Coffee Prince Chapter 15: “Marine Boy”
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Buzz – “은인” (savior) [ zShare download ]
Ooh, things start getting even more interesting… I can’t wait to find out how this all ends. Although, I admit I’m a little reluctant to spoil myself on the ending of the book before the drama ends, for fear I’ll spoil myself on the drama’s developments… Like I said, I’m a total spoilerphobe — I’ve basically stopped reading anything about Coffee Prince in the media since I don’t want to know anything in advance. I really, really hope the endings are different. Not necessarily the conclusion, but the way they get there, I mean…
CHAPTER 15: “Marine Boy”
The Coffee Prince cafe finds its footing entering its second month of operation, with their early-morning strategy proving to be a hit. It’s so successful that they end up having to open a second counter.
They even have regular customers: Every day, a girl comes around to flirt with Eun Chan. Actually, there are lots of female customers who come looking for Eun Chan, but this one is especially persistent.
Every day at 4 o’clock, she’d come to try to seduce Eun Chan.
Han Gyul had a hard time concentrating on what Mr. Hong was saying. It was because of that girl, who’d come by like always, wearing a shirt with a plunging neckline and a miniskirt, making eyes at Eun Chan. Han Gyul found himself constantly looking over to check if Eun Chan was taking notice of that girl’s chest. He hated himself for it and it drove him crazy, but he couldn’t help it. He kept glancing over in that direction.
The girl, who works at a nearby karaoke place, keeps inviting Eun Chan over (Eun Chan always deflects with “next time”), and calls Eun Chan “oppa” even though she looks much older. Han Gyul, preoccupied by glaring at the girl, doesn’t notice that Mr. Hong has noticed and is looking at him strangely.
The girl invites Eun Chan to a midnight movie screening, and Eun Chan stops to consider it — if it’s an action movie, she might be interested. Just then, Han Gyul yells Eun Chan’s name, interrupting, and Eun Chan tells the girl, “Sorry, gotta go. Maybe next time.” Han Gyul scolds Eun Chan for chattering too much with the customers. She feels he’s unfairly picking on her, and even though Han Gyul knows it, he can’t help himself.
Are you crazy, Choi Han Gyul? What’s wrong with you? Why are you so concerned with that guy? Ah, I’m gonna go crazy, seriously! I hate everyone who’s around that guy, male or female, old or young. I hate when he treats other people well, too. But that guy treats everyone well. He talks too much!
It’s been a few days since Ha Rim left the cafe, and Han Gyul’s holding out for a few more days to hire a replacement, in hopes that Ha Rim will settle his family issues and come back soon. (What a difference from when he let Nak Gyun go.) He suggests to Eun Chan that they all go out to dinner together, which of course excites her. Seeing her so happy, Han Gyul clenches his teeth to keep himself from smiling too.
The cafe’s doing so well now with morning as their busiest time, so they close around 9 or 10 at night. If there are very few customers toward the end, Han Gyul sends his employees home and handles closing the cafe himself, because he feels sorry for how hard everyone’s worked: “Han Gyul hadn’t known until now that he could feel that way toward his employees. Gratefulness mixed with sorriness and created more affection. It was the first time he’d felt this kind of remarkable feeling, but it wasn’t bad.”
Han Gyul sees Eun Chan and Sun Ki whispering to each other closely — the taciturn Sun Ki talks more with Eun Chan than any of the others — and immediately his mood worsens.
A feeling he couldn’t express in words started to creep up on him yet again. Nearly every day, just seeing Eun Chan caused that feeling to envelop him, and threw him into chaos.
Finally, Han Gyul is driven to asking for advice from his friend’s brother, a doctor. He cites a problem his “friend” has been having recently, who wonders if he’s got some kind of psychological issues. The doctor friend asks for the symptoms, which include:
“Well… he’s gotten to know this other guy recently, who looks like a good-looking girl. From the way that guy acts and talks, he’s definitely a male, but he’s twenty-four and he looks like a pretty boy. But whenever my friend looks at that guy, his heart beats faster, the guy looks attractive to him, and he wants to t-touch him…… Anyway, that’s what he says. It’s ridiculous, huh? He’s not even gay.”
The doctor wonders if it’s a case of realizing one’s homosexuality late, and Han Gyul answers, “You think he’s gay? But he’s never had anything like this happen before.”
The doctor answers that it could help to have the friend try initiating some light physical contact, just to see how he feels. Even if he feels the impulse to touch him, if he actually tried to hold or kiss the guy, he might find it unappealing. He might just be fantasizing or be feeling curious, but it’s possible he wouldn’t find it desirable in real life.
Han Gyul thinks back to the party where he’d met Han Sung’s date, because her habit of blowing her bangs out of her eyes made him think of Eun Chan.
Seeing that woman’s face, it had briefly overlapped with Eun Chan’s, but the image dispersed when Han Sung carried her away. Looking at Yu Ju’s distraught face, he’d forgotten about it, but now, watching Eun Chan, he thought back to her again. To compare that glamorous woman with Go Eun Chan created total unbalance. That woman had long hair, large eyes, sensual lips, rounded breasts, long legs, and a heavy fragrance emanating from her supple body…… Go Eun Chan was a long way from that. Now you’re imagining all sorts of strange things, Choi Han Gyul. Have you finally gone crazy? Are you lost in your fantasy? Dammit.
Han Gyul gets an unexpected call from Yu Ju, who’s recommended the Coffee Prince to a reporter for a profile in a magazine, thinking it would be nice to help Han Gyul out. She’s on her way to the Coffee Prince now, so Han Gyul reluctantly says okay, and tells the others to go on to dinner without him, which disappoints Eun Chan. He hands her his credit card to pay for the dinner and tells her not to eat too much.
Eun Chan wonders why he can’t come along, asking if he’s got a date. Han Gyul replies, “Yeah, so what?” At that, Eun Chan’s face registers her disappointment, and she whirls around and stalks outside without a word, making Han Gyul wonder:
“What’s with that guy? Why does he look so unenergetic all of a sudden? Is he hungry?”
After the employees left, Han Gyul was alone in the cafe. One her way out, Eun Chan didn’t say goodbye or look him in the eye. Han Gyul wanted to call her back to ask why, but held back, because it would’ve looked weird to the others.
At dinner, Mr. Hong suggests that Eun Chan tell the truth herself, and she wonders if that’s the best thing. She thinks back to the party, where Yu Ju overheard her argument with Han Sung. Worried over how much she knew, she called Han Sung afterward, and he’d told her the bad news that yes, Yu Ju did know about it, but assured her he’d talk to her and make sure it didn’t become a problem.
So, Eun Chan tells Mr. Hong: “If he kicks me out, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m planning on telling him sooner or later, when the opportunity arises.” She tells him she’d never been bothered by being mistaken for a boy — when she was young, she found the kids’ reactions fun. And after her father died, she had no time to think about it. Mr. Hong asks:
“But it bothers you now?”
“It’s more that I hate lying to someone. But why are you suddenly telling me to reveal the truth? Do you think the boss might’ve caught on?”
“No, it’s just…… It seemed like there was something between you two.”
“Huh? What’s that?”
“Never mind. Let’s go back inside.”
Meanwhile, Han Gyul has dinner with Yu Ju. Now that she’s aware of Eun Chan’s gender, Yu Ju asks a few leading questions about Han Gyul’s employees. (Naturally, Han Gyul’s obsession causes him to misinterpret Yu Ju’s intentions…)
“You closed the cafe early tonight. I’d wanted to say hi to your employees.”
“Why, are you interested in one of them? If you are, tell me. I’ll hook you guys up.”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just… that one named Go Eun Chan…”
Without meaning to, Han Gyul looked up and stared at Yu Ju sharply.
“He’s the one who found my handbag that time, right? I never got to properly thank him. I couldn’t see very well that night because it was dark, but he’s quite pretty, isn’t he? For a guy…”
“I thanked him already so you don’t have to.”
“Do you think Eun Chan is Han Sung’s type?”
“Uh, no, what I mean is, if he were a girl, since he’s as pretty as one. He’s lively, unpretentious, honest, and courageous.”
“Since when have you understood that guy so well?”
Han Gyul became conscious of the edge that had crept into his voice, and closed his eyes firmly. Get a grip, Choi Han Gyul! This is Yu Ju, Han Yu Ju. She has nothing to do with Go Eun Chan.
Han Gyul points out that Yu Ju ought to be Han Sung’s type, and she says guys can change. Don’t guys like dating a wide range of diverse types of women? Han Gyul admits that’s probably true, although Han Sung’s different from most men. She asks:
“What about you?”
“Me? I agree with popular opinion, so I like variety.”
Han Gyul paused for a moment, then added with a tone of self-scorn:
“I don’t discriminate on gender, either.”
Yu Ju’s eyes widen at his words, but before they can say anything more, Han Gyul gets a phone call — it’s Han Sung, telling him to come to the hospital immediately. Han Gyul’s father had heart problems and was rushed in.
At the hospital, Han Gyul finds his mother, grandmother, older brother, sister-in-law… and he’s most aggravated at the fact that Han Sung got there first — it’s his father. They explain that Han Sung was working with his father when he collapsed.
It’s late, and his father wants to go to sleep for the night, so the family is told to go home. Han Gyul tries to force his way in to see his father, but Han Sung stops him firmly.
Han Gyul finally unleashes all his pent-up issues with Han Sung and insinuates that Han Sung wants him to suffer because this is what happened with Han Sung’s father. Reaching for anything to hurl at his cousin, Han Gyul brings up Yu Ju as well: “Do you think that succeeding as president will get Assemblyman Han to hand Yu Ju over? You wouldn’t dare ask for her again with your noble sense of pride…”
Yu Ju slaps Han Gyul and stalks off with tears in her eyes.
Out with the Coffee Princes (but having no fun), Eun Chan finds herself at a karaoke room when Han Gyul calls.
(On a side note, Sun Ki amazes everyone by taking the mike and sounding like a true professional — he looks cool and sounds amazing. Everyone looks at him in awe. In the bathroom, Eun Chan overhears someone saying they heard a familiar voice, and peeked in the room, and saw “Marine Boy.” “Oh my god, what’s he doing here? I thought he was quitting, but he shows up here?” The other girl says, “I thought I heard that Madam was looking for him…”)
When Han Gyul calls, he’s drunk.
“Twisted Boss, why are you calling? Is your date boring?”
“Date? Sure, let’s date.”
What was he going on about?
“Boss, you’ve been drinking, haven’t you?”
“No. I’m still drinking. Hey, Go Eun Chan!”
“Ah, geez, you’ll burst my eardrum. What is it, boss!?”
“Yeah. Come here.”
“I’m having tons of fun, why would I leave? No, I don’t want to. If you’ve got something to tell me, you can say it tomorrow. Or, you can come over here. You should see Sun Ki sing…”
“Sun Ki? Oh, Noh Sun Ki. Are you with that guy right now?”
“Of course. We haven’t had a group dinner like this in ages. Would I leave someone out?”
“Don’t hang out with that guy! Who needs him? Get rid of him and come over.”
“Are you at the hotel right now?”
“Yeah. My hotel.”
“Do you know what time it is? If I went over, when would I get any sleep? Aren’t you exploiting your employees too much? I’ve gotta go on my milk delivery tomorrow, and it’s not like I’m your secretary…”
“Hey, you punk! Can’t you just come if I say so?”
“I need you right now.”
In shock, Eun Chan’s breath caught in her throat.
“I said, I need you……”
/end Chapter 15.