Jo Minjun put another spoonful of samgyetang broth in his mouth. The fact that his mindset changed didn't necessarily instantly change the flavor. However, the feeling he got from the taste was definitely different. It was because he no longer thought that he needed to give up on this because of efficiency. The thought that was now in his head was about what he could do to utilize this taste properly to win people over.
Not giving up, but having hope. That small change alone made the table of food feel much happier than before. Satisfaction was on Jo Minjun's face, and Kaya started to smile while watching Minjun as well. Lisa asked in a teasing voice.
"Is it always like this?"
"The two of you. I know you are a chef couple, but I didn't know you dated while making it so obvious that you are chefs."
"It is because of Minjun. He's always trying to open up discussions about food."
Anderson answered as if he was tired. He took a peek toward Chloe. She looked calm on the outside, but she was probably hurting quite a bit. Nobody would enjoy watching the person they like acting lovie-dovie with someone else. Anderson then looked toward Jo Minjun. Jo Minjun might seem dense at times, but he was a deep thinker and was pretty sharp about people's feelings.
'……Did he really do it on purpose?'
Maybe it is for the best. It would be easier for Chloe to resolve her feelings if he showed her the cold reality rather than giving her mixed signals. It was normal for any couple to seem like they would never break up, but he really could not imagine Kaya and Jo Minjun ever breaking up. After thinking for a while, Anderson sighed internally before picking up his chopstick.
'There's nothing more useless than worrying about someone else's relationship problems.'
The dinner went on for a while. It could not end quickly because of the number of dishes on the table. Normal people may only eat the food they like, but they were chefs. They wanted to taste every dish, and at the same time, didn't want any food to go to waste. Of course, the latter was almost impossible to avoid……
"I can't eat anymore ……"
Ella looked at the galbi-jjim at the end of a fork with sad eyes. Kaya responded bluntly.
"Then stop eating. You'll get fat."
"……I won't get fat."
"If you won't gain weight because you don't want to gain weight, there would not be anything called dieting."
Ella started to glare at Kaya before looking back at the galbi-jjim sadly. Jo Minjun started to smile as he responded.
"If I have a daughter, I want to have a daughter like Ella."
"……What? Who says you're allowed to?"
Kaya asked in an upset voice to show that she had not agreed to that. Ella was the same. She looked toward Minjun with a shocked expression.
"Uncle, you're going to have a kid?"
"I assume some time in the future I will?"
"…… I don't want uncle having a kid."
"Then you won't play with Ella anymore."
Ella's shoulders dropped along with her depressed expression. Jo Minjun caressed the back of Ella's head.
"Why would I stop playing with you? Don't worry. I will play with you a lot."
"……You are talking like we've already decided to have a kid."
"Eventually we will."
"I never agreed to it. I don't have time to have a kid and raise them because of work."
"I don't know. That's only if I marry you……ugh."
Jo Minjun started to shake as if he suddenly got shocked, before moving his hand down to caress his thigh. Kaya had pinched him with her toes. Kaya asked with a scary expression.
"Do you want to die?"
"……Fine. I'm sorry."
Jo Minjun answered in a quiet voice. If they end up living together in the future, he could clearly tell who would be in control. Lisa started to speak as if she suddenly remembered something.
"Now that I think about it, you said you planned on living together. Did you figure that out?"
"Not yet. We haven't found a house yet……"
"Ah. Speaking of that."
Chloe started to speak. She continued in an awkward voice."
"Sorry. I'm going to have to decline."
Kaya asked in a disappointed voice. Chloe smiled as if to say she was sorry.
"Sorry. It is too complicated to explain in detail. I think it will just be difficult for me."
"There's no need to be sorry, but ……"
Kaya trailed off. Her face was full of disappointment. It made sense. She was the one who was looking forward to living with Chloe the most. Jo Minjun quietly looked toward Chloe. He then slowly started to speak.
"You thought about it a lot, haven't you?"
"Yes. I thought about pushing myself a bit, but in the end, I think it will be difficult."
Those short phrases carried a much deeper meaning than what they said. Chloe clenched her fist under the table so that nobody could see it.
'……Yes. Good job, Chloe.'
If she said that she resolved her feelings for him, Jo Minjun would definitely trust her. He was that type of person. But she could not do that. She could not betray him by leaning on his generous nature. She could not betray Kaya.
Maybe this was a confession of its own. Her feelings were still there, and it would be difficult for them to ever go away. It might even reveal that she was lying when she said she resolved her feelings. Maybe that was why, but as Chloe started to feel insecure, Jo Minjun started to speak.
"It's disappointing, but what can we do? But it is not important whether we live together or not. The important thing is that we are friends and that will not change even if we live apart. Am I right?"
Chloe bit her lips the moment she heard that. She felt like she would cry if she did not do that. Jo Minjun was trying to console her right now. He was being understanding. And he was letting her know. He was telling her that her feelings would not destroy their friendship. Kaya continued on as if to say that was obvious.
"Of course. How many friends really live with each other? It's normal to live apart."
"That is true."
Jo Minjun started to smile. At that moment, the door opened and Lee Tae Hoon came through the door. He looked toward the table and started to speak.
"Are you done? Should I bring dessert?"
"……Does the saucier normally come ask about that?"
"Not normally, but it is a different story when the saucier is a fan of the guest. There are also three beauties ……no, four beauties."
Lee Tae Hoon saw Ella's glare and quickly changed his words. Jo Minjun looked around at the others before nodding his head and responding.
"Yes. Please bring it for us. Ah, also……would you be able to do me a favor?"
"What is it?"
"I want to take a look around your kitchen ……I've only seen Korean kitchens in movies. I've never been inside of one."
"Mm……that is not that hard."
"Me too! I want to go too!"
Ella shot her hand up in the air as she shouted out. Lisa started to scold her with an embarrassed expression.
"No, Ella. You'll bother the chefs."
Ella responded in a disappointed voice and lowered her hand. She might be a troublemaker sometimes, but she really listened to her mom well. Lee Tae Hoon smiled before speaking.
"No. It is fine. It is time for the chefs to take a break as well. I'm sure they will enjoy it if such a cute little lady comes to visit."
Ella lifted her head back up after hearing that and looked toward Lisa with sparkling eyes. In the end, Lisa shook her head as if she had no other choice.
"Fine. But you need to listen to Uncle Minjun, okay? Don't let go of his hand."
"Okay! I will!"
Ella smiled brightly before clenching on to Jo Minjun's arm. Chloe smiled and patted Kaya's knees after seeing her uncomfortable expression.
"Relax, she's just a kid."
"……I don't know what you are talking about. I am relaxed."
"Your fist sure looks to be clenched tightly for being relaxed."
At that moment, Ella, who was walking while holding Minjun's hand, turned around and stuck her tongue out toward Kaya. Kaya started to glare, but Ella had already turned back around. Lee Tae Hoon started to speak on their way to the kitchen.
"It will be a bit different than your expectation."
It was easy to tell why he had said that as soon as they entered the kitchen. Other than a few Korean clay pots, the kitchen was very modern. You could not really tell whether it was a Korean restaurant or a Western restaurant. There were tiles on the wall and floor, and he could see stainless kitchen appliances and refrigerator. Lee Tae Hoon started to speak.
"It doesn't look as historic as you expected, does it?"
"I guess that was kind of what I was expecting. An island made of wood, or a fire pit made of rocks and sand."
"It is natural. The outside of the restaurant looks like the old tile houses."
Ella tapped on Minjun's back while Lee Tae Hoon was speaking. When Minjun looked down, Ella lifted up both of her arms and asked.
"Lift me up. I want to see it from up there."
Jo Minjun lifted Ella up. Thankfully, she was not that heavy. Ella saw the clay pot before letting out a gasp of admiration.
"That looks like a turtle."
As she said that, an aged man approached them. He reached out his hand. Once Jo Minjun put Ella down and shook the man's hand, the man started to speak.
"You must be that famous Jo Minjun. I heard a lot about you. I hear you work at Rose Island?"
"My name is Gregory Adams. I am the head chef of this restaurant."
Jo Minjun looked shocked at that revelation. How could he not? Gregory was Black. Gregory started to smile as if he could tell what Jo Minjun was thinking.
"Why? Are you shocked that a Black man is working in a Korean restaurant and is the head chef at that?"
"No, well……yes. To be honent with you, I am a bit shocked."
"I like that you are honest."
"The food has a very Korean feel to it. Of course, there is a slight difference, but based on the ingredients used, you can't even really call it a difference. That is why I was even more shocked."
"Sometimes, you can see things more clearly when you look at it from the outside. For example, you are Korean, but you are cooking Western cuisine."
"You're right. I didn't think I'd be like this, but I must have my biases as well. I'm sorry."
"No need to be sorry. Who in this country is clear of any biases? Even I get uncomfortable and wonder if I shouldn't have gone to a restaurant if I go to eat sushi and see a White person cutting the fish."
Jo Minjun started to laugh. As he picked Ella back up, Gregory started to speak.
"No, a colleague's daughter."
"She's the cutest kid I've seen all year."
"Thank you very much."
Ella shyly laughed as she answered. The conversation was not that long. Jo Minjun did not want to bother them too much. While they were walking back to their room, Ella put her chin on Minjun's neck and started to speak in a sad voice.
"I wish Minjun was my dad and not my uncle."
Jo Minjun stopped moving.He wanted to say something, but it was too heavy of a subject to just say something without thinking about it first. Jo Minjun slowly patted Ella's back before finally starting to speak.
"Do you really want to see your dad?"
"……Yes. Very much."
"Uncle can't be your dad ……but I can love you as much as your dad. So don't be lonely. Ella. Me, and the others, we are all by your side. And we all love you very much. You know that, right?"
Ella did not respond. Instead, she clenched on to Minjun's neck even tighter.
What was going on? She was still the same light child from earlier, but Ella ……felt really heavy at that moment.
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Dragneel, Illidanstormrage
Both Dragneel and Illidan have RL things so let me know if you spot errors!
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