“Don’t make that face, Ivanna.”
Ivanna slowly stroked Joanne’s hair while putting on a teary face. Ivanna bit her lips and hugged Joanne.
“I will also do your share.”
“Yeah. Win. I will be cheering for you.”
Joanne smiled and patted Ivanna’s back. Perhaps, it could be seen that the one being consoled changed, but Joanne didn’t mind. Rather, as Ivanna was having it hard, she felt a bit better. Was it because she felt that she got a really good friend?
She slightly glanced at the other participants. Honestly speaking, at one point Joanne started to think that she wouldn’t be able to win. Thinking of winning, the other participants were too strong. Especially in Anderson’s case, she thought that he would be able to work as a sous chef in a relatively famous restaurant, or perhaps even as the head chef because he wasn’t lacking on the basics.
“………Whew, I did know that this day would come.”
Joanne mumbled bitterly. Eliminated. The day that tag got placed on her name was today. Anderson opened his mouth slowly.
“You have done well.”
“You sure are blunt. Until the end, really short.”
Anderson evaded her sight as if it was awkward. It was like this every time, but the parting time wasn’t an easy one. But just because of that, she couldn’t leave the place immediately because she still had to do the interview. Before finishing the interview, she couldn’t part ways in a sloppy way.
Perhaps, they had given her more time to be together, but for Joanne, she felt this time to be bothersome. If anyone became a target of regretful sights, they would only feel that place to be difficult.
She had to change the atmosphere. Joanne turned to look at Chloe that was next to her. And after holding her hands, she raised the corner of her mouth.
“Cheer up. I hope you gain it.”
She didn’t mean to gain victory. Chloe blushed and smiled awkwardly. She didn’t really say anything, but it was also funny to negate it and mention Jo Minjoon. Joanne slightly looked towards Jo Minjoon and changed subjects.
“Now that I see Minjoon, you said that Chloe’s dish was 9 points. Was it that delicious?”
“…….Honestly speaking, shark fin isn’t such a delicious ingredient. It doesn’t have flavor or aroma, and only has the texture. Perhaps, epicureans could have found something in that…… But I still haven’t learned to do tasting like they do. But it was certainly a surprisingly good dish, to the point it made me wonder if it really was her first time.”
“It is not my first. I have made it sometime with my mom. But of course, it is also difficult to say that I do have experience, because I wasn’t the one leading…….”
“I think that your mother does certainly cook really well. You said that you learned almost all of the dishes you know from your mother.”
Chloe smiled embarrassedly and nodded. Jo Minjoon was certainly most envious of Anderson and Chloe from the ones that were here. Chloe had learnt cooking through her mother, and Anderson’s parents were professional chefs. So how many excellent dishes had they had eaten since childhood? Joanne smirked and asked again.
“So, was Kaya’s dish delicious?”
“…….Don’t ask me that again. I don’t want to remember that again in my entire life.”
“Are you bad mouthing my dish right now?”
“I’m not bad mouthing…….no, think with common sense. Would you have liked it if I gave that to you to eat?”
“I told you. You are a failure as a chef. Why are you picky about ingredients? Do you know how much it costs? I eat everything because it really is a waste.”
Kaya’s face was serious. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth with a sickened face.
“Don’t you have preferences for food?”
“Well, I didn’t live such a harsh life as to not have preferences.”
She said with a self-mocking voice. Jo Minjoon opened his eyes sharply and opened his mouth.
“Fried chicken, what part do you like the most?”
“Wing. ……..No, wait. This is a little different.”
“That is also a preference?”
Kaya frowned her angered eyes and shut her mouth. She didn’t have the words to reply back. Joanne that was looking at them happily asked a question again at Chloe.
“But can I ask you why you cried before? I never imagined that you would cry. Because you are always in a good mood.”
“……..It’s a bit embarrassing to reply.”
“No, what’s there to be embarrassed about? Girls are the prettiest when they cry.”
“Then why don’t you cry now? I think that it’s just the right time for you to cry.”
Anderson said as if he was teasing her. Joanne frowned.
“I won’t be able to marry that jerk in my whole life.”
“I’m a celibate.”
At Anderson’s words, Jo Minjoon put a more surprised face. Anderson nodded as if it wasn’t important.
“I don’t think that it’s something to be that surprised.”
“No, I didn’t feel that from you at all…….”
“Minjoon, don’t believe him yet. Guys like him who claim to be celibates tend to marry earlier than anyone.”
“……..Now that I think about it, there’s also a similar saying in Korea.”
At Joanne’s words, Jo Minjoon nodded as if he had assented. Anderson frowned and said.
“Don’t judge about others beliefs as you want.”
“Sorry, I wasn’t planning on picking a fight.”
She smiled and raised both of her hands. He couldn’t seem to keep saying something at her when he had already received an apology. Anderson gulped down the dissatisfaction and looked away.
Kaya that was just looking at the both of them argue, said with a mocking voice as if it didn’t make sense.
“What is this? Do you like each other?”
Silence flowed for a moment. Anderson raised one brow and looked at Kaya. Joanne was also putting a similar face. Kaya shrugged her shoulders and said.
“Then leave it.”
“That was a terrible question.”
Joanne trembled as if she didn’t even want to think about that. Kaya replied with a calm voice.
“You are always like this with me and Minjoon.”
At her words, Joanne shut her mouth as if she had nothing to reply back. Jo Minjoon smirked and lent his palm. Kaya’s mouth twitched and looked at the palm.
The first one the staff called was Joanne. And as she left, the tense atmosphere eased up a bit. Chloe let out a sigh and said while looking at Jo Minjoon.
“Thanks for today.”
“For the handkerchief, and for the 9 points.”
“I just said the score as it was. There’s no need to thank me at the results you got by yourself.”
“Even so, I feel thankful.”
Chloe laughed brightly like a baby. Jo Minjoon just scratched his nose with an awkward face. Chloe smacked her lips after hesitating for a minute and then, she slowly continued talking.
“Actually, I wasn’t really confident even while making it. I did my best than ever but……I really wondered if it was fine. Before the evaluation, you smiled with your eyes. Surprisingly, that comforted me. Actually, that was even before you drank my soup, so you wouldn’t even have known how the flavor was…….Strange, right?”
“………It’s a relief if it comforted you. What’s there to be strange? In the end, people’s thoughts are their own feelings.”
“Anyways, I wanted to thank you if I survived. No. Even if I got eliminated, I would have felt grateful to you.”
There was no need to think about what to reply. Joanne came out from the interviewing room and called Jo Minjoon.
“I’m done. Minjoon, they said to go in.”
Chloe seemed to have something left to say, but she couldn’t make the staff in the interviewing room wait. As soon as Jo Minjoon got in the room, Martin laughed teasingly and said.
“I hope that it became a good meal to you.”
“……..I’m not thankful nor resentful. Although it was a good meal, there were some things that I absolutely had to wash off from my mouth.”
The shock Kaya’s stew gave him still didn’t disappear. Still, as Chloe’s shark fin’s flavor was deeper than what he had thought, he felt less sorry for his tongue. Jo Minjoon said while smiling bitterly.
“The proposal I got last time, about the tasting travel, I did think about that for a bit, but after what I have experienced today my heart seems to have turned away from it.”
“……..Understood. It was my bad. So don’t scare me like this. I’m really expecting you to join us. Is that true?”
“Am I also going to eat that kind of food there? Chui tofu (취두부), Surströmming, roasted tarantula, or monkey’s medulla.”
“Ey, will I really do that?”
Martin smiled. Jo Minjoon let out a sigh. Even so, he didn’t know if he was going to participate in that program or not. Because if he won, then it would become a story that never happened. Martin asked with a calm voice.
“I know that this was your first time trying cow phallus, how did you feel?”
“It was horrible. Aside from cooking well or not, it’s an ingredient that you don’t want to bring it to your mouth, honestly.”
“Ey, if you are a chef, you should be able to eat that much.”
“……..That’s job discrimination. Look at the judges. It seemed like even they didn’t want to eat that. Well, Emily ate it well……. But in the first place, she’s not a chef but an epicurean.”
Jo Minjoon grumbling like this in the interviewing room was really a strange thing. That meant that today’s experience wasn’t good at all. It was at that moment when Martin was putting on a sorry face. The youngest PD, Robert came to Martin with a serious face and whispered something. And at that moment, Martin’s face also froze.
‘What could it be?’ Jo Minjoon sent a confused sight. Martin hesitated for a moment, but in the end he stood up.
“I’m sorry. Let’s have some resting time.”
“Is there a problem?”
“It’s not Minjoon’s problem. ………No, perhaps, it could also become your problem. But first, rest for a moment.”
Martin passed by Jo Minjoon’s confused face and went to the staff. He frowned heavily and said.
“Who wrote what comment?”
“It’s a comment that was uploaded about two days ago. She claims to be school mates with Kaya……. But aside from being true or not, it’s being paid a lot of attention among the people. Here, look at this.”
Tess Gilly : I have something to say. I was schoolmates with Kaya in middle school, but the Kaya Lotus I know and the one that is being broadcasted were quite different? Well, it’s true that she’s poor and learnt bad things. And her character is dirty as it is shown on the broadcast. But a victim the dark side of the world gave birth to, a neighbor we can understand. Looking at these expressions I couldn’t hold it in anymore. That girl isn’t on the level of going through puberty. On top of being a screwball, she’s a ragpicker among ragpickers. Just look at the relation with Jo. She went to cook but she is flirting there. That’s the reality for that bitch. Just because she sold some fruit on the market and took care of her younger sister, she doesn’t become a good person. And……
“Why are her words this harsh?”
Martin frowned. However he put it, his affection towards Kaya had grown a lot. But of course, he didn’t know how Kaya would be thinking about him, but looking at her past and her actions, he wanted to take care of her as a niece. So there was no way that this kind of slander would be satisfying.
“You will know if you see it, but there are at least 500 replies only in that comment. Just counting the people that could have seen it, it would amount to a thousand, if not to ten thousands. And also thinking about the rumour that’s going to be spread by their mouths…… In the worst case, we don’t know if it would become an issue that’s going to be written in an article.”
“……..Make a call to every newspaper office. That if by chance this becomes an article, they would immediately feel the defamation of their character.”
“Will they fear that? It’s only a civil affair at most……..”
“Then do we only watch without doing a thing?”
“If we rather use that as noise marketing like Peter……..”
Martin let out a deep sigh. He looked at Robert pitifully as if he didn’t know what to do with him.
“Are you really saying that? In your eyes, the cases of Kaya and Peter seem the same? Kaya is bringing us 30% of the rating! Kaya’s scandal will not become noise marketing, but just noise. We will also not be able to appeal the couple relationship to the viewers, and her evil character will also crumble.”
“………What can we do?”
“I don’t know.”
Martin replied impertinently and fell in his thoughts. He suddenly remembered the words Kaya once said on an interview.
‘The stage of getting closer. I have experienced it with many people. 18. It seems to be a short life, but it isn’t. I have met fine people and also suffering people. The stage of getting closer, I did have it. However, I couldn’t completely get close. It was just pretending to be close, that I had it. But in the end, they all left.’
< Scandal (1) > End
Translator’s note: Regular chapter! Thanks for reading and for your support!
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa