Crank Up 8
“It’s twelve right now….
So I should be there by 5”
The estimated arrival time on the GPS navigation window was 4:40.
She drank a sip of the lemon juice she bought in the convenience store.
She also chewed on some gum.
She had to drive for over five hours, so she had to brace herself.
Right as she departed, she got a call from Mijoo saying that Maru was looking for her.
Gaeul looked at her phone, which was turned off.
She turned it off because she felt like she would be exposed for lying if she picked it up.
What kind of expression would he make if he saw her Her eyes gleamed in expectation.
* * *
He couldn’t read anything from this guy’s expression.
Kang Giwoo drank a sip of the cocktail that the waiter served.
When he saw Maru standing in front of his room, his thoughts came to a complete standstill for a moment.
It was totally unexpected.
Did he get caught Or did this guy make a visit because of nervousness when he actually didn’t know anything He wasn’t someone who would knock on his door without a reason.
From how he came up with an absurd reason like ‘to get closer’, he seemed to want something.
“Can you show me a photo I didn’t see it last time.”
Giwoo pulled up a photo on his phone.
Maru looked at the screen and exclaimed in amazement.
How did you two meet”
“We’ve known each other since we were young.
We came across each other in a few meetings.”
“So you’ve known each other for a long time.”
“I said all this back in the room, but you didn’t hear it, huh”
“I was too engrossed in the TV.
I usually can’t focus on more than one thing at the same time.”
“There are people like that.
They have great focus.”
It was a game of poker.
It did not matter what card the opponent was holding.
It was a battle of whether they could successfully bluff the other or not.
Neither of them sat down here expecting credibility from the other.
He had to discern the truth and the lies within the conversation, and then he had to induce this guy to say what he wanted while attacking and defending.
Giwoo felt that this was a pretty unfair game.
This guy had something to gain from him, but the opposite was not true.
He already knew everything about this guy, whether it was the fact that the two of them were still dating or the fact that Kim Suyeon was colluding with them.
This guy was probably going to be tenacious about this matter, whether Kang Giwoo had arrived at the truth or not.
“She’s different from the ones I’ve met until now.”
“In what aspect”
“The things I couldn’t see because we were too close, entered my eyes when I changed my mind.
The biggest difference between her and the other women I’ve met until now is that she truly understands me.
Perhaps that was why I could never see her as a woman, and instead, only saw her as a friend of the same sex.”
“There’s no one as important as someone who understands you.”
Honestly, I pursued new things when I met women.
I always dated women who had clear differences from the ones before.
Some of them were picky, and some of them were docile.”
“So you met a lot, huh”
“I’m telling you because it’s you.
Since we’re doing what we’re doing, there are a lot of opportunities for us to meet.
Of course, there are many actors who stay distant from the opposite sex, but I’m of the opinion that you should meet as many as possible.”
“And that’s how you realized That this girl, who was close to you, cares so much about you” Maru asked as he pointed at the phone.
He seemed to be attempting to find a discrepancy by prying into a hurriedly-created history scenario, but Giwoo wasn’t going to fall for it so easily.
After he left Maru’s room and stayed under the cold wind, he had been thinking nonstop to create a detailed history.
“It’s not so much about care.
It’s just that we both realized how relaxed we are around each other and how decent both of us are.
Actually, she told me that she never thought about dating me either.
We were extremely close friends, and ever since we were young, we’ve given each other consultations, and by consultations, most of it was about romance.
Since it was like that, we both found out that we had very different views on romance, and thought that we’d never date each other, but you never know what can happen in life,” Giwoo said in a tired voice.
He had nothing to gain from Han Maru, but he had a lot to instill in him.
It would be very difficult to fool this guy.
At this point, he had to admit.
This guy was more slippery than anything.
That was why he had to proceed with this as slowly as possible, like getting someone drenched under a soft drizzle.
He must be suspicious now because of how Giwoo visited his room, but with enough repeated action, he should be able to get the suspicion off.
“There are many times when you miss the good person right in front of you.”
To a third person, it might look like two friends hanging out and chatting late at night over a drink.
Giwoo also put on a smile.
He was not going to give this guy any information.
For a while, they spent their time having meaningless conversations.
Maru seemed to be aiming to make the mood softer and then take a sudden jab.
Giwoo couldn’t let his guard down.
He maintained tension inside and feigned luxury on the outside.
Time was on his side.
The reason this guy called him out so late at night must be because he must have sensed something.
