Act 9: Whimsically 9
There was a time I went around singing carols at weddings.
I used to do it back in my university days and the reason for doing it was of course to earn enough money to keep me going. After entering a music university, I was old enough to have an idea about my family’s financial situation.
In any case, although it might seem easy to find these wedding song singing requests considering the amount of weddings held, it was actually quite a difficult job to get.
From the bride and the groom’s perspective, it was the one and only wedding ceremony of their lives so even minor details like the singer of the wedding song would undergo close inspection on things like their work experience.
Besides, organisations would take videos of previous wedding songs of their singers to show the customers and put a lot of effort into marketing. Because first and foremost, there had to be results to persuade customers that they were good at singing.
So the fact that mere high schoolers like us were able to find a job of singing a wedding song would have been difficult even with the help of Director Han Seungjoo’s connections.
“Ah? Hello! You came to sing the wedding song right?”
Within the wedding hall with busy guests, I barely held in my laughter while looking at Lee Suh-ah who was throwing sneaky glances around, seemingly being intrigued by her first visit at a wedding venue when a person reached out to us.
Turning around, I could see a dressed-up male. With a tidy tuxedo and light makeup, he had organised hair.
It was our employer, the groom.
Immediately after recognising him, I entered hospitality mode and lowered my head.
“Hello, I am Jo Yunjae, who will be singing the wedding song.”
From the side of my eyes, I saw Lee Suh-ah giving an apathetic bow when the groom replied with a smile.
“Hello~ I saw you during the rehearsal but didn’t have the time to greet. I am Song Minchul. I will be counting on you for the song.”
“Yes. If you allow us to, we will sing to the best of our ability.”
After that, I had a short conversation with him.
We had small talks like how he enjoyed the song during the rehearsal and how the venue looked as well as how he was nervous from the first marriage he was having in his life… I mean, if he had lots of marrying experiences at that age, wouldn’t that be more weird?
It was then when the groom’s eyes moved towards Lee Suh-ah who had been listening to our talks with boredom.
“This here is Miss Suh-ah right? Lee Suh-ah.”
“Haven’t we met before?”
What… a pick-up line?
Lee Suh-ah seemed to be dumbfounded as well and frowned when the male opened his mouth with a smile.
“Last year, you sang at the concert hall of Future Middle School right? Was it the High-achievers concert? Something like that.”
“Ah, yes I did.”
While she gave an uninterested nod, the male continued with a wink.
“Come on. We greeted each other as well, don’t you remember? I’m the guy that was next to Song Mirae.”
She glared at the groom for a bit before visibly widening her eyes, evidently having remembered it.
“Ah, her cousin…”
“Yes. I actually called you here today as well because you were good at singing back then. I asked that little Song Mirae to sing but she said she didn’t want to so~”
Only after hearing up to that point did I nod in understanding. I was surprised that we received a job of singing at a wedding venue so this was the reason huh.
Although we went around singing a lot, it had only been two weeks. There were some rumours floating around but that was limited to the ones involved in the industry and no matter how well the companies knew us, the opinions of the employers; the groom and the bride were more important.
In that case, I guess this time is like Lee Suh-ah’s acquaintance directly requesting us for a job since I had close to no fame right now… While I was deep in contemplation, the two had a short conversation and the groom smiled after looking into Lee Suh-ah’s eyes.
“I think I need to go now. I’ll count on you for the song then.”
Leaving those words behind, the groom immediately started talking with other guests with smiles. Beneath the bright, sparkling lights, his friends shoved his shoulders giving congratulations and elders gave smiles at him as the little kids bowed without even knowing what was happening.
While staring at that scene, I opened my mouth as an abrupt thought popped up in my head.
“He is a relative of Song Mirae?”
“That’s what he’s saying.”
Glancing at her face, I found an uninterested expression. She was best friends with Song Mirae but seemed to be not as friendly with her family. While thinking that that wasn’t an impossible story, a thought regarding Song Mirae flashed.
“Then maybe Song Mirae will be coming today as well? I guess yeah? Since it is her cousin’s wedding ceremony.”
Lee Suh-ah stiffened.
Restlessly, Lee Suh-ah bit on her lips. She could see the wedding venue packed with people. The hall which looked spacious just a few minutes ago now appeared small due to the overflowing guests.
It meant that the invitees were almost all here, and that in turn meant that the start of the ceremony was nearing.
‘After it starts, there will be the officiate’s greeting…’
She racked her brains and thought back to the order of the ceremony. After some declarations and the officiant’s message, there would be the wedding song. Since that was based on her memory of the rehearsal they had, it was almost certain.
The wedding song itself couldn’t suit wedding ceremonies any better and was a warm love song – a love song sung together with Jo Yunjae in a duet.
Suddenly she remembered the messages Song Mirae sent her.
[Song: Lee Suh-ah!!!!!]
[Song: R u free tomorrow? Let’s meet up!!!!
(an emoji of a running bear)]
[Lee: Sorry, I have something to do tomorrow.]
I see!! Then next time!]
Pulling out her hair, Lee Suh-ah thought.
So that sudden question about meeting was… to come to the wedding ceremony together, huh.
‘What should I do…?’
Lee Suh-ah quickly racked her brain.
What would the current situation appear like to Song Mirae?
The guy she liked suddenly appeared with her friend and sang a love song together. And besides, they had been taking casual jobs with just the two of them throughout holidays without saying a word to her?
Her face blanched.
It was a situation that could definitely be misunderstood and if she was Song Mirae, she definitely would.
‘…What should I do, seriously…’
10 minutes before the start of the ceremony, Lee Suh-ah appeared strange.
Stealing glances, she gazed at the surroundings like she was looking for someone and suddenly, she deeply lowered her head in surprise. Then, she was completely still, as if she was afraid of her face being seen by someone.
She’s not playing heads down thumbs up right…
Looking at her hair flowing down like strands of seaweed, I asked in bafflement.
“What are you doing?”
“Hey…! Be quiet…!”
Hearing her whispering complaints, I shrugged my shoulders when she opened her mouth again with a murmur.
“…Can we sing the wedding song while wearing masks?”
“Kukuk. What are you saying? Are you going out on Masked Singer?”
“I’m super serious right now okay?”
“You’re serious? That thing about singing with a mask?”
I stared at her heaving out a sigh but her expression could make others speechless. Just like the black clothes she was wearing, dark signs of despair filled her face as if she had committed a grave sin.
She was like that ever since I mentioned Song Mirae though…
When I thoroughly searched for a possible reason, a rough gist of the situation started being formed in my head.
The song we will be singing soon, the existence of Song Mirae and Lee Suh-ah’s attitude of trying to hide the fact of her working. Adding these three to one, it led to a simple conclusion.
‘She doesn’t want to have her friend see herself working huh.’
I thought with a nod.
Thinking back on Lee Suh-ah’s actions so far, it was natural. Her acting and desperately hiding the family situation was perfect and even I was completely deceived into thinking that she was a daughter of a noble family.
The reason for doing that was obvious as well.
Most of the students in Future Arts High were from rich families and feeling the awkward sense of distance due to the differing family situations wouldn’t result in anything pleasant. It was something I felt personally while attending the school back when I was young.
After a slow nod, I opened my mouth.
“Would your voice be hidden by just hiding your face? Anyone can tell by just listening to it.”
Seeing Lee Suh-ah responding blankly, I thought with my fingers on my chin.
‘At this rate, she might make a mistake while singing…’
No, actually, she would definitely make a mistake at this rate. It would be a mistake that cannot be fixed; a mistake that would ruin our employer’s one and only wedding ceremony.
With squinted eyes, I contemplated before throwing my eyes to the watch.
It was 3 minutes till the start. There was still some time.
Shooting out of my seat, I pulled Lee Suh-ah by her arm.
Pulling her who didn’t know what was happening, I walked across the venue and while walking, I glanced around as the destination soon entered my sight. Perhaps she at least had some etiquette, as she had gotten rid of the fancy accessories which she always hung around her.
After finding Song Mirae who was sitting down with a bored expression in a reddish-black dress, I walked towards her.
While grabbing onto the arm of Lee Suh-ah who was quietly thrashing around in fear of making a sound, I walked.
“What do you mean wait. You should greet your friend at least.”
“That’s not the important bit!”
I pulled her along while bickering when Song Mirae turned her eyes towards us after noticing the noise. My eyes could see her expression changing vigorously, from boredom to doubt, from surprise to joy.
“Huh? Suh-ah! Yunjae!”
I raised my hand and greeted as Lee Suh-ah raised her lips awkwardly and powerlessly after giving up on resisting. Seeing us, Song Mirae floated a bright smile and made a fuss.
“What’s going on? Were you invited as well? That’s strange. Suh-ah might have been but there’s no way that guy invited you.”
Song Mirae tilted her head as I immediately gave her a reply.
“That’s because we came here to sing the wedding song.”
“Hn? The wedding song?”
I slowly began reopening my mouth while looking at the frown on Song Mirae’s face and caught sight of Lee Suh-ah stiffening in nervousness from the corner of my eyes.
No need to be that frozen.
Thinking that, I smiled inwardly and gave a simple reply.
“I’m doing these kinds of casual jobs during holidays.”
“Ah… I see?”
Staring at Song Mirae who cautiously threw a glance up at me, I opened my mouth while tapping Lee Suh-ah.
“But this time it was a duet song, and she was the only one I knew that had free time. She’s your friend as well.”
Blinking her eyes, Song Mirae glanced over the two of us before eventually breaking out into a smile with sparkling eyes.
“I see~ A duet of two full prac mark students… Isn’t it too much for that guy to enjoy?”
…As expected of Song Mirae, it was easy.
When I looked sideways with a small smile, I found Lee Suh-ah staring at me. She gazed blankly at me before soon heaving out a sigh of relief.
After that, the wedding ceremony continued without any problem since Lee Suh-ah had regained her composure. Once the officiant was over with his turn, we went out and sang the song – one of the most famous musical songs, ‘Take me as I am’.
Apparently it was a song the groom liked and since it was a song I had experience singing in, I didn’t need to practise either. I sang it as wedding songs a lot as well.
I tried incorporating expressions I was practising recently and put several points I understood as well. Especially because it was a musical which could be considered an offspring of opera, there were many common aspects with opera acting which I was studying recently.
‘Musical, a musical huh…’
In the midst of singing, I glanced at Lee Suh-ah and found out she was singing more zealously than usual.
It was pretty good. Since it was my first time seeing her sing a musical song, I wondered if she would be okay but as expected of a master of all trades, since the fundamental vocalisation was good, she copied me immediately when I taught her a little bit about musicals.
“Take me as I am–!”
After our song ended, rounds of applause reverberated as the ceremony continued with haste. The bride and the groom cut the cake into two as the parents of each family greeted each other and took a photo. Then, there was the bouquet being thrown.
Staring at the groom smiling with wetted eyes, I felt a strange sense of satisfaction feeling my heart and smiled.
The first couple blessed by my song.
Though I only talked to them once, I wished they could live happily ever after.