"Is that even necessary to ask?"
Kaya looked toward Anderson in disbelief. Anderson sneered right back.
"What? Is the answer that certain?"
"Of course. I think……"
"Hold on. Stop right there."
Anderson lifted up his hand. He then looked toward Jo Minjun who was in front of the pot.
"Both of you answer at the same time. Say out loud who you think the person to share the room with Minjun is. Kaya, that answer you are so certain about, let's see if your precious boyfriend thinks the same way."
"……You think Minjun's going to answer differently?"
"Not sure. People's thoughts are more likely to be different than the same though."
Kay started to glare at Anderson. Anderson just started to smirk as if he was mocking her. His casual tone was irritating for Kaya.
"Should we bet on it? You can give up if you are not confident."
"I am absolutely confident. Bring it on."
"Fine, what do you want to bet?"
Kaya thought about it for a moment before speaking in a confident voice.
"Dishes. No. Dishes, trash, and cleaning. All of it. How about it?"
"For how long?"
"As long as we live together."
Although you couldn't tell what was making Kaya so confident, she was glaring at Anderson with a competitive gaze. But unfortunately, Jo Minjun could not even fathom what answer Kaya was going to give. Will she say that it was only right for the two of them to share a room because they are dating? But at this point, they two of them haven't even slept on the same bed together.
At the same time, it wasn't like she was going to say it was natural for him to share the room with Anderson. No matter what, the two of them were dating. If you are living with your girlfriend and a friend, wouldn't' it be weird to share the room with your friend instead of your girlfriend?
Jo Minjun's head was spinning fast, almost to the point that he felt like he had never thought this hard in his life before. Even coming up with a new recipe would not be this difficult. Anderson started to speak.
"I will count to three. Both of you answer at the same time. If I am sharing a room with Minjun, the fork, and if you two are using a room together, the spoon. Understand?"
Kaya gulped. Anderson also clenched his fist with a nervous expression. Truthfully speaking, this came down to luck. Whose side would God choose to take? After a moment of silence, Anderson started to count.
"……Three. Two. One!"
The two voices were not the same. Jo Minjun and Kaya looked toward each other. Kaya was glaring at Minjun grudgingly as if she was asking how he could do that to her. Jo Minjun had shouted fork, while Kaya shouted spoon. Jo Minjun did not dare to make eye contact with Kaya and turned his gaze away.
"Unbelievable. What is this …… Minjun? How does this make sense? You really like that beanpole that much?"
"No, that not …… I never expected you would want to share rooms with me."
"Isn't it obvious? Are we just friends? We are a couple! Isn't it weirder to use different rooms?"
"Ah, I need to get rid of the foam in the pot."
"Are you really thinking about that right now?"
Jo Minjun pretended like he didn't hear as he focused on getting rid of the foam that was rising to the top of the broth. Anderson snickered before looking toward Kaya with a cold smile.
"Thank you very much. Dishes, cleaning, and even the trash. Amazing. Wonderful."
"……Are you really planning on making me do it?"
"Then should I ask as a joke? You're not planning on taking back a promise you decided on yourself, are you? Well, I guess that is up to you. Don't do it if you don't want to. I won't point out how you went back on your word."
"Don't say that I went back on my word even before it started. I'm good at fighting, you know."
"Oh wow. So amazing. Well if you don't plan on going back against your word, that's good too. I leave it to you, miss housekeeper."
Kaya lifted up her fists. Anderson casually turned around and walked away.
"I'm leaving first. I'm too sleepy to stay up."
"Traitor. You're going to leave alone?"
"I never told him to boil a broth. He decided to do it himself."
Anderson gave that answer before heading out of the kitchen. Kaya started to pout as she pulled over a chair and sat down.
"That petty bastard. Even his future wife will be just as petty."
"Wasn't he doing it for us? Giving us some alone time with each other."
"Ha! If someone was going to give alone time, shouldn't it be me? Our classy and formal Mr. Minjun Jo prefers to share a room with not his girlfriend, but Anderson."
"……Why are you being like this? You know that's not it."
"I don't know."
Kaya put her arms on the back of the chair and put her head down. She then started to mumble in a sad voice. Dishes, cleaning, trash …… Jo Minjun could not bear it and let out a sigh before responding.
"I'll help you. So don't worry about it."
