‘……They’re at it again.’
The kitchen family all shook their heads and let out sighs. It was really romantic, but how could he say something so cheesy in front of everybody? It wouldn’t feel this gross if they were just showing some intense public display of affection.
Maya looked toward Gerrick. She started to speak in a disturbed tone.
“Hey, Gerrick. Are all Asian men like this?”
“……I don’t know. But Korean men are famous for being the cheesiest even amongst the Asians.”
“But it will change once they get married, right?”
“That shouldn’t be different for any nationality. Even the melo movies only focus on life before marriage. They don’t usually focus on life after marriage. They can’t do it because romance dies once you get married. Once you get married, it becomes a family drama. Family dramas focus more on crisis, arguments, apologies and things like that.”
Janet started to speak in a cold voice after hearing Gerrick’s statement.
“I really want those to get married quickly.”
“……That sounds like a wish filled with evil intentions.”
Gerrick awkwardly laughed as he said that. But Janet did not seem to be laughing. Anderson who was standing next to her started to speak with a serious expression.
“That is the best thing you’ve ever said until now.”
“I always say good things.”
“Whatever you say.”
Anderson shrugged his shoulders. Janet peeked at Anderson for a moment before turning her gaze away. She then flinched. Ella was glaring her with eyes full of resentment. She then started to mumble in a teary voice.
“……I don’t want to see that happen.”
“This is the last of your stuff, right?”
“There isn’t much. Just a few clothes.”
Jo Minjun put his last suitcase onto the car as he shrugged his shoulders. California generally had warm weather, so other than a few formal suits or thin coats, the majority were summer clothes.
He looked behind him. The sun was warmly shining down on the house. The dents on the bright magenta fence gave away its age, and the long chimney on one side of the wall looked like it was coming loose. Jo Minjun started to mumble in a sad voice.
“……It is a bit sad now that I am leaving.”
“It would be weird if you weren’t sad leaving such a nice house like this.”
“Your house is nice too. But why aren’t you sad?”
“Who cares if the house is nice? There are two ghosts living there.”
“Calling your parents ghosts is a bit much.”
“You try dealing with them then. Even you’ll say they are too much. Your parents are nice. You wouldn’t understand.”
Jo Minjun silently raised his eyebrows before lowering them back down. It wasn’t like Anderson was wrong. Jo Minjun parents were certainly very different than Anderson’s parents. But ……
“But Amelia looked to be tearing up when you were packing earlier.”
“……Tears my ass.”
Anderson responded with a bitter expression. Rachel, who had been watching the two of them, slowly started to speak.
“Amelia acts tough but she’s tough internally.”
“……I don’t understand your statement. Shouldn’t it be acts tough but is weak on the inside?”
“Even strong women like her will find it difficult when her child leaves. Especially when its a son she’s held close to her for over twenty years.”
“She’s not the type to hug like that……”
Anderson started to retort before Rachel’s glare made him stop. Jo Minjun started to think while watching Rachel. Did Rachel and Daniel never have any children or did they lose them? Normally, you are likely to have a child or two after being together that long, but he could only wonder about it as nobody ever mentioned the topic.
Of course, he was not rude enough to ask her himself. Just because he was curious did not mean he had the right to know about it. It was her personal life. Unless she brought it up first, he did not have a reason to, or a right to ask. Rachel had a sorrowful smile on her face as she turned to look at Jo Minjun.
“Guess you are leaving now.”
“I enjoyed my time here. I’ve never eaten such good food at home ever in my life.”
“My my. Kaya will be sad if you say something like that.”
“I don’t think Kaya’s ever cooked for me at home just yet.”
“Won’t she eventually?”
It was a mischievous question. Jo Minjun embarrassingly turned his gaze. Rachel continued to speak in a slightly serious voice.
“Sometimes, there are times when you have to firmly grasp onto something instead of backing away. You may take it as an old hag nagging at you, but that is what women want from a man. They want someone to hold them tightly.”
“……Teacher, were you like that too?”
“Although I have heard many times that I have a strong personality, I am still not a man. While men may want the world, women want a man who has the world. And when they are sure that they have someone like that, it is time for that person to focus on them. A woman who does not receive such love ……it becomes easy to question the love itself.”
He could understand what Rachel was saying. Jo Minjun had contemplative eyes as he nodded his head. He then cautiously started to speak.
“But haven’t I focused on her a lot already?”
“It is a very gentle focus. Sometimes, it is good to be a bit forceful. Think about it. If you made a friend but they were always formal with you, would you be comfortable around that friend?”
“……I guess it would be a bit hard.”
Jo Minjun answered in a not so confident voice. Rachel started to smile. She then slowly patted Jo Minjun’s shoulder as she continued.
“You are a smart kid. I know you understood what I was trying to say. I’ll end my nagging there. You don’t think I’m a boring granny do you?”
“Teacher, I wouldn’t find it boring even if you were reading an encyclopedia in front of me.”
“You are very obviously trying to flatter me.”
“Isn’t such obvious flattery cuter than hidden flattery?”
“……I really can’t decide whether you are a bear or a fox. I keep going back and forth.”
Rachel started to smile thinking there was nothing she could do about this troublemaker. Jo Minjun responded in a gentle voice.
“Thank you very much, teacher. ……It feels odd to say something like this. It’s not like I’m leaving the kitchen. I’m just leaving the house.”
Rachel opened up her arms. Jo Minjun cautiously approached her and hugged her. Rachel patted Minjun’s back again.
“You were like a son to me. You will continue to be like a son to me. If you are ever missing your family, feel free to come by anytime.”
Jo Minjun had a thought pop into his head once he heard that. He had family in Korea and a girlfriend in Kaya. But Rachel did not have anybody left.
Of course, the loyal Isaac was by her side, but ……it started to weigh on his heart that the person longing for a family was more likely to be Rachel than himself.
Jo Minjun hugged Rachel tighter. It was not just strength in those arms that were hugging her. There was the apologetic feeling for leaving, and a type of love. Could Rachel feel it as well? He could not tell. Jo Minjun quietly whispered to her.
“Don’t think of me as a kid who is like a son. Just treat me as your son. When you hug me, I’m going to hug you back.”
“……You sure know what to say. Are you trying to console me?”
“Consoling isn’t only done by the higher ranking person.”
Rachel lightly pushed Jo Minjun away. Her wrinkled face had a slightly nervous look. Rachel let out a fake cough as she started to speak.
“Go now. You even took some vacation time to move, you can’t waste it all chatting with me.”
“Vacation time is not enough in return for chatting with you, teacher.”
“I really can’t do anything about that smooth tongue of yours.”
Rachel smile seemed to say there wasn’t anything she could do about him. For someone to say such cheesy lines so casually, and so honestly without any hidden ambitions ……it was no wonder Kaya fell for such a person. No, regardless of male or female, his honest personality was something anybody would be curious about.
‘It is a good thing to have.’
It was possible to make good food without having a good personality. Even if a dish carries a chef’s feelings, there were not many people who could read the feelings in a dish.
But in the end, a kitchen run by such a person will run into issues. If you don’t take care of a cavity because it doesn’t hurt, eventually, you will have to pull out the tooth because the damage will exponentially get worse. At least Jo Minjun will not ever fall into a situation like that. No, not only will he not have any issues, his character alone will get him many benefits. His warm personality will embrace his kitchen family, and a kitchen like that will embrace the customers even tighter.
“I will let you know as soon as we arrive!”
“It’s not even that far. Just go and get settled in before getting a good rest. That’s an order from your head chef.”
Jo Minjun saluted before getting into the car. Rachel, who was smiling as she watched the car drive away, slowly turned around. It was full of voices just a moment ago, but it was completely quiet now.
The wind, chirping of birds and insects, and even car engines could not be heard. Rachel blankly stared at her house. Why did this house that seemed to come out of a fairytale feel so far away?”
“……It’s going to be much quieter around her now.”
She could not get herself to start walking.
The house that the three of them were moving to was on the outskirts of Beverly Hills. Many tall trees were planted around the street, and many cars were parked on the street in front of the house.
And one of those vehicles were Jo Minjun and Anderson’s truck. When Jo Minjun dragged his suitcase into the house, Kaya who had been dusting the house looked toward them with her mask still on her face.
“Did you get all your stuff?”
“Yes, this is it.”
“Nice and simple.
Kaya nodded her head. The furniture they had ordered in advance was already delivered and waiting for them. Jo Minjun let out a sigh before plopping down on the couch. Kaya started to frown.
“You’re going to rest as soon as you arrived? Do you know how many things we have to do right now?”
“Isn’t the cleaning your responsibility?”
“……So you’re not going to cooperate, is that it?”
Kaya sharply glared at Jo Minjun. Jo Minjun grabbed Kaya’s wrist that was holding the duster and pulled her in close.
Kaya was surprised and kind of fell on top of Minjun’s knees as she turned around and continued to glare.
“What are you trying to do?”
“Let’s rest a bit. My mind is a bit loud right now.”
“……Did something happen?”
Jo Minjun tightly hugged Kaya instead of answering. Kaya started to squirm as if she was uncomfortable.
“If you’re going to hug me, hug me properly. This position hurts my back too much.”
“Teacher Rachel told me that sometimes, I need to act like a bad man.”
“……I don’t think this is what she meant by that.”
Jo Minjun smirked as he let Kaya go. Kaya got up and fixed herself before her eyes instantly looked toward Minjun’s lap and the empty seat next to him.
In the end, her decision was half and half. Half of her butt was on the couch while the other half was on top of Minjun’s thigh. Jo Minjun asked in disbelief.
“You told me to hug you properly if I’m going to hug you, but you can’t even sit properly.”
“I read it on the internet. If you want to maintain a successful relationship, don’t give them your whole heart and body. Just give them half. That’s why…why is your face like that?”
“I was just thinking about Teacher Rachel. Thinking about her living in that large house on her own ……is making me a bit sad.”
“You can visit her often. Plus, you will be working in the same kitchen.”
“But the house is different. She needs someone to welcome her when she gets home……”
“Doesn’t she have Isaac?”
“The two of them don’t feel like family ……it feels more like a master and servant type of relationship. I don’t know.”
“Stop thinking about things you can’t answer and come inside. I finished cleaning our room.”
Kaya kissed Jo Minjun’s cheek as she stood up. In the end, Kaya and Jo Minjun were going to share the master bedroom. Even if he didn’t show it visually, Jo Minjun also preferred to share the room with Kaya than Anderson. As long as Kaya didn’t mind, there was no reason to use different rooms.
But they were not going to share a bed. To be specific, there were two beds in the room with just enough distance for a lamp to fit in between. Kaya laid down on the bed before looking toward Minjun.
“What are you doing. You lay down too.”
“Then are you going to lay down tomorrow?”
Jo Minjun contemplated for a moment. He was still wearing his outside clothes . But rather than giving an excuse and getting Kaya angry, it would be better to just wash his blanket properly later.
Once he laid down, Kaya started to speak.
“……Am I a dog?”
Even though Jo Minjun said that he still gave her his hand. Kaya held onto his hand as she started to laugh with a satisfied expression.
“We’re going to sleep like this every day.”
“……There will be no progress if we do this every day.”
“Even if we progress in our relationship, we will hold our hands like this when we sleep. Not just when we’re sleeping. Wherever we go, whatever we do, let’s do it while holding hands.”
“Even when going to the restroom?”
“Stop ruining the moment.”
Kaya glared and pinched Minjun’s palm. It did not hurt. Jo Minjun started to speak.
“Do you remember our promise back during Grand Chef?”
“Breakfast and lunch. I said I will make it for you until you lost in the competition.”
Jo Minjun was still laying down as he turned his head over. Kaya was already looking at him. Once their gazes met, he continued to speak.
“But you ended up winning. Losing is no longer possible.”
Kaya did not respond. Jo Minjun seriously gazed into Kaya’s eyes. Then he started to whisper as if he was joking.
“This hand that you are holding, you can’t ever take it back.”
 Koreans, and most Asians, tend to change once they get home because they don’t want to get the house dirty from sitting down with clothes that were used to sit on public transit etc.
Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Illidanstormrage
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