Coffee Prince Chapter 12: “Rebel with a Cause”
(Totally Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Il Mare – “I’m Crying” sung by Ji Young Seon. This is a totally random post, since it’s actually from a movie soundtrack — Il Mare (aka Siwole) starring Jeon Ji Hyun and Lee Jung Jae. But it just fit my mood at the moment, I guess. [ zShare download ]
I really liked this chapter. I didn’t want to say it at the time, but now that I’m done with 11, I can admit it wasn’t quite as interesting. It wasn’t bad, there just weren’t as many passages I wanted to quote. But now, things start to hint at an attraction that is something more than purely physical (which is what it’s mostly been thus far).
CHAPTER 12: “Resistance With a Reason”
The chapter starts off in a hilarious manner, with Eun Chan listening attentively at the door of the bathroom (from the inside), waiting to hear someone approach. Why? So that, just as they step inside, she can jump in front of the urinal, pretend to “adjust” her clothes, and flush.
The necessity for this arises when Ha Rim wonders curiously why Eun Chan never changes into her uniform in front of anybody. He speculates the reason — does she have a tattoo? Some kind of scar?
In order to dispel such suspicion, Eun Chan starts these exaggerated displays — “She especially needed to safeguard herself against Ha Rim’s constant idle chatter about how she was sexy, or some other weird comment.”
After the Taekwondo school where Eun Chan teaches closes, Eun Chan gets an email from her cute student, the one with a crush on her. The email is so ridiculous with cutesy emoticons (some of which I’ve never seen; I particularly like the little angry fists) that I just HAD to reproduce it here. This is an actual scan from my copy of the novel:
Which translates to:
Hellooo~ Master*, it’s me, Seung Kyung.
Thanx for teaching us so well all this while! Because you taught us so well, my body’s become a lot healthier. Now that I won’t be able to see you every day, it makes me saaaad. My mom is enrolling me in the other Taekwondo school, and it would be great if you could come to that school. Even though this school is closed, I’ll visit you lots. Please take care of yourself and always be ha~ppy. I really like you, Master! I’ll try to become a good person like you. Goodbye! Have a nice day. I’ll email you again.
love Seung Kyung
* The word “Master” is what Taekwondo students call their instructors.
Eun Chan wipes away tears reading the message: “Ah, damn. It’s touching.”
Nak Gyun stops coming to work, raising curiosity among the others. They find out that he told Han Gyul he needed to quit, without giving any explanation. Naturally, Han Gyul hasn’t thought to bother asking for one. Eun Chan’s eldest-daughter mentality (i.e., she has a need to look after others) doesn’t allow her to leave the matter alone. She tries to talk to Han Gyul, but grows annoyed at his indifference.
She asks to see Nak Gyun’s file — she just wants his address — but Han Gyul dismisses her:
“Quiet. Go feed the fish.”
Eun Chan jutted her jaw and clenched her fists as she went to feed the fish. And then, her gaze landed on the vases, carefully lined in a row. An interesting idea popped into her head. Eun Chan changed her mind and a smile appeared on her face, as she cackled under her breath to herself.
Eun Chan’s mode of attack — really more a battle of attrition — is to assault Han Gyul’s extreme neat-freaky personality. His control-freakish meticulousness dictates the chairs and tables be exactly a certain distance from each other, and the lined-up vases contain black and white stones, separated by color, which are NOT. TO. BE. MIXED. When Han Gyul demands to know who messed with them, she feigns ignorance. Her nonchalance infuriates him more, and she asks him pointedly:
“Why does this little thing bother you so much? You don’t even have a speck of interest in your employees’ problems.”
Finally, in exasperation, he tells her to hurry and change; he’s going with her. She’s surprised that he’s coming along to see Nak Gyun (she just wanted the address), but goes along.
A few days later.
Han Gyul has drinks with Yu Ju, but he’s too distracted to pay her much attention. He thinks of his family’s business developments, the lagging sales of Coffee Prince, and most of all —
On top of that, a bigger issue had surfaced. Go Eun Chan. For some reason, it was becoming more and more confusing trying to figure out how to handle the guy. From time to time, the guy was too…… and so…… Dammit! He saw him as attractive. It’s all because the guy was entirely too pretty-looking. Han Gyul’s mind was all in a chaotic mess.
Yu Ju has a problem of her own, and Han Gyul tells her to say her problem first. She expresses her difficulty in getting Han Sung to not hate her anymore.
“There’s really not much to talk about. He still despises me. I realized too late that I regretted my actions, and it hurts me that he still thinks of me hatefully. That’s still the situation. There’s been no progress.”
Han Gyul (thankfully) isn’t blind to her flaws, and does point out how she was the one who jilted Han Sung and cut off their engagement. Even if she were able to win Han Sung back, his family would keep resenting her.
“I know that. Even if he forgave me, his mother wouldn’t approve. But still, as long as there’s life, there’s hope.”
“Han Yu Ju, you’ve really matured. I think it was a really good thing you went abroad to study. In the past, you had Han Sung so wrapped around your finger, I wondered if he was your doll, or a puppet.”
“You sure know how to say things nicely. Sometimes, I think you and he are incredibly similar. You both talk coolly, and disregard other people.”
Han Gyul thinks back to the time when Yu Ju called off the engagement. Actually, her family was going through some issues, because her father, a member of the National Assembly (i.e. a congressman), had run into implications of bribery. He had insisted on cutting ties in an act of integrity (so as not to bring down Han Sung’s family as well), and sent Yu Ju abroad to study.
And from there, their love had cooled. But in Han Gyul’s opinion, it seemed like the feelings bridging the two hadn’t been disconnected. Rather, it was just that they’d frozen together, and were no longer able to flow……
Yu Ju changes the subject to Han Gyul’s problem, and instead of talking about his real problem (regarding Eun Chan), he says one of his employees is going through a rough time. When he went to see Nak Gyun, he found out his father runs a food stall and had recently injured his hip badly. He has a younger sister in her first year of high school, so Nak Gyun has taken on the burden of running the stall entirely alone — going shopping, cooking, selling.
But in actuality, that isn’t the source of his preoccupation. He thinks of how Eun Chan saw Nak Gyun’s situation and jumped right along to help out — working at the cafe from early morning, then helping at the food stall late at night.
Yu Ju wonders if he can lend Nak Gyun some money, but the answer is an emphatic no.
“Absolutely not? Who said that?”
“Go Eun Chan. According to that guy, that’s the worst way to trample on someone’s pride.”
“Is that true?”
“He says he knows because he’s been there. That whatever happens, he’ll be the one to keep watch over his own family. According to what he said, tossing a stash of money at someone out of pity is one of his worst pet peeves. How stubborn is that? Right? I mean, what kind of pride is that? Genuine pride accepts help from others, and if you pay them back in turn, you’re fine. But that guy says it’s a man’s natural instinct to protect his turf. Whatever, he sure can talk.”
Yu Ju gives Han Gyul an interesting look, and he wonders what she means by it. She asks, so Han Gyul just went along with it because Eun Chan said so? He answers, “You don’t know because you’ve never had to face him.”
“Do you know this? You said, ‘according to that guy’ twice, like you were quoting Confucius or Mencius or something. This is the first time I’ve seen you repeating someone else’s words like that. I’d like to see what kind of person he is.”
“That guy’s probably at the food stall right now. Seriously, his sense of meddling’s as huge as the Pacific Ocean.”
The kiss he couldn’t erase suddenly flashed across Han Gyul’s mind. So did the image of that guy’s face, wet from washing off after playing basketball. And the sensation of reaching out and touching his chin, without even meaning to…… How could a guy be so soft? There was something suspicious about him going off separately to change clothes in the bathroom. Even at the hotel, he’d thought the guy was exceedingly feminine, from his faintly sweet scent, to his softness, and warmth……
“Yu Ju, I’ve gotta go somewhere really quickly.”
“Sorry. I’ll see you next time at your work party. Careful on your way home.”
Han Gyul grabbed his jacket and immediately left the cafe. Taking a taxi, he headed toward Nak Gyun’s food stall.
/end Chapter 12.