When they arrived at Chicago, or more precisely at Grand Chef’s house, it was already past midnight. It’s obvious but there were no participants nor members of the broadcasting crew waiting for them. It was unavoidable. And also understandable. They would miss the faces of those they didn’t see for a week, but that yearning was weak in front of sleep.
There was one thing in common they realized in the middle of the food truck mission. And that was that sleeping was sweeter than they had thought. They got up at dawn to do the groceries, prepare to cook, and sell. And cooking even after normal employees finishing hours, was the chef. Aside from the life’s pattern, it was difficult to endure for your stamina.
And even the staff that were filming them were worn out. So how would the participants be feeling? It was obvious that everyone had to sleep at least a little more.
However Jo Minjoon couldn’t. The insomnia that had followed him for the week, was more severe today. Maybe because it was the last day. In the end, Jo Minjoon stood up and went out to the lobby and then forced a laugh. There was a familiar face… no, familiar faces.
“…….Minjoon? What are you doing at this hour…….?”
Hugo asked as if he was surprised and soon smirked. The moment they saw each other’s faces they knew. What had happened the last week, that the faces of the three were filled with exhaustion. Chloe laughed without strength.
“Minjoon, so you were the same.”
“Thanks. I thought that only I would be like this, but knowing that there were more companions in a bad situation calms my heart.”
“What do you mean with bad situation? That’s too severe.”
Hugo didn’t reply at Jo Minjoon’s words and sat on the place. Perhaps they were conscious that they were all from different teams, but they were all separated from each other. Hugo said with a voice full of exaggerated confidence.
“Our team has prospect. A lot of prospect. So get prepared to get second place.”
“Ha, I don’t know what confidence is that. Didn’t you see the internet’s reaction? Because of our food truck all of the other sushi stores sales are rising.”
“But that doesn’t mean that you did better than us.”
Hugo and Jo Minjoon exchanged gazes. Chloe’s sigh was heard silently.
“Stop it. Do you know that cats raise their fur when they are scared?”
“…….Now that I see, are you okay? I thought that you would only get a headache if I contacted you that time. You confronted a jerk instead of Kaya.”
“It’s an obvious thing to do as the team leader. But, there are a lot of things a team leader should do. No, a lot of responsibilities. If only one week of mission is this much, how heavy would it be when we open our restaurants later?”
Jo Minjoon and Hugo didn’t reply. It was a question they didn’t even want to think about. However, if they kept walking this road, it was a weight they had to sometime confront. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“At that time, we will be able to resist. Because our necks will also get thicker.”
“I now know why tall people have stiff necks.”
Chloe laughed helplessly. Looking at those two, Hugo looked at his surroundings. Maybe it was because Grand Chef’s house was empty for a week, but the cameras that should have been installed in the lobby couldn’t be seen. Hugo opened his mouth with a cautious voice.
“Your……sales, no, your profit, how much is it?”
“Are you crazy? You want me to share that with the other team?”
“What about it? It doesn’t say anything about sharing in the rules.”
Chloe said with a hesitating voice. Her voice was always bright, but normally it didn’t have courage. She wouldn’t like sharing these kind of things. Hugo said with a gentle voice.
“Because we share this between us, doesn’t mean that we are doing something bad. It’s only to comfort ourselves. I will say honestly. Even if I know it in advance and sleep, I want to go to sleep after I get properly discouraged. And it would be the same for you.”
“……..If your results weren’t good, I think that you wouldn’t want to hear it.”
“If it was like that, I will probably work harder tomorrow. That would be better.”
Chloe looked at the floor for a long while without saying anything. It was at that moment when Hugo wanted to say something again. Chloe’s lips opened.
That night, Jo Minjoon could properly sleep in a week. The boundaries of dawn and morning. The moment he got out of his room to go to the shower with a disheveled face, he heard a familiar voice.
“…….You ignored me yesterday?”
As morning came, the first voice he heard was from no other than Kaya. Since when was it? Kaya that was leaning next to his room’s door glared at him. Jo Minjoon smiled brightly.
“You woke up early?”
“Woke up early? So you are saying that you thought nothing at all about making me look stupid that can’t even differentiate norimaki with norikami?”
“Did you have breakfast? And the others got up?”
“……..Are you changing subjects?”
Kaya said as if she was flabbergasted. Jo Minjoon pointed his hair and said.
“Don’t you see how I look right now? Let me wash for now.”
He thought that while he was taking the shower she would go somewhere else, but even after roughly twenty minutes, she was still in the same place. Only then did Jo Minjoon get bewildered. It was the first time she had followed him like this.
“…….Are you like this because of what happened yesterday?”
“A wrongdoer is always the calm one. I really knew about it.”
“Yes. Just say so.”
“No, don’t say it, but it is like that. Are you also ignoring me because I am stupid and couldn’t learn?”
Kaya’s eyes shook. Rather than being angry, she seemed to be a little nervous. And only then did Jo Minjoon realize that yesterday’s minor action could have touched Kaya’s trauma.
“I don’t ignore you. Is there a person that ignores their friends?”
Kaya that wanted to reply back, closed her mouth at the word friend. Her face became complicated. Just like she had told to Martin a while ago, she didn’t like the word friend that much. Precisely speaking, she didn’t believe that friendship existed between people.
And of course, Jo Minjoon couldn’t know that far. He yawned and moved his feet. Kaya hurriedly chased his back.
“What is it? Why are you just leaving? I didn’t finish talking.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t reply because I’m sleepy. Let’s eat breakfast first. You promised me when I teamed up with you, that if I helped you would cook breakfast for me everyday. After that, you used to cook for me for a few days, but then you stopped doing so?”
“…That’s because people made fun of me.”
“And would they not make fun of you because you stopped making it for me? We are already marked as their teasing material.”
Kaya matched his steps with a discontent face, and then looked at his face. It had only been one week since they saw each other, but his face was really a mess. Kaya said with a sullen voice.
“You became like this just because of the food truck? For a man to be this weak. How are you going to get in charge of the restaurant?”
“Yeah. Should I do some exercise?”
“Men should have muscles. You have to at least be like Arnold Schwarzenegger to be considered a man.”
“………That’s not a man but a male.”
Jo Minjoon shook his head with a face he seemed to be sick of it. Kaya’s gaze got sharper and said.
“Anyways, do some exercise. Chloe should also had it hard, but because of her stamina she didn’t collapse like you.”
“…….It seems like Chloe endured well?”
“Chloe is Chloe.”
I wonder. Looking at her last night, it didn’t seem like she was that comfortable. Jo Minjoon held back the words he wanted to say and went to the countertop. Kaya pouted her lower lips.
“Are you really planning to make me do everything? I’m also tired.”
“Make me something simple, like omelette. You don’t need to have two people for that. Oh, instead of omelette, make a spanish one. With some potatoes in it. Not too spicy and not too salty. And I want the exterior to be the least seared possible. Instead, I will cut the fruits.”
“…….There’s so much you ask for.”
Even while letting out a sigh, she made the omelette with all of her concentration. She even beat the eggs with care. She cooked the beaten eggs along with onions, and put some thin potatoes inside of it.
In conclusion, it was a delicious flavor. Because the potatoes were cooked beforehand, it didn’t smell bad, and the right amount of butter brought out the delicious flavor of the egg.
It felt soft, and the potatoes that were chewed were also sleek. The beaten eggs weren’t cooked enough, but maybe because of that it was felt like a sauce and it felt good. It was a spanish omelette that well followed the standards.
“Why isn’t there an opinion?”
“Not talking means that it’s good. Normally when people eat something delicious, they don’t talk much.”
“So the dishes the judges had said that it was delicious should all have been fake.”
“……..That’s because they have to evaluate. It’s different with this.”
“I also need an evaluation. What score is it?”
At those words, Jo Minjoon coughed as if he was choking. The kindness of Kaya patting his back couldn’t be seen. And in the end, only after a long while did he look at Kaya with teary eyes.
“You are also asking me the score now? You didn’t use to.”
“I thought that I would slowly ask you. Everyone else does but only I don’t, so it’s a bit weird.”
“……..Honestly, if it’s your sense of taste, you don’t need the evaluation of another.”
“I’m also the sensitive kind, but I’m not able to get 20 ingredients right like you. Maybe I should be able to get 15. In the first place, how do you know that my tongue is sensitive?”
“You know if we get along together.”
He couldn’t reply that it was because he knew that her tasting level was 10. Kaya looked at him with a weird face.
“So what score is it? Is it maybe not good?”
“No. Your dish, is an average 7. If you do well a lot of 8 comes out.”
“……Hmm, is it?”
In Kaya’s face, a faint smile appeared. She nodded as if she was satisfied. Jo Minjoon glanced at his surroundings. It was already morning, but nobody had appeared yet.
“Are they all sleeping?”
“Like you want to get strength with eating breakfast, they should want to sleep a little more to get strength. Originally, I should have done that too.”
“So because of me, you are suffering when originally you wouldn’t?”
“Why, now you don’t only want breakfast, but also lip service?”
“If you wish?”
“I won’t. Because of you, I’m doing this at this hour.”
Kaya said with her usual rough voice and put the omelette in her mouth. At that moment, her expression got relieved. Looking at the satisfying smile in her mouth, Jo Minjoon smiled as if he was flabbergasted.
“It’s also rare for someone to eat the dish they had made deliciously.”
“Why? The flavor doesn’t fall just because it’s a dish I made.”
“It was like that for me. It’s more delicious the dishes of others than the ones I make myself.”
“It’s because you didn’t live with lacking something. You should know that even having ingredients to cook is happiness.”
“…Now you sound just like my mother.”
Kaya pouted her lips as if something was wrong with that, and continued to concentrate on eating. She had the tendency to put importance in cooking and eating.
Maybe she wasn’t nervous about the mission that was soon going to happen. Jo Minjoon was rather amazed with that Kaya. She was weak in some aspects, but strong in others.
“Aren’t you nervous? Soon, the food truck mission is going to start.”
“What’s there to be nervous about? If our team does get last place, you just have to survive in the disqualifying mission.”
“That’s true… but the probabilities get on your nerves.”
“A girl that has nothing to do in the market to come all the way here, and surviving in the disqualifying mission. Don’t you think that there’s nothing to think about thinking at which side has less probability? And you, looking at your face it seems that during the past week you lost all your strength.”
It seemed like she was saying it just because so, but her voice wasn’t so dull as not to notice the worry hidden in those words. Jo Minjoon smiled softly.
“I’m okay now.”
“Coming now? Feeling more burdened today isn’t the normal thing?”
“………Can I tell you honestly?”
“So can you tell me fakely?”
“I don’t think that i’m getting last place.”
At his words, Kaya’s face became confused. She asked as if she couldn’t understand.
“So after working hard for one week, you suddenly think that today you won’t get disqualified? Without any reason?”
“Do you need a reason? The feeling is important. I think that I won’t get last place. It’s just my feeling.”
“So who do you think will get last place?”
Jo Minjoon laughed bitterly. He thought of the income he had talked about with Hugo and Chloe last night. First, Jo Minjoon’s team was $5,700, and Chloe’s team had $50 more than them. Lastly……
“It isn’t you and I, so only one remains.”
Hugo’s team income didn’t surpass $5,000.
< At the end of the trip (1) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter! Thanks for reading and for your support!
Okay guys, I would like to introduce you to our new proofreader Saihikawa! 😀 And also, thanks to all of you that sent your recruitment application, it was much appreciated!
Translator : Subak Proofreader : Saihikawa