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Prince of Food Ep 11: Croque Monsieur


❈Kun Jung-Hee

Kun Jung-Hee Apartment


It had been a week since the Micheal situation as I call it. And to be honest, I was surprised myself how easy it was to lie not only to Racheal but also to my mom about that night.

Pretty sure I know what that says about me as a person but truthfully I've made peace with my demons.

Life has continued on, as usual. I ignored any and all calls from Ryan. Now while I may have made a slip in judgment, once was more than enough. I was still working at least 3 jobs and making just enough to make sure we make it to the next month. Asshole landlord still trying desperately to squeeze more money out of me.

Same shit, different days.

What was new however was it becoming increasingly apparent that both Racheal and my mother knew something was different.

And then on one of my rare days that I didn't have a shift in the evening, my mom suddenly came home to find me just finishing off a cigarette.

To say things didn't end well would be an understatement.

The smile that she had on her face dies slowly and the bags in her hands slip from her fingers and plop loudly onto the floor. I, on the other hand, was doing my best impression of a deer caught in the headlights, as I scrambled to put out the cigarette. It is silent for a few long minutes. Thankfully the twins or my younger sister aren't home yet.

"...What is that?" She asks in a voice just barely above a whisper.

I let out a sign as I stand to turn to her. She was still standing in the doorway like a statue. I slowly walk over and takes those bags, her eyes were burning a hole in my head as I walk back into the kitchen

"I asked you a question!"She shouts.

It's not that I didn't want to answer, it's just I honestly didn't know what to say. I just dropped the bags on the table with a sigh.


"Kun Jung-Hee! Answer my damn question!" She now yells walking to the apartment, slamming the front door.

"...I smoke Mom, for god's sake. I'm an adult, I can make big boy decisions okay?" I said in a sarcastic tone turning to her with an instant flinch.

The expression on her face looked like she just saw a part of her soul die.

"....You know.. that not what I mean.."

My heart dropped into my stomach instantly.

She knew.

I tried to open my mouth but nothing came out. It was like a wave of guilt just pored over me. She just stared at me.

"You know those few years back, I knew something was wrong. I- I had found your cigarettes before. I knew you never smoked before so at first, I was confused. But nothing really changed about you afterward, I-I didn't think it was anything serious. You were always so mature! You were doing so much to try and help me."

I didn't say a word, almost didn't even breathe. I just listened.

"And then one evening, Raquel called to let me know you are in a hospital and I had no idea where you were or had been. God, I'm such a failure of a mother.."


She raises a hand and touches my cheek gently. I lean into it almost immediately. I've always been really prickly to physical contact with others outside my loved ones. I just miss it. I've been so busy for so long, every little minute like this is good. I just want my family to be safe and happy.


I slowly look back at her.

"Promise me I won't have to go through that again."


"Promise me, you will tell me when things get too hard. I'm your mother Jung-Hee, you can't keep trying to take on everything by yourself."

"But your health-"

"I don't give a damn about my health if that means one day I'll wake up and you are dead!"

My mouth shut almost immediately at that. I wanted to respond to her but suddenly the door burst open and the screaming sounds of the twin sounded. Both of us turn to see the twins, Shin and Yu-Ri running up and also Jae-Yun following behind them. Her question expression as she went from mom to me was less than ideal for me. Jae-Yun was much more like Raquel in the sense that if she knows something is wrong she will not stop to know what it is, especially if it involved our family.

"Mom, mom look at what we made today in class!" Shin says holding up a drawing he did in class.

"Yeah, yeah, look at mine!" Yu-Ri also held her drawing with a toothy smile.

My mom bends down with a wide smile.

"Whaaa, look at this little artist of mine!" She said at the twins.

The twin then went into a vivid and long-winded tale of their class which did distract my mother to bring them to the living room. But Jae-Yun's pointed look had me trapped like a moth under a magnifying glass. Her head then nods back to the kitchen just behind me. Her look was clearly written on her face.

We need to talk, now.

I let out a sigh as I walk back into the Kitchen and hear her footstep behind me. My mother smartly as well turned on the tv as well, probably in hopes to give the allusion of privacy for the conversation about to take place.

