Chemistry

Chapter 49
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Chapter 49

8.The Chemistry Behind Cooking (2)

Jeong-woo ended the call and his expression became somewhat surprised. fr𝚎𝗲𝐰ebnov𝐞𝐥.𝐜o𝗺

Is she really coming?

His gaze lingered on Shin Ki-joon, who was setting up the camera at the corner of the alley, and Park Soo-chan, who was exploring the neighborhood.

Even if she wears a mask and dont say anything, how do I explain the relationship between me and Yoon Yi-seol? Wait. But what is our relationship? Friends who share the same illness?

In any case, the fact that he was undergoing treatment for insomnia had to be kept hidden. He might not be known, but Yoon Yi-seol was a celebrity.

Jeong-woo!

Shin Ki-joon sent a sign that he was ready.

Jeong-woo sprinkled the powder he had brought on the icy steps of the alley, covered in frost.

The principle of de-icing agent is simple. This powder infiltrates between tightly frozen water molecules and forms a barrier. Then, the water molecules that want to stick together will extend their heat, see?

With a crackling sound, the layer of ice melted in an instant, captured by the camera.

Park Soo-chan, who had been watching, opened his mouth.

Jeong-woo, did you make that?

Why would I lie?

Wow, thats insane. Our Jeong-woo looks like a genius.

Jeong-woo turned his head to look at Park Soo-chan.

Really? Thats a normal reaction. When I showed it to my mom on the way here, she asked where I bought it from. She didnt even show any interest.

Your mom is so cool. I still remember when you had a big accident in high school, she silently took care of it without saying a word. She looked so cool.

She was cool. I didnt eat any meat for two months during that time. The soup was just oil floating, no substance. Chan was so mad.

Is the dog bigger than you because of that?

Since they said they would edit out casual conversations, Jeong-woo continued his work of melting ice, wandering through the alleys.

The areas where the sun was shining naturally had melted ice, but in the alleys with many shadows, there were thick piles of snow.

Jeong-woo, I want to try too! Ki-joon, would you like to try?

Yes, me too.

Park Soo-chan and Shin Ki-joon also joined in melting the ice, each carrying their own de-icing agents and scattering around.

In Jeong-woos field of vision, as he turned onto a downhill road, he saw a truck filled with charcoal parked in front of the community center square.

Good luck, Chan. Im almost done with everything.

It was still a little past 10 oclock, so there was some time. He needed to finish all the physically demanding work before Yoon Yi-seol arrived.

As he sprinkled de-icing agent beneath the walls of a house and stood up, he heard rustling sounds from inside.

Oh? Jeong-woo?

Because it was a fence that reached up to his chest height, he could see a middle-aged man standing in the inner courtyard in his tracksuit.

Hello, sir.

Heo Do-young, who ran a rice store. Despite the complicated neighborhood streets that even puzzled delivery drivers, he was well-known to most residents as he delivered to the entire area.

Are you coming to the banquet today?

Well, not sure. My back is hurting too much. I also need to do the laundry. I think Ill just stay home this time.

Oh, I was going to treat you to some pork belly. The premium one from the Three-way Butcher Shop. What a shame.

The premium one with that amazing texture?

Heo Do-young swallowed his saliva.

A glass of soju would make your back feel better, right?

Why are you teasing me like that?

Haha.

Heo Do-young, who had given up and said he would go, waved his hand.

Jeong-woo entered the next alley when his phone in his pocket rang. It was Yoon Yi-seol.

Yes, Ms. Seol.

-Im here.

Yes?

-Its the Il-myeong Supermarket? Im in front of that.

Wha- already?

Was it already 30 minutes since their call ended? He thought she would come for lunch, but it felt too soon.

Jeong-woo hurriedly ran and arrived in front of the Il-myeong Supermarket. Yoon Yi-seol, wearing a hat with a round fur ball, was standing there.

Ms. Seol.

With a curious expression on her face, she looked around, but when she saw Jeong-woo, she smiled. It was a smile that formed beautiful creases around her nose.

Welcome.

Her round eyes, nestled under her thick and long eyelashes, turned towards him as she greeted Jeong-woo.

Did I come suddenly and burden you with work, Mr. Jeong-woo?

Not at all. But, more importantly

Jeong-woo paused his words as the owner of the supermarket walked out, pointing towards Yoon Yi-seol.

