The equipment was moved to the annex building. The next shoot happened in the movie club, a secret hideout for the main characters.
“You look like you’re doing good today,” Gangha spoke as he raised his thumb.
“That’s true. I didn’t get a single NG today. Looks like I’m on a roll.”
Chaerim lightly clenched her fist before loosening it. She was definitely more at ease with this shoot. She had just enough tension in her body. She had the confidence to finish today’s shoot without making a mistake.
“Uhm, Chaerim. Can I get Dayoon-noona’s number?”
She was wondering why he kept talking to her since morning, but it turned out to be this. Chaerim frowned.
“I do want to tell you, but she hates things like that. You know what happened right? A fan of hers came to her house and caused a fuss. After that incident, Dayoon-unni is not good around men.”
Of course, that was a lie. There indeed was a stalker incident, but the reason she said that Dayoon was not good around men was to end this conversation.
“I guess that can’t be helped after she experienced such a thing.”
“I’ll tell her for now. But do you like her?”
“I just wanted to meet her and have a talk or something. She’s my type.”
“What are you going to do if your president found out?”
“You know how this works. I will act in a way so that I don’t get found out. The other groups date each other like that, you know? I mean, it’s not like we can go out with an ordinary person. You know what happened to the senior that dated an ordinary person, right?”
It was quite a famous event, so she naturally knew about it. The man involved belonged to a 4-person boy band that was quite popular, but the group was dissolved thanks to him dating. There was a problem with idols dating in itself, but the bigger problem was that the girl’s identity was exposed and she was attacked by extreme fans. It became a controversial issue immediately and consequently led to the dissolution of the group. The group tried to make a comeback with the three remaining people, but they failed and disappeared without a sound.
“In other words, we can only date other idols. We can protect each other’s privacy and secrets that way.”
Gangha approached her close and lowered his voice.
“You don’t have anyone you’re dating?”
“Me? I don’t.”
“Don’t lie to me. Really?”
“I said I don’t. What about you?”
“Me? I dated once but we went back to being good colleagues.”
“That’s amazing. Aren’t you scared? Your contract should state that you’re forbidden from dating.”
“You just have to be careful not to get found out. If you don’t have a boyfriend, what about me? I’m quite popular, you know?”
“Alright, you can stop fantasizing.”
“Why? We’ve known each other for quite a while, haven’t we? Counting pre-debut days, it’s been around four years, right? Hey, if a man and a woman have known each other for that long, you gotta date at least once. Don’t you think so?”
“We’ve only known each other’s faces for four years. This drama is the first time that we actually talked to each other, isn’t it? We just greeted each other politely before.”
“What happened before is not important, what’s important is now.”
Gangha reached out and grabbed her hand. Chaerim frowned and pulled her hand away.
“What a cold reaction.”
“If you want someone to date, look for someone else. How about Yu-ri? She seems to like you.”
“Oh? Didn’t you know? I’m going out with her right now.”
“So you didn’t know that. I thought Yu-ri told you already. Weren’t you two close even though you act cold towards each other?”
“Close? We’re more like enemies.”
“Really? Then you two should be friends.”
“Geez, I don’t get how women’s friendship works. But hey, you don’t have experience dating, right?”
“What are you on about so suddenly?”
“You think I’ve never dated even once?”
Gangha pondered for a while before shaking his head.
“No. There’s no way someone like you would have never dated anyone. So date me. Please? I’ll let you have fun.”
“I thought you were dating Yu-ri.”
“Hey, do you date to get married? I date to enjoy myself. A girl for marriage has to be good and kind, and a girl for dating has to be hot and sexy. I know you know that.”
“Forget it. Look for someone else.”
“Alright, alright. Tell me if you change your mind later. I’m always ready to switch,” Gangha spoke with a smile.
Chaerim thought of her unnis as Gangha walked away. They talked about this topic a lot when they were still trainees. I will date a male idol or date an actor once I become famous. The talk between girls full of dreams was fun, but now, they no longer even talked to each other that much. They always got into a fight whenever they talked about something, so they just didn’t talk at all.
‘We’ll end up like The Five.’
‘We’re the eternal, The Five.’ That was their greeting comment. Yet, such an idol group became strangers in just one day. Chaerim thought that the unfair contract wasn’t the full story. If all of the members were dissatisfied with the contract, they would’ve all left the company, not split up into two-three like that. It was obvious that the disharmony between members was the reason and the unfair contract was just the trigger.
