Chapter 35: Chapter 36: Hanging Out in Hongdae (Part 1)
After enjoying the delicious taste of bright red and spicy rice cakes, salty fish cakes, and crispy fried foods, the stream was over.
“Sian, we’re done now. You can stop eating,” the writer said to me. Of course, I didn’t listen.
Hainan gasped as she watched me eat. This is probably her first time seeing me like this.
“Sian, how can you eat so much?” Jia said, matching Hainan’s shock.
“Sian, we need to leave so you have to stop eating…” the writer said hesitantly. I finally put my fork down.
I was still hungry though.
“Wow, Sian, look how many people there are.” Hainan said, looking out the window. I didn’t notice because I was so busy eating, but now looking at the crowd, I could see what Hainan meant. People had their cell phones out, taking photos and videos. Some even had their backs turned towards us to take selfies with us in the background.
“You guys are so pretty~!”
“Sian, you’re so cool~”
“I love you, Hainan~!”
“Jia Lee! Jia Lee!”
There were especially a lot of male fans cheering with their deep voices. I wasn’t particularly fond of that. Mentally, I’m still a guy. Of course, I’d prefer women.
“I love you guys!” A woman nearby said to us. I immediately approached her and gave her a hug. She was so small, my entire body engulfed her immediately.
Soon, we all climbed back into the van.
“Oh, we didn’t say goodbye to them.”
“I did,” Jia said with a proud smile. But then she added, “But, Sian, don’t you think you ate too much?”
I looked down at my stomach. It wasn’t even out. Considering all the food I ate, it was a little weird. Did my stomach acid melt it all? One would never guess I had such a large appetite.
“How did we place?” I asked the writer curiously.
“First. By a landslide,” the writer said with a smile, resulting in cheers from everyone.
“It was a lot of thanks to you, Sian.”
“I didn’t do much. All I did was eat,” I said modestly. I couldn’t believe that I was receiving such compliments when all I did was eat. It must be nice to make a living this way.
“Once we edit and release this officially, I bet you’ll get a lot of calls asking you to do a mukbang.”
“No way. Since it was also showed live, I’m sure plenty of people saw it already. I bet calls are coming in right now,” Jia asked, eying me with slight envy.
“I couldn’t do it anyways because of the audition.”
I know I won’t be able to. I’m still a trainee. If I became a member of Lovely Girlz, I’d be busy with other bookings.
“Sian! Sian! You’re the number one search topic!” Hainan said, showing me her phone screen. Just as she said, my name was at the top of the highest number of searches.
I chuckled. Who knew that a mukbang would make me this popular?
“That’s pretty cool.”
I clicked on my name. A whole page of articles about me showed up. An article that was uploaded merely three minutes before read [Is Lovely Girlz trainee Sian joining the mukbang community?] And an article from barely 60 seconds ago read [Lovely Girlz trainee Sian pleasured herself in public…]
I clicked the article.
[Lovely Girlz trainee Sian pleasured herself in public with a plate of spicy rice cakes.]
Shit. It was clickbait.
“Doing such things to increase views. What kind of word choice is that?”
Still, I had to give the journalist props to that.
And with that, I learned about how popular doing a mukbang show could make me.
I was now ranked third in the online poll. That meant I was now in the Top 3. I wonder if it’s because of the mukbang. But more than that, the internet was going crazy. There were more articles about me than I had ever expected. At first, they only talked about my mukbang, but then some went back to my incident with Chun-ah Lee. There were even some about my dieting progress. There were a lot of supportive comments, but some mean ones as well.
[There’s no way she lost all that weight in such a short amount of time. She definitely got lipo.]
[She eats like a pigㅡㅡ. Might as well snort like one too. I just don’t like looking at her.]
[Too many articles, tsk tsk. Who wants to see someone eating that much?]
[Did she really lose all that weight naturally? I bet she’s lying.]
[This is a real question, but is that face really considered pretty? She looks ugly to me–]
[re : Let’s look at your face then.]
Wow. I couldn’t believe some people. Whether or not it was surgery, it’s none of their business. And to think some people still think of me as a pig. I really want to meet all these people one by one and see what gave them the right. But it’s probably better if I didn’t, since I tend to act with my fists first…
There was another amusing article that came up, saying that we were all fighting for the center position. The contenders were Yoo-young, Ji-hyun, Jia, and me.
[I say Jia. She’s so full of energy.]
[Sian should be it, since she’s a fighter. It’ll make the group more interesting!]
Most of the comments were like that, but one that was my favorite said:
[I don’t care what y’all say. Seo Jang Hoon still wins in life.]
“Let’s go out.” Jia said, poking me to get my attention.
I shook my head as I laid on my bed. I could feel the food coma coming at me.
“Come on, Sian. Please?”
Jia grabbed my hands and tried to pull me off the bed. The clock read 8 PM. Where on earth was she thinking of, going at this time?
“Let’s go to Hongdae! We have the day off tomorrow.”
Hongdae…From what I’ve heard, Hongdae is noisy and crowded. There’s clubs and a bunch of drunk foreign girls flirting and flashing people…eh?
“What do you want to do there?”
“I just want to look around. I got some allowance too. We can get something to eat.”
“Is it because you want to go clubbing?” I asked, narrowing my eyes.
“No. I don’t go clubbing.”
“You look like you like to go clubbing.”
“Hmph. I know, but I don’t. I’m a celebrity. I have to be careful about my image.”
She had a point there. When you’re a celebrity, your entire life is about how you present yourself to others. No one likes a party girl, being all easy and careless. Those types of things are especially detrimental to one’s image. Look at Chun-ah. His popularity went down in one stroke because of his lifestyle. You only get one chance.
“Alright, let’s go.”
I knew there was no point in trying to argue with Jia, so I just gave in.
We arrived at Hongdae. And just as I thought, it was noisy as hell.
“It’s so noisy.”
Jia laughed, clearly in a good mood.
“Totally,” Jia said, clinging to my arm with a bright smile.
“Don’t you hang out in places like this all the time?”
“No. I don’t really come to places like this often.”
That was a surprise. Jia definitely looked like a girl who would.
“You’re more wholesome than I thought.”
“Want to do some shopping?” I said gesturing to a store nearby. Some type of brand I didn’t recognize. Jia nodded eagerly.
“It’s hot. Let’s buy an iced coffee first.”
“Okay. There’s a café right there,” Jia said, pointing out a café in the distance. We headed over there.
The name read Dog Café.
“Do they have dogs?”
I found out the answer the moment I walked in. The moment the dogs saw Jia, they began to wag their tails and bark loudly. But when they saw me, they all dropped their heads in submission.
I nodded, accepting the dogs’ behaviors without comment. I’ve said this before but I am a master of fighting. I learned not only how to beat any creature, but I learned to do it well. Any animal in the right mind would obey me without question.
At my command, all the dogs brought their paw up, as if they were waiting for me to say something. Jia and the café owner stared in awe.
The dogs all got down onto their bellies.
They all rolled in unison…A few rolled both ways, but most just rolled to one side. I mean, it was fine by me. Just the fact that they rolled at all was impressive.
And all at once, they all got up to stand on their hind legs. What good dogs.
“Wow. Sian, that’s so cool.”
“It’s nothing,” I said with a shrug. But I was just being modest. I knew this was cool. I could make a dog kill itself if I could. That’s not an easy skill. But, anyway…
“Let’s order some coffee.”
We ordered a café latte and a caramel machiatto, but I could feel eyes on me. I turned my head and on the table next to us was a male cat, just staring at me.
The cat wasn’t as obedient.
After drinking coffee, we hit up a clothing store. Before we could actually go in, a bunch of young guys began to bother us, so I gave them the finger and told them to fuck off. Considering they didn’t know who we were, I figured they didn’t really use the internet very much. Or maybe because it was dark. Anyways, we went in but we just browsed a bit. There wasn’t really anything that we wanted to buy. A lot of people did recognize us in the store, so we said hello to them and took photos. After some more browsing at a few more stores, it was suddenly midnight.
“Wow, it’s late.”
I was shocked. I only meant to be out with Jia for a short while. I’m not usually one to hang out with people this late…Am I really turning more and more into a teenage girl…That’s terrifying…I really hope not.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me…”
As I recalled this psalm, I began to resent the higher power that put me in this body.
“Do you want to get some beer?” Jia asked.
“Yeah. We’re already out anyway.”
I had vague memories of beer. I’ve been told it’s very good. A constant companion for the best times and the worst times. I wondered what it tastes like.
“Yeah. Let’s just drink for a little bit and go back.”
And that’s how we ended up at a pub. It looked very crowded and noisy, and there were few clusters of young people here and there. There was a good mix of men and women, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.
An employee greeted us enthusiastically. As she looked at us, she tilted her head from side to side, clearly wondering where she’d seen us before. At times, I thought I saw a look of recognition on her face, but then it was gone.
“We’ll sit over there,” I said, jerking my head towards an empty table. The employee told us to go ahead.
“We’ll take a pint of beer and a some fries.”
“I’ll get your order right away,” the employee said before walking away.
“There’s a lot of people.”
Then again, it was a Saturday night, so I guess it was to be expected.
“Do you wish you had this?” I asked Jia, watching the youngsters. Jia was 21-years old, probably the same age as most of these people. She should be out there, hanging out with kids her own age and having fun.
“I mean…I do, but there’s nothing I can do about it. We all have our different paths.”
“You’re right. We all have different paths and different endings. Let’s work hard together.” I said, giving Jia a pat on her head. I couldn’t help but feel like we were having a bonding moment.
The beer and fries came out quickly, and we immediately began chatting, mostly badmouthing others. Starting with Jinwoo.
“Jinwoo, that ass…ah.”
I couldn’t get myself to curse.
“He’s such a horsemaster.”
“Yeah. I need to whip him myself one day.”
Jia laughed at my words. Though I hadn’t been joking…
“But why does Yoo-jin keep getting half soy sauce flavored chicken and half fried?”
“Right? Sweet and sour chicken with fried is so much better.”
“I think half sweet and sour with half soy sauce flavored is the best,” I said sincerely. Jia nodded. Suddenly, a guy from a few tables away stood up and approached us.
I tilted my head as I stared at the guy. Why is he here? After a few seconds, the guy gave us a sheepish smile and said sweetly, “Hi. Sorry, but…I lost a bet so…will you do a love shot with me?”
“No,” I said immediately.
“Actually, I was asking Jia…”
The jerk asked, looking right at Jia. So he recognized Jia…
“Oh! You know who I am?”
Jia asked excitedly.
“Yeah, I’m a huge fan,” The guy said with a bashful smile. But I knew better. I saw the way he was eying her body. Especially her chest and legs. With a very lustful look in his eyes as well. I considered clawing his eyes out, but somehow I restrained myself…
“Okay, let’s do it.”
Jia agreed easily.
I cut in.
“Sian, why not?”
“If I say no, it’s a no,” I said adamantly. I knew a player when I saw one. Just look at the friends he was with. They kept looking over at us and snickering. It made my blood boil.
And to be honest, Jia did look a little easy. That’s why she was getting all this type of attention. It was my job to protect her.
“Yeah, why not?”
The guy sneered at me. That’s it. Show your true colors.
“Fuck off, you asshole.”