Mr. Sung, please come to the banquet.

If my wife takes over.

Mr. Sung, the owner of the supermarket, yawned and replied.

In this neighborhood, there are quite a few shops named after their owners. Jeong-woo told Sung Il-myeong, who had a sign on the counter that read 10 Mandarins for 2,000 won.

The rice store owner is coming.

Oh, really?

Sung Il-myeong glanced inside, then made a gesture as if pouring a drink.

Thats right. The side dish is pork belly.

Oh, I see. I have to go then.

Sung Il-myeong tossed two mandarins to Jeong-woo and said, Here you go~ with a voice full of excitement, then went back into the supermarket.

Jeong-woo pointed ahead to Yoon Yi-seol.

Lets talk while we walk. Hes someone well-known in the neighborhood. Would you like to have one of these?

He offered her one mandarin, and Yoon Yi-seol accepted it with a bright smile.

Walking and eating mandarins happily, Jeong-woo turned towards the alley where he had just finished the ice removal work and opened his mouth.

I havent told anyone about you, Ms. Seol. It wouldnt be good if the rumor about insomnia spreads. Its a bit awkward to say that we bumped into each other at the clinic. My younger brother still doesnt know why things turned out that way that day.

Well in that case.

Yoon Yi-seol, who had involuntarily closed her eyes as she peeled the mandarin, voiced her opinion.

Childhood friend?

No. Theres someone who knows about our friendship.

Music academy?

I know how to play the xylophone, but are there any academies that teach that?

Yoon Yi-seol thought carefully and then touched her palms together.

Temporary manager!

Yes?

The roadie who helps with scheduling. If others find out, it can be an excuse. We mentioned it that way during Once as well. If we do that, even if were together, it wont be strange

As she spoke, Yoon Yi-seol suddenly felt tense, realizing that she might have hinted that she wanted to be with him.

Jeong-woo quickly organized his thoughts.

Lets do that. Ill work as a manager part-time on holidays and such. I started doing it during Christmas.

Sounds good.

Looking down at Yoon Yi-seol, who smiled again, Jeong-woo cleared his throat. Her face, covered by a fur hat, was beautifully captivating, making his heart flutter once again.

By the way, what about masks? There arent many people here, but can I just wander around without one?

Just be discreet. After all, youre an expert at sneaking around unnoticed.

Yoon Yi-seol tapped the pocket of her padded jacket. Jeong-woo couldnt help but find her unpretentiously awkward appearance endearing, wondering if people around her simply turned a blind eye to it.

What were you doing here?

Jeong-woo, holding a metal barrel on the stairs, replied.

We were doing ice removal work in the village alleyways. With two friends.

Ice removal?

Jeong-woo sprinkled powder with a spoon onto the thick layer of ice under the shade. In an instant, it turned into water and flowed down, widening Yoon Yi-seols eyes.

Wow, I know this. Its that thing magic!

Its just chemistry.

Well, anyway!

Do you want to try?

Me?

When Jeong-woo offered her the spoon, Yoon Yi-seol hesitated and then, with a mix of nervousness and excitement, sprinkled a bit of powder. She crouched down carefully in front of the slippery ice and sprinkled it.

Oh!

Yoon Yi-seol seemed fascinated by the ice turning into water droplets. She stared at it with great interest.

Ive done this whole section!

A voice came from the stairs, and when Yoon Yi-seol looked up, it was Park Soo-chan clapping.

This is so much fun. Give me more!

Yoon Yi-seol, who was sitting, instinctively put on a mask and leaned next to Jeong-woo.

Huh? Who are you with?

Park Soo-chan descended the stairs and stood in front of Jeong-woo.

Soo-chan, this person is

No way?!

Glancing up and down Yoon Yi-seol, Park Soo-chan let out a groan and.

Eun-sil, right? Wow, nice to meet you.

Whats with the reaction?

Really? That posture of holding your arm is just perfect. Then who are you?

Yoon Yi-seol, who recognized Jeong-woos friend, removed her mask and looked at Park Soo-chan.

Hello.

GulpYoo, Yoo, Yoon Yi-seol?

Surprised by the unexpected face he saw in his dream, Park Soo-chan exclaimed, while Shin Ki-joon, who had taken a different path, approached them as well.

