"You look sad," Kwon Jung Rok commented, glancing at her from the driver's seat. "Is there anything wrong?"
"Hm?" Oh Yoon Seo said, his question registering three seconds too late. "Oh, um... it's nothing. I was just... thinking."
She gestured at the script sitting on her lap and said, "I got offered a new role for a drama because the author said I'd be perfect for the lead role. I read the story and it's... it's very good."
He glanced at her again. "And that's a bad thing?"
"Oh no. No, of course not. It's just..." She sighed. "Very... tragic. I don't think I can handle something this... what's the word. Emotional? Heavy?" Yoon Seo hesitated and thumbed through the script absently. "I don't think I can pull it off."
He placed a hand over hers and said, "Didn't you tell me once that I evoke feelings from you?"
"Positive feelings," she giggled, lightly punching his arm in jest. "Did you know I got compliments today for correctly acting like I was very deeply in love?"
Jung Rok squared his shoulders and said, "I'm glad I was able to positively influence your work in some manner."
"Who would have thought, right?" Yoon Seo grinned. "'Attorney Kwon Jung Rok Serves as the Inspiration for the Universe's Goddess Oh Yoon Seo.' You know, you should get a percentage from our drama's profits, to be honest. You want me to talk to my manager about it?"
Jung Rok chuckled. "I'll settle for constantly admiring you in the drama you're in - both as the lead actress and as my girlfriend."
Yoon Seo took his hand over hers and soundly kissed the back of it. "And I'll always think of you whenever I'm acting - both as an amazing attorney and as my boyfriend."
"I'd like that." He turned his hand so that he was properly holding hers and squeezed it. "Tell me why the offered drama's making you feel sad," he prompted gently.
She took a deep breath, exhaled it slowly. "Well, it's a love story through and through. There's this... chicken shop owner, right? And she fell in love with this... strange man. Strange in the sense that he's all awkward and just... I don't know, off, in general."
"Like me?" Jung Rok asked.
Yoon Seo reared back as if slapped. "You're not off; you're perfect. For me, at least." She paused and added, "Why? Did someone say you're off?"
"No," he replied quickly. Jung Rok cleared his throat. "Anyway. You were saying--?"
"Yes, um. So they fell in love, right? But as it turned out, this strange man was more than strange, he's actually not just a man. He's a Grim Reaper." She paused to let that bit sink in.
He raised his brows. "The creature that ferries people to the afterlife?"
"Yes. He actually met her while fulfilling his duties. And he fell in love with her, even when all the while he knew she's mortal and he's not, and that their love is forbidden." She sighed soulfully.
"Can Grim Reapers fall in love?" Jung Rok sounded doubtful. "They're mythological creatures, aren't they? Ones that are supposedly beyond any human emotion. Can they feel anything like humans do?"
"Sure they can," Yoon Seo said. She shook the script and said, "In this drama anyway. We have no room for boring stuff like logic."
"Then from what you've told me, it sounds like a love story with a bit of a supernatural angle," he said. "What's so heavy about it?"
"Well, the middle part becomes a bit complicated, to be honest," she replied, frowning now. "Past lives become involved. Eventually they both found out that the two of them were married in their previous life. And, not just married, but he's a king and she, his queen. So when they meet again in the next life, it's kind of like... like their souls recognized each others' and that's partly why they both fell so quickly for each other." Yoon Seo hugged the script to her chest. "Imagine falling in love so hard your feelings actually transcend lifetimes. Doesn't it sound so incredibly romantic?"
When he didn't reply, she turned towards him and asked, "Don't you think so?"
"There is one thing that's making me curious," he said, glancing at her. "She got reincarnated as a human, didn't she? Is there a reason why he wasn't?"
"Oh," she said, quickly becoming despondent. "That. Well... he sort of... um." Yoon Seo tucked her hair behind her ear, drew a deep breath. "His being a Grim Reaper is actually punishment for being the reason she died."
The car swerved quickly after that statement. Jung Rok bowed at her. "I'm so sorry about that. I mean... what?"
