STAR DATE #IRENE – special edition

It’s time for another Kpopalypse fanfiction!  Please enjoy the following story!

STAR DATE #IRENE – SPECIAL EDITION

You’re a 33 year old man, and you live in Seoul with your wife and your two children, aged eleven and thirteen.  You have a well-paying job doing accounting at a logistics and freight company, which keeps you away from home on long hours.  Life could be better, you could use a little more “me” time, but at least you’re financially secure with a good home, and overall you can’t complain too much about the hand life has dealt you.  Especially when there’s Red Velvet’s Irene in the picture.

You’ve always been a casual k-pop fan, but when Red Velvet came to you attention, that all changed.  Irene just has that extra something special that no other k-pop idol has had.  Now you go to fan meetings, concerts and TV appearances, and cheer them on, surrounded by many like-minded individuals such as yourself, mostly younger than you, but some older.  You’ve even met Irene a few times at fan meets and signings, she seems really nice and is definitely as attractive in person as she is in the Red Velvet videos.  It’s not that big a deal really, I mean it’s not like you’re crazy, you would never stalk her or anything like that (well apart from that one time when you hired a taxi, which you’d rather not think about), but she is definitely a cut above everyone else in the media, at least for you.  Your wife knows about your Irene fetish and she doesn’t seem to mind too much that you follow Red Velvet around and occasionally send Irene fan gifts.  Although one time she did ask “If Irene wanted to marry you, would you leave me?” and you weren’t sure how serious she was being.  “Of course not”, you said in reply while embracing her with only slight hesitation, uncertain of the truthfulness of your statement but feeling safe in the knowledge that your average appearance and age means that you have no chance with an idol and that this hypothetical would never have to be tested.  So you only felt a slight sense of weirdness when you heard about the latest virtual reality dating app from SM Entertainment:

You’ll probably never get to date her in real life, so why not date her virtually?  You’re not sure that your wife would approve, it might be going just that one step too far, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.  It’s probably hard enough for her having to deal with you stanning Irene and going to fan meets already without filling her in on this, so you decide to keep it a secret.  It’s not like you’re cheating or anything, it’s just virtual, but you’d feel a little bit weird and embarrassed talking to her about it, and also it might make her feel insecure.  You make a note to check out this app sometime when you’re by yourself.

*****

It’s a long night at the office and everybody has left.  You often do a lot of unsupervised overtime, so staying back at the office after everybody else has gone isn’t unusual for you.  However this time you’re going to use the time to quickly check out Star Date #Irene.  You go to the site page in the app store and download it to your phone.

Gosh, some of those reviews are a bit salty, only one person really seemed to like it, although you wonder if some of these other people are just haters who haven’t even tried the app at all.  The app doesn’t take long to download.  You quickly start it up and don your VR hardware.

You are in the driver’s seat of a car.  The passenger door opens, Irene gets in and says hello.  Red Velvet’s “My Dear” is playing on the car stereo.  Then the scene cuts to you and Irene in a canoe, she smiles while you take a photo of her, “My Dear” is still playing.  She wears a life jacket here, even though the water barely looks waist-deep.  SM must really be looking out for her, not like some of those small agencies who treat their idols like trash.  Then she’s in a field, this time she’s taking a photo of you.  Irene is back in the car with you, the car is moving this time.  You’re happy to see that Irene is wearing a seat belt as she leans forward and adjusts the temperature control.  Irene is now with you at a campsite, it’s nighttime and she’s sitting on a picnic chair, hugging an oversized plush bear.  Then she’s in a field, and then back in the canoe.  Irene makes a heart sign with her hands as “My Dear” finishes and the SM Entertainment logo is displayed.  The session ends.

Well, that was a little unspectacular, you think to yourself.   It seems that the reviews are right, it only seems like a video preview and it’s not very long.  One of the comments on the app store mentioned a full version that comes at a cost, which you’d gladly pay, but you can’t see how to access that anywhere.  However another one mentions not being able to load the app at all, and you had no problems there, so who knows what is up with these reviews.  You give it up for now and start the journey home.  Maybe someone on the Internet has some ideas.

