Coffee Prince Chapter 16: “Love Is a Secret You Can’t Hide”
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Rollercoaster – “숨길 수 없어요” (Can’t Hide It) [ Download ]
Whew! Now things get even more exciting, and dare I say, sexy? Also, the increasing length of these posts isn’t exactly indicative of longer chapters — they’re all pretty consistent in page length. It’s just, as things develop further, they get more interesting, thus there are more things I want to point out.
Anyway. Savor this one, guys! It’s nice and juicy.
CHAPTER 16: “Love is a Secret You Can’t Hide”
Eun Chan arrives at hotel room S11 and enters to find the place in utter disorder. Clothes everywhere, chairs fallen on their sides, items scattered all over. She’s shocked to see the mess, especially since Han Gyul is such a neat freak. She asks what happened, and Han Gyul calls her over:
His reply came from the inner room. She wasn’t sure if he had been drinking, was still drinking, or if the alcohol had spilled everywhere. In any case, the smell of liquor reeked from the room.
Han Gyul sits on the ground between the table and the sofa, looking disheveled. He calls her over to watch TV with him, so she sits down beside him.
Suddenly, his arm slung around her shoulder. Startled, Eun Chan looked at him, but he was watching the variety program on television just as before, holding a bottle of liquor in his hand.
Han Gyul offers Eun Chan a drink, and when she declines, he tells her to have a drink anyway. He holds the bottle to her lips and holds her head so she can’t avoid it, and she coughs while choking on the liquor.
Eun Chan coughed while gasping for breath, and his hand reached up to wipe away the liquor from her chin. He acted as though it were nothing, like wiping the mouth of a child, then drank from the bottle. It was strange seeing him drinking in big gulps, and she asked as she watched him:
“Did you get your heart broken?”
Liquor sprayed out from his mouth. Choking back something between a sneeze and a cough, he asked:
“Wh-what did you say?”
She saw the droplets of liquid that had spilled on his chin. Without thinking, she reached out, just as he had, to wipe them away.
Eun Chan realizes what she’s doing, then pretends like it didn’t happen, asking if he got dumped by Yu Ju. She could tell it was going to happen — “In my opinion, she’s not right for you. She’s much better with the bubble wrap man. He might be a bit of a pain, but he’s well-mannered.” Han Gyul has no idea what she’s talking about with the bubble wrap, so she rambles on about how much fun it is to pop the bubbles.
Suddenly feeling the mood change strangely, Eun Chan stopped talking. He was staring at her intensely, and started to come closer. As he drew nearer, Eun Chan found herself pulling backward.
“Wh-what are you doing?”
His gaze landed on her lips. At Han Gyul’s sudden closeness, Eun Chan thought her heart would burst.
Eun Chan tried evading by forcing a joke.
“M-my teeth aren’t rotting.” [A pun. “You’re strange” (yi-sang-hae) also means “damaged teeth.”]
“No, you’re strange.”
It hadn’t worked. He stared at her as intently as before, coming so near she could feel his breath.
“Your hair is strange, too…”
He took a lock of her hair, rubbing the strands together in scrutiny. His hand then lowered to touch her cheek. She thought her heart would fly out of her chest.
“And your skin is strange…”
Her pulse thumped crazily. Eun Chan gulped, and stared into his eyes. She felt like her own body would melt at his wonderful scent.
“And your lips are strange…”
What was strange was Eun Chan’s heart. She couldn’t think anything at all. She didn’t know if he’d sensed she was a girl, or if he meant to say the words he was saying, but she couldn’t form a single thought. She could only tremble in anticipation at the thrill of his finger about to come into contact with her lips.
At last, his thumb touched her lip. As he stared intensely at Eun Chan, her lips gradually parted. His gaze had her completely enthralled. She looked at him, excited, trembling, and insecure.
“You’re gay, aren’t you?”
Instantly, everything stopped. Her thrill of excitement disappeared, and she felt a keen disappointment, which ruined her mood.
Eun Chan shoves Han Gyul aside and gets up, her heart still pounding, her face reddening in embarrassment. But in her forceful shove, Han Gyul falls over — and lands on a liquor bottle. Immediately, she crouches next to him and worriedly asks if he’s okay.
Han Gyul grumbles at her strength, and asks how much meat she ate at dinner (“only six portions”), which turns the mood back into something resembling friendly bickering.
Eun Chan gets up to leave, but Han Gyul tells her to stay. She protests, saying she has her milk delivery in the morning —
“Quit that job. All right? From today, no, starting tomorrow, don’t do anything. Just stay by my side. Got it, Mr. Go Eun Chan?”
He hadn’t sobered at all. He was still spouting crazy talk.
It was so absurd, Eun Chan flopped down on the sofa with a thwump. Truthfully, she didn’t want to go either. With one word from him, her feelings were yanked back and forth, from happy to sad, hot to cold.
Some time later, they both sit on the couch together.
Han Gyul sat on the left end of the sofa, and Eun Chan, sitting on the right end, watched as he drank. Four legs lay entangled in between them.
