The day Rose Island opens. As soon as Kaya woke up she glanced at the opposite side of the bed. As always, she was expecting to see Jo Minjoon lying next to her but he wasn’t there. Kaya spoke with a sleepy voice.
“Minjoon…… You here……?”
Her soft and slow voice was like a lullaby. She closed her eyes and opened it again. It may have took some time. But still Jo Minjoon was no where to be seen. Kaya, still drifting in her sleep, thought for a while. If he went to the bathroom he should have been here by now.
As she was starting to think straight, Kaya realized it was too bright to be 7am. Nervously Kaya looked at her phone. And she frowned. It was already past 7.
“What the. Why didn’t the alarm go off.”
It was meaningless to be upset now. Kaya sighed, got up and went out the room. She crossed her arms and leaned on the doorframe. As expected Jo Minjoon was in the kitchen. The look of him in a white shirt with a scoop was surprisingly charming.
She doubted there would be a happy moment as today. Just by looking at Jo Minjoon was enough. Even if time stopped right this moment. Just then. Without turning around Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“If you got up go and wash. I’ll make breakfast today”
Kaya pouted and went into the bathroom, after quickly washing she went behind Jo Minjoon, hugged him and put her hands on his belly. She made her voice low like a man and said,
“Our baby’s in here, babe”
“……What kind of joke is that?.”
“No, no. Don’t look back. My face is still puffy. You’ll be shocked to see me like this unless you’re sleepy.”
“I saw you a lot like that when I wasn’t sleepy.”
“Than forget all that. Because that’s not me. What are you making?”
She put her head on Jo Minjoon’s shoulder and mumbled. Jo Minjoon replied softly.
“Omurice, all done with the rice, I just need to put the eggs.”
“I ate omelette a lot as a kid. Cause fried eggs felt too little, I wanted to eat more.”
“You won’t like it then, I guess.”
“Nope. Not really. Since it wasn’t a bad memory. Of course, I would never want to go back to that time again though.”
Kaya gave Jo Minjoon’s omelette a sad look. She could see that Jo Minjoon was focusing on the heat. The omelette had no holes nor burns. His was skillful of making the perfect egg. Kaya opened her mouth.
“Last time I saw some chefs on a TV show trying to make omelettes for breakfast, and they failed to do that.”
“Well if you don’t cook for a while, even if you’re a chef you make mistakes. And honestly a lot of demmi chefs are good with their hands than head chefs. Since head chefs don’t really cook a lot..”
“I don’t want to be like that. I like a chef who works with their hands not with their mouth.”
“I thought like that too but…… I changed my mind after seeing chef Rachel. Ah, all done.”
Jo Minjoon placed the second omelette on top of the fried rice, and put two plates on the table. Kaya looked around and sat next to Jo Minjoon.
“Said he’ll work out in the morning and eat a hamburger outside.”
“Ha. He’s good when it comes to these things. I really wanted to be alone with you.”
“I don’t think he went out because of us. He must be nervous. More than me. Since it was his dream to work for Rachel. It means a lot to him.”
“Yeah right. It was today. Are you nervous too?”
“More like excitement…… than nervousness. Since it’s the first time I’ll work as a real chef. Not as a participant of a contest, but as a chef in the kitchen. For the customers.”
“What a bummer. I really wanted to go to the restaurant today. Then I’ll be your first customer, right?”
“You don’t have to be with me in every single moment. You already have most of the important titles of my life.”
Kaya smiled and kissed Jo Minjoon on the neck.
“Yeah. At least there would be no one who’ve got burned.”
“……That’s a bit odd to include it in the important titles.”
“It’s important. How can that not be important. It means that you cared for me, even getting burned.”
“Guess that event meant a lot for you.”
“Since it was the first time. That someone would get hurt for me. Maybe that was the start of all this. The start of being honest to you.”
As soon as she finished her words, Jo Minjoon kissed Kaya. There are people who makes you happy just by being with them. For Kaya it was Jo Minjoon, and for Jo Minjoon it was Kaya. Their lips parted and Kaya, sightly blushed, whispered to Jo Minjoon.
“Go and show the customers who you are. Promise?”
Jo Minjoon replied.
“I’ll show them who I am.”
Rachel peeked through the blinds. There was still 2 hours till the grand opening. But people were already waiting around the restaurant. It did seem like there were more reporters than the customers…….
‘Finially this day has come.’
She sighed. It was nerve racking. Was it excitement. Or maybe fear. But there was nothing to be afraid of. Everything was perfect, and they were ready for changes. No, Rachel herself has already changed a lot.
“Isaac. What time is it?”
“It’s 10:20. We still have about 40 minutes left.”
“Okay. Got it.”
Rachel quietly looked out the window again. Isaac stayed put. He didn’t say a word of comfort nor a strong advice. Eventually Rachel spoke up first.
“Thanks. Isaac. For helping this clueless woman till this day.”
“I never helped. I’ve just been next to you, that’s all.”
“To think of it, Isaac, you’ve also put everything into Rose Island. Perhaps you’d had to be more angry than Jack. But why didn’t you?”
“Because there was someone else more angry than me.”
“And who is that?”
Instead of replying Isaac stared at Rachel. Rachel was waiting for an answer until she realized what his gaze meant. She opened her mouth with a slight tremble in her voice.
“You mean I was more angry at myself?”
“That’s why you gave yourself a punishment. Didn’t you stay quiet for 10 years? Someone like you devoting 10 years at your home. Do you think that makes sense?”
There was one thing people misunderstood about Rachel. It’s that she’s very introverted or that she has a weird personality. But she wasn’t. Yes, she is a bit cold and harsh…… But that wasn’t something to say it’s weird.
And still Rachel spent 10 years all alone by herself. She didn’t do that because she liked that. It was a time of sorrow, pain and suffering. Time and loneliness hit her like a hammer. The more she spent alone, the more Rachel’s pain grew bigger. Isaac opened his mouth.
“You never wanted to give up. You wanted to get up, but you were just not confident enough. Perhaps I should have been hard on you then. But…… You looked too exhausted to do that.”
“Thanks. Issac. You’re the best present that’s left.”
“It’s been a long time since you’ve complimented me.”
“I guess so. But it’s not because I wasn’t thankful. It was because I always felt like you’ll always be there for me. They say that a foolish child doesn’t know how to thank their parents.”
“So you’re saying that you’ve been foolish till now?”
“I have to be a grown up now. I’m already 60 now.”
Outside, people started to gather around the restaurant. There was still time till business starts but it would be worth the wait. Rachel took her hands off the blinds. Isaac opened his mouth and started with a calm voice.
“It makes me think of when chef Daniel was here. There were lots of people just like today.”
“That guy didn’t shiver a bit. Not only was he skillful but he was such a cold person. Everyday was like hell but he loved that.”
“Just one concern…… may I say what it is?”
“I don’t want to hear any concerns at this moment. But well, Isaac. If it’s you it would be something that I need. What is it?”
“Don’t be too conscious of chef Daniel. Though the two of you made this place, it won’t be in your hands forever and ever. Eventually a new head chef will come and they will make it a different place.”
It was a surprise that Isaac would say something like this. Since he always respected Rachel’s thoughts. Rachel’s eyes widened. But soon she nodded as though she understood his words.
“If you say so, I guess I am too attached to Daniel.”
“You’ll get over it. And you have to get over it.”
“A chef who only pretends to be someone else can never go on eventually…… I know that well. But I guess I still love him, seeing myself not letting go. I feel like an idiot but it doesn’t feel that bad to be an idiot.”
As Rachel said so Isaac made a weary smile. Rachel smiled and looked at Isaac.
“It would be good for you to have someone also. Then that hard face might have soften a bit huh?”
“I learned a lot from you two. That there are more struggles than good things when you get together. And…… my half is my work. Rose Island is my everything.”
“Yeah. Today would mean a lot to you too. I promise. I’ll never ruin this place.”
“Now lets get up. It’s time to head to the kitchen. Go and greet the customers. They’ll love it. Especially on a special day like today.”
Rachel got up. She was about to grab the door knob. Isaac quickly opened his mouth as he just thought of something.
“One more, there’s one thing you misunderstood.”
“He would hate me if I told you this…… but still. Chef Daniel was also nervous. He was always tense and feared what others said. But he just simply didn’t want you to know that. So he would only tell me his difficulties. He also…… wasn’t a hero. He was a husband who wanted to be a hero. Nobody is perfect. There’s only people who strive for perfection.”
Rachel didn’t say anything nor moved. She looked sad, happy, and angry at the same time. Then she slowly replied with a calm voice.
Rachel took a deep breath. One, Two, Three.
The door opened.
< One, Two, Three (3) > The end