason behind her actions.
“My mom always told me. That the real actor is the one who becomes the character and makes the other feel the same way.”
“But I can’t do that, so I’m just memorizing everything.”
And she was always getting scolded for it.
The words that followed her explanation about memorizing were as powerless as a sigh…
Suhyeon looked at the gloomy child without saying a word.
Seora really loved her mom.
To the extent that phrases such as “mom said” and “my mom” followed after every sentence.
And that habit suggested another possibility to Suhyeon.
“Hey… Seora, by any chance—”
Just as he was about to say something, the dressing room door opened and his mother, Jiyeon, and Seora’s manager came in.
“Suhyeon, are you not ready yet? It’s been a while since we started the car, but you’re not coming out.”
“Seora, let’s go home.”
As other people began to appear, Seora’s gloomy expression brightened as if nothing had happened.
Her change was as swift as a performance commencing with the friction sound of a slate.
“Suhyeon, let’s see each other tomorrow!”
He had managed to avoid the conversation that would have only complicated matters, yet he felt a tinge of regret.
He stared at Seora’s retreating figure, accompanied by the manager, until Jiyeon called him again.
* * *
“Here’s to the success of Promise of the Blue Summer!”
Glasses clinked together in a toast.
In the midst of the noisy drinking session, Seora and Suhyeon quietly lifted their glasses filled with soda for a toast.
The beef sizzling in front of them was being cooked.
“Finally, it’s our premiere today.”
“I hope it goes well.”
“It will go well! Our cute ones have done so well! Seora, let’s take a proof shot with unnie.”
Suhyeon looked at Seora while sipping his drink.
There was no sign of gloom in her interaction with the female lead, Choi Ayeon.
I couldn’t continue our conversation from before.
Despite multiple shootings after their conversation in the dressing room, Suhyeon and Seora hadn’t found time to talk alone.
As things got busier, Suhyeon, aware of Seora’s distress, found himself checking on her every time she came to mind.
It’s better for me to avoid and ignore the issue because we are strangers, but strangely, I can’t do that… Maybe because she is my first colleague and friend?
“Suhyeon, you should eat vegetables too, not just meat. Here, open wide.”
Suhyeon was eating meat, yet he opened his mouth when he heard the voice coming from beside him.
Jiyeon stuffed a rather large lettuce wrap into her mouth.
…It’s too big to chew.
When Suhyeon only moved his lips, Jiyeon realized it was too big and motioned for him to spit it out.
Of course, Suhyeon, who was in twenty-five years old in spirit, chose discomfort over spitting food into his mother’s hand.
There were things that he, with a face as solid as an iron plate, couldn’t do.
“Here and have some water.”
“But if I eat like this, my stomach hurts later. And I can’t sleep…”
“Why has our Suhyeon become so cunning?”
“I just want to eat meat today.”
Suhyeon blinked his eyes with fists attached to the corners of his mouth.
Defeated by the sparkling-eyed attack, newbie mom Jiyeon surrendered.
“So, just for today!”
“Phew, who does he take after to be this cute…”
Jiyeon, watching Suhyeon with a lovingly dazed expression, frowned at the sudden phone call.
It was from a client she had recently worked with.
“These people think freelancers work 24 hours, really. Suhyeon, listen to the noona next to you. Don’t go anywhere, don’t touch the grill, just stay still? Mom will take the call and come back.”
With an awkward expression, Jiyeon headed outside to take the call.
She must have trusted her child, who had never caused an accident and was always well-behaved on the filming set.
As Suhyeon had no intention of causing trouble, he obediently ate his meat as instructed.
While he was busy gobbling down the meat, Chaemin approached him unnoticed.
He sat in Jiyeon’s place and wrapped his arm around Suhyeon’s shoulder.
And held up his flip phone.
“Wow. Our little one, you use chopsticks really well. Look here.”
Wow… without even giving me time to prepare…
Suhyeon quickly struck a pose as soon as the screen lit up.
By now, his ability to determine the best pose based on the camera’s angle was second nature.
“…Usually, people get flustered and look weird when a camera is suddenly shoved at them, but not you.”
“You’re really mannerless, hyung.”
“Can’t take a joke?”
As a way to vent his frustration, he ruffled Suhyeon’s hair.
As the shooting was over for the day, he displayed no qualms as he roughly ruffled his hair.
“Ouch. That hurts. I’m a delicate five-year-old, you know. Please handle me with care.”
“Our little five-year-old Suhyeon is indeed extraordinary. Now, eat more meat and grow big and strong.”
“Chaemin, you were at the same table with Seohan. Didn’t he come with you?”
While Suhyeon and Chaemin were bantering, Ayeon, still sitting next to Seora, asked with sparkling eyes.
Fully turned towards Chaemin, she looked like she had been playing with Seora.
“Seohan-sunbae was held back by the writer, so I escaped alone.”
“Ahaha. Chaemin, you’re really funny.”
“Really? Choi Ayeon, you seem quite vibrant and innocent.”
Suhyeon, while looking at the clock hanging on the wall, heard Chaemin subtly add the word “brain” under his breath.
There were just 5 minutes left until the start of the drama.
With the broadcast time approaching, everyone was sneakily glancing at the TV while having their meal and talking.
Hmm, it’s hard to see from here…
Even when he stretched like a meerkat, he couldn’t see the screen because of the adults’ large bodies.
Despite being the leading role, Chaemin, who was grumbling inside about his poor treatment, looked down at half-mockingly Ayeon.
“Suhyeon, want to go to the table where the PD is at? The TV is most visible from there.”
“Yes, I’d love to. Seora, I’ll go over there with my hyung.”
“Seora, let’s go! What could we do in such a corner?”
As soon as Suhyeon and Chaemin stood up, Ayeon urged Seora to move.
Her movements were quite swift for someone who volunteered to look after the kids in the corner.
Indeed, a person who thinks about food more than I would look after the kids.
Suhyeon folded his thoughts about Ayeon and held Chaemin’s hand.
Although he felt a little awkward holding a man’s hand, he didn’t feel embarrassed as he had been doing it for almost three months.
“Oh, the rest of the main cast has arrived. Sit over there.”
The PD, writer, and Seohan greeted them as they reached the table.
The PD’s face was flushed, as if he was half drunk.
“Suhyeon and Seora are so cute today too! I really chose the child actors well!”
“That’s true, Writer Lee Hyeona. They act so well, don’t they? Really, your acumen is the best.”
“Oh, Ayeon too.”
While the two women were creating a harmonious atmosphere with their flattery, time went by, and the opening title started on the TV.
The goal of the female protagonist, the Korean restaurant Gaeunjeong, and the main characters were introduced in a panel format, and the title Promise of the Blue Summer appeared in shiny font.
“We’ve started at 5.3%!”
When the staff connected to the control room announced the real-time ratings, the sound of glasses clinking echoed here and there.
Suhyeon watched the ongoing video.
People talking at the party, a busy kitchen where food was being prepared, a young girl walking lightly…
Finally, a small party venue where children gathered appeared on the screen like a short snapshot.
– “Why is that kid alone?”
– “Look at him pretending to be good by reading a book.”
The children on the screen briefly looked at the ‘young Jiwu’ with unpleasant eyes, then approached him with mischievous smiles.
Hmm. The close-up is perfect. It came out well.
Suhyeon was satisfied with his own brightly smiling image while half ignoring the children.
Even without special CG, his adorable appearance was sparkling enough to make one want to bite it.
This beauty… let’s keep it forever.
While Suhyeon was secretly making a vow to himself, the staff checking the ratings yelled excitedly.
“The instant viewing rate has reached 14.1%!”
As soon as he finished speaking, a cacophony of cheers erupted inside the restaurant.
Love the series? Share your thoughts on Novel Updates by rating and reviewing it now!