It was really clear what those words meant. Jo Minjoon’s eyebrows shook. He could only get more perplexed because he had never thought that a situation like this could happen. He had felt that Chloe’s eyes were warm and gentle to the point of being strange. However, he had never thought that there would be affection of the opposite sex in it because Chloe was gentle to everyone. He didn’t want to become a dull fellow that misunderstood that.
‘In the end, I was a dull fellow.’
As he tried not to misinterpret, he couldn’t even know the things that were clearly seen by the eye. His heart beat. Was it simply because he was surprised, or because there was a similar feeling like Chloe in him……He couldn’t even know that himself because this situation itself was really unfamiliar for him.
“It’s not that I want to do something immediately.”
Chloe said with a careful voice.
“Whatever answer you give me, we can’t do a thing immediately because reality is like that. I’m sorry. But I can only be like this. Because if we were to separate without saying anything, I know that that would be the end. If at least I were to tell you…..”
Chloe’s words dimmed. An awkward silence flowed. Jo Minjoon just looked at Chloe’s face. Because of exercising, her skin was solid, but it didn’t mean that even her mentality was solid. Chloe was basically a soft person. It would be a lie if he didn’t want to protect her…..
Jo Minjoon’s lips trembled. In his mind, his mouth opened a few times, and said many things. But there was nothing he could actually say. It wouldn’t have been easy for Chloe to say those words. While he didn’t know, she would have pondered, and at the same time feared and expected. Thinking about that time, thinking about her heart, Jo Minjoon couldn’t give her an easy reply.
“……..I did go out with a girl.”
It wasn’t someone he fell at first sight. She was a person he met through the connection of a friend. She was a college girl that specialized in the violin, and just like most of music students, she was a girl that grew without lacking even a bit of sophistication.
“She was pretty, nice, and smart. Honestly speaking, she’s just the role model men want. And it was also like that for me. She was fine, right. Although I didn’t feel my chest boiling, I still thought that that was something that could only happen in dramas or novels. But that wasn’t it. Different to me, she really liked me. Really sincerely.”
Jo Minjoon’s eyes crumpled as if he was suffering. He slowly continued to say.
“A lover is more sensitive towards the others feelings. Just like I knew that she treated me with sincerity, she should also know that I was only acting that I liked her. No, I did like her. Because she was a person you could only like. But the feelings I had back then wouldn’t be that different to liking you. That’s why we separated… In a really messy way.”
Jo Minjoon said that naturally and clearly.
“It’s because I like you that I don’t want to make such mistakes with you.”
In the end, what he said was a decline. Chloe forced to put a plain expression but she sniffed and gulped. It was clear that she was opening her eyes big to hold up her tears. Chloe gathered her hands as if she was praying and covered her mouth and nose, and she opened her mouth in that state. Her voice didn’t have strength and trembled as if she was suffering from a cold.
“I have a lot of things I want to say…..But I think that I will crumble if I say those things. Me, and this relation.”
“It’s not your problem. This……Is a problem of my feelings. So I will say one thing. No, I will beg you for one thing. And perhaps, I would be begging you.”
She didn’t shed any tears. It seemed like she wanted to desperately avoid being that miserable that her eyes she opened strongly were shining clearly. But of course, it may seem that way because there were tears in her eyes…… It was the last pride Chloe had of not wanting to show herself to Jo Minjoon.
“Only once. Can I hug you? No, can you hug me…….?”
How many people would there be that would decline after hearing those words? At least, Jo Minjoon wasn’t. No, perhaps if it wasn’t Chloe, he may have replied that he didn’t want to. However, Chloe was also a precious person for him. Although it wasn’t as a woman, she was a person he wanted to be together with for life.
Jo Minjoon slowly moved his feet. He, who sat next to her, looked at her face. Her nervous face that seemed like she would burst of tears was shaking. Jo Minjoon hugged Chloe. He embraced her small, solid shoulders that were soft at the same time. Chloe’s breath reached on the right side of his neck where he had the injury. That feeling that made him burn, was it simply because of Chloe’s breath?
Chloe was small, though it wasn’t about her height. Although she wasn’t as big as Kaya, she had the height of average girls. But even so, she was small. And the reason was only one. Right now, she wasn’t the dignified chef Chloe nor everybody’s gentle Chloe.
Chloe embraced Jo Minjoon’s back. A suitable slim body, but enough for girls to feel reliable. Because they couldn’t see each others faces, only then could Chloe let out the tears she was holding in. But of course, Jo Minjoon wasn’t so dull as to not to notice the tears that reached his shoulder, but not being seen was the important thing.
She wanted to get this embrace. She wanted to be the person inside his embrace as time flowed. Those feelings made Chloe hug him more firmly. She was just rejected, but her heart beat even more at Jo Minjoon’s hand patting her back.
