Life, Once Again! - Chapter 818
The first episode of Doctor’s Office ended with Giwoo’s intense gaze. Maru uncrossed his legs and got up from the sofa. To evaluate it, ‘he wanted to go to the bathroom but couldn’t because it was so immersive.’ The first episode was just that well-made. The director distributed the emphasis throughout so well that the viewers wouldn’t get distracted, and the writer showed the audience the spiderweb-like plot at the end of the first episode to threaten them to watch the next episode. Are you still not going to watch the next episode? — the writer’s voice seemed to say. The faction war within the doctor’s office and the large-scale traffic accident were tangled with each other like it was Jenga, and so, neither of them could be resolved easily, and it just went to show how skilled the writer was. After all, she was someone who was considered to have written a line in history through her suspense drama. Maru recalled how the writer said that she could not do without romance but would not make the romance boring. It interested him to see how she was going to write about love within the rapid political struggles in the hospital.
-Did you watch it?
When the teaser for episode 2 started airing, he got a call from Gaeul. He picked up the call and went to the kitchen.
“I did. I would be in big trouble otherwise after all.”
It was noisy over the phone. She said that she was going to watch the first episode, so she was probably at a bar or a restaurant. From the way he could hear cheers, it seemed that the staff was satisfied with the quality of the first episode. He brewed some ceylon tea and went back to the sofa.
-Shall I hear your review of it, then?
“First, if I have to score it, it would be 9 out of 10.”
-Why is it not 10?
“Because you show up too little.”
-That’s an extremely personal review.
“That’s how reviews are supposed to be.”
-So it’s 10 out of 10 if you exclude my screen time?
“Sure. It was really good. I wanted to go to the bathroom midway, but I even crossed my legs to hold myself back because I was so curious about what was going to happen next.”
“You know I don’t lie.”
-Well, I can’t be sure about that.
At that moment, someone shouted at Gaeul, telling her to have a drink. Gaeul told that person to wait. It seemed that she was moving away from the drinking occasion.
-The camera director is really drunk right now. He started drinking before it even began. Geez, I knew he’d turn out like this.
“I’m sure he felt really good. The production quality was great after all.”
-I was really impressed too. Especially that scene in Cheonggyecheon. I didn’t realize when we were shooting it, but it looked really pretty on screen.
“The CG team must have worked really hard. It will take more than just a day or two to keep up that kind of quality.”
-They’ll have an even harder time near the end. That goes for us too.
“Dramas are more like live-action near the end. How are things over there? It definitely sounds pretty cheerful.”
-Everyone’s in an uproar. We might be optimistic, but we are even thinking about how we might take the crown for the Wednesday-Thursday series. The reactions are good on social media as well.
“That’s not surprising. The effort was clearly visible.”
He took a sip of the tea before bringing his laptop. He placed it on the table in front of his sofa and searched ‘Doctor’s Office’ on it. Doctor’s Office was first on the real-time search rankings provided by the web portal. There were many related articles on Twitter and Facebook as well. On large community sites where feedback was the quickest, a ‘meme room’ had already been created, and people were using a portion of the newly posted articles. Most of the used scenes was the one of Kang Giwoo walking down Cheonggyecheon and suddenly starting to weep. Both the story and the production was targeted at taking down women’s hearts, so the reactions were to be expected.
“The cafés are in a rave too, about how Doctor’s Office is so good.”
“Kang Giwoo’s cool, pretty, he’s my man, I already wrote our marriage documents, et cetera.”
-A popular man sure is different alright.
“There are things about you too: ‘Han Gaeul is cute’, ‘she looks innocent unlike the ones she did before’, ‘her acting skills are good’.”
-You’re just reading the good ones, aren’t you?
“There are only good words about you.”
‘That slut’, ‘Terrible acting’, ‘She’s clearly tempting Giwoo’ – he didn’t even click on such comments. He lived in an era where even God received insults, and Marlon Brando would get mocked for terrible acting. Bad comments were best interpreted as a measure of interest. Among them, some devalued Gaeul with words that he could not even speak of, but he didn’t find any value in going against them. People were supposed to speak to people. He just pressed the ‘report foul language’ button provided by the web portal. If things became bad, her agency would step in. ‘Hwan’ was known for looking after its actors quite well.
-I can see that my acting is terrible.
“Did you look that up?”
-I should. This is a form of monitoring.
“Don’t worry too much about it. Your acting was clean. It was neither overboard nor lacking. It was just the way I like it.”
-Didn’t I look a little too out of energy?
“That’s a skill too. You didn’t look out of place and managed to dissolve in with the rest. You were comfortable to watch. I think you did everything that you can do through acting. The rest is up to the writer to portray your character. There’s a limit to how much you can make a bland character look good through acting.”
-What do you feel about my character then?
“For now, 7 out of 10.”
-That’s way too low. Can’t you give me more?
“Are you going to feel happy if I generously gave you 10 points?”
-No. If you say that, I’m going to hang up, go inside, and drink a whole lot.
“That’s why it’s a 7. It’s the highest point you can get with your own effort alone, so don’t feel so bad about it. Aren’t you getting more action starting in the next episode? From the looks of it, I could tell that there’s going to be a romantic plot between you and Giwoo.”
-It does look like that from looking at the script, but I’m not sure yet. Anyway, have you always known Giwoo? He told me before that you two were close friends who met in the gym all the time.
“He introduced me as a close friend?”
