Published at 16th of December 2020 05:33:22 PM
“What the hell happened?”
Kaya looked at Min-joon’s expression with a perplexed look . She couldn’t read his facial expression at the moment, He seemed to be astonished, but he also seemed to be calm . She even wondered if there was anybody in the world who could read his hardened face .
“Let me call them . ”
He spoke in a heavy voice, then called Anderson’s number . His phone was ringing, but an answering machine said, ‘This is Anderson . I can’t answer your phone right now…’
Min-joon annoyingly ended the call, then called another person . Soon a slightly hoarse voice was heard on the other side .
“Janette . I just saw ridiculous stories and videos on the internet . Is that true?”
“Yes, that’s correct . Our restaurant was burnt,” Janet replied calmly .
His hand with the smartphone began to tremble . As Kaya put her hand on his, he opened his mouth hesitantly, “Anybody got injured?”
“No, don’t worry about it . >>
“Ha… . ” He sighed for a long time as if he was relieved . Janet on the other side also sighed .
They let out the same sight, but with different mixed feelings .
“By now the fire was almost put out . All the food ingredients were burnt, of course but I really wonder if we can go back to business . ”
“Such big damages?”
“I don’t know . We can check out the exact damages only after putting out the fire . Anyway, we’re in a bad situation for now . ”
“Man, you suddenly got a vacation!”
“Stop it, please . Even if you crack such a funny joke, you can’t turn this tragedy into a comedy . ”
Janet’s voice was full of tiredness . Given that even Min-joon was so restless after seeing the burnt restaurant on the internet, she must have been more stressed out and shocked to see the fire engulfing the restaurant right before her eyes at dawn .
He quietly opened his mouth .
“What about Rachel?”
“How do you think she feels?”
“I’m asking you because I can’t imagine how she feels right now . Of course, she might be very calm or full of despair as if the end of the world is around the corner . ”
“Nope . She isn’t calm or full of despair . I just don’t know how to express her feelings . ”
Although he asked, he didn’t want to imagine how Rachel was feeling now . The more clearly he could imagine her frame of mind right now, the more heartbroken he would feel .
But he said again, trying to calm down, “What are other staff doing now?”
“I have no idea . Havier must be asleep even now because I’ve not heard from him, Anderson woke up immediately at the news about the fire, and he’s so concerned about Rachel . Other guys are just at a loss for words . ”
“Man, I can’t stay here any longer . Let me return quickly . ”
“Hey, can you put out the fire even if you fly here right now? Can you revive the food ingredients? You can’t . So, just shut up and go back to sleep . Isn’t it still very early in the morning out there?”
“How can I go back to sleep when I’ve heard the news about our restaurant?”
“You can’t do anything now . The only thing you can do is call me like this . So, don’t bother . If you are still concerned, it’s up to you . Let me hang up the phone now . I’m busy . ”
“Hey, Janet? Janet?”
Min-joon looked at the smartphone with a blank expression for a moment .
Kaya opened her mouth with a smirk, “Dang it, she is rude, as always . ”
“You don’t have to criticize her . ”
“So, what are you going to do? Go back to Los Angeles now?”
“I don’t know . I have to talk to my parents first . ”
“Do you know that your hand is trembling now?”
When she said that, Min-joon slowly looked at his hand holding hers . He saw his hand trembling violently .
He said, clenching his fist, “I wonder if something serious happened . ”
“She says nothing big happened . Just trust her . ”
“I hope she didn’t hide something from me for fear I might be worried . ”
“If you’re so worried, just buy a plane ticket and fly back right now . ”
“Whew… I don’t know . ”
Min-joon’s shoulders drooped as if he was exhausted . She gently hugged his shoulders and opened her mouth, “Let’s wait . Don’t get too excited . Just trust your friends and Chef Rachel . ”
“Okay . ”
“Shall I sing a lullaby for you?”
“Well . Can you sing well?”
“If I had not had worked in the cooking business, I would have been a singer . ”
“Hope you aren’t a rock singer . ”
She laughed at that . However, he couldn’t sleep at all .
In conclusion, it was impossible to find out the exact cause of the fire on Rose Island . The general consensus was that the fire broke out by chance, or a derelict on drugs set fire to Rose Island in a hazy state, then ran away .
As a result, there was no particular change in Min-joon’s itinerary in Korea . He didn’t look bright during the remainder of his stay, but even if he went back now, there was nothing he could do . Isaac even called him to say that if he wanted to take more vacation, he could . But that was the problem . He wanted to call Rachel at least once, but he could not .
‘I just don’t know how she is doing at the moment . ’
Although he called others at the restaurant, most of them said that they didn’t see her face to face after the fire accident .
So, even though he took vacation leave, he didn’t feel like he was resting at all because he was worried every day . Isaac said that Rachel was okay, so he didn’t have to worry about her, but unless he talked to her first, he could not feel relieved . Restless was always on his face during his stay in Korea .
” Are you still worried about it?”
One day before Min-joon returned to Los Angeles, Man-gil called him and asked like that first .
“Of course, I’m! They are like my family . ”
“Well, I would have felt the same way if Sumokjong had been burnt down . It’s not about money or anything like that, but it’s my life that would have burnt with it . Probably your teacher feels the same thing . ”
“I think so . So, I’m going to go and comfort her . ”
“That sounds good . You’re a good student . By the way, I came up with a new food combination . The basic matching is simple . I’m going to make a crab stew and grill bulgogi on the branches of an apple tree, but let me mix bulgogi with sweet apple sauce and traditional Koran soy sauce evenly…”
To put it bluntly, Man-gil’s voluntary release of his recipe like this was a blessing to Min-joon . He knew there were hundreds of Korean chefs who were willing to spend tens or hundreds of millions of Korean won to find out his recipe . Of course, Min-joon has a system window, but it could not detect those with cooking level 9 and above .
But he was exhausted for now . So, he said with a sigh, “Sir, can I take a little break today? I have to fly for several hours tomorrow . ”
“If you get aboard the plane, you are going to take a break anyway, right?”
“Well, travelling in an economy class on the plane is very hard, as you know . ”
“I see…next time when you come to visit Korea, just let me know . Let me buy you a business class ticket in return for your advice . ”
“I’m going to keep it in mind, sir . ”
“Well, people forget thousands of things in a day . You will probably forget that too . ”
Min-joon burst into laughter to hear that . Normally he would find it very stressful to talk with Man-gil, given his age and cooking experiences, but he didn’t feel like that at all perhaps because Man-gil respected him so much or both were involved in the same cooking business .
“I’ll see you again next time I come to Korea . ”
“Thanks, but you won’t feel excited to see because I’m going to harass you with questions whenever I’m free . ”
“I would appreciate it if you can ask only twice a week, if possible . ”
“Let me try . Then have a good journey back . ”
“Thank you . ”
He hung up the phone . Min-joon looked back at Kaya with an embarrassing expression .
She said, shrugging, “I guess he has really become your fan . ”
“I’m glad to know that, but at the same time I feel a bit uncomfortable . ”
“Why? I think you are greater than him . ”
“Because your dish is more delicious . ”
He smiled at that . His cooking level was 8, while Man-gil was level 9 . But Min-joon thought he didn’t have to deny what she just said . He wanted to say, ‘Hey, he is better than me because his level is higher than mine,’ but he didn’t because he already knew that the system window wasn’t perfect .
He looked out the window . He saw the plane beyond the huge glass at the airport .
‘Back to America again…’
“I hear Min-joon has left Korea,” Isaac said in a low voice .
Rachel didn’t respond . Sitting in a rocking chair, she was staring at the frame . She was looking at it not for a moment, but for long, maybe hours . She was staring at the picture in the frame endlessly . It was a picture of Rose Island before being burnt down . To put it exactly, it was a picture of Rose Island over a decade ago . In the picture were Rachel, who looked much younger than now, and a handsome man next to her, along with several students close to her .
Isaac looked at Rachel for a long time silently .
Then he said again in a calm voice, “Back then we had no worries at all . You used to tell me you wanted to get divorced from your husband all the time . ”
“Well, if he had been alive, I would have gotten divorced twice or so . ”
“Even though you said so, it turned out you were a happy couple . ”
“Isaac . If you want to say that my sufferings will turn into memories as time goes by, please stop it . We cannot live in the future . We live in the present . ”
“Sure . Then, let me tell you about our present situation . Our main restaurant Venice was destroyed by fire . Whether you want to renovate or rebuild, we can’t use the burnt building for several months . ”
“I know that . ”
“I think you had better put off the plan you had in mind for some time . You won’t be able to try something like that with the head office burnt down right now . ”
“Well, I haven’t thought about it from the beginning . So, I am not worried . But what it does matter is lost time . I don’t want to just sit back and do nothing for several months,” said Rachel with a sigh . Watching her in dejection, Isaac handed out a document .
When she examined it, he said calmly, “It’s my own plan . Maybe you might like some of it . ”
“Okay . Let me take a look . So, please get out . I want to be alone . ”
Isaac left the room without saying anything . Rachel, who looked at Daniel in the frame for a long time, muttered in a low voice, “I’m trying to step on your shadow, but that’s too hard . ”
“Don’t look at me like that . I don’t want to hear from you that I’m still stuck in the past . I just…”
Rachel sighed, then eventually put down the frame and read the document Isaac handed her . It didn’t take long for her to smile again .
She muttered in a determined voice, “I will definitely step on your shadow because I am your wife . ”