Jo Minjoon placed his cheek to Chloe’s hair. He could clearly feel her beyond her hair. Her soft skin, her pulsations, the rising temperature. It was regrettable. He wanted to console her but the only thing he could do right now was patting her back.
You wouldn’t know what they felt when they hugged each other. They could have felt pain and regret, or peace and optimism between their temperatures. The one thing that was certain was that when they let go of each other no one was putting relieved faces. Jo Minjoon lent her a handkerchief. Chloe hurriedly wiped off the tears with the handkerchief.
“I’m sorry. I’m really miserable, right?”
“No. I feel the same, so don’t say it. Actually…… If you have accepted me, that would have been a worry by itself.”
He could vaguely guess what Chloe was meaning. Because she had already said it with her mouth that even if they felt the same way, they couldn’t be together. Even the country they lived in was different. Just meeting each other would be difficult, so even if it continued, it wouldn’t be continuing for real.
Jo Minjoon lied down on the sofa with the same posture. They looked at the ceiling that didn’t have any patterns, and Chloe mumbled.
“Life is really difficult. You do this and it’s difficult, do that and it’s also difficult.”
“Will someday become easy?”
“The things I want are exactly two. A restaurant. And….. But now I don’t even have a restaurant and I’m not even a proper chef. I want to get both of those things. No, I will.. You, and cooking. I promise.”
“I’m not. It’s my dream. All dreams fell far at first. If I don’t stop, that day will also come.”
The conversation stopped there. The two of them looked at the fluorescent lamp that was shining at the ceiling as if they were looking at the stars of a night sky for a really long while. Kaya that came in after hitting Anderson’s shin and breathing hard frowned when she saw at the two of them.
“What are you doing?”
“Photosynthesis is done by the sun. Even I know that much.”
Kaya noticed that Jo Minjoon was next to Chloe compared to before. But she didn’t want to mention it. She opened her mouth with an angered voice.
“That bastard Anderson. He even lied to me on purpose just to make fun of me. I already knew that he was retarded………”
Anderson appeared while limping his leg behind. Chloe sent her gratitude and sorry through her eyes, but Anderson just sat as if nothing happened with an innocent face. Jo Minjoon too could vaguely knew the situation.
“Anderson. You were a fox?”
“Not a bear like someone.”
At those words, Jo Minjoon dropped his head with an embarrassed face. Kaya sharpened her eyes and said.
“What is this? It seems like there’s something only I don’t know of.”
“You are only going to exclude me? What is it? Tell me.”
“……..I will hold it today just because of Chloe.”
They didn’t have much time that they could be together. That’s why nobody could say a thing. Rather than saying this or that, they spent the time by looking at their faces. In the middle of that, Kaya noticed something weird. Chloe’s eyes were directed to Jo Minjoon frequently. With a warmth that couldn’t even be compared to when she looked at them.
Kaya forced to erase that thought in her head. Will that really be it, she thought. For what, to that special guy Jo Minjoon. Of course, his face was fine. His character was reliable and he also had quite a fierce manly side…….
She shook her head. It was then that the voice of the staff rang. “There’s not much time for the plane. You have to go now.” Those were some heartless words, but they couldn’t do anything about it. They all went to the garden. Just how hateful did the car that was parked right before the entrance feel. Chloe swirled her tongue and looked at the two.
“We are separating here. Everyone……Thank you.”
Kaya embraced Chloe by surprise, and Chloe sweeped her back. Chloe whispered with a calm voice.
“Be well. Kaya. I will cheer for you.”
Kaya replied with a voice she seemed about to cry. Chloe, that also hugged Anderson, looked at Jo Minjoon and smiled faintly.
“Now that I see, I couldn’t say the most important thing.”
Chloe embraced Jo minjoon instead of replying. And after standing on her toes, she placed her chin in his shoulders and whispered.
“I really like you.”
It was a voice so low only Jo Minjoon could hear it, but it was clearer than anything else. Chloe, that took two steps back, smiled sweetly and said.
“Many things will change through time, but at least that much isn’t going to change.”
He didn’t reply anything back. Chloe got on the car. The window of the car got down and Chloe let her head out and smiled brightly.
“I can’t tell anyone to win, but your cooking was the best. Cheer up.”
“Cooking……..You will keep doing it, right?”
At Kaya’s question, Chloe looked at Jo Minjoon for a moment and slowly opened her mouth.
“I realized this time that life doesn’t progress as one wishes, and that dreams also don’t come true as one wants. And my dream is in cooking right now. Even if people throw anything else…….”
“…they can’t throw their dreams.”
< The mirror recipe (4) > End