*****

It’s the weekend.  You’re browsing Red Velvet forums on the Internet, a common weekend activity for you.  It always feels good to connect with people who share a common interest with you.  Naturally there’s some discussion about the new Irene dating app.  You browse through some of the titles:

  • STAR DATE #IRENE – is it problematic?
  • iOS version when?
  • I’ve got a key for Star Date Irene but I don’t know what it does or where to put it, please help!
  • Is STAR DATE #IRENE just a video?
  • Irene looks awkward in the Star Date video
  • Why does the app ask for permission to use my camera?  What does it do?
  • Am I okay with SM pimping out Irene even if it’s virtual
  • I don’t think you can pay for “Star Date #Irene”, it’s just a video demo for now.
  • Star Date Irene is not compatible with my headset, says “controller disconnected”
  • How do I unlock the special edition?  Asking for a friend.

Special edition?  You investigate further.

How can you resist?  You click on the link.  It works immediately!  You’re taken to the app purchase page for the “special edition” and begin downloading the app to your phone.  Once done, your phone displays the following:

“Heart and soul”?  No big deal, Irene probably already owns part of your heart and soul, you think to yourself.  You finish installing the app, but you don’t have time to check it out right now, you’ll take a look at it later when you can do so without interruption.

*****

It’s another late night at work with nobody around.  Even the cleaners aren’t here this late.  Time to go on your first virtual date with Irene.

You are in the driver’s seat of a car.  The passenger door opens, Irene gets in and says hello.  Red Velvet’s “My Dear” is playing on the car stereo.

“Where are we going today?” asks Irene as she buckles up her seat belt and you gradually take off down the highway.  Three menu options appear:

  • Scenic park
  • Cozy campfire
  • Romantic restaurant

You select the “scenic park”.  Why not take it slow.

The scene fades, and the SM Entertainment logo briefly displays while the next scene loads.

You are walking through a park with Irene.  She is wearing a red dress, the same one that she was wearing in the car.  There’s a few people around but they’re far off in the distance.

Irene begins a monologue.  “It’s a beautiful day, don’t you think?  I’m so glad you brought me here!  Red Velvet has been busy lately, preparing for our next activities, we’ve had very little time off.  It feels good to be outdoors, just with you.  It’s days like today that I really appreciate each and every one of our fans.  Our fans are so good to us!  Everybody is so nice to me and I’m looking forward to bringing them an improved image of myself in the future.  But enough about that, let’s talk me and you.  Did you bring me something?”

A prompt appears:

  • Give flowers

There’s no other option for the scene to progress, so you select the flower-giving option.  Your virtual self presents a large bunch of carefully-tied red roses to Irene.  Her face lights up and she smiles at you.  “That’s so adorable, thank you!  I really feel like we’re forming a special connection lately, since we’ve been going on these dates.  I hope to get to know you better in the future.  In fact, why don’t we go over to the fountain and you can take a picture of me?  Let’s go!”

Irene runs over to a large fountain in the center of the park, and starts removing her shoes.

“I’m going to go in the fountain, and you can take a picture!”

Irene dips her toe into the fountain water.  “Aaaah, it’s cold!” she screams, then the video cuts out abruptly.

Well, that worked, but it was a bit short.  Maybe that’s for the best however – you’re not in any rush and it’s probably better that you make these sessions quick anyway, so nobody knows what you’re up to.  You pack up your desk and start the journey home.

*****

It’s mid-afternoon and you’re at work.  You won’t start your second date until tonight, right now you’re busy trying to reconcile some stray figures in your company’s budget.  You hear your phone vibrate from within your bag, someone has sent you a text.  You open up your phone:

It’s… from your wife.  But… you didn’t give her flowers?  You text back and receive an instant reply:

You have no idea what she’s talking about, but you haven’t got time to worry about it now, the duty of work beckons.  You get back to trying to work out where your bosses’ money has gone.

*****

Another late night.  You start up the STAR DATE #IRENE app.

You are in the driver’s seat of a car.  The passenger door opens, Irene gets in and says hello.  Red Velvet’s “My Dear” is playing on the car stereo.

“Where are we going today?” asks Irene as she buckles up her seat belt and you gradually take off down the highway.  Three menu options appear:

  • Scenic park
  • Cozy campfire
  • Romantic restaurant

You select “cozy campfire”.

The scene fades, and the SM Entertainment logo displays while the next scene loads.  It’s taking a little longer this time.  After about a minute, the scene appears.

It’s night and you’re sitting with Irene, by a campfire.  She’s hugging an oversized plush bear which she’s holding in her lap.  In the background, decorative lights hang from trees and poles.

Irene begins a monologue.  “Don’t you like my bear?  I think it’s cute!  I’ve been roasting marshmallows on the campfire!  Would you like a marshmallow?”

A prompt appears:

  • Accept marshmallow

Irene feeds you the marshmallow by pointing a stick with several toasted marshmallows on it at your face.  You pick the top marshmallow off with your hand and eat it while she continues.

“It’s so nice out here tonight, it’s not too cold or windy.  You know, I think that since we’ve been having these dates, I’m really forming a special connection with you.  You look so good by the way, even when you have marshmallow all over your face it’s kind of sweet.  I would take a picture of you but that would be a little rude, right?  I might do it next time.  Hey, do you remember my birthday?”

A prompt appears:

  • 29 March 1991
  • 26 September 1991
  • 13 December 1991

As a big Irene fan, this is an easy test for you.  You select 29th March.

Irene continues.  “Wow, you remembered!  You must really care about me to remember something like that!  I really feel comfortable with you, it’s like I’ve known you all my life… but not in that brother/sister kind of way, I mean to say, that we have something that I think is really special, and unique, and… well not unique, but… oh gosh, the words aren’t coming out quite right…”

A prompt appears:

  • Give chocolates

Your disembodied virtual hand gives Irene a large gift box of chocolates.  Irene’s face lights up with happiness.

“Oh, thank you so much!  You’re so wonderful, and… perfect really!  How are you so perfect?”  Irene leans forward and gives you a kiss on the cheek.  “I’m so happy to be with…”

Another good date, you’re making progress with Irene, not that it’s really hard, there’s not much interactivity so far, so few places where you can really go wrong.  You just wish the dates would last longer.  You pack up and go home.

*****

When you arrive at your house, it’s very late and everybody is asleep.  You notice the flowers your wife spoke about, a large bunch of red roses sitting on the dining room table.  You notice immediately that they’re the same type of flowers that you gave Irene on your first date in the dating app, and they’re even bunched up in the same way.  There’s a note attached.

“No matter what happens, never forget that you always come first.  I love you.”

The note is written in what looks very similar to your handwriting and is even signed by you.  However you certainly didn’t write it, and you didn’t send the flowers, either.  You get undressed and get into bed.  Your wife is already asleep and doesn’t notice you enter, you try not to wake her.

*****

You don’t mention the flowers again to your wife, happy to take the credit for them – the other option is that you’d have to explain the app, which you don’t want to do.  However something isn’t right.  Is this what the app meant by “in app purchases”?  Doesn’t the app have to gain your consent to send something like that?  Also the handwriting thing is just creepy, is that even legal for them to forge your handwriting like that?  How do they even know what you write like anyway?  You spend all day at work struggling to concentrate, thinking about what the gift means and your next date with Irene.  So when you receive a text message from your wife again, you fail to notice your phone’s vibration at the time but instead pick it up a few hours later when you’re having a quick coffee break:

You think for a moment.  So, when you gift something to Irene in the app, your wife gets a gift from you in real life.  But why?  What’s the point of this?  Also, what would the app do if you didn’t have a partner?  You go to your favourite Red Velvet forum and scan the topics:

  • This app SUCKS, I can’t even get in, the “agree” option is greyed out
  • Broken app, how do I refund
  • My dad can use the app but I can’t?
  • STAR DATE #RIPOFF
  • You sinners are getting what you deserve
  • My girlfriend just got the flowers that I gave to Irene?

You look at the last topic.

Replies range from “maybe you should give her a second shot” to “what the fuck, are you making this up” to “delete the app NOW”, to “whatever you do don’t take Irene to the restaurant”.  You add your own reply, you don’t really have any answers to this person’s predicament but you feel it’s important for them to know that they’re not alone.

You look forward to the night’s dating app session with a mixture of anticipation and fear.  You’re worried if it’s worth it, but you’re a big Irene fan and you can’t back out now.

*****

You start up the STAR DATE #IRENE app.

You are in the driver’s seat of a car.  The passenger door opens, Irene gets in and says hello.  Red Velvet’s “My Dear” is playing on the car stereo.

“Where are we going today?” asks Irene as she buckles up her seat belt and you gradually take off down the highway.  Three menu options appear:

  • Scenic park
  • Cozy campfire
  • Romantic restaurant

You select “romantic restaurant”.

The scene fades, and the SM Entertainment logo displays while the next scene loads.  After about a minute, the scene appears.

It’s night and you’re in a restaurant.  There is ambient chatter from some faraway patrons, as some soft music plays, you recognise it after a while as a piano version of Red Velvet’s “Bad Boy“.  Irene sits across the table from you, looking deeply into your eyes.

