Chapter 632: A Flower on the Cliff (10)
Maybe it was just her delusion that was so sweet. But Gwen felt that it would become a reality right now. She was elated with some unknown confidence, which was rather strange. Since her life was consumed by misfortune and had never s.h.i.+ned before, she was convinced that her life would be able to s.h.i.+ne at least for now.
Ironically, one’s inferiority brought about one’s confidence. Only then did Gwen realize that everything depended on what one thought of.
She glanced at Peter quickly. He was still calm. Looking at his face, she was rather confused. He confessed his love to her, but she was a bit sorry that she was not much touched by his confession. No wonder she felt so. It had been a long time since she recalled something like a romantic relations.h.i.+p or love. When she led a life addicted to drugs, she was already far from a pure life. Now, the kind of life that was suitable for her was to fix the things that ruined her life one by one. Maybe there might be a man among them, but her relations.h.i.+p with that man was destined to be extremely dry and annoying.
Maybe she would have accepted his confession if her situation had been better, or if she had not been forced to compete with him, or if she had not felt it necessary to focus on the Grand Chef.
It was not because she liked Peter. It was because she just wanted somebody who could love her purely like a boy, somebody who she could rely on comfortably.
Maybe she wouldn’t be able to love him back because she had forgotten how he felt toward her. But sometimes she could make a smile at him from the bottom of her heart, not a fake one.
Of course, what he wanted was more than that.
‘I will beat him.’
Her winning at the Grand Chef until now was not a real match. Her match right at this moment was the real one because her purpose of partic.i.p.ating in this compet.i.tion was not to win in the cooking mission but to beat all other partic.i.p.ants to win the trophy.
She thought even if she achieved her goal, it would be just meaningless no matter how long she survived the mission.
Kaya read her mind from her looks. She knew how desperately Gwen wanted to win, and what that would mean to her.
So, Kaya exclaimed with a stronger, firmer voice than ever.
“I’ve voted for Peter.”
‘Ugh?’ Gwen’s expression turned blank.
Kaya announced something a moment ago, and she understood it, but it vanished from her mind in an instant. Her reason was desperately trying to deny what Kaya announced.
But Kaya continued, so Gwen should not escape from reality.
“Other judges and the invited chefs here all said that. Peter’s cooking was fresh, but he was not ready yet, and they said Gwen’s dish wasn’t fresh, but she was ready enough. Well, when they mentioned she was ready, does it mean that she is ready for opening an ordinary restaurant? If that’s the case, they are right. But if you ask me if she is ready for the best restaurant, I don’t think she and Peter are ready yet.”
The chefs nodded at her words because what she said was true.
Even though they said Gwen was a prepared chef, what they meant was she was a chef who was prepared for opening a decent restaurant, but not a top-cla.s.s one. Maybe she could run a good restaurant in her neighborhood. But that was it.
Gwen could not open a restaurant like Lotus Bridge. Of course, no wonder she could not, but Kaya was right when she said both Gwen and Peter were not yet ready to open a perfect restaurant.
Gwen’s face turned pale. She hoped that everything Kaya was saying was just a dream. It was hard for her to believe the reality that Kaya, whom she longed for so much, ruined her expectations painfully.
Not caring about her reaction, though, Kaya continued, “Peter, you’ve found your way, although you have not made it perfect. Well, I don’t think the Grand Chef has ever tried to find a perfect chef among the partic.i.p.ants. They sought the most attractive partic.i.p.ant. When I won the Grand Chef compet.i.tion, I didn’t think I was perfect, because I’m not perfect now. So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re perfect or not now.”
Even though she didn’t want to mention it directly in front of Gwen, Kaya thought her decision to vote for Peter was helpful to Gwen. Kaya thought that even if Gwen won the Grand Chef compet.i.tion with her clumsy cooking skills and culinary perspective, she would most likely lose her path, swamped by a lot of invitations and fame.
Gwen was competent, but her cooking was not attractive. Kaya thought she and Min-joon could make her attractive enough, and they were confident of it. In fact, Gwen submitted an application for a chef position at Lotus Bridge.
Of course, it would be adding oil to the fire if she mentioned it to Gwen right now. Gwen had the right to get angry and sad. So Kaya thought it would deceive Gwen if she said she made her choice for Gwen.
So Kaya turned her attention to Peter and said, “Peter, you’re a charming chef.”
She didn’t pay lip service to him. She was serious. She would never have praised the old Peter, but he obviously changed. Since she knew how much effort it took for a person to change, she had no choice but to recognize his effort at this moment.
“I want to watch you become a Grand Chef and develop your own cuisine. I will cheer for you. The Grand Chef for this season is yours.”
A silence fell on the venue for a moment. The first person to applaud her was Min-joon. When he clapped his hands five times, other chefs soon followed and started clapping.
Peter stared blankly at their clapping hands.
‘They’re clapping for me…’ He just thought blankly, ‘Yeah, they’re clapping their hands for me.’
Each of them was not an ordinary chef. They were congratulating and recognizing him. The great chefs in the world were smiling at him, who was once their most hated chef.
He felt like the whole world was smiling at him.
At that moment, he could finally believe that even though he met a favorable response from many people during this season’s Grand Chef, he could not trust himself wholeheartedly.
People didn’t hate him any longer. Rather, they loved him.
Peter looked up at the ceiling. He didn’t want to cry, but tears rained down on her cheeks.
Whether it was good or bad, one felt empty when it was all over. Even those young men, who think only of being discharged from the military someday, just felt empty when they get on the bus taking them to their hometown after they are discharged.
That was the case with Gwen who hoped everything would work out as she wished, but she found that things didn’t work out for her at all.
She was sitting in the garden, with her face paler than before. The sunlight was warm. She couldn’t get out in the sun. She felt as if the coldness in her heart would make her frozen the moment she stepped out of the sunlight and left herself in that gloomy shade. She felt cold.
She raised her head. Min-joon and Kaya were standing in front of her.
She smiled faintly at them and said, “Are you here to comfort me?”
Min-joon answered briefly and said, “You don’t need to be comforted because your 2nd place in this contest is not that bad.”
“But I’ve lost anyway.”
“Then let me ask you this way. Is losing to somebody bad?”
“Well, it’s worse than winning,” Gwen answered in a tired voice.
He did not intend to continue this meaningless question and answer further. In fact, it was impossible for him to shake off her gloomy mood with clumsy wordplays. Maybe she would be better off if she were comforted like she asked.
‘She’s dead one month later.’
Back then, she lost to Michael, and Peter this time. If there was any difference between them, Min-joon and Kaya were here as her judges. Could this really stop her from killing herself?
“So what are you going to do?” Kaya asked in a dry voice.
Her voice was blunt enough to make Min-joon feel she was not considerate enough of Gwen’s feelings. But he thought that was evidence that Kaya was worried about her. In other words, she hoped Gwen was fine. She didn’t want Gwen looking ugly like a puppy soaked in rain.
With that in mind, Kaya had no choice but to become harsher.
“Are you going to spend the whole day sitting like this?”
“I’d like to take a break for a while…”
“It’s good to take a break. I understand your feelings. But promise one thing to me first.”
“Join Lotus Bridge,” Kaya said in a low voice.
She stared blankly at Kaya. She then asked in an empty voice, “Don’t you need another interview or something like that?”
“Just think the Grand Chef contest itself has been a long interview process. In fact, none of the applicants we’re going to interview this afternoon are better than you.”
“I guess so…”