"What were you two talking about?" Jae-Yun cut straight to the point, her arms crossed over her chest.

I let out another sigh as I throw out my cigarette. At seeing that, Jae-Yun's whole body language changes from curious to furious.

"Hey, Jung-Hee. Are you crazy?"

I didn't answer her as I started to put away the groceries mom had purchased. Jae-Yun's voice remained a controlled fury, never rising over the sounds of the tv from in the living room.

"What happening now? Is it the rent? Is that fucking leech trying to get more again."

"Hey, language." I said with a turn of my head sharply at her crude language.

She let out off an undignified scoff as she rolls her eyes at me.

"Are you ser- fuck my language alright? I ask you a question."

It was at times like this that I wish I didn't tell her more about what was going on. Back when my mother first got really sick, I took over things. Our landlord, Yosef Milton, couldn't care less about where he was getting his money as long as he got it. A slimy and honestly crude man who was little more than a slum lord in most instances. After a stern and illuminating conversation with the man, he understood that he was to talk only to me. I didn't want my mother getting any more pressure on her since I wasn't sure if it wouldn't kill her. So that is how it has gone from there, however as of late Yosef has been getting greedy. I'm almost 100% sure it was because he wanted us out so that he could rerent this crappy place for something more expensive even though it wasn't even worth the amount we were paying.

"It's nothing Jae-Yun. Don't worry about it."

"Brother... you do know I'm not stupid right?" She says in a hiss as she steps a few inches closer to me.

Her anger is expected as she has told me numerous times to she wanted to help to which I stonewall her every time. Even when she threatens to tell mom, I would use the underhanded tactic of saying that it would make mom worry and get sick again. She backs off immediately at that every time.

Terrible? Yeah, I know.

Do I care? Not particularly.

I will do whatever I need to for my family. Even if that means lying to them or even using underhanded means. Jae-Yun may hate me for it, but she studying to become a doctor. Something that she has wanted to do ever since mom got sick the first time.

I pore as much money as needed to make that a reality. My life has been only for my family and will remain that way until we finally are able to live peacefully and comfortably.

That is my only wish and hope in life.

"Jae-Yun, seriously. It's not that big of an issue I promise." I said.

She frowns and stares at me for a few moments in silence. However just as she was about to say something else, my phone goes off. It's Raquel who given that next weekend was the Night Pulse Festival. And whenever she plans events that she knows I'm adverse to, she always checks the week before to make sure I'm still going. Given that she has inadvertently saved me from an unwanted conversation, I will take it every time.

"Raquel? What's up?"

"Yo~ Jung-Hee! Amy and I were hanging out over at Harmonie's! Come over~!" Her voice vibrates loudly as she tried to talk over the noise in her background.

I looked briefly at Jae-Yun who looks frustrated at the interruption.

"Yeah, I'll be there."

Jae-Yun's face slips from frustrated back to annoyed as she knows I'm running away. Sorry Jae-Yun, but this is just one conversation I don't need right now.

"Great! Hurry, there's a performance on going and it sounds like it gonna be great!!"

I mumbled a confirmation before hanging up and almost shyly looking back Jae-Yun. She just lets out a dry laugh, turning her head away.

"...You are such a coward..." She says before just stomping away towards her room.

The sounds of her door slamming do make my heart clench a bit but I shrug it off and grab my coat before going towards the front door.

"Oh, where are you going?" My mother asks almost worried, as she tries to stand up.

"It's okay mom, I'm just going to Harmonie's with Raquel." I said with a reassuring smile.

She doesn't believe it, it obvious by her face. But she nodded and sits back a bit stiffly.

"...Be safe sweetheart.."

Ugh, this is going to be a rough couple of days. My face doesn't really change but her clear distrust does hurt a bit. But honestly, I can't blame her. And now even Jae-Yun is upset and that girl can hold a grudge for a while.

Things just can't get worst than this right?

When I arrived at Harmonie's, a very popular restaurant, it was heavily packed today. Harmonie's wasn't usually a place I frequented given that it usually reservation only and on the more expensive side. On rare days, however, like when there are performances, you can do walks in. I had to brush past so many people before finally getting Raquel's table. They hadn't ordered yet so I guess I was just in time. We all took our pick, for me, a Croque Monsieur. When it arrived I was practically watering at the mouth by the smell.

"So were you enjoying your Friday evening off?" Amy asks, taking a bite out of her meal.

My mood dips a bit as I thought back to earlier. I let out a sigh and my eyes glance a bit towards Raquel who looks reasonably confused.

"Hmm? What wrong Jung-Hee?"

I pause for a second I try to decide to tell her or not, but eventually, fold. I told her about what happened at home earlier on, and to my annoyance, she was actually happy.

The last time I'm telling her anything, I swear.

"Serves you right." She said while rudely pointing her fork at me.

Amy who didn't really have any context to what I was talking about was reasonably confused but didn't say anything which honestly I was thankful for. I didn't need another person judging my shitty decisions and life choices.

"Seriously, Raquel."

"Yes, seriously. You know how much your family loves you, and you keep doing this shit. What's got you stress out this time? Was it the shit stain landlord again?"


"See? That was what I'm talking about! You keep pushing everyone away and refusing to talk about shit! I'm your best friend Jung-Hee!"

"Guys! Just calm down for a minute!" Amy said with a small smile as she cuts between.

Raquel let off a scoff, turning her head away. Guilt instantly creeps up which honestly makes no sense why this of all things is what makes me feel guilty. I had no issue lying about where I was a week ago but when I try to just casually brush off stuff it makes a pit in my stomach.

".....You're right okay?" I finally cave to her.

Raquel looks back with a clear look of shock that almost made me laugh.

"He's been asking us to move for about two months now. Says he wants to re-rent to someone else that he has lined  up and he keeps saying that he will increase the rent if we don't move."

"Slimy bastard!" Raquel hissed.

Amy's frown also seemed to agree with Raquel's heated statement.

"I've been looking for places that are close to the twin's school and make it easier for me to travel but it's been a bit slow. I keep putting him off by giving a little more." I said with a shrug.

It wasn't really easy finding a new place, which made it so I was light years away from my jobs or the twin's school since they were both is relatively close by locations. However, all the apartments I've found are so far away even with the reasonable rent and at least decent living conditions. The nicer they are, the more expensive and farther inward of the city they are.

"Well, after Night Pulse, we'll help you apartment shop! What do you think? Three heads are better than one" Amy suggests with a soft smile.

Raquel nods along with her as well. I looked at her with a smile. Amy though a little shy and soft-spoken, was always determined to help someone if she set her mind on it. No matter what the situation.

"Okay, thanks, guys..." I say as I go back to my meal.

It was nice just chatting with them, having a just normal afternoon out was... nice. Which I guess should have been my first warning sign that something was going to happen.

My life was never really easy, you see.

It wasn't until I could hear some rather loud voice from one of the tables far on the other side of the restaurant. We all turn to look over at the table but it was crowded with people, mostly women all excited to see whoever was sitting there I guess.

"Ugh so noisy." I mumbled.

"Hmm, probably upcoming rising star. This place is really popular and there will be occasionally some famous people who run through here." Raquel said with a smirk at my clear discomfort

"Well, they are noisy. It's annoying." I grumbled like an old man yelling at kids who are on his lawn.

Raquel lets out a laugh that is clearly at my expense. Honestly, I think I need a new best friend at this rate. I turn back to my food while they continue to try to get a look at whoever table it is all those people are crowding around. I didn't really care too much for famous people, I didn't really watch too much tv, or movies so I'm a bit behind or "uncultured" as Jae-Yun loves to say. Just never had time for it.

"...Wait... Is that?" Amy says as her face scrunches up in concentration.

Raquel seems to adjust herself to see at Amy's angle and her face seems to drain of all color in an instant.

"Oh, shit..."

I stop eating before looking at the two of them who are now looking back at me like I'm a murder or something.

"....What?" I ask in an annoyed tone.

"Uh, nothing!" Amy said looking away.

"Yup, absolutely nothing." Raquel said with such an expression that looks like she is stuck between terror and concern.

"What are you guys look-" I said as try to turn my head.

Raquel instantly reached over and stop my face. Her hand is digging slightly into my cheeks as she's keeping my head from turning. Her expression was now looking like that of a deranged psycho and making me very uncomfortable.

"It's nothing Jung-Hee! Just some asshole actor. Let's keep eating yeah?"

She's lying like it's not even a guess, it's a fact. And with a sinking stone of dread, my mind begins to piece together information. That loud and kind of obnoxious voice that I've been hearing mixed in all the other noise, sounds familiar.

Uncomfortably familiar.

It was almost as if when I realized who it could possibly be, she knew from my face. Raquel's expression starting taking on a frantic almost tearful look would have made me laugh given however weird the face she was making. But I had to know. I grabbed her hands which were now actively keeping my face still away as she literally yelling for me not to look.

I turned around again and looked in the direction of the table.

It took me a sec to peak through the people but there he was.

Jackson fucking Young.

Surround by women, he was chatting casually with a few while also including his friends which were the same one from Jubilees. He was dress casually this time around, a simple button-down dark-colored shirt that pulls to his body and black jeans.

I could practically feel the stormy expression forming on my face as I flashed back to our disastrous meeting.

"Ah, I told you not to look." Raquel said weakly

Anger surged up and simmered just below the surface. I mean yeah, he was drunk when it happened but it still didn't make it any less upsetting for me. I turn back to my food determined to ignore him.

"Whatever, let's just eat." I say in a really dark tone.

"Ah.. okay.." Amy nods nervously.

And we tried to return back to eating. It worked... for all of 10 minutes.

Their table was just so damn loud. And I felt like every time I got away from thinking about it, I would hear a laugh too loud or his voice talking about something. I knew Raquel and Amy were eyeing me nervously like I was going to walk over there and stab him or something. Eventually, I just was on my edge and finally stood.

"Ah, Jung-Hee." Raquel called and reach out to grab my shoulder.

I turn to her, face still stormy with a wooden smile.

"Ah don't worry Raquel. I'm just going to the bathroom. Don't worry about anything."

Her face clearly said 'I'm worried, I'm very, extremely worried' but she nodded anyway. I walk towards the bathroom which to my utter displeasure took me a bit close towards Jackson's table. I turned my face away as I turn, fortunately, they were too engrossed in their conversation to notice literally anything around them and I slipped into the bathroom.

Surprisingly using the bathroom did make me feel better. As I'm washing my hands, I let out a sigh. All I had to do now was just get back to my table and enjoy the rest of the evening.

"If I can.." I mumbled before looking at myself in the mirror.

My appearance has improved I feel since leaving Jubilees. Less stress for sure at least from working there. I run a hand through my hair which has been getting a bit longer than I realize. Raquel mentioned it while we were eating but this is the first time I'm really looking at it.

"Hmm.... maybe I should cut it?" I mumbled in thought as I dry my hands.

My mind suddenly jumps back to the less than pleasant interaction with Blackwood and a shudder rips through me. I will be cutting my hair for sure.

I then walk out of the bathroom. And directly into the path of Jackson Young.

It would seem fate is testing me.

We stood kind of at standing still for a second. Still as tall as ever, he looks down at me with thankfully no recognition at least from what I can tell. His dark-colored eyes seemed to take me in and I didn't like that one bit. I quickly turn my head away and mumbled an apology and walk around him.

I almost make it fully past him before I hear a shift behind me.

"Hey wait!"

I stop, which honestly was my first mistake. Turning around was my second one. Jackson is looking at me with an almost embarrassed look on his face. And that was the moment I knew.

He fucking remembers who I am.

"We've met before haven't we?"

"Sorry, I don't know you." I denied in a dry tone with an extremely unhappy smile on my face.

I then turn back to continue walking away from this situation at the speed of light. But then his next words make my heart drop into my stomach.

"Ah, but you're from Jubilees, right? That-uh evening of my birthday"

I stand fucking corrected.

Things most defiantly can get worst than this.

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