“I’m saying it once again, but if you decided once, you won’t be able to modify it. It means that you will have to keep the recipe as it is and not only the concept of the course. Will you be fine with this recipe?”
Martin asked, and Kaya nodded.
“I have thought on only that for 10 days and have wondered about only that. If only a revelation doesn’t fall on the skies, it won’t be able to be changed anymore. No, perhaps this would be a recipe that already received that revelation.”
“Hm, fine. I will take it.”
“So just when are you planning to tell me the method of the mission? I won’t be cooking all of those courses in a few hours all alone.”
“Don’t get anxious. You will get to know all of that tonight.”
Kaya frowned. Did that mean that he would announce it tonight? She couldn’t know. Precisely speaking, she couldn’t understand why they weren’t telling them and decided to tell them only now. Anderson, who was next to her, shook his head.
“Don’t protest like a kid. They would have done it because they already have something planned. Why, do you think that they won’t tell you just to make fun of you?”
“……I didn’t ask you.”
Kaya replied as if she was growling. Martin smirked. Just like everyone expected, as Jo Minjoon, who was the connecting link, disappeared, the two of them started to clash like cat and dog.
“Go rest. I don’t recommend you getting mentally exhausted for fighting meaninglessly.”
At Martin’s words, Kaya and Anderson looked at each other unsatisfactorily and walked upstairs tottering to their respective rooms. Kaya locked the door and hugged her knees while sitting on the bed. She didn’t like that she couldn’t do anything right now. Hopelessness? Perhaps, expressing it like sense of lethargy was more correct. She would rather prefer doing the mission right now.
“……..Chloe, Minjoon, Marco, and uh….. What was it again?”
Her memory about the names of the others was already blurry. Actually, they weren’t even close, and looking at it like that there was nothing weird. But those three were her friends. She wanted to see them as much as her family.
Kaya took out her cellphone. As she looked at the few names that contained the screen, her eyes stopped on the name Jo Minjoon. After the fight on that day, no, the vague conversation that couldn’t be considered a fight, the relationship between the two became awkward. It wasn’t that they hadn’t contacted each other at all, but there were many cases where they respected the stuffy silence without even being able to say anything and the conversation ended.
And because of that, the name she pressed in the end was Chloe’s. She thought that the tone was ringing for quite long, but soon a panting sound was heard. Kaya said cautiously.
[ Haa… haa…..Yeah, tell me. Huph………]
“Are you exercising again?”
[ No, that’s not it……. Huph, I was going somewhere, but the car stopped, whew, on a hill……. I’m walking for quite a while now. ]
“……Should I call you later?”
“ No, nono. I will arrive soon. I’m almost there. ]
Chloe said that, but Kaya didn’t add anything on purpose. Because her breath sounded really short winded. How much longer would she have heard her breath? Chloe was slowly taking in some air and then opened her mouth.
[ But why did you call me for? ]
“I’m bored. And I feel stuffed. Being with that bastard Anderson just stresses me. To call Minjoon…….”
Kaya paused for a moment. She just scratched her fingers and changed subjects.
“Anyways, that’s why I called you for. But where are you going? Looking that it’s a hill, did you go travelling?”
[ Hm, it’s similar. ]
“How good. I also want to travel. Thinking about it, I have never gone once on my life.”
[ What are you saying? There was that time with the food truck, and also being at Grand Chef’s house right now is travelling. ]
“That’s true……but anyways, it’s not that good right now. A trip where there is only Anderson. It’s horrible.”
Chloe replied with an awkward laugh. She wasn’t the type to side with the back sayings of someone. Kaya let out a sigh.
“So where did you go to? Looking that you said that there was a hill, it feels like you went to the west.”
[ In front of your door. ]
[ I came in front of your door. ]
At that moment, a knock was heard. Knock, knock knock, knock. Kaya looked at the side of the door dumbfoundedly. Chloe said with a teasing voice.
