Deborah looked at Justin with a bitter look . Collapsed? The man was talking with her just a few minutes ago . But Justin didn’t seem to be joking . He looked nervous, his voice shaking violently as he spoke .
“I ran over when I heard chef Maya scream… and I say chef Minjoon down on the ground . And…”
Deborah jumped out of her seat even before Justin finished . The hall was lively with voices as well . ‘Chef Minjoon collapsed?’ ‘That’s what I heard, yeah . ’ Among those voices, Annie and the other waitstaff tried to calm the customers down .
‘…Feels like I’m at a warzone, all of a sudden . ’
To think the hall would look this creepy so suddenly… Deborah stepped into the kitchen . Anderson was carrying Minjoon on his back . Deborah turned around . She walked over calmly and gripped onto a trembling hand . Rachel’s weak, wrinkled hand .
“…Don’t worry, teacher . ”
Rachel didn’t respond . But it was obvious to see what she was thinking . Her face was pale, eyes shaking nervously . Deborah brought the woman into a hug . Her cold body was so small and weak in her arms, just like a small child . Deborah hugged the trembling woman harder . Only when Rachel warmed up a little bit did she open her mouth .
“I’m fine . You can let go now . ”
It wasn’t hard to see that Rachel was still shaken, despite her firm voice . Deborah slowly let go, watching the older woman look around the kitchen silently . Anderson came back after loading Minjoon onto Justin’s truck .
“Get back to work . The customers are waiting,” Rachel said .
Watching a coworker collapse right next to them was jarring, to be sure . They tried not to show it . They didn’t want Rachel losing her cool even further .
Even Maya was gritting her teeth through it . Rachel looked around the kitchen one more time before letting out a sigh .
“…It’s a good thing Ella isn’t here . This would’ve been traumatizing for her . ”
“But what about you, teacher?”
“Oh? You’re worrying about me?”
“Of course I would . Who else would take care of you then?” Deborah responded with a joking tone . It was painfully obvious that she was trying to lighten up the situation .
“Stop it with the pointless words . You’re going to sub in for the molecular gastronomy section . ”
“You’re going to work me for free?”
“I’ll give you that answer . ”
Deborah’s eyes widened . Rachel continued with a calm voice .
“I’ll teach you how to get out of that slump of yours . ”
“…That’s cheating . ”
“I know you weren’t going to turn me down regardless . ”
Well, she wasn’t wrong . Deborah shrugged .
“And stop it with trying to cheer me up . It’s almost starting to get annoying . I’m fine . I’ve gone through worse things than before . I’ve been hurt a lot . Do you think it’d really matter if a beat up person got hit one more time? I’ll be fine . ”
The woman kept adding words as she spoke to try to calm herself down . Deborah came across a small revelation as she walked over to her station .
‘…wait, doesn’t getting hit on the same spot from before hurt even more?’
Justin and the cameraman both sighed in relief . It was incredibly shocking to see Minjoon walk around energetically and then collapse in the next second . At least with overwork, Minjoon would be fine with some rest . Justin collapsed back on the chair in relief .
“That’s a relief…”
“No, it’s not . Minjoon needs to rest without doing anything strenuous for some time . He’s seriously overworked his body… It’s almost insane to look at . ”
The doctor stayed telling the two of them off for a while before disappearing . Justin looked over at the cameraman in confusion once the man left .
“…Why am I getting told off about chef Minjoon?”
“That’s just how life is . It’s unfair . ”
“Well, it’s still good to know that it isn’t anything serious . ”
“You must like chef Minjoon a lot . Especially since you looked so relieved overhearing he was fine . ”
“Of course . He’s the one person out of the demi chefs who takes care of me the most . ”
Justin sounded completely honest . It was as clear as day to see how much the man cared for Minjoon . The cameraman slowly panned over to Minjoon . The sleeping man reminded him very much of a sleeping princess .
‘…I guess all he needs is a prince to wake him up . ’
There were probably a lot of people who would be willing to line up for that position . Even the intern Justin cared this much .
“When was he expected to wake up?”
“The doctor said it’d be better for him to stay sleeping for as long as possible . Even if he wakes up, the doctor asked us to tell him to go back to sleep,” Justin said, still a tinge of worry in his voice .
The doctor mentioned that the sudden change in lifestyle was what hurt Minjoon the most . As soon as the strenuous part of his life passed, all the accumulated stress came crashing down onto the body . The cameraman spoke with a conflicted look on his face .
“So it’d have been better if he kept overworking?”
“It would’ve exploded even worse than it did today, then . This is fine . He’ll recover well after this . ”
“Who knows . He might be hurting for a while even after he recovers . ”
“…Do you really have to say that now?”
“Ah, I’m sorry . Just a force of habit . ”
The cameraman smiled . Justin didn’t . He didn’t want to make light of Minjoon’s collapse . The cameraman scratched his cheek out of awkwardness .
Minjoon didn’t open his eyes for a while . During that time, the internet started heating up over news of his collapse . A few of the customers had posted the fact after their meal, and it didn’t take a long time before the news spread .
It got to the point where people who didn’t even know who Minjoon was knew about the news .
‘This might become a bigger deal than I thought . ’
The filming should’ve ended by now, but the cameraman ended up getting a message to keep filming for a little bit longer . He would have to get Minjoon’s permission after the man woke up, but that shouldn’t be so hard . He could also just delete it if Minjoon didn’t give the permission .
But the more time passed, the more the cameraman didn’t want to delete the video files . He was getting too many good shots .
‘Chloe, Kaya, Marco, Anderson, Rachel… Well, it’s obvious that these people would come . Emily and Sera too . But…’
The crowd didn’t just end there . There were plenty of people who weren’t very famous that dropped by, but virtually every star chef and TV show host stopped by to check up on Minjoon . There were even actors and singers who peeked in through the window for a second .
“…Why are there so many people coming up to check up on a collapsed chef of all people?”
The cameraman asked with an annoyed look . To think even everyday customers would stop by so often… The answer, unexpectedly enough, came from Deborah .
“Chefs get the most visits in a hospital, usually . ”
“It’s hard for people to forget about those who feed them . ”
It didn’t really make sense, but it still resonated pretty well . Deborah continued calmly .
“Good food leaves an impact on you . And that feeling stays, too . Even when I was sick, customers I wouldn’t even remember would…”
Deborah turned back all of a sudden . A stranger had stopped by to leave a basket of fruit by the door .
“He gave me a flower . Just like that person over there . ”
“…Chefs are loved, aren’t they?”
“As long as they’re good . ”
Did she say that as a self-confidence boost, or as praise for Minjoon? The cameraman was curious, but didn’t bother asking . There were too many people focused on looking at Minjoon . Kaya and Rachel, in particular, looked almost scary with how strong their gaze was .
‘…Maybe it’d be better for him to stay asleep . ’
He didn’t even want to think about what would happen when Minjoon would wake up . But avoiding what was about to happen would be impossible, unless Minjoon decides to stay asleep forever . Right then, the crowd around Minjoon started to get lively . Minjoon was moving around with a frown on his face .
“Kaya… Why did you turn the lights o…”
His sentence didn’t continue . As soon as he woke up, he started looking around with a confused look on his face .
“It’s night,” Rachel responded .