Irene begins a monologue. “I’m so happy that you’ve brought me here.  There’s been something that I’ve been meaning to tell you.  You know, as we’re gotten to know each other through these dates, I feel that my affection for you has grown stronger and stronger.  I don’t think I’ve ever known such happiness before.  Do you think that we could, I mean, I think that we should…”

A prompt appears:

  • Give lingerie

Your heart jumps up in your chest.  You quit the app immediately.  Your wife isn’t a “sexy lingerie” type of woman, she would possibly be offended by the gift, or even if not, she would know that the gift would be extremely out of character for you to give.  Her receiving such a gift will definitely cause her to suspect something is amiss.  You start the app up again, hoping to go back to the park or campfire branches to explore those a bit more.

It’s night and you’re in a restaurant.  The same setting as before.  Irene is sitting across from you, looking a bit cross.

Irene stares at you. “You can’t just quit halfway through our date, you know.  Did you have something for me?”

A prompt appears:

  • Give lingerie

There’s no option to go back.  Reluctantly, you select the option to give Irene the lingerie.  Your virtual hand passes over to her a boxed lingerie set, which Irene snatches rudely.

“I don’t know if this gift COUNTS anymore, given that you tried to quit on me, you cheapskate.  However I will calmly accept it.  I will think about my feelings for you and if I am feeling forgiving I will see you on the next date, this one is over.”

Your heart sinks.  Now you’ve possibly made your real wife AND your virtual Irene mad.  How did you get into this mess?  You pack up your desk and head home.

*****

When you arrive at home, it’s very late.  The box of chocolates is sitting on the coffee table in the lounge room, it’s been opened but none of the chocolates are missing.  There’s a note attached to the box, in your handwriting, and signed by you.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately, please forgive me.  I love you.”

You’re very tired, so you come to bed.  Your wife is asleep, but nuzzles against you as you get settled into bed, smiling.

*****

You’re at work when you hear your phone vibrate.  This time, you notice straight away, you’ve been waiting for it.

There’s no way that you can not tell her what’s really going on.

*****

It’s night and you’re in a restaurant.  There is ambient chatter from some faraway patrons, as some soft music plays, you recognise it as a piano version of Red Velvet’s “Bad Boy”.  Your wife sits across the table from you, looking deeply into your eyes.

She begins a monologue. “I’m so happy that you’ve brought me here.  There’s been something that I’ve been meaning to tell you.  You know, as we’re gotten to know each other, I feel like we’ve been drifting further apart, what with family responsibilities and work commitments, we don’t have a lot of time for each other anymore.  The gifts you’ve given me over the last few days have made me realise that we need to take a bit more time to reconnect with each other.”

You sigh.  “But… I wasn’t the one who sent you those gifts.”

“Yes you were!  Your name is on them and everything!”

“Yes, but it wasn’t me… you see, there’s this app on my phone, um… this is going to sound weird okay?”

Your wife looks at you quizzically, but interested.  “Sure.  Erm, go on, I’ll let you explain it…?”

“Okay, so it’s called STAR DATE #IRENE, and in it, you date this virtual Irene.  In the app you give her gifts as part of the date.  It seems that every time I give her a gift in the app, the app actually sends you the same gift in real life.”

Your wife nods.  She knows who Irene is, as you talk about her from time to time.  I guess if you were being honest, you would say that you talk about her a lot.  “But… the gifts are signed from you?” she asks.

“Yeah, I don’t get that part.  I’m not sure how it knows my handwriting.”

“Can I see the app?” your wife asks.

You pull out your phone and load the app.

Your wife stares at the screen.  “That’s actually a bit fucking creepy.  I know you like Irene, but this is a bit next-level for me.”

“Yeah, I know.  I’m sorry.  I guess I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

After a moment of awkward silence, your wife speaks.  “Sure, I’m a bit upset that the gifts weren’t actually from YOU, if what you’re saying is true.  And this dating app thing is still weird.  However I think what I said before still stands.  We need to reconnect with each other.”

“I was worried that the app would be the last straw…”

“Your Irene fetish is cute.  I don’t care that much.  I guess if I were a guy I might be into her too.  Hey, are you being charged for this shit the thing is sending me?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Then maybe you should date her tomorrow.  I like free stuff, don’t you?”