"Don't help me. I lost. It is my responsibility."
"Whatever you want."
Jo Minjun did not hesitate even a little bit before answering back. Kaya started to glare at Jo Minjun's back. Jo Minjun did not even look back as he started to speak once more.
"Why say that if you're going to glare at me like this?"
"Huh? What. How do you know I was glaring?"
"Do you think I don't know Kaya Lotus?"
"You didn't know what decision I would make."
"To not not know does not mean I know."
Jo Minjun responded naturally. Kaya started to grumble.
"Always so good with words for no reason."
"There are so many people who are not good with words. A chef is half successful if they have a way with words."
Kaya just quietly looked at Jo Minjun's back as he said that. He was not cooking something amazing. He was just boiling a broth and carefully getting rid of the foam. But for some reason, he looked really cool while doing that. He looked lovely. And she was envious. Kaya slowly started to speak.
"How much do you think I have succeeded. As a chef."
"……We say success, but neither of us are at the level to discuss our journey as successful, yet."
"You know what I am talking about. But I feel like I am being left behind. All of you are working in a kitchen while I spend more time standing in the hall. I just show my face to people, take pictures with them, and sign autographs. I also have to receive compliments for recipes I barely had a role in making.
……I feel like a con artist."
Jo Minjun's hands stopped moving. But he did not look back. If he wanted to, he could go over and hug her to console her. But he did not do that. He could not do that. That would be like going up to someone with a cold and saying 'you're not really sick.' Even if it was difficult ……he had to be the one to give the shot. If necessary, he had to cut off the rotting limb. Jo Minjun started to speak. His mind was holding a scalpel.
"Kaya. What is frustrating? The fact that you cannot stand in a kitchen? Or that you have to live as Grand Chef's puppet for a year?"
"Why is it frustrating?"
"I already told you. I am neither a chef nor a celebrity right now. Just awkwardly in the middle. It would be one thing if I took a step into the entertainment world like Chloe. I really am nothing right now. No, I am just not doing anything right now. I really hate this."
Jo Minjun quietly lifted up his ladle. He slowly threw away the foam on the ladle into the trash can. He then slowly started to speak.
"Kaya. You are a better chef than you give yourself credit for. You said your recipe was not perfect just now. That is why they have to change it. I'm sure your abilities as a head chef is lacking as well. It is only normal for it to be lacking. Then what do you think you should be doing right now?"
"……What do you mean by what I should be doing?"
"What you want to do in the end is to cook. Then train your skills. Fix up recipes, research them, and work hard to not just be a head chef in name, but a real head chef. Make the kitchen yours. Even if you don't manage to successfully do that ……all your effort to make it happen will show matching results. Are you giving your best right now?"
Kaya did not answer. She could not answer. As Jo Minjun mentioned, Kaya had not clenched her teeth and done whatever she could to make it happen. Jo Minjun continued to speak.
"You cannot win the championship belt if you do not challenge the champion. Kaya, if you want to grumble, do it after you make a challenge. Cry after you've taken a beating from the champion. At that time, I will console you properly. But not right now. Kaya. I don't like those tears that come even before you've tried to fight."
"……I didn't cry."
"Yes. You shouldn't cry."
Kaya got up from the chair and hugged Jo Minjun from behind. Her arms that passed underneath his armpits clenched his chest tightly. Kaya whispered in a quiet voice.
"You're so mean. Always so stern with me."
"So stop acting like a child."
"I am still a kid. I'm still in my teens."
"……I guess I have nothing to say to that."
Jo Minjun put down the ladle and turned around. He then kissed Kaya on the lips and started to smile.
"Don't you think I would have done well as a teacher?"
Kaya started to laugh.
"I think you would have eventually given it up to be a chef."
Her body was heavy. She could not be sure whether she was breathing, or if she could even move any of her fingers. She felt like she opened her eyes for a moment, but her eyelids were so heavy and closing back down. Once she came back to her senses, the world was once again covered in darkness.
Once she managed to get out of this sleep or paralysis world, the first thing in front of Kaya's eyes was a round face. Ella was looking at Kaya right in front of her. Kaya rubbed her eyes as she started to stretch.
"Yaaaaawn……Ella. Why are you heah?"
Her voice that was still half asleep and did not come out correctly just slowly came out of her mouth. Ella let out a humph as she flipped her hair back. On her chest was the Chloe doll that Chloe had signed for her.
"Because kindergarten already ended!"
"Kindergarten? ……Why is it over so early? It's still morning."
"It's not morning. It's mourning. No, morning."
Ella, who said the wrong word, quickly fixed herself. But Kaya did not have the luxury of thinking Ella was cute or even stupid. She had a blank expression as she tried to absorb what Ella just said, before quickly taking her smartphone out of her pocket. However, the screen did not turn on. It was out of battery. Kaya looked at Ella with a nervous expression.
"Ella. Do you have a phone?"
"What kind of kindergartener has a phone?"
"Then what about a watch?"
"I don't know. But it's already past two."
Of course, Ella was not talking about 2 am. Kaya put her hand on her forehead and let out a sigh. SHe was late. Since she was already so late, she did not even think about rushing. Jo Minjun's message about challenging to do her best was still ringing in her head, but she had done something like this from the first day.
Kaya slowly lifted her body up with a weary expression. It really was too much to pull an all-nighter. She had put her head on the table to take a short nap, so how did she wake up on the couch? Did Jo Minjun lay her down? Kaya looked toward Ella.
"What is Minjun doing?"
Kaya had a concerned expression. She was this tired after taking a short, no, a quite long nap, so how must he be feeling? She held no grudges at the fact that he did not wake her up. It was her responsibility to wake herself up.
Once she stepped out of the office where she was laying down, the sweet fragrance of the broth hit her nose. Surprisingly, it did not smell greasy at all. It might be normal because Minjun spent so much effort getting rid of the oil and the foam ……but she was even more worried, knowing how tired his body must be to put in all of that effort.
"Ah, hello, Chef Kaya."
Kaya responded back to the prep cooks' greetings with a still stiff expression as she immediately headed for the hall. Jo Minjun was there. He started to smile with his tired face once he saw Kaya.
"Oh, Kaya. You're up?"
"……Did you not sleep at all?"
"Don't worry. This much is easy. Ah, I already contacted your agent-nim. I told them you are not feeling well so you needed to rest."
"Am I really the sick one? You look like you're about to fall over."
Kaya's voice sounded a bit angry. Watching Kaya, Rafael whispered in Janet's ear.
"She is just as rumored. Minjun is really going to be whipped."
"I don't know. I have a feeling it would be the opposite."
Instead of answering, Janet just looked back toward Kaya and Jo Minjun. Rafael turned to look at them as well. Jo Minjun smiled gently as he sat Kaya down next to him.
"You can be angry later, but first, try this. It shouldn't be too much even on an empty stomach. I solidified the broth and put boiled beef wrapped in a lasagna inside. The flavoring was done with nutmeg powder and a bit of rock salt. Hurry, try it."
Seeing his eyes glitter with expectation for her to try it, she could not just continue to grumble. Kaya opened her mouth and ate the food Minjun offered. It really was an interesting taste. To be specific, the interesting thing was the texture. It looked like a firm ball, but it felt very different than jelly. It is probably best described as water that was somehow retaining its shape. The broth gently melted in your mouth, and the chewiness of the beef wrapped in lasagna added texture and savoriness.
But the strongest flavor was, of course, the broth. How could it be like this just because time and effort were put into it? The Asian flavor melted with the lasagna and beef, bringing out the most of each ingredient. Kaya even forgot about her concerns for Minjun as she showed her admiration.
"This could probably go out as a menu item. Of course, it does require some more adjustments ……but it is really good."
"It'll be difficult to make it a menu item. I can't make a broth like this every day."
"……I guess that is true. Then why did you make this if you can't even put it on the menu?"
Jo Minjun quietly chuckled instead of responding. Kaya started to frown.
"Why are you laughing?"
"No, it's funny. Just yesterday, you were saying I was putting effort into something useless, but now, you're disappointed that I can't put it on the menu. Isn't it funny? The fact that you put time and effort into something is so clearly visible."
Kaya quietly processed Minjun's words. Was it because they talked so much yesterday? His words did not feel so light. Maybe that was why, but her answer was heavier than normal.
"I hope our relationship, that we can put that much effort into it and boil it for a long time."
Jo Minjun held Kaya's hand.
"We will boil it until the marrows run out and the bones break down."
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Illidanstormrage
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