"It's all so horribly complicated!" Yoon Seo exclaimed dramatically, not even bothering to address his apology. "I mean, there's palace politics involved and as King he had this adviser that's actively poisoning his mind against all those who loved him, including his wife of all people, so he actually had her executed. With an arrow through her heart." She placed both hands on top of the left side of her chest and sighed soulfully again. "She died of heartbreak, of all things. It's so terrible."
"What about him?" he asked, sounding earnest. "How did he die?"
"Of guilt, basically," she replied, crossing her arms. "He became so distraught after her death that he just... kind of gave up on life. And then he drank poison, so that's why he became a Grim Reaper. Because there's no greater sin--"
"--than ending one's own life," Jung Rok said grimly.
Yoon Seo nodded.
"But you said they fell in love again, didn't they? They met each other and fell in love again."
"Right. But then they remembered what happened before, so of course they were both so confused and she, well... she finds out what he is and why he became that way, so despite loving him so much she chose to... punish him. By staying away." She fanned her cheeks. "I feel so sad just thinking about it. Look! I'm almost tearing up now."
"Isn't that unfair?" he asked. "I mean, isn't being a Grim Reaper enough punishment for him? Why would she--"
"Are you seriously taking his side?" Yoon Seo asked disbelievingly. "I mean, he basically murdered her in their first life together, then he lied to her about being a Grim Reaper by taking on someone else's identity--"
"You didn't mention that part," he cut in.
"I didn't?" She blinked, silently running through their conversation in her head. "You're right; I didn't. But he did that. He took on a normal human's name and fooled her with it for a while, so of course she got hurt by all the lies he fed her. That's why she left him."
"Would you rather he be honest about what he is?" he asked. "She might find it difficult to believe him if he was upfront about being a Grim Reaper. She might even accuse him of being delusional at best, and report him to authorities at worst."
"She wouldn't do that!" Yoon Seo scoffed, rolling her eyes.
"This is a drama," she snapped. "People don't make rational decisions in dramas! Because then there won't be any actual drama."
"But that's how it ends?" Jung Rok asked. "They don't get together?"
Yoon Seo flipped the script to the ending and said, "No. They don't. She gets to live out the rest of her life alone, while he carries on with being a Grim Reaper until his punishment is over." She closed the script with aplomb, then threw it at the back of the car with all the strength she could muster. "I changed my mind; it's not a good story. I'm not gonna do it."
"I don't know much about dramas," Jung Rok said, "but are there any other ones that have a sad ending?"
"Yes," Yoon Seo said, "and most of them still get a lot of hate from fans years after. So that's another reason why I shouldn't do this one!" She clapped her hands. "Oh, I'm so pleased I talked to you about this project. Otherwise I would have done it and then it'll ruin my reputation again."
When Jung Rok didn't respond, she turned to him and said, "Don't you think so?"
"I think," he replied moments after, "that any character you play should have a happy ending."
"Right?" she said. "That's what I think, too!"
"So your character and the Grim Reaper should have one, too."
Jung Rok neatly parked the car in front of her house and continued, "Can't you convince them to do that?"
She chewed her lip. "I don't know. I haven't tried that yet. I mean I'm still thinking about accepting the role, so--"
"Negotiate with them," he encouraged. "Perhaps you can tell them you'll accept the role if and only if she and the Grim Reaper get to be happy together."
Yoon Seo thought about it and said, "That's good advice. I'll get to do a good drama and avoid getting hate comments about it after." Giddily, she punched his arm. "Did I ever tell you how lucky I am to have someone as smart as you as a boyfriend?"
Jung Rok leaned closer and said, "Not today, you haven't."
"Well," Yoon Seo said, grinning, "I'm telling you now." She winked at him.
He smiled back at her, took her hand, and kissed the back of it. "And I'm lucky to have someone as beautiful and sincere as you as my girlfriend."
She giggled. "You're getting better and better in complimenting me! I don't know if I'll ever get used to it."
"You should," he said, "since I'll continuously strive to make you happy."
Yoon Seo had to physically keep herself still and not maul him with kisses right then and there. "You know what? I'll tell them I'll do the drama if and only if the characters end up as happy as us."
"Perhaps in their next life?" Jung Rok suggested.
"Yes," Yoon Seo said, liking the idea the more she thought about it. "Perhaps."