(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Izi – “남자” (namja / man) [ zShare download ]
Omo omo! We’re in the home stretch now…
CHAPTER 18: “Dazzling Memories Bring Me Pain”
Eun Chan finds herself in sudden, dire straits when her landlord tells her family to move out, as he is going to tear down the place to rebuild a fancy new building. They have no money find a new place, and she doesn’t know what to do. Hearing of the situation, the butcher Mr. Gu offers his home to Eun Chan’s mother, whom he now reveals to be in love with, which catches Eun Chan completely off guard. (He would like to date, and perhaps marry her, but at this juncture he is merely offering his home to help her in her difficult situation.)
Eun Chan is so distracted with her problems that she burns herself while accidentally pouring coffee not into a cup but directly on her hand. Her family’s living situation is her biggest concern, but mixed in with her worries is the fact that for the past few days, Han Gyul has been removed and dispirited, with no word of explanation.
Han Gyul appears with a first aid kit to tend to her minor burn, but Eun Chan can’t stand his silence and tries to find out what’s bothering him. He cuts her short and tells her not to ask.
That afternoon, they receive a copy of the magazine in which Coffee Prince is profiled prominently — and Ha Rim is stunned to read that their own boss is the illustrious heir to the Dong Yi Corporation fortune. They’d guessed he was rich, but had no idea it was to that extent. [Note: the word chaebol (or jaebol) in Korean refers to heads of corporations that are largely family-owned. Examples include Samsung and Hyundai. Despite the widespread proliferation of chaebol characters in kdramas, they’re actually quite rare, and enjoy a kind of pseudo-celebrity status. So it’s a very big deal to have had one in their midst all this while unknowingly.]
While the other Coffee Princes are pretty shocked to realize that Han Gyul is a third-generation chaebol, Eun Chan is by far the most shaken. She’s so surprised that she can’t even react:
“The moment she read those words, it was like her head had been struck with a loud gong. Her head was all in a muddle.”
Han Gyul is particularly displeased — infuriated, in fact — at the magazine for their skewed coverage. They were supposed to profile the cafe, and instead focused on his personal life. He threatens to sue the magazine for libel and defamation of character (picking on factual inaccuracies to lend credence to his claim). Furthermore, the phone rings off the hook from other reporters and magazines interested in interviewing Han Gyul. He spends the day in a foul mood.
Eun Chan has a hard time shaking off her dazed shock:
Suddenly, Eun Chan felt a blaze of emotion. It felt as though some feelings she’d been unaware of had been crushed into tiny little pieces. Something that had been carefully built up over time came crashing down in one instant.
Yes, part of her feels hurt that Han Gyul never mentioned it, and kept it from everyone. But before accusing her of hypocrisy (for keeping her own secret all this while), the reason for her reaction is multifaceted, one of which is the harsh realization that life is cruel. She’s worked so hard to do what she could to stay afloat, and all along he was the equivalent of a multimillionaire — “I’ve never once thought this before… No, I thought it once when my father died, and again now… that this world is so unfair.”
But the biggest reason for her sudden onslaught of sadness is that now the chasm between them seems insurmountable. It was large before, when she believed he was merely rich, but now that he’s a chaebol, “It was like sensing the difference between a tall mountain and Everest.” She starts crying, unable to stop:
There was one more thing she couldn’t stop — remembering all that had passed between them. Like scenes in a film, her memories surfaced, one by one. Their first meeting on the street when she’d thought he was a jerk, the time she touched his bare chest at the hotel, the spur-of-the-moment kiss in front of a crowd of people, meeting again at the Coffee Prince, getting into a fight in the parking lot when they went to buy dishes, playing basketball and piercing her ear and wrapping her hand in a bandage……
The shock deal Eun Chan a hard mental blow. I like him. I… I… like him. The moment she thought it, she was overwhelmed with a sadness she couldn’t hold back. The shock seared her chest. It hurt as though her chest were being torn into pieces.
This all occurs in the backroom of the cafe, in the presence of Mr. Hong, who has never seen Eun Chan so upset before. He’s never seen her cry. All he can do is pat her on the back while she’s wracked with sobs. She tries to stop her tears, unsuccessfully:
“It-it’s because I’m embarrassed. It’s like looking up at a tree I can’t climb. The boss would never lok at someone like me. He wouldn’t see a tiny black speck underneath his foot, would he?”
Feeling ashamed of her reaction, she asks to be left alone, and when Ha Rim enters to get her lunch order, she tells him she’s not eating. Mr. Hong ushers Ha Rim out, who can’t believe his ears. He tells Nak Gyun that Eun Chan isn’t going to eat lunch — that alone is enough to make everyone worry — and Han Gyul overhears as Mr. Hong tries to subdue the matter:
“Just leave him be. It’s natural Chan would be feeling this way with his circumstances.”
At that, everyone stopped what they were doing to stare at Mr. Hong. Nak Gyun stopped in the middle of lifting a cup from the table he was clearing, Sun Ki stopped in the middle of washing a cup, and Han Gyul was in the middle of putting on his jacket. Everyone stood stock-still as though they’d been frozen while playing ice tag.
“What’s wrong? Is he inside?”
Mr. Hong stopped Han Gyul, who was heading for the employee breakroom.
“He wants to be alone.”
Shocked, Han Gyul looked at Mr. Hong. But all Mr. Hong did was shake his head, leaving Han Gyul to stare at the door.
Han Gyul goes to a lunch meeting with his mother, his mind distracted by worries over Eun Chan, as well as feeling nervous about what his mother wants to say to him. To his pleasant surprise, however, his mother doesn’t push him too hard about working for the company, and respects his request not to pressure him, as he still needs time to think it over. She tells him she’s always believed he had the talent for the business, and has great hopes for him in the future, and they have a nice meal together.
Han Gyul finds himself confiding in his mother for the first time ever, sharing the story of Ha Rim’s situation, because it’s similar to what he feels about his own life — both Han Gyul and Ha Rim are being pushed to do things against their will and are resisting.
As lunch is winding down, Han Gyul gets a panicked call from Ha Rim, who’s so worked up that Han Gyul can’t understand what is going on. Eventually he hears that thugs came to the cafe looking for Sun Ki, who used to work at a host bar, and ran off having stolen money from the owner (later it’s revealed he needed money for his mother’s hospital bills).
“Who is it?”
“B-boss! Something bad’s happened, boss!”
“What is it? Did Eun Chan break the royal cup or something?”
“Th-that? That’s probably broken too…”
“What? That too? Then, what about the vase from Spain?”
“That’s broken too. B-but, what about him! He’s hurt!”
“What do you mean, he?”
Han Gyul froze in shock while getting into his car. Suddenly, he felt chills run down his spine.
When the fight broke out with the thugs, Eun Chan was hit in the head with a chair. She’s being taken to the emergency room as they speak.
Han Gyul wasn’t in his right mind. Everything went dark in his head, and he didn’t know the reason he drove back like a man crazed. Without knowing where he was going, or why he was going, and feeling short of breath, he drove.
He rushes to the hospital, where he finds the others standing outside with minor injuries. Eun Chan, however, is unconscious and awaiting surgery. He bursts in to see her, lying there, when her mother and sister arrive in tears, worried to death. They ask the nurse urgently:
“My daughter! What happened? Is my daughter dead?”
“Mom! Why would unni be dead? Sh-she isn’t, is she? My sister’s okay, isn’t she?”
The nurse says she has a brain hemorrhage and needs immediate surgery. Eun Sae takes her crying mother aside, and Han Gyul is left standing there, dumbfounded. By now, the others have joined him, and Nak Gyun asks the question: “Their daughter?”
Ha Rim bursts out:
“Chan hyung… No, Chan noona is a girl. That’s why this is even crazier. Those assholes! They dare hit a girl with a chair?! Noh Sun Ki you bastard, just wait till I get you!”
/end Chapter 18.Tags: books, Coffee Prince the novel