Han Maru would be the one getting urgent if they spent their time meaninglessly.
You know about it now, right That I used to date Gaeul.”
Perhaps he had finally given up.
He talked about Han Gaeul, who they briefly mentioned just as they sat down, but never mentioned ever since.
Giwoo responded with an awkward smile.
“I found out by coincidence.
If I think about it now, I can see why you reacted so sensitively.
I would’ve done the same if the woman I was going out with was being hit on by a man.
But it doesn’t matter now anymore, does it You broke up.”
He put a piece of macadamia nut in his mouth.
This guy was probably disappointed because of the lack of response.
Giwoo leaned back against the sofa.
He had no reason to be surprised regardless of what came out of this guy’s mouth.
He knew everything.
If he had to bluff, then he would have to tell the truth, but there was no way he would do that.
It would be pretty fun to observe Han Maru being helpless over a drink.
“Right, we broke up now.”
“It’s such a pity.
I personally thought that the two of you suited each other.”
“Your personalities are pretty compatible too.
If I was more quick-witted, I would’ve created an occasion for you two.”
“I never knew you were so considerate.”
“I guess that’s why people say they need to get to know each other.
The reason you misunderstand me is also because you don’t know me, and I might be in the same boat.”
The taste of the cocktail that entered his mouth was better than ever.
He had brought the superiority of the conversation completely to his side.
This guy stopped being indirect and started blatantly expressing what was on his mind.
It was proof that the unease in his mind was growing.
He was probably fuming inside because the person he called out to probe had zero response.
It would be his victory the moment this guy’s poker face collapsed.
“You also had feelings for Gaeul, right”
Giwoo pressed the ceiling of his mouth with his tongue.
It was a question he was expecting, but now that he actually heard it, he felt his insides churning.
“So you haven’t heard because you broke up.
I actually confessed to Gaeul.”
But if I look back at it now, I think I was a really bad guy.
I was really awkward at expressing myself.
I should’ve been gentler.
I ended up getting misunderstood by her because I couldn’t express my feelings properly.”
“That’s such a pity.
But, is it your hobby to get misunderstood by others”
“I hold back when speaking, but sometimes, I’m just too honest.
Maybe I lack sociability.
I should have come up with white lies or been more flexible about the situation, but I just can’t seem to find myself doing that.
It’s not good being always rigid.”
He chose words that should provoke Maru’s mind.
He almost couldn’t hold himself back from the mockery he just heard, but it wasn’t unbearable.
The unease he must be feeling should be the same.
“Gaeul’s pretty clear when it comes to saying what she likes and dislikes.
She should’ve rejected it if she didn’t like it.”
That’s why I gave up too.
She’s a good person, but we don’t suit each other.
And now, I have someone I love more.”
Maru’s head tilted sideways.
Giwoo clenched his hand under the table.
It was that expression.
That expression was the reason that topped all of the reasons he wanted to rip him apart.
“From what I heard, that wasn’t what happened.”
“From what you heard What did you hear”
“I heard about it from someone I know.
When was it again Apparently, you were totally done in by her while trying to forcefully hold her back.
It was… back at the Doctor’s Office afterparty, right”
His lips twitched.
While he said ‘someone I know’, it had to be Han Gaeul.
This guy was dead set on wanting to prove his superiority.
It was such a weak provocation that Giwoo couldn’t help but laugh.
“It was a foolish mistake.
I grabbed her hand without knowing because I wanted to talk to her.
She wouldn’t hear me out even if I called out to her.
It was entirely my fault.
I shouldn’t have done that.”
After nodding, Maru took out his phone and apologized.
“It’s my manager.
It seems like something just came up.”
“Is it something big”
It’s something simple.”
Maru put down his phone and grabbed the empty cocktail glass.
It seemed that he was in a fix because he had gained nothing after trying to shake Giwoo.
Giwoo thought that it was about time to get up.
He had said everything he needed to.
Whether this guy believed it or not didn’t matter.
It was important to keep creating opportunities to deceive this guy.
He would only go to the next stage once he was convinced that this guy had completely dropped his suspicion of him.
As for what he could do, he was going to decide after going back to Seoul.
Perhaps he should create a decisive event to pull Han Maru and Han Gaeul apart.
If that was difficult, he would induce one side to give up on the other.
He had many means to do that, whether it was wealth, violence, or manpower.
Just as he was about to say that they should go back and rest.
Maru spoke as though saying something extremely trivial.
I forgot to tell you this.
I’m actually still dating Gaeul.”