[ Delivery. ]
Starting with Chloe, all the past eliminated people started to gather one by one. Joanne and Ivanna, Hugo, Olivia, Sasha, etc. showed themselves, and the result of that was that all of them gathered on the lobby of the 4th floor like usual. Kaya was stuck next to Chloe and was forcing the smile not to show. She felt so good she couldn’t even think anything about the mission.
“It feels good.”
Kaya said briefly. Even if she was honest on bad things, she was someone that couldn’t be honest on good things. So for that kind of Kaya to say that, there was some kind of weight on those words. Anderson opened his mouth slightly.
“There are at least 6 days until the finals, so gathering everyone like this…… Is it what I’m thinking about?”
“I wonder. Even we didn’t hear the details. But I’m also guessing what you are thinking about.”
Hugo replied. He was wearing glasses compared to before. Ivanna asked carefully, as if it was bothering her for a while.
“Hugo, did your eyesight get bad?”
Hugo sticked his finger inside the inner parts of the glasses instead of replying and smirked. Looking at the finger that passed clearly, Ivanna nodded as if she assented to it. Sasha said with a voice full of envy.
“I did think that you two were strong…… But there really were no upsets. In the end, you even survived until the end.”
“Well, my skills were good.”
“……..Shouldn’t you normally be saying that you were lucky?”
Even at Sasha’s pointing out, Kaya ‘hmph’ed with confidence and smiled. Perhaps, that dignity could be her charm. When did they get this accustomed to her? But one thing was certain.
‘She’s not a bad kid.’
At first, they misunderstood her a lot. Her mouth was rough, and her actions were even rougher. However the more they knew of her, she was just like a cute porcupine. She did elevate her spikes because she was scaredy, but if you just calmed her down, those spikes became soft feathers. She was that kind of porcupine.
Footsteps were heard by the stairs. They all looked at the stairs with expectant eyes. Who is going to come now? The answer came soon. A black and shaven head flickered at the end of the stairs. And soon, when the huge body showed up, everybody put welcoming smiles on their mouths.
Chloe and Joanne approached and hugged him. Even if two people extended their arms, they couldn’t embrace him properly, but the moment they hugged him they realized one thing. That it wasn’t only one person that got up the stairs. He was hidden behind Marco’s big build, but behind him there was Jo Minjoon. He smiled awkwardly and said.
“Are you also hugging me?”
“It’s a joke.”
Jo Minjoon looked at Chloe getting perplexed and Jo Minjoon hurriedly said. Chloe extended her hands.
“Give me your luggage! It looks heavy.”
“……..It’s a carrier?”
“You came up the stairs carrying it. You shouldn’t even have the strength to drag it.”
“Because I don’t have muscles, it’s not that I don’t have that much strength…… But well.”
He gave her one of the carriers and smiled.
“Thanks if you help.”
Chloe blushed and hurriedly walked away. The moment Jo Minjoon followed Chloe’s back, he looked at the other people. The moment Kaya made eye contact with Jo Minjoon, she turned her head away as if she was a kid that stole a candy stealthily. Hugo, that was looking at the both of them, Hugo laughed ill naturedly and turned to look at Kaya.
“While we didn’t see them, the atmosphere became quite hot. Kaya, isn’t it dangerous?”
Her eyes, that was painted in black, contorted. She couldn’t loosen her fierce eyes even after Chloe and Minjoon returned. Rather than being angry at them, it was closer to being angry at herself… at herself that couldn’t do anything.
Jo Minjoon also felt this place was uncomfortable. Chloe had confessed to him, and he had kind of fought with Kaya. The others also weren’t blind. There was no way they couldn’t see what was happening. Joanne whispered to Anderson.
“Hey. Did something happen between them while we weren’t here?”
“I don’t know.”
“Ah, why don’t you? You should have kept being with them.”
“You, do you remember everything I did when you were with me? No, do you know it all?”
“It’s the same.”
After Anderson’s words, she shut her mouth. Joanne pouted her lips and just observed Chloe. The thing that made her stop looking at her was the entrance of Robert. He looked at the participants and said.
“Come down to the kitchen. It’s okay if it’s only for a moment. The judges also arrived.”
“……..I already got eliminated, but why am I nervous again?”