*****

When you get to work in the morning, you quickly check the Red Velvet forums again.  You search through the latest thread titles:

  • I still can’t start this useless app
  • My relationship is over, thanks to Star Date #Irene – what is life
  • Has anyone had any luck getting a refund out of SM?
  • I don’t think I can be an Irene fan anymore, this is too much
  • I can’t believe you are still playing this trash don’t you have any respect for Irene
  • “Accept and continue” is greyed out, any solutions?
  • Mods are gonna ban me but FUCK RV and FUCK this app
  • My girlfriend is making me choose between Irene and her, help me pick

You decide to start a new thread: “Star Date #Irene worked out pretty good for me, really”.

You keep the forum thread open through the morning.  Replies gradually come in, mostly saying that they either couldn’t connect to the app at all, or that you’re incredibly lucky to have such an understanding wife.  “I guess they’re right”, you think to yourself.

*****

It’s mid-afternoon, and you’re still at work, when the boss calls you over.  He has two police officers with him.

“Hi, these two men need to see you.” he says.

The police officers ask your name, and then handcuff you.  “We’re placing you under arrest”, says one of the officers, as they lead you out into a waiting police car.

“Why am I being arrested?” you ask.

When you’re in the car, one of the police shows you a photograph.  It’s a picture that you instantly recognise as your wife.  She’s lying on the floor of your lounge room, in a large pool of blood.  Her face is clearly visible in the photograph so it’s easy to identify her.

“Do you know this person?” the officer asks.

You’re in shock.  “That’s my wife”, you reply.  “What happened?”

“Wouldn’t happen to know anything about a poisoned box of chocolates, would you?”

You shake your head.

“Well we think that you might, as they were delivered to her with a handwritten note from you on them!”

*****

You’re at the police station lockup, waiting.  With a court date set for tomorrow and nothing currently on your hands but time, you run through the events leading up to this point over and over in your mind, trying to figure out how you got here.  An officer comes up to your cell and hands you a mobile phone.

“Your lawyer”, he says.

You grab the phone.  “Hello?”

“Hello.  I’m your legal adviser.” says the voice on the phone.  She sounds suspiciously familiar.

“Who are you?”

The voice snaps back.  “Don’t pretend that you don’t recognise my voice, you FUCKING STALKER FREAK!

The penny drops, and you feel your entire body freezing up with a mixture of anger and trepidation.  What to ask.  You have a million questions, but none of them are able to form a sentence.

Irene begins a monologue.  “Well, your wife was quite understanding, wasn’t she.  We didn’t plan for that.  What’s supposed to happen is that the gifts are the spark that rekindles the relationship a bit and you refocus your attention on her and away from me, meaning that you become less of a fucking stalker asshole and basically not my problem anymore so we can scrub you off the list, OR she finds out how much of a nutcase you are, and she dumps you and from there you’re mentally broken to the point where you’re no longer a threat and we can do pretty much whatever we want with you.  They’re not supposed to let you continue to be such an obsessive freak, I mean, what a fucking spineless cunt, seriously.  How unfortunate that she ate something that didn’t agree with her, but then that could happen to anybody, especially someone with such a weak constitution.  Just unlucky, I guess.”

“The handwriting?  How did you forge it?”

A slight pause.  “Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“The notes on the gifts.”

Irene laughs.  “Oh, those.  Don’t you recognise your own fan-gift notes?  I just threw out whatever stupid shit you sent with them and recycled the note.  The ones I chose fit pretty well, don’t you think?  But then you certainly gave me plenty of options, didn’t you.”

You’re furious.  “You bitch!  You’ll see justice for this!”

“But throwing out dumb fan gifts isn’t illegal.  Idiot.”

“You know what I mean!”

“I wouldn’t concern yourself with any legal action.  You’ll find that the Korean court has a tendency to see things SM’s way.  Now please give the officer back my phone, I have work to do.”

The call terminates with a click in your ear as the officer approaches your cell with his hand outstretched to take the device back.  You notice that the STAR DATE #IRENE app is running on the phone, you take one last look at the screen before the officer confiscates it.


THE END

SWEET DREAMS FROM KPOPALYPSE

13 thoughts on “STAR DATE #IRENE – special edition

  1. Oh gawd! I swear i was trying to download this app to make a review with a fanfic envolved, but yours is unbeateable. So, since my device appears to be uncompatable, and due the proximity of your characther age (i’m 34 year old), I kindly ask your permission to use this content as a base for my lesbian version. You cool with it, oppar? (i gonna credit you, of course!)

  2. Pingback: STAR DATE #IRENE (very special edition) – Whatever Music

  3. You’ve been watching way too much Black Mirror, don’t you think?!
    But seriously, what a great fanfic!

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