The contract Chaerim signed with Yellow Star couldn’t be considered entirely fair either. In the news as well as various magazines, they talked about how Blue profited hundreds of millions to billions of won, but the money that appeared in her bank account was less than 10 million won. And that only happened recently. The expenses required to create albums were also on the members. She thought that that was natural, but from the recent news, it seemed that that wasn’t the case. The unnis recently started calling a lot of people, and from what she heard, they talked about contract deposits and whatnot. Perhaps Blue will follow a similar path to The Five in the very near future.
“I should do well.”
This drama was a foundation for her of sorts. This drama would enable her to live as the actor Chaerim and not as the idol Chaerim. Since there were talks about movies as well, she would be able to receive the interest of the public as long as this drama went well even if Blue was dissolved.
‘Me, no longer an idol huh.’
She never imagined two years ago that she would be thinking about such things now, but she now had to think about it since it might become a reality. She couldn’t stay as a child forever. What would happen if she stopped being an idol and became an ordinary actress? After she thought about that, she was reminded of the dating matter that Gangha talked about.
Dating, huh. She went to practice starting in elementary school, and she did the same in middle school as well. She never missed school or anything, but since she never hung out with her friends after school, she never got close to anyone either. The same went for dating as well. Now that she thought about it, she was very obsessed with training. She had thought about dating someone and walking around hand in hand. When people paid too much attention to her to the point that she had stressed-induced gastritis, she imagined what ordinary life would be like whenever she slept. However, she soon realized that she liked her current self better than her ordinary self.
Despite that, she wanted to try dating. The idols she met during work were very cool, but for some reason, she never felt affection towards them. It was fun to play with them, but she never wanted to be alone with them. There were a couple of idols who indirectly expressed that they wanted to date her, but she refused back then because of the notion that she had to have meticulous self-control.
What did it mean by being lovers? It was a rather pointless question, but once she thought about it, she became conscious of it. She sighed just like the time where she saw her friends leaving school together from the classroom. The feeling she had back then was definitely vanity.
Chaerim shook her head. She thought that the reason she kept thinking in this direction was because of Gangha. No, to be more honest, it was because of him. In front of the annex building, Chaerim pretended to read the script and looked at Maru who was standing on the other side. He was reading his script with a serious expression. Even though he was a supporting actor without many lines, he looked into the script for a very long time. He concentrated on the script more than she did.
Then, there was her junior who stood a little away from him. Chaerim couldn’t look at her junior. Back in the parking lot, she ended up dusting some trash off Maru’s head without thinking about it.
‘No, perhaps I intended to.’
It was a childish thing. Even though she was aware that her junior’s boyfriend was Maru, she took those actions. No, perhaps she did so precisely because she knew. She didn’t know what she was doing. She knew that doing such a thing just because she didn’t like her junior a little was bad.
‘...A prank, is it?’
Chaerim sighed. She didn’t want to waste her energy on such a trivial matter, but she was conscious of it. Was it not just curiosity and did she like him after all? This wasn’t good. She was still an idol. Dating was a taboo for idols. Some agencies went as far as to say that committing a crime was better than dating. It was just that much of a sin for girl idols.
She looked at her script, looked at Maru, and looked at her script again. She was angry at herself for being so flustered, but she did not have a way to solve this issue, so she had no choice.
In the following shoots, Chaerim made a few mistakes. Thankfully, the director still looked like he was okay. This was thanks to the fact that she did well in the morning. It also meant that the director wasn’t at the limit of his patience yet.
“What’s up with you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Who else would know if you don’t know about it?”
“Are you picking a fight?”
“Is me being worried about you picking a fight? I’m telling you to do better. You’re wasting all of our time. I need to go to the TV station quickly, but it looks like I’ll be late thanks to you.”
Yu-ri angered her before leaving. Chaerim leaned against the wall and closed her eyes. She had to focus. She slapped her own cheeks hard before standing up. She couldn’t have any trivial thoughts, and she had to focus on the shoot.
At that moment, she met eyes with Maru who was standing on the other side. After pretending to not see her, Maru shrugged once before raising his left hand above his head. Then, he pressed the part between his thumb and index finger with his right hand. Chaerim did the same thing like a child imitating their mother. For some weird reason, the annoyance and nervousness within her died down.
‘Oh yeah, there was this.’
After pressing it a few more times, she felt that her mind had cleared up. She looked back at Maru, but he was just looking at his script again. It was really hard to say thanks to that fellow.
After the standby sign, Chaerim went about the shoot with more ease of mind. She did her lines smoothly, and looked at her counterpart actress, Yu-ri, with a confident expression. Then cut. The director made a satisfied smile and signalled the end of the morning shoot.
They had two more cuts to shoot at the school after lunchtime, and after that, they would leave the school. Since the drama shoot was all she had for today, she would be able to go home and rest after the shoot ended. She thought about going to the shared residence but decided not to. She was fed up with getting into a fight with the unnis.
“Thanks for all your work, seonbae.”
Just as she was sitting on the platform in the school because she wanted to rest by herself, her junior had approached her and was offering a drink. She didn’t want to see her, but she received the drink with an awkward smile anyway. It was a cool green plum drink.
“Where are you going by yoursel….”
There was one more guest. It was Maru, who didn’t finish his sentence. In his hand was a lunchbox. She had heard that Woomin had brought lunchboxes for the staff, and that seemed to be it.
“Aren’t you going to eat?” Her junior asked, sitting down next to her.
“I will. You two can eat here, I‘ll eat with my friends.”
“The other lead actors?”
“Uh, yeah. We promised we’d eat together.”
Chaerim wanted to leave this place immediately. She never arranged a lunch appointment or the like, but she needed a lie in order to leave this place naturally. Just at that time, she saw Yu-ri walking past the main entrance. Gangha was next to her. They met eyes as well. She waved her hand at them. Now, she just had to leave this place and join them. However, she couldn’t leave. That was because Yu-ri had glared at her once before looking away. Gangha, who was next to her, also waved back in an apologetic manner before following her. It was obvious. She wasn’t that close with them. She was aware that the two always ate together. The problem was that there were juniors next to her. She didn’t want to show such a scene to these two either.
“Hey, look at this. There’s a batter-fried shrimp. It’s quite big.”
That voice was a little loud. Chaerim slowly turned around. Maru was speaking as he showed her junior the lunchbox. Thanks to that, her junior did not seem to have noticed that the other lead actors had brushed her off.
“Wow, it’s big.”
Her junior smiled like a little child. Chaerim then looked at Maru.
“Why don’t you eat with us, seonbae-nim. It’s always been a wish of mine to eat with a celebrity.”
Maru called her seonbae. It seemed that he had heard that she was the senior of his girlfriend at school.
“Hey. She says she has an appointment.”
“A junior from school wants to eat with her, so she wouldn’t be a senior if she just left like that, don’t you think so, seonbae-nim?”
Maru offered her a lunchbox that still hadn’t been opened yet. Chaerim blankly stared at it for a while before nodding faintly and accepting it.
“Then I’ll go get another lunchbox.”
“Sorry about that.”
“You don’t have to be. Also, you can eat first.”
Maru left. Her junior, who sat next to her, opened the lunchbox with a bright smile.
“Please forgive him for his rudeness. He lives on his own ego.”
“Yes. You wouldn’t know how much he boasts about himself. Well, he does have the qualifications, so I can’t say anything. But seonbae, are you okay? You had an appointment.”
“It’s just lunch. I’ll just text them.”
Chaerim took out her phone and sent a text message. She just entered a random number as the receiver.
She received a pair of chopsticks from her junior and put the lunchbox on her knees. She ate lunchboxes quite frequently. Since she was often busy with shoots, there were a lot of occasions where the place she sat became a table. Of course, she didn’t eat fried food like this normally.
Chaerim took a bite off the batter-fried shrimp. She heard a crunch next to her as well. Her junior was eating with a happy face. Seeing that, she felt more pathetic. At the same time, she even pitied herself for feeling rivalry against her.
She forgot about calories for a moment to forget about this sad feeling and left her body to gluttony. Just as she ate a piece of fried shrimp and the Jeyuk-bokkeum,
“I know this is a rude, and maybe a weird question.”
“Do you perhaps like Maru?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
The bomb hits!
Also, since Gangha this guy is a named character, I predict that he will shoot himself in the foot some day...
I Hope Chaerim stays around after getting rejected by Maru. She's kinda annoying but I still like her. Yoojin, Cute She Her, Chaerim trio would be fun.