Shin Ki-joon paused when he saw Yoon Yi-seol.

Jeong-woo quickly introduced Yoon Yi-seol to the astonished duo.

You probably know who she is. Since youve come to participate in todays meaningful event, please treat her comfortably. And Ki-joon, about the filming

Dont worry. I wont take random shots anywhere other than the stage meant for public viewing. Privacy and personal space should be respected.

Surprised by the unexpectedly polite response, Jeong-woo nodded.

Shin Ki-joon bowed his head respectfully to Yoon Yi-seol.

It seems like the first time Ive seen you up close like this. Im Shin Ki-joon, who runs the direct cam channel SP.

Yoon Yi-seol also returned the greeting with a nod.

By the way, our companys video director was a famous fancam photographer.

I know. Theyre a legend in this field. Anyway, its an honor, Yoon Yi-seol.

Please continue to take great stage videos.

Watching Yoon Yi-seol smile, Park Soo-chan firmly grabbed Jeong-woos arm and led him to the nearby wall.

Hey, whats going on?

We were keeping it a secret, but somehow I ended up being in charge as the temporary manager. I made some waves at TS Mall.

Wow, thats amazing.

Dont go around blabbering about it.

Wow!

Jeong-woo divided the powder in the container and pointed to another alley, signaling them to go.

Go and come back quickly. Lets finish this and take a break.

My friend is Yoon Yi-seols manager

I told you to go!

Alright, see you later, Yi-seol! Im Park Soo-chan! Jeong-woos best friend!

Park Soo-chan greeted Yoon Yi-seol with a foolish smile and then quickly dashed down the alley. Yoon Yi-seol burst into laughter at his sight.

Ill go this way too.

Shin Ki-joon also started the snow removal work along another alley.

Jeong-woo turned to Yoon Yi-seol.

Phew, its hectic, right? Even if Soo-chan looks like that, hes nice.

Its fun.

Fortunately, Yoon Yi-seol didnt seem bothered, so Jeong-woo spoke with relief.

Lets go too.

The work ended before 11 oclock.

On the way to the meeting hall, Jeong-woo informed Yoon Yi-seol about the upcoming schedule.

Im going to the market to help my mother cook, then Ill go to visit the elderly in the neighborhood. In the evening, well have a small gathering or a feast. Once thats taken care of, well be done. We might also go to the neighborhood to help with any pending tasks. My younger brother is currently delivering charcoal.

Yoon Yi-seol nodded eagerly with a determined look in her eyes, even though the explanation was nothing special. The bells hanging on her fur hat continued to jingle along with her nods.

Oh, how cute.

It was just a nod, but why did his heart feel so ticklish? Jeong-woo found himself wondering more and more.

We mostly do cleaning. When theres painting to be done, or when there are electrical wiring or door problems, the team leader takes care of it. Oh, didnt you say youve done a lot of volunteer work?

Well, I guess so.

Yoon Yi-seols heart pounded as she wondered if she should ask for more details, but she breathed a sigh of relief as Jeong-woo moved away to answer a phone call.

Jeong-woo checked his brothers name and pressed the call button.

What is it?

-Hyung, do you know Grandma Choi Geum-soons place?

That short-legged dog?

-Yeah. He went out yesterday and hasnt come back yet. Grandma is extremely worried.

Thinking of the spaniel who used to wag his tail and pant heavily whenever he passed by, Jeong-woo asked.

Isnt he stuck somewhere in a corner of a warehouse? He usually differences the person in two types, the one who feeds him and does who doesnt. I only gave them a sausage once, but he seemed to like me every time I passes by.

-I dont know. The team leader told me to go but Im going to do that with Soo-jin.

What? You rascal. Already doing that in a filthy place?

-What are you saying? Ah, right. Charcoal. Al

Jeong-woo smirked.

Since its on the way, Ill stop by and take a look.

After ending the call, Jeong-woo said to Yoon Yi-seol.

I need to go find Doo-chi.

Doo-chi?

A decent dog.

While they were talking, Park Soo-chan and Shin Ki-joon walked up from the corner of the alley. Park Soo-chan raised both hands and shouted.

Jeong-woo! Were starving!

Soo-chan, then you go to the bakery first. With Ki-joon.

What about you?

Ill go to Grandma Geum-soons and then join you.

Jeong-woo looked at Yoon Yi-seol.

Do you also want to go to the bakery?

No.

Yoon Yi-seol took a step closer to Jeong-woo, shaking her head. Park Soo-chan gave a significant look and said to Shin Ki-joon.

Theres a really old bakery here that serves amazing castella cake.

Soo-chan, order something for us too.

Okay.

Jeong-woo and Yoon Yi-seol took the upper path, while Park Soo-chan and Shin Ki-joon walked down the lower path.

Narrow alleyways lined with small houses, winding up the hillside.

It was a neighborhood where the scent of people filled the air, yet it was quiet and clean, making the phrase a delightful neighborhood more fitting than a neighborhood on the outskirts.

Its nice here

Yoon Yi-seol walked along the path with Jeong-woo, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart.

When she woke up in the morning, she never expected to be in this situation.

The stairs are high, arent they? This section has a nice view, but its difficult to move around.

No, its not.

Yoon Yi-seol replied and took a deep breath, trying to hide her shortness of breath.

Afraid that she might not be able to keep up and he would tell her to go to the bakery alone, she looked at Jeong-woo with an anxious expression.

Seeing her, Jeong-woo forced a smile and asked.

Are you holding your breath right now?

No cough.

Coughing, Yoon Yi-seol said to him.

Its not a cold

I understand. Im just tired. Lets rest for a bit.

Jeong-woo stopped walking and turned his back. Yoon Yi-seol smiled at his consideration and regulated her rough breathing.

As Jeong-woo quietly observed the scenery of the neighborhood, he turned his head.

Oh, right. Its evening.

Yes?

Im going to the broadcasting station to cover this event. Shouldnt you avoid being seen then?

It probably doesnt matter much, but Ill see how it goes when the time comes.

Is the appearance fee for you quite high?

Yoon Yi-seol smiled without answering.

Its high. And is there anything we need to check off the list? Lets get as much done as possible today.

Im doing one right now.

Jeong-woo sent a questioning gaze.

Can I ask what it is?

Walking on an unfamiliar path.

I see.

with someone I like.

Yoon Yi-seol omitted the following condition and pointed ahead.

Lets go now. Jeong-woo, you seem to have rested enough.

Do I? Ive rested completely, right?

With a nonchalant question, Yoon Yi-seol stuck out her tongue, smiled, and walked ahead.

The house they arrived at after walking about 100 meters was a single-story house with a green fence and a green gate.

Grandma!

Jeong-woo knocked on the door and shouted. As there was no response, Jeong-woo peeked inside the gate. Not sensing any signs of life, he gently pushed the door open.

Creak. The door opened, and he looked inside again.

Grandma Geum-soon!

Jeong-woo said to Yoon Yi-seol, who turned around.

Shes not here, I guess. She must have gone out to find Doo-chi. Come inside for now.

As Jeong-woo stepped inside, Yoon Yi-seol followed behind.

Doo-chi! Hey, where are you hiding!

In one corner of the small yard, there was an improvised garden with styrofoam and plastic containers lined up. Next to it was a small doghouse. Only food and water bowls were placed there, and the owner was nowhere to be seen.

Hmm.

Approaching, Jeong-woo started to carefully observe his surroundings.

It seems she really went out. Grandma loves him so much, why would he leave this place? Is he upset because he didnt get a sausage?

Do you think we can find him?

Yoon Yi-seol asked, and Jeong-woo turned his head.

Just a moment.

As Jeong-woo closely examined the surroundings, he reached out his hand and grabbed something.

A brown fur that shimmered.

Its still warm.

Really?

Well, the trace indicates that.

Jeong-woos gaze seemed to be looking at a different world, as if seeing something different from what others saw. Yoon Yi-seol couldnt help but be curious as Jeong-woo continued to scrutinize the seemingly empty space in the yard.

What are you looking at?

Footprints.

Jeong-woo pointed his finger at a spot on the yard where the ice had formed.

These are recent footprints, and there are tiny droplets made of sweat. After they dry, there will be a slight amount of sodium chloride, a small amount of amino acids, ammonia, and elements

As Jeong-woo explained, he glanced at Yoon Yi-seol, who was not nodding this time, and smiled.

Theres dog fur here. If we follow this, well find him soon. Shall we go?

Yes!

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