They relax and drink wine, feeling languid and comfortable as they talk. Han Gyul asks what Eun Chan’s father was like, and she responds that he was wonderful. When she asks about his father, he answers, “I’m an orphan.”
Eun Chan’s so startled she doesn’t know how to react. Han Gyul tells her to keep her mouth sealed about this: “You’re the only person I’ve ever told.” He tells how he inadvertently overheard his parents talking when he was eleven, and found out that he was sent to a foster home shortly after being born, and was adopted by his current parents.
Hearing this, Eun Chan thinks with sympathy:
She saw him through fresh eyes. She’d thought he was a young son of a wealthy family with no worries and no pain. She’d thought he lived his life however he wanted, envying nothing. But the more she found out, the more she was surprised. She’d thought he only cared about appearances, but he’d led them sincerely and carefully as their boss, and he was unerringly polite in calling Mr. Hong manager, using respectful speech with him. The most surprising incident had been with Nak Gyun. And so, she changed her mind about him. He might be haughty, aloof, and somewhat cold, but he wasn’t a hypocrite. He was a fair, warm-hearted man who knew how to help people.
Eun Chan feels for him, and he continues explaining his reaction:
“I hated the world. It felt like everyone was a liar, that even if people smiled on the outside, inside they’d ridicule me for not knowing my own parents. If I hadn’t been adopted, I would’ve been in really awful circumstances. That’s why I don’t trust those girls who say they like me. It’s obvious what it is they like. They don’t know anything about me, they just see the shiny outer shell. If I took off the shell, they’d shun me and run away.”
“If they really liked you, they wouldn’t run away.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“Did someone run away from you before?”
“That’s because I don’t show my inner self.”
“So, does that mean you’ve never had a deep relationship with a woman before?”
“See, you’re clever.”
“But Han Yu Ju, what about her? Doesn’t she know?”
“I said you were the only one.”
Eun Chan’s face broke into a shy smile. Her blushing could be attributed to the wine, but it could also be because she was happy.
It occurs to Eun Chan that this might be the right time to tell the truth about her identity, and she asks, “Is this self-loathing hour? Do I have to say something about myself now?” She might not get a better opportunity, and it feels too wrong to keep up the lie when he’s being so honest. How-e-ver… Han Gyul asks:
“What could you possibly have to reveal? You’re so open, you’d be a corpse without your honesty. Your flaw is that you’re too frank, even if that’s what I like about you.”
Eun Chan tries to say no, she’s not like that, she lied to him about Ha Rim’s circumstances. But he understands that she was keeping a promise to Ha Rim. Eun Chan feels like shouting out that she’s not like that, she’s a person, she lies, and she’s told a truly huge one to him.
But then he says: “Let’s swear to be brothers.” Eun Chan doesn’t have a hyung, and he doesn’t have a younger brother, so it works out.
Han Gyul peers over to see if Eun Chan has pierced her ear, and she nervously asks why. He figures they need proof of their brotherhood status, and goes around looking for a needle. Eun Chan is, funnily enough, really afraid of the potential pain, and runs around trying to avoid Han Gyul. While he calls hotel services for a needle to be brought to the room, Eun Chan hides under the covers, and slowly is overcome with drowsiness.
At the sound of the alarm clock, Han Gyul stirred. Stretching out his hand, he groped around until he hit the alarm, intending to fall back into a deep sleep. Just then, he felt something warm and cozy, so he drew it toward himself. Whatever he was holding stirred, and snuggled into his arms. It was soft and gentle, and felt nice. Clasping it tightly, Han Gyul extended his lips, pulled it closer, and kissed it. Letting out a satisfied sigh, he retreated back to dreamland…… huh?
Han Gyul wasn’t the only one opening his eyes wide in sudden alarm. The moment their eyes met, they both sprang up out of bed instantly.
Eun Chan freaks out, jumping out of bed and shouting. How’d they end up in bed together? Thank god she’s clothed. She runs into the bathroom to wash her face, and sees something strange — an earring glittering on her earlobe.
She runs out and yells at Han Gyul for being completely inappropriate and piercing her ear while she was asleep. He doesn’t quite get what she’s yelling about until he looks in the mirror, then looks at her, and realizes she’s wearing his earring: “Wait, why do you have that?”
Among other reasons, she’s actually really squeamish about things like needles and sterilizing (and sounds vaguely hypochondriac about how she’ll have to cut off her ear like van Gogh if it gets infected). Han Gyul tells her she’s exaggerating, and goes to shower for work. Eun Chan, however, feels sorry for running late when they’re so busy in the mornings now, and leaves without waiting for Han Gyul.
Later that morning, Han Gyul strolls into work late, nursing a bit of a hangover, massaging his temples. Eun Chan doesn’t have a hangover, but is feeling hunger pangs from skipping breakfast. Their eyes meet:
Feeling low-energy, Eun Chan avoided his gaze, but his eyes kept following her. Eun Chan threw him a questioning look. At that, he turned around and spoke to her quickly, in a subdued voice.
“I bought some vegetable soup, you glutton. There’s antibacterial medicine there too, so use that, otherwise your ear’ll get infected.”
This jerk causes the pain, then gives the medicine, huh?
/end Chapter 16.