Marco placed his hand on his chest and breathed in. Jo Minjoon smiled faintly and said.
“It’s because you treat the competition of others as seriously as if it was yours. And thinking about standing in front of the judges, even going there as a customer will make you feel nervous.”
“I really think that would be the case.”
If they were to go to Joseph’s and Alan’s restaurants later on, they thought that they really wouldn’t be able to eat comfortably.
They felt restless while going down to the kitchen. In the case of Jo Minjoon, he returned after two weeks passed, but for the others it was much more. So obviously, while thinking about the memories of this moment, it could only hurt one corner of their hearts because they were now here as a support.
And no one on earth could get satisfied by being a support. They wanted to become the stars, the protagonists. Who could be free by feeling like that, on that greed?
He remembered some words he heard a while ago though he forgot if it was on a drama, or on an essay. The director had said that everyone wanted to become the protagonists of their own lives but not anybody could become it. That they just watched their lives instead of living it. The protagonist is the one that receives the most love, so the protagonists of their lives couldn’t be them but rather the ones they loved……It was that kind of word.
When he first saw those words, he thought that those were some made up words to feel more romantic. However, he thought that he could kind of understand those words because it was hard to receive it. He still wanted to become the protagonist, and loved himself the most. That was how greedy he felt when he saw the path Kaya and Anderson were walking.
And it was difficult for it to always become the right path. Jo Minjoon put down his greed. He tried hard to do so. At the hard clenched fist, a soft skin passed by. He got surprised and turned to look, and he saw Chloe also getting surprised and turning to look at him.
An awkward silence flowed between the two of them. Jo Minjoon asked with a low voice.
“Don’t you feel regret?”
“That you couldn’t become the protagonist here.”
“If I tell you honestly, you won’t say anything, right?”
“……..Is it something that seems like I would say something?”
Chloe took in breaths for a moment. They had already gone down the stairs were close to the door of the kitchen.
“It’s an undeserving seat for me. Ah, I’m not intending to depreciate myself. Compared to Kaya and Anderson, the time I poured my passion and heart are weaker. I still have to accumulate a bit more. You know about the law of counter reaction, right? You push the rock, but if you don’t have the strength to do it, you are the one that rather gets pushed back. It’s the same as greed. If you don’t have the skills and want to have it without any definite plans…… You will also lose what you have right now. So I don’t get greedy.”
Chloe smiled merrily. At least on this moment, it felt like the awkwardness all disappeared. The door to the kitchen opened. The participants lined up naturally and got in the kitchen. The judges were all putting welcoming smiles on their faces. Emily said.
“I feel really good meeting you again like this. All of you should be really busy, thanks for making some time.”
“I think that you should be really curious. If you came for us, for yourselves, or to be helpers.”
Honestly, they weren’t that curious. Because the situation was really obvious. And that showed up right on their faces. Martin let out a sigh at a side as if it was regrettable. They could put on a more curious face.
“I will first tell you the results. You wight will split in half and team up with Anderson or Kaya. And you have to cook the recipes designed by them and serve 50 customers and us. And…….”
Alan paused for a moment and looked at Joseph. Joseph smiled brightly and elevated his voice.
“And those 50 customers are chefs that represents the 50 states of America. Getting recognized by them is no different than being completely recognized on the business circle on this country.
At those words, not only Kaya and Anderson, but all the other 8 shone their eyes. If it was as they had said, the word the directors said when they brought them made sense. ‘Opportunity’. They weren’t only going to help Kaya and Anderson, but it could also become an opportunity for them. Aside from appeals, getting acquaintanced was an amazing thing by itself.
“One week……No, precisely speaking there are 6 days left. You will have to completely master Kaya’s and Anderson’s recipe in that time and satisfy the chefs. And of course, there would be one process left before that. Right, Emily?”
Emily slowly looked at the ten of them. And then she said with a calm voice.
“We will arrange the teams.”
< Reunion in front of the door (1) > End
Translator’s note: Thanks for reading!
PR Note: Oooh, what a twist. I feel excited!
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa