Life, Once Again! - Chapter 746
“Look here and here. There are a lot of articles, aren’t there?”
Bada was boasting as though it was her own achievement. Maru took the mouse from her. He moved around the cursor and clicked on the next page. More than half of the café articles related to the search term ‘pojang-macha’ were related to the drama. There was a mix of compliments and disappointments, but what was important was that the drama was being talked about. Negative interest was still better than no interest. It was the viewing rate of the drama that decided a drama’s value after all. If it becomes an issue, the number of people watching it would increase, resulting in an increase in viewing rates. Whether the drama was artistically worth any value was something that was going to be evaluated later.
“Did a lot of your friends watch the second episode?”
“Well, my close friends have watched it at least. Do you know how much I talked about it? If you had just told me about it beforehand, the first episode would have gotten a higher viewing rate too.”
“Fine, I’ll tell you from now on. So then, most of your class has watched it?”
“No, most of the girls did, but a lot of the boys didn’t watch it saying that the first episode was boring. The ones who enjoyed the first episode watched the second episode. The boys in my class lack too much emotion to understand the emotions of the drama. That’s probably why they didn’t watch it.”
“You even know whether they lack emotion or not?”
“I mean, seeing them is enough. I had a look at the comic books they were reading, and they were terrible. They fight during a soccer match, they fight at school, they fight everywhere. Even though they can’t fight, they really like fighting comics.”
Bada, whose nose was twitching, placed her hands on her keyboard as though she remembered something. The search term was short: Han Maru. She pressed enter and the website listed a bunch of cafés.
“Look at this.”
Bada’s finger pointed at the monitor. At the end of her finger was a link that led to ‘Han Maru fan café’. Maru chuckled.
“Did you make it?”
“Are you crazy? I don’t have time for stuff like this. Anyway, yo, Han Maru, you even got a fan café now, huh? Maybe you’re going to become a star at this rate.”
Maru clicked on the café. There were photos on the main banner of the front page. It was a couple of screenshots from ‘The Witness’ and ‘Pojang-macha’ put next to each other. It was just two pictures of different resolutions stuck side to side. Overlapping in the middle were the words ‘Han Maru Fan Café’ written in yellow.
“Heck, I can do better than this. They should have created it better. It looks like an elementary schooler did it,” Bada said as she looked at the screen.
“I appreciate the effort. But hey, this feels rather interesting. There are people who recognize me, huh.”
“Look at how many members there are.”
“One of them is me, so that makes 4.”
“You signed up for it?”
“I did. I was curious what they had in mind when creating something like this. But there wasn’t anything much. I think it was just created.”
“So it’s a café that’s bound to be abandoned soon.”
“Why don’t you write a greeting since you’re here? It’s your fan café.”
“There’s no one to see it though.”
“Still, you should do it.”
“Nah, it’s a bother.”
“Hey, Han Maru. Don’t you have to communicate with your fans if you’re an actor? It might be crude, but they still made you a fan café. These four must be your fans.”
Bada urged him to write. Maru turned around to look at Bada’s expression. If he looked into her eyes, he might be able to read what she was thinking, but Maru just sighed and looked at the screen. It was a power he gained as compensation for his cursed life. He didn’t know what would happen if he used it on other people recklessly. He might end up falling into the repeated cycles of life again. He decided to look into the minds of those that were worth it.
“I’ll post a greeting at least.”
Maru logged in before trying to post something on the café. When he clicked the ‘new post’ button, he was greeted by a message that said he didn’t have access.
“You should sign up for the café.”
“So I have to sign up for Han Maru’s fan café despite being Han Maru, huh.”
“Stop whining and just write it already.”
He clicked on the ‘sign up’ button. As for his nickname in the café, he went with Han Maru. Unlike the crude-looking main page, the sign-up process was very picky. He had to write the titles of the dramas the two photos on the main banner were from, and he had to write the name of the character he played in New Semester.
“How can people sign up like this?”
“If they’re Han Maru’s fans, they should put in the effort of looking them up.”
After signing up, he left behind a post on the main page: Hello, I’m Han Maru. He put that as the title before saying ‘thank you’ in the content.
“That’s it?” Bada said, seemingly dissatisfied.
Maru took his hands off the keyboard and looked at Bada. From the way she was speaking, it looked like she wasn’t completely uninvolved in the making.
“Do you know the person who made this café?”
Bada’s eyes looked at 1 o’clock before coming down again. Her upper lip twitched. This was a habit Bada had when she lied. Though, she herself didn’t seem to realize it.
“Anyway, put some more effort into it. They’re your fans.”
“I get it, so go thank the creator of the café for me.”
“I said I don’t know her.”
“Her? So it’s someone close? Maybe someone from your class?”
As soon as he probed her out, Bada sealed her lips and left the room. Maru wondered when she was going to fix her personality of escaping when she couldn’t say anything. She would probably slap Dowook in the face with a ‘You don’t know anything about me, oppa!’ before coming back home. Maru sent a text to Dowook.
-You have it hard.
As expected of a new café, the posts weren’t categorized besides the announcement that was at the top. He clicked on it and had a look at it.
-This is a café to cheer for the actor Han Maru. Please get along.
He laughed. It looked just like an announcement for a café that was made on a whim. He wondered how long this would last. He thought that lasting a month would be considered a long time.
“But still, I’m thankful that people are recognizing me now.”
There was something that was heard frequently during interviews with actors: It’s all thanks to the encouragement from the fans. It might be something that they habitually talked about, but even to such actors, the first meeting with their fans must have been filled with excitement. It was a miracle to see people unconditionally like someone after all.
Just as he was about to close the window, Maru put a comment under the main announcement. Although large-scale cafés blocked normal users from putting comments in the announcements, the owner of this café clearly seemed inexperienced and forgot to do such a thing. He also clicked the announcement noticeboard just in case, and it turned out that normal members could write on it as well.
-Thank you. I will do my best in the future as well. Also, I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave the announcement noticeboard open. If you see this, please lock it.
He left that comment before closing the window. He turned off the PC before lying down on his bed with a book. It was an ordinary weekday afternoon, and he didn’t have a shoot. It was the perfect time to read a book.
* * *
“Did you see that? He left a post. Yes, I told him about it. But you’re quite weird. What do you like so much about Han Maru that you even created a café for him? Do you want me to let you meet him? I think it should be fine if it’s just a greeting. What? You don’t? Why?”
Bada hung up after listening to her classmate’s words until the end.
“Being too close would decrease that mystery. I guess she’s right.”
Her friend said that there was a lot to enjoy precisely because there was a sense of distance. She said that meeting him would be best left for later since becoming close to him would increase the familiarity and decrease the interest. When Bada asked when she wanted to meet him, she said the official fan meetup. An official fan meetup. Bada wondered if such a day would even come. No matter how she thought about it, she couldn’t imagine it. Han Maru, an official fan meetup?
Bada buried her face in a pillow and laughed. When she imagined it, she couldn’t help but laugh. If there ever came a day he did a fan meetup, she decided to laugh at him from the front lines.
After laughing for a while, she thought about what her friend said. The things she said before they hung up were things that Bada sympathized with: I like the feeling that he’s an actor only I know of. Bada also liked TTO when they just made their debut and weren’t that popular. She felt like she was hogging a jewel to herself, and when her friends first found out about TTO, she even felt proud. She felt a little disappointed and dissatisfied seeing girls crying out ‘oppa’ when they were all looking down on them before, but she also felt happy that a star she liked was gaining popularity.
Bada imagined getting to know TTO in person. Indeed, she would definitely be extremely happy at first, but she would soon realize that a star on TV was definitely different in their private lives. Perhaps her friend’s attitude of appreciating a star from a distance was the right attitude for a fan.
She threw her pillow to the side and turned on the PC. She quickly browsed around and entered the café that her friend created. Her brother also left behind a comment under the main announcement.
“It’s really crudely made. Well, it’s not that surprising since she doesn’t know anything about running cafés.”
After staring at the monitor for a while, Bada pressed the ‘new post’ button. Since there was a café and all, she felt like her friend would be disappointed if all there was was a greeting from her brother. She looked for some photos of her brother in a play on her PC and uploaded them. They were photos that Gaeul-unni had sent her before.
-Actor Han Maru is a great playactor too.
After writing that, she felt like it was a title that gave her the shivers, but she clenched her teeth and put her cursor on the main content. Just as she was about to write the first letter, she got a call from Dowook.
* * *
Kang Dowook put down his phone and laughed.
“There are a lot of crazy people in the world. A Han Maru fan club?”
He had a headache as soon as he saw the two photos crudely joined together and the words ‘Han Maru fan café’ in the middle. So Maru had also seen this, huh. From what he knew of Maru, he probably wanted to ignore it but was then nagged by Bada to write something. Just as he had expected, he saw a post from Maru as well. He had written a greeting that looked like it was from an official document or something.
“You should be acting cute at a time like this.”
He clicked his tongue. Just as he was about to close the window, the rather empty-looking noticeboard caught his eyes. Dowook sighed and clicked on the ‘new post’ button. Maru might be a cold-minded guy, but he might be disappointed if there wasn’t a single post in his own fan café. Or maybe even embarrassed.
Just as he was browsing through the photos on his computer, he heard a knock on his door. There was only one person in his house that knocked on his door.
“Noona? What is it?”
“I was going to tell you to eat some fruits. What are you doing?”
Soojin entered with a bowl of fruit. Dowook smiled awkwardly. While the misunderstanding he had towards her had dissolved completely, he still didn’t know what to say to her when they met face to face.
Just as she was about to leave after putting down the bowl, she looked at the monitor.
“Han Maru fan café?”
He tried to close the window in a hurry, but his sister prevented him.
“Maru had a fan café?”
“It was just made, apparently.”
“There’s nothing in it. It’s not like that guy’s even famous. That was why I was going to post something on it, no wait, that’s not it.”
“You’re kind, Dowook. You know how to look out for your friends.”
Dowook was about to deny it, but he shut his mouth seeing his sister smile faintly.
“What’s the URL for this place?”
“You just have to type Han Maru in the search bar.”
“Looks like I must join as well.”
“Don’t bother. I think it’s going to disappear soon.”
“You never know. Also, there’s something I want to write down as well. Oh, I should tell this to my daycare kids.”
“The place Maru went with me to do doll plays when he was in his first year. He still comes around from time to time these days. I’m sure they’ll love it if I tell them about it. They really like Maru after all.”
“That dude was still doing that?”
“Maru is the type to take responsibility until the end.”
His sister pushed the fruit bowl over to his side to urge him to eat before leaving. Dowook looked at the fork that had a cute cat character on it and chuckled.
* * *
“A Han Maru fan café?”
Dojin laughed. Iseul, who was next to him, looked at him in wonder.
“Alright, I’ll go have a look when I go home. But still, who made something like that? Alright, see you over the weekend. Bye.”
“Who was it?” Iseul asked as she let go of the straw.
“What’s this about Han Maru’s fan café?”
“Just what it sounds like. It’s a fan café for Han Maru. Apparently, there’s one on the internet.”
“Really? I guess Maru is famous now.”
“Apparently, there’s only a single-digit number of members.”
“Then I should sign up and increase that count.”
“I’m going to post a funny photo of him as soon as I sign up. I have some on my phone.”
“You’re such a bad guy.”
“That’s what being friends is about.”
“There was a PC-bang right nearby. Should we go now?”
Dojin nodded and stood up. Iseul finished up the rest of her coffee in one go.