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Prince of Food Ep 17: Spicy Chicken Tacos

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❈Kun Jung-Hee


Nova Hotel


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It was surprising how given how gloomy the first day has become that so far the second day was an absolute 180. But given that it was Night Pulse, it wasn't all surprising. The Hotel seemed to have come to life overnight, where it was at first not really all that packed yesterday, today the lobby was filled with people. Young, old, and otherwise, everyone was definitely here for Night Pulse given that practically all of them were geared up in some form of Night Pulse memorabilia.


"Oh my god, guys! Did you guys see that N1U was going to be here?!" Rachel practically screeches.


I look over at her from where we were seated. It was breakfast time so we were relaxing a bit this morning with some brunch. Raquel had her eyes peeled on the pamphlet she has bought recently since she realized that the one she has was not the most up-to-date one. Amy was looking over at her with an amused smile as she must have known about the appearance of Rachael's practically number 1 K-pop group.


"I did! I thought you knew! But then I realized you had the old pamphlet! Apparently, they were the last-minute's addition?" Amy said taking one more bite of her food.


"Ahhh, this is going to be the best!! I can get an autograph from Sun-Yoona~~!!!" Rachel squeals in delight.


I wasn't too keen on much K-Pop or really any music if I'm being totally honest. Sure I've heard of these groups and may be heard their music once or twice but I wasn't "in the know" about too much pop culture. I'm an 'old man' by Rachel standards which I like just fine, makes her less like to talk my ear off about all these random pieces of knowledge she has about these groups.


"We have to go by the booth today! They have to have N1U stuff there!" Rachel says with a suddenly serious look on her face.


Amy couldn't help but giggle as she looks at her. Rachel had the look of an army vet who was ready for a tactical mission of life and death. But considering how much she has been obsessed with this group for 3 years, I'm not surprised.


"Oh, I gotta let the group know!!" She says excitingly as she pulls out her phone and starts typing rapidly.


And there was also that. A few years back she joins in some fan groups for the idol group. Whenever there are events that have N1U, the group apparently follows and sets up a meet and greets I guess. She dragged me to one a few years back when we both had a very rare day off. It was nice, I guess. Didn't really matter too much to me but to see how excited Rachel got was more than enough. She suddenly let out a laugh as she turns over her phone to the two of us.


"Look! There are a few here today! And even the chat leader is here?!"


"Oh? Isn't that the person who usually holds on the events and makes sure everyone is kept informed?"


"Yeah! They even make sure everyone's informed even when they themselves aren't joining. Huh, now that I think about it's odd that they didn't know about N1U being here this time around. They are usually more on top of things than most?" Rachel said with a frown.


"Well, as I said before, they were a last-minute addition. I only found out about it this week. I think they were trying to get it out with the new flyers but it just wasn't enough time?" Amy suggested.


"Well, it's certainly was a great surprise!" Rachel said looking back at her phone. "Oh, and they are going to be hosting a meet and greet this evening! N1U will be performing tonight and also tomorrow!"


Rachel then looks back up at us.


"You guys are coming with me too right?" She asks already giving the both of us puppy dog eyes.


"Yes, yes Rachel, you don't have to guilt trip us." I grumbled like the old man that I am.


Amy also nods with a smile. Rachel grins in victory and we continued eating in relative peace. Once breakfast was over, it was off the looking around again. Even though the bigger events didn't occur until later onward, Night Pulse was still in full swing. There was music playing in the background, streets were crowded with people and the smell of food was wavering the air.


"Omg yes! I knew it!" Rachel yells as she darts off.


Amy and I followed being to see her practically drooling over at a stand that was selling merch for N1U. She and like 20 other people were like crowding the booth, trying desperately to get the merch they wanted to like it was black Friday or something at the mall. To watch her haggle like a damn seasoned pro was impressive though. She soon arrived back with her spoils of war and a wide grin on her face.


"Waged a good war?" I said with a smirk.


She turns her head up with a positively smug look on her face.


"Behold.." She announces.


She got a few t-shirts, a CD, a couple of photo cards and posters. In all a very good plunder.


"Why did you get a CD? Don't you usually buy their music online anyway?" I asked curiously.


She looks at me like I'm the weirdo and answers in an almost disappointed voice.


"It's not with their music, it's an audio drama that two of the group members are in!" She says in a matter-of-fact tone.


"Ah yes, how could I not have known. Silly me" I say as dryly as I could.


She just give me a playful grin that she knew I can't stay annoyed at her. So we continue onward, mostly Rachel and Amy bought things as usual. I wasn't much a person for buying trinkets or small things. Call me old school but unless it's in a book form or something of the sort, I'm less likely to buy anything. And considering I wasn't too big in the music vibes, there was even less of a chance that I would be buying much more than just souvenirs.


Fortunately for me, it didn't take long for Rachel to get tired out as she went to practically every store trying her best to monopolize all the N1U gear she possibly could. It was about noontime when we found ourselves seated next to one of the many food trucks. This one was selling these delicious-looking tacos and I couldn't help getting a couple. Rachel likes to call me a foodie but I can't help that I like good food.


Some would call it a gift by any other name.


"Jesus Jung-Hee slow down man." She said watching me eat.


Which was rude by her.


"Hey, I didn't interrupt your gushing over your merch. Let me please enjoy my food in peace." I said as I took another bite of my taco.


It was good too, it was a spicy chicken taco but the sauce that was with it really set it off. I was probably going to have to ask the vendor what he put in this. I could hear a small laugh coming from the side of me as I looked up to Rachel and Amy. Amy was softly laughing with her face turned to why Rachel was giving me a rather disgusted look.


"...What? It's good." I said a bit defensively.


"...Really? I couldn't tell with you practically moaning over there." Rachel said still with that look on her face.


I frown a bit embarrassed as that is one of my fatal flaws that Rachel has pointed out numerous times. I have a tendency to make rather obscene noises when I'm eating something really good. It just kind of slips out at times. Can make for a rather awkward conversation afterward for sure.


"Sorry about that..." I mumbled a bit.


Rachel however doesn't appear as turned off as her face softens a bit with a smile.


"No, it's fine Jung-Hee. I was mostly kidding anyway." She said with a laugh. "I'm actually happy to see you are enjoying yourself."


I look at her a bit confused at why she was saying that.


"It just, I kind of dragged you here even though I know you don't really like crowded places.. And after yesterday, I just want you to enjoy yourself as much as possible." She said.


I frown a bit as I could read the underlining guilt that she was trying to playoff.


"Rachel, trust me when I say this. I'm having the most fun I could ever be and more."


Which was true, even with my practical god awful social skills, this has been a lot of fun. It's made me forget more than once about all the shit I have to deal with back home, that's for sure. So I chalk this up as a win for sure. She smiles widely at me, clearly relieved in some sense that I am telling her the truth. She would know after all if I was lying.


"That's great then!"


And with that, the day continued onward, and sooner than I realized, the true festivities had started. And if I had to say myself, I was impressed with how things certainly lit up. There was a huge stage set up that spanned the open field where the concert was going to be held. Everything was still being put up of course but there were more stands, official-looking ones at that.


"T-They doing signing?!" Raquel squealed as she narrowed on a stand that had an extremely long line out it.


It was obvious a stand for N1U given the security around it. We couldn't see much from where we were but I could definitely hear the chants loud and clear. Raquel then looks down at her phone.


"Oh, the meeting is over there! Let's go guys!" She says as she grabs my arm and pulls me along.


Amy and I follow along silently as Raquel is practically clawing at my arm in excitement. I was about to complain that I could literally feel her nails in my skin but she suddenly stopped before a group of people who weren't in line yet but clearly was the group she was looking for. There has been someone holding up a makeshift sign for an "N1U Official Fan Group". However, when we got closer, the person holding the sign turned around. He was still talking with a few people but all three of us recognized him almost immediantly.


It would appear sadly that god was still testing me it would seem.


"Ah, it's you!" He said unfortunately recognizing me.


It was one of Jackson's friends. I don't remember what his name is but he walks over with a surprised look on his face and points rudely at me.


"Aren't you the guy that Jackson kissed when he was drunk?" He says rather bluntly.


Thank god, there was so much noise around and at least from looking around quickly no one else but us three heard him. I really don't need to be reminded of that incident again. Raquel was looking very much like the human embodiment of the 'This is Fine' meme. I think if anything else happens she was going to crack and crumble away. Fortunately though, as I mentioned before, I was on vacation.


No stress, nor any drama for me.


