Coffee Prince Chapter 8: “Espresso…”
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Lee Minwoo (or M) – “AM 07:05” [ zShare download ]
I find it so interesting how two separate entities can take the same (or very similar) scenes and circumstances and weave them into their stories, and have both versions flow nicely. There are a few familiar bits in Chapter 8 that we’ve seen in the drama, but the context is a bit different, and yet both versions work for me.
CHAPTER 8: “ESPRESSO — Coffee That Gives Me Courage to Stand Up to the Boss”
For once, we pick up right where we left off — Han Gyul fuming over the belligerent stranger who’d punched Eun Chan in the face. He’s so worked up that even Eun Chan finds it out of the ordinary. When he takes it out on her, telling her to shut up before he loses it, she protests.
“I was the one who got hit, so why are you the one who’s so angry? That guy was a hundred times more in the wrong than me, and I could’ve settled things on my own anyway…”
“Hey! You punk! If you could settle it, why do you have a raccoon eye, huh?”
But Han Gyul slowly calms down, and asks if Eun Chan is okay. She says she is, but he doesn’t buy it, saying she’ll get a black eye — it’s a good thing the cafe hasn’t opened yet, because she’d scare off business.
Psh. I thought he was concerned about me. But of course he’s just worried about business.
Just then, Han Gyul gets a call from a friend insisting he join them at a friend’s vacation home on the resort-filled Jeju Island. Although Han Gyul is reluctant, his interest is piqued when his friend mentions the presence of a former Miss World contestant, who’s got a killer body, and is educated to boot. Han Gyul: “What time was the flight again?”
Han Gyul forces Eun Chan out of the car, leaving her streetside with instructions to take a taxi back, reneging on their lunch plans. Eun Chan can only yell in vain protest after his departing car. Looks like he’s pretty straight to me.
Eun Chan chats with the butcher Mr. Gu, who’s heard that Eun Chan’s going to be working at the Coffee Prince with that strange new owner. Mr. Gu expresses doubt over Eun Chan being able to fool everyone into thinking she’s male, and she points out that most people think she is anyway. Even Mr. Hong thought she was a guy for a year — and the only reason he found out was when he saw her emerge from the ladies’ bathroom and kicked up a fuss. If she’s just careful with bathroom situations, she’s confident she’ll be fine.
However, Mr. Gu points out that the Coffee Prince is bound to be a failure — it’s a tiny shop, and employing four guys will eat up their profits. Although Eun Chan protests over his negativity, his comment bothers her, and she wonders if Han Gyul has some ulterior motive. If he doesn’t make money, how will he pay his workers?
She brings it up with the other Coffee Princes while they oblige Han Gyul’s instructions to taste-test their varieties of espresso. The others aren’t that worried over Han Gyul’s reasons — they’re workers, they do as they’re told. They figure that, judging from Han Gyul’s expensive car and designer-label wardrobe, he’s just running the cafe to alleviate some rich-boy boredom.
Eun Chan looks over at Ha Rim’s cell phone, which has pictures of him and Sun Ki modeling the various uniform choices:
Anything the two of them wore looked great, just like they were real models. Eun Chan saw the picture and held back a small sigh. It bothered her.
Will I be able to be a part of this Pretty Boy Project or whatever it is? Honestly, I’m a little on the short side, and that famous face picture of me on the Internet was one Eun Sae had Photoshopped.
Meanwhile, Han Gyul actually has a strategy for winning over his employees, which seems to be working — if he entrusts them with tasks, they’ll feel personally invested in the success of the cafe. That’s why he tells them to pick uniforms, taste the coffee, etc. They’re in the middle of one such discussion while eating together — all except Eun Chan, who’s focused solely on (what else?) meat.
Han Gyul goes around asking for everyone’s opinion on uniform colors, and when he gets to Eun Chan, he thinks:
Everyone’s got their own taste. Would Eun Chan suggest pink? If Eun Chan wore a pink shirt, he’d look like cotton candy. Han Gyul imagined the sight and laughed to himself before stopping short. It was because the memory of the Valentine’s Day nightmare had resurfaced. But the subject of his thoughts was preoccupied eating his meat.
He calls Eun Chan’s name, but dismisses her from the discussion, seeing as she’s not paying any attention. Everyone else votes for white, while Ha Rim is the lone dissenter who’d like red.
“Is Ha Rim the only one who wants red?”
At that, Ha Rim poked Eun Chan’s side, who sat next to him munching away. Not knowing what she was participating in, she raised a hand holding a chile pepper.
Then, when a cell phone rings, everyone automatically reaches for their phones… and when the ringing doesn’t stop, they look to Eun Chan, who’s busy: “Shoving a lettuce wrap into her mouth with one hand, Eun Chan took out her phone and turned it off without even looking at it.” When asked why she didn’t answer, Manager Hong explains that Eun Chan doesn’t answer the phone while eating. We also witness the scene of Eun Chan eating meat off the floor, explaining that it’s a waste when they can just put it back on the grill to recook it.
At that disgusting sight, Manager Hong explains how Eun Chan is famous for a school trip where everyone got food poisoning from seafood and had to go to the hospital. Eun Chan was the only one unaffected — and not only that, while friends were lying in agony in hospital beds, Eun Chan finished off every last bit of the food.
Han Gyul addressed the giggling Ha Rim.
“Keep close watch over him. Make sure he doesn’t eat a coffee cup.”
After a few drinks, a happily drunk Ha Rim crawls around the table, trying to kiss everyone on the cheek. He gets Manager Hong, figures he won’t be able to take Nak Gyun, and goes after Sun Ki who does his best to hold Ha Rim at bay. Eun Chan looks up at the last minute and sees Ha Rim approach in surprise.
For some reason, Han Gyul had a wayward thought. Seeing Ha Rim approach Eun Chan, he wanted to take his head and snatch it away.
Even Ha Rim is surprised when his lips and Eun Chan’s happen to meet (he was going for everyone’s cheek).
Everyone stared in astonishment, and even Ha Rim’s eyes opened wide in surprise. Han Gyul wanted to give the back of Ha Rim’s head a good whack. His mood soured and he grew angry. He hated the sight of the two of them stuck together. His mind was saying, “This isn’t right” while his chest was saying, “Those lips are mine!”
Eun Chan starts yelling at Ha Rim, attracting the attention of the other diners, so the quickest thing to calm her down is —
“The meat’s burning.”
With that one sentence, the situation was over. Eun Chan, who’d been shouting so loudly as to make everyone in the restaurant stare, quietly sat back down as though nothing had happened and flipped the meat on the grill. Han Gyul lost his appetite. He felt like tearing off that guy’s head.
After dinner, Han Gyul notices women’s reactions to the four good-looking Coffee Princes and thinks maybe business will be all right. He takes everyone to a cafe and makes them order a different coffee drink (for learning purposes), and quizzes the guys on their espresso-tasting earlier that day, but nobody has a very good understanding of coffee.
Han Gyul tells Manager Hong it would behoove him to learn more about coffee, which is insulting since Manager Hong has been in the business for ten years and takes pride in his great-tasting coffee drinks. Han Gyul is shocked that nobody knows what a barista is, and tells Manager Hong to do his best for now because he’ll be out of the cafe in three months, once Coffee Prince has tripled sales. The guys wonder why, and he explains, “I made a bet with someone.”
He explains that he has no intention of continuing the cafe and will sell it back to Manager Hong at its original price. Surprisingly, Eun Chan grows angry to hear about the bet and her temper flares:
“You perverted caterpillar-like son of a bitch! How superior do you think you are? Just a month ago you were an unemployed loafer, and now with some money you think you can just treat people like they’re insignificant?! You say you’ll triple sales? That’s playing around with money, not skill! You think Mr. Hong can’t do as well as you? … Who are you to test everyone and keep tabs? You piece of garbage!”
/end Chapter 8.