He smiled as he drank the cooled tea. If his relationship with Giwoo could be called ‘close friends’, he would be best friends with a stranger on the street or maybe even lifelong buddies. He probably didn’t tell Gaeul that they were close friends because he was scheming something. It was probably the bone-deep social facade he always put up.
-Why? Are you two actually on bad terms?
“We’re neither on good terms nor bad terms. Aren’t friends all like that?”
-He even told me that the three of us should eat out sometimes.
“Three? Including you?”
“Tell him to go ahead.”
-You sound pretty strange. Did you get into a fight with him? Or are you actually not close at all?
“We aren’t kids. We aren’t at the age where bad relationships can make or break a dining occasion. Above all, my very close friend Kang Giwoo has an amazing background, so knowing him won’t do me harm.”
-So you definitely don’t like him huh. Should I put some distance as well?
“You decide for yourself. You aren’t someone who would listen to other people’s words, are you? If you feel like he’s a good person then stay close to him, and if you don’t, then just put some distance. Oh, do act kind to him like a lover throughout this drama. It’s highly likely that you two will be put in a romantic plot, so it won’t be that good for you two to be on bad terms in reality, right?”
-How can you say that as my boyfriend?
“I should keep my public and private affairs separate.”
-Maybe I should do a deep kiss scene with him.
“That won’t be enough to cause me to become jealous. I know what comes after that after all.”
-I wonder if you know that you’re sounding more and more like a pervert?
“I have been a gentleman since I was born. How can you possibly call me a pervert?”
He could hear her giggle on the other side.
-Are you on Instagram?
“There’s no one to look at it. That thing is for popular people.”
-Try it out. Who knows? Your fans might make a visit and leave behind a comment.
“I was never able to bring myself to do something like that.”
-What about the fan café from before?
Hearing the word fan café, Maru recalled the memory from five years ago. He searched Han Maru on his laptop. When he went to the cafés section of the web portal, he saw that it was still there.
“I completely forgot about it; it’s still here.”
-You’re such a bad guy. That café was created when you were in high school, wasn’t it? You should have kept watch.
“I thought it would disappear soon. It looked like a friend of my sister made it for fun anyway.”
He clicked on the link to the café. He was greeted with a popup, saying that he was promoted to admin level. He had forgotten about this place for the past five years after visiting on the first day, so he felt like he had returned to the alleyways he always walked around during his childhood. There was a notification saying that there was a new post. Thinking that it was probably an ad, he went to the bulletin board. Unlike what he expected, it wasn’t an ad for an illegal gambling site. It was an article that announced that Han Maru, the subject of this café, was cast in the drama ‘Doctors’. He was surprised that there were still active people here. He had a look at all the poster IDs. There were about thirty active posters. They even called each other by nicknames as though they had met up once in real life. It seemed as though the café had turned into a social thing because the actor himself didn’t have that many activities even though this started off as a fan café.
“These people are having fun by themselves.”
-You should write them something.
-Also, take some photos and upload them. You’re way too ignorant when it comes to things like that. Aside from showing your performance in public, I think such activities are important. I mean, it’s a connected era we live in.
“Alright. I’ll listen to your words.”
-Don’t forget to create Instagram.
“I don’t take photos that much though.”
-Get into a habit of taking them. Do you think other people take them because they don’t have anything better to do? They’re all trying to get close to their fans.
“I’ll make one and tell you the ID.”
-You should be able to find me if you look up Han Gaeul.
“You have a lot of viewers, don’t you?”
-About ten thousand followers, I guess? There aren’t many people from our country using that platform, so it’s quite small compared to Twitter, but my manager told me that I should take care of it since it should explode in popularity soon. She said something about how pictures are better than words.
“Ten thousand sounds like a lot already, but it’s going to increase? Damn.”
-There are artists who have hundreds of thousands to millions of followers overseas. I’ll probably get just as many once the people in our country start showing more interest in Instagram. Everyone has a smartphone nowadays after all.
He looked up Han Gaeul on Instagram. He saw photos that she just uploaded. Above the photo she took with members of the staff, he saw a photo that she took with Giwoo alone.
“I see you took a photo with Giwoo.”
-What? Finally feel jealous now?
“Are you going to stay away from him if I say I am?”
-If you want.
Maru smiled and closed the window. She was a wise woman who knew how to be considerate. Even without him having to tell her anything, she would probably never cross the line. If he was going to nitpick about every single man she encountered, he wouldn’t have whispered love into her ears in the first place. Just because obsession and control were elements of love, it was a foolish thing to actually enforce it upon someone.
“Don’t drink too much.”
-That’s the plan. I want to drink at ease only at home.
-The home with the dog, I guess?
“I want to see you.”
-Me too. Should I just go right now?
“You should take care of your social life. If you disappear without a word when the director and the writer are present, your character might disappear in the next script you get.”
-If I become unemployed, I’ll just switch to being a housewife.
“Are you serious?”
-Maybe I will be in a few years, don’t you think? I should save up while I can if we want to live a cozy life.
“Then I’ll leave everything to you and go on full breakdown mode starting today, okay?”
-Try me. Housing costs will be split half-half, and the same goes for living expenses. I will not open the door for you if you don’t have any money, so it’s up to you.
“How merciless. But hey, can I take that as you are proposing to me?”
-Well, probably not? Proposing over the phone during the middle of a get-together sounds terrible even when I think about it.
“I’ll be waiting, so go for it when you’re ready to propose. I’m willing to accept it with a benevolent heart.”
-You sound very overconfident. Oh, I should hang up. They’re looking for me inside.
He put down his phone.