So I pulled out my secret weapon. My customer service smile and lying my ass off.


"Sorry, I don't think we've met before?" I said even with a confused tilt.


I could practically feel the nervous energy radiating off of Rachel and Amy who probably was expecting me to blow up on this guy. Shame on them, if I'm being honest. I know how to be cool and show restraint. He also looks at me for a few seconds in silence before tilting his head like a puppy who didn't quite get the trick they were learning.


"Are you sure? You look really familiar?"


My smile strained a bit on my face but I kept it together.


"Nope, I'm sure." I said, poping my p just to keep in my annoyance.


He lets out a small laugh, good humor but still gave me a flare of annoyance.


"Ah, well I'm sorry about that! " He said with a smile.


"So you are N1Ufan001?" Rachel said a bit loudly, most likely trying to get this guy's attention on something else.


It worked fortunately as he turned to her. I could practically see the hamster wheel going in his head as I'm sure he vaguely recognized both Rachel and Amy. Fortunately, though he didn't make any comment on it.


"Yeah, that's me! My name Jacob by the way." He said,


"Oh um, my name is Rachel!" She responded a bit nervous.


She was probably concerned that he was going to recognized her from her name. All three of us have seen this guy a few times with Jackson and the other one whose name escapes me now. They weren't necessarily regulars of Jubeliees but they were there enough for us to remember them.


Hopefully, that wasn't also the same for him.


He does frown for a second and gets that confused puppy dog look on his face again.


"Hmm, have I met you somewhere? You look really familiar?"


Rachel lets out the fakest laugh I've ever heard in my life.


"Ah no, no! I don't think so?" She responded.


I couldn't help the pointed stare I gave her that practically screamed 'Really? That was your best attempt at lying?' She didn't look back, unfortunately.


"Ah, well maybe it's just me then!" He said, scratching the back of his head with a small chuckle.


"Oh right, we all are getting ready go try to get a group picture going before we autograph since the line is still pretty big. Hoping to get it signed by Sun-Yoona!"


That apparently was some form of magic words cause immediately both Rachel, and he and their group begin to get into a pretty intense conversation about N1U. One of which I couldn't follow at all. However as Amy and I stood by just waiting for them, I couldn't help the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.


Call me paranoid but if there is one this I knew, disasters always happen in three! It's practically in the handbook of life.


"...I'm gonna take a quick walk around, wanted to just get some food." I smoothly lie to Amy.


She just smiles and nods. I turn to walk away and get at least a few steps away.


But sadly as I mentioned before, disaster strikes in threes. Here was disaster #2.


"...Jacob! There you are man, Jesus I was calling your phone and you weren't picking up!"


Jacob I'm sure turns in the direction of the voice. The direction that tragically I was walking in.


"Oh, Jackson! Hayden! I found my group, we were just about to take pictures!"


What happened next was something straight out of a novel I swear. I look up to see Jackson and Hayden walking in my direction. Jackson doesn't notice at first but that was quickly rectified when he got close enough and a frown pulled at his lips. Hayden noticed me as well and had a confused look on his face. I didn't have to see Rachel's face to know she was pale as a ghost and was now rapid-firing all possible disastrous situations this could become. While I was just looking like I stepped in something most foul.


"...It's you..." Jackson said unhappily.


Jacob had at this point jogged up to them and was looking between the two of us confused.


"Wait you know him?"


Jackson doesn't respond, too busy glaring holes through me I'm sure. Hayden however does pull Jacob and softly explains the situation. Jacob makes an almost comedic surprised face before once again pointing rudely in my direction with a gasp.


"...So you are the guy Jackson kissed!!" He practically yells.


To make a point, everyone looks uncomfortable now. Jackson is still glaring at me as he could make me disappear with his eyes alone. While I'm glaring back at him hoping to whatever god is listening to make this whole situation disappear.


"...Hey! You're blocking the way!"


We all turn suddenly to a voice that yelling at us. However, upon seeing who it was, I realized something.


God isn't real.


The person who spoke wasn't anyone I knew, but behind her was someone I had hoped with all my might I wouldn't have to see again. And I'm sure for Jackson and his group, the feeling was mutual. There behind a young woman with short brown hair was Jasmine.


See it's like I said. Disaster strikes in three.